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September 21, 2019

A test for the Catholic Church

Washington Post

Sept. 20, 2019

On becoming the bishop of Buffalo, Richard Malone let it be known that his episcopal motto would be "living the truth in love." Now Malone, ensnared in scandals and buffeted by allegations that he has covered up for priests accused of sexual abuse, has become a test case of whether bishops, who report only to the pope, will at last become accountable under a new policy adopted by Pope Francis last spring.

It has been a year since the bishop acknowledged "inadequacies" in his handling of abuse complaints involving minors as well as adults targeted by clergymen. Since then, reports of those "inadequacies" have multiplied. But Malone, who insists he has instituted reforms, has refused to resign even as some clergy in his own diocese and other prominent Catholics have said enough is enough. His tale encapsulates a basic feature of the church's clergy sex abuse scandals: professions of new procedures and policies to clean up the mess, juxtaposed with institutional inertia, resistance and denial.

When Malone assumed his current job, in 2012, it had already been a decade since the clerical abuse and coverup scandals, starting in Boston, had erupted across the country. Yet in Buffalo, one of the nation's largest dioceses, with some 600,000 Catholics, it took six years and, finally, a barrage of accusations involving local clergy, before he posted a list of 42 priests credibly accused of child sex abuse.

Catholic Diocese names 15 priests accused of child sex abuse

Associated Press

Sept. 21, 2019

Catholic Diocese names 15 priests accused of child sex abuse

The Catholic Diocese of Wichita has published a list naming 15 priests credibly accused of child sexual abuse.

It also on Friday released a letter from Bishop Carl Kemme saying the diocese will soon provide information on the substantiated allegations to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, which is conducting a statewide investigation of Catholic priests.

An allegation is considered substantiated if it is supported by documentation, witness statements, law enforcement or another reliable source, the diocese said. It is also considered substantiated if the priest admitted to it.

The diocese posted on its website Thursday evening the names of nine priests of the Wichita diocese against whom allegations have been substantiated. The other six priests have had allegations in similar lists published by other parishes and served in Wichita for a period of time, the diocese said in a news release.

Its website includes ordination dates, assignment histories and current status.

Most of the reported incidents occurred between the 1950s and 1980s, according to the diocese. Eleven of the clergy listed on the website are dead, and the others have been removed from the clergy.

The disclosures were made after “a comprehensive and independent audit” of all clergy files over the last several months by attorney Stephen Robinson, the diocese said.

Kemme in a letter written in English and Spanish - and a seven-minute video posted on YouTube - apologized to the victims and their families for the suffering due to the “criminal, sinful and horrific acts” by priests of the diocese. He encouraged any survivors who have not yet come forward to reveal their abuse to legal authorities or the diocese victim assistance coordinator.

“Owning our past is the first step in building a new future, one in which we will continue to diligently work hard as we have been for many years now, so that these violations to human dignity will never happen again,” Kemme said. “Many of the faithful will no doubt experience great anger in receiving this information. I share that anger.”

The disclosure in Kansas immediately faced criticism by some in the victim advocacy group Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. The group said in an email that bishops have been posting predator priests names on church websites for 17 years, and said Kemme must explain his “irresponsible delay” in posting the list in Wichita.

Removed New Orleans deacon George Brignac jailed -- a major Catholic clergy abuse crisis development

The Advocate

Sept. 21, 2019

By Ramon Antonio Vargas

A Catholic Church deacon who was removed from ministry in 1988 following multiple child molestation accusations was jailed on a count of first-degree rape early Saturday, the first arrest of a clergyman in New Orleans on a sex-abuse charge since the church’s decades-old crisis reignited a little more than a year ago.

Details about what is just the latest criminal case against George Feldner Brignac, 84, weren’t immediately available. But records from the New Orleans Police Department and the city’s lockup show Brignac was booked in connection with a complaint made Aug. 28, 2018.

The address provided for that complaint is in the 3300 block of Esplanade Avenue, where Brignac worked as co-director of the altar boy program at Our Lady of the Rosary Parish in the 1970s and 1980s. He would face mandatory life imprisonment if convicted of first-degree rape, which has no statute of limitations — meaning prosecutors can try the case no matter how long ago the alleged crime occurred.

'I want them to see me': Jesuit Prep alum suing Dallas school over priest sex abuse sheds anonymity

Morning News

Sept. 21, 2019

By Jennifer Emily

Mike Pedevilla has done a lot out of love for Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas since he graduated in 1983: He raised money. He organized alumni events. He stayed in close contact with his classmates.

And, last month, Pedevilla sued Jesuit and the Catholic Diocese of Dallas under the pseudonym John Doe, alleging he was molested by a priest and former president of the school when he was a student there in the 1980s.

The lawsuit names the priest, the Rev. Patrick Koch, a former Jesuit president who died in 2006 at the age of 78. And come next week it will name Pedevilla, who's decided to cast off his anonymity.

The Jesuits’ motto, Pedevilla said, is to be “men for others.” And that, he said, is exactly what he's doing by filing the lawsuit and revealing his identity.

"There may be some that say, 'Mike, what are you doing to Jesuit? I can't believe you're going to make this public, and you're going to deface Jesuit,' " Pedevilla said, sitting at his dining room table at his home in Grapevine.

As Chaput turns 75, the countdown to Philadelphia’s next Catholic archbishop begins

Philadelphia Inquirer

Sept. 21, 2019

By Jeremy Roebuck

After eight years as the Roman Catholic archbishop of Philadelphia, Charles J. Chaput turns 75 next week, a milestone that will mark the beginning of the end for his tenure leading the ninth-largest diocese in the United States.

Under church law, prelates must offer to resign upon reaching that birthday, which comes Thursday for Chaput. It is up to Pope Francis to decide whether to accept it, reject it, or to keep the archbishop on until a successor can be named.

Church officials have said little about Chaput’s future. But he has made his intentions clear.

“I’m going to be retiring this year,” Chaput told a crowd at a panel discussion last month at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood. And speculation is already building among the region’s 1.5 million Catholics as to what — and more importantly, who — comes next.

The search could move swiftly or drag for years. Cardinal Justin Rigali, Chaput’s immediate predecessor, remained for more than a year after his 75th birthday. Before that, Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua stayed on until he was 80.

An archdiocesan spokesperson confirmed Friday that Chaput has sent his resignation to the Vatican and is waiting for a response. His departure will give the pope the chance to select a prelate more in his mold for one of the most active archdioceses in the nation.

Tributes to ex-Bishop of Derry as he passes away after long illness

Belfast Telegraph

Sept. 21 2019

The former Bishop of Derry, Seamus Hegarty, has died aged 79.

Dr Hegarty passed away at Letterkenny University Hospital in Co Donegal on Friday.

He was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop McQuaid in St Patrick's College, Maynooth in 1966.

Following a period as a curate in Stranorlar, he was made Bishop of Raphoe in 1982 and later consecrated as Bishop of Derry in 1994.

In 2005, Dr Hegarty, who was born in Kilcar, Co Donegal in 1940, issued an apology to parishioners for failing to inform them some of their church contributions were going towards the Stewartship Trust Fund for victims of clerical sex abuse.

September 20, 2019

Sex abuser’s presence raises questions

Albuquerque Journal

Sept. 21, 2019

By Colleen Heild

The evening of Sept. 14, Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Taos held a “healing Mass” for victims of clergy sexual and other abuse.

The next day, an admitted child sex abuser priest from California attended another special parish function – this time to celebrate the opening of the new proposed Benedictine monastery on the grounds of church property – just across the street from a public elementary school. Archbishop of Santa Fe John C. Wester officiated.

More than 15 years ago, Milton Walsh, who is described as a retired priest who isn’t permitted to “present” himself as one, was indicted on charges of molesting a 13-year-old boy in Northern California in 1984. His criminal prosecution was dropped after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a California law that would have extended the statute of limitations on certain sex crimes against children.

The victim, a former altar boy, eventually received an out-of-court settlement in a civil lawsuit filed against the Archdiocese of San Francisco in 2003.

Back then, the church promised to keep Walsh away from children and in “academic” settings, the victim’s lawyer told the Journal this week. In recent years, lawyers who represent victims of clergy sexual abuse and track offenders have listed Walsh’s whereabouts and his access to children as “unknown.”

Now, questions have surfaced about his presence in Taos.

Movement To Restore Trust leader rebuffs Bishop Malone's overtures at reconciliation


Sept. 20, 2019

By Steve Brown

Buffalo Catholic Bishop Richard Malone this week has been making indirect overtures to a group that’s rejected him, The Movement To Restore Trust.

But the efforts by the bishop were dismissed today by John Hurley, one of the founders of the group.

Asked if he would meet with Bishop Malone, Hurley said, “I don’t see any ... any reason to do that.”

After working for months on reform within the diocese to increase accountability of both the bishop and the diocese, Movement To Restore Trust announced it was calling on the Bishop to resign.

Malone has been widely criticized for his handling the clergy sex abuse crisis which has driven Bishop Malone to consider bankruptcy. And New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan is conducting an investigation into both Malone and the diocese.

Nonetheless, Malone this week sent signals he wanted to reconnect with Movement To Restore Trust. The Bishop stated a desire to resume reform work with Movement To Restore Trust in a one-on-one interview Wednesday with 2 On Your Side.

The same desire was communicated in a memo sent to all area priests Monday.

Hurley says “the bishop has become a symbol for all that is wrong.”

What Hurley fears is that if Malone stays as he has insisted he will do, damage the diocese will continue. There have been undisputed reports of attendance down at parish masses and a decline in donations and church collections.

Diocese of Wichita Finally Releases List of Accused Priests

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Sept. 20, 2019

Finally, 17 years after US church officials began posting the names of priests accused of abuse on church websites, Wichita’s bishop has taken this step himself. Parents, police, parishioners, prosecutors and the public should look closely at this release and ask the bishop why it took so long for this list to be published.

Bishop Carl Kemme must also explain why the watchdog database BishopAccountability.org, has an additional priest that has been publicly accused of abusing children in Wichita who does not appear on the bishop’s list, Fr. Daniel B. Mulvihill. BishopAccountability also names a nun, Sister Agnesina Metzinger as a publicly accused abuser within the diocese.

Bishop Kemme should go back into his files and determine why there is a discrepancy between his list and publicly available information. We also want the bishop to take three additional steps.

First, he should include the photos and whereabouts of every one of the accused. Information about where those who are living are now is important because nearby parents and prospective employers should be warned about their background.

Photos are important because they helps victims identify those who assaulted them. It usually takes decades for survivors to come forward. They might only recall that everyone called the priest "Father Mac," not knowing whether he was Fr. Mack Smith or Fr. McGillicuty or Fr. MacArthur. Even parents who are long-time parishioners may have trouble remembering someone who may have worked in their church for just a few months.

Second, the bishop should also include the names of publicly accused brothers, sisters, and lay employees on his list. The full scope of abuse within the diocese is not told otherwise.

Msgr. Rossi takes leave of absence from CUA board of trustees

Catholic News Agency

Sept. 20, 2019

By J. D. Flynn

Msgr. Walter Rossi has taken a leave of absence from the board of trustees at The Catholic University of America, while the priest is the subject of a canonical investigation for unspecified allegations of misconduct.

“Last month the chairman of the Board of Trustees approved Msgr. Rossi’s request to take a voluntary leave of absence pending the resolution of the investigation launched jointly by the Archdiocese of Washington and the Diocese of Scranton. During the leave of absence Msgr Rossi will not participate in any board activities,” Karna Lozoya, spokesperson for the university told CUA Sept. 20.

Lozoya told CNA that the university is “in contact with the Diocese of Scranton and the Archdiocese of Washington, who have jointly launched an investigation. We will cooperate with them as needed. We don’t have any information at this point to warrant our own investigation.”

In August, the Diocese of Scranton told CNA that it had commenced “the process of launching a full forensic investigation into the concerns that have been raised,” about Rossi, who is rector of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, which is adjacent to the campus of The Catholic University of America.

Rossi is a priest of the Diocese of Scranton.

“The Diocese of Scranton and Archdiocese of Washington will work jointly and cooperatively on undertaking a comprehensive investigation,” the diocese told CNA Aug. 14.

Concerns were raised about Rossi to Archbishop Gregory Aug. 13, 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.

Rossi has been accused of directing young men to Fr. Matthew Reidlinger, a priest friend of Rossi’s who is alleged to have sexually harassed them in phone calls and text messages. That accusation was made in 2013.

In August, Gregory said he was unfamiliar with the allegation.

“That’s news to me. And I am not doubting it, but I have not heard about [this situation].”

“I suspect – I hope – that there is a forensic investigation. But in today’s environment, even a forensic investigation that either proves or disproves, will not satisfy the people. But I would like to see that, I would like to see a forensic investigation of those allegations.”

Retired Howell Priest Charged In Sex Abuse Of Girl: Authorities


Sept. 20, 2019

By Karen Wall

A retired priest who served at St. Veronica Roman Catholic Church in Howell has been arrested and charged with sexually assaulting an underage girl in the late 1990s, authorities announced late Friday afternoon.

Father Brendan Williams, 78, of Lawrence, was arrested Friday and charged with second-degree sexual assault, Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni announced.

Williams is accused of touching the intimate parts of the girl with his hand on at least three occasions from 1997 to 1999, authorities said. The girl was younger than 13 years old, they said.

St. Veronica was the last parish where Williams was pastor, according to information released by the Diocese of Trenton in February. Williams, who was ordained in 1965 had "multiple" credible accusations, the diocese said, and was removed from the ministry, though a 2012 report by the diocese publication the Trenton Monitor says he retired.

St. Mary’s University Panel Discusses Way Forward After Clergy Sex Abuse Scandal

Rivard Report

Sept. 20, 2019

By Tim Hernandez

Panelists at a St. Mary’s University symposium Thursday discussed what still needs to be done at the local, national, and global level to address the sexual abuse scandals that have rocked the Catholic Church.

The panel of lay and religious people participating in The Crossroads Symposium, the inaugural event of St. Mary’s recently established Center for Catholic Studies, agreed that children needed to be at the center of policy and culture changes within the Catholic Church.

Since 2002, sexual abuse allegations have continued to surface across the globe, prompting an examination of how accusations were handled by the church. The majority of the occurrences were from 25 to as many as 60 years ago.

“Clergy sexual abuse of minors is a global issue,” said St. Mary’s President Thomas Mengler, who moderated the discussion.

Father Ron Rolheiser, president of the Oblate School of Theology, said working with victims of clergy sexual abuse gave him a first-hand look at the lasting damage of such abuse.

“I always thought [victim impact statements] were exaggerated until I began to work with survivors,” he said. “I found out they are not exaggerated. They are understated in terms of … there is no such thing as minor sexual abuse.”

To move forward, the church needs women in chancery offices, not just in consulting roles, but with real decision-making power, Rolheiser argued.

Second Jesuit High janitor accused of sex abuse in 1970s comes into focus in new lawsuit

The Advocate

Sept. 20, 2019

By Ramon Antonio Vargas

Two janitors who were employed by Jesuit High School — despite prior charges of child sexual abuse — used their access at the Catholic prep's campus to molest a 10-year-old boy from the neighborhood in the late 1970s, according to a new lawsuit filed at Orleans Parish Civil District Court on Friday.

Bradley Dupree, now 50, claims in the suit he was abused by janitors Gary Sanchez and Peter Modica, who has been publicly linked to other child molestation cases over the last year. He is seeking damages from the school.

Dupree's suit is the latest turn in a child-abuse scandal that first erupted within the Catholic Church in the 1980s and has more recently reignited, damaging the venerable school along with many other Catholic institutions and orders.

“This robbed me of any potential I could have had,” Dupree, who works as a full-time caregiver for his mother in LaPlace, told reporters this week. “I’ve spent my entire life dealing with major depression, feeling worthless, having severe anxiety, insomnia, self-medicating with alcohol and drugs.

Why stay in the Church?

Denver Catholic

Sept. 20, 2019

By Jared Staudt

There are many people who have either left the Church or are currently considering leaving because of the scandals of recent decades. We have felt pain and righteous anger at our leaders and have suffered scandal from their betrayal. For some, the grand jury reports and lack of accountability for bishops have been the last straw. It’s hard to blame people for feeling this way, but we have to ask with Peter, “to whom, Lord, shall we go?” (John 6:68).

Significantly, this question comes after many disciples walked out on Jesus for his teaching on the Eucharist, and it is the Eucharist that should be at the center of any response to the crisis. Peter answers his own question: “you have the words of everlasting life” (John 6:68). The Church is Jesus’ own body in the world, and we are members of his mystical body, given eternal life by consuming his own flesh at Mass. Without the Eucharist, Jesus’ presence in the flesh, the very heart of the Church, where would we be?

Choirboy can be believed - and Pell freed, Cardinal's lawyers say

The Age

September 20, 2019

By Chip Le Grand

For more than four years, the fate of Australia’s most powerful Catholic cleric rested on the word of a former choirboy. For police, for the courts and the church, it all came down to the truthfulness, credibility and believability of a single witness, alone and unsupported in what he alleged against George Pell.

In an application lodged this week for special leave to appeal his case to the High Court, Pell’s legal team shifted ground. It is both a vindication of the choirboy and a last bid by Pell, now serving a six-year prison sentence, to have his child sex convictions quashed.

The Cardinal’s lawyers no longer question the credibility of the man who first told police in 2015 that Pell raped him and sexually assaulted a friend in St Patrick’s Cathedral when they were 13 years old.

They no longer dismiss Pell’s accuser as a fantasist or argue that the County Court jury should have done the same.

Wichita Diocese releases list of accused priests

KSN News

Sept. 20, 2019

The Catholic Diocese of Wichita published a list of clergy who have substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor Thursday.

The list includes nine priests of the diocese and six other clergy who served in the diocese and are published in reports from other dioceses. The names, assignment histories, ordination dates and current status are available on the diocese website.

The list includes these priests from within the Catholic Diocese of Wichita:
Paul Alderman
Robert Blanpied
Peter Duke
Robert K. Larson
Charles O’Connor
Robert Schleiter
Alonzo Smithhisler
Charles Walsh
William Wheeler

The list also includes these priests who worked in the Wichita diocese and were reported by another diocese or religious order:
Michael Baca (Diocese of Gallup, New Mexico)
John Habethier (Diocese of San Bernardino, California)
Stephen Muth (Eparchy of Parma, The Byzantine Catholic Church)
Thomas O’Donohue (Diocese of Salina, Kansas)
Robert Schleiter (also listed above)
Arthur J Van Speybroeck (Diocese of Salina, Kansas)
John Walsh (Diocese of Salina, Kansas)

According to the diocese, all of the listed priests have either been removed from the ministry or are deceased.

The list does not include any information about the kind of abuse, when or where the abuse took place, whether there were multiple reports of abuse against the priest or if the priest was removed from ministry as a result of the accusations or some other reason.

Dead priests accused of abusing children likely 'reside in hell,' lawsuits assert

Buffalo News

Sept. 20, 2019

By Jay Tokasz

Three new lawsuits alleging child sex abuse decades ago by Buffalo Diocese priests who are who now deceased assert that those priests likely live in hell as a result of their crimes.

The Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria law firm also cited Catholic Church doctrine in stating that its clients were unable to locate hell to serve the priests who molested them with a court summons and complaint.

The language, highly unusual for a legal document, was included in three lawsuits against the Buffalo Diocese filed this week.

Most of the more than 140 Child Victims Act lawsuits filed so far against the diocese don’t include much detail about the allegations of child sex abuse lodged against priests, and the complaints feature routine legal language in alleging the diocese was negligent in allowing abuse to occur.

But one paragraph in the filings by attorneys Richard P. Weisbeck Jr. and Christina M. Croglio is anything but routine.

Pope prompted to consult Kasper before writing Letter to German Church

The Tablet

Sept. 20, 2019

By Christa Pongratz-Lippitt

It has now emerged that the Pope’s letter followed a lengthy conversation he had with Cardinal Walter Kasper about the German Church.

The prestigious German theological monthly Herder Korrespondenz has shed new light on the ongoing row between the German Church and elements in the Vatican over the Church’s plans for a “synodal procedure”.

The procedure will chart a way forward for the Church following the devastation caused by the abuse crisis, and the massive exodus of the faithful.

70 year old Catholic priest on the run after sexually abusing three minors

Goa Chronicle

Sept. 20, 2019

Kochi: In yet another shocking incident exposing the growing sexual abuse cases by Christian clergy in India, a 70-year old Catholic priest allegedly molested three minor girls when they visited him to seek blessings at his church office in Chendamangalam in Ernakulam district last month, the police said on Friday.

The pedophile priest, George Padayatty, vicar of a Syrian Catholic Church in Chendamangalam, has been absconding after a case was registered against him in connection with the incident, police said.

He has been charged under various sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act), IndianExpose has learned.

The incident occurred a month ago when the nine-year old girls went to the priest’s office to seek his blessings after service in the Church.

The moot question is whether the Catholic Church will act on a detention and prevention mechanism.

Archbishop of Cincinnati expects Vatican investigation into handling of Rev. Geoff Drew case


Sept. 19, 2019

The Archbishop of Cincinnati expects the Vatican to order a “full investigation” of the archdiocese's handling of allegations of sexual abuse against the Rev. Geoff Drew, archdiocese spokeswoman Jennifer Schack said Thursday.

Archbishop Dennis Schnurr has submitted a “full report” on Drew’s case to the Vatican via the apostolic nuncio — a diplomat who functions as an ambassador for the Catholic Church — in Washington, D.C., Schack told WCPO.

The Catholic News Agency reported those developments earlier this week.

“Archbishop Schnurr takes any accusations of sexual abuse very seriously, as well as any possible lapse in internal procedures for handling allegations,” Schack said.

Schack could not confirm whether Schnurr requested an investigation into Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Binzer’s handling of the Drew case.

France’s Catholic child abuse probe flooded with messages

Agence France Press

Sept. 20, 2019

A commission set up by the French Catholic Church to investigate allegations of child sex abuse by clerics received about 2,000 messages in its first three months, chairman Jean-Marc Sauve said today.

The independent body, looking into abuse claims dating back to the 1950s, was set up last year in response to a number of scandals that shook the Church in France and worldwide.

Composed of 22 legal professionals, doctors, historians, sociologists and theologians, the commission began work in June, when it called for witness statements and set up a telephone hotline.

Since then, “we have received 2,000 telephone calls, emails and letters,” Sauve told AFP, and 650 people have agreed to fill out a detailed questionnaire.

Legal woes continue for journo reporting on controversial lay group


Sept. 20, 2019

By Elise Harris

Peruvian journalist Paola Ugaz, who’s faced a series of legal battles over the past 18 months linked to her reporting on a controversial Catholic lay movement, has launched a complaint against a prosecutor she says brought unfounded charges against her.

Already waiting for a court to recognize the withdrawal of a complaint for criminal defamation brought and then retracted by Archbishop Jose Antonio Eguren Anslemi of Piura, who’s part of the scandal-ridden Sodalitium Christianae Vitae (SCV), Ugaz has opened an inquiry into a second legal notice she received in May alleging that she provided false testimony in a related case.

Ugaz pushed for the inquiry on grounds that when she was notified of the charge, which explained that an investigation had been opened into whether she had provided false testimony in a colleague’s legal battle with the same archbishop, she was never informed of the grounds upon which the investigation was based.

Archdiocese of Washington Revises Child Protection Policy, SNAP Reacts

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Sept. 19, 2019

Church officials in Washington D.C. have revised their child protection policy, claiming to add new protections. However, it is not policies that need to be changed, but the actions of those charged with enforcing those policies that needs to change if the faithful are to be protected.

Over the years we have often seen church officials tout policy changes as if having a few wrong words on paper is the reason that children and vulnerable adults have been abused by local priests or nuns and been ignored by bishops and cardinals. But it is not.

We believe that the reason for the church’s deeply-rooted and long-standing abuse and cover-up scandal is simple: it is because those who conceal abuse are virtually never sanctioned. To us, today’s move from church officials in Washington D.C. is another example of the ‘go to’ move by embattled church officials: tweak policy, pretend it is real reform, and hope folks buy it.

But what good is a policy when those who break it are not punished? There has been a national “zero tolerance” abuse policy for more than 17 years. Can anyone name more than a handful of Catholic employees in the country who have been suspended or fined or fired for violating even one part of that policy? Consequences for ignoring, hiding or enabling abuse in the church are basically non-existent.

Bishop says bankruptcy could be best balance of justice for sex abuse victims


Sept. 19, 2019

Bishop Malone says he’s close to making a decision on whether the Buffalo Diocese will file for bankruptcy but he says he’s not there yet.

Today on WBEN Radio, the bishop spoke about the decision to either litigate cases filed under the Child Victims Act or file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The bishop says there have been 138 cases filed against the diocese so far. He expects for there to be around 250 to 275 cases filed under the Child Victims Act.

Although the bishop is not tipping his hand yet, he did say that bankruptcy could be better for the victims of clergy sex abuse.

Editorial: A place for the Church’s thinking

The Observer

Sept. 20, 2019

University President Emeritus Fr. Theodore Hesburgh once called Notre Dame “a place where the Church does its thinking.”

Although the origin of Hesburgh’s words have been lost to time, their meaning remains clear: Notre Dame could be a sanctuary for Catholic reflection – a meeting ground for the Church to convene and bring about concrete change.

Next week marks the 14th annual Notre Dame Forum. Titled “‘Rebuild My Church’: Crisis and Response,” the conference aims to spark discussion about the Catholic Church sex abuse crisis brought forth by the 2018 Pennsylvania Grand Jury report.

As the face of Catholic scholarship in the U.S., perhaps Notre Dame is a fitting venue for this discussion by merit of its reputation alone. But there is a far greater reason we need this conference: Many in the tri-campus community feel the wounds of the crisis deeply.

Ohio megachurch on sale for $8M months after some congregants stop giving over pastor’s affairs

Christian Post

September 19, 2019

By Leonardo Blair

Months after Pastor Victor S. Couzens of Inspirational Baptist Church in Cincinnati, Ohio, pleaded with his congregants to start giving again while assuring them that he had not used their donations to finance relationships with multiple women, his church’s sprawling building is now up for sale.

The church located at 11450 Sebring Drive is currently listed for sale for $8 million on the commercial real estate platform LoopNet.com.

“Perfect for campus/education facility, medical or industrial user and charitable pickup center office - many possibilities. Additional land available for expansion. Currently operating as a church in EXCELLENT condition with many amenities. Large parking lot,” reads the investment summary for the just over 59,000 square-foot building that was built in 1984.

The Christian Post reached out to both Couzens and his church Thursday to discuss what prompted the sale but a response was not immediately available from the church, which celebrated its 62nd anniversary on Sunday.

“We’re celebrating 62 years of this church’s existence, we’re so grateful to the Lord for 62 years of ministry of the Inspirational Church. Let’s praise God for 62 years. Our lives are better because of Inspirational. Our city is better because of Inspirational,” Couzens declared during a broadcast of his church’s worship service on Sunday.

September 19, 2019

On Words and Actions

Vanishing Predators blog

September 19, 2019

By Daniel Carlson

According to Ronald Reagan, the most terrifying words in the English language are: “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.” Many of us, upon hearing that comment, simply shake our heads for experience has taught us that government involvement often involves endless red tape, wholesale ineptitude, legal hurdles, and a thoroughgoing lack of concern on the part of the bureaucracy in question.

With Reagan’s sardonic remark in mind, it comes as no surprise that survivors of clergy abuse find it equally disheartening when Catholic prelates proclaim: “We’re from the Diocese, and we’re here to help.” Much like the ordeal we citizens must endure in the face of overriding governmental indolence, abuse victims have become accustomed to false promises, deception, and rigid stonewalling by Church hierarchy.

Consider, for example, the recent decision by the Diocese of Rochester, New York, to declare bankruptcy. Facing the potential of huge judgements for claims of past sexual abuse by its clergy, the Diocese (following the lead of nineteen other Catholic dioceses or archdioceses in the United States) decided to reorganize its finances. This decision halts all actions on civil suits already filed, and shifts those matters to the bankruptcy proceedings where release of information about abuse and cover-ups will be restricted.

Not to be outdone, the Archdiocese of New Orleans has gone even further. In its attempt to stymie victims of clergy abuse, its attorneys argue that a case known as the “NOLA No-call” lawsuit should block any litigation involving the Church. In the “No-call” matter, a New Orleans Saints fan sued claiming that the end of an NFL game should be replayed because of a blown call by a referee. The Louisiana Supreme Court, however, found that judges and juries should not second-guess decisions by a professional sports league enforcing its own rules.

No indictment for priest accused of inappropriately touching two teens


September 19, 2019

A Grand Jury in Lewis County, Ky, declined to indict a priest on allegations he inappropriately touched two teens, according to a spokesperson for Glenmary Home Missioners.

Manager of Communications John Stegeman said the alleged contact with Glenmary Father Dave Glockner occurred on Aug. 6 when two minor women were volunteering on a construction project at Emmaus Farm in Lewis County, Ky.

Stegeman says the Grand Jury returned a “no true bill,” which he says means it found no evidence that a crime was committed.

Glenmary will now hire an independent investigator and a review board will then advise Glenmary’s Executive Council on whether or not they find the allegations to be credible, according to Stegeman.

Father Glockner will continue to live at Glenmary’s residence in Fairfield and will remain removed from public ministry, Stegeman said.

Laity must be seen as respected partner

The Tablet

Sept. 19, 2019

Tension has arisen between the Catholic Church in Germany and the Vatican over the desire of German Catholics to have a greater say in how the Church is run. Responding to dismay among the laity about such scandals as the sexual abuse of children by clergy, the German bishops have proposed new structures of governance in accordance with the principle of “synodality”.

They implicitly recognise that certain views of the laity may be difficult to reconcile with the teachings of the present magisterium, but they also understand that unless the laity sees they are at last being treated as a respected partner and not just as a subordinate, the drift away from church membership will continue. The sensus fidei may, as it were, vote with its feet.

This initiative has prompted a warning from Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, that the German Church could find itself acting contrary to canon law, endangering church unity.

Revised archdiocesan child protection policy also emphasizes safe environments for adults

Catholic Standard

Sept. 19, 2019

By Mark Zimmerman

The Archdiocese of Washington’s Child Protection Policy was instituted in 1986 as one of the first such policies in the nation and has been used as a model for dioceses nationwide. The policy – which covers healing, reporting and prevention of abuse – was updated in 1993, 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2013 to incorporate enhancements in child protection mandates and oversight.

And in July 2019, the policy was again revised, with a new title that reflects its expanded scope, as the archdiocese’s Child Protection and Safe Environment Policy, to emphasize the importance of ensuring safe environments for people of all ages, protecting children from sexual abuse and adults from sexual harassment or abuses of power.

“Adding safe environment (provisions to the policy) is a game changer for the Church. It is showing community members that there is zero tolerance for abuse, regardless if you’re (victimized as) a child or an adult,” said Courtney Chase, the executive director of the Office of Child Protection and Safe Environment for the Archdiocese of Washington. “…It (the policy) is enhanced, because it incorporates safe environment and protection of all children as well as all adults.”

The revised policy’s introduction makes that expanded scope clear, stating, “All people – children and adults – have the right to be safe and protected from harm in any and all environments – home, school, religious institutions, neighborhoods, and communities. The Archdiocese of Washington embraces this right to safety and is dedicated to promoting and ensuring the protection of all children entrusted to our care and to all adults who receive pastoral care or serve our mission."

Convicted priest denied sentence reconsideration


Sept. 19, 2019

A judge has denied a motion for sentence reconsideration for convicted St. Landry Parish priest Michael Guidry.

Guidry’s attorney, Kevin Stockstill, was in court on Thursday to argue that the 10-year sentence Guidry received for molesting a juvenile should be reconsidered due to his advanced age and health concerns.

“I’m going to stick to my original sentence,” said 27th Judicial District Judge Alonzo Harris. “I haven’t heard anything that would change my mind.”

Back in April, Guidry was sentenced to 10 years in prison for child molestation, with three years suspended – meaning he will serve as much as seven years in prison. Guidry was transferred to the Dixon Correctional Facility in Jackson in June to begin his sentence.

His attorneys filed a motion for reconsideration of sentence in May, which stated that his sentence “is excessive and disproportionate and a needless imposition of pain and suffering” and therefore a violation of the state Constitution.

Guidry, 76, who most recently served at Saint Peter’s Church in Morrow, pleaded guilty in March to molesting a deacon’s son after giving him alcohol .

As part of his plea deal, Guidry was placed on the sex offender registry .

Local Diocese speaks on list of accused clergy members

News-Press NOW

Sept. 18, 2019

By Jessika Eidson

On Sept. 6, the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph released the names of 24 clergy members that the organization believes to have substantiated allegations of abuse against children, including a former St. Joseph priest now serving 50 years in prison.

The release of these names follows the example of many dioceses in the United States, as the Catholic Church works to address what has been a decades-old issue in parishes across the country.

According to Carrie Cooper, director of the Office of Children and Youth Protection at the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, the list was compiled with the hopes that healing would occur for those who suffered the abuse and those whose faith was shaken because of the previous lack of transparency.

Advocacy Group for Survivors of Clergy Sexual Abuse Urge Judge to Uphold Sentence

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Sept. 19, 2019

A Catholic priest, who pleaded guilty to child sexual abuse and received the maximum term, will have his petition for reconsideration of the sentence heard tomorrow.

Fr. Michael Guidry admitted his guilt in March and was sentenced to 10 years in prison, with three years suspended, the following month. In May Fr. Guidry filed a motion for reconsideration of his sentence, which will be heard today.

Our hearts go out to Oliver Peyton and his family. The priest’s maximum prison sentence no doubt offered this survivor and those who love him some small degree of healing. Now, having believed the matter to be over and done with, they are once again subjected to a stressful wait while the sentence is reconsidered.

We were grateful that Judge Alonzo Harris gave Fr. Guidry the maximum prison term, since Oliver received a life sentence when the cleric betrayed his trust and assaulted him. The judge appeared to recognize the great harm inflicted on a victim when he said at sentencing that “there are certain things in life we just can’t tolerate.”

Trial Begins for Anglican Priest Accused of Abuse in Fresno

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Sept. 19, 2019

Yet another Fresno priest is accused of sex crimes and we beg those with information or suspicions about him to call police immediately.

Fr. Jesus Serna, also known as “Fr. Antonio,” was arrested in February for several alleged offenses. An Anglican cleric who from 2007 until 2017 at Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe Church in Fresno, Fr. Serna is accused of sexually assaulting at least three parishioners who came to him for counseling and advice. To use his position of power in such a way is an obvious betrayal of those who came to him in good faith for help and healing.

We hope that the victims of Fr. Serna are receiving the support and help they deserve. Sadly, dozens of parishioners showed up for a court hearing this week to support the alleged abuser instead of his victims. Such public displays in behalf of a credibly accused abuser is extraordinarily hurtful and can deter victims, witnesses and whistleblowers from stepping forward and taking steps to protect others.

SNAP Stands with Monk who Reported Abuse by Msgr. Craig Harrison

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Sept. 19, 2019

According to media reports, a monk who reported witnessing and experiencing abuse at the hands of a popular Bakersfield priest is being sued for defamation. Aggressive perpetrators of sexual abuse sometimes resort to defamation lawsuits and other legal tactics to silence victims and intimidate witnesses. We fear that is what is happening in this situation.

Br. Justin Gilligan made eyewitness reports of observing questionable behavior involving minors by Msgr. Craig Harrison as well as a report of his own first-hand experience of being sexually harassed by Harrison. The Merced County District Attorney is still considering whether to file criminal charges against Harrison in relation to these and other allegations that he sexually abused minors. As we understand it, the Firebaugh police department also still is investigations allegations in that city.

Reporting abuse takes real courage. It takes even more courage if you’re a Catholic cleric reporting abuse by another and more powerful cleric. By his bravery, Br. Gilligan has likely made his career in the church tougher for himself. But more importantly, he has made the church a safer place for all, especially kids. We both admire him and feel grateful to him. And we stand in support of Br. Gilligan and hope the defamation case filed by Harrison is swiftly dismissed.

Brother Gilligan did not get Harrison placed on leave. The previous bishop of the Diocese of Fresno, Armando Ochoa, made that decision using the knowledge he and his staff accumulated from its own files and interviews. That information, according to media reports, spanned decades of alleged abuse and included interviews with alleged victims who are altogether unknown to Brother Gilligan. The only reason that Br. Gilligan is being sued is because he had the courage and strength to come forward publicly.



Sept. 18. 2019

By Jeffrey Martin

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) is opening 24 cases of alleged priest misconduct that were never investigated. Now, there are concerns that over 1,000 reports of possible sexual misconduct by clergy within the Catholic church were not reviewed properly.

In 2006, the DCFS entered an agreement with the Archdiocese of Chicago. Under the requirements of said agreement, the church was supposed to report any allegation of abuse they became aware of to the DCFS, regardless of the alleged victim's age. Under state law, these cases do not have to be reported to DCFS if the victim is no longer a minor.

The DCFS received 1,100 reports from the archdiocese under the agreement. But according to the Chicago Tribune, DCFS acting director Marc Smith was unaware of the reports until recently. Since those 24 cases were deemed to merit further investigation, a law firm was brought in to review the DCFS guidelines for processing notifications from the archdiocese.

After the recovery and researching of the reports, DCFS implemented inquiries in certain cases to ascertain if priests named in the reports still have access to minors. However, some reports only featured information about anonymous priests or alleged victims.

Compensation process opens for clergy sex-abuse victims


Sept. 18, 2019

By John Wilkens

Childhood victims of clergy sex-abuse in San Diego and five other Roman Catholic dioceses in California can file for compensation under a program that started accepting claims this week.

The Independent Compensation Program, announced in May, is being run by lawyers Kenneth Feinberg and Camille Biros, two experienced adjudicators who handled the 9/11 victims fund, among others. They are also administering claims programs for abuse victims in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Colorado.

Officials said the church will have no control over who receives compensation, or how much.

“No amount of money will provide closure to victims,” Feinberg said in a statement. “But the program is a small step in helping victims secure some degree of financial security.”

What is the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and why is it investigating George Pell?

Australian Broadcast Company

Sept. 19, 2019

By Michael Collett

When George Pell lost his appeal against his child sex abuse convictions last month, the Vatican noted that he still had one legal avenue remaining.

"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," it said after the Victorian Court of Appeal handed down its judgment.

On Tuesday, the Cardinal's legal team officially launched its bid to have his convictions quashed by Australia's highest court, but that's not the only process still underway.

In February, the Vatican announced its own investigation into the case, giving the task to the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith.

That investigative body was founded in 1542 under a different name: the Sacred Roman and Universal Inquisition.

That's why the Congregation's history is tied up with the Inquisition (note: the Spanish Inquisition was a separate institution, though the Roman Inquisition achieved its own infamy with its trial of Galileo for his belief that the Earth revolves around the Sun).

But not long after its creation, according to the Vatican, the institution's responsibilities were extended to include "everything relating directly or indirectly to faith and morals".

Justice follows revenge in Philadelphia Archdiocese clergy abuse at St. Titus in East Norriton

Philadelphia Inquirer

Sept. 19, 2019

By Maria Panaritis

It is time for life to cut Mike McDonnell a break — even if it’s 39 years overdue.

That time, it seems, may be nearer than ever.

Mike was 12 and serving as altar boy at St. Titus in East Norriton when the Rev. Francis Trauger sexually assaulted him. The parish at the time was a cesspool for priest predators in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. But rather than calling police as they learned about Trauger, church leaders moved him from parish to parish and kept it mum.

Mike was 38 when the same archdiocese got justice against Mike. He was prosecuted for taking $100,000 in church payments for therapy but spending it elsewhere. He went to only one of the 662 “therapy visits” he had claimed over several years, and submitted fake receipts for the rest. Mike was jailed in 2010 after failing to post any of his $110,000 bail. (By contrast: When his defrocked priest-abuser was arrested, only recently and for the first time in four decades, that guy didn’t have to post a penny of $250,000 in unsecured bail.)

Sister Abhaya murder case: The story so far

The Hindu

Sept. 18, 2019

By Aswathi Pacha

Over 27 years after the suspicious death of Sister Abhaya, the case's trial commenced at the Special Court of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in Thiruvananthapuram on August 26.

Yesterday, the CBI made a surprise move by producing a retired professor, who had taught Abhaya at BCM College for Women, Kottayam, as an offside witness for the prosecution. The witness, Thressiama, told CBI Special Court judge that the conduct of the priests often appeared to be predatory and several students had complained to her that they had felt uncomfortable. However, senior counsel for the defence, B. Raman Pillai, told the court that the CBI had produced Ms. Thressiama without prior notice.

The court has scheduled to hear the case again on October 1.

Paedophilia: We never suspected, but the church knew

The Age

September 18, 2019

Yesterday morning I wept as I read the special investigation report, "Seminary Sins" (The Age, 17/9). As an elderly Catholic, I am terribly ashamed and grief stricken at what has happened to so many children and young men under the church's watch.

For most of my life I, and so many others, had no idea of what was occurring but the church did. We were brought up to have absolute respect for, and trust in, the clergy who were supposedly above reproach and, thus, were never questioned. We can no longer plead ignorance, nor can we tolerate "business as usual" from an institution which is imbibed in secrecy, misogyny and denial.

I know many truly fine priests and I acknowledge with gratitude their ministry and friendship. Nonetheless I am choosing to "vote with my feet" and no longer regard myself as a Catholic. I now merely bestow upon myself the status of "freelance Christian."

Hearing begins for Fresno priest Jesus Serna accused of sex crimes


Sept. 18, 2019

By Jason Oliveira

The preliminary hearing for the Anglican priest accused in a series of sex crimes began in a Fresno County courtroom on Wednesday.

Jesus Serna was arrested back in February following a 13-month investigation.

Serna is facing a lengthy list of allegations for sexual misconduct involving at least three adult parishioners.

Dozens of supporters for the Anglican priest sat in attendance during Wednesday's preliminary hearing.

Known to his followers as Father Antonio, Serna served from 2007 until 2017 at Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe Church in Fresno.

But it was during this time that law enforcement says Father Antonio would invite followers to his office where he would perform what he called a "healing ritual" that involved a massage table, oils and would more often than not lead to sexual contact.

One victim who was seeking marriage counseling testified Wednesday:
"He told me to take off all my clothes and said he was going to touch my penis. He told me it was part of the healing process"

According to police, Serna told his victims that this was a special ritual he learned while in India and that their semen needed to be examined to be healed.

September 18, 2019

‘People Who Know Me Know Who I Am’: Downingtown Priest Accused Of Stealing From Own Church Comes Out Of Court Swinging


Sept. 18, 2019

By Joe Holden

A priest accused of stealing from his own Chester County church came out of court swinging on Wednesday. Father Joseph McLoone told CBS3 that he wants his day in court.

“People who know me know who I am and that’s enough said,” McLoone said. “I’ve cooperated fully with the process from the very beginning, with the Archdiocese and legally, and I look forward to the day when the truth will come out fully.”

The former pastor of the St. Joseph Catholic Church in Downingtown is accused of diverting more than $100,000 in church donations to an alleged secret account — one detectives claim only he controlled.

Court records show among other things that McLoone deposited donations made by parishioners in memory of their deceased loved ones. It’s claimed the account was opened for the sole purpose of concealing donations for what the church calls All Souls Day.

“One of the reasons to open the account was to use it as a vehicle to take the All Souls collection because he wasn’t allowed to take it,” Detective Ben Martin said.

A Secret Binder of Accused Priests, and a Bishop Under Siege

The New York Times

September 18, 2019

By Sharon Otterman

Bishop Richard J. Malone of Buffalo is facing calls for his resignation over a growing clergy sexual abuse scandal.

Bishop Richard J. Malone kept a secret black binder in a closet with a list of Catholic priests accused of sexual abuse. He was recorded in a conversation expressing more concern about his own reputation than about removing a priest whom he called dangerous and a “sick puppy.” And some of the bishop’s own clergy are circulating a letter of no-confidence in him.

Numerous Catholic bishops across the United States have become involved in controversies over their handling of clergy sexual abuse. But perhaps none has become as embroiled in scandal over the past year as Bishop Malone of Buffalo, one of the largest dioceses in the Northeast.

In an extraordinary turn of events in the hierarchical church, Bishop Malone is approaching persona non grata status in his own diocese. Some organizations are canceling events that he was set to attend, and he is declining other invitations, local Catholics said.

“Collections are drying up in parishes,” said John J. Hurley, the president of Canisius College in Buffalo and a leader of a lay group that had been working with Bishop Malone but is now calling for his resignation. “People are walking out of the parishes saying ‘I’ve had enough.’”

But despite revelations from whistle-blowers and calls from lay leaders and priests for him to step down, Bishop Malone has declined to do so.

Before 2018, the Buffalo diocese, which has 600,000 Catholics, had largely avoided the kind of turmoil over clergy sexual abuse that has occurred elsewhere in the country.

But then an accuser went public, saying that a priest, who has since retired, had molested him as teenager. That led dozens of other accusers to come forward, saying that they had also been abused by current or former priests.

As the number of accused priests grew, Bishop Malone’s handling of the crisis was quickly called into question because he had promised transparency but, in case after case, appeared to be shielding priests who were accused of abuse, local Catholics said.

Hundreds of people have now filed sexual abuse claims against clergy with the Buffalo diocese, or lawsuits under New York’s new Child Victims Act. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the state attorney general’s office have opened investigations.

Vatican seeks to indict two priests in abuse case within its walls

The Washington Post

September 17, 2019

By Chico Harlan and Stefano Pitrelli

The Vatican’s criminal prosecutors have requested the indictment of a priest accused of abusing an altar boy at a youth seminary steps away from St. Peter’s Basilica — a rare case involving claims of abuse within the city-state’s walls.

A Vatican statement Tuesday said prosecutors were also seeking an indictment of the youth seminary’s former rector for “aiding and abetting” the alleged abuse.

The indictments indicate that the church is moving forward on a case reportedly covered up for years, though the Vatican did not say when a trial might begin, nor did it provide details about the accusations against the Rev. Gabriele Martinelli and the former rector, the Rev. Enrico Radice.

Critics of how the Catholic Church has handled abuse cases will be watching to see how transparent the Vatican process will be.

Kevin Spacey Accuser Dies in Midst of Sexual Assault Lawsuit

Hollywood Reporter

September 18, 2019

By Eriq Gardner

The massage therapist was allowed to proceed anonymously in the case. No details yet on the circumstances of death.

An anonymous massage therapist who claims to have been sexually assaulted by Kevin Spacey has died, according to a notice filed in court by the actor's attorneys.

The individual, suing as a "John Doe," filed claims in September 2018 with the allegation of being forced to grab the actor's genitals twice during a massage two years earlier at a private residence in Malibu. In May, a federal judge in California allowed the case to move forward despite Spacey's objection that the plaintiff's identity was being shielded.

Now, just a month after the parties came to a plan for proceeding in the suit that detailed prospective discovery and envisioned a seven- to 11-day trial, the plaintiff's attorney has informed Spacey that the client "recently passed."

No further detail is provided, and a request to the plaintiff's attorney for more information has not been answered.

Spacey recently got out of another legal situation when criminal charges against him were dropped in Nantucket, Mass. In that case, Spacey pleaded not guilty to felony indecent assault and battery, and prosecutors withdrew charges after the accuser — a teenage busboy — stopped cooperating.

After Saying Sex with Minors Is Not Always Sexual Assault, MIT Scientist Resigns

Boston Magazine

September 18, 2019

By Alyssa Vaughn

Richard Stallman was defending Jeffrey Epstein associate Marvin Minsky.

Richard Stallman, a MacArthur genius grant recipient, Internet Hall of Fame inductee, and well-known computer scientist at MIT’s Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, has resigned from his post after defending MIT’s ever-expanding web of Jeffrey Epstein connections.

Specifically, Stallman leapt to the defense of the late Marvin Minsky, co-founder of MIT’s AI Laboratory. In an unsealed deposition revealed last month, alleged Epstein victim Virginia Guiffre named Minsky as one of the individuals she was instructed to have sex with. Minsky was 73 at the time. Guiffre was 17.

A Medium post written by an MIT alum last week revealed that Stallman replied to a female student’s email about an anti-Epstein protest with a long message in which he opts to defend Minsky in an odd and pretty sickening way—by arguing that sex with a child isn’t always assault. The full text of Stallman’s email, which was sent to a near-department-wide email list that included undergraduates, is as follows. It was published in the Medium post and later verified by Vice.

3 Million Women Say Their First Sexual Encounter Was Rape — But That Number Is Most Likely Higher

Rolling Stone

September 17, 2019

By EJ Dickson

When it comes to assessing the prevalence of sexual assault, there’s still a lot we don’t know. We do know, for instance, that sexual assault is underreported, but we don’t know by how much — and that’s particularly true for incidents that fall in the “grey area” of sexual assault, such as coercive sex or partner rape. A new study, however, is attempting to shed light on the prevalence of one specific type of sexual assault, and in doing so underscores just how little we know about sexual assault rates in general.

According to the study in JAMA Internal Medicine — which surveyed more than 13,300 women between the ages of 18 and 45 across the United States, from 2011 to 2017 — approximately one in 16 women, or about 6% of women surveyed, reported that their first sexual encounter was not consensual (which the study refers to as “forced sexual initiation”). Of the women who said their first sexual encounter was not consensual, 56% said they were verbally pressured into having sex, while 25% said they were subject to violence. The study also indicates that women who reported their first encounter was nonconsensual were more likely to report issues with ovulation or menstruation, unwanted first pregnancy, and drug abuse. Perhaps most devastatingly, most of these women were quite young: of the women who said their first time was not consensual, the average age at the time of the encounter was just 15.

How a Melbourne seminary became the breeding ground for paedophile rings

The Age

September 18, 2019

By Farrah Tomazin, Chris Vedelago and Debbie Cuthbertson

Corpus Christi was where sexually repressed men could “act out” with each other, living double lives, then transfer their attentions to the most innocent in their flocks.

The altar boy sat firmly on the back of the motorbike, his skinny arms gripping the waist of the young priest as they weaved through the suburban streets leading to Victoria’s most prestigious Catholic seminary.

It was a Sunday afternoon around October 1976 and the priest was taking the boy to Corpus Christi, the training college whose alumni includes jailed Cardinal George Pell, the Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge, and the former Archbishop of Melbourne Denis Hart.

According to a civil lawsuit due to be filed in court this week, Father Russell Vears guided the 14-year-old boy, John Fells*, into the building, down a corridor with rooms on both sides, and to a communal area where four or five other boys were already sitting, waiting on a couch.

Buffalo Bishop Richard Malone: 'I want to honor the commitment I made coming here'


Sept. 18, 2019

Catholic Diocese of Buffalo Bishop Richard Malone spoke exclusive with 2 On Your Side's Steve Brown on Wednesday, a day after the Buffalo News reported a poll it commissioned found 86% of Western New York Catholics surveyed want Malone to resign.

“I was not, of course, happy to see that," Malone told Brown, "but I’ve learned over the years not to give too much credence to polls.”

Malone added that he while he is aware of the results, he relies more on what he hears from groups he has regular contact with, like the Diocesan Pastoral Council. Malone says that council held a meeting this past Saturday, and the final item on the agenda was a vote of confidence or no confidence in Malone. Bishop Malone says he was told after the vote that 24 members of the council voted in favor of him staying, four voted for him to resign, and one member abstained.

