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January 31, 2020

Red Mass for judges, lawyers defended amid protests at St Patrick's Cathedral in Melbourne

MELBOURNE (AUSTRALIA)
Australian Broadcasting Corporation

January 29, 2020

By Paul Kennedy

A leading lawyer has defended the Catholic Church's right to hold a traditional mass for judges and lawyers in Melbourne, despite protesters saying it should be scrapped.

The Archdiocese of Melbourne hosted its annual "Red Mass" this week after the Victorian Bar Association promoted the event.

It was well attended by senior judges wearing their robes and wigs.

After the service and blessings, the judiciary, members of the legal profession, staff and their families were invited to join Archbishop Peter Comensoli to stay for morning tea in the presbytery.

Child sexual abuse survivors' advocate Chrissie Foster was among a group of people involved in a silent protest outside.

She was holding sign that read "crime scene", in reference to the venue, St Patrick's Cathedral, where convicted Cardinal George Pell abused two choirboys in 1996.

Cardinal Pell is appealing against his conviction in the High Court.

Ms Foster had previously asked legal professionals to think about staying away.

"What is the purpose of the Red Mass get-together with the judiciary? Why is it necessary?" she wrote in The Australian.

Flaws in disciplinary process harm clergy, survey suggests

UNITED KINGDOM
Church Times

January 31, 2020

By Madeleine Davies

THE C of E’s disciplinary process is causing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in clergy, a new survey suggests.

The survey, which elicited more than 6000 responses, was organised by the Sheldon Hub, a secure forum for people in Christian ministry run by the Society of Mary and Martha, an independent charity in Devon.

A briefing paper from the charity, produced for a meeting of academic researchers this month, calls for the “fundamentally flawed” Clergy Discipline Measure (CDM) to be replaced by a new process with two tracks: one for gross misconduct, taken out of the hands of bishops, and another for grievances.

Albany Diocese confirms new sex abuse allegations

ALBANY (NY)
WNYT-TV

January 31, 2020

By Jill Konopka

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany says new allegations of abuse have been made against two priests -- one retired and one deceased.

The cases have been referred to the district attorney are also being investigated by an independent review board.

“When the DA returns cases to us, we are allowed to begin our own investigation,” diocese spokesperson Mary DeTurris Poust told NewsChannel 13 in a statement.

A decision will soon be made whether this unnamed retired priest, who is not in ministry, will be placed on administrative leave pending outcome of the investigation.

ABUSED IN SCOUTING: Arizona survivors face new deadline to seek justice

ARIZONA
3TV/CBS5 via AZFamily. com

January 31, 2020

By Nicole Crites

The group Abused in Scouting just filed a new lawsuit in federal court in Washington D.C. against Boy Scouts of America, BSA, where the scouts were originally chartered by congress in 1910.

There is an avalanche of new sex abuse accusations against Boy Scouts of America as the deadline for local survivors to take action is fast approaching. A new law passed last year gives child sex abuse survivors in Arizona until December 30, 2020, to file a civil suit against the abusers and institutions that gave them access to children.

The group Abused in Scouting just filed a new lawsuit in federal court in Washington D.C. against Boy Scouts of America, BSA, where the scouts were originally chartered by congress in 1910.

[Download PDF Boy Scouts complaint]

As part of that charter, BSA was required to submit annual reports, which never disclosed anything about the liability of widespread allegations of abuse within its ranks or the fact the organization secretly maintained and destroyed thousands of files naming accused and convicted pedophiles working with young boys.

Key witness could be in doubt in landmark church retrial

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Associated Press

January 31, 2020

By Mary Claire Dale

An aging monsignor who was the first U.S. church official ever tried and sent to prison over his handling of priest-abuse complaints could soon be retried in the 2011 case with one thing missing — the victim.

The only accuser whose complaint fell within the statute of limitations is a young man with a history of drug addiction who gave a sordid and unusual account of abuse: he said he was sexually assaulted by two priests and his sixth-grade teacher in the late 1990s. His credibility has long been questioned, even by a retired police detective working for Philadelphia prosecutors.


They have not committed to calling the chief accuser at the March 16 retrial of Monsignor William Lynn, the longtime secretary for clergy at the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Lynn was convicted in 2012 of felony child endangerment, but the conviction has twice been overturned.

Common Pleas Judge Gwendolyn Bright, in a ruling Friday, said prosecutors don’t have to tell the defense if they’ll call the accuser, a policeman’s son dubbed “Billy Doe” in court records.

That means Lynn, now 69, could be retried in a case without a known sex-abuse victim. He served 33 months of a three- to six-year prison term before winning a new trial and being released on bail.

Judge grants small legal victory to AP, church sex abuse victims

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
WDSU-TV

January 31, 2020

By Travers Mackel

A Civil Court judge in New Orleans ruled that the Associated Press can move forward with its attempt to unseal emails between the Archdiocese of New Orleans and the New Orleans Saints.

Judge Ellen Hazeur ruled that a special master will hear the matter in February.

The AP and lawyers representing victims of clergy sexual abuse are trying to have the documents unsealed.

The Saints, at this time, are trying to block that release.

The team admits that executives worked with the archbishop in 2018 on media relations when the church released the names of clergy credible accused of sexual abuse.

The Saints say their work was "minimal" and they remain appalled by the actions of former clergy.

It comes as SNAP, a survivors group of victims, sent a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

Judge allows AP to be heard in dispute over Saints emails

NEW ORLEANS (TX)
Associated Press via Faribeault County Register

January 31, 2020

A judge ruled Friday that The Associated Press may be heard in a court dispute over whether to release hundreds of confidential emails that detail the New Orleans Saints' behind-the-scenes public relations work to help area Roman Catholic leaders deal with a sexual abuse crisis.

The news organization filed a motion urging the release of the emails, which surfaced in a lawsuit against the Archdiocese of New Orleans but remain confidential, calling them a matter of public interest. That request was opposed by the archdiocese and the Saints, who argued the communications were private.

Judge Ellen Hazeur of Orleans Parish Civil District Court agreed the emails were of “public concern” and ordered a special master to determine next month whether the documents should be made public. That hearing was scheduled for Feb. 20.

Houston priest accused of sexually abusing 10-year-old girl

HOUSTON (TX)
KHOU-TV

January 31, 2020

A mother said the priest inappropriately touched her daughter when the two were alone in a classroom in 2018.

By Jeremy Rogalski and Tina Macias

On the year anniversary since the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston released its list of priests credibly accused of child sex abuse, new allegations surfaced against another clergyman.

The latest accusations come from a young girl from Victoria who said she was touched inappropriately by a Houston priest in 2018. Amber Moreno said the priest came to her 10-year-old daughter’s school to teach students about confession. The two were alone in a classroom, Moreno said, when the priest grabbed her daughter by the neck and pushed her head down.

“She said he kept pushing her head down towards his crotch,” Moreno said at a news conference Friday afternoon with the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. “She’s not OK. She’s hurt. She’s scared.”

Standing outside the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in downtown Houston, Moreno shared her frustrations with the Catholic Church and the Victoria Police Department, which she said was wasn’t cooperating in bringing criminal charges against the priest.

Lawsuit says Dallas diocese did not protect young girl from priest’s abuse

DALLAS (TX)
Dallas Morning News

January 31, 2020

After former Dallas priest was arrested this week on a charge of child molestation, another victim’s family filed a civil lawsuit against him and the Dallas Catholic Diocese

By David Tarrant

Richard Thomas Brown, who in the 1980s was assigned as an assistant pastor at Holy Family of Nazareth in Irving, repeatedly sexually assaulted an 8-year-old girl from the parish, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday.

One day, Brown took the girl out of Sunday school class and molested her in the rectory – the priest’s residence, where most of the assaults took place, according to the lawsuit.

The victim is being identified by a pseudonym, Jane Doe, in the civil lawsuit brought on her behalf by her aunt. Filed in Dallas County, the lawsuit names Brown and the Dallas Catholic Diocese as defendants.

Tahira Khan Merritt, a Dallas attorney who represents the plaintiff, said in a statement that her client’s “childhood and adulthood were devastated by the sexual abuse she suffered at Father Brown’s hands when she was a little girl.”

The woman, who is now in her mid-40s, “has been unable to develop and mature into a functioning adult who can provide even basic needs for herself,” Merritt said. “She will need care for the rest of her life.”

French cardinal to offer resignation, despite abuse acquittal

FRANCE
Catholic News Service via Catholic Herald

January 31, 2020

A French cardinal has welcomed an appeal court judgment that overturned his conviction for failing to report abuse, but confirmed he will ask Pope Francis to allow him to resign.

“This court decision allows me to turn a page and for the Church of Lyon to open a new chapter,” Cardinal Philippe Barbarin said at a short news conference. “I will now go to Rome to renew my request. Once again, I will hand over my office as Archbishop of Lyon to Pope Francis.”

The 69-year-old cardinal spoke following Thursday’s court ruling that quashed the jail term, imposed last March, for failing to report accusations against Fr Bernard Preynat, who currently awaits sentencing for abusing at least 75 boys.

However, lawyers acting for victims of Fr Preynat told Agence France-Presse that the Appeal Court acquittal was “completely questionable in law” and warned they would challenge the judgment.

Opinion: Catholic church’s handling of abuse cases betrays core values

CALIFORNIA
San Jose Mercury-News

January 31, 2020

Vatican needs to cede oversight and investigation over these claims to an independent, secular body

By John Salberg

I applaud California Attorney General Xavier Becerra for his decision to investigate the Catholic Church in California (State opens investigation into San Jose, Oakland Dioceses’ handling of sex abuse allegations). I am a clergy abuse survivor and still a practicing Catholic, but I have been fighting for this type of investigation for more than 20 years.

As a child, I suffered abuse at the hands of Father Joseph Pritchard, formerly of Saint Martin of Tours Parish. My case was first reported to the San Jose diocese by Monsignor Michael McKiernan in 2000. After the report, Linda Bearie and Monsignor Michael Mitchell, Diocesan Chancellor and Vicar General, respectively, met with me. To my shock, neither recorded anything during the meeting, rebuffed my plea for church-funded counseling and never followed up with me. I never heard from them again.

In March 2002, The Mercury News interviewed Patrick McGrath, then Bishop of San Jose. Claiming complete transparency, he was adamant that he knew of only two reported incidents of clergy sexual abuse. There was no mention of my case.

On April 25, 2002, I came forward with my story and the cover up by the diocese.

Ministry has sad but necessary job: Protect children from adults

UNITED STATES
OneNewsNow.com

January 31, 2020

Child sexual abuse scandals have rocked the Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts, and far too many Protestant churches, which is why a ministry is working to protect children from becoming the next victim.

According to attorney and child advocate Kimberlee Norris of MinistrySafe, 90 percent of kids who are sexually abused are abused by someone they know and trust – not a stranger.

And those abusers, she says, are typically very good at not getting caught.

“There's a process utilized by these offenders,” she warns, “to gain access to children: Select specific children, prepare that child, and then keep that child silent.”

USCCB announces new head of National Review Board

WASHINGTON D.C.
Catholic News Agency

January 31, 2020

Suzanne Healy was appointed Thursday by USCCB president Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, to succeed Dr. Francesco Cesareo, who has led the body since 2013. Healy will begin her term after the bishops’ annual spring meeting in June.

Paying tribute to Cesario’s leadership over two four year terms, Gomez said Thursday that the last several years had seen “great strides and challenges in the continued and ongoing efforts of the Catholic Church in the United States to strengthen and renew our efforts for the protection of young people and healing for survivors.”

At Villanova U, Vatican expert on abuse crisis speaks of trauma, progress

PENNSYLVANIA
CatholicPhilly.com

January 31, 2020

By Gia Myers

Almost 200 people filled the Driscoll Hall Auditorium on Villanova University’s campus on Thursday evening, Jan. 29 looking to deepen their understanding about global perspectives on the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church.

It was the third conference in the four-part series of discussions with Catholic theologians hosted by Villanova to examine the abuse crisis. It featured Father Hans Zollner, S.J., a licensed German psychologist and psychotherapist with a doctorate in theology and one of the church’s leading experts in the area of safeguarding minors.

Father Zollner is also the president of the Centre for Child Protection at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, a member on the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and a consultor to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Clergy.

Rape Trial Against Former Catholic Priest Starts in Santa Fe

SANTA FE (NM)
Associated Press via US News & World Report

January 31, 2020

A trial has started for a former priest accused of raping a first-grade student from Holy Cross Catholic School in Santa Fe more than 30 years ago.

Key in the trial that began Thursday will be whether Marvin Archuleta, now 82, was in New Mexico during the 1986-87 school year, when the boy said he was abused, the Albuquerque Journal reported.

Archuleta has been charged with one count of criminal sexual penetration of a child under 13 and one count of attempting to commit kidnapping, prosecutors said.

Archuleta was not assigned to Holy Cross Catholic Church in 1986 or 1987 but would still be at the church occasionally, Assistant Attorney General Brittany DuChaussee said in her opening statement. A newspaper article from that time says Archuleta conducted a funeral in the area, proving he was there, she said.

Defense attorney Ryan Villa said Archuleta was assigned in Maryland when the boy was in first grade, and jurors would not see a single record putting Archuleta at the school at that time.

Victoria Police open sex assault investigation into Texas priest

VICTORIA (TX)
KXAN-TV

January 31, 2020

By Jody Barr

On the one-year anniversary of Texas dioceses publishing lists of clergy members accused of abuse allegations against children, Victoria Police are investigating a Houston priest.

A woman filed a criminal complaint against the priest on Jan. 22, accusing the priest of touching her then-10-year-old daughter during a November 2018 confession session inside Nazareth Academy, a Catholic school in Victoria, Texas.

We are not naming the priest because he has not been charged with a crime and has not been named on any dioceses’ list of credibly accused clergy members.

One Year Later: More Catholic clergy accused of child sex abuse in Texas

AUSTIN (TX)
KXAN-TV

January 31, 2020

By Anthony Cave

[Multiple videos and articles]

Investigative Summary:
In 2019, all Roman Catholic dioceses in Texas had released their lists of priests “credibly accused of sexually abusing a minor.” The lists do not indicate those individuals who were charged or convicted of any crimes, though the names spanned nearly 70 years, joining a growing number of allegations against clergy nationwide. KXAN spoke with accusers, police and state leaders to investigate the system for reporting abuse against children. But one year later, very few additional accusers have come forward, as KXAN discovered the church’s lists were incomplete, sometimes misleading and even wrong.

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texas’ 15 Catholic dioceses released names of 286 clergy — priests, deacons and brothers — credibly accused of child sex abuse one year ago Friday.

We reported on Austin’s 22 names, too. But, there’s more.

An extensive KXAN Investigates analysis of Catholic directories obtained through a source found that there are at least 332 Catholic clergy members, mostly priests, accused of child sex abuse in Texas.

That’s almost 50 more names than what was publicly released in 2019. Moreover, the church’s list was incomplete, with some clergy members still being shuffled within the church.

KXAN investigator Erin Cargile tracked down one Austin priest, Father Isidore Ndagizimana, who settled a lawsuit in 2019 with six women who accused him of sexual abuse. She found that “Father Izzy” is still part of the Diocese of Austin and is at a priest retirement facility in Georgetown. She talked to concerned church members who are demanding more transparency. She also found people are still pressing the Texas Attorney General – through calls and letters – to step in and investigate sexual abuse claims, even though state law does not allow him to do so.

KXAN investigator Jody Barr went to Victoria, Texas, to try to track down an accused priest, under investigation but not on any released list, who cannot be accounted for. The accuser in the case claims she was touched during confession as a 10-year-old. Now, the accuser’s mother has filed a police report. The diocese there won’t comment on particulars of the case or share where he is now.

KXAN investigator Kevin Clark talked to an Ohio priest’s accuser, who claimed he was molested during study hall. He later moved to Austin and struggled with drugs as a result. The diocese in Ohio, facing a lawsuit from the accuser, has subpoenaed his treatment records.

Few Texas Catholic clergy prosecuted for sex crimes since 2019 lists released

AUSTIN (TX)
KXAN-TV

January 31, 2020

By Avery Travis

When a case lands on Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore’s desk, it comes straight from law enforcement.

“Without a victim coming forward to complain about a specific person, a specific assault, then we are unable to bring a criminal case,” Moore said.

Since the list of clergy credibly accused of abuse was released last year, Moore said they have not prosecuted any cases involving clergy members. To her knowledge, there haven’t been any reports to law enforcement by accusers or any investigations opened in Travis County.

Across the state
Moore’s office is not alone. KXAN called dozens of district attorneys offices across Texas to see if there were any charges filed or cases pending in their counties.

Accused priests law enforcement check
The blue counties represent the dozens of District Attorney’s offices KXAN contacted to see if any cases have been prosecuted in the last year. (KXAN Image)
So far, nearly 20 counties responded with the answer: no cases filed in the last year.

Simply put by the district attorney in Lee County, the answer was “no and no.”

Former Texas priest charged with sexually assaulting child arrested at St. Louis-area Catholic facility

ST. LOUIS (MS)
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

January 30, 2020

By Nassim Benchaabane

A former Dallas-area priest charged with sexually assaulting a child was arrested Wednesday at a Catholic facility here housing disgraced clergy, including those accused of sexual abuse.

Missouri and Dallas authorities confirmed the arrest Wednesday of Richard Thomas Brown, 78, on a warrant issued Tuesday by Dallas police on a charge of aggravated sexual assault of a child in North Texas in 1989.

Brown was taken into custody at a supervised living facility known as the Vianney Renewal Center. The center is run by the Servants of the Paraclete, a Catholic order that houses disgraced priests.

The facility at 6476 Eime Road, about 30 miles southwest of St. Louis, has housed priests from the St. Louis-area and other parts of the country accused of sexual abuse of minors, including men named by the Archdiocese of St. Louis last year as credibly accused of sexual abuse, and six men who are on the Missouri sex offender registry.

French Cardinal Acquitted of Abuse Cover-Up on Appeal

FRANCE
The New York Times

January 30, 2020

By Aurelien Breeden

Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, the archbishop of Lyon, had been found guilty last year of failing to report a priest in his diocese who had admitted to sexually abusing dozens of Boy Scouts.

A French appeals court on Thursday overturned a ruling against a cardinal who had been found guilty of covering up decades-old sexual abuse by a priest in his diocese, the latest twist in the most high-profile legal case against a clergyman in France.

Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, 69, the archbishop of Lyon, had been found guilty last year of failing to report allegations of child abuse by the Rev. Bernard Preynat to the authorities.

Father Preynat, 74, went on trial this month and has admitted there to systematically abusing dozens of Boy Scouts in the Lyon region from the 1970s to the 1990s. A verdict in that case is expected in March.

Cardinal Barbarin argued in court — and the appeals court agreed — that he wasn’t legally obligated to report the allegations to the authorities because Father Preynat’s victims were adults when they alerted the cardinal about the abuse, and because he did nothing to intentionally discourage them from going to the authorities themselves.

Sexual Abuse Reports From Illinois’ Catholic Dioceses Are Still Missing A Lot of Data

ILLINOIS
ProPublica Illinois

January 31, 2020

By Logan Jaffe

ProPublica’s “Credibly Accused” database lists names and info of abusers currently or formerly in the ranks of U.S. Catholic dioceses. Here’s a rundown on Illinois.

While researching a bit of context to introduce this week’s newsletter, I came across a column from May 2019 written by Chicago Sun-Times journalist Laura Washington. In it, she writes about the horror she felt as she sat in the pews of her church earlier that year while a representative of the Archdiocese of Chicago informed the congregation that its “beloved pastor” had been accused of sexually abusing a minor in 1979, when he was at another parish.

“I sat in the pew in stunned silence,” Washington wrote, adding: “The headlines of rampant abuse and cover-ups in the church are horrific enough. This was surreal.”

Priests in defunct Catholic order in Italy accused of sexual abuse

VATICAN CITY
Reuters

January 29, 2020

By Philip Pullella

Nine members of a defunct, cult-like Roman Catholic religious order in Italy’s Tuscany region are under investigation for alleged sexual abuse of two brothers when they were minors, authorities said on Wednesday.

The nine, including five priests and three other men, were members of a religious order called the Disciples of the Annunciation. Late last year the Vatican shut down the small order, which had several communities in Tuscany.

The Vatican dissolved the Disciples following an internal Church investigation into the religious life of their members. The investigation found that it was run like a cult by a charismatic leader.

According to the website of the diocese of the city of Prato, the local bishop, Giovanni Nerbini, informed local magistrates of the suspicions about the group.

Nerbini told a televised news conference that the first phase of the magistrates’ investigation was completed and that the local church would cooperate fully with them.

The Tuscan newspaper La Nazione said the nine were suspected of having had group sex with two brothers when they were minors. The alleged abuse took place between 2008 and 2016.

There was no immediate comment from any of the accused.

La Nazione said investigators had recently raided several houses used by the order in the past, searching for documents and videos.

New Lawsuit Blames Roman Catholic Diocese Of Fresno For Negligence, Sexual Battery

FRESNO (CA)
Valley Public Radio News (NPR affiliate)

January 31, 2020

By Laura Tsutsui

[AUDIO]

A new lawsuit has been filed in Fresno County Superior Court against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno and two of its churches for negligence and sexual battery. Although the plaintiff reported abuse in 2002 and the priest was acquitted, a law that took effect this year means she can still seek damages.

The plaintiff is now 34 years old, and referred to as Jane Doe, since the alleged abuse took place when she was a minor. She says that Father Miguel Flores raped and threatened her in 2001 at Immaculate Heart of Mary Roman Catholic Church in Hanford where she worked.

Immaculate Heart is one of the defendants named in the suit; St. Paul Roman Catholic Church in Tranquility, west of Fresno, is the second. The plaintiff was a parishioner at St. Paul's.

News Release: Registration Deadline Extended to Feb 29 2020 for Independent Compensation Program For Victim-Survivors Of Sexual Abuse Of Minors By Priests

LOS ANGELES (CA)
PR Newswire

January 31, 2020

[By Kenneth Feinberg and others with the Independent Compensation Program (“ICP”) for Victim-Survivors of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Priests]

The Independent Compensation Program ("ICP") for Victim-Survivors of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Priests of the participating California dioceses has announced the registration deadline has been extended to February 29, 2020.

On January 21st, Administrators Kenneth Feinberg and Camille Biros reported to the Independent Oversight Committee ("IOC") that 427 people had already come forward to the ICP, with more registrations coming in daily. "In the last week, we have seen increased interest in the ICP and many more victims coming forward, and we have heard the requests for more time. We are pleased to provide survivors with an additional month to register new allegations of abuse by a priest of one of the participating dioceses in California so as many people as possible have the opportunity to participate," Biros said. The dioceses of Fresno, Orange, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Diego and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles are participating in the ICP.

January 30, 2020

L.A. Archdiocese settles priest abuse case for $1.9 million

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Los Angeles Times

January 30, 2020

By Colleen Shalby

The Los Angeles Archdiocese has settled a sex abuse case for $1.9-million.

The kids in the parish knew him only as Father Larry.

That’s how he was known to one boy, referred to in court documents as John BR Doe, while he was an altar boy at San Gabriel Mission Church in 1982-84, years during which the priest sexually abused him, he said, from ages 9 to 11.

As a teen, Doe told church officials what he’d suffered. Years later, he would learn that Father Larry — Lawrence Lovell — had been convicted of child molestation in 2003 and sentenced to 14 years in prison. And he would find a redacted version of his own account on the internet, detailing the abuse he said Lovell enacted when he was a child.

He’d also learn he wasn’t Lovell’s only victim.

“It’s been 35 years since I’ve been dealing with this,” he said.

On Tuesday, attorneys representing Doe, now 47, announced a $1.9-million settlement with the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Lovell and the Claretian Missionaries, where Lovell served as a priest. The complaint, filed in September 2018, is the first case settled with a Catholic diocese in the state since the passage of AB 218, a law that expands the time frame for filing child sexual abuse allegations.

Wait, the New Orleans Saints Did What?

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
Slate

January 30, 2020

By Molly Olmstead

How the football team got mixed up in the Catholic Church’s abuse scandal.

Hundreds of emails exchanged between the New Orleans Saints and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans show that members of the football team’s leadership actively participated in creating the church’s list of abusive priests, lawyers representing a group of victims say.

The bizarre allegation stems from the friendship between the Saints’ devoutly Catholic owner, Gayle Benson, and the New Orleans archbishop. The Associated Press first reported the team’s involvement in the sex abuse scandal last week, alleging that the team had helped the archdiocese with damage control around the release of its list of alleged abusers. At the time, the victims’ lawyers accused the team of helping the church with its “pattern and practice of concealing its crimes.”

French Court Overturns Cardinal’s Conviction for Failing to Report Child Sex Abuse

FRANCE
Wall Street Journal

January 30, 2020

By Noemie Bisserbe and Francis X. Rocca

Cardinal Philippe Barbarin’s conviction was the first of such a high-ranking Catholic Church official

A French appeals court overturned Thursday the conviction of a cardinal who had been found guilty of failing to report child sex abuse—a case that has become a barometer of Pope Francis ’ efforts to police the Catholic Church’s highest ranks.

The ruling potentially removes one major concern for the Vatican, which is still beset by abuse scandals involving high-ranking prelates and a larger crisis of confidence fueled by decades of clerical sex abuse of minors.

Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, archbishop of Lyon and France’s highest-ranking Catholic prelate, was found guilty in March of failing to report child sex abuse, the only conviction of such a high-ranking Catholic Church official for covering up instances of a crime that has deeply marred the church’s image.

Judges ruled that Cardinal Barbarin failed to report an allegation in July 2014, when a man notified the prelate that he had been abused as a child by the Rev. Bernard Preynat, a priest in the archdiocese. Cardinal Barbarin was given a six-month suspended jail sentence.

On Thursday, appellate court judges ruled that Cardinal Barbarin wasn’t obligated to report the 2014 allegation because the victim was an adult by then and capable of alerting authorities himself. If Cardinal Barbarin were to be held responsible, the judges said, then friends and parents who also knew could face similar charges.

There is also no evidence that Cardinal Barbarin tried to dissuade the victim from filing a complaint against the priest, the judges said.

Seeking Victims in North Texas Clergy Abuse Investigation

TEXAS
FBI.gov

January 29, 2020

The FBI is seeking to identify victims who were persuaded or coerced into a sexual act by a member of the clergy in the North Texas region between 1985 and the present. If you believe you are a victim, please complete the below confidential online questionnaire.

Your responses are voluntary. Based on the responses provided, you may be contacted by the FBI and asked to provide additional information.

The FBI is legally mandated to identify victims of federal crimes that it investigates and provide these victims with information, assistance services, and resources.

Note: If you are not a victim but have information to share related to this investigation, you may call 1-800-CALL-FBI or submit a tip online at tips.fbi.gov.

Questionnaire:

Seeking Victims in North Texas Clergy Abuse Investigation
:

The Catholic Bishops’ Lists of “Credibly Accused Priests” is Not What it Appears to Be

UNITED STATES
Horowitz Law (law firm blog)

January 30, 2020

A fascinating story has just come out showing how deceitful and self-serving Catholic bishops are when it comes to their lists of ‘credibly accused’ child molesting clerics. In short, it shows that most bishops provide inadequate and inaccurate information about these predator priests.

Why? Well, Mary Gautier, a Catholic researcher at a Catholic school, wants us to believe that one reason is that “smaller dioceses with limited budgets” supposedly “lacking the money or staff to dig through their archives.”

That’s bunk. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Any bishop who wants to compile a thorough list of predator priests, their work assignments and their whereabouts has or can get the resources to do that.

Consider this analogous situation: One Michigan official must wade through 1.5 million paper documents and 3.5 million electronic documents about abuse. That official recruited and trained 32 volunteers who put in over 1,400 hours at night and on weekends to help.

Which Michigan bishop showed such dedication to protect kids and expose wrongdoers? None of them. The official with this impressive dedication is Attorney General Dana Nessell.

So let’s be real. There are lots of reasons bishops still refuse to ‘come clean’ about brothers, nuns, seminarians and priests who sexually violate kids. But “limited budgets or staff” isn’t one of them.

Gautier also makes another claim, one that’s somewhat more credible: “The church is very good at is recordkeeping but it’s very, very time consuming and labor intensive to really go through years and years and years of personnel records. . .”

OK, maybe she’s right. It takes hard work to comb through these documents.

But we’re talking about preventing boys and girls from being raped. We’re talking about possibly helping police and prosecutors lock up dangerous predators. We’re talking about a scandal-ridden institution helping to rebuild trust.

If all that’s not reason enough to put forth a sincere and serious effort to create and reveal complete and helpful lists of child molesting clerics, we can’t imagine what would be.

Ex-Dallas Area Catholic Priest Arrested in Missouri

DALLAS (TX)
WBAP radio

January 30, 2020

A former priest with the Catholic Diocese of Dallas was arrested in Missouri last night. Dallas Police had issued a warrant for 78-year old Richard Thomas Brown earlier in the day.

Brown was named in a list of priests credibly accused of abuse published by the diocese in 2018.

Stepinac High School priest who moved around New York, country is accused of abusing boy

WESTCHESTER COUNTY (NY)
Westchester Journal News

January 30, 2020

By Frank Esposito

Ex-Stepinac priest moved around to Indiana, New York, Maryland, Nebraska and Minnesota over 40 years

A former student at Archbishop Stepinac High School accused a priest there of sexually abusing him in the late 1960s, the latest case of hundreds filed in New York under the state's new law.

Donald Brundage of Westchester County accused John Vincent, a priest who worked for the Archdiocese and the school from 1966 to 1972, in a new lawsuit.

In a Manhattan court filing on Monday, Brundage claimed that when he was 15 or 16 years old, Vincent sat on his lap, touched him and made "sexual contact" in front of other students, according to the suit.

Lawmakers seek to close gap in statute of limitations for sex crimes against children

ALBUQUERQUE (NM)
KOB-TV, Channel 4

January 29, 2020

By Ryan Laughlin

Lawmakers are trying to pass a bill that would close a gap in the statute of limitations for sex crimes against children.

According to the current law, cases must be brought to a judge within six years if the victim is between the ages of 13 and 17. There is no time limit for a case to be prosecuted if the child is under the age of 13.

Catholic Church Continues to Silence Alleged Victims of Child Sexual Abuse

AUSTRALIA
Sydney Criminal Lawyers (law firm blog)

January 28, 2020

By Sonia Hickey and Ugur Nedim

A Catholic priest from the Lismore diocese in Northern New South Wales is fighting the church over sexual abuse he allegedly suffered as a 12-year old altar boy.

First case of a priest suing the Catholic Church

The case is believed to be the first involving a priest suing the church for historical child sexual abuse.

The Catholic Church is seeking a permanent stay to stop proceedings being brought against it, arguing that the priest took too long to come forward, and that the years between the alleged offences and the court case deny any chance of mounting a fair defence.

But many see this as just another attempt by the Church to silence a complainant so that details of the alleged incidents are never heard, at a time the institution claims to be working towards transparency and accountability, and doing right by those it has wronged.

What is a permanent stay?

The permanent stay is being sought in the Supreme Court of New South Wales.

There is a statutory power for all courts in NSW to order a stay of any proceedings before the court, either until a specified day or permanently.

This means the proceedings are either suspended for a period of time, or stopped indefinitely.

In addition to the statutory power, the Supreme Court of NSW has inherent power to stay proceedings which are an abuse of process.

The allegations

In court documents, the plaintiff alleges that he was abused in the 1960s by priest Clarence David Anderson, who is now deceased.

Lancaster County Amish man sentenced to 38-76 years in prison for sexually abusing 4 girls

LANCASTER COUNTY (PA)
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

By Peter Smith

January 24, 2020

A judge imposed a 38- to 76-year prison sentence Friday on an elderly Amish man for years of sexually abusing four girls in a case that highlighted growing awareness of sexual abuse among Amish and related church groups.

“It is hard for me to imagine anything more offensive or evil than the conduct you have perpetrated,” Lancaster County Court of Common Pleas Judge Dennis Reinaker told David Stoltzfus Smucker, 75, who sat without emotion in his wheelchair and declined to say anything in his defense. He was handcuffed by a female officer and wheeled out immediately at the end of the hearing.

The hearing had the heavy, quiet atmosphere of a funeral.

Members of his church and family in dark suits and dresses looked on from behind him. Across from him sat survivors of sexual abuse from Amish and Mennonite backgrounds who traveled from miles around for Smucker’s judgment day.

The judge and Assistant District Attorney Fritz Haverstick said Smucker’s conduct was even more monstrous because he abused his position as a grandfather, molesting the girls routinely and severely during their visits to his house.

“That man used his grandchildren as sex toys,” Mr. Haverstick said.

Devastatingly, the girls, already traumatized by the death of their mother, were so severely wounded that the cycle of abuse is continuing in their own lives and behavior, he said.

“I don’t think he has a shred of remorse,” Mr. Haverstick said.

Smucker, of East Earl, Lancaster County, pleaded no-contest in December to 20 felony counts of sexually assaulting the girls. The charges included rape, incest and involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a child, actions he would take while telling the children rhymes and stories.

Smucker was arrested in March 2019. The assaults began when the girls were 4 or 5 and continuing until they were 10 or 11 when the abuse came to light in late 2018.

Saints helped shape accused clergy list, victim lawyers say

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
Associated Press

January 30, 2020

By Jim Mustian

The New Orleans Saints maintain their behind-the-scenes public relations work on the area’s Roman Catholic sexual abuse crisis was “minimal,” but attorneys suing the church allege hundreds of confidential Saints emails show the team actively helping to shape a list of credibly accused clergy that appears to be an undercount.

New court papers filed this week by lawyers for about two dozen men making sexual abuse claims against the Archdiocese of New Orleans gave the most detailed description yet of the emails that have rocked the NFL team and remain shielded from the public.

“This goes beyond public relations,” the attorneys wrote, accusing the Saints of issuing misleading statements saying their work for the archdiocese involved only “messaging” and handling media inquiries as part of the 2018 release of the clergy names.

Instead, they wrote, “The Saints appear to have had a hand in determining which names should or should not have been included on the pedophile list.”

“In order to fulfill this role ... the Saints must have known the specific allegations of sexual abuse against a priest ... and made a judgment call about whether those allegations by a particular victim against a named priest were, in its opinion, legitimate enough to warrant being included on the pedophile list.”

Cardinal Barbarin: France's top cleric cleared of abuse cover-up

LYON (FRANCE)
BBC

January 30, 2020

France's top cleric, Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, who was found guilty of failing to report past acts of sexual abuse by a priest, has had his conviction overturned on appeal.

The 69-year-old archbishop of Lyon was given a six-month suspended prison sentence last year.

The case rocked the French Catholic Church.

He was the highest-profile cleric to be caught up in a child sex abuse scandal inside the French Church.

At the centre of the accusations was the priest Bernard Preynat, who allegedly assaulted dozens of boy scouts in the 1980s and 1990s.

Cardinal Barbarin became aware of the allegations in 2014. He informed the Vatican and removed Mr Preynat from his post, but denied at his appeal trying to cover up alleged abuse.

French court overturns earlier guilty verdict on cardinal Barbarin

LYON (FRANCE)
Reuters

January 30, 2020

A French appeals court on Thursday overturned an earlier ruling against Philippe Barbarin, a Roman Catholic cardinal who was convicted last year of failing to report sexual abuse charges.

Barbarin, 69, had been the highest-profile cleric to be caught up in a child sex abuse scandal in the French Catholic Church.

He was given a six-month suspended sentence in March 2019 but he denied the allegations and appealed the ruling.

The Lyon court had ruled that from July 2014 to June 2015 Barbarin covered up allegations of sexual abuse of boy scouts in the 1980s and early 1990s by former French Catholic priest Bernard Preynat.

The trial for Preynat, who faces charges of abusing dozens of boy scouts, began this month.

Barbarin’s trial has put Europe’s senior clergy in the spotlight at a time when Pope Francis is under fire for the church’s response to a sexual abuse crisis that has engulfed the church, damaging its standing around the globe.

Appeals court acquits French cardinal of sex abuse cover-up

FRANCE
Associated Press

January 30, 2020

A French appeals court on Thursday acquitted a French cardinal of covering up the sexual abuse of minors in his flock.

The appeals court in the southeastern French city of Lyon gave no explanation on Thursday for its ruling.

Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, archbishop of Lyon, had been convicted in March and given a six-month suspended sentence for failing to report a predator priest to police. But Pope Francis refused to accept the cardinal’s decision to resign until the appeals process is complete.

The prosecutor’s office had sought the acquittal accorded by the court.

“This decision is logical,” one of Barbarin’s lawyer’s, Felix Luciani, said outside the courtroom. He said the cardinal had faced down “public rumor and calumny.”

Barbarin, 69, said at his appeals trial in November that he filed an appeal because “I cannot see clearly what I am guilty of.”

The verdict comes at a time of increasing scrutiny around the world of the Catholic Church’s role in hiding abuse by its clergy.

Pédocriminalité dans l’Eglise : le cardinal Barbarin relaxé en appel pour non-dénonciation

[Google Translate: Pedocrime in the Church: Cardinal Barbarin acquitted on appeal for non-denunciation]

LYON (FRANCE)
Le Parisien

January 30, 2020

L’ancien archevêque de Lyon Philippe Barbarin était accusé de ne pas avoir dénoncé les abus sexuels du prêtre Bernard Preynat sur de jeunes scouts.

La cour d'appel de Lyon a tranché ce jeudi. Mgr Barbarin a été relaxé en appel pour non-dénonciation dans l'affaire Preynat.

Il était accusé d'avoir dissimulé à la justice les agressions pédophiles de l'ancien prêtre Bernard Preynat, qui vient d'être jugé à Lyon.

Le 7 mars 2019, le tribunal correctionnel avait condamné l'archevêque de 69 ans à six mois de prison avec sursis pour ne pas avoir dénoncé les abus perpétrés par Bernard Preynat sur de jeunes scouts entre 1971 et 1991.

[Google Translate: The Lyon Court of Appeal ruled on Thursday. Archbishop Barbarin was acquitted on appeal for non-disclosure in the Preynat case.

[He was accused of having concealed from justice the pedophile assaults of former priest Bernard Preynat, who has just been tried in Lyon .

[On March 7, 2019, the criminal court had sentenced the 69-year-old archbishop to six months suspended prison sentence for not having denounced the abuses perpetrated by Bernard Preynat on young scouts between 1971 and 1991.]

Court to decide fate of French cardinal in sex abuse coverup

LYON (FRANCE)
Associated Press

January 30, 2020

By Nicolas Vaux-Montagny

A French appeals court is deciding whether a French cardinal is guilty of covering up the sexual abuse of minors in his flock.

Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, the archbishop of Lyon, was found guilty in March of failing to report a predator priest to police and given a six-month suspended sentence. But Pope Francis refused to accept the cardinal’s decision to resign until the appeals process is complete.

The Lyon court, in southeast France, is to rule Thursday afternoon. The prosecutor’s office was seeking an acquittal.

Barbarin, 69, said at his appeals trial in November that he filed an appeal because “I cannot see clearly what I am guilty of.”


The verdict comes at a time of increasing scrutiny around the world of the Catholic Church’s role in hiding abuse by its clergy.

The court had ruled that Barbarin, “in wanting to avoid scandal caused by the facts of multiple sexual abuses committed by a priest ... preferred to take the risk of preventing the discovery of many victims of sexual abuse by the justice system, and to prohibit the expression of their pain.”

Bernard Preynat, the now-defrocked priest at the center of the scandal, described to a court at his trial earlier this month how he systematically abused boys over two decades as a French scout chaplain. Preynat said his superiors knew about his “abnormal” behavior as far back as the 1970s.

“Had the church sidelined me earlier, I would have stopped earlier,” Preynat said.

Ex-Dallas-area Catholic priest accused of molesting a child

DALLAS (TX)
Associated Press

January 29, 2020

A 78-year-old former Roman Catholic priest whose whereabouts remain unknown has been accused of aggravated sexual assault of a child while serving as a priest in North Texas, according to a police affidavit.

Dallas police obtained a warrant Tuesday for the arrest of Richard Thomas Brown, a priest who served at five North Texas churches before he was removed in 2002 and recently defrocked. The affidavit accused Brown of sexually molesting a child on July 5, 1989.

Brown is the first Catholic priest to be charged with sexual abuse since Dallas police raided the offices of the diocese last year. One year ago, the diocese issued a list of 31 priests its officials said were “credibly accused” of molesting children. Brown was on that list.

Judge approves disclosure of priest’s name in suit alleging sexual abuse in Stanton

SANTA ANA (CA)
City News Service via Orange County Register

January 29, 2020

A judge on Wednesday cleared the way for the public identification of a Roman Catholic priest named in a lawsuit alleging he molested a 6-year-old boy at a Catholic school in Stanton in 1994.

Father Edward Poettgen had previously been listed anonymously in the lawsuit filed in June. Orange County Superior Court Judge Walter Schwarm ruled that the plaintiff could publicly identify the priest.

Poettgen, who was most recently assigned to St. Boniface Catholic Church in Anaheim, has been placed on administrative leave, said Tracey Kincaid, a spokeswoman for the Diocese of Orange, who added she could not comment further on pending litigation.

Theologian urges priests to fast as abuse reparation

IRELAND
Irish Catholic

January 30, 2020

Prominent theologian Fr Vincent Twomey SVD has said that the Church in Ireland must go farther to atone for the crimes of abuse and cover-up by Church leaders.

He warned that “repentance begins with the courageous facing-up to the past and the frank acknowledgment of wrongdoing”.

One way of doing this, he said, “would be an annual day of public fast and abstinence on the part of us priests and religious in reparation for both clerical and institutional abuse”.

New database of abusive clergy will 'put pressure' on bishops to improve transparency

NEW YORK (NY)
Crux

January 30, 2020

By Christopher White

A new, independent database listing nearly 6,000 priests accused of abuse was launched this week, marking what some observers say is a sign of a new era of transparency in the Catholic Church and others labeling it the “privatization of justice” after years of church leaders blocking such efforts.

The database, which was activated on Monday, was a yearlong effort by ProPublica, “a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power.” The launch comes after the 2018 release of the Pennsylvania grand jury report, which sent shock waves through the U.S. Church as it chronicled seven decades of abuse of more than 1,000 victims at the hands of 300 priests.

Since then, numerous dioceses have rushed to publish their own list of accused priests.

January 29, 2020

Utica church named in child sex abuse lawsuit

UTICA (NY)
Observer-Dispatch

January 29, 2020

By Amy Neff Roth

St. Matthew’s Temple Church of God in Christ in Utica has been named in a lawsuit filed Wednesday alleging that clergy from three churches, including St. Matthew’s, sexually assaulted the plaintiff in the 1970s.

Warren Curtis, 57, of Greenville, South Carolina, filed the suit in Albany County Supreme Court. It also names as defendants St. John’s Church of God in Christ in Albany, the Church of God in Christ denomination and former St. John’s assistant pastor Dirome Williamson of Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

The suit alleges that Williamson and three men believed to have since died sexually abused Curtis between 1974 and 1978 when he was between the ages of 12 and 16. The other three men are identified in the suit as the Rev. Thomas House of St. John’s and the Rev. Carl Adair and the Rev. Clarence Samuels, both of St. Matthew’s.

Catholic Church will sell retired archbishop’s huge, controversial N.J. home

NEW JERSEY
NJ Advance Media

January 29, 2020

By Allison Pries

Retired Newark Archbishop John J. Meyers has left the state to live with family in Illinois as his health declines, the archdiocese said in a statement Wednesday.

The palatial, 7,500-square-foot home in Hunterdon County that drew protests when Meyers retired to it three years ago will be sold by the diocese, according to a statement from Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin.

“After a recent visit with his family in central Illinois, Archbishop Myers decided to remain in the region of his birth where he is receiving specialized care and can be visited by his family as well as the clergy of the Diocese of Peoria,” Tobin said.

Meyers drew criticism during his 15-year tenure as Archbishop for allowing a priest who admitted to sex offenses participate in youth programs against the terms of a legal agreement. He also was lambasted while retiring for adding a 3,000 square foot addition onto a 4,500 square foot home in Franklin Township.

Opinion: Pope Francis remakes the American hierarchy, one bishop at a time

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

January 29, 2020

By Thomas Reese

As archbishop of Philadelphia, Charles Chaput was not afraid to take a different line from the pope on issues facing the church. In 2016, after Pope Francis opened the possibility of Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics, Chaput added a stipulation: In his diocese, such couples who wanted to receive the Eucharist would have to abstain from sex.

More recently, he criticized the Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest whom the pope has met with and encouraged in his ministry to LGBTQ Catholics.

A Catholic bishop, even one who disagrees with a new pope, cannot just be fired and replaced. The pope must wait until the bishop reaches retirement at 75 years of age before appointing a successor.

But if change is slow, the direction is clear, and Francis, like popes before him, is slowly filling the American hierarchy with bishops who reflect his values and priorities.

Indian bishop's lawyer petitions court to dismiss rape charges

KOTTAYAM (INDIA)
Global Sisters Report/National Catholic Reporter

January 29, 2020

by Saji Thomas

The lawyer for Bishop Franco Mulakkal of Jalandhar, India, filed an application in district court here on Jan. 25 to dismiss all charges against the prelate in the alleged rapes of a Catholic sister.

Mulakkal, however, did not appear in the district court in Kottayam in the southwestern Indian state of Kerala.

The bishop, accused of sexually assaulting the nun multiple times from 2014 to 2016, has repeatedly missed appearing in court since the case was filed in June 2018. His recent absence prompted social activists and supporters of the survivor to suggest he is indulging in delay tactics.

In his petition, Mulakkal, who is free on bail, asked the court to dismiss the charges without making him stand trial. C.S. Ajay, Mulakkal's lawyer, argued that the charges in the case will not stand because they are based only on the statements of witnesses who have resentment against the bishop.

Ajay also stated that most witnesses against Mulakkal in the case do not have a good relationship with the church.

German bishops urge patience in efforts to deal with abuse scandal

BONN (GERMANY)
Catholic News Service via Crux

January 28, 2020

German bishops urged patience toward their efforts to deal with the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church in Germany.

The German Catholic news agency KNA reported the bishops’ meeting in Wurzburg said the plans that resulted from the latest investigations needed time. Their appeal came 10 years since the first revelations of the abuse emerged.

“We need this time and we hope for understanding; we will not be absolving ourselves from the responsibility,” they said Jan. 28.

In specific terms, KNA reported, the bishops called for a “binding, supradiocesan monitoring of the areas of investigation, intervention and prevention” as well as standardized personnel files of clergy and the ongoing development of material compensation.

Last September, a working group had proposed two models regarding compensation: Either a lump sum of 300,000 euros (US$330,000) per victim, or a graduated procedure calling, depending on the seriousness of each case, for compensation of 40,000 to 400,000 euros.

Priests in group shut down by Vatican accused of sex abuse

VATICAN CITY
Associated Press

January 29, 2020

By Nicole Winfield

Nine priests and brothers of a Catholic group recently shut down by the Vatican are under investigation by Italian authorities for allegedly sexually abusing two brothers, officials and news reports said Wednesday.

Prato Bishop Giovanni Nerbini confirmed that Prato criminal prosecutors had opened an investigation after he reported the case to police against members of the Disciples of the Annunciation community. He pledged the church’s cooperation with the investigation.

The Vatican in December officially dissolved the Disciples, a Prato-based, diocesan-approved association of the faithful, after two successive Vatican investigations uncovered a host of problems and members fled the group.

Poll: Most Utahns, LDS or otherwise, support a clergy confession bill

UTAH
Salt Lake Tribune

January 29, 2020

By Kathy Stephenson
·
No matter their faith affiliation, Utahns overwhelmingly support legislation that would require clergy to report child abuse — even if the information is divulged during a religious confession, a new poll shows.

Most Catholics, Protestants and members of the state’s predominant faith, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, back a full-reporting requirement, according to a Salt Lake Tribune survey conducted by Suffolk University.

More than two-thirds of Catholics (77%) favor such a move, along with 73% of Protestants, 73% of self-identifying “very active” Latter-day Saints and 78% of “somewhat active” ones. More than 60% of all those groups “strongly support” it.

Former Tonawanda pastor accused of wearing religious garb while abusing teen

BUFFALO (NY)
The Buffalo News

January 29, 2020

By Jay Tokasz

A lawsuit filed Tuesday accuses a deceased Buffalo Diocese priest of wearing clerical garb while he sexually assaulted a teenage boy more than 100 times in the mid-1980s.

An unnamed plaintiff alleged that Monsignor John L. Ducette, who was pastor of St. Timothy Church in the Town of Tonawanda, began sexually abusing him in 1986 when he was 13.

It is the first time Ducette has been publicly accused of sexually abusing a child. Ducette died in 2016 at age 79.

The plaintiff said he attended Mass and performed odd jobs at the church when the abuse started, according to the Child Victims Act lawsuit filed in State Supreme Court in Buffalo. The abuse included oral sex and escalated to rape when Ducette took the plaintiff on a trip to Florida for a Catholic seminar, according to court papers.

“Plaintiff estimates that Monsignor Ducette sexually assaulted and abused him over one hundred (100) times over the course of an eighteen (18) month period,” the lawsuit reads. “Monsignor Ducette wore his religious garb while sexually assaulting and abusing Plaintiff.”

Diocese of Baton Rouge adds two more names to list of credibly accused clergy members

BATON ROUGE (LA)
WAFB-TV

January 29, 2020

By Nick Gremillion

The Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge has added two more names to its list of clergy members credibly accused of abuse.

The additions come one year after the diocese released the list.

Rev. Richard Raphael Archer, a Dominican friar, and Rev. Lawrence Dark, a Congregation of the Holy Cross priest have been added to the list of credibly accused of abuse, bringing the total number of accused clergy members to 45.

One year after releasing names of abusive clergy, Baton Rouge Diocese adds two more

BATON ROUGE (LA)
The Advocate

January 29, 2020

By Andrea Gallo

At the one-year anniversary of releasing a list of clergymen credibly accused of abuse, the Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge has added two more priests who served in Ponchatoula to their list of those with credible claims against them.

Diocesan officials announced Wednesday morning that they were adding two priests from religious orders who served in Baton Rouge to their list, which has grown since its initial release a year ago. The additions of the Rev. Richard Raphael Archer, a Dominican friar, and Rev. Lawrence Dark, a Congregation of the Holy Cross priest, bring the total of Catholic clergy members who worked in Baton Rouge and were credibly accused of abuse to 45.

Suburban priests on updated clergy abuse list in Baton Rouge area

BATON ROUGE (LA)
WBRZ-TV

January 29, 2020

Almost a year to the day of a news conference where Baton Rouge Catholic Bishop Michael Duca revealed the list of local clergy members accused of sexual abuse over the past several decades, the church released the names of two additional priests tied to suspected abuse.

Fr.Richard Archer, O.P., was reported on the clergy abuse list of the Dominican Friars Province of St. Joseph; Archer once was assigned to St. Joseph Church in Ponchatoula.

Fr. Lawrence Dark, C.S.C. was reported on the clergy abuse lists of the Congregation of the Holy Cross, United States Province of Brothers and Priests, and the Archdiocese of New Orleans. Dark was assigned to work at the Reynolds Institute in Albany and the William E. Anderson Memorial Boys Town in Ponchatoula.

The church has made documents available of around 40 clergy members accused of sexually abusing minors before and after the formation of the Baton Rouge Diocese in 1961.

Click HERE for the priest abuse list maintained by the diocese

A vast majority of the priests named in the documents appear to have either passed away or been removed from the ministry.

Bishop accused of raping nun in India asks court to dismiss charges

MUMBAI (INDIA)
Crux

January 27, 2020

By Nirmala Carvalho

Bishop Franco Mulakkal has filed a discharge petition before a lower court in Kottayam in the criminal case against him, after he was accused of raping a nun on multiple occasions.

The bishop was arrested on Sept. 21, 2018, in the Indian state of Kerala after a months-long investigation into the accusations of a nun claiming he raped her 13 times between 2014 and 2016.

The original 1,400-page charge sheet filed by the Kerala police names 83 witnesses, including the head of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, Cardinal George Alencherry, three bishops, 11 priests and several nuns.

Court papers: Put retired Bishop Matthew Clark on the stand for questioning in abuse cases

ROCHESTER (NY)
WHAM-TV

January 28, 2020

By Jane Flasch

He wants to be identified only by his initials, the same identity he uses in the lawsuit he filed against the Catholic Diocese of Rochester.

"The victims need to know. We have a right to know," he said about new developments in the case.

Attorneys for child sexual assault victims are asking a judge to put retired Bishop Matthew Clark on the stand. He ran the diocese for 33 years.

Last September, it was announced that Clark was in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. According to court testimony, he no longer drives but retains cognitive function.

Victims say time is running out for the questions only he can answer.

"What did he know, when did he know it, and what did he do about it?" said J.O. during an interview in his living room.

He was 14 when he met Clark. He said at the time of that meeting, he was being abused at a group home. Years earlier, he was also sexually abused by a priest at an orphanage. Both organizations were being run by the Catholic Diocese.

"The (abuse) cases that are coming forward didn't just happen now, they happened on his watch," J.O. said. "He had to know there was sexual abuse going on by his priests."

Nearly 100 lawsuits filed under the Child Victim's Act name the diocese. Attorneys say many of the instances of alleged abuse occurred during the years Clark supervised and controlled the assignment of priests.

Under oath, the attorneys want to question "his knowledge of sexual abuse" and "transfers of sexual abusers." They also want to know about complaints made against specific priests and how they were investigated.

Twin Cities Archdiocese settles after clergy sex abuse, begins internal monitoring

ST. PAUL (MN)
St. Paul Pioneer Press via MN Post-Bulletin

January 29, 2020

By Sarah Horner

When asked during a recent panel discussion to explain how the sexual abuse Ben Hoffman endured by former St. Paul priest Curtis Wehmeyer impacted his life, the 26-year-old didn’t hold back.

