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October 18, 2019

Born out of Wedlock and Forced Into Servitude: an Irish Story

BALLINASLOE (IRELAND)
Courthouse News

October 18, 2019

By Cain Burdeau

His first memory finds him walking for the first time beyond the walls of the big gray building where he’d been locked up since birth. He’s 4½ years old. He had never seen an automobile. He had never seen a dog.

“I remember that as if it was yesterday,” says Peter Mulryan, now in his mid-70s, reflecting on the first part of his life cruelly stolen from him by the circumstances of his birth: He came into the world born out of wedlock in an Ireland ruled by a repressive Roman Catholic Church. “My first memory is the day I was taken out of there when the gates opened.”

The gates that opened on a January day in 1949 were those of the St. Mary’s Mother and Baby Home in Tuam, an institution run by Catholic nuns in western Ireland’s County Galway where unmarried women and their children were housed in harsh conditions between 1925 and 1961. The home in Tuam is now the focus of a government inquiry looking into the deaths of hundreds of children whose bodies were likely buried in a sewage tank at the back of the building.

Outside the gates, an ambulance waited to take him to a new life: But it was going to be a harsh, cruel and twisted life.

“I’d never seen a vehicle before that,” he says, sitting at a table in the kitchen of his home, telling in detail the story of his life in an interview with Courthouse News.

All this is still new to him. He’s begun telling strangers about his life only in the past few years, ever since he joined a movement of people talking out against horrors inflicted upon them for being the children of unmarried women in Ireland.

‘Jane Doe’ settles priest sexual abuse lawsuit against Diocese of Rockville Centre

ROCKVILLE CENTRE (NY)
News 12

October 18, 2019

The Diocese of Rockville Centre has publicly named a priest accused of sexually abusing a child more than 35 years ago.

A woman, known only as Jane Doe, settled a lawsuit against Fr. Joseph D. Casaclang with the diocese. She claims that she was between the ages of 10-13 when she was a parishioner of St. Joseph’s Parish in Kings Park. According to the suit, Father Casaclang visited the family and sexually abuse the girl at her family’s home.

The alleged abuse occurred between 1979 and 1982.

Religious order targeted in suits says Child Victims Act is unconstitutional

BUFFALO (NY)
The Buffalo News

October 18, 2019

By Mike McAndrew

The Child Victims Act is unconstitutional, and a decades-old childhood sexual abuse case filed under the new law should be dismissed, a Catholic religious order is asserting.

The Province of St. Anthony of Padua of the Conventual Franciscans and related entities have asked a State Supreme Court judge to dismiss a lawsuit accusing the Rev. Mark Andrzejczuk of sexually abusing a female student in the 1970s at Cardinal O’Hara High School in Tonawanda.

Attorney Dennis Vacco, who represents the Franciscan order, also said in court papers that the lawsuit should be tossed because the plaintiff waited too long to sue.

In appeal to young Catholics, Vatican unveils the ‘eRosary’ — an electronic way to pray

WASHINGTON (DC)
The Washington Post

October 17, 2019

By Hannah Knowles

Pope Francis has made waves as a modernizer of the Roman Catholic Church as he signals new openness to divorced worshipers and considers loosening celibacy requirements for priests.

This week, the Vatican turned heads with another nod to changing times: a wearable “Click to Pray eRosary” complete with a smartphone app, the religious organization’s latest attempt to connect with young people.

Made of 10 dark beads and a “smart cross” to store data, the $110 rosary, which can be worn as a bracelet, syncs up with what Vatican News calls “the official prayer app of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network.”

After activating the device by making the sign of the cross, users can then choose to pray a standard rosary, a contemplative one or different kinds of thematic rosaries that will be updated every year, Vatican News said. The smart rosary keeps track of the user’s progress.

Utah woman to sue LDS Church using California law that helps child sex assault survivors

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
KUTV

October 16, 2019

By Cristina Flores

Kristy Johnson, now a resident of Utah, is preparing to sue The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints under a newly-passed California law designed to help adults who were sexually assaulted as children.

California Assembly Bill 218 becomes law in 2020.

Unlike Utah law, which allows adults who were victimized as children to sue perpetrators as individuals, the California law also allows victims to sue entities and institutions that covered up the sexual assault or allowed it to happen when they had the power to stop it.

“These places that have purposely covered up, I don’t care who you are, it’s time to pay the price for that,” Johnson said.

‘No one ever talked about McCarrick and the boys’

WASHINGTON (DC)
Catholic Herald

October 18, 2019

By Ed Condon/CNA

A man claiming to be a former child victim of McCarrick says the ex-cardinal sexually abused a series of minors

A man claiming to be a former child victim of Theodore McCarrick has written an open essay in response to a recent interview given by the former cardinal. Writing under the name Nathan Doe, the man says that McCarrick sexually abused a series of minors during his years as a cleric.

Media reports have detailed a string of allegations made against McCarrick since the announcement of a Vatican investigation in June 2018. Those reports have referred to McCarrick’s alleged victims as including eight former seminarians and three minors.

“The ‘third’ accuser they were referring to in those news articles was me,” Doe said.

A Powerful Tale Of Abuse Survivors Finding Their Voice 'By The Grace Of God'

FRANCE
NPR

October 17, 2019

By Andrew Lapin

In the opening scenes of the new French drama By The Grace Of God, we see a Catholic family man named Alexandre (Melvil Poupaud) taking his wife and five kids to church. He's happy, excited to share his faith with his family. In voiceover, though, we hear him say he'd been molested repeatedly by his priest thirty years prior. What's more, he's recently learned the priest has returned to the area, and is again in close contact with children.

This is something new in our growing canon of films about institutionalized sexual abuse: a survivor who isn't being filtered through the lens of some neutral character, and who's able to live a well-adjusted life many years after the fact, despite living in an environment filled with the trauma of that time. Later in the movie, we'll meet other men who had been abused by the same priest, and they haven't always fared as well. They've suffered deep emotional scars, and they want some kind of retribution. Finding it won't be easy.

Denver Archdiocese vocations director speaks on priest hiring process ahead of new abuse report

DENVER (CO)
KDVR

October 16, 2019

By Joe St. George

Rev. Ryan O'Neill, vocations director for the Archdiocese of Denver, is responsible for every new priest that joins the seminary.

"That's something I definitely take seriously," O'Neill said.

Ahead of a new Colorado Catholic Church report set to be released by the Attorney General's Office in the new few weeks, O'Neill sat down with FOX31 to discuss how the archdiocese works to keep abusers out of the church.

"Are you confident that the young men studying to be priests in this seminary are good guys?" FOX31 reporter Joe St. George asked.

"I am," O'Neill said.

Updated: Archbishop knew of priest sexual abuse before complaints: testimony

CANADA
Glacier Media

October 17, 2019

By Jeremy Hainsworth

“He was molesting people,” archbishop says of priest

Kamloops Roman Catholic Archdiocese officials knew of the sexual activities of a priest before a schoolteacher reported her abuse at the man’s hands in 1977, the former bishop told B.C. Supreme Court Oct. 17.

“He was misbehaving,” testified Adam Exner, later archbishop of Winnipeg and Vancouver. “He was a playboy.”

Four N.Y. priests placed on leave; accused of abuse dating back decades

NEW YORK (NY)
Catholic News Service

October 17, 2019

The New York Archdiocese has placed four of its priests — three pastors and the director of priest personnel — on administrative leave following an allegation of abuse with minors dating back several decades.

The three pastors are Msgr. Edward Barry of Holy Rosary Parish in Hawthorne, Father William Luciano of Blessed Sacrament Parish in New Rochelle and Msgr. James White of St. Vito-Most Holy Trinity Parish in Mamaroneck. The fourth priest is Msgr. Edward Weber, director of the archdiocesan Priest Personnel Office. Their ministries have been temporarily restricted.

"As is our practice, we reported this to the District Attorney's Office," New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan said in letters sent to the three parishes Oct. 3. "The archdiocese will now follow its policy and protocols, which include having outside independent investigators look into and assess the allegation, before presenting it to our independent Lay Review Board.

October 17, 2019

Opinion: Damage from Greer case extends to local community

NEW HAVEN (CT)
New Haven Register

Oct. 19, 2019

By Steven R. Wilf

Where is the community in the Rabbi Daniel Greer child-rape case? Greer was convicted on four charges pertaining to risk of injury to a minor. According to testimony, Greer repeatedly engaged in sex with Eliyahu Mirlis, a student in his New Haven school, and propositioned with offensive touching another student. The abuse began when Mirlis was 14 years old. Even more devastating was the 2017 civil trial where Greer was found liable with a $15 million judgment for these actions. In the civil case, evidence was presented that Greer abused another student over a period of years.

As in most criminal trials, the focus was largely on the perpetrator and the victim. Yet the Jewish community loomed unexpectedly large. Was it an enabler that provided the cultural fabric to allow the sexual abuse to proceed? Did the particular fraught power dynamic between rabbi and student impede reporting by the victim? And was the tightly knit character of Orthodox Jewish communities critical in allowing the years of sexual exploitation to occur without being detected?

Expert testimony by forensic psychologist Gavriel Fagan did as much to exoticize the Orthodox Jewish community as it did to make its world more transparent. The question that loomed over the trial was why Mirlis did not report the sexual abuse earlier and why he maintained contact with Greer after his marriage — and even honored him at his son’s circumcision. Much was made of the charismatic authority of rabbis, religious sexual repression and the Orthodox Jewish insistence upon remaining isolated from the outside world.

‘He begged me not to call the police’: Trial begins for former priest accused of sexual abuse

AMARILLO (TX)
KFDA TV

Oct. 17, 2019

By Arianna Martinez and Kaitlin Johnson

The trial of Peter Mukekhe Wafula, a former priest accused of sexual abuse of a minor, began today with opening statements and testimonies from several witnesses.

Wafula served in Hereford, Friona and Bovina before he was removed from the ministry in 2018.

The courtroom heard from several witnesses today, including some priests who work at the churches Wafula provided ministry to.

The first witness, Father Nestor Lara who works at San Jose Church in Hereford, spoke about a conversation he witnessed between Father Ramon Molina Mora, Wafula and the child’s family.

He described Able De La Cruz Jr., the child involved in the case, as scared and crying during the conversation.

Corey Feldman celebrates new California child sex abuse law

TORONTO (CANADA)
Global News

Oct. 17, 2019

By Katie Scott

Corey Feldman is celebrating a new California law that gives victims of childhood sexual abuse more time to sue their abusers.

“It was a great day,” Feldman told Radar after Gov. Gavin Newsom approved the law on Sunday.

The law gives victims until age 40, up from age 26, to file lawsuits. It also gives victims of all ages three years to sue, starting Jan. 1.

“The most important part is it creates a three-year lookback window. For the next three years, people are able to bring cases forward that happened prior to 2017,” Feldman told the outlet.

Feldman has publicly stated that he was a victim of sexual abuse as a child.

“I’m able to bring my abusers to justice” thanks to the law, he said. “I can take them to court. I can at least get a civil trial going.”

Feldman filed a report with Los Angeles police in early November 2017 after publicly naming some of his alleged abusers while appearing on The Dr. Oz Show.

The LAPD previously said that it dropped its investigation into Feldman’s claims that a pedophile ring had been victimizing young actors in Hollywood because too much time had passed since the alleged incidents.

“They’re going to have to listen now,” Feldman said to Radar. “They can’t say this is beyond the statue. Now they can’t say that anymore.”

Hyannis conference sheds light on child sexual abuse

HYANNIS (MA)
Cape Cod Times

Oct. 17, 2019

By Cynthia McCormick

When Sacha Pfeiffer broke the story about the Catholic Church’s cover-up of clergy sex abuse as part of The Boston Globe’s investigative Spotlight team, silence was an enemy.

Church officials stonewalled reporters seeking answers, Pfeiffer said during a keynote talk with WCAI’s Mindy Todd Thursday as part of this year’s annual Champions for Children conference sponsored by Children’s Cove.

At one point, a spokeswoman for the church said officials would not only not answer questions, they did not even want to see them, said Pfeiffer, who with other members of the Spotlight team won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for public service.

These days the sheer amount of noise on social media can diminish the impact of important news stories, Pfeiffer said.

“People have what I consider outrage fatigue,” said Pfeiffer, who is now a reporter for NPR’s national investigative team.

United Methodist clergyman accused of sexual misconduct, says UMNS report

WASHINGTON (DC)
Religion News Service

Oct. 17, 2019

By Emily McFarlan Miller

A formal church complaint accusing a United Methodist clergyman of sexual misconduct has drawn the United Methodist Church into the #MeToo movement.

Four women have filed a formal complaint against the Rev. Donald “Bud” Heckman — an elder in the denomination’s West Ohio Conference who is well known in interfaith circles — of sexual harassment, misconduct and abuse, according to a United Methodist News Service report published Thursday (Oct. 17).

The women include Heckman’s ex-wife, Laura Heckman.

The West Ohio Conference did not identify the church charges against Heckman, according to UMNS. However, it confirmed to the denomination’s news outlet that the elder has been suspended from ministry and faces “the strong likelihood” of a church trial, which tentatively has been scheduled for Dec. 2-4.

Report: Diocese of Lansing failed to investigate 1990 sex abuse case

LANSING (MI)
Lansing State Journal

Oct. 17, 2019

By Kara Berg

The Diocese of Lansing did not handle a sexual assault case from the 1990s appropriately, according to a report commissioned by the diocese, which was released Thursday.

The Rev. Pat Egan, who was found to have sexually assaulted a man in 2014, had also sexually assaulted someone in the 1990s.

An independent law firm reviewed how the diocese handled the two reports of sexual assault against Egan and found that, while the diocese handled the 2014 case well, it failed to investigate the 1990 report.

“I repeat publicly now what I have said privately and personally to the victim in question: I am deeply sorry for the Diocese’s past failure and all should know that the allegation would have been handled differently today,” Bishop Earl Boyea said in a statement.

In September, the diocese released a list of 17 priests credibly accused of sexually abusing minors. All 17 priests are either dead, have been removed from active ministry or are defrocked.

Egan, now 82, first arrived in Lansing from the Archdiocese of Westminster in England as an extern priest in 1983. He has lived on-and-off in the Ann Arbor area since then, according to the diocese.

A 27-year-old man wrote to Egan in February 1990, telling the priest he had sexually abused him, according to the report, which was compiled by Patrick Hurford and his law firm, Honigman LLP.

The man said Egan sexually abused him while taking part in boxing training the year prior. Egan disputed the report, and the diocese was made aware of it.

No investigation, however, was done into the man's allegation and no action was taken against Egan, according to the report.

Diocese of Sacramento Helped Abusive Priest Obtain Position in Mexico, SNAP Reacts

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

Oct. 17, 2019

According to a lawsuit filed on Tuesday, the Catholic Diocese of Sacramento assisted a priest in obtaining a new position in Mexico following four sexual abuse accusations in Northern California. The legal complaint includes a letter, reportedly written by the diocesan attorney and approved by the bishop at the time, allowing the cleric to work in Mexico as long as the diocese there assumed “full responsibility” in the event the clergyman committed a sex offense while working in in that country.

We applaud the brave survivor, Juan Ricardo Torres, for coming forward. He was promised 30 years ago that Fr. Jose Antonio Pinal Castellanos would be kept away from children. Instead, Juan is the one that is making the world a safer place, as his abuser’s current whereabouts are unmasked and he will hopefully be removed from ministry once and for all.

Fr. Castellanos is on the list of “credibly accused” clergy released by the Diocese of Sacramento on April 30, 2019, under the name of Jose Antonio Pinal. However, contrary to what the letter says, the list claims that the priest’s faculties were removed in 1989, and that he fled to Mexico. There is absolutely no mention of the deal with the Diocese of Cuernevaca to allow Fr. Castellanos to continue functioning as a priest.

Clergy Sexual Abuse

LITTLE ROCK (AR)
Encyclopedia of Arkansas

Oct. 10, 2019

By William Lindsey

Since 2002, when the public became widely aware of sexual abuse of minors by clergy members, an international movement has developed to address such abuse. In January 2002, the Boston Globe’s “Spotlight” team published a ground-breaking series about abuse in the Catholic archdiocese of Boston, Massachusetts, and its extensive cover-up for years. This exposé brought international attention to the problem and led to criminal investigation of Catholic officials in Boston. When the files of the Boston archdiocese were opened due to legal actions following the “Spotlight” report, it was found that abuse by priests was documented in many dioceses other than Boston, leading more cases to come to light. Individual clergy of various denominations have been exposed as abusers in Arkansas over the years, but only in the twenty-first century has the systemic extent of such abuse started to come to light thanks, in large part, to ongoing monitoring of such abuse. However, the exact scope of sexual abuse by clergy in the state remains poorly documented, with documentation currently limited to Roman Catholic and Southern Baptist denominations.

As a precursor to the “Spotlight” reports, journalist Jason Berry published an investigation of abuse in the Catholic diocese of Lafayette, Louisiana, titled Lead Us Not Into Temptation (1992). This book provided one of the first glimpses of the problem of sexual abuse by clergy and how it was being treated by Catholic officials. In response to the Boston Globe series, when the U.S. Catholic bishops met in Dallas in 2002, they adopted the “Dallas Charter,” which promised a zero-tolerance policy regarding abuse of minors in Catholic institutions. As the bishops met, journalists Brooks Egerton and Reese Dunklin published an article in the Dallas Morning News reporting that two-thirds of bishops had allowed priests accused of abuse of minors to work in their dioceses.

GU commission hosts inaugural listening session on priest abuse

SPOKANE (WA)
Gonzaga Bulletin

Oct. 15, 2019

By Luke Kenneally

The University Commission on Gonzaga’s Response to the Catholic Sexual Abuse Crisis met with GU students and community members on Sunday to engage in a Q&A inviting community feedback. Approximately 20 people attended the event.

The commission was formed in response to news stories in December detailing that priests who had credible claims of sexual assault against them were housed in the Jesuit-owned Cardinal Bea House in the middle of GU’s campus, near St. Aloysius Church.

The formation of this commission was announced in April and the group has met six times since.

Members of the commission include co-chairs Michelle Wheatley, acting vice president of mission and ministry, and Megan McCabe, assistant professor of religious studies. Also on the commission is Vince Salyers, who serves as dean of the School of Nursing and Human Physiology, Steven Robinson, chair of GU’s board of regents, Patrick McCormick, GU professor of religious studies, licensed psychologist Fernando Ortiz, GU class of 2020 student Lindsay Panigeo, Fr. Tim Clancy, associate professor of philosophy and Jerri Shepard, an associate professor in the School of Education.

Not present were Ed Taylor, Ph.D., (BA ’82, MA ‘83), Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Academic Affairs at the University of Washington and a GU trustee, and Jerri Shepard, associate professor in the School of Education.

Several themes were reiterated throughout the event including keeping victims and survivors at the forefront, moving forward as a community and making a meaningful contribution to discussion surrounding these issues.

Greensburg diocese pays $4.4m in abuse compensation

GREENSBURG (PA)
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

October 17, 2019

By Peter Smith

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Greensburg has paid out nearly $4.4 million to 57 victims of sexual abuse by its clergy and seminarians through an out-of-court compensation program, it announced Thursday.

Most Pennsylvania dioceses set up compensation funds in the wake of a 2018 grand jury report detailing a 70-year history of allegations of sexual abuse by priests and coverup by bishops.

Most of the report dealt with abuses that happened decades ago, but amid a push for legislation to create a window in the Pennsylvania statute of limitations allowing for lawsuits over long-ago abuse, most of the state’s dioceses set up compensation programs to reach settlements with victims.

The Greensburg diocese said it paid $4,350,000. That averages out to about $76,000 each for the 57 claimants, although such programs typically vary compensation depending on factors such as the severity and frequency of abuse and the age of the victim.

‘By the Grace of God’ Review: A Devastating Film About Survivors of Abuse

NEW YORK (NY)
The New York Times

October 17, 2019

By Glenn Kenny

The often irreverent French director François Ozon gets serious with a fact-based story about a group of men who were childhood victims of a pedophile priest.

For a member of the clergy to sexually violate a child is one of the most stark and cruel betrayals imaginable. That an institution would prevaricate and dissemble about these betrayals rather than take immediate, decisive action to pursue justice and provide restitution creates a greater betrayal. After years of such actions, betrayal reaches a near-unimaginable level.

And yet. We don’t have to imagine. In the Roman Catholic Church, these violations have been rife, and the stories behind them are appalling.

In “By the Grace of God” François Ozon, one of France’s most brazen and talented directors, tells a story of a group of men in Lyon, all childhood victims of a pedophile priest. These adults find each other and form an organization to bring that priest and the church’s higher-ups who covered for him to account for their actions.

Staten Island church sued over laicized priest with sex-abuse conviction

STATEN ISLAND (NY)
SILive

October 17, 2019

By Maura Grunlund

A priest allegedly sexually abused a teen at Blessed Sacrament R.C. Church prior to his conviction on sex charges for an incident involving a youth at a parish in Dutchess County, according to a lawsuit and Advance records.

The West Brighton parish and the Archdiocese of New York have been sued by an anonymous victim under the Child Victims Act in the lawsuit filed on Aug. 14 by Jeff Anderson & Associates.

Although not listed as a plaintiff, the lawsuit names Daniel Calabrese, a defrocked Roman Catholic priest, as the alleged abuser.

‘Our innocence was stolen:’ Priest molestation victims file lawsuit against Oakland Diocese

OAKLAND (CA)
Bay Area News Group

October 16, 2019

By Angela Ruggiero

Monsignor Vincent Breen accused of molesting 100s

It’s been more than 50 years since Sharon McCann reported being sexually abused by her priest to her principal, regarding one of the “most prolific” child molesters in the Bay Area.

She was 6 years old when the abuse started, and now at 65, she and two other sex assault victims have filed a lawsuit against the Oakland Catholic Diocese, alleging that the diocese knew about decades of abuse by Monsignor Vincent Breen, and did nothing.

Breen was at Holy Spirit parish in Fremont for 29 years from 1953 to 1982, and was accused of molesting at least eight girls ages 7 to 14. But the actual number is estimated at closer to 100.

Monsignor in Bridgeport diocese disputes sexual abuse report findings, demands apology

BRIDGEPORT (CT)
CT Insider

October 16, 2019

By Daniel Tepfer

A recently retired senior official of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport, cited in a report for actively participating in hiding clergy sexual abuse, claims he was “thrown under the bus,” and is demanding the bishop apologize.

“Now, normally people have to wait until after death to be canonized, but you and the current Archbishop of Baltimore (William Lori) found a way to attain saintly status right here and now and I’m far from being alone among God’s people to have noticed that,” Monsignor Laurence Bronkiewicz states in an email to Bishop Frank J. Caggiano that was obtained by Hearst Connecticut Media. “Unfortunately, the Caggiano report and your press conference accomplished their objective by throwing me under the bus as the saying goes and ‘me’ includes [sic] my good name and reputation which has taken me a lifetime to build with God’s help.”

Butte County man alleges priest abuse in lawsuit

SACRAMENTO (CA)
KTXL

October 15, 2019

By Doug Johnson

This past weekend, Governor Gavin Newsom signed a new bill into law that allows victims of childhood sexual abuse more time to file civil suits.

Now, a 48-year-old Butte County man is suing the Catholic Diocese of Sacramento, claiming it allowed his alleged abuser to continue to work as a priest in Mexico just months after he reported that priest had abused him.

At the time, Juan Ricardo Torres was only 15 years old. His lawsuit is likely one of the first of many this new law has opened the door for.

“Since this happened I’ve always like tried to forget about it but you can’t,” Torres said. “The more you try to forget about it the harder it is.”

Assembly Bill 218 becoming law is allowing child sexual abuse victims like Torres to finally share their stories.

‘By the Grace of God’: Film skewers pedophile priests in France

FRANCE
People's World

October 17, 2019

By Eric A. Gordon

François Ozon’s new film By the Grace of God (Grâce à Dieu) is a gripping true story of three adult men who banded together to expose the code of silence in the Catholic Church that continued to enable a priest who abused them as boys.

The powerful indictment of the ecclesiastical hierarchy that allowed scandalous priestly behavior to go on unrestrained for decades is brought up to date with legal developments in the case as recently as the summer of 2019.

Former Anglican dean jailed for raping boy in Australia

AUSTRALIA
BBC News

October 17, 2019

A former Anglican Dean of Newcastle in Australia has been jailed for raping a 15-year-old boy in 1991.

Graeme Lawrence, now 77, is reported to be the second most senior Australian religious figure to be convicted of child sexual abuse, after Catholic Cardinal George Pell.

Lawrence was Anglican dean in the New South Wales city when he lured the boy to his home and raped him.

Jury selection begins for trial of former priest accused of sexual abuse in Parmer County

PARMER COUNTY (TX)
KFDA

October 16, 2019

By Arianna Martinez and Kaitlin Johnson

Jury selection began today for the trial of a former priest accused of sexual abuse in Parmer County.

Peter Mukekhe Wafula is accused of sexual abuse of a minor.

Wafula served in Hereford, Friona and Bovina before he was removed from the ministry in 2018.

He was indicted by the Parmer County Grand Jury in October of 2018.

His name was among those of 30 former priests who served in the Diocese of Amarillo and have been accused of sexually abusing a minor. The names were released in January by the Diocese of Amarillo.

Monk who raped me may be my father, witness tells UK abuse inquiry

SCOTLAND
Irish Examiner/Press Association

October 17, 2019

A former pupil at a Catholic boarding school has told how he was raped by a monk who he suspects to be his father.

The witness, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had a statement about his time at St Columba’s in Largs, North Ayrshire, read to the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry on Thursday.

The man, now in his 50s, claims to have suffered a serious sexual assault at the hands of a monk before enrolling at the school.

Winnipeg Centre Liberal candidate raps NDP rival over Facebook post calling Catholics complicit in sex crimes

CANADA
CBC News

October 16, 2019

By Bartley Kives

Robert-Falcon Ouellette calls Leah Gazan rhetoric unacceptable; she pledges to be more careful on social media
The Liberal incumbent candidate for Winnipeg Centre is accusing his NDP opponent of intolerance over a 14-month-old Facebook post that implied all Catholics are complicit in sex crimes committed by priests.

In a statement issued Wednesday, Liberal candidate Robert-Falcon Ouellette demanded New Democrat Leah Gazan explain an August 2018 Facebook post that stated "Every practicing Catholic is complicit in the rape and sexual abuse of children by predatory priests."

This line of text, which appeared over a link on Gazan's personal Facebook page, takes readers to a story entitled "Supporting the Catholic Church means supporting the rape and sexual abuse of children," published by the religion and spirituality website Patheos.

Under NYS Child Victims Act, 54-year-old man sues Diocese of Ogdensburg for childhood abuse

PLATTSBURGH (NY)
Press-Republican

October 17, 2019

By McKenzie Delisle

The day M.G. turned 23, he lost the chance to sue his childhood abuser. Now, nearly three decades later, the Child Victims Act has returned his voice.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed the legislation earlier this year, loosening up some state regulations surrounding child sexual abuse claims.

A key piece of the act was its one-year revival period, which beginning mid-August temporarily lifted New York’s statute of limitations on such cases, allowing victims of any age to step forward.

Since, hundreds have filed cases statewide with many against Catholic clergymen and their institutions.

M.G., 54, was one of those plaintiffs.

Priest's sexual relationship 'would make him a much better bishop' - Children's author Joy Cowley

NEW ZEALAND
RNZ

October 16, 2019

By Phil Pennington

A high-profile Catholic woman says a bishop would not have had sex with a woman unless he loved her.

Joy Cowley, a celebrated children's author of books like The Silent One and Nest in a Falling Tree, told RNZ the sexual relationship would have made Charles Drennan a better bishop.

The Pope accepted the resignation of Father Drennan, as Bishop of Palmerston North, after he admitted to inappropriate sexual behaviour with a young woman.

Man who claims abuse at St Patrick's training school receives £50,000 High Court payout

IRELAND
The Irish News

October 16, 2019

A MAN allegedly subjected to "horrific" abuse at a Catholic-run school in Belfast 60 years ago is to receive a £50,000 payout.

The 73-year-old claimed he suffered beatings with a strap and bunch of keys, and was forced to sleep on a mattress with bare springs at St Patrick's training school.

His legal action against the De La Salle Order, who ran the facilities on the Glen Road, was settled at the High Court today.

Mr Justice Maguire was told an award of £50,000 plus costs is to be made.

Vatican congregation says claim against Texas bishop ‘manifestly unfounded’

HOUSTON (TX
Catholic News Service

October 16, 2019

A Vatican congregation said an allegation of abuse made against Auxiliary Bishop George A. Sheltz of Galveston-Houston “is manifestly unfounded” and he has returned to public ministry.

In an Oct. 10 statement, the Texas archdiocese said it had received the allegation against the bishop, who also is chancellor, in June and referred it to the Vatican Congregation for Bishops, “who in turn referred it to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which has competency in these matters.”

“The CDF has determined that the allegation against Bishop Sheltz is manifestly unfounded,” the statement said. “The Congregation for Bishops has notified us and this brings the matter to a close and Bishop Sheltz is restored to full public ministry.”

Therapist names St. Louis priest she says abused her — in 1939

KIRKWOOD (MO)
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

October 17, 2019

By Nassim Benchaabane

A longtime therapist who has counseled dozens of abusive Catholic priests on Wednesday named for the first time the priest who she says molested her as a child in 1939.

Sue Lauber-Fleming, 84, has long told stories of the suffering she endured, but decided Wednesday it was time to publicly identify Monsignor George Dreher, who died 57 years ago, as her abuser.

“I thought it only right in my heart to name him just in case someone else might be out there that had been abused by him,” Lauber-Fleming said.

October 16, 2019

Benefit of the Doubt?

NEW YORK (NY)
Commonweal

Oct. 17, 2019

By Nicholas Frankovich

Two national news stories about sexual abuse coincided late last year. On August 14, 2018, the grand jury investigating abuse by Catholic clergy in Pennsylvania released their report, documenting hundreds of cases and rekindling public indignation at the long history of crimes and cover-ups committed by priests and bishops. Meanwhile, in July, Christine Blasey Ford told her congresswoman in California that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her thirty-six years earlier, when they were in high school. By mid-September, Ford’s allegation, which had been forwarded to the FBI, was blazing across the media landscape, where it dominated the headlines for the next three weeks. The controversy continues to smolder a year later.

Public reaction to the first story remains markedly different from public reaction to the second. Any allegation against a priest or bishop tends to elicit swift and near-universal denunciation of the accused, on the assumption that any skepticism would only compound the wrong done to the putative survivor. Ford, by contrast, has been met with almost as much suspicion as sympathy. True, more Americans believe her than him, according to polls conducted shortly after their Senate testimonies; in explaining why they find her account credible, some women cite their own experience. At the same time, however, Kavanaugh benefits from an army of media advocates who defend his innocence with vigor, picking apart the case brought by Ford and, in effect, putting her on trial, accusing her of lying and defaming Kavanaugh or, at best, of being confused about the identity of her assailant.

His defenders, her opponents, begin with the legal principle that the burden of proof lies with the prosecution. Although Ford v. Kavanaugh was not a court trial, it assumed the form of one, so the inclination to consider him innocent until proven guilty was not irrational. It meant, however, that Ford was presumed to be dishonest, or honest but mistaken. Few of us these days would presume that of anyone filing an accusation of sexual abuse by a priest. Behold the double standard.

No speedy trial for Paige Patterson’s ‘break her down’ lawsuit

NASHVILLE (TN)
Baptist News Global

Oct. 15, 2019

By Bob Allen

A woman who claims in a lawsuit that she was mistreated after reporting rape at a Southern Baptist Convention seminary won’t get her day in court before 2021.

The lawsuit against Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and former president Paige Patterson alleges that seminary officials dismissed claims that the woman identified as Jane Roe was repeatedly stalked and raped at gunpoint in 2014 and 2015 by a male student who also worked on campus as a plumber.

Jane Roe claims in her complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Texas that Patterson — a past president of the Southern Baptist Convention and key leader in the denomination’s rightward shift during the last quarter century — called her rape “a good thing” and waited to “break her down” in a private meeting before turning her story over to campus police.

The incident, coupled with reports that Patterson also mishandled a rape allegation years earlier at another SBC seminary, led to his firing in 2018.

Impact of predatory priest, Father Epoch, SJ begins to unfold locally

WIIKWEMKOONG (ONTARIO, CANADA)
Manitoulin Expositor

October 16, 2019

By Warren Schlote

By mid-1990s, victims start to share their stories publicly

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following story contains information about sexual abuse that took place in Wiikwemkoong during the mid-to-late 20th century. This information may be disturbing to those who have suffered from sexual abuse. Support is available 24/7 through the First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line at 1-855-242-3310 or the Manitoulin Family Resources crisis line at 1-800-465-6788.

When The Expositor began reporting in the 1990s on the news of Father George Epoch’s abuses as well as the associated lawsuits taking place at the time, more victims found the courage to reconcile with what had happened to them and stepped forward to share their stories. A meeting in late August 1996 at Rainbow Lodge in Whitefish River First Nation offered a chance for survivors to meet, discuss the lingering impacts of these abuses and see that they were not alone in their strife.

Although much of the attention in this case has been paid to Father Epoch, a man who has been labeled as one of the worst sexual abusers in Canadian history, the lawsuits from the ‘90s extended to Brother Norman Hinton as well. The current lawsuit also names a Brother O’Meare.

Cincinnati priest accused of rape returns to court

CINCINNATI (OH)
FOX19

October 16, 2019

By Jennifer Edwards Baker

A priest accused of raping an altar boy 30 years ago is set to return to court Wednesday.

The Rev. Geoff Drew, 57, is scheduled to enter a plea or have his trial date set. He’s expected to appear at 9 a.m. before Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Leslie Ghiz.

Last week, the judge denied a request from Drew’s attorney to reduce his $5 million bond.

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

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

Missoula priest removed for inappropriate contact with woman

MISSOULA (MT)
The Associated Press

October 15, 2019

A Missoula priest has been removed from his parish after acknowledging he had inappropriate contact with a woman.

The Missoulian reported Tuesday the Rev. Rich Perry was relocated to the Jesuit Center in Los Gatos, California, a retirement community for church leaders accused of misconduct.

The Rev. Joseph Carver, the pastor at St. Francis Xavier Parish, said the woman came forward on Oct. 2, Perry was confronted the same day and was relocated to California on Oct. 7. Perry is a former pastor of the church and has been an associate pastor in recent years.

Former Pastor In Area Accused Of Child Sex Abuse

WESTCHESTER COUNTY (NY)
White Plains Daily Voice

October 15, 2019

By Kathy Reakes

A longtime area Catholic priest has been placed on administrative leave following an allegation of child abuse from years ago.

Monsignor Edward Weber, the director of Priest Personnel Office in the archdiocese, is one of four priests in the Archdiocese of New York to be placed on leave following new allegations, said an article in the Catholic New York, the archdiocese's newspaper.

The three other priests include Msgr. Edward Barry of Holy Rosary parish in Hawthorne, Father William Luciano of Blessed Sacrament parish in New Rochelle, and Msgr. James White of St. Vito-Most Holy Trinity parish in Mamaroneck, have had their ministries temporarily restricted, the diocese said.

Letters were sent from Cardinal Dolan to parishioners of the three parishes on Thursday, Oct. 3.

Sacramento Catholic Diocese Helped Accused Priest Obtain Clergy Position In Mexico, Lawsuit Claims.

SACRAMENTO (CA)
Capital Public Radio

October 15, 2019

By Bob Moffitt

A new lawsuit filed on Tuesday claims the Catholic Church’s Sacramento diocese assisted one of its priests in obtaining a new position with a parish in Mexico after sexual abuse accusations in Northern California in the 1980s.

The lawsuit includes a letter allegedly written by Diocese of Sacramento attorney Louis N. Desmond and indicates that former Bishop Francis A. Quinn approved a request by Priest Jose Antonio Pinal Castellanos to begin working in Mexico.

Castellanos was accused by four boys of sexual assault, then fled the United States.

The agreement was contingent that the diocese in Mexico “assume full responsibility,” including financial liability, if Castellanos committed a sex offense while working in Mexico.

Former Rockland pastor accused of child sex abuse

WESTCHESTER (NY)
Rockland/Westchester Journal News

October 15, 2019

By Matt Spillane

A Catholic priest who spent years as a pastor and vicar in Rockland County is now facing an allegation of child abuse from decades ago.

Monsignor Edward Weber was one of four priests in the Archdiocese of New York to be placed on administrative leave following such an accusation, according to Catholic New York, a newspaper run by the archdiocese.

Weber has served as pastor of St. Francis of Assisi parish in West Nyack since 1994 and as regional vicar of Rockland County since 2002. He will leave those positions. Before that, he served as parochial vicar at St. Margaret of Cortona, the Bronx; and St. Margaret Mary and St. Sylvester’s, both on Staten Island. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1976 and named a monsignor in 2006.

He recently served as a weekend associate at St. Gregory Barbarigo Church in Garnerville.

If only we'd listened to our young athletes

UNITED STATES
CNN

October 10, 2019

By Abigail Pesta

Abigail Pesta is an award-winning journalist whose investigative reporting has appeared in major publications around the world. She is the author of the new book "The Girls: An All-American Town, a Predatory Doctor, and the Untold Story of the Gymnasts Who Brought Him Down." The views expressed here are hers. Read more opinion on CNN.

