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August 23, 2019

Ask Attorney Bernie: How much time do you need to bring your lawsuit in Pa.?

ERIE (PA)
Erie Times

August 23, 2019

By Bernard J. Rabik

Question: What are statutes of limitations?

Answer: Simply put, the statutes of limitations describe how long you have to bring charges or a claim against someone who has victimized you. Each crime has its own statute of limitations, though they are the same for many of them. The idea is that they keep someone from being charged with a crime or sued for a wrongdoing long after the incident is supposed to have happened. If you hit another auto with your vehicle, the justice system says the other driver can’t wait 30 years to bring you to court.

Not all crimes have statutes of limitations, though. For example, someone could never admit to murder feeling secure that time had run out to commence legal proceedings against him or her.

State’s statutes of limitations

You may think that if you are the victim of someone else’s actions, you would be swift in taking them to court. But, this isn’t always the case. For that matter, you may not actually know who was responsible for an accident or injury. If you were hurt, your main concern may be looking after your health in the immediate future. There are all kinds of circumstances, which could delay you from doing the obvious.

When a plaintiff misses the cutoff date, the defendant can use the statute of limitations as a defense against any civil lawsuit that is filed. If the defendant establishes that the statute of limitations applies and has indeed “run,” the court will normally dismiss the case, unless some rare exception applies to extend the filing deadline.

Former Coldwater priest arrested, charged

KALAMAZOO (MI)
WTVB TV

August 23, 2019

Documents seized by the attorney general's office from Catholic Diocese offices around the state last fall have resulted in a charge being filed against a 57-year-old priest who used to be the pastor of St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Coldwater and Our Lady of Fatima in Union City.

Father Brian Stanley of Coloma was arraigned by Allegan County Magistrate Daniel Norbeck Thursday on a charge of unlawful imprisonment.

Stanley was able to get his bond reduced from $100,000 to $5,000 on the condition he can not have any contact with minors.

According to documents, a teen was wrapped up in plastic wrap and masking tape with his eyes and mouth covered and left in a janitor's closet for an hour at St. Margaret Church in Otsego in 2013. The teen's parents had taken him to Stanley for counseling due to poor grades and drug use.

Attorney General Dana Nessel says documents from the Kalamazoo Diocese showed a history of such bindings dating back decades by Stanley, and she classified it as a sexual crime. He faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted, and would have to register as a sex offender.

The Diocese of Kalamazoo released a statement Thursday which stated the incident alleged in the Attorney General’s complaint was reported to the Diocese in 2013. They then referred the matter to the Otsego Police Department for investigation. Father Stanley was then placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation. But according to the Otseg

Diocese of Little Rock, Arkansas church cited in child sex-abuse suit

FAYETTEVILLE (AK)
Arkansas Democrat

August 23, 2019

By Ron Wood

An unidentified person has sued the Diocese of Little Rock and St. Joseph Catholic Church in Tontitown, claiming they were negligent for allowing a priest to sexually abuse him.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of "John Doe 201" and says the priest involved was Joseph Correnti, who committed suicide in 2002.

The Washington County Circuit Court lawsuit claims "Doe 201" was sexually battered by Correnti when "Doe" was 14 to 15 years old. The suit says Correnti served at St. Joseph from 1995 to 2002.

"Doe 201" discovered the effects within the past three years of the sexual abuse perpetrated by Correnti, according to the lawsuit.

Rick Woods filed the lawsuit, which contends that there are at least five known victims of Correnti's sexual abuse.

The diocese knew, or should have known, of Correnti's "sexual misconduct, impulses, and behavior," according to the lawsuit. But, it allowed Correnti to have unlimited contact with children, including "Doe 201," the suit claims.

"Defendants had the duty to protect the moral purity of plaintiff and other Roman Catholic children within the Diocese of Little Rock and at St. Joseph's Catholic Church," according to the lawsuit. "Defendants breached their duties by exposing plaintiff to a known pedophile."

The church and diocese failed to follow policies and procedures designed to prevent child sex abuse or failed to implement sufficient policies, and didn't warn parents there was a risk of child sex abuse, according to the lawsuit.

The suit alleges that the church failed to report Correnti's actions to police.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages for severe and permanent psychological, emotional and physical injuries, shock, emotional distress, physical manifestations of emotional distress, embarrassment, loss of self-esteem, disgrace, humiliation and loss of enjoyment of life.

"Doe 201" also continues to incur expenses for medical and psychological treatment, therapy, and counseling, and cannot lead a normal life, according to the lawsuit.

Correnti committed suicide April 3, 2002, according to Fayetteville police and the Washington County coroner.

He left a note alluding to the sexual misconduct scandal within the Catholic Church at the time.

"Especially in circumstances in the church today, I am sure that some may feel this has a connection, but it rather has to do with my long term depression," Correnti wrote.

St. Max mom took Cincy archbishop to task about priest's 'red flags' a year before rape accusations surfaced

CINCINNATI (OH)
WCPO TV

August 22, 2019

By Craig Cheatham

In a letter written to Archbishop Dennis Schnurr in August 2018, a longtime lay leader at Saint Maximilian Kolbe Parish told Schnurr he had failed to deliver on his promise of being "unequivocally committed" to children and that the church had ignored "red flags" about Father Geoff Drew.

Drew stands charged with nine counts of rape and has pleaded not guilty to all. According to prosecutors, he repeatedly assaulted an altar boy over a three-year period from 1988-'91.

The alleged attacks took place in Drew's office at St. Jude Church, where he was the music minister. The victim, now 41, was 10 and 11 when Drew raped him, according to Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters.

The WCPO I-Team first reported on the contents of the letter two weeks ago.

It was written by a mother of three children who attended St. Maximilian Kolbe in Liberty Township, where Drew was pastor from 2009 to mid-2018. When he left, he became pastor of St. Ignatius Loyola in Cincinnati, a parish with the largest Catholic elementary school in Ohio.

Diocese of Amarillo implements a new safe environment program

AMARILLO (TX)
ABC & TV

August 23, 2019

By Morgan Burrell

Since the formation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People in 2002, the Catholic Church has been responsible for addressing allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy, according to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' website.

The Charter incorporated instruction on reconciliation, healing and the prevention of future acts of abuse, the Conference site states.

Along with the establishment of the Charter, the Diocese of Amarillo began utilizing a safe environment program.

"Initially, when we started this in 2002, we sort of had our own program we had to work with, with what we had available because it was brand new thing throughout the United States, it was required," said Deacon Blaine Westlake, the director of the safe environment program for Diocese of Amarillo. "As time went on, we found better and better programs. Bishop (Patrick J.) Zurek just recently authorized us to implement the new 'Circle of Grace,' which is the title of the program, throughout the diocese."

Some Catholic dioceses in Kansas still won't release their lists

WICHITA (KS)
KSNW TV

August 22, 2019

By Bret Buganski

The Catholic Church is promising to be transparent. Its message is to begin healing from the scandal to find the priests who’ve been accused of sexually abusing children. But how forthcoming are the Catholic Dioceses in our area? Decades after some accusations, there are still many questions.

The Catholic Diocese of Salina released a list in March, 2019, including 14 names of priests with what the Catholic Church calls “substantiated allegations” of clergy child sex abuse.

The Salina list, indicates the year the priest was ordained, the list of parishes they served in and the estimated time frame of the abuse. It also lists if there is one allegation of abuse or more than one, but doesn’t list the total number of allegations. In Kansas there are 4 Catholic Dioceses, but only Salina and Kansas City have released theirs. Wichita and Dodge City have not yet released a list to the public.

“It says they can’t afford to be transparent, it looks apparent to me,” said Janet Patterson.

Her pain never goes away. The Patterson family accused Father Robert Larson of sexually abusing their son Eric for nearly a year while he was an altar server in Conway Springs. Eric took his own life in 1999 after years of battling depression. Janet said they didn’t know about the alleged abuse until months before he died.

Larson was convicted of molesting boys in 2001, and a judge sentenced the former priest to five years in prison. He served the rest of his days in a St. Louis treatment facility until his death in 2014. Although Larson’s case is widely known, there is no publicized list from the Diocese of Wichita that includes his name or any other priest.

When KSN News called the Diocese of Wichita and asked an official when the list will be released, the answer provided was that it “wasn’t complete” and was “under audit.” KSN also requested an on camera interview with Bishop Carl Kemme but was told he was “on retreat” and “unavailable.”

On its website, Bishop Kemme writes, “A pledge to heal,” saying the diocese will address “every instance of an allegation of sexual abuse.”

Patterson is frustrated to know a list has yet to be released by the diocese, but not surprised.

Priest and 5 nuns 'accused' of defaming sacked sister

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Tablet

August 22, 2019

Police in India's Kerala state are investigating the actions of a Catholic priest and five women religious after a complaint by a nun who was dismissed from her congregation. The nun accused the six of defaming and harassing her through social media.

Sister Lucy Kalapura, a member of the Franciscan Clarist Congregation, complained to police that Father Noble Thomas Parackal and five women religious of the congregation collaborated to share closed-circuit TV footage of her entering her convent with two male journalists on social media with the intention of defaming her, UCA News reported.

The religious congregation dismissed Sister Kalapura, 54, with Vatican approval, citing several instances of indiscipline and disobedience. However, she appealed to the Vatican against the dismissal and continues to live in the convent.

Along with the video, Father Parackal posted comments that the dismissed nun had used the back door of the convent to invite two men inside. The 54-year-old nun claimed the tone of the comments seemed to question her character.

Sister Kalapura complained to the local police chief in the community where the convent is based.

Retired Buffalo bishop accused of cover-up in new lawsuit

NEW YORK (NY)
Crux

August 23, 2019

By Christopher White

Yet another U.S. bishop has been caught up in the wave of sex abuse cases unleashed by the state of New York’s “lookback window” that took effect earlier this month.

Bishop Edward Kmiec, the now retired bishop of Buffalo, has been named in a lawsuit against the diocese of Buffalo by 23 plaintiffs alleging that the diocese systematically covered up the abuse of minors.

Kmiec, now 83 years old, served as bishop of the diocese from 2004 to his retirement in 2012 after serving as bishop of Nashville and as auxiliary bishop in Trenton, New Jersey. He was succeeded by Buffalo’s current bishop, Richard Malone.

NEW: Clerical abuse scandal makes headlines this week across US

The lawsuit claims the diocese engaged in a “racketeering enterprise” and is in violation of the Racketeers Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), which is meant to target criminal organizations.

Using the RICO statute is a rare move in suits against the Catholic Church, although the recent cascade of cases in light of last year’s Pennsylvania Grand Jury — which chronicled over 1,000 cases of abuse at the hands of 300 priests — has led to an uptick in efforts to use RICO as a means of challenging Catholic institutions.

The suit describes an environment of “harassing, threatening, extorting, and misleading victims of sexual abuse committed by priests” and of “misleading priests’ victims and the media to prevent reporting or disclosure of sexual misconduct,” and comes at a time when the diocese and Malone are under Vatican scrutiny for their handling of abuse cases.

August 22, 2019

Hanna Boys Center to hire private eye to seek out abuse victims

SONOMA (CA)
Index Tribune

August 22, 2019

By Anne Ward Ernst

Tracking down almost 2,500 boys will be a daunting task, but officials at Hanna Boys Center want to locate any sex abuse survivors whose stories have not come out yet and make reparations. To accomplish this they will hire a private investigator to find them.

“It’s a long overdue move,” said David Clohessy, an advocate of survivors of sexual abuse by priests. “Finally, Hanna Boys Center officials say they’ll seek out those who were molested at the facility. Santa Rosa Bishop Robert Vasa should do likewise, using church bulletins, pulpit announcements and parish websites.”

Clohessy, a former director with Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), has appeared in a support role in Sonoma with two alleged sex abuse survivors who claim they were sexually molested by Father John Crews when Crews ran Hanna Boys Center between 1983 and 2013.

Brian Farragher, Hanna’s current CEO, said they will be looking for students who were at Hanna between the years of 1983 and 2017. That period covers both the time when Crews was director of the center and, later, when another sexual predator, Kevin Thorpe, worked as a youth counselor and clinical director at Hanna. Thorpe was arrested in 2017 for sexual misconduct and was later sentenced to 21 years in prison for sexual abuse. Hanna and the Diocese of Santa Rosa recently agreed to a $6.8 million settlement with two brothers who were abused by Thorpe.

The former students Hanna seeks will be asked if they were abused in any way, or if they know of anyone who was victimized. And, where appropriate, Farragher said they will be offered treatment, support and restitution.

It May Be Slow, but Change Does Come

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

August 23, 2019

By David Clohessy

One of my favorite poems begins “Sometimes things don’t go, after all, from bad to worse.”

I think of this line when my spirits sag and our progress seems slow. I stay motivated by finding and clinging to ‘silver linings’ like the one I just noticed the other day.

Fr. Norman Rogge may be the only priest anywhere to have twice pled guilty to child sex crimes, twice gotten probation, and twice been put back to work in a parish.

Fr. Fred Lenczycki may be the only priest anywhere to have twice pled guilty to child sex crimes and twice sent to prison.

Rogge’s encounters with the justice system began in 1974 and ended in the 2000s.

Lenczycki’s encounters with the justice system began in 2004 and ended just last week in St. Louis (when a prosecutor asked for a ten year sentence and the judge agreed).

Slowly and painfully, things DO change. Let’s remind ourselves, often, of this fact.

Harrison strikes back with defamatiion suit

BAKERSFIELD (CA)
The Californian

August 22, 2019

By John Cox

Accused priest Craig Harrison has filed a slander lawsuit against a Catholic group that recently disseminated letters and emails alleging the Bakersfield clergyman committed sexual abuse while working at a Firebaugh church in the early 2000s.

The suit filed Aug. 6 in Kern County Superior Court says Stephen Brady, president and founder of Illinois-based Roman Catholic Faithful Inc., whose self-professed goal is to rid the church of clerical corruption, shared and published "false, defamatory, libelous and slanderous statements" during a May 29 news conference in Bakersfield.

The correspondence Brady publicized during the news conference detailed allegations that Harrison had sex with two high school students while serving as pastor of the Firebaugh church and that he would examine boys' private parts daily as a way of checking whether they had been using drugs.

The letters and email originated with an unrelated investigation conducted in 2004 by a retired FBI agent in Merced.

Brady said Thursday it was not his goal to harm or defame Harrison, and that he was only sharing information he uncovered while trying to find out whether the accusations against the priest were true. He called the lawsuit unwarranted.

"I have nothing personal against Monsignor Harrison whatsoever," Brady said. "I was just looking for the truth."

Alaska clergy members named in Catholic church review of sexual misconduct allegations

ANCHORAGE (AK)
Associated Press

August 22, 2019

By Rachel D'Oro

An independent review has found credible accusations of past sexual misconduct against seven clergy members of an Alaska Catholic diocese, including a former priest who died in a July plane crash and another priest who was placed on administrative leave in recent months, church officials said Thursday.

The Diocese of Juneau released the results of the review, which identified six priests and a religious brother as those accused of misconduct involving minors or vulnerable adults during the diocese's nearly 70-year history.

Bishop Andrew Bellisario could not immediately be reached for comment. At a press conference Wednesday, he offered a "very sincere" apology, the Juneau Empire reported.

"It brings a lot of shame and a lot of regret and a lot of sorrow to me personally as bishop of this diocese, but it is something that needs to be expressed to those who have been harmed," he said.

In a letter Wednesday to church members, Bellisario said he established an independent commission consisting of former judges and a police official last December to review all personnel files going back to the diocese establishment in 1951.

By Ex-U.S. senator accused in Jeffrey Epstein scandal oversaw Philly Archdiocese’s sex-abuse compensation fund

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Inquirer

August 22, 2019

By Jeremy Roebuck

Among the prominent men accused of sexual abuse in a cache of recently unsealed court documents tied to financier Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged trafficking of underage girls, one name stood out to clergy sex-abuse victims in Philadelphia: George J. Mitchell.

Better known for his stints as a former Senate majority leader and a U.S. special envoy, Mitchell until May had led the board overseeing the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s compensation fund for those abused by priests.

Philadelphia Archdiocese opens claims process for sex abuse victims compensation fund
Although he has forcefully denied the claims and his accuser has offered few details of their alleged encounter, the news has drawn consternation and bewilderment from Philadelphia-area victims and their advocates.

Some simply smirked at the optics that the man handpicked to oversee the archdiocese’s most significant attempt to date to compensate abuse victims had himself been accused as an abuser. Others said that Mitchell’s ties to Epstein have only deepened their reservations about the Church’s reparations process — a program many of them already viewed with skepticism.

New Wheeling bishop pledges to address scandal

WHEELING (WV)
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

August 22, 2019

By Peter Smith

Bishop Mark Brennan entered the Cathedral of St. Joseph amid all the pomp, procession and fanfare typical of a bishop's installation.

Less typically, he wasted little time in naming the elephant in the cathedral, acknowledging the alienation of many West Virginia Catholics in the wake of sexual and financial scandals that brought an abrupt end to his predecessor's tenure.

"The scandals we have learned about have caused painful disappointments, anger, confusion and distrust of church leaders," he said in his homily. "We have to face that situation with open eyes and determined spirits to bring about lasting change."

The Boston-born bishop, who spent much of his career as a Maryland parish priest before becoming an auxiliary bishop in Baltimore, was appointed in June by Pope Francis as bishop of Wheeling-Charleston.

The diocese estimates it has nearly 75,000 Catholics across the entire state, with a significant amount concentrated in the Northern Panhandle, where cities like Wheeling and Weirton share the industrial and Catholic immigrant heritage of the Ohio River Valley communities in neighboring states.

Chichester publishes in-depth study of abuse in its diocese

CHICHESTER (ENGLAND)
Church Times

August 23, 2019

By Hattie Williams

The diocese of Chichester should not be too hasty in its attempts to consign sexual abuse to history, a new report suggests.

The diocese was marked out by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse (IICSA) for special interest, based on the number of high-profile cases of abuse. An earlier report by Dame Moira Gibb also examined aspects of abuse in Sussex.

This week, the diocese quietly published a third report, Sexual Abuse by Clergymen in the Diocese of Chichester: ‘You Can’t Say No to God’, which was written by Professor David Shemmings from the University of Kent, and his wife Yvonne Shemmings, who works with him in training and research.

The authors warn the diocese “not to be tempted to approach the future by adopting the mantra ‘That was then; this is now’.

“Inevitably there is now an understandable need to move on from what many believe has been a terrible stain on the diocese, but this can, in our view, only be safely and respectfully done by regularly training everyone’s collective eyes and ears on what happened in the past.”

Children were “sexually abused and humiliated” throughout the diocese, at all levels of seniority among the clergy, the authors write. “[Children] were sometimes plied with drink or drugs (and sometimes both). . . They were sometimes made to feel that the abuse they suffered was their fault or, even worse, ordained and sanctioned by God. As one of the individuals interviewed put it ‘You can’t say “No” to God.’”

The Shemmings were commissioned by the diocese to conduct a “small qualitative research study and review of key documents” to understand why the abuse happened. They interviewed 17 people, among them survivors of abuse, investigating police officers, and safeguarding professionals, to discover patterns of offending behaviour and victimisation, as well as possible links between offenders, institutions, and organisational responses.

In their analysis, the authors pick out patterns of secrecy and fear. “The apparent ‘openness’ of a diocese where, theoretically at any rate, people can come and go as they please, requires additional and more subtle levels of coercion. . . The level of fear some of the abusers instilled in the children and young people was pernicious and sometimes extreme.”

The use of alcohol and expensive gifts to groom children was common, and the power wielded by abusers who “mixed with the rich” was clear, they write.

There was a “difference of opinion” among interviewees, however, about whether this abuse was “unique” to Chichester, whether abusers were “predatory” and chose the Church or diocese because it presented an opportunity to abuse, or “whether there was something endemic about the ‘closed’ (some said ‘secretive’) community within the Church, which, coupled with the requirement for homosexual priests to remain celibate, produces in some men an unquenchable and unrequited need for intimate close relationships that can sometimes cross a line and become abusive and even coercive.”

Much More Work Needed at Hanna Boys Center, Survivors Say

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

August 22, 2019

Hanna Boys Center officials say they will finally seek out those who were molested at the facility. Santa Rosa Bishop Robert Vasa should do likewise, using church bulletins, pulpit announcements and parish websites.

In outreach messages, church and center staff should stress the importance of contacting the independent, unbiased and experienced professionals in law enforcement first, not employees of the diocese or the home. We feel it is especially crucial that those with knowledge or suspicions of wrongdoing at Hanna contact the California attorney general who is investigating sexual abuse by clergy and its cover up in the state.

While helping to heal adults who were assaulted as children is important, we hope that the diocese and the center will be completely transparent with any survivors who come forward and let them know if accepting this help will exclude them from filing a lawsuit in the future. This is particularly important since it is likely that California, like New York, will soon open a civil window, and help is also available through the Sonoma County Family Justice Center.

PRIEST ACCUSED OF ABUSE IN NEW YORK ALSO WORKED IN COLUMBUS

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

August 22, 2019

A priest who has just been accused of abusing a New York child also worked in Columbus. For the safety of children and healing of survivors, Ohio Catholic officials must now alert their flock and share with law enforcement here any information they may have on the alleged offender.

Fr. Carleton Parker Jones, a Dominican cleric, was sued days ago in Manhattan for reportedly sexually assaulting an eight-year-old boy while he was preparing for his first confession and first communion with Jones. An on-line parish document shows that, from 1992-1995, Fr. Jones was at St. Patrick Church on North Grant Avenue in Columbus.

We believe it is the moral and civic duty of Columbus Bishop Robert Brennan and church officials at St. Patrick’s to use church bulletins, parish websites and pulpit announcements to aggressively seek out anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered crimes or cover-ups involving Fr. Jones and beg them to call police.

Vatican Refuses to Take Action on Cardinal Pell, SNAP Responds

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

August 22, 2019

Days after the conviction for sexually abusing two boys was upheld, Pope Francis and the Vatican refuse to take steps to defrock or otherwise discipline Australia’s top catholic official. This is an embarrassing move by Vatican officials and only further underscores how out of touch they are when it comes to cases of clergy sexual abuse.

Cardinal George Pell was the third-highest ranking official in the Vatican before his conviction. Now he will spend the next six years in prison. And yet despite the fact that he has been convicted by a jury of his peers and seen his conviction upheld by a Australian appeals court, Cardinal Pell remains a Cardinal, with all the rights and honors it entails.

The Vatican argues that Cardinal Pell “has always maintained his innocence throughout the judicial process.” Fortunately for us, most the world’s justice systems do not consider a mere denial of charges as an adequate defense against them. It certainly was not an adequate defense in Australia. It is embarrassing and backwards that church officials in Rome even try to suggest such a denial is a good enough defense for their purposes.

Five adult siblings claim a childhood of abuse by the priest who kept them as his mostly-secret family

GUILDERLAND (NY)
The Enterprise

August 22, 2019

By Elizabeth Floyd Mair

Five adult siblings recently claimed a childhood of physical, sexual, and psychological abuse by Francis Melfe, a Roman Catholic priest whom, they say, kept them and their mother as his mostly-secret family at a large suburban Guilderland home.

Edith Thomas, the mother of the five adult children, told The Enterprise this week, “They haven’t spoken to me since 1992.”

She has prayed for them every day since then, she said.

She declined further comment except to add, “Whatever they want to tell, they can tell, and anything they say is the truth.”

The children now range in age from 47 to 62. One of them, the youngest, was fathered by the priest, their suit says. One of the plaintiffs declined comment, and the others could not be reached. Francis Melfe did not respond to requests for comment.

The Enterprise has a policy of not naming victims of sexual abuse.

JoAnn Harri of Smalline and Harri, of Albany, called the plaintiffs “proud survivors” and said that they have all been exemplary parents to their own children. Harri is representing the plaintiffs, together with her partner, Martin D. Smalline.

In their complaint, Thomas’s children allege a decade of sexual abuse, from 1969 through 1979, by Melfe against them while the priest maintained an elaborate deceit to try to keep his identity from their neighbors. He left the priesthood in 1979.

The complaint also alleges that the church hierarchy knew, before Melfe ever met this family, that he had been transferred from St. Joseph’s Church in Troy to St. Mary’s Church in Hudson “because he was stealing from St. Joseph’s Church and had been abusing children there.” Asked by The Enterprise how they know that, Harri said that they know “from another witness, an unnamed witness.”

One Year After PA Grand Jury Report, States Continue Probes of Clergy Abuse, Cover-Ups

DENVER (CO)
National Catholic Register

August 22, 2019

By Lauretta Brown

Attorneys general in 20 states and the District of Columbia are conducting investigations into child sex abuse and cover-ups by the Church. These investigations continue one year after the bombshell Pennsylvania grand jury report, which subsequently helped prompt new guidelines from the Vatican on the handling of sexual abuse.

There are known investigations into Church sex-abuse allegations and cover-ups in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Missouri, Virginia, Vermont, Florida, New Mexico, New York, Delaware, California, Kansas, Indiana, Colorado, Georgia, Nebraska, West Virginia, Illinois, Michigan and Iowa. There could be as many as 45 states investigating the Church behind the scenes, as well, according to Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro.

The Pennsylvania report has also reportedly prompted statute-of-limitations reform laws in 21 jurisdictions, which extend or eliminate their statute of limitations for reporting child sex abuse.

On Aug. 14, 22 plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against the Diocese of Buffalo, New York, a province of the Society of Jesus, multiple priests, eight parishes, three high schools and a seminary, among others, alleging “a pattern of racketeering activity” that enabled and covered up clerical sexual abuse under federal racketeering laws, called RICO statutes, which primarily are used against organized crime like the mafia.

The state investigations have already spurred thousands of allegations of sexual abuse as well as some arrests.

The office of New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal told the Register that the state’s clergy-abuse hotline has received more than 540 calls since it was created in September 2018 as part of a task force to investigate allegations of sexual abuse by members of the clergy in the state’s dioceses.

Their investigation secured the guilty plea of Father Thomas Ganley, 63, of Phillipsburg, New Jersey. After an accusation was made through the hotline, Father Ganley was investigated by the task force and pleaded guilty in April to second-degree sexual assault, admitting that he engaged in sexual acts with a teenage girl in the 1990s, when she was 16 or 17 years old and he had supervisory authority over her.

Group calls on Cincinnati archdiocese to take action in wake in priest’s rape indictment

DAYTON (OH)
Daily News

August 22, 2019

By Michael D. Clark

An indicted priest, who worked in churches in the Miami Valley and Greater Cincinnati, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to nine charges of raping an altar boy and was called a flight risk by a judge.

Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Leslie Ghiz ordered a $5 million bond for Rev. Geoff Drew.“I am concerned about the flight - as is the state - simply based on the fact of the high-profile nature of this case and the particular allegations,” Ghiz said.Drew previously served as pastor of St. Rita of Cascia Parish in Dayton and as parochial vicar at St. Luke the Evangelist Church in Beavercreek.And for nine years he was pastor of one of the Cincinnati Archdiocese’s largest churches – St. Maximilian Kolbe Catholic Church in Butler County’s Liberty Township.

Priest Charged with Kidnapping Thanks to Michigan AG Investigation

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

August 22, 2019

Another Michigan priest is being charged with child sex crimes because of the outstanding work of Attorney General Dana Nessel and her team. We commend her and the staff for all their hard work in reviewing the files from the Diocese of Kalamazoo. We hope this story inspires others who may be suffering in silence to come forward, make a report to the AG, and start healing.

According to news reports, Fr. Brian Stanley was arrested for kidnapping. The complaint alleges that the priest wrapped a teenager tightly in plastic, taped his eyes and mouth shut, and then left him alone in a janitor’s room at an Otsego, MI parish for more than an hour. Fr. Stanley later returned and released the boy.

The incident was reported to the Diocese of Kalamazoo in 2013. The priest was immediately suspended and, according to church officials, the allegations were also reported to police who said that “the complaint was not criminal and there would be no charges.” Fr. Stanley was then reinstated, it would appear without any internal investigation.

For Abuse Survivors, A New Shot At Justice

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Jewish Week

August 20, 2019

By Hannah Dreyfus

Mordechai Twersky, one of the plaintiffs in a 2013 lawsuit against Yeshiva University accusing administrators and teachers of a decades-long cover-up of physical and sexual abuse at its affiliated high school, said the flagship Modern Orthodox institution “left us for dead” after a U.S. District Court judge dismissed the suit.

Citing federal and state statutes of limitations, which had expired, the judge wrote in a decision handed down on Jan. 30, 2014, “No exceptions apply.”

As of last week, that is no longer the case.

Michigan priest accused of tying up teenage boy, taping mouth and eyes

LANSING (MI)
The Flint Journal

August 22, 2019

By Ryan Boldrey

The ongoing investigation into sex-abuse claims involving Michigan’s seven Catholic dioceses has resulted in more charges by the state Attorney General’s office, this time of a former Otsego priest.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced today that Father Brian Stanley, of Coloma, is being charged with one felony count of false imprisonment. If convicted, Stanley would face up to 15 years in prison and be required to register as a sex offender, according to state law.

“Stanley is accused of secreting away a teenage boy and holding him against his will in the janitor’s room of St. Margaret’s Church in 2013,” states a news release issued by Nessel’s office.

The priest reportedly immobilized the young man by wrapping him tightly in plastic wrap. He then used masking tape as additional binding to cover his eyes and mouth, according to the Attorney General’s office.

Is it time for regional synod for U.S. church to address abuse crisis?

WASHINGTON (DC)
Catholic News Service

August 22, 2019

By Russell Shaw

Reacting to the scandal of clergy sex abuse and cover-up 17 years ago, eight bishops offered a bold proposal.

The conference of bishops, meeting in Dallas, had lately adopted a charter and norms for the protection of children. Now the eight called for something more.

Convene a plenary council or regional synod, they urged their fellow bishops, and use it to get at the roots of what had happened so as to prevent anything like that from ever happening again. The signers of their joint letter included Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, then bishop of Sioux City, Iowa, and now president of the national bishops’ conference, and Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron of Detroit, an auxiliary bishop there back then.

More than a hundred bishops expressed interest in the suggestion, which eventually came to focus on the synod option. The bishops’ conference took some note of it. But in time, enthusiasm faded and the proposal died as the hierarchy went about implementing their new child protection measures.

Clerical Spirituality and the Culture of Narcissism

LA JOLLA (CA)
Celibacy, Sex & Catholic Church

Posted August 8, 2019; revised July 30, 2019

By A.W. Richard Sipe, Marianne Benkert, and Thomas P. Doyle

[Note from Tom Doyle: In 1993 Attorney Stephen Rubino came up with the phrase “religious duress” to describe the internal constraint involuntarily experienced by people, in this case Catholics, who have internalized religious indoctrination to the extent that it can seriously impede a person’s capacity to accurately perceive and evaluate abusive actions perpetrated by clergy. In short, the effects of religious indoctrination made it nearly impossible for sex abuse victims to disclose the abuse.

Richard and Marianne Sipe and Tom Doyle developed the idea through extensive research and published several articles about it, including most recently the article linked above. The concept was used in civil cases to overcome the statute of limitations. It met with little success in the U.S. courts. Judges misunderstood it and erroneously thought it somehow violated the First Amendment.

On June 7, 2019 the Supreme Court of Canada rendered a judgment that used the concept extensively. A key article by Doyle and Marianne Sipe is quoted several times as is another by Doyle.]

Diocese of Burlington Releases Names of 40 Abusive Priests

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

August 22, 2019

The Diocese of Burlington, VT has released the names of proven, admitted and publicly accused child molesting clerics today. This is a long overdue step towards transparency, and there is still more work to do.

With this move, church officials in Vermont are taking a belated step towards transparency and healing. Releasing these names publicly is crucial not only for the safety of children and healing of survivors, but also to encourage victims who may be suffering in silence to come forward and to deter future clergy sex crimes and cover-ups.

Still, the fact remains that this is a long-overdue move prompted by pressure from media, parishioners and the public that Bishop Christopher Coyne should have taken immediately upon arriving in Burlington four years ago.

Church report accuses 40 Vermont priests of child sex abuse

BURLINGTON (VT)
Vermont Digger

August 22, 2019

By Kevin O'Connor

The statewide Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington knew at least 40 Vermont priests faced accusations of sexually abusing children over the past seven decades but did nothing to alert the public or police, a lay-led church committee announced Thursday.
The committee, given unprecedented access to personnel files once seen by only Catholic leaders and lawyers, issued an online report that named the accused clergy — none whom are currently working but several who are still alive — and acknowledged past officials of the state’s largest religious denomination covered up the claims so as not to spark court suits or scandal.

“While most of these allegations took place at least a generation ago, the numbers are still staggering,” Vermont Catholic Bishop Christopher Coyne said Thursday. “These shameful, sinful, and criminal acts have been our ‘family secret’ for generations.”

The report showed no current misconduct. All but one of the allegations occurred before 2000.

While the report is public, detailed revelations about priest misconduct have not been made available to the press.

“Many abusers and their victims are deceased, so some might ask ‘Why engage in this process?’” the committee wrote. “Publication of a list may cause harm to the legacy of accused perpetrators, but the list also may offer some long-missed consolation to victims and their families and friends.”

“What is particularly painful is knowing how lives were changed irreparably by what happened to the victims when they were young,” the committee wrote. “For some there might have been the opportunity for healing, but for many there may have been a series of life choices intended to cover scars that only resulted in more pain and disappointment. Lives have been lost because of the abuse that occurred.”

Church leaders acknowledge publicizing the list of priests could subject the diocese to more lawsuits. More than 50 accusers have won nearly $31.5 million in settlements in the past several decades. Their shared lawyer, Jerome O’Neill of Burlington, still has six cases pending in court.

“My reaction is disappointment,” O’Neill said of the report he believes should have been released long ago by previous church leaders. “It was more important for those bishops that they protect the reputations of their child-abusing clergy and the diocese itself than to protect children from being sexually assaulted.”

New abuse reporting system ‘important step’ for Church accountability

NEW YORK (NY)
Irish Central

August 22, 2019

In advance of a mandated national third-party reporting system for allegations or complaints regarding bishops, the Catholic dioceses of four New England states have launched a third-party, independent system to report abuse by Catholic bishops.

The dioceses in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine make up the Boston Province, led by Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley, who is the metropolitan archbishop of the province.

The bishops of the province have agreed to make a reporting system available now in the wake of Pope Francis’ document ‘Vos Estis Lux Mundi’ (‘You are the light of the world’) and the bishops’ vote during their spring general assembly in June to implement it.

The Pope issued the landmark document in May to help the Catholic Church safeguard its members from abuse and hold its leaders accountable.

The motu proprio was one of the measures that came out the Vatican’s February summit on clergy sexual abuse attended by the presidents of the world’s bishops’ conferences.

“I am grateful to Cardinal O’Malley for his leadership in implementing this important facet of ‘Vos Estis Lux Mundi’ here in the Boston Province,” Springfield Bishop Mitchell Rozanski said in a statement in response to the August 14 announcement of the Boston Province establishing the independent reporting system.

“This is an important step in assuring accountability for bishops in continuing to be vigilant in our Church for the safe environment of all our members, particularly our most vulnerable,” he said.

Burlington Catholic Diocese to release names of priests accused of child sex abuse

BURLINGTON (VT)
Free Press

August 22, 2019

By Elizabeth Murray

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington will release the names of priests against whom credible and substantiated allegations of child sexual abuse have been made. The names will be released Thursday morning.

The report was compiled by a lay committee, appointed by Bishop Christopher Coyne, to examine priest personnel files. The committee was comprised of four men and three women, including one priest abuse victim and one non-Catholic.

The allegations against clergy who served throughout the state date back to the 1950s, the Diocese said.

According to a statement written by the Bishop on the Diocese's website, there has only been one credible and substantiated claim of abuse in 16 years. The allegation involved an 18-year-old who formed an emotional relationship with a member of the clergy when that teenager was a minor.

"There are no priests in ministry who have had a credible and substantiated allegation made against them," the Bishop wrote.

Archbishop Gregory Continues Task of Restoring Trust

WASHINGTON (DC)
Washington Informer

August 21, 2019

By D. Kevin McNeir

Since his installation as the leader of the Archdiocese of Washington, May 21, Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory has provided needed leadership at a time when the Catholic Church has found itself inundated by troubling scandals and revelations.

Throughout his many years of service, Archbishop Gregory has remained a man known for and respected because of his principles and dedication to seeking truth and doing the right thing. That said, his first few months have seen him visiting parishes throughout the Archdiocese — offering solace, guidance and laying out a plan of action.

He spoke with The Washington Informer recently about his life, his new assignment and his plans to restore one of our most fragile human relationships: trust.

Washington Informer: How do you speak to people in today’s current atmosphere of fear in the U.S. when many say their faith has been shaken? How do you inspire people and what do you say particularly to Black Catholics?

Archbishop Gregory: I say the same thing to everyone, Catholic or not. I speak to their dignity as people recognizing the struggles they’ve endured and remind them of the importance of civil discourse. Yes, people are afraid in so many settings. Part of that fear is generated by a loss of the awareness of the dignity we each have as a child of God — no matter what religion or those who do not claim any religious affiliation, they still should be treated with dignity.

Second, you encounter people as Pope Francis says, by speaking and listening. Right now, not a lot of listening has been going on in the human dialogue. A lot of protestations, hostile language — but very little listening, sincere listening. I really try to listen and in that listening come to understand others and their opinions. Hopefully, in that kind of dialogue I can engender a mutual respect.

WI: There have recent challenges in the Catholic church in terms of leadership. Still, we hold those at the top to greater accountability. How do you restore that trust?

Gregory: Trust is a fragile virtue and while it takes time to establish it can be ruptured quickly. I hope to offer to the Archdiocese a strengthening, a reestablishing of trust. But I’m aware that it will not happen overnight, especially because the breakdown occurred within the leadership. Still, as the Bible tells us, to whom much is given, much is required. It will take time to reestablish those trusting relationships — that’s clear to me. There’s no way I can be naïve about the uphill battle I face.

Bishop Stephen Davis says corrupt leaders caused him to resign from New Birth megachurch

WASHINGTON (DC)
Christian Post

August 21, 2019

By Leonardo Blair

When the late Bishop Eddie Long’s named successor, Bishop Stephen A. Davis, announced his resignation from New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Georgia, after 16 months on the job, he cited the need to attend to his family and church in Alabama.

Last Wednesday during an altar call at New Birth Birmingham — a church planted under the spiritual guidance of Long — Davis revealed he left his spiritual father’s congregation because of the politics of corrupt leaders he described as “fools.”

In a somewhat cryptic segue near the end of a Facebook Live broadcast Davis, who was not available to elaborate when his church was contacted by The Christian Post on Tuesday, explained how he worked free for the entire time he led the church after Long’s death and buoyed the church financially as well.

“They didn’t say anything over there in Georgia when I gave $180,000. I worked the entire 16 months for free. Didn’t take a dime. Paid for my own condo for six months. Kept the debt off the Long family, $3,500 a month that they didn’t have to pay on Bishop Long’s condo. I paid it. I took the car back that I had given him as a gift, taking the pressure off the Long family. I gave $85,000 personally. They allowed wicked men to lead them. They lost their God sent. Now they have to settle for hirelings,” Davis said.

“I tithed every month. They didn’t know I made their payroll, those who work for New Birth Missionary Baptist Church. Without my funding they wouldn’t have been paid. I want every one of them to know, they lost the best thing that could have ever happened to you,” he said as his congregation applauded.

“Tommy George, Mike Roberts, threatened me,” he continued. “Told me they could have gotten rid of me. I told them they never had me. So go back to your ‘hellatious’ leaders and tell them I’m still coming to Georgia.

Archbishop says sexual revolution could have motivated clergy sex abuse

DEDEDO (GUAM)
KUAM News

August 22, 2019

Sweeping changes by the Roman Catholic Church and the sexual revolution of the '60s and '70s may be among the reasons for the rise in clergy sex abuse. That's what Archbishop Michael Byrnes explained during a speech today before local business leaders.

In trying to explain why so many Catholic clergy, including here in Guam, became involved in the far-reaching child sexual abuse scandal, Archbishop Byrnes referenced the reflections of the retired Pope Benedict. He says the Pope believed that an unprecedented 1962 gathering of top religious leaders to discuss church doctrine known as the Vatican Council II lead to a transformation that not all clergy could adjust to.

"It was kind of, at least in the United States, there was just this mass defection of priests. I remember being in a parish in Detroit, the parish I grew up in, and in one year, four of our priests left the priesthood," Byrnes said.

He says many became disaffected and unhappy, and not just with the doctrinal changes.

"A lot of the priests were used to praying like this, the idea was that the priest was leading the prayer and everyone was joining him and he didn't have to look at the people," Byrnes continued. "They literally were turned around and we're comfortable with that now but some of these guys weren't comfortable with that, but it wasn't just that, it was a whole new idea of the priesthood, of engagement of the lay faithful.

"It's not saying that that was bad, this was a time of upheaval, and I even remember my dad, his favorite priest, his friend left the priesthood, it hurt. It hurt."

Byrnes says the changing attitudes toward sex in the 60s and 70s, may have also impacted the church's training of priests, an example.

"It became the practice of teaching moral theology for the sake of confession was that they would show pornographic movies to these seminarians so that when they heard of particular sins they wouldn't freak out somehow," he said. "There's probably a better way of doing that."

His comment was met with laughter from the attending Rotarians.

But the archbishop says the cause may boil down to one thing.

On those who suffer for others less repentant

SYDNEY (AUSTRALIA)
The Catholic Weekly

August 22, 2019

By Dr. Philippa Martyr

What do you do when something doesn’t turn out the way you had hoped?

I can never read the life story of St Joan of Arc without experiencing a terrible emotional crisis towards the end. Joan’s fate in prison was not yet determined, and there was a chance she would be freed – but then she discovered she was going to be sold to the English armies.

Joan then tried to escape or commit suicide (or both) from her prison cell by leaping from the window, a drop of some 60 feet.

Finding God in suffering – easier said than done
She wasn’t injured, but she later realised that she had done the wrong thing by trying to escape. It showed a lack of trust in God’s plan for her, and she confessed her escape attempt to a priest.

I think this is one of the things that shows her sanctity: that she could completely lose heart and yet walk back from that, knowing that God had ordained a different type of suffering for her future.

Joan is behaving in the same way that Jesus did when He’s described as setting His face bravely towards Jerusalem. It’s an acceptance of the awfulness to come, even though you know it will be awful – and terribly unjust.

George Pell: Judgment gives solace to victims

MELBOURNE (AUSTRALIA)
The Age

August 22, 2019

The dismissal of Cardinal George Pell's appeal against his conviction, vindicates and provides some solace to those who have spoken out against being sexually abused by priests and other paedophiles. May it give them some peace that their experiences have been believed and they have truly been heard. This judgment helps to restore one's faith in the justice system, which so often seems to reward those with the most power and money.

Suzy and Nick Toovey, Beaumaris

Don't blame judiciary, blame the hierarchy

For those Catholics feeling bad right now. Feeling hunted. Feeling let down. You have been. Not by the judiciary, but by your hierarchy. The time is now, not to circle the wagons but to look outwards. Look to your fellow Catholics whose lives have been ruined, through no fault of their own, because they or a loved one have been sexually assaulted as a child or because they have called out what they saw and lost their livelihoods as a result.

Julian Guy, Mount Eliza

Now, the defining moment has come

Today all print and TV media outlets are referring to convicted sex offender George Pell as Cardinal George Pell. Technically he is still a cardinal until and if the Vatican defrock him. However the media and the rest of society, if they need to speak of him at all, should refer him as George Pell convicted child abuser.

Peter Roche, Carlton

Woman Says Priest Forced Her to Give Up Her Son for Adoption, Seeks $10 Million

Patheos blog

August 21, 2019

By David Gee

A woman filed a $10 million lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Omaha and others last week, saying a priest from that church forced her to give up her son for adoption decades ago.

Kathleen Chafin has now reconnected with her adult son, whom she says she was forced to give up in 1968, but only after years of searching for him. Thomas Halley, a Jesuit priest, is accused of manipulating her and removing her son from the hospital, according to the Washington Post.

… when Chafin first raised concerns about the adoption in 2015, an investigation from the Wisconsin Province of the Society of Jesus concluded that Halley operated within the law and that his actions were “born of a desire to avoid scandal and find good homes for babies of unwed mothers,” the Omaha World-Herald reported.

Chafin contends the investigation was fraudulent, and she never received a copy of its findings.

“The process of the investigation was full of the same lies and manipulation I have experienced all my life,” she said. “I was furious.”

Whether or not Chafin’s particular allegations have merit, her story isn’t all that unusual. Chafin was told to give up her son because she had the baby out of wedlock. The Church convinced her it’d be better to give her child up for adoption than raise him herself. One source says more than 1.5 million women were told to give up their children for similar reasons around this time. It’s literally called the “Baby Scoop Era.”

World’s oldest living bishop, who is uncle of Chile’s president, accused of abuse

MADRID (SPAIN)
Crux

August 22, 2019

By Inés San Martín

Chile’s President Sebastian Piñera, has urged for the Catholic Church to be investigated over clerical sexual abuse, and he gave his full support to new law that ends the statutes of limitations on abuse cases.

However, when it comes to the allegations made against his uncle, the world’s oldest living bishop, he’s having a hard time believing it.

Archbishop Bernardino Piñera, who served as Archbishop of Serena from 1983-1990 after previously serving as Bishop of Temuco, is being investigated by the Vatican over allegations that he sexually abused a minor 50 years ago. The news was announced by the Holy See’s embassy in Chile on Tuesday.

Soon after, the president said: “As a nephew, I find it hard to believe because I know his behavior, his attitude over a lifetime, and I find it hard to believe a complaint that is made against a man who’s 103 years old today, over an alleged event that occurred 50 years ago.”

The Catholic Church is not getting my sympathy — or my money

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

August 22, 2019

By Bruce Andriatch

In the midst of last week’s long-time-coming lawsuit avalanche filed by people who say they were victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests, a friend raised an interesting point.

Through the Child Victims Act, some of the plaintiffs were allowed to file anonymously, meaning they were permitted to keep their names a secret. But the men they accused were identified by name. My friend said that didn’t seem fair.

A two-word response immediately popped into my head. One of those words was: “Tough.” (Decorum prevents me from printing the other one.)

The Catholic Church and its leaders do not deserve an ounce of sympathy. Consider for a moment the centuries of damage inflicted on children, much of it tacitly sanctioned by the inaction of bishops and cardinals, all in the name of avoiding scandal and protecting predators, criminals who should have been in a prison, not on an altar. Then cry me a river flowing with milk and honey about “fairness.”

I say this as a Catholic. Disappointed, disillusioned and disgusted, but still a Catholic.

It took me a lifetime to get to this point. A year ago this week, The News published an open letter I wrote, in which I expressed horror that my church, which is like my family, had systematically looked the other way while countless innocent lives were being destroyed. My reason was the release of a Pennsylvania grand jury report documenting decades of despicable acts by hundreds of priests, yet another in a string of criminal and journalistic investigations that kept finding the exact same thing: abuse followed by denial followed by cover-up.

August 21, 2019

And They’re Back! MacDonald and Tchividjian Restore Themselves To Ministry

Patheos blog

August 21, 2019

By Anne Kennedy

“Oh Goodie,” says Jesus.

As I said yesterday, this week is full of all manner of little treats. Today let’s look at the completely un-astonishing and yet heartbreaking news that two people properly removed from ministry for the abuse of their pastoral offices and because of sexual sin, are going to leap back into the pulpit anyway, because of course they are, because what else are they going to do. Explains James MacDonald who has been out of the pulpit for what…fifteen minutes? If that:

“We have prayed to practice our biblical teaching on love and God has surely allowed us to be stretched. There is much we could say, as so much is not at all what has been portrayed. But we look to the Lord for forgiveness where I did fail as a leader and for vindication of false statements that will not cover forever what others have done,” he said.

Lawsuit accusing ex-bishop of drunken sexual assault settled

CHARLESTON (WV)
Associated Press

August 21, 2019

By John Raby

A lawsuit accusing the former bishop of West Virginia’s Roman Catholic diocese of molesting boys and men has been settled.

The terms of the recent settlement are confidential, Wheeling-Charleston Diocese spokesman Tim Bishop said in a statement. The diocese declined further comment.

A former personal altar server sued ex-Bishop Michael Bransfield and the diocese in March, saying he was sexually assaulted in 2014 and harassed for years prior. The filing asserted Bransfield would consume at least half a bottle of liqueur nightly and had drunkenly assaulted or harassed seminarians.

Coming on the heels of a new wave of sex abuse allegations in the U.S., the Bransfield scandal added to the credibility crisis in the U.S. hierarchy. Several top churchmen received tens of thousands of dollars in church-funded personal gifts from Bransfield during his tenure in Wheeling-Charleston, which covers the entirety of one of the poorest U.S. states.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP, said in a statement Wednesday it hopes the settlement encourages other clergy abuse victims to come forward.

Catholic Priest Abuse Survivors' Group Says It's 'Cowardly' That Convicted Cardinal Has Not Been Defrocked

NEW YORK (NY)
TIME Magazine

August 21, 2019

By Gina Martinez

An Australian appeals court on Wednesday upheld the conviction of Cardinal George Pell, who was found guilty earlier this year of molesting two 13-year-old choir boys in the 1990s. And yet, Pell still retains his title in the Catholic Church.

The Vatican said it is waiting for Pell to make his final appeal to the High Court, Australia’s supreme court, before launching its own investigation. It noted that Pell has always maintained his innocence. One abuse survivors’ group says the decision to hold off on discipline is “cowardly” and shows the Church hasn’t made it nearly far enough on responding to sexual abuse.

Pell, Pope Francis’ former finance minister, is the highest-ranking church official to ever be convicted of child sexual abuse. He has been imprisoned since an Australian court sentenced the 78-year-old to six years in prison in March.

Tim Lennon, the president of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), says the church should have been decisive following Pell’s conviction and immediately defrocked him.

East Bay priest charged with sexually abusing child facing nearly five years in prison

SAN FRANCISCO (CA)
Bay Area News Group

August 21, 2019

By Joseph Geha

An East Bay priest who repeatedly sexually assaulted a child is facing nearly five years in state prison, officials said.

Hector David Mendoza-Vela on Friday pleaded no contest to five counts of lewd or lascivious acts on a child age 14 or 15, court documents show.

Last month, he pleaded not guilty to 30 criminal counts filed against him in April by the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office.

Mendoza-Vela is facing four years and eight months in prison under a plea agreement with the district attorney’s office, according to Teresa Drenick, a spokeswoman for the office.

He will also be required to register as a sex offender for life, and must stay away from the victim for 10 years, Drenick said.

As part of the agreement, the remaining 25 charges against him were dismissed, court records show. He will be sentenced on Sept. 27 at the East County Hall of Justice in Dublin.

Mendoza-Vela, also known as Father David Mendoza-Vela, had served as a priest in Alameda County since 2013, working at St. John’s Catholic Church in San Lorenzo and more recently at Corpus Christi Church in Fremont.

Prosecutors said previously that in an interview with authorities, Mendoza-Vela, “confessed to inappropriately touching” the genitals of a 14- or 15-year-old boy over his pants “at least 20 times” from June 2016 through December 2017, while he was a priest at St. John’s.

40 pedophile priests named in church investigation

BURLINGTON (VT)
WCAX TV

August 21, 2019

By Darren Perron

A 10-month investigation into potential pedophile priests is done. The Catholic Diocese of Burlington will release its report Thursday. But our Darren Perron obtained details of that report, revealing decades of abuse by 40 priests.

"I'm 66 years old... This individual had an elevated place in my family's life. So, no, I never told my parents," John Mahoney said.

He didn't tell them that he was repeatedly abused by a priest starting in eighth grade. Mahoney kept the secret-- until now.

"I've been wanting this for a long time," he said. "There may be some small consolation that the world knows this person's name."

That name is Father Edward Foster. The former Burlington priest is one of 40 accused of child sexual abuse in a new report commissioned by the Catholic Diocese and Bishop Christopher Coyne.

"We needed to do this," Bishop Coyne said. "We needed to get the family secrets completely out there."

The bishop created a seven-member committee made up of laypeople to pore over thousands of documents, the files of more than 50 potential pedophile priests.

"If there was one substantiated and credible allegation against the priest, it was enough for his name to be placed on the list," Coyne said.

But in many cases, there were multiple allegations. Some families were paid to keep quiet and priests were moved from parish to parish.

Reporter Darren Perron: Did the church fail these children?
Bishop Christopher Coyne: Oh, definitely. We failed these children. We failed the children, the teenagers, the families. These actions were criminal. They were sinful. They were immoral. They weren't dealt with well. There are no excuses for what we did.

The committee's report on the abuse took about 10 months to complete.

"The files, some of them were 1,000 pages or more. We wanted to make sure we got it right," Mike Donoghue said.

Donoghue, a journalist, is on the committee.

"We expect that there will be some people coming forward," he said.

Donoghue expects more allegations once the list of priests is published and he says the committee is still reviewing some files, so more names could be added to the 40.

"It's a sad number," the bishop said. "It's an awful number."

But Coyne points out all but one of the allegations happened before 2000. The one since is against former priest Stephen Nichols.

The bishop says protocols like background checks, ongoing training to spot abuse and abusers, audits, and mandatory reporting to police are helping to protect Vermont kids now.

"There is absolutely no priest working in the Diocese of Burlington that places children at risk," Coyne said.

Darren Perron: Did it put more kids at risk by not releasing this information sooner?
Bishop Christopher Coyne: I want to put that concern to rest. None of these people have been in ministry since 2000 on.

"It took way too long," attorney Jerry O'Neill said.

For about 20 years, O'Neill has represented more than 50 abuse victims suing the church, which has now paid out $31.5 million. Six cases are still pending.

O'Neill says he tried during settlement proceedings to get the diocese to release the files for 16 years. He says not doing so still put kids at risk outside the church.

"If they had released the files sooner, some of these perpetrators clearly could have been molesting in the meantime. Not within the church, but outside the church, they're still perpetrators," O'Neill said. "So many of the survivors are furious for how long it's taken the church and this diocese to identify the people who were the molesters."

Juneau Catholic diocese names seven local clergymen ‘credibly’ accused of sexual misconduct

JUNEAU (AK)
Juneau Empire

August 21, 2019

By Ben Hohenstatt

The Diocese of Juneau released the results of an Independent Commission’s review of sexual misconduct allegations since the diocese was established in 1951.

The report identifies seven local clergymen — six priests and one religious brother — that the commission found had been “credibly alleged” to have engaged with sexual misconduct involving minors and vulnerable adults.

The Independent Commission was established by the Diocese of Juneau in December 2018 to review files regarding allegations of sexual misconduct since the diocese was established nearly 70 years ago in 1951.

Those named in the report include:

• Francis A. Cowgill, who died in 2000, and is alleged to have committed sexual misconduct involving minors from 1956 to 1964. Cowgill was assigned to Pius X School in Skagway and Sacred Heart Church in Haines from 1952 to 1959, Holy Family Cathedral in Anchorage from 1959 to 1964 and St. Mary Church in Kodiak from 1964 to 1966.

• Javier Gutierrez, who was dismissed from the clerical state in 2018, and is alleged to have committed sexual misconduct involving minors and vulnerable adults in the 1980s. Gutierrez was assigned to Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Juneau from 1982 to 1984 and in 1986, Holy Name Church in Ketchikan from 1984 to 1986, St. Peter’s Church in Douglas in 1986 and St. Therese of the Child of Jesus Church in Skagway and Sacred Heart Church in Haines from 1986 to 1988.

• Patrick Hurley, who returned to his religious order — Order of St. Benedict — in 1985, and is alleged to have committed sexual misconduct involving minors from 1984 to 1985. Hurley was assigned to Holy Name Church in Ketchikan in 1983, Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary from 1984 to 1985 and St. Therese of the Child of Jesus Church in Skagway from 1984 to 1985.

Hanna Boys Center to check for abuse victims among former students

SANTA ROSA (CA)
Press Democrat

August 19, 2019

By Mary Callahan

Administrators at the Hanna Boys Center residential treatment facility and school will hire a private investigator to track down alumni from at least the past 3½ decades to root out any previously undiscovered cases of sexual abuse, however old, in an effort to try to make amends.

Once selected, the investigator will be tasked with locating up to 2,500 former students who attended the beleaguered institution dating back to 1983, Chief Executive Officer Brian Farragher said in an interview.

They’ll be asked if they were victimized in any way or if they know others who might have been. If it’s needed, Hanna will work to provide support and treatment and, “where appropriate,” even make restitution, Farragher said.

“We believe that it’s the only way forward for us,” he said.

Farragher revealed the proposal as part of Hanna’s rollout of a long-term strategic plan designed to turn a corner on a period of turmoil at the nearly 75-year-old institution that includes accusations of abuse against Farragher’s predecessor and a high-profile criminal case involving former clinical director Kevin Thorpe, who is in state prison.

Staffers at the Sonoma-area residential center also are suffering through significant cultural upheaval as they adjust to a new treatment framework called trauma-informed care. It has also undergone a reorganization that involved significant layoffs that included many veteran employees who had committed their careers to working with the facility and its population.

Despite speculation among some longtime workers that Farragher might plan to phase out residential care altogether, he and board chairman Tullus Miller said they foresee a future in which Hanna both operates as a model home for at-risk youths and develops national leadership in the area of trauma-informed care through its new research and training arm, the Hanna Institute.

Group calls for Salina diocese to release more names linked to clergy abuse

MANHATTAN (KS)
Manhattan Mercury

August 21, 2019

By Savannah Rattanavong

A victim advocacy group is calling for the Catholic Diocese of Salina to show more transparency in revealing details of sexual abuse by clergy members.

At a meeting with members of the media Tuesday outside the Seven Dolors of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church, where two former priests who have been credibly accused worked, David Clohessy and Larry Davis of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) accused the diocese of withholding names of three more priests with substantiated abuse claims. The men all worked in the diocese’s area at some point. One of the men, Father Donald McCarthy, served in Manhattan in the 1960s and 1980s, but the claim of abuse didn’t take place in town.

SNAP also staged protests at other locations across Kansas Tuesday.

“All those people in the church (who were involved or complicit) need to be brought to justice,” Davis said. “Then also that can start the healing process for the victims. We hope that it finally breaks loose. We want to bring to people who are suffering an avenue for peace and justice.”

In March, the diocese, which oversees the Manhattan area, released a list of 14 clergy members who had substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor. The report included three priests who had served in Manhattan since the 1950s, and several more who served at other area churches. The list included priests William Merchant, who died in 1975, and John Moeder, who died in 2012. Both served at Seven Dolors.

SNAP called for the diocese to include photos, locations and work histories of all “proven, admitted and credibly accused clerics,” name and punish the individuals responsible for “covering up” the abuse and admit wrongdoing in not thoroughly investigating past claims of sexual abuse.

Clohessy, SNAP’s Missouri director, and Davis said they would like to see more consequences through the law or the church for people who have had substantiated claims against them. Clohessy said this endeavor is not only about seeking justice after the fact but also preventing abuse from happening in the first place.

“(Adults) can heal ourselves,” Clohessy said. “It’s a lot easier if people in power positions can help us, but we can take care of ourselves. Kids can’t. The easiest way (to prevent abuse) is to put every name of every predator out there, even if a priest hasn’t been in this diocese for 30 years.”

In a statement Tuesday, the Salina Diocese said it has been cooperating with the KBI investigation looking into sexual abuse of minors by members of the Kansas Catholic clergy, as well as with past investigations into priests.

The diocese said SNAP alleged it had omitted the names of Father Donald McCarthy, who died in 2017, and Ronald Gilardi and Thaddeus Posey, two priests from the Capuchin Province of St. Conrad, Colorado.