"I really feel calm and confident, believe it or not, about staying on and honoring my commitment I made when I came here," says Malone.

The only situation Malone described that would change that is if the Pope felt different.

"I think that if in fact the Holy See, if the Vatican, were to do a review of the situation, something I would be very open to by the way,” described Malone. "If the report came back from Rome that the Holy Father thought I should resign, then that’s of course something I would, out of obedience, do immediately.”

In response to abuse crisis, more Catholics are withholding financial gifts from the Church

Catholic News Service

September 17, 2019

By Brian Fraga

The Catholic Church in the United States has spent a staggering amount of money — close to $4 billion in the past 20 years — to investigate, adjudicate and prevent clergy sex abuse, and to compensate victims for the harm they've suffered.

And as those expenses have prompted dioceses to lay off staff, sell property and liquidate some assets, there is growing evidence that more Catholics across the country are deciding not to contribute to their bishops' diocesan appeals because of the scandals.

"Clearly the leadership failures related to the abuse crisis are a major factor in some of the church's financial problems," said Kim Smolik, CEO of the Leadership Roundtable, a national Catholic organization.

At least 20 dioceses since 2004 have filed for bankruptcy protection to pay their bills and provide financial compensation for clergy sex abuse survivors. On Sept. 12, the Diocese of Rochester in New York became the latest to petition the federal courts for Chapter 11 reorganization.

"This is a very difficult and painful decision," Bishop Salvatore R. Matano of Rochester said during a Sept. 12 news conference. The diocese is facing nearly 50 lawsuits filed in the wake of New York's Child Victims Act, which took effect Aug. 14 and suspended the state's civil statute of limitations in sex abuse cases for one year.

The Catholic Courier, Rochester's diocesan newspaper, reported Bishop Matano as saying that filing for Chapter 11 was "the best and fairest course of action for the victims and for the well-being of the diocese, its parishes, agencies and institutions."

"We believe this is the only way we can provide just compensation for all who suffered the egregious sin of sexual abuse while ensuring the continued commitment of the diocese to the mission of Christ," Bishop Matano said.

The most recent figures compiled by BishopAccountability.org, a website that tracks the bishops' response to the clergy sex abuse scandals, indicates the scandals to date have cost dioceses and religious orders in the United States more than $3.8 billion in total settlements.

'Seduction' of children did little harm, said Catholic gatekeeper

The Age

Sept. 18, 2019

By Chris Vedelago, Farrah Tomazin and Debbie Cuthbertson

The psychologist who worked with the Catholic church for three decades to screen candidates for the priesthood once characterised child abuse as “seduction” that would do little lasting harm to its victims.

Ronald Conway, the Melbourne Archdiocese’s “consulting psychologist for religious vocations” tested applicants to the Corpus Christi seminary from 1969 to at least 2001, during which time 16 child abusers graduated as priests.

Mr Conway himself was later accused of historical sexual misconduct by former patients of his private practice, though never charged or convicted.

An investigation by The Age has exposed how some of the Catholic church’s worst paedophile priests shared victims, passed on details of vulnerable children, and worked together to conceal their crimes as part of informal networks of abuse. At the centre of a number of these clusters was Corpus Christi, where Mr Conway and psychiatrist Dr Eric Seal were the mental health gatekeepers.

Predator priests: When will Missouri Scrap statute of limitations for sex crimes?

Kansas City Star

Sept. 18, 2019

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt has referred the cases of a dozen former Catholic priests accused of sexually abusing minors to prosecutors after a year-long investigation.

That potential for justice for any of those so long denied is appreciated, though it’s impossible to say how many of the dozen men will be charged, much less convicted.

But charges can’t even be pursued against 46 other ex-clergy because the statute of limitations on the allegations against them has expired.

The AG’s inquiry found “credible allegations of 163 instances of sexual abuse or misconduct by Catholic diocesan priests and deacons against minors.” Eighty-three of those accused have died, and of the 80 who are still alive, 46 can’t be pursued without changing the law.

Across the decades and across the country, the Catholic Church has lobbied against such revisions, often successfully.

But knowing all we now know about abuse and how long child victims in particular can take to come to terms with it makes Missouri’s confusing mishmash of statute of limitations on various sex crimes committed during various time frames inexcusable.

This summer, Illinois became the latest state to remove all statutes of limitations on felony sex crimes. The others, according to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, are Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Wyoming and the District of Columbia.

Prince Andrew’s other pedophile friend: Prep school priest

Mercury News

Sept. 18, 2019

By Martha Ross

Pollsters have ranked Prince Andrew as the least popular royal; he’s known for being boorish, self-centered and tone-deaf to criticism. Even a positive quality attributed to him — loyalty — has often gotten him in trouble, notably when it came to his desire to stay friends with Jeffrey Epstein.

In fact, Andrew stuck by the now-deceased Epstein even after the multimillionaire financier was first investigated for sex trafficking and was convicted in 2008 of solicitation of a minor.

“You’re such a puritan,” Andrew told a friend who urged him to cut ties with Epstein, according to a 2011 Vanity Fair report. “Leave me alone. Jeffrey’s my friend. Being loyal to your friends is a virtue. And I’m going to be loyal to him.”

It turns out that registered sex offender Epstein is not Andrew’s only longtime friend who was accused of sex crimes against minors. A 2017 investigative report by the Canadian magazine Maclean’s showed that the Duke of York also stayed loyal to an Anglican priest who was the chaplain at the elite prep school he attended as a teenaged exchange student 40 years earlier.

Providence Diocese reports steep decline in parishioners

Associated Press

Sept. 18, 2019

The Diocese of Providence says Catholic churches across the state have experienced a steep decline in the number of parishioners in recent years.

Rhode Island is one of the most heavily Catholic states. WPRI-TV reports the diocese released statistics from 2000 to 2018 earlier this month online in the diocesan newspaper.

The newspaper states that the number of parishioners dropped by about 200,000, to roughly 321,000 in 2018. Fewer people chose to get married, attend Mass or have their children baptized in the church. Fewer students attended Catholic schools and fewer men became priests.

Rhode Island's population grew over that time period and the church faced sex-abuse scandals worldwide.

Bishop Thomas Tobin, who asked for the "pastoral profile," says other dioceses face declining numbers, too, and it presents daunting challenges.

Millions of US women say first sexual experience was rape


Sept. 16, 2019

The first sexual experience for one in 16 US women was forced or coerced intercourse in their early teens, encounters that for some may have had lasting health repercussions, a new study suggests.

The experiences amount to rape, the authors say, although they relied on a national survey that didn't use the word in asking women about forced sex.

Almost seven percent of women surveyed said their first sexual intercourse experience was involuntary; it happened at age 15 on average and the man was often several years older.

Nearly half of those women who said intercourse was involuntary said they were held down and slightly more than half of them said they were verbally pressured to have sex against their will.

Bishop Hubbard denies new allegations

Daily Gazette

September 17, 2019

By Stephen Williams

Retired Albany Catholic Diocese Bishop Howard J. Hubbard is denying the latest allegations leveled against him under the Child Victims Act, as the diocese continues to face new accusations of abuse by priests.

Hubbard is denying the allegations in two new lawsuits filed in state Supreme Court in Albany County last week. One alleges that he was directly involved in abuse of a young woman in a Schenectady church in the 1980s while he was bishop, the other that he was aware of a diocese priest having committed abuse and didn't act.

"In response to the allegations of sexual misconduct that have been made against me under the Child Victims Act, I have stated before and I repeat that I have never sexually abused anyone of any age at any time," Hubbard said in a statement through his attorneys, O'Connor First of Albany.

One case was filed on behalf of an anonymous 54-year-old Schenectady County woman, naming the Albany Diocese, Hubbard and Father Francis Melfe, the former pastor of the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Schenectady, which closed in 2010. Melfe, who was eventually laicized, faces a separate lawsuit brought by the children in an allegedly "secret" family he maintained while serving as a priest.

September 17, 2019

DCFS opens 2 dozen new cases into possible Chicago clergy sexual abuse

Chicago Tribune

Sept. 18, 2019

By Elyssa Cherney

Acting on concerns that more than 1,000 reports of possible sexual abuse by Catholic clergy may not have been properly reviewed by DCFS, the child welfare agency has opened 24 new investigations into alleged priest misconduct and hired a law firm to probe why the cases weren’t immediately addressed.

The reports were received by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services under a 2006 agreement with the Archdiocese of Chicago, requiring the church to notify DCFS every time it became aware of an abuse allegation, even if the accuser was no longer a minor. The measure went beyond state law, which does not require such cases to be reported to the agency because they don’t involve an underage victim.

DCFS Acting Director Marc Smith, who was appointed to lead the agency in March, said he was not aware of the policy or the existence of the reports until recently. Smith did not elaborate on how the problem came to his attention, but a DCFS spokesman later clarified that the protocol was discovered while looking into a specific case involving clergy abuse.

The 24 new DCFS investigations involve adults who came forward years after the alleged abuse occurred. In those cases, the department is working to determine whether the accused might still have access to children, through the church or in another setting.

Thompson Hine, a Cleveland-based law firm with Chicago offices, was hired to assess DCFS’ protocol for handling the archdiocese notifications, Smith said. A team of attorneys will be conducting the review under a contract that is capped at $225,000, according to the department.

In all, DCFS located 1,100 reports that it had received from the archdiocese since 2006. While DCFS staff went through the reports and flagged the 24 as needing further investigation, Smith said he had unanswered questions about whether the department properly reviewed all the notifications.

“At this point, it’s not clear exactly what happened with each of the 1,100 cases,” Smith said. “We’ve asked somebody to come in and do an evaluation to help us get a better picture of exactly what happened. We know that it’s best for us to take our time in these kind of scenarios to review exactly what happened.”

Cincinnati archbishop 'anticipating' Vatican investigation into handling of abuse case

Catholic News Agency

Sept. 17, 2019

By Ed Condon

Archbishop Dennis Schnurr of Cincinnati has submitted a report to Rome, following criticism of the archdiocese’s handling of allegations of sexual abuse against a local priest.

Archdiocesan officials told CNA Sept. 17 that a complete file on the case of Fr. Geoff Drew has been sent to the apostolic nuncio in Washington, DC, for transmission to the relevant curial departments, expected to include the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

A spokesperson for the archdiocese told CNA that a “full report” was sent to Rome via the nuncio on Aug. 30, and that Archbishop Schnurr “anticipates that the Vatican may order a full investigation” into the handling of the case.

“Archbishop Schnurr takes any accusations of sexual abuse very seriously, as well as any possible lapse in internal procedures for handling allegations,” the spokesperson told CNA.

Fr. Geoff Drew was arrested August 19 on a nine-count indictment for sexual abuse. The charges date back 30 years to before Drew’s time in ministry, when he was a music minister at a local parish. The accusations concern abuse said to have taken place over two years, when the reported victim was 10 and 11 years old. Drew pled not guilty during an Aug. 21 arraignment hearing. If convicted, the priest could face life in prison.

At the time of his arrest, Drew had already been removed from ministry following a several of allegations of misconduct with teenage boys which came to light in July and August.

Despite a series of complaints raised over a period of years, Drew had been able to remain in ministry and allowed to transfer from the parish of St. Maximilian Kolbe in Liberty Township, OH, to the parish of St. Ignatius, which is attached to the largest Catholic school in the archdiocese.

The handling of Drew’s case by archdiocesan officials, and his ability to transfer to another parish, has drawn heavy criticism from the priest’s former parishioners, who have asked how it was possible that a series of complaints was made to Church authorities and forwarded to local law enforcement, but resulted in no action against Drew.

Missouri's stilted probe of clergy abuse must not be the last word on the issue

Post Dispatch

Sept. 17, 2019

With the Catholic Church’s sordid history of enabling and covering up the sexual abuse of children by priests, and the long failure of government to confront those crimes, it’s tempting to cheer even minimal progress toward justice. That’s why, at first blush, last week’s news might have appeared promising: Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt forwarded the names of 12 former priests to local authorities for possible prosecution after an investigation that dredged up scores of previously unreported allegations against clergy in the state.

But a closer look suggests this progress toward justice is at best minimal.

A dozen possible prosecutions looks like a token next to the 74 criminal investigations underway in Kansas, which has less than half Missouri’s population. Could it be because the Missouri investigation left out the Jesuits and other orders that are home to a significant portion of Catholic clergy? Or that investigators contacted few if any of the Missouri activists and attorneys who have focused for years on clergy abuse and could have offered deep and relevant expertise?

Most problematic is Schmitt’s failure to investigate the church leadership’s protection of the priests, saying it wasn’t part of his “mandate.” Isn’t it always part of the attorney general’s mandate to confront criminal activity — which failure to report child abuse very much is? As Kansas City attorney Rebecca Randles, who specializes in these cases, told us: “There is no way to address this issue without addressing the cover-up.”

Schmitt inherited the investigation of Missouri’s four Catholic Church dioceses last year from his predecessor, former Attorney General Josh Hawley, who initiated it under pressure as probes in other states were turning up previously unreported cases of clergy abuse by the hundreds. These included Illinois, where then-Attorney General Lisa Madigan last year found 500 cases over decades that the church had failed to report, and Pennsylvania, where a grand jury put the number in that state at more than 1,000.

The common thread is the church hierarchy’s systematic obstruction, clearly designed to protect the priests and the institution at the expense of the victims. Yet Missouri’s investigation relied mostly on documentation voluntarily provided by the church itself.

Duggars Behaving Badly in the Bahamas

Patheos blog

Sept. 17, 2019

By Suzanne Titkemeyer

Just a quick one before I leave for the airport. This came up late last night on the Facebook page 19 Scandals and Counting. TLC’s the Duggar family went down to the Bahamas immediately after Hurricane Dorian to help with the clean up.

Good, right? So good I wasn’t going to mention it. I thought ‘Good for them helping out.’

A few days ago a reporter out of Jacksonville, Florida with WJXT , Vic Micolucci, posted photos of the Duggars in the Bahamas praising them for their help and arranging to get the family chicken from Chick-Fil-A. Smiles and chicken abound.

I had wondered at the time about what they were actually doing there, helping or hindering. Why? Because of my own personal experiences going down to Louisiana to help many times in the months after Hurricane Katrina. It was no garden party, or Chick-Fil-A picnic, just hard dirty work slogging through. Sleeping in a sleeping bag I brought on the floor of an abandoned church with others from churches. Eating whatever they served us.

Longtime Stratford Priest Added To Abuse Allegation List


Sept. 17, 2019

By Anna Bybee-Schier

A longtime Stratford priest has been added the list of Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport clergy who are credibly accused of sexual abusing minors, according to the diocese.

The Rev. Vincent P. Cleary is accused of two allegations of sexual abuse of a minor, both of which were found credible, Bishop Frank J. Caggiano said in a post on the diocese's website earlier this month. Cleary was the pastor of Our Lady of Peace Parish in Stratford from 1963 until his death in 1989. The allegations date to more than 50 years ago.

Ordained in 1944, Cleary also served at St. Augustine Parish in Bridgeport, St. John Parish in Stamford and St. Joseph Parish in South Norwalk. A different the Rev. Vincent P. Cleary who was ordained in 1939 and died in 1965 also served in the diocese, and there are no allegations against him, the post said.

Also named as being recently found to be credibly accused was Monsignor William Genuario, who was accused in 2002 and 2004 and again more recently of sexual abuse dating back more than 30 years, according to the post. Genuario died in 2015, was the pastor of St. Catherine of Siena Parish of Riverside and served in a number of senior roles in the diocese.

Most senior Catholic pedophile appeals Australia convictions

Associated Press

Sept. 17, 2019

The most senior Catholic to be found guilty of sexually abusing children lodged an appeal in Australia’s highest court on Tuesday against his convictions in the molestation of two choirboys in a cathedral more than two decades ago.

The High Court registry confirmed that Cardinal George Pell had submitted a 12-page application for the seven judges to consider hearing his appeal.

A unanimous Victoria state County Court jury in December found Pope Francis’ former finance minister guilty of molesting two 13-year-old choirboys in Melbourne’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral in the late 1990s.

The Victoria Court of Appeal last month rejected his appeal in a 2-1 ruling.

Pell, 78, was sentenced to six years in prison in March and is no longer a member of Francis’ Council of Cardinals or a Vatican official.

The High Court is Pell’s final chance to overturn his convictions, but there is no guarantee that Australia’s final arbiter will hear his appeal. The court only agrees to hear around one in 10 of the appeals that are submitted.

Trial Against Fr. Scott Kallal Ends in Hung Jury

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Sept. 16, 2019

A Kansas priest who was accused of abusing a teen-aged girl had his trial end today in a hung jury. We hope that prosecutors will try this case again and continue working to keep children in Kansas safe from abuse.

The charges against Fr. Scott Kallal stemmed from abuse allegations from one girl, but during the trial at least two other girls testified. The family in this case is willing to go forward with another trial and we hope that Kansas City prosecutors will follow their lead and prosecute the case a second time. We applaud the bravery of this young woman and her family and are grateful for their efforts to protect others in their parish community.

Now more than ever it is critical that victims, witnesses, and whistle-blowers come forward to law enforcement officials and report any information or suspicions. We also hope that church officials in Kansas City, KS, will take steps to urge with their flock to share what they know with police and prosecutors.

Accused Sacramento Priest Sues Bishop who ‘Outed’ Him

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Sept. 17, 2019

A priest accused of abuse who worked and lives in Sacramento is tilting at windmills by suing the bishop who publicly exposed him. In 30 years, we've never seen such a suit succeed, but we suspect the priest's real goal is to deter other victims, witnesses and whistleblowers from speaking up.

Fr. J. Patrick Foley is apparently upset that San Diego's bishop put his name on a list of credibly accused clerics last year. But so has the Sacramento bishop, yet Foley's not suing him. Ditto with Oakland's bishop. And Santa Rosa's bishop. Fr. Foley also worked in Dubuque, but he is not yet listed there. When he is, we wonder if Fr. Foley will extend his suit to cover the prelate in Iowa.

We hope that this lawsuit fails and that important information about abusers continues to be made public by church officials in California. And we hope others with information or suspicions about Fr. Foley won't be intimidated by these tactics and will find the courage to speak up and make a report today.

Prosecution of priest accused of abusing Vatican altar boys begins

America Magazine

Sept. 17, 2019

By Gerard O’Connell

Pope Francis has removed the statute of limitations to enable the prosecutor of the Vatican City State to ask its tribunal to send the Rev. Gabriele Martinelli, an Italian priest, for civil trial. He is accused of the sexual abuse of altar boys who served the papal Masses in St. Peter’s Basilica and who lived in a Vatican pre-seminary in the years before 2012. The prosecutors have also sent the Rev. Enrico Radice, the rector of the seminary during the years the alleged abuse took place, for trial on charges of abetment.

The Vatican broke the news in a press statement sent to the international media on Tuesday evening, Sept. 17. The Vatican said its investigation began in November 2017 after news of the alleged assaults “was divulged by press outlets.”

It went on to state that “the facts go back to the years in which the law in force at the time prevented the [judicial] process in the absence of a charge brought by the offended person that had to be presented within one year of the contested facts.” It said that “the sending for trial was made possible by virtue of a special provision of the Holy Father on July 29 last, that removed the cause of not-proceeding.” The pope’s decision to remove the statute of limitations prevailing in 2012 was essential to allowing the prosecution to proceed.

Italian television first broke the news, which was then carried by other media, including Il Fatto Quotidiano, which spoke to some of the victims. These media outlets allege that the priest, now 26 years old, abused altar boys in a pre-seminary within the Vatican.

Michigan Attorney General charges former priest with additional count of first-degree CSC

WWMT Newschannel 3

Sept. 17, 2019

By Heidi Paxson

Attorney General Dana Nessel charged Vincent DeLorenzo, a former Genesee Count priest with the Lansing Diocese, with an additional Criminal Sexual Conduct (CSC) charge.

Nessel's office announced the additional CSC charge on Tuesday.

The additional charge accused DeLorenzo of sexually assaulting a five-year-old boy in 1987 after a funeral service he officiated for the boy’s family.

The Attorney Generals office wrote in a news release that Michigan’s statute of limitations is tolled when a defendant leaves the state for any reason within the statute of limitations and resumes if and when the defendant returns to the state.

The additional charge is a felony punishable by up to life in prison and a lifetime of electronic monitoring.

The 80-year-old former priest was one of the five priests charged by Nessel in May 2019.

"As we continue to review the millions of pages of documents our Department seized last year from the state’s seven dioceses, we are reminded that these charges only scratch the surface of what we believe to be years of crimes that were originally swept under the rug,” Nessel wrote in a news release.

DeLorenzo was previously charged with three counts of first-degree and three counts of second-degree CSC in the Department of Attorney General’s Clergy Abuse Investigation.

Victims ‘out’ five ‘credibly accused priests

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Sept. 17, 2019

They offer fliers to Wausau Catholic church-goers
SNAP: “Abusive clerics are still being hidden here”
Group blasts Wisconsin diocesan officials on abuse
It wants bishop to post ALL alleged offenders' names online
"The real solution," group insists, "is criminal prosecution & legislative reform"

Handing leaflets to church-goers, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will disclose that five publicly accused predator priests were or are in central Wisconsin but have attracted little or no media or public attention before in the area.

Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, they will also write the names of these credibly accused child molesting clerics on a sidewalk.

And the victims will call on local Catholic officials to
--post names of ALL accused priests on their diocesan website,
--include their photos, whereabouts and work histories, whereabouts and state photos, and
--join with victims in pushing for real legislative reform, like repealing Wisconsin's "archaic, predator-friendly statute of limitations" so survivors can expose child molesters in court.

80M settlement reached in Chicago Archdiocese clergy sex abuse scandal


Sept. 17, 2019

The names and faces of 48 known sexual abuse perpetrators who worked for the Archdiocese of Chicago were revealed Tuesday.

Over $80 million in court settlements with the Chicago Archdiocese involving 48 alleged perpetrators in the state of Illinois was revealed Tuesday.

The law firm Jeff Anderson & Associates said they have compiled over 160 survivors over the past two decades who said they were sexually abused by a Chicago Archdiocesan.

The law firm also announced a new lawsuit was filed on behalf of a man who said he was abused at Maryville Academy when he was a boy.

A list and photos of the 48 known perpetrators, as well as where the perpetrators worked were made public.

First Lawsuit Filed Against Fr. John Smyth in Chicago

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Sept. 17, 2019

The first child sex abuse and cover up lawsuit has been filed against a high-profile Chicago priest who had access to thousands of already-vulnerable children.

Fr. John P. Smyth headed a residential treatment facility called Maryville Academy in Des Plaines from 1970-2003. He was removed in 2003 after a resident's suicide and allegations of abuse surfaced. From 2007-2014, The priest was president of Notre Dame College Prep in Niles 2007-2014. He was removed from ministry in January 2019 when allegations against him were reported to the Archdiocese of Chicago. Today he is being sued for reportedly molesting a child. We hope this development will spur others who may have information or suspicions about him to step forward.

In March, we included Fr. Smythe on our list of the 12 more potentially dangerous Chicago accused clerics. We considered him dangerous because he was clearly well spoken, able to win people’s trust and confidence, and had access to hundreds or thousands of already-vulnerable children, who are less likely to report if they are victimized by a powerful authority figure.

It is always hard to report abuse. It is even harder when the accused is a priest, and it is especially hard when that priest is powerful and popular. So we are very grateful to every person who is playing a role in this case and bringing critical information to light. We hope their courage will inspire others to speak up, too.

Survivors group wants Missouri to do more to investigate Catholic church

Fox 4 News

Sept. 17, 2019

By Stephanie Graflage

A survivors group wants Missouri to do more to investigate claims of sex abuse in the Catholic Church.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests says an attorney general's investigation into the problem is incomplete.

After about a year-long inquiry into sexual abuse allegations, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt on Friday said his office found 163 priests with credible accusations against them.

Schmitt has referred 12 priests for prosecution by county attorneys.

But SNAP believes this represents only the tip of the iceberg, because only one of the 400 victims in the group was interviewed as part of the state's probe.

"We are on par, if not greater than Pennsylvania, because we are smaller," said Rebecca Randles, an attorney who represents Catholic Church sex abuse survivors. "Yet I know of over 200 priests. When you put together the number of priests who have served in the state of Missouri with he number that even the attorney general has found, you are finding that about 10 percent of priests in Missouri are abusive. Every other state has found 3 to 6 percent. So we are talking about a big problem in state of Missouri."

SNAP wants Missouri to enact new laws that would give the attorney general power to subpoena church records and convene a grand jury to investigate childhood sexual abuse allegations in the Catholic Church.

Sealed files on Kincora Boys’ Home ‘must be released’

Irish Times

September 16, 2019

By Freya McClements

Alliance MEP Naomi Long calls for papers to be available on ‘systematic abuse’ at house

Closed files relating to the Kincora Boys’ Home in east Belfast must be released so allegations of abuse can be investigated, a former MP for the area has said.

“Systematic abuse took place at this house,” said Alliance MEP Naomi Long. “These papers need to be released so that abuse can be investigated properly and in a way which will bring truth and justice to the victims and survivors of Kincora.”

Northern Ireland’s Department of Communities said the files are closed to the public “because they contain sensitive personal data”.

Three former members of staff – Joseph Mains, Raymond Semple and William McGrath – were convicted of sexually abusing 38 boys at the home in the 1980s.

Archdiocese of Philadelphia Announces Priest Found Unsuitable for Ministry

Archdiocese of Philadelphia

September 15, 2019

Reverend Christopher D. Lucas has been found unsuitable for ministry based on a substantiated allegation that he sexually abused a minor in the early 1970s.

Today’s Announcement Regarding Reverend Christopher D. Lucas

In the fall of 2018, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia received an allegation that Reverend Christopher D. Lucas sexually abused a minor over 45 years ago. It was the first allegation of this kind lodged against Father Lucas. Father Lucas had neither been ordained nor had he yet entered a program of priestly formation when the abuse is reported to have occurred. In addition, the activity in question is alleged to have occurred when Father Lucas was himself a minor.

The allegation was referred to law enforcement on the same day it was received. The Archdiocese cooperated with authorities in the course of their work. No criminal charges were filed.

The required canonical (church) investigation of Father Lucas was launched after law enforcement declined to press charges. The Archdiocesan Office of Investigations (AOI) undertook that canonical process.

Cardinal Pell v The Queen v Jesus v sex abuse victims — what's not to hate?

Independent Australia

September 14, 2019

By Tess Lawrence

Contributing editor-at-large Tess Lawrence joins some barely visible dots, where preserving the "brand" is all that the Catholic Church seemingly cares about.


The Jesus v Rome case was dragged before the highest court in the land — and Governor Pontius Pilate washed his hands of it, inviting the blood-lusting crowd to decide between pardoning Barabbas or "the king of the Jews".

The rest is biblical history.

Jesus seemingly lucked out, but he was a godman with a plan.

Thousands of years later, in Melbourne’s lofty CBD judicial precinct, in Court 15, Jesus was still being crucified for our mortal sins.

Missouri investigation: 12 ex-clergy could face prosecution

Associated Press

September 13, 2019

By Jim Salter

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt is referring 12 former clergy for potential criminal prosecution after his office completed a 13-month investigation of sexual abuse within the Roman Catholic Church.

Schmitt on Friday released details of the investigation of religious leaders within the Archdiocese of St. Louis and the dioceses of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Springfield-Cape Girardeau and Jefferson City.

Missouri is among several states that launched investigations last year after a Pennsylvania report cited abuse of more than 1,000 children by hundreds of priests there since the 1940s, and efforts by church leaders to hide it.

The Missouri investigation began in August 2018 under then-Attorney General Josh Hawley. Hawley was elected to the U.S. Senate in November, and Schmitt, a fellow Republican, took over the investigation after he was appointed to replace him.

Mainstream press should look at McCarrick (not conservative Catholics) if there's a schism

Get Religion blog

Sept. 16, 2019

By Clemente Lisi

Political polarization is nothing new. What about religious polarization? When it comes to matters of faith, specifically the Catholic church and its doctrines, there’s plenty of it these days.

You wouldn’t think there would be much divergence here since adherence to what the church teaches — through the Catechism and centuries of tradition on an array of issues — is the basis for being a member of the Church of Rome. Instead, there is divergence and not just among those sitting in the pews. It’s become all too evident among members of the hierarchy.

To say that the church is at a crossroads isn’t an exaggeration. But fierce arguments between the doctrinal left and right on a host of issues — from Pope Francis’ recent choice of cardinals to how clergy address social issues — are as intense as ever.

But here is the headline right now: Pope Francis has even dared to use a ecclesiastical s-word.”

Former Wellesley High cross country/assistant track coach is sentenced on child porn charges

The Swellesley Report

September 12, 2019

By Deborah Brown

Walter Johnson, a former Wellesley High School girls cross country coach and assistant indoor/outdoor track coach, was sentenced in federal court in Boston for possession of child pornography, according to a statement put out by Massachusetts U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling’s office.

Johnson pleaded guilty in federal court on June 10, 2019 to a single count of possession of child pornography. He was sentenced on September 10, 2019 by U.S. District Court Judge Leo T. Sorokin to three years in prison and five years of supervised release.

United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling and Jason Molina, Acting Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston, made the announcement. Assistance was provided by the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task forces from Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and the Framingham Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Anne Paruti, Lelling’s Project Safe Childhood Coordinator and a member of the Major Crimes Unit, prosecuted the case.



September 13, 2019

By Christine Chung

As hundreds of Child Victims Act lawsuits work their way through New York’s courts, defense lawyers for one Catholic religious order are pressing to expose the identities of plaintiffs who wish to remain anonymous.

Attorneys for the Northeast Province of the Jesuit Brothers have challenged plaintiffs’ anonymity in at least three cases in New York City — one involving the Loyola School in Manhattan and two at Fordham Preparatory School in The Bronx.

The three individuals are suing over “unpermitted sexual contact” they allege happened when they were under the age of 16.

Legal counsel for the Jesuits argued in court filings that the accusers’ anonymity violates the defendants’ constitutional right of due process, asserting: “The potential for public humiliation or embarrassment is not sufficient grounds for anonymity.”

Catholic Bishop of Diocese of Crookston, Minnesota, First to Be Investigated Under New Church Guidelines

Bilgrimage blog

Sept. 16, 2019

By William Lindsey

The bishop of the Catholic diocese of Crookston, Minnesota, Michael Hoeppner, is now under canonical investigation for allegedly interfering with civil or canonical investigations of clerical sexual abuse of minors. As Jean Haselberger states in the report I have just linked, Hoeppner is the first sitting bishop to be investigated under new Vatican protocols for reviewing and disciplining bishops in such matters.

As I read this news, I keep flashing back to the open letter I wrote on this blog at Thanksgiving time in 2012. The letter addresses the Catholic people of the Crookston diocese. Crookston is the diocese in which my husband Steve grew up and has deep roots, deep Catholic roots.

Many of us like to imagine that the roots of the abuse horror show in the Catholic church run solely to rectories, chanceries, houses of religious communities, and the Vatican. In my view, however, these roots run much deeper, and my experience with my husband's birth diocese, Crookston, over many years has helped convince me of this.

The corruption in the Catholic church that manifests itself in church leaders is shared by the laity, who have all too often sought to turn a blind eye to what they do not wish to see happening in their church, and who have also sought to find scapegoat groups — notably the LGBTQ community — to blame for the abuse crisis.



September 17, 2019

By Yoav Gonen

Dozens of sexual harassment cases brought to the City Commission on Human Rights by employees at private firms have dragged on for years without resolution, data obtained by THE CITY shows.

Investigations of 44 complaints have stretched two years or more. The oldest open case dates to March 18, 2014 — nearly 5½ years ago, records indicate.

“It tells me if I wanted to come forward [with a complaint]… I wouldn’t expect to get justice through the city,” said Councilmember Helen Rosenthal (D-Manhattan), chair of the City Council’s Committee on Women and Gender Equity.

“Even understanding the complexity of cases … it should not take this long. And so in my mind’s eye, it’s a reflection of caseloads,” she added. “They need more resources so we can follow through on the promises that we’re making.”

New admission by diocese could cost Australian church millions in claims

Catholic News Service

September 13, 2019

By Michael Sainsbury

The Australian Catholic Church could face tens of millions dollars in compensation claims after the Diocese of Ballarat in Victoria state admitted, for the first time, it knew of the behavior of a pedophile priest yet continued to move him around from parish to parish.

Former priest Gerald Ridsdale, 85, is one of Australia's most notorious pedophiles and is serving an 11-year prison sentence due to finish in 2028, the latest in a series of convictions for the abuse of 85 children. Ridsdale held 16 different appointments during 29 years as a priest, an average of 1.8 years per appointment.

The church's admission was made in the case of JCB v. Bishop Paul Bird for the Diocese of Ballarat, in which a defendant with a pseudonym is suing the diocese for his rape, at age 9, by Ridsdale at the tiny country town of Mortlake in 1982. A mediation hearing will be held on Oct. 15 and, if this is unsuccessful, a 10-day civil trial will begin Jan. 29 to determine the amount of damages the church will pay the victim.

Archdiocese of Chicago Clergy Abuse Settlements to be Revealed; Settlements Involve 160 Survivors and 48 Perpetrators

Jeff Anderson & Associates

September 16, 2019

Archdiocese of Chicago Clergy Abuse Settlements to be Revealed Tuesday

Law Firm Has Represented Over 160 Survivors
Over the Past Two Decades

Total Amount of Settlements Paid to be Revealed

(Chicago, Illinois) - At a press conference Tuesday in Chicago, a sexual abuse survivor and the law firm of Jeff Anderson & Associates will:

• Discuss and reveal that more than 160 survivors represented by Jeff Anderson & Associates have settled clergy abuse cases against the Archdiocese of Chicago over the past two decades involving 48 Archdiocesan perpetrators, in the amount of _____.
• Provide a list and photos of the 48 known perpetrators that have worked in the Archdiocese of Chicago, as well as a map of locations where the perpetrators worked.
• Announce the settlement by 6 survivors of abuse by 4 offenders: Fr. John William Curran, Fr. Edward J. Maloney, Fr. Robert D. Craig, and Fr. Robert E. Mayer.

WHEN: Tuesday, September 17, 2019, at 11:00 AM CST

WHERE: Residence Inn By Marriott Chicago Downtown/Loop
Daley 1 Room
11 South LaSalle Street
Chicago, IL 60603

LIVE-STREAM: 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: Cell: 612.817.8665 Office: 310.357.2425

Archdiocese of Philadelphia: Priest unsuitable for ministry after sexual assault allegation


September 16, 2019

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has found a priest unsuitable for ministry after receiving an allegation he sexually abused a minor more than 45 years ago.

Reverend Christopher Lucas, 63, had not been ordained and was not a member of the priestly formation when the abuse was reported to have occurred in the early 1970s.

New book, Fallen, reveals altar boy’s unpleasant George Pell association

The New Daily

Sept. 17, 2019

Investigative journalist and writer Lucie Morris-Marr covered the entire Cardinal George Pell abuse case for The New Daily.

Her book, Fallen – The inside story of the secret trial and conviction of Cardinal George Pell, will be published by Allen & Unwin on Tuesday.

During her research for Fallen, Ms Marr uncovered a new victim who has just been awarded redress compensation for a disturbing incident involving Pell and convicted pedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale.

Pell, whose legal team is expected to lodge an appeal with the High Court in coming days against his shock guilty conviction for abusing two choirboys, is being held at Melbourne Assessment Prison after he was sentenced earlier this year.

The New Daily understands he might soon be moved to Hopkins Correction Centre near Ararat, where Ridsdale is also incarcerated for his multiple crimes.

In this exclusive extract, Ms Marr reveals the sinister behaviour of Pell and Ridsdale while at a church in Swan Hill, Victoria.

Following his ordination, Pell went on to complete a doctorate in church history at Oxford University. While studying, he also served as a chaplain to Catholic students at Eton College. The future must have looked like a glittering and unhindered road map to the top.


Daily News

Sept. 16, 2019

By Henry Redman

After Judge William Hue read the not guilty verdict in the molestation trial of former Janesville priest William A. Nolan on Friday, the packed courthouse erupted with cries of "God is good."

Nolan had been accused of molesting a middle school-aged altar boy while he served at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Fort Atkinson around 2007. The jury acquitted him on five counts of sexual assault of a child under 16.

In a weeklong trial that saw both the accuser and Nolan testify, the jury took four hours to decide the 66-year-old priest's fate.

"Very, very stressful," Nolan said about the trial. "I knew I was telling the truth. And I knew there were gaps and there were so many inconsistencies with the accuser's stories. I felt that would eventually be discovered."

During the trial, defense attorney Jonas Bednarek worked to poke holes in the accuser's testimony and the prosecution's case.

"I don't believe any reasonable view of the evidence supports his claims," Bednarek said in his closing remarks.


The New Evangelist

Sept. 17, 2019

By Mike Matvey

Bishop Emeritus Howard J. Hubbard has been accused in a second lawsuit, alleging that he sexually abused a girl in the rectory of the Immaculate Conception Church in Schenectady along with two other priests in the 1970s.

Bishop Hubbard, who was previously named in a lawsuit alleging he sexually abused a teenage boy in the 1990s, released a statement Monday night reiterating again that he has “never sexually abused anyone.”

“As I stated before and I repeat that I have never sexually abused anyone of any age at any time,” Hubbard said in the statement. “I do not assert that the individuals that have accused me have not been abused. Surely, the abuse they have described is horrific and heartbreaking.

“During my 37 years of episcopal tenure as Bishop of Albany, I met with many survivors of abuse and heard firsthand the pain that they suffered at the time of the abuse and its consequences over the years. As Bishop, I acted on every complaint of sexual abuse that I received and commissioned investigations of those allegations.

“I am confident that through these fair due process procedures truth and justice will prevail and I will be fully exonerated.”

Mary DeTurris Poust, director of communications, called the new allegations “deeply troubling” which will be investigated.

“The allegations contained in this lawsuit are deeply troubling and will be investigated without fear or favor. It is important to remember that, like anyone else, Bishop Emeritus Howard J. Hubbard enjoys the presumption of innocence until and unless proven otherwise. The Diocese of Albany will keep its focus on survivors and on trying to get to the truth of the matter in each and every case that is filed,” DeTurris Poust said.

“In this particular case, Bishop Scharfenberger is in the process of informing Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, who serves as Metropolitan for our province, as well as the papal nuncio regarding the allegations as they relate to Bishop Hubbard, in keeping with the requirements set forward by Pope Francis in the document known as Vos Estis.”

Return the Catholic Church to the 'people of God'

St. Cloud Times

Sept. 16, 2019

By Peter Donohue

I have been hesitant to tackle this topic since June, when I read an article by James Carroll in The Atlantic. My indecision was immediately erased recently when I read the results of the investigation into the expenditure of diocesan funds by Bishop Michael Bransfield in West Virginia.

What seriously offended me was the bishop’s closure of Catholic schools as he spent $2.4 millionof diocesan funds on private jets, luxury hotels, limousines, jewelry and fine dining between 2005 and 2018.

Carroll describes the Catholic Church as “the largest nongovernmental organization on the planet, through which selfless women and men care for the poor, teach the unlettered, heal the sick, and work to preserve minimal standards of the common good.” He correctly points out that Vatican II, way back in the 1960s, defined the Catholic Church as the “People of God."

The role of the clerical hierarchy in the church is that of servants of those people, not placed above them as rulers. Symbolic of this change brought about by Vatican II was moving the altar down from on high into the midst of the congregation.

Compensation Program Unveiled For Alleged Child Abuse Victims Of Catholic Priests


September 17, 2019

Six California Catholic dioceses announced Monday a new compensation program that they said aims to support alleged child abuse victims of Roman Catholic priests — allowing victims to file for compensation without having to sue the church.

Victims of abuse within the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, and the Dioceses of Fresno, Orange, Sacramento, San Bernardino and San Diego have until Jan. 31 of next year to file a claim that will be assessed by a group of independent administrators who have previously handled victim compensation funds including one for victims of the Sept. 11 attacks.

The six participating dioceses comprise more than 10 million Catholics, about 80% of the state’s Catholic population.

The fund is open for claims from people who allege they were abused by priests in any of these six dioceses as a minor. There is no time limit on when the alleged abuse occurred — even if the statute of limitations has already passed for criminal prosecution. Alleged victims do not need to proof of citizenship to file.

Revealed: How paedophile priests in Victoria worked together to share victims

The Age

Setp. 17, 2019

By Farrah Tomazin, Chris Vedelago and Debbie Cuthbertson

Some of the Catholic church’s worst paedophile priests shared victims, passed on details of vulnerable children considered easy targets and worked together to conceal their crimes as part of informal networks of sexual abuse hidden in Australian seminaries, schools and parishes.

An investigation by The Age has identified for the first time that many priests involved in historical sexual abuse of children did not simply act as individuals but formed clusters, or paedophile rings, throughout Victoria, from the western district to the Gippsland region and in suburban Melbourne.

At the centre of a number of these networks was Melbourne’s seminary - Corpus Christi - which has produced about 1000 priests over almost 100 years, including jailed Cardinal George Pell and convicted child rapist Gerald Ridsdale. According to a conservative snapshot from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse, at least 75 convicted and alleged sex offenders emerged from Corpus Christi. The true figure is not known.

One Melbourne man alleges he was repeatedly abused between the ages of 12 and 14 by a network of three paedophiles coalescing around Corpus Christi Clayton in the mid-1970s: St Peter’s parish priest Ronald Pickering, assistant priest Russell Vears and then newly ordained Paul David Ryan.

In a statement of claim which lawyers plan to file in court this week, the victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, alleges Vears took him to the seminary in October 1976 and left him to wait in a communal living room with four or five other boys. A second priest, Ryan, then allegedly picked the boy from the group, took him back to a bedroom and sexually assaulted him.

“I recall that seminarians would come out through the corridor into the sitting room and select a boy to go back with them,” said the former St Peter’s altar boy. “He selected me by pointing at me and ushering me to follow him.”



Sept. 17, 2019

By Aila Slisco

A lawsuit by a former priest is seeking punitive damages for "severe humiliation, mental anguish, and emotional and physical distress" after being outed as an accused child molester by the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego.

J. Patrick Foley of Sacramento, California, claims that the Diocese promoted a "reckless disregard for the truth" in a September 12 filing with San Diego Superior Court. In 2018, Foley was one of eight men added to a list of Catholic clergy believed by the Diocese to be responsible for sexually abusing children. Foley's lawsuit alleges that his inclusion on the list amounts to publishing "false and defamatory material."

Foley is hardly the first priest from the area accused of child sex abuse. The San Diego Diocese previously settled a 2007 lawsuit claiming child molestation by a further 48 priests under their purview.

Foley was ordained by the San Diego Diocese in 1973, and remained "attached" to the Diocese after moving to the Sacramento area in 1991.

According to the website of the Diocese of Sacramento, Foley is accused of having abused two boys in the early 1990s while assigned to Christian Brothers High School. In 1995 he was "directed to not engage in ministry." In 1997, his faculties were "formally denied" and he was told to withdraw from the Diocese.

NBC 7 San Diego reports that Foley was first accused of inappropriately touching a child in 1989 while providing emergency medical care.

Mistrial declared in KCK priest’s child sex abuse case after trial ends in hung jury

Fox Nine News

Sept. 16, 2019

By Karra Small

The trial of a KCK priest charged with child sexual misconduct has ended in a hung jury.

The Wyandotte County District Attorney’s Office said Monday that jurors couldn’t reach a verdict in the trail of Scott Kallal.

Kallal was charged with two counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child stemming from an incident involving a young girl at St. Patrick’s School in Kansas City, Kansas, in 2015.

He was placed on leave from his duties at St. Patrick’s and Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Overland Park in 2017 after police began a criminal investigation.

The Wyandotte County District Attorney has not said whether they intend to retry Kallal.

The Survivor’s Network of those abused by Priests issued a statement saying they hope that charges will be refiled in the case.

At Polish cross festival, Catholics atone for abuse scandals, vandalism


Sept. 17, 2019

By Jonathan Luxmoore

Polish Catholics participated in Masses and penance liturgies for recent scandals over sexual abuse by clergy and acts of vandalism and profanation at local churches.

“The vision of Christ’s suffering can transform human hearts, spurring recognition of sins and a request for forgiveness,” said Bishop Wieslaw Mering of Wloclawek.

“Today, we are being told to have fun, enjoy life, be ourselves and realize our desires. But the path to salvation doesn’t lead through egoism,” he said.

Preaching to 60,000 people at a Mass in Wloclawek Sept. 14, he said Poland and Europe needed “women and men with courage and love to stand under the cross of Jesus” and to show themselves to the world as “true witnesses to the Gospel.”

Poll: More than 8 out of 10 Catholics want Buffalo bishop to resign

Buffalo News

Sept. 17, 2019

By Jay Tokasz

An overwhelming majority of area Catholics or lapsed Catholics want Bishop Richard J. Malone to resign as leader of the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, a recent poll by The Buffalo News has found.

Nearly 86% of the 473 Erie and Niagara county residents surveyed this weekend said they feel Malone should step down from the post he has held since 2012.

Fewer than 3% of those surveyed said Malone should stay on as bishop. About 12% were undecided.

"The Bishop very much respects area Catholics' right to express their opinion," diocese spokeswoman Kathy Spangler said in response to the results.

The News hired Cornerstone Research & Marketing in North Tonawanda to conduct the telephone survey over the past week. The firm asked the people it polled: "Do you feel Bishop Malone should resign from his duties as bishop of the Diocese of Buffalo?"

Benedict XVI provokes critics of his April essay on clerical sex abuse

LaCrois International

Sept 17, 2019

By Christa Pongratz-Lippitt

Benedict XVI has ignited new controversy by issuing a stinging. . .

September 16, 2019

Three Accused Clerics, Three Wildly Different Responses

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Sept. 17, 2019

By David Clohessy

Three clerics were recently accused of child sexual abuse. (No, this isn’t the setup to a joke.)

The first guy’s boss said he “asked” the cleric to “step aside from ministry pending the outcome of an investigation.”

The second guy said he will be “stepping aside temporarily."

The third guy said he will “temporarily reduce” his public presence for the foreseeable future.

(The three are Fr. George Clements of Chicago, Bishop Howard Hubbard of New York and Bishop Robert Guglielmone of South Carolina.)

Over the years, I’ve read – and read about – hundreds of Catholic church abuse policies. Usually, I see phrases like “when an allegation is made, the accused is immediately suspended.” Never have I seen the phrases “the bishop will ASK the accused to step aside,” “the accused will be stepping aside temporarily,” or “the accused will temporarily reduce his public presence.”

What other institution lets accused wrongdoers decide what they will do?

Before 2002, church officials admitted that “Every bishop deals with these cases in his own way.” So there was a ton of inconsistency. But starting in 2002, church officials claimed “Now we’ve got one national policy. We’re all doing this the same way.”

So why is there still a ton of inconsistency?

Watchdog Team: Providence diocese adds another name to list of credibly accused priests

Providence Journal

Sept.16, 2019

By Brian Amaral

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence added a new name to its list of clergy that it says have been credibly accused of sexually abusing a minor.

Paul Desrosiers, a priest who died from injuries he suffered in a bus crash in 1984, was added to the list of names sometime after it was originally released, on July 1. His inclusion on the list brings it to 51 in total, including priests and deacons.

The diocese did not immediately respond to a request for comment about when Desrosiers’ name was added. As of Monday his name is not included on the website BishopAccountability.org, which documents allegations against Catholic clergy. The diocese has not responded to a number of questions about the list since it was released.

Desrosiers, who the diocese said died before any allegation was received, was listed as having the following assignments:

St. Vincent de Paul Church, Anthony, 1940-1943

St. John the Baptist Church, Arctic, 1943-1946

St. Joseph Church, Woonsocket, 1946-1951

Precious Blood Church, Woonsocket, 1951-1960

Diocesan Tribunal, 1959-1968

St. Joseph Church, Woonsocket, 1960-1973

Leave of Absence 1/12/1973 to 8/6/1973

St. John Church, West Warwick, 1973-1981

According to Providence Journal archives, Desrosiers died at the age of 71 in Granada, Spain, after suffering injuries in a highway crash there. He was on a two-week vacation when the tour bus he was a passenger on collided head-on with a a truck.

Born in Manville, Desrosiers was ordained in May 1940. At the time of his death, he was serving as a part-time assistant pastor of St. John the Baptist Church in West Warwick, and living in the church’s rectory, his obituary said.

September 15, 2019

Abuse survivors hope to have voice heard following diocese's bankruptcy filing


Sept. 13, 2019

By Andrew Hyman

Carol DuPre says she was molested by a priest while serving at St Gregory’s Catholic Church in Marion when she was just 14 or 15 years old.

"You know it happened, and it lives in the back of your mind," DuPre said.

She says speaking these words are freeing, but at one time, were words only her mother believed. According to DuPre, her parents were going through a divorce, which she says, was uncommon in the 1960s. She says the situation left her vulnerable and a priest took advantage of that.

"It just shatters your image of a good, and loving God," DuPre said.

Abuse survivors hope to have voice heard following diocese's bankruptcy filing
So when she saw that New York State passed the Child Victim's Act, she says, it gave her and other survivors the power to speak up.

But now, with the Catholic Diocese of Rochester’s decision to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, fellow child sex abuse survivor Pete Saracino says, a survivor's voice could be robbed.

"That was a profound betrayal of children, catholic families, and their very mission to be the face of God on earth," Saracino said.

Saracino says he was sexually abused by a priest in the Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary in Geneva, New York. The location is now a resort called Geneva on the Lake.

Clergy abuse: Activist asks Wausau church-goers to lobby La Crosse Diocese for openness

Wausau Daily Herald

Sept. 15, 2019

By Laura Schulte

Dozens of flyers fluttered under windshield wipers in the late morning breeze Sunday as parishioners left St. Michael Catholic Church in Wausau.

The flyers were neatly tucked there by David Clohessy, a member of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP. As parishioners began leaving the church, he handed them out, asking people to take them home and read them.

His goal, he said, was to bring awareness to the fact that the La Crosse Diocese still hasn't released a list of credibly accused abusers, members of the clergy who sexually abused young children and are known by the church. He's hoping that the flyers, which target five specific former priests, will cause the parishioners to go home and talk and even call the bishop, William Callahan, and demand more openness.

SNAP often holds events and advocates for changes in laws to protect victims, as well as recognition of abusive clergy by the Catholic Church. Clohessy has been working with the organization for years, including formerly as executive director. He's no stranger to handing out flyers as people leave church, he said, having done it nearly 35 times in recent years.

He's a victim himself, he said. He and three of his brothers were abused by a priest in Missouri, he said. He still gets emotional about it.

"I want to protect kids and heal victims," he said. "I want to deter these crimes from happening again."

Beyond the US, the Top Five countries for beefs with the Pope


September 15, 2019

By John L. Allen Jr.

Rome - Responding to a mini-fracas set off by his recent declaration that he considers it “an honor when Americans are attacking me,” Pope Francis told reporters during an inflight news conference Tuesday that the U.S. is not his only source of heartburn.

“Criticism comes not only from the Americans, they’re coming from all over,” Francis said.