Fifteen years ago, Brianne Randall-Gay might have stopped one of the most prolific sexual predators the world of sports has ever known -- if anyone had listened. She was a 17-year-old soccer and tennis player when she and her mother went to the Meridian Township Police Department in Michigan to report that Larry Nassar had sexually abused her. The police interviewed Brianne, then Nassar. They listened to him, and dismissed her. Case closed.

Nassar went on to abuse hundreds of young women and girls.

When Nassar got sentenced to prison last year, the police publicly apologized to Brianne for their profound failure. She told me about it in an interview for my book "The Girls: An All-American Town, a Predatory Doctor, and the Untold Story of the Gymnasts Who Brought Him Down," saying the apology left her with "complicated" feelings. While she appreciated the gesture, she wrestled with the fact that if the police had listened, years of abuse could have been stopped.

That has all changed now in the #MeToo era, right?

Sex discrimination lawsuit against St. Joseph alleges Jim Calhoun, others in athletic department involved in ‘boys club’ behavior

HARTFORD (CT)
Hartford Courant

October 9, 2019

By Dave Altimari

The former associate athletic director at the University of St. Joseph has filed a federal lawsuit against the school alleging sexual discrimination by former longtime UConn basketball coach and current St. Joseph coach Jim Calhoun and his longtime assistant Glen Miller. The suit alleges disparaging comments the coaches made about her, including Calhoun calling her “hot” and Miller telling her he’d “swipe left.”

The lawsuit filed Wednesday by Jaclyn Piscitelli against the university also names former athletic director Bill Cardarelli for failing to take any action when she brought allegations against Calhoun to him and alleges that the former UConn basketball coach turned the athletic department into a “male-dominated, hostile work environment” for any females.

Piscitelli was fired from her job in June of this year and replaced by Josh Ingham, the sports information director.

Matt Lauer Accuser Speaks Out in Ronan Farrow’s New Book

NEW YORK (NY)
The New York Times

October 9, 2019

By Jim Windolf, John Koblin and Rachel Abrams

The revelations prompted a denial from Mr. Lauer, the former “Today” host. His accuser, Brooke Nevils, called the response “victim shaming.”

For more than 20 years, Matt Lauer was a star anchor of NBC’s most profitable franchise, “Today.” His downfall came in November 2017 when the network fired him after receiving a complaint of sexual misconduct against him. The accusation was soon followed by others.

Now, the circumstances of that firing have resurfaced in a book by the investigative journalist Ronan Farrow that contains new details from Mr. Lauer’s primary accuser, including her account of a rape. The book, “Catch and Kill,” is expected to be released on Tuesday.

The accuser provided an account of her interactions with Mr. Lauer to The New York Times nearly two years ago, but said she was not willing to go public with her story at the time. On Wednesday, Variety reported that Mr. Farrow had secured an on-the-record interview with the woman, Brooke Nevils, who allowed the author to name her.

Popular priest from the Hudson Valley accused of sex abuse

WESTCHESTER (NY)
News12

October 15, 2019

A popular priest from the Hudson Valley is the latest to be accused of sexual abuse.

Monsignor Edward Weber, who preached at Saint Francis of Assisi in West Nyack, is facing charges for allegedly raping a boy at least 150 times while at a parish in Staten Island in the 1970s and 1980s.

Weber was the pastor in West Nyack between 1994 and 2012. Part of the West Nyack church is even named in his honor – an educational center for kids.

Terri McCullagh says she's known Monsignor Weber for decades. She says he baptized all her three children and remains a close friend.

“I've known him for so long and I just can't see him doing this. He is the most kind, gentle person you could ever meet,” she says.

Lonely voice in Brazilian episcopate speaks against synod document

SÃO PAULO (BRAZIL)
CRUX

October 14, 2019

By Eduardo Campos Lima

In Brazil, most of the criticism directed towards the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon came from the government, not from members of the hierarchy.

Bishop José Luís Azcona is among the minority of Brazilian prelates to raise concerns about the synod, calling the Vatican meeting’s preparatory document “weak and inconsistent.” Still, he has sought to distance his criticism from that of President Jair Bolsonaro, who he said wants to meddle in the Brazilian Church.

In the past few months, the Spanish-born Azcona, bishop emeritus of the Prelature of Marajó - located in the Amazonian State of Pará - has been vocal in his strong criticism of the working document, called the Instrumentum Laboris.

October 15, 2019

Statement from Archdiocese re: Auxiliary Bishop Sheltz

HOUSTON (TX)
Archdiocese of Houston-Galveston

Oct. 10, 2019

In late June, the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston received an allegation of abuse against Most Reverend George A. Sheltz, our Auxiliary Bishop and Chancellor.

The allegation was referred to the Congregation for Bishops in Rome, who in turn referred it to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), which has competency in these matters. The CDF has determined that the allegation against Bishop Sheltz is manifestly unfounded.

The Congregation for Bishops has notified us and this brings the matter to a close and Bishop Sheltz is restored to full public ministry.

We are very grateful Bishop Sheltz is resuming his normal ministry activities effective immediately.

Alleged victim of priest accused of sex crimes tells court massages left him bruised

FRESNO (CA)
Fresno Bee

Oct. 15, 2019

By Robert Rodriguez

A former Anglican priest charged with multiple counts of sexual battery told one of his followers that he was cursed and was going to die unless the alleged victim agreed to one of his special healing massages.

Police say the massage given by Jesus Antonio Castaneda Serna wasn’t special at all, and was just a way for the accused priest to sexually assault his victims, nearly all adult males.

Serna was arrested in February and has pleaded not guilty to 18 counts of felony sexual battery involving 10 members of his former church, Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe church in Fresno.

It’s time to talk about predators in the church

SEARCY (AK)
The Christian Chronicle

October 14, 2019

By Bobby Ross Jr

'Christian Chronicle Live' panel tackles sexual abuse in Churches of Christ.

The predator repented. Or so he claimed.

He’d done his time and confessed his sins. He was a changed man. Or so he told the elders of a congregation willing to forgive.

He was welcomed into the fold. But to protect children, the leaders determined that they couldn’t be too careful.

Church report provides lesson on transparency

OKLAHOMA CITY (OK)
The Oklahoman

October 13, 2019

The Oklahoman Editorial Board

With its approach to determining which of its priests may have committed sexual abuse, the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City impressed even a group that’s been one of the Catholic Church’s most vocal critics throughout the clergy abuse scandal. There's a lesson to be learned here.

Zach Hiner, executive director of Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, said the archdiocese’s report “goes into much greater detail than most other reports commissioned by church officials.”

“Notably, it is one of few that goes into detail about crucial information which church officials often leave off their own reports: when were allegations received, and what actions church officials took in response,” Hiner said.

Ex-Abilene pastor, Christian musician Jeff Berry arrested on child sex crime

ABILENE (TX)
KTXS

October 14, 2019

By Nick Bradshaw

Jeff Berry -- best known in Abilene as the worship leader in the late 90's at Grace Bible Study, a non-denominational bible-study for college students -- was arrested on a child sex crime.

Berry -- who now lives in Franklin, Tennessee -- was arrested around 4:30 p.m. by the Williamson County Sheriff's Office on a sealed indictment out of Taylor County.

He's charged with being a fugitive from justice.

Berry's bond was set at $10 million.

Oklahoma Joe: Church must learn from its mistakes

OKLAHOMA CITY (OK)
The Journal Record

October 14, 2019

By Joe Hight

I’ll never forget attending an Oklahoma City-area Catholic Church in 2002 after the release of the Boston Globe’s “Spotlight” team’s series. The pastor was blaming the media for revealing that priests had and were sexually abusing children.

I was outraged. Credible evidence and interviews with victims had already shown the “pure evil” intentions of the abusers, Walter “Robby” Robinson, editor of the Globe’s investigative team, said during the Oklahoma Pulitzer Centennial in 2016.

At that time in 2002, according to a recently released report from the law firm McAfee & Taft, the Oklahoma City Archdiocese had been actively involved in covering up sexual abusers. Perhaps the same could be said of the Tulsa Diocese.

CA LIFTS STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS ON SEX ABUSE

SACRAMENTO (CA)
ChurchMilitant

October 14, 2019

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

Stephen Brady: 'Los Angeles archdiocese will be one of the biggest hit in the country'

California just became the sixth state to drop its statute of limitations for victims of child sexual abuse.

The law signed on Sunday by California's Gov. Gavin Newsom gives all victims of childhood sexual abuse a three-year period beginning Jan. 1 to file lawsuits. Following that period, the new law will extend the age limit of the victim filing from 26 to 40 and the time limit of when the abuse is discovered to when the case is filed from three to five years.

Church Militant reached out to Stephen Brady, head of watchdog organization Roman Catholic Faithful, on the impact this law will have on the Church in California.

"This situation in California will make New York and other states that passed similar laws look like small-time cases," remarked Brady. He then explained:

Church in Crisis: More names added to clergy sex-abuse list

CHARLOTTE (NC)
WCNC

October 14, 2019

The Catholic Diocese of Charlotte has learned of five more men that are now being investigated had connections to the diocese.

Lehigh County priest removed from ministry following allegations of sexually abusing a minor

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
PhillyVoice

October 14, 2019

By Virginia Streva

The Rev. Robert J. Potts, 82 was the pastor of St. Ursula Church in Fountain Hill

Authorities are investigating allegations that a Lehigh County priest sexually abused a minor.

The Rev. Robert J. Potts, 82, pastor of St. Ursula Church in Fountain Hill, has been removed from ministry services. Potts is accused of sexually abused a child in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Diocese of Allentown announced Sunday.

Potts was the pastor at St. George Parish in Shenandoah during the time of the alleged abuses.

New law opens window for child sex abuse lawsuits in California

SONOMA COUNTY (CA)
The Press Democrat

October 15, 2019

By Mary Callahan

Attorneys who specialize in child sex abuse cases say Sonoma County residents can expect to see a slew of fresh lawsuits against Catholic institutions and others under a new law granting greater leeway to adult victims who want to file claims against their abusers — including a three-year suspension of the statute of limitations beginning Jan. 1.

The floodgates already are opening, with a lawsuit to be filed Tuesday by three former clients of Hanna Boys Center who claim they were abused repeatedly by Father John S. Crews, the facility’s executive director for 29 years until 2013.

“We’re eager to get moving,” said Sacramento attorney Joseph George, who represents the three men and is filing the cases under a provision of the new law that extends the statute of limitations to cases that are pending on Jan. 1. “These guys have been waiting for a long time.”

Priest Accused of Sexual Abuse While Pastor of Church in Shenandoah

SHENANDOAH(PA)
WNEP

October 13, 2019

By WNEP Web Staff and Brit Purdy

A priest in the Diocese of Allentown has been accused of abusing a child years ago while serving at a church in Schuylkill County.

Fr. Robert Potts was currently serving as a priest in Bethlehem, but he's accused of molesting a child while working in Schuylkill County back in the 1980s and 1990s.

Potts, 82, is accused of sexually abusing a child decades ago while serving at the former St. George Parish in Shenandoah.

Four Archdiocese Priests On Leave Amid New Church Sex Abuse Accusations

NEW ROCHELLE (NY)
CBSNewYork/AP

October 14, 2019

As the sun shines down on Holy Rosary Church in Hawthorne, N.Y., a cloud of suspicion hovers over its parish priest and three other priests in the New York archdiocese now facing allegations of abusing children several decades ago.

The four clergy of the Archdiocese Of New York have been accused of abuse with minors, cases not included in the special investigation released two weeks ago.

The men, three pastors and a member of the archdiocese administration office, have been placed on administrative leave.

The accusations include Msgr. Edward Barry of Holy Rosary parish in Hawthorne, Father William Luciano of Blessed Sacrament parish in New Rochelle and Msgr. James White of St. Vito-Most Holy Trinity parish in Mamaroneck. Msgr. Edward Weber, director of the Priest Personnel Office in the archdiocese.

Church volunteer John Chu jailed for raping 14-year-old girl

UNITED KINGDOM
Warrington Guardian

October 15, 2019

By Adam Everett

A PENSIONER who raped a 14-year-old more than three decades ago has been jailed.

John Chu gained the trust of his victim by working alongside her as a volunteer at a Whitecross church in the 1980s before sexually assaulting her in his car and raping her.

Decades later, the 74-year-old was handed nine years behind bars for his sickening abuse.

The Church’s ‘mea culpa’ must be genuine | Aaron Zahra

MALTA
Malta Today

October 14, 2019

by Raphael Vassallo

Rocked by over a decade of child abuse scandals, the Catholic Church is in the process of renewing its structures and policies. Fr Aaron Zahra – abbot of the Dominican Priory in Vittoriosa, and author of a dissertation about sex abuse in Catholic schools – argues that the Church has a lot to learn from its past mistakes

Recently, you wrote an opinion piece criticising the Church for its mishandling of the international child abuse scandals of recent years. How seriously do you think this issue has dented the credibility of the Church, both globally and locally?

Let’s start with this: when it came to cases of abuse of minors by priests and members of religious orders, the Church thought it could grab the bull by the horns by keeping everything behind closed doors because it gave more importance to its own reputation on the outside, than to the good of the victims. The Church’s priority was, so to speak, to sweep everything under the carpet; and to safeguard the reputation of the priesthood, so that the figure of the priest would be kept on a pedestal as ‘a man of God’… as if priests were, by definition, incapable of doing such things.

Meanwhile, as far as the victims were concerned… it was as though the Church used them to glean information about what happened; and then stopped there. Even worse than that, I have heard of many cases where victims were even offered money to keep their mouths shut. Or where perpetrators were transferred to other parishes, where they continued to abuse other victims… It’s a bit like playing chess: you move your pieces around on the board… as if the abuse will stop happening, once the perpetrator is in a different place.

Responses to domestic violence in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

RICHMOND (VA)
The Presbyterian Outlook

October 15, 2019

By Katrina Pekich-Bundy

“Don’t walk alone at night.”

“Always carry pepper spray.”

“Never leave your drink unattended at a party.”

“When walking alone in a parking garage, always put your keys between your fingers.”

Most females have heard these recommendations at some point. They are the sacred conversations that happen from woman to girl — words of wisdom and warning. Grandmothers and mothers continue this oral tradition from generation to generation. The terminology and situation change over time. Now the conversation includes: “Never meet a man you met online in a private place.” The sentiments remain: Stay safe.

Swansea abuse survivor Brett Sengstock said Scott Morrison's support for Brian Houston 'beggars belief'

AUSTRALIA
New Castle Herald

October 15 2019

By Joanne McCarthy

BRETT Sengstock was seven when he was sexually abused by prominent evangelical Christian Frank Houston, and close to death in July last year when the church Houston founded slammed the door on compensation.

"There was no Christ in how they treated me," said Mr Sengstock, 58, about Australian Christian Churches and its most prominent entity, the Hillsong Church led by Frank Houston's son, Brian.

"I think Hillsong is nothing but a business."

Man fights to hold Catholic Church accountable for abuse

NEW ZEALAND
RNZ

October 11, 2019

By Phil Pennington

The dark past of the Dunedin diocese and its clutch of clerical paedophiles** still ensnares Marc. But he means to be free of it.

One drunken night in 2013 in Melbourne, Marc* wrote an email to the Catholic Church in New Zealand. He was drunk a lot back then.

"I could drink half a bottle of vodka right now and probably still have a lucid conversation with you," he said. Not now, now he's dry.

He was a functioning alcoholic back then, but still, he couldn't remember sending the email.

"The first line, and this was five years ago, was, 'If there's ever a Royal Commission in New Zealand, I will come back and give evidence'.

Glenmary releases list of credible claims, hopes it helps bring ‘healing’

CINCINNATI (OH)
Catholic News Service

October 15, 2019

Father Dan Dorsey, president of the Glenmary Home Missioners, said the religious community of priests and brothers “has become painfully aware that in the past we have failed to protect minors and vulnerable adults.”

“We have realized how often our response to victims has been inadequate. We deeply regret these failures,” he said Oct. 11. “We continue to seek your forgiveness for our mistakes. We are committed to healing and justice for all those involved.”

Dorsey made the comments in an open letter released with a list of men credibly abused of sexual abuse. The list is the result of a yearlong forensic review commissioned by Glenmary.

Former Chile nuncio defends himself; topless protesters attack cathedral in Argentina

ROME (ITALY)
Crux

Oct. 15, 2019

By Inés San Martín

A shirtless protest in front of one of the world’s largest cathedrals. A discredited papal representative heading to Portugal from Chile acknowledges failures in responding to allegations of clerical sexual abuse. And as murder rates continue to rise, a Mexican cardinal says that killing cannot be the solution to conflict.

Here’s a roundup of news coming from the Catholic Church in Latin America.

In Argentina, activists again call for burning down churches

A rally happening during Argentina’s annual “National Encounter of Women” on Sunday included a protest against the cathedral of La Plata, the city hosting the event this year.

The rally, organized by Argentina’s leading leftwing party, wasn’t officially supported by the organizers of the women’s event.

As in previous years, participants at the rally threw Molotov cocktails and human excrement on churches.

Jesuit Officials Trying to Force Victims to Reveal Their Names

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

Oct. 15, 2019

In their latest effort to dodge the deluge of lawsuits from survivors of clergy abuse, Jesuit officials are deploying a new tactic that is obviously aimed at scaring victims and witnesses into silence. We hope their tactic is thrown out in court today, and that survivors will be protected as they exercise their legal rights.

The hearing will be held on Tuesday, October 15, 2019, at 3:00 PM EDT, at 111 Centre Street (75 Lafayette Street, between White and Franklin Streets), Courtroom 1127, Judge George Silver presiding.

As lawsuits continue to move forward thanks to New York’s Child Victims Act, church officials from the Jesuit order are demanding that survivors filing lawsuits as Jane or John Doe must instead use their real name publicly.

This is a move designed to be hurtful and scare additional survivors from coming forward. Not every victim is ready to share the details of their abuse with their communities and they should not be prevented from coming forward and filing a lawsuit due to fear of being exposed by the very people who were responsible for the abuse they suffered in the first place.

Rochester diocese pressed on use of donations

ROCHESTER (NY)
Rochester Beacon

Oct. 15, 2019

By Will Astor

Might the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester consider altering a promise made to donors and use some charitable contributions to compensate survivors of sexual abuse suffered at the hands of its priests?

The question, posed by an abuse survivor to Rochester diocese Bishop Salvatore Matano last week, comes as the diocese simultaneously kicks off its annual Catholic Ministries Appeal and begins to thread its way through the Chapter 11 bankruptcy it filed in September.

The diocese did not rush to embrace the suggestion, but also did not definitively turn it down.

The overseer of the Roman Catholic churches in a 12-county region of Upstate New York, the diocese sought court protection from creditors last month, stating that it made the move in anticipation of a flood of sex-abuse claims that could make it liable for as much as a $100 million payout.

Not yet known is the number of claims it will be hit with during a one-year window in which victims of long-buried abuse by priests and other church functionaries can file claims that otherwise would have been barred by a statute of limitations.

So far, the diocese has taken pains to assure donors that their contributions would not be used to satisfy sex-abuse claims.

California sex abuse law likely to spur thousands of claims

SACRAMENTO (CA)
The Associated Press

October 14, 2019

By Don Thompson

Thousands of lawsuits will be filed against alleged child molesters as well as the institutions that employed them under a new California law taking effect next year, attorneys predicted Monday.

The California School Boards Association called the new law an "existential threat" to smaller school districts. Attorneys said the Roman Catholic Church, Boy Scouts of America and other institutions will also face a flood of lawsuits that could force bankruptcies.

They are newly possible because the law that Gov. Gavin Newsom approved on Sunday gives victims of childhood sexual abuse until age 40, up from age 26, to file lawsuits. It also gives victims of all ages three years to sue, starting Jan. 1.

New CA law allows survivors of child sexual assault more time to come forward

CALIFORNIA
KSBY

October 14, 2019

By Melissa Newman

Victims of child sex abuse have more time to seek justice as part of a new bill AB 218, signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom Sunday.

The bill changes the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit against an alleged abuser, allowing people who are up to 40 years old to file suits and provides a three-year window for survivors to file a lawsuit, regardless of when the abuse occurred and regardless of their current age.

San Luis Obispo attorney Taylor Ernst says the previous laws forced them to turn some people away.

Child Sex Abuse Law Signed by Gov. Newsom Likely to Spur Thousands of Claims Against Accused Molesters, Institutions

CALIFORNIA
Associated Press

October 14, 2019

Thousands of lawsuits will be filed against alleged child molesters as well as the institutions that employed them under a new California law taking effect next year, attorneys predicted Monday.

The California School Boards Association called the new law an “existential threat” to smaller school districts. Attorneys said the Roman Catholic Church, Boy Scouts of America and other institutions will also face a flood of lawsuits that could force bankruptcies.

New California Law Gives Child Sex Assault Victims More Time to File Suit

CALIFORNIA
The Epoch Times

October 14, 2019

By Bowen Xiao

The state of California is giving childhood victims of sexual abuse more time to decide if they want to file lawsuits, the latest in a growing trend among states to loosen statute of limitation laws in the United States.

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the law into effect on Oct. 13 to give childhood sexual abuse victims until the age of 40, or five years from the discovery of the abuse, to file civil lawsuits. Previously, the limit was at 27 years old, or within three years of the discovery of the abuse.

The new law also entirely suspends the statute of limitations for three years, beginning from January 2020, allowing victims of any age the ability to bring lawsuits if they wish.

A statute of limitations blocks prosecutors from having the power to charge someone once a certain number of years have passed since a crime was committed.

Fourth Allegation Made Against Former Bishop Hubbard

ALBANY (NY)
Spectrum News

October 14, 2019

A fourth allegation has been made against former Albany Bishop Howard Hubbard.

A lawsuit filed under the umbrella of the Child Victims Act in Albany County Supreme Court on Friday also contained allegations against Gerald Kampfer, a former pastor.

The alleged abuse is said to have happened at St. John the Baptist between 1988 and 1990.

While the lawsuit does not go into specifics, the filing claims the church received a number of complaints against Hubbard and Kampfer — saying policies didn’t protect children.

Here’s why N.J. may be hit with more Boy Scout sex abuse lawsuits than any other state

NEW JERSEY
NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

October 13, 2019

By Kelly Heyboer

Scott remembers he wasn’t feeling well when his mother dropped him off for his first camping trip with his Boy Scout troop back in the early 1960s.

But Scott, then 12, didn’t want a routine childhood illness to keep him from hiking in a beautiful canyon near Amarillo, Texas, and sleeping beneath the stars. One of his troop leaders assured his mother he would keep a close watch on him and have the boy share his tent, Scott recalls.

“That was the first night I was basically attacked and sexually abused,” said Scott, now 69, who asked that his last name not be used.

He says the sexual abuse that began in the tent that night continued for more than a year as he was abused by two Boy Scout leaders until he finally quit the group and moved away. Scared and confused, he says he never reported the alleged abuse.

October 14, 2019

Did Stolen Pope Charity Cash Fund Priest Party Pads?

ROME (ITALY)
Daily Beast

Oct. 15, 2019

By Barbie Latza Nadeau

A few hours before Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with his Vatican counterpart Pietro Parolin in Rome in early October, the Swiss Guard gendarmes raided a key office in Parolin’s department.

They were acting on orders from “up high,” and cleaned out the offices of the Holy See’s Financial Information Authority (AIF), which is essentially meant to be the watchdog agency set up to keep an eye out for any illicit activities at the Vatican Bank, which has been embroiled in dozens of scandals over the years. The gendarmes carted away computers, documents, and as many secret hard drives as they could find. Then they left and sealed the office.

The investigators were looking into what may seem like just the latest scandal within the Vatican’s beleaguered financial system. But this time it touched Pope Francis personally with allegations that money meant for his beloved charities for the poor was actually going into pricey London property and seedy apartments alleged to be used for sinful activities.

Five people, including AIF director Tommaso Di Ruzza, were banned from entering the Vatican’s fortified walls while the investigation tied to the raid was carried out. A wanted poster—featuring photos of the five people who worked in the office and meant for Swiss Guards’ eyes only to know who not to let in—was inevitably leaked to the press.

Pope Francis, to put it mildly, was pissed off that the wanted poster was leaked and the reputations of those on it—who may not be guilty of anything—sullied. A Vatican statement condemned the outing of those on the wanted poster as “prejudicial to the dignity of the people involved.” The pope turned to his security chief Domenico Giani to find out exactly who leaked the photo. On Monday, his detective work still fruitless, Giani resigned.

In his official letter of explanation, he blamed his inability to smoke out whoever leaked the photos. “I felt shame for what happened and for the suffering of these people,” he wrote, according to the letter sent to Vatican accredited journalists. “Having always said I was ready to sacrifice my life to defend the Pope’s, in the same spirit I made the decision to resign.”

Retired Diocese Of Greensburg Priest Accused Of Sexually Abusing A Minor Dies

GREENSBURG (PA)
KDKA TV

Oct. 14, 2019

A retired priest from the Diocese of Greensburg who was placed on administrative leave after credible allegations of sexual abuse of a minor has died.

Michael W. Matusak, who retired in July after he was placed on administrative leave due to accusations of sexually abusing a minor, died at age 69 at the diocese’s residence for retired priests.

The Diocese of Greensburg says law enforcement did not make the results of their investigation known to them at the time of Matusak’s death.

McCaffrey: To the finish, we’ve kept the faith

FRAMINGHAM (MA)
MetroWest Daily News

Oct. 13, 2019

By Arthur McCaffrey

This fall marks the 15th anniversary of the start of the grassroots Parish Vigil Resistance Movement (PVRM) which began in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston (RCAB) during September-October in 2004. This Occupy movement — unique in the 200 year history of the archdiocese — saw parishes organize 24/7 vigils inside their churches to protest Archbishop O’Malley’s plans to close over 80 diocesan parishes in 2004. While the newly arrived bishop claimed he was only responding to changing demographics in his diocese, we knew better.

After the mess left behind by his fugitive predecessor, Cardinal Law, who escaped to Rome, O’Malley was faced with a very large bill for paying financial settlements to abuse victims. So he targeted for closure a broad swathe of both weak and strong parishes as revenue generators, like my own in Wellesley, St. James the Great, which was both financially and religiously viable, with a strong, vibrant congregation, including young families with children in CCD classes, and money in the bank— not to mention eight very attractive acres along Rte. 9.

O’Malley sent out his dreaded Fedex letters in the summer of 2004, notifying which parishes were getting the axe. In response, 24 parishes grouped together to challenge O’Malley’s decision, using legitimate canon law appeals to both the archdiocese and the Vatican. In an act of spontaneous combustion, about a dozen of us went one step further by going into full-time vigil to prevent a lockout in our parish churches.

Msgr. William Williams, former vicar of Ulster County, dies at 85; was cleared of sexual abuse charge in May

KINGSTON (NY)
Daily Freeman

Oct. 14, 2019

By Patricia R. Doxsey

Msgr. William Williams, a former vicar of Ulster County, has died five months after being cleared by a Vatican-authorized tribunal of sexually abusing a child.

Williams was 85 when he died at the Ten Broeck Commons nursing home in Lake Katrine on Oct. 9, according to his obituary.

Williams' name appeared on an April 26, 2019, list released by the Archdiocese of New York that contained the names of 120 priests who had been "credibly accused" of sexual abuse. Williams was among 12 priests in the Mid-Hudson Valley who appeared on the list.

Wannabe Catholic priests can expect interrogations about porn, psych evaluations and abuse prevention training

DENVER (CO)
Colorado Sun

Oct. 14, 2019

Jennifer Brown

Investigators examining decades of child sexual abuse by Colorado priests are expected to release their report within weeks. The reckoning is due, say Catholic leaders, but the public account will sting as it brings a fresh round of damage to the church.

“Our psyche at large as a church, as the body of Christ, has just taken so many strikes to the same wound, that just becomes a traumatic experience,” said Father Ryan O’Neill of the Archdiocese of Denver. “Is this stabbing of the same wound over and over again going to hamper the church’s ability to move forward? That’s what trauma does. It makes you turn on yourself.”

Bracing for the report’s release, church leaders detailed the changes in policy over the years intended to prevent abusers from entering the priesthood. They include psychological evaluations of men who want to become priests, including probing questions about pornography, sexual urges, homosexuality and narcissism.

Crooks, Quacks, Kooks, Creeps and Cruds in the Clergy

Patheos blog

Oct. 14, 2019

By James Haught

[Editor’s Note: For readers who hail from my home state, today’s post is relevant since New York’s Child Victims Act recently took effect. This law opens a one-year window for victims of child sexual abuse, who were previously shut out by the statute of limitations, to file civil lawsuits against their abusers and the churches and other organizations that sheltered them. As with other issues, statute-of-limitations reform was blocked for years by Republicans (who were doing the bidding of the Catholic church’s lobbyists), and was swiftly passed when Democrats took control of the state senate. —Adam]

“Give me that old-time religion…”

Pentecostal evangelist Mario Leyva of Columbus, Ga., sodomized more than 100 church boys. He was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison in 1989. Two assistant pastors got 15 and 12 years for transporting the boys state-to-state for orgies.

“Give me that old-time religion…”

The Rev. Roy Yanke of Beverly Hills, Mich., pleaded guilty in 1991 to robbing 14 banks of $47,000 to pay for his daily use of prostitutes. He got seven years in prison.

“Give me that old-time religion…”

Some 400 U.S. Catholic priests have been charged with child molestation in the past decade, and the church has paid an estimated $400 million in damages and costs. One priest, James Porter, is accused of abusing perhaps 100 victims in three states — including a boy in a full body cast who couldn’t move to resist.

“It’s good enough for me….”

Born-again con-artist Michael Douglas of Antioch, Ill., who specialized in investments for wealthy fundamentalists, got a 12-year sentence in 1991 for swindling 131 people out of $31 million.

“It was good for Paul and Silas…”

Army chaplain aide Steven Ritchie of Fort Lewis, Wash., was sentenced to 26 years in prison in 1990 for raping a six-week-old baby girl.

SNAP Applauds as California Governor Signs SOL Reform into Law

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

Oct. 13, 2019

We applaud lawmakers in California, especially Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez for introducing this important reform bill and Governor Gavin Newsom for signing it into law yesterday. Californians can be proud of their leadership on this issue.

With AB 218 signed into law, California is now the latest state to pass sweeping reform to their civil statute of limitations for survivors of child sexual abuse. These changes come as more states around the country are amending their laws to reflect the realities of sexual violence: the average age of a survivor coming forward is 52, and by the time most feel comfortable to come forward, they are barred by the statute of limitations.

Fortunately, for the next three years that is no longer the case for victims in California.

By opening a “window to justice” and allowing survivors whose cases were previously barred by SOL to be heard in court, important information can be exposed that can help create safer, more informed communities. We hope that other legislators around the country will look to California as an example as they begin to take up SOL reform in their own states.

Jesuit Officials Deploy Obvious Intimidation Tactic in their Attempts to Defeat Lawsuits for Clergy Abuse

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

Oct. 14, 2019

In their latest effort to dodge the deluge of lawsuits from survivors of clergy abuse, Jesuit officials are deploying a new tactic that is obviously aimed at scaring victims and witnesses into silence. We hope their tactic is thrown out in court and that survivors will be protected as they exercise their legal rights.

As lawsuits continue to move forward thanks to New York’s Child Victims Act, church officials from the Jesuit order are demanding that survivors filing lawsuits as Jane or John Doe must instead use their real name publicly.

This is a move designed to be hurtful and scare additional survivors from coming forward. Not every victim is ready to share the details of their abuse with their communities and they should not be prevented from coming forward and filing a lawsuit due to fear of being exposed by the very people who were responsible for the abuse they suffered in the first place.

Church officials have long hidden the name of abusive clerics from public view. In fact, only in the past several months have Jesuit leaders started to post the names of abusers publicly. To us, this move seems to me like a spiteful reaction to having their own veil of secrecy pulled back and seeing their crimes exposed.

Director: Victims call new film on abuse ‘the French Spotlight

DENVER (CO)
Catholic New Service via Crux

October 13, 2019

By Mark Pattison

Anybody who sees “By the Grace of God,” a new French-language film that details a true-to-life French clerical sex abuse scandal, may be struck by similarities to the U.S. drama “Spotlight,” which dealt with the abuse scandal that erupted in Boston in 2002.

“The two films are complementary,” said Francois Ozon, director of “By the Grace of God.” “In ‘Spotlight,’ the story is told from the point of view of the journalists. In my film, it’s from the point of view of the survivors.”

He added, “When I met the victims, I was very touched. And they all talked to me about ‘Spotlight.’ It was, of course, a big success. I understood, they trusted me, and they told me their story. In a certain way, they wanted me to do the French ‘Spotlight,’ because they knew ‘Spotlight’ won an Oscar (Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay) and was a big movie in America. And they were right.”

Law gives child sex assault victims more time to file suits

SACRAMENTO (CA)
Associated Press via ABC News

October 13, 2019

By Adam Beam

California is giving childhood victims of sexual abuse more time to decide whether to file lawsuits, joining several states in expanding the statute of limitations for victims over warnings from school districts that the new rules could bankrupt them.

The law signed Sunday by Gov. Gavin Newsom gives victims of childhood sexual abuse until age 40, or five years from discovery of the abuse, to file civil lawsuits. The previous limit had been 26, or within three years from discovery of the abuse.

It also suspends the statute of limitations for three years — beginning Jan. 1 — giving victims of all ages time to bring lawsuits if they wish.

"The idea that someone who is assaulted as a child can actually run out of time to report that abuse is outrageous," said Democratic Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, the author of the bill.

California is at least the third state this year to take this step. Earlier this year, New York and New Jersey raised their statutes of limitations to age 55. New York also suspended its statute of limitations for one year, leading to hundreds of lawsuits against hospitals, schools, the Roman Catholic Church and the late financier Jeffrey Epstein.

California grants more time for filing child sexual abuse allegations under new law

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Los Angeles Times

October 13, 2019

By Patrick McGreevy

Sacramento - Victims of childhood sexual abuse will have more time to report allegations and file a lawsuit under a California law signed Sunday by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

The legislation was introduced following widespread allegations of abuse of minors by Catholic priests as well as the 2018 conviction of Larry Nassar, a former U.S. Olympic gymnastics team doctor, for molesting young athletes.

“The idea that someone who is assaulted as a child can actually run out of time to report that abuse is outrageous,” said Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), the bill’s author. “More and more, we’re hearing about people who were victims years ago but were not ready to come forward to tell their story until now.”

Allentown Diocese taps little of its $300 million in Lehigh Valley real estate to compensate abuse victims

ALLENTOWN (PA)
Morning Call

October 13, 2019

By Emily Opilo

[Includes list of properties and photographs.]

Five months ago, the Allentown Diocese opened a window for people who were abused by priests to apply for a payout from the church.

To the hundred or so people who already had reported abuse, the diocese sent information about applying for compensation. To those who had kept silent, they extended an invitation. On Sept. 30, the window closed, capping the amount of money the diocese will be offering victims.

Diocesan officials see the fund as a step toward righting some of the wrongs documented by an explosive grand jury report in 2018, which named dozens of Allentown Diocese priests among the 301 accused of abusing about a thousand children across Pennsylvania.

The payouts will also cause “severe financial stress," the diocese cautioned in December, four months before it opened the fund to claims. It said then that it would tap available cash, borrow money and sell assets “to the extent possible” to cover the fund, noting no money would be taken from parishes.

But public records show the diocese has left one of its largest collective assets — more than $323 million of property it controls in Lehigh and Northampton counties — largely intact.

Diocese Disputes Main Premise of Morning Call Articles

ALLENTOWN (PA)
Diocese of Allentown

October 13, 2019

For three straight days this week, The Morning Call newspaper has published articles claiming that the Diocese of Allentown has $323 million in property in the Lehigh Valley.

That is wrong.

For three straight days, the implication of these website articles has been that the Diocese could have sold this property to raise cash, but has chosen not to.

That also is wrong.

In one article, there is a list of “Highest-value Allentown Diocese parcels.” Most of them are thriving parishes like St. Thomas More, St. Joseph the Worker and St. Catharine of Siena. Others are thriving high schools like Allentown Central Catholic, Bethlehem Catholic and Notre Dame. The implication? These are properties owned by the Diocese, and they could be sold.

Wrong again.

Priest removed from ministry during investigation

ALLENTOWN (PA)
Diocese of Allentown

October 13, 2019

[Includes assignment history.]

Father Robert J. Potts, pastor of St. Ursula Church, Fountain Hill (Bethlehem), has been removed from ministry pending investigation of an allegation that he sexually abused a minor in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

The allegation was made recently to the administrators of the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program, who then notified the Diocese. The Diocese had no prior knowledge of the allegation until being notified by program administrators. The program was established by the Diocese to provide compensation to abuse victims as one part of their healing.

On the day he was notified of the allegation, Bishop Alfred Schlert immediately removed Father Potts from ministry and immediately directed that law enforcement be notified.

The removal of Father Potts from ministry at this time is not a determination of guilt, but rather a precautionary measure until the appropriate investigations are completed.

The abuse allegedly occurred when Father Potts, now 82, was pastor of the former St. George Parish, Shenandoah. He was ordained in March 1964.