The Capuchin Province also released a list of substantiated allegations in March, which included Gilardi and Posey.

The Salina Diocese said it cooperated with law enforcement when Texas officials tried McCarthy in 2007. He was found not guilty. The statement said the diocese’ Lay Review Board also reviewed the allegation from Texas, but could not substantiate the claim.

McCarthy’s duties in Manhattan included assistant pastor at Seven Dolors from 1962 to 1963, guidance counselor at Luckey High School from 1963 to 1965 and superintendent at Manhattan Catholic Schools from 1984 to 1986.

“The Lay Review Board of the Salina Diocese continues to evaluate allegations, and cooperate with the KBI as new allegations are made,” it said. “When an allegation is proven to be substantiated, the diocese will add the name of the clergy member to its list, which can be found at salinadiocese.org/home/clergy-abuse.”

Former Dayton priest accused of rape pleads not guilty

DAYTON (OH)
WDTN TV

August 21, 2019

A former Dayton and Beavercreek priest, who was indicted on nine counts of rape on Monday, pleaded not guilty to all charges in court Wednesday.

Geoffrey Drew, 57, faced a judge on Wednesday in Hamilton County where he pleaded not guilty to all nine counts of rape against him. Drew’s bond was set at $5 million.

According to WLWT in Cincinnati, Drew said through his lawyer that he had no idea who his accuser was or how he would have come in contact with him.

Drew is accused of raping a young alter boy while he served as Music Minister at St. Jude School in Cincinnati. He was employed at St. Jude from 1984 to 1999, although the acts allegedly took place between 1988 and 1991. Drew was not a priest at that time.

Drew was ordained in 2004 and was a parochial vicar at St. Luke in Beavercreek from July 1, 2004 to June 30, 2005, according to the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. He then became pastor of St. Rita in Dayton from July 1, 2005 to June 30, 2009.

“This is absolutely sickening,” Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said. “I will never understand how someone in a position of authority and trust abuses that trust by sexually assaulting young children.”

“The Archdiocese of Cincinnati has fully cooperated with this investigation and will continue to do so,” Archdiocese of Cincinnati Archbishop Dennis Schnurr said. “The protection of young people is of paramount importance and can never be compromised.”

RETIRED BISHOP GOES ON LEAVE TWO DAYS AFTER SEX-ABUSE LAWSUIT FILED

NEW YORK (NY)
Newsweek

August 21, 2019

By Jake Maher

A retired bishop in New York State announced he was taking a leave of absence two days after a lawsuit was filed alleging he molested an teenage boy.

On August 16, Bishop Emeritus Howard Hubbard of the Diocese of Albany took an absence from the Diocese of Albany. In a suit filed August 14, a plaintiff identified only as P.R alleged Hubbard sexually abused him repeatedly in the mid-1990s, when P.R. was 16.

Hubbard "used his position as a priest to groom and to sexually abuse" the then-teen between 1994 and 1998, according to WNYT.

The lawsuit was filed the first day New York's Child Victims Act (CVA) went into effect. The statute, which will remain in effect for one year, removes the statute of limitations on filing a lawsuit alleging child sex-abuse. It's already been used to sue the Governing Body of the Jehovah's Witnesses for covering up abuse, and legal experts expect more religious institutions and community organizations to face similar suits.

Hubbard, who notified current bishop Edward Scharfenberger of his decision to take a leave of absence, maintains his innocence.

"With full and complete confidence, I can say this allegation is false. retired in my life," he said in a statement. "I have been a priest for 55 years. My ministry is my life. But stepping aside temporarily now is the right thing to do."

He added that Catholics—and the larger community—"must be assured that our church leaders, active or retired, and indeed all clergy are living in accord with the highest standards that our sacred ministry requires."

It's not the first time Hubbard has been accused of sexual misconduct: In the early 2000s, a California man alleged his brother had a sexual relationship with Hubbard before his brother's death by suicide in 1978, at age 25. Another man claimed Hubbard had solicited sex from him when he was a teenage sex worker in Albany in the 1970s.

Clergy abuse survivor to coordinate Minnesota archdiocese’s outreach

ST. PAUL (MN)
Catholic News Service

August 21, 2019

By Joe Ruff

Paula Kaempffer, a survivor of clergy sexual abuse she suffered as an adult working in the Church, knows firsthand about the kind of healing that can take place.

And as the new outreach coordinator for restorative justice and abuse prevention for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, she said healing “takes a lot of personal work” and “a lot of inner strength to recapture the power that has been taken away from you.”

She said she is grateful that she has done that work and “come out on the other side.”

Now she intends to help other victims/survivors and others across the archdiocese seek ways to move from anger and other difficult emotions into healing.

“I think most parishes have not had an opportunity to talk about this issue,” she said.

Kaempffer’s office also is offering a listening ear and resources to help people who might face a variety of challenges, including the emotions of a property crime or homicide, said Janell Rasmussen, deputy director of Ministerial Standards and Safe Environment, the archdiocesan office that oversees its child protection efforts.

“Her outreach will be much broader than sexual abuse,” Rasmussen said.

Kaempffer said her faith was an integral part of her own healing.

Ruling cements Pell’s profile as the Dreyfus or Hiss of the Catholic abuse crisis

ROME (ITALY)
Crux

August 21, 2019

By John Allen

Although Australian Cardinal George Pell’s appeal of a conviction on child sexual abuse charges was rejected Wednesday, that ruling may not be the end of the legal road. As of this writing, Pell’s attorneys were still weighing whether to file a final appeal to Australia’s High Court.

Those attorneys told reporters that Pell continues to maintain his innocence, as he has since the charges first became public in June 2017.

Though Pell’s judicial odyssey may not be over, Wednesday’s ruling likely does represent the final word on another aspect of the case: George Pell is now officially the Alfred Dreyfus of the Catholic abuse crisis, meaning that opinions about his guilt or innocence are at least as much a reflection of one’s ideological convictions as about the actual evidence in the case.

Dreyfus, of course, was the French artillery officer of Jewish descent charged with treason in 1894 for allegedly passing military secrets to the Germans, spending five years on Devil’s Island. Dreyfus was eventually acquitted and reinstated to his army position, but for more than a decade, opinions about his guilt or innocence functioned as a bellwether for broader political and cultural tensions, pitting Catholic and traditionalist “anti-Dreyfusards” against pro-Republican and anti-clerical liberals.

One could, by the way, just as easily compare Pell to Alger Hiss, the urbane American diplomat accused in 1948 of being a Soviet spy. Like Pell, Hiss was tried twice, with the first ending in a hung jury and the second resulting in a conviction. In that case, too, opinions for a long time were far more about the clash between hawks and doves during the Cold War than the facts.

Similarly, opinions about Pell today often reveal far more about the prejudices of the observer than about the actual reality of what happened.

Lawsuit accusing Bransfield of sexual misconduct settled

MORGANTOWN (WV)
Dominion Post

August 20, 2019

By David Beard

A lawsuit brought by a former seminarian who alleged that former Bishop Michael Bransfield sexually assaulted him and that Bransfield regularly drank himself drunk before engaging in “grossly inappropriate” sexual behavior with other young seminarians has been settled.

The settlement came abruptly, though the reasons haven’t been revealed.

The civil suit was filed in Ohio County Circuit Court in May. The accuser, who goes by the initials J.E., now lives in Pocahontas County, but during the period covered in the suit lived in St. Clairsville, Ohio, and attended the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Wheeling.

Along with Bransfield, the defendants were the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston and 20 “John Does.” Ten of the John Does are employees or agents of the USCCB and 10 are employees or agents of the diocese.

Diocese spokesman Tim Bishop said in an email exchange, “The Diocese can confirm that the case has been dismissed. The case was settled by agreement of the parties. At the request of the plaintiff, the terms of the settlement are confidential. The Diocese will have no further comment regarding the case.”

J.E. was represented by Warner Law Offices of Charleston. The Dominion Post left phone messages and emails over the course of several days seeking information and comment, but neither of his attorneys responded.

J.E. alleged that Bransfield was a binge drinker, consuming nightly a half or full bottle of Cointreau, an orange liqueur. He would “drink until he was intoxicated, at which point he would engage in grossly inappropriate behavior, including … making sexually suggestive gestures, hugging, kissing, inappropriately touching and fondling seminarians.”

North Dakota Priest Under Investigation for Abuse, SNAP Urges Outreach by Church Officials

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

August 20, 2019

A Catholic priest may face criminal child sex abuse charges in North Dakota. We call on church officials to use all their resources to encourage anyone with knowledge about these allegations to call law enforcement immediately.

In early April, the Diocese of Fargo disclosed that police were investigating Fr. Wenceslaus Katanga on allegations of child abuse. Just today the Cass County Attorney’s Office announced there are “no corroborating witnesses or physical evidence to support” the accusations in their county.

However, during the probe more allegations against the priest surfaced in another county, and there is a chance charges can be filed by prosecutors in McHenry County.

We believe it is crucial that serious accusations like this be thoroughly examined by law enforcement professionals. If church officials want what is best for children in their diocese, they should want this a complete investigation too. We call on Bishop John Folda of the Diocese of Fargo to use church bulletins, parish websites and pulpit announcements to reach out to anyone who may have information about these allegations. He should urge current and former churchgoers and staff with pertinent knowledge to immediately call police or prosecutors.

Advocacy group calling for more details from Salina Diocese in priest sex abuse cases

MANHATTAN (KS)
KSNW TV

August 20, 2019

An advocacy group is calling on the Salina Catholic Diocese to be more transparent in allegations of priest sexual abuse.

Standing in front of a Manhattan church where two accused priests once served, David Clohessy and Larry Davis are demanding action.

“We want to bring the people that are suffering, an avenue for peace and justice,” said Davis.

Davis and Clohessy are members of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, Clohessy serving as the Missouri Director. They said they chose the Seven Dolors parish in Manhattan, because two of the priests that served at this parish, were listed as priests with substantiated allegations of abuse against minors.

The Salina Diocese released a list of 14 names of priests in March of 2019 along with the parishes they served in and the estimated time of abuse. Among the names, Father William Merchant, who died in 1975, and Father John Moeder, who died in 2012. Both served at Seven Dolors, although the Diocese does not list when they served there, or where the men were serving when the alleged abuse happened. That’s one of the things that both Davis and Clohessy are asking to be released.

“The Bishop didn’t disclose their whereabouts, didn’t share their photographs and didn’t go into the full details of their work history, we think that’s the absolute bare minimum he should do to both protect kids and heal victims and help the church turn a page,” said Clohessy.

Seminarian demands Bishop Richard Malone be kicked out of Catholic Church

BUFFALO (NY)
WGRZ TV

August 20, 2019

By Steve Brown

A seminarian is calling for Buffalo Bishop Richard Malone to be excommunicated. Matthew Bojanowski, 38, demanded on Tuesday for Malone not to resign, but to be kicked out of the Catholic Church.

Excommunication is a rare and severe punishment in the Catholic Church, it essentially is banishment from the Catholic faith.

Bojanowski was studying for the priesthood, but he announced on Tuesday he was withdrawing. He says leadership in the diocese has failed and pinned that on Malone.

"I am calling on the faithful parishioners of Buffalo to understand that the Diocese of Buffalo suppresses the truth in relation to sexual abuse," Bojanowski said. "There is not transparency in the Buffalo Diocese and there is not justice for the victims of abuse whether the victims are children or adults." agreed to let WGRZ speak with Steve Halter, the director of the office of professional responsibility. He told us that he was able to speak with Bojanowski in March and August of 2019.

"The information I have to date is Mr. Bojanowski has not provided any specifics concerning that violation of the seal of confession," said Halter. "I need to sit down with him (Bojanowski) one more time at least.

$5M bond for priest indicted on 9 counts of rape

CINCINNATI (OH)
FOX19 NOW

August 21, 2019

By Jennifer Edwards Baker

Bond was set at $5 million Wednesday for a priest charged with raping an alter boy 30 years ago.

The Rev. Geoff Drew, who was arrested Monday, pleaded not guilty to nine counts of rape during a brief bond hearing before Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Leslie Ghiz.

If convicted, he faces life in prison.

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters announced earlier this week Drew raped an alter boy while serving as music minister at St. Jude School in Green Township between 1988 and 1991.

Drew was not a priest at the time, Deters said.

The victim, who is now 41, told authorities the abuse occurred in Drew’s school office after school hours for about two years when he was 10 and 11.

Deters described the victim’s grand jury testimony as compelling, convincing and emotional.

The Archdiocese of Cincinnati has said they fully cooperated with the investigation. They released a sequence of events related to Drew.

The priest was put on administrative leave last month.

Archbishop Dennis Schnurr wrote in a letter to the priest’s current parish, St. Ignatius Loyota, that Drew was put on leave “due to behavior that violated our Decree on Child Protection.”

PREVIOUS l Cincinnati-area parishioners question archbishop over removal of priest l Hamilton Co. priest on administrative leave following allegations of misconduct

According to the archdiocese, Drew’s alleged behavior involved pattern of things such as uninvited bear hugs, shoulder massages, patting of the leg above the knee, and inappropriate sexual comments about one’s body or appearance, directed at teenage boys.

In addition, there was a report of Drew texting some of the boys “teasing them about their girlfriends.”

Drew has worked at several parishes and Catholic schools since 1984.

He was ordained a priest in May 2004.

After Drew was placed on leave, church officials have said he previously had been accused of inappropriate behavior involving kids in 2013 and 2015 at St. Maximilian of Kolbe parish in Liberty Township.

The Pell verdict: Various shades of justice

KANSAS CITY (MO)
National Catholic Reporter

August 21, 2019

By Michael Sean Winters

A three-judge panel in Australia has upheld the guilty verdict against Cardinal George Pell. On two of the claims put forward by Pell for overturning the verdict, the three judges were unanimous. On the third claim — the key issue of reasonable doubt — they divided two to one. Pell is already serving a six-year sentence for abusing a minor.

In announcing their decision, the justices emphasized that they found Pell's accuser credible. In the Anglo-Saxon legal system, great deference is given to a jury's assessment of credibility. An appeals court may overturn a lower court decision based on an issue of law, but rarely would they overturn a conviction based on a jury's assessment of credibility. But, the judges went further, positively stating that they agreed with the jury in finding the accuser credible. They also slammed Pell's attorneys who wanted to present an animation of the scene that the judges labeled "tendentious in the extreme."

The other fact that was obvious in the judges' statements was that these cases of sexual abuse rarely have a corroborating witness. That is not how sex abuse works: The perpetrator always tries to conceal the crime. The jury is almost always faced with a "he said/he said" situation. Rarely is there a blue dress offering forensic evidence.

Those of us who were never great fans of Pell can take no delight in this decision: The tragedy of abuse is cancerous, and it affects not only the victim, not only other priests who do not abuse children, not only the entire Body of Christ, but it seems obvious to me that the perpetrator is always himself a sad and sick person, to be pitied as much as punished.

This case, like that of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, has left Pell's friends reeling. Many of them could not bring themselves to believe what 12 jurors found credible. Perhaps they never will.

Illinois attorney general and Cardinal Cupich have private meeting; discuss clergy sex abuse investigation

CHICAGO (IL)
WLS TV

August 20, 2019

By Chuck Goudie, Christine Tressel and Ross Weidner

Amid a protracted state investigation of child sex abuse by Roman Catholic clergy, Illinois' top law enforcement official has met with Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich, the ABC7 I-Team has learned.

The one-hour, one-on-one discussion took place at Attorney General Kwame Raoul's office in the State of Illinois Thompson Center about two weeks ago. The Archdiocese of Chicago and Illinois' five other Roman Catholic dioceses have been subjects of an ongoing investigation by the state attorney general's office for the past year.

In an exclusive interview with the I-Team on Wednesday, Attorney General Raoul said it was important for him to personally meet with the leader of the Catholic Church here-even as his staff investigators have been carrying the caseload in the rest of Illinois. Raoul told the I-Team that both his discussion with the cardinal and the state investigation are aimed at "making sure that there's reconciliation for survivors and make sure abuse doesn't happen anymore."

A spokesperson for Cardinal Cupich and the Archdiocese of Chicago confirms the meeting and says that it was requested by Cardinal Cupich. We are awaiting a full statement from the Church.

The state investigation began under former attorney general Lisa Madigan. Shortly before leaving office last December, Madigan announced that the investigation found child sex accusations against at least 500 priests and clergymen in Illinois had never been made public. Madigan had opened a case here after a Pennsylvania grand jury investigation discovered more than 300 "predator priests" in a "systematic cover-up."

When Raoul was sworn in last January and assumed the clergy sex abuse investigation, he said that it might be necessary to issue subpoenas to Catholic Church leaders in Chicago, Joliet, Rockford, Peoria, Springfield and Belleville if there wasn't sufficient voluntary cooperation. On Tuesday the attorney general said that no subpoenas have been necessary-although information "hasn't all come at the same speed. It's taking prodding at some point and asking more questions."

Pope Refuses to Condemn Pedophile Cardinal Pell, Even After Losing Sex-Abuse Appeal

ROME (ITALY)
Daily Beast

August 21, 2019

By Barbie Latza Nadeau

On Monday, the shutters of Australian Cardinal George Pell’s lavish apartment in the shadow of St. Peter’s Basilica were open and cleaners could be seen dusting the window sills. Pell had clearly hoped that he would be free to return to this upper-floor flat and to the life he once enjoyed. But on Wednesday, three Melbourne judges decided that Pell will be staying in an Australian jail after being convicted of child sexual abuse.

“By a majority of two to one, the court of appeal has dismissed Cardinal Pell’s appeal against his conviction,” Chief Justice Anne Ferguson announced.

Pell was said to have been sitting with his head bowed as the decision was announced, while cheers from outside the building could be heard as Ferguson explained the decision.

Ferguson dismissed an argument made by Pell’s defense that there was room for reasonable doubt by the jury.

“It is not enough that the jury might have had a doubt, but they must have had a doubt,” she said. “This was a compelling witness, clearly not a liar, not a fantasist and was a witness of truth.”

Last February, Pell, 78, was convicted on charges he sexually abused two choir boys in a Melbourne cathedral in the late 1990s. He was sentenced to six years in Melbourne Assessment Prison last February, and has spent the last 175 days in solitary confinement.

Prior to his sentencing, his lawyer, Robert Richter, who has since been dismissed, pleaded for a lenient sentence, calling Pell’s abuses, a “plain vanilla sexual penetration case where the child is not actively participating.” That clearly did not help his client, who denied he had committed the act.

The Vatican did not oppose Pell’s efforts to reverse the verdict.

The day before the verdict, a Vatican spokesperson pointed The Daily Beast back to its original statement on the matter. “Cardinal Pell has reiterated his innocence and has the right to defend himself to the last degree,” it said in a statement. “Waiting for final judgment, we join the Australian bishops in praying for all the victims of abuse.”

Now that Pell’s appeal has been denied, Pope Francis is in a tight corner. Vatican policy has for years centered on placing blame for the sex-abuse scandal on local dioceses and on the bishops in charge of perverted priests. But in the case of Cardinal Pell, the highest-ranking church official to be convicted, only the pope can decide what to do now. Will he defrock the cardinal who was once in his inner circle? Will he finally take him off the Vatican website, where he is still listed as head of the Holy See Secretariat for the Economy?

Apparently not. The day of the ruling, the Vatican doubled down on its support of Pell’s innocence. “While reiterating its respect for the Australian judicial system, as stated on 26 February after the first instance verdict was announced, the Holy See acknowledges the court’s decision to dismiss Cardinal Pell’s appeal,” the Vatican said in a carefully worded statement. “As the proceedings continue to develop, the Holy See recalls that the Cardinal has always maintained his innocence throughout the judicial process and that it is his right to appeal to the High Court.”

August 20, 2019

Cardinal George Pell Loses Appeal of Sexual-Abuse Conviction

MELBOURNE (AUSTRALIA)
Wall Street Journal

August 20, 2019

By Robb M. Stewart

Australian judges rule 2-1 to uphold conviction for assaulting two young choir boys

Cardinal George Pell, the most senior Catholic cleric ever to be jailed for child sexual abuse, has lost his appeal of his conviction.

A panel of Australian judges ruled 2-1 on Wednesday to uphold the cardinal’s conviction for assaulting two young choir boys inside the cathedral that was the center of his diocese in the late 1990s.

Three judges in the Supreme Court of Victoria, the southeastern state where the 78-year-old cleric first served as a priest and later was archbishop of Melbourne, had been deliberating for months and held an appeal hearing in June.

Cardinal Pell is widely expected to challenge the decision in the country’s top court, the High Court of Australia.

In December, a jury convicted Cardinal Pell on five counts of sexually abusing two choir boys inside a sacristy at a Melbourne cathedral in late 1996 and one of the boys in a cathedral corridor in early 1997, not long after he became archbishop of Melbourne. The former Vatican finance chief was sentenced to six years in prison earlier this year.

The main argument of the cardinal’s appeal was that the guilty verdicts were unreasonable based on the evidence. The cardinal’s lawyers also argued that mistakes were made that prevented him from getting a fair trial. The prosecution countered that the cardinal’s accuser was a compelling and believable witness, who gave testimony a jury could accept.

Cardinal George Pell’s Sexual Abuse Conviction Is Upheld

MELBOURNE (AUSTRALIA)
The New York Times

August 20, 2019

By Livia Albeck-Ripka

An Australian court on Wednesday upheld the sexual abuse conviction of Cardinal George Pell, the highest-ranking Roman Catholic leader ever found guilty in a criminal court in the church’s child sex abuse crisis.

The cardinal, 78, who was once an adviser to Pope Francis, had been sentenced to six years in prison in March.

“He will continue to serve his sentence,” said Chief Justice Anne Ferguson of the Supreme Court of the state of Victoria in Melbourne, who presided over the appeals case with two other top judges.

Cardinal Pell was found guilty in December of molesting two 13-year-old choirboys after a Sunday Mass in 1996 at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne, and groping one of them again months later. A gag order meant the verdict was not unsealed until February, after a second trial involving Cardinal Pell was canceled.

Cardinal George Pell loses appeal and likely to be stripped of Order of Australia

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Guardian

August 20, 2019

By Michael McGowan

Archbishop Mark Coleridge, the president of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, has released a statement on the appeal.

He says the conference believes “all Australians must be equal under the law and accept today’s judgement accordingly”.

“The bishops realise that this has been and remains a most difficult time for survivors of child sexual abuse and those who support them,” Coleridge said in the statement.

“We acknowledge the pain that those abused by clergy have experienced through the long process of the trials and appeal of Cardinal Pell. We also acknowledge that this judgement will be distressing to many people.

“We remain committed to doing everything we can to bring healing to those who have suffered greatly and to ensuring that Catholic settings are the safest possible places for all people, but especially for children and vulnerable adults."

Cardinal George Pell Loses Appeal, Will Continue to Serve Sentence

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

August 20, 2019

Six months ago, one of the world’s most senior Catholic officials was sentenced to six years in prison for sexually abusing children. Today, that cleric has had his appeal denied.

We are grateful for this news and hope it brings comfort to survivors of clergy abuse throughout Australia. Denying the appeal mounted by Cardinal George Pell helps send the message that no matter how powerful a person is, they are still subject to the rule of law. It is extremely rare for any church official to see time behind bars and given the crimes he has been convicted of committing, a prison sentence is clearly deserved.

The sentence imposed on Cardinal Pell – a mere six years in prison – was already light, so we are glad that the sentence was not reduced further on appeal. We are grateful to the police and prosecutors in Australia who have been involved with this case since the beginning and hope that today’s news will encourage others who may have experienced abuse at the hands of Cardinal Pell – or any priest, nun, deacon or other church official – to come forward, find help and start healing.

We also call upon all priests, nuns, prelates and other lay people in the church that have witnessed Cardinal Pell’s behavior over his career to follow Pope Francis’ new motu proprio and report any suspicions about abuse they have. And while the Pope’s law only requires internal reporting, we hope that those with information will report to law enforcement as well. Pope Francis’ new law protects whistle-blowers from punishment or retribution, so we hope that whistleblowers will come forward. Where Catholic leaders once sought to cover up abuse in a dangerously misguided attempt to protect the Church, the pope himself has now demanded the opposite.

Victims to leafet at Lawrence church

LAWRENCE (KS)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

August 20, 2019

They ‘out’ 2 new priests accused of abuse
The clerics are not on the archdiocesan list
But other church officials say their accusers are "credible"
So group launches eastern Kansas ‘outreach drive’ to find more victims

WHAT
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will
--ask the KS archdiocese why these two clerics are not on its list,
--reveal the names of two publicly accused priests who are/were in Lawence but have received virtually no attention here, and
--beg those with information or suspicions about abuse to contact the Kansas Bureau of Investigation
They will also hand out fliers door-to-door near churches listing several other accused priests who work/live or worked/lived in Lawrence.
WHEN
Tuesday, August 20 at 10:45 a.m.
WHERE
Outside St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, 1234 Kentucky St. (corner of E. 13th) in Lawrence (785 843 0109), where a priest accused of exploiting a vulnerable adult worked

FORMER BISHOP OF BUFFALO AND NASHVILLE ACCUSED OF COVERING UP ABUSE IN NEW YORK LAWSUIT

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

August 20, 2019

A former bishop from Nashville and Buffalo has been accused of actively covering up abuse by more than twenty plaintiffs who just filed a lawsuit in New York. We hope that this lawsuit will encourage others who may have seen, suspected, or suffered abuse to come forward to authorities and make a report.

The lawsuit, centered on Bishop Edward Kmiec’s time as Bishop of Buffalo from 2004 until his retirement in 2012, alleges that the bishop actively engaged in a “conspiracy of ‘harassing, threatening, extorting, and misleading victims of sexual abuse committed by priests’ and of ‘misleading priests’ victims and the media to prevent reporting or disclosure of sexual misconduct.’” Given what seems to be an ongoing culture of abuse and cover-up in Buffalo, we are not shocked by the allegations in this lawsuit. We hope that parishioners and the public – in both Buffalo and Nashville – will demand answers from their current church officials considering these new allegations.

NY Catholic sex abuse lawsuit: former Nashville bishop part of 'racketeering enterprise'

NASHVILLE (TN)
The Tennessean

August 20, 2019

By Anita Wadhwani

Former Nashville Catholic Bishop Edward Kmiec has been named in a sweeping lawsuit filed in New York by 22 plaintiffs alleging the Diocese of Buffalo systematically covered up sexual abuse of minors by pedophile priests.

Kmiec served as Bishop of the New York diocese between 2004 and 2012. He served as Bishop of the Diocese of Nashville between 1992 and 2004. He is now retired.

Kmiec is one of dozens of Catholic leaders and institutions named in a lawsuit filed last week in state court in Tonawanda, New York.

The lawsuit was filed under anti-racketeering laws — also known as RICO statutes — alleging a conspiracy of "harassing, threatening, extorting, and misleading victims of sexual abuse committed by priests” and of “misleading priests’ victims and the media to prevent reporting or disclosure of sexual misconduct."

Kmiec is singled out for his role in transferring more than $90 million in assets to protect church holdings from victim claims, according to the lawsuit.

A spokeswoman for the Diocese of Buffalo did not respond to request for comment from Kmiec and the Diocese.

The plaintiffs filed anonymously. The lawsuit came on the first day of a one-time year-long window under New York state law to file civil suits alleging sexual abuse beyond the statute of limitations.

Survivors Sue Child Sex Abusers in Droves Under New NY Law

WASHINGTON (DC)
Ms. Magazine

August 20, 2019

By Carrie N. Baker

For years, child survivors of sexual abuse have been blocked from suing their perpetrators for damages by laws requiring these lawsuits be filed within a short period of time. In New York, survivors had to file by their 21st birthdays.

But in January—after years of fierce opposition from the Catholic Church, insurance companies and the former Republican-led state Senate—the New York State Assembly passed the Child Victims Act, extending the time survivors have to file civil suits against perpetrators until they turn 55 years old. The law opens up a one-year “lookback window,” allowing survivors to file civil actions against perpetrators no matter how long ago the abuse occurred.

Temper shock over sex abuse claims with skepticism

NEW YORK (NY)
Staten Island Advance

August 20, 2019

By Daniel Leddy

New York’s Child Victims Act is well-intended. The sexual abuse of a child is an act of such depravity that it can inflict catastrophic, lifelong damage on an especially vulnerable class of victims. So it’s certainly reasonable that those who commit such atrocities be subject to criminal prosecution and answerable in civil proceedings for compensatory damages.

But – and it’s a huge but – precisely because the sexual abuse of a child is such a heinous act, and an allegation of its commission so damaging to the reputations of those accused, fundamental fairness requires that they be accorded a reasonable opportunity to defend themselves. And therein lies the problem with the Child Victims Act. For far from protecting the due process rights of defendants, the legislation’s dramatically lengthened statute of limitations significantly undermines them.

Its most problematic provision is the creation of a one-year window, which opened last Wednesday, during which any previously time-barred cause of action for child sex abuse can be asserted regardless of how long ago it’s alleged to have occurred. This invites not only questionable claims but cleverly contrived ones, particularly where the individuals cited as abusers are either dead or so incapacitated that they cannot interpose a defense. This, in turn, is extremely prejudicial to the institutions for which they worked or were otherwise affiliated, the real targets of suits under the Child Victims Act. Since these entities are rendered similarly defenseless, the statute effectively gives plaintiffs and their attorneys a license to plunder their treasuries.

Cakewalk to victory

Contrary to a common misconception, a plaintiff need not produce corroborating evidence of claimed abuse. Rather, he can prevail on his word alone, a highly likely outcome in the absence of anyone to challenge the plaintiff’s testimony. It’s this precise cakewalk to victory that has so many lawyers aggressively soliciting cases under the statute.

Activists urge Kansas archbishop to broaden reporting of clergy abuse

TOPEKA (KS)
Capital Journal

August 20, 2019

David Clohessy and Larry Davis stood on a busy Topeka street corner Tuesday for a moment of silence on behalf of people who committed suicide after abused by priests.

“A lot of people who endure this horror don’t survive and end up taking their own lives dealing with the pain,” said Clohessy, representing the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, also known as SNAP.

Both men had plenty to say, however, across the street from Topeka’s Mater Dei Catholic Church about their belief Archbishop Joseph Naumann, of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, hadn’t been proactive enough in reaching out to victims nor in identifying alleged perpetrators involved with Catholic churches.

Evidence of a shortcoming, Davis said, was that the Kansas Bureau of Investigation launched an inquiry of claims of misconduct in four Catholic dioceses in Kansas.

“Because of the lack of proactive behavior on the part of Archbishop Naumann, for the lack of the archdiocese being totally open and truthful, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation is now investigating,” said Davis, of Olathe.

In January, Naumann released a list of 22 clerics against whom substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor. The list reflected acts occurring from the 1940s to 1990s. Of the 22, served as priests of the Kansas City archdiocese. When the list was published, 11 were deceased and seven others had been withdrawn from clerical duties.

“I thank all victims who have courageously come forward with allegations in order to prevent someone else from being victimized, as well as to assist with the progress of their own healing process,” Naumann said.

The KBI’s inquiry of abuse began in February. In July, the attorney general’s office reported the FBI had opened 74 investigations in 33 counties.

Lawsuit accuses two priests of sexual abuse

PITTSBURGH (PA)
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

August 20, 2019

By Peter Smith

A Pittsburgh man is suing the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh and Holy Family Institute, alleging he was subjected to the “torture” of sexual abuse by two priests when he was a boy living at the Emsworth children’s home in the 1970s.

The lawsuit was filed Aug. 16 in Allegheny County and accuses two priests of sexually molesting him on multiple times.

The lawsuit identifies the alleged perpetrators as the Rev. Larry Smith and a “Father Gerdes.”

Father Smith is a retired diocesan priest. A diocesan statement said as of Tuesday morning, it had not been served with the lawsuit, but it said Father Smith would not engage in public ministry until the diocese could learn more about the allegation. Father Smith “categorically denies the allegation,” the diocese said.

The lawsuit doesn’t give a first name for Father Gerdes but claims he belonged to a religious order, the Spiritans (of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit). However, the order’s Province of the United States says it never had a priest with that or a similar name.

Melbourne Catholic Archbishop Peter Comensoli would choose jail over breaking confessional seal

AUSTRALIA
ABC Radio Melbourne

August 14, 2019

The Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne has said he would rather go to jail than report admissions of child sexual abuse made in the confessional.

A bill which would make it mandatory for priests to report suspected child abuse to authorities, including abuse revealed in the confessional, was introduced to Victoria's Parliament on Wednesday morning.

The Catholic Church last year formally rejected the notion that clergy should be legally forced to report abuse revealed during confessions.

Interviewed on ABC Radio Melbourne on Wednesday, Archbishop Peter Comensoli said he did not see the principles of mandatory reporting and the seal of confession as being "mutually exclusive".

Cardinal George Pell to find out if child sexual abuse appeal has succeeded

MELBOURNE (AUSTRALIA)
The Guardian

August 19, 2019

By Melissa Davey

Senior Catholic cleric has been in custody in Melbourne since being sentenced in March to six years in prison

On Wednesday the most senior Catholic cleric to be convicted of child sexual abuse, Cardinal George Pell, will find out if his appeal has succeeded and if he will be released from custody.

The 78-year-old has been in Melbourne assessment prison since being sentenced in March to six years in prison for sexually abusing two 13-year-old choirboys in 1996 when he was the archbishop of Melbourne. He was ordered to serve a non-parole period of three years and eight months.

The jurors heard Pell sexually assaulted the two boys after Sunday solemn mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne in the priest’s sacristy. Pell orally raped one of the boys during this incident and indecently assaulted both of them. Pell offended a second time against one of the boys one month later, when he grabbed the boy’s genitals in a church corridor, once more after Sunday solemn mass. He was convicted on four counts of an indecent act with a child under the age of 16 and one count of sexual penetration with a child under the age of 16.

George Pell's rise in the Catholic Church

AUSTRALIA
Australian Associated Press

August 19, 2019

CARDINAL GEORGE PELL'S CAREER

JUNE 8, 1941 - Born in Ballarat, Victoria

DECEMBER 16, 1966 - Ordained a Catholic priest

1971-1972 - Assistant priest Swan Hill parish

1973-1983 - Assistant priest Ballarat East parish

1973 - Shared St Alipius presbytery with Gerald Ridsdale (later revealed as Australia's worst pedophile priest) and Monsignor William McMahon

1973-1984 - Episcopal Vicar for Education in Diocese of Ballarat; founding member of Catholic Education Commission of Victoria

1981-1984 - Principal of Institute of Catholic Education (now merged with Australian Catholic University)

1984 - Administrator of Bungaree parish

Cardinal Pell’s appeal verdict due but may not be final word

MELBOURNE (AUSTRALIA)
Associated Press

August 20, 2019

By Rod McGuirk

The most senior Catholic cleric found guilty of sexually abusing children will learn the outcome of his appeal on Wednesday though the verdict still may not be the final word on his convictions for molesting two choirboys in an Australian cathedral more than two decades ago.

The Victoria state Court of Appeal heard arguments from Cardinal George Pell’s lawyers and prosecutors in June. In recognition of the intense public interest, the court is taking the unusual step of livestreaming its judgment on his appeal.

The 78-year-old former Vatican finance minister would walk free if the three judges acquit him of the five convictions. They also could order a retrial, in which case Pell would be released on bail, or they could reject his appeal.

Florida man accuses Rabbi Joel Kolko of sexual abuse under Child Victims Act

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Post

August 16, 2019

By Reuven Fenton and Susan Edelman

A Florida man who says he was sexually abused decades ago by two Brooklyn rabbis — one of them accused serial molester Rabbi Joel Kolko — has filed suit under New York’s new Child Victims Act.

Alleged victim Baruch Sandhaus claims the rabbis “would inappropriately touch” his private parts on various occasions between 1978 and 1980, when he was a student at Yeshiva Torah Temimah in Midwood, according to papers filed Friday in Brooklyn Supreme Court.

“Kolko and [Rabbi Joel] Falk exploited their positions of power and trust … with easy access to the then [underage] plaintiff in committing heinous acts of sexual abuse,” the lawsuit contends.

Prior to the passage of the act, which went into effect Wednesday, New York’s statute of limitations resulted in the dismissal of a suit Sandhaus filed in 2006.

Sexual abuse lawsuit filings accuse more than clergy, Boy Scouts and doctors

NEW YORK (NY)
Rockland/Westchester Journal News

August 16, 2019

By Frank Esposito

Shorty after midnight Wednesday, lawyers flooded the New York state civil court system with hundreds of new lawsuits accusing a variety of institutions and individuals of an array of sexual abuse incidents dating back decades.

One law firm even live-streamed the filings on Facebook.

By the time courts closed for the day, attorneys had filed 427 sex abuse cases against institutions that many had speculated would be named. Chief among them were several Roman Catholic dioceses, the Boy Scouts of America and Rockefeller University Hospital in New York City.

Filings were drastically down on Thursday with only five cases filed in four counties.

Wednesday was the first day to file suits under the Child Victims Act, which allowed anyone to file a lawsuit against organizations in New York despite the statute of limitations.

One year later, still no laws to address grand jury recommendations to combat clergy sex abuse

WASHINGTON (PA)
Observer-Reporter

August 14, 2019

By Mike Tony

Today marks the opening of a one-year window allowing people to file civil lawsuits that were previously barred by state statute of limitations – in New York.

"Somebody had to know:" PA grand jury report one year later

WASHINGTON (PA)
Observer-Reporter

August 14, 2019

By Barbara Miller

As parishioners exited Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church in Washington last week, the afternoon was warm and blue-sky sunny, much like Aug. 14, 2018, in this area when state Attorney General Josh Shapiro released an 884-page report based on grand jury testimony on a very dark topic: decades’ worth of sexual abuse by priests.

Review Details Sex Abuse Claims Against Boys and Girls Clubs

UNITED STATES
NBC Washington

August 15, 2019

Boys & Girls Clubs of America has a congressional charter to work with at-risk youth in communities across the country

At least 250 people have said they were sexually abused as children by employees, volunteers and others at Boys and Girls Clubs of America affiliates, according to an investigation by Hearst Connecticut Media.

The review of criminal convictions and civil lawsuits dating to the 1970s turned up 95 abuse cases in 30 states involving people associated with the nonprofit youth development organization, which serves more than 4.5 million young people a year at its 4,600 local centers. Some of the cases involve more than one accuser.

The cases include allegations that leadership at clubs knew about abuse and did not report it to law enforcement, among other examples of local clubs failing to adhere to national protocols, and that, in some instances, background checks apparently failed to keep adults with violent convictions from working with children.

'How America wanted to change the pope.'

VATICAN CITY
La Croix International

August 13, 2019

by Nicolas Senèze

Chapter 1: The man of scandal This book tells how three popes were informed of sexual abuses committed by an American prelate and how this case sparked an attack against Pope Francis

A dazzling rise

Before going any further, we must first look at the face of the man who caused the scandal: Former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. The accusation filed by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò is based above all on the fact that the former cardinal would have long benefited from the Vatican's indulgence - that is far from false - but also that Pope Francis himself would have covered it up, which is much less certain.

Now 88 years old, McCarrick was one of the leading figures of the American Church. The son of a merchant navy captain who died of tuberculosis when he was 3 years old, this New Yorker completed brilliant studies that led him to the prestigious Fordham University in New York City before he entered the seminary.

George Pell to learn outcome of appeal for child sex abuse conviction

MELBOURNE (AUSTRALIA)
9News.com.au

August 20, 2019

By Benjamin Ansell

Tomorrow, the world's most senior Catholic to be found guilty of historic child sexual abuse, Cardinal George Pell, will find out whether his appeal has been successful.

Pell, 78, has spent the past five months in the Melbourne Assessment Prison after he was sentenced in March to a maximum of six years in prison for sexually abusing two 13-year-old choirboys in 1996.

Pell was found guilty in December of sexually assaulting the boys at St Patrick's Cathedral in the priest's sacristy after Sunday mass.

He was convicted on four counts of an indecent act with a child under the age of 16 and one count of sexual penetration with a child under the age of 16.

Pell's appeal was heard in June before a full bench of the Supreme Court, made up of Chief Justice Anne Ferguson, the President of the Court of Appeal Chris Maxwell, and Justice Mark Weinberg.

Pell's conviction was appealed on three grounds by high-profile barrister Bret Walker SC, with the defence relying most heavily on the argument that the jury was "unreasonable" in reaching its verdict.

Cardinal Pell, the highest Vatican official to face justice over abuse, appeals guilty verdict

SYDNEY (AUSTRALIA)
Washington Post

August 20, 2019

By A. Odysseus Patrick

The most senior priest jailed for child abuse in the 2,000-year history of the Catholic Church will face a 21st century form of justice: a decision on his appeal beamed live over the Internet.

Australian Cardinal George Pell will appear before three judges of the Victorian Supreme Court on Wednesday morning in Australia, and learn if he has been able to overturn a conviction for sexually assaulting two choir boys.

Justices Anne Ferguson, Chris Maxwell and Mark Weinberg could uphold the conviction, order a retrial, or dismiss some or all of the charges and allow the 78 year-old to walk out of the court building in downtown Melbourne a free man.

The global broadcast is ironic given the judge who oversaw Pell’s original trial threatened to charge many of Australia’s top newspaper editors, and some overseas, for flouting a gag order covering Pell’s guilty finding by a jury last December.

The Washington Post was among the media outlets that reported on the verdict. Some of the journalists were cited for contempt of court charges that are still pending. The gag order was dropped two months later.

Huge domestic and global interest then led to the broadcast, live on Australian television, of Pell’s sentencing to six years in jail on March 13, and Wednesday’s planned live stream of the appeal decision. The broadcast will be delayed by 15 seconds to allow the court to censor any interruption or other unexpected event.

Lawyers said it was impossible to predict if the cardinal’s appeal would succeed. In their submissions, Pell’s lawyers argued the original trial was unfair because the cardinal wasn’t able to present evidence they say demonstrated it would have been impractical for him to molest the boys given the amount of time available after conducting mass at Melbourne’s grand Catholic cathedral, St Patrick’s, in December 1996.


Pell, who oversaw the Vatican’s finances before he was charged, was found guilty of sexually assaulting two 13-year-old boys who had snuck into his change room, or sacristy, and drunk sacramental wine.

The conservative prelate’s fate has created a schism among Catholics. Supporters believe Pell, who was convicted on the testimony of a single witness, a victim, is being used to punish an entire church for decades of child abuse around the world.

Detractors say Pell, as Australia’s most senior Catholic, personifies the church’s institutional indifference to the welfare of thousands of boys and girls who were abused in its care.

David Hamer, a professor of evidence law at the University of Sydney, said the case would hinge on the perceived credibility of the alleged victim, whose identity has never been revealed to the public.

Although the three appeal judges didn’t hear from the man in person, they watched a video recording of his allegations against Pell, and the cardinal’s denials in an interview with police detectives.

“So the appeal court, in this sense, can put itself in the position of the jury,” Hamer said in an email. “And appeal courts are more prepared to intervene where cases turn on circumstantial evidence — in this case, the argument that it would have been impossible for Pell to commit the crime.”

Last August the church publicly apologized for the thousands of victims of abuse in Australia and pledged that it would never happen again.

Group accuses Salina diocese of withholding names of priests linked to abuse cases

MANHATTAN (KS)
KWCH TV

August 20, 2019

A group working to raise awareness on the issue of clergy abuse accuses the Catholic Diocese of Salina of holding names of priests linked to cases of abuse.

Tuesday, the Survivors Newtork of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) organized protests across the state, including a small group gathered outside the Seven Dolors Catholic Church in Manhattan.

The group has a message for Bishop Gerald Vincke to come clean. In March, the Catholic Diocese of Salina said an investigation found 14 clergy members with "substantial allegations of abuse by a minor."

Vincke hired outside counsel to conduct that investigation and only released names of the 14 clergy members in the investigation.

Members with SNAP chose to gather at the church in Manhattan because they say two priests on the bishop's list worked there at one point. The group also says it found other priests, "credibly accuses" of abusing minors, and says the bishop's list should include these names.

Tuesday afternoon, the Catholic Diocese of Salina released a statement addressing SNAP's allegations that it omitted names of of priests credibly accused of abuse.

"SNAP alleges the Salina Diocese omitted the following names: diocesan priest Father Donald McCarthy, who died in 2017, and two priests from the Capuchin Province of St. Conrad, based in Denver: Capuchin Father Ronald Gilardi and Father Thaddeus Posey," the Catholic Diocese of Salina says. "The Capuchin Province released a list of substantiated allegations at the same time the Salina Diocese released its list. Both Father Gilardi and Father Posey were mentioned in the Capuchin list when it was released in March."

The Cathlic Diocese of Salina says it's cooperated with any agency involved with investigating abuse claims, including the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.

Full statement from Catholic Diocese of Salina

Today (Tuesday), the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) organized protests across the state of Kansas, including one in Manhattan. A statement dated Aug. 20 on the group’s website claims the Salina Diocese failed to include the names of three priests when the report of substantiated cases of clergy abuse of minors was released by the diocese in March.

SNAP alleges the Salina Diocese omitted the following names: diocesan priest Father Donald McCarthy, who died in 2017, and two priests from the Capuchin Province of St. Conrad, based in Denver: Capuchin Father Ronald Gilardi and Father Thaddeus Posey.

The Capuchin Province released a list of substantiated allegations at the same time the Salina Diocese released its list. Both Father Gilardi and Father Posey were mentioned in the Capuchin list when it was released in March.

The ‘Jeffrey Epsteins’ Who Wear Crosses and Clerical Collars

Full Heart, Empty Arms blog

August 16, 2019

By Ivy Blonwyn

Jeffrey Epstein, with his ever present little pædo smile, was a horrible person but his victims were spared one thing: he didn’t abuse, groom and rape them with a Bible in his hand. He considered it though. James Stewart writes in the New York Times that Epstein was seriously considering becoming a minister to earn trust and maintain secrecy in 2018.

There are many like him. But they don’t merely ‘consider’ it. They actually do it. College, seminary, ordination, a ‘calling’, sermons, funerals, Bible studies, praying at deathbeds. They do it all with their motivation carefully hidden: easy access to obedient, brainwashed, intimidated, shame-filled children.

The problem is that it’s terribly hard to tell which clergymen enter the ministry for all the right reasons and which ones have these horrifying ulterior motives. If adults can’t tell, imagine how hard it is for their targeted victims: trusting children. Children who might have an instinctive distrust of certain members of the ministry, but are shamed into submission and obedience.

Although Jeffrey Epstein has allegedly gone to his Eternal judgement for the horrible things he did in life, what about all the ‘Jeffrey Epsteins’ still running around free, leveraging their clerical collar to dominate, their Bible to groom and the privacy of Sunday school classrooms to carry out horrific acts of sexual abuse on children? Who are they? Where are they?

Beyond the physical, sexual and psychological wounds they inflict, they are alienating their victims from God because all the accoutrements of religion bring horrific memories flooding back. What about that? No cash settlement can comfort your soul.

Cardinal Pell’s Groundbreaking Record on Dealing With Clergy Sexual Abuse

DENVER (CO)
National Catholic Register

August 20, 2019

By Father Raymond J. de Souza

In the discussion of clerical sexual abuse, Cardinal George Pell now occupies a unique place. He is in fact the highest-ranking Catholic official ever to be criminally charged with the sexual abuse of minors. Other cardinals have had allegations confirmed against them in Church processes — Theodore McCarrick of Washington, Hans Hermann Groër of Vienna — but faced neither criminal charges nor subsequent conviction to date.

The appeals-court verdict, to be delivered Wednesday morning in Melbourne (Tuesday evening in North America), is supremely important, not least for Cardinal Pell’s liberty. But the facts of the case are now widely known, and the appeals-court verdict may not change very many minds. Cardinal Pell, should the conviction be upheld, will remain a man falsely convicted in the considered judgment of many, including this writer.

Should the conviction be overturned, those who have been after Cardinal Pell — including the Melbourne police, who confessed to want to “get Pell” long before there were any allegations against him — will remain convinced that he is guilty of horrible crimes. They were convinced of that before there was any evidence and will remain convinced even if the appellate court rules that that evidence is false.

But before that story dominates the days and weeks ahead, it is important to remember that Cardinal Pell was a key figure in the Church’s sex-abuse scandals long before the current charges were made in 2017. He was, in fact, widely considered to be a pioneering reformer. The travails of the past two years have obscured that.

In two major respects, the Church universal is catching up to where Cardinal Pell was decades ago.

George Pell was named an auxiliary bishop of Melbourne in 1987 and elevated to archbishop in August 1996. Seventy-five days later he established the “Melbourne Response” for victims of alleged sexual abuse.

The Melbourne Response invited victims to come forward, established an independent body to investigate claims and provided apologies, counseling and compensation — at the time, up to $50,000 in Australian currency. (It was later increased to $75,000, and then to $150,000, after Cardinal Pell had left Melbourne.)

A reader puzzles over criticism of the Pope/hierarchy

Patheos blog

August 16, 2019

By Mark Shea

They write:
I want to start by saying the I appreciate your writings, especially on poverty. I was coming to the conclusion that American churches alignment with Ayn Randian economics was related to “faith alone”/antinomian theology, which claims that the Christian life ought to require no sacrifice, and you expressed these thoughts very well in your books and blogging. Some protestants have also come around to that idea, as articulated in David Platt’s book.

I’m unfamiliar with Platt, but I am struck by how much conservative Catholicism in particular (in the US) has taken on the flavor, culture, and sometimes the theology of Evangelicalism. The false political soteriology that opposition to abortion (and voting Republican) taketh away the sins of the world is, in particular, everywhere in the culture right now, to the degree that Trump and FOX, far more than the Holy Father and the Magisterium, tend to form the thoughts and minds of conservative Catholics. This deeply troubles me, as you have no doubt noticed. The idea of comparing one’s thinking to the Magisterium and not to Democrats is foreign to many American conservative Catholics now. And the idea of the Catholic both/and (expressed in, among other things, the concept of the Seamless Garment) is regarded with reflexive contempt. Much that I loved and appreciated in coming into the Church, precisely because it was more capacious than American Evangelicalism’s cramped either/or is now dismissed with a sneer. The Rules, rather than the Person, have come to matter most. The Randian habit of subjecting the person to diagrams, property, and things is one manifestation of this. It breaks my heart.

Why childhood victims stay silent about abuse for decades

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

August 20, 2019

By Jay Tokasz

It took Ann Fossler more than 25 years to reveal that she had been repeatedly molested when she was as young as 6 years old.

Fossler said she first confided in a counselor in the 1980s that a Buffalo Diocese Catholic priest who was a close family friend sexually abused her for several years and that she kept it secret because she feared her parents, who adored the priest and were devout Catholics, would be crushed by the revelation.

“Basically, he said, ‘I can listen, but there isn’t anything you can do about any of this because of the statute of limitations,’ ” said Fossler. “So, then, my decision becomes, do I blow up the family by coming out when there isn’t anything I can really do about this anyway?”

Fossler, 68, stayed silent for decades more.

She's making a statement in court now, though, joining more than 100 plaintiffs who have filed or will file lawsuits in Western New York under the Child Victims Act, alleging they were sexually abused as children.

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Some of the abuse alleged dates back as far as 1948.


CHILD VICTIMS ACT
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Child Victims Act filings detail heart-wrenching stories of sexual abuse
The statute of limitations for childhood sex abuse victims to file civil claims going forward changes to age 55, from age 23, under the Child Victims Act. The new law also includes a one-year look-back window that opened Wednesday and allows childhood abuse victims of any age to file claims that previously were time-barred.

Experts said it’s common for childhood victims of sexual abuse not to tell anyone about it for many years. A 2014 study out of Germany found that the average age for disclosing childhood sex abuse was 52. Another study last year showed that it took 24 years, on average, for childhood sex abuse victims to disclose the abuse to anyone.

Marci A. Hamilton, law professor at the University of Pennsylvania and expert on the effects of child sexual abuse, said children don’t understand sex and don’t have a framework of experience to distinguish a truly loving adult from someone who is taking advantage of them.

“These are people who don’t have life experience to help them through situations they just don’t understand and can’t possibly process,” said Hamilton, who founded and runs Child USA, a national think tank and child advocacy organization.

In addition, the trauma of the sex abuse often produces psychological and physical ailments in victims, including post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, thoughts of suicide and alcohol and drug abuse.

Jeffrey Epstein Chose New Mexico for a Reason

NEW YORK (NY)
The New Republic

August 15, 2019

By Matt Farwell

If there’s a secret, New Mexico will try to keep it. The Land of Enchantment has gotten a lot of practice over the years, well before the now-late Jeffrey Epstein purchased the Zorro Ranch south of Santa Fe. The world’s first nuclear weapon, code name “Gadget,” was detonated in New Mexico on July 16, 1945.* Tourists can now visit the Trinity Site on the U.S. Army’s White Sands Missile Range to view the epicenter of a highly secret government conspiracy involving top physicists called the Manhattan Project. Trinity is a 111-mile straight line from Zorro Ranch. Consider what lies within this way: Find a map. Make Epstein’s New Mexico operation the center. Put the Trinity site at the edge of its radius. What else is secret and radioactive and inside that circle? Did New Mexico’s other secrets throw off enough chaff to keep Epstein off the radar?

Last month, I went to New Mexico to see what secrets I could find within the circle. Santa Fe, 23 miles away from Zorro as the crow flies, is the oldest colonial capital city in North America, one with a twisted history. The historic center of this small city in the foothills of the Sangre De Cristo Mountains is the Plaza, an open-air park with a Haagen-Dazs at one corner. This was once a drugstore, Zook’s Pharmacy, that doubled as a base for Russian espionage; in between filling prescriptions and ringing up customers, deep cover Stalinist spies here plotted the death of Leon Trotsky and later coordinated efforts to steal the secrets of the atomic bomb from Los Alamos (distance from Zorro Ranch: 50 miles).

Not Ready To Make Nice

PITTSBURGH (PA)
Pittburgh Current

August 20, 2019

By Sue Kerr

On August 14, 2019 the Grand Jury Report was released. Over 1000 victims at the hands of more than 300 priests across six dioceses.

Forgive, sounds good
Forget, I’m not sure I could
They say time heals everything
But I’m still waiting

I was not personally assaulted by a priest. My friends were. Some did not survive to their adulthood. I was one of the Catholic kids caught up in that mire of sexual violence, patriarchical oppression, and guilt. We were the victims of secondary trauma. We knew something was wrong, but no one listened to us. We heard the rumors and the stories and had our own traumatizing interactions with these predators. But no one listened to us.

I grew up in Holy Spirit Parish in West Mifflin, a parish staffed by known predatory priests from 1984-2006. 22 years is nearly half of my life. To make matters worse, two of these priests are members of my extended family. I’ve been writing about these experiences for years on my blog.

After protest, Buffalo diocese denies allegations of former seminarian

DENVER (CO)
Catholic News Agency

August 20, 2019

Amid a media firestorm and a small protest Sunday, the Diocese of Buffalo disputed allegations made in a letter published by a recently resigned seminarian.

“Earlier today, while many Catholics were attending Sunday Mass, three individuals chose to gather in front of St. Stanislaus Church and Bishop Malone’s residence. These individuals were within their rights, and displayed various poster signs. The Diocese of Buffalo, has responded to these topics previously and it is unfortunate that some have not received or understood the responses,“ the diocese said in an Aug. 18 statement.

The protest staged Sunday, according to local media reports, was attended by three people, one of whom is recently resigned Buffalo seminarian Stephen Parisi, who made headlines last week, when he published a six-page open letter, addressed to Buffalo’s Bishop Richard Malone, calling for the bishop’s resignation and accusing him of multiple offenses, which included allowing a priest to violate the seal of confession without consequence.

Malone was accused Aug. 6 by Marie Bojanowski, the mother of a Buffalo seminarian, of allowing a priest, Rev. Jeffrey Nowak, to remain in ministry despite allegations that he had violated the sacramental seal, groomed and sexually harassed her son, and abused minors.

A letter from seminarian Matthew Bojanowski to Malone, dated Jan. 24, 2019, is posted on the website of Buffalo television station WKBW. The letter details Bojanowski’s allegations of harassment, and indicates that Nowak disclosed that he had been accused of “inappropropriate actions,” with minors.

The Diocese of Buffalo removed the priest from ministry Aug. 7, and denied reports that Malone had covered up allegations of misconduct against the priest.

The diocese emphasized its response in its Aug. 18 statement.

“Bishop Malone has never allowed any priest with a credible allegation of abusing a minor to remain in ministry. He has stated it is his responsibility to lead the Diocese of Buffalo and he will continue to do so by continuing to offer opportunities to bring healing to victim-survivors of abuse and renewed trust to the people of the Diocese,” the diocese said.

“There has never been an accusation that Bishop Malone violated the seal of the confessional. Mr. Parisi and others make the outrageous and unsupported claim that Bishop Malone has not honored the seal and ignored a complaint that Fr. Jeffrey Nowak violated the seal of the confessional. Bishop Malone has never ignored this complaint.”

SNAP leader: Catholic churches need better vetting for priests

CINCINNATI (OH)
WPCO TV

August 20, 2019

The Rev. Geoff Drew, suspended last month after allegations of inappropriate behavior, now stands charged with nine counts of rape — all for incidents that allegedly happened before he entered the priesthood. Dan Frondorf, a local leader of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said Drew never should have been able to become a priest — and the Catholic church should develop a better process for keeping predators out of its clergy.

Real-life priest who starred in ‘The Exorcist’ accused of sexually assaulting student in the ’80’s

WASHINGTON (DC)
Raw Story

August 16, 2019

By Tom Boggioni

According to a report at TMZ, a real-life priest who played Father Dyer in the 1973 film “The Exorcist” has been accused in court documents of sexually assaulting a student during the ’80s while teaching at McQuaid Jesuit High in Rochester, New York.

The report states that Father William J. O’Malley is one of multiple alleged assailants listed in a recently filed lawsuit and accuses him of abusing a then-17-year-old student “multiple times” in 1985 and 1986.

According to the lawsuit, those assaults occurred, “in a classroom, in school hallways and also at school-sponsored events.”

Priest won't face child sex abuse charges in Fargo

FARGO (ND)
Bismark Tribune

August 20, 2019

By April Baumgarten

A Catholic priest in south-central North Dakota will not face criminal charges after being accused of sexual misconduct involving a child in Fargo, but the case could go to a prosecutor in McHenry County after an investigation revealed one incident allegedly happened there.

The Cass County Attorney’s Office announced Monday it would not pursue a criminal case against the Rev. Wenceslaus Katanga, who has served as a priest at three North Dakota churches in McIntosh County since 2010. The Fargo Diocese announced in early April that the Fargo Police Department was investigating Katanga concerning “interaction with a youth while ministering at Sts. Anne and Joachim Catholic Church in Fargo.”

Prosecutors will not be able to prove Katanga allegedly had sexual contact with the child twice in Fargo because there are “no corroborating witnesses or physical evidence to support” the accusations, Cass County Assistant State’s Attorney Joshua Traiser said in a letter declining charges.

August 19, 2019

Two More Priests Accused of Sexual Abuse in Pittsburgh

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

August 19, 2019

Two more priests from the Diocese of Pittsburgh have been named in a lawsuit and accused of child sexual abuse.

The complaint alleges that Fr. Joseph Girdis and Fr. Larry Smith both abused the same unnamed plaintiff when he was 12-years-old and living at the Holy Family Institute in Emsworth, PA. Since neither priest was named in last year’s bombshell grand jury report that examined 6 dioceses, including Pittsburgh, we call on Bishop David Zubik and other Pittsburgh church officials to use every means at their disposal to publicize these accusations and urge anyone who may have information related to them to contact law enforcement immediately.

