February 28, 2005

Christodoulos is defiant

GREECE
Kathimerini

The head of the Church of Greece yesterday gave his boldest indication yet that he has no intention of stepping down over the spate of scandals in which the institution has been caught up, while calling on worshippers to show their support in the face of outside threats.

«If those that are attacking me think I will resign or that I will stop talking, they are deeply misguided,» said Archbishop Christodoulos during a service at a church in the Athens suburb of Kallithea. Christodoulos was the subject of isolated opposition within the Church over the last 10 days, especially in the wake of allegations linking him to fugitive drug-smuggler Apostolos Vavilis and jailed Archimandrite Iakovos Yiossakis.

He also claimed that some people were annoyed by the fact that Greeks were the most religious people in Europe and that those interested in seeing globalization advance were responsible for the scandal-mongering the Greek Orthodox Church has been suffering for over a month. Christodoulos called on the faithful not to abandon the Church.

His comments were echoed by Irenaios, patriarch of Jerusalem. «These days the gates of hell have opened and the darkness of lies, defamation and war against the mother of churches has emerged,» he said yesterday. «Demons are circling the walls of the holy city and trying to crush those who support the Jerusalem patriarchate and the brotherhood of the Holy Land,» added Irenaios.

Posted by kshaw at 05:16 PM

NEW ACCUSATIONS

GREECE
Macedonian News Agency

Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece will have meetings with the Metropolites of Piraeus, Dimitriados, Kalavriton, Thevon, Nafpaktou, Thessalonikis and Spartis today in search of solutions that will take the Greek Orthodox Church out of the crisis.

Metropolite Theoklitos of Thessaliotida will tender his resignation to the Holy Synod tomorrow assuming the responsibility for the proposal he had made to the Archbishop to use Giosakis, while faithful from Karditsa are getting ready to hold a rally in his support outside the Petraki Monastery.

In an interview with the Athens daily “TA NEA”, Metropolite Theoklitos alleges that the ecclesiastical organization of Chrisopigi was at war with him for 20 years and certain clerics had even involved the state secret service in the effort to find incriminating evidence against him.

Posted by kshaw at 05:13 PM

Documents Say Priest Failed Lie Detector

TOLEDO (OH)
WTOL

TOLEDO -- A Roman Catholic priest accused of strangling and stabbing a nun in 1980 failed one of two lie detector tests in the days after the killing, according to court documents released Monday. The Rev. Gerald Robinson's failed test indicated he was involved with the nun's death, according to a document filed by investigators. A second polygraph test however indicated that Robinson "passed" the test, but investigators say the results were marginal and inconclusive.

Robinson's attorney, Alan Konop, would only say that lie detector tests mentioned in the search warrants were "not a true representation of what happened." He did note that Robinson passed a second polygraph test, clouding the results of the first. Neither test is admissable in court.

The reports of the lie detectors tests came in a series of search warrants which were opened today and given to the news media by the courts. The opened warrants also indicate that Toledo Police investigators tried to months to obtain so called "secret archive" files from the Diocese and finally in September of 2004, they obtained search warrants to look for those alleged files at the Catholic offices in downtown Toledo.

The Diocese of Toledo issued a statement late this afternoon disputing the existence of a "secret archive." The statement of Leonard Bishop Blair says the Diocese of Toledo has never maintained such an archive and there is nothing more for the church to turn over to police regarding the investigation of Father Gerald Robinson. They say all confidential information collected by the church is now in the hands of the prosecutor and police.

Posted by kshaw at 05:10 PM

Retired priest pleads guilty in child porn case

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Duluth News Tribune

JIM SALTER
Associated Press

ST. LOUIS - A retired priest previously convicted of sexual misconduct in Wisconsin will go to prison for at least five years after pleading guilty to child pornography charges, federal officials said Monday.

David Malsch, 66, was convicted of child enticement in 1993. In 2001, Malsch was sent to the Wounded Brothers Recon Facility, a home for troubled priests in the eastern Missouri town of Robertsville.

In 2003, federal authorities searched Malsch's room there and found 28 photos of child porn. U.S. Attorney James Martin said Malsch also had forwarded some of the pictures to a Pennsylvania pen pal.

Malsch pleaded guilty Monday to one felony count of receipt of child pornography. Under the PROTECT Act, adopted two years ago to strengthen the government's ability to investigate and punish violent crimes against children, he will go to prison for at least five years and up to 20 years.

Posted by kshaw at 05:08 PM

Past still haunts accused priest

WESTFIELD (MA)
Republican

Sunday, February 27, 2005
By BILL ZAJAC
wzajac@repub.com

Two houses away from the school bus stop at Belleview Drive and Montgomery Road in Westfield, the Rev. Edward O. Paquette Jr. lives in a small, ranch-style home with his dog.

To his neighbors, Paquette is a friendly man who keeps to himself. Many neighbors only see him when he walks his black Labrador in the morning.

But to a prosecutor, a retired police officer and dozens of former parishioners in three states, he's the priest who broke a sacred trust and escaped criminal prosecution for alleged sexual assaults on young boys.

Paquette, 77, was removed from ministry in 1963 after allegations arose in the Fall River diocese that he sexually molested boys. But the Catholic priest went on to serve in Indiana and Vermont before his permanent removal from ministry in 1978.

The Vermont bishop who removed him from ministry for the final time - the late John A. Marshall - would later become bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield amid a clergy abuse scandal here.

Posted by kshaw at 05:05 PM

Bishop sorry over sex abuse levy

NORTHERN IRELAND
BBC News

A letter explaining the decision to scrap a controversial levy on church collections has been read out at masses in the Derry diocese on Sunday.

Bishop of Derry Dr Seamus Hegarty's letter apologised for not telling parishioners that a 3% levy was going towards a fund for victims of clerical sex abuse.

The revelations were made in BBC NI's Spotlight programme on Tuesday.

The letter told parishioners they had a right to know where their money went.

The bishop has accepted a recommendation from the priests of the diocese that the levy should be abolished.

Posted by kshaw at 05:03 PM

Sex abuse victim reveals identity

AUSTRALIA
Sydney Morning Herald

The woman at the centre of sexual abuse allegations which helped push former governor-general Peter Hollingworth from office has identified herself publicly for the first time.

Dr Hollingworth, on ABC television's Australian Story program in 2002, appeared to condone a relationship between a priest and a 15-year-old girl.

But the priest involved in the scandal, retired bishop Donald Shearman, 78, was last year stripped of his holy orders over the matter, which dated back to the mid-1950s.

Beth Heinrich, who was a boarder at an Anglican hostel at Forbes in western NSW at the time, has told Australian Story the priest promised her a future with him.

"Whenever his wife was away, padre used to get me to lie naked on their bed with him or else in front of the fire in their lounge room," she said, in an extract aired on AM this morning.

"He got me to read a book called Love in Marriage, which was about sexual techniques and he said: 'This is the way it should be. This is what God wants it to be'."

Posted by kshaw at 05:01 PM

Legislator Proposes New Law to Curb Sex Abuse

TOLEDO (OH)
WTOL

TOLEDO -- A northwest Ohio legislator is doing what she can to help victims of sexual abuse and a national victim's rights group is cheering her on. Claudia Vercelotti from Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests wants see a change in Ohio law when it comes to child sexual abuse victims.

"Ohio civil law right now, unfortunately, favors child molesters," said Vercellotti. Her champion is Senator Teresa Fedor. "I believe this is even more important issue than the child labor laws that we addressed 100 years ago," said Fedor.

In 1999 the criminal law was strengthened, so anyone who was 18 years old had 20 years to report sexual abuse. Currently, the civil law only allows two years past age 18.

Here's what Fedor wants to propose: "We want to mirror the criminal law with the statute of limitations for civil law," said Fedor. She says extending it back 20 years would be a benefit because, "It would be justice for the victims and unearth some of these child predators."

Posted by kshaw at 04:59 PM

Priest accused of killing nun failed polygraph

TOLEDO (OH)
Toledo Blade

Father Gerald Robinson, accused of strangling and stabbing to death an elderly nun in 1980, “failed” a first of two polygraph tests in the weeks after Sister Margaret Ann Pahl’s body was found, according to documents released this morning.

A second test was administered later, and police said results were inconclusive or “of marginal utility for diagnostic purposes,” according to the documents released today in Lucas County Common Pleas Court.

Asked about the polygraph results, Father Robinson’s attorney, Alan Konop, said only “that’s not true.” He declined to elaborate, citing a gag order on the case.

The papers were among those released after The Blade revealed on Feb. 20 that authorities searched the downtown church offices twice last year. Cold case detectives reopened the 1980 murder case after a woman came forward with several allegations of sexual abuse. Among her abusers, she said, was Father Robinson.

Investigators said they were seeking the church’s “secret files” that were kept under canon law. The files, they said, might provide more information about the long-time cleric and any investigation the church may have conducted into the murder, according to the papers.

Posted by kshaw at 04:57 PM

McChesney leaves bishops' child protection office citing advances

WASHINGTON (DC)
Catholic News Service

By Agostino Bono
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- With child sex abuse prevention programs in place throughout the U.S. church, the next task is to test their effectiveness, said Kathleen McChesney, who spent two years helping dioceses and Eastern-rite eparchies establish the measures.

McChesney, who resigned at the end of February as executive director of the U.S. bishops' Office of Child and Youth Protection, said that child sex abuse can never be totally eliminated in the church or society, but effective, constantly updated programs can dramatically reduce the cases.

The issue before the church now is "developing mechanisms to determine the effectiveness of what has taken place and the quality of what has been put into place," she said in a Feb. 22 interview with Catholic News Service.

McChesney was hired in November 2002 as the first head of the child and youth protection office set up to help dioceses and eparchies apply prevention policies and to monitor their implementation. The office was established by the bishops in their 2002 "Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People," which spelled out their child sex abuse prevention policies.

Posted by kshaw at 04:56 PM

Woman reveals 40-year affair with bishop

AUSTRALIA
The Age

By Barney Zwartz
Religion Editor
March 1, 2005

Beth Heinrich hoped for 40 years that she and Donald Shearman could make a go of it. But he continually betrayed her, and eventually their affair brought down a governor-general.

Mr Shearman, now 79, the former bishop of Grafton, was defrocked as an Anglican clergyman last year. Peter Hollingworth was forced to resign as Australia's viceroy after a church investigation in 2002 found that his handling of the case when he was an archbishop was "inappropriate and unfair". The beginning of the end for Dr Hollingworth was an Australian Story documentary on the ABC, in which he suggested the then 15-year-old Beth initiated sex with Mr Shearman, a priest in charge of the Anglican hostel in Forbes, where she boarded.

Last night Ms Heinrich - now in her 60s, and publicly identifying herself for the first time - took centre stage on Australian Story. Her relationship with the charismatic preacher the girls called Padre, and most of them idolised, started when she was 14 in the mid-1950s.

Posted by kshaw at 11:11 AM

Payout in G-G sex cover-up

AUSTRALIA
News.com.au

By Greg Roberts
March 01, 2005

THE woman whose claims of child sex abuse led to the downfall of former governor-general Peter Hollingworth is to be offered a six-figure compensation payment by the Anglican Church.

Beth Heinrich, 65, identified herself for the first time last night, appearing on the ABC's Australian Story to reveal details of the abuse.
Mrs Heinrich claimed anonymously in 2002 that Dr Hollingworth - as archbishop of Brisbane - ignored her claims that bishop Donald Shearman, now 78, sexually abused her at a church boarding school in the central-western NSW town of Forbes in the mid-1950s.

Countering the argument at the time, the then governor-general suggested - on the same ABC program - that she had initiated sexual contact as a 14-year-old.

Dr Hollingworth told Australian Story he believed what happened between Bishop Shearman and Mrs Heinrich "was not sex abuse". "Quite the contrary, my information is that it was, rather, the other way around," he said.

Posted by kshaw at 11:08 AM

Agonizing odyssey leads Toledoan into Oscar spotlight

TOLEDO (OH)
Toledo Blade

By DAVID YONKE
BLADE RELIGION EDITOR

As a child growing up in Toledo, Tony Comes would sit in the Showcase Cinemas, gaze up at the screen at the larger-than-life actors, and fantasize about someday being an actor.

"I wanted to see my name on the screen," said the 34-year-old Toledo firefighter.

Tony Comes, in a scence from the Oscar-nominated documentary "Twist of Faith," received a $55,000 settlement from the Toledo diocese last year, but he did not want any money for his part in the film.

Tonight, that dream will come true. But it's not the way he imagined.

Though Mr. Comes will don a tuxedo and walk onto a red carpet and down the aisle to sit among the movie elite, his role in an Oscar-nominated film is nothing glamorous.

He is the subject of one of the darkest documentaries ever considered for an Academy Award: sex abuse in the Roman Catholic Church.

Posted by kshaw at 11:04 AM

Jamie Allman's unholy challenge: Representing Burke and Archdiocese

ST. LOUIS (MO)
St. Louis Journalism Review

by Don Corrigan

Can a TV newsman, who fancied himself an ace investigator of journalistic truth, suddenly take up a new life as a PR flack for an institution notoriously known for keeping its darkest secrets hidden from public view?
That is the perplexing question-and paradoxical drama-playing out in St. Louis, thanks to the unlikely professional path of Jamie Allman, the unusual protagonist of this Arch City plot.
In describing his career move from press sleuth to pulpit spokesperson, Allman told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "I feel like I've connected the most important elements of my purpose here on earth." In the new American Century of overblown, faith-based rhetoric, certainly Allman cannot be faulted for engaging in a little religious hyperbole.
Even presidents do that.
Nevertheless, critics of the St. Louis Catholic Archdiocese, Allman's new employer, contend that the former TV newsman could not have connected all the dots before making his decision to report for duty with Archbishop Raymond Burke. They also contend the marriage of Allman to the archdiocese is an odd arrangement made, well, not exactly in heaven. ...
With the Missouri Supreme Court's refusal late last year to prevent prosecution of a Catholic priest accused of sodomizing a youngster 25 years ago, the door may now be opened for decades-old clergy sex abuse lawsuit cases that once faded due to the road block of the statute of limitations.
Indeed, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) has been sending the news media a steady stream of releases about clergy abuse cases and new lawsuits since the first of the year. Some members of SNAP speculate that Allman may have been brought on to try to deal with hundreds of credible clergy abuse complaints that once were held in limbo.
"Embattled bishops often look for a quick fix," said David Clohessy, a local and national leader for SNAP. "It shows a sad, but all-too-typical concern for image-building rather than healing and prevention. Bringing on another mouthpiece rarely leads to reform."
Clohessy made note of Allman's predecessor, Jim Orso, a Fleishman-Hillard public relations professional. Orso was brought on by Rigali two years ago to help the archdiocese navigate the press storm of clergy sex scandals. Orso told the Post he was looking forward to "going out to the real world" as Allman took his post.


Posted by kshaw at 11:02 AM

Former priest misses hearing for sentencing

MARYLAND
The Courier

UPPER MARLBORO, Md. — The sentencing hearing for Frank Benham of Lincoln has been rescheduled for 9 a.m. Friday after Benham missed a court date Thursday morning.

Benham is to be sentenced on second- and third-degree sex charges dating to the 1970s when he was a priest at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Forestville, Md.

Benham has entered into a plea agreement with Princes Georges County Assistant State’s Attorney Renee Battle-Brooks, chief of sex and family crimes for the office, in which he admitted to one count of child abuse with a 10-year-old boy and one count of sodomy with a girl, 15.

Through his attorney, Fred Bennett, of Greenbelt Md., Benham was to seek a lesser sentence of probation or home monitoring, according to Ra-mon Korionoff, spokesman for States Attorney Glenn Ivey.

Posted by kshaw at 10:59 AM

THE TUCSON DIOCESE: Audit finds compliance with demands

TUCSON (AZ)
Tucson Citizen

SHERYL KORNMAN
Tucson Citizen

Allegations of sexual misconduct years ago by five priests and one deacon employed by the Tucson Diocese were reported to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops for its 2004 audit of the nation's dioceses.
The audit's aim is to determine if bishops are complying with a conference charter requiring allegations of sexual misconduct by clergy to be reported to law enforcement.

Members of the audit team were in Tucson from Dec. 6-9 to interview diocese staff and Tucson Diocese Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas.

The nationwide 2004 report of the bishops' compliance with the conference's new codes of conduct was released Feb. 18.

In it, the Diocese of Tucson was found in compliance with requirements to report credible allegations of sexual misconduct by clergy and to train its lay and clergy employees in recognizing and reporting sexual misconduct.

In 2004, the diocese found that allegations of sexual misconduct against five priests who had been employed by the Tucson Diocese were "credible," meaning they were prosecutable - if the priests were alive.

Posted by kshaw at 10:53 AM

UN digs into priests’ sexual abuses in RP

PHILIPPINES
Manila Standard

By Christine F. Herrera

The Washington-based Catholics for a Free Choice has found that because of the policy of secrecy in the Roman Catholic Church, erring men of the cloth are practically untouchable, at least in the Philippines.

Standard has obtained a copy of the 27-page report that details a dozen cases of sexual abuse involving local and foreign priests in the Philippines.

The report recommends that the Holy See and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines rescind the requirements of “secrecy” on sexual abuse cases involving members of the clergy.

It said the Holy See was “delinquent” in its obligations, and failed to submit a full report on child abuse by clergy and members of religious orders.

The report was submitted last month to the United Nations, the Holy See and the CBCP Convention on the Rights of the Child.

CfFC commissioned two Philippine nongovernment organizations, the Linangan or Likhaan ng mga Kababaihan Inc. and the Child Justice League Inc., to conduct a study for the United Nations on how the laws of the Holy See affect the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines.

Posted by kshaw at 10:48 AM

February 26, 2005

Judge keeps documents sealed for now in probe of nun's killing

TOLEDO (OH)
Toledo Blade

By ROBIN ERB
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Documents supporting an unprecedented police search of Toledo Catholic Diocese files during the investigation into the 1980 murder of an elderly nun will remain temporarily sealed, despite the approval by the defendant in the case that they be released.

Dressed in his clerical collar, the Rev. Gerald Robinson, who is accused of strangling and stabbing Sister Margaret Ann Pahl, appeared briefly late yesterday before Lucas County Common Pleas Court Judge Thomas Osowik, who was to decide whether The Blade would be allowed access to search warrant affidavits signed by homicide investigators.

In soft-spoken, one-word answers, the 66-year-old priest said he had no objections to the release of the papers.

His appearance came after several hours of behind-closed-door arguments in the judge's chambers among prosecutors, Blade attorney Fritz Byers, and Thomas Pletz, attorney for the diocese.

Posted by kshaw at 07:26 PM

Archbishop Christodoulos counters critics, allegations in prime-time interview; says he will not resign

GREECE
Athens News Agency

Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos on Friday emphasized that he will not resign from his post as the powerful head of the Church of Greece, as an ongoing furor over corruption and inappropriate behavior continues to plague a handful of top ecclesiastical leaders, including some of Christodoulos’ closest allies.

Christodoulos made the statement to reporters as he entered the archbishopric in downtown Athens, where he characteristically said the "Archbishop does not resign, he is annihilated."

Posted by kshaw at 05:29 PM

Clergy abuse program questioned

ALBANY (NY)
Capital News 9

Updated: 2/26/2005 5:05 PM
By: Capital News 9 web staff

Clergy sex abuse has certainly been in the news lately, and often times victims don't have a place to turn for help.

In Albany, the Independent Mediation Assistance Program or IMAP was designed in September by Judge Howard Levine.

Last year, Bishop Howard Hubbard suggested there be a program independent of the Albany Roman Catholic Diocese.
But the spokesperson of the Survivors Network of those abused by Priests is questioning how IMAP is funded. He said the program got $5 million from the Albany diocese.

Bishop Howard Hubbard suggested there be a program independent of the Albany Roman Catholic Diocese, IMAP was then created in September by Judge Howard Levine.

"First of all I think this is a public relations ploy by the diocese in Albany to actually make it look like they are doing something to help survivors," said Mark Furnish, SNAP.

Posted by kshaw at 04:29 PM

Church crisis: Time for state action

GREECE
Kathimerini

Those who thought that the corruption scandals and shady intrigue bedeviling Greece’s Orthodox Church were just a passing phase have been forced to reconsider. But the latest wave of revelations has swept away any leftover delusions nourished by senior Church clerics as well as by the political class. The embarrassing failure of the Church Hierarchy to shoulder its share of responsibility and kick off a process of self-cleansing has made state action imperative.

The longer ruling officials remain paralyzed before the turmoil, the more the crisis will deepen. The inertia has opened the door to dangerous shady games. The relentless competition between private television channels means that the hidden agenda and ulterior motives of the different sources are not put under scrutiny.

True, the noise generated by the disturbing revelations serves the government’s objectives, for it deflects public attention from everyday problems. As a rule, of course, politicians are keen to steer clear of such ailing phenomena. Even more so when these concern the Church, which, save the political parties, is the most influential institution voter-wise.

Posted by kshaw at 02:02 PM

Diocese to abolish abuse levy

NORTHERN IRELAND
U.TV

A Catholic diocese in Northern Ireland is to scrap a controversial levy in support of a fund for clerical sex abuse victims, it has emerged.

Bishop Seamus Hegarty caused outrage over his decision to charge parishioners without many of them knowing.

A three per cent levy had been put on parishes in the diocese of Derry as part of the church`s arrangement to pay for any cases.

Even though Dr Hegarty expressed his sincere regret over the affair, the controversy has raged all week.

Priests held an emergency meeting yesterday without the bishop being invited in a bid to resolve the issue.

Posted by kshaw at 02:00 PM

Church volunteer to return to N.H. to face sex charges

NORTHFIELD (NH)
Foster's Daily Democrat

NORTHFIELD, N.H. (AP) — A church employee charged with sexual assault and theft will be returned to the state after a hearing next week, authorities said Friday.

Scott Nash, 46, of Northfield, was arrested Wednesday at Kennedy Airport in New York as he got off a flight from Aruba.

He is charged with molesting three young girls who are members of Trinity Episcopal Church in Tilton and taking more than $5,000 from the church.

According to a spokesman for the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire, Nash had been employed by the church for three years as a part-time adminstrator. Since becoming a member five years ago, he had been elected as senior warden and was one of two youth ministers.

Posted by kshaw at 01:58 PM

Sunday school teacher accused of sexual abuse

BEAVERTON (OR)
The Oregonian

Saturday, February 26, 2005
HOLLY DANKS
BEAVERTON -- A Sunday school teacher has been accused of sexually abusing a girl he met through his volunteer job with the New Vision Fellowship Church in Beaverton.

Keith Trevor Robinson, 37, was arrested Thursday afternoon at his home on Southwest Hargis Road in Beaverton on one count of first-degree sexual abuse, a Measure 11 crime that carries a mandatory minimum of six years and three months in prison.

Beaverton police said Robinson is accused of touching a girl sexually three or four years ago when she was 6 or 7 and again two or three years ago.

Police also are investigating another complaint involving a younger girl that they say occurred outside the Portland area.

None of the alleged abuse happened on church property or during church events, said Officer Paul Wandell, Beaverton police spokesman. The older girl allegedly was abused at Robinson's house, and police are still investigating which police agency has jurisdiction over the other alleged incident.

Police began investigating in mid-February after both girls told their parents, who contacted authorities.

Posted by kshaw at 01:56 PM

Ex-priest's case irks lawmaker

DALLAS (TX)
The Dallas Morning News

By BROOKS EGERTON / The Dallas Morning News

Catholic peace activists failed to disclose the sexually abusive past of one of their key allies in strife-torn Haiti, a prominent U.S. congresswoman said Friday.

Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., spoke after she had urged the U.S. ambassador in Haiti to safeguard defrocked American priest Ron Voss, who has been detained twice this week for questioning about a massive jailbreak there.

Ms. Waters said she learned only later, from a Dallas Morning News report Friday, that Mr. Voss had admitted abusing many adolescent boys.

"They probably should have told me," she said of Pax Christi USA, which had asked her to write the ambassador. "Certainly this is problematic and unfortunate."

A Pax Christi spokesman said executive director David Robinson also learned about Mr. Voss' past from The News. But some people active with the group's Haiti task force knew earlier.

One of them, William Slavick of Maine, said the failure to inform the congresswoman was "probably an innocent mistake." Task force leaders thought highly of Mr. Voss and did not want to believe reports about his history, he said.

Mr. Voss left his native Indiana to work in Haiti in the 1980s, when his victims began complaining to church officials. He never faced criminal charges.

Mr. Voss later became a leader in the Parish Twinning Program of the Americas, through which hundreds of U.S. congregations have "adopted" needy ones in Haiti. It is based in Nashville, Tenn., where diocesan leaders recently learned about Mr. Voss and pressed the program to cut ties with him.

Mr. Voss also runs Visitation House in Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince. It provides lodging for U.S. missionaries, as well as various services to locals.

Posted by kshaw at 01:52 PM

Abusers’ payroll

NEW HAMPSHIRE
The Keene Sentinel

In 1983, Reverend Gordon MacRae was involved in a child-molestation incident in Hampton. The victim was a 14-year-old boy. Shortly afterward, the Diocese of Manchester assigned MacRae to St. Bernard’s Church in Keene, where he became associate pastor. No one at St. Bernard’s knew about the Hampton matter, but church officials did. They had even notified the N.H. Attorney General’s Office, which decided not to prosecute.

Four years later, MacRae became acting parish administrator at St. Bernard’s, replacing Reverend Steven W. Scruton, who had just been convicted of indecent exposure and was being sent off for what was described as intensive counseling. Unbeknownst to local parishioners, Scruton had been arrested in 1984 after a similar incident in Londonderry, but charges were dropped. When he left Keene, Scruton moved to Dover. But, instead of being counseled, he became a counselor himself — to sex offenders in a Massachusetts prison.

In Keene, MacRae took on a new assignment in addition to his church duties. He was named executive director of Monadnock Region Substance Abuse Inc. That position brought him into contact with troubled children at the Spofford Hall rehabilitation center, where he also said mass. The Diocese of Manchester raised no alarms.

Posted by kshaw at 01:49 PM

Sex Charges Dismissed Against Minister

TENNESSEE
News Channel 5

Several sex charges levied against a Clarksville minister have been dropped.

Defense attorneys for the Reverend LaMonte McNeese successfully argued Monday that six sex-related charges involving a minor girl violated the statute of limitations.

Four other charges were retired but could be brought to trial at a later date.

Police arrested McNeese, 44, in August 2002 and charged him with 19 counts of statutory rape, eight counts of sexual battery and two counts of child rape.

Eighteen of the charges were later dropped by prosecutors.

Posted by kshaw at 01:43 PM

Judge Reverses Misdemeanor Sex Conviction Of Minister

TENNESSEE
News Channel 5

A Stewart County judge has reversed his conviction of a Clarksville-area minister on a misdemeanor sex charge.

The ruling clears the Reverend LaMonte McNeese of the charge of inappropriately touching a 13-year-old girl in 2001.

McNeese is the founder of the One Way Apostolic Assembly. He has initially been indicted on a charge of sexual battery by an authority figure.

Circuit Judge George Sexton had convicted McNeese on the lesser charge in October.

McNeese still faces two counts of child rape and one of sexual battery, stemming from a 2003 indictment involving the same girl.

A trial is scheduled for March 28.

Posted by kshaw at 01:42 PM

Sins will make prudes squirm

INDIA
Rediff.com

Merril Diniz | February 25, 2005 19:03 IST

The story of Sins is set in a nondescript coastal Kerala town. Father William is a local parish priest in his mid-30s, and a very good looking one at that.

One day, his Ambassador collides into a bicycle and he literally bumps into Rosemary, a coy, naïve young girl, in a tearing hurry to reach her examination venue. Father William offers to give her a lift and Rosemary agrees.

Taken in by his chivalry, good looks and dashing persona, a few weeks later, she visits him with gifts as a token of her appreciation.

She asks father for his blessing. He grants it and plants a kiss on her forehead.

A sexual tension builds up between the two, a tension that receives vent, shortly a few weeks later, when in a moment of weakness, the two consummate their lust. The two become lovers, and the film tracks the path of their liaison.

Posted by kshaw at 08:00 AM

Bishop moves to scrap clerical sex abuse levy

NORTHERN IRELAND
Belfast Telegraph

By William Allen
bustel@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

26 February 2005
The Bishop of Derry will today write to parishioners after scrapping a levy they unknowingly paid to raise cash for victims of clerical sex abuse.

A spokesman for Bishop of Derry Seamus Hegarty said a letter was being prepared for the people of the diocese after the decision was taken to abolish the 3% levy used for the Stewardship Fund.

The controversial cash-raising method angered many parishioners who did not know what the money was being used for.

It is believed Bishop Hegarty's letter will be read out at Masses today and tomorrow.

This follows a meeting of more than 50 priests in Derry yesterday.

After the two-hour meeting, priests said it had been agreed with the bishop that this method of raising funds would be abolished.

A payment was due to be made on Monday, but it is believed the money will now be returned to the parishes.

Posted by kshaw at 07:54 AM

Bishop resigns, boss stays

GREECE
Kathimerini

After several weeks of scandal, the crisis in the Church of Greece claimed its first victim yesterday as the Bishop of Thessaliotis tendered his resignation but Archbishop Christodoulos maintained he would not stand down, despite some calls for him to do so.

«Every idea imaginable has passed through my mind and I have studied and weighed everything up. Of course I thought about resigning but I finally rejected the idea. I am determined to lead the effort to clean up the Church,» said Christodoulos in an interview shown on private television channel, Alpha, last night.

The head of the Church came under pressure to quit from Chrysostomos, Bishop of Zakynthos, following claims linking him closely with fugitive drug smuggler Apostolos Vavilis and Archimandrite Iakovos Yiossakis, the priest alleged to be at the center of a trial-fixing ring.

Yesterday, Christodoulos again denied sending Vavilis and a retired policeman to oversee the election of Patriarch Irenaios four years ago in Jerusalem. «We did not send them to Jerusalem. That is the truth,» said the archbishop, who admitted seeing Vavilis dressed as a security guard at the Patriarchate. Christodoulos said he did not talk to him at the time and could not recall meeting him again since.

Posted by kshaw at 07:53 AM

Ex-pastor accused in new abuse cases

WETUMPKA (AL)
Montgomery Advertiser

By Marty Roney
Montgomery Advertiser

A former Wetumpka minister charged in January with the sexual abuse of two girls now is being accused by police of abusing two more children.

Garett Albert Dykes, the former pastor of Calvary Baptist Church, was charged Jan. 10 with three counts of sexual abuse involving two girls younger than 10. Dykes, 38, of 909 Oak Crest Court in Wetumpka, is in the Elmore County Jail under $1.5 million in bonds.

The parents of the additional victims came forward to police, said Elmore County Chief Deputy Ricky Lowery. The abuse is believed to have taken place at Dykes' home and not at the church or on church property.

"The victims tell stories that are very similar to the statements of the first victims," Lowery said.

Dykes has not yet been formally charged with abusing the additional victims. The information about the two new victims will be presented to the Elmore County grand jury, said Lowery. The next session of the panel is set for April.


Posted by kshaw at 07:51 AM

Nun death probe data to be released

TOLEDO (OH)
Toledo Blade

By ROBIN ERB
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Documents supporting two police searches of the Toledo Catholic Diocese in the murder investigation of Sister Margaret Ann Pahl most likely will be released Monday.

The Lucas County Prosecutor's Office yesterday decided not to fight a decision by Common Pleas Judge Thomas Osowik Thursday to release the records, said Dean Mandross, a senior assistant prosecutor.

That means search warrant affidavits, possibly outlining why police felt they needed a court order to search the downtown church office on Sept. 15 and 17, may be released at 9 a.m. Monday.

Prosecutors were looking for any church records about the Rev. Gerald Robinson, who was charged in the slaying of the nun in the Mercy Hospital chapel 24 years ago.

Mr. Mandross said prosecutors originally fought The Blade's request to make the records public because they felt the newspaper made a procedural error in asking for them. But whether an appeals court agreed with the prosecutors' argument, the records most likely would have been released eventually, he said.

Posted by kshaw at 07:48 AM

Teczar awaits ruling on psychologists

WORCESTER (MA)
Telegram & Gazette

By Kathleen A. Shaw Telegram & Gazette Staff
kshaw@telegram.com

A judge in Fort Worth, Texas, yesterday took under advisement testimony taken during the last two days on whether to accept as experts two clinical psychologists being called in a civil lawsuit against the Catholic dioceses of Worcester and Fort Worth and two bishops.

Judge Len Wade of the Tarrant County District Court in Fort Worth said he expects to rule on the expert witnesses within two weeks.

Two Texas men, listed as John Doe I and John Doe II, allege they were sexually abused by the Rev. Thomas H. Teczar, a priest of the Worcester diocese when he left Worcester in 1988 and took an assignment in the Fort Worth diocese. Khan Merritt, the lawyer for John Doe II, alleged in the lawsuit that the Worcester and Fort Worth dioceses conspired to get Rev. Teczar in and out of both dioceses after misconduct allegations were made.

Ms. Merritt of Dallas, the lead lawyer in the suit, wants to call John Daigneault of Braintree and Rycke Marshall of Dallas, both forensic clinical psychologists, to testify on behalf of the men bringing the suit. They believe it is possible for a victim of sexual abuse to repress memories of traumatic events.

Dr. Daigneault previously testified during a 2002 civil lawsuit brought by David A. Lewcon, now of Uxbridge, who also alleged sexual abuse by Rev. Teczar when he was assigned to St. Mary’s Church, Uxbridge, during the early 1970s.

The dioceses of Fort Worth and Worcester brought in Dr. Harrison G. Pope Jr., a psychiatrist from Boston, who told the court that he does not believe in repressed or suppressed memory.

Worcester Auxiliary Bishop George E. Rueger was named in the suit because it is alleged that he in 1988 asked Fort Worth Bishop Joseph P. Delaney to take Rev. Teczar into his diocese. Bishop Delaney is also named in the suit.

Rev. Teczar denies that he has ever met John Doe II and said he only knew John Doe I from the gas station in Ranger, Texas, where the man worked. Rev. Teczar was barred from priestly duties in 1986 by the late Bishop Timothy J. Harrington of Worcester, but he received permission to perform as a priest in the Fort Worth diocese by Bishop Delaney.

The judge yesterday opened a hearing into the dioceses’ request that the lawsuit be dismissed, and it will be continued in early March. The dioceses are arguing that the lawsuit is beyond the statute of limitations.

The Worcester diocese and Bishop Rueger are represented by Mark D. Hatten of Shannon, Gracey, Ratliff & Miller of Fort Worth, and the Fort Worth diocese and Bishop Delaney are represented by James G. Bennett of Bennett & Catania of Fort Worth. Neither lawyer has returned telephone calls seeking comment. Rev. Teczar is representing himself. John Doe I is represented by Daniel J. Shea of Houston.

Posted by kshaw at 07:46 AM

Activists failed to disclose ex-priest's past, U.S. lawmaker says

DALLAS (TX)
Macon Telegraph

BY BROOKS EGERTON
The Dallas Morning News

DALLAS - (KRT) - Catholic peace activists failed to disclose the sexually abusive past of one of their key allies in strife-torn Haiti, a prominent U.S. congresswoman said Friday.

Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., spoke after she had urged the U.S. ambassador in Haiti to safeguard defrocked American priest Ron Voss, who has been detained twice this week for questioning about a massive jailbreak there.

Waters said she learned only later, from a Dallas Morning News report Friday, that Voss had admitted abusing many adolescent boys.

"They probably should have told me," she said of the antiwar group Pax Christi USA, at whose behest she had written the ambassador. "Certainly this is problematic and unfortunate."

Pax Christi USA spokesman Johnny Zokovitch said he and executive director David Robinson also learned about Voss' past from The Dallas Morning News. But some people active with the group's Haiti task force did know, according to interviews and correspondence.

One of them, William Slavick of Maine, said the failure to inform the congresswoman was "probably an innocent mistake." Task force leaders thought highly of Voss and did not want to believe reports about his history, he said.

Posted by kshaw at 01:58 AM

Jury finds church not liable in sexual harassment case

ALABAMA
Decatur Daily

By Eric Fleischauer
DAILY Staff Writer
eric@decaturdaily.com · 340-2435

Central United Methodist Church's five-year nightmare ended jubilantly Friday when a federal jury decided it was not liable to a former secretary for sexual harassment.

For Rita Cobbs, however, the ruling brought to an abrupt end her lengthy trek toward an elusive verdict.

The jury reached the unanimous decision Friday after deliberating for about two hours.

Cobbs accused Central of failing to protect her from a part-time minister who she said physically assaulted her in 1999 and repeatedly targeted her with obscene phone calls until March 2000.

Central did not dispute the misconduct of the Rev. Sheats Summerford, a 78-year-old man who worked as a visitation minister. The church did dispute, however, that the Rev. Hal Noble, Central's senior pastor at the time, failed in his supervisory duties.

The Rev. Mitchell Williams, now Central's senior pastor, sat through most of the trial with two dozen church members. After the verdict, he said that he had expected the church to prevail.

Posted by kshaw at 01:55 AM

Yakima Diocese denies woman's abuse allegations

YAKIMA (WA)
KGW

02/26/2005

Associated Press

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Yakima has formally denied the accusations made in a recent lawsuit alleging sexual abuse by a priest.

Rose Yates Lamey, formerly of Zillah, filed suit in early February in Yakima County Superior Court, claiming she was raped by the Rev. Michael Simpson in 1962 when she was 10.

On Wednesday, lawyers for the diocese said the church had no knowledge of any alleged abuse at the time by Simpson, who is deceased.

"Defendant is without information sufficient to form a belief as to the truth of the allegations and therefore denies them," Seattle lawyers Thomas Frey and Michael Bolasina wrote.

The diocese attorneys also argued that the statute of limitations has elapsed. Generally, juvenile victims of sexual abuse have three years after they reach adulthood to file lawsuits. One exception could be "repressed memory," in which the victim doesn't remember the incident until undergoing therapy.

The next step for Lamey's lawsuit will be a scheduling order set by the court.

Posted by kshaw at 01:46 AM

Ex-priest questioned in prison break faced local allegations

MUNCIE (IN)
Muncie Star Press

STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS

MUNCIE - A former Muncie priest who had been accused of child sexual abuse in Indiana was detained and questioned this week by police in Haiti amid allegations his residence was used to plan a massive prison break there.

Ron Voss, who left the priesthood in 1993, was questioned for more than five hours Wednesday in the Feb. 19 prison break at Haiti's largest prison in which nearly 500 inmates escaped and one guard was killed.

Police also seized Voss's passport during the raid on Visitation House, a stopover residence Voss runs for missionary teams visiting Haiti.

Twelve officers wielding machine guns entered the house to search for escaped prisoners, weapons and evidence linking it to the prison break plot, said Bill Quigley, an Indianapolis native helping set up a clinic in Haiti.

"They were coming into what they thought was an armed camp. It was a sight that I hope few people ever have a chance to see," said Quigley, a law school professor at Loyola University in New Orleans.

The Muncie Evening Press first reported in October 1994 allegations that Voss had molested adolescent boys in connection with activities at the Center for Peace and Life Studies, a retreat in northern Delaware County.

Posted by kshaw at 01:44 AM

Woman suing archdiocese, claiming sexual abuse

SAN ANTONIO (TX)
MySA.com

Web Posted: 02/25/2005 06:00 PM CST

Dionne Anglin
KENS 5 Eyewitness News

A 56-year-old Florida woman is suing the Archdiocese of San Antonio, claiming she was sexually abused.

The lawsuit reveals some startling allegations involving a priest.

Judy Rakestraw of Miami said the alleged abuse began at St. John the Evangelist School about 40 years ago.

In her lawsuit, Rakestraw says Father Myron Suize, who worked at the school as a teacher and volleyball coach, repeatedly fondled her over a period of three years, and at one point, attempted to rape her.

"The abuse our client sustained was so traumatic, that it was only within the last few years, as a result of on-going psychotherapy that she recovered her memory," said Adam Horowitz, Rakestraw's attorney. "Our client is a very brave woman; she's actually the head of a survivors' group of victims in Miami. She's made the decision to sue in her own name, because as head of the survivors' group, she's come across so many victims that she wants to send a message to the Catholic Church."

The archdiocese has responded only in general to the lawsuit.

Posted by kshaw at 01:41 AM

Priest cleared

COVINGTON (KY)
The Kentucky Post

It must have been an agonizing nine months for the Rev. Gerald Reinersman. As The Post reported last Saturday, he was finally cleared of an allegation that he had abused a young boy in 1979 at Mary Queen of the Holy Rosary Church in Lexington.

People who know Reinersman were absolutely flabbergasted when the allegation was made public last May. The allegation involved a repressed memory, and Reinersman, then the diocese's No. 2 official, was absolutely adamant the abuse had never happened.

Illustrating the seriousness with which the diocese now takes any such allegation, however, it suspended Reinersman. And given that Reinersman had worked so closely with the diocese's own sexual misconduct committee, Bishop Roger Foys asked the Archdiocese of Chicago to review the allegation. But the archdiocese was unable to arrange an interview with the accuser, so the bishop recruited three laymen -- a retired judge, a media executive and a clinical psychologist who specializes in such cases -- to do so. After researching old records and similar cases and interviews, the panel cleared Reinersman. It didn't rule out, however, that the man simply accused the wrong priest.

Posted by kshaw at 01:39 AM

February 25, 2005

* NEW * Prosecutor won't appeal document release in case of slain nun

TOLEDO (OH)
Toledo Blade

By ROBIN ERB
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Documents supporting two police searches of the Toledo Catholic Diocese in the murder investigation of Sister Margaret Ann Pahl most likely will be released Monday.

Common Pleas Court Judge Thomas Osowik ruled Thursday to keep the records sealed until Monday to give Lucas County prosecutors a chance to appeal his decision to make them public, and prosecutors yesterday decided not fight his decision to release them, said Dean Mandross, a senior assistant prosecutor.

That means search warrant affidavits, possibly outlining why police felt they needed a court order to search the downtown church office on September 15 and 17, may be released at 9 a.m. Monday.

Mr. Mandross said prosecutors originally fought The Blade’s request to make the records public because they felt the newspaper made a procedural error in asking for them. But whether an appeals court agreed with the prosecutors’ argument, the records most likely would have been released eventually, he said.

The Blade’s attorney, Fritz Byers, argued for the documents based on federal public records law.

Posted by kshaw at 07:02 PM

Ex-OLP priest accused of molesting child is defrocked

BRIGHTON (MA)
Allston-Brighton Tab

By Erin Smith/ STAFF WRITER
Friday, February 25, 2005

Four Boston Archdiocese priests have been defrocked, including one priest accused of abusing children in Brighton.

Robert A. Ward, a former priest at Our Lady of the Presentation, was defrocked by the Vatican, the archdiocese announced this month.

Ward had been removed from public ministry since February 2002, after a man alleged Ward molested him in the mid-1970s at OLP, the Boston Herald reported.

Despite Ward's past cocaine addiction and child pornography found on his computer in 1999, he was reassigned to the Development Office at the archdiocese in 2001, the Herald reported.

But the Vatican still has not released a decision on the status of the second priest accused of abuse in an Allston-Brighton parish.

Posted by kshaw at 06:45 PM

Two more claim sexual abuse

ALABAMA
Montgomery Advertiser

By Marty Roney
Montgomery Advertiser

WETUMPKA - The Elmore County Sheriff's Office has identified two more victims in the sexual abuse case involving the former minister of a Wetumpka church.

Garett Albert Dykes, the former pastor of Calvary Baptist Church, was charged Jan. 10 with three counts of sexual abuse involving two girls below the age of 10. Dykes, 38, of 909 Oak Crest Court in Wetumpka, is in the Elmore County Jail under $1.5 million in bonds.

In addition to the sexual abuse counts, he faces three counts of production of obscene matter of someone under 17, and one count of sodomy, Elmore County Sheriff Bill Franklin said. Investigators say Dykes videotaped his crimes.

No new charges have been levied against Dykes. The information about the two new victims will be presented to the Elmore County Grand Jury, said Chief Deputy Ricky Lowery. The panel next meets in April.

"The parents of the additional victims came forward," Lowery said. "These victims tell stories that are very similar to the statements of the first victims. At this time we feel the abuse occurred at the Dykes' home. There is no evidence that shows any abuse occurred at the church or on church property. Dykes has given us a statement about his activities with the additional victims."

Posted by kshaw at 06:40 PM

$3.1 million civil suits allege abuse by priest

CANADA
Toronto Star

MARK BELLIS
SPECIAL TO THE STAR

CORNWALL, Ont.—Two civil lawsuits filed in London, Ont., allege sexual improprieties at the hands of a former Cornwall priest who was cleared of sex abuse charges more than two years ago.

In two separate statements of claim filed Friday, the two victims allege sexual abuse by Rev. Charles MacDonald when they were 11 and 20 years old and are each suing for $3.1 million.

Also named in the suit are the Roman Catholic Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall, Eugene LaRocque, the former bishop of the diocese, and current bishop Paul-André Durocher.

The allegations have not been proven in court and corresponding statements of defence have yet to be filed.

When reached at his home in Glen Robertson yesterday, MacDonald acknowledged the lawsuits and had no further comment.

MacDonald was charged with seven sex abuse counts in 1996 and another six in 1998. The charges related to alleged assaults on boys, some of them altar boys, between 1967 and 1983.

Posted by kshaw at 06:38 PM

Sex abuse levy 'to be abolished'

NORTHERN IRELAND
BBC News

Levies imposed on parishes to pay into a fund for victims of clerical sex abuse are to be abolished, the Catholic diocese of Derry has announced.

Bishop Seamus Hegarty and his diocesan priests have also decided to return all money already paid by parishioners.

It follows an emergency meeting in Londonderry to which the bishop was not invited.

He had faced criticism because he paid into the Stewardship Trust Fund without the knowledge of many parishioners.

Dr Hegarty told BBC Northern Ireland's Spotlight programme he was raising the money through a 3% levy imposed on all parishes.

Posted by kshaw at 06:33 PM

More Charges Against MacArthur

SOUTH DAKOTA
Keloland.com

A seventh lawsuit filed tonight against a former South Dakota priest brings up more allegations of sexual abuse. A South Dakota woman alleges Father Bruce MacArthur molested her while he worked in Yankton from 1961 to 1963. Later MacArthur would serve time in prison for rape and then be reassigned by the Diocese to other locations.

The Sioux Falls Diocese, not aware of the suit but named in it, says it's sadden by the situation, but adds that nothing will change in handling these cases since Bishop Robert Carlson left. Jerry Klein with the Sioux Falls Catholic Diocese told KELOLAND NEWS Friday, quote, "We encourage people to trust that we're going to continue providing whatever support we can to them."

Posted by kshaw at 06:30 PM

Diocese still hasn’t learned

NEW JERSEY
Observer-Tribune

The way the Catholic diocese of Paterson has handled the latest issue involving one of its priests is yet another example of the church’s failure to be candid with its followers.

About 360,000 Roman Catholics make up the Paterson Diocese, encompassing three counties and numerous towns.

These Catholics have legitimate concerns and they should not have to learn about important church issues from the newspapers.

Yet that is what happened in the matter involving the Rev. Phillip Briganti.

Many of the Catholics in Morris County ask a rhetorical question: Why does the Paterson Diocese have to be so secretive?

Posted by kshaw at 06:22 PM

Priests 'were against' abuse fund tax

NORTHERN IRELAND
Belfast Telegraph

By Sarah Brett

25 February 2005
The Bishop of Derry ignored priests who railed against taxing their parishioners to cover costs in paedophile priest cases, it was claimed today.

More revelations about Seamus Hegarty's controversial cash-raising methods for the Stewardship Fund emerged this morning ahead of a crisis meeting of the local Catholic church, to which he was not invited.

In November last year, Bishop Hegarty began to extract a 3% annual levy from parish incomes (£200,000) to go towards the dwindling fund, set up in 1996 to cover legal, compensation and counselling costs in clerical child sex abuse cases across Ireland.

Priests who were reluctant to contribute in such a way were ignored, Strabane Priest Father Michael Doherty said today.

"I and other priests wrote to him expressing our reservations about the levy - but he never wrote back to any of us as far as I know," he revealed.

Most of Bishop Hegarty's parishioners had no idea about the tax, or where it was going.

Posted by kshaw at 09:37 AM

Diocese sues insurance company for settlement

AUSTIN (TX)
News 8 Austin

Updated: 2/24/2005 10:04 PM
By: James Keith

According to court records filed this week, The Roman Catholic Diocese of Austin has spent more than $1.2 million on six different sexual abuse cases: $878,000 is in settlements and $243,000 is in attorney fees.

The diocese says five insurance providers breached contracts with them

Court documents say, "As a result of these breaches, the Diocese incurred attorneys' fees and expenses, costs of Court, and/or settlement costs with regard to the John Doe 1, John Doe 2, John Doe 3, John Doe 4, John Doe 5, John Doe 6 claims."

Proving negligence might be tough.

"Insurance companies provide coverage for negligence or accidents but insurance policies exclude coverage for "criminal acts," Mark Hanna, a spokesperson with the Insurance Council of Texas said.

Posted by kshaw at 09:31 AM

Victims did not receive parish cash

NORTHERN IRELAND
Belfast Telegraph

By Alf McCreary
newsdesk@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

25 February 2005
No money from parish collections in the diocese of Down and Connor have been used to fund the Catholic Church's Child Protection Policies, according to the Bishop Dr Patrick Walsh.

In a statement Dr Walsh emphasised that no parish money from collections had been given to the Irish Bishops' Stewardship Trust which was set up to meet the costs of theAbuse Tracker Child Protection Office and initiatives undertaken throughout Ireland for the response to the victims of child abuse.

According to Bishop Walsh these include "financial redress to victims of child sexual abuse by priests, and research undertaken for the College of Surgeons' Report."

He gave a "categorical assurance that in paying the contribution due from the Diocese to the Trust, there has been no money used from any parish collections, whether for the parish or for specific purposes, for example the Diocesan Care Home for the elderly at Beechmount, the missions, support for needy parishes, the education of students for the priesthood, and the care of sick and retired priests."

Posted by kshaw at 09:29 AM

Sexual abuse lawsuits filed

CANADA
Cornwall Seaway News

by John Divinski

Three separate lawsuits totalling almost $10 million were publicly announced on Tuesday, February 22nd, 2005 by three men who say they were sexually abused in Cornwall when they were younger. Stuart Gerald Labelle named Cornwall lawyer Jacques Leduc as the plaintiff. Albert Joseph Lalonde and Robert Renshaw named former priest Charles MacDonald of Glen Robertson as plaintiff and the Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall is also named. Leduc says he will challenge the charges and is considering a counter-suit. Bishop Paul-André Durocher of the local diocese says the matter has been turned over to their legal representatives for future comment. Father Charles MacDonald had no comment on the matter when contacted at his home.

Posted by kshaw at 09:28 AM

'Forgive and forget' doesn't work

OHIO
Dayton Daily News

By Jacqui Theobald
For the Dayton Daily News

As a professional counselor and art therapist, I have treated and worked with both sexual abusers and the victims/survivors of sexual abuse for 20 years. The recent media attention to abusive priests and other child molesters — and subsequent pro and con comments — have the sound, to me, of a very old scenario. Even though open discussion has become more common through the years, there are still myths and mindsets that seem never to progress.

"Forgive and forget," they say.

Offenders are champions. They are champions of denial and rationalization and minimization and intellectualization, all used to make themselves feel better. First and most used is denial. They simply convince themselves that whatever they did wasn't abusive.

It was loving or kind (in their own minds). They were paying attention to someone who had been ignored or mistreated by others. Soon, they are able to feel quite noble about the progressive intrusion into someone else's life and space.

Over time they edge right in, getting closer, being a good listener, being a resource or a refuge. There's a name for that. It's called grooming, and it happens in various ways, but it always happens.

They want to remove any sense of danger the target person may feel. After all, they aren't "abusive," certainly not violent; they're just a "good guy."

Offenders, when confronted by a name for their own activities, usually respond with wounded innocent denial. They like to proclaim they're being misunderstood or misinterpreted. "That's not what I was doing."

Posted by kshaw at 09:21 AM

THE CHURCH CRISIS CONTINUES

GREECE
Macedonian News Agency

Athens, 25 February 2005

The official stance of Patriarch Ireneaus of Jerusalem will clarify what was the status of the presence of Apostolos Vavilis and Yiannis Triantafillakis in Jerusalem.

The Patriarchate's legal adviser Alexis Kougias stated last night on behalf of Patriarch Ireneaus that the statement of Metropolite of Nazareth according to which the two were sent to the Patriarchate by Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece is not a formal one.

Minister of Education and Religion Marietta Giannakou stated that the government is not raising the issue of the Archbishop's resignation commenting on calls for the resignation of the Archbishop.

The Archbishop stated late last night that the Church is uncompromising in the implementation of the Hierarchy decisions while his close associates attributed the crisis to a well-orchestrated plan that was prepared a long time ago by foreign secret services and politicians.

Posted by kshaw at 07:30 AM

Sex and drugs and the Orthodox church

GREECE
The Guardian

Helena Smith
Friday February 25, 2005
The Guardian

The tale has it all: drama, conspiracy and intrigue. No surprise, then, that for the past month every newspaper across Greece has spoken of little else but the scandals besetting the country's Orthodox church. Senior clerics have faced allegations of, among other things, drug dealing, embezzlement and homosexuality.

For the first time in decades, Greece's famously partisan media have put aside their political predilections to get to the bottom of a story that looks set to run and run. What they have come up with is eye-popping stuff.

"Divine comedy," screamed Eleftherotypia from its front page after the church's ruling body held an emergency meeting to discuss how to cope with the revelations. "They're trying to show that they're cleaning themselves up with a series of reforms that are not expected to have any immediate effect," said the centre-left daily.

There was, wrote the conservative tabloid Hora, "no end" to the "rot". The scandal extends throughout the church - and pictures of a 91-year-old bishop naked in bed with a young woman have appeared in the press.

Posted by kshaw at 07:27 AM

Greek Church leader faces calls to quit

GREECE
Turkish Daily News

ATHENS - The Associated Press

The head of Greece's powerful Orthodox Church faced calls to resign on Thursday after being further caught up in escalating scandals that have stunned the country.

Pressure on the 66-year-old Archbishop Christodoulos grew following revelations that -- despite earlier denials -- he was acquainted with lower-ranking clergy directly implicated in trial-fixing and other major corruption allegations.

"There is no other solution ... the only thing left for the archbishop to do is resign," Metropolitan Bishop Chrysostomos of Zakynthos, a longtime rival of the church leader, told private Flash radio.

The Orthodox Church, which represents the official state religion and holds vast property assets, has been overwhelmed by daily allegations of embezzlement, corruption and sexual escapades.

The embarrassing saga has been fueled by revelations in both liberal and conservative media, including the nightly broadcast of alleged wiretaps of telephone conversations containing lurid sexual details.

Posted by kshaw at 07:25 AM

Accuser in church harassment case changes testimony

ALABAMA
Decatur Daily

By Eric Fleischauer
DAILY Staff Writer
eric@decaturdaily.com · 340-2435

The woman suing Central United Methodist Church for sexual harassment explained Thursday that she misspoke when she claimed a minister gave her pornographic pictures.

The mistake, she said, was the result of a flashback she had during her testimony Wednesday.

Rita Cobbs, formerly a secretary at Central, sued the Decatur church for failing to protect her from sexual harassment by a 78-year-old, part-time visitation minister, the Rev. Sheats Summerford.

Thursday was Day 3 of the trial. U.S. District Judge R. David Proctor said he expects testimony to end and jury deliberations to begin this afternoon. The plaintiff rested its case Thursday.

The only witnesses Thursday were Cobbs and the Rev. Hal Noble, former pastor of Central.

During cross-examination of Cobbs, Central's lawyer, John Wilmer, highlighted inconsistencies between statements made by Cobbs in the years since the harassment and her testimony Wednesday.