Allentown Diocese removes priest over sex abuse allegation

ALLENTOWN (PA)
Morning Call

October 13, 2019

By Nicole Radzievich

The Rev. Robert J. Potts, seen in this 1999 photo, has been removed from ministry pending investigation of an allegation that he sexually abused a minor in the late 1980s and early 1990s, according to the Allentown Catholic Diocese.

The Rev. Robert J. Potts, pastor of St. Ursula Church in Fountain Hill, has been removed from ministry pending the investigation of an allegation that he sexually abused a minor in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Allentown Diocese said Sunday.

The allegation was made recently to the administrators of the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program, and they notified the diocese the week of Sept. 24. Bishop Alfred Schlert immediately removed Potts from the ministry and notified law enforcement, a news release said.

The release said Potts’ removal is a precautionary measure until the investigation is completed and not a determination of guilt.

Parishioners of St. Ursula were informed of the allegation at all Masses this weekend. The diocese’s announcement was done in consultation with the district attorney’s office in Schuylkill County, where the alleged abuse occurred.

Pennsylvania Priest Accused of Sexually Abusing Minor

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
WCAU NBC 10

October 13, 2019

By David Chang

A Pennsylvania priest was removed from the ministry after being accused of sexually abusing a minor.

Father Robert J. Potts, the pastor of St. Ursula Church, Fountain Hill in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, is accused of sexually abusing a minor in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Potts, 82, allegedly abused the victim while he was pastor of the former St. George Parish, Shenandoah.

The accusation was made recently to the administrators of the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program who then notified the Diocese of Allentown. The program was established by the Diocese to provide compensation for abuse victims.

Letter to the Editor: Statute of limitations needs to be reevaluated

HARTFORD (CT)
Hartford Courant

October 13, 2019

By Thomas F. Morrissey, Jr.

I read with interest the in-depth reporting by Daniela Altimari [Oct. 6, Politics, “After scathing report on sex abuse by clergy in Bridgeport Diocese, victims press for changes to Connecticut’s statute of limitations law”]

I retired as a New Haven detective with 27 years of service, half as the department’s community youth coordinator. Sexual abuse of an innocent child by criminals within the Catholic Church and wherever else causes permanent damage to the victims, thus the Connecticut state statute of limitations that protects these perpetrators must be eliminated now.

State Sen. Mae Flexer is correct in stating that such legislation “was thwarted by the Catholic Church’s lobbying effort.” State Sen. Martin Looney is President Pro Tempore of the Connecticut Senate; his influence is enormous. Everyone who cares about this matter should contact him and ask that he commit to advocating the abolishment of this cruel and unjust obstacle.

Thomas F. Morrissey, Jr., Cheshire

Statement in light of the most recent court filing under the Child Victims Act

ALBANY (NY)
Times Union

October 13, 2019

By Bishop Emeritus Howard J. Hubbard

The most recent court filing names me as a known sexual abuser dating back to the beginning of my episcopate in 1977.

The first allegation of such misconduct was in 2004. This complaint was thoroughly investigated by Mary Jo White, the former attorney of the Southern District of New York who prosecuted John Gotti and the terrorists at the World Trade Center. She investigated my entire life going back to grammar school years till 2004. She interviewed over 300 people, offered a toll free hot line to receive any complaints of misbehavior on my part, reviewed my medical and financial records and had me take a polygraph test administered by a former FBI specialist in this regard. Ms. White included that there was no evidence I ever abused anyone sexually and stated that any further allegations should be reviewed with the greatest skepticism.

Fourth lawsuit alleges sexual abuse by former bishop

ALBANY (NY)
Times Union

October 13, 2019

By Cayla Harris

Complaint accuses Hubbard, another priest of abusing a young boy in the late '80s

A lawsuit filed in state Supreme Court in Albany on Friday is the fourth civil action to accuse former Albany Bishop Howard Hubbard of child sex abuse.

The complaint, which does not include specific details, alleges that Hubbard and a second priest — now deceased — abused a child in the late 1980s while the plaintiff served as an altar boy at St. John the Baptist church in Chestertown.

Hubbard, who retired in 2014 after nearly four decades at the helm of the diocese, said in a statement Sunday that he "adamantly" denies any accusations of child sex abuse lodged against him.

Peter Saghir, the plaintiff's attorney, said the alleged abuse involving Hubbard was a one-time incident that occurred when the boy was roughly nine or 10 years old and visited the home of the second priest, Gerald Kampfer.

*

The first claim against Hubbard, filed in August, alleged that the former bishop abused a teenage boy in the 1990s. A second filed the next month accused him and two other Capital Region priests — Francis P. Melfe and Albert DelVecchio, both now deceased — of repeatedly assaulting a teenage girl in the late 1970s at a now-shuttered church in Schenectady.

A third filed earlier this month claimed that Hubbard and a second priest abused a teenage boy at a Troy church in the 1970s. The second priest is identified in the complaint as "Joseph Mato," but the Times Union could not confirm if a priest by that name served at the church. A deceased priest with a similar name was employed by the diocese during that time.

Sex abuse lawsuit alleges fraud and conspiracy by Bishop McCort High School & Diocese

JOHNSTOWN (PA)
WJAC

October 11, 2019

By Crispin Havener

A new civil lawsuit filed Thursday alleges fraud and conspiracy against Bishop McCort Catholic High School, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown and the Franciscan Friars of the Third Order Regular, over allegations of sexual abuse made by a former student who attended the school from 2000 to 2002.

The plaintiff, listed in the complaint as "A.L.", said the abuse by an unnamed "priest and athletic trainer" employed by the school in Johnstown, the diocese, and the Third Order Regular Friars, started after the student suffered an injury during a freshman day camp. The athletic trainer, according to the complaint, rubbed the plaintiff's leg under the guise of treatment but proceeded to assault the student.

Other abuses are alleged in the complaint to have happened over the two year period, including in a bathroom at the Visitation Church near the school. The plaintiff said other students mentioned getting "rub downs" from the "John Doe" athletic trainer.

The victim, who is older than 30 and has aged out of the statute of limitations for civil suits, is filing suit claiming allegations of abuse by others were not known to him until the 2016 grand jury report into the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown came out. This summer, a state Superior Court panel reinstated Renee Rice's lawsuit alleging the diocese and two bishops illegally tried to cover up her abuse to protect their reputations and that of the parish priest she claims abused her, which she did not know about until the report came out.

October 13, 2019

Valley priest sues accusers, Diocese

WARREN (OH)
Tribune Chronicle

October 12, 2019

By Ed Runyan

Suit calls claims false and defamatory

Youngstown - Father Denis G. Bouchard, who was placed on administrative leave in November after the Catholic Diocese of Youngstown received an allegation that he engaged in inappropriate behavior with a minor, has filed a libel and slander suit against the accuser, his mother and the diocese.

The lawsuit, filed late last month in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court, names the alleged victim, who lives in Chardon, his mother, who lives in Orwell, and the diocese as defendants.

It says the allegations are false and defamatory.

Monsignor John Zuraw, chancellor of the Diocese of Youngstown, when asked about the lawsuit, said, “Because there is a civil suit that is active, we cannot make any comment because of the legal ramifications.”

Retired Youngstown police Sgt. Delphine Baldwin-Casey, diocese victim assistance coordinator, said in November the purported victim was a minor at the time of the alleged incidents but is now an adult.

The Diocese said in November its Diocesan Review Board had recommended to Youngstown Bishop George V. Murry that further investigation be done to determine the credibility of the allegations against Bouchard, who was pastor of Queen of the Holy Rosary Parish on Scoville Drive in Vienna.

Resignation of Auxiliary Bishop Jenik Accepted

NEW YORK (NY)
Catholic New York

October 11, 2019

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Auxiliary Bishop John J. Jenik, who is 75, the age at which canon law requires bishops turn in their resignation to the pope.

Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States, made the announcement Oct. 10 in Washington, D.C.

In October 2018, Bishop Jenik was removed from public ministry pending a Vatican review of a decades-old accusation of sexual abuse made against him, a claim he denies.

He stepped down as pastor of Our Lady of Refuge parish in the Bronx, where he had been pastor since 1985.

He has been an auxiliary bishop since 2014.

Insurance firm sues Buffalo Diocese to avoid paying for sex abuse claims

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

October 10, 2019

By Jay Tokasz

A Chicago-based insurance company has launched an opening salvo in what are expected to be bruising legal battles between the Buffalo Diocese and its insurers over payouts on clergy sex abuse claims under the Child Victims Act and the legal costs of defending the diocese against the claims.

Continental Insurance Company is arguing in court papers that insurance policies it may have issued to the diocese more than 40 years ago don’t apply to childhood sex abuse lawsuits being filed now against the diocese.

Potentially millions of dollars in legal costs and sex abuse claims are at stake in the case.

Continental urged the court to rule that the company was not obligated to pay for sex abuse claims or for the diocese’s legal costs in defending itself against the claims. The insurer also argued that it wasn’t obligated to provide funds to help offset the expenses of the diocese’s voluntary compensation program, which already paid $17.5 million to 106 abuse victims.

Vatican Expert Looks to Calm Parishioner Fears Amid Diocese of Buffalo Probe

BUFFALO (NY)
Spectrum News

October 8, 2019

By Mark Goshgarian

After months of parishioners voicing mistrust toward the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo over the handling of the clergy abuse crisis, Pope Francis has sent Bishop of Brooklyn Nicholas DiMarzio to Buffalo.

"It's the pope saying, ‘I hear you.’ The alarm over Buffalo is so significant to have risen at that top most level," said Rocco Palmo, Vatican expert.

The Diocese is the third placed under a visitation since the pontiff became leader of the Church in 2013.

"This visitation has come from the highest level of the Catholic Church. This is the equivalent in the Catholic Church of either an FBI investigation or a grand jury. It's kind of like, in a way, being charged with a crime, and kind of hanging in that limbo," said Palmo.

Palmo has known DiMarzio for 20 years, and says the Bishop's fact-finding mission will be handled quickly and responsibly.

"And they're sending in someone again with the universal reputation for being tough. Anyone who calls this guy soft has no idea who they're dealing with," said Palmo.

DiMarzio is expected to interview stakeholders, evaluate Bishop Richard Malone's handling of clergy cases, review files and documents, as well as more than 200 Child Victims Act lawsuits.

Pope names new apostolic nuncio to Chile

KANSAS CITY (MO)
Catholic News Service via National Catholic Reporter

October 7, 2019

By Junno Arocho Esteves

Vatican City - Pope Francis named Spanish Archbishop Alberto Ortega Martin as the new apostolic nuncio to Chile, the Vatican announced.

Ortega, 56, served as nuncio to Jordan and Iraq prior to his appointment to the South American country, the Vatican said Oct. 7.

Ordained to the priesthood in 1990, Ortega entered the Vatican diplomatic service in 1997, serving in posts in Nicaragua, South Africa and Lebanon. He was ordained a bishop in 2015.

His appointment comes at a time when the Catholic Church in Chile is under continuous scrutiny over its handling of cases involving the abuse of minors and vulnerable adults.

Ortega's predecessor, Italian Archbishop Ivo Scapolo, whom Francis transferred to Portugal in late August, often was criticized by survivors for his alleged inaction and complicity in covering up cases of abuse.

Cardinal Sarah: To oppose the Pope is to be outside the Church

LONDON (ENGLAND)
Catholic Herald

October 9, 2019

By Cindy Wooden

The cardinal said accusations that he is against Pope Francis are 'diabolical'

Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, said the people who portray him as an opponent of Pope Francis are being used by the devil to help divide the Church.

“The truth is that the Church is represented on earth by the vicar of Christ, that is by the Pope. And whoever is against the Pope is, ipso facto, outside the Church,” the cardinal said in an interview published on October 7 in Corriere della Sera, an Italian daily.

*
The Corriere piece was published to coincide with the release of a new book-length interview with Cardinal Sarah, “The Day is Now Far Spent.” The English edition was released on September 22 by Ignatius Press in the United States.

*
“I would add that every Pope is right for his time,” the cardinal said. “Providence looks after us very well, you know.”

However, Cardinal Sarah’s new book is filled with warnings about how a lack of faith, trust in God and adherence to tradition is threatening the Catholic Church, particularly in Europe and the wealthy West. But he especially focuses on clerical sexual abuse and how that has meant “the mystery of betrayal oozes from the walls of the Church.”

Still, in the chapter, “The Crisis of the Church,” the book includes the cardinal saying, “I would like to remind everyone about Jesus’ words to St Peter, ‘You are Peter and on this rock I will build my church’ (Mt 16:18). We have the assurance that this saying of Jesus is realized in what we call the infallibility of the Church. The spouse of Christ, headed by the successor of Peter, can live through crises and storms.”

Papal visit organiser to become Scouting Ireland chief executive

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
Irish Times

October 11, 2019

By Jack Power

Youth organisation has been embroiled in a a historic sex abuse scandal in recent times

A woman involved in the management of last year’s papal visit to Ireland is to become the chief executive of Scouting Ireland.

Anne Griffin is to take over as head of the youth organisation from Dr John Lawlor in January, and will be the first woman to hold the role in the organisation’s history.

Ms Griffin was the general manager of the World Meeting of Families, a major religious gathering which saw Pope Francis deliver a Mass in Dublin’s Phoenix Park in August of last year.

She was also the general manager of the 50th International Eucharistic Congress, another major international Catholic Church event, which was held in Dublin in 2012.

She was also employed as a consultant advise on the running of the 2015 and 2020 congresses.

Dr Lawlor has been chief executive of Scouting Ireland since 2012, and previously held several national volunteer roles in the youth organisation, which has more than 50,000 members.

Scouting Ireland has been at the centre of controversy over the last two years, following several governance and child protection scandals which were revealed by The Irish Times.

François Ozon on dramatising the biggest abuse scandal to hit the French Catholic church

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Guardian

October 13, 2019

By Kim Willsher

[With English-subtitled trailer.]

The director’s new film, By the Grace of God, retells the story of a paedophile priest. Ozon reveals how the victims’ stories unlocked his own painful memory

For most film directors, the nail-biting action unfolds on screen. Not, however, for François Ozon. The theatrics over his latest film played out in the French courts as he fought a last-minute attempt to stop it being released and found himself at the centre of a legal and national controversy. Today, Ozon can almost but not quite laugh about his starring role in the off-screen drama that earlier this year came perilously close to having his €5.9m (£5.2m) film By the Grace of God – the story of a real-life scandal involving a paedophile priest – canned.

“I suppose I was naive to think there wouldn’t be attempts to stop it coming out,” he says. “There was huge tension over the court case and we really didn’t know if the film could be released. The judgment was on the Tuesday; the film was due out on the Wednesday. We only knew the decision the night before.

“There were two court cases, but each time there has been legal action the judges have found in our favour. Fortunately.”

Even for Ozon, who is known for zigzagging across cinematic genres – farce, horror, comedy, psychosexual – By the Grace of God is a departure from style, a dramatised retelling of the story of the victims of Bernard Preynat, a former Catholic priest in the city of Lyon who is believed to have abused 70 children over three decades.

Colorado attorney general announces new settlement fund for victims of Catholic priest abuse

DENVER (CO)
Colorado Sun

October 7, 2019

By Jennifer Brown

The announcement comes ahead of the release of an investigative report into abuses by priests going back decades

Victims of sexual abuse by Colorado priests can now apply for financial reparations from a settlement fund announced Monday, part of a healing process after years of scandal in the Catholic Church.

Those who have already come forward will receive packets with instructions on how to apply for compensation — 65 packets were going out Monday to alleged victims already known to the church. Those who have yet to come forward must register by Nov. 30 for an eligibility review, no matter how long ago the abuse occurred.

The fund, officially called the Colorado Independent Reconciliation and Reparations Program, was a joint project by the state attorney general’s office and the Catholic Church. It is independent of church control. Two nationally known victims’ fund administrators will administer the program, with oversight from a committee headed by former U.S. Sen. Hank Brown.

Possibility of women deacons proposed on day three of the Amazon Synod

NEW YORK (NY)
America Magazine

October 9, 2019

By Luke Hansen, S.J.

Most bishops who lead dioceses in the Amazon support the ordination of married men of proven virtue, or viri probati, as a way of addressing the lack of priests in the region, said the retired Bishop Erwin Kräutler of Xingu, Brazil, speaking to journalists after a Vatican press briefing on Oct. 9. “I guess that [of] the bishops who are in the Amazon region, two-thirds are in favor of the viri probati,” he said.

At the briefing, Paolo Ruffini, the prefect of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Communication, said that synod members have described the uniqueness of the Amazon region, which has “dioceses as big as nations.” He added, “Viri probati does not mean changing the law of celibacy in the church” but, “depending on the discernment” that takes place in the synod, “this law, like all human laws, can have exceptions in concrete cases.”

On this point, Bishop Kräutler said there are thousands of indigenous communities in the Amazon that “do not celebrate the Eucharist except perhaps one, two or three times a year.”

“The Eucharist, for us Catholics, is the source and summit of our faith,” the bishop continued. “For the love of God, these people don’t have it!” The bishops in favor of ordaining married men, he said, “are not against celibacy. We just want these brothers and sisters of ours not to have just a celebration of the word but also the celebration of the Eucharist.”

Several speakers at the synod have also proposed the ordination of women to the permanent diaconate.

‘Marching to hell’: Why young men are still choosing to become Catholic priests

SYDNEY (AUSTRALIA)
news.com.au

October 13, 2019

By Gary Nunn

https://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/real-life/news-life/marching-to-hell-why-young-men-are-still-choosing-to-become-catholic-priests/news-story/6a3ec306353091c2994d2de09181e968

They’re in their sexual prime — but these men and others like them are flocking to a career that demands they swear off sex for life.

Why are young men still choosing to become Catholic priests? It’s a fair enough question to ask any trainee priest in the current Australian climate: who, today, is choosing to devote their entire lives to the Catholic Church?

In the context of George Pell’s imprisonment, the Catholic Church having the most cases in the Royal Commission into child sexual abuse, stories of paedophile priests moved from parish to parish and plummeting church attendance, few would dispute that the once juggernaut institution is in crisis.

The answer, then, might surprise you.

I was given rare access within the Catholic Church’s notoriously tight PR machine to three young trainee priests all based within Australia’s largest seminary: Melbourne’s Corpus Christi College — where Pell himself studied and the heartland of a network of paedophile priests who operated there in the 1970s.

I ask what motivated them to give their lives over to an institution facing such momentous challenges.

Brooklyn’s Bishop DiMarzio begins visitation of scandal-hit Buffalo diocese

DENVER (CO)
Catholic News Agency

October 10, 2019

Buffalo, N.Y. - Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn has begun his apostolic visitation of the scandal-hit Diocese of Buffalo.

A statement released by the Diocese of Brooklyn Thursday said that DiMarzio had traveled to the diocese of Bishop Richard Malone and interviewed more than 30 people earlier this week.

“The Bishop takes his role as Visitator seriously and is determined to continue the fact-finding mission he has been directed to carry out by the Holy See,” said the Diocese of Brooklyn in the Oct. 10 statement.

“Both lay faithful and clergy, members of the Diocesan staff, and others have been invited to be a part of this process so that Bishop DiMarzio can gather information from several perspectives as part of this fact-finding mission of the Buffalo Diocese.”

DiMarzio was appointed to inspect the Buffalo diocese by Cardinal Marc Ouellet, head of the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops, last week. In an announcement released Oct. 3, the apostolic nunciature to the United States released a statement underscoring that the process was “non-judicial and non-administrative,” meaning that no formal charges are currently being considered against the scandal-plagued Bishop Richard Malone of Buffalo.

Priest molested woman seeking help after father’s death, court hears

VANCOUVER (BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA)
Coast Reporter

October 8, 2019

By Jeremy Hainsworth

'He shoved his ugly tongue in my mouth. I hated it. I prayed to God to stop it.'

A woman seeking help from a Kamloops Roman Catholic priest dealing with grief from her father’s death in 1976 instead found herself being groped by him in his office, BC Supreme Court heard Oct. 8.

Rosemary Anderson alleged in a Dec. 22, 2016, notice of civil claim the sexual abuse at the hands of Father Erlindo “Lindo” Molon, now 86, started when she was 26 when she sought solace after her father’s death. She names Molon and the Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Kamloops, A Corporation Sole in the claim.

The court has heard Anderson went to then Bishop Adam Exner with her concerns about Molon.

Anderson had moved to the Interior city to take up a teaching job with the diocese after doing practicum work in Rock Creek and later in Greenwood.

Vatican Accepts Resignation of Credibly Accused New York Bishop

FERNDALE (MI)
Church Militant

October 10, 2019

By Stephen Wynne

New York - Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of a New York prelate accused of sexually abusing a minor.

On Thursday, the Vatican announced that New York Auxiliary Bp. John Jenik is stepping down, nearly two years after he was first accused of sexually abusing a teenage boy.

Jenik, 75, was removed from ministry in October 2018 after a nine-month investigation by the archdiocesan lay review board.

Arrested Lowestoft priest re-released as police investigation continues

NORWICH (ENGLAND)
Eastern Daily Press

October 10, 2019

A vicar who was suspended after being arrested has been re-released by police as an investigation continues.

Matthew Payne was vicar of Christ Church, Lowestoft, until he stepped down on Sunday, September 29.

The vicar was arrested on Thursday, September 19 as part of a police investigation, and was released on bail until Thursday, October 10.

Mr Payne was arrested as part of an "ongoing police investigation", officers said, and was taken to Great Yarmouth Police Investigation Centre for questioning until he was released on bail.

October 12, 2019

Diocese: Priest accused of sex abuse 'not suitable for priestly ministry'

TOLEDO (OH)
The Blade

Oct. 12, 2019

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Toledo announced Saturday that allegations the Rev. Nelson Beaver sexually abused minors roughly 25 years ago were deemed valid by the Diocesan Review Board, which voted unanimously that he is “not suitable for priestly ministry.”

Bishop Daniel Thomas has accepted the review board's recommendation and the case will be presented to the Holy See Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in Rome, for their review and final determination, according to a diocese news release.

Father Beaver was pastor of Resurrection Parish in Lexington and St. Mary of the Snows Parish in Mansfield at the time he was placed on leave last year. Church officials have said he denies any wrongdoing.

He retired earlier this year, but is still on administrative leave, meaning he, “cannot exercise public priestly ministry, administer any of the Sacraments, wear clerical attire or present himself as a priest,” according to the diocese.

Narcissism a hallmark of religious abusers

PORTLAND (OR)
Catholic Sentinel

Oct. 11, 2019

By Ed Langlois

It’s a Friday evening at Kennedy School, a pub in Northeast Portland. Revelers lift their glasses and guffaw.

But in a quiet back room, two dozen spiritually serious people have gathered quietly. They are grappling with the feeling that they have been manipulated and conned by leaders they saw as conduits to God.

The Spiritual Abuse Forum for Education, SAFE, is a Portland-area support group for those who have suffered mind control, financial swindling and overbearing manipulation by religious leaders.

In the Kennedy School crowd, mostly made up of people in their 30s and 40s, is Julie Anne Smith. A former Catholic, Smith began speaking out about what she saw as spiritual abuse at Beaverton Grace Bible Church.

In 2008, when a church employee was fired, Smith confronted the pastor because she felt the dismissal was unjust. The pastor responded by ordering Smith to recant her complaints, which did not sit well with her. Smith left the church and began posting Google reviews about what she saw as abuse, including alleged sexual assault. She called the church “creepy” and unsafe.

Archdiocese of Cincinnati: We anticipate Vatican may order full investigation into handling of Father Drew case

CINCINNATI (OH)
FOX19 TV

Oct. 11, 2019

By Jennifer Edwards Baker

The Archdiocese of Cincinnati announced Friday it has submitted a report to the Vatican concerning the handling of allegations of abuse against one of its priests who is accused of raping an altar boy 30 years ago, an archdiocese spokeswoman said Friday.

The report related to the Rev. Geoff Drew was sent Aug. 30 and they are waiting for the Vatican’s response, said Jennifer Schack in a statement to FOX19 NOW.

“We anticipate that the Vatican may order a full investigation into the handling of this case. Archbishop Dennis Schnurr takes any accusation of sexual abuse very seriously, as well as any possible lapse in internal procedures for handling allegations.”

The Archdiocese of Cincinnati announced this to FOX19 NOW when we sought comment from them after a coalition of concerned Catholics called for Pope Francis and other Catholic leaders to conduct a complete investigation of the Archdiocese.

A small group of concerned parents from Saint Ignatius Loyola, Sacred Heart, and others, has joined with nearly 600 other concerned Catholics from over 50 parishes within the Cincinnati Archdiocese to petition them to investigate Archdiocesan commitment to the Decree of Child Protection “after the recent scandal involving Drew.”

Buffalo native David Wright has been reporting on priest sex abuse since the 1990s

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

Oct. 12, 2019

By Alan Pergament

Buffalo native David Wright’s journalistic crusade to investigate sexual abuse by priests in the Catholic Church started when he was a radio reporter in Boston in the 1990s.

The issue has taken the ABC News correspondent back to his hometown to cover the scandal surrounding Bishop Richard J. Malone’s handling of the crisis in the Buffalo Diocese.

He interviewed Malone for a compelling July 26 edition of “Nightline” that included interviews with Malone, whistleblower Siobhan O’Connor and an alleged victim of sexual abuse.

Wright isn’t finished with the story. He expects to eventually do a follow-up report for “Nightline.”

“We are talking about it all the time,” Wright said by phone. “We were very close to talking to the second whistleblower (Rev. Ryszard Biernat) who came forward. We had an agreement ... but unfortunately, he kind of got cold feet in terms of going to a national audience.”

“We have not given up on this story at all,” Wright added. “In fact, we want to own it.”

The story was advanced last week when the Vatican directed Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of the Diocese of Brooklyn to investigative the Buffalo Diocese through an “apostolic visitation.”

“It seems like a first step,” Wright said. “But it’s less than what Malone’s critics have called for.”

Sioux City Diocese named in lawsuit alleging sexual abuse by priest in late 1960s

SIOUX CITY (IA)
Sioux City Journal

Oct. 11, 2019

By Mason Dockter

An alleged victim of sexual abuse has sued the Diocese of Sioux City, claiming he was victimized by a diocesan priest as a young child in the late 1960s.

Samuel Heinrich said in the lawsuit that The Rev. Dale Koster sexually and physically abused him, beginning in 1968 when he was about 9 or 10 years old, and continuing through at least 1970. The alleged abuse occurred at the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Catholic school and at the parish's rectory, according to the suit, which was filed Wednesday in Woodbury County District Court.

Koster retired in 1996 and died at the end of May at age 94, according to his obituary. He was not among the 28 priests the Sioux City Diocese identified earlier this year as being credibly accused of sexual abuse, dating to the 1940s.

Diocese spokeswoman Susan O'Brien said in an email Friday night that she could not specifically comment on Heinrich's allegations.

French court allows release of Francois Ozon's Church abuse film

BONN (GERMANY)
Deutsche Welle

Oct. 10, 2019

A French court ruled on Monday that Francois Ozon's film By the Grace of God, which won the Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize on Saturday at the International Film Festival, may be released in France, according to news agency AFP.

The domestic theatrical release of Ozon's work, which tackles France's most important church child abuse trial to date, was threatened as the priest at the center of the case had gone to court to try to prevent it from being shown in the country.

The judge determined that film meets the requirements of the law since a text in its epilogue mentions that the priest is presumed innocent until found guilty. However, the priest's lawyer said they would appeal the decision, even if it would not prevent the movie's release. "It's a question of principle," the attorney said, adding that it would otherwise open the door to films interfering with legal action.

Five former Charlotte Catholic clergy on list of credibly accused abusers

CHARLOTTE (NC)
WBTV TV

Oct. 11, 2019

A Catholic society of priests and brothers headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio has released a list of 11 men it believes are credibly accused of sexual abuse. The list includes five men who formerly served in Charlotte.

Glenmary Home Missioners commissioned the forensic review that gave rise to the list in 2018. The goal of releasing the list is to promote transparency and help bring about healing for the victims, Glenmary President Father Dan Dorsey stated in a letter.

“Glenmary has become painfully aware that in the past we have failed to protect minors and vulnerable adults,” Dorsey said. “In addition, we have realized how often our response to victims has been inadequate. We deeply regret these failures. We continue to seek your forgiveness for our mistakes. We are committed to healing and justice for all those involved.

Glenmary defines a credible allegation as one in which a preponderance of the evidence suggests the allegation is true, Dorsey explains, or where there is a conviction in court or an admission of truth by the accused.

The list of 11 men includes seven priests and four brothers. It is available here.

Five of those men formerly served in Charlotte, according to the list.
Al Behm
Adelbert (Del) Holmes - Deceased
Ed Smith - Deceased
Gino Vertassich - Deceased
Tony Jablonowski

Why ending the secrecy of ‘confession’ is so controversial for the Catholic Church

BOSTON (MA)
The Conversation

October 10, 2019

By Mathew Schmalz

Following sexual abuse scandals in the Catholic Church, there is a worldwide push to end the guarantee of secrecy of confession – called “the seal of the confessional.”

On Sept. 11, 2019, two Australian states, Victoria and Tasmania, passed bills requiring priests to report any child abuse revealed in the confessional.

Australia has been at the center of the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse crisis. In December 2018, influential Australian Cardinal George Pell was convicted of sexually abusing an altar boy.

Australian bishops have, however, made it clear that the seal of confession is “sacred,” regardless of the sin confessed. With regard to Tasmania’s new law, Archbishop Julian Porteous argued that removing confession’s protection of confidentiality would stop pedophiles from coming forward. That would prevent priests from encouraging them to surrender to authorities.

In the U.S., a California bill proposing ending priestly confidentiality regarding the abuse of minors was withdrawn in July 2019 after a campaign by Catholics and other religious freedom advocates.

Catholic confession has been formally safeguarded by the U.S. Supreme Court since 1818. But therapists, doctors and a few other professionals are required to break confidentiality when there is an immediate threat of harm. Priests are not.

Why is confession so important in the Catholic Church?

Politician Wants Catholic Churches to Post Signs Warning Children of Dange

NEW YORK (NY)
Newsweek

October 11, 2019

By K. Thor Jensen

Melbourne City Council member Nic Frances Gilley has introduced a proposal to require Catholic churches to comply with the province of Victoria's new mandatory abuse reporting laws or have signs posted outside warning parents that the houses of worship might pose a danger to children.

The Age reports that Gilley is requesting the state "write to all churches and places of worship requesting assurances that all staff and associates will abide by the law of mandatory reporting," and if they do not provide those assurances the state should erect appropriate signage.

In September, Victoria passed the Children Legislation Amendment Act 2019, which added religious leaders to the list of individuals who are legally mandated to report child abuse to the authorities when they learn about it. That list already included police, teachers, nurses, midwives and other occupations.

Buffalo native David Wright has been reporting on priest sex abuse since the 1990s

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

October 12, 2019

By Alan Pergament

Buffalo native David Wright’s journalistic crusade to investigate sexual abuse by priests in the Catholic Church started when he was a radio reporter in Boston in the 1990s.

The issue has taken the ABC News correspondent back to his hometown to cover the scandal surrounding Bishop Richard J. Malone’s handling of the crisis in the Buffalo Diocese.

He interviewed Malone for a compelling July 26 edition of “Nightline” that included interviews with Malone, whistleblower Siobhan O’Connor and an alleged victim of sexual abuse.

Wright isn’t finished with the story. He expects to eventually do a follow-up report for “Nightline.”

“We are talking about it all the time,” Wright said by phone. “We were very close to talking to the second whistleblower (Rev. Ryszard Biernat) who came forward. We had an agreement ... but unfortunately, he kind of got cold feet in terms of going to a national audience.”

Cardinal refers handling of sex abuse case to Vatican

OTAGO (NEW ZEALAND)
Otago Daily Times via Radio New Zealand

October 12, 2019

By Chris Morris

The handling of historic sexual offending within the Catholic Diocese of Dunedin by then-Bishop John Kavanagh has been referred to the Vatican by New Zealand's top Catholic.

It was confirmed yesterday Cardinal John Dew, the Archbishop of Wellington, has written to the Vatican to refer the matter to higher authorities.

The move came after Pope Francis, earlier this year, issued new procedures for the handling of sexual abuse and cover-ups, including that bishops be held accountable for past actions.

Dunedin Bishop Michael Dooley, contacted overseas, confirmed the move yesterday, but said the National Office of Professional Standards (NOPS) - part of the Catholic Church in New Zealand - was also involved.

*

Confirmation of the Vatican's involvement came after ODT Insight, in its Marked by the Cross series, revealed significant offending by priests, religious brothers and lay teachers within the Catholic Diocese of Dunedin, much of it dating back decades.

That included the actions of a former Catholic priest, Magnus Murray, whose offending against boys in Dunedin - from the 1950s to the 1970s - was brought to Bishop Kavanagh's attention in 1972.

Author criticises celibacy for priests, says young women flirt

WELLINGTON (NEW ZEALAND)
Radio New Zealand

October 11, 2019

By Phil Pennington

A prolific children's author says she is sorry for women who had sexual relations with a Catholic Bishop, but that she has seen young women flirt with priests.

"Do they think that a vow of celibacy guarantees immunity?" asked Joy Cowley, in an online post in response to the resignation of Palmerston North Bishop Charles Drennan.

He quit after admitting inappropriate sexual behaviour with a young woman.

An older woman several years ago made a confidential complaint about him.

Ms Cowley, a Catholic great-grandmother in her 80s, also writes books on spirituality.

The pope should have said "who am I to judge" (a phrase he is famous for), rather than accept Bishop Drennan's resignation, she wrote online at CathNews New Zealand.

Her primary target was celibacy for priests.

"I am sorry that a reputable magazine connected with the church, should send emails to subscribers giving details of Bishop Charles Drennan's resignation," she said.

Lawsuit Says Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg Covered Up Sexual Abuse by High School Teacher

PITTSBURGH (PA)
WESA/WITF

October 11, 2019

By Brett Sholtis

A lawsuit filed against the Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg, Bishop Ronald Gainer and the diocese’s former bishop, Kevin Rhoades, alleges the church turned a blind eye while a teacher drugged and raped a student.

The plaintiff and his attorney say the lawsuit points to the limits of the victims’ compensation funds that are paid for by the Catholic church and supported by some state senate Republicans.

In 1974, Patrick Duggan was a 13-year-old student at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic High School in Harrisburg.

Duggan says that’s when his history teacher invited him and other boys to his house. That teacher, Ronald Stewart, allegedly gave Duggan and other boys alcohol, marijuana and hallucinogenic drugs, the filing states.

List of Credibly Accused

FAIRFIELD (OH)
Glenmary Home Missioners

October 11, 2019

By Father Dan Dorsey GHM, President, Glenmary Home Missioners

[List appended below letter.]

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Glenmary has become painfully aware that in the past we have failed to protect minors and vulnerable adults. In addition, we have realized how often our response to victims has been inadequate. We deeply regret these failures. We continue to seek your forgiveness for our mistakes. We are committed to healing and justice for all those involved.

In a spirit of accountability and transparency we are publishing a list of all Glenmarians against whom there are credible allegations of abuse of a minor or vulnerable adult. It is our hope that publishing these names will be a step in the healing process for the victims.

Glenmary defines a credible allegation as a preponderance of evidence that the allegation is more likely true than not after investigation. Credibility can also be established by conviction in a court, or by the admission of the truth by the accused.

The list includes name, birth year, the year the accused joined Glenmary, current status and dioceses where each man served. The nature of Glenmary’s missionary work means most members have served in a variety of ministries across several dioceses.

11 clergy named as 'credibly accused' sexual abusers from Glenmary Home Missioners

CINCINNATI (OH)
Cincinnati Enquirer

October 11, 2019

By Madeline Mitchell and Cameron Knight

A Fairfield Catholic society identified 11 of its members in a list of credibly accused sexual abusers on Friday, according to a press release from Glenmary Home Missioners.

Seven priests and four brothers from Glenmary Home Missioners, located at 4119 Glenmary Trace in Fairfield, were revealed in the list. According to the release, the list is the result of a year-long forensic review commissioned by Glenmary to promote transparency and healing for victims.

Most members have served in a variety of ministries across several dioceses due to the nature of Glenmary's missionary work, the release states.

Glenmary Home Missioners released a letter from President Father Dan Dorsey with the list of abusers.

Catholic organization releases list of priests, brothers accused of sex abuse

CINCINNATI (OH)
WKRC

October 11, 2019

by Angela Ingram

Fairfield OH - Seven priests and four brothers associated with a Cincinnati-based organization are accused of sex abuse.

Glenmary Home Missioners released a list Friday. The report was self-initiated. The religious organization hired a retired FBI investigator to look into potential abusers and come up with this list.

The names go back as far as 1941. They are the names of four brothers and seven priests who were members of Glenmary Home Missioners.

A spokesman for the religious organization says Glenmary did its own investigation after the scandals of sex abuse involving former cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who was defrocked.

“This list is the result of more than a year-long forensic review that Glenmary leadership commissioned,“ John Stegeman of Glenmary said. “Glenmary determines a credible allegation as a preponderance of evidence that is more likely true than not true.“

October 11, 2019

Bishop McCort school, Altoona Diocese named in sex abuse lawsuit

JOHNSTOWN (PA)
The Tribune-Democrat

October 11, 2019

By Dave Sutor

An allegation of sexual abuse – made by an anonymous male victim identified only as “A.L.” – has led to the filing of a lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, Bishop McCort Catholic High School and Franciscan Friars of the Third Order Regular.