He described how he spent years feeling somehow responsible for the abuse he and his two brothers endured as children by Wehmeyer, and how he eventually turned to drugs, alcohol and work to “fill the void” left in him.

He also found himself hating the church and the Catholic faith.

But today Hoffman is a married father to a 2-year-old boy and has reclaimed his faith. In fact, he recently left a corporate job at Best Buy to devote more time to ministry work.

Hoffman was among those attending a court hearing in the Ramsey County District Courthouse Tuesday, Jan. 28, alongside his brothers and mother.

At the hearing Ramsey County dismissed its child protection case against the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

It brings to an end four years of court monitoring brought about after Ramsey County Attorney John Choi filed civil and criminal charges against the archdiocese for its failure in handing the clergy sex-abuse crisis.

Seattle Archbishop will meet with Catholics who want commission on abuse

SEATTLE (WA)
SeattlePI.com

January 28, 2020

By Joel Connelly

He's not happy about it, but Seattle Archbishop Paul Etienne said in a Tuesday letter that he will meet with prominent lay Catholics who want a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to examine church records on clergy sexual abuse and its cover-up.

Etienne sounded very much like a bishop in letters sent to laity and bishops in his Western Washington diocese.

"As archbishop I am asked to shepherd our flock, which means I listen to the concerns of our people and prayerfully discern how we may address them," the archbishop wrote. "At some point after my ad limina visit to Rome, I will engage this group because we share the same goal bringing healing to the church."

Former priest accused of sex crimes heads to trial

SANTA FE (NM)
Santa Fe New Mexican

January 28, 2020

By Phaedra Haywood

Jury selection is set to begin Wednesday in the trial of an ex-priest accused of raping a first grader at a parochial school in Santa Fe County in the late 1980s.

Marvin Archuleta’s criminal trial is the first to come out of state Attorney General Hector Balderas’ ongoing investigation into claims of child sex abuse in Roman Catholic churches throughout New Mexico.

The state intends to bring Thomas P. Doyle of Virginia, a national expert on clergy sex abuse, to testify in the case, according to a witness list.

Doyle — an attorney, victim’s advocate, columnist for the National Catholic Reporter and a former priest — is credited with being one of the first people within the church to speak out on child sexual abuse by the clergy.

The Attorney General’s Office charged Archuleta, 82, with criminal sexual penetration of a child under 13 and kidnapping in February 2018 after his accuser in the case — now an adult — told a special agent that Archuleta tied him up with a belt and raped him when he was 6 years old.

Clergyman sentenced to jail after restraining teenager

TROY (MI)
Detroit Legal News Publishing

January 29, 2020

The second priest to be convicted through Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel's clergy abuse investigation was sentenced on Monday to jail time after he pleaded guilty to holding a teenage boy against his will in the janitor's room of St. Margaret's Church in 2013.

The Rev. Brian Stanley was sentenced to 60 days in Allegan County Jail, with credit for two days served, five years' probation and must register as a sex offender for 15 years. He appeared before Allegan County Circuit Court Chief Judge Margaret Bakker.

Stanley, 57, of Coloma, pleaded guilty to one felony count of attempted false imprisonment on Nov. 20, 2019. He was charged in August after reportedly immobilizing the teenage boy by wrapping him tightly in plastic wrap and using masking tape as additional binding to cover the victim's eyes and mouth. Stanley left the victim, bound and alone, in the janitor's room for an extended period of time before returning and eventually letting him go.

January 28, 2020

Historic agreement to protect children

RAMSEY COUNTY (MN)
Office of Ramsey County Attorney

January 28, 2020

Ramsey County Attorney John Choi and Archbishop Bernard Hebda held a joint press conference on January 28 formally concluding the Ramsey County Attorney's Office's four-year oversight of the civil settlement agreement with the Archdiocese of Saint Paul & Minneapolis.

The primary objective of the agreement was to transform the organizational culture of the Archdiocese into one that is vigilant about protecting children from clergy sex abuse.

View press conference video

Related items:

- Press Release
- RCAO Cultural Assessment Report
- Final Independent Auditor's Report on compliance with the settlement agreement
- Eighth 6-Month Status Report submitted by the Archdiocese on its status and progress of implementation of the settlement agreement
- Archdiocese Safe Environment Plan
- Background and Timeline of Events

Florida’s Clergy Abuse Victims Deserve Answers from Attorney General

FLORIDA
Adam Horowitz Law (law firm blog)

January 28, 2020

In July 2018, Pennsylvania’s attorney general released a stunning report about clergy sexual abuse in that state. It generated lots of attention and media coverage. The next morning, Florida’s then-attorney general said that she ordered a similar statewide inquiry here in the Sunshine State.

That was 18 months ago.

What progress has been made here? No one knows.

Last June, Florida’s current attorney general was asked that question. Her spokesperson said, “As this investigation is ongoing, we cannot comment further at this time.”

Huh?

We get that some secrecy is critical when law enforcement goes after potential criminals. But both of our AG’s (Pam Biondi, who started this probe, nor Ashley Moody, who heads it now) have been extraordinarily (and we believe irresponsibly) silent about the status of their investigation.

Neither have told Floridians anything that might help them protect themselves and their families from Catholic child molesters.

Ramsey County dismisses child protection case against St. Paul archdiocese

ST. PAUL (MN)
Minneapolis Star Tribune

January 28, 2020

The archdiocese will present a final report Tuesday to Ramsey County court.

By Jean Hopfensperger

After four years of court monitoring, the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office dismissed its child protection case against the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis on Tuesday.

Children in archdiocese churches and schools are safer today than they were five years ago, when the county sued the archdiocese for failure to protect children, county and archdiocese leaders said.

“This is like a marathon,” Ramsey County Attorney John Choi said. “The work will continue to occur.”

The Ramsey County Attorney’s Office had filed civil and criminal charges against the archdiocese in 2015 alleging it failed to respond to repeated reports of sexual misconduct by former St. Paul priest Curtis Wehmeyer. The priest went on to sexually abuse the children of one of his church employees in a camper he parked outside the church.

Newark archbishop moves to Illinois, controversial NJ retirement home to be sold

NEWARK (NJ)
NorthJersey.com

January 28, 2020

By Abbott Koloff

Archbishop John J. Myers, the former head of the Newark Archdiocese who was criticized for his handling of priest abuse scandals, has moved to Illinois to be near family for health reasons, and the church will sell his Hunterdon County retirement home — which stirred controversy six years ago when church funds were used to build an expansive wing and an indoor pool.

Myers, who led the archdiocese for almost 16 years, held on to the house amid criticism that included a 2014 petition containing 17,000 signatures urging him to sell it. At the time, Pope Francis urged clergy to live simply, removing a German bishop because of his lavish lifestyle, and a Catholic leader in Atlanta agreed to sell a mansion built as his residence.

Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, who took over as leader of the archdiocese three years ago, issued a statement saying the 78-year-old Myers "has suffered a serious decline" in his "physical and mental health" and after visiting family in Illinois "decided to remain in the region of his birth where he is receiving specialized care and can be visited by his family as well as the clergy of the Diocese of Peoria." The statement was posted on the archdiocesan website Tuesday.

Victims to discuss effects of childhood sex abuse

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

January 28, 2020

By Jay Tokasz

The lifelong impacts of childhood sexual abuse will be the topic of a public forum from 7 to 10 p.m. Jan. 30 at the Child Advocacy Center, 768 Delaware Ave.

The event, "Enlighten & Empower: An Evening with Survivors," is sponsored by the Buffalo Survivors Group, formed by five men who have filed lawsuits under the Child Victims Act alleging sexual abuse by Buffalo Diocese priests.

It is the second in a series of discussions aimed at educating the public about the psychological, emotional and physical harm caused by sexual abuse. It will include stories from survivors of abuse, as well as questions and answers with the audience.

Suspect in ex-priest’s slaying sent to Vegas to face charges

LAS VEGAS (NV)
Associated Press

January 28, 2020

A suspect in the killing of a former priest has been returned to Las Vegas from Michigan to face robbery and murder charges.

Records show that Derrick Mitchell Decoste, 26, was booked Monday in the Clark County jail pending a court appearance in the March 2019 shooting death of former priest John Capparelli. It was not immediately clear if he had a lawyer.

Capparelli, 70, was killed several weeks after church officials in New Jersey named him among 180 priests accused of sexual abuse. Authorities have not linked the killing to the New Jersey allegations.

SNAP demands response from New Orleans Saints

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
KATC-TV

January 28, 2020

The Survivor Network of those Abused by Priests is demanding that the team release emails exchanged between Saints public relations staff and the Archdiocese of New Orleans.

The Survivor Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, wants answers from the New Orleans Saints football team.

The group plans an event Wednesday morning at the team's Metairie practice facility, during which time they say they will demand that the team release emails exchanged between Saints public relations staff and the Archdiocese of New Orleans.

Last week, the Associated Press reported that the team was going to court to keep the public from seeing hundreds of emails that allegedly show team executives doing public relations damage control for the area’s Roman Catholic archdiocese to help it contain the fallout from a burgeoning sexual abuse crisis.

Oversight ends in St. Paul Archdiocese child protection case

ST. PAUL (MN)
Associated Press

January 28, 2020

Prosecutors announced Tuesday that they have ended four years of oversight of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis as part of settlement designed to protect children from clergy sex abuse.

Ramsey County sued the archdiocese in 2015 for its failure to protect children. County and church leaders said children are now safer, and many improvements have been made, including child protection training and background checks for all employees and clergy, the Star Tribune reported.

But Ramsey County Attorney John Choi said the work to protect children is a race with no finish line, and his office offered 25 recommendations for the archdiocese going forward. They include expanding the involvement of lay people, including women, in positions of influence, and permitting victims of abuse to testify before a review board as a matter of right so their voices may be heard.

First Catholic Diocese child sex abuse case settled since passing of new law

IRVINE (CA)
Turnto23.com (ABC-TV affiliate)

January 28, 2020

A California Catholic Diocese on Tuesday settled the first child sexual abuse case since the passing of the Child Victims Act back in September 2019.

Attorneys representing Richard Barrios, 47, allegedly abused as a child by convicted pedophile priest Lawrence Lovell, announced a $1.9 million settlement with the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Lawrence Lovell and the Claretian Missionaries.

In the lawsuit, Barrios alleged that he was sexually abused by Father Lawrence Lovell throughout a two-year period from 1982 through 1984 when the victim was 9 to 11 years old.

"For too many years a culture of silence protected child abusers within the Catholic Church," said Barrios in a relase. "In my case, this corrupt culture allowed my abuser to continue molesting children. I encourage all his victims and those who were injured by him and other predator priests to speak out and demand justice."

Archdiocese responds to story NFL team helping cover up abuse claims

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
Catholic News Service via Catholic Virginian

January 28, 2020

The Archdiocese of New Orleans said in a Jan. 24 statement that it has never called on any outside organization, like the New Orleans Saints, to help cover up information on abuse allegations.

It said it remains “steadfast in support” of victims of sex abuse by clergy and other Church workers and prays “for their continued healing.”

The statement was released in response to an AP story Jan. 24 that said the NFL team allegedly helped the archdiocese with public relations damage control on sex abuse claims.

Motion filed for retired bishop Matthew Clark to testify in bankruptcy court

ROCHESTER (NY)
WHEC-TV

January 28, 2020

A request for retired Bishop Emeritus Matthew Clark to testify in the Diocese of Rochester’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy case was filed on Tuesday.

The diocese declared bankruptcy in September amidst a series of lawsuits filed under the Child Victims Act.

The motion filed on Tuesday argues that since one of Bishop Clark’s duties was assigning clergy to their posts, he was responsible for assigning them to positions where they would have access to children.

It also argues that many plaintiffs have alleged they were abused during Bishop Clark’s tenure, 1979 to 2012.

Corpus Christi priests accused of credible abuse file appeal in defamation case

CORPUS CHRISTI (TX)
The Caller Times

January 28, 2020

By Alexandria Rodriguez

A lawyer is arguing retired Corpus Christi priests were wrongly included in a list of clergy "credibly accused of sexual abuse," especially when one was exonerated multiple times.

In an Appellants' brief submitted Monday to the Thirteenth Court of Appeals, attorney Andrew M. Greenwell argues retired priests Michael Heras and John Feminelli were included in a Diocese of Corpus Christi list of priests "credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors."

The list, which was also released in every Texas Catholic diocese, was made public in January 2019.

The Diocese of Corpus Christi includes Aransas, Bee, Brooks, Duval, Jim Wells, Kenedy, Kleberg, Live Oak, Nueces, Refugio, San Patricio counties and some of McCullen County.

Feminelli and Heras have repeatedly denied they have sexually abused minors, the document states.

Both priests filed defamation lawsuits against Bishop Michael Mulvey and the Diocese of Corpus Christi after the list was released. The lawsuits were consolidated and were later dismissed by Texas District Judge David Stith in August. Greenwell later filed a notice to appeal on priests' behalf.

Catholic Leaders Promised Transparency About Child Abuse. They Haven’t Delivered.

UNITED STATES
ProPublica

January 28, 2020

By Lexi Churchill, Ellis Simani and Topher Sanders

After decades of shielding the identities of accused child abusers from the public, many Catholic leaders are now releasing lists of their names. But the lists are inconsistent, incomplete and omit key details.

This story is co-published with the Houston Chronicle.

It took 40 years and three bouts of cancer for Larry Giacalone to report his claim of childhood sexual abuse at the hands of a Boston priest named Richard Donahue.

Giacalone sued Donahue in 2017, alleging the priest molested him in 1976, when Giacalone was 12 and Donahue was serving at Sacred Heart Parish. The lawsuit never went to trial, but a compensation program set up by the archdiocese concluded that Giacalone “suffered physical injuries and emotional injuries as a result of physical abuse” and directed the archdiocese to pay him $73,000.

Even after the claim was settled and the compensation paid in February 2019, however, the archdiocese didn’t publish Donahue’s name on its list of accused priests. Nor did it three months later when Giacalone’s lawyer, Mitchell Garabedian, criticized the church publicly for not adding Donahue’s name to the list.

Credibly Accused: Search lists of U.S. Catholic clergy that have been deemed credibly accused of sexual abuse or misconduct.

UNITED STATES
ProPublica

January 28, 2020

By Ellis Simani and Ken Schwencke with Katie Zavadski and Lexi Churchill

The Catholic Church has not released a public list of clergy members who have been credibly accused of sexual misconduct or assault. However, over the last year and a half U.S. dioceses and religious orders serving most of the Catholics in the country have released lists of “credibly accused” abusers who have served in their ranks, using their own criteria for whom to include. ProPublica collected these lists to provide a central location to search across all reports.

We Assembled the Only Nationwide Database of Priests Deemed Credibly Accused of Abuse. Here’s How.

NEW YORK (NY)
ProPublica

January 28, 2020

By Ellis Simani and Lexi Churchill

ProPublica’s reporting spanned several months and produced an original database containing each diocesan list as it was originally published online.

ProPublica published an interactive database on Tuesday that lets users search for clergy who have been listed as credibly accused of sexual abuse in reports released by Catholic dioceses and religious orders.

It is, as of publication, the only nationwide database of official disclosures. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the religious leaders’ national membership organization, does not publicly release any centralized, countrywide collection of clergy members who have been credibly accused of sexual assault.

But in the absence of any mandate or directive, 178 bishops, archbishops and religious community leaders across the U.S. have published individual lists of clergy members against whom credible allegations were made as of Jan. 20. Each diocese and religious order sets its own standard for determining the credibility of allegations.

Prominent Catholics together call for review of Seattle Archdiocese’s secret clergy abuse files

SEATTLE (WA)
Seattle Times

January 28, 2020

By Lewis Kamb

A group of prominent Catholics announced Tuesday that it’s pursuing a “lay-led,” independent review of the Seattle Archdiocese’s secret clergy files to fully expose the breadth and depth of the church’s sexual abuses in Western Washington and find a path forward for healing the damage caused to generations of the religion’s followers.

Calling itself “Heal Our Church,” the group, which includes former judges and law enforcement officials, abuse survivors, retired clergy and others, last week signed and delivered a letter and statement of key objectives to new Seattle Archbishop Paul Etienne, requesting his support of the endeavor.

The letter invites the archdiocese’s participation in the “appointment of an independent, lay led Truth and Reconciliation Commission to examine pertinent church archives in order to produce a fact-based reconstruction of this horrific chapter of our church history.”

Centrafrique : mise en place d’un comité de lutte contre les abus sexuels sur mineurs

[Central African Republic: Establishment of a committee to combat sexual abuse of minors]

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
Adiac-Congo

January 15, 2020

Face aux multiples cas d’abus sexuel qu’auraient commis certains responsables ecclésiastiques sur les mineurs, l’Eglise catholique est en train d’élaborer un document pouvant sanctionner toutes personnes impliquées dans ces scandales. C’est ce qu’a fait savoir le père Blaise Narcisse Kougomatchi, secrétaire de la commission des mineurs en Centrafrique.

[Google Translate: Faced with the multiple cases of sexual abuse allegedly committed by certain ecclesiastical officials on minors, the Catholic Church is in the process of drafting a document capable of punishing all those implicated in these scandals. This is what Father Blaise Narcisse Kougomatchi, secretary of the Central African miners' commission, said.]

CAR Church Admits Sexual Abuse Cases, Sets Up Commission to “sensitize Church leaders”

BANGUI (CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC)
ACI Africa

January 17, 2020

By Jude Atemanke

The Church in the Central African Republic (CAR) has admitted to incidences of sexual abuse of minors and has responded by taking steps toward the safeguarding of children and vulnerable persons by setting up a commission to examine cases of abuse.

“The situation of minors remains worrying, especially with the economic crisis that the country is going through,” the Secretary of the Commission on Minors in the CAR, Fr Blaise Narcisse Kougomatchi has been quoted as telling the news agency adiac-infos in an interview Wednesday, January 15.

Church call to Government to expand safeguarding definitions in faith settings

GREAT BRITAIN
Christian Today

January 28, 2020

Churches are seeking a change to the law to expand safeguarding protections in faith organisations and sports clubs.

The current provisions around 'positions of trust' make it illegal for teachers, care workers and youth justice staff to engage in sexual activity with a 16- or 17-year-old under their supervision. However, they do not extend to adults in similar positions of authority within churches or sports teams.

In a report launched on Tuesday, the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Safeguarding in Faith Settings warned that the current loopholes are leaving 16- to 17-year-olds exposed to greater risk of grooming and abuse, and making it possible for faith leaders or sports coaches to engage in sexual activity with them "with impunity".

The APPG wants to see the law changed so that the definition of 'positions of trust' is extended to any adult working with children while in a position of trust.

Dioceses to dig deeper into their safeguarding history

ENGLAND
Church Times (Anglican)

January 28, 2020

By Adam Becket

SURVIVOR’s voices are “vital” to the running of a new trawl of the C of E’s safeguarding history, the director of the National Safeguarding Team, Melissa Caslake, has said.

The review of files of every living cleric and church officer for allegations of abuse or neglect is currently ongoing. The work, “Past-Cases Review (PCR) 2”, is expected to be completed by the end of this year, and a report is due to be published in 2021.

Speaking last Friday, Ms Caslake said: “This is a substantial and significant task, to ensure that the Church is a safer place for all, and it is vital we ensure that survivors feel they can come forward in confidence.”

Las Vegas pastor charged with sex abuse left porn on computer, report says

LAS VEGAS (NV)
Las Vegas Review-Journal

January 27, 2020

By Rio Lacanlale

Retana, who was arrested Dec. 20, remains held without bail at the Clark County Detention Center. The Metropolitan Police Department began investigating him last year after a girl told her parents that the pastor of Iglesia Cristiana Oasis De Paz had been sexually abusing her for more than a year.

The most recent criminal case against Retana, charging him with five felony counts of lewdness with a child younger than 14, was opened Jan. 15, after Metro detectives identified two more potential victims, bringing the total number of accusers to at least six.

Retana currently faces 40 felony counts in the three cases. The charges include lewdness with a child, first-degree kidnapping, child abuse and luring a child with a computer to engage in a sexual act, court records show.

The allegations range from the pastor kissing the girls’ feet to asking the girls to spit in his mouth when he was “thirsty,” according to his arrest reports.

Retana is due in court Feb. 3 for a preliminary hearings in all three cases.

Anyone with information about Retana, or anyone who believes he or she may have been a victim of abuse, may contact Metro’s juvenile sexual assault division at 702-828-3421. Anonymous tips may be submitted to Crime Stoppers at 702-385-5555.

Even if Colorado gives child sex assault victims unlimited time to sue, it may be too late for those already abused

COLORADO
Colorado Sun

January 28, 2020

By Jesse Paul

Lawmakers are considering eliminating the civil statute of limitations for child sex assault, but Colorado’s constitution appears to prohibit laws from working retroactively. Victims’ advocates think there is a path to address past abuse.

Colorado lawmakers plan to bring legislation this year that would give child sexual assault victims unlimited time to sue their abusers and the institutions that protect the predators.

But for people abused in the past — including the more than 150 victims of Catholic priests identified in a recently released report on sexual misconduct in Colorado — the change may be coming too late.

That’s because the legislature’s attorneys say Colorado’s constitution prevents laws from working retroactively and that once a statute of limitations has expired, a case cannot be reopened. Many survivors, however, don’t come forward until decades after their abuse.

Right now, child sex assault victims in Colorado have six years from the day they turn 18 to sue their abusers. They have just two years to sue an organization that acted negligently in allowing the abuse to continue or by shielding the perpetrator.

Even though other states have successfully changed their statutes to allow survivors to retroactively sue, lawmakers pushing for the alteration to Colorado law say their hands are tied. But victims and their advocates say the constitutional question isn’t settled and that they’d like to see a fight.

JC Diocese Bishop weighs in on abuse scandal

JEFFERSON CITY (MO)
KWOS Radio

January 28, 2020

[AUDIO]

The Bishop of the Diocese of Jefferson City admits that abuse of children by Catholic priests has been a major black eye for the church. Bishop Shawn McKnight says the church is taking responsibility for the crimes …

35 priests and religious brothers have been credibly accused or have been removed from service for having abused children in the Diocese.

Bishop McKnight was on KWOS Saturday Open Air.

Cardinal at center of 2 Popes storm doubles down on celibacy

VATICAN CITY
Associated Press

January 25, 2020

By Nicole Winfield

A Vatican cardinal at the center of a storm over a book about celibacy and the Catholic priesthood is denouncing the “brutality” of criticism directed at him and his collaborator, Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI.

In an interview with Italian daily newspaper Il Foglio published Saturday, Cardinal Robert Sarah doubled down on his argument in the book, “From the Depths of Our Hearts,” that the Catholic priesthood is incompatible with marriage.

“If you weaken the law of celibacy, you open a breach, a wound in the mystery of the church,” Sarah told the newspaper.

Sarah, who heads the Vatican’s liturgical office, insisted on the sacramental link between the priesthood and celibacy, even though the Catholic Church has for centuries had married priests in its Eastern Rites as well as in the ranks of Anglican and other Protestant converts.

Mexican program aims to improve safeguarding standards in Latin America

ROME (ITALY)
Crux

January 28, 2020

By Inés San Martín

Mexico’s Catholic University continues to train members of the Catholic Church in addressing the clerical sexual abuse crisis, with a second diploma course on abuse prevention in the Latin American Church.

Organized by the Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Training for the Protection of Children (CEPROME), the Jan. 20-Feb 14, 2020 course is an intensive training for bishops, priests, religious brothers and sisters and lay people who are committed to safeguarding.

Lecturers include Spanish priest Jordi Bertomeu, an official of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith who played a key role in addressing the clerical abuse crisis facing the Chilean Church; Jose Andres Murillo, a philosopher and abuse survivor from Chile; and Father Daniel Portillo, the director and founder of CEPROME.

Diocese of Fall River suspends retired priest for alleged sexual abuse of minor

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Globe

January 26, 2020

By Abigail Feldman

The Diocese of Fall River announced Sunday that it had suspended a retired priest after a review of his files revealed allegations that he had sexually abused a minor about 20 years ago.

Father Herbert T. Nichols, who has worked in several parishes around Bristol and Barnstable counties since he was ordained in 1975, denies the allegation, according to a statement from the Diocese.

Nichols retired in 2015 but has continued to participate in Masses around the area and within the Diocese’ Maronite community. His suspension precludes him from all ministry until the investigation is complete, the statement said.

Last year, the Diocese hired an independent consultant to review personnel files, officials said. Since last March, the diocese has suspended or removed at least five priests for alleged abuse or misconduct, including two retired priests earlier this month.

Pressure builds on Diocese of Fall River to release names of priests, staff credibly accused of sexual abuse

FALL RIVER (MA)
Boston.com

January 27, 2020

"It is time to end the secrecy, provide transparency and act in a positive manner."

By Christopher Gavin

The Diocese of Fall River is facing calls to release a list of clergy who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor.

Last week, prominent attorney Mitchell Garabedian released his own list containing the names of seven priests, two clergy members, and one Catholic church employee who his office has successfully brought child sexual abuse claims against.

The move comes a year after Bishop Edgar da Cunha announced the diocese was readying a list for eventual publication, following a review of all its personnel records by former FBI assistant director William Gavin.

Most of the names anticipated to be released by the church have already been reported by the news media; however, the list is “necessary for greater transparency on our part in response to clerical sexual abuse,” da Cunha wrote in a letter to the diocese at the time.

January 27, 2020

Philippine bishops aim to protect minors from predatory priests

MANILA (PHILIPPINES)
UCA News

January 24, 2020

UNew office will provide canon law experts and professionals to tackle clergy sex abuse

The Catholic bishops of the Philippines are creating an office that aims to ensure the safety of minors and vulnerable people.

The Office on the Protection of Minors will help dioceses to address cases of clergy sex abuse by providing canon law experts and other professionals.

A bishop, to be elected during a meeting of prelates this week, will head the office, said Father Marvin Mejia, secretary-general of the bishops' conference.

‘I am being starved by the church’, says expelled Kerala nun

KERALA (INDIA)
Hindustan Times

January 25, 2020

The 52-year-old nun accused the authorities of locking food but she said she will remain at FCC’s convent even if she was starved to death.

Sister Lucy Kalapura, who was expelled from the Catholic Church, said on Saturday she was being starved at the convent as authorities have been depriving her of food to force her out.

The Franciscan Clarist Congregation (FCC) had expelled Sister Lucy Kalapura in August last year citing “serious indiscipline” but the nun said she was victimised for supporting the agitation for the arrest of the deposed bishop of Jalandhar, Franco Mullakkal, who is facing rape charges.

The 52-year-old nun accused the authorities of locking food but she said she will remain at FCC’s convent even if she was starved to death.

“I have filed three complaints against the convent authorities but police failed to take action in any of them. It seems the police are scared to take action against authorities who trouble me,” she said.

OPINION: Nelson Pérez helped St. William church evolve. Up next: the whole Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

PHILADELPHIA
The Inquirer

January 27, 2020

By Kathleen McDonough

I identify myself as a “lifer” from St. William parish in the Lawndale/Lawncrest community. For over 62 years, St. William parish has been my home — from attending St. William School as a student, to coming home to attend Mass as an adult, and the icing on the cake: teaching there for over 20 years until its 2012 closure.

During my youth in Lawncrest and neighboring Lawndale, most residents were white, blue-collar civil servants. Households were typically ones in which dad worked and mom stayed home. Children went to their neighborhood school, and you were identified as being a “Catholic” or “public.”

As the years marched on, Lawncrest and St. William changed. For 22 years, St. William’s pastor, Msgr. James E. Mortimer, embraced the changing demographics, calling the church “a welcoming community,” and establishing an after-school program, a day-care center, and a learning disabilities program. He helped the parishioners welcome priests from the Indian and Pakistani communities, as well as members and clergy from the Hispanic community.

In 2002, a new pastor, Nelson J. Pérez, arrived, just as the community was undergoing even more change.

SBC president blacklists former leader accused of enabling abuse

UNITED STATES
Baptist News Global

January 27, 2020

By Bob Allen

The president of the Southern Baptist Convention said that local church autonomy does not excuse Southern Baptists from holding one another accountable in a mild rebuke of churches giving platform to a disgraced former leader accused of enabling sexual abusers.

In an interview with the Houston Chronicle, North Carolina pastor J.D. Greear advised churches to “consider” former Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President Paige Patterson’s 2018 firing for conduct “antithetical to the core values of our faith” before inviting the Conservative Resurgence co-founder to speak or preach.

“Southern Baptist churches must take our mutual accountability to each other more seriously than we have in the past,” Greear, pastor of The Summit Church in Durham, North Carolina, is quoted as saying. “If our system of governance means anything, it means exercising due diligence and heeding what those whom we put in positions of trustee oversight have reported about official misconduct.”

College of Cardinals Gets New Dean

VATICAN CITY
Church Militant (blog)

January 27,.2020

By David Nussman

Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re is the new dean of the College of Cardinals, and some Catholics are hoping change after his predecessor appeared to resign in disgrace.

A native Italian, Cdl. Re is a former prefect of the Congregation for Bishops and a former president of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.

The 85-year-old cardinal was elected dean by a group of 12 cardinals earlier this month. Pope Francis approved his election on Jan. 18, and an announcement was made by the Holy See this past Saturday.

Though dean of the College of Cardinals, the 85-year-old Re will be unable to vote in any future papal conclaves, because cardinals over the age of 80 are ineligible to vote.

The previous dean of the College of Cardinals, Cdl. Angelo Sodano, resigned in December.

In a motu proprio on Dec. 21, Francis thanked the 92-year-old Cdl. Sodano for his 15 years of service as dean. The Pope also changed the dean from a lifetime position to a five-year term with a two-term limit.

No reform possible without new leaders in Legionaries of Christ, advocates and survivors say

VATICAN CITY
Catholic News Agency

January 27, 2020

Advocates and survivors of abuse perpetrated by priests of the Legionaries of Christ say that the religious order has no hope of authentic reform without wholesale replacement of the Legion’s leadership figures.

“As long as the same people are in power, there will continue to be manipulation, authoritarianism and cover up,” Adriana Lozano, a consecrated lay woman in the Legion's Regnum Christi apostolate, told ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner.

She told ACI Prensa that although she reported for years to Legionaries leadership abuse allegations about a now laicized priest, Fernando Martínez, her allegations went unheard, even by current leaders of the religious institute.

“Nevertheless, I continued to inform each director in turn about the case, without getting a response,” she said.

Priest gets 60 days in jail for bubble-wrapping boy

DETROIT (MI)
Associated Press

January 27, 2020

By Ed White

A Michigan priest accused of wrapping a teenager in bubble wrap was sentenced Monday to 60 days in jail for attempted false imprisonment.

The Rev. Brian Stanley appeared in Allegan County court, two months after pleading guilty in a deal with the attorney general’s office. He was initially charged with false imprisonment.

Stanley was accused of wrapping a boy in bubble wrap and tape in 2013 in a janitor’s room at St. Margaret Church. The boy’s eyes and mouth were also covered while he was left alone for an hour, according to the attorney general’s office.

The Diocese Must Quicken Clergy Sex Abuse Probe [Opinion]

FALL RIVER (MA)
1420 WBSM Radio

January 27, 2020

By Barry Richard

The list of Catholic priests with ties to our area who have been accused of sexual misconduct with minors continues to grow but at a snail's pace. The Fall River Diocese is clearly making an effort to deal with the problem but must find a way to expedite the process more quickly.

In the last three weeks alone, three retired priests have been suspended by the Diocese due to allegations they sexually molested someone's kids decades ago. WBSM News reports that Father Herbert T. Nichols, Father James F. Buckley, and Father Edward J. Byington have been suspended by the Diocese "in response to information gathered during an evaluation of priestly personnel files pending further investigation, as required under its policies." Some of the allegations have been referred for criminal investigation.

Former priest sentenced to two months in jail for tying up teen boy

ALLEGAN (MI)
MLive.com

January 27, 2020

By Ryan Boldrey

A former Otsego priest was sentenced to jail and probation Monday, Jan. 27, in Allegan County Circuit Court on one count of attempted unlawful imprisonment of a 17-year-old boy.

Brian Stanley, 57, was arrested Aug. 22 and charged with one count of unlawful imprisonment, a 15-year felony. As part of a plea agreement made at his pretrial hearing in November, that charge was dismissed at sentencing.

Stanley admitted at his pretrial hearing to tying up the boy and taping his eyes and mouth shut in September 2013, while “secretly confining” him for “approximately 30 minutes" in the janitor’s room of St. Margaret’s Church in Otsego. He will spend 60 days in jail, five years on probation and be required to register as a sex offender for a period of 15 years, according to the sentence issued Monday by Allegan County Circuit Judge Margaret Bakker.

'Abuse in the guise of swimming lesson': Another allegation against priest, Boy Scout master

GUAM
Pacific Daily News

January 28, 2020

By Haidee Eugenio Gilbert

More than 40 years ago, a Barrigada altar boy aspiring to be a member of the Boy Scouts of America joined an outing at Lonfit River where a priest fondled and groped his private parts, according to a lawsuit filed on Monday, Jan. 27.

The plaintiff, identified in federal court documents only with the initials R.G.M. to protect his privacy, said in his $5 million lawsuit that Father Louis Brouillard falsely claimed he was teaching him how to swim.

"This event was shocking to R.G.M. and because of this, he stopped being an altar boy and he also lost interest in joining the Boy Scouts of America," the lawsuit says.

R.G.M. was about 11 or 12 years old at the time, when Brouillard allegedly sexually abused him at the river, around 1977 or 1978. He was an altar boy at the San Vicente Ferrer and San Roke Catholic Church, while the priest was also a scout master.

Plug-In: How the SBC sex abuse scandal turned a city hall reporter into a religion writer

UNITED STATES
Get Religion (blog)

January 27, 2020

By Bobby Ross Jr.

Robert Downen almost burned out on newspapers and went into the insurance business.

Instead, the talented journalist, now 28, stuck it out and spearheaded what the Religion News Association chose as the No. 1 religion story of 2019.

I’m talking about the Houston Chronicle’s bombshell investigation that revealed more than 700 victims of sexual abuse in the Southern Baptist Convention and spurred reforms by the nation’s largest Protestant denomination.

Come April, Downen’s work on the “Abuse of Faith” project could earn him and his colleagues a Pulitzer Prize. For now, it has resulted in a new gig for the former City Hall reporter. As of last week, he’s covering religion full time for the Houston newspaper. This is wonderful news for Downen and Chronicle readers.

Journalist who shared old Kobe Bryant rape story hours after his death is suspended

WASHINGTON D.C.
Metro.co.uk

January 27, 2020

By Jacob Geanous

A journalist was suspended after sharing a link to an old story about rape allegations made against Kobe Bryant hours after he died.

Felicia Sonmez, a national political reporter for The Washington Post, tweeted the link on Sunday after news broke that Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter were among nine passengers killed in a helicopter crash outside of Los Angeles.

Sonmez said she received thousands of comments of abuse and death threats after she shared the April 2016 story from The Daily Beast, titled: ‘Kobe Bryant’s Disturbing Rape Case: The DNA Evidence, the Accuser’s story, and the Half-Confession.’


Working to better things from the inside out is this clergy abuse survivor’s goal

ST. PAUL (MN)
St. Paul Pioneer Press

January 27, 2020

By Rubén Rosario

Jim Richter, a Chicago native and pathologist, wanted a fresh start when he moved to the Twin Cities five years ago. After being sexually abused in his teens by a Catholic parish priest who similarly molested other members of his family as well as scores of others, the last thing the wanted to hear again were more clergy abuse scandals.

As he told an audience that attended a restorative justice and healing conference last Friday in Lake Elmo, his abuse still affects him in some way “every day of my life.” The most intimate and longest-lasting relationship he has had in his life following his abuse, he added with a bit of a quip in his voice, has been Charlie, his 18-year old schnauzer. Trust in people is hard.

News Release: Diocese Suspends Retired Priest From Ministry

FALL RIVER (MA)
Diocese of Fall River

January 26, 2020

The Diocese of Fall River today announced the suspension of retired priest Father Herbert T. Nichols for an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor, alleged to have occurred approximately 20 years ago. The decision to suspend him was made based on information learned from a review of the personnel files of diocesan priests.

The allegation, which Father Nichols denies, is under investigation by the Diocese.

As a retired priest, he was not assigned to any parish but did help with the celebration of Masses in various parishes since retirement, including with the Maronite community within the Diocese. His suspension precludes him from all ministry until the investigation is completed and a determination on the matter is made.

Fall River diocese suspends another retired priest from ministry

FALL RIVER (MA)
The Standard Times via the Taunton Gazette

January 27, 2020

In a Sunday press release, the Diocese of Fall River announced the suspension of another retired priest, Rev. Herbert T. Nichols for an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor, alleged to have occurred approximately 20 years ago. The decision to suspend him was made based on information learned from a review of the personnel files of diocesan priests, the release said.

Ordained in 1975, Nichols’ assignments have included three New Bedford parishes: St. James; Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish and St. Anthony of Padua Parish. He also had assignments at St. Anne Parish, Fall River; St. Bernadette Parish, Fall River; St. Joseph Parish, Taunton and St. Mary Parish, Taunton.

The allegation, which Nichols denies, is under investigation by the diocese, according to the release.

Parish, Catholic school lawyer files motion to intervene in Church bankruptcy case

GUAM
KUAM News

January 27, 2020

Attorney Vincent Camacho has filed a motion to intervene in the ongoing Archdiocese of Agana bankruptcy case. He represents 33 Catholic parishes and schools. As we reported the Archdiocese submitted its bankruptcy reorganization plan which is offering $21 million to settle its more than 200 clergy sex abuse lawsuits.

There is however a separate lawsuit pending against the church to included local Catholic schools and parishes to increase the settlement fund. Although the church opposes this, the Intervenors argue that the church is not in a position to fully understand each parish or school's finances or operating structures and "thus cannot properly make all of the Intervenor's arguments." Such information will permit a more complete disclosure of necessary facts for the court to make a proper determination.

Priest Child Sex Abuse Laws Continue to Change in Florida

FLORIDA
The Legal Examiner (law firm blog)

January 27, 2020

By Joseph H. Saunders

At a 2018 press conference, then Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi announced a statewide investigation into child sex abuse at the hands of Catholic priests saying, “Any priest that would exploit a position of power and trust to abuse a child is a disgrace to the Church and a threat to society,”

Shortly before the investigation was announced 15 victims had already contacted authorities. Now after more than a year victims are continuing to come forward yet the state has been tight lipped about the number of tips reported through the statewide hotline. With an estimated 2 million Catholics in the Florida, I expect the number of potential cases still to be reported to be substantial.

Consider just some the recent history we know. Here in Tampa Bay the Catholic diocese, from 1996-2006, paid nearly $3 million in settlements to people abused by church representatives. Most, but not all, of the cases were settled in in 2004 when the diocese agreed to pay over $1 million to a dozen men who accused former priest Robert Schaeufele of sexually abusing them between the ages of 9 and 14 beginning in the mid-1970s. Schaeufele served 12 years after he pleaded guilty to charges he sexually abused three boys. There were over two-dozen credible sex abuse allegations against the priest, but most couldn’t be prosecuted because the statute of limitations had run out. Schaeufele used the Florida statute of limitations to his advantage and got away with raping and abusing dozens of young boys. His crimes should have earned him a life sentence; he was released after only 12 years.

Fall River Diocese suspends retired priest accused of sex abuse

FALL RIVER (MA)
WPRI FM (NPR affiliate)

January 26, 2020

By Jacqui Gomersall

A retired Catholic priest has been suspended from the Fall River Diocese following allegations of sexual abuse of a minor.

Father Herbert T. Nichols denies the allegation, which is alleged to have occurred twenty years ago, according to the Diocese of Fall River.

We’re told, the allegation remains under investigation by the diocese and Nichols is suspended from all ministry until a determination on the matter is made.

After teacher was accused of sex abuse, he moved to nearby school, man alleges

BUFFALO (NY)
The Buffalo News

January 27, 2020

By Jay Tokasz

A gym teacher who left a Catholic school in South Buffalo in the 1960s after being accused of molesting a boy moved to another parochial school a mile away, according to the plaintiff in a recent lawsuit filed against the Buffalo Diocese.

John Maloney of West Seneca said Robert F. “Ollie” Weber left St. Thomas Aquinas parochial school shortly after his parents complained to a South Buffalo priest that Weber had molested their son multiple times. Maloney said he remembers that the parents of another student also complained about Weber at around the same time.

Maloney said a parish priest, the Rev. William G. Dickenson, talked his parents out of taking legal action against the school or Weber.

Catholic clergy abuse victim leads drive to shakeup establishment politics in Chile

SANTIAGO (CHILE)
Reuters

January 27, 2020

By Natalia A. Ramos Miranda

A Chilean sexual abuse victim who took on the Catholic Church has announced plans to form a new political party, one of several that has emerged since protests rocked the country late last year.

James Hamilton, a doctor who was one of the first people in Chile to come forward claiming he was the victim of child sexual abuse by clergy, has called his party Dignity.

The name is a reference to the public square in the Chilean capital where protesters have gathered over the past three months to denounce inequality and high living costs.

Hamilton is seeking to unite his countrymen around “principles” rather than ideologies of left and right.

He was one of several men who accused now-defrocked Santiago parish priest Fernando Karadima of sexually abusing them as boys. Karadima, who denied wrongdoing, was found guilty in a Vatican investigation but not prosecuted due to the statute of limitations.

Bishop Strickland says he asked pope about McCarrick report

VATICAN CITY
Catholic News Service

January 21, 2020

By Cindy Wooden

Bishop Joseph E. Strickland of Tyler, Texas, said he asked Pope Francis about the Vatican investigation into Theodore E. McCarrick and the release of a promised report on how the former cardinal managed to rise through the church ranks.

The bishop, who was making his "ad limina" visit to Rome, drew widespread attention in August 2018 for a public statement saying he found "credible" the allegations made by retired Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the former nuncio to the United States, regarding McCarrick.

Archbishop Vigano alleged that top Vatican officials, including Pope Francis, knew for years that McCarrick had been accused of sexual misconduct.

January 26, 2020

New Orleans Saints confirm staff helped Archdiocese during sex abuse revelations

CHICAGO (IL)
WGNO

January 25, 2020

New Orleans - The New Orleans Saints have issued a statement in response to reports that the team’s public relations staff assisted the Archdiocese of New Orleans in matters relating to the Archdiocese’s ongoing sex abuse scandal.

News of the connection between the Saints and the Archdiocese surfaced this week in an Associated Press story detailing the team’s involvement.

Nearly 300 emails between members of the Saints PR staff and the communications department of the Archdiocese have become a factor in a lawsuit filed by about two dozen men claiming abuse at the hands of clergy, according to the AP.

That lawsuit, Doe v. Archdiocese, is currently in the discovery stage.

While the Archdiocese declined to comment on the issue, the Saints released a statement confirming that Greg Bensel, Senior Vice President of Communications for the New Orleans Saints, did in fact assist the Archdiocese with messaging before the Archdiocese released a list of clergy who had been “credibly accused” of the sexual abuse of children.

Sexual abuse allegation made against former Cape priest

HYANNIS (MA)
Cape Cod Times

January 26, 2020

By Denise Coffey

A retired priest with ties to the Cape has been suspended by The Diocese of Fall River over an allegation that he sexually abused a minor 20 years ago.

The decision to suspend Rev. Herbert T. Nichols was based on information from a review of personnel files of diocesan priests, according to a statement from the diocese.

Nichols has denied the allegation, the statement said.

Nichols, who was ordained in 1975, served at St. Joan of Arc Parish in Orleans as well as parishes in Fall River, New Bedford, Taunton and Raynham. His ministry included Franciscan Friars of the Renewal Community in New York.

As a retired priest, Nichols was not assigned to a parish at the time of his suspension. However, he participated in celebration Masses in various parishes, including with the diocese’s Maronite Community.

Brooklyn Bishop DiMarzio cancels school visit amid sex abuse claim

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Post

January 25, 2020

By Sara Dorn

Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio canceled his visit to a Park Slope school Tuesday after parents raised concerns that the cleric accused of child molestation would be around their kids, The Post has learned.

DiMarzio was scheduled to participate in a Q&A with kids at St. Saviour Catholic Academy on Tuesday, as part of Catholic Schools Week activities, according to parent Gloria Pellegrino, who took her concerns to Principal Susan Walsh.

“I do not want someone with an open investigation for child sex assault to be around my child or to speak to [them]. I think it is highly inappropriate for him to come to school and speak to the children, while the investigation is pending,” Pellegrino wrote to Walsh.

“Please let me know the planned program for that day,” the email said. “I will keep [my child] home for part or all of the school day depending on the agenda involving the Bishop.”

Pellegrino said several other parents were also upset by DiMarzio’s plans, as well as the PTA.

Enlarge ImageBishop Nicholas DiMarzio at the ordainment of Msgr. Paul Sanchez and Msgr. Raymond Chappetto to become an auxiliary bishop for the Diocese of Brooklyn.

The school announced last week that DiMarzio’s visit had been cancelled. “As the Diocese has heard the concerns of some of our families, Bishop DiMarzio will not visit the school at this time,” Walsh wrote.

With regulation change, thousands of unresolved discrimination complaints now secret

QUINCY (MA)
Patriot Ledger

January 24, 2020

By Wheeler Cowperthwaite

As of Friday, pending complaints made to the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination are no longer public record. The idea is to make people more comfortable coming forward, but critics say it only protects those accused of wrongdoing.

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As Boston University communications professor Maggie Mulvihill sees it, MCAD’s decision on the complaints shows that Massachusetts learned nothing from the Catholic Church’s sex abuse scandals, in which judges allowed entire lawsuits alleging abuse by priests to be kept secret.

“How many cases were impounded and the judiciary has never been held to account for that?” she said. “Why are we sealing off records that belong to the people?”

Boston lawyer Mitchell Garabedian, who has represented victims of sexually abusive Catholic priests, said the public release of allegations such as those in the discrimination complaints, as well as the abuser’s name, often results in a “triggering effect” for other victims and can empower them to also come forward.

“Victims often feel alone and isolated and at fault when they’ve been sexually abused,” he said. “When they learn there’s another victim out there, they realize they’re no longer alone and shouldn’t think of themselves as at fault.”


Alabama High Court Orders Bishops to Testify in Sex Abuse Case

PASADENA (CA)
Courthouse News Service

January 24, 2020

By Daniel Jackson

The Alabama Supreme Court ruled Friday two bishops in the United Methodist Church must answer questions about what they did to prevent child sex abuse around the time a boy was allegedly victimized by a former youth leader.

“Today’s decision puts church leadership on notice that when children are alleged to have been harmed through the church, church officials will be called upon to answer for what steps they took to investigate allegations of child sex abuse and what they have done and are doing to prevent child sex abuse,” the boy’s attorney Gregory Zarzaur said in a statement.

In 2015, the boy – named J.N. in the court documents – filed a suit in Talladega Circuit Court claiming that while he attended the First United Methodist Church of Sylacauga he was abused by youth pastor Charles Terrell, the 24-page decision said.

J.N. asked the former bishop of the North Alabama Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, William Willimon, and the current bishop, Debra Wallace-Padgett, about their efforts to prevent child sex abuse.

Bishop Franco Mulakkal files petition to remove name from accused list

BENGALURU (INDIA)
The News Minute

January 26, 2020

Franco Mulakkal is the prime accused in the case of sexually assaulting a nun of the Missionaries of Jesus congregation in Kerala, multiple times between 2014 and 2016.

In a move to delay the trial proceedings of Kerala nun rape case, accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal, on Saturday, filed a discharge petition in the court. The petition was filed by Franco’s counsel to Judge Gopakumar of Additional District Court in Kottayam.

Franco Mulakkal is accused of sexually assaulting a nun of the Missionaries of Jesus congregation in Kerala, multiple times between 2014 and 2016.

Franco Mulakkal, who is on bail, filed the discharge petition, asking to relieve him from the accused list without facing the trial. The reason cited by Franco’s counsel is that the charges in the case will not stand against Franco as the case was only based on the statements of witnesses who have resentment against him, reports the Times of India.

As per reports, Franco Mulakkal’s counsel also stated that most of the witnesses against him in the case do not have a good relationship with the church.

The court will consider the discharge petition on February 4. The same court had denied Franco Mulakkal’s earlier plea seeking more time in the case.

Ramsey County oversight is ending, but leaders say Church is ready to hold itself accountable

ST. PAUL (MN)
Catholic Spirit - Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis

January 25, 2020

By Maria Wiering

http://thecatholicspirit.com/news/local-news/whats-next-ramsey-countys-oversight-of-the-archdioceses-child-protection-efforts-is-ending-going-forward-leaders-say-the-church-is-ready-to-hold-itself-accountable/

A marathon with no finish line.

That’s the metaphor John Choi uses for the Church’s safe environment efforts.

Choi, the Ramsey County attorney since 2011, and his staff have been deeply involved in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis’ efforts over the past four years to improve their policies, procedures and practices around protecting children from sexual abuse.

The period of his office’s official oversight is almost over. However, Choi’s convinced that the strides taken by the archdiocese have resulted in a sustainable culture change that makes it possible for the archdiocese to continue to move in the right direction. And that includes an ever-present effort to improve what’s already been done.

“(The archdiocese has) accomplished a culture in which they’re constantly evaluating themselves in terms of the settlement agreement and the promises they’ve made and the progress that they’re undertaking,” he told The Catholic Spirit Jan. 20. “Just a lot of things have changed for the better, and it wouldn’t have changed unless we would have come to this arrangement where we came to a settlement agreement.”

That doesn’t, however, mean that everything is done, he cautioned. People should not believe “that somehow all the efforts are completed.”

87-year-old man sues Buffalo Diocese over alleged sex abuse nearly 8 decades ago

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

January 24, 2020

By Jay Tokasz

An 87-year-old Erie County man is suing the Buffalo Diocese, alleging that he was abused in the early 1940s by a Catholic priest and two nuns at a Catholic school in Silver Creek.

The man claimed in a lawsuit filed Thursday in Erie County State Supreme Court that Monsignor Edmund O’Connor and Sister Mary and Sister Veronica “engaged in unpermitted, forcible and harmful sexual contact” with him on church and school grounds, beginning when he was in third grade and continuing through eighth grade at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church and School.

The man, who is not named, is the oldest plaintiff in Western New York to file a Child Victims Act case to date. The priest he is accusing of abuse died more than 55 years ago.

The lawsuit alleges that O’Connor, Sister Mary and Sister Veronica “groomed” the plaintiff by giving him “special praise and attention, bringing him on trips, giving him ice cream and/or gifts, and other forms of compensation.” The lawsuit marks the first time O’Connor has been publicly accused of child sexual abuse. The suit did not include last names for the two nuns.

As Philadelphia’s archbishops, Chaput and Pérez may differ less in substance than style

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Inquirer

January 25, 2020

by Jeremy Roebuck and Justine McDaniel

After back-to-back mass shootings one weekend last August prompted calls for stricter gun laws, Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput publicly argued that “only a fool” would believe that gun control could deter such violence.

The people using the guns were to blame, twisted, he wrote in a pointed column, by society’s “culture of sexual anarchy, personal excess, political hatreds, intellectual dishonesty, and perverted freedoms.”

But when a gunman killed one person and injured three at a California synagogue in April, Chaput’s designated successor, Cleveland Bishop Nelson J. Pérez, applied a softer approach. He condemned the “evil act of violence” and offered prayers for “those who were injured, loving care for the person who was killed, and comfort and consolation for their families.”

The tragedies that triggered their remarks may have little to do with meaty questions of church dogma, but the manner in which both men responded might help the region’s 1.3 million Catholics see a distinction between the outgoing archbishop and the man whom Pope Francis has named as his replacement.

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That understated profile “actually says a lot about him,” said Kathleen Sprows Cummings, a scholar at the University of Notre Dame. “He’s not making hot-button issues his platform. He’s a moderate voice and who seems interested in building bridges instead of sewing divisions.”

Our new archbishop is a Philly guy - and he’s speaking our language

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Inquirer via MSN

January 24, 2020

By Mike Newall

It seems Pope Francis was paying close attention when he rolled through Philly in 2015. Maybe the Rocky theme that greeted him at the airport got stuck in his head. Maybe he thought back to it when it came time to choose our new archbishop, and thought: A town like this needs a native son.

a man holding a microphone: Bishop Nelson J. Perez, who was named to lead the Philadelphia Archdiocese, holds the crucifix that hangs around his neck. It was given to him by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, when he was first made a bishop.

And in Bishop Nelson Perez, named Thursday as the new leader of the Philadelphia Archdiocese, we get that — or pretty close to it.

The son of Cuban immigrants, he grew up in Jersey and served as a priest for two decades in the Philadelphia area, including stints in Olney and Lawncrest. It is almost certain that our new prelate has strong, long-held opinions on our sports teams, our cultural touchstones, our culinary heritage. By which I mean, he’s definitely got a favorite cheesesteak spot, and there’s something very comforting in that.

*

More comforting though, is that, in addition to speaking Philly’s language, Perez speaks Francis’ language. Literally — as one of few American bishops who can speak to the pope in his native Spanish tongue — and figuratively.

Unlike his predecessor, Archbishop Charles Chaput, a staunch conservative gifted with the ability of saying the exact wrong thing at so many times of crisis and challenge, Perez talks about the church as it should be: universal. Chaput seemed at every opportunity to draw a line in the pews: These are the beliefs. You’re either with us or against us. Perez has said that the diversity of the church is its greatest strength.

Hopefully that means us wayward Catholics, too. The ones who have watched in dismay as our current archbishop has too often kowtowed to President Trump — calling on us to support a man who has no concern for morality, or religion, or the immigrants who make up so much of Philadelphia’s church.

