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November 12, 2019

Victims of child sex abuse still face significant legal barriers suing churches - here’s why

The Conversation

November 12, 2019

By Laura Griffin

Following the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, we are witnessing a wave of legal reforms across Australia aimed at helping survivors seek justice.

Most visibly, there is the National Redress Scheme, which provides victims access to counselling, a response from the institution where they were abused and payment of up to $150,000.

But for those who slip through the cracks of the scheme, as well as future victims, pursuing justice through civil litigation is still hugely important.

As traumatising as legal action can be, suing is not just a means to access compensation. It can also provide formal legal recognition of the abuse, and is a powerful way to hold the institution directly accountable.

USA Today hunts for 'The Priest Next Door,' in sex abuse feature that breaks little new ground

Get Religion blog

Nov. 12, 2019

By Terry Mattingly

If you follow mainstream news coverage of clergy sexual abuse cases in the Catholic church, you know that there are two common errors that journalists keep making when dealing with this hellish subject.

First, there is the timeline issue. Many editors seem convinced that the public first learned about this crisis through the epic Boston Globe “Spotlight” series that ran in 2002.

This may have been when Hollywood grasped the size of this story, but religion beat reporters and many other journalists had been following the scandal since the Louisiana accusations against the Rev. Gilbert Gauthe, which made national headlines in 1984. Jason Berry’s trailblazing book “Lead Us Not Into Temptation” was published in 1992. Reporters covering the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops chased this story all through the 1980s.

USA Today Investigation Reveals Dangers of Laicizing Abusers Without Oversight

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Nov. 12, 2019

A new investigation into Catholic clerics who have left or been expelled from the priesthood has confirmed many of our deepest fears about this scandal: that dangerous men are set loose upon unsuspecting communities, without oversight, allowing them to find jobs, positions, and homes near children and the vulnerable.

The USA Today report echoes findings from an Associated Press report earlier this year, showing how Catholic leaders have simply washed their hands of abusive priests after laicizing them or otherwise forcing them out of the Church. And while taking steps to remove clergy who abuse children or vulnerable adults is an obvious and necessary result, as these investigations show it is not enough. Church officials cannot ordain and train abusive priests only to ignore their responsibility to monitor and warn communities about them after they have hurt children.

Survivors Lay Out Steps New USCCB President Can Take Immediately on Clergy Abuse

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Nov. 12, 2019

As US Catholic officials are set to vote on new leadership, survivors of clergy abuse are hoping that this new leader will immediately take steps to improve how the body has addressed cases of clergy abuse and cover-up.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops will elect their new president tomorrow. This new leader will succeed the outgoing Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Houston, a prelate who leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, have castigated as continuing the cover-up and failing to take decisive action to protect children and support survivors.

“The new president has an opportunity to address this scandal better than any prior leader has,” said Becky Ianni, SNAP Board Member and volunteer leader in the Washington D.C. and Virginia areas. “We hope that he will listen to our asks and take steps to protect children from sexual abuse today.”

How a priest got cleared of sexual abuse allegations


Nov. 11, 2019

By Daniel Telvock

The Rev. Roy Herberger may have been cleared by the Diocese of Buffalo of sexual abuse allegations, but he’s still scarred by the bishop’s decision to publish his name before anyone looked into the veracity of the claims.

Herberger is a priest at University at Buffalo’s Newman Center, where he returned to active ministry in December after a six-month investigation of allegations that he sexually abused a child beginning in 1985.

News 4 Investigates obtained the secret investigative report that the diocese used to clear Herberger, who described the time off waiting for a decision as “hell.”

Although Herberger was eventually reinstated, he said he is disappointed with Bishop Richard Malone, who he said should resign, and the Diocese of Buffalo for running an “unfair” process to vet sexual abuse allegations.

Similar to the sentiments of his fellow priest The Rev. Samuel Venne, who remains suspended from the diocese pending a decision from Rome on sexual abuse allegations against him, Herberger said the process the Diocese of Buffalo follows makes priests feel guilty before any fact-finding begins.

For starters, Herberger takes offense to the diocese releasing the name of accused priests, alive or dead, prior to any investigation.

Poland abuse scandal led to slump in vocations

The Tablet

Nov. 12, 2019

By Jonathan Luxmoore

Poland's Primate has said that the paedophile scandal in the Catholic Church has contributed to a drastic fall in priestly vocations, which have plummeted by a fifth this year, according to newly published Church data.

"Of course, demography has an important part in these falling numbers, but it most certainly isn't the only cause", Archbishop Wojciech Polak of Gniezno told the Catholic Information Agency (KAI). "I'd also pose questions about the faith life of contemporary young people, and about our witness to faith in the Church and the world – about testimony within our families, and about our capacity and determination to resolve difficult and shameful issues in our Church life".

Do non-disclosure agreements hurt or help women?

The Hill

Nov. 12, 2019

By Scott Altman

Non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) in sexual harassment and assault cases are now at the center of a heated feminist debate. On one side, #MeToo leaders point out that repeat predators like Harvey Weinstein have used NDAs to silence victims and avoid detection and punishment while continuing to offend. The Catholic Church followed the same pattern in protecting pedophile priests. These scandals came to light in part because brave victims came forward in defiance of NDAs. The recent book “She Said” suggests that victims’ lawyers share some blame for abuse because they advise clients to sign NDAs.

On the other side, some feminists defend the use of NDAs. Gloria Allred, a feminist lawyer who has been targeted for such criticism, has defended her regular use of non-disclosure agreements. Allred points out that many victims value their privacy and reasonably prefer not to relive their assaults and harassment in public or to become publicly known as victims. As well, she argues that victims often have good reason to settle their claims rather than litigating, and without NDAs, perpetrators will not settle. According to Ms. Allred, NDAs expand victim choice — letting them decide whether to speak or be silent and whether to litigate or settle. Demanding that they sacrifice these benefits for the common good is unreasonable.

Former Mascoutah priest pleads guilty to child porn distribution, meth possession

News Democrat

Nov. 12, 2019

By Hana Muslic

A Mascoutah priest who was charged last year with possessing and distributing child pornography and possessing meth has pleaded guilty to both crimes.

Rev. Gerald R. Hechenberger, a former associate pastor of Holy Childhood Catholic Church and school, entered his plea during a hearing in St. Clair County in front of Circuit Judge Zina Cruse on Nov. 7.

Hechenberger pleaded guilty to four of the 17 counts against him, including three counts of possessing pornographic photos of children and one count of possession of methamphetamine.

The case was handled by special prosecutor Jennifer Mudge, who stepped in to oversee the case when James Gomric was announced as the new St. Clair County State’s Attorney last year.

New report slams ex-Salina bishop

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Nov. 11, 2019

It shows he destroyed abuse records
SNAP: Revelations are ‘very alarming’
Group seeks two investigations of him
It also seeks more funding for KBI investigation
Probe was requested by KS attorney general one year ago
And SNAP ‘outs’ another local predator priest not on bishop’s list

Holding signs and childhood photos at sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will disclose
--excerpts of a just-released church report that reveals “serious wrongdoing” by the former head of the Salina diocese, and
--the name of another credibly and publicly accused child molesting cleric who was in the Salina diocese but is NOT on the official diocesan ‘accused’ list and has attracted no local attention.

They will urge
--Catholic officials in Rome, Salina and Arizona to investigate his handling of ALL abuse cases, in each diocese where he worked, and
--local and state law enforcement to also investigate him for potentially destroying evidence and other potential crimes.

They will also urge
--the Kansas Bureau of Investigation to issue an update on its statewide probe of clergy sex crimes and cover ups,
--lawmakers to increase funding for the on-going investigation, and
--“every current and ex-church staffer and member who has seen, suspected or suffered abuse to call the KBI immediately so kids are safer, wrongdoers are exposed and cover ups are deterred.”



Nov. 11, 2019

By Rosie McCall

An Alabama priest is due to attend court Wednesday having been accused of sexually harassing a masseuse aboard a cruise ship in August.

According to The Associated Press, Reverend Amal Samy from the Archdiocese of Mobile in southwest Alabama is being trialed after allegations emerged revealing the priest had tried to get a female technician aboard the Carnival Fantasy cruise ship to touch his genitals. It has also been claimed Samy had repeatedly attempted to touch the technician, federal court documents show.

Witness statements additionally allege that Samy had exposed himself to the masseuse by removing the covering sheet during his massage. However, Samy himself denies committing any wrongdoing.

Victims to share stories of impacts of childhood sex abuse

The Buffalo News

November 12, 2019

By Jay Tokasz

“Enlighten & Empower: An Evening with Survivors” will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday in the parish center of St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church, 6919 Transit Road, Swormville.

Survivors of childhood sexual abuse will discuss how the abuse has affected them over their lifetimes.

The event is being organized by the Buffalo Survivors Group, formed by five men who said they were sexually abused as minors by priests in the Buffalo Diocese. Among the founders are Michael Whalen, whose public accusation in 2018 against the Rev. Norbert F. Orsolits helped prompt dozens of people to report that they had been abused by a priest, and Christopher Szuflita, who first went public with his claim of abuse against the Rev. Joseph Friel with a lawsuit in 1994. Kevin Koscielniak, Gary Astridge and Angelo Ervolina are the other founders of the group.

Lawsuit accuses priest of sexually abusing St. Sylvester’s student in 1960s


November 11, 2019

By Maura Grunlund

A lawsuit accuses a priest who was a prominent member of the Augustinian Order on Staten Island of sexually abusing a child at St. Sylvester’s R.C. Church in Concord in the 1960s.

The Child Victims Act lawsuit was filed by Jeff Anderson & Associates on Aug. 14 in state Supreme Court in Manhattan on behalf of an anonymous alleged victim identified only as ARK63 DOE. Named as defendants in the lawsuits are the Archdiocese of New York, the Augustinian Order and related entities, including the former Augustinian Academy on Grymes Hill, and St. Sylvester’s Parish.

Accused in the lawsuit is the Rev. Thomas Burke, whose Island assignments included leadership positions at the former Augustinian Academy.

French bishops vote to compensate abuse victims with Church funds


November 11, 2019

The bishops of France on Saturday approved plans to offer financial compensation to victims of sexual abuse by clergy.

According to the Associated Press, any person recognized by their bishop as a victim will be eligible to receive money, and the Church in France will appeal for donations to cover the costs.

The French bishops also voted to allocate 5 million euros, or $5.5 million, to an independent commission examining Church sex abuse in France and to support prevention efforts, the AP reported.

The bishops made the decision at their biannual assembly in Lourdes. They plan to consider additional details of the plan, including compensation amounts for victims, at their next meeting in April 2020.

Poland abuse scandal led to slump in vocations

The Tablet

November 12, 2019

by Jonathan Luxmoore

Poland has seen a 60 per cent drop in priestly recruits in the past two decades.
Poland's Primate has said that the paedophile scandal in the Catholic Church has contributed to a drastic fall in priestly vocations, which have plummeted by a fifth this year, according to newly published Church data.

"Of course, demography has an important part in these falling numbers, but it most certainly isn't the only cause", Archbishop Wojciech Polak of Gniezno told the Catholic Information Agency (KAI). "I'd also pose questions about the faith life of contemporary young people, and about our witness to faith in the Church and the world – about testimony within our families, and about our capacity and determination to resolve difficult and shameful issues in our Church life".

The 54-year-old was speaking after November figures from Poland's Church Statistics Institute showed 498 ordinands had begun training this year at the country's 83 Catholic seminaries, 20 percent fewer than in 2018, confirming a 60 per cent drop in priestly recruits in the past two decades.

Second allegation of sexual abuse of minor made against former local priest

Standard Democrat

November 11, 2019

By David Jenkins

A second allegation of sexual abuse of a minor has been made against a priest that spent time in the southeast Missouri area.

According to a release from the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, a second allegation was made against Fr. William E. Donovan that occurred between 1968 and 1972. Donovan, who died Feb. 9, 1975, is already listed as a clergy against whom prior allegations of the abuse of a minor occurred.

Civil authorities have been notified of the allegation following procedures outlined in diocesan Safe Environment Policies.

Donovan was born in 1930 in Rome, NY and was ordained a priest in 1955 in St. Louis for the Archdiocese of St. Louis. The Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau was formed in 1956 from territory that was prior to 1956, part of the Archdiocese of St. Louis and the Diocese of Kansas City.

Donovan was the assistant pastor at Guardian Angel Parish in Oran, Mo., from 1955-1958 and the assistant pastor at St. Mary of the Annunciation Cathedral in Cape Girardeau, Mo., from 1958-1960. He was the area director of Catholic scouting in Cape Girardeau from 1960-1962 before becoming the pastor at St. John Valley Parish in Mountain View, Mo. and chaplain of Mountain View Memorial Hospital in 1962.

Bishop Malone in Rome, meeting with the Pope


November 12, 2019

By Marian Hetherly

Bishop Richard Malone is in Rome Tuesday through Friday with the bishops of New York State. The bishops are meeting with the Pope as part of their "Visit to the Treshold of the Apostles," also known as "ad limina."

The Pope holds the ad limina every five to seven years with the bishops of each geographic region to receive detailed reports about what has been happening in local dioceses, express concerns and share advice.

In a statement from the Buffalo Catholic Diocese, Malone said he is "carrying with him the prayers and intentions of all the people" of the diocese, as well as his "prayer for the healing of the diocese."

Cardinal Nichols tells child sex abuse inquiry Church ‘shocked to core’


November 9, 2019

By Christine Rousselle

Cardinal says priests would sooner die than violate the Seal of Confession

The Archbishop of Westminster has admitted that he did not properly handle an accusation of abuse in his archdiocese, as he also rejected calls for priests to violate the seal of confession.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols said during an independent inquiry hearing earlier this week that he “failed” a woman who claimed she was sexually abused by a member of the Servite Order. Nichols did not answer her emails, and agreed that he effectively “shut out” the victim from any assistance.

The first Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse hearing was held in 2016. The IICSA works to investigate child sexual abuse in various institutions throughout the UK, including the Catholic Church, the Church of England, and by members of parliament.

How a priest got cleared of sexual abuse allegations


November 11, 2019

By Daniel Telvock

Fr. Roy Herberger last year was accused of sexually abusing a child in 1985. But the diocese returned him to ministry. Why?

The Rev. Roy Herberger may have been cleared by the Diocese of Buffalo of sexual abuse allegations, but he’s still scarred by the bishop’s decision to publish his name before anyone looked into the veracity of the claims.

Herberger is a priest at University at Buffalo’s Newman Center, where he returned to active ministry in December after a six-month investigation of allegations that he sexually abused a child beginning in 1985.

News 4 Investigates obtained the secret investigative report that the diocese used to clear Herberger, who described the time off waiting for a decision as “hell.”

Although Herberger was eventually reinstated, he said he is disappointed with Bishop Richard Malone, who he said should resign, and the Diocese of Buffalo for running an “unfair” process to vet sexual abuse allegations.

Child abuse survivors call for archbishop of Westminster to resign

The Guardian

Nov.12, 2019

By Harriet Sherwood

Cardinal Vincent Nichols has given evidence in person twice in the past year to the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse. Photograph: Franco Origlia/Getty
Lawyers acting for child abuse survivors have called for the resignation of Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the highest-ranking Catholic cleric in England and Wales, saying the church has treated survivors with disdain.

In a letter to the Catholic weekly, The Tablet, the lawyers say Nichols, who is the archbishop of Westminster and was formerly the archbishop of Birmingham, “cannot credibly lead the Catholic church on these issues in the future”.

Nichols has given evidence in person twice in the past year to the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse (IICSA), first on his period as archbishop of Birmingham and last week on safeguarding and support for survivors in the archdiocese of Westminster.

November 11, 2019

Australian court to say if will hear Cardinal Pell’s appeal

Associated Press

November 11, 2019

By Rod McGuirk

The most senior Catholic to be found guilty of sexually abusing children will learn this week whether Australia’s highest court will hear his appeal against convictions for molesting two choirboys in a Melbourne cathedral two decades ago.

The High Court of Australia confirmed on Monday that two judges will announce their decision Wednesday morning on whether all seven judges will hear Cardinal George Pell’s appeal next year. The names of the two judges who will make the decision won’t be announced until Wednesday.

A unanimous Victoria state County Court jury in December found Pope Francis’ former finance minister guilty of molesting two 13-year-old choirboys in Melbourne’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral in the late 1990s shortly after Pell became archbishop of Australia’s second-largest city.

Decision imminent on fate of Cardinal Pell High Court appeal

Catholic News Agency

November 11, 2019

Australia’s High Court will announce on Wednesday whether it will hear Cardinal George Pell’s appeal of his conviction on sexual abuse charges.

Two judges on the country’s highest court will announce whether the full court’s seven judges will hear their appeal, the Associated Press reports.

The court rejects about 90% of appeals.

In August, sources close to the cardinal told CNA that they thought Pell’s case would likely be accepted given the controversy triggered by the split decision of the Court of Appeals of Victoria, which rejected the cardinal’s appeal.

The cardinal, now 78, was convicted Dec. 11, 2018, on five charges that he sexually abused two 13-year-old choir boys after Sunday Mass while he was Archbishop of Melbourne in 1996 and 1997.

Bill would create state-run fund supporting sex abuse survivors

Albany Times-Union

November 11, 2019

By Cayla Harris

Fund would offer aid to nonprofits pursuing civil suits against alleged abusers

State lawmakers are proposing legislation to create a state-operated private fund to help survivors of child sex crimes pursue civil cases against their alleged abusers.

The legislation, spearheaded by Sen. James Gaughran, D-Long Island, would create a "Child Victim Foundation Fund" run jointly by the Department of Taxation and Finance, the Division of Criminal Justice Services and the comptroller's office. New Yorkers would be able to donate to the fund when they file their taxes, and people convicted of child sex crimes would contribute to the pool in the form of a $1,000 fine.

Under the proposal, the state would also allocate grants to nonprofit organizations that help survivors litigate child abuse claims.

Catholic bishops’ agenda: immigrants, gun deaths, sex abuse

Associated Press

November 11, 2019

By David Crary and Regina Garcia Cano

US Catholic bishops received a challenging to-do list Monday as they opened their national assembly — notably to support immigrants and refugees, extend the campaign to curtail clergy sex abuse and work harder to combat gun violence. They also were urged by Pope Francis’ envoy to be more vigorous in promoting sometimes-divisive segments of the pope’s agenda.

“The pope has emphasized certain themes: Mercy, closeness to the people... a spirit of hospitality toward migrants, and dialogue with those of other cultures and religions,” Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the papal nuncio, told the bishops as they opened a three-day meeting. “Do you believe these are gradually becoming part of the mindset of your clergy and your people?”

Pierre said the bishops should find tangible ways of showing they supported the pope’s merciful message and flexible doctrine, which includes an emphasis on protecting the environment. The remarks came just weeks after Francis acknowledged he was under attack by some conservative Americans and spoke openly about the risk of “schism.”

The meeting’s opening session also featured the last presidential address from Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston, who is ending his three-year term as head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Cardinal O'Malley: Pope Francis will publish Vatican McCarrick report 'soon'

Catholic News Agency

November 11, 2019

By Matt Hadro

The results of the Vatican’s investigation of Theodore McCarrick should be published by early 2020, Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston told U.S. bishops on Monday.

“The intention is to publish the Holy See’s response soon, if not before Christmas, soon in the new year,” Cardinal O’Malley said on Monday afternoon

O’Malley presented a brief update on the status of the Vatican’s McCarrick investigation during the annual fall meeting of the U.S. bishops in Baltimore, Maryland, held from Nov. 11-13.

Retired State Supreme Court judge has strong words for Bishop Malone


November 11, 2019

By Charlie Specht


Buffalo Bishop Richard J. Malone is on his way to Rome for a face-to-face meeting with Pope Francis.

It’s part of a regular visit to the Vatican by New York State’s Catholic bishops, but this time the visit comes on the heels of a massive sexual abuse scandal exposed in part by the 7 Eyewitness News I-Team over the last two years.

Now, a state judge is taking the rare step of speaking out against a sitting bishop.

“He goes on and it's like an actor on the stage,” retired State Supreme Court Justice Timothy Drury said in a recent interview, speaking about Bishop Malone. “He's got his crook. He's got his mitre. And there he is, on the stage again, thinking he can do this.”

Thousands of Catholic priests were accused of sexual abuse, then what happened? An investigation reveals most have become the priest next door.

USA Today

Nov. 12, 2019

By Lindsay Schnell and Sam Ruland

John Dagwell said he’s earned the right to live in peace as he tries to put his past behind him.

The former Roman Catholic brother, 75, pleaded guilty in a New Jersey criminal case in 1988 to molesting a student when he taught at a parochial school. His religious order, the Xaverian Brothers, transferred him to the Boston area, where he went to work in a homeless shelter and soon faced new abuse accusations that were never reported to police. Four years later, personnel files from the Boston Archdiocese revealed Dagwell as a clergyman accused of sexual abuse. His name was also included in a list released by the Xaverian Brothers.

Despite his past, Dagwell was never required to register as a sex offender. He moved on to a new life in a new community, a place where children fill the local pool during school vacations and where his history remained a secret from neighbors. He began teaching again, this time at Keiser University, a 16,000-student school based in Fort Lauderdale.

“I’ve stayed away from adolescents. I’ve been trying hard not to put myself in a situation where I was going to be tempted,” Dagwell said recently while sitting in an apartment he shares with his sister. As he spoke, three teddy bears sat on his television and a half-dozen stuffed Disney dolls – Mickey Mouse, Goofy, Jiminy Cricket – were carefully arranged on a China cabinet.

Dagwell is one of more than 1,200 former priests, Catholic brothers and Catholic school officials identified in a USA TODAY Network investigation who were accused of sexual abuse but were able to move on with little or no oversight or accountability. Most never faced criminal charges.

As thousands of abuse victims across the U.S. continue to search for justice and closure decades after being molested by some of the most trusted people in their lives, these men have become the priest next door. They live near schools and playgrounds, close to families and children unaware of their backgrounds or the crimes they’ve been accused of. In some cases, they’ve taken on leadership roles in new communities, becoming professors, counselors, friends and mentors to children. Their movements are unchecked by both the government and the Catholic Church in part because laws in many states make it nearly impossible for victims to pursue criminal charges decades after alleged abuse.

DiNardo Praises Abuse Survivors for Speaking Out, As U.S. Bishops Begin Fall Meeting

The Tablet

November 11, 2019

By Christopher White

In his final remarks as president of the U.S. bishops, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo encouraged the U.S. Church to continue to press ahead in the fight against clergy abuse and in defense of migrants and unborn human life.