We also hope that this news will encourage others who may have been abused in Pittsburgh to come forward, make a report to police and prosecutors, and find support from family, independent therapists, or support groups like ours.

Long Island Hit With Dozens Of Sexual Abuse Lawsuits Under Child Victims Act

LONG ISLAND (NY)
Long Island Weekly News

August 19, 2019

By Marco Schaden

Since Aug. 14, hundreds of lawsuits have been filed across New York State related to the Child Victims Act, which went into effect that day. The law, signed in February by Governor Andrew Cuomo, gives a one-year grace period, eliminating the statute of limitations for sexual abuse victims. Suits have already been filed against every Catholic diocese in the state, Boy Scouts of America, Rockefeller University, schools, hospitals, nonprofits and other organizations.

In the coming months, more lawsuits are expected to be filed. Other states have passed a similar law, including California, Delaware, Hawaii, Minnesota, Arizona and New Jersey, whose grace period starts in December. California is looking at legislation for a second grace period.

“It just makes this whole thing very real,” Brian Toale said, a member of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) who filed a lawsuit against the Diocese of Rockville Centre and Chaminade High School. “At this point, I really want to get a lot of information and [a lawsuit] is the only way to get it. But to actually have it done—to get a text from my lawyer saying your ‘complaint has been filed’—I don’t think it has really sunk in yet.”

Marsh Law Firm PLLC and Pfau, Cochran, Vertetis, Amala PLLC filed a suit against Rockefeller University on Aug. 14 with 45 plaintiffs. They claim to represent 200 sexual abuse survivors of Dr. Reginald Archibald, a professor and physician employed at the university for approximately 40 years. Several of the plaintiffs that filed suit are from Long Island.

“It’s probably one of, if not the largest, sexual abuse cases in the United States,” said attorney Michael Pfau.

In disturbing allegations anonymously filed, three priests accused of abusing seven-year-old together

BUFFALO (NY)
WIBV TV

August 19, 2019

In a graphic and disturbing case filed under the Child Victims Act, three priests are accused of sexually abusing a seven-year-old at St. Francis High School in the late 1970s.

The anonymous plaintiff says that in 1977, Father James Smyka, Father Aurelian Brzezniak and Father Patrick Mendola sexually abused him in a shower room in front of an audience of between 15 to 20 other priests.

The complaint states that afterward, they would console him while he cried, only to sexually abuse him again at least 15 times in a single night.

The lawsuit states the abuse continued until the boy was eight years old.

Both Mendola and Brzezniak are deceased.

New lawsuit filed against Diocese of Pittsburgh accuses two priests of sex assault

PITTSBURGH (PA)
WPIX TV

August 19, 2019

A new lawsuit accused two priests of sexual assault has been filed against the Diocese of Pittsburgh and the Holy Family Institute in Emsworth.

The lawsuit was filed by a Pittsburgh man who claimed Father Joseph Girdis and Father Larry Smith sexually assaulted him multiple times in the 1970s when he was 12-years-old. The victim was living at the Holy Family Institute at the time of the alleged assault.

Smith retired in 2015 and Girdis died in 2003.

Neither priest was named in the Attorney General's Grand Jury report released last year that exposed hundreds of clergy members accused of sexual assault.

Prosecutor: Rev. Geoffrey Drew indicted on 9 counts of rape

CINCINNATI (OH)
WCPO TV

August 19, 2019

A priest who was placed on leave from St. Ignatius of Loyola last month has been indicted on nine counts of rape, according to the Hamilton County prosecutor.

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters announced the indictment for Rev. Geoffrey D. Drew during a Monday afternoon press conference.

The incidents occurred between 1988 and 1991 when Drew was employed as a music minister at St. Jude School in Green Township, Deters said. He was not a priest at the time; he was ordained in 2004.

A Hamilton County Grand Jury handed down the indictment Monday. If convicted, Drew faces life in prison, Deters said.

A 41-year-old man testified before a grand jury last week after the meetings at St. Ignatius of Loyola were publicized, Deters said. The man said he was 10 and 11 years old and was an altar boy when the incidents occurred, Deters said.

"It was very emotional," Deters said. "It was emotional for him. It was emotional for the grand jury. It was a very emotional piece of testimony. And he deserves a lot of credit for coming forward, as difficult as it is. He could’ve just said, ‘I’m moving on with my life,’ but he wanted to stop this behavior. And he’s going to."

Diocese says more abuse victims have come forward

CASPER (WY)
Northern Wyoming News

August 19, 2019

More people who say they’re victims of sexual abuse at the hands of Wyoming clergymen have come forward since the release in early June of a list of 11 men who the Diocese of Cheyenne deemed had faced substantiated accusations of abuse.

That list identified 30 known and substantiated victims of the 11 men. Twenty-nine victims were juvenile boys and girls, while one was identified by the diocese as a vulnerable adult. It’s unclear how many more victims have come forward since the list was released in the diocese’s newsletter and on its website June 12.

“The Diocese of Cheyenne respects the privacy of all victims and survivors of sexual abuse and therefore does not publish their names,” Patti Loehrer, the diocese’s chancellor, told the Star-Tribune in an emailed response to a list of questions previously sent by the newspaper.

Loehrer said the diocese’s list is a “living document and will be updated on the diocesan website if new allegations are made and substantiated.”

The list has not been updated to include new victims or new clergy since it was published two months ago, suggesting the diocese has not completed any subsequent investigations brought by the new victims who’ve come forward. Loehrer said the diocese “does not publicize if it is conducting an investigation. We publicize the results.”

As part of its process in crafting the list of credibly accused priests, Loehrer wrote, the diocese hired Nussbaum Spier LLC, which has a history of conducting such reviews. The law firm interviewed victims and reviewed files, a process that included considering bishops, 253 priests and 45 deacons.”

Diocese “files were studied, and they reflected the previous reports of allegations,” the chancellor added.

Filings detail clergy, school abuse in Niagara CountyFilings detail clergy, school abuse in Niagara County

NIAGARA FALLS (NY)
Niagara Gazette

August 19, 2019

By Philip Gambini

Lawsuits filed in Niagara County reveal the details of abuse suffered by scores of children over the past several decades.

The filings are among the hundreds of court documents that flooded state courts after the opening of the Child Victims Act “look-back window,” which allows survivors to submit civil lawsuits against their abusers that may have lapsed due to the legal statute of limitations.

The majority of the civil legal complaints accuse clergy or employees of the Diocese of Buffalo of sexual and physical abuse. The diocese has named the majority of the accused as having substantiated claims of sexual abuse lodged against them.

More lawsuits are expected to arrive over the next year.

Paul Barr, a local attorney, was among the first in Niagara County to publicly discuss a personal account of abuse by a member of the clergy. Barr said Freeman, who died in 2010, used his position and stature at Sacred Heart parish in the City of Niagara Falls to take advantage of him as a young man.

According to the lawsuit, Freeman served beer to Barr, who was then a minor, while the two were alone in the parish rectory about 1980. The priest told the intoxicated Barr a false story about a medical condition he had encountered as a chaplain at the nearby airbase.

Freeman could examine Barr, but it required Barr to remove his pants and underwear to do so, the priest said, according to Barr. Freeman then backed Barr onto a couch and forcibly fondled Barr's genitals. When he tried to leave, he found the door dead bolted. Freeman unlocked it and Barr left.

"Barr was scared and confused by Freeman's conduct," the lawsuit said. "He felt conflicted and betrayed because these unspeakable acts were being committed by a figure cloaked with spiritual authority and benevolence: the pastor whom Barr had come to trust and admire, and who had claimed that he was simply acting in Barr's best interest," the lawsuit said.

Barr refused a $45,000 settlement offer from the diocese Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program (IRCP), a fund established by the faith-based organization as a compensation mechanism for survivors, earlier this year.

Fr. Geoff Drew Indicted on 9 Counts of Rape, SNAP Responds

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

August 19, 2019

Less than a month after being placed on leave, a Cincinnati-area priest has been indicted on nine counts of rape. We hope that today’s charges bring comfort to his victim and encourages others who may have seen, suspected, or suffered his abuse to come forward and make a report to police and prosecutors.

Fr. Geoff Drew, the former head of St. Ignatius Loyola Paris, allegedly abused a young boy while he was employed as the Music Minister at St. Jude School in Cincinnati. Our hearts ache for the victim and we hope that he is finding help as he navigates his healing journey.

While we are glad that Fr. Drew has been indicted, we cannot help but worry that there are other survivors who have yet to come forward. However, we know that the Archdiocese of Cincinnati had been warned about Fr. Drew’s inappropriate behavior for at least six years without taking action to keep him away from children, so we are afraid that there are others who are suffering in silence. We call on Archbishop Dennis Schnurr to personally visit every parish where Fr. Drew worked or attended and beg others who have information to come forward to police and prosecutors now.

Priest accused of sex abuse while pastor of Portville’s Sacred Heart

OLEAN (NY)
Times Herald

August 19, 2019

By Danielle Gamble

A lawsuit filed last week brought the number of Cattaraugus County priests accused of sexual abuse to four.

The Rev. Duane G. Fimbel was accused of sexually abusing a child more than 40 years ago while serving as pastor of Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church in Portville by an anonymous plaintiff in a Child Victims Act lawsuit filed Wednesday.

Fimbel, who died in 2011 at age 80, is accused of sexually abusing a then-14-year-old child from 1976 to 1977. Defendants in the case include the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo and the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels, as Sacred Heart merged with St. Mary’s in 2007.

The Rev. Patrick Melfi, pastor of the basilica, said he was not aware of the lawsuit until reached by the Times Herald on Friday.

“We certainly are heartbroken by these stories that are coming out and we continue to pray for the victims, and certainly call for healing in these situations,” Melfi said, directing further comment to the diocese.

Olean Times Herald archives show Fimbel became pastor of Sacred Heart on June 27, 1976. It was announced a year and a half later, Dec. 17, 1977, that Fimbel would be transferred to Frewsburg to become pastor of Our Lady of Victory.

According to his obituary published in The Buffalo News, Fimbel was born in Buffalo and served in 10 locations in the Buffalo area in addition to serving at Sacred Heart.

Fimbel was also a graduate of St. Bonaventure University, according to archived articles.

His case was one of more than 250 suits filed last week in New York state by Jeff Anderson & Associates, a Minnesota-based law firm, under the new “lookback” window established under the Child Victims Act, or CVA. The one-year opening gives sex abuse victims a chance to file formerly expired claims in civil court.

Fimbel was one of 14 priests accused by the firm last week as a sex abuser who had not been previously named by the diocese.

Another former Sacred Heart priest accused of abuse was the Rev. Norbert Orsolits, who kicked off Western New York’s priest sexual abuse scandal in 2018 by admitting to The Buffalo News that he sexually abused “probably dozens” of teenage boys during the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Orsolits became pastor in Portville in 1983 after serving as associate pastor at St. Mary of the Angels Church in Olean. He also taught at Archbishop Walsh High School.

HUNDREDS OF CHILD SEX ABUSE VICTIMS SUE THE CHURCH AS NEW YORK LEGAL WINDOW OPENS

NEW YORK (NY)
Reuters

August 19, 2019

By Matthew Lavietes and Jonathan Allen

Scores of people in New York state who were sexually abused as children sued institutions, including the Roman Catholic Church, on Wednesday, the first day a new law temporarily enabled them to file lawsuits over decades-old crimes.

By the close of business of Wednesday, 427 such lawsuits had been filed in courts across the state, according to a courts system spokesman. The vast majority of them were against the Church and its various dioceses in the state, as claimants accused priests of sexually abusing them as children and Church leaders of covering up the priests' crimes, according to state court records.

The state's landmark Child Victims Act includes a provision that lifts for one year a statute of limitations that had barred older complaints and which critics said was too restrictive. Although the majority of the new lawsuits appeared to be against the Church, other people sued schools, hospitals and individuals, and at least two people sued the Boy Scouts of America.

Previously, most victims of childhood sexual abuse only had until the age of 23 to bring criminal charges or to seek damages in civil lawsuits.

Father hopes for justice as Cardinal Pell waits on appeal verdict

PARIS (FRANCE)
Agence France-Presse

August 19, 2019

The father of one of the victims of jailed Australian Cardinal George Pell said Monday he hoped “justice would prevail” as a court prepared to rule on an appeal against his conviction of child sex abuse crimes.

Pell, the former Vatican number three, is appealing against his conviction on five counts of sexually abusing two 13-year-old choirboys in the 1990s, with a court due to hand down its decision on Wednesday.

The case against the 78-year-old relied solely on the testimony of Pell’s surviving victim, as the other — who never spoke of the abuse — died of a drug overdose in 2014. Neither man can be identified for legal reasons.

Lawyer Lisa Flynn, who represents the dead man’s father, said he was anxious about the judgment, as were victims of child sexual abuse worldwide.

She told AFP they were waiting with “bated breath” ahead of “one of the most significant legal decisions in recent history”.

“He just wants closure so he can try to get on with his life and stop thinking about it every single day,” she said of her client.

“He has expressed that he would like to see justice prevail and George Pell kept behind bars where he cannot prey on more unsuspecting children.”

Pell was convicted in December of sexually abusing the two boys in 1996 and 1997 at St Patrick’s Cathedral shortly after he was appointed Archbishop of Melbourne.

The prosecution called the surviving victim “a witness of truth” and defended the jury verdict as “unimpeachable”.

A three-judge panel deliberating since a two-day appeal hearing in early June can either dismiss the appeal, order a retrial or quash his conviction.

Lawyers for Pell, the most senior Catholic church figure to be convicted of child sex abuse, branded the verdict “a disturbing failure of our jury system”.

They raised 13 objections to his convictions including that it was “physically impossible” for the cleric to have committed the crimes in a crowded cathedral.

If the judges accept these arguments and rule in Pell’s favour, he could walk free immediately.

St. Louis County priest already deemed sexually violent sentenced again

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Associated Press

August 18, 2019

The first U.S. Catholic priest to be labeled sexually violent when he was convicted in Illinois has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for abusing two boys in Missouri in the 1990s.

Fred Lenczycki pleaded guilty in May to two counts of sodomy for abuse that occurred at a St. Louis County parish in Bridgeton. Lenczycki is 75.

Lenczycki was removed from the ministry in 2002, when he was charged with abusing three boys in the 1980s in Illinois. He pleaded guilty in 2004 and was sentenced to five years in prison.

In 2008, he was labeled sexually violent under Illinois' Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act. Church and court files show that Lenczycki has admitted abusing up to 30 boys in Illinois, Missouri and California over 25 years.

Things Were Simpler Then

Vanishing Predators blog

August 19, 2019

By Daniel Carlson

Growing up, I had the immense good fortune to spend a great deal of time at the home of my grandparents. While each of them influenced me in very powerful and positive ways, it was my grandmother who guided me in the world of the Catholic Church. An unwavering example of faith and devotion, it was she who introduced me to that important part of my life.

Through her, I learned the language and rituals of my religion … prayer … regular confessions … the Rosary … Stations of the Cross … Holy Days of Obligation … and, for those who remember the “old” days … no meat on Friday … no such thing as Saturday Mass … and, of course, if receiving Communion on Sunday, nothing to eat after midnight on Saturday.

Today, though, living the Catholic religion requires much more than simple knowledge of historic liturgical rituals and prayers. Instead, a modern working vocabulary for the faithful has been expanded to include terms like … credibly accused … statute of limitations … laicization …and mandatory reporting. And, of course, if you are a parishioner interested in volunteering in any capacity, make sure you have completed your Safe Environment training.

Clearly, things have changed in the Catholic Church, and the tumult continues. In New York State, for example, the newly enacted Child Victims Act extended the statute of limitations for future acts of child sex abuse, while providing a one-year “look back” window during which charges can be brought regardless of when the abuse occurred. This new legislation, which went into effect on August 14, is expected to result in hundreds of new lawsuits against the Catholic Church and other entities in New York.

Defrocked Irish American bishop named in ground-breaking child abuse lawsuits

NEW YORK (NY)
Irish Central

August 19, 2019

An Irish American bishop defrocked for sexual abuse has been named in several suits on the first day of a ground-breaking new child sex abuse law in New York.

August 15 was the first day of a one-year window which will allow victims of child sexual abuse to file lawsuits, regardless of age, including those victims whose cases had expired under the old statute of limitations. Over 400 lawsuits were filed in the state on the first day, reports the Catholic News Agency.

Sexual abuse victims in New York were previously required to file civil lawsuits by their 23rd birthdays. Under the Child Victims Act, which was approved in January, individuals now have until age 55, and for this first year of the law, they can be any age.

Former archbishop Theodore E. McCarrick, who was defrocked earlier this year for sexual abuse, was named in a number of the suits.

The 89-year-old former cardinal and archbishop of Washington, was expelled from the priesthood in February this year, marking the first time a bishop has ever been defrocked in the history of the church.

McCarrick, who in 1990 was awarded the Ellis Island Hall of Fame membership in honor of his Irish immigrant roots, was defrocked, or laicized, from the Roman Catholic Church after being found guilty of decades of sexual abuse of minors and adult seminarians. According to Susan Gibbe, his former spokeswoman, McCarrick is currently living in a friary in Kansas.

James Grein, 61, has filed a lawsuit against the Archdiocese of New York, where McCarrick was serving as a priest when he began abusing Grein at the age of 11. The sexual abuse continued for two decades.

The New York Times reports that in 1988, when Grein was 30, McCarrick brought him to meet Pope John Paul II. When McCarrick, then the archbishop of Newark, left the room, Grein revealed to the pope, in front of several Vatican officials, that McCarrick has been sexually abusing him since childhood.

“I told him I had been abused as a child by this man, and I need you to stop it,” recalled Grein. “He put both hands on my head, and told me he would pray for me.”

Nothing else was said or done.

Because his lawsuit claims Grein told the pope about the abuse, his legal team will seek to depose Vatican officials and gain access to Vatican documents.

“The cover-up has ended and now we are going right to the top,” said Mitchell Garabedian, Grein’s lawyer, at a news conference on Wednesday. “We are attempting to show that the Vatican knew that McCarrick was abusing James Grein.”

The reader from Friday writes back

Patheos blog

August 19, 2019

By Mark Shea

They say:

Thank you for getting back to me with this reply. Although I appreciate all of it, two things in it stand out in particular:

While the ChurchMilitant crowd does call out sin in the hierarchy, it fundamentally has a false view that the problem can be fixed by replacing everyone without conservative views or who is gay. So many of those implicated in the abuse crises as enabling abusers, like the Diocese of Lincoln or Cardinal Hoyos, were theologically Orthodox and defenders of the Latin Mass.CM and others in that crowd are, in their own way, covering up the problem by trying to pin everything on one side of the church.

Precisely. Recently, news broke that the Trad priest who happens to be Michael Voris’ priest not only was accused of abuse and removed from his duties but he was co-founder of a group that helped priests accused of abuse under the radar, including priests who had confessed to abuse.
Instead of his customary railing at the evil corrupt Church of Damn Libruls, Voris’ response has been to do nothing but instruct Premium Subscribers that Fr. Perrone categorically denies the charges.

How does Voris Just Know the priest is innocent? Well, he’s a Traditional priest, of course.

School districts face sex abuse claims under Child Victims Act

ALBANY ⁠(NY)
Times Union

August 19, 2019

By Rachel Silberstein

A female gym teacher who allegedly groomed and sexually abused a 13-year-old girl at a western New York middle school in the 1970s gained access to the pupil by visiting her home to offer comfort when the girl's mother died.

A former science teacher at Buffalo Public Schools is accused of harassing, exposing, and molesting a male student approximately five days a week over the course of two years in the 1980s when the teen was 14 and 15. He was placed in the alleged pedophile's care for study hall, class, tutoring, after-school activities, and summer school, according to court documents.

Face facts, says LCWR president: Sisters have been part of Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal

SCOTTSDALE (AZ)
National Catholic Reporter

August 16, 2019

By Dan Stockman

Catholic sisters must face the reality that they have also been part of the sexual abuse scandal in the church, said the president of the leadership conference representing most women religious in the United States.

Holy Cross Sr. Sharlet Wagner, the 2018-2019 president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), spoke on the issue in her Aug. 15 presidential address at the organization's annual assembly, which drew nearly 700 women religious and guests to the Aug. 13-16 event.

"We have all been affected by this scandal. We have listened to the trauma of survivors, and we have felt shame for the church we love and outrage over the crimes committed," Wagner told the assembly. "We have journeyed with our lay sisters and brothers as they have grappled with what it means to continue to be faithful in this moment in our church. And we have heard the stories of women religious, both in the United States and around the world, who have themselves been abused by clergy or other religious."

But the guilt does not fall on priests and bishops alone, she said.

"It is a source of deep pain for us that in some instances, our own sisters have been perpetrators of the abuse," she said. "This is a truth we must not attempt to avoid."

Wagner said sisters must also recognize that abuse has made it difficult for many to see religious leaders as signs of hope.

Why is the Child Victims Act 'look-back' window so short?

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

August 19, 2019

By Lou Michel and Qina Liu

Buffalo News readers have asked a number of questions since Wednesday, when the Child Victims Act opened a one-year window for filing civil lawsuits over old allegations of childhood sexual abuse.

The questions ranged from why the look-back is only a year long to why steps are not being taken against the Vatican.

To answer the questions, The News gathered information from attorneys representing people who say they were abused, attorneys representing priests accused of molesting children, the Buffalo Catholic Diocese and past stories in The News.

Digital Engagement Editor Qina Liu helped compile questions from readers.

From Tim Finnegan: Is the Catholic diocese performing better screening of new priests and all the old priests to make sure there are not any more child abusers in the Catholic diocese?

Answer: Don Blowey, safe environment coordinator for the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, said the diocese conducts criminal background checks every six years on all adults, including active priests and deacons, who work with "youth or vulnerable persons" on behalf of the diocese. These checks involve national data sources and checks of where the person lived in the last seven years. Follow-up checks are conducted on a quarterly basis.

Each month, the diocese sends a list of all new employees or volunteers who work with young people and vulnerable adults to New York State's Sex Offender Registry, according to Blowey. That enables the diocese to determine if the individuals have been designated in any of the three offender classification levels.

Child Victims Act tears open North Country's history of sexual abuse

WESTPORT (NY)
North Country Public Radio

August 19, 2019

By Brian Mann

Lawsuits filed last week under the Child Victims Act claim children were targeted by abusers and pedophiles over a period of decades in dozens of communities across the North Country. The Boy Scouts are named in at least one of the suits, but most of the cases target the Roman Catholic Diocese of Ogdensburg.

More than 400 lawsuits were filed statewide last week under the Child Victims Act, after New York temporarily lifted the statute of limitations on sexual violence cases.

At a press conference in Watertown, attorney Taylor Stippel unveiled 14 new lawsuits against the Diocese of Ogdensburg.

Stippel said she and other attorneys are still trying to understand the scope of the sexual violence that happened here.

“Over one third of the list that the diocese has deemed as credibly accused [priests] are still alive,” said Stippel, with the firm Anderson Advocates. “We don’t know where they are. That’s a problem. That’s a public safety hazard.”

North Country Bishop Terry LaValley has officially identified 30 priests who face credible allegations of abuse – the most recent case nearly 20 years old. But Stippel says these lawsuits already name four clergy not on the official list.

“How many more survivors have come to the diocese with reports of what they suffered? How many perpetrators are not on that list?” Stippel said.

Stippel says one case filed last week identifies a priest, Father John Downs, still living and working in semi-retirement in Ogdensburg.

August 18, 2019

Priest who starred in 'The Exorcist' accused of sexually abusing student in the 1980s

ROCHESTER (NY)
USA TODAY and Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

August 16, 2019

By Steve Orr, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

Father Bill O’Malley, an outgoing Jesuit teacher who became a Rochester, New York, celebrity after a star turn in the supernatural film "The Exorcist," has been accused of sexually abusing one of his students at McQuaid Jesuit High School three decades ago.

The Rev. William J. O’Malley S.J. joined the McQuaid faculty in 1965. By the time he left the Brighton school in the mid-1980s, he was one of the best-known clergy members in town.

He now lives, at age 87, in the Jesuit community at Fordham University in the Bronx. He is widely known not only for his Hollywood stint, but as the author of more than three dozen books and as a lively ambassador for the Jesuit order and Catholic faith.

Until last week, his reputation had been sullied only by his abrupt dismissal in 2012 from Fordham Prep, whose authorities told the New York Post that O’Malley’s old-school teaching style was too "abrasive."

Recovering and Recreating the Institutions We Need

UNITED STATES
The Catholic Thing (blog)

August 18, 2019

By Adam A.J. DeVille

Catholics today are caught between two understandable but equally incomplete approaches to the sex-abuse crisis. On the more “liberal” side, Massimo Faggioli has recently rightly written that in an age of profound corruption in the Church, we must resist the temptation of “institutional iconoclasm,” the mentality that leads some people to say “burn the whole thing down.” No serious Catholic can support that.

On the more “conservative” side, Bishop Robert Barron says something similar in Letter to a Suffering Church: A Bishop Speaks on the Sexual Abuse Crisis, which seems incapable of considering any sort of institutional change. This, too, is unworthy of support from Catholics who are truly serious about major and lasting reform.

What is good in both Faggioli and Barron is the awareness, as Faggioli acknowledges, that “we keep institutions because institutions keep us. On the other hand, institutions need change.” But which institutions? What changes? What if those institutions, even dramatically reformed, prove insufficient to our present moment? Surely there is room in the Church today to contemplate the recovery of institutions that were once common but have, often for no good reason, fallen into desuetude?

OKC man shares story about priest's abuse

OKLAHAMA CITY (OK)
The Oklahoman

August 18, 2019

By Carla Hinton

The "monster" that haunted Nick Yascavage for decades didn't come creeping out from under his childhood bed.

It wasn't some faceless stranger that his parents had warned him about.

The Oklahoma City man's nightmare walked into his parents' Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, home one afternoon as a revered guest of honor.

The "monster" came wearing a clerical collar and eventually asked his mother and father if 12-year-old Nicky wanted to go with him to get ice cream

This was no troll or bogeyman. The nightmare was real.

It was the new priest in town.

Yascavage, 53, has spent more than 40 years trying to repress the memories of his encounters with the man who started out as his youth pastor only to turn into his abuser.

The U.S. Army veteran and one-time restaurateur told only one person, a spouse, about the experiences that tainted his childhood.

Opinion: Why my heart and soul remain Catholic

ARIZONA
Arizona Daily Star via Tucson.com

August 18, 2019

By Renée Schafer Horton

The following column is the opinion and analysis of the writer.

Last August in this space, I wrote about the Pennsylvania grand jury report detailing Catholic clergy abuse against more than 1,000 children. The report, which covered a 70-year period ending in the early 2000s, provided evidence that bishops had hid the abuse over decades and that some recently retired bishops knew about this duplicity.

Nearly 17 years after Catholics had been assured our house was swept clean, we discovered that the system that hid abuse hadn’t actually changed. It was a come-to-Jesus moment for many Catholics and I wrote that the only way to prod the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops to get their act together was to hold back donations.

Defrocked Irish American bishop named in ground-breaking child abuse lawsuits

UNITED STATES
Irish Central

August 18, 2019

An Irish American bishop defrocked for sexual abuse has been named in several suits on the first day of a ground-breaking new child sex abuse law in New York.

August 15 was the first day of a one-year window which will allow victims of child sexual abuse to file lawsuits, regardless of age, including those victims whose cases had expired under the old statute of limitations. Over 400 lawsuits were filed in the state on the first day, reports the Catholic News Agency.

Sexual abuse victims in New York were previously required to file civil lawsuits by their 23rd birthdays. Under the Child Victims Act, which was approved in January, individuals now have until age 55, and for this first year of the law, they can be any age.

Former archbishop Theodore E. McCarrick, who was defrocked earlier this year for sexual abuse, was named in a number of the suits.

The 89-year-old former cardinal and archbishop of Washington, was expelled from the priesthood in February this year, marking the first time a bishop has ever been defrocked in the history of the church.

McCarrick, who in 1990 was awarded the Ellis Island Hall of Fame membership in honor of his Irish immigrant roots, was defrocked, or laicized, from the Roman Catholic Church after being found guilty of decades of sexual abuse of minors and adult seminarians. According to Susan Gibbe, his former spokeswoman, McCarrick is currently living in a friary in Kansas.

A year later, Pa. Senate still dodging grand jury findings on clergy abuse | Editorial

LEHIGH VALLEY (PA)
The Express-Times

August 18, 2019

One year after an investigating grand jury gave Pennsylvania legislators all the evidence they needed to update laws on child sexual abuse — in fact, Pennsylvania’s groundbreaking work led to reforms in other states, including New Jersey — the response in Harrisburg has been little more than “we’ll get to it.”

Someday.

The grand jury report identified more than 300 priests as sexual predators and thousands of victims. It spawned investigations by other states’ attorneys general and a probe by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Instead of acting to extend the legal redress of survivors who suffered at the hands of Catholic Church clergy throughout the state, as painstakingly detailed by the Pennsylvania grand jury, state Senate Republican leaders have balked at proposals to set up retroactive “windows,” which would allow long-ago victims to file civil claims in court.

Your View by Allentown Catholic bishop: ‘We can never forget the victims, we can never erase the past’

ALLENTOWN (PA)
The Morning Call

August 18, 2019

By Bishop Alfred A. Schlert

The one-year anniversary of the Pennsylvania grand jury report on clergy sexual abuse provides an opportunity for me to report on what the Diocese of Allentown has done, and what we will continue to do, to prevent abuse and to keep children safe.

On this issue, we can never forget the victims, we can never erase the past, and we can never let down our guard.

We have taken many concrete actions during the past year, in addition to the robust prevention and safety programs we already have in place. My first priority is keeping our children safe.

The grand jury acknowledged in its report that much had changed for the better in the Catholic Church in the previous 15 years. Here’s a look at what we have done in the Diocese of Allentown over the past 12 months:

St. Louis County priest already deemed sexually violent sentenced again

CLAYTON (MO)
Associated Press via KSDK-TV (Channel 5)

August 18, 2019

Fred Lenczycki pleaded guilty in May to two counts of sodomy for abuse that occurred at a St. Louis County parish in Bridgeton.

The first U.S. Catholic priest to be labeled sexually violent when he was convicted in Illinois has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for abusing two boys in Missouri in the 1990s.

Fred Lenczycki pleaded guilty in May to two counts of sodomy for abuse that occurred at a St. Louis County parish in Bridgeton. Lenczycki is 75.

Lenczycki was removed from the ministry in 2002, when he was charged with abusing three boys in the 1980s in Illinois. He pleaded guilty in 2004 and was sentenced to five years in prison.

In 2008, he was labeled sexually violent under Illinois' Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act. Church and court files show that Lenczycki has admitted abusing up to 30 boys in Illinois, Missouri and California over 25 years.

All San Diego diocesan employees meet to hear new steps in abuse fight

SAN DIEGO (CA)
Catholic News Service via Crux

August 18, 2019

By Aida Bustos

Bishop Robert W. McElroy of San Diego gathered all 2,500-plus diocesan employees for the first time in its history to announce an expansion of the fight against the sexual abuse of children not just within the local church but in the greater society.

U.S. Church reforms adopted in the early 2000s have contributed to a dramatic decline in cases of child abuse by clergy. The San Diego Diocese has not had a confirmed incident of sexual abuse of a minor by any of its priests in the past 20 years, records show.

But much more remains to be done to confront abuse, McElroy told the employees at the Aug. 13 meeting at the University of San Diego.

Local bishop stepping back from public appearances during sexual abuse lawsuit

CHARLESTON (SC)
WCIV-TV (ABC affiliate)

August 18, 2019

The bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston will be staying out of the public eye as a sexual abuse lawsuit is ongoing.

ABC News 4 has learned that Bishop Robert Guglielmone said in a letter to Diocese of Charleston churches that he will step back from public appearances until the lawsuit is settled.

More: Lawsuit accuses Charleston Catholic bishop of sex abuse in 1970s

In a letter to @DioceseChas churches, Bishop Robert Guglielmone says he’ll step back from public appearances until a lawsuit against him is settled. He’s accused of sexual abuse of a minor in NY. The bishop denies wrongdoing. @FOX24Charleston #chsnews

The lawsuit alleges that Guglielmone sexually abused a minor in the late 70s while he was a priest at St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church in Amityville, New York, according to the diocese.

He has denied what he calls "baseless" allegations, and is cooperating with an investigation requested by the Vatican, according to Charleston Diocese spokesperson Maria Aselage.

Retired Albany Bishop Hubbard says he has ‘never sexually abused anyone’

ALBANY (NY)
Catholic News Service via Crux

August 17, 2019

Retired Bishop Howard J. Hubbard of Albany said in a statement Aug. 16 he “never sexually abused anyone” and is taking a voluntary leave of absence from the Diocese of Albany to deal with the allegations.

The Evangelist, Albany’s diocesan newspaper, reported that a lawsuit filed Aug. 14 accuses Hubbard of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old in the late 1990s. The suit was filed the day New York state’s Child Victims Act went into effect.

The new law opens a yearlong “window” in the statute of limitations, allowing suits to be filed by victims alleging abuse by priests, church workers and employees of public schools, hospitals and other institutions no matter how long ago the alleged abuse occurred.

Before victims filed claims, some targets of abuse lawsuits moved to shield assets

ALBANY (NY)
Albany Times-Union

August 17, 2019

By Brendan J. Lyons

It could take years, and protracted legal battles, for victims of rape and sexual abuse to receive any compensation from the hundreds of lawsuits they began filing across the state last week against their alleged childhood predators or the organizations that employed them.

The lawsuits were among the first round of what are expected to be thousands of claims that will be filed in the coming year, after New York lifted its civil statute of limitations on sexual crimes and opened a one-year window for victims to sue those responsible.

The one-year period was enabled by the Child Victims Act, which was signed into law by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in February. Its ratification suddenly became a reality last November — after more than a decade of political gridlock in the state Legislature — when Democrats who long supported the measure seized control of the Senate chamber from Republicans.

That political shift also provided a months-long warning to abusers and the institutions that harbored them that the Democratic-controlled state Legislature may pass the measure, lowering a shield that had long protected the abusers from being sued for allegations dating back decades.

Religious leaders set to face punishment if they cover up child abuse

VICTORIA (AUSTRALIA)
1 News, TVNZ, New Zealand

August 18, 2019

Victoria's premier says the culture of covering up child sexual abuse must end after Melbourne's most senior Catholic said he'd rather go to jail than reveal if someone confessed to him.

Archbishop Peter Comensoli also said priests who hear confessions have a similar privileged relationship to journalists and their sources, or lawyers and their clients.

Victoria is introducing new laws making it mandatory for religious leaders to report allegations of child abuse, including if they're made during confession.

Abuse survivor Richard Jabara lashes Archbishop Peter Comensoli

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

August 18, 2019

By Rachel Baxendale

Child sex abuse survivor Richard Jabara was among 52 Catholic Church abuse survivors who lit up the In Good Faith Foundation’s switchboard with phone calls expressing their disgust earlier this month, after The Australian reported the Melbourne Archbishop Peter Comensoli had bought himself a country retreat with an indoor pool as the Church sacks dozens of people as part of his reform agenda.

The charity, which provides case management, advocacy and support services to those affected by institutional sexual abuse, received another flood of calls last week when Archbishop Comensoli told ABC radio he would sooner go to jail than comply with the Andrews government’s proposed law compelling priests to report evidence of abuse revealed in the confessional.

Archbishop Comensoli meanwhile maintains that he does not believe mandatory reporting of abuse and preservation of the sanctity of confession are mutually exclusive, and that he was “deeply hurt” by the reaction to his private purchase of the country property with money left to him by his parents.

Mr Jabara, who was raped as a 13-year-old by Catholic priest and serial child abuse Terrence Pidoto, said he was deeply disappointed in Archbishop Comensoli, who commenced his role just over a year ago.

August 17, 2019

Priest Guilty Of Sex Abuse; List Of DC, Baltimore Accused Priests

WASHINGTON (DC)
Patch

August 17, 2019

By Deb Belt

A Catholic priest who served in both Maryland and Washington, D.C., was convicted Thursday of four counts of child sexual abuse against two children that happened on the grounds of his parish, Shrine of the Sacred Heart Parish in Northwest Washington. The Rev. Urbano Vazquez, 47, of Washington, D.C., committed the abuse from 2015 to 2017, prosecutors said. He was arrested in November 2018.

Father Vazquez served his diaconate internship at Our Lady of the Mountains Parish (Western Maryland) from 2013-2014 and later celebrated Mass there on a few occasions. He was on a list of Catholic priests credibly accused of sexual abuse against children that was released in late 2018, including the Baltimore archdiocese. (See below for a list of priests in both the Baltimore and Washington archdioceses who have been accused.)

The guilty verdicts were returned after a nine-day trial in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. Vazquez will be sentenced on Nov. 22. The Archdiocese of Washington said Vasquez will have no authority to serve as a priest in the archdiocese; what happens to his ministry will be decided by his religious the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin.

Prosecutors said that between April 1, 2015 and May 31, 2015, Vazquez molested a 13-year-old girl while speaking with her in a parish office. In addition, between June 2016 and August 2017, Vazquez kissed and molested a second girl of 9 to 10 years old in various places on church grounds, including near the church confessionals. The jury also heard testimony from another teenage girl who Vazquez kissed in a church conference room.

Why victims of clergy sex abuse embrace hope for justice even if lawmakers should fail to enact reforms

HARRISBURG (PA)
Patroit News

August 16, 2019

By Ivey DeJesus

A peculiar setting is shaping up in Pennsylvania that could pave the way for scores of people who were sexually abused as children to face their abuser in court even though their legal right has run out.

This week the state Superior Court denied a Catholic dioceses its petition seeking to have the court reverse a decision that allows a woman who was sexually abused by a priest more than 40 years ago the right to bring the alleged predator to court, even though the statute of limitations has long expired for her.


That decision comes ahead of what is expected to be a rancorous debate in the Legislature over several measures that would overhaul the statute of limitations.

Put in simple terms: Even if lawmakers fail to enact reforms (something it has done several times in recent years) victims locked out of the legal system could still have a pathway to justice under the Superior Court’s ruling.

“For the first time in a long time, we have an overwhelming sense of hope,” said Shaun Dougherty, who was sexually abused as a child by his priest in the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown.

“We’ve had the door shut in our faces so many times, we’ve had the court door, the Senate door shut in our faces but we’ve been persistent. We never went away. It looks like the court door just opened up for us and it looks like the Senate door could be cracking.”

Why victims of clergy sex abuse embrace hope for justice even if lawmakers should fail to enact reforms

HARRISBURG (PA)
Patroit News

August 16, 2019

By Ivey DeJesus

A peculiar setting is shaping up in Pennsylvania that could pave the way for scores of people who were sexually abused as children to face their abuser in court even though their legal right has run out.

This week the state Superior Court denied a Catholic dioceses its petition seeking to have the court reverse a decision that allows a woman who was sexually abused by a priest more than 40 years ago the right to bring the alleged predator to court, even though the statute of limitations has long expired for her.


That decision comes ahead of what is expected to be a rancorous debate in the Legislature over several measures that would overhaul the statute of limitations.

Put in simple terms: Even if lawmakers fail to enact reforms (something it has done several times in recent years) victims locked out of the legal system could still have a pathway to justice under the Superior Court’s ruling.

“For the first time in a long time, we have an overwhelming sense of hope,” said Shaun Dougherty, who was sexually abused as a child by his priest in the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown.

“We’ve had the door shut in our faces so many times, we’ve had the court door, the Senate door shut in our faces but we’ve been persistent. We never went away. It looks like the court door just opened up for us and it looks like the Senate door could be cracking.”

Corey Feldman Calls for Hollywood Sexual Abuse Victims to Support Bill to Change CA Statute Laws

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Hollywood Reporter

August 14, 2019

Corey Feldman is hoping to use his voice and celebrity status to help fellow victims of sexual abuse.

The actor, who serves as Child USA’s ambassador and has spoken out extensively about the alleged abuse he suffered as a child actor, is urging abuse victims in Hollywood to sign a letter that he will be sending on Thursday to the California Senate in relation to current laws about the state’s statute of limitations.

“I’m beyond elated that we have moved the needle to the point that this dream can finally become a reality,” Feldman, 48, says in a statement. “I’m so grateful to all the survivors who are working with Child USA and myself to bring closure and justice to so many lives that have been branded and tarnished at the hands of abusers. I know there is great power in numbers and with this bill, our voices can finally be heard as a unified force for justice.”

In January, California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez reintroduced a bill “that would give victims more time to report an assault and create another tool in identifying sexual predators before they harm more children in the future,” according to a press release.

“Assembly Bill 218 would expand both the statute of limitations for the time given to victims of childhood sexual assault, from age 26 to age 40, and the period for delayed reasonable discovery from three to five years,” the press release states. “After enactment, the measure would also allow for a window of three years for the revival of past claims that might have expired due to the statute of limitations.”

Currently, the status of the bill is “In committee: Referred to APPR,” which is the Committee on Appropriations.

The Diaconate and the Abuse Crisis

DENVER (CO)
National Catholic Register

August 17, 2019

By Robert Klesko

I have been thumbing through Dr. Adam DeVille’s book Everything Hidden Shall be Revealed about his proposed reforms for the Church in the face of the current abuse crisis. My perusal, and my recent experience at the Byzantine Catholic Seminary of Sts. Cyril and Methodius as a deacon formation student, has led me to see the vital importance for the Latin Church to quickly and thoroughly expand its understanding of the role of the diaconate in the hierarchy.

The recent resurfacing of the problem of clerical sexual abuse has two main elements — predatory abuse committed by priests and bishops and the failure of bishops to expose and eradicate such sinful conduct. In the midst of this disastrous formula, we need to consider the role of the deacon as an important “check and balance” within the Church’s hierarchy.

The West, if I may paint in broad strokes, has lost its bearings as to the role of the deacon in the Church. Many view his ministry as superfluous liturgically, as he has only a few functions at Mass. As such, he is a kind of glorified altar boy. Many parishes see a deacon only when one is assigned there temporarily on his way to the priesthood. Subsequently, the diaconate is seen as a “steppingstone” to the more exalted priesthood. The deacon in the West is assigned tasks that he historically never fulfilled, such as witnessing at weddings outside of the Mass and conducting baptisms. Such a view of the role of the deacon has led to many orthodox-minded priests and bishops to question if we need deacons at all. But the role of the deacon, handed down to us from Scripture and Apostolic tradition, is absolutely vital to the governance of the Church.

Diocese of Scranton launches investigation into national shrine rector Rossi

DENVER (CO)
Catholic News Agency

August 16, 2019

By Ed Condon

The Diocese of Scranton has begun an investigation into allegations of misconduct on the part of the rector of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.

“Bishop Joseph Bambera, Bishop of the Diocese of Scranton, has commenced the process of launching a full forensic investigation into the concerns that have been raised,” about Msgr. Walter Rossi, the diocese told CNA Aug. 14.

“Approximately one year ago, concerns were raised in the public sector regarding Monsignor Walter Rossi, a priest who was incardinated in the Diocese of Scranton but who has served more than 20 years at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.”

“The Diocese of Scranton referred those initial concerns to the Archdiocese of Washington, which investigated certain specific allegations and determined them to be unfounded,” the diocese added.

“Additional concerns have now surfaced, however, requiring a broadened investigation.”

“Bishop Bambera has spoken with Archbishop Wilton Gregory and they have agreed that the Diocese of Scranton and Archdiocese of Washington will work jointly and cooperatively on undertaking a comprehensive investigation,” the statement concluded.

Concerns were raised about Rossi to Archbishop Gregory Tuesday night, during a question-and-answer session at a Theology on Tap, held at the Public Bar Live in the Dupont area of Washington. The event was broadcast live on Facebook.

During that session, Gregory called for an independent, forensic investigation of some allegations against Rossi.

In the first question from the floor at the Aug. 13 event, Gregory was asked about Rossi, who has been the subject of media reports and public speculation in the last year.

SC bishop pushes back against sex abuse allegations in NY lawsuit

CHARLESTON (SC)
Courier Post

August 15, 2019

By Glenn Smith and Stephen Hobbs

Attorneys for South Carolina’s highest-ranking Catholic continued to push back Thursday against allegations that Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone sexually abused a young parishioner in New York in the 1970s, saying the accusations were fabricated in an attempt to squeeze money from the church.

But questions remained as to when the allegations contained in a lawsuit against Guglielmone first surfaced and how they were handled at that time. Also unclear is the scope of an ongoing investigation requested by the Vatican. Church officials in New York declined to answer those and other questions when contacted by The Post and Courier.

The New York lawsuit was filed Wednesday, the same day another suit against Guglielmone was dismissed in federal court in Charleston. That action concerned allegations that Guglielmone improperly retaliated against a priest for reporting sexual abuse the priest had suffered at the hands of clergy in Greenville as a boy. Guglielmone has denied the allegations leveled against him in both suits.

The bishop denies the allegation of repeatedly sexually abusing a young boy beginning in 1978 while serving as a pastor in New York.

The New York case accuses Guglielmone of molesting and performing sex acts on a young boy while serving as a priest at St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church in Amityville, N.Y. The suit alleges the abuse began in 1978, when the child was 8 years old, and that Guglielmone told the boy that it was “God’s will.”

Does Catholic Church have bigger sex abuse problem than other religions?

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

August 16, 2019

By Dan Herbeck

There were 105 Child Victims Act lawsuits against religious organizations in Western New York in the first two days those cases could be filed.

But only two of them targeted religious organizations that are not Catholic.

One lawsuit was filed against a Lutheran organization and a former Lutheran religion teacher who allegedly raped and molested a 13-year-old girl at First Trinity Lutheran Church in the Town of Tonawanda from 1978 until 1981. The other was filed against Buffalo’s Temple Beth Zion, alleging that a Hebrew tutor there repeatedly molested a 12-year-old female student during a nine-month period in 1970.

Ninety-eight percent of the 105 lawsuits against religious organizations in five Western New York counties named as defendants the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, priests and other individuals and institutions associated with the diocese.

Despite that, Nora Kovach, 54, who accused her former Lutheran religious education teacher, Bruce Arlen Connolly, in her lawsuit, said her case shows that child sexual abuse is not just a problem in the Catholic Church.

Let the handlers of predatory priests pay in full

HUDSON (N Y)
Register Star

August 16, 2019

Priests are supposed to offer spiritual comfort to adults and counsel young people on the values they will need later in life. They are not supposed to be sexual predators taking advantage of children.

That’s what makes the release of a list of alleged pedophile priests from this area, including one formerly of the Sacred Heart Church in Cairo, a tragedy and a disgrace. The priests were named in lawsuits filed against the Albany Diocese by alleged sexual abuse victims under the Child Victims Act.

It’s an offensive litany of accusations, both legally and morally. Father Sean McMahon, a priest from Ireland, was assigned to the Sacred Heart Church in Cairo. In 1984, according to the lawsuit against him, McMahon engaged in unpermitted sexual contact with an alleged victim who was 16 at the time. Details of the alleged sexual contact were not outlined in the court papers.

McMahon is the second priest from the Cairo area to be accused of sexually abusing a minor. Father Jeremiah Nunan was the former pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Cairo and Our Lady of Knock Mission in East Durham. Nunan was permanently barred from ministry June 30, 2018 by Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger after the Albany Diocese Review Board ruled that he had sexually abused a minor in the early 1990s.

It’s horrifying to note that Nunan, McMahon and nearly two dozen other suspected priests in this region were continually moved from one parish assignment to another, always one step ahead of civil litigation or criminal prosecution or both.

Sudden resignation of seminarian at Christ the King Seminary blindsides Buffalo Diocese

BUFFALO (NY)
WKBW TV

August 16, 2019

In the wake of more than 100 child sex abuse lawsuits filed under the Child Victims Act, a sudden departure is now blindsiding a Diocese already in crisis.

Stephen Parisi, a seminarian, is announcing his "immediate withdrawal" over what he calls, "alarming and problematic governance" of the Buffalo Diocese and Christ the King Seminary. Parisi served as Dean of Seminarians at Christ the King Seminary, a leadership role among the young men pursuing a vocation in the priesthood.

Parisi wrote a six page letter to Buffalo Bishop Richard Malone explaining why he left the seminary. While speaking to 7Eyewitness News, Parisi described an "unhealthy, hostile environemtn" at Christ the King in East Aurora since he began there in January 2018.

"If you don't go by what they tell you to do, or suggest that you do, you're told that you can be dismissed. You're reminded you can be dismissed for any reason at any time," Parisi said.

The "difficult year," as Parisi calls it, started last September when Father Joe Gatto was placed on leave last September from the seminary after three allegations of sexual misconduct.

"People were trying to climb to the top...there was really no clear organization chart for the Seminary. It was very chaotic."

Not only did he call for Bishop Richard Malone to resign: "We need change. We need somebody to come in and clean house. We need what the church terms as an apostolic investigation of this diocese."

But he also is asking parishioners to take action. "This culture of blackmail and hypocrisy within the clergy and the hierarchy is so deep, it is so entrenched. The only way for the church to survive is for good and honest lay people to reclaim their church and the first step is to stop putting money in the collection basket."

Court allows lawsuit against diocese

ALTOONA (PA)
Altoona Mirror

AUG 16, 2019

By Russ O'Reilly

The Pennsylvania Superior Court has denied the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown’s application for re-argument in the lawsuit of a woman who claims a pedophile priest consistently molested her in the 1970s and ’80s in Blair County.

Wednesday’s ruling reaffirming that Renee A. Rice can pursue her lawsuit against officials in the Altoona-Johnstown Roman Catholic Diocese reflects an evolving legal landscape, according to Rice’s attorney, Richard Serbin of the Janet, Janet & Suggs law firm.

“This decision confirms my position that the lawsuits I have recently filed in Dauphin and Centre counties will be able to go forward with the litigation process, allowing a jury to decide the factual questions raised,” Serbin stated in an email. “This is good news for many child sex abuse survivors.”

A day before the Superior Court’s decision on Rice’s case, Serbin filed two new lawsuits in Centre County against defendants including the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese stemming from the alleged abuse of two boys by a Jesuit seminarian decades ago.

Those lawsuits are filed on behalf of two accusers who attended the Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church, where the seminarian repeatedly sexually assaulted both boys and raped one of them in the early 1970s. One of the two took his own life when he was 32.

In another lawsuit Serbin filed in Dauphin County against the Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg and some of its officials, a man, 67, claims he was raped by two priests from the Diocese of Harrisburg decades ago beginning when he was 9. The statute of limitations has long expired for him.

Those lawsuits, with Rice’s at the forefront, focus not so much on the sexual abuse but rather the failure on the part of the dioceses to fulfill obligations to active members of parish churches.

Rice’s case was previously dismissed by a Blair County judge on the grounds that the statute of limitations had expired.

But on June 11, a state Superior Court panel reinstated the lawsuit against the diocese.

The Pa. grand jury report on Catholic abuse inspired new laws nationwide. So why didn’t it happen in Pennsylvania?

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
The Washington Post

August 14, 2019

By Julie Zauzmer

A year ago, Pennsylvania’s grand jury report on sexual abuse committed by Catholic clergy landed with 800 pages of devastating detail and a worldwide impact.

The report led to arrests of priests in Michigan, protests in Maryland, the ouster of a cardinal in Washington, sweeping new legislation in New York, and even new policies at the Vatican.

Yet what did not happen was the one thing that the grand jurors actually called for: legislative action in Pennsylvania.

“It’s just one of the ugliest situations I have ever seen,” said Frances Unglo-Samber, an activist for survivors of clergy abuse. She attended rallies and pleaded with state lawmakers to pass legislation after the grand jury report, which documented abuse of more than 1,000 children by 300 named priests, was released last August.

And then, at the last minute, the reform effort fell apart. The state wouldn’t take the actions recommended by the grand jury. Pennsylvania wouldn’t get rid of the criminal statute of limitations for child sexual abuse or open a window so that victims could bring civil suits against past abusers and the institutions that protected them.

“It’s changed in other states,” said Unglo-Samber, whose brother killed himself after finally disclosing that he had been raped by their childhood priest. “How could it not change in Pennsylvania?”

Marci Hamilton, who tracks legislation at the Philadelphia-based nonprofit Child USA, called the past year “an absolutely banner year for statute-of-limitation reform” nationwide, largely propelled by the Pennsylvania grand jury report. “We had a tipping point. … The way that the world and the other states responded was, finally, almost purely pro-victim,” Hamilton said.

Twenty states and the District of Columbia passed laws extending or eliminating their statutes of limitations for child sexual abuse or allowing prior victims to sue, Hamilton said. In New York, the legislature granted a window for lawsuits that opens Wednesday; the state expects a flood of litigation.

Meanwhile, change in Pennsylvania sputtered — a cautionary tale that what works in some states may fail in others. The difference, advocates maintain, often comes down to which party dominates the state legislature.

“In states that are controlled by Republicans, it’s very hard to get around the bishops and the insurance industry,” Hamilton said. “No one knows more about [child sexual abuse] than law enforcement in the state of Pennsylvania, and quite amazingly, that has not moved the staunch Catholic lawmakers who simply are not going to stop protecting their church against lawsuits.”

That’s not to say that Republican-controlled legislatures won’t take action on child sexual abuse. Of the 21 jurisdictions that passed bills changing their statutes of limitations in 2019, nine have Republican-controlled legislatures, and eight have Democratic-controlled legislatures, according to information from Child USA and the National Conference of State Legislatures. (The rest have split legislatures or, in the case of Nebraska, nonpartisan lawmakers.)

But the Democratic-led legislatures tended to take more sweeping steps. New Jersey opened a two-year window for any victim to sue and extended the civil statute for future cases to age 55 or seven years after the victim comes forward, whichever is later. Rhode Island made its new, lengthy statute of limitations apply retroactively to old claims against abusers. Vermont went even further, reviving all expired claims against abusers and institutions such as churches. Vermont also got rid of its criminal statute of limitations entirely for many child sexual abuse crimes, as did Washington state, the District and Republican-led Montana.

The steps taken in some Republican-controlled states were more modest: Alabama gave victims up to age 25 to sue, and Montana up to 27; Arizona gave them up to 30 as well as a 19-month window for old cases; Tennessee gave them up to 33.

Republican-led Florida and Mississippi legislatures also considered bills and did not pass them, like Pennsylvania — and like Democratic-led Oregon.

In Pennsylvania, the lobbying effort against the bill was intense. While lobbying spending on specific issues is hard to track in the state, two law firms released a report showing the Catholic Church spent more than $700,000 in Pennsylvania in 2018, more in just one year than it spent in a seven-year period in New Jersey, Massachusetts and several other states.

“The church, every step of the way, has refused to reform and has taken the most cynical path each time,” said Josh Shapiro, the Democratic state attorney general whose office released the grand jury report.

Leaders of Pennsylvania dioceses have expressed their desire to cooperate with law enforcement but have also fought in court, including battling to keep some of the priests’ names in the grand jury report sealed.

Republican state senators said they worried lawsuits would bankrupt churches and raised questions about whether cases could be tried fairly after such a long time. With the clock ticking down to the end of the 2018 legislative session, Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati proposed allowing suits against individuals but not against institutions. Democrats cried foul. The night ended, in the wee hours, with no bill at all.

Scarnati did not agree to an interview but said in a statement that he was “committed to working with my colleagues to address” this year’s new bills on child sexual abuse. He pointed out that Pennsylvania dioceses have been hearing victims’ cases and doling out payments through their own victim compensation funds, outside of the court system. “Financial assistance cannot change the past, but will aid victims as they attempt to move forward,” Scarnati wrote.

The New York Times reported that several of Scarnati’s former staff members and his chief of staff’s wife work for the lobbying firm representing the Catholic Church in Pennsylvania.

The grand jury report, which examined six of the eight dioceses in the state, wasn’t the first time that Pennsylvania scrutinized the Catholic Church. Both the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown were studied in earlier, similar grand jury reports. Philadelphia was the site of the first criminal trial in the nation holding a priest responsible for his oversight of other priests who abused children.

The nation had also known for at least 16 years, since the Boston Globe’s 2002 expose revealed the scandal to the country, that Catholic clergy had committed crimes against children.

But this time was different, sparking comprehensive investigations across the country. Attorneys general in 20 states and the District of Columbia started their own probes, by Hamilton’s count. They set about obtaining secret archives in dioceses’ offices that they had never pursued before. They set up hotlines for victims to call and assigned staff to focus on cases.

Shapiro says he and his staff became consultants to prosecutors nationwide on how to investigate the Catholic Church — they talked to prosecutors from almost every state.

Catholic lay people, too, reacted differently. They threw together protests in at least half a dozen cities, calling for bishops to submit to similar civil investigations or resign. Washington’s Cardinal Donald Wuerl came under scrutiny for his prior actions in Pittsburgh described in the document and eventually stepped down.

The moment was right, for any number of reasons. The influence of the Catholic Church itself has declined precipitously since the 2002 scandal, as have the church’s membership numbers. And months after the Me Too movement began, the nation was ready to listen to victims.

Along with the revelation of sexual abuse committed by the now-defrocked cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the Pennsylvania report was a major factor pushing the Vatican to address the issue of sexual abuse in this past year. More than 15 years after the Boston Globe exposé, Pope Francis convened the first worldwide summit to address abuse. In the United States, bishops voted on a new plan to police themselves — which, like the Vatican’s actions, has been received by advocates with some skepticism. Many within the church continue to clamor for more-vigorous reforms.

But in Pennsylvania, lawmakers haven’t budged.

Shapiro said he still hopes that a bill can pass when lawmakers return to Harrisburg this fall. A similar version has been reintroduced to eliminate the criminal statute of limitations, which currently blocks cases in the state after the victim turns 50, younger than many victims who have come forward. Some lawmakers are also pursuing a constitutional amendment to allow for a window for victims to sue, which Shapiro said is unnecessary because he thinks it is already constitutional. Some Republicans said the window for old suits might violate the state’s constitution.

Between his meetings with state legislators, Shapiro has even more difficult conversations.

Last week, a man came in, scheduled for 15 minutes with the state’s attorney general. He sat at the wide wood conference table, gazing out at the children playing in the fountain by Philadelphia’s famous LOVE sculpture.

Sitting by the memorabilia in Shapiro’s office commemorating the state’s greatest joys and sorrows — a towel from the Eagles Super Bowl win right beside a memorial bracelet for the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting — the man spoke of his abuse. He talked of his drug use and his newfound sobriety, his criminal past and his determination to be a good husband and father.

He stayed more than an hour, just wanting to be heard.

In Harrisburg, state Rep. Mark Rozzi (D) knows something about how that man feels. His own abuse by a priest, when he was a child, has driven him to get statute-of-limitation reform passed. When Francis gathered bishops from across the globe to talk about abuse this year, Rozzi went, too, to speak to the Italian Parliament and U.S. Ambassador Callista Gingrich and the protesters in St. Peter’s Square.

“When we look back at Pennsylvania, is this going to be the grand jury report that finally gets victims on the path to justice?” he asks.

He lists the perpetrators who have victimized people in Pennsylvania: not just those 300 priests in the report and untold numbers more, but Amish and Mennonite abusers, schoolteachers, pediatricians, Boy Scout leaders, Penn State’s Jerry Sandusky, Bill Cosby. “We’ve been through so many of these infamous cases right here," he says. "When is enough going to be enough?”

August 16, 2019

Natrona County DA would handle clergy abuse prosecutions, sources say

CASPER (WY)
Star-Tribune

August 16, 2019

By Shane Sanderson and Seth Klamann

Any criminal prosecution resulting from a Cheyenne police investigation of decades-old clergy sex abuse would be handled by Natrona County District Attorney Dan Itzen, two people close to the case told the Star-Tribune.