So, perhaps our new archbishop will walk us into the 21st century. Perez has spoken out against Trump, and he’s backed it up with actions: Directly intervening in a migrant’s deportation case with a personal call to ICE. While Chaput railed against “perverted freedoms,” Perez has confronted the president, saying the nation had lost its moral compass.

Columbus Diocese Task Force Examining Sexual Abuse Policies

COLUMBUS (OH)
Associated Press via U.S. News and World Report

January 25, 2020

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus has created a task force to examine its policies regarding the sexual abuse of minors by priests.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus has taken steps to examine its policies regarding the sexual abuse of minors with the creation of a task force, and has hired a law firm to determine whether more names should be added to a list of credibly accused priests.

The diocese in the days before Bishop Robert Brennan's installation last March released a list of 34 clergy members accused of sexual abuse. The list now includes 50 names.

Brennan said he wants to look at the issue of sexual abuse of minors by clergy with “new eyes,” The Columbus Dispatch reported.

“I need to know for my own conscience that I'm doing the best I can,” Brennan said.

In addition to examining policies, the task force has been looking at how the diocese reaches out to abuse survivors to help them heal.

A diocesan official said the task force will provide Brennan with a report outlining its recommendations this month.

New Orleans Saints go to court over Catholic Church sex abuse scandal

NEW YORK (NY)
FOXBusiness

January 25, 2020

Use of official NFL emails are targeted by attorneys for sexual abuse plantiffs

Many pro football experts thought the New Orleans Saints would be heading to the Super Bowl next week, now it appears they are heading to court instead amidst reports of the team's involvement in the Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal.

The NFL team is asking the civil district court in the Parish of Orleans to keep the public from seeing hundreds of emails that allegedly show team executives doing public relations damage control for the Archdiocese of New Orleans, In a story, first brought to light by the Associated Press Friday, attorneys for about two dozen men are suing the church and say in court filings that the 276 documents they obtained through discovery demonstrate that the NFL team, whose owner -- Gayle Benson -- is devoutly Catholic, aided the archdiocese of New Orleans in its "pattern and practice of concealing its crimes."

Late Friday, the Saints released a statement acknowledging that some of its employees including Greg Bensel, the team’s senior vice president of communications, worked with the archdiocese in 2018 as it was preparing to release a list of former priests and church officials “credibly accused” of abuse. However, the team disavowed any implications it took part in covering up any information.

Welcome for Vatican guidelines on support of children born to Catholic clergy

CORK (IRELAND)
Irish Examiner

January 23, 2020

By Noel Baker

An Irish-based organisation which offers support to children born of Catholic clergy around the world has welcomed Vatican Guidelines on the issue which it says were largely unknown up to now.

Coping International, now in its seventh year of operation, has been endorsed by the Vatican and has seen more than 100,000 individual people from 175 countries access its free mental health and advocacy service. It has estimated that there are at least 10,000 children of priests globally and has also worked alongside the Irish Catholic Bishops here on its approach to the issue.

Coping International founder, Vincent Doyle, who is also a psychotherapist, said he has now received confirmation from the Holy See that guidelines — the existence of which were first revealed last year by the New York Times — are the official template which is globally disseminated to episcopal conferences.

Pope Francis put a woman in a top Vatican role. It shows how little power Catholic women hold

NEW YORK (NY)
NBC News Think

January 21, 2020

By Celia Viggo Wexler

Failing to empower women narrows the church’s vision and makes it less equipped to be a force for good in the world.

Recently, the Catholic Church took two small steps for womankind: This month, Pope Francis named the first woman to a managerial position in the Vatican’s most important office, the Secretariat of State. And in October, the world’s bishops suggested that Francis reconvene a commission he had created, at the urging of nuns, to study the ordination of women as permanent deacons — church ministers who are able to perform some of the duties of priests, but not to say Mass or hear confessions.

Yet these reforms only make clear how little power women hold in the church, where they constitute about half of Catholicism’s 1.2 billion adherents. Not only are women barred from ordination to the priesthood, they are not even allowed to vote at Vatican synods, convened to advise the pope about challenges facing the church.

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Women, in comparison, have led the charge for action and accountability. In 1988, Barbara Blaine, who had been sexually assaulted by her parish priest, founded the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, and petitioned Catholic clergy to do more to respond to the crisis. As the scandals increased, Catholic women continued to raise alarm bells and urged that the laity be more involved in ensuring that the church protect children.

In 2014, abuse survivor Marie Collins was named to a Vatican commission on protecting minors from abuse. But in a sign of how marginalized women’s voices were, she resigned in 2017 out of frustration that Vatican bureaucrats failed to implement the group’s recommendations.

Victim-survivors share impact of clergy sexual abuse at restorative justice conference

ST. PAUL (MN)
Catholic Spirit - Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis

January 25, 2020

By Joe Ruff

For Frank Meuers, a victim-survivor of clergy sexual abuse, the impact is far-reaching and never-ending.

“It’s like a stone in a pond,” he said, “the hole disappears, but the ripple effects go on and on.”

A member of St. Joseph Parish in New Hope and director of the southwest Minnesota chapter of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, Meuers described the anger he lived with for years – and the help he received through therapy. He shared that and more as part of a five-person panel of victim-survivors at a Jan. 23 conference organized by the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

More than 60 people listened – most of them also victim-survivors on a day especially set aside for them. They nodded in recognition or teared up in empathy and understanding as Meuers and others on the panel discussed broken but healing families, difficulties forging lasting relationships and struggles with their faith.

The conference was remarkable for many reasons. It brought together victim-survivors, Church officials and Ramsey County law enforcement, including Archbishop Bernard Hebda, County Attorney John Choi and Tim O’Malley, archdiocesan director of Ministerial Standards and Safe Environment. It was one of several final steps this month toward the archdiocese satisfying terms of its settlement agreement over civil charges that the county filed in 2015 alleging the archdiocese was negligent in the case of an abusive priest.

Xavier College grapples with historical sex abuse claims

BRISBANE (AUSTRALIA)
Brisbane Times

January 26, 2020

By Samantha Hutchinson

Xavier College is grappling with the challenge of marking the death of a former principal who died suddenly in December after being named in relation to child sex abuse allegations on a controversial website run by old boys.

The prestigious Catholic boys school in Kew, which counts former Labor leader Bill Shorten and former archbishop of Melbourne Denis Hart among its alumni, is understood to be preparing an obituary for the former principal Philip Wallbridge, which will be circulated in the first newsletter of the year.

Mr Wallbridge, who resigned as principal in 1993 and went on to run the AFL’s SportsReady program for more than a decade, died by suicide in the days before Christmas, at least 18 months after his name was published on a website of alleged sex offenders at Xavier run by former students.

The school operates under the Society of Jesus in Australia, which is better known as the Australian Jesuits, and has referred all questions on the allegations and the website to Australian Jesuits.

Australian Jesuits confirmed it had cooperated with a police investigation into Mr Wallbridge last year. The organisation handed information and documents regarding the former priest and principal to police investigators.

January 25, 2020

Will Homeboy Archbishop Nelson Perez Feel Comfy with Failures In Philly?

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Catholics4Change

January 24, 2020

By Susan Matthews

Pope Francis announced Archbishop Nelson Perez as the next leader of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. It’s a homecoming of sorts. After graduating St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in 1989, Perez was ordained by Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua.

Bienvenido a casa

During my time at The Catholic Standard and Times, the archdiocesan newspaper, Perez served as the first director of the Catholic Institute for Evangelization. Bevilacqua created the institute as a public relations bandaid for the wounds inflicted on the Hispanic community after he closed St. Henry’s Parish in North Philadelphia. There was outcry over removing the Catholic presence in a community where it was arguably needed most.

Perez was tasked with outreach to balance out the abandonment. Then the newspaper was told to cover it. Bevilacqua had his PR consultants review and edit out any negative quotes before we went to press.

While every effort in his role may have been genuine and helpful to the faithful, Perez was a pawn. He was ordained into a clerical culture of power, greed, hypocrisy, manipulation and well-documented secrecy. The clergy sex abuse coverup was in full swing. Memos were shredded, priests were shuffled and victims were silenced. What did Perez know and ignore? Did he merely survive and manage to thrive in spite of it?

Investigation of Bishop DiMarzio Follows Accountability Guidelines; Secular News Leaves Out Context and Facts in Reports

BROOKLYN (NY)
The Tablet - Diocese of Brooklyn

January 23, 2020

By Christopher White

https://thetablet.org/investigation-of-bishop-dimarzio-follows-accountability-guidelines-secular-news-leaves-out-context-and-facts-in-reports/

Under the new protocols for bishop accountability, Cardinal Timothy Dolan will formally conduct an investigation into an allegation against Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio that he abused an altar boy nearly 50 years ago.

Bishop DiMarzio has consistently denied the allegation and said he looks forward to “having his good name cleared and restored.”

The New York Post on Jan. 18 first reported that Cardinal Dolan was “ordered” to investigate Bishop DiMarzio. The Post’s report, however, didn’t mention that this is part of a standard process for any U.S. bishop facing an allegation of abuse.

Under the Vatican guidelines of “Vos estis lux mundi,” which were initially issued last May, Cardinal Dolan, as the metropolitan archbishop of New York, is responsible for carrying out the investigation initiated by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF).

Not Quite Breaking News

BROOKLYN (NY)
The Tablet - Diocese of Brooklyn

January 22, 2020

By Jorge I. Dominguez-Lopez

The New York Post’s headline on Jan. 18, “Vatican Orders Cardinal Dolan to Probe Bishop DiMarzio Sex Abuse Allegation,” immediately caught my attention.

I spotted how the story was lacking context and omitted important facts that would give readers a clear picture of what is going on. Unfortunately, other news publications picked up the Post’s story, also leaving out the important details.

As you may have read on page six of this edition of The Tablet, Christopher White’s article adds clarity for Catholic readers. I don’t expect the secular press to have deep knowledge of every protocol and rule of the Catholic Church, but the facts are the facts. All too often, today’s media is too quick to report stories, without doing the necessary research and fact-checking.

The Post’s headline leads the reader to believe that the Vatican made a spontaneous decision to have Cardinal Dolan investigate an allegation against Bishop DiMarzio. That is not true. Under rules set forth by Pope Francis in his apostolic letter “Vos estis lux mundi” last May, metropolitan bishops are in charge of investigating allegations against bishops in their suffragan dioceses. What is taking place is part of a protocol that had already been established.

On the other hand, and to be fair, the Post article does include Bishop DiMarzio’s comments on the original allegation: “In my nearly 50-year ministry as a priest, I have never engaged in unlawful or inappropriate behavior and I categorically deny this allegation […] I am confident I will be fully vindicated.”

Editorial: Dolan investigating DiMarzio points up flaws of 'Vos Estis'

KANSAS CITY (MO)
National Catholic Reporter

January 24, 2020

We have long held unabashed admiration for Pope Francis. But events keep raising issues about the shortcomings of Vos Estis Lux Mundi, his signature intervention to address the church's sex abuse crisis.

Latest case in point: According to press reports and statements from the dioceses involved, New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, under Vos Estis provisions, is investigating Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, his neighbor across the East River.

DiMarzio has been publicly accused of sexual abuse of a minor dating back 45 years to a parish in Jersey City, when he was a priest in the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey. DiMarzio has adamantly denied the charge. He has won a reputation as a no-nonsense responder to sex abuse issues both in Brooklyn and in the Diocese of Camden, New Jersey, where he previously served. DiMarzio should earn the presumption of innocence. And it's proper to keep in mind that while a lawsuit has been threatened, as of this writing it has not been filed.

Yet for ecclesial purposes, for the confidence of the people of God in New York and beyond, the serious charges cry out for an investigation. Our problem is with making Dolan responsible for leading an inquiry.

Priest who knew of sexual affair in Dallas diocese says he didn’t plan to report it

FORT WORTH (TX)
Fort Worth Star-Telegram

January 23, 2020

By Nichole Manna

The priest at the center of a small uprising within the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth admitted that he never planned to report knowledge he had of a sexual relationship between a Dallas-area priest and a church employee, according to court documents obtained by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Furthermore, he admitted to joking with a supporter about putting a hit out on Bishop Michael Olson to have his knees broken, according to the documents.

The Rev. Richard Kirkham left the diocese in June 2018 after writing that he was “reluctantly” resigning. He later retained an attorney and moved to rescind his resignation. Olson declined to reinstate the priest. Kirkham has appealed his resignation with the Vatican.

In the year and a half since the resignation, about 1,500 parishioners who represent 20 parishes petitioned to the Vatican to remove Olson. Though Kirkham’s resignation from St. Martin de Porres in Prosper is a small part of the reason they seek Olson’s removal, Kirkham leaving is what sparked the group to step up.

Vatican women’s magazine blames drop in nuns on abuses

VATICAN CITY
Associated Press

January 23, 2020

By Nicole Winfield

The Vatican women’s magazine is blaming the drastic drop in the number of nuns worldwide in part on their wretched working conditions and the sexual abuse and abuses of power they suffer at the hands of priests and their own superiors.

“Women Church World” dedicated its February issue to the burnout, trauma and exploitation experienced by religious sisters and how the church is realizing it must change its ways if it wants to attract new vocations.

The magazine published Thursday revealed that Pope Francis had authorized the creation of a special home in Rome for nuns who were kicked out of their orders and all but left on the street, some forced into prostitution to survive.

“There are some really tough cases, in which the superiors withheld the identity documents of the sisters who wanted to leave the convent, or who were kicked out,” the head of the Vatican’s religious orders congregation, Cardinal Joao Braz di Aviz, told the magazine.

Buffalo Diocese priest who just returned to duty faces new allegations

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

January 24, 2020

By Dan Herbeck

A second allegation of sexual abuse of a child has been filed against a Catholic priest who was recently returned to ministry by the Buffalo Diocese after it ruled a prior complaint was unsubstantiated.

The diocese allowed the Rev. Paul M. Nogaro to resume practicing as a priest on Jan. 17, after saying it was unable to substantiate the allegations made against him in a Child Victims Act lawsuit last August that accused him of molesting a child about 50 years ago.

On Thursday, Nogaro was accused in a second lawsuit, by a man who alleged Nogaro molested him when he was 10 to 12 years old. The lawsuit claims the alleged abuse occurred in the 1990s, when Nogaro was assigned to St. Gregory the Great Church in Williamsville.

Paul K. Barr, the attorney for both of the men who accused Nogaro, said he believes the diocese has made “a big mistake” by allowing Nogaro to return to his duties as a priest.

“They’ve done this before and it’s gotten them into trouble – restoring a priest to duty after he’s been accused,” Barr said.

Catholic church attempts to stop one of its own priests from suing it for child abuse

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Guardian

January 24, 2020

By Christopher Knaus

Lismore diocese plans to seek permanent stay in court to stop priest suing for abuse he suffered while a 12-year-old altar boy

The Catholic church is attempting to stop one of its own priests from suing it for child abuse because he took too long to come forward, prompting criticism that it has learned nothing from the royal commission.

The Lismore diocese plans to seek a permanent stay in the New South Wales supreme court to prevent one of its priests from suing for abuse he suffered as a 12-year-old altar boy.

Court documents allege the altar boy was abused in the 1960s by Clarence “David” Anderson, a now-dead priest. The abuse is said to have occurred at a church on the north coast of New South Wales, which sat on the grounds of a boarding school.

Anderson was a priest and religious teacher and the boy was a boarder. On one occasion, the accuser alleges he was abused in the sacristy of the church, where he had been the altar boy, following morning mass.

The Catholic church is defending the claim and last week wrote to the plaintiff’s lawyer, Mark Barrow of Ken Cush and Associates, demanding the priest drop the case by 6 February, warning it will pursue him for legal costs if he doesn’t.

NFL’s Saints fight to shield emails in Catholic abuse crisis

ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS (NJ)
CNBC

January 24, 2020

New Orleans - The New Orleans Saints are going to court to keep the public from seeing hundreds of emails that allegedly show team executives doing public relations damage control for the area’s Roman Catholic archdiocese to help it contain the fallout from a burgeoning sexual abuse crisis.

Attorneys for about two dozen men suing the church say in court filings that the 276 documents they obtained through discovery show that the NFL team, whose owner is devoutly Catholic, aided the Archdiocese of New Orleans in its “pattern and practice of concealing its crimes.”

“Obviously, the Saints should not be in the business of assisting the Archdiocese, and the Saints’ public relations team is not in the business of managing the public relations of criminals engaged in pedophilia,” the attorneys wrote in a court filing. “The Saints realize that if the documents at issue are made public, this professional sports organization also will be smearing itself.”

Saints attorneys, in court papers, disputed any suggestion that the team helped the church cover up crimes, calling such claims “outrageous.” They further said that the emails, exchanged in 2018 and 2019, were intended to be private and should not be “fodder for the public.” The archdiocese is also fighting the release of the emails.

Victim group blasts New Orleans Saints for helping Catholic Church with PR on clergy sex abuse

ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS (NJ)
CNBC

January 24, 2020

By Dan Mangan

New Orleans - Lawyers say they want the New Orleans Saints and its spokesman to testify about that football team’s public relations assistance to the Archdiocese of New Orleans regarding clergy sexual abuse cases, court documents reveal.

The lawyers represent a man who is suing the archdiocese on claims he was sexually abused as a boy by a Catholic lay minister.

The Saints said in a statement Friday that the NFL team provided the PR help to the Catholic archdiocese after being asked for assistance by church officials.

Statement from the New Orleans Saints

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
New Orleans Saints

January 24, 2020

While there is current litigation relative to the New Orleans Archdiocese and clergy sex abuse, our comments are limited only to the scope of our involvement. The New Orleans Saints organization has always had a very strong relationship with the Archdiocese. The Archdiocese reached out to a number of community and civic minded leaders seeking counsel on handling the pending media attention that would come with the release of the clergy names in November of 2018. Greg Bensel, Senior Vice President of Communications for the New Orleans Saints, was contacted and offered input on how to work with the media. The advice was simple and never wavering. Be direct, open and fully transparent, while making sure that all law enforcement agencies were alerted. The New Orleans Saints, Greg Bensel and Mrs. Gayle Benson were and remain offended, disappointed and repulsed by the actions of certain past clergy. We remain steadfast in support of the victims who have suffered and pray for their continued healing.

Further, the Saints have no interest in concealing information from the press or public. At the current discovery stage in the case of Doe v. Archdiocese, the Saints, through their counsel, have merely requested the court to apply the normal rules of civil discovery to the documents that the Saints produced and delivered to Mr. Doe's counsel. Until the documents are admitted into evidence at a public trial or hearing in the context of relevant testimony by persons having knowledge of the documents and the events to which they pertain, the use of the documents should be limited to the parties to the case and their attorneys. If admitted into evidence of the case, the documents and the testimony pertaining to them will become part of the public record of the trial of the case.

Men suing Archdiocese say Saints helped cover-up crimes

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
4 WWL CBS

January 24, 2020

By Paul Murphy

The plaintiffs are now asking a judge to release hundreds of emails between the Archdiocese and the Saints.

The Saints are trying to keep private emails between team officials and the Archdiocese of New Orleans.

In a story first reported by the Associated Press, attorneys for men now suing the Archdiocese claim the Saints helped the church cover-up crimes.

They said Saints staffers, including Senior Vice President of Communications Greg Bensel, used their team email to advise church officials on “messaging” and how to soften the impact of the archdiocese’s release of a list of clergy members “credibly accused” of sexual abuse.

The plaintiffs are now asking a judge to release hundreds of emails between the Archdiocese and the Saints.

Kevin Bourgeois reached a settlement with the Archdiocese last April.

He claims a priest abused him in high school.

Bishops narrowly approve USCCB rate hike for 2021

DENVER (CO)
Catholic News Agency via Angelus News

January 10, 2020

The bishops of the United States have narrowly approved an increase on the amount dioceses must contribute to the national bishops’ conference. The measure initially failed to pass when put to a vote during their November 2019 meeting and additional votes had to be collected by mail to ensure the measure passed.

On the first day of their November meeting last year, the bishops voted in favor of a three percent rise in the amount each diocese in the country is required to contribute for the funding of the USCCB, based in Washington, DC, for the year 2021. But the vote of 111 to 55 in favor failed to receive the necessary two-thirds majority to pass.

The conference leadership ruled the vote “inconclusive” and determined to send additional postal ballots to bishops not present at the meeting. Two months after the initial vote in Baltimore, the measure passed with a final tally of 130 in favor, 62 against, and three abstentions.

Pope Francis Says Goodbye To Charles Chaput, Former Denver Archbishop

CENTENNIAL (CO)
Colorado Public Radio

January 25, 2020

By Hayley Sanchez

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput, who held the same post in Denver almost a decade ago.

Chaput led Denver churches from 1997 to 2011. He was an outspoken bishop on matters both political and cultural and played a role in addressing some clergy sex abuse allegations both in Colorado and Philadelphia. He helped Philadelphia’s archdiocese after it dealt with its own series of allegations. But Chaput’s poor handling of allegations in Colorado also garnered criticism.

In 2007, allegations of sexual abuse involving Rev. Kent Drotar, a leader at St. John Vianney Theological Seminary, came up. Drotar was sent to therapy for a few months but was reassigned to another parish with a school.

Chaput was confronted about the assignment and said he had documentation from the therapist that Drotar was fit to serve in a parish. After a victim of Drotar’s abuse, Stephen Szutenbach, confronted him, Chaput put together a conduct response team that removed Drotar from the parish within weeks.

Szutenbach said the only new information he gave Chaput during their meeting was that he threatened to go to the media if something wasn’t done.

“The reaction of Archbishop Charles to protect himself and his reputation and the seminary’s reputation is a complete act of clericalism,” Szutenbach told CPR News in 2018.

Archbishop Charles Chaput: America’s Least Conservative Bishop

IRONDALE (AL)
National Catholic Register

By Father Raymond J. de Souza

For more than 30 years, Archbishop Chaput has been a model of creativity and collaboration in preaching and preserving the Gospel.

The news was reported this week as one voice. Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia, a “conservative” — sometimes styled a “prominent conservative” or “archconservative” — was retiring after having reached the age of 75.

This paper has already profiled the remarkable three decades that Archbishop Chaput ministered in Rapid City, Denver and Philadelphia. Yet the term “conservative” bears examination. Does it apply to Chaput?

The New York Times characterized Chaput as a “theological and political conservative.”

The first may well apply, as it is commonly used. For example, Chaput would interpret Amoris Laetitia in continuity with St. John Paul II’s encyclical on the moral life, Veritatis Splendor. Pope Francis wrote Amoris Laetitia as if Veritatis Splendor was never written; there is no mention of it whatsoever, despite the nearly 400 footnotes. Does that mean that Chaput is conservative and the Holy Father is liberal?

Guam’s Archbishop Byrnes receives pallium in special ceremony during Mass

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Catholic News Service via Catholic Philly

January 23, 2020

Hagatna, Guam - In an investiture ceremony Jan. 19, Tanzanian Archbishop Novatus Rugambwa, apostolic delegate to the countries of the Pacific Ocean, conferred the pallium on Archbishop Michael J. Byrnes of Agana.

The ceremony took place during Mass at Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica in Hagatna.

Archbishop Byrnes originally received the pallium from Pope Francis at the Vatican last June during the annual pallium Mass celebrated in St. Peter’s Basilica.

The Guam prelate was among 30 newly named archbishops from throughout the world who traveled to Rome to concelebrate the Mass, with Pope Francis presiding. The pope blessed the palliums, which were then to be conferred on the archbishops in their respective dioceses.

*

Archbishop Byrnes was an auxiliary bishop of Detroit when Pope Francis sent him to Guam in October 2016 as the coadjutor bishop with special powers in the midst of accusations of sexual abuse and financial mismanagement against Guam Archbishop Anthony Apuron.

The former Archbishop Apuron was later found guilty of abuse against minors by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. On April 4, 2019, the congregation rejected his appeal and upheld its guilty judgment — and fully affirmed Archbishop Byrnes’ leadership as the shepherd of the Catholic faithful on Guam and the metropolitan archbishop of Agana.

Theological Drift: Benedict’s Estrangement from Ratzinger

NEW YORK (NY)
Commonweal

January 23, 2020

By Massimo Faggioli

The publication of From the Depths of Our Hearts, Cardinal Robert Sarah’s book on clerical celibacy “co-authored” with Pope Benedict XVI, illustrates once more the problem with the institution of the emeritus papacy as it’s currently functioning. Much has already been said about this aspect of the latest controversy, but less about what Benedict’s contribution to the book signifies in terms of his continued revisionist thinking on Vatican II, where he played a significant role as a theological expert. Italian theologian Andrea Grillo has astutely remarked that “Benedict is one of the fathers of Vatican II, but full of remorse.” Indeed, the defense of clerical celibacy put forth in From the Depths of Our Hearts is built on a view of Scripture, liturgy, and the church that makes no reference whatsoever to the documents of Vatican II.

Of course, it’s hard to know at this point just how direct a hand the “pope emeritus” has had in the writing that has appeared under his name in the past year (including his musings on the genesis of the abuse crisis last April). Nevertheless, it fits within a pattern of theological drift dating back much farther than Francis’s papacy. Some see signs of Ratzinger distancing himself from the council as early as August 1965, while Vatican II was still underway and the pastoral constitution Gaudium et spes was taking shape. Others date it to the student protest movement in Germany in 1968 and 1969, when he was teaching at Tübingen before moving to the quieter University of Regensburg in Bavaria. The German national synod of 1972–1975 seems to have contributed to his disillusionment.

Float linking Archbishop to child abuse will not be allowed to take part in Carnival

MALTA
Independent

January 23, 2020

https://www.independent.com.mt/articles/2020-01-23/local-news/Carnival-float-linking-Archbishop-Church-home-to-child-abuse-draws-widespread-condemnation-6736218779

A Carnival float linking Archbishop Charles Scicluna and a Church home to child abuse has drawn widespread condemnation, and will not be allowed to participate in Carnival, reports read

The float features the Archbishop, flanked by two babies with devil's horns and pointy teeth, in front of St Joseph children's home, with the writing 'Jude's hell.' Jude is Archbishop Scicluna's middle name.

The Facebook post was accompanied by the following text: 'Carnival 2020 loading ... Let the children come to me ... shhh don't tell them anything."

Lovin Malta reports that Minister for National Heritage, Arts and Local Government, José Herrera confirmed that Festivals Malta will be communicating with the float owner, and it will be prevented from participating.

Archbishop Scicluna earlier in the day told Times of Malta that, while he is not against satire, the float is "highly inappropriate", especially for an event attended by children.

Fr Louis Mallia MSSP, who runs St Joseph Home, said he was concerned by the reaction children could have if the float is paraded through Valletta next month. He invited the float builders to visit the children's home, to see that the real situation was very different from that depicted in the float.

Banned ‘child abuse’ float minimised gravity of the crime, social workers say

MALTA
Malta Today

January 24, 2020

By Matthew Vella

Social workers say banned carnival float was homophobic and minimised gravity of crime of child abuse with gratuitous links to Vatican prosecutor of sex abuse cases

The Maltese Association of Social Workers has said a carnival float linking Archbishop Charles Scicluna to the historic St Joseph Home child abuse saga was likely to cause distress to the home’s residents by depicting it as unsafe.

The carnival float was banned for participation in the Maltese carnival defilé by the minister culture for juxtaposing the Catholic archbishop with two-horned cherubs and the name ‘St Joseph Home’, as well as inserting an LGBTQI rainbow in the pastiche.

The St Joseph Home was the site of repeated child abuse of orphans who resided there in the 1980s until police investigated the case in 2003. In 2011, Carmelo Pulis, then 69, and Godwin Scerri, then 78, were defrocked and jailed for five and six years respectively after a court found them guilty of sexually abusing ten boys in their care in the 1980s.

The home still houses orphaned residents.

But even Lawrence Grech, one of the survivors who has been repeatedly denied compensation from Scicluna’s archdiocese, yesterday insisted the carnival float should not be banned.

Editorial: Carnival float - In bad taste

MALTA
The Malta Independent

January 25, 2020

A float linking Archbisop Charles Scicluna and a Church home to child abuse, caused a whole uproar this past week, with many arguing that it is in bad taste.

The float features the Archbishop, flanked by two babies with devil's horns and pointy teeth, in front of St Joseph children's home, with the writing 'Jude's hell.' Jude is Archbishop Scicluna's middle name. The float also contains a wedding cake with two men holding hands.

Festivals Malta took a decision to ban the float in its current form, and in this newsroom’s opinion this was the right move. While Freedom of Expression is of course sacred, there are defamatory considerations which must also be made. Archbishop Scicluna is a man who has spearheaded the fight against child abuse in the church, and depicting in such a way can be seen as linking the Archbishop to such abuse.

Scicluna is considered to be the Vatican’s main investigator into priestly sexual abuses, with the Maltese Archbishop being sent to countries like Chile and Poland to deal with such cases. He also led a Vatican summit which was aimed to draw up guidelines for the church to tackle this subject.

January 24, 2020

Hurry up and wait: Lawyers, survivors see little motion on early CVA cases

ALBANY (NY)
Times Union

January 23, 2020

By Cayla Harris

Six months after the Child Victims Act went into effect, survivors and lawyers say hundreds of lawsuits have stalled in the pre-trial discovery stages.

In August, the act opened a one-year look-back period temporarily eliminating the civil statute of limitations on child sex abuse cases, allowing survivors of all ages to lodge lawsuits against their alleged offenders. The first filing day, Aug. 14, saw more than 400 lawsuits – and there have been about 1,000 more statewide in the months since.

But as attorneys await evidence from defendants, several cases have reached an impasse, leaving survivors waiting far after the closure of the look-back window to take their cases to trial or pursue settlements. Only a handful of cases have been settled, and the earliest trials are expected to take place in 2021 – but some have been scheduled as far as out 2023, attorneys said.

"We hear mostly from clients – in any case – it’s a longer process than a person who’s not in the legal system expects or wants," said Jennifer Freeman, an attorney with Marsh Law Firm, which has offices in Manhattan and White Plains. "You think you can go to trial in a few months, and it just doesn’t work like that."

New Orleans Saints Allegedly Gave Catholic Diocese PR Help Amid Sex Abuse Crisis

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
Bleacher Report

January 24, 2020

By Adam Wells

A court-appointed special master will hear arguments from the New Orleans Saints to prevent the release of emails from team executives that reportedly show them offering public relations help to the city's Roman Catholic archdiocese as it dealt with multiple allegations of sexual abuse against its clergy members.

Per Jim Mustian of the Associated Press on Friday, attorneys for the 12 plaintiffs in the lawsuit found through discovery that the Saints "aided the Archdiocese of New Orleans in its 'pattern and practice of concealing its crimes.'"

A full list of Saints executives involved wasn't listed, but the team's senior vice president of communications Greg Bensel was mentioned. "Multiple" team personnel were also said to have used their team-affiliated email addresses to advise church officials about their messaging and "how to soften the impact of the archdiocese’s release of a list of clergy members 'credibly accused' of sexual abuse."

Violence, Gaslighting and Flying Monkeys: How Abusers Manipulate their Communities

UNITED STATES
Patheos

January 23, 2020

By Mary Pezzulo

I want to say a few words about gaslighting, and about how abusive people manipulate their communities.

The other day on Facebook, I met a woman who has been the victim of some extreme domestic violence. For the record she’s not the same domestic violence survivor as the one we all helped with a gift registry in December; this is a new friend of mine. She’s told her own story publicly for the very first time this week. It’s extremely graphic and horrifying, and she promises there’s a lot more that she’s left unsaid which she’ll reveal later. But what there is now is terrible enough. You can see it yourself on facebook, complete with a picture of her burned arm.

Former priest pleads no contest to indecent exposure

BAD AXE (MI)
Huron Daily Tribune

January 23, 2020

By Scott Nunn

Ventline scheduled for sentencing Feb. 6

Former priest and Port Austin resident Lawrence Ventline, 70, pleaded no contest to indecent exposure Jan. 15.

Ventline had been charged following a complaint made by an area business that he had exposed himself. He was scheduled for jury trial Jan. 28.

According to Huron County Prosecutor Timothy Rutkowski, the complainant stated that Ventline walked around the business for approximately 10 minutes exposing himself. Rutkowski said he had a video clip of the incident from the surveillance that was about 30 seconds in duration. In his statements to the police Ventline alleged the exposure was due to a medical issue.

SNAP Points Out Fatal Flaw in Church-Run Investigations

UNITED STATES
SNAP

January 22, 2020

Catholic officials in Rome have opened an abuse investigation into a New York prelate who three months ago they had selected to lead an abuse investigation of his own. This situation is a clear example of the need for external, secular investigations instead of church-run ones.

Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio was accused of abuse in a lawsuit filed in November of last year, alleging that he had abused a boy while he was a priest in Jersey City. That accusation came after Bishop DiMarzio had been tapped by Vatican officials to lead an investigation into Bishop Richard Malone, the former head of the Diocese of Buffalo who resigned in December in disgrace.

The fact that a Bishop accused of abuse was the man investigating another Bishop’s cover-up abuse is a clear example of why internal, church-run investigations cannot be counted on to get to the bottom of clergy abuse crimes and cover-ups. Too many prelates – as many as 130 sitting bishops, according to a Boston Globe and Philadelphia Inquirer investigation – have been accused of mishandling abuse allegations or being abusers themselves for internal investigations to have any merit. There is an obvious need for oversight and investigations to come from external, secular sources.

Nelson Perez Named as New Archbishop in Philadelphia, SNAP Responds

UNITED STATES
SNAP

January 23, 2020

Philadelphia has a new Archbishop, a man who is tasked with the tall order of bringing transparency and openness to an archdiocese that has long taken an antagonistic position towards survivors of clergy abuse.

Nelson Perez, the former Bishop of Cleveland, has been elevated to the Archbishop of Philadelphia by Pope Francis. He replaces Archbishop Charles Chaput, a man whose signature achievements included actively fighting against legislation that would benefit survivors and wantonly ignoring the church’s zero tolerance policy for priests accused of abuse.

Archbishop Perez has a lot of work in front of him. We have concerns that, as a product of St. Charles Seminary in Philadelphia and as one who knows how the Archdiocese of Philadelphia has repeatedly failed victims, he may adopt a “business as usual” approach. We hope for the complete opposite and that we see Archbishop Perez be true to his motto, "trust and hope," two things that survivors in Philadelphia have long found wanting in their Catholic leadership. The archbishop has the opportunity to, as he said many times in Cleveland, "do the right thing."

Another Priest Added to Oklahoma City’s List of Abusive Clerics

UNITED STATES
SNAP

January 22, 2020

Another priest has been added to the Oklahoma City Archdiocese’s list of abusers. We call on Catholic officials to do outreach in every community where this priest worked to encourage other possible victims to come forward and make a report.

The case of Fr. Martin Leven is another example of the Church’s playbook to avoid scandal and minimize abuse allegations. Fr. Leven was first accused of abuse in 1993 and was sent to a church-run treatment facility in 1995. However, since the archdiocesan list does not include assignment dates or additional information on the allegation, we are unclear as to when the abuse was alleged to have occurred, only where.

The treatment facility found the allegation “possible.” Their recommendation was that the priest have no unsupervised contact with minors and seek intensive outpatient psychotherapy. Fr. Leven was then returned to parish ministry with the instruction that he “not be permitted to have ministerial contact with minors unless other adults are present.”

We do not know whether that instruction was actually enforced, or who was in charge of supervising its implementation. We do know that a recommendation is not enough to protect children from abuse, and that a second allegation of abuse by the priest, apparently from the same time period as the first, has also been “substantiated.” We are not told when the archdiocese received the second allegation, but Fr. Leven remained in parish ministry until 1999, in hospital ministry until 2013, and only had his faculties removed this year.

Multiple child sex abuse lawsuits filed against Catholic Diocese of San Diego

ENCINITAS (CA)
The Coast News

January 23, 2020

By Tawny McCray

Alleged victims of childhood sexual abuse by now-deceased priests who operated throughout San Diego County, including in Encinitas, are looking for a little bit of closure as they pursue legal action against the Catholic Diocese of San Diego.

Six lawsuits were filed Jan. 2 against the Diocese and numerous local parishes on behalf of the 20 alleged victims — 14 of them male and six of them female.

The suits allege that the abuse took place in the 1960s and 70s and involves accusations of priests engaging in inappropriate behavior with minors that includes touching, fondling and massaging; kissing; oral copulation; masturbation; and simulated anal intercourse.

The victims were previously unable to pursue legal action against the Diocese, but recently enacted AB 218 expands the statute of limitations and opened a three-year window, starting this year, for victims to file suit.

Attorney Irwin Zalkin, whose office filed the six lawsuits, said his clients are seeking some sort of monetary compensation for the harm that’s been done.

“For these victims they’ve lived a life of incredibly difficult emotional distress, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxieties, depression, difficulties in relationships, and substance abuse,” Zalkin said Jan. 20. “The impact of child sexual abuse is devastating, it’s lifelong and it really derails the normal development of a human being.”

Alleged victim of sex abuse by North Jersey priest breaks silence, sues Archdiocese of Newark

WOODLAND PARK (NJ)
NorthJersey.com

January 23, 2020

By Kaitlyn Kanzler

https://www.northjersey.com/story/news/essex/verona-cedar-grove/2020/01/23/newark-archdiocese-sued-victim-alleged-sex-abuse-verona-priest/4540653002/

Chris Rodgers is no longer a man of faith.

After struggling for years just to get up each morning after allegedly being sexual abused by a man he trusted, Rodgers' faith is limited to believing there is a spiritual side to things.

Rodgers, who now lives in New York, is among the latest to file suit against the Catholic Church after New Jersey extended its civil statute of limitations on Dec. 1, allowing survivors a two-year window to bring a sex abuse case. Rodgers filed his suit against the Archdiocese of Newark for alleged sexual abuse by the Rev. Eugene Heyndricks, a former priest at Our Lady of the Lake in Verona.

Heyndricks, who died in 2007, was already on the list of credibly accused priests that the Archdiocese of Newark released last year. Heyndricks was placed on administrative leave in the early 2000s after he was caught in a police sting in Montreal soliciting an underage male prostitute. He pleaded guilty to the charges and was sentenced to two years of unsupervised probation.

Former Catholic priest pleads no contest to indecent exposure in Michigan’s Thumb

GRAND RAPIDS (MI)
M Live

January 23, 2020

By Cole Waterman

Bad Axe MI - A former Catholic priest has pleaded no contest to a criminal charge stemming from him exposing himself in public.

Lawrence M. Ventline, 70, on Jan. 15 appeared in Huron County District Court and pleaded no contest to the lone count he faced, that of indecent exposure. The charge is a one-year misdemeanor.

Huron County Prosecutor Timothy J. Rutkowski said his office had surveillance video footage recorded the morning of Aug. 26 showing Ventline inside Murphy’s Bakery, 110 W. Huron Ave. in Bad Axe, with his privates exposed.

In pleading no contest as opposed to guilty, Ventline did not admit to having committed a crime. The presiding judge relied on court documents to enter a conviction on the record.

Dioceses come under scrutiny as they change legal structures

DENVER (CO)
Crux

January 23, 2020

By Jack Lyons

South Bend IN - As dioceses across the country continue to face multi-million dollar payouts related to clerical sex abuse, some bishops have relied on advice from lawyers to reconfigure the property of their dioceses into charitable trusts.

The practice - which has been implemented by several dioceses after the clerical sex abuse revelations of the early 2000s - creates significantly different outcomes for dioceses and abuse victims in the case of bankruptcies.

Critics say the moves shield assets that could be paid to victims of clerical abuse and may even be illegal. However, Church officials defend the practice, saying their actions were intended to better align the dioceses’ corporate status with canon law. Other dioceses say they acted to ensure the long-term viability of the Church.

In the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis’s bankruptcy, which was resolved in 2016, the archdiocese calculated its assets at $45 million, while advocates for abuse victims argued that other church entities brought the sum up to $1.7 billion. That means individual victims could receive tens of thousands of dollars more in a bankruptcy settlement depending on how courts define the assets of the archdiocese.

Pope Francis Replaces Conservative Archbishop of Philadelphia

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Times

January 23, 2020

By Elizabeth Dias and Jason Horowitz

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, who was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI in 2011, has long been known as a theological and political conservative, often at odds with Pope Francis.

Washington - Pope Francis, facing growing conservative opposition to his papacy from Catholics in the United States, on Thursday replaced the popular archbishop of Philadelphia, one of his most prominent critics and a prelate admired by church traditionalists.

Pope Francis announced in a statement that he had accepted the resignation of Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia, who had reached retirement age, and that he would elevate Bishop Nelson J. Perez of Cleveland, a Cuban-American born in Miami and relative newcomer to the national scene, to the role.

The move is a sign that the pope, who has installed key allies in Chicago and Newark, is still intent on changing the ideological direction of the American church by setting a new tone in one of its most traditionalist dioceses.

Though Archbishop Chaput will move to an emeritus role, he plans to maintain an active speaking presence around the country. That means he will almost certainly remain influential as a prominent conservative thought leader in the church.

*
[Perez] also acknowledged the complexities of his new assignment, apologizing directly to victims of clergy sexual abuse, and he addressed Hispanic Catholics, at times in Spanish, raising concerns about anti-immigrant sentiment in the United States.

*
Archbishop Chaput was also a firm administrator, tapped to reform a region in financial and spiritual disarray after extensive allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy in the area. A county grand jury in 2005 reported that leaders of the Philadelphia archdiocese, including two cardinals, had covered up extensive sexual abuse of minors.

A second grand jury in 2011 accused the archdiocese of not stopping the abuse, and Pope Benedict appointed Archbishop Chaput to lead the archdiocese about five months later.

Archbishop Chaput removed priests accused of abuse, closed 49 schools and sold the archbishop’s mansion for $10 million as part of a plan to reduce the operating budget deficit.

9 Catholic priests, 1 church employee within Fall River Diocese accused of sexually abusing children decades ago, attorney says

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
MassLive

January 23, 2020

By Jackson Cote

https://www.masslive.com/news/2020/01/9-catholic-priests-1-church-employee-within-fall-river-diocese-accused-of-sexually-abusing-children-decades-ago-attorney-says.html

Nine Catholic priests and one church employee within the Diocese of Fall River were accused of child sexual abuse, an attorney announced this week.

The 10 men allegedly sexually abused at least one minor during a span of nearly 40 years, from 1947 to 1986, attorney Mitchell Garabedian said in a statement.

The diocese announced Sunday that two other retired Catholic priests, James F. Buckley and Edward J. Byington, were suspended from the ministry over allegations of child sexual abuse committed decades ago.

“I believe that the Catholic Church, although saying the right things, has not made meaningful changes to protect children and help victims try to heal,” said Garabedian, who is representing one of Byington’s alleged victims.

Roving activist calls on Fall River Diocese to release list of accused priests

PROVIDENCE (RI)
WPRI

January 21, 2020

By Bill Tomison and Kim Kalunian

Fall River MA - Dr. Robert Hoatson drove up to Massachusetts from New Jersey with one goal: demand the Diocese of Fall River release a list of clergy members who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse against minors.

Hoatson is the president of Road to Recovery, a group for sexual abuse survivors. On Tuesday, he stood outside the Diocese’s Chancery Office and held a sign reading, “Bp. da Cunha release abusive clergy list.”

“We think it is outrageous that victims in Fall River are continuing to live with the fact that secrecy continues and cover-up continues,” he said. “The longer that Bishop da Cunha does not release the list of abusive clergy in this Diocese, the less safe children are and the more revictimized victims are.”

Hoatson is a former priest and has been running Road to Recovery since 2003. He said he served with Bishop Edgar da Cunha in the Archdiocese of Newark.

Columbus bishop creates task force, hires attorney to tackle abuse allegations

COLUMBUS (OH)
The Columbus Dispatch

January 24, 2020

By Danae King

Bishop Robert Brennan, of the Diocese of Columbus, has started a task force to look into diocesan policies regarding sexual abuse of minors by priests. The diocese has also hired a local law firm to look into its records and see if more priests should be added to a list of 50 clergy members who have been accused thus far.

Columbus Bishop Robert Brennan says he wants to look at the sexual abuse of minors by clergy members with “new eyes.”

Since being installed as the 12th bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus in March 2019, Brennan has started establishing what he calls a baseline of knowledge about the topic.

Brennan said he has hired a law firm to audit diocesan files to see whether more priests should be added to a list of clergy members accused of child sexual abuse that was released on March 1, 2019. He also has started a task force to examine diocesan policies related to sexual abuse and how the diocese reaches out to survivors to help them heal.

Strongsville priest facing child pornography charges in two counties pleads not guilty

CLEVELAND (OH)
Cleveland.com and The Plain Dealer

January 22, 2020

By Cory Shaffer

A Strongsville Catholic priest pleaded not guilty Wednesday in Cuyahoga County court to a 21-count indictment that charged him with possessing child pornography.

The Rev. Robert McWilliams, who is also charged with possessing child pornography in Geauga County, made his first court appearance since a grand jury last week handed up the indictment.

Common Pleas Court Judge Shannon Gallagher continued McWilliams’ original bond of 10 percent of $50,000.

McWilliams is also under a $150,000 bond that a Chardon Municipal Court judge set at his first appearance in that courtroom on Jan. 8. McWilliams will have to post that bond in order to be released from custody.

January 23, 2020

Christian Brothers child sex abuse survivor John Lawrence said attacker made him feel 'worthless'

AUSTRALIA
ABC

January 22, 2020

By Eliza Borrello

An elderly man who was sexually abused by the Christian Brothers as a child has described the pain and fear he experienced being repeatedly raped as a nine-year-old boy at a group home for vulnerable children.

WARNING: This story contains material that some readers may find upsetting

Perth man John Thomas Lawrence, 75, has become the first child sex abuse survivor to testify about his ordeal in court since Western Australia removed time limits on such cases being heard.

Today, he detailed to the court the protracted abuse he suffered at the hands of Christian Brother Lawrence Murphy.

US BISHOPS’ CONFERENCE SUED FOR LYING AND STEALING

PROVIDENCE (RI)
ChurchMilitant

January 22, 2020

By William Mahoney, Ph.D.

Peter's Pence donors invited to join lawsuit

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is being sued for obtaining millions of dollars in charitable donations under false pretenses and privately investing that money into ventures such as luxury condominium developments and Hollywood movies.

Texas-based legal firm the Stanley Law Group filed a class-action lawsuit against the USCCB on Wednesday, alleging the organization fraudulently promotes Peter's Pence as a papal charity when recent reports show as little as 10% of donations are used for its stated purpose.

Catholic sues US bishops for ‘misleading’ faithful to donate millions to ‘fraudulent’ Vatican charity

RHODE ISLAND
LifeSiteNews

January 22, 2020

By Lianne Laurence

The suit alleges that US bishops 'actively' misled Catholics into believing their millions of dollars in donations to Peter's Pence would be used to help the poor.

A Dallas law firm filed a class action lawsuit Wednesday against the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) for “unlawful, deceptive and fraudulent practices” in promoting and collecting funds for the papal charity Peter’s Pence.

The suit alleges the American bishops “actively” misled Catholics into believing their millions of dollars in donations to the collection would be used to help “victims of war, oppression, natural disaster, or disease,” when in fact much of the money was funneled into private investments, such as Hollywood’s sexually explicit Elton John biopic, “luxury condominium developments” and “hefty, multi-million dollar commissions” to fund managers.

Stanley Law Group filed the lawsuit January 22 in the United States District Court in Rhode Island on behalf of David O’Connell, a parishioner at Sacred Heart Church in East Providence, who is seeking a jury trial, it stated in a press release.

“USCCB must come clean and give back the money it took from well-intentioned people who thought they were giving urgently-needed funds to help the destitute around the world,” said lead attorney Mark Stanley.

Cleveland bishop named Philadelphia’s next archbishop

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Associated Press

January 23, 2020

The bishop of Cleveland will become the new leader of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, the Vatican announced Thursday, making him the first Hispanic archbishop to lead the region’s 1.3 million-member flock.

Nelson Perez, who spent most of his early pastoral career in the Philadelphia area, was introduced Thursday in a news conference at the archdiocese's Philadelphia headquarters. He will succeed Archbishop Charles Chaput, a conservative culture warrior who is stepping down after turning 75 last year, the traditional retirement age for Catholic bishops.

Chaput welcomed Perez to his new post, which he will assume Feb. 18. He called his successor “a man who already knows and loves the church in Philadelphia."

Perez shared his enthusiasm for the city, saying "it's awesome to be back in Philadelphia with people who are faith-filled, who love the Lord, love the church.” Perez also praised Chaput's tenure in the diocese, saying he faced challenges in Philadelphia with “great courage and steadfastness.”

The case for suppressing the Legion of Christ

MEXICO
Catholic Herald

January 22, 2020

By Christopher Altieri

A new scandal shows that only the 'nuclear option' will help to restore the Church's credibility

The Legion of Christ is back in the news, with AP reporting on a gruesome story in Mexico, not only of abuse and cover-up, but also of failure to reform in the wake of revelations regarding the outfit’s founder: a charismatic sociopath called Fr Marcial Maciel. He started the Legion, which served him as a front for his perverse criminal double-life. He also founded a lay arm, Regnum Christi, which served as his cash cow.

“The papal envoy who ran the Legion starting in 2010,” AP reports, “learned about the case [in Mexico] nearly a decade ago and refused to punish or even investigate the priest or the superiors who covered up his crimes, many of whom are still in power and ministry today.”

AP noted that the story “has been corroborated by other victims and the Legion itself” and “has sparked a new credibility crisis for the once-influential order, 10 years after the Holy See took it over after determining that its founder was a pedophile”.

News 8 Now Investigates-‘Breaking the Silence’

LA CROSSE (WI)
WKBT/NEWS8000

January 22, 2020

By Martha Koloski

As the La Crosse Diocese releases names of credibly accused clergy.... a survivor tells his story of faith and forgiveness

It’s been 18 years since the Catholic Church announced a zero-tolerance policy in hopes of ending sexual abuse by clergy.
But just this past weekend, the Diocese of La Crosse released its own list of credibly accused clergy.

And this past December Pope Francis made an important change to something called the “Pontifical Secret.” It is the church’s highest level of confidentiality.
He abolished its use in cases of clergy committing violence or sexual assaults against minors or anyone under their authority.

The new policy also includes cases related to a lack of reporting abuse and attempts to cover up accusations.

Resignations and Appointments

VATICAN CITY
Holy See Press Office

January 23, 2020

Resignation of archbishop of Philadelphia, U.S.A., and appointment of successor

The Holy Father has accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Philadelphia, United States of America, presented by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.

The Pope has appointed as metropolitan archbishop of Philadelphia, United States of America, Bishop Nelson Jesus Perez of Cleveland, Ohio.

The Archbishop-elect Nelson Jesus Perez was born on 16 June 1961 in Miami in the archdiocese of the same name, in Florida. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Montclair State University in New Jersey (1983) he taught at the elementary school, at the Colegio la Piedad in Puerto Rico. He carried out his ecclesiastical studies at the Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary in Overbrook, Pennsylvania, where he obtained a master’s degree in theology (1985 to 1989).

He was ordained a priest on 20 May 1989 for the archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Since priestly ordination, he has held the following offices: parish vicar of the Saint Ambrose parish in Philadelphia (1989 to 1993); vice director of the archdiocesan office for Hispanic faithful (1990 to 1993); director and founder of the Catholic Institute for Evangelization (1993 to 2002); parish priest of the Saint William parish in Philadelphia (2002 to 2009); and parish priest of the Saint Agnes parish in West Chester (2009 to 2012). In addition, he has been member of the presbyteral council of the archdiocese of Philadelphia (2003 to 2005), and professor of psychology and religious studies at the La Salle University in Philadelphia (1994 to 2008).

Querido Nelson, Welcome Home – Bearing Shades of Krol and Bevy, Cleveland Returns to Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Whispers in the Loggia

January 22, 2020

By Rocco Palmo

Now 212 years into our life as a local church, God's People here in Philadelphia came to accrue an odd distinction in American Catholicism... well, one among others: given the insularity of this place, we've become the last major Stateside diocese that only ever had white bishops....

That is, until now – and the streak ends with a memorable splash onto the Chair of St John Neumann.

Per three Whispers ops, Pope Francis is set to name Nelson Perez – the 58 year-old son of Cuban exiles, until now the bishop of Cleveland, ordained a priest of Philadelphia in 1989 – as his adopted home's 10th Archbishop on Thursday, 23 January.

The move comes four months after the 75th birthday of Archbishop Charles Chaput OFM Cap., who widely aired his wish to be retired quickly after 32 years as an active prelate, the last eight of them embroiled in attempting to rescue the 1.1 million-member Philly fold from a financial and managerial free-fall – an ongoing plate which now includes an unprecedented Federal investigation into clergy sex-abuse across the entire province (i.e. state) his successor will inherit.

Bishop Nelson Perez of Cleveland named Philadelphia’s next archbishop, replacing Charles Chaput

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Inquirer

January 23, 2020

By Jeremy Roebuck

Pope Francis announced Thursday that the bishop of Cleveland, Nelson Perez, will be the next head of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia, making him the first Hispanic archbishop to lead the region’s 1.3 million-member flock.

Born in Miami, raised in New Jersey and ordained at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, Perez, 58, served as a parish priest for more than two decades in West Chester and the Olney and Lawncrest sections of Philadelphia before being elevated to the hierarchy as an auxiliary bishop in Long Island, N.Y. in 2012.

*
Chaput, who arrived from Denver in 2011, has been credited with stabilizing an archdiocese roiled at the time by financial shortfalls and fallout from a damning grand jury report that implicated the city’s church hierarchy in covering up decades of sexual abuse.

During his time here, his frank rhetoric and willingness to engage in secular political debates on issues including divorce, statute-of-limitations reform, and gun control have earned him a following among conservative U.S. Catholics, while occasionally putting him at odds with the likes of Mayor Jim Kenney, some clergy sex-abuse victims, and — seemingly, at times — Francis himself.