DiNardo began his remarks on Monday at the start of the general assembly of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) by recalling several highlights of his time as president of the conference over the past three years.

Among the stories he recounted were those of visiting a border detention center and seeing the hand drawn pictures of Jesus and Mary made by children separated from their families, the work of crisis pregnancy centers across the country, and meeting with clergy abuse survivors.

“When too many within the Church sought to keep them in the darkness, they refused to be relegated to the shadows,” DiNardo said.

Religious Studies Professor Highlights Challenges Faced by Jehovah’s Witnesses Sexual Abuse Survivors

Holy Cross College

Nov. 11, 2019

It’s been months since the New York Child Victims Act was signed into law allowing adult survivors of child sexual abuse to sue an abuser or a negligent institution regardless of when the abuse took place, and hundreds of new cases are still flooding the courts, many of them targeting members of the Jehovah’s Witness organization.

In a recent VICE article, Mathew Schmalz, professor of religious studies at Holy Cross, comments on the unique challenges faced by sexual abuse survivors within the Jehovah’s Witnesses faith, especially given its controversial “two-witness rule.”

The church at its best and its worst, in one day

National Catholic Reporter

Nov 11, 2019

By Michael Sean Winters

It was the best of our church. It was the worst of our church. It was a time for evangelization and a time for churlish retrenchment. It was a time for looking out. It was a time for looking in. It was the spirit of the Gospel and it was the demon of self-pity. It was the age of Francis. It was the age of Pio Nono.

It was last Thursday.

About midday, I was pleased that NCR published the text of a speech given by San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy at St. Mary's University in San Antonio. Asked to address how the church in this country should move forward after the bitter return of the sexual abuse issue, McElroy began by recalling his participation in the synod of the Amazon last month. Turning to the situation of the church in this country, he said, "My suggestion would be to embrace the type of synodal pathway that the church in the Amazon has been undergoing — one filled with deep and broad consultation, the willingness to accept arduous choices, the search for renewal and reform at every level, and unswerving faith in the constancy of God's presence in the community."

Bishop Malone to meet with Pope Francis this week

Buffalo News

Nov. 11, 2019

By Jay Tokasz

While most of the U.S. Catholic bishops are gathered in Baltimore this week for the 2019 Fall General Assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Buffalo Diocese Bishop Richard J. Malone and other bishops from New York State traveled to Rome to meet with Pope Francis.

The “ad limina” visit to the Vatican, today through Friday, comes as New York bishops grapple with hundreds of new child sex abuse lawsuits allowed under the state’s Child Victims Act.

Malone and the heads of the seven other dioceses and archdioceses in New York prior to the visit each prepared quinquennial reports giving a detailed overview of the life of the Catholic Church in their diocese. Various departments of the Vatican reviewed the information and will meet with the bishops to discuss the material.

It’s not clear if Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of the Brooklyn Diocese, who was tapped by the Vatican to conduct an investigation into Malone and the Buffalo Diocese over a clergy sex abuse scandal, will deliver a report on his findings to the pope.

DiMarzio made three trips to Western New York and spent seven days interviewing area clergy and lay people before wrapping up the Vatican-ordered apostolic visitation at the end of October.

Survivors Of Clergy Sex Abuse Call For Church To Release Names Of Leaders Accused Of Abuse


Nov. 11, 2019

By Rachel Menitoff

Survivors of clergy sex abuse and their supporters are outlining their requests for Catholic Church leaders ahead of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which began Monday in Baltimore.

Among the changes victims want to see are archdioceses nationwide releasing the names of clergy and anyone in the church who has been accused of abuse.

Leaders of the Survivors Network of Those Abused By Priests (SNAP) group said that list can be validating for victims.

“When survivors see the names of their abusers listed, they feel a sense of validation and that they are not alone. I know I felt this way when I saw my priests name listed in the Arlington Arch Diocese,” said Becky Ianni with SNAP.

Victims seek update on church abuse probe

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Nov. 11, 2019

KBI should issue ‘preliminary report,’ SNAP says
Group also wants more outreach and funding for it
KS attorney general asked for investigation one year ago
Bishops must update & expand their ‘accused’ lists, SNAP pleads
Victims to prelates: “Warn your flock about clerics who prey on adults too”

Clergy sex abuse victims will hand out fliers door-to-door near churches listing recently-disclosed predator priests who are or were in eastern Kansas. Holding signs and childhood photos at sidewalk news conference, they will urge the Kansas Bureau of Investigation to
--issue an update on its statewide probe of clergy sex crimes and cover ups,
--do more outreach so that “every victim, witness and whistleblower can be heard.”

They will also urge lawmakers to
--increase funding for the on-going investigation, and
--reform archaic, predator-friendly Kansas child safety laws.

And they’ll urge all four Kansas bishops to
--expand their recently but ‘inadequate’ lists of accused clerics, and
--add clerics who sexually exploited adults.

Finally, they’ll urge “every current and ex-church staffer and member who has seen, suspected or suffered abuse to call the KBI immediately so kids are safer, wrongdoers are exposed and cover ups are deterred.”

Australian Priest to be Extradited to UK for Abuse

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Nov. 11, 2019

We applaud the court's decision to extradite Fr. Denis Alexander for the harm he has caused. Too often priests abuse and then flee to other countries to avoid justice. The worldwide shuffling of abusive priests will not end until secular authorities step in using the full power of their offices - arrests, subpoenas and the like, to stamp out this problem.

The excuse that the abuser is "old" is disingenuous. Pedophiles are dangerous whenever they are in society at whatever age. In California, a 90 year old ex-priest, Hernan Toro, is in jail after he sexually molested two minors when he was 87.

Just as important, the victims of Fr. Alexander deserve justice and the acknowledgement that this extradition represents. Too often, victims of sexual violence are denied their day in court. We are grateful that this will not happen in this case.

Mexican Summit Continues to Grapple With Harsh Realities of Sex Abuse Scandal

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
Nov. 11, 2019

We applaud Fr. Hans Zollner for his skill in articulating a major problem that exists within the Catholic church today: the referral of allegations of sex abuse by clerics to Catholic church lawyers, canonists and psychiatrists who then crush the victim and obscure the truth.

Fr. Zollner points out excuses that are often bandied about by defenders of the Church’s record on sexual abuse, highlighting the myths and catch-phrases succinctly,:
"...I fear for the church..."
".... other institutions are just as bad..."
"....I can't deal with it anymore..."
"....it’s the media' fault..."

And Fr. Zollner rightfully debunks these as the excuses they are. He even speaks the dreaded truth by saying the cover-up continues. Indeed, there are media stories nearly every day about contemporary sex abuse by priests and nuns against children and vulnerable adults. As often as not, these are also stories about cover-up and the priority of the church's financial assets over its most precious human asset, the children. Just read the recent Colorado AG report for the latest version of the cover-up story.

Priest's abuse still hurts McMahon

Sault Star

Nov. 11, 2019

By Brian Kelly

The morning after Rev. William Hodgson Marshall molested Patrick McMahon, he celebrated mass in the same residence for priests where the assault happened.

McMahon served as an altar boy.

“It was like the darkness of the night just covered the whole memory too,” said McMahon. “It wasn’t like I got up in the morning and thought about what he did. I never thought about it, until I’d hear the door open the next night.”

McMahon estimates he was assaulted by Marshall, a close friend of his parents, over about a two-year span in the early 1980s. Some of those assaults happened during March breaks in 1982 and 1983 at Crawley Hall, the residence at St. Mary’s College in Sault Ste. Marie for members of the Basilian Fathers. Marshall was principal of the Catholic high school for boys. The McMahons travelled from Windsor to ski at hills including Searchmont Resort and Boyne Highlands in Michigan.

McMahon’s father and brothers were put up in the hall’s second floor. Marshall directed McMahon to “the bishop’s suite” on the floor below. He’d come in at night and abuse him.

“I don’t generally talk about it in great detail,” McMahon told The Sault Star in a telephone interview from his Windsor home. “For me, he always came in darkness.”

Survivors of clergy abuse gather for vigil, protest


Nov.10, 2019

By Maxine Streicher

Survivors of clergy abuse and their supporters gathered in downtown Baltimore ahead of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops meeting that begins Monday.

They came together to announce which candidate they are supporting for the next President of the U.S.C.C.B.

Becky Ianni remembers when she became a victim of clergy abuse.

“He abused me over a period of four years. He became a friend of the family so he would come and have dinner. He went on vacation with us. He bought us our first color television so it was a very grooming process,” she said.

Ianni says she wasn’t his only victim, there were many including her own brother.

“I felt like it was my fault and that I was a bad dirty little girl so I didn’t think about it, and I came across a picture of myself with my perpetrator when I was 48 in 2006 and everything came rushing back,” she said.

Australia to extradite alleged abusive priest to Scotland

Patheos blog

Nov. 10, 2019

By Barry Duke

FOR years, former Catholic monk Fr Denis “Chrysostom” Alexander, 83, has been fighting attempts by the Scottish authorities to have him extradited from Australia to face charges of sexually abusing six children aged between 11 and 15. He was arrested in Sydney at the beginning of 2017.

The Crown Office launched extradition proceedings against Alexander, who taught at the Fort Augustus Abbey school in December 2016 but since then he has contested the move on health grounds.

But the federal court has finally ruled that he must be sent back for trial.

The 13-page federal court ruling includes a summary of the charges the ex-monk faces.

It is alleged that between 1970 and 1976 he “engaged in acts of physical and sexual abuse” against six complainants, aged between 11 and 15.

Brothers of Saint John denounce sexually abusive founder

The Tablet

Nov. 11, 2019

By Tom Heneghan

The community announced in 2013 that Fr Marie-Dominique, who died in 2006, had sexually abused several women

The Brothers of Saint John, a Catholic movement launched in France in 1975, have officially renounced their sexually abusive founder Fr Marie-Dominique Philippe and pledged to revise their rules without reference to him.

A general chapter held near Lyon concluded the community could no longer recognise the Dominican priest as its inspiration.

The community also decided to take down his photographs in their houses and stop selling his books and promoting their study.

Case of notorious Calvert Hall priest Laurence Brett cited in recent report on clergy abuse

Baltimore Sun

November 11, 2019

By Alison Knezevich


The case of a notorious Baltimore-area Catholic priest is cited in a recent report as a key example of how church officials shuffled clergy accused of sexual abuse, leaving more children at risk.

Church leaders in Bridgeport, Connecticut knew about allegations against Laurence Brett in the 1960s, according to an independent review of how the diocese there handled abuse cases. Brett later went on to teach at Calvert Hall College, a Towson high school where more than a dozen students eventually accused him of abuse.

The Bridgeport diocese has paid more than $2.7 million in settlements to people who accused Brett of abuse — representing 5% of all its abuse payouts, according to the report released last month. The report does not specify the number of people who received settlements related to Brett.

In Baltimore, the archdiocese has reached voluntary settlements totaling $326,000 with six people who accused Brett of abuse, spokesman Sean Caine said in response to an inquiry from The Baltimore Sun.

After Bransfield disinvitation, will other bishops follow suit?

National Catholic Reporter

Nov. 11, 2019

By Heidi Schlumpf

After last week's announcement that retired West Virginia Bishop Michael Bransfield had been formally disinvited from the Nov. 11-13 meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, representatives of dioceses where other bishops have resigned or been removed for sexual misconduct or cover-up say they are unlikely to initiate similar action.

Visit EarthBeat, NCR's new reporting project that explores the ways Catholics and other faith groups are taking action on the climate crisis.

Three dioceses and archdioceses contacted by NCR — Milwaukee, Cheyenne and St. Paul-Minneapolis — indicated that the prelates in question already do not attend the bishops' twice-yearly meetings.

The only bishop convicted of the crime of failure to report a priest suspected of abuse to civil authorities, however, continues to show up.

Kansas City-St. Joseph Bishop Robert Finn reportedly was in the room this past June when the bishops passed the new "Protocol Regarding Available Non-Penal Restrictions on Bishops," under which Bransfield was disinvited.

Section 12 of that protocol allows the bishops' conference president, in consultation with the administrative committee, to disinvite any retired bishop "who resigned or was removed from his office due to sexual abuse of minors, sexual misconduct with adults, or grave negligence in office, or who subsequent to his resignation was found to have so acted or failed to act."

Cardinal admits failure to support abuse survivor

Independent Catholic News

November 11, 2019

Source: IICSA

During the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) last week, Cardinal Vincent Nichols said he had failed to support a survivor of abuse.

Cardinal Nichols was questioned on Wednesday by the lead counsel for the inquiry, Brian Altman QC. Mr Altman asked the Cardinal about the treatment of one survivor who had approached him for help two years ago. Identified as A711, she was abused as a teenager by a priest in the Servite Order, and raped when she was 24. She was not pursuing a criminal case or seeking compensation. In May 2017, she went to Cardinal Nichols in his capacity as Archbishop of the Westminster Diocese, to complain.

Altman said: "She wrote to him again repeatedly. She was directed by Cardinal Nichols' private secretary to the National Catholic Safeguarding Commission, but the NCSC told her it had no jurisdiction over individual dioceses, effectively leaving her with nowhere to go."

November 10, 2019

High Court to decide on Pell appeal bid

Newcastle Herald

November 11, 2019

A decision on whether disgraced cardinal George Pell can appeal his child sexual abuse conviction in the High Court will be made this week.

The court will announce its decision at 9.30am on Wednesday in Canberra.

Pell, 78, was found guilty by a jury of the rape of a 13-year-old choirboy and sexual assault of another at St Patrick's Cathedral in Melbourne in 1996 but Australia's most senior Catholic has always denied any wrongdoing.

If the leave is granted, the jailed cardinal's lawyers will need to lodge a formal appeal.

Confirmed: Embattled Buffalo Bishop in Rome Next Week for Ad Limina Visit

The Tablet

November 6, 2019

By Christopher White

Buffalo’s embattled bishop, Richard Malone, will be in Rome next week as part of the New York region’s scheduled meetings with Vatican officials.

Kathy Spangler, a spokesperson for the diocese, confirmed on Wednesday that Malone will be in attendance.

The meetings, known as the ad limina visits, are part of the regularly scheduled meetings between bishops and officials from the Roman Curia which normally occur every five years, however the last time the U.S. bishops traveled to Rome for their ad limina was eight years ago in 2011 and 2012.

Among the regularly scheduled meetings is a session with the pope, which will bring together face to face, Francis – who has pledged an “all-out battle” on sex abuse – and Malone, the most senior U.S. bishop currently being investigated for his handling of abuse cases.

Judge dismisses lawsuit against Diocese Wheeling-Charleston

WBOY-TV (Channel 12)

November 8, 2019

Brand new details now on the ongoing lawsuit against the Wheeling-Charleston Diocese.

A Wood County judge has dismissed the case and sent it to the state Supreme Court for guidance.

The case alleges that the diocese and its former bishop knowingly employed pedophiles.

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey filed the case in March.

Officials are waiting on the Supreme Court to rule whether the case violates rules about the separation of church and state.

Australia to extradite alleged abusive priest to Scotland

Patheos (blog)

November 10, 2019

By Barry Duke

FOR years, former Catholic monk Fr Denis “Chrysostom” Alexander, 83, has been fighting attempts by the Scottish authorities to have him extradited from Australia to face charges of sexually abusing six children aged between 11 and 15. He was arrested in Sydney at the beginning of 2017.

The Crown Office launched extradition proceedings against Alexander, who taught at the Fort Augustus Abbey school in December 2016 but since then he has contested the move on health grounds.

But the federal court has finally ruled that he must be sent back for trial.

The 13-page federal court ruling includes a summary of the charges the ex-monk faces.

It is alleged that between 1970 and 1976 he “engaged in acts of physical and sexual abuse” against six complainants, aged between 11 and 15.

Hispanic immigrant in line to lead US Catholic bishops

Associated Press

November 10, 2019

By David Crary

Clergy sex abuse is once again on the agenda as U.S. Catholic bishops meet this week — but so is a potentially historic milestone: Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez, an immigrant from Mexico, is widely expected to win election as the first Hispanic president of the bishops’ national conference.

Gomez, 67, is currently the conference’s vice president — a post that by tradition serves as springboard to the presidency. In terms of doctrine, Gomez is considered a practical-minded conservative, but he is an outspoken advocate of a welcoming immigration policy that would include a path to citizenship for many immigrants living in the U.S. illegally.

Catholic abuse awareness group endorses Texas bishop for leadership role

Baltimore Sun

November 10, 2019

By Phil Davis

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests [SNAP] endorsed a Texas bishop to become the new president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, saying several other candidates are tainted by the church’s history of sexual abuse in the clergy.

At a news conference Sunday, the day before the annual meeting of the conference, members of the group said they endorse Bishop Daniel E. Flores from Brownsville, Texas.

Becky Ianni, the director of SNAP, said the group is recommending Flores because the conference “should be looking to younger bishops like Flores” to combat the church’s problems with child sex abuse.

“We need someone who’s willing to step outside the box and take the necessary steps to protect children,” Ianni said.

Panelists Call for Diversity Following Clergy Sexual Abuse Crisis

Georgetown Hoya

Nov. 8, 2019

By Caroline Hecht

Including leaders from diverse backgrounds is critical to reestablishing the Catholic Church’s credibility as it works to address the clergy sexual abuse crisis, panelists said at a Nov. 4 event.

The panel included Juan Carlos Cruz, a Chilean survivor of clergy sexual abuse who challenged Pope Francis to take decisive action on the crisis; Bishop Steven Biegler, the bishop of Cheyenne, Wyo., who reopened an investigation into one of his predecessors for child sexual abuse; Christopher White, a journalist who reports on the crisis; and Patricia McGuire, president of Trinity Washington University, who is vocal about the lasting costs of the crisis.

The Gaston Hall event, “Where Are We Now? Where Do We Need To Go?”, was moderated by John Carr, director of Georgetown University’s Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life, and Kim Daniels, associate director of the initiative and an adviser to the Vatican.

At the event, Daniels shared the results of the report from the June 2019 “National Convening on Lay Leadership for a Wounded Church and Divided Nation,” which gathered over 50 invited Catholic leaders, survivors, journalists and others. The National Convening was organized by the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life and focused on strategizing responses to the clergy sexual abuse crisis.

Separating Church And State?


Nov. 10, 2019

By Mike Myer

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, filed in Wood County, is an interesting attempt to hold the diocese accountable for years of failure to crack down on predator priests. He filed it under the Consumer Credit and Protection Act, accusing diocesan officials in the past of knowingly hiring sexual predators to work at schools and summer camps for children.

Parents who trusted the church — and paid tuition and camp fees — did so in the belief they could trust diocesan officials but found they could not. In effect, the church misrepresented itself in selling the parents a product — education and summer recreation.

But last week, Wood County Judge J.D. Beane ruled against Morrisey — tentatively. He put the lawsuit on hold and asked the state Supreme Court to answer two questions. Both involve the doctrine of separation of church and state that is central to religious freedom.

Beane wrote that the lawsuit is “an excessive entanglement of government and religion which is prohibited under federal and state constitutions.” He suggested dismissing the suit is necessary “to remain vigilant in protecting religious freedom and in protecting religious institutions from substantial government intrusion.”


WKXW Radio

Sergio Bichaon

Nov. 9, 2019

A teacher accused of sexually assaulting a former student she adopted after he was kicked out of his family's home has lost her teaching credentials while she defends herself in court.

The State Board of Examiners, the governing body that regulates teaching certificates, voted in September to suspend Rayna Culver's Grades K-8 certificates and principal and supervisor certificates beginning this month until the criminal charges against her are resolved.

Culver has been on leave from her middle school job in Trenton since she was arrested in May 2017.

She was indicted in July 2018 on two counts of first-degree aggravated sexual assault, four counts of second-degree sexual assault and two counts of second-degree child endangerment.

Culver first met the boy when he was a student at Rivera Middle School. She became his guardian when he was 15 in 2016.

Her attorney has said that the troubled boy fabricated the allegations.

Even though she has not been found guilty, the State Board of Examiners this month said that "Culver’s potential disqualification from service in the public schools of this State because of her indictment for such serious offenses provides just cause to take action against her certificates."

It was one of many actions the board took against suspected and convicted perv teachers this month.

The board revoked the Russian teaching certificate of Eric Komar, of Hillsborough, who pleaded guilty in February 2018 to distributing images of child sexual abuse. Prosecutors said Komar had more than 600 such images of minors younger than 12. Komar told authorities that he had "thousands of images and videos," and that he "masturbates to images of child pornography on a daily basis."

He was sentenced October 2018 to 82 months in federal prison and supervised release for 10 years with computer monitoring, restricted contact with minors and treatment for sex offenders.

The board also revoked the principal certificate of James Kuntz, a priest who was head of St. Peter's Prep in Jersey City in the 1980s. He was working at St. Peter's College as a vice president when he was arrested in 2008. He was sentenced in 2009 to 40 months’ imprisonment followed by five years of supervised released.

Priests accused of abuse still getting paid by diocese, some for decades

Buffalo News

November 10, 2019

By Jay Tokasz

About two dozen Catholic Diocese of Buffalo priests removed from ministry due to child sex abuse complaints continue to collect a salary or pension from the diocese.

Three of those suspended priests remain on the diocese’s payroll even though they haven’t functioned as clergy in more than 25 years, and six priests removed at least 15 years ago continue to get monetary support from the diocese, according to a Buffalo News analysis.

If each priest were to receive $25,000 annually, an amount that's at the low end of the priest pay scale, the diocese would pay $600,000 per year in "sustenance" to the 24 suspended priests.

In the three cases dating back decades, diocese officials have yet to send legal paperwork to Rome asking the Vatican to rule on whether the priests should be defrocked.

Since 2002, the church has required that bishops send child molestation claims against priests to the Vatican for adjudication, a process that can result in priests being “dismissed from the clerical state” or “laicization” – Catholic phrasing for defrocking.

Girl,11, uses phone to record herself being sexually abused by priest after parishoners refused to believe her


Nov. 10, 2019

By Smita M

An Italian priest has been arrested after an 11-year-old girl recorded herself being sexually abused on her mobile phone. Father Michele Mottola, the accused priest, began grooming the girl in 2017, soon after he took up his post as parish priest of Trentola Ducenta located in Campania, near Naples, according to the Church Militant report. The abuse began when the girl was 10 and lasted till February 2018. The girl, too ashamed to talk about the abuse with her parents, first approached two parishioners who refused to believe her. This is when she made the recording on her mobile phone as evidence.