Posted by kshaw at 07:17 AM

Priest abuse reports persist

DENVER (CO)
Denver Post

By Eric Gorski
Denver Post Staff Writer

One of the new allegations of child sex abuse fielded by the Denver Roman Catholic Archdiocese last year was leveled against a religious order priest who was mentally ill and died in 1975, a representative of his community said Thursday.

The alleged incident took place in 1963 and involved a boy in his midteens, said the Rev. Anthony O'Connell, provincial of the Servite Fathers, a Chicago religious order that at one point had priests in four parishes in the Denver Archdiocese.

As part of an annual report card on reforms adopted in response to the clergy abuse scandal, the Denver Archdiocese announced last week it had received fresh allegations against eight priests in 2004, though some of the cases go back decades. Three involved diocesan priests, and five were members of religious orders that served in the 24-county archdiocese.

Posted by kshaw at 07:11 AM

Pressure on archbishop

GREECE
Kathimerini

The head of the Church of Greece came under increasing pressure to step down yesterday after the emergence of claims linking him closer than ever before to a fugitive drug dealer and a priest alleged to be at the center of a trial-fixing ring, but the government refused to join in the calls for his resignation.

Archbishop Christodoulos’s press office issued a statement late Wednesday denying claims by Kyriakos, Bishop of Nazareth, a spokesman for the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, that Christodoulos had sent Apostolos Vavilis, a convicted drug smuggler wanted by Interpol, there in 2001 to help with the election of Patriarch Irenaios. Wednesday’s accusations came just a day after a senior member of the judiciary reportedly said that Archimandrite Iakovos Yiossakis — who is in jail pending trial for antiquities theft and is allegedly implicated in a trial-fixing ring — had helped him meet Christodoulos twice. The archbishop subsequently acknowledged the priest’s presence at the meeting, having previously denied knowing him.

Posted by kshaw at 07:09 AM

Proposal for state shield law merits look by assembly

CONNECTICUT
The Hour

There is renewed interest in passing a shield law on both the state and federal levels, spurred on by the recent cases of reporters facing time in jail for refusing to reveal their sources. The most prominent ones involve a New York Times reporter, a Time magazine reporter and a Rhode Island television reporter. We have noted before that we may have been naive in assuming the First Amendment of the Constitution was sufficient protection. Apparently, that's not the case. We admit to some ambivalence on the matter. Journalists don't have to meet certain requirements to ply their trade, as do doctors and lawyers, for example. There is no question of the expectation of doctor-patient or lawyer-client confidentiality. Since there is no such "licensing" of journalists, do they deserve the same protection? The best case you can make is based on the examples in our own history, where it has been the diligence of the press that has revealed corruption in government. Whether it's Watergate, the Pentagon Papers, the priest scandals in the Catholic Church or the political scandals here in Connecticut, it was the press that brought them out in public view.

Posted by kshaw at 07:06 AM

Hearing under way on Rev. Teczar

FORT WORTH (TX)
Telegram & Gazette

Kathleen A. Shaw Telegram & Gazette Staff
kshaw@telegram.com

A hearing on whether to dismiss a suit brought by two Texas men who said they were sexually abused by the Rev. Thomas H. Teczar, a priest of the Worcester Diocese, began yesterday in Tarrant County District Court in Fort Worth, Texas.

The hearing was adjourned yesterday afternoon and will resume at 9 a.m. today.

Two men, identified as John Doe I and John Doe II, allege they were sexually abused by Rev. Teczar when he left Worcester and took an assignment in the Fort Worth Diocese.

The alleged incidents happened in Ranger, Texas.

The suit named the Fort Worth Diocese, Bishop Joseph P. Delaney of Fort Worth, individually and as bishop; Rev. Teczar, the Worcester Diocese; and Bishop George E. Rueger of Worcester, individually.

Rev. Teczar served in Worcester parishes until his faculties to perform as a priest were removed by Bishop Timothy J. Harrington.

In Texas, he was given permission to perform priestly duties by Bishop Delaney.

Rev. Teczar said that he has never met John Doe II and only knows John Doe I from a Ranger gas station.

The two men claim there was a conspiracy to move Rev. Teczar from Worcester to Texas and back again to avoid allegations of sexual misconduct.

The dioceses are seeking to dismiss the suit on grounds that the statute of limitations has run out and other issues.

Posted by kshaw at 07:04 AM

The noose tightens

ARIZONA
The Arizona Republic

Feb. 25, 2005 12:00 AM

Incrementally - and without any great demonstration of courage on the part of law enforcement - the noose is closing around the neck of Arizona's most notorious polygamist.

Of course, Warren Jeffs is likely hidden away in his cult's new digs in Texas. And the slight tug on the rope came from a court motion that's part of a lawsuit against Jeffs, not from a bold law enforcement effort.

Nevertheless, it is progress against the cult that likes to go by the respectable sounding name of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It is not associated with mainstream Mormons, who reject polygamy.

With colonies in Colorado City, Ariz., Hildale, Utah, Bountiful, British Columbia and a 1,691-acre compound in western Texas, Jeffs' cult is under investigation for welfare fraud, financial irregularities and child and sexual abuse.

Two lawsuits against Jeffs give an indication of what life is like under his rule. One was filed by his nephew, who accuses Jeffs of sexually abusing him as a child and dubbing it "God's work."

Posted by kshaw at 06:42 AM

Wake-up call

MANATEE (FL)
Bradenton Herald

What did they know and when did they know it? More importantly, what do they know that they still haven't shared with the news media or general public?

The questions relate to the Joseph Gilpin case, and they apply to school officials and now perhaps the Manatee Sheriff's Office. After pretending for weeks that no one was aware of sexual allegations against the former Haile Middle School assistant principal, it turns out that at least the school district's attorney and former superintendent knew of them three years ago. They just apparently never told anyone else that Gilpin had been named in a civil lawsuit in Massachusetts alleging sexual abuse.

Moreover, the sheriff's office has known for several weeks that a former Bayshore student had filed a complaint about improper advances by Gilpin on an overnight trip, but didn't see fit to release that information. Surely that news would have been relevant to the public as the Gilpin story has unfolded, mostly gleaned from obscure files by Herald investigative reporters, not honest assessments from officials.

Certainly there is a need for caution in protecting the rights of the accused. There is also a need to preserve evidence in ongoing investigations. But in a case of this nature, there is also a need to protect the public, especially children. By keeping information about this case secret, these two agencies ignored that obligation.

Posted by kshaw at 06:40 AM

Revered LDS scholar Hugh Nibley dies at 94

PROVO (UT)
Desert Morning News

By Carrie A. Moore
Deseret Morning News

The man many consider to be the pre-eminent in-house scriptural scholar for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints died Thursday after a long life spent researching and defending the faith's canon.
Hugh Winder Nibley died Feb. 24, 2005, at his home in Provo of causes incident to age. He was 94.
Students of scripture unique to the LDS Church — including the Book of Mormon and the faith's Book of Abraham — have been influenced by Nibley even if they don't know him by name, according to fellow scholars at Brigham Young University, where he taught for several decades. ...
Seven of his eight children have rallied around him in recent weeks with the news that one daughter, Martha Nibley Beck, has written a memoir dubbed "Leaving the Saints: How I Lost the Mormons and Found My Faith." It details what she said are "recovered memories" of sexual abuse at the hands of her father, and is set to be published next month.
Alex Nibley declined comment Thursday on the book, referring to a statement the family issued on Tuesday saying the book "is false" and contains "countless errors, falsehoods, contradictions and gross distortions" that "misrepresent our family history, the basic facts of our lives, our family culture, the works of our father and the basic principles" of the LDS Church. It says allegations that Nibley abused her and the family covered it up are "not true."
The LDS Church has also characterized the book as "seriously flawed in the way it depicts the church, its members and teachings."

Posted by kshaw at 06:38 AM

Catholics see red over Hub parish closures

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Herald

By Marie Szaniszlo
Friday, February 25, 2005

Faced with a $10 million deficit, the Archdiocese of Boston has taken in more than $3 million in assets since it decided last year to close more than a quarter of its parishes. But its reconfiguration fund still had to borrow $4.6 million to cover the cost of reconfiguration, an archdiocesan official said yesterday.

``It clearly is not our desire to use the proceeds of property sales to support the ongoing operations of the archdiocese,'' said Chancellor David Smith. ``But we provide a tremendous amount of services to parishes'' - an estimated $800,000 a month.

In his sixth monthly report to the committee overseeing the closing of more than 80 of the archdiocese's 357 parishes, Smith said the parish reconfiguration fund's expenses exceeded its revenues, leaving the fund $4.6 million in debt.

Of that amount, the fund borrowed $3.44 million from a revolving loan fund and $1.17 million from its central fund. ...

Sunday collections are up, albeit marginally over last year. And the archdiocese's annual fund-raising appeal has raised $10.8 million - far short of the roughly $18 million raised three years ago, before the archdiocese's clergy sexual-abuse scandal, but still $300,000 more than what church officials expected to raise.

Posted by kshaw at 06:34 AM

Schools could be liable for Gilpin

MANATEE (FL)
Bradenton Herald

MICHAEL BARBER and AIMEE JUAREZ
Herald Staff Writers

MANATEE - Knowledge of sexual abuse allegations against Joseph Gilpin could make the Manatee County School District liable if other cases of abuse occurred within the past three years, attorneys said.

In February 2002, then Superintendent Dan Nolan and school district attorney Rob Shapiro were informed of a civil suit filed in Massachusetts alleging the former Haile assistant principal molested a boy while he was a Catholic seminarian in the late 1960s.

No mention of the lawsuit was placed in Gilpin's district personnel file and school board members said they weren't apprised of the situation until the allegations were made public by a national advocacy group in late January.

The fact district officials knew of the allegations dating back to 2002 could place them in a precarious legal situation, according to attorney Joe Campoli, president of the local chapter of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

Posted by kshaw at 06:31 AM

Diocese protecting kids

PROVIDENCE (RI)
Kent County Times

Tracy Scudder 02/25/2005

PROVIDENCE -- The Diocese of Providence is taking a proactive approach in an effort to prevent youths from being harmed by adults.

Adults working with children in the diocese now have to go through "safe-environment training" and a criminal background check.

Diocesan Office of Human Formation and Outreach Coordinator Dr. Michael Hansen worked with a curriculum committee comprised of representatives of Catholic schools in the diocese in the fall of 2003.

They developed the training program that provides adults working with children some knowledge that can help them identify children that are being neglected or abused.

They provided training to administrators for all of the Catholic schools in diocese.

Posted by kshaw at 06:30 AM

Canadian court upholds Desilets extradition

BELLINGHAM (MA)
Country Gazette

By Brian Eastwood/ Staff Writer
Friday, February 25, 2005

A Canadian court has upheld the Canadian Minister of Justice's decision to extradite the Rev. Paul M. Desilets, the former Assumption parish priest accused of molesting 18 altar boys between 1974 and 1984.

Worcester County District Attorney John Conte said in a statement that his office was notified by the federal Department of Justice last Thursday that the Quebec Court of Appeals had made its decision.

"Father Desilets now has the right to appeal the Court of Appeals decision to the Canadian Supreme Court," Conte said in a statement. "He has until approximately March 11 to file his appeal."

Elizabeth Stammo, spokeswoman for the district attorney's office, said the office had no further comment.

Posted by kshaw at 06:25 AM

Priest involved in abuse allegations dies

DUBUQUE (IA)
Globe Gazette

By PAT KINNEY, For The Globe Gazette

DUBUQUE — A former priest who served several North Iowa parishes, defrocked in 1997 in connection with sexual abuse complaints, has died in Mexico.

Archdiocese of Dubuque officials confirmed Wednesday that Robert Reiss, who served at more than a dozen parishes, died Feb. 3 in Chilpancingo, Mexico. A cause of death was not specified.

Ordained a priest in 1955, Reiss served at Sacred Heart in Osage, St. Boniface in Garner, St. Michael in Nashua and Visitation in Stacyville during his 35-year career. Pope John Paul II defrocked him on Sept. 29, 1997.

Posted by kshaw at 06:24 AM

Haitian police question ex-priest from Indiana

HAITI
Indianapolis Star

By Robert King
robert.king@indystar.com
February 25, 2005

A former Roman Catholic priest from Indiana was detained and questioned Wednesday by Haitian police amid allegations that his residence was used to plan a massive prison break that occurred Saturday.

Ron Voss, who moved to Haiti after accusations of child sexual abuse were made against him in the Diocese of Lafayette, was questioned for more than five hours Wednesday night. Police also seized his passport.

Voss runs Visitation House, a stopover for mission teams visiting Haiti.

Bill Quigley, an Indianapolis native and law school professor at Loyola University in New Orleans, was part of a team setting up a medical clinic in Haiti and was a temporary resident at Visitation House when police arrived.

Quigley said 12 officers in riot gear, wielding machine guns, cut a lock on the gate and entered the house to search for escaped prisoners, weapons and evidence of the plot that freed nearly 500 inmates from theAbuse Tracker Penitentiary.

Posted by kshaw at 06:22 AM

Judge keeps documents sealed for now in probe of nun's killing

TOLEDO (OH)
Toledo Blade

Documents supporting an unprecedented police search of Toledo Catholic Diocese files during the investigation into the 1980 murder of an elderly nun will remain temporarily sealed, despite the approval by the defendant in the case that they be released.

Dressed in his clerical collar, the Rev. Gerald Robinson, who is accused of strangling and stabbing Sister Margaret Ann Pahl, appeared briefly late yesterday before Lucas County Common Pleas Court Judge Thomas Osowik, who was to decide whether The Blade would be allowed access to search warrant affidavits signed by homicide investigators.

In soft-spoken, one-word answers, the 66-year-old priest said he had no objections to the release of the papers.

His appearance came after several hours of behind-closed-door arguments in the judge's chambers among prosecutors, Blade attorney Fritz Byers, and Thomas Pletz, attorney for the diocese.

The search of the downtown church headquarters in September marked one of the first times in the country a law enforcement agency has used a court order to search diocesan files.

Posted by kshaw at 06:19 AM

February 24, 2005

Ex-priest questioned in jail break

HAITI
Miami Herald

By JANE REGAN
Special to The Herald

PORT-AU-PRINCE - A U.S. citizen and former priest was held and questioned for more than eight hours by Haitian police Wednesday in connection with Saturday's jail break in which heavily armed gunmen freed almost 500 prisoners.

Ron Voss was released Wednesday evening.

''Police let him go home for the night but they kept his passport, and he has to go back [Thursday] morning for questioning,'' said Bill Quigley, an American lawyer who was with Voss at the time of his arrest.

Voss, the director of Visitation House, a guesthouse in Port-au-Prince, the capital, was led away by a judge and a dozen police officers Wednesday afternoon. The arrest came less than 24 hours after Haitian Minister of Justice Bernard Gousse said the prison break was planned at Voss' guesthouse.

Posted by kshaw at 08:18 PM

High Court Refuses To Hear Priest Abuse Case

MISSISSIPPI
WLBT

The Mississippi Supreme Court has refused a request by the Catholic Diocese of Jackson, to review what the Diocese believed were conflicting judicial rulings on sex abuse cases, and a judge's refusal to dismiss a lawsuit brought by two people.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Jim Smith Thursday signed an order declining to hear arguments from the Diocese and other defendants. Last year, Hinds County Circuit Judge Bobby Delaughter ruled he would not dismiss the abuse claims of two plaintiffs against the Diocese.

Posted by kshaw at 08:15 PM

Church chief urged to quit over scandal

GREECE
The Herald

The head of Greece's powerful Orthodox Church faced calls to resign yesterday over escalating scandals.
Pressure on Archbishop Christodoulos, 66, grew following revelations that, despite earlier denials, he was acquainted with lower-ranking clergy who are directly implicated in trial-fixing and other corruption allegations.
"There is no other solution. . . the only thing left for the archbishop to do is resign," said Chrysostomos of Zakynthos, the Metropolitan Bishop and rival of the church leader.

Posted by kshaw at 08:09 PM

Ex-priest questioned in jail break

HAITI
Haiti Info

24th February 2005

PORT-AU-PRINCE - A U.S. citizen and former priest was held and questioned for more than eight hours by Haitian police Wednesday in connection with Saturday’s jail break in which heavily armed gunmen freed almost 500 prisoners.

Ron Voss was released Wednesday evening.

’’Police let him go home for the night but they kept his passport, and he has to go back [Thursday] morning for questioning,’’ said Bill Quigley, an American lawyer who was with Voss at the time of his arrest.

Voss, the director of Visitation House, a guesthouse in Port-au-Prince, the capital, was led away by a judge and a dozen police officers Wednesday afternoon. The arrest came less than 24 hours after Haitian Minister of Justice Bernard Gousse said the prison break was planned at Voss’ guesthouse.

Posted by kshaw at 08:06 PM

St. Joseph’s pastor steps down, target of extortion attempt

MENDHAM (NJ)
Observer-Tribune

By MARIA VOGEL-SHORT Staff Writer MENDHAM - The pastor of St. Joseph Church resigned his post after he became a victim of an attempted extortion, authorities said on Tuesday.

The Rev. Philip Briganti, 57, agreed to step down from his post after meeting with Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli, the head of the Catholic diocese in Paterson.

Briganti is part of an ongoing investigation that began on Friday, Feb. 11, when the priest went to the police headquarters and asked for help, according to Mendham Lt. John Taylor.

An individual contacted Briganti three times over the Internet to extort money from the pastor, Taylor said. Taylor would not identify the suspect nor would he say the amount of money requested.

“He (Briganti) is the victim of the investigation,” said Taylor. “He is not a suspect related to this investigation.” ...

Pat Seranno, a Maple Avenue resident and long-time parishioner who has been involved with the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), said she was surprised with the resignation, but didn’t know Briganti that well. She said she was not connected with him, other than when he came to a SNAP meeting.

“He came to one meeting and I wasn’t involved with him after that,” Serranno said.

Her son, Mark, a SNAP leader who was sexually assaulted by former St. Joseph’s pastor James Hanley when he was 9, also said the resignation did not come as a surprise.

“Nothing’s a surprise for me, especially nothing from the diocese,” said Mark Seranno. “There is a long legacy of corruption in the diocese. People were originally told over the weekend that (Father) Briganti was sick. This follows a continued pattern of secrecy with the diocese. Everything is done in secrecy. And a replacement is found instantly, where it took months to find a replacement for (Monsignor) Lasch.”

Posted by kshaw at 08:03 PM

Ex-Evansdale priest dies in Mexico

IOWA
Courier

By PAT KINNEY, Assistant City Editor

WATERLOO --- A former Evansdale priest, defrocked in 1997 in connection with sexual abuse complaints, has died in Mexico.

Archdiocese of Dubuque officials confirmed Wednesday that Robert Reiss, who served at St. Nicholas Church in Evansdale from 1971 to 1974, died Feb. 3 in Chilpancingo, Mexico. A cause of death was not specified.

Reiss, ordained a priest in 1955, also served at Northeast Iowa parishes in Fort Atkinson, Nashua and Stacyville as well as other eastern Iowa communities over a 35-year career.

"Some may remember his priestly service with gratitude. Others claim they were abused by him," Archbishop Jerome Hanus wrote in a press release announcing Reiss' death, encouraging all clergy sex abuse victims to contact the archdiocese for help.

The archdiocese's release provided no information as to when or where alleged abuse incidents occurred. Follow-up questions e-mailed to the archdiocese were not immediately answered.

Posted by kshaw at 07:57 PM

Monies 'were not paid into fund'

NORTHERN IRELAND
BBC News

No money paid by Catholic parishioners for specific purposes has been used for a fund for victims of clerical abuse, the Archbishop of Armagh has said.

Catholic Primate Sean Brady said cash donated by congregations for missions and the education of student priests was not diverted to the fund.

It follows the Bishop of Derry's regret about the "disquiet" caused by paying parishioners' money into the fund.

Dr Seamus Hegarty made the statement after parishioners' complaints.

Posted by kshaw at 07:55 PM

In Haiti, American ex-priest maintains access to youth

HAITI
Duluth News Tribune

BY BROOKS EGERTON AND BRENDAN CASE
The Dallas Morning News

DALLAS - (KRT) - An American questioned this week in connection with a massive jailbreak in Haiti is an admitted child molester whom the Vatican removed from the priesthood.

Ron Voss sought his own expulsion in 1997, and got it a year later. His petition, according to his former Diocese of Lafayette, Ind., included this admission: "My sins are too numerous to detail, but the most grievous gather around the sexual abuse of many adolescent boys, including some minors."

Yet the defrocking hasn't kept him out of Catholic Church work or away from children. Clergy and lay leaders, some knowing of his past, have helped Voss continue a powerful ministry he began in the early 1990s in Haiti, the Western Hemisphere's poorest country.

He has long been a leader in the Parish Twinning Program of the Americas, through which hundreds of Catholic congregations around the United States assist needy ones in Haiti. The Nashville, Tenn.-based charity says it has facilitated aid to Haitian parishes that serve more than 2 million people, about a quarter of the Caribbean nation's population.

The Nashville Diocese, facing questions from clergy-abuse activists and The Dallas Morning News, recently asked twinning program executive Theresa Patterson to cut ties with Voss.

Posted by kshaw at 07:51 PM

Editorial: Bishops need to do more

UNITED STATES
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

From the Journal Sentinel
Posted: Feb. 24, 2005
The report last week by the Roman Catholic Church that it received 1,092 new allegations of sexual abuse of children against at least 756 priests and deacons in 2004 highlights how much work remains to be done by the nation's bishops in bringing this scandal under control. The good news is that church officials appear to recognize the reality: "The crisis of sexual abuse of minors within the Catholic Church is not over," one official said. The bad news is that it's not clear what additional steps the bishops are willing to take.

In fact, as we noted in December, church officials are moving to reduce the number of on-site audits of dioceses and their child protection programs. Given the history of coverup by officials and that allegations continue to be made about abuse that occurred in the 1960s and '70s, one would think it would be in the church's interest to continue on-site inspections. Such inspections would be in the church's interest because they could serve to reassure parishioners that the church is willing to do what is necessary to protect children.

Such reassurance seems necessary: A recent survey showed that the bishops' approval rating among Catholics was at 57% last fall, the lowest since the clergy sex abuse scandal broke in 2002. The survey also showed that parishioners are uneasy about the church's finances and that although the amount of money being given to the church remains steady, donations are coming from fewer people.

Posted by kshaw at 07:50 PM

A Mormon Daughter's Book Stirs a Storm

The New York Times

By EDWARD WYATT

Published: February 24, 2005

The daughter of one of Mormonism's most prominent religious scholars has accused her father of sexually abusing her as a child in a forthcoming memoir that is shining an unwelcome spotlight on the practices and beliefs of the much-scrutinized but protectively private Mormon religious community.

"Leaving the Saints: How I Lost the Mormons and Found My Faith" details how the author, Dr. Martha Beck, a sociologist and therapist, recovered memories in 1990 of her ritual sexual abuse more than 20 years earlier by her father, Dr. Hugh Nibley, professor emeritus of ancient scripture at Brigham Young University and arguably the leading living authority on Mormon teaching.

The book, being published next month by Crown, an imprint of Random House, has attracted significant criticism both for its depiction of sacred Mormon ceremonies and for the author's effort to tie her sexual abuse to what she says were mental disturbances suffered by her father because of his role as the Mormon Church's "chief apologist."

Dr. Nibley, who is 95, is ailing and is physically unable to respond to questions, Alex Nibley, one of eight Nibley children, said in a statement. Dr. Nibley has been aware of Dr. Beck's accusations for several years, Alex Nibley said, and maintains that they are false. As part of a defense of their father, Dr. Beck's seven siblings have condemned her assertions and have hired a psychologist and lawyer who has worked on lawsuits against therapists practicing recovered-memory therapy.

Posted by kshaw at 07:47 PM

THE ACTING GOV'T SPOKESMAN ON THE CHURCH DEVELOPMENTS

GREECE
Macedonian News Agency

The government expects from the Greek Orthodox Church to adopt bold moves for its cleanup and supports the measures it has announced, stated acting government spokesman Vangelis Antonaros.

Responding to the question if the Church can promote its cleanup given the fact that its head appears to be part of the problem, he stated that the government has already commented on the issue.

On the information that Israel has blocked the bank accounts of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, Mr. Antonaros pointed out that this is a court decision, adding that the Greek state embraces all Patriarchates with love and interest. Every time there is a need for certain moves they are being made in a discreet manner, said Mr. Antonaros.

Posted by kshaw at 04:40 PM

Green light for Sins release

INDIA
The Telegraph

SEEMA GUHA
New Delhi, Feb. 24: Director Vinod Pande’s Sins, a film that has triggered protests from Christians across the country, will not be banned despite an appeal by theAbuse Tracker Commission for Minorities that the government review the film again.

Sins, which reportedly tells the story of a priest who falls in love with a woman, is slated for an all-India release tomorrow. Catholic priests are not allowed to marry and must remain celibate after joining the Church.

Tarlochan Singh, the chairman of the commission, had written to information and broadcasting minister S. Jaipal Reddy to review the film after the archbishop of Delhi, Vincent Concessao, lodged a complaint.

The government is relieved that the matter is now out of its purview. The film’s producers had gone to Bombay High Court to ensure that Sins is not banned. Today, the court passed orders saying that the film can be screened.


Posted by kshaw at 04:38 PM

SEXUAL PREDATOR RON VOSS PROTECTED BY MARGUERITE LAURENT, HLLN

HAITI
Haiti Info

24 février 2005

It is a sad day indeed if so-called lovers of democracy and justice take up arms to defend a defrocked priest who has abused hundreds of boys while a priest in Indiana. What does this say about the morality of Marguerite Laurent, of her network and of her allies, when they defend and protect dangerous social deviants and sociopaths who have caused untold damage and committed unspeakable acts on defenseless young children in the United States and in Haiti ?

Who is Ron Voss ?

Ron Voss is an American who was a Catholic priest in Indiana for many years. In 1997, many years before the well-publicized hunt for sexual predators in the Catholic Church resulted in arrests and convictions, the Indianapolis Star published a series of investigative articles which identifid Ron Voss as a pedophile and sexual predator. This happened four years after he fled the United States to settle in Haiti, with the complicity of his superiors in the Catholic Church - Bishop William Higi in particular who has made a career out of protecting pedophile priests and sabotaging investigations into sexual crimes committed by these sexual predators. What is interesting is that Ron Voss has gone back to callim himself a PRIEST in Haiti, when in fact he chose to return to lay life to escape prosecution and a church inquiry in Indiana. [1] [2] [3]

Posted by kshaw at 04:36 PM

Activist Wants Priest's Whereabouts Revealed

ARLINGTON (VA)
NBC 4

POSTED: 6:42 am EST February 21, 2005
UPDATED: 6:54 am EST February 21, 2005

ARLINGTON, Va. -- An activist in Loudoun County, Va., is calling on the archdiocese of Arlington to reveal the location of a priest facing child pornography charges.

Mark Serrano of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests wears the reason why he was outside the St. Johns the Apostle Catholic Church. Around his neck is a picture of himself the year he was abused by his priest. He now wants more answers for the parishioners of St. John the Apostle. Their former minister is facing charges for obtaining child pornography..

Serrano told News4, "Bishop (Paul) Loverde is telling us a half story. Father (Robert) Brooks was taken out of the ministry in the dark of the night and people didn't know why. Well now we know why so now the unanswered questions should be addressed and I want to encourage parishioners to do that, for instance, where is Father Brooks now."

Sunday, parishioners at St. John the Apostle were read a letter explaining why Father Brooks was removed from his post.

"Father Brooks is not serving in ministry. He has been forbidden to present himself as a Catholic priest. He is being monitored that he does not have access to children until these charges have been resolved." Said archdiocese spokesman Father Terry Specht.

Posted by kshaw at 09:37 AM

Hegarty backtracks over cash revelation

NORTHERN IRELAND
BBC News

By Sarah Brett

24 February 2005
Bishop Seamus Hegarty today apologised for any "disquiet" caused by taking money off parishioners to cover costs for paedophile priest cases without asking them.

In a climb-down from his stance on BBC's Spotlight programme this week, the Bishop of Derry issued a statement last night after parishioners complained about what was seen as a covert tax.

Meanwhile, priests from the diocese are to meet in private tomorrow to discuss the levy and continuing fallout from the case of Fr Andy McCloskey, who paid a £19,000 out of court settlement to a man who claims he sexually assaulted him when he was 18.

It is understood several priests are unimpressed with how the money issue was handled.

Since November 2004, around 3% of parish income - about £200,000 - goes into the Stewardship Trust.

The fund was set up in 1996 to cover compensation, counselling and legal costs of clerical child sex abuse cases and, more recently, the costs of the Irish Bishop's Conference Child Protection Office.

Posted by kshaw at 08:08 AM

Retired priest indicted on sex-abuse charges

LOUISVILLE (KY)
The Courier-Journal

By Gregory A. Hall
ghall@courier-journal.com
The Courier-Journal

The Rev. Edwin Scherzer will be arraigned Monday in Jefferson Circuit Court on charges that he sexually abused four boys in the late 1950s and mid-1960s.

Three of the four alleged victims previously filed lawsuits against the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Louisville, accusing the priest of abuse, and were part of the $25.7 million sex-abuse settlement that plaintiffs reached with the archdiocese in 2003.

A Jefferson County grand jury indicted Scherzer this week.

"It's a long time coming," Thomas Weiter, one of the accusers, said in a telephone interview.

Scherzer, 79, is ill, said Brian Reynolds, chancellor and chief administrative officer for the archdiocese. He would not discuss details, however, saying to do so would be inappropriate.

Posted by kshaw at 08:00 AM

'Sins' - no squeamish, apologetic sexual exploitation:

INDIA
New Kerala

[Cinema India, Bollywood]: Film: "Sins"; Cast: Shiny Ahuja, Seema Rahman, Nitesh Pande; Director: Vinod Pande; Scriptwriter: Vinod Pande.

It's so easy to jump the gun and label this film as sexy and sacrilegious. But to dump "Sins" among the cheesy stuff is to miss the whoop for the spree.

"Sins" is certainly not a sinful pretext for gratuitous sex and nudity.

Ripping a cruel page out of the newspapers, writer-director Vinod Pande has reconstructed a dramatic and often shocking tale of forbidden love between a Catholic priest and a junior disciple.

Posted by kshaw at 07:58 AM

Investigation into judiciary probes higher

GREECE
Kathimerini

MARIA MAROYIANNI/ANA

The crisis engulfing the country’s judiciary appeared to deepen yesterday after the justice minister ordered an investigation into the role of the Supreme Court deputy prosecutor in the alleged assignment of a case, involving a priest accused of being a middleman in a trial-fixing ring, to another prosecutor currently facing disciplinary measures.

“We are determined — and I think it has been made clear — to restore authority to the justice system and respect for the law,” said Justice Minister Anastassis Papaligouras.

He wrote to Supreme Court prosecutor Dimitris Linos and asked him to launch an investigation into a specific decision by his deputy, Antonis Plomaritis. The latter is alleged to have assigned a case involving Archimandrite Iakovos Yiossakis, who is currently in custody in Korydallos Prison pending trial on charges of stealing antiquities, to deputy appeals prosecutor Nikos Athanassopoulos. The case involved an appeal by Yiossakis to have a court decision against him quashed. ...

Meanwhile, Linos yesterday wrote to Papaligouras to inform him that he was against the idea, adopted by the Church of Greece Hierarchy on Saturday, to form a council of four top judges to investigate claims of scandals within the institution. Linos said that it was unthinkable, at a time when the Church and judiciary were being closely linked in a number of corruption allegations, that such a body be created. The Supreme Court prosecutor said that the formation of this type of council would give the impression of a cover-up.

Posted by kshaw at 07:50 AM

April 25-29 trial set in molestation

LAYTON (UT)
Desert Morning News

By Linda Thomson
Deseret Morning News

LAYTON — A judge has set a trial date for Aaron Marcos Montoya, who is accused of molesting young girls at his home and church, but will not let Montoya out of jail until the court learns more about how Montoya would be monitored.
Second District Judge Thomas Kay set April 25-29 for Montoya's trial on 10 counts of first-degree felony aggravated sexual abuse of a child.
But Kay continued a Tuesday bail hearing until Feb. 25 to learn more about the type of electronic monitoring Montoya would be under if he were allowed to leave the jail and be kept in home confinement in an apartment in Salt Lake County.
The judge also expressed concern about the fact that Montoya's wife works for Delta Air Lines and Montoya could pose a flight risk. In addition, the judge wanted to know how Montoya would be transported to court in Davis County if he receives home confinement and how any contact with minors would be supervised.
Montoya, 33, is a former Salt Lake County sheriff's officer who recently was fired. He is being held in the Davis County Jail on $500,000 bail, but is seeking to be released to home confinement on $100,000 bail.
He is charged with molesting nine girls ranging in age from 3 to 11. Prosecutors allege Montoya molested the girls in his home and in a Primary class in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, where Montoya taught.

Posted by kshaw at 07:45 AM

Why This Isn't The Time For The Pope To Retire

ROME
The Day

By JOHN L. ALLEN JR.
Published on 2/24/2005

Now that rumors of Pope John Paul II's demise have again proved to be exaggerated, focus can shift from the health crisis to the broader questions raised by his age and weakness. The chief among them: Should he resign?

To a broad swath of opinion, it seems the most obvious step in the world. The Catholic Church is beset by a number of crises, from the sexual-abuse scandals in the United States to rampant secularization in Europe and the inroads of Protestant evangelical groups in Latin America. It needs energetic leadership, which an aging and declining pope can't provide. The Code of Canon Law, the body of law for Roman Catholicism, makes provision for papal resignation in Canon 332. Why not exercise it?

In fact, however, there is a strong case against papal resignation, premised on four arguments.

Posted by kshaw at 07:40 AM

A sin of omission

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
Republican

Thursday, February 24, 2005

THUMBS UP, THUMBS DOWN

Call it a sin of omission.

There was no mention of the resignation last year of the former bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield amid allegations of sexual abuse in the annual audit of the diocese's implementation of the U.S. bishops policy to prevent clergy abuse.

Nor did the audit make any mention of the subsequent indictment of the Most Rev. Thomas L. Dupre on two counts of rape.

While the three-page report did outline in detail how the diocese has successfully implemented specific articles of the Charter for the Protection of Children - 16 out of 17 articles - its failure to address the reasons for Dupre's departure and his subsequent indictment taint its credibility.

Posted by kshaw at 07:37 AM

Church regrets row over donations

NORTHERN IRELAND
BBC News

The Bishop of Derry has said he regrets the "disquiet" caused by paying parishioners' money into a fund for victims of clerical sex abuse.

Dr Seamus Hegarty made the statement after parishioners complained donations were being put into a fund compensating victims of paedophile priests.

Parishioners were angry their money was being paid into the Stewardship Trust without their knowledge.

The revelations were made in BBC NI's Spotlight programme on Tuesday.

Parishioners learned their donations were being paid into the trust when the bishop was questioned on the programme.

The trust is a central church fund which compensates victims of paedophile priests and pays for legal costs associated with claims of clerical abuse against children.

Posted by kshaw at 07:36 AM

Blackwell asks new trial on abuse charges

BALTIMORE (MD)
Baltimore Sun

By Julie Bykowicz
Sun Staff
Originally published February 24, 2005
Claiming "a circus-like atmosphere where it was impossible for the defendant to receive a fair trial," the attorney for a defrocked Baltimore priest convicted last week of molesting a former parishioner at St. Edward Roman Catholic Church in West Baltimore filed a sweeping motion yesterday seeking a new trial.

Maurice Blackwell, 58, was found guilty last Thursday of three counts of sexual child abuse for fondling and having sexual contact with Dontee Stokes, a one-time parish choirboy who later shot him. Blackwell could receive up to 45 years in prison when he is sentenced April 15.

A motion for a new trial is a routine legal maneuver after a conviction, and city Circuit Court judges say defense lawyers rarely prevail.

But the request in Blackwell's case has special significance because Circuit Judge Stuart R. Berger acknowledged during the trial that he had "failed" to maintain an atmosphere of fairness when two detectives mentioned other victims during their testimony, and later to television reporters.

Posted by kshaw at 07:33 AM

The church scandal in a family spat

NEW YORK
Newsday

BY STEVE PARKS
STAFF WRITER

February 24, 2005

A HOUSE DIVIDED. By Sean David Bennett. Arena Players, 296 Rte. 109, East Farmingdale, through March 13. Tickets $16-$22, call 516-293-0674. Seen opening night, Feb. 17.

If it's all in the timing, Sean David Bennett's "A House Divided" may be blessed. Two days before the world premiere of this damning indictment of the Catholic church's handling of its sexual-abuse scandal, defrocked priest Paul Shanley was sentenced to 12 to 15 years in prison for child rape, and indecent assault and battery.

At Arena Players, Frederic De Feis stages the new play with the confidence of a director who knows the script speaks powerfully for itself. Bennett, recipient of the 2004 Edward Albee Playwriting Fellowship, is playwright-in-residence at Washington, D.C.'s Journeymen Theatre Ensemble. Among his recent plays are "George W. Bush - The Musical" and "An American Fall," about Adlai Stevenson and Joseph McCarthy.

The Long Island family at the center of "A House Divided" comes together for an ostensibly happy occasion. But by the time Molly sings "Happy Birthday" to her husband, Thomas, the party lies in the ruins of an uncut cake. Molly and Thomas' sons and their daughter-in-law all split before the candles are lit.

Posted by kshaw at 07:30 AM

Ex-priest's lawyer seeks new trial

BALTIMORE (MD)
The Herald-Mail

by The Associated Press

BALTIMORE (AP) - An attorney for a defrocked priest convicted of sexually abusing a former parishioner requested a new trial on Wednesday, arguing that statements about other alleged victims made it impossible for Maurice Blackwell to get a fair trial.

"We believe that a review of the law clearly supports our position for a new trial and we're hopeful that the judge will grant it," attorney Kenneth Ravenell said after the motion was filed in Baltimore Circuit Court.

An appeal to a higher court could follow if the judge rejects the request.

Blackwell, 58, was convicted last week of committing three counts of child sexual abuse against Dontee Stokes, who shot the cleric in 2002, nearly a decade after the abuse. Blackwell faces up to 45 years in prison.

Ravenell contends that statements made at the trial by two witnesses referring to other alleged sex abuse victims who suffered at the hands of Blackwell were grounds for a new trial.

Posted by kshaw at 07:28 AM

Church knew of pastors sex past

FREMONT (CA)
Oakland Tribune

By Rob Dennis, STAFF WRITER

FREMONT — Diocese of Oakland leaders knew the Rev. James Clark was on probation for a felony sex crime when he was promoted to serve as pastor of a Fremont church where he allegedly molested three altar boys in the 1970s, according to court records.

But information about Clark's 1963 arrest and conviction was not included in the personnel file given to attorneys suing the diocese, leading one plaintiff to accuse church officials of covering up the priest's pattern of misconduct.

"It leads one to believe that perhaps the file had been sanitized," said Dan McNevin, who filed a lawsuit along with two other former altar boys of Corpus Christi parish.

They say Clark, who died in 1989, abused them sexually, mentally and emotionally for periods ranging from two years to a decade.

"It appears that virtually since the inception of the diocese (in 1962), church leadership has had a policy of not removing priests guilty of sexual offenses from the ministry," McNevin said.

Posted by kshaw at 07:26 AM

A solution to the priest shortage

UNITED STATES
Boston Globe

By Danielle Kinkel and John Kinkel | February 24, 2005

NOW THAT former priest Paul Shanley has been convicted and the pope is out of the hospital, Catholics can face other troubling realities. But time is running out. The church is in deep trouble, and we're not even talking about the clergy sexual abuse scandal. Over the last 25 years it has seen a steady erosion of the priest population. The latest figures are hard to think about. But Lent is a time to deal with reality.

For the first time in recent years, statistical reports have shown that the Roman Catholic Church has a shortage of about 160,000 priests worldwide, if we use staffing standards of 1978 when John Paul II became pope. US churches need about 10,000 priests. The number of priests has remained relatively stagnant during this pontiff's rule, but church membership has grown by 250 million. In the United States, for every one priest who is ordained, three are dying, retiring, or leaving for various reasons.

To reverse this trend, bishops must bring the church out of its tailspin. The focal point is figuring out how to recruit and train new priests -- and quickly. Otherwise, more churches will have to close.What can be done?

First, everyone knows that ordaining women is a papal no-no and will not be acted upon in the near future.

Second, calling back the 20,000 US priests who have left to marry in the last 30 years is not going to fly. The reason is that the church forgives, but it does not forget. The bishops do not want a new crop of priests to marry because the bishops have taken a vow of celibacy and it would look like backsliding. The thought of priests searching for soulmates on eHarmony.com is shocking to most bishops. Plan B to the rescue.

Posted by kshaw at 07:24 AM

New priest in at St. John

SWAMPSCOTT (MA)
Lynn Daily Item

By Debra Glidden
Thursday, February 24, 2005

SWAMPSCOTT - The Rev. Clyde H. Chetwynde, who was appointed pastor of St. John the Evangelist earlier this week, said he is pleased with his new appointment.

"It is a very dynamic and wonderful community. This is a great parish and I am looking forward to serving here," Chetwynde said.

Chetwynde, who is a native of Duxbury and has been in the ministry for 25 years, said he also loves the view of the ocean he has from his window.

"Since I have been ordained I have not been situated near the ocean. I love looking out my window and seeing the ocean" Chetwynde said.

Chetwynde, who formerly served at St. John the Evangelist in Townsend, was appointed pastor of the Swampscott parish by Archbishop Sean O'Malley on Monday.

Chetwynde replaces the Rev. Jerome Gillespie, 55, who was sent to St. John's in September of 2004 and resigned last month after allegations of misconduct.

Posted by kshaw at 01:52 AM

Priest ordered to avoid contact with minors

SWAMPSCOTT (MA)
Swampscott Reporter

Thursday, February 24, 2005

A Swampscott priest was ordered Feb. 17 to avoid unsupervised contact with minors after his arraignment on charges of accosting a 12-year-old girl and her mother in a Chelsea restaurant last month.

Chelsea District Court Judge Paul Buckley released the Rev. Jerome Gillespie, 55, on personal recognizance after his arraignment on charges of accosting, offering to pay for sex, enticing a child under 16 and two counts of assault.

The crimes allegedly occurred at Tommy Floramo's restaurant in Chelsea on Jan. 25. Since then, Gillespie has resigned from his post as pastor of St. John the Evangelist Church in Swampscott. A new pastor, the Rev. Clyde H. Chetwynde, assumed his duties at St. John's on Feb. 21.

Posted by kshaw at 01:51 AM

Woman testifies Methodist minister didn't protect her from harassment

ALABAMA
Decatur Daily

By Eric Fleischauer
DAILY Staff Writer
eric@decaturdaily.com · 340-2435

Jurors showed no emotion as Rita Cobbs shed tears Wednesday during her testimony in a sexual harassment case against Central United Methodist Church.

As she detailed obscene phone calls that she said she received from the Rev. Sheats Summerford, and as she discussed his April 15, 2000, suicide, Cobbs' face turned red, tears fell and she struggled to speak.

The eight jurors, faces wooden, alternated between staring at her on the stand and staring at the Rev. Hal Noble, Central's senior pastor during the alleged harassment.

In a federal lawsuit, Cobbs accused Noble of failing to protect her from harassment while she worked at Central. Wednesday, the second day of trial, she said she told Noble of the harassment in February 1999 and asked that he make sure other staff members were with her when Summerford, 78, entered the

Posted by kshaw at 01:47 AM

Two former priests accused in federal sex abuse lawsuits

IOWA
KWQC

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa Two former Iowans have filed a federal lawsuit alleging sexual abuse by priests affiliated with the Archdiocese of Dubuque.

Both cases were filed by former Waterloo residents who now live in Los Angeles.

The first case was filed by a woman who claims she was abused several times in the early 1960's by Patrick McElliot, a priest assigned at the time to the St. John's Parish in Waterloo.

The second case was filed by a man who claims he was abused as a teenager in 1979 by William Schwartz, who was the spiritual director at Columbus High School in Waterloo.

Both lawsuits name the archdiocese as a defendant.

Posted by kshaw at 01:45 AM

February 23, 2005

Local priest faces charges of molesting boy 40 years ago

LOUISVILLE (KY)
WHAS

02:23 PM EST on Wednesday, February 23, 2005

A former Catholic priest will face criminal charges of molesting young boys more than forty years ago.

A Jefferson County grand jury indicted Father Edwin Scherzer on four counts of indecent or immoral practices with a child. Scherzer was named in the class action lawsuit against the archdiocese and was removed from the ministry in 2002.

One of the accusers says he has suffered for years. "I feel I had to come out with it because it was tearing me up," says John Scott. "It was tearing me up all through high school. And after that I guess it made me an alcoholic for about 36 years."

Father Scherzer is now 79 years old. WHAS11 News was unable to contact him. The archdiocese says it has cooperated with police in the investigation.

Posted by kshaw at 08:27 PM

Local Priest Faces Criminal Charges; Victim Speaks Exclusively To WAVE 3

LOUISVILLE (KY)
WAVE 3

By Maureen Kyle

(LOUISVILLE) -- The civil suit is over. Now the victims of clergy sex abuse are able to pursue criminal charges against their abusers. A Jefferson County Grand Jury returned an indictment against Father Edwin Scherzer, charging him with four felony counts of indecent or immoral practices with a child. On Wednesday, one of Scherzer's victims spoke with WAVE 3's Maureen Kyle about how he still hasn't gotten what he really wants.

The crime Father Edwin Scherzer committed against Tom Weiter back in 1956 left a pain Weiter is still struggling to overcome.

"This man has stolen my childhood, and he's robbed my soul," Weiter said. "We're all alone in this. When I did ask my mother for help, I got no help. And I carried this in my loneliness for years. And that's a long time -- 38 years, 40 years."

Posted by kshaw at 08:22 PM

Days before release, Catholic body moves court

INDIA
India Express

Express News Service

Mumbai, February 23:
TICKETS are on sale, the promos are being aired and the film is all set to be released in theatres across the city on Friday.

But protests against Sins, a film that deals with a Catholic priest’s love for a woman half his age, are gaining momentum.

On Wednesday, the Catholic Secular Forum (CSF) filed a public interest litigation in the Bombay High Court, asking that the screening of the English film be stalled.

The matter will be heard by Justices H L Gokhale and S C Dharmadhikari on Thursday.

Director Vinod Pande said that he too will appeal to the court. ‘‘I am sure the court will hear our side too,’’ he said.

‘‘As a filmmaker, I am allowed to tell a story as long as it has not targetted a single person. I think it should be okay. I have full faith in the judiciary,’’ Pande said.

Posted by kshaw at 08:20 PM

AG says abuse data discrepency reason for audit

CONCORD (NH)
Portsmouth Herald

By Associated Press

CONCORD - State officials say more allegations of child sexual abuse by Roman Catholic clergy were reported to them last year than to the Diocese of Manchester.

Senior Assistant Attorney General Will Delker said the discrepancy demonstrates the need for a thorough state audit of the diocese's efforts to prevent abuse.

"That is obviously one of the important issues that the audit is supposed to investigate," Delker said Tuesday. "Until we are able to review their records and speak with personnel who do intake on these cases, we can't compare the information we have with their records."

The Diocese of Manchester and the attorney general's office have been at odds for nearly two years over the scope and cost of an audit of church policies intended to protect children from sexual abuse.

Posted by kshaw at 08:14 PM

Cross to Bare

ARIZONA
Phoenix New Times

BY ROBERT NELSON
robert.nelson@newtimes.com

Monsignor Dale Fushek had long been the rock star of the Catholic Church in the United States.

He founded America's largest program for Catholic teenagers, Life Teen, at his parish in the East Valley in 1985. Today, about 100,000 high-school-age Catholics across the country attend his program each week.

As the flamboyant, charismatic leader of that program, Fushek reigned as the de facto spokesman for the country's Catholic youth. He is credited with bringing America's young Catholics back to the church by energizing, personalizing and modernizing church doctrine. He also is credited with bringing Pope John Paul II and Mother Teresa to the Valley.

During the pope's visits to Tempe in 1987 and to St. Louis in 1999, Fushek organized and led major youth events associated with the trips, essentially serving as the ambassador to John Paul II and the national media for America's next generation of Catholics.

Fushek, not long ago second in command to former bishop Thomas O'Brien, also was arguably the most powerful, popular and financially connected priest in Arizona.

He was so connected, for example, that he both successfully solicited massive donations from Charles Keating and later became close friends with the man credited with dismantling Keating's crooked savings-and-loan empire, local attorney Mike Manning.

But, for two decades, there also have been whispers.

Fellow priests used to joke that Fushek created Life Teen to "get teens."

Posted by kshaw at 08:11 PM

Former Dover priest Joseph Maguire dies

DOVER (NH)
Foster's Daily Democrat

By BRUNO MATARAZZO Jr.
Democrat Staff Writer

DOVER — The Rev. Joseph Maguire died at a North Country hospital Tuesday, less than a year into a 44-to-88-year sentence for molesting three altar boys at St. Joseph’s Church.

Maguire, 73, died of natural causes at 4:40 a.m. at Androscoggin Valley Hospital in Berlin, state Department of Corrections spokesperson Jeff Lyons said today.

Maguire had been at the hospital since Monday. The hospital is near the state prison, where he has been held since he was sentenced on May 3 at Strafford Superior Court in Dover on 36 rape and molestation charges, Lyons said.

Maguire had also been admitted to the hospital in June for a couple of days, Lyons said.

Because Maguire died while in custody as a ward of the state, the state Medical Examiner’s Office will perform an autopsy, Lyons said.

Posted by kshaw at 08:08 PM

Bishop has no regrets in sex abuse row

NORTHERN IRELAND
Belfast Telegraph

By Sarah Brett
sbrett@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

23 February 2005
The Bishop of Derry, Seamus Hegarty, has said he does not regret allowing a priest at the centre of sexual assault allegations to become a sex abuse counsellor.

Last October, Fr Andrew McCloskey paid £19,000 out of court to a man who accused him of getting into bed with him and making a sexual advance at Creggan parochial house over a decade ago.

He has never admitted liability and has been on a leave of absence from the parish of Dungiven since the controversy arose.

The alleged victim, who spoke on BBC's Spotlight programme for the first time last night, said he felt "betrayed" by the church.

Although the then Auxiliary Bishop, Francis Lagan, met with the man, neither police nor social services were involved.

Posted by kshaw at 08:07 PM

Hurt? Sure, I feel hurt

AUSTRALIA
The Advertiser

By REX JORY
24feb05
FORMER Anglican archbishop of Adelaide Ian George says the findings of an inquiry into child sexual abuse within the church had hurt many people - including his family and himself.

Bishop George says he is pleased that some of the inquiry's "so-called findings" are now being questioned.

He also criticised the leaking of correspondence between him and an alleged pedophile, former clergyman John Mountford.

Bishop George says he has adjusted to life in retirement, away from the pressures of his work as archbishop.

He now lives in a northern suburbs home which he and his wife bought five years ago. He spends much of his time reading or gardening and on Sundays, generally attends a suburban church as a private worshipper.

Posted by kshaw at 08:05 PM

Attorney asks for new trial for defrocked priest convicted of sex abuse

BALTIMORE (MD)
Union-Tribune

By Brian Witte
ASSOCIATED PRESS
3:50 p.m. February 23, 2005

BALTIMORE – An attorney for a defrocked priest convicted of sexually abusing an altar boy requested a new trial Wednesday, arguing that statements about other alleged victims made it impossible to get a fair trial.

"We believe that a review of the law clearly supports our position for a new trial and we're hopeful that the judge will grant it," attorney Kenneth Ravenell said after the motion was filed.

Maurice Blackwell, 58, was convicted last week of committing three counts of child sexual abuse against Dontee Stokes, who shot the clergyman in 2002, nearly a decade after the abuse. Blackwell faces up to 45 years in prison.

The defense contends that statements made at the trial by two witnesses referring to other alleged sex abuse victims of Blackwell were grounds for a new trial.

The statements prompted Judge Stuart Berger to warn the prosecution not to bring up allegations relating to other victims. He also rebuked the detectives for their testimony and is considering holding them in contempt of court. During a hearing with the detectives, the judge expressed frustration with their testimony, saying he had "failed" to maintain the courtroom conditions he hoped to preside over.

Posted by kshaw at 08:01 PM

Blackwell's attorney files motion seeking new trial

BALTIMORE (MD)
Baltimore Sun

By Julie Bykowicz
Sun Staff
Originally published February 23, 2005, 10:48 AM EST
The attorney for a defrocked Baltimore priest convicted last week of sexual child abuse filed this morning a sweeping motion for a new trial, noting "a circus-like atmosphere where it was impossible for the defendant to receive a fair trial."

Maurice Blackwell was convicted last Thursday of molesting Dontee Stokes, a one-time parish choirboy who later shot him. He could face up to 45 years in prison when he is sentenced April 15.

The motion for a new trial cites four circumstances that defense lawyer Kenneth W. Ravenell said in and of themselves would be grounds for a new trial. Among Ravenell's complaints: television interviews of sequestered witnesses, references on the witness stand to "other victims," and the conduct of Stokes' relatives, who would loudly call out "pervert" as Blackwell passed by in the hallway outside the courtroom.

Ravenell also noted that trial Judge Stuart R. Berger, to whom this motion was submitted, proclaimed in a hearing during the trial that he had "failed" to maintain an atmosphere of fairness.

Posted by kshaw at 01:13 PM

. . . So do better laws

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Herald

By Boston Herald editorial staff
Tuesday, February 22, 2005

``You are a coward who hid behind God. Your robe, nor your wit nor your charm make you infallible. . . I believe true justice will find you after your time on earth is spent.'' - Wife of a victim of the Rev. Paul Shanley

Justice of the man-made variety has been done in the case of predator priest Paul R. Shanley. But if not for a quirk in the statute of limitations for sex crimes, the victim, no matter how courageous, could never have faced his abuser in court or had his painful story validated by the judgment of a jury.

The argument for eliminating these artificial crime clocks is that simple.

Shanley will serve 12 to 15 years in prison, eligible for parole in his 80s, but likely held under the civil sexually dangerous law for the rest of his life. This evil human being will never harm another child.

But he would never have served a day behind bars had he not left the state in 1990, effectively stopping the clock before the 15-year statute of limitations for rape of a child ran out.

Posted by kshaw at 08:51 AM

Halting sex abuse: An audit helps . . .

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Herald

By Boston Herald editorial staff
Tuesday, February 22, 2005

An audit released by the U.S. Conference of Bishops confirms that the imperative for child protection to be a central responsibility of the Roman Catholic Church is closer to being realized.

As restitution for victims of priest sexual abuse, a commitment to spare other children from such trauma is more valuable than monetary settlements.

The audit found that some 95 percent of dioceses nationwide have complied with new policies set by the bishops in 2002. That some 1,092 new allegations of sexual abuse nationwide against at least 756 Catholic priests and deacons were made last year, however, indicates this widespread crisis is far from over.

But, undeniably, progress is being made. Under Archbishop Sean O'Malley, annual background checks for some 60,000 priests and other church workers have been implemented. Training of some 30,000 to 40,000 children and 60,000 adults to recognize and properly handle abusive situations has been done, and some 90,000 brochures providing details of the archdiocesan child protection policies and contact information to report abuse have been produced.

Posted by kshaw at 08:50 AM

Church scandal snowballs

GREECE
International Herald Tribune

ATHENS

Archbishop Christodoulos was drawn closer yesterday into the trial-fixing aspect of the scandals besetting the Church of Greece after a senior judge linked the Church leader with a disgraced cleric at the heart of the affair.

Court sources said yesterday that the judge, whose name was not made public, informed Supreme Court officials that Archimandrite Iakovos Yiossakis - a suspected eminence grise in the alleged trial-fixing ring who is in prison pending trial for theft of valuable religious icons - had twice interceded for him to meet Christodoulos.