The comment got me thinking: If we take the U.S. off the table, what are the other countries where criticism of this pope seems most robust?

Here’s a rundown of the other countries I considered.

Chile: Rocked by arguably the world’s worst clerical abuse scandal, many Chileans were initially angry at Francis for what seemed denial, then grateful for what seemed a change of heart, and now confused and frustrated over what they see as a lack of aggressive follow-through.

Former Air Force Chaplain Receives 30 Years for Molesting Altar Boy in 1990s

Albuquerque Journal via Military.com

September 14, 2019

By Colleen Heild

Santa Fe - Former Albuquerque priest Arthur Perrault is expected to spend the rest of his life in prison for aggravated sexual assault of an altar boy in the early 1990s, after a riveting hearing Friday in which a federal judge imposed a 30-year sentence and insisted Perrault stand and face one of the multiple victims he abused decades ago.

"I have to say Mr. Perrault that this is the worst case that I have ever handled and ever seen," said U.S. District Judge Martha Vazquez, noting that she has presided over many sexual abuse cases in her 26 years as a judge in Santa Fe. "I'm glad you are looking at me, because it is extremely difficult to speak to someone and to try to explain one's sentiments and have that person not give you the respect of looking at them."

In a rare federal criminal prosecution, Perrault was convicted by a jury in April of seven counts of sexual abuse related to a former altar boy at St. Bernadette's parish in Albuquerque who once considered the priest his "best friend."

The sentence imposed by U.S. District Judge Martha Vazquez is considered a life sentence due to Perrault's advanced age of 81. The term was the maximum he could have received after his jury conviction in April in U.S. District Court in Santa Fe.

Fugitive ex-priest sentenced to 30 years in sex abuse case

Associated Press via WKSN

September 13, 2019

By Morgan Lee and Mary Hudetz

Santa Fe, NM - A former Roman Catholic priest who fled the country decades ago was sentenced Friday in New Mexico to 30 years in prison after a jury found him guilty of sexually abusing an altar boy at a veterans’ cemetery and military base.

In ordering the sentence, U.S. District Judge Martha Vazquez said it was the worst case of child sex abuse she has handled over the course of 26 years.

At one point, the judge demanded that 81-year-old defendant Arthur Perrault look a woman in the eyes as she testified about being abused by him.

The judge also condemned Perrault for only being concerned about his sexual needs.

“You chose as a profession the life of being a priest. It was supposed to be your job to help, not destroy,” she said.

Missouri AG Issues Report Regarding Clergy Abuse in the Roman Catholic Church

Office of the Attorney General

September 13, 2019

The Missouri Attorney General’s Office identifies 12 cases for potential criminal prosecution, more than any other state attorney general.

[This press release includes a link to the AG's report.]

St. Louis, Mo. – Today, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt held a press conference to announce the findings of the investigation into allegations of sexual abuse by clergy members in the Roman Catholic Church. After an extensive review of the records of thousands of clergy members and conducting interviews with victims, the Attorney General’s Office will refer 12 former clergy members for potential criminal prosecution, the most of any state attorney general probe, and laid out suggested guidelines for the Catholic Church moving forward.

“Since I took office, one of my top priorities has been conducting a thorough, exhaustive review of allegations of abuse by clergy members in the Roman Catholic Church. Today, as a result of that review, we are announcing that we will refer 12 cases of alleged abuse to local prosecutors for further investigation and possible prosecution – more referrals than any other state attorney general.” said Attorney General Schmitt during the press conference.

Schmitt continued, “In cases in which local prosecutors should seek our assistance, we stand ready and willing to help. Additionally, we’ve provided concrete recommendations to the Catholic Church moving forward. I also want to thank the brave victims who have come forward to share their stories. To the victims: you didn’t deserve any of this. None of what happened to you was your fault. This report, our referrals for criminal prosecution, our aggressive and substantive suggestions for reform, will not change what happened in the past. But, they can change the trajectory of the future and ensure that this never happens again.”

Missouri Attorney General Report Refers 12 Former Priests for Prosecution

Catholic News Agency via National Catholic Register/EWTN

Eric Schmitt's report said that Catholic dioceses have less oversight over religious priests than their secular counterparts.

St. Louis - Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt referred 12 former clerics for potential criminal prosecution in a report released Friday on his investigation into sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy in the state.

“Since I took office, one of my top priorities has been conducting a thorough, exhaustive review of allegations of abuse by clergy members in the Roman Catholic Church. Today, as a result of that review, we are announcing that we will refer 12 cases of alleged abuse to local prosecutors for further investigation and possible prosecution — more referrals than any other state attorney general,” Schmitt, who is a Republican and a Catholic, said Sept. 13.

He added that his office will assist any local prosecutors who want to pursue charges.

“Additionally, we’ve provided concrete recommendations to the Catholic Church moving forward,” he added. He noted that his “suggestions for reform” are “aggressive and substantive.”

Madison Diocese names eighth priest accused of sexual abuse


September 13, 2019

Madison - The Madison Diocese has named an eighth priest “credibly accused” of sexually abusing a minor following a review by an outside firm.

The external review of diocesan personnel files, which was launched in June, adds one more priest to the seven previously named as having substantiated abuse allegations against them.

The Diocesan Sexual Abuse Review Board deemed accusations against John Eberhardy credible, making him the eighth priest on the list. Eberhardy died in 1992, according to the diocese. The diocese has previously named seven clergymen that had accusations of child sexual abuse substantiated by the diocesan Sexual Abuse Review Board: Archie Adams, Curtis Alvarez, J. Gibbs Clauder, Kenneth Klubertanz, Michael Trainor, Lawrence Trainor and Gerald Vosen.

All have either died or been removed from the priesthood.

But the organization Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, claimed Friday four additional former priests who have worked within the Madison Diocese have been either credibly accused of abuse by other dioceses or criminally convicted.

Columbus Priest Accused of Sexual Abuse One Day After Retirement


September 13, 2019

By Steve Brown

The Catholic Diocese of Columbus says it placed a priest on administrative leave after an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor. A diocese press release says the leave for Father Kevin Lutz, 69, is effective September 11, three days after he retired.

According to the diocese, the accusation was reported to the Chancery office one day after his retirement from St. Mary Parish in Columbus.

The accusation reportedly dates back to Lutz’s tenure at St. Christopher Parish between 1982-1986.

“A meeting of the Diocesan Board of Review for the Protection of Children will be convened in the near future to assess the results of the preliminary investigation and advise the Bishop as to whether or not it appears to be credible,” the release says. “If an allegation is determined to be credible, the Diocese of Columbus will execute the necessary judicial and administrative processes. A determination of credibility is never to be considered proof of guilt."

Columbus diocese creates task force to review handling of priest-sex abuse allegations

Columbus Dispatch

September 15, 2019

By Danae King

In the six months since the Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus released a list of priests whom it deemed had been “credibly accused” of sexually abusing minors, it has added 14 more names and started a task force to study its policies and make recommendations to the bishop.

The task force, which was formed in May and still is being established, will have 12 to 15 members, including a parish priest and people in the fields of law enforcement, civil law, canon law and mental health. It will review all diocesan policies and procedures related to the sexual abuse of minors, Bishop Robert Brennan said.

“We want to rely on the best advice we can get,” Brennan said. “We want to involve laypeople; we want to involve a lot of people. It’s not just me sitting in a room.”

Regina Quinn, director of the diocese’s safe environment office and chairwoman of the task force, said her goal is to get all members of the task force in place this month.

Judy Jones, Midwest regional leader of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), calls the idea “typical.”

“They’ll start a task force or they’ll make a new policy,” Jones said. “They say all these things. We want to see some action.”

Brennan said, “We want to do things well,” which is why he decided to start by forming a task force instead of just making changes himself.

“I just need professionals to define it for me; I need to know exactly how these things (work). This isn’t my area of expertise,” he said.

Bridgeport Diocese: 2 dead priests credibly accused of abuse

Connecticut Post

September 9, 2019

By Daniel Tepfer

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport has acknowledged for the first time that a prominent cleric, who according to court documents played a major role in hiding cases of abuse by priests, was “credibly accused” of abusing a child.

Monsignor William Genuario, who died in June 2015, had been the vicar general of the diocese and reviewed accusations of sexual abuse against priests. Genuario also was a prominent priest in Greenwich for almost 20 years.

The diocese also stated that another dead priest, the Rev. Vincent Cleary, was determined to have a credible allegation of abuse against him.

Diocese of Rochester, N.Y., files bankruptcy

Catholic News Service via Catholic Register of Archdiocese of Toronto

September 13, 2019

By Mike Latona

In the wake of nearly 50 lawsuits filed against it since New York's Child Victims Act took effect Aug. 14, the Diocese of Rochester filed for reorganization Sept. 12, under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

"This is a very difficult and painful decision," Bishop Matano said in a video and letter to parishes released Sept. 12. The bishop read the letter at the beginning of a news conference held late that day at the diocesan pastoral center in Gates.

"But after assessing all reasonable possibilities to satisfy the claims, reorganization is considered the best and fairest course of action for the victims and for the well-being of the diocese, its parishes, agencies and institutions," he said. "We believe this is the only way we can provide just compensation for all who suffered the egregious sin of sexual abuse while ensuring the continued commitment of the diocese to the mission of Christ."

According to the United States Courts website, Chapter 11 is a voluntary action taken by organizations to settle claims on which they owe while remaining intact.

Here's what happened when other Catholic Dioceses filed bankruptcy


September 13, 2019

By Berkeley Brean

This weekend, hundreds of thousands of Catholics will go to Mass in the Rochester Diocese wondering what's going to happen to their church now that the diocese filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. News10NBC is finding answers from a place that already went through this.

Starting in 2015, four dioceses in Minnesota filed for bankruptcy. The largest -- Minneapolis, St. Paul -- reached a settlement last year. So I contacted a former Rochester journalist and reporter at our sister station in Minnesota, Kevin Doran, to find out what happened.

Doran and his KSTP news team covered the story of the Archdiocese of Minneapolis, St. Paul when it filed for bankruptcy and emerged three years later.

Catholic Diocese seeks Chapter 11 relief

Rochester Beacon

September 13, 2019

By Will Astor

[This article links to Fr. Daniel J. Condon's affidavit.]

In a long anticipated move as it faced an inevitable tide of claims by individuals seeking compensation for alleged sexual abuse, the Catholic Diocese of Rochester has asked court protection from creditors while it reorganizes.

A rash of sex-abuse claims against the Rochester Diocese began to pour in to local state courts last month when the Child Victims Act took effect. Signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo Feb. 14, the act partially lifts a state statute of limitations that previously required victims claiming abuse to seek compensation before their 23rd birthday.

The partial lifting of the statute of limitations is temporary. The 2019 act, which extends the claimants’ window to file civil abuse claims to their 55th birthday, sunsets in August 2020. In the time (less than month and a half) that previously barred claims have been allowed, nearly 100 have filed or announced their intention to file civil sex-abuse charges against the Rochester Diocese.

Window for sex abuse claims against Diocese of Rochester could soon close


September 13, 2019

by Tanner Jubenville

Most the lawsuits filed under the newly enacted Child Victims Act name the Diocese of Rochester, which is much of the reason why it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Thursday.

That law, which went into effect last month, opened a year-long window for sex abuse victims to file lawsuits against their alleged accusers. That included the Catholic Church.

But Thursday's filing has changed how proceedings against the diocese will move forward.

"So all the cases that have been filed in state court, our cases, all the cases being drafted - all those need to be consolidated, and will be consolidated before the bankruptcy judge," said attorney James Marsh, who is representing survivors of clergy abuse.

Child Victims Act sponsor on Rochester diocese bankruptcy: 'It’s their own fault'

Journal News

September 12, 2019

By Joseph Spector and Jon Campbell


Supporters of the Catholic Church in New York feared the Child Victims Act would force dioceses across the state into financial ruin.

On Thursday, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester became the first diocese in New York to file for bankruptcy protection, claiming it faces massive judgements for past sexual abuse within its organization.

Supporters of the Child Victims Act, which went into effect last month, had little sympathy for the diocese and others who may also go the bankruptcy route.

Victims "have every right now to go to court and seek justice, and if the institutions find themselves in financial difficulty, what I could say is: It’s their own fault," Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, a Manhattan Democrat and the bill's sponsor, said Thursday.

The law revived previously expired claims from child sexual abuse victims, who have a one-year window to seek judgments against their abusers and the institutions who harbored them regardless of how long ago the abuse occurred.

State urges insurers to dig up, preserve policies relevant to CVA cases

Times Union

September 12, 2019

By Cayla Harris

Institutions seek help from insurers after Child Victims Act went into effect Aug. 14

The Department of Financial Services on Thursday pushed insurers across the state to quickly resolve claims stemming from cases filed under the Child Victims Act.

The guidance, issued at the direction of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, notes that insurance companies may be liable for some damages awarded to survivors who pursue legal action under the CVA's recently enacted one-year look-back period. The window temporarily eliminates the state's statute of limitations, allowing survivors of all ages to pursue civil claims against their alleged offenders, reviving cases that are sometimes decades old.

More than 95 percent of the more than 600 cases filed in the state since the statute went into effect last month target institutions, primarily the Catholic Church and the Boy Scouts of America, who have invoked insurance policies to help cover settlements, according to attorneys familiar with the matter.

Diocese Files for Reorganization Under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code

Diocese of Rochester

September 12, 2019

By Doug Mandelaro

[The Diocese of Rochester also posted a letter from Bishop Salvatore Matano.]

Faced with multiple legal claims under the New York State Child Victims Act that exceed its resources to settle or litigate, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester today filed for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

The parishes of the Diocese and the agencies of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Rochester are not part of the Chapter 11 filing. The 86 parishes are separately incorporated under New York State’s Religious Corporation Law. Charitable entities such as Catholic Charities are separately incorporated under New York’s Not for Profit Corporation Law. Their ministries and operations of parishes should not be directly affected by the Diocese’s Chapter 11 proceeding.

“This is a very difficult and painful decision,” Bishop of Rochester Salvatore R. Matano said in a Letter to the Faithful and video message today. “After assessing all reasonable possibilities to satisfy the claims, reorganization is considered the best and fairest course of action for the victims and for the well-being of the Diocese, its parishes, agencies and institutions. We believe this is the only way we can provide just compensation for all who suffered the egregious sin of sexual abuse, while ensuring the continued commitment of the Diocese to the mission of Christ.”

September 14, 2019

Statue Of Disgraced Rev. John Smyth Gone From Maryville Academy, But No One Is Saying Where It Went

CBS 2 Chicago

Sept. 13, 2019

By Brad Edwards

The CBS 2 Investigators made a remarkable discovery about the statue of once-beloved Fr. John Smyth, the disgraced longtime leader of Maryville Academy in Des Plaines.

The bronze statue came to symbolize pain for grown men who have accused Smyth of sexually abusing them when they were children.

CBS 2 Investigator Brad Edwards sat down with the attorney representing a dozen accusers, and then he went to see the statue.

Smyth was a captivating figure. He was a star on the University of Notre Dame’s basketball team and selected by St. Louis in the 1957 NBA draft. He chose the priesthood instead. He was assigned to Maryville after ordination in 1962 and became its executive director in 1970 — a position he held until it was shuttered in 2004.

Smyth could have been a star in the NBA, yet he decided to take over a rundown orphanage in Des Plaines.

Jerry Falwell Jr., and the allegations against him, explained

Vox News

Sept. 13, 2019

By Jane Coaston

Jerry Falwell Jr. — president of Liberty University (one of the world’s largest Christian universities) and a prominent supporter of President Trump — has made headlines many times before. Most recently, however, the headlines have focused on a slow-moving series of scandals that threaten to bring down, or at least sully the reputation of, one of evangelical Christianity’s most famous families.

Earlier this week, Politico published a story connecting him and his wife Becki Falwell to a host of questionable real estate deals; possible self-dealing efforts to financially benefit members of the Falwell family; online poll manipulation; and visits to Miami nightclubs. (Liberty University forbids students from attending dances.) According to employees of the University, Falwell Jr. runs a “dictatorship” at Liberty, but said that speaking out about his conduct was necessary.

Falwell’s concerning behavior reportedly also includes his communications with students. As detailed by Reuters this week, Falwell described students at Liberty as “physically retarded” and “social misfits” in emails, the latter stemming from concern from students who wanted to work out at a Liberty-owned off-campus gym (which Falwell wanted to be kept private for Liberty executive use only).

Jehovah’s Witnesses ask court to reverse $35M abuse verdict

Associated Press

Sept. 14, 2019

An attorney for the Jehovah’s Witnesses is asking the Montana Supreme Court to reverse a $35 million verdict against the church for not reporting a girl’s sexual abuse to authorities.

Last year, a jury awarded $4 million in compensatory damages and $31 million in punitive damages to a woman who says she was abused as a child in the mid-2000s.

The abuse was by a member of the Thompson Falls Jehovah’s Witness congregation who was previously accused of abusing two other family members.

Attorney Joel Taylor said Friday during oral arguments that church elders handled the allegations internally in accordance with church practices. He says state law exempts clergy following church doctrine or practice from reporting.

The woman’s attorney, Jim Molloy, says the church doesn’t qualify for the exemption.

The court did not make an immediate ruling.

Dismissed NFL suit cited in sexual abuse suit against Church

Associated Press

Sept. 14, 2019

A Louisiana court’s recent dismissal of a lawsuit against the NFL over officiating at a January playoff game is now being cited by attorneys for the Catholic Church as they fight civil lawsuits over alleged sex abuse by clergy.

A Tuesday filing by church attorneys quotes from the Supreme Court’s Sept. 6 decision dismissing a suit filed by attorney and Saints fan Antonio LeMon. LeMon and three others had sued the NFL for alleged fraud after officials failed to call blatant pass interference and roughness penalties during a key play in a Saints playoff loss to the Los Angeles Rams.

“Just as it is ‘not the role of judges and juries to be second-guessing the decision taken by a professional sports league purportedly enforcing its own rules,’ it is certainly not the role of judges and juries to adjudicate whether or not a religious entity such as the Archdiocese has complied with its own rules, doctrines, or policies,” the filing says. “Moreover, the right of religious entities to govern themselves is guaranteed by both the United States and Louisiana Constitutions, while professional sports leagues have no similar constitutional protection.”

Missouri’s Attorney General Refers 12 Predator Priests for Prosecution

Patheos blog

Sept. 13, 2019

By Hemant Mehta

For more than a year now, ever since the Pennsylvania grand jury report was released, several state attorneys general have been investigating their own Catholic dioceses, looking into allegations of sexual abuse covering a span of decades.

Missouri’s AG Eric Schmitt announced yesterday that he’s now referring 12 priests’ names for prosecution (since, by law, he can’t prosecute them himself) from the list of 163 priests accused of wrongdoing. About half of them have died since their alleged crimes. For many others, the statute of limitations has run out. Another 16 were already referred to local prosecutors. All told, Missouri may be going after more priests than any other state in the country… so far.

In one case being referred for prosecution, a priest is reported to have shared a bed on “numerous instances” with young children before the diocese placed him on leave in 2016, according to the report.

In another, a priest was allowed to return to ministry after a 2015 allegation of “detailed unwanted and inappropriate hugging and kissing of an elementary school aged child.” The priest apparently left the country this year, the report says.

Some victims’ advocates say Schmitt hasn’t gone far enough. He may be prosecuting predator priests, but he has not yet gone after the Church leaders who knew about their crimes but never did anything about it. It’s unclear if there’s a clear path for him (and enough evidence) to pursue those charges in court.

Longtime Columbus priest Kevin Lutz accused of sexual abuse

Columbus Dispatch

Sept. 13, 2019

By Danae King

The Rev. Kevin Lutz, a priest in Columbus and central Ohio for four decades who recently retired from St. Mary parish in German Village, has been placed on administrative leave following an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor.

Lutz, 69, was placed on leave Wednesday by Bishop Robert Brennan of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus as part of a diocesan investigation into the allegation, according to a release from the diocese.

Lutz, who did not respond to a request for comment Friday, on Sunday announced his retirement from St. Mary, where he recently supervised a years-long renovation of the historic building. A day later, the accusation that Lutz had sexually abused a minor in the 1980s during his time at St. Christopher Parish on the Northwest Side was reported to the diocese, according to the release.

The abuse is alleged to have occurred from 1982 to 1986. The diocese said it reported the allegation to Columbus police on Monday, the same day it found out about it, and also told Lutz.

A Columbus police report, dated Friday, states that the victim was a 14-year-old male and that the incident occurred in 1984. No specific date or location was given.

Retired Catholic priest found not guilty of sexual assault

Associated Press

Sept. 14, 2019

A Wisconsin jury on Friday acquitted a retired Catholic priest on charges alleging that he had sexually assaulted an altar boy over several years, starting in 2006.

The Jefferson County jury found William Nolan, 66, not guilty of five counts of sexual assault following a weeklong trial.

The 26-year-old accuser, who lives in California, alleged that Nolan had sexual contact with him as many as 100 times, starting in 2006 when he was a middle school student at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Fort Atkinson, which is about 45 miles (72 kilometers) west of Milwaukee. Nolan was the parish priest there. The accuser said the abuse continued into his high school years.

Nolan testified that he did not have any physical contact with the boy other than a friendly hug one time, WKOW-TV reported. He said that when he heard of the allegations from police in 2018, he was “mad, angry because it didn’t happen.”

The accuser testified that he had sexual contact with Nolan in his church office, behind the church altar, at his home and during a school cross-country team practice.

Nolan testified that the boy could not have gone to his office undetected by staff and others.

In Baltimore kickoff to speaking tour, Irish abuse survivor says she is disappointed with global reforms

Archdiocese of Baltimore

Sept. 13, 2019

By Christopher Gunty

Clergy sexual abuse survivor Marie Collins kicked off a five-city U.S. speaking tour on “The Catholic Tipping Point” in Baltimore Sept. 10, noting that she is disappointed with the results of the Vatican summit on child protection and efforts toward accountability and transparency.

Collins, who was one of the original members of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, resigned from that group in 2017 because she was concerned that promised reforms were not being implemented and Vatican leaders were impeding the commission’s work.

Collins also met before her talk with Archbishop William E. Lori and members of the child and youth protection staff of the archdiocese and a few key members of the Independent Review Board that advises about child protection policies and procedures.

Speaking to a crowd of about 100 people at the First Unitarian Church of Baltimore, Collins said the abuse crisis has brought the church to a tipping point.

“The church has come to a crossroads,” she said. “It’s got to decide where it’s going to go next because if it doesn’t change, it’s going to lose everything.”

That would be a shame, she said, because the church does a great deal and there are many good people in the church. She said she no longer depends on whether the leadership of the church can effect change and that it is time for the laity to act.

Before the talk, Collins told the Catholic Review she was disappointed in the outcomes of a Vatican summit on child protection in February. “We had been told it would be about responsibility, accountability and transparency,” she said.

“What we saw come out of it was a (promise of) handbook for bishops — that has not come out yet — and a safeguarding policy for Vatican City, which if you look at it is nothing to boast about, because this is 2019. They should have had a safeguarding policy in position decades ago.”

A Survivor's Story: Man molested by Rutland priest speaks out

Rutland Herald

Sept. 7, 2019

By Gordon Dritschilo

Editor’s note: A recent report issued by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Vermont listed 40 members of the clergy who had been accused of sex abuse and also served in parishes around Vermont during the past 50 or so years. Our ongoing coverage of the fallout of that long-awaited report and the years of abuse across the state, will include occasional stories of victims.

Dan Gilman said he was already at one of the lowest points in his life when he was molested by his now-defrocked priest, Edward Paquette.

“I had broken my neck in July 1972,” said Gilman, now 62. “I dove into an above-ground swimming pool ... broke my neck at the C4 level and was instantly paralyzed from the shoulders down. I was 15 at the time.”

Gilman said everyone at Rutland Regional Medical Center told him he wouldn’t get out anytime soon, and he overheard a doctor saying his life expectancy was only nine years.

“I just shut down mentally,” he said. “Then, all of a sudden, Father Paquette waltzes into my life a week or so later.”

The priest gave Gilman communion, Gilman said, and told him that God could heal his injuries.

“The abuse started at the hospital while I was in traction — in bed with with weights attached to my skull,” he said. “He took credit for each little improvement and lack of pain that happened with the little rituals he did. ... I fell for it hook, line and sinker.”

Gilman said Paquette molested him from August 1972 to October 1974, continuing to visit him when he moved home from the hospital. Then, one day, Paquette stopped coming. Gilman said nobody told him why.

Pastor Accused Of Sex Abuse Says He’s Ready To Preach Again

Huffington Post

Sept. 13, 2019

By Carol Kuruvilla

While preaching to his new Florida congregation last Sunday, Pastor Tullian Tchividjian spoke at length about how God offers unconventional, unconditional and sometimes, downright “infuriating” grace to everyone ― even those society considers outcasts.

Tchividjian referred to a biblical story about Jesus interacting with a group of men with leprosy, people who were outcast from their communities as a result of the illness.

“You could no longer work at the job that you had, you could no longer be around the people that love you, you were basically living with this death sentence,” Tchividjian told his Palm Beach Gardens church, describing the experiences of people with leprosy during Jesus’ time.

But then, the Bible says Jesus healed the men ― restoring them to their old lives.

“The one thing that seems to annoy people the most about God is his willingness to love, forgive and restore those whom we have decided deserve the exact opposite,” Tchividjian preached.

He could very well have been thinking about his own story.

Lawyer for sex abuse survivors reacts to Catholic Church investigation


Sept. 13, 2019

By Jasmine Ramirez

A lawyer who represents sexual abuse survivors within the Catholic Church reacted Friday to the Missouri attorney general's investigation.

Attorney General Eric Schmitt is referring a dozen former clergy members for potential criminal prosecution.

The 13-month investigation looked at religious leaders within the Archdiocese of St. Louis and the dioceses of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Springfield-Cape Girardeau and Jefferson City.

'Few acts more horrific': former US priest jailed for 30 years for child sexual abuse


Sept. 13, 2019

A former Roman Catholic priest who fled to Morocco before he was returned to the United States and convicted of sexually abusing an altar boy in New Mexico in the 1990s, has been sentenced to 30 years in prison.

The US district judge, Martha Vazquez, imposed the sentence on Arthur Perrault, 81, a onetime Air Force chaplain and colonel.

“There are few acts more horrific than the long-term sexual abuse of a child,” said the US attorney, John Anderson, in a statement. “At long last, today’s sentence holds Perrault accountable for his deplorable conduct.”

Perrault was convicted by a federal jury in April on six counts of aggravated sexual abuse and one count of abusive sexual contact with a minor in 1991 and 1992 at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque and at the Santa Fe National Cemetery, prosecutors said.

The victim, now an adult, testified that Perrault befriended him when he was 9 years old, showering him with gifts and trips before sexually assaulting him, prosecutors said.

Although he was convicted of abusing just one victim, prosecutors alleged in court filings that Perrault was a serial child molester who abused numerous young people over more than 30 years as a priest in New Mexico and Rhode Island.

Missouri Attorney General seeks prosecution for 12 former Catholic clergy after statewide investigation


Sept. 13, 2019

By Ashley Byrd

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt is referring twelve former clergy members accused of sexual abuse for prosecution. Schmitt’s office has concluded a year-long investigation into the four Catholic dioceses in the state.

In a Friday press conference in St. Louis, Schmitt said, “For decades, faced with credible reports of abuse, the church refused to acknowledge the victims and instead focused their efforts on protecting priests.”

The Missouri Attorney General’s Office must refer the cases to local prosecutors.

“In cases in which local prosecutors should seek our assistance, we stand ready and willing to help, he said Friday. “To the victims: you didn’t deserve any of this. None of what happened to you was your fault. This report, our referrals for criminal prosecution, our aggressive and substantive suggestions for reform, will not change what happened in the past. But, they can change the trajectory of the future and ensure that this never happens again.”

Schmitt, who is also Catholic, also outlined recommendations for church leaders: “Diocese [sic] should assume greater responsibility and oversight over all religious order priests and priest visiting or relocating from other dioceses; number two, the diocese should ensure that their independent review boards are composed entirely of laypeople and that the determinations of credibility and sanctions will be given authoritative weight with respect to the ability of the offending priest and minister in its diocese.”

Madison Diocese names eighth priest 'credibly accused' of sexual abuse

Wisconsin State Journal

Sept. 14, 2019

By Logan Wroge

The Madison Diocese has named an eighth priest “credibly accused” of sexually abusing a minor following an outside review, but a support group of those abused by priests claims there are other abusive priests left off the list.

The external review of diocesan personnel files, which was launched in June, adds one more priest to the seven previously named as having substantiated abuse allegations against them. The diocese has also begun investigating recent accusations against another Catholic clergyman, while a retired Madison priest was acquitted Friday on charges of sexual abuse in Jefferson County.

“While on the one hand, I am encouraged by and grateful for past efforts to be thorough and transparent in these matters, the addition of even one priest to the list of those credibly accused of such horrible acts and sins is one too many,” Bishop Donald Hying said in a statement last week.

Columbus priest placed on administrative leave after accusation of sexual abuse


Sept. 13, 2019

A Columbus priest has been placed on administrative leave after an accusation of sexual abuse of a minor.

According to the Diocese of Columbus, an accusation was made against Father Kevin Lutz, 69. The incident allegedly occurred during his time at St. Christopher Parish in the Grandview area from 1982-1986.

Lutz announced his retirement from the ministry at St. Mary Parish in German Village, effective September 8. The diocese received the accusation the next day.

According to the diocese:

The same day, Diocesan officials had the allegation reported to Columbus Police and notified Father Lutz of the allegation. On September 11, the details of the allegation were reviewed with Father Lutz, he was formally placed on leave, and he was advised about the steps the Church would follow as a result of the allegation.

The diocese says the placement on administrative leave is not an indication that it has determined the allegation is credible. The investigation into the accusation has just begun.

Priests on administrative leave are prohibited from the public exercise of their priestly ministry. They cannot publicly celebrate sacraments, wear clerical attire, be housed at any parish or on diocesan property, or identify themselves as a member of the clergy.

Father Lutz has been a priest in the Diocese of Columbus since 1978.

September 13, 2019

Mo. AG refers 12 cases of Catholic clergy sex abuse for prosecution


September 13, 2019

By Daniel Burke

Cases date from 1945 to present day

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt on Friday said he is referring 12 cases of alleged sexual abuse by members of the Catholic clergy to local authorities for possible prosecution.

The announcement came as Schmitt released a 185-page report detailing his review of 2,000 priests' personnel files, dating from 1945 to the present day.

The attorney general's office said it reviewed the records of more than 300 deacons, seminarians and religious women who served in the state's four Roman Catholic dioceses: the Archdiocese of St. Louis, the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau and the Diocese of Jefferson City.

Jury returns small verdict in Knights of Columbus lawsuit

The Associated Press

September 12, 2019

By Nicholas Riccardi

A federal jury has found that the Knights of Columbus broke a promise to a small technology firm. But jurors awarded far less than that company sought in its lawsuit.

The jury on Thursday found the Knights breached its contract with List Interactive in not designating them its vendor for websites. But the jury awarded the three-man company just $500,000 in damages, well below the $100 million the plaintiffs sought.

Fr. Art Smith Hit With Child Victims Act Lawsuit, Maintains Innocence

Spectrum Local News

September 12, 2019

By Mark Goshgarian

A month after the Child Victims Act look-back window opened, a lawsuit has been filed against Fr. Art Smith, a priest who was removed from ministry by Bishop Edward Kmiec and returned to ministry by Bishop Richard Malone.

The lawsuit was filed Thursday in Erie County Court by a victim who wishes to remain anonymous at this time. It comes from when he worked at Saint Bernadette Church in Orchard Park.

Fr. Smith has been accused of assault by several people, including his nephew Ryan Cooley and whistleblower Fr. Ryszard Biernat.

Facing lawsuits, Rochester Diocese files for bankruptcy

The Associated Press

September 12, 2019

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester filed for bankruptcy protection Thursday amid a wave of lawsuits over alleged sexual abuse of children, becoming the first of the state's eight dioceses to do so and the 20th nationwide. Cayuga County falls into the Rochester Diocese.

New York passed a law this year giving victims of childhood sexual abuse one year to file lawsuits that had previously been barred because the allegations were too old. Hundreds of lawsuits have been filed against churches and other institutions since the law took effect last month.

"We've come to the conclusion that we cannot minister to every victim that comes forward and help them out if we did not go this route," Bishop Salvatore Matano said during a news conference.

Former KC priest faces new credible sex abuse allegations in Wyoming, diocese says

The Kansas City Star

September 11, 2019

By Judy L. Thomas

The Diocese of Cheyenne in Wyoming announced this week that it has substantiated three more allegations of sexual abuse of a minor lodged against a former Kansas City priest.

Three new individuals have come forward in the past year, accusing Bishop Joseph Hart of sexually abusing them in the 1970s and 1980s, the diocese said Tuesday.

“The allegations have been reported to the civil authorities, and the Diocese of Cheyenne has cooperated fully with the police,” the diocese said.

Minnesota archbishop opens investigation into fellow bishop

Associated Press

September 11, 2019

By Steve Karnowski

The Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis said Wednesday that he has opened an investigation - which is believed to be the first of its kind under a new Vatican protocol - into allegations that a bishop in northwestern Minnesota interfered with investigations into clerical sexual misconduct.

Archbishop Bernard Hebda said in a statement posted on the archdiocese’s website that the investigation targets Bishop Michael Hoeppner of the Crookston diocese. Hebda said the allegations are that Hoeppner “carried out acts or omissions intended to interfere with or avoid civil or canonical investigations of clerical sexual misconduct in the Diocese of Crookston,” but he gave no further details. He said law enforcement has been informed.

This is the first known investigation by one bishop into another under a groundbreaking church law issued by Pope Francis in May aimed at holding the Catholic hierarchy accountable for failing to protect their flocks. Among other things, it outlines procedures for conducting preliminary investigations of bishops accused of sexual misconduct or cover-ups.

Telling of His Own Abuse at Hands of Priest, Westfield Man Asks Victims to Step Forward

TAP Into

September 12, 2019

By Matt Kadosh

When the Archdiocese of Newark released its list of priests credibly accused of sex abuse earlier this year, Westfield resident Michael Mautone distinctly recognized one name on the list: the man he recalls abused him when he was 16 years old.

The church lists “child pornography” next to the name of that man, Kevin Gugliotta, and shows seven parishes in New Jersey Gugliotta served at following his ordainment as a priest in 1996 and prior to his being “permanently removed” from the ministry.

Sag Harbor Parish Named in Child Victims Act Suit

The East Hampton Star

September 12, 2019

By Christine Sampson

Years-old allegations point to 2 former priests

Sag Harbor’s St. Andrew parish is among about 170 parishes around the state named in a widespread sex abuse complaint brought by people who say they were abused, as children, by clergy at those parishes and in some cases their schools.

St. Andrew Catholic Church and its former elementary school, the St. Andrew School, employed two priests who allegedly abused a man who is now an adult living with his family in New Jersey.

The Diocese of Rockville Centre, which oversees Catholic churches and schools on Long Island, was served Aug. 28 with lawsuits and formal discovery requests that are said by attorneys to begin the process of revealing many decades of “secret files” containing evidence of child sex abuse.

The process began last month when hundreds of complaints were filed under New York State’s Child Victims Act, which went into effect on Aug. 14 and opened a one-year window for “all cases for anyone of any age” to file suit, according to Jennifer Freeman of the Marsh Law Firm. Ms. Freeman said more than 550 childhood sex abuse survivors have done so.

Seven Days Tracks Down Ex-Priests Accused of Sex Abuse in Vermont

Seven Days

September 11, 2019

By Molly Walsh and Derek Brouwer

John "Jack" Kenney happened to be standing in his front yard when a reporter drove up the long dirt drive to his two-story home in West Glover last Thursday.

The 91-year-old ex-priest is among those "credibly accused of sexual abuse" according to a recent report from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington.

Kenney had little to say when asked about the list of alleged perpetrators Bishop Christopher Coyne released last month.

"I'm not interested in it, thank you very much," Kenney said initially, as he stood in the September sunshine.

10 new sex abuse lawsuits against Catholic diocese in Brooklyn amid Child Victims Act window

ABC News

September 10, 2019

By Meghan Keneally

The number of people suing the Catholic dioceses in New York over abuse they allegedly suffered as children continues to grow.

Ten new lawsuits were filed on Monday, adding to the list of cases that have mounted against the diocese of Brooklyn in the wake of New York’s Child Victim’s Act, a new law that took effect Aug. 14 and allows a one-year window for victims to file civil claims in connection to child abuse no matter the statute of limitations.

The 10 lawsuits filed Monday are being handled by the law firm of Jeff Anderson and Associates. Mike Reck, an attorney for the firm, told ABC News that they have filed nearly 300 lawsuits across New York state since the Child Victims Act window opened.

Cardinal Dolan 'consulting extensively' about allegations against Buffalo Bishop Malone

Catholic News Agency

September 11, 2019

By Jonah McKeown

Amid calls for his resignation, Bishop Richard J. Malone of Buffalo remains firm in his conviction not to step down from office, even as Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York assesses whether to open an investigation into Malone’s alleged mishandling of abuse cases.

"Cardinal Dolan has been following the situation in Buffalo very carefully. He is aware of his responsibilities under Vos estis lux mundi, he has been consulting extensively both with individuals in Buffalo, including Bishop Malone, clergy and laity,” Joseph Zwilling, communication director for the New York archdiocese, told CNA in a Sept. 10 interview.

“He has been in touch with the nuncio, and with the Holy See. So he has been remaining on top of it, and I expect that we will hear something, some development sometime in the near future,” Zwilling continued.

Third sex abuse lawsuit filed against Babe Ruth League, revered Staten Island coach

SI Live

September 10, 2019

By Kyle Lawson

Former Staten Island baseball and basketball coach Tony Sagona is now named in three lawsuits claiming he targeted, groomed and sexually abused players.

In a complaint filed this week in state Supreme Court, St. George, the latest accuser claims he was abused from 1975 to 1977, during his time as a player in the Great Kills Babe Ruth League. The New Jersey-based parent organization also is named in the lawsuit.

“I had dreams of being a pro ball player, and I had the ability to do it, (but) things went downhill," said the complainant, Timothy Morey, in a recent telephone interview with the Advance.

Morey grew up on Staten Island and had a home address in the borough until he recently moved to North Carolina.

Editorial: Child sex abuse victims deserve time to sue

The Seattle Times

September 12, 2019

This editorial originally appeared in The Seattle Times:

Despite revelations of pervasive child sexual abuse that have come to light in recent decades, the Washington Legislature has not provided victims more time to seek justice in civil court. This makes the state a national outlier and cries out for reform.

Legislators have not since 1991 modified the law that gives victims of child rape in Washington only three years of adulthood — until their 21st birthday — to sue attackers and hold accountable an irresponsible institution, such as a church or youth group. The same law allows another three-year window when a victim realizes that childhood abuse caused a harm, such as an addiction.

Through ‘Lookback Window,’ Jewish Orgs Face Retribution for Child Sex Abuse

The Jewish Week Times of Israel

September 11, 2019

By Hannah Dreyfus

As child abuse cases against yeshivas mount following a one-year lookback provision, questions turn to legal strategy. Are their fears of bankruptcy warranted?

When a one-year lookback provision created by New York’s new Child Victims Act opened last month — temporarily lifting the statute of limitations on civil child sex abuse cases and allowing survivors of any age to pursue justice through the courts — youth-serving institutions across the state braced for legal fire.

Now, just weeks after the lookback clause went into effect, Jewish institutions across the denominational spectrum are facing legal retribution for allegedly mishandling allegations of child sexual abuse, with claims reaching as far back as the 1950s. In the handful of cases filed thus far, prominent defendants include the National Ramah Commission, the Conservative movement’s camping arm; the Conservative movement’s flagship rabbinical school, Jewish Theological Seminary; Modern Orthodoxy’s flagship institution, Yeshiva University; prominent Modern Orthodox day school Salanter Akiba Riverdale High School (SAR); prominent Modern Orthodox day school Westchester Day School; Yeshiva Torah Temimah, a Brooklyn-based ultra-Orthodox school with a branch in Lakewood N.J.; Oholei Torah, a prominent Chabad yeshiva in Brooklyn; and Temple Beth Zion, a legacy Reform congregation in Buffalo.

Clergy abuse survivor, parishioners react to Rochester diocese bankruptcy filing


September 12, 2019

By Tanner Jubenville

Word that the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy spread fast among parishioners and clergy abuse survivors Thursday.

Brian DeLafranier, who filed a lawsuit last month against the diocese under the Child Victims Act, says he was caught off-guard by the decision. But he says it's another "win" for clergy abuse survivors.

"Enough people have come forward to tell the diocese it’s a day of reckoning," said DeLafranier. "Their (the diocese) time has come, now it’s time to face the music."

DeLafranier claims he was sexually abused by a priest in the late 1970s. He's one of several suing the diocese under the Child Victims Act.

New lawsuit focuses on alleged sex abuse, lists Diocese of Rochester, Boy Scouts


September 9, 2019

A new child sex abuse lawsuit filed in Monroe County under the Child Victims Act is focused on both the Diocese of Rochester and the Boy Scouts.

The plaintiff in the case claims that Father Robert O'Neill sexually abused him when he was 16. The lawsuit was filed on Monday against the Diocese of Rochester, Roman Catholic Parish of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, the Boy Scouts of America, and the Seneca Waterways Council for the Boy Scouts of America.

In February 1994, the lawsuit states the victim was an Eagle Scout and had told leaders in the Boy Scouts that he was "interested in religion, philosophy, and politics, among other subjects." Fr. O'Neill was subsequently assigned to the victim as a mentor and counselor, as he was already active with local Boy Scout programs at the time.

Lawsuits mount as sex abuse ‘lookback window’ nears second month

Brooklyn Daily Eagle

September 11, 2019

By Emma Whitford

Ten anonymous survivors of childhood sexual abuse filed civil lawsuits against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn Tuesday, as the first month of a yearlong window for survivors of all ages to take legal action under the Child Victims Act draws to a close.

The lawsuits, brought by the firm Jeff Anderson & Associates and Robins Kaplan LLP, allege abuse of minors in Brooklyn and Queens (the Brooklyn Diocese oversees all parishes in Queens) carried out over three decades, starting in 1953.

“Anybody else out there: It’s not too late to step forward,” said Anderson client Tom Davis, 61, a survivor who sued the Brooklyn Diocese earlier this year, at a press conference in Midtown Tuesday. “Stand up to these monsters like I have, please.”

A total of 69 CVA cases had been filed in Kings County Supreme Court as of last week, according to data provided by the New York Unified Court System and updated weekly. That’s up from 55 on the first day of the so-called lookback window, Aug. 13. The totals for the other boroughs are 152 in Manhattan, 27 in the Bronx, 17 in Queens, and three in Staten Island.



September 12, 2019

By Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th.

Msgr. Craig Harrison doesn't want diocese to turn over documents on alleged drug use, porn habit and homosexuality

After suing a Catholic watchdog group for defamation, a California priest facing multiple allegations of homosexual abuse is trying to block the release of potentially damning documents by his Fresno diocese.

Through his attorney, Paul Jonna, Stephen Brady and his organization Roman Catholic Faithful (RCF) subpoenaed the Fresno diocese on Sept. 3 for documents pertaining to Harrison's alleged "sexual abuse, drug use, therapy, gambling, addictive disorders, use of pornography, homosexual behavior and misuse of parish funds."

Abuse case lawsuit tied to city parish filed

Observer Today

September 9, 2019

A former student at Holy Trinity Roman Catholic School in Dunkirk claims she was sexually abused by a Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church pastor starting at the age of 5.

In a Child Victims Act lawsuit filed Monday in state Supreme Court in Erie County, the plaintiff, referred to as PB-5 Doe, has filed a civil suit agianst the Diocese of Buffalo, Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church and Holy Trinity School. The lawsuit claims Monsignor Valerio Bernardo, then a pastor at the church, allegedly began abusing the girl when she was 5 and continued to abuse her for several years. The plaintiff, now 60, lives in Springville, N.Y., and was a student at the school in the 1960s during a time when she and her family were parishioners at Holy Trinity Church.

Bernardo became the seventh pastor in Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church’s history in July 1945 and remained at the church until February 1974, according to the church’s website. Bernardo was the driving force behind purchasing land on Central Avenue in Dunkirk for a school and convent in the 1960s with a new church and rectory built on the site in the early 1970s.

Could more Catholic dioceses follow Rochester into bankruptcy court?

Times Union

September 12, 2019

By Larry Rulison and Steve Hughes

Action could have implications for victims of alleged sexual abuse

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester filed for bankruptcy protection on Thursday in the face of mounting clergy abuse lawsuits filed against the diocese in the wake of the passage of the state's Child Victims Act.

The Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing could potentially provide a road map to the four other upstate dioceses, including the Diocese of Albany, on how to protect themselves from the sudden onslaught of abuse claims unleashed by the new law, signed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in February.

The Rochester diocese, like Albany's, has been served with dozens of lawsuits alleging child sexual abuse by priests and other parish leaders reaching back decades.

6 women reach settlement in priest sexual abuse lawsuit against Austin Diocese


September 12, 2019

By Chelsea Moreno

A settlement has been reached in a lawsuit filed by six women against a priest, bishop and the Austin Catholic Diocese alleging sexual abuse.

Sean Breen, the attorney representing the women and the Austin Diocese told KXAN on Thursday the case had been resolved.

According to the lawsuit, a Catholic priest within the Austin Diocese, identified in the suit as Father Isidore Ndagizimana, would regularly prey on, abuse and harass female parishioners.

Missouri Attorney General Refers 12 Catholic Clergy for Prosecution

The New York Times

September 13, 2019

By Elizabeth Dias

The investigation found that 163 priests or clergy members were accused of sexual abuse or misconduct against minors.

The Missouri attorney general will refer a dozen men who previously served as Roman Catholic clergy for potential criminal prosecution, his office announced on Friday after a yearlong statewide investigation into clergy sexual abuse.

The investigation found that 163 priests or clergy members were accused of sexual abuse or misconduct against minors.

“Sexual abuse by minors by members of Missouri’s four Roman Catholic dioceses has been a far-reaching and sustained scandal,” Attorney General Eric Schmitt said at a news conference Friday morning. “For decades, faced with credible reports of abuse, the church refused to acknowledge the victims and instead focused their efforts on protecting priests.”

Mr. Schmitt, a Republican who is also Catholic, said he believed his 12 referrals for prosecution were more than any other attorney’s general investigation so far.

Archdiocese files documents to dismiss church sex abuse lawsuit based on NOLA No-call lawsuit dismissal


September 12, 2019

By Amanda Roberts

The Supreme Court of Louisiana could decide if victims of church sex abuse have a right to sue their abusers, as well as the catholic church. The decision hinges on if two high-profile cases are related: church sex abuse cases and the NOLA no-call.

For about a year now, a John Doe’s lawsuit against the archdiocese and defrocked deacon George Brignac continues to work its way through the courts. The lawsuit outlines how Brignac sexually abused him at Holy Rosary Church from the time he was eight to 13-years-old in the 1970s and 80s.

The attorneys for the Archdiocese are now arguing the case should in part be thrown out on the same grounds the state Supreme Court threw out the NOLA-no call lawsuit.

“It’s very surprising they would make an argument like this,” said legal analyst Bobby Hjortsberg. “It seems like an attempt to use something that’s sensational, something on people’s minds to draw attention to it,” he said.

Echoing Boston crisis, Buffalo priest's letter urges bishops to step down

The Buffalo News

September 10, 2019

By Jay Tokasz

The pastor of one of the region’s largest and wealthiest Catholic parishes is urging fellow priests to call upon Bishop Richard J. Malone and Auxiliary Bishop Edward M. Grosz to resign and let others lead the Buffalo Diocese.

The Rev. Robert Zilliox, pastor of St. Mary Church in Swormville, has contacted about 200 priests and asked them to sign a letter demanding that Malone step down immediately in the wake of a series of scandals in which the bishop’s public statements on handling clergy sex abuse and misconduct accusations appeared to contradict what he was saying and doing in private.

Diocese of Rochester becomes first diocese in New York State to file for bankruptcy in sex abuse scandal fallout

PIX 11

September 12, 2019

By Corey Crockett

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester filed for bankruptcy Thursday, the first in New York to seek protection from creditors in bankruptcy court as a part of the decades-long child sex abuse scandal that’s plagued the Catholic Church, according to the Democrat & Chronicle.

The diocese filed the petition for Chapter 11 reorganization Thursday morning, claiming that the financial liabilities — estimated between $100 million and $500 million — exceed the group’s assets — stated as $50 million to $100 million, according to court documents.

The Democrat & Chronicle — a Rochester local newspaper — said the filing does not mean the diocese is out of money, or that churches will close their doors.

Mitchell Garabedian On Rochester Diocese Filing for Bankruptcy


September 12, 2019


New Vatican law on abuse cover-up has a hit-and-miss week


Sept. 13, 2019

By Charles Collins

The legislation - called Vos Estis Lux Mundi - enacted what is known as the Metropolitan Model, in which archbishops would play a prominent role in policing those bishops in their ecclesiastical province.

This week, the first investigation into misconduct being carried out under the procedures set out in the new law was announced: Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda of St. Paul and Minneapolis will look into allegations that Bishop Michael J. Hoeppner of Crookston “carried out acts or omissions intended to interfere with or avoid civil or canonical investigations of clerical sexual misconduct.”

In a statement on Wednesday, the archdiocese said law enforcement had also been notified of the allegations.

Fugitive priest faces sentencing in US sex abuse case

Associated Press

Sept. 13, 2019

By Mary Hudetz

A former Roman Catholic priest is scheduled to be sentenced Friday in Santa Fe, where a jury found him guilty this year of sexually abusing an altar boy in the early 1990s before fleeing the country.

Federal prosecutors are requesting a sentence of more than 30 years in prison for 81-year-old Arthur Perrault, once a pastor at an Albuquerque parish and a chaplain at Kirtland Air Force Base.

Perrault — who pleaded not guilty to charges after he was returned to the United States from Tangier, Morocco, in 2017 — maintained his innocence throughout his trial in April.

Federal authorities said their pursuit of Perrault that led them to Morocco, a country that does not have an extradition treaty with the United States, showed how far they were willing to seek justice. Perrault is among more than 70 clergy members who the Santa Fe Archdiocese has identified as credibly accused of abusing children in New Mexico.

The archdiocese also is in the midst of bankruptcy proceeding as a result of the church-wide abuse scandal, which has spanned the globe.

September 12, 2019

“Stay With Us” Says the USCCB, But Can They Hear Themselves?

Patheos blog

Sept. 12, 2019

By Mary Pezzulo

In case you haven’t noticed, the Church is a ghastly mess.

I almost said “an ungodly mess,” but that’s not the case at all. God is here, suffering with us. But the hierarchy’s sins are being laid bare and we see that the Bride of Christ was abused by the people who were supposed to be her caretakers, and she is a mess. At the moment we are all watching the Diocese of Buffalo fall apart in real time, with that public disgrace Bishop Malone flailing and claiming he won’t resign. We’re told that Archbishop Dolan is looking into it, and I’m not really convinced that will help.