The plaintiff, represented by Aaron Rihn, a Pittsburgh personal injury attorney, has accused the defendants of negligence, fraud, constructive fraud, conspiracy and fraudulent concealment, according to a complaint filed on Thursday in the Cambria County Court of Common Pleas.

No priest accused in the 2016 grand jury report that exposed alleged abuse and cover-up within the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese is listed as having been at Bishop McCort during the time when the alleged abused occurred from 2000 to 2002.

The alleged abuser is listed as “John Doe” in the filing, but identified as a priest, Franciscan and athletic trainer employed by the school and ostensibly by the diocese. He is deceased.

Brooklyn bishop investigating Buffalo Diocese interviewed dozens of clergy, lay people

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

Oct. 10, 2019

By Jay Tokasz

The Brooklyn bishop investigating the Buffalo Diocese and Bishop Richard J. Malone interviewed more than 30 people in a visit to Western New York this week.

The Diocese of Brooklyn released a statement Thursday afternoon stating that Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio “is determined to continue the fact-finding mission he has been directed to carry out by the Holy See.”

“Both lay faithful and clergy, members of the diocesan staff, and others have been invited to be a part of this process so that Bishop DiMarzio can gather information from several perspectives as part of this fact-finding mission of the Buffalo Diocese,” the statement reads.

DiMarzio was in town as part of an “apostolic visitation” announced last week in statements from the Buffalo and Brooklyn dioceses and from the office of U.S. Papal Nuncio Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the pope’s ambassador to the U.S.

The statement from the Brooklyn diocese said DiMarzio plans to return to Western New York for additional meetings later this month.

7 priests, 4 brothers accused of sex abuse at Cincinnati-based Glenmary Home Missioners

CINCINNATI (OH)
WLWT TV

Oct 11, 2019

Eleven men – seven priest and four brothers – are accused of the sexual abuse of a minor or vulnerable adult.

Cincinnati-based Glenmary Home Missioners released a list of men accused of sexual abuse. Officials with the Catholic institution said the accusations are credible.

Eight of the 11 men involved have served in the Cincinnati area. Only two of the 11 men identified are still living.

Officials with Glenmary Home Missioners said the list is the result of a yearlong forensic review, that they themselves commissioned to promote transparency. Glenmary Home Missioners is a Roman Catholic religious institute of priests and brothers.

Surviving, healing: painful reality of life after sexual assault

SPOKANE (WA)
Gonzaga Bulletin

Oct. 11, 2019

By Anonymous sophomore male Gonzaga student

I don't know how I feel about the time I was sexually assaulted.

There are feelings, remnants of memory and some general mental health problems.

I have thought about it daily since it happened all those years ago. It’s disjointed, unclear and foggy in my mind. One of the first unknowns that confronts me when I think about the assault is details. I might have a murky memory because of repression or the usual fading of memory, I'm not quite certain. The fact that I didn’t comprehend the assault at the time furthers the confusion.

Like so many others who have been assaulted, at the time sex wasn’t in my vocabulary, much less what abuse was. The memories became less distinct even as my ability to comprehend it sharpened.

Being honest with myself was hard. When I first accepted what happened was the first time I confided in my best friend. I couldn’t say the words, I typed it out on my phone and refused to look at them while they read it. It's hard to think about of how I felt telling my friend then.

The feeling before revealing something so deeply personal is more physical than emotional. It feels like looking down over the edge of a cliff, gazing at the water I will jump into below. I know that when I land I’ll be alive, I’ll probably even be better off for the experience. The knowledge of what comes next doesn’t make what has to be said any better. You can’t take it

Ex-Dunedin man fights to hold Catholic Church accountable

DUNEDIN (NEW ZEALAND)
Otago Daily Times

Oct. 10, 2019

"I could drink half a bottle of vodka right now and probably still have a lucid conversation with you," he said.

Not now, now he's dry.

He was a functioning alcoholic back then, but still, he couldn't remember sending the email.

"The first line, and this was five years ago, was, 'If there's ever a Royal Commission in New Zealand, I will come back and give evidence'.

"And as I said, I didn't remember writing it, and I got contacted three weeks later by the Church and it was a surprise."

He has come back and has given evidence in Christchurch recently.

It is Marc's second attempt to get some kind of justice for how he was robbed of his childhood in Dunedin in the 1980s by four Catholic leaders who sexually violated him for years.

'Vos estis' should guide diocesan policy, advocacy group says

DENVER (CO)
Catholic News Agency

Oct. 11, 2019

The Catholic Benefits Association said last week that sexual abuse norms introduced by Pope Francis in May will likely require U.S. dioceses to amend their own internal policies regarding the definition and reporting of sexual abuse and misconduct.

In an Oct. 3 webinar, L. Martin Nussbaum, general counsel for the Catholic Benefits Association, told diocesan leaders and administrators that Vos estis lux mundi, the motu proprio on sexual abuse and misconduct issued by Pope Francis May 7, takes important steps to provide a safer environment in the Church, which require implementation by dioceses.

Vos estis, Nussbaum said, expands diocesan duties regarding vulnerable persons and abuse of authority, protects Church whistleblowers, increases the role of laity in receiving reports and in conducting investigations, improves transparency regarding discipline of bishops, heightens the ecclesial role of metropolitans, and expands offers of assistance to the families of abuse victims.

Catholic parents must stand up to church leaders and reject them for sex abuse cover-ups

JACKSON (MS)
Clarion Ledger

Oct. 11, 2019

By Mark Belenchia

Former Diocese attorney Frank Vollor referred to me as having a vengeance. I take issue with that assessment.

I and many other survivors of sex abuse do have grievances.

I will continue working to expose the Catholic Church’s wrongdoing. Using phrases like “we’re sorry”, “please forgive us”, “we will pray for you” — without accountability — are hollow and calculated diversions. I will not debate Vollor on different legalese, he is the attorney. I won’t cloud the issues by referring to Mississippi Code or speculate as to how and why there is no police report on file. I will not discuss the legal expungement process. All of that is nothing more than ‘gaslighting’ and I stand behind my previous statements.

Let’s discuss the facts. The Jackson diocese fitness review board now in place has deemed the allegations against Brother Paul West credible. Father James Gannon, the Franciscan prelate, has deemed them credible as well. Raphael Love, a 9-year boy, reported West to officials in 1998. At that time, West left Greenwood and had psychological testing done in St. Louis.

For a former newspaper religion editor, a Catholic clergy sex abuse case hits close to home

Get Religion blog

Oct. 11, 2019

By Bobby Ross

Last week, I got a news alert from The Oklahoman, my local newspaper and former employer, with a headline that certainly grabbed my attention: “Damning report rips Oklahoma City Archdiocese for poor responses to credible child sexual abuse allegations against priests.”

For anybody paying attention to the latest Catholic clergy sex abuse scandals, the basic storyline probably sounds familiar.

The Oklahoma City Archdiocese is just one of many dioceses nationwide that have produced such reports.

This is the blunt summary from The Oklahoman:

For more than a half-century, Oklahoma City's Catholic Archdiocese responded to reports of child sexual abuse by its priests with bungled internal investigations that masked the problems and often enabled the abuse to continue for years, according to a damning report released Thursday.

"The Archdiocese of Oklahoma City failed to take prompt action despite credible evidence and warning signs of sexual abuse of minors," the McAfee & Taft law firm said in a report commissioned by the Archdiocese that was made public Thursday.

The report identified and named 11 priests in the Archdiocese who had been "credibly accused" of child sexual abuse since 1960. McAfee & Taft made it clear that its investigation is not yet complete.

"There are additional files still under investigation and as those investigations conclude, additional names of priests with substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of minors will be released as warranted," McAfee & Taft said.

In some respects, that sounds like the same old, same old — but then I got to a part of the story that made my jaw drop.

Mainly because I realized that the coverup alleged had occurred right under my nose — or at least my notepad — when I served as religion editor for The Oklahoman in 2002. You’ll remember that the Catholic clergy sex abuse scandal blew up that year amid Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage by the Boston Globe’s “Spotlight” team, later featured in an Oscar-winning movie.

October 10, 2019

Vatican cardinal stirs controversy by saying it’s time to ‘exit’ abuse scandals

ROME (ITALY)
Crux

Oct. 11, 2019

By Elise Harris

When a top papal advisor earlier this week suggested that Catholic prelates “exit” the clerical abuse scandal, in order to lift the “cloud” hanging over the Church, there was an understandable uproar from victims.

In effect, the resulting controversy involving Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana, head of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, is a clear illustration of the pressures the abuse crisis has generated - both on victims, who want to be heard and not dismissed, as well as on Church officials, who feel the crippling effect of the crisis and want to see the Church get up off the mat.

In such a context, sensitivities are on high alert, something Turkson discovered the hard way on a recent trip to Ireland, home to one of the most damaging clerical abuse scandals anywhere in the world.

Diocese of Scranton Names Two More Priests Credibly Accused of Abuse

SCRANTON (PA)
WNEP TV

Oct. 10, 2019

The Diocese of Scranton has named two more priests they say have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor.

The priests are Albert Oldfield, a diocesan priest, and James Gormley, S.J.

Fr. Oldfield served at about a dozen parishes in the diocese.

Fr. Gormley served at Scranton Prep in the 1940s and 1950s.

The release of the names is part of a pledge to be open and transparent in the way that the Diocese of Scranton handles occurrences of child sexual abuse, according to a release issued Thursday.

Catholic school teacher gave boy drugs, alcohol, then molested him, claims lawsuit against Harrisburg Diocese

HARRISBURG (PA)
Patriot News

Oct. 10, 2019

By Ivey DeJesus

A newly filed lawsuit against the Diocese of Harrisburg underscores the debate over the argument that victims compensation funds barred scores of people who had been sexually abused as children by employees of Catholic dioceses.

In his lawsuit, Patrick J. Duggan of Harrisburg claims that starting when he was 13, his history teacher at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School began to ply him with alcohol and drugs to then sexually molest and rape him.

Duggan, 58, claims that teacher Ronald Stewart, who lived next to the school playground and across the church, continued to abuse him until he was 17. Stewart died in 2010.

In addition to the diocese, the lawsuit names former bishop Kevin Rhoades and current Bishop Ronald Gainer.

Duggan was barred from making a claim with the victims compensation fund that the diocese established in the wake of the 2018 grand jury report that uncovered widespread and systemic sexual abuse of minors across seven decades across the Catholic dioceses of Pennsylvania. St. Francis of Assisi is within the Diocese of Harrisburg.

The diocese’s compensation fund - like the other programs established across the state - narrowly defined eligibility in the program to victims claiming they had been sexually abused as children by priests. Victims claiming that their predators were teachers, nuns or other employees were barred from making claims.

With $300 million in real estate, Allentown Diocese has no excuse to cry financial distress

ALLENTOWN ( PA)
Morning Call

Oct. 10, 2019

By Paul Muschick

I hope Catholics didn’t buy the Allentown Diocese’s story this summer that it had to cut jobs so it could pay victims of priest sex abuse.

It was common knowledge that the diocese was flush with real estate — some in prime locations for development.

A Morning Call investigation published online this week revealed just how flush the diocese is. It controls more than $300 million worth of property on more than 1,200 acres in Lehigh and Northampton counties. And little of that property has been tapped to raise cash for its victims compensation fund.

That figure doesn’t include more real estate in Berks, Carbon and Schuylkill counties.

I argued in July when the diocese claimed “severe financial stress" that it could sell more of its assets instead of creating new victims, diocese employees. Twenty-three workers were let go, many through attrition and a voluntary retirement program, and pay was frozen for others.

The diocese said in a news release then that “cost reductions were necessary to enable charitable and pastoral programs to continue.”

I’ll argue that was preventable.

The release of a grand jury report in August 2018 should have expedited property sales. The report detailed sexual abuse accusations against 301 priests statewide. They had abused more than 1,000 children over several decades.

The report named 37 priests from the Allentown Diocese, and the diocese itself added another 19 names. The diocese had to know it was going to have to pay a price for its sins of the past. It could have sold real estate and stocked money away sooner. It didn’t have to wait for the grand jury to conclude its investigation, which took two years. All signs pointed to it being damning.

Morning Call investigative reporter Emily Opilo reported this week that in the past year, the diocese has sold four properties, for a total of about $1.65 million, across the five counties it covers. A fifth sale is pending. The diocese told her it intends to sell more to raise millions for the compensation fund.

I recognize it takes time to sell real estate. But other dioceses were more proactive.

The Philadelphia Archdiocese sold its 16-room, 23,350-square-foot bishop’s mansion to St. Joseph’s University for $10 million in 2012, following a grand jury investigation that prompted criminal charges against a church official and priests.

Allentown Bishop Alfred Schlert, as previous bishops did, lives in an 11-room, five-bathroom home on Chew Street in the city’s West End. The 5,000-square-foot brick Tudor Revival is assessed at $487,000, according to Lehigh County records, and valued at around $580,000.

Last spring, the diocese transferred that property for $1 to the Allentown Diocesan Priests Retirement Plan Trust. The trust leases the property back to the diocese, generating income for the plan.

That’s an example of the church taking care of its own. It should have been just as focused on taking care of others.

Catholic diocese admits liability in sex assaults

VANCOUVER (CANADA)
Vancouver Sun

Oct. 10, 2019

By Keith Fraser

The Catholic diocese in Kamloops is admitting liability at the civil trial involving a priest accused of repeatedly sexually assaulting a school teacher more than 40 years ago.

On Wednesday, John Hogg, a lawyer for the Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Kamloops, made the admission of vicarious liability by the defendant diocese for the conduct of Rev. Erlindo Molon, the priest in question.

Hogg had been pressed for his position on the case by a lawyer for Rosemary Anderson, who said that Molon sexually assaulted her between 70 and 100 times in 1976 and 1977, while she was employed as a teacher at the Our Lady of Perpetual Help school in Kamloops.

Hogg told B.C. Supreme Court Justice David Crossin that he had made a similar admission when the Vancouver trial opened on Monday and in a letter to the plaintiff’s lawyer in August.

The scope of the liability remains at issue. Hogg is expected to challenge Anderson in cross-examination on the time frame and number of attacks that she said occurred in the priest’s rectory and Anderson’s apartment.

Molon, now 88, suffers from dementia and lives in a care home in Kingston, Ont.

He was initially named as a defendant in the case with his litigation guardian, the Ontario Public Guardian and Trustee, filing court documents denying the allegations. But neither Molon nor any lawyers acting on his behalf have shown up at the trial.

Also at issue is the involvement of Adam Exner, the bishop Anderson claims was grossly negligent in his handling of the matter.

Cardinals Pell and Muller v. Jesus, Pope and the suffering little children

LONDON (ENGLAND)
Australian Times

Oct. 5, 2019

By Tess Lawrence

Just hours before the Amazon Synod will start, in what amounts to a Declaration of War against Pope Francis, Cardinal Müller has released two films on YouTube based on his written Manifesto of Faith.

Cardinal George Pell’s malevolent crusade against Pope Francis remains as vigorous as his disdain and notorious self-professed disinterest for victims of child sex abuse.

In shocking and curious timing on 1 August, Cardinal George Pell’s supporters published a seemingly innocuous two-page letter the convicted paedophile had apparently penned and sent whilst in prison, on their Twitter account.

That letter was deleted and now the Twitter account "Cardinal George Pell Supporters" @PellCardinal has gone to god.

But the sentence below is what grabbed the media’s attention. It was vintage, self-aggrandising Pell, invoking the name of Jesus, hauling the Messiah into Pell’s messianic and squalid orbit.

As usual with Pell, it was all about him:

'The knowledge that my small suffering can be used for good purposes through being joined to Jesus’ suffering gives me purpose and direction.'

Just how can Cardinal George Pell’s “small suffering” be used for “good purposes” is anyone’s guess. And in what way is Pell joined to Jesus’ suffering? Jesus was neither charged nor convicted of paedophilia.

I dare not cast the first stone for obvious reasons, but surely Pell might better compare his suffering with some of the millions of victims of global clergy sex abuse, including his own victims — perhaps even pray for the soul of his victim, who died as a result of a heroin overdose.

The truth about George Pell’s prison letter

LONDON (ENGLAND)
Australian Times

Oct. 2, 2019

By Tess Lawrence

Just hours before the Amazon Synod wasndue to start, in what amounts to a Declaration of War against Pope Francis, Cardinal Müller has released two films on YouTube based on his written Manifesto of Faith.

Cardinal George Pell’s malevolent crusade against Pope Francis remains as vigorous as his disdain and notorious self-professed disinterest for victims of child sex abuse.

In shocking and curious timing on 1 August, Cardinal George Pell’s supporters published a seemingly innocuous two-page letter the convicted paedophile had apparently penned and sent whilst in prison, on their Twitter account.

That letter was deleted and now the Twitter account “Cardinal George Pell Supporters” @PellCardinal has gone to god.


Southern Baptist Convention president gets blunt on sexual abuse. What now?

KNOXVILLE (TN)
News Sentinel

Oct. 10, 2019

By Terry Mattingly

For decades, Southern Baptist leaders rolled their eyes whenever there were headlines about clergy sexual abuse cases. That was – wink, wink – a Catholic thing linked to celibate priests.

Then there were those mainline Protestants, and even some evangelicals, who modernized their teachings on marriage and sex. No wonder they were having problems.

This was a powerful, unbiblical myth that helped Southern Baptists ignore their own predators, said Southern Baptist Convention President J.D. Greear during a recent national conference. The event was hosted by the denomination's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and the new SBC Sexual Abuse Advisory Group.

"The danger of this myth is that it is naive: It relegates abuse to an ideological problem, when it should be most properly seen as a depravity problem. ... It fails to recognize that wherever people exist in power without accountability, abuse will foster," said Greear, pastor of the Summit Church near Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina.

"What part of society has not been affected? It happens on Wall Street, in Hollywood, on Capitol Hill, in academic institutions, sports programs, Catholic and Protestant churches, liberal and conservative," he added. "I want to say something as an evangelical to evangelicals: We evangelicals should have known this. Didn't Jesus say there would be wolves in sheep's clothing that would come into the flock in order not to serve the flock, but to abuse the flock?"

Diocese’s insurer: If you concealed abuse, we don’t have to pay

BUFFALO (NY)
WIBW TV

Oct. 10, 2019

By Charlie Specht

The Diocese of Buffalo's insurance company is arguing in court that it is not liable for sex abuse judgments because the diocese concealed the abuse for decades.

In documents recently filed in state court, Continental Insurance Company -- whose predecessor insured the diocese for much of the 1970s -- says that its policy only covers "accidents" which are reported in a timely manner to the insurer.

"Continental has no obligation to provide insurance coverage to the Diocese with respect to any sexual abuse claim, to the extent that the Diocese knew prior to the abuse that the relevant priest had: (i) engaged in earlier sexual abuse; (ii) posed a danger to children; or (iii) a propensity to commit sexual abuse," the company states.


Apostolic visitation for Buffalo diocese

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Tablet

Oct. 9, 2019

By Michael Sean Winters

The Holy See has assigned Brooklyn, New York Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio to conduct an apostolic visitation of the diocese of Buffalo, New York. The Vatican nunciature in Washington made the announcement. Bishop Richard Malone has faced allegations from whistleblowers that he covered up cases of inappropriate sexual conduct.

In announcing the visitation, the nunciature noted that it was not being conducted under the terms of Vos Estis Lux Mundi, Pope Francis’ motu proprio outlining procedures for evaluating allegations of abuse and covering up abuse made against a bishop. The apostolic visitation, being conducted on behalf of the Congregation for Bishops, has a wider mandate, and can assess issues such as the morale of the clergy and laity and the financial situation of the diocese.

Justice shouldn’t have an expiration date

PITTSBURGH (PA)
Pitt News

Oct. 9, 2019

By Grace McGinness

Survivors of childhood sexual abuse may soon win the right to prosecute their cases in court no matter how long ago their trauma occurred. Pennsylvania’s Senate Judiciary Committee held a forum on Oct. 2 to debate whether or not to eliminate the state’s statute of limitations — a law set that restricts how long an alleged victim has to bring a case to court — for sexual abuse civil cases.

The hearing was not intended for a final decision to be made on Bill 540, which calls for the complete removal of the state’s statute. Rather, for several hours, the committee listened to testimonies from alleged victims, their advocates and those in opposition to the bill to help inform their decision. Despite the state’s hesitancy, it’s clear that statutes of limitations are an outdated caveat to our current judiciary system that do not properly serve the people of this country. Pennsylvania needs to eliminate these statutes by passing Bill 540 and finally rectifying the harmful effects of this law.

As it stands, the statute of limitations for felony sex crimes in Pennsylvania limits people to a window of 11 to 20 years to bring their case to court. The time frame varies depending on the specific crime, but any statute of limitations for sex crimes is an unnecessary restriction of the law that strips the judiciary system of its main purpose of protecting people.

City Man Alleges Past Abuse At Local Church

JAMESTOWN (PA)
Oct. 10, 2019

By John Whittaker

A Jamestown man is alleging he was sexually abused by a priest at Ss. Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church in Jamestown.

According to documents filed Monday in state Supreme Court in Erie County, the Jamestown man is alleging that Father John Lewandowski sexually abused the boy during his time as a priest at Ss. Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church.

The allegations are one of four contained in the lawsuit.

Lewandowski had previously been identified by the Diocese of Buffalo as a priest who had been accused of child sexual abuse. He died in 1982, according to Jeff Anderson and Associates.

The Jamestown man, represented by James R. Marsh of White Plains, states in the lawsuit that he was abused by Lewandowski when the man was 13 and 14 years of age when the youth and his parents were parishioners of Ss. Peter and Paul. The lawsuit alleges Lewandowski gained the youth’s trust before sexually molesting the youth several times, including incidents that allegedly took place in the church’s basement.

Marsh alleges in the lawsuit that diocese officials knew or should have known Lewandowski was a known child sex abuser and that diocese and church officials concealed the abuse.

Pope accepts resignation of NYC bishop accused of abuse

NEWYORK (NY)
Associated Press

Oct. 10, 2019

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of a New York City bishop after he was accused of sexually abusing a teenage boy in the 1980s.

Auxiliary Bishop John Jenik is the latest head to roll in the ongoing abuse scandal. The Vatican announced his resignation had been accepted Thursday.

For decades the Vatican turned a blind eye to bishops and cardinals who abused minors and adults or covered up the crimes.

Jenik had denied the allegation when it was first brought to the New York City archdiocese last year. Cardinal Timothy Dolan, however, said the archdiocese’s lay review board had found the allegation to be “credible and substantiated.”

It was Dolan’s archdiocese that received complaints against ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, cases that launched the new reckoning in the U.S. hierarchy.

Four Priests Placed on Administrative Leave

NEW YORK (NY)
Catholic New York

Oct. 10, 2019

Four priests of the archdiocese—three pastors and the director of Priest Personnel—have each been placed on administrative leave following an allegation of abuse with minors dating back several decades.

The three pastors, Msgr. Edward Barry of Holy Rosary parish in Hawthorne, Father William Luciano of Blessed Sacrament parish in New Rochelle and Msgr. James White of St. Vito-Most Holy Trinity parish in Mamaroneck, have had their ministries temporarily restricted. The fourth priest is Msgr. Edward Weber, director of the Priest Personnel Office in the archdiocese, whose ministry has also been temporarily restricted.

Letters were sent from Cardinal Dolan to parishioners of the three parishes Oct. 3. “As is our practice, we reported this to the District Attorney’s Office. The Archdiocese will now follow its policy and protocols, which include having outside independent investigators look into and assess the allegation, before presenting it to our independent Lay Review Board. At the conclusion of their deliberations, the board will determine whether the allegation has been substantiated, which will determine whether (the priest) is suitable to return to ministry.”

Pennsylvania’s child sex abuse scandal still is a mess

HARRISBURG (PA)
Patriot News

Oct. 10, 2019

By John Baer

Recent news related to the Catholic Church child sex abuse scandal underscores an unending saga and a common irony: a high-purposed institution placing self-interest above the interests of those it exists to serve.

Sorta like our legislature, where self-protection is the prime directive.

Lately, that directive’s playing out in response to the child sex scandal, which continues to stun, and remains, legislatively, a mess.

For example.

A nine-month Associated Press probe found hundreds of Catholic clerics countrywide, credibly accused child abusers, never prosecuted or monitored, who ended up teaching kids, fostering kids and living next to day care centers, some committing sexual assault.

AP’s first example is former Pennsylvania priest Roger Sinclair, booted from the Greensburg Diocese in 2002 for alleged abuse of a teen boy, arrested in Oregon in 2017 for repeatedly abusing a developmentally disabled young man.

This is what happens when institutions choose coverup over responsibility.

Year after accused priest goes on leave, NJ parish remains pastorless

WESTWOOD (NJ)
National Catholic Reporter

Oct. 10, 2019

By Sarah Salvadore

During Mass at St. Andrew Church here, the traffic slows down. A few parishioners can be found standing on the sidewalk with signs in hand while drivers catch a glimpse.

A year after NCR reported on the divisions within St. Andrew over abuse allegations against its pastor, the church is without a full-time priest. Dismayed that the Newark Archdiocese has not sent them a new pastor, some parishioners have taken to protest.

Demonstrators are circulating a petition among churchgoers, urging the archdiocese to send them a pastor. Many parishioners say they are against the picketing, stating it brings negative attention to the church." "But I'll sign the petition because we need a pastor. What's taking Newark so long?" asked one parishioner.

The cloud over St. Andrew emerged in January 2018, when Fr. James Weiner was named pastor. Just 48 hours later, some parishioners learned that he had been accused in a clerical abuse case.

The allegations date back to 1988. Fr. Desmond Rossi, a priest of the Diocese of Albany, New York, accused Weiner and another priest, now deceased, of sexual assault at St. Benedict Parish in Newark. Rossi, a seminarian at the time, said two transitional deacons assaulted him in the rectory after a night of drinking. While one of them threw him on the bed and began kissing him, the other tried to force oral sex on him. Rossi identified Weiner as one of the attackers. An archdiocesan review board found the charges credible but unproven, and Weiner was allowed to continue as a priest.

As Pa. compensation programs end, church victims wrestle with the price put on abuse

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
WHYY Radio

October 10, 2019

By Laura Benshoff

Last year’s grand jury report detailing sexual assault allegations against 301 Catholic priests in Pennsylvania raised the question: how would the church respond?

In the months that followed, seven of the eight dioceses in Pennsylvania launched compensation funds, following the model set by dioceses in New York.

These programs, which started winding down at the end of September, offer a lump sum to victims in return for signing away the right to sue the church over their allegations.

Some victims have used the program to put their fight with the church behind them. Others scoffed at the price tag put on their trauma. This is the story of two men who came to different conclusions.

‘What if it didn’t happen this way? Where would I be?’
Growing up in Philadelphia, John Quinn bounced between his family’s home and a half dozen Catholic orphanages around the region.

“I ended up in St. John’s, St. Joe’s, St. Mary’s, St. Francis’, St. Michael’s and a foster home,” said the 67-year-old, rattling off his stops.

October 9, 2019

Bangladesh cardinal says Church has updated its abuse reporting policy

MUMBAI (INDIA)
Crux

Oct. 10, 2019

By Nirmala Carvalho

Bangladesh’s bishops’ conference has decided to have each diocese appoint a designated priest to handle sex abuse accusations, and not establish a central office at the bishops’ conference for child protection.

Bangladesh has two archdioceses and six dioceses for the country’s fewer than 400,000 Catholics, approximately 0.5 percent of the predominantly Muslim population. Most of the Catholics come from the country’s most marginalized communities, and the Church is relatively poor.

“At our CBCB [Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Bangladesh] meeting, it was unanimously agreed, that since there has not been a single reported case of abuse of a minor by a clergyman, it was decided that to start an office was not a requirement,” Cardinal Patrick D’Rozario, Archbishop of Dhaka, told Crux.

“However, in every diocese, the bishop will appoint a designated priest who will immediately investigate any reported instance of abuse of minor by a clergy, when and if it arises,” the cardinal said.

Pervert priest, 61, admits to producing disgusting child porn videos

LONDON (ENGLAND)
Daily Mail

Oct. 9, 2019

By Kylie Stevens

A former Catholic priest tried to import vile child pornography into the country, a court has heard.

Peter Andrew Hansen, 61, pleaded guilty to 23 child exploitation charges when he faced Central Local Court, in Sydney, on Wednesday.

Hansen, a Labor party branch president, from Cabramatta, has been behind bars since last October when he returned home from a four month teaching stint in Vietnam.

Hansen was initially charged with three offences after he was arrested at Sydney International Airport when Australian Border Force officers found child pornography on an external hard drive in his luggage.

He was later charged with an extra 22 charges, two of which have since been withdrawn.

On Wednesday, the court heard disturbing details of the child pornography material Australian Border Force officers found in Hansen's luggage, including seven videos of boys engaged in sexual acts.

According to the police fact sheet, the videos showed boys who were 'instructed to remove their clothing and perform sexual acts on themselves and other children'.

The fact sheet also stated a title page at the start of the video listed the names and ages of the minors aged 12-15.

Judge Denies Fr. Drew’s Motion to Reduce Bail, SNAP Reacts

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

Oct. 9, 2019

A Cincinnati judge has denied a request from priest accused of abuse to reduce his bail. We are grateful for this move as it will ensure that the survivors of this priest will have their day in court.

Fr. Geoff Drew is being held on a $5 million bail on nine charges related to allegations that he raped a young altar boy in the late 1980s. In denying his request for a lower bail, Judge Leslie Ghiz said that she considered Fr. Drew a flight risk and that she was “more concerned about him fleeing, than anything else.”

We believe Judge Ghiz made the right call. We have seen many cases of accused clergy fleeing from justice, with the most recent example coming earlier this year in California. There, Fr. Alexander Castillo was facing charges of sexual abuse and was able to flee from justice after police began an investigation. We are glad that the same will not be happening with Fr. Drew.

As this case moves closer to trial, we hope that victims, witnesses, and whistleblowers will feel encouraged to come forward, make a report, and start healing. And we hope that church officials in Cincinnati will pull out the stops as they reach out to other victims of Fr. Drew and encourage them to report to local law enforcement.

https://bit.ly/30XEoYx

PITTSBURGH (PA)
Tribune Review

Oct. 9, 2019

By Deb Erdley

A woman is suing the Catholic Diocese of Greensburg, claiming she was repeatedly raped by a priest in her Seward parish in 1972 after the priest was transferred there because of earlier abuse allegations.

The woman, identified only as Jane Doe, said she suffered horrific sexual abuse by the late Rev. George Pierce between 1973 or 1974, when she was about 11 years old, until 1978.

The lawsuit is the most recent allegation to surface against the late clergyman, who was singled out in the August 2018 grand jury report detailing abuse allegations against 301 Pennsylvania priests charged with abusing more than 1,000 children over several decades.

Doe’s attorney, Altoona lawyer Richard Serbin of Janet, Janet & Suggs, said Doe, who is now in her 50s, initially applied to the Greensburg diocese’s compensation fund. She opted to pursue a lawsuit instead after she was offered $88,100 and informed that was the maximum the church would be offering anyone.

Former female Catholic school teacher accused of sexual contact with two girls

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

Oct. 9, 2019

By Mike McAndrew

For nearly 30 consecutive years, Most Precious Blood Parish in Angola had priests accused of molesting boys assigned to work at the church and its elementary school.

But lawsuits filed Tuesday allege a former female teacher, Dianna Vacco, sexually abused two girls who were in her Most Precious Blood School class decades ago.

An Angola woman’s lawsuit accuses Vacco of having sexual contact with her on at least 50 occasions when she was 10 to 13 years old, from about 1976 to 1980.

An Ellicottville woman’s lawsuit accuses Vacco of having sexual contact with her on at least 200 occasions when she was 11 to 15 years old, from 1980 to 1985.

The cases allege Vacco had sex with the girls in New York State and Florida, spending time with them at Vacco’s home, Vacco’s parents' home, in her car, and at Vacco’s home in Florida.

The lawsuits name as defendants Dianna Vacco, the Buffalo Diocese, Most Precious Blood Parish and Most Precious Blood School.

Vacco, who is also known as Dianna Mroz, did not respond to a message from The Buffalo News seeking her comment. Vacco resides in Florida and has a Florida teaching certificate valid through 2022, according to the state’s Department of Education website. Vacco has also been associated with several Florida businesses that promote professional and youth dancing.

Boston attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who is representing the women suing Vacco, declined to comment on the cases.

Australian prosecutors argue no grounds for ex-Vatican treasurer's final sex crimes appeal

MELBOURNE (AUSTRALIA)
Reuters

Oct. 8, 2019

Prosecutors have urged Australia’s High Court to refuse to hear a final appeal by former Vatican treasurer George Pell against his convictions for sexually abusing two 13-year-old boys in the late 1990s.

In opposing arguments put by Pell’s lawyers to Australia’s highest court, prosecutors said there was no error in the approach taken by the Victorian state Court of Appeal.

The state appellate court upheld Pell’s convictions, in a 2-1 ruling in August, on five charges of abusing the two boys at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne when he was archbishop there.

“The appeal raises no question of law of public importance,” the prosecutors said in a filing to the High Court on Tuesday. The facts of the case were “carefully and thoroughly explored by the majority of the Court of Appeal”, they said.

Pell’s lawyers have seven days to respond, after which a panel of High Court judges will decide whether to hear the appeal, a High Court spokesman said. That decision can be made just on the submitted applications or following a hearing.

The earliest the case could be heard would be in 2020, should the court decide to take on the appeal.

Pell is the highest-ranking Catholic worldwide to be convicted of child sex offences. He was jailed in March for six years and will be eligible for parole in October 2022, when he will be 81.

Two of the three judges at the Victorian appeal court ruled that “it was open to the jury to be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that Cardinal Pell was guilty of the offences charged”.

North Belmont Church of God Pastor Nicholas Martin Accused of Sexually Abusing

GASTON COUNTY (NC)
Legal Herald

Oct. 9, 2019

At least 4 people have accused a music and youth pastor at North Belmont Church of God of sexual abuse.

North Belmont Church of God music and youth pastor Nicholas Martin was arrested on Saturday, October 5 for allegedly sexually abusing a 14-year-old girl. Since that initial arrest, another three accusers have come forward with similar allegations of sexual abuse.

Martin has been charged with several sex crime charges, including four counts of indecent liberties with a child, four counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and one count of felonious indecent exposure to a minor.

Since his arrest, three other people have contacted the police and the district attorney’s office to report that Martin had also abused them.

Martin lived next to the North Belmont Church of God. In the first case, he is accused of giving the 14-year-old girl alcohol before abusing her multiple times. According to the authorities, the girl was abused several times between October 2018 and September 2019.

Pedophile Fr. George Epoch, SJ, cut a wide swath of destruction

WIIKWEMKOONG (CANADA)
Manitoulin Expositor

Oct. 9, 2019

By Warren Schlote

It was on April 23, 1990, according to the Kitchener-Waterloo Record, that the story of Father George Epoch began to unravel. That’s the date when the priest at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in Cape Croker reported the allegations he had heard from one of his parishioners about what Father Epoch had done to the complainant.

Two years later on August 30, 1992, Jesuit Provincial Superior Father Eric Maclean travelled to Cape Croker and offered an apology to the victims of Father Epoch. A further two years later, the Jesuit Fathers of Upper Canada published an institutional apology on Page 27 of The Manitoulin Expositor’s December 7, 1994 edition.

Polish court orders compensation for 1980s victim of pedophile priest

WARSAW (POLAND)
Agence France-Presse

Oct. 9, 2019

Pedophile acts by a Catholic priest in the 1980s were like "torture", a Polish court has said, as it lifted the statute of limitation and ordered compensation to the victim – an unprecedented decision in Poland.

The appeals court in the northern city of Gdansk ordered the accused priest, his former parish and diocese to pay 400,000 zlotys (92,500 euros) to Marek Mielewczyk, 50, the victim of sexual abuse from 1982-87.

"Sexually abusing minors unaware of the criminal nature of the acts perpetrated on them is to treat others in a humiliating and inhumane manner, which is the same as torture," judge Dorota Gierczak said, according to the PAP news agency on Tuesday, October 8.

The judge said the statute of limitation did not apply because it involved "acts incompatible with the rules of society".

French abuse victims urge Vatican to have archdiocese pay compensation

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Tablet

Oct. 9, 2019

By Tom Heneghan

'Successive bishops knew that Bernard Preynat was a criminal pedophile and they chose to keep him in contact with children.'

Victims of sexual abuse by a Lyon priest have urged the Vatican to recognise the responsibility of his archdiocese in the affair, which could open the door to compensation payments by the Church.

About 15 of them sent their demand to the Vatican after the admitted abuser, Bernard Preynat, was removed from the clerical state in July. The archdiocesan court said at the time that he could now concentrate on considering the financial demands of his victims.

More than 20 of his alleged victims have filed for damages of over 10,000 euros each.

But Preynat is insolvent and the archdiocese had no answer to questions about how the victims could otherwise be compensated.

The victims argued in their messages to the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, the Vatican's top court, that the archdiocese was responsible for keeping him in ministry until 2015 and thus enabling his abuse.