The judge is also understood to have claimed that Yiossakis was present at the meetings which took place six months ago at the archbishop's seat in Plaka, central Athens. The purpose of the meetings was unclear.

Christodoulos has repeatedly denied any links with Yiossakis, on whose role in the trial-fixing ring allegations prompted a wide-ranging judicial investigation. So far, eight judges face disciplinary action - and are threatened with dismissal - while one has been charged with bribe taking and money laundering. The scandal then snowballed to include corruption and gay sex allegations regarding senior churchmen.

Posted by kshaw at 08:22 AM

Ruling offers new basis for suits against churches

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Globe

By Michael Kunzelman, Associated Press | February 23, 2005

A Superior Court judge has ruled that a Jehovah's Witness church in Boston can be sued for breaking its trust and legal duty to a girl who said she was sexually abused by one of the church's ministerial servants.

Suffolk Superior Court Judge Herman Smith Jr.'s ruling is believed to be the first time a Massachusetts court has determined that church officials have a "fiduciary duty" to members of their congregation, a relationship akin to the one lawyers and doctors share with clients and patients.

Smith's ruling, made earlier this month, also is expected to open another legal channel for lawyers to bring civil suits against churches for clergy abuse cases, according to Lisa Bruno, news editor for Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly.

"It gives another piece of ammunition to plaintiffs, another grounds for finding a church liable for the actions of priests and ministers," Bruno said.

Carmen Durso, a Boston lawyer who settled 40 lawsuits against the Archdiocese of Boston in 2003, said he expects Smith's ruling to pave the way for more clergy abuse cases to proceed.

"It affords another basis, a stronger basis, for bringing claims against churches in sex abuse cases," Durso said.

Posted by kshaw at 08:20 AM

Church sexual harassment trial starts with prayer

ALABAMA
Decatur Daily

By Eric Fleischauer
DAILY Staff Writer
efleischauer@decaturdaily.com · 340-2438

While Central United Methodist Church members prayed in their church Tuesday morning, their accuser read the Bible in a dimly lit and empty federal courtroom.

Later, as the first day of a sexual harassment trial began, lawyers for plaintiff Rita Cobbs and defendant Central outlined their case to eight jurors in a Decatur courtroom. Judge R. David Proctor of Birmingham presided.

Cobbs, who filed suit in June 2001, alleged that the Rev. Sheats Summerford, a part-time pastor responsible for visiting home-bound and hospitalized members, harassed her while he worked at Central in 1998, and continued harassing her after his retirement in 1999 and 2000.

Cobbs' lawyer told the jury that Summerford grabbed his client's breasts on more than one occasion, propositioned her in person and by telephone, and threatened to get her fired if she complained.

Posted by kshaw at 07:46 AM

Former priest doesn't attend parole hearing

OHIO
The Marietta Times

By Justin McIntosh, jmcintosh@mariettatimes.com

The former Churchtown priest convicted of sexual acts with a 17-year-old boy will remain in jail for at least another year after declining a parole hearing Tuesday in Wyoming.

In April, Anthony Jablonowski, the former pastor of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Churchtown, was convicted of indecent liberties with a minor while he was in Wyoming 20 years ago. The allegations came to light in 2002.

On Tuesday, Jablonowski was up for his first parole hearing, which came just 10 months after being sentenced to a 15-month to seven-year sentence. Jablonowski accepted the sentence after agreeing to plead no contest to the charges.

Patrick Anderson, executive director of the Wyoming Board of Parole, said Jablonowski declined to go to his hearing and will not be up for parole again for about another year. He continues to serve time at the Wyoming Honor Farm in Riverton, Wyo., a minimum security facility with a treatment program for sexual offenders.

Posted by kshaw at 07:42 AM

Study: Abuse accusations leveled against 7 area priests

OHIO
Dayton Daily News

By Tom Beyerlein
Dayton Daily News

As part of a national study released Friday, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati reported that in 2004, accusations of sexual abuse of a minor were leveled against seven area priests who had not previously been accused.

The archdiocese won't publicly name the priests, said spokesman Dan Andriacco.

Four of the seven are dead, one has been cleared by law enforcement and the other two are under investigation by the archdiocese, he said.

Both of those priests have been reported to area prosecutors and one is under investigation by civil authorities, Andriacco said.

"We don't think on the surface that there's a semblance of truth there (in the allegations against these two priests), but there's an investigation nonetheless," he said. The allegations, he said, "don't meet the very low bar" set by the archdiocese to be considered credible.

Posted by kshaw at 07:40 AM

Eight arrested in sex scam sent to judicial custody:

INDIA
New Kerala

[India News]: Ahmedabad, Feb 22 : All the eight persons arrested by police in connection with the sex scam case allegedly involving some sadhus of Vadtal sect of Swaminarayan temple were sent to judicial custody by a local court today.

All the eight persons, including swami Bhaktiswarup, who belonged to the Junagadh temple of the sect, have been sent to judicial custody at the Sabarmati central jail after their six-day remand with the Crime Branch police ended today.

Police had on February 15 busted the sex scandal and arrested Bhaktiswarup and three agents who allegedly made the CD featuring explicit scenes of some sadhus with women. They arrested four more persons including a Surat-based builder two days later for allegedly financing and conspiring in the case.

Crime Branch officials had grilled the eight persons and based on that information raided the premises of Ajendra Prasad, a top priest of the Vadtal sect, who was removed from his position earlier, and claimed to have seized objectionable CDs and videotapes.

Posted by kshaw at 07:34 AM

No Sins, say Catholics

INDIA
Rediff.com

February 23, 2005 17:56 IST

Members of the Catholic community in Mumbai staged a protest on Wednesday against director Vinod Pande's Sins, a movie that allegedly depicts the sexual escapades of a priest.

About 100 members of the community gathered in suburban Vakola and burnt an effigy of Pande. Before setting fire to it, the protestors paraded the effigy on a donkey.

"The so-called fictional sexual escapades of a Catholic priest shown in the film are bound to hurt the sentiments of the Christian community. There appears to be a fine dividing line between pornography, truth and fiction," said Nicholas Almeida, who led the protest march.

The Catholic Secular Forum, a representative group of the community, has threatened to stage demonstrations at all theatres if the film, which is slated for release on February 25, is not banned.

Posted by kshaw at 07:31 AM

Cops probe harassment of priest

MENDHAM (NJ)
Daily Record

By Abbott Koloff, Daily Record

MENDHAM -- Law enforcement authorities acknowledged Tuesday that they are investigating a complaint by a prominent Catholic priest who said he was being harassed over the Internet, and who resigned from his position as pastor as a result of that alleged harassment.

Church officials said Monday that the Rev. Philip Briganti had resigned as pastor of St. Joseph's Parish, and that the resignation was related to a personal matter that involved a police investigation. Those who knew about the investigation said Briganti was not the subject of criminal allegations but that it involved something in his personal life that made it difficult for him to continue as pastor.

Mendham police said Tuesday that Briganti recently brought a complaint to them, saying he was being harassed in e-mails sent from someone who appears to live overseas. Police said they were looking at the e-mails, which appear to have a French address, as a possible extortion attempt and acknowledged that the e-mails also were sent to several other people associated with St. Joseph's parish.

Paterson Roman Catholic Diocese officials said Briganti offered his resignation to Bishop Arthur Serratelli and immediately would be replaced as pastor by Monsignor Joseph Anginoli, presently pastor of St. Simon the Apostle in Rockaway Township. Briganti, they said, remains a priest in good standing.

Anginoli, who did not return phone calls the past two days, comes to a parish that has been in the news regularly over the past few years. Dozens of young men say they were abused there by a former pastor decades ago and the church has become home over the past three years to victims' support groups.

Posted by kshaw at 07:28 AM

Diocese in Compliance

LA CROSSE (WI)
WXOW

La Crosse
Feb 22, 2005

A recent audit found the Diocese to be in full compliance of working to address and prevent sexual abuse in the Church. Back in October, two retired FBI agents spent four days in La Crosse reviewing the Dioceses' education plan. It's called the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. Diocesan leaders say it's unfortunate that they have to deal with this, but it's part of today's society.

Posted by kshaw at 07:23 AM

$3.1 million civil suits allege abuse by priest

CANADA
Toronto Star

MARK BELLIS
SPECIAL TO THE STAR

CORNWALL, Ont.—Two civil lawsuits filed in London, Ont., allege sexual improprieties at the hands of a former Cornwall priest who was cleared of sex abuse charges more than two years ago.

In two separate statements of claim filed Friday, the two victims allege sexual abuse by Rev. Charles MacDonald when they were 11 and 20 years old and are each suing for $3.1 million.

Also named in the suit are the Roman Catholic Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall, Eugene LaRocque, the former bishop of the diocese, and current bishop Paul-André Durocher.

The allegations have not been proven in court and corresponding statements of defence have yet to be filed.

When reached at his home in Glen Robertson yesterday, MacDonald acknowledged the lawsuits and had no further comment.

MacDonald was charged with seven sex abuse counts in 1996 and another six in 1998. The charges related to alleged assaults on boys, some of them altar boys, between 1967 and 1983.

He was cleared of the charges in 2002 when a judge ruled that the case had taken too long to come to trial.

The civil lawsuits state that the parish priest used his position of authority

Posted by kshaw at 07:21 AM

Civil Suits Launched in Cornwall Sexual Assault Allegations

CANADA
580 CFRA

Jenna Fyfe with Melanie Adams
Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Three civil suits have been filed alleging sexual abuse by high profile Cornwall residents.

This comes after 114 charges laid against 15 men under "Project Truth" resulted in only one conviction.

Each claim is for $3.1 million dollars.

The first, by Stuart LaBelle, is against prominent lawyer Jaques Leduc.

The other claims -- by Albert LaLonde and Robert Renshaw -- name Father Charles Macdonald, the Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall, and Bishop's Eugene Laroque and Paul-Andre Durocher as the defendants.

Posted by kshaw at 07:20 AM

Catholic Church Continues its Healing Process

ROCKFORD (IL)
WIFR

Nichole Vrsansky

The U.S. Catholic Church releases its annual child protection audit. It's a yearly report card on how churches are dealing with child abuse policies. Here’s what the audit says about the Rockford Diocese.

The Rockford Diocese gets a passing grade on its child protection audit, but the Diocese doesn't go without new allegations of sexual abuse.

Diocesan spokesperson Penny Wiegert says seven people came forward with allegations against former priest, William Joffee.

The actions all happened between 20 and 29 years ago. Those were things reported in 2004, not things that allegedly happened in 2004," says Diocesan spokesperson Penny Wiegert.

Joffee was relieved of his duties more than 10 years ago. Proof, Weigert says, that the Rockford Diocese has no tolerance for sexual abuse.

Posted by kshaw at 07:18 AM

Sex-abuse suits launched against Cornwall church, lawyer

CANADA
CBC News

CORNWALL, ONT. - Three men in Cornwall are suing the Catholic Church, a former Crown prosecutor and a priest, in the latest development of a sexual-abuse scandal that has long divided the eastern Ontario city.

Albert Lalonde and Robert Renshaw have each launched $3.1-million lawsuits against the Roman Catholic diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall, alleging they were victimized by a former priest, Rev. Charles MacDonald.

The suits name current Bishop Paul-Andre Durocher and his predecessor, Eugene LaRocque, for alleged negligence.

Lalonde, who alleges he was abused when he was an altar boy, struggled to hold back tears at a press conference Tuesday as he remembered running into MacDonald in 1990.

Posted by kshaw at 07:14 AM

Church Abuse Update

COVINGTON (KY)
Lex 18

Covington (AP) The former No. 2 official with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Covington has been cleared of an allegation of sexual abuse, but has not received a new work assignment.

Diocese spokesman Tim Fitzgerald said a new assignment for the Rev. Gerald Reinersman is still under consideration. An ad hoc committee that Bishop Roger Foys formed to investigate the sexual abuse charge found no reason why Reinersman couldn't return to active ministry.

Reinersman wrote in a statement published in the diocese newspaper, The Messenger, that he was always confident a full and fair investigation would clear him.

"Thanks be to God, that day has finally come," he wrote.

Foys placed Reinersman on administrative leave in May, after a Lexington man accused him of repeated sexual abuse in 1979 at Mary Queen of the Holy Rosary parish in Lexington.

The man said he was 7 or 8 at the time, and had repressed all memory of the abuse until several years ago. He was apparently involved in a lawsuit against the diocese. According to the committee's statement, both he and Reinersman gave videotaped depositions to attorneys in January.

Posted by kshaw at 07:13 AM

AG's tally of abuse outpaces church's

NEW HAMPSHIRE
Union Leader

By KATHRYN MARCHOCKI
Union Leader Staff

A discrepancy exists between the number of reports of child sexual abuse against Roman Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Manchester kept by church officials and the state Attorney General's Office in 2004.

A state prosecutor yesterday said it's "very plausible" the inconsistency may be because some alleged victims filed complaints only with the state and not the diocese.

Still, it underscores the need for his office to conduct annual audits of diocesan records and personnel — mandated as part of the agreement the Manchester diocese struck with the state in 2002 to avoid criminal prosecution for child endangerment — Senior Assistant Attorney General N. William Delker said yesterday.

"That is obviously one of the important issues that the audit is supposed to investigate. And until we are able to review their records and speak with personnel who do intake on these cases, we can't compare the information we have with their records," Delker said.

"I don't want to characterize it as a matter of concern, because I don't know whether or not they have reported all the cases. That's certainly something we want to look at," he added.

Posted by kshaw at 07:11 AM

Priest convicted of rape dies while in state prison

NEW HAMPSHIRE
Union Leader

By KATHRYN MARCHOCKI
Union Leader Staff

A Roman Catholic priest convicted last year of raping three altar boys at a Dover parish decades ago died yesterday, nearly 10 months after he began serving a more than 40-year state prison term.

The Rev. Joseph T. Maguire, 73, died of natural causes at Androscoggin Valley Hospital in Berlin about 4:40 a.m., state corrections department spokesman Jeff Lyons said.

Maguire had been incarcerated at the medium-security Northern New Hampshire Correctional Facility in Berlin and was transferred to the hospital Monday, Lyons said.

Maguire admitted in court last year to sexually abusing two altar boys at St. Joseph parish in Dover in the 1970s and 1980s and pleaded guilty to assaulting a third boy during the same period.

Posted by kshaw at 07:10 AM

SNAP seeks case probe

CALIFORNIA
Los Angeles Daily News

By Susan Abram, Staff Writer

SANTA CLARITA - A national support group of sex abuse victims is questioning the decisions made by a Los Angeles Superior Court judge, in light of his suicide in Newhall and allegations he was under investigation for child molestation.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, also known as SNAP, filed a letter Tuesday with presiding Los Angeles Superior Court Judge William MacLaughlin, asking him to review the cases decided on by Judge Lloyd Jeffrey Wiatt, a Valencia resident.

The letter asks MacLaughlin to specifically review sex abuse cases handled by Wiatt, who members of SNAP say may have been lenient on such hearings.

"If Wiatt was a molester himself, how could he possibly treat molestation victims with fairness?" said Mary Grant, Western Regional Director for SNAP. "Citizens and taxpayers need to know whether the victims of sex crimes were treated impartially by Wiatt or not."

Posted by kshaw at 07:02 AM

Superior Court judge makes landmark church official abuse ruling

BOSTON (MA)
Telegram & Gazette

By MICHAEL KUNZELMAN
Associated Press Writer

BOSTON— A Superior Court judge has ruled that a Jehovah's Witness church in Boston can be sued for breaking its trust and legal duty to a girl who claims she was sexually abused by one of the church's ministerial servants.

Suffolk Superior Court Judge Herman Smith Jr.'s ruling earlier this month is believed to be the first time a Massachusetts court has ruled that church officials have a "fiduciary duty" to members of their congregation. Lawyers and doctors already owe a similar legal responsibility to their clients and patients.

Smith's ruling also is expected to open another legal channel for attorneys to bring civil suits against churches for clergy abuse cases, according to Lisa Bruno, news editor for Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly.

"It gives another piece of ammunition to plaintiffs, another grounds for finding a church liable for the actions of priests and ministers," Bruno said.

Carmen Durso, a Boston lawyer who settled 40 lawsuits against the Catholic Boston Archdiocese in 2003, said he expects Smith's ruling to pave the way for more clergy abuse cases to proceed.

"It affords another basis, a stronger basis, for bringing claims against churches in sex abuse cases," Durso said.

Posted by kshaw at 06:56 AM

Imprisoned priest waives parole hearing

WYOMING
Casper Star-Tribune

By TOM MORTON
Star-Tribune staff writer Wednesday, February 23, 2005

A Catholic priest who was sentenced to prison last year for molesting a teenage boy about 20 years ago waived a parole hearing scheduled for Tuesday, according to the Department of Corrections and the Parole Board.

Anthony Jablonowski, who served churches in Guernsey and Lander between 1980 and 1991, pleaded no contest to taking indecent liberties with a 17-year-old boy and was sentenced in April to between 15 months and seven years in prison.

The Parole Board, an agency independent of the Department of Corrections, set up the hearing for Jablonowski, who was automatically entitled to it, said spokeswoman Melinda Brazzale.

However, he declined to participate, according to Brazzale and an e-mail from Patrick Anderson of the Parole Board.

Jablonowski will be eligible for another parole hearing a year from now, Brazzale said.

Parole hearings are closed and confidential, and the only members of the public allowed to attend are those who are registered victims, she said.

The victim was elated to hear that Jablonowski waived his parole hearing. said Judy Jones, who represents the victim and heads the Steubenville, Ohio, chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP).

Posted by kshaw at 06:54 AM

Gilpin told district of lawsuit in '02

MANATEE (FL)
Bradenton Herald

MICHAEL BARBER and AIMEE JUAREZ
Herald Staff Writers

MANATEE - Top-level school officials knew about sexual abuse allegations against former middle school assistant principal Joseph Gilpin in February 2002, according to documents obtained by The Herald.

An e-mail from Gilpin, dated Feb. 4, 2002, informed school district attorney Rob Shapiro that Gilpin was a defendant in a civil suit in Massachusetts. Then-Superintendent Dan Nolan was copied on the e-mail, and the subject of the e-mail was listed as "Per Dr. Nolan."

"Dr. Nolan asked that I send you this e-mail," Gilpin stated in his e-mail. "I am named as a defendant in a civil suit in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts."

The e-mail goes on to tell Shapiro how to contact Gilpin's attorney.

Nolan, who spent 42 years as an employee of the school district, was superintendent in Manatee County from January 2000 to June 2003. Numerous calls by The Herald to Nolan on Tuesday were not returned.

Shapiro, still attorney for the school district, acknowledged Tuesday that Gilpin made him aware in 2002 of the allegations of sexual abuse. The attorney would not discuss whether other school district officials were aware of Gilpin's disclosure.

Posted by kshaw at 06:52 AM

Bishops' audit assailed in Geneva

GENEVA (IL)
Chicago Tribune

By Rita Hoover
Special to the Tribune
Published February 23, 2005

Glowing results of an audit released by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops this week have rankled victims' advocate groups as well as members of Geneva's St. Peter Parish, which has been rocked by the clergy sex abuse scandal.

The Rockford diocese was among 96 percent of dioceses that the report for 2004 deemed to be in compliance with conference guidelines on reporting sexual abuse by priests, even though it was found to be in contempt of court for not turning over documents subpoenaed in the criminal investigation of Geneva priest Mark Campobello.

Two days after the diocese lost its appeal of that ruling, Campobello pleaded guilty to sexually abusing two teenage girls. He is serving an 8-year sentence in the Illinois Department of Corrections.

The victims later filed civil suits against both him and the diocese, asking for damages in excess of $50,000 from each.

"To give the Rockford diocese a passing grade in light of the way they've handled the entire Campobello matter, in my mind, questions the credibility and effectiveness of this organization," said Frank Bochte, a Geneva parishioner who once was chastised from St. Peter's pulpit for publicly questioning the motives of the diocese in the case.

Posted by kshaw at 06:50 AM

February 22, 2005

Archbishop apologizes to sex abuse victim

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Centre Daily

Associated Press

ST. LOUIS - The mail brought an apology letter for at least one man sexually abused by a priest.

Tim Fischer received a letter from Archbishop Raymond Burke that had been promised under a December settlement with the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

Fischer, 43, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch the letter he received Saturday was important to him because his abuser, the late Rev. Norman Christian, once told him: "'Who are they going to believe - you or a priest?'"

More than 30 victims and parents have been waiting for apology letters from Burke.

Burke's spokesman, Jamie Allman, said he did not know how if Fischer's letter was the only one sent out on Friday but that all of the remainder would be sent by the end of this week.

Advocates for priest abuse victims told the Post-Dispatch that apology letters are difficult to obtain.

Posted by kshaw at 05:44 PM

Stay away from women and the telly, sadhus told

INDIA
Express India

Rajkot, February 22: With the sex-on-CDs creating quite a controversy, trustees of the Radharaman Swaminaryan temple in Junagadh (Vadtal sect) now want to keep the sadhus on the straight and narrow. The new code of conduct announced on Monday bars contact and conversation with women, ownership of private property and all luxury items including the telly.

At a meeting on Monday attended by all nine members of the Radharaman Trust of Junagadh Swaminarayan temple, including chairman Devnandan Das, new rules were framed barring sadhus from owning private property and making any kind of investment. It was also decided that all luxury items should be removed from the rooms/houses of sadhus, their bank balances monitored and all violations of guidelines would invite punishment.

However, the board has not yet decided what to do about sadhus who already own property worth several lakhs and have heavily invested in the stock market, real estate and gold market.

Posted by kshaw at 05:35 PM

'Faith' healing

UNITED STATES
New York Newsday

BY JOHN ANDERSON
John Anderson is a regular contributor to Newsday.

February 23, 2005

When the unwelcome tears finally flow, they don't spring from Tony Comes' memories of molestation, or what the fireman says his experience has done to his family. Or the way he says the Catholic Church has tried to sidestep the issue. Or any of the myriad pressures that have surrounded him like flames at a five-alarm fire.

The tears are prompted instead by a question about children - not his own young son and daughter, but those fathered by the man who made his own childhood something he'd like to forget.

"That's the hardest part for me," said Comes, whose story is the heart of "Twist of Faith," Kirby Dick's film about sexual abuse by clergymen, and a nominee for best documentary at Sunday's Academy Awards. "Early on, I said to these guys[the filmmakers], [for], all the good I hope to do with this, it's his kids who will pay for the sins of their father.' And they've done nothing wrong. And I feel so bad for them, because they're not victims directly - I hope - but they're going to have to look at their father, and hear things about their father, and choose what to believe. ... I hope they don't hate me."

Posted by kshaw at 05:13 PM

Massachusetts priest named in sex abuse lawsuit in Texas

WORCESTER (MA)
Boston Herald

By Associated Press
Tuesday, February 22, 2005

WORCESTER, Mass. - A Roman Catholic priest living in Massachusetts has been accused of sexual abuse by two Texas men who also allege the dioceses in Worcester and Fort Worth, Texas, conspired to help the priest avoid arrest.

Two men, identified only as John Doe I and John Doe II in the lawsuit filed in Tarrant County District Court in Forth Worth, allege the Rev. Thomas Teczar sexually abused them while he was pastor of St. Rita's Church in Ranger, a small town in northern Texas.

Teczar, who now lives in Dudley and who served as a priest in the Worcester diocese until he was removed from his duties in 1986, denied the allegations, and said he does not know the man identified as John Doe II.

``I never met him. I never even talked to him. I never touched him,'' Teczar said in a telephone interview Monday with the Telegram & Gazette of Worcester. He also told the newspaper that he knows the man identified in the suit as John Doe I ``only from the gas station'' in Ranger, where the abuse is alleged to have occurred.

Teczar, who said he is representing himself in court, said the two men have submitted no evidence supporting their claims. The Worcester diocese already has reportedly settled other lawsuits by Massachusetts men alleging Teczar abused them.

Posted by kshaw at 12:25 PM

Abuse victim gets apology from Burke

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Post-Dispatch

By Tim Townsend
Of the Post-Dispatch
Monday, Feb. 21 2005

What Tim Fischer wanted more than anything else was an apology.

He wanted someone to say "I'm sorry" for the fact that when he was 11 years old
he was raped by the late Rev. Norman Christian, a Roman Catholic priest in the
Archdiocese of St. Louis who was removed from ministry in 1995.
So, in his settlement with the archdiocese, Fischer, now 43 and an electrician
from Crystal City, asked for an apology, in writing, from Archbishop Raymond
Burke. That was in mid-December. Fischer got his letter on Saturday. But more
than 30 victims and their parents have been waiting for apologies from Burke,
some for a year or more.
The archdiocese has repeatedly said it will do everything in its power to help
heal victims of sexual abuse at the hands of its priests. In his letter of
apology, Burke offered to meet with Fischer.

Posted by kshaw at 10:27 AM

Church tries to clean house

GREECE
Athen News

GEORGE GILSON

GREECE'S embattled Archbishop Christodoulos has called a synod of the full church hierarchy in an effort to convince the public that he is intent on purging the church of sexual and financial scandals.

The synod's spokesman, Metropolitan Dorotheos of Syros, announced that the archbishop would give the sole presentation at the February 18-19 meeting, where he would propose a series of measures intended to implement transparency.

These included speedy church trials for ethical transgressions by bishops and lower clergy and various vague measures, such as "further utilisation of clergy and laity in church administration", instituting additional financial review mechanisms, and "elevation of the holy clergy". In addition, reports indicated that completion of military service will be required to be ordained a priest.

But with Christodoulos setting the agenda, the meeting of the hierarchy would not examine serious allegations against the archbishop himself. ...

Two other members of Christodoulos' innermost circle are also under fire. Metropolitan Theoklitos of Thessaliotis (Karditsa) is under investigation by a three-member committee of bishops. In a sworn affidavit, Theoklitos' predecessor, Metropolitan Constantine, alleged that Theoklitos was arrested in a bar on suspicion of drug dealing, along with priest Seraphim Koulousousas, who later served as Christodoulos' private secretary for two years.

The tabloid Avriani on February 15 ran a front-page story reporting that Koulousousas attempted suicide with an overdose of pills after breaking up an affair of several years with Theoklitos. The paper attempted to link Koulousousas with the ongoing crisis in the Greek judiciary, noting that the priest is a cousin of Judge George Kalousis, whose expulsion on charges of bribery and running a prostitution ring has been proposed by the supreme court.

Posted by kshaw at 09:19 AM

Net closes round Vavilis

GREECE
Kathimerini

Three more churchmen were drawn yesterday into the burgeoning corruption and gay sex scandal bedeviling the Church of Greece, as police tightened their net around a fugitive drug dealer suspected of playing a pivotal part in the affair.

Apostolos Vavilis, on the Interpol wanted list for a drugs conviction — but until recently apparently far from police priorities — has been linked with the head of the Church, Archbishop Christodoulos, who wrote him a letter of recommendation and allegedly sent him to Jerusalem to monitor the controversial election for a new patriarch in 2001.

Yesterday, police sources said they expected to arrest Vavilis — who is understood to have supplied the force with security equipment while still officially on the run — within the next few days. This followed a weekend raid on a flat used by Vavilis in Holargos, northern Athens.

Yesterday, police said the fugitive’s fingerprints had been found in the flat, which had been rented in the name of Archimandrite Nikodimos Farmakis, a cleric close to Kallinikos, Bishop of Piraeus. Farmakis has denied having rented the flat, but admitted to having visited Vavilis — who has reportedly expressed a desire to surrender — there.

Posted by kshaw at 09:15 AM

Suspect in assault, theft still on run

NORTHFIELD (NH)
Nashua Telegraph

Published: Monday, Feb. 21, 2005

NORTHFIELD (AP) - A Northfield man charged with sexual assault and theft is still on the run, police said.

Scott Nash, 46, molested three young girls who are members of Trinity Episcopal Church in Tilton and took more than $5,000 from the church, police said.

The girls’ ages weren’t disclosed. Nash is facing three felony sexual assault charges, two of them aggravated, along with a felony theft count.

Posted by kshaw at 07:21 AM

Mendham pastor resigns suddenly

MENDHAM (NJ)
Daily Record

By Abbott Koloff, Daily Record

MENDHAM -- The Rev. Philip Briganti has resigned as pastor of St. Joseph's Church less than a year after he took over a parish that has been at the center of the Catholic priest sex abuse scandal in New Jersey.

Church officials said on Monday that Briganti, a longtime military chaplain, will be replaced immediately by Monsignor Joseph Anginoli, pastor of St. Simon the Apostle in Rockaway Township. They did not say why Briganti decided to step down but said it was the priest's decision and was not forced on him.

Briganti did not attend Mass at St. Joseph's this past weekend and parishioners said they were told he was ill. Church officials said on Monday that something came up in Briganti's personal life that made it difficult for him to continue as pastor. They would not be more specific.

"Father Briganti has encountered a distressful situation in his personal life which could render ineffective his mission as pastor," said Marianna Thompson, a spokeswoman for Bishop Arthur Serratelli of the Paterson Roman Catholic Diocese.

That "distressful situation" apparently involves a police investigation, according to church officials, but those who know about the investigation said it does not involve allegations of criminal wrongdoing against Briganti. They said Briganti was not a suspect in the investigation. Church officials said that any information would have to come from law enforcement authorities.

Posted by kshaw at 07:16 AM

SNAP's Response & Analysis of Abuse Survey Statistics

UNITED STATES
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

SNAP presents some context & analysis of the self-reported clergy sex abuse numbers released by a Catholic panel last week. Here are nine points which lead to a more accurate viewpoint of the current status of the Catholic clergy abuse crisis.

1. The most significant, yet overlooked statistic from last week. . .

2. The single most telling number. . .

3. The numbers church officials downplayed. . .

Posted by kshaw at 07:11 AM

More than 600 Catholic Clerics Accused of Sex Abuse of Minors, Incidents Date Back Decades

UNITED STATES
Insurance Journal

February 21, 2005

More than 600 U.S. Catholic diocesan priests and deacons were accused in 2004 of sexual abuse of minors, with the majority of allegations of abuse occurring between 1970 and 1974. Half of these clergy had been subject of accusations previously. Most of the alleged offenders (71 percent) were deceased, already removed from ministry, or had been previously returned to the lay state (laicized) when the 2004 allegations were made.

Approximately $19,785,325 was spent for child protection efforts, such as training programs and background checks. Costs expended in 2004 for settlements, therapy for victims and offenders and attorney fees was estimated at $139,582,157. This total includes sums expended for allegations reported in previous years.

The figures are based on a survey by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA), which was commissioned by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). The Georgetown-based CARA collected the data in December 2004 and January 2005. The survey report included responses from 181, or 93 percent, of the 195 dioceses and eparchies (dioceses of the Eastern Catholic Churches) in the United States. The data is part of the 2004 Annual Report of the Office of Child and Youth Protection (OCYP), made public Feb.18 at a press conference in Washington.

The U.S. bishops voted in November 2004 to establish a data collection procedure whereby dioceses and eparchies would report annually information regarding allegations of sexual abuse of minors by priests and deacons and costs associated with the abuse.

Posted by kshaw at 06:56 AM

Church leader wanted for assault

NORTHFIELD (NH)
Concord Monitor

By MELANIE ASMAR and ANNMARIE TIMMINS
Monitor staff

February 19. 2005 8:00AM

NORTHFIELD - The police are searching for a 45-year-old church volunteer who is wanted on charges that he sexually assaulted several girls and stole church money.

Scott Nash, previously of 20 Summer St., was the senior warden at the Trinity Episcopal Church in Tilton. He is wanted on two counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault, one count of felonious sexual assault and one count of theft.

Nash was previously convicted of stealing money from an employer and served time in jail.

The alleged assaults occurred over the past year, some of them at Nash's Summer Street residence, according to Northfield Police Chief Scott Hilliard. He has since been evicted.

A member of the church for five years, Nash was one of two youth ministers. He also performed secretarial duties as a paid part-time administrator, according to the Rev. Tim Rich of the Episcopal Diocese.

Posted by kshaw at 06:49 AM

Judge keeps eye on Archdiocese legal bills

PORTLAND (OR)
KGW

02/22/2005

Associated Press

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Elizabeth Perris is concerned that lawyers for the Archdiocese of Portland are eating away at money she wants preserved for creditors.

Earlier this month, the judge asked the archdiocese's lawyers to attend a Feb. 8 hearing on legal fees. In a letter, she suggested that the number of meetings among lawyers "may be excessive."

Perris also questioned whether the firms were dividing up responsibilities efficiently, whether they were doing unnecessary work and whether the bills complied fully with bankruptcy rules, The Oregonian reported in its Tuesday editions.

As of Jan. 31, the archdiocese has accrued almost $2.2 million in legal bills during the course of its 7-month-old bankruptcy.

Posted by kshaw at 06:43 AM

Prosecutors looking to beef up sex-abuse case against priest

GREEN BAY (WI)
Press-Gazette

By Andy Nelesen
anelesen@greenbaypressgazette.com

Prosecutors Monday filed a motion asking to use evidence of other molestations and crimes against a priest accused of fondling a 10-year-old boy in the 1980s.

And police want to hear from anyone who might have had an encounter with Donald Buzanowski

Buzanowski, 62, faces, faces two counts of first-degree sexual assault of a child for allegedly fondling a 10-year-old boy while serving as a counselor at Ss. Peter & Paul Catholic School in Green Bay. If convicted, he faces up to 40 years in prison.

In Brown County Circuit Court documents, special prosecutor Vince Biskupic said he wants to use evidence from Buzanowski’s November 2000 conviction for possession of child pornography and an unprosecuted allegation made by a 39-year-old man who said Buzanowski molested him “20 times or more” during visits to a Door County cottage beginning in the summer of 1978.

Posted by kshaw at 06:38 AM

Priest encountered troubles before his ordination

WORCESTER (MA)
Telegram & Gazette

By Kathleen A. Shaw TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF
kshaw@telegram.com

There were red flags very early in the career of Rev. Thomas H. Teczar with the Catholic Diocese of Worcester.

The priest had multiple assignments in the Worcester diocese before Bishop Timothy J. Harrington finally removed him from ministry in 1986.

The problems, which began when he was in seminary in the early 1960s, are discussed in documents from the Worcester diocese and in depositions gathered in a civil lawsuit pending against Rev. Teczar in Texas. Two men allege that he sexually abused them when they were teenagers and he was serving in Ranger, Texas.

When he was a young seminarian at St. Paul’s Seminary, in Ottawa, Canada, the seminary staff noted he had “effeminate manners” and did not “seem well-balanced.” They found it “very doubtful” that he would be ordained to priesthood, according to a report from the seminary. He was dropped from the seminary in 1963, and Bishop Bernard J. Flanagan was notified.

Bishop Flanagan contacted former Worcester Bishop John J. Wright, who then was bishop in Pittsburgh, to see if he would take Mr. Teczar. Bishop Wright, in a letter to Bishop Flanagan, turned him down as an “insecure risk.” Bishop Flanagan in 1964 succeeded in getting Mr. Teczar enrolled at St. Francis Seminary, Loreto, Pa. He was dismissed in 1967 for being “erratic and eccentric in his patterns of behavior,” according to a letter from a seminary official to Bishop Flanagan.

After Loreto, Bishop Flanagan sent the seminarian to Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Winchendon to be evaluated by Monsignor David M. Elwood. By June, the monsignor told Bishop Flanagan that he saw “many frequent instances of poor judgment” and his giving free reign to “his own impulses.” He also told the bishop in his report that he showed a propensity to “exclusive companionship with young boys,” and he feared this behavior would “break out again.” He recommended against ordination of Mr. Teczar.

Leaving Winchendon, Mr. Teczar went to work at the Nazareth Home for Boys in Leicester in the summer of 1967, but he was later fired for sexual misconduct with boys. The information was obtained from a deposition from Peter Trainor, a counselor who worked with Mr. Teczar that summer at Nazareth.

Bishop Flanagan, however, decided to ordain Mr. Teczar in December 1967, according to his assignment card provided by the Worcester diocese.

The new priest was assigned to St. Joan of Arc Parish, Worcester, where by 1968 he was accused of sexually abusing John Riganati, then a 16-year-old altar boy. The abuse lasted for two years, according to Mr. Riganati’s affidavit, which was taken under oath. Mr. Riganati later settled a civil lawsuit with the diocese. Rev. Teczar also was accused of abusing a blind adult man for about a year starting in 1970, according to an affidavit obtained from the alleged victim.

Rev. Teczar was transferred to St. Mary’s Parish in Uxbridge in 1971. While there, he was accused of sexually abusing three teenage boys, including David Lewcon, who later sued the diocese and Rev. Teczar.

After the Uxbridge allegations, he was transferred in 1972 to St. Ann’s Parish, Leicester. By 1973, the diocese decided to send Rev. Teczar for two years of treatment at the House of Affirmation in Whitinsville. He was next sent to St. Aloysius Parish, Gilbertville, where he ran the parish while undergoing outpatient treatment in Whitinsville.

Rev. Teczar was reassigned to Immaculate Conception Parish, Worcester, in late 1975, and he stayed there until Bishop Timothy P. Harrington moved him to Sacred Heart Parish, Gardner, in 1980.

He ran into more problems there when a Gardner family alleged that Rev. Teczar attempted to sexually abuse their 15-year-old son. The parents demanded that Bishop Harrington remove the priest from ministry to prevent him from harming other boys, according to a letter they sent to Bishop Harrington. The bishop instead allowed him to be pastor at St. Aloysius in Rochdale while he sought treatment. The Gardner parents did not agree with the finding, and the court records show they later sent their complaint to the Vatican.

After months of evaluation at the House of Affirmation, Rev. Teczar was asked by Bishop Harrington resign as pastor of St. Aloysius, and he was sent for residential therapy at another treatment facility in California, remaining there until October 1985.

A therapist said that Rev. Teczar had long-standing issues with sexual identity and recommended that he take a leave from the priesthood, according to the therapist’s letter to the bishop. Rev. Teczar did not take a leave and was sent to the Institute of Living in Hartford, according to a deposition from Rev. Teczar.

Bishop Harrington in 1986 finally barred Rev. Teczar from functioning as a priest in the Worcester diocese and suggested that the priest find another bishop to take him in, according to a letter the bishop sent to Bishop Daniel P. Reilly in Norwich, Conn. Bishop Harrington said that Rev. Teczar would no longer be allowed an assignment in the Worcester diocese.

Rev. Teczar asked Bishop Reilly, who would later head the Worcester diocese, for an assignment in the Norwich diocese, but was rejected. About that time, another allegation had surfaced regarding a 16-year-old boy, whose parents threatened legal action.

Frustrated by his inability to get a diocese to take him in, Rev. Teczar in May 1987 hired a Worcester civil lawyer to see if there was a legal avenue to restore him to active ministry, according to a legal memorandum provided by the lawyer to the Fort Worth diocese.

Rev. Teczar was next accepted as a priest in the Fort Worth, Texas, diocese. Although he had no permission to perform as a priest in Worcester, he was giving what church officials call “faculties” to perform the duties of a priest in that diocese.

Posted by kshaw at 06:32 AM

Diocese faces conspiracy suit in abuse case

WORCESTER (MA)
Telegram & Gazette

By Kathleen A. Shaw TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF
kshaw@telegram.com

Two Texas men have accused the Catholic Diocese of Worcester and the Diocese of Fort Worth, Texas, of conspiring to help the Rev. Thomas H. Teczar slip in and out of two states to avoid arrest on criminal charges of sexually abusing underage boys.

The pair filed suit in Tarrant County District Court in Fort Worth alleging that Rev. Teczar, who was a priest in the Worcester diocese, sexually abused them while he was serving parishes in Ranger, Texas.

The dioceses of Worcester and Fort Worth have submitted a motion for summary judgment to dismiss the suit. They argue that the suits were filed after the statute of limitations had expired. A hearing on that motion is scheduled for 9 a.m. Thursday in the Fort Worth court.

Rev. Teczar, who now lives in Dudley, denied the allegations and said he does not know the man identified in court documents as John Doe II.

“I never met him. I never even talked to him. I never touched him,” he said in a telephone interview yesterday. Rev. Teczar, who previously refused to publicly discuss accusations against him, is representing himself in the suit.

He said he has read the material submitted in the case and that when taken line by line, the lawsuit is “pathetic.”

He said he knows the man identified as John Doe I “only from the gas station” in Ranger, a small town in northern Texas where the sexual abuse is alleged to have occurred.

Posted by kshaw at 06:29 AM

February 21, 2005

Prosecutors want to use previous evidence against priest

GREEN BAY (WI)
Duluth News Tribune

Associated Press

GREEN BAY, Wis. - Prosecutors asked the court Monday to use evidence of other molestations and a previous conviction of child pornography possession against a priest charged with molesting a 10-year-old boy.

Prosecutors filed the motion as police put out a request to hear from anyone who might have had an encounter with Donald Buzanowski.

Buzanowski, 62, faces two counts of first-degree sexual assault of a child for allegedly fondling a 10-year-old boy while serving as a counselor at Ss. Peter & Paul Catholic School in Green Bay. If convicted, he faces up to 40 years in prison.

In the court documents, special prosecutor Vince Biskupic said he wants to use evidence from Buzanowski's November 2000 conviction for possession of child pornography and an unprosecuted allegation made by a 39-year-old man. The man said Buzanowski molested him "20 times or more" during visits to a Door County cottage beginning in the summer of 1978.

Posted by kshaw at 11:41 PM

Catholic Bishops Issue Update on Child Abuse Scandal

UNITED STATES
Family News in Focus

by Keith Peters, Washington, D.C., correspondent

An end may finally be in sight to the sexual abuse scandal that has rocked the Roman Catholic Church.

For a couple of years now, the Catholic Church has been devastated by a sexual abuse scandal. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops says, while the crisis involving the sexual abuse of minors in the church is not over, the church's leaders are hoping that a corner has been turned.

Still, Dr. Kathleen McChesney of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said the crisis is not over because thousands of victims across the country are still reporting the abuse.

"In 2004, at least 1,092 allegations of sexual abuse were made against at least 756 Catholic priests and deacons in the United States," McChesney said. "Most of the alleged incidents occurred between 1965 and 1974. What is over is the denial that this problem exists, and what is over is the reluctance of the church to deal openly with the public about the nature and extent of the problem."

David Clohessy, who is with the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said he hopes the Catholic Church will now be proactive.

Posted by kshaw at 11:36 PM

Greek Orthodox Church Endorses Major Reforms

GREECE
Christian Today

Posted: Monday, February 21 , 2005, 15:56 (GMT)

After the meeting of the 102-member Holy Synod, the governing body of the Greek Orthodox Church, in Athens from Friday to Saturday, a number of new measures were approved. The urgent major reform, called by His Beatitude Christodoulos, Archbishop of Athens and All Greece, has the aim to ease the Church out of the recent scandals, misconducts and corruption among churchmen.

Christodoulos presented his proposals regarding the present crisis in the Church and his suggestions for dealing with it. The crisis is one of the worst in recent times and has seriously damaged the reputation of the Church.

The plenary session of the Hierarchy did however, finally approved a series of measures proposed by Archbishop Christodoulos. In the wake of the misbehaviour of churchmen that has unfolded over the past month, the first proposal is to form a council of judges, chaired by the head of the Church, that will look into charges concerning bishops and suggest action to the Church ruling body, the Holy Synod.

Posted by kshaw at 06:24 PM

Church anger over Bollywood film

INDIA
BBC News

Roman Catholic organisations in India have demanded the withdrawal of a film that depicts a priest having an affair with a girl half his age.

Indian television channels are now refusing to run the promotional material for the film, Sins, ahead of its release on Friday.

The director of the film, Vinod Pande, says the movie is not offensive and has refused to withdraw it.

Catholics are planning a protest in Mumbai (Bombay) on Wednesday.

Posted by kshaw at 06:20 PM

Swaminarayan temple priest removed from Vadtal sect

INDIA
Rediff.com

February 22, 2005 00:40 IST

Bhaktiswarup, a priest belonging to the Junagadh Swaminarayan temple who has been arrested in a sex scandal involving sadhus of the Vadtal religious sect, was on Monday dismissed from the sect.

The decision to remove the priest, who is in police custody, was taken at a meeting of all the nine trustees. Its chairman Devnandan Das moved the resolution to remove Bhaktiswarup. The sect's highest priest, Acharya Rakesh Prasad, also backed the decision, temple authorities told PTI.

The trustees also decided to remove all luxury items from the rooms/houses of sadhus of the sect, monitor their bank balances and also punish those found violating the guidelines laid out for them.

In another major decision, the trustees also decided that henceforth sadhus would not be allowed to make administrative decisions.

Posted by kshaw at 06:18 PM

Swaminarayan temple priest removed from Vadtal sect

INDIA
The Times of India

JUNAGADH: The trustees of the Vadtal sect of Swaminarayan temple dismissed Bhaktiswarup from the sect, who was arrested for featuring in a video sex expose, involving some its priests, Vadtal temple sources said on Monday.

The decision to remove the priest, who is in custody of Crime Branch, was taken at a meeting of all the nine trustees in the presence of its chairman Devnandan Das, who moved the resolution to remove Bhaktiswarup and also got a nod from the Vadtal sect's highest priest Acharya Rakesh Prasad, temple authorities said.

The trustees also decided to remove all luxury items from the rooms/houses of sadhus of the sect, monitor their bank balances and also punish them if anybody was found violating the guidelines that sadus were supposed to follow.

Posted by kshaw at 06:15 PM

Speaking Out About Priest Abuse

IOWA
KWWL

Eastern Iowans speak out about more allegations of sexual abuse in the catholic church.

For many Eastern Iowans, the reports are no longer shocking. The latest audit by the catholic church shows nearly three dozen new complaints of sexual abuse by catholic priests in Eastern Iowa.

Going to church every Sunday is a ritual for some Eastern Iowans. But attending meetings to support victims of sexual abuse in the catholic church is a choice Mary and David Hacker make on a regular basis. David Hacker says, "I was from a parish in Waterloo where there was abuse and some of it is starting to come out now. And also, I felt strongly that the people here in Davenport, the bishop was responding as a person who went through a lawsuit rather than as a Christian."

St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Iowa City is part of the Davenport Diocese. Church members dealt with news of sexual abuse in the Davenport Diocese after thirty-eight men came forward saying they were abused by priests when they were children. Mary Hacker says, "many catholics think since the suit is settled, the whole thing is gone, and we're afraid people will forget what happened to these people."

Posted by kshaw at 06:05 PM

Father John J. Szantyr competency still in question, case continued.

WORCESTER (MA)
Worcester Voice

Father John J. Szantyr was unable to attend a scheduled court hearing on February 17, 2005. Attorney Edward P. Ryan Jr., of Fitchburg appeared on his behalf.

In room 411 of Worcester Central District court, Attorney Ryan informed Worcester Central Court Judge Sarkis Teshoian that his client was unable to attend due to his current condition.

Attorney Ryan presented to the court a medical evaluation of Fr. Szantyr in reference to his competency however portions of the medical evaluation had been redacted to preserved confidentiality.

Judge Teshoian acknowledged that the redaction made the evaluation rather difficult for the court to comprehend.

Posted by kshaw at 10:03 AM

Rod Dreher: Where's the rage, Catholic men?

UNITED STATES
The Dallas Morning News

By ROD DREHER / The Dallas Morning News

With Pope John Paul II ailing, Catholics are starting to think about the next pope. My choice? Marine Corps Lt. Gen. James Mattis, the crusty leatherneck now in trouble for saying that in war, it's fun to shoot bad guys.

The Marine general told his audience: "You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn't wear a veil. You know, guys like that ain't got no manhood left anyway. So it's a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them."

Whoa! That's a real man talking. OK, OK, I'm not serious about wanting the Marine Corps' Dirty Harry serving as the Vicar of Christ. Still, my church needs a leader who takes visceral satisfaction in delivering justice to bullies. If John Paul had pitilessly shot down the careers of molester-shuffling American bishops early on, the church would be a better place today.

Posted by kshaw at 09:59 AM

Bishops approve proposed reform

GREECE
Kathimerini

MARIA MAROYIANNI/ANA

The scandal-ridden Church of Greece decided on Saturday to enlist Greece’s top judges in investigating future allegations of misconduct among senior churchmen, as bishops approved reforms meant to ease the Church out of one of the worst crises of recent years.

The plenary session of the Hierarchy approved a series of measures proposed by Archbishop Christodoulos, including the formation of a council of judges, chaired by the head of the Church, that will look into charges concerning bishops and suggest action to the Church ruling body, the Holy Synod. Members of the council, which must be approved by the government, will include one deputy president each from the Supreme Court, the Council of State, the State Audit Council and the State Legal Council. Among other measures, bishops agreed to table annual asset and funds-source declarations, to seek state monitoring of Church finances, and to wear less ostentatious robes.

The Church has been rocked by allegations that top clerics were involved in trial-fixing, corruption and sex scandals. This forced a pledge to cleanse the institution from Christodoulos, who presented his proposals on Friday. At the same time, the Church leader, who has also come under criticism for his links with a convicted drug dealer on the run from Interpol, easily weathered a surprise no-confidence vote.

Posted by kshaw at 06:45 AM

Church, channels decry 'Sins':

INDIA
New Kerala

[Cinema India, Bollywood]: Mumbai, Feb 21 : Producer-director Vinod Pande has decided to go ahead with the release of his controversial film "Sins" Friday, despite a ban called by Catholic groups and a refusal by satellite channels to screen promos.

"Sins", according to Pande, tells the story of a Catholic priest who slips and commits a crime of passion with a young girl.

While Catholic organisations have raised strong protests, questioning the film's portrayal of the priest, satellite channels have refused to show the "sexually explicit" promos of the film branding them fit for adult viewing, reports Bollywood Trade.

Pande, however, is neither perturbed by the ballyhoo nor is he considering meeting any of the Catholic heads.

Posted by kshaw at 06:39 AM

CHURCH CLEANUP

GREECE
Macedonian News Agency

Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece called on the faithful yesterday to stand by the Church's side and support it during the trying times is going through, while on the occasion of the consecration of the new Metropolite of Patras he said that there is still hope through the new hierarchs that become members of the Greek Orthodox Church hierarchy.

On Saturday evening, the plenary session of the Church of Greece hierarchy approved with an overwhelming majority a number of measures proposed by Archbishop Chrostodoulos for the cleanup of the Church.

Posted by kshaw at 06:36 AM

Sex abuse claims cost archdiocese $18 million

SEATTLE (WA)
The News Tribune

STEVE MAYNARD; The News Tribune
Last updated: February 19th, 2005 02:35 AM

The Archdiocese of Seattle has spent $18 million since 1987 dealing with cases of clergy sexual abuse, including $4.5 million in 2004 as new accusations surfaced, the church reported Friday.

Last year, the Seattle archdiocese received 31 new allegations of clergy abuse against 10 priests. The abuse allegedly occurred from 1955 to the mid-1980s.

The priests are either deceased, defrocked or permanently removed from ministry – except for one, who’s on leave pending action by the Vatican.

From 1950-2004, 52 priests working in the archdiocese were accused of sexual abuse. Accusations against three of those priests came to light last year. Of those, two are dead and one is defrocked, said Greg Magnoni, spokesman for the Seattle archdiocese.

A total of 184 people have made allegations over the years. Several priests have had multiple accusers.

Posted by kshaw at 06:34 AM

Blackwell's Congregation Reacts to his Conviction

BALTIMORE (MD)
WJZ

Feb 20, 2005 7:33 pm US/Eastern
Just days after the verdict against Maurice Blackwell his former congregation begins dealing with the fallout. A Baltimore City jury convicted the former priest on three of four counts of child sex abuse. Blackwell was found guilty of abusing Dontee Stokes more than ten years ago, when Stokes served as an altar boy at St. Edwards Catholic Church in the late 80's and early 90's.

Stokes shot Blackwell on a Baltimore street a decade later, when Stokes confronted his former priest and asked for an apology.

Today, members of St. Edwards would not comment on the verdict, but one neighbor who lives near the church tells Eyewitness News, the situation is troubling. Steven Miller says, "Out of respect for the church, neighbors and parishioners are hush-hush about the whole thing, but the verdict speaks for itself".

Posted by kshaw at 06:27 AM

67 clergy abuse complaints reported in '04

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Globe

February 21, 2005

The Catholic Archdiocese of Boston fielded 67 new complaints last year of sexual abuse by clergy, including one alleging abuse within the past 12 months, according to an archdiocese statement.

The allegations were made against 40 diocesan priests or deacons and 16 priests from religious orders, the statement said.

The bulk of the complaints involved alleged abuse in 1995 or earlier.

Results of the first annual survey of clergy abuse allegations and costs, conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University, were released Friday by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The Boston Archdiocese spent $5 million on settlements of abuse claims and about $1 million on treatment of victims and their families, the statement from the archdiocese said.

It spent $740,000 on child protection initiatives, including training.

Posted by kshaw at 06:25 AM

Police investigate alleged cult rituals by Ohio priests

TOLEDO (OH)
Beacon Journal

Associated Press

TOLEDO - An investigation into a Roman Catholic nun's slaying 24 years ago has broadened with authorities now probing accusations that children were molested and raped by priests in ritual services decades ago, The Blade reported.

Spurred by leads that emerged since the arrest of the Rev. Gerald Robinson in the death of Sister Margaret Ann Pahl, police have searched an abandoned house in Lucas County where people reportedly took part in abuse ceremonies, the newspaper reported.

The newspaper said detectives have been looking for evidence of cult gatherings in church attics and basements and have talked with religious experts on occult groups and church history. They also have interviewed the founder of a secret fraternity whose members dressed in nuns' clothing.

Prosecutors said they will continue to investigate, but trying to substantiate claims from so long ago is difficult. Police have not linked any ritual abuse to the 66-year-old Robinson, prosecutors said.

The Blade reported that its investigation, based on hundreds of police and diocese records and interviews, showed that prosecutors are still studying details of Pahl's slaying, including a pattern of stab wounds resembling a cross.

The nun was found April 5, 1980, in the sacristy of Mercy Hospital in 1980. She had been strangled and repeatedly stabbed, her body posed to look like she was sexually assaulted.

Posted by kshaw at 06:21 AM

At U. of C., students back priest who had an affair

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Tribune

By John Keilman
Tribune staff reporter
Published February 21, 2005

A group of Catholic students at the University of Chicago lent public support Sunday to a priest who left the school after revelations surfaced of a sexual relationship in his past.

The Catholic Student Association issued a letter calling Rev. Michael Yakaitis "a great leader, priest, and man" and urging others to distinguish between the priest's affair with an 18-year-old seminarian and the sex-abuse scandals that have consumed the church in recent years.

"It is important to realize that this does not fit into the same category as other cases such as the abuse of minors, and we implore the reader to realize the profound differences here," the group wrote.

The group is not calling for Yakaitis' reinstatement as chaplain of Calvert House, a Catholic student center in Hyde Park.

Posted by kshaw at 06:19 AM

Author's forthcoming book

UNITED STATES
Renew America

Matt C. Abbott

Courtesy of Michael S. Rose, editor of Cruxnews.com and Dellachiesa.com:

Spence Publishing announced it had acquired the rights to publish Michael S. Rose's The Lavender Mafia, according to a report in "Publishers Marketplace." Author of Goodbye! Good Men, Michael S. Rose's The Lavender Mafia is an account of the inner workings of a far-reaching network of gay clerics and their allies in the Catholic Church that has promoted its own, intimidated its enemies, and paved the way for the current sex abuse scandals. Spence Publishing has set spring of 2006 as the release date.

Posted by kshaw at 06:17 AM

February 20, 2005

Alleged church victims still looking for justice

GRAND RAPIDS (MI)
WZZM

Gita Pullapilly

GRAND RAPIDS - Many Catholics who say they were abused by local priests are still looking for justice years later.

But prosecutors say the law doesn´t allow it because they waited too long. A report released last week shows four new allegations of sexual abuse in the Grand Rapids Catholic Diocese.