The Cheyenne Police Department earlier this week announced it has recommended the Laramie County District Attorney’s Office charge two men, one of whom was a clergy member in the 1970s and ‘80s, when police say they sexually abused boys. Instead of making prosecuting decisions on the case, Laramie County District Attorney Leigh Anne Manlove has recused herself and asked Itzen to handle it, the Star-Tribune’s sources said.

The prosecutor has already started working the case, they said.

Itzen on Thursday said he had not been appointed special prosecutor in any jurisdiction outside Natrona County but declined to say if Manlove had asked him to take the case. Appointment of special prosecutor is done by a judge upon a district or county attorney’s request, and state statute allows for such appointment when a district attorney is “interested or refuses to act in a prosecution.”

Itzen on Friday morning declined to comment further. He noted that prosecutors in Wyoming are prohibited from releasing in advance of district court arraignments information that would identify victims or alleged perpetrators of sexual assault or abuse.

Manlove did not respond to messages left Thursday on voicemail accounts associated with her desk and cell phones requesting comment regarding the decision. She did not respond to a Friday morning voicemail left on her desk and cell phone stating the contents of this story and its anticipated publication time.

A Cheyenne police spokesman said Thursday prosecution of the case was outside his purview. Kevin Malatesta, the spokesman, declined to comment further.

The potential prosecution of the two men — one a clergyman, the other identified as an “altar server” at the time of the alleged abuse — comes after a 16-month investigation by Cheyenne police. While authorities have declined to name the two suspects, citing state statute, the lengthy inquiry that precipitated the affidavits being filed was an investigation into former Bishop Joseph Hart, who oversaw the Catholic church in Wyoming for 25 years.

CVA lawsuits bring spotlight back to St. Colman's Home

ALBANY (NY)
Albany Times Union

August 15, 2019

By Steve Hughes

Susanne Robertson was one of seven children. When their mother had a nervous breakdown in 1957, the children were sent to St. Colman’s Home, under the eyes of the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

There, Robertson and two of her sisters say, one nun sexually abused them, and the order’s leaders permitted other adults to sexually abuse them and failed to notify authorities of the crimes.

Child Victims Act suit names priest previously convicted of child sex abuse

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

August 14, 2019

By Aaron Besecker, Mary B. Pasciak, Matthew Spina, Dan Herbeck and Maki Becker

The only Buffalo Diocese priest in the past 50 years convicted of molesting a child in Western New York is named in a Child Victims Act lawsuit that accuses him of abusing a different child a decade before his arrest.

The Rev. Gerald Jasinski engaged in "unpermitted sexual contact" with an altar boy in the 1970s while he was a priest at St. John Gualbert Church in Cheektowaga, according to the lawsuit.

Jasinski was a priest at St. Mary of the Assumption Church in Lancaster when Wyoming County sheriff's deputies arrested him June 7, 1986, on felony charges of first-degree sodomy and first-degree sexual abuse and a charge of unlawfully dealing with a child. He was accused of having sexual contact with two boys, ages 15 and 18, at a cabin in the Town of Sheldon.

Jasinski pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of attempted sexual abuse and was sentenced to five years' probation.

About 114 Child Victims Act lawsuits were filed Wednesday in five Western New York counties over old allegations of sexual abuse.

Nearly all of the people accused of molesting children were Catholic priests.

But the Boy Scouts of America, the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, the East Aurora School District, the Jesuits and other organizations are also named as defendants. At least 105 of the lawsuits are against the Diocese of Buffalo.

A one-year "look-back" window opened at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday under a new state law that gives abuse victims a year to file claims that previously were prohibited from moving forward in court. Below is a look at some of the lawsuits filed.

The News does not identify sexual abuse victims without their consent.

Four more allegations against former Cheyenne bishop made in past year

CASPER (WY)
Casper Star-Tribune

August 16, 2019

By Seth Klamann

Four more allegations of sexual abuse have been made against former Bishop Joseph Hart in the past year, including accusations that span his time in Wyoming, an official with the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph said Thursday.

“The (Kansas City) diocese has turned over all information we have about allegations pertaining to Bishop Hart to the Diocese of Cheyenne, which I understand they have shared with local law enforcement in Cheyenne,” said Jack Smith, a spokesman for the Missouri diocese.

The allegations are the latest against Hart, who has been dogged by claims that he serially sexually abused boys for decades. At least three Wyoming men have accused Hart, while the Kansas City diocese has settled lawsuits with 10 other alleged victims over the years, Smith told the Star-Tribune.

The true number of Hart’s alleged victims is likely unknown. In addition to the 10 men in Kansas City who have settled, the four who have accused Hart in the past year, and the three identified in Wyoming, there are others who attorneys say have not come forward publicly.

Hart has consistently denied any allegations of sexual abuse or misconduct at any point. An attorney for Hart has not responded to repeated phone and email messages seeking comment.

Smith said the four new allegations came from either the alleged victims themselves or from their relatives. He said the abuse detailed in those allegations span Hart’s entire career, including his 25 years as the leader of the Catholic flock in Wyoming, but Smith said none of the alleged abuse occurred in Cheyenne and that the victims were Missouri residents.

Conviction of DC predator priest leaves victim advocate hopeful

WASHINGTON (DC)
WTOP

August 16, 2019

By Nick Iannelli

The conviction of a D.C. priest on charges of child sex abuse left a local advocate impressed by the victims and hopeful for the future.

Becky Ianni, who leads a local chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said that she was particularly struck by the fact that young children had the courage to face a courtroom full of people and talk about what happened to them.

One of those children is a 12-year-old girl, who said Urbano Vazquez abused her when she was 9.

“I was also abused at the age of 9, and I didn’t tell anyone until the age of 48,” Ianni said. “The fact that she told someone and was willing to testify kind of blew me away.”

A jury convicted Vazquez on Thursday of inappropriately touching two children — the 9-year-old girl and a 13-year-old girl — at the Shrine of the Sacred Heart in Northwest D.C. between 2015 and 2017, when he was an assistant pastor at the parish.

Both victims took the stand and answered questions during the trial.

“The average victim doesn’t come forward for decades,” Ianni said. “That gave me a lot of encouragement and a lot of hope that maybe things are changing, and maybe victims are knowing that if they come forward, they will be believed.”

Vazquez is scheduled to be sentenced in late November.

“I hope it’s a very harsh sentence,” said Ianni. “Not only is that what he deserves for what he’s done, but that’s going to be a deterrent to anybody else out there who is going to be thinking about harming a child.”

Hundreds of New Child Sex Abuse Cases Are Flooding New York’s Courts

SAN FRANCISCO (CA)
Mother Jones

August 16, 2019

By Madison Pauley

When 52-year-old Michael Whalen stood up in front of the St. Louis Roman Catholic Church in downtown Buffalo, New York, in February 2018, to tell his story of being sexually abused by a priest as a teenager, it set off a Spotlight-style chain reaction. The accused priest, the Rev. Norbert F. Orsolits, told a news reporter who knocked on the door of his cottage that he had abused “probably dozens” of boys. Within weeks, the local Catholic bishop released a list of 42 clergy members from the Diocese of Buffalo who had been accused of abuse. Local journalists later identified 85. A federal grand jury reportedly started investigating a potential cover-up in the churches of western upstate New York.

But Whalen, who has spoken publicly about how the abuse had caused him to have problems with drugs, alcohol, and family relationships, could not sue the church for damages. New York state’s statute of limitations for a civil lawsuit had already expired. The church offered him less than $50,000 in a private settlement.

That changed yesterday, as New York’s Child Victims Act (CVA) went into effect, opening a one-year “lookback window” for survivors of child abuse across the state to file lawsuits against individuals and institutions, even if the statute of limitations had previously expired.

U.S. should probe clergy abusers

NEW YORK (NY)
Newsday

August 15, 2019

By John Salveson

I grew up attending St. Dominic Church in Oyster Bay, and beginning in 1969, at age 13, I was sexually abused by the Rev. Robert Huneke. He had befriended me and my family soon after arriving at the parish. My parents had no idea I was being abused. I was terrified, confused and paralyzed. I never told them of the abuse while it happened. He counted on my silence, as he did on the silence of the other children he abused.

I have been a survivor of clergy child sex abuse for nearly four decades, and an advocate for victims for 30 years. This summer marks an important anniversary for me: the first public disclosure of my abuse. Thirty years ago, I stood outside St. Patrick’s Church in Huntington after the 9 a.m. Mass. My father, brothers and I handed out copies of a letter to parishioners telling them I was abused by their parish priest, Huneke, and that I had told Bishop John McGann of the abuse nine years earlier. During those nine years, McGann moved the priest from parish to parish and school to school, giving him unfettered access to additional targets.

Our actions embarrassed the Diocese of Rockville Centre into removing my predator from active service as a priest. After he left the diocese, he had access to children as a school guidance counselor for more than 10 years.

Former St. Louis priest leaves Massachusetts state education post under scrutiny

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Post Dispatch

August 16, 2019

By Jesse Bogan

One of 64 men recently named by the St. Louis Archdiocese for having at least one substantiated allegation of clergy sexual abuse of a minor, or possession of child porn, left his job last week as an education official for the state of Massachusetts.

Keith M. Westrich, 64, of Boston, was put on administrative leave from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education shortly after the archdiocese here released its list of names July 26. Westrich was an associate commissioner who focused on preparing children for life after high school.

Westrich left the Massachusetts education department Aug. 9 with the intention to retire, said Jackie Reis, a spokeswoman for the state agency.

“He left after being placed on administrative leave and after being informed that we were looking into the circumstances of his name being on the St. Louis Archdiocese’s list,” Reis said.

Admitted serial predator priest to be sentenced

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

August 16, 2019

He’ll likely go back to prison for the second time

And another ‘just outed’ St. L cleric has quit his job

Archdiocese admits he’s ‘credibly accused’ of abuse

Still, he became a high-ranking state education official

SNAP blasts archbishop’s ‘accused’ list as “deceptive & incomplete”

WHAT
Using chalk, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will write names of dozens of alleged predator priests – most deemed ‘credibly accused’ by church officials elsewhere – who have been left off Archbishop Robert Carlson’s official list of clerics with substantiated abuse reports (which he recently posted on his website).

Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, they will also disclose that a just ‘outed’ St. Louis priest has quit his job as a high-ranking state education official in the wake of an abuse report against him surfacing publicly.

And they will urge:
---a judge to issue a long sentence to an admitted predator priest who goes to court Friday afternoon in Clayton, and
---the archbishop to add dozens more names to his ‘credibly accused’ clerics list.

WHEN
Friday, August 16 at 11:15 a.m.

Fr. Urbano Vazquez Found Guilty, SNAP Responds

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

August 16, 2019

A priest who had been accused of abusing at least two young girls in Washington D.C. has been found guilty. We are grateful for this verdict and again applaud the two young victims who testified in open court last week.

The bravery and courage of these young survivors should not have been needed in the first place, but we are glad that their testimony helped secure a guilty verdict against Fr. Urbano Vazquez. We hope that this verdict will encourage anyone who may have seen or suspected crimes by Fr. Vazquez or any other priest, nun, deacon or bishop to stand up and speak out. As these two young survivors have shown, speaking out is hard but it can lead to justice and prevention.

We hope that when he is sentenced that Fr. Vazquez will be giving the maximum possible sentence. Being abused carries a life sentence of pain and trauma and so we hope that a harsh punishment given to Fr. Vazquez can deter other potential abusers from preying on children in the future.

Danny Masterson, Church of Scientology sued for alleged rape cover-up, stalking

NEW YORK (NY)
Fox News

August 15, 2019

By Tyler McCarthy

Four women who previously accused actor Danny Masterson of rape have reportedly filed a lawsuit against him and also the Church of Scientology alleging that they were stalked and harassed by church members.

The women reported their cases to the LAPD in late 2016 and early 2017 regarding attacks that allegedly took place in the early 2000s. Masterson, who has denied the allegations several times and is a well-known Scientologist, is the subject of an ongoing investigation into the matter by police. However, his accusers are now taking legal action of their own.

RICO suit against Buffalo diocese alleges conspiracy in sexual abuse cases

DENVER (CO)
Catholic News Agency

August 15, 2019

Twenty-two plaintiffs filed a lawsuit Aug. 14 against the Diocese of Buffalo, a province of the Society of Jesus, multiple priests, eight parishes, three high schools, a seminary, among others, alleging “a pattern of racketeering activity” that enabled and covered up clerical sexual abuse.

The lawsuit was filed on the first day of a legal “window” allowing for sexual abuse lawsuits to be filed in New York even after their civil statute of limitations had expired.

Among the plaintiffs, who are not named, are several alleged victims of clerical sexual abuse. The lawsuit alleges specific instances of sexual abuse by priests, and claims that the diocese failed in its duty of care towards children by allowing abusive priests to have contact with minors through parishes and schools.

The suit says that priests named in the lawsuit, “used their positions of authority and trust over Plaintiff(s) to sexually abuse and injure them.”

“All the Defendant(s) knew and/or reasonably should have known, and/or knowingly condoned, and/or covered up, the inappropriate and unlawful criminal conduct activities” of sexually abusing priests, the lawsuit says.

Calling the diocese and affiliated organizations an “association in fact” for the purposes of federal racketeering laws, the suit alleged “common purpose” in “harassing, threatening, extorting, and misleading victims of sexual abuse committed by priests” and of “misleading priests’ victims and the media” to prevent reporting or disclosure of sexual misconduct.

August 15, 2019

Hubbard's past defenses of abusive priests - and of himself

ALBANY (NY)
Albany Times Union

August 14, 2019

By Lauren Stanforth

Former Albany bishop believed some pedophiles could be rehabilitated

On the 10th anniversary of Howard Hubbard's 1977 installation as the bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, the conversation about his leadership revolved around the topics of the day — from his hard-line stance against abortion to Hubbard's more progressive views on the death penalty and enhancing the role of laypeople in the church.

But only five years later, scandals involving clerical sexual abuse began to rock the Catholic church nationwide — and Hubbard started a journey that eventually saw him arguing that abusive priests could be rehabilitated. Hubbard was also forced to defend himself against accusations that he had been involved in sexual relationships with men, including a claims that he had paid for sex with a teenage boy.

A 2004 investigation paid for by the Albany diocese exonerated Hubbard. But a lawsuit filed Wednesday under the state's Child Victims Act alleges Hubbard and a Ballston Spa priest groomed and repeatedly sexually abused a 16-year-old boy in the 1990s. Hubbard's attorney denied the new allegations.

Diocese: One suspect in pending clergy sex abuse case was clergyman, one was 'altar server'

CASPER (WYOMING)
Casper News Tribune

August 15, 2019

By Seth Klamann

One of the two men Cheyenne police are recommending be charged related to clergy sex abuse decades ago was an "altar server," while the other was a member of the Catholic clergy in Wyoming, the Diocese of Cheyenne said in a statement that was confirmed by police.

The diocese declined to name either suspect, whom police said Wednesday they're recommending be charged in relation to sexual abuse of boys in the 1970s and 1980s. Police also have declined to name the men or provide any details about their identity, citing state statute.

Ex-seminarian tells sordid story of papal ally’s Argentine past

ORAN (ARGENTINA)
Crux

August 12, 2019

By Inés San Martín

For some months now, the scandal surrounding Argentine Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta, a friend of Pope Francis brought by the pontiff to Rome and given a key position in the Vatican’s financial colossus just as abuse charges were exploding back home, has taken center stage in terms of Vatican news.

Few, however, are likely to have the perspective on the story as “Lucas,” the chosen pseudonym of a former seminarian who spent four years in the Diocese of Oran once led by Zanchetta, where the ex-seminarian now claims he was manipulated and pressured into covering up concerns about the bishop.

Independent firm reviewing Charlotte Diocese’s priest files

CHARLOTTE (NC)
Catholic News Service via Crux

August 15, 2019

By Patricia L. Guilfoyle and SueAnn Howell

An independent investigative firm is reviewing the Diocese of Charlotte’s priest personnel files as part of the diocese’s effort to release the names of all clergy credibly accused of child sexual abuse, the diocese announced Aug. 12.

U.S. Investigative Security Services Agency of Charlotte is conducting a comprehensive review of all priest files since the diocese was established in 1972, searching for any indication of sexual abuse of a minor. Their task involves reviewing tens of thousands of pages in more than 1,000 files.

Any suggestion of abuse turned up will be forwarded to the diocese’s Lay Review Board to determine whether the allegations are credible, the diocese said in a statement.

Catholic priest found guilty of sexually abusing girls at his D.C. parish

WASHINGTON D.C.
Washington Post

August 15, 2019

By Keith L. Alexander

A Catholic priest was convicted Thursday of sexually abusing two girls at a D.C. church after an emotional trial during which prosecutors said he used his position of trust to victimize the young parishioners.

Urbano Vazquez, 47, showed no emotion as the jury foreman read the guilty verdicts in D.C. Superior Court.

The jurors found that Vazquez groped a 13-year-old girl in 2015 and kissed and groped a 9-year-old girl in 2016. The incidents happened while he was serving as an assistant pastor at the Shrine of the Sacred Heart in Columbia Heights.

“He took vows to act in a Godlike manner, to act like Jesus. But he did not act in a Godlike manner and forever changed the lives of these girls,” federal prosecutor Sharon Marcus-Kurn said in her closing argument as one juror nodded. “He wore priest’s clothes, but underneath was a devil to them, sexually assaulting them.”

Both victims took the witness stand during the nine-day trial in D.C. Superior Court. One told jurors she initially kept the incidents a secret from her mother because she feared “something worser would happen,” like “rape.” Another said she cried after Urbano slipped his hand under her bra as she was resting in a church office.

Vazquez was convicted of three charges of second-degree sexual abuse of a child and one count of misdemeanor sex abuse of a child. The jury also agreed with the prosecution that based on the ages of the victims and Vazquez’s role of leadership at the church, his penalty should be enhanced. Vazquez faces a maximum of 45 years in prison when he is sentenced Nov. 22.

Vazquez denied the allegations, and members of the church came to court to support him. Other parishioners, some wearing green ribbons, came to support the victims.

“This is a relief for the victims. We are sad for the community. But this is some justice. We now hope for healing moving on,” Alex Taliadoros, 27, a member of the church, said outside the courtroom after the verdict was read.

Prosecutors said Vazquez would isolate the girls and assault them, sometimes during Sunday morning Mass services in rooms outside the sanctuary.

One victim, now a teenager, testified how in 2015 when she was 13, Vazquez cornered her in a church office and, reaching down her blouse, groped her breast as her brother was asleep on the floor nearby.

The youngest victim, now 12, testified that she sang in the church choir and was an altar girl. She said at the end of one service, Vazquez kissed her, put his tongue in her mouth and grabbed her genitalia and buttocks.

“He was brazen. He got a thrill out of doing that during the Mass services, behind closed doors,” Marcus-Kurn argued during closing arguments Wednesday.

Marcus-Kurn told the jury Vazquez, like the other priests in his order, wore a robe with a rope around it. The ropes have three knots that symbolize the priests’ vows of poverty, obedience and chastity.

Marcus-Kurn said Vazquez, a Mexican native and American citizen, betrayed those vows at a place Marcus-Kurn said was more than a church building, but was for many members of the predominantly Latino parish, an extension of their own homes. She said they gathered there for regular celebrations and dinners in addition to worship services.

Vazquez, who was assigned to Sacred Heart 2014, is a member of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin, a fellowship of priests, and was not ordained by the Archdiocese of Washington. The archdiocese grants some Capuchins permission to work in its churches.

Authorities criticized the former leadership of the Shrine of the Sacred Heart after they learned that as early as 2015, church leaders were told of allegations Vazquez may have sexually assaulted a teenage member of the parish. Vazquez was allowed to remain at the church. After Vazquez’s arrest in November, his supervising priest was removed as pastor, and the church’s child protection coordinator was placed on leave.

Since his arrest, Vazquez has repeatedly denied the accusations. During trial, Vazquez took the stand and denied any of the incidents happened. He described his duties at the church and various missionary trips to El Salvador. He said he was never alone with any of the alleged victims.

There were no eyewitnesses to the incidents. During his closing arguments, Vazquez’s attorney, Robert C. Bonsib, challenged the credibility of the girls’ accusations, pointing out what he identified as contradictions between what they told the jury and what they originally told authorities or said in a grand jury proceeding.

One of the victims at one point told authorities she had stopped going to Vazquez for private confession, but told the jury she continued to see him. One victim testified she told another pastor Vazquez had touched her breast. But the pastor testified she told him Vazquez attempted to touch her breast.

Bonsib also said the girls were not able to give specific dates of the alleged assaults.

The jury deliberated less than a day before returning their verdicts.

Outside the courtroom, Bonsib said his client was “disappointed” in the verdict, but that they plan to appeal. Bonsib said his client was unfairly prejudiced when Judge Juliet J. McKenna allowed the two victims, as well as another alleged victim who was not part of the case, testify. Bonsib said the allegations should have been considered at separate trials.

Vazquez faces another trial of misdemeanor sexual abuse involving a woman who was also a member of the parish in 2017. Prosecutors have also said they identified another potential victim, but the statute of limitations expired in that case.

The U.S. attorney’s office noted it has set up a clergy abuse hotline at 202-252-7008 or USADC.ReportClergyAbuse@usdoj.gov for anyone who wants to report alleged abuse.

DC Catholic priest found guilty on 3 counts second-degree child abuse, 1 count misdemeanor child abuse

WASHINGTON D.C.
Channel 9 (WUSA-TV)

August 15, 2019

By Madisson Haynes, Eliana Block, Samantha Kubota

Vazquez was found guilty of inappropriately touching two underage girls inside the church between 2015-17
.
WASHINGTON — Father Urbano Vazquez, a Catholic priest at the Shrine of the Sacred Heart in Northwest, D.C., was found guilty Thursday of three counts of second-degree child abuse and one count of misdemeanor child abuse, Vazquez’s lawyer Robert Bonsib confirmed to WUSA9.

Jury selection began August 5, and the trial wrapped up Thursday in D.C. Superior Court.

Vazquez was found guilty of inappropriately touching two underage girls inside the church between 2015 and 2017.

DC Priest Found Guilty for Sexually Abusing Two Young Girls

WASHINGTON D.C.
Channel 4 TV

August 15, 2019

The Catholic priest accused of sexually abusing two children of his Washington, D.C., parish has been found guilty.

Urbano Vazquez was convicted Thursday on four felony counts of child sexual abuse.

Vazquez groped a 9-year-old girl and 13-year-old girl in 2016, two years after he was ordained as a priest in the Capuchin Franciscan religious order.

He denied ever touching the girls, and his lawyer said the allegations were fabricated and lacked common sense.

SNAP to NY Victims: “Now go to the police”

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

August 15, 2019

[Media Statement]

Children in New York are much safer now because hundreds of abusers were publicly exposed yesterday by brave victims of sexual violence, thanks to the window opened by the Child Victims Act. Now, we urge those survivors to take the next crucial step: reporting to law enforcement.

Often, the quickest way to protect children is to 'out' perpetrators. Thanks to these courageous victims, that happened many times yesterday. But the very best way to protect the vulnerable is to jail those who would prey on them. That can only happen when survivors call law enforcement and make a report. We urge every single person who filed a suit yesterday to call the police today, if they have not already done so.

It is our moral and civic duty to share with police and prosecutors what we know and suspect about possible child sex crimes and cover ups. It is the duty of law enforcement to determine what information might help charge and convict these wrongdoers and keep them from repeating those offenses.

Lawsuit: Former Albany Bishop Howard Hubbard sexually abused teen

ALBANY (NY)
Albany Times Union

August 15, 2019

By Steve Hughes, Rachel Silberstein and Mike Goodwin

Claim included among first lawsuits filed as Child Victims Act goes into effect

Former Bishop Howard Hubbard is accused of sexually abusing a 16-year-old boy during the 1990s, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday.

The suit was among 427 claims filed across the state Wednesday on the first day of the newly enacted Child Victims Act. They name as defendants individuals and organizations, including the Boy Scouts of America, Catholic dioceses and other religious groups such as Jehovah's Witnesses, which has its world headquarters in Orange County.

The suit accusing Hubbard claims he and the Rev. Paul Bondi of St. Mary's Parish in Ballston Spa abused a boy identified only by the initials P.R.

Former Albany Bishop Accused of Abuse in New York Lawsuit

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

August 15, 2019

[Media statement]

A former Catholic bishop from Albany is being accused of child sexual abuse according to a newly filed New York lawsuit. We hope that this news will encourage others who saw or suspected abuse to come forward and make a report to police.

Bishop Howard Hubbard is alleged to have molested a child in the 1990s while he was working as the Bishop of Albany. According to the lawsuit, Bishop Hubbard and another priest, Fr. Paul Bondi, abused the boy while he and his family were members of St. Mary’s Parish in Ballston Spa, NY.

This accusation now places Bishop Hubbard among dozens of bishops world-wide who themselves have been accused of child sexual abuse. Bishop Hubbard was also not the only Catholic prelate named in an abuse suit in New York; Bishop Robert Guglielmone of Charleston, SC was also accused in a lawsuit yesterday. These allegations are shocking but not surprising, especially after the Boston Globe and Philadelphia Inquirer pointed out earlier this year that one-third of all sitting U.S. Bishops have been accused of concealing abuse, and at least 15 of committing abuse or harassment.

Wyoming police who investigated ex-KC priest recommend charges in sex abuse cases

KANSAS CITY (MO)
Kansas City Star

August 14, 2019

By Judy L. Thomas

[VIDEO: ‘I couldn’t imagine that a man that I loved this much could do something so evil’]

Wyoming police are recommending that charges be filed against a member of the Catholic clergy and a person who was seeking membership in the clergy who police allege sexually abused male juveniles in the 1970s and ‘80s.

Though the suspects are not named, The Star previously reported that Cheyenne police were investigating allegations against Joseph Hart, a former Kansas City priest who later served as bishop of the Diocese of Cheyenne.

Hart would be the highest-ranking Roman Catholic cleric in the country to be charged with sexual abuse of a minor.

In a news release Wednesday, the Cheyenne Police Department said the suspects were not named because of a Wyoming law designed to protect the identity of victims in sex abuse cases.

Six dioceses join Boston archdiocese in implementing system to report bishop abuse

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Globe

August 14, 2019

By Emily Sweeney

Dioceses in four New England states have joined the Boston archdiocese in implementing an independent third-party system to report allegations of abuse and misconduct by bishops, church officials announced Wednesday.

The bishops of the dioceses of Fall River; Worcester; Springfield; Burlington, Vt.; Manchester, N.H.; and Portland, Maine, have agreed to join the archdiocese in using EthicsPoint as a way to report allegations and complaints involving bishops, the officials said in a statement.

The EthicsPoint system is made by a company based in Oregon and allows people to report allegations of sexual abuse, negligence, and other misconduct through a website, www.Bishopreporting.ethicspoint.com, or by calling a toll-free hot line, 844-762-5208.

“This confidential and independent system is designed exclusively for the reporting of the personal misconduct of a Cardinal, Bishop or Auxiliary Bishop of the dioceses in the Boston Province,” the EthicsPoint website states. “This may include allegations of sexual abuse, other criminal conduct, personal misconduct which is not criminal, or gross negligence in the function of their ministry. The system is independent from any of the Boston Province websites and intranets.”

At the June meeting of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, a measure was approved to establish a third-party national reporting system for allegations involving bishops by May 31, 2020, officials said in the press release.

“With the understanding that the implementation of the national system is months away, the bishops of the Boston Province agreed to join a program already established by the Archdiocese of Boston through an independent EthicsPoint website,” church officials said in the statement.

“Those who were sexually abused by clergy, along with their families and loved ones, must always be the central focus of our ongoing response to the sexual abuse of minors,” church officials said. “There is no doubt that they have suffered greatly. In order for the Catholic Church to continue to restore trust and credibility, leadership must be committed to transparency and accountability. We hope and pray that this effort will further strengthen the work begun nearly two decades ago to offer healing.”

Four New England states launch third-party reporting system for bishops

BOSTON (MA)
National Catholic Reporter

August 15, 2019

By Heidi Schlumpf

The U.S. bishops gave themselves until next spring to implement a new nationwide, third-party reporting system for complaints of misconduct against bishops, but at least one region has already launched its own confidential website and toll-free number for such reports.

But victims' groups and at least one attorney are skeptical about the new system, citing a lack of mandated lay involvement that they see as amounting to only "fraternal correction."

The bishops of the Boston Province — which includes the Boston Archdiocese and dioceses in four states: Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine — announced the new system Aug. 14. It includes a website and toll-free number operated by an outside firm, not directly by any of the dioceses or through their websites or intranets.

Alleged priest sex abuse victim claims he told Pope John Paul II about ordeal in confession

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Daily News

August 14, 2019

By Michael Gartland

The rot reaches all the way to the top.

That was the message James Grein delivered about the Catholic Church Wednesday outside St. Patrick’s Cathedral when he detailed the lawsuits he’s filing against the church and ex-priest Theodore McCarrick, who was defrocked earlier this year.

Grein claims that not only did McCarrick sexually abuse him for years, but that he reported the abuse to Pope John Paul II during a dramatic Vatican confession. The pope, he said, did nothing.

“He blessed me. He put his hands on my head. He dismissed me,” Grein told reporters outside the cathedral in midtown.

Grein, 60, of Virginia, has accused McCarrick of sexually abusing him since he was an 11-year-old boy growing up in New Jersey. Over the course of his church career, McCarrick served as bishop of the Metuchen and archbishop of both Newark and Washington D.C. He resigned last year from the College of Cardinals and moved to a monastery in Kansas. McCarrick, 88, was officially defrocked by church leaders in February.

Dear Catholic Church, Keeping Child Sex Abuse Secret Is Not Your God-Given Right

AUSTRALIA
10 Daily

August 15, 2019

By James Norman

Surely if there is one thing we can all agree on, it's that the right of children to live free from any kind of sexual abuse should be of paramount concern for all citizens in a civilised society.

And in order to protect those rights, anyone who receives knowledge of the abuse of a child surely has a legal and moral responsibility to report it to police. Such laws already exist for doctors, teachers, nurses, midwives, police and boarding school supervisors -- and so they should.

This week the Victorian government has introduced new legislation aimed at extending this obligation to religious leaders -- forcing priests to reveal to authorities any admissions of child sexual abuse made during church confessions.

The new law will apply to religious and spiritual leaders of all denominations, and includes a penalty of up to three years in jail for any religious leader who refuses to comply. Similar laws are already in place or soon to take effect in South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT.

Hundreds of Child Sexual Abuse Lawsuits Flood N.Y. Courts

NEW YORK
The New York Times

August 14, 2019

By Sharon Otterman

Wednesday was the first day in a one-year window allowing victims of child sexual abuse to file lawsuits, regardless of their age.

Theodore E. McCarrick, the prominent Roman Catholic cardinal who was defrocked early this year for sexual abuse, brought one of his victims, James Grein, then 30, to meet Pope John Paul II in 1988.

It was a private audience, Mr. Grein recalled as he became one of hundreds of people to begin filing lawsuits on Wednesday under the Child Victims Act. The new state law says that for one year, sexual abuse victims of any age in New York — including, crucially, those whose cases had expired under the old statute of limitations — can take legal action.

After Mr. McCarrick, then the archbishop of Newark, left the room, Mr. Grein said he knelt before the pope and revealed, in the presence of several Vatican officials, that Mr. McCarrick had been sexually abusing him since childhood.

“I told him I had been abused as a child by this man, and I need you to stop it,” said an emotional Mr. Grein, who is now 61. “He put both hands on my head, and told me he would pray for me.”

New revelations on sex abuse hit Chilean Church

ROSARIO (ARGENTINA)
Crux

August 15, 2019

By Inés San Martín

Just when you thought the situation in the Catholic Church couldn’t get worse, new allegations of clerical abuse and its cover-up have hit the press.

It has also become clear that the crimes committed by one of Chile’s once most-beloved priests exceeded what was originally thought. ...

... In recent months, the third most influential Catholic priest in Santiago’s modern history, the late Jesuit Father Renato Poblete, a Jesuit, fell from his pedestal.

Poblete, who died in 2010, was noted for his work with the poorest of the poor, and was considered by many as the successor of St. Alberto Hurtado, also a Jesuit.

Poblete is accused of sexually abusing 22 women, forcing at least one to have several abortions. Four of the women he allegedly abused were minors. One of them was a three-year-old when the abuse began; she was a daughter of one of the other women he abused.

The information comes from a study into Poblete ordered by the local Jesuit province. Earlier this month, they released some of the material gathered by lawyer Waldo Bown during his investigation into the allegations.

Chilean newspaper La Tercera obtained a copy of the report and published many key elements that had not been previously published by the Jesuits, leading several lay people in Chile to question the desire for transparency from the religious order.

Steve Boyd Files Dozens of Lawsuits Against Buffalo Diocese

BUFFALO (NY)
WBEN (930AM)

August 14, 2019

"We're all a part of a club that none of us want to be a part of."

The one-year lookback window under the Child Victims Act is now officially open, and we're already learning of hundreds of lawsuits filed against churches, schools and various other organizations throughout New York State.

On Tuesday, attorney Steve Boyd, who represents numerous victims of child sex abuse, announced that his law firm is filing 83 lawsuits against the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, and 30 against the Rochester Diocese on Wednesday.

"It's a big day - important day," said Boyd. "But, it's a day that comes to us because of a lot of suffering."

On this day, it's really all about the abuse victims and survivors who were brave enough the share their stories so that justice may yet be served.

NEW: Two current Diocese of Buffalo priests to be named in abuse suits

BUFFALO (NY)
WBEN Radio

August 14, 2019

"Yes, there are priests in the Diocese of Buffalo with allegations against them"

As the first day of filing opens under the New York Child Victims Act, dozens of suits have already been filed against the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo.

During an in-studio appearance on WBEN Wednesday morning, priest abuse survivor and advocate James Faluszczak announced suits are being filed against more priests actively serving in the diocese.

Faluszczak says a suit is being filed against Father Paul Nogaro who is currently serving at St. Stephen Church on Grand Island and is accused of abuse while serving at St. Mary of Sorrows. Additionally, Father Peter Popadick, longtime secretary to Bishop Edward Head and currently serving at St. Aloysius, is alleged to have committed abuse at Bishop Fallon High School.

'How America wanted to change the pope.'

VATICAN CITY
La Croix International

August 14, 2019

By Nicolas Senèze

Chapter 2: The accuser: How the ambitious and intriguing apostolic nuncio in Washington, Carlo Maria Viganò, develops his grievances against Pope Francis

Read exclusively the first chapters of the book by Nicolas Senèze, permanent special envoy of "La Croix" in Rome, to be published by Bayard Publishing on Sept. 4. Pre-order from your bookseller.

The man who accuses the pope is not unknown. Those who follow the Vatican closely remember that his name appeared at the very beginning of the "VatiLeaks" affair, those leaks of documents from Benedict XVI's own office and published in the media.

The scandal began on Jan. 25, 2012 when a letter from Archbishop Viganò to Benedict XVI appeared on the set of La7'sGliIntoccabili ("The Untouchables"), presented by journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi.

The archbishop, then Secretary General of the Governatorate of Vatican City State, urged Benedict XVI not to appoint him to the prestigious position of nuncio in Washington. "In other circumstances, this appointment would have been a cause for joy and a sign of great esteem and trust for me but, in the current context, it will be perceived by everyone as a verdict condemning my work and therefore as a punishment," he wrote. (1)

Australian court to rule next week on Cardinal Pell’s appeal

CANBERRA (AUSTRALIA)
The Associated Press

August 15, 2019

By Rod McGuirk

An Australian court will announce its verdict next week on the appeal of the most senior Catholic clergyman to be found guilty of child sex abuse.

Cardinal George Pell could walk free if the judges acquit him of the five convictions for molesting two choirboys in a cathedral more than two decades ago. They also could order a retrial, in which case Pell would be released on bail, or they could reject his appeal.

No matter the verdict by the Victoria state Court of Appeal, Pell’s case is likely to end up in the High Court, Australia’s final arbiter.

Timeline of Cardinal George Pell’s career and accusations

AUSTRALIA
The Associated Press

August 15, 2019

An Australian court will rule next Wednesday on the appeal for Cardinal George Pell on his five convictions for molesting two choirboys in a cathedral more than two decades ago.

Some events in Pell’s career and the criminal case:

July 16, 1996: Auxiliary Bishop George Pell is appointed Archbishop of Melbourne. He molests two choir boys that December inside St. Patrick’s Cathedral, according to testimony from one of the victims.

March 26, 2001: Pell becomes Archbishop of Sydney.

Oct. 21, 2003: Pope John Paul II makes Pell a cardinal.

Feb. 25, 2014: Pope Francis appoints Pell to the powerful position of Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy.

April 8, 2014: One of the molested choirboys dies of a heroin overdose without alleging the crime and having told his mother he had not been abused.

Aug. 5, 2014: Victoria state police establish Task Force Sano to investigate how religious and other nongovernment organizations handled abuse accusations.

June 18, 2015: The surviving choirboy gives his first statement to Sano detectives outlining criminal allegations against Pell.

Dec. 12, 2015: Australian media report that Pell has canceled an appearance before an Australian inquiry into how institutions responded to child sexual abuse. Pell said he could not fly back to Australia because of ill health.

Former Saints player's daughter, another man allege New Orleans clergy abuse in new lawsuits

August 15, 2019

By Ramon Antonio Vargas

The daughter of a former Saints football player is one of two people who filed new lawsuits Thursday in Civil District Court seeking compensation from the Archdiocese of New Orleans over allegations of clergy abuse dating back decades.

In her suit, Linda Lee Stonebreaker, whose father was Saints linebacker Steve Stonebreaker, says she was 4½ years old when a River Ridge priest named Louis LeBourgeois molested her while driving her home in 1968.

Stonebreaker’s suit says she reported her ordeal in 2014 to archdiocesan officials, who agreed to cover her therapy bills, suggesting they believed her. But then the archdiocese omitted LeBourgeois — who died in 2015 — from a Nov. 2 list of 57 clergymen who were considered credibly accused of child abuse.

The suit argues that omission violates transparency policies that the Catholic Church has adopted in its ongoing clergy molestation scandal.

The plaintiff in the second suit is an unidentified man who says he was a 10- or 11-year-old altar boy in 1982 when a Gentilly priest named Michael Fraser started molesting him, abuse he says continued for a decade. Fraser, who is still living, has tried to keep in touch with the plaintiff, attempting to contact him as recently as four years ago, the suit says.

Fraser is on the list of credibly accused priests released by the church.

Generally, statutes of limitation prevent plaintiffs from going to court to pursue damages for long-ago misdeeds.

But in her suit, Stonebreaker, 55, argues that the archdiocese’s decision to pay her therapy bills essentially invalidated any such limitation from applying in her case, because it was an acknowledgment that she had a right to pursue her claim in court.

Liberal white Catholic parish vs. new conservative black priest = clumsy Oregonian story

Get Religion blog

August 14, 2019

By Julia Duin

I attended college in southwest Portland; my first newspaper reporting job was just south of town; I have multiple friends in the area and my brother was an Oregonian reporter for 36 years.

In other words, I know a thing or two about the area, its people and the local media.

Religion coverage at the Oregonian has had some definite highs and lows in past decades. Highs were the coverage of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh in the 1980s, reporting by Mark O’Keefe in the 1990s and in recent years, Melissa Binder, who was on the beat for a short time. She then left the paper about a year ago.

The beat seems to be at a low point now, if the paper’s recent profile of a Catholic church torn by dissension is any indication. This story is so weak that it’s really hard to read.

Priest who joked about the sexual abuse of deaf kids is put on trial

Patheos blog

August 15, 2019

By Barry Duke

BACK in 2017, Nicola Corradi was filmed in Italy by an undercover reporter joking about the sexual abuse of impoverished boys and girls at Argentina’s Instituto Próvolo for deaf-mute children.

The frail Corradi, together with fellow priest Horacio Corbacho 61, and former gardener Armando Gómez, 49, is now on trial in Mendoza, Argentina. The trio face more than two dozen charges of sexual abuse and corruption of minors who were students at the Insititute, located in the town of Luján de Cuyo about 800 miles west of Buenos Aires.

In a written statement provided to the media, those who suffered abuse at the institution said of the accused clerics:

They’re monsters in cassocks who committed abominable crimes against minors. We note that the Catholic Church has given financial support to the defense of the accused. That the results of the canonical probe by Vatican representatives Dante Simon and Alberto Bochatey have not been released is clear evidence of a cover-up and is a mockery of the judiciary and society as a whole.

In an interview with an Italian journalist, Corradi laughed and unapologetically described the abuse of children. A video recorded at a hospital in Italy showed the elderly priest boasting about his crimes.

In total, 14 individuals stand accused of various crimes in three different cases involving more than 20 victims. All of the victims were minors at the time of the abuse. One boy was aged just four when he was first abused. In one case, Jorge Bordón, 50, has already pleaded guilty to charges. The other two cases involve nuns Kumiko Kosaka and Asunción Martínez, as well as several administrative staff members.

The trial is expected to go to the end of August. However, because there are approximately 200 witnesses who wish to prove that systematic abuse occurred not only in Argentina, but in Italy as well, it may go into September.

Former North Texas Muslim cleric ordered to pay $2.55M in sexual exploitation lawsuit

DALLAS (TX)
Dallas News

August 15, 2019

By Sarah Sarder and Dana Branham

A judge ordered a North Texas Muslim cleric to pay millions of dollars to a woman he is accused of sexually exploiting after counseling her for years.

Zia ul-Haq Sheikh, who has served as an imam at Dallas-area mosques, must pay $2.55 million for mental anguish and punitive damages and his accuser's legal fees, District Court Judge Emily Tobolowsky decided Thursday, according to a news release.

Sheikh had been working as an imam at the Islamic Center of Irving, one of the biggest mosques in Texas, when he allegedly exploited the woman, according to a lawsuit filed in July 2018 and later amended to include an allegation of sexual assault.

Sheikh said in an email Tuesday afternoon that he believed the judgment against him "is in error."

"Unfortunately, litigation in this country does not always favor the truth," he said. "In most cases, it boils down to how much financial stamina one has, and whether one has good legal representation."

NEW HARTFORD MAN SUES DIOCESE OF SYRACUSE, CAMP NAZARETH OVER PRIEST SEX ABUSE

NEW HARTFORD (NY)
WKTV TV

August 14, 2019

A man who claims he was sexually abused by a local priest as a boy has filed suit against the Diocese of Syracuse and other organizations.

In a lawsuit filed Wednesday in State Supreme Court in Syracuse, Steven Moran of New Hartford alleges he was sexually abused as a child by Thomas Neary, a priest who was assigned to St. John the Evangelist Church in New Hartford. Moran says from 1954-1960 Neary abused him at several locations in Central New York, including the church, Camp Nazareth in Woodgate, Neary’s parents’ house in Solvay, and in Neary’s car. Moran was approximately ten years old at the time of the alleged abuse.

Moran’s lawsuit alleges personal injuries, emotional distress, and anguish as a result of the sexual abuse. The lawsuit says the Diocese is responsible for monetary damages because they knew or should have known that Neary was a predator and allowed him to be a priest and have access to children anyway. St. John the Evangelist Church and Camp Nazareth are also named as defendants, as well as a second unidentified priest. Neary died in 2001 at the age of 83.

The suit comes on the first day of New York State’s new “Child Victims Act”, which allows people one year to file civil lawsuits that had previously been barred by the state's statute of limitations, which were among the nation's tightest. Lawmakers voted this year to extend the statute of limitations going forward and to create the one-year litigation window to give victims a new chance to file lawsuits.

Diocese: South Carolina's top Catholic named in NY sexual abuse lawsuit

GREENVILLE (SC)
Greenville News

Aug. 15, 2019

By Mike Ellis

South Carolina's top Catholic, Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone, was accused in a lawsuit today of sexually abusing a minor while a priest in New York 40 years ago.

Guglielmone denied the accusations in separate statements from the Diocese of Charleston and from a law firm representing him.

The lawsuit, filed in Nassau County, alleges Guglielmone "was known among the community and the children at the church as a sexual predator" and the South Carolina diocese should have known about his reputation.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a man who alleges that Guglielmone forced him, as an 8-year-old, to perform sexual acts 20 to 30 times in the rectory of St. Martin of Tours Church in Amityville, New York.

The lawsuit says the alleged abuse led the man to "became scared, anxious and (he) remains unable to leave his home." It led the man to cutting class and urinating on himself as a fourth grader and later to drugs and incarceration, according to the lawsuit.

Child Victims Act suits accuse 5 Buffalo priests still in ministry of abuse

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

August 14, 2019

By Jay Tokasz and Maki Becker

Lawyers on Wednesday filed more than 100 lawsuits in Western New York courts alleging child sex abuse by Catholic priests and nuns, Boy Scout leaders, teachers, a choir director, a neighbor and family members.

The vast majority of the lawsuits accused Buffalo Diocese priests of molesting children decades ago, including one case that dates back to 1948. Several priests were the subject of multiple accusations. Most of the priests identified in the lawsuits were deceased or already had been removed from public ministry due to abuse allegations.

But the filings also included the names of at least five priests still celebrating Masses, including the pastors of two suburban parishes who had not previously been accused.

August 14, 2019

Child Victims Act brings ‘hope’ to formerly abused kids: lawyer

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Post

August 14, 2019

By Priscilla DeGregory, Elizabeth Rosner and Lia Eustachewich

Hundreds of lawsuits hit state courts across New York on Wednesday, the first day the new Child Victims Act was in effect — with the majority of complaints targeting the Catholic Church.

“Today is a new day. It’s a day of hope,” said attorney Jeff Anderson at a press conference. “It’s a day in which . . . the survivors have an opportunity to not only have a voice but have their voice heard and through a public forum.”

One of Anderson’s clients, Jordan Caramanno, was a 16-year-old junior at St. Joseph by-the-Sea High School on Staten Island when he was allegedly molested by Monsignor John Paddack.

Paddack, he said, then tried to use his powerful position to silence the then-teen. “That was a very dark time in my life,” Caramanno said of the alleged abuse that occurred in 2001 and 2002. But Caramanno, 34, had a message for his alleged abuser, “You can’t run and hide anymore.”

He, like many others is suing the Archdiocese of New York, as well as St. Joseph by-the-Sea. Reached by phone, Paddack slammed Caramanno’s accusations as “totally false. Totally 100% false.”

Fifteen CVA suits naming three previously unnamed abusers were also filed on behalf of some 170 alleged child sex abuse survivors by the law firm Seeger Weiss LLP.

“Survivors will no longer be silenced,” said Stephen Weiss.

The CVA opened up a one-year window for survivors to file civil actions against abusers, regardless of how long ago the incident happened. Such claims were previously barred under the state’s statute of limitations.

Lex Filipowski, 54, filed his suit some 44 years after his alleged abuse stopped.

Epstein among targets as door opens to old sex abuse claims

ALBANY (NY)
Associated Press

Aug 14, 2019

By David Klepper

The Roman Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts, schools and hospitals, and the late financier
Jeffrey Epstein are some of the targets named in a flurry of sex abuse lawsuits filed Wednesday in New York as the state began accepting cases that had been blocked by an old statute of limitations.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of lawsuits are expected as plaintiffs rush to take advantage of the one-year litigation window, created by state lawmakers this year to give alleged abuse victims a second chance to sue over abuse that, in many cases, happened decades ago.

Those suing Wednesday include a woman who says she was raped by Epstein as a teenager in 2002. She is suing Epstein's estate and three of his associates.

Other high-profile lawsuits filed Wednesday include one from 45 former Rockefeller University Hospital patients who say a renowned endocrinologist molested hundreds of boys over more than three decades.

Hundreds of other people sued the church or one of its several New York dioceses. Among them is Peter Vajda, who said a religious brother molested him when he attended a Catholic boarding school in the Bronx in the early 1950s.

The brother is likely long dead, but the church survives. Early Wednesday, Vajda, now 75, filed a lawsuit naming the Archdiocese of New York as a defendant. Justice, he said, may have been delayed, but he won't let it be denied.

Longtime bishop's legacy tainted by sex abuse scandals

ONTARIO (CANADA)
London Free Press

August 14, 2019

By Jennifer Bieman

A funeral is set for longtime London-area Bishop John Sherlock, a retired Catholic leader some say has a mixed legacy amid clergy sex abuse scandals that shone a harsh spotlight on his diocese.

The former bishop, who spent more than two decades at the helm of the Diocese of London, died Monday at the age of 93.

Visitation will be held at St. Peter’s Cathedral Basilica, 196 Dufferin Ave, London, from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday and from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Friday, when Sherlock’s funeral mass will take place.

Born in Regina in 1926, Sherlock was raised in Brantford, one of eight children. He entered St. Augustine’s Seminary in Toronto after high school. Two of his brothers also became priests.

He was ordained in 1950, became the head of the Diocese of London in 1978 — a district that includes more than 130 parishes from Windsor to Huron County with about 440,000 parishioners.

He spent 24 years as the London-area bishop, championing changes to the diocese’s ministry directives and promoting social justice, Catholic health care and education throughout the region.

Lawsuit accuses bishop of Catholic Diocese of Charleston of sexually abusing minor

CHARLESTON (SC)
WCSC Channel 5 TV

August 14, 2019

The Catholic Diocese of Charleston says a lawsuit filed in New York names Bishop Robert Guglielmone and accuses him of sexually abusing a minor.

The lawsuit was filed in state court in Nassau County, New York, according to diocese spokesperson Maria Aselage. In the suit, an alleged victim accused Guglielmone of sexually abusing him during 1978 and 1979 while Guglielmone served as a priest at St. Martin of Tours
Catholic Church in Amityville, New York.

Attorneys Bruce Barket and Aida Leisenring, who are representing Guglielmone, released a statement through the diocese:
“These allegations are false, provably false. As the plaintiff admitted to a family member, he made this up in order to get money from the Church (“it’s worth a try,” the plaintiff said). Bishop Guglielmone is a good man who has devoted his entire career to the church, education, and community service. Although he was under no obligation to do so, he submitted himself to a polygraph examination, which he passed. We will not allow these false allegations to tarnish the outstanding and selfless work he has done throughout his life. We will see the plaintiff in Court and the Bishop will be cleared.”

Guglielmone himself also released a statement on the lawsuit:
“I understand that this individual filed a lawsuit against me today. The allegations are false. I engaged in no wrongdoing. I look forward to being vindicated in Court, and will refer specific questions about my defense to my attorneys, Bruce Barket and Aida Leisenring at Barket Epstein Kearon Aldea & LoTurco, LLP.”

Woman Accuses NY Priest of Rape, Kicking Off Dozens of New Clergy Sex-Abuse Lawsuits

NEW YORK (NY)
Daily Beast

August 14, 2019

By Olivia Messer

A New York woman who has waited decades to publicly accuse a Catholic priest of rape kicked off more than 100 lawsuits filed Wednesday after a new state law opened a one-year window for sexual-abuse survivors to seek justice.

The 36-year-old, identified by the pseudonym Jane Doe, filed suit against the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, claiming abuse by Father Ricardo Fajardo when she was a minor and he was working as a priest at the Church of St. Catherine of Genoa in Manhattan.

Doe’s suit, filed in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, alleges that she was raped by Fajardo, who “used his position as a dignified religious leader to ingratiate himself with [Doe’s] family as a trusted and respected individual.”

After volunteering to give her a ride home one day, Fajardo instead allegedly drove Doe back to the church rectory and invited her to lay in his bed. Then he gave her alcohol, groped and kissed her, and then raped her, according to the lawsuit.

Doe’s case is one of more than 100 lawsuits that were filed so far on Wednesday in 11 counties, mostly targeting Catholic dioceses in New York, by survivors of child sex abuse.

The suits were enabled by the state’s Child Victims Act, which passed in January and went into full effect at midnight Wednesday. The law removes the state’s statute of limitations on sex crimes against children and provides a one-year window, beginning Wednesday, to pursue legal action—no matter the age of the accuser, when the abuse occurred, or if the alleged perpetrator is alive or dead.

In addition to the new window, as of Wednesday, criminal charges can be filed against sexual abusers of children until accusers turn 28—up from age 23—in felony cases, and civil cases can be filed against abusers and institutions until the person making the claim turns 55.

More than 1,000 lawsuits took advantage of a similar one-year window in California in 2003, The New York Times reported.

Harrisburg diocese looks to atone with $12 million in payments to survivors

HARRISBURG (PA)
ABC 27 News

August 14, 2019

By Tin Nguyen

In the year since the Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg was reported to have maintained over hundreds of priest accused of sexual abuse crimes, they have attempted to make amends with the community.

Most recently, the Survivor Compensation Program was enacted by the diocese to serve as a means of reparations for the survivors of abuse, managed by private mediation firm Commonwealth Mediation and Conciliation, Inc.

112 survivors participated in the program with 106 survivors accepting an offer of compensation. $12.1 million total payments were made to survivors in the program.

The process of attempting to amend began with the removal of all bishops names from positions of honor within the diocese for failing to do enough to prevent childhood sexual abuse and of priests, deacons and seminarians named in the report.

The diocese additionally conducted nine listening sessions for church members and survivors to express their concerns and frustrations with the church.

Moving forward, the Harrisburg diocese looks to continually attempt to right an understated gross oversight by implementing more than a dozen procedures.

The diocese has contracted Janet McNeal, a retired Pennsylvania State Police Captain who oversaw Megan’s Law, to oversee the Diocese’s Safe Environment Program.

Flood of sex abuse lawsuits means we’ll never trust the same way again

STATEN ISLAND (NY)
Staten Island Advance

August 14, 2019

By Tom Wrobleski

The world is never going to be the same. Not for parents. Not for kids. Not for church parishioners or leaders, not for those involved in Boy Scouts or youth sports.

We may never look at the school teacher or the babysitter the same way, or the neighbor who offers to give our kids a ride home.

We will never again trust like we used to.

The floodgates are open, and lawsuits against accused sexual predators are pouring out. Well-known and popular priests, coaches and youth leaders are being accused of heinous crimes against children, including here on Staten Island.

It’s taken decades for this to come to light. Being a victim of sexual abuse was something that people just didn’t talk about, whether the accused molester was a family member or friend, a clergy member or a coach.

There was no framework for kids to come forward and express what happened to them. Some didn’t even understand that they’d been violated. They might have blamed themselves. Some parents wouldn’t have believed an accusation against a trusted member of the community, even if it meant disbelieving their own child.

Child Victims Act: the accused

ALBANY (NY)
Times Union

August 14, 2019

By Steve Hughes and Mike Goodwin

A number of lawsuits alleging sexual abuse within the Albany Roman Catholic Diocese were filed Wednesday.

What follows is a list of some of the religious leaders and others who were accused of sexually abusing children:

Bishop Howard Hubbard, the former leader of the Albany Roman Catholic Diocese, accused of sexually abusing a 16-year-old parishioner at St. Mary's Church in Ballston Spa in 1990s. A lawyer for Hubbard said the accusation is false.

Rev. Paul Bondi, former priest St. Mary's Church Ballston Spa, accused of sexually abusing the same plaintiff as Hubbard when the plaintiff was between the age of 12 and 15.

Rev. Edward Pratt, a former priest at St. Catherine's Center for Children, accused of grooming and sexually abusing a boy between the ages of 11 and 15 in the 1980s.

Rev. Joseph Romano, a former priest LaSalle School in Albany, accused of sexually abusing Steven Narbon when Narbon was between the ages of 15 and 16 in 1980 and 1981.

Brother Clement Murphy, an former administrator at St. Paul the Apostle Parish and School in Schenectady, accused of abusing a girl between the age of 7 and 10 between 1964 and 1967.

New England Bishops Institute Yet Another System to Handle Abuse Allegations Against Bishops, SNAP Responds

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

August 14, 2019

Church officials from the Boston Province have instituted a new “independent” system for reporting allegations against bishops. We believe that rather than institute new systems for these kind of reports, people should be encouraged to make reports directly to police and prosecutors instead.

Since 2002, bishops have promised that “fraternal correction” would help ensure that reports of child abuse were taken seriously, routed to the proper places, and that zero tolerance would be enforced. Yet as we have seen, these internal church systems and procedures have not been enough, and what reforms and discipline that we have seen has come from secular officials, not religious ones.

This move by bishops from the Boston Province seems to us to be yet another promise to self-police. The EthicsPoint system will divorce the bishops from the process of investigating themselves, but it remains an internal system, with reports routed to the Apostolic Nuncio instead of police.

Bishops do not conceal or ignore cases of sexual violence because there is a lack of processes or mechanisms. It is hard to see how this move by the church officials in New England will do anything to change that.

It is notable that this news comes the same day that criminal charges appear to have been recommended against former Cheyenne bishop Joseph Hart, charges that were only possible because the current bishop, Steven Biegler, gave information to secular authorities and encouraged them to investigate.

They normalized a culture of child rape and then asked us to sign away our rights

HARRISBURG (PA)
Patriot News

August 14, 2019

By Jay Sefton

If the Catholic Church had offered me any amount of money in 2007 when I reported the sexual abuse I experienced as a child, I would not be writing this.

I was a 36-year-old active alcoholic struggling to make ends meet and ruining relationships with the people I loved. My abuse came from a pedophile priest named Thomas Smith who cast 13-year olds in a Passion Play he directed every year at my grade school. It was his way of satisfying his “depraved and sadistic” sexual desires, as documented in the 423-page Grand Jury Report from 2005 covering abuses in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. I played Jesus.

The Independent Reconciliation and Reparations Program (IRRP) began in November of 2018 and ends this fall. Catholic Church child abuse survivors can file claims to be reviewed by the administrators of the program, Kenneth Feinberg and Camille Biros. A New York Times article, “From 9/11 to Orlando, Ken Feinberg’s Alter Ego in Compensating Victims,” reports, “The goal with many of these payments is grounded in stark financial reality: Offer victims enough compensation quickly enough, and they will agree not to sue.”

When I called the victims’ assistance hotline in 2007, I was offered therapy. With a skilled therapist, I began the long road of untangling the abuse and deceit I had been exposed to for the first eighteen years of my life. Violent nuns (not all of them) and predatory priests (not all of them) did most of the heavy lifting to shape my self-loathing. I was baptized into a culture of shame and fear that equated being assertive with being selfish, self-love with sinning. I was trained to be a well-behaved Catholic boy who didn’t question authority. During therapy, I regained two things the Catholic Church had stolen from me—my voice and my ability to think critically.

Popular Chicago Priest Accused of Abuse

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

August 14, 2019

A former US senator is defending an accused predator priest using inappropriate and hurtful language that will likely discourage other victims, witnesses and whistleblowers from reporting suspected child sex crimes to authorities. We call on her to apologize for her comments that could intimidate survivors.

Last week, Carol Moseley Braun expressed support for Fr. George Clements, a Chicago archdiocesan priest recently accused of abusing a child. She told the Sun-Times that “if somebody is coming now to decap him, then I think that’s terrible. I don’t know the nature of what the allegations are. I can tell you, if there’s anybody I’d take a bullet for, it would be Father Clements.”

She is no doubt well intentioned and within her rights to defend an accused abuser. Unfortunately, her remarks also hurt victims and endanger children.

When influential individuals, especially those who admit knowing little or nothing about an abuse report, immediately rally to the side of an alleged child molester this hurts all victims. It says to them “nothing will ever change,” “people disbelieve those who report,” “powerful people always prevail,” and “your pain does not matter.”

Such words also make it less likely for those who see, suspect or suffer sex crimes to speak up, expose molesters and safeguard others, endangering even more children. Many abuse victims believe the deck is stacked against them and that their perpetrators have powerful friends who will back them and make disclosing abuse futile or even potentially dangerous.