Accused of sex abuse, Buffalo priest fires back with defamation lawsuit

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

January 22, 2020

By Jay Tokasz

A Buffalo priest who was accused in a Child Victims Act lawsuit of sexually abusing a boy in the 1980s is firing back with a lawsuit of his own that alleges his accuser lied about the abuse and slandered the priest.

The Rev. Roy T. Herberger, former longtime pastor of SS. Columba & Brigid Church, filed the defamation suit Tuesday in State Supreme Court in Erie County. The lawsuit is the first known defamation case in Western New York filed against a person over allegations made in a Child Victims Act suit.

Herberger said he wanted “to take a stand” to prevent people from making false claims.

“Know that you can be sued. It’s not just so simple that you can make an accusation,” Herberger said in an interview with The Buffalo News.

The Buffalo Diocese put Herberger on administrative leave in June 2018 after receiving a complaint that the priest had sexually abused an 8-year-old boy in the 1980s. Herberger vehemently denied the allegation in a letter to parishioners and friends. Following a diocese investigation that determined the allegation was unfounded, he was returned to active ministry in December 2018.

Fresno-area priest dies seven months after being named in church’s sexual misconduct probe

FRESNO (CA)
Fresno Bee

January 22, 2020

By Yesenia Amaro

A longtime San Joaquin Valley Catholic priest died over the weekend.

Supporters called the Rev. Eric Swearingen a great man, but sexual misconduct allegations dogged him for years and key questions remained unanswered at the time of his death.

Swearingen, 58, died Saturday after a lengthy illness. Church officials declined to comment on his medical condition.

“Our focus, and sole focus, is on comforting the family, friends and parishioners that are deeply mourning the passing of Fr. Eric Swearingen,” Teresa Dominguez, chancellor for the Diocese of Fresno, said in an emailed statement.

His more than three decades of service included postings in Fresno, Bakersfield, Atwater and Lemoore and, most recently, Visalia.

Swearingen’s death comes seven months after he was placed on leave amid renewed investigations into decades-old sexual abuse allegations. Dominguez declined to say whether Swearingen was still on administrative leave at the time of his death.

Lawyers amend sex abuse lawsuit against local school, diocese, and religious order

JOHNSTOWN (PA)
WJAC

January 21, 2020

By Crispin Havener

Lawyers filing a civil lawsuit alleging fraud and conspiracy against a local catholic school, the diocese, and a religious order over allegations of sexual abuse made by a former student have amended their lawsuit.

The plaintiff, listed in the complaint as "A.L.", said the abuse by an unnamed "priest and athletic trainer" employed by Bishop McCort Catholic High School in Johnstown, the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, and the Third Order Regular Friars, Province of the Immaculate Conception of the United States, started after the student suffered an injury during a freshman day camp. The athletic trainer, according to the complaint assaulted the student on and off campus over a two-year period.

Adam P. Murdock of Robert Peirce & Associates tells 6 News the changes to the lawsuit, filed in October 2019, better reflect the name of the Franciscan Friars of the Third Order Regular, Province of the Immaculate Conception of the United States and their proper address in Hollidaysburg. Murdock said the initial complaint "inadvertently identified the incorrect Franciscan party" as the Franciscan Friars of the Third Order Regular, Province of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus in Loretto but they were in no way involved in the case.

Priest at Summit Catholic Prep School on Leave Pending Probe

SUMMIT (NJ)
Patch

January 22, 2020

By Caren Lissner


'The Archdiocese of Newark takes very seriously any and all credible complaints of sexual misconduct,' said a spokeswoman.

A priest who once worked in law enforcement in New York City is now on leave from a Catholic school in Summit pending an investigation into "complaints issued in the past several days," according to a spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Newark.

Spokeswoman Maria Margiotta would not elaborate on the nature of the complaints against Rev. Salvator "Sal" DiStefano, who was serving as a chaplain at Oratory Catholic Preparatory School. But she said in a statement, "The Archdiocese of Newark takes very seriously any and all credible complaints of sexual misconduct or sexual abuse of minors by members of the clergy, religious, lay staff and volunteers of the Archdiocese."

She confirmed he has been placed on administrative leave. "The Archdiocese also stresses that Fr. DiStefano's leave should not be interpreted as punishment and he continues to have the presumption of innocence until proven otherwise," she said. "At the conclusion of a review and external investigation by civil authorities, a determination will be made regarding Fr. DiStefano's status."

Rev. Eric V. Swearingen 1961 - 2020

VISALIA (CA)
Legacy and Visalia Times Delta

January 22, 2020

Surrounded by his loving family and many friends, Rev. Eric V. Swearingen completed his early mission on January 18, 2020, having served as a Catholic Priest of the Diocese of Fresno for more than 32 years.

Eric Van Swearingen was born August 8, 1961 in Visalia, California. He was the second son of Richard and Connie (Goodreau) Swearingen. His early years were spent on the Westside of the San Joaquin Valley, where his family farmed in the Riverdale/Five Points area. Those early lessons of farming, working side-by-side with people of diverse cultures, languages and backgrounds would serve him well in his later life of ministry. He was blessed with the opportunity for a Catholic education first at Mary Immaculate Queen school in Lemoore and then George McCann Memorial Catholic School in Visalia. After completing his high school years at Redwood High School in Visalia, the realization that he might be called to the Catholic priesthood led him to St. John's Seminary College in Camarillo. Having earned his Bachelor Degree in Philosophy, he was sent to complete his theological studies at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, OH. On May 23, 1987 he was ordained a priest for service in the Diocese of Fresno.

Fr. Swearingen served in various parish assignments throughout his more than 32 years of priestly ministry, including: Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Bakersfield; Our Lady of Victory, St. Alphonsus, St. Helen and Holy Spirit Parishes, Fresno; St. Anthony Parish, Atwater; St. Jude Parish, Easton; St. Peter the Apostle Parish, Lemoore; and the united Catholic communities of Good Shepherd Parish, Visalia.

January 22, 2020

Pope Francis put a woman in a top Vatican role. It shows how little power Catholic women hold.

VATICAN CITY
NBC News

January 21, 2020

By Celia Viggo Wexler

Failing to empower women narrows the church’s vision and makes it less equipped to be a force for good in the world.

Recently, the Catholic Church took two small steps for womankind: This month, Pope Francis named the first woman to a managerial position in the Vatican’s most important office, the Secretariat of State. And in October, the world’s bishops suggested that Francis reconvene a commission he had created, at the urging of nuns, to study the ordination of women as permanent deacons — church ministers who are able to perform some of the duties of priests, but not to say Mass or hear confessions.

Yet these reforms only make clear how little power women hold in the church, where they constitute about half of Catholicism’s 1.2 billion adherents. Not only are women barred from ordination to the priesthood, they are not even allowed to vote at Vatican synods, convened to advise the pope about challenges facing the church.

Two ultra-Orthodox young women jump to their deaths in Jerusalem

ISRAEL
The Jerusalem Post

January 21, 2020

By Maayan Hoffman

Suicide note indicates at least one girl was leaving faith and feared disappointing her family.

One of the two young cousins who jumped to their deaths from the top of a Jerusalem building overnight Sunday may have been sexually abused by a relative, Channel 12 reported Tuesday.

Hani Solish, 19, from Netanya, and Sarah Klapman, 24, from Jerusalem, jumped from the top of the Mercaz Sapir building in Givat Shaul. The young women, both members of the Chabad movement, were found by Magen David Adom paramedics.

They left behind a suicide note explaining why they wanted to die.

Channel 12 said that the relative who had abused one of the girls was arrested and convicted for abuse, and sentenced to service. He was released on parole a decade ago. It was also reported that the young woman had sought therapy but stopped going for treatment due to family pressure shortly after the incident.

Also, one of the two women had recently been struggling with commitment to her faith, according to news reports. The suicide note allegedly included that one of the girls feared disappointing her parents.

One-man protest outside Fall River Diocese demands list of credibly accused priests

FALL RIVER (MA)
Herald News

January 21, 2020

By Deborah Allard

Victim advocate and former priest Robert M. Hoatson of New Jersey held a one-man protest outside the Fall River Diocese on Highland Avenue Tuesday morning to ask that Bishop Edgar da Cunha release a complete list of priests accused of sexual abuse.

“It’s outrageous that he hasn’t released this already,” Hoatson said.

Hoatson’s protest came just two days after an additional two Catholic priests, Fr. James F. Buckley and Fr. Edward J. Byington, both retired, were suspended amid allegations of two separate accounts of sexual abuse of a minor. Both served in Fall River churches and in other local towns in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

But the Fall River Diocese said it is still conducting an internal review of sexual abuse allegations of its clergy. Da Cunha in January 2019 announced the hiring of former FBI Assistant Director William Gavin to review claims as an independent consultant. A list was expected to be released last spring.

Priest added to abuse list worked 8 Oklahoma churches

OKLAHOMA CITY (OK)
NonDoc

January 21, 2020

By Matt Patterson

A former Catholic priest who worked in seven communities across Oklahoma has been added to a list of clergy with at least one “substantiated allegation” of sexual abuse, the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City announced today.

Father Marvin Leven, 94, was accused in 1993 of sexual abuse on a 15-year-old boy by a former parishioner of Saint Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Enid, the archdiocese said in a press release.

Man who killed convicted Griffin aide charged with sex abuse of child

BUFFALO (NY)
The Buffalo News

January 20, 2020

By Aaron Besecker

A man who went to prison for killing a convicted child molester almost 20 years ago has been charged with sexually abusing a child, according to Buffalo police and court records.

Richard Tyes, who pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the 2001 homicide of Robert J. Tatu, an aide to former Mayor James D. Griffin, has been accused of first-degree sexual abuse of a child younger than 13, according to the records.

Tyes, 39, of Grider Street, also was charged by Buffalo police with child endangerment for a Jan. 4 incident. He was being held on a parole violation before being charged Thursday. He pleaded not guilty to the new felony and misdemeanor charges Friday before Buffalo City Court Judge Kevin J. Keane and was being held at the Erie County Correctional Facility.

Tatu, 42, a former Cub Scout volunteer and Griffin aide, was found shot to death on May 22, 2001, on a staircase leading to his Elmwood Avenue apartment. He had been shot in the eye and chest.

Why Does an Accused Sex-Predator Priest Say He’s a ‘Senior Vice President’ in Rudy Giuliani’s Consulting Firm?

NEW YORK (NY)
Rolling Stone

January 21, 2020

By Seth Hettena

Giuliani and Alan Placa have long-standing personal and business ties

Rudy Giuliani, President Trump’s personal lawyer who frequently boasts about his personal character and those of his associates, has had a long personal and business association with an accused pedophile priest.

Few people are closer to Giuliani than Monsignor Alan Placa, who is part of the former New York mayor’s innermost circle of friends and advisers. The two have been friends since childhood, and Placa played a key role in many of Giuliani’s major life events, most recently when he officiated at the 2017 wedding of Giuliani’s son, Andrew, who works at the Trump White House as a sports liaison. Placa also has had an ill-defined role at Giuliani’s consulting business, listing himself on his Facebook and LinkedIn profiles as a “senior vice president” at the firm.

Placa has long been dogged by allegations that he sexually abused children in the 1970s at a Catholic high school on Long Island. Those allegations — which Placa has long denied — were revived again in recent months when two former students sued him in previously unreported lawsuits filed in New York Supreme Court.

Outing the French Literary World’s Jeffrey Epstein

PARIS (FRANCE)
The Daily Beast

January 19, 2020

By Erin Zaleski

For decades, Gabriel Matzneff got a pass from French culture mavens as he extolled the pleasures of sex with underage boys and girls. No longer.

Long before Jeffrey Epstein was shuttling underage girls to the U.S. Virgin Islands on his private jet, Gabriel Matzneff was engaging in sexual activities with young adolescents in his Paris apartment, in hotel rooms, and on trips to Southeast Asia—and then writing about his exploits.

“Once you have held, kissed, caressed, possessed a 13-year-old boy, a girl of 15,” Matzneff once wrote, “everything else seems bland, heavy, insipid.”

People have less unprotected sex after the Pope visits a town and abortion rates fall by a fifth, study finds

UNITED KINGDOM
MAILONLINE

January 18, 2020

By Jemma Carr

- Towns and cities see drop in number unwanted pregnancies after a papal visit
- But birth rates don't increase meaning couples abstaining or using protection
- Scientists who conducted study were led by team from University of Sussex

The Pope reduces the number of abortions when he visits a town because his presence makes people have less unprotected sex, a study found.

Scientists, led by a team from the University of Sussex, found that couples have less unprotected sex when the Pope is in town to avoid having an abortion and breaking Catholic doctrine.

Even after the pope leaves the area, his influence remains as researchers found abortions plummeted by up to a fifth for as long as 14 months after a papal visit.

Freeholder E. Marie Hayes Offers Help to Other Victims of Sexual Abuse

NEW JERSEY
MediaWize

January 18, 2020

By Maddy Vitale

When Cape May County Freeholder E. Marie Hayes wrote a Letter to the Editor and sent it to local news outlets, she put her private life in the spotlight, much more than any time sparring in political debates, on the campaign trail or speaking in public.

She told of how she endured pain, grief and anguish, that she was sexually assaulted, long before the “Me Too” movement against sexual harassment and sexual assault, and when she was even too young to go to school.

A family friend, now deceased, abused her when she was growing up, she said.

And although decades had gone by, nightmares continued to haunt her until Hayes, a retired law enforcement captain who helped so many people in her career, got the help she needed to live the best life she could, without hiding the past.

Rome summit to examine clerical sex abuse

ROME
The Tablet

January 21, 2020

By Christopher Lamb

Fr Hans Zollner, the Church’s leading child protection expert, wants more systematic theology done on abuse crisis

Rome is to host a summit examining how the clerical sexual abuse crisis is forcing the Church to go back to its core mission and re-think its model of the priesthood.

The gathering of around 90 theologians from across the world, hosted by the Centre for Child Protection at the Pontifical Gregorian University, will look at the ecclesiological impact of abuse, in a way that is not simply legal, or procedural. The 11-14 March meeting is to look clericalism, ecclesial reform and rediscovering the mission of Jesus in Church structures.

At a theological level, the abuse of children by priests, and the failure by bishops to respond adequately, is doubly shocking because it betrays the Church’s mission. Historians talk about it being the greatest crisis since the Reformation and for organisers of the forthcoming summit, the response to abuse requires deep soul searching about what it means to be the Church.

But Fr Hans Zollner, the centre's director and the Church’s leading child protection expert, said that while the abuse crisis has been under discussion in the Church for 35 years there has been “very little attempt to do systematic theology” on it.

Catholic prof fired by bishop after posting Viganò’s criticisms of Pope Francis online

BUENOS AIRES
LifeSiteNews

January 16, 2020

The professor said he posted Vigano’s letter on Facebook 'in order to make manifest that things are not going well in the Church.'

A Catholic professor of philosophy has been dismissed by a bishop from his teaching post at an Argentine school of theology after the scholar posted criticisms of Pope Francis made by Vatican whistleblower Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò.

Bishop Gabriel Mestre of Mar del Plata, Argentina, dismissed Dr. Maximiliano Loria from the diocesan University School of Theology. According to Dr. Mario Caponnetto, a respected Catholic physician and blogger, the reason for the dismissal was because Loria posted on his Facebook page a letter by Archbishop Viganò, who once served as the Vatican’s diplomatic representative in Washington D.C. Vigano has been a vocal critic of Pope Francis and has even called for the current pontiff to resign.

According to Dr. Caponnetto’s report at the AdelanteLaFe website, Loria said that he posted Archbishop Vigano’s letter on Facebook “in order to make manifest that things are not going well in the Church. I respect the Pope,” he said, but added that many of the Pope’s words and gestures are “incomprehensible.”

As an example, Loria cited the adoration of pagan idols that the Pope countenanced in the Vatican Gardens and inside the Basilica of St. Peter during the Amazonia Synod that was held in Rome in October.

Leader of Visalia's Catholics dies after long illness

VISALIA (CA)
Visalia Times-Delta

January 22, 2020

By James Ward

Rev. Eric Swearingen, a Tulare County native who rose through the church's hierarchy to lead Visalia's Catholics despite an allegation of sexual abuse, died on Jan. 18 at 58 after a long illness.

Swearingen, who was named head pastor over Visalia's four Catholic congregations, George McCann School and the Bethlehem Center in 2014, was put on administrative leave in June 2019 after Bishop Joseph Brennan received more information about a civil case dating back to 2006 in which Swearingen was sued by an ex-altar boy for alleged sexual abuse. The boy said the alleged abuse by Swearingen occurred in the late 1980s and early '90s.

No criminal charges were ever filed in that case but a civil jury ruled that Swearingen did abuse the victim. The lawsuit required that the jury find the abuse happened and that the diocese did not have any prior knowledge of the incident.

Because of the split decision, the judge ruled the case a mistrial. A second trial was scheduled, but the two sides agreed to binding arbitration well before the court date — a settlement that both sides agreed to keep private.

Brennan and the church did not reveal what additional information led to Swearingen's 2019 administrative leave decision.

Clergy abuse victim keeps her faith, finds healing in the Church

ST. PAUL (MN)
Catholic Spirit, Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis

January 21, 2020

By Dave Hrbacek

Gina Barthel went to a priest while in New York to find healing from childhood sexual abuse. She got the opposite.

In 2004 at age 28, a priest from a religious order listened to her stories about being sexually abused from age 4 to 9, then took her down the same path.

As the abuse took place, she moved back to the Twin Cities. Thanks to another priest, who serves in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, she not only got out of the abusive relationship, but reported it and played a role in the abusive priest being removed from ministry.

Even so, her struggles continued, and she felt unable to continue practicing her Catholic faith. Finally, six years after reporting the abuse, she found a path to healing with the help of Auxiliary Bishop Andrew Cozzens, who started meeting with her regularly in January 2014 and still does.

Barthel will share her story at an upcoming conference on restorative justice and reconciliation Jan. 23 at Holiday Inn & Suites in Lake Elmo. It will feature Archbishop Bernard Hebda and Ramsey County Attorney John Choi, who will talk about the settlement of civil charges against the archdiocese in 2015 and how the archdiocese has made changes to improve the handling of clergy sexual abuse.

French Predator Priest: Church Should Have Stopped Me

FERNDALE (MI)
Church Militant

January 21, 2020

By Bradley Eli

Self-accused cleric says multiple cardinals knew of his crimes

A self-accused pedophile in France's biggest clergy sex abuse trial is saying multiple Catholic superiors, including certain cardinals, were aware of his crimes but did not stop him.

Bernard Preynat, a priest of the diocese of Lyon, France is blowing the whistle on his Catholic leader, who enabled him to abuse minors for decades.

"Had the church sidelined me earlier, I would have stopped earlier," testified Preynat, at his trial taking place last week in Lyon.

The archbishop of Lyon, Cdl. Phillipe Barbarin, was in charge of Preynat since 2002, but kept silent. Barbarin was convicted by a French court in 2019 of covering for Preynat's crimes. Allegations of sex abuse against Preynat surfaced in 1991. The 68-year-old cardinal, however, kept Preynat in active ministry until 2015.

Preynat, who is 74, testified in court that his sexual obsession for young boys began when he was in his early teens and was well-known by his supervisor at that time, while he was in the minor seminary. He also says he told his bishop of his proclivities prior to his ordination.

CARA study finds bishops are satisfied with their life and ministry

DENVER (CO)
Crux

January 22, 2020

By Susan Klemond

Minneapolis - Catholics may be surprised to learn that many U.S. bishops describe their lives as both all-consuming and satisfying, a priest-researcher said.

“These are guys who generally get up very, very early in the morning, pray about two hours every day and work about 10 hours a day,” said Father Stephen Fichter, a research associate at the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate in Washington, which conducted the survey. “(They) just really do some interesting things and there are a lot of difficulties that they’re dealing with all the time.”

*
Respondents were not asked about the clergy sexual abuse crisis, Fichter explained, because the survey was conducted before the issue arose again with the start in 2016 of a months-long Pennsylvania grand jury investigation into alleged clergy abuse and supposed cover-up by church officials in six Pennsylvania dioceses, Fichter explained.

Child sex abuse substantiated against ex-Oklahoma priest

OKLAHOMA CITY (OK)
Associated Press via Crux

January 22, 2020

The Archdiocese of Oklahoma City said Tuesday that it has substantiated allegations of child sexual abuse against another priest.

The archdiocese said in a news release that allegations of abuse of a minor were substantiated against Father Marvin Leven by the archdiocese following an investigation by the Oklahoma City law firm McAfee & Taft. It said the allegations date to 1993, when Leven, now 94 and retired, was assigned to Saint Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Enid.

The allegation was made by a then-15-year-old boy, who said the abuse resumed later when he was an adult at Saint John the Baptist Catholic Church in Edmond, the archdiocese said.

The archdiocese said it also substantiated a separate allegation against Leven of inappropriate behavior with a minor at the Enid church.

Retired Oklahoma City priest added to clergy abuse list

OKLAHOMA CITY (OK)
Archdiocese of Oklahoma City

January 21, 2020

Archbishop Paul Coakley announced Tuesday the addition of Father Marvin Leven to the list of priests who have had a substantiated allegation of abuse of a minor. Leven, 94, is retired from active ministry.

Archbishop Coakley added Father Leven to the list following an investigation by retired Oklahoma City Police detective Kim Davis. Davis was hired by the McAfee & Taft law firm at the request of the archdiocese to investigate older allegations of abuse of a minor.

According to the investigation, the archdiocese was contacted in 1993 by a former parishioner of Saint Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Enid who reported allegations of abuse against Father Leven that started when the man was age 15 and recurred as a young adult at Saint John the Baptist Catholic Church in Edmond.

In 1995, as part of the archdiocese’s investigation, Father Leven was sent to Saint Luke Institute for an evaluation related to sexual abuse. In a letter to the diocese, professionals at the institute stated the allegations were possible and recommended Father Leven have no unsupervised contact with minors. They also recommended he seek intensive outpatient psychotherapy.

Retired priest with ties to Enid added to clergy abuse list

ENID (OK)
Enid News & Eagle

January 21, 2020

By James Neal

The Catholic Archdiocese of Oklahoma City announced Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020, retired priest Marvin Leven, 94, who served at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in the 1990s, has been added to the list of priests who have had a substantiated allegation of abuse of a minor.

Archbishop Paul Coakley made the announcement following an investigation by retired Oklahoma City police detective Kim Davis. Davis was hired by the McAfee & Taft law firm at the request of the archdiocese to investigate older allegations of abuse of minors, according to an archdiocese press release.

Coakley commissioned McAfee & Taft in August 2018 to conduct a review and write a report on clergy sex abuse in the archdiocese after a Pennsylvania grand jury report detailed clergy abuse of more than 1,000 victims by more than 300 priests there, dating back to 1947.

3 victims come forward with allegations of child sex abuse against priest

YONKERS (NY)
News 12 Westchester

January 21, 2020

Three new victims are coming forward with allegations of child sex abuse against a Catholic priest who previously pleaded guilty to forming a sex club and molesting dozens of children.

Convicted child molester Father Edward Pipala is once again at the center of a child sex abuse scandal and alleged church cover-up.

"For decades, he was given license and permission by the Archdiocese and top officials to continue one of the most predatory paths we've seen,” says attorney Jeff Anderson.

Anderson is the attorney who is now representing five of Pipala's alleged victims and live-streamed a news conference Tuesday from Manhattan about three new lawsuits filed against the Archdiocese under New York's Child Victims Act.

Archdiocese adds to list of priests accused of sexual abuse

OKLAHOMA CITY (OK)
The Oklahoman

January 22, 2020

By Carla Hinton and Randy Ellis

The Archdiocese of Oklahoma City has revoked the authority of the Rev. Marvin Leven to serve as a priest after substantiating allegations that he had sexually abused parishioners in Enid and Edmond, archdiocese leaders said Tuesday.

Archbishop Paul S. Coakley said an investigation has substantiated allegations that Leven, 94, sexually abused a minor in 1993 at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Enid and the same person as a young adult after moving to St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Edmond.

Contacted by phone Tuesday, Leven said: "I'm not aware of what you're talking about."

The investigation by retired Oklahoma City Police detective Kim Davis also substantiated another allegation of "inappropriate behavior with a minor" at the Enid parish, Coakley said in a news release. He said Davis was hired by the law firm McAfee & Taft at the archdiocese's request to investigate older abuse allegations.

Leven retired as a parish priest with the Oklahoma City archdiocese in June 1999 but served as assistant chaplain at Mercy Health Center in Oklahoma City until 2013, Coakley said in his statement. In addition to the parishes in Enid and Edmond, Leven served at Holy Trinity in Okarche, Prince of Peace Catholic Church in Altus, Holy Family Catholic Church in Lawton, Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Tulsa, St. Eugene Catholic Church in Oklahoma City and Holy Family Cathedral in Tulsa.

Ottawa diocese sues insurers to cover clergy sex abuse costs

OTTAWA (CANADA)
Ottawa Citizen

January 22, 2020

By Andrew Duffy

The Archdiocese of Ottawa has launched lawsuits against three insurance companies in an effort to compel them to cover the costs of 12 clergy sexual abuse cases.

The Archdiocese of Ottawa has launched lawsuits against three insurance companies in an effort to compel them to cover the costs of 12 clergy sexual abuse cases.

The civil suits, filed mostly in the past three years, involve allegations of sexual abuse that date back as far as 1971. Among the priests named in those suits are Revs. Jacques Faucher, Kenneth Keeler and Dale Crampton, the most notorious criminal in Ottawa’s clergy sex abuse scandal, who is credibly accused of abusing at least 15 children, many of them altar boys.

Two of the cases cited by the archdiocese in its insurance lawsuits were settled out of court so the alleged sexual abusers remain unknown.

The archdiocese has never released a list of priests credibly accused of sexual assault.

The Jesuits of Canada, a Catholic religious order, announced last month that it will release the names of all of its priests who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing minors. Dozens of Catholic dioceses in the U.S. have already released similar lists.

Anchorage: Credible Evidence of Sexual Misconduct

ANCHORAGE (AK)
Archdiocese of Anchorage

January 16, 2020

By Bishop Andrew E. Bellisario, C.M.
Apostolic Administrator of Anchorage

I am writing to you today to report on the progress of the Independent Commission's review of the personnel files of the Archdiocese of Anchorage.

But first, to the victim-survivors of clerical sexual abuse, I want to say that there are no words that can restore the innocence that was cruelly and unjustly stolen from you. That your trust was betrayed by a priest or other minister of the Church whom you had a right to expect would protect you compounded the harm done to you. It is with humility, sorrow, and shame that I apologize to you, your family, friends, and community in the name of the Church for the
grievous harm you suffered.

*

There is credible evidence to support the belief that fourteen people who have served in the Archdiocese of Anchorage since 1966 engaged in sexual misconduct against minors and/or vulnerable adults. I am releasing those names today.

Why Bernard Preynat and sex abuse in the Church is a feminist issue

PARIS (FRANCE)
RFI

January 17, 2020

Interview of Christine Pedotti by Sarah Elzas

Bernard Preynat, a former Catholic Priest accused of sexually abusing dozens of boy scouts in the 1970s and 80s is on trial. In court he claimed that he himself was a victim. For Catholic activist and journalist Christine Pedotti, this trial, and that of the Bishop who covered up the abuse, reveals a systemic problem in the French Catholic Church, which has its roots in the masculine domination of the clergy.

The trial of Preynat and that of Bishop Barbarin are part of the biggest crisis in the French Church in decades.

Christine Pedotti, the editor of the weekly Catholic newspaper Témoignage Chrétien, was part of a group calling for a commission to look into the wider problem of sex abuse in the Church. The Catholic Church set up an independent commission in February 2019, and has so far collected over 2000 stories.

Elzas: You are active as a feminist, and have questionned how the Church approaches the issue of women, and sexuality and homosexuality. How is this current crisis of sex abuse a feminist issue?

Pedotti: I see the issue of paedophilia as a symptom of an inward-focused, masculine clerical culture, in which sexuality is always seen as a sin.

What's terrible is that deep down, some clergy consider that sexual acts with children are less serious than sexual acts with women. This shows there is a very negative view of women.

The Catholic Church doesn't know how to talk about sexuality, because it's incapable of seeing women as desirable. That’s where this meets feminism.

Man says suspended priest abused him after a religious retreat

ATTLEBORO (MA)
Sun Chronicle

January 21, 2020

By Jim Hand

An alleged victim of sexual abuse by a priest says the assault took place in a church rectory after he attended a religious retreat for teens in 1971, his lawyer said Tuesday.

Attorney Mitchell Garabedian said the victim alleges he was assaulted by the Rev. Edward J. Byington after attending a retreat called Encountering Christ in Others.

Byington allegedly offered the then-teenager a ride home but took him to a rectory in Taunton and assaulted him, Garabedian said in a statement.

Byington had previously served at St. John the Evangelist Church in Attleboro and Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Seekonk.

He and another priest, the Rev. James Buckley, were suspended by the Diocese of Fall River Sunday.

Retired Oklahoma City priest added to clergy abuse list

OKLAHOMA CITY (OK)
KFOR

January 21, 2020

By Kaylee Douglas

Archbishop Paul Coakley announced Tuesday the addition of a now-retired Oklahoma City priest who served in churches across the state to the list of priests who have had a substantiated allegation of abuse of a minor.

According to the investigation, the archdiocese was contacted in 1993 by a former parishioner of Saint Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Enid who reported allegations of abuse against Father Marvin Leven, 94, that started when the victim was age 15 and recurred as a young adult at Saint John the Baptist Catholic Church in Edmond.

In 1995, as part of the archdiocese’s investigation, Father Leven was sent to Saint Luke Institute for an evaluation related to sexual abuse. In a letter to the diocese, professionals at the institute stated the allegations were possible and recommended Father Leven have no unsupervised contact with minors. They also recommended he seek intensive outpatient psychotherapy.

Father Leven was returned to the parish with the instruction that he “not be permitted to have ministerial contact with minors unless other adults are present.”

Victims’ lawyer releases credibly accused clergy list for Fall River Diocese

NEW BEDFORD (MA)
South Coast Today

January 21, 2020

By Kiernan Dunlop

Fall River - The Diocese of Fall River is being pressured to release a list of clergy credibly accused of sexually abusing a minor.

On Tuesday, Attorney Mitchell Garabedian, well known for representing sexual abuse victims in claims against the Archdiocese of Boston, released his own list of nine priests and one Catholic Church employee within the Diocese of Fall River that he says have been “accused of sexually abusing one minor in which this office has successfully brought child abuse claims against.”

In a statement he sent with the list, Garabedian said “As a matter of moral responsibility, it is time for Bishop da Cunha to immediately publicly list the names of credibly accused priests and Catholic Church employees who sexually abused minor children when working within the Diocese of Fall River.”

Not releasing the list, Garabedian said, is a re-victimization of sexual abuse victims, whereas releasing it will help sexual abuse victims try to heal and empower other victims.

In January 2019, the diocese announced plans to release a list of credibly accused clergy following an external review of their documents conducted by former FBI Assistant Director William Galvin.

The review has since been taken over by Kinsale Management Consulting.

January 21, 2020

French ex-priest, accused of sex abuse, may get 10 years

ANKARA (TURKEY)
Anadolu Agency

January 21, 2020

By Cindi Cook

Lyon was setting for trial of Bernard Preynat in alleged abuse of at least 80 young boys in 1980s and 1990s

Paris - The four-day trial of a former priest who, accused of sexually abusing at least 80 Boy Scouts in the 1980s and 1990s, was concluded on Friday in Lyon, France.

Bernard Preynat, 74, is charged with committing lecherous acts against the young boys between 1971 and 1991, when he served as scout chaplain in the Sainte-Foy-lès-Lyon region of eastern France.

The prosecutor of the Republic, Dominique Sauves, requested a prison sentence "which is not less than eight years" against the ex-priest.

Preynat faces a possible decade in prison and a 150,000-euro (nearly $167,000) fine.

He is accused of abusing dozens of young boys during his time in charge, although only 10 of the abused testified against him in the trial last week. Those who came forward have also charged the church leadership with covering up the acts, therefore allowing Preynat to remain in contact with youths.

Vatican Orders Sex Abuse Investigation of Brooklyn Bishop

NEW YORK (NY)
NBC 4

January 21, 2020

Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio is accused of molesting a child while he was a parish priest in New Jersey

The Vatican has ordered an investigation of a sexual abuse allegation against Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, who was previously named by Pope Francis to investigate the church's response to clergy sexual abuse in Buffalo.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of the Archdiocese of New York received instructions on Jan. 7 to begin an investigation of allegations that DiMarzio molested a child while he was a parish priest in New Jersey in the mid-1970s, according to a statement released over the weekend by Dolan's spokesman Joseph Zwilling.

“As is our practice, the Cardinal will rely on outside professional forensic investigators to assist him in this matter,” Zwilling said.

Boston attorney Mitchell Garabedian notified church officials in November that he was preparing a lawsuit on behalf of his client, who alleges to have been repeatedly abused by DiMarzio and a second priest as an altar boy at St. Nicholas Church in Jersey City.

DiMarzio denied the allegation, telling The Associated Press “I am confident I will be fully vindicated.”

2 former Cape Cod priests suspended during sexual abuse investigation

HYANNIS (MA)
Cape Cod Times

January 20, 2020

By Jessica Hill

Two retired priests who previously served in parishes on the Cape have been suspended from ministry after separate allegations of sexual abuse of a minor, according to a statement from the Diocese of Fall River.

The Revs. James F. Buckley and Edward J. Byington have denied the allegations, which stem from incidents said to have occurred decades ago, the statement says.

Buckley was ordained in 1959. Among his assignments were St. Joan of Arc Parish in Orleans, St. Augustine Parish in Vineyard Haven, St. Margaret Parish in Buzzards Bay and Holy Redeemer Parish in Chatham, the statement says. He retired in 2001.

Byington, ordained in 1970, was assigned to 10 parishes, including St. Francis Xavier Parish in Hyannis, before he retired in 2006.

Although neither priest is currently assigned to a parish, both have assisted with the celebration of Mass in various churches since their retirement, the statement says. Byington also has taught German classes at St. Joseph’s School in West Warwick, Rhode Island, and the Fall River Diocese has notified the Diocese of Providence about his suspension, according to the statement.

Lawyer details sex abuse claim against retired priest

NEW BEDFORD (MA)
SouthCoastToday

January 20, 2020

By Kiernan Dunlop

Fall River - Details are coming to light about allegations of sexual abuse against a retired priest recently suspended by the Diocese of Fall River.

On Monday, Attorney Mitchell Garabedian, well known for representing sexual abuse victims in claims against the Archdiocese of Boston, sent out a statement detailing a claim against the Rev. Edward J. Byington.

Byington was one of two priests named by the Fall River diocese Sunday as having been suspended from ministry due to separate allegations of sexual abuse of a minor going back several decades.

Garabedian said he represents a sexual abuse victim “who claims he was sexually abused by Father Byington when he was approximately 16 to 17 years old.”

According to Garabedian, that abuse occurred in 1971 when Byington offered his client a ride home from the ECHO (Encountering Christ in Others) retreat, but instead drove him to the rectory of Sacred Heart Church in Taunton even though Byington was not assigned to that church at the time.

Diocese of Fall River suspends retired Catholic priests James Buckley, Edward Byington over claims of child sex abuse

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
MassLive

January 20, 2020

By Jackson Cote

https://www.masslive.com/news/2020/01/diocese-of-fall-river-suspends-retired-catholic-priests-james-buckley-edward-byington-over-claims-of-child-sex-abuse.html

Two retired Catholic priests were suspended from the ministry over allegations they sexually abused children decades ago, the Diocese of Fall River announced Sunday.

The suspended priests, James F. Buckley and Edward J. Byington, are not assigned to a parish but have assisted with masses at various churches since their retirements in the 2000s, the Diocese of Fall River said in a statement.

Byington has also taught German classes at St. Joseph’s School in West Warwick, Rhode Island. The Diocese of Providence was notified of Byington’s suspension, according to the Diocese of Fall River.

“Nothing is more important than the welfare of all members of our diocesan community, especially anyone who has been harmed or impacted by abuse in any way,” Bishop Edgar da Cunha said in the diocese’s statement. “The Diocese of Fall River remains committed to resolving these matters in as fair and as transparent a process as possible and to ensuring the safety of all youth and vulnerable adults.”

The separate claims of abuse, denied by both priests, are unrelated and remain under investigation by the diocese. The allegations were also referred to law enforcement. Suspension is required by diocesan policies, the statement said.

A man accused Byington of sexually abusing him in the 1970s when he was roughly 16 years old. The alleged victim was not Catholic but was introduced to the priest at Encountering Christ in Others, a weekend retreat program for Christian teenagers on the Cape and Islands. The man was invited by two friends to attend the retreat with them, according to attorney Mitchell Garabedian.

January 20, 2020

10 years after Vatican takeover, Legion in new abuse crisis

MEXICO CITY (MEXICO)
Associated Press

January 20, 2020

By Maria Verza and Nicole Winfield

The administrator of the elite Catholic school in Cancun, Mexico, used to take the girls out of class and send them to the chapel, where the priest from the Legion of Christ religious order would sexually abuse them.

“As some were reading the Bible, he would rape the others in front of them, little girls aged 6 to 8 or 9,” said one of his victims, Ana Lucia Salazar, now a 36-year-old Mexican television host and mother of three.

“Afterward, nothing was the same, nothing went back to the way it was,” she said through tears at her home in Mexico City.

Salazar’s horrific story, which has been corroborated by other victims and the Legion itself, has sparked a new credibility crisis for the once-influential order, 10 years after the Holy See took it over after determining that its founder was a pedophile.

But more importantly, it has called into question the Vatican reform itself: The papal envoy who ran the Legion starting in 2010 learned about the case nearly a decade ago and refused to punish or even investigate the priest or the superiors who covered up his crimes, many of whom are still in power and ministry today.

Church sexual abuse: French priest Preynat admits 'caressing' boys

LONDON (ENGLAND)
BBC

January 14, 2020

A former French priest accused of sexually abusing dozens of Boy Scouts has admitted "caressing" children in ways he knew were wrong, at the beginning of his trial in France.

"It could be four or five children a week," Bernard Preynat, 74, told the court in Lyon on Tuesday.

He is accused of assaulting at least 80 young boys in the 1980s and 1990s and faces ten years in prison if convicted.

Ten of his accusers are expected to give evidence in the four-day trial.

The men were all aged between seven and 15 at the time of the alleged abuse.

This is the first time that Mr Preynat has appeared in a French court to answer questions about these allegations.

What happened at the court?

Speaking on the first day of his trial, Mr Preynat said he did not initially see his actions as "committing sexual assault, but giving caresses... hugs".

He admitted to the court, however, that the interactions - which frequently occurred at a scout camp he organised at weekends - "did bring me sexual pleasure".

French trial exposes how church covered for predator priest

LYON (FRANCE)
Associated Press via WTOP

January 19, 2020

One of the first people to notice Bernard Preynat’s unhealthy obsession for young boys was the supervisor at the seminary where, still a teen, the future priest started training for his career in the church.

“At 14, 15 years old, I became interested in the youngest boys and the supervisor summoned me to tell me that I was abnormal and sick,” the self-confessed child abuser said at his trial in France this past week. “I explained this to the bishop.”

And yet, after a two-year church-imposed course of psychotherapy, Preynat was still ordained into the priesthood. This chance, the first of many, to keep him away from children was spurned by the church hierarchy, which instead consistently — and successfully — long kept his abuses under wraps.

Now, at Preynat’s trial in the city of Lyon, a fuller picture of the damage he wrought on dozens of boys and their families is emerging. Four days of hearings also gave a long-overdue airing to the enabling role played by French church officials. Aware of his abuses, Lyon cardinals told him to stop but didn’t report him to police, he said.

Clergy named in report held multiple assignments throughout La Crosse Diocese

LA CROSSE (WI)
WKBT

January 19, 2020

By Mal Meyer

A report on clergy sexual abuse released by the Diocese of La Crosse shows the clergy members moved around several times. They served in churches, hospitals and schools throughout its 19 county area, and some served outside the Diocese.

A total of 25 clergy members with ties to the diocese were named in the child sexual abuse report released this weekend. They spent time in the Diocese of La Crosse, which has parishes throughout much of Western and Central Wisconsin.

The report goes on to list where these priests and deacons served. A number of those accused worked at the same places at some point, such as St. Joseph the Workman, Holy Trinity, St. James the Less and Aquinas High School in La Crosse.

Others had pastoral assignments with the Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis or at the Diocese of La Crosse as curia staff. Two of the clergy members were assigned to the Veterans Administration Hospital in Tomah.

Sarah’s last hurrah? 2020 could see major Vatican shakeups

DENVER (CO)
Crux

January 18, 2020

By Elise Harris

Rome - At the beginning of the week, the insider Catholic universe imploded when news broke that retired Pope Benedict XVI and Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah had co-authored a new book defending priestly celibacy just as Pope Francis is considering an exception to the rule proposed during the Amazon synod.

In the fierce and polemical debate that ensued, the role of a pope emeritus was questioned while Catholicism’s conservative and progressive camps exchanged arguments over Benedict XVI’s intentions with the book, titled From the Depths of Our Hearts: Priesthood, Celibacy and the Crisis of the Catholic Church, which hit shelves Jan. 15 in France.

The saga culminated with Archbishop Georg Ganswein, personal secretary for Benedict XVI, saying the emeritus pope had asked that his name be withdrawn as a coauthor and removed from the book’s introduction and conclusion. Citing the Chicago Manual of Style, however, the English-language publisher, Ignatius Press, said it considers the publication “coauthored.”

Though unprecedented is perhaps the wrong word to describe the bizarre episode, it was certainly odd, as Sarah, an active sitting cardinal who heads the Vatican’s liturgy office, took to social media to defend his credibility, issuing several statements and publishing correspondence between himself and Benedict - things that heads of Vatican departments don’t typically do.

However, this week’s episode could well have been Sarah’s “last hurrah,” as the Guinean cardinal is set to turn 75 in June, meaning he will be required to submit his resignation after having reached the formal age of retirement for bishops and cardinals.

Sarah is just one of many possible shakeups that could take place around the Vatican this year as Francis’s reform of the Roman Curia unfolds, with several major department heads already 75 or older, who have yet to step down.

Statement from the Diocese of Brooklyn about the ‘Vos estis lux mundi’ probe

BROOKLYN (NY)
The Tablet of the Diocese of Brooklyn

January 19, 2020

By Adriana Rodriguez

Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio has categorically denied the allegation against him. He will vigorously defend himself against this false claim and is confident the truth will prevail. As the Church investigation is a Vos estis lux mundi probe, it does not require that Bishop DiMarzio step aside during the preliminary investigation. As such, his status has not changed.

Since the allegation was announced two months ago, there has been a tremendous outpouring of support for Bishop DiMarzio, from here in the Diocese of Brooklyn and from the people he has served throughout his 50-year ministry, including parishioners from his time as parochial vicar at St. Nicholas Church in Jersey City.

Bishop DiMarzio is recognized as a leader in the fight against sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. Even before the mandates of the 2002 Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, Bishop DiMarzio created protocols when he was the bishop in the Diocese of Camden from 1999-2003 to ensure that children were protected and that victims received the care they need.

DiMarzio welcomes investigation, points to personal record fighting abuse

DENVER (CO)
Catholic News Agency

January 19, 2020

Brooklyn’s Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio has issued a statement welcoming an investigation into an accusation of sexual abuse made against him last year.

In a statement released to CNA on Sunday Jan. 19, the Diocese of Brooklyn said that Bishop DiMarzio had done nothing wrong and had no intention of stepping aside during the Vatican-ordered enquiry into the allegation, which dates back to the 1970s and DiMarzio’s time as a priest in the Archdiocese of Newark.

“Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio has categorically denied the allegation against him,” the statement said. “He will vigorously defend himself against this false claim and is confident the truth will prevail.”

On Jan. 18, the Archdiocese of New York confirmed that Cardinal Timothy Dolan had been asked by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to conduct an investigation into the allegations of 56-year-old Mark Matzek.

Matzek alleges that DiMarzio and another priest, now deceased, repeatedly abused him when he was an altar server at St. Nicholas Catholic Church in the Diocese of Newark in the 1970s.

Although lawyer Mitchell Garabedian sent a letter to the Archdiocese of Newark in November saying he was preparing a lawsuit on behalf of Matzek seeking $20 million, a spokesperson for the Brooklyn diocese told CNA on Sunday that no suit had yet been filed.

Retired Priests Suspended from Ministry

FALL RIVER (MA)
Diocese of Fall River

January 19, 2020

The Diocese of Fall River has announced that two retired priests have been suspended from ministry due to separate allegations of sexual abuse of a minor, said to have occurred decades ago.

The suspended priests are Father James F. Buckley and Father Edward J. Byington. The separate, unrelated claims of abuse were referred to the appropriate law enforcement authorities and remain under investigation by the Diocese. Both priests have denied the allegations. The suspension from ministry is required by Diocesan policies. The Diocese is committed to resolving both cases in a fair and expeditious manner.

Both priests are retired and are not assigned to a parish (see service records at the end of this release). However, both have assisted with the celebration of Masses in various parishes since their retirements. The Diocese was informed that Father Byington has also taught German classes at St. Joseph’s School in West Warwick, Rhode Island and has, in turn, notified the Diocese of Providence about his suspension.

“Nothing is more important than the welfare of all members of our diocesan community, especially anyone who has been harmed or impacted by abuse in any way,” said Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V. “The Diocese of Fall River remains committed to resolving these matters in as fair and as transparent a process as possible and to ensuring the safety of all youth and vulnerable adults.”

2 Priests Suspended Amid Decades Old Abuse Complaints

FALL RIVER (MA)
Associated Press via U.S. News and World Report

January 19, 2020

Two retired Catholic priests in Massachusetts have been suspended amid separate allegations of sexual abuse.

Two retired Catholic priests in Massachusetts have been suspended amid separate allegations of sexual abuse.

The Diocese of Fall River said Sunday that Fathers James Buckley and Edward Byington have been accused of abusing minors decades ago.

The diocese didn't specify the nature of the abuse other than to say they are separate, unrelated claims and have been referred to the appropriate law enforcement authorities.

Both priests deny the allegations, according to the diocese.

Buckley and Byington have not been assigned to a specific parish since their retirement, but have assisted in church services in various communities, the diocese said.

Buckley was ordained a priest in 1959 and retired in 2001 after serving in Fall River, Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard, according to the diocese.

Byington was ordained 1970 and retired in 2006 after serving in churches across southeastern Massachusetts and nearby Rhode Island.

2 Fall River retired priests suspended over sex abuse allegations

CRANSTON (RI)
WJAR 10 NBC

January 19, 2020

Fall River, Mass. - The Diocese of Fall River announced Sunday it has suspended two retired priests after sexual abuse allegations were made against them.

The separate, unrelated accusations against Father Edward J. Byington and Father James F. Buckley are said to have happened decades ago and are under investigation by law enforcement.

Both priests have denied the allegations. The suspension from ministry is required by Diocesan policies, the Diocese of Fall River said in a statement.

Both priests are retired and are not assigned to a parish, the statement said. However, both have assisted with the celebration of Masses in various parishes since their retirements.

Fall River Diocese suspends 2 retired priests over sex abuse allegations

PROVIDENCE (RI)
WPRI 12

January 19, 2020

By Jacqui Gomersall and Brittany Schaefer

Fall River, Mass. - Two retired Catholic priests in Southeastern Massachusetts have been suspended from ministry due to separate allegations of sexual abuse of a minor, according to the Diocese of Fall River.

The diocese identified the priests as Father James F. Buckley and Father Edward J. Byington.

The allegations date back decades and both priests have denied them.

The unrelated allegations have been referred to law enforcement and remain under investigation by the diocese.

January 19, 2020

Law professor, 61, tells of horrific sex abuse

LONDON (ENGLAND)
Daily Mail

Jan. 19, 2020

By Chantalle Edmunds

A professor whose vicar sexually assaulted her while saying 'this is what God wanted' 40 years ago has today condemned him as a 'predator' who had taken advantage of her faith.

Brave Julie Macfarlane has waived her right to anonymity to speak out against disgraced Church of England priest Meirion Griffiths, who was this week convicted of molesting her when she was a teenager.

The university law professor, now 61, was subjected to a year-long campaign of 'disgusting' and 'repulsive' repeated sexual abuse.

Griffiths, 81, now faces jail after he was convicted on Monday of indecently assaulting Prof Macfarlane and another woman from his congregation in the 1970s and 1980s.

Griffiths was a rector from the Diocese of Chichester, West Sussex, at the time and Portsmouth Crown Court, Hants, heard he grew 'obsessed' with his victims before 'systematically' abusing them.

Prof Macfarlane, who has since moved to Canada and lectures at Ontario's University of Windsor, said she turned to Griffiths when she was 17 and had doubts with her faith.

She said: 'He was a very big authority figure for me. I was a very earnest Christian girl.

Cardinal Dolan conducting 'Vos estis' investigation into Brooklyn's Bishop DiMarzio

DENVER (CO)
Catholic News Agency

January 18, 2020

New York City - Cardinal Timothy Dolan is conducting an investigation into Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, following an allegation of sexual abuse.

The investigation is being conducted under the provisions of Vos estis lux mundi, the Church law issued by Pope Francis last year on dealing with accusations against bishops.

In a statement released Jan. 18, Joseph Zwilling, director of communications in the Archdiocese of New York, confirmed the investigation.

“As directed by Vos estis, Cardinal Dolan earlier notified the Holy See of the allegation that was raised concerning Bishop DiMarzio from his time as a priest in the Archdiocese of Newark. On January 7, 2020, the Cardinal received instruction from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that he is to begin an investigation.”

On Nov. 13, 2019, DiMarzio publicly announced that he was the subject of an allegation of sexually abusing a minor, dating back to his time as a priest in the 1970s in Jersey City.

Two popes, plotting cardinals and the fallout of an explosive book

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Guardian

January 19, 2020

By Angela Giuffrida

Benedict and his inner circle are accused of intervening to halt Pope Francis relaxing celibacy rules as the battle between conservative and liberal factions takes a new twist

The pilgrims filing into the papal audience hall last Wednesday were mostly oblivious to the saga enveloping the Vatican over an explosive new book that pits the retired Pope Benedict XVI against the reigning Pope Francis. But they were clear on who their favourite is.

Director Fernando Meirelles and Jonathan Pryce as Pope Francis during the filming of ‘The Two Popes’.
FacebookTwitterPinterest Director Fernando Meirelles, and Jonathan Pryce as Pope Francis, during the filming of ‘The Two Popes’. Photograph: Peter Mountain/AP
“I would not have come all this way for Benedict,” said Marisol Durán Vergora, a first-time visitor to the Vatican from Spain. “He is an extremist, whereas Francis is more human and closer to the people.” Another pilgrim, who wished to remain anonymous, speculated after being briefed on the goings-on: “Benedict decided to abdicate and should keep his promise of staying silent.”

*
Benedict has come forward on a variety of issues over the past seven years, most controversially writing last year that the sexual revolution of the 1960s and “homosexual cliques” among priests were to blame for the church’s paedophile-priest scandals. The opinion came two months after an unprecedented Vatican summit on tackling clerical sexual abuse, and sharply contrasted with that of Francis, who blamed the scandals on a clerical culture that elevates priests above the laity. Benedict also wrote a letter complimenting Cardinal Joachim Meisner – a fierce critic of Francis who spoke out against the pontiff allowing remarried divorcees to receive holy communion – who died in 2017.

Viganò comes out of hiding to protest German bishops’ ‘synodal path’ of destruction

FRONT ROYAL (VA)
LifeSite News

January 18, 2020

By Maike Hickson

In first public appearance since McCarrick report in 2018, Archbishop Viganò participates at Munich prayer event

In his first public appearance since going into hiding over a year ago, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò joined other prominent Catholics in Munich today in prayer and protest against the German Episcopal Conference and its President Cardinal Marx. The Vatican whistleblower joined Catholic laity to oppose the German prelates’ plan to embark on a “synodal path” that critics say would create a “new church” that departs from Catholic teaching on priestly celibacy, contraception, homosexuality, and fornication.

Viganò had gone into hiding after he published on August 25, 2018 his McCarrick report accusing Pope Francis of ignoring Pope Benedict XVI's earlier restrictions on then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick on account of McCarrick’s preying upon and abuse of seminarians. Viganò said that Francis should resign.

Pope Francis abolished the pontifical secret with regard to sex abuse cases in December 2019. He issued a decree according to which the pontifical secret binding Church officials to confidentiality in specific matters, “does not apply to accusations, trials and decisions” concerning sexual abuse of adults, minors and vulnerable persons, and the production, possession and distribution of pornography (cf. Vos estis lux mundi, art. 1). This will enable a person who files an accusation of sexual abuse, for example, as well as “the person who alleges to have been harmed and the witnesses shall not be bound by any obligation of silence with regard to matters involving the case.”

It is perhaps in light of this new decree that Archbishop Viganò feels less restrained in appearing in public. In any event, he continuously raised his voice with regard to important moral and doctrinal aspects of the current Church crisis, such as the clerical sex abuse crisis, some problematic developments during and since the Second Vatican Council, the important role of the Blessed Virgin Mary, as well as the recent 6-27 October 2019 Amazon Synod in Rome.

Pastoral letter regarding clergy disclosures

LA CROSSE (WI)
Diocese of La Crosse

January 18, 2020

By Bishop William Patrick Callahan

My dear sisters and brothers in Christ:

The Protect and Heal initiative of the Diocese of La Crosse, our response to the clergy sexual abuse crisis, now includes a most essential ingredient: the disclosure of the names of clergy with a substantiated allegation of child sexual abuse.