The incidents allegedly happened more than 20 years ago.

In 2002, Marc Bullerman came forward publically claiming he was sexually abused by a Grand Rapids priest over 20 years ago. "He would put his hand on my leg and bring it up and try to go underneath the pants and stuff like that and I´d try to move," said Bullerman.

He met his alleged abuser in 1981 when he was 15. "When this first happened I went to the diocese, I told him what this man did and they said ok they´ll take care of it. It was hush hush, come to find out they just shoved him off to another place," he said.

It was after Marc reported the incident again, 21 years later, when the diocese removed the priest from the church. "We have substantiated that case and therefore the decision was made to permanently remove him," said Bishop Robert Rose in May of 2002.

Posted by kshaw at 03:09 PM

"Voice Of The Faithful" Letter Takes On Church Leadership

CINCINNATI (OH)
WCPO

Reported by: Becky Freemal
Web produced by: Neil Relyea
Photographed by: 9News
2/20/2005 10:09:47 AM
As the Cincinnati Archdiocese's Archbishop asks for funding, a group of Catholics concerned about church leadership are asking people to join them in showing their disdain for him.

The group who calls themselves "Voice of the Faithful," will be handing letters to Catholics throughout the Archdiocese, which includes the Greater Cincinnati and Dayton areas.

It's an effort they kicked off Sunday, passing out the letters at Holy Angels Church in Dayton and they hope to get all 19 counties in the diocese by the end of Lent -- either in-person at churches or in the mail.

There's no coincidence in the timing of this letter.

The "Voice of the Faithful" are sending these letters out at the exact time that Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk is heading up the annual "Archbishop Fund Drive."

Posted by kshaw at 11:40 AM

Bishops cite progress

MASSACHUSETTS
The Sun Chronicle

BY GLORIA LaBOUNTY AND STEPHEN PETERSON / SUN CHRONICLE STAFF
A report issued by U.S. Catholic bishops says both the Archdiocese of Boston and the Fall River Diocese are in compliance with a national directive on protecting children from sexual abuse.

The report, the second of its kind on the implementation of the `` Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People'' adopted by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2002, says an audit in 2004 found the policies and procedures of both dioceses to be in line with the charter.

Bishop George Coleman of Fall River said the policies have been a priority for the diocese for more than 10 years.

`` I am committed to do all within my ability to prevent any occurrence of abuse to any child or young person by any priest, religious, employee or volunteer ministering as a representative of this diocese,'' Coleman said in a prepared statement.

However, at least one local victim of priest sex abuse remains leery and questions the findings.

`` They are going to have to prove to me a lot more than they have that they are in full compliance,'' said Peter Calderone of Attleboro, a victim of the late James Porter, the ex-priest who died of cancer last week.

`` I still wonder why names are still popping forward, and this is still happening. Are there records that have been destroyed or hidden away?

Posted by kshaw at 09:34 AM

Archbishop talks reform

GREECE
Kathimerini

PARIS PAPAIOANNOU/ANA

Archbishop Christodoulos easily weathered an unprecedented, and unexpected, no-confidence vote during yesterday’s plenary meeting of the Church of Greece’s bishops, convened to discuss proposals for reform in the wake of a series of corruption and sex scandals.

The head of the Church of Greece secured the backing of 67 bishops in the vote proposed by Germanos, Bishop of Ileia. Four abstained from the process, two voted blank and one cast his ballot against Christodoulos.

The archbishop has come under increasing pressure after it emerged that he was close to a convicted drug dealer, Apostolos Vavilis, a shadowy figure who allegedly sold Israeli equipment to the police, attended an international Church conference dressed as a priest and was involved behind the scenes in the stormy election of the Orthodox patriarch of Jerusalem.

The allegations surfaced after at least three bishops became embroiled in a widening ring of scandals that first emerged following claims of a trial-fixing gang involving judges, lawyers and at least one churchman — Archimandrite Iakovos Yiossakis.

Yesterday, Christodoulos — who proposed a series of reforms intended to clean up the Church’s tarnished image — was criticized by several bishops, including those of Kalavryta and Zakynthos, for his alleged links with shady figures. The archbishop is understood to have defended himself by warning critics he had become party to allegations concerning their own integrity.

Christodoulos also attacked journalists and politicians for pressuring the Church, over the past few weeks, to take action to purge itself of corrupt elements — which the archbishop himself eventually publicly pledged to do.

“What is the big hurry?” he asked, pouring scorn on proposals for the separation of Church and State. “[This] will not make the men of the Church more moral, nor will it make public administration less corrupt.”

Posted by kshaw at 08:43 AM

Greek Church crisis deepens

GREECE
Athens News

GEORGE GILSON

THE ORTHODOX Church of Greece placed a gag order on all clergy, just two days after press revelations linking Archbishop Christodoulos to a man arrested for heroin dealing one year later. The mounting church crisis, with daily revelations of bishops' scandals, is widely considered Christodoulos' greatest challenge in his seven-year ministry, and some believe it could even jeopardise his position at the church's helm.

The man - who is named Apostolos Vavylis and used the alias Apostolos Fokas - in a sworn affidavit submitted to Israeli authorities said that Christodoulos sent him as an envoy to help secure the election of Patriarch Eirinaios of Jerusalem in 2001.

Vavylis had been placed on an Interpol wanted list by Italian authorities in 1994 for drug trafficking. He was convicted in Larissa in 1991 for transporting over one kilo of heroin, for which he received a 13-year sentence. Two years later, the sentence was suspended for 15 years, reportedly after he offered information leading to the arrest of other dealers.

Posted by kshaw at 08:34 AM

Out of the shadows: When news inspires media

UNITED STATES
Orlando Sentinel

By Hal Boedeker | Sentinel Television Critic
Posted February 20, 2005

After victims of priest abuse criticized a truck commercial as insensitive, Ford Motor Co. pulled the spot from the Super Bowl. Yet the molestation scandal has an increasing presence in the arts, where it animates major stage, film and television dramas.

The play Doubt pushes the audience to wonder whether a popular priest has abused a lonely boy. Bolstered by rave reviews, the drama by Oscar-winner John Patrick Shanley (Moonstruck) transfers to Broadway next month.

The Spanish film Bad Education uses a priest's abusive behavior as the starting point for a dark thriller. Director Pedro Almodovar tells the twisty drama with flourishes reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock.

The TV docudrama Our Fathers explains how sex-abuse revelations shook the Boston Archdiocese. The film, premiering in May on Showtime, depicts how a dogged lawyer (Ted Danson) took on the secretive church.

More stories of abuse are on the way. David Clohessy, executive director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, says his Chicago-based group hears every few weeks from authors and playwrights working on new projects. He saw the Ford commercial as wrongheaded and glib, but he has more mixed feelings about the arts' approach.

Posted by kshaw at 08:16 AM

Boys' sex acts 'not unusual'

AUSTRALIA
The Advertiser

By Nigel Hunt
21feb05
A PSYCHOLOGIST has described the handling of a major sexual misconduct incident at a top Adelaide private school as "appalling".

It has emerged that Adelaide's St Peter's College staff told parents of two boys involved in a sexual incident with two others last year that such behaviour was "not unusual" among young boys.

The Year 7 boys were playing "truth or dare", which led to two of them performing sexual acts on the others.

Adelaide psychologist Paul Kassapidis, who has treated two of the boys, said he had been "particularly disturbed" by the school's reaction.

He had sent a letter to then acting principal Reverend Michael Whiting, questioning its response and attitude.

"The details of these assaults were quite disturbing and I feel ethically compelled to draw to your attention that the school's response, as conveyed to me, was quite appalling with particular reference made by senior teaching staff advising both lads that the behaviours experienced were somehow 'not uncommon' and age-appropriate sexual experimentation," the letter says.

It says the boys' actions "are most certainly not typical behaviours experienced by twelve-year-old boys and I am particularly disturbed that this view was expressed by senior staff and the school counsellor." Mr Kassapidis yesterday declined to comment on the case because of client confidentiality. In the past two years, the school's handling of abuse cases has been under intense scrutiny, including the inquiry into the Anglican Church's handling of child abuse cases that led to the resignation of Archbishop Ian George.

Posted by kshaw at 08:14 AM

Diocese underwent internal audit while disputing state’s

NEW HAMPSHIRE
Nashua Telegraph

By ALBERT McKEON, Telegraph Staff
mckeona@telegraph-nh.com

Published: Sunday, Feb. 20, 2005

An internal audit of sexual abuse policies produced results that leaders of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Manchester liked to hear.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops not only found the diocese in full compliance with its national child protection policies, but it credited the church in New Hampshire for taking additional steps not required.

This local review, publicly released Friday, was part of a broader survey to examine whether the country’s 195 dioceses follow the policies that the bishops enacted almost three years ago in response to widespread fallout from the abuse crisis.

State prosecutors would also like to study how the Manchester diocese handles abuse, but the church and state have not seen eye to eye on the audit’s scope. A Hillsborough County Superior court judge has the case under advisement after attorneys for both sides presented their views last month.

The state attorney general’s office wants to interview anyone who would use the diocese’s procedures - not just employees, but also laypeople who volunteer. Church officials claim the scope of that process would cross a constitutional boundary.

Posted by kshaw at 08:10 AM

Priest jailed in Greece left church here adrift

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Tribune

By Russell Working and Dan Mihalopoulos
Tribune staff reporters
Published February 20, 2005

Watching satellite TV news reports from the old country at their homes in Chicago, members of a Greek Orthodox parish on the Northwest Side were shocked to recognize the young, bearded priest in police custody.

It was their former pastor, Iakovos Giosakis, who disappeared almost four years ago after they accused him of embezzling tens of thousands of dollars from the parish.

Before finding himself at the center of a growing scandal involving sex, drugs, trial-fixing and trafficking in precious icons, Giosakis served Sts. Athanasios and John Church in Chicago for about two years. He fled the country days after Chicago police seized a computer, church financial records and personal documents in a raid of the apartment where he lived as the guest of an elderly parishioner.

Posted by kshaw at 06:55 AM

Renowned expert assesses evidence from slaying

TOLEDO (OH)
Toledo Blade

By MITCH WEISS and MICHAEL D. SALLAH
BLADE STAFF WRITERS

When nationally known forensic expert Henry Lee was hired recently to examine evidence in the murder case of the Rev. Gerald Robinson, the crime expert's first stop was the murder scene: the Mercy Hospital chapel.

He snapped photographs of the sacristy room and tested the floor with new chemical enhancement for blood remnants from the 1980 slaying. He examined the old crime scene photos and studied the letter opener believed to be the murder weapon.

While police have expanded their investigation into the death of Sister Margaret Ann Pahl by looking into allegations of ritual sex abuse, the murder case still rests largely on physical evidence, prosecutors say.

Mr. Lee, who has assisted police around the country in more than 6,000 investigations, traveled to Toledo in December to visit the 11-by-17-foot sacristy room in what's now a nursing facility.

"With new technology, you can do so much more," he told The Blade.

Posted by kshaw at 06:50 AM

Church, advocates differ on priest abuse issue

WATERLOO (IA)
Courier

By PAT KINNEY, Assistant City Editor

WATERLOO --- The relative quiet within the Dubuque archdiocese on the clergy sex abuse issue may soon be over, a Dubuque-ordained priest and nationally known advocate for abuse victims suggested in response to three lawsuits filed Friday.

"I think there will be an explosion in Dubuque," said the Rev. Tom Doyle, a Maryland-based canon lawyer and co-author of a groundbreaking 1985 church-commissioned national study on sex abuse in the priesthood.

"I think what will happen is when some cases get some publicity, that will make a change. And it will be difficult for a lot of good Catholic people in Dubuque and many of the priests to think this has happened," he said.

The new lawsuits, all by current and former Waterloo residents, were filed hours after the archdiocese updated Northeast Iowa Catholics on its efforts to help victims and prevent future abuse.

Unless the Dubuque archdiocese is an exception to the rest of the nation and Catholic world, Doyle said, "this has been well-covered up and the lid is being pried off."

Posted by kshaw at 06:42 AM

Dark allegations arise amid probe of nun's slaying

TOLEDO (OH)
Toledo Blade

By MICHAEL D. SALLAH
and MITCH WEISS
BLADE STAFF WRITERS

For Toledo police, it was a rare assignment: Search an abandoned house on the edge of a cornfield in western Lucas County where people reportedly took part in ritual abuse ceremonies.

The detectives combed the bedrooms, kitchen, and even the dark basement for evidence of cult gatherings.

The search of the decrepit, wood structure last year was a sign the investigation of the Rev. Gerald Robinson was moving beyond a murder case.

No longer was the probe focusing solely on the man accused of killing Sister Margaret Ann Pahl, but was expanding into a new direction: accusations that children were molested and raped by priests in ritual services.

For the past year, police have embarked on one of the most unusual investigations in the department's history, spurred by leads emerging after the priest's arrest in April for the killing in the Mercy Hospital chapel more than 24 years ago.

Posted by kshaw at 06:34 AM

Sex scandal accused in police custody

INDIA
Rediff.com

February 19, 2005 21:49 IST

An Ahmedabad court on Saturday sent four accused in the Swaminarayan temple sex scam case to two days' police custody.

Metropolitan Magistrate D V Vaid remanded Bhimji Bhagat, Nandlal Kala, Himmat Lehri of Surat and Karsan Patel of Saila after the Ahmedabad Crime Branch sought time for questioning the accused.

The court asked the police to produce the four on February 22.

Four other accused, including Junagadh Swaminaryan temple priest Swami Bhaktiswarup, who were sent to remand earlier this week, will also be produced in the court on February 22.

The Ahmedabad Crime Branch had on February 15 seized a CD containing images of sadhus of Vadtal sect indulging in wild sexual acts.

Posted by kshaw at 05:35 AM

Audit of diocese omits indictment

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
Republican

Sunday, February 20, 2005
By BILL ZAJAC
wzajac@repub.com

SPRINGFIELD - The resignation of the former bishop a year ago amid allegations of sexual abuse was conspicuously absent from the second straight positive annual audit of the Springfield Diocese's implementation of the U.S. bishops policy to prevent clergy sexual abuse.

A three-page report on the audit of the Springfield Diocese released yesterday made no mention of the Most Rev. Thomas L. Dupre, who 15 months earlier held a press conference to announce the positive results of the first audit.

"Our policy has always been to take care of the victim's psychological needs ... and we will continue that effort," Dupre was quoted as saying at the time.

The audit that was released yesterday described in detail how the diocese has successfully implemented specific articles of the Charter for the Protection of Children.

Meanwhile, the diocese announced yesterday it is compiling for public release an updated report on the number of reported allegations and the outcomes of those allegations.

Posted by kshaw at 05:21 AM

Diocese in compliance with abuse statutes

GREEN BAY (WI)
Post-Crescent

By Nathan Phelps
Gannett Wisconsin Newspapers

GREEN BAY — According to an audit, the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay is in full compliance with the U.S. Bishops’ national standards for preventing sexual abuse.

Bishop David Zubik said the diocese will continue to make strides in preventing abuse.

“We are very, very, very serious about taking a look at the incidents of the past to make sure we continue to address the situation in the present so they don’t occur in the future,” Zubik said. “We have done an immense amount of work to make sure that we’re creating safe environments for young people and making sure this tragedy never happens again.”

Posted by kshaw at 05:20 AM

Europe: Greek Church Approves Reforms Amid Corruption Scandals

GREECE
Keralanext

[Europe News]: ATHENS, Greece - Tarnished by sex and corruption scandals, Greece's embattled Orthodox Church approved wide-ranging reforms Saturday, including the creation of a special council to examine cases brought against clergymen. The 102-member Holy Synod, the Church's governing council, approved the reforms proposed by Church leader Archbishop Christodoulos, at the end of a two-day emergency summit.

The church's image has been damaged by scandals, sexual revelations surrounding bishops - who take a vow of celibacy - and allegations of involvement in trial-fixing and embezzlement.

On Friday, Christodoulos apologized and asked forgiveness from the Greek nation calling the crisis "particularly grave."

The special council will convene under the auspices of Christodoulos and will include members from Greece's Supreme Court, the Council of State, the country's highest body of legal arbritation and the Auditor's Court.

The creation of the council will be subject to the approval of Greek legislators. The summit was a rare move by Christodoulos as the full Synod normally meets every October.

Posted by kshaw at 05:18 AM

Scandal rocks Greek church

GREECE
Philadelphia Inquirer

By Brian Murphy
Associated Press

ATHENS, Greece - The leader of Greece's embattled Orthodox Church begged the nation for forgiveness Friday as allegations including trial-fixing and purported sex escapades battered the denomination's reputation as a guardian of Greek culture and honor.

The apology by Archbishop Christodoulos, made as senior clerics opened an emergency conclave aimed at instituting changes, showed the depth of the scandal enveloping the church.

Public outrage has reached such a level that some lawmakers and commentators have suggested stripping the Orthodox Church of its status as the official state religion - once an almost unthinkable proposal in a nation where church and political history are often intertwined.

Posted by kshaw at 05:16 AM

Sex and fraud woe for Greek church

GREECE
Mail & Guardian

Greece's Orthodox church, buffeted by sex and corruption scandals, met in emergency session on Friday amid lurid claims that have included one newspaper publishing photographs of a 91-year-old bishop naked in bed with a nubile young woman.

Scrambling to resolve the worst crisis in the church's modern history, the embattled spiritual leader, Archbishop Christodoulos, convened the rare meeting as allegations of skulduggery, sexual improprieties, trial rigging, drug and antiquities smuggling engulfed the institution.

"I humbly ask for forgiveness from the people and the clerics who, for the most, honour... the cassock they wear," he said addressing the 102-member Holy Synod, the church's ruling council.

"There is a lot that must be done to put our house in order," he conceded before proposing a series of reforms.

Greeks have watched dumbfounded as allegations of their priesthood's dissolute lifestyle have unfolded on their television screens.

Posted by kshaw at 05:14 AM

No Priest Abuse Allegations in Fort Wayne-South Bend Diocese

FORT WAYNE (IN)
WANE

(Washington-WANE-AP) Roman Catholic bishops say over the last year they've received nearly 1,100 new allegations of sexual abuse by priest and deacons. However, their report showed zero allegations of abuse to a minor by priests or deacons in the Fort Wayne-South Bend Catholic Diocese. The report comes from a new national audit of U.S. dioceses put in place nearly three years ago as part of the Charter for Protection of Children and Young Persons. ...

The following is the official release issued by Bishop John D'Arcy of the Fort Wayne-South Bend Diocese:

The 2004 Audit Executive Summary reflects findings made by independent auditors who, during the week of October 11-15, 2004, met with diocesan personnel, contacted local law enforcement officials, and examined diocesan records and practices. This audit was performed to determine diocesan compliance with the terms of the Charter for Protection of Children and Young Persons. It was the second audit conducted on the diocese since the inception of the Charter in 2002. The first audit of this diocese occurred from August 18 to August 22, 2003. On that occasion it was determined that the diocese met or exceeded the Charter requirements. The focus of this second audit concentrated on events occurring from the last day of the first audit until the first day of the second audit. I am pleased that we again passed this test of compliance.

Posted by kshaw at 05:12 AM

New Allegations Of Priest Abuse

MICHIGAN
WXMI

February 18, 2005

KENT COUNTY -- The catholic church has announced nearly 1100 new allegations of sex abuse by priests.

Of those national cases that came to light after a long internal review, four are within the Grand Rapids Diocese. The church made the announcement Friday afternoon.

Local catholic church leaders and members took a close look Friday night at the harsh allegations. Four victims claim local priests sexually assaulted them when they were children.

"It's really shocking and kind of disappointing because as part of a catholic church, you see your pastor as a source of inspiration, as a symbol of guidance," said concerned catholic Trey Springer.

The victims are coming forward now, but the alleged assaults took place between 1960 and 1980. The church isn't revealing names or locations. But we do know, they involve four priests from the Grand Rapids Diocese. Three have died, the fourth is no longer an active priest.

Posted by kshaw at 05:10 AM

Abuse report backs diocese

TUCSON (AZ)
Fox 11

10:28 PM MST on Saturday, February 19, 2005

By Stephanie Innes / ARIZONA DAILY STAR

A report released Friday listed the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson as one of a majority of dioceses in the country complying with national standards on the handling and prevention of sexual abuse by clergy.

The report, based on an audit conducted in 2004, praised the local diocese for hiring Paul Duckro to oversee child-abuse prevention for the diocese, which stretches over nine counties and includes 350,000 Catholics. The audit also said the diocese has established "clear and well-publicized standards of ministerial behavior for priests and deacons."

The national report, released by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Office of Child and Youth Protection, immediately was criticized by a national group that represents victims of clergy abuse.

Members of the national Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests said the bishops had too much control over the compliance audit, which was conducted by the Gavin Group of Boston.

"They wrote the charter, they hired their own so-called watchdogs, they decide who gets interviewed and who gets heard," a prepared statement from the group said. "We owe it to innocent children and vulnerable adults to insist on hard evidence and solid data before determining progress is being made."

Posted by kshaw at 05:08 AM

Bishops: New claims of abuse in 2004 not a sign of present problem

WASHINGTON (DC)
Athens Banner-Herald

By Rachel Zoll
Associated Press

WASHINGTON - Roman Catholic bishops say the 1,092 new sex abuse claims against American priests and deacons last year do not signal that molesters are rampant in parishes now.

Most of the alleged abuse occurred decades ago and nearly three-quarters of the 756 accused clerics had died, been defrocked or been removed from public ministry before the claims were made in 2004, church leaders said.

The figures came from a survey U.S. bishops commissioned to help restore trust in their leadership after the abuse crisis erupted in January 2002 in the Archdiocese of Boston and spread nationwide.

A companion audit found that nearly all the nation's 195 dioceses were fully complying with the child protection programs that prelates mandated nearly three years ago. Dioceses and religious orders said they spent more than $20 million on child protection last year.

Still, the financial fallout continues. Kathleen McChesney, head of the bishops' Office of Child and Youth Protection, said the total payout to victims now has climbed to at least $840 million since 1950.

Posted by kshaw at 05:04 AM

Lawsuits set for sex abuse in Cornwall

CANADA
London Free Press

PETER GEIGEN-MILLER, Free Press Reporter 2005-02-20 03:02:08

A London law firm and a victim of abuse are taking on another high-profile sexual abuse case, this time in the eastern Ontario city of Cornwall. The firm, Ledroit Beckett, has filed three civil suits alleging sexual abuse by high-profile residents of Cornwall.

Details of the suits on behalf of three people will be announced in Cornwall Tuesday, said John Swales, a representative of the London firm and a victim of childhood sexual abuse.

We "have gone from setting precedents in Canadian courts on sexual abuse to delving into the biggest sexual abuse case in Canadian history," Swales said yesterday.

"I think that is significant for the home team."

Lawyer Paul Ledroit said yesterday the civil suits will help to tear open a veil of secrecy that has shrouded the Cornwall case.

"We are going to use the judicial system because we know it works," said Ledroit.

"Obviously a lot of the coverup will come out in the sex abuse trials, but our main focus is not so much the coverup but the abuse itself."

The coverup is complex, a spider's web that involves high-profile residents, he said.

The Cornwall suits arise from accusations of sexual abuse of children by high-profile officials, professionals and clergy over decades.

Posted by kshaw at 05:02 AM

Bearing silent witness

BALTIMORE (MD)
Baltimore Sun

By Julie Bykowicz
Sun Staff
Originally published February 20, 2005
The man in the leather jacket slipped in and out of the Clarence M. Mitchell Jr. Courthouse in Baltimore last week, sometimes to have a cigar, sometimes to get air.

He had come to testify in the sexual child abuse trial of Maurice Blackwell, the defrocked priest from West Baltimore's St. Edward Roman Catholic Church. The victim in the case was Dontee Stokes, who shot Blackwell three years ago. But Robert A. Martin, a 50-year-old Louisiana resident, wanted the jury to hear his story, too.

Martin says he was a confused teenager from an unstable home when Blackwell took him under his wing in the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s. His account seems similar to that told by Stokes: hugs that turned to intimate touches and then to more explicit sexual contact.

"Something about Maurice just kept me under a spell," Martin says. Blackwell called him "my son, Bobby," and brought him to family functions for years, Martin says.

Pieces of Martin's tale tumbled out in hushed hallway conversations with reporters and Stokes' supporters over the course of last week.

But when the prosecutor sought to call Martin to the witness stand to testify against Blackwell and corroborate Stokes' accusations, the judge rejected the request -- and also instructed jurors to disregard comments from three prosecution witnesses about "other victims."

Posted by kshaw at 04:59 AM

Diocese to Apologize for Sex Abuse

CALIFORNIA
KRON

Video

Posted by kshaw at 04:56 AM

Several current, former Waterloo residents claim clergy sex abuse

WATERLOO (IA)
Courier

By PAT KINNEY, Assistant City Editor

WATERLOO --- Three people claiming they were sexually abused by priests in Waterloo 25 to 40 years ago filed lawsuits Friday afternoon against the Roman Catholic Church's Archdiocese of Dubuque.

The people who filed Friday's lawsuits --- one current and two former Waterloo residents --- claim they were abused as teenagers in incidents from the early 1960s through the late 1970s.

Two accuse the same priest, the Rev. William T. Schwartz, who also was accused of sexual misconduct in an earlier lawsuit.

In that June lawsuit, a Cedar Rapids man, Daniel Ortmann, accused Schwartz of abusing him when he was an eighth-grade student in 1983. The archdiocese, a co-defendent with Schwartz, settled out of court for $100,000 in October 2004. The case is still pending against Schwartz, who was removed from priestly duties when he retired in 1993. He lives in Arizona, where he was treated in a clinic for sexual abusers, archdiocese officials have said. He can no longer represent himself publicly as a priest or reside within the Dubuque archdiocese.

Posted by kshaw at 04:49 AM

February 19, 2005

Priest sues own diocese, alleging abuse by cleric as teen

PENNSYLVANIA
Fox 2

PITTSBURGH A Roman Catholic priest in Pennsylvania says he's among those who are victims of predatory priests.

The Reverend John Nesbella is suing his own diocese, saying he was sexually abused as a teen by a now-deceased priest who taught at his high school.

Nesbella was placed on a leave of absence Friday after filing the lawsuit this week. He alleges he was abused more than 25 years ago at a rectory operated by the Altoona-Johnstown diocese.

Posted by kshaw at 07:36 PM

Diocese committed to stopping abuse, Zubik says

GREEN BAY (WI)
Press-Gazette

By Nathan Phelps
nphelps@greenbaypressgazette.com

The Catholic Diocese of Green Bay is in full compliance with the U.S. Bishops’ national standards for preventing sexual abuse, but Bishop David Zubik said the diocese will continue to make strides in preventing abuse.

“We are very, very, very serious about taking a look at the incidents of the past to make sure we continue to address the situation in the present so they don’t occur in the future,” Zubik said. “We have done an immense amount of work … to make sure that we’re creating safe environments for young people and making sure this tragedy never happens again.”

This is the second year audits have been carried out nationally and the second year the diocese has been compliant.

Posted by kshaw at 07:34 PM

Church sinks deeper in scandal

GREECE
International Herald Tribune

ATHENS

The Church of Greece's ruling body yesterday suspended Panteleimon, Bishop of Attica, for six months, pending an investigation into claims he was part of an alleged trial-fixing ring composed of judges and churchmen that aided suspected drug dealers.

Meanwhile, a prominent priest suspected of acting as a middleman in the ring was arrested yesterday - minutes before he began testifying before a Piraeus examining magistrate regarding charges he stole precious icons from a Kythera monastery in the 1990s - following fears he might flee the country. Archimandrite Iakovos Yiossakis, who is also allegedly involved in embezzlement, comes under the jurisdiction of the bishop of Attica, who suspended him on Thursday under strict orders from top Church authorities.

Panteleimon came under considerable pressure yesterday from the 13-member Holy Synod - which is chaired by Archbishop Christodoulos - to resign, but refused to do so. The bishop has protested his innocence in the face of charges, based on taped phone calls, that he spoke to senior judges and lawyers in an attempt to influence the outcome of specific court cases. He only admitted to having spoken to a lawyer. Panteleimon has also denied accusations, also deriving from recorded telephone conversations, that he made lewd suggestions to an unidentified man.

The Church officially abhors homosexuality, which Christodoulos condemned in November as "a blatant, crying sin."

Posted by kshaw at 05:03 PM

Church warned to reform

GREECE
Kathimerini

On the eve of a meeting by top churchmen to discuss the alleged trial-fixing, corruption and sex scandals besetting the Church of Greece, government sources warned yesterday that unless swift internal action is taken the State will be forced to intervene in the running of the Church.

“We conveyed the message, by every means, that there can be no leeway whatsoever for delays... and that if the Church fails to act with the required speed and effectiveness the State will be forced to intervene,” the source told Kathimerini.

Meanwhile, reactions grew to an article posted on the official Church website on Wednesday — but disowned by the Church yesterday — bemoaning attacks against the clergy by what it called “a political and journalistic circus.” Government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros said he did not consider himself a member of any circus, while opposition leader George Papandreou denounced the “libelous” text and called for a referendum on separating Church from State.

Posted by kshaw at 04:29 PM

Greek church proposes urgent reforms amid 'grave' scandals

GREECE
Union-Tribune

By Miron Varouhakis
ASSOCIATED PRESS
5:29 a.m. February 18, 2005

ATHENS, Greece – Greece's powerful Orthodox Church, rocked by sex and corruption scandals, opened an emergency meeting Friday into wide-ranging reforms that will look at introducing stronger controls over finances.

The 102-member Holy Synod began a two-day session that will look at introducing stronger controls over church finances – a rare move by Archbishop Christodoulos, the church leader. The full Synod normally meets every October.

Seldom subjected to public scrutiny, the church's image has been damaged by sex scandals surrounding bishops – who take a vow of celibacy – and allegations of involvement in embezzlement and bribing judges.

"I humbly ask for forgiveness from the people and the clerics who in their majority honor ... the cassock they wear," Archbishop Christodoulos was quoted as saying by state-run television.

He called the situation "particularly grave."

"Everybody is awaiting our decisions for a cleanup. There is a lot that must be done to put our house in order," Christodoulos said.

Posted by kshaw at 04:18 PM

Church of Greece Hierarchs end meeting, decide to set up Supreme Examining Council

GREECE
Athens News Agency

The Hierarchs of the Church of Greece, a body including all metropolitans and bishops of the Greek Orthodox Church, ended a crucial meeting spread over two days on Saturday evening with a decision to set up a Supreme Examining Council that will look into all complaints involving high-ranking members of the clergy.

The proposed Council, whose task will be to investigate charges and make recommendations to the Holy Synod, will be headed by Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece and include among its members vice-presidents from the Supreme Court, the Council of State, the State Audit Council and the State Legal Council.

Posted by kshaw at 04:15 PM

Hierarchy gives vote of confidence to Archbishop Christodoulos

GREECE
Athens News Agency

Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece on Friday received a vote of confidence from the Church Hierarchy, at the opening of a crucial two-day meeting convened to discuss scandals that have been plaguing the Church and reforms. The vote of confidence was initiated by Christodoulos himself after Metropolitan Germanos of Ileia put forward an issue of dispute of the Archbishop to the Hierarchy.

A total of 67 Hierarchs cast votes of confidence in Christodoulos, while four Hierarchs -- the Metropolitans of Zakynthos, Corinth, Ioannina and Filippi -- abstained and simply declared their presence, two Hierarchs -- the Metropolitans of Goumenissa and Mesogaia -- voted blank, and only one Hierarch, the Metropolitan of Peristeri, voted against the Archbishop.

Christodoulos apologised to the Greek people, and the Church clerics who were beleaguered by the scandals, and launched a counter-attack against journalists, tv programmes and "those forces working to marginalise the Church".

"I humbly apologise to the beleagured and devoted people, and to the holy clergy, the overwhelming majority of whom struggle daily and honour their humble and heroic priestly robes," Christodoulos said.

He said that the situation was very serious, and required strong action, rather than "bandages".

Posted by kshaw at 04:13 PM

Greek Orthodox Church Cracks Down on Corruption

GREECE
Prensa Latina

Athens, Feb 18 (Prensa Latina) While the Roman Catholic Church sails in troubled waters of sex scandals with claims surpassing 1,092 and climbing, the Greek Orthodox Church Leadership comes a board the same boat dragging corruption charges.

Archbishop Christodoulos convened for an urgent meeting of the 102-strong Holy Synod because of the pressing need to deal with the scandal which The New York Times lists as drug dealing, antiquities theft, trial rigging and lewd conduct.

The Orthodox Church meets once a year and generally in October but this time the decision even attracted the media as the Archbishop plans to seek for police support for tighter control on the Church"s finances.

Early this month, the Church"s leadership suspended Archmandrite Iakovos Giosakis for traffic of antiquities and keeping secret overseas bank accounts and Metropolitan Bishop Panteleimon of Attica for embezzlement.

Other priests have already been suspended for promoting prostitution, helping get drug dealers acquitted and influencing church elections.

Posted by kshaw at 04:10 PM

Synod to deal with Greek church's scandals

GREECE
CBC

ATHENS, GREECE - After a month of scandalous behaviour by some clerics, Greece's Orthodox church is expected to approve a series of measures Saturday that would put an end to ethical misconduct.

An emergency meeting of the 102-member Holy Synod was called to deal with the church's public embarrassment over the actions of some senior clerics.

Another case involves a senior cleric who is suspected of embezzlement. He was also taped by television cameras, engaging in a form of phone sex with other clergy.

The church is also investigating the case of a 91-year-old cleric, allegedly photographed in bed, nude, with a young woman. That photo was published in an Athens newspaper.

Posted by kshaw at 04:08 PM

World: Greek church leader seeks nation's forgiveness as scandals deepen

GREECE
Keralanext

[World News]: ATHENS, Greece -- Greece's embattled Orthodox Church leader begged the nation for forgiveness Friday after a blitz of allegations ranging from trial-fixing to purported sex escapades battered the church's reputation as guardian of Greek culture and honor.

The apology by Archbishop Christodoulos -- made as senior clerics opened an emergency conclave to impose reforms -- showed the depth of the crisis for the church and its attempts to regain its footing even as the embarrassing scandals continue to unfold.

Public outrage has reached such a level that some lawmakers and commentators have suggested stripping the Orthodox Church of its status as the official state religion -- a once almost unthinkable proposal in a nation where church and political history are often intertwined.

"I humbly ask for forgiveness from the people and the clerics who, in their majority, honor ... the cassock they wear," Christodoulos said in his opening statement to the church's governing Holy Synod. He called the crisis "particularly grave."

Posted by kshaw at 04:06 PM

World: Sex and fraud woe for Greek church

GREECE
Keralanext

[World News]: Greece's Orthodox church, buffeted by sex and corruption scandals, met in emergency session yesterday amid lurid claims that have included one newspaper publishing photographs of a 91-year-old bishop naked in bed with a nubile young woman. Scrambling to resolve the worst crisis in the church's modern history, the embattled spiritual leader, Archbishop Christodoulos, convened the rare meeting as allegations of skulduggery, sexual improprieties, trial rigging, drug and antiquities smuggling engulfed the institution.

"I humbly ask for forgiveness from the people and the clerics who, for the most, honour... the cassock they wear," he said addressing the 102-member Holy Synod, the church's ruling council.

"There is a lot that must be done to put our house in order," he conceded before proposing a series of reforms.

Greeks have watched dumbfounded as allegations of their priesthood's dissolute lifestyle have unfolded on their television screens.

Posted by kshaw at 04:01 PM

Diocese reports positive review

SAN ANGELO (TX)
Standard-Times

By NICOLE C. BRAMBILA nbrambila@sastandardtimes.com 659-8265, Staff Writer
February 19, 2005

The Catholic Diocese of San Angelo has received high marks for its compliance with the bishops' charter to protect children, Bishop Michael Pfeifer announced Friday.

Pfeifer said the results of an audit, conducted last fall by the Gavin Group of Boston, should go a long way toward restoring public trust after the sex abuse scandal that rocked the church in 2002.

The Gavin Group conducted 194 audits, including a September review of the San Angelo diocese, and concluded that 96 percent of the nation's dioceses are compliant.

''I'm very pleased because it represents the hard work of many, many people in our diocese that have taken very seriously the call the bishops made three years ago,'' Pfeifer said.

Posted by kshaw at 03:57 PM

Committee clears priest of abuse allegations

COVINGTON (KY)
Kentucky.com

Associated Press

COVINGTON, Ky. - The former No. 2 official with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Covington has been cleared of an allegation of sexual abuse, but has not received a new work assignment.

Diocese spokesman Tim Fitzgerald said a new assignment for the Rev. Gerald Reinersman is still under consideration.

An ad hoc committee that Bishop Roger Foys formed to investigate the sexual abuse charge found no reason why Reinersman couldn't return to active ministry.

Reinersman wrote in a statement published in the diocese newspaper, The Messenger, that he was always confident a full and fair investigation would clear him.

"Thanks be to God, that day has finally come," he wrote.

Posted by kshaw at 03:51 PM

Robbery suspect seeks leniency, citing past clergy sex abuse

MASSACHUSETTS
Dateline Alabama

The Associated Press

February 19, 2005

A man charged with robbing two banks is requesting a lenient sentence, claiming sexual abuse he suffered at the hands of a Catholic priest set him on a life of crime, according to a published report.

Paul Callahan, 32, claims he was abused by the Rev. Robert Burns when he was an 11-year-old altar boy at St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Boston's Jamaica Plain section. Soon after, he began drinking, using drugs, and committing crimes, he said.

Callahan's lawyer, Robert E. Kelley, wrote to the court that his client did not use weapons in his crimes and that he did not rob for violence or money. At the time of his latest alleged crimes, Callahan had $83,000 in the bank, mostly from a settlement with the Archdiocese of Boston.

Posted by kshaw at 03:49 PM

Games pedophiles play

BALTIMORE (MD)
Ledger-Enquirer

A priest being convicted of child molestation may no longer be front page news, but that doesn't mean the problem can be relegated to the inside pages of our collective conscience.

Thursday defrocked Roman Catholic priest Maurice Blackwell was convicted of molesting an altar boy during the 1990s, while serving at a church in Baltimore.

Sadly, we have heard some version of this story so often that we are now desensitized. But the Blackwell story is not exactly the same old story. A decade after alleging Blackwell molested him, Dontee Stokes shot and wounded the priest on the street in a fit of rage when Blackwell refused to apologize, the Associated Press reported.

"In May 2002, as the sex scandal that engulfed the Roman Catholic Church was unfolding in Boston, a tormented Stokes shot Blackwell three times in the hip and hand on a city street," AP reported.

The condensed version of what likely happened is that current events forced Stokes to relive a painful past. His past was especially painful because after suffering at the hands of a respected representative of God and all that is supposed to be good, authorities took no real action when he reported the abuse.

Posted by kshaw at 03:48 PM

New push begins for elimination of statute of limitations on sex crimes

MASSACHUSETTS
Dateline Alabama

By DENISE LAVOIE
AP Legal Affairs Writer

February 19, 2005

David Carney remembers going to a cheap motel, drinking wine out of a Coke bottle and being raped by his high school chaplain. The next 23 years were filled with alcohol and drugs, a series of dead-end jobs and deep feelings of shame.

By the time Carney got sober three years ago, it was too late for him to seek criminal charges against the priest. The statute of limitations on the alleged crimes had run out. Like many other victims of sexual abuse, Carney gave up on the idea that the man who raped him would go to prison.

But now, some state lawmakers are hoping to change that for future victims. Spurred by the Roman Catholic clergy sex abuse scandal and the recent child rape conviction of defrocked priest Paul Shanley, a group of lawmakers is pushing legislation that would eliminate the statute of limitations on most sex crimes.

Posted by kshaw at 01:05 PM

More than 1,000 claims of abuse in '04, bishops say

WASHINGTON (DC)
Star Tribune

Paul Sand, Star Tribune Washington Bureau Correspondent
February 19, 2005

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- At least 1,092 new allegations of sexual abuse were made against Catholic priests and deacons in 2004, although most allegations were for incidents that were decades old, according to a report released Friday.

The report by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops states that most of the incidents occurred between 1965 and 1974, and that 72 percent of the 756 offenders are either dead, have left the ministry or have been removed. "We know this crisis is not over," said Kathleen McChesney, executive director of the organization's Office of Child and Youth Protection. "What is over is the denial that this problem exists, and what is over is the reluctance of the church to deal openly with the public about the nature and extent of the problem."

More than 96 percent of Roman Catholic dioceses -- including all five in Minnesota -- are compliant with recently established policies to stop sexual abuse by priests and church staff, according to the report.

"We were most pleased to find that we were in compliance with the charter issued by the bishops in June 2002," said William Fallon, chancellor of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

Posted by kshaw at 01:03 PM

Diocese passes sex abuse audit

ST. CLOUD (MN)
St. Cloud Times

By Dawn Peake
dmpeake@stcloudtimes.com

The Diocese of St. Cloud's response in 2004 to clergy sexual abuse met the church's national standards for the second consecutive year, according to a report released Friday.

In the first audit, released last year, the Office of Child and Youth Protection highlighted the St. Cloud Diocese as one of eight models for dealing with sexual abuse.

The annual audit measures how well each U.S. diocese meets the expectations of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops approved the charter in 2002 to create a set of procedures for dealing with clergy sexual abuse. The charter offers guidelines for reconciliation, healing, accountability and prevention.

St. Cloud Bishop John Kinney said St. Cloud's two-page audit shows the diocese's continuing commitment to creating a safe and caring climate in the church.

Posted by kshaw at 12:59 PM

Trial delayed for former priest

REDWOOD CITY (CA)
San Mateo County Times

FROM WIRE REPORTS
REDWOOD CITY —The trial date set for a former Daly City priest accused of sexually abusing a young girl a decade ago has been rescheduled for May.

San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Stephen Hall granted a defense request to delay the trial for Jose Superiaso, 50, a former priest at St. Andrew's Catholic Church who acknowledged having sex between 30 and 40 times with a young girl he babysat in the mid-1990s. The May trial will be the second prosecution of Superiaso, who will be retried on 18 felony counts.

On Sept. 17, a San Mateo County jury acquitted Superiaso on three of the original 21 charges against him and deadlocked on the remaining 18 counts, forcing Superior Court Judge Robert Foiles to declare a mistrial.

Posted by kshaw at 10:00 AM

Bishop disputes woman's complaints of poor church response

YAKIMA (WA)
Yakima Herald-Republic

By JANE GARGAS
YAKIMA HERALD-REPUBLIC

Bishop Carlos Sevilla of the Catholic Diocese of Yakima is disputing public statements made this week by a Seattle-area woman suing the diocese.

In a Yakima news conference Wednesday, Rose Yates Lamey, 53, said she was in town to serve Sevilla personally with a copy of her lawsuit, filed two weeks earlier.

Lamey alleges she was sexually abused by a priest at St. Aloysius Church in Toppenish more than 40 years ago.

During the news conference, Lamey indicated the diocese has not been responsive to her allegations that she was raped by the Rev. Michael J. Simpson, who is now deceased.

But Sevilla took strong exception to Lamey's charge that the diocese hasn't been responsive.

"I'm sorry, it's simply not true that we never offered to help," Sevilla said in a telephone interview Thursday night.

Posted by kshaw at 09:57 AM

Summons to builders regarding sex scandal:

INDIA
New Kerala

[India News]: Ahmedabad, Feb 17 : Police today issued summons to three Surat-based builders for questioning in connection with the CD containing sexually explicity scenes allegedly involving some priests of the Vadtal sect of Swaminarayan temple.

"Three Surat-based builders have been issued summons for questioning in connection with the case. Their role in the case has emerged and there is a need to know more about their involvement including who financed it," city Crime Branch sources told PTI.

However, police did not comment if Swami Bhaktiswarup, the arrested priest from the Junagadh Swaminarayan temple had revealed the name of any senior functionaries of the Vadtal sect as being involved in the CD scam.

Posted by kshaw at 09:55 AM

Authorities Search For Church Member Accused Of Assault

NORTHFIELD (NH)
TheWMURChannel.com

POSTED: 2:57 pm EST February 18, 2005
UPDATED: 6:06 pm EST February 18, 2005

NORTHFIELD, N.H. -- Police are asking for the public's help in finding a church volunteer they say has sexually molested several young girls and stolen church money.

The suspect is Scott Nash, 45, of Northfield, an official of the Tilton Episcopal Church in Tilton.

"We believe he is still in the area," said Northfield Police Chief Scott Hilliard, who reported Nash was last seen on Tuesday in Laconia.

He said the alleged sexual assaults happened within the last year.

Hilliard said the sexual allegations were reported to police by officials of the Episcopal Diocese, who have been helpful in the investigation.

Posted by kshaw at 09:52 AM

Northfield sex offender on the run

NORTHFIELD (NH)
Citizen

By GORDON D. KING
Staff Writer

NORTHFIELD -- A man who church officials say betrayed the trust of the congregation of the Trinity Episcopal Church is being sought by authorities.

Scott E. Nash, 46, is wanted by Northfield police for three counts of sexual assault and by Tilton police for theft by unauthorized taking.

Northfield Police Chief Scott Hilliard said there three outstanding warrants for Nash who used to live at 20 Summer St. Two are for aggravated felonious sexual assault and one is for felonious sexual assault.

He is accused of sexually molesting young girls who are members of the congregation. The girls ages were not disclosed.

Tilton police have issued a warrant for Nash charging him with a felony count of theft of unauthorized. He is accused of stealing more than $5,000 from the church, Tilton police said

Posted by kshaw at 09:51 AM

Judge balks at potential cost in diocese's case

TUCSON (AZ)
Tucson Citizen

SHERYL KORNMAN
Tucson Citizen

The federal bankruptcy judge overseeing the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson's Chapter 11 case grilled lawyers for nearly two hours yesterday on how they will determine the number of unknown claimants in the case.
Any settlement must set aside money for future claimants - adults with repressed memory and minors who are unable to report allegations of abuse by priests.

Forty-six claims have been filed since the diocese sought reorganization in October.

Whether the claims are valid has not been determined.

Claims are expected to be filed as minors grow older and eventually report abuse and as adults who recover memories of abuse by priests come forward.

Susan Boswell, chief bankruptcy attorney for the diocese, said the diocese estimates about 2 percent of its clergy members over the years have had credible claims of sexual misconduct made against them.

The diocese is trying to come up with a figure, based in part on that percentage and the number of its parishes - 75 - to determine how many claimants will step forward.

Posted by kshaw at 09:48 AM

Steamy 'Sin' upsets Catholics

INDIA
IndiaFM

By IndiaFM News Bureau, February 19th, 2005 - 1200 hrs IST

The Catholic community of Mumbai has condemned Vinod Pande's latest movie Sin. The film is being viewed as a sensationalized depiction of a Priest's romantic escapades. The Director claims that the story is true and is that of a Christian priest in Kerala. On the other hand, he says it is a fictional reconstruction and not targeted at any particular person. However, the All India Catholic Union is not buying these excuses and has issued a statement against the film stating that “this portrayal of an ordained priest in such light will hurt the sentiments of the Christian community, as there appears to be a fine dividing line between pornography, truth and fiction”.

The story line shows a priest having a sexual relationship with a lover half his age. The scenes are not that much of a worry to the community as much as the Priest with loose morals that is the central character of the film.

Posted by kshaw at 09:44 AM

Robbery suspect seeks leniency, cites abuse by priest

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Globe

By Joanna Weiss, Globe Staff | February 19, 2005

To hear his family describe it, Paul Callahan snapped at some point as a youth, and everything went south.

He started drinking, then doing heroin. He served time for a string of odd, nonviolent bank robberies -- he would hand tellers a threatening note, then flee with the money in a taxicab.

Now his lawyer says Callahan, 32, is coming to terms with the reason his life fell apart: the Rev. Robert Burns, who he says sexually abused him for years at a Catholic church in Jamaica Plain.

In an unusual legal move, Callahan is pleading for a lenient sentence for a pair of new robbery charges, saying that abuse, abetted by the Archdiocese of Boston, set him off on a life of crime and left him with little chance of treatment.

Callahan's lawyer, Robert E. Kelley, wrote to the court that Callahan did not brandish a weapon in any of his cases. He said his client apparently did not rob for violence or money -- at the time of the latest alleged crimes, Callahan had $83,000 in the bank.

Posted by kshaw at 09:41 AM

For the record

SWAMPSCOTT (MA)
Boston Globe

Correction: Because of an editing error, a story in Thursday's City & Region section on a Catholic priest charged with soliciting sex from a 12-year-old girl and her mother incorrectly stated that police had arrested the Swampscott priest. The Rev. Jerome Gillespie was summonsed to court for his arraignment.

Posted by kshaw at 09:39 AM

Critics scoff at dioceses' compliance claim

ILLINOIS
Chicago Daily Herald

By Rob Olmstead Daily Herald Staff Writer
Posted Saturday, February 19, 2005

All three area Roman Catholic dioceses were found in compliance for 2004 with U.S. Bishops' guidelines on preventing and reporting sexual abuse by priests, the church announced Friday.

But a critic said the fact that the Rockford Diocese could be found in compliance - when it was found in contempt of court for not cooperating with a criminal abuse investigation - shows just how weak and ineffectual the guidelines really are.

"It's another situation where the bishops set the ground rules, they pick the umpires ... and now they're declaring themselves winners," said Barbara Blaine, president of Survivor's Network of Those Abused by Priests.

Blaine was referring to Mark Campobello, a priest who was stationed in Geneva and had sexual relations with a teenage girl. In 2003, a Kane County judge ordered the diocese to turn over documents to the state's attorney it had on that incident and another involving an Aurora girl.

Posted by kshaw at 09:33 AM

Diocese lists 10 abuse cases

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

By JAY TOKASZ
News Staff Reporter
2/19/2005

Ten complaints of sexual abuse against seven priests were lodged with the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo in 2004. All of the accusations involved alleged incidents more than two decades old.

The seven priests are either deceased or no longer in ministry, said diocesan spokesman Kevin A. Keenan, responding to a new national report on clergy sexual abuse.

Accusers in all of the newly reported cases complained of abuse prior to 1977, Keenan said.

Also, one priest charged with possessing child pornography in 2004 was removed from ministry.

The latest accusations are in addition to 93 complaints received between 1950 and 2002 in the diocese. Those complaints, involving 53 clerics, were revealed last February, along with the release of a study by John Jay College of Criminal Justice on the extent of clergy abuse across the country.

Posted by kshaw at 09:31 AM

Baker pastor pleads to molesting boys

BAKER (LA)
The Advocate

By SONYA KIMBRELL
Advocate staff writer

A Baker minister admitted in court Friday he had sexual relations with boys.
The Rev. Bennie McFarland, 42, of Hightime Evangelistic Center was on trial for nine counts that involved sexual acts with young boys dating back to the mid-1980s.

McFarland, with his attorneys, Robert Glass of New Orleans and Robert Randolph of Baton Rouge, reached a plea agreement with prosecutor Barry Fontenot of the East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney's Office on Friday, the fifth day of trial.

McFarland pleaded to one count of molestation of a juvenile and two counts of aggravated crime against nature. Each count carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.

Each is a felony, and aggravated crime against nature is considered a violent crime, state District Judge Todd Hernandez said in court.

Posted by kshaw at 07:00 AM

Youth minister gets 20 years for sex crimes

PASCAGOULA (MS)
The Sun Herald

By QUINCY C. COLLINS
THE SUN HERALD

PASCAGOULA - A judge on Friday sentenced Anthony R. Guy, an Ocean Springs youth minister accused of repeatedly molesting three girls at his church, to 20 years in a Mississippi prison.

Guy, 36, pleaded guilty to four counts of molestation and seven counts of sexual battery Friday before Circuit Judge Robert P. Krebs.

Krebs sentenced Guy to 30 years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, with 20 years to be served day for day, five years under post-release supervision and five years suspended.

During the hearing, one of the victims stood up and told the court that Guy preyed upon her and other girls' vulnerabilities and filled their adolescence with sadness and loneliness.

"I forgive Anthony Guy," the teenager said tearfully. "However, it is not my forgiveness that he needs. I believe he cannot control himself not to repeat his past."

"Please put him away to protect the children that have not been born yet," the girl said. "I don't believe there is any excuse for this, and I don't think 20 years is too long."

Posted by kshaw at 06:58 AM

Report: Albany Diocese makes progress protect ing kids

ALBANY (NY)
Troy Record

By: Record staff report 02/19/2005

ALBANY - Bishop Howard J. Hubbard of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany said a report issued Friday by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops shows that the church has made substantial progress as it addresses problems related to clergy sexual abuse and that the work must continue.

"The bishops of the United States are meeting our solemn commitment to atone for the offenses of the past. Albany and most other U.S. Dioceses have now established victims' assistance programs, review boards to investigate allegations, strict policies to remove clergy who abuse children, transparent public communications policies, and education programs to prevent sexual abuse," Bishop Hubbard said.
Hubbard is a member of the ad hoc committee on sexual abuse, of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
In December, the Albany Diocese was shown to be in full compliance in 2004 with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) national charter on protecting children from sexual abuse.
Two independent auditors from the Gavin Group in Boston spent three days examining the diocese's response to the charter in November 2004.
The Albany diocese also was found in full compliance during the first year of the auditing program in 2003, according to a release.

Posted by kshaw at 06:52 AM

Diocese gets 22 more abuse claims

PORTLAND (ME)
Portland Press Herald

By GREGORY D. KESICH, Portland Press Herald Writer

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland has received 22 new allegations of child sexual abuse against 12 priests, according to an audit released Friday by a national church organization.

The alleged abuse took place 20 years ago or longer, said Sue Bernard, spokeswoman for the diocese. The allegations were received over a 13-month period that ended last August.

The information came as the result of a new national review of all Catholic dioceses to determine how well they have complied with child-protection policies developed during the church's sex-abuse scandal. On Friday, the U.S. Conference of Roman Catholic Bishops reported receiving 1,092 new allegations against 756 different priests.

Posted by kshaw at 06:49 AM

More Clerical Sex-Abuse Allegations Surfaced in '04

WASHINGTON (DC)
Zenit

WASHINGTON, D.C., FEB. 18, 2005 (Zenit.org).- The Catholic Church last year received 1,092 new allegations of sexual abuse against 756 priests and deacons, many involving decades-old cases.

The Office of Child and Youth Protection released today the second audit of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, implemented in the wake of the sex-abuse crisis that surfaced in 2002 and rocked the Church in the United States, especially the Boston Archdiocese.

The report, conducted by the independent Gavin Group, measured how well dioceses are integrating the charter's standards into their diocesan administration.

Bishop William Skylstad, president of the bishops' conference, said that the prelates are committed to being "publicly accountable for fulfilling the actions outlined in the charter to help heal those wounded as young people by sexual abuse by clergy and to prevent such abuse in the future."

"There is undoubtedly progress still to be made, and we can still understand this problem more fully as well as we find more and even better means to confront it," he said.

Posted by kshaw at 06:47 AM

Bishops Report 1,092 New Abuse Charges

UNITED STATES
Los Angeles Times

By Larry B. Stammer, Times Staff Writer

While pledging to stop the sexual abuse of children in the Roman Catholic Church, the nation's bishops reported Friday that they had received 1,092 new allegations in 2004 against at least 756 priests and deacons.

Most of the new allegations involved molestations that occurred between 1965 and 1974, according to a second annual audit released Friday by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Half of the Catholic clerics accused last year had been named in connection with other alleged incidents and more than 70% have died, been defrocked or removed from the ministry.

Twenty-two, or 2%, of the new charges reported in 2004 came from victims who were still underage last year, the audit said. While noting that the number of such very recent cases appeared to be small, church leaders were cautious about drawing a too optimistic conclusion that the scandal is ending.

"The crisis of sexual abuse of minors within the Catholic Church is not over. What is over is the denial that this problem exists," Kathleen McChesney, executive director of the bishops' Office of Child and Youth Protection, said at a Washington news conference Friday. She said the number of allegations probably was understated.