Wyoming Law Enforcement Recommends Charges Against Two Catholic Clergymen, SNAP Responds

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

August 14, 2019

Following a review of accusations of child abuse, authorities in Wyoming have recommended that charges be brought against two unnamed Catholic priests. We are grateful for this development and hope that it encourages others who experienced abuse to come forward and make a report to law enforcement.

According to the Star-Tribune, the announcement from Cheyenne police said that “the investigation stemmed 'from a case initiated in 2002 that was reopened in 2018’ amid new information provided to authorities by the Diocese of Cheyenne." Those particulars match what is publicly known about the allegations against former Bishop Joseph Hart.

Though this move is long overdue, we are glad that apparently the accusations against Bishop Hart have finally been investigated by police and that charges have been recommended. At the same time, cases like these are often difficult to prosecute, so we encourage anyone with information or suspicions about the former bishop to find the courage to call law enforcement immediately.

Victims blast US nuns organization

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

August 14, 2019

It’s meeting now in Scottsdale for 3 days

“Sisters are being reckless,” group says

SNAP: “We’ve been ‘repeatedly rebuffed by nuns

Group wants national data base of predatory sisters

“The nuns are more secretive even than the bishops,” victims say

It’s been 15 years since SNAP 1st sought help, unsuccessfully, from LCWR

WHAT
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, survivors of abuse by nuns and priests will prod the largest US nuns’ group to
--let adults sexually abused by nuns speak at their conference,
--mount an ‘aggressive outreach drive’ to find and help others violated by nuns, and
--post names of credibly accused child molesting nuns on its website.

They will also
--urge the roughly 17 US attorneys general who are investigating clergy sex crimes and cover ups to include nuns and their victims in these probes and
--beg “anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered” wrongdoing by nuns to “come forward, start healing, protect others and call law enforcement.”

WHEN
Wednesday, August 14 at 2:30 p.m.

Police recommend charges against two men for alleged clergy sexual abuse decades ago

CASPAR (WY)
Star Tribune

August 14, 2019

By Seth Klamann

Cheyenne police are recommending charges for two men -- one a clergyman, the other who was attempting to become a clergyman -- who are accused of sexually abusing boys in the 1970s and 1980s.

The announcement by Cheyenne police, who did not name the two suspects, comes after a 16-month investigation, according to a department press release. The affidavits recommending the charges have been forwarded to the Laramie County District Attorney's Office, and the documents "outline how two members of the Catholic Clergy sexually abused male juvenile victims in the 1970's and 1980's," according to the the release.

Cheyenne police originally said both men were clergymen. The department issued a clarification just before 1 p.m. that one of the two men was a member of the clergy at the time of the alleged abuse, while the other man was "seeking membership in the Catholic Clergy at the time of the offenses."

The release says that the investigation "stems from a case initiated in 2002 that was reopened in 2018" amid new information provided to authorities by the Diocese of Cheyenne.

In 2002, a man told Cheyenne Police that he had been sexually abused by former Bishop Joseph Hart in the mid-1970s. Police recommended that investigation be closed, citing a lack of evidence, and Natrona County District Attorney Kevin Meenan formally did so later that year.

Citing state statute, Cheyenne police spokesman Kevin Malatesta declined to provide any details about the suspects' identities, other than that they were tied to the clergy. He declined to detail the allegations against them, whether their abuse was at all related, or say how many victims authorities had identified of the two men. He said the affidavits providing further information would be made public if and when the two men are charged.

He said police sent the charging documents to the district attorney's office Wednesday and said he wasn't sure what prosecutors' timeline would be. Laramie County District Attorney Leigh Anne Manlove was not immediately available for comment early Wednesday afternoon.

New York court system sets aside 45 judges to deal solely with new child sex abuse lawsuits

NEW YORK (NY)
CNN

August 14, 2019

By Eric Levenson

The New York State Court system is expecting so many lawsuits as part of a new child sex abuse law that 45 judges have been set aside to deal exclusively with them, spokesman Lucian Chalfen said.

The New York Child Victims Act, signed into law on February 14, expands the ways that those who suffered sexual abuse as children can use the legal system to address the damage.
In particular, the law created a one-year period, starting Wednesday, when any adult survivors of child sexual abuse can sue an abuser or a negligent institution, no matter how long ago the abuse took place.

The designated 45 judges, including 12 in New York City, make up just a fraction of the state's 1,350 paid judges, but they are preparing for an "influx" of lawsuits, Chalfen said. Lawsuits are expected to be filed against the Archdiocese of New York, Jehovah's Witnesses, Rockefeller University, the Boy Scouts, Jeffrey Epstein and others on Wednesday.

"The revived Child Victims Act cases are critically important cases, raising numerous challenging legal issues, that must be adjudicated as consistently and expeditiously as possible across the state," Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence K. Marks said. "We are fully committed to providing appropriate and sufficient resources to achieve that goal."

The idea behind the law is that many victims of child sexual abuse keep it a secret for years, well beyond the previous statute of limitations, out of shame and fear.

Cheyenne Police Recommend Criminal Charges Against Retired Wyoming Bishop

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Tablet

August 14, 2019

By Christopher White

Cheyenne’s police department is recommending that charges be brought against two members of the Catholic clergy for abuse during the 1970’s and 1980’s.

While state law prevents the suspects from being, a press release on Wednesday said the investigation “stems from a case initiated in 2002 that was reopened in 2018 when new information was produced and provided to the Cheyenne Police Department by an independent investigation conducted by the Wyoming Diocese of the Catholic Church.”

The subject of that 2002 investigation centered around Bishop Joseph Hart, who was bishop of Cheyenne from 1978 until his retirement in 2001.

Opinion: Jeffrey Epstein Raped Me When I Was 15. Now I’m suing his estate and accomplices.

NEW YORK (NY)
The New York Times

August 14, 2019

By Jennifer Araoz

Ms. Araoz has filed a lawsuit against the estate of Jeffrey Epstein.

The first time I stepped into Jeffrey Epstein’s mansion on the Upper East Side in the fall of 2001, I noticed his security cameras. They were hard to miss. Inside the front door, he had small TVs playing the footage in real time. I was a child, just 14 at the time. But the message was clear: I was in the house of someone important and I was being watched.

I can still remember watching myself on those screens as I walked into the house of the person I came to know as a predator, a pedophile, my rapist.

I’m filing a civil action against Jeffrey Epstein’s estate and accomplices today, under New York’s Child Victims Act. A key provision of the law goes into effect today and allows survivors to revive claims if the statute of limitations had expired.

Epstein was found dead, apparently by suicide, in his jail cell last week. I’m angry he won’t have to personally answer to me in the court of law. But my quest for justice is just getting started.

Lawsuits alleging sexual assaults filed against Jesuit seminarian, former PSU professor

STATE COLLEGE (PA)
WJAC

August 13, 2019

By Sierra Darville

Two lawsuits were filed Tuesday alleging a Jesuit seminarian and former Penn State University professor sexually assaulted two children and raped one of them years after his superiors were made aware of his admission to crime against children.

According to a press release, Father Leonard Riforgiato was transferred from New York to Our Lady of Victory Church in State College.

The release states Riforgiato was an associate professor at the Shenango Valley Campus of Penn State, where he taught for 27 years, and focused on youth activities.

He Says a Priest Abused Him. 50 Years Later, He Can Now Sue.

NEW YORK (NY)
The New York Times

August 13, 2019

By Rick Rojas

A new law has created a “look-back window,” during which claims that had passed the statute of limitations can be revived.

Major institutions across New York State, from the Catholic Church to the Boy Scouts of America to elite private schools, are bracing for a deluge of lawsuits now that adults who said they were sexually abused as children will be entitled to pursue formal legal action.

New York joined more than a dozen states this year in significantly extending statutes of limitations for filing lawsuits over sexual abuse. Previously, the state had required that such suits be filed before a victim’s 23rd birthday.

Under the new law in New York, the Child Victims Act, which was approved by the Legislature in January, accusers will be able to sue until they are 55.

The new law includes a one-year period, known as a look-back window, that revives cases that had expired, in many instances decades ago, under previous statutes of limitations.

Teacher accused of sexual misconduct at Pa. Capitol touched students’ buttocks, made lewd comments: police

PENNSYLVANIA
Penn Live

August 13, 2019

By Sean Sauro and Charles Thompson

A Catholic high school teacher from Cambria County who is facing charges of sexual misconduct in the state Capitol is accused of touching two female students on the buttocks and making lewd comments.

That’s according to charging documents filed by Pennsylvania Capitol Police against James E. Luksik, 68, of Johnstown who faces a dozen charges in Dauphin County, including six felonies.

Luksik — who teaches history, geography and sociology at Bishop Carroll Catholic High School in Ebensburg, Cambria County — is the husband of prominent Pennsylvania conservative activist Peg Luksik, who ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor in 2018.

Grand jurors put 'heart and soul' into report on clergy abuse, judge says

PITTSBURGH (PA)
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

August 14, 2019

By Peter Smith

He’s heard the often-quoted saying by a New York jurist — that grand jurors are such pawns of prosecutors, they would “indict a ham sandwich” if asked to do so.

But Judge Norman A. Krumenacker III said the grand jurors he supervised were anything but passive when they prepared a landmark report, released a year ago Wednesday, detailing a sordid history of sexual abuse and cover-up within six Catholic dioceses across Pennsylvania.

Judge Krumenacker is standing by their work, even if it drew scrutiny to grand jury processes that may make it the the last report of its kind in Pennsylvania.

He was the supervising judge of the 40th statewide grand jury, which issued the report about dioceses including Pittsburgh and Greensburg.

Erie’s Persico: Grand jury report ‘must be remembered’

ERIE (PA)
GoErie

August 14, 2019

By Ed Palattella

Bishop also urges prayer, healing in letter issued on 1st anniversary of release of report on clergy sex abuse statewide.

Erie Catholic Bishop Lawrence Persico said he remains committed to helping victims and eradicating clergy sex abuse a year after the state attorney general released the groundbreaking grand jury report on abusive Roman Catholic clerics statewide.

“My apology is only one step in the long and complex process of healing,” Persico wrote in a letter to the faithful dated Wednesday. “I know words mean very little without action. The Diocese of Erie has taken many important steps in the last year, and will continue on this path.”

“Some could be tempted to want to close this chapter of our history and move on, but that would be a disservice not only to survivor/victims, but also to the faithful who fill our pews every Sunday,” Persico also wrote in the letter, which the diocese said would be shared with parishioners this Sunday.

Pell takes issue with Francis from prison

AUSTRALIA
The Tablet

August 13, 2019

By James Roberts

Pell: 'Amazon or no Amazon, in every land, the Church cannot allow any confusion, much less any contrary teaching, to damage the Apostolic Tradition'

Cardinal George Pell has written a letter from prison in which he appears to take issue with the idea of the forthcoming Amazon synod as conceived by Pope Francis.

The letter was posted on Twitter by the Cardinal George Pell Supporters account. Because prison inmates are not allowed to post on social media or ask others to post for them, the justice authorities in Victoria are now investigating whether the letter is in breach of prison rules. “Any prisoner found to be contravening prison regulations faces disciplinary action,” a justice department spokeswoman said.

The twitter account, which used the handle @pellcardinal, has now been deleted.

3rd parishioner testifies that priest groped her as a child

WASHINGTON (DC)
Associated Press

August 12, 2019

A third parishioner has testified that a Washington, D.C., priest groped her as a child, first caressing her thigh during a "face-to-face" confession and then groping her chest.

The 47-year-old priest Urbano Vazquez is on trial on child sex abuse charges.

The Washington Post reports the 18-year-old woman told the court that Vazquez first touched her thigh when she was 13 in spring 2015. She testified that weeks later, Vazquez shoved his hand into her bra as she sat in a church office. Another woman testified Vazquez kissed her when she was 16 in 2015, a year after he was ordained. And a 12-year-old girl testified that Vazquez groped and kissed her when she was 9 and 10.

The priest's lawyer says the allegations are fabricated and lack common sense.

Today's Child Victims Act filings detail heart-wrenching stories of sexual abuse

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

August 14, 2019

By Aaron Besecker, Mary B. Pasciak, Matthew Spina and Dan Herbeck

A monsignor who is now pastor at a Cheektowaga church is among the accused child molesters named in one of the 101 Child Victims Act lawsuits filed early Wednesday in Erie, Niagara and Cattaraugus counties.

Monsignor Peter Popadick, who is pastor of St. Aloysius Gonzaga Church and who was the secretary for former Buffalo Diocese Bishop Edward D. Head, is accused of being one of four priests who raped and molested a boy, beginning when he was 10 or 11.

Most of the lawsuits target the Buffalo Diocese, but the Boy Scouts of America, the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, the East Aurora School District, the Jesuits and other organizations are also named as defendants. At least 94 of the lawsuits are against the Diocese of Buffalo.

A one-year "look-back" window opened at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday under a new state law that gives abuse victims a year to file claims that previously were prohibited from moving forward in court. Below is a look at some of the Child Victims Act lawsuits filed Wednesday.

This is a developing story. Information about additional lawsuits will be added as filing continues throughout the day Wednesday. The Buffalo News will try to contact the defendants and people accused of wrongdoing in the lawsuits, and will add their comments. Check back for updates.

Roman Catholic dioceses in four New England states join third-party system for reporting misconduct by bishops

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
The Republican

August 14, 2019

By Ray Kelly

Roman Catholic dioceses in four New England states have launched an independent third-party system to report misconduct by bishops related to sexual abuse or any cover-up of clergy abuse.

The bishops of the Boston Province agreed to join a program already established by Cardinal Seán Patrick O’Malley of the Archdiocese of Boston through an independent EthicsPoint website. The Boston Province includes the Archdiocese of Boston; Diocese of Fall River; Diocese of Worcester; Diocese of Springfield; Diocese of Burlington, Vermont; Diocese of Manchester, New Hampshire; and the Diocese of Portland, Maine.

The late Thomas L. Dupre, the first Roman Catholic bishop in the United States to be indicted on a sexual-abuse claim, resigned as Springfield bishop in February 2004, a day after The Republican confronted him with allegations that he had abused two young men. More recently, allegations have surfaced that late Springfield Bishop Christopher J. Weldon abused a man decades ago. Retired Judge Peter Velis is leading a diocesan probe into the allegations against Weldon.

The Boston Province bishops agreed to make a reporting system available now in the wake of Pope Francis’ Vos Estis Lux Mundi letter on clergy sexual abuse.

“I am grateful to Cardinal O’Malley for his leadership in implementing this important facet of Vos Estis Lux Mundi here in the Boston Province," said the Most Rev. Mitchell T. Rozanski, bishop of the Springfield diocese, in a statement on Wednesday. "This is an important step in assuring accountability for bishops in continuing to be vigilant in our church for the safe environment of all our members, particularly our most vulnerable.”

Diocese of Harrisburg pays out $12 million to victims of clergy sex abuse

HARRISBURG (PA)
Patriot News

August 14, 2019

By Ivey DeJesus

More than 100 survivors of clergy sex abuse accepted compensation payouts totaling $12 million, the Diocese of Harrisburg announced on Wednesday, the one-year anniversary of the release of the landmark grand jury report into child sex crimes in the Catholic Church across Pennsylvania.

In a written statement, diocesan officials noted that 112 survivors had participated in the compensation program; 106 had accepted offers. Payment amounts totaled $12.1 million. The average payout to those accepting offers was about $114,000.

The diocese launched its compensation program in February. Those wishing to apply for compensation had to do so by mid-May.

Bishop Ronald W. Gainer highlighted the efforts on the part of the diocese over the past year to support survivors and make the diocese a safer place for children.

“In my own name, and in the name of the Diocesan Church of Harrisburg, I express our profound sorrow and apologize to the survivors of child sex abuse, the Catholic faithful and the general public for the abuses that took place and for those Church officials who failed to protect children," he said in the written statement. "We have and continue to take steps forward to support survivors and ensure these abuses never occur again.”

One year after clergy sex abuse report in Pa., much has changed, much has not

HARRISBURG (PA)
Patriot News

August 14, 2019

By Ivey DeJesus

One year ago today, Pennsylvania emerged at the epicenter of the global clergy sex abuse crisis.

The 40th Statewide Investigating Grand Jury outlined in horrific details the criminality and concealment of child sex crimes on the part of the Catholic Church in Pennsylvania.

The report seemed a watershed moment for victims and for advocates looking to reverse decades of legal inaction against church officials.

The 18-month-long investigation - the most exhaustive state investigation into clergy sex abuse - uncovered decades-long abuse and concealment of thousands of children at the hands of more than 300 clergy across six dioceses, including the Diocese of Harrisburg.

"Predators in every diocese weaponized the Catholic faith and used it as a tool of their abuse," Attorney General Josh Shapiro said last August as he released the findings of the investigation, surrounded by several dozen victims of child sex abuse.

The 900-plus page report became the gold standard, and in swift order, galvanized dozens of prosecutors across the country to launch their own investigations. Approximately 20 states attorney generals have launched investigations; dozens of district attorneys have followed suit.

By the fall, federal prosecutors had opened their own investigation, using subpoenas to demand secret files and testimony from high-ranking church leaders. The ongoing investigation marks the first such probe ever launched by the U.S. Justice Department into the Roman Catholic Church.

Momentum from the report renewed efforts in the Pennsylvania Legislature to strengthen laws to protect victims and prosecute predators and those who shield them.

'Long time coming': Emotions run high as survivors file Child Victims Act lawsuits

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

August 13, 2019

By Maki Becker

Forty-nine years ago he was told he should be excommunicated when he reported that a priest at Fourteen Holy Helpers Church in West Seneca had molested him.

Twenty-five years ago he was told that he couldn't sue the priest or the church because the statue of limitations on such cases had run out.

On Wednesday, just after the stroke of midnight, Chris Szuflita saw a measure of justice he never dreamed he'd see.

He was among the very first people to sue under the Child Victims Act.

As of about 6 a.m. Wednesday, 95 lawsuits had been filed in Erie County. Ninety-two of them were against the Diocese of Buffalo; the other defendants included the East Aurora School District and the Boy Scouts of America.

At 12:01 a.m., Szuflita stood quietly behind a paralegal and an assistant seated at a computer desk in the Amherst law offices of Steve Boyd as he carefully typed in his name and the defendants' names – the diocese, Fourteen Holy Helpers and five unnamed people – and uploaded a summons and complaint into the court system.

Paper boy reported sex abuse to Bishop McNulty in 1965, got $5 tip in return

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

August 14, 2019

By Jay Tokasz

Retired parole officer Angelo J. Ervolina said he first met Bishop James A. McNulty in 1965 on his newspaper route, which included the bishop's mansion on Oakland Place.

Ervolina said he proudly told the bishop he was heading soon on a trip to New York City with his parish pastor, Monsignor Michael J. Harrington.

But when the bishop asked him later about the trip, Ervolina wasn't so cheerful. Instead of telling McNulty about the sites he had visited, Ervolina said he revealed that Harrington had fondled him while he took a bath in the hotel room he shared with the priest. Ervolina said he was about 10 years old at the time.

McNulty promised he would “take care of it,” Ervolina recalled. The bishop then handed him a generous tip for delivering the newspaper: $5 on a 55-cent subscription bill, he said.

As a boy, Ervolina said he assumed the bishop would take care of it. But in hindsight he believes McNulty dismissed his claim. Harrington spent 25 years as pastor of Immaculate Conception Church on Edward Street, retiring in 1985. The diocese didn't identify Harrington as a child molester until March 2018.

Ervolina refuses to be dismissed any longer. More than a half-century after the alleged abuse, he filed a lawsuit early Wednesday morning against the Buffalo Diocese, saying he wanted to make certain what happened to him doesn’t happen to another child. He’s being represented by Amherst attorney Steve Boyd and the law firm of Jeff Anderson & Associates in Minnesota.

Diocese of San Diego Bans Communication Between Priests and Minors, SNAP Reacts

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

August 13, 2019

A Catholic bishop in California is forging ahead on his own to find new ways to combat clergy sexual abuse scandals. We appreciate these efforts but believe that it is only actions and not words that can be taken at face value.

Bishop Robert McElroy took the unprecedented step of calling every member of the Archdiocese of San Diego together in order to discuss responses to the abuse crisis. The district attorney will also be there. But while the scale of this meeting and the representation of law enforcement may be unprecedented, its content does not appear to be.

The simple fact is that many discussions and meetings on the abuse crisis have taken place over the years. From the Pope’s meeting in February to the annual meetings of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, survivors and advocates have watched and waited as meetings of powerful men come and go, often with a lot of tough language but little actual change. We hope that the case will be different in San Diego.

One way of ensuring that it this meeting is different is to give experienced abuse survivors and advocates a chance to speak.

Bishop Zubik reflects on clergy sex abuse 1-year after grand jury report

PITTSBURGH (PA)
Tribune Review

August 14, 2019

By Tawnya Panizzi

Bishop David Zubik outlined a renewed commitment to healing victims, financial transparency and continued listening one year after the release of the state’s grand jury report on child sex abuse by Catholic clergy.

“The church is profoundly indebted to those courageous victims/survivors who have helped us grow in understanding the damage caused by sexual abuse and of how the church community can offer them understanding and support,” Zubik, the head of the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, said in a statement released today.

The grand jury report from August 2018 documented allegations of child sexual abuse by 301 Catholic priests and the subsequent cover-ups by church officials. It covered six of the state’s eight dioceses — including those in Greensburg and Pittsburgh — and identified 1,000 victims.

Church leaders have since established compensation funds amid growing calls for changes in the statute of limitations law that could make the church liable in court for incidents dating back decades.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro said the grand jury report unleashed a wave of new abuse reports. As of Aug. 7, his office had logged 1,862 new complaints since the 2018 release of the report.

Cincinnati archbishop admits to mistakes handling grooming allegations against priest

GREEN TOWNSHIP (OH)
WKRC TV

August 12, 2019

By David Winter

More allegations of inappropriate behavior by a priest were heard this weekend by thousands of Catholics in the Tri-State.

The archdiocese distributed a letter to the area's 150 priests, several of whom chose to share it with their parishioners. The letter refers to Fr. Geoff Drew, who was the pastor of St. Ignatius of Loyola in Green Township before allegations of inappropriate behavior caused his removal.

Since then, the archdiocese reports many from its flock have had questions about what happened. So, Archbishop Dennis Schnurr sent the letter saying Drew was removed as pastor of St. Ignatius for reports he engaged in 'grooming' behavior. The archbishop admitted the diocese made mistakes handling the matter, and, for that, he was deeply sorry.

In 2013, the archdiocese heard concerns from parishioners at Liberty Township's St. Maximilian, alleging Drew gave bear hugs, shoulder massages, patted legs above the knee and made inappropriate sexual comments to boys. More of the same came in 2015. The archdiocese referred the case to law enforcement, which decided not to open an investigation.

In August 2018, Drew became pastor of St. Ignatius. Archbishop Schnurr was notified for the first time about any wrongdoing when another allegation arose from Drew's time at St. Max's. This time, the Butler County prosecutor recommended the archdiocese monitor Drew. In October, another allegation came from when Drew was a music teacher at Elder High School.

August 13, 2019

Child Victims Act lawsuits to peel open decades of secrecy in clergy sex abuse

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

August 13, 2019

By Jay Tokasz and Dan Herbeck

The tight lid that the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo kept for decades on clergy sex abuse cases will be peeled open Wednesday with a new state law that gives abuse victims a year to file claims that previously were prohibited from moving forward in court.

Lawyers predicted the diocese would face more than 200 lawsuits by the end of the one-year "look-back" window that will open at 12:01 a.m.

The names of at least a dozen Catholic priests who hadn't before been publicly accused of child sex abuse will emerge in the filings, according to lawyers filing the lawsuits.

Among the newly identified accused priest is the Rev. David J. Peter, who died in 2017.

David J. Harvey of Buffalo alleged that the diocese allowed Peter to rape and repeatedly molest him more than 35 years ago, when Harvey was an altar boy at St. Edmund Church in the Town of Tonawanda.

How D.C. Catholics are leading the response to the clergy sexual abuse scandal

WASHINGTON (DC)
America Magazine

August 13, 2019

By M. Kathleen Coogan

This week marks one year since the release of the Pennsylvania grand jury report, which detailed the alleged crimes of hundreds of priests over seven decades and brought the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church back into the national spotlight.

The failure of church leadership to stop clerical sexual abuse hit Catholics in Washington, D.C., hard. Two months before the grand jury report, claims of abuse against former cardinal Theodore McCarrick, then archbishop emeritus of Washington, became public. In October, Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl, then the archbishop of Washington, who had been criticized for his handling of abusive priests during his time as the bishop of Pittsburgh. A few months later, McCarrick was laicized by Pope Francis.

In the wake of last summer’s news, my parish, Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Washington, D.C., embarked on a “Season of Discernment.” We asked: How could a local parish help heal serious wounds—especially wounds of trust born of the scandal—for survivors and their families as well as the broader community of lay faithful? How might we avoid getting stuck in the status quo and move forward to enact meaningful change?

The failure of church leadership to stop clerical sexual abuse hit Catholics in Washington, D.C., hard.

As a member of Holy Trinity’s parish pastoral council and a parent with two boys at Holy Trinity School, I participated in a dialogue with Hans Zollner, S.J., the president of the Centre for Child Protection at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. Hearing my description of our Season of Discernment, Father Zollner responded, “I can feel that you own it, and that is what will ultimately change the face of the church.”

As I reflect on this past year, I wonder: What does it mean to “own it”?

A response to the crisis had become our parish’s priority. Guided by an Ignatian discernment process, we integrated our response throughout parish activities and became closer as a community. Our Ignatian spirituality and Jesuit identity committee drafted articles on the elements of discernment for our parish bulletin, and the education committee hosted speakers on church history and structure to provide a backdrop to our recommendations.

Chrissie Foster urges MPs to strip Catholic seal of confession's mandatory reporting exemption

ULTIMO (AUSTRALIA)
ABC News Online

August 13, 2019

Anti-abuse advocate Chrissie Foster has urged Victorian MPs to back a bill before Parliament which would make it mandatory for priests to report suspected child abuse to authorities, breaking legal protection around the confessional seal.

Under current laws, Victorian teachers, police, medical practitioners, nurses, school counsellors, early childhood workers and youth justice workers must tell authorities if they develop a reasonable belief in the course of their professional work that a child has been abused.

But priests and religious leaders have so far been exempt from mandatory reporting laws, despite a recommendation from the child sex abuse royal commission that churches not be exempt from reporting information discovered during religious confession.

In amendments to be introduced to Parliament on Wednesday, the Andrews Government will add religious and spiritual leaders to the list of mandated reporters.

The amendments would also ensure that disclosures of abuse during religious confession are not exempt and must be reported to police.

The Catholic Church last year formally rejected the notion that clergy should be legally forced to report confessions of abuse revealed during the confessional, with one archbishop comparing the religious tradition to lawyer-client privilege or a journalist's obligation to their sources.

SNAP Louisiana Calls for Reform Now

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

August 13, 2019

In recent days we have learned about the lack of transparency and lack of thoroughness by the Archbishop of New Orleans when dealing with the wholesale sexual abuse and exploitation of our precious children. We have also learned that the official list of credibly accused priests should be expanded. This is why we have gathered here today.

Why wasn’t Monsignor Bezou included on the original list of credible abusers? In a recent article in the Times Picayune/nola.com/The Advocate, Archbishop Aymond said the following:

“That’s what my ministry is about — to bring these things to the light so people aren’t abused.”

Then why, as documented over the past year, is it only the courageous survivors and the media that has shed the light on this abuse? When has Archbishop Gregory Aymond ever revealed anything new in these cases? His proclaimed ministry fails in this regard. In addition to the list that he provided, why is it that Archbishop Aymond did not include Monsignor Bezou in his list?

Grondahl: Schenectady priest led secret life — ask his children

GUILDERLAND (NY)
Times Union

August 13, 2019

By Paul Grondahl

Each night, after dark, the priest rolled slowly up to the driveway of the green Colonial house on Debutante Manor in his green Cadillac DeVille, and flicked the high beams.

This was their private signal.

One of the four kids turned off the front floodlights, pressed the automatic opener from inside the garage, waited for the big luxury sedan to glide in and then pressed the garage door closed.

The Rev. Francis P. Melfe peeled off his Roman collar and cleric's black shirt and emerged from the car wearing black slacks, black dress shoes and a white T-shirt.

The Catholic priest stepped into the kitchen and greeted the kids, who called him Dad. He kissed their mother, his secret lover with whom he shared a bedroom and fathered a child — despite taking vows of celibacy and obedience as a diocesan priest.

For 1st Time, Thousands of SD Clergy Members Gather to Discuss Abuse Within Church

SAN DIEGO (CA)
NBC 7 TV

August 13, 2019

By Christina Bravo and Melissa Adan

Thousands of San Diego clergy members will meet Tuesday for a first-of-its-kind gathering to address sexual abuse of children within the church.

Bishop Robert W. McElroy has called for more than 2,500 San Diego area priests, teachers and administrators to attend a mandatory meeting with District Attorney Summer Stephan at the University of San Diego.

It is the first time in its history the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego has called every member of the church to order.

The meeting focuses on the steps the church is taking to address the abuse of children and was called to address the responsibilities clergy members have in reporting alleged abuse, according to the diocese.

"In our own day, the Church’s blindness to, tolerance of, and participation in the patterns of sexual abuse of minors by clerics constitute the most grievous sin in the life of the Church, a sin that we must recognize, understand and eradicate," McElroy planned to say, according to prepared remarks.

As part of the effort to address abuse, the Bishop is expected to announce Tuesday the diocese would ban all private communication and direct social media interaction between priests and minors.

McElroy also notes the need for the Catholic Church to play an active role in educating children and parents about the prevalence of abuse and provide resources to combat what he called "an epidemic in our society."

Bishop McElroy Calls All-Staff Meeting on Abuse Crisis, a Diocese First

SAN DIEGO (CA)
Times of San Diego

August 8, 2019

By Ken Stone

More than 2,500 employees of the San Diego-Imperial Roman Catholic Diocese have been summoned to what is being called a first ever all-hands meeting here with the bishop.

A press release Thursday said the meeting — 1-4 p.m. Tuesday at the University of San Diego’s Jenny Craig Pavilion — is mandatory. It will discuss the clergy sex abuse issue.

San Diego Bishop Robert W. McElroy slated the meeting in response to Pope Francis’ call in May for a transformation in the way the Catholic Church responds to the sexual abuse of children, said a press release.

“All diocesan employees will hear about the steps the diocese is taking to protect children and young people, and on the moral and legal responsibilities shared by all of the diocese’s employees, not just mandated reporters, to report suspicions of child abuse,” said the news release.

On Friday, a diocesan spokeswoman said employees received a letter from the bishop dated June 21 advising them of the mandatory meeting.

San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan also is set to make presentations, along with diocesan Chancellor María Galván.

An undated posting on the diocesan newspaper website, The Southern Cross, said the meeting is the latest action taken by McElroy since last summer in response to the sexual abuse crisis across the country.

Window for Abuse Suits in New York Opens

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Tablet

August 13, 2019

By Andrew Pugliese

New York state’s Child Victims Act (CVA) will take effect on Aug. 14, giving those who say they were abused as minors one year to file a civil suit regardless of when the alleged crime occurred.

Similar laws have been passed in Arizona, California, Delaware, Hawaii and New Jersey. A two-year window for lawsuits in New Jersey is set to begin on Dec. 1.

In New Jersey last week, 30 alleged victims of abuse by priests chose to file their claim with the New Jersey Independent Victim Compensation Program, according to NJ.com. The option is open to alleged victims in the five dioceses in New Jersey, allowing them to bring their claim to an independent mediator where the burden of proof is much less than it is in a courtroom.

The Diocese of Brooklyn is operating a similar program, called the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program. That program, which started in June 2017, gives alleged victims a way to settle claims with the diocese. Anyone who elects to participate in the IRCP must agree not to sue the diocese.

Another Scandal in Buffalo as a New Case is Filed Against an Active Priest

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

August 12, 2019

Another priest assigned to a scandal-ridden diocese in upstate New York has been accused of sexual abuse, and he is still in active ministry.

According to reports, a lawsuit to be filed later this week will accuse a priest assigned to the Diocese of Buffalo of abusing the plaintiff when he was 8-years-old. This news comes less than a week after a report that Bishop Robert Malone kept an accused priest on the job for nearly nine months after he first learned of the allegations.

It is clear that something is deeply wrong in the Diocese of Buffalo and it is time for Bishop Malone to resign. His actions over the past year have included lying to the public about the number of accused priests within his diocese, ignoring zero tolerance policies to return allegedly abusive priests to ministry, and keeping accused priests within active ministry. With a track record as poor as this, we cannot understand why his brother bishops have not yet denounced his behavior, nor why the Vatican has not yet stepped in to discipline the bishop for ignoring the protections laid out in the Dallas Charter.

Tackle clericalism first when attempting priesthood reform

KANSAS CITY (MO)
National Catholic Reporter

August 13, 2019

By Fr. Peter Daly

If the priesthood is to be reformed, we must tackle the disease of clericalism. It won't be easy. Clericalism is so deeply engrained in our structures and way of thinking that we almost can't imagine how things could be otherwise.

In his 2018 "Letter to the People of God," Pope Francis condemned the sins of sexual abuse and the abuse of power in the church. He linked those sins to clericalism. "To say no to abuse is to say an emphatic no to all forms of clericalism."

What is clericalism?

The Association of U.S. Catholic Priests put out a white paper on clericalism in June 2019. It defines clericalism is "an expectation, leading to abuses of power, that ordained ministers are better than and should be over everyone else among the People of God."

How does a priest get reinstated with three allegations of sexual abuse and a failed polygraph?

BUFFALO (NY)
WIBV Channel 4

August 13, 2019

Critics describe the investigative report of sexual abuse allegations against The Rev. Dennis Riter as a biased, twisted sham not worth the paper it is printed on.

Scott Riordan, a former sex crimes prosecutor contracted by the diocese to investigate allegations, told News 4 Investigates in an exclusive television interview that he began this case with the same open mind that he had for the other 12 complaints assigned to him.

His goal, he said, was to find the truth. And contrary to what some critics believe, Riordan said he did bring an independent eye to the cases he investigated for the diocese.

“This isn’t simply me going along with the church and saying what they want,” said Riordan, who also is a defense attorney and village justice.

“In fact, in most of the cases that I’ve investigated, the reports have been found to be substantiated or credible.”

Riter, a priest in Dunkirk, was accused last year of sexually abusing three boys in the 1990s.

Argentina’s most pious spot also an epicenter of clerical abuse crisis

SALTA (ARGENTINA)
Crux

August 13, 2019

By Inés San Martín

Argentina’s northern province of Salta, known for colorful mountains, valleys, and small, picturesque towns that intertwine with exquisite wineries, is also known as the most piously Catholic province of the 23 that make up the nation.

The capital city is often referred to as Salta la linda, meaning “the beautiful,” surrounded by hills short enough that they rarely see snow, but high enough that they’re daunting even for regular hikers.

Salta was founded more or less at the same time as Buenos Aires, in the mid-to-late 16th century, and it’s home to both Argentina’s greatest example of popular religiosity and the local version of Medjugorje.

It also happens to be at the epicenter of the country’s clerical sexual abuse earthquake, because Salta is the metropolitan see of the Diocese of Oran. Gustavo Zanchetta, the former bishop, abruptly resigned his position in 2017 after being appointed by Pope Francis in 2013.

Zanchetta’s appointment caused outrage among the Catholics of his former diocese, Quilmes, in the Buenos Aires province, due to what critics charge are “innumerable cases of anti-Christian witness” from the bishop-to-be.

A few months after leaving Oran, Zanchetta reappeared in the Vatican, working at the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, the Vatican’s most important financial center, and living in the same residence as the pope. As of Jan. 4, he’s been suspended from that position, accused of sexually abusing seminarians.

Charlotte diocese addresses child sex abuse investigation

CHARLOTTE (NC)
WSOC TV

August 12, 2019

By Joe Bruno

For the first time since the Diocese of Charlotte announced it will release a list of priests credibly accused of sex abuse, church leaders met with Charlotte media organizations for on camera interviews.

Father Patrick Winslow, newly appointed as Vicar General and Chancellor of the diocese, acknowledged the diocese needs to improve its communication about this crucial topic.

"I think it is of utmost importance for the diocese to get this issue correct," Father Winslow said. "We have strict protocols and strict procedures for a zero tolerance policy so nobody may be serving in active ministry that has one single allegation of sexual abuse."

Church leaders are currently preparing a list of all priests credibly accused of child sex abuse since the diocese's inception in 1972. Diocese officials said the list is on track to be released by the end of the year. An independent investigative firm is conducting a review of tens of thousands of documents dating back to 1972.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests said a good list includes a photo, nicknames, a full work history.

Nearly 600 priests, lay people have been publicly named in Pa. sex abuse scandal

JOHNSTOWN (PA)
Tribune Democrat

August 13, 2019

By Nicole C. Brambila

The 2018 grand jury identified 301 priests who had sexually assaulted and abused hundreds of children over the past several decades. As large as that number is, the true scope is much higher.

Last year’s grand jury report has been the largest in scale, covering six of the state’s eight dioceses — including the ones based in Greensburg and Pittsburgh — and identifying 1,000 victims. But it was just the latest in a string of Pennsylvania investigations dating back 15 years.

Following the explosive investigation of the Boston Archdiocese, former Philadelphia District Attorney Lynn Abraham sat a grand jury in 2003 that produced two reports on priest sex abuse in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Her successor, Seth Williams, followed up with his own grand jury report in 2011.

In 2016, former state Attorney General Kathleen Kane uncovered hundreds of child sex abuse cases in the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese, naming roughly 50 abusers.

Each of the reports identified a systemic cover-up of priests who sexually abused children.

Since the 2018 investigation, Pennsylvania’s dioceses and religious orders — including the Jesuits and the Benedictines at Saint Vincent Archabbey in Unity — have released their own lists. Catholic dioceses across the U.S. also have followed suit with lists of publicly accused clergy and lay people.

Sex abuse victim from Long Island finally has chance to get justice

LONG ISLAND (NY)
Newsday

August 13, 2019

By Bart Jones

Almost from the time Rich Klein learned to walk, his mom worried about his small stature.

When he was just shy of 2, in 1963, she took him to Dr. Reginald Archibald, a growth specialist at Rockefeller University Hospital in Manhattan.

For the next 15 years, Archibald examined the young Klein once or twice a year for his research. The checkups — just the two of them in the doctor's private office with the door closed and his mom in the waiting room — went on for an hour or so. Archibald had Klein strip naked and sit in his lap facing the doctor. He took pictures. He fondled him.

“As a 4-, 5-, 6-, 7-, 8 year-old-kid, you don’t think about it,” Klein said in an interview. “Oh, he’s examining me because of my height.”

GROUNDBREAKING LAWSUITS CLAIM JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES COVERED UP YEARS OF CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

NEW YORK (NY)
Newsweek

August 13, 2019

By Daniel Avery

Two lawsuits being filed this week are targeting the leadership of the Jehovah's Witnesses for what the plaintiffs claim is a history of child sexual abuse.

Heather Steele, 48, and John Michael Ewing, 48, were abused as children, but they're filing suits this Wednesday, when New York's new Child Victims Act goes into effect. Signed earlier this year, the measure removes the statute of limitations on abuse suits, no matter how long ago the abuse occurred.

Steele was still a toddler when, she says, a Jehovah's Witness elder started molesting her in the mid-1970s, when her family lived in New York."My first memory would be of him fondling me when I was just about 2 or 3 years old while he held me in the back seat of my dad's car," Steele told The New York Post.

When she was 10, Steele finally told her mother. But rather than tell police, her mom went to the elders. "It was basically them trying to convince us it was in our minds, that none of this stuff actually happened or that we had bad dreams," Steele said. The elders "told us that we should pray for [Nicholson]."

After Steele's parents finally went to secular authorities, Nicholson was arrested and served three-and-a-half-years in prison. But when he got out, he was quietly placed in a New Jersey congregation where few knew of his past.

August 12, 2019

Editorial: Diocese should reject bankruptcy

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

August 12, 2019

Observers are speculating that the Diocese of Buffalo may file for bankruptcy protection this week as it prepares to face a barrage of lawsuits from individuals making claims of clergy sex abuse. While some experts say it could, in some ways, be a fairer way to compensate victims, it could also allow the diocese to keep secrets about child sexual abuse and its efforts to hide it.

A Chapter 11 filing would also likely frustrate victims, who might prefer a prompt and public jury trial. For those reasons and others – including a history of cover-ups – the diocese should simply face the music.

Even though bankruptcy would buy the diocese some time, it would not make the civil claims go away. In other dioceses that filed for Chapter 11, victims who proved they were sexually abused received significant financial settlements or court awards.

The Child Victims Act, which became law in February, allows for a one-year look-back period that begins Wednesday. That enables victims of childhood sexual abuse to file claims that were time-barred by statutes of limitations. Potentially thousands of lawsuits could be filed across the state against individuals and institutions such as the Catholic Church, public and private schools, the Boy Scouts of America, day care centers and others that have been named in similar suits.

The Diocese of Portland, Ore., was the first to use bankruptcy to cope with sexual abuse lawsuits, in 2004. Eighteen other dioceses and archdioceses have done the same.

Declaring bankruptcy freezes legal proceedings against an institution, meaning no jury trials occur in state court. That minimizes the pretrial discovery process in which embarrassing details could surface about efforts that were made to cover up past crimes. Far fewer such details will emerge in discovery before a bankruptcy court proceeding.

If an institution is found to be using bankruptcy merely to avoid litigation or to hide assets, the court can find its filing to be in bad faith and shut down the proceedings.

A bankruptcy process that drags on for months is more likely, which is a source of frustration for victims of alleged sex offenders. According to The Wall Street Journal, a typical diocesan bankruptcy case takes more than two years to adjudicate.

Catholic church finance expert Charles E. Zech told The News that bankruptcy can be a fairer way to compensate abuse victims than trials in state courts, which handle cases in the order in which they are filed and may favor large verdicts or settlements in the early cases.

Another Voice: Boycott’s needed to get attention of  Buffalo Diocese

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

August 12, 2019

By Kevin Koscielniak

At what point does a person say enough is enough and initiates something to make a change?

How far do you need to be pushed before you are angry enough to act?

But when it comes to the clergy sexual abuse scandal, has the entire Catholic community seriously asked themselves these questions? Have they consciously taken to heart what has happened to these children and adults, and what is continuing to happen? Do they have a full understanding of the trauma that Survivors have suffered and continue to deal with?

Do you want to know what I, and many survivors go thru? Well here it is. Childhood sexual abuse has lifelong effects. Adults who are survivors of childhood sexual abuse often feel “stuck.” Our efforts to build and manage our lives often seem fruitless, hollow and hopeless.

There is a persistent perception that we are somehow different from others. We feel like we are on the outside looking in, and we believe we just don’t belong.

What was done to me, and every survivor, is no different than being nailed to a cross and left there to die. The only difference for us is that we get to continue walking on this earth even though our souls, emotions and psychological well-being are dead and in a body bag.

Do you think that just because we are still moving, we are truly alive? It doesn’t work like that.

What happens to a survivor of sexual abuse affects the entire community. The ancillary damage is reprehensible. It’s not just the survivors who suffer. It is everyone who is tied to each survivor: family, friends, co-workers and acquaintances.

Silent No More: Allegations of sexual abuse, cover-ups inside Jehovah’s Witnesses Organization

NEW YORK (NY)
Hearst Televison

August 12, 2019

A year-long investigation by the Hearst Television National Investigative Unit has uncovered new allegations of child sexual abuse and decades-long cover-ups inside the Jehovah’s Witnesses religious organization in the United States.

The allegations span states, congregations, and generations and have been the subject of inquiries by attorneys general offices in at least three states, the National Investigative Unit has learned – inquiries that have not been previously reported.

The findings are revealed in a three-part series of news reports this week that shed new light on the burgeoning number of people accusing the Jehovah’s Witnesses of systemic shortcomings in the protection of children within its religious communities.

Tom Unger: Preaching morality while encouraging sin

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Post Dispatch

August 12, 2019

By Tom Unger

On July 26, the Archdiocese of St. Louis published a list of 61 members of the clergy with verified allegations of sexual abuse of a minor against them, and an additional three with verified allegations of possession of child pornography. Two priests on the list had been stationed at the church I attended when I was growing up, and I knew two others through another parish. One was a close family friend for decades.

The focus of clergy sexual abuse is usually, and rightly, placed on the offenders and direct victims of the abusive behavior. But the radius of the effects is much larger.

For me, the grooming began around fourth grade, as soon as I became an altar boy at our parish church. I went to the grade school connected to our church, so the segue was a given. My path into the inner circle was all but guaranteed since my older brothers had taken that route. It wasn’t long before a close friend and I were favorites of the priests — being pulled out of class to be altar boys for funerals, getting calls to serve weekend weddings, etc.

A select crew of us became the focus of the priests’ attention. We were their companions. Joining in on visits to the country house and boat rides, helping with Christmas shopping, running errands to buy them cigarettes, washing their cars, etc. To a devout Catholic teenager, this was gold.

I felt special and privileged, like I was being treated like a peer. Outside my own home, I spent most of my time in that rectory. In our household no one was more revered than priests. Priests were among the few friends that our family had and socialized with.

Active Buffalo priest accused of abusing 8-year-old, lawsuit says

BUFFALO (NY)
WKBW TV

August 12, 2019

By Charlie Specht

A lawsuit that will be filed later this week accuses an active Buffalo priest of sexually abusing an 8-year-old boy, according to the law firm that will file the suit.

"A lawsuit is being filed on behalf of an adult male who was sexually abused when he was 8 years old by an active priest who is still employed by the Diocese of Buffalo," states a news release sent Monday by the Herman Law law firm.

The news release goes on to state that the suit is one of three locally the firm is filing against the Diocese of Buffalo as part of the Child Victims Act. More than 200 lawsuits are expected to be filed against the diocese and other institutions by other attorneys when the one-year "window" suspending statutes of limitation in civil cases opens up Wednesday.

The news release does not specify the identity of the priest but the lawsuit is expected to do so when it is filed in State Supreme Court on Wednesday. A spokeswoman for Herman Law said she could not share the identity of the accused priest until the lawsuit was filed.

More than 150 Buffalo priests and religious have been accused of sexual misconduct, with most of the revelations coming in the last year. Buffalo Bishop Richard J. Malone is under intense pressure to resign as bishop for his handling of abuse cases involving, minors, adults , and seminarians.

Former Boy Scout says he witnessed abuse

TAMUNING (GUAM)
Guam Daily Post

August 12, 2019

By Mindy Aguon

A former Boy Scout says he was ordered to swim naked during Boy Scout outings in the late 1960s and witnessed a priest, who also was a scoutmaster, sexually abuse other scouts.

B.Q.V., who is using his initials to protect his identity, filed a civil complaint against the Capuchin Franciscans and the Boy Scouts of America, alleging he was subjected to the sexually predatory practices of the late Louis Brouillard when he served as a priest and boy scoutmaster on Guam.

B.Q.V. attended church in Mangilao and was a Boy Scout when he was 10 years old.

He recalled visiting the Lonfit River four or five times a month during Boy Scout outings over three years.

“On numerous occasions, too many to count, B.Q.V. witnessed Brouillard fondle the genitals of the other Boy Scouts,” the lawsuit states.

B.Q.V. says he was able to pull away from Brouillard when he attempted to abuse him.


More churches are checking the national sex offender registry. Is it helping?

UNITED STATES
Religion News Service

August 10, 2019

By Yonat Shimron

Since they were first offered an opportunity to pool their resources and buy background checks on volunteers and employees at a discount 11 years ago, about a third of Southern Baptist churches have signed up for the OneSource program from LifeWay Christian Resources.

Earlier this year, LifeWay reported that 16,000 congregations and other church organizations ran background checks on men and women it hired through a service called backgroundchecks.com. (The Southern Baptist Convention has so far resisted calls to set up a database of its own, saying the national registry was more dependable.)

Other denominations are also increasingly using searchable databases on prospective employees as the #ChurchToo movement begins to shift church attitudes toward sexual abuse and prevention.

Most background checks sift through more than 600 million felony, misdemeanor and traffic records. Perhaps most importantly, they also check the nationwide sex offender registry.

But that may give churches and other religious groups a false sense of security about preventing abuse, experts say.

The Jeffrey Epstein Debacle

NEW YORK (NY)
The Wall Street Journal

August 11, 2019

By The Editorial Board

The results of the investigations need to be made public.

Attorney General William Barr says he’s appalled by the death of sexual offender Jeffrey Epstein in a jail cell Saturday, and he’s not alone. The death by apparent suicide of the politically connected financier couldn’t have been scripted better to undermine trust in law enforcement and the prison and legal systems.

Jeffrey Epstein wasn't checked on for hours before apparent suicide, source says

NEW YORK (NY)
Fox News

August 12, 2019

By Nicole Darrah

Correctional officers at the New York City prison that was housing Jeffrey Epstein didn't check in on him for hours leading up to his apparent suicide on Saturday, which occurred after his cellmate was transferred for reasons that were not immediately clear.

Epstein, 66, was found unconscious in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, and later pronounced dead, raising questions about how the wealthy financier, imprisoned on sex trafficking charges, could have been able to kill himself while in a high-security facility just over two weeks after being placed on suicide watch.

Analysis Israel's Health Czar, Accused of Aiding Pedophile, Knows He Can Do as He Pleases

ISRAEL
Haaretz

August 8, 2019

By Mordechai Kremnitzer

Recent police allegations show that in Yaakov Litzman's case, public interest isn't a priority. But will Netanyahu do anything about it?

In today’s Israel, the man who is ostensibly the deputy health minister, but is the health minister de facto, has prima facie used his governmental powers to confer benefits on those he favors. Judging by the police’s description, this deputy minister, whose status is so exalted that he has made the prime minister forget during a recent government meeting that he is also actually the health minister, acts as if the public gave him power so that he could do whatever he pleases.

The police say Yaakov Litzman rushed to rescue a favorite restaurant – which even named some of its dishes after him – from an impending closure order over its poor hygiene. The listeria bacterium was repeatedly found in its salads, and a woman who ate there had a miscarriage.

Sex Crimes Detective Who Raped Teen Victim While Investigating Her Case Gets 3 Years in Prison

LOS ANGELES (CA)
People

August 12, 2019

By KC Baker

A Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department sex crimes detective was sentenced to three years in prison for raping a 15-year-old girl in 2017 while he was investigating a previous sexual assault she reported, authorities say.

In July, Neil David Kimball, 46, of Agoura, California, pleaded guilty to a lewd act with a child and unlawful sexual intercourse, Ventura County District Attorney Gregory Totten announced in a news release.

On Thursday, Kimball was sentenced to the maximum term of three years in state prison for sexually assaulting the teen.

Kimball was also ordered to register as a sex offender, pay the victim $50,000 for her pain and suffering and have no contact with her.

'How America wanted to change the pope'

PARIS (FRANCE)
LaCroix International

August 12, 2019

By Nicolas Senèze

From Santiago to Dublin - or how the pope's trip to Dublin in Aug. 2018 marked the beginning of an attack against himRead exclusively the first chapters of the book by Nicolas Senèze, permanent special envoy of "La Croix" in Rome, to be published by Bayard Publishing on Sept. 4. Pre-order from your bookseller.On Sunday morning, Aug. 26, 2018, there was great excitement at The Alex, the small hotel in central Dublin where the Vatican housed journalists following the pope on his trip to Ireland.

Unique one-year window for child sex abuse victims to get justice opens this week in NY

NEW YORK (NY)
WPIX TV

August 12, 2019

They say justice delayed is justice denied, but a provision of a New York state law that goes into effect Wednesday will give child sexual abuse victims a chance to defy that conventional wisdom.

The Child Victims Act, signed into law on February 14, expands the ways that those who suffered sexual abuse as children can use the legal system to address the damage.

In particular, the law specifically said that six months after its passage, there would be a one-year period when any adult survivors of child sexual abuse could sue an abuser or a negligent institution, no matter how long ago the abuse took place.

That one-year “window of justice,” as Child USA CEO Marci Ann Hamilton called it, starts Wednesday.

The idea behind the law is that many victims of child sexual abuse keep it a secret for years, well beyond the previous statute of limitations, out of shame and fear. This law gives them a chance to “reclaim their dignity,” said Michael Polenberg of Safe Horizon, a victim assistance non-profit that worked to pass the law.

“For survivors who understand what has happened to them and know in their hearts what happened to them, they get to name that person in court,” he said.

The one-year reprieve could create new opportunities for lawsuits against people or institutions implicated in child sex abuse scandals, such as the Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts, or the estate of the late Jeffrey Epstein.

Pope’s letter to priests helpful, but repentance would be better

DENVER (CO)
Crux

August 11, 2019

By Father Jeffrey F. Kirby

Last weekend, in observance of the one-hundred sixtieth anniversary of the death of Saint John Vianney, Pope Francis issued an unexpected but affectionate letter to his sons and brother priests throughout the Church.

The letter was another surprise for the pope who, in the words of the prefect of his household, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, “is a person who surprises and welcomes surprises.”

For a pope most known for constructively criticizing his priests, the letter is a welcomed suspension of previous comments. It comes as blessed relief, a letter of paternal reassurance and fraternal charity.

Pope Francis begins the letter: “As an older brother and a father, I too would like in this letter to thank you in the name of the holy and faithful People of God for all that you do for them, and encourage you…”.

After the initial introduction, which provides an outline for the letter, the pope moves into a summary of the pain caused by the current crises, then to words of gratitude, followed by a message of encouragement, and then concludes with praise for the Blessed Mother, who is hailed as an example and model for priests and for the Church.

In the first part of the letter, the pontiff acknowledges the current crises in the Church and the pain they have caused believers and society. He also addresses the suffering of good priests, grieving for the priests whose own faith has been scandalized by the abuse and cover-ups, who are also thrown into an environment of suspicion by people of goodwill, and who have had their own pastoral ministries limited by the questioning and hesitation of others because of the crises.

The Three-Front War on Child Sex Abuse: Law, Society, and the Public

NEW YORK (NY)
Verdict Justia

August 6, 2019

By Marci A. Hamilton

On August 14, 2019, the New York Child Victims Act will open a window for the victims of child sex abuse—reviving the expired civil statutes of limitations (SOLs) for one year. This isn’t the best window in the United States, but it is the most hard-fought. It took a total of 16 years, a series of lawmakers, and an army of advocates and survivors to pull New York up from being one of the worst states in the country for child sex abuse victims to being in the top third as the “State Civil SOL Ranking” graphic here shows.

Lest anyone think that this SOL reform victory is the end of the line for improving the plight of child sex victims in New York or anywhere else, let me explain how massive this project is. This is a war on three fronts: we need legal reform, civil society reform, and more effective public education.

Reform the Laws
SOL reform is necessary legal reform to end child sex abuse, because it empowers the victims, but it is not sufficient. It needs to be a priority because it is the most effective way to arm victims against the perpetrators, institutions, and society that let the abuse happen. We can’t win this war without giving real weapons to the victims, and civil lawsuits and criminal prosecution are powerful. This is a banner year for SOL reform, with many states reviving expired civil SOLs for the victims, as listed here. Despite recent advances, however, most states could improve their child sex abuse SOLs.

Orthodox Survivor Of Sex Abuse Exposes Traumas In New Film

NEW YORK (NY)
Forward

August 9, 2017

By Avital Chizhik-Goldschmidt

You wouldn’t believe she’s only 20.

With no film schooling or experience, Baltimore native Miryam Rabinowitz has thrown herself into a film project that tells the story of sexual abuse — or rather, its lonely, complex aftermath.

“Still Feeling” [https://www.stillfeeling.org] tells the story of Yuval Goldenberg, a young woman who was abused during her childhood in an Israeli national religious community. Goldenberg, no longer Orthodox, is a singer and composer now. With an earthy voice, standing rather awkwardly, eyes half-closed, she lets song tell her pain.

Still Feeling: Promo - https://vimeo.com/210450474

Rabinowitz is a survivor of sexual abuse herself — and a graduate of the ultra-Orthodox Bais Yaakov girls school system.

“Most people around me don’t acknowledge the fact that I was abused at all,” she told me in an interview. “I have close friends who don’t acknowledge it. My film trailer was the first time I said it publicly. I’m making this documentary for my friends and family to be able to say, ‘This is for you to know how to talk about it with me.’

“I know it’s hard for people to process. When someone says they were raped by a family member, you’ll never be able to understand what that feels like, but you do understand that basic feeling of shame and suffering. It’s by empathy — through art and music — that we can come to understand another’s pain, rather than through intellectual understanding.”

In her forthcoming film, shot mostly in Tel Aviv, Rabinowitz shows Goldenberg talking about her music and her dissociation, as she bounces between her Orthodox family and her artist friends, many of whom are also survivors of abuse.

Here’s the Truth About the Shadowy Group Behind the National Prayer Breakfast

New York (NY)
Raw Story

August 11, 2019

By Matthew Chapman

The National Prayer Breakfast is a relatively uncontroversial affair these days. Presidents from both parties make a habit of attending it, and giving simple speeches about what their faith means to them, and leaders from around the world join them.

But a new Netflix documentary miniseries, “The Family”, explores the shadowy group known as the Fellowship, which originally set it up in 1935.

The Fellowship began as a secretive fraternity of evangelical men, first organized under the leadership of a man named Abraham Veride, who was attempting to gather business leaders to thwart union drives. It evolved into what Rolling Stone described as a “secret theocracy” used by powerful Christian men to influence politics worldwide. Its members include Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Jim Inhofe (R-OK), and Vice President Mike Pence is also reported to have ties to it.

The group has stringent rules against sex and dating, and there is an undercurrent of homophobia — but also simultaneously homoeroticism. “[There’s] a lot of that uneasy joking about masculinity and the potential for it and, at the same time, this desire for intimacy that becomes really challenging for people who have a theological and ideological opposition to that,” said Jeff Sharlet, an author who has written extensively on the Fellowship.

They also have had ties to current and former authoritarians around the world who have committed atrocities in their home countries, for the sake of advancing a conservative religious agenda — including the late former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

Survivors report past priest abuse every day in Pa. Will state law ever catch up?

YORK (PA)
York Daily

August 12, 2019

By Candy Woodall

The most recent total is 1,862.

But to state Attorney General Josh Shapiro, it’s more than a number.

They are 1,862 new stories of abuse. They are 1,862 new victims who came forward since he read a landmark grand jury report on Aug. 14, 2018, identifying 301 abusive priests in Pennsylvania and a cover-up that stretched from here to the Vatican. They are 1,862 survivors.

And those 1,862 people, along with the “thousands” of victims tallied by a state grand jury, are still waiting on state lawmakers to act.

Victims in Pennsylvania continue to come forward, calling a state hotline every day to report crimes against them.

Shapiro wants all victims to know, a year later, they can still call the line at 1-888-538-8541.

“Whenever you’re ready to share your truth, we’ll be here ready to listen, and we’ll be here ready to fight for you,” Shapiro said in an interview with the York Daily Record Tuesday.

The attorney general and his team sometimes seem like the only people who are listening, according to abuse survivor Michael McDonnell, a leader with the Philadelphia chapter of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

“Throughout the investigation, they’d call at 9 p.m. just to see how we were doing,” McDonnell said.

Allegations against priest cause emotional week in Liberty Twp.

DAYTON (OH)
Daily News

August 11, 2019

By Denise G. Callahan & Michael D. Clark

Alleged inappropriate touching, texting and sexual comments by a former Butler County pastor prompted action by the Archdiocese of Cincinnati that will impact more than 450,000 parishioners.