This disclosure of names is an important step: the Church must again confess to this evil and pledge our prayers and support to all victims and their families. To all victims and their loved ones, everywhere: I and so many others continue to offer prayers and assistance. I realize that our promise of continued prayer and support may not seem to be enough; for your pain, suffering and anguish will always be a part of you. I am sorry, however, for all you’ve suffered.

The disclosure of names is a necessary step. Victims inform us that it assists in their healing process and it provides them with no small sense of justice. Victims and their loved ones must no longer suffer in silence and isolation.

This is also a painful step. It’s painful to all victims, certainly, for their nightmare resurfaces yet again with this public release; and it is painful, too, for all good and faithful laity and clergy who continue to feel anger and humiliation for the abuse of both power and conscience committed by these men.

Even with that, the disclosure of names is the right thing to do, for all of us!

The list of names of clergy with a substantiated allegation of child sexual abuse, found on the Protect and Heal page on our website, will remain public and up-to-date: names will be added if and when future allegations are sufficiently confirmed. As promised and as needed, prudent transparency has replaced unacceptable secrecy.

Clergy with Substantiated Allegations of Child Sexual Abuse

LA CROSSE (WI)
Diocese of La Crosse

January 18, 2020

The following clergy on this list have had a substantiated allegation of child sexual abuse. None are in public ministry.

An allegation is deemed to be substantiated if it has been sufficiently confirmed so as to believe that abuse occurred. This determination follows a process of consultation and is not a legal judgment.

The fact that a specific parish is on the list does not mean that an act of abuse occurred at said parish. It’s only significance is that a priest on our list once served at that parish.

Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this list. Questions about this list should be in writing and directed to the Office of Safe Environment, Diocese of La Crosse, P.O. Box 4004, La Crosse, WI 54602-4004.

The names on this list are divided into three categories:

(1) Diocesan clergy
(2) Non-Diocesan clergy with a substantiated allegation in the Diocese of La Crosse
(3) Non-Diocesan clergy who spent time in the Diocese of La Crosse and whose name appears on a list in another diocese or religious order

La Crosse Diocese names 25 former priests who abused children

WAUSAU (WI)
Wausau Daily Herald

January 18, 2020

By Laura Schulte

[Photo caption] David Clohessy, of St. Louis, who is the Missouri director and former national director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, holds a list of Catholic priests who have been credibly accused of sexual abused and have spent time in the Diocese of La Crosse on Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, at St. Michael's Catholic Church in Wausau, Wis.

La Crosse - At least 25 priests who served in the Diocese of La Crosse over the past several decades sexually assaulted children, the diocese disclosed Saturday.

The disclosure, posted at 4 p.m. on the diocese website at diolc.org, brings the total number of Catholic priests with substantiated accusations of sexual abuse in Wisconsin to nearly 160.

The La Crosse diocese serves nearly 200,000 Catholics in counties across central and western Wisconsin, including those in Marathon, Portage and Wood counties.

The list was published after an audit of the diocese clergy files dating back to 1868 by the Texas-based firm Defenbaugh & Associates Inc..

The list included 18 clergy members who were part of the La Crosse diocese:

Bruce Ball, Raymond Bornbach, Eugene Comiskey, Thomas Dempsey, James Ennis, James Finucan, John Thomas Finucan, Tom Garthwaite, Richard Herrmann, William Hertzenberg, Thomas Langer, James E. Mason, Garland Muller, Charles Rasmussen, Albert Sonnberger, James Stauber, Patrick Umberger and Raymond J. Wagner.

The diocese also named two priests who were part of other Catholic orders but were accused of abuse while serving in the La Crosse diocese: Timothy Svea and Bogdan Werra.

The list also included five priests who spent time in the diocese and whose names appeared on other Catholic diocese and religious order lists of suspected abusers: Dennis Bouche, Daniel Budzynski, Orville Munie, Joseph Smetana and Francis Zimmerer.

In addition to the 25 names, the diocese released the service history for each priest including ordination date, pastoral assignments and their current status, including dates of death. Most of the priests are now dead, and the diocese said none of the surviving abusers is serving in the ministry.

Parish leaders across the diocese also were instructed to read a letter from La Crosse Bishop William Patrick Callahan during Masses this weekend. Callahan did not make himself available for reporter interviews Saturday.

January 18, 2020

Vatican orders Cardinal Dolan to probe Bishop DiMarzio sex abuse allegation

NEW YORK (NY)
The New York Post

January 18, 2020

By Sara Dorn

The Vatican has ordered Timothy Cardinal Dolan to probe allegations that Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio sexually abused an altar boy at a New Jersey church in the 1970s, The Post has learned.

On Jan. 7, “the Cardinal received instruction from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that he is to begin an investigation. As is our practice, the Cardinal will rely on outside professional forensic investigators to assist him in this matter,” said New York Archdiocese spokesman Joseph Zwilling.

“Cardinal Dolan earlier notified the Holy See of the allegation that was raised concerning Bishop DiMarzio from his time as a priest in the Archdiocese of Newark,” the spokesman said in a statement.

Diocese of La Crosse to release list of priest abuse allegations

LA CROSSE (WI)
WXOW-TV (Channel 19)

January 17, 2020

On Saturday, the Diocese of La Crosse plans to publish a list of clergy with substantiated allegations of child sexual abuse.

The diocese said it would release the list on its website Saturday at 4 p.m.

In a statement Friday, the diocese said as the list is released, a pastoral letter from Bishop William Callahan will be read at all weekend Masses in the diocese.

According to the diocese, the list was created after an audit of clergy files dating back to 1868 when the diocese was founded.

Diocese of Madison determines sexual abuse allegations against former priest as credible

MADISON (WI)
Channel 3000

January 17, 2020

The Diocese of Madison announced Friday that sexual abuse allegations against a former priest who served parishes near the Wisconsin River were determined to be credible.

According to a news release, Rev. Patrick Doherty, 85, will be placed on the diocese’s list of priests or former priests who have been credibly accused of acts of sexual abuse against minors. Doherty has been out of ministry since 1993.

Doherty previously worked in a number of smaller parishes along the Wisconsin River, including St. Barnabas, Mazomanie and St. John the Baptist.

Doherty’s accuser, who does not want to be named, said the abuse happened over 40 years ago. The release said Doherty has had struggles with alcoholism and reported disreputable behaviors with adult men that were known to the public.

Friendship with Prince Charles made paedophile bishop Peter Ball 'impregnable'

UNITED KINGDOM
The Guardian

January 14, 2020

By Harriet Sherwood

BBC2 documentary shows how establishment figures rallied round cleric

The disgraced paedophile bishop Peter Ball made himself apparently “impregnable” by cultivating friendships with Prince Charles and other senior establishment figures who later rushed to support him when he was accused of sexual abuse, according to a BBC documentary.

Ball, the former bishop of both Lewes and Gloucester who died last year, boasted of his role as “counsellor to royalty”, Cliff James, one of his victims, says in the programme. He cultivated friendships with Margaret Thatcher, peers of the realm, senior judges and headmasters of leading public schools.

The former bishop was investigated by police in the early 1990s, which resulted in a police caution. In 2015, he was convicted of sexual offences against 17 teenagers and young men and jailed for 32 months. He was released in February 2017 after serving half his sentence.

Survivors, bishops say legal campaign against Peruvian journo is ‘harassment’

ROME (ITALY)
Crux

January 13, 2020

By Elise Harris

As Peruvian journalist Paola Ugaz faces ongoing legal threats over her reporting on a controversial Catholic lay group, both sexual abuse survivors and members of the hierarchy have come to her defense, arguing that the onslaught of legal action amounts to “harassment” in a bid to stop her investigations.

Last year, Ugaz received five criminal citations for aggravated defamation, more than any other journalist in Peru in 2019. On Dec. 30, Ugaz got two separate legal notices in the mail summoning her to hearings, one on Jan. 17, and one on March 22.

“When the whole world was preparing to celebrate the new year, I had to start working with my defense lawyer to see how to face this systematic harassment of me,” Ugaz told Crux, attributing this “persecution” to the group she has been reporting on.

Michigan AG Nessel Authorizes CSC Charges Against Upper Peninsula Clergymen

LANSING (MI)
Office of Michigan Attorney General

January 17, 2020
Contact: Kelly Rossman-McKinney 517-335-7666

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel today announced criminal sexual conduct charges have been filed against two more priests by her department’s Clergy Abuse Investigation Team.

Multiple charges have been filed in three Upper Peninsula counties against Gary Allen Jacobs and Roy Joseph, both former priests associated with the Catholic Diocese of Marquette.

Strongsville Catholic priest hit with 21-count child pornography indictment in Cuyahoga County

CLEVELAND (OH)
Cleveland.com

January 17, 2020

By Cory Shaffer

Robert McWilliams, the Catholic priest at St. Joseph Church in Strongsville, is arraigned on a child pornography charge in Chardon Municipal Court.

A Cuyahoga County grand jury has handed up a 21-count indictment charging a Strongsville Catholic priest with possessing child pornography.

The Rev. Robert McWilliams, 39, is charged with 20 counts of pandering obscenity involving a minor, a second-degree felony. He is also charged with possessing criminal tools.

McWilliams is currently jailed in Geauga County on a $150,000 bond. He is set to return to Cuyahoga County to answer to the new charges at a Wednesday arraignment.

JOAN SULLIVAN: Gemma Hickey’s memoir a courageous journey through interior and exterior landscapes

CANADA
The Chronicle Herald

January 18, 2020

“Almost Feral,” By Gemma Hickey; Breakwater Books; $24.95; 272 pages.

In July 2015, Gemma Hickey set out from Port aux Basques to walk across the island, via the Trans-Canada Highway. Their goal was to raise funds for and awareness of Pathways, which Hickey had founded to help survivors of clergy sexual abuse. Hickey publicized their efforts through a steady stream of events and interviews along the route, as well as continual interactions with passers- and drivers-by (the reason Hickey took the road and not the shorter but less-accessible railway bed).

“There was no confessional in the world big enough to hold what I heard. The stories were easier to carry while I was moving. But when I lay still in my bed at night, they haunted my dreams.” (Because so much of the material is very sensitive, Hickey doesn’t name many people in the book, not even their former spouse.)

“One woman, who was driving home from the mainland with her daughter for a visit, told me the nuns abused her at Belvedere Orphanage in St. John’s. Even though she had been living in Ontario for some time, I could still hear her Newfoundland accent …

Attorney General charges two priests from U.P. with child sexual abuse

LANSING (MI)
Daily Press

January 18, 2020

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced Friday criminal sexual conduct charges have been filed against two more priests by her department’s Clergy Abuse Investigation Team.

Multiple charges have been filed in three Upper Peninsula counties against Gary Allen Jacobs and Roy Joseph, both former priests associated with the Catholic Diocese of Marquette.

Gary Allen Jacobs, 74, of Albuquerque, N.M., is charged with multiple criminal sexual conduct counts, with incidents reportedly occurring between Jan. 1, 1981, and Dec. 31, 1984, in Ontonagon County and between March 1, 1984, and April 30, 1984, in Dickinson County.

Jacobs faces a total of seven charges in two separate cases in Ontonagon County. He’s being charged with six counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a child between the ages of 13 and 16 and one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a child between the ages of 13 and 16. In Dickinson County, Jacobs faces one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a person under 13 years old.

Religious Privilege: priest confessed to child abuse 1500 times

QUEENSLAND (AUSTRALIA)
QN

January 18, 2020

By Destiny Rogers

While religious extremists agitate for legislation extending their religious privilege at the expense of the rights of other Australians, a victim of child abuse is attempting to obtain compensation.

Father Michael McArdle wrote in a 2004 affidavit that he made confessions of child abuse 1,500 times over 25 years. Each time, he walked out of the confessional booth with his sins absolved.

Rockhampton Bishop Brian Heenan barred McArdle from contact with children in 1996 after hearing allegations from victims. Although McArdle never denied the allegations, Heenan failed to contact the police.

The China/Vatican Agreement: A Human Tragedy

UNITED STATES
The Open Tabernacle (blog)

January 18, 2020

By Betty Clermont

Pope Francis “has effectively given Xi Jinping a stamp of approval when the latter’s hostility to religious freedom couldn’t be clearer,” said Sophie Richardson, the China director of Human Rights Watch.

“Watching a major world faith come to an agreement with an authoritarian government that’s notorious for repressing religious freedom and to effectively cede some authority to that government sets a very worrying precedent,” Richardson explained. “The deal came as the religious-freedom environment in China reached its worst level in years, as the government has detained Muslim citizens in illegal detention camps, increased control over churches and temples, and sought to incorporate party ideology directly into religious doctrine.”

Knoxville Diocese is silencing sex abuse victims, breaking church rules on settlements, according to survivors group's complaint letter

TENNESSEE
Chattanooga Free Press

January 17, 2020

By Wyatt Massey

The Tennessee chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests is requesting the Catholic Church's U.S. governing body investigate of the Diocese of Knoxville for allegedly silencing victims of sexual abuse through a practice outlawed by the church nearly 20 years ago.

The complaint letter, sent Thursday to the National Review Board, said the diocese pushed for a nondisclosure agreement in the December settlement of a sexual abuse case brought by Michael Boyd. In July, Boyd filed a lawsuit alleging he was repeatedly sexually abused between 1991 and 1995 in Knoxville by Monsignor Francis Xavier Mankel, Bishop Anthony O'Connell, visiting priests and diocesan employee William Michael Lovelace.

Boyd's settlement contains a nondisparagement agreement, which bars him from speaking negatively about the diocese. The complaint letter says non-disclosure and nondisparagement agreements violate the Catholic Church's 2002 charter on addressing abuse, which states dioceses are "not to enter into settlements which bind the parties to confidentiality."

Major evangelical nonprofits are trying a new strategy with the IRS that allows them to hide their salaries

UNITED STATES
Washington Post

January 17, 2020

By Sarah Pulliam Bailey

Several major evangelical organizations have in recent years moved to a new strategy where they shift from a nonprofit status to a “church” status with the IRS, allowing them to keep private exactly how their money is being spent and the salaries of their most highly paid employees.

That strategic shift was highlighted recently by MinistryWatch, an independent, donor-based group that monitors evangelical institutions. The IRS status change allows these groups, including Focus on the Family and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, to avoid filing a form that makes details of their institution’s finances public.

Leaders of the groups say they are changing their status to avoid administrative costs; some also believe that this status with the IRS could allow them extra religious-freedom protections in potential lawsuits over LGBT rights. The potential cost of applying to be a church is that the organizations cannot campaign on behalf of politicians or devote a substantial part of their work to lobbying on legislation. Critics say the option deprives the public of important information about how the tax-exempt organizations are operating.

“Transparency and accountability send an important message to the world, which is why this trend is so potentially destructive,” said Warren Cole Smith of MinistryWatch.

For decades, the U.S. tax code has allowed nonprofit organizations, including religious ones, to be exempt from most taxes. Donors can also deduct gifts to the nonprofit groups on their own taxes.

But tax-exempt organizations that are not houses of worship must also complete an annual Form 990. The form includes information about annual revenue, salaries of the highest-paid employees, names of board members and large contractors, and the amount of money the organization spends on administrative costs and fundraising. In lieu of a 990, some houses of worship (which are all generally described as “churches” by the IRS) choose to publicize their own audits, but doing so is not required.

MinistryWatch recently published a list of highly paid Christian ministry executives, but several pastors and nonprofit executives were excluded because many don’t file 990s. While these kinds of ministries range in purpose, they typically do not operate the same way most churches do, with at least one weekly worship service that is open to the public.

Catholic Group Calls on Ljubljana Archbishop to Resign Over Inaction on Multiple Rape Allegations Against Priests

SLOVENIA
Total Slovenia News

January 16, 2020

A Catholic civil society group dedicated to fighting sexual abuse in the Slovenian Roman Catholic Church has called for the resignation of Slovenia's most senior cleric, Ljubljana Archbishop Stanislav Zore, due to the church's persistent failure to tackle sexual abuse allegations against members of the clergy.

The church keeps adopting and updating recommendations on how church workers should deal with allegations of sexual abuse, but "everything remains dead ink on paper", said Igor Vovk, a senior member of the Dovolj.je (It's Enough) group and director of the Catholic pro-life NGO Zavod Iskreni.

The group has so far received 38 reports by victims against 22 priests. And while some have been handled adequately, in particular in the Murska Sobota Diocese, others continue to be ignored, it said.

It highlighted the case of priest Jože Planinšek, the director of the pastoral and youth centre Saint Joseph Home in Celje, who had been reported by five victims for sexual assault dating between 1990 and 2010. "He is still doing his job as if nothing has happened," priest Janez Cerar said.

Mary Grace Gallagher: The Capital didn’t report on Key School sex abuse allegations 25 years ago. It was a different world.

ANNAPOLIS (MD)
The Capital Gazette

January 18, 2020

By Mary Grace Gallagher

We sat at Carolyn Surrick’s kitchen table for so long, talking and crying, that we had gotten hungry. She pulled out a bowl of edamame beans steamed the night before and showed me how to eat them right out of their shells.

I was, at the time, a young reporter for The Capital, following up on a phone call she had made the previous week. She had told me that, when she was a student at Key School in the early 1970s, she and many other students had been raped and sexually assaulted by a handful of their teachers.

I cried more than she did that long afternoon as she detailed stories of predators and lost childhood. She told of an art teacher who decorated the library with plaster casts of the breasts of pre-pubescent girls. She told me that grooming for abuse started when girls and boys were 13- to 14-years old.

Two former Upper Peninsula priests charged with with sex crimes

MICHIGAN
MLive. com

January 17, 2020

By John Tunison

Two former priests who served in the Upper Peninsula have been charged with sex crimes, the state Attorney General’s office announced Friday.

Both men had ties to the Catholic Diocese of Marquette.

The charges come as state Attorney General Dana Nessel continues investigations into clergy abuse.

Advocate wants former Belmont Abbey priest named as child sexual abuser

CHARLOTTE (NC)
WCNC-TV

January 17, 2020

By Nathan Morabito

[VIDEO]

Father Timothy Kelly, named in a sex abuse lawsuit out of New York last year, worked at Belmont Abbey from 1989 to 1991.

The names of more than 40 clergy members credibly accused of sexually abusing children before, during or after their time in the Diocese of Charlotte are now public, but just weeks after church leaders released that long-awaited list, we've learned there are still others who served in our area who were not named.

"The point is that other church entities have recognized various perpetrators, whether it's Franciscan or other [religious orders] and they have served there," advocate Patrick Wall said.

Wall, a former monk, worked under Father Timothy Kelly at St. John's Abbey in Minnesota. Kelly later spent three years at Belmont Abbey in Gaston County from 1989-1991 as an administrator.

Kelly, who did not work with the Diocese of Charlotte, has faced sex abuse allegations from multiple victims in other parts of the country.

Priest abuse

CONNECTICUT
The Day

January 18, 2020

By Joe Wojtas

[PHOTO: Tim McGuire of New London protests Wednesday, July 10, 2019, outside of St. Patrick Roman Catholic Church in Mystic to raise awareness of the fight to bring accountability to the Diocese of Norwich for alleged sexual abuses, including his own that he alleges occurred when he was 8.]

In August of 2018, a Pennsylvania grand jury issued a report that found 301 priests had abused more than 1,000 children in the state’s Catholic dioceses. That news prompted six southeastern Connecticut men, now in their 50s, 60s and 70s, to tell The Day how they too had been sexually assaulted by priests and a nun assigned to the Diocese of Norwich when they were children.

One, Deacon Mark King, accused Gregory Mullaney, the current pastor at St. Agnes Church in Niantic, of repeatedly propositioning him and trying to sexually assault him while on a trip to Rome in 2006.

The Day also revealed how more than two dozen young men had sued the diocese alleging they were sexually assaulted as teens while attending a school for troubled boys in Deep River that was headed by former Bishop of Norwich Daniel Reilly. One alleged victim, Tim McGuire of New London, began picketing local churches and others calling for a victim compensation fund.

The Day published their stories and reported that the attorney general and chief state’s attorney had no plans to investigate the issue. The newspaper also questioned the diocese why it was not releasing lists of accused priests as the Hartford diocese and others across the country had done.

Sexual misconduct charges filed against 2 Michigan priests

LANSING (MI)
Associated Press

Criminal sexual conduct charges have been filed against two priests who worked in the Upper Peninsula’s Catholic diocese of Marquette, Michigan prosecutors announced Friday

The charges against Gary Allen Jacobs of Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Roy Joseph were announced Friday by Attorney General Dana Nessel office’s Clergy Abuse Investigation Team.

Jacobs, 74, faces seven counts of criminal sexual conduct involving the alleged abuse of a child between the ages of 13 and 16 in Ontonagon County. The alleged conduct occurred between Jan. 1, 1981, and Dec. 31, 1984. The alleged misconduct in Dickinson County that took place between March 1, 1984, and April 30, 1984, involved a person under 13 years old.

January 17, 2020

Madison Diocese identifies ninth priest 'credibly accused' of sexual abuse

MADISON (WI)
Winconsin State Journal

January 17, 2020

By Emily Hamer

The Madison Diocese on Friday added a ninth priest to its growing list of clergy members who have been "credibly accused" of sexually abusing children.

The diocese determined that allegations against Rev. Patrick Doherty, 85, have the "semblance of truth," according to a statement released Friday. The alleged victim, who did not want to be named, said the abuse happened more than forty years ago, the diocese said.

The allegation came to light after an outside review of all clergy personnel files was started in June. The diocese hired Texas-based investigations firm Defenbaugh & Associates to conduct it.

The alleged victim came forward to submit a formal allegation against Doherty after the review was launched.

Utah’s Catholic diocese and House speaker oppose clergy confession bill

UTAH
Salt Lake City Tribune

January 17, 2020

By Kathy Stephenson
·
The Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City and the Utah House speaker have come out against a bill that would force clergy to report allegations of child abuse obtained in a religious confessional.

Sponsored by Rep. Angela Romero, D-Salt Lake City, HB90 specifically calls for removing the exemption that clerics now have in certain circumstances for reporting abuse.

“The motivation for the bill is understandable, to uncover and stop the abuse of children," Jean Hill, government liaison for the diocese overseeing Utah’s more than 300,000 Catholics, wrote in a recent statement, “but HB90 will not have this intended effect."

Man says diocese knew about accusations months before acting

KNOXVILLE (TN)
Associated Press

January 17, 2020

An East Tennessee man says the Catholic Diocese of Knoxville knew about abuse allegations against a music teacher nearly a year before it took action against him.

Michael Boyd said he told church officials he had been abused by William Lovelace in August 2018. But diocese spokesman Jim Wogan said the bishop only learned of the accusations when Boyd sued the diocese last July. The competing claims were first reported by the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Statement of the Diocese of Buffalo Regarding the Return of Monsignor Peter Popadick and the Reverend Paul Nogaro to Ministry

BUFFALO (NY)
Diocese of Buffalo

January 17, 2020

The Independent Review Board of the Diocese of Buffalo announces that, based on the information available at this time and the refusal of the complainant to cooperate in an independent investigation, it is unable to substantiate the allegations of sexual abuse of a minor that were brought against Monsignor Peter Popadick and Reverend Paul Nogaro in August 2019. Consequently, both priests have been taken off administrative leave and returned to ministry. Msgr. Popadick returns to his position as pastor of St. Aloysius Parish, Cheektowaga, and Rev. Nogaro returns to ministry as a retired priest of the Diocese. Both Msgr. Popadick and Fr. Nogaro have successfully served the diocese and parishes in many capacities and for numerous years in priestly ministry. The Diocese of Buffalo maintains a rigorous process for evaluating any and all allegations of inappropriate conduct by members of the clergy and Diocesan employees, relying on the impartial expertise of the members of the Independent Review Board, as well as a third-party reporting capability, the details of which can be found on the Diocesan website at: https://www.buffalodiocese.org/report.

Two Priests Return to Active Ministry

BUFFALO (NY)
WBEN Radio, 930 AM

January 17, 2020

By Tom Puckett

Diocese says not enough evidence to substantiate allegations

The Buffalo Catholic Diocese says two priests accused of abuse are being returned to active duty.

The Independent Review Board of the Diocese of Buffalo says based on the information available and the refusal of the complainant to cooperate in an independent investigation, it is unable to substantiate the allegations of sexual abuse of a minor that were brought against Monsignor Peter Popadick and Reverend Paul Nogaro in August 2019. Consequently, both priests have been taken off administrative leave and returned to ministry.

Msgr. Popadick returns to his position as pastor of St. Aloysius Parish, Cheektowaga, and Rev. Nogaro returns to ministry as a retired priest of the Diocese.

No breaking seal of confession for abusers, church insists

MYANMAR
Catholic News Service CatholicPhilly.com

January 17, 2020

The president of the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference is the latest of the country’s senior clerics to push back against legislation to lift the seal of confession for child sexual abuse.

Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane made a submission to the Queensland state government opposing draft legislation that would see priests face up to three years in jail for failing to report confessions of child sexual abuse to the police; the penalty would be five years for “failure to protect.”

In his submission, Archbishop Coleridge said a confession is between the penitent and God, and the priest’s task is to enable that dialogue.

Review: The #MeToo Reckoning by Ruth Everhart

UNITED STATES
Patheos bog

January 17, 2020

By Kristy Burmeister

“Each new revelation triggers shock waves that ripple through faith communities and through the faith of each member. Who and what can we trust? On a societal level, the word church no longer means trustworthy, not even for true believers. Churches must confront this hard reality. The trust they betrayed can never be rebuilt. Instead—and only if they address the extent of the betrayal—faith leaders can begin to build trust anew. This is a long-term and costly proposition, so buckle up.” –Ruth Everhart, The #MeToo Reckoning

My plan was to write a formal review for Ruth Everhart’s new book, The #MeToo Reckoning: Facing the Church’s Complicity in Sexual Abuse and Misconduct, but that would require a level of distance from the material that I don’t have. What I can share are my reactions to reading the book over the past three days.

As a Presbyterian pastor, Everhart weaves scripture into real-life stories of abuse within her denomination. Stepping from scripture into horrific stories of sexual assault, then back into scripture again was uncomfortable in the best sort of way. We need to be reminded of the drastic difference between what is holy and what we find in so many of our churches.

It Is 2020 — Have All the Abusive Priests Been Exposed Yet?

UNITED STATES
Legal News Blog (law firm blog)

January 17, 2020

We predict that, if surveyed, 90% of US Catholics would agree with this statement: “These days, after decades of horrific scandal, bishops report suspected child sex crimes promptly to law enforcement.”

The trouble is, that’s not true. Look no further than this week’s news from Alaska.

As recently as 2016, a New York man was working there as a parish priest. He’s now in a Maryland treatment center for the sexually troubled. This week, he was ‘outed’ by his supervisors as a ‘credibly accused’ abuser, having reportedly viewed child porn on his computer.

https://www.adn.com/alaska-news/anchorage/2020/01/16/archdiocese-accuses-14-southcentral-alaska-clergy-and-church-employees-of-sexual-abuse/

But the cleric, Fr. Robert Leising, says “no police were involved.”

What? How can that be? Haven’t bishops promised, time and time again, that they’ve ‘learned from the past’ and nowadays ‘immediately call police’ if they suspect child sex crimes?

Auxiliary Bishop Grosz asks to retire, Buffalo Diocese leader says

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

January 17, 2020

By Jay Tokasz

Auxiliary Bishop Edward M. Grosz, who will turn 75 in February, has written to Pope Francis asking for permission to retire, according to Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger, apostolic administrator of the Buffalo Diocese.

“He told me that he sent a letter to the Holy See,” Scharfenberger said when asked recently about Grosz’s status. “It’s customary for a bishop to … put in his request for retirement at or around his birthday. So that’s what he did.”

Grosz turns 75 on Feb. 16. Catholic canon law dictates that bishops relinquish their administrative duties at that time.

Advocates for clergy sex abuse survivors increasingly have questioned what role Grosz played in helping to keep cases of abuse under wraps in his nearly 30 years as a top diocese administrator. Grosz, who was installed as auxiliary bishop in 1990, often reached out to victims on behalf of the diocese, while at the same time leading inquiries with priests into clergy misconduct complaints.

New charges: Strongsville Catholic priest charged 21-count child pornography indictment

CLEVELAND (OH)
News 5 (CBS affiliate)

January 17, 2020

By Kaylyn Hlavaty

A Cuyahoga County grand jury handed down a 21-count indictment against a Strongsville Catholic Priest who is accused of possessing child pornography.

Reverend Robert McWilliams, 39, is charged with 19 counts of pandering sexually oriented matter involving a matter, one count of illegal use of minor in nudity-oriented material or performance and one count of possessing criminal tools, according to court documents.

McWilliams was arrested on Dec. 5 at St. Joseph Catholic Church for allegedly possessing child porn.

Duterte resumes attacks on Philippine Catholic bishops

MANILA (PHILIPPINES)
UCA News

January 17, 2020

President claims he is first Filipino politician to win a war against church officials

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, known for cursing critics in public speeches, renewed his attacks on the country's Catholic bishops this week.

Speaking to members of the Philippine Baptist Church, the president expressed wonder at the apparent silence of Catholic Church leaders despite his attacks.

"I cannot tell you why but they are now ordered to... There’s an… I cannot — it’s supposed to be in confidence. But you notice they are no longer complaining," said Duterte.

"Even if you say b******, they don't respond anymore. That is — that is how to win the war against the Catholic Church. All you have to say, m***** f*****. You're a winner."

Still Inadequate

Patheos blog

Jan. 17, 2020

By D. G. Hart

George Weigel has lots of counsel for Roman Catholics in the New Year, especially how to endure a church going through a serious crisis on many fronts. None of his advice involves other Christian communions as an alternative:

During and after the grim martial law period in the early 1980s, many freedom-minded Poles would greet each other on January 1 with a sardonic wish: “May the new year be better than you know it’s going to be!” As 2020 opens that salutation might well be adopted by Catholics concerned about the future of the Church, for more hard news is coming. So let’s get some of that out of the way, preemptively, before considering some resolutions that might help us all deal with the year ahead in faith, hope, and charity.

Financial scandals in the Vatican will intensify. It’s been clear for some months now that the dam of secrecy, masking irresponsibility (and worse), is cracking. So expect more disturbing revelations about corrupt self-dealing, misuse of charitable funds, stupid investments, and general incompetence behind the Leonine Wall.

Aggressive and politically motivated state attorneys general will continue to issue reports on historic sexual abuse cases. The response from cowed Church leaders will be tepid, at best. And what will get lost again—as it got lost after the now-paradigmatic Pennsylvania attorney general’s report—are two realities ignored by too many media outlets, too many institutions with responsibility for the safety of the young, and too many Catholics: that the Catholic Church today is arguably the safest environment for young people in the country; and that, from bitter experience, the Catholic Church has learned some things about creating safe environments from which the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, public schools, and public school teachers’ unions could all learn.

That is not a description that should encourage Protestants to convert to Rome. It looks bad.

So what should Roman Catholics do (and those tempted to convert)? The answer is not go to confession, and go to Mass:

Resolve to be a missionary disciple at the retail level. Amid these and other troubles, concerned Catholics constantly ask me, “What can I do?” To which I always respond, “Between now and next Easter, try and bring at least five disaffected Catholics back to Sunday Mass, and try to introduce at least one unevangelized person to Christ.” Retail evangelization is essential to authentic Catholic reform; it’s also deeply satisfying. Let’s get on with it, irrespective of the troubles.

Amid Benedict book controversy, Vatican officials see need for rules on ex-popes

VATICAN CITY
Reuters

January 17, 2020

By Philip Pullella

An imbroglio over former Pope Benedict’s involvement in a book has sparked calls by some Vatican officials for clear rules about the status of any future pontiffs who may resign rather than rule for life.

Senior official sources said they hope Pope Francis addresses the issue after the death of Benedict, who in 2013 became the first pope in 700 years to abdicate and who is now a frail 92-year-old.

The idea of such rules, which is being discussed informally, is important because, as people live longer than they did in the past, it may become the new normal for popes to step down, said the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Francis, 83, has said he too would resign if ill health prevented him from properly running the 1.3 billion-member Catholic Church, as Benedict did.

Francis finishes work on Amazon synod text, publication expected within weeks

VATICAN CITY
National Catholic Reporter

January 16, 2020

By Joshua J. McElwee

Pope Francis has completed work on his highly anticipated response to last year's Vatican gathering of Catholic bishops from the Amazon that may allow for the ordination of married men as Catholic priests in the nine-nation region, NCR can reveal.

Catholic bishops around the world are receiving a letter from the Vatican this week, advising them that the document, which is also expected to lament devastating environmental destruction in the region and may detail new ministries for women in the church, is nearing publication.

"The draft is currently being reviewed and corrected and then needs to be translated," states the letter, which is signed by retired Brazilian Cardinal Claudio Hummes and was obtained by NCR.

"Pope Francis hopes to promulgate it by the end of this month or in early February," writes Hummes, who served as the synod's lead organizer.

Editorial: Ask Legislators to Oppose HB90

SALT LAKE CITY (UTAH)
Intermountain Catholic

January 15, 2020

By Jean Hill, Director, Diocese of Salt Lake City Peace and Justice Commission

Anyone who has ever confessed to something they were utterly embarrassed and/or ashamed of doing knows just how difficult it can be to walk into the confessional to face a priest. Knowing the priest is serving as Christ in his role of confessor does not make the task any easier. What does help is remembering that incredible feeling after confession when you know God has forgiven you and the priest provides a penance that puts you back on the right path.

A proposed state law would interrupt that sacred moment in a manner that could permanently destroy the relationship between our priests and ourselves in the confessional, without furthering the stated goal of the legislation.

Critics: Utah bill on confession would criminalize priests, not counter sex abuse

UTAH
Catholic News Agency

January 16, 2020

By Kevin J. Jones

A Utah legislator’s proposal to remove protections for priests and other clergy who hear confessions of the sexual abuse of minors has drawn significant criticism from Catholics and other commentators.

“The motivation for the bill is understandable, to uncover and stop the abuse of children, but H.B. 90 will not have this intended effect,” said Jean Hill, director of the Diocese of Salt Lake City’s Peace and Justice Commission.

Removing the clergy exemption would be “making it a crime for the priest to maintain the Seal of Confession,” Hill said in a column for the Jan. 17, 2020 edition of the Intermountain Catholic, the diocesan newspaper. The proposal “could permanently destroy the relationship between our priests and ourselves in the confessional, without furthering the stated goal of the legislation.”

Nearly 60 years of abuse: Sexual misconduct uncovered in Alaska archdiocese review

ANCHORAGE (ALASKA)
KTVA-TV (Channel 11)

January 16, 2020

By Elizabeth Roman

More than a dozen people in Alaska have been accused of sexual misconduct while serving in the Catholic Church, an independent commission review found. The allegations span nearly 60 years, with the latest abuse happening in 2015.

The review began in 2018 when the commission was tasked with combing through sexual misconduct files in the possession of the Archdiocese of Anchorage since its creation in 1966. The commission included a former police chief and two former prosecutors.

According to the findings released Thursday by a church leader, the commission found credible evidence of sexual misconduct involving minors and vulnerable adults against 14 people who served in the Archdiocese of Anchorage at one point in their careers.

14 with church ties named in Alaska misconduct review

ANCHORAGE (ALASKA)
Associated Press

January 16, 2020

By Becky Bohrer

A review commissioned by the Archdiocese of Anchorage found credible evidence of sexual misconduct by 14 people who served in the archdiocese dating to 1966, a church leader announced Thursday.

The findings were made by a commission that the archdiocese said included a former police chief and two former prosecutors, one of whom is also a retired judge. The commission was charged with reviewing personnel files of “clerics and religious men and women” who served in the archdiocese dating to 1966, as well as reviewing allegations of sexual misconduct of lay volunteers and employees reported to the archdiocese.

Half of those identified as credibly accused are now dead, the report states.

The report, which had limited details, included allegations of sexual misconduct involving vulnerable adults or those younger than 18 and viewing child pornography. Allegations against four of the 14 individuals identified came while serving in another diocese, according to the report.

January 16, 2020

Documents contradict Knoxville diocese's timeline of knowing about sexual abuse allegations against priests and teacher

TENNESSEE
Chattanooga Free Press

January 16, 2020

By Wyatt Massey

After months of publicly discrediting and denying sexual abuse allegations against prominent priests and a diocesan employee, documents obtained by the Times Free Press suggest the Diocese of Knoxville may have known about those allegations for almost a year before suspending the accused employee.

In December, the diocese settled a July lawsuit by East Tennessee resident Michael Boyd alleging he was repeatedly sexually abused by Monsignor Francis Xavier Mankel, Bishop Anthony O'Connell, visiting priests and diocesan employee William Michael Lovelace. The abuse allegedly occurred between 1991 and 1995 when Boyd was a preteen student at Sacred Heart Cathedral School in Knoxville.

Information gathered from a variety of documents — including a copy of the lawsuit, a police report, multiple diocese releases and Boyd's 18-page, handwritten statement given to police— create a timeline that contradicts the diocese's claims of not knowing about abuse allegations made against Lovelace until summer 2019.

The documents point to Lovelace being identified in the summer of 2018 and being allowed to have contact with children for another school year.

'Greatest measure of justice': $21M for survivors, other claimants in Archdiocese plan

GUAM
Pacific Daily News

January 17, 2020

By Haidee Eugenio Gilbert

Guam's clergy sex abuse survivors and other claimants may be able to receive some $21 million in restitution from the Archdiocese of Agana, if the church's reorganization plan to solve its bankruptcy gets court approval.

This is the first public disclosure of the amount the archdiocese and its insurers plan to pay claimants, including those allegedly molested and raped by bishops, priests and other clergy dating back to the 1950s.

The proposed $21 million is from the sale of church properties of about $7 million, payments from insurers totaling about $13 million, and about $1 million expected from Catholic parishes.

Former Danbury Priest Charged With Sex Assault Of A Minor

DANBURY (CT)
The Patch

January 15, 2020

By Rich Kirby

The former priest at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church who was accused of sexual abuse of a minor has a plea hearing scheduled later this month after being arrested on sexual assault charges.

The Rev. Jaime Marin-Cardona, 51, turned himself into the Danbury Police Department on a warrant, and remains in custody on a $500,000 bond. He has been charged with three counts of illegal sexual contact, three counts of fourth-degree sexual assault and three counts of risk of injury to child.

Rev. Jaime Marin-Cardona Charged with Several Child Sex Abuse Offenses

DANBURY (CT)
Legal Herald (law firm blog)

January 16, 2020

A former priest at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Danbury faces several criminal charges after being accused of sexually abusing a child who attended the church. 51-year-old Rev. Jaime Marin-Cardona is charged with three counts of illegal sexual contact, three counts of fourth-degree sexual assault, and three counts of risk of injury to child.

Marin-Cardona has a plea hearing scheduled later in January.

The Diocese of Bridgeport removed Marin-Cardona from the ministry in September after the diocese received a letter from parents who were worried about his “contact with a family member who is a minor,” Bishop Frank J. Caggiano said in a statement.

These charges stem from allegations of abuse in 2014 and 2016, when Marin-Cardona was at Our Lady of Guadalupe. He most recently served at Saint Mary Parish in Bridgeport. He has also served at Saint Joseph Parish in Norwalk and Saint Charles Borromeo Parish in Bridgeport.

They allege abuse decades ago in Boy Scouts. Now they’re suing, thanks to new California law

FRESNO (CA)
Fresno Bee

January 16, 2020

By Brianna Calix and Alexandra Yoon-Hendricks

Fresno man comes forward about being molested by a Boy Scouts leader in the 1970s

David Green learned valuable skills during his few years in the Boy Scouts of America Sequoia Council – first aid, CPR and many survival techniques.

“Now I don’t even go camping anymore because of what happened on the campouts at the Boy Scouts camp they had, Camp Chawanakee, up there at Shaver Lake,” the 62-year-old Fresno man said.

Green alleges that he and his fellow Scouts were sexually abused by Alan Craig Dunlap, a former assistant Boy Scout leader, who was convicted of child molestation.

Archdiocese accuses 14 Southcentral Alaska clergy and church employees of sexual abuse

ANCHORAGE (ALASKA)
Anchorage Daily News

January 16, 2020

By Michelle Theriault

The Archdiocese of Anchorage for the first time has named 14 Catholic clergy members accused by church investigators of sexually abusing children and vulnerable adults in Alaska.

The report released Thursday is the result of a 15-month investigation by a church commission into allegations of sexual abuse by clergy, church employees and volunteers over a 54-year period.

The clergy members named by the archdiocese range from a deacon to an assistant to the archbishop to the chaplain of a homeless shelter. Some of those named had not previously been identified publicly as potential offenders.

An initial review of state and federal court records shows many, if not all, were never convicted of sex crimes in Alaska.

Queensland archbishop opposes planned law to compel priests to report child sexual abuse

AUSTRALIA
Australian Associated Press

January 16, 2020

Mark Coleridge says move to legislate against the sanctity of the confessional will fail to make children safer

A move to compel Queensland priests to report child sexual abuse offences disclosed during confessions would fail to make children safer, Brisbane’s Catholic archbishop has said.

Mark Coleridge has opposed a state government plan to legislate against the sanctity of the confessional as an excuse, defence or privilege.

In his submission to the committee considering the bill, the archbishop claimed it would be unworkable and fails to understand the practicalities of a confessional.

“The mechanism within this legislation which deals with the confessional seal quite simply will not make a difference to the safety of our young people,” he wrote.

The Church’s Enduring Legacy of Abuse

BROOKLYN (NY)
SLATE

January 15, 2020

By LEÓN KRAUZE

Marcial Maciel’s crimes should have ended his organization.

In Fernando Meirelles’ film The Two Popes, former Pope Benedict XVI, played by Anthony Hopkins, confesses his sins to Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, now Pope Francis. It is a crucial scene, in which Benedict aims to convince Bergoglio, played by Jonathan Pryce, of the reasons for his resignation as head of the church.

As Bergoglio listens, Benedict mentions Mexican priest Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legionaries of Christ, an influential, ultraconservative organization present in more than 20 countries, where it operates more than a dozen colleges and almost 150 schools while maintaining close ties to the upper echelons of political power. Maciel, an infamous pedophile who victimized dozens of children in over six decades in the priesthood, enjoyed the active protection of the church for years, especially during John Paul II’s papacy, in which Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger—later Benedict XVI—was prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the church’s authority on policy and discipline. Although Meirelles precludes the audience from listening to Benedict’s full confession on Maciel, the inference is clear: Benedict’s inaction on Maciel and others like him burden him to the point of spiritual exhaustion.

Archdiocese to hold conference for clergy abuse survivors

ST. PAUL (MN)
The Catholic Spirit

January 15, 2020

By Joe Ruff

Victim/survivors and others impacted by clergy sexual abuse are invited to a Jan. 23 conference on restorative justice and healing organized by the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.
The daylong conference in Lake Elmo, east of St. Paul, will include Archbishop Bernard Hebda and Ramsey County Attorney John Choi providing an update on the impetus for the conference: The settlement of civil charges filed by the county in 2015 alleging the archdiocese was negligent in the case of an abusive priest.

“Mr. Choi always felt restorative justice should be part of the archdiocese taking accountability for its actions and providing a means of healing for the community,” said Stephanie Wiersma, an assistant Ramsey County attorney who will participate in the conference and has been involved in the case since the beginning.

Bill requiring clergy to report child abuse confessions opposed by Utah Catholics, House speaker

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
Deseret News

January 14, 2020

By Katie McKellar

As religious opposition both in and out of Utah mounts against a proposed bill that would require all allegations of child abuse to be reported to authorities — including those stated in religious confessionals — a powerful legislative leader has opposed the bill.

House Speaker Brad Wilson won’t support the bill in its current form, according to a statement he sent to the national Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights.

“I have serious concerns about this bill and the effects it could have on religious leaders as well as their ability to counsel members of their congregation,” Wilson, R-Kaysville, said in the statement circulated by the Catholic League Tuesday. “I do not support this bill in its current form, and unless significant changes are made to ensure the protection of religious liberties, I will be voting against this bill.”

U.S. Virgin Islands Sues Jeffrey Epstein Estate Over Alleged Sex Trafficking

U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS
HuffPost

January 15, 2020

By Sara Boboltz

The U.S. Virgin Islands has filed a civil lawsuit against the estate of deceased financier Jeffrey Epstein for running a sex trafficking operation at his properties there, Denise N. George, the attorney general of the Virgin Islands, announced Wednesday.

The suit alleges that Epstein and unnamed “associates” trafficked underage girls as young as 12 in the territory, where they “held them captive, and sexually abused them, causing them grave physical, mental and emotional injury.”

George said her office began looking into Epstein’s conduct last year after being “inundated with inquiries from local and national media” about his activities in the islands.

Epstein “maintained a deliberately complex web of Virgin Islands corporations, limited liability companies, foundations and other entities, not all of which are yet known to the Government of the Virgin Islands, through which he carried out and concealed his criminal conduct,” according to the suit.

French priest admits 'caressing' boy scouts for 20 years in sex abuse trial

LYON (FRANCE)
RFI

January 15, 2020

Accused of sexually abusing dozens of boy scouts in the 1970s and 80s, a French Catholic priest has confessed in court to "caresses" he knew were forbidden, saying for 20 years "it happened every weekend".

Bernard Preynat told a court in Lyon on the first day of his trial that it could have been "four or five children a week".

"For me, at the time, I was not committing sexual assault but giving caresses, hugs," he said. "I was wrong."

Preynat's voice reportedly faltered as he admitted the interactions "brought me sexual pleasure".

But while he knew the actions were forbidden, he said he only finally understood that they were illegal thanks to "the accusations of the victims".

Texas diocese fighting lawsuit from deacon on list of accused abusers

LUBBOCK (TX)
United Press International

Jan. 17, 2019

By Pamela Manson

The Catholic Diocese of Lubbock, Texas, is fighting a defamation lawsuit from a former deacon who claims he was falsely labeled a child molester as the Roman Catholic Church grappled with a worldwide scandal over clergy sex abuse.

The diocese is taking the case to the Texas Supreme Court, arguing that allowing the claims to be heard in a civil court would unconstitutionally impede the church's authority to manage its own affairs. The Seventh Court of Appeals of Texas rejected that argument last month and upheld a judge's ruling denying a request to dismiss the suit.

Jesus Guerrero, 76, sued after he was included on a list titled "Names of All Clergy with a Credible Allegation of Sexual Abuse of a Minor" posted Jan. 31, 2019, on the diocese website.

In September 2018, the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops decided to release the names of "credibly accused" clergy members. Dioceses across the United States released such lists as the Catholic Church faces thousands of new abuse allegations, and law enforcement agencies are opening investigations.

Mexico bishops urge no statute of limitations for sex abuse

MEXICO CITY (MEXICO)
Associated Press

Jan. 15, 2019

The Roman Catholic Church in Mexico called on the country’s government Tuesday to modify the legal code and do away with statutes of limitations for sexual abuse of minors.

“We want to ask in the name of the bishops of Mexico for there to be no expiration for this crime,” said Rogelio Cabrera, president of the Mexican Bishops’ Conference.

He called it “unjust” that nothing can be done about such cases starting 10 years from the date of the offense, “since the wrong done lasts for the lifetime of the person who has been a victim.”

Cabrera said the church admits sex abuse complaints up to 20 years from the time a victim reaches adulthood.

The church has had a serious and longtime problem with clerical sex abuse in Mexico.

According to data presented Tuesday at a news conference, the Bishops’ Conference has investigated 426 priests in the last 10 years, 271 of them for sex abuse.

Alfonso Miranda, secretary of the Bishops’ Conference, said 155 of those cases have gone before prosecutors, up about 50 from the number as of last March.

He noted that those are just preliminary figures and added that 217 priests have been defrocked, though without saying whether all were for sex abuse or other offenses.

In our opinion: Eliminating clergy-penitent privilege raises First Amendment red flags

UTAH
Deseret News

January 16, 2020

By the Deseret News Editorial Board

This week the Catholic League came out strongly against proposed legislation in Utah aiming to eliminate an exemption for clergy when it comes to reporting confidential confessions detailing abuse. Meanwhile, the Montana Supreme Court recently cited clergy-penitent exemptions in a decision overturning a jury verdict of $35 million against local Jehovah’s Witnesses for not reporting abuse discovered in the mid-2000s. The court ruled, unanimously, that under Montana law, “Clergy are not required to report known or suspected child abuse if the knowledge results from a congregation member’s confidential communication or confession and if the person making the statement does not consent to disclosure.”

Commentary: Is He the Real Deal?

UNITED STATES
Church Militant (blog)

January 15, 2020

By Rodney Pelletier

Catholics in the diocese of Buffalo are still reeling from Bp. Richard Malone's atrocious handling of clerical sex abuse cases. But the men charged with investigating the diocese and overseeing things after Malone stepped down are showing themselves to be cut from the same cloth.

In October, Brooklyn Bp. Nicholas DiMarzio concluded his fact-finding mission, conducted at the behest of the Vatican. As of now, no report has been issued and Buffalo's clerical sex abuse survivors are waiting for answers.

It's not known, however, if answers will ever come; The Vatican's announcement called the investigation "a non-judicial and non-administrative process that requires confidentiality."

Retired priest fails to block sex abuse extradition bid

SCOTLAND
BBC Scotland

January 15, 2020

By Reevel Alderson

A retired Scottish priest accused of offences against boys at Fort Augustus Abbey School has failed in his bid to block an extradition order.

The minister of justice in Canada, where Robert Mackenzie has been living since 1988, agreed to a request from the Crown Office last year.

But Fr MacKenzie, who denies the allegations against him, applied for a judicial review of the decision.

That has now been refused and he now has until 3 February to appeal.

The Crown Office has made no comment on the case, but earlier said it had received a report in connection with alleged historical offences.

Fr Mackenzie's legal team in Canada has said he has been charged with a total of 16 offences following allegations made by 16 individuals.

They are understood to involve allegations of physical and sexual abuse over a period from the 1950s to the 1980s.

Report claims ‘widespread’ child sex abuse cover up in Amish communities; dozens of victims silenced

UNITED STATES
CrimesOnline (blog)

January 15, 2020

By Jacquelyn Gray

A yearlong investigation has reportedly revealed at least 52 official cases of child sexual assault in the Amish community that spans seven states over the past 20 years.

Cosmopolitan magazine and Type Investigations allegedly found in a joint investigation that many of the victims were discouraged from reporting the assault by relatives and church leaders. The victims were reportedly instructed not to seek outside help and were threatened with excommunication if they did so.

Cosmopolitan called the scandal a “widespread, decentralized cover-up of child sexual abuse by Amish clergy” and suggested that there are more victims — who are likely being silenced due to the religious group’s secretive culture.

Book by Pope Emeritus on Celibacy Gets Shrug in France

PARIS (FRANCE)
Voice of America

January 15, 2020

By Lisa Bryant

The former pope Benedict XVI reportedly wants his name removed from a controversial book that appears to undermine his successor, Pope Francis, on issues of priestly celibacy. The book hit stores Wednesday in France, the first country to publish it. But despite the furor the book has stirred in the press, many French readers appear underwhelmed.

The book, "Des Profondeurs de Nos Coeurs," meaning "From the Depths of Our Hearts," defends priestly celibacy at a time when Pope Francis is considering whether to lift restrictions on married priests in remote areas. Cardinal Robert Sarah, who co-authored the book, rejects accusations he manipulated Benedict regarding the content.

Paedophile French priest says Church 'could have helped' him

LYON (FRANCE)
FRANCE 24

January 15, 2020

Former Catholic priest Bernard Preynat, on trial for sexually abusing dozens of boy scouts in the 1970s and 1980s, said on Wednesday that he warned the Catholic Church about his sexual impulses but they failed to take appropriate measures.

“When I was 14 years old, during my Junior Seminary, I already knew (that I was attracted to little boys). People told me ‘you are sick’, but they got rid of me. They sent me to another seminary," Preynat told the court on the second day of trial.

A former priest in Sainte-Foy-les-Lyon, in the suburbs of Lyon, Preynat could face up to 10 years in prison. But he claims that his sexual inclinations did not prevent him from being ordained in 1971.

“They should have helped me… They let me become a priest instead," he explained, after he had undergone therapy at the Vinatier Psychiatric Hospital, near Lyon, in 1967 and 1968.

French priest accused of sex abuse tells trial he had been abused

LYON (FRANCE)
CNA

January 16, 2020

A defrocked French Catholic priest accused of sexually abusing dozens of boy scouts decades ago told his trial on Wednesday (Jan 15) that he himself had suffered similar assaults in his youth, in an unexpected twist to his defence.

After confessing in court on Tuesday to "caresses" he knew were forbidden, after victims testified to the horrors they suffered, Bernard Preynat, 74, faulted the church for failing to help him deal with his own urges.

During the second day of the trial in the French city of Lyon, Preynat surprised even his own lawyer in raising for the first time in court the abuses he said he suffered in his youth.

He referred to a letter written in the summer to Michel Dubost, the apostolic administrator in Lyon, where he said he had been repeatedly sexually abused by a priest, a sacristan from his parish and a seminarian.

January 15, 2020

Sexual abuse lawsuit against Mormon church may be dropped

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
Associated Press

Jan. 16, 2019

A woman who accused The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints of covering for a former missionary leader who she says raped her in the 1980s said Tuesday she may be ready to drop her lawsuit against the faith.

McKenna Denson said during a court hearing that she still doesn’t have an attorney. Her previous lawyer withdrew in May for unknown reasons, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

“I’m not sure I want to secure counsel at the time,” Denson told U.S. Magistrate Judge Dustin Pead over the telephone.

Deson asked Pead if she could refile the lawsuit if she found “illegal activity” occurred during the course of the litigation. Pead told Denson he could not give her legal advice, advising her those were questions for her attorney.