In the recording, the priest is heard saying: "Do you want a kiss?” While the girl protests, he said: “There is no one here. Are you afraid? Kiss me, hug me.” In a second recording, after the sound of heavy breathing and sounds of the girl protesting, he is heard saying: “Take this to dry yourself.” After the girl told the priest she had reported the matter to other parishioners, he said: "You didn't have to do it, because now they will understand other things. Things will get very bad. I will come to your home to talk to your parents."

He also told her: "You can tell lies. Did you understand you can lie? You're like Islamic suicide bombers, throwing a bomb, killing people and leaving. The mud ends up also on your family and on you." The parishioners intervened and spoke to the girl's family and the girl's mother finally reported the crime to the bishop.

Abuse crisis shows need for holiness, renewal in church, priests say

Catholic News Service

Nov. 10, 2019

By Mark Zimmermann

Four Catholic priests who serve in various ministries and are on the front lines facing the aftershocks of the abuse crisis in the Catholic Church gave their perspective on helping the church address the problem.

They participated in an Oct. 29 panel discussion sponsored by the Catholic Project, an initiative of The Catholic University of America. The event was held at the university’s Heritage Hall.

“These men have felt the same anger and betrayal in recent months as the rest of us, but they have also borne the sins of their brothers,” said Stephen White, executive director of the Catholic Project, who moderated the discussion on “Shepherds to a Wounded Flock: How our Priests See the Crisis.”

Catholic Church Sexual Abuse: French Bishops To Support Payment To Victims

International Business Times

By Thomas Kika

November 9, 2019

A group of French bishops this weekend voted to offer payments to known victims of sexual abuse by the Catholic Church. The bishops now intend to reach out to victims and offer them a lump sum. The movement was approved by the 120 attendees of the biannual meeting of the Conference of French Bishops in Lourdes, France.

Acknowledging that neither the Church nor the French government has made such payments a requirement, the bishops said that they are intended to recognize the transgressions of the Church and not to act as any sort of reparations. The set amount for these payouts has yet to be decided, as the fund has yet to be established.

“It aims to recognize that the victims’ suffering hangs on various failings within the Church,” the group said in an official statement.

Editorial: Remembering Bishop Lennon, 1947-2019

Cleveland Plain Dealer

November 10, 2019

The Catholic catechism says a bishop is to act “as Christ’s vicar.” But circumstances force some, including the late Richard G. Lennon, emeritus Catholic bishop of Cleveland, to be crisis managers, too.

Bishop Lennon, born into a family of suburban Boston firefighters, died Oct. 29 at age 72, apparently from complications of vascular dementia. The condition had forced him to retire in 2016 after ten years as Cleveland’s bishop.

As bishop of a diocese serving eight Northeast Ohio counties, Bishop Lennon faced heavy challenges. Population is one. The number of Catholics is dropping nationwide, the Pew Research Center reports, adding that Catholicism has had “a greater net loss due to religious switching than [any] other [U.S.] religious tradition.” American Catholicism’s geographic center also is moving South and West. And, as recognized in the choice of Lennon’s successor, Nelson J. Perez, a growing proportion of adult Catholics claims Hispanic heritage.

Gazette opinion: Center for healing sexually abused Montana kids

Billings Gazette

November 10, 2019

A room at RiverStone Health has become a safe place to break the silence on crimes against children. The Yellowstone Valley Children's Advocacy Center exists to start the healing process for children who have been sexually abused.

The CAC team includes two deputy county attorneys, two professional therapists and representatives of Billings Clinic, Billings Police Department, Laurel Police Department, Yellowstone County Sheriff's Office, Child Protective Services and Youth Court.

The CAC team strives to avoid re-traumatizing children with repeated interviews about their abuse. Instead, one specially trained interviewer will talk to the child. The goal is to get the truth when the child is ready to talk. The interviewer doesn't ask leading or unnecessary questions.

French bishops approve payments for church sex abuse victims

Associated Press

November 10, 2019

By Claire Parker

French bishops on Saturday approved plans to financially compensate people abused sexually within the Roman Catholic Church.

Any person recognized by their bishop as a victim will be eligible to receive money, they said, and the church will appeal for donations to foot the bill. Bishops also voted to allocate 5 million euros ($5.5 million) to an independent commission examining church sex abuse in France and to support prevention efforts.

Eric de Moulins-Beaufort, the archbishop of Reims and president of the Conference of French Bishops, said payments to victims will recognize both their suffering and “the silence, negligence, indifference, lack of reaction or bad decisions or dysfunction within the Church.”

November 9, 2019

Roman Catholic Priests Will Not Break Confession to Report Child Abuse, U.K. Inquiry Told

TIME Magazine

Nov. 9, 2019

By Rachel Bunyan

The Roman Catholic Church says it would reject any recommendation from a U.K. inquiry that would require priests to break confession to report child sexual abuse.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster, told the Independent Inquiry into Sexual Abuse in the U.K. on Thursday that he views confession as “a nexus between my sinful humanity and the mercy of God.”

“The history of the Catholic Church has a number of people who have been put to death in [defense] of the seal of the confession. It might come to that,” he said.

The public inquiry was set up following serious concerns that institutions in the country—including churches—had failed to protect children from sexual abuse, and continue to do so. The inquiry, which covers England and Wales, is expected to make recommendations in 2020.

Women raped by Colorado priest call for accountability from Archdiocese of Denver

Channel 7 News

Nov. 9, 2019

By Tony Kovaleski

Three sisters of the Catholic Church are breaking their silence, accusing a Colorado priest of violating their childhood, in the hope their confession will inspire others to come forward.

Their message doesn’t stop there. A significant part of their motivation is holding the Archdiocese of Denver accountable for what they say was an overt cover-up that last more than five decades.

Cate Stover, Carol Clear and Marcia Stover decided to speak about the painful memories they’ve kept inside since they were little girls, following a special investigation into Colorado’s Catholic Church that found at least 166 children were sexually abused by 43 priests since the 1950s.

Their report cards and grade school picture show memories of their days of Catholic school at St. John’s in Loveland. But behind those faces, the sisters kept secret the abuse they endured by someone they thought they could trust.

November 8, 2019

Professor seeks to break academic silence on clerical sex abuse


Nov 9, 2019

By Jack Lyons

For much of the American public, the narrative of clergy sex abuse is told by the media.

However, the issue hasn’t been at the forefront of academic study, and to break the “academic silence” surrounding clergy sex abuse, one religious studies professor is shedding light on the stories told by survivors.

“Historians, in particular in my subfields of American religious history and Catholic studies, were not talking about the abuse crisis,” Dr. Brian Clites, of Case Western Reserve University, told Crux.

To address this lack of research, Clites is writing a book focused on the historical origins of clerical sex abuse in America. The manuscript, currently titled Surviving Soul Murder, is an ethnography of clergy sex abuse survivors, collected in communities hit hard by abuse in the Church - such as Chicago, Boston and Erie, Pennsylvania.

Advocates Call For Action From Diocese Amid Hubbard Allegations

Spectrum News

Nov. 8, 2019

Child Victims Act advocates called for more action by the diocese Friday following the latest lawsuit filed against Bishop Howard Hubbard.

The lawsuit details allegations from a then-16 year old boy who claims that while he was working at a Jesuit retreat house in Glenmont back in 1956, he was sexually abused by Father Edward Leroux. The plaintiff accused Hubbard of knowing about the abuse, and doing nothing about it.

Bishop Hubbard has responded with this statement, saying “I was just graduating from high school in June 1956. I did not even enter the seminary until the following fall, and I was not ordained as a priest until 1963. No one ever came to report an allegation of clergy sexual abuse to me during those years.”

This all comes as the bishops of New York State prepare to meet with Pope Francis next week in Rome.

Retired priest, 88, found guilty on 6 of 8 counts in child sex abuse case dating back to 2001


Nov 8, 2019

By Bob Mayo

A judge has reached a split verdict in the trial of an 88-year-old retired Catholic priest accused of sexually abusing a then-11-year-old boy in the basement of a Munhall church in 2001.

The Rev. Hugh Lang was found guilty of one felony and five misdemeanor counts, and not guilty of two felony counts. Allegheny County Judge Mark Tranquilli reached the verdict Friday after a non-jury trial that saw the victim, now 30, return from Southeast Asia to testify against Lang.

Lang was on the witness stand for nearly an hour Friday, testifying in his own defense. The retired priest insisted he does not know the victim and never abused him.

Lang remains free on bond. Sentencing will occur at a later date.

Survivors Win as New York Judge Rules in Favor of Preserving Anonymity, SNAP Reacts

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Nov. 8, 2019

A New York judge has ruled that alleged survivors of childhood sexual trauma can take legal action anonymously, like victims of other sex crimes have been able to do for decades. Jesuit officials in New York had hoped to force victims to disclose their identities when suing those who committed abuse against them or concealed that abuse.

That effort was an obvious intimidation tactic that we believe would have only endangered children by scaring survivors into staying silent. We are glad that this maneuver was struck down and hope that it encourages other victims, witnesses, and whistleblowers to come forward and make a report to law enforcement.

Former Priest Found Guilty of Sexual Abuse in Pittsburgh, SNAP Responds

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Nov. 8, 2019

A former priest from the Diocese of Pittsburgh has been found guilty of sexually abusing a child in the early 2000s. We are grateful for the outcome of this case and hope it encourages other survivors to come forward and seek help and healing.

Rev. Hugh Lang was found guilty today on 6 of 8 counts related to charges that he abused a then-11-year-old boy in 2001. We applaud this brave victim who had to travel from the other side of the world to testify against this abuser. We hope that his courageous example will inspire other victims, whether of Rev. Lang or any other priest, nun, deacon, or church staffer – to come forward and make a report to law enforcement professionals.

We are especially glad that this verdict was reached after Rev. Lang’s defense team tried to impugn the integrity of the victim for filing a civil lawsuit. Now that this tactic of attacking victims failed so spectacularly, we hope that other defense attorneys around the country will try to defend their clients in the future on the merits of the case as opposed to ad hominem attacks on survivors.">Former Priest Found Guilty of Sexual Abuse in Pittsburgh, SNAP Responds

A former priest from the Diocese of Pittsburgh has been found guilty of sexually abusing a child in the early 2000s. We are grateful for the outcome of this case and hope it encourages other survivors to come forward and seek help and healing.

Rev. Hugh Lang was found guilty today on 6 of 8 counts related to charges that he abused a then-11-year-old boy in 2001. We applaud this brave victim who had to travel from the other side of the world to testify against this abuser. We hope that his courageous example will inspire other victims, whether of Rev. Lang or any other priest, nun, deacon, or church staffer – to come forward and make a report to law enforcement professionals.

We are especially glad that this verdict was reached after Rev. Lang’s defense team tried to impugn the integrity of the victim for filing a civil lawsuit. Now that this tactic of attacking victims failed so spectacularly, we hope that other defense attorneys around the country will try to defend their clients in the future on the merits of the case as opposed to ad hominem attacks on survivors.

Decline of Icelandic Church: Scandals And Controversy Lead To Mass Exodus

Reykhjavik Grapevine

Nov. 8, 2019

By Sam O'Donnell

The number of Icelanders who trust the National Church has decreased by half since the turn of the century. Only one third of the nation now trusts the Church, according to a Gallup poll published on October 28. In a nation without a separation of Church and State, it’s hard to read those numbers as anything but a crisis for the National Church.

There are many reasons for the decline in trust in the institution. The simplest is that immigrants to Iceland are largely from countries with strong Catholic beliefs. People born in Iceland are registered with the church automatically, so long as their parents are also in the church. However, immigrants have to go through the process of registering themselves if they want to join the National Church. Since the largest percentage of immigrants to Iceland are Polish, the majority of them choose to register instead with with the Catholic Church. The Icelandic National Church is Lutheran.

Additionally, Icelanders are leaving the National Church in droves because of the church’s notoriously tone-deaf method of handling social issues. For example, in 2006, Guðrún Ögmundsdóttir submitted a bill to Parliament on various legal benefits for homosexuals, which, among other things, allowed them to get married and adopt children. Former Bishop Karl Sigurbjörnsson of the National Church objected strongly to the proposal.

For Many #MeToo Accusers, Speaking Up Is Just The Beginning


November 5, 2019

By Yuki Noguchi

Dina Lee Almeida says that three years ago, the CEO of a TV distribution firm for which she produced shows grabbed her and propositioned her for sex. As he became more aggressive, she complained to the company's lawyer. Nothing happened. Later, she says, the CEO pressured her to sign what amounted to a confidentiality agreement.

"I absolutely refused; I would never, ever sign that," Almeida says.

After that, the West Palm Beach, Fla., company, Olympusat, terminated her contract.

Louis C.K. Doubles Down on the Value of Saying the Wrong Thing

The New York Times

November 4, 2019

By Jason Zinoman

On his first tour since admitting misconduct, the comedian’s theme was the cathartic release of transgression as he delivered bits about his mother’s death and religion.

On Saturday, under a candy-colored proscenium arch, Louis C.K. told a story about the day he learned “all the bad words.” He was 7 when an elderly stranger with one dark tooth approached him and listed obscenities like a fairy-tale version of George Carlin.

Louis C.K. described vibrating with excitement. Then he went to school and put this information to work, cursing at his teacher. She cried and the students laughed. “I liked both,” he said, with a half-embarrassed shrug.

In the context of the return of Louis C.K., this anecdote has the feel of a twisted origin story. And this defiantly perverse new set, whose jokes come with so much baggage they threaten to obscure the performer, will inspire heated, divisive reactions.

Pope Francis on brink as Vatican leader issues warning on future of Catholic Church


November 6, 2019

By Charlie Bradley

POPE FRANCIS has issued a damning warning to his growing critics, stating that Catholic Church must change and "evangelise" as conservative opponents within Christendom circle on their leader.

In an excerpt from a new book-length interview, published on November 4 by Fides, the Pope said his "church on the move” philosophy is not a “fashionable expression” but a summary of his mission. His comments appear to be a reiteration of his desire to revolutionise the Catholic Church. He added: “The Church is either on the move or she is not (the) Church. Either she evangelises or she is not (the) Church. If the Church is not on the move, she decays, she becomes something else.

Why 2 women are speaking up about pastoral abuse 17 years after being told to stay silent

USA TODAY/Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle

November 6, 2019

By Jennifer Babich

Corrections & clarifications: Megan Frey and JoAnna Hendrickson are from Indiana. A previous headline for this story misidentified their state of residence.

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. — The first time the two women came forward to disclose allegations of pastoral abuse, they were 18. They were told to keep quiet and that speaking up would be bad for their reputations.

Recently, they tried again to speak up, and once again, they were urged to stay silent.

Their accusation: The top candidate for lead pastor at First Baptist Clarksville in Tennessee manipulated them both into secret relationships – one of them sexual – while he was serving as their youth group leader in 2002.

The two women say their calls for action by the church have gone unheeded, not just when the abuse happened 17 years ago, but again today, with the chairman of the FBC pastoral search committee continuing the cover-up.

U.S. bishops continue to deal with it, but crisis is not over

Catholic News Service

Nov. 8, 2019

By Greg Erlandson

It has been a rough 18 months for the U.S. bishops. Much as they would like it to be over, some observers, including a fellow bishop, think they still have a long way to go.

The cascade of bad news started in June 2018 with the revelation that credible accusations of sexual abuse had been leveled against then-Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick. The flood of bad news continued, first with reports, investigations and scandals, then with the steady drip of dioceses opening their archives and detailing their own histories of dead, defrocked and, more rarely, active priests who had been accused of abuse.

Both the Vatican and the U.S. bishops have instituted major reforms to hold bishops accountable when accused of abuse or the cover-up of abuse, including a toll-free number that will allow allegations of abuse by bishops to be collected and investigated.

This is why there is an almost palpable hope among many church leaders that the worst is behind them and a bit of normalcy can be restored.

Not so fast, seems to be the conclusion of panelists at Georgetown University convened to discuss the crisis and its impact on the church. The Nov. 4 gathering was the official unveiling of a 50-page report titled “Lay Leadership for a Wounded Church and Divided Nation: Lessons, Directions and Paths Forward.”

U.S. bishops have their plates full during next week’s USCCB meeting


Nov. 8, 2019

By Christopher White

As U.S. Catholic bishops gather in Baltimore next week for their general assembly, they will continue their efforts to turn a page on the clergy sex abuse scandals, navigating a tightrope act of returning to the regularly scheduled business affairs of the conference while duly acknowledging the Church’s damaged public credibility.

Most notably, the bishops will face the two-pronged challenge of electing new leadership for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) as they seek to improve a strained relationship with the Vatican and also prepare to engage in the public square at home ahead of a national presidential election.

Among the most closely watched business items will be a vote on the new USCCB president to replace outgoing president Cardinal Daniel DiNardo.

DiNardo, who will give his final presidential address on Monday, is widely expected to be succeeded by Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, who has served as his vice-president for the past three years.

If elected, Gomez - who leads the nation’s largest Catholic diocese - would become the first ever-Hispanic leader to head the conference at a time when Catholic leaders have openly clashed with President Donald Trump over his treatment of migrants.

SNAP backs Texas prelate for USCCB President

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Nov. 8, 2019

Survivors of Clergy Abuse Gather Outside USCCB Meeting
“It is time for new leadership to take clergy abuse more seriously”
SNAP backs Texas prelate for USCCB President
Group “vigorously opposes” likely winner from California
Election will be held at USCCB meeting in Baltimore on November 11

At a press conference and vigil in advance of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Fall Meeting, clergy sex abuse survivors and their supporters will
--Announce which candidate they are supporting for the next President of the USCCB,
--Explain their reasons for their choices, and
--Hold a vigil for the survivors and leaders who have helped build and guide the survivor movement

Sunday, November 10 at 4:30 PM

Outside the meeting of the USCCB at 700 Aliceanna St, in Baltimore, MD

Catholic Church probes two pregnant nuns

The Nation

Nov. 7, 2019

Catholic church has commenced an investigation to uncover how two nuns who were on a missionary trip to Africa returned pregnant.

The report indicated that the two nuns returned to Italy expecting babies even after taking a vow to chastity.

In Catholic morality, chastity is placed opposite the deadly sin of lust and is classified as one of seven virtues.

According to New York Post, the two nuns who belonged to different orders in Sicily had both traveled to Africa for a mission.

It is reported that one of the nuns who is 34 years learned of her pregnancy after going for check-ups when she developed stomach pain.

Priests will not report child abuse confessions

The Times of London

Nov. 8, 2019

By Sean O’Neill

The Roman Catholic Church will oppose calls for priests to break the seal of the confessional to report admissions of child abuse, a public inquiry was told yesterday.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster, said the church could not accept any recommendation from the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse to require priests to disclose matters admitted to them during the sacrament.

Cardinal Nichols said that maintaining the confidentiality of the confessional was “an essential part of the exercise of priesthood”.

He added: “The history of the Catholic Church has a number of people who have been put to death in defence of the seal of confession. It might not come to that.

Clerical abuse: Catholic cardinal says church was ‘shocked to the core’

Patheos blog

Nov. 8, 2019

By Barry Duke

The Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Nichols – leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales – has spoken of the ’embodiment of evil’ among church members.

Giving evidence for the second time to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), Nichols, above, said:

The experience in the Catholic community in this country over the last 20 years has been one of struggling to cope with the presence of evil embodied in its members, which has shocked it to the core.

Richard Scorer, specialist abuse lawyer at Slater and Gordon, who acts for 27 abuse victims in the inquiry, responded to Nichols’ latest claim that he was still struggling to get his head around the extent of clerical abuse by saying:

Cardinal Nichols’s evidence will cut little ice with victims. The Catholic Church has spent the last two decades promising to get safeguarding right, but the evidence in this inquiry has exposed these promises as so much hot air.

Scorer said improvements had been “lamentably slow”, treatment of survivors was “consistently poor” and the Catholic Church’s structure and culture meant it was:

Incapable of delivering the changes survivors need.

SPAC Nation Scandal: Church Fighting Knife Crime Fails To Act On Rogue Pastors Flourishing In Its Ranks

Huff Post UK

Nov. 8, 2019

By Nadine White

A pioneering church that has been hailed by politicians as a beacon of hope for ex-gang members has created the conditions for fraudsters to flourish within its ranks and is failing to act on pastors financially exploiting the young people it claims to help, we can reveal.

Ex-congregation members have spoken out to reveal shocking cases at the church, SPAC Nation, of pastors targeting young black people from impoverished areas and “broken homes” and isolating them from their families – before exploiting them for money.

A HuffPost UK investigation has found evidence that some pastors at the church - whose leader was pictured in the second row for Boris Johnson’s speech at this year’s Conservative Party conference - have pressured the young people they supposedly help into taking out substantial loans of up to £5,000.

Once these loans arrive in their bank accounts, the congregation member is asked to transfer the money to the SPAC Nation pastor, sometimes on the basis that the clergymen will set them up as “crypto-traders”.

While young people are left in debt, SPAC Nation’s pastors put on an extravagant show of wealth – flashing rolls of £50 notes, buying Rolex watches, driving Lamborghinis and other sports cars, buying Louboutin shoes and hosting cash giveaways to tempt more youngsters in.

Church leaves Southern Baptist Convention after abuse allegation

Houston Chronicle

Nov. 7, 2019

By Robert Downen

A Texas church led by a pastor accused of sexually abusing and impregnating a teenager has left the Southern Baptist Convention, a spokesman confirmed Thursday.

Bolivar Baptist Church in Sanger, Texas, north of Denton, is the latest to end its affiliation with the convention after being named in a Houston Chronicle investigation into widespread sex abuses within the faith group.

Georgetown initiative spotlights work that remains on abuse crisis


Nov. 8, 2019

By John L. Allen Jr.

In his 1850s classic The Idea of a University, now-Saint John Henry Newman offered his view of the aim of higher education.

“A university training is the great ordinary means to a great but ordinary end; it aims at raising the intellectual tone of society,” Newman wrote. “It is the education which gives a man a clear conscious view of his own opinions and judgments, a truth in developing them, an eloquence in expressing them and a force in urging them.”

With allowances for the sexist language of the day, Newman’s point was that education should aim to equip a person to contribute more intelligently to the society to which he or she belongs.

America’s flagship Catholic universities this year seem to be channeling their inner Newman with regard to the society of the Church, launching major research initiatives, internal dialogues and public forums on the clerical sexual abuse crisis.

Notre Dame, for instance, has devoted $1 million to research related to the abuse scandals, including a first-ever survey of Catholic seminaries on the issue of sexual harassment by the university’s McGrath Institute for Church Life. Results were released Sept. 25, in conjunction with a major event on the ND campus featuring veteran Catholic journalist Peter Steinfels, longtime lay leader Kathleen McChesney, Chilean abuse survivor Juan Carlos Cruz, and Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore.