Late last month, the archdiocese confirmed the Rev. Geoff Drew, former pastor of St. Maximilian Kolbe Catholic Church in Liberty Twp., was suspended for actions involving teenage boys. Drew previously served as pastor of St. Rita of Cascia Parish in Dayton and parochial vicar at St. Luke the Evangelist Church in Beavercreek.

There was a week full of activity in the case that caused strong reaction from the local Catholic community. Beginning with a Monday news conference trhat communicated accusations against Drew, officials took actions that included meeting with members of the Liberty Twp. church where he served from 2009-18.

Church officials also said they would change how they handle investigation accusations of inappropriate behavior against priests because of the Drew case, which caused criticism of church officials.

Communications Director Mike Schafer outlined allegations against Drew that led Archbishop Dennis Schnurr to place him on administrative leave July 23 and order him into “comprehensive physical, psychological and spiritual evaluation at an independent in-patient treatment facility.

“In 2013 and again in 2015, the central office of the archdiocese received concerns from St. Maximilian Kolbe parishioners regarding Father Drew’s behavior. The alleged behavior involved a pattern of such things as uninvited bear hugs, shoulder massages, patting of the leg above the knee, and inappropriate sexual comments about one’s body or appearance, directed at teenage boys,” Schafer said. “This behavior naturally made these boys uncomfortable.”In addition, there was a report of Father Drew texting some of the boys “teasing them about girlfriends’.”

Drew is one of two priests on administrative leave in the archdiocese, which covers 19 counties in southwest Ohio. The Rev. Clarence Heis, who previously served at Holy Trinity Parish in Coldwater, St. Michael Parish in Mechanicsburg and Immaculate Conception in North Lewisburg, is also on administrative leave.

Survivor Factors His Age, Opts For Victims Compensation Fund

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Catholics 4 Change

August 7, 2019

By Susan Matthews

First-person account written by Jim Tucker:
When the Archdiocese announced its’ compensation program last fall, I was extremely skeptical. My first reaction was the church was trying to circumvent efforts to change Statute of Limitation reform in the Pennsylvania Legislature. If the Church could get victim/survivors to accept lesser settlement amounts, the Church would save millions of dollars.

On the other hand, I saw this as the first time the Church has taken any action to help victims of clergy sexual abuse. I was so tired of hearing apologies, begging for forgiveness and other hollow words from those in the Hierarchy. While I can question their motives, this was at least some action.

So I decided to apply for the compensation program, also known as the Independent Reconciliation and Reparations Program {IRRP]. The first step for me was to contact the Victims Assistance office at the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. I had never reported the abuse to the Archdiocese directly. I had written several letters but had never sent them. I had been warned by other survivors back in the late 90s, not to do so.

I called the Victims Assistance office and was impressed with the way I was treated. They treated me with compassion, kindness and concern. They offered counseling services. After telling one of the people in the office my story, they promised to request an application form be sent to me. I received the application from the Feinstein Law group late last year.

Archdiocesan Appointment Fail: Mitchell Named In Epstein Sex Trafficking

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Catholics 4 Change

August 11, 2019

By Susan Matthews

Experience matters when it comes to leading an independent review of Church policies. Is that why the Archdiocese of Philadelphia chose George Mitchell? According to recent allegations, he has first-hand experience with sexual abuse.

Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged sex-trafficking victim names Mitchell in newly-released court documents.

Who better to oversee the Independent Reconciliation and Reparations Program (IRRP) for victims of clergy child sex abuse? The Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced Mitchell’s appointment in November of 2018. The Maine senator is a former U.S. Senate Majority Leader.

The National Catholic Reporter quoted Mitchell at the time. “This is a good faith attempt to remedy a number of wrongs,” he said, and noted “the failure of the archdiocese to prevent these unspeakable crimes, the archdiocese has itself recognized there is a need for reconciliation and reparation after many years of suffering by these victims.”

Did Mitchell consider serving on the committee a personal penance?

'For our children’: Survivors of church sex abuse calling on action

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
WVUE TV

August 11, 2019

By Katherine Mozzone

Almost one year after Pennsylvania’s attorney general called for statute of limitations reform for sexual abuse, SNAP - the Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests -- is asking for those same changes here in Louisiana, so victims can pursue justice.

In a shady spot in Jackson Square, Kevin Bourgeois and Richard Windmann stood together Saturday (Aug. 10), united as survivors, feet from St. Louis Cathedral.

“I can’t believe I’m here today. I really can’t. And I can’t imagine being anywhere else today,” Bourgeois said.

Windmann, now a leader with SNAP, is no stranger to publicity. He told his story on FOX 8 last fall, detailing accusations of sexual abuse by Pete Modica, a Jesuit High School janitor and former officer Stanley Burkhardt.

But, Saturday was the first day Bourgeois has appeared on camera, having only recently become public with allegations of abuse against now deceased priest Carl Davidson.

“I feel like a thousand pounds has been lifted off of me,” Bourgeois said.

But that’s not the way he felt at first. Bourgeois said, for 35 years, he didn’t tell anyone what he says happened to him while he attended the now closed St. John Vianney Prep School in the 1980s.

“When Archbishop Gregory Aymond said he was going to release the list of names back in November, I’m like, ‘Wow, my secret is going to be out,’ because it was a secret. I’d never told anybody before,” Bourgeois recalled. “I didn’t have the ability to come forward as a 16-year-old boy. Not at all. No one was going to believe me. I didn’t want to admit it happened. It was horrifying and embarrassing.”

'Nothing's really changed': Year after grand jury investigation on clergy sexual abuse, those affected ‘disappointed’ by lack of legislation

JOHNSTOWN (PA)
Tribune Democrat

August 12, 2019

By Dave Sutor

Shaun Dougherty and Cindy Leech sat, a few feet away from each other, inside the Pennsylvania State Capitol on Aug. 14, 2018.

Robert Hoatson stood, by himself, with his back against a wall.

Together, they, along with about a hundred other individuals, listened as Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro provided details about a grand jury investigation into clergy sexual abuse and cover-up within six Roman Catholic dioceses throughout the commonwealth.

As invited guests, Dougherty and Leech were behind Shapiro.

Leech held a framed photo of her son, Corey Leech, who battled personal demons for years after being sexually abused by Brother Stephen Baker, a trainer at what was once called Bishop McCort High School in Johnstown.

Dougherty, who, as a child, was violated by a priest at St. Clement Church on Lindberg Avenue, had, by last summer, already established himself as a nationally known advocate for victims. Hoatson, co-founder of Road to Recovery, had counseled Leech before his death in 2017.

Now, a year has passed, and all three have watched as victims, their loved ones, advocates, church officials, law enforcement officers and legislators have processed the findings of the grand jury report that pointed to more than 300 priests allegedly committing at least 1,000 acts of abuse.

August 11, 2019

Guam archdiocese hit by 200+ Sex Abuse Lawsuits

HAGÅTÑA (GUAM)
Church Militant (blog)

August 9, 2019

By Stephen Wynne

At least 223 lawsuits filed ahead of August 15 deadline

As an Aug. 15 filing deadline nears, a flood of sex abuse claims is sweeping across Guam.

At least 223 lawsuits have been filed against the archdiocese of Agaña, with claimants alleging abuse at the hands of 35 Catholic priests, teachers and Boy Scout leaders, including former Abp. Anthony Apuron.

Anticipating at least $45 million in liabilities, the archdiocese filed for bankruptcy in January.

Claims began erupting in 2016 after lawmakers passed a bill retroactively terminating the statute of limitations for child sex abuse cases. Scores of men came forward, alleging that between 1955 and 1994, as minors, they were raped and subjected to other forms of sexual abuse by archdiocesan priests, including Apuron himself.

Pope calls for "apostolate of prevention" in sexual abuse

MEXICO CITY (MEXICO)
La Croix International

July 24, 2019

By Claire Lesegretain (with Cath-Info)

Francis says the non-protection of minors is a serious problem that has brought "shame to the Church"

The pope has told a workshop on sexual abuse in Mexico City that he would like to see the creation of a "prevention apostolate" because "prevention is a major remedy" in the process of protecting minors.

Anyone who "prevents a young person from coming to Jesus must be stopped in his attitudes, corrected if there is still time, or punished if there is a crime," Pope Francis said in a video message to the gathering held by the Interdisciplinary Research and Training Center for the Protection of Minors or CEPROME, established in 2016.

The failure to protect minors is a serious problem that has brought "shame to the Church," Francis continued, referring to Saint John Bosco, founder of the Salesian congregation in the 19th century, who was at the origin of a "preventive system in education."

EDITORIAL: Boy Scouts must be held to account for abuse

WASHINGTON (PA)
Observer-Reporter

August 11, 2019

It’s August, when the news is supposed to slow and people work in their last trips to the beach before school and the obligations of autumn arrive. Maybe it’s the good weather and lack of anything else to chew over that’s led some pundits to ponder why Americans are in such an incongruously crummy mood right now.

Why we are, in fact, glum.

Hey, the thinking goes, the economy is good and we aren’t in a hot war. Happy days are here again!

Well, mass shootings have a way of making you reluctant to click your heels, as does an unstable stock market, an economy that fails to evenly distribute its bounty, a warming climate that could wreak havoc in the lives of our children and grandchildren, a president whose Twitter feed is little more than a noxious stream of score-settling and self-aggrandizement, and on and on.

The lousy mood is justified.

And certainly another factor you can add to the pile of woe is the decreasing trust many Americans are feeling toward institutions that, in theory, are supposed to provide succor and inspiration. We’re on the eve of the first anniversary of the blockbuster report by Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro that detailed the widespread sexual abuse of children by priests across the commonwealth over the last several decades, which has led other states to launch their own investigations into the Catholic Church. At the same time, the Boy Scouts of America is confronting serious allegations that its leaders turned a blind eye to predators within its ranks.

A lawsuit filed in Philadelphia last week by an unnamed 57-year-old man alleges that he was assaulted numerous times by an assistant scoutmaster in the 1970s. The suit also alleges that the Boys Scouts worked to keep abuse quiet, and was guilty of “reckless misconduct” in not confronting abuse more aggressively.

Our view: Grand jury report echoes a year later

ERIE (PA)
GoErie.com

August 11, 2019

By the Editorial Board

The fallout from the crimes, cover-ups and profound human toll exposed a year ago by a statewide investigative grand jury continue to ripple through the Catholic Diocese of Erie and others in Pennsylvania.

As Erie Bishop Lawrence Persico said earlier this month, coming to terms with the monstrous legacy of predator priests and the hierarchy that harbored and enabled them will continue to roil the church and the faithful in the years ahead. Persico, 68, told reporter Ed Palattella that he expects the sexual abuse crisis to remain at the forefront for the rest of his tenure.

“We just can’t say, ‘Well, OK, that was a year ago. We just move on and it’s business as usual,’” he told Palattella. “It isn’t. It can’t be.”

That’s reflected in the $3 million in claims paid to abuse survivors so far from the church compensation fund Persico established in February. He said the diocese would provide a full report on compensation fund payouts after the claims window closes this month and the remaining claims are processed.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses Want the Supreme Court to Help Them Cover Up Sex Abuse

UNITED STATES
Patheos.com

August 11, 2019

By Hemant Mehta

The organization that oversees the Jehovah’s Witnesses is currently embroiled in a major legal battle that involves child molestation, religious secrecy, and (possibly) the Supreme Court. The entire story is bananas, and both sides have now made their arguments as to why their case should (or should not) be taken up in the Court’s next term.

While we await the Court’s decision, it’s worth summarizing what this is all about.

The case centers around an incident that took place on July 15, 2006.

J.W., a nine-year-old girl with Jehovah’s Witness parents, was invited to her first slumber party at the home of Gilbert Simental. He had a daughter her age, so that wasn’t too weird. Two other girls (sisters) were also at the party. These families all knew and trusted Simental because, while he was no longer a local Witness leader, he had spent more than a decade as an elder in the faith. He was a religious leader who stepped down, he said, to spend more time with his son. They believed him. They all respected him. It’s why they allowed their girls into his home.

Colorado Catholic Church Investigated For Child Sex Abuse by Priests

COLORADO
The Legal Examiner

August 11, 2019

By Joseph H. Saunders

In February, the three Catholic dioceses of Colorado announced they would open their records and provide information about allegations of sexual abuse of children by priests that go back decades. Led by former U.S Attorney Robert Troyer, the investigation and review is examining alleged abuse of minors by clergy in the Roman Catholic Church in Colorado since 1950. The initiative also includes a reparation fund for victims to be paid for by the church, and will incorporate a full review of church policies and procedures for responding to and preventing abuse.

This Colorado inquiry is a direct response to the bombshell report released in Pennsylvania last August that found credible allegations that more than 300 priests had abused thousands of victims in the state over seven decades. After the Pennsylvania report calls from victims began to flood the office of then Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman. The Colorado branch of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) organization also reached out to her office as part of its effort to spur all 50 state attorneys general to initiate investigations and reviews.

Epstein's suicide deprives victims of closure, says counselor

WEST PALM BEACH (FL)
WPEC

August 11, 2019

by Denise Sawyer

A licensed mental health counselor in West Palm Beach, who spoke with one of Jeffrey Epstein's alleged rape victims in 2012, sats down with CBS12 News after Epstein's suicide. (WPEC file)

A licensed mental health counselor in West Palm Beach, who spoke with one of Jeffrey Epstein's alleged rape victims in 2012, sat down with WPEC News after Epstein's suicide.

"It's infuriating," said Becky Dymond, as she speaks from the victim's perspective. "They're thinking, 'I didn't have the option. I couldn't say no. I couldn't clock out. But he did.' That's enraging."

Faced with the terror of the abuse, dozens of women will not get a chance to face their accused abuser.

The evil of Irvinestown principal John McElholm who 'sexually abused his pupils'

IRVINESTOWN (NORTHERN IRELAND)
The Impartial Reporter

August 11, 2019

By Rodney Edwards

John McElholm was regarded as a pillar of the Irvinestown community when he was Principal of St. Paul’s Primary School over 30 years ago.

But now it is claimed he abused that position by preying on innocent children and sexually abusing them where they should have been safe - in school.

An investigation by The Impartial Reporter over several months has uncovered serious child sexual allegations against McElholm who died in 1995 and claims that the alleged abuse was well known.

It’s understood specialist detectives from the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s Public Protection Branch are interviewing his alleged victims as part of a major review into historic sex abuse here, even though none of them will ever get justice.

“Everyone in Irvinestown knew what was going on, it was an open secret in the town,” a source from the area told this newspaper.

“It was accepted, as he was treated as a God in the community,” said another source who claims to have witnessed abuse.

Pervert priest was not the only paedophile preying on boys according to witnesses

LIVERPOOL (ENGLAND)
Liverpool Echo

August 11, 2019

By Neil Docking and Kate McMullin

The Catholic Church paid out £35,000 to another man, who said he had been abused by three priests at St Joseph’s Catholic Seminary

A disgraced Catholic priest who sexually abused boys was not the only clergymen to have betrayed his youthful charges, it has been alleged.

Former Darlington parish priest Michael Higginbottom was jailed for 18 years for the sexual abuse of two teenage boys at St Joseph’s College in Upholland, near Skelmersdale , in the 1970s and 80s.

However shocking allegations have been uncovered suggesting that more boys at St Joseph’s seminary were preyed upon by perverted priests.

At least three Catholic priests have been accused of abusing children at the facility in West Lancashire, with several pupils having reported horrifying mistreatment at the hands of clergy who they should have been able to trust.

Rev. Clements accusation is in realm of unthinkable

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Sun-Times

August 11, 2019

By Laura Washington

Is nothing sacred in my Church?

That was my question as I read the headline: “Retired Celebrity Priest George Clements Accused of Sex Abuse in 1970s.”

It invades the realm of the unthinkable.

The Rev. George Clements, 87, has been accused of sexually abusing a minor in 1974 while serving as pastor of Holy Angels Church on Chicago’s South Side.

Cardinal Blase Cupich has asked Clements “to step aside from ministry pending the outcome of an investigation,” according to a statement from the Archdiocese of Chicago.

The charge is “totally unfounded,” Clements told the Chicago Sun-Times.

The “atmosphere here today is so toxic,” he added, referring to the never-ending sexual abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church. “The overwhelming majority of priests have to wake up each morning wondering, ‘Is this the morning that someone is going to accuse me of something negative?’”

Last year, an investigation by the Illinois attorney general’s office found that 690 Catholic clergy had been accused of sexual assault and abuse by minors.

Now an accusation comes to Clements, once the most famous priest in America.

In black Chicago, Clements is family. African American Catholics who came of age from the 1960s to the 1990s know “Father Clements” as a pioneering icon.

Catholics Condemn Sacking of Sister Lucy for Driving, Mulakkal Row

KERALA (INDIA)
Daily Hunt News

August 11, 2019

By Ashutosh Bharadwaj, Smitha TK and Shubhangi Mishra

Sister Lucy received a dismissal order from the church on 5 August that read "did not show the needed remorse and you failed to give a satisfactory explanation for your lifestyle in violation of the proper law of the FCC".

Sister Lucy Kalapura: "The church accused me of going to protests, speaking on a TV channel, speaking against the church, buying a vehicle. All those things should not have been done (according to them) but I think I should have done even more."

Some of her other 'crimes' were learning to drive, owning a car and publishing a collection of poems. She was a prominent face in the protests held in September 2018 by nuns demanding the arrest of rape-accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal.

The Quint spoke to Lucy, who talked about how this seems like a move by the Church to intimidate those who are supporting the victim. We also caught up with Catholic Christians to find out if they thought the church was right and how they view the protests by the nuns against the Bishop.

'A Blasphemous Order'

'Absolute blasphemy,' is what a few students in Kerala and Mumbai had to say about the way the church has dismissed Sister Lucy.

Eugine Augustine, Ernakulam, Kerala"The unceremonious dismissal was totally deplorable and unjust."

Many Catholics said learning to drive and wanting to publish poems is a person's right and it is unjust for the church to impose such restrictions and dismiss her 'on such flimsy grounds.'

Justice late, not denied: New York to allow old abuse suits

ALBANY (NY)
Associated Press via WENY

August 11, 2019

Thousands of people who say they were molested as children in New York state will head to court this week to file lawsuits against their alleged abusers and the institutions where they worked.

It's because of a new law that creates a one-year window for molestation lawsuits that had previously been barred by the statute of limitations.

Earlier this year, lawmakers extended the statute of limitations going forward and created the litigation window to victims of past abuse a chance to sue, even if the abuse occurred decades ago.

Large institutions that care for children such as the Catholic Church and the Boy Scouts are expected to be named as defendants, along with a long list of smaller groups and individuals.

El círculo del infierno: qué rol cumplía en la red de abusos cada uno de los acusados del Provolo

[Google Translation: The circle of hell: what role did each of the accused of Provolo play in the abuse network?]

MENDOZA (ARGENTINA)
TN.com

August 10, 2019

Con lengua de señas y sollozos, los alumnos víctimas de los abusos sexuales denunciados en el colegio religioso Antonio Provolo de Mendoza han descripto el espanto y el rol que cumplía cada uno de los acusados.

El miércoles se reanuda el juicio y los jueces del Tribunal Colegiado 2 escucharán los testimonios de las 11 víctimas de la causa inicial, que tiene a dos curas y un administrativo como imputados. El fiscal Gustavo Stroppiana y los abogados de las familias víctimas coinciden en que hubo “un plan sistemático de corrupción de menores, una red de complicidad y la selección de víctimas más vulnerables por su contexto social y familiar”.

[Google Translation: With sign language and sobs, students victims of sexual abuse reported in the religious school Antonio Provolo de Mendoza have described the horror and the role it fulfilled

Each of the accused. On Wednesday the trial resumes and the judges of the Collegiate Court 2 will listen to the testimonies of the 11 victims of the initial case, which has two priests and an administrative as accused. Prosecutor Gustavo Stroppiana and the lawyers of the victim families agree that there was " a systematic plan for corruption of minors , a network of complicity and the selection of victims most vulnerable by their social and family context."]

Child Victims Act 'day of reckoning' looms for diocese, Scouts – and schools

BUFFALO (NY)
The Buffalo News

August 11, 2019

By Maki Becker, Jay Tokasz and Dan Herbeck

She was making a pot of beef and barley soup in 2013 when her phone rang.

It was a detective from the Niagara Falls police. A woman had told police she was sexually abused many years earlier by a Niagara Falls City School District teacher, and that there may have been other victims. The detective asked the woman making soup if she was one of them.

“I dropped an entire bottle of parsley in the pot I was so shocked,” said the woman, who asked that her name not be published.

She says her music teacher, Patrick Kuciewski, began sexually abusing her in the seventh grade. Because of New York State’s statute of limitations on child sex abuse cases, which only allowed victims to pursue charges or file lawsuits up until their 23rd birthday, it was too late for the woman or police to do anything.

Nonprofits spread the word to make sure all child abuse victims are heard

NEW YORK
New York Daily News

August 11, 2019

By Erin Schumaker

When she was a child, Beatriz Mendoza told her mother that she was sexually abused by an adult.

Mendoza remembers her mother’s response. “‘That’s not possible. How could that be?’” her mom questioned. “She really took no action,” Mendoza recalled. “I was 6-and-a-half.”

Because her mother didn’t believe her, Mendoza kept the assault to herself until she started working in victims’ assistance decades later.

It’s stories like this that New York’s Child Victims Act, which was signed into law in February, is intended to correct. The legislation, which extends the criminal and civil statutes of limitations for reporting child sex abuse, also includes a one-year, one-time-only look back window, in which victims of any age can file civil lawsuits against their abusers between Aug.14, 2019 and Aug. 13, 2020.

Thousands of cases expected as NY opens window for sex abuse suits

ALBANY (NY)
Newsday

August 11, 2019

By Yancey Roy

New York courts, law firms, Catholic dioceses, Boy Scout troops and schools are bracing for an onslaught of civil lawsuits to be filed by people seeking justice for long-ago sexual abuse when a special one-year “look back” period begins Wednesday.

Thousands of cases are expected to be filed on that first day alone. At least two law firms are handling upward of 400 claims each, court officials said.

Forty-five judges have been designated around the state to hear the claims, including five on Long Island. All the judges went through special training this summer. Expedited timelines for proceedings have been established and all cases will be offered mediation services as a way to settle claims more quickly.

“It is really unprecedented, what is happening in New York,” said Jason Amala, an attorney whose firm anticipates filing more than 100 claims on Wednesday.

August 10, 2019

'For our children’: Survivors of church sex abuse calling on action

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
WVUE TV

August 11, 2019

By Katherine Mozzone

Almost one year after Pennsylvania’s attorney general called for statute of limitations reform for sexual abuse, SNAP - the Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests -- is asking for those same changes here in Louisiana, so victims can pursue justice.

In a shady spot in Jackson Square, Kevin Bourgeois and Richard Windmann stood together Saturday (Aug. 10), united as survivors, feet from St. Louis Cathedral.

“I can’t believe I’m here today. I really can’t. And I can’t imagine being anywhere else today,” Bourgeois said.

Windmann, now a leader with SNAP, is no stranger to publicity. He told his story on FOX 8 last fall, detailing accusations of sexual abuse by Pete Modica, a Jesuit High School janitor and former officer Stanley Burkhardt.

But, Saturday was the first day Bourgeois has appeared on camera, having only recently become public with allegations of abuse against now deceased priest Carl Davidson.

“I feel like a thousand pounds has been lifted off of me,” Bourgeois said.

But that’s not the way he felt at first. Bourgeois said, for 35 years, he didn’t tell anyone what he says happened to him while he attended the now closed St. John Vianney Prep School in the 1980s.

“When Archbishop Gregory Aymond said he was going to release the list of names back in November, I’m like, ‘Wow, my secret is going to be out,’ because it was a secret. I’d never told anybody before,” Bourgeois recalled. “I didn’t have the ability to come forward as a 16-year-old boy. Not at all. No one was going to believe me. I didn’t want to admit it happened. It was horrifying and embarrassing.”

She recorded her rapist's confession. Now, the Supreme Court could hear it.

NEW YORK (NY)
CNN

August 10, 2019

By Catherine Valentine

"I am sorry. I have been sorry. I will always be sorry for raping you."

In a 20-minute long phone call in 2013, Air Force Lt. Col. Michael Briggs confessed to raping SSgt. "DK" in 2005. After receiving a call from the victim, Briggs detailed how he went to her room after a long night of drinking, pushed himself on her and continued to have sex with her despite pleas for him to stop.

A recording of that call would be played in a military court in 2014. Briggs would be tried by a judge, found guilty and sentenced to five months in prison. He would be dismissed from the Air Force and registered as a sex offender.

It was understood, based on military law and reinforced through legal precedent, that there was no statute of limitations for rape in the military. Though the assault occurred in 2005, and Briggs was not accused for eight years, defense counsel did not even raise the issue of statute of limitations at trial.

But last year, the top military appeals court came to a different understanding. When presented with a separate rape charge brought years after an alleged incident, it found that a five-year statute of limitations existed before 2006. The decision eventually led to Briggs' rape conviction -- and the convictions of at least three other service members - being vacated.

This one decision has reverberated through the entire military court system. It has not only vacated convictions. It has prevented at least 10 new cases from being heard, the Justice Department says. This comes as #MeToo trickles through the armed forces.

Former pastor of Baltimore-area church charged with child sex abuse; police say there may be other victims

BALTIMORE (MD)
Baltimore Sun

August 8, 2019

By Jonathan Pitts

Baltimore County police have arrested a former pastor of a fundamentalist Baptist church in Dundalk on charges he sexually abused a teenager on the church’s grounds and elsewhere in the Baltimore area more than 10 years ago.

Cameron Shane Giovanelli, 42, of Orange Park, Florida, was pastor of Calvary Baptist Church from 2004 to 2014.

Authorities charged him with sexual abuse of a minor, perverted practice and a fourth-degree sexual offense involving the girl, who was part of the congregation. The incidents allegedly occurred in 2007. Police said Thursday that they believe there may be other victims, and encouraged them to come forward.

A warrant for Giovanelli’s arrest was issued Monday, and he traveled Tuesday to Maryland to turn himself in to county police under an agreement made through his attorney, county State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger said. Giovanelli was released on his own recognizance.

Dr. Marianne Sipe, expert on sexual abuse by clergy, to address SNAP chapter

SAN DIEGO (CA)
Union-Tribune

August 8, 2019

By Peter Rowe

Dr. Marianne Benkert Sipe, a psychiatrist and world-renowned expert on the sexual abuse of minors by clergy, will address next month’s meeting of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP).

The free session will be held 10 a.m. to noon, Sept. 7, on the second floor of the Rancho Bernardo Library, 17110 Bernardo Center Drive, San Diego.

A former Maryknoll nun and practicing psychiatrist, Dr. Sipe in 1970 left her order and married Richard Sipe, a former priest and also an expert in this field. They were jointly awarded the 2019 Presidential Citation from the American Psychiatric Association, Richard Sipe posthumously as he had died in August 2018. He was 85.

“Dedicated Catholics,” the citation read in part, “they have endeavored to restore their church to the morality they have always known it should represent.”

La Jolla residents since 1999, the Sipeses published books and papers on this topic, counseled victims and testified in court cases brought against priests and church officials. In 2001, they were contacted by the Boston Globe’s investigative reporting team, as the journalists were working on a series of articles exposing sexual abuse within that city’s archdiocese.

The Globe’s work, including the Sipeses’s contributions, was dramatized in the 2015 Oscar-winning film, “Spotlight.”

Since her husband’s death, Dr. Sipe has continued to work in this field. Among her areas of expertise is the sexual abuse of — and by — nuns. She’s also examined sexual abuse within other faith traditions.

'He will be a free man next year': mother's despair at sentence of paedophile ex-priest

BRISBANE (AUSTRALIA)
The Courier

August 3, 2019

By Jolyon Attwooll

The mother of one of Paul David Ryan's victims has said she was "devastated" by the sentence imposed on the convicted paedophile this week.

Helen Watson, whose son Peter was abused while Ryan was working as a priest in Ararat, said she was dumbfounded when she left the sentencing hearing earlier this week.

Now aged 70, Ryan was sentenced to 26 months' imprisonment at the County Court of Victoria, after pleading guilty to three charges involving the sexual abuse of children.

After dispensation for his guilty plea and time served, it means he could be entitled to apply for parole in just 13 months' time.

Mrs Watson, who now lives in Beaufort, said she supported one of the three victims through the trial process.

Her own son Peter was abused while staying overnight at the Ararat presbytery in 1991. Ryan was never tried for the crime as Peter took his own life eight years later.

Seven Steps Towards Ending Clericalism

Patheos blog

August 9, 2019

By William M. Shea

Answers to serious questions, especially political ones, tend to multiply and to develop and change over time. I began a spectrum slide from William Buckley-Barry Goldwater small-government Republican politics some sixty years ago and have landed in the past few years in the mystery called democratic socialism. I wish I could say that I slid on the basis of pure knowledge but I admit to my slide being a matter largely of opinion, belief and social conviction. In political matters too much is involved to call any one position simply true. The best one can do is call it “informed opinion.” I should be immune, then, to the foolhardiness of suggesting any definitive answer to the question of reform in the Catholic Church. Think of the other possible answers, says my conscience, and then I blush. For example, there is a lot to be said for the episcopal form of church governance.

Think of the complications of understanding a church with a two thousand year history in which many answers to the issue of governance have been tried and in which each form has been subject to abuse and even failure, often extraordinary. None had proved perfect or even reasonably and consistently successful. So my antipathy to the monarchical system of government atop the Catholic Church is a matter of opinion. Like my years’ long slide into democratic socialism, my gradual slide into governmental reform in the church started small with Cardinal Patrick O’Boyle’s crushing of any dissent in the archdiocese of Washington from Pope Paul’s tragic mistake in the matter of contraception (1968). Is there really only one Catholic voice? Can Pope Paul be wrong and pope at the same time? Ultimately, some forty years later, I decided that monarchy, even in the church, is absurd and the dying remnant of the Empire.

August 9, 2019

Pope Francis is truly the holy father, the priests' priest

KANSAS CITY (MO)
National Catholic Reporter

August 9, 2019

By Michael Sean Winters

The Holy Father was true to his name last weekend when he published a fatherly letter to priests on the occasion of the 160th anniversary of the death of St. John Vianney. The letter was remarkable in many ways, a most exemplary text in understanding how Pope Francis brings our tradition alive and uses it to face the challenges and opportunities of our day. I should like to highlight some elements that seem to me to be quintessential Papa Bergoglio.

First, there is his brutal frankness. He begins by addressing the clergy sex abuse and its effects on the presbyterate. "As you know, we are firmly committed to carrying out the reforms needed to encourage from the outset a culture of pastoral care, so that the culture of abuse will have no room to develop, much less continue," he writes. "This task is neither quick nor easy: it demands commitment on the part of all. If in the past, omission may itself have been a kind of response, today we desire conversion, transparency, sincerity and solidarity with victims to become our concrete way of moving forward. This in turn will help make us all the more attentive to every form of human suffering."

The direct acknowledgement of both the scourge and the challenges they face is followed by a deeply spiritual insight: Accompanying the victims of abuse will "make us all the more attentive to every form of human suffering."

New Trial Date for Nebraska Priest Accused of Sexual Assault

OMAHA (NE)
Associated Press

August 9, 2019

A new trial date has again been set for a Roman Catholic priest accused of sexually assaulting a woman in central Nebraska.

Television station KSNB reports that trial for the Rev. John Kakkuzhiyil (kah-kuh-ree-AL') is now set for Jan. 6. The trial had been set to begin next month. Court documents did not indicate the reason for the delay.

Kakkuzhiyil was arrested earlier this year following a monthlong investigation by the Nebraska State Patrol after a woman told police he sexually assaulted her in November in his Ord home. The woman told investigators she blacked out after having a couple of drinks with the priest.

Kakkuzhiyil was the parish priest in Ord and Burwell at the time of the accusation. He was placed on leave Dec. 15.

Lawyer says $8 million settlement reached with Chicago Archdiocese over priest abuse

CHICAGO (IL)
Sun-Times

August 8, 2019

After the Rev. John Calicott was removed from ministry at a Chicago parish years ago following sexual misconduct allegations, a group of parishioners signed a petition urging the Archdiocese of Chicago – the Catholic Church for Cook and Lake counties – to return him.

“We now firmly believe that the allegations made against Father Calicott were scurrilous and totally without substance,” the petition stated.

On Thursday, a decade after he was laicized following credible accusations of sexual abuse of children, a Chicago law firm announced an $8 million legal settlement has been reached with the archdiocese over long-ago allegations that Calicott sexually abused a boy in the 1990s.

It’s the largest payout of its kind, according to lawyer Blake Horwitz, whose firm represents the victim, now a grown man who was identified as “John Doe” to protect his identity.

No lawsuit was filed; the settlement was reached out of court, Horwitz said, adding the archdiocese has already paid up, with the last installment arriving in July.

Reached by phone Thursday night, Calicott said that while he does not know definitely who made this accusation, he insisted he didn’t molest the person accusing him of abuse. He called the accusation “crazy” and “absurd.”

A spokeswoman for the archdiocese declined to comment, saying in an email, “We do not confirm or comment regarding settlements.”

Calicott was once assigned to Holy Angels Church on the South Side, where the Rev. George Clements was also a long-time pastor.

Bishop on trial for sex abuse leaves judge’s chambers with a smile on his face

ROME (ITALY)
Crux

August 8, 2019

By Inés San Martín

Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta, an Argentine prelate whom Pope Francis transferred to Rome after accepting his resignation due to what he acknowledged was “despotic” behavior, presented himself in court today in the diocese he once led, where he faces charges of “aggravated continuous sexual abuse.”

The charges carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. As the pope revealed in an interview earlier this year, the bishop is also being investigated by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, that deals with cases of clerical sexual abuse of minors but, on the pope’s request, also cases involving adults.

The bishop left the chambers of Judge Cluadio Parisi in Oran, Salta, northern Argentina, after only 10 minutes and with a smile on his face. He refused to answer questions from the media, instead going straight to the white Audi of an unidentified man who accompanied him to see the judge.

He had been ordered by the judge to attend on August 8 to present his passport and other travel documents. He’s been banned from leaving the country and his movements are restricted since he’s been ordered to be at the disposal of the justice system.

Retired celebrity priest George Clements accused of sex abuse in 1970s

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Sun Times

August 8, 2019

By David Struett and Sam Charles

The archdiocese said the alleged abuse occurred in 1974 while Clements served as pastor of Holy Angels Parish in Bronzeville. The priest said the accusation is “totally unfounded.”

Retired Chicago priest Father George Clements — famous for marching with Martin Luther King Jr. and being the first Catholic priest to adopt a child — now faces an accusation of sexually abusing a minor in the 1970s.

Cardinal Blase Cupich has asked Clements, 87, “to step aside from ministry” pending the outcome of an investigation into the sex abuse claim, according to a statement from the Archdiocese of Chicago.

The archdiocese said the alleged abuse occurred in 1974 during Clements’ 22-year tenure as pastor of Holy Angels Parish in Bronzeville.

The Chicago Police Department learned of the complaint in June and has been working on it since then; police notified the Archdiocese in the last week or two, CPD spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said.

Simone Biles Tears Up Over USA Gymnastics’ Failure To Protect Athletes: ‘You Had One Job’

UNITED STATES
Huffington Post

August 8, 2019

By Alanna Vagianos

Gymnast Simone Biles broke down in tears on Wednesday while discussing USA Gymnastics’ failure to protect its athletes from former trainer and convicted pedophile Larry Nassar.

“It’s hard coming here for an organization and having had them fail us so many times,” the five-time Olympic medalist said on Wednesday as she warmed up for the U.S. championships in Kansas City.

“We’ve done everything that they’ve asked us to even when we didn’t want to. And they couldn’t do one damn job,” Biles, 22, said while tearing up. “You had one job. You literally had one job and you couldn’t protect us.”

Biles’ emotional comments were in reaction to a congressional report published last week which found that USA Gymnastics, the United States Olympic Committee and the FBI “fundamentally failed” to protect athletes from Nassar’s abuse.

Priest abuse scandal: Former North Jersey man filing lawsuit alleging Theodore McCarrick abused him

NEW JERSEY
North Jersey Record

August 7, 2019

By Deena Yellin and Abbott Koloff

A man who grew up in North Jersey plans to file a lawsuit alleging that he was sexually abused as a child by former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, his attorney announced Wednesday during a news conference.

Mitchell Garabedian, the attorney, also released the names of 28 New Jersey priests who allegedly abused 30 of his clients who are seeking settlements through a victim's compensation fund set up by the state's five Catholic dioceses.

The New Jersey Independent Victim Compensation Program began accepting applications in June and offers a way for victims of clergy abuse to settle their cases without going to court. As of Aug. 5, more than 50 victims filed claims and seven received cash settlements. The process calls for the victims to file claims with independent mediators who evaluate the supporting documentation and, once they establish an accusation's credibility, offer a monetary award.

Twelve of the priests on the list have never been publicly named before, Garabedian said during the news conference, which was held in West Orange.

The attorney said that if the victims aren't satisfied with the settlements offered by the church, they could file lawsuits in December when a new state law opens a two-year window for such cases to be filed.

Moral Corruption in the Religious Commons

LITTLE ROCK (AR)
Bilgrimage blog

August 9, 2019

By William Lindsey

This essay is the sixth in a series of essays Ruth Krall has generously offered us on Bilgrimage, under the series title "Recapitulation: Affinity Sexual Violence in a Religious Voice." This link will point you to links to each previous essay in the series. In her "Recapitulation" series, Ruth addresses what she sees as the he endemic nature of sexual abuse of followers in religious contexts and contexts offering spiritual guidance. From the outset, Ruth's latest essay on moral corruption in the religious commons announces its theme:

If it takes a village to raise a child, it also takes a village to repeatedly enable sexual abuse of that same child. This is so whether she lives inside secular society or he lives inside a deeply pious religious and worshipping community.

Ruth's essay "Moral Corruption in the Religious Commons" follow. Because the essay is rich and long, I'll be sharing it in several installments, of which this is the first.

In his own words: Ex-Cardinal’s letters to abuse victims

VATICAN CITY
The Associated Press

August 6, 2019

At first glance, the handwritten postcards and letters look innocuous, even warm, sometimes signed off by “Uncle T.” or “Your uncle, Father Ted.”

But taken in context, the correspondence penned by disgraced ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick to the young men he is accused of sexually abusing or harassing is a window into the way a predator grooms his prey, according to two abuse prevention experts who reviewed it for The Associated Press.

Full of flattery, familiarity and boasts about his own power, the letters provide visceral evidence of how a globe-trotting bishop made young, vulnerable men feel special — and then allegedly took advantage of them.

The AP is exclusively publishing correspondence McCarrick wrote to three men ahead of the promised release of the Vatican’s own report into who knew what and when about his efforts to bed would-be priests. Access to an archbishop for young men seeking to become priests “is a key piece of the grooming process here,” said one of the experts, Monica Applewhite.

Maids Moreton: grooming investigation after aspiring vicar found guilty of murder new

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Times of London

August 9, 2019

By David Brown and Will Humphries

The Church of England will order an investigation into fears that entire congregations can be “groomed” by abusers after an aspiring vicar was convicted today of murdering a parishioner.

Church officials had been warned of “serious concerns” about Benjamin Field but he was able to continue targeting a second elderly victim and was five days away from possible selection for ordination when he was arrested.

Police believe that Field, 28, was planning to become a serial killer and had drawn up a list of 100 targets including members of his church congregation, his parents and people connected with Stowe public school.

Window for Child Victims Act sex-abuse lawsuits opens Wednesday: What it means

STATEN ISLAND (NY)
Staten Island Advance

August 9, 2019

By Maura Grunlund

Attorneys are poised to file hundreds if not thousands of lawsuits beginning on Wednesday for adults on Staten Island and throughout New York who allege they were sexually abused as children.

A one-year window of opportunity exists for victims of any age who were abused at any time as minors to file lawsuits against their alleged abusers and institutions that purportedly turned a blind eye to those crimes.

The window is part of the Child Victims Act, which was signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Feb. 14.

Attorneys have been advertising for clients and holding news conferences, demonstrations and other events to draw attention to alleged sex abuse that in may cases happened decades ago in New York City and State and throughout the country.

On Friday, attorney Irwin Zalkin held a news conference in Manhattan announcing that two alleged victims, Heather Steele and Michael Ewing, will file lawsuits in state Supreme Court in Brooklyn on Wednesday. The lawsuits will name as defendants eight members of the Governing Body of the Jehovah’s Witnesses (JWs).

Now located in Tuxedo Park, N.Y., the JWs World Headquarters occupied a building with a large Watchtower sign in Brooklyn.

One year after explosive Catholic church investigation in Pennsylvania: 300 priests, 1,000 victims, no state action

ALLENTOWN (PA)
The Morning Call

August 9, 2019

By Paul Muschick

The cries for justice were deafening last August after a Pennsylvania grand jury disclosed accusations that hundreds of priests sexually abused more than 1,000 children, and that their sins were covered up by the Catholic church and others.

Those cries still haven’t been answered.

The grand jury recommended that state lawmakers allow future sexual abusers to be criminally prosecuted no matter how long it takes for them to be exposed. It pointed out that’s the law in more than half of the country. It also urged that long-ago victims be allowed to sue retroactively.

Lawmakers did nothing.

The lack of action is disturbing and doesn’t do justice to the work of the grand jury, which was groundbreaking on several levels.

* It was perhaps the most explosive expose since The Boston Globe’s “Spotlight” investigation in 2002.

* It covered nearly the entire state, while other investigations were regional.

* It named priests going back decades and went into great detail, much of it stomach-turning, of what they were accused of doing.

* It pulled many of those details from the church’s own files, its “secret archives.”

* It prompted at least 14 other state attorneys general to launch investigations or reviews of their dioceses.

Priest accused of inappropriate contact with two teens

LEWIS COUNTY (KY)
WSAZ TV

August 9, 2019

Glenmary Home Missioners has removed a priest from eastern Kentucky and recalled him to the society's Cincinnati headquarters.

The priest is accused of making inappropriate contact with two teenage volunteers.

Glenmary Home Missioners says two teenage girls were working on a construction project at Emmaus Farm in Lewis County, Kentucky.

That's when they say the 84-year-old made inappropriate contact with them.

Within 24 hours, Glenmary President Father Dan Dorsey removed the priest from service and reported the allegation to both the Lewis County Sheriff's Office and the Diocese of Covington.

He had been serving at a church in Vanceburg, Ky. in the Diocese of Covington since 2012.

According to the Diocese of Covington, the priest will be stationed at the Glenmary headquarters in Cincinnati while the matter is being investigated.

She was sexually abused by her teacher. She now finds support in the church he founded.

NEWARK (NJ)
The Newark Advocate

August 9, 2019

By Maria DeVito

Jodi Priest is a survivor.

She didn’t always think that, but in the last few months, she’s come to view herself from that perspective.

Throughout her high school years in the 1980s, Priest said she was sexually abused by a teacher at her school. After she graduated, she become pregnant with the teacher’s baby and had a son in 1990 when she was 19.

That teacher was John Schouten, the pastor who stepped down in October from the Licking County church he started after a classmate of Priest’s informed the church of Schouten’s past.

In October, the church described Schouten’s behavior as "wrong, evil, and illegal" in an emailed statement to parishioners. A spokesman previously told The Advocate the actions were a “sexual sin.”

Priest, who is now 48, didn’t want to speak publicly at the time. She wasn’t ready. She said had she come forward even just a few months ago, her story would have been that of abuse.

Louisville hosts national pro-life meeting

LOUISVILLE (KY)
Catholic Record

August 9, 2019

Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City told diocesan pro-life leaders gathered in Louisville Aug. 5-7 that they are part of the “most important human rights effort of our time and our age.”

Eighty-five directors of pro-life ministry from 63 dioceses around the country gathered this week at the Brown Hotel in downtown Louisville for the Diocesan Pro-Life Leadership Conference.

The theme of the conference, sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, was “Christ, Our Hope.”

Archbishop Naumann, who serves as the chair of the USCCB’s Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, delivered the conference’s opening keynote address Aug. 5. In the talk — titled Life Will Be Victorious, which is also his episcopal motto — he thanked the diocesan pro-life leaders for helping their bishops and dioceses “build a culture of life in this particular moment in time when the church is wounded by the clerical sexual abuse scandal; at a time of pro-life promise with the current composition of the U.S. Supreme Court; and a time when supporters of legalized abortion are incredibly motivated and energized.”

“This is a moment of great opportunity as well as a moment of great peril for our culture and society,” Archbishop Naumann said.

During the three-day conference, participants attended a variety of break-out sessions led by experts in law and medicine, diocesan leaders and parish priests.

Sessions addressed topics related to overturning Roe vs. Wade, ministry to people after abortion, hospice and palliative care and assisted suicide.

During his keynote address Aug. 5, Archbishop Naumann acknowledged the pain and anger caused by the clergy sexual abuse crisis and encouraged his listeners to persevere as leaders in the church.

Documents expose decades of sexual abuse in Guam

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Tablet

August 9, 2019

By Rose Gamble

Since 2016, there have since been at least 223 lawsuits filed accusing 35 clergymen, teachers, and Boy Scout leaders of sexual abuse

Court documents have shown that a systemic pattern of sexual abuse by clergy of the Catholic Church took place on the US territory of Guam for over six decades.

The Associated Press conducted an extensive investigation that found collusion and cover-ups from priests all the way up to the top of the church’s hierarchy had been happening since the 1950s.

Anthony Sablan Apuron served as the archbishop of the Archdiocese of Agaña, Guam, from 1986 until 2016 when he was convicted in a secret Vatican trial and suspended. In 2018 he was found guilty of sexual abusing minors and finally removed from his post.

There have since been at least 223 lawsuits filed accusing 35 clergymen, teachers, and Boy Scout leaders of sexual abuse. The Guam archdiocese filed for bankruptcy protection this year, estimating $45 million in liabilities.

Apuron was named by seven men in lawsuits, including one by his own nephew.

Boy Scout sex abuse scandal: Déjà vu, again

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Inquirer

August 9, 2019

A lawsuit filed in Philadelphia this week against the Boys Scouts of America on behalf of a Pennsylvania man has created a heart-sinking déjà vu. Lawyers claim to have uncovered hundreds of unreported cases of sexual abuse in the organization. It hearkens back to almost exactly a year ago when Attorney General Josh Shapiro released a grand jury report that detailed decades of sexual abuse by 300 priests across the Commonwealth.

The déjà vu has much to do with the similarities between the scouting scandal and the legacy of abuse in the Catholic Church -- and how hierarchal organizations supposed to be wholesome and beneficial instead preyed on the innocent and vulnerable, compounding the damage by remaining secretive and insulated.

The Boy Scout abuse scandal emerged nearly a decade ago when a secret file of “ineligible volunteers” suspected of abusing their charges – called the “perversion files” -- came to light.

In the church, the cover-up was even worse: secrecy compounded by the fact that instead of making abusive priests ineligible to serve, the church would simply transfer them to new communities where the abuse could continue.

Bronx Sisters Settle with Archdiocese of New York on Clergy Abuse

Legal Examiner blog

August 5, 2019

By Ryan J. Farrick

The two sisters say they and another siblings were abused by a parish priest for years.

Two Bronx women who were sexually abused by a Catholic parish priest in their own homes have reached a settlement with the Archdiocese of New York.

“In bringing this into the light, the evil cannot hide and we can begin the healing process,” said 54-year old Imelda Maldonado Davis in a public statement. “And we can protect all of our children.”

Davis, writes The New York Daily Post, was joined for a news conference outside St. Patrick’s Cathedral by her younger sister, Mercedes. Both women were targeted by the late Monsignor Charles McDonagh. The abuse began in 1972 and lasted for several years. It only stopped when McDonagh, a Bronx parish priest, was promoted.

The Post notes that neither woman nor the foundation which assisted them in the lawsuit would discuss the specifics of the settlement, saying only that they received a five-figure payout.

Archdiocese asks retired priest to ‘step aside from ministry’ amid sexual abuse investigation

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Tribune

August 9, 2019

By Morgan Greene

A retired priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago who served at multiple parishes in the city has been asked by the archbishop of Chicago to “step aside from ministry” amid an investigation into an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor, the Archdiocese of Chicago said Thursday.

The Rev. George Clements is being investigated for an alleged incident that occurred in 1974 while he was pastor of Holy Angels Parish, the archdiocese said in a news release. Clements retired from active ministry in 2006. He served at the Bronzeville church as pastor from June 20, 1969, to June 30, 1991, according to the archdiocese.

Clements was a charismatic and controversial leader who brought hope to the church where about 500 families worshipped, the Tribune reported in 2002 amid allegations of abuse involving another pastor who served after Clements departed.

At Holy Angels, Clements established a school that grew to more than 1,000 students, and after a 1986 fire destroyed the church, Clements led a campaign to bring the church back to life.

Rev. George Clements, shown in 1981, is being investigated for an alleged incident that occurred in 1974 while he was pastor of Holy Angels Parish, the Archdiocese of Chicago said in a news release on Aug. 8, 2019.

August 8, 2019

SARAH SILVERMAN SHARES VIDEO OF PASTOR CALLING HER A 'WITCH' AND A 'GOD-HATING WHORE OF ZIONISM': 'HE'S GOING TO GET ME KILLED'

NEW YORK (NY)
Newsweek

August 9, 2019

By Shane Croucher

The comedian Sarah Silverman shared a clip to Twitter of an extremist Christian pastor's anti-Semitic rant against her, and said she fears that he will "get me killed."

Adam Fannin, formerly of the literalist Stedfast Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida, is the preacher in the disturbing video.

He is now part of the Law of Liberty Baptist Church, also in Jacksonville, following a recent scandal involving Stedfast that saw its leader admit to using sex workers.

It is not clear exactly when the clip dates from, though the background and pulpit look similar in style to Stedfast videos uploaded to YouTube in the second half of 2018.

"You know these Jewish false prophets, anti-Christian, anti-God, they're willing to put Jesus to death again," Fannin says in the video.

"You heard this comedian Sarah Silverman? You guys know who I'm talking about? She brags about 'I'd do it again.' Listen, she is a witch. She is a Jezebel. She is a God-hating whore of Zionism.

Cincinnati pastor on leave; auxiliary didn’t report claims against priest

WASHINGTON (DC)
Catholic News Service

August 8, 2019

By Jessica Rinaudo

During Mass the weekend of July 27-28, it was announced at Masses that Father Geoff Drew, pastor of St. Ignatius Parish in Cincinnati, is on administrative leave.

No further details were provided, which left many feeling frustrated.

On July 29, parishioners attended a meeting at St. Ignatius where archdiocesan officials revealed that Drew had allegedly engaged in behavior that violates the archdiocese’s Decree on Child Protection - although no allegations of sexual abuse or criminal activity had been reported at that time.

The gravity of this incident was underscored by the revelation just over a week later that this was not the first time Drew’s behavior had been reported to the archdiocese. Two separate reports were written in 2013 and 2015 about the priest’s behavior while he served as pastor at St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish in Liberty Township.

The reports from those time periods included allegations that Drew gave uninvited hugs, shoulder massages, leg pats above the knee and made inappropriate sexual comments about their bodies and appearances to teenage boys.

SNAP Honors the Bravery of Two Young Survivors in D.C.

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

August 8, 2019

Two young girls are testifying in open court this week about the abuse they suffered at the hands of a parish priest in Washington D.C. We honor the bravery of these courageous and young survivors as they share details about things that should never have happened to them in the first place.

According to testimony heard in court yesterday, Fr. Urbano Vazquez repeatedly fondled, groped, and kissed the then-9-year-old victim whose family attended Shrine of the Sacred Heart Church in Columbia Heights. Our hearts ache for the pain and confusion that Fr. Vazquez subjected these young girls to and we hope that he is given the maximum possible punishment. And we hope that as this trial moves forward, these young girls are able to find the support and healing that they will need to recover from this trauma.

“I was abused from the ages of 8 to 12, so I can empathize with what these young girls are going through, but am incredibly impressed at their bravery,” said Becky Ianni, volunteer SNAP leader for Virginia and Washington D.C. “Even at the age of 48 it was hard for me to speak out and I can only imagine how difficult it is for these girls this week. But I believe that their example will inspire other young victims to tell their parents or a trusted adult when someone is hurting them.”

Anyone who has any knowledge of crimes committed by Fr. Vazquez or any other cleric, nun, or church staffer should follow in the footsteps of these brave girls and make a report to their local police and prosecutors today. They should also report to the U.S Attorney’s Office in D.C. (USADC.ReportClergyAbuse@usdoj.gov, (202) 252-7008) and the Washington D.C. Attorney General (online reporting form) as both offices are currently investigating clergy abuse. Silence is toxic but speaking up can make a big difference.

WHEN PURITY CULTURE'S GATEKEEPERS FAIL TO ADDRESS SEXUAL VIOLENCE

WASHINGTON (DC)
Sojourners Magazine

August 8, 2019

By Angela Denker

Rachael Denhollander could have been a poster child for American conservative Christianity. Like many Red State Christians, she had been homeschooled and dressed conservatively. Her hair was long, dark, and straight, reminiscent of the encouragement in many conservative Christian communities for women to let their hair grow long and avoid cutting it. Thus Denhollander cut a sympathetic, or at least familiar, figure to Red State Christians watching the coverage of the Nassar case. True to her conservative Christian background, Denhollander said she forgave Nassar — and then asked the judge to give him the maximum sentence. To Nassar himself, she said at his sentencing hearing, “I pray you experience the soul-crushing weight of guilt so you may someday experience true repentance and true forgiveness from God, which you need far more than forgiveness from me—though I extend that to you as well.” She was the final person to speak, and as she did, a long-held dam was broken, and the mighty waters of justice came crashing through. For Denhollander, a trained lawyer and married mother of three who considers herself a conservative Christian, her outspokenness was costly. In her statement, she noted that speaking for sexual assault victims had “cost me my church and our closest friends.”

She told Christianity Today in January 2018 that Christians tend to “gloss over the devastation of any kind of suffering but especially sexual assault, with Christian platitudes like God works for all things together for good or God is sovereign. Those are very good and glorious biblical truths, but when they are misapplied in a way to dampen the horror of evil, they ultimately dampen the goodness of God. Goodness and darkness exist as opposites. If we pretend that the darkness isn’t dark, it dampens the beauty of the light.” Denhollander had shined a light into the sickly heart of American evangelicalism and its own cover-up of sexual abuse and oppression of women. As she told Christianity Today, “Church is one of the least safe places to acknowledge abuse because the way it is counseled is, more often than not, damaging to the victim; there are very, very few who have ever found true help in the church.”

Denhollander went on to say that the reason she’d lost her church was her advocacy for other victims of sexual assault within the evangelical community. She was referring to the Sovereign Grace Ministries scandal. In 2012, Sovereign Grace Ministries president C. J. Mahaney and the ministry itself were accused of covering up sexual abuse within the church network. The suit was dismissed in 2014, though a former youth leader in the network was convicted of sexually abusing three boys in a separate case. Denhollander drew an analogy between the scandal at Sovereign Grace and the scandal of the abuse she had suffered:

The ultimate reality that I live with is that if my abuser had been [Sovereign Grace youth group leader] Nathaniel Morales instead of Larry Nassar, if my enabler had been [a Sovereign Grace pastor] instead of [a gymnastics coach], if the organization I was speaking out against was Sovereign Grace under the leadership of [Mahaney] instead of [Michigan State], I would not only not have evangelical support, I would be actively vilified and lied about by every single evangelical leader out there. The only reason I am able to have the support of these leaders now is because I am speaking out against an organization not within their community. Had I been so unfortunate so as to have been victimized by someone in their community, someone in the Sovereign Grace network, I would not only not have their support, I would be massively shunned. That’s the reality.

Denhollander’s words were all the more prophetic within the pages of America’s most prominent magazine for conservative evangelicals. For decades, women had been sublimated and objectified and silenced within American churches. But their liberation would never come from secular feminists. It would come from within the church itself, during the presidency of a man who bragged about grabbing women by the pussy. But the rise of women in evangelical churches would not come easy. And many leaders would fall in its wake.

WHEN PURITY CULTURE'S GATEKEEPERS FAIL TO ADDRESS SEXUAL VIOLENCE

WASHINGTON (DC)
Sojourners Magazine

August 8, 2019

By Angela Denker

Rachael Denhollander could have been a poster child for American conservative Christianity. Like many Red State Christians, she had been homeschooled and dressed conservatively. Her hair was long, dark, and straight, reminiscent of the encouragement in many conservative Christian communities for women to let their hair grow long and avoid cutting it. Thus Denhollander cut a sympathetic, or at least familiar, figure to Red State Christians watching the coverage of the Nassar case. True to her conservative Christian background, Denhollander said she forgave Nassar — and then asked the judge to give him the maximum sentence. To Nassar himself, she said at his sentencing hearing, “I pray you experience the soul-crushing weight of guilt so you may someday experience true repentance and true forgiveness from God, which you need far more than forgiveness from me—though I extend that to you as well.” She was the final person to speak, and as she did, a long-held dam was broken, and the mighty waters of justice came crashing through. For Denhollander, a trained lawyer and married mother of three who considers herself a conservative Christian, her outspokenness was costly. In her statement, she noted that speaking for sexual assault victims had “cost me my church and our closest friends.”

She told Christianity Today in January 2018 that Christians tend to “gloss over the devastation of any kind of suffering but especially sexual assault, with Christian platitudes like God works for all things together for good or God is sovereign. Those are very good and glorious biblical truths, but when they are misapplied in a way to dampen the horror of evil, they ultimately dampen the goodness of God. Goodness and darkness exist as opposites. If we pretend that the darkness isn’t dark, it dampens the beauty of the light.” Denhollander had shined a light into the sickly heart of American evangelicalism and its own cover-up of sexual abuse and oppression of women. As she told Christianity Today, “Church is one of the least safe places to acknowledge abuse because the way it is counseled is, more often than not, damaging to the victim; there are very, very few who have ever found true help in the church.”

Denhollander went on to say that the reason she’d lost her church was her advocacy for other victims of sexual assault within the evangelical community. She was referring to the Sovereign Grace Ministries scandal. In 2012, Sovereign Grace Ministries president C. J. Mahaney and the ministry itself were accused of covering up sexual abuse within the church network. The suit was dismissed in 2014, though a former youth leader in the network was convicted of sexually abusing three boys in a separate case. Denhollander drew an analogy between the scandal at Sovereign Grace and the scandal of the abuse she had suffered:

The ultimate reality that I live with is that if my abuser had been [Sovereign Grace youth group leader] Nathaniel Morales instead of Larry Nassar, if my enabler had been [a Sovereign Grace pastor] instead of [a gymnastics coach], if the organization I was speaking out against was Sovereign Grace under the leadership of [Mahaney] instead of [Michigan State], I would not only not have evangelical support, I would be actively vilified and lied about by every single evangelical leader out there. The only reason I am able to have the support of these leaders now is because I am speaking out against an organization not within their community. Had I been so unfortunate so as to have been victimized by someone in their community, someone in the Sovereign Grace network, I would not only not have their support, I would be massively shunned. That’s the reality.

Denhollander’s words were all the more prophetic within the pages of America’s most prominent magazine for conservative evangelicals. For decades, women had been sublimated and objectified and silenced within American churches. But their liberation would never come from secular feminists. It would come from within the church itself, during the presidency of a man who bragged about grabbing women by the pussy. But the rise of women in evangelical churches would not come easy. And many leaders would fall in its wake.

Cardinals McCarrick, Wuerl, and Farrell: A Web of Sex Abuse, Bribes, Financial Misconduct and Cover-ups

ATLANTA (GA)
The Open Tabernacle blog

August 8, 2019

By Betty Clermont

These men claim to be religious leaders, spiritual guides, moral authorities. They are addressed as “His Eminence.” The man who appoints and promotes them is addressed as “Holy Father” and his government is the “Holy See.”