What seems like moments ago, we were supposed to be happy that a bill had been struck down in one part of the country which would’ve forced priests to report sexual abuse confessed to them, violating the seal of confession. And I do not think that priests ought to be forced to violate the seal. But it was hard to not find it a bit ironic when we found out that Malone had allegedly protected a priest who had a credible accusation of violating the seal of confession against him. One can be forgiven for surmising that in practice, it’s persecution if a priest is compelled to violate the seal to help somebody, but it’s perfectly fine to violate the seal in order to participate in sexual harassment. That’s just one example of the layers of horror we’ve had to process lately.

And this is on top of what happened in the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston a few short months ago, and all that’s gone on in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, and what’s going on all over the country.

Retired priest Nolan angry about child sexual abuse allegations: 'It didn't happen'

Channel 3000

Sept. 12, 2019

By Rose Schmidt

The retired priest being tried on child sexual abuse charges took the stand Thursday in his own defense.

William Nolan is accused of sexually assaulting an altar boy more than 100 times over four years, starting in 2006 when the accuser was 13 years old. At the time the accuser says the abuse began, Nolan was the priest at St. Joseph's Church in Fort Atkinson.

Nolan testified in Jefferson County court Thursday morning. His defense attorney, Jonas Bednarek, asked at one point how one of the accusations made him feel.

"Mad, angry," Nolan replied.

"Why?" Bednarek asked.

"Because it didn't happen," Nolan said.

The judge dropped one of the six felony charges Nolan is facing.

Diocese bankruptcy: Matano says it was 'a very difficult and painful decision'

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

Sept. 12, 2019

By Steve Orr

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester, facing potentially huge judgments for past sexual abuse by its priests and other ministers, filed for bankruptcy protection Thursday morning.

"This was a very difficult and painful decision," Rochester Bishop Salvatore Matano said at an afternoon news conference that detailed the action.

The diocese filed its petition for Chapter 11 reorganization in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Rochester at about 9:30 a.m. The petition estimates the diocese's assets as $50 million to $100 million — and its financial liabilities as $100 million to $500 million.

Rochester’s diocese becomes the first of New York state’s eight dioceses — and the 20th nationwide — to seek protection from creditors in bankruptcy court because of financial fallout from the Catholic Church’s decades-long child sexual abuse scandal.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester filed for bankruptcy on Sept. 12, 2019. The Diocese held a press conference talking about why they did that. Bishop Salvatore R. Matano read from a prepared statement before answering questions with Lisa Passero CFO for the diocese, and Stephen Donato, with the law firm, Bond, Schoeneck, and King that is representing the diocese in the bankruptcy, beside him.Buy Photo
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester filed for bankruptcy on Sept. 12, 2019. The Diocese held a press conference talking about why they did that. Bishop Salvatore R. Matano read from a prepared statement before answering questions with Lisa Passero CFO for the diocese, and Stephen Donato, with the law firm, Bond, Schoeneck, and King that is representing the diocese in the bankruptcy, beside him. (Photo: Tina MacIntyre-Yee/Rochester Democrat and Chronicle)

The bankruptcy filing does not mean the diocese is penniless and does not mean its churches will close.

The intent of a Chapter 11 filing such as this is to reorganize the diocese’s finances, marshal funds to pay fair compensation to sex-abuse accusers and create a plan for the diocese to continue operations much as they were before.

Tasmanian abuse law puts priests on notice

The Australian

September 13, 2019

By Matthew Denholm

Tasmanian priests have been warned they face prosecution for failing to report child abuse disclosed during confession, after the state’s upper house passed “nation leading” laws.

Tasmania’s legislation, passed by the Legislative Council on Wednesday, means it joins South Australia, Victoria and the ACT in mandating that clergy must ­report abuse, even when disclosed in confession.

Queensland and Western Australia are proceeding down a similar legislative path, recommended by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Tasmanian Attorney-General Elise Archer said the laws were the first tabled in Australia.

Amid Catholic Church threats to defy them, Ms Archer warned those found to have done so faced prosecution, with penalties ­including fines of up to $3360 and jail terms of up to 21 years, in ­theory at least.

Abuse reporting law passes Vic parliament

Canberra Times

September 10, 2019

By Benita Kolovos

Victorian parliament has passed laws making it mandatory for priests to report child abuse, including when it is revealed to them during confession.

A bill introduced by the state Labor government passed the upper house on Tuesday after last week getting a green light from the Legislative Assembly, with opposition support.

"Today we've made Victoria a safer place for children. The special treatment for churches has ended and child abuse must be reported," Child Protection Minister Luke Donnellan said in a statement.

"I thank all the abuse survivors, their families and advocates who helped us deliver these reforms. We can't undo the harm to so many children in the past, but this will help ensure it never happens again."

Under the laws, priests and religious leaders face up to three years' jail if they don't report child physical and sexual abuse allegations.

Can Petition Drive Hurt Malone's Credibility?


September 10, 2019

By Tom Puckett

Garabedian says Vatican will look at other factors, including donations

As a petition drive continues to remove Bishop Richard Malone from the Buffalo Catholic Diocese, An attorney who dealt with priest sex abuse in Boston says it could be an element in taking away Malone's credibility.

Mitchell Garabedian says this could help diminsh Malone's good standing with the Vatican. "Petition drives can be effective especially when coupled with lawsuits being filed, the information being released about the diocese not protecting children. It's a complicated matter," says Garabedian. "If Bishop Malone loses enough credibility, he will step down."

Judge In Brock Turner Case Fired From New Job As Girls Tennis Coach

Huffington Post

September 11, 2019

By Alanna Vagianos

Aaron Persky, the judge who infamously sentenced Turner to six months for sexual assault, recently lost his new job at Lynbrook High in California.

Aaron Persky, the former judge in the Brock Turner sexual assault case, has lost his new job as a high school girls tennis coach following swift criticism from the community.

“Effective September 11, 2019, Mr. Persky’s employment with the District as the Junior Varsity Girls Tennis coach has ended,” Rachel Zlotziver, a spokesperson for the Fremont Union High School District, told HuffPost Wednesday night.

A New Report Shows the Lengths MIT Went to Hide its Ties to Jeffrey Epstein

Boston Magazine

September 10, 2019

By Spencer Buell

Evidence suggests higher-ups knew about his secret donations to the Media Lab.

Another day, another major news break on the MIT Media Lab’s deep ties to Jeffrey Epstein, and the lengths to which the university appears to have gone to keep it hush-hush.

The prestigious lab made headlines last month, when some of its members announced they would resign in protest due to the way its now-former director, Joi Ito, accepted donations from and socialized with the disgraced financier and convicted sex offender. At the time, Ito apologized for accepting money from Epstein for both the lab and his own personal investment fund, and promised to give it all back.

Statement of Attorneys Jeff Anderson and Steve Boyd

Jeff Anderson & Associates

September 12, 2019

Statement of Attorneys Jeff Anderson and Steve Boyd Regarding Diocese of Rochester Filing Bankruptcy

Survivors’ Attorneys’ Statement Regarding Filing Of Bankruptcy by Diocese Of Rochester

(Rochester, New York) – The Diocese of Rochester filed bankruptcy this morning after being named as a defendant in dozens of clergy sexual abuse lawsuits filed since New York’s Child Victims Act’s one-year window opened on August 14.

“The bishop’s choice to use reorganization as a legal tactic is very disturbing and disappointing,” said attorney Jeff Anderson of Jeff Anderson & Associates, who represents several survivors who have lawsuits against the Diocese of Rochester, along with attorney Steve Boyd. “Bishop Salvatore Matano’s choice is simply a legal tactic to protect assets and prevent jury trials, and an attempt to prevent the truth from being revealed.”

“We want to assure the survivors and their family members who have been harmed for so long and have brought claims under the Child Victims Act that this is not the end,” Boyd said. “This will not stop us or the survivors and we know there are battles to be fought.”

Anderson and Boyd, who represent hundreds of sexual abuse survivors in New York, will conduct a press conference at 3:00 p.m. (ET) today in Rochester. Additional details on the press conference are forthcoming soon.

Contact: Steve Boyd: Office: (716)400-0000; Cell: (716)856-7777
Jeff Anderson: Office: (646)759-2551; Cell: (646)499-3364
Mike Finnegan: Office: (646)759-2551; Cell: (612)205.5531

The Pulitzer Prize-winning authors of She Said assess #MeToo after Weinstein on The Late Show

AV Club

September 11, 2019

By Dennis Perkins

New York Times journalists Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey told Stephen Colbert about the time that an enraged Harvey Weinstein finally barreled right into the NYT offices, toting folders of “material to smear his accusers.” That’s after the now-disgraced movie mogul had already hired ex-Mossad agent private investigators to “put a stop” to the reporters’ efforts, and threatened to file a massive lawsuit against them and the paper, all tactics that, as Kantor and Twohey’s work on the culture of workplace sexual harassment (and worse) uncovered, had served the bullying Weinstein ably in the past. But that was then, as Colbert interviewed two of the women who helped bring down one of the most powerful sexual predators in show business, and whose quest to get the Weinstein story right helped sear the societal ills behind what had already become known as the #MeToo movement into the national consciousness, inescapably.

Clergy Abuse Report - Retraction, Correction and Apology

Jeff Anderson & Associates

September 11, 2019

Retraction, Correction and Apology

(New York, NY) –The law firm of Jeff Anderson & Associates released information identifying the incorrect individual as being subject to allegations of child sex abuse.

• The Anderson Report on Sexual Abuse in the Diocese of Brooklyn released on September 10, 2019, incorrectly and erroneously identified Sr. Kathleen McKinney CSJ, a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph, as being subject to allegations of abuse.
• In fact, the allegations should have referred to Sr. Kathleen McKinney CSFN, a member of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth, who was identified in a lawsuit titled Ark68Doe vs. Diocese of Brooklyn et al., Supreme Court, Index Number 517909/2019. The plaintiff in that matter alleged wrongdoing associated with St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Jamaica, New York.
• Sr. Kathleen McKinney, CSJ was not involved and/or associated with St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Jamaica New York.
• Jeff Anderson & Associates apologizes to Sr. Kathleen McKinney CSJ and will be providing her with a letter confirming the mistake and deeply apologizing. The firm will make other amends as may be requested to mitigate any harm done.

Contact: Jeff Anderson: Office: (646)759-2551; Cell: (646)499-3364
Mike Reck: Office: (646)759-2551; Cell: (646)493-8058

200 Names of Abusers are Released in Brooklyn


September 10, 2019

Today at a press conference in New York, important information about abusive clergy in Brooklyn was released to the public. We applaud the work of these independent advocates who prepared this report and hope that this information will help create more informed communities in New York.

We are grateful to Jeff Anderson and his team for exposing this information about known abusers in Brooklyn. It is disappointing that, once again, more facts about clergy abuse scandals are made public by independent advocates instead of church officials themselves.

Bishop Malone travels to New York City as potential probe from New York Archdiocese looms


September 12, 2019

Buffalo Bishop Richard Malone traveled to New York City this week as he faces a potential investigation from the cardinal of the Archdiocese of New York.

The embattled Malone was seen at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport Tuesday boarding a plane to New York City. Diocese of Buffalo spokesperson Kathy Spangler told WBFO Wednesday Malone travels frequently on church matters, including several times a year to New York City.

Diocese of Bridgeport Adds Two Names to “Credibly Accused” List


September 10, 2019

Church officials in Bridgeport have updated their list of “credibly accused” priests to include two more names of deceased priests. Now we hope they follow up by actively reaching out to members of their flock and urging witnesses, whistleblowers, and victims to come forward and make a report.

The Diocese of Bridgeport has acknowledged that two different priests – Monsignor William Genuario and Rev. Vincent Cleary – were abusers of children. However, this acknowledgement comes years after reports about both men were made to diocesan officials. We can only hope that others were not abused by these men while the reports against them were ignored by Bridgeport church officials.

At least one report against Msgr. Genuario was made in 2002, meaning it took 17 years for the Diocese of Bridgeport to act. Bishop Frank Caggiano writes off the delay by saying that his review board “investigated the allegations” against Msgr. Genuario in 2002 and 2004, but did not find them “credible” at the time. Such a delay is inexcusable and only put more innocent children in harm’s way.

Jodi Kantor & Megan Twohey Detail Harvey Weinstein's Efforts To Derail Their Reporting

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

September 11, 2019

The authors of the new book 'She Said' talk to Stephen Colbert about the drama surrounding their investigative reporting on Harvey Weinstein's abusive behavior, including his efforts to intimidate journalists and their sources. #Colbert #LSSC #Interviews

Cardinal Dolan Weighing Options in Buffalo


September 10, 2019

New York’s top Catholic official is reportedly weighing his options for intervening in the scandal ridden Diocese of Buffalo.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of the Archdiocese of New York is expected to publicly weigh in on Bishop Richard Malone and the abuse scandal currently engulfing the Diocese of Buffalo. As Metropolitan for the state of New York, this situation is one of the first real tests of the USCCB’s new “metropolitan model” for bishop accountability. In order to help Cardinal Dolan pass this test, we have a few suggestions.

First, he should publicly denounce his colleague to the north and urge him to resign. In 2002, bishops promised that “fraternal correction” will help ensure that bishops followed the rules and standards laid out in the Dallas charter. Yet in the 17 years since, we have not really seen any public evidence of this correction at all. Now, Cardinal Dolan has the chance to live up that promise from 2002 and publicly encourage Bishop Malone to step down and let someone else take over in Buffalo.

Amid lawsuits, Diocese of Rochester files for Ch. 11 bankruptcy


September 12, 2019

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester filed for bankruptcy Thursday morning, less than one month after dozens of lawsuits were filed against clergy.

The Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing was made in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Rochester.

At least 47 sex abuse lawsuits have been filed under the Child Victims Act in Monroe County as of Thursday. Of those 47, 45 lawsuits name the Diocese of Rochester as a defendant. The Child Victims Act allows a one-year window, beginning on August 14, for child sex abuse victims to file suit without a statue of limitations.

The filing lists the Diocese as a tax-exempt entity and estimates it has fewer than 1,000 creditors. Estimates in the filing also state somewhere between $50 and 100 million in assets, with somewhere between $100 and 500 million in liabilities. Among those liabilities are “various sex abuse claimants”. The bankruptcy filing includes a list of 264 creditors.

Minnesota archbishop investigates bishop over alleged interference in sexual misconduct probe

The Hill

Sept. 11, 2019

By Rachel Frazin

The Roman Catholic archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis has opened an investigation into allegations that a Minnesota bishop interfered with a sexual misconduct probe in the diocese.

Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda said in a Tuesday statement that he had been authorized to begin an investigation into allegations that Bishop Michael Hoeppner "carried out acts or omissions intended to interfere with or avoid civil or canonical investigations of clerical sexual misconduct" in the Diocese of Crookston.

Hoeppner is the bishop for Crookston, a city in Polk County.

Hebda said in his statement that law enforcement had been notified about the allegations. He also noted that the probe is preliminary and has a limited time period to gather information. That information will be send to the Pope's U.S. representative and to the Congregation for Bishops in Rome to determine whether further procedures will be warranted.

Hoeppner and the Diocese of Crookston declined to comment through a spokesperson who cited the investigation.

The Associated Press reported that the investigation is the first known review under a new papal law outlining preliminary investigation procedures. The law issued by the Pope in May aims to increase accountability.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests said in a statement that "survivor advocates will be watching the outcome closely."

Bishop Malone travels to New York City as potential probe from New York Archdiocese looms


Sept. 12, 2019

Buffalo Bishop Richard Malone traveled to New York City this week as he faces a potential investigation from the cardinal of the Archdiocese of New York.

The embattled Malone was seen at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport Tuesday boarding a plane to New York City. Diocese of Buffalo spokesperson Kathy Spangler told WBFO Wednesday Malone travels frequently on church matters, including several times a year to New York City.

It’s unclear whether Malone’s visit is related to the possible review of his handling of the Buffalo Diocese’s clergy sexual abuse crisis from Cardinal Timothy Dolan of the Archdiocese of New York, which is based in New York City.

Archdiocese spokesperson Joseph Zwilling said earlier this week that Dolan has been following the Buffalo Diocese situation very closely and consulting extensively, and that Dolan will make an announcement “in the near future.”

That news was first reported by the Catholic Herald Monday.

Former Winona priest investigated

Associated Press

Sept. 12, 2019

The Roman Catholic archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis said Wednesday that he has opened an investigation — the first known of its kind under a new Vatican protocol — into allegations that a bishop in northwestern Minnesota interfered with investigations into clerical sexual misconduct.

Archbishop Bernard Hebda said in a statement posted on the archdiocese's website that the investigation targets Bishop Michael Hoeppner of the Crookston diocese. Hebda said the allegations are that Hoeppner "carried out acts or omissions intended to interfere with or avoid civil or canonical investigations of clerical sexual misconduct in the Diocese of Crookston," but he gave no further details. He said law enforcement has been informed.

Advocates for clergy abuse victims say it's the first known investigation by one bishop into another under a groundbreaking church law issued by Pope Francis in May aimed at holding the Catholic hierarchy accountable for failing to protect their flocks. Among other things, it outlines procedures for conducting preliminary investigations of bishops accused of sexual misconduct or cover-ups.

Jeff Anderson, a St. Paul attorney who has represented hundreds of survivors of clerical sexual abuse, told The Associated Press that the allegations against Hoeppner likely stem from lawsuits against the Crookston diocese that have been settled, including one by Ron Vasek, who was aspiring to be a deacon when, he alleged, Hoeppner blackmailed him into signing a letter in 2015 that essentially retracted his allegation that a popular priest had abused him when he was 16.

That lawsuit was settled for an undisclosed sum in 2017. In July, the diocese reached a $5 million settlemen t with 15 people, including Vasek, who were children when they were sexually abused by priests. As part of the new settlement, the diocese agreed to release the names and files of clergy accused of abuse. Anderson said that information, along with depositions he took from Hoeppner and other Crookston diocese officials, will be released "in the days and weeks ahead."

Diocese of Rochester files for bankruptcy


Sept. 12, 2019

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester has filed for bankruptcy.

This follows a flurry of lawsuits against the organization, mostly sexual assault cases, that were filed following the enactment of the Child Victims Act.

The Child Victims Act, which went into effect on August 14, extended the statute of limitations on child sexual abuse cases for one year.

Rochester’s Diocese is the first to file bankruptcy in our state, and the 20th to do so in the nation.

The Diocese of Rochester represents 86 parishes in 12 counties.

Jimmy Savile allowed to ‘roam freely’ in boys’ dorms of Highlands Catholic school

Scottish Sun

Sept. 12, 2019

By John Jeffay

JIMMY Savile was allowed to "roam freely" in the boys' dorms of a Catholic school in the Highlands, an inquiry heard yesterday.

The serial sex predator would turn up in his Rolls-Royce at a time when young boys say they were being abused by staff, a former pupil told relatives.

Another witness said yesterday that he had been drugged and raped by monks at the Benedictine Fort Augustus Abbey and that he was also sexually assaulted at Pluscarden Abbey, near Elgin.

The youngster was warned he would be thrown into the Moray Firth or Loch Ness if he reported the abuse, he said.

The allegations were made as witnesses at the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry gave evidence of sexual and physical attacks at Fort Augustus Abbey.

In a written statement, a man given the pseudonym "Rory" said that his brother "Doug", who was born in 1951 but has since died, told him that Savile was given access to the school in the 1960s, when he was already a famous DJ with Radio Luxembourg.

It read: "Savile would park his Rolls-Royce car outside the school. Doug said Savile was allowed to roam freely at the school, even the boys’ dormitories.

Former Bishop’s student files sexual abuse lawsuit against alma mater in La Jolla

LaJolla Light

Sept. 11, 2019

By Ashley Mackin-Solomon

A sexual abuse lawsuit was filed Aug. 28 against The Bishop’s School in La Jolla and the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego by a former student alleging two years of abuse by a teacher while he was a student at the school in the 1990s.

The recent suit comes after the 2018 discovery of more than a dozen other alleged incidents of sexual misconduct, which took place over the span of 30 years.

The latest lawsuit alleges that plaintiff John H. Doe was repeatedly sexually molested and harassed by a female computer sciences teacher beginning when he was a 16-year-old student (she was 32 years old at the time).

The suit names the charges as sexual harassment; sexual battery; assault; gender violence; negligence; negligent supervision; negligent hiring/retention; negligent failure to warn, train or educate; intentional infliction of emotional distress; and constructive fraud.

The alleged abuse included, but was not limited to, hand holding, flirting, touching, fondling, oral sex, and sexual intercourse on the Bishop’s School campus, at the teacher’s house, at a local hotel, at a local restaurant, at a local park, and across various other San Diego area locations. The teacher is no longer listed as an employee of The Bishop’s School.

According to the lawsuit, the teacher would bring the Plaintiff into the computer lab, with the windows covered and the door locked, and subject him to sexual acts. On multiple occasions, teachers and a Bishop’s administrator saw John H. Doe and the teacher exiting the computer lab together, with no other person in the room.

Catholic Church in Tasmania won't follow new confession laws

Australian Broadcasting Service

Sept. 11, 2019

By Emily Baker

The Catholic Church says it will not follow new Tasmanian laws that require priests to break the seal of confession to report suspicion of child sex abuse.

The Legislative Council yesterday passed Government legislation making religious ministry and MPs mandatory reporters of child sex abuse, along with teachers, police and health professionals.

The laws also require any Tasmanian with knowledge of child sex abuse to report the crime to police — or face up to 21 years' imprisonment or fines of up to $3,360.

But Tasmania's most senior Catholic said the laws would make paedophiles less likely to come forward.

In a statement, Archbishop Julian Porteous said priests were "unable" to follow secular law that required them to break the seal of confession.

University Catholic chaplain Father Gabriel Zeis resigns in light of sexual abuse allegation

The Daily Princetonian

September 11, 2019

By Marie-Rose Sheinerman

Father Gabriel Zeis, the director of and chaplain at the University’s Catholic campus ministry, resigned on Wednesday following an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor, which dates back to 1975. According to an email sent to student members of the Aquinas Institute, the on-campus Catholic ministry, Zeis denied the allegation but immediately resigned from both his position at the Institute and his position as Diocesan Vicar for Catholic Education.

The email, sent by the Diocese of Trenton, said that the Provincial Superior of the Third Order Regular Franciscans (TOR) was notified on the evening of Monday, Sept. 9 of the allegation against the chaplain. The email stated that the Order is “pursuing an investigation into the allegation to determine its credibility” and asked that anyone with information or questions related to the notification contact the Franciscans through their website.

With the approval of Bishop David O’Connell of the Diocese of Trenton, Father Zeis served at the University. In an email statement to The Daily Princetonian, University spokesperson Ben Chang explained, “Father Zeis was not a University employee, and the University had no role in his resignation. The Diocese notified us that this action had been taken.”

Chang went on to encourage any students in need of support “to speak with a member of their residential college staff, the Graduate School, or one of our confidential resources, including SHARE, Counseling and Psychological Services, and the chaplains in the Office of Religious Life.”

Archbishop's 1987 diary entry contradicted evidence about awareness of criminal liability: report

Newcastle Herald

Sept. 7, 2019

By Joanne McCarthy

ARCHBISHOP Philip Wilson's evidence to a Special Commission of Inquiry about his knowledge of notorious Hunter paedophile priest Denis McAlinden in the 1980s and 1990s was "improbable", "unsatisfactory" and "implausible", a confidential 2014 report released on Friday found.

Archbishop Wilson's evidence in 2013 that he had forgotten communications with anti-corruption crusader MP John Hatton in 1987 about "sexual misbehaviour" complaints involving McAlinden and young children was "improbable", Commissioner Margaret Cunneen found after an inquiry into police and Catholic Church responses to Hunter child sexual abuse allegations.

The future archbishop assured Mr Hatton in a letter in July, 1987 that his complaint about McAlinden was "receiving attention". Their communications also included phone contact on four occasions and a further letter in which the then Maitland-Newcastle Vicar General assured the MP that McAlinden had left the parish for "a full program of psychiatric assessment and help".

The confidential fourth volume of the Special Commission of Inquiry was released more than five years after the first three volumes were made public, and following Archbishop Wilson's conviction in 2018 for concealing child sex allegations about Hunter priest Jim Fletcher, which was overturned on appeal in December.

The Commission regarded as "unsatisfactory and implausible" the archbishop's evidence in 2013 that he had "honestly forgotten" liaising with a psychiatrist about McAlinden, and talking with the priest by phone on five occasions between October, 1987 and February, 1988.

Mr Hatton's report was one of a number of complaints about McAlinden to the future archbishop in 1987, the Commission found.

While the Hatton letter was raised during the inquiry hearings in 2013, Archbishop Wilson's role - including having a direct confrontation with McAlinden, referring him to a psychiatrist and repeated phone calls with the paedophile priest before he was moved to Western Australia - has not been revealed until now.

Archbishop Philip Wilson has had major surgery only days after a sharply critical report

Catholic Herald

Sept. 12, 2019

By Joanne McCarthy

A HUNTER survivor advocate criticised for demanding an apology from Archbishop Philip Wilson after his conviction for concealing a priest's child sex crimes has repeated the demand after a damning report into Catholic abuse responses in the Hunter.

Peter Gogarty said survivors of church abuse and the Hunter community had the right to an apology from the archbishop and Maitland-Newcastle diocese after a confidential 2014 report released last Friday revealed the extent of church knowledge of allegations involving paedophile priests Denis McAlinden and Jim Fletcher.

Archbishop Wilson in December successfully appealed his May, 2018 conviction for concealing allegations about Fletcher, but was strongly criticised in the confidential report for "improbable", "unsatisfactory" and "implausible" evidence about his knowledge of allegations about McAlinden while a Hunter priest in the 1980s and 1990s.

Six days after the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet released the damning confidential fourth volume of the NSW Special Commission of Inquiry final report there has been no response from Archbishop Wilson, Maitland-Newcastle diocese or Bishop Bill Wright.

St. Mary’s hosts symposium on “A Church in Crisis Moves to the Future”

St. Mary's University

Sept. 12, 2019

St. Mary’s University will host a joint lecture and symposium on the theme “A Church in Crisis Moves to the Future” on Wednesday, Sept. 18, and Thursday, Sept. 19. Both days will feature discussion by Peter Steinfels, Ph.D., scholar and former New York Times journalist.

St. Mary’s University’s MacTaggart Lecture Series and the newly established Center for Catholic Studies will jointly present the free public discussion that will take place in the University Center, Conference Room A.

“This program demonstrates that St. Mary’s has heeded the call given by St. John Paul II, who as pope stressed that ‘a Catholic University must have the courage to speak uncomfortable truths which do not please public opinion, but which are necessary to safeguard the authentic good of society,’” said Alicia Cordoba Tait, D.M.A., Beirne Director of the Center for Catholic Studies.

“St. Mary’s offers this program to help the church and all people of faith, or none, to consider multiple viewpoints to issues and ideas that we are grappling with each day,” Tait said.

At 7 p.m. on Sept. 18, Steinfels will discuss, “Sex Abuse and the Future Church,” as the first lecture of the year in the MacTaggart Catholic Intellectual Tradition Lecture Series. This free, annual lecture series features men and women who have helped shape the Catholic Intellectual Tradition, which is at the heart of the educational experience at St. Mary’s.

AMBS’s New President (or What Were they Thinking?)

Spacious Faith blog

Sept. 11, 2019

By Joanna

I invite you to do a thought experiment with me. Imagine that I am qualified to lead a seminary: I have a PhD in Mennoniteness and have taught graduate level classes in Missional Transformation Transforming Missional Paradigms. I’m the perfect candidate for seminary president. Except the seminary has recently committed itself to the “traditional” position that same-sex marriage is unacceptable. Would that seminary hire me? Ever? Even if I said I would respect the school’s position? Even if the only other person willing to take the job was some twenty-four-year-old dude who barely graduated from two-year Bible college?

In case you’re struggling with this, the answer is “no.” They would never hire me. And they shouldn’t. And, frankly, I shouldn’t have applied in the first place.

But enough about hypothetical me. Let’s talk about Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary appointing Dave Boshart as president.

First, two relevant facts about Dave:

He is a NICE GUY. I mean, really, super-nice. That’s what a lot of people will say about his appointment as president. He’s so nice. And it’s true. I’ve had a few opportunities to communicate directly with Dave, and he’s always been nice.

He is LITERALLY a spokesperson for MC USA’s official “teaching position” against same-sex marriage. When Western District Conference wanted to hold a workshop exploring “both sides of the issue,” Dave was the guy they brought in to talk about why I shouldn’t have kept my ministerial credentials after officiating a same-sex wedding. This was several years ago, but I have seen nothing from Dave that would indicate his position on this has changed.

I’ve dealt intimately with institutional politics at the congregational, conference, and denominational levels for over a decade now. I am often frustrated by the actions of institutional leaders, but I generally understand them. I don’t agree with everything church officials do, but I have a pretty good idea why they do it. Yet when it comes to this decision by AMBS, I am truly baffled. Why would they say they are fully supportive of queer students and then hire an anti-gay spokesperson for their president?

Exposing the Culture of Sexual Immorality at Buffalo’s Christ the King Seminary

National Catholic Register

Sept. 11, 2019

The sexual-abuse scandal rocking the Diocese of Buffalo bears close watching, but not because it will likely mean the resignation of the bishop, which, sadly, would no longer be a shocking development. What makes Buffalo of wider significance is not the sexual abuse of minors by priests, but the role of the diocesan seminary, Christ the King, in producing a culture of sexual immorality amongst the clergy — a contributing factor to the sexual abuse of minors.

Many Catholic voices in Buffalo say that reform can only begin when beleaguered Bishop Richard Malone resigns. It may also be the case that reform will only begin when Christ the King Seminary is closed.

As Buffalo Catholics endure a seemingly endless number of revelations from the weird to the lurid, the question repeatedly being asked is: How can the seminary be producing such men? Or more to the point: Given all that was known about Christ the King, why is the seminary still open?

Bishop Malone was secretly recorded discussing Father Jeffrey Nowak, ordained in 2012 and subject to serious allegations, including violating the seal of the confessional.

“How did we get to this point of this person getting through evaluations to be ordained?’” the bishop was asked. Bishop Malone had similar feelings: “How’d he get through?”

Exactly. What was going on in the seminary? Something was rotten at Christ the King — and for a long time.

In US tour, Marie Collins exposes clerical culture behind abuse cover-up

National Catholic Reporter

Sept. 12, 2019

By Tom Roberts

The Catholic Church has reached a crossroads. Its leaders can either change, become open and accountable, or maintain the status quo: an institution lacking transparency, wrapped in secrecy and beholden to a clerical culture that is at the heart of the institution's problems.

That bleak assessment was made by Marie Collins, the Irish clerical sexual abuse survivor who was an original member of a papal commission dealing with the sex abuse crisis, and who said she is "hanging on by my fingernails."

The scandal, she said in remarks Sept. 8 opening a five-city U.S. tour, is both systemic and global, and clericalism remains at its core.

"The church is at a crossroads. It can either continue to behave as it has for centuries, protecting itself, or open up and become the church we all want it to be, the church that it should be."

Collins, in a separate interview with NCR following the news conference, expanded on her understanding of clericalism and how it played into her decision to resign, after serving for three years, from the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.

During the past 20 years, she said, the church "has been reactive" and "has not changed one single thing unless forced to by survivors and those in the media. ... I don't believe the church has made any changes of its own volition." She made her remarks at the United Methodist Building on Capitol Hill at the outset of her tour, titled, "A Crisis of Culture: Seeking Justice to Reclaim the Church."

Late nun, at Dwenger in '60s, on abuser list

Journal Gazette

Sept. 11, 2019

By Rosa Salter Rodriguez

A deceased former religious sister has been added to the list of those who have worked in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend and been found to have a credible allegation of sexual abuse of a minor.

The allegation regarding the late Sister Susan Whitten is reported in a statement from the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ in Wednesday's issue of Today's Catholic, the diocese's weekly newspaper.

Whitten was a teacher at Bishop Dwenger High School in Fort Wayne in her last assignment before being dispensed from her vows in 1967, the statement said.

The person making the allegation was a member of the class of 1967 and accused Whitten “of engaging in an inappropriate relationship,” according to the statement. “Out of respect for the privacy of the individual who made this credible allegation, the Poor Handmaids will not say anything further regarding the allegation or the response to it.”

The statement also said the order is “saddened to hear of this abuse” and adds the safety and well-being of children “is of the highest importance to us.”

Julie Dowd, the order's communications director, told The Journal Gazette on Wednesday she did not know when Whitten joined the order or left it.

But Dowd said Whitten's leaving was “just her choice” and not the result of official discipline.

Dowd also said she would not disclose the gender or any information about the person making the allegation.

An online history of the Poor Handmaids lists Whitten as one of four of the order's sisters assigned to Dwenger as teachers when it first opened in 1963. A Poor Handmaids sister also was assigned as assistant principal.

‘She was scared’: Mother testifies in trial of KCK priest accused of sexual abuse

Kansas City Star

Sept. 11, 2019

By Robert Cronkleton

The adoptive mother of a girl allegedly sexually abused by a Catholic priest in Kansas City, Kansas, testified Wednesday that she waited to report the inappropriate touching she witnessed because she didn’t think the church would do anything.

She saw the priest carrying her daughter in a way he shouldn’t have been, she said. But she did not see him touch her daughter’s breast as the girl later reported.

Because the mother hadn’t witnessed sexual abuse, she felt the incident she did witness would be “swept under the rug” and forgotten about, she testified.

It wasn’t until months later that she came forward and reported what happened.

The testimony came during the trial of the Rev. Scott Kallal, 37, who is charged in Wyandotte County District Court with two felony counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child.

The Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas suspended Kallal in July 2017 after receiving allegations of inappropriate conduct involving two people, one a minor.

Kallal has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The trial, which continues this week, concerns two incidents that allegedly occurred in 2015, according to testimony at a preliminary hearing in December 2017. The girl testified at the hearing that twice when she was 10, Kallal had tickled her breasts against her wishes.

The first alleged incident was at a friend’s graduation party in Bonner Springs in spring 2015. The second allegedly took place a few months later at the parish hall gymnasium at St. Patrick’s church in Kansas City, Kansas.

It was the second incident that the adoptive mother testified about Wednesday.

In June 2015, she was helping coordinate appointments for the church’s pictorial directory in the parish hall, she said. Her daughter was in the gym playing when Kallal came to get his picture taken. Kallal heard the sound of a basketball bouncing and asked who was in the gym, the woman testified.

When she responded that it was her daughter, Kallal made a “bee line” to the gym, the woman testified. Shortly thereafter, she heard her daughter scream.

Her daughter came “flying out” the gym door with Kallal right behind her. The girl ran into the women’s restroom, where she tried to lock herself into a stall, the woman testified. Kallal followed her in. He then came out carrying the girl with his arms wrapped around her.

When the woman saw that, she told Kallal to put her daughter down — that it was inappropriate to do that, she testified. She had to say that about three times before he put the girl down, she said.

“She was scared,” the woman said.

The woman testified that she was mortified and shell-shocked at what happened. She didn’t know what what to do.

The woman clutched a rosary for comfort and strength during her testimony. She said the fact that Kallal was a priest also affected how she responded. She was a “cradle Catholic” and raised to hold priests in higher regard, she said.

Former Wisconsin priest may testify in his own defense in sex abuse trial


Sept. 11, 2019

A former Wisconsin priest on trial for the alleged sexual assaults of an altar boy over a decade ago will decide by Friday whether to take witness stand in his own defense.

The 26-year old accuser testified earlier he felt he was gay as early as middle school and welcomed the sexual contact with Father William Nolan of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Fort Atkinson. The accuser testified there were at least one hundred sexual encounters between Nolan and himself between 2006 and 2009.

One of the accuser’s friends, Tyler Zaspel testified Thursday and contradicted the accuser’s claim of the timing of the initial, 2006 sexual assault. Zaspel said the accuser confided to him two years ago that the first sex with Nolan was during a 2009 ski trip.

A Wisconsin Department of Justice forensic investigator testified there was nothing retrieved from the accuser’s cell phone or Nolan’s lap top computer to establish any past, electronic connections between the two before Nolan’s May 2018 arrest.

The accuser testified earlier watching a film on Boston’s priest sex abuse scandal, Spotlight, motivated him to come forward to Fort Atkinson Police last year.

Nolan’s attorney indicated to the judge it was possible Nolan would testify, but any testimony would come just before the defense rests Friday. During the jury selection process, the attorney stressed to potential jurors they could not legally hold any lack of testimony by Nolan against him.

The judge says jurors are expected to begin deliberations in the 66-year old priest’s trial on six, felony child sex crimes Friday afternoon.

Editorial: Buffalo, Church teaching and the role of a bishop

Our Sunday Visitor

Sept. 12, 2019

Let us start by stating truthfully and unequivocally: The Church is blessed with many good bishops. Such men have given their lives in service to the Church, as shepherds keeping watch over their flocks. Like the people they care for, they are trying to do their best to hold the Church together amid its many challenges by teaching and protecting the one, holy, catholic and apostolic faith. We are grateful for their witness, their service, and their love of Jesus Christ and the Church.

But it would be highly naive to pretend that all of our episcopal leaders are cut from such righteous cloth. Indeed, the Church has struggled mightily in recent decades because of a failure of leadership and, in many cases, because of the impropriety of certain shepherds themselves. No one who has followed the scandalous stories of former cardinal Theodore McCarrick or Bishop Michael Bransfield could deny this.

Another aspect of the sex abuse crisis are bishops who have mishandled reports of clergy abuse, who have concealed the truth and who have left their flock vulnerable, all of which weakens their ability to proclaim the Faith. In his recent motu proprio, titled Vos Estis Lux Mundi, Pope Francis makes it clear that bishops can and should be held accountable for such misconduct. Pope Francis adds that bishops “above all” have the responsibility to help the Church move forward from the crisis, and this “demands from them a commitment to follow closely the path of the Divine Master.” This means, before all else, a commitment to the truth — both following it and telling it, no matter the cost.

Lumen Gentium, the Second Vatican Council’s dogmatic constitution on the Church, also makes clear the responsibilities of a bishop, saying, “it is the duty of all bishops to promote and to safeguard the unity of faith and the discipline common to the whole Church, to instruct the faithful to love for the whole mystical body of Christ … and finally to promote every activity that is of interest to the whole Church, especially that the faith may take increase and the light of full truth appear to all men. And this also is important, that by governing well their own church as a portion of the universal Church, they themselves are effectively contributing to the welfare of the whole Mystical Body, which is also the body of the churches” (No. 23).

September 11, 2019

Catholics poured their hearts out to Bishop Malone. He blocked their emails.


Sept. 11, 2019

By Charlie Specht

Last week, Bishop Malone said he was getting mostly positive feedback from Catholics about his handling of multiple sexual abuse scandals .

“Just today [I got] probably 12 or 13 either voicemails or emailing saying, ‘Stay with it, we need you, do not resign,’” Malone said Friday.

But that would soon change.

Within hours of hearing the bishop’s interview, Catholics across Western New York -- young and old, practicing and lapsed -- began flooding the bishop’s email with letters asking him to resign.

Many of the Catholics -- 52 of them, to be exact -- copied the 7 Eyewitness News I-Team on the emails sent to the bishop. All 52 asked for his immediate resignation.

“I think we've all come to the realization now that it's time for the bishop to go,” said William Ogilvie, a parishioner at Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Clarence. “The large majority of people in my parish specifically -- and in all the parishes, from what I have seen -- the large majority want the bishop to resign.”

The messages sent by Catholics to the bishop said things like:

“...You have failed your people. You have failed your flock. It is time to step down…”

“...Because of you Bishop, I have thought of leaving the faith…”

“...I pray that you do the right thing. Step down - let us heal…”

Click here to read all of the letters sent to Bishop Malone and the I-Team.

But by Sunday night, Catholics like John Polvino began receiving error messages saying the bishop’s email address -- bishop.malone@buffalodiocese.org -- “couldn’t be found”.



Sept. 11, 2019

By Daniel Avery

Apopular Catholic priest has been named in two sex abuse lawsuits filed this week in New York City.

Monsignor Otto Garcia, a vicar at St. Teresa's Church in Woodside, is accused of sexually assaulting 61-year-old Tom Davis when Davis was a teenage alter boy in the 1970s.

"He was able to pick me as a prime victim because of my parents' involvement in the church," Davis said in a press conference Tuesday. "I just didn't think anyone would believe me. I said nothing until my parents passed."

The abuse allegedly occurred between 1971 and 1973, when Davis was an altar boy at St. Michael's Church in Flushing, Queens. His family was fully enmeshed in church life — his mother was a teacher in the parish school and his father was the parish basketball coach. Davis got a job answering phones in the rectory and Garcia would allegedly come by to visit alone.

"He would start with, 'You look tense, let me rub your back.' Then he'd say, 'Let me rub lower, stand up,' Davis told the New York Daily News in February. "He'd make me stand up, he'd put his hands under my shirt and try to get under my pants. Then he would start grinding me from behind and rub my nipples. I was terrified."

Davis says he tried to push back, but "he was bigger than me — he'd use physical force to keep me trapped, rubbing his groin against me," he recounted. "He'd see how far he could go."

Getting a job at a local grocery store, Davis finally quit working at the rectory. But he still couldn't bring himself to come forward with the abuse because his parents — and his community — held Father Garcia in such high regard. Later, as an adult working as a plumber at Shea Stadium, he feared speaking out would damage his career.

Eventually Garcia was made monsignor, while Davis felt so ashamed he began abusing drugs and alcohol and sabotaging relationships. After years of soul searching and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, he finally reported the abuse to the Diocese of Brooklyn's review board in 2017.

The board determined there was "a lack of evidence" for his accusations, and prosecutors said the statute of limitations had long run out.

"I reported [Garcia] to the diocese and even picked him out of a lineup, but after a two-day investigation, they just swept it under the rug," Davis at Tuesday's press briefing. "I'm not looking for a payday," he told the Daily News. "I'm just trying to get [Monsignor Garcia] out of the ministry."

A second suit against Garcia was also filed by a John Doe, though details have not been made available.

Parish survey shows little support for Bishop Malone


Sept. 11, 2019

By Ed Reilly

Bishop Richard insists that he has the majority of support among his clergy in the Diocese of Buffalo, despite troubling revelations about his handling of the priest sex abuse crisis.

Influential Catholic groups, like the "Movement to Restore Trust," have called for the Bishop to resign after secret audio recordings were released showing Malone was hesitant to deal with an active pastor accused of sexually harassing a seminarian because the Bishop was worried about a public scandal.

In the recording, Bishop Malone referred to the accused priest as "dangerous" and a "sick puppy."

After the story went public, Malone called a press conference where he said that he has no plans to step down and believes he still has the majority of support from his clergy.

But is that true?

Parishioners, politicians, lawyers call for Bishop Malone’s resignation

West Seneca Bee

Sept. 11, 2019

By Alan Rizzo and Taylor Nigrelli

Lawyers, local politicians and Catholic parishioners from around the region are calling for the resignation of Bishop Richard Malone, in the wake of an increasing number of Child Victims Act lawsuits against priests from the Diocese of Buffalo, as well as his handling of the growing scandal.

On Sept. 4, attorneys Jeff Anderson and Steve Boyd, both of whom are representing child sexual abuse survivors in Child Victims Act lawsuits filed against the diocese, called for Bishop Malone’s resignation after news that he had discussed his possible resignation with diocesan officials in the wake of a scandal regarding Christ the King Seminary and claims of sexual harassment by the Rev. Jeffrey Nowak, a diocesan priest.

Anderson and Boyd criticized Bishop Malone for continuing to “deflect, deny and disparage” accusations of clergy sexual misconduct.

“Truth is simple,” Anderson said. “Deception, denial and prevarication are complex. Bishop Malone is a master at it.”

According to the attorneys, during a recent press conference on the scandal Bishop Malone was less concerned with the damaging content of the recordings referencing Rev. Nowak’s behavior and more concerned that a diocesan official had recorded conversations about the scandal — including the resignation discussion and one in which he had called Rev. Nowak a “sick puppy.”

A church lured in homeless people - then locked them in houses and forced them to panhandle, feds say

Washington Post

Sept. 11, 2019

By Meagan Flynn

Inside a beige bungalow in California's Imperial Valley with a well-trimmed lawn and beds of pink flowers, the 17-year-old girl felt imprisoned. The doors were locked from the inside. The windows were nailed shut.

Like the other homeless and vulnerable people who came to Imperial Valley Ministries seeking shelter, food and rehab, the teenager was not allowed to leave without supervision, was not allowed to contact her family, to "discuss things of the world" or read any book but the Bible, according to federal prosecutors. Those who lived in the church's group homes had to turn over their money and welfare benefits, their identification and all of their personal belongings, so that even if they wanted to leave, they couldn't, prosecutors said.

Then, once they settled in, they were allegedly forced to panhandle up to nine hours a day for six days a week in parking lots and on street corners - turning over every penny they earned to the church.

Queens pastor tasked with investigating pedophile priests for diocese accused of child sex abuse by Flushing man

Queens Times Ledger

Sept. 10, 2019

By Bill Parry

The longtime pastor of St. Joan of Arc Church in Jackson Heights and current parochial vicar at St. Teresa’s Church in Woodside was named in two lawsuits filed Tuesday under the Child Victims Act as an alleged sexual abuser.

Monsignor Otto Garcia, who was cleared after a Diocese of Brooklyn investigation in February determined allegations against him were “unsubstantiated,” was accused of child sexual abuse by Tom Davis, 61, during a Manhattan press conference on Sept. 10.

Garcia is a vicar general with the Diocese of Brooklyn, and part of his duties involve investigating allegations of sexual abuse made against clergy members. He remains an active priest, and celebrated Mass at St. Teresa’s Church as recently as Sept. 8.

Davis told reporters on Sept. 10 that he kept the incident to himself for nearly five decades before finally coming forward.

'It's a public shaming:' Pa. Supreme Court hears arguments on grand jury report

York Daily Record

Sept. 10, 2019

By Dylan Segelbaum

Brian Platt appeared before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Tuesday to argue that a grand
jury report that names Charles Quinton “C.Q.” Smith should never see the light of day. He was finished in less than five minutes — and after facing minimal questions.

Platt and Stephanie Cesare represent Smith, a pillar of the Chambersburg community who served as scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 127 from 1966 to 1991. A York Daily Record/Sunday News investigation revealed that he had been the subject of the grand jury inquiry, which was into allegations of decades of sexual abuse.

The statute of limitations has expired, and Smith cannot be criminally charged. Franklin County President Judge Carol L. Van Horn, who supervised the grand jury, ordered for the report to be publicly released, writing that Smith was “afforded all the protections of due process.”

But Smith has asked the state Supreme Court to permanently seal the report, or, alternatively, to shield his identity. He’s only identified in court records by his initials, C.S., and is anonymously proceeding in the petition.

Accuser says he didn't want to get retired Catholic priest 'in trouble' by reporting sexual abuse

Channel 3000

Sept. 10, 2019

By Rose Schmidt

A man who says a Catholic priest sexually abused him when he was a teenager took the stand Tuesday in the second day of the now-retired cleric's sexual assault trial.

The accuser, now 26, alleges that William Nolan sexually assaulted him more than 100 times over a span of four years starting in 2006 when the alleged victim was in middle school. At the time of the alleged incidents, the accuser said he was an altar boy at St. Joseph's Church in Fort Atkinson and Nolan was the priest.

He testified that he never "never felt like a victim" because he was often the one who instigated the sexual encounters with Nolan.

"Part of me did feel guilty for doing it because ... I also sought it out, so I felt bad for getting a man in trouble who I do not hate or did not dislike. I felt bad and had a hard time calling the police knowing that it would put him in very serious trouble," the accuser said in Jefferson County court Tuesday.

Diocese of Brooklyn hit with 10 new lawsuits under Child Victims Act

New York Post

September 10, 2019

By Elizabeth Rosner and Ebony Bowden

Three newly-accused clergymen were named in a batch of sexual abuse lawsuits filed against the Diocese of Brooklyn on Monday in Brooklyn civil court.

The victims filed 10 separate suits under New York State’s new Child Victims Act, claiming they were repeatedly sexually abused by Catholic clergy in Brooklyn between the 1950s and 1980s.

Father Patrick Fursey O’Toole, Friar Rudolph Manozzi and Brother Julio Ortiz were newly accused of engaging in “unpermitted sexual contact” with the altar boy victims, according to court docs.

Both O’Toole and Manozzi are dead. Ortiz’s whereabouts are unknown.

O’Toole is accused of abusing an altar boy over a 9-year period in the 1980s at the now-demolished St. Ann’s Church, formerly in Brooklyn, when he was aged 9 to 18.

Attorney General Morrisey Reacts To Pivotal Hearing in Case Against Wheeling-Charleston

Huntington News

Sept. 11, 2019

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s office urged a circuit court at a hearing Tuesday in Parkersburg to allow its case against the Wheeling-Charleston Diocese to proceed.

“We are pleased and appreciate having had our day in court,” Attorney General Morrisey said after the hearing. “These allegations are very serious, and we are hopeful now that we can begin a process of bringing true transparency to this ordeal and ensure compliance with our state’s consumer protection laws.”

The Attorney General argues his office’s lawsuit does not seek to dictate how the Diocese can hire, teach and operate, rather it seeks to enforce state law that requires honesty in advertising when the Diocese markets its fee-based schools and camps.

These facts include allegations that the Diocese hid its knowing employment of abusive priests and its failure to conduct the comprehensive background checks it promised.

The Attorney General contends attempts to dismiss the state’s lawsuit rely upon a flawed reading of the state’s Consumer Credit and Protection Act.

Remove Malone, make the metropolitan model work in Buffalo

National Catholic Reporter

Sept. 11, 2019

By Michael Sean Winters

Monday, the Catholic Herald reported that New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan was preparing to make an announcement regarding Buffalo, New York, Bishop Richard Malone. "[Cardinal Dolan] has been following the situation very closely, and has been consulting extensively," Joseph Zwilling, longtime communications director for the New York Archdiocese told the Herald by email. "I would anticipate that we will hear something within the near future regarding this matter," he concluded.

Malone has been embattled since last year when, on "60 Minutes," his former secretary, Siobhan O'Connor, alleged Malone covered up cases of clergy sex abuse and provided documents that supported her allegation. Malone has denied the allegations.

This summer, there was a series of charges and counter-charges involving Malone's handling of what he himself deemed a "love triangle." Malone removed a pastor whom a seminarian alleged had made unwanted sexual advances on him, but a love letter from the bishop's priest secretary to the same seminarian raised the possibility that the pastor was taking the fall. The priest secretary is now on a leave of absence as well.

The situation in Buffalo has unfolded at the same time as the universal church, under the leadership of Pope Francis, has finally taken steps to hold bishops accountable not merely for any sexual abuse they commit, but also for covering up the abuse of others. In May, the Holy Father issued the letter "Vos estis lux mundi" on his own initiative (motu proprio) that accorded metropolitan archbishops responsibility for conducting investigations into suffragan bishops against whom an allegation has been made. In a first for the ever-slow Vatican, the new law contained deadlines: Once the metropolitan requests authority to conduct an investigation, the relevant dicastery in the Vatican curia has 30 days to respond, and then the metropolitan must file a monthly report and complete the investigation within 90 days.