Pastor lingers in limbo after disputed 2016 accusation of exploiting heiress

KANSAS CITY (MO)
National Catholic Reporter

Oct. 9, 2019

By Peter Feuerherd

Her friends recall Marion Knott McIntyre as the type of woman who was quick to pick up the tab after Sunday post-Mass breakfast, and would spontaneously offer gifts, sometimes monetary, to people she felt had need. She rarely took no for an answer.

That legacy – Knott McIntryre died a childless widow in December 2017 at 86 years old – has long been in dispute. Was she simply naturally generous? Or was her generosity exploited?

Fr. Christopher Senk, pastor of St. Isabel Church here, was charged by his bishop with improperly influencing McIntyre, a St. Isabel's parishioner, who gave him $25,000-30,000 in gifts over a six-year period, as well as naming the priest in her estate, to the objection of some members of her Maryland-based family.

"Please understand it is my obligation to exercise careful vigilance," Bishop Frank Dewane of the Diocese of Venice, which includes St. Isabel's, wrote to the parish after Senk was expelled from his rectory in October 2016. Senk, pastor at St. Isabel's since 2003, was placed on administrative leave at that time.

The case has played out in an atmosphere both of distrust of the church hierarchy and, conversely, the response of bishops sensitive about criticism of failure to act against ethical lapses by clergy in the past.

A vocal group of parishioners who support Senk have long disputed Dewane's vigilance. They say Dewane is guilty of railroading a popular pastor, known for opening his rectory on holidays to parishioners bereft of family, with the pastor cooking the meals.

Repressed memories: Veteran alleges sex abuse by Catholic priest. He's suing decades later.

JACKSON (MS)
Clarion Ledger

Oct. 9, 2019

A civil lawsuit has been filed against the Biloxi diocese, a Mississippi church and the estate of the Rev. John Scanlon.

Scanlon's name was not on lists of credibly accused priests with Mississippi ties.

Lawyer argues that statue of limitation has not run out, since man only remembering now.
When he was 12, Robert McGowen went to catechism class. His mother was Southern Baptist, but his father was Catholic, so he attended classes at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Hattiesburg.

It was the mid-1980s and his priest was the Rev. John Scanlon.

Some days, McGowen's dad would be late picking him up from class. When that happened, McGowen said, Scanlon would take him into the rectory. For 35 years, McGowen said he repressed the memories of what happened to him.

Now he can't forget.

His attorney, John Hawkins, believes McGowen's repressed memories of sexual abuse have delayed the statute of limitations. Under that unique approach, a civil suit was filed last month against Scanlon's estate, Church of Sacred Heart and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Biloxi, which the church falls under.

New Lawsuit Filed Against the Diocese of Biloxi

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

Oct. 8, 2019

A new sexual abuse and cover up case has been filed against a Mississippi diocese. We hope that this brave survivor’s decision to come forward will encourage others who may have seen, suspected or suffered crimes in the Diocese of Biloxi to make a report of their own.

According to the filing, Robert McGowen was abused in the rectory of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Hattiesburg, MS by Fr. John Scanlon from 1984-1985. Mr. McGowen alleges that Fr. Scanlon verbally, sexually, and emotionally abused him when he was 12 to 13 years old and argues that “the Diocese of Biloxi wholly failed to conduct an adequate investigation” into Fr. Scanlon. Had they done so, he argues, Fr. Scanlon never would have been in a position of authority over children.

Fr. Scanlon is now deceased and Mr. McGowen now lives in Arkansas.

As part of his lawsuit, Mr. McGowen is demanding that the Diocese of Biloxi release a list of accused clergy, lay employees, and volunteers “accused of abuse or infliction of emotional distress on minors.”

Judge keeps $5 million bond for priest accused of raping altar boy

CINCINNATI (OH)
Cincinnati Enquirer

Oct. 9, 2019

By Kevin Grasha

A Hamilton County judge on Wednesday said bond for a priest accused of raping an altar boy 30 years ago will stay at $5 million.

Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Leslie Ghiz said her primary concern is that the Rev. Geoff Drew is a flight risk.

"Your client is charged with anally and orally raping a…child," Ghiz told Drew's attorney, Brandon Moermond. She added: "I'm more concerned about him fleeing, than anything else."

Drew was not in the courtroom for the hearing. He is being held at the Hamilton County jail.

In August, Moermond filed a motion to modify Drew's bond. Among his arguments was that Drew is a priest, has no criminal history, and has "extensive family in the area, including his ailing mother, his siblings and close family friends."

Moermond also said Drew's case has been handled differently than others because of media coverage. In his motion, Moermond said Ghiz had set Drew's $5 million bond at a hearing “in front of no less than six television reporters and cameras."

Michigan priest pleads guilty to assault in clergy abuse case

DETROIT (MI)
Detroit News

Oct. 8, 2019

By Mark Hicks

A Michigan priest pleaded guilty Tuesday to aggravated assault in a case part of the Attorney General Office's investigation of clergy sexual abuse, state officials announced.

The Rev. Patrick Casey, who was among several priests charged in May in connection with the probe, is the first convicted, Attorney General Dana Nessel said in a statement on Tuesday.

He had been accused of engaging in sexual acts during confession with a 24-year-old man who came to him for counseling in 2013.

When the man reported the incident to the Archdiocese of Detroit in 2015, Casey admitted the acts occurred and the archdiocese removed Casey from ministry, according to the attorney general’s complaint.

Casey, who was most recently assigned to St. Theodore of Canterbury in Westland, had been barred from representing himself as a priest or conducting any sort of church ministry, according to the archdiocese. His case was listed as under canonical review in Rome.

Pittsburgh clergy abuse compensation fund receives a total of 367 claims

PITTSBURGH (PA)
WIFT TV

Oct. 9, 2019

By Kathleen Davis

The firm overseeing the Diocese of Pittsburgh’s fund for victims of clergy sexual abuse says it’s received 367 claims. The deadline to apply was September 30.

Camille Biros is with the D.C.-based Law Offices of Kenneth R. Feinberg. She says the next step is to verify the claims made by the applicants, using corroborating evidence.

“Things like medical notes from therapy sessions,” Biros said. “It could be correspondence or communications with law enforcement, or the Diocese, or relatives.”

Biros said the team has gone through about 50 of the claims so far, and most were verified.

“We don have a large number of claims that were received at or near the deadline,” Biros said. “So we’re months away from finishing our work for the Diocese.”

Lawsuit alleges abuse by another legendary Staten Island priest, this time Monsignor Gaffney at Sea

STATEN ISLAND (NY)
Staten Island Advance

Oct. 9, 2019

By Maura Grunlund

A former principal and prominent monsignor on Staten Island is accused of sexually abusing a student decades ago at St. Joseph by-the-Sea High School in Huguenot.

The allegations against Monsignor Thomas Gaffney, who died in 2004, are detailed in a recent lawsuit filed against the Archdiocese of New York and the high school, which is located at 5150 Hylan Blvd. in Huguenot.

The priest is one of three monsignors accused of sexual misconduct who held prominent positions decades ago both at Sea and in the Island Roman Catholic church.

Whistleblower priests and seminarians are finally talking to reporters, but suffering major consequences

Get Religion blog

Oct. 9, 2019

By Julia Duin

Back in the days when I was digging around after rumors about former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s rumored sexual predations, I’d run into priests and laity who told me about all of the dark secrets that they knew. But they didn’t want to go public because, for the priests, it was a career-ender to spill the church’s dirty secrets.

Most, like Robert Hoatson, a New Jersey priest, were simply pushed out. Only now is he being vindicated.

But some even told me they were afraid of being killed. One former employee for the Archdiocese of Washington said that if she told me everything she knew, she’d end up at the bottom of the Potomac attached to some concrete blocks.

Sting of abuse scandal hits Oklahoma Catholics

OKLAHOMA CITY (OK)
The Oklahoman

Oct. 9, 2019

Like their peers in so many parts of the country, Roman Catholics in Oklahoma are experiencing the heartbreak and anger that come with learning of priests who abused children and the Church’s mishandled of abuse allegations.

The Diocese of Tulsa and Eastern Oklahoma released a list last week of 11 priests and other individuals who had been credibly accused of sex abuse against a minor since the diocese’s inception in 1973. One day later, the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City said an investigation dating to 1960 revealed 11 current or former priests were credibly accused of sexually abusing minors.

In both dioceses, the reports were issued by outside, and highly regarded, law firms — GableGotwals in Tulsa, and McAfee & Taft in Oklahoma City. The firms had free rein to investigate every file — a commendable and wise move. Any hint of interference or control by the diocese and archdiocese would have clouded the findings.

Those findings are distressing. For example, McAfee & Taft cited a now-deceased priest who was accused of child sexual abuse in 1989. Damning videotapes were recovered from the priest’s home, but the law firm found no evidence the priest was reported to law enforcement or the Department of Human Services, and eventually he was assigned to two parishes in other states.

The report also found that the archdiocese in 2002 paid the legal fees for a priest to file a defamation lawsuit against a man who had accused him of sexual abuse — even though the priest had admitted his actions to former Archbishop Eusebius Beltran and former Vicar General Edward Weisenburger.

Church accused of covering up priest’s abuse, and paternity

SAMBURU (KENYA)
Associated Press

Oct. 9, 2019

When Sabina Losirkale went into labor, her sister Scolastica recalls, priests and religious sisters filled the delivery ward waiting to see the color of the baby's skin — and if their worst fears had come to pass.

Scolastica and dozens of villagers peered in from behind the clinic fence, as well.

A nun screamed. The boy was white — "a mzungu child," Scolastica said, using Kiswahili slang.

"How will we cover up this shame?" the sisters fretted, she recalled.

The shame that brought this baby into the world: An Italian missionary priest, her family alleges, impregnated this Kenyan girl when she was just 16. But the nuns need not have worried about the scandal spreading.

The priest — who to this day denies paternity — was transferred, and a Kenyan man was found for Sabina to marry. He would be listed as the father on the boy's birth certificate.

The church's efforts to conceal what is alleged to have happened here would stretch over three decades — a testament to the extraordinary ways in which church officials have dealt with accusations that priests in the developing world have had sex with girls and young women. Here, the Catholic Church's sexual abuse crisis is just beginning to force a reckoning.

The boy who was born to Sabina Losirkale on that day in 1989 has been an outcast of sorts for all of his life. Tall and light-skinned, with wavy hair, Gerald Erebon, now 30, looks nothing like the dark-skinned Kenyan man who he was told was his father, or like his black mother and siblings.

"According to my birth certificate, it is like I am living a wrong life, a lie," he said. "I just want to have my identity, my history."

Victims advocate Dougherty named to SNAP board

JOHNSTOWN (PA)
Tribune Democrat

Oct. 9, 2019

By Dave Sutor

Shaun Dougherty first learned about the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests when he watched the 2015 movie “Spotlight” that told the story of work being done by journalists, SNAP and attorney Mitchell Garabedian to expose clergy sexual abuse in the Boston area.

Around the same time, the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General released a grand jury report that detailed decades of sexual abuse and coverup within the Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown in which Dougherty’s own alleged victimization was mentioned.

Dougherty, a Westmont resident, soon started attending SNAP support meetings and advocating for victims.

Those two paths recently converged with Dougherty being named to SNAP’s Board of Directors.

October 8, 2019

Could the future of Catholicism be taking shape in this church basement?

FALL RIVER (MA)
Boston Globe

October 8, 2019
By Neil Swidey

In Fall River, a group of parishioners won the chance to run their crumbling church. If their experiment works here, it might just work anywhere.

I WAS SURE THE CATHOLIC CHURCH had lost the ability to wound me — or even to make me care.

Like so many others brought up in the church, I had drifted away in the face of its leaders’ princely arrogance, never mind outright criminality. There are only so many times you can hear about yet another bishop covering up for yet another predator in a collar, who had shredded the life of yet another vulnerable child. Or see a pastor call the cops to clear a church of its most loyal parishioners, as one did in Natick in 2004, leading to arrests on Christmas morning.

Many people made the difficult decision to stick with the Roman Catholic Church after the revelations in 2002 about widespread clergy sex abuse in the Boston Archdiocese, only to feel a new wave of violation a few years later. They were forced to watch their local church get shuttered as part of a diocesan real estate sell-off meant to confront dwindling attendance and mounting legal bills. Church closings tend to be the ultimate local issue, though. If yours is on the chopping block, you care passionately. Otherwise, it can seem like somebody else’s problem.

These Women Say a Trusted Pediatrician Abused Them as Girls. Now They Plan to Sue.

LONG ISLAND (NY)
The New York Times

October 8, 2019

By Roni Caryn Rabin

State officials stripped Stuart Copperman of his medical license almost 20 years ago. Armed with a new law, his former patients hope to file civil lawsuits.

Stuart Copperman was, to all appearances, an old-fashioned pediatrician. For 35 years, he ran a bustling practice in Merrick, Long Island, where he was revered by parents as an authority on everything from colic to chickenpox. Well-dressed, affable and tan year-round, he was always available in an emergency, and even made house calls.

When he told mothers that their daughters were old enough to see him alone — without a parent in the room, so the girls could speak freely — they accepted it as sound medical practice. Girls who told their mothers that the pediatrician had rubbed their genitals or inserted his fingers into their vaginas were often met with disbelief.

“He was such a charming, affectionate, involved man — we all thought he was a god,” said Dina Ribaudo, 43, who lives in Arizona. “You just couldn’t imagine this bright, shining light ever hurting anyone.” Mr. Copperman started molesting her when she was 8, she said.

Durham pastor leads Southern Baptist summit on abuse

RALEIGH (NC)
North State Journal

Oct. 9, 2019

By David Larson

After a series of high-profile sex abuse revelations in 2018 and 2019, church leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention met in Dallas, Texas, last week to confront the issue. The event, billed as the “Caring Well Conference,” took place over the Oct. 4-6 weekend and was organized by the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, the public policy arm of the SBC.

Despite already approving legislation on abuse during their 2019 annual convention, the amendments cannot go into effect until they are affirmed again at 2020’s convention in Orlando, Florida. Rather than wait another year, SBC leaders decided to hold this conference in Dallas to begin the process of addressing abuse in the church.

J.D. Greear, the pastor of Summit Church in Durham and current SBC president, rose to his role in 2018 as the scandal was beginning to gain headlines. It has defined his time in leadership as he’s looked for ways to keep the country’s second-largest denomination together.

The major initiative that Greear and the SBC presented at the weekend conference is called the “Caring Well Challenge,” which the SBC hopes will give member churches some tools as they wait to vote on more concrete measures in 2020. The SBC also created a website and a video of Greear describing the program.

Vatican’s Choice of Bishop DiMarzio in Buffalo a ‘Sign of Trust’: Archbishop Pierre

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Tablet

Oct. 7, 2019

By Jorge I. Dominguez-Lopez

Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the papal nuncio to the United States, said that Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio was selected to lead an apostolic visitation to the troubled Diocese of Buffalo because of the “trust” the Vatican has in him.

“The Holy Father said, ‘We need to do a total investigation to go to the roots of the problem,’ and Bishop DiMarzio, because of who he is, was given this task […] Certainly, it is a sign of trust toward Bishop DiMarzio,” Archbishop Pierre said.

The Diocese of Buffalo has been under a cloud because of cases of sexual abuse and cover-up. On Oct. 3, Archbishop Pierre announced that Pope Francis had decided Bishop DiMarzio will make an apostolic visitation to the diocese to conduct a fact-finding mission.

On Oct. 6, Archbishop Pierre celebrated the French-language Mass as St. Agnes Roman Catholic Church, Carroll Gardens, where he spoke to The Tablet.

Archbishop Pierre explained that Bishop DiMarzio’s mission was to listen to the people in the Diocese of Buffalo, collect the facts and send the results of his investigation to the Vatican.

“It is not a judgment, it is an investigation,” Archbishop Pierre said. “It is a service that the Holy Father has asked [Bishop DiMarzio] to do, to examine what is really going on.”

Asked about the Pan-Amazonian Synod that was starting at the Vatican that day, Archbishop Pierre explained that ecology has been an important topic for Pope Francis from the beginning of his papacy. He said that the pope made clear in his encyclical, “Laudato si” that caring for our “common house” is an important issue for the church.

Belleville bishop fights new sex abuse suit

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

Oct. 8, 2019

As they have for decades, Belleville Catholic officials are trying to exploit a technicality to evade responsibility for the alleged crimes of a credibly accused child molesting priest. Shame on them. https://www.bnd.com/news/local/community/belleville/article233303452.html

Just once, we'd love to see a Catholic official say "Instead of fighting this abuse victim with legal loopholes, we're choosing to fight on the merits." But in 30 years, we've never seem that happen.

Nearly every time abuse and cover up reports surface, bishops work long and hard to convince us that they've changed. Yet in this most crucial way, none of them have: they continue to hide behind and exploit every technicality their shrewd lawyers can find to make sure their wrongdoing stays concealed and won't be exposed in court.

We hope Bishop Edward Braxton's latest legal maneuver fails. We hope this brave victim gets his day in court. And we hope others who saw, suspected or suffered crimes or misdeeds by Msgr. Joseph Schwagel will come forward and get help.

Third lawsuit accuses former Albany Bishop Howard Hubbard of sex abuse

ALBANY (NY)
Times Union

Oct. 8, 2019

By Cayla Harris

A third lawsuit accusing retired Bishop Howard J. Hubbard of sexual abuse was filed Thursday in state Supreme Court in Albany.

The latest complaint accuses the former longtime leader of the Albany Diocese and another priest of abusing a teenage boy at a Troy church between 1976 and 1978 but does not provide details of the alleged sexual abuse.

The second priest is identified in the court filing as Joseph Mato, though the Times Union could not determine if a priest by that name served at St. Michael's in the late 1970s. Mary DeTurris Poust, a spokeswoman for the Albany Diocese, said she could not confirm that the diocese employed a man by that name, though a priest with a similar name did work at St. Michael's during that period. That priest died in 2016.

"Because of his childhood abuse, plaintiff ... is unable to fully describe all of the details of that abuse and the extent of the harm that he suffered as a result," the lawsuit states. It adds that Hubbard and the other priest allegedly used their roles to "entice" and "take control of" the plaintiff and sexually assault him.

Anonymous No More: NJ Man Details His Abuse As A Boy Scout

WESTFIELD (NJ)
Patch

Oct. 8, 2019

By Russ Crespolini

He says he survived repeated sexual abuse, stalking and harassment by a Boy Scout leader who went on to become a Catholic priest.

What made it worse was that the accused was also a family friend.

But for so long, Westfield's Michael Mautone kept his story anonymous.

Not anymore.

Mautone is now sharing his story of survival and recovery in the hopes that it will encourage others to face the truth as he did.

Fr. Patrick Casey Pleads Guilty, SNAP Reacts

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

Oct. 8, 2019

A Michigan priest who was charged with sexual abuse has pled to a lesser charge. For the safety of the vulnerable, we hope the cleric is put behind bars for as long as possible.

Fr. Patrick Casey was accused of sexually coercing and abusing a man who came to him for counseling. This kind of abuse of power can be very damaging and we are hopeful that the victim in this case is getting the help he needs.

We are very grateful to the brave victim in this case and to the law enforcement professionals who pursued it. We hope that others who were abused in Michigan, whether by Fr. Casey or others, will come forward, make a report to police, and start healing.

Two Popes director cut down sex abuse scandal scenes to avoid over-powering film

LONDON (ENGLAND)
Premier

Oct 8, 2019

A new film about Popes Benedict and Francis originally contained much more material about the sex abuse scandal but was cut down for fear of it over-powering the film, its director Fernando Meirelles has said.

The Brazilian filmmaker, who is responsible for films such as City Of God and The Constant Gardener, said an earlier cut of The Two Popes originally contained more scenes about the topic.

Arriving at the movie's premiere at the BFI London Film Festival, he told the PA news agency: "Of course we tackle these issues, because we couldn't make a film on the church without tackling it, but we had more scenes on child abuse that we cut from the film because we had too much.

"That is what we felt when we first cut the film, if we talked too much about it, it becomes the film, because it's such a topic.

"And that was not the film, this film was really about tolerance, tradition and a spiritual issue, a political issue, and we don't want it to all become about sexual abuse.

"So we tackle it but we don't go thick because it would steal the whole film, it would be a film about it."

Meirelles added he had little interest in the Catholic Church before he made the film, which stars Sir Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce, saying: "I knew nothing about what was happening and I had no interest at all about the relationship but I like Pope Francis very much, that is what dragged me to the story.

"For the film I think the relationship between both of them is the most interesting part of the film because they don't agree on anything, they really think in opposite ways but they have to find a common ground.

"So the story is about two persons who really don't like each other and having to deal with each other, which is something that is happening in the world.

By Denying Jehovah’s Witnesses Appeal, Supreme Court Sides with Transparency over Secrecy

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

Oct. 8, 2019

In a win for transparency and the public good, an appeal that sought to give more leeway to church officials in how they handle allegations of abuse will not be heard by the Supreme Court. We are grateful for this decision and hope that it will lead to safer, more informed communities.

By choosing to reject the argument put forth by Jehovah’s Witnesses church officials that internal documents related to allegations of abuse are covered by clergy-penitent privilege, the Supreme Court has put common sense ahead of the institutional privilege often enjoyed by churches. It is clear to most folks that memos circulated among staff are not the same as a confession between a parishioner and pastor, and we are glad that this argument was rejected by the Court.

When church officials can quietly dismiss one of their own who has been accused of abuse, all this does is put other children at danger. A recent AP investigation has shown exactly how this situation has played out over the years when they revealed that 1,700 priests accused of abuse are living without oversight, and many of them have gone on to become school counselors, youth workers, or foster parents. If the argument put forth by the Jehovah’s Witnesses had been accepted, we can only imagine how many more pastors, rabbis, elders, and other religious leaders would be able to abuse children, have their crimes covered up internally, and then be quietly sent off to different communities where they could abuse again.

Former Michigan priest charged with sex abuse pleads guilty to lesser charge

DETROIT (MI)
WXYZ TV

Oct. 8, 2019

Patrick Casey, a former priest who was charged with sex abuse, pleaded guilty to a lesser charge in court on Tuesday. This came after a jury was deadlocked during deliberations, which began Monday afternoon.

Casey, 55, was charged with one felony count of criminal sexual conduct. He is accused of performing sexual acts on a man he was counseling. If convicted, he could face up to 15 years in prison.

His attorney argued that he should be acquitted of the crime, saying the sexual acts were consensual, but a judge denied the request.

Casey is expected to be sentenced next month.

Priests in Hawthorne, New Rochelle placed on leave amid abuse accusations

ROCHLAND COUNTY (NY)
Rockland/Westchester Journal News

Oct. 8, 2019

By Matt Spillane

Two more pastors of Catholic churches in Westchester County have been placed on leave amid decades-old accusations of child abuse.

Monsignor Edward Barry of Holy Rosary in Hawthorne and Rev. William Luciano of Blessed Sacrament in New Rochelle have been temporarily restricted from ministry, Cardinal Timothy Dolan wrote in letters to parishioners of those two congregations on Oct. 3.

Barry and Luciano have each been accused of inappropriate conduct with a child decades ago, Dolan said. Luciano's allegation stems from the 1980s, Dolan said. No other details were available on the nature of the accusations.

Dolan added that both priests are presumed innocent while the Archdiocese of New York investigates.

Rev. Sebastian Pandarathikudiyll will serve as temporary administrator of Holy Rosary, while Bishop Gerald Walsh will temporarily oversee Blessed Sacrament.

Dolan's letters to Holy Rosary and Blessed Sacrament parishioners were sent a day after he sent a similar letter to parishioners of St. Vito-Most Holy Trinity Church in Mamaroneck.

Monsignor James White, the pastor of St. Vito-Most Holy Trinity, was placed on administrative leave after someone accused him of abuse dating back to the 1980s, when he was the dean of discipline at Cardinal Hayes High School, an all-boys school in the Bronx.

Christian charity: Managers knew for years that missionary abused kids

TUCSON (AZ)
NBC News 4

October 7, 2019

A Christian nonprofit has stated that two managers knew for years that an employee had confessed to a history of sexual offenses against minors but still allowed him to serve their organization as a missionary to Haiti.

Jeriah Mast, 38, from Millersburg, Ohio was indicted in a Holmes County court on July 3 with seven felony charges of gross sexual imposition and seven misdemeanor charges of sexual imposition.

Those crimes, which according to court documents allegedly involved children under the ages of 16 and some under 13, took place in Ohio between 1998 and 2008, Holmes County Prosecutor Sean Warner said. Mast pleaded not guilty to all charges, his lawyer John Johnson Jr. told NBC News.

Mast also faces allegations of sexually abusing minors during his time serving Christian Aid Ministries in Haiti, according to the Berlin, Ohio-based nonprofit.

“It is already well known that our former employee, Jeriah Mast, has confessed to molesting boys while working for our organization in Haiti,” Christian Aid Ministries’ board of directors wrote in an open letter on June 17.

Christian Aid Ministries said in the same letter that two managers at the organization had known about Mast’s behavior since 2013, when he had admitted to Christian Aid Ministries staff to “sexual activity” with boys under the age of 18 “that had taken place several years prior in Haiti,” Robert Flores, an attorney representing Christian Aid Ministries, told NBC News.

The managers did not return repeated calls and messages seeking comment.

By 2013, Mast had already been working for the organization in Haiti for six years. He had several roles there, including post-hurricane aid, distributing medicine to clinics and a school aid program.

The Supreme Court Rejected a Case About the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Sex Abuse

Patheos blog

Oct. 8, 2019

By Hemant Mehta

Yesterday, the Supreme Court announced that it would not take up a wild case concerning the organization that oversees the Jehovah’s Witnesses. We can breathe a huge sigh of relief that the case won’t be overturned. (In that link, it’s case 19-40 on page 42.)

The case, which involved child molestation and religious secrecy, centered around an incident that took place on July 15, 2006.

J.W., a nine-year-old girl with Jehovah’s Witness parents, was invited to her first slumber party at the home of Gilbert Simental. He had a daughter her age, so that wasn’t too weird. Two other girls (sisters) were also at the party. These families all knew and trusted Simental because, while he was no longer a local Witness leader, he had spent more than a decade as an elder in the faith. He was a religious leader who stepped down, he said, to spend more time with his son. They believed him. They all respected him. It’s why they allowed their girls into his home.

During that party, everyone got into a pool in the backyard… including Simental. And he proceeded to molest J.W. and the sisters. He did it again later that night. The sisters eventually told their parents, who reported Simental to local Witness elders (which is what they’re taught to do in these situations).

Simental confessed to some of the allegations, and the elders basically gave him a faith-based slap on the wrist: a reprimand that had no meaning outside church circles.

Priest Who Admitted Abuse on Video Also Spent Time in St. Louis and Kansas

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

Oct. 8, 2019

In a newly published investigation, a priest who was in the St. Louis archdiocese admitted on video molesting several young boys and a developmentally disabled young man.

For a year, from June 1983 to June of 1984, Fr. Roger A. Sinclair was on sick leave from the Greensburg PA diocese and was sent by for therapy at the now-closed House of Affirmation in Webster Groves Missouri, according to the Associated Press and a report by a grand jury report issued by the Pennsylvania attorney general.

In a letter dated May 23, 1984 to then-St. Louis Archbishop John May, then-Greensburg Bishop William Connare said Fr. Sinclair had been in Webster Groves "for emotional problems" and that the priest would leave the program soon. Connare assured May that Sinclair had his permission to work in such a setting if it were agreeable to May.

Later, Fr. Sinclair worked as an Air Force chaplain and in Kansas at the Topeka State Hospital where he "managed to gain access to a locked unit deceitfully" and tried to check out teenage boys from the hospital to go see a movie at least twice. However, the hospital refused to allow Fr. Sinclair to escort the minors out of the building. He was subsequently dismissed from the hospital.

Fr. Sinclair is now behind bars in Oregon.

This news reinforces what we in SNAP have long charged: that St. Louis Catholic officials have – and continue to – put kids in harm’s way by knowingly, secretively and deceitfully importing proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting clerics from across the US.

Victim Wants More Done About Clergy Sex Abuse

HARTFORD (CT)
WVIT TV

Oct. 7, 2019

By Mike Massaro

The Diocese of Bridgeport recently settled a clergy sexual abuse claim against the late Monsignor William Genuario, in the amount of $725,000. Monday the survivor of that abuse, maintaining anonymity, spoke out for the first time.

“I was in such bad shape I was on the verge of death. I was about to die,” said the survivor, referencing the years of emotional torment he’s suffered through.

As an 11 year old in 1988, the man, now 42, says he was sexually abused multiple times by Genuario, at St. Catherine of Siena Church in Greenwich.

“From 1978 to 1987 he was vicar general and he’s a child molester and that should be added to his resume,” said the survivor’s attorney, Mitchell Garabedian.

In the years since his molestations, the survivor says his life has been “infested with horror.”

“I have been under a total, I guess you can say, a demonic kind of life that I’ve lived after the abuse took place,” he said.

A report released last week by the Bridgeport Diocese revealed 281 victims of sexual abuse by clergy over the past 65 years within the that diocese.

OPINION: The truth about George Pell’s prison letter

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Australian Times

Oct. 8, 2019

By Tess Lawrence

Just hours before the Amazon Synod was due to start, in what amounts to a Declaration of War against Pope Francis, Cardinal Müller has released two films on YouTube based on his written Manifesto of Faith.

Cardinal George Pell’s malevolent crusade against Pope Francis remains as vigorous as his disdain and notorious self-professed disinterest for victims of child sex abuse.

In shocking and curious timing on 1 August, Cardinal George Pell’s supporters published a seemingly innocuous two-page letter the convicted paedophile had apparently penned and sent whilst in prison, on their Twitter account.

That letter was deleted and now the Twitter account “Cardinal George Pell Supporters” @PellCardinal has gone to god.

UB Law panel talks Child Victims Act

BUFFALO (NY)
WBFO Radio

Oct. 8, 2019

By Mike Desmond

The University at Buffalo Law School on Monday hosted a look at the Child Victims Act, the new state law that has reopened New York's history of sexual abuse for a one-year window. The law allows victims to go to court against abusers, even if the abuse occurred decades ago.

For months, the CVA has been an issue in the state's legal system. Hundreds of lawsuits have been filed, mostly against the Catholic Church around the state, although more are now being filed against public schools.

A bankruptcy, for example, of a Catholic diocese, might mean there will be no chance for a victim to testify or internal church records on priests to become public. State Assemblymember Monica Wallace said she has legislation to make sure it never happens again.

"I have a piece of legislation that's called the CARE Act, Child Abuse Reporting Expansion Act, which is intended to make clergy from all denominations mandatory reporters, because we need to recognize that they weren't mandatory reporters is part of the reason that this abuse was allowed to proliferate for so many years," Wallace said. "So what we want to do is make sure that we look prospectively and make sure that nothing like this happens again."

Cardinal says Church needs to 'exit' clerical abuse scandals

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Tablet

Oct. 8, 2019

By Sarah Mac Donald

The Church needs to “find a way of exiting” the negativity of the abuse scandals “otherwise it will suffocate us”, according to a senior cleric who is based in Rome.

The Prefect of the Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development, Cardinal Peter Turkson, also criticised Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin for apologising "too much".

In his keynote address to the Autumn conference of the Association of Leaders of Missionaries and Religious of Ireland (AMRI) at the Emmaus Centre in Dublin, Cardinal Turkson recognised the abuse crisis as one of four “signs of the times”.

Allentown Diocese taps little of its $300 million in Lehigh Valley real estate to compensate abuse victims

ALLENTOWN (PA)
The Morning Call

Oct. 8 2019

By Emily Opilo

Five months ago, the Allentown Diocese opened a window for people who were abused by priests to apply for a payout from the church.

To the hundred or so people who already had reported abuse, the diocese sent information about applying for compensation. To those who had kept silent, they extended an invitation. On Sept. 30, the window closed, capping the amount of money the diocese will be offering victims.

Diocesan officials see the fund as a step toward righting some of the wrongs documented by an explosive grand jury report in 2018, which named dozens of Allentown Diocese priests among the 301 accused of abusing about a thousand children across Pennsylvania.

The payouts will also cause “severe financial stress," the diocese cautioned in December, four months before it opened the fund to claims. It said then that it would tap available cash, borrow money and sell assets “to the extent possible” to cover the fund, noting no money would be taken from parishes.

Second priest in a week accused sexually assaulting a child

NEW YORK (NY)
News 12

Oct. 8, 2019

Parishioners at the Holy Rosary Church in Hawthorne have received a letter from Cardinal Timothy Dolan telling them about allegations against their pastor, Monsignor Edward Barry.

October 7, 2019

Survivors of Clergy Abuse vs. Catholic Church Lobbying Dollars

HARRISBURG (PA)
Fox 43 TV

Oct. 7, 2019

By Rachel Yonkunas

Survivors of clergy sexual abuse are up against big money in politics as they push for criminal and justice reform. A recent report showed the Catholic Church spent $10.6 million lobbying in northeast states since 2011. FOX43 Reveals how much money the Church paid out to lobby lawmakers in Pennsylvania, fighting bills that would have helped child sexual abuse survivors like the Fortney sisters.

The five Fortney sisters have gone public with their story of childhood sexual abuse at the hands of a trusted priest after they were silenced for nearly three decades.

“We were made to believe it was just us,” said Lara Fortney-McKeever.

In August 2018, a blockbuster grand jury report changed the trajectory of their story. The Fortney sisters learned there were hundreds of other children sexually abused by Catholic priests. The sisters’ traumatic stories of abuse were also detailed in that report.

“To know how many people are living the torture that you’ve lived, it’s shocking,” Theresa Fortney-Miller said through tears. “But it kind of makes you feel like you’re not alone too.”

Priest admits to another Vic child assault

VICTORIA (AUSTRALIA)
Associated Press

Oct. 7, 2019

By Marnie Bangers

A former priest who has been convicted of drugging and raping a 12-year-old boy has admitted assaulting another child.

Michael Aulsebrook, 63, pleaded guilty at the County Court of Victoria on Tuesday to indecently assaulting a boy aged 11 or 12 at a summer holiday camp he was managing when he was a Catholic brother in the mid-1980s.

The victim told police in 2016 about the assault, in which Aulsebrook touched his genitals and digitally penetrated him.

Will ordaining married priests save the Catholic Church from decline?

SAN FRANCISCO (CA)
Salon

Oct. 7, 2019

By Mary Elizabeth Williams

You know that moment in a once hugely popular, now hobbling along in its ninth season TV show when you watch a Nielsen grab in real time? Maybe it’s an abrupt time jump. Maybe it’s a surprise pregnancy. Maybe it’s the addition of a troubled yet cute boy that the family has to take in, for some reason. For the Roman Catholic Church, I think it’s this new "let's bring in some husbands" development.

The biggest Christian religion in the world is facing a serious ratings slump. Thanks to increasing acceptance of secularism, and a seemingly bottomless array of sex abuse scandals and stonewalling about meaningful reform, the numbers of self-identified Catholics have been falling off sharply in almost all parts of the world. According to the Pew Research Center, 13% of all U.S. adults identify as former Catholics. And even among those who currently claim the affiliation, the percentage of Catholics who are members of a church has likewise fallen off in the last two decades. In once sturdy Catholic footholds, the drop-off is even more dramatic — in 1970, 92% of Latin America was Catholic. It’s predicted that in the next decade, Catholics will be the minority there.

Fewer Catholics, as well as continuing bad optics for the profession itself, have also led to a shortage of priests everywhere but on prestige TV shows. Back in March, the Vatican announced that the numbers of priests and candidates for the priesthood worldwide had dipped for the first time in a decade. Maybe it needs some fresh cast members!

On Sunday, Pope Francis formally opened up a three-week summit of his bishops that will focus on “faith, sustainability and development” in the Amazon region. It will feature open debate about one of the church’s longest held traditions, potentially paving the way for some married men to be eligible for ordination. In this remote area of the world, priests are already scarce and their numbers are only dwindling. Religion News reported back in August that Catholics in the region typically only attend mass once a year — a crisis for an institution that prizes the sacrament of communion as “the fount and apex of the whole Christian life.” One workaround the Vatican is considering is allowing a few married guys to wear the collar.

Priest sexual assault allegations civil case starts in Vancouver

VANCOUVER (CANADA)
Richmond News

Oct. 7, 2019

By Jeremy Hainsworth

A 42-year-old case of allegations of sexual assault by a Kamloops priest against a grieving woman and the diocese’s responsibility in the situation is not a case of determining damages but how much those damages will be, BC Supreme Court heard Oct. 7.

“This is a clear-cut, simple, civil, sexual assault case,” diocese lawyer John Hogg told the court.

Rosemary Anderson alleged in a Dec. 22, 2016, notice of civil claim the sexual abuse at the hands of Father Erlindo “Lindo” Molon, now 86, started when she was 26 when she sought solace after her father’s death. She names Molon and the Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Kamloops, A Corporation Sole, in the claim.

Anderson was working as a diocese teacher at the time.

Editorial: Catholic Church is still lax on oversight

MIDDLETOWN (NY)
Times Herald Record

Oct. 7, 2019

The scope of the child sexual abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church, which was exposed early in this century, grew dramatically last year when U.S. dioceses began releasing names of clergy considered to be credibly accused. More than 5,000 names have now been disclosed. But that’s not the end of it.