Posted by kshaw at 06:46 AM

In 2004, 1,000 Alleged Abuse by Priests

WASHINGTON (DC)
Washington Post

By Alan Cooperman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, February 19, 2005; Page A02

More than 1,000 people reported to civil or church authorities in 2004 that they had been sexually abused as children by Roman Catholic priests, the second-largest number of allegations for any year on record, the U.S. bishops' conference said yesterday.

During 2004, the church spent $157 million on legal settlements and other costs related to sex abuse. It received allegations against 756 priests and deacons, half of whom had previously been named in similar accusations. It temporarily removed more than 300 clergy members and permanently defrocked 148, church officials said.

The new statistics, which appeared in the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' second annual report on the sexual abuse crisis in the church, showed the heavy toll that the four-year-old crisis continues to take on the church's finances, its clergy and the trust of its laity.

The figures released yesterday bring the total number of alleged victims since 1950 to 11,750, the number of accused priests to 5,148, and the church's expenses to more than $840 million. Three dioceses have declared bankruptcy.

Posted by kshaw at 06:44 AM

Albany Diocese under scrutiny

ALBANY (NY)
Capital News 9

2/18/2005 8:33 PM
By: Capital News 9 web staff

The Albany Catholic Diocese said that it is in full compliance with the Church'sAbuse Tracker Program to Protect children.

Bishop Howard Hubbard said a report by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops showed that the Albany Diocese has made substantial progress in the area of clergy sex abuse.

It cited the use of auditors to evaluate its progress and training seminars in how to recognize signs of sexual abuse in children. Background checks are now done on employees hired by the Diocese.

Posted by kshaw at 06:42 AM

Child sex abuse audit lauds NH diocese

MANCHESTER (NH)
The Union Leader

By KATHRYN MARCHOCKI
Union Leader Staff

MANCHESTER — The 10 credible allegations of child sexual abuse by clergy made to the Diocese of Manchester in 2004 are among the 1,092 received by Roman Catholic leaders nationwide against a total 756 priests and deacons, a survey of the nation’s dioceses released yesterday said.

Most of the 1,092 alleged abuses occurred between 1965 and 1974, and about half involved clerics previously accused, church leaders said. Most of the alleged offenders either were dead, already removed from ministry or had been laicized when the allegations were received.

“The crisis of sexual abuse of minors within the Catholic church is not over,” said Kathleen McChesney, executive director of the bishops’ Office of Child and Youth Protection.

“What is over is the denial that this problem exists,” she added.

Posted by kshaw at 06:38 AM

Catholic dioceses pass check for abuse

UNITED STATES
The Washington Times

By Cheryl Wetzstein
THE WASHINGTON TIMES

More than 95 percent of Roman Catholic dioceses in the United States passed an audit last year on how they are working to protect children from clergy sexual abuse, about an 8 percent improvement over 2003, a new report by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) says.
Auditing teams, often comprising former FBI agents, found that 187 of 194 dioceses met the standards established in 2002, including the Diocese of Arlington, the only local diocese to fail the first audit conducted in 2003. Eighteen other dioceses failed the first audit.
But, "the crisis is not over," church officials said yesterday at a D.C. news conference, as 1,092 new sex-abuse accusations, including 22 from minors, were lodged against 756 Catholic priests and deacons in 2004.
While more than half of the accused clergy already are dead and had been named in other complaints, "over 300 of the reports received in 2004 identified alleged abusers not previously known," said Kathleen McChesney, executive director of the Office of Child and Youth Protection in the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
What is over, said Miss McChesney, "is the denial that this problem exists" and "the reluctance of the church to deal openly with the public about the nature and extent of the problem."

Posted by kshaw at 06:36 AM

Archdiocese reports new allegations

DUBUQUE (IA)
The Globe Gazette

By PAT KINNEY, For The Globe Gazette

Thirty-four people have reported alleged incidents of child sexual abuse by clergy to the Archdiocese of Dubuque during the past two years, archdiocesan officials said in a report released Friday.

The report, outlined in a letter from Archbishop Jerome Hanus to parishioners in the archdiocese, is an update of a report he issued in December 2003.

He said then that 26 priests had been accused of sexually abusing children between 1950 and 2002, involving 67 victims — 12 girls and 55 boys.
Some of the 34 new reports repeat previous allegations, archdiocesan officials said.

The 34 incidents were among 1,092 new allegations of sexual abuse that have been reported against at least 756 priests and deacons across the country, the nation's Roman Catholic bishops said Friday.

Posted by kshaw at 06:34 AM

Priest's lawyer disputes claim

ELKHORN (WI)
The Janesville Gazette

(Published Saturday, February 19, 2005)

By Mike Heine
Gazette Staff

ELKHORN-The attorney for a Chicago priest charged with indecent behavior with a child in incidents almost 40 years ago wanted to immediately challenge the validity of the criminal complaint Friday afternoon.

But the attorney for priest Donald McGuire was told that he'd have to schedule another date to file motions.

McGuire was in Walworth County Court on Friday afternoon for two felony charges of indecent behavior with a child, incidents that allegedly occurred in the mid- to late 1960s at a Fontana home.

"I'm anticipating challenging a 39-year-old allegation that gives a period of 16 months to figure out what supposed date it happened. And where it happened, I don't even have an address," defense attorney Gerald P. Boyle said of the complaint, which he called insufficient.

Posted by kshaw at 06:33 AM

At least 55 new priest abuse cases in Wash. state

WASHINGTON
KGW

Associated Press

SEATTLE -- The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle said Friday that in 2004 it received 31 new complaints of sexual abuse by priests, while the Spokane Diocese said it received 24 new claims.

No new figures were immediately available for the Yakima Diocese.

Nationally, Catholic leaders said Friday that 1,092 new abuse claims were made against American priests and deacons last year, even after dioceses had already paid more than $800 million in settlements.

In the Seattle Archdiocese, the 31 new complaints last year were made against 10 priests — seven of whom had been previously accused.

The three priests — two are dead, one laicized — who were accused for the first time bring to 52 the total number of priests and deacons accused in the archdiocese since 1950. That's 4.1 percent of all clergy who have worked at the archdiocese since then.

Posted by kshaw at 06:31 AM

Priest cleared of allegation

COVINGTON (KY)
Cincinnati Post

By Kevin Eigelbach
Post staff reporter

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Covington has cleared its former No. 2 official of an allegation of sexual abuse.

The diocese had not decided as of Friday where the Rev. Gerald Reinersman would go back to work, spokesman Tim Fitzgerald said.

But an ad hoc committee that Bishop Roger Foys formed to investigate the charge found no reason why Reinersman couldn't return to active ministry.

In a statement published in the diocese newspaper, The Messenger, Reinersman said he was always confident a full and fair investigation would clear him.

"Thanks be to God, that day has finally come," he wrote.

Posted by kshaw at 06:29 AM

Audit details scope of abuse

CINCINNATI (OH)
Cincinnati Post

From staff and wire reports

The nation's Roman Catholic bishops said Friday that over the last year they received 1,092 new allegations of sexual abuse against at least 756 Catholic priests and deacons.

Half of the accused priests over the past year had been previously accused of abuse, said Kathleen McChesney, executive director of the bishops' Office of Child and Youth Protection.

Most of the alleged incidents occurred decades ago: 72 percent of the priests were either dead, defrocked or removed from public ministry before the newest allegations were received, McChesney said.

During the same time period, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati received 16 new, credible allegations against previously accused priests and another seven against priests not previously accused, spokesman Dan Andriacco said.

Posted by kshaw at 06:27 AM

Church audit finds no Del. abuse claims

DELAWARE
The News Journal

By BETH MILLER / The News Journal
02/19/2005No new claims of sexual abuse against Catholic priests and deacons in Delaware were reported last year, according to a national survey of dioceses.

The survey of 195 dioceses, commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, revealed 1,092 new claims of abuse, most of which occurred decades ago. Almost 75 percent of those accused already had died, been defrocked or removed from the ministry.

The Catholic Diocese of Wilmington, which includes Delaware and the Eastern Shore of Maryland, was found to be compliant with the "Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People," the U.S. bishops' mandate for protective measures. The mandate was issued after a national scandal of clergy sexual abuse emerged in 2002.

The Diocese of Wilmington also was found compliant last year, in the first survey.

"We are firmly committed to the continued healing of those affected by past clergy sexual abuse and to the protection of our children," said Diocese of Wilmington spokesman Bob Krebs in a prepared statement. "We are gratified that our most recent audit has found us to be in compliance with all the articles of the Charter for the second consecutive year."

Posted by kshaw at 06:26 AM

Audit: 7 allege priest abuse

ROCKFORD (IL)
Register Star

Seven people came to the Rockford Catholic Diocese last year claiming that they had been sexually molested as minors by William Joffe, who was removed from priestly duties in 1993 after serving a year in jail for taking church funds.

The accusers said Joffe molested them in the 1960s, '70s and '80s. The diocese took away his priestly authority after an allegation was brought to church officials in 1993.

Joffe, 74, is living independently out of state, church spokesmen said. He receives no money from the diocese.

The allegations were reported Friday in the second annual Child Protection Audit conducted in dioceses nationwide. Rockford officials said they "passed" the audit, meaning they complied with church policy on dealing with victims of sexual abuse and those who were accused.

"We are gratified but not surprised," Bishop Thomas G. Doran said in a press release. "Protecting children and young people is our priority, and the diocese has been formally addressing the matter since adopting its first policy back in 1987."

Doran was in Washington for a committee meeting Friday of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Posted by kshaw at 06:24 AM

Sex-abuse accusations grew by 31 last year in archdiocese

SEATTLE (WA)
Seattle Times

By Janet I. Tu
Seattle Times staff reporter

Three years after the Roman Catholic Church sex-abuse scandal broke open, more than 1,000 accusers around the country came forward last year, 31 of them in the Seattle Archdiocese.

The numbers were released yesterday with the results of a nationwide audit into whether dioceses were complying with a 2002 policy established by the nation's bishops to protect minors from sexual abuse.

The audits, conducted on-site by teams of mainly former FBI agents, found that 187 of the nation's 195 dioceses, including Seattle, Yakima and Spokane, had complied with the new policies.

In the Seattle Archdiocese, the 31 new claims accused 10 priests of sexual abuse dating from 1955 to the mid-1980s. Those priests are either deceased, defrocked or permanently removed from ministry; one is on administrative leave pending action by the Vatican, archdiocese officials said.

Posted by kshaw at 06:22 AM

Diocese found short on abuse prevention

MONTPELIER (VT)
Times Argus

February 19, 2005

By David Gram Associated Press

MONTPELIER — An audit for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has found the Burlington diocese has failed to meet one of several requirements designed to prevent sexual abuse of children by clergy.

It also said that during the 2004 audit period, there were seven new allegations of sexual misconduct against seven priests in Vermont.

The audit, part of a nationwide effort to address the spate of sex abuse scandals that have struck dioceses around the country, found that the diocese that includes all of Vermont had not created the "safe environment program" to educate children and others about preventing sexual abuse.

"There are no educational programs for children, parents, employees and volunteers," the report said.

The Burlington diocese was one of just seven of the more than 180 dioceses and eparchies around the country that did not meet all the requirements of an anti-sexual-abuse charter approved by the national bishops' group in 2003.

Posted by kshaw at 06:20 AM

SEXUAL ABUSE: Michigan dioceses carry out safeguards

MICHIGAN
Detroit Free Press

February 19, 2005

BY DAVID CRUMM
FREE PRESS RELIGION WRITER

Catholic dioceses in Michigan have taken steps required by the U.S. Catholic prelates to safeguard children from sexual abuse by church workers, the church's national Office of Child and Youth Protection said Friday.

Gaylord Bishop Patrick Cooney was singled out in the report with praise for his diocese's extensive partnership with local and state law enforcement agencies, who have worked with churches in northern Michigan on background checks of staff members and training courses for church workers on establishing safe environments for children.

Last year, the Archdiocese of Detroit removed five priests from ministry because of accusations of abuse.

They were: in January, the Rev. Thomas Physician, who died in August; in February, the Rev. C. Richard Kelly; in July, the Rev. Luis Javier de Alba Campos, who was found not guilty of criminal conduct in Wayne County Circuit Court last month, and, in August, the Rev. Timothy Murray and the Rev. Michael Malawy. Kelly, de Alba Campos, Murray and Malawy remain on leave.

Posted by kshaw at 06:19 AM

Church tallies up $800M scandal

NEW YORK
Newsday

BY CAROL EISENBERG
STAFF WRITER

February 19, 2005

Clergy sex abuse may no longer dominate the headlines, but 1,092 new allegations - including a handful from the Archdiocese of New York - were made last year, with the scandal's price tag now topping $800 million, Roman Catholic officials said Friday.

None of the new complaints from the archdiocese involved active priests, said Joseph Zwilling, a spokesman for the archdiocese.

"We received a few allegations last year involving priests who were deceased or who were already out of ministry," he said.

Nationwide, most of the alleged incidents also occurred decades ago and involved priests who had either died or been previously removed from ministry, or laicized, said Kathleen McChesney, executive director of the U.S. bishops' Office of Child and Youth Protection in Washington, D.C.

"The crisis of sexual abuse of minors within the Catholic Church is not over," she said. "What is over is the denial that this problem exists."

Posted by kshaw at 06:16 AM

Extradition upheld for Desilets

BELLINGHAM (MA)
Daily News Transcript

By Brian Eastwood / Daily News Staff
Saturday, February 19, 2005

A Canadian court has upheld the Canadian Minister of Justice's decision to extradite the Rev. Paul M. Desilets, the former Assumption parish priest accused of molesting 18 altar boys between 1974 and 1984.

Worcester County District Attorney John Conte said in a statement that his office was notified by the federal Department of Justice Thursday that the Quebec Court of Appeals had made its decision.

"Father Desilets now has the right to appeal the Court of Appeals decision to the Canadian Supreme Court," Conte said in a statement. "He has until approximately March 11 to file his appeal."

Elizabeth Stammos, spokeswoman for the district attorney's office, said yesterday the office had no further comment.

Desilets, a priest of the Order of the Clerics of St. Viator, was arrested in Quebec in October 2002. Now 81, he moved to Canada after leaving the

Posted by kshaw at 06:14 AM

AP Interview: Q&A with new San Antonio archbishop

SAN ANTONIO (TX)
KGBT

SAN ANTONIO The Most Reverend Jose H. Gomez was installed this week as the new Roman Catholic archbishop of San Antonio.

The 53-year-old former auxiliary bishop of Denver's Roman Catholic archdiocese is a naturalized U-S citizen who grew up in Monterrey, Mexico. ...

Q: Do you think the church has adequately addressed the clergy sexual abuse crisis of recent years?

A: "I would like to think that we have addressed the immediate needs of the people because I feel the decisions we made were very clear and they helped. I think it's not just a problem of the Catholic Church . It's a problem of society. And I think as with any problem with society, we need to be watchful all the time. I think programs in the church are very solid and stable. ... As the Holy Father said, there is no room for this kind of abuse in Christendom."

Posted by kshaw at 06:13 AM

5 new sex-abuse claims upheld here against priests

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Sun-Times

February 19, 2005

BY RUMMANA HUSSAIN Staff Reporter Advertisement

There were 1,092 new sexual abuse claims against at least 756 Roman Catholic priests and deacons last year -- including five confirmed reports of misconduct by former Chicago Archdiocese clergy -- according to a U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops-commissioned survey released Friday.

Half of the priests in question were previously accused and most of the alleged incidents were decades ago, said Kathleen McChesney, head of the bishops' Office of Child and Youth Protection. Seventy-two percent of the priests were either dead, defrocked or removed from the churches before the latest allegations surfaced.

Chicago Archdiocese spokesman Jim Dwyer would not give details of the five reports but said the priests involved had died or left the ministry. "We did not have to remove any priests," he said.

A companion audit also released Friday found that 96 percent of the nation's 195 dioceses, including Chicago, were fully complying with the child protection programs that bishops mandated nearly three years ago when they adopted the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People to address the sex-abuse crisis.

Posted by kshaw at 06:10 AM

Covington priest cleared in sexual-molestation case

COVINGTON (KY)
Cincinnati Enquirer

By Jim Hannah
Enquirer staff writer

COVINGTON - A Covington priest - who once helped guide the diocesan's response to allegations of priest sexual abuse - has been exonerated of a claim that he once molested a boy.

A committee of three civic leaders found no evidence that the Rev. Gerald Reinersman sexually abused a 7-year-old boy in 1979 while at Mary Queen of the Holy Rosary parish in Lexington.

The man claiming the abuse said he had repressed the memories of the molestation.

The group did, however, recommend that the diocese continue to make professional counseling services available to the man who claimed to be a victim.

His name was not released by the diocese.

Posted by kshaw at 06:09 AM

Some plaintiffs want trial to air priests' offenses

CALIFORNIA
Mercury News

By Robin Evans
Mercury News

Thirty years ago, according to their account, a group of young boys left St. Martin of Tours parish school in San Jose with an education -- and memories of shame and betrayal. They were the victims, they say, of sexual abuse by their trusted parish priest, a director of altar boys.

Today, they face the prospect of compensation: Settlement talks are scheduled to begin next week in lawsuits involving more than 80 negligence claims for sexual abuse by priests against the San Francisco Roman Catholic Archdiocese, which oversaw South Bay parishes when these events allegedly occurred. The lawsuits include claims by 22 former St. Martin's students -- including one woman -- of abuse by the Rev. Joseph Pritchard, the now deceased focus of a trial set to begin March 7 in San Francisco Superior Court.

While a monetary settlement would satisfy some needs, plaintiffs say it won't give them what they wanted most: Swift action by church officials. Now, they want some certainty that any misconduct by priests won't be obscured, forgotten or repeated. They feel public scrutiny at trial may give them that.

One plaintiff, still nervous about publicly attaching his name to his ``demoralizing'' history, admits a monetary settlement would help. The diocese pays for his therapy, but he thinks his children are going to need it, too.

``It's affected the entire family,'' he said. ``The family is walking on eggshells. They don't know when daddy is going to break down.''

Posted by kshaw at 06:07 AM

No resolution in settlement of abuse cases

OAKLAND (CA)
Contra Costa Times

By Randy Myers
CONTRA COSTA TIMES

OAKLAND - Settlement talks in the Oakland Diocese lawsuits about sexual abuse probably will extend into next week, moving from a Pleasanton hotel to a larger Concord venue to accommodate an influx of lawyers and victims.

Mediation will begin next week for nearly all of the more than 150 Northern California diocesan sexual abuse cases. Lawyers and victims will meet at the Concord Hotel and Conference Center, near Buchanan Field.

Sacramento Diocese settlement talks are planned for mid-March. Santa Rosa's negotiations, which began in Pleasanton, will continue in Concord.

Larger conference room space was needed to make room for as many as four simultaneous sessions that could take place there, said Rick Simons, lead plaintiff attorney. Attorneys for the plaintiffs, the church and insurance companies, and more victims are expected to jam into the hotel.

Roughly a third of the Northern Californian sexual abuse cases involving 24 priests are tied to the Oakland Diocese. Forty-four of those cases are in mediation, estimated the Rev. Mark Wiesner of the Oakland Diocese.

Posted by kshaw at 06:05 AM

Diocese Meets Child-protection Rules

NORWICH (CT)
The Day

By KENTON ROBINSON
Day Staff Columnist, Enterprise Reporter/Columnist
Published on 2/19/2005

Norwich — In the wake of the recent expulsion of a priest, the Norwich Diocese Friday announced it had received a clean bill of health for its efforts to keep children safe from sexual abuse.

The Office of Child and Youth Protection of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops said an audit of the diocese showed it to be in full compliance with the bishops' “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People” adopted in 2002.

The Gavin Group Inc., an independent investigative firm based in Boston that audited the diocese in October, found the diocese responds swiftly to allegations of sexual abuse and reaches out to victims, said the Rev. Ted F. Tumicki, the bishop's delegate for safe environments.

This was the second year since the audits began, and the second year the diocese received a positive review.

“I am very grateful to the members of our diocesan family for their cooperation in implementing our educational opportunities, pastoral code of conduct, comprehensive screening measures, and sexual misconduct policy,” said Norwich Bishop Michael R. Cote. “We are committed to providing a safe environment within our parishes, schools and institutions.”

Posted by kshaw at 06:03 AM

Diocese paid $1.7m to settle new abuse claims

MANCHESTER (NH)
Nashua Telegraph

By ALBERT McKEON, Telegraph Staff
mckeona@telegraph-nh.com

Published: Saturday, Feb. 19, 2005

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Manchester fielded 10 new claims of clergy sexual abuse last year, and paid $1.7 million in settlement fees.

The tally is part of an internal audit conducted on the nation’s 195 Catholic dioceses. Released Friday, the audit reported that the Catholic Church in this country has paid $840 million to victims since 1950.

Diocesan leaders said they received 1,092 new abuse claims last year. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said these figures did not mean that abuse still ran rampant in the church, and that most of the alleged incidents occurred decades ago.

The Manchester diocese reported that eight of the new claims it handled in 2004 stemmed from abuse that began between the years 1970-79, while the other two charges resulted from abuse that had started in 1954 or earlier.

Diane Murphy Quinlan, who oversees ministerial conduct for the Manchester diocese, said diocesan leaders are pleased the USCCB found the church in New Hampshire compliant for a second time. The USCCB made the same finding in its first audit last year.

Posted by kshaw at 06:02 AM

New church abuse charges

UNITED STATES
Chicago Tribune

By Margaret Ramirez and Manya A. Brachear
Tribune staff reporters
Published February 19, 2005

In a sign that the Roman Catholic Church's sexual-abuse crisis is far from over, a report released Friday found that 1,083 people came forward last year with new, credible allegations that they had been sexually abused as minors by priests and deacons.

The findings, released by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, D.C., formed the bulk of a comprehensive audit of the nation's dioceses to ensure compliance with reforms to prevent sexual abuse of children. The audit is the second since the reforms were put in place in 2002, months after the scandal broke.

The newly reported allegations named 756 priests and deacons, more than 300 of whom were not previously known as abusers. Most of the alleged incidents occurred between 1965 and 1974, the report said.

Although most of the alleged offenders are dead or have already been removed from ministry, the report found there were 42 priests or deacons accused of abuse who were still in active ministry at the time of the audit.

Posted by kshaw at 06:01 AM

Bishops: Abuse Claims Mostly Old Cases

WASHINGTON (DC)
Wired News

Saturday, February 19, 2005 6:19 a.m. ET
By RACHEL ZOLL AP Religion Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Roman Catholic bishops say the 1,092 new sex abuse claims against American priests and deacons last year do not signal that molesters are rampant in parishes today.

Most of the alleged abuse occurred decades ago and nearly three-quarters of the 756 accused clerics had died, been defrocked or been removed from public ministry before the claims were made in 2004, church leaders said Friday.

The figures came from a survey U.S. bishops commissioned to help restore trust in their leadership after the abuse crisis erupted in January 2002 in the Archdiocese of Boston and spread nationwide.

A companion audit found that nearly all the nation's 195 dioceses were fully complying with the child protection programs that prelates mandated nearly three years ago. Dioceses and religious orders said they spent more than $20 million on child protection last year.

Still, the financial fallout continues. Kathleen McChesney, head of the bishops' Office of Child and Youth Protection, said the total payout to victims has now climbed to at least $840 million since 1950.

"The crisis of sexual abuse of minors within the Catholic Church is not over," McChesney said. "What is over is the denial that this problem exists."

Posted by kshaw at 05:59 AM

Religion questions for jurors ruled out

OAKLAND (CA)
Alameda Times-Star

By Glenn Chapman, STAFF WRITER

OAKLAND — Potential jurors in upcoming Catholic priest sex abuse trials shouldn't be asked invasive questions about their religious beliefs or schooling, the judge coordinating the Clergy III cases said Friday.

While wading through a plethora of pretrial motions and with the first clergy abuse trials to start in a matter of weeks, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Ronald Sabraw addressed concerns about what members of the jury pool would be asked or told.

"The court will not permit questions that are unreasonably intrusive, such as questions about jurors' race, religious beliefs, religious training and current religious habits," Sabraw said in a written ruling. "Nor will the court permit questions designed to poll the jury, condition the jury or to pre-try the case."

Attorney Richard Simons, the liaison counsel for the approximately 200 plaintiffs involved in the 160 cases under the Clergy III umbrella, argued that it was important to know jurors' views on theology because damage claims include asking for cash compensation for losing one's religion. Simons expressed concern that a jury might end up including someone who thought religion worthless.


Posted by kshaw at 05:57 AM

Audit: Area churches following national standards on abuse

ILLINOIS
Daily Southtown

Saturday, February 19, 2005

By Allison Hantschel
Staff writer

Both the Archdiocese of Chicago and the Diocese of Joliet are complying with national standards intended to prevent sexual abuse by priests, according to an audit released Friday by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The nation's Roman Catholic bishops said Friday that over the last year they received 1,092 new allegations of sexual abuse against at least 756 Catholic priests and deacons.

Half of the accused priests over the past year had been previously accused of abuse, said Kathleen McChesney, executive director of the bishops' Office of Child and Youth Protection.

The audit, which measured whether dioceses were complying with 2002 procedures adopted in the wake of a nationwide sex scandal, said the Chicago church had "satisfactorily completed" such required tasks as training priests and deacons in sexual abuse prevention.

Posted by kshaw at 05:55 AM

Statute tied hands in priest case

GRAND RAPIDS (MI)
The Grand Rapids Press

Saturday, February 19, 2005
By Charles Honey
Press Religion Editor

GRAND RAPIDS -- Kent County prosecutors say they could not pursue an allegation of sexual abuse against a Grand Rapids area priest stemming from the 1970s, because the clock had long run out on the state statute of limitations.

The case involving the now-inactive priest has some officials calling for a relaxation of the statute, which they say ties prosecutors' hands and discourages victims from coming forward.

Assistant Prosecutor Helen Brinkman, who specializes in sexual-assault cases for the Kent County prosecutor's office, called the state limits "frustrating."

"For the protection of the public, not only that particular victim, sexual assaults against children deserve a longer statute of limitations than most crimes," Brinkman said.

Following the Grand Rapids Catholic Diocese's disclosure Friday of the new abuse allegation -- along with allegations against three deceased priests -- a state lawmaker said the Legislature should revisit the legal time limits

Posted by kshaw at 05:51 AM

Shroud of secrecy exacerbates diocesan problems

YAKIMA (WA)
Yakima Herald-Republic

Evidence continues to mount that the Catholic Diocese of Yakima has a PR problem, only in this case that abbreviation means "parishioner relations."
That's a shame, because if ever there was a lesson that should have been learned as church officials nationwide dealt with the tragedy of sex abuse by priests, it was the crucial need for more open communication and dialogue in dealing with the sensitive issue.

A penchant for secrecy as church officials wrestled with the national scandal only magnified the problem, because it was secrecy that allowed the abuse to flourish for so many years. Abusive priests too often were simply transferred to other parishes, where they resumed their preying ways.

A couple of recent developments would indicate that lesson still seems lost on local church officials.

When a group went to diocesan headquarters Wednesday to serve Bishop Carlos Sevilla with court documents related to the latest lawsuit alleging abuse by a priest years ago, all the offices were empty. Admittedly, it was a media event — the press had been tipped to show up for the serving of papers — but the fact that no one was there to meet with them or address the allegations was more ammunition for some to charge that the diocese continues to "not be there" for parishioners on this thorny issue.

Posted by kshaw at 05:46 AM

February 18, 2005

Hindu priest jailed for double rape

BRITAIN
This is London

18 February 2005
A Hindu priest was jailed for 12 years today for "abusing his position of trust" by twice raping a vulnerable woman.

Ramanathan Somanathan, 41, who worked at a temple in Croydon, south London, took advantage of his 29-year-old victim and raped her on two occasions at her home.

The second time she was raped the woman became pregnant and later had an abortion.

This led to her making several attempts to take her own life and becoming isolated in her community.

The assaults had a devastating effect on her and effectively left her a ruined woman, Croydon Crown Court heard.

Posted by kshaw at 07:04 PM

READER'S VIEW: Priests have healthy relationships with kids

BRAINTREE (MA)
The Patriot Ledger

By The Rev. ROBERT W. CONOLE, Parochial Vicar, St. Francis of Assisi, Braintree

I am most thankful to The Patriot Ledger for calling me and asking me to comment about Paul Shanley's conviction (‘‘Shanley verdict has local Catholics relieved,'' Feb. 8). Paul Shanley served here at St. Francis of Assisi in Braintree many years ago. Hopefully the conviction represents another step in the long journey of healing for victims of clergy sexual abuse.

It is my hope and my prayer that victims experience several more victories in their quest to be heard, to be helped and to be healed.

There is one point that I raised in my telephone conversation with the reporter which, to my disappointment, did not appear in the article. That unmentioned point is simply this:

That many of us priests have significant children in our lives, and we feel very passionate about their well-being and safety, too.

Posted by kshaw at 07:01 PM

State's Catholic churches follow safeguards

INDIANA
Indianapolis Star

Associated Press
February 18, 2005

Each of Indiana's five Roman Catholic dioceses comply with all of the safeguards put in place to protect children in their ministries from sexual abuse, auditors said in a national report released Friday.

Three of the dioceses -- Evansville, Gary and Lafayette -- had reported new allegations of sexual abuse of a minor to public authorities since their previous compliance checks, but the audits gave no details.

Auditors also noted the Evansville Diocese had taken additional steps beyond those required by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops when it adopted its "Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People" in June 2002. The Evansville Diocese was the only one in Indiana cited in such a way by the auditors.

The Evansville Diocese has designed its own Safe Environment Program in which each of its 70 parishes and four Catholic high schools has appointed a youth protection coordinator "to more effectively implement the safe environment program at the local level," the auditors said.

Posted by kshaw at 06:55 PM

US Catholic church hit by sex abuse

WASHINGTON (DC)
Reuters

By Deborah Zabarenko

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Roman Catholic Church received 1,092 new claims of priest sexual abuse last year and paid more than $157 million (83 million pounds) to deal with them, according to an audit of the paedophile scandal that has been released.

"The crisis of sexual abuse of minors within the Catholic Church is not over," Kathleen McChesney, head of the U.S. church's Office of Child and Youth Protection, told reporters on Friday.

"What is over is the denial that this problem exists, and what is over is the reluctance of the church to deal openly with the public about the nature and extent of the problem."

This audit, the second report on the church response to the paedophile scandal that erupted in 2002, was made public four days after one of the most notorious paedophile offenders, defrocked priest Paul Shanley, was sentenced to 12 to 15 years in prison for raping a boy in the 1980s.

The audit tallied the number of new complaints, the amount spent on them and the percentage of American dioceses that are complying with 2002 charter aimed at ending priest sexual abuse.

Posted by kshaw at 06:51 PM

Priest sues own diocese, alleging abuse by priest as teen

PITTSBURGH (PA)
Philly.com

DAN NEPHIN
Associated Press

PITTSBURGH - A Roman Catholic priest is suing his own diocese, saying he was sexually abused as a teen by a now-deceased priest who taught at his high school.

The Rev. John Nesbella alleges that he was abused more than 25 years ago, when he was 16, at a rectory operated by the Altoona-Johnstown diocese, the diocese said in a statement.

Nesbella says he was abused by The Rev. Martin Brady, his teacher at Bishop Carroll in Ebensburg, according to lawyer Richard Serbin, who represents Nesbella. Brady died March 19, 2003, the diocese said.

"Having one of our priests be a litigant against his own diocesan church and diocesan bishop presents us with a number of difficulties," Bishop Joseph Adamec said in the statement. He said it could be difficult for the diocese to conduct a thorough investigation and for Nesbella to be an effective minister.

"The fact that the accused is deceased makes it next to impossible to confirm the allegation," Adamec said.

Posted by kshaw at 06:45 PM

Hindu priest in rape trial jailed

BRITAIN
BBC News

A Hindu priest who "abused his position of trust" by raping a vulnerable woman, has been jailed for 12 years.

Ramanathan Somanathan, 41, who worked at a temple in Croydon, south London, left his 29-year-old victim pregnant after raping her twice.

After having an abortion the woman made several suicide attempts and became a loner, Croydon Crown Court heard.

Somanathan, of Thornton Heath, Surrey, was found guilty at the same court last month, and sentenced on Friday.

Posted by kshaw at 06:42 PM

Parishioners Confront Diocese Over Fate of Accused Pastor

BERKELEY (CA)
Berkeley Daily Planet

By MATTHEW ARTZ
Oakland diocese officials, under tough questioning from a crowd numbering over 250 at Berkeley’s St. Joseph The Worker Church, this week clarified earlier statements that allegations of sexual misconduct against Pastor George Crespin were “credible.”

Church officials explained that the term meant that the allegations were only possibly true, rather than likely, as many of the parishioners had assumed the term meant.

“I apologize on behalf of the diocese if we used that word and gave the wrong impression,” said the Rev. Raymond Breton, the diocese expert on canon law, to loud applause.

Two weeks ago Crespin, 69, abruptly retired from the parish upon learning that a former parishioner had accused him of sexual abuse 30 years prior while Crespin was a priest at Our Lady of the Rosary in Union City. Crespin has worked at St. Joseph’s since 1980, and served as pastor for the last 10 years. The diocese has not revealed the accuser’s identity.

Diocese policy calls for a priest faced with a “credible” allegation of sexual abuse to be placed on administrative leave. Although Breton told parishioners Tuesday that, legally, “credible” meant the accusation had the potential to be true, churchgoers contested that the language had unfairly tainted the investigation.

“It was outrageous,” said Tom Fike, an attorney and longtime St. Joseph’s parishioner. “If any judge had commented that an allegation was credible, that judge would have been recused from the case.”

Posted by kshaw at 06:32 PM

Audit Has Mixed News for W.Va. Catholics

WEST VIRGINIA
WTRF

Posted 2/18/2005 04:19 PM

Story by The Associated Press

The latest review of sex-abuse prevention programs in the Roman Catholic Church finds West Virginia in pretty good shape.

According to the audit released Friday, the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston had only two deficiencies. They were in training and background checks for its thousands of volunteers.

Though nearly 3,000 background checks have been performed, the audit found the diocese could not provide the number of remaining volunteers or a training schedule for them.

Nor could the diocese say when it will do background checks on those who have not yet been screened.


Posted by kshaw at 06:28 PM

4 New Allegations of Priest Abuse in Greater Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS (MI)
WZZM

Created: 2/18/2005 1:36:38 PM
Updated: 2/18/2005 2:07:14 PM

Grand Rapids - Early this afternoon, the Grand Rapids Diocese confirmed 4 new allegations of abuse against priests in our area.

As part of the 2004 compliance audit report, the diocese has reported that 4 new caes were received through our local victim assistance program in the calendar year 2004.

The new allegations:
• Were reported to have occurred between 1960 and 1980.
• Are not affiliated with priests who have been previously named in Grand Rapids diocesan allegation reports.
• Include 3 allegations that are associated with individual priests who are deceased.
• Include one allegation involving a priest who is not in active priestly ministry and has denied the allegation.

Posted by kshaw at 06:26 PM

Diocese says 34 more individuals have reported abuse

IOWA
Sioux City Journal

02/18/2005 03:33:21 PM

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) -- Over the last two years, 34 individuals have reported incidents of child sexual abuse by priests to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Dubuque, officials said in a report on Friday.

"Each person comes forward with a story and often much hurt and pain," Archbishop Jerome Hanus said in a letter to Catholic households in the archdiocese, which covers 30 northeast Iowa counties and the cities of Waterloo, Cedar Rapids, Dubuque and Mason City.

Hanus' letter was meant to update members of the archdiocese on its response to the sexual abuse scandal that has rocked the Catholic Church.

The 34 incidents were among 1,092 new allegations of sexual abuse that have been reported against at least 756 priests and deacons across the country, the nation's Roman Catholic bishops said Friday.

In a previous report in December 2003, Hanus said that 26 priests had been accused of sexually abusing children between 1950 and 2002, involving a total of 67 victims 12 girls and 55 boys.

Diocese officials said some of the 34 reports since Jan. 1, 2003 were repeats of previous incidents so they were unable to tabulate new totals. The reports came from victims, family members and acquaintances.

Posted by kshaw at 06:24 PM

Diocese says 34 more individuals have reported abuse

WATERLOO (IA)
WHO

WATERLOO, Iowa Officials say that over the last two years, 34 individuals have reported incidents of child sexual abuse by priests to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Dubuque.

Archbishop Jerome Hanus says in a letter to Catholic households in the archdiocese that each person comes forward with a story and often much hurt and pain. The archdiocese covers 30 northeast Iowa counties and the cities of Waterloo, Cedar Rapids, Dubuque and Mason City.

Hanus' letter was meant to update members of the archdiocese on its response to the sexual abuse scandal that has rocked the Catholic Church.

Posted by kshaw at 06:22 PM

TALKS TO CONTINUE IN CLERGY SEX ABUSE CASES

CALIFORNIA
CBS 5

02/18/05 12:50 PST
OAKLAND (BCN)

Talks aimed at reaching settlements in at least of some of the more than 150 lawsuits in a mega-case alleging sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests throughout Northern California will continue next week, an attorney for some of the alleged victims said today.

Rick Simons, one of the lead plaintiffs' attorneys in the so-called "Clergy III'' case, said lawyers, plaintiffs and church representatives in some of the cases have been meeting all this week at the Wyndham Garden Hotel in Pleasanton in hopes of reaching settlements.

Starting Monday, the settlement talks will switch to the Concord Convention Center, a large venue that can accommodate more people and therefore handle cases from throughout Northern California, Simons said.

Many of the lawyers are back in the courtroom of Alameda County Superior Court Judge Ronald Sabraw today for the latest in a lengthy series of pretrial hearings on thorny legal issues in the sexual abuse cases. Sabraw is overseeing the cases and wants to refine and narrow the issues before the first two go to trial on March 7.

Posted by kshaw at 06:16 PM

TRIAL SET FOR FORMER DALY CITY PRIEST ACCUSED OF ABUSE

CALIFORNIA
CBS 5

02/18/05 1:40 PST
REDWOOD CITY

The February trial date set for a former Daly City priest accused of sexually abusing a young girl a decade ago has been vacated and rescheduled for May.

San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Stephen Hall granted a defense request to delay the trial for Jose Superiaso, 50, a former priest at St. Andrew's Catholic Church who acknowledged having sex between 30 and 40 times with a young girl he babysat in the mid-1990s.

The May trial will be the second prosecution of Superiaso, who will be retried on 18 felony counts.

On Sept. 17, a San Mateo County jury acquitted Superiaso on three of the original 21 charges against him and deadlocked on the remaining 18 counts, forcing Superior Court Judge Robert Foiles to declare a mistrial.

The girl, now 22, first reported the alleged crimes in May 2003. Superiaso was arrested on June 10 of that year, after the alleged victim lured him back to the county from New Mexico.

Because Superiaso was accused of lewd and lascivious acts with a child under the age of 14, the girl's age at the time was crucial to the prosecution.

Posted by kshaw at 06:14 PM

BISHOPS’ REPORT PROVES REVEALING

WASHINGTON (DC)
Catholic League

The sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church was the subject of a new report released today by the bishops. The findings of the second annual audit of the dioceses and eparchies show how they are complying with the norms adopted by the bishops in 2002.

Here’s what Catholic League president William Donohue said about it:

“The report is loaded with statistics that many will find useful, the most revealing of which are: the majority of the allegations of abuse made in 2004 involved incidents that occurred between 1965 and 1974; 71 percent of the alleged offenders were deceased, already removed from ministry or had been previously laicized when the allegations were made; only 2 percent of the allegations involved incidents in 2004; and 78 percent of the alleged victims were male.

Posted by kshaw at 06:11 PM

Statement Regarding Bishops' Report on Diocese Surveys

WASHINGTON (DC)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

Our message today is very simple.

First, prudent people will wait for proof before assuming these so-called reforms are working.

Second, much of what's being touted as reform is irrelevant or ineffective

Third, the crux of this crisis fundamentally remains unaddressed.

Before we talk specifics, take a minute and remember how all this came about.

Bishops have devised the rules of play, hired the umpires, chosen the players, and in about an hour, will declare that they're winning.

Posted by kshaw at 06:07 PM

Clergy sex abuse crisis 'is not over,' child protection director says

WASHINGTON (DC)
Catholic News Service

By Jerry Filteau
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- "The crisis of sexual abuse of minors within the Catholic Church is not over," Kathleen McChesney, executive director of the U.S. bishops' Office of Child and Youth Protection, told reporters Feb. 18.

McChesney spoke at a press conference at theAbuse Tracker Press Club in Washington, convened to release the findings of the second national audit of dioceses, assessing their compliance in 2004 with the bishops' "Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People." Her office is responsible for coordinating the audits each year and compiling them into a public national report.

The audit report itself contained firm warnings against complacency, saying there is need for "continued external oversight and evaluation" of dioceses.

An accompanying statistical study reported that during the past year there were 1,092 new allegations of past abuse by 1,083 victims involving 756 accused priests or deacons and that dioceses and religious orders spent nearly $158 million on abuse-related matters -- settlements with victims, therapy, legal fees and other costs such as child protection programs and background checks on church personnel and volunteers.

Posted by kshaw at 06:03 PM

Audit: NJ's Roman Catholic dioceses following rules on abuse

NEW JERSEY
New York Newsday

February 18, 2005, 4:52 PM EST

MOUNT LAUREL, N.J. -- All five Roman Catholic dioceses and both Eastern Rite dioceses in New Jersey are taking appropriate steps to prevent sexual abuse of children, according to audits released Friday by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The audits are part of the bishops' response to sex-abuse scandals that came to light in several churches in recent years. Most of the reported abuse cases happened decades ago.

At the height of the scandal in 2002, the bishops conference agreed to requirements for churches to prevent and deal with sexual abuse.

Only the dioceses found to not to be compliant in the latest audits of their policies will be subject to the audits again next year.

More than 96 percent of the dioceses and eparchies nationwide were reported to be complying with those policies.

Last year, New Jersey's Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Passaic and the Syriac Diocese of Our Lady of Deliverance of Union City, were found to have been in violation of the policies. In the new report, both met the standards.

Posted by kshaw at 06:01 PM

Experts: Defrocked Priest Could Have Strong Appeal

BALTIMORE (MD)
TheWBALChannel.com

POSTED: 5:53 pm EST February 18, 2005

BALTIMORE -- Experts on criminal law said Friday that inappropriate testimony by police detectives alleging that a defrocked priest had abused others gave the ex-cleric a strong case to appeal his child sex abuse conviction.

Maurice Blackwell was found guilty Thursday of molesting Dontee Stokes, 29, who shot the priest he once considered a father figure a decade after the abuse ended. Blackwell faces 45 years in prison when he's sentenced April 15.

During the trial, two police detectives testified separately of allegations that Blackwell had abused others. An angry Circuit Judge Stuart Berger, who had earlier prohibited such testimony, threatened to hold Detective Shawn Harrison and Lt. Frederick Roussey in contempt of court for their testimony and for talking to the media outside the courthouse. But Berger rejected a defense call for a mistrial, instead instructing the jury to disregard what they'd heard.

Blackwell's attorney, Kenneth Ravenell, said the testimony, once heard in open court, ruined Blackwell's chance for a fair trial. An assistant to Ravenell said Friday that the defense would file a motion for a new trial within 10 days. An appeal to a higher court would follow if the judge rejected that motion.

Even though the judge ordered the jury to disregard the detectives' testimony, Ravenell said that "it's impossible for people to wipe clear what they've already heard."

Posted by kshaw at 05:58 PM

Burlington diocese found lacking on sex-abuse prevention

MONTPELIER (VT)
WCAX

MONTPELIER, Vt. An audit for the U-S Conference of Catholic Bishops has found the Burlington diocese has failed to meet one of several requirements designed to prevent sexual abuse of children by clergy.

It also said that during the 2004 audit period, there were seven new allegations of sexual misconduct against seven priests in Vermont. There were more than 1,000 such reports around the country.

The audit faulted the diocese for not setting up an educational program for children, parents and others about preventing sexual abuse.

Posted by kshaw at 05:55 PM

2004 Report on the Implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People

WASHINGTON (DC)
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

This will link readers to the full report of the Compliance Audit and executive summaries.

Posted by kshaw at 12:26 PM

Bishops: New Sex Abuse Claims Top 1,000

WASHINGTON (DC)
Dateline Alabama

By RACHEL ZOLL
AP Religion Writer

February 18, 2005

The nation's Roman Catholic bishops said Friday that over the last year they received 1,092 new allegations of sexual abuse against at least 756 Catholic priests and deacons.

Half of the accused priests over the past year had been previously accused of abuse, said Kathleen McChesney, executive director of the bishops' Office of Child and Youth Protection.

Most of the alleged incidents occurred decades ago: 72 percent of the priests were either dead, defrocked or removed from public ministry before the newest allegations were received, McChesney said.

The information came as the bishops released a new national audit of U.S. dioceses to determine how well they've complied with the child protection policy American prelates instituted more than three years ago at the height of the clergy molestation crisis. Teams of auditors, comprised mainly of former FBI agents, compiled data in visits to dioceses across the country.

Posted by kshaw at 11:49 AM

New audit finds near-total compliance with policies on sex abuse

WASHINGTON (DC)
Catholic News Service

By Agostino Bono
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- An independent audit released Feb. 18 in Washington reported that 96 percent of the 195 U.S. dioceses and Eastern-rite eparchies were implementing every applicable article of the U.S. bishops' policies to prevent clergy sex abuse of minors as of Dec. 31.

Despite the almost-total compliance, "continued external oversight and evaluation (are) essential" since compliance "may improve or diminish over time," said the audit report for 2004 prepared by the bishops' Office of Child and Youth Protection.

An audit "does not ensure that all offenders or potential offenders have been appropriately removed from ministry," it added.

The 50-page report said that in 2004 there were 1,092 new allegations of child sex abuse made against 756 diocesan and religious priests and deacons, with most of the alleged abuse taking place in 1965-74. It said 73 percent of the accused, prior to the allegation, had been removed from ministry or were dead or missing. No breakdown of priests and deacons was given.

Half of the new allegations were against clergy who had been previously accused. Males accounted for 78 percent of the 1,083 accusers.

Posted by kshaw at 11:47 AM

ADVISORY: NEWS CONFERENCE

WASHINGTON (DC)
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

The 2nd REPORT ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE ‘CHARTER FOR THE PROTECTION OF CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE’ will be made public at noon, Friday, February 18, at a news conference at theAbuse Tracker Press Club, Washington, DC.

The report shows how the dioceses of the United States fared last year in carrying out the provisions of the ‘Charter’ which the Catholic bishops adopted in 2002.

Participants will be Bishop William W. Skylstad, president, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB); Kathleen McChesney, executive director, Office of Child and Youth Protection; and William Gavin of the agency which carried out the compliance audit.

Posted by kshaw at 10:40 AM

Personnel Bile No. 3: The Milwaukee Monster

CALIFORNIA
Orange County Weekly

by GUSTAVO ARELLANO

Last week, lawyers in Milwaukee did what Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Peter Lichtman has yet to do: release personnel files on child-raping priests who worked in the Diocese of Orange. The pederast in question is Siegfried Widera, who molested at least nine children while stationed at various Orange County parishes from 1977 to 1985.

What distinguishes Widera from the other pedo-priests in the Orange diocese roster of monsters is that diocesan officials irrefutably knew about Widera’s past. I mean, you can’t get more blatant than a 1973 conviction for sexual perversion, right? Or how about a 1976 note by Wisconsin officials that ended Widera’s probation? Or maybe Orange diocese officials got a clue after Archdiocese of Milwaukee Bishop William Cousins called Orange Bishop William Johnson and warned him that Widera had a "moral problem" with a boy, the moral problem being Widera fiddling the kid during a fishing trip?

To this day, Orange diocese officials insist that they didn’t know about Widera’s past when they accepted him from the Milwaukee Archdiocese in 1977. The following documents should end that little lie quick.

Posted by kshaw at 10:25 AM

Court tosses church sex abuse suit

NEW YORK
New York Newsday

BY CAROL EISENBERG
STAFF WRITER

February 17, 2005, 8:21 PM EST

The Appellate Division in Brooklyn has thrown out a lawsuit brought by 34 people who claimed that, as children, they had been abused by priests in Brooklyn and Queens.

The Feb. 7 decision, which affirmed a 2003 ruling by the state Supreme Court, ruled the suit was time-barred because too many years had passed since the alleged molestations.

The decision was hailed by church officials but described as "an absolutely devastating blow" by Michael Dowd, the plaintiffs' attorney, as well as by victims groups, who have argued such statutes should be suspended in cases of childhood sex abuse.

"This is, to my mind, a terrible, terrible injustice to have these people cut off on an extraordinarly technical ground," Dowd said. "To deny these people the opportunity to even be heard about the wrongs done to them is an intolerably cruel determination."

Posted by kshaw at 09:03 AM

Suit claims repressed memory

COLORADO
Rocky Mountain News

By Jean Torkelson, Rocky Mountain News
February 18, 2005

A California man has filed a repressed memory lawsuit against a religious order and the Pueblo Catholic diocese, claiming he was molested by a priest who committed suicide 13 years ago.

Wayne Dennis Corder sued the Diocese of Pueblo and the Benedictine order of priests last November. He charged that a teacher, the Rev. Richard Chung, sexually abused him in 1982 while he was a 14-year-old attending Holy Cross Abbey, a Benedictine boarding school in Cañon City.

Chung, 40, killed himself in 1992, one day after he was suspended from his teaching job at a Catholic high school in Colorado Springs while officials investigated another sex abuse allegation by a student. The priest asphyxiated himself by sitting in his garage with the car engine running.

Corder's 2004 suit claims the Catholic leadership "had an unwritten policy of condoning pedophilia at the Abbey school."

"Nonsense," said attorney Jack Donley, who represents the Benedictines. He declined further comment. The Diocese of Pueblo said no one was available for comment.

Posted by kshaw at 09:02 AM

The police seek help to apprehend church worker

NEW HAMPSHIRE
Concord Monitor

The Northfield and Tilton police will hold a press conference today to ask for the public's help in apprehending a volunteer of the Episcopal diocese accused of inappropriate conduct with minor children.

The police released almost no details last night, except to say the conduct was brought to their attention by the diocese. Mike Barwell, a spokesman for the diocese, said he could not comment on the situation.

"We've cooperated fully in the investigation," he said.

Posted by kshaw at 08:51 AM

Judge Anne Burke addresses Church controversies at CHC

WORCESTER (MA)
Crusader

By Dan Zacchei
Published: Friday, February 11, 2005

Judge Anne Burke of the Illinois Appellate Court spoke in Rehm Library last Monday as part of The Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture at the College Holy Cross lecture series titled, "Healing, Renewal and the Church." Burke served for more than two years as Interim Chair of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops'Abuse Tracker Review Board for the Protection of Children and Young People. The title of the talk was, "Lay Catholics and the Future of the American Church."

Burke began her lecture by discussing the February 2004 report that the Review Board had issued detailing the sexual abuse scandals that have shook the Church to its core in the past few years. She also stated that she could, "Think of no more important group of educators to help repair the image of the Church than those here at Holy Cross," observing that ultimately, "The mission of Holy Cross is the mission of the Church."

She outlined a brief history of the Catholic Church in America, explaining how she felt that the Church had gained great forward momentum in the 60's with the Second Vatican Council. When she began to discuss the abuse scandal of the past few years her tone changed. She stated that there was, "No reason to mince words," and that after all she had learned if she was going to write a book about the "horrific scandal" and the current state of the church she would title it either, "Asleep at the Switch," or "Who's Running this Joint?"

Posted by kshaw at 08:50 AM

Church officer to face charges in Northfield

NORTHFIELD (NH)
Citizen

By GORDON D. KING
Staff Writer

NORTHFIELD — Police are seeking a suspect wanted in connection with inappropriate sexual contact with several young girls and for allegedly embezzling money from a local church.

Police Chief Scott Hilliard said the Tilton and Northfield Police and the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire will be hold a joint press conference this afternoon to announce complete details of the investigation into the allegations.

The Citizen has learned that the suspect being sought is Scott Nash, 45, of 20 Summer Street, who is believed to be on the run.

Warrants have been issued for his arrest and information about him has been entered in theAbuse Tracker Crime Information Center.

The suspect is an official of the Tilton Episcopal Church in Tilton. The investigation involves allegations of inappropriate contact with minor children and was brought to the attention of police by officials of the Episcopal Diocese, Chief Hilliard said, adding that authorities are seeking the news media’s assistance in locating the suspect.

Posted by kshaw at 08:47 AM

Diocese Asks For Removal Of Priest At Enders Island

MYSTIC (CT)
The Day

By KENTON ROBINSON
Day Staff Columnist, Enterprise Reporter/Columnist
Published on 2/18/2005

Mystic — Bishop Michael R. Cote informed pastors of the Norwich diocese last month that he had asked the Rev. Paul Pinard, a priest residing at St. Edmund's Retreat on Enders Island, to leave the diocese because of “past, substantial allegations of sexual misconduct with minors.”

That announcement was published in this month's edition of the diocese's Four County Catholic newspaper.

For the past seven years, Pinard has taught an adult-education class at St. Edmund's Retreat. His text: “To Know Christ Jesus,” by Frank Sheed.

Pinard had another favorite text by Sheed, one that he used when he taught classes at St. Michael's College in Winooski, Vt., back in the '60s: “Theology and Sanity.”

He also taught high school for 22 years.

Posted by kshaw at 08:44 AM

Sex scam: Ajendra Prasad's house raided in Vidyanagar

INDIA
ahmedabad.com

February 18, 2005

The city crime branch on Thursday seized original videocassette of the Swaminarayan sex scandal case from Swami Ajendra Prasad's residence in Vidyanagar.

Additional commissioner (crime branch) D.G. Vanjara informed that the raids were conducted at two places, Vidyanagar and Anand. Mr. Vanjara said a computer, floppies and CDs have been seized from Ajendra Parsad's residence. Crime branch suspects that more names are likely to be disclosed in the scam after the Thursday seizure.

The raids were conducted after one of the four persons arrested on Tuesday - Bhanu Bhagat - admitted in the court that Ajendra Prasad is also involved in the scam.

The crime branch had arrested four persons - Mansukh Bhagat, Bhanu Bhagat, Thakarsi Patel and priest Sadhu Baktiswarup Das - on Tuesday under the Prevention of Immoral Trafficking Act, for sale of obscene material and for hurting religious sentiments of the people.

Meanwhile, the builders who were asked by the police to remain present at the crime branch presented themselves at the stipulated time. Mr. Vanjara said Nandlal Kala, Jayanti Bhagat and Himmatlal Laheri are being interrogated in connection with the sex scam. The crime branch suspects that more names could be disclosed during the interrogation.

Posted by kshaw at 08:32 AM

Arlington priest faces judges

WASHINGTON (DC)
The Washington Times

By Julia Duin
THE WASHINGTON TIMES

A whistleblower Catholic priest who says his bishop is persecuting him because of his activism against homosexuals in the priesthood appeared yesterday in front of an ecclesiastical court near Catholic University.
The Rev. James Haley, 48, a priest in the Diocese of Arlington, appeared before a panel of judges and canon lawyers for a final hearing in a case brought against him by Arlington Bishop Paul S. Loverde. The case has lasted more than three years.
The priest submitted five volumes of documents bolstering his contention that the Catholic priesthood is heavily weighted with homosexuals.
"All I am doing is trying to get an answer to a very complicated question," Father Haley said Tuesday. "Is it moral, proper and prudent to ordain homosexual priests?"
Bishop Thomas G. Doran of Rockford, Ill., is presiding over the case, which will be forwarded for judgment to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the Vatican, headed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.
Bishop Loverde has lodged several charges against the priest for sexual misconduct in a case that began in the fall of 2001. He ordered Father Haley silenced and removed him from parish ministry.
The priest denied the sexual-misconduct charges, then revealed in a July 24, 2002, deposition filed in Arlington County Circuit Court a lengthy account of adultery and homosexual affairs among certain priests in the Northern Virginia diocese.