Pead gave Denson two weeks to make a decision. He said she needs to file a motion to dismiss the case, express interest in mediation or choose to go to trial.

It’s unknown why her previous lawyer, Craig Vernon, dropped the case. His court motion is sealed and he he has declined to discuss it publicly.

Denson of Pueblo, Colorado, accused Phoenix-area resident Joseph L. Bishop of sexually abusing and raping her in 1984 at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, where he was president.

Bill Would Give Sexual Assault Survivors One Year 'Look Back Window' To File Cases

MIAMI (FL)
WLRN Radio

Jan. 15, 2020

By Stephanie Colombini

Florida lawmakers are considering a bill that would give survivors of childhood sexual assault a "look back window" to address previously unreported claims. It would allow them to open cases with an expired statute of limitations for one year.

This follows a recent wave of states passing look back laws. Currently sixteen states and the District of Columbia have created similar opportunities for abuse victims to have their voices heard.

The issue is personal for bill sponsor Sen. Lauren Book (D-Broward), who was assaulted by her nanny as teen.

"It takes a long time for survivors to report these types of crimes,” she said. “75% of children don't tell within one year of the abuse, I know I waited six years…and many never do"

The nonprofit thinktank Child USA advocates for statute of limitations reform and tracks legislative progress in states across the country.

CEO Marci Hamilton said Florida has done a lot to help current and future survivors of sexual assault by eliminating the statute of limitations for child sexual battery in 2010. But that law wasn’t retroactive.

“That iceberg of victims from the past who were shut down by the short statutes of limitations before still need help," she said.

Child USA estimates at least 1,000 new cases could come forward in Florida is this bill passes. In New York, which opened a year-long window last August, plaintiffs have already filed more than 1,300 civil cases.

Four men from various states use new law to sue Boy Scouts in NJ for alleged sex abuse

NEW JERSEY
NorthJersey.com

January 14, 2020

By Abbott Koloff

Four men from other states are using a new New Jersey rule to sue the Boy Scouts of America, alleging that Scout leaders sexually abused them as children — even though the alleged abuse took place in other parts of the country.

The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in Superior Court in New Brunswick because the Boy Scouts of America had its national headquarters in Middlesex County decades ago, when the alleged abuse took place, according to court documents.

The men said they were abused as Scouts while growing up in Wisconsin, Indiana, Texas and Arkansas. Five Scout leaders are accused, including two who were criminally convicted of sex abuse in the 1980s. None of the plaintiffs were part of the criminal cases, their attorneys said.

If the New Jersey suit holds up in court, it could lead to a flood of similar lawsuits from around the country being filed in New Jersey, said Jason Amala, a Seattle attorney whose firm, PCVA Law, represents the plaintiffs.

Former Student Sues Catlin Gabel For Covering Up Child Sexual Abuse By Teacher

PORTLAND (OR)
OPB

January 13, 2020

By Elizabeth Miller

Kim Wilson was a sixth grader in 1994 and 1995. Richardson Shoemaker was her math teacher.
Wilson said Shoemaker repeatedly made her sit on his lap during class, where he ran his hand up the front of her shirt at least 80 times during the year, according to a lawsuit filed Monday in Multnomah County circuit court.

Standing in front of a photo of herself from sixth grade, Wilson was flanked by her brother on one side and one of her attorneys, Gilion Dumas, on the other.

“I am coming forward today because I was quieted and devalued by the school for so many years,” Wilson said Monday at a press conference.

Ending time limits for child sex abuse lawsuits gets support from Missouri lawmakers

JEFFERSON CITY (MO)
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

January 15, 2020

By Tynan Stewart

For two decades, Bryan Bacon kept the memories of his abuse locked away.

In 1985, Bacon was sexually assaulted at knifepoint by an assistant principal at St. John Vianney High School in Kirkwood. He repressed the traumatic memory for years, he said, but it resurfaced in 2005 when he was 35.

Bacon told his story to the House Children and Families Committee in a hearing Tuesday. He was there to support a proposal that would remove the statute of limitations for filing civil lawsuits in cases of childhood sexual abuse. Currently, the law gives survivors of abuse 10 years to file civil claims.

The proposal comes after Missouri removed the statute of limitations for criminal cases in 2018.

The Amish Keep to Themselves. And They’re Hiding a Horrifying Secret

UNITED STATES
Cosmopolitan

January 14, 2020

By Sarah McClure

The memories come to her in fragments. The bed creaking late at night after one of her brothers snuck into her room and pulled her to the edge of her mattress. Her underwear shoved to the side as his body hovered over hers, one of his feet still on the floor.

Her ripped dresses, the clothespins that bent apart on her apron as another brother grabbed her at dusk by the hogpen after they finished feeding the pigs. Sometimes she’d pry herself free and sprint toward the house, but “they were bigger and stronger,” she says. They usually got what they wanted.

As a child, Sadie* was carefully shielded from outside influences, never allowed to watch TV or listen to pop music or get her learner’s permit. Instead, she attended a one-room Amish schoolhouse and rode a horse and buggy to church—a life designed to be humble and disciplined and godly.

Why it’s problematic to have 2 popes weighing in on key issues for Catholic Church

ROME
PBS NewsHour

January 14, 2020

Rome is being roiled by a series of unusual developments in which a former pope appeared to be weighing in on a sensitive issue facing his successor, Pope Francis. The debate is over the law of clerical celibacy, which divides many Catholics. But now, the retired pope, Benedict, is distancing himself from the controversy. Father Thomas Reese of Religion News Service joins Amna Nawaz to discuss.

Victim of disgraced paedophile Bishop Peter Ball claims he felt 'lucky' to be in his presence due to his friendship with Prince Charles in a new documentary

ENGLAND
MAILONLINE

January 13, 2020

By Monica Greep

- and argues the clergyman's affiliation with royalty made him 'impregnable'

- Cliff James lived with Peter Ball at age of 18 at Littlington in Lewes, East Sussex
- In 1977 Peter became Bishop in East Sussex and established residential project
- Cliff tells of abuse faced at hands of bishop in new BBC2 documentary tonight
- Says he was 'ripe' when he met the bishop, in desperate need of a father figure
- Bishop said he 'got on with Queen Mother' and often spoke of Charles friendship

A victim of the disgraced paedophile Peter Ball has claimed the bishop's friendship with Prince Charles made him 'impregnable'.

Cliff James first met the bishop at the age of 17 while interviewing to become part of Littlington, his residential project established in 1977 for young people in need of 'spiritual guidance'. He later permanently moved into the Lewes home.

At the age of 18, Cliff's relationship with Ball quickly took a disturbing turn as the religious figure began 'grooming' him and making him feel 'guilty' if he did not do what he asked.

In the new BBC2 documentary Exposed: The Church's Darkest Secret, Cliff told of the abuse he endured at the hands of Ball within the home, including taking part in 'humiliation' rituals while naked, being ceremoniously beaten and forced to take part in mutual masturbation.

Cosby Accusers Find Their Voice in New Podcast that Follows Path to His Conviction for Sex Assault

UNITED STATES
People

January 14, 2020

By Jeff Truesdell

Few outside of the courtroom heard all the evidence that sent Bill Cosby to prison in 2018, capping a shocking downfall that began in 2005 with a woman’s public allegation that he’d drugged and sexually assaulted her, the first of more than 80 similar claims to follow.

From the start, reporter Nicole Weisensee Egan was on the story. The former PEOPLE senior staff writer’s 2019 book Chasing Cosby: The Downfall of America’s Dad chronicled the stop-and-start prosecution that put the disgraced comic and TV icon behind bars for three to 10 years.

That reporting informs a new podcast, Chasing Cosby, from the Los Angeles Times and executive produced by Egan, that lets Cosby’s initial accuser, Andrea Constand, and 13 other women share their experiences. The six-part podcast debuts with two episodes Tuesday, with new episodes dropping each week thereafter.

Exposed: The Church's Darkest Secret

UNITED KINGDOM
BBC

January 2020

[VIDEO- series]

Crookston Diocese places Bemidji priest on administrative leave

CROOKSTON (MN)
Forum News Service

January 14, 2020

By Alex Derosier

A Bemidji priest has been placed on administrative leave for his conduct, including "boundary violations," the Catholic Diocese of Crookston announced in a statement.

Bishop Michael Hoeppner placed Father Bryan Kujawa on leave effective Tuesday, Jan. 14, after his fitness to be a priest was repeatedly called into question, the statement said.

Kujawa will remain on leave until the diocese has completed its investigation, conducted a professional assessment and gotten recommendations from its review board.

Diocese of Crookston Statement re: Fr. Bryan Kujawa’s Administrative Leave

CROOKSTON (MN)
Roman Catholic Diocese of Crookston

January 10, 2020

By Janelle Gergen, Director of Communications

Bishop Michael J. Hoeppner has placed Fr. Bryan Kujawa on administrative leave, effective Tuesday, January 14. Several issues concerning Fr. Kujawa’s fitness for ministry have been brought to Bishop Hoeppner’s attention over time, including non-criminal, non-sexual, boundary violations. Accordingly, Fr. Kujawa will remain on leave until these matters have been further investigated, a professional and comprehensive assessment is complete, and the Diocesan Review Board makes further recommendations.

As this is a personnel issue, no further comments will be offered.

Google legal chief leaving amid sexual misconduct troubles

UNITED STATES
Associated Press

January 13, 2020

The company said Drummond is not getting an exit package as part of his departure. His compensation package for 2018 was worth $47 million, making him one of the company's highest-paid employees, according to regulatory filings.

David Drummond, the legal chief of Google parent company Alphabet, is leaving at the end of the month, following accusations of inappropriate relationships with employees.

Alphabet did not give a reason for Drummond's departure in a short regulatory filing Friday.

The company said in November that its board was investigating sexual misconduct cases against executives. Claims against Drummond were included in the investigations.

Thousands of Google employees walked out of work in 2018 to protest the company’s handling of sexual misconduct claims. The board investigation followed lawsuits brought by shareholders after reports of sexual harassment at Google received national attention.

The Fugitive

ISRAEL
Tablet

January 14, 2020

By Sarah Krasnostein

Israel is harboring the woman accused of being Australia’s worst Orthodox Jewish sexual predator. Could today’s court ruling finally send her home to face her accusers?

“You have to be as normal as possible so you don’t have black marks against your name, so that you can get married, and your children can get married,” Dassi Erlich explained to me the first time we met, at a café in Melbourne. “As soon as you have mental illness, sexual abuse, someone going off the derech”—off the religious path—“in the family, you start having black marks against your name. And when you’re not from a very wealthy family, those marks mean a lot.”

Growing up as one of seven siblings in an ultra-Orthodox, or Haredi, home in Ripponlea, a suburb of Melbourne, Australia, Erlich knew about black marks. She was born with a whole mess of them. “A, my mother is Sephardi,” she said. “B, my parents joined the community as adults, they didn’t grow up in it. C, my parents are not wealthy. So growing up, my mother drilled into us that we had to be perfect students, because if we didn’t, we wouldn’t get married. … No matter what was going on, we knew we would face severe punishment if we didn’t get A’s in everything.” The severe punishment to which she is referring included being denied food and locked for extended periods in a dark cupboard under the stairs. “We were absolutely petrified to explain to anyone what was going on at home because we knew that would be used against us,” Erlich told the television news program Australian Story. An abusive home was another black mark.

Legion of Christ accused abuser removed from priesthood

MEXICO CITY
Associated Press

January 13, 2020

By Maria Verza

The Catholic Church has removed Mexican Fernando Martínez from the priesthood after considering him guilty of various sexual abuse crimes against minors, the Legion of Christ religious order said Monday.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith decided that Martínez could not continue his priestly duties, but allowed him to remain as a member of the Legion of Christ and the church, a decision that upset his victims.

One of them, Ana Lucía Salazar, who had reported being raped by the priest when she was 8 years old, commented with irony on Twitter.

“The Pope decided that the gentleman continue in the church ranks after raping children,” Salazar wrote Monday. “There's zero tolerance.” The punishment comes nearly three decades after the abuses were reported to Martínez's superiors in the 1990s.

Bishops find hope, and humor, during ‘ad limina’ meeting with pope

ROME
Catholic News Service

January 14, 2020

The ad limina visits bishops are required to make to the Vatican are occasions to be honest about challenges, while also being encouraged to hope, said Bishop John T. Folda of Fargo, North Dakota.

“It’s tempting at times to lose hope when all you hear is bad news and with some of the challenges we face in our dioceses at home; it’s extremely important to maintain a spirit of hope and the ad limina I think has been that for me,” Folda told Catholic News Service Jan. 13 after a two-hour meeting with Pope Francis.

Bishops from U.S. Region VIII - North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota - met the pope on the first day of their visit. The region’s 10 dioceses have one archbishop, one auxiliary bishop, six bishops, one bishop-designate and two diocesan administrators.

Benedict removes name from book on celibacy after dispute over his involvement

VATICAN CITY
National Catholic Reporter

January 14, 2020

By Joshua J. McElwee

Retired Pope Benedict XVI's name is being removed as a coauthor of a controversial new book defending the Catholic Church's practice of clerical celibacy after dueling accounts emerged of the ex-pontiff's involvement in the preparation of the volume.

The removal, confirmed in a tweet Jan. 14 by Cardinal Robert Sarah, the other author of the book, comes after an odd and dramatic public dispute between Sarah and Archbishop Georg Gänswein, Benedict's private secretary.

In fact, announcement of the change in authorship came only 90 minutes after Sarah had tweeted a statement defending the choice to list Benedict as a coauthor, claiming the former pope had reviewed the entire manuscript of the volume, the cover design, and also consulted on the publication date.

Sarah, who leads the Vatican's liturgy office, even quoted a Nov. 25 conversation with Benedict, in which the cardinal said the ex-pontiff had told him: "I agree that the text be published in the form you have foreseen."

Within an hour, Gänswein had told Italian and German-language news agencies that Benedict only thought he was preparing an essay for the volume, and did not intend to be listed as a coauthor.

"He never approved any project for a coauthored book, and never saw nor authorized the cover," the archbishop told Italy's Ansa agency.

Former Spokane priest, admitted child sex abuser lives near schools in Mount Vernon

MOUNT VERNON (WA)
KREM-TV, Ch. 2

January 13, 2020

By Ian Smay

Patrick O'Donnell admitted to sexually abusing kids while a priest in Spokane. He now lives .6 miles from two schools in Mount Vernon.

Patrick O’Donnell is a name that draws a strong reaction in Spokane.

He’s a large part of the reason the Catholic Diocese of Spokane went bankrupt after it agreed to pay millions of dollars to 28 victims who O’Donnell admitted to sexually abusing in the 1970s.

O’Donnell now lives in a retirement community for people 55 and older, just over half-a-mile from two schools in Mount Vernon, Washington, a suburb an hour north of Seattle.

Hudson Valley priest accused of sexually abusing the son of a missionary

OSSINING (NY)
The Journal News

January 14, 2020

By Frank Esposito

The son of a missionary claims he was sexually abused by a priest from a local order, according to a Westchester County court filling.

The case,filed by an anonymous plaintiff, accused Ronald Boccieri, a Maryknoll priest, of sexually abusing him at a cabin in the Catskills.

Boccieri was accused ofinitially grooming the plaintiff while at the Ossining Maryknoll campus.

Church sexual abuse: French priest Preynat admits 'caressing' boys

LYON (FRANCE)
BBC News

January 14, 2020

A former French priest accused of sexually abusing dozens of Boy Scouts has admitted "caressing" children in ways he knew were wrong, at the beginning of his trial in France.

"It could be four or five children a week," Bernard Preynat, 74, told the court in Lyon on Tuesday.

He is accused of assaulting at least 80 young boys in the 1980s and 1990s and faces ten years in prison if convicted.

Ten of his accusers are expected to give evidence in the four-day trial.

The men were all aged between seven and 15 at the time of the alleged abuse.

This is the first time that Mr Preynat has appeared in a French court to answer questions about these allegations.

Victims of paedophile priest face attacker in court for first time

LYON (FRANCE)
The Guardian

January 13, 2020

By Kim Willsher in Paris

Bernard Preynat, 74, is believed to have sexually abused scores of boys over a 30-year period

The victims of a paedophile priest at the heart of the biggest scandal to hit the Catholic church will face their attacker in a French court.

Bernard Preynat, 74, who has been defrocked, is believed to have sexually abused scores of boys over a 30-year period, many of them while they attended catechism classes or Boy Scout camps he ran.

Even after he admitted he was “sick” and had a problem with children, he was allowed to remain a priest in his diocese in Lyon.

French priest recounts how he abused boy scouts over decades

LYON (FRANCE)
Associated Press

January 14, 2020

By Nicolas Vaux-Montagny

A former priest detailed Tuesday how he systematically abused boys over two decades as a French scout chaplain, and said his superiors knew about his “abnormal” behavior as far back as the 1970s.

The shocking testimony of Bernard Preynat is likely to further shake up the French Catholic Church as it reckons with sexual abuses that were long covered up. His account in court Tuesday suggested as many as five cardinals were aware of his behavior over the years, but didn’t report it to police or prosecutors.

Preynat, now 74, is charged with sexually abusing multiple minors and faces up to 10 years in prison in what is France’s biggest clergy sex abuse trial to date. He’s suspected of abusing around 75 boys, but his testimony suggests the overall number could be even higher.

He said he abused up to two boys “almost every weekend” from 1970 to 1990 when he worked as their scout chaplain, and as many as four or five a week when he led one-week scout camps.

He said parents first alerted the diocese in the 1970s, but his hierachy never punished him.

“I often said to myself ‘I have to stop’ but I started again a few months later. I blame myself today,” he told a hushed courtroom.

“It seemed to me that the children were consenting,” he said. “I was wrong."

January 14, 2020

Baltimore Priest Joseph O’Meara Removed From Parish For Inappropriate Behavior

BALTIMORE (MD)
WJZ-TV (CBS affiliate)

January 14, 2020

[VIDEO]

A Baltimore priest at St. Agnes/St. William of York Parish has been removed by the Archdiocese of Baltimore after he was accused of touching three women inappropriately.

Father Joseph O’Meara has been removed from active ministry and will no longer reside at St. Agnes/St. William of York, the Archdiocese said.

Retired Baltimore County priest removed from active ministry, residence over alleged inappropriate touching

BALTIMORE (MD)
Baltimore Sun

January 14, 2020

By Hallie Miller and Lillian Reed

The Archdiocese of Baltimore has removed from active ministry a retired priest accused of inappropriately touching three women.

Father Joseph O’Meara, who lived at St. Agnes/St. William of York Parish in Catonsville near West Baltimore, was “recently ... separately accused by three adult women of touching them inappropriately,” according to a letter signed by Father Isaac Makovo sent to parishioners in December. He no longer lives at the parish’s residences, according to the letter.

All three incidents were reported to church officials within the same day. Two of the women told church officials the incidents took place that same day and the third woman, who decided to come forward after learning of the other women, said she was inappropriately touched two days earlier, Archdiocese spokesman Sean Caine said in an email.

Mexico bishops urge no statute of limitations for sex abuse

MEXICO CITY (MEXICO)
Associated Press

January 14, 2020

The Roman Catholic Church in Mexico called on the country’s government Tuesday to modify the legal code and do away with statutes of limitations for sexual abuse of minors.

“We want to ask in the name of the bishops of Mexico for there to be no expiration for this crime,” said Rogelio Cabrera, president of the Mexican Bishops’ Conference.

He called it “unjust” that nothing can be done about such cases starting 10 years from the date of the offense, “since the wrong done lasts for the lifetime of the person who has been a victim.”

Cabrera said the church admits sex abuse complaints up to 20 years from the time a victim reaches adulthood.


The church has had a serious and longtime problem with clerical sex abuse in Mexico.

According to data presented Tuesday at a news conference, the Bishops’ Conference has investigated 426 priests in the last 10 years, 271 of them for sex abuse.

Alfonso Miranda, secretary of the Bishops’ Conference, said 155 of those cases have gone before prosecutors, up about 50 from the number as of last March.

He noted that those are just preliminary figures and added that 217 priests have been defrocked, though without saying whether all were for sex abuse or other offenses.

Analysis: After investigation, when will Pope Francis act on Hoeppner?

VATICAN CITY
Catholic News Agency

January 14, 2020

By J. D. Flynn

Alongside bishops from North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota, Bishop Michael Hoeppner met with Pope Francis Tuesday, for a two-hour meeting some bishops called “open,” and “hopeful.”

But Hoeppner is unique among his brother bishops: he is the first U.S. bishop to be investigated under the norms of Vos estis lux mundi, the 2018 policy from Pope Francis on investigating bishops accused of mishandling or obstructing allegations of clerical sexual abuse. In fact, alongside Hoeppner at the Jan. 13 papal meeting was Archbishop Bernard Hebda, the archbishop who conducted the investigation.

Two popes -- one retired, one reigning -- cause a furor

VATICAN CITY
Associated Press

January 14, 2020

By Nicole Winfield

Ever since Benedict XVI announced he would become the first pope in 600 years to resign, Catholic theologians, canon lawyers and others warned of the potential confusion in having two popes living side by side in the Vatican, one reigning, the other retired but calling himself “emeritus pope” and still wearing the white cassock of the papacy.

Their worst fears came true this week.

In a saga befitting the Oscar-nominated movie “The Two Popes,” Benedict co-wrote a book reaffirming the “necessity” of a celibate priesthood. There was nothing novel with his position, but the book is coming out at the same time Pope Francis is weighing whether to ordain married men in the Amazon because of a priest shortage there.

Catholic Diocese of SLC opposes clergy abuse reporting bill, sponsor says pushback makes her determined to pass it

SALT LAKE CITY
Fox 13 TV

January 14, 2020

The Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City is opposing a bill that requires clergy to report disclosures of abuse to law enforcement to investigate.

In an editorial being published Wednesday in the Diocesan newspaper Intermountain Catholic and shared with FOX 13, the faith outlines its objections with House Bill 90.

"The motivation for the bill is understandable, to uncover and stop the abuse of children, but HB 90 will not have this intended effect," the Diocese wrote in the op-ed.

The Diocese said in the editorial the confession is central to the practice of the Catholic faith going back millennia, giving members the opportunity to reveal their conscience to God.

Cardinal denies he manipulated retired pope on celibacy book

VATICAN CITY
Associated Press

January 14, 2020

By Nicole Winfield

The Vatican cardinal who co-authored a bombshell book with Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI reaffirming priestly celibacy on Tuesday strongly denied he manipulated the retired pope into publishing.

Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah, who heads the Vatican’s liturgy office, spoke out after news reports quoting “sources close to Benedict” claimed the retired pope never saw or approved the finished product.

Sarah reproduced letters from Benedict making clear the 92-year-old pope had written the text and approved of publishing it as a book. “These defamations are of exceptional gravity,” Sarah tweeted.

The controversy underscores the conservative-progressive battle lines that have deepened in the Catholic Church following Benedict’s 2013 decision to retire, and his successor Pope Francis’ more reform-minded papacy.

Benedikt XVI.: Ich bin nicht Co-Autor des Buches von Sarah

[Benedict XVI .: I am not co-author of Sarah's book]

VATICAN CITY
KathPress.at

January 14, 2020

Privatsekretär Gänswein: Emeritierter Papst war nicht über tatsächliche Form und Aufmachung von Buch über Priestertum und Zölibat informiert - Name und Bild Benedikts XVI. soll von Buchcover entfernt werden - Beitrag des emeritierten Papstes im Hauptteil des Buches allerdings "100 Prozent Benedikt"

[Private secretary Gänswein: Pope Emeritus was not informed of the actual form and layout of books on priesthood and celibacy - name and image of Benedict XVI. to be removed from book cover - contribution of the emeritus pope in the main part of the book, however, "100 percent Benedict"]

Pope ends a secrecy rule for Catholic sexual abuse cases, but for victims many barriers to justice remain

UNITED STATES
The Conversation

January 13, 2020

By Christine P. Bartholomew, Associate Professor of Law, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York

Pope Francis recently removed one of the barriers facing sex abuse victims looking for justice – the “Rule of Pontifical Secrecy.”

The rule is an obligation under the church’s laws to keep sensitive information regarding the Catholic Church’s governance strictly confidential. This rule allowed church officials to withhold information in sexual abuse cases, even where there was an alleged cover-up or a failure to report allegations. The clergy could claim secrecy even from victims or legal authorities.

Pope Francis stated on Dec. 17, 2019, in a press release “On the Topic of Confidentiality in Legal Proceedings,” that his intention in ending papal secrecy was to increase transparency in child abuse cases.

As a legal scholar, I have extensively analyzed the use of evidence rules that shield confidential communications with clergy. I argue that even with the removal of the papal secrecy rule, transparency might remain illusive for abuse victims.

The Catholic Church has other practices it can rely on to conceal information.

State continues to investigate child sex abuse

TAMPA BAY (FLORIDA)
Fox TV 13 News

January 14, 2020

[VIDEO]

The Florida Attorney General’s office is not releasing the number of tips it has received since 2018 when then-state attorney general Pam Bondi launched a statewide investigation into all reports of past abuse in the Catholic Dioceses, including a website where victims can submit tips about abuse - past and present.

Cleared in sex abuse case, healing priest wants bishops to lift ban

MANILA (PHILIPPINES)
ABS-CBN News

January 14, 2020

By Christian V. Esguerra

A Filipino priest, known for his supposed ability to heal and even raise people from the dead, said bishops should now lift their ban, citing the Vatican’s findings that he was “not guilty” of sexually abusing minors.

Fr. Fernando Suarez, 53, said there was no more reason to prevent him from practicing his healing ministry in at least 4 dioceses that earlier shut their doors on him and members of his Missionaries of Mary Mother of the Poor (MMP).

He said many other bishops had not allowed him in their dioceses since the complaint was lodged more than 5 years ago.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), last December, ruled that Suarez had been “falsely accused” of sexual abuse, according to a decree of notification signed by Bishop Antonio Tobias, who heads the Philippine Catholic Church’s National Tribunal of Appeals.

Church sexual abuse: Trial of French priest Bernard Preynat

FRANCE
BBC News

January 14, 2020

The trial of a former French priest accused of sexually abusing dozens of Boy Scouts in the 1980s and 1990s is set to begin in France on Tuesday.

Bernard Preynat, 74, is alleged to have assaulted more than 80 individuals and faces ten years in prison if convicted.

His trial was scheduled to start on Monday, but was delayed because of a lawyers' strike over pension reforms.

Ten of his accusers, all aged between seven and 15 at the time of the alleged abuse, are expected to give evidence.

Also linked to the case is Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, who was found guilty last March of failing to report the allegations against Preynat.

January 13, 2020

Former Pontiff's Book Draws Criticism, Highlights Problem of 'Two Popes'

VATICAN CITY
Reuters

January 13, 2020

Roman Catholic scholars rebuked the former Pope Benedict on Monday for his comments in a new book regarding the delicate matter of priestly celibacy, saying his words were helping to destabilize the reigning Pope Francis.

It is not the first time that Benedict has spoken out on Church matters despite a public vow he made in 2013, when he became the first pontiff in 700 years to resign.

The situation also underscores the polarization between conservatives and progressives in the 1.3 billion-member Church.

"One pope is complicated enough. This is a mess," John Gehring, Catholic Program Director at Faith in Public Life, a U.S. group, said in a tweet.

Catholic Church Moves Funds Around to Shield $2 Billion in Assets from Abuse Victim Settlements

UNITED STATES
National Review

January 13, 2020

By Mairead McArdle

The Catholic Church in the U.S. has moved around more than $2 billion in assets in order to prevent the funds from going to alleged abuse victims who sued the Church.

As more victims of sexual abuse by priests sued various dioceses around the country, churches began transferring and reclassifying assets, and filing for bankruptcy, according to a Bloomberg Businessweek review of court filings by lawyers representing churches and victims over the last 15 years.

Filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy has allowed the dioceses to reach universal settle­ments and protected them from further victim claims. Dioceses have chosen the bankruptcy option more than 20 times since 2004.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops stated that the “decision on whether to seek Chapter 11 protection in a given case is the diocese’s alone.”

Jehovah's Witnesses not negligent in $35M child abuse case, court rules

CHICAGO (IL)
ABA Journal

January 13, 2020

By Amanda Robert

The Montana Supreme Court has reversed a $35 million judgment against Jehovah’s Witnesses for failing to report that one of its members had been sexually abusing children for years.

In its 7-0 decision, the court held that even though Montana law requires clergy and other officials to report child sexual abuse to authorities, Jehovah’s Witnesses fell under an exemption in this case “because their church doctrine, canon, or practice required that clergy keep reports of child abuse confidential.” NPR and the Associated Press have coverage.

Holly McGowan, one of two plaintiffs in the lawsuit, told elders in the Thompson Falls Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses in 1998 that her stepfather, Maximo Reyes, had inappropriately touched and fondled her, the court’s opinion states.

Israel to speed up extradition of woman in sex-abuse case

JERUSALEM (ISRAEL)
Associated Press

January 13, 2020

By Josef Federman

Israeli officials are seeking to expedite an extradition hearing for a woman facing dozens of sexual-abuse charges in Australia after a psychiatric panel concluded she had lied about suffering from mental illness, the Justice Ministry announced Monday.

The panel's decision last week that found Malka Leifer fit to stand trial marked a major breakthrough in a years-old case that has strained relations between Israel and Australia and antagonized members of Australia's Jewish community.

In its announcement, the Justice Ministry said the psychiatric panel had “unanimously and unequivocally” concluded that Leifer had faked mental illness in order to avoid extradition.

“The prosecution believes that the psychiatric panel's definitive conclusions have removed the obstacles that stood in the way of any significant progress in this case,” the ministry said. “The psychiatric panel's findings lead to the inevitable conclusion that over the past five years, the court and the mental health system have fallen victim to a fraud perpetrated by Leifer and her supporters.”

Leifer faces 74 counts of sexual assault related to accusations brought forward by three sisters who say they were abused while she was a teacher and principal at the ultra-Orthodox religious school they attended in Melbourne. In 2008, as the allegations surfaced, the Israeli-born Leifer left the school in Australia and returned to Israel.

Sex offender coached kids for 20 years after Boy Scouts discovered abuse

BUFFALO (NY)
WKBW

January 13, 2020

By Charlie Specht

Alleged molester now lives in Depew

In the 1980s, the Boy Scouts discovered a dirty little secret about one of their Scoutmasters: he was an accused child molester.

Leaders of Depew Troop #565 appear to have secured Douglas W. Nail’s resignation within days.

But because the matter was handled “internally” and not reported to law enforcement, Nail spent the next 20 years coaching youth hockey, where he is alleged to have struck again -- this time molesting an 8-year-old.

Those allegations against the hockey coach are included in a lawsuit filed last week in State Supreme Court alleging Nail molested a child when he was coach of the Depew Saints Hockey Club from 1985 to 1992.

Rome finds ‘healing priest’ Fr. Suarez not guilty of sexual abuse of minors

PHILIPPINES
Manila Bulletin

January 13, 2020

By Leslie Ann Aquino

“Healing priest” Father Fernando Suarez was found not guilty of the sexual abuse of minors.

Bishop Antonio Tobias, judicial vicar of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CPCP) National Tribunal Appeals, informed the priest of this development in a decree of notification dated Jan. 6, 2020.

“By order of the Most Rev. Giacomo Morandi, Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and Titular Archbishop of Cerveteri, in his letter of December 13, 2019 — I was instructed to notify the Rev. Fr. Fernando M. Suarez of the Apostolic Vicariate of San Jose de Occidental Mindoro of the decree of ‘not guilty’ of the accusation lodged against him of sexual abuse of minors which this National Tribunal of Appeals submitted to Rome on May 8, 2019,” the notification reads.

Evolving door: New Year may bring new opportunities for women at Vatican

VATICAN CITY
Catholic News Service

January 12, 2020

By Cindy Wooden

Pope Francis opened 2020 with a strong call to acknowledge the dignity of women, end violence against them and stop the exploitation of women’s bodies.

His homily Jan. 1 was not generic: it referenced prostitution, rape, coerced abortions, pornography and even advertising.

And Francis called for the involvement of women in decision-making processes in civil society, specifically when it comes to promoting peace.

At the Mass on the feast of Mary, Mother of God, he said the Church is “woman and mother,” but he did not use the homily to address the roles of women in formal church structures.

Sarasota bishop facing additional charge of sexual battery on child, police urge victims to come forward

SARASOTA (FL)
WWSB/ABC7 Staff

January 13, 2020

A 72-year-old bishop in Sarasota is now facing two charges of sexual battery on a child under 12 years of age after police say another victim has come forward.

On Friday, police charged Henry Lee Porter, Sr. with the additional count. The second victim tells police the abuse happened between April and November in 1990 when the victim was attending the school at Westcoast Center for Human Development.

Police began investigating Porter in October 2019 after learning of a video on social media alleging sexual abuse. Detectives reached out to the alleged victim, who told them that Porter sexually abused him beginning in 1989 when he was 11 after his parents went out-of-state for an extended period of time to stay at a hospital.

Catholic Priest Dies Before Being Sentenced for Child Sexual Abuse

SYDNEY (AUSTRALIA)
Lexology

January 13 2020

Sydney Criminal Lawyers

Disgraced former Catholic Priest James Joseph Cunneen, who was found guilty of indecent assault against six teenage boys in New South Wales in the late 1980s, has died before he could be sentenced.

60-year old Mr Cunneen was due to be sentenced in Downing Centre District Court on 14 February 2020. He was arrested, charged and prosecuted last year after information given to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in 2014.

After an extensive investigation, police extradited Mr Cunneen back to Australia in 2017 where he was charged.

Utah bill requiring clergy to report child abuse confessions draws criticism

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
KUTV

January 13, 2020

By McKenzie Stauffer

An organization dedicated to defending and protecting the Catholic Church is speaking out against a new bill that is set to be discussed in Utah's 2020 Legislative session.

President of the Catholic League For Religious and Civil Rights, William Donohue Ph.D., wrote a letter to Rep. Angela Romero, the sponsor of H.B. 90, to express his concern.

The new bill would remove the clergy exemption from reporting child abuse. Meaning if the bill passes, religious leaders would be required, by law, to report confessions of child abuse in Utah.

Donohue claims the bill would violate "the Sacrament of Reconciliation in the Roman Catholic Church."

"You are treading on dangerous territory," Donohue wrote.

Ex-Pope Benedict undercuts Francis on priests and celibacy

VATICAN CITY
CNN

January 13, 2020

By Amy Woodyatt, Vasco Cotovio and Hada Messia

Retired Pope Benedict has issued a passionate defense of priestly celibacy, saying he "cannot remain silent" as his successor Pope Francis considers easing the prohibition on married men serving as priests.

What has Benedict said?

Benedict made the comments in a book that he co-authored with Cardinal Robert Sarah, which will be released in France on Wednesday.

In the book, titled "From the Depths of Our Hearts," the 92-year-old pontiff argues in favor of the centuries-old tradition of celibacy within the church, defending the ability to "put oneself completely at the disposition of the Lord" as a criterion for those wishing to be ordained as priests.

"We can say: 'Silere non possum! I cannot remain silent!'" Benedict and Sarah wrote in a joint introduction to the book, according to excerpts released by French daily newspaper Le Figaro on Sunday.

Papal clash: Benedict accused of ‘interfering’ with a synodal process

UNITED STATES
Patheos

January 13, 2020

By Barry Duke

DOMINATING religious and secular media outlets today is the ‘shocking’ news that Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI has co-authored a book in which he insists that priestly celibacy must be retained by the Catholic Church.

Former cardinal named in sex abuse scandal moves from Kansas friary

VICTORIA (KS)
KWCH/CNA

January 11, 2020

Former Roman Catholic Cardinal Theodore McCarrick has moved from the Kansas friary where he had been living since 2018, according to the Catholic News Agency.

Theodore Edgar McCarrick, retired American prelate of the Catholic Church., Photo Date: January 24, 2008 / Cropped Photo: World Economic Forum / CC BY-SA 2.0 / (MGN)
CNA reports a spokesperson for the Capuchin Franciscan Province of St. Conrad said McCarrick left St. Fidelis Friary in Victoria, Kansas last week.

CNA reports McCarrick, a former cardinal, was the subject of two legal settlements in 2005 and 2007. These settlements concerned men who said McCarrick sexually abused them while they were seminarians for the New Jersey dioceses he headed before moving to the Washington archdiocese in 2001, the agency reports.

According to CNA, senior church officials, McCarrick moved to a residential community of priests who have been removed from ministry. Sources tell the agency that he made the decision to leave the Kansas friary himself over the Christmas period, adding that his continued presence in the friary had become a strain on the Franciscan community that was hosting him.

“McCarrick remains a guest at his new accommodation, but he is funding his own stay and is there by his own choice - no one can make him stay if he does not wish to,” a Church official told CNA.

Israel arrests alleged sex abuser Gershon Kranczer 10 years after he fled there

ISRAEL
Forward

January 10, 2020

By Avital Chizhik-Goldschmidt

An American rabbi who fled to Israel ten years ago after being accused of sexually abusing female relatives was arrested by Israeli police on Sunday, according to Israel’s Justice Ministry.

Jewish Community Watch, a watchdog organization that tries to combat child sexual abuse within the Orthodox Jewish community, identified that man as Rabbi Gershon Kranczer, a former principal of a Brooklyn yeshiva. An American law enforcement official who has direct knowledge of this case also independently confirmed Kranczer’s identity to the Forward.

“We have been shocked at the horrific, drawn-out process that the victims have been forced to endure, all the while facing denial and ambivalence from so many in their community,” Jewish Community Watch said in a statement on Tuesday. “The authorities in both the U.S. and Israel have much to answer for, in allowing this case to drag on for so long.” The group also thanked Israeli police and intelligence for their work on the case.

The arrest came after a five-year search by Israeli authorities trying to comply with an American extradition request, according to a statement from the Justice Ministry.

Obsession with sexual morality

FRANCE
La Croix International

January 11, 2020

By Isabelle de Gaulmyn

By sticking to a naturalist version of sex, the Church left many Catholics in the lurch

Unholy real estate strategy: Catholic churches shuffle properties to shield billions from sex abuse victims, report says

UNITED STATES
TRD NATIONAL

January 11, 2020

At least 20 dioceses use bankruptcy and legal entities to limit payouts to victims

Catholic church dioceses across the country are moving around their real estate portfolios and using Chapter 11 bankruptcy to protect assets in sex abuse lawsuits.

Over the last decade and a half, the U.S. Catholic Church has shielded more than $2 billion worth of assets from people who were abused by clergy, according to a Bloomberg Businessweek report. In some cases, that has significantly reduced the amount of money available to compensate those victims.

More than 20 dioceses have chosen to go the bankruptcy route since 2004 rather than face lawsuits.

#MeToo Cases’ New Legal Battleground: Defamation Lawsuits

NEW YORK (NY)
The New York Times

January 12, 2020

By Julia Jacobs

The Weinstein trial is rare because most sexual misconduct allegations are too old to litigate. But women, and men, are finding an alternative way to get to court.

Ashley Judd was one of the first women to attach her name to accusations of sexual misconduct against Harvey Weinstein, but like many of the claims that followed, her account of intimidating sexual advances was too old to bring Mr. Weinstein to court over.

Then a legal window opened to her. After reading about a director’s claim that Mr. Weinstein’s studio, Miramax, had described Ms. Judd as a “nightmare to work with,” she sued the producer for defamation in 2018.

Mr. Weinstein’s rape trial in Manhattan, which began with jury selection last week, is a spectacle not only because he is the avatar of the #MeToo era, but also because it is one of the few sexual assault cases to surface with allegations recent enough to result in criminal charges.

Code of silence reigns amid scandals, misbehavior at all-boys Catholic schools

DETROIT (MI)
Detroit Free Press (TNS)

January 13, 2020

By Tresa Baldas

When word got out that a football player at De La Salle High School was sexually hazed in the locker room, about a dozen athletes clammed up, including the victim, who police said doesn’t want charges.

The same thing happened after a brawl broke out in December between students from Birmingham Brother Rice and Catholic Central: The case has gone nowhere because one victim doesn’t want charges, police said, and no one else is talking.

Students at U-D Jesuit in Detroit were equally quiet in 2014 after a former teacher was charged with videotaping hockey players changing in a locker room. Students vented privately but refused to speak publicly.

A contribution on priestly celibacy in filial obedience to the Pope

VATICAN
Vatican News

January 2020

By Andrea Tornielli

A book by the Pope emeritus and the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship addresses a theme on which Pope Francis has expressed himself several times.

A book on the priesthood that bears the signatures of Pope emeritus Joseph Ratzinger and of Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, will be released in France on 15 January. The pre-publication material provided by Le Figaro shows that with their contribution, the authors are entering into the debate on celibacy and the possibility of ordaining married men as priests. Ratzinger and Sarah — who describe themselves as two Bishops “in filial obedience to Pope Francis” who “are seeking the truth” in “a spirit of love for the unity of the Church” — defend the discipline of celibacy and put forth the reasons that they feel counsel against changing it. The question of celibacy occupies 175 pages of the volume, with two texts — one from the Pope emeritus and the other from the Cardinal — together with an introduction and a conclusion signed by both.

In surprise, Benedict openly defends clerical celibacy as Francis considers married priests

VATICAN CITY
National Catholic Reporter

January 12, 2020

By Joshua J. McElwee

Retired Pope Benedict XVI has coauthored a new book defending the Catholic Church's practice of a celibate priesthood, in a shocking move that comes as Pope Francis is considering the possibility of allowing older, married men to be ordained as priests in the Amazon region.

According to excerpts from the volume released Jan. 12 by the conservative French outlet Le Figaro, the ex-pontiff says he could not remain silent on the issue as Francis is contemplating the move, which was requested by the bishops from the nine-nation Amazon region at October's Vatican synod gathering.

The book is co-written with Cardinal Robert Sarah, the head of the Vatican's liturgy office. It is to be released in France Jan. 15 and carries the title Des profondeurs de nos cœurs ("From the Depths of Our Hearts).

El Vaticano expulsó al cura pedófilo defendido por el obispo Martínez

[The Vatican expelled the pedophile priest defended by Bishop Martinez]

ARGENTINA
El Diario Misiones

January 9, 2020

Ocurrió luego que el sacerdote santafesino Néstor Fabián Monzón (51) fuera condenado por “abuso sexual gravemente ultrajante, calificado, en concurso real” a dos niños.

[It happened after the Santa Fe priest Néstor Fabián Monzón (51) was convicted of “severely outrageous, qualified sexual abuse in royal contest” to two children.]

One year later, Fall River diocese’s list of ‘credibly’ accused priests still not done

FALL RIVER (MA)
WPRI-TV

January 10, 2020

By Eli Sherman

Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fall River wrote a letter to parishioners last January announcing the church had hired a former FBI agent to review allegations of sexual abuse against minors dating back to the 1950s.

The plan, he wrote, was to complete the review by spring of last year, and produce a list of credibly accused clergy members, following what a growing number of dioceses – including Providence – have already done across the country.

“I wish that this information could be made available sooner; yet it takes time and diligence to compile a list that is accurate and complete,” da Cunha wrote at the time.

In New Book, Retired Pope Benedict Breaks Silence To Speak Out On Priestly Celibacy

VATICAN CITY
National Public Radio

January 13, 2020

By Scott Neuman

Retired Pope Benedict XVI, who promised to remain silent when he resigned as head of the Roman Catholic Church seven years ago, has stepped back into the ongoing debate over priestly celibacy with a new book defending the traditionalist view.

The surprise move is seen as a rebuke to Pope Francis, who is weighing the possibility of a revolutionary move to relax the strict celibacy requirement for ordination in some South American countries where the shortage of priests is particularly acute.

Trial delayed for French priest accused of abusing 75 boys

LYON (FRANCE)
Associated Press

January 13, 2020

By Nicolas Vaux-Montagny

A former French priest accused of sexually abusing around 75 Boy Scouts went on trial Monday, but the proceedings were delayed for a day because of a strike by lawyers.

The case is France’s worst clergy abuse drama to reach court so far, and its repercussions reached all the way to the Vatican.

Bernard Preynat admitted in the 1990s to abusing boys, but was only removed from the priesthood last year. The church defrocked him in July, after French Cardinal Philippe Barbarin was convicted of covering up for Preynat’s actions.

Several other church officials were also accused of failing to alert police or prosecutors of his actions, including a senior Vatican official, Cardinal Luis Ladaria. The Vatican shielded Ladaria from trial, invoking his immunity as an official of a sovereign state.

January 12, 2020

‘Healing priest’ cleared of sexual abuse case

PHILIPPINES
Tempo

January 12, 2020

Controversial “healing priest” Father Fernando Suarez can exercise his ministry again after the Vatican found him “not guilty” of sexual abuse accusations, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said yesterday.

Bishop Antonio Tobias, judicial vicar of the CBCP National Tribunal Appeals, informed the priest of the “not guilty” verdict of his case in a decree of notification dated January 6, 2020.

“By order of the Most Rev. Giacomo Morandi, Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and Titular Archbishop of Cerveteri, in his letter of December 13, 2019—I was instructed to notify the Rev. Fr. Fernando M. Suarez of the Apostolic Vicariate of San Jose de Occidental Mindoro of the decree of ‘not guilty’ of the accusation lodged against him of sexual abuse of minors which this National Tribunal of Appeals submitted to Rome on May 8, 2019,” read the notification.

“This means that he has been falsely accused of these crimes and, therefore, nothing now stands in the way for him to exercise his healing ministry, provided it is done properly in coordination with the ecclesiastical authority of every ecclesiastical jurisdiction,” it further read.

Opinion: Church, judges in unholy union

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

January 13, 2020

By Chrissie Foster

I see red when I think about the Red Mass. The Red Mass is a Catholic mass said at the end of each January for the legal fraternity marking the beginning of the legal year. The Red Mass is a ­European tradition dating back to the year 1310 in England and ­earlier in Paris — 1245.

An invitation to attend the Melbourne Red Mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral appeared on the Victorian Bar website. The Victorian Bar is a “professional association of barristers”. The invitation reads: “As this is Archbishop Comensoli’s first Red Mass since becoming Archbishop of Melbourne, it is important for the legal community of Melbourne to welcome His Grace with as many members of the profession in attendance as possible.”

This is the same archbishop who recently said he would defy new child protection laws rather than report admissions of child sexual assault made in the confessional. Victoria recently passed legislation removing clergy exemption from mandatory reporting of a reasonable belief that a child has been sexually abused. Archbishop Peter Comensoli said he would rather go to jail than obey the new law.

Why should our legal profession “welcome” such a man? A man who publicly announced his intention to commit a crime? And not just any crime, one that disobeys child safety laws? The archbishop is the highest-ranking cleric of the Catholic Church in Victoria. Many clergy obey and follow him. Priests have promised obedience to him. Comensoli’s words and actions are replicated in communities all over Victoria. Why should the legal fraternity welcome someone who dictates that priests should commit a criminal offence by failing to report to the police information about child sexual abuse?

The new law lifting the secrecy of confession was debated in the Victorian parliament last August 29. It was an extraordinary day in parliament. At least 15 members of parliament rose and stated how shocked they were that the Archbishop of Melbourne would choose to protect paedophiles rather than children. Their anger was palpable. And angry they should be, for the reality of Comensoli’s words is to knowingly allow adults to continue to rape and sexually assault children. The archbishop is apparently happy to hear admissions of crimes against children and just let child molesters and rapists go unpunished, unchecked and uncured. This failure to obey the law would allow sexual crimes against children to continue for decades.

In 2003 Catholic priest Michael McArdle swore an affidavit stating that during confession he had disclosed more than 1500 times that he was sexually assaulting children. He made this confession to 30 different priests over 25 years. Not one of those 30 priests stopped him. For decades they just forgave him. This is precisely the situation Comensoli says should remain. What finally stopped McArdle was not the church, but a child going to the police. The church could have reported him to police decades earlier and saved countless children.

Pope Benedict XVI breaks silence to reaffirm priest celibacy

VATICAN CITY
Associated Press

Retired Pope Benedict XVI has broken his silence to reaffirm the value of priestly celibacy, co-authoring a bombshell book at the precise moment that Pope Francis is weighing whether to allow married men to be ordained to address the Catholic priest shortage.

Benedict wrote the book, “From the Depths of Our Hearts: Priesthood, Celibacy and the Crisis of the Catholic Church,” along with his fellow conservative, Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah, who heads the Vatican’s liturgy office and has been a quiet critic of Francis.

The French daily Le Figaro published excerpts of the book late Sunday; The Associated Press obtained galleys of the English edition, which is being published by Ignatius Press.

Benedict’s intervention is extraordinary, given he had promised to remain “hidden from the world” when he retired in 2013 and pledged his obedience to the new pope. He has largely held to that pledge, though he penned an odd essay last year on the sexual abuse scandal that blamed the crisis on the sexual revolution of the 1960s.

Benedict defends priestly celibacy as Pope Francis considers changes

VATICAN CITY
Washington Post

January 12, 2020

By Chico Harlan

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has issued an ardent defense of clerical celibacy, breaking his pledged silence on major church affairs just as Pope Francis is considering an exception that would allow some married men to serve as priests.

Benedict’s remarks, revealed in a new book excerpt published Sunday by the French newspaper Le Figaro, cast light on a once-unthinkable dynamic inside the Roman Catholic Church: A former pope trying to influence his successor in whether the church heeds or breaks with its traditions.

“The ability to renounce marriage in order to place oneself fully at the disposal of the Lord has become a criterion for priestly ministry,” Benedict XVI writes in the book he has co-authored.

In the excerpts, Benedict invokes his own ordination and calls celibacy a sometimes “painful” but necessary step. Though Francis has also defended celibacy — calling it a “gift” to the church and saying it should not be optional — some of the Argentine pontiff’s allies have pushed for exceptions, saying the priesthood needs to modernize and find ways to make up for a severe shortage of vocations.

Bishops meeting in Rome last year recommended that Francis allow the ordination of married men in the particularly remote Amazon region, an endorsement that some traditionalists warned might set off a broader weakening of the church’s millennium-old celibacy requirement. Francis is considering whether to affirm the recommendation.

But no matter what Francis decides, Benedict’s willingness to speak out risks the kind of inner-church tension that analysts worried about when he abdicated seven years ago.

After he stepped down, Benedict — who lives inside a Vatican monastery — vowed silence on key issues to give room for Francis. But he has twice broken that vow in less than a year, with the excerpt Sunday and the release in April of a lengthy letter devoted to clerical sexual abuse in which his theories often contradicted Francis’s.

Benedict and Francis have spoken admiringly of each other, but their different views about the church — Francis has pushed for changes that his predecessor opposed — have caused some traditionalists to rally around Benedict as an alternative authority figure.

“One Pope is complicated enough,” John Gehring, the Catholic program director at the Washington-based advocacy group Faith in Public Life, wrote on Twitter Sunday night. “This is a mess. With great respect to Benedict XVI, it’s time for him to live up to his promise to be ‘hidden from the world.’ ”

“From the Depths of Our Hearts,” was co-written by Benedict and the Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah, with each authoring certain passages. Sarah, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment, is far more direct than Benedict, speaking to Francis directly about the dangers of altering the church’s celibacy practices.

“I am humbly pleading for Pope Francis to protect us definitively of such an eventuality by putting his veto to any weakening or lessening of priestly celibacy, even limited to one region or the other,” wrote Sarah, the head of the Vatican’s liturgical office. “The possibility to ordain married men would represent a pastoral catastrophe, an ecclesiastical confusion and an obfuscation in an understanding of the priesthood.”

A passage jointly written by Sarah and Benedict mentions that they had taken note of the “uproar” surrounding the bishops’ meeting on the Amazon last year. Benedict and Sarah wrote that they could not stay silent.

“If ideology divides, truth unites hearts,” they wrote. “Examining the doctrine of salvation can only unite the Church around its divine Master. We do it in a spirit of charity.”

Benedict, 92, uses a walker and talks barely above a whisper, according to recent footage, but remains mentally sharp. His contributions to the book, according to the excerpts, are steeped in church language. He makes the case that celibacy is a way for priests to give themselves fully to the service of the priesthood.

“To be with God is to set aside what is only the self,” Benedict writes.

Benedict’s personal secretary, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, did not respond to a request for comment.

As the church debated last year whether to allow the ordination of married men in the Amazon, traditionalists warned about the destruction of the priesthood. There are already some celibacy exceptions within the church: married Anglican ministers, in some cases, can join the Catholic priesthood after conversion. But some conservatives worry that the rationale for the Amazon could also be applied to other parts of the world, including Europe and North America, that have shortages of priests.

Sarah argues that lifting the celibacy requirement would not help such areas, but deprive them of true priests.

“We cannot offer them ‘second class’ priests,” Sarah wrote.

Editorial: Buffalo Diocese bankruptcy must not be a sanctuary for sin

BUFFALO (NY)
The Buffalo News

January 12, 2020

By News Editorial Board

Now we know that Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger is more than bankruptcy curious. The leader in charge of Buffalo’s Catholic diocese told a Buffalo News reporter on Monday that filing for Chapter 11 protection is probable as the diocese faces an onslaught of lawsuits from individuals making claims of clergy sex abuse.

As we have noted before, that would be unfortunate. If it happens – and there are defenses for it – the diocese needs to be as forthcoming about the abuses its priests and bishop committed as it would if the matter were left in state court. There can be no more hiding in dark corners.

While having claims against the diocese moved to bankruptcy court may ultimately result in a more equitable financial settlement for some of the victims than if their cases remain in civil court, it can still leave many feeling they are denied a full hearing.

Legal errors blamed for George Pell convictions

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

January 4, 2020

By James Madden

George Pell’s legal team will seek to have the cardinal’s conviction for child sex offences overturned on the grounds that the Victorian Court of Appeal erred by overlooking the fact that there was reasonable doubt about whether opportunity existed for the crimes to have occurred, and that the onus of proof wrongfully lay with the defendant.