Bishop of Crookston Diocese first in U.S. to be investigated under new Vatican protocol


Sept. 11, 2019

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis announced it has been authorized to investigate the bishop of the Crookston Diocese under recently enacted policies directed by Pope Francis aimed at rooting out sex abuse crimes and the covering of those crimes within the Catholic Church.

The archdiocese posted a statement attributed to Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda regarding the investigation of Bishop Michael Hoeppner on its website Wednesday morning.

"I have been authorized by the Congregation for Bishops to commence an investigation into allegations that the Most Reverend Michael Hoeppner, the Bishop of Crookston, carried out acts or omissions intended to interfere with or avoid civil or canonical investigations of clerical sexual misconduct in the Diocese of Crookston. Law enforcement has been notified of the allegations. The allegations were reported to me under the procedures set out in Pope Francis’ recent legislation addressing bishop accountability, the motu proprio Vos estis lux mundi."

Elma church calls for Bishop Malone’s resignation


Sept. 11, 2019

By Evan Anstey

An Elma church is calling for Bishop Richard Malone’s resignation.

The request came in the form of a letter, written by Rev. Eugene P. Ulrich, of Church of the Annunciation. The church is located on Clinton St.

“You added that you can only continue your service as Shepherd with the support of clergy and laity,” Ulrich wrote. “As pastor, I have a responsibility to our faith community and to you as our Bishop, to gauge to some degree the measure of that support and convey it to you.”

Malone has come under fire for his handling of various sex abuse allegations and lawsuits within the Catholic Diocese.

“It is difficult to see how, with continuing disclosures, that you can effectively lead the Catholic Church at Buffalo,” Ulrich wrote.

September 10, 2019

Memphis church investigates decades-old sex abuse allegations against former pastor


Sept. 9, 2019

By Kendall Downing

A Memphis church says it is investigating “severe allegations” of sexual abuse against a former pastor dating back two decades. Woodland Presbyterian Church on Park Avenue notified its membership of the allegations and the ensuing investigation Sunday.

At this time the church is aware of four alleged victims.

WMC Action News 5 has learned the men are now adults in their late 30s and early 40s. The church is bringing in an independent firm to conduct an investigation, and they have encouraged the men to filed reports with Tennessee Department of Children’s Services.

“It’s been a devastating thing for me personally, for our whole church to understand and try to wrap our head around this,” said Matt Miller, senior pastor of Woodland Presbyterian Church.

In recent days, four men told leadership at Woodland Presbyterian Church about sexual abuse they say they suffered at the hands of a former pastor who led the church for 18 years. WMC Action News 5 is not naming that former leader, who has been identified by the church, because no criminal charges have been filed.

“We’ve made it a top priority to understand the nature of the allegations and to be as transparent as possible,” said Miller.

Miller is the church’s current pastor and he says no one currently on the church staff was there when the alleged abuse took place.

'Michael Cohen Of Brooklyn Diocese' Faces Own Sex Abuse Suit


Sept. 10, 2019

By Kathleen Culliton

The "Michael Cohen of the Brooklyn Diocese" who allegedly worked as a fixer for pedophile priests himself stands accused of child sex abuse by people deeply concerned that he continues to practice in Queens.

Thomas Davis and an anonymous accuser have filed child sex abuse suits against Monsignor Otto Garcia — accused by a Diocese nun of covering up at least three child sex abuse investigations — who currently serves as parochial vicar at the Church of St. Teresa in Woodside, according to his accuser, attorneys and reports.

"I was molested by father Otto Garcia when I was a child," Davis said at a press conference Tuesday. "He was able to pick me out as a prime victim because my parents were very involved in the church, because I didn't think anyone would believe me."

Legal Team Files 10 Child Sex Abuse Lawsuits Against Brooklyn Diocese

Brooklyn Reader

Sept. 10, 2019

A group of law firms on Tuesday held a joint press conference in Manhattan to announce the filing of 10 clergy sexual abuse lawsuits against the Diocese of Brooklyn.

Following the signing into law of New York’s new Child Victims Act (CVA) in February 2019, beginning August 14, victims of child sexual abuse received a one-year window to file old civil claims for child sexual abuse, no matter when the abuse occurred. Since that time, tens of thousands of New Yorkers have come forward.

The law firms of Jeff Anderson & Associates and Robins Kaplan LLP held the press conference to release what they are calling The Anderson Report on Sexual Abuse in the Diocese of Brooklyn, which contains the identities, histories, photographs and information on 200 perpetrators accused of child sexual abuse in the Diocese of Brooklyn. Most of the victims were ages 30-70.

“This is one of the most important historic and culture-changing times of child protection in America, because of the opening of the [statute of] limitations,” Anderson told BK Reader. “In the past, every time we brought actions, they were shut down. So this will be considered a massive cleanup following a massive coverup.”

Alleged rape victim's case shakes up JCOPE

Times Union

Sept. 10, 2019

By Chris Bragg

The normally staid monthly meeting of the state Joint Commission on Public Ethics on Tuesday featured a first: two women dressed in red cloaks and white bonnets stationed outside the ethics agency's offices in downtown Albany, reading a satiric children's book detailing the panel's alleged failings.

The small Albany protest — with costumes inspired by Margaret Atwood's dystopian novel "The Handmaid's Tale" — was organized by Kat Sullivan, an alleged rape survivor who has been extensively targeted by JCOPE since 2018 for possible lobbying violations while advocating for passage of the Child Victim's Act.

In Manhattan, a larger protest was held in front of a building housing the law offices of Michael K. Rozen, JCOPE's chairman. That protest was similarly theatrical, and in both cases Sullivan sought to raise questions about why Rozen has not recused himself from her case. Sullivan in recent days even took out a billboard on I-787 posting the same question.

JCOPE staff has repeatedly declined to state whether Rozen has recused himself in its dealings with Sullivan. Rozen was not in Albany on Tuesday, but teleconferenced into the meeting from a location that was not identified in the public portion of the meeting.

In an interview, Sullivan said she was planning to now take several legal steps. With the assistance of her attorney David Grandeau, the state's outspoken former top lobbying official, she plans to file an Article 78 proceeding targeting JCOPE.

Two women dressed as characters from The Handmaid's Tale and supporters of Kat Sullivan, a former Emma Willard student and alleged rape victim, attend a meeting of the New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics on Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019, in Albany, N.Y. JCOPE is pursuing Sullivan for alleged violations of lobbying regulations. (Paul Buckowski/Times) Photo: Paul Buckowski, Albany Times Union / (Paul Buckowski/Times Union)
Photo: Paul Buckowski, Albany Times Union
Two women dressed as characters from The Handmaid's Tale and supporters of Kat Sullivan, a former Emma Willard student and alleged rape victim, attend a meeting of the New York State Joint Commission on Public ... moreBuy Photo

ALBANY — The normally staid monthly meeting of the state Joint Commission on Public Ethics on Tuesday featured a first: two women dressed in red cloaks and white bonnets stationed outside the ethics agency's offices in downtown Albany, reading a satiric children's book detailing the panel's alleged failings.

The small Albany protest — with costumes inspired by Margaret Atwood's dystopian novel "The Handmaid's Tale" — was organized by Kat Sullivan, an alleged rape survivor who has been extensively targeted by JCOPE since 2018 for possible lobbying violations while advocating for passage of the Child Victim's Act.

In Manhattan, a larger protest was held in front of a building housing the law offices of Michael K. Rozen, JCOPE's chairman. That protest was similarly theatrical, and in both cases Sullivan sought to raise questions about why Rozen has not recused himself from her case. Sullivan in recent days even took out a billboard on I-787 posting the same question.

JCOPE staff has repeatedly declined to state whether Rozen has recused himself in its dealings with Sullivan. Rozen was not in Albany on Tuesday, but teleconferenced into the meeting from a location that was not identified in the public portion of the meeting.

Laws forcing priests to report child abuse passed in Victorian parliament

The Age

September 11, 2019

By Simone Fox Koob and Benita Kolovos

Priests in Victoria will now have to report child abuse if it is revealed to them during confesssion, or face up to three years in prison, after legislation was passed by Parliament last night.

The bill passed the upper house on Tuesday night after last week getting a green light from the Legislative Assembly, with opposition support.

"Today we've made Victoria a safer place for children. The special treatment for churches has ended and child abuse must be reported," Child Protection Minister Luke Donnellan said on Tuesday night.

"I thank all the abuse survivors, their families and advocates who helped us deliver these reforms. We can't undo the harm to so many children in the past, but this will help ensure it never happens again."

New allegations of abuse lodged against disgraced retired Wyoming bishop


Sept. 10, 2019

By Christopher White

The diocese of Cheyenne, Wyoming announced on Tuesday that it has substantiated three new allegations of abuse against retired Bishop Joseph Hart who could soon become the first U.S. bishop to face criminal prosecution for sexual abuse.

The diocese has previously investigated the cases of three other individuals, which were deemed credible and substantiated, bringing the total number of Cheyenne victims who have come forward to six.

“The allegations have been reported to the civil authorities, and the Diocese of Cheyenne has cooperated fully with the police,” the diocese said in a statement on Tuesday.

The diocese said Hart had declined to be interviewed in its review of the new cases, which they had been given authorization by the Holy See to conduct prior to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) passing new directives for bishop accountability measures.

Vatican authorizes ‘Vos estis’ investigation into Minnesota bishop Hoeppner

Sept. 10, 2019

By J.D. Flynn

Bishop Michael Hoeppner is the first sitting U.S. bishop to be investigated under new misconduct protocols introduced by Pope Francis earlier this year.

Hoeppner, Bishop of Crookston, Minnesota, will be investigated by Minneapolis’ Archbishop Bernard Hebda, on charges that Hoeppner thwarted a police or canonical investigation of clerical sexual misconduct in his diocese.

“I have been authorized by the Congregation for Bishops to commence an investigation into allegations that the Most Reverend Michael Hoeppner, the Bishop of Crookston, carried out acts or omissions intended to interfere with or avoid civil or canonical investigations of clerical sexual misconduct in the Diocese of Crookston,” Hebda told CNA Sept. 10.

“Law enforcement has been notified of the allegations. The allegations were reported to me under the procedures set out in Pope Francis’ recent legislation addressing bishop accountability, the motu proprio Vos estis lux mundi.”

Hebda did not state directly what charges he will investigate. However, Hoeppner has been accused of pressuring Ron Vasek, a former diaconal candidate in the diocese, to recant the allegation that he was molested in 1971 by a Crookston priest.

In 2015, Vasek signed a letter withdrawing the allegation. He told CNA last year that Hoeppner coerced him into signing that letter.

Child sex abuse victims deserve time to sue

Seattle Times

Sept. 9, 2019

Despite revelations of pervasive child sexual abuse that have come to light in recent decades, the Legislature has not provided victims more time to seek justice in civil court. This makes the state a national outlier and cries out for reform.

Legislators have not since 1991 modified the law that gives victims of child rape in Washington only three years of adulthood — until their 21st birthday — to sue attackers and hold accountable an irresponsible institution, such as a church or youth group. The same law allows another three-year window when a victim realizes that childhood abuse caused a harm, such as an addiction.

Victims of child sex crimes deserve more time to grapple with trauma and contemplate a public lawsuit. The vast majority of states, including Oregon and Idaho, have laws that provide at least a few years longer. The nonprofit Child USA traces a national reform movement on this issue to 2002, the year The Boston Globe brought to light the Catholic Church’s systematic concealment of abusers.

Since then, 38 states and Washington, D.C. have expanded the time victims have to bring lawsuits. Ten states have eliminated the civil statute of limitations entirely, Because these laws are not retroactive, 16 states have given all past victims a temporary window to file child sex-abuse lawsuits. The Washington Legislature should consider both policies.

Marci Hamilton, Child USA’s chief executive officer, said extensive national coverage of sex-abuse cases against Harvey Weinstein, Jeffrey Epstein and Larry Nassar, the Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics doctor, as well as the #MeToo movement, helped drive sex abuse law changes in 20 states in 2019 alone.

Washington counts in that number because the Legislature this spring eliminated statutes of limitations on criminally prosecuting those who sexually abuse children. The civil liability remained static, as it did during a 2013 expansion of prosecutors’ ability to go after child rapists.

“No one ever knew:” Prosecutor says Wisconsin priest concealed his child sex assaults


September 9, 2019

“No one ever knew,” a prosecutor told jurors on the opening day of the trial of a priest charged with assaulting a 12-year-old altar boy in 2006.

William Nolan is facing six counts of child sexual assault in the trial that began Monday at the Jefferson County courthouse.

Nolan has denied the allegations, and in his opening statement, Nolan’s attorney Jonas Bednarek called the accuser a self-admitted “…thief, shoplifter … compulsive liar.”

Bridgeport Diocese: 2 dead priests credibly accused of abuse

Connecticut Post

September 10, 2019

By Daniel Tepfer

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport has acknowledged for the first time that a prominent cleric, who according to court documents played a major role in hiding cases of abuse by priests, was “credibly accused” of abusing a child.

Monsignor William Genuario, who died in June 2015, had been the vicar general of the diocese and reviewed accusations of sexual abuse against priests. Genuario also was a prominent priest in Greenwich for almost 20 years.

The diocese also stated that another dead priest, the Rev. Vincent Cleary, was determined to have a credible allegation of abuse against him.

“It is with deep regret that I must inform you of the inclusion of two deceased priests of the diocese on the list of those credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor,” Bishop Frank J. Caggiano stated in a letter to parishioners dated Sept. 7.

Diocese Whistleblower 2: Bishop Grosz ‘should be removed’ from diocese


Sept. 9, 2019

By Daniel Telvock

Rev. Ryszard Biernat can calmly discuss the sexual abuse complaint he filed in 2004 against a priest, but it is how he says Auxiliary Bishop Edward Grosz handled the situation that brings him to tears.

Biernat, the second whistleblower from the diocese who took a leave of absence last month as the bishop’s priest secretary, told News 4 Investigates that both Grosz and Bishop Richard Malone should be removed from their positions.

Biernat said Grosz “blackmailed” him in 2004 when he filed the abuse complaint by allegedly saying to him that he needed to keep quiet about the incident if he wanted to be ordained.

When Biernat told another priest about that meeting, he said Grosz called him moments later to remind him that he must not discuss the abuse with others.

“That meeting and his phone call crushed me,” said a tearful Biernat.

“It got at me, I became like a shell of a person and I think it was not only what he said but what he stood for. Not only he was not willing to hear my hurt, was not willing to listen to what happened to me, but to threaten and blackmail me?”

The diocese, in a statement Monday, said Grosz “categorically denies the statement that he threatened to block seminarian Ryszard’s ordination as reported.”

September 9, 2019

Columbus Diocese Adds Names To List Of Abusive Priests

Associated Press

Sept. 10, 2019

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus has added eight names to the list of priests it says have been credibly accused of sexually abusing minors.

Seven of the eight involve allegations against priests who served in the diocese but allegedly committed abuse elsewhere. All eight are deceased. The additions bring the list to 48 names. The Diocese is creating a task force to review its policies for handling abuse allegations. Task force members will include abuse survivors, law enforcement and mental health professionals, social workers, and both laypersons and clergy.

Advocacy Group Criticizes Kansas City-St. Joseph Bishop

Associated Press

Sept. 9, 2019

An advocacy group for people sexually abused by Roman Catholic priests is criticizing the bishop of the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese for not naming more people on a list of clerics who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing children.

Bishop James Johnston Jr. released a list Friday of 19 clerics from the diocese who he said had substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of children against them. Another 11 former clerics were named in different categories.

On Monday, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests said at a news conference that the bishop's list was incomplete because it didn't include priests who at some point lived or worked in the Kansas City area but who were accused of sexual abuse in other dioceses.

David Clohessy, Missouri director for SNAP, argued the diocese should do all it can to publicize the names of any cleric accused of abuse, even if that person was not assigned to the diocese, even if they have already been publicly named by other dioceses.

"The bishop has a simple choice," Clohessy said. "If you want to safeguard the vulnerable, there's absolutely no reason why you wouldn't put these names on your list and warn the flock of every single child molester, nun, bishop, monk, seminarian, priest or even lay teachers who they should be concerned about ... Bishop Johnson has had more than enough time to look at the work of his fellow bishops and say 'I can do better' and he hasn't."

NY Cardinal Dolan may step in to examine Buffalo Diocese


Sept. 9 2019

By Charlie Specht

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of the Archdiocese of New York may step in to examine the scandal-plagued Buffalo Diocese.

The news, which was first reported by the Catholic Herald , comes as Catholics across Western New York have mounted an intense campaign to remove their bishop after damaging audio recordings were published by the 7 Eyewitness News I-Team .

"Cardinal Dolan is very aware of his responsibilities as Metropolitan under Vos estis,” Joseph Zwilling, spokesman for the New York Archdiocese, confirmed to the I-Team. "Vos estis lux mundi" is the new reform law Pope Francis enacted last spring to deal with clergy sexual abuse and cover-up by the world's bishops.

Referring to the cardinal, Zwilling said, "He has been following the situation very closely, and has been consulting extensively. I would anticipate that we will hear something within the near future regarding this matter,” he concluded.

Cardinal Dolan considering options over scandal-hit Buffalo diocese

Catholic Herald

September, 2019

By Christopher Altieri

The cardinal has been 'consulting extensively' regarding his duties as metropolitan as the crisis over Bishop Malone deepens

The Catholic Herald has learned that the Archdiocese of New York is closely monitoring the crisis in the Diocese of Buffalo, and that broad consultations are ongoing, with a view to possible action.

The embattled Bishop of Buffalo, Richard J. Malone, faced several new calls for his resignation last week and over the weekend, including one from a group — the Movement to Restore Trust — that had previously sought to work with the bishop, and an editorial published Saturday by The Buffalo News. Rank-and-file clergy and faithful have also begun writing letters calling on Malone to step down, and forwarding them to local news outlets for publication.

Bishop Malone inherited a diocese with serious cultural and disciplinary problems in the chancery and throughout the clergy. Though Malone defends his record of leadership, two whistle-blowers highly placed within his office have brought evidence before the public reasonably purporting to show serious failures and lapses in judgment with regard to several cases involving both minors and adults, as well as evidence Malone participated in efforts to keep information potentially damaging to his reputation from reaching the public.

Bishop Malone admits he has made mistakes, but steadfastly denies criminal wrongdoing. The clergy and faithful of Buffalo grow daily more impatient with their appointed leader.

Lectures at The University of Scranton explore response to clergy sexual abuse

Abington Journal

September 9, 2019

The University of Scranton’s Task Force on Healing, Reconciliation and Hope will host two public lectures this fall, one exploring “Insights from History and Theology” and the other discussing “Prevention, Healing and Reconciliation.” Both lectures are free of charge and open to the public.

On Sept. 16, award-winning authors Massimo Faggioli, Ph.D., professor of theology and religious studies at Villanova University, and Rita Ferrone, a writer and frequent speaker on issues of liturgy and church renewal, will discuss lessons that can be gleaned from history about the clergy sexual abuse crisis and how prayer and liturgy can be a source of healing and courage. The lecture will begin at 7 p.m. in the second-floor Kane Forum of Leahy Hall.

A lecture on Oct. 3 will examine structural reforms might help to end the crisis of clergy sexual abuse and the Church’s response to survivors of abuse. Michael Vanderburgh, a survivor of clergy sexual abuse and current executive director of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Dayton, Ohio, and Rev. Thomas Berg, author and vice rector and professor of moral theology at St. Joseph’s Seminary (Dunwoodie) in Yonkers, New York, will present the lecture that will begin at 7 p.m., also in the Kane Forum of Leahy Hall.

A church historian, Dr. Faggioli has written numerous articles and books during his career. His book “Catholicism and Citizenship” received a 2018 award for Faithful Citizenship/Religious Freedom from the Catholic Press Association. He is a columnist for La Croix International, a contributing writer for Commonweal magazine. He was awarded the 2019 Barry University Yves Congar Award for Theological Excellence, which recognizes the contributions of contemporary theologians in working, writing, and teaching in light of the Catholic tradition while moving that tradition forward to meet the challenges of today.

Former Cincinnati and Santa Fe Priest Arrested in the Philippines

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Sept. 9, 2019

Archbishops in Ohio & New Mexico must take active steps now to help law enforcement convict a US priest who has been arrested and is accused of molesting at least 20 Philippine children.

Fr. Pius Hendricks, a former Franciscan Brother, was arrested in the village of Talustusan on Biliran Island in the central Philippines for molesting at least twenty boys. We fear that there are likely more who are still suffering in shame and self-blame.

We hope that this arrest will give hope to his victims and will encourage other survivors in both the Philippines and in the U.S. to come forward and make a report to law enforcement. The Philippines is one of the most Catholic countries in the world and one where priests are treated with extreme deference, a notable risk factor for clergy abuse. We hope that this news will encourage more victims to come forward and find help and healing from secular, independent sources.

Bishop Grosz denies threat to ex-seminarian over abuse complaint

Buffalo News

Sept. 9, 2019

By Jay Tokasz

Auxiliary Bishop Edward M. Grosz denies threatening to block the Rev. Ryszard S. Biernat’s ordination, after Biernat complained to diocese administrators in 2004 that he was sexually assaulted by a priest, a Buffalo Diocese spokeswoman said.

The Buffalo News on Sunday reported the accusation by Biernat, who also said that Grosz’s treatment of his complaint was “10 times worse” than the alleged sexual abuse.

Diocese spokesman Kathy Spangler provided a written response in an email late Sunday, after the story was published online and in print.

“Bishop Grosz categorically denies the statement that he threatened to block seminarian Ryszard’s ordination as reported,” Spangler said in the email.

The News had contacted Spangler on Friday seeking comment from Grosz.

The News on Monday asked for a sit-down interview with Grosz. Through Spangler, Grosz requested a list of questions in writing, which The News declined to provide.

Biernat, 38, alleged that the Rev. Arthur J. Smith sexually abused him in the rectory of St. Thomas Aquinas Church in 2003, when Biernat was a seminary student. Smith denied abusing Biernat.

Biernat said when he reported the abuse to diocese officials in 2004, Grosz blamed him.

“He says to me, ‘Well, it’s your fault. You didn’t lock the door,’ ” said Biernat.

Columbus diocese adds names to list of priests accused of abusing minors


Sept. 9, 2019

The Catholic Diocese of Columbus has confirmed a credible allegation of abuse of a minor against a priest.

The diocese says the accusation was made against Father John Gamba, who died in 2009. Gamba served in parishes across central Ohio, including Columbus, Zanesville and Lancaster, starting in the 1950s.

Most notably, he was chaplain at Ohio State University Hospital from 1961-1969.

The diocese cannot confirm the parish where the accusation was made.

Gamba served at the following parishes:
St. Ladislas, Columbus (1949-50)
St. Nicholas, Zanesville (1950-51)
St. Mary, Lancaster (1951-54)
St. Peter, Columbus (1954-58)
Sacred Heart, New Philadelphia (1958-60)
Christ the King, Columbus (1960-61)
Chaplain at Ohio State University Hospital (1961-69) with residence at St. Margaret of Cortona (1961-62)
Our Lady of Victory (1962-69)
Pastor of St. Genevieve, Calmoutier and chaplain of Apple Creek State Institute from 1970 until his retirement in 1985
The diocese also moved the name of Msgr. Robert Brown to the list of priests who were credibly accused within the diocese after their death. He was previously on a list of priests who were accused of acts outside the diocese, but served in the diocese at one point.

Seven priests were added to the list of clergy who served in the Diocese of Columbus who were accused of abuse elsewhere.

Father Stuart Campbell, OP
Father Joseph Herlihy, OP
Father James Kilkenny, OP
Father Thomas McCarthy, OP
Father Joseph McGuiness, OP
Father Robert Pelkington, OP
Father John Powers, OP

Two bishops on Mo. diocese's list of substantiated clergy abusers

Catholic News Service

Sept. 9, 2019

The names of two bishops appear on a list of clergy with "substantiated abuse of minors allegations" from the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph released Sept. 6.

The bishops are retired Bishop Joseph H. Hart of Cheyenne, Wyoming, and now-deceased Bishop Joseph V. Sullivan of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

According to the list assembled by the diocese, which dates back to its founding in 1956, the abuse claims for each bishop took place within the Missouri diocese's territory. Each bishop also had more than one abuse allegation reported.

A forthcoming Vatican trial was announced in June on charges against Hart of abuse allegations in the Cheyenne Diocese, where he served as bishop from 1978 to 2001, and as auxiliary bishop from 1976 to 1978. Hart has maintained his innocence once the Wyoming allegations surfaced.

Hart, ordained a priest in 1956, had been accused of three instances of abuse dating to the late 1960s and early 1970s in Missouri. In 2008, the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese announced a $10 million settlement with 47 victims of sexual abuse by 12 clergy and former clergy of the diocese. Attorneys for the victims said the group included Hart, although the diocese, then headed by Bishop Robert W. Finn, did not disclose any of the clerics' names. A second financial settlement was reached by the diocese in 2014.

Sullivan, born in 1919, died in 1982 after serving eight years as bishop of Baton Rouge.

The Kansas City-St. Joseph list includes the names of 19 diocesan priests — all but six of whom are now dead — with substantiated allegations. A 20th priest was on a separate list with Hart and Sullivan because, like them, he had been incardinated for service in another diocese after the incidents of abuse are alleged to have occurred.

A third list carries the names of two religious-order priests who were accused of abuse during their time serving in Kansas City-St. Joseph.

Of those priests still living, they are either permanently removed from ministry or laicized. One is in federal prison. With the exception of the ex-priest now in prison, all abuse incidents took place before 1990.

Advocacy group criticizes Kansas City-St. Joseph bishop in church abuse cases

Associated Press

Sept. 9, 2019

An advocacy group for people sexually abused by Roman Catholic priests is criticizing the bishop of the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese for not naming more people on a list of credibly accused clerics.

Bishop James Johnston Jr. released a list on Friday of 19 clerics who had substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of children against them. Another 11 former clerics were named in different categories.

On Monday, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests said the bishop's list was incomplete because it didn't include priests who lived in the Kansas City area in the past but who were accused of sexual abuse in other dioceses.

A diocese spokesman said it would be impossible to research every priest who may have worked or lived in the Kansas City area but who wasn't assigned to the diocese.

Former Memphis bishop removed from mural after child sexual abuse allegation

Commercial Appeal

Sept. 9, 2019

By Katherine Burgess

Memphis’ first Catholic bishop no longer appears on a mural of Memphians who stood up for others.

Instead, Bishop Carroll T. Dozier has been painted over, replaced by Jose Guerrero, a founder of Latino Memphis.

Facing History and Ourselves made the change Saturday after the publication of a Commercial Appeal article highlighting the fact that Dozier had appeared on a list of clergy “credibly accused” of the sexual abuse of a child.

“We wish to extend our sincerest wishes of comfort, healing and strength to the victims and families touched by the scourge of clergy sex abuse," Facing History and Ourselves said in a written statement.

The list including Dozier was made by the Catholic Diocese of Richmond, Virginia, where Dozier was assigned to three parishes before being appointed the first bishop of the Diocese of Memphis after it separated from the Diocese of Nashville. The allegation of abuse was made after his death, but other details were not given.

The Catholic Diocese of Memphis is currently at work on its own list of credibly accused clergy and has said it will consider Dozier’s inclusion on the Richmond list.

The mural, announced in 2016 and intended to honor people who helped others, is on a wall across from the National Civil Rights Museum.

“When we conceived of creating a mural on the outside of our building, our aim was to celebrate Memphis’ leading historical figures who have made invaluable contributions to bringing our communities together and moving forward across racial, ethnic, cultural, and religious boundaries. It was in that spirit that we included Bishop Dozier,” Facing History and Ourselves said. “Given the allegations against Bishop Dozier, we have decided that in the best interests of our students, schools, and communities, to replace Bishop Dozier with another Memphis historical figure.”

W.Va. AG urges court to advance lawsuit against Wheeling-Charleston Diocese

Herald-Mail Media

September 5, 2019

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey urged a circuit court to allow the state to proceed with allegations that the Wheeling-Charleston Diocese violated state law through its knowing employment of pedophiles and its failure to conduct adequate background checks for those working at its schools and camps.

Morrisey’s response, served Wednesday afternoon, argues that the diocese’s motion to dismiss mischaracterized the state’s intent and distorted state law.

“The diocese’s motion to dismiss is yet another attempt to duck our calls for transparency,” Morrisey said in a news release. “Our response proves the strength of our case and why it should be decided in court. The decades-long pattern of cover-up and abuse must end and public trust must be restored.”

Wednesday’s filing argues that the lawsuit doesn’t seek to dictate how the diocese can hire, teach and operate. Rather, it seeks to enforce state law that requires honesty in advertising when the diocese markets its fee-based schools and camps.

Those facts include allegations that the diocese hid its knowing employment of abusive priests and its failure to conduct the comprehensive background checks it promised.

Morrisey contends that attempts to dismiss the state’s lawsuit rely on a flawed reading of the state’s Consumer Credit and Protection Act.

The state argues that a consumer transaction occurs every time a parent or other person pays a fee for the diocese’s education and recreation services, and enforcing the law’s requirement for honest communications doesn’t intrude into any constitutionally protected area.

The state’s response also takes issue with factual disputes set forth by the diocese. While it contends such differences are irrelevant at this stage in the case, it argues that many allegations contained in the lawsuit were based on documents the diocese provided to the state describing conduct purposely hidden from public view for 44 years after the state Consumer Credit and Protection Act became law.

Questions remain after pastor’s departure at Hudson megachurch

Beacon Journal/Ohio.com

September 7, 2019

By Amanda Garrett

Tom Randall — a former pastor at Christ Community Chapel who departed amid scandal — is trying to move on.

He and his wife put their ranch home in Stow on the market last month for $289,900 and sent a letter to their international following. In the letter, Randall said he was leaving behind his nonprofit — worth more than $3 million — with the Hudson megachurch and planned to launch a new nonprofit to independently continue his 43-year-old ministry.

But moving on may not be that simple for Randall, who was asked to resign from Christ Community Chapel (CCC) in June amid an internal review that concluded child abuse likely happened at an orphanage his ministry supported in the Philippines.

CCC — with a main campus in Hudson, and satellites in Akron’s Highland Square neighborhood and Aurora — has since told the Beacon Journal/Ohio.com that it turned over “information and documentation relevant to this situation” from its review to the FBI.

Ex-clergyman says US priest in Philippines a known pedophile

Associated Press

September 9, 2019

By Tim Sullivan

The American priest's voice echoed over the phone line, his sharp Midwestern accent softened over the decades by a gentle Filipino lilt. On the other end, recording the call, was a young man battered by shame but anxious to get the priest to describe exactly what had happened in this little island village.

"I should have known better than trying to just have a life," the priest said in the November 2018 call. "Happy days are gone. It's all over."

But, the young man later told The Associated Press, those days were happy only for the priest. They were years of misery for him, he said, and for the other boys who investigators say were sexually assaulted by Father Pius Hendricks.

His accusations ignited a scandal that would shake the village and reveal much about how allegations of sex crimes by priests are handled in one of the world's most Catholic countries.

News Briefing: Church in the World

The Tablet

September 4, 2019

By James Roberts

'The Catholic Church has been present in the Amazon region since the seventeenth century, concerned with evangelisation and human development'

A Cameroonian man who worked with Wycliffe Bible Translators has been murdered in his home in Cameroon during an overnight attack. Angus Abraham Fung was one of seven people killed in the village of Wum on 25 August. His wife, Eveline, had a hand cut off and is recovering in a local hospital. Wum is in the Anglophone northwest of the country, a region that has been at the heart of the conflict between Cameroon’s government and separatist guerrillas. Fung had helped to translate the New Testament into the Aghem language, and was a Literacy Coordinator on the Aghem Bible translation project. The translation was completed in 2016 and more than 3,000 copies were printed. However, the conflict in the region has prevented the New Testaments being distributed.

Wum is among several localities where youth from the nomadic Fulani herding community are being encouraged by pro-government actors to carry out attacks against local farming communities that support the separatist rebels.

Meanwhile a Catholic priest was killed across the border in neighbouring Nigeria. Fr David Tanko was murdered by armed men in Taraba State on Thursday last week. He was on his way to the village of Takum to mediate a peace agreement between Tiv and Jukun populations.

An Argentinian priest accused of rape was found dead on 26 August after going missing from a monastery in Chile. The Diocese of Valparaiso, Chile, published a press release on behalf of the Benedictine Monastery of San Benito de Lliu Lliu, stating that Guillermo Jaime Cabalín had died. The press release also said that Cabalín, 57, was the subject of a canonical investigation after a woman came forward in 2018, accusing him of raping her in 1995.

Former St. Michael the Archangel Priest Frank Trauger Charged with Sexually Abusing 2 Altar Boys

The Legal Herald

September 2019

By Brian Kent

Ex-Priest Frank Trauger Charged with Corruption of Minors, Indecent Assault for Alleged Abuse of Altar Boys

Defrocked Bucks County priest Francis “Frank” Trauger has been charged with sexually abusing at least two altar boys during the decade he spent as a priest at St. Michael the Archangel Church in Levittown. The 74-year-old priest was at the church in the 1990s and 2000s.

According to a criminal complaint, the Bucks County District Attorney’s office began investigating allegations against Trauger after receiving information from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in August of 2018.

Investigators spoke with the first victim earlier in 2019. He told them that Trauger sexually assaulted him multiple times while he was a middle school student around the year 2000. According to the victim, Trauger touched his genitals and buttocks during a robing process before Mass.

Victims blast KC MO bishop

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Sept. 9, 2019

He just posted new ‘accused clerics’ list
SNAP: ‘But it’s incomplete and misleading’
It names 9 publicly accused priests who are left off
And group names its “Dangerous Dozen KC Predator Priests”
“Catholics, please stop giving until the full truth is revealed,” victims beg
And in Wyandotte County KS, criminal trial against a priest starts on Monday

Using sidewalk chalk, clergy sex abuse victims will write on a city sidewalk the names of
---their “most dangerous dozen” credibly accused KC MO child molesting clerics and
---several publicly accused clerics who’ve been left of the KC MO bishop’s new ‘accused’ list.

Holding signs and childhood photos, they will also urge
---those with information or suspicions about ANY other known or possible predator to a) call police, not church staff, and b) contact SNAP, and
---KC Catholics to “donate to institutions that expose predators, not protect them” and to “groups that prevent abuse, not conceal abuse.”

They’ll also discuss a rare criminal trial starting today against an alleged KC KS predator priest.

Monday, Sept. 9 at 11:15 AM.

Outside the Kansas City diocesan headquarters, 20 W. Ninth Street (at Baltimore) in KC MO

Dangerous Dozen KC MO credibly accused predator priests

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Sept. 9, 2019

(NOTE: the first three clerics are NOT on the official KC MO accused list)

1--Fr. Deusdedit (a.k.a. ‘Fr. Deo’) Mulokozi, who was expelled from the Jefferson City diocese after having been credibly accused of ‘boundary violations’ with a 15 year old Sedalia girl. But Fr. Deo’s current supervisors, a Kansas City-based religious order called the Missionaries of the Precious Blood (816 781 4344, preciousbloodkc.org), quietly moved him, first to Liberty MO, then to Houston TX, then to Tanzania where he’s working now around even more vulnerable kids.


Fr. Deusdedit worked at three parishes: St. John the Evangelist in Bahner, Sacred Heart in Sedalia and St. Patrick in Sedalia. He is on the Jefferson City diocese’s list of clerics ‘found by the diocesan bishop to be unsuitable for ministry out of concern for the safety of our youth.’


2--Fr. Martin Juarez, who attended UMKC in the 1970s. He was born in 1946 in Kansas City, KS and attended Colby Community College and seminaries in Denver and San Antonio.


In a 2017 lawsuit, he was accused of sexually abusing a nine year old at St. Matthew's in Topeka for three years in the early 1980s. Fr. Juarez was defrocked in 2005. His name appears on the ‘credibly accused’ list put out by the Kansas City KS archdiocese a few months ago.


3--Fr. Donald Redmond, who is on the Kansas City KS archdiocesan ‘credibly accused’ list and who was put on leave in 2002 after allegations surfaced that he abused at least one child in Iowa in 1960s. At least three more victims from a parish in the Kansas City KS archdiocese came forward after his suspension. Complaints involved inappropriate touching of elementary school children between 1961-1964. After the accusations, he was sent to live at St. Benedict's Abbey in Atchison KS. But in 1964 and 1965, he worked in Kansas City MO at Bishop Lillis High School.


24 metro priests credibly accused of sexual abuse of a child


Sept. 6, 2019

By Tom Dempsey

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph released a list on Friday of 24 priests credibly accused of sexual abuse.

The report followed an investigation organized by the diocese earlier this year involving former FBI agents who were given access to church documents dating back to 1956.

Of the 24 priests listed in the report, 19 were official members of the diocese.

The majority of the priests have since died, with many of the cases dating back decades.

For David Biersmith, one of the names brought back memories of horrors his two sons allegedly experienced back in the 1970s.

“Physically, they were raped. I don’t know how else to say it,” he told 41 Action News. “It happened when they were 9, 10 and 11.”

For decades, Ireland's mother and baby homes were shrouded in secrecy. Some say the veil still hasn't lifted


Sept. 8, 2019

By Kara Fox

The day after Michael O'Flaherty was born, his mother tried to see him. But, she told him, she was stopped by a nun who told her, "Go mind your own business, your baby is gone."

Like other women who gave birth at the Tuam mother and baby home in Ireland, the nuns didn't forbid O'Flaherty's mother from seeing her newborn son again, they just didn't tell her who her baby was, or that he was in the same building. The very same home where she was required to stay for 12 months after giving birth.

"My mother could have picked me up, but she couldn't have necessarily known," O'Flaherty told CNN.

The boy would stay in the home for another five and a half years. He doesn't remember his time inside; his first memory of it was from the day that he left.

Today, at 71, O'Flaherty retraces the steps he took that day with a group that's become like family.

Why no priest is ever convicted of child sex abuse in Philippines

Associated Press

Sept. 9, 2019

By Tim Sullivan

The American priest's voice echoed over the phone line, his sharp Midwestern accent softened over the decades by a gentle Filipino lilt. On the other end, recording the call, was a young man battered by shame but anxious to get the priest to describe exactly what had happened in this little island village.

"I should have known better than trying to just have a life," the priest said in the November 2018 call. "Happy days are gone. It's all over."

But, the young man later told the Associated Press, those days were happy only for the priest. They were years of misery for him, he said, and for the other boys who investigators say were sexually assaulted by Father Pius Hendricks.

His accusations ignited a scandal that would shake the village and reveal much about how allegations of sex crimes by priests are handled in one of the world's most Catholic countries.

He was just 12 - a new altar boy from a family of tenant farmers anxious for the $1 or so he'd get for serving at Mass - when he says Hendricks first took him into the bathroom of Talustusan's little rectory and sexually assaulted him.

Indictment of former Pa. priest signals aggressive new reach by federal prosecutors in clergy sex abuse investigation

Patriot News

Sept. 9, 2019

By Ivey DeJesus

Two priests have been convicted; one other awaits trial.

That’s about the sum total of legal action that has taken place in the wake of the Pennsylvania grand jury report on clergy sex abuse, which identified more than 300 predator priests statewide.

That narrative could be about to change.

Last week, federal prosecutors dealt the latest salvo in what is fast becoming a tide of aggressive new strategies to criminally prosecute child sex predators and their accomplices in the Catholic Church.

Federal prosecutors in Philadelphia last week filed charges against a former Archdiocese of Philadelphia priest, accusing him of lying to the FBI.

Former priest accused of sexual assault heads to trial


Sept. 9, 2019

A former priest accused of sexual assault will head to trial on Monday. William Nolan is facing six counts of sexual assault.

One of charges is for allegedly assaulting a 12-year-old alter boy in 2006.

According to investigators, the former alter boy told them the assaults allegedly happened over five years, when Nolen was serving at the St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Fort Atkinson.

A Janesville man also accused Nolan of assualting him in 2009, but after police investigated, they didn’t find enough evidence to support that accusation.

Before being accused, Nolan served in Madison’s Queen of Peace parish

September 8, 2019

My mother felt the stain of Fr Penney’s crimes spread to herself, her faith, her parish

Irish Times

September 4, 2019

By Catherine O'Flynn

Fr Penney’s decades of abuse were already known by the Archdiocese of Birmingham when it moved him into the lives of more children

After settling in England, my dad, like many immigrants before and since, became a shopkeeper. In 1961 he took over a newsagent business in a part of inner city Birmingham called Nechells. The former owner sold him shelves of ancient, worthless stock and then disappeared fast before the tide of first slum clearances and then factory closures swept away most of the customers.

Those who remained were a mix of Brummies, West Indians and Irish. Alongside the English papers we sold the Clare Champion, the Roscommon Herald, The Irish Times, and the Echo. Upstairs in the living room we listened to scratchy 45s of the Dubliners, the Clancy Brothers, and the Ludlows. Outside lay empty factories and wasteland.

French diocese in spotlight as former nun's abuse testimony is cancelled

La Croix International

September 4, 2019

By Neuville Heloise

Bishop accused of 'muzzling' victim but he says she is 'very fragile' to give a reliable account

The testimony of a former nun who was due to tell the story of her sexual assault at the hands of a priest in the French city of Limoges has been cancelled.The Catholic Association of Women (ACF) and the victim refused to accept the presence of a member of the diocese to give the other side of the story, as had been demanded by Bishop Pierre-Antoine Bozo of Limoges.Can freedom of expression within the Church flourish in all contexts?The institution is working to give a rightful place to the words of victims of sexual abuse but the bishop was overcome by his concern for a just outcome when he learned that Caroline, a former nun allegedly assaulted by a priest from the Community of the Beatitudes, was about to give her testimony in public.

Buffalo bishop’s secretary alleges he was ‘silenced’ on sexual assault claim


September 6, 2019

By Christopher White

The priest secretary to Bishop Richard Malone - who earlier this week released secret audio of the bishop expressing fears that a public relations crisis within the diocese of Buffalo would result in his resignation - has accused an auxiliary bishop of silencing him when he complained of sexual assault.

Father Ryszard Biernat arrived at the diocese of Buffalo as a seminarian in 2003. The Polish native alleges that a priest of the diocese, Father Art Smith, abused him at a Christmas party that same year.

In a new interview with WKBW, Biernat says that he reported the alleged abuse to auxiliary Bishop Edward M. Grosz. He maintains that Grosz faulted the seminarian for not locking the door to prevent drunken advances from Smith.

El monjo de Montserrat Andreu Soler va ser un “depredador sexual i un pederasta” impune durant anys

[The monk of Montserrat, Andreu Soler. was a "sexual predator and a pederast" who had impunity for years]

El Pais

September 6, 2019

By Jesús García and Oriol Güell

La comissió independent que ha investigat els abusos conclou que "hi havia rumorologia suficient" per actuar contra el monjo i destapa dos casos desconeguts

[The independent commission that investigated the abuses concludes that "there was enough rumorology" to act against the monk and uncover two unknown cases]

El abad de Montserrat admite que “fallaron los controles” y pide perdón por los abusos

[The abbot of Montserrat admits that "controls failed" and apologizes for the abuses]

El Pais

September 8, 2019

By Jesús García

[Josep Maria Soler is committed to improving protocols to protect minors]

El abad de Montserrat, Josep Maria Soler, pidió ayer públicamente perdón por los abusos sexuales a menores cometidos por religiosos en el monasterio. En su primera homilía dominical después del informe de la comisión independiente que ha ratificado la existencia de abusos, Soler admitió que “los mecanismos de prevención y control” fallaron. Un monje de la abadía abusó durante casi tres décadas de un número indeterminado de menores con total impunidad y sin que el monasterio actuase contra él, concluye el informe.

[The abbot of Montserrat, Josep Maria Soler , yesterday publicly apologized for the sexual abuse of minors committed by religious in the monastery. In his first Sunday homily after the report of the independent commission that has ratified the existence of abuse, Soler admitted that "prevention and control mechanisms" failed. A monk from the abbey abused for almost three decades an undetermined number of minors with total impunity and without the monastery acting against him, the report concludes.]

State revokes ex-Macomb County priest's counseling license

Macomb Daily

September 8, 2019

By Mitch Hotts

A state licensing board has revoked a counseling license from a former Macomb County priest accused of sexually assaulting a young boy.

The Michigan Board of Counseling on Friday stripped Lawrence Ventline of the educationally limited counselor's license for three years and issued a $5,000 fine.

The board's action follows the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA)'s summary suspension of Ventline's license in May after an administrative complaint concerning the alleged sexual assault was filed by state Attorney General's Office.

Ventline failed to respond to the complaint. Under the state's Public Health Code, when a defendant does not respond to a complaint, the board is to consider the accusations to be "undisputed and true."

"Unfortunately, the statute of limitations bars us from prosecuting Mr. Ventline for any crimes we believe he may have committed," Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said in a news release.

Lawyer says priest denies harassing seminarian, blackmail

The Buffalo News

September 8, 2019

By Jay Tokasz and Dan Herbeck

The Rev. Jeffrey Nowak has been accused of violating the Catholic church’s seal of confession, sexually harassing a seminarian and trying to blackmail a fellow priest.

But his lawyer said Friday that Nowak denies all of the allegations.

“I don’t think Father Jeff has gotten a fair shake on this,” said attorney James Granville. “They had him tried, convicted and sentenced in March and he wasn’t told of any allegations against him by anyone in the diocese until April or May.”

Granville said his client’s name was dragged through the mud in media reports before all of the facts were known.

“If you’re accused of doing that and you’re not the person they’re describing, it’s tortuous,” said Granville. “He denies all of the allegations, but we’re relying, for better or worse, I guess, on the canonical and the civil justice system.”

Survivors react to Catholic Church's reluctant admission of liability for Gerald Ridsdale abuse

The Courier

September 7, 2019

By Jolyon Attwooll

The Catholic Diocese of Ballarat has admitted liability in a civil action brought by a victim of historical sexual abuse in a potentially landmark case.

The case may ultimately have far-reaching implications for survivors in Ballarat seeking to make civil claims against the Catholic Church.

Advocates and survivors in the city, meanwhile, urged the Catholic Church to drop aggressive legal tactics and be more active in helping with the healing process

Church admits liability for Ridsdale

The Courier

September 6, 2019

The compensation floodgates for clergy victims have opened with the Catholic Church admitting liability for the sexual abuse of a nine-year-old boy in a confessional box by Ballarat prolific paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale.

The defrocked priest is considered one of Australia's worst paedophiles and he admitted to a family member his victims numbered in the hundreds.

Ridsdale was moved from parish to parish within the Ballarat Diocese, starting at St Alipius in Ballarat, before serving at Warrnambool, Inglewood, Apollo Bay, Edenhope and Mortlake.

A directions hearing in the Victorian Supreme Court on Friday scheduled a 10-day trial to start on January 29.

Father Robert Zilliox circulates 'No Confidence' petition for Diocese of Buffalo

WGAZ-TV (Channel 2)

September 8, 2019

It is unclear at this time how many diocesan priests have signed the petition. However, any priest who signs it will be committing an act of disobedience.

Father Robert Zilliox of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Swormville told 2 On Your Side he is circulating a "No Confidence" petition to be delivered to the Diocese of Buffalo and Bishop Richard Malone.

Zilliox informed his parishioners about the petition on Sunday.

It is unclear at this time how many diocesan priests have signed the petition. However, any priest who signs it will be committing an act of disobedience. Diocesan priests are required to take an obedience oath to the bishop, and signing the petition would go against that.

Child Abuse Law Signed in New York Long After Diocese’s Adoption

The Tablet (Newspaper of the Brooklyn Diocese)

September 8, 2019

By Andrew Pugliese

PARK SLOPE — Fourteen years after the Diocese of Brooklyn began to offer programs in parishes and schools to prevent sexual abuse of minors, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed “Erin’s Law” on Aug. 29, requiring public schools in New York state to have a similar program.

Public schools will be required to provide at least one hour of instruction every school year to children in kindergarten through eighth grade about what constitutes abuse and how to report it. The law, which was passed by both the New York state senate and assembly in June, is named after Erin Merryn, a sexual abuse survivor turned advocate.

The diocese has been offering such programs since 2005 through Child Lures Prevention for children and Virtus for adults. Nationally, the training has been taking place in Catholic schools and faith formation programs since after the country’s bishops adopted the “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People” in 2002.

Man protests for 1 year outside Welland church for sexual abuse survivors

CBC News

September 8, 2019

William O'Sullivan has filed a lawsuit against the priest who assaulted him and others

Warning: This story contains details of sexual assault.

William O'Sullivan has protested in front of St. Kevin's Parish in Welland every Sunday for a full year, and says he is determined to do so until the Diocese of St. Catharines apologizes to the region's survivors of sexual abuse.

O'Sullivan is one of these survivors. He was sexually assaulted when he was nine years old by Donald Grecco, who was a priest at St. Kevin's Catholic church.

The assault continued for three years.

Now 48, O'Sullivan stands in front of the church every Sunday morning holding protest signs. He arrives at 8 a.m. and leaves in the early afternoon.

Church admits liability in child abuse case

CathNews (Service of the Australian Bishops' Conference)

September 9, 2019

The Church has accepted legal responsibility for the sexual abuse of a child by paedophile Gerald Ridsdale in a significant case that could open the floodgates for survivors seeking compensation. Source: The Age.

After denying any knowledge of Ridsdale’s offending before the nine-year-old boy was raped in a confessional box at Mortlake, in western Victoria in 1982, lawyers for the Church on Friday accepted an amended statement of claim from the survivor in the Supreme Court – in effect admitting legal liability for his crimes.

A 10-day civil trial scheduled to begin on January 29 next year will now focus primarily on the amount of damages the Church will pay the survivor. A mediation hearing will be held on October 15.

The survivor, identified in court under the pseudonym JCB, is suing Ballarat Bishop Paul Bird for negligence on behalf of deceased former bishops James O’Collins and Ronald Mulkearns.

A priest from Cincinnati, a Philippine village, and decades of secrecy

Associated Press

Sept. 9, 2019

By Tim Sullivan

The American priest's voice echoed over the phone line.

"Happy days are gone," he said in the 2018 call, recorded by a young man whose accusations would shake this little island village and reveal how allegations of sex crimes by priests are still ignored, sometimes for decades, in one of the world's most Catholic countries. "It's all over."

The young man later told The Associated Press he was 12 when Father Pius Hendricks first took him into the bathroom of the church's little rectory and sexually assaulted him.

"'It's a natural thing,'" he says the priest told him, "'It's part of becoming an adult.'"

The abuse continued for years, he says. But he told no one until a village outsider began asking questions about the priest's generosity with local boys, and he feared his brother would be the next victim.

In November, he went to the police.

Soon after, local authorities arrested Hendricks, 78, and charged him with child abuse.

Since then, investigators say, about 20 boys and men, one as young as 7, have reported that the priest sexually abused them. Investigators say the allegations go back well over a decade — though many believe the abuse goes back for generations — continuing until just months before the arrest.

Hendricks is from Cincinnati and regularly returned to the area, federal prosecutors said.