Posted by kshaw at 08:30 AM

VCD seized from house of top priest of Swaminarayan at Vadtal:

INDIA
New Kerala

[India News]: Ahmedabad, Feb 17 : Continuing its crack down on the Vadtal sect of the Swaminarayan temple, police today raided the premises of a senior priest in Anand district in connection with the sex scam, a Crime Branch official said.

"Raids were conducted at the premises where a top priest of the Swaminarayan Vadtal sect lives in Anand district. Some things, including objectional VCD's and video tapes have been seized," the official told PTI.

The raids were conducted in premises belonging to the top priest at Vadtal and Vidyanagar towns and it appears that a prima facie case can be made against the priest, the official said.

The crime branch had busted this case and made the arrests after getting complaints of several CDs doing the rounds in Anand and Junagadh district of priests of the Swaminarayan sect at Vadtal indulging in the obscene acts.

Posted by kshaw at 08:26 AM

Thorough investigation vowed

SPRINGFIELD (IL)
SJ-R.com

By DAVE BAKKE
STAFF WRITER

Springfield Catholic Bishop George Lucas and attorney Bill Roberts promised Thursday a "thorough, open-minded and unbiased" probe into allegations of misconduct involving priests of the diocese.

"I am deeply disturbed by the current allegations," the bishop said. "We demand greater scrutiny even to the appearance of misconduct."

Lucas called the allegations - he said some are aimed at him - "a matter of grave importance to Catholics in this diocese." He said the accusations against him are "totally false" and that none of the current allegations involves criminal behavior.

The bishop added that his attempts to separate truth from rumor have been frustrating.

Roberts, a former county and federal prosecutor, has been hired by the diocese to direct the investigation. He will have two assistants, and state and national investigators also will be available. Roberts will report his findings to a commission to be named by Lucas in the near future. That commission will examine the material Roberts' team collects and report to the bishop.

Posted by kshaw at 08:22 AM

Complaint filed on suspended priest

OHIO
Cincinnati Enquirer

By John Nolan
The Associated Press

A Roman Catholic priest suspended by the church for sexually abusing children violated terms of his suspension by living near children and presenting himself as a priest at a funeral, an advocacy group for abuse victims says.

The Rev. Thomas Brunner is on paid suspension from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. He is living with a woman and her adopted son in the Dayton suburb of Riverside, said Christy Miller, co-leader for the Cincinnati chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

Brunner is an abuser who should not have access to children, Miller said Thursday. She faxed a letter of complaint to the Cincinnati Archdiocese office on Wednesday.

"It seems that Tom Brunner is blatantly disregarding your authority and is mocking the directives of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati," Miller wrote to Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk. "Brunner, as you know, is still a priest employed by the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, therefore still under your supervision."

Miller also sent the archdiocese a copy of a published obituary that reported Brunner had presided at a Dec. 3 funeral in Hamilton.

Posted by kshaw at 08:20 AM

Seattle Archdiocese Removed From Lawsuit

SEATTLE (WA)
KOMO

February 15, 2005

By KOMO Staff & News Services

SEATTLE - The Seattle Archdiocese has been removed as a defendant in a lawsuit filed by an Idaho man who accused now-defrocked priest John Cornelius of molesting him years ago.

On Friday, Judge Paris Kallas said the Seattle Archdiocese of the Roman Catholic Church and the Sulpicians, the Catholic religious order that ran St. Thomas seminary, should not be part of Timothy McKenna's suit.

The lawsuit filed last year by the Idaho Falls man said Cornelius molested him when Cornelius was a student at Mount Angel Seminary near Portland, Ore., then later when he was a priest-in-training at St. Thomas seminary in Kenmore, and later as a priest with the Seattle Archdiocese.

McKenna accused Cornelius of abusing him from about 1969 to 1975, when McKenna was about 10 to 16.

Posted by kshaw at 08:19 AM

Archdiocese target of the latest sex abuse trial involving the church

HOUSTON (TX)
ABC 13

ABC13 Eyewitness News
(02/18/05 - HOUSTON) — Allegations of past sexual abuse are coming back to haunt the Galveston-Houston archdiocese.

Pablo Lopez claims he was sexually assaulted by a Houston seminary student eight years ago when he was a 15-year-old altar boy at Saint Francis de Sales church in Sharpstown

Lopez filed a lawsuit accusing the archbishop of covering up the crime by helping the seminary student flee the country.

Two other men have stepped forward to accuse the same seminary student of sex abuse. They've filed a lawsuit, claiming Archbishop Joseph Fiorenza helped their abuser leave the country.

Posted by kshaw at 08:12 AM

Juror Speaks About Blackwell Verdict

BALTIMORE (MD)
TheWBALChannel.com

POSTED: 5:55 am EST February 18, 2005

BALTIMORE -- One of the jurors who voted to convict Maurice Blackwell on three child sexual abuse charges said a night's sleep helped his fellow jurors reach a unanimous decision.

After five hours of fruitless deliberations Wednesday, Anthony Long said he went home convinced that Blackwell wouldn't be convicted. But the divisions disappeared when deliberations resumed Thursday morning.

Long said jurors were swayed by the stoic look on Blackwell's face and Blackwell's failure to look at the jury. He says Stokes' shooting of Blackwell in 2002 was very compelling because Stokes had once looked up to the priest.

Posted by kshaw at 08:09 AM

C.V. Catholics hear apology

CASTRO VALLEY (CA)
The Daily Review

By Karen Holzmeister, STAFF WRITER

CASTRO VALLEY — Allen Vigneron became bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Oakland in October 2003, decades after altar boys at five churches in Alameda and Contra Costa counties said the Rev. Robert Ponciroli sexually abused them.

Last year Vigneron visited churches in Antioch, Byron, Oakland and Richmond to publicly apologize for Ponciroli's "clerical misconduct."

On Thursday, Vigneron brought the same message to Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in Castro Valley, where Ponciroli, now 68, was assigned from 1975 to 1979.

A former Our Lady of Grace altar boy, who also was a student at the church's grammar school, is one of eight boysfrom the two counties who have sued the diocese, saying they were molested by the now-retired priest.

No victims of priestly abuse spoke Thursday.

But Vigneron but told fewer than 100 people scattered throughout the nave of the church that "I apologize to, and ask the pardon of, the parish community of Our Lady of Grace for the acts of clerical sexual abuse of minors that occurred here.


Posted by kshaw at 08:08 AM

Some suspended priests still paid

NEW HAMPSHIRE
Concord Monitor

By ANNMARIE TIMMINS
Monitor staff

February 18. 2005 8:00AM

Last week, the Archdiocese of Boston defrocked four more priests who'd been accused or convicted of child sexual assault. There's no harsher punishment because it eliminates a priest's financial support from the church and his right to minister to people.

Here, the Catholic Church has retired or suspended accused and convicted priests, but it has not defrocked them. And some priests put on administrative leave or forced into retirement continue to receive pay and benefits from the diocese. Bishop John McCormack asked his staff in 2001 to increase the monthly allowances sent to incarcerated priests. As recently as 2003, the diocese was sending retirement pay for one suspended priest to New Mexico, where he lives with a woman who was his lover in Keene. And the Rev. Aime Boisselle, a Concord priest who resigned in 2002 in the face of abuse allegations, said last night that the diocese is helping him with medical coverage and living expenses.

"When you look at Boston, and you have priests being defrocked there, why do we not have priests being defrocked here?" said Anne Pullen of the local chapter of the lay group Voice of the Faithful. "And where are the people in the pews? The layperson in this church is saying, 'Move on. Stop talking about this.' But there is no accountability."

The Rev. Edward Arsenault, assistant to McCormack, declined to discuss particular priests' cases last night but said McCormack and the church feel a responsibility to support priests. Arsenault would not say how the diocese decides whether or how to compensate an accused priest. Incarcerated priests, he said, receive only minimal support.

Posted by kshaw at 08:05 AM

Desilets is likely to return

WORCESTER (MA)
Telegram & Gazette

Kathleen A. Shaw Telegram & Gazette Staff
kshaw@telegram.com

WORCESTER— The extradition of the Rev. Paul M. Desilets, who was indicted in 2002 by a Worcester grand jury in the alleged sexual abuse of 18 young men and boys in Bellingham, moved closer last week when the Quebec Court of Appeal upheld a decision by the justice minister to allow him to be ordered back to Massachusetts to face charges.

District Attorney John J. Conte said yesterday that Rev. Desilets has the right to appeal the decision to the Canadian Supreme Court.

Rev. Desilets, 81, had attempted to avoid deportation from Quebec but the appeals court in Montreal upheld Justice Minister Irvin Cotler’s May decision to extradite the priest to the United States. The judgment was rendered on Feb. 9, according to a spokesman for the appeals court.

Mr. Conte, who first sought extradition on Aug. 22, 2002, said yesterday he was informed of the Canadian court decision through the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., which initiated the extradition proceedings at his request.

The priest was indicted here on 16 charges of indecent assault and battery on a person under 14, 10 charges of indecent assault and battery on a person over 14, and 10 charges of assault and battery, Mr. Conte said.

Rev. Desilets was a priest at Our Lady of the Assumption parish, Bellingham, when the alleged incidents happened between Sept. 1, 1978, and Aug. 31, 1984. Bellingham is in the Boston Archdiocese, but the town is in Mr. Conte’s district.

Canadian police arrested Rev. Desilets in October 2002 at the request of American authorities. He faces no charges in Canada. Rev. Desilets, a member of the Order of St. Viateur, moved to Canada in 1984. He was living at a retirement home for clergy in Joliette, Quebec. He has diabetes and suffers from the effects of polio that he had as a child.

Mr. Conte was successful in extraditing another priest from Canada to face criminal sexual abuse charges. The Rev. Joseph A. Fredette was sent back to Worcester in 1995 from New Brunswick by order of a Canadian court. He had fled to Canada in the 1970s after Worcester police issued a warrant for his arrest over alleged sexual abuse of boys in his care at the former Come Alive program for troubled teenagers.

Posted by kshaw at 08:00 AM

Bishop hires team to check abuse reports

SPRINGFIELD (IL)
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

By Tim Townsend
Of the Post-Dispatch
Thursday, Feb. 17 2005

Bishop George J. Lucas of the Roman Catholic diocese of Springfield, Ill., said
Thursday that he had appointed an investigative team, headed by a former U.S.
attorney, to look into allegations of sexual misconduct by the diocese's clergy.

A spokeswoman for the diocese, Kathie Sass, said the bishop's decision to form
the panel came in the wake of an incident involving the diocese's former
chancellor, the Rev. Eugene Costa. In December, Costa was found badly beaten in a Springfield park frequented by homosexual men.

The diocese covers 28 counties, including Madison.

Sass said other allegations of clergy misconduct had come to the bishop's
attention in recent weeks, but she was not specific. "We are not talking about
anything illegal," she said, "but the bishop has been very frustrated and he
wants to figure out what is fact, what is rumor and what is sheer maliciousness, so he hired someone to get to the truth."

Lucas turned to William Roberts, a Methodist and former U.S. attorney for
central Illinois, to lead the investigation. Roberts is also a former legal
counsel for Gov. Jim Edgar and is now a partner in a Springfield law firm.
Roberts named two other attorneys to his team.

Posted by kshaw at 04:45 AM

Priest enters plea of not guilty

CHELSEA (MA)
Boston Globe

By Kathy McCabe, Globe Staff | February 18, 2005

CHELSEA -- A Roman Catholic priest yesterday was ordered to have no unsupervised visits with minors after pleading not guilty to charges that he solicited sex from a 12-year-old girl and her mother while dining last month at a Chelsea restaurant.

The Rev. Jerome F. Gillespie, 55, was released on personal recognizance by Judge Paul Buckley following his arraignment in Chelsea District Court. Gillespie was charged with one count each of enticement of a child under age 16, soliciting sex for a fee, accosting a person of the opposite sex, and assault.

The charges stem from a Jan. 25 incident at Floramo's, a Chelsea restaurant, where Gillespie is alleged to have offered to pay the girl and her mother for oral sex, according to a Chelsea police report.

Gillespie, a priest in the Archdiocese of Boston for 23 years, appeared calm throughout his brief court appearance. He sat accompanied by about a dozen parishioners from St. John the Evangelist Church in Swampscott, where he resigned as pastor Jan. 28.

Posted by kshaw at 04:40 AM

Priest arraigned on sex solicitation

SWAMPSCOTT (MA)
Lynn Daily Item

By Debra Glidden
Friday, February 18, 2005

SWAMPSCOTT - A local priest, who is accused of asking a 12-year-old girl and her mother to perform sexual acts for a fee, was arraigned in Chelsea District Court Thursday morning.

The Rev. Jerome Gillespie, 55, was released on his own recognizance after pleading not guilty to charges of child enticement, soliciting sex for a fee and annoying and accosting a person of the opposite sex.

Gillespie's attorney, Timothy O'Neill of Hanify & King, said, "My sense is the charges against my client have been inflated beyond recognition."

As a condition of his release, Gillespie, who resigned as pastor of St. John the Evangelist last month after the allegations were made public, was ordered not have any unsupervised contact with minors.

Gillespie is scheduled to return to court on April 4 for a pre-trial arraignment.

Posted by kshaw at 04:39 AM

FBI targets pedophilia advocates

CALIFORNIA
Union-Tribune

By Onell R. Soto
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
February 18, 2005

On its Web site and newsletters, the North American Man/Boy Love Association advocates sex between men and boys and cites ancient Greece to justify the practice.

It goes by the acronym NAMBLA, and the FBI has been following it for years, linking it to pedophilia and recently infiltrating it with an agent successful enough to be asked to join the group's steering committee.

Law enforcement officials and mental health professionals say that while NAMBLA's membership numbers are small, the group has a dangerous ripple effect through the Internet by sanctioning the behavior of those who would abuse children.

"A lot of people who commit sexual crimes against children won't believe it is wrong," said Gregg Michel, a San Diego psychologist who interviews sex offenders for Superior Court sentencings. "An organization like this basically says it is not."

San Diego police Sgt. Dave Jones, who oversees a group of investigators working on Internet crimes against children, says NAMBLA's Web site often pops up in computers on which they find child pornography.

Saturday, the FBI arrested three NAMBLA members at Harbor Island as they waited for a boat that undercover agents told them would sail to Ensenada for a sex retreat over Valentine's Day with boys as young as 9.

A San Diego federal judge denied bail for them yesterday.

The FBI said four NAMBLA members were arrested in a Los Angeles marina where they also planned to set sail to the bogus rendezvous.

The seven men represent a cross-section of America: a Dallas dentist, a Pittsburgh special-education teacher, a South Carolina substitute teacher, a New Mexico handyman, a Chicago flight attendant who is also a psychologist and two Florida men, a worker at a paper company and a personal trainer.

A Fullerton chiropractor who was also an assistant pastor at his church was arrested on child-pornography charges as part of the sting, and bail was set at $100,000.

He admitted taking an Encinitas boy to Balboa Park and molesting him, the FBI said in court documents. Prosecutors have not charged him in connection with those allegations.

Posted by kshaw at 04:33 AM

Group Checks Dioceses' Abuse Prevention

WASHINGTON (DC)
New York Newsday

By RACHEL ZOLL
AP Religion Writer

February 18, 2005, 1:59 AM EST

WASHINGTON -- A group comprised mostly of former FBI agents has traveled the country for the second consecutive year, examining sex abuse prevention programs in Roman Catholic dioceses.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops plans to reveal Friday what the auditors found. A spokesman said "gigantic strides have been made" in protecting children.

"The bishops pledged with God's help to do whatever must be done to rid the church of the horrible scourge of the sexual abuse of children," said Bill Ryan, of the bishops' conference. "There will be no slacking off in this commitment."

But victim advocates said the diocesan audits were fundamentally flawed.

The bishops' new report is the latest in a series they commissioned to restore trust in their leadership after the clergy molestation crisis erupted in the Archdiocese of Boston and spread nationwide.

The first series of audits, released a year ago, found 90 percent of the 195 U.S. dioceses were fully compliant with the discipline policy the bishops adopted under intense public pressure in June 2002. But auditors also found shortcomings in the reforms, such as ineffective monitoring of guilty priests.

Posted by kshaw at 04:30 AM

Report today on compliance with clergy sex abuse prevention programs

WASHINGTON (DC)
KOLD

WASHINGTON Leaders of the Catholic church say they have made "gigantic strides" in setting up programs to protect young parishioners against clergy sexual abuse.

Today, the U-S Conference of Catholic Bishops will release results of an audit conducted by a panel that includes former F-B-I agents. The investigators went around the country checking for compliance with new church prevention and disciplinary guidelines. Their report will also reveal any new claims of molestation.

Last year, auditors found a number of shortcomings including the ineffective monitoring of guilty priests.

Critics say the bishops are glossing over some complaints and are backing away from their commitment to crack down on abusive priests.

Posted by kshaw at 04:27 AM

Loftus’ Luster Lost

CALIFORNIA
Orance County Weekly

by GUSTAVO ARELLANO

For years, attorneys for the damned have called upon UC Irvine Professor Elizabeth Loftus to save their clients’ asses. And save asses she did—Loftus signed on with numerous defense teams and earned a reputation as an academic get-out-of-jail-free card. Her job: share with jurors her controversial research that argues memory can be manipulated, that sexual abuse isn’t something that the human mind can merely seal into some dark crevasse, that repressed memories are—as her most-famous book states—a “myth.”

More often than not, individuals who hired Loftus successfully fought off criminal and civil cases. A short list includes the McMartin Preschool folks, professors accused of bio-terrorism and scads of dads suspected of raping their daughters. But her tenure as a star defense witness may be over. On Feb. 7, a jury in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, found Loftus’ most-recent client, former priest Paul Shanley, guilty on two counts of child rape and two counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14. Last week, Shanley received his sentence: 10 to 15 years in prison.

The Shanley case gained worldwide attention, primarily because prosecutors offered no hard evidence of molestation. The Middlesex County district attorney’s office instead relied solely on the testimony of a victim, now 27, who claimed to have repressed memories of his abuse at the hands of Shanley until three years ago.

Shanley’s attorney, Frank Mondano, derided the victim’s story, maintaining during opening statements on Jan. 26 that “the simple truth is that [the accuser’s] story is not reliable.” Mondano was so confident jurors would accept his arguments against repressed memories that the lawyer called but one witness: Loftus.

During her two-hour testimony on Feb. 4, Loftus told jurors the same theme she’s repeated in courtrooms across the country. “I don’t believe there is any credible scientific evidence that years of brutalization can be massively repressed,” she told Mondano. But Middlesex prosecutors were ready for this.

Posted by kshaw at 04:25 AM

Ex-Priest Guilty of Sex Abuse

BALTIMORE (MD)
Washington Post

By Allison Klein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, February 18, 2005; Page B03

Maurice Blackwell, a defrocked Roman Catholic priest, was convicted by a Baltimore jury yesterday of sexually abusing former altar boy Dontee Stokes. The verdicts came more than two years after Stokes took out his anger toward the former clergyman by shooting him.

The Circuit Court jury deliberated for more than five hours over two days before finding Blackwell, 58, guilty of three counts of sexual child abuse that occurred from 1990 to 1992. Each count carries a possible 15-year prison term. The jury acquitted Blackwell of one count of sexually abusing Stokes in 1989.

Stokes, 29, said after the verdicts that he was relieved the trial was over but saddened that the man he once considered a father figure would not apologize to him.

"It is a sad situation because someone who had the potential to do so much good is so sick," Stokes said. "It's sad that he would rather stand there and go to trial rather than apologize and take responsibility for his own actions."

Posted by kshaw at 04:23 AM

Priest abuse case has 'hero'

RACINE (WI)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

By JENNIE TUNKIEICZ
jtunkieicz@journalsentinel.com
Posted: Feb. 17, 2005
Racine - On Tuesday night, members of Father Paul Esser's congregation who had gathered to hear the first in his annual series of Lenten lectures first gave him a standing ovation.

It wasn't for his lecture series - not that those aren't stirring.

The ovation was for something Esser had done nearly 30 years ago.

Esser, of St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church, is being recognized by the organization known as SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, for apparently being the lone voice to speak up against the transfer of a priest who had been convicted of child molestation and had abused another boy while on probation.

SNAP learned about Esser's attempt to stop the transfer of the priest, Sigfried Widera, after the Archdiocese of Milwaukee had released its records on the case last week in Milwaukee County Circuit Court. The records are part of a lawsuit in California, where Widera had been transferred to in 1977. The documents are the basis of a civil fraud suit filed last week in Milwaukee on behalf of an alleged victim of Widera's when he was at St. Andrew Parish in Delavan.

Posted by kshaw at 04:22 AM

Archdiocese runs checks on priest

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Globe

By Michael Paulson, Globe Staff | February 18, 2005

The Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, in a vast effort to prevent a recurrence of the child sexual abuse that has damaged its credibility and angered its membership, is now running criminal background checks on more than 60,000 priests, employees, and volunteers every year.

The archdiocese has also enlisted 2,000 volunteers to serve on parish child-abuse protection teams and has trained 30,000 to 40,000 children and 60,000 adults to spot and respond to abusive situations. In response to criticism that it had not sufficiently publicized its policy on child sexual abuse, the archdiocese has printed 90,000 brochures for distribution in parishes and other archdiocesan institutions explaining whom to contact in cases of suspected abuse.

Three archdiocesan officials charged with overseeing efforts to stop sexual abuse in the local church and with assisting victims of abuse described their efforts in an interview with the Globe. The interview was in anticipation of today's scheduled release in Washington, D.C., of the second annual audit on the child-protection programs of all 195 Catholic dioceses across the country. The audit assesses compliance with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, the child-protection policy adopted by the bishops in 2002.

In the audit, the Archdiocese of Boston is expected to receive perfect marks for complying with all the provisions, which include measures requiring outreach to victims, a process for responding to abuse allegations, cooperation with public authorities, and permanent removal of abusive priests and deacons from ministry.

Archdiocesan officials, asked by the Globe for the local audit results, released to the newspaper an executive summary of that section of the audit. It lists no areas of concern in Boston.

Posted by kshaw at 04:20 AM

The worse sin: Powerful who look other way

UNITED STATES
Palm Beach Post

By Steve Gushee
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Friday, February 18, 2005

The abuse of power in high office is infinitely more immoral and ultimately more dangerous than the torture of prisoners or even the abuse of children.

The reality that those who so abuse power often escape responsibility for the suffering caused on their watch is even more immoral and far more dangerous.

Sadly, both church and state have that in common. The latest grim illustration is the prisoner abuse scandal in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and the official "opinions" from on high that all but legalize it. Alberto Gonzales, at the time White House counsel, together with former Attorney General and devout Christian John Ashcroft are at the heart of that moral quagmire.

They decided that Geneva Convention protections did not apply to those waging a war of terror. That inhumane decision opened the gates to the abuse of prisoners and the violation of their fundamental human rights. The decision made a mockery of common decency.

To be sure, people "on the ground" who commit atrocities should be held accountable. The powerful men who make it possible, however, are the greater culprits. They have been rewarded. Gonzales was sworn in as attorney general last week.

There is a familiar ring to this.

Bernard Cardinal Law was never held responsible for the sexual predators he knowingly foisted on his people in the Archdiocese of Boston. He became the dubious icon of those irresponsible bishops who knew pedophiles haunted their dioceses and did little to stop them. Recently convicted child molester and priest Paul Shanley is exhibit A.

Public outrage finally brought about a reform movement. The church is trying to prevent further abuse and be responsible to victims. Abusing priests have been disciplined. Few, if any, bishops have been held accountable. Law did resign, but moved to Rome and continues as a trusted counselor to the pope.

Posted by kshaw at 04:18 AM

Church checking backgrounds to prevent future abuse of children

BOSTON (MA)
Telegram & Gazette

The Associated Press

BOSTON— The Archdiocese of Boston has begun running annual criminal background checks on more than 60,000 priests, employees and volunteers to prevent recurrence of the sexual abuse that rocked the church in 2002.

The church has trained up to 40,000 children and 60,000 adults to spot and respond to abuse, and has signed up some 2,000 volunteers serve on parish child-abuse protection teams. The church has also printed some 90,000 pamphlets about responding to abuse and whom to contact, the Boston Globe reported.

Three archdiocesan officials described the church's abuse prevention efforts to the Globe before Friday's scheduled release of the second annual audit of child abuse programs in all the nation's 195 Catholic dioceses.

Church officials released to the Globe an executive summary of the audit results. It lists no areas of concern for Boston.

"This audit and the ongoing work by individuals and the church as a whole demonstrate that this issue remains a great priority for us," said the Rev. John J. Connolly, who oversees abuse-related office at the archdiocese.

Posted by kshaw at 04:16 AM

Church submits sexual abuse list

MEMPHIS (TN)
KnoxNews

By Associated Press
February 18, 2005

MEMPHIS - Memphis Roman Catholic Church officials have given prosecutors the names of several employees, including priests, who are accused of child sexual abuse.

Assistant District Attorney Kevin Rardin, the chief prosecutor of child sexual abuse cases in Shelby County, said Wednesday that the accused employees number "approximately 10 or less."

He wouldn't be more specific, citing state law governing the confidentiality of child sexual abuse complaints.

But Catholic Bishop J. Terry Steib acknowledged in 2003 that the diocese had received complaints of sexual abuse involving seven priests.

The diocese agreed Jan. 5 to report all past and any future allegations made to the diocese of child sexual abuse involving priests, clergy and any other church employees in Shelby County.

Diocesan officials said in December that they didn't believe they had to report the cases because of the way they interpreted the law.

Posted by kshaw at 04:14 AM

Jail, Then Deportation For Priest

NEW BRITAIN (CT)
Hartford Courant

February 18, 2005
By JOANN KLIMKIEWICZ, Courant Staff Writer NEW BRITAIN -- The Rev. Roman Kramek was sentenced to nine months in prison Thursday for sexually assaulting a teenage girl who had sought his spiritual counseling more than two years ago.

The Polish cleric stood silent and stoic in the crowded courtroom, listening through an interpreter as Superior Court Judge Susan B. Handy reminded him of the sacred vows he took upon entering the priesthood.

"Instead of ... upholding those vows, you took advantage of a young, troubled woman for your own sexual gratification," she told Kramek, 42, who arrived from Poland in late 2002 for a temporary assignment at Sacred Heart Church in New Britain.

The judge said she handed down the sentence - accepted by Kramek in December as part of a plea bargain - to bring the case to a close and spare the girl, now 19, further humiliation.

Posted by kshaw at 04:11 AM

Bishop apologizes for priest abuse

CASTRO VALLEY (CA)
San Luis Opisbo Tribune

Associated Press

CASTRO VALLEY, Calif. - Bishop Allen Vigneron once again apologized Thursday night for the actions of a priest who is accused of sexually abusing altar boys at five East Bay churches.

"I apologize to, and ask the pardon of the parish community of Our Lady of Grace, for the acts of clerical sexual abuse of minors that occurred here," Vigneron said. "In particular, I come to this church tonight to apologize for the betrayal of your trust by Robert Ponciroli. For all of this, I ask your pardon."

Vigneron, who became bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Oakland in October 2003, visited churches in Antioch, Byron, Oakland and Richmond last year to publicly apologize for the Rev. Robert Ponciroli's "clerical misconduct."

Vigneron delivered his latest apology at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in Castro Valley, where Ponciroli worked from 1975 to 1979.

A former altar boy at the church is one of eight boys from the two counties who have sued the diocese, saying they were molested by the now-retired priest.

Elisa Uribe of Castro Valley, a longtime member of the church, praised Vigneron for the apology.

Posted by kshaw at 04:09 AM

Miami Archdiocese suit prompts priests to retire

FORT LAUDERDALE (FL)
Bradenton Herald

IHOSVANI RODRIGUEZ
Knight Ridder Tribune News Service

FORT LAUDERDALE - A suspended South Florida Catholic priest unexpectedly retired last week and a second one said Wednesday he also plans to retire following the latest sexual misconduct lawsuit to hit the Archdiocese of Miami.

In a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Miami-Dade Circuit Court, a 40-year-old man identified only as John Doe No. 20, claims at least seven Catholic priests and a church cook sexually abused him during the 1980s. The man claims he was also locked and sexually abused inside of an Atlanta church basement by a different priest he went to seeking refuge.

The lawsuit names the Rev. Ricardo Castellanos, former pastor of San Isidro Church in Pompano Beach as one of the abusers. The archdiocese placed Castellanos on administrative leave in 2002 following multiple sexual misconduct allegations against him in different cases.

Castellanos, who was awaiting a church tribunal, turned in his resignation last week, said his attorney, James Nosich.

Posted by kshaw at 04:08 AM

Ex-priest guilty of molestation

BALTIMORE (MD)
Philadelphia Inquirer

By Foster Klug
Associated Press

BALTIMORE - A defrocked priest was convicted yesterday of molesting an altar boy who a decade later shot and wounded him on the street in a fit of rage when the clergyman refused to apologize.

Maurice Blackwell, 58, former Roman Catholic pastor of a Baltimore church, was found guilty on three of four counts of sexually abusing Dontee Stokes, now 29, during the early 1990s. He could get up to 45 years in prison when sentenced in April.

Stokes said he felt vindicated by the verdict: "The world can see that I'm not a perfect person, but I stand here right and he stands wrong."

Blackwell, who uses a cane to walk because of his gunshot wounds, had no comment as he left the courtroom.

Stokes testified that the priest molested him from age 13 to 17. Prosecutors declined to charge Blackwell when Stokes raised the accusations a decade ago.

Posted by kshaw at 04:06 AM

Stokes says now he's able to move forward

BALTIMORE (MD)
Baltimore Sun

By Jill Rosen
Sun Staff
Originally published February 18, 2005
As Dontee Stokes strode slowly down the courthouse steps yesterday, a smile spread across his face, just as his longtime attorney flashed a thumbs-up sign.
"Thank God, thank God, thank God," Stokes murmured, as much to himself as to the media swarming him. "This is over."

Maurice Blackwell had just been found guilty of molesting Stokes years ago, back when Blackwell was a priest at St. Edward Roman Catholic Church in West Baltimore and Stokes led the youth group there.

Though this wasn't Stokes' trial - the Baltimore barber was acquitted in 2002 of the attempted murder of Blackwell - in many ways it might as well have been.

During the weeklong trial, Stokes' sanity, his sexuality and his very credibility were kicked around and questioned. And in the years leading up to it, his life was on pause, his future hanging on the outcome of this case.

Posted by kshaw at 04:02 AM

City ex-priest convicted of molesting teen

BALTIMORE (MD)
Baltimore Sun

By Julie Bykowicz
Sun Staff
Originally published February 18, 2005
Maurice Blackwell, the former priest of St. Edward Roman Catholic Church in West Baltimore, was convicted yesterday of molesting a parish choirboy, who years later shot him.

The defrocked priest, found guilty of three counts of child sexual abuse that took place in the early 1990s, could be sentenced to up to 45 years in prison on April 15 by Baltimore Circuit Judge Stuart R. Berger.

Blackwell, 58, was acquitted of one count of abuse for incidents that were alleged to have occurred in 1989.

The weeklong trial attracted national attention because the accuser, Dontee Stokes, shot him in May 2002 at the height of the national priest abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church. Stokes, now 29, was acquitted of attempted murder but convicted of weapons violations. He served home detention.

Posted by kshaw at 04:01 AM

Survivors hail Stokes as a hero for abuse victims

BALTIMORE (MD)
Baltimore Sun

By Janice D'Arcy
Sun Staff
Originally published February 18, 2005

Clergy abuse survivor groups hailed Dontee Stokes yesterday as a hero whose victory in court against his former priest would serve as a beacon for other victims.

"Dontee could have tried to run from this, bury this, deny this and let [Maurice] Blackwell abuse again," said David Clohessy, executive director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP. "He courageously chose to face this. That's why we consider him heroic."

By contrast, the official Roman Catholic Church response was decidedly more subdued as the Archdiocese Of Baltimore simply noted that it had relieved the former West Baltimore priest of his duties years ago.

The guilty verdict was quickly spread across the country by SNAP and other advocacy groups, which have closely monitored the Baltimore proceedings. Since it came just days after defrocked priest Paul R. Shanley, a notorious figure in the Boston Archdiocese's abuse scandal, was sentenced for raping a boy in the 1980s, victims groups treated the verdict as part of a larger message.

Posted by kshaw at 03:58 AM

Ex-Priest Shot by Former Altar Boy in 2002 Convicted of Abusing Him

BALTIMORE (MD)
Los Angeles Times

By Stephen Braun, Times Staff Writer

BALTIMORE — For a decade, Dontee Stokes was desperate for people to believe him. But not until a 12-member jury Thursday convicted former Roman Catholic priest Maurice J. Blackwell on three counts of sexual abuse was the former altar boy finally able to imagine a life free of the need to prove himself.

Tormented by memories of childhood abuse by a clergyman he once had admired, Stokes told his anguished story to police detectives in 1993. After years of official inaction, he approached Blackwell on a Baltimore street corner two years ago, pulled out a silver-plated handgun and shot and wounded his nemesis.

Even after he was acquitted two years ago in the former priest's attempted murder, Stokes pressed on, urging the same prosecutors who had tried to jail him to convict Blackwell.

On Thursday, still hobbling from his wounds, Blackwell, 58, sat impassively as the jury foreman read the guilty verdict against him. Defrocked by the Vatican last year in another molestation case, Blackwell faces up to 45 years' imprisonment.

Posted by kshaw at 03:57 AM

Kramek gets nine months

NEW BRITAIN (CT)
The Herald

By JENNIFER MANES, Staff Writer 02/18/2005

NEW BRITAIN -- Roman Kramek waved goodbye to his supporters in a crowded New Britain Superior Court Thursday as he was taken into police custody after being sentenced for sexually assaulting a 17-year-old woman he was counseling.

Kramek, 42, a visiting priest from Poland who worked at Sacred Heart Church on Broad Street, will serve nine months in prison and will be deported upon his release.

Judge Susan B. Handy scolded Kramek, who remained silent, his hands clasped behind his back, for his insidious behavior and lack of apology.

"As a priest, sir, you received your orders and your vows," Handy said. "Instead of honoring them, you took advantage of a young, troubled woman for your own sexual gratification."

Kramek confessed to sexually assaulting the woman in her home in December 2002. She was referred to him for spiritual counseling, according to state’s attorney Scott Murphy.

Posted by kshaw at 03:54 AM

Priest to face charges

BELLINGHAM (MA)
Woonsocket Call

JOSEPH B. NADEAU, Staff Writer 02/18/2005

BELLINGHAM -- A decision by a Quebec Court of Appeals upholding the extradition of former Assumption Parish priest Paul M. Desilets to Massachusetts could be the beginning of a resolution of the long-pending child sexual assault case against the priest, according to Detective Sgt. Richard Perry.

"This is substantial," said Perry, who worked with Detective Christopher Ferreira in early 2002 to bring the local charges against the former local priest.

Desilets, now 81, faces 32 counts of sexually abusing altar boys during his service at Assumption between 1974 and 1984. He was indicted by a Worcester County grand jury on the charges in May 2002. He was then arrested by Canadian authorities, at the request of Worcester County District Attorney John Conte in October of that year, but he has resisted his extradition from Canada since that time.

The former Assumption priest had been living with the Clerics of St. Viator in Joliet, Quebec, at the time of his arrest in October and was released by the Quebec Superior Court in Montreal while his appeal of extradition was heard.

Posted by kshaw at 03:53 AM

February 17, 2005

CDs seized in priest scandal

INDIA
The Telegraph

OUR CORRESPONDENT
Ahmedabad, Feb. 17: The Ahmedabad crime branch today raided acharya Ajendra Prasad’s bungalows in Vallab Vidhyalay and Vadtal and seized 116 CDs, 123 floppies, a video camera and a laptop.

The raid comes in the wake of a priest of the Junagadh Swaminarayan temple and three touts of Tuesday’s arrest after the sadhu was caught on camera engaging in sex with women. Police had sought 14 days’ remand to investigate the scandal. The sleuths wanted to find out who financed the touts who said during interrogation that they had videographed sadhus having sex with women at Prasad’s behest.

The police raid was carried out in search of material to determine whether Prasad, who had been removed as head of the sect following a battle for supremacy, had masterminded the scandal to trap priests of the Vadtal sect.

Posted by kshaw at 05:39 PM

Priest Accused Of Propositioning 12-Year-Old Girl

CHELSEA (MA)
News Channel 10

POSTED: 2:51 pm EST February 17, 2005
UPDATED: 3:11 pm EST February 17, 2005

CHELSEA, Mass. -- A Catholic priest pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges that he propositioned a 12-year-old girl and her mother in a Chelsea restaurant.

The Rev. Jerome Gillespie resigned as pastor of St. John the Evangelist Church shortly after the alleged incident last month. Some of his former parishioners were on hand to support the priest at his arraignment in Chelsea District Court.

Gillespie is charged with one count of enticement of a child under age 16, two counts of assault, offering to pay for sex and accosting or annoying another person.

Posted by kshaw at 05:31 PM

Parents, Teachers Lash Out At Diocese Over School Closings

NEW YORK
Queens Chronicle

by Bryan Joiner, South Queens Editor February 17, 2005

Parents and teachers across Queens reacted angrily to the decision of the Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens to close or consolidate nine borough schools in June due to dwindling enrollment across the Catholic schools system.

The nine schools—St. Theresa’s in Woodside, Queen of Angels in Sunnyside, Ascension School in Elmhurst, St. Stanislaus in Ozone Park, Holy Cross in Maspeth, St. Pius X in Rosedale, Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Astoria and St. Virgilius in Broad Channel—have decreased enrollment by more than 700 students in the last five years. Parents still criticized the diocese for its willingness to sacrifice neighborhood schools for a financial crisis.

“My faith has been tested, big time. Everyone says they’ve had it to the point where they will go to public schools. You don’t know who to trust anymore. We teach our children to be good people, but what happens when the people who taught them were not good people?” asked Pattie Shanahan, whose son attends the Holy Cross School in Maspeth. ...

Many critics blamed the school closings not just on low enrollment figures but on the large cash awards paid to settle priest sexual abuse cases over the last three years. The Dioceses of Brooklyn, New York and Rockville Centre have spent more than $14 million since 2002 to settle over 200 lawsuits in conjunction with priest abuse. The church paid $573 million in settlements nationwide between 1950 and 2002, according to a study by the John Jay College of Law.


Posted by kshaw at 05:26 PM

Catholic priest faces up to 45 years in prison for sexual abuse

BALTIMORE (MD)
Pravda

00:19 2005-02-18
Maurice Blackwell, the recently defrocked Catholic priest accused of molesting a teenager more than 10 years ago, was found guilty on three of four counts of sexual abuse of Dontee Stokes, a former parishioner of St. Edward's Church in West Baltimore who shot the cleric on a city street in 2002.

The jury, which deliberated 5 1/2 hours over two days, found Blackwell not guilty on the first charge of sexual abuse -- relating to Stokes' allegation that the abuse began in 1989 -- but guilty on the other three.

Stokes said the molestation began when he was 13 and continued until he was 17. The jury convicted Blackwell of abusing Stokes in 1990, 1991 and 1992. Blackwell, 58, faces up to 45 years in prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced on April 15, informs Newsday.

After the verdict, Stokes said he felt vindicated. "Mr. Blackwell was at no point on trial. It was all about me," he said. "The world can see that I'm not a perfect person, but I stand here right and he stands wrong."

Stokes had served home detention on a gun charge related to the shooting.

Blackwell declined to comment. Defense attorney Kenneth Ravenell said he felt jurors reached their decision on evidence they should not have heard, referring to detectives' references to "other victims," which the judge ordered stricken from the record, reports CNN.

Posted by kshaw at 05:21 PM

Survivors Group Pleased With Blackwell Verdict

WASHINGTON (DC)
NBC 4

POSTED: 5:20 pm EST February 17, 2005
UPDATED: 5:47 pm EST February 17, 2005

WASHINGTON -- Defrocked Baltimore priest Maurice Blackwell was found guilty Thursday of molesting an altar boy more than 10 years ago. The victim, Dontee Stokes, later shot him. Blackwell walked out of court today without commenting, and he will remain free until his sentencing in mid-April. Stokes says he feels vindicated by the jury's decision.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests - also known as SNAP - was in town Thursday awaiting the release of an abuse report by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. It says when victims like Donte Stokes speak out, everyone will be safer. Group members believe guilty verdicts may be the only way to get the church's attention.

David Clohessy, Executive Director of SNAP, says he also suffered sexual abuse at the hands of a priest he trusted. Thursday, he saluted Stokes, saying his courage in coming forward to share his disturbing story could spare other victims.

"Children are safe when child molesters are behind bars and it takes courage and perseverance for victims to trust the criminal justice system and to persevere the way he did," Clohessy said. "We're very grateful to him."

Posted by kshaw at 05:20 PM

Clergy sex scandal: another descent into the cesspool

BALTIMORE (MD)
New York Newsday

Dan Rodricks

February 17, 2005

WHAT am I doing in this cesspool again? It was a lovely Lenten Wednesday in the old palatinate. I could have had a leisurely bagel and coffee with friends in the kibitz room at Attman's. I could have sat quietly in the natural light of the back room of The Daily Grind and read the new City Paper. I could have taken a long drive out to Long Green to visit an old gentlemanly friend on his gentleman farm. Instead, I went to the spectacle of the defrocked priest trial downtown, and heard of nipple massaging.

The Catholic priest sex scandal keeps rolling along, like some underground river of old sludge, moving after a long freeze and bubbling to the surface in archdioceses from here to California.

Twelve years have passed since Dontee Stokes first accused his parish priest, Maurice Blackwell, of molesting him, and it has been nearly as long since the Baltimore state's attorney's office decided not to prosecute that case.

It has been seven years since Blackwell was forced out of his church in West Baltimore after admitting he had a sexual relationship with a different teen in the 1970s.

We are coming up on three years since Stokes shot Blackwell with a .357 Magnum, an explosion of violence in the midst of a barrage of reports about the creepy and criminal sexual habits of clergy across the nation.

It has been 2 1/2 years since Cardinal William H. Keeler went public with the names of 83 diocesan priests and men in religious orders who had been accused of sexual abuse.

It has been more than two years since a jury acquitted Stokes of attempting to kill the priest.

And just when you thought the whole sick, sad story had gone away, we get one more trial in the old archdiocese: This time it was the former priest, Blackwell, filling a Windsor chair at the defendant's table in Baltimore Circuit Court, Room 438.

Posted by kshaw at 01:31 PM

Shot, Defrocked & Guilty Of Abuse

BALTIMORE (MD)
CBS News

(AP) A jury convicted a former priest Thursday of three of four counts of sexually molesting an altar boy who shot the cleric on a city street a decade after the abuse.

Maurice Blackwell, 58, who did not testify, molested Dontee Stokes, 29, when Blackwell was pastor of St. Edward, a Roman Catholic church in West Baltimore. Stokes said the molestation began when he was 13 and continued until he was 17.

Blackwell is scheduled to be sentenced April 15.

The jury convicted Blackwell of abusing Stokes of 1990, 1991 and 1992 but acquitted him of the charge relating to Stokes' allegation that the abuse began in 1989.

The jury deliberated 5½ hours over two days.

Posted by kshaw at 01:27 PM

Priest convicted of molesting altar boy

BALTIMORE (MD)
Sun-Sentinel

By Julie Bykowicz and Ryan Davis
Baltimore Sun staff writers
Posted February 17 2005, 2:03 PM EST

BALTIMORE -- Maurice Blackwell, the recently defrocked Catholic priest accused of molesting a teenager more than 10 years ago, was found guilty on three of four counts of sexual abuse of Dontee Stokes, a former parishioner of St. Edward's Church in West Baltimore who shot the cleric on a city street in 2002.

The jury, which deliberated 5 1/2 hours over two days, found Blackwell not guilty on the first charge of sexual abuse -- relating to Stokes' allegation that the abuse began in 1989 -- but guilty on the other three.

Stokes said the molestation began when he was 13 and continued until he was 17. The jury convicted Blackwell of abusing Stokes in 1990, 1991 and 1992.

Blackwell, 58, faces up to 45 years in prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced on April 15.

Blackwell left the courthouse without commenting on the outcome of the trial. He remains free until his sentencing.

Posted by kshaw at 01:23 PM

Statute of Limitations Targeted in Abuse Cases

BOSTON (MA)
Washington Post

By Jonathan Finer
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, February 17, 2005; Page A11

BOSTON, Feb. 16 -- The day after the sentencing of one of the most notorious figures in this region's three-year-old clergy abuse crisis, lawmakers and victims advocates said Wednesday they are building momentum to repeal statutes of limitations that have prevented other abusers from facing lawsuits and prosecution.

Under Massachusetts law, rape cases must be brought within 15 years of the incident being reported to law enforcement or, in the case of a child, 15 years of the accuser's 16th birthday, whichever comes first.

Other sex crimes have shorter statutes of limitations.

As a result, few priests implicated in the ongoing scandal in the Roman Catholic Church have faced charges, leading to widespread frustration among abuse victims.

"We need to allow victims to deal with their victimization and come forward at a time that's appropriate to them," state Rep. Ronald Mariano (D) said at the statehouse in a news conference with abuse victims and a bipartisan group of legislators.

Posted by kshaw at 09:31 AM

Bishop to order inquiry into conduct of priests

SPRINGFIELD (IL)
SJ-R.com

By DAVE BAKKE
STAFF WRITER

Catholic Bishop George Lucas will announce today that he is creating an independent investigative board to look into allegations of misconduct by priests of the Springfield diocese.

The new board will be headed by former U.S. Attorney Bill Roberts of Springfield, The State Journal-Register has learned. Roberts, who is not Catholic, probably will select the other members of the panel.

Lucas will announce the board’s makeup and mission this morning at the Catholic Pastoral Center.

The diocese already has one investigative board, created in 1994, to review allegations of sexual abuse of minors. It added a victim assistance coordinator in 2002.

Roberts was U.S. attorney for the Central District of Illinois from 1986 to 1993. Since then, he has been in private practice in Springfield and active in Republican politics. Before becoming U.S. attorney, Roberts was Sangamon County state’s attorney.

Posted by kshaw at 08:12 AM

SNAP Sends Letter To Archbishop, Re: Priest Violating Policy

OHIO
WCPO

Reported by: 9News
Web produced by: Neil Relyea
Photographed by: 9News
2/16/2005 10:58:42 PM
A Tri-state support group is accusing a local suspended priest of violating child protective orders and violating his suspension.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) has sent a letter to Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk to say they're concerned about a child currently living with a suspended priest.

The group says a woman and her foster son are living with Thomas Brunner, the suspended priest.

Children are not allowed to stay overnight in a priest's residence, but SNAP says this child is living with Brunner and asks Archbishop Pilarczyk what he will do about it.

Posted by kshaw at 08:11 AM

Former Mass. priest accused of abuse loses extradition appeal

CANADA
Telegram & Gazette

The Associated Press

MONTREAL— A retired priest facing charges of sexually abusing children while working in Massachusetts has lost his bid to avoid deportation to the U.S.

The Quebec Court of Appeal upheld Justice Minister Irwin Cotler's decision last May to extradite the Rev. Paul Desilets, according to La Presse of Montreal.

Desilets, 81, was indicted in 2002 on charges of sexually abusing 18 altar boys between 1978 and 1984 at Our Lady of Assumption Parish in Bellingham, Mass.

He was arrested by Canadian authorities in October 2002 at the request of U.S. authorities. He faces no charges in Canada.

Posted by kshaw at 07:26 AM

A weak sentence for a weak man

BOSTON (MA)
The Union Leader

THE VERY un-reverend Paul Shanley was sentenced to 12 to 15 years in prison on Tuesday for repeatedly raping and fondling a boy, who was only 6 when Shanley first violated him. The sentence should have been life — and even that is too good for a “man” like Shanley.

“It is difficult to imagine a more egregious misuse of authority,” Judge Stephen Neel said. That is true, and it is why life should have been the sentence. Rape is always a horrible crime, but child rape is unspeakably wicked. And Shanley, the beast, showed no signs of remorse. The idea that he might be paroled is maddening.

Posted by kshaw at 07:22 AM

Sex CD: Priest, 3 others remanded

INDIA
Ahmedabad.com

February 17, 2005

The metropolitan court on Wednesday sent Mansukh Bhagat, Bhanu Bhagat, Thakarsi Patel and priest Baktiswarup Das, all accused in the Swaminarayan Sadhus' Sex CDs case, to six-day police remand.

The crime branch had sought 10-day remand of the four to further investigate if more such CDs, depicting other priests of the sect, had been made or not.

The crime branch submitted in the court that investigation was necessary to probe and ascertain the number of persons involved in the scam, who paid the money and the amount of money spent to produce the CD.

Posted by kshaw at 07:20 AM

Vadtal temple banishes sadhus

INDIA
Ahmedabad.com

February 17, 2005

After crime branch arrested the priest of Vadtal Swaminarayan sect, Bhaktiswarup Das, and three others in sex and VCD scandal on Tuesday, Nautam Swami of Vadtal Swaminarayan Temple declared on Wednesday that all the sadhus involved in the sex scam will be banished from the sect.

Posted by kshaw at 07:18 AM

Priest to be arraigned in Chelsea today

CHELSEA (MA)
Boston Globe

By Kathy McCabe, Globe Staff | February 17, 2005

CHELSEA -- A Roman Catholic priest charged with soliciting sex from a 12-year-old girl and her mother while dining last month at a Chelsea restaurant told police he may have made ''inappropriate" remarks to them but was too drunk to remember, according to a police report.

The Rev. Jerome Gillespie, 55, who will be arraigned today in Chelsea District Court, said he remembered two females sitting near his booth at Floramo's restaurant and apologized for his behavior to Chelsea police, the report states.

''Gillespie . . . said that he had too much to drink and may have said some inappropriate things," according to the report. He ''stated he does not remember what he had said."

Gillespie resigned as pastor of St. John the Evangelist Parish in Swampscott three days after the Jan. 25 incident. He is charged with one count each of enticement of a child under age 16, solicitation of sex for a fee, and accosting a person of the opposite sex, according to the Suffolk district attorney's office.

Posted by kshaw at 07:15 AM

Court accepts priest's touching of girl's breasts as 'religious activity'

JAPAN
Mainichi Daily News

SATSUMASENDAI, Kagoshima -- A Shinto priest accused of indecent assault for massaging the breasts of a 15-year-old girl was found not guilty after a court here ruled that his act was a "religious activity."

"There is room to accept that his act was a religious activity, and reasonable doubt in saying he possessed sexual intent," Judge Atsushi Tomita said in handing down the ruling at the Sendai branch of the Kagoshima District Court on Wednesday.

Prosecutors had demanded that the 36-year-old priest, Ryoichi Sakamoto, be jailed for two years over his actions.

Sakamoto was arrested and charged with indecent assault after he touched the breasts and other body parts of the junior high school girl at a religious facility adjoining his home in October 2002 and December that year.

During the trial, Sakamoto admitted that he touched the body of the girl, but said it was "a religious activity in order to help her," and maintained that he was not guilty.

In giving the ruling, Tomita acknowledged that Sakamoto had touched the breasts of the girl, but said of his actions, "(In the sect to which the defendant belongs) there are some cases in which the skin is touched directly, and one cannot say that this did not constitute a religious activity."

Posted by kshaw at 07:14 AM

Kramek sentencing today

NEW BRITAIN (CT)
The Herald-News

By JENNIFER MANES, Staff Writer02/17/2005

NEW BRITAIN -- The Roman Catholic priest who sexually assaulted a 17-year-old girl he was counseling will be sentenced today in New Britain Superior Court.

Roman Kramek, 42, a visiting priest from Poland who worked at Sacred Heart Church on Broad Street, will be sentenced this morning to nine months in prison and 10 years of probation, state’s attorney Scott Murphy told The Herald.

Kramek will be required to register as a sex offender and provide a DNA sample to state police upon release from prison, Murphy said.

Kramek plead guilty to second-degree sexual assault in December; the charges stemmed from an incident that took place Dec. 18, 2002.The victim was being counseled for a previously reported sexual assault and was told by her counselor that she should receive spiritual counseling from Kramek, Murphy said.

When the victim arrived home from school one afternoon, Kramek was seated on her living room couch.With her grandmother in the kitchen, Kramek asked about her previous sexual assault, touched her inappropriately and asked if her assailant touched her in the same manner.

Posted by kshaw at 07:09 AM

Aretakis sues Times Union

ALBANY (NY)
Albany Times Union

By MARK McGUIRE, Staff writer
First published: Thursday, February 17, 2005

The attorney representing alleged victims of clergy sexual abuse in the Albany Roman Catholic Diocese is suing the Times Union, charging libel and breach of contract.

John Aretakis maintains the newspaper has "in effect become an agent for the Roman Catholic Church and the numerous predators that work and have worked therein," according to the lawsuit he filed last Thursday in state Supreme Court in Manhattan. He seeks unspecified damages.

"The Times Union has been covering clergy sexual abuse stories with what is believed to be a bias," Aretakis said Wednesday in a written response to questions from a Times Union reporter.

Times Union Editor Rex Smith declared "all claims are false."

"The lawsuit is absolutely baseless and a transparent attempt to harass and punish the Times Union for its reporting on Aretakis," Smith said.

Aretakis alleges in court papers the diocese and city officials conspired to cover up an alleged arrest of an unnamed Times Union editor in return for favorable coverage. The unnamed editor -- a "married male" later referred to as a "reporter" in the court document -- was said to have been caught having sexual contact with a male prostitute in Washington Park.

Posted by kshaw at 07:00 AM

New judge chosen to preside over L.A. clergy abuse cases

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Contra Costa Times

ASSOCIATED PRESS

LOS ANGELES - A new judge has been named to oversee the settlement of more than 500 clergy abuse cases against the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Peter Lichtman will be replaced by Judge Charles "Tim" McCoy because insurance carriers for the church objected to Lichtman's handling of the case.

Lichtman has presided over settlement talks in Los Angeles for more than two years. He played a key role in negotiating a recent record-breaking $100 million settlement with alleged clergy abuse victims in the Diocese of Orange.

Posted by kshaw at 06:56 AM

S. Florida priests retire amid claims of sexual abuse

FLORIDA
Sun-Sentinel

By Ihosvani Rodriguez
Miami Bureau
Posted February 17 2005

A suspended South Florida Catholic priest unexpectedly retired last week and a second one said Wednesday he also plans to retire following the latest sexual misconduct lawsuit to hit the Archdiocese of Miami.

In a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Miami-Dade Circuit Court, a 40-year-old man identified only as John Doe No. 20, claims at least seven Catholic priests and a church cook sexually abused him during the 1980's. The man claims he was also locked and sexually abused inside of an Atlanta church basement by a different priest he went to seeking refuge.

The lawsuit names the Rev. Ricardo Castellanos, former pastor of San Isidro Church in Pompano Beach, as one of the abusers. The archdiocese placed Castellanos on administrative leave in 2002 following multiple sexual misconduct allegations against him in different cases.

Castellanos, who was awaiting a church tribunal, turned in his resignation last week, said his attorney, James Nosich.

"He wasn't afraid of being defrocked or defending himself at a tribunal," Nosich said. "He's retiring to allow his parish to get back in track."

Assisting the man in his lawsuit is the Rev. Hector Gonzalez-Abreu, who claims that in the 1980s Castellanos and another priest, the Rev. Ernesto Garcia Rubio, admitted abusing the alleged victim when he was a teen.

Posted by kshaw at 06:50 AM

Diocese gives D.A. names

MEMPHIS (TN)
Commercial Appeal

By Bill Dries
February 17, 2005

Memphis Catholic Church officials on Wednesday turned over the names of several employees accused of child sexual abuse to the District Attorney General's Office for possible criminal investigation.