As an exhaustive report by the Associated Press reveals, of the approximately 2,000 men still alive, nearly 1,700 are living with virtually no oversight from church or law enforcement agencies. Many are in positions of trust which afford access to children. And, AP reports, dozens have committed crimes, including sexual assault and possessing child pornography,

It’s the result of the decision by many dioceses to ignore recommendations made when the scandal became public to reveal names of priests credibly accused of sex abuse and to create programs to counsel and oversee the activities of the men. While the church grudgingly began reporting some abusers to police — which placed the offenders in the oversight of official authorities — most dioceses chose to simply defrock the priest and return them to private life.

As AP reports, this often meant working as teachers, counselors, nurses, volunteers in community groups and living near playgrounds and daycare centers.

SNAP to Maryland AG: Time to Investigate the Archdiocese of Baltimore

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

Oct. 7, 2019

A new internal report released by church officials in Connecticut has serious implications for the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

Judge Robert Holzberg concluded that the Diocese of Bridgeport continually ignored laws regarding the reporting of abuse and failed in their duty to protect children under their care. One of the bishops specifically called out for this practice, the late Cardinal Lawrence J. Shehan, went on to become the Archbishop of Baltimore. We are concerned that Cardinal Shehan continued to cover up the sexual abuse of children in Maryland as well.

Another Baltimore Archbishop also came to Maryland from the Diocese of Bridgeport. Current Archbishop William E. Lori was the bishop of Bridgeport from 2001 to 2012, just prior to coming to Baltimore.

Judge Holzberg’s report says when at the helm in Bridgeport, Archbishop Lori acted quickly to remove abusive priests and implemented a new approach to handling allegations. However, he also engaged in a lengthy court fight to conceal documents on the Bridgeport scandal. The Bridgeport report acknowledges that the court battle “somewhat undercut” the diocese’s progress on transparency.

MY JOURNEY BACK TO A BROKEN CHURCH

WASHINGTON (DC)
Sojourners

Oct. 7, 2019

By Sonja Livingston

It’s not an easy time to be Catholic. In fact, I hadn’t regularly attended Mass since the 1990s, but like many lapsed Catholics, I still kept tabs, feeling gutted with every new scandal and disclosure of abuse. Things began to look up with the arrival of Pope Francis in 2013. Even so-called cultural Catholics like me could feel hopeful. With Francis, the church played to its strength, which has always been love. “Who am I to judge?” Pope Francis famously said, and even my most cynical friends responded in kind. “Maybe, I’ll go back to Mass.” All such talk ended by 2018, when a Pennsylvania Grand Jury alleged that more than 300 priests had abused 1,000 children across the state, setting off a flurry of subsequent revelations and horrors.

For years, the church has refused to budge on issues the culture has largely accepted, especially related to issues of sexual morality and gender. How long could the voter who supported reproductive rights, the man in love with his boyfriend, or the divorced mother continue to warm the seats? Catholics began abandoning their pews decades before the first wave of scandals broke in 2009, though the sexual abuse crisis certainly ushered more out the door.

In an essay calling for the abolishment of the priesthood in The Atlantic this past June, author and former priest, James Carroll describes a church crippled by clericalism and misogyny, racked by predatory behavior and the much more insidious culture of looking the other way. The message of Carrol’s article was clear: If it’s to survive, the church’s clerical structure must be eliminated. “The very priesthood,” Carroll wrote, “is toxic.”

Meanwhile, my home diocese of Rochester, N.Y. filed for bankruptcy on Sept. 12, making it the first of New York State’s eight dioceses to do so. When the state’s Child Victims Act extended the statute of limitations for survivors of child sexual abuse this past August, a one-year window opened to file claims. More than 600 lawsuits were filed statewide in the first month alone, with the bulk naming Roman Catholic dioceses for past abuse by priests. Like many communities throughout the northeast, New York’s cities have been plagued by lagging attendance and church closings for the past few decades. In other words, Rochester's bankruptcy was less of a shock than a sign of the times.

Lawsuit filed against Diocese of Venice for inappropriate contact during confession

SARASOTA (FL)
Herald Tribune

Oct. 7, 2019

By Earle Kimel

An Avon Park woman has filed a $15 million suit against the Diocese of Venice, alleging that the Rev. Nicholas McLoughlin, 77, formerly of Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in Avon Park, attempted to grope and sexually assault her during confession in April 2018.

The Oct. 2 lawsuit filed in the 12th Judicial Circuit by Fort Lauderdale-based attorney Adam Horowitz on behalf of the woman — who was identified only as L.B. — alleges the Diocese and Bishop Frank. J. Dewane should have known that McLoughlin was “unfit, dangerous, and/or a threat to the health, safety, care, health and well-being of their parishioners such as L.B.”

McLoughlin was placed on administrative leave by the Diocese in November, while the Diocese of St. Petersburg reviews a complaint of “inappropriate physical contact with a minor” lodged against him.

That allegation occurred while McLoughlin served as pastor of Corpus Christi Parish in Temple Terrace from 1973 to 1982.

Last November, in a letter to parishioners, Dewane said that allegation had “a semblance of truth.”

Previously, McLoughlin was a co-defendant in two lawsuits involving his brother, Ed McLoughlin, a former priest who was accused of molesting teenage boys in the 1980s and 1990s.

A Diocese of Venice spokeswoman said via email Monday that the Diocese has not yet been served with the Avon Park lawsuit and McLoughlin is retired and no longer in the ministry.

The Avon Park complaint was looked into by Highlands County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Anthony P. McGann but based upon lack of evidence or other witnesses, Assistant State Attorney Steve Houchins told him that the case would not be prosecuted.

According to McGann’s report, L.B. moved to from Homestead to Highlands County in February, to be closer to her sister. After a web search, she determined Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church was the Catholic Church closest to where she lived.

Westmoreland County trust sought to pay Pittsburgh diocese’s sex abuse claims

PITTSBURGH (PA)
Tribune Review

Oct. 7, 2019

By Tom Davidson

An Allegheny County judge will decide whether a trust that a Westmoreland County farmer and former state representative bequeathed to the Roman Catholic church to help needy boys can be used by the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh to help pay victims of clergy sexual abuse.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s office opposes using the 120-year-old Toner Trust — now valued at more than $8 million — for the diocese’s Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program.

“This distribution would be inconsistent with the charitable intent of James L. Toner,” Senior Deputy Attorney General Gene Herne wrote in a brief opposing use of the trust to settle sexual abuse claims.

Diocesan spokeswoman Ellen Mady declined comment. The diocese is awaiting a hearing to be set in the matter, she said.

Shapiro’s office didn’t return requests for further comment.

Priest Sex Abuse Trial: Man Testifies Of Encounter During 'Confession'

DETROIT (MI)
Deadline Detroit

October 3, 2019

By Michael Betzold

In the first trial of a priest swept up in Attorney General Dana Nessel’s May dragnet, a 31-year-old man man gave dramatic graphic testimony Thursday, detailing how he had sought to confess his sins to Patrick Casey but instead the priest shocked him by initiating oral sex in January 2013.

The victim testified that he was so convinced he was headed for hell, because of homosexual urges, that he broke up with his boyfriend of six years and attempted suicide just before the encounter in Casey’s church office in Westland. The man was in his mid-20s at the time.

The case is one of seven charged to date based on more than a million documents seized by the attorney general last October from all seven of the state's Catholic dioceses. In May, Nessel rounded up priests nationwide and charged them with sex crimes in various Michigan courts. The Casey case differs from the others because it does not involve a minor victim and is based on a relatively recent incident. (The others involve priests who left the state after allegedly abusing minors decades ago.)

The John Doe who testified in Wayne County Circuit Judge Wanda Evans’ courtroom was converting as an adult to Catholicism and spent six months seeking spiritual and personal counsel from Casey, who was transferred during that period from St. Thomas a'Becket in Canton to St. Theodore in Westland.

He knew the church condemned homosexuality and became troubled, he said on the witness stand, just by looking at the bodies of strangers on the street or sitting in certain positions. Because Casey was aware of the victim’s anxious state, Assistant Attorney General Danielle Hagaman-Clark told jurors in her opening statement: “This case hinges on one word — coercion.” She charges Casey abused his authority in the case.

At least 65 Coloradans abused as children by Catholic clergy eligible for reparations from dioceses

DENVER (CO)
Denver Post

Oct. 7, 2019

By Elise Schmelzer

At least 65 people who were abused as children by Catholic clergy in Colorado are eligible to apply for reparations from the state’s three dioceses, officials said Monday.

As part of a review of the dioceses’ handling of sex abuse reports, the dioceses hired a nationally-known firm to decide which victims should be compensated outside the court process and how much each victim should receive. Kenneth Feinberg, one of the compensation administrators, said Monday that his firm already sent paperwork to start the reparations process to 65 victims who previously reported abuse.

The number offers the first glimpse of the scope of abuse in the state as the independent review ordered by the Colorado Attorney General’s office nears completion.

“Sixty-five, relative to some other states, is not a huge number, thank goodness,” Feinberg said.

AG keeps agreement with bishops secret

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

Oct. 7, 2019

He rejects SNAP’s Sunshine Act request
So victims ask AG & bishop for voluntarily release
SNAP: “If you’ve nothing to hide, disclose the deal”
Group says Schmitt’s abuse report is “the worst ever”
And it reveals 60 pages of never-seen-abuse records
Some are about ‘sex ring’ with three St. Louis seminarians

WHAT
After a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will try to hand-deliver a letter to the Missouri attorney general’s St. Louis office calling on him to voluntarily release
-any formal agreement he signed with bishops limiting his probe, and
--the names of all non-victims he and his staff met with (like experts and church officials).
(He’s already rebuffed a Sunshine Act request. SNAP’s also asking bishops to release such agreements.)

Jury deliberations begin in sexual assault case against former Michigan priest

DETROIT (MI)
WXYZ TV

Oct. 7, 2019

Jury deliberations have begun in the case of a former Detroit Archdiocese priest charged with sexual assault.

Patrick Casey, 55, was charged with one felony count of criminal sexual conduct. He is accused of performing sexual acts on a man he was counseling. If convicted, he could face up to 15 years in prison.

Casey's attorney argued that he should be acquitted of the crime, saying the sexual acts were consensual, but a judge denied the request.

Both attorneys spoke to the jury on Monday and gave closing arguments.

Fund for Needy Kids in Pittsburgh Targeted by Diocese to Use in Paying Abuse Claims, SNAP Reacts

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

Oct. 7, 2019

A catholic diocese in Pennsylvania has run afoul of the state attorney general for attempting to use funds earmarked for impoverished children to help pay for compensation for victims of clergy sexual violence.

This latest news out of the Diocese of Pittsburgh is a depressing look at how church officials act when their money is on the line. It is terrible that people were subjected to abuse in the first place. It is sad that those victims have no recourse criminally or civilly in Pennsylvania. And it is disappointing that church officials want to use funds earmarked for needy children to dodge the financial burden of these lawsuits.

Church officials have other options when it comes to raising money. Rather than pickpocket from poor children, they could borrow funds from the Knights of Columbus as Cardinal Bernard Law did in Boston. They could sell auxiliary church property and land in order to make up the shortfall. Or they could take up a collection explicitly for the purpose of making whole those victims and survivors who were hurt by priests, nuns, deacons, and other church staff.

We believe that when wrongdoers experience no real sacrifices for wrongdoing, they have no incentive to do right in the future. So we oppose any effort by church officials to rob a fund for needy kids to help victims of church officials’ criminal behavior. We hope that Attorney General Josh Shapiro is successful in his challenge and that the Diocese of Pittsburgh will have to look elsewhere to make up its monetary shortfall.

SNAP Criticizes Archdiocesan Policy to Keep Names of Deceased Abusers Hidden

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

Oct. 7, 2019

It is irresponsible, hurtful and self-serving for Catholic officials – in Chicago and elsewhere – to arbitrarily declare “We don’t investigate abuse reports against dead priests.” This decision hurts nearly everyone involved and helps only church bureaucrats who care about their comfort and careers.

It hurts victims, obviously, because it rewards their courage in coming forward with more insensitivity.

It hurts Catholics because it is another violation of bishops’ repeated pledges to be ‘transparent’ about abuse and because it perpetuates the gradual, painful unearthing of the truth about predators which is demoralizing.

And it hurts children and vulnerable adults because every time a fellow victim is ignored or rebuffed, it discourages others who know of or suspect abuse from speaking up and protecting others.

It is true that dead priests can’t defend themselves. But it’s also true that secular and church officials have found, buried deep in secret church files, admissions of guilt by child molesting clergy. Or reports from dozens of other victims – and some witnesses and whistleblowers – which lend tremendous credibility to other abuse reports.

Think about this scenario: Imagine that in 2017, Fr. Bob admitted in writing that he molested Sally. In 2018, Fr. Bob dies. And in 2019, Sally reports her abuse. In this scenario, Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich would, according to his practice and policy, keep Fr. Bob’s name and the accusations against him secret.

And what if Fr. Bob admitted sexually assaulting three other girls too, but none of them have yet found the strength to come forward to church officials? Or none of them were deemed credible by church officials? (Remember: three of every four abuse reports to Illinois Catholic officials are determined ‘unsubtantiated,’ according to former attorney general Lisa Madigan).

Shifting the tide of rape culture

STAMFORD (CT)
Stamford Advocate

October 5, 2019

By John Breunig

Luke Robbins has only been director of counseling for the area’s sexual assault resource center for a few days, so it almost seems unfair to engage him in conversation about the new report that exposes the depth of the Diocese of Bridgeport’s decades of covering up incidents of priests sexually assaulting children.

He’s up to the task.

The Stamford-based agency was recently rechristened The Rowan Center after The Rowan Tree, a symbol of resilience.

Past banners signaled more clarity about the agency’s mission (such as the Center for Sexual Assault Crisis and Education). But I can respect that people, like Robbins, who do this for a living need to use metaphors, similes and euphemisms. I’ll take any euphemism over vile lies like the ones perpetuated in the diocese for a few generations.

Catholic Church: Could Pope Francis say 'yes' to married priests?

VATICAN CITY
BBC News

October 6, 2019

By Lebo Diseko

Catholic bishops from around the world are meeting at the Vatican to discuss the future of the Church in the Amazon.

Over the next three weeks, some 260 participants will talk about climate change, migration and evangelism.

Pope Francis opened the talks on Sunday by blaming destructive "interests" that led to recent fires in the Amazon.

"The fire of God is warmth that attracts and gathers into unity. It is fed by sharing, not by profits," he said.

But one topic has dominated the headlines: whether married men will be allowed to become priests.

Without oversight, scores of accused priests commit crimes

UNITED STATES
The Associated Press

October 5, 2019

By Claudia Lauer and Meghan Hoyer

Nearly 1,700 priests and other clergy members that the Roman Catholic Church considers credibly accused of child sexual abuse are living under the radar with little to no oversight from religious authorities or law enforcement, decades after the first wave of the church abuse scandal roiled U.S. dioceses, an Associated Press investigation has found.

These priests, deacons, monks and lay people now teach middle-school math. They counsel survivors of sexual assault. They work as nurses and volunteer at nonprofits aimed at helping at-risk kids. They live next to playgrounds and day care centers. They foster and care for children.

And in their time since leaving the church, dozens have committed crimes, including sexual assault and possessing child pornography, the AP’s analysis found.

A recent push by Roman Catholic dioceses across the U.S. to publish the names of those it considers to be credibly accused has opened a window into the daunting problem of how to monitor and track priests who often were never criminally charged and, in many cases, were removed from or left the church to live as private citizens.

James Franco sued by 2 women over 'inappropriate and sexually charged behavior'

UNITED STATES
Yahoo Celebrity

October 3, 2019

By Taryn Ryder

James Franco was named in a lawsuit Thursday by two former students, Toni Gaal and Sarah Tither-Kaplan, who claim they were sexually exploited at his acting school, Studio 4. Tither-Kaplan is one of the women who publicly accused the actor of inappropriate behavior in 2018. A lawyer for Franco is calling it a "publicity seeking lawsuit."

According to documents obtained by the New York Times, Gaal and Tither-Kaplan allege Franco and his partners "engaged in widespread inappropriate and sexually charged behavior towards female students by sexualizing their power as a teacher and an employer by dangling the opportunity for roles in their projects."

Accusers' lawyers dispute latest Archdiocese sex abuse report, reconciliation program

NEW YORK
Rockland/Westchester Journal News

October 2, 2019

By Frank Esposito

Lawyers for those who have accused clergy of sexual abuse said any current abuse would not be reported until years later, casting doubt over a claim no recent credible claims since the early 2000s.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan sat on the edge of his seat while the findings of an independent investigation into the Archdiocese of New York's handling of sex abuse claims was read at a press conference in New York City on Monday.

A former federal judge and prosecutor Barbara Jones and a team of attorneys had combed through archdiocese records, and found the archdiocese hadn't had any credible claims against its priests since the early 2000s.

For the archdiocese, it's a light at the end of the tunnel, the epidemic of child sex abuse in the 20th century seemingly has a end.

Attorneys for plaintiffs, like Mitchell Garabedian, a prominent Boston-based attorney who represents more than 250 clergy sexual abuse plaintiffs in New York, see it as the light of another train.

Church leaders gave predator priests ‘getaway vehicle’ to abuse kids, lawyer says

PROVIDENCE (RI)
Providence Journal

October 2, 2019

By Brian Amaral

The attorney for a former altar boy suing the Diocese of Providence urged people to come forward with information that could shed light on what church leaders and others knew about the sexual abuse of children.

Timothy J. Conlon, attorney for now 53-year-old Philip Edwardo, said at a news conference Wednesday that the church and its leaders should be considered “perpetrators” of the abuse Edwardo suffered as a child, just as much as the abusive priest himself.

“The problem is the institution,” Conlon said at his office. “You don’t sue the cockroaches for being in a restaurant. You sue the restaurant for letting them breed.”

Edwardo, who now lives in Florida, said he was inappropriately touched, molested or otherwise abused from 100 to 300 times by the Rev. Philip Magaldi, then a parish priest at St. Anthony Church in North Providence. Magaldi died in 2008. In July, the diocese placed him on its list of “credibly accused” clergy.

Edwardo’s suit, filed Monday in state court, takes aim at the diocese’s role in the abuse crisis as part of an effort to overcome possible barriers to the litigation.

The Catholic Church in Sweden received pedophile-accused priests

The Teller Report

Oct. 6, 2019

The Swedish Catholic Church is now being pulled into the international pedophile scandal, with priests suspected of committing child abuse.

It is in new documents that came from two Catholic parishes in the United States that the two priests are named. They have also worked in Sweden during the 2000s, and have been accused of abuse here as well.

An increasing number of Catholic parishes in the United States have opened their archives and published lists of priests that the churches' own investigations have shown have so-called "credible accusations" of sexual offenses against children.

One of the cases that Meredith Colias-Pete of the Post Tribune newspaper in Gary outside Chicago has examined concerns a priest who was later moved to Sweden. He was active in three different parishes in Gary during the 1980s. In the document the congregation published last year, the priest is listed as "credibly accused" of abuse against six children.

"The problem is that it is the church's own investigation that has determined which have been" credibly accused ", and that they have not handed over the cases to the police," says Meredith Colias-Pete.

Mamaroneck priest placed on leave at St. Vito-Most Holy Trinity Church

MAMARONECK (NY)
Rockland/Westchester Journal News

Oct. 7, 2019

By Matt Spillane

The pastor of a Catholic church in Mamaroneck has been accused of abusing a child decades ago.

Monsignor James White has been placed on administrative leave at St. Vito-Most Holy Trinity Church because of the accusation, which he denied in a letter to parishioners last week.

"I was profoundly shocked, disturbed and saddened by this news," he wrote in a letter on Oct. 2.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan sent a letter to parishioners on Oct. 3 about White's ministry being "temporarily restricted."

White said in his letter that he was informed on Sept. 26 of "an allegation of inappropriate conduct with a minor." He said it dates back to the 1980s, when he was the dean of discipline at Cardinal Hayes High School, an all-boys school in the Bronx.

"I can assure you that I have never been inappropriate with a minor at any time during my almost 37 years as a priest of the Archdiocese of New York," he said, "and I ask you to believe in my innocence."

White said he trusts that his name will be cleared.

Dolan said in his letter that the accusation is being investigated by prosecutors as well as the Archdiocese's Lay Review Board, which helps determine whether an accused priest can return to ministry.

"This leave is not a punishment, and no judgment has been made about the accusation," Dolan said. "Monsignor White continues to have the presumption of innocence."

SNAP Stands With Seminarians Speaking Out

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

Oct. 7, 2019

We applaud these Catholic seminarians who are increasingly speaking out about clergy sexual abuse and cover ups. Thanks to them, more change will be made.

Over the years, our group has also heard from more current and former seminarians and seminary staff about clergy sexual abuse, misdeeds and cover ups. Sadly, many are in fear of losing their jobs, status or careers if they 'blow the whistle.' Still, we encourage everyone - inside and outside the church - to find the courage to come forward and share what they know.

If deeply wounded victims of clergy sexual violence can find their voices, so too can betrayed seminarians and other church staff. Collectively, we are making both the church and our society safer for all. But it takes continued courage.

Ex-priest freed because crime he was convicted of didn't exist at time

BRISBANE (AUSTRALIA)
Brisbane Times

Oct. 6, 2019

By Lydia Lynch and Warren Barnsley

A Catholic priest found guilty of indecently dealing with a schoolboy while he has a teacher at Brisbane's Villanova College has been acquitted after the Court of Appeal found the law he broke did not exist at the time.

Michael Ambrose Endicott, 75, was convicted of three counts of indecently dealing with a child in the 1970s and 1980s after a five-day trial in Brisbane District Court in March this year.

At a hearing in April, the Court of Appeal ordered his convictions and 18-month jail sentence be set aside.

In their judgement published on Friday, Court of Appeal president Walter Sofronoff along with Justices Philip Morrison and Elizabeth Wilson explained why.

Mr Endicott's trial was told he was in charge of pastoral care and religious education at Villanova College during the 1970s.

A jury found Mr Endicott indecently photographed his young victim three times, the first time being on a school hiking trip in 1975 when he asked the nine-year-old to accompany him to a creek area in dense bush.

Man whose claim sparked Buffalo clergy abuse scandal wants to forgive priest

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

Oct. 4, 2019

By Jay Tokasz

Michael F. Whalen Jr. wants to sit down with the Rev. Norbert F. Orsolits someday and forgive the priest he says molested him when he was an impressionable boy in need of a role model.

“You know, I’ve carried the pain that he caused me for 40 years. For the rest of his days, I want him to wonder why one survivor forgave him,” said Whalen, a former U.S. Army private who lives in South Buffalo.

“It’s because of my faith. Something he didn’t believe in. He used his as a weapon to hurt kids. Me, I want him to know that I forgive him. That’s what our religion, what our faith, what our church is supposed to be,” Whalen said.

It was Whalen’s public accusation against Orsolits that set off a Buffalo Diocese clergy sexual abuse scandal, which now includes the identification of more than 100 Buffalo area priests who were credibly accused of abuse, ongoing federal and state investigations into whether diocese officials tried to cover up abuses and more than 165 lawsuits against the diocese. On Thursday, the Vatican directed Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio to investigate the Buffalo Diocese through an "apostolic visitation.”

Within hours of Whalen’s new conference on Feb. 27, 2018, outside the diocese’s Main Street headquarters, Orsolits admitted to The Buffalo News that he had molested "probably dozens" of boys decades ago.

Whalen, 54, has come a long way from that news conference. He’s now at ease talking about a secret that had kept him in silent shame for decades. He’s developed a network of new friends who share a common bond as survivors of abuse, but who talk regularly on all manner of subjects. He said he's grown closer to his family, including three grandchildren, with a fourth due in November.

Whalen also has developed a passion for the Child Advocacy Center, which provides a variety of services for children and families affected by child sexual abuse or severe physical abuse.

Pittsburgh diocese, Pa. AG's office spar over use of trust fund

PITTSBURGH (PA)
Post Gazette

Oct. 7, 2019

By Peter Smith

The office of state Attorney General Josh Shapiro is pressing its opposition to a bid by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh to draw money from a $8 million-plus trust fund, dedicated to needy children, to pay compensation to adult victims of sexual abuse.

State law does not “allow a charitable trust to be terminated to pay the potential legal obligations of the trustee for its alleged criminal activity in direct contravention to the terms of the trust,” said a legal brief filed Tuesday in Allegheny County Orphans’ Court by Gene Herne, senior deputy attorney general.

But the diocese says aiding survivors of abuse would fit within the spirit of the century-old trust fund, which has aided needy children even into their young adult years, with a particular mission of educating them and providing vocational and living skills.

“These funds will provide for the care, education, training, maintenance and treatment of those who were abused as children to assist them to make an adjustment to life and work in accordance with their abilities,” attorney Robert Ridge, representing the diocese, said in a court filing Wednesday.

Earlier this year, the Diocese of Pittsburgh filed a petition in Orphans’ Court, seeking permission to use the fund as part of its Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program, for payments to victims of sexual abuse by its priests through an out-of-court process. After the attorney general’s office lodged its opposition to the move, Judge Lawrence O’Toole in August called for each side to argue its case in the legal briefs that have now been filed.

Abuse survivors urge Southern Baptists to listen, then act

HOUSTON (TX)
Houston Chronicle

Oct. 6, 2019

By John Tedesco

For years, victims’ advocates have called for sweeping changes in how the Southern Baptist Convention responds to sexual abuse in its churches.

Last week in Grapevine, Baptist leaders said it’s time to listen. But critics are skeptical that their rhetoric will result in meaningful change.

More than 1,600 Southern Baptists gathered in Texas for the SBC’s “Caring Well” conference, which aimed to help the largest coalition of Baptist churches in the United States do a better job preventing abuse and assisting victims.

The conference was organized in response to a February investigation by the Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express-News that revealed hundreds of Southern Baptist church leaders and volunteers had been accused of sexual misconduct in the last two decades. They left behind more than 700 victims, a number that leaders agree is only a sliver of the problem. Speakers at the conference emphasized that sexual abuse in Southern Baptist churches existed long before the newspapers’ investigation — but many churches ignored the warnings.

“Southern Baptists won’t have a future unless we are willing to acknowledge our tendency to protect the system over survivors,” said Phillip Bethancourt, the vice president of the convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, which organized the conference. “If the system is more important than the survivors, then the system is not worth saving.”

Belleville Diocese responds to lawsuit alleging child sex abuse by senior priest in ’80s

BELLEVILLE (IL)
News Democrat

Oct. 7, 2019

By Lexi Cortes

The recent civil lawsuit alleging a boy was sexually abused by a Belleville priest in the ’80s was filed 18 years too late to seek damages for the trauma he says he suffered, the Belleville Diocese’s attorneys are arguing in court.

The now 38-year-old man filed his complaint July 19 in St. Clair County Circuit Court, within today’s statute of limitations: 20 years after his 18th birthday or 20 years after realizing he was harmed by past abuse, if he repressed the memories, for example.

But the diocese says his complaint should instead be subject to the law as it was in 1999, when the man turned 18. At that time, the statute of limitations expired within two years.

The man, who filed under the pseudonym John Doe, alleged the Rev. Joseph Schwaegel sexually abused him when he was between 6 and 8 years old and a student at Cathedral Grade School in Belleville.

At the time, Schwaegel was the school’s superintendent and in charge of the diocese’s largest parish, Belleville’s St. Peter’s Cathedral. He would call Doe and other students out of class to be alone with him, and the lawsuit states that is when the priest abused Doe.

At Caring Well conference, SBC leaders hear criticism of abuse response

DALLAS (TX)
Religion News Serevice

October 5, 2019

By Jack Jenkins

Southern Baptist leaders wrestled with questions of procedure and accountability during a gathering on sexual abuse this week, grappling with how best to address an issue some say the denomination took far too long to address.

After a first day focused on stories of abuse survivors, the Caring Well conference, organized by the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, devoted its second and third days to hearing from critics of the denomination’s response to abuse.

“The SBC has, over and over again, trampled on these precious (abuse) survivors, and that is why they are afraid to speak up — that fear is deserved,” said Rachael Denhollander at a question-and-answer session Saturday morning. Denhollander, an attorney, was the first person to publicly accuse former Michigan State physician Larry Nassar of sexual abuse. She said that the first time she was abused — before encountering Nassar — was in a church at age 7.

A series of breakout sessions also offered pastors and church leaders practical lessons for dealing with sexual abuse and covered a broad range of issues that fall under the broader category of abuse: how to screen for child sex abusers, prevent domestic violence and how to talk to abuse survivors.

Catholics hail report for thoroughness, 'essential step forward'

OKLAHOMA CITY (OK)
The Oklahoman

October 7, 2019

By Carla Hinton

[Related coverage:

- Read Archbishop Coakley's letter

- Read McAfee & Taft's report

- Read the Oklahoma City archdiocese's list of priests with substantiated allegations, along with supporting materials]

A law firm's report on the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City was praised Sunday not only for its listing of priests who preyed on minors but its detailed description of the ways the faith organization's leaders dealt with the perpetrators.

Several parishioners attending services at St. Monica Catholic Church in Edmond said information included in Oklahoma City-based McAfee & Taft's report was disturbing but they lauded Oklahoma City Archbishop Paul S. Coakley for having the firm conduct an independent report and for releasing those findings on Oct. 4.

The Chicago Archdiocese does not publicly identify deceased priests accused of sexual abuse. Here’s why one suburban deacon is trying to change that.

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Tribune

October 7, 2019

By Elyssa Cherney

The first time it happened, the priest offered Terry Neary a cookie.

Neary, then an eighth grade student, was working an after-school job in the rectory of St. Ethelreda in Chicago. He followed the Roman Catholic priest into the kitchen, where, Neary has alleged, the 75-year-old man sexually abused him that day and a few more times in 1971.

The Archdiocese of Chicago later determined the abuse was “possible," according to its own records, but it has not added the priest’s name to a list on its website that identifies nearly 80 clergy members believed to have abused children.

That’s because of a controversial church policy that doesn’t require full investigations into allegations made against deceased priests. By the time Neary first reported his abuse to the archdiocese in 2001, the priest, the Rev. William R. Leyhane, had been dead for two decades.

October 6, 2019

Jerry Sandusky’s son, other sexual assault survivors and activists urge Latter-day Saint church to stop private interviews

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
Fox 13 TV

October 5, 2019

By Adam Herbets

Hundreds of people gathered at the Salt Lake City-County Building on Saturday to take part in the March for Children. The inaugural rally was organized by Protect Every Child, a foundation dedicated to ending child abuse.

Speakers at the rally discussed numerous topics and methods to keep children safe, criticizing some institutions for caring more about their image than the children they are supposed to protect.

Sam Young, the founder of Protect Every Child, was excommunicated from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for being so outspoken in his criticism of certain church policies. His attempt to rejoin the church by filing an appeal was denied last year.

Diocese: Sexual abuse allegations lodged against West Newton priest unsubstantiated

GREENSBURG (PA)
The Observer-Reporter

October 5, 2019

Allegations of child sexual abuse against a West Newton priest were found to be unsubstantiated during a canonical investigation, according to the Greensburg Diocese.

However, the Rev. Joseph Bonafed, of Monessen, will not return as pastor for Holy Family Parish in West Newton and St. Edward’s Parish in Herminie, diocese officials said.

During the course of a six-month investigation, conducted by an independent diocesan review board, officials said they discovered Bonafed had engaged in “inappropriate conduct in the workplace.”

“In the course of the investigation into child sexual abuse allegations, allegations relating to inappropriate conduct in the workplace, in violation of the Diocesan Pastoral Code of Conduct, were reported and investigated,” the diocese stated in a release.

Excommunicated LDS bishop leads 800 in a march to end child abuse and hold all religions accountable

SALT LAKE (UT)
The Salt Lake Tribune

October 5, 2019

By Courtney Tanner
·
They marched for blocks across Salt Lake City, some solemnly humming church hymns and peaceful chants that started in the front but were just getting to the beginning verse by the time the notes carried to the back of the massive crowd.

“We’ll love one another and never dissemble, but cease to do evil and ever be one,” a few sang.

The nearly 800 people — mostly members or former members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — walked to the Utah Capitol on Saturday, on the first day of General Conference weekend, in protest. They passed by the faith’s iconic Salt Lake Temple on their way but didn’t stop. Their goal, they said, was more important.

Abuse-survivors group set for Conway

ARKANSAS
Arkansas Democrat Gazette

October 5, 2019

By Francisca Jones

A new support group for survivors of abuse will soon be available to people of any faith through the Catholic Diocese of Little Rock.

The Maria Goretti Network will hold the first meeting of its Arkansas chapter at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Conway in November.

Miguel Prats, a sexual abuse survivor, co-founded the Texas-based nonprofit with the Rev. Gavin Vavarek in 2004. Prats suggested they name the organization in honor of Maria Goretti, the patron saint of rape victims and abused children.

At Caring Well conference, SBC leaders hear criticism of abuse response

DALLAS (TX)
Religion News Service

October 5, 2019

By Jack Jenkins

Southern Baptist leaders wrestled with questions of procedure and accountability during a gathering on sexual abuse this week, grappling with how best to address an issue some say the denomination took far too long to address.

After a first day focused on stories of abuse survivors, the Caring Well conference, organized by the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, devoted its second and third days to hearing from critics of the denomination’s response to abuse.

“The SBC has, over and over again, trampled on these precious (abuse) survivors, and that is why they are afraid to speak up — that fear is deserved,” said Rachael Denhollander at a question-and-answer session Saturday morning. Denhollander, an attorney, was the first person to publicly accuse former Michigan State physician Larry Nassar of sexual abuse. She said that the first time she was abused — before encountering Nassar — was in a church at age 7.

Advocates call for Missouri to join other states in lifting time limits on child sex abuse lawsuits

ST. LOUIS (MO)
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

October 6, 2019

By Nassim Benchaabane

Missouri should join a move by other states to change the statute of limitations that keeps survivors of long-ago child sexual abuse from suing former priests, victims’ advocates say.

Removing the limitation, or temporarily reviving expired cases, would be the “most effective short-term step” lawmakers could take to help victims — the vast majority of whom struggle with trauma for decades before they are able to report the abuse — as well as uncover other abuses, said David Clohessy, of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

“There are predators who remain under the radar around kids, despite having hurt many, simply because they’ve run out the clock,” he said.

Third sexual abuse lawsuit filed against former Albany Bishop Howard Hubbard

NEW YORK
News10

October 6, 2019

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. -- Former Albany Bishop Howard Hubbard has been accused of sexual abuse in a third civil complaint.

The latest complaint accuses the former leader of the Albany diocese and another priest, identified as Joseph Mato, of abusing a teenage boy between 1976 and 1978, according to The Times Union. The lawsuit was filed Thursday in state Supreme Court in Albany.

Hubbard previously denied claims of sexual abuse.

Previously, two other complaints filed allege that Hubbard and two other priests sexually assaulted a girl in a Schenectady church in the late 1970s. The other priests named in the complaint are Father Albert DelVecchio and Father Francis Melfe who were both priests at the now-closed Immaculate Conception.

Former middle school principal pleads guilty to sex charges

MICHIGAN
Associated Press via WWMT

October 5, 2019

KINGSLEY, Mich. (AP) — A former middle school principal in northern Michigan accused of inappropriately touching students has pleaded guilty.

The Traverse City Record-Eagle reports Karl Hartman pleaded guilty Friday to three counts of assault with intent to commit sexual contact stemming from accusations he spanked two former students for sexual gratification in his office when he was the principal at Kingsley Elementary School in 2004. He retired in January.

The 55-year-old Hartman is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 1. The felony convictions carry a maximum five-year prison sentence that Hartman would serve concurrently if a judge accepts the terms of a plea agreement under which prosecutors dropped six felony and two misdemeanor charges.

Sexual abuse lawsuit against retired Kamloops bishop and pastor starts Monday

VANCOUVER (CANADA)
News 1130

October 5, 2019

By Renee Bernard

The complainant says she was sexually abused by a pastor in the late 70s

The pastor is now disabled and lives in a long-term care facility in Ontario

A retired Catholic bishop will be in BC Supreme Court next week, defending himself against allegations he allowed sexual abuse to take place back in his Kamloops diocese in the late 70s.

The case is expected to be heard in Vancouver over seven days.

Also named in the case is the man accused of being behind a series of sexual assaults, Fr. Erlindo Molon.

Westchester priest placed on administrative leave by archdiocese over child abuse allegation

MAMARONECK (NY)
WPIX-TV

October 5, 2019

The pastor of the only Catholic church in Mamaroneck has been placed on “administrative leave” over allegations under the Child Victims Act.

The letter sent out by Dolan, obtained by PIX11 News.

Monsignor James E. White has had his ministry “temporarily restricted” according to a letter sent by Archbishop Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan of New York and obtained by PIX11 News.

“The leave is not a punishment and no judgment has been made about the accusation,” Dolan wrote. “Monsignor White continues to have the presumption of innocence.”

Palmerston North parishioners process Bishop Charles Drennan's shock resignation

NEW ZEALAND
Manawatu Standard

October 6, 2019

By Paul Mitchell

A prayer meeting has been set up for Palmerston North's Catholic community in the wake of the news of Bishop Charles Drennan's fall from grace.