Testimony corroborated, contradicted in priest's trial

Post Gazette

Nov. 8, 2019

By Peter Smith

In the second day of the trial of a Catholic priest charged with sexually abusing an 11-year-old boy in 2001, some witness testimony Thursday corroborated the previous day’s account of the accuser, and some conflicted with it.

A friend of the accuser confirmed that the latter confided in him about the abuse on two highly emotionally occasions years before he ever went to the police.

But two lay leaders at St. Therese of Lisieux Parish in Munhall, who helped organize the summer program where the alleged assault took place, contradicted his testimony on who was doing what and where. They said the priest didn’t show up for the program and said the church basement area would have been filled at lunchtime with children and supervisors, not an isolated area where an assault could take place undetected.

Father Hugh Lang, 88, a former superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Pittsburgh, is on trial at Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas on eight counts related to the alleged assault at St. Therese, where he had been pastor in 2001. He has pleaded not guilty and, like the previous day, was supported by numerous former parishioners and others attending on his behalf.

Testimony is expected to wrap up Friday with Father Lang taking the stand in his own defense. Judge Mark Tranquilli, who is presiding at the bench trial, would then decide on a verdict.

The accuser, now 30 and living abroad, testified Wednesday that when he was 11, he made a derogatory joke about Father Lang during a summer training program for altar servers at St. Therese.

He testified that later that day, a visibly flushed Father Lang took him to a room in the church basement, ostensibly for discipline. Instead, he alleged the priest forced him to strip, took a photo of him, fondled his body, used the boy’s hand to masturbate himself, ejaculated on the boy’s body. He testified the priest later reminded him he had the photo and warned him never to tell anyone what happened.

Priest accused of sexually abusing six children will be extradited to the UK to face charges

Daily Mail

Nov. 8, 2019

A retired Sydney priest accused of sexually abusing six children in the United Kingdom in the 1970s has lost a legal bid against extradition.

Denis Alexander, 83, was arrested in Australia in January 2017 after the UK requested his extradition over allegations he'd physically and sexually abused children at a Catholic boarding school in Scotland between 1970 and 1976.

The children were aged between 11 and 15 at the time.

More than two years after his arrest, federal Attorney-General Christian Porter made a decision to surrender Alexander to the UK in March 2019.

Alexander then filed an application in the Federal Court to have the decision reviewed.

Alexander's barrister, Greg Smith SC, argued the advice given to the attorney-general paid 'insufficient attention' to the priest's age and the risk to his health if he was forced to travel to the UK.

The court was told Alexander suffers from several chronic and ongoing health problems and has been diagnosed with cognitive impairment. He has a preliminary assessment of early dementia.

The women who made Colorado's priest abuse investigation possible

Nov. 7, 2019

Channel 9 News

By Anusha Roy

It was August 2018, the phone calls and e-mails started flooding the Attorney General's Office asking if Colorado would investigate allegations of sexual abuse.

A report last month named 43 Catholic priests in Colorado who are accused of sexually abusing juveniles.

The report said these priests were credibly accused of sexually abusing at least 166 children between the 1950s and now, with a majority of the cases occurring in the 1960s and 1970s.

Since the report was announced, the public has heard from three main players: Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser, independent investigator Bob Troyer and Archbishop Samuel Aquila -- all men who had prominent roles in this investigation.

However, it was three women who are responsible for launching the investigation in the first place.

Former Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman and her former senior staff sat down with 9NEWS' Anusha Roy to discuss the investigation, the collaboration with the church and the still unanswered questions.

Catholic Church opposes calls for priests to report child abuse confessions

Irish Post

Nov. 8, 2019

By Jack Beresford

THE ROMAN Catholic Church is vehemently opposed to calls for priests to break the seal of the confessional to report admissions of child abuse.

That’s according to a leading figure in the Roman Catholic Church who told a public inquiry they would rather die than violate “an essential part of the exercise of priesthood”.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster, made the comments during an Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA).

The Cardinal said the church would rebuff any recommendation from the IICSA calling on priests to disclose matters admitted to them during the sacrament.

Cardinal Nichols, who is President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, added that throughout history priests have fought and died to defend their role in confession and that “it might come to that” again.

Schrader: Report on Catholic clergy sexual abuse leaves a big question unanswered

Denver Post

November 8, 2019

By Megan Schrader

What did Colorado’s archbishops know and when?

That question is left unanswered by the Special Master’s Report into “Roman Catholic Clergy Sexual Abuse of Children in Colorado from 1950 to 2019.”

In sharp contrast, the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report released in 2018 began with a proclamation that because so much of the abuse had exceeded the statute of limitations or the abusers were dead the only recourse was to “name their names, and describe what they did — both the sex offenders and those who concealed them.”

Colorado’s report got the first half right but punted on holding the enablers of these rapists accountable. Not a single name of any church leader is included in the report, which was produced through the Attorney General’s office by special investigator Bob Troyer.

Yes, each individual is responsible for his own actions. But when five priests are allowed to abuse 100 children in the course of several decades, I believe the responsibility also falls on those who knew and did nothing. From 1950 to 2009, only one case was voluntarily reported to law enforcement although the church received dozens of reports of abuse, Troyer wrote in his report. (It must be noted that since then — under the leadership of Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila who took over in 2012 — every single report of abuse has been given to law enforcement, even in cases where it might not have been required by law.)

Baptist Minister Who Worked in Five States Accused of Abusing Children

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Nov. 8, 2019

A Baptist minister from the Twin Cities has been accused of sexually abusing at least one teenager and has been suspended from his teaching job. We hope his former supervisors, colleagues and church members will call police with any suspicions or information about his behavior immediately. We also hope Baptist officials will immediately publicize this information, warn parents and parishioners, and encourage victims, witnesses and whistle-blowers to step forward.

Rev. Wesley Leon Feltner is lead pastor of preaching and vision at Berean Baptist in Burnsville, Minnesota. Until this week, Rev. Feltner was also on the faculty of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Nashville and a pastoral candidate for First Baptist Church in Clarksville, kenticky. However, on Nov. 5, it came out that two women had accused Rev. Feltner “of manipulating them into secret relationships while he was their youth pastor at First Southern Baptist Church in Evansville, Indiana,” according to Baptist News Global.

‘I expected more’: Why whistleblowers are surprised by the Buffalo inquiry

Catholic Herald

Nov. 7, 2019

By Christopher Altieri

When the Vatican announced the new law Vos estis lux mundi, reforming the way the Holy See investigates claims of abuse cover-up, veteran Church-watcher Rocco Palmo summed up the thoughts of observers everywhere in a single tweet: “For all the ink [spilt] and reaction around [the world] over the Pope’s new norms,” he said, “US Catholicism’s litmus test on Vos estis boils down to three words: ‘Buffalo or Bust’.”

As the Catholic Herald has noted, the Diocese of Buffalo is not only among the most highly publicised trouble spots in the US, but is also a microcosm of a global leadership crisis. In Buffalo, an abusive clerical party was deeply entrenched and operated with a degree of cover, if not outright impunity. The embattled bishop of Buffalo, Richard J Malone, has acknowledged that he “inherited a decades-old horrific problem” when he took the reins in 2012.

He has faced allegations that he mishandled abuse cases, and has admitted failure to take proper action on some of those that emerged on his watch. He has been accused of treating victims callously and of opaque record-keeping practices that allowed him to claim the abuse problem was far smaller than it really is. He was slow to sanction at least one priest he suspected of serious wrongdoing and believed to be dangerous.

Bishop Malone and his auxiliary, Bishop Edward Grosz, have also both been accused of applying pressure on priests and seminarians to stay quiet about abuse, though Bishop Malone stands by his record of leadership generally. Bishop Grosz has denied accusations that he threatened to block a whistleblower’s ordination to the priesthood.

November 7, 2019

Judge sends WV diocese sexual abuse lawsuit to Supreme Court

Gazette Mail

Nov. 7, 2019

By Jake Zuckerman

A judge asked the West Virginia Supreme Court on Wednesday to consider the viability of Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s lawsuit alleging that the Wheeling Charleston-Diocese knowingly hired employees at its camp and schools who had been credibly accused of sexually abusing children.

Wood County Circuit Judge J.D. Beane ruled against Morrisey, but he put the case on hold and asked the high court to weigh in on whether the lawsuit is even viable under the state’s consumer protection laws.

He specifically sent up two questions:

Does the Consumer Credit and Protection Act, as it pertains to unfair methods of competition and or deceptive practices, apply to religious institutions?
Would applying the law as Morrisey requested be “an excessive entanglement of Church and State,” which is prohibited by the state and federal constitutions?
Beane ruled against Morrisey on both counts. He said, if the law is “to remain vigilant in protecting religious freedom and in protecting religious institutions from substantial government intrusion,” it must refrain from mingling between church and state.

“A panoramic view of the entire relationship between Church and State arising from application of the Consumer Credit and Protection Act to religious schools reveals, not dimly but clearly, an excessive entanglement of government and religion which is prohibited under federal and state constitutions,” he wrote in a 40-page ruling.

However, Beane put the case on hold and sent the issue to the Supreme Court, which would weigh in on those two questions.

US bishops counter narrative of resistance to Pope Francis

Catholic News Agency

Nov. 7, 2019

The U.S. bishops' conference issued Thursday a statement responding to a recent book which the conference says perpetuates a myth that it is resistant to Pope Francis.

Austen Ivereigh's “Wounded Shepherd” was published Nov. 5 by Henry Holt and Co.

The book “perpetuates an unfortunate and inaccurate myth that the Holy Father finds resistance among the leadership and staff of the U.S. Bishops Conference,” James Rogers, chief communications officer for the conference, said Nov. 7.

Ivereigh claims that Msgr. Brian Bransfield, general secretary of the conference, and Msgr. Ronny Jenkins, dean of canon law at the Catholic University of America and a consultant to the conference, drafted proposals for a bishops' code of conduct and lay commissions in the wake of the McCarrick scandal that were subsequently rejected by Rome. Ivereigh said the proposals were meant to bypass Roman input.

Rogers called the claim disparaging of Bransfield and Jenkins, and said Ivereigh's account “is false and misleading.”

According to the conference, its president, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, began in August 2018 to consult bishops on measures that would strengthen the Dallas Charter. Draft proposals were written by the next month “under the direction of the Executive Committee” and with the help of the committees on clergy, consecrated life, canonical affairs, and child protection, as well as the doctrinal secretariat and the general counsel's office.

“It was intended that the proposals stop short of where the authority of the Holy See began,” Rogers wrote.

Florida Sex Offender Arrested After Using Popular Bible App to Contact Girls

Patheos blog

Nov. 7, 2019

By Sarahbeth Caplin

Apparently, a registered sex offender in Florida used his profile to befriend underage girls, join their Bible groups, and chat with them outside the purview of authorities.

Douglas Kersey (whose username was a not-so-cryptic “Doug K”) was only caught when a member of the girls’ congregation saw that “he friend requested several teenage girls in their youth group.”

The tipster learned Kersey was a registered sex offender after looking up his name. She told investigators Kersey’s list of friends consisted mostly of young females. The girls in her church group who accepted his friend request are all minors and “that was concerning to her.

According to the court documents, Kersey did not disclose to [Hillsborough Conty Sheriff’s Office] any email addresses, websites, and profiles to social media accounts he was using, including the Bible App. Failure to report the information is a third degree felony.

Friend said priest's accuser told him years earlier of assault

Post Gazette

Nov. 7, 2019

By Peter Smith

Driving his friend home after a night of drug use back in 2010, David Hamilton said his passenger directed him through unfamiliar streets and had him stop outside St. Therese Catholic Church in Munhall.

“He started flipping out and breathing heavily and said he was going to kill the priest who molested him,” Mr. Hamilton testified Thursday in the second day of the trial of the Rev. Hugh Lang, who faces charges of sexually abusing an 11-year-old boy in 2001.

Mr. Hamilton, an active-duty U.S. Marine corporal attired in dress uniform, said he quickly drove off before his friend could act on his threat.

Mr. Hamilton testified that this was the second time that the alleged victim spoke to him of the assault, in both cases years before the accuser brought the case to the police. In neither instance did Mr. Hamilton testify that his friend identify the priest by name, although St. Therese is where the alleged victim says he was abused and where Father Lang had been assigned.

Creative Lawsuit by West Virginia A.G. Against Catholic Officials is Dismissed, SNAP Reacts

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Nov. 7, 2019

The creative angle taken by West Virginia’s attorney general in order to force more transparency in his state’s Catholic leaders has been dismissed by a circuit court judge. We hope that A.G. Patrick Morrissey will appeal this ruling soon and that he prevails before another judge.

We continue to be disappointed that West Virginia's new bishop is exploiting legal technicalities to evade responsibility for the crimes and cover ups of his predecessors. It would be better if Church officials at the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston would cooperate with external probes by secular law enforcement in order to prove to the public that their record is as clean as they claim. Absent such proof, we can only assume that the scandals that have repeatedly been demonstrated by investigation after investigation are also occurring in West Virginia.

We are not attorneys, but believe that the issue raised by A.G. Morrisey in his suit is fundamentally about the safety of children. It is terribly disingenuous for Catholic officials to take advantage of church-state separation when it is advantageous for them - such as when it enables them to keep hidden information about clergy sex crimes - while simultaneously trying to erode that separation when it is disadvantageous, such as when lobbying against state and federal laws.

Pastor suspended from teaching at seminary after pastoral abuse claims

Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle

Nov. 7, 2019

By Jennifer Babich

Wes Feltner, the top candidate for lead pastor at First Baptist Clarksville, is feeling the fallout of the pastoral abuse charges leveled against him.

In a statement released late Wednesday, the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary announced they've suspended the teaching responsibilities of Feltner, who served as an adjunct professor.

The statement by seminary President Albert Mohler Jr. said that knowledge of the allegations first came to him Monday via social media. It went on to say: "Immediately, I sent the information received to our response team, and within an hour it was determined that credible accusations of misconduct had been presented. Accordingly, all teaching responsibilities for this individual were suspended and classes reassigned to other instructors."

The statement went on to say they'd reviewed Feltner's dissertation, titled "Pastoral Influence Tactics," and determined it was acceptable for continued public circulation.

Feltner, who is lead pastor of preaching and vision at Berean Baptist in Burnsville, Minnesota, has been accused by two women of manipulating them into secret relationships — one of them sexual — while he was their youth pastor 17 years ago at First Southern Baptist Church in Evansville, Indiana.

Cardinal says Church will not agree to break the Seal of Confession in abuse cases

The Tablet

Nov. 7, 2019

By Liz Dodd

The Catholic Church in England and Wales will reject any attempt to compel priests to break the seal of confession, Cardinal Vincent Nichols said today.

On his second day giving evidence to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse Cardinal Nichols said that priests would rather die than disclose details of a confession.

He agreed that there was a tension between the importance of mandatory reporting in abuse cases and confidentiality in confession.

Asked how this could be resolved he said: “The history of the Catholic Church has a number of people who have been put to death in defence of the seal of confession. It might come to that.”

Southern Seminary removes adjunct professor, reviews dissertation, following abuse allegations

Baptist News Global

Nov. 7, 2019

By Bob Allen

News reports that a pastoral candidate for a Southern Baptist church in Kentucky is accused of misusing his authority to sexually abuse two teenagers 17 years ago prompted a review of his doctoral dissertation at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Seminary President Albert Mohler said Wednesday afternoon on social media he became aware two days earlier of allegations made against Wesley Leon Feltner, who has taught at Southern Seminary as an adjunct professor in fields of pastoral and organizational leadership.

Within an hour, he said, Mohler’s leadership team determined that accusations of misconduct were credible and suspended Feltner from all teaching responsibilities.

Mohler said he asked that Feltner’s 2009 doctoral dissertation – which is titled “The Relationship Between Pastoral Influence Tactics, Follower Outcome Levels, and Types of Congregational Change” – be withdrawn from public circulation pending review. The review “found nothing that would prevent public access,” Mohler said, and by Thursday morning the paper was accessible online.

#iGiveCatholic Empowers Catholics, Giving Millions to Peripheries of US Church

National Catholic Register

Nov. 7, 2019

By Peter Jesserer Smith

When the sex-abuse scandals hit the Church afresh in 2018, the Catholic students at Nicholls State University (NSU) in Thibodaux, Louisiana, decided with their priests to take direct action. They wanted to build a perpetual adoration chapel on their campus as a permanent place of intercession for the sanctification and protection of their university, their families and Catholic priests.

So the “Colonel Catholics” of NSU turned to the #iGiveCatholic campaign to raise the funds on Giving Tuesday, a global day of philanthropy on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales events.

They raised $230,000 on Giving Tuesday, and nearly one year later, on Oct. 13, 2019, the Two Hearts Perpetual Adoration Chapel at NSU opened its doors..

Judge dismisses AG's consumer claim against Diocese, sends two questions to Supreme Court

West Virginia Record

Nov. 7, 2019

By Chris Dickerson

A circuit judge has dismissed one claim filed by Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s office against the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston and certified two questions to the state Supreme Court.

Wood Circuit Judge J.D. Beane’s Nov. 6 order granted the Diocese’s motion to dismiss claims by the AG’s office under the state Consumer Credit and Protection Act. It also stayed the litigation until the certified questions are answered.

“A panoramic view of the entire relationship between church and state arising from application of the Consumer Credit and Protection Act to religious schools reveals, not dimly but clearly, an excessive entanglement of government and religion, which is prohibited under federal and state constitutions,” Beane wrote.

Morrisey’s office had claimed the Diocese violated the act by failing to disclose sexual misconduct by school and camp employees with minors to parents, the diocese knowingly hired pedophiles and did not conduct background checks on employees.

Lack of cooperation stalled Hart investigation, say bishops

Casper Star-Tribune

Nov. 7, 2019

By Seth Klamann

The two bishops who succeeded retired Wyoming bishop Joseph Hart say investigations into the disgraced cleric, who’s been accused of sexual abuse by at least 16 men, were hamstrung by a lack of cooperation by at least one of Hart’s alleged victims years ago.

Bishop David Ricken took over for Hart when the latter cleric retired as the head of the Catholic flock in Wyoming in 2001. The two also lived together briefly. Ricken is now the bishop in Green Bay, Wisconsin. His successor, Paul Etienne, served in Wyoming until 2016. He was recently appointed archbishop of the diocese in Seattle.

Ricken’s tenure was quickly marked by the first Wyoming allegation against Hart, made initially in 2002 by a “second-party family member,” said Justine Lodl, a spokeswoman for the Green Bay diocese. Cheyenne Police later spoke with the victim who now lives out of state, records show. Lodl said that Ricken “turned this allegation against Bishop Hart over to the police department and district attorney, who did their own independent investigation.”

“The investigation concluded with the police and district attorney dropping the case because of a lack of cooperation of the alleged victim,” Lodl wrote in an email in response to a list of questions sent by the Star-Tribune last month.

Minnesota bishop defends conduct in sexual abuse case

Associated Press

Nov. 6, 2019

By Steve Karnowski

A Minnesota bishop who's the subject of a Vatican-ordered investigation said in sworn testimony released Tuesday that he was trying to protect the confidentiality of a man who said he was sexually abused by a popular priest when he certified to other church officials that the priest was fit for ministry and to work with children.

Bishop Michael Hoeppner of the Diocese of Crookston in northwestern Minnesota acknowledged in the videotaped deposition last year that he stated in writing to the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis in 2012 that Monsignor Roger Grundhaus was "a person of good moral character and reputation" and that he was unaware of anything in the priest's background that would "render him unsuitable to work with minor children."

French bishops to discuss payment to victims of church sex abuse

France 24 TV

Nov. 7, 2019

French bishops are considering a plan to provide financial compensation to victims of church sex abuse.

The 120 bishops convening for their biannual assembly in Lourdes will spend Thursday and Friday discussing the plan for a “financial gesture” toward victims. They pledged in principle to create such a fund last year.

Conference of French Bishops spokesman Thierry Magnin told France Info radio the church could begin disbursing money to victims in 2020.

He called the proposed fund “an allowance in recognition of suffering” in an interview with Europe 1 ahead of the gathering.

How US Church tried and failed to get abuse plan past Rome

The Tablet

Nov. 7, 2019

By Christopher Lamb

Church officials in the United States drew up a secret plan to judge bishops on abuse which they hoped Pope Francis and the Vatican would accept as a "fait accompli", a new book reveals.

Mgr Brian Bransfield, the General Secretary of the US Bishops’ Conference, and Mgr Ronny Jenkins, the Dean of Canon Law at the Catholic University of America drew up proposals for a code of conduct for bishops and lay-led commissions to judge them.

The proposals were designed as badly-needed reforms to rebuild the Church's battered credibility. However, when studied in Rome, it was decided they breached long-standing Catholic laws and traditions stating bishops can be judged only by the Pope.

In “Wounded Shepherd”, a new book on the Francis pontificate, Austen Ivereigh argues the more troubling feature of the Bransfield-Jennings plan was the attempt to carry out an ecclesiastical power play against the Pope in what was a quick-fix solution attempting to shore up the US bishops’ reputations.

Shapiro takes on everything from big pharma to the president to the Catholic Church -- and wins

Patriot News

Nov. 6, 2019

Attorney General Josh Shapiro boasts about taking on the big fights, and in the three years since he’s been in office, his fights indeed have been doozies.

He’s taken on pharmaceutical companies to hold them responsible for practices that addicted thousands of people to opioids.

He’s taken on the Catholic Church to hold pedophile priests responsible for the life-long trauma they brought to thousands of children trusted into their care.

He’s taken on the National Rifle Association and gun rights advocates who want no compromise on second amendment rights.

And he’s even taken on President Donald Trump, battling his policy of forced separation of immigrant children from their parents at the U.S. southern border; his violations of the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act and his efforts to deny women access to no-cost contraception.

“I’ve taken the president to court 29 times, Shapiro told PennLive’s Editorial Board last week. “Seventeen have come to fruition.”

One of those 17 was a big win for Pennsylvania’s women. The Trump Administration tried to advance a policy to limit access to no-cost birth control. Shapiro sued, and a federal judge sided with Pennsylvania, slapping a hold on the Trump administration’s rule, not only here but nationwide.

Religious vocations endure despite distractions, scandal

Catholic Philly

Nov. 6, 2019

By Gina Christian

As the Catholic Church in the United States celebrates National Vocation Awareness Week (Nov. 3-9), Father Steven DeLacy looks forward to the day when “religious vocations will come so naturally” that he’ll be out of a job.