Theodore McCarrick, Donald Wuerl and Kevin Farrell were among the officials who received thousands of dollars from West Virginia Bishop Michael J. Bransfield. Bransfield was seeking to “purchase influence” with “those whose opinions carry weight with the Vatican” according to a recent Washington Post investigation.

In September 2018, one of Bransfield’s closest aides “came forward with an incendiary inside account of years of sexual [with priests] and financial misconduct.” The Post provided evidence that “senior Catholic leaders in the United States and the Vatican began receiving warnings about Bransfield as far back as 2012 [but] his conduct went unchecked.”

Church law requires bishops to turn in their resignation to the pope when they turn 75; the pope has the option of accepting or rejecting it. Pope Francis accepted Bransfield’s resignation when he turned 75 in September 2018.

“Bransfield spent $2.4 million on travel, often flying in private jets, as well as $4.6 million in all to renovate his residence” using diocesan funds in one of the poorest states in the country.

As head of the Wheeling-Charleston diocese, “Bransfield maintained a prominent public profile” noted The Post. “He regularly traveled to the Vatican while serving as treasurer of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and as [an official] on the board of trustees for the Papal Foundation.”

The Papal Foundation’s response to a request by Pope Francis for a $25 million donation to a crime-ridden Vatican-owned hospital is only part of a narrative that shows – when it comes to bribes, cover-ups, sexual and financial misconduct – Bransfield is only the tip of an iceberg.

Girl testifies she was repeatedly kissed and groped by D.C. Catholic priest

WASHINGTON D.C.
Washington Post

August 7, 2019

By Paul Duggan

A 12-year-old girl, speaking barely above a whisper in D.C. Superior Court, testified Wednesday that as a second-grader, she studied the life of a Catholic saint who had been a nun. “And I got inspired,” she said. She was 8 at the time. She told a jury that back then, she decided she wanted to be a nun, too, someday.

But she doesn’t feel that way now.

“When did you change your mind?” a prosecutor asked.

“When everything started,” she replied, meaning in 2016, when she was 9 and a parish priest, the Rev. Urbano Vazquez, then 44, allegedly kissed her on the mouth and “touched me on my private parts.” She said he kissed and groped her repeatedly over a span of months.

And she lost interest in a life of religious vocation.

“What do you want to be?” the prosecutor, Sharon Marcus-Kurn, asked.

“A chef,” she said.

The girl, in a blue sweater, her dark hair pulled back in a ponytail, clawed discreetly at a foam squeeze ball during four hours of testimony. She was such a small figure on the witness stand that only her head and shoulders were visible to the lawyers questioning her in Vazquez’s trial on five child sexual abuse charges.

“Disgusting,” was how she described her alleged encounters with Vazquez, who was an assistant pastor at the Shrine of the Sacred Heart Church in the Columbia Heights area of Northwest Washington before he was arrested late last year.

“Gross,” she added in a low voice.

“Yes, it hurt,” she said quietly.

Vazquez, ordained as a priest in the Capuchin Franciscan order in 2014, is accused of two counts of felony second-degree child sexual abuse and one count of misdemeanor child sexual abuse of the girl. He also is charged with two counts of felony second-degree child sexual abuse for allegedly groping a 13-year-old female parishioner. That girl is expected to testify Thursday.

As Marcus-Kurn gently questioned the girl, gradually eliciting her story of alleged abuse, Vazquez, clad in a black suit, listened impassively at the defendant’s table.

On the witness stand, picking at the little foam ball, the girl said Vazquez kissed her and grabbed her “private parts,” front and back, “a lot of times,” in the church — including in the sacristy — and during a religious retreat in Delaware.

The first time it happened, “in the back of the church,” she said, “I was, like, in full shock, and I couldn’t move my body.”

As more such incidents happened, the girl said, she kept them a secret from her mother because she was “scared something worser would happen” if Vazquez got mad.

Marcus-Kurn asked her specifically what she was afraid of.

“Like, rape,” the girl replied.

But she said she eventually worked up the courage to tell her mother what was happening. “I started getting angrier and getting bad grades,” she told the jury. “I couldn’t, like, hold on. I wanted to be done with it.”

Near the end of her testimony in the late afternoon, Judge Juliet J. McKenna ordered a 10-minute recess, and the girl got up and walked out of the courtroom. Marcus-Kurn’s colleague, prosecutor J. Matt Williams, approached the empty witness stand and saw what was left of the squeeze ball. It had been clawed to shreds.

He scooped up the remnants with both hands and dropped them in a recycling bucket.

Child Abuse Bill calls for priest to report assault they learn about in confession

MADISON (WI)
August 7, 2019

Associated Press

By Morgan Wolfe

Democratic lawmakers are introducing bills that would eliminate the statute of limitations on child sexual assault lawsuits and force clergy members to report allegations of child sexual assault they learn about during confidential conversations.

Under current Wisconsin law, children who are sexually assaulted have until age 35 to file a civil action. Sen. Lena Taylor and Reps. Melissa Sargent and Chris Taylor's bill would remove the deadline.

Current law allows clergy members who learn about allegations of child sexual assault during confidential conversations to keep them secret. The Democrats' second bill would eliminate that exception.

Laurie Asplund is an advocate for child sexual assault victims because she is one. Asplund was 14-years-old when her family's Christian Youth Pastor began to "groom" her. Groom is a term used by child abusers as a predator will start to manipulate the child into trusting them.

By the time Asplund was graduating highschool, she was being forced into sexual acts with a man her family had no idea was a predator.

Man sues Catholic Diocese of Belleville, alleging former senior priest abused him

BELLEVILLE (IL)
Madison County Record

August 8, 2019

By John Breslin

The Catholic Diocese of Belleville is accused of allowing a priest to be alone with children, one of whom he allegedly abused.

A man identified only as John Doe filed the lawsuit July in St. Clair County Circuit Court, alleging Joseph Schwaegel abused him when he was six years old at Catholic Grade School in Bellville some time after August 1987. Schwaegel was allegedly a senior member of the diocese at the time and was involved in investigations of sexual misconduct by other clergy.

The Diocese of Belleville was not able to immediately respond to the lawsuit.

Schwaegel, who died in 2016, is accused of first gaining the plaintiff's trust, then taking him out of class and abusing him on property owned by the diocese.

The plaintiff alleges the diocese failed to prevent Schwaegel from being alone with children and failing to monitor and supervise his activities.

This is the second lawsuit that names Schwaegel as an abuser of minors. The first, filed in 1999, was settled out of court.

Schwaegel, who was removed from ministry in 1994, admitted publicly he was a "sex addict" but denied any inappropriate sexual behavior involving minors.

Attorney identifies more accused priests in New Jersey

WEST ORANGE (NJ)
Associated Press

August 8, 2019

By Mike Catalini

An attorney for childhood victims alleging sexual abuse by Catholic clergy said Wednesday he has turned up the names of 12 New Jersey priests who were not previously disclosed on lists the church released.

Attorney Mitchell Garabedian represents 22 men and 8 women who say they were abused as children by New Jersey priests and that the names of 12 of the accused aren’t on lists of more than 180 priests the church released earlier this year.

Garabedian said he was coming forward Wednesday for the sake of “transparency” and so other victims “know they’re not alone.”

He stood alongside Robert Hoatson, who is the president and co-founder of the victim counseling organization Road to Recovery. Hoatson, who had previously said he was abused while involved in a Catholic religious order, said Wednesday he had also been abused by a now deceased priest in the Archdiocese of Newark who was among the dozen Garabedian identified.

Argentine bishop tapped by pope for Vatican job faces abuse trial

ORAN (ARGENTINA)
Crux

August 8, 2019

By Inés San Martín

Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta, a prelate from Pope Francis’s native country whom the pontiff brought to Rome and gave a Vatican job in 2017 and who’s now facing charges of sexually abusing seminarians, is expected to appear in court in the diocese he once led on Thursday.

Zanchetta has been formally accused of “aggravated continuous sexual abuse” of two young men, and a judge previously ordered him to remain in Argentina and stay away from the alleged victims and their families. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

Oran’s prosecutor, María Soledad Filtrín, presented the judge with a 30-page report containing a summary of facts, evidence and testimony collected against the bishop, which she believes are enough to bring the case to trial.

Crux has confirmed that the bishop is expected in court on Thursday, at 10 am local time (one hour ahead of Eastern Daylight Time in the U.S.). The hearing could determine if he’s to be tried for the charges. If he fails to attend, he could await the trial in prison.

More than 220 people sue on Guam alleging clergy sex abuse

AGAT (GUAM)
Associated Press

August 8, 2019

By Michael Biesecker

Walter Denton wanted to grow up to be just like Father Tony Apuron, until the night he says the parish priest raped him in a church rectory. The pastor sent the sobbing 13-year-old altar boy away with a warning: "If you say anything to anybody, no one will believe you."

Denton told his mother, but says she accused him of making it up. He told another priest, but that man did nothing and later turned out to be an abuser himself. And Denton watched helplessly as Pope John Paul II named his alleged rapist Archbishop of Agaña, the voice of divine authority in the small, overwhelmingly Catholic U.S. territory of Guam.

For decades, Apuron oversaw a culture of impunity where abusers went unpunished. Long after it erupted into scandal on the mainland, clergy sexual abuse remained a secret on Guam. On this island where four out of five people are Catholic, the abusers held the power.

Now, thousands of pages of court documents reviewed by The Associated Press, along with extensive interviews, tell a story of systemic abuse dating from the 1950s to as recent

August 7, 2019

Archdiocese settles with Metairie man 42 years after prominent monsignor allegedly raped him

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
WVUE TV

August 7, 2019

By Rob Masson

A Metairie man has come forward about the abuse he says he faced at the hands of a prominent deceased monsignor, 42 years ago.

George Bertucci received a large settlement from the Archdiocese of New Orleans related to his accusations against Henry Bezou, who he says raped him in 1977. Bertucci said the abuse started at St. Francis Xavier Church in Metairie on his very first day as a 9-year-old altar boy.

“There were other altar boys who served mass, and one of them tapped me on the shoulder, and said ‘Monsignor Bezou wants to talk to you,’” Bertucci recalled.

Bertucci said he did what the older boys told him to do, and went into the church sacristy after mass. There, he said he witnessed other boys touching themselves inappropriately in the presence of Bezou.

“After the other boys did it, I thought I needed to do it to become a man,” Bertucci said.

He then said then Bezou -- a longtime priest at Saint Francis Xavier and former superintendent of Archdiocese schools -- told the other boys to leave.

Survivors of sex abuse by priests pushing Arizona AG to set up hotline for victims

PHOENIX (AZ)
3TV/CBS 5

August 7, 2019

By Nicole Crites

Arizona sex-abuse survivors are asking Attorney General Mark Brnovich to join 20 other states investigating sex abuse and subsequent cover-ups in the Catholic Church.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, says we cannot trust the Church to self-report.

They want Brnovich to open a new statewide investigation and set up a new hotline for victims of sex abuse.

The AG's team says they do not have original jurisdiction here. But at least three other states -- New York, Colorado and Missouri -- are in the same boat, and are still going after institutions like the Church using fraud, consumer protection and voluntary compliance.

Mary O'Day runs the Phoenix chapter of SNAP.

She is also a survivor.

Victim says Aymond could've stopped sex abuse at New Orleans seminary in 1980s

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
Times Picayune

August 7, 2019

By Ramon Antonio Vargas

A man recently accepted a $150,000 settlement from the Archdiocese of New Orleans after claiming a veteran priest repeatedly molested him as a teenager in the mid-1980s at Notre Dame Seminary, when now-Archbishop Gregory Aymond held a high-ranking post there.

The man, Kevin Michael Bourgeois, said that he often encountered Aymond as priest Carl Davidson, then in his mid-40s, led the high schooler into booze-soaked sleepovers at the seminary. That’s where the abuse unfolded.

Bourgeois argues that Aymond should have known what was going on and put a stop to it.

In an interview Wednesday, Aymond said, “I can assure you, in all complete honesty, that is not true. I wish I had known, because if I had known, I would have done something to stop it — I would have reported it, but I didn’t know.”

Davidson, who died in 2007, was among the 61 priests whom the archdiocese last fall identified as credibly accused child abusers.

Bourgeois said he is speaking out because he is plagued with doubts over whether the archdiocese can give parishioners the full accounting the church has promised, and which many victims crave, after decades’ worth of revelations of clergy abuse.

“Every time I see him on the news (claiming) empathy, it makes me want to puke,” Bourgeois, now 52, said of Aymond. “I don’t believe him, don’t believe that he is penitent, because he knew my abuser was abusing boys.”

Cincinnati Church Officials Shift Blame over Fr. Drew

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

August 7, 2019

Three times in six years, Cincinnati Catholic officials reported suspicious conduct by a priest to a prosecutor. However, they then ignored the prosecutor’s recommendation, and let the cleric "self-report” to a '’monitor” not connected with his parish. Today, that prosecutor, Mike Gmoser, called the church leaders’ behavior “absurd.” We would use much harsher language.

Fr. Geoff Drew, until recently the pastor of St. Ignatius Loyola Paris, allegedly “touched and communicated with teenage boys in a sexually suggestive manner.” The priest should have been suspended following each and every report, and Archbishop Dennis Schnurr should have publicly announced the suspension and the reasons behind it. The archbishop should also have sought out others who may have suffered, witnessed or suspected similar behavior by Fr. Drew.

The Importance of Hotlines to Investigations

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

August 7, 2019

A report from the Associated Press has highlighted the incredible amount of information that has been gathered about institutional sexual abuse by investigators from the attorney general’s office in Pennsylvania. As the probe continues, now a year after the grand jury report was released, a critical element in the success of the investigation has been the existence of a confidential hotline.

We cannot stress enough the importance to survivors of having a place to share their stories where they know that they will be not only be listened to, but more importantly, where they will also be believed. Many victims, witnesses, and whistleblowers fear coming forward with information about cases of clergy abuse. There are many reasons for this fear, whether it is due to feelings of shame, or to worries of being blamed or of being singled out as a troublemaker. These reasons are examples of why having a confidential hotline where people can make reports can make such a difference in investigations into cases of institutional sexual abuse. It certainly made a difference in Pennsylvania, where the hotline set up by AG Josh Shapiro received nearly 1900 calls in one year.

Cheektowaga priest removed from ministry after I-Team report

BUFFALO (NY)
WKBW TV

August 7, 2019

By Charlie Specht

One day after a 7 Eyewitness News I-Team report about Bishop Richard J. Malone's alleged cover-up of allegations against a Cheektowaga pastor, the Diocese of Buffalo has removed the priest from ministry.

The Rev. Jeffrey L. Nowak, pastor of Our Lady Help of Christians Church in Cheektowaga, is facing allegations of inappropriate contact with children, harassment of a seminarian and perhaps the greatest Catholic sin of all: violating the seal of confession.

Despite this, Bishop Malone allowed Nowak to remain in ministry until Tuesday's I-Team report was published.

The bishop issued a statement Wednesday denying reports of a "cover-up" and disputing a seminarian's mother's statements that he had "done absolutely nothing" since her son contacted the bishop with written allegations in January.

The diocese said it "has never received any allegation that Fr. Nowak ever engaged in sexual contact with anyone, including any adult." But the same statement said the diocese had received allegations "that Fr. Nowak engaged in other inappropriate behavior and made inappropriate comments."

Despite putting the complaints in writing and submitting them to the diocese — and pushing the bishop’s staff for answers — Marie Bojanowski, the seminarian's mother, said Bishop Malone had never responded to her, and the bishop allowed Nowak to remain pastor of the Cheektowaga parish.

Diocese of Buffalo Accused of New Cover-up, SNAP Calls on other Bishops to Act

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

August 7, 2019

Again it seems Buffalo’s bishop is putting children and vulnerable parishioners at risk. A recent news report revealed that Bishop Robert Malone has been keeping an accused priest on the job for roughly nine months. America’s bishops should denounce his behavior and call for immediate discipline if their recent pledges to hold their brother bishops accountable are to have a shred of credibility.

Bishop Richard Malone is letting Fr. Jeffrey Nowak lead a parish “despite allegations of inappropriate contact with children, harassment of a seminarian and . . .perhaps violating the seal of confession” according to WKBW’s investigative team. This open violation of the church’s Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People would be egregious on its own, but the fact that it comes after nearly a year of scandal and lies is even more disturbing. Bishop Malone’s repeated choices to protect reputations over children and the vulnerable is a mockery of the pledges of reform that American bishops have made and deserves immediate intervention from the Vatican.

Bishop Malone’s secrecy has been repeatedly revealed in mainstream news accounts for months on end now. Yet the US Catholic hierarchy remains silent. This must end if the “Metropolitan model” advanced at this year’s US Conference of Catholic Bishops meeting is to have any credibility.

Butler County prosecutor: Archdiocese response to accused priest was "absurd" and "stupid"

CINCINNATI (OH)
WPCO TV

August 7, 2019

By Craig Cheatham

Butler County Prosecutor Mike Gmoser blasted the Archdiocese of Cincinnati on Wednesday for its admitted failure to actively monitor a priest repeatedly accused of inappropriate behavior with teenage boys.

"That sort of falls into the absurd category," Gmoser said from his Hamilton office. "Absurd -- or how about stupid?"

Gmoser said he told the Archdiocese in September 2018 that Father Geoff Drew, the Pastor of St. Ignatius Loyola Paris, should be monitored based on allegations that Drew touched and communicated with teenage boys in a sexually suggestive manner.

Survivors 'losing faith' after Satyanand resignation

WELLINGTON (NEW ZEALAND)
Radio New Zealand

August 7, 2019

By Michael Cropp

Survivors say they're losing faith it will uncover the extent of what happened to children in state and church care.

Some of them hope Sir Anand isn't the only commissioner to step down.

The Commission has been dogged by controversy since it was set up early last year.

That includes appointing a gang member to a key role, using survivors for trial or pilot interviews, claims Sir Anand fell asleep while a survivor told their story and accusations commissioners shut down questions on potential conflicts of interest.

Social worker, and survivor of abuse in state care, Paora Crawford Moyle, said Sir Anand's resignation was yet another blow.

"It's worrying, it makes [me] and probably my brothers ... really wonder what's going on in there and what else is to come," she said. "Are the cracks starting to appear."

Ms Moyle said she did not have a lot of faith in the inquiry and she was worried the work would not get done, because the Commission was having to spend so much time on damage control.

That was a view shared by Anne Hill, a survivor of abuse in church care.

"I have found it quite re-traumatising and at times very frustrating because the issue of child abuse gets lost in issues about who has the power to speak now," Ms Hill said.

Liz Tonks, from the network of survivors of abuse in faith-based institutions, said people were having trouble believing the inquiry would go ahead.

"Any issue that needs to be resolved and isn't straightforward and just doesn't let them get on with the job, is a setback. Survivors have been waiting for this for years," she said.

Attention's now turning to who'll take over when Sir Anand leaves in November.

Dr Christopher Longhurst, a Catholic church member who was also the national leader of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, was worried Judge Coral Shaw - who he found dismissive and disapproving during a hearing earlier this year - would get the job.

Democratic State Lawmakers Renew Push For Child Victims Act

MADISON (WI)
Wisconsin Public Radio

August 7, 2019

Bt Melissa Ingells

Time limits for bringing cases of child sexual assault to law enforcement would be abolished in Wisconsin under a proposal unveiled Wednesday at the state Capitol.

Under current law, children who are sexually assaulted must file a civil action before turning 35. The Child Victims Act would remove that statute of limitations.

The bill was introduced along with another plan to expand the types of child abuse clergy members are required to report and eliminate a reporting exemption for clergy for information gleaned during private conversations.

The proposals come in the wake of new reporting by The Cap Times outlining allegations of sexual assault at Calvary Gospel Church in Madison.

Survivors of childhood sexual assault joined lawmakers at the press conference to introduce the proposals.

Debbie McNulty, who was assaulted beginning at the age of 11, said she has never received justice.

"Eventually, I got up the courage to tell my pastor — he did nothing," said McNulty, who is now in her forties. "The church of my childhood was able to cover up many crimes."

She said if the bills gain support, "maybe they can give me justice."

Rebecca Martin Byrd said she was assaulted at the same church as McNulty, Calvary Gospel Church. Martin Byrd said women often get the courage to report their crimes later in life.

"We cannot expect our children, who are the most vulnerable, to be able to step up and do what most adult people can’t do," she said of bringing forward allegations.

Peter Isely, a founding member of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), said the bills uphold the religious liberty of children.


Sen. Lena Taylor, center, speaks at a press conference Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019 at the state Captiol where Democratic lawmakers introduced bills addressing the reporting of childhood sexual assault. Laurel White/WPR

"(Children) have the absolute right to be able to form their thinking and their prayer and their feelings about God within our communities and within our churches without that threat (of sexual violence)," Isely said.

The proposal to end time limits for bringing legal action related to child sexual assault has been brought several times before the Legislature, beginning in 2002. It has been opposed by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and other church officials.

The proposal to expand reporting requirements for clergy is being introduced for the first time.

Alleged sexual abuse victims of 28 N.J. priests ask Catholic Church for cash settlements

WOODBRIDGE (NJ)
New Jersey Advance Media

August 7, 2019

By Kelly Heyboer

Thirty people who say they were sexually abused as children by 28 New Jersey priests are among those applying for financial settlements through a new compensation fund backed by the state’s five Catholic dioceses.

The list of 28 priests includes 12 who have never before been named as alleged abusers, said Mitchell Garabedian, a Boston attorney representing the alleged victims.

“It’s an honor to represent victims of clergy sexual abuse. They show an enormous amount of courage coming forward,” Garabedian said at a press conference in West Orange. “I tell each and every victim, if it helps you to heal enter into the settlement program.”

The fund — called the New Jersey Independent Victim Compensation Program — was unveiled earlier this year by the state’s Catholic dioceses as a way for victims of clergy abuse to settle their cases with the church privately, without going to court.

It began accepting its first applications June 15. Fund administrators said they received 44 claims in the first month and made three settlement offers. More offers were expected as the fund administrators continued reviewing cases.

New Jersey recently changed its law to allow more sexual abuse victims to file civil lawsuits against their alleged abusers and institutions, including the Catholic Church, starting on Dec. 1. The New Jersey compensation fund is expected to help head off some of those lawsuits by allowing alleged victims to ask for private settlements with the church.

Under the fund’s rules, victims file claims that are reviewed by independent fund administrators. If their claims are found credible, the administrators make the victim a settlement offer. If the victim agrees to take the cash, he or she signs documents promising to never sue the Catholic Church in the future.

Former North Jersey man filing lawsuit alleging Theodore McCarrick abused him

WOODLAND PARK (NJ)
North Jersey Record

August 7, 2019

By Deena Yellin and Abbott Koloff

A man who grew up in North Jersey plans to file a lawsuit alleging that he was sexually abused as a child by former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, his attorney announced Wednesday during a press conference.

Mitchell Garabedian, the attorney, also released the names of 28 New Jersey priests who allegedly abused 30 of his clients who are seeking settlements through a victim's compensation fund set up by the state's five Catholic dioceses.

Twelve of the priests have never been named before, Garabedian said during the press conference, which was held in West Orange. The attorney said that if the victims aren't satisfied with the settlements offered by the church, they could file lawsuits in December when a new state law opens a two-year window for such cases to be filed.

Garabedian said that the abuse occurred between 1946 and 1982.

One man, James Greiner, who once lived in Bergen County, was planning to file a lawsuit rather than go through the compensation fund, the attorney said.

Greiner, now 61 and living in Virginia, told the New York Times last year that McCarrick was a close family friend he knew as "Uncle Ted." The report said that in 1958, shortly after McCarrick was ordained as a priest, he baptized Greiner at Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Tenafly.

An attorney who previously represented Greiner told NorthJersey.com that some of the abuse took place at his client's home in Tenafly.

Man accused of molesting children in church bathroom faces additional charges

NASHVILLE (TN)
Bpatist News Global

August 6, 2019

By Bob Allen

Jacop Hazlett, arrested last November for allegedly sexually abusing a 3-year-old boy at the Charleston campus of the multi-site NewSpring Church, faces 10 new charges of sexual exploitation of and criminal sexual conduct with a minor.

The charges relate to five newly identified alleged victims, raising the total number to 15. Hazlett now faces a total of 23 indictments.

While watching a group of preschoolers on Nov. 25 last year, Hazlett allegedly escorted a 3-year-old to the bathroom, where he sexually assaulted him. After learning of the allegation, church leaders reviewed security camera footage monitoring the day-care area and found 14 separate incidents where Hazlett allegedly molested boys in the children’s bathroom.

Authorities at the time said there might be other victims, because the church only kept archived video for 90 days.

NewSpring Church, a multi-site megachurch started in 2000 as a church plant by the South Carolina Baptist Convention, faces multiple lawsuits in connection with the alleged crimes.

The most recent, filed May 21 in the Charleston County Court of Common Pleas, claims NewSpring Church failed to properly vet Hazlett, adhere to safety protocols or adequately train and supervise employees and volunteers.

What are the statutes of limitations for child sex abuse crimes in Wisconsin?

MADISON (WI)
Capitol Times

August 7, 2019

By Katelyn Ferral

In Wisconsin, those who have experienced sexual assault as children have two paths of recourse: they can make a police report and pursue criminal charges or sue in civil court for damages.

But both of these options have time limits, known as statutes of limitations, which bar some victims from bringing cases to court.

There is no statute of limitations for criminally prosecuting someone for having sexual contact or intercourse with a minor under the age of 13, according to state law. For a sexual assault against a minor under the age of 16, the alleged crime can be prosecuted until the victim reaches the age of 45.

For civil cases, there are different sets of time limits to seek legal recourse. A person who, as a child, has experienced sexual assault by an adult, has until they are 35 years old to bring a case.

State Rep. Chris Taylor, D-Madison, wants to eliminate that restriction and is pushing for passage of the Child Victims Act, a proposal that failed to pass in the Legislature at least four times. The proposal would also open a three-year window during which victims barred under existing limitations could file lawsuits.

Lawsuit: Altar boy told abuse would bring him 'closer to God'

TAMUNING (GUAM)
Guam Daily Post

August 7, 2019

By Mindy Aguon

A former altar boy and Boy Scout alleges he was sexually abused by a priest while on church grounds and was told the abuse would bring him “closer to God,” according to the latest clergy sex abuse lawsuit filed in the District Court of Guam.

J.C.B., who used initials to protect his identity, filed a civil complaint against the Capuchin Franciscans and Boy Scouts of America.

The lawsuit named the late Louis Brouillard as his abuser and alleged the abuse occurred for three to four years in the early 1960s beginning when J.C.B. was 11 years old.

Once or twice a week, Brouillard allegedly took J.C.B. to his back room for the stated purpose of cleaning his bedroom. However, while in the room, the boy was ordered to undress and to lie in Brouillard’s bed next to the priest because doing so would result in the boy being “closer to God,” the lawsuit states.

Brouillard allegedly fondled and sexually abused the boy and told him not to worry about it or be scared because he was a priest. The boy was also told not to tell anyone because “no one will believe” him because Brouillard was a priest.

Pennsylvania clergy abuse hotline fields nearly 2,000 calls in first year

HARRISBURG (PA)
Associated Press

August 6, 2019

By Mark Scolforo

Investigations remain underway after 1,862 calls were made to a clergy abuse hotline in the 12 months since a landmark grand jury report exposed decades of child abuse within Pennsylvania’s Roman Catholic dioceses, the state attorney general said Tuesday.

About 90 percent of those calls concerned allegations of abuse or cover-ups within the Catholic church, Attorney General Josh Shapiro said. The rest were about institutions or people outside the Catholic church.

“We’ve gotten calls that have materialized into charges that were filed,” Shapiro said. “One case involved charges that were filed by the Allegheny County District Attorney. Others are being investigated by other law-enforcement agencies, including our own.”

Shapiro said he has been stopped daily by people who are grateful for the investigation or want to tell him their own stories of victimization.

“That has been just a profoundly impactful experience,” Shapiro said. “It has happened to me at big, formal events with public figures, and it has happened to me walking through the supermarket, buying food for my family.”

Proposed Victims Rights bills would dramatically reform Wisconsin's child protection laws

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

August 7, 2019

Proposed Victims Rights bills would dramatically reform Wisconsin's child protection laws

Clergy Mandated Reporting Act would require all clergy to report suspected abuse

The Child Victims Act would eliminate civil statute on child sex crimes, open three year window for past abuse

CVA endorsed by Democrats Evers and Kaul during 2018 campaign, provisions supported by then Republican Governor Walker

WHAT
Wisconsin Senator Lena Taylor, Representatives Chris Taylor and Melissa Sargent will be joined by survivors of childhood sexual assault, the Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault, (WCASA), the Wisconsin Chapter of The National Association of Social Workers (WI-NASW), and the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) to introduce two major victim rights and child protection bills.

WHEN
August 7th at 11:15 a.m.

WHERE
State Capitol, Senate Parlor

Abuse Allegations Revealed Against Priest from Niles, IL

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

August 7, 2019

A priest who worked in Niles IL is accused of sexual abuse, according to Minnesota Catholic officials. Unfortunately, Chicago area Catholics had to learn this information from a bishop elsewhere instead of from church officials at their own archdiocese.

Duluth Bishop Paul Sirba disclosed the allegation against the Fr. David Tushar on Sunday. Sirba claims the allegations stem from Fr. Tushar’s time as a Holy Cross Father and Catholic school teacher in Niles in the late 1970s. The priest has reportedly been in the Duluth diocese since 1985, works today in Carlton and Sawyer and has worked in eight other Minnesota towns: Bigfork, Buhl, Chisholm, Cloquet, Cohasset, Effie, Grand Rapids and Warba.

Now that this information has been disclosed, Cardinal Blase Cupich should do outreach to potential victims of Fr. Tushar in the Chicagoland region. He can start by publicizing the allegations against Fr. Tushar in parish bulletins and on diocesan websites. He should follow that step by personally visiting the parishes where Fr. Tushar worked and encouraging anyone who may have seen, suspected, or suffered abuse to come forward and make a report to police.

Stolen childhoods: Women allege they were sexually abused as kids at Calvary Gospel Church in Madison

MADISON (WI)
The Capitol Times

August 7, 2019

By Katelyn Ferral

A Pentecostal church on Madison’s east side has concealed allegations of sexual assault among its congregants for over 30 years, and continues to perpetuate a culture of fear and control that fosters abuse, former members say.

The Cap Times interviewed 13 people, four of whom said they were sexually assaulted and manipulated as children attending Calvary Gospel Church. Nine others, including parents, siblings of alleged victims, members who witnessed sexual misbehavior and one pastor who was in leadership at the time of many allegations, corroborate the description of the church’s culture, numerous accounts of sexual abuse in the congregation and concealment by its leaders.

The women who say they were assaulted as children — Debbie McNulty, Rachel Capacio, Rachel Huff and Rebecca Martin Byrd, all of whom agreed to publication of their names for this story — say they were groomed at a young age to accept sexual abuse from men in the church as other adults at the time looked the other way.

Their alleged perpetrators, often seen as service-oriented “men of God” in their 20s and 30s, sexually pursued them when they were girls. All of the women were under 18 at the time of the alleged assaults — and one was as young as 11. The Cap Times is not naming the alleged perpetrators because they have not been charged with crimes.

Bishop Malone accused of ‘cover-up’ with active Buffalo Diocese priest

BUFFALO (NY)
WKBW TV

August 6, 2019

By Charlie Specht

The mother of a seminarian wants to know why Bishop Richard J. Malone is allowing a Cheektowaga pastor to remain in ministry despite allegations of inappropriate contact with children, harassment of a seminarian and perhaps the greatest Catholic sin of all: violating the seal of confession.

Those were the allegations brought months ago against the Rev. Jeffrey Nowak, pastor of Our Lady Help of Christians Church, by Marie Bojanowski, the mother of a Buffalo Diocese seminarian whom Nowak allegedly sexually harassed.

“I would say it’s a cover-up,” Bojanowski said. “Bishop Malone has done absolutely nothing.”

Despite putting the complaints in writing and submitting them to the diocese — and pushing the bishop’s staff for answers — Bojanowski said Bishop Malone has never responded to her, and the bishop has allowed Nowak to remain pastor of the Cheektowaga parish.

Additionally, 7 Eyewitness News has learned from Buffalo Diocese sources that Malone — without any notice to parishioners — is secretly planning to send Nowak for psychiatric evaluation at one of the Catholic Church’s “treatment centers,” which for decades were unsuccessful in treating priests who engaged in abusive sexual behavior with parishioners.

“That's why I'm here now,” Bojanowski said in an interview with the 7 Eyewitness News I-Team. “I'm forcing the bishop’s hand and I want the people of Buffalo to know there is no transparency. He's been covering this up for nine months. And he has not done a thing to Father Nowak.”

Reached by phone Tuesday afternoon, Father Nowak said, “Right now I’m unaware of that and I’d just ask you to talk to my legal counsel. That’s all I have to comment.” He then hung up.

What the Allentown Diocese has done in the year since clergy sex abuse allegations surfaced

EASTON (PA)
Times Express

August 6, 2019

By Julia Owens

Last August, the public finally got to see the chilling findings of a grand jury investigation into decades of sexual abuse within six of Pennsylvania’s Roman Catholic dioceses, including the Diocese of Allentown.

According to a grand jury report, 301 priests, 35 of whom had ties to the Allentown Diocese, were accused of sexually abusing at least 1,000 children going back to the 1940s. It alleged church officials had been involved in covering up the abuse cases.

Fast forward a year: investigations remain underway and 1,862 calls have been made to a clergy-abuse hotline. About 90% of those calls concerned allegations of abuse or cover-ups within the Catholic church, Attorney General Josh Shapiro said.

In conjunction with the one-year anniversary of the report’s release, the Allentown Diocese issued a statement about programs it has implemented to prevent abuse and keep children safe.

“The diocese uses vigilance, education, and prevention, coupled with swift and decisive action in the event of an accusation, to address abuse,” the statement said.

August 6, 2019

New laws open door to decades-old child sex abuse cases

NEW YORK (NY)
CBS News

August 6, 2019

By Ed Leefeldt

Child Victims Act laws in some U.S. states allow people who suffered sexual abuse as children to file lawsuits in cases going back decades.

Institutions facing such claims are usually willing to settle, lawyers say, and sometimes offer payouts of up to $1 million per plaintiff.

Recent publicity around child sexual abuse, including high-profile allegations against financier Jeffrey Epstein and singer R. Kelly, are spurring more such lawsuits.

When sex abuse victim Jim Keenan filed his first lawsuit 13 years ago, he thought his was "a lone case." But after settling with the Catholic Archdiocese of St. Paul, Minnesota, in 2018, he became the leader of a small army as chairman of a group of 440 sexual abuse victims within that diocese. It paid him, along with other former children who had been molested by clergy, a total of $210 million.

Yet that settlement may pale in size compared to potential payouts in New York, New Jersey and 15 other states around the country that have passed, or are considering, what are called Child Victims Acts (CVAs). These laws allow adults like Keenan, now 52, to sue churches, the Boy Scouts and other organizations that may have ignored, or covered up, cases of sexual abuse. The rationale for CVAs: Children may not be aware of what constitutes sexual abuse, or even that they were molested, and they deserve legal recourse as adults.

Police recommends criminal charges against deputy health minister in multiple cases

TEL AVIV (ISRAEL)
Ynetnews

August 6, 2019

By Eli Senyor

The Israel Police announced on Tuesday there it has sufficient evidence to recomend charges against Deputy Minister of Health Yaakov Litzman for fraud, breach of trust and witness tampering in multiple cases including the extradition of former Melbourne school principal Malka Leifer, who is accused of child sex abuse.

The police also says it has evidence of Litzman's culpability including charges of bribery and breach of trust in another case involving a the business of a close associate.

Cincinnati auxiliary bishop did not disclose accusations against priest

CINCINNATI (OH)
Catholic News Agency

August 5, 2019

By Ed Condon

An auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, and member of the USCCB committee on child protection, is facing accusations that he failed to report to Cincinnati’s archbishop a series of allegations that a priest had engaged in inappropriate behavior with teenage boys.

After CNA presented its investigation to the archdiocese, a spokesperson said that Bishop Joseph R. Binzer would be removed from his position as head of priest personnel, effective immediately, while the archdiocese begins its own internal investigation.

The archdiocese has not removed Binzer, 64, from his post as archdiocesan vicar general, a position of authority second only to the archbishop. Binzer is also a member of the U.S. bishops’ conference committee for the protection of children and young people.

Binzer could face further disciplinary action by Cincinnati Archbishop Dennis Schnurr, and is likely to undergo a formal investigation under the provisions of "Vos estis lux mundi," a recently promulgated policy for dealing with bishops who fail to properly handle allegations of sexual abuse or misconduct.

McCarrick Letters Underscore the Importance of Education about Grooming

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

August 6, 2019

Letters released by the Associated Press today show how one powerful church official was not only able to groom children and adults for abuse but was able to do so openly. We hope that the publication of these letters will lead to both healing for the survivors and new opportunities for parents and the public to become educated about grooming.

The letters sent by disgraced former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick are textbook examples of grooming behavior. With his intimate personal communication, he was able to build relationships with boys and men that would eventually turn abusive. The Cardinal also ingratiated himself into the families of his victims. Grooming can be a key part of abuse, as it allows the perpetrator to get close to the target, allowing him/her to gain trust and familiarity that can be used to victimize the young and vulnerable.

We hope that these letters will encourage parents as well as members of the public, particularly those who work with children, to learn more about this subtle process. An excellent resource can be found here. The more informed that people are about behaviors like this, the better able they are to intervene in

SCANDAL IN SOUTH CAROLINA

NEW YORK (NY)
First Things

August 6, 2019

By Christopher Tollefsen

A priest was recently placed on administrative leave in my own Diocese of Charleston. Fr. Raymond Flores, parochial vicar at St. Mary Help of Christians Catholic Church in Aiken, South Carolina, was discovered to have been exchanging explicit images with a minor on Grindr. Because the minor had listed himself on Grindr as age eighteen, however, Fr. Flores will not be charged.

It was subsequently revealed that in 2014, Fr. Flores was removed from ministry in the Diocese of Brooklyn for an “inappropriate relationship with a consenting adult.” According to a statement from that diocese, “after years of counseling and discernment, Fr. Flores expressed to us that he wished to return to active ministry, which required that he accept celibacy.”

On St. Mary’s website, the church pastor, Fr. Gregory Wilson, wrote:

Although Father Raymond’s past behavior was clearly inappropriate for a priest, albeit not unlawful, it is now an internal personnel matter. I hope and pray that you will respect the privacy of and be in prayer for all involved in the incident, as well as for me and our entire parish and school community.

Fr. Wilson’s statement echoed a Diocese of Charleston press release, which stated: “Although Father’s past conduct is clearly inappropriate for a priest, albeit not unlawful, it is now an internal personnel matter.”

There is one element of truth in all this: The minor’s privacy, and that of his family, should be respected. Neither his name nor any further details of his identity should be sought after or divulged. But in several other respects, these statements are misguided. Their guiding theme is privacy, but the Church has a responsibility to transparency that must not be ignored.

The first step should be greater forthrightness about the gravity of Fr. Flores’s transgressions. The declaration that his actions were “inappropriate…albeit not unlawful” is a misleading understatement. Sexual sins by clergymen, who are consecrated to fulfill in their persons Our Lord’s purposes, are forms of sacrilege. They thus grievously harm the Body of Christ, the Church. And “inappropriate” barely begins to describe the irreverence of a priest consecrating the sacred Body and Blood, hearing confession, and administering the other sacraments after sharing obscene images on social media.

State's clergy abuse hotline got 1,900 calls over first year

HARRISBURG (PA)
Associated Press

August 6, 2019

Pennsylvania's top state prosecutor says investigations remain underway after 1,862 calls were made to his office's clergy abuse hotline in the 12 months since a landmark grand jury report exposed decades of child abuse within the state's Roman Catholic dioceses.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro said Tuesday that about 90 percent of those calls concerned allegations of abuse or cover-ups within the Catholic church. The rest were about institutions or people outside the Catholic church.

Shapiro calls it "a profoundly impactful experience" that he's been stopped daily by people who are grateful for the investigation or want to tell him their own stories of victimization.

Pennsylvania dioceses have been evaluating claims and making payments through compensation funds established in the wake of the report.

Baltimore Archdiocese must expand 'accused' list

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

August 6, 2019

Statement by David Clohessy of SNAP (314-566-9790)

We belong to a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. Our mission is to protect the vulnerable, heal the wounded, expose the truth and deter future wrongdoing.

We’re here to warn parents, parishioners, police, prosecutors and the public about two potentially dangerous men, both connected to – or formerly connected to – the Catholic church in Maryland and DC.

The first is an admitted predator priest who now lives in Washington DC, was in Baltimore as recently as 2003, and held a church leadership post just a few years ago. He’s supposedly been “permanently removed from ministry,” according to a news report and a New York-based Catholic order known as the Marists. (See 10/19/93 Baltimore Sun)

https://www.societyofmaryusa.org/

In 1995, Atlanta Catholic officials announced that Fr. Philip S. Gage had been removed two years earlier from his post at the Marist School because of allegations that he molested a 17 year old student there in 1989. Later, church staff learned of another possible victim who was 18 at the time of the alleged abuse. They reportedly sent 7,000 letters to alums about the abuse report, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news3/1995_05_19_White_SchoolReveals_Philip_Gage_1.htm

John Patrick Grace: Bishop's book sets clerical abuse scandals in context

HUNTINGTON (WV)
Herald Dispatch

August 6, 2019

By John Patrick Grace

Catholics across the U.S., just as here in West Virginia, are now reading a 103-page book titled "Letter to a Suffering Church," distributed in bulk in thousands of parishes. The author is Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop Robert Barron, formerly rector of Mundelein Seminary just northwest of Chicago.

Barron readily admits the gravity of the abuse scandals that have ravaged Catholic parishes in dozens of countries and which, he says, have caused 37 percent of practicing U.S. Catholics to consider leaving their church.

While evoking the outrageous abuse behavior of former Washington, D.C., Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and cases of abusive priests and negligent bishops over the last six decades or so, Barron's book reminds us of periodic abuses that have marked the long history of the church.

The worldwide clerical sexual abuse crisis of our day is part of a pattern that goes back to Old Testament times and has occurred also in Christian circles right from the first century A.D.

Victims seek archbishop’s help, Group wants all Maryland predators ‘outed’

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

July 29, 2019


Victims seek archbishop’s help

Group wants all Maryland predators ‘outed’

Some priests aren’t on his ‘credibly accused’ list

They’re deemed ‘credibly accused’ by other bishops

SNAP: “Stop splitting hairs start protecting kids”

One of cleric, an admitted predator, has a church post

All the ‘missing’ prists were in MD but were ‘outed’ elsewhere

WHAT
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims will reveal that some Maryland predator priests are not on the archdiocesan ‘accused’ list. And they will challenge the Baltimore’s archbishop to
--add them to the archdiocesan website, and
--post the alleged offenders’ photos, whereabouts and full work histories, so kids will be safer and victims will feel validated.
Victims will also disclose that previously-hidden presence of an admitted abusive cleric who is in DC, was in Baltimore, and recently held a church leadership position.
The group will also call on Maryland lawmakers to reform or repeal the state’s “archaic, predator-friendly” laws (like the statute of limitations) and set up a two or three year ‘civil window,’ to enable victims to protect kids by exposing wrongdoers in court.

Disgraced Jesuit janitor hired despite molestation conviction, named in new 1980s abuse claim

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
Times Picayune

August 5, 2019

By Ramon Antonio Vargas

Former New Orleans baseball star Peter Modica walked into a Jefferson Parish courtroom on May 9, 1963, and admitted that he had performed oral sex on two 13-year-old boys several weeks earlier at the Metairie playground he supervised.

After serving five years probation, he somehow landed a job as a head janitor at the all-boys Jesuit High School, where he abused minors again.

A 49-year-old man who says he was 11 when Modica began molesting him on Jesuit’s campus in the early 1980s publicly recounted his ordeal for the first time Monday, nearly 11 months after another man who said he was victimized by Modica went public with the financial settlement he received from the Jesuit order, which runs the school.

Speaking at the office of his attorney, Roger Stetter, who frequently represents people abused by Catholic clergy, the man discussed his intention to file a lawsuit against Jesuit in the coming days.

The man, who asked to not be named because he’s told only a handful of people about his molestation, said the leaders of the 170-year-old, all-boys school owe him damages because they failed to protect him from Modica, who they should have known was a child predator.

Ex-cardinal’s letters to victims show signs of grooming

ROME (ITALY)
Associated Press

August 6, 2019

By Nicole Winfield

At first glance, the handwritten postcards and letters look innocuous, even warm, sometimes signed off by “Uncle T.” or “Your uncle, Father Ted.”

But taken in context, the correspondence penned by disgraced ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick to the young men he is accused of sexually abusing or harassing is a window into the way a predator grooms his prey, according to two abuse prevention experts who reviewed it for The Associated Press. Full of flattery, familiarity and boasts about his own power, the letters provide visceral evidence of how a globe-trotting bishop made young, vulnerable men feel special — and then allegedly took advantage of them.

The AP is publishing correspondence McCarrick wrote to three men ahead of the promised release of the Vatican’s own report into who knew what and when about his efforts to bed would-be priests. Access to an archbishop for young men seeking to become priests “is a key piece of the grooming process here,” said one of the experts, Monica Applewhite.

Pope Francis defrocked McCarrick, 89, in February after a church investigation determined he sexually abused minors as well as adult seminarians. The case has created a credibility crisis for the Catholic hierarchy , since McCarrick’s misconduct was reported to some U.S. and Vatican higher-ups, but he nevertheless remained an influential cardinal until his downfall last year.

McCarrick has declined to comment on his case, except to say in an initial statement last year that he was innocent but accepted the Holy See’s decision to remove him from ministry. McCarrick lawyer J. Michael Ritty declined to comment on the correspondence.

The testimony of James Grein, 61, the first child McCarrick baptized, was key to the Vatican case. The son of close family friends, Grein told church investigators that McCarrick began sexually abusing him when he was 11, including during confession and at family weddings and holiday celebrations.

Shake-up at archdiocese: Cincinnati's No. 2 bishop failed to share complaints about priest

CINCINNATI (OH)
Cincinnati Enquirer

August 5, 2019

By Dan Horn

Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Binzer will no longer oversee priest personnel matters in Cincinnati because he failed to report accusations that a West Side priest behaved improperly with children.

Binzer's removal is part of a shake-up announced Monday at the Archdiocese of Cincinnati over its handling of misconduct complaints against the former pastor of St. Ignatius of Loyola in Green Township.

The pastor, Geoff Drew, is now on leave while the church investigates the complaints.

"It's obvious that in this matter we have handled things very, very poorly," Archbishop Dennis Schnurr said in a statement Monday. "I'm sorry for the pain that this has caused so many people."

Priests accused of abusing deaf Argentine students on trial

MENDOZA (ARGENTINA)
The Associated Press

August 5, 2019

Downcast and sitting in a wheelchair as his historic trial began Monday in Argentina, the Rev. Nicola Corradi didn't look like the man former students at an institute for the deaf say was the force behind years of "indescribable" torment through alleged sexual abuse.

The 83-year-old Italian priest, along with the Rev. Horacio Corbacho, 59, and Armando Gómez, 63, are being tried for 28 cases of alleged abuse against ex-students at the Antonio Próvolo Institute for Deaf and Hearing Impaired Children in Mendoza province. They face prison sentences of up to 20 years in some cases, up to 50 years in others.

The alleged abuse took place between 2004 and 2016, and the case gained world attention when it emerged that Corradi had faced similar accusations at the Antonio Próvolo institute in Verona, Italy, and Pope Francis had been notified the Italian priest was running a similar center in Argentina.

Corbacho has pleaded not guilty to the sexual abuse charges, while Corradi and Gómez have not entered pleas. The trial is expected to last more than a month.

Pennsylvania SNAP Leaders Share Reflections One Year after PA Grand Jury Report

PENNSYLVANIA
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

August 5, 2019

The one-year anniversary of the scathing grand jury report on six Pennsylvania Catholic dioceses is fast approaching. The report triggered tremendous strides on a horrifying topic that was once never discussed. Since Aug 14, 2018, when Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro released the 884-page findings, more than a dozen states’ attorneys general have since launched their own probes into clergy sex abuse cases and set up dedicated phone numbers for victims. Here in Pennsylvania, more than 1,400 new calls have been received by the Attorney General’s hotline. This speaks volumes to the tremendous amount of effort that is going into exposing the perpetrators and those who shielded them.

The aftermath from the grand jury report also saw a federal criminal probe introduced. Last October, federal prosecutors issued subpoenas to all eight Roman Catholic dioceses and the two Eastern Catholic archeparchies in Pennsylvania, seeking years of internal Church records. Authorities have yet to release any details of that investigation. However, it is fair to say that very few people have not heard of the details contained in the grand jury report.

Female teacher who abused vulnerable girls jailed for more than seven years

AUSTRALIA
The West Australian

August 2, 2019

By Pierra Willix

One of two female students sexually abused by her young female teacher says she is now too scared to enter a classroom.

The teacher, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was today sentenced to seven and a half years in jail for the crime.

The terrified student, who was 17 at the time of the abuse, wrote to the court saying she had put off university studies in fear of being back in a classroom.

In the victim impact statement, the girl said she had been made to believe that what was happening between her and the teacher was “normal”, but she was now struggling to come to terms with the abuse.

“She is largely carrying the burden of what happened to her,” Judge Ronald Birmingham said.

The arts teacher, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was working at a southern suburbs school when she targeted the two girls between 2015 and 2017.

New Pentagon program aims to capture serial sex offenders with victims' confidential help

WASHINGTON (DC)
USA TODAY

August 5, 2019

By Tom Vanden Brook

The Pentagon is targeting serial sex offenders with a new program that tracks confidential information provided by victims.

The Pentagon, which has long struggled with sexual assault in its ranks, is hoping that victims who have been reluctant to file formal complaints will do so if they know their assailant has assaulted another victim.

The Catch Program debuted Monday across the military and seeks to aid troops who file sexual assault complaints known as restricted reports. Such reports do not trigger an official investigation but allow the victim to receive health care, legal advice and advocacy. The program began receiving some reports June 19, according to Jessica Maxwell, a Pentagon spokeswoman. Several victims have sought to enter information into the system about their assailant.

Baltimore Archdiocese must expand 'accused' list

BALTIMORE (MD)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

August 5, 2019

Statement by David Clohessy of SNAP (314-566-9790)

We belong to a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. Our mission is to protect the vulnerable, heal the wounded, expose the truth and deter future wrongdoing.

We’re here to warn parents, parishioners, police, prosecutors and the public about two potentially dangerous men, both connected to – or formerly connected to – the Catholic church in Maryland and DC.

The first is an admitted predator priest who now lives in Washington DC, was in Baltimore as recently as 2003, and held a church leadership post just a few years ago. He’s supposedly been “permanently removed from ministry,” according to a news report and a New York-based Catholic order known as the Marists. (See 10/19/93 Baltimore Sun)

Archdiocese of Cincinnati Informed of Allegations against Drew 6 Years Ago, SNAP Reacts

CINCINNATI (OH)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

August 5, 2019

For immediate release: August 5, 2019

It is good that church officials in Cincinnati are looking into the actions that a local auxiliary bishop took in response to hearing allegations that a priest “violated child protection rules.” It is critical that all allegations involving children are routed immediately to police, and so it is also a good thing that Catholic leaders are investigating a possible delay in the reporting of those allegations.

At the same time, we are dismayed that this investigation is happening now, six years after Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Binzer was first informed of inappropriate behavior by Fr. Geoff Drew. Church officials pledged in 2002 to treat all allegations of clergy abuse with zero tolerance, yet we constantly see and hear about situations where too much tolerance was given to priests accused of inappropriate contact with children. Vigilance is what keeps children and the vulnerable protected, and church officials in Cincinnati were anything but vigilant in this case.

Former Geelong Grammar music chief abused girl after giving evidence at sex abuse commission

AUSTRALIA
The Age

August 2, 2019

By Erin Pearson

A former head of music at Geelong Grammar and Order of Australia recipient has been jailed after admitting to sexually abusing a young girl in 2017 and 2018.

Eminent musician and composer Malcolm John will spend his 85th birthday in prison after pleading guilty to three counts of sexual abuse of the eight-year-old girl.

August 5, 2019

Priest sex abuse report to be released by Burlington diocese before end of month

BURLINGTON (VT)
Burlington Free Press

August 6, 2019

By Elizabeth Murray

The report commissioned by Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington Bishop Christopher to examine personnel files of Vermont priests for reports of child sex abuse will be published before the end of the month, he said.

According to a statement issued by the appointed lay committee, the final draft of the report is expected to be approved this week and will then be provided to the diocese.

Statements by Coyne and the lay committee come amidst criticism from the international nonprofit support group Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) for failing, up to this point, to publicly name the priests against whom abuse allegations have been substantiated. Last week, the Catholic Diocese of Manchester published a list of priests accused of sexually abusing children.

David Clohessy, a SNAP volunteer leader from Missouri, spoke to reporters outside the Diocese on Monday afternoon while holding a sign that showed the link to SNAP's website, SNAPnetwork.org. He accused the Diocese of dragging its heels in releasing the report, thus further endangering children that may be exposed to the priests in the community.

"The main issue is that child molesters rarely stop," Clohessy said. "So, while Bishop Coyne will puff out his chest and say, 'None of these men are in active ministry,' literally as we speak, one of them could be helping out at a summer camp as a soccer coach.

'They're demonic': the deaf victims of Argentina's paedophile priests speak out

BUENOS AIRES (ARGENTINA)
Buenos Aires Times

August 5, 2019

By Andres Larrovere

Ezequiel Villalonga spent most of his life at the Provolo Institute in Mendoza, a Catholic school for deaf children. But now the 18-year-old, who is deaf and mute, has lost all faith in the Church.

He and his classmates claim they are victims of the paedophile priests who ran the institution, part of a sweeping scandal that has shaken Argentina, Pope Francis's home country.

"I think that everything in the Church is fake. Everything they made us read, recite, the way (they said) people should live," he said in sign language, just before the start of the priests' trial on Monday.

"I think they lie and that they're demonic," he added.

Ezequiel only learned sign language as an adult, because despite the Institute's specialized mission, the school situated in the Andean foothills didn't teach him how to speak.

Priests being 'blamed' for crimes they did not commit, says Pope

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Tablet

August 5, 2019

By Ruth Gledhill

Pope Francis has spoken out about his concerns that Catholic priests are being "attacked and blamed" for crimes they did not commit. And he has warned them not to retreat into "closed and elitist" groups as a result because this "poisons the soul".

In a letter to Catholic priests worldwide, he says he wants to encourage them as they live lives of service to others "in the trenches", at a time when there is great public anger about the many clerical sex abuse scandals.

His letter was sent out on 4 August, the feast day of St John Vianney, patron saint of parish priests and Curé of Ars in France from 1818 to 1859
"Like the Curé of Ars, you serve 'in the trenches', bearing the burden of the day and the heat, confronting an endless variety of situations in your effort to care for and accompany God’s people. I want to say a word to each of you who, often without fanfare and at personal cost, amid weariness, infirmity and sorrow, carry out your mission of service to God and to your people. Despite the hardships of the journey, you are writing the finest pages of the priestly life," he writes.

He describes how he shared with the Italian bishops his worry that, in more than a few places, "our priests feel themselves attacked and blamed for crimes they did not commit."

The Church has become "more attentive" to the cry of victims of abuse. "This has been a time of great suffering in the lives of those who experienced such abuse, but also in the lives of their families and of the entire People of God.

The Church is committed to the reforms needed to encourage "a culture of pastoral care" so that the culture of abuse will have no room to develop, much less continue, he continues.

Trial begins for DC priest accused of sexual abuse

WASHINGTON (DC)
WTOP TV

August 5, 2019

By Nick Iannelli

A priest accused of child sex abuse in D.C. is set to go on trial this week.

Urbano Vazquez is charged with inappropriately touching two children at the Shrine of the Sacred Heart in Northwest D.C. between 2015 and 2017, when he was assistant pastor at the parish.

The Archdiocese of Washington has since removed Vazquez from ministry.

Conception Abbey releases past allegations list

MARYVILLE (MO)
Nodaway County News

August 5, 2019

Concern for transparency and accountability has prompted many dioceses and religious orders to publish information about members within their groups who have had allegations of sexual abuse of minors made against them.

With that goal, Conception Abbey provided the names of eight abbey priests or brothers against whom credible allegations of sexual abuse of a minor have been made in the past 70 years. None of these priests continues in ministry.

“On behalf of the monks of Conception Abbey, I offer my unconditional apology to all victims and their families affected by the evil of clergy sexual abuse,” said Right Reverend Benedict Neenan, OSB, abbot of Conception Abbey.

“It is my prayer and hope that publishing this list will aid in the healing of victims and will serve as a lasting reminder of our responsibility to do everything in our power to protect all minors and vulnerable adults from abuse.”

To compile the list, Conception Abbey leadership retained retired FBI agents to review the personnel files of all abbey priests and brothers serving in the past 70 years.

The following are the names of the priests or brothers that the abbey and/or a diocese in which a priest served has determined that an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor is credible.

• Fr. Vincent Barsch, born, 1919; ordained, 1945; left religious life, 1973; state and timeline, South Dakota, ca. 1955-62; status, deceased in 2010.

Court Hearing on Boy Scouts' Attempts to Hide Identification of Offenders in Perversion Files

ST. PAUL (MN)
Jeff Anderson & Associates Media

August 5, 2019

Public Release of 1,538 Secret Boy Scout Perversion Files Sought at Hearing Tuesday in Ramsey County District Court

Children Remain at Risk Because Boy Scouts of America Has Kept these Files and Identities of Sexually Abusive Leaders Secret

Lawyers representing a survivor of childhood sexual abuse by a Boy Scout leader are seeking the public release of 1,538 secret Boy Scouts files on leaders with allegations of sexual misconduct against children. Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has refused to make public the perpetrator names and documents contained in these files, known as Perversion Files.

“By keeping the identity and information regarding sexual abusers secret, Boy Scouts of America is putting kids at risk of being sexually abused,” said attorney Jeff Anderson of Jeff Anderson & Associates, who is seeking the release of the 1,538 Perversion Files. “There is a public safety imperative to release the names and information of these offenders immediately. The peril is grave and the time is now.”

Anderson is seeking the release of the 1,538 Perversion Files in the case of John Doe 180, who was sexually abused as a minor by Boy Scout leader Peter Stibal. John Doe 180’s lawsuit in Ramsey County against Stibal, Boy Scouts of America (BSA) and related entities settled in 2014. The 1,538 Perversion Files were produced to John Doe 180 under seal, not to be released publicly. On Tuesday, Anderson will ask Ramsey District Court Judge Leonardo Castro to order the public release of the files.

Goodwill allowed ‘credibly accused’ priest to visit schools in R.I.

PROVIDENCE (RI)
Providence Journal

August 4, 2019

By Brian Amaral

Kevin R. Fisette, who appears on the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence’s list of clergy who’d been “credibly accused” of sexually abusing a minor, visited schools and worked in the presence of children after he got a new job at Goodwill, according to social media postings and school officials.

A man on the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence’s list of clergy who’d been “credibly accused” of sexually abusing a minor visited schools and worked in the presence of children after he got a new job at Goodwill, according to social media postings and school officials.