Pell’s final submissions, filed with the High Court on Friday, were signed by barristers Bret Walker and Ruth Shann.

In a hearing set down for March 11 and 12, all seven High Court judges will decide whether to hear the jailed cardinal’s argument that he is in prison only because two judges on Victoria’s Court of Appeal ­rejected his ­appeal after engaging in circular logic and making a ­series of legal errors.

In the submissions, Pell’s legal team argued that his convictions risk a fundamental ­departure “from the defining safeguards of the accusatorial system of criminal justice”.

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.

Victoria’s Court of Appeal in August upheld Pell’s convictions by two votes to one.

He is serving a maximum six-year jail term.

Convicted Australian cardinal moved to new prison after drone incident: media

AUSTRALIA
Reuters

Jailed Australian Cardinal George Pell, convicted over child sex offences, was moved to another prison last week after a drone flew over the facility where he was being held, local media reported.

Pell is the most senior Catholic official worldwide imprisoned for child sex offences. The former Vatican treasurer is serving a six-year sentence for sexually assaulting two teen-aged choir boys.

“Corrections Victoria can confirm that there was an incident involving a drone flying over the Melbourne Assessment Prison on Thursday,” a Department of Justice spokeswoman said on Sunday in an e-mailed statement.

She declined to comment on Pell, but said that the incident has been referred to the state police for investigation.

Scientology argues for religious arbitration in sex assault case

CALIFORNIA
Express Digest

January 8, 2020

The Church of Scientology has argued that they should be able to handle sexual assault allegations against That 70s Show actor Danny Masterson through ‘religious arbitration’ instead of in court.

Four women, including two ex-girlfriends, filed a lawsuit against Masterson in California last year claiming the actor drugged, raped and sexually assaulted them in the early 2000s.

The Church of Scientology is also named as a defendant in the lawsuit after the women claimed they were stalked and harassed by the church in a bid to silence them after they complained.

Masterson is a member of the church while some of women were members around the time of the alleged assaults.

In new court papers filed on Tuesday, the church argued that the women consented to ‘ecclesiastical rule’ when they became members and therefore relinquished their rights to sue.

Holy Cross hit with lawsuit from former student who alleges sexual abuse 50-plus years ago

RUMSON (NJ)
The Monmouth Journal

January 10, 2020

Holy Cross School in Rumson has been hit with a lawsuit by a former student claiming that a nun at the school sexually abused her more than half a century ago.

Carole Clark, of Cliffside Park, claims in the lawsuit filed in Monmouth County Superior Court that she attended the school from kindergarten to seventh grade “in the 1960s.”

According to the lawsuit, filed by attorney Eric G. Kahn, when Clark was in first grade at Holy Cross, Sister Mary Nazareen, a teacher at the school at the time, “coerced and/or forced” Clark “to engage in improper sexual conduct during the school year when (Clark) was in the first grade.”

The lawsuit further claims that Sister Mary Nazareen “engaged in improper sex acts, sexual assault, sexual contact and sexual abuse” of Clark, while on the grounds of Holy Cross School while Clark was in the first grade.

The lawsuit names Holy Cross School, Holy Cross Parish and the Diocese of Trenton as defendants. It states Clark has suffered “severe and permanent personal and emotional injuries” as a result of the abuse.

The lawsuit seeks judgment against the school, parish and diocese and compensation for damages, together with interest and costs of the lawsuit.

New documents support George Pell as appeal decision nears

AUSTRALIA
Lawyers Weekly

January 7, 2020

By Naomi Neilson

The lawyers for disgraced Cardinal George Pell have lodged new court documents that allege previous findings failed to eliminate doubt about his opportunity to offend.

Barrister Bret Walker SC and Ruth Shann said the majority erred in finding opportunity for Cardinal Pell to commit the offences. His lawyers argued in court documents there was insufficient time for the convicted paedophile to sexually abuse two choirboys.

“The majority concluded that if any of the evidence showed impossibility in one respect or another, then the jury must have had a doubt,” the court documents read. “The facts as found by them were the only time the room was empty for five-six minutes was a time when the complainant and the other boy, on the Crown case, were not in the room.”

In November, the High Court of Australia agreed to hear appeal arguments in a special Full Court sitting. The decision will consider both the application for leave and the case, which means there is a chance the court may not grant special leave application.

The 21-page appeal document will be the basis for Cardinal Pell’s final bid to overturn his historic child sexual abuse convictions. His lawyers noted they are seeking no more than four hours for the presentation of an oral argument before the court.

The Wanderer Interviews Cardinal Burke (Part 2) . . . He Is With Us: Trusting In The Lord In Turbulent Times

UNITED STATES
The Wanderer

January 8, 2020

By Don Fier

(Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Prefect Emeritus of the Apostolic Signatura, recently visited the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis. On December 9, His Eminence graciously granted The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview and offered many illuminating insights on matters that concern the Church in the present time. Below is part two of this two-part of interview; part one appeared in the issue of December 26, 2019.)

PART TWO

Q. Archbishop Rino Fisichella, the president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, is the editor of a soon-to-be-published volume entitled Catechism of the Catholic Church with Theological Commentary (its publication has been delayed for several months, but it appears it will now be available in early 2020). Can you tell us anything about this new catechism and what its authoritative scope will be?
A. This new issue of the Catechism will not have the authority of the text that was approved for promulgation in 1994, which will continue to be the authoritative text. Whatever commentary Archbishop Fisichella and other contributors offer in the new volume will have the worth of their fidelity to the unchanging doctrine of the Church. This is not some new Catechism of the Catholic Church and should not be viewed as such. I, for my part, urge people to study the officially released Catechism. Once again, I emphasize that whatever authority the new edition has will depend on the correctness of its fidelity to doctrine.

Oprah backs out of sexual assault documentary bound for Apple TV+, film will not air on Apple service

HOLLYWOOD (CA)
Apple Insider

January 10, 2020

By Mikey Campbell

Oprah Winfrey on Friday said she is no longer attached to a high-profile documentary that explores sexual misconduct in the music industry, adding that the film will not debut on Apple TV+ as planned.

Winfrey in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter said she is stepping away from the as-yet-untitled documentary citing creative differences with filmmakers Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering. The film, which was set to debut at the Sundance Film Festival in January, follows a former music executive who accused industry titan Russell Simmons of rape.

Abuse case seeking church records moves forward in Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH (PA)
Tribune-Review

January 12, 2020

By Deb Erdley

Nearly 18 months after a Pennsylvania grand jury report unmasked decades of allegations of clergy sexual abuse in Catholic parishes across the state and church leaders paid $84 million to abuse survivors, fallout from the report continues to mount in the courts.

State lawmakers began the process of amending the Pennsylvania Constitution to give abuse survivors with old claims a day in court even as the state Supreme Court weighs a lower court ruling that could set the stage for such claims even sooner.

Locally, court records show there are more than 20 such suits pending against the Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese as well as one in Westmoreland County.

In the latest legal development, Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Christine Ward last week ruled a class-action suit seeking to force the Pittsburgh Diocese to open its abuse archives to survivors may move forward in court.

The ruling comes weeks after a year-end report found seven of the state’s eight dioceses had paid $84 million to 564 abuse survivors who agreed not to sue the church.

January 11, 2020

Judge says parents can sue diocese over abuse reporting

PITTSBURGH (PA)
Associated Press and WJAC

January 9, 2020

By Crispin Havener

[Note from BishopAccountability.org: See also the text of the Class Action Complaint.]

A Pennsylvania judge has ruled that parents of children in the Roman Catholic Church and survivors of sexual abuse by clergy members can move forward with a lawsuit against the Diocese of Pittsburgh alleging that it has not fulfilled its obligations under state law to report child sexual abusers.

The parents and survivors claim that the Pittsburgh diocese along with the other seven Pennsylvania dioceses have created a public nuisance by failing to report every allegation of child abuse and are asking that they be compelled to release information about all known allegations.

The ruling this week granted a preliminary dismissal to the state's other dioceses because the lawsuit did not include specific allegations against them. However, Allegheny County Judge Christine A. Ward gave the attorneys for the parents and survivors 30 days to amend the lawsuit to include plaintiffs who believe they have standing before she will consider whether to dismiss the other dioceses as defendants.

Shapiro heads into reelection year with $3M in account

HARRISBURG (PA)
Associated Press via U.S. News and World Report

January 10, 2020

By Marc Levy

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro will report that he headed into his 2020 reelection year with more than $3 million in his campaign bank account, about 40% of what he spent to get elected in 2016 to his first four-year term.

In a preliminary report his campaign gave to The Associated Press, Shapiro, a Democrat, will report to the state that he raised $3.3 million in 2019 and had $3.1 million left over as of Jan. 1. He spent $523,000 last year, partially offset by the $365,000 that he had left over from 2018, according to the report.

His biggest individual cash donor at $250,000 was the Democratic Attorneys General Association, a national fundraising organization. Labor unions poured in more than $800,000, and Philadelphia-area developer Israel Roizman gave $75,000, according to the report. Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat who is close with Shapiro, chipped in $20,000.

Shapiro spent nearly $8 million in 2016 when he beat former state Sen. John Rafferty by nearly 3 percentage points in that year’s general election after winning a low-turnout, three-way Democratic primary.

This time around, no Democrat has stepped forward to challenge Shapiro in the primary.

*

Shapiro’s time as attorney general is perhaps best-known for his office’s groundbreaking grand jury report in 2018 on the cover-up of child sexual abuse in six of Pennsylvania’s Roman Catholic dioceses. The report spawned more than 20 similar investigations in other states and helped prompt the nation’s bishops to approve new steps to deal more strongly with sexual abuse by clergy.

Arizona priest charged with sexual abuse in Phoenix

TUCSON (AZ)
Associated Press via KVOA

January 10, 2020

A Catholic priest in Phoenix has been indicted on charges of alleged sexual misconduct with two boys under 15, prosecutors for Arizona’s largest county said Thursday.

The Maricopa County Attorney’s office said a county grand jury Wednesday indicted John Dallas Spaulding, 74, on six counts of sexual misconduct with a minor and one count of molestation of a child.

Spaulding could not be located to comment on the charges. Defense attorney Greg Meell did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Prosecutors say the boys were sexually abused between 2003 and 2007 when Spaulding was a priest at St. Gabriel parish in Phoenix and St. Timothy parish in suburban Mesa.

The Catholic Diocese of Phoenix said Thursday it contacted law enforcement after receiving a report in June 2019 from a man who said Spaulding sexually abused him when he was a minor.

'The church knew he was a predator': Victim advocate speaks out on former Phoenix priest's indictment

PHOENIX (AZ)
Fox 10

January 10, 2020

By Danielle Miller

A former catholic priest in the valley was charged with child sex crimes dating back to the 2000s.

Father John Spaulding, 74, is accused of sexually abusing two young boys in the early 2000s, and Thursday, he was indicted by the Maricopa County Attorney's Office.

According to the Diocese of Phoenix, Spaulding is removed from the ministry and can't publicly identify himself as a priest.

Mary O'Day works with an organization, SNAP, that advocates for victims and says his alleged abuse dates back several years. "We are very excited that they got a grand jury indictment. It means they found enough evidence and put enough pieces together," she said.

2012 lawsuit alleges son died as a result of abuse by Father John Spaulding

PHOENIX (AZ)
12 News NBC

January 10, 2020

By Bianca Buono

Spaulding was indicted Thursday, accused of sexually assaulting two boys under the age of 15 from 2003 to 2007.

A Valley father tried suing the Diocese of Phoenix back in 2012 claiming his son was molested by Father John Spaulding and died because of it.

Nearly a decade later, that priest has been indicted, accused of sexually assaulting two other boys under the age of 15.

In June of 2010, David Michael Pain Jr.'s body was found in a hotel parking lot in Mesa. He had been shot by his father, David Michael Pain Sr. in an act of self-defense.

Pain Jr. had broken into his father's Scottsdale home while under the influence of meth.

In a lawsuit, Pain Sr. says his son's behavior was out of control. He says he was suicidal and was abusing drugs. He says it's because he was molested by his priest, Father John Spaulding.

Children at Aberlour Orphanage were physically, emotionally and sexually abused

ABERDEEN (SCOTLAND)
Press and Journal

January 8, 2020

By Tom Peterkin

Children were subjected to horrendous levels of physical, emotional and sexual assault while at the Aberlour Orphanage in Moray, the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry has concluded.

One youngster considered suicide after being sexually abused at the institution and others were punched, kicked and beaten with implements including belts, slippers and a table tennis bat.

Children were humiliated for wetting the bed and were force fed after being sick on their plates.

Others were so traumatised by abuse at the hands of those in whose brutal care they found themselves they could barely function when they were present.

The inquiry yesterday published a harrowing account of the appalling treatment handed out at the Moray orphanage before it closed in 1967 and in smaller homes operated by the organisation elsewhere in Scotland.

A 150-page document outlined horrendous cruelty suffered by vulnerable children in the care of the Aberlour Child Care Trust and two other Scottish-based residential institutions – Quarriers in Renfrewshire and Barnardos – between 1921 and 1991.

Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry Publishes Third Case Study Findings

EDINBURGH (SCOTLAND)
Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry

January 7, 2020

Children were physically, emotionally and sexually abused in harsh regimes

The Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry has today 7 January published its findings into residential institutions run by Quarriers, Aberlour Child Care Trust, and Barnardo’s (QAB) between 1921 and 1991. They conclude that children did suffer physical, emotional and sexual abuse.

During the case study, the Inquiry considered evidence about the nature and extent of any abuse of children in care at institutions run by the QAB providers at various locations across Scotland.

The Inquiry also examined any systems, policies and procedures in place at these institutions, and how these were applied.

Lady Smith, Chair of the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry, said: “Children were physically abused, emotionally abused, and sexually abused in harsh, rigid regimes. Many children did not find the warmth, care, and compassionate comfort they needed. Scant regard was paid to their dignity.

“The previous lives of the children who came into the care of the QAB providers had all been blighted in some way, whether by being abused in the family home, the death of one or more parent, parental illness, families who could not cope with caring for them, abandonment, or by other similar circumstances.

“The QAB providers could have made a real and positive difference to every child, but that did not happen. For many, further damage was inflicted upon them.”

The 43 day case study took place between 23 October 2018 and 12 February 2019, during which time the Inquiry heard evidence from 110 witnesses.

Children were abused in East Lothian homes, inquiry finds

HADDINGTON (SCOTLAND)
East Lothian Courier

January 9, 2020

By Cameron Ritchie

Children in homes in Pencaitland and North Berwick suffered physical, emotional and sexual abuse, the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry has concluded.

Barnardo’s had residential establishments across Scotland, including at Glasclune in North Berwick, which cared for 348 children, and Tyneholm in Pencaitland, which cared for 289 children.

The inquiry heard from more than 100 witnesses between October 2018 and February last year.

Witnesses spoke about physical abuse, force-feeding, chores, washing and bathing, and emotional and sexual abuse.

In a just-released 150-page report, statements from witnesses told of different instances of abuse at the two facilities.

Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry: Children in charity homes 'did suffer abuse'

GLASGOW (SCOTLAND)
BBC Scotland

January 7, 2020

Children in homes run by Quarriers, Aberlour Child Care Trust, and Barnardo's suffered physical, emotional and sexual abuse, the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry has concluded.

Lady Smith, who is chairing the inquiry, said children who were at the institutions between 1921 and 1991 lived in "harsh, rigid regimes".

She also said "scant regard was paid to their dignity".

Quarriers, Aberlour and Barnardo's have apologised for the abuse suffered.

In her findings, Lady Smith said: "Many children did not find the warmth, care, and compassionate comfort they needed.

"The previous lives of the children who came into the care of the QAB (Quarriers, Aberlour and Barnardo's) providers had all been blighted in some way, whether by being abused in the family home, the death of one or more parent, parental illness, families who could not cope with caring for them, abandonment, or by other similar circumstances.

Child abuse inquiry: Travel bans 'not being enforced on sex offenders'

LONDON (ENGLAND)
BBC

January 9, 2020

UK authorities are failing to use the powers they have to stop British sex offenders travelling abroad to abuse children, according to an inquiry.

Only a small fraction of orders made against offenders included a ban on foreign travel, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse found.

It cited the case of shamed rock star Gary Glitter, who abused children abroad after an earlier conviction.

The IICSA says the burden of proof for travel bans should be lowered.

The inquiry's report found measures applied to people convicted of a sexual offence - such as a sexual harm prevention orders (SHPO) - have only had a minimal impact on restricting foreign travel.

Other offenders have been able to breach bans in an attempt to abuse outside of the UK.

Inquiry report finds gaps in UK legal system are allowing known offenders to sexually abuse children abroad

LONDON (ENGLAND)
Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA)

January 9, 2020

The Inquiry has published its report on the protection of children outside the UK, focusing on the legal measures designed to prevent British child sex abusers from offending overseas.

The report finds that offenders from England and Wales are travelling to commit extensive abuse of children across the world, including in eastern Asia and Africa.

It concludes that civil orders are not being used effectively to stop offenders visiting other countries where poverty and corruption have left children vulnerable.

High profile cases have highlighted these issues, including Paul Gadd (aka Gary Glitter) who went to Asia to abuse young girls after being convicted of possessing indecent images of children in the UK.

The Inquiry found that civil orders placed on sex offenders rarely include travel restrictions, meaning many known offenders can still go abroad to abuse children.

As of 31 March 2018, only around 0.2 percent of the 58,637 registered sex offenders in England and Wales had their foreign travel restricted. Very small numbers of civil orders restricting travel are made: only 11 Sexual Harm Prevention Orders to this effect were made in 2017/2018 and as at March 2019 there were only six Sexual Risk Orders in place with such a restriction.

The report finds that the disclosure and barring system, including the International Child Protection Certificate which overseas institutions can request when recruiting British nationals, is confusing, inconsistent and in need of reform.

Former Passionist priest, who once served in Pittsburgh, gets probation for ‘unnatural acts’ on a minor

BOSTON (MA)
Associated Press via Tribune-Review

January 6, 2020

A Catholic priest has pleaded guilty to two counts of “unnatural acts” with a minor for accusations of sexual abuse dating back to the 1970s.

James Randall Gillette was sentenced to five years of probation in Suffolk Superior Court in Boston on Jan. 2, according to court records. More serious charges of child rape and indecent assault and battery on a minor were dismissed, but he still has to register as a sex offender.

Gillette is affiliated with Congregation of the Passion of Jesus Christ, a religious order commonly known as the Passionists. Dan Flynn, director of health and social service at Congregation of the Passion of Jesus Christ, said Gillette has not been defrocked but has been on restrictions that ban him from identifying as a priest or serving in church functions since the 1990s. Flynn said Gillette is currently living privately in Massachusetts. He declined to comment further.

Gillette was briefly in Pittsburgh. According to BishopAccountability.org, Gillette served in 1993 and 1994 at St. Paul of the Cross Monastery in the South Side. As a religious order, it is not part of the Diocese of Pittsburgh.

January 10, 2020

Troubling complaint against ex-Phoenix priest, Father Spaulding, detailed in 2012 lawsuit

PHOENIX (AZ)
ABC15

January 10, 2020

By Joe Enea

Details have emerged about another sexual misconduct complaint against a former Valley priest indicted this week on charges including sexual conduct with a minor.

This week, a Maricopa County Grand Jury charged Father John "Jack" Dallas Spaulding, 74, with six counts of sexual misconduct with a minor and one count of molestation of a child. He is accused of sexually abusing two boys, who were under the age of 15, between the years of 2003 and 2007.

During that time span, Spaulding was a Priest at St. Gabriel's Catholic Church in Phoenix and St. Timothy's in Mesa.

Woman sues church for reporting her husband’s sex abuse confession to the police

PENDLETON (OR)
CNN WIRE

January 10, 2020

An Oregon woman whose husband is in prison for sexually abusing a child is suing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for reporting his confession to state authorities.

In the lawsuit, Kristine Johnson said her husband confessed his sexual abuse to clergy as required by church rules. That confession was passed along to state authorities, forming the basis of their investigation, she says.

She filed the lawsuit in Marion County Circuit Court last week and seeks $9.5 million for loss of income, emotional distress and her family’s loss of her husband’s companionship. The lawsuit, which argues the church went against its own policy that considers confessions confidential, also seeks an additional $40,000 for his criminal defense.

Allegations against former priest go back 40 years

PHOENIX (AZ)
12News

January 9, 2020

By Mackenzie Concepcion

Jack Spaulding allegedly sexually abused boys at several parishes within the Phoenix Diocese over multiple decades.

A Maricopa County grand jury charged a former Catholic priest on Wednesday in connection with the sexual abuse of two boys under the age of 15 between 2003 and 2007. But the allegations against John "Jack" Dallas Spaulding, 74, go back for decades.

Spaulding was charged with six counts of sexual misconduct with a minor and one count of molestation of a child.

He was a priest at St. Gabriel's Catholic Church in Phoenix and St. Timothy's Catholic Church in Mesa when the alleged crimes took place.

But Spaulding is accused of sexually abusing multiple other boys in the years before that. The allegations stretch back to the 1970s -- to when he was a young priest in Glendale.

Judge Allows Lawsuit Alleging Pittsburgh Diocese Created ‘Public Nuisance’

PITTSBURGH (PA)
KDKA

January 9, 2020

A Pennsylvania judge has ruled a lawsuit can move forward against the Catholic Diocese of
Pittsburgh.

The suit by parents and survivors of sexual abuse by clergy members claims the diocese became a public nuisance because they didn’t fulfill obligations under state law to report abusers.

It was originally filed in September of 2018 against each diocese in the state.

Child Victims Act sponsor moves to extend ‘lookback window’ for abuse lawsuits

NEW YORK (NY)
Queens Daily Eagle

January 9, 2020

By David Brand

The state senator who sponsored legislation that allows victims of child sex abuse to sue their alleged predators, no matter when the abuse occured, has introduced a bill to extend the window for new lawsuits.

The Child Victims Act took effect in August 2019, eliminating statutes of limitations and enabling survivors to sue their alleged abusers during a one-year “lookback window” that expires Aug. 13, 2020. State Sen. Brad Hoylman sponsored the bill, which passed last legislative session after years of advocacy, and has introduced a new piece of legislation that would extend the “lookback window” for one more year.

“Other states, including California and New Jersey, have instituted multi-year revival windows for civil lawsuits because it can take decades for adult survivors of child sexual abuse to come forward,” Hoylman said in a statement. “To ensure the maximum number of survivors have time to seek justice and further protect the public, New York should extend the Child Victims Act’s revival window for another year before it expires in August.”

Guam's Catholic Church facing at least 280 child sex abuse lawsuits

GUAM
RNZ

January 9, 2020

The Catholic Church on Guam is now facing more than 280 child sex abuse lawsuits, as attempts to settle them get underway.

In the latest lawsuit, a man alleges he was raped and molested by Father Louis Brouillard between 1977 and 1979.

Louis Brouillard admitted to being a paedophile before his death in 2018.

But several other Catholic Church figures, and the institution itself, are named in dozens of other lawsuits for both sex abuse and the subsequent cover-up.

Survivors' group, archbishop back journalist sued by Sodalitium members

VATICAN CITY
Catholic News Service

January 10, 2020

By Junno Arocho Esteves

A network of clergy abuse survivors has joined calls for an end to lawsuits against a journalist who investigated alleged sexual abuse and financial irregularities within a controversial Catholic group.

In an open letter released Jan. 9, the Ending Clergy Abuse organization, also known as ECA, expressed concern regarding five lawsuits against Peruvian journalist Paola Ugaz by several members of Sodalitium Christianae Vitae.

The lawsuits, the ECA said, are a form of "judicial harassment" meant to punish Ugaz for exposing alleged criminal activities within Sodalitium.

"It is true that we recognize the legitimate right of every person who feels that his or her honor was damaged to take legal action," the group said. "However, it is unlawful for anyone to abuse this right. In the abusive case of legal actions against Paola Ugaz, it is clear the intention is not to seek justice but to silence her."

Another Rochester Priest Named in Abuse Lawsuit

ROCHESTER (NY)
Spectrum News

January 8, 2020

Another lawsuit has been filed under the Child Victims Act, this time with new allegations of abuse against a local priest.

Several local churches and parishes are named, including St. Boniface in Rochester and St. Paul of the Cross Church in Honeoye Falls.

Attorney Mitchell Garabedian accuses the defendants of providing Father Otto Vogt with access to young parishioners.

The attorney's client alleged the priest abused him on 60 occasions, starting when he was 10 years old in 1989.

"For me it's about the emotional aspect," said John Mchugh, the Rochester-area man who claims Vogt sexually abused him. "I want recognition that it happened. I want a guarantee that there will be systems in place so it never happens again."

13 Years After A Baptist Pastor Assaulted Her, A Survivor Gets Her Day In Court

BALTIMORE (MD)
HuffPost

January 9, 2020

By Carol Kuruvilla

After months of grooming and emotional manipulation, Sarah Jackson says the pastor of her Maryland Baptist church called her into his private study and kissed her. She was 17, trembling and numb, while he was 29, married with children. It was the first time she had ever been touched this way.

That was Jan. 3, 2007. The date was imprinted in Jackson’s mind as sexual abuse continued over the ensuing months. Jackson claims the pastor, Cameron Giovanelli, used it as a secret code to initiate intimate text conversations. Giovanelli would text “Jan,” and if she was alone, she would reply “3rd” ― signaling that the coast was clear for him to text freely.

Thirteen years later, Jackson has become a vocal advocate for survivors of sexual abuse. And on Jan. 3 this year, she was composing a victim impact statement to read out loud at a Baltimore County court at Giovanelli’s sentencing for sex offense and assault.

Catholic Church Shields $2 Billion in Assets to Limit Abuse Payouts

UNITED STATES
Bloomberg

January 8, 20020

By Josh Saul

Dioceses are aggressively moving and reclassifying holdings to shrink the value of their bankruptcy estates.

For most of the 20th century, the Catholic Church in the U.S. minimized the damage wrought by pedophile priests by covering up the abuse. When the bishop of the Davenport, Iowa, diocese was told in the mid-1950s that one of his priests was sexually abusing boys at a local YMCA, he kept it secret. “It is consoling to know that no general notoriety has arisen, and I pray none may result,” he wrote to a priest, capturing the strategy of the era.

Cover-ups worked when victims and their families could be intimidated or shamed into silence. But in the 1980s and ’90s, victims started filing civil lawsuits against the dioceses where the alleged incidents took place. Church leaders across the country kept these suits quiet by settling out of court and demanding nondisclosure agreements in return. Church leaders paid out about $750 million from the early ’80s through 2002, according to BishopAccountability.org, a nonprofit that tracks clergy sex abuse.

Judge says parents can sue diocese over abuse reporting

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Associated Press

January 9, 2020

By Claudia Lauer

A Pennsylvania judge has ruled that parents of children in the Roman Catholic Church and survivors of sexual abuse by clergy members can move forward with a lawsuit against the Diocese of Pittsburgh alleging that it has not fulfilled its obligations under state law to report child sexual abusers.

The parents and survivors claim that the Pittsburgh diocese along with the other seven Pennsylvania dioceses have created a public nuisance by failing to report every allegation of child abuse and are asking that they be compelled to release information about all known allegations. Lawyers for the parents and survivors said the order issued late Tuesday is the first time private citizens have been allowed to challenge the church to prove it is complying with a reporting law.

The order, issued by Allegheny County Judge Christine A. Ward, also sustained the objections from the state’s other seven dioceses to being parties in the lawsuit because there were no specific allegations against them. Ward gave the attorneys for the parents and survivors 30 days to amend the lawsuit before she will consider whether to dismiss the other dioceses as defendants.

The lawsuit filed in 2018, a month after Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro released the state’s landmark grand jury report, asked that the dioceses be compelled to publicly release all information they had given to the grand jury and to provide a mechanism so that alleged victims could review records to make sure their allegations exist in the church’s files, are accurate and have been sent to law enforcement

‘My intention is to pursue truth’: Child sex abuse victim of convicted Brighton priest James Gillette encourages other survivors to come forward

BRIGHTON (MA)
MassLive

January 07, 2020

By Jackson Cote

Anthony Sgherza was 10 years old when he was first sexually abused by a priest. The 58-year-old said he is now seeing justice nearly a half century later.

James Randall Gillette, a former Catholic priest at St. Gabriel’s Parish in Brighton, was sentenced to five years of house arrest last week for sexually abusing two children in the 1970s, Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins’s office said in a statement.

One of the victims in the criminal case was Sgherza, who said he is still processing Gillette’s prosecution.

“I’m 48 hours removed from having remained silent for 42 years,” Sgherza told MassLive. “Right now, I’m just trying to feel my feet on the ground and breathe and be present with this plethora of emotions.”

FBI Interviewed Papal Foundation Staff about McCarrick

DENVER (CO)
Catholic News Agency via National Catholic Register

January 8, 2020

By Ed Condon

Washington, D.C. — Law enforcement officials have conducted interviews with several senior figures at the Papal Foundation, a U.S. based charity which supports the charitable works of the Holy Father.

Officers from the FBI have spoken to at least three foundation staff members over last several months, with enquiries focused on the role of Theodore McCarrick, who served as a board member until his removal from the College of Cardinals in 2018, following charges of sexual abuse of minors. Last year, McCarrick was laicized following a Vatican investigation and his conviction by a canonical process.

“There were questions on how the foundation operates,” one person contacted by the FBI told CNA, though they declined to be named citing confidentiality concerns. “It seemed to be linked to [McCarrick’s] sexual abuse.”

As a cardinal and one of the most senior figures in the U.S. Catholic hierarchy, McCarrick was known to wield considerable influence across the Church, both in America and in Rome. He was also a prolific fundraiser, securing millions of dollars in donations for various causes, sitting on the board of several grant making bodies, and running his own private charitable fund.

Pressing questions remain unanswered about McCarrick’s ability to buy influence and insulate himself from rumors and allegations, and a Vatican report on McCarrick’s career, and how he was able to rise so high despite decades of apparent sexual misconduct and abuse, is due to be released in early 2020.

$1.7M settlement in child sex abuse case involving priest

EVERETT (WA)
The Herald

January 10, 2020

By Zachariah Bryan

Rev. Dennis Champagne served at St. Michael parish from 1979 to 1999. He’s accused of abusing a child.

Snohomish - The Archdiocese of Seattle announced Thursday it has reached a $1.7 million settlement involving a Snohomish priest accused of sexually abusing a child in the 1980s.

The Rev. Dennis Champagne served at St. Michael parish in Snohomish from 1979 to 1999. He was put on administrative leave in 2002, after the archdiocese received a complaint of sexual abuse.

In 2006, he was placed on “permanent prayer and penance,” a penalty by the Roman Catholic Church that removes a priest from public ministry, but stops short of removing his title.

“He is not permitted to administer sacraments, wear clerical attire, or present himself publicly as a priest,” a statement from the archdiocese says. “He is asked to pray for healing and to do penance on behalf of those who have been abused.”

Where or how the alleged abuse took place was not specified. By the time the abuse was reported, it was past the statute of limitations for a criminal investigation, according to the archdiocese. The statement from the archdiocese did not identify who would receive the settlement money.

The agreement was reached through mediation, archdiocese spokeswoman Helen McClenahan wrote in an email.

We used to believe bishops told the truth. What happened?

LONDON (ENGLAND)
Catholic Herald

January 9, 2020

By Fr Raymond de Souza

One of the biggest stories of 2019 took place exactly a year ago. The Diocese of Pittsburgh confirmed that Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington had, in fact, known about Theodore McCarrick’s sexual misconduct, despite his claims to the contrary.

The revelations on January 10, 2019 were a mortal blow to the credibility of prelates, precisely because of Cardinal Wuerl’s prestige and well-earned reputation for being careful and exact. That loss of credibility has poisoned the relationship between bishops and priests. It began long before Cardinal Wuerl, but that he would offer misleading statements so brazenly on such a high-profile case had far-ranging consequences.

Indeed, the Cardinal Wuerl affair was part of a larger story. It was one of the most important of 2019, namely that even the Vatican no longer gets the benefit of the doubt. To the contrary, media outlets are now quite serene about stating flatly that Church officials are not telling the truth.

Recall the facts. In the summer of 2018, after the first allegations against Theodore McCarrick were made public, Cardinal Wuerl was asked what he knew. He insisted that he had no knowledge of any accusations of sexual abuse of minors by McCarrick. But he went further, insisting that he had never even heard “rumours” about McCarrick’s misconduct with seminarians. He compounded his statements to the media by gathering his priests to tell them the same thing.

Yet in 2004, when still Bishop of Pittsburgh, he had heard complaints against McCarrick from a former priest, who alleged abuse by McCarrick when he was a seminarian. Wuerl, nothing if not punctilious about protocols, reported the matter to the apostolic nuncio, the Diocese of Pittsburgh confirmed. In 2006, he was appointed McCarrick’s successor in Washington.

Former Arizona priest accused of sexually abusing several boys indicted by grand jury

PHOENIX (AZ)
12 News NBC

January 9, 2020

By Mackenzie Concepcion

Jack Spaulding allegedly sexually abused boys at several parishes within the Phoenix Diocese over multiple decades.

A Maricopa County grand jury charged a former Catholic priest on Wednesday in connection with the sexual abuse of two boys under the age of 15 between 2003 and 2007.

John "Jack" Dallas Spaulding, 74, was charged with six counts of sexual misconduct with a minor and one count of molestation of a child.

Spaulding was a priest at St. Gabriel's Catholic Church in Phoenix and St. Timothy's Catholic Church in Mesa when the alleged crimes took place.

But Spaulding is accused of sexually abusing multiple other boys in the years before that. The allegations stretch back to the 1970s.

The Diocese of Phoenix said in a statement Thursday that Spaulding was placed on leave from St. Timothy Parish in June 2011 after an investigation found that an allegation of sexual misconduct against him was credible.

Spaulding was prohibited from publicly identifying himself as a priest when he was removed from the ministry.

Since he was suspended, several more similar accusations against Spaulding surfaced.

Ex-priest indicted on charges of sexually abusing 2 boys in Phoenix diocese

PHOENIX (AZ)
Arizona Republic

January 9, 2020

By Lauren Castle

A former Catholic priest was indicted by a Maricopa County grand jury Thursday on charges of sexually abusing two boys under age 15 more than a dozen years ago.

John "Jack" Dallas Spaulding faces six counts of sexual misconduct with a minor and one count of molestation of a child between the years of 2003 and 2007.

Spaulding, 74, was removed from ministry from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix in 2011. While serving in the diocese, he was assigned to Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Glendale, Christ the King in Mesa, Santa Teresita in El Mirage, St. Louis the King in Glendale, St. Raphael in Glendale, St. Helen in Glendale, St. Maria Goretti in Scottsdale, St. Thomas the Apostle in Phoenix, St. Gabriel the Archangel in Cave Creek and St. Timothy in Mesa.

He was a priest at St. Gabriel’s and at St. Timothy’s when the alleged acts took place, according to a statement from the Maricopa County Attorney's Office.

Court Reverses $35 Million Verdict Against Jehovah’s Witnesses

HELENA (MT)
Associated Press via Huffington Post

January 8, 2020

The Montana Supreme Court on Wednesday reversed a $35 million judgment against the Jehovah’s Witnesses for not reporting a girl’s sexual abuse to authorities.

Montana law requires officials, including clergy, to report child abuse to state authorities when there is reasonable cause for suspicion. However, the state’s high court said in its 7-0 decision that the Jehovah’s Witnesses fall under an exemption to that law in this case.

“Clergy are not required to report known or suspected child abuse if the knowledge results from a congregation member’s confidential communication or confession and if the person making the statement does not consent to disclosure,” Justice Beth Baker wrote in the opinion.

The ruling overturns a 2018 verdict awarding compensatory and punitive damages to the woman who was abused as a child in the mid-2000s by a member of the Thompson Falls Jehovah’s Witness congregation. The woman had accused the church’s national organization of ordering Montana clergy members not to report her abuse to authorities.

Former Phoenix priest indicted on sexual abuse charges

PHOENIX (AZ)
ABC 15

January 9, 2020

By Mike Pelton

A former Valley priest has been indicted on charges including sexual conduct with a minor.

This week, a Maricopa County Grand Jury charged Father John "Jack" Dallas Spaulding, 74, with six counts of sexual misconduct with a minor and one count of molestation of a child. He is accused of sexually abusing two boys, who were under the age of 15, between the years of 2003 and 2007.

During that timespan, Spaulding was a Priest at St. Gabriel's Catholic Church in Phoenix and St. Timothy's in Mesa.

Back in 2011, Spaulding was suspended after allegations of sexual misconduct with a minor were deemed credible, according to the Diocese of Phoenix.

Montana Court Reverses $35 Million Child Abuse Verdict Against Jehovah's Witnesses

WASHINGTON (DC)
NPR

January 9, 2020

By Merrit Kennedy

The Montana Supreme Court has reversed a $35 million judgment against Jehovah's Witnesses for failing to report child sexual abuse.

A lower court had found that the church illegally failed to report a child sexual abuser to authorities, which allowed him to continue sexually abusing another child.

The unanimous decision from seven state Supreme Court justices found that religious authorities are not always obligated to report child sexual abuse to authorities due to an exemption in Montana state law.

"This is a very disappointing decision, particularly at this time in our society when religious and other institutions are covering up the sexual abuse of child victims," Neil Smith, a lawyer for the women who were abused as children, said in a statement.

Lawyers for the Jehovah's Witnesses did not immediately respond to NPR's request for comment. "No child should ever be subjected to such a debased crime," lawyer Joel Taylor said in a statement to The Associated Press. "Tragically, it happens, and when it does Jehovah's Witnesses follow the law. This is what the Montana Supreme Court has established."

Jehovah's Witnesses have come under scrutiny in other states and countries for the handling of child sexual abuse claims. For example, a 2016 inquiry by a royal commission in Australia found that the Jehovah's Witnesses organization there had recorded allegations of child sexual abuse against 1,006 members — but the investigators found no evidence that it revealed any of the reports to authorities.

Monk accused of child abuse extradited to Scotland from Australia

GLASGOW (SCOTLAND)
BBC Scotland

January 10, 2020

A former Catholic monk who is facing child abuse claims, has been extradited from Australia to Scotland, BBC Scotland understands.

The 83-year-old Australian priest, Denis "Chrysostom" Alexander, taught at Fort Augustus Abbey school in the Highlands.

He has been at the centre of an extradition battle since 2015.

His arrival in Scotland comes seven years after BBC Scotland first revealed claims against him.

Fr Alexander, who had claimed he was too ill to face trial, is expected to appear at Inverness Sheriff Court later to answer multiple charges of child sex abuse. He denies the allegations.

DA's office issues statement on Catholic priest abuse

WAYNESVILLE (NC)
The Mountaineer

January 9, 2020

By Kyle Perrotti

Following the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte’s list of clergy that have been “credibly accused” of child sexual abuse since the diocese’s creation in 1972, District Attorney Ashley Welch’s office has released a statement noting that two of the members worked in her prosecutorial district, which includes Haywood County, back in the 1970s and 1980.

The statement highlights that those who have allegations of abuse by members of the clergy can still come forward. That’s because North Carolina has no statute of limitations on sexual offenses committed against children. In fact, the statement specifically mentions the recent conviction of a former Episcopal priest who admitted to abusing children during the 1980s.

The statement notes Adelbert “Del” Holmes was “credibly accused” of committing child molestation against three minors in Murphy, in 1976 while he was a clergy member.

“The Catholic church became aware of the allegations against Holmes in 1988. Holmes was removed from the ministry in 1991. He died in 2013,” the statement reads. “Holmes was a clergy member at the St. William Catholic Church in Murphy and the Immaculate Conception Catholic Mission in Hayesville. There is no recorded documentation that the Catholic church notified local law enforcement nor the District Attorney’s Office of these allegations when the church was notified in 1988. ... Holmes died in 2013, and his death prevents the District Attorney’s Office from being able to prosecute him for crimes he is alleged to have committed in 1976.”

In addition, the statement mentions Al Behm, who was credibly accused of offenses in Kentucky during the 1970s. Behm eventually served as a campus minister at Western Carolina University, although he was not accused of committing any crimes while at the school. He left the ministry in 1993.

The state encourages anyone who has been a victim of child sexual abuse who wishes to file a report to contact their local law enforcement agency and recalls the successful prosecution of former Waynesville Episcopal Priest Howard White for crimes committed over two decades ago.

“If you have been a victim of child sexual abuse, we are committed to seeking justice for you,” Welch said in the statement. “We are able to prosecute individuals when there is probable cause even decades after the crime.”

McCarrick Mystery: The Hunt Is On

FERNDALE (MI)
Church Militant

January 10, 2020

Hello everyone and welcome to this exclusive, breaking news report from Church Militant — news about the potential whereabouts of Theodore McCarrick.

Here's what we know: After having been defrocked, he took up residence in the St. Fidelis Friary in Victoria, Kansas for roughly the past 17 months.

Approximately a week ago he left the friary — this has been confirmed — and his whereabouts have become the subject of much speculation in the Catholic world.

Church Militant has learned from very reliable sources that his apparent destination was Jacksonville, Florida in the diocese of St. Augustine.

Within the territorial boundary of the diocese is a residence within a gated community — a house where the notorious predator priest Fr. Marcial Maciel died in 2008 — and that house was at the time owned by the Legionaries of Christ, the community Maciel founded decades earlier, and many of whose members were victims of his homosexual predation.

That residence is not directly affiliated with the diocese of St. Augustine, but is geographically within the diocese.

Our sources tell us that they believe McCarrick may be in that house, somewhere in the Jacksonville area. Church Militant is looking and searching for that house.

The timing of all of this is raising a lot of speculation because the Vatican investigation into the McCarrick scandal is due to be released soon, and Church Militant has learned further from sources that "soon" may be as early as this coming weekend.

'Unprecedented’: Pennsylvania judge rules parents can sue Catholic diocese over sex-abuse reporting

ALLENTOWN (PA)
Associated Press and Morning Call

January 8, 2020

By Claudia Lauer

Philadelphia - A Pennsylvania judge has ruled that parents of children in the Roman Catholic Church and survivors of sexual abuse by clergy members can move forward with a lawsuit against the Diocese of Pittsburgh alleging that it has not fulfilled its obligations under state law to report child sexual abusers.

The parents and survivors claim that the Pittsburgh Diocese along with the other seven Pennsylvania dioceses created a public nuisance by failing to report every allegation of child abuse and are asking that they be compelled to release information about all known allegations. Lawyers for the parents and survivors said the order issued late Tuesday is the first time private citizens have been allowed to challenge the church to prove it is complying with a reporting law.

The order, issued by Allegheny County Judge Christine A. Ward, also sustained the objections from the state's other seven dioceses to being parties in the lawsuit because there were no specific allegations against them. Ward gave the attorneys for the parents and survivors 30 days to amend the lawsuit before she will consider whether to dismiss the other dioceses as defendants.

The lawsuit filed in 2018, a month after Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro released the state's landmark grand jury report, asked that the dioceses be compelled to publicly release all information they had given to the grand jury and to provide a mechanism so that alleged victims could review records to make sure their allegations exist in the church's files, are accurate and have been sent to law enforcement.

Lawsuit on disclosure of abuse claims allowed to proceed against Diocese of Pittsburgh

DENVER (CO)
Catholic News Agency

January 9, 2020

Pittsburgh, Pa. - A judge in Pennsylvania is allowing a lawsuit to move forward arguing that the Diocese of Pittsburgh has created a public nuisance by failing to properly report and disclose information on sexual abuse of children.

The lawsuit is filed by both abuse victims and parents of children in the Catholic Church. Their attorney, Benjamin Sweet, said the ruling is unprecedented in supporting a suit filed by individuals who are not alleging abuse against themselves or a family member.

“This is the first time a cause of action has been brought by a non-survivor member of the public and the first time a court has said that is a viable legal strategy, that a private citizen can compel the church to prove it’s complying with the mandatory reporting law,” he said, according to the Associated Press.

He noted that none of the plaintiffs or attorneys are seeking monetary awards or damages in the suit, but said that they hope to push for additional transparency in the Church.

The plaintiffs are asking that the diocese be required to publicly release all of the information given to the Pennsylvania Grand Jury for its 2018 report on sex abuse in the Church in Pennsylvania. They also want a way for people making claims of clerical abuse to ensure that their allegations have been properly filed with the Church and secular authorities, the AP reported.

January 9, 2020

CVA lawsuit: Honeoye Falls priest bounced from church to church in 5 counties

ROCHESTER (NY)
WHAM 13 ABC

January 8, 2020

By Jane Flasch

Honeoye Falls, N.Y. - A priest in the Rochester Diocese was bounced from church to church in an alleged cover-up of sexual abuse, says a new lawsuit filed under the Child Victims Act.

It is the first lawsuit to name Rev. Otto Vogt. It alleges the abuse happened 30 years ago at St. Paul of the Cross Church in Honeoye Falls.

John McHugh says he was 10-years-old in 1989 when he was singled out by Vogt.

"He ingratiated himself into the family, became friends with the family, went to the family home," said attorney Mitchell Garabedian of Boston. He has filed hundreds of suits on behalf of victims of clergy abuse.

In this one, he contends Vogt sexually assaulted and abused the child in the office and the rectory over a four-year period. The abuse is alleged to have occurred on "over 60 occasions."

Vogt would later retire from that parish. Yet from 1951 to 1955, he was moved around eight different churches in five different counties. Garabedian said Vogt was assigned to some of the parishes more than once, and at others he served only about a year.

CVA lawsuit claims Vogt was moved between eight churches in five counties to cover up alleged child abuse.

The lawsuit accuses church leaders of concealing information that Vogt "posed a danger" to children.

"They got him out of Dodge. They just shipped him to the next church," Garabedian said. "Where were the bishops? Why weren't they protecting innocent children?"

Indian nun allegedly threatened after leaving convent

DENVER (CO)
Crux

January 9, 2020

By Nirmala Carvalho

Mumbai, India - A 28-year-old nun who left a convent in India claiming mental and sexual harassment, is now facing threatening calls, according to her family.

The nun had been living at St. Joseph’s convent in Kerala, the same state where another nun has accused a bishop of sexually assaulting her on several occasions.

The woman has since left her vows, and is planning on getting married.

Kerala is considered the heart of Christianity in India, and Christians make up nearly 20 percent of the population; in India as a whole, Christians make up only around 2.3 percent of the population.

The woman left St Joseph’s - in Pachalam - in May 2019, after 11 years of service.

On Jan. 4, 28 protesters, led by the Kerala Catholic Church Reformation Movement (KCCRM) held protest at the convent, which belongs to the Assisi Sisters of Mary Immaculate Congregation.

They demanded that the convent provide compensation for the services given by the former nun during the past 11 years.

Address of His Holiness Pope Francis to the Members of the Diplomatic Corps Accredited to the Holy See for the Traditional Exchange of New Year Greetings

VATICAN CITY
Holy See

January 9, 2020

By Pope Francis

http://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/speeches/2020/january/documents/papa-francesco_20200109_corpo-diplomatico.html

Your Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

A new year is opening before us; like the cry of a newborn baby, it fills us with joy and hope. I would like that word, “hope”, which is an essential virtue for Christians, to inspire our way of approaching the times that lie ahead.

Certainly, hope has to be realistic. It demands acknowledging the many troubling issues confronting our world and the challenges lurking on the horizon. It requires that problems be called by their name and the courage be found to resolve them. It urges us to keep in mind that our human family is scarred and wounded by a succession of increasingly destructive wars that especially affect the poor and those most vulnerable.[1] Sadly, the new year does not seem to be marked by encouraging signs, as much as by heightened tensions and acts of violence.

*

Tragically however, as we know, not a few adults, including different members of the clergy, have been responsible for grave crimes against the dignity of young people, children and teenagers, violating their innocence and privacy. These are crimes that offend God, cause physical, psychological and spiritual damage to their victims, and damage the life of whole communities.[4] Following my meeting in the Vatican last February with representatives of the world’s episcopates, the Holy See has renewed its commitment to bring to light abuses already committed and to ensure the protection of minors through a wide range of norms for dealing with such cases in accordance with canon law and in cooperation with civil authorities on the local and international level.

Given the gravity of the harm involved, it becomes all the more urgent for adults not to abdicate their proper educational responsibilities, but to carry out those responsibilities with greater zeal, in order to guide young people to spiritual, human and social maturity.

For this reason, I have planned a worldwide event to take place on 14 May next with the theme: Reinventing the Global Compact on Education. This gathering is meant to “rekindle our commitment to and with young people, renewing our passion for a more open and inclusive education, including patient listening, constructive dialogue and better mutual understanding. Never before has there been such need to unite our efforts in a broad educational alliance, to form mature individuals capable of overcoming division and antagonism, and to restore the fabric of relationships for the sake of a more fraternal humanity”.[5]

Pope hints at broader vision of ‘recovery’ from sex abuse scandals

DENVER (CO)
Crux

January 9, 2020

By John L. Allen Jr.

Rome - From the beginning, two things have been true about the clerical sexual abuse scandals in the Catholic Church.

The first is that the Church failed, and failed miserably, in its duty to protect children and vulnerable adults entrusted to its care. Unearthing those failures, and doing justice for them, is a long-term challenge that’s far from over.

The second is that despite those failures, the Catholic Church also carries generations of wisdom about raising children successfully, about parenting and education and formation, but it’s been difficult to get any of that across in a context in which you put the words “children” and “Church” into a sentence. For most people the third word that automatically comes to mind is “abuse.”

On Thursday, Pope Francis may just have unveiled a strategy for addressing that imbalance, getting the Catholic Church back on offense after decades of being on the defensive.

*

There in the middle of it all, however, was a lengthy treatment of the abuse scandals.

“These are crimes that offend God, cause physical, psychological and spiritual damage to their victims, and damage the life of whole communities,” the pope said.

Francis referred to the extraordinary summit he called in February 2019 with the presidents of all the bishops’ conferences of the world, designed to identify “best practices” in the fight against clerical abuse and to promote a uniform global culture of prevention, detection and prosecution of abuse. Among other things, it was the February summit that prompted Francis to abolish the requirement of pontifical secrecy in abuse cases in December.

What came next is the decisive part.

Analysis: Why the McCarrick report could be delayed

DENVER (CO)
Catholic News Agency

January 8, 2020

By JD Flynn

Vatican City - The news that Theodore McCarrick recently moved from the Kansas friary where he had been living has fueled speculation that a report from the Vatican’s internal investigation on McCarrick will soon be released.

But while the report may be completed in Rome, its release may not be imminent, and some U.S. bishops may be quietly hoping for further delays.

The report is the fruit of an internal Vatican investigation into the career of McCarrick, who was a cardinal and the archbishop of two major American sees before he was found canonically guilty of serial sexual abuse and laicized.

In October 2018, just months after sexual abuse allegations against McCarrick first emerged, the Vatican said that Pope Francis had commissioned a study of the Vatican archival files on McCarrick, “in order to ascertain all the relevant facts, to place them in their historical context and to evaluate them objectively.”

Since the study was announced, American Catholics have called for the release of its findings. In recent months, the report’s release has become highly anticipated.

In November, Cardinal Sean O’Malley told the U.S. bishops’ conference that the Vatican intended to publish the report “soon, if not before Christmas, soon in the new year.”

O’Malley said that he had seen a “hefty document,” which was being translated into Italian for the benefit of Pope Francis, before its imminent release.

McCarrick moved from Kansas friary to ‘undisclosed’ location

TORONTO (ONTARIO, CANADA)
LifeSiteNews

January 7, 2020

By Dorothy Cummings McLean

A report on how McCarrick was able to become a senior churchman―despite allegations of sexual predation on boys and young men, including seminarians and priests―will likely be released soon.

Victoria, Kansas - Ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who has become the face of clerical sexual misconduct in America, has moved out of his Kansas refuge.

Catholic News Agency (CNA) reported today that former cardinal and defrocked priest McCarrick has left the Capuchin community in which he resided since the summer of 2018. CNA stated also that senior Church officials told them that McCarrick had recently moved to a “residential community of priests who have been removed from ministry.” CNA’s sources told the agency that the residence is “rather secluded and away from public attention.” Its location has not been disclosed to the public.

McCarrick is said to be paying for his own rent and board and that he voluntarily took up residence in his new home. The reason given for the disgraced ex-prelate’s move is the pressure his stay at the St. Fidelis Friary was putting on his Capuchin hosts. This was expected to intensify when the report of the Vatican’s investigation into how McCarrick was able to become a senior churchman―despite allegations concerning his sexual predation on boys and young men, including seminarians and priests―is released.

The friary is next to an elementary school.

Utah lawmaker aims to remove clergy exemption for reporting child abuse

PROVO (UT)
Daily Herald

January 8, 2020

By Connor Richards

https://www.heraldextra.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/utah-lawmaker-aims-to-remove-clergy-exemption-for-reporting-child/article_4a4de860-7ddb-55bb-9d79-77d742911d5b.html

Every Utah adult is required under state law to report confessions of child abuse to law enforcement — unless that adult is a religious leader who learned about the abuse during a confidential confessional.

A state lawmaker wants everyone, regardless of their religious title, to be legally obligated to report child abuse to authorities. So she sponsored a bill that would amend the law to require just that.

Rep. Angela Romero, D-Salt Lake City, introduced House Bill 90 in the 2020 legislative session. The bill would delete “provisions that exempt, under certain circumstances, a member of the clergy from being required to report child abuse and neglect,” according to its text.

“For me, this is really about protecting children,” Romero said, who proposed the bill after years of discussion with other legislators and child abuse victim advocates. “Children are some of our most vulnerable members of society” and, as a lawmaker, Romero wants vulnerable groups to feel safe.

Utah Code mandates that anyone who “has reason to believe that a child has been subjected to abuse or neglect … shall immediately report the alleged abuse or neglect to the nearest peace office, law enforcement agency, or office of the division.”