“I’m actively trying to eliminate my position,” joked Father DeLacy, who serves as vocation director for the diocesan priesthood in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Since 1976, the U.S. bishops have annually dedicated a week to promoting vocations to the priesthood, diaconate and consecrated life. According to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA), vocations have declined significantly in the U.S. over the past 50 years, with the total number of priests (both diocesan and religious) down by some 38% and the number of religious sisters down 73%.

Indian bishop denies claims of misconduct, says accusers oppose reforms

Catholic News Service

Nov. 6, 2019

A Catholic bishop in southern India has dismissed allegations of being a womanizer and fathering two children; he says the claims are a retaliatory response from priests opposed to his administrative reforms.

Ucanews.org reported that Bishop Kinnikadass William of Mysore told a news conference Nov. 5: "There is no truth in the allegations. A group (of priests) are behind it because of administrative reforms I introduced."

The 54-year-old bishop spoke to the media after 37 of the 100 odd priests in the diocese wrote to the Vatican and its papal representative in India, plus other heads of church bodies in India.

Child sex abuse inquiry: Catholic Church 'shocked to core by evil of clergy'

BBC News

Nov. 6, 2019

The leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales has told an inquiry the Church was "shocked to the core" by child sexual abuse perpetrated by members of the clergy.

The Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, said the community had struggled to cope with "the presence of evil embodied in its members".

He said the Church's culture had improved "radically" in recent years, but there was still "more to achieve".

Victims said changes had been "slow".

Giving evidence for the second time to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), Archbishop Nichols said he had learned lessons about tackling abuse at a summit called by the Pope at the Vatican for senior bishops.

A letter the cardinal wrote to bishops in England and Wales following the meeting was shown to the inquiry.

He wrote that, during the meeting, "in me, something deeper changed".

"A change of perspective. I began to see everything from the perspective of the victim/survivor," he added. "That is a sobering perspective for us to take."

Archbishop Nichols told the inquiry the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales had already implemented some of the measures discussed at the summit.

Mexican prelate says bishops should admit moving predators was a mistake


Nov. 7, 2019

By Inés San Martín

A Mexican archbishop has said it’s time for prelates to own up to the mistakes they’ve made handling clerical sexual abuse cases, including what he euphemistically called the “geographical solution” of simply moving predators from one assignment to another without addressing their behavor.

“We bishops need to acknowledge the mistakes of the past: we weren’t conscious of the seriousness of the issue, and the solutions we gave weren’t the right ones,” said Archbishop Rogelio Cabrera, of Monterrey, president of the Mexican bishops’ conference and treasurer of the Latin American Conference of Bishops (CELAM).

“The geographic solution of thinking that the [problem] is solved by moving the criminal from one place to another made everything worse, because the problem spread,” Cabrera said.

Every bishop who’s been a bishop for more than 10 years, he said, “has to confess that our solutions were not the best.”

Lawyer for priest on trial says different cleric abused the victim

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Nov. 6, 2019

By Peter Smith

The trial for a retired Catholic priest on sexual abuse charges began with dramatic testimony and a contentious cross-examination Wednesday after the priest refused a prosecutor’s plea-bargain offer and his defense attorney suggested a different, now-deceased priest is to blame.

The Rev. Hugh Lang, 88, a former superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Pittsburgh, faces eight counts related to an alleged assault on an 11-year-old boy in 2001 at St. Therese Parish in Munhall, where Father Lang was a priest at the time.

Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Mark Tranquilli is presiding at the bench trial, which will resume Thursday after a full day of attorneys bringing motions and calling witnesses.

The accuser, now 30 and living abroad, testified in graphic detail about the alleged sexual assault.

“I would like Father Lang to be held accountable for what he did to me,” he said. “I want justice.”

Bishop Fabbro attends opening of documentary Prey to support abuse survivors

Windsor Star

Nov. 7, 2019

By Dave Waddell'

It was more than just another night out at the movies at the 15th annual Windsor International Film Festival when Bishop Ronald Fabbro of the London Diocese accepted an invitation from sexual abuse survivor Patrick McMahon to view the documentary Prey at the Capital Theatre on Wednesday night.

Fabbro brought along three priests from London and there was another local group of Basilian priests in attendance to see Windsor-born director Matt Gallagher’s film on the journey of survivors of pedophile priest William Hodgson Marshall.

“It’s important for me because of the survivors,” Fabbro said of his attendance.

“One of whom was in touch with me and I know how much it would mean to him and I was pleased to come and show my support for the survivors.”

Fabbro was invited by McMahon, the first victim to file a successful criminal complaint against Marshall. McMahon also appears in the documentary.

Polish Catholics condemn decision to drop Popieluszko charges

The Tablet

Nov. 7, 2019

By Jonathan Luxmoore

Father Jerzy Popieluszko was killed in 1984 after opposing his homeland's authoritarian government.

Prominent Polish Catholics have condemned a Warsaw court decision to drop charges against a group of former secret police agents, who were accused of planting weapons and explosives on the Solidarity martyr, Fr Jerzy Popieluszko, a year before his murder in 1984.

"It's scandalous and a great source of shame that the guilty are again avoiding punishment", Piotr Dmitrowicz, a director of Warsaw's newly opened John Paul II Museum, told Poland's Catholic Information Agency (KAI).

Retired Pittsburgh area priest on trial for sexual assault of 11-year-old boy in 2001


Nov. 6, 2019

By Bob Mayo

On the first day of the child sex assault trial of retired priest Hugh Lang, his now 30-year-old alleged victim who traveled from southeast Asia testified to how he alleges Lang abused him when he was an 11-year-old boy.

The alleged victim testified for nearly 1 1/2 hours for the prosecution about the alleged sex assault in the basement of St. Therese parish church in Munhall in 2001.

He told Judge Mark Tranquilli in the non-jury trial that at an altar servers summer camp at the church, Lang led him to the church basement, ordered him to undress, took a photo of him naked, and performed sex acts on him.

The alleged victim testified that Lang threatened to show the photos to others if he told.

The courtroom was packed with about 40 observers, including several priests. Also present was a victim's advocate who says the alleged victim contacted him after the Pennsylvania grand jury report about cases of sex abuse by priests.

"He was a mess. He was ashamed. He felt like he'd be blamed. He didn't want anyone to know who he was. He's still in that position but i have watched him become stronger and through education and a little bit of understanding of what took place, he now realizes that this wasn't his fault," James VanSickle, of the Courage2Heal, told Pittsburgh's Action News 4.

The defense began cross-examining the alleged victim late Monday afternoon. The initial questions from Lang's defense attorney, J. Kerrington Lewis, focused on when the witness contacted authorities and what he told them.

During brief opening statements, Lewis told the judge he will present witnesses and evidence to show that the alleged victim's claims are "absolutely false" and that the alleged victim is dishonest and unreliable. Lewis also noted a civil suit for $1 million has been filed in the case. The defense attorney alleged that the alleged victim has "a motive other than the truth."

Files Ordered Released in Msgr. Harrison Case, SNAP Responds

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Nov. 7, 2019

A California judge has ruled that the Diocese of Fresno must release documents related to allegations of abuse by one of their priests. We are grateful for this development and hope it will bring healing to survivors of abuse and encourage others with information to come forward and make reports to law enforcement.

We applaud Judge Eric Bradshaw for opting towards transparency in regards to complaints made against Msgr. Craig Harrison. Msgr. Harrison faces several allegations of child sexual abuse reports and is currently suing a Catholic activist who has been investigating the reports.

‘Silence doesn’t work’: Man alleges abuse by two clergymen at East Bay Catholic high school

Bay Area News Group

Nov. 7, 2019

By Angela Ruggiero

A man now in his 50s has filed lawsuit alleging that the Catholic church should have known about two clergymen who abused him as a high school student at Moreau Catholic High School in Hayward.

George Houle publicly stepped forward Wednesday and is alleging that two men during his time at Moreau in Hayward sexually abused him — Brother John Moriarty and the Rev. Gordon Wilcox, who was a priest and the principal at Moreau. Both men have since died: Moriarty in 2013 and Wilcox in 1984.

Houle, now 58, was 15 when the abuse started with Moriarty, a brother who would come to Moreau to recruit students for spiritual retreats in St. Helena or elsewhere, according to the lawsuit. It was there that Moriarty became Houle’s spiritual counselor, and would provide him alcohol and question his sexual activity, the lawsuit says.

Moriarty allegedly abused Houle on multiple occasions at a retreat house in St. Helena, other retreat locations and in hot tubs, according to the lawsuit. The abuse allegedly continued for two years.

A year later in 1976, Houle had academic difficulties at school and was told Wilcox would tutor him at his private residence. It was during these tutoring sessions that Wilcox allegedly gave Houle, who was around 16 years old, alcohol and sexually abused him.

Editorial: Genuine dialogue takes church into unscripted territory

National Catholic Reporter

Nov. 7, 2019

As the recent Synod of Bishops for the Amazon amply demonstrated, the discussion quickly becomes thick and complex, as well as challenging to the status quo, when genuine dialogue is the order of the gathering. What Pope Francis has introduced in the synod process is literally unscripted territory for a church that, in recent decades, has merely pretended at dialogue about important issues.

What will finally issue from a synod considering the plight of both Earth and church in one of the ecologically most important and most imperiled spots on the planet is ultimately in the hands of the pope. If his approach to the synodal process in the past is any indication, however, the apostolic exhortation he produces, probably yet several months in the future, will reflect both the discussion as well as the decisions of those in attendance.

Collegiality was an idea that gained a foothold during the four years of deliberations at the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) and was institutionalized in the form of a synod by Pope Paul VI. But the meetings became largely meaningless showcases under St. Pope John Paul II, with tight boundaries around permitted discussion and with the presumption that the final document would reflect the pope's pre-synod views, regardless of the discussion.

On the other hand, Francis has used the Synod of Bishops as "a signature feature of this pontificate and ... as a means of advancing his program of reform," according to ecclesiologist Richard Gaillardetz.

The model is closer to that envisioned by bishops at Vatican II, who saw a standing synod as a way for bishops to exercise more authority more consistently in the governance of the church. Bishops were in a better position than Vatican bureaucrats to understand the needs of local people in a global church where cultures such as those in the Amazon, tucked away from wide scrutiny, might be misunderstood at best or completely ignored.

The outspoken resistance to this and previous Francis-inspired synods is largely a product of conservative Catholics in America, as papal biographer Austen Ivereigh points out elsewhere. In this case, the objections were largely to the possibility of ordination of older, married men; the possibility of women deacons; and variously to the primary substance of the synod, which had to do with limiting exploitation of resources and continued destruction of portions of the rainforest for such pursuits as mining and cattle production.

Georgetown University issues report on sex abuse, makes recommendations

National Catholic Reporter

Nov. 6, 2019

By Jesse Remedios

In order to best address the twin crises of clergy sexual abuse and leadership failure, a report released Nov. 4 by Georgetown University recommends placing victim-survivors at the center of the response and confronting clericalism.

The report titled, "Lay Leadership for a Wounded Church and Divided Nation: Lessons, Directions, and Paths Forward," was created by Georgetown's Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life. It reflects and summarizes key ideas and proposals from a June 14-15 national convening here of more than 50 mostly lay Catholic leaders from across the United States.

According to the report, participants engaged in candid and strategic discussions on four linked goals: sharing lessons learned from the clergy sex abuse crisis, strategizing on directions for reform and renewal; examining neglected costs of the crisis, and exploring how principles of Catholic social thought can help advance protection and accountability.

The report outlines 10 strategic directions that emerged from discussions at the national convening:

In explaining its first strategic direction, the report writes that the "failure to listen and believe victim-survivors" were the "original sins of the sexual abuse crisis."

"As the church seeks repentance, justice, reform, and renewal, we must listen to victim-survivors, their families, and all those affected by clergy sexual abuse. There are still not enough victim-survivors in the rooms when decisions are made," the report states.

The report also states that the clergy sexual abuse crisis "cannot be discussed honestly without recognizing the toxic culture of clericalism." Clericalism, the report argues, can lead to abuses of power and contributes to institutional cover-ups.

"We need a new culture of candor that calls on laypeople inside and outside of ecclesial structures to challenge the insular and self-reinforcing culture of some chanceries and ecclesial institutions," it states.

Cleanup underway for Argentine order after Catholicism’s own ‘nuclear option’


Nov 7, 2019

By Elise Harris

According to one expert in Church law, carrying out the recent suppression of an Argentine religious institute is a complicated, messy and time-consuming process that no churchman looks forward to. Yet for victims thirsting for justice, explanations aren’t enough, but they want action.

“Suppression is what we call the ‘nuclear option.’ That’s the very last straw,” Father Francis Morrisey, a Canadian canonist, told Crux.

Usually an order is given a warning and offered a specific timeframe to clean up its act. If this doesn’t happen within the allotted time, then the Vatican pulls the plug, he said, noting that this is a last resort.

Trial date changed for Waterford priest charged with raping young boy

Oakland Press

Nov. 6, 2019

By Aileen Wingblad

The trial date for the pastor of a Waterford church charged with raping a young boy 15 years ago has been rescheduled.

Jury selection will begin Feb. 10, 2020 for the case against Father Joseph “Jack” Baker, pushed back from the Dec. 9 trial date that had been scheduled in Wayne County Circuit Court. According to court records, the change came “at the request of the court.”

Baker, 57, is charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct - sexual penetration with a person less than 13 years old. The crime allegedly occurred sometime between February 2004 and June 2004 at a storage room in St. Mary Catholic Church in Wayne, involving a boy who was a second-grader at the time.

Baker is currently suspended from his duties as pastor of St. Perpetua Parish in Waterford and all public ministry, as ordered by the Archdiocese of Detroit.

November 6, 2019

Two men allege harassment by Harrison supporters in new legal filings

The Californian

Nov. 2, 2019

By Stacey Shepard

Two men being sued by Monsignor Craig Harrison for defamation said in a legal filing last week they are being harassed and intimidated by the priest's family and supporters, possibly in an effort to silence them.

The allegations were made in an anti-SLAPP motion filed by the defense that seeks to have the lawsuit dismissed on grounds that it targets legitimate free speech about issues of public significance. (SLAPP stands for Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation.)

Defendant Stephen Brady of Roman Catholic Faithful, an Illinois-based Catholic watchdog group, said in the filing he received "a series of bizarre emails" from Harrison's brother, Rick Harrison, in August and September, "apparently intended to harass and intimidate me."

The same filing contains a statement from Ryan Dixon, a former mentee of Harrison's who is now a Catholic monk known as Brother Justin Gilligan, that says his mother has been the subject of harassment. It says she has moved out of state because she feared what might happen to her.

Craig A. Edmonston, Harrison's attorney in the case, said he is unaware of such harassment.

"The case is simply about defamation, lies and restoring Monsignor's reputation and clearing his name," Edmonston said, adding that he will file an opposition to the motion in the coming weeks.

Catholic Church investigates after two nuns found to be pregnant

Daily Star

Nov. 5, 2019

By Michael Moran

Two nuns have been found to be pregnant after returning from missionary work in Africa.

A major investigation is now underway after the two pregnancies, which are not thought to be related, were discovered.

One of the nuns, reportedly based at a convent in Sicily's Nebrodi mountains, didn’t realise she was pregnant until she consulted a doctor about a stomach pain.

The nun, who is aged 34, has been moved to Palermo where she is expected to give birth to the child.

In the second case the mother superior of an institute for the elderly at Ragusa – also in Sicily – was discovered to be several weeks pregnant after visiting her home country of Madagascar.

Twin Cities attorney demands that pope remove Crookston bishop

Star Tribune

Nov. 5, 2019

By Mary Lynn Smith

Twin Cities attorney Jeff Anderson on Tuesday appealed directly to Pope Francis, demanding the leader of the Catholic Church immediately remove the bishop of the Crookston Diocese for interfering in clergy abuse cases and allowing accused priests to continue their ministries.

While calling for Bishop Michael Hoeppner's immediate removal, Anderson also urged the pope to remove Bishop Richard Malone of the Buffalo Diocese in New York for the way he has handled a sex abuse crisis there.

Both men are among the first sitting U.S. bishops to be scrutinized under new Vatican protocols for reviewing and disciplining bishops. Archbishop Bernard Hebda of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis oversaw the investigation into Hoeppner and submitted his report last week to the Congregation for Bishops in Rome.

"That report includes all investigative information gathered, as well as summaries, analysis, findings of fact and recommendations," Hebda said Tuesday in a written statement. "Final resolution of this matter will be determined in Rome." The Congregation for Bishops will determine what actions, if any, are necessary, he added.

Anderson, however, urged the pope to take immediate action.

"The peril is present and real," Anderson said. In an hourlong news conference, Anderson reviewed transcripts and played video from a deposition in which he questioned Hoeppner about allowing priests who were accused of sexual abuse to remain on the job. He charged that Hoeppner, as well as Malone, have concealed predators and protected themselves.

"Both have engaged and are engaging in the dangerous practice of deceit, deception and concealment of crimes by predators and crimes in which they both are complicit," Anderson said. "No excuses. No more time. Remove Hoeppner and Malone and remove them now."

Anderson made his direct appeal while abuse survivors Ron Vasek and Pat Matuseski stood alongside him. The two are among 15 abuse survivors who reached a $5 million settlement with the Crookston Diocese in July. As part of that settlement, the personnel files of 19 offenders along with investigative documents, deposition videos and other files related to the Crookston case are being made public.

Survivor of clerical sexual abuse provides support to victims of trauma

Guelph Today

Nov. 4, 2019

By Anam Khan

After much healing, a recovered alcoholic and survivor of clerical sexual abuse is trying to provide support to victims of trauma in Guelph.

Following his trial, which officially ended in May 2019, Robert McCabe began his charity, Recovery Speaking to provide support to help those with limited means recover from the trauma they experienced, whether it is from abuse, addiction or other incidents in their lives.

“I always knew once the trial was over that I wanted to do this for trauma victims,” said McCabe.

On Nov. 16 McCabe is sponsoring a free viewing of the 2019 Hot Docs winner PREY, a documentary that tells the story of survivor Rod Macleod as he pursues justice through a public trial hoping to bring attention to the hidden stories of clergy sexual abuse.

US priest who gave out gifts in Philippines accused of abuse

Associated Press

Nov. 6, 2019

By Tim Sullivan

The American priest‘s voice echoed over the phone line, his sharp Midwestern accent softened over the decades by a gentle Filipino lilt. On the other end, recording the call, was a young man battered by shame but anxious to get the priest to describe exactly what had happened in this little island village.

“I should have known better than trying to just have a life,” the priest said in the November 2018 call. “Happy days are gone. It‘s all over.”

But, the young man later told the Associated Press, those days were happy only for the priest. They were years of misery for him, he said, and for the other boys who investigators say were sexually assaulted by Father Pius Hendricks.

His accusations ignited a scandal that would shake the village and reveal much about how allegations of sex crimes by priests are handled in one of the world‘s most Catholic countries.

Anniversary of credibly accused clergy list in New Orleans brings lawsuits, calls for investigations

Times Picayune

Nov. 5, 2019

By Ramon Antonio Vargas

When the Archdiocese of New Orleans published a list one year ago of priests and deacons who had been credibly accused of molesting children, it started a one-year clock for lawsuits by people claiming that seeing the list had rekindled memories of their abuse at the hands of Catholic clergymen.

The looming arrival of that deadline on Monday of this week prompted the filing of several clergy-abuse lawsuits in recent days at Orleans Parish Civil District Court, where the list of such cases has been steadily growing since the church’s decades-old molestation crisis reignited more than a year ago.

Boston Archdiocese opts for transparency to protect minors

Vatican News

Nov. 5, 2019

By Devin Watkins

As the first group of US Bishops begin their “ad limina Apostolorum” to Rome, Bishop Mark O’Connell explores how the Archdiocese of Boston is working for the protection of minors.

The Archdiocese of Boston was at the epicenter of controversy in 2002 when the clerical sex abuse scandal first broke in the United States.

A report that year by the Boston Globe brought the issue of the sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy into the national spotlight, and 5 priests from the Archdiocese of Boston were sentenced to prison.

Now, 17 years later, the Archdiocese is working to be a model of transparency when dealing with whatever allegations of sexual abuse may emerge.

Church: Wyoming sex abuse queries lacked victim cooperation

Associated Press

Nov. 6, 2019

Two Catholic Church officials who succeeded a Wyoming bishop accused of sexual abuse say a lack of victim cooperation hampered the investigations.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports at least 16 men said they were abused by former Bishop Joseph Hart, who retired in 2001.

Bishop David Ricken took over for Hart in Wyoming before transferring to Wisconsin in 2008. He was followed by Bishop Paul Etienne, who headed the Cheyenne diocese until 2016.

The diocese says a 2002 allegation against Hart was forwarded by Ricken to police but was dropped due to a lack of alleged victim cooperation.

The church says Etienne requested a Vatican investigation into Hart in 2010, but did not initiate his own investigation because alleged victims “were not willing to speak.”

Last week, the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph in Missouri said three people who accused Hart of sexual abuse are credible.

The three had raised allegations against the bishop over the past year.

November 5, 2019

US bishops arrive in Rome for ad limina visit with Pope Francis

Catholic News Agency

Nov. 5, 2019

By Courtney Mares

Every American diocesan bishop will travel to Rome over the next four months for meetings with Pope Francis assessing the state of the Church in the U.S.

The U.S. ad limina visit will be not only the first with Pope Francis, but the first since the Church in the US was shaken by a crisis of mistrust in episcopal leadership due to mishandling of sexual abuse allegations against Theodore McCarrick and others.

An “ad limina apostolorum” visit is a papal meeting required for every diocesan bishop in the world to provide an update on the state of one’s diocese. The trip to Rome, usually made together with all the bishops from a country or region, also serves as a pilgrimage to “the threshold of the apostles,” giving the bishops, who are the successors of the apostles, the opportunity to pray at the tomb of St. Peter and St. Paul.

Ad limina visits typically take place every five years, as the world’s more than 5,300 bishops rotate through Rome. However, some countries have gone 10 years without an ad limina visit, as was the case with Taiwan. During Benedict XVI’s pontificate, bishops from nearly every diocese in the world visited within seven years.

Church urged to boost response to needs of clergy sexual abuse survivors

Catholic News Service

Nov. 5, 2019

By Dennis Sadowski

A Chilean survivor of clergy sexual abuse pleaded for Catholic Church leaders to follow the example of a Wyoming bishop who continues to seek justice and answers for other survivors.

Juan Carlos Cruz expressed support for the work of Bishop Steven R. Biegler of Cheyenne, Wyoming, during a panel discussion at Georgetown University Nov. 4, saying the prelate’s efforts to resolve questions surrounding a retired predecessor’s alleged abuse demonstrates that someone within the church cares enough to raise up the needs of survivors.