A spokesman for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati previously told The Enquirer he was a Franciscan Brother at the St. Anthony Friary in Mount Airy in the 1960s and would therefore have been supervised by his religious order, rather than the archdiocese. He left the Franciscans around 1986 and was soon ordained as a priest by the local diocese.

Hendrick's arrest was a sudden fall for a priest who had presided over the community for nearly four decades, rebuilding its chapel, pressing local officials to pave the village road, paying school fees for poor children.

Defamation suit over Haiti sex abuse claim settled

Associated Press

Sept. 8, 2019

By David Sharp

A defamation lawsuit against an activist who accused an orphanage founder in Haiti of being a serial pedophile has been settled, ending a lawsuit that has dragged on for six years, an attorney said.

Paul Kendrick’s insurance companies agreed to pay $3 million to Hearts With Haiti, but nothing to orphanage founder Michael Geilenfeld, attorney Mark Randall, who represents Kendrick, told The Associated Press. Hearts With Haiti and Geilenfeld dropped their defamation claims, he said.

The settlement ends a case that has dragged on since 2013. Kendrick said the effort was worth it because he believes children are now safer.

Kendrick, who stands by his claims against Geilenfeld, said he’s satisfied because the lawsuit aired the accusations and because Geilenfeld gets nothing from the settlement. The money will be used by the charity to help disabled children in Haiti, he said.

“It does not mean the brave victims coming forward have done so in vain,” Kendrick said. “The testimonies in evidence against Geilenfeld belong in a criminal investigation.”

Cardinal who resigned over sex-abuse allegations still living in exile in Kansas

News Gazette

Sept. 8, 2019

By Don Follis

In late July, I was just an hour from Hoxie, Kansas, (where I was born and spent my first 10 years) when I passed the exit on Interstate 70 for Victoria, Kan., home of “The Cathedral on the Plains.” For miles you can see the twin 141-foot limestone towers of the St. Fidelis Catholic Church.

The church and school dominate the town of 1,200 distinctly German and overwhelmingly catholic residents. St. Fidelis is the only church in Victoria. German immigrants moved to the area in the late 1800s. St. Fidelis was dedicated in 1911. The building features seating for 1,100, 44-foot ceilings and a 220-foot nave.

St. Fidelis is pretty much in the middle of nowhere out on the vast High Plains, and that’s how Victoria, Kan., and the church, came to be in the national news a year ago. As Ruth Graham writes in the Sept. 3 Slate magazine, “Last fall, God brought to Victoria an unexpected visitor: Theodore McCarrick, once the most powerful Catholic priests in America.” He was the archbishop of Washington D.C. from 2001-06. He was the priest “Meet the Press” relied on to talk about the abuse crisis. At the funerals of Ted Kennedy, Beau Biden, Tim Russert and William Rehnquist, McCarrick participated.

Just over a year ago, the jet-setting priest suddenly became the country’s most well-known accused perpetrator of clerical sexual abuse. The Vatican quickly removed McCarrick from public ministry, and McCarrick resigned his position as a cardinal, the first cardinal to ever resign over sexual-abuse allegations.

Petitions circulating calling on Bishop Malone to resign


Sept. 8, 2019

By Anthony Reyes

Petitions are circulating calling on Diocese of Buffalo Bishop Richard J. Malone to resign for his handling of the sex abuse scandal in the diocese.

The first petition, circulating among clergy of the diocese drafted by Rev. Robert Zilliox, of St. Mary’s Swormville, states;

"Most priests, deacons and the laity of the Diocese at Buffalo have lost trust and confidence in your ability to lead us forward. Therefore, we reiterate our demand that you resign effective immediately."

A second petition circulating on change.org created by "The People of the Diocese of Buffalo, NY" states:

"We request the immediate resignation of Bishop Richard J. Malone as Bishop of the Diocese of Buffalo, NY. Just as clergy must resign when found guilty of sexual crimes and sins perpetrated under the guise of holiness and authority so must this Bishop resign for being a silent accomplice in these crimes and sins committed by clergy in the Diocese of Buffalo."

Memphis’ first Catholic bishop replaced on downtown mural after child sexual abuse accusations


Sept. 8, 2019

By Nina Harrleson

Memphis’ first Catholic bishop has been replaced on a mural downtown months after he was included in a list of clergymen accused of molesting children.

The “Upstanders Mural” – on a wall across from the National Civil Rights Museum – is supposed to honor heroes, but after allegations of child sex abuse against the late Carroll Dozier surfaced earlier this year, the group that painted the mural decided he no longer belongs there.

“I would certainly say that that would be their right to change that. And I think as time changes with people, society changes, ideas change, beliefs change, and I think you have to go with that,” Bob Gray, who’s visiting Memphis from Door County, Wis., said. “If you don’t change, if you don’t continue, you’re never going to progress."

Opinion: These alleged abuser priests were scot-free for decades - until they weren’t.

Philadelphia Inquirer

September 8, 2019 - 5:00 AM

By Maria Panaritis

The creepy smile. In photos of defrocked archdiocesan priest Francis Trauger last week outside a Bucks County police station, the alleged child sexual predator flashed an outsized grin. He was wearing a suit jacket that flitted as he moved an arm. The pose was more fashion-catalog preen than street candid of a 74-year-old being booked for molesting children.

Then again, Trauger had evaded justice since at least 1981. So that megawatt grin? Maybe it was just that of a septuagenarian who knew that he’d mostly dodged the system.

His arrest after so many decades was itself as startling as the images shot by an Inquirer photographer. But there soon was more to fuel a sense of unease.

Two days after Trauger’s arrest on assault charges out of Bristol, another disgraced priest’s face was blasted into the news, that of defrocked Archdiocese of Philadelphia cleric Robert L. Brennan. The feds snapped up the octogenarian in Maryland on charges that he lied to the FBI in Philadelphia about his relationship with the family of a young victim, Sean McIlmail. Sean died the last time Brennan faced charges. His death had made the case fall apart a few years ago.

No victim, no crime.

Trauger. Brennan. Names and faces I had never forgotten.

I’d spent many months 17 years ago trying to chase allegations that these then-active priests were abusers. Their arrests by state and federal prosecutors now, nearly two decades later, are a testament to the perseverance of prosecutors and victims. Even against long odds and a statute of limitations too short to allow most prosecutions, they have refused to dim the spotlight on these horrors that the church helped go undetected and, as a tragic result, unprosecuted.

Editorial: Abuse in Plain Sight

Buffalo News

September 7, 2019

By News Editorial Board

Child-abuse lawsuits involving the Catholic Church dominated the initial headlines when the Child Victims Act opened a window for filings on Aug. 14, but it was always clear that the problem was much more widespread.

The accusations brought against a former social studies teacher in the Kenmore Tonawanda School District are not only especially loathsome, but hint at a possible wave of future suits against teachers in schools of every kind.

The case of Arthur F. Werner, a former social studies teacher at Herbert Hoover Elementary School, is particularly unusual. Rather than assaulting young boys in a secluded place, the victims — then fifth- and sixth-graders — accuse Werner of calling them up to the front of the classroom and groping or fondling them through their clothes, in view of the other students.

Tribute to bishop will be removed from Newry Cathedral after pressure from Malachy Finegan victims

Belfast Telegraph

September 8, 2019

A tribute to a bishop accused of mishandling the case around paedophile priest Malachy Finegan is to be removed from Newry Cathedral.

Head of the Catholic Church in Ireland Archbishop Eamon Martin has confirmed that the floor mosaic in honour of Bishop Francis Brooks will be removed.

The Irish News has reported that Archbishop Martin wrote to a solicitor for victims, Claire McKeegan of Phoenix Law, to confirm it would be removed at the request of victims.

In February 2018 it was revealed that Finegan had abused a number of boys for over 20 years at St Colman's College, Newry.

Opinion: If there’s a cardinal sin to be made, count on the Catholic church

The Guardian

September 8, 2019

By Kevin McKenna

Its errors run from toting a saint’s relics around Scotland to an invitation to a reactionary priest

Agrim little vaudeville act is currently touring some of Scotland’s Catholic parishes, featuring the remains of Thérèse of Lisieux, a long-dead French nun. Thérèse died of tuberculosis at the age of 24 in 1897 and was canonised in 1925, becoming Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face. By all accounts, this young woman developed an exemplary devotion to her faith and was the author of some beautiful (if slightly ripe) spiritual tracts. I’m not sure she deserved the fate of having some of her remains bumped in and out of cars and through the hills of South Lanarkshire and Paisley for the devoted titillation of the faithful.

These relics of Saint Thérèse are considered to be “first class”, this being the ultimate seal of Vatican authentication. To be accorded this distinction, they must be parts of the bodies of the saints, such as fragments of bone, skin, blood, hair or ash. Apparently, poor dead Thérèse (or parts thereof) has been getting ferried like this throughout the Catholic world since 1994. Is there no one to call a halt to this unedifying distortion of faith? Can we not let this blameless lassie rest in peace?

A can’t-miss moment on the abuse crisis looms under the Golden Dome


September 8, 2019

By John L. Allen Jr.

Notre Dame is basically the Texas of the American Catholic Church, meaning it tends to operate on the principle of “go big or go home.” They don’t do anything small under the Golden Dome, and that’s certainly true of a major series of events this academic year developed by Father John Jenkins, ND’s president, on the clerical sexual abuse crisis.

The series kicks off Wednesday, Sept. 25, with a panel titled “The Church Crisis: Where Are We Now?” to be held on the ND campus and livestreamed on the university web site as well as on Crux. The guiding idea is to pivot the conversation about the scandals away from rage and toward recovery.

To headline the event, Notre Dame easily could have relied on Peter Steinfels, a veteran Catholic journalist and thinker who’s covered the abuse crisis from the beginning and who penned a brilliant dissection in January of the bombshell Pennsylvania grand jury report.

EDITORIAL: Catholic diocese needs a new leader

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

September 8, 2019

In recent months, Richard Malone, the embattled bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, continued to receive support from members of the Movement to Restore Trust, an advisory group of local Catholics that was formed in response to a recent rash of sexual abuse allegations facing members of the clergy.

On Thursday, that all changed.

The group of lay Catholics who had been working with Malone to develop reforms in hopes of moving the diocese forward joined a chorus of critics who have been calling on the bishop to resign. In a statement issued to the media this week, members of the Movement to Restore Trust members determined that Malone’s actions in response to the sex abuse scandal threaten to set the diocese “back several decades.” In the opinion of the group, Malone has failed to handle the situation in such a manner as to pose “substantial risk of harm to the diocese and the good works that the church does in this region.”

The Movement to Restore Trust’s position amounts to a vote of no confidence in Bishop Malone and it is one Catholics across Western New York should seriously consider as they form opinions on diocesan leadership.

This select group of Catholics was chosen to assist in the process of developing much-needed reforms within the diocese. For them to conclude Malone has mishandled diocesan affairs should be proof enough that new leadership is needed.

As has now been widely reported, Malone’s latest round of missteps were laid bare for the public to hear when a once-trusted secretary released secretly recorded audio tapes on which Malone can be heard talking about his fear of losing his position amid the crisis and his thoughts on potentially embarrassing matters, including a priest’s alleged sexual harassment of a seminarian.

Rev. Biernat: Bishop Grosz used blackmail to silence my report of sex abuse

Buffalo News

September 8, 2019

By Jay Tokasz and Dan Herbeck

Auxiliary Bishop Edward M. Grosz allegedly threatened to halt the Rev. Ryszard S. Biernat’s ordination as a priest and have him deported to Poland after Biernat complained in 2004 to Buffalo Diocese administrators that he was sexually assaulted by a priest.

“He said, ‘Ryszard, if you don’t stop talking about this, you will not be ordained. Do you hear me? Do you hear me?’ ” recalled Biernat.

Biernat said Grosz’s treatment of his complaint was “10 times worse” than the actual abuse he alleges the Rev. Arthur J. Smith inflicted on him inside the rectory of St. Thomas Aquinas Church.

“If you turn for help to the bishop of the diocese, they’re going to blame you and they’re going to say it was your fault,” said Biernat.

September 7, 2019

Voice of the wounded is essential for healing

Catholic Register

Sept. 6, 2019

By Gerry Turcotte

Recently I read a wonderful LinkedIn entry by Aron Laxton about the U.S. Navy’s efforts to study and reinforce aircraft based on planes that had been damaged from the front. Engineers studied and mapped the bullet holes that peppered the “wounded” planes and determined that additional armour needed to be added to the wingtips and to the central body of the aircraft.

The bullet holes were proof of where the aircraft was vulnerable. Or so they thought.

A statistician on staff, Abraham Wald, however, deeply disagreed. He proposed, instead, that additional armour be added to the nose, engines and mid-body. His colleagues thought he was crazy. None of the planes had showed any such evidence of damage.

As Laxton explained, though, “Wald realized what the others didn’t. The planes were getting shot there too, but they weren’t making it home. What the Navy thought it had done was analyze where aircraft were suffering the most damage. What they had actually done was analyze where aircraft could suffer the most damage without catastrophic failure. … They weren’t looking at the whole sample set, only the survivors.”

It’s a wonderful example of misperception — or of studying a question from the wrong point of view and missing the obvious. In one of the many comments to this post, a respondent connected this to customer service. “We get input from customers on where our products/services don’t meet their requirements and then use that input to improve our processes. Unfortunately this is biased information. It’s ‘survivor bias.’ What about getting input from the ones who left — the ones who gave up on doing business with us?”

Several accused priests had served in Eastern Jackson County

The Examiner

Sept. 6, 2019

By Mike Genet

Twelve of the 19 priests on a new list of clerics who officials say have substantiated allegations of child sex abuse against them served churches in Eastern Jackson County at some point in their ministry.

The list, released Friday by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, included no current priests. With the exception of federal prison inmate Shawn Ratigan, all allegations are from before 1990. Thirteen of the 19 have died, two have been permanently removed from ministry, and four including Ratigan have been laicized, or removed from the clerical state.

The diocese also released the names of 11 clerics in other categories. Three had substantiated allegations while in the diocese but are now under the control of other dioceses, Two religious-order priests have been removed from ministry. Three former diocesan priests were found “unsuitable for ministry out of concern for the safety of our youth.” Three clergy are part of legal settlements but their cases have not been substantiated in court or by the church. One of the accused priests in another diocese and all three found unsuitable for ministry served in Eastern Jackson County.

Of the 12 accused priests who served in the area, four reportedly had allegations stemming from their local tenures, according to the website bishopaccountability.org – Francis McGlynn (St. Mary, Independence, 1970-74), Hugh Monahan (St. Robert Bellarmine, Blue Springs, 1983-87), Thomas O’Brien (Nativity of Mary, Independence, 1981-83) and Stephen Wise (Our Lady of Presentation, Lee’s Summit, 1981-85). Monahan and Wise have been laicized, and McGlynn and O’Brien died earlier in the decade. Also, Mark Honhart (Nativity, 1980-81) was serving in the Scranton, Pennsylvania Diocese when he was permanently removed from ministry. All had more than one allegation against them, according to the report.

Metro Detroit woman says priest accused of abuse is suing her for speaking out

Channel 4

Sept. 6, 2019

By Jermont Terry & Kayla Clarke

A local woman is speaking out after she said a priest accused of sexual abuse is trying to silence her.

That priest was removed from public ministry as investigators look into allegations of sexual abuse involving a minor. A young Metro Detroit woman, Rose Maher, said she was abused by the priest, not sexually.

"I had this experience with Father Perrone where I drank underage in the rectory. It started at 12 and went past 18. At the time I didn't know it was wrong. I thought it was a privilege," Maher said.

As an adult, she recently started speaking publicly on podcasts and online about the abuse she said she endured along with male altar servers.

That priest was removed from public ministry as investigators look into allegations of sexual abuse involving a minor.

What is Spiritual Abuse?

Patheos blog

Sept. 7, 2019

By Mary Pezzulo

It’s now September. the time of year when I’ll start re-sharing my posts on the Satanic Panic and Halloween. And in the news we have the story of Father Reehill, the eccentric priest who banned Harry Potter because he thought the spells were real– and, of course, the news is now coming out that this is not the first time Father Reehill has acted irrationally. Concerned parents have met with the diocese about him on three separate occasions because he is allegedly emotionally abusive of students, and has driven several of them to need psychotherapy. This is in addition to the stunning corruption we’re seeing coming out of the Diocese of Buffalo, which I want to write about separately later, and in the Church in general.

It’s time to talk again about spiritual abuse.

I often talk about spiritual abuse on this blog. But it occurs to me that I’ve never taken an entire post just to describe the phenomenon, why it’s so damaging, and why it needs to be identified and condemned quickly and loudly whenever it occurs.

Some people, including some of my regular readers, think of all religious practice as inherently abusive. They often have good reason to think this way, based on what they’ve seen and experienced in practicing religion themselves and what they’ve witnessed happen to others. I respect those people, but I do disagree with their conclusion that all religion is abusive. I find my relationship with Christ to be a positive and healthy thing, even though my relationships with fellow Catholics have at times been abusive disasters and I do suffer from trauma because of that. I believe that non-toxic organized religion exists. That’s why spiritual abuse is so personally offensive to me. We can do better, and we must.

Catholic officials named them as abusers. Now these former St. Louis clergy must face their pasts.


Sept. 7, 2019

By Jesse Bogan, Erin Heffernan and Nassim Benchaabane

Athletico Physical Therapy, which has hundreds of storefronts across the Midwest, offers personalized treatment plans for anything from back pain to male pelvic health to gymnastics and cheerleading rehabilitation.

One of its locations in a strip mall off Highway K in O’Fallon buzzed with activity on a recent afternoon. A young woman in black tights and a Mizzou T-shirt stretched near a half dozen other clients trying to work through the pain of lingering injuries.

Dennis J. McClintock, 72, a rehabilitation aide, sat at the edge of the workout floor, sporting an orange Hawaiian shirt, a stark contrast to the white clerical collar he used to wear as a Roman Catholic priest.

On July 26, the Archdiocese of St. Louis made a long-awaited splash by releasing a list of former clergy with substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor. Some names were already widely known; their abuse had been the subject of lawsuits and news stories. Others, including McClintock’s, were being made public for the first time.

Who these priests and deacons were and what they had done was largely hidden — and still is. More than a month after the list was released, neighbors, co-workers and victims are in the dark.

Unlike similar lists released by Catholic organizations from around the country, the archdiocese didn’t say where the men served. Nor did it include the number of alleged victims and what happened to them.

Decades after leaving the archdiocese, they have lived second lives. They’ve counseled high school students, owned appliance stores and helped young athletes rehabilitate their bodies. Two left their pasts in St. Louis and moved away.

Another has been working at a Baptist church. Contacted by the Post-Dispatch, he admitted abuse and prayed it hadn’t scarred the victims. Others said the archdiocese smeared them without a chance to defend themselves. One said he hadn’t even heard he was on the list until a reporter called.

Even though an archdiocesan spokesman said in July the church had “found nothing new that alarmed us,” those on the outside who have closely monitored allegations of clergy sex abuse have been startled by the latest revelations.

September 6, 2019

Three Immediate Steps That Must Be Taken in Buffalo

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Sept. 6, 2019

Buffalo's bishop will not resign, he says. However new tapes show that he is still trying to hide the truth, and church officials in New York and the Vatican are doing nothing.

To us, the remedy is simple:

First, Catholics must be more outspoken and critical, especially directly to Bishop Richard Malone himself, about how he continues to evade the truth and endanger the vulnerable. This has started with a call for the bishop’s resignation coming from the local Movement to Restore Trust. That call must be amplified by other local Catholics who have seen their diocese become the poster child for the continuing abuse crisis.

Second, more diocesan whistleblowers must step forward. If the bishop will not act to protect the vulnerable and tell the truth, then current and former church staffers and members must do so. No matter what you know or suspect - even if it is second hand or old or seemingly insignificant, now is the time to speak up. Last year, Siobhan O’Connor stepped out as a powerful voice for prevention and doing the right thing. We hope others will learn from her courage, follow in her footsteps and display similar courage in coming forward. If you need help to do so, you can contact our group for support.

SNAP Hopes WV Attorney General’s Lawsuit Will Go Forward

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Sept. 6, 2019

West Virginia’s attorney general is fighting to keep his creative lawsuit against church officials alive. We support his efforts and hope that his lawsuit will not be dismissed.

We applaud West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey who is fighting back against Catholic officials who want to continue concealing clergy sex crimes and cover ups. We hope his creative approach of using consumer protections in order to force church staff into greater transparency will encourage others in law enforcement to take similar steps and think outside the box for ways to get to the bottom of cases of clergy sex abuse and cover-ups.

There are far too many secrets within West Virginia that are still not being exposed. For example, church officials from the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston are still not turning over the results of their internal investigation into now-disgraced Bishop Michael Bransfield to the AG's office, despite AG Morrisey’s request.

Where are all the “good priests” in the Diocese of Buffalo?


Sept. 6, 2019

By Charlie Specht

Where are all the “good priests” in the Diocese of Buffalo? And at a time of unprecedented crisis, why aren’t they speaking out against Bishop Richard J. Malone like so many of their parishioners wish they would?

Those are two questions at the front of Kevin Koscielniak’s mind. The Buffalo native is a survivor of child sexual abuse by a Buffalo priest.

“Is the right thing to do to be silent and protect those predators?” Koscielniak asked. “Or is the right thing to do, to stand up and do something about it?”

Koscielniak knows not all Catholic priests are bad. But he says the so-called “good priests” of the diocese must stand up to the bishop for his handling of sexual abuse.

“Every priest out there who doesn't say a word, your credibility is zero,” Koscielniak said. “You can't go out there every single week and talk about doing the right thing and then support this.”

Bishop Malone made it clear at his emergency news conference Wednesday that no matter how many people call for his resignation, it’s the opinion of his clergy that matters most.

“If I felt like a majority of my clergy felt like I could no longer lead the diocese with them -- because a bishop does not lead by himself or he’s a poor leader -- then I’d have to re-think my commitment,” Malone said.

The bishop insisted that “the ones who would like to see me move on are truly the minority,” but that’s not what a priest told 7 Eyewitness News earlier this week by phone. The priest said the majority of priests he talks to want the bishop to resign. But he wouldn’t speak publicly and he asked not to be identified, for fear of retribution by the bishop.

Clarence priest drafts “no confidence” letter for Bishop Malone


Sept. 6, 2019

By Chris Horvatits

The pastor of a Catholic parish in Clarence is spear-heading a new effort to force Bishop Richard Malone to resign as the head of the Diocese of Buffalo.

Malone has resisted calls for his resignation over his handling of sexual abuse and harassment claims. Now, Rev. Bob Zilliox, pastor of St. Mary’s in the Clarence community of Swormville has drafted a “no confidence” letter for Malone. Zilliox plans to spend the next five days gathering as many signatures from priests and deacons in the diocese as he can. He intends to share it with Malone and the public on Wednesday.

“It’s time for my brothers in the clergy to step up,” Zilliox said, “to truly examine their conscious, make a decision, and make a choice that we can no longer allow this to continue.

“Malone doesn’t really care about the people of God. He cares about himself. He cares about his office.”

Zilliox first spoke about the issue last year, taking part in a 60 Minutes interview on the crisis.

“I gave (Malone) a year,” Zilliox said. “I gave him a year to show the Diocese of Buffalo and our local community that he was serious about restoring trust, reforming this, making a difference, and approach things in a whole new light. Obviously the events of the last few weeks and months indicate that’s not the case.”

Most recently, Malone has come under fire for his handling of a sexual harassment complaint by Matthew Bojanowski, a former Christ the King seminarian. Bojanowski accused Rev. Jeffrey Nowak, pastor of Our Lady Help of Christians in Cheektowaga, of violating the seal of his confession as well.

The official complaint against Nowak was filed in January. However Nowak wasn’t put on administrative leave until August, only after he refused to undergo a behavioral assessment, diocesan officials said.

The Nowak issue was also the last straw for the Movement to Restore Trust, a group of lay Catholics created in 2018 as the crisis was unfolding. On Thursday, the group joined in the chorus calling for Malone to resign.

“It was with a fair degree of sadness and humility that we came to that decision,” said Maureen Hurley, a co-founding member of the group.

“(The clergy needs) to stand up and we need to be the voice of reason, the voice of the Good Shepherd, shepherding our people in helping the diocese heal by joining the Movement to Restore Trust and all the laity of the diocese to demand Bishop Malone resign immediately,” Zilliox said.

Zilliox is not the first member of the clergy to call for Malone’s resignation. In October 2018, Rev. Paul Seil, pastor of St. Bernadette Church in Orchard Park, said the bishop should step down.

Editorial: Bishop Malone's time is up

Buffalo News

Sept. 6, 2019

Give this much to Bishop Richard J. Malone: The problems roiling Buffalo’s Catholic diocese long predated his arrival and permeate the church, not just here, but around the world. Yet it is obvious that Malone’s management of the crisis swirling around him is insufficient to the need.

For evidence, one need look no further than the fact that two of his closest aides have seen fit to leak information to the news media. Malone’s former administrative assistant, Siobhan O’Connor, provided pages of copied documents to WKBW-TV reporter Charlie Specht last year. Those documents opened the curtains on how Malone had handled — or mishandled — allegations of sexual misconduct and inappropriate behavior against two priests.

And last month, Malone’s secretary of six years, the Rev. Ryszard Biernat, provided a secretly recorded conversation with Malone to the same station. It dealt with what Malone described as a love triangle that, in a bizarre twist, involved Biernat.

Both impugn Malone’s leadership. We believed last year that he should resign. This new episode does nothing to change our view. Nor, unfortunately, has it changed that of Malone, who repeated Wednesday that he would not step down.

As to the episode itself, it’s a mess, but one whose roots are plain. It sprouts from the church’s culture of secrecy, its complicated and inconsistent ideas about homosexuality and its celibacy requirement. The bar against women in the priesthood also likely plays a role.

Was it a love triangle? A lawyer in the case rejects the notion, but it’s easy to see how Malone reached that conclusion. In brief, a seminarian, Matthew Bojanowski, had complained to the diocese about what he said was inappropriate conduct by the Rev. Jeffrey Nowak. Bojanowski claimed sexual harassment by Nowak and a violation of the seal of confession. Nowak was, at one time, both a mentor and friend of Bojanowski, according to Malone.

Despite mounting criticism, Malone says he is not resigning

Buffalo News

Sept. 6, 2019

By Dan Herbeck

The pressure is building on Bishop Richard J. Malone, leader of Buffalo’s Catholic Diocese.

Over the past 13 months, two of his most trusted confidants — people who worked side-by-side with him for years — have turned against Malone, publicly demanding that he resign from the job he has held since 2012 over his handling of sexual abuse allegations involving priests.

In recent months, some local priests and deacons took the extremely rare action of calling for him to leave office. So did a congressman, Rep. Brian Higgins, D-Buffalo.

Another painful blow to the bishop came Thursday afternoon, when a group of prominent, influential and wealthy Catholics — the Movement To Restore Trust — also abandoned its support.

Soon after that, the diocese announced that a Sept. 11 “listening session” at Niagara University has been canceled because the university no longer wants to host the event. Malone also canceled his annual appearance at a Catholic Charities dinner Friday night, saying he did not want protesters to tarnish an event meant to honor volunteers and donors.

KC Diocese releases list of 33 clerics 'credibly accused' of abuse

KMBC 9 News

Sept. 6, 2019

On Friday, the Diocese of Kansas City - St. Joseph published a list of area clerics who have been found to have substantiated allegations of sexual abuse against a minor.

“In releasing this list my first hope is that it will acknowledge the survivors of clergy sexual abuse and their wounds,” said Rev. James V. Johnson Jr., bishop of Kansas City – St. Joseph. “The release of these names cannot change the past. It is merely a step forward in hope, but a necessary step.”

The diocese said the list was compiled after a review of diocese files by a forensic research firm.

“Their findings confirmed there are no clerics in active ministry in the Diocese of Kansas City – St. Joseph with substantiated allegations of abusing minors,” Johnson said.

However, SNAP, or the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said this release was long overdue and incomplete.

The list released by the diocese names 19 area diocesan clergy with substantiated abuse allegations, as well as clerics not incardinated in the KCSJ diocese but who were within the area at the time of the abuse.

Officials with SNAP called the bishop’s release Friday “reckless and callous” and said the information the list contained was incomplete.

“It is reckless and callous for Bishop Johnston to have hidden these names for so long, releasing them when it's convenient for him, instead of immediately when the allegations are made or deemed ‘credible’ by church officials,” a SNAP release said. “And it is notable to us that the list is missing several names and key details about others.”

SNAP identified six clerics the organization identified as having spent time with KCSJ: Fr. Deusdedit Mulokozi, Fr. James V. McCormick, Fr. Richard C. Colbert, Fr. Donald Redmond, Fr. Thomas A. Conway and Fr. Edgar Probstfield.

State revokes former priest's counseling license

Huron Daily Tribune

Sept. 6, 2019

By Bradley Massman

State officials, today, announced a counseling license was revoked from a former priest who now resides in the Port Austin area.

The state's Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) revoked the educationally limited counselor's license of Lawrence Ventline, a former priest with the Archdiocese of Detroit accused of sexually assaulting a young boy. However, he was never criminally charged or found guilty of sexual assault.

Also today, Ventline was fined $5,000.

The board's action follows LARA's summary suspension of Ventline's license in May after an administrative complaint was filed by the Michigan Attorney General's Office with LARA for allegations of sexual assault.

COMMENTARY: Keith Radford on Specht being blocked out of diocese news conference


Sept. 5, 2019

By Keith Radford

As many Western New Yorkers know, on Wednesday the Buffalo Catholic Diocese selected the reporters it allowed to attend Bishop Richard Malone’s news conference. Our I-Team Chief Investigator Charlie Specht, whose investigative story led to that news conference, was not allowed in the building to ask a question on behalf of the public.

Breaking up is hard to do? Notable absences at next year’s Together for the Gospel

Baptist News Global

Sept. 6, 2019

By Bob Allen

A lineup of speakers for the 2020 Together for the Gospel conference announced Sept. 3 excludes a number of familiar faces from past gatherings, suggesting possible rifts in the Neo-Calvinist preaching club sometimes called the young, restless and Reformed.

The conference, scheduled April 14-16 in Louisville, Kentucky, has been held every other year since 2006. According to the T4G website, it attracts pastors and church leaders from more than 25 denominations in all 50 states as well as 62 foreign nations.

It all began as a friendship between four pastors with differing opinions on matters such as baptism and charismatic gifts but in agreement that the gospel was being “misrepresented, misunderstood and marginalized” in many churches advertising themselves as Christian.

Photo of notable absences at the 2020 Together for the Gospel confab posted on Twitter by blogger Todd Wilhelm, former member of a 9Marks church and longtime critic of T4G co-founder C.J. Mahaney.

Next year’s roster does include mainstays like author John Piper; T4G co-founders Mark Dever, Ligon Duncan and Albert Mohler, and David Platt, former president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s International Mission Board.

But conspicuously missing are past speakers such as Thabiti Anyabwile, Matt Chandler and John MacArthur, all names that recently appeared in media coverage of controversies regarding sexual abuse, the Social Gospel and a social science concept known as Critical Race Theory.

Morrisey: Diocese lawsuit must go on

Weirton Daily Times

Sept. 6, 2019

By Steven Allen Adams

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey announced Thursday that his office filed a response to the Diocese of Wheeling Charleston’s motion to dismiss a civil case calling for more transparency regarding abuse of children.

The Attorney General’s Office filed their response to the diocese’s motion to dismiss in Wood County Circuit Court Wednesday. A hearing on the motion to dismiss was scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.

“The diocese’s motion to dismiss is yet another attempt to duck our calls for transparency,” Morrisey said in a statement Thursday. “Our response proves the strength of our case and why it should be decided in court. The decades-long pattern of cover-up and abuse must end and public trust must be restored.”

The original lawsuit, filed in March in Wood County, accuses the diocese of violating the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act by not disclosing incidents of sexual misconduct involving school and camp employees with minors to parents. The suit alleges that the diocese and former Bishop Michael J. Bransfield knowingly hired pedophiles and did not conduct background checks on employees for schools and camps operated by the diocese.

The diocese filed an amended motion to dismiss the civil suit in July, arguing that Morrisey has no authority to file a civil suit and accuses Morrisey of using the Consumer Credit and Protection Act to violate the separation of church and state.

In Wednesday’s filing, Assistant Attorney General Douglas Davis said the state is in no way trying to violate the diocese’s religious beliefs and practices but force it to comply with state consumer protection laws for the paid services the church provides, such as education.

Church Officials in Pittsburgh Create “Third-Party Reporting” System to Handle Allegations of Abuse, SNAP Responds

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Sept. 3, 2019

Church officials from the Diocese of Pittsburgh today announced the creation of a new system to handle “questions related to suspected wrongdoing in parishes, schools or diocesan offices.” Rather than create new systems for handling allegations, however, we believe that people should instead be encouraged to make reports to law enforcement.

In announcing the EthicsPoint system today, Church officials are touting the creation of yet another church-run structure to handle reports of wrongdoing. But this announcement comes at a time when parishioners and the public are demanding less church involvement in investigations, not more.

We recognize that in their announcement, church officials say that they route all allegations of abuse to police and will only internally investigate allegations “that would not be the purview of investigations by law enforcement or other civil authorities.” But we believe it should be police and prosecutors who determine what allegations will be in their purview, not a contractor hired by local church officials. And more to the point, when faced with an allegation known to be outside the criminal statute of limitations, will it be routed to police or deemed to “not be in their purview?”

The fact is, over the years, internal church systems and procedures have not been enough to stop either cases of abuse or to stop church officials from ignoring, minimizing, or covering-up cases of abuse. And this system, administered by a third-party or not, will still ultimately route allegations of wrongdoing by church officials to other church officials.

Survivors’ Group Calls for More Action from Church Officials in Cheyenne

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Sept. 5, 2019

Several weeks ago, we learned about potential charges being filed against a former Cheyenne, Wyoming bishop. Today, we are urging law enforcement officials to update the public and for church officials in Wyoming to take punitive action against their former leader.

In Mid-August, law enforcement officials recommended charges in a vague announcement that appeared to be referencing the former Bishop of Cheyenne, Joseph A. Hart, as well as one other person that was “seeking membership” in the clergy. Now we are calling on Cheyenne’s prosecutor to announce whether he will follow the recommendation of police and charge Bishop Hart with child molestation. While we are glad that charges were recommended against Bishop Hart, we know that children and vulnerable adults will be safer once those charges are acted on. We hope that law enforcement officials in Cheyenne will take action soon and update the public when they do.

Child-abusing Former Priest Arrested in Philadelphia, Local Leader and Survivor Reacts

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Sept. 3, 2019

Today, a child abusing former priest from Levittown, Francis Trauger, was arrested and charged with sexually assaulting two boys. The below statement is a personal statement from local Philadelphia SNAP leader Mike McDonnell who is also a survivor of Trauger:

“My phone rang early this morning from a trusted source who informed me that one of my abusers has been arrested and charged with sexual assault and corruption of minors. He is the now-defrocked Francis Trauger, 74 yrs old. My heart goes out first to the victims in this case and to their families, they have long held the liability. They are my heroes today, courageous warriors! Trauger’s last assignment was from 1993-2003 and falls within the timeframe of the charges announced today. Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub said the assaults happened while Trauger was a priest at St. Michael the Archangel in Levittown, Pa. between 1993 and 2003. Trauger was defrocked in 2005.

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia knew that Trauger was an abuser as early as September of 1981. Today is 26 years from the date he had abused me and Trauger has finally been arrested. What a range of emotions that have traveled in my head in what was supposed to be a ‘back-to-school’ preparation day. I have prayed for this day for a very long time and feared very much for the number of victims accumulated by this monster. I have wept tears of joy and tears of sadness. I can only think of what relief my 11-yearr-old self would have felt in 1981.

Bishop Richard Malone Must Go

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Sept. 5, 2019

A just-unearthed recording of Buffalo’s top Catholic official has confirmed that he knew about allegations of sexual harassment against a priest in his diocese and did nothing. This inaction combined with the months of scandal and lies from church officials in Buffalo should compel church officials in the Vatican to step in and discipline him.

In a recording obtained by WKBW in Buffalo, Bishop Richard Malone referred to an accused priest, Fr. Jeff Nowak as “a sick puppy” who he acknowledged was harassing a seminarian. Yet despite this determination, Bishop Robert Malone chose to do nothing for five months before sending Fr. Nowak to a church-run “treatment center.” And only last week, ten months after the first complaint was made, did Bishop Malone finally put Fr. Nowak on administrative leave.

This inaction is enough to cause dissension in Bishop Malone’s staff and should be enough for church officials in the Vatican to discipline Bishop Malone’s flaunting of the Dallas Charter and defiance of the church’s oft-touted “zero-tolerance policy.” This case represents the third time that Bishop Malone has left an accused abuser in ministry – in just the past year.

Bishop Malone’s record on abuse and transparency is abysmal and his credibility is near zero. His own words indict him as in these recordings he continues to show more concern for his career than he does for the safety of children and vulnerable adults. Catholics in Buffalo deserve a bishop who will do the right thing by them, not lie to them repeatedly.

Former Priest and Serial Abuser Arrested in Philadelphia on Federal Charges

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Sept. 5, 2019

A priest who has been accused of abusing children since the 1980s was just arrested in Philadelphia on federal charges. We are grateful for this move and know that it will keep children safer.

Defrocked priest Robert L. Brennan was arrested for allegedly lying to federal investigators about his relationship with the family of one of his accusers. We hope that this arrest signals that law enforcement officials in the FBI are looking closely at cases of clergy abuse and finding opportunities to keep potentially dangerous men off the street.

Brennan may be old, but we know that there is no magic age at which a child abuser stops. In fact, when perpetrators are older, parents or youth-serving professionals may view them as less dangerous and be less vigilant. We believe that communities are safer as a result of this arrest.

“On behalf of many survivors in our area and fellow SNAP members, I'm grateful to the McIlmail family for always being there despite their loss,” said Philadelphia SNAP Leader Mike McDonnell.

Diocese of Bridgeport Suspends Priest for Child Sex Abuse 17 Years After Allegations Were First Reported

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Sept. 5, 2019

A priest accused of abuse in Connecticut has just been removed due to “credible allegations” of abuse which were first reported in the early 2000s. We call on church officials to explain the delay and to provide an explanation for their public silence on this situation.

Accusations against Fr. Stephen Gleeson were apparently first reported to the diocese in 2002. Bishop Frank J. Caggiano has evidently kept silent for almost two decades about these child sex abuse allegations. Such silence flies in the face of church officials’ promise to be “open and honest” in cases of clergy sex abuse. Parishioners and the public in the Bridgeport Diocese should demand an explanation for this secrecy.

The bishop acknowledged that his hand-picked abuse panel met several times to discuss the accusations against Fr. Gleeson. But we believe that Bishop Caggiano should have disclosed the abuse report as soon as it was made. Now that the allegations have finally been made public, he should also disclose why this panel previously found the allegations “not credible” and changed course on that finding today.

Clergy Abuse Victims Call For Forgiveness


Sept. 6, 2019

By Ellen Abbott

A message of forgiveness is coming from two victims of the clergy sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church. The two men want to propose an alternative to the anger and bitterness the scandal has wrought.

Both 42-year old Dan Paden, who was born and raised in Johnson City in the Southern Tier, and 58-year old Matt FitzGibbons of Fayetteville, remember being abused as a young child by a parish priest. And they say the way they have come to terms with the abuse is by forgiving their abusers. It’s a message not often heard from victims of clergy abuse, and FitzGibbons believes they are not alone.

“What needs to happen for evil to win is for good people to be silent,” he said. “And Dan and I decided we can’t be silent, and how do we get love out there in the conversation once again.”

Paden said the angry and bitter narrative surrounding the scandal didn’t help him heal. Forgiveness did.

“Being able to forgive my abuser doesn’t help victims,” said Paden. “I still want to help other victims. And one way that I want to help them is share the peace I found in moving to the point of forgiving my abuser and actively praying for him every day.”

FitzGibbons does say the church could do better helping victims of the abuse. He suggested the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse create an advisory board to oversee that.

“For people like me and Dan and our families, this is a life changing event, and it doesn’t go away once it’s out of the news,” he said. “And so how do we support victims and their families through the whole process, and be there for them.”

Editorial: Evil Incarnate

Caldonian Record

Sept. 6, 2019

In the ongoing fallout from the worldwide Catholic sex abuse scandals, the Vermont and New Hampshire Diocese recently published reports of “credibly accused” priests who preyed on victims in the two states.

In Vermont, 18 of the 40 accused predators roamed the Northeast Kingdom. North Country parishioners endured 29 of 71 accused pedophiles.

“This is meant as an act of ownership and accountability,” New Hampshire Bishop Peter Libasci said upon publication of the lists. “It is my hope that by making this information available, we are holding ourselves accountable to the evils of the past.”

To which we say… to hell with that.

We watched the Pope contextualize the abuse during this year’s Vatican conference and were quickly reminded that, had it not been for the Boston Globe, the church would willingly have maintained its rampant and seemingly timeless tradition of raping children and covering it up.

Former FBI special agent talks Diocese of Buffalo scandal


Sept. 6, 2019

By Mike Baggerman

With the FBI reportedly investigating the Diocese of Buffalo in its role in the clergy sex abuse scandal over the last year, former FBI agent in Buffalo, Peter Ahearn, said it's hard to say how long the investigation will take.

Channel 7 and The Buffalo News have both reported that agents spoke with victims of clergy sex abuse in Buffalo, who said they're looking for proof of a cover-up in the diocesan ranks.

"If they are (doing an investigation), they're going to be very thorough and follow the trail wherever it takes it," Ahearn told WBEN by phone. "If it's a one-allegation type of issue and it's not anywhere else, the case could move quickly. If there's an allegation that one person did something to another person -in this case a priest or something else- they're going to look at it the same way."

Ahearn said an FBI investigation into the Diocese is no different than any other type of investigation they do. They'll deal with allegations and interview witnesses. The FBI will then work with the US Attorney's Office to bring charges against the organization. The US Attorneys Office would not confirm or deny any investigations into the Diocese of Buffalo.

Commentary: Former cardinal McCarrick still won’t confess

Washington Post

Sept. 5, 2019

By Marc A. Thiessen

Disgraced ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick was defrocked in February and ordered by Pope Francis to live a “life of prayer and penance.” It seems the message did not get through. McCarrick, it turns out, is unrepentant.

Slate reporter Ruth Graham recently visited the Capuchin friary in Victoria, Kansas, where McCarrick is living in solitude. The former prince of the church gave her a short, but shocking, interview. Asked about the accusations that he had sexually assaulted minors and seminarians under his authority, McCarrick denied the charges. “I’m not as bad as they paint me,” he said. “I do not believe that I did the things that they accused me of.”

Believe? An innocent man would never say “I do not believe I did it.” Asked if he was leaving open the possibility that he did in fact do the horrible things of which he has been accused, McCarrick said, “No.” Everyone is lying. He is an innocent man.

McCarrick specifically denied the accusation that finally turned Pope Francis against him – that he had molested a young boy during the sacrament of confession. Never mind that McCarrick was expelled from the priesthood after a canonical trial found him guilty of “solicitation in the Sacrament of Confession, and sins against the Sixth Commandment with minors and with adults, with the aggravating factor of the abuse of power.” Never mind that he appealed that decision and lost. “The thing about the confession, it’s a horrible thing,” he said. “I was a priest for 60 years, and I would never have done anything like that. . . . That was horrible, to take the holy sacrament and to make it a sinful thing.”

Who is Father Ryszard Biernat, and why would he secretly record Bishop Malone?

Buffalo News

Sept. 6, 2019

By Dan Herbeck and Jay Tokasz

When he served at St. Amelia Church in the Town of Tonawanda, the Rev. Ryszard S. Biernat would sometimes stun parish members with his deeply emotional sermons.

The earnest young priest used to talk about growing up in Poland, where he said he hung around with the wrong people and got into serious trouble as a teenager. He talked about his battles with depression and self-destructive thoughts, and how his faith in Jesus Christ turned his life around.

“He was so open about his darkest fears and feelings. He would share things you’d never expect from any priest,” recalled Jeanne Phillips, a longtime parishioner and choir member at the Town of Tonawanda church. “It was surprising.”

Last year, Biernat surprised people again while preaching a sermon at another Town of Tonawanda church, when he spoke about a priest who had sexually abused him years earlier, when he was a seminary student.

Earlier this week came the biggest surprise of all: Biernat revealed to a local television reporter that he had been secretly tape-recording conversations with his boss, Bishop Richard J. Malone. The recordings were made while Biernat was serving as the bishop’s priest secretary, his closest aide. Serving in that role for six years, he spent more time with the bishop than any other person in the Diocese of Buffalo.

September 5, 2019

Movement to Restore Trust calls on Bishop Malone to resign


Sept. 5, 2019

The Movement to Restore Trust (MRT), a group of powerful and influential Catholics formed in 2018 to assert the laity’s rightful role in the Church, contacted Bishop Malone Thursday asking that he resign immediately.

We make this request of Bishop Malone with a degree of humility and sadness. We had embarked upon our work with the hope that we could be a catalyst for reform and the restoration of trust of the faithful in the diocese. While we have made some progress toward that goal by working with Bishop Malone and the Joint Implementation Team, recent events and disclosures have led us to conclude that the diocese is at a critical point and that further progress is not possible. We believe that continuing to press forward under these circumstances jeopardizes MRT’s comprehensive reform agenda and compromises our ability to be agents for positive change.

The move is striking and potentially devastating for Bishop Malone's future in Buffalo, as the MRT and Canisius College President John Hurley were seen as key allies in Malone's efforts to remain in Buffalo. The bishop, in fact, cited the group multiple times in his news conference Wednesday where he said he would not resign.

‘This was an act of an unloving man’: Man who accused priest of rape encourages others to come forward


Sept. 5, 2019

A man who says he was a victim of Father Geoff Drew says wants others to speak out about what allegedly happened to them.

Drew is accused of raping an altar boy 30 years ago.

He pleaded not guilty to nine counts of rape during a bond hearing on Aug. 21.

Cincinnati police released a letter from the alleged victim on Thursday because he would like his words to be heard.

In the letter, the man says he wants to relay a message to other alleged victims that they are not alone and what happened was not their fault.

“Please know that it is okay for those around you to feel a righteous anger. Know that family will, and does, love you just the same. Know that you have a chance, an anonymous chance, to stand up and save others by your testimony. And in all this, you are loved and worthy.”

He goes on to say that he understands all of those feelings and he’s come to the realization that speaking out can provide others with a chance to not feel that same pain.

“Speaking up provides others the chance not to look in the mirror and wonder if they will be alright. Speaking up provides others the chance to live in a way that I, or you, did NOT get to.”

He goes on to say that speaking out solidifies the chance that this will never happen to someone again.

“I encourage you to do one of the hardest things possible and SPEAK OUT. Trust in knowing God has not abandoned you. This was not the act of a loving God. This was the act of an unloving man,” the letter said.

The man says just because Father Drew faces charges that carry a lot of jail time does not mean others should stay silent. He says the case becomes stronger when more people come forward.

Buffalo bishops silenced Fr. Ryszard about alleged sex assault


Sept. 5, 2019

By Charlie Specht

Ryszard Biernat was just 23 years old when he arrived in the Diocese of Buffalo in 2003.

The future secretary to the bishop -- who has now become Whistleblower No. 2 in the diocese sex scandal -- was only a seminarian when he was assigned to stay with Rev. Art Smith at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in South Buffalo.

“During that break, Art Smith assaulted me sexually,” Fr. Ryszard said in an interview with the 7 Eyewitness News I-Team. “And I wish somebody told me it was a crime.”

With hulking forearms and a muscular build, Fr. Ryszard is normally a tower of physical strength. But in recounting that moment from 15 years ago -- when he could barely process what happened -- he struggles now to hold back tears.

“At that time, I knew enough English to order (a) latte at Starbucks, not to report the sexual assault,” he said. “You know, they don't teach you these words in English second language classes.”

The Polish immigrant would soon get an education in how the bishops of the Diocese of Buffalo handle sexual abuse.

I want to see my baby’: A priest forced her to give up her child 50 years ago, a woman says

Washington Post

August 20, 2019

By Emily Davies

When she saw him through the window of an Omaha hotel lobby, her eyes welled up with tears. There he was, a man with a silhouette just like her boyfriend’s decades ago. A minute later, Kathleen Chafin hugged her son, Tom Rouse, for the first time in her life.

“It made me alive again,” Chafin recalled in an interview with The Washington Post, crying as she remembered the meeting in August 2015. “He took my hand, held it firmly, and he never let go the whole time. Just seeing him, oh my.”

Chafin had spent decades searching for a son she says she never wanted to give up for adoption. When they finally did meet, her years of despair turned into anger at the Catholic Church and one of its priests, who she alleges manipulated her and then removed her son from a hospital room 50 years ago.

Chafin has filed a federal lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Omaha and the Wisconsin Province of the Society of Jesus, alleging on Wednesday that a Jesuit priest named Thomas Halley forced her to give her son up for adoption. She’s seeking $10 million for damages and relief.

Neither Catholic organization immediately responded to requests for comment late Monday. But 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.”

Chafin’s allegations aren’t unique. She became pregnant in 1968, during a time some academics call the “Baby Scoop Era.” From post-World War II until the Supreme Court legalized abortion in its 1973 landmark Roe v. Wade decision, many women were chastised and shunned for having children out of wedlock. Experts estimate more than 1.5 million unmarried women in the United States were forced to give up their babies for adoption during that period, according to Ann Fessler’s 2006 book, “The Girls Who Went Away.” Institutions such as the Catholic Church helped isolate single mothers and pressured them to sign away their children.

List of Priests and Brothers Accused of Child Sexual Abuse

Archdiocese of Baltimore

Sept. 5, 2019

Belschner, Ronald – In August 2019, the Archdiocese of Baltimore announced an allegation of child sexual abuse against Father Ronald Belschner. The alleged abuse occurred in the mid-1970s while Belschner was serving at St. Gregory the Great (Baltimore). Belschner denied the allegations. Belschner’s faculties to function as a priest had been permanently removed in 1991 when he went on a leave of absence. Belschner served at St. Mark (Catonsville) from 1965 to 1969, at St. Gregory the Great from 1969 to 1976, at All Saints from 1976 to 1981, at St. Joseph (Buckeystown) from 1981 to 1989, and at St. Mary (Cumberland) from 1989 to 1991. He also served as part-time chaplain at Mount St. Joseph High School from 1967 to 1969.

Brexit as a spiritual crisis: remain, leave, and an incarnational Church

LaCroix International

September 4, 2019

By Massimo Faggioli

In his novel "A Legacy of Spies" John Le Carré ponders the relationship between England and Europe.The most iconic character of his espionage tales, George Smiley, is an Englishman who has spent his life spying on the Soviets.

Now retired in a post-Cold War world, he says to his subordinate Peter Guillam:"So was it all for England, then? There was a time, of course there was. But whose England? Which England?"

Southern Baptist Convention claims no control over local churches. But new rules, lawsuit may test that argument

Houston Chronicle

Sept. 5, 2019

By John Tedesco and Robert Downen

A day before the Southern Baptist Convention adopted reforms in response to an ongoing sexual abuse crisis, a Baptist leader warned the measures might make it easier for abuse victims to sue the organization — and gain access to the hundreds of millions of dollars it collects every year.