A sordid secret life? Priest, now dead, accused of raping 7-year-old girl, fathering another child

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Los Angeles Times

January 8, 2020

By Peter Rowe

San Diego - Decades after his death, the Rev. Efrén Neri is accused of leading a sordid secret life, raping a 7-year-old girl and fathering a child out of wedlock in the 1950s.

At that time of both incidents, he was assigned to Christ the King parish in Rialto, in San Bernardino County, then part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego.

Outside the diocesan offices Wednesday morning, “Jane Doe” accused Neri of raping her in 1958. Wearing a heavy coat, hat and sunglasses to hide her identity, the 68-year-old woman told reporters that she had spent decades beset by depression, anxiety and a deep sense of shame. After contacting the diocese last summer, she received a letter from Mary Acosta, the diocese’s victim assistance coordinator.

Acosta offered “deep sympathy,” 12 counseling sessions and information on the diocese’s Independent Compensation Program.

Doe rejected the offer of mediation — “They can’t be trusted,” she said of the church — and last November sued the dioceses of San Diego and San Bernardino in San Bernardino Superior Court.

Mormon leaders reported a child molester’s confession. Now his wife is suing the church for $9.5 million

WASHINGTON (DC)
Washington Post

January 9, 2020

By Antonia Noori Farzan

In recent years, prominent religious institutions have been dogged with accusations that they persistently covered up sexual abuse and failed to report heinous crimes.

But a new lawsuit makes the opposite argument, claiming that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints violated a child molester’s confidentiality by turning his confession over to the authorities.

The $9.54 million suit was filed Friday by Kristine Johnson, whose husband, Timothy Samuel Johnson, is serving a 15-year prison sentence for sexually abusing a child. As the Salem Statesman Journal first reported, the lawsuit alleges that Johnson became aware of her husband’s misdeeds in 2016, but chose not to involve the police. Instead, the couple went to the leaders of their church ward in Stayton, Ore., so that the matter could be handled through Mormon doctrine.

“The Mormon Church is, for lack of a better word, a unique institution,” Bill Brandt, the attorney representing Kristine Johnson, told The Washington Post on Wednesday night. “They firmly believe that they can deal with their parishioners better than law enforcement.”

Timothy Johnson, now 47, went before a council of lay clergy and confessed to the abuse so that he could begin the process of working toward absolution through “fairly intensive” spiritual counseling, Brandt said. But one member of the panel notified the authorities. In 2017, Johnson was arrested on charges of first-degree sodomy, sexual abuse and unlawful sexual penetration for sexually abusing a child under the age of 16. He pleaded guilty to four counts of second-degree sexual abuse the following year.

Jury deliberating sexual assault case against Ord priest

AXTELL (NE)
NTV News

January 8, 2020

By Steve White

Ord NE - A Catholic priest may learn Thursday if he’s going to prison, as a jury decides if he’s guilty of first degree sexual assault of a woman who insists she was trying to document his missionary work.

Rev. John Kakkuzhiyil’s case went to the jury at 2:30 Wednesday afternoon, after attorneys made their final arguments.

”This is not okay. This is not okay. This is not okay,” prosecutor George Welch recounted the woman’s words, as she said she found the priest on top of her.

A freelance writer who went to a priest’s home on Thanksgiving night 2018 to do an interview says she awoke in his bed to find him sexually assaulting her.

'Having nightmares to this day': Former Barrigada altar boy sues for priest's sex abuses

GUAM
Pacific Daily News

January 9, 2020

By Haidee Eugenio Gilbert

Some 40 years after he said a priest raped and molested him several times, a former Barrigada altar boy is now suing the entities that he thinks enabled and then covered up the abuses.

To this day, he continues to have nightmares of being sexually abused by the priest, the lawsuit says.

Father Louis Brouillard allegedly raped and molested him in or about 1977 to 1979, according to the $5 million lawsuit filed in local court Wednesday.

The plaintiff, identified in court documents only with the initials D.E.F. to protect his privacy, said Brouillard sexually abused him at least twice a week for about three to four months.

New lawsuit against Diocese of San Diego claims sex abuse by Rialto priest

SAN DIEGO (CA)
KGTV

January 8, 2020

By: Marie Coronel

A 68-year-old woman has filed a lawsuit claiming she was sexually abused decades ago by a priest in Rialto, the latest in a wave of litigation targeting the Diocese of San Diego.

The woman, identified only as Jane Doe, claims she was abused by Father Efren Neri while he served at Christ the King, a San Bernardino County parish that was then part of the Diocese of San Diego.

“For many years, I just lived with it,” the woman said in an interview. “A lot of shame, anxiety all my life.”

Father Neri died in 1982, according to the Diocese. In a statement, the Diocese said there are no reports Neri was ever accused of sexual misconduct with a minor. “None in San Diego, none in San Bernardino and none in Fresno,” the statement said.

Ex-seminarians charged with harassing official outside diocese offices

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

January 7, 2020

By Jay Tokasz and Mike McAndrew

Two former seminarians were charged Monday with harassing an employee of the Buffalo Diocese, a sign of the ongoing tension between diocese officials and those protesting over the clergy sexual abuse crisis.

Matthew Bojanowski, 38, of West Seneca and Stephen Parisi, 46, of Williamsville were arraigned before Buffalo City Court Judge Kevin J. Keane on one count of second-degree harassment, a violation, and released on their own recognizance, Erie County District Attorney John Flynn announced.

*

The two former seminarians said they left Christ the King Seminary after becoming disenchanted with how the diocese handles complaints of clerical abuse and harassment. Bojanowski accused the Rev. Jeffrey Nowak of violating the Catholic church’s seal of confession, sexual harassment and attempted blackmail, and has alleged that former Bishop Richard J. Malone ignored the complaints for months. Nowak, who was put on leave in August, has denied the allegations through his attorney. The Erie County District Attorney's Office launched an investigation into the allegations against Nowak in September, and a spokeswoman said Tuesday the probe found that no crimes had been committed.

‘House of evil’: Law firm expects to file hundreds of lawsuits against California Catholic dioceses in coming weeks

SACRAMENTO (CA)
Sacramento News & Review

January 9, 2020

By Raheem F. Hosseini

Standing in a hotel near the Oakland waterfront, James Brogan didn’t quite know where to begin, so he did something most sexual assault survivors don’t do—he gave his name.

“It’s wrecked my entire life, every aspect of my life,” he said, not looking past the lectern behind which he stood. “Where do you go?”

Because of a new California law, Brogan and countless other survivors of rapists masquerading as holy men can go to court.

Brogan is a plaintiff in one of a dozen new lawsuits against eight California Catholic dioceses that a law firm filed in concert with a new state law. Jeff Anderson & Associates, a national law firm that represents survivors of clergy sexual abuse, announced the lawsuits in a series of wrenching press conferences designed to spread awareness of Assembly Bill 218, also known as the California Child Victims Act.

Priest included on list of accused was exonerated

AGOURA HILLS (CA)
Thousand Oaks Acorn

Jan. 9, 2019

Concerning the front-page story which ran in the Dec. 19 Thousand Oaks Acorn, a highly respected local Catholic priest is listed as an “accused area priest” in a box on Page 8 of said Acorn.

The Acorn failed to clarify this priest’s standing in the archdiocese, and the priest’s inclusion in these articles is a gross injustice to his reputation that needs to be rectified.

Fr. Michael Roebert was investigated and exonerated of allegations made by a single accuser many years ago.

A careful study of the website cited in the Acorn as the source for the list, bishop-accountability.org, has a notation from Sept. 16, 2004, stating: “As a result of the investigation and considering the matter in accord with Archdiocesan policy and the requirements of the Charter for Protection of Children and Young People, the Archdiocese concludes the allegations against Fr. Roebert are unfounded.”

Since none of this information is available in your article, please clarify this for your readers. Guilty priests need to be held accountable, and good priests who are falsely accused need to be given the respect and support they deserve.

Bonnie Bates
Newbury Park

Ramona priest named in Diocese sexual abuse lawsuit

RAMONA (CA)
San Diego Union Tribune / Ramona Sentinel

January 9, 2020

Multiple lawsuits were filed Thursday against the Catholic Diocese of San Diego and numerous local parishes on behalf of alleged victims of childhood sexual abuse, with recently enacted legislation allowing such legal action even if the alleged abuse occurred outside of the statute of limitations.

The suits allege abuse in the 1960s and 70s by now-deceased priests who operated throughout San Diego County, including in Ramona. The victims were previously unable to pursue legal action against the Diocese, but recently enacted AB 218 expands the statute of limitations and opened a three-year window starting this year for victims to file suit.

Attorney Irwin Zalkin said that each time abuse was discovered, priests were simply moved to other parishes where they could continue their behavior, with free access to new victims.

According to Zalkin, the Diocese routinely dealt with the problem of “bad priests” by sending them to desert communities, “where they thought they could hide, where they thought that the people there – mostly Hispanic – would not speak up, and they would be out of the limelight, so to speak.”

Zalkin’s office filed six lawsuits Thursday, Jan. 2, on behalf of 20 victims, but he said around 60 additional lawsuits are still being prepared and will be filed within the next 60 to 90 days.

January 8, 2020

'Uncle Ted' McCarrick is on the move again: Is this a major Catholic news story or not?

Get Religion blog

Jan. 8, 2019

By Terry Mattingly

So, let’s say that there is a major piece of news that breaks concerning the life and times of the man previously known as Cardinal Theodore “Uncle Ted” McCarrick.

This is something that happens quite frequently, even though the disgraced former cardinal moved into the wide open spaces of West Kansas, living as a guest in a Capuchin friary.

Ah, but is he still there?

That leads us to this simple, but important, headline at the Catholic News Agency: “Theodore McCarrick has moved from Kansas friary.” As I write this, I am not seeing follow-up coverage of this development at any mainstream media websites. Here’s some of the key CNA material:

A spokesman for the Capuchin Franciscan Province of St. Conrad told CNA Jan. 7 that McCarrick left St. Fidelis Friary in Victoria, Kansas, just days ago. He has moved to a residential community of priests who have been removed from ministry, senior Church officials told CNA.

The former cardinal made the decision to leave the Kansas friary himself over the Christmas period, sources say, adding that his continued presence in the friary had become a strain on the Franciscan community that was hosting him.

The story notes that McCarrick’s new home remains unknown or a secret and that he is paying his own rent. So why move now?

A chance to listen to victim-survivors

ARLINGTON (VA)
Catholic Herald

Jan. 8, 2020

By Zoey Maraist

Angela Boggs was sitting in a small group when her fellow parishioner uttered those words. They were at a listening session at St. John Neumann Church in Reston in the immediate aftermath of the 2018 clergy sexual abuse crisis, and it would’ve been easy to feel dirty after hearing about the terrible crimes committed. But this woman said she was disgusted by her own complicity as a member of the Catholic Church.

“That really touched me,” said Boggs. “(Victim-survivors) have been harmed terribly by our church and we’re accountable. We may not be legally accountable but we are accountable to God for that. We have a responsibility to support people who’ve been damaged by our church.”

Boggs and her fellow parishioners felt angry, hurt and discouraged, but they decided they weren’t powerless. A month later, they gathered to form the Action Committee, an acronym for advocacy, change, transparency, inclusion and ongoing reform regarding clergy sexual abuse.

Of the many facets of the crisis, they decided to focus on the victim-survivors. They read as much as they could and invited speakers to educate them, such as Frank Moncher, the victims assistance coordinator for the diocese, and the victims assistance coordinator of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, the religious order that staffs St. John Neumann.

Oregon woman sues Mormon church over husband’s abuse disclosure

PORTLAND (OR)
Associated Press

Jan. 8, 2020

An Oregon woman is suing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for $9.54 million after her husband’s confession to church leaders led to his arrest, conviction and imprisonment on child sexual abuse charges.

The lawsuit, filed in Marion County Circuit Court, involves a Turner man convicted of abuse after he confessed to Stayton clergy that he had repeated sexual contact with a minor.

Church officials did not respond to the Statesman Journal for comment.

The man’s confession was meant to be confidential, said the family’s attorney Bill Brandt.

Timothy Samuel Johnson and his wife Kristine Johnson were members of a Stayton, Oregon, Mormon ward when his wife learned he had “engaged in inappropriate conduct” with a minor known to him, according to the lawsuit.

After learning of the sexual abuse, the couple followed church doctrine by having Johnson confess and repent his sins before church clergy and the official church court.

Brandt also said church leaders represented “that whatever the scope of Mr. Johnson’s evil transgressions, the Church and its clergy will spiritually counsel Mr. Johnson to bring peace within his life and family.”

Johnson confessed to local leaders and members of the church court that he had sexually abused a minor.

But what leaders failed to advise Johnson of is that if he confessed to the abuse, they would report his actions to local law enforcement, according to the lawsuit.

Johnson, 47, was arrested in 2017 on charges of first-degree sodomy, sexual abuse and unlawful sexual penetration for sexually abusing a girl under the age of 16.

He later pleaded guilty to four counts of second-degree sexual abuse and was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Former Student Accuses Nun Of Sex Abuse At Holy Cross School

RUMSON (NJ)
Patch

Jan. 8, 2020

By Tom Davis

A former student of a Catholic school in New Jersey says she was sexually abused by a nun while she was in first grade, according to a lawsuit filed in state Superior Court.

Holy Cross School in Rumson, Holy Cross Parish and the Diocese of Trenton were named as defendants.

The woman, a Cliffside Park resident, she was abused by Sister Mary Nazareen while she was a teacher at Holy Cross School during the 1960s, according to the lawsuit.

The student was enrolled at Holy Cross from kindergarten until seventh grade, during which Nazareen used her position as a teacher to gain her confidence, according to the lawsuit.

Nazareen ultimately engaged in improper sexual sexual contact with the student while she was in first grade.

The teacher engaged in improper sex acts, sexual assault, sexual contact and sexual abuse of the student, causing the woman to experience severe and permanent personal and emotional injuries, the lawsuit says.

The school, parish and diocese failed to exercise care in supervising the sister in her role and failed to take any action to investigate, the lawsuit states.

Why is the Vatican keeping Bishop Scharfenberger in the dark?

LONDON (ENGLAND)
Catholic Herald

Jan. 8, 2020

By Christopher Altieri

Bishop Edward Scharfenberger of Albany, New York, is in a tough spot. Appointed apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Buffalo after the resignation of Bishop Richard Malone, Bishop Scharfenberger is the public face of the Church in a place riddled with scandal and in dire need of urgent repair. But he apparently has little power to effect reform and little information with which to work.

Bishop Malone resigned after 18 months of intense public scrutiny of his leadership, which produced significant evidence of serious mismanagement and attracted the attention of state and federal prosecutors.

“I didn’t know quite what to expect,” Bishop Scharfenberger told Charlie Specht of ABC local affiliate WKBW in a wide-ranging interview that aired earlier this week, “because I really hadn’t been briefed at all.”

The bishop continued: “All I knew is what I read in the papers, to tell you the truth.”

He would have read enough, then, to know that there is a great deal amiss in the diocese, but not always enough to take informed and prudent steps toward remedy.

Observers – the faithful and clergy of Buffalo and beyond, as well as reporters – were surprised to hear Bishop Scharfenberger say that he had not received a copy of the report, which Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn prepared after conducting a fact-finding mission to the diocese late last year.

“I was not given that,” Bishop Scharfenberger told WKBW, “I don’t know what it contains.

“I was not given any documentation or any marching orders that ‘you’re here to clean things up,’ or anything. I was just told to be the administrator of the diocese.”

Anglican priest accused of sexual abuse charges dies in hospital

TORONTO {CANADA)
Anglican Journal

Jan. 8, 2020

By Joelle Kidd

The Rev. Gordon William Dominey, pictured in 1980 (left) and 2016 (right), was awaiting trial for multiple sexual abuse charges at the time of his death. Photo: Edmonton Police Service
An Anglican priest awaiting trial for multiple sexual abuse charges died Nov. 7.

The Rev. Gordon William Dominey, a priest in the diocese of New Westminster, was alleged to have committed sexual abuses against boys who were inmates at the Edmonton correctional facility where Dominey worked as a prison chaplain in the 1980s. He was charged with 18 sexual assault charges and nine gross indecency charges.

According to the CBC, the Dominey’s two trials, originally scheduled to take place in 2020, were to be adjourned because he was too ill to travel.

Defense lawyer Kent Teskey told the CBC that Dominey was diagnosed with cancer in 2017 and had been undergoing chemotherapy since that time.

A lawsuit has been filed in Court of Queen’s Bench that also names the province of Alberta and the diocese of Edmonton. The group behind the suit is seeking to have the case certified as a class-action lawsuit.

Dominey worked at the Edmonton Youth Development Centre, a youth jail, from 1985-1989.

How Michelle Simpson Tuegel Fought the Good Fight Against USA Gymnastics

DALLAS (TX)
D Magazine

Jan. 2020

By Kathy Wise

Michelle Simpson Tuegel was a key player in the largest settlement ever reached in a sexual abuse case involving an American university. She is also a world-champion water skier and a former capital defense attorney, having represented clients on death row. Those three things are all related, more so than you might imagine.

The eldest daughter of a trial attorney father and dental hygienist mother, Tuegel grew up in Bridgeport, Texas, a small town north of Fort Worth with a sizable lake where she spent her childhood on skis. When I met the 36-year-old attorney in the law office she opened last January, in an exposed brick loft building in Deep Ellum, she was fresh out of a four-hour ESPN interview with some of her gymnast clients. Wearing a stylish floral-print dress and heels, her fingernails painted black, she still exuded athleticism. It was easy to imagine that even at a young age she was taller than average and had that fearlessness that comes from physical confidence, thriving on speed and the challenge of staying upright on a fluid surface.

She made the junior U.S. water ski team and went pro at 15, competing around the world on the national team for six years. It’s still not an Olympic sport, but if it were, it’s a good bet she would have medaled. As it was, the U.S. Olympic Committee paid for her training and she won the collegiate national championship and the World Cup championship as an undergrad at Rollins College, in Winter Park, Florida.

A Victim’s Account Fuels a Reckoning Over Abuse of Children in France

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Times

January 7, 2020

By Norimitsu Onishi

A French author wrote for years about his predilection for children and continued to win acclaim. Now one of them has spoken out.

Paris - The French writer Gabriel Matzneff never hid the fact that he engaged in sex with girls and boys in their early teens or even younger. He wrote countless books detailing his insatiable pursuits and appeared on television boasting about them. “Under 16 Years Old,” was the title of an early book that left no ambiguity.

Still, he never spent a day in jail for his actions or suffered any repercussion. Instead, he won acclaim again and again. Much of France’s literary and journalism elite celebrated him and his work for decades. Now 83, Mr. Matzneff was awarded a major literary prize in 2013 and, just two months ago, one of France’s most prestigious publishing houses published his latest work.

But the publication, last Thursday, of an account by one of his victims, Vanessa Springora, has suddenly fueled an intense debate in France over its historically lax attitude toward sex with minors. It has also shone a particularly harsh light on a period during which some of France’s leading literary figures and newspapers — names as big as Foucault, Sartre, Libération and Le Monde — aggressively promoted the practice as a form of human liberation, or at least defended it.

A day after the publication of Ms. Springora’s book, “Le Consentement,” or “Consent,” which sold out quickly at many Paris bookstores, the fallout continued. Prosecutors in Paris announced that after “analyzing” its contents, they had opened an investigation into the case and would also look for other victims in and out of France.

In France, it is illegal for an adult to have sex with a minor under the age of 15. But it is not automatically considered rape, unlike in countries with statutory rape laws where people who are underage are considered incapable of giving consent.

Bishop Scharfenberger says he was given no ‘particular mission’ in Buffalo

LONDON (ENGLAND)
Catholic Herald from Catholic News Agency

January 8, 2020

Bishop Edward Scharfenberger, the apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Buffalo, has said he was not given the results of a Vatican-ordered investigation into the scandal-hit diocese.

“I was not given that,” Bishop Edward Scharfenberger told local news station WKBW in an interview on Monday, regarding the Vatican’s report of the investigation. “I don’t know what it contains,” he said.

Scharfenberger also told WKBW that he was not given a clear mandate by the Vatican when he was appointed as apostolic administrator of the Buffalo diocese in December after the resignation of Bishop Richard Malone.

“I was not sent with a particular mission,” Scharfenberger said of his temporary appointment to Buffalo, emphasizing that Malone resigned and was not “forced out.”

“I was not given any documentation or any marching orders that ‘you’re here to clean things up,’ or anything. I was just told to be the administrator of the diocese.”

Testimony underway in former Ord priest trial

BROKEN BOW (NE)
Sandhills Express and KSNB

January 7, 2020

Ord NE - The trial for a priest accused of sexually assaulting an Ord woman last year is underway.

Fr. John Kakkuzhiyil, former pastor in Ord, is charged with first-degree sexual assault.

14 people, including two alternates, were chosen Monday to serve on the jury for the trial. The 14 include three men and 11 women.

Testimony began late Monday after jury selection.

Kakkuzhiyil was arrested in early January 2019 after a month-long investigation by the state patrol into a claim by an Ord woman who said the priest raped her at his home in late November. Court records indicate that the woman also claims Kakkuzhiyil gave her a couple of drinks beforehand, that she blacked out, and when she awoke she was naked and the priest was performing a sex act.

Kakkuzhiyil pled not guilty in Valley County District Court in Ord on February 18, 2019.

If found guilty on the felony sexual assault charge, Kakkuzhiyil could get up to 50 years in prison.

Up until late 2018, Kakkuzhiyil was a parish priest in Ord and Burwell.

Accuser takes stand in Ord priest sexual assault trial

AXTELL (NE)
NTV News

January 7, 2020

Ord NE - A woman who said she was sexually assaulted by a Catholic priest took the stand Tuesday in Day 2 of the anticipated four-day trial in Ord.

Rev. John Kakkuzhiyil is facing one count of forcible sexual assault in Valley County District Court from a November 2018 incident, and he has maintained a not guilty plea. Kakkuzhiyil was placed on leave in December 2018.

The woman claimed she visited him at his home on professional business, saying she was interviewing him for a project she was working on. She told the court that Kakkuzhiyil asked her to wear a red dress to his home for the interview and asked her to pack a bag.

Update: Jury hears opening statements in priest sexual assault case

AXTELL (NE)
NTV News

January 6, 2020

Ord NE - A woman confronts the man many trust as a spiritual adviser, a man she accuses of sexual assault.

Now a Catholic priest defends himself as he faces a felony trial in Valley County.

Father John Kakkuzhiyil is accused of violating the trust others placed in him, while his attorney paints a picture of two adults who made a mistake that became regret.

"I had no intention of taking advantage of you my dear," Kakkuzhiyil is heard on a recording made by Sheriff Casey Hurlburt, as he listened to his accuser call the priests.

The Catholic Church’s Strategy to Limit Payouts to Abuse Victims

NEW YORK (NY)
Bloomberg Businessweek

January 8, 2020

By Josh Saul

In the past 15 years, the church has shielded more than $2 billion in assets by aggressively moving and reclassifying them before declaring bankruptcy.

For most of the 20th century, the Catholic Church in the U.S. minimized the damage wrought by pedophile priests by covering up the abuse. When the bishop of the Davenport, Iowa, diocese was told in the mid-1950s that one of his priests was sexually abusing boys at a local YMCA, he kept it secret. “It is consoling to know that no general notoriety has arisen, and I pray none may result,” he wrote to a priest, capturing the strategy of the era.

Cover-ups worked when victims and their families could be intimidated or shamed into silence. But in the 1980s and ’90s, victims started filing civil lawsuits against the dioceses where the alleged incidents took place. Church leaders across the country kept these suits quiet by settling out of court and demanding nondisclosure agreements in return. Church leaders paid out about $750 million from the early ’80s through 2002, according to BishopAccountability.org, a nonprofit that tracks clergy sex abuse.

The veil of secrecy on these transactions was pierced when the Boston Globe published its investigations into church sex abuse in 2002, sparking public outrage at how clergy had protected their own. From 1950 to 2002, 4,392 priests were accused of abuse, according to a study by John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

Parties other than archdiocese have settled with many clergy sex abuse claimants

GUAM
Pacific Daily News

January 8, 2020

By Haidee Eugenio Gilbert

With the exception of the Archdiocese of Agana, defendants in Guam's approximately 280 clergy sex abuse cases have either settled with abuse claimants or they are actively negotiating settlements.

While each sex abuse lawsuit has more than one defendant, almost all have the archdiocese in common as a defendant.

The archdiocese filed for bankruptcy a year ago and has not reached any settlement yet.

The Boy Scouts of America and Capuchin Franciscans have settled with many of the claimants, based on reports of settlement status filed in federal court by attorneys representing defendants and plaintiffs.

Bishops and Bribes

MANASSAS (VA)
CatholicCulture.org

January 7, 2020

By Phil Lawler

As a minor public official in the little town where we live, I am required each January to re-read a summary of conflict-of-interest laws in Massachusetts, and sign a statement indicating that I understand them. So every year I am officially reminded that I cannot participate in a zoning decision involving property that abuts my own, and I cannot accept employment with a firm that needs my board’s approval for a development project. Above all—first and foremost—I am reminded that I cannot solicit or accept gifts because of my official position.

Maybe you have great confidence in my integrity. Maybe you believe that I could render a fair and impartial judgment, even after having been handed an envelope full of cash. But some people are suspicious, and the government of Massachusetts drives home the message that the appearance of impropriety is itself impropriety. So I don’t accept cash gifts (not that any have been offered).

But in recent weeks we have learned about Catholic bishops who lavished gifts on Church officials whose decisions could influence their ecclesiastical careers. Former cardinal Ted McCarrick gave $600,000 to ranking prelates. Bishop Michael Bransfield spread around another $350,000. That’s nearly $1 million in gifts—cash gifts—provided by two prelates who are now living in disgrace, to other prelates who remain in good standing.

Pope’s early 2020 likely to be dominated by documents rather than deeds

DENVER (CO)
Crux

January 7, 2020

By John L. Allen Jr.

Rome - Normally when one looks ahead at a pope’s new year, it’s either things the pope is expected to do over the coming 12 months that loom largest - foreign trips, for instance, and bishops’ appointments - or things he’s likely to say, such as milestone speeches or sensational media interviews.

There will be all of that for Pope Francis in 2020, but at least for the early part of the year, it seems more likely the biggest papal bombshells will instead come in things the pope is expected to publish, especially two keenly awaited texts: Francis’s conclusions to last October’s Synod of Bishops on the Amazon, and the Vatican’s report on the case of former cardinal and former priest Theodore McCarrick.

Also on that list probably should be Praedicate Evangelium, Francis’s long-awaited overhaul of the Roman Curia, though it’s probably not destined to be the thunderclap the other two texts will represent. Many of its main conclusions have already been made public, including the pope’s plan to make evangelization and mission the engine driving the Vatican’s train.

Both the synod conclusions and the McCarrick report could be out within the first third of the year, and both are likely to fuel debate and controversy for some time to come.

A Utah bill would require clergy to report child abuse confessed to them

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
Salt Lake City Tribune

January 7, 2020

By Kathy Stephenson
·
Utah clergy would be required to report all allegations of child abuse — even those gathered in a religious confessional — under a bill proposed for the 2020 legislative session.

HB90, sponsored by Rep. Angela Romero, D-Salt Lake City, would, if passed, remove the exemption that clergy now have in certain circumstances for reporting abuse.

Romero said many survivors of sexual abuse — as well as relatives of those who have been victimized — have contacted her to say they support such a change to state law.

“Their perpetrators went to confession, confided in a religious leader, and nothing ever happened," she said. “The purpose is to get rid of the exemption and hold religious leaders to the same standard as teachers and doctors.”

January 7, 2020

Judge issues $150,000 bond for Strongsville priest facing new child porn charges

CHARDON (OH)
WKYC TV

Jan. 8, 2020

A Strongsville priest who is already facing charges stemming from a child pornography investigation in Cuyahoga County was arraigned on new charges in Geauga County Wednesday morning.

Rev. Bob McWilliams, 39, faces charges of pandering obscenities on accusations he solicited photos from a minor. He was transferred to the Geauga County Jail after posting bail for similar charges in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court last week.

Prosecutors on Wednesday requested a $150,000 bond, which Judge Terri Stupica ordered.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Jan. 15.

The investigation started with allegations the priest sent an inappropriate text to a teenager at St. Helen’s Church in Newbury, where McWilliams led the church’s youth program.

In the text exchange, McWilliams posed online as a teen girl and asked a teen boy to send him photos, authorities said.

Once Geauga County officials learned of the texts, they obtained a search warrant for electronics belonging to McWilliams, including a laptop, iPad and cell phone.

Scicluna hails abolition of pontifical secret in clerical sex crimes

SAN GWANN (MALTA)
Malta Today

Jan. 7, 2020

By Matthew Vella

Malta’s archbishop Charles Scicluna has hailed the abolition of the pontifical secret in cases of sexual violence and clerical abuse of minors, as an important step in working for justice for victims.

Scicluna, whom Pope Francis appointed as the Holy See’s prosecutor on clerical sex abuse cases, said the abolition will mean certain jurisdictions cannot be excused from not collaborating with authorities on such cases.

The abolition of the pontifical secret applies on the reporting, trials and decisions on cases of violence and sexual acts committed under threat or abuse of authority, sexual abuse of minors or vulnerable persons, cases of child pornography, as well as the lack of reporting and the cover-up of the abusers on the part of bishops and superiors general of religious institutes.

“Certain jurisdiction would have easily quoted the pontifical secret because that was the state of the law, in order to say that they could not, and that they were not, authorised to share information with either state authorities or the victim,” Scicluna told Vatican News.

“Now that impediment, we might call it that way, has been lifted, and the pontifical secret is no more an excuse.

“However, the law goes further… information is of the essence if we really want to work for justice. And so, the freedom of information to statutory authorities and to victims is something that is being facilitated by this new law.”

Priest charged with child porn moved to Geauga County Jail

CHARDON (OH)
WJW FOX 8

Jan. 7, 2020

A local priest accused on child porn charges was moved to a new location.

Father Robert McWilliams is now locked up in the Geauga County Jail.

Court documents said the priest posed as a teen girl to solicit nude photos from a teen boy. The incident happened in May 2017 and was reported in Munson Township.

McWilliams was arrested last month at Saint Joseph Parish in Strongsville. He faces charges in Cuyahoga County, including illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material. He pleaded not guilty.

A bill in the Utah State Legislature removes ‘priest-penitent’ privilege when it comes to child abuse

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
Fox 13 News

Jan. 7, 2020

By Ben Winslow

A bill made public ahead of the 2020 legislative session would remove the “priest-penitent” privilege when it comes to reporting abuse cases.

House Bill 90, sponsored by Rep. Angela Romero, D-Salt Lake City, would demand that a priest, a bishop or any other clergy who receives a disclosure of abuse turn around and report that to law enforcement to investigate. If that clergy member doesn’t, they could face a misdemeanor charge. It also allows for the possibility of civil litigation by a victim, she told FOX 13.

“We’re not attacking their religion. We’re looking to protect children from being harmed,” Rep. Romero said Tuesday.

FOX 13 first reported on Rep. Romero’s proposed legislation back in July. It has garnered the support of the Survivor’s Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP). But now that the bill has been made public, Rep. Romero said she is expecting that some faith groups will weigh in.

“We are still reviewing the legislation and its constitutionality,” said Jean Hill, the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake’s Office of Life, Justice and Peace.

A spokesman for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints told FOX 13 it would need to “review the bill and its implications before taking a position.”

Rep. Romero said her legislation is trying to combat cover-ups involving clergy who either do not report abuse, or move abusers around.

“We’ve seen this in the Catholic church. We’ve seen this in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and we’ve seen this in a variety of religions,” she said. “People get shuffled around, they get moved around.”

Theodore McCarrick has moved from Kansas friary

DENVER (CO)
Catholic News Agency

Jan 7, 2020

By JD Flynn and Ed Condon

The disgraced former cardinal Theodore McCarrick has moved from the Kansas friary where he had been living since 2018.

A spokesman for the Capuchin Franciscan Province of St. Conrad told CNA Jan. 7 that McCarrick left St. Fidelis Friary in Victoria, Kansas, just days ago.

He has moved to a residential community of priests who have been removed from ministry, senior Church officials told CNA.

The former cardinal made the decision to leave the Kansas friary himself over the Christmas period, sources say, adding that his continued presence in the friary had become a strain on the Franciscan community that was hosting him.

McCarrick moved to the friary shortly after he was accused in 2018 of sexually abusing minors, seminarians, and young priests.

McCarrick’s new location remains undisclosed. Sources told CNA that the former cardinal arranged his new accommodation for himself, adding that the residence to which he has moved is “rather secluded and away from public attention.”

“McCarrick remains a guest at his new accommodation, but he is funding his own stay and is there by his own choice - no one can make him stay if he does not wish to,” a Church official told CNA.

All Bets Are Off as Harvey Weinstein’s Sexual Assault Trial Opens Today

NEW YORK (NY)
The New York Times

Published January 5, 2020; Updated Jan. 7, 2020

By Megan Twohey, Jodi Kantor and Jan Ransom

[Follow The Times’s coverage of Day 1 and Day 2 of the Weinstein trial.]

Since the Harvey Weinstein story broke more than two years ago, everything about it has been outsize: the scope of the allegations of sexual harassment and assault, stretching back decades; the number of his accusers, who total more than 80; and the global scale of the reckoning their stories have inspired.

Now, as the Hollywood producer’s criminal trial begins Monday in Manhattan, the outcome already is anticipated as a verdict on much more than one man’s alleged wrongdoing.

Many supporters of the #MeToo movement that Mr. Weinstein’s accusers helped ignite are looking to see whether the legal system can deliver justice for victims. Lawyers for Mr. Weinstein, who lost his company, his reputation and his marriage, are arguing that the case is proof that #MeToo has gone too far. At the courthouse, media from around the world, demonstrators outside and spectators in packed galleries will be watching.

Harvey Weinstein's rape trial in New York begins as new charges are filed in Los Angeles: What we know

NEW YORK (NY)
Yahoo Celebrity

January 6, 2020

By Taryn Ryder

Harvey Weinstein's rape and sexual assault trial began Monday in New York City where the disgraced producer faces a possibility of life in prison. There was no shortage of drama both outside and inside the courtroom — and in Los Angeles. It was also announced Monday he will face sexual assault and rape charges stemming from encounters with two women in 2013.

Weinstein, who was once one of the most powerful men in Hollywood, hobbled into a Manhattan court on a walker passing by a group of accusers — including actresses Rose McGowan and Rosanna Arquette — who call themselves the "Silence Breakers." They said in a release they were "representing the more than 90 women who bravely came forward to report Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct."

"He doesn’t realize what he’s done at all and I don’t think he ever will," McGowan told the crowd on Monday. "He has something sick in his head like many serial rapists."

Lawsuit claims Trautman, former Buffalo diocesan leader and Erie bishop, covered up clergy abuse case

BUFFALO (NY)
WIVB

January 2, 2020

By Chris Horvatits

A new Child Victims Act lawsuit filed Thursday details the lengths the accuser says Church officials took to cover up clergy abuse in the Diocese of Buffalo. It specifically blames Donald Trautman, who served as vicar general and auxiliary bishop in Buffalo before becoming the Bishop of Erie in 1990.

“In the lawsuit, we state that Bishop Trautman covered this abuse up,” said Paul Barr, who represents the alleged victim.

The abuse in question is alleged to have been committed in the early-to-mid 1980s, while Trautman was still in Buffalo, by Rev. Gerald Smyczynski. Smyczynski’s name appears on the list of clergy who are credibly accused of abuse against a minor in the Diocese of Buffalo. He died in 1999.

The lawsuit alleges, “Bishop Trautman expedited an annulment for a member of the plaintiff’s family with the hope of ensuring their silence about the abuses perpetrated by Smyczynski.”

Priest who served in Brighton during 1970s pleads guilty to child sex crimes

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Globe

January 6, 2020

By Danny McDonald

A Catholic priest who served in a Brighton parish decades ago has pleaded guilty to sexually abusing two children during the 1970s in Suffolk County, according to prosecutors.

James Randall Gillette, 77, pleaded guilty during a Jan. 2 appearance in Suffolk Superior Court to two counts of unnatural and lascivious acts on a child, according to the Suffolk district attorney’s office.

Gillette was sentenced to five years under house arrest, during which time he must wear a GPS monitoring bracelet. Additionally, he must register as a sex offender, undergo sex offender treatment as ordered by the probation department, stay away and have no contact with the survivors or any witnesses in the case, and have no one-on-one contact with any child under the age of 18 unless the minor’s parents are present, according to the district attorney’s office.

He did not receive any prison time.

Messages left with Gillette’s attorneys were not immediately returned Monday evening. It was not immediately clear where he was living or whether he had been defrocked by the Roman Catholic Church.

According to attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who has represented one of the case’s two victims in a separate civil case against Gillette, the priest was ordained in 1971 and was assigned to St. Michael’s in Union City, N.J. between 1972 and 1974. He was then assigned to St. Gabriel’s in Brighton from 1975 to 1978. After that, he had assignments in Mexico City, Honduras, and Pittsburgh. He also lived in New York.

BREAKING: 100s of Southern Baptist Churches subpoenaed in sex abuse lawsuit

TUSCALOOSA (AL)
Capstone Report

Jan. 6, 2020

The very future of the Southern Baptist Convention could be in the balance as a lawsuit threatens to undermine church autonomy—a key feature of Southern Baptist polity. Making the situation even more dire, one Southern Baptist entity, the North American Mission Board (NAMB) has in a separate case advanced a legal theory that undermines claims of church autonomy. Now lawyers for sex abuse victims are set to attack this vulnerable area.

Hundreds of Virginia Southern Baptist Churches were subpoenaed in a $82 million sex abuse lawsuit. There are at least 2,000 pages of subpoenas to SBC churches, according to Will McRaney. McRaney revealed the startling information during a Facebook live broadcast Monday evening. McRaney’s sourced included a subpoena recipient and a search of courthouse records. McRaney said he was provided copies of a couple of the subpoenas. The lawsuit was
filed over the summer now includes the local church Immanuel Baptist Church, the Petersburg Baptist Association—the local association, the Baptist Convention of Virginia and the Southern Baptist Convention. The lawsuit was filed in Chesterfield County.

According to Baptist News Global, the lawsuit “involves Jeffrey Dale Clark, a former youth group leader at Immanuel Baptist Church in Colonial Heights, Virginia, serving a 25-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to three counts of aggravated sexual battery and two counts of indecent acts with child by a custodian in 2016. Eight individuals with ages now ranging from 14 to 24 allege they were sexually molested by Clark while he worked as an assistant and leader of the youth group between 2008 and 2015.”

Lawyers expanded the case to assert the Southern Baptist Convention’s failure to do anything about sex abuse among its congregations made it liable for the abuse of children.

McRaney is embroiled in his own lawsuit against the alleged illegal activity of the North American Mission. McRaney claims NAMB and its director Kevin Ezell forced his termination. The evidence made public supports McRaney’s claims, but so far that evidence hasn’t been considered in court. His lawsuit was dismissed and is now on appeal before the federal appellate court.

Revised law paves way for new lawsuit alleging Reedley priest abused women

FRESNO (CA)
ABC 30 KFSN

January 6, 2020

By Corin Hoggard

A new state law has paved the way for a lawsuit against the Catholic Diocese of Fresno.

It claims a priest active in Reedley right now sexually abused at least two girls decades ago.

One of the women came forward last June about alleged abuse by Monsignor John Esquivel in 1983. The other one is still anonymous, but she says he abused her in 1971. And a new law means there's no statute of limitations right now.

The memories feel fresh for Sylvia Gomez Ray.

"It was inappropriate touching, groping, massages that were inappropriate that led to groping my butt," she said.

Six months ago, she accused Esquivel of sexual abuse in 1983 when as a 17-year-old, she worked as a secretary at St. Joseph's in Bakersfield.

Bakersfield church, Fresno Diocese, accused of covering up child sexual abuse claims

BAKERSFIELD (CA)
KBAK / KBFX

January 2, 2020

By Emma Goss

The Diocese of Fresno and St. Philip the Apostle church in Bakersfield are being sued. They're accused of covering up sexual misconduct by a pastor for decades.

Fr. Anthony Moreno, who served as priest at St. Philip the Apostle from July 1979 to December 1980, is being accused of molesting multiple children, according to a law suit filed in Fresno court this week.

"As a 12 year old, I was confused, and I thought I had done something wrong," Toni Moreland, a Fresno woman who filed the law suit, said at a press conference Thursday morning. She claims she was molested by Moreno while he was serving as priest in Bakersfield between 1979 and 1980. Her father reported the sexual abuse to the church soon after Moreland claims it happened. By December of 1980 he was moved to serve at Church of the Sacred Heart, in Fresno.

"I think that was the most troubling of all things, was to realize that they just moved Anthony to another parish. I thought that was what just happened to me." Moreland said.

‘We call them out for their failure to respond.’ Diocese of Fresno sued under new abuse law

MERCED (CA)
Merced Sun-Star

January 2, 2020

By Yesenia Amaro

A child sexual abuse lawsuit was filed against the Catholic Diocese of Fresno on Thursday, accusing another one of its priests.

Father Anthony Moreno joined the growing list of priests in the Diocese of Fresno who have been accused of sexual misconduct.

The lawsuit was filed under the state’s new Child Victims Act, also knows as Assembly Bill 218, which lawmakers passed last year. St. Philip the Apostle in Bakersfield is also named as a defendant in the lawsuit.

Lawsuits filed in Oakland, SF allege child sexual abuse by priests

SAN FRANCISCO (CA)
San Francisco Chronicle and Bay City News Service

January 1, 2020

An expected wave of lawsuits made possible by a new state law continued Tuesday as attorneys announced new filings in Oakland and San Francisco by victims of alleged childhood sexual abuse by priests.

The lawsuit are permitted by California's Assembly Bill 218 of 2019, which opened a three-year window for childhood sexual abuse survivors to file lawsuits regardless of when the molestation occurred.

The statute also allows a tripling of financial damages compensation in cases where an effort to hide evidence of child sexual abuse is proved.

On Tuesday, two men in their 50s sued the Roman Catholic Diocese of Oakland in Alameda County Superior Court, alleging they were sexually abused by priests at Our Lady of the Rosary in Union City.

James Brogan, 56, who grew up in Hayward, alleges he was sexually assaulted by Father George Crespin beginning when he was 11 years old.

Attorney bares his past as child sex abuse victim in ad seeking clients

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

January 6, 2020

By Dan Herbeck

Five months ago, Niagara Falls attorney Paul K. Barr had a tough decision to make as he prepared to record a radio advertisement inviting clients to file lawsuits against molesters under the state’s Child Victims Act.

Barr kept asking himself if the commercial should mention that he, too, was allegedly molested by a priest in 1980.

He decided that it should.

“I was 16, a budding athlete. Father Mike took notice,” Barr's commercial begins.

The ad goes on to tell the story of how the Rev. Michael R. Freeman allegedly molested him at a Niagara Falls church. “I was a victim,” the ad continues. “I know what it’s like and I will take your call.”

Now that the commercial has been running for three months in Buffalo, New York City and in several other states, Barr said he is at peace with his decision to let radio listeners in on one of the most traumatic incidents of his life.

Fargo and Bismarck Catholic Diocese Release List of Known Clergy Who Sexually Abused Minors

FARGO (ND)
Legal Examiner - O'Keefe, O'Brien, Lyson, Foss Law

January 6, 2020

By Timothy O'Keefe

Nearly six months after publicly calling for the release of a list of known offending priests in the diocese, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fargo released the names of 31 leaders in the church connected to the sexual abuse of minors. The Bismarck Diocese also released a list of 22 clergy members who likely sexually abused a minor on January 2, 2020.

Notably, the list only includes those involving “substantiated allegations” of minor sexual abuse. The Fargo Diocese has explained its definition of substantiated allegation as “one for which sufficient corroborating evidence establishes reasonable grounds to believe that the alleged abuse in fact occurred.”
The lists include only the clergy member’s name, year of ordination, year of death, and basic status in the church. Twenty-two of the 31 clergy are deceased from the Fargo Diocese’s list, while 20 of the 22 on the Bismarck Diocese’s list are deceased. The Bismarck Diocese also notes there have been no substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor in the dioceses since 1989.

As noted in the New York Times by Tim Lennon, president of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, without additional details like “work history, photographs, when the allegations against each clergy member were received and what actions were taken in response,” the release of the list comes off as a “public relations ploy to appease the public.” The Fargo list does not provide where any timeline of when the church learned of the substantiated allegation or took action against these individuals. Further, neither the Fargo nor Bismarck lists provide information about where the living clergy are currently residing.

Media outlets and other organizations tracking public accusations of clergy abuse have also noted some names appear to be missing from the dioceses’ lists. BishopAccountability.org is an organization which maintains a database of publicly accused priests based upon dioceses’ published lists, publicly-filed court records, and news articles. Between the dioceses’ lists and the database, there are at least five clergy members who have allegedly abused individuals but are not on the lists publicly released by the dioceses yesterday. For example, as of August 2019, at least two priests not named on the dioceses’ lists were under investigation for sexual abuse.

The church must face its own role in violence against women

KANSAS CITY (MO)
National Catholic Reporter

January 7, 2020

By Jamie Manson

Of all of the religious instruction classes that my mother took as a girl, one lesson in particular always seemed to stay with her: the day that the nun explained the church's teaching on divorce.

A girl in the class asked the sister whether it would be okay to leave her husband if he hit her.

"No," the nun replied. "Even if he beats you, you have to stay with him."

When she got home from class, my mother told my grandparents about the lesson. Horrified, they vehemently disagreed with the nun and told her she would have to divorce any man who put his hands on her.

My mother has recounted this story many times throughout my life, and what strikes me most about it is that she, in fact, did stay with a man who hit her. He was my stepfather, and I was 4 years old when I witnessed him punch her. I was never the same again.

Meeting of Church heavy-hitters calls for ‘adjustments’ to priestly formation

DENVER (CO)
Crux

January 7, 2020

By Christopher White

New York - A major gathering of ecclesial heavy hitters focusing on the future of the priesthood concluded with a call for a reimagining of priestly formation - one that incorporates the laity and women in the process and better reflects the racial and cultural diversity within the U.S. Church.

The two-day symposium at Boston College took place January 2-3 and was organized around “To Serve the People of God: Renewing the Conversation on Priesthood and Ministry,” a document first published in December 2018, which was the result of a series of seminars sponsored by the college’s Department of Theology and School of Theology and Ministry.

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Both Hanlon Rubio and Groome noted that the abuse crisis was “always in the room,” but the aim of the conference was forward thinking and meant to challenge all parties present.

Citing Pope Francis and his condemnation of clericalism, Groome said that the conference sought to consider what causes it, but more importantly, how to avoid it going forward.

Church hires third-party counselor for abuse victims

SAINT ALBANS MESSENGER
Saint Albans Messenger

January 6, 2020

Burlington - In response to a recent report detailing past sexual abuses by members of the clergy, Vermont’s Catholic Church has hired an independent victim assistance coordinator to support abuse survivors and their families.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington announced last week they had contracted with Sheila Conroy, a licensed mental health counselor, to help victims and their families in “bringing about healing, justice and peace” after cases of abuse by church employees and clergy.

As the victim assistance coordinator, Conroy would provide a confidential listening services and work as a liaison for victims to communicate their needs with the Catholic Church, while also promoting support groups, workshops and other healing services for abuse survivors and members of their family.

Priest Gets Probation for ‘Unnatural Acts’ on a Minor

BOSTON (MA)
Associated Press via NBC 10 Boston

January 7, 2020

The defendant has not been defrocked but has been on restrictions that ban him from identifying as a priest or serving in church functions since the 1990s

A Catholic priest has pleaded guilty to two counts of "unnatural acts" with a minor for accusations of sexual abuse dating back to the 1970s.

James Randall Gillette was sentenced to five years of probation in Suffolk Superior Court in Boston on Jan. 2, according to court records.

More serious charges of child rape and indecent assault and battery on a minor were dismissed, but he still has to register as a sex offender.

January 6, 2020

State must take action on statute of limitations Senate bill

MARIETTA (OH)
Marietta Tiimes

Jan. 2, 2020

As victims in Marietta are interviewed about encounters with a possible serial rapist when they were children, a bill that would have extended their ability to seek justice for those crimes seems to be dormant in Ohio.

Senate Bill 162, which would have eliminated the statute of limitations for rape, was introduced in 2019 and had hearings late in the year. Now, there is no word about its future. We hope it can be reintroduced in this new year and put into law. Seven other states have already removed the statue of limitations for felony sex crimes, including West Virginia, and it’s time for Ohio to do the same.

The case in Marietta is a perfect example of why. Richard Decker, 62, has been charged with rape in a case where he apparently started raping the victim when she was 5, with the assaults continuing on until she was 18. She’s now in her 30s. Police and prosecutors believe Decker had multiple other child victims and have already interviewed as many as 10.

What if some of these instances they dig up in this investigation reveal crimes that occurred more than 25 years ago, the current statute of limitations for rape? Should there be no chance for justice because the victims were too young, too scared, too traumatized to speak out when they were only children? Should Decker no longer be considered a threat to society because an arbitrary amount of time has passed?

Clergy abuse conviction shows more needs to be down by church, lawyer

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Herald

Jan. 6, 2020

By Erin Tiernan

The sentencing last week of a still-ordained priest who admitted to abusing children while he served in Brighton shows church leaders have taken “no substantive action” to stop abuse, said sex abuse lawyer Mitchell Garabedian.

“Bishops have spoken. Cardinals have spoken. Cardinal (Sean) O’Malley has spoken. They’ve all said words but taken no substantive action. It’s time to take action,” Garabedian said Monday.

The Rev. James R. Gillette pleaded guilty to two counts of unnatural acts with a child under the age of 16 in Suffolk Superior Court on Jan. 2 in a plea deal with prosecutors. The charges stemmed from abuse that occurred between 1972-1975.

Judge Beverly J. Cannone sentenced him to five years of probation with GPS monitoring, ordered him to register as a sex offender and complete a sex offender treatment program.

Standing beside Garabedian at a press conference on Monday was Anthony Sgherza, who said he was an altar boy at a New Jersey church from age 10 to 13 when Gillette abused him in the early 1970s.

Gillette transferred to St. Gabriel’s in Brighton in 1975 where he tricked Sgherza into visiting to attend a Boston Red Sox game and again abused the boy, Garabedian said.

Were you sexually abused as a child?

PLATTSBURG (NY)
Press Republican

Jan. 7, 2020

By Penny Clute

Have you thought about suing the abuser, or reporting what happened to the police? Maybe you didn’t even know you could do this, since it was decades ago? Or, you did try to, but were told it was too late? New York has changed the law, giving victims of childhood sexual abuse more time to bring abusers to court. If you were victimized before you turned 18, this law applies to you.

When you were a child, probably no one talked about this. You thought you were alone; you likely thought it was your fault, but it was not. Perhaps the abuser made you keep it a secret, threatening to harm you or your family if you told. You felt ashamed and afraid. You thought no one would believe you, that everyone liked the person who abused you. You didn’t know it was happening to other kids, too. As a child, even a teenager, you couldn’t imagine standing up and saying out loud what he or she did to you. Or maybe you didn’t even realize until later that it was abuse; and that you are not responsible for it.

If the abuse has haunted your life, this big change in the law may help you.

The Statutes of Limitations are the time periods for bringing civil lawsuits and criminal charges in particular cases. Earlier this year, the state legislature passed changes that the governor signed into law on August 14. These new time limits apply to sexual crimes against children that occurred in New York State.

Criminal charges can now be brought by prosecutors until the victim turns 28 for felonies, or 25 for misdemeanors. The period of time available depends upon the victim’s age now, not on when the crime occurred.

In civil cases, where victims can sue abusers for money damages, the time period has been greatly extended.

Houston Islamic Religious Leader Arrested For Alleged Sexual Assault And Indecency With Children

HOUSTON (TX)
Houston Public Media

Jan. 6, 2020

By Elizabeth Troval

A Muslim religious leader is accused of indecency and sexual assault of children in Fort Bend County.

Imam Mohamed Omar Ali is charged with three counts of indecency with a child and one count of sexual assault of a child, according to Fort Bend County officials.

Ali, who immigrated to the U.S. from Somalia, was arrested on January 3, 2020.

“We do believe that he’s been in several of the victim’s homes,” said Michael Alexander, lead detective of the case for the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office. “That’s part of what he does, he goes to people’s homes and teaches Quran lessons and that’s how he comes into contact with a lot of people is through some of the mosques and then he eventually goes to their homes.”

Assaults allegedly started in 2013 and officials believe there are more victims who are afraid to come forward because of the stigma.

“The investigation originally started off a little bit slow due to a lack of cooperation from some of the victims, because of that stigma, moving forward we did find that there are some people willing to come forward, which is why we are here,” said Alexander.

Ali spent time as a religious leader in multiple mosques in Houston and Fort Bend County, although officials wouldn’t specify which locations.

The 59-year-old is being held at a Fort Bend County jail and also faces deportation.

Church doesn’t seem serious about abuse

FAIRMONT (MN)
The Sentinel

January 6, 2020

By Gary Andersen and Lee Smith, Editorial Board

Hundreds of clergy accused of sexually abusing children, including some convicted of crimes, were left off lists released by the Roman Catholic Church in reaction to a worldwide scandal, The Associated Press found.

In terms of rebuilding trust with those of the faith, the church seems to be in a one-step-forward, two-steps-back posture. When claims of transparency are exposed as hollow, what are those skeptical of the church to believe?

AP investigators examined lists released by Catholic dioceses across the country, of clergy “credibly accused” of child sexual abuse. “An AP analysis found more than 900 cle