“For so long, we have seen nobody doing anything,” Cruz said during the program sponsored by the university’s Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life.

Cruz and other survivors have led a decade-long effort to hold Chilean bishops and cardinals accountable for committing abuse or covering up reports of abuse. He and two other survivors were invited to the Vatican by Pope Francis in 2018 to discuss their experience.

Southern Baptist Convention Needs Leadership Willing to Tackle Cases of Clergy Sex Abuse

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Nov. 5, 2019

Al Mohler wants to lead the Southern Baptist Convention, but when it comes to dealing with clergy sex abuse, he has not shown leadership. To the contrary, he has long dragged his heels and has found himself forced to acknowledge a problem only because of courageous survivors, determined attorneys and tenacious journalists.

For example, it was only after massive media exposure that Mohler finally admitted to "serious errors" in his support for C.J. Mahaney, a pastor at the heart of claims about a longstanding cover-up of abuse reports involving 13 alleged perpetrators.

That is not leadership; that is belated bare-bones acknowledgment of a problem.

And now, though Mohler has learned to say nice-sounding words, they are words that we as survivors have all heard before. So words are not nearly enough nor are they evidence of leadership. The time for meaningful action is overdue.

Mohler is right, of course, that the SBC "can - and should - do more to track predators who've worked in affiliated churches." But absent a concrete plan, Mohler's words remain as just words.

SNAP remains wary of seeing too much praise and hope heaped onto any single individual who might lead this denomination, which is the country's second-largest faith group.

Father Tom Doyle's Recent Lecture, "What the Sexual Abuse Phenomenon Has Done to the Catholic Church"

Bilgrimmage blog

Nov. 5, 2019

By William Linsdey

I'd like to point you today to a resource Ruth Krall has told me about: as the video at the head of the posting indicates, recently, a lecture that Father Tom Doyle gave last month at Gonzaga University has come online in video format. The lecture is entitled "What the Sexual Abuse Phenomenon Has Done to the Catholic Church," and was presented under the auspices of Gonzaga's Flannery Lecture series.

Drawing on his thirty-five years of intense involvement with the abuse problems of the Catholic church, Tom Doyle focuses on the ways in which the abuse situation reveals something deeply concerning about systemic corruption within the Catholic institution itself. His thesis is that the abuse phenomena are "deeply embedded in the very fiber of the institution itself."

Washington Post: Catholics should follow Germany's gospel when seeking future growth

Get Religion blog

Nov. 5, 2019

By Terry Mattingly

When it comes to Catholic demographics — think birth rate, membership and new clergy — researchers know where to look if they want to find the good news and the bad news.

It you are seeking new life and growth, all roads lead to Africa — where the Catholic population has grown by nearly 250% since 1980.

Anyone seeking bad news can examine trends in Europe.

Take Germany, for example. The Catholic church lost 216,078 members in 2018, according to the German Bishops’ Conference. Researchers at the University of Freiburg predict that Catholic membership totals will fall another 50% by 2060. How is the priesthood doing? Things were already pretty bad in 2005, with 122 diocesan priests ordained in Germany. That number fell to 58 in 2015.

Lawsuits: Woman sexually abused students in NY before teaching in PBC

Palm Beach Post

Nov. 5, 2019

Civil lawsuits filed last month have raised allegations of sexual abuse involving a longtime Spanish River High School teacher, three years after Palm Beach County School District police investigated a similar, anonymous complaint.

The suits filed under New York’s Child Protection Act accuse Dianna Vacco of sexually abusing two young students hundreds of times in the early 1980s when she taught fifth- and sixth-grade science at a Catholic school in Angola, a village outside Buffalo.

In their complaints, the two former students claim that the sexual abuse occurred both in New York and Florida when they were between the ages of 10 and 15. Court documents do not detail where in Florida the abuse is alleged to have taken place.

Vacco, 65, who appears to live in St. Augustine after moving from Wellington, could not be reached for comment. Court records do not list an attorney representing her in the civil cases.

Mitchell Garabedian, an attorney who has represented numerous sexual abuse victims in high-profile cases, including cases against the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, is one of several attorneys representing the two women in the civil suits. Reached by telephone last week, Garabedian declined to comment.

With Ad Limina Visits, Pope Francis Should Renew Call for “All-Out Battle” on Clergy Abuse

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Nov. 5, 2019

Starting this week, virtually all U.S. Catholic bishops will begin travelling to Rome to meet face-to-face with Pope Francis. During these “ad limina” visits, we hope that Church officials and the pontiff will focus almost solely on combatting cases of clergy abuse and improving how Catholic leaders respond to victims and protect children.

They can start by exhorting Pope Francis to expand his reporting directive to require that all allegations of abuse must be reported to secular law enforcement. U.S. Bishops wrote this directive into their Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People way back in 2002, but as recent reports have shown, those directives have had no teeth and bishops have been free to ignore them. Perhaps if the pope deigned to use his considerable power and require that these measures be taken seriously, Church officials would actually listen.

Harvest Elders Say James MacDonald Is ‘Biblically Disqualified’ From Ministry

Christianity Today

Nov. 5, 2019

By Kate Shellnutt

The elders of Harvest Bible Chapel have concluded that their former pastor James MacDonald is biblically disqualified from ministry and can never return to leadership at their congregation.

A church investigation into charges against MacDonald—who was fired in February— found he failed to meet the elder qualifications laid out in Scripture. They attested he instead “had a pattern of being disruptive,” “insulting, belittling, and verbally bullying others,” “improperly exercising positional and spiritual authority,” and “extravagant spending utilizing church resources resulting in personal benefit,” according to a statement released Sunday.

The announcement said while the Bible doesn’t teach that disqualification from ministry is permanent, his damage to Harvest would prevent him from serving again as an elder or pastor there.

“We believe James could be restored to ministry someday, but in order for that day to come, the fruits of repentance must be evident. Based on Harvest Bible Chapel’s interpretation of the Scripture, we have not yet seen evidence of this,” wrote the eight-member elder board (all of whom assumed their positions earlier this year, when the elders who served during MacDonald’s leadership stepped down).

Argentine order classic case of ‘be careful what you wish for’


Nov. 4, 2019

By Elise Harris

[Editor’s note: This is the first installment of a four-part series by Elise Harris.]

When Chrystian Contreras Javier Gomez, entered Argentina’s Hermanos Discípulos de Jesús de San Juan Bautista at age 15, he thought he was walking among spiritual giants whose life of contemplative prayer fueled a heroic service to the poor.

Yet it wouldn’t take long for him to discover that there were more sinners than saints behind the community walls.

Within his first three years in the order, Contreras was sexually abused by the order’s founder and later raped by a deacon belonging to the community. After leaving, he attempted to make a civil complaint against the two but gave up after being humiliated at the police station. He eventually made a canonical complaint, but almost a year later, he has heard nothing more about it.

The order has now been suppressed and the founder and another prominent member are currently facing criminal charges of alleged sexual abuse from two other victims, however, Contreras still has no clue about the status of his case, where his rapist is, or if he is still in ministry.

Contreras’s story is not unique. And while the suppression of his order might seem like a victory for himself and other victims, the chaos left in the aftermath might well be a classic case of “be careful what you wish for.”

Diocese of Lansing Fails to Properly Handle 1990 Sexual Assault Case, Leads to Second Victim

Legal Examiner blog

Nov. 5, 2019

By Kelly McClintock

A report just released, commissioned by the Catholic Diocese of Lansing, states that the Church failed to keep parishioners safe from a priest abusing his power and sexually assaulting at least two young men. Patrick Egan sexually assaulted a man in his 20s during a Church boxing session in the 1990s, which he reported to the Church. However, the Lansing Diocese failed to properly investigate when the survivor made his disclosure in 2003. Later, in 2014 Patrick Egan sexually assaulted a second young man during a boxing session at the Church.

According to the report (the Catholic Church hired their own lawyers to conduct), Patrick Egan’s “priestly faculties” have been revoked, “essentially removing him from the Diocese of Lansing.” The Lansing State Journal reports the Lansing Diocese has requested Egan return to the Diocese of Westminster, England, where he originates.

An accused pastor’s suicide: The pain we see and the pain we don’t

Religion News Service

Nov. 5, 2019

By Christa Brown

Last week, confronted with criminal charges of having repeatedly raped a teenage girl, the Rev. Bryan Fulwider killed himself while out on bail. At the time of the alleged offenses, he was senior pastor at First Congregational Church of Winter Park, Florida.

Many will no doubt think that the pastor’s death should put an end to the disturbing questions about what he may have done during his life: Let the dead rest in peace.

But the problem is this: The death of a child molester doesn’t automatically bring peace for his victims. To the contrary, it often brings greater pain. Having already had their innocence, trust and bodily autonomy stolen, a perpetrator’s untimely death may then rob victims further by depriving them of the opportunity for vindication and justice in a court of law.

As reported, the arrest documents said Fulwider had raped the girl “well over 100 times” beginning when she was 14. Though Fulwider pleaded not guilty, prosecutors described their case as “extremely strong,” pointing to an hourlong recorded phone call in which Fulwider admitted to having a “sexual relationship” with the victim when she was younger than 18 and that he was a predator in the “eyes of the law.” Fulwider’s own sons have said “we believe the victim.”

If we assume the truth of the victim’s allegations, then Fulwider’s suicide will not spare her the traumatic fallout from all that he did to her. For many clergy sex abuse survivors, trying to heal from such a soul-murdering offense is a lifelong process.

Mysuru priests accuse Bishop of sexual misconduct, corruption, shoot letter to Pope Francis

India Today

Nov. 5, 2019

Agroup of 37 priests from the Mysuru Diocese has written a letter to Pope Francis requesting his urgent intervention in the affairs of the Bishop of Mysuru KA William. The priests have demanded that the Bishop be removed over his alleged involvement in criminal offences, misappropriation of funds and sexual misconduct.

The Bishop has also been accused of practising factionalism, favouritism and also getting married.

Melwyn Fernandes of the Association of Concerned Catholics, has released a press note stating, "This is an issue involving crimes of moral turpitude by Bishop William of Mysuru, involving financial irregularities, sexual misconduct, kidnapping and suspected murders."

Speaking to India Today TV, Fernandes said, "There are allegations with regard to children. We demand that paternity tests should be done so that the innocence of the Bishop can be proved. We also demand an enquiry be conducted into the alleged kidnapping of a girl at the behest of the Bishop and how that girl's child was shown to her through a CCTV camera when she was at a different location."

David Joseph Perrett pleads not guilty to New England historical child sex abuse offences

Moree Champion

Nov. 5, 2019

By Breanna Chillingworth

A FORMER Catholic priest accused of sexually abusing 40 children over three decades has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

David Joseph Perrett appeared in Armidale District Court for an arraignment hearing on 139 historical sex abuse charges.

The child abuse allegations stem from when Perrett was a serving Catholic priest in the Armidale, Walgett, Moree, Guyra and wider New England area, as well as Sydney and the coast, between the 1960s and 1990s.

Perrett has been living on strict bail in Armidale.

Judge Jeffery McLennan is yet to set a date or location for the trial of the charges, which include assault; buggery; carnal knowledge of a child; and maintaining an unlawful sexual relationship with a child under the age of 16.

The trial - which could take three months - has not been set down yet, but Perrett will return to court in February next year.

Priest accused of misconduct has strong New Bedford ties

South Coast Today

Nov. 4, 2019

By Kiernan Dunlop

One of the two Roman Catholic priests put on administrative leave for alleged misconduct has strong ties to New Bedford.

Fr. Daniel W Lacroix grew up in the city and attended St. Mary’s Parish and the accompanying school as a child, according to a profile on the priest by The Standard-Times when in 2017 he returned to be the pastor of the parish where he grew up. This year, Lacroix was named co-pastor at three North End Churches — St. Joseph-St. Therese, St. Mary, and Our Lady of Fatima Parishes — before being placed on administrative leave.

In the profile Lacroix said, “I never thought I would be so blessed as to return to St. Mary’s,” and explained that it’s very rare for a priest to be assigned to his home parish.

Lacroix was ordained a priest in 1988 and over the past three decades he was assigned to Holy Name Parish in New Bedford, St. Patrick Parish in Wareham, and St. Francis Xavier Parish in Acushnet, along with parishes in Chatham, Mansfield, Hyannis, and Seekonk, according Director of Communications for the Fall River Diocese John Kearns.

In 2016, Lacroix was named dean of the New Bedford district which, according to the Fall River Diocese website, means the bishop appointed Lacroix to assist him in the promotion of coordination of apostolic and pastoral activity in that area.

The Wolf in Priest’s Clothing: Victim of former Niagara Catholic priests sues diocese for $5.2 million

Catholic diocese was told of Grecco’s sex abuse, alleges victi

The St. Catharines Standard

Nov. 5, 2019

By Grant LaFleche

Niagara Catholic diocese knew a serial sex abuser was among its ranks of priests but did nothing about it, alleges one of the man's victims in a lawsuit against the church.

In a statement of claim filed in a St. Catharines court in May, William O'Sullivan says the Diocese of St. Catharines — which governs Catholic churches and priests in Niagara — was told now ex-priest Donald Grecco had sexually abused a child, but did nothing to protect them.

"(The diocese) failed to remove Grecco from his duties upon learning of the allegations of sexual and other inappropriate conduct thereby leaving the plaintiff exposed to Grecco and his actions without protection," says O'Sullivan's statement of claim, which also alleges the diocese failed to investigate Grecco's actions once it was made "fully away of his shortcomings in an effort locate and assist any victims."

Colorado Report Shows Need for Further Investigation into Clergy Abuse

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Nov. 5, 2019

An in-depth report from the Denver Post has reinforced findings from an earlier AP report that large numbers of accused child abusers are alive and remain dangerous in whichever communities they live. We call on Catholic officials throughout Colorado to take steps to warn communities where these dangerous men live and work, so that children and the vulnerable are protected and so that parents, parishioners, and the public are better informed.

According to the Attorney General's report on Catholic abusers; at least 22 diocesan priests in Colorado have been accused of abuse. While any number is too high, this figure does not include clergymen from religious orders – who were not covered in the scope of the Special Master’s report – so this count is more likely incredibly low.

Of those 22 diocesan priests, at least 11 are alive. Their diaspora has included Ecuador, Florida, other Catholic dioceses, other religions and other communities in Colorado. They have new jobs as priests, therapists and in other related professions that keep them in touch with children. Several have spent time in prison. Each is a dangerous man, and representatives of the three Colorado dioceses say they do not actively track the location andactivities of the clerics named in the report. As clergymen changed their location or left the Church, they faded from the dioceses' radar.

After their order’s suppression, victims struggle to move forward


Nov. 5, 2019

By Elise Harris

[Editor’s note: This is the second installment of a four-part series. Part one can be found here.]

ROME - When the Vatican suppressed Argentina’s Hermanos Discípulos de Jesús de San Juan Bautista, this summer, the act was welcome news for ex-members, some of whom have been waiting for years to get justice for alleged abuses suffered under the group’s founder and other members.

Scandals in new movements and communities such as the Legion of Christ founded by the late Mexican Father Marcial Maciel Degollado or the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae (SCV) launched by Peruvian layman Luis Fernando Figari, have become all too familiar a story in global Catholicism in recent years.

Like the Legionaries and the SCV, members of the Hermanos allegedly endured a wide range of abuse and manipulation, including psychological abuse, abuse of power/authority, and sexual abuse, including the abuse and rape of minors.

November 4, 2019

Is There A Fundamental Flaw In the Institutional Church’s Approach To Sex Ethics?

Patheos blog

Nov. 4, 2019

By Rebecca Bratten Weiss

Recent statements by theologian and former president of Ireland Mary McAleese have been making a stir in Catholic circles, prompting reactions in the extremes of both negative and positive.

According to an article by Sarah Mac Donald, McAleese stated that the Catholic priesthood is based around a “fundamental lie”:

She told a conference in TCD on Saturday attended by up to 400 people, including the Provost, Dr Patrick Prendergast, that a clericalised priesthood was not attracting vocations today and that many of those who are attracted to priesthood have a “deeply problematic” sexuality because the Church demands that those priests and seminarians who are not heterosexual pretend to be.

Recalling the six years she spent studying for a doctorate in canon law in Rome, living in the environs of a seminary and monastery, she said she had encountered many young seminarians and priests.

“I became very much aware of the dysfunction at the heart of seminary life and the dysfunction at the heart of much of the priesthood.”

“The number of fake-hetero misogynistic homophobic gays I met frightened me. The homophobia of people who are gay is a lie – it is a vicious lie. But they live it and in living it, apart from making themselves miserable, they also make a lot of other people miserable.” She said that as pastors, “their capacity for dispersing misery is really immense. That worries me greatly.”

Charleston priest retired over Wheeling bishop's costly renovation to Sacred Heart

Gazette Mail

Nov. 4, 2019

By Ryan Quinn

From the late 1980s until a couple of years ago, the physical heart of the church at the heart of downtown Charleston’s Catholic complex was made of mahogany.

At what is now the Basilica of the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, that fine wood made up the ambo (or pulpit) from which Monsignor Edward Sadie read the gospel, and the altar from which he gave Mass.

The bishop’s chair, called the cathedra, in which Sadie could not sit, also was mahogany. The cathedral, in which that chair sits, is technically the bishop’s church.

So, until he left his post last year, the chair belonged to Michael Bransfield, bishop of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston. So did the church.

And Bransfield, now notorious for spending Diocese money on personal luxuries, wanted a marble chair, a marble ambo and a marble altar.

The Bishop’s Fund — the nonprofit that, as reported by The Washington Post, Bransfield created and then funded entirely through Wheeling Hospital money — paid for about $2.3 million worth of renovations to Sacred Heart in 2017.

These renovations, done within the past few years, replaced the mahogany with marble. The renovations covered the floor with marble, too.

Ex-evangelical pastor says supporting Trump has been 'damaging' to church

The Hill

Nov. 4, 2019

By Aris Folley

Former megachurch pastor and evangelical author Joshua Harris said in a recent interview that he believes some of the massive support President Trump has enjoyed from the evangelical community has been “incredibly damaging to the Gospel and to the church.”

Harris, an influential evangelical teacher and writer during the late 1990s and up until he announced he'd abandoned his faith earlier this year, added that having "a leader like Trump I think is in itself part of the indictment" of Christians.

Evangelicals have been staunch supporters of Trump since his 2016 election, with his job approval higher than average among white evangelical Christians throughout the three years of his presidency, according to Pew Research Center data. In a poll earlier this fall conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute, about 77 percent of evangelicals approve of the president’s job performance, compared to an average 43 percent in other polls.

But Harris told Axios's Mike Allen that he's concerned about the end result of the church becoming "identified with President Trump."

“I don’t think it’s going to end well," Harris said in a clip of an interview on "Axios on HBO” released Monday.

“And I think, you know, you look back at the Old Testament and the relationship between the prophets and really bad leaders and kings, and oftentimes it was, it's not something you unwind because it's, it's actually in the scriptures presented as God's judgment on the False Religion of the day,” Harris said.

“You think Christians today who are embracing President Trump are due for a judgment?” Allen asked.

“I think it is the judgment,” Harris responded. “I think it is part of the judgment.”

“What do you mean by that?” Allen asked.

“To have a leader like Trump I think is in itself part of the indictment, that this is the leader that you want and maybe deserve,” Harris answered. “That represents a lot of who you are.”

Harris, who served as the senior pastor at the Covenant Life megachurch Gaithersburg, Md., for more than a decade before resigning from his post in 2015 amid controversy over the church's handling of a child sexual abuse scandal, rose to prominence shortly after the 1997 publication of "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" at age 21. The book was once highly influential to evangelical youth group teaching.

Suit claims retired Albany bishop told sex abuse victim to 'forget about it'

Times Union

Nov. 4, 2019

By Cayla Harris

A newly filed lawsuit claims retired Bishop Howard Hubbard told a teenage boy more than 60 years ago that he should “forget about” alleged sexual abuse he suffered at the hands of another priest who had what Hubbard allegedly described as "a moment of weakness.”

SNAP Calls for More Action


Nov. 4, 2019

By Rob Masson

Members of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests gathered in front of Notre Dame seminary Monday with several demands. They want the list of credibly abused priests expanded and they want more statewide prosecution.

They met outside the seminary with stories that have become all too familiar.

"He put a pillow over my head to quiet me, and control me, and kill me...i don't think he cared," said National SNAP president Tim Lennon, talking about his own abuse in Iowa, some 40 years ago.

Members of SNAP want the Archdiocese of New Orleans to expand, a list of credibly accused clergy that was released one year ago this week. They want it expanded, from 57 names to 81, as outlined on the webisite 'Bishopaccountability.org'.

"It wasn't good enough because most of the priests on that list were dead and statute of limitations prohibits suing anyone who is dead in civil law," said Louisiana SNAP president Kevin Bourgeois.

The archdiocese says many of the names on the Bishopaccountability.org list, includes non priests, who were members of religious orders, and not under the archdiocese. They put out a statement saying,

'Our goals as we work to address the clergy abuse crisis are to walk with victims towards healing and to work diligently through our safe environment program to prevent abuse from occurring. we continue to address and investigate allegations that are reported to us and once again pledge our full cooperation with any law enforcement investigations into criminal actions.'

New Orleans archbishop acknowledges 57 abusive clergy

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Nov. 4, 2019

Catholic watchdog site lists 81 perpetrators

SNAP analytics suggests there are still others not yet reported

Revealing these "hidden predators" and their enablers helps to protect children today

Survivors’ group calls for AG investigation and statute of limitation reform

Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, child sex abuse survivors and their supporters will
-- call on Archbishop Gregory Michael Aymond to expand his list of abusers,
-- urge a statewide investigation into clergy sex crimes by the AG's office, and
-- advocate for the reform of state laws limiting the ability of victims to have their day in court.

Diocese of Steubenville Should Continue Outreach About Abusive Former Teacher

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Nov. 4, 2019

A former priest from the Diocese of Steubenville was arrested last week for sexual misconduct with a minor. We are glad that church officials took steps to warn the public about him and urge them to undertake further outreach.

We believe that Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla is right to be concerned that there might be more victims of Ronald S. Burkhead. Child predators rarely stop abusing with just one or two.

It was acknowledged by the Steubenville diocese that Burkhead worked as a teacher at St. Francis Central in Toronto, OH from 2000-01 and Holy Rosary Central in Steubenville from 2004-05 . Yes, the Diocese of Steubenville officials did the right thing in regard to Burkhead, but they need to do more.