“I have some concerns about potential liabilities,” Joe Knott, a North Carolina lawyer, told fellow Baptists at an executive committee meeting in Birmingham, Ala., where the country’s largest coalition of Baptist churches was conducting its annual gathering in June.

The national spotlight was on the SBC as it debated how to protect its flock from sexual abusers. But Knott was also worried about a proposal for an SBC committee to conduct “inquiries” into how churches handle abuse allegations.

Such a proposal, he warned, could weaken the SBC’s argument that it has no control over its member churches — an assertion that leaders have said gives the SBC immunity in sexual abuse lawsuits.

“I don’t see how in the world we’re supposed to know how 50,000 churches are acting,” Knott said. “But if we’re telling the public, ‘We do know, we’ve given them credentials,’ that seems to be a big problem potentially.”

Half of Catholics attending Mass 28 years ago no longer do, figures show

Catholic Philly

Sept. 5, 2019

By Matthew Gambino

You may have noticed the space in church pews widening between you and your fellow Catholics attending Sunday Mass in recent years. It is not your imagination.

Mass attendance in parishes of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia has been dropping for years, and several factors have steepened the long-term pattern of decline to the point where today, half as many Catholics in the archdiocese attend Mass regularly as did a generation ago.

The findings of the latest October Count, an annual head count of people at all Masses in every parish for four consecutive weeks in October, show just under 200,000 people, precisely 199,101, attended Mass in the 214 parishes in October 2018.

The Mass census was begun in the archdiocese in 1990 and the first showed 416,137 attendees. That is a 52% decline in typical church attendance in 28 years.

She surrendered her secrets to put away a sexual predator. But her sacrifice isn't over

Courier Journal

Sept. 5, 2019

By Matt Mencarini

Rachael Denhollander always wanted to keep it a secret.

The journal she tucked away in a hidden folder contained her most private thoughts, anguished conversations with herself detailing what her doctor, Larry Nassar, had done to her on his exam table.

The moments he penetrated her with his ungloved fingers, his hand hidden under a towel, while making small talk with her mother, just a few feet away.

"Am I hurting you, Rach?" he whispered close to her ear.

Beginning in 2004, Rachael's cursive handwriting on each page detailed her vulnerability and her doubts that God cared. She feared she was somehow impure for her future husband.

"Save me O’ God," she wrote on the first line of the first page.

No one was ever supposed to see that journal — certainly not the man who so horrifically violated her.

Nassar, once a famed sports medicine doctor, had stolen so much — her innocence, her trust, her relationship with her own body. It was the very same thing, the world would later learn, that he’d done to more than 300 other women and girls.

His abuse went on for decades. Olympians. College athletes. Young gymnasts. Women and girls who sought his help. And the 6-year-old daughter of family friends.

What Nassar couldn’t have were Rachael’s deepest thoughts. For 12 years, she locked them away in 31 loose-leaf pages, until the moment she knew they could stop him.

So, Rachael made a sacrifice.

Seton Hall investigation finds McCarrick harassed seminarians

Catholic News Service

Sept. 5, 2019

A yearlong investigation by Seton Hall University confirmed that Theodore McCarrick, the laicized cardinal who had been archbishop of Newark from 1986 to 2000, had sexually harassed seminarians during his tenure as head of the archdiocese.

“McCarrick created a culture of fear and intimidation that supported his personal objectives. McCarrick used his position of power as then-archbishop of Newark to sexually harass seminarians,” said the 700-word “update,” dated Aug. 27. “No minors or other (Seton Hall) university students were determined to have been affected by McCarrick.”

The review was conducted by the law firm of Latham & Watkins, which may be best known for leading the investigation into the “Deflategate” scandal during a January 2015 NFL playoff game between New England and Indianapolis.

“The review found that the university’s Title IX policies are consistent with state and federal law,” Seton Hall said.

“These policies, however, were not always followed at Immaculate Conception Seminary and St. Andrew’s Seminary, which resulted in incidents of sexual harassment going unreported to the university. Immaculate Conception Seminary, St. Andrew’s Seminary and Seton Hall are currently fully compliant with all Title IX requirements.”

The update made little other mention of McCarrick, except to say: “Individuals, communities and parishes across the country have been affected by former archbishop McCarrick and others who have profoundly and forever negatively altered so many lives.”

McCarrick, as Newark archbishop, was president of the board of trustees at Seton Hall, which is sponsored by the archdiocese. The seminaries are located on the Seton Hall campus.

Paris Prosecutor Steps up Effort to Investigate Clergy Abuse

Associated Press

Sept. 5, 2019

The chief Paris prosecutor and the French capital's archbishop have struck an agreement allowing faster investigations into alleged sexual abuse by clergy.

Thursday's accord came as more people in France are coming forward about past sexual wrongdoing by priests, and after repeated scandals pushed the French Catholic Church to step up efforts to address abuse.

Under the accord signed by Prosecutor Rémy Heitz and Archbishop Michel Aupetit, the diocese will now immediately report any accusations of wrongdoing to prosecutors. In the past, the church would conduct an internal investigation first.

Diocese spokeswoman Karine Dalle said the church has reported 13 accusations of priest sexual abuse to Paris prosecutors over the past three years, and that the number has grown in recent months. Many cases are too old to be prosecuted.

Leaked Recordings Show Catholic Bishop Refusing to Act Regarding Abusive Priest

Patheos blog

Sept. 5, 2019

By Hemant Mehta

One of the standard lines we hear from Catholic leaders dismissive of the sexual abuse scandal is that all the bad stuff happened a long time ago. Of course that’s not true. There are still abusive priests, there are still victims, and there are still bishops looking the other way.

But the 7 Eyewitness News I-Team in Buffalo recently got ahold of audio recordings showing just how the Church’s internal deliberations work… or, I should say, don’t.

The incident in question begins with seminarian Matthew Bojanowski. He was studying to become a priest, but he caught the eye of Rev. Jeffrey Nowak, pastor of Our Lady Help of Christians Church in Cheektowaga.

Nowak began pursuing Bojanowski in 2016, when the younger man was considering the priesthood. Using information Bojanowski said in confessional (!), Nowak began pushing for a relationship. At one point, Nowak even sent the young man a Facebook message saying — wait for it — “When you become a priest, you will be what we call clerical eye candy.”

It soon became clear to Nowak that Bojanowski wasn’t interested. And then things got worse. Bojanowski later referred to “many months of revenge and retaliation by Father Nowak.”

Last November, Bojanowski informed Bishop Richard J. Malone of the Diocese of Buffalo of the issue. He also offered a written complaint and plenty of documentation of what Nowak did. In other words, there was ample evidence for Malone to take action.

But nothing happened. Making matters worse, Nowak began to think there was something going on between Bojanowski and Rev. Ryszard Biernat, the secretary for the Diocese, which led him to retaliate even more.

And yet Malone just sat on this information for months.

Embattled Buffalo bishop calls alleged love triangle ‘convoluted’


Sept. 5, 2019

By Christopher White

In the midst of an ongoing crisis surrounding Bishop Richard Malone’s governance of the Diocese of Buffalo, newly revealed correspondence suggests a romantic relationship between the bishop’s priest secretary and a former diocesan seminarian who resigned last month.

In a press conference on Wednesday, Malone called the content of the letter “a bit concerning” and the entire situation “a very complex, convoluted matter.”

In the correspondence, obtained by Crux, priest secretary Father Ryszard Biernat appears to have had a longtime relationship with Matthew Bojanowski, who resigned from the seminary in a press conference on August 20.

That same week the diocese announced that Biernat had also taken a leave of absence at the bishop’s request, effective August 14.

Neither Bojanowski nor Biernat responded to Crux’s request for comment through Barry Covert, an attorney who represents both individuals.

“I write to you with a heavy heart worrying that you may feel entrapped in our relationship,” writes Biernat to Bojanowski in a three-page, handwritten letter.

Catholic priest who escaped abuse accusations charged with false statements to the FBI

The Morning Call

Sept. 5, 2019

By Peter Hall

A former Catholic priest who escaped charges that he molested an 11-year-old altar boy when the alleged victim died has been charged in federal court with making false statements to the FBI.

In an indictment unsealed in federal court Thursday, Robert Brennan, 81, of Perryville, Maryland, who served at Resurrection of Our Lord Parish in Philadelphia from 1993 to 2004, is charged with four counts of making materially false statements to federal investigators. He is accused of lying about whether he knew the alleged victim or his family.

Brennan was arrested Thursday morning in Maryland and is set to appear in federal court in Philadelphia at 1:30 p.m.

“Making false statements to the FBI is a serious crime, and given the circumstances, the alleged false statements here are particularly disturbing,” U.S. Attorney William McSwain said in a statement. “We will use all of the tools at our disposal to hold this defendant accountable for his alleged actions.”

It is the first indictment out of a federal grand jury investigation McSwain launched in the wake of last year’s statewide grand jury report, which identified more than 300 priests in dioceses across Pennsylvania as abusers, including 37 in Allentown.

The state investigation resulted in only two clergy members being charged because so many of the accusations were too old to be prosecuted under the statute of limitations.

Legal experts said the federal investigation could break down the barrier to prosecuting the older accusations if prosecutors can show church officials had systematically covered up for child abusing priests in the last five years. Such evidence would allow a racketeering case against the church.

Update: Bishop Malone will not resign, calls recent case 'convoluted'

Catholic News Service

Sept. 4, 2019

Bishop Richard J. Malone of Buffalo said the majority of priests and parishioners in the diocese supported him and he would not resign over his handling of a situation involving two priests' relationship with a seminarian.

"I'm here because I feel an obligation as the one who was sent here to lead this diocese, to carry on, and once again, if I thought the majority of Catholic people in particular were calling for my resignation, that would be a different story," Malone said during Sept. 4 news conference in Buffalo.

"But I don't feel that. I go out to parishes and schools all the time for visits. I am always well received when I go ... I do feel enough support, honestly to continue on," he told reporters gathered at the rectory of St. Joseph's Cathedral.

Malone called the news conference to discuss a letter from Fr. Ryszard Biernat to a seminarian, Matthew Bojanowski, and allegations by Bojanowski that another priest, Fr. Jeffrey Nowak, harassed him.

Fr. Biernat began a leave of absence from his position as the bishop's priest secretary Aug. 14. He had been in his position since 2013.

In a recording obtained from Fr. Biernat by WKBW-TV, Malone is heard saying that he feared having to resign over what he called a "love triangle" involving priests and a seminarian.

Malone also expressed concern to Biernat that "this could be the end for me as bishop" if the news media learned about the situation involving the three men and called the situation he was facing "a true crisis."

The television station posted a transcript of the recording on its website.

The beleaguered bishop has faced questions about how he has handled allegations of abuse against diocesan priests for more than a year.

Evil Here, Evil There: What Is Its Source?

Post Examiner

Sept. 3, 2019

By Bill Hughes

Now, let’s shift over to another kind of evil. In this one, which recently came to public notice, children have been targeted as victims by members of the clergy. I’m referring to the horrific sexual scandal of the pedophile, children-abusing priests engulfing the Roman Catholic Church. It truly shocked the world. I have to wonder what Jung would have said about this kind of clerical sickness. We’re talking here about evil on a massive human scale. Law enforcement officials are working tirelessly to get to the bottom of it.

We already knew the RC Church in this county had a very poor record in opposing the endless, immoral wars that have engulfed this nation since WWII. From the horrific Vietnam conflict to the wars in Iraq, the most you could get out of the RC Church was some bland statement on the subject filled with pious nonsense.

Here are some hard statistics about the pedophile-priest scandal: as of June 1, 2018, the number of priests accused of sexually abusing children in the U.S. stands at 6,846, while the currently known victims total 19,001. The authority for these mind-blowing numbers is the BishopAccountability.org website. This site continues to be updated.

One of the states leading the way in bringing these evil-doing priests, and their disgusting protectors in the church hierarchy to justice, has been Pennsylvania. More than 1,000 young victims were identified in a sweeping Grand Jury Report, which was released on August 14, 2018, by its intrepid Attorney General, Josh Shapiro. (USA Today.) Kudos to Mr. Shapiro.

The report went on to state: “Church leaders…were more interested in safeguarding the church and the abusers than tending to their victims…Priests were raping little boys and girls and the so-called “men of God” who were responsible for them not only did nothing: They hid it all.” More than 300 predator priests were named in the damning report. It can be found at: https://www.inquirer.com/philly/news/catholic-church-clergy-sex-abuse-read-the-full-grand-jury-report-20180814.html

(I strongly recommend, if you have the stomach for it, to read this report in its entirety. It is beyond shocking.)

A tip of the hat to Maryland’s Attorney General, Brian Frosh, who soon followed the Pennsylvania precedent. He began opening a process on September 21, 2018, that allowed local victims of an abuser at a school or place of worship to contact his office.

The Archdiocese of Baltimore updated their list of Religious Brothers and Priests accused of child sex abuse on July 23, 2019. It can be found here. at The 23 names recently added bring the total to 126 accused child sex abusers.

Denhollander’s memoir on vast gymnastics scandal is a landmark for religion as well as athletics

Get Religion blog

Sept. 5, 2019

By Richard Ostling

Countless books have landed on The Religion Guy’s desk over decades and rarely has he cited one as a “must read” or “book of the year.”

But such descriptions are appropriate for Rachael Denhollander’s candid memoir “What Is a Girl Worth?” about exposing the vast sexual-abuse scandal at USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University. The evangelical Tyndale House issues her book on Sept. 10 alongside a four-session study guide, and the author’s non-salacious “How Much Is a Little Girl Worth?” for young readers.

Attorney Denhollander, the first person to publicly lodge accusations against MSU athletics osteopath Larry Nassar, has a unique status. She is a heroine named among Time’s 100 Most Influential People, Glamour’s Women of the Year, recipients of ESPN’s Courage Award and Sports Illustrated’s Inspiration of the Year. At the same time, she’s the wife of a doctoral student at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, while raising four young children and she uses her hard-won celebrity to present Christian truth.

An account of the worst sex-abuse case in its history is obviously a landmark for U.S. sports, but this is also a vitally important story for religion writers, and most certainly for Denhollander’s fellow evangelical Protestants, who are now following Catholicism in stumbling through #MeToo crises. (Along the way, journalists will relish the inside account of her byplay with investigative reporters and the media horde.

Denhollander alone bravely lodged public accusations against predator Nassar, a big shot in gymnastics. Eventually, he faced 332 accusers of all ages including Olympic superstars, the Feds unearthed his stash of 37,000 child pornography files and he was sent to prison for life. MSU was forced to pay $500 million in damages, but any USA Gymnastics payout is problematic because it was forced to file for bankruptcy protection.

This former Philly priest with a 30-year history of sexual abuse was just arrested again

WHYY Radio

September 5, 2019

By Max Marin

Federal authorities in Philadelphia have arrested a defrocked Catholic priest who has been accused of sexually abusing boys in area parishes since the 1980s.

Fr. Robert L. Brennan, 81, sat at the center of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s largest-ever settlement in a sex abuse case six years ago, which came after one of Brennan’s accusers died of a drug overdose at 26.

Brennan was arrested again early Thursday. Authorities say the ex-priest will be arraigned on new federal charges this afternoon in Philadelphia for allegedly lying to the FBI about his relationship to an accuser’s family.

Brennan’s arrest is first to come since federal prosecutors embarked on a sweeping probe of clergy sex abuse and coverups at Pennsylvania archdioceses last year. The priest had been suspended from duties since 2005 and was formally defrocked by the Vatican in 2017.

He was first named in a 2005 grand jury report which accused him of sexual or inappropriate behavior with more than 20 boys since the late 1980s. Under Pennsylvania’s lax statute of limitations on sexual offenses against minors, many of the charges were too old to pursue in court.

In 2012, one of Brennan’s alleged victims, Sean McIlmail, agreed to press charges against the priest. The man claimed his pastor began sexually abusing him in 1993, at Brennan’s then-parish in Northeast Philadelphia, when he was just 11 years old. But McIlmail, then 26, died of a drug overdose in Kensington days before the preliminary hearing. The Philadelphia District Attorney’s office closed the case.

List: Every abusive Catholic church priest, clergy member named in every state in past year

York Daily Record

Sept. 4, 2019

By Candy Woodall

In mid-August last year, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro read a grand jury report that listed more than 300 abusive priests in Pennsylvania.

A month later, dioceses in Arkansas and San Diego released their own lists of priests and clergy members who were credibly accused of child sex abuse.

Since then, there have been hundreds of abusive clergy named every month by dioceses, religious orders and lawyers across the country. At least 20 attorneys general in other states have followed Shapiro's lead and launched similar statewide investigations.

The following list shows everyone named, by states and dioceses, in the last year. It includes priests, deacons, bishops, monsignors, religious order brothers and nuns. If you click on the diocese name, you will be taken to their list or coverage from a local USA Today Network news organization.

Abuse survivors say every name on the list represents a cover-up that goes straight to the Vatican. Bishops say the names represent sins of the past and a church that's moving forward in transparency.

The Amazon fires are a good metaphor for today’s Church

Catholic Herald

Sept. 5, 2019

By Fr. Dominic Allain

The media is full of apocalyptic news of fires in the “lungs” of the world and discussion of the bleak future we face if this unprecedented crisis is not tackled. The Pope, governments and celebrities have all added their voices to the anxiety over what this means for the planet.

Despite the pictures posted by the seers and sages of Hollywood, the fires in the Amazon are not visible from the air as swathes of blazing trees. They are more insidious: they are fires at the level of the forest floor which can damage trees with thin bark and therefore kill them, without the canopy of the forest ever visibly burning.

They are started not by global warming so much as the activity of farmers who clear the forest to make land they can cultivate, stacking the timber they have felled till it becomes tinder dry and combusts in the dry season. It is said that Brazil’s leaders have failed to address the scale of the problem. It is those from outside who are stepping up the pressure for something to be done to deal with it because, in the end, the health of the whole world depends on the health of this region.

To me, this is an good analogy for what is happening in the Church. Devastating fires continue to blaze unabated. The canopy – what you see from above – may appear intact, but there are fires at ground level which threaten its survival in certain places.

What are these fires? A recently published survey found that about two thirds of US Catholics do not believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Most Holy Eucharist.

If Christ isn’t truly and substantially present in the Blessed Sacrament then in what sense does Christ minister the other sacraments? They became rituals whose efficacy depends on a subjective response. This is presumably why Sunday Mass congregations are shrinking and churches closing at a rate which makes deforestation look like inertia.

The church wants my son to consider the priesthood. After the abuse scandal, how can I trust he’d be safe in seminary?

America Magazine

Sept. 4, 2019

By Colleen Duggan

Every summer, the Archdiocese of Baltimore, where I reside and attend church, offers a Quo Vadis (“Where are you going?” in Latin) discernment retreat. High school boys gather at a local Catholic college with seminarians, priests and others for fellowship, prayer and guided discussions to help young men explore God’s potential call to the priesthood. The four days are filled with opportunities for Mass, adoration, Liturgy of the Hours and confession. During recreational time, the boys along with the seminarians and priests play sports, hike, talk and eat good food.

I have six children, three of them boys, and after much prayer and discernment, my husband and I decided not to send our 15-year-old son, who has already said he would consider the beautiful vocation of priesthood, to Quo Vadis this year. My husband and I desire to support and encourage vocations. I come from a family that has produced several, including a Dominican Sister of St. Cecilia in Nashville and a diocesan priest. We daily pray for the good clergy who have served our family, and we ask God to send more workers into the vineyard. I recognize the great need in dioceses across the United States for an increase in vocations, especially within my own, where priests are retiring at a faster rate than men are being ordained.

My husband and I are saddened my son missed this unique experience for Catholic high school boys. But after last summer’s revelations of systemic sexual abuse and its cover-up within the highest levels of the church—the McCarrick scandal, followed by the Pennsylvania grand jury report and the resignation of Bishop Michael J. Bransfield in West Virginia—I do not feel confident that the bishops can answer the same question they want my son to consider: Quo vadis? Where are you going? And why should we, why should my son, follow you?

Disappointment from whistleblower of diocese sex scandal

WBEN Radio

Sept. 5, 2019

By Mike Baggerman

Siobhan O’Connor, a whistleblower in the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, was among the few protesters standing outside of St. Joseph’s Cathedral after Bishop Richard Malone held his press conference Wednesday detailing the complex relationship between Father Jeffrey Nowak, seminarian Matthew Bojanowski, and the bishop’s former secretary, Father Ryszard Biernat.
During the press conference, the bishop reiterated that he will not resign.

At the time, O'Connor only heard bits and pieces of his press conference due to the ambient noise in the background.

“I came down here with a glimmer of hope in my heart,” she told Bauerle & Bellavia. “I really thought, especially given the location, the cathedral, that the bishop was going to take this opportunity to do the right thing. It was quickly apparent that not only was he not going to resign, he was going to dig his heels in even farther, which is just devastating for me personally and our whole diocese.”

O’Connor was pressed by Bellavia on her calls for the bishop to resign, with the WBEN talk show host asking about Malone’s personality.

“I know him to be a man who is both an arrogant person and a cowardly person,” she said. “While (Wednesday) he’s demonstrating that prideful side, I’ve also seen him ignore problems, ignore issues, and constantly put the blame anywhere but himself. I know when I released those documents, I wanted the truth to be known because so often he was able to cover it up. That’s something a lot of bishops do.”

Lawsuit accuses priest at San Miguel Parish in La Mesa of sexually abusing boy

Las Cruces Sun-News

Sept. 5, 2019

By Bethany Freudenthal

One of two lawsuits filed Tuesday against the El Paso Diocese alleges a Las Cruces-area priest sexually abused a boy in the 1970s.

The first lawsuit alleges Father Marcos Rizzo-Rico, then a pastor of San Miguel Parish in La Mesa, abused a young boy from 1974 to 1976.

The second lawsuit alleges Father Juan Montoya sexually abused an 11-year-old girl while serving as pastor of St. John the Baptist Parish in Roswell in 2001.

The Albuquerque firm Hall & Monagle, which filed the suits, alleges there are at least nine abuse lawsuits pending against the Diocese of Las Cruces and/or the Diocese of El Paso.

In a news release announcing the two most recent lawsuits, the firm stated additional lawsuits are expected to be filed in the coming weeks.

In 1974, a 10-year old altar boy for San Miguel Parish was being physically abused by his stepfather, court documents state. When Father Marcos Rizzo-Rico, referred to as Father Marcos in court documents, found out about the abuse, he told the boy's mother that the boy could live with him to be "protected from abuse."

The lawsuit alleges Father Marcos begin sexually abusing the boy as soon as they lived together and that the alleged abuse occurred as as frequently three times per week.

Alleged harassment, love letter at center of latest diocese scandal

Buffalo News

Sept. 4, 2019

By Jay Tokasz

Bishop Richard J. Malone maintained Wednesday that he still had the support of the majority of Buffalo Diocese priests and parishioners and would not step down in the midst of another scandal — this one centered around his handling of a love letter from a priest to a seminarian and another priest’s alleged harassment of the same seminarian.

“I’m here because I feel an obligation as the one who was sent here to lead this diocese, to carry on, and once again, if I thought that the majority of Catholic people in particular were calling for my resignation, that would be a different story,” he said. “But I don’t feel that. I go out to parishes and schools all the time for visits. I am always well received when I go … I do feel enough support, honestly, to continue on.”

The diocese has been embroiled in a wider Catholic Church crisis involving allegations of clergy sexual abuse of children and adults, with several prominent Catholics calling on Malone to resign over his handling of the issue.

Passage of the Child Victims Act in New York, which allows victims a one-year look-back window to file lawsuits over abuse from decades ago, brought the scandal back into the headlines in August and renewed criticism of Malone.

The issue that led to Malone’s first news conference since last November centered on a love letter from the Rev. Ryszard Biernat to a seminarian, Matthew Bojanowski, and the Rev. Jeffrey Nowak’s alleged harassment of Bojanowski.

Malone can be heard in secretly recorded audio calling the crisis over a “love triangle” involving priests a “disaster” that could force him to resign.

The Buffalo Abuse Cover-Up Allegations: Will ‘Vos Estis’ Be Applied?

National Catholic Register

Sept. 4, 2019

By Lauretta Brown

In May, Pope Francis promulgated his motu proprio Vos Estis Lux Mundi, detailing a new set of norms on handling sex abuse that included procedures for handling accusations against bishops — and one instance where many are clamoring for a thorough investigation according to these new guidelines is in the case of Bishop Richard Malone of Buffalo, New York.

No allegation of sexual abuse has been made against Bishop Malone, but he has been accused of allowing multiple priests to remain in ministry despite credible abuse allegations against them.

Questions about the Buffalo bishop’s handling of abuse claims have intensified over the last month in the wake of reports about allegations that he failed to take action initially after he was informed of serious allegations of sexual misconduct by Father Jeffrey Nowak.

And on Sept. 4, WKBW investigative reporter Charlie Specht published another damaging report based on a leaked Aug. 2 conversation between Bishop Malone and other senior diocesan officials regarding the allegations against Father Nowak, in which the bishop reportedly commented that the diocese was in a “true crisis situation” because of the possibility that additional damaging information about the priest’s alleged misconduct might be published by local media.

“True crisis,” Bishop Malone continued, according to the WKBW report. “And everyone in the office is convinced this could be the end for me as bishop. It could force me to resign if in fact they make a story.”

Another abuser Catholic bishop: Crux pieces together the long, painful story of Joseph Hart

Get Religion blog

Sept. 4, 2019

By Julia Duin

Every so often, a piece of investigative journalism shows up that bears mention, which is why I wanted to draw attention to a three-part Crux series on the disgraced former Wyoming Bishop Joseph Hart and the tale of sex abuse allegations that have dogged him for years.

There’s more. This is also the story of the bishop who took his place and how he was determined to bring some just into the situation. Not all bishops are so minded.

The series, written by their national correspondent Christopher White, ran this past week and starts here with the story of one family.

KANSAS CITY, Missouri — As parishioners attended the Feast of the Assumption Mass inside Guardian Angels Catholic Church on August 15, members of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) gathered outside on the sidewalk for a press conference marking an occasion that many believed would never come.

Less than 24 hours earlier, police in Cheyenne, Wyoming recommended to prosecutors that a one-time Guardian Angels priest, who would go on to become a beloved Catholic bishop, face criminal charges for the sexual abuse of minors.

Prior to being named a bishop, Joseph Hart had served in the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph for the first two decades of his priesthood, following ordination in 1956. Although his ecclesial career has spanned over five decades, serving in two states where he was widely popular, he has been trailed by allegations of serial abuse — which he has consistently denied — dodging both civil and canonical adjudication for more than two decades.

Now, in the twilight of his life he not only faces criminal charges, where he could become the first U.S. bishop ever to face criminal prosecution for abuse, but also the possibility of being stripped of his title of bishop and removed from the clerical state as a church trial in the Vatican is also underway.

September 4, 2019

In secret recording, Buffalo bishop admits new scandal ‘could force me to resign’


September 4, 2019

By Christopher White

New audio recording reveals embattled Bishop Richard Malone of Buffalo, New York seeking to contain yet another public relations crisis in his diocese, saying he feared it could force his resignation.

The audio files, released on Wednesday by WKBW, were recorded on August 2 by Malone’s priest secretary, Father Ryszard Biernat, who took a leave of absence from his post, beginning August 14.

“With all the else that’s going on in the diocese and all the, all the attacks on my credibility … that I’ve known that something’s going on here that shouldn’t be and I let it go … I mean this is a disaster,” Malone said.

Abuse on the Margins

Catholic Citizens

August 29, 2019

By Stephen P. White

Sexual abuse is a plague no matter where it occurs or to whom. But one of the underexplored facets of the clerical sexual abuse crisis in the United States is the way in which marginalized and minority communities have proven particularly susceptible both to abusers themselves and to the malfeasance of bishops and religious superiors who mishandled reports of abuse.

The Associated Press published a story [1] this week about an extended family in Greenwood, Mississippi devastated by clerical sexual abuse. Three boys in the family – brothers, Joshua and Raphael Love, and their cousin, La Jarvis Love – have all alleged abuse at the hands of two Franciscan Brothers at St. Francis of Assisi School in the 1990s.

Certain aspects of the abuse are all-too-familiar: the grooming behavior, the threats, the silence, the ineffectual response by both Church authorities and, at least initially, law enforcement. But there are a few details of the Greenwood cases that stand out.

Garabedian Shames Diocese for Recent Church Bulletin


August 29, 2019

By Brendan Keany

"This is not rocket science, this is common sense."

On Thursday afternoon, prominent Boston sex abuse victims attorney Mitchell Garabedian stood in front of the Buffalo Diocese with Wayne Bortle, yet another alleged victim who's filing a claim against the institution.

Bortle claims that he was abused by Fr. Robert Conlin, and he filed a civil complaint which stated the allegations, as well as the adverse affect of a church bulletin which was distributed by Mary Immaculate Parish last Saturday.

Bortle filed suit against the Diocese of Buffalo and St. Mary's Parish but not against Conlin because Conlin died in 1997.

The Bulletin refers to Conlin Hall, named after Robert Conlin, even though Bortle has requested a name change.

A Quaker School’s Response to Allegations of Sexual Abuse

Friends Journal

September 1, 2019

By Erik Hanson

Stories of sexual abuse and its mismanagement at schools and religious organizations have become routine. But what might a Quaker response to abuse allegations look like?

Stories of sexual abuse and its mismanagement at schools and religious organizations have become routine. But what might a Quaker response to abuse allegations look like? Carolina Friends School (CFS), a pre‐kindergarten to twelfth‐grade school in Durham, North Carolina, offers an example.

We are writing today to share some difficult news from our past. Several students who attended Carolina Friends School between 1969 and 1975 have told us that a former principal sexually abused them during their lower and middle school years. One of those students has also shared sexual abuse by a former Middle School teacher in the spring of 1976.

So began the letter signed by principal Mike Hanas and clerk of the board Marsha Green that appeared on the front page of the Carolina Friends School website on June 11, 2014. The letter went on to acknowledge the courage of the former students who shared their stories of abuse, apologize to them on behalf of the school community, and name the alleged perpetrators. The letter was emailed to every former student, current and former parent, current and former staff member, current and former trustee, and to local media.

Alleged Abuse Survivor Calls for Renaming of Pavilion Church Hall

Spectrum News

August 29, 2019

By Mark Goshgarian

Another survivor of alleged clergy sexual abuse has come forward, with more than just a civil lawsuit against the Diocese of Buffalo.

For alleged abuse survivor Wayne Bortle, the details of the case date back to 1979. And while the accused priest has since died, the church hall which bears his name has become a constant reminder of the past, some 40 years later.

Jesuit Prep grad sues Dallas school saying former president molested him as a teen

The Dallas Morning News

August 27, 2019

By Jennifer Emily

A 1983 graduate says in a lawsuit that priest Patrick Koch sexually abused him when he was a student at Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas.

Updated at 5:59 and 6:45 p.m. to include statements from the Catholic Diocese of Dallas and Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas.

A graduate of Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas filed a lawsuit Monday against the school and the Catholic Diocese of Dallas, saying he was sexually abused by a priest and former school president on the church's “credibly accused” list while he was a student.

The lawsuit filed in Dallas County civil court alleges that the church, the school and the Jesuit order failed to protect the student, now 54, allowing the abuse by the Rev. Patrick Koch to occur and then covering it up.

The Dallas Morning News generally does not name people who may have been victims of sexual abuse. The accuser is identified with a pseudonym in the lawsuit.

"Patrick Koch was the sexual abuser, but he did not and could not have acted alone. He was in the position to abuse John Doe because of the actions of the defendants in this case and their cover-up of the dangers at the school, the danger of Patrick Koch and the systemic crisis," the lawsuit says. Jesuit "created and fostered a community where abuse would occur and the school did nothing to prevent the problem despite its obviousness."

4 men sue Pennsylvania diocese, including 2 bishops, for sex abuse cover-up


September 3, 2019

By Lisa Bourne

Four men filed a lawsuit against the Catholic Diocese of Scranton, Pa., and its current and former bishops August 28, claiming sexual abuse by a priest and cover-up by the diocese.

The men say Father Michael Pulicare sexually assaulted them as children and accuse the diocese of conspiracy and fraud in concealing widespread abuse that Church leaders knew about for decades, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reports.

Pulicare died in 1999. The statute of limitations to file suit on the abuse has expired, as Pennsylvania law requires that childhood sexual abuse victims file lawsuits prior to turning 30. The men, some of whom are in their fifties, are instead suing over the alleged cover-up, the report said, and they are part of an increasing number of alleged clergy abuse victims pursuing this alternate course to challenge the Church in court.

Floodgate of Lawsuits from Child Sex Abuse Victims Overwhelm NYC Institutions

The Jewish Voice

September 4, 2019

By Hellen Zaboulani

Two weeks ago, the Child Victims Act was put into practice in New York, reopening the legal window for the year on past child molestation cases that were prevented by the statute of limitation. Already, 570 lawsuits have been filed. One Manhattan hospital, where a serial predator practiced for decades, has already settled with over 200 victims, even before their claims reached a court.

As reported by the NY Post, at Rockefeller University Hospital, the deceased pedophile pediatrician Reginald Archibald may have abused over 1,000 children. A rush of cases brought against the hospital has already been “resolved” via settlements, said lawyers Mariann Wang and Paul Mones. They did not disclose details of the settlements. Archibald’s twisted abuse, is not the only issue. Last week, a suit was filed against Dr. Barry Dworkin for allegedly molested an 11-year-old patient in 1977 while working alongside Archibald at Rockefeller U. Dworkin, now a professor emeritus at Penn State, did not comment. A Penn State spokesman said the “deeply troubling” accusation predates Dworkin’s time at the school, but said they would look into his employment history.

Rockefeller University in Manhattan, which declined to comment, is among the big institutions expected to have numerous lawsuits filed against it. Other such institutions include the Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts, and public and private schools. Nobody knows how much these institutions could be forced to pay out to victims who don’t settle and do end up in court, if their allegations are proved to be true. “I would not be surprised if it was $1 billion plus,” said Manhattan attorney Jennifer Freeman of the Marsh Law Firm. “This is decades of abuse we’re talking about.”

Commission says 'culture fell short' at Catholic charity

Civil Society Media

September 4, 2019

By Harriet Whitehead

The Charity Commission has said there were “shortcomings in safeguarding governance” at the Birmingham Diocesan Trust, as it publishes the findings of its inquiry into the charity. The Trust, which oversees the Roman Catholic Diocese of Birmingham, had been investigated by the Commission over concerns about its record on safeguarding. The Commission launched its investigation in December 2018, after the trustees were unable to reassure it that they were managing risks to the charity’s beneficiaries promptly or robustly enough. Earlier this week the Commission published the conclusions of its statutory inquiry.

St. Cecelia’s sex assault priest gets 4 years in prison


September 4, 2019

A Roman Catholic priest was sentenced to four years in state prison for sexually assaulting a teenage girl while he was a youth group adviser at a church in Woodbridge Township, during the early 1990s.

Father Thomas P. Ganley, 64, of Phillipsburg, N.J., was sentenced to four years in state prison by Superior Court Judge Diane Pincus in Middlesex County on August 26, 2019 .

He pleaded guilty on April 8 to second-degree sexual assault, admitting that he engaged in sexual acts with the victim when she was 16 or 17 years old, at a time when he had supervisory authority over her.

From 1990 through 1994, Ganley was a priest at St. Cecelia Church in the Iselin section of the township where the criminal acts occurred.

Cardinal Pell Sexual Abuse Verdict: Will Australians Lose Their Faith?


September 3, 2019

By Jonahthan Ms Pearce

Some time back, I reported a number of times on the case of Cardinal Pell and his involvement with institutional sexual abuse in the Catholic church in Australia. It as a pretty torrid affair with Pell trying his level best to extricate himself. With the wide-ranging Royal Commission looking into the scandal, the law caught up with him.

The Guardian Australia columnist Brigid Delaney has written an interesting piece looking at the ramifications of such a finding and legal conclusion to Pell’s court case. The question is, what effect does this have on (Australian) believers, and obviously particularly, Catholics?

Pittsburgh Diocese hires 2 firms to investigate sex abuse allegations, other suspected misconduct

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

September 3, 2019

The Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh has hired two firms: one to investigate allegations of child sexual abuse involving clergy, and another to receive reports of any wrongdoing at diocese properties.

The diocese announced Tuesday that it is contracting with CSI Investigators Inc. to staff the diocesan Office for Investigations and Monitoring.

CSI will handle inquiries into allegations not under the jurisdiction of law enforcement and civil authorities, according to diocese officials.

Also, a third-party service called Ethics Point will set up a 24-hour hotline where anyone can anonymously report suspected misconduct — whether financial, professional or personal — at any parish, school or diocesan office.

Pope Francis says ‘it’s an honor that Americans are attacking me’


September 4, 2019

By Inés San Martín

Pope Francis today said he is “honored” by the fact that a group of conservative, right-leaning Catholics from the United States attack him.

The pope was speaking aboard a papal flight to Mozambique, the first stop of a three-nation swing through Africa, when he was presented a new book on conservative opposition to the papacy written by a French reporter on the flight.

“For me, it’s an honor that Americans are attacking me,” Francis told La Croix‘s Nicolas Seneze, author of How America Wanted to Change the Pope.

Lawmakers push to require clergy to disclose confessions of child abuse


September 4, 2019

By Pamela Manson

Legislators in two Western states are pushing measures that would require clergy members to report confessions of child sex abuse to authorities.

State Sen. Jerry Hill of California and state Rep. Angela Romero of Utah want their states to join about a dozen others in treating members of the clergy the same as numerous other professions - including teachers, doctors and social workers - who are required to inform law enforcement when they learn a child has been abused.

In most states, clergy members are not mandated reporters if a penitent tells them about the abuse in a confession, according to the Child Welfare Information Gateway.

Former priest arrested on sex abuse charges in Bucks Co.

Catholic Philly

September 4, 2019

By Matthew Gambino

A former priest of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia has been arrested for allegedly sexually abusing a minor in the early 2000s at St. Michael the Archangel Parish, Levittown.

Francis X. Trauger, 74, had been removed from ministry in 2003 then laicized, or removed from the priestly state, in 2005 following allegations of sexual abuse of minors.

A new allegation against Trauger from the early 2000s when he was parochial vicar at St. Michael’s was the basis for his arrest on Tuesday, Sept. 3 in Bucks County on charges of indecent assault and corruption of minors.

N.Y. bishops support law requiring public school abuse-prevention classes

Catholic News Service

September 4, 2019

By Mike Matvey

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation that requires public schools to teach classes about child sexual abuse prevention to students in kindergarten through eighth grade.

Known as Erin’s Law, the legislation received support from the New York State Catholic Conference.

The New York State Senate and the New York Assembly passed the legislation nearly unanimously, 184-1, in June. Cuomo signed the bill Aug. 29.

“Erin’s Law is a critical tool in protecting children from sexual abuse,” said Dennis Poust, director of communications for the New York State Catholic Conference, which represents the state’s bishops on public policy. “While the Child Victims Act is focused on justice for those who have been abused in the past, Erin’s Law is perhaps even more urgently needed because it aims to prevent the abuse from ever happening to begin with. We were proud to support its passage.”

The law is named after Erin Merryn, a survivor of child sexual abuse and now advocate, who has made it her mission to get the bill passed in as many states as possible. New York became the 37th state to enact Erin’s Law.

Parish roundup: church building reuse; follow the donations

National Catholic Reporter

September 4, 2019

By Peter Feuerherd

Media critic Terry Mattingly urges reporters to look beyond architecture and design issues to explore why so many churches in the U.S. are being sold for secular purposes.

What does a church open to LGBT people look like?

Fr. August Thompson, a Louisiana priest, recently died at the age of 93. An African American, Thompson worked to engage the church in the struggle against racism.

One fallout from the sex abuse crisis is a lack of trust regarding church finances. Case in point: A parish elementary school in the Pittsburgh Diocese is closed, and now parishioners wonder where the money they raised went. The school only had 39 students enrolled when the decision was made to close it.

In the Buffalo Diocese, a parish hall is named for a priest sex abuser, and one of his victims wants the name removed.

New Catholic archbishop appointed to the Archdiocese of Seattle

Seattle Times

September 3, 2019

By Nina Shapiro and Christine Clarridge

Seattle has a new Catholic archbishop.

Paul D. Etienne was appointed Tuesday to be the sixth archbishop of the Seattle Archdiocese, which encompasses Western Washington, home to 169 parishes, missions and pastoral centers and an estimated Roman Catholic population of roughly 640,000. He succeeds Archbishop J. Peter Sartain, whose resignation Pope Francis accepted Tuesday.

Sartain, citing “ongoing health challenges following a series of spinal surgeries,” asked Pope Francis a year ago to appoint a “coadjutor archbishop” to share his duties, according to a news statement from the Archdiocese of Seattle. Etienne, 60, assumed that role in June.

In an interview in the downtown Seattle archdiocese offices, he allowed he had to figure out how to lead a region of this size. Etienne last served as archbishop of Anchorage, which has 33 parishes and missions and about 32,000 Catholics. While he liked to be in close contact with everyone, he said, “that’s not a luxury I’m going to be able to afford here.”

Pope Francis in Africa: Is the continent the Catholic Church's great hope?

BBC News

September 4, 2019

By Lebo Disek

Pope Francis begins a three-nation visit to Africa later on Wednesday.

It will be his fourth visit to the continent since he became the head of the Roman Catholic Church in 2013, compared to the two his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, made during his eight-year papacy.

The importance of Africa to the Catholic Church can be summed up in a word - growth.

Three Billboards Outside Her Abuser’s Workplace

Ms. Magazine

September 3, 2019

By Carrie N. Baker

Kat Sullivan was 17 when she met Scott Sargent, her soccer coach at Emma Willard School (EWS) in Troy, New York, where she was a boarding student. Sullivan says Sargent raped her at his on-campus apartment—and that when she sought help from school administrators, they instead pressured her to withdraw from the school. Sargent admitted wrongdoing, but was allowed to resign; the school later recommended him for a teaching position at King School in Stamford, Connecticut, where he was terminated in 2005 for similar behavior.

In 2016, Sullivan reported the rape to police in Troy, but learned that her case was outside the statute of limitations. (At the time, New York had one of the country’s most restrictive laws for cases involving child sexual abuse.) The school conducted its own investigation that determined that 105 students had reported sexual abuse and harassment with no reported action by the school to notify police or parents. Sullivan later received a settlement from EWS.

Sullivan vowed to use the settlement money to fight for stronger laws to protect child victims. She joined survivor activists in protesting, lobbying and speaking out about child sex abuse. She marched across the Brooklyn Bridge wearing crime scene tape and chanting: “Protect Children, Not Predators!” Then, in 2018, on a flight from Florida to New York, she saw the film Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Five minutes into the film, she decided to use her settlement money to buy billboards to warn people about her perpetrator—and to put pressure on New York Assembly members to pass the Child Victims Act, which extends the statute of limitations for civil and criminal cases against perpetrators of child sex abuse and the institutions that cover up for them.

Will Child Victims Act prompt false claims of abuse?

The Buffalo News

September 3, 2019

By Dan Herbeck and Jay Tokasz

A Buffalo man’s vivid account of being sexually assaulted as an 8-year-old boy sounded like a scene out of a twisted horror movie.

The man, now 44, complained last year to the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo that the Rev. Roy Herberger more than three decades ago took him to a Lackawanna home, tied him up, poured oil on his back and then raped him, as another priest videotaped the abuse.

Herberger, despite vehemently denying any wrongdoing, was suspended from priestly ministry, and the diocese hired attorney Scott F. Riordan to investigate the claims.

Riordan, who spent six months on the case, found glaring inconsistencies in the man’s story. In his investigative report, Riordan determined that the abuse allegations against Herberger were “completely false.”

Priest convicted of sex abuse of girls at DC parish seeks new trial


September 4, 2019

By Neal Augenstein

A Catholic priest convicted of sexually abusing two girls at a D.C. church is seeking a new trial, saying he was unfairly prejudiced, and denied a fair trial in D.C. Superior Court.

Urbano Vazquez, 47, was found guilty on all four counts Aug. 15, after a seven-day jury trial. The crimes happened between 2015 and 2017, while Vazquez was an assistant pastor at the Shrine of the Sacred Heart, in the Mount Pleasant and Columbia Heights neighborhoods in Northwest D.C.

Vazquez was convicted of one count of second-degree child sexual abuse of a 13-year-old. He was found guilty of two counts of second-degree child sexual abuse and one count of misdemeanor sexual abuse of a child who was nine.

Vazquez faces a maximum sentence of 45 years plus 270 days when he’s sentenced by Judge Juliet McKenna on Nov. 22.

Defrocked Bucks County Priest Faces Charges for Fondling Altar Boys Before Mass, DA Says


September 3, 2019

By Dan Stamm

Francis 'Frank' Trauger is accused of fondling two altar boys before Mass at St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church in Levittown, Pennsylvania in the 1990s and 2000s

A former priest is now charged with sexually assaulting at least two altar boys during his decade long tenure at a Bucks County church.

Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub announced charges Tuesday against Francis “Frank” Trauger. The alleged assaults occurred when the now 74-year-old Trauger was a priest at St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church in Levittown, Pennsylvania in the 1990s and 2000s.

VIDEO: Clergy sex abuse in the Catholic Church: It’s about homosexuality


September 3, 2019

By John-Henry Westen

Gabriele Kuby is a German sociologist and prolific author, an acquaintance of Pope Benedict XVI who has visited him in his post-retirement monastery and still exchanges regular correspondence with him. She is the foremost European culture warrior protecting the family from the sexual revolution. Pope Benedict XVI has called her "a brave fighter against the ideologies that ultimately result in the destruction of man.” Kuby recently published a book with Michael O’Brien, titled The Abuse of Sexuality in the Catholic Church.

In this episode of The John-Henry Westen Show, Kuby talks about the sexual abuse crisis in the Church, specifically the root cause of the abuse crisis: homosexuality. She cites the work of Fr. D. Paul Sullins, who reviewed numerous reports on abuse. Fr. Sullins’ findings clearly indicate the abuse crisis stems from something much deeper than just clericalism — the most widely accepted cause of the crisis. Sullins notes that nearly 80% the abuse in the Church involves young men at or around the age of puberty. Additionally, the prevalence of homosexuality in the priesthood is eight times higher than it is in society.

Survivors question priest abuse probe


September 3, 2019

By Kevin O' Connor

A Vermont Catholic Church report revealing the names of 40 priests accused of sexually abusing children over the past seven decades has both provided answers and prompted questions for survivors and members of the state’s largest religious denomination.

“This is a long overdue step towards transparency — and there is still more work to do,” said Zach Hiner, executive director of the national Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP.

The support group said the Vermont report is similar to documents from other states that offer such basics as an accused priest’s name, dates and locations of assignments, and whether that person is dead or alive.

But SNAP doesn’t understand why dioceses nationwide aren’t including photos and other clarifying details about clergy or sharing more about how many people have complained of abuse.

“There really hasn’t been one list anywhere that has all the information that’s most useful to the public,” Hiner said.

September 3, 2019

‘You Robbed A Lot Of Life Out Of A Good Kid’: Alleged Victim Speaks Out after Former Priest Charged

CBS-TV Philly

September 3, 2019

By Matt Petrillo

‘You Robbed A Lot Of Life Out Of A Good Kid’: Alleged Victim Speaks Out After Former Bucks County Priest Charged With Sexually Abusing 2 Altar Boys, DA Says

TULLYTOWN, Pa. (CBS) — A former Catholic priest from Bucks County is facing child sex abuse charges. The allegations came after Francis Trauger was transferred to several different church across the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Saint Michael The Archangel Church is the last church Trauger worked as a priest before his priesthood was taken away from him by the Catholic Church. It’s also where authorities say the victims were sexually abused by Trauger for years.

The 74-year-old, a former Philadelphia Archdiocese priest, said nothing when leaving his arraignment Tuesday in Bristol Township, Bucks County. But one of his alleged victims has plenty to say.

In first interview, ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick denies charge of sexual abuse in the confessional

Washington Post

September 3, 2019

By Michelle Boorstein

Theodore McCarrick, one of the U.S. Catholic Church’s most influential clerics until he was accused a year ago of abusing boys and young men, denied in an interview published Tuesday that he abused someone in the confessional — a charge for which the Vatican defrocked him.

McCarrick spoke briefly to Ruth Graham of Slate for the piece, which profiles the life of the toppled church leader now that he’s been relegated to living in a friary in the small, western Kansas town of Victoria.

The once-popular globe-trotting fundraiser and diplomat has been almost silent publicly since the Vatican made global, shocking news in June 2018 by announcing he’d been suspended for a credible charge of fondling an altar boy decades ago. McCarrick that summer issued a simple denial but said he accepted the punishment — which became final in February this year when he was defrocked, the first cardinal laicized for alleged sexual misconduct.

Diocese of Pittsburgh chooses third-party reporting system for suspected wrongdoing


September 3, 2019

The Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh has chosen a third-party reporting system, hired an investigation firm to help assess allegations of child sexual abuse and named its next victim assistance coordinator.

The diocese announced the moves Tuesday as it works “to implement the best practices in transparency and accountability that Bishop David Zubik outlined in his pastoral letter, The Church Healing.”

Theodore McCarrick Still Won’t Confess


September 3, 2019

By Ruth Graham

Banished in the dead of night to a mistrustful Kansas town after sexual abuse allegations, the defrocked archbishop of D.C. speaks publicly for the first time since his fall from grace.

On a cloudy Sunday morning in August, Father John Schmeidler delivered a brisk homily at St. Fidelis Catholic Church on the virtue of trusting that God always has a plan. There were at least 200 people listening in the pews, almost 20 percent of this rural prairie town’s population: large families, young couples, elderly people, men in jeans and cowboy boots. There’s not a single other church in town. Even if we just do our simple daily duties, Father John told them that Sunday, “our God brings great things.”

Last fall, God brought to Victoria an unexpected visitor: Theodore McCarrick, once the most powerful Catholic priest in America. From 2001–06, at the height of his career, McCarrick served as the archbishop of Washington, D.C. He stepped down at the standard bishop retirement age of 75 but remained a prolific fundraiser and jet-setting Vatican macher. And McCarrick wasn’t just influential—he was famous. He was the priest whom Meet the Press called to discuss the abuse crisis, and he participated in the funerals of William Rehnquist, Beau Biden, Ted Kennedy, and Tim Russert.

In the summer of 2018, McCarrick also suddenly became the country’s most well-known accused perpetrator of clerical sexual abuse. In June of that year, the Vatican abruptly removed him from public ministry, citing a credible accusation of sexual misconduct against a teenage altar boy in the 1970s. (The statute of limitations for the crime he is accused of had expired.) McCarrick resigned as a cardinal, the first in history to do so over allegations of sexual abuse.* Meanwhile, it emerged that some in the church hierarchy had known for decades about some of the accusations, that at least two accusations had resulted in settlements, and that rumors about him were widespread in Catholic circles. When McCarrick was ousted from public ministry in June of 2018, he issued a statement saying he was innocent of the first accusation.



September 3, 2019

By Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th

Fr. Robert Zilliox: 'I did in fact call and demand that Bp. Malone resign'

A pastor in the diocese of Buffalo is telling his parishioners that Buffalo's Bp. Richard Malone must resign.