Kevin R. Fisette, 64, was removed from ministry and resigned from his post as pastor of St. Leo the Great Church in Pawtucket in 2009 after a sexual-abuse allegation from the early 1980s — which the Diocese of Providence deemed credible but that his supporters say was unfounded — surfaced. By October 2010, he had a new job at Goodwill Industries of Rhode Island. From 2014 to 2018, social media posts showed him visiting Goodwill’s donation bins at Rhode Island schools.

Photos show Fisette posing with children at Burrillville Middle School, Leo Savoie Elementary School in Woonsocket, and St. Mary Academy-Bay View, an all-girls independent Catholic school in Riverside, while expressing appreciation to them for collecting donations for Goodwill.

‘Everything in the church is fake’: Deaf victims of Argentina’s pedophile priests speak out

MENDOZA (ARGENTINA)
Agence France-Presse

August 4, 2019

Ezequiel Villalonga spent most of his life at the Provolo Institute in Mendoza, a Catholic school for deaf children. But now the 18-year-old, who is deaf and mute, has lost all faith in the Church.

He and his classmates claim they are victims of the pedophile priests who ran the institution, part of a sweeping scandal that has shaken Argentina, Pope Francis’s home country.

“I think that everything in the Church is fake. Everything they made us read, recite, the way (they said) people should live,” he said in sign language, just before the start of the priests’ trial on Monday.

“I think they lie and that they’re demonic,” he added.

Ezequiel only learned sign language as an adult, because despite the Institute’s specialized mission, the school situated in the Andean foothills didn’t teach him how to speak

He was only seven months old when his mother realized he was deaf. When Ezequiel was four, she sent him to the Provolo, which was founded in 1995, 621 miles (1,000 kilometers) west of Buenos Aires.

Until Ezequiel was 16, when the scandal finally broke, he spent his days inside the massive building with a green roof. Once inside its red brick walls, he was only allowed to go home on weekends.

“Life there was terrible. We didn’t learn anything, we couldn’t speak to each other because we didn’t know sign language,” he said.

Should Clergy Be Required to Report Abusers Who Confess?

NEW YORK (NY)
Mother Jones

August 5, 2019

By Madison Pauley

Kristy Johnson was 6 years old in 1969, when her father, an educator employed by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, began sexually abusing her at their home in Utah. Her mother discovered what was happening and sought help from their local Mormon bishop. But according to a civil lawsuit Johnson filed against her father last year, the bishop did not contact police, instead handling the abuse “as a matter of sin, only.”

The same thing happened each time the abuse was reported to church leaders, according to Johnson’s complaint. One bishop instructed her father to “clean up his act,” she tells me. Her father was reassigned to different towns. And the church never called the cops, the lawsuit alleges. “They didn’t want the word to get out, because of who my father was,” Johnson says. “Because it would make the church look bad. That was their main concern.”

“If we mandate teachers to report, if we mandate other professions to report, why aren’t we mandating religious leaders to report as well?”

Despite the Mormon Church’s quiet attempts to counsel her father, the violence allegedly continued for about 15 years. According to the lawsuit, the attacks escalated from fondling to beating and rape, stopping only when Johnson left home at age 21 for her church mission. Only later, once she learned her sisters had also been sexually abused, did she decide to go to the police. It was the first time she’s aware of that law enforcement had ever been contacted. Her father, Melvin Kay Johnson, was not arrested; he has since admitted to “inappropriate sexual conduct” with his daughters when they were older and settled the lawsuit against him.

Diocese's asset shift may be scrutinized if it files bankruptcy over sex lawsuits

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

August 5, 2019

By Jay Tokasz

A year after a bill that would suspend the civil statute of limitations in child sex abuse cases was first introduced in the New York State Legislature, the Buffalo Diocese in 2006 began moving $91 million from its main investment account into the accounts of parishes, schools, cemeteries and other Catholic entities.

Diocese officials at the time characterized the transfers as “an opportunity to increase long term investment income” and “to invest in harmony with the teachings and beliefs of the Roman Catholic Church.”

But it also was an effort to shield money in the event the bill became law and exposed the diocese to the same kinds of clergy sex abuse lawsuits that other dioceses faced, said Monsignor William J. Gallagher, a retired priest who served on the diocese’s finance council and was a longtime pastor of St. John Vianney Church in Orchard Park.

“Instead of having the diocese holding money for everybody because then it’s reachable by lawsuit, this way they created independent outfits to take care of it,” said Gallagher. “When the lawsuits started, they had to make sure that everything was separated.”

The Child Victims Act was signed into law in February, after 14 years of failing to advance to a vote in the State Senate. And now the diocese faces the prospect of dozens — and perhaps hundreds — of lawsuits this month with the opening of a one-year window in which sex abuse cases that were time-barred by statutes of limitations can proceed in civil courts.

Pope encourages priests dejected by abuse crisis

ROME (ITALY)
Catholic News Service

August 5, 2019

Pope Francis acknowledged the shame and frustration felt by priests who are discouraged by the actions of fellow clergy members who betrayed the trust of their flock through sexual abuse and abuse of conscience and power.

In a letter addressed to priests around the world Aug. 4, the pope said that many priests have spoken or written to him expressing "their outrage at what happened" and the doubts and fears the sexual abuse crisis has caused.

"Without denying or dismissing the harm caused by some of our brothers, it would be unfair not to express our gratitude to all those priests who faithfully and generously spend their lives in the service of others," he said.

Commemorating the 160th anniversary of the death of St. John Mary Vianney, patron saint of parish priests, the pope praised those priests who, like their patron, carry out their mission "often without fanfare and at personal cost, amid weariness, infirmity and sorrow."

However, he also shared his concern that many priests "feel themselves attacked and blamed for crimes they did not commit."

Group to protest Burlington Diocese handling of sex abuse allegations

BURLINGTON (VT)
WCAX TV

August 5, 2019

Vermont's Roman Catholic Diocese plans to release by the end of the month its long-awaited report on priests who have been accused of sexually abusing children.

It comes as a group in Burlington plans to protest Monday over the delay in the report's release.

The group Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests claims that Bishop Christopher Coyne pledged to post the names of the accused priests, but that he "continues to be secretive."

Organizers say clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will gather Monday at Burlington Diocese headquarters in South Burlington around 2:15 p.m. to disclose names of eight accused Catholic clerics.

Bishop Coyne in a statement Monday said he expects the list by the end of the month.

"While it was hoped that the report of the independent file review committee would have been published earlier this year, the Diocese of Burlington has provided the committee with the time needed to ensure a thorough and accurate accounting of credibly accused priests. As a result, the independent file review committee's work took longer than originally anticipated. The work is just about completed and the report will be published by the Diocese of Burlington before the end of August," Coyne said.

August 3, 2019

A list of priests’ names that’s far too little, far too late

CONCORD (NH)
Concord Monitor

August 3, 2019

By Ray Duckler

David Ouellette was fooled once, as a 15-year-old victim growing up in Rochester.

He wasn’t fooled last Wednesday, though. He read the list, released by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Manchester, the one documenting priests who had been accused of sexually abusing children for decades. He noticed names, parish assignments, punishments handed out.

Ouellette wanted more details, though. He says he won’t get fooled again.

“Personally,” Ouellette told me by phone, “I think of it as a smokescreen and a public-relations campaign.”

Where, for example, was the information about specific crimes committed, and how many victims stepped forward with accusations, and why were many of these suspected predators merely shifted from church to church in a cover-up that impacted the entire world? Most importantly, where are they now?

“It really doesn’t tell you anything,” Ouellette said, referring to the list.

Ruth Krall, Historical Meandering: Ideologies of Abuse and Exclusion (3)

LITTLE ROCK (AR)
Bilgrimage blog

August 2, 2019

By William Lindsey

This is the third and final installment of an essay by Ruth Krall entitled "Historical Meandering: Ideologies of Abuse and Exclusion." The previous two parts of this essay have appeared here and here. This essay is one in a series of essays Ruth is publishing on Bilgrimage under the series title "Recapitulation: Affinity Sexual Violence in a Religious Voice." The first of the two links above will give you links to each previous essay. In this essay series, Ruth is focusing on the endemic nature of religious and spiritual leader sexual abuse of followers.

The current essay deals with the importance of an historical framework for understanding and dealing with this endemic sexual abuse in religious institutions. Vis-à-vis the Christian churches, Ruth proposes that "if we are to seek to understand or unearth the fundamental pilings (i.e., the deep and pervasive foundations) of this abuse scandal inside Christendom, we must first learn how to work with each other" — to understand the various faith languages of different Christian traditions and the prejudices borne within each stream of Christianity, and to talk together coherently about these faith languages and prejudices as we seek a solution to problem endemic to all of our faith traditions.

Please note that the endnotes begin with xxxvii because this essay is a continuation of an essay previously published in two installments.

'They're demonic': the deaf victims of Argentina's pedophile priests speak out

LAPLATA (ARGENTINA)
AFP

August 3, 2019

By Carlos Reyes with Magalí Cervantes

Ezequiel Villalonga spent most of his life at the Provolo Institute in Mendoza, a Catholic school for deaf children. But now the 18-year-old, who is deaf and mute, has lost all faith in the Church.

He and his classmates claim they are victims of the pedophile priests who ran the institution, part of a sweeping scandal that has shaken Argentina, Pope Francis's home country.

"I think that everything in the Church is fake. Everything they made us read, recite, the way (they said) people should live," he said in sign language, just before the start of the priests' trial on Monday.

"I think they lie and that they're demonic," he added.

Ezequiel only learned sign language as an adult, because despite the Institute's specialized mission, the school situated in the Andean foothills didn't teach him how to speak.

He was only seven months old when his mother realized he was deaf. When Ezequiel was four, she sent him to the Provolo, which was founded in 1995, 621 miles (1,000 kilometers) west of Buenos Aires.

2 priests under suspension have ties to Miami Valley

CINCINNATI (OH)
WHIO TV 7

August 3, 2019

Two Roman Catholic priests on administrative leave, which church officials say is the “strongest action” a local bishop can take on his own against a priest, have ties to the Miami Valley.

The Archdiocese of Cincinnati, which serves southwest Ohio, including the greater Cincinnati and Dayton regions, on July 23 suspended the Rev. Geoffrey Drew, and has suspended the Rev. Clarence Heis for the second time.

Drew, who previously served at St. Rita of Cascia Parish in Dayton and St. Luke the Evangelist Church in Beavercreek, was placed on leave from his post at St. Ignatius of Loyola in Green Twp., Hamilton County. He is accused of behavior that violates the “decree on child protection,” according to a letter written by Archbishop Dennis Schnurr, our media partner WCPO-TV in Cincinnati reported.

MUST-READ: ‘Top 10 Myths About Clergy Sex Abuse in the Catholic Church’

UNITED STATES
Patheos

August 2, 2019

By Deacon Greg Kandra

This is an important compendium that every Catholic needs to read and share.

From Psychology Today:

As we approach the year anniversary of the recent uptick in media attention due to the release of the Pennsylvania grand jury report (as well as the now-former Cardinal McCarrick abuse allegations), let’s review the top ten myths about clerical abuse in the Catholic Church.

Myth 1: Sexual abuse is more common among Catholic priests than other groups of men.

About 4 percent of Catholic clerics had credible or substantiated accusations of child sexual abuse of minors (both prepubescent children and postpubescent teens) during the last half of the 20th century (John Jay College of Criminal Justice, 2004, 2011). Research data, although from limited small scale studies, finds the prevalence of clerical abuse among non-Catholic religious communities consistent with the Catholics. If you review insurance claims against Church communities for sexual victimization perpetrated by their clerics, you’ll find that that there is no difference between Catholic and non-Catholic groups (Zech, 2011).

Seven abuse victims seek at least $50,000 each from Rochester church, Boy Scouts of America

ROCHESTER (MN)
Fox 47

August 2, 2019

An update on the seven lawsuits filed recently in Olmsted County related to admitted abuser Richard Hokanson:

Each of the seven victims is seeking in excess of $50,000 from the St. Pius X Catholic Church in Rochester, as well as the Gamehaven Council and The Boy Scouts of America.

Hokanson was a scout leader of a troop based at the St. Pius X Catholic Church. He was employed by each of the organizations. The plaintiffs say they were sexually abused by Hokanson between 1969 and 1981.

The defendants wrote in court documents that “there is little doubt that estimated damages could exceed $100,000 per victim.”

Diocese Wants Anyone with Misconduct Information to Come Forward

TULSA (OK)
KWGS NEWS

August 2, 2019

On July 5, 2019, the Diocese of Tulsa & Eastern Oklahoma announced that Father Joe Townsend, a priest of the Diocese, had been placed on administrative leave due to a non-frivolous allegation of sexual misconduct with a minor. After several weeks, the still ongoing third-party investigation has provided the Diocese with a better understanding of the allegation lodged against Father Townsend and what needs to be done to proceed with the investigation.

"As such, in fulfillment of the Diocese’s commitment to transparency and our desire to determine the merits of the allegation, we wish to announce that the allegation of misconduct against Father Townsend stems from when he served as an Associate Pastor at St. Pius X Catholic Church from June 1988 to June 199", the Diocese said in a news release.

NY Child Sexual Abuse Survivors Prepare To File Lawsuits Against Abusers

NEW YORK
WAMC

August 3, 2019

By Karen DeWitt

Beginning on August 14, New Yorkers who are survivors of childhood sexual abuse will have a one-year window of opportunity to file civil suits against their abusers, under the terms of the Child Victims Act passed by the legislature earlier this year. Thousands of cases are expected to be filed, with payouts potentially in the millions.

Gordon Smith was 14-years-old when he says he was first abused by two priests at a St. Patrick’s Catholic Church and school in Albany in the early 1960s.

He was filling in as a janitor for his father, who was sick. He says the abuse continued, on a weekly basis, for three years.

“It was about as horrific as it could get,” said Smith, in an interview with public radio and TV. “We’re talking about molestation, we’re talking about sodomization, we’re talking about oral sex.”

One of the priests that Smith is accusing, Father Donald Starks, appears on a list kept by the Albany Roman Catholic Diocese of priests with “credible” accusations against them. Starks died in 1989.

Tulsa priest placed on leave amid sexual misconduct investigation

TULSA (OK)
Tulsa World

August 2, 2019

A Tulsa Catholic diocese investigation on Friday determined that sexual misconduct allegations against a local priest date back more than two decades.

The allegations of misconduct against Father Joe Townsend, a priest of the Diocese of Tulsa and Eastern Oklahoma, stem from his time as an associate pastor at St. Pius X Catholic Church in Tulsa from 1988 to 1991, according to a news release. Townsend was ordained in May 1988.

Townsend was placed on administrative leave in early July after the “non-frivolous allegation of sexual misconduct with a minor” was made, the news release said. Church officials said they have engaged a “third-party investigation” into the allegation.

Catholic Priests Push Back Against Abuse Claims in Court

FAIRFAX (VA)
Courtroom News Service

August 2, 2019

By Joan Hennessy

As the Catholic Church digs itself out of a global sex abuse scandal, some priests are heading to court to contend they were wrongfully accused of misconduct and defamed when the church published their names on lists of “credibly accused” clergy members.

Seventeen years have passed since The Boston Globe documented widespread abuse by Catholic clergy. In the years that followed, victims all over the country sued the church and 19 dioceses and religious orders filed for bankruptcy protection, according to the National Catholic Reporter.

The church’s legal troubles reignited a year ago when a Pennsylvania grand jury report detailed abuse by priests in six state dioceses. The same month, a Pennsylvania bishop released a list of clergy accused of abuse. Other dioceses have done the same.

In February, when the Richmond diocese published its list of clergy members accused of sexual misconduct, Oliver Joseph Smalls, Jr.’s name was on it.

Diocese Releases Update On Alleged Sexual Misconduct Of Tulsa Priest

TULSA (OK)
NewsOn6.com

August 2, 2019

The Diocese of Tulsa and Eastern Oklahoma said they are asking anyone with knowledge of possible sexual misconduct on the part of a Tulsa priest to come forward. Father Joe Townsend continues to be on administrative leave due to allegations of sexual misconduct with a minor.

A news release from the Diocese states that an ongoing, third-party investigation has provided them with a "better understanding" of the allegation made against Father Townsend, prompting the call for people to come forward. They can contact law enforcement or call the Pastoral Hotline at 918-307-4970.

The allegation against Father Townsend involves St. Pius X Church and School community almost 30 years ago, according to Father Richard Bradley, Pastor of St. Pius X Catholic Church.

"We understand the need to fully investigate the allegation in order to bring to light any abuse that may have occurred, and we pledge our support of the investigative process. At the same time, we affirm that there are many students from that era as well as their parents, who remember Father Joe fondly and favorably. We pray for a peaceful and speedy resolution to this matter," he said in a news release.

Liberals fear unrest as Poland Catholic Church doubles down on anti-gay rhetoric

WARSAW (POLAND)
Reuters via Today Online

August 2, 2019

Poland's Catholic Church has doubled down on the anti-gay rhetoric that has become the nationalist ruling party's dominant theme in recent weeks, drawing a rebuke from liberal politicians who compared an archbishop's remarks to incitement to genocide.

In a sermon given to mark the 75th anniversary of the Warsaw uprising by Polish resistance fighters against Nazi occupation, the archbishop of Krakow, Marek Jedraszewski, described Poland as under siege from a "rainbow plague" of gay rights campaigners he compared to Poland's former Communist rulers.

"Our land is no longer affected by the red plague, which does not mean that there is no new one that wants to control our souls, hearts and minds," he told a mass in the medieval St. Mary's Basilica, one of the most important churches for Poles.

"Not Marxist, Bolshevik, but born of the same spirit, neo-Marxist. Not red, but rainbow," he was quoted as saying by private TVN24 broadcaster.

Robert Biedron, an openly gay politician from the progressive Wiosna party, denounced the sermon.

"We already had such people, politicians who used similar words and that lead to huge slaughters, genocide. This is an incitement to crime, to hatred," he told news website wirtualnapolska.pl.
Read more at https://www.todayonline.com/world/liberals-fear-unrest-poland-catholic-church-doubles-down-anti-gay-rhetoric

Sex Abuse Victims’ Stories Need to be Told: Guest Column

PROVIDENCE (RI)
GoLocalProv.com

August 3, 2019

By Carlene Casciano-McCann

Sex abuse victims stories need to be told, says Carlene Casciano-McCann

With the recent high-profile stories exposing sexual abuse and exploitation of children, many of us are incensed that this type of exploitation continues unabated.

We are outraged at perpetrators of sexual abuse, yet how often do we really think about the victims – the loss of innocence, trust and control over their own bodies; the burden of potential lifelong mental health issues. With the recent disclosure of credibly accused priests in the Catholic Diocese and Jeffrey Epstein’s arrest for trafficking children, we have evidence of abuses that have occurred in secrecy, with others being complicit in covering up and/or engaging in the illicit activity.

The stories sensationalize the perpetrator and do not tell the full story in order to protect the victim’s identity and privacy. Yet the crisis is revealed in the victim’s story which is what needs be told. Infants and toddlers are sexually molested – children irreparably harmed before they even have words to describe the assault. Pre-teen children and teenagers are sexually abused and the emotional trauma can make it difficult to find the words to tell others. Children carry the shame of sexual abuse despite it being the behavior of an adult perpetrator.

Sexual abuse is a difficult crime to prosecute. There is rarely physical evidence of an assault.

Beset by clergy abuse claims, New Orleans archdiocese hopeful church can 'heal,' touts donor help

NOLA.COM
New Orleans (LA)

August 3, 2019

By Ramon Antonio Vargas and Jerry DiColo

Steve Gegenheimer had struggled for decades to process what happened to him — in a rectory, in a parked car, in the woods and in hotels in Mississippi — over a two-year period in the 1970s, when he was a teenage altar boy on the West Bank.

In November, the priest he says sexually abused him decades ago was publicly named as a suspected child molester by New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond. Days later, Gegenheimer finally called a lawyer.

Over the next five months, at the archdiocese’s request, Gegenheimer wrote out a narrative explaining the abuse. He filled out the rest of a detailed questionnaire. He met with diocesan attorneys over several hours one emotionally draining day.

And after signing settlement documents that resulted in an undisclosed payment, he received a letter inviting him to speak and pray with the archbishop himself.

Gegenheimer had not taken up Aymond on his offer when he spoke about the experience this summer, but he said the invitation and payment — taken together — helped him to finally move past his abuse.

“You … carry a secret for 30, 40 years,” said Gegenheimer, who explained he later became a priest but left the clergy after entering into a relationship with a woman whom he ultimately married. “I wanted it to be over.”

Portland Archdiocese Settles 8 Sexual Abuse Claims Against Former Oregon Priest

PORTLAND (OR)
OPB

August 2, 2019

By Conrad Wilson

The Archdiocese of Portland has agreed to settle eight claims of sexual abuse involving former North Bend priest Rev. Pius Brazauskas.

Together the settlements add up to nearly $4 million.

The alleged abuse stems from about 1975 to 1985 involving boys who at the time of the abuse were between 5 and 16 years old. At the time, Brazauskas was in his 70s.

Brazauskas died on March 1, 1990. He was 84 years old.

A January 2018 lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon identified three victims as J.B., S.R. and S.F. They were the first sexual abuse allegations against Brazauskas.

After the lawsuit was filed, five more men came forward, said Peter Janci, attorney for the victims.

“We think there are a lot of other victims out there,” Janci said. “He was somebody who had an insatiable proclivity to abuse kids. In my career, representing hundreds of victims of child sexual abuse I don’t usually see individuals who develop that inclination in their 70s.”

Activist Italian priest arrested on charges of abusing young men

ROME (ITALY)
Crux

August 3, 2019

By Claire Giangravè

An Italian priest known for involvement in his community was placed under house arrest by local authorities on Wednesday, on charges of allegedly drugging and sexually abusing adult members of his parish.

“The news of the arrest of Father Stefano Segalini and the precautionary measures applied by the judiciary pain us deeply,” said Father Luigi Chiesa, Vicar General of the Diocese of Piacenza-Bobbio in northern Italy where the events allegedly took place, in an August 1 statement.

“The pain of those who declare themselves to be victims of abuse, as well as the pain of he who finds himself accused of such a great crime, requires first of all our closeness and prayer,” Chiesa said.

Segalini led the church of San Giuseppe Operaio, the most frequented parish in the northern Italian town of Piacenza, until last May when he suddenly retired. An arrest warrant issued by a judge after preliminary investigations claims that Segalini allegedly abused adults not in the parish, but during spiritual retreats and evening activities.

OKLAHOMA DIOCESE REVEALS TIMELINE OF PRIEST'S ALLEGED ABUSE

TULSA (OK)
Associated Press via KRMG Radio

August 3, 2019

[Tulsa diocese's statement about Joe Townsend is posted on the diocesan Facebook page, linked here.]

The Diocese of Tulsa and Eastern Oklahoma says the alleged sexual misconduct involving a minor by a priest started shortly after he was ordained.

The diocese said in a statement Friday that "a non-frivolous allegation of sexual misconduct with a minor" against Father Joe Townsend date to his time as associate pastor at St. Pius X Catholic Church in Tulsa from June 1988 to June 1991. The statement says Townsend denies the allegation and is cooperating with an investigation.

The diocese website says Townsend was ordained May 27, 1988.

The diocese announced July 5 that Townsend had been placed on administrative leave.

The diocese last year identified two other priests who were facing credible accusations of abusing minors. Both men are no longer associated with the Tulsa diocese.

Sex abuse victim receives large settlement with Modesto church

MODESTO (CA)
Modesto Bee

August 1, 2019

By Erin Tracy

Modesto’s CrossPoint Community Church settled a lawsuit with a woman who said the church covered up the sexual abuse of her and others by pastors for years.

CrossPoint, formerly First Baptist Church, must pay Jennifer Roach $267,500 and was released of any liability or wrongdoing as part of the settlement.

“Sexual abuse is soul-crushing, and its impact is far reaching,” Roach said in an email. “Victims often end up delaying or abandoning their education, which impacts their ability to earn throughout their lifetime. Financial settlements don’t change the fact that the abuse happened, but they can restore some of what was stolen from the victim.”

August 2, 2019

Deacon Allowed to Work with Children Despite Being Defrocked for Abuse

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

August 2, 2019

As recently as last year a former Catholic deacon defrocked after allegations of child sexual abuse had leadership roles in a Louisiana Catholic group. Even worse, he had access to children for decades despite his history. Now, church officials must take responsibility for this troubling revelation.

This is just the latest example of how Catholic leadership continues to talk a big game publicly, but privately does not do all they can to ensure accused perpetrators are kept from the vulnerable. We call on New Orleans law enforcement officials to investigate this situation to see if any crimes were committed, and we call on local parishioners to demand answers and transparency from their church officials.

This is one reason why we in SNAP clamor for lists of accused clerics – posted permanently and prominently on diocesan websites — so it will be easier for parishioners, staff, and the public to identify perpetrators who keep gravitating towards children. Had New Orleans church officials revealed such a list years and years ago – instead of in 2018 – it is likely that George Brignac never would have had the access to children that he enjoyed for years.

Now that this information has been exposed, we believe that Archbishop Greg Aymond should investigate and then disclose publicly how this was allowed to happen, and finally take action against those who put children in harm’s way. That is the only way such incomprehensible behavior will be stopped.

Second arrest made in Wildomar’s Faith Baptist Church sex abuse scandal

SAN BERNARDINO (CA)
San Bernardino Sun

August 1, 2019

By Joe Nelson

Less than a year after a former youth pastor at Wildomar’s Faith Baptist Church was accused of molesting three teenage girls, another former staff member has been arrested for allegedly sexually abusing a student at the church’s school nearly 30 years ago.

Laverne Paul Fox, the former principal at Faith Baptist Academy and former bus director for the church, was arrested Monday in Erie, Pennsylvania, and extradited to California, where he was held at the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside on $120,000 bail.

Laverne Paul Fox, a former principal at Faith Baptist Academy in Wildomar and former bus director at the affiliated Faith Baptist Church, was arrested Monday in Erie, PA. after begin charged with three felony counts of child molestation involving a student at the school in 1990.

Fox, 60, posted bail Tuesday and is scheduled for arraignment Oct. 2 at the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta, according to online booking records.

Riverside County prosecutors charged Fox on June 21 with three felony counts of child molestation involving a girl under the age of 18. The alleged sexual abuse occurred about July 1990, according to the criminal complaint.

“I feel like I’m finally getting justice 27 years late,” said Fox’s alleged victim, Kathy Durbin, on Wednesday. She said she reported the alleged abuse to church pastor Bruce Goddard in 1992, but he never reported it to police.

While the Southern California News Group does not typically disclose the names of victims of sexual abuse, Durbin has allowed her name to be published.

Abuse survivor: Some 'victim advocacy' groups 'have their own agendas'

WASHINGTON (DC)
Catholic News Agency

August 2, 2019

By Ed Condon

This story is the second part of a two-part series about how one victim of sexual abuse found healing. The first part was published Aug. 1.

When Michael* was 15 years old, he was abused by a priest at his Catholic high school. He told CNA recently about the suffering he endured, and about how, seven years after his abuse, he confided in another priest – only to have his faith in God and the Church shattered again.

For nearly three decades, Michael struggled with the pain and trauma of his abuse. He spent years, and tens of thousands of dollars, in therapy. He was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He needed help.

The therapy was a beginning. But Michael told CNA he found the most healing in the Church and faith that his abusers had driven him from. Healing did not come not easily.

Michael says he wants to see real reform in the Church, and to ensure no one suffers like he did. But, he urges caution against what he calls “predatory advocacy groups” and an “industry that trolls for victims.”

Michael spoke to CNA about his experiences with such groups.

Hundreds register for diocese's abuse compensation plan

PITTSBURGH (PA)
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

August 1, 2019

By Peter Smith

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh has received formal notice of more than 400 people who either have filed or may file claims for financial compensation for alleged sexual abuse by its clergy.

And early returns are in for claims that have already been filed. The diocese has so far paid about $4 million in total to 26 victims, or roughly $150,000 per person, according to the fund’s administrators.

Wednesday was the deadline for people who hadn’t previously reported abuse to the diocese to register formally with the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program, which the diocese launched in the wake of a 2018 grand jury report on sexual abuse by priests in the diocese over the past seven decades.

By midnight Wednesday, some 372 registrations had been filed, said Camille Biros, who is administering the fund along with Washington, D.C., attorney Kenneth Feinberg.

The 372 registrations, however, haven’t been reviewed yet for initial eligibility. They include some duplicate registrations, and they may also include allegations not covered by the compensation program, such as abuse by lay teachers or religious-order priests. The program only covers abuse by clergy (priests or deacons) who were ordained by the diocese.

Archdiocese of Cincinnati suspends two priests

CINCINNATI (OH)
WCPO 9onyourside

August 2, 2019

By Craig Cheatham

The Archdiocese of Cincinnati has placed two priests on administrative leave, which church officials say is the "strongest action" a local bishop can take on his own against a priest.

Parents learned this week of Rev. Geoffrey Drew’s suspension from St. Ignatius School in Green Township, but the WCPO I-Team discovered the existence of a second priest that the Archdiocese had placed on administrative leave by searching the ‘Protecting Our Children’ page on the Archdiocese’s website.

The Archdiocese declined to answer WCPO's questions about the allegations against Father Clarence Heis. The Archdiocese website only refers to a "pending investigation" of Heis. It also does not indicate when the Archdiocese placed Heis on administrative leave.

"Anytime they go to the extraordinary action of suspending or removing a priest - or anybody in their employment - it means there's a serious concern," said Dan Frondorf, the leader of the Cincinnati chapter of the Survivor's Network of those Abused by Priests, also known as SNAP.

This is the second time the Archdiocese has suspended Father Heis.

It also placed him on leave in 2006 after Heis pleaded no contest to disorderly conduct and resisting. A police officer arrested Heis in 2005 for allegedly having sex with two adult men in a public park in Fairborn, near Dayton. The Archdiocese reinstated Heis in 2009, according to The Catholic Telegraph, the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. Since his reinstatement, Heis has worked out of the main office of the Archdiocese, according to his LinkedIn account and issues of the Official Catholic Directory.

Too many questions remain unanswered in the case of West Virginia Bishop Michael Bransfield

WASHINGTON (DC)
Washington Post

August 2, 2019

By Michael J. Iafrate

Two months after the U.S. Catholic Church was hit by a major scandal surrounding a West Virginia bishop, church officials are telling us it’s time to move on. But for many of us Catholics in West Virginia, that message feels like a punch in the gut. Serious reasons remain for Catholics everywhere to pause and demand much more transparency surrounding the case of former bishop Michael Bransfield.

Those reasons have to do with who oversaw the production of the investigative report on Bransfield, what the report said about allegations of child sexual abuse, and the fact that the document has never been made public.

Bransfield retired in September just as U.S. church officials announced an investigation into alleged sexual and financial misconduct during his tenure. In June, we learned details of those allegations when The Washington Post reported on the contents of the secret church report: massive financial mismanagement and lavish spending of church money, officials’ ignoring of Bransfield’s sexual misconduct, and the fact that top leaders in the United States and Rome had received cash gifts from Bransfield, including William Lori, the archbishop who oversaw the probe.

Two weeks ago, the Vatican handed down penalties suspending Bransfield from public ministry and immediately named a new bishop, Mark Brennan. But for many Catholics in West Virginia, it’s not time to move on. There are a few reasons for that.

Church officials in West Virginia and Baltimore have mischaracterized a key part of their own report. Throughout the investigation, when Lori and diocesan officials would discuss the Bransfield allegations, they generally used the term “sexual harassment” of priests and seminarians. However, The Post’s coverage cites the report as describing something that appears to go beyond harassment. It quotes a seminarian who says Bransfield pulled the young man against him and ran his hands over the seminarian’s genitals.

Open government group raises concern over Neronha’s agreement with Providence Diocese

PROVIDENCE (RI)
Providence Journal

July 30, 2019

By Katherine Gregg

A freedom-of-information coalition in Rhode Island is raising red flags over the “blanket” secrecy Attorney General Peter Neronha promised the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence in a “memorandum of understanding” aimed at gaining access to diocesan records dating back to 1950 of alleged child sex abuse by clergy.

“Troubling precedent,″ wrote Linda Lotridge Levin, the retired University of Rhode Island journalism professor who is president of Access/RI, a coalition that counts, among its board members, representatives of the Rhode Island affiliate of the ACLU, Common Cause Rhode Island, the League of Women Voters of Rhode Island and the New England First Amendment Coalition.

Levin acknowledged, in her Monday letter to Neronha, that his “goal in entering [into] this MOU, as opposed to convening a grand jury, is to allow you to be more transparent with the public about your findings by eschewing the broad secrecy requirements that would enshroud grand jury proceedings.”

Unable to convince Rhode Island lawmakers to give a grand jury here the power a Pennsylvania grand jury had when it exposed decades of clergy abuse and coverups, Neronha went this route: voluntary disclosure by the diocese.

The review, in conjunction with the Rhode Island State Police, is meant to identify any prosecutable cases and make sure that no credibly accused clergy members are in active ministry, according to an earlier statement from the attorney general’s office.

“We greatly appreciate that and applaud your goal,” Levin wrote. “At the same time, we fear language in the MOU may establish a precedent that is itself problematic.”

South Carolina priest who traded sexual photos with minor won't be charged

AIKEN (SC)
Associated Press

August 2, 2019

A Catholic priest in South Carolina won’t face criminal charges for exchanging sexual photos with a minor on social media.

Aiken County Sheriff’s Capt. Eric Abdullah said the minor listed himself as 18 years old when he exchanged explicit photos on the Grindr dating app with 33-year-old Father Raymond Flores.

Abdullah said deputies consulted prosecutors and they agreed no crime was committed because the juvenile said he was an adult.

Abdullah said in a statement that Flores, the juvenile and his family and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston all cooperated.

Abdullah says the juvenile’s family agreed with the decision.

Diocese of Harrisburg officials reflect on one-year mark of releasing list of accused clergy

HARRISBURG (PA)
Fox 43 News

August 1, 2019

By Jack Eble

One year ago Thursday, Bishop Ronald Gainer and the Diocese of Harrisburg revealed decades of sexual abuse allegations against priests, deacons and seminarians.

Bishop Gainer apologized to survivors, "the Catholic faithful," and "the general public" for the abuse and the inaction by past Diocese leadership.

The list includes more than 70 names of clergymen, nearly 30 more than its counterpart in the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report that was released roughly two weeks after the Diocese of Harrisburg released its list.

Mike Barley, a spokesperson for the Diocese of Harrisburg, said they believe their decision came at the right time after compiling all of the known names accused, trying to show transparency as the Grand Jury Report loomed.

Can clergy earn back the public trust they’ve lost?

NEW YORK (NY)
The Christian Century

August 2, 2019

By Peter W. Marty

There’s probably never been a time when emotionally insecure people could thrive in ordained ministry. But the current moment may be more challenging than ever given dwindling public esteem for the profession. Not since Gallup began charting the reputation of occupations in 1977 has respect for clergy been so low.

New polls by Gallup and by the Associated Press-NORC Center reveal that only 36 percent of Americans express high regard for the honesty and ethical standards of ministers. Although frequent churchgoers still hold clergy in high regard, only 52 percent of those who attend church on a monthly basis consider clergy to be trustworthy.

Pastors may not yet feel as irrelevant as travel agents, parking lot attendants, or necktie sales clerks, but the influence of clergy has shrunk notably in the last two decades. Only 13 percent of regular churchgoers regularly seek advice from their clergy on ethical dilemmas or big decisions. Eighty-eight percent of people who infrequently attend church “rarely” or “never” seek clergy input.

Scandals that have rocked the church for decades no doubt contribute significantly to the drop in confidence in clergy. Clergy sexual abuse problems persist, especially in traditions with male-dominated leadership that resist structural change. Conservative evangelicals have unapologetically shaped faith claims around party politics, attracting many critics in the process. Unscrupulous greed on the part of prosperity gospel preachers has further harmed the reputation of faith communities.

Nobody wants to be irrelevant. Yet how much can pastors really do to reverse the increasing lack of interest in organized religion and religious practice that shapes attitudes toward clergy? Their position can seem like that of a piano salesman trying to convince people to revive the household sing-alongs that animated family life several generations ago. It’s an uphill slog.

The Nuns Who Bought and Sold Human Beings

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Times

Augusts 2, 2019

By Rachel L. Swarns

Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School, one of the oldest Roman Catholic girls’ schools in the nation, has long celebrated the vision and generosity of its founders: a determined band of Catholic nuns who championed free education for the poor in the early 1800s.

The sisters, who established an elite academy in Washington, D.C., also ran “a Saturday school, free to any young girl who wished to learn — including slaves, at a time when public schools were almost nonexistent and teaching slaves to read was illegal,” according to an official history posted for several years on the school’s website.

But when a newly hired school archivist and historian started digging in the convent’s records a few years ago, she found no evidence that the nuns had taught enslaved children to read or write. Instead, she found records that documented a darker side of the order’s history.

The Georgetown Visitation sisters owned at least 107 enslaved men, women and children, the records show. And they sold dozens of those people to pay debts and to help finance the expansion of their school and the construction of a new chapel.

“Nothing else to do than to dispose of the family of Negroes,’’ Mother Agnes Brent, the convent’s superior, wrote in 1821 as she approved the sale of a couple and their two young children. The enslaved woman was just days away from giving birth to her third child.

Nuns disposing of black families? I have been poring over 19th-century church records for several years now and such casual cruelty from leaders of the faith still takes my breath away. I am a black journalist and a black Catholic. Yet I grew up knowing nothing about the nuns who bought and sold human beings.

For generations, enslaved people have been largely left out of the origin story traditionally told about the Catholic Church. My reporting on Georgetown University, which profited from the sale of more than 200 slaves, has helped to draw attention in recent years to universities and their ties to slavery. But slavery also helped to fuel the growth of many contemporary institutions, including some churches and religious organizations.

Historians say that nearly all of the orders of Catholic sisters established by the late 1820s owned slaves.

Sexual abuse survivors ask for AG investigation into Diocese of Lake Charles

LAKE CHARLES (LA)
KPLC TV

August 1, 2019

By Theresa Schmidt

Three months ago, the Diocese of Lake Charles released a list of credibly accused clergy which included the names of eleven priests, eight of whom are dead.

But some complain the list is far from transparent and have asked the Louisiana attorney general to investigate.

In 2016, ex-priest Mark Broussard was convicted of sexual offenses against children and is serving two life sentences plus fifty years. When the Diocese released its list of credibly accused priests, it said allegations regarding Broussard were received by the Diocese in 1994 and 2009. Yet some say the diocese knew sooner.

Richard Windmann, himself a victim, is the Louisiana leader of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, also called SNAP.

They advocate for full disclosure statewide.

"These priests, that have been entrusted with the church, they don't own the church. The administrators, the governance of the church, it's the people in the pews that are the church. And when they leave there's not going to be a church. And it won't be because of the actions of victims and survivors. It will be because of the actions of priests and archbishops and bishops who cover it up,” said Windmann.

Abuse finding didn’t end ex-deacon’s work with children

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
Associated Press

August 2, 2019

By Jim Mustian and Kevin McGill

A former Roman Catholic deacon barred from the ministry in New Orleans because of sexual abuse allegations maintained access to schoolchildren and held leadership roles as recently as last year in the Knights of Columbus, despite promising three decades ago to avoid young boys “for the good of the Church,” according to records obtained by The Associated Press.

George Brignac, 84, was defrocked as a deacon in 1988 after a 7-year-old boy accused him of fondling him at a Christmas party. That allegation came on top of previous claims that he had abused other boys, including one that led to his acquittal in 1978 on three counts of indecent behavior with a juvenile. The Archdiocese of New Orleans settled several lawsuits against Brignac, including one for more than $500,000.

Still, he remained involved in the church as a lay minister who read the gospel during Mass until last year, when news reports about his past prompted officials to remove him.

Jesuit inquiry confirms abuses by famed Chilean priest

ROME (ITALY)
Catholic News Service

August 2, 2019

While deceased Jesuit Father Renato Poblete Barth was known publicly as a champion of the poor in Chile, an internal investigation funded by the Jesuits revealed that the famed clergyman abused more than a dozen women over a span of nearly 50 years.

The results of the six-month independent investigation, which were announced July 30 by Jesuit Father Cristian del Campo, provincial superior of Chile, concluded that "the abuses of power, of conscience, sexual and other crimes committed by Renato Poblete Barth were sustained by a sort of double life, protected by his public image of a good person."

"The abuse, transversely, was carried out from a position of power that gave him that image, his enormous network of contacts, and the economic power that he had by autonomously handling important sums of money during many years," the report said.

Catholic church asks for copy of 1917 Canon Law in Latin

INVERELL (AUSTRALIA)
Inverell Times

August 1, 2019

By Andrew Thomson
.
The Catholic church has demanded a clergy sex abuse victim, who was raped as a nine-year-old in a confessional box, provide a copy of the church's own rules in Latin.

A south-west victim of notorious pedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale is pursuing civil damages through the Victorian Supreme Court from Bishop of Ballarat Paul Bird, on behalf of the diocese.

In May, Supreme Court Justice Michael McDonald asked the church's legal team for an explanation in relation to the church denying knowledge of Ridsdale's pedophile activities with a view to determining if costs should be awarded to the victim.

That led to the church sacking its legal team and calling in the lawyers who acted for now jailed Arch Bishop George Pell.

The victim's lawyers have been asking the church hand over archive documents.

Under 1917 Canon Law which applied at the time of the offending, the church was required to keep an archive of all important documents, including sex assault allegations against clergy members, and a record of who had seen the documents and what documents had been destroyed.

Paedophile victims praised for coming forward after priest who taught in Lancashire jailed for 18 years

LANCSASTER (ENGLAND)
Lancaster Live

August 1, 2019

By Paul Britton and Dominic Moffitt

Two men who were sexually abused by a priest in Lancashire have received praise from The NSPCC.

The charity called their actions 'brave' after the two men, who were sexually abused as teenagers by a paedophile priest, gave evidence that led to his conviction - and an 18-year prison sentence.

One stood up in court twice to detail his suffering at the hands of Catholic priest Michael Higginbottom in separate trials.

The charity said their 'courageous actions' in reporting the abuse and recalling their experiences to a jury showed 'the passage of time is no protection for abusers'.

Higginbottom, 76, was found guilty of five counts of serious sexual assault and seven counts of indecent assault following a re-trial.

Key Plenary Council topics emerge from final report of the Listening and Dialogue phase

BRISBANE (AUSTRALIA)
The Catholic Leader

August 2, 2019

By Mark Bowling

CELIBACY for priests, the role of women, and the inclusion of divorced and remarried Catholics were among “strongly discussed” topics contained in the Plenary Council 2020’s latest report.

The final report of the council’s Listening and Dialogue phase captures the voice of more than 222,000 Australians and provides insights into 17,457 individual and group submissions.

Plenary council president Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe said the 314-page document was the result of the listening process that had produced “an extraordinary treasure of ideas and proposals which represents the heartfelt response of many people”.

“The great challenge ahead of us now is to ‘catch’ the voice of the Holy Spirit within the passionate, hopeful but sometimes contradictory voices of God’s people.”

Among the wide-ranging list of submissions were those calling for ways to improve the sacraments to increase Church attendance and “allow the fullness of a Catholic life to flourish”, and addressing the clerical child sex abuse scandal.

The structure of Church life “drew a great deal of attention” around leadership and governance, the need for greater listening between leadership and the laity, and the need to “modernise Church teachings to bring them in line with Australian society in t

Schoolgirl scandal priest Simon Sayers banned from ministry for life

PORTSMOUTH (ENGLAND)
Portsmouth News

August 2, 2019

A PRIEST has been struck off for life for having a sexual relationship with a married parishioner who turned to him for help.

Former Emsworth-with-Warblington parish rector Simon Sayers admitted ‘betraying his calling’ in a letter to a private tribunal that eventually found him guilty of inappropriate conduct this week.

It comes after he was previously banned from his ministry for five years in 2016 over two sexual incidents with a 16-year-old school girl.

The tribunal, which Mr Sayers did not attend, was told he began a sexual relationship with the parishwoman when she approached him for pastoral support.

What has changed at Catholic seminaries?

DENVER (CO)
National Catholic Register

August 1, 2019

By Msgr. Andrew Baker and Fr. Carter Griffin

Many Catholics, understandably, have grown skeptical of seminary formation. After all, it is priests and bishops who have caused the scandal of clergy sexual abuse, and every one of them is a product of seminaries.

Sometimes it is presumed that little has changed in seminaries since the time, decades ago, when the vast majority of those abusive priests were formed. Professor Janet Smith recently published a commentary that rightly asks whether seminary reforms are authentic and lasting or simply “window dressing.”

As the rectors of two seminaries forming men for the priesthood today, we would like to offer our own perspective in order to throw some light on the present situation — because, in fact, a great deal has changed.

Admittedly, the complexities of any topic as sprawling as the formation of Catholic priests cannot be covered in a short essay like this. Our remarks apply mainly to diocesan seminaries in the United States and the North American College in Rome, for example, since we are most familiar with those. Even among those seminaries, reforms have not been uniform; some changes have probably been merely superficial, as Janet Smith surmises. Furthermore, even the most wholesome seminary environment does not guarantee that graduates will remain faithful, any more than a good family guarantees that every child will turn out well. We are therefore painting with a broad brush.

Nevertheless, despite these caveats, we emphatically believe that any impartial observer with all the facts would come to the same conclusion: Seminary admissions are far more stringent, and formation far more rigorous, than they were when the great majority of clerical sexual abusers were ordained. We believe this to be a source of hope and encouragement for us all.

AG Josh Shapiro To Block Diocese From Using Orphanage Endowment To Pay Sex Abuse Victims

PITTSBURGH (PA)
KDKA TV

July 25, 2019

By Andy Sheehan

The church scandal has left Bishop David Zubik with two monumental tasks.

He must compensate the victims of alleged clergy sexual abuse while keeping the diocese out of bankruptcy.

To do that, he’s looking to a defunct orphanage in the South Hills, and its endowment of close to $9 million to help fund his victim’s compensation fund.

“We’re working through the proper channels to make sure that we have access to those funds, and we can use them for the IRCP fund,” the bishop said.

But Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro — whose report detailed the abuse of minors at the hands of diocesan priests — is telling the diocese not so fast.

In papers filed in Allegheny County Orphan’s Court — his office said orphanage founder, James L. Toner, “would never have intended his charitable gift to be used for this purpose.”

When Toner died in 1899, he left the diocese $140,000 to build and operate the Toner Institute, which became a home and school for orphans and troubled boys from 1921-77. The Toner Institute is gone, but the Toner Trust has now grown to between $8 and $9 million.

Higher Than Expected Sex Abuse Claims Puts Strain On Diocese Of Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH (PA)
KDKA TV

August 1, 2019

By Andy Sheehan

More people than anticipated have registered to file sexual abuse claims with the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh.

On the floor around attorney Alan Perer’s desk are the files of clients that allege abuse from the Diocese of Pittsburgh Catholic priests.

He said many have come out of the shadows to talk about what happened to them as children.

“I think the scope is far greater than what the grand jury said,” Perer said. “I have people calling me every day saying I never told anyone about this my whole life.”

A Hudson Megachurch, a Beloved Pastor and the International Sex Abuse Scandal They've Tried To Hide

CLEVELAND (OH)
Cleveland Scene

August 1, 2019

By Sam Allard

For a man who purports to be so boldly committed to truth, American missionary and Christian pastor Tom Randall has been at the center of – in fact, may be the chief architect of – a long and wicked deception.

Randall is a gregarious man with an earnest, unsophisticated preaching style. He stands 6'5" and ambles about with the busted-knee hitch of a former serious athlete. He has never fully conquered his Rs, but the speech impediment has endeared him to friends, colleagues, golfers on the PGA Senior Tour, where he served for several years as chaplain, and megachurch congregations nationwide. To these audiences and others he has told versions of the same story about himself: He grew up as a thief on the inner-city streets of Detroit and was shepherded to Christ by a college basketball coach.

These days, the 65-year-old Randall lives in Stow, Ohio, with his wife Karen and preaches from time to time at the nondenominational Hudson megachurch Christ Community Chapel, where he has been on the payroll since 2014, shortly after he returned to the states from a brief and highly sensationalized stint in a Manila detention center.

The Philippines. That's where Randall lived as a missionary for years, purportedly playing professional basketball and spreading the word of God "through sports, recreation [and] competition."

In January 2014, Randall was back in the Philippines on a semi-regular mission trip when he was arrested during an early morning raid of Sankey Samaritan Orphanage, the children's home he founded in 1998. Randall, the facility's Filipino manager Toto Luchavez and Toto's son Jake were handcuffed and taken into custody.

Archdiocese of Portland to pay nearly $4 million to settle sex abuse claims by 8 men against Oregon priest

PORTLAND (OR)
The Oregonian

August 1, 2019

By Maxine Bernstein

The Archdiocese of Portland will pay nearly $4 million to settle claims by eight men who say they were sexually abused when they were boys in the 1970s and 1980s by a priest on the Oregon coast.

The Rev. Pius Brazauskas, who died in 1990, abused three of the men when they were between ages 5 and 12, according to a lawsuit they filed in January 2018. Brazauskas French kissed them, groped their genitals and pressed himself against them, they said.

The suit marked the first time anyone publicly named Brazauskas as an alleged child abuser, said their lawyer Peter B. Janci of Portland. After the suit was filed, five other men came forward to allege similar abuse.

Brazauskas was assigned to Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in North Bend at the time.

The initial plaintiffs in the case, identified only by initials as J.B., S.R. and S.F., will receive $675,000 each under the settlement. They are now in their 40s.

Of the five others, S.S. will receive $675,000, J.N. $475,000; B.S., $440,000, A.S. $125,000 and D.G. $100,000, according to court documents.

Lawsuit claims LA diocese knowingly accepted priest accused of sex assault

NEW YORK (NY)
Episcopal News Service

August, 1, 2019

By Egan Millard

A woman is suing the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, saying one of its priests sexually assaulted her and others in New York in the 1970s, and the diocese knowingly allowed him to serve as a priest there anyway. However, two other dioceses that have licensed the priest in question say their background checks never turned up any allegations of sexual misconduct.

The Rev. Paul Kowalewski, 71, is retired but had been serving as an occasional supply priest at the Church of St. Paul in the Desert in Palm Springs, California, and his ministry has been suspended, the Rt. Rev. Susan Brown Snook, bishop of San Diego, told Episcopal News Service. Though the church is in the Diocese of San Diego, he is canonically resident in the Diocese of Los Angeles, and served as the rector of a large Los Angeles parish from 2005 to 2013.

Patricia Harner, the plaintiff, says Kowalewski sexually assaulted her in 1971, when she was a 19-year-old parishioner at St. Amelia Catholic Church in Tonawanda, New York, and he was a seminarian preparing to be ordained in the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo.

In response to questions from ENS, the Diocese of Central New York – the first Episcopal diocese in which Kowalewski served as a priest – said there is no record that indicates the diocese knew of any sexual abuse allegations against him when he was received or during his tenure there. The diocese conducted a background check on Kowalewski in 1990, which turned up no indication of sexual misconduct, according to their records.

August 1, 2019

Victims' Rights Attorney Releases Extensive List of NY Archdiocese Clerics Accused of Sex Abuse

NEW YORK (NY)
NBC 4 News

August 1, 2019

Though the Archdiocese of New York released its own list of 120 priests and deacons that it said had been credibly accused of sexual abuse or the possession of pornography, or whose behavior had led to compensation claims being paid in April, the victims' rights attorney said it compiled a more extensive, yet "incomplete" list of the accused witht he help of individuals across the country.

Survivors and victims' advocates joined the firm Jeff Anderson & Associates in releasing the report on sexual abuse in the Archdiocese and calling Archbishop Timothy Dolan and religious orders to fully disclose the accused who have worked in the Archdiocese.

"It's time to release more information about the real peril that does exist and has existed in the Archdiocese of New York and the failure of this cardinal and his predecessors to reveal the full truth," lawyer Jeff Anderson said.

No charges against Aiken priest accused of exchanging explicit pictures with minor

AUGUSTA (BA)
Augusta Chronicle

August 1, 2019

By Jozsef Papp

No probable cause for criminal charges was found against a priest accused of exchanging explicit pictures with a juvenile in Aiken.

According to the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office, an investigation was started Tuesday after receiving information from the Aiken Department of Public Safety about a possible pornography case involving Father Raymond Flores, 33, of Saint Mary’s Help of Christians Church.

Investigators discovered Flores was having an online conversation with a juvenile on Grindr, an online adult dating application, during which they exchanged photos of their genitalia. An investigation revealed the juvenile indicated on Grindr he was 18 years old.

Flores, the juvenile and his family and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston fully cooperated in the investigation. According to the sheriff’s office, the investigation revealed there was no evidence that would have risen beyond the initial complaint and established probable cause for criminal charges.

The findings were presented to the 2nd Circuit Solicitor’s Office and the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office. The juvenile’s family told investigators they did not want to pursue any further investigation.

Flores was placed on administrative leave without the ability to perform priestly duties for behavior inappropriate of a priest, according to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston.

Tagle asks Catholics to pray for 'persecuted, falsely accused' bishops, priests

MANILA (PHILIPPINES)
ABS-CBN News

August 1, 2019

By Maria Tan

Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle is asking Catholics to pray for bishops and priests who are "persecuted and falsely accused," according to an official of the Archdiocese of Manila on Thursday.

"Cardinal Luis Antonio G. Tagle, is asking all of us, priests, religious men and women, and lay faithful in the Archdiocese of Manila, to offer our Masses and prayer for all our bishops and priests, especially those who suffer because of persecutions and false accusations," Fr. Reginald Malicdem, Manila Archdiocese chancellor, said in a statement.

Diocese of Manchester, NH Releases List of Accused Priests

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

August 1, 2019

The Diocese of Manchester, NH has released a list of priests accused of sexual abuse. Now that church officials have taken this first step, we call on them to update the list to include critical information that has been left off, and to explain these omissions.

Releasing a list of names is important to acknowledging the depth and breadth of clergy abuse in New Hampshire. Unfortunately, as we have come to expect, the list of names and details released today is incomplete and inadequate.

For example, church officials in Manchester have omitted the names of priests that spent time in the Diocese of Manchester but were accused of abuse and listed elsewhere. To us, this omission makes no sense because clergy that abused children will likely have victims everywhere they worked.

Similarly, key details related to the allegations were left off the list. Church officials can and should include information related to when the allegations were first received, what steps the diocese took in response to those allegations and —critically — when those actions were taken and by whom. These facts are necessary to understanding not only the scope of abuse, but also the scope of any cover-up that may have occurred within the diocese.

SNAP Applauds Survivor who Came Forward in Mississippi

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

August 1, 2019

A survivor has stepped forward in Mississippi to report the abuse she suffered at the hands of a Mississippi priest. We would like to thank this courageous survivor for coming forward and reporting these crimes committed against her.

We would also like to encourage other survivors to come forward and report crimes committed against themselves. Report to the police first, regardless of how long ago these crimes were committed. The Church should be the last institution notified about such crimes.

The ‘credible' list of names released by church officials in March was years overdue.

Furthermore, delaying the addition of Balser’s name to this list because of some arbitrary internal Church procedure is a travesty. This delay harms the survivor as well as many others. Stating that there was no intercourse only serves the Church in its effort to minimize this crime. Crimes of this nature are damaging to children no matter what took place. Shame on Bishop Kopacz, his fitness board, the church lawyers and any other Church official who participated in downplaying this crime.

A soldier's wife went to her Army chaplain after a rabbi sent her explicit messages. She says he harassed her instead

SEATTLE (WA)
The Seattle Times

July 31, 2019

By Katherine Khashimova Long

When Traci Moran, an observant Jewish woman living at Joint Base Lewis-McChord with her enlisted husband, came to Army Chaplain Capt. Michael Harari in August 2018, she was looking for spiritual guidance, she said.

A Tacoma rabbi, Zalman Heber, had been sending her sexually explicit text and voice messages for almost a month despite Moran asking more than once that he stop, the messages showed.

Harari was her husband's unit chaplain — meaning he was responsible for the spiritual well-being of the unit's families — and the only rabbi on base. And he and Heber were part of the same Hasidic organization, Chabad, that runs synagogues and cultural centers around the world.

All of that meant, Moran said, that Harari was "in an incredibly unique position to take my report and tailor counseling to my specific religious views."

Figure skater Ashley Wagner: 'I was sexually assaulted by John Coughlin' at 17

UNITED STATES
Yahoo Sports

August 1, 2019

By Liz Roscher

Figure skater Ashley Wagner wrote a powerful first-person essay that appeared on USA Today on Thursday, bravely recounting her sexual assault. In the essay, she says that the man who assaulted her was now-deceased figure skater John Coughlin.

Wagner says that the assault happened in June of 2008, when she had just turned 17. She went to her first party while she was at a figure skating camp in Colorado Springs, a house party thrown by several local athletes. She and her friends were offered beds in the house when they couldn’t find rides back to their hotel at the end of the night, and Wagner said that she felt “safe” because she was with her friends.

In the middle of the night, Wagner wrote that she woke up when Coughlin, who was 22 at the time, came into the room and got into bed with her. She said that he started kissing her neck and touching her, and pretending to be asleep didn’t make him stop.

Names of 310 Perpetrators Accused of Sexual Misconduct in theArchdiocese of New York to be Released Today

NEW YORK (NY)
Jeff Anderson & Associates

August 1, 2019

Today in Manhattan, survivors, advocates and the law firm of Jeff Anderson & Associates will:

Release The Anderson Report on Sexual Abuse in the Archdiocese of New York containing the identities, histories, photographs and information on 310 clerics accused of child sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of New York;

Demand full disclosure by the Archdiocese of New York, Archbishop Timothy Dolan, and the religious orders, of the identities, histories, and current whereabouts of all clergy accused of child sexual abuse who worked in the Archdiocese;

Discuss a new law, the New York Child Victims Act, which opens a one-year “window” in mid-August for survivors of child sexual abuse to take legal action against the perpetrator and the institution that may have protected the perpetrator, regardless of when the abuse occurred.

WHEN: Today - Thursday, August 1, 2019 - at 11:00 AM ET

WHERE: Courtyard Marriot – Manhattan/Central Park
Belvedere Room
1717 Broadway, New York, NY 10019

Notes: The press conference will be live-streamed via YouTube https://www.youtube.com/andersonadvocates and Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AndersonAdvocates/.

Contact: Jeff Anderson: Office: (646)759-2551; Cell: (646)499-3364
Mike Reck: Office: (646)759-2551; Cell: (646)493-8058
Trusha Goffe: (646)759-2551; Cell: (646)693-6862

Diocesan compensation fund enters new phase

SCRANTON (PA)
Citizens Voice

August 1, 2019

By David Singleton

One phase of the Diocese of Scranton’s program to compensate victims of clergy child sexual abuse is over. Now it’s on to the next.

The window for victims who had not previously reported the abuse to the diocese to register for the Independent Survivors Compensation Program closed midnight Wednesday.

Police investigation report paints diverging pictures of Harrison

BAKERSFIELD (CA)
The Californian

Aug. 1, 2019

By John Cox

An investigation report released this week by the Bakersfield Police Department paints two seemingly irreconcilable pictures of the Rev. Craig Harrison: a hands-off father figure who preached tough love while rewarding good behavior, or a sexual predator who groomed his victims using guilt and gifts.

In the end, there was no need to decide which view was more accurate because a detective assigned to the case concluded he could not find corroborating evidence the popular priest had touched anyone inappropriately.

Adding to the ambiguity, the recently closed investigation of the priest's actions in Bakersfield ended with a finding that certain "inappropriate acts" Harrison was accused of were actually legal. Plus, a determination was made that some acts Harrison was alleged to have committed occurred too long ago to be prosecuted.

The report's co