Asst. Dist. Atty. Kevin Rardin, the chief prosecutor of child sexual abuse cases in Shelby County, said the number of names on the list of accused employees -- which includes priests -- is "approximately 10 or less."

He wouldn't be more specific, citing state law governing the confidentiality of child sexual abuse complaints. But Catholic Bishop J. Terry Steib acknowledged in 2003 the diocese had received complaints of sexual abuse involving seven priests.

The diocese presented its report during an hourlong meeting at the DA's office Downtown, following up on a Jan. 5 agreement to report all past and any future allegations made to the diocese of child sexual abuse involving priests, clergy and any other church employees in Shelby County.

The agreement covers three accused priests whose names have been made public either through civil lawsuits or by the diocese in announcing disciplinary action.

Posted by kshaw at 06:43 AM

Priest sentenced 12-15 years for raping boy

WASHINGTON (DC)
GW Hatchet

By Kate Ackerman
Published: Thursday, February 17, 2005

(U-WIRE) WASHINGTON - The Boston area priest, Paul Shanley, who was convicted of raping a boy repeatedly in the 1980s earlier this month, was sentenced to 12 to 15 years Tuesday.

"It is difficult to imagine a more egregious misuse of trust and authority," said Judge Stephen Neel while delivering the sentencing. However, he chose not to give the 74 year-old man life in prison as the prosecution requested.

Shanley will be up for parole after serving two-thirds of his sentence. He was also sentenced to 10 years probation.

"I want him to die in prison, whether it's of natural causes or otherwise. However he dies, I hope it's slow and painful," Shanley's accuser said in a statement read by his lawyer during the sentencing hearing.

The now 27-year-old firefighter said Shanley molested him continuously for six years in the 1980s, starting when he was six years old. His repressed memories of the abuse came back three years ago as the clergy abuse scandal unfolded, he said.

Posted by kshaw at 06:41 AM

Norwich bishop forces priest to leave because of sex allegations

MYSTIC (CT)
The Advocate

Associated Press

February 17, 2005

MYSTIC, Conn. -- A priest at St. Edmund's Retreat on Enders Island has been forced to leave after Norwich Roman Catholic Bishop Michael R. Cote learned he had been accused in the past of sexual misconduct with minors.

The Rev. Paul Pinard had been living at the retreat in his retirement, but he did not take part in parish work, said Jacqueline Keller, a spokeswoman for the Norwich diocese.

"I made the request for his departure ... after being informed of past substantial allegations of sexual misconduct with minors that were made against Father Pinard prior to his arrival in our diocese," Cote announced in a letter to diocese priests that was published this month in the Four County Catholic, the diocesan newspaper.

Former Norwich Bishop Daniel Hart, who retired in 2003, gave Pinard permission several years ago to move to the retreat. It was not clear when the allegations against Pinard were made or when the diocese learned about them. Cote became bishop in May 2003.

Pinard left the island immediately after being asked by the bishop, said the Rev. Richard Myhalyk, superior general of the Society of St. Edmund, an order of priests with 42 members that is based in Colchester, Vt. He will be transferred to another location that was not disclosed.

Posted by kshaw at 06:39 AM

Court asked to allow suit against archdiocese

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Phildadelphia Inquirer

By David O'Reilly
Inquirer Staff Writer

A lawyer for 18 adults who allege that they were sexually abused as children by Philadelphia archdiocesan priests asked an appeals court yesterday to allow such victims to sue the Philadelphia Archdiocese.

Berks County lawyer Jay Abramowitch told a three-judge panel of the Pennsylvania Superior Court that courts should not automatically bar an adult from suing a diocese for abuse simply because it happened many years ago.

Abramowitch argued that state law requires that a jury - not a judge - decide whether a diocese unlawfully concealed its role in allowing a priest to abuse, or played on the victim's trust, or interfered with the victim's prompt reporting of abuse.

The archdiocese's lawyer urged the court to uphold Pennsylvania's strict statute of limitations, which requires an injured party to file suit within a prescribed number of years.

Philadelphia lawyer C. Clark Hodgson Jr. told the judges that state courts have long held that sexual molestation - even of a child - is a form of battery that starts the statute running as soon as it happens.

Posted by kshaw at 06:38 AM

Blackwell jury struggles to reach a verdict

BALTIMORE (MD)
Baltimore Sun

By Julie Bykowicz
Sun Staff
Originally published February 17, 2005
After more than five hours of deliberation, jurors in the sexual child abuse case of a defrocked Baltimore priest sent the judge a note yesterday saying they could not agree on a decision - raising the possibility of a hung jury and mistrial.

The judge sent the jurors home for the evening, ordering them to return to the Clarence M. Mitchell Jr. Courthouse this morning to try again to reach a verdict in the trial of Maurice Blackwell. The former priest is charged with four counts of sexual child abuse, accused of molesting Dontee Stokes from 1989 to 1992 at St. Edward Catholic Church in West Baltimore.

Stokes, who sang in the youth choir and led the church youth group, shot Blackwell in May 2002. Now 29, Stokes was acquitted of attempted murder charges, and Blackwell, 58, was soon after indicted on the abuse charges.

The note from the 12 jurors came at 4:40 p.m. yesterday: "Jury unable to agree on any of the counts. What do we do? How do we proceed?"

After dismissing the jurors for the day, Baltimore Circuit Judge Stuart R. Berger told lawyers he would read them an instruction on their duty to deliberate when they return this morning.

Posted by kshaw at 06:35 AM

Mass. groups seek abuse law changes

BOSTON (MA)
Woonsocket Call

DENISE LAVOIE, AP Legal Affairs Writer 02/17/2005

BOSTON -- A bipartisan group of lawmakers began a public push on Wednesday for the elimination of the statute of limitations on sex crimes, an issue that limited prosecutions of abusive priests in the Boston Archdiocese’s clergy sex abuse scandal.

Backers of the legislation gathered at a Statehouse news conference one day after defrocked priest Paul Shanley was sentenced to 12 to 15 years in prison for raping a boy.

Shanley was one of the few Catholic priests implicated in the scandal who faced criminal charges because the current 15-year statute of limitations in rape cases prevented prosecutors from going after most others.

State Rep. Ron Mariano, D-Quincy, lead sponsor of the bill, said many victims of sexual abuse take years to come to grips with what happened to them. By then, it’s too late to prosecute their abusers.

"We need to allow victims to deal with their victimization and come forward at a time that’s appropriate for them," Mariano said.

An investigation by Attorney General Thomas Reilly found in 2003 that at least 1,000 children were likely victimized by more than 235 priests and church workers from 1940 to 2000.

Posted by kshaw at 06:33 AM

Talks start in clergy sex-abuse civil cases

CALIFORNIA
Contra Costa Times

By Randy Myers
CONTRA COSTA TIMES

Lawyers, victims and church representatives holed up in a Pleasanton hotel are trying to reach settlements in the 150 Northern California clergy sex-abuse cases with the first two trials less than three weeks away.

On Monday, an Oakland judge seemed determined to see those dates stand firm, tentatively ruling against church attorneys who sought to delay one of the March 7 trials. That case involves retired priest Robert Ponciroli, accused of abusing an altar boy at Antioch's St. Ignatius from 1979 to 1982.

The suit, which claims negligence by the Oakland Diocese, is one of the strongest set for trial, according to lead plaintiff attorney Rick Simons. Forty-two cases in all involve the Oakland Diocese.

Settlement talks in the sex-abuse cases, known as Clergy III, began this week at the Wyndham Garden Hotel in Pleasanton. The lawsuits are the result of a 2002 California law that briefly lifted the statute of limitations on such cases.

Posted by kshaw at 06:31 AM

Visiting priest to be sentenced in sexual assault

NEW BRITAIN (CT)
WTNH

(New Britain-WTNH, Feb. 17, 2005 6:45 AM) _ He admits to having sex with a teenage parishioner, but the New Britain priest says it was part of her therapy. Today the priest will be sentenced for sexual abuse.

by News Channel 8's Tricia Taskey
Father Roman Kramek took a plea deal in the case and he's expected to be sentenced to 9 months in prison.

The visiting priest from Poland was accused of sexually assaulting a teenage girl back in 2002. Kramek was counseling the girl for a previous sex assault, when the incident happened. Police say instead of counseling her, Kramek fondled the teenager in her home while her grandmother was in the other room.

Kramek will most likely be deported back to Poland after he serves his prison time.

Posted by kshaw at 06:30 AM

Zillah native claims priest molested her in 1962

YAKIMA (WA)
Herald-Republic

By CHRIS BRISTOL
YAKIMA HERALD-REPUBLIC

For several minutes they wandered about the empty corridors of the diocese headquarters, looking for Bishop Carlos Sevilla's office.

Armed with the latest lawsuit against the Catholic Diocese of Yakima and trailed by reporters, the group was there to serve Sevilla a copy of the suit in person and to demand a new accounting of priests "known or suspected" of sexually abusing children.

Trouble was, nobody was there. The lights were on, doors were open — but nobody was there.

It was, they said, a symbolic moment. The diocese, they said, has never really been there for parishioners who were molested by its clerics.

"I'm not surprised," said a glum Rose Yates Lamey, 53, who is suing the diocese for abuse she says she suffered at the hands of a priest at St. Aloysius Church in Toppenish more than 40 years ago.

Posted by kshaw at 06:28 AM

Alleged church sex abuse victims demand action from Yakima Diocese

YAKIMA (WA)
OregonLive.com

2/16/2005, 8:47 p.m. PT
By SHANNON DININNY
The Associated Press

YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) — Three women who allege they were sexually abused by a Catholic priest in the 1960s and a church abuse victims' support group on Wednesday urged Yakima's Catholic bishop to encourage more victims to come forward.

Other victims likely continue to suffer and the church should reach out to anyone who may have been abused or witnessed abuse, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests wrote in a letter to Bishop Carlos Sevilla of the Yakima Diocese.

The support group for victims of priest abuse has more than 5,000 members nationally.

"It's no secret that church officials for decades have aided, abetted and harbored known and suspected molesters in the church, and shielded them from prosecution by knowingly failing to report the alleged crimes to law enforcement," the letter said.

"It's also no secret that still today many church officials needlessly place children at risk of abuse by refusing to disclose the names of known and alleged molesters," the letter said. "This sends a very dangerous message to Catholics that the church officials continue to aid and abet alleged molesters."

Sevilla was out of town and could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Posted by kshaw at 06:25 AM

Women Claim Sex Abuse At Hands Of Local Priests

YAKIMA (WA)
KIMA

By Tim Lewis

Yakima -
It all happened in 1962.

Then, 10 years old, Rose Lamey was attending bible class at Saint Aloysius Church in Toppenish when, according to court documents, Father Michael Simpson removed Rose and her sister Mary from class and took them to another room in the building.

Simpson then allegedly physically and sexually abused the girls.

Now, 43 years later -- and all grown up -- Rose is ready to tell her story and take it to court.

She's filed a laswsuit against the Yakima Diocese -- seeking payment for the years of physical, mental and emotional damage -- claiming the diocese knew about the abuse and took no action to stop or control it...

Posted by kshaw at 06:23 AM

Support Group for Sex Abuse Victims

YAKIMA (WA)
KNDO

A support group for victims sexually abused by their priests hopes to start a chapter in Yakima. "SNAP", Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests hopes to gather enough support from other victims who have not come out with their story.

A former Yakima woman, Rose Lamey, filed a lawsuit February 1, against the Diocese of Yakima alleging sexual abuse by her priest, "This has destroyed our Catholic faith and our childhood innocence. I have reached out to the Bishop to learn the truth and find healing and closure and have been very disappointed."

Since Lamey filed her lawsuit, others have come forward alleging abuse by the same priest.

Lamey says she and her sister, Mary Smith, were both abused by Father Michael Simpson at Saint Aloysius Church in Toppenish. Simpson is now deceased. Smith says although the abuse occurred nearly forty years ago it still haunts them, "Even with all of the support we've had this has turned our lives upside down. But to know there are people who understand is so gratifying."

Posted by kshaw at 06:21 AM

February 16, 2005

New judge named to oversee LA clergy settlement

LOS ANGELES (CA)
KESQ

LOS ANGELES A new judge has been named to oversee the settlement of more than 500 clergy abuse cases against the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Peter Lichtman will be replaced by Judge Charles "Tim" McCoy because insurance carriers for the church objected to his handling of the case.

Lichtman has presided over settlement talks in Los Angeles for more than two years. He played a key role in negotiating a recent record-breaking 100 (m) million dollar settlement with alleged clergy abuse victims in the Diocese of Orange.

Posted by kshaw at 09:33 PM

Temple priest to be dismissed

INDIA
The Statesman

Press Trust of India
AHMEDABAD, Feb. 16. — Metropolitan Magistrate Mr DV Vaid remanded the priest of Junagadh Swaminarayan temple, Bhaktiswarup and three city-based touts Mansukh Bhagat, Bhanu Bhagat and Thakkarsinh Patel in police custody till 22 February on charges of being involved in a sex scandal. The accused have been booked under various provisions of the IPC, Information Technology Act and Immoral Trafficking Act.
The crime branch had yesterday exposed a sex scandal and arrested them, after seizing a CD containing images of different sadhus indulging in sexual acts with different women. ACP (crime) Mr DG Vanzara had said that the CD was a “compilation” and was shot at different places including Junagadh, Bharuch, Surat and Ahmedabad.
Meanwhile a top priest of Vadtal Swaminarayan temple, Navtam Swami said that all the sadhus appearing in the CD, including the Junagadh Swaminarayan temple priest, Bhaktiswarup, would be dismissed. However, Navtam Swami said the filming of the CD was the handiwork of elements who wanted to defame the sect.

Posted by kshaw at 05:18 PM

Judges hear arguments in sex-abuse suit

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Inquirer

By David O’Reilly
INQUIRER STAFF WRITER

A lawyer for 18 adults who allege they were sexually abused as children by archdiocesan priests asked an appeals court Wednesday afternoon to establish a right for such victims to sue the Philadelphia Archdiocese.

Berks County lawyer Jay Abramowitch told a three-judge panel of the Pennsylvania Superior Court that lower court judges should no longer be allowed to automatically bar an adult from suing a diocese for abuse, simply because it happened many years ago.

Abramowitch argued that state law requires a jury - not a judge - to decide whether a diocese unlawfully concealed its role in allowing a priest to abuse, or played on the victim's trust, or interfered with the victim's prompt reporting of abuse.

The archdiocese's lawyer urged the court not to overturn, however, arguing that Pennsylvania's statute of limitations bars abuse victims from suing after so many years.

Posted by kshaw at 05:14 PM

Pastor Arrested for Abuse

ALASKA
KTVA

By Christine Nangle

A youth pastor is charged with sexually abusing a minor in his youth group. The 16-year-old girl confided in another pastor who then tipped off police. Jesse Connella, 28, is in charge the youth activities at Crosspoint Community Church. He is accused of having sexual intercourse with a 16-year-old girl twice, one time it was in the church van.
According to court documents, Connella, picked up a teenage girl in the church truck took her to Kincaid Park and had intercourse. Afterwards, he dropped her off at a bowling alley and told her not to tell anyone. Records show Conella picked up the minor from school a second time took her to a Church parking lot near Northwood and strawberry for a second time. Police taped a phone conversation, where Conella admitted to the minor they had sex twice. He also told the girl not to worry about getting pregnant because he had surgery so his wife wouldn't get pregnant again.

Posted by kshaw at 05:10 PM

Exposure Uncertain For Clergy Sex Abuse Cases

UNITED STATES
National Underwriter

By Michael Ha

NU Online News Service, Feb. 16, 3:10 p.m. EST—The issue of whether cases of sexual abuse by clergy are covered by general liability insurance is a highly disputed one, a U.S. insurance practice attorney said in an address to a British legal group.

According to Michael Leahy, with the Los Angeles-based law firm Haight, Brown & Bonesteel, most of the major U.S. insurers have some exposures depending on jurisdictions. Most general liability coverages are written on an individual diocese or archdiocese basis, he said.

Mr. Leahy, who spoke to the British Insurance Law Association in London last week, toldAbuse Tracker Underwriter yesterday that at the present time, in addition to church-run mutual carriers, some of the major U.S. insurers with potential liabilities from clerical abuse claims are American International Group Inc., ACE Limited and Employers Re.

For insurers involved in this marketplace, he said, there is a potential for significant exposures. Currently, Mr. Leahy noted, there are some 900 clergy sexual abuse cases against the U.S. Roman Catholic church in the state of California alone.

Posted by kshaw at 05:08 PM

Lawmakers stump for changes to state's sex abuse laws

BOSTON (MA)
Telegram & Gazette

By DENISE LAVOIE
AP Legal Affairs Writer

BOSTON— A bipartisan group of lawmakers began a public push on Wednesday for the elimination of the statute of limitations on sex crimes, an issue that limited prosecutions of abusive priests in the Boston Archdiocese's clergy sex abuse scandal.

Backers of the legislation gathered at a Statehouse news conference one day after defrocked priest Paul Shanley was sentenced to 12 to 15 years in prison for raping a boy.

Shanley was one of the few Catholic priests implicated in the scandal who faced criminal charges because the current 15-year statute of limitations in rape cases prevented prosecutors from going after most others.

State Rep. Ron Mariano, D-Quincy, lead sponsor of the bill, said many victims of sexual abuse take years to come to grips with what happened to them. By then, it's too late to prosecute their abusers.

"We need to allow victims to deal with their victimization and come forward at a time that's appropriate for them," Mariano said.

An investigation by Attorney General Thomas Reilly found in 2003 that at least 1,000 children were likely victimized by more than 235 priests and church workers from 1940 to 2000.

But since the scandal first erupted in Boston in 2002, only about a dozen priests have been prosecuted in Massachusetts criminal courts. More than 550 people who claimed they were sexually abused by priests settled civil lawsuits against the archdiocese.

Posted by kshaw at 05:03 PM

Jury Unable To Reach Agreement, Adjourns In Blackwell Trial

BALTIMORE (MD)
TheWBALChannel.com

POSTED: 5:25 pm EST February 16, 2005
UPDATED: 5:28 pm EST February 16, 2005

BALTIMORE -- Jury deliberations paused Wednesday afternoon in the trial of a former priest accused of sexually molesting an altar boy, who shot the cleric on a city street a decade after the alleged abuse.

Jurors, who began deliberating shortly before noon, sent a note to Baltimore Circuit Judge Stuart Berger saying they were unable to agree on any of the four charges against defrocked priest Maurice Blackwell. Berger sent to jurors home about 4:45 p.m., and deliberations will resume at 9:30 a.m. Thursday.

Earlier Wednesday, in their closing arguments, attorneys focused on the former altar boy, Dontee Stokes, portraying him as a disturbed young man who made up the allegations to deal with a sexual identity crisis, and a vulnerable victim preyed upon by a trusted father figure.

Defense attorney Kenneth Ravenell told jurors Stokes had "homosexual tendencies" and was "willing to lie" to protect the secret of his sexual identity.

Ravenell, the attorney for defrocked priest Maurice Blackwell, said Stokes fabricated the abuse allegations as a way of dealing with his sexuality.

"There was absolutely no credibility to anything Dontee Stokes has told you," the defense attorney told jurors, also describing Stokes' claims of "alien abduction" and out-of-body experiences.

Posted by kshaw at 04:58 PM

Lichtman Overstepped Bounds as Settlement Judge in Orange County Clergy Sex Abuse Cases, C.A. Says

CALIFORNIA
Metropolitican News-Enterprise

By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Peter D. Lichtman overstepped his bounds by making factual findings, which could have bound the parties in future proceedings, as part of his efforts to settle sex abuse claims against the Diocese of Orange, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled yesterday.

Div. Eight granted a writ of mandate directing that Lichtman’s valuation of the cases, his order precluding the church’s insurers from declaring a forfeiture of coverage in the event the diocese settled without their consent, and findings which could have been used to establish bad faith by the insurers be vacated.

The ruling comes some six weeks after a $100 million settlement of the plaintiffs’ claims, about half of it coming from the insurers, was announced. In a footnote to his opinion yesterday, Justice Laurence Rubin said the court had not been formally notified of the settlement, and that it had not been asked to dismiss the writ proceeding as moot.

The Court of Appeal did not disclose how much Lichtman valued the cases at, citing the confidentiality of mediation proceedings under state law.

The Orange Diocese was the first in California to reach a settlement with alleged victims of clergy sexual abuse when they were minors. The cases are being managed as three separate coordination proceedings.

Posted by kshaw at 01:08 PM

Jury deliberations begin in defrocked priest's trial

BALTIMORE (MD)
New York Newsday

By Foster Klug
The Associated Press

February 16, 2005, 12:59 PM EST

Jurors began deliberations today in the trial of a former priest accused of sexually molesting an altar boy, who shot the cleric on a city street a decade after the alleged abuse.

In their closing arguments, attorneys focused on the former altar boy, Dontee Stokes, portraying him as a disturbed young man who made up the allegations to deal with a sexual identity crisis, and a vulnerable victim preyed upon by a trusted father figure.

Defense attorney Kenneth Ravenell told jurors Stokes had "homosexual tendencies" and was "willing to lie" to protect the secret of his sexual identity.

Ravenell, the attorney for defrocked priest Maurice Blackwell, said Stokes fabricated the abuse allegations as a way of dealing with his sexuality.

Posted by kshaw at 01:06 PM

Priest in sex scandal to lose job

INDIA
Rediff.com

February 16, 2005 17:06 IST

The priest of a Swaminarayan temple in Junagadh in Gujarat and his three associates arrested on Tuesday in connection with a sex scandal will be dismissed from the sect, Navtam Swami, a top priest of the Vadtal-based religious group, said on Wednesday.

The Ahmedabad crime branch had on Tuesday seized a CD containing images of sadhus indulging in wild sexual acts and arrested Junagadh Swaminarayan temple priest, Swami Bhaktiswarup, and three others.

"All the sadhus whose images appear in the CD will be dismissed along with the priest of Junagadh Swaminarayan temple," Navtam Swami said.

He, however, said the CD was the handiwork of a few people bent on defaming the Swaminarayan sect. "Police should also look into the motive of trapping the sadhus on-camera," Navtam Swami added.

Posted by kshaw at 09:42 AM

Sex scandal: Priest in police custody

INDIA
Rediff.com

February 16, 2005 18:32 IST

An Ahmedabad court on Wednesday sent the priest of the Junagadh Swaminarayan temple in Gujarat and three others to six days in police custody in connection with a sex scandal.

Metropolitan Magistrate D V Vaid remanded Swami Bhaktiswarup and his alleged accomplices -- Mansukh Bhagat, Bhanu Bhagat and Thakkarsinh Patel -- in police custody till February 22.

The Ahmedabad crime branch had on Tuesday seized a CD containing images of sadhus indulging in sexual acts.

Seeking the custody, the police told the court that they needed to find out who financed the whole operation.

Posted by kshaw at 09:41 AM

Court refuses to free jailed priest

DAYTON (OH)
Dayton Daily News

By Rob Modic
Dayton Daily News

DAYTON | A state appeals court Tuesday rejected a bid to release the Rev. Thomas Kuhn from Montgomery County Jail, where he is serving a 30-day sentence for violating probation. He had been convicted of misdemeanor public indecency and providing alcohol to underage persons.

Montgomery County Common Pleas Judge Mary Katherine Huffman ordered Kuhn jailed Thursday night.

She found Kuhn violated a condition that barred him from offering services to an agency that dealt with people younger than 21.

Kuhn admitted he had contacted the principal of Elder High School in Cincinnati in September, but he claimed he was only trying to counsel the principal, a former co-worker and friend, after a student at the school had been killed the previous day.

Posted by kshaw at 09:12 AM

Group says Dubuque Diocese is too slow to release abuse information

IOWA
Radio Iowa

by Darwin Danielson/Stella Shaffer

Organizers of a northeast Iowa group created to support victims of clergy abuse says the Dubuque Catholic Diocese is still too slow to release information on accusations against priests. A spokeswoman for the diocese says however they're doing what they can to legally release information. Steve Theisen, of Hudson, is the co-organizer of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests or SNAP. He says, "Archibishop Hanus of Dubuque has said he'd have an open dialogue, open disuccsion. And in their policy for the protection of children, it says they'll also inform the faith communities of any alleged abuses. And so far, we haven't seen any of that happen." Theisen says the Dubuque Archdiocese did recently release information on one priest -- but that he says that was one week after SNAP handed out leaflets to parishioners about the accused molester. He says, "It's like they have to be forced to release this information."

Posted by kshaw at 09:10 AM

Sex Arrest Shocks Man's Friends

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Los Angeles Times

By Joel Rubin, Times Staff Writer

Bob Rohdenburg was not prepared for what he heard over the phone Saturday night.

His longtime friend Jeff Devore, an Orange County pastor, calmly told Rohdenburg that FBI agents were searching Devore's Fullerton apartment and had arrested him on suspicion of trafficking in child pornography.

Rohdenburg and others who know Devore, 53, expressed shock Tuesday over his arrest. Calling him "creative" "quiet" and "well-liked," they said there had been no indication he was involved in child pornography.

"This has just come completely out of the blue," said Rick Marshall, head pastor at Brea Congregational Church, which recently hired Devore. "You can imagine how devastating it is."

After attending services at the 120-member Brea congregation for eight years, Devore became an assistant pastor last month, Marshall said. Considering Devore's musical talents, Marshall said, he had hoped his new assistant would develop youth programs for the church, a branch of the liberal United Church of Christ.

Posted by kshaw at 04:55 AM

Priest, three others who masterminded CDs held

INDIA
Express India

Express News Service

Ahmedabad, February 15: Sex, lies and videotape...the sex-on-CD scandal has all the ingredients of a potboiler and with Tuesday’s arrest of one of the priests who figured on a compact disc in a compromising position along with three others who masterminded the filming, the story’s getting murkier and murkier.

The probe by the Detection of Crime Branch has turned up several facts:
The dramatis personae were four priests and seven other persons who had planned and funded the operation. The CDs were shot at two Swaminarayan (Vadtal sect) temples in Junagadh and Bharuch and two private premises in Ahmedabad and Surat.

The three women who figured on the CDs told police during interrogation that they’d been lured with the promise that they would give birth to a male child.

Those arrested have been identified as Durlabhji Ramnikbhai Aaswadia aka Sadhu Bhaktiswaroop Guruswami Govindprasad Dasji, a priest at the Swaminarayan temple at Junagadh, and three followers of the sect — Mansukh Bhagat, Thakarshi Patel and Karsan Patel. DCB officials also seized pornography material in the form of books and playing cards from the residence of Sadhu Bhaktiswaroop.

Posted by kshaw at 04:52 AM

Police procures sleazy CD that shows priests of Swaminarayan sect in the act

INDIA
Ahmedabad.com

February 16, 2005

In a sex scandal involving Swaminarayan sect sadhus, the crime branch arrested four persons, including a priest belonging to the Swaminarayan temple in Junagadh, here on Tuesday.

The priest, Bhaktiswarup, and three others were making videos of sex acts and distributing it in the form of CDs. All were arrested under the Prevention of Immoral Trafficking Act. It may be noted that in July 2004 three Swaminarayan sadhus belonging to the Kalupur temple were arrested for sodomy with a minor boy.

Additional commissioner of police D.G. Vanzara of the city crime branch said the video shooting of Swaminarayan sadhus in sexual acts with women was undertaken by waging factions of Vadtal Swaniinarayan temple with the purpose of defaming the perpetrators, with evidence. lie said police has obtained ('Ds being distributed by one of the warring factions to the followers in Ahmedabad, Surat and other places.

He said the CD shows three women having intercourse with different priests at different locations. He said the priests were exploiting the childless women under the pretext of helping them conceive by a "religious ritual". Mr. Vanzara said the video shooting was done with prior knowledge of the women concerned.

The CD contains video shootings at three different places: in a room at a Bharuch temple with a priest (his name not known) from the same temple, in a flat in Ahmedabad with Sadhu Harikirshna Farali of Vadtal and in a bungalow in Surat with a priest and his disciple.

Those arrested, apart from Bhaktiswarup, are Mansukh pictures, condoms, contraceptive pills and a copy of Vatsayan's Kama Sutra from the room of Bhaktiswarup at Junagadh Swaminarayan Temple.

Posted by kshaw at 04:49 AM

'I believe true justice will find you after your time on earth'

CAMBRIDGE (MA)
Boston Globe

February 16, 2005

Excerpts from statements by the victim (read by a prosecutor) and by his wife and father in Middlesex Superior Court yesterday prior to the sentencing of Paul R. Shanley:

''The day the verdict was read was the beginning of the rest of my life. For the first time in almost three years, I went to bed with a smile from ear to ear. That lasted for several days! . . . I came here to hear you say that Paul Shanley is gonna die in prison. I want him to die in prison, whether it's of natural causes or otherwise. However he dies, I hope it's slow and painful!"

-- Victim

''I live day to day hoping that I will not lose my husband, hoping he will not slip back into the silent sadness he has battled through these past three years. Feb. 11 is a day that changed my life forever. On that day, Paul relived in flashes what Paul Shanley did to him over a decade before. On Jan. 26, 27, 28 in this courtroom, on that stand, he again relived that devastation. . . . Shanley, no words will ever explain my disgust for you. You are a coward who hid behind God. Your robe, nor your wit, nor your charm make you infallible. Sadly, you will probably never face the reality of your disturbed existence. I believe true justice will find you after your time on earth is spent."

-- Victim's wife

Posted by kshaw at 04:47 AM

Group protests after priest sex suit dismissed

SEATTLE (WA)
Seattle Post-Intelligencer

SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER STAFF

Members of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests held a public protest at the Roman Catholic archdiocese headquarters in Seattle yesterday after the dismissal of a sex abuse lawsuit against the archdiocese stemming from the behavior of a former priest.

Friday, King County Superior Court Judge Paris Kallas dismissed Tim McKenna's claim against the Seattle Archdiocese, noting that the alleged abuse by former priest John Cornelius did not occur when McKenna was in the "protective custody" of the archdiocese.

McKenna, 46, of Idaho, said the now-defrocked priest sexually abused him from 1969 to 1975. He said he plans to appeal the decision. He said yesterday's protest was to let the "archdiocese know they can't bully me around."

"I'm not going away," McKenna said after the protest. "They prevailed legally but missed their moral obligation."

Posted by kshaw at 04:45 AM

Investigation of priest closed

ORLANDO (FL)
Orlando Sentinel

The Orlando Police Department has closed its investigation of a visiting Catholic priest accused of molesting an Orlando man for a period of years while the man was a minor.

Police will not bring charges against the Rev. Richard Emerson because the statute of limitations has run out, Orlando Police Sgt. Brian Gilliam said. Emerson, a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Gary, Ind., worked in three Central Florida churches between 1987 and 1991.

Investigators interviewed the victim, now 29, and determined that the alleged incidents took place at a time when the statute of limitations required a victim to report abuse within three years of turning 16. They also checked with federal authorities, who have a more flexible statute of limitations in such cases, but discovered that requirement also had passed, Gilliam said.

Joe Saunders, attorney for the Orlando man, was satisfied with the investigation but said it would not affect the civil case filed against Emerson, Orlando Bishop Thomas Wenski and Bishop Dale Melczek of the Gary diocese.

Posted by kshaw at 04:42 AM

`I want him to die in prison': Shanley gets 12-15 years

CAMBRIDGE (MA)
Boston Herald

By Marie Szaniszlo
Wednesday, February 16, 2005

A Middlesex Superior Court judge yesterday sentenced a defrocked priest at the center of the Boston archdiocese's sex abuse scandal to 12 to 15 years in prison for raping a Sunday school student in the 1980s at a Newton parish.

``I want him to die in prison, whether it's of natural causes or otherwise. However he dies, I hope it's slow and painful,'' the man said in a victim impact statement read in court by First Assistant District Attorney Lynn Rooney.

Paul Shanley, 74, stood impassively in his gray suit and glasses, his feet shackled, as Judge Stephen Neel read the sentence, saying, ``It is difficult to imagine a more egregious misuse of trust or authority.''

As the defendant shuffled out, a man shouted, ``Goodbye,'' and the rest of the courtroom burst into applause.

With time off for good behavior, Shanley could be eligible for parole in about seven years. But District Attorney Martha Coakley said she would ask a judge to declare him a ``sexually dangerous person'' to keep him locked up indefinitely.

Posted by kshaw at 04:40 AM

Games Bishops Play: Why DA Bill Hill should be wary

DALLAS (TX)
The Dallas Morning News

10:07 PM CST on Tuesday, February 15, 2005

The Diocese of Dallas has promised full cooperation with District Attorney Bill Hill as he moves forward with his investigation into the way it has handled sex-abuse allegations against priests.

No less should be expected, of course, as Mr. Hill combs through diocesan personnel files. But if this is to be a real investigation, then the district attorney must be realistic about the games bishops and their lawyers can play.

According to attorneys who have litigated church sex-abuse cases, some bishops seeking to hide incriminating documents have removed them from a priest's personnel file and had them stored at the diocesan lawyer's office. In cases like this, investigators who look solely at the personnel files will not find the smoking guns, which might have been holstered across town.

In a 2004 deposition in a sex-abuse civil suit, the Rev. George Crespin, former chancellor for the Diocese of Oakland, Calif., was asked why reports on seven or eight priests alleged to have engaged in sex with children did not go into the priests' personnel files. Replied Father Crespin, "That was the instruction we had from the lawyers."

Posted by kshaw at 04:31 AM

Behind the $5M sex abuse settlement

MORRISTOWN (NJ)
Daily Record

By Abbott Koloff, Daily Record

MORRISTOWN -- Some of the men had been together three years, ever since they held their first meeting in Mendham and talked about childhood memories that had been secret for decades. They told the world they had been sexually abused decades ago by their former pastor. They met with the bishop. They started a support group.

After one of them committed suicide, they put up a monument at their old church, a millstone that sits on the property of St. Joseph's parish.

On Tuesday they reached a milestone when they stood on the steps of the Morris County Courthouse and announced the formal settlement of a lawsuit against the Paterson Roman Catholic Diocese. The suit had been settled earlier in the month and the settlement amount, an estimated $5 million split among 27 people, had been reported by plaintiffs last week.

Most of the plaintiffs said they were abused by James Hanley, a former St. Joseph's pastor, although some had been abused by other priests and a deacon.

Posted by kshaw at 04:28 AM

Closing Arguments Set Against Md. Priest

BALTIMORE (MD)
The Dispatch

By BRIAN WITTE
Associated Press Writer

The defense for a former priest accused of child sex abuse relied on psychiatrists and church members to bolster claims that the alleged victim - who shot the cleric three years ago - sometimes appeared to have trouble sorting fact from fantasy.

The attorney for defrocked priest Maurice Blackwell, 58, claims Dontee Stokes, 29, made up the abuse allegations as a way of dealing with his own sexual identity crisis.

Throughout the trial, however, the prosecution has insisted Blackwell preyed on a vulnerable child who wanted to be a priest, and trusted Blackwell as a father figure. Stokes, though acknowledging he had trouble distinguishing fantasy from reality at times, insists the abuse was real.

Both sides have rested their cases; closing arguments were to begin Wednesday.

Posted by kshaw at 04:24 AM

Crosspoint youth pastor charged with sexual abuse

ANCHORAGE (AK)
KTUU

Tuesday, February 15, 2005 - by Angela Unruh

Anchorage, Alaska - A youth pastor has been arrested and charged with sexually abusing a 16-year-old girl.

Jesse Connella, 28, who spent the last year as a youth pastor at Crosspoint Community Church, was arrested Monday. He appeared in court Tuesday, arraigned on two counts of sexually abusing a minor.

That minor, a 16-year-old girl, was part of the church's youth group.

Charging documents say that, on Feb. 1, Connella told the girl he was interested in her. Then on Feb. 3, he picked her up after school in the church van. He was supposed to take her to bowling practice, but the documents say he took her to Kincaid Park where they had sex.

Then, on Feb. 10, he picked her up from school in his personal van, drove to a church parking lot and had sex with her again.

Posted by kshaw at 04:23 AM

Jury indicts priest in Web child porn

VIRGINIA
The Washington Times

By Matthew Cella
THE WASHINGTON TIMES

A Loudoun County, Va., grand jury yesterday indicted a Catholic priest on one felony count of possession of child pornography.
The arrest of the Rev. Robert C. Brooks, 72, of Leesburg, was the latest in a massive two-year Internet child pornography investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents.
Soren Johnson, a spokesman for the Arlington Diocese, said Father Brooks was most recently pastor of St. John the Apostle in Leesburg. He said Father Brooks resigned his position in October, when authorities informed the diocese of their investigation.

Posted by kshaw at 04:19 AM

System sought to track issues

MANATEE (FL)
Bradenton Herald

MICHAEL BARBER and AIMEE JUAREZ
Herald Staff Writer

MANATEE - In the wake of Haile Middle assistant principal Joseph Gilpin's resignation, Superintendent Roger Dearing has asked top school officials to come up with better ways to track investigations of complaints against employees.

"What I want to do is to outline procedures for administrators to follow so we have a trail of complaints against an employee," Dearing said. "That way we'll know how the investigation was initiated, how it was handled and what happened."

Gilpin, 60, resigned Jan. 28 after allegations surfaced that he molested at least two young boys while he was a Catholic seminarian during the 1960s. The resignation ended Gilpin's 34-year career as a teacher and administrator in Manatee County schools.

Gilpin declined comment Tuesday afternoon. He has declined comment since the allegations surfaced.

Posted by kshaw at 04:18 AM

8 area priests accused in '04

DENVER (CO)
Denver Post

By Eric Gorski
Denver Post Staff Writer

The Denver Roman Catholic archdiocese fielded child sex-abuse allegations in 2004 against eight priests who served within its 24-county boundary, according to a report made public as part of wide-ranging reforms that followed the national clergy-abuse crisis.

While some of the allegations stretch back to incidents more than three decades ago, one dates to the 1990s and is under investigation by the archdiocese.

None of the accused priests is in ministry in the northern Colorado archdiocese, said Sergio Gutierrez, an archdiocese spokesman.

In a letter to his flock in this week's Denver Catholic Register, Archbishop Charles Chaput announced that for the second consecutive year, outside auditors found the archdiocese fully compliant with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. U.S. bishops adopted the charter in 2002 to quell the abuse scandal.

Posted by kshaw at 04:16 AM

Men Who Accused Priests of Abuse Settle Lawsuit

MORRISTOWN (NJ)
The New York Times

By TINA KELLEY

Published: February 16, 2005

MORRISTOWN, N.J., Feb. 15 - The Roman Catholic Diocese of Paterson has agreed to pay approximately $5 million to settle a lawsuit brought by 27 men who said they were abused by five priests and a deacon, including one priest who admitted molesting numerous boys, a lawyer announced on Tuesday.

The settlement, which is believed to be the largest in a sex abuse case by a Roman Catholic diocese in New Jersey, concludes a year-old lawsuit that was brought by the 27 men and 6 of their wives, said Gregory Gianforcaro, the lawyer who represented 26 of the men. The lawsuit drew widespread publicity, particularly because it included allegations by at least 19 of the men that they had been abused by one former priest, James T. Hanley. The case was unusual in that Mr. Hanley helped it by providing a sworn statement about how he had committed numerous acts of sexual abuse against children.

Mr. Gianforcaro announced the settlement at a news conference in front of the Morris County Courthouse, which was also attended by several of his clients. "There are no winners in this settlement," he said. "All the money in the world is not going to bring back their innocence, their ability to trust, their ability to deal with their spouses."

The settlement, which did not include any admission of wrongdoing by the diocese, was confirmed in a statement by Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli of Paterson.

Posted by kshaw at 04:14 AM

Priest accused of having child porn

LEESBURG (VA)
Times-Dispatch

From Staff And Wire Reports Feb 16, 2005

LEESBURG -- A 72-year-old Roman Catholic priest who served in dioceses in Richmond and Arlington County was indicted by a Loudoun County grand jury yesterday on a single felony count of possession of child pornography.

The Rev. Robert Brooks of Leesburg resigned as pastor of St. John the Apostle Catholic Church and was removed from the ministry last fall, when officials told his superiors he was under investigation on child-pornography charges.

Police said the investigation started in 2003 when undercover federal officials who monitor child-pornography sites on the Internet alleged that Brooks had registered on such a site. The investigation uncovered no evidence of inappropriate contact with children, police said.

Dean Boyd, a spokesman for the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which initiated the investigation against Brooks, said it stems from a worldwide undercover operation against child pornography on the Web called "Operation Falcon."

The investigation broke wide open when agents obtained the billing statements for more than 50 child-pornography Web sites from a company in the former Soviet republic of Belarus that had operated child-pornography sites and provided billing services for others.

Posted by kshaw at 04:13 AM

St. Vincent Archabbey settles sex abuse civil

PENNSYLVANIA
Tribune-Review

By Matthew Junker
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Wednesday, February 16, 2005

A Centre County woman has settled a lawsuit against St. Vincent Archabbey, while her son continues to press his claim that he was sexually abused by priests.

Mary Bonson, of Port Matilda, filed a civil suit in 2003 seeking damages in excess of $30,000 against the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese and Bishop Joseph V. Adamec, former Bishop James Hogan and the Benedictine Society of Westmoreland County alleging that her son John Morrison, of State College, was abused between 1980 and 1982.

Westmoreland County Judge Gary P. Caruso ruled last year that two other priests who were defendants in the case -- the Rev. Athanasius Cherry, former pastor of St. Vincent Basilica, and the Rev. Andrew Campbell, a faculty member at St. Vincent College -- could not have intentionally inflicted emotional distress upon Bonson even if the allegations were true. The case against those two monks was thrown out.

Bonson reached a financial settlement to close the case on Dec. 30. Her lawyer, Helen R. Kotler, declined to release the amount of the settlement until her client gave her approval. No confidentiality agreement was signed as part of the settlement, Kotler said.

Posted by kshaw at 04:11 AM

Officials say strides made in security

MASSACHUSETTS
Boston Globe

By Ralph Ranalli, Globe Staff | February 16, 2005

Paul Shanley will probably enter the Massachusetts prison system the same way most inmates do, with a trip along Route 2 and passage through the old-fashioned gates of the state prison in Concord, officials said. There he will be interviewed about his medical and social history, evaluated by a psychologist, strip-searched, and locked up alone for as long as a month until prison officials determine where he can be safely housed.

Yet following the 2003 slaying of Paul Geoghan, a former priest convicted of sexual abuse, Shanley will probably be monitored much more closely than has previously been done.

Inmates convicted of sex crimes against children are generally considered to be at the greatest risk of being attacked by other inmates. Authorities allege that inmate Joseph Druce told Geoghan, ''No more children for you, pal" as he strangled him with a noose two years ago.

Correction Commissioner Kathleen M. Dennehy, said yesterday that she could not discuss Shanley or any other particular inmate, but that after Geoghan's slaying, the department significantly increased supervision of its two protective custody units. Now, before a new inmate is introduced into a protective custody unit, the records of all the prisoners there are scoured for a possible conflict. After Geoghan's slaying, prison officials were criticized for housing him in the same unit as Druce, who had professed a hatred of child molesters.

Dennehy said there are now weekly reviews of all inmate files to root out any conflicts.

Posted by kshaw at 04:09 AM

Shanley gets 12 to 15 years

CAMBRIDGE (MA)
Boston Globe

By Joanna Weiss, Globe Staff | February 16, 2005

CAMBRIDGE -- Defrocked priest Paul R. Shanley was sentenced to 12 to 15 years in prison yesterday before a roomful of alleged clergy sexual abuse victims, who declared the conclusion to his criminal trial a step toward collective justice.

When Shanley, a central figure in the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston's clergy sexual abuse scandal, was led away in leg shackles and handcuffs, a brief burst of applause was heard in the Middlesex Superior courtroom. Shanley's accuser, a 27-year-old firefighter, was greeted with hugs, handshakes, and gratitude.

The victim is a hero, said Arthur Austin, 56, who says he was raped by Shanley as a young man. ''What it came down to at last" was the man ''taking on the dragon of Paul Shanley's 40-year reign of terror," Austin said. ''So just by default, he was doing it for the rest of us."

The courtroom was fuller than it was during Shanley's two-week trial, largely with alleged victims like Austin, who could not press charges because of the statute of limitations.

The sentencing was the final chapter in a trial fraught with symbolism and high expectations: a means of catharsis for Shanley's alleged victims, a witch hunt to his supporters.

In a statement read by prosecutor Lynn Rooney, the victim pleaded with the judge for a hefty sentence and suggested that he was asking on behalf of many others.

Posted by kshaw at 04:07 AM

Accusers in clergy abuse speak out

NEW JERSEY
Star-Ledger

Wednesday, February 16, 2005
BY JEFF DIAMANT
Star-Ledger Staff
As a group, they will receive $5 million to settle their claims that Catholic clergy sexually abused them. But yesterday, several of the 27 plaintiffs said the money does little to relieve their bitterness and disillusionment toward the Paterson Diocese.

"It's a lot of money, but the only thing that can solve my problem is if they build a time machine and let me go back to 12 years old and discover sexual intimacy on my own terms, not have it forced on me by a pedophile that they employed," said Buddy Cotton, 42, one of 21 plaintiffs who accused former priest James Hanley of sexually abusing them when they were children. Five other clergy members were accused in the lawsuit.

Cotton was among a half-dozen plaintiffs who appeared at a news conference in Morristown yesterday to discuss the settlement, which was reached last month and first reported last week.

Members of the group said they are upset the settlement did not include an admission of wrongdoing by the diocese or a chance to see the accused priests' personnel files. They also complained the church used hard-nosed legal tactics until November. The lawsuit was filed a little more than a year ago.

In November, Superior Court Judge Deanne Wilson, sitting in Morristown, ruled that the diocese could not automatically use the statute of limitations to avoid paying damages. It was the judge's ruling, not the church's compassion, that led to the final settlement, several of the plaintiffs said.

Posted by kshaw at 04:05 AM

Diocese pays $65,000 to abuse victim

WILMINGTON (DE)
The News Journal

By BETH MILLER / The News Journal
02/16/2005Catholic Diocese of Wilmington officials confirmed Tuesday a $65,000 payment to a former Wilmington resident as reimbursement for counseling he said he needed after being sexually abused for years by a former diocesan priest, now dead.

John F. Dougherty Jr., 61, who lives in Las Vegas, Nev., said the Rev. Edward B. Carley raped him when he was 10 years old, serving as an altar boy at St. Ann's Church in Wilmington. Carley served as assistant pastor there from 1954 to 1962. Dougherty said he was in contact with Carley for more than 10 years and was abused repeatedly by him.

In a prepared statement, diocese officials said, "We deeply regret the pain and suffering that Mr. Dougherty has endured as a result of these despicable actions. We continue to pray for Mr. Dougherty's ongoing healing and reaffirm our pledge to continue to offer counseling to him and other survivors of clergy sexual abuse."

Carley was 82 years old when he died in retirement in Branford, Conn., after 49 years as a priest.

The diocese last year acknowledged payments of $1.6 million to victims and families, and said 60 people had accused priests of abuse over the past 50 years. Allegations against 19 priests were substantiated, diocese officials said.

Posted by kshaw at 04:04 AM

Accuser Testifies in Priest Sex Abuse Case

BALTIMORE (MD)
Los Angeles Times

By Stephen Braun, Times Staff Writer

BALTIMORE — Two years after being acquitted of attempted murder in the shooting of a Roman Catholic priest, Dontee Stokes is back in the same courthouse — this time to face the former cleric accused of molesting him.

Maurice J. Blackwell, 58, was defrocked by the Vatican last year. He faces four counts of child sexual abuse and could be sentenced to up to 60 years in prison.

In three days of testimony that ended Tuesday, Stokes, 29, was the lead prosecution witness. Between 1989 and 1992, Stokes said, Blackwell's avuncular pats on the back turned to inappropriate embraces and, finally, attempted sexual assaults on at least two occasions when he was 16.

"In disbelief" and "disgusted" by Blackwell's advances, Stokes testified, he was unsure how to proceed against a man he had come to trust. "I didn't want to get him into trouble and have him removed," he said.

Stokes, who admitted to shooting Blackwell twice, served 11 months under house arrest on a weapons violation. The incident occurred at the same time the Boston Archdiocese and other Catholic dioceses across the nation were facing with allegations that church officials for decades had failed to adequately deal with priests accused of sexual abuse.

Posted by kshaw at 04:02 AM

Accused of abuse, priest retires

MIAMI (FL)
Miami Herald

BY JAY WEAVER
jweaver@herald.com

A Catholic priest who attracted thousands of worshipers to his Pompano Beach church and his cable TV show retired abruptly after a former Mariel boatlift refugee accused him of sexual abuse in the early 1980s -- allegations corroborated by a fellow priest.

The Rev. Ricardo Castellanos, a 35-year priest who had been on administrative leave as pastor of San Isidro Church since spring 2002, submitted his retirement letter to the Archdiocese of Miami last week, and it was accepted immediately, church spokeswoman Mary Ross Agosta said Tuesday.

She added the archdiocese is investigating the allegations, has reported them to the Miami-Dade state attorney's office and offered psychological counseling to the accuser.

Posted by kshaw at 04:01 AM

Priest's stand lights the road to healing

WISCONSIN
The Journal Times

By Mike Moore

You might have read that the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests wants to honor the Rev. Paul Esser for objecting to the transfer of a sexually abusive clergyman in the 1970s. Sunday, they met Esser and passed out fliers encouraging locals to call the archbishop in support of the idea.

This is a new tactic for SNAP, at least in our area. I don't mean the fliers. Sadly, victims of priest abuse passing out fliers has become nearly as commonplace as stained glass at parishes.

This time was different. Rather than look for victims who'd be willing to prosecute a priest, they wanted volunteers to honor one.

Even SNAP had to do a double-take. The group's press release called its visit to Mount Pleasant's St. Paul the Apostle Parish an "Unusual Situation."

Three representatives from the group came to St. Paul on Sunday with armfuls of the leaflets. For once, no nasty comments were directed toward them. As Mike Sneesby of Bay View stood at one exit, parishioners took the leaflets with a simple "thank you."

Hopefully this signals a change in the life of this scandal, sort of like the progression through the stages of grief. We've been in the anger phase for several years now. It's time to move toward acceptance.

Posted by kshaw at 03:58 AM

Deal concludes Paterson clergy sex-abuse suit

MORRISTOWN (NJ)
Philadelphia Inquirer

By Wayne Parry
Associated Press

MORRISTOWN, N.J. - Twenty-six men who said they were molested as boys by Roman Catholic priests have reached a $5 million settlement with the Diocese of Paterson, their lawyer announced yesterday.

The deal, the largest payout by a New Jersey diocese in a clergy sex-abuse case, also provides four years of counseling for the men, said the lawyer, Gregory G. Gianforcaro. The church does not admit liability as part of the pact.

"This has been an incredible journey of pain and sacrifice," Gianforcaro said, adding that a 27th man not party to this suit also had settled.

Standing with four of his clients at the Morris County Courthouse, the lawyer thanked the new leader of the diocese, Bishop Arthur Serratelli, for taking steps that led to the settlement.

"I am convinced that he is a kind and compassionate man who is trying to assist the victims in their healing," Gianforcaro said.

Posted by kshaw at 03:55 AM

Judge in Blackwell case worries about fair trial

BALTIMORE (MD)
Baltimore Sun

By Julie Bykowicz
Sun Staff
Originally published February 16, 2005
The judge in the sexual child abuse case of Maurice Blackwell said yesterday that he was struggling to maintain a fair trial for the defrocked priest and chastised two detectives who have made references on the witness stand and in front of television cameras to "other victims."

After the jury left the courtroom, Baltimore Circuit Judge Stuart R. Berger held a hearing to determine whether the two detectives should be found in contempt of court. A decision is expected later, but the judge said he was "outraged" by the investigators' conduct.

"I have tried, and I have failed," Berger said of his efforts to keep jurors from hearing references to other victims. "That concerns me deeply."

Blackwell's trial has attracted national attention because his alleged victim, a one-time altar boy at St. Edward Catholic Church in West Baltimore, shot him in May 2002, at the height of the priest abuse scandal in the American Catholic church. Dontee Stokes, 29, was acquitted of attempted murder, and now Blackwell, 58, is facing four counts of sexual child abuse for allegedly molesting Stokes as a teen-ager from 1989 to 1992.

Posted by kshaw at 03:54 AM

N.Va. Priest Charged in Child Porn Probe

VIRGINIA
Washington Post

By Karin Brulliard
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 16, 2005; Page B03

A longtime Catholic priest in Leesburg and other Northern Virginia communities has been indicted by a Loudoun County grand jury on a charge of possession of child pornography, which resulted from a worldwide crackdown, officials said yesterday.

The Rev. Robert C. Brooks, 72, who led St. John the Apostle in Leesburg for 14 years, registered with a child pornography Web site in 2003, attracting the attention of federal investigators, authorities said. Brooks stepped down in October after Loudoun officials told the Diocese of Arlington that they intended to charge him, authorities said.

Brooks was indicted Monday and released on bond yesterday. He joined the diocese in 1974, and before going to Leesburg, he was pastor of churches in Falls Church, Annandale, Vienna and Alexandria.

Posted by kshaw at 03:52 AM

Abuser's death doesn't heal assault victims

BEMIDJI (MN)
Grand Forks Herald

By Stephen J. Lee
Herald Staff Writer

BEMIDJI -- The news that James Porter had died wasn't a surprise and didn't mean much to Dan Dow and Jim Grimm, even though the man marked their lives.

When they were sixth-grade altar boys in St. Philip's Catholic parish here in 1969 and 1970, Porter was a priest who sexually assaulted them and 20 other youths dozens of times.

Porter, 70, died of cancer Friday in Massachusetts, still behind bars. He had admitted to sexually abusing 100 or more children in several parishes in several states, including Minnesota, before leaving the priesthood in 1973.

Grimm, 46, prayed Sunday in St. Philip's.

"I prayed for all the victims. I prayed it wouldn't happen again any more. I prayed all the victims could handle it."

Dow, 47, still is a member of the parish but doesn't attend very often, mostly because of the way the church handled the abuse scandal. He still has strong emotions about what Porter did to him, what made him nearly commit suicide several times and start a drinking habit when he was in eighth grade.

Posted by kshaw at 03:50 AM

South Florida priest retires after new sex abuse lawsuit

MIAMI (FL)
Bradenton Herald

Associated Press

MIAMI - A Roman Catholic priest who gained popularity with a cable television show abruptly retired after a newly filed lawsuit accused him of sexual abuse in the early 1980s, the Archdiocese of Miami said.

The Rev. Ricardo Castellanos, 59, submitted his retirement letter last week and it was accepted, church spokeswoman Mary Ross Agosta said Tuesday.

Castellanos, who was fighting five other abuse allegations by former altar boys and youths, had been on administrative leave as pastor of San Isidro Church in Pompano Beach since spring 2002.

Castellanos' attorney, James Nosich, said Tuesday his client strongly denies ever abusing any youth as a priest.

"He believes he's innocent - 100 percent," Nosich said.

Posted by kshaw at 03:47 AM

February 15, 2005

Protecting Convicted Priests in Prison

BOSTON (MA)
NPR

by Monica Brady-Myerov

Day to Day, February 15, 2005 · Former priest Paul Shanley was sentenced to 12 to 15 years in prison for child rape on Tuesday. Monica Brady-Myerov from member station WBUR in Boston reports on whether the correctional system is able to protect pedophile priests from abuse.

Posted by kshaw at 09:12 PM

Priest Indicted on Child Porn Charges

VIRGINIA
WTOP

Updated: Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2005 - 4:40 PM

By MATTHEW BARAKAT
Associated Press Writer
A northern Virginia priest who has been ordained in the Roman Catholic Church for more than 40 years was indicted Tuesday and charged with possession of child pornography.