Pope Francis has accepted Bishop Charles Drennan's resignation, which was announced on Friday night, over a complaint made by a young woman in regards to "unacceptable" behaviour of a sexual nature. On Saturday it was revealed it was not the first sexual misconduct complaint made against Drennan.

It wasn't until Sunday mass at the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit on Broadway Ave, the church where Drennan was officially acknowledged as the city's bishop in 2012, that many of his parishioners heard about his resignation.

Editorial | Statute of limitations continues to impede justice for abuse victims

JOHNSTOWN (PA)
The Tribune-Democrat

October 6, 2019

Will this be the time the Pennsylvania Senate responds to voices of sexual abuse victims seeking justice?

State law says individuals who have turned 30 have no right to file lawsuits against their abusers.

On Wednesday, the Senate judiciary committee heard testimony from many who were violated as children but who have passed the age limit.

Twice, the Pennsylvania House has passed bills that would have opened windows in the statute, and twice the bills were ignored in the Senate, where the Republican leadership has opposed any movement on behalf of the victims.

After scathing report on sex abuse by clergy in Bridgeport Diocese, victims press for changes to Connecticut’s statute of limitations law

CONNECTICUT
Hartford Courant

October 6, 2019

By Daniela Altimari

Advocates for clergy sex abuse victims say they will ask lawmakers to consider extending the civil statute of limitations, providing those victims with more time to file lawsuits.

Mark Fuller of New Canaan says it took him 25 years to seek help for the lingering trauma of clergy sex abuse.

He is still waiting for a legal reckoning.

"I should be able to sue for the usual things, like any other citizen who has been wronged: pain and suffering. Lost wages. Medical expenses. Reimbursement for counseling services,'' Fuller told members of the Connecticut legislature earlier this year. “But the statutes prevent justice in this area.”

Connecticut law currently allows child victims to file suit but they must do so before their 51st birthday. Experts say some victims don’t come to terms with the anguish of sexual abuse until later in life, sometimes until after the deadline for legal claims has passed.

Lawmakers had considered opening a legal window to enable Fuller and others who were sexually abused as children to file lawsuits against predators and the institutions that hid the abuse. But in recent years, such efforts have fallen short in Connecticut.

Victims and their advocates aren’t giving up and they hope a scathing report released Tuesday by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport on the alleged sexual abuse of hundreds of victims by clergy since the early 1950s will provide their drive with fresh momentum.

Editorial: We need to stop calling the pattern of sex abuse in the Catholic Church a travesty. It was a criminal conspiracy and the state hasn’t done enough to hold the guilty accountable.

CONNECTICUT
Hartford Courant

October 6, 2019

The latest revelations about sexual abuse aren’t new but they are nonetheless shocking: Edward Egan, during his tenure as bishop of the Bridgeport diocese of the Roman Catholic Church, methodically covered up allegations that priests in the diocese had sexually abused children. The man who would become a cardinal in New York aided and abetted the depravity of priests who found sexual pleasure in fondling innocent children.

We use a lot of melodramatic words to describe the actions of men who by virtue of the collars they wore were able to get away with child abuse: scandal, travesty, nightmare.

But there’s one word we don’t use enough: crime.

October 5, 2019

Brooklyn Bishop investigating Buffalo Diocese known as no-nonsense 'tough guy'

BUFFALO (NY)
WKBW TV

Oct. 4, 2019

By Charlie Specht

A Vatican investigation of the Diocese of Buffalo has brought many Catholics hope that Rome is finally taking action on a diocese in crisis .

“It is a milestone here that we finally have had some response, that they aren't ignoring us completely,” said Catholic whistleblower Siobhan O’Connor.

The move has brought some caution, since the man the Vatican has picked for the job -- Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio -- is a fellow bishop from New York State.

Some Catholics are also asking why the investigation will take place outside of Pope Francis’ new abuse and bishop accountability law -- Vos Estis Lux Mundi -- passed last year.

But Rocco Palmo, a Catholic journalist and Vatican expert who runs the widely read “Whispers in the Loggia” news site , thinks it may actually be better that the Vatican is choosing to undertake an “Apostolic Visitation” rather than a Vos Estis probe.

“The fact that this is a full Apostolic Visitation, which is essentially the Catholic Church's equivalent of a grand jury or an FBI investigation, is massive,” Palmo said in a phone interview.

Palmo said his sources indicate the decision was made directly by Pope Francis, even though Bishop Malone’s spokeswoman Kathy Spangler said in an email, “We have been given no reason whatsoever to believe that what Rocco Palmo is suggesting is true.”

Former Baltimore archbishop Cardinal Shehan transferred abusive priests in Connecticut, new report says

BALTIMORE (MD)
Baltimore Sun

Oct. 2, 2019

By Alison Knezevich

A prominent former Baltimore archbishop, the late Cardinal Lawrence J. Shehan, transferred priests accused of sexual abuse to new posts without disciplining them or warning parishioners when he led the Bridgeport, Connecticut, diocese decades ago, an independent report has concluded.

Shehan, who died in 1984 at age 86, is among several former Bridgeport bishops scrutinized in a report commissioned by the diocese there in response to the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse crisis. He was Bridgeport’s first bishop, serving in the role from 1953 to 1961 before coming to Baltimore.

“The diocese’s practice of a bishop’s reassigning a priest following an abuse accusation began during Bishop Shehan’s tenure," states the Bridgeport report, which was made public Tuesday. "He knew of multiple specific incidents of abuse by then-active priests in the diocese, and assigned the priests to new postings with no discipline, and no warnings to the communities to which the priests were reassigned.”

Current Bridgeport Bishop Frank J. Caggiano ordered an investigation last year into the diocese’s history of sexual abuse and church officials’ response. A retired Connecticut judge led the investigation and prepared the report.

Shehan served as archbishop of Baltimore from 1961 to 1974, becoming a cardinal in 1965. Baltimore’s Cardinal Shehan School on Loch Raven Boulevard is named for him.

In Dallas, Southern Baptist leaders gather to address church abuse

WASHINGTON (DC)
Religion News Service

Oct. 5, 2019

By Jack Jenkins

On Thursday, members of the Southern Baptist Convention kicked off a three-day summit focused on confronting sexual abuse, with church leaders and abuse survivors calling for the rejection of a religious cultures that can perpetuate abuse and for new systems to protect the vulnerable.

Hundreds of pastors and SBC members filled the sprawling meeting room at the “Caring Well” conference, organized by the denomination’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. They will hear addresses from church leaders, attorneys, prominent advocates for abuse survivors and survivors themselves in the wake of several high-profile sexual abuse scandals that have rocked the SBC over the past two years.

“This is the time, normally, at one of our conferences [when] I would say how glad we are to have you here,” said Phillip Bethancourt, the ERLC’s executive vice president, as the conference began. “But the key emotion we’re feeling right now is not one of gladness, but grief.”

Among the speakers on the meeting’s opening day was Megan Lively, who last year charged that her allegations of rape made while she was a student at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2003 were mishandled by its then president, Paige Patterson. Patterson was forced from his post at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in May of 2018.

Public awareness of the issue broadened in February, when the Houston Chronicle unveiled the results of an investigation into widespread sexual abuse in SBC churches. The Chronicle identified some 700 victims over the course of 20 years, some of whom had reported their abuse and were urged to forgive their abusers or get abortions.

October 4, 2019

Readers sound of on child abuse in the Catholic church

NEW YORK (NY)
Daily News

Oct. 5, 2019

In response to “Purged of pervs” (Oct. 1): Really? Cardinal Timothy Dolan expressed that those who harbor mistrust can find it in their hearts to be thankful for the church’s good-faith efforts to right past wrongs. “I’m trying my best to serve my people,” he said.

Let’s get one thing straight, for all of the church’s pontificating, if it weren’t for some victims coming forward and the rest that followed, the church would still be operating in the shadows of human decency and abusing young children. The gates of deception and sex scandals opened up to a widespread massive cover-up with priest reassignments and secret perv priest name lists. The church had not once brought any one of them to justice but kept it all internal and squeaky clean, so as to not upset the parishioners and to maybe lose them.

The church first responded that it was only a small number of priests. They responded wrongly and they knew it. But hey, what’s a little lie when you have a gigantic sex scandal erupting? This was going on for decades.

Then when the real numbers started to surface, what did the church do? Damage control posthaste! They hired the best lawyers and lobbyists, and tried to prevent any laws being passed that would implicate the church for past misdeeds and cost them millions of dollars in compensation the very victims they are crowing about now and saying that they are “helping.” To have such a widespread sex abuse scandal of young children for many decades and the church pretending that for the most part, they knew nothing about it, is more than criminal.

Mike Pedano

Catholic seminarians speaking out about sexual misconduct are being shunned

WASHINGTON (DC)
Washington Post

Oct. 4, 2019

By Michelle Boorstein

The text from Stephen Parisi's fellow seminarian was ominous: Watch your back.

Parisi, dean of his class of seminarians in the Buffalo Diocese, and another classmate had gone to seminary officials about a recent party in a parish rectory. At the party in April, the men said, priests were directing obscene comments to the seminarians, discussing graphic photos and joking about professors allegedly swapping A's for sex.

"I just wanted to be sure that you guys are protected and are watching your backs," the seminarian's text said. Authorities are "fishing to figure out who the nark [sic] is."

Parisi and Matthew Bojanowski, who was academic chairman of the class, have made explosive news nationally recently after alleging that they were bullied by superiors, grilled by their academic dean under police-like interrogation and then shunned by many of their fellow seminarians after going public with sexual harassment complaints about those up the chain of command. The Vatican on Thursday announced it is investigating broad allegations that church leaders have mishandled clergy abuse cases.

As striking as the charges is the fact that the men are speaking out at all. Parisi and Bojanowski - who both left seminary in August - are among a small but growing number of Catholic priests and seminarians who in the past year have gone to investigators, journalists and lawyers with complaints about their superiors. While still rare, such dissent has until now been nearly unheard of in a profession that requires vows of obedience to one's bishop and offers no right to recourse, no independent human resources department.

NZ bishop resigns over 'unacceptable' sexual relationship

ROME (ITALY)
Associated Press

Oct 4, 2019

By Nicole Winfield,

Pope Francis on October 4 accepted the resignation of a New Zealand bishop over what church officials said was his "completely unacceptable" sexual behavior with a young woman.

Palmerston North Bishop Charles Drennan, 59, had offered to resign following an independent investigation into the woman’s complaint, according to a statement from Cardinal John Dew, head of the church in New Zealand.

The Vatican said Friday that the pope had accepted the resignation.

The removal is significant since the Catholic Church has long considered sexual relationships between clerics and adult women to be sinful and inappropriate, but not criminal or necessarily worthy of permanent sanction.

However, the #MeToo movement and the scandal over ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, an American defrocked by Francis for sexual misconduct, have forced a reckoning about the imbalance of power in relationships between clerics and lay adults, nuns and seminarians _ and whether such relationships can ever be consensual.

As SBC Continues to Ignore Victims, Survivor Calls for Action

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

Oct. 4, 2019

Survivor of Sexual Assault by SBC Pastor to Attend SBC Convention

“It is time for action, not more discussion,” she says

WHAT: At a meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention aimed around abuse prevention, survivors and advocates will
--Push SBC leaders to act on abuse instead of continuing to just talk about it,
--Urge them to take seriously the ideas of abuse prevention advocates, and
--Pass out flyers touching on how the SBC has consistently ignored survivor outreach

WHEN: From Friday, October 4 through Saturday, October 5

WHERE: Outside the Gaylord Texan Hotel in Grapevine, TX (1501 Gaylord Trail, Grapevine, Texas 76051 USA). Advocates will be at the hotel, please contact for specific location.

Ex-Bishop Michael Bransfield Again Accused of Abuse

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

Oct. 4, 2019

The disgraced former bishop of a West Virginia diocese is again being investigated for abuse, this time for allegedly abusing a 9-year-old girl on a field trip.

According to reports, former Bishop Michael Bransfield is accused of a inappropriately touching a 9 year old during a 2012 field trip to visit the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. We applaud the bravery of this young victim. It is incredibly challenging to come forward and report abuse at any time, so we hope that the victim in this case is getting the support and help she needs from her community.

We hope that this news will encourage any others who were hurt, whether by Bishop Bransfield or others, to come forward and make a report to law enforcement. And we hope that church officials in both Washington D.C. and in Wheeling-Charleston will make every effort to encourage other survivors to come forward, make a report to law enforcement, and start healing.

New Study Shows Hundreds of Abusive Priests are Unsupervised

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

Oct. 4, 2019

A lengthy new investigation into the whereabouts and status of proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting Catholic clerics reveals that:

--almost 1,700 of them are “largely unsupervised,”
--more than 500 of them “live within 2,000 feet of schools, playgrounds, childcare centers or other facilities that serve children,
--more than 160 “continued working or volunteering in churches, including dozens in Catholic dioceses overseas and some in other denominations,”
--roughly 190 “obtained professional licenses to work in education, medicine, social work and counseling - including 76 who, as of August, still had valid credentials in those fields,”
--91 of them are/have been licensed to work as teachers, principals and other school personnel,
--a handful of the “adopted or fostered children, sponsored teens and young adults coming to the U.S. for educational opportunities, or worked with organizations that are part of the foster care system, though that number could be much higher,”

We applaud The Associated Press for this sorely-needed investigation and believe that this is critical information that can lead to more informed – and safer – communities.

The investigation showed that nearly every US Catholic bishop continues to recklessly do the bare minimum – suspending or defrocking child molesting clerics but refusing to monitor them and adequately warn the public about them, actively putting kids at risk of terrible harm.

It also shows the need to repeal or reform archaic, predator-friendly laws like the statute of limitations, which prevents many predators from ever being prosecuted or exposed in court. The best way to safeguard children are to ensure that the people who abuse them can be criminally prosecuted and that the institutions who enabled them can be held civilly liable.

And it shows the hypocrisy of church officials who want to have their cake and eat it too - recruiting, training, hiring, ordaining, supervising, shielding and shuffling predators but suddenly ousting them when pressured to do so, and pretending to be powerless to control their whereabouts and activities.

Lawyer to SNAP advocate, abuse survivor: You are 'not interested in presenting the truth

JACKSON (MS)
Clarion Ledger

Oct. 4, 2019

By Frank Vollor

In response to the same article that appeared under two different titles, “Catholic Church Needs to Help DA Investigate Abuse Charges” in the Clarion Ledger, September 29, 2019, and “Response to Clergy Abuse has been Love” in the Greenwood Commonwealth on September 14, 2019, Mark Belenchia flippantly suggests that as fitness review officer for the Diocese of Jackson, I lied about reporting the alleged child abuse in 1998 involving Rapheal Love and that the receipt or acknowledgement of my report from the Greenwood Police Department is my fabrication.

His justification for this accusation is the report does not contain a case number. The receipt or acknowledgment from the Greenwood Police Department I have in my possession was faxed on October 18, 1998, as reflected by the fax information at the top of the transmittal. The report was faxed on City of Greenwood Police Department letterhead, listing the then Mayor Harry L. Smith. The fax was personally signed by Det/Lt Mel Andrews who later retired as Captain Andrews in 2016. The faxed report was from the Greenwood Police Department fax number and faxed to my then number as Circuit Court Judge for the Ninth Judicial District.

I left that position in 2009 and have not had access to that number since then. The report attached is a law enforcement computer printout styled Offense/Incident Report, Greenwood Police Department. It lists the primary reporting officer and investigating officer as Lester Martin, along with the facts I reported. The boxes of whether the report was accepted or denied are blank, as is the approving supervisor’s signature line. This may explain why it was never assigned a number. The Greenwood PD may have never accepted the report as credible.

Devil In the Red Hat: What the Bridgeport Diocese Abuse Report Can’t Say

NEW YORK (NY)
The National Review

Oct. 4, 2019

By Michael Brendan Dougherty

Besides being the bishop of Bridgeport, Conn., and then cardinal archbishop of New York, the Reverend Edward Egan was a monster. Now that he is safely dead, this can be said. And much more. In the Diocese of Bridgeport he was preceded by other monsters, Bishop Walter Curtis and Bishop Lawrence J. Shehan. This was known as a kind of folk wisdom in the diocese and patched together from the years of stomach-turning testimonies and news items. But now, at least some of the truth is documented extensively in a report by a judge and law firm commissioned by the Bridgeport diocese itself.

Those three abovementioned men reigned, between 1953 and 2000, over a diocese in which over 70 priests abused nearly 300 children in various ways. The response of these three men to this reality evolved. One bishop would simply instruct subordinates to handle abusive priests and then not look too much into it. Some shredded and destroyed incriminating documents. Egan perfected the art of legal stonewalling. The report largely vindicates the approach of Egan’s two successors, Archbishop William Lori (now of Baltimore) and the current bishop, Frank Caggiano. Both implemented recommended practices, and the incidence of abuse declined.

The report goes into the consequences of abuse for the victims. Their damaged relationship to the Church, their struggles with depression, and self-harm. A sample quote: “Sir, I do not know what to do or how to handle this. I have carried this with me for many years. . . . With the court case . . . coming to light, I went through the whole painful memories again and again. . . . I have not been able to have sexual relations with my wife for almost a year now. I feel so dirty and ugly inside. . . . Please help me. What should I do?” That quote is captioned: “Adult survivor practicing in another Christian denomination, relating how 35 years earlier, as an eighth-grader, he visited a Catholic parish in the diocese to explore Catholicism, only to be abused by the very priest from whom he sought an introduction to the faith.” It also outlines continuing problems for non-offending priests, in terms of lowered morale.

October 3, 2019

100s of accused priests living under radar with no oversight

NEW YORK (NY)
Associated Press

Oct. 4, 2019

By Claudia Lauer and Meghan Hoyer

Nearly 1,700 priests and other clergy members that the Roman Catholic Church considers credibly accused of child sexual abuse are living under the radar with little to no oversight from religious authorities or law enforcement, decades after the first wave of the church abuse scandal roiled U.S. dioceses, an Associated Press investigation has found.

These priests, deacons, monks and lay people now teach middle-school math. They counsel survivors of sexual assault. They work as nurses and volunteer at nonprofits aimed at helping at-risk kids. They live next to playgrounds and day care centers. They foster and care for children.

And in their time since leaving the church, dozens have committed crimes, including sexual assault and possessing child pornography, the AP’s analysis found.

A recent push by Roman Catholic dioceses across the U.S. to publish the names of those it considers to be credibly accused has opened a window into the daunting problem of how to monitor and track priests who often were never criminally charged and, in many cases, were removed from or left the church to live as private citizens.

Each diocese determines its own standard to deem a priest credibly accused, with the allegations ranging from inappropriate conversations and unwanted hugging to forced sodomy and rape.

Dioceses and religious orders so far have shared the names of more than 5,100 clergy members, with more than three-quarters of the names released just in the last year. The AP researched the nearly 2,000 who remain alive to determine where they have lived and worked _ the largest-scale review to date of what happened to priests named as possible sexual abusers.

In addition to the almost 1,700 that the AP was able to identify as largely unsupervised, there were 76 people who could not be located. The remaining clergy members were found to be under some kind of supervision, with some in prison or overseen by church programs.

The review found hundreds of priests held positions of trust, many with access to children. More than 160 continued working or volunteering in churches, including dozens in Catholic dioceses overseas and some in other denominations. Roughly 190 obtained professional licenses to work in education, medicine, social work and counseling _ including 76 who, as of August, still had valid credentials in those fields.

The research also turned up cases where the priests were once again able to prey on victims.

Bishop Bransfield facing new abuse allegation

DENVER (CO)
Catholic News Agency

Oct. 3, 2019

Former Bishop of Wheeling-Charleston Michael Bransfield is facing an allegation that he touched inappropriately a nine year-old girl during a pilgrimage to Washington, DC, in 2012.

A subpoena was delivered to diocesan authorities in the West Virginia diocese Oct.1. According to a report by the Washington Post, the girl, now 16, alleges that the unelaborated incident took place when she was supposedly left alone in a room with Bransfield in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington during a diocesan-sponsored trip. The complaint was reportedly filed in July of this year.

Bransfield categorically denied the allegations in a phone call with the Washington Post, saying on Thursday, “Oh my God. Oh no, that’s horrible.”

“That did not happen. Somebody has imagined this. I can’t believe it,” Bransfield said. “I’m getting attacked from people I don’t know.”

Bransfield’s resignation as Bishop of Wheeling-Charleston was accepted by Pope Francis immediately after he turned 75 in September last year. Following his resignation, Pope Francis ordered Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore to conduct an investigation into allegations that Bransfield had sexually harassed adult males and misused diocesan finances during his time in West Virginia.

Bransfield is reported to have sexually harassed, assaulted, and coerced seminarians, priests, and other adults during his time as Bishop of Wheeling-Charleston. He was also found to have given large cash gifts to high-ranking Church leaders, using diocesan funds.

Krauth sentenced on child pornography charge

HELENA (MT)
KXLH TV

Oct. 3, 2019

Lothar Konrad Krauth, a Great Falls man who admitted receiving child pornography on his computer, was sentenced in federal court on Thursday.

Krauth, 81 years old, was sentenced to five years in prison followed by five years of supervised release, U.S. Attorney Kurt Alme said in a press release.

Krauth pleaded guilty in April to receipt of child pornography.

Case Filed Against Priest in Venice, Florida

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

Oct. 3, 2019

A new sexual abuse and cover up case - stemming from an alleged assault just last year - has been filed against a Florida priest whose brother is also a child molesting cleric. We hope that this brave woman’s decision to come forward will encourage others who may have seen, suspected or suffered crimes in the Diocese of Venice to make a report of their own.

Fr. Nicholas McLoughlin is being sued for reportedly sexually violating a woman in April 2018. Seven months later, in November of 2018, he was put on leave. Notably, his brother, Fr. Edward McLoughlin, was defrocked in 2000 for child sexual abuse and is believed to be in Ireland now.

The victim also says she was twice denied a chance to meet with the reported assailant’s supervisor, Venice Bishop Frank Dewane. It is disappointing and disturbing that church officials continue to make public apologies for abuse but choose to ignore still-suffering victims in private.

We applaud this courageous woman as her actions may well spare others substantial harm. We hope that others who experienced sexual abuse – whether by Fr. Nicholas McLoughlin or others – will call independent sources of help like therapists, law enforcement and support groups like ours.

Scathing Report into Archdiocese of Oklahoma City Released

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

Oct. 3, 2019

A report into abuse and cover-up within the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City was just released today, and it is a scathing indictment of the church officials’ handling of cases of abuse and cover-up.

The report released by McAfee and Taft in Oklahoma City goes into much greater detail than most other reports commissioned by church officials. Notably, it is one of few that goes into detail about crucial information which church officials often leave off their own reports: when were allegations received, and what actions church officials took in response.

Thanks to this report, we know that those actions usually involved quiet, internal conversations, instructions to destroy records relating to those conversations, and little if any effort made to report the allegations to law enforcement. These are obvious cases of cover-up that were designed to protect abusive priests instead of children. We can only wonder how many survivors were ignored by the church and suffered in shame and self-blame as a result, or how many children were victimized by priests that church officials had already been warned about.


The Vatican Finally Takes Action in the Diocese of Buffalo

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

Oct. 3, 2019

Finally, after over a year of scandal, the Vatican has finally deigned to step into the mess that is the Diocese of Buffalo.

According to reports, the Vatican has tapped Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn to lead an investigation into embattled Buffalo prelate Richard Malone. Such an investigation is the least that the Vatican can do in a diocese that has seen a whistle-blower go public, a seminarian come forward about abuse and cover-up, and secret recordings reveal ham-fisted attempts at controlling the narrative.

We cannot help but notice, however, that just a few months ago Catholic officials were touting yet another 'new policy' in which the bishop from the biggest diocese in the state would 'investigate' wrongdoing by bishops from smaller dioceses. So that would mean that New York's Cardinal Tim Dolan would be looking into the Buffalo diocesan mess. But not surprisingly, as so often happens, church officials have ignored their own promises and procedures, offering no real explanation other than this alleged probe is "not subject" to that just-enacted policy. As we have noted for ages, powerful church prelates handle every case in whatever way is most convenient for themselves, irrespective of policies, protocols, procedures or promises.

Former Iowa Hillel director accused of sexually abusing boy

IOWA CITY (IA)
The Gazette

Oct. 3, 2019

The former director of Iowa Hillel is accused of sexually abusing a young boy earlier this year.

David M. Weltman, 29, now of Skokie, Ill., faces one count of second-degree sexual abuse, accused of fondling a boy, according to an Iowa City police criminal complaint.

Police said sometime between Feb. 1 and March 31, Weltman was providing Hebrew lessons to the victim at the Hillel House, 122 E. Market St. The boy told police that during a lesson, Weltman picked him up, carried him into another room and fondled him.

Police said they interviewed a former acquaintance of Weltman’s as part of the investigation. The former acquaintance told police Weltman admitted to being sexually attracted to 7- to 12-year-old boys.

“The ex-acquaintance said (Weltman) told them he has not done anything sexually with a child but had urges and a desire to,” the complaint said.

Weltman also told the person he watched foreign films featuring nude children for his sexual gratification, the complaint stated.

Nestled on the edge of campus, Iowa Hillel works with UI students and Jewish student organizations but is not a part of the university. Weltman met annually with UI administrators as part of the Campus Ministries leadership group, UI spokeswoman Jeneane Beck said.

“Although the case does not involve university students or staff, we provide support for any member of our campus community who may wish to speak with someone,” Beck said.

Weltman joined Iowa Hillel in July 2016.

Matthew Berger, vice president of communications for Hillel International, said Weltman was placed on administrative leave when the organization learned about the allegations and is no longer employed by Iowa Hillel.

“It pains us greatly to hear of these allegations, as the safety of our students and community members is Hillel’s top priority,” Berger said. “Hillel is here to support the Jewish community at the University of Iowa during this difficult time, and we urge any student who needs support to reach out to us or directly to University Counseling Services.”

Vatican directs Brooklyn bishop to investigate Buffalo diocese

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

October 3, 2019

By Jay Tokasz

The Vatican directed Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of the Diocese of Brooklyn on Thursday to investigate the Buffalo Diocese through an "apostolic visitation.”

A Buffalo Diocese spokeswoman released a statement saying that Bishop Richard J. Malone welcomed the visitation.

“Bishop Malone has committed to cooperate fully and stated that this Visitation is for the good of the Church in Buffalo,” spokeswoman Kathy Spangler's statement reads. “The purpose of the apostolic visitation is to assist the diocese and improve the local Church’s ability to minister to the people it serves.”

Some Catholics have been calling for months for the Vatican to intervene in the Buffalo Diocese, which has been besieged by scandal over revelations of clergy sexual abuse and misconduct. Malone has been under fire for more than a year over his handling of complaints of abuse and other matters.

In a statement, DiMarzio said he pledged to “keep an open mind throughout the process and do my best to learn the facts and gain a thorough understanding of the situation in order to fulfill the mandate of this Apostolic Visitation.”

Three former St. Michael’s students plead guilty in sex assault scandal

TORNOTO (CANADA)
The Canadian Press

Oct. 3, 2019

By Liam Casey

Three former students of a prestigious Toronto private school pleaded guilty Thursday in a sex assault scandal that rocked the all-boys Catholic institution last year.

The teens, who attended St. Michael’s College School, each pleaded guilty to one count of sex assault with a weapon and one count of assault with a weapon. One of them also pleaded guilty to making child pornography.

Crown attorney Erin McNamara read out an agreed statement of facts in youth court, saying a member of one of the football teams walked into the locker room after practice on Oct. 17, 2018, and heard a “roar” of teammates chanting “eh.”

The teen tried to run, she said, but “a mob ... took him down.”

Bridgeport bishop hopes report on abuse brings healing, renewal

WASHINGTON (DC)
Cathiolic News Service

Oct. 3, 2019

By Julie Asher

Retired Connecticut Superior Court Judge Robert Holzberg Oct. 1 released the results of a nearly yearlong independent investigation into the handling of the abuse crisis by the Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut.

The investigation covered the approximately 66 years from the establishment of the diocese to the present.

It found that "the existence of sexual abuse by certain priests of this diocese, particularly abuse of children, was known to the diocesan leadership at least as early as 1953. 281 individuals have been identified as having been abused during the diocese's approximately 66-year history, nearly all when they were minors, by 71 priests."

"The 71 priests constitute 4.7% of the approximately 1,500 priests who have served the diocese since 1953," it said.

The report, titled "Clerical Sexual Abuse Accountability Report," credits Bishop Frank J. Caggiano, who has headed the Bridgeport Diocese since 2013 -- and who in October 2018 retained Holzberg and the law firm of Pullman and Comley to conduct this investigation -- and his predecessor, then-Bishop William E. Lori, with reversing the diocese's "approach to reporting abuse and disciplining abusers."

Man tells Senate panel of abuse at hands of priest

SWARTHMORE (PA)
Delaware County Times

Oct. 3, 2019

By Kathleen E. Carey

As the Pennsylvania Senate Judiciary Committee holds hearings over the expansion of the statute of limitations regarding childhood sexual abuse, the issue is personal for Michael McDonnell.

McDonnell was asked to testify before the committee that listened to various panels including Marci Hamilton, CEO and Academic Director of Child USA; former U.S. District Court Judge for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Lawrence F. Stengel, chair of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia Independent Reconciliation & Reparations Program; Sean McCormack, Chief Deputy District Attorney in Dauphin County; Samuel R. Marshall, president and CEO of the Insurance Federation of Pennsylvania; and multiple survivors and advocates, including Michael McDonald, the Philadelphia leader of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

McDonnell said his abuse began as an 11-year-old sixth grader at St. Titus Parish in East Norriton Township. There, he was sexually abused by two parish priests in hotel rooms, rectories and sacristies and during golfing and fishing trips. The abuse, he said, lasted two years from 1981 to 1983.

It took him 20 years to confront what occurred to him, after decades of numbing himself with drugs and alcohol. It was after the 2005 disintegration of his second marriage and the loss of his job and home followed by entering drug and alcohol recovery a year later that he was able to start facing his past.

At the time, he was told by an attorney he had missed the civil and criminal window to charge his abuser. In September, one of the two, a defrocked priest named Francis Trauger, was charged with abusing two altar boys at a church in Bucks County decades ago.

Man sues church leaders over alleged abuse by former North Providence priest

PROVIDENCE (RI)
WPRI TV

Oct. 2, 2019

By Miles Montgomery, Brandon Truitt and Kait Walsh

A Florida man is suing the current and former leaders of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence, claiming he was subjected to years of sexual abuse at the hands of a former priest and the diocese covered it up.

The lawsuit is a potential test case for the new law, passed in June, that extended the civil statute of limitations for sexual abuse.

The 53-year-old plaintiff alleges in the suit he was abused by Fr. Philip Magaldi, who is now dead, while he was an altar boy in North Providence in the late 1970s through the early 1980s.

In the 200-page lawsuit, the man alleges Magaldi touched him inappropriately between 100 and 300 times over the course of about five years.

Magaldi, the former pastor at Saint Anthony Church in North Providence, died in 2008. He was named on a list of “credibly accused” priests released by the diocese over the summer.

Victim’s mother feels relieved after Dodge City Diocese releases list of accused priests

DODGE CITY (KS)
KSNW TV

Oct. 3, 2019

By Hunter Funk

As the Dodge City Diocese has released its list of accused priests, advocacy groups are continuing to work with victims to help them with the new information.

“It’s just something you don’t believe would happen,” said a victim’s mother.

A victim’s mother is relieved that the list has been released.

“It’s about time they be more transparent,” she said.

She said her son was molested by two of the former priests on the list.

“He told his sister and that’s when we found out, and it tore us apart,” she said. “He’s just ran from this for years, he’s had problems with depression, he got into drinking, he got into drugs, and it’s just chased him his whole life.”

Advocates for abuse survivors said releasing the list can be both a good thing and a bad thing for those who have been abused.

It’s positive for healing, but difficult to relive it all.

“There’s going to be some that it might bring a little relief to them, you know, or a little closure,” said Dodge City Crisis Center Executive Director Tammie West. “But, sometimes they’ve moved down the road, you know, and they processed and now they just want to not think about it, and sometimes it can cause a lot of anger.”

West also pointed out that the impact of abuse can go far beyond the individual.

Fire Barboza, or fire his priest

LINCOLN (RI)
Valley Breeze

Oct. 3, 2019

By Alrene Violet

It takes a lot to top the gall of Gov. Gina Raimondo who is intent on awarding a no-bid, 20-year, $1 billion contract to IGT, whose lobbyist is her personal friend, political partner, and campaign contributor. Then, last week, along came her past gubernatorial challenger, Mayor Allan Fung, who has submitted to the Cranston City Council an up to 35-year contract worth up to tens of millions of dollars also, apparently without bid, to one of his campaign contributors. As outrageous as these self-dealings are, there is one other story unearthed by the Boston Globe which tops the chart as moral blindness, and it involves a priest.

The Rev. Barry Gamache arrived at the St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in Bristol, R.I. in 1997. A predecessor priest, Rev. William C. O’Connell had been prosecuted by my office and sentenced to jail for the sexual molestation of a child. Upon his arrival, Padre Gamache told his parishioners that he would do everything to protect their children. Not!

The Boston Globe investigated a former Bristol politician, David E. Barboza, who had been accused of sexual misconduct with three boys in the 1970s and 1980s. He was hired by Pastor Gamache to handle the church’s finances. Two other men subsequently reported directly or through another reverend their allegations of sexual abuse as children when they spotted Barboza in 1998 wearing a white robe on the altar during services. They also reported to the State Police out of concern for young boys in the parish. In turn, the police notified the diocese who confirmed that it had previously investigated the complaints about Barboza and had presented its results to “the pastor who maintains the day-to-day authority for parish administration.” Gamache (whom I cannot bring myself to call “Father”) did nothing.

Protect Every Child calls ending child abuse ‘the Civil Rights Movement of our time’

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
Fox 13 News

Oct. 2, 2019

By Amanda Jones

Protect Every Child - a nonprofit association and coalition dedicated to raising awareness on and the prevention of child abuse - will host its inaugural March for the Children in Salt Lake City on Saturday, October 5. More than 5,000 people are expected to participate in the first major march to raise awareness and end child abuse.

Founder Sam Young stopped by with VP of SNAP's National Board Judy Larson to tell us about how widely spread child abuse and sexual assault really is in this country, and how we can stop it.

Judy said 300,000 children are abused in the U.S. every year. Sam said one in four girls in the U.S. are sexually assaulted every year - one in three here in Utah. Judy shared a picture that's pinned to her jacket, of herself at the age at which she was raped by her priest. She now speaks out to end the stigma of sexual abuse and hopes the community will start to wrap their arms around survivors, and really tackle the problem at its root.

"As the country continues to be rocked by child sex abuse scandals on a massive scale, we will not sit on our thumbs and just read about it," Sam said. "On a massive scale, we will shout from the mountain tops for this horror to end. It's up to us. Not the media. Not any church hierarchy. Not the government. Us."

Survivors’ stories ‘made an impact’ on senators weighing changes to Pa.'s statutes of limitations

HARRISBURG (PA)
Patriot News

Oct. 2, 2019

By Jan Murphy

Sexual abuse survivors and advocates pushing for reforms to Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations on sexual abuse claims for over a decade are tired of waiting.

They want action. They made that clear in their testimony offered at a state Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the issue on Wednesday. Offering their personal stories of abuse in emotion-packed testimony, they implored senators to have the courage to make those reforms.

As the daylong hearing neared its end from at-times tearful survivors, committee Chairwoman Lisa Baker, R-Luzerne County, made no promises to them about what the committee will do.

“But I can promise you have made an impact,” Baker said, to one panel of survivors following their testimony about their encounters with sexually abused by a doctor, a friend and clergy.

Report: Former Bridgeport bishop broke law, was ‘outright hostile’ to abuse victims

BRIDGEORT (CT)
Bridgeport Post

October 1, 2019

By Daniel Tepfer

Bishops Walter Curtis and Edward Egan failed to comply with the state law mandating priests report allegations of child abuse to law enforcement, according to a report on sex abuse in the Bridgeport diocese disclosed Tuesday.

Egan, who would later be elevated to cardinal of New York, was outright hostile to abuse victims, the report states.

The report notes the existence of sexual abuse by certain priests of this diocese, particularly abuse of children, was known to the diocesan leadership at least as early as 1953. A total of 281 individuals have been identified as having been abused during the diocese’s approximately 66-year history, nearly all when they were minors, by 71 priests. The 71 priests constitute 4.7 percent of the approximately 1,500 priests who have served the diocese since 1953, the report states.

Pennsylvania is once again debating how to address the victims of ‘predator priests.’ Here’s what we know.

HARRISBURG (PA)
Capital Star

Oct. 3, 2019

By Elizabeth Hardison

Victim advocates testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, Oct. 2.
It’s been nearly a year since the Pennsylvania state Senate failed to vote on a bill that would have given the victims of “predator priests” a two-year window to sue their abusers and the churches where they worked.

The question of whether or not to reform Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations for child abuse victims, or to create a pathway for adult victims to seek legal redress for decades-old cases, returned to the forefront of the chamber on Wednesday.

That’s when the Senate Judiciary Committee heard five hours of testimony from legal experts, church representatives, and sexual abuse survivors .