We call on Bishop Jeffrey M. Monforton to do outreach to any possible victims at each of the schools at which Burkhead worked. Bishop Monforton should also make it a point to send a letter to the alumni from both schools urging them to contact police if they have any knowledge about abuse or may have been harmed by Burkhead themselves. It is very possible that they would be within the SOL to get him in jail and away from kids. Finally, Bishop Monforton should add Burkhead’s name, picture, and assignment history to the list of accused clerics on their diocese web site.

Romanoff criticizes Hickenlooper over handling of clergy abuse

Colorado Politics

Nov. 4, 2019

By Michael Karlik

Democratic Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff asked in a Nov. 1 tweet why his opponent, former Gov. John Hickenlooper, had not initiated a grand jury investigation of suspected child abuse in the Catholic Church.

“This is a devastating account of children abused & justice denied,” Romanoff wrote. “Why didn’t Gov. Hickenlooper request a grand jury investigation?”

Romanoff referenced a report that the attorney general’s office released on Oct. 23 detailing how at least 166 children appear to have been the victims of sexual abuse in Colorado’s Catholic dioceses from 1950 to 1998.

The Colorado Sun reported last week that during Hickenlooper’s final months in office, then-Attorney General Cynthia Coffman discussed with him the allegations she had heard. She would have needed the governor to authorize any grand jury investigation.

Film: By the Grace of God

Independent Catholic News

Nov. 4, 2019

By Jo Siedlecka

A heartbreaking film about the sexual abuse of children by clergy in the Catholic Church. The canon of films on this subject from countries around the world continues to grow. Earlier this year there was the documentary 'Tell No One' by Polish director Tomasz Sekielski. Now we have 'By the Grace of God' - a soberly-told docudrama from French director Francois Ozon.

This film tells the true story of Alexandre Guérin, (Melvil Poupaud) a committed Catholic who lives with his wife and children in Lyon. One day he discovers by chance that a priest, Father Bernard Preynat (Bernard Verley) who abused him when he was a boy scout is still working with young people - and long repressed frightening memories, (shown in flashback), are awakened. Horrified, Alexandre writes to Cardinal Philipe Barbarin, confident that he will sort the matter out. But the diocese doesn't seem to be a hurry to respond.

Eventually they agree to set up a face-to-face meeting with Alexandre, Preynat, and an insipid archdiocesan employee, Régine Maire (Martine Erhel). Alexandre, his wife and friends fear and assume Preynat will deny what happened.

El Salvador archbishop apologizes over priest sex abuse case

Associated Press

Nov 4, 2019

El Salvador's top Roman Catholic cleric apologized Sunday for the alleged sexual abuse by a priest of an unidentified minor 25 years ago.

"We have apologized to the victim and now I am repeating it publicly, and we also ask for forgiveness from the community for the scandal that this has caused," San Salvador Archbishop José Luis Escobar Alas said in a news conference after celebrating Mass.

"At the same time we pray for the victim and also for the priest," he said.

The victim was received by the Archdiocese's Commission on Childhood Protection, which according to Escobar, "found merit in their accusation and suggested that the proper canonical process be initiated."

The priest, identified as Leopoldo Sosa Tolentino, was suspended, the archbishop said.

Diocese Right To Act Swiftly

The Intelligencer

Nov. 4, 2019

Ronald S. Burkhead, of Rayland, was arrested last week and charged with various offenses involving alleged sexual misconduct with a minor. Burkhead, 41, had been employed by the Buckeye Local school system as a traveling teacher who worked at various schools.

After the arrest, Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla said another minor with whom Burkhead allegedly had a relationship had been identified. The sheriff speculated there may have been other victims, and he encouraged parents whose children may have come in contact with Burkhead to discuss the matter with them.

Then it was revealed — by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Steubenville — that Burkhead had taught for a time at diocesan schools. They were St. Francis Central in Toronto from 2000-01 and Holy Rosary Central in Steubenville from 2004-05, diocesan Permanent Deacon Paul D. Ward said.

Ward added that anyone who has been harmed by anyone serving on behalf of the church should contact the diocese and law enforcement authorities.

Fall River Diocese puts 2 priests accused of misconduct on leave

WJAR — NBC 10 News

Nov. 3, 2019

Two priests were put on administrative leave from the ministry pending an investigation of alleged misconduct from decades ago, according to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fall River.

The diocese identified the priests as the Rev. Richard Degagne, pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish in Easton, and the Rev. Daniel Lacroix, co-pastor of St. Joseph- St. Therese, St. Mary, and Our Lady of Fatima parishes in New Bedford.

Officials said the alleged misconduct of Degagne dates back to before he was a priest.

Parishioners were informed of the allegations in a letter from Bisop Edgar da Cunha which was read at all weekend Masses.

"Nothing is more important than the welfare of survivors, children and our community at-large," said da Cunha. "We have pledged to handle all matters of abuse in a pastoral and professional way and have implemented many new reforms since 2017. I continue to pray for anyone who has been affected by the scourge of sexual abuse."

At least 11 priests accused of sexually abusing children in Colorado report are still alive

Denver Post

November 4, 2019

By Elise Schmelzer

One Colorado priest left the church after allegations he sexually assaulted a 17-year-old and went on to work as a U.S. Veterans Affairs therapist and a wellness director tasked with leading a children’s club at a Trinidad nonprofit. Another priest, after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting a minor, became a counselor to drug users before finding a new religious group to lead.

At least 11 of the 44 men named as predators in a report published Oct. 22 on clergy sexual abuse in Colorado’s Catholic dioceses are still alive. After leaving or being forced from the priesthood, some men became social workers, religious leaders and counselors. Others who remain priests are now retired and live in Denver and Pueblo.

At least three of the priests’ whereabouts are unknown — it’s not even clear if they’re alive. The Diocese of Pueblo does not know where Clifford Norman or Lawrence Sievers are, a spokeswoman said. Norman left the diocese in 1975 and moved to Mexico, and Sievers left the priesthood in 1973. Similarly, the Diocese of Colorado Springs does not know where William Martinez lives or whether he is alive. Martinez permanently left the priesthood in 2004.

The Colorado dioceses do not actively track the location and activities of priests named in the report, representatives of the three dioceses said. Those abused by the priests often did not report their assaults until decades later and the dioceses often did not report the allegations to law enforcement. As priests moved locations or left the church, they faded from the dioceses’ radars.

November 3, 2019

Catholic Leaders: Totally Corrupt Financially, Too!

Patheos blog

Nov. 2, 2019

By Captain Cassidy

As if one huge, long-running, top-level scandal wasn’t enough for Catholics, they’ve now got a new one to contend with. And it’s exposed at the worst time possible for their leaders. Join me today for a look at Catholicism’s newer scandal, and how hardline Catholics are reacting to the news.

The news broke recently: the Vatican has yet another scandal on its hands.

This time, it didn’t involve the rape of underage children or the murder of vulnerable infants and women, so that’s good, I suppose. Those scandals went on for many centuries before finally poking up from a sea of submerged fear.

The inevitable results of giving unlimited power and no ethical barriers to entry to any group. (NSFW for, well, everything.)

Instead, this new scandal involves the discovery of troubling financial corruption at the highest levels of Catholicism.

I suspect most people–especially non-Catholics–know by now that this group regularly commits enormous financial shenanigans. The news constantly confirms this opinion. (See endnote for a truly hilarious example.)

Jesus, Mary, and Mary

New York Review of Books

Nov. 1, 2019

By Elizabeth Bruenig

In January the Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, suffered a minor scandal concerning the virtue of the Mother of God. It came to light that an English professor had taught Emmanuel Carrère’s 2014 book The Kingdom—a self-consciously provocative work about the author’s struggle with his Catholic faith and the unlikely survival of the early Church—to a group of five upperclassmen as part of an elective course in the spring of 2018. The Kingdom is something of an odd elegy to faith by an agnostic who finally couldn’t believe, and thus Carrère takes aim at the religion’s more incredible dogmas; the perpetual virginity of the Blessed Virgin Mary never seems to escape this particular kind of complaint. “This woman knew a man in her youth,” Carrère muses, somewhere between argument and fantasy. “She had sex. She might have come, let’s hope so for her, maybe she even masturbated.”

When word of The Kingdom’s use on campus began to circulate among the wider Catholic community, Franciscan initially came to its professor’s defense. But a day later, as outrage mounted, the university banned the book, and the professor who had assigned it was removed from his post as the English department’s chair. There’s more than enough in The Kingdom for a Catholic to dispute, but it was the doubt cast on Mary’s virginity that got the book banned and its unfortunate instructor chastened. If the Church and world persist for another two thousand years, the subject will still be maddeningly controversial.

Why is this particular doctrine of the faith so deeply important? The virgin birth emphasizes Christ’s divinity by giving him appropriately mystical origins. Permanent celibacy also maintains for Mary a special category of sinlessness, marking her as free of lust. And, set against her historical background, Mary’s perpetual virginity would have lent her a unique singleness of purpose. Scripture is full of people whose loyalties are divided between the earthly and heavenly—David is divided between his Lord and his lust; Peter is divided between Christ and cowardice—but Mary’s cause is one and all-consuming: “Her prerogative is the consequence of her divine motherhood which totally consecrated her to Christ’s mission of redemption,” as Saint Pope John Paul II put it in a Vatican audience in 1996.

Love in the face of evil: Steamboat’s Catholic church looks for solutions after release of statewide report on child sexual abuse

Steamboat Pilot

Nov. 3, 2019

By Derek Maiolo

As Rev. Ernest Bayer prepared to lead Mass on Thursday, Oct. 24, some horrific news dampened what is usually a celebratory service at the Holy Name Catholic Church in Steamboat Springs.

The previous day, investigators in Colorado released a 263-page report chronicling the abuse of 166 children at the hands of 43 Roman Catholic priests across the state dating back to 1950. Bayer later described the report as the Roman Catholic Church’s “confession,” the first step in a path toward healing.

But as he addressed his congregation before a life-sized statue of Jesus on the cross, he felt too wounded to speak. He tried to raise the chalice of wine meant to consecrate the blood of Christ. Suddenly, he fell to his knees, hands clasped.

Catholic Sex Abuse Victims Gather On All Survivors Day

WBBM Radio

Nov. 3, 2019

By Andy Dahn

Sunday marked the second annual All Survivors Day for victims of sexual abuse but the story of one local gathering for Catholic clergy abuse survivors was its dismal turnout.

"Where is everybody?" asked Kate Bochte, a spokeswoman of the Chicago chapter of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP. "It's so hard to find the strength just to even come out here on the sidewalk."

Larry Antonsen said he was sexually abused by a priest at St. Rita High School on the southwest side when he was 15. He called the lack of progress in addressing the issue "frustrating."

"One in four girls, one in six boys will be sexually abused before they're 18-years-old," Antonsen said. "We're here to help protect them. We want things in place by the church to protect kids. That's what this is all about."

What had Bochte frustrated was the small crowd outside of Holy Name Cathedral. Located on the near North Side, Holy Name Cathedral is the seat of the Archdiocese of Chicago.

"Survivors cannot hear you pray," she told reporters. "Survivors cannot hear your little conversations with your children or your friends about how much you support survivors. Tell them that. They don't hear you."

Antonsen said keeping children safe shouldn't be so difficult.

Demonstrators demand accountability for Catholic clergy sex crimes

The Day

Nov. 3. 2019

By Sten Spinella

A small group of demonstrators stood outside the Cathedral of Saint Patrick on Sunday to mark All Survivors' Day, which recognizes survivors of sexual abuse.

As men and women in military dress exited the Cathedral following the 28th annual Red, White & Blue Mass's reception, they strode past the group of demonstrators, which fluctuated between four and eight survivors and their supporters.

Protesters in Norwich from the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests "stood in solidarity with survivors and supporters from CT Alliance to end Sexual Violence and other groups," according to a release before the event. People affiliated with SNAP held similar events at cathedrals in Hartford and Bridgeport on Sunday.

The main goal of the event was to call for the state legislature to eradicate all statutes of limitation for sex crimes. At the moment, those who allege they were sexually assaulted by priests cannot file civil lawsuits against the church if they are 51 or older.

Tim McGuire of New London, who alleges that he was sexually assaulted by a priest in Noank as an 8-year-old altar boy, has become an ardent advocate for survivors. On Sunday, he held a sign reading "Say no to the Catholic fondling of state laws. Your laws!"

Bridgeport priest reinstated after allegations of sexual abuse deemed ‘unfounded,’ church says

Sun Times

Nov. 3, 2019

By Sam Kelly and Tom Schuba

A Bridgeport priest who was removed from active ministry has been reinstated after officials found allegations that he sexually abused a child were “unfounded,” according to a statement issued Saturday by Cardinal Blase Cupich.

Father William McFarlane was asked to “step aside” from Nativity of Our Lord and St. Gabriel Parish in July after an accusation that he sexually abused a child in 1997 was brought to the attention of the Archdiocese of Chicago, Cupich said.

The archdiocese confirmed that McFarlane would be reinstated in a new role after the Illinois Department of Child and Family Services and the Cook County state’s attorney’s office deemed the allegations “unfounded” and the archdiocese’s independent review board further decided they were unmerited.

“At their meeting on Saturday, October 26, 2019, the Board found that there was insufficient reason to suspect that Father McFarlane had committed sexual abuse of a minor,” Cupich said. “Therefore, I am restoring Father McFarlane to active ministry, effective immediately.”

2 priests, 1 with Cape ties, placed on leave after diocese review

Cape Cod Times

Nov. 3, 2019

By Doug Fraser

The Diocese of Fall River announced Sunday that two priests have been placed on administrative leave, including one with ties to the Cape.

The Revs. Daniel Lacroix and Richard Degagne were placed on leave after an internal investigation and external review of personnel files revealed alleged misconduct that occurred decades ago, according to diocesan spokesman John Kearns.

Lacroix served as the assistant pastor, also known as a parochial vicar, at the Holy Redeemer Church in Chatham from 1988 to 1991, and as the pastor of St. Francis Xavier Church in Hyannis from 2008 to 2014. Degagne did not serve in any Cape or Islands parish, according to Kearns.

Both men have denied the allegations, Kearns wrote in a press release. He said the cases have been referred to the Cape and Islands and Bristol County district attorney’s offices.

Both incidents happened decades ago, and Degagne’s incident occurred before he was ordained, according to the press release.

For The Editor Behind The Boston Globe’s Spotlight Investigation, Colorado’s Clergy Abuse Report Is ‘Eerily Similar’

Colorado Public Radio

Nov. 3, 2019

By Avery Lill

It's a group no one wants to be a part of: communities scarred by abuse in Catholic Churches.

With the Attorney General's office's report, Colorado now has at least a partial accounting of child sexual abuse in the state’s three dioceses. The independent inquiry revealed that priests abused, at minimum, 166 children in Colorado over 70 years.

The Centennial State is far from the first community that has already been down this path.

A prominent one is Boston, where in 2002, the Boston Globe’s Spotlight investigation revealed widespread sexual abuse of children by priests in the Archdiocese of Boston and an ensuing cover-up by church leaders.

Walter Robinson led that coverage as the Spotlight team’s editor. The stories drew national attention and won the paper a Pulitzer. The 2015 movie about the reporting, “Spotlight,” won Oscars for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay.

When Robinson spoke to Colorado Matters, he said Colorado’s special report was “eerily similar” to inquiries in Massachusetts and other states.

A tale of two priests and the future of the Catholic Church

Idaho Statesman

Nov. 3, 2019

By Bob Kustra

Recent news of the Vatican defrocking a Boise priest now serving 25 years without parole for possessing violent and extreme child pornography brought back memories long forgotten. Raised in the Catholic Church, I spent my youth as an altar boy with clergy officiating at daily Masses, funerals, weddings and who often assumed administrative or teaching roles in the Catholic schools I attended.

One priest, the principal of my high school, invited his favorite students to his cabin on the river to fish and enjoy water sports in the summer. Looking back on it all, it never once occurred to me during those outings that some of the questions he would ask about our personal lives might be an indicator of some repressed sexual desires that the church seemed to ignore with its vow of celibacy for priests.

It wasn’t until a few years ago when I read an account of the director of the film, “Guardians of the Galaxy”, James Gunn, that I realized the same priest/principal who was befriending boys in my high school was also prominent in the young life of this successful director in a parish across town from my experience. According to Gunn, that same priest would give young boys in his class alcohol and pornography.

November 2, 2019

Nigerian Women Say ‘MeToo.’ Critics Say ‘Prove It.’

New York Times

Nov. 3, 2019

By Julie Turkewitz

It was, she said, a secret that burned so badly she could no longer keep it inside. So at age 34, Busola Dakolo, a well-known Nigerian photographer, went on television and finally spoke.

She said she had been raped twice as a teenager by her former pastor, Biodun Fatoyinbo, a church leader whose services draw thousands, and whose fans, admiring his flashy lifestyle, have taken to calling him “the Gucci pastor.” He has denied the allegations.

After years in which silence around rape and sexual harassment have been the norm, West Africa is seeing a wave of #MeToo proclamations.

Accusations have come from a Gambian beauty queen who said the former president raped her; a former presidential adviser in Sierra Leone who said she was sexually assaulted by a church leader; and a Nigerian journalist with the BBC who captured hidden camera footage of university professors soliciting sex in exchange for admission and grades.

The footage shook the region, drew outrage from political leaders and led to the suspension of at least four lecturers.

But many women who have come forward in recent months have also experienced a fierce backlash, including attacks on their reputations and accusations that they’ve lied about the assaults. While their critics say they are merely applying appropriate skepticism to unproven allegations, their supporters say that the hostile reaction reveals just how difficult it is for women in the region to speak out about abuse.

Man Snared in NJ Child Sex Sting Sentenced to Seven Years in Prison


Nov. 1, 2019

A New Jersey man snared in a child sex sting is going back to prison more than 20 years after he was convicted of sexually assault a boy when he was a church counselor.

A judge in Ocean County on Friday sentenced 48-year-old Thomas Blumensteel of Manchester to seven years in prison for luring.

He must serve at least five years before he’ll be eligible for parole and must register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law.

Blumensteel was arrested in September 2018 in a sting in which an undercover detective posed on social media as a 15-year-old boy.

Prosecutors say Blumensteel arranged to meet for sex.

Tampa man, registered sex offender accused of using Bible app to befriend youth group girls

News Channel 8

Nov. 2, 2019

A registered Florida sex offender is accused of using a bible app to befriend young girls in a church youth group.

A confidential source notified police that 50-year-old Tampa man Douglas Kersey was using The Bible App – YouVersion to befriend teenage girls in their church and talk with them online.

The confidential source told law enforcement Kersey crated a profile under the name “Doug K” and started befriending girls in the same youth group.

Investigators learned Kersey never registered the email used on his bible app profile with the sheriff’s office, which sexual offenders are required to do. Failure to register any new email address with the sheriff’s office or FDLE is a third degree felony.

Kersey is charged with two counts of failure of sexual offender to register and violation of probation from prior out-of-county arrests.

Arlington church, pastor failed to stop sex abuse of 4-year-old by teen, lawsuit says

Star Telegram

Nov. 1, 2019

By Domingo Ramirez, Jr.

An Arlington church and one of its former pastors failed to prevent the sexual abuse of a 4-year-old by a 13-year-old boy who was a church member, according to a lawsuit.

Officials at The Welcome Table Christian Church in Arlington and former pastor Estel Harven Tewes were negligent in failing to report the sexual abuse and failing to train employees on recognizing and preventing sexual abuse, the lawsuit says.

The lawsuit was filed Thursday in Fort Worth by a man who is related to the 4-year-old boy.

Commentary: David raped Bathsheba, and why that matters

Religion News Service
Nov. 1, 2019

By Russell L. Meek

“David raped. It’s important we get that right.”

This crucial bit of biblical interpretation came in a tweet in early October from Rachael Denhollander, the first young athlete to accuse Gymnastics USA physician Larry Nassar of sexual assault and now a speaker and author on surviving abuse. She was responding to a tweet from evangelical leader Matt Smethurst who, while listing the various sins of biblical figures, stated, “David fornicated.”

Denhollander followed up her response the next day and again a few days later, outlining the biblical support for her assertion that what David did to Bathsheba was not fornication or adultery, but rape.

Diocesan lawyer raises possibility of bankruptcy over abuse payments

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Nov. 1, 2019

By Peter Smith

An attorney for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh raised the prospect of bankruptcy in a court hearing Friday over whether the church can use a trust fund for needy children, worth more than $8 million, toward compensating victims of sexual abuse by priests.

Attorney Robert Ridge said during a hearing in Allegheny County Orphans Court that the diocese is looking at every available funding source to go toward a compensation fund for victims.

He told Orphans Court Administrative Judge Lawrence O’Toole that the diocese was asking for a determination now on whether the trust fund could be used because, if the diocese does need to file in bankruptcy court, the same question will come up there.

The hearing came in response to a challenge by Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s office over a petition by the diocesan-affiliated Catholic Institute of Pittsburgh to use the fund.

Towering Baptist figure wants to lead SBC amid strife, sex abuse crisis

Houston Chronicle

Nov. 2, 2019

By Robert Downen

Rev. Albert Mohler, the longtime president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., said Thursday that he’d like to lead the faith group once current president J.D. Greear’s second term ends in June. SBC presidents are term-limited, and are elected each year by thousands of delegates at the faith group’s annual meeting in June.

If elected, Mohler would take the SBC’s helm at a time of increasing divide over race and gender issues, as well as the sex abuse crisis that’s been detailed in an ongoing Houston Chronicle investigation. The investigation, Abuse of Faith, found that hundreds of Southern Baptist church leaders and volunteers have been convicted of sex crimes in the last two decades. They had more than 700 victims, most of them children.

The Florida pastor who nominated Mohler, leader the SBC’s flagship seminary since 1993, said he is “the statesman leader we need at this precise moment.”

New state law hailed in fight against sex abuse in churches

Odessa American

Nov. 2, 2019

By Bob Campbell

In its annual meeting that concluded here this week, the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention passed a resolution thanking the state Legislature for a new law protecting churches from civil liability when disclosing information about sexual predators.

Convention Communications Director Gary Ledbetter of Grapevine said House Bill 4345 lets churches and their staff members and volunteers provide much more than just the dates of employment when answering inquiries about former employees. That information will help in the fight against sex abuse in churches.

“It will keep somebody who was accused of child abuse or sexual abuse from going from church to church,” Ledbetter said.

The resolution says God “abhors violence against the weak and defenseless and calls his people to defend the hurt and oppressed, to stand for justice and to deliver victims of abuse from the hands of their oppressors.”