Father Robert Zilliox, pastor at St. Mary's Catholic Church in East Amherst, New York, told his parishioners on Sunday, Aug. 25, that Malone needs to step down and leave the diocese entirely. Church Militant reached out to Zilliox who confirmed and clarified his statement.

"Yes, I can and will confirm that I, in fact, did call and demand that Bp. Malone resign and leave the diocese of Buffalo immediately," Zilliox told Church Militant.

The pastor added, "I take responsibility for my comments and do not wish to retract them."

2 priests added to Archdiocese of St. Louis’ list of clergy with substantiated allegations of sexual abuse


August 31, 2019

By Kayla Wheeler

Jerome Keaty and Mark Fleming were added to the list.

The Archdiocese of St. Louis has added two more priests to its list of clergy with substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor.

Jerome Keaty and Mark Fleming were added to the list, according to archstl.org.

RELATED: St. Louis Archdiocese releases list of clergy with substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of minors

Keaty was ordained in 1962 and died in 1999.

Fleming was ordained in 1980 and was a priest in New Hampshire. He briefly served in the Archdiocese of St. Louis and has since been laicized.

Former deputy principal accused of sexual assault of teen at her father's funeral wake

ABC News

September 3, 2019

By Owen Jacques

A former Queensland deputy principal indecently assaulted a teenager at a wake after the funeral of the girl's father in the 1990s, a court has heard.

Key points:
Kenneth Ralph Ernst, 60, from the Sunshine Coast, faces 15 charges for allegedly indecently assaulting the teen over six years in the 1990s
A friend testified in court that during a conversation about "first loves", the victim broke down and began alleging a history of abuse by the accused
The victim says she was sexually abused from the age of 11 until 17
Kenneth Ralph Ernst, 60, from the Sunshine Coast, faces 15 charges for allegedly indecently assaulting the teen over the span of six years.

Mr Ernst, who worked in schools on the Sunshine Coast and in Cairns, has pleaded not guilty to all charges, including indecent treatment of a child and attempted rape.

On Tuesday, the court heard from the victim's mother, a friend, and an Anglican priest — who cannot be named for legal reasons — who were each told by the teen of the alleged assaults in the past five years.

Madison Diocese concludes clergy review, names additional priest in investigation

WMTV/NBC15 Staff

September 3, 2019

After reviewing clergy files, the Diocese of Madison is naming another priest among the seven clergy members credibly accused of sexually abusing minors.

In June, the Diocese announced a clergy file review was being conducted by Defenbaugh and Associates. At the time the Diocese stated: “Through re-releasing names of known past offenders, and adding to that list any names of those previously found by the diocesan Sexual Abuse Review Board to be credibly accused, and conducting a thorough investigation and review of any additional names, the diocese hopes to continue to build trust, to provide healing wherever possible, and to reassure the faithful of the Diocese of Madison that such matters have been and will continue to be dealt with appropriately.”

The diocese announced in June an investigation was opening regarding a long-deceased priest. The allegations came to the diocese in the past year and findings were presented to the Sexual Abuse Review Board. The board is comprised of a retired circuit judge, a child and adolescent psychologist, a former law enforcement officer, a local attorney, and a senior pastor.

On Tuesday, the diocese released the priest's name as Father Eberhardy. Eberhardy died in 1992.

The diocese also announced it is beginning an investigation against Father Patrick Doherty. Diocese officials said after announcing the file review, someone came forward with a sexual abuse allegation. The incident happened more than 50 years ago.

Former priest accused of assaulting 2 altar boys at Tullytown church

FOX 29 Philadelphia

September 3, 2019

A former Catholic priest is facing a number of charges after authorities say he sexually assaulted two altar boys during his tenure at a Bucks County church.

Francis “Frank” Trauger, 74, was arraigned Tuesday on counts of corruption of minors and indecent assault.

Authorities say Trauger sexually assaulted two boys during the mid-1990s and early 2000s when the victims were approximately 12-years-old. Trauger is accused of assaulting each victim during the robing process prior to mass at St. Michael the Archangel Church in Tullytown.

Ex-Pa. priest accused of abusing 2 altar boys. Prosecutor urges other victims to come forward, ‘You will be heard.'


September 3, 2019

By Joe Brandt

A former Pennsylvania priest who last ministered across the Delaware River from Trenton was charged Tuesday with abusing two altar boys in the mid ’90s and early 2000s.

Francis Trauger, 74, was arraigned on counts of indecent assault and corruption of minors, Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub announced Tuesday.

Trauger, now of Brooklyn, New York, served at St. Michael the Archangel Church in Tullytown from 1993 to 2003. He assaulted the victims, who were both about 12 years old, as they donned their robes prior to serving Mass.

Another abuser Catholic bishop: Crux pieces together the long, painful story of Joseph Hart

Get Religion

September 3, 2019

By Julia Duin

Every so often, a piece of investigative journalism shows up that bears mention, which is why I wanted to draw attention to a three-part Crux series on the disgraced former Wyoming Bishop Joseph Hart and the tale of sex abuse allegations that have dogged him for years.

There’s more. This is also the story of the bishop who took his place and how he was determined to bring some just into the situation. Not all bishops are so minded.

The series, written by their national correspondent Christopher White, ran this past week and starts here with the story of one family.

Scandal muddies legacy of former Bridgeport bishop

The Washington Post

September 3, 2019

By Michelle Boorstein

Late last summer, Vatican officials realized they had an uncontainable mess - four whistleblowing priests alleging financial and sexual misconduct by the bishop of West Virginia. So they did what Catholic officials have done for decades: They turned to William Lori.

From Rome and Washington to Connecticut and then Baltimore, where he is now archbishop, Lori is often on the front lines when the nation's largest religious group is facing major scandals or perceived threats to its values and traditions. He is the Vatican's fixer in the United States.

When the clergy sexual abuse scandal exploded in the news in the early 2000s, Lori helped craft policies to hold abusive priests - but not bishops - accountable. When the Obama administration pressed for greater acceptance of same-sex marriage, contraception and abortion, Lori led a national campaign arguing that America's religious freedom was at stake. And when the Vatican decided last fall to investigate the accused cleric in West Virginia, that job, too, fell to Lori.

Church report accuses 40 Vermont priests of abuse


August 29, 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.

Red Flags Surround the Oklahoma City Archdiocese’s “Investigation” of Sex Abuse

Friendly Atheist

September 3, 2019

By Hemant Mehta

In the wake of the stunning grand jury report in Pennsylvania nearly a year ago, several states’ attorneys general have announced their own investigations into the Catholic Church, and many churches have responded by publishing their own lists of priests credibly accused of sexually abusing children. Better to get ahead of the story, right?

But that hasn’t always worked. In Illinois, for example, former Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced in December that the state’s six dioceses had not disclosed details about allegations involving more than 500 priests and other clergy members. Which is to say Madigan knew a lot more about predatory priests than the Church was willing to admit.

Michigan’s AG, too, has been vocal about the extent of the abuse her office has uncovered through its investigation.

Catholic order settles second historic case involving Calgary priest

Calgary Herald

September 3, 2019

By Mehan Potkins

A Catholic order has reached a settlement with a second alleged victim of a former Calgary priest and teacher at Bishop Grandin high school in a decades-old sexual abuse case.

The two male accusers are now calling for the renaming of a charitable foundation and a local chapter of the Knights of Columbus that bear the late priest’s name.

Two civil settlements have been reached with the Basilian Fathers of Toronto over allegations that Father Fred Cahill, who died in 1983, repeatedly sexually abused boys that he counselled and taught at Bishop Grandin or supervised as chaplain at Camp Columbus near Waterton.

The second alleged victim, Martin Ralph, now 57, says Cahill preyed upon him and repeatedly sexually abused and assaulted him when he was about 15 years old and a student in the priest’s English class in the late 1970s. He hopes the church won’t continue to pay tribute to a man responsible for so much suffering.

“He was an evil man and he didn’t deserve the accolades,” Ralph says. “It’s as simple as that. He ruined so many people’s lives, that’s why this is so important.”

Task force on church abuse will continue

The Citizens' Voice

September 3, 2019

By Sarah Hofius Hall

Still seeking healing, the University of Scranton this school year will continue discussions on abuse in the Catholic Church.

After the release of last year’s grand jury report that accused 301 priests statewide of sexually abusing children, including 59 clergy in the Scranton diocese, university President the Rev. Scott R. Pilarz, S.J., created the Task Force on Healing, Reconciliation and Hope.

“Personally, I think our role is putting people in touch with the facts of the abuse crisis and giving people a chance, in various ways, to enter into a discussion,” said Christian Krokus, Ph.D., associate professor and chairman of theology/religious studies department, who heads the task force with Patricia Tetreault, vice president for human resources. “This is such a delicate but also a messy and confusing issue, and I think we on the task force, we’re finding our way through it. People just don’t know what to do or how to respond or what to think. People are glad we’ve taken on the task.”

Review completed of diocesan files on sexual abuse issu

Catholic Herald

September 3, 2019

After a review of over 500 personnel files and tens of thousands of pages by an objective third-party review firm, the Diocese of Madison is confident that there are no known historical issues regarding the sexual abuse of minors left uninvestigated or undisclosed.

These are some of the key takeaways diocesan leadership is drawing from a now-concluded forensic file review of diocesan clergy personnel files.

The review, which was contracted through diocesan attorneys, was conducted by Defenbaugh & Associates, an investigative firm out of Texas, comprised mostly of retired agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

New play tackles Church’s response to sexual abuse crisis


September 3, 2019

By Christopher White

In the face of last August’s Pennsylvania grand jury report chronicling seven decades of clergy abuse at the hands of over 300 priests, some church leaders chose silence. Father Edward Beck decided to write.

Beck, a Passionist priest who also serves as a religion commentator for CNN, wasn’t intending to pen a work of apologetics to defend the Church’s response to the latest wave of the crisis. Yet neither was he willing to cede that things haven’t changed since it erupted in 2002.

Instead, he wanted to capture the tensions of the many parties involved - the victims, survivors, and their families who once again felt betrayed by the latest revelations, the faithful in the pews unsure if they could or should stay put, and the priests forced to account for the sins of their brothers, some of whom have been scapegoated along the way.

Former Cardinal Spellman, Stepinac priest accused of sex abuse at Resurrection Church in Rye

Rockland/Westchester Journal News

August 30, 2019

By Mark Lungariello

William T. White faced previous accusations of abuse at Stepinac and Holy Cross in Manhattan.

A former Rye priest was accused of sexually molesting an altar boy in the 1970s in a lawsuit filed Thursday under New York’s Child Victims Act.

William T. White is accused of sexually abusing the victim at the Church of the Resurrection in Rye multiple times between 1972 and 1973, when the boy was 11 and 12 years old, according to the suit.

These are the latest allegations against White, who has faced accusations that he sexually abused children while an administrator at Archbishop Stepinac High School in White Plains and Holy Cross in Manhattan.

Child Victims Act lawsuits pile up as Rockefeller University Hospital settles 200-plus

The New York Post

August 31, 2019

By Kathianne Boniello

In the two weeks since New York reopened the legal window on child molestation cases, 570 lawsuits have been filed — but a Manhattan hospital where a serial predator practiced for decades has settled with more than 200 victims before their claims made it to court.

Rockefeller University Hospital, where late pedophile pediatrician Reginald Archibald may have abused more than 1,000 kids, “resolved” a swath of cases from lawyers Mariann Wang and Paul Mones, the attorneys told The Post. They would not divulge details of the settlements.

The Child Victims Act, passed by the state legislature in February, opened a “look back” window on Aug. 14 — a one-year chance to bring old cases to court. An avalanche of claims has already begun to hit local courts, and more than a dozen states are considering similar measures to extend the statute of limitations on sex crimes against children.

Suit settled: St. Anthony plans move forward

Elk Valley Times

September 3, 2019

Nearly two years after filing a lawsuit against the City of Fayetteville and Fayetteville Public Utilities, St. Anthony Catholic Church is moving forward with plans to build a new Parish Life Center on its property at 1900 Huntsville Hwy.

Representatives of the church appeared before the Fayetteville Planning Commission Tuesday, requesting and gaining site plan and construction approval for the new center.

The decision to move forward with the center comes after the City of Fayetteville and FPU settled out of court with the church for a reported $124,000. That amount, to be divided equally between the two entities, will be paid by their insurance after each pays their $5,000 deductibles – the city and FPU share the same carrier, according to sources. Attorneys’ fees were also divided 50/50.

The church had filed the suit in U.S. District Court over water flow and fire protection issues in September of 2017, a year after it began submitting plans to the City of Fayetteville for the Parish Life Center and five months after the city denied the church’s request for a building permit to begin construction, citing the inadequacy of the hydrant serving the property for fire protection.

Bishop Brennan shares his thoughts

Weirton Daily Times

September 2, 2019

(Editor’s note: The Most Rev. Mark Brennan, ninth bishop of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, has been busy visiting with schools, parishes and everyday people in Wheeling since his installation late last month — a marked change from his predecessor. Brennan comes in at a pivotal time for the diocese, as the actions and spending by the former bishop, Michael Bransfield, remain an open wound. Brennan has been tasked with healing that wound, and he discusses that and more in the following Q&A)

• What are your initial thoughts on the state of Catholicism in West Virginia?

BRENNAN: I really have to get to know the people and places. … My initial impressions are that there are a lot of really good people who have suffered and yet have kept their faith, have kept doing the things I mentioned in my homily on Thursday, that parents kept training their children in the faith, in good Christian living, teachers have kept showing up each day in the Catholic schools, religious education programs have continued in the parishes, Catholic Charities workers are helping people afflicted with opioids or whatever else they needed. The perseverance in their faith — I think recognizing that the turbulence above doesn’t mean that the base of their faith is cracking open.

Group wants ex-Wyo. bishop sent to Kansas friary

Casper Star-Tribune | Via Wyoming News Exchange

August 30, 2019

By Seth Klamann and Shane Sanderson

A national group of victims of priest abuse called on the Catholic Church on Monday to send former Wyoming Bishop Joseph Hart to a friary in rural Kansas, which would mean expelling him from his diocese-owned home in Cheyenne.

“When an abuser is suspended or gets older, he’s not magically cured, so even after ousting or even defrocking sex offending clerics, the Catholic hierarchy has a duty to safeguard others from them,” the group, the Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests, said Monday in a statement.

Hart has been accused since at least the early 1990s of sexually abusing boys, with some victims saying he abused them as far back as 1963. He has consistently denied those allegations. His former diocese, in his hometown of Kansas City, Missouri, has settled with 10 men who say they were abused by Hart. An additional four men have come forward in Missouri in just the past year, the diocese there told the Star-Tribune.

In Wyoming, where Hart was bishop from 1976 to 2001, Cheyenne police launched an investigation last summer into his alleged past misconduct in the Capital City. At least three victims have come forward in Wyoming and accused Hart of abuse, according to the Diocese of Cheyenne. Two weeks ago, police announced that they were recommending charges against two men related to clergy abuse.

September 2, 2019

W.Va. scandal muddies legacy of Vatican’s longtime fixer from Baltimore

Washington Post

September 2, 2019

By Michelle Boorstein

Late last summer, Vatican officials realized they had an uncontainable mess — four whistleblowing priests alleging financial and sexual misconduct by the bishop of West Virginia. So they did what Catholic officials have done for decades: They turned to William Lori.

From Rome and Washington to Connecticut and then Baltimore, where he is now archbishop, Lori is often on the front lines when the nation’s largest religious group is facing major scandals or perceived threats to its values and traditions. He is the Vatican’s fixer in the United States.

When the clergy sexual abuse scandal exploded in the news in the early 2000s, Lori helped craft policies to hold abusive priests — but not bishops — accountable. When the Obama administration pressed for greater acceptance of same-sex marriage, contraception and abortion, Lori led a national campaign arguing that America’s religious freedom was at stake. And when the Vatican decided last fall to investigate the accused cleric in West Virginia, that job, too, fell to Lori.

Baltimore Archbishop William Lori leaves after celebrating Sunday Mass at Holy Family Catholic Church in July in the suburb of Randallstown. (Mary F. Calvert for The Washington Post)
The probe of the allegations against Michael Bransfield, conducted by five lay investigators and overseen by Lori, was intended to signal a new era of church accountability. But Lori’s handling of it, along with revelations of his own links to Bransfield, have made the Baltimore archbishop a focus of anger by some parishioners and threaten to complicate his legacy.

First, The Washington Post reported in June that Lori was among dozens of clerics who had received cash gifts from Bransfield over the years, and that Lori ordered that the recipients’ names — including his own — be omitted from a confidential report on the investigation’s findings. Some church insiders were further rankled by another aspect of Lori’s years-long relationship with the man he investigated: In March of last year, Lori asked Bransfield’s diocese for $300,000 for a school in the Baltimore archdiocese that also served students from West Virginia, according to church financial records.

An online petition organized by parishioners and signed over the summer by more than 900 people demands that Lori release the report detailing the investigators’ findings. It decries misconduct by church leaders, saying “we are forced to acknowledge that the coverups have been facilitated by our acquiescence to a culture of clericalism that has pervaded our Church.”

Last month, Vincent DeGeorge, a former seminarian who says he was mistreated by Bransfield, complained to the Vatican’s U.S. ambassador that Lori’s report may have misled church leaders. In an Aug. 14 letter, DeGeorge faulted Lori for omitting from the report the names of clerics who received cash gifts from Bransfield. He also noted Lori’s “personal role in exempting abusive bishops” from the policy document crafted in Dallas in 2002 in response to the abuse crisis.

“Certain parties may have been woefully misled by the report that the entrusted investigator delivered to your office,” DeGeorge wrote to Christophe Pierre, whose title as ambassador is nuncio.

DeGeorge, who served as Bransfield’s traveling assistant on multiple occasions until last year, told The Post that Bransfield drank excessively and then inappropriately hugged, kissed and touched him and showed him lewd films.

After The Post’s June report, Lori told parishioners that he regretted omitting the recipients’ names, and he pledged to reimburse the diocese $7,500. He also said including recipients’ names might have suggested — wrongly, in his view — that “there were expectations for reciprocity.”

En primera persona: a los 75 años, Alejandro Canale denunció que fue abusado por un cura en San Isidro

[In the first person: At 75, Alejandro Canale reported that he was abused by a priest in San Isidro]


August 29, 2019

By Lisandro Tosello

Según su relato, los hechos ocurrieron en 1960, en la escuela San Juan el Precursor, una institución religiosa para alumnos de las familias acomodadas de San Isidro, Buenos Aires. Tenía 16 años.

[Google Translation: According to his account, the events occurred in 1960, at the San Juan el Precursor school, a religious institution for students of wealthy families in San Isidro, Buenos Aires. He was 16 years old.]

Utah man, once an LDS bishop, jailed for child sexual abuse


August 29, 2019

By Larry D. Curtis

A Utah man, who once was a bishop in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is in jail on a two-year sentence after he pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual abuse of a child.

Francis Heber Fuller, 78, was originally charged with 11 counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child, one count of first-degree sexual abuse of a child and lewdness involving a child. Fuller was to face a jury trial this year but instead pleaded guilty to two of the charges that were reduced to second-degree felonies while the rest of the charges were dismissed with prejudice; they cannot be brought against Fuller in the future.

Prosecutors sometimes agree to plea agreements to spare victims of sexual abuse from testifying in court. KUTV does not typically name victims of sexual abuse.

Bishop Matthew Clark diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

September 2, 2019

By Justin Murphy

Matthew Clark, bishop emeritus of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester, has been diagnosed with early-stage Alzheimer's disease, according to the diocese.

It said in a statement: "We ask that the faithful pray for Bishop Clark and for all those who suffer with Alzheimer’s, for their caregivers and for all those medical professionals and organizations working to enhance care and treatment. Bishop Clark hopes to continue his ministry in the Diocese."

Clark, 82, led the diocese from 1979 to 2012. His name has surfaced repeatedly in the dozens of lawsuits filed this month regarding sex abuse in Rochester-area Catholic churches, alleging he was slow to discipline offending priests and helped conceal the scope of the crisis.

Counselor accused of 1970s abuse

Daily Messenger

August 29, 2019

A lawsuit says a counselor — who the suit says still works with DePaul — abused a young man sexually and physically about 50 years ago

ROCHESTER — The New York State Child Victims Act has brought three new lawsuits alleging sexual abuse in Rochester and Dansville decades ago.

Each lawsuit names the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester as a defendant. But one also accuses an award-winning counselor, not a priest, who has never been named publicly before.

The allegations in the lawsuit — if true — would put someone in prison for a long time. So the Daily Messenger’s news partner News 10NBC questioned the lawyer about publicly accusing a private citizen of horrible things — one who has never been accused before.

Methodist minister ‘feared alerting authorities to abuse as it could affect work in community’

Impartial Reporter

September 2, 2019

By Rodney Edwards

Sara claims she was raped by a church official who was in the Orange Order after performing at a Methodist Church in Fermanagh over 40 years ago, then sent to a Christian therapist when she told a Methodist minister.

She says she went missing for three days and contemplated taking her own life before informing her minister who feared alerting the authorities to the allegations surrounding the Orangeman in case it “would affect the church’s work in the community”.

Address to the staff of the ACBC General Secretariat – Part 2: Pope Francis and the Wake Up Moment

Catholic Outlook: News from the Diocese of Parramatta

September 3, 2019

By Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFM Conv DD STL, Bishop of Parramatta

“Working for the Church in the Time of Perceived Irrelevancy”


The arrival of Pope Francis is a game changer. The image of the newly-elected Pope bowing in silence before the euphoric, then hushed, crowd at St Peter’s Square was truly the prophetic sign of the century!

With that humble gesture, the Pope exemplified a model of ministry which would correspond with the signs of the times, the needs of the people and the creative power of the Spirit. It signalled that the time had come to set aside old wineskins and reach for new.

He is a leader who has unambiguously embraced the call to lead us beyond the safety of the status quo into the challenge of responding to the dislocation and marginalisation of the Church.

After criticism, mission agency seeks greater amends over Haiti abuse scandal

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

September 2, 2019

By Peter Smith

MILLERSBURG, Ohio — As the number of victims of alleged sexual abuse by a former American missionary to Haiti began to grow in recent weeks, so did an outcry from their advocates at reports that his former employer was offering them quick financial settlements without their lawyers present.

On Saturday, an attorney for the Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries acknowledged that some representatives of the large agency did make settlement offers to the alleged victims in Haiti — but the agency is calling that effort to a halt.

The news comes shortly after the ex-missionary at the center of the scandal, Jeriah Mast, appeared before a judge in this northern Ohio town last week on charges of molesting five Ohio youths. Mr. Mast remains under investigation for his actions in Haiti, where he served for many years as a missionary before fleeing in May in the wake of new allegations.

Parish hall still named for accused priest in Pavilion

Batavia Daily News

August 31, 2019

By Matt Surtel

The parish hall at Mary Immaculate Church remains named for the accused Rev. Robert Conlin as his alleged victim conducts a lawsuit against the Buffalo Diocese.

Wayne Bortle and his attorney Mitchell Garabedian spoke during a Thursday press conference in Buffalo, simultaneously decrying the fact that the hall continues to bear Conlin’s name.

Conlin, who died in 1997, was added this past November to the list of priests with credible sex abuse allegations against them. A church bulletin dated Aug. 25 still featured an event at “Conlin Hall.”

EDITOR'S SPACE: Beyond Cardinal Pell

The Tablet (Brooklyn diocesan news outlet)

August 28, 2019

By Jorge I. Dominguez-Lopez

On Aug. 21, in a 2-1 decision, the conviction of Cardinal George Pell was upheld by the Victoria state Court of Appeal in Melbourne, Australia.

Cardinal Pell is the most senior Catholic official ever to be found guilty of sexual abuse.

In 2014, he was named prefect of the newly created Secretariat for Economy at the Vatican. He also became a member of the Council of Cardinals, a small group of prelates appointed by Pope Francis as his advisers. Cardinal Pell was a member of the council until last December.

Shortly after the verdict was announced, the Holy See’s press office published a statement reiterating “its respect for the Australian judicial system,” but also stating that “the Cardinal has always maintained his innocence throughout the judicial process and that it is his right to appeal to the High Court.”

Sister Abhaya case: Social worker Venugopalan reveals what Father Kottoor confessed to him

New Indian Express

September 2, 2019

Nair said he had gone to meet the priest after reading an article of Dr James Vadakkumcherry against narco analysis test that was carried in a vernacular daily.

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In a fresh development in the Sr Abhaya case, social worker Kalarcode Venugopalan Nair deposed before the court that Father Thomas Kottoor had confessed to him that he maintained a relationship with Sister Sefi and did make a mistake but could not admit the crime since it would bring disgrace to the Church.

Venugopalan Nair, the seventh witness produced by the prosecution, told the court about Kottoor's confession before the CBI Special Court hearing the sensational Abhaya murder case on Monday.

Priest misconduct report prompts questions among survivors


September 1, 2019

By Kevin O'Connor

A Vermont Catholic Church report revealing the names of 40 Vermont priests accused of sexually abusing children over the past seven decades has both provided answers and prompted questions for survivors and members of the state’s largest religious denomination.

“This is a long overdue step towards transparency — and there is still more work to do,” says Zach Hiner, executive director of the national Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

The support group says the Vermont report is similar to documents from other states that offer such basics as an accused priest’s name, dates and locations of assignments, and whether that person is dead or alive. But SNAP doesn’t understand why dioceses nationwide aren’t including photos and other clarifying details about clergy or sharing more about how many people have complained of abuse.

17 More Suits Filed in Perlitz Settlement

The Fairfield Mirror

September 1, 2019

By Julia Crew

“Up to 170 victims of convicted pedophile Douglas Perlitz are eligible to share in the $60 million settlement approved in an interim order issued [June 5, 2019] in federal court in Connecticut,” said a press release by Simmons Hanly Conroy, LLC, the law firm representing the victims in the class-action settlement. According to the release, the $60 million will be paid by Fairfield University and five other defendants that supported Perlitz’s endeavors including the Society of Jesus of New England, the Order of Malta, the Haiti Fund, Reverend Paul Carrier, S.J., a former director of Campus Ministry at the University; and Hope Carter, a member of the Haiti Fund’s board of directors.

Since January, the number of victims eligible for compensation from the $60 million pool has risen from 133 to 150. This rise in numbers occurred because “individual lawsuits filed by victims were converted to a class-action lawsuit and settlement,” allowing “others who may have been assaulted by Perlitz and seek compensation,” according to the press release. Of the 170 victims, 150 are currently eligible for compensation while 20 are still pending.

Dorothy Ralph had three parish priests after she became a Catholic at 70, and all three were child sex offenders

The Examiner (Tasmania)

September 2, 2019

By Joanne McCarthy

THREE priests dominated the last years of Dorothy Ralph's life after she moved to a unit across the road from St Joseph's Church at Cessnock in 1991 and became a Catholic at 70.

Convicted child sex offender Vince Ryan converted her, convicted child sex offender David O'Hearn charmed and flattered her and Tom Brennan employed her as his housekeeper for eight years, until the day Mrs Ralph was sent to a nursing home for "respite" in 2012, only hours before Brennan was charged with child sex offences.

Mrs Ralph's daughter, Trudy Rogers, finds it hard to read letters her mother received from Ryan and O'Hearn in November, 2012 after she turned to them in her grief following Brennan's death, of cancer, a few weeks after he was charged.

He was looking for a kidney. He got one, but also found a dear friend

Boston Globe

September 1, 2019

By Sarah Wu

When Susan Pavlak flew from Minnesota to Boston a decade ago to donate her kidney, she did not expect to meet the recipient. But a month before the surgery, she agreed to meet Phil Saviano for lunch, which was the first of many meals they shared as their friendship grew stronger over the years.

“He has my kidney, but that’s not why we’re friends. That’s just how we met,” Pavlak said during an interviewlast week in Saviano’s Roslindale home.

The two had something else in common other than organ donor and recipient: They are both survivors of clergy sexual abuse.

Saviano, 67, was a whistleblower on the sexual abuse crisis in Massachusetts and played a prominent role in the Globe’s Spotlight investigation, published in 2002.

In 1992, in an interview with the Globe, he told the public about the abuse he endured as a child in East Douglas. Saviano was repeatedly forced to masturbate and perform oral sex on a priest who turned out to be a serial pedophile and who died in prison.

Pavlak, 65, was molested for about four years by a former nun who became a teacher at her Catholic high school.

Reflecting on the trauma they have endured — beyond sexual abuse, Pavlak battled alcoholism decades ago and Saviano tested positive for HIV in 1984 — Saviano said, “Horrible things happen to people. But that doesn’t mean that horribleness should define a person.”

Their enduring friendship, filled with laughter, adventure, and a good dose of activism, shows that joy can be found on the other side.

Próvolo: un joven ratificó que fue manoseado por el jardinero Armando Gómez

[Próvolo: a young man confirmed that he was groped by gardener Armando Gómez]

Diario Uno de Mendoza

August 30, 2019

Con dos testimonios en vivo continuó este viernes el juicio contra los curas Horacio Corbacho, Nicola Corradi y el jardinero Armando Gómez, acusados de cometer abusos sexuales a alumnos hipoacúsicos del instituto Antonio Próvolo, en Luján.

[With two live testimonies, the trial against priests Horacio Corbacho, Nicola Corradi and gardener Armando Gómez continued on Friday, accused of committing sexual abuse of hearing- impaired students at the Antonio Próvolo Institute in Luján.]

HOMETOWN COLUMN: Everyone is welcome

Community Media Group

September 2, 2019

By Gretta Hochsprung

FORT EDWARD — Gayle Smith pointed at the first wooden pew at St. Joseph’s in Fort Edward.

“The first pew, that was the children’s side. The girls’ side and the boys’ side,” said Smith, who has been attending the Catholic Church since birth.

She goes back to before Vatican II, when girls had to cover their heads before walking into church. She would leave school and walk down the hill to attend Stations of the Cross with a Kleenex on her head.

Clergy Abuse Victims Seeking Justice Find Hope In New Court Decision

WESA-FM (90.5 - NPR affiliate)

September 2, 2019

By Laura Benshoff, WHYY

A recent Pennsylvania court ruling is breathing new life into old claims of childhood sexual assault in spite of state law that puts time limits on legal action.

In June, a state appeals court cleared the way for lawsuits when new information about abuse cover-ups emerge, often decades after the alleged crimes themselves. That decision prompted at least five subsequent lawsuits against the Catholic Church, and one against the Boy Scouts of America, alleging fraud and conspiracy by those institutions.

A spokesman for the Diocese of Scranton called it an attempt to get around the lawmaking process. Legislators in Pennsylvania have not voted to allow victims a temporary reprieve from the statute of limitations, unlike their counterparts in New York and New Jersey.

MP defends mandatory reporting

Bayside News

September 2, 2019

FRANKSTON MP Paul Edbrooke revealed his father’s story of survival in an emotional defence of mandatory reporting legislation which would force priests to report confessions of sexual abuse.

Mr Edbrooke took to the floor of parliament on 28 August to share the story of his father, Nick, who was sexually abused by a clergyman as a child.

“It’s the late 1960s, you’ve just arrived here in Melbourne for a fresh start, and at 15 you’ve already had your innocence torn away,” Mr Edbrooke said.

“My dad is a survivor and he said I could share this letter if it assists parliament to realise apologies are worth nothing unless we follow them up with action.”

The Atonement: Lina’s Project


September 2, 2019

By the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle

The Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle facilitated The Atonement: Lina’s Project in 2017 on behalf of Lina, a victim of child sexual abuse at the hands of a member of clergy.

In the same year, as part of Lina’s Project, Bishop Bill established September 15 as a Perpetual Day of Remembrance throughout the Diocese. Such a day holds before us our history of child sexual abuse and the reality of its continual unfolding in the lives of those directly and indirectly affected.

The intention is that this day be marked in a variety of ways including survivor-led events that will grow and develop from year to year.

To build on the work of Lina’s Project, the Diocese will host this year’s regional event in Forster. This event will take place on Sunday, September 15 to coincide with the Perpetual Day of Remembrance.

September 1, 2019

Pell and the Pope’s dilemma

The Tablet

August 29, 2019

By Christopher Lamb

Although many people in the Vatican believe he is innocent, the high-profile Australian cardinal George Pell’s appeal against his conviction for abuse has been dismissed. He now faces a church investigation and trial. As our Rome correspondent explains, this is a nightmare for Pope Francis

The news arrived in Rome via a faltering video feed in the dead of night. From Victoria’s Court of Appeal, Chief Justice Anne Ferguson stated that Cardinal George Pell’s appeal against his convictions for the oral rape of a choirboy and the sexual assault of another chorister at St Patrick’s Cathedral when he was Archbishop of Melbourne in the 1990s had been rejected.

\Witnesses inside the court on 21 August said the news was greeted with a deep silence. Small gasps could be heard across the room. The cardinal was motionless upon hearing the verdict; his lips pursed a little. He took a long drink of water, before being led away.

Wave of child sex abuse lawsuits threatens Boy Scouts

Associated Press

August 30, 2019

By Mike Catalini

The Boy Scouts of America is facing a threat from a growing wave of lawsuits over decades-old allegations of sexual abuse.

The Scouts have been sued in multiple states in recent months by purported abuse victims, including plaintiffs taking advantage of new state laws or court decisions that are now allowing suits previously barred because of the age of the allegations.

More litigation is on the way.

A lawyer representing 150 people who say they were abused as Boy Scouts is planning a suit in New Jersey when the state’s new civil statute of limitations law takes effect Dec. 1. New Jersey was home to the Boy Scouts’ headquarters for about 25 years until 1978.

Vermont Becomes Latest State to Abolish Statute of Limitations in Child Sex Abuse Cases

The Legal Examiner (Blog)

August 31, 2019

By Joseph H. Saunders

Vermont Governor Phil Scott last week signed a new law that removes the time limit for victims of child sexual abuse to bring civil claims against their abusers and the institutions that protected them.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests said HB 330 is one of the strongest statute of limitations reforms for victims in the country.

“By opening a ‘window to justice’ and allowing survivors whose cases were previously barred by [statutes of limitations] to be heard in court, important information can be exposed that can help create safer, more informed communities,” the organization wrote in a statement.

“We hope that other legislators around the country will look to Vermont as an example as they too begin to take up [statute of limitation] reform in their own states.”

Sogyal Rinpoche Dies; Tibetan Buddhist Lama Felled by Abuse Accusations

The New York Times

September 1, 2019

By Richard Sandomir

A friend of the Dalai Lama’s, he wrote a popular book about life, death and the afterlife that updated “The Tibetan Book of the Dead.”

Sogyal Rinpoche, a charismatic Tibetan Buddhist teacher and best-selling author who abruptly retired after several of his students accused him of multiple acts of sexual, physical and emotional abuse, died on Aug. 28 in a hospital in Thailand. He was in his early 70s.

The cause was a pulmonary embolism, his care team announced. He had received a diagnosis of colon cancer in September 2017.

Two months earlier, his reputation as a popular teacher of Buddhism and longtime friend of the Dalai Lama’s unraveled when eight students wrote a damning, heart-rending letter that outlined allegations of years of abuse by Sogyal Rinpoche against them.

Editorial: Finally, the flood of lawsuits against the Catholic Church is here

The Washington Post

September 1, 2019

By Editorial Board

THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, with strong backing from the insurance industry and the Boy Scouts of America, has been successful for years in blocking state legislation that would allow adults to bring lawsuits for sexual abuse they suffered as children. That wall of obstruction is now gradually being breached, and none too soon.

A law enacted this year in New York has unleashed a flood of lawsuits, many against the church and its institutions, as well as individual abusers, by survivors hoping for a measure of justice — and recognition — for traumas they suffered years or decades ago. On the day the Child Victims Act went into force, in mid-August, hundreds of suits were filed; hundreds or perhaps thousands more are expected in coming months.

The state’s former statute of limitations imposed draconian limits on civil lawsuits, which childhood victims were required to file before the age of 23. Now, for a one-year window, survivors of any age will be allowed to file civil lawsuits; after that, they will have until age 55.

New York is not the first state to open such a window: California, Minnesota, Delaware and Hawaii led the way. But Albany is at the vanguard of what may become a wave of action in state capitals signaling an aggressive new approach — and a rejection of arguments that have long blocked survivors from seeking their day in court. New Jersey, Rhode Island, Vermont and others have enacted similar measures to grant now-adult victims more time to sue priests, coaches and others who abused them long ago. Pennsylvania, where the state attorney general’s office last year documented hundreds of cases of abuse stretching back more than half a century, continues to debate tough new legislation, though so far it has been blocked by Republican leaders in Harrisburg.

The Vatican has struggled to implement sweeping reforms that convincingly convey the message that it will no longer tolerate the systematic coverups and lack of accountability for clergy sex abuse. The American church could do so by dropping its aggressive opposition to state laws such as the one enacted in New York. Granted, that opens the door to payouts to victims that will take a toll on the church’s coffers. But it’s a reasonable price to pay to resurrect the idea that the church hierarchy is genuinely committed to transparency and justice.

St. Francis Prep alums detail decades of alleged sexual abuse at prestigious Queens school after Child Victims Act opens doors for lawsuits

New York Daily News

August 31, 2019

By Larry McShane

St. Francis Prep alums detail decades of alleged sexual abuse at prestigious Queens school after Child Victims Act opens doors for lawsuits

For the first time in 42 years, a retired city firefighter long devastated by his prestigious Catholic prep school principal’s alleged sexual abuse feels something other than despair.

It’s hope.

The former FDNY first responder, one of six St. Francis Preparatory School alumni to file August court papers under the Child Victims Act, is suddenly optimistic that a life of endless shame and horrific flashbacks can somehow get better.

“Maybe this is God’s way of saying, ‘You know, the universe is going to give you a little something back,’" said the 60-year-old man, identified only as John Doe in legal filings, to the Daily News. “I cannot believe this law has passed. I cannot believe we are having this conversation.

"Thank God almighty this happened.”

Though their stories differ in the details, the tales told by the St. Francis plaintiffs share the same sad ending: Decades of emotional, physical and psychological damage, legal documents allege.

Court papers recount their victimization by predatory staffers targeting teen students of both

Opinion: India must fight to get justice for the Nun raped by Bishop Franco

Goa Chronicle

September 2, 2019

By Savio Rodrigues

A 44-year old nun has been raped and sodmised by Bishop Franco Mulakkal. Not once but 13-times.

The nun tried to reach out to the elders in the Catholic Church to intervene and save her from the repeated trauma.

The elders in the Catholic Church in India and at the Vatican acted deaf, dumb and blind to her repeated complaints and cry for help.

In her desperation and fight for survival she turned to the Indian law after losing faith in the Canon law.

In return for this bold and defiant step, the Catholic Church guided by the accused rapist Bishop Franco Mulakkal started to indulge in a smear campaign against the raped Nun and started targeting all those priests, nuns and laity supporting her in her fight for justice.

Accused Falls priest named in Child Victims Act suit

Lockport Journal

September 1, 2019

COURTS: Allegations involve Father Richard Judd and three teenage boys.

A priest previously accused of sexual abuse was named in a recent Child Victims Act suit, accusing him of forcing three teenage boys to have group sex with an older girl in the rectory of St. Theresa’s Roman Catholic Church.

The plaintiff claims Father Richard C. Judd began to “groom” him and other boys shortly upon his arrival at St. Theresa’s, on Macklem Avenue in Niagara Falls, taking the teenager to Sabres games and giving him alcohol and cigarettes.

Judd allegedly plied the accuser and two other teenage boys with alcohol for hours in the rectory at St. Theresa’s Feb. 23, 1975, and then brought over an older girl to join them. Judd instructed the plaintiff, who was 15, to have sex with the girl, according to the suit. Judd also allegedly tried to perform a non-consensual sex act on the plaintiff and watched him have sex with the girl, without the plaintiff’s knowledge or consent.

Diocese of Bridgeport: Retired priest on leave over ‘credible’ abuse evidence

News12 (Connecticut)

August 31, 2019


The Diocese of Bridgeport says a retired Trumbull priest has been placed on administrative leave after “credible” evidence that he abused a child surfaced.

The Diocesan Sexual Misconduct Review Board ruled that there is credible evidence of sexual abuse of a minor 35 years ago by Father Stephen Gleeson.

Gleeson retired in 2013 after nearly 50 years as a priest. He was most recently a pastor at St. Stephen Parish in Trumbull.

The former priest is no longer allowed to exercise public ministry.

The diocese first became of aware of the accusation in 2002, but says it had insufficient information at the time.

Netflix Releases “The Two Popes” Trailer: Here’s What We Know So Far


August 31, 2019

What do you make of this?

Netflix released a teaser for a new film entitled “The Two Popes.”

The movie stars Anthony Hopkins as Pope Benedict XVI and Jonathan Price as Pope Francis. Netflix describes the film as an “intimate look at a historic turning point in the Catholic Church.”

This “historical turning point” refers to Pope Benedict’s 2013 resignation, resulting in the turnover of papal supremacy to Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, or Pope Francis.

Two more priests added to St. Louis Archdiocese's list of clergy with substantiated abuse allegations

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

September 1, 2019

By Colleen Schrappen

Two more Roman Catholic priests have been added to the St. Louis Archdiocese’s list of clergy with substantiated abuse allegations against them, according to the archdiocese’s website.

Jerome Keaty was ordained in 1962 and died in 1999. Mark Fleming was ordained in 1980 and briefly worked in St. Louis. His name was included in a list of “extern” clergy because he was a priest in the Manchester, New Hampshire, diocese. He has been laicized.

According to the St. Louis Review, Archbishop Robert Carlson sent a letter to parishes where the two men served, and an announcement was made in those parish bulletins.

New lawsuit filed against Rome priest

Rome Sentinel

August 31, 2019

By Sean I. Mills

A new sex abuse lawsuit has been filed against the Rev. Paul F. Angelicchio from the same man as before, this time in Onondaga County Supreme Court.

The new lawsuit accuses Angelicchio, two other priests and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse of sexual abuse in the late 1980s, as well as the greater cover up. The new lawsuit was filed on Aug. 14 by the law firm Porter Norby Howe LLP of Syracuse.

Angelicchio is pastor of the Catholic Church of St. John the Baptist & Transfiguration on East Dominick Street.

Plaintiff Kevin Braney, age 46, of Colorado, previously filed his lawsuit against Angelicchio in federal court in February following the passage of the Child Victims Act, which extends the statue of limitations for sexual abuse victims to seek criminal charges or file lawsuits. Braney eventually voluntarily dismissed that federal lawsuit in May before the case made any significant movement.

Man who falsely accused priests of abuse got $5 million payout

St. Louis News.net

Ralph Cipriano - Big Trial
31 Aug 2019, 17:57 GMT+10

With the Catholic Church under legal assault by prosecutors in 14 U.S. states, the case of a former Philadelphia altar boy dubbed "Billy Doe" serves as a cautionary tale that not every priest accused of sex abuse is automatically guilty.

The case also shows that crusading prosecutors don't always play by the rules. And that no matter what the true facts in a sex abuse case are, it won't matter to a biased news media.

Billy Doe, whose real name is Danny Gallagher, came forward at age 23 in 2011 to claim that back when he was 10 and 11 years old, he was repeatedly raped by two priests and a parochial school teacher. A couple of juries convicted all three attackers and sent them to jail. Also convicted was Msgr. William J. Lynn, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's former secretary for clergy. He became the first Catholic administrator in the country to be jailed in the clergy sex scandals, not for touching a child, but for endangering a child's welfare by failing to protect the altar boy from a priest who was a known abuser.

Pope Benedict XVI Responds to Criticism of His Essay on the Church and the Sexual Abuse Crisis

National Catholic Register

August 27, 2019

By Anian Christoph Wimmer

Released in April, Pope Benedict’s essay described the impact of the sexual revolution as well as – independent from it – a collapse of moral theology in the 1960’s, before suggesting how the Church should respond by recognizing that “only obedience and love for our Lord Jesus Christ can point the way.”

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has responded to criticism of his essay on the abuse crisis, saying many negative reactions have confirmed his central thesis that apostasy and alienation from the Faith are at the heart of the crisis – by not even mentioning God in their critique of his essay.

In a brief statement in reaction to such criticism published in German magazine “Herder Korrespondenz,” the former pope pointed to a “general deficit” in the reactions to his essay, saying that many critical responses missed the very point he was making.

Published in April by Catholic News Agency, the National Catholic Register, and in the original German by CNA Deutsch as well as other media, Pope Benedict’s essay described the impact of the sexual revolution as well as – independent from it – a collapse of moral theology in the 1960’s, before suggesting how the Church should respond by recognizing that “only obedience and love for our Lord Jesus Christ can point the way.”

The Vatican City State of Dark Money

Open Tabernacle (blog)

September 1, 2019

By Betty Clermont

The Vatican City State is an independent country. The head of state is addressed as “Holy Father” and his government is called the Holy See. There is no complete and accurate account of the Vatican’s investments, commercial real estate, bank accounts, currencies and gold because, with few exceptions, the Holy Father wants his wealth to remain hidden.

Two recent reports provide some additional information as to why this is true. The first not only gives us a hint of the Vatican’s massive wealth, but also “money laundering and fraud” are possibly involved. The second informs us that the Vatican’s top financial policeman was accused of money laundering and collusion in the cover-up of a financial crime.

THE VATICAN HAS TWO SWISS BANK ACCOUNTS THAT HOLD “AS MUCH AS €7 BILLION,” as reported by Vatican expert, Edward Pentin, on July 22. These bank accounts are managed by the Administration of the Patrimony of the Holy See (APSA) which handles the Vatican’s investment portfolio, some commercial real estate and “large amounts of unregistered cash in offshore accounts,” according to Pentin.

“There is a hub of corruption within APSA” related to these two Swiss banks. “Highly irregular transactions were transiting through these banks,” a reliable source told Pentin.

According to the Tax Justice Network, “Switzerland is the global capital of bank secrecy …. Financial secrecy is a key facilitator of financial crime, and illicit financial flows including money laundering, corruption and tax evasion.”

"Spiritual lives not to be confined within walls"

The Hindu

September 1, 2019

Sister Lucy Kalappura, who faced expulsion from her congregation in Wayanad for allegedly violating its guidelines, remains unperturbed by the tribulations she has been facing ever since she earned the wrath of the Catholic Church for speaking out against Bishop Franco Mulakkal, who has been accused of raping a nun.

Awaiting the outcome of an appeal she has filed before the Vatican against the decision to expel her from the Franciscan Clarist Congregation convent, Sr. Lucy is hopeful of receiving justice that would vindicate her rather bold stance against the Church authorities.

The prospect of an unfavourable verdict, on the other hand, does not worry the nun. "I do not fear about what the future holds for me. I will remain righteous in my actions and continue to lead a life of asceticism, this time in a manner I can closely interact with the marginalised and share their sorrows," she said.

Sr. Lucy spoke her mind during a panel discussion on "Behind cloisters -- Nunneries, Seminaries and Monasteries", at the Spaces Fest, organised by DC Books here on Saturday.

‘Sunday Sit-Down’ With The Most Rev. Mark Brennan, Bishop of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston

The Intelligencer - Wheeling News Register

September 1, 2019

Editor’s note: The Most Rev. Mark Brennan, ninth bishop of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, has been busy visiting with schools, parishes and everyday people in Wheeling since his installation late last month –a marked change from his predecessor. Brennan comes in at a pivotal time for the diocese, as the actions and spending by the former bishop, Michael Bransfield, remain an open wound. Brennan has been tasked with healing that wound, and he discusses that and more as he joins us in the Sunday Sit-Down.

Q. What are your initial thoughts on the state of Catholicism in West Virginia?

BRENNAN: I really have to get to know the people and places. … My initial impressions are that there are a lot of really good people who have suffered and yet have kept their faith, have kept doing the things I mentioned in my homily on Thursday, that parents kept training their children in the faith, in good Christian living, teachers have kept showing up each day in the Catholic schools, religious education programs have continued in the parishes, Catholic Charities workers are helping people afflicted with opioids or whatever else they needed. The perseverance in their faith — I think recognizing that the turbulence above doesn’t mean that the base of their faith is cracking open.

Upset about what went on, what was revealed, that’s understandable. I feel the same way. But my initial impression is good people who hopefully can work with me to go forward and offer the kind of witness to Christ that we’re supposed to be offering here in this state.

Opinion: When ‘Priest Weds Nun’

The New York Times

August 31, 2019

By Peter Manseau

My parents may not get to see the transformation of Catholicism they dreamed of when they married 50 years ago, but some changes are underway.

It made news around the world when my parents married 50 years ago this summer. They weren’t remotely famous. Their wedding was no lavish affair. The surprising interest in their nuptials can be summed up by a headline that ran in a Vancouver newspaper, thousands of miles from the ceremony in my grandmother’s modest Boston home: “Priest Weds Nun.”

The headline wasn’t precisely accurate. My mother was a teaching sister for a decade, but she had left her order the previous summer; my father by then had been a priest for eight years. On the day of the wedding, he was on a leave of absence from his nearby parish and, according to canon law, was automatically excommunicated for marrying without first receiving dispensation from the obligations of his ordination. As he told reporters waiting outside, he knew that his decision broke the rules of the church, but he had done so for its benefit.

“We believe in the goals of the church and love the church very deeply,” he said. “We have committed our lives to the church, and believe we are doing this for the good of the church.”

For him, to marry publicly as a Catholic priest was an act of protest meant to nudge Rome toward reconsideration of clerical celibacy and the church’s view of sexuality generally — a reconsideration he had come to regard as inevitable after the reforms of the Second Vatican Council earlier in the 1960s. “I really felt that in order to be true to the Gospel,” he said, “I should enter into the deepest relationship possible for the church.” By this he meant not his celibate religious vocation but marriage, family and the complicated relationships they would bring.

Wyoming bishop a perfect test case for Pope’s vows of accountability


September 1, 2019

By John L. Allen Jr.

Ask the typical American Catholic in the pews, and most could probably tell you a fair bit about Theodore McCarrick, the ex-cardinal and now ex-priest whose fall from grace amid reports of decades-long sexual misconduct and abuse triggered a firestorm a year ago which, in many ways, is still raging.

By way of contrast, few rank-and-file churchgoers outside of Cheyenne, Wyoming, or Kansas City, Missouri, could probably pick Bishop Joseph Hart out of a lineup – and that relative obscurity is precisely what makes Hart such an ideal test case for Pope Francis’s avowed commitment to accountability, including for bishops. (Of course, it’s actually a test of the entire system, not just the pope, but he’s the one making the promises.)

As any expert in the moral life will tell you, the real test of integrity isn’t what you do when people are watching, but the choices you make when they’re not.

Survivor groups question Oklahoma archdiocese's investigation

The Oklahoman

September 1, 2019

By Carla Hinton and Ben Felder

Following a renewed focus on rampant sexual abuse by Catholic priests across the country, the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City announced last year it would investigate its own clergy, promising swift “transparency and accountability.”

But while numerous other dioceses across the nation called on law enforcement to lead similar investigations, the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City turned its investigation over to McAfee and Taft, an Oklahoma City-based law firm that has worked with the church for nearly 15 years.

In August 2018, when the diocese announced the investigation, it promised a report by November. The due date was postponed multiple times.