Bills in the House and Senate would implement the recommendations made in a grand jury report released in 2018 by Attorney General Josh Shaprio, which uncovered a decades-long pattern of abuse and coverups in Pennsylvania’s Catholic churches.

Archdiocese of Seattle settles in two clerical sex abuse cases

SEATTLE (WA)
Post Intelligencer

October 2, 2019

By Joel Connelly

The Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle has reached financial settlements in two cases of clergy sex abuse, dating from the 1970s and the 1960s, involving a priest and two brothers already on an abuser list released by the archdiocese.

The archdiocese, St. Benedict's Abbey and the American Cassinese Congregation, on June 17 jointly settled for $225,000 a case stemming for allegations against Fr. John Forrester. Forrester died in 2002.

Forrester, a priest from the Atcheson, Kansas abbey, served during the 1970s as an assistant pastor at All Saints parish in Puyallup. He was removed in 1979 by then-Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen after the archdiocese received an abuse allegation.

Tulsa Diocese says 11 Catholic clerics out of its 544 on record 'credibly accused of sexual abuse against a minor'

TULSA (OK)
Tulsa World

Oct. 2, 2019

By Andrea Eger

The Diocese of Tulsa and Eastern Oklahoma on Wednesday released the findings of an internal audit that found 11 Catholic clerics had been “credibly accused of sexual abuse against a minor.”

That’s 2% of all 544 clerics on record in the diocese’s 46-year history — which the leader of a national organization representing the sex abuse victims of priests called “extraordinarily low.”

Of publishing the new report and the names of all 11 “credibly accused,” Tulsa Bishop David Konderla wrote: “Though this might be a difficult path, I believe this is the best path to bring healing and to restore trust.”

The new report, which published the names of all 11 accused, does not include the Rev. Joe Townsend, the subject of an internal investigation the diocese described Wednesday as “still ongoing.” Townsend was placed on leave in July for what the diocese termed “a non-frivolous allegation” of sexual misconduct with a minor.

At the time, Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler said he had been contacted by the diocese and he personally contacted the Tulsa Police Department about the allegation.

October 2, 2019

Bridgeport bishop hopes report on abuse brings healing, renewal

WASHINGTON (DC)
Catholic News Service

Oct. 2, 12019

By Julie Asher

Retired Connecticut Superior Court Judge Robert Holzberg Oct. 1 released the results of a nearly yearlong independent investigation into the handling of the abuse crisis by the Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut.

The investigation covered the approximately 66 years from the establishment of the diocese to the present.

It found that "the existence of sexual abuse by certain priests of this diocese, particularly abuse of children, was known to the diocesan leadership at least as early as 1953. 281 individuals have been identified as having been abused during the diocese's approximately 66-year history, nearly all when they were minors, by 71 priests."

"The 71 priests constitute 4.7% of the approximately 1,500 priests who have served the diocese since 1953," it said.

The report, titled "Clerical Sexual Abuse Accountability Report," credits Bishop Frank J. Caggiano, who has headed the Bridgeport Diocese since 2013 -- and who in October 2018 retained Holzberg and the law firm of Pullman and Comley to conduct this investigation -- and his predecessor, then-Bishop William E. Lori, with reversing the diocese's "approach to reporting abuse and disciplining abusers."

Until their tenures, "the collective response of diocesan officials to the sexual abuse crisis was inadequate in nearly every way," the almost 90-page report said.

Can review of abuse cases ‘cleanse’ Lexington’s Catholic diocese? Only if victims come forward.

LEXINGTON (KY)
Lexington Herald

Oct. 2, 2019

By Linda Blackford

Last December, Bishop John Stowe, the head of the Lexington Catholic diocese, announced that two lawyers would review the personnel files of every priest who’s worked here since the 50-county diocese was formed in 1988 and every sexual abuse claim ever made. The investigation would determine if sexual abuse complaints had been handled properly or if anything had been missed. That included any new complaints.

The lawyers, Allison Connelly and Andrew Sparks, have been going through thousands of pages of files, ranging from past complaints to the backgrounds of current priests. They’ve also been advertising in parish newsletters to let people know they are ready to take new complaints about the scourge of abuse that has roiled the Catholic Church for nearly the past two decades.

But they haven’t heard about any new complaints, and are worried that word is not getting out beyond the Church that a new investigation is ongoing. Many sexual abuse survivors left the church after being ignored for so many years and won’t see parish newsletters, Connelly said.

ALLEGED PEDOPHILE MALKA LEIFER SENT TO HOUSE ARREST PENDING MENTAL EVALUATION

JERUSALEM (ISRAEL)
Jerusalem Post

Oct. 2, 2019

By Jeremy Sharon and Alex Winston

Alleged sex offender Malka Leifer will be released to house arrest on Friday, the Jerusalem District Court ruled on Wednesday.

Following a decision last month by Judge Chana Miriam Lomp – who is presiding over the case – to appoint a new panel of psychiatric experts to evaluate Leifer’s mental fitness to stand extradition trial, Leifer’s lawyers appealed for her to be released from prison to house arrest.

Judge Ram Winograd, presiding over the house-arrest petition, acquiesced to that request on Wednesday, and Leifer will be released to her house in Bnei Brak with her sister.

The prosecution has until Friday to appeal the decision.

Leifer is standing trial for extradition on 74 counts of sexual abuse in Australia against sisters Dassi Erlich, Ellie Sapper and Nicole Meyer while she was principal of an ultra-Orthodox school. She has claimed for many years to be mentally unfit for extradition.

Leifer fled Australia to Israel in 2008, but legal proceedings against her only began in 2014.

Secrets and Lies

The Atlantic
October 2019

By Linda Stasi

In 1973, when Barry Singer was a fifteen-year-old student at New York’s Yeshiva University High School for Boys, the vice principal, Rabbi George Finkelstein, stopped him in a stairwell. Claiming he wanted to check his tzitzit—the strings attached to Singer’s prayer shawl—Finkelstein, Singer says, pushed the boy over the third-floor banister, in full view of his classmates, and reached down his pants. “If he’s not wearing tzitzit,” Finkelstein told the surrounding children, “he’s going over the stairs!”

“He played it as a joke, but I was completely at his mercy,” Singer recalled. For the rest of his time at Yeshiva, Singer would often wear his tzitzit on the outside of his shirt—though this was regarded as rebellious—for fear that Finkelstein might find an excuse to assault him again.

Jay Goldberg, who attended Yeshiva from 1980 to 1984, says that he endured years of sexual, emotional, and physical abuse from Finkelstein. The rabbi, he said, forced him and others to wrestle with him while he became sexually aroused, and demanded that they hit him repeatedly. Neither Goldberg nor Singer ever reported Finkelstein’s behavior to the school; when one student, identified in a future lawsuit as John Doe 14, finally did, in 1986, Finkelstein allegedly pulled him out of class in a rage, shoved him against a wall, punched him, and threatened him with expulsion. The school took no action during those years other than removing Finkelstein’s office door. In 1991, he was promoted to principal.

During those same decades, another Yeshiva rabbi, Macy Gordon, was also reportedly sexually abusing students. One accuser, identified in the lawsuit as John Doe 2, claims that Gordon sodomized him in his dorm room in 1980. The rabbi “said he was going to punish me for missing class,” the accuser told me. “He laid me across his lap and took my toothbrush and plowed it in and out of my rectum, and it burned. I remember it burned for a very long time after. I can’t go back in time and tell you what I was thinking, but I can only tell you that it lasts forever.” He told me that Gordon also sprayed Chloraseptic on his genitals, remarking that he showed “signs,” by which Gordon meant signs of puberty. Later that year, John Doe 2 tried to kill himself.

In total, Finkelstein and Gordon are suspected of hundreds of acts of sexual abuse at Yeshiva, though they never faced any legal repercussions. Finkelstein was discreetly forced out of Yeshiva in 1995 but quickly found work as the dean of a Jewish day school in Florida and later as the director general of the Great Synagogue in Jerusalem, although allegations of abuse followed him to each of these new positions.

Gordon, for his part, enjoyed a thirty-plus-year career at Yeshiva. He also eventually moved to Jerusalem, where, according to the New York Times, he served alongside Finkelstein on the advisory board of the National Council of Young Israel, an organization promoting Orthodox Judaism to liberal American Jews. (The current president of the organization claims that neither rabbi had been involved with the group “to my knowledge.”) In 2002, Dr. Jonathan Zizmor—a celebrity dermatologist whose advertisements were a staple of New York City subway cars for decades—set up a $250,000 scholarship fund in Gordon’s name for future generations of Yeshiva students. (Zizmor claims he knew nothing of the abuse at the time, and when allegations surfaced, he maintained that Gordon was “a great teacher, a great man.”)

Dodge City diocese names priests with substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of children

HAYES (KS)
Hayes Post

Oct. 2, 2019

Retired Kansas District Judge Robert J. Schmisseur conducted a comprehensive review and audit of all files in the Diocesan Chancery office related to priests, deacons and seminarians, according to a release presented Wednesday by the Dodge City Catholic Diocese.

More than 600 files were reviewed during the four-month audit. The audit included the identification of substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor by a member of the clergy or a seminarian. The findings of the auditor’s report have been shared with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and the Kansas Attorney General’s office.

The audit did not reveal any allegations of sexual misconduct that had not previously been made known to the Review Board. Following the audit and the Diocesan Review Board’s review, Bishop Brungardt offers this list of substantiated allegations:

PRIESTS WITH ALLEGATIONS ARISING IN THE DODGE CITY DIOCESE

Donald Fiedler (not permitted to function as a priest since 2007) Ordained for the Wichita Diocese May 1959; became a priest of Dodge City Diocese August 1964. Served in the Dodge City Diocese September 1961- January 1988: St. Rose, Great Bend; St. Joan of Arc, Elkhart; St. Helen, Hugoton; St. Alphonsus, Satanta; St. Dominic, Garden City; Mary, Queen of Peace, Ulysses. Allegations arising from incidents in the Diocese of Dodge City in the mid-1980s. Allegations determined substantiated.

Senators weigh altering child sex abuse lawsuit time limits

HARRISBURG (PA)
Associated Press

Oct. 2, 2019

By Mark Scolforo

State senators are hearing from victims, church advocates, lawyers and others about whether Pennsylvania should alter rules for child sexual abuse claims that occurred too long ago to file a lawsuit.

A Senate Judiciary Committee session on proposals to extend the criminal and civil statutes of limitations in such cases got underway Wednesday.

It’s unclear whether majority Republican opposition that has stalled legislation has changed.

The hearing comes as six of the state’s Roman Catholic dioceses have ended limited periods during which they’ve been considering claims and making payments in return for assurances from victims that they won’t sue.

Administrators for six of the compensation funds say they’ve paid $65 million to 384 claimants over the past year.

Victims Want Voluntary Disclosure by Missouri Attorney General & Bishop

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

Oct. 2, 2019

Dear AG Schmitt,

As we told you last week, your recent report on clergy sex crimes in Missouri is the worst such effort by a governmental official we’ve seen in our 30 years of involvement in this crisis. It’s misleading, weak and disturbingly deferential to the Catholic hierarchy.

We are disappointed that you’ve rejected our Sunshine Act request for

-- copies of any “memo of understanding” or agreement(s) you or your predecessor signed with Catholic officials, and

-- a thorough list of who you and your staff (and your predecessor and his staff) met or spoke with during this so-called ‘investigation.’

You evidently do not feel that you must share this information publicly. Now, however, we’re asking that you do so voluntarily. (We’re also asking all four Missouri bishops to do likewise.)

Why do we want such agreements? Because we’re convinced that you gave bishops massive concessions on the front end of your ‘probe’. (Why else would you ignore the church run predator priest treatment centers in Missouri, the hundreds of religious order clerics in Missouri, and say looking at church supervisors who have or are enabling abuse is “outside the scope” of your probe?)

Diocese of Bridgeport Releases Report into Sexual Abuse Crisis, SNAP Reacts

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

Oct. 2, 2019

A new internal report released by church officials in Connecticut points to serious internal issues that resulted in abusers being protected, survivors being spurned, and cases of abuse being covered up.

The conclusion reached by Judge Robert Holzberg – that the Diocese of Bridgeport continually ignored laws regarding the reporting of abuse and failed in their duty to protect children – comes as no surprise to survivors and advocates in Connecticut. What is disturbing is that the men singled out in this report, including former Archbishop Edward Egan, all had high level positions in other dioceses, meaning that their callous disregard for children and survivors as recognized in Bridgeport was likely experienced by survivors around the country. Every diocese where these men served should be subject to a full investigation by law enforcement officials to determine if any of these cover-ups can be criminally prosecuted.

It is notable that the Diocese of Bridgeport is publicly claiming that 4.7% of their priests were abusers, a rate far below that of other dioceses who have been investigated by secular officials. For example, the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report from last fall found that 9% of all priests preyed on children. In Providence, RI a 2006 court case revealed that more than 10% of priests had offended. And in New Hampshire, a 2009 Attorney General report disclosed that 8.9% of priests had abused others. We suspect that Judge Holzberg did not have the complete access to records that he needed in order to get a full accounting of cases of abuse in Bridgeport.


The teacher vs. the priest: S.I. man, now an educator, goes public with allegations against Monsignor Paddack

STATEN ISLAND (NY)
SI Live

October 2, 2019

By Maura Grunlund

As a prominent priest and former principal, Monsignor John Paddack was a revered religious figure on Staten Island.

However, a Staten Island man -- himself now a teacher -- is one of several people to come forward with shocking allegations as four bombshell lawsuits accuse the priest of sexually abusing children during his time at St. Joseph by-the-Sea High School in Huguenot, Cardinal Hayes High School in the Bronx and Church of the Incarnation in Manhattan.

The disturbing allegations span his career moves from parish priest in the 1980s in Manhattan to school administrator on Staten Island in the early 2000s.

Missouri AG rejects sunshine request from survivor network regarding abuse in Catholic church

ST. LOUIS (MO)
KMOX

October 1, 2019

By Kevin Killeen

Schmitt's office says SNAP's Sunshine Request was rejected because the investigation is ongoing, and no records can be released until an investigation is officially closed.

A clergy abuse survivors group is accusing Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt of making a "secret deal" with the Catholic church to not go after church hierarchy in its recent release of a list of predator priests.

The Missouri Attorney General's office has rejected a Sunshine Request made by the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, a request to find out if the church made a deal with the AG to protect higher-ups in an investigation of accused priests.

Schmitt's office says SNAP's Sunshine Request was rejected because the investigation is ongoing, and no records can be released until an investigation is officially closed.

The Catholic Church and Boy Scouts are lobbying against child abuse statutes. This is their playbook

UNITED STATES
USA TODAY

October 2, 2019

By Marisa Kwiatkowski and John Kelly

Pennsylvania state Rep. Tom Murt slid into a pew at his childhood church, seeking a break from politics and the stress of work.

Instead, Murt got an earful.

In his sermon, the priest talked about a bill pending in the state Legislature that would give survivors of child sexual abuse more time to sue their abusers – and the institutions that hid abuse.

The Catholic Church was being mistreated, the priest said. Legislators were being particularly harsh toward the church while leaving public school teachers who commit crimes off the hook.

Then the priest singled out Murt.

Criminal charges dismissed against ex-Ann Arbor priest accused of molesting altar boy

ANN ARBOR (MI)
MLive

October 2, 2019

By Nathan Clark

Sexual assault charges filed against a former Ann Arbor and Jackson area priest accused of regularly molesting an altar boy nearly 30 years ago were dismissed Tuesday.

Citing the dates of the alleged criminal acts, District Court Judge Joseph Burke found that the charges against Timothy Crowley failed to abide by the crime’s then six-year statute of limitations, forcing the court to dismiss all criminal charges at Crowley’s Oct. 1 preliminary examination.

“We all agree on the facts in the case. They’re awful, horrible and abominable, but the law is the law,” Burke said.

Ex-altar boy in N. Providence, alleging abuse, sues church leaders as ‘perpetrator defendants’

PROVIDENCE (RI)
Providence Journal

October 1, 2019

By Brian Amaral

The statute of limitations has long expired on his right to sue the Catholic Church as an institution, so he names Diocese of Providence leaders as personally responsible, saying that they concealed abuse, shuttled pedophile priests from parish to parish and interfered with criminal prosecutions.

A former altar boy who says he was sexually abused by a North Providence parish priest filed suit Monday, outlining a novel legal argument that casts the Diocese of Providence and church leaders as accessories to his private torment

Philip Edwardo’s lawsuit appears to be the first litigation over Catholic clergy sex abuse filed after the state gave victims more time to sue over such claims. Edwardo says the Rev. Philip Magaldi, then a pastor at St. Anthony Church, inappropriately touched, molested or abused him 100 to 300 times. The abuse spanned the late 1970s to the early 1980s, when Edwardo was 12 to 17 years old, he says.

THE DARK SIDE OF THE DALLAS CHARTER

NEW YORK (NY)
First Things

October 2, 2019

By Thomas G. Guarino

As we approach John Henry Newman’s canonization as a saint of the Catholic Church, it is a good time to invoke his considerable theological wisdom.

In his preface to the third edition of The Via Media of the Anglican Church (1877), Newman stated, “Theology is the fundamental and regulating principle of the whole Church system. It is commensurate with Revelation, and Revelation is the initial and essential idea of Christianity.” Theology “has in a certain sense a power of jurisdiction” even over popes and bishops (who exercise what Newman calls the regal or governing office in the Church). Such supervisory power is essential, since there exist elements in the Church that “are far more liable [than theology] to excess and corruption, and are ever struggling to liberate themselves from those restraints which are in truth necessary for their well-being.” Newman then lists several popes who “under secular inducements of the moment” have been tempted, though unsuccessfully, “to venture beyond the lines of theology.”

This investigative reporter charted the history of abusive priests in Alaska

ALASKA
Alaska Public Media

September 26, 2019

By Lori Townsend

The legacy of sexual abuse perpetrated by Jesuit priests against Alaskans in rural villages has haunted families and communities for decades. Shame and fear kept many victims silent for years but courageous voices brought light to the crimes. An investigative series tracked some of the worst offenders from Alaska to a retirement compound outside of the state. We’ll discuss the investigation and hear from an outspoken survivor on the next Talk of Alaska.

October 1, 2019

As window for claims closes, Archdiocese of Philadelphia to pay $32M to abuse victims

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
WHYY

October 1, 2019

By Laura Benshoff

$32,090,000.

That’s how much money has been offered to victims of sexual abuse by Philadelphia Archdiocese clergy to date, according to Hon. Larry Stengel, chair of the oversight committee for the Archdiocese’ Independent Reconciliation and Reparations Program.

This interim figure will likely go up.

New chapter opens in fight over suing church

HARRISBURG (PA)
Associated Press

October 1, 2019

By Marc Levy

When post offices closed on Monday, the last victim compensation funds at Pennsylvania’s Roman Catholic dioceses also closed, hours before lawmakers plunge back into a years-old fight over whether to let long-ago victims of child sexual abuse sue perpetrators and institutions that may have covered it up.

It comes more than a year after last year’s landmark grand jury report that accused senior Catholic Church officials of hushing up the abuse for decades.

In the report’s wake, the Philadelphia archdiocese and six Pennsylvania dioceses opened victim compensation funds while state lawmakers fought to a standstill over giving now-adult victims of childhood sexual abuse a legal “window” to sue.

Many victims lost that right under Pennsylvania law by the time they turned 20, while victim advocates say the dioceses have deftly used the delay to limit their civil liability, aided in recent years by the Senate blocking House bills that sought to restore it.

Lawsuit accuses ex-bishop of sexually harassing seminarian

WHEELING (WV)
Daily Journal

October 1, 2019

The former bishop of West Virginia’s Roman Catholic diocese is facing another lawsuit accusing him of sexual harassment.

The complaint against Michael J. Bransfield, who resigned last year, was filed in mid-September in Ohio County Circuit Court, The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register reported . Attorney Robert Warner filed the lawsuit on behalf of a recent seminarian in the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston.

A lawsuit accusing Bransfield of molesting boys and men was confidentially settled in August. That lawsuit came on the heels of a new wave of sex abuse allegations in the U.S last year.

One priest: How a Vermont cleric kept abusing children

VERMONT
VTDigger

September 30 2019

By Kevin O'Connor

Editor’s note: This is the second story in a series on the Vermont Catholic Church’s hidden history of clergy abusing children. Part 1, “One boy,” offers the perspective of a survivor. Part 2, “One priest,” reveals how the state’s most problematic cleric stayed on the job. Part 3, “One diocese,” reports on the collective past and current attempts to acknowledge and atone for it.

The personnel file of the former Rev. Edward Paquette, hidden by Vermont’s Catholic Church for nearly a half-century, contains a startling confession as to why leaders expelled the most problematic priest in the history in the state’s largest religious denomination.

“No longer could keep lid on things,” a 1978 internal memo says.

But a rare look at the records shows that’s not the biggest surprise.

“My name is Father Edward Paquette,” the cleric wrote in a 1972 introductory letter to the statewide Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington. “I am requesting of you to serve my priestly ministry.”

The Massachusetts native said he had been a priest for 15 years, was working in the Midwest and wanted to move back east to be closer to his aging parents. Almost as an aside, he added: “I did have problems but received medical treatment, and I am now cured.”

Paquette didn’t say his problem was sexually abusing boys.

Hundreds of child sex abuse claims lead Catholic dioceses to ramp up internal probes

ALBANY (NY)
Times Union

September 30, 2019

By Cayla Harris

But lawyers say priests' personnel files should be a matter of public record

About a month before the Child Victims Act went into effect, the Albany Diocese created a new position – a "process manager" – to oversee the handling of child abuse complaints.

Shortly after the opening of the act's one-year look-back window – which temporarily allows survivors of all ages to sue their alleged abusers – the diocese also hired a second investigative firm to help internally probe accusations of misconduct. Now, the diocese is exploring digital record-keeping alternatives to dated stacks of paper files.

It's just a sampling of the steps local dioceses across the state have taken to examine allegations, many of them new, of child sex abuse in the Catholic Church.

Report critical of church leaders’ response to clergy abuse

BRIDGEPORT (CT)
Associated Press

October 1, 2019

By Dave Collins

Past Roman Catholic leaders in Bridgeport, Connecticut, including eventual New York Cardinal Edward Egan, were often hostile toward people who alleged clergy sexual abuse and merely transferred many accused priests thus allowing them to continue their misconduct, an independent report released Tuesday found.

Current Bridgeport Bishop Frank Caggiano ordered an investigation last year into priests' sexual abuse of minors dating to the diocese's founding in 1953 in an effort to obtain a full accounting of the wrongdoing, detail how church leaders responded and increase transparency for lay members. Former Connecticut state Judge Robert Holzberg laid out his findings in a news conference Tuesday.

The yearlong review found that 281 people — mostly males between 5 and 18 — were abused by 71 priests since the diocese's founding in 1953. Holzberg said there probably are many more victims who could not be identified because church records were destroyed. The diocese has spent about $56 million settling victims' lawsuits.

Second Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Filed Against Former bishop Michael Bransfield

WHEELING (WV)
The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register

September 30, 2019

By Joselyn King

A second lawsuit alleging sexual harassment by former bishop Michael Bransfield has been filed in Ohio County Circuit Court.

Attorney Robert Warner of Charleston filed the complaint in mid-September on behalf of a client identified only as V.G.D., a recent seminarian in the diocese. Warner filed and later settled a similar lawsuit earlier this year for client J.E., also a young seminarian who served as Bransfield’s secretary.

Both lawsuits allege incidents of sexual harassment by Bransfield and call out the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston for negligence in reporting allegations of sexual misconduct by those associated with the church.

“We cannot comment on pending litigation, but we do plan to address the suit in the proper forum,” diocesan spokesman Tim Bishop said.

Warner did not immediately respond to requests for comment Monday.

Church sex abuse report: All accused priests removed from ministry, new ways to handle complaints

NEW YORK (NY)
Rockland/Westchester Journal News

September 30, 2019

By Frank Esposito

Every priest in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York who has a substantial sex-abuse accusation against him has been removed from ministry, according to a report released today.

That finding was revealed in a report by former federal judge and prosecutor Barbara Jones , who was tasked by Cardinal Timothy Dolan with studying the archdiocese's handling of sex-abuse complaints.

Her findings show a near stop to all abuse in the archdiocese since the early 2000s.

"Almost all the complainants received over the last several years are not complaints of current conduct, but rather they are complaints about conduct which occurred sometimes decades ago," Jones said.

Bridgeport Diocese report on sex abuse among priests blames former Archbishop Edward Egan; nearly 300 individuals allegedly abused by 71 priests since 1953

HARTFORD (CT)
Hartford Courant

October 1, 2019

By Dave Altimari and Amanda Blanco

A scathing report released Tuesday by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport on the alleged sexual abuse of hundreds of victims by clergy since the early 1950s blames former bishops Edward Egan and Walter Curtis for violating state law and failing to respond to “an unfolding crisis.”

Despite hundreds of victims, church leaders knew of abuse since 1953 and were more concerned about protecting assets and avoiding “scandalous news articles” than protecting children and removing priests, the report found. The report, compiled by former state Superior Court Judge Robert Holzberg, stated that Egan took a “dismissive, uncaring, and at times threatening attitude toward survivors.”

"Bishops Curtis and Egan failed even to acknowledge, let alone comply with, their legal obligations arising from the 1971 state law mandating that priests report allegations of child sexual abuse,'' the report states. Egan’s behavior “was profoundly unsympathetic, inadequate, and inflammatory.”

The report states that nearly 300 people were allegedly abused by approximately 71 priests. A small number of priests were responsible for much of the abuse. Holzberg said investigators have not identified any reports of abuse since 2008. Investigators interviewed more than 50 witnesses, survivors of clergy sexual abuse, current and former bishops, priests, lawyers and others.

Abuse case against frmr Yakima priest in Fresno moves forward

FRESNO (CA)
KIMA TV

Action News

September 30, 2019

Witnesses have begun testifying in the case against a former catholic priest who once worked in the Yakima Valley and is now facing charges of sexual abuse.

Jesus Antonio Castañeda-Serna is facing 20 counts including 16 counts of felony sexual battery against adult members of his church.

During the last few weeks, as part of a preliminary hearing, at least 5 witnesses shared their experiences in court. Several adults describing how they say Serna would abuse and molest them under the guise of spiritual authority.

Serna served as a catholic priest in Yakima from 1997 to 2005. He was suspended after allegations he revealed something that had been shared in the confessional.

Jury Finds Rabbi Greer Guilty

NEW HAVEN (CT)
New Haven Independent

September 25, 2019

By Christopher Peak

Rabbi Daniel Greer, one of New Haven’s most prominent religious figures, was led out of a courtroom in handcuffs Wednesday afternoon after a jury found him guilty of four counts of risk of injury to a minor in a high-profile child-rape case.

Jurors reached that verdict just before noon after a weeklong criminal trial in Connecticut Superior Court on Church Street.

The state brought the case against Greer based on the testimony of Eliyahu Mirlis, who claimed that Greer repeatedly raped him when he was a student at Greer’s Yeshiva of New Haven on Elm Street, from 2002 to 2005. Mirlis previously won a $21 million civil suit against Greer.

The four risk of injury charges that each carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

New Report Released into Archdiocese of New York, SNAP Responds

NEW YORK (NY)
SNAP

September 30, 2019

The Archdiocese of New York today released the results of an “independent” investigation into their policies and procedures. While this report is ostensibly an attempt at transparency, it really feels like another move by church officials to handle allegations of abuse in house.

It is good that Judge Jones feels confident in her assessment and we truly hope that she did receive full access to personnel files, including those within the “bishops archives.” However, just last year in Buffalo another church official in New York claimed to have released all his information, too, and it was only thanks to a brave whistleblower that we learned that this was not the case. We hope that this is not the case in New York City.

In terms of Judge Jones’ recommendations, it is distressing to learn that reports of “sexual abuse from non-consenting adults” – carefully sanitized language for the crime of rape – or allegations of abuse by church staff or volunteers are not already included in the Archdiocese’s reporting requirements. These are obvious crimes that should be reported, and it is disappointing that it took a legal review by a judge in 2019 to make this plain. To us, someone who is in “full compliance” with the charter would already have gone the extra mile to include these crimes underneath the “zero-tolerance” umbrella.

The Ultra-Orthodox Community's Sex Abuse Crisis Has Finally Reached a Tipping Point

UNITED STATES
VICE

September 24, 2019

By Hella Winston; illustrated by Hunter French

Thanks to a new law, one of the most secretive and isolated subcultures in the United States is facing possible exposure.

Fourteen years ago, an anonymous blogger calling himself Un-Orthodox Jew (UOJ) lit a fuse in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish world when he began posting sexual abuse allegations concerning a Brooklyn yeshiva teacher named Yehuda Kolko. As the blog's hit counter climbed into the hundreds of thousands and the comments piled up, it became clear to anyone reading that Kolko's alleged behavior spanned several decades and was not exactly a secret in his community. It had even been the subject of an inquiry by a religious court in the 1980s, a proceeding that reportedly was derailed by threats made by the head of the yeshiva where Kolko taught to the dozen or so people who had come forward to give testimony. (Among ultra-orthodox Jews, going to the police to "inform" (mesira) on another Jew was and largely remains taboo and can result in ostracization or worse.)

But until that day in 2005, nobody had ever discussed the details of the saga in a public forum.

Lakewood yeshiva rabbi accused of molesting Brooklyn student 40 years ago

LAKEWOOD (NJ)
Asbury Park Press

September 26, 2019

By Gustavo Martínez Contreras

A rabbi at a Lakewood yeshiva has been named in a civil lawsuit alleging he and another rabbi repeatedly sexually molested a then 13-year-old boy when the youth studied at a Brooklyn yeshiva almost four decades ago.

Rabbi Joel Falk, 74, now principal of Hebrew studies at Cheder Toras Zev, at 1000 Cross St., is named in a claim brought by former Brooklyn Yeshiva Torah Temimah student Barach Sandhaus, 52, a Miami Beach-based businessman.

The lawsuit alleges that over a two-year period, Falk and Rabbi Joel Kolko, also employed at the Brooklyn school, would "inappropriately touch the penis and other parts of the plaintiff's body." The alleged abuse occurred between 1978 and 1980.

To see the full lawsuit, scroll to the bottom of this story.

Secrets and Lies

AUSTRALIA
ABC

September 24, 2019

“As long as you have priests, you will have children of Catholic priests.”

It has been an open secret for centuries. Catholic priests fathering children in breach of their vows of celibacy. But like other scandals it has faced, the Church has swept this issue under the carpet.

The children of priests have long suffered in silence and shame, their mothers pressured to keep quiet and keep the secret.

We follow the story of one Australian woman who discovered in middle age who her father was, and who’s determined to find out more.

“I remember thinking I can’t tell anybody. I now have to carry a secret”, she says. “Over a period of time, I realised…I can’t keep the secret and I need to step forward.”

Rabbi accused of molesting student in Brooklyn now heads NJ yeshiva

NEW YORK (NY)
NY Post

September 24, 2019

By Susan Edelman

A rabbi once accused of sexually molesting a student in Brooklyn is now a principal at a New Jersey yeshiva — which touts his “wisdom and experience” on its website, The Post has learned.

Rabbi Joel Falk is named by a former Yeshiva Torah Temimah student in a new lawsuit, one of the first against a rabbi under New York’s Child Victims Act.

Baruch Sandhaus, now 52, claims Falk “would inappropriately touch” his penis in 1980, shortly after he started ninth grade at age 13, according to the lawsuit.

Falk, 74, who still lives in Brooklyn, now serves as the principal of Hebrew studies at Toras Zev, a Lakewood, N.J. yeshiva.

East Bay priest gets prison time for child sex assault

DUBLIN (CA)
Bay Area News Group

September 27, 2019

By Angela Ruggiero

The Rev. David Mendoza-Vela took plea deal

DUBLIN — A Fremont priest accused of sexually assaulting a young teenager was sentenced to nearly five years in prison Friday.

Hector David Mendoza-Vela, also known as the Rev. David Mendoza-Vela, 42, was sentenced Friday at the East County Hall of Justice in Dublin to four years and eight months in prison after taking a plea deal in August.

He must also register as a sex offender for the rest of his life, and Judge Jon Rolefson ordered him to stay away from the victim, who was 14 years old at the time of the molestation, for 10 years, according to Alameda County Deputy District Attorney Colleen McMahon, who prosecuted his case.

Sex abuser’s presence in Taos raises questions

TAOS (NM)
Albuquerque Journal

September 2019

By Colleen Heild

Archbishop: Retired priest will not live at monastery

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-yearold 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.

Former priest accused of exposing himself at Bad Axe bakery

HURON COUNTY (MI)
WJRT-TV, ABC12 News

September 30, 2019

A former Catholic priest is charged with indecent exposure in Huron County.

Police say Lawrence Ventline of Port Austin exposed himself at Murphy's Bakery in Bad Axe earlier this summer. He faces up to a year in jail if convicted.

Earlier this year, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel accused Ventline of assaulting an 11-year-old child in the 1980s while he was a priest in the Detroit area. But because of the statute of limitations he hasn't been charged.

Ventline has threatened to sue Nessel over the accusations.

PA Attorney General Slams Pittsburgh Bishop for Lack of Remorse, Transparency

PENNSYLVANIA
ChurchMilitant.com (blog)

September 30, 2019

Vy Martina Moyski

Bp. David Zubik and diocese 'have not learned from the lessons of the past’

The attorney general of Pennsylvania slammed the bishop of Pittsburgh on Thursday for dragging his feet on implementing the recommendations made in the grand jury report on clergy sex abuse issued over a year ago.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro called the response of Bp. David Zubik — and the diocese of Pittsburgh — to the report as lacking in "remorse" and "transparency."

"Neither Bp. Zubik nor any of his colleagues across Pennsylvania have [responded], and that should be disappointing to all Pennsylvanians," Shapiro said, adding, "We continue to see the Church throw up roadblocks when it comes to getting those people who were abused the support and assistance that they need."

In New Orleans, hope for justice seen in ex-deacon's arrest

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
Associated Press via Orlando Sentinel

September 30, 2019

By Jim Mustian

A man who says he was raped by a Roman Catholic deacon four decades ago while serving as an altar boy in New Orleans says he hopes the deacon's arrest will "send a message to other pedophiles in the church that this should never happen again."

"There's no closing the book on this for me and the other people who have been molested," the man told The Associated Press. "But there would be some reparation, some justice, by him being found guilty."

The man spoke Thursday as he prepared to meet with local prosecutors about the case of George F. Brignac, a longtime schoolteacher and deacon who has faced a series of sexual abuse allegations amid a scandal that has roiled the Archdiocese of New Orleans. The AP does not usually identify victims of sex crimes.

Retired Victorian priest Peter Waters jailed for abuse of five boys

MELBOURNE (AUSTRALIA)
Australian Associated Press via 7news.com

September 25, 2019

By Marnie Banger

A retired Victorian priest will spend the next 14 months behind bars for molesting five boys decades ago in what has been branded a "monumental breach of trust".

Peter Waters, 74, abused the boys in the 1970s and '80s, sometimes after climbing into their beds.

Waters began grooming one boy after he entered the confessional booth to reveal the Catholic sin of masturbation.

When the boy stayed overnight with the priest during the 1980s, Waters molested him as he pretended to sleep.

Australian diocese to pay millions in settlement in one abuse case

SYDNEY (AUSTRALIA)
Catholic News Service via CatholicPhilly.com

September 30, 2019

By Michael Sainsbury

[PHOTO: David Ridsdale, who was sexually abused by his uncle, Gerald Ridsdale, then a priest, stands next to fellow sexual abuse survivors in Rome March 3, 2016. Lawyers say the Australian Catholic Church has opened the floodgates for tens of millions dollars in compensation claims after the Diocese of Ballarat admitted, for the first time, it knew of the behavior of the pedophile priest, yet continued to move him around from parish to parish.]

Australia’s Ballarat Diocese will pay up to $3 million (US$2.03 million) in a landmark compensation claim for clerical sexual abuse after a victim, code name JCB, won an out-of-court settlement for abuse during the early 1990s by Gerald Ridsdale, a former priest.

The case was against Bishop Paul Bird of Ballarat, because of actions by two now-deceased bishops: Ronald Mulkearns and James O’Collins. The case was only allowed after the Australian government struck down the so-called Ellis defense, which held that the church was not a legal “person.” Ridsdale, 85, is serving as the latest in a string of multiyear prison sentences after being found guilty of abusing 85 children.

Priest who sexually abused boys in Wisconsin gets 30 years

HAYWARD (WI)
Associated Press via Hartford Courant

September 30, 2019

A former priest accused of sexually assaulting young boys in Wisconsin decades ago has been sentenced to 30 years in prison.

The Wausau Daily Herald reports that 72-year-old Thomas Ericksen received the maximum sentence Thursday on two charges of sexually assaulting young boys while stationed at St. Peter's Catholic Church in Winter in the late 70s and early 80s. He must register as a sex offender for life.

Four men testified Thursday about how the assaults affected their lives. One of the victims went public for the first time.

Ericksen apologized to the victims in court and said he has come to realize the impact the assaults had on victims. At least 11 men claim they were abused by Ericksen during his time in the clergy.

Ericksen was removed from the priesthood in 1988.