Attended by 772 messengers, or delegates, and 257 guests, the three-day event featured prominent ministers, including a video address by Paul Chitwood, president of the Richmond, Virginia,-based International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, and Adam Greenway, new president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, among others.

Ross Douthat: The overstated collaps of American Christianity

New York Times

Nov. 2, 2019

By Ross Douthat

Fifty years ago, many observers of American religion assumed that secularization would gradually wash traditional Christianity away. Twenty years ago, Christianity looked surprisingly resilient, and so the smart thinking changed: Maybe there was an American exception to secularizing trends, or maybe a secularized Europe was the exception and the modernity-equals-secularization thesis was altogether wrong.

Now the wheel has turned again, and the new consensus is that secularization was actually just delayed, and with the swift 21st-century collapse of Christian affiliation, a more European destination for American religiosity has belatedly arrived. “In U.S., Decline of Christianity Continues at Rapid Pace” ran the headline on a new Pew Research Center survey of American religion this month, summing up a consensus shared by pessimistic religious conservatives, eager anticlericalists and the regretfully unbelieving sort of journalist who suspects that we may miss organized religion when it’s gone.

The trends that have inspired this perspective are real, but the swings in the consensus over a relatively short period should inspire caution in interpretation. One important qualifier, appropriate to the week of Halloween, is that the decline of Christian institutions and the weakening of Christian affiliation may be clearing space for post-Christian spiritualities — pantheist, gnostic, syncretist, pagan — rather than a New Atheist sort of godlessness. (The fact that The New York Times, occasionally stereotyped as secular and liberal, is proclaiming “peak witch” while The New Yorker gives friendly treatment to millennial astrology, is suggestive of just how un-secular the American future might become.)

November 1, 2019

Unfinished business awaits lawmakers

Johnstown Tribune Democrat

Nov. 2, 2019

By John Finnerty

State lawmakers have some big issues left to confront in the few days they have scheduled in 2019.

Lawmakers left the Capitol Wednesday, and they have only four days scheduled for session in November. The House has six session days scheduled for December, while the Senate has just three.

Advocates and lawmakers say the controversy over allowing adult survivors of child sex crimes to sue organizations, like the Catholic Church, for covering up for predators, may be on the agenda.

Senate President Pro Temp Joseph Scarnati, R-Jefferson, said that he expects the Senate will vote later this month on a proposed constitutional amendment to open a window to allow for civil lawsuits in cases where the existing statute of limitations has expired.

“We plan to move these bills through the Senate this fall," Scarnati said in a statement provided by his office. "I remain hopeful that all parties involved can come together to move these important reforms forward in the near future.”

Man sues Norwich diocese, Groton church over sexual conduct of two priests

The Day

Nov. 1, 2019

By Joe Wojtas

A man has sued the Diocese of Norwich and retired Bishop Daniel Reilly, alleging he was the target of sexual assault and misconduct by two different priests connected with Sacred Heart Church in Groton.

He alleges the first incident occurred at the church when he was a 7-year-old altar boy, and then numerous others when he was a teenager by another priest who allegedly took him on “sleepovers” and plied him with whiskey.

Court records show the lawsuit was filed on behalf of John Doe, a pseudonym, by a New Haven law firm. The suit also named as defendants Sacred Heart Church, The Society of St. Edmund, the Rev. Charles Many and the estate of the late Father J. Lawrence Ouimet.

The suit is one of many filed against the diocese and Reilly in which adults now allege they were sexually assaulted as children by priests working in the diocese. Many of these incidents allegedly occurred during the 1975-1994 tenure of Reilly, who records show transferred priests he knew had been accused of sexually assaulting children to other parishes. The diocese has paid out more than $8 million in settlements to victims, one of whom says he was assaulted by Many, and faces more than 20 pending suits by other alleged victims.

Earlier this year, the diocese released a list of 45 priests who have had “allegations of substance” made against them. Both Many and Ouimet were on the list but the diocese offered no information about the allegations against them, which parishes they served or whether it had reported the allegations to police or the state Department of Children and Families as it has been required by law to do since 1971 if abuse is suspected.

Bishop to co-operate with garda sexual abuse investigation


Nov. 1, 2019

By Joe Little

The Catholic bishop of Raphoe has offered "every possible co-operation" to a garda investigation he requested following the latest allegations that the diocese concealed widespread child sexual abuse by a priest and a national teacher convicted some 20 years ago.

The move follows Wednesday's screening of a television documentary which alleged that a victim's mother in the Co Donegal diocese was told by her parish priest that she would have to leave the area if a scandal broke about abuse by a teacher in a parochial school.

An Garda Síochána have said they would encourage anyone with information on the issues raised in the documentary to report it to them.

The added "It will be dealt with sensitively and professionally, and any victims reporting to us will be provided with support."

TG4's programme "Finné", which will be re-broadcast Friday, interviewed retired Garda Detective Martin Ridge who investigated the crimes of the late Fr Eugene Greene who ministered for some years in Gortahork, Co Donegal and of Denis McGinley, a former primary school teacher in the locality.

Advocates rally for change to statute of limitations laws for victims of sexual abuse


Nov. 1, 2019

By Kiran Chawla

A group that provides resources to victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests is demanding the Louisiana Attorney General’s office launch an official investigation.

The group is called the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP).

“I was abused at Jesuit High School in New Orleans as well by a priest and a janitor,” said Richard Windmann.

Windmann is vocal as to what he allegedly happened to him on the Jesuit High School campus in the 70′s.

“I was going to commit suicide. I tried to commit suicide, and I woke up with a tube down my throat and charcoal all over my body and actually lived through the experience,” said Windmann.

In 2018, documents released by the Jesuits included the names of 42 priests, all credibly accused of sexually abusing children in the Catholic church. Windmann’s alleged abuser was on that list, as was another survivor’s, John Gianoli’s.

“In my eighth-grade year, I was molested by my parish priest who was also my teacher in the Catholic grammar school that I went to,” said Gianoli.

Former San Andreas pedophile priest arrested in Portugal

Calavaras Enterprise

Nov 1, 2019

By Dakota Morlan

A former St. Andrew's Catholic Church priest who once confessed to abusing dozens of children in Northern California has been arrested in Portugal under suspicion of child pornography-related offenses in his native Ireland.

Oliver O’Grady, 74, was arrested last month by local police in the Algarve area of Portugal under a European Arrest Warrant and will likely be extradited to Ireland, The Irish Times reported.

The Limerick-born former priest was sentenced to 14 years in prison in 1993 after he was convicted of repeatedly molesting two Turlock, Calif. brothers over the course of more than a decade. However, he was paroled after serving just seven years at Mule Creek State Prison in Ione, deported to Ireland and defrocked as a priest shortly after.

Between the early 1970s and 1990s, O’Grady served as a pastor at Diocese of Stockton parishes in Lodi, Stockton and Turlock, as well as St. Andrew’s in San Andreas.

O’Grady later admitted to molesting more than 20 children during that time in the 2006 documentary film “Deliver Us from Evil.” The documentary alleged that the diocese knowingly concealed the ongoing abuse by moving O’Grady from parish to parish.

Former local pastor named in sex-abuse probe

La Junta Tribune-Democrat

Oct. 31, 2019

By Christian Burney

The late Father Delbert Blong was named in a report commissioned by the Colorado Attorney General’s office released last week indexing sex crimes against 166 children by variousRoman Catholic priests across Colorado over 70 years.

The report accuses Blong of sexually abusing six males from the 1950s to the 1970s in parishes in La Junta and Alamosa, according to the report prepared by former U.S. Attorney Robert Troyer, who conducted the probe with the cooperation of Colorado’s Catholic dioceses.

The report says Blong abused his first reported victims while serving as the assistant pastor at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in La Junta. His second, third and fourth victims were targeted while he served as pastor at the same La Junta parish, the report states, adding that his fifth and sixth victims were abused during his tenure as pastor at the Sacred Heart Parish in Alamosa.

The report documents Blong’s predatory behavior across each of the six cases. In each example, the report said, Blong engaged in grooming behaviors with each of his victims, telling them in some instances they were special and that his love for them justified his actions.

The prophet Nathan and Theodore McCarrick

Ukiah Daily Journal

November 1, 2019

By Terry Mattingly

U.S. cardinals needed someone who was willing, in the spring of 2002, to face waves of microphones and cameras and answer questions about a clergy sexual abuse crisis that kept growing more and more intense.

Cardinal Theodore McCarrick stepped forward. The Washington Post hailed him as the Vatican’s “man of the hour,” an “attractive public face” at a time when many Catholic leaders seemed “arrogant, secretive and uncaring.”

“If you’re looking to the future, I would say it’s pretty clear that the Holy Father is calling for zero tolerance,” the archbishop of Washington, D.C., told reporters.

These words rang hollow to some men who watched this drama, men who knew that McCarrick knew they would be stabbed by every word he spoke.

After all, the man some called “Uncle Ted” had “already completed a personal campaign of predatory sexual abuse of minors and young adult males that stretched back across four decades,” according to “Nathan Doe,” the anonymous author of “Delicta Graviora (More Grave Crimes),” posted at EssayForTheFaithful.com.

“While the national media waxed poetic about this charming and charismatic cardinal with a twinkle in his eye,” writes Doe, “they had no idea that McCarrick was using them to send a powerful message to his countless victims that he was untouchable and in complete control. … It would be another 16 years – and an unspeakable amount of spiritual carnage later – before McCarrick was finally stopped.”

Opinion: Catholic Bishops Agree: Anything but a Woman

The New York Times

October 30, 2019

By Sara McDougall

Dr. McDougall is an associate professor of history at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the CUNY Graduate Center in New York.

The push to allow married men to serve as priests isn’t progress. It’s another form of misogyny.

The modern Catholic Church is beset with serious problems. Among them is that not enough men want to be priests. Over the past three weeks, 184 bishops gathered at a Vatican summit to seek solutions for the Amazon region in particular, singled out because of myriad crises it is facing, including environmental devastation, violence and a shortage of priests to serve the needs of the faithful there.

The bishops’ solution: Do anything other than ordaining women as priests.

On Oct. 26, in a “revolutionary” decision, the bishops gathered at the Vatican voted 128 to 41 to allow an exception to what has essentially been a 1,000-year ban on the ordination of married men as priests. They recommended this change for only certain parts of the Amazon and for only married men already made deacons, meaning men already allowed to perform marriages and baptisms, but not to officiate at mass, which only priests can do. It is now for Pope Francis to decide whether the decision goes forward.

It is surprising in many ways that the bishops made this decision. Allowing a married man to be a priest violates several longstanding rules. They voted as they did despite the tremendous importance of chastity for the Catholic Church and the old idea that sexual activity is a pollutant that cannot be allowed near the holy ritual of the mass. They voted in favor of married priests despite a longstanding fear that for a priest to have a wife and a family would lead to serious conflicts of interest. There is a legend that the word “nepotism” was invented in honor of the grasping nephews of popes who sought and obtained more than they deserved thanks to their powerful uncles (and “nephews” we can sometimes see as a euphemism for “sons”).

These potential conflicts of interest and other dangers that family influence and obligations bring, therefore, are something Catholic authorities have long recognized and have eagerly sought to prevent. They voted as they did despite the symbolic importance, too, of the idea that a priest be united to only one spouse, the Church, just as Jesus Christ was united in an exclusive bond with the Church.

All of that paled in comparison to letting a woman, even a celibate woman, act as priest.

Epstein’s Autopsy ‘Points to Homicide,’ Pathologist Hired by Brother Claims

The New York Times

October 30, 2019

By Azi Paybarah

The New York City medical examiner strongly disputed the claim that evidence from the autopsy suggested strangulation.

A forensic pathologist hired by Jeffrey Epstein’s brother disputed the official finding in the autopsy of his death, claiming on Wednesday that the evidence suggested that he did not take his own life but may have been strangled.

The New York City medical examiner’s office concluded in August that Mr. Epstein had hanged himself in his jail cell while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.

But the private pathologist, Dr. Michael Baden, said on the morning TV show “Fox & Friends” that Mr. Epstein, 66, experienced a number of injuries — among them a broken bone in his neck — that “are extremely unusual in suicidal hangings and could occur much more commonly in homicidal strangulation.”

“I think that the evidence points to homicide rather than suicide,” said Dr. Baden, who observed the autopsy done by city officials.

‘This happened’: A grad student refused to recant her rape accusation even after police arrested her and said she lied

The Washington Post

October 29, 2019

By Katie Shepherd

In the shadow of a red-brick hospital surrounded by neatly manicured grass, a University of Kansas graduate student told three police officers she had been recently raped following a night of drinking with close friends during homecoming weekend in September 2018. She said she didn’t want to press charges or file a formal police report — she just wanted to preserve any evidence in case another woman ever came forward with a similar accusation.

The police asked to look at her phone. She handed it over.

In one of the messages, sent just 16 minutes before the woman met with the officers at the hospital, she called the encounter “borderline rape,” KCTV reported, and said she had “the bruises and statements to prove it.” In other texts sent to a friend in the hours after the 30-year-old woman woke up — still drunk, naked and confused in the Lawrence, Kan., apartment of her then-boyfriend’s best friend — she expressed regret and made jokes about what had happened.

Kevin Spacey Won’t Be Charged in Sexual Assault Case After Accuser Dies


October 29, 2019

By Gene Maddaus

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office has formally dropped a case against actor Kevin Spacey, after the accuser died.

The accuser, a massage therapist, alleged that Spacey tried to kiss him and forced him to grab his genitals during a session in Malibu in October 2016. The accuser, who was never identified, went to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, which referred the investigation to the D.A.’s office in July 2018.

Suspended priest arrested in Hamilton County sexual abuse case

Indianapolis Star

October 29, 2019

By Vic Ryckaert and Andrew Clark

A suspended Indianapolis priest was in the Hamilton County Jail Tuesday on felony charges stemming from allegations he sexually abused a teen.

The Rev. David J. Marcotte was booked into the jail at 4:47 a.m. Tuesday on felony charges of child solicitation, vicarious sexual gratification and dissemination of matter harmful to a minor, records show. He was released on his own recognizance, according to the Hamilton County sheriff's office.

Marcotte, 32, appeared in Hamilton Superior Court for an initial hearing on Tuesday afternoon. His next hearing was scheduled for Jan. 7.

Marcotte, who most recently served as a chaplain for Roncalli High School, was suspended from priestly duties on Feb. 12, just six days after the Archdiocese of Indianapolis said it received an abuse complaint.

Oxford Priest Responds to Ongoing Catholic Church Sex Scandals


Nov. 1, 2019

By Meagan Harkins

Father Joe Tonos has personal insight into the trauma of those abused by priests, considering he was mistreated himself.

When Tonos was 18, he said a priest came on to him while they were discussing the vocation of priesthood. Tonos said the priest made sexually suggestive comments and offered to purchase him alcohol. Although he was not physically touched, he described the encounter as one that made him angry, but it didn’t turn him away from the church.

Tonos has been an ordained Catholic priest for 25 years and is serving his 15th year at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Oxford.

His story is not an isolated one. The Google search term “priest abuse” has stirred traffic since 2004, as far back as Trends data goes. Interest spiked in August 2018 when Pennsylvania released a list of more than 300 Roman Catholic priests accused of sex abuse. Following the Pennsylvania incident, a similar list was released for Mississippi.

Bishop has asked gardaí to investigate allegations of 'collusion and cover-up'

Donagal Democrat

Nov. 1, 2019

By Michelle NicPhaid

The Bishop of Raphoe has asked the gardaí to investigate 'allegations of cover-up and collusion' which were made in a TG4 documentary 'Finné' which was broadcast on Wednesday night.

Bishop Alan McGuckian also said that the diocese would support and help any form of forensic cold case investigation which the statutory authorities may introduce.

The documentary cast a light on the abuse of boys by both Eugene Greene, a former priest and Denis McGinley, a former teacher, in north west Donegal. Harrowing accounts of the abuse of boys were given by both Martin Gallagher and former investigating Detective, Martin Ridge.

In the statement, Bishop Alan McGuckian said: "The Documentary on TG4 on Wednesday, October 30, revisited the pain and tragedy of child sexual abuse committed by clergy and others in the Diocese of Raphoe.

‘All Survivors Day’ piggybacks on All Saints’ Day to raise awareness about sexual abuse

Baptist News Global

Oct. 31, 2019

By Bob Allen

While kids celebrate Halloween and liturgical churches observe All Saints’ Day, several advocacy organizations are combining efforts to recognize survivors of sexual abuse.

All Survivors Day, Nov. 3, is an international day to share survivor stories, raise awareness and seek to change a culture that allows sexual abuse to continue. First held last year, it is an extension of All Saints Day – a celebration in both Catholic and Protestant traditions forall the saints of Christian history – on Nov. 1, and All Souls Day, Nov. 2, a Catholic holiday celebrated in Latin countries as Day of the Dead.

“All Survivors Day is a call to action to all people to come together and help change the culture that surrounds sexual abuse and assault,” said Tim Lennon, board president of one of the sponsoring organizations, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. “By stepping into the light and telling our stories, we are hoping to motivate others to join us as we seek to prevent future cases of sexual abuse and show others what they can do to get involved in their own communities and institutions to ensure this never happens again.”

Marci Hamilton, CEO and academic director of ChildUSA, said victims of sex abuse and assault “have been silenced and ignored for too long.”

SNAP Agrees with Former CO Attorney General who Advocates SOL Reform Now

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Nov. 1, 2019

Colorado’s former attorney general is pushing for much needed reform to the state’s statute of limitations laws. We hope Colorado lawmakers are listening and will act quickly on this wise recommendation.

It is a big deal when the former top law enforcement official in a state agrees with victims and advocates that statute of limitations reform is sorely needed. In our view, these are archaic laws that impose arbitrary, predator-friendly deadlines that not only do not reflect the realities of how and when victims of sexual violence report, but in fact prevent most child sex abuse victims from exposing perpetrators in court.

We also applaud Ms. Coffman’s push for added power in the attorney general’s office that would allow them to pursue future criminal investigations. But first things first: legislators in Colorado should listen to the former AG and work to fix these outdated laws. Instead of slamming the courthouse doors in the faces of victims who have found the courage to expose their abusers, they should be opened to all so that children are safer and communities are better informed.

Pope’s words ‘difficult to reconcile’ with Vatican’s lack of cooperation with abuse inquiry


Nov. 1, 2019

By Charles Collins

It was “very disappointing” the Vatican failed to give testimony during an investigation into sex abuse in the Catholic Church in England and Wales, according to the lead counsel to the inquiry.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) investigation into the bishops’ conference’s response to the sex abuse crisis is taking place Oct. 28 - Nov. 8, and there has been frustration with the lack response from the Holy See to requests for information.

“The Holy See has not provided any evidence about the role of the CDF and/or laicization and declined to provide the inquiry with a witness statement,” Brian Altman, the inquiry’s lead counsel, said on Monday.

The requests were made to the Vatican ambassador to the UK, Archbishop Edward Adams. Like all ambassadors, he has diplomatic immunity and cannot be subpoenaed by his host country.

“Let me make perfectly clear that the inquiry went through established diplomatic channels and all proper procedures, including seeking assistance and advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, despite which no statements have been provided to the inquiry by the Holy See,” Altman complained.

“The Holy See’s refusal to provide the Inquiry with all the evidence it has sought is very disappointing. In his introduction to the recent Motu Proprio, Vos estis lux mundi, Pope Francis acknowledged the ‘physical, psychological and spiritual damage’ done to the victims of child sexual abuse, and added that ‘a continuous and profound conversion of hearts is needed, attested by concrete and effective actions that involve everyone in the Church,” Altman said.


Church Militant

Nov. 1, 2019

The onslaught of damning news surrounding Vatican corruption, sexual and financial, all has one thing in common: It's always exposed by outside interests.

These hierarchs never admit or confess a thing. Doesn't matter what it is; no scandal is too small or too big to try and cover up. These men lie and distort; they never admit anything until they are caught — and then it's always someone else's fault, or they were advised poorly, etc.

Poor, naïve prelates. No one understands them. Please!

Take, for example, the case of former cardinal, now Mr. Theodore McCarrick. Where exactly does the investigation on him stand right now? It was, after all, more than 13 months ago that Pope Francis himself said,"We we will follow the path of truth wherever it may lead" as we scour through "the entire documentation."

This does not look good at all, and frankly, it doesn't look good because it isn't good.

The entire McCarrick affair — filthy and sordid — involves dozens of high-ranking Churchmen who profited handsomely by keeping their mouths shut and allowed McCarrick to keep sexually assaulting dozens of seminarians — and as is coming out now, not just a few minor boys but a sizeable number.

But good luck getting any response from the Vatican on the state of the investigation.

Brooklyn bishop concludes Vatican-ordered investigation into Buffalo diocese


Nov. 1, 2019

By Christopher White

Brooklyn’s Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio has completed his investigation into the troubled diocese of Buffalo, New York, where Bishop Richard Malone faces accusations of covering up sexual abuse by priests.

A statement released on Thursday by the diocese of Brooklyn said that DiMarzio had made three trips to Buffalo over the past month where he met with nearly 80 individuals during a total period of seven days.

Former priest David Perrett pleads not guilty to 139 charges of child sexual assault

Australian Broadcasting Company

Nov. 1, 2019

By Caitlin Furlong and Cecilia Connell

A former Catholic priest from north-west New South Wales accused of assaulting 40 victims across eight parishes and nearly 30 years has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

David Joseph Perrett, 82, faced Armidale District Court on 139 charges relating to sexual offences against children.

Now an elderly man, the accused appeared frail in court, sitting in a wheelchair and using a hearing loop for assistance.

He was accompanied by two supporters.

The court heard the former Catholic parish priest is accused of assaulting the victims over a period of time stretching from the 1960s to the mid-1990s.

The offences allegedly took place when the children were aged from three years to their mid-teens.

Thirty-seven of the complainants are men and three are women.

The charges relate to a range of offences including assault, acts of indecency, buggery, carnal knowledge, and maintaining an unlawful sexual relationship with a child under 16.

Diocese Of Joliet Being Sued After Priest Is Accused Of Sexual Assault

WJOL Radio

Nov. 1, 2019

The Diocese of Joliet is being sued over allegations that a priest sexually assaulted a man who has a disability while visiting a Kankakee development center. Reverend Richard Jacklin was charged in 2017 after a nurse reported walking in on him performing a sex act on a paralyzed man with an intellectual disability who was living at the Shapiro Developmental Center. A lawsuit filed this week accuses the diocese of failing to properly investigate Jacklin and protect people with disabilities from him. Jacklin no longer has the ability to minister.