The Rev. Robert Brooks, 72, pastor of St. John the Apostle in Leesburg, was relieved of his duties in October, as soon as the Arlington Diocese became aware of the police investigation, said Bishop Paul Loverde in a letter to parishioners.

The Loudoun County Sheriff's Office said there are no allegations of inappropriate contact with children.

Loverde also said the diocese is not aware of any sexual misconduct or abuse by Brooks going back to his ordination in 1961.

"This is the first allegation of anything of this nature with this priest," said diocese spokesman Soren Johnson. "It is obviously very disconcerting to us because of his many years of dedicated service in priestly ministry. We are cooperating fully with civil authorities."

Posted by kshaw at 09:10 PM

Former Priest Is Sentenced to 12 to 15 Years in Rape

CAMBRIDGE (MA)
The New York Times

By PAM BELLUCK

Published: February 16, 2005

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Feb. 15 - Paul R. Shanley, a defrocked priest who became a reviled symbol of the clergy sexual abuse crisis in Boston, was sentenced on Tuesday to 12 to 15 years in prison for raping a boy 20 years ago in the suburban church where he was pastor.

In a crowded courtroom that included people who said they had been abused by Mr. Shanley or other priests, Judge Stephen A. Neel of Middlesex Superior Court said, "It is difficult to imagine a more egregious misuse of trust and authority than that which occurred in this case."

The judge said Mr. Shanley "used his position to enable his sexual abuse, on Sunday mornings, of a young C.C.D. student," referring to the former student's assertion that Mr. Shanley had pulled him out of Confraternity of Christian Doctrine classes to orally and digitally rape him in the church's bathroom, pews, confessional and rectory from the time he was 6 until he was 9.

Mr. Shanley, 74, was one of the few priests in the abuse scandal to face a criminal trial because accusations against many other priests involved events that happened too long ago to be prosecuted. Known as a charismatic advocate for troubled adolescents in the 1970's, Mr. Shanley was convicted last week on two counts of child rape and two counts of indecent assault and battery on a child.

Posted by kshaw at 09:05 PM

One priest is punished, but church's progress still lags

CAMBRIDGE (MA)
USA Today

For scores of victims sexually abused by Catholic priests, Tuesday's sentencing of defrocked priest Paul Shanley to 12 to 15 years in prison was a cathartic moment.

Shanley, a central figure in the Boston Archdiocese's sex-abuse scandal, was found guilty last week of repeatedly molesting a boy, starting when the boy was 6, for several years in the 1980s. Abuse victims said the conviction and sentencing of Shanley, 74, provided release, vindication and a sense that they'd finally been heard and believed.

Few priests have been criminally prosecuted in the seismic scandal that shook the church three years ago with revelations that pedophile priests had preyed on children while bishops hid the wrongdoing for decades. So the culmination of Shanley's case provided a rare sense of justice.

But justice in court won't buy what victims of abuse and other frustrated parishioners are seeking from the church: accountability, transparency and a genuine spirit of change. In June 2002, under the hot glare of media attention, that's precisely what the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops promised to provide. Instead, as the spotlight has faded, so have the church's reform efforts.

Posted by kshaw at 09:03 PM

Man pleads guilty to indecent assaults

IRELAND
One in Four

RTE News

A Dominican priest has pleaded guilty to 13 sample charges of indecently assaulting five boys at Dominican colleges in Newbridge and Knockadoon Camp in Cork over a seven-year period between 1970 and 1977.

Vincent Mercer is 58 and has an address at the Provincialate Dominican headquarters at St Mary's in Tallaght in southwest Dublin. He originally faced 49 charges of sexually abusing young boys.

Today he admitted to 13 counts of indecent assault at Naas District Court after been arraigned on a sample of the charges. The prosecution told the court that the injured parties wished to come to court themselves and the case has been adjourned until 1 March for sentencing.

Posted by kshaw at 03:19 PM

Priest indicted on child porn charges

LEESBURG (VA)
WAVY

LEESBURG, Va. A Virginia Catholic priest is under indictment on child pornography charges.

The Loudoun County Sheriff's Office says that federal officials began investigating Father Robert Brooks back in 2003 when he allegedly registered at a child porn site on the Internet.

Authorities say they are no allegations the priest had any inappropriate contact with children.

Back in October, the 72-year-old priest resigned as pastor at Saint John the Apostle in Leesburg after the Diocese of Arlington was notified of plans to bring charges against him. Brooks was also removed from the ministry.

Posted by kshaw at 03:11 PM

Expert: Stokes shows symptoms of mental illness

BALTIMORE (MD)
Baltimore Sun

By Julie Bykowicz
Sun Staff
Originally published February 15, 2005, 1:55 PM EST
An expert forensic psychiatrist testified this morning that Dontee Stokes, who has accused a defrocked Baltimore priest of molesting him more than a decade ago, exhibits so many symptoms of mental illness that he either is afflicted with severe psychosis or is pretending to be.

Dr. Neil Blumberg was among the first batch of defense witnesses called today as the trial against Maurice Blackwell, the former pastor of St. Edward Catholic Church in West Baltimore, entered its third day of testimony.

Blackwell, 58, is charged with four counts of sexual child abuse for allegedly molesting Stokes, a one-time altar boy, between 1989 and 1992, when he was a teenager. If convicted, Blackwell could be sentenced to up to 60 years in prison. Stokes, 29, shot Blackwell in May 2002 and was later acquitted of attempted murder charges.

Assistant State's Attorney Jo Anne Stanton rested her case this morning after calling a canon-law expert who testified about the usual duties of a priest. Monsignor Brian Ferme did not speak specifically about Blackwell, who was stripped of his church authority in 1998 after admitting to a sexual relationship in the 1970s with another teenage boy. Pope John Paul II defrocked Blackwell in October.

Posted by kshaw at 03:09 PM

Doctor: Priest's Accuser Made Wild Claims

BALTIMORE (MD)
phillyburbs.com

By BRIAN WITTE
The Associated Press

BALTIMORE - A man who shot a former priest made wild claims to doctors, meaning he either had severe psychotic symptoms or was trying to fake them, a psychiatrist testified Tuesday.

The prosecution rested its case Tuesday in the trial of former priest Maurice Blackwell, 58, and the defense phase got under way. Blackwell, who was shot and wounded by accuser Dontee Stokes three years ago, is charged with four counts of child sex abuse.

Defense witness Dr. Neil Blumberg cited Stokes' statements in medical records that he was possessed by evil spirits, felt as though he was Jesus Christ and had been abducted by aliens as a child.

"He reported seeing dead people, hearing their voices," Blumberg testified.

The medical records strongly suggested that Stokes, 29, has sometimes been unable to tell the difference between reality and fantasy, if he was talking honestly to doctors, Blumberg said.

Posted by kshaw at 03:07 PM

Judge refuses to delay clergy sex-abuse trial; mediation set to start

CALIFORNIA
San Francisco Chronicle

Don Lattin, Chronicle Religion Writer

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

An Oakland judge rejected a motion by Catholic Church lawyers Monday seeking to delay a key clergy sexual abuse trial set for March 7.

The tentative decision by Judge Ronald Sabraw of Alameda County Superior Court puts new pressure on the church to reach an out-of-court settlement in mediation talks this week.

Allen Ruby, a San Jose lawyer representing the Roman Catholic Diocese of Oakland, argued that a negligence claim filed by a former altar boy at St. Ignatius parish in Antioch was not a good test case to determine liability in scores of other lawsuits filed in Northern California. The suits were filed under a 2002 state law that temporarily lifted the statute of limitations on decades-old claims of priestly abuse.

But Sabraw showed little interest in further delays in getting the first abuse claims before a jury.

Posted by kshaw at 12:32 PM

State Rests In Case Of Defrocked Priest

BALTIMORE (MD)
TheWBALChannel.com

POSTED: 12:22 pm EST February 15, 2005

BALTIMORE -- The prosecutors in the case against defrocked Baltimore priest Maurice Blackwell rested its case Tuesday morning.

Prosecutor Jo Anne Stanton rested after brief testimony from Monsignor Brian Ferme, who is a dean at Catholic University's School of Canon Law. He briefly described the role of a pastor in a church.

Judge Stuart Berger asked jurors if they had heard or watched any news reports about the case. If so, he asked them to give him a note.

Posted by kshaw at 12:30 PM

Paterson Diocese Settles Over Priest Abuse

NEW JERSEY
1010 WINS

Feb 15, 2005 12:06 pm US/Eastern
(1010 WINS) (MORRISTOWN, N.J.) Over two dozen men who claimed they were molested as boys by Roman Catholic priests have reached a $5 million settlement with the Diocese of Paterson, their lawyer announced Tuesday.

The deal, which represents the largest payout by a New Jersey diocese in a clergy sex abuse case, also provides four years of counseling for the men, said the lawyer, Gregory G. Gianforcaro.

He represents 26 men. It was not immediately known if a case brought by another man was also resolved.

The lawyer thanked the new leader of the diocese, Bishop Arthur Serratelli, for taking steps that led to the settlement.

"I am convinced that he is a kind and compassionate man who is trying to assist the victims in their healing," Gianforcaro said.

Posted by kshaw at 12:28 PM

Priest sentenced for rape of boy

CAMBRIDGE (MA)
The Australian

By Greg Frost in Cambridge
February 16, 2005
A JUDGE sentenced defrocked priest Paul Shanley to 12 to 15 years in prison today for his child rape conviction in one of the most high-profile cases to stem from a US Catholic clergy abuse scandal.

After Shanley's accuser described the former priest in court as a "monster," "pervert" and "the lowest of the low," Judge Stephen Neel ordered 74-year-old Shanley to serve time in prison, followed by a decade of probation.

There was scattered applause as Shanley, wearing leg irons, was escorted from the packed courtroom. Afterward, his victims expressed relief.

"For the last week, for the first time in 35 years I've slept through the night," Arthur Austin, who alleges Shanley abused him as a young adult but was not one of the accusers in the ex-priest's criminal case. "I don't have to be afraid anymore."

Judge Neel said Shanley would be eligible for parole after completing two-thirds of his sentence, but Frank Mondano, Shanley's defence lawyer, said he was worried Shanley could die in prison "given his age and frailty."

Posted by kshaw at 12:27 PM

Defrocked Priest Gets 12-15 Years For Child Rape, Assault

BOSTON (MA)
TheBostonChannel.com

M.R.F. Buckley, Staff Writer

POSTED: 10:32 am EST February 15, 2005
UPDATED: 11:24 am EST February 15, 2005

BOSTON -- Defrocked Catholic priest Paul Shanley, 74, was sentenced to 12 to 15 years in prison on two counts of rape of child Tuesday morning in Middlesex Superior Court, and was given 10 years probation for two counts of assault and battery on a child under 14.

Shanley was convicted Feb. 7 on two counts of rape of a child and two counts of assault and battery on a child. The prison terms are to run concurrently for the two rape convictions. If denied parole, Shanley would not be released from prison until he is close to 90 years old.

Shanley appeared in court in a conservative suit and tie and showed no emotion during the sentencing, which followed emotional statements from the man Shanley raped as a small boy and the victim's father and wife.

Calling Shanley a "sad, pathetic monster," who is also "evil," the victim -- whose name has not been released -- asked in a written statement that Shanley be given the harshest possbile sentence.

Posted by kshaw at 10:28 AM

Defrocked Priest Gets 12 to 15 Years

CAMBRIDGE (MA)
Yahoo! News

By DENISE LAVOIE, Associated Press Writer

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Defrocked priest Paul Shanley, a central figure in the Boston Archdiocese clergy sex abuse scandal, was sentenced Tuesday to to 12 to 15 years in prison for repeatedly molesting a boy at a suburban parish in the 1980s.

"He used his collar and he used his worshipped status in that community," said prosecutor Lynn Rooney, who had asked for a life sentence. "There has been no remorse shown on the part of this defendant. There has been no acceptance of responsibility."

Shanley's lawyer, Frank Mondano, did not make a specific sentencing recommendation, saying the prosecution's case was built on "vilification, half truths and lies."

He will eligible for parole after serving two-thirds of his sentence. He was also sentenced to 10 years' probation.

Posted by kshaw at 10:24 AM

Swaminarayan temple priest arrested in sex scandal

INDIA
Newindpress.com

Tuesday February 15 2005 17:28 IST
PTI

AHMEDABAD: The priest of a Swaminarayan temple was among four persons arrested in Junagadh city in an alleged sex scandal expose involving the sect.

"The priest, Bhaktiswarup and three touts were arrested by the crime branch late on Monday night under Prevention of Immoral Trafficking Act," D G Vanzara, Additional Commissioner of Police (crime), told reporters in Ahmedabad on Tuesday.

"The priest has been arrested for women trafficking, while the three accused - Mansuk Patel alias Mansuk Bhagat, Banubhai Patel alias Banu Bhagat and Takkarsinh Patel - were arrested for making sleazy videos of the sexual act and distributing it in form of CDs," Vanzara said.

"Several books containing nude photographs of women, a copy of Vatsayana's Kamasutra, condoms, contraceptive pills and sleazy literature were also recovered during the raid at Bhaktiswarup's residence at Junagadh," he added.

Posted by kshaw at 09:16 AM

Detective Testifies in Trial of Ex-Priest

BALTIMORE (MD)
Beacon Journal

BRIAN WITTE
Associated Press

BALTIMORE - Two detectives who investigated one man's sexual abuse claims against a now-defrocked priest testified that they found evidence of other victims - an accusation that drew howls from defense attorneys.

Lt. Frederick Roussey first looked into allegations against Maurice Blackwell in 1993 - the year Dontee Stokes reported he had been abused by the priest as a teen. Nearly a decade later, another detective, Shawn Harrison, re-examined Stokes' claims after Stokes shot and wounded the former priest over the alleged abuse.

Both investigators testified Monday that they found other people who claimed to have been abused by the once-popular Roman Catholic priest. The defense asked three times for a mistrial, but a judge denied the request.

Testimony ended early on Monday because the prosecution's last witness, Monsignor Brian Ferme a canon law expert with Catholic University in Washington, was unavailable. The trial was expected to resume Tuesday.

Blackwell, who was shot and wounded by Stokes three years ago, is charged with four counts of child sex abuse. If convicted, he faces up to 60 years in prison. Stokes served home detention for attacking Blackwell.

Posted by kshaw at 09:13 AM

Defrocked Priest to be Sentenced Today

BOSTON (MA)
CBN

By Denise Lavoie
Associated Press Writer

February 15, 2005

CBN.com – BOSTON (AP) -- Defrocked priest Paul Shanley, one of the most recognizable figures in the Boston Archdiocese sex scandal, faces the possibility of life in prison for his conviction on child rape charges. Shanley is scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday.

But some inmate advocates say whatever term Shanley gets could amount to a death sentence.

Another key figure in the scandal, former priest John Geoghan, was beaten and strangled behind bars in 2003, a year after being convicted of molesting a 10-year-old boy. A fellow prisoner later told investigators he killed Geoghan "to save the children."

"He's so high-profile that that puts a big target on his back," said James Pingeon, a lawyer at Massachusetts Correctional Legal Services, a group that provides civil legal services to inmates. "We feel concerned. Obviously he's a vulnerable person because of his notoriety and his age."

Posted by kshaw at 09:11 AM

Accused Pastor Returns To Church

NORCROSS (GA)
WSBTV

POSTED: 1:31 p.m. EST February 13, 2005

NORCROSS -- -- The senior pastor at Faith Life Christian Church in Norcross returned to the pulpit today -- his first Sunday before the congregation since his arrest on child molestation charges.

Enthusiastic churchgoers welcomed Nathan Clement Ridgeway back with a standing ovation.

"I shall continue to declare both publicly and privately my innocence," Ridgeway said amid the clapping coming from the pews. "God knows my heart."

Ridgeway, 57 of Duluth, is accused of molesting his 3-year-old grandson. Ridgeway was arrested Jan. 25, and charged with one count of aggravated sexual battery and one count of aggravated child molestation. Police say the incident took place at Ridgeway's home.

Posted by kshaw at 09:04 AM

Jury selection begins in trial of Baker pastor

BAKER (LA)
The Advocate

By BRETT TROXLER
btroxler@wbrz.com
2theadvocate.com staff
From a report by WBRZ's Ken Pastorick

Jury selection began Monday in the trial of a Baker minister who faces several child molestation charges.

Rev. Benny McFarland faces three counts of sexual battery, one count of oral sexual battery, three counts of molestation of a juvenile, two counts of aggravated crimes against nature and one count of second-degree kidnapping. He pleaded not guilty to all charges.

The alleged crimes occurred between five and 15 years ago at McFarland's church, at his home and at Prescott Middle School where he taught, according to the men who claim they were molested.

"He needs to go to prison, but I just want him away from other children," said Justin Hurst, who says McFarland took advantage of him beginning when he was 8 years old. "It doesn't make any sense that he's still around. That's the part that really hurts me the most."

Posted by kshaw at 09:02 AM

Bishop plans to apologize in priest sexual-abuse case

CASTRO VALLEY (CA)
Tri-Valley Herald

By Karen Holzmeister, STAFF WRITER

CASTRO VALLEY — The bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Oakland plans this week to visit a local church and apologize for a priest accused of sexually abusing children in the 1970s.

The Most Rev. Allen Vigneron will acknowledge the suffering caused by the behavior of (the Rev.) Robert Ponciroli, an associate pastor at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church during the late 1970s, according to a statement issued by the diocese.

Ponciroli was arrested in 2003 and faces at least six counts of child molestation.

During the service, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Our Lady of Grace church, Vigneron, bishop for the last 16 months, will apologize for the dioceses failure to prevent abuse and for the betrayal of trust by one of its priests, the statement read.

Vigneron heads the diocese of 540,000 Catholics in Alameda and Contra Costa counties.

Beginning in February 2004, Vigneron began visiting the 22 churches where 24 priests charged with sexual abuse lived during the second half of the 20th century. Seventy-two victims have been confirmed.


Posted by kshaw at 08:57 AM

Archdiocese confirms link to abuse suit

DUBUQUE (IA)
Des Moines Register

The Archdiocese of Dubuque has confirmed it was named in a lawsuit alleging sexual abuse of a minor by the Rev. William Schwartz.

In the civil lawsuit, filed in Linn County in July 2004, Dan Ortmann of Cedar Rapids alleged that he was abused during a church retreat in 1984.

The archdiocese first learned of Ortmann's allegation in 2003, said Sister Carol Hoverman, a spokeswoman for the archdiocese. The plaintiff and the archdiocese reached a settlement in October 2004.

Schwartz was placed under church penalties in 1993, according to the archdiocese. Catholics in the Archdiocese of Dubuque should have been made aware of the alleged abuse at that time, said Steve Theisen, co-director of North East Iowa SNAP , or Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

"1993 is 12 years ago," Theisen said. "Why has it taken the archdiocese 12 years to notify the faith community?"

Posted by kshaw at 08:46 AM

Archdiocese Pays Nearly $1.7 Million in Settlements

ST. LOUIS (MO)
KWMU

Maria Hickey, KWMU

ST. LOUIS, MO. (2005-02-14) The Archdiocese of St. Louis has spent nearly $1.7 million dollars to victims of clergy sex abuse since January of last year.

The settlements are part of a mediation process that involves members of an archdiocese committee.

The 31 cases resolved since Janurary 2004 cost a total of nearly 2.4 million dollars. An insurance carrier covered almost a third.

Archdiocese spokesman Tony Huenneke says most of the money will be used to help heal victims.

"We want to make sure that people are made whole again, that people are getting the therapy that they need, getting the counseling they need, so that's primarily what these moneys are put toward," Huenneke said.

But David Clohessy, the president of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, says the settlements save the archdiocese from public trials and large jury awards.

Posted by kshaw at 08:42 AM

Eight men arrested in SoCal child sex case

LOS ANGELES (CA)
North County Times

By: Associated Press Wire Reports -

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Eight members of the North American Man/Boy Love Association, including an Orange County minister and two teachers from other states, were arrested in Southern California on charges of allegedly planning to travel to Mexico to have sex with boys, authorities said Monday.

Four men were arrested in Los Angeles, three in San Diego and one in Orange County Saturday, following a sting operation in which each man paid hundreds of dollars to an undercover agent to arrange the sex, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said during a news conference.

The Orange County man, Jeff Devore, is a pastor at the Brea Congregational Church, part of the United Church of Christ. Devore, 53, was charged with distributing child pornography, said FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller and was allowed to post bail but it was immediately unknown whether he had done so. A phone call to the church seeking comment was not immediately returned.

Posted by kshaw at 04:23 AM

Ex-rector may be disciplined

VIRGINIA
Roanoke Times

By Jen McCaffery
981-3336
The Roanoke Times

The bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Southwestern Virginia will likely determine what discipline a former rector at Roanoke's Christ Episcopal Church should receive in connection with allegations that the rector sexually abused a boy in West Virginia and in Bland County in 1968.

The development has arisen as part of the settlement of a lawsuit that was filed in federal court in Roanoke in November. The lawsuit was filed by a California man, Frank Patton Jarrell. Jarrell claimed that the Rev. J. Robert Thacker sexually abused him when Jarrell was 15 and Thacker worked as a priest in the Episcopal Diocese of West Virginia.

The alleged abuse occurred more than 15 years before Thacker came to work at Christ Episcopal Church in Southwest Roanoke. Thacker made news when he lived in Roanoke when he was arrested in 1989 along with other priests who were protesting on behalf of striking mine workers in Southwest Virginia. There is no allegation that Thacker committed any abuse other than what the lawsuit accuses him of.

Jarrell sued the Episcopal Diocese of West Virginia for not adequately supervising Thacker. He did not sue the Episcopal Diocese of Southwestern Virginia. But because Thacker is "canonically resident" in the Episcopal Diocese of Southwestern Virginia and has at least verbally agreed to submit to discipline as part of the settlement agreement, Bishop Neff Powell of the Southwest Virginia diocese is responsible for deciding how to discipline Thacker, Powell said.

Posted by kshaw at 04:16 AM

Bail hearing for Catholic clerics adjourned

AUSTRALIA
ABC

A Federal Court bail hearing for two Catholic clerics who are facing extradition to New Zealand on child sex charges has been adjourned until later this week.

A Sydney local court magistrate yesterday ordered 57-year-old priest Raymond Garchow, and 69-year-old Brother Rodger Maloney to return to Christchurch to face a total of 32 charges.

Posted by kshaw at 04:14 AM

Clergymen to get extra protection

AUSTRALIA
The Courier-Mail

15feb05
A SYDNEY Catholic priest and a religious brother awaiting extradition to New Zealand on child sex charges will receive extra protection while in custody in Australia.

The two members of the St John of God Catholic order, who worked for the Marylands school in Christchurch, are accused of sodomising and indecently assaulting boys as young as eight between 1966 and 1979.

Father Raymond John Garchow, 59, and Brother Rodger Maloney, 69, face a total of 32 sexual assault charges against former students at the school for boys with intellectual and learning disabilities.

Both men were ordered yesterday to be handed over to New Zealand authorities.

Their lawyers are fighting to have them released on bail while they await extradition, and have lodged a review of the extradition orders.

Posted by kshaw at 04:13 AM

Ex-priest's death fails to close victims' wounds

MINNESOTA
Star Tribune

Larry Oakes, Star Tribune
February 15, 2005

Minnesotans scarred by former priest James Porter's sexual abuse said Monday that his death gives them little consolation.

One of his victims, his ex-wife and an attorney who went after him say they're relieved no child will ever again be victimized by Porter, the convicted pedophile who died in a Boston hospital Friday.

But they add that Porter's death at age 70 does nothing to erase the pain he inflicted on as many as 100 children; nor does it lessen the anger they feel toward the Catholic Church for transferring Porter each time he was accused instead of defrocking and prosecuting him.

"You're never going to close a chapter like that," said Dan Dow, 47. He is still troubled by memories of being repeatedly abused by Porter when Dow was a 12-year-old altar boy at St. Philip's Catholic Church in Bemidji.

"You deal with the effects the rest of your life," Dow said. "But it's nice to know he'll never be able to abuse anyone else."

Posted by kshaw at 04:07 AM

I-Team Investigation: Priest Abuse Settlement

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
KYW

Feb 14, 2005 11:15 pm US/Eastern
PHILADELPHIA (KYW) An CBS 3 Eyewitness News investigation has exposed years of sexual abuse by a Delaware Valley Priest.

Now, as I-Team Reporter Tom Negovan explains, there's a financial settlement from the Catholic Church, a long-overdue apology, and a victim who's telling his story for the first time only to CBS 3.

John Dougherty tells us he's convinced he's not alone, that Father Carley had dozens of other young victims and that many of them still live in the Delaware Valley.

The church says if there are other victims, it hopes they'll come forward and get help.

John Dougherty understands: “When you tell someone you've been raped, people just don't know how to react to that. They don't know what to say."

Posted by kshaw at 04:05 AM

In rare turn, Inland priest is suing accuser -- for slander

CALIFORNIA
The Press-Enterprise

11:34 PM PST on Monday, February 14, 2005

By MICHAEL FISHER / The Press-Enterprise

Saying he was falsely accused of molestation, an Inland priest is suing his accuser for slander in one of just a handful of defamation lawsuits to be filed nationwide since the sexual abuse scandal erupted in the U.S. Roman Catholic Church more than two years ago.

The lawsuit by the Rev. Michael Bucaro targets a 26-year-old man who sued the priest and the San Bernardino Diocese in October, alleging that Bucaro molested him during the 1980s at St. Matthew Catholic Church in Corona. The slander lawsuit, blasted by victims' advocates as an intimidation tactic, is believed to be the first filed by an Inland priest in more than a decade.

"It is uncommon for a priest to fight back, but when they are falsely accused and their reputation is being harmed, it is quite appropriate," said Bucaro's attorney, David Hershorin. He called the accuser's lawsuit "an attempt to get money, plain and simple."

Bucaro claims that in 2004, his accuser falsely told his mother that he had been sexually molested as a child for several years by the priest. Those accusations exposed Bucaro to "hatred, humiliation, contempt, (and) ridicule," according to his lawsuit.

Posted by kshaw at 04:03 AM

Seattle Archdiocese removed as defendant in sex-abuse case

SEATTLE (WA)
Seattle Times

By Janet I. Tu
Seattle Times staff reporter

A King County Superior Court judge has removed the Seattle Archdiocese as a defendant in a lawsuit filed by an Idaho man who accused now-defrocked priest John Cornelius of molesting him years ago.

The lawsuit, filed last year by Timothy McKenna of Idaho Falls, said Cornelius molested him when Cornelius was a student at Mount Angel Seminary near Portland, then later when he was a priest-in-training at St. Thomas seminary in Kenmore, and later as a priest with the Seattle Archdiocese of the Roman Catholic Church.

On Friday, Judge Paris Kallas said the Seattle Archdiocese and the Sulpicians, the Catholic religious order that ran St. Thomas seminary, should not be part of McKenna's suit.

In the suit, McKenna accused Cornelius of abusing him from about 1969 to 1975, when McKenna was about 10 to 16.

Cornelius became a friend of the family's after befriending McKenna's brother, who attended Mount Angel Seminary with Cornelius.

Posted by kshaw at 03:58 AM

'Other victims' of Blackwell alleged

BALTIMORE (MD)
Baltimore Sun

By Julie Bykowicz
Sun Staff
Originally published February 15, 2005

Two Baltimore detectives who testified yesterday in the child molestation trial of Maurice Blackwell referred to "other victims" of the defrocked priest, statements the judge quickly told the jury to disregard.

Blackwell, 58, is charged with four counts of sexual child abuse for allegedly molesting Dontee Stokes, a one-time altar boy at St. Edward Catholic Church in West Baltimore who later shot Blackwell. Now 29, Stokes was acquitted of attempted murder more than two years ago.

The second day of testimony in Blackwell's trial included four prosecution witnesses, all of whom made statements that drew admonishments from Baltimore Circuit Judge Stuart R. Berger. Defense attorney Kenneth W. Ravenell made three requests for a mistrial, which Berger denied.

Ravenell said he feared that the detectives' testimony -- that police had talked to other people Blackwell might have abused -- would have an impact during the jury's deliberation.

Posted by kshaw at 03:56 AM

Experts disagree on existence of repressed memories

ARIZONA
The Arizona Republic

Kerry Fehr-Snyder
The Arizona Republic
Feb. 15, 2005 12:00 AM

Forget repressed memories for a moment.

Even contemporary memories are iffy, especially when their recall could become the basis of a lawsuit or other financially motivated action, according to a Tucson forensic psychiatrist.

"Memories are much more fluid and flexible than we like to think. Studies have been done that show under even fairly innocuous conditions, you can cause a person to believe that the incident had happened or likely had happened," said Dr. Bennett Blum, who specializes in forensic and geriatric psychiatry.

Blum said the validity of repressed memories - those recalled years after an alleged event - are even trickier to judge because there often is no corroborating evidence to accompany them. Repressed memories that were at one time written down or backed by other victims' accounts often are more reliable, he said.

He offered no opinion on allegations against priests, including Monsignor Dale Fushek, pastor of St. Timothy parish in Mesa, who was placed on administrative leave recently while his superiors investigate an allegation of a sexual nature brought by a former parishioner. The former parishioner claims he was sodomized by another priest who has since been convicted in yet another sexual abuse case as Fushek watched and masturbated.

Posted by kshaw at 03:55 AM

February 14, 2005

Case against former priest, policeman continues in March

CANADA
Kenora Daily Miner and News

By Mike Aiken
Miner and News
Monday February 14, 2005

Preliminary inquiry proceedings are scheduled to continue March 15, 16 and 17 against a former Anglican minister and OPP officer.
The preliminary inquiry for Ralph Rowe got underway Jan. 31. He faces over 70 sex charges for incidents he allegedly committed at nine locations in Northwestern Ontario between 1971 and 1987.
Rowe, who now lives in New Westminster, B.C., is charged with 38 counts of indecent assault and 34 counts of sexual assault against a total of 35 male victims in nine different settings, most of them northern First Nations.
He also volunteered as a boy scout leader.

Posted by kshaw at 05:46 PM

St. Louis archdiocese settles more cases of clergy abuse

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Post-Dispatch

By Jim Suhr
Associated Press
Monday, Feb. 14 2005

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- The Archdiocese of St. Louis has agreed to pay $267,500
in mediation to settle seven more cases involving clergy sexual abuse, bringing
to $2.4 million the payout covering 31 cases over the past 13 months, a lawyer
for the archdiocese said Monday.

A claim in an eighth case apparently will be paid by a religious order.

The latest cases settled involved five archdiocesan priests, including three
-- Michael McGrath, Donald "Father Duck" Straub and Robert Yim -- recently
defrocked by the Vatican but never criminally charged.

Another newly settled case involved Romano Ferraro, convicted in May of
raping a boy in Massachusetts in the 1970s. A St. Louis man sued Ferraro in
January 2004, accusing him of raping him in the early 1980s when Ferraro lived
here but was not assigned to any St. Louis parish duties. Ferraro -- suspended
from priestly duties in 1988 -- is serving a life sentence in Massachusetts.

Posted by kshaw at 05:37 PM

Good Catholic Girls: How Women Are Leading the Fight to Change the Church

NEW YORK
U.S. Newswire

NEW YORK, Feb. 14 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The following was released today by Harper Collins Publishers on Angela Bonavoglia's new book "Good Catholic Girls":

"I am no innocent bystander. I am a woman with a history, a woman scarred, a woman at her wit's end. I abide the women in this book. I echo their words. I applaud their patience. And I remind this Church how fortunate it is to have such brilliant and devoted women clamoring for the Catholic hierarchy to open its doors, bring the wizard out of the sacristy, rethink the sacred with women in mind, and make a new Catholic Church." -- Angela Bonavoglia

So says journalist and author Angela Bonavoglia in the introduction to her explosive new book GOOD CATHOLIC GIRLS. The recently exposed transgressions of priests within the Catholic Church stunned the faithful, implicated the hierarchy, and sent a new surge of energy through the progressive Church reform movement. Despite the movement's growing profile, only recently has the world learned that Catholic women are the driving force behind reform.

Posted by kshaw at 05:33 PM

Inmate advocates worry about Shanley's safety in prison

BOSTON (MA)
Union-Tribune

By Denise Lavoie
ASSOCIATED PRESS
12:40 p.m. February 14, 2005

BOSTON – As defrocked priest Paul Shanley faces sentencing on child rape charges, inmate advocates are worried that sending him to prison could amount to a death sentence for a man who was at the very center of the Boston Archdiocese sex scandal.

After all, another key figure in the scandal, former priest John Geoghan, was beaten and strangled behind bars in 2003, a year after he was convicted of molesting a 10-year-old boy. A fellow inmate told investigators he killed Geoghan "to save the children."

Some are worried that the 74-year-old Shanley could be the next mark for an inmate.

"He's so high-profile that that puts a big target on his back," said James Pingeon, an attorney at Massachusetts Correctional Legal Services, which represents inmates. "We feel concerned. Obviously he's a vulnerable person because of his notoriety and his age."

Posted by kshaw at 05:29 PM

Officer Testifies in Md. Ex-Priest's Trial

BALTIMORE (MD)
Herald-Tribune

By BRIAN WITTE
Associated Press Writer
BALTIMORE -- The detective who first investigated sexual abuse claims against a now-defrocked priest testified Monday that he had reason to believe the accuser and found evidence others also had been victimized.

"I found him to be credible," Lt. Frederick Roussey said, describing his interview with Dontee Stokes after being assigned the case in August 1993.

Former priest Maurice Blackwell, who was shot and wounded by Stokes three years ago, is charged with four counts of child sex abuse. If convicted, he faces up to 60 years in prison. Stokes served home detention for attacking Blackwell.

On Friday, Stokes, 29, vividly described the abuse he says he suffered at the hands of Blackwell, repeatedly telling jurors, "Mr. Blackwell did what I said he did to me."

Posted by kshaw at 02:27 PM

Blackwell's attorney seeks mistrial over testimony

BALTIMORE (MD)
Baltimore Sun

By Julie Bykowicz
Sun Staff
Originally published February 14, 2005, 3:05 PM EST
The defense attorney for Maurice Blackwell twice today asked the judge to declare a mistrial, as two detectives made references from the witness stand to "other victims" of the defrocked Baltimore priest.

Blackwell, 58, is charged with four counts of sexual child abuse for allegedly molesting Dontee Stokes, a one-time altar boy at St. Edwards Catholic Church who later shot Blackwell.

Stokes alleges the abuse happened between 1989 and 1992, when he was a teenager. He reported the abuse in 1993, at age 17, but prosecutors declined to press charges. In May 2002, in the midst of the national scandal involving Catholic priests, Stokes confronted Blackwell on a street near where they both lived and shot him three times.

After the shooting, prosecutors reviewed Stokes' allegations and charged Blackwell. Stokes, 29, was acquitted of attempted murder in December 2002.

Baltimore Circuit Judge Stuart R. Berger today denied Kenneth W. Ravenell's request for a mistrial but admonished the witnesses -- and Assistant State's Attorney Jo Anne Stanton -- for statements made on the stand.

Posted by kshaw at 02:26 PM

Man Involved in Priest Shooting Testifies

BALTIMORE (MD)
Kentucky.com

BRIAN WITTE
Associated Press

BALTIMORE - Dontee Stokes, the man who alleges he was sexually molested by a now-defrocked priest, endured intense cross-examination last week from defense attorneys. As the prosecution's star witness, there may be more uncomfortable days ahead.

Last week, Stokes, 29, vividly described the abuse he says he suffered at the hands of Maurice Blackwell, whom he looked up to as a father figure in his boyhood and as an altar boy.

The defense suggested Stokes has trouble distinguishing between fantasy and reality, and that he made up the allegations as a way of dealing with his own sexual identity crisis.

Testimony in the case against Blackwell was expected to resume Monday.

Blackwell is charged with four counts of child sex abuse. Stokes served home detention for accosting the former priest on a street in 2002 and shooting him. Blackwell survived.

Posted by kshaw at 08:23 AM

Catholic clergymen to be extradited to NZ

AUSTRALIA
Stuff

14 February 2005

A Sydney court has ordered two St John's of God clergymen to be extradited to New Zealand to face historic child abuse charges.

However, lawyers for the two men are to apply for a review of the decision, meaning the duo won't be leaving Australia in the near future.

A third man, a 83-year-old brother was ordered free from returning to New Zealand to face the charges.

Magistrate Hugh Dillon said the man was suffering from cerebral atrophy and it would be unjust to order his surrender to New Zealand.

Mr Dillon delayed imposing the surrender order until later today, when a bail application for a 69-year-old brother and 57-year-old priest would be made in the Federal Court.

Posted by kshaw at 07:27 AM

Shanley to face `a living hell'

MASSACHUSETTS
Boston Herald

By J.M. Lawrence
Monday, February 14, 2005

Few would doubt Paul Shanley is a marked man.

After sentencing tomorrow, the 74-year-old defrocked cleric convicted of raping a little boy 20 years ago will live in what one prisoners' rights advocate called ``a living hell'' for pedophile priests.

It was more than a year ago in state prison that guards nicknamed 68-year-old defrocked priest John Geoghan ``Lucifer'' and harassed him with disciplinary violations leading to his transfer from medium to maximum security, where a fellow inmate stomped and strangled him to death on Aug. 23, 2003.

Department of Correction acting Commissioner Kathleen Dennehy said in an interview that many reforms have been instituted since Geoghan's murder, bringing a new era of professionalism.

``We've clarified our vision, our mission, our culture,'' she said, ticking off a list of changes surrounding the handling of abuse complaints to better managing protective-custody units.

Dennehy declined to speak specifically about Shanley's safety in the system but said her administration is requiring a high level of accountability from staff and supervisors, in addition to a revised training program for new recruits.

Posted by kshaw at 07:24 AM

No: Reasonable doubt ignored by jury tarnishes any victory

MASSACHUSETTS
Fort Wayne News-Sentinel

BY ROBIN WASHINGTON
Knight Ridder Newspapers

(KRT) - When Paul Shanley is escorted out of the Cambridge, Mass., courtroom Tuesday after his sentencing for the serial rapes of a Sunday school student in the 1980s, he will be marching toward his death. Not that there's capital punishment in Massachusetts, but whatever term the 74-year-old defrocked priest gets will be de-facto equal to life.

If he's lucky. I have zero faith in the corrections system that allowed the prison murder of fellow molester ex-priest John Geoghan keeping the even more notorious Shanley alive.

And who'd miss him? After last week's verdict, untold others prevented by statute of limitations from ever telling a courtroom their tales of abuse at the hands of the charismatic priest shed tears of relief. For three years I have been indelibly touched by their horrific stories and can only grasp at a hint of their pain. But if Shanley's conviction is viewed by them as a victory, it's a hollow one.

Our legal system hinges on reasonable doubt, and it abounds in this case. Rather than in the courtroom, Shanley's real trial was held in a hotel ballroom three years earlier, where a lawyer playing judge, jury and executioner wowed a throng of journalists and live TV audience with a PowerPoint presentation of voluminous church files to deem the priest as the devil incarnate.

Posted by kshaw at 07:18 AM

Yes: Verdict gives other victims the courage to come forward

MASSACHUSETTS
Fort Wayne News-Sentinel

BY DAVID CLOHESSY
Knight Ridder Newspapers

(KRT) - Thirty minutes after a Massachusetts jury found ex-priest Paul Shanley guilty of molesting a boy, I got a call from a man who was also abused by a priest. ``I've never told anyone except my wife,'' he said. ``That verdict gave me the strength to finally tell someone else.''

To me, that proved that the Shanley verdict was indeed a victory for us all. Anything that makes it even slightly less difficult for wounded abuse survivors to come forward is progress.

Because of archaic and rigid statutes of limitations, very few abusive clergy ever see the inside of a courtroom. Because of timid prosecutors and excessive deference, virtually no complicit church officials have.

So the mere fact that Shanley faced criminal charges at all was, in itself, at least a partial victory for the tens of thousands of clergy molestation victims, many of whom continue to suffer in shame, silence, and self-blame even now.

The fact that a jury unanimously declared Shanley guilty is even more significant. Not too many years ago, it was unthinkable that average citizens could convict a cleric of such horrific crimes.

Posted by kshaw at 07:16 AM

Ex-Wife Of Convicted Pedophile Says Death A Relief

NEW BEDFORD (MA)
TheBostonChannel.com

POSTED: 7:46 am EST February 14, 2005

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. -- The former wife of convicted pedophile and former priest James Porter, who had accused him of abusing three of their four children, said his death on Friday brought her a sense of relief but also renewed feelings of hurt and betrayal.

Verlyne K. Gray, who lives in Minnesota, spoke in an interview published Monday in the Standard-Times of New Bedford about her former husband. He was convicted in 1993 of molesting 28 children while a priest in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fall River in the 1960s. His case was an early bellwether of the broader clergy abuse scandal a decade later.

"I thought that now he can't hurt anyone else. I hoped he had come to terms with what he did," she said. "I had wished he had apologized, which he never did. He just caused so much pain and suffering and that would have been one step that could have helped."

Porter, 70, had finished his prison sentence and was awaiting a civil commitment hearing to decide if he would be released or held as a sexually dangerous person when he died of cancer.

Gray divorced Porter in 1995 after 19 years of marriage. They had married after he left the priesthood, when he was 42 and she was 24. She said he abused three of their four children. One son died in 2003 at the age of 23. The three other children are now 28, 23 and 13.

Posted by kshaw at 07:13 AM

Competency hearing is set for Father John J. Szantyr.

WORCESTER (MA)
Worcester Voice

A former Worcester teacher and police chaplain, Father John J. Szantyr, will have a competency hearing on February 17 in Central District Court, Worcester.

Fr. Szantyr, 73, of 55 Birch Place, Waterbury, Connecticut, faces charges of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14. The alleged abuse occurred between January 1, 1986 and December 12, 1987, according to court records. During that time, Father Szantyr was a priest at Our Lady of Czestochowa parish in Worcester.

This priest has been the subject of controversy since the onset of the 2002 crisis in the Catholic church. The father of the alleged victim, Mr. Richard Chesnis of Worcester, early on told Worcester Telegram reporters that he tried to have Father Szantyr arrested for the sexual assault of his son.

Posted by kshaw at 07:06 AM

Church, leader named in lawsuit

PASADENA (CA)
Pasadena Star-News

By Marshall Allen , Staff Writer

PASADENA -- Harvest Rock Church and its leader, Che Ahn, are being sued over their connection to a pastor accused of coercing men in his congregation into sexual relationships.

The pastor, James Stalnaker, 28, has since resigned from Gateway City Center Church in West Hollywood.

Stalnaker also is a defendant in the lawsuit. Stalnaker's former personal assistant identified in court records only as A.W., 22 filed the complaint last month in Los Angeles Superior Court.

The lawsuit claims A.W. engaged in unwanted sexual contact, including oral sex and fondling, with Stalnaker from September until December. Stalnaker is accused in the complaint of using "mind-control and brain-washing techniques' to perform sex acts with at least 10 other young men at the church.

The allegations against Stalnaker were never reported to the police, A.W. said in an interview.

Posted by kshaw at 07:05 AM

Blackwell Trial Resumes

BALTIMORE (MD)
WJZ

Feb 14, 2005 7:40 am US/Eastern
Baltimore, MD (WJZ) Testimony resumes this morning in the trial of a defrocked priest facing up to 60 years in prison on charges he
sexually molested a young parishioner who shot the cleric years later.

The prosecution's star witness, 29-year-old Dontee Stokes, testified for most of the first day of testimony on Friday, vividly describing the abuse he says he suffered at the hands of Maurice Blackwell, the priest he looked up to as a father figure in his boyhood.

Stokes also faced intense cross-examination by defense attorney Kenneth Ravenell, who argued that the Baltimore barber was a deeply disturbed young man who has trouble distinguishing fantasy from reality.

Ravenell also suggested that Stokes made up the allegations as a way of dealing with his own sexual identity
crisis.

Posted by kshaw at 07:03 AM

Father of Faith

SOUTH DAKOTA
Keloland.com

For the past 11 years, he's been the leader of 130,000 eastern South Dakota Roman Catholics.

But this week, Bishop Robert Carlson leaves the diocese to take a new assignment in Saginaw, Michigan.

In 1994, the man who would become bishop of eastern South Dakota was far from familiar with the state.

Carlson says, "I didn't know much about Sioux Falls or the area. I knew almost nothing about farming and agriculture."

So Bishop Robert Carlson says he started his service here with an open mind and a message to the faithful. ...

During his time in diocese, Carlson also heard the voices of those who'd been hurt by his church. Victims of sexual abuse came forward. But first, Carlson says his approach to handling the crisis came to him in prayer.

He says, "We started looking for victims in 1996, we didn't wait until 2002."

Carlson says while he didn't handle everything perfectly, he continued to learn with each incident. He found everyone heals in different ways, and he hopes the church's public struggle could benefit the rest of society.

Carlson says, "There is no room for abuse in our culture. It has to stop."

Posted by kshaw at 07:01 AM

Society appeals to Vatican for help

SCRANTON (PA)
Scranton Times Tribune

By Chris Birk TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER 02/14/2005

Calling their suppression by the bishop of Scranton a "groundless and unlawful decision," members of the embattled Society of St. John in Pike County have appealed the decree to the Vatican, according to a society fund-raising letter.

In late November, the Most Rev. Joseph F. Martino issued the formal decree of suppression, cutting diocesan ties with the six-year-old public association of the faithful. In a front-page letter in the Nov. 25 edition of the Catholic Light, Bishop Martino outlined his rationale for the decision, citing "acts of commission and omission" regarding sexual abuse allegations and increasing financial stability.

Catholic canon law gives diocesan bishops full discretion to erect -- and eradicate -- public associations of the faithful. It also allows the Society of St. John an avenue of recourse.

The fund-raising letter was provided by Dr. Jeffrey Bond, a vocal critic of the society. Dr. Bond planned to operate a Catholic college at the Shohola property, an endeavor ultimately quelled by the Diocese. ...

In March 2002, a former St. Gregory's student filed a John Doe civil suit in U.S. District Court against two society priests, claiming he was sexually abused by the Rev. Carlos Urrutigoity and the Rev. Eric Ensey.

Along with Bishop Timlin and other clerics, the Diocese of Scranton is also named as a defendant in the lawsuit.

Posted by kshaw at 06:59 AM

Priest and brother to be extradited

AUSTRALIA
ninemsn

21:33 AEDT Mon Feb 14 2005

An Australian Catholic priest and a religious brother will be extradited to New Zealand to face child sex charges dating back 50 years.

Fr Raymond John Garchow, 57, and Brother Rodger Maloney, 70, both worked at the Marylands School in Christchurch.

They, along with Brother William Lebler, now 83, are accused of carrying out indecent acts and sodomy on young boys at the New Zealand boarding school, which was funded by the St John of God Catholic order, between 1955 and 1979.

They face a total of 61 charges of sexual assault against the boys, many of them with mental disabilities and learning difficulties.

In Sydney's Downing Centre Local Court, Magistrate Hugh Dillion ordered Garchow and Maloney be extradited to New Zealand on a date to be set pending an appeal.

Lebler, who was deemed "borderline mentally retarded" by psychiatrists, was released by the court and escaped extradition. He therefore will not be tried for his alleged crimes.

Posted by kshaw at 06:54 AM

February 13, 2005

Priest to reappear on sex abuse charges

AUSTRALIA
ninemsn

08:11 AEDT Mon Feb 14 2005

A Catholic priest and two religious brothers are expected to appear in a Sydney court to face child sex charges laid in New Zealand.

St John of God priest Raymond Garchow, 56, and Brothers William Lebler, 82, and Rodger Maloney, 68, are facing a total of 61 sexual assault charges against their former students, dating back almost 50 years.

The allegations relate to when the trio worked at Marylands, a school for boys with learning and intellectual disabilities, in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Posted by kshaw at 04:16 PM

17 report abuse by former priest

JEFFERSON CITY (MO)
Missourian

By CASSIE FUERST

February 13, 2005

Five more people have come forward stating they were abused by former priest John Degnan, said Sister Ethel Marie Biri of the Diocese of Jefferson City. Seventeen abuse cases have been reported to the diocese as of Friday.

The diocese made announcements Jan. 15 at the Montgomery City parish and Jan. 22 at Pilot Grove, Boonville and Westphalia that Degnan, who turns 80 this week, might have sexually abused at least a dozen boys during the 1960s and 1970s in mid-Missouri parishes. They asked those who knew of such abuse to come forward.

No lawsuit has been filed. “It’s certainly a possibility, but we’ve not been contacted yet,” Biri said.

When contacted, the diocese tells alleged abuse victims they can contact law enforcement. The diocese also commits to helping abused individuals by offering support and therapy.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests learned about Degnan from a couple of families last week and wrote a letter to the diocese that prompted the diocese’s formal announcement Tuesday in Jefferson City.

Posted by kshaw at 10:26 AM

System allows conduct issues to fall through cracks

MANATEE COUNTY (FL)
Herald Tribune

By TIFFANY LANKES
tiffany.lankes@heraldtribune.com

MANATEE COUNTY -- State and local policies aimed at protecting school employees from false accusations can also make it easier for people with records of improper conduct to continue working with kids.

In the last few years, a volleyball coach accused of sexually abusing students in Charlotte County ended up working with high schoolers here, and a bus driver who took three middle school students shopping for underwear left the district without reprimand.

Most recently, a complaint against Joseph Gilpin, who resigned as assistant principal at Haile Middle School last month, never made it into his personnel file and wasn't forwarded to the state.

These and similar incidents reveal a district beset by scattered recordkeeping, cursory investigations and the seemingly apathetic -- or highly cautious -- attitudes of administrators, all of which can result in complaints falling through the cracks.

Open to interpretation

Posted by kshaw at 10:09 AM

Porter's ex-wife speaks

MINNESOTA
KSTP

It's the end of a disturbing era for many Minnesotans, with the death of former priest and convicted sex offender James Porter. Porter died Friday at a Boston hospital. He was 70 years old.

He had a history of sex crime convictions, including molesting 28 children in Massachusetts.

And 21 men in Minnesota also sued him, saying he abused them while he worked at a church in Bemidji in 1969 and 1970.

Porter eventually left the priesthood, got married and had four children.

His ex-wife, Verlyne Gray still lives in Oakdale. She says she is no longer looking back and is only concentrating on the future and what life has in store for her after 18 years of marriage to a man she says never admitted to his wrong doings.

“The best thing about it is he won't be able to get out he won't be able to hurt anyone else,” Gray said.

Posted by kshaw at 06:24 AM

Conclave is male enclave

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Globe

By Eileen McNamara, Globe Columnist | February 13, 2005

A jury just convicted a former Boston priest of raping a child. The Vatican just defrocked four other Boston priests accused of similar attacks on children. Parishioners are occupying churches across the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston to protest their closure.

What is Archbishop Sean P. O'Malley's response to all this pain and division? How is he reaching out to create a more inclusive community of faith in Greater Boston? He is promoting a conference exclusively for Catholic men next month that is being convened by a national evangelical group to help men ''sort through the current confusion about, and attacks on, masculinity and maleness."

Who knew that a machismo crisis was such a serious threat facing the Catholic Church in Boston?

''It is confusing to be a man today," says the material provided for the conference by theAbuse Tracker Fellowship of Catholic Men, the organization that began running these events across the country a few years ago. ''The man of today is expected to be protective and hard-working on the one hand, and gentle and supportive on the other. What is a man to do?"

Gee, I don't know. Maybe be protective and hard-working on the one hand, and gentle and supportive on the other? Women manage.

O'Malley, a difficult man for most Catholics to get an appointment to see, will not only celebrate Mass at the First Annual Boston Catholic Men's Conference on March 19 at Boston College High School, he will have breakfast beforehand with the guys who recruit the most men to attend a gathering that really should be called the Conference for Very, Very Conservative Boston Catholic Men.

Posted by kshaw at 06:21 AM

Niece says she fears prison for Shanley

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Globe

By John Ellement, Globe Staff | February 13, 2005

Teresa Shanley won't be there Tuesday when her 74-year-old uncle, defrocked priest Paul R. Shanley, is sentenced for sexually abusing a Newton Sunday school student in the 1980s. But she expects he will probably be sentenced to prison, and she fears that could get him killed.

She worries that her uncle is in danger of ending up like John J. Geoghan, a convicted former priest strangled inside a maximum-security prison in 2003. ''No more children for you, pal," fellow inmate Joseph L. Druce allegedly told Geoghan as he tightened a noose around his neck.

''I'm very concerned in light of what happened to John Geoghan," Theresa Shanley said. ''If [Shanley] is sent to prison, it is the burden of the Commonwealth to keep him safe."

Some who monitor the state prison system say she has reason to be concerned.

''There's no question that that's a reasonable concern, particularly in light of what happened to Father Geoghan and what is generally a fairly high level of violence in the Massachusetts prison system," said Jonathan Shapiro, whose law firm is suing the state on behalf of 25 inmates at the medium-security prison in Shirley who say guards abused them in 2000.

Teresa Shanley will be undergoing a major medical procedure Tuesday.

Posted by kshaw at 06:19 AM

Widow says Porter had changed

BOSTON (MA)
The Sun Chronicle

Anne Milner Porter, the woman who married pedophile ex-priest James Porter, said she will stand behind her husband as much in death as she did during the last part of his scandal-clad life.

`` I know the story nobody else needs to know. (The media) should report his death and forget about it. (There's been) enough stories on the life of James Porter,'' she said.
Porter, 70, who died Friday night in a Boston hospital, was one of the first high-profile examples of the Catholic church moving a priest accused of molesting children from parish to parish.

Posted by kshaw at 06:17 AM

Priest accused of abuse denies man's allegations

GARY (IN)
Indianapolis Star

February 13, 2005

Gary -- A Roman Catholic priest accused of sexually abusing a Florida teenager more than a decade ago has denied the allegations through his attorney.

The Rev. Richard Emerson vehemently denies the allegations and, in fact, has an unblemished 26-year record as a priest, said his attorney, James F. Gilbride, of Miami.

In January, a 29-year-old man filed a civil lawsuit seeking unspecified monetary damages from the dioceses of Gary and of Orlando. The man alleges that Emerson repeatedly molested him from the time he was 11 in 1986 until he was nearly 18.

Emerson was assigned to St. Charles Borromeo Church in Orlando when the abuse allegedly occurred on trips to Key West, Fla.; Chicago; Colorado; and Indiana over the seven-year period.

Posted by kshaw at 06:15 AM

A priest who refused to look the other way

WISCONSIN
The Journal Times

By Lee Roberts

Amid what is described as a disturbing account of the events that took place during the cover-up of a priest's sexual crimes is a ray of light provided by a member of Racine's clergy, according to Peter Isely, Midwest director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests.

That light comes in the form of words spoken by the Rev. Paul Esser, of St. Paul the Apostle Church, 6400 Spring St., back in the 1970s, in regard to the sexual abuse case of the late Rev. Siegfried Widera.

Widera was a Wisconsin priest who was convicted of sexual misconduct with a teenage boy in Wisconsin in 1973 and charged with 42 counts of child molestation in Wisconsin and California when he died in May 2003 after leaping from a hotel balcony in Mexico.

When the archdiocese was considering transferring Widera to a parish in California following his conviction, Esser, who was serving on the Milwaukee Archdiocese's Priests Personnel Board at the time, spoke out in objection to the transfer.

Esser's comments appear to be the only objection noted during a meeting of the Priest's Personnel Board that took place in 1976, according to recently published documents from the archive of the Archdiocese, Isely said. And he and others feel Esser should be honored for his actions in trying to stop the transfer of the pedophile priest.

Posted by kshaw at 06:06 AM

Former Principal Sentenced For Soliciting Minor On Internet

WARWICK (RI)
News Channel 10

POSTED: 6:53 am EST February 10, 2005
UPDATED: 4:47 pm EST February 10, 2005

A former assistant principal at Bishop Hendricken High School in Warwick pleaded no contest on Thursday to one count of indecently soliciting a child.

The attorney general's office said Timothy Sheldon, 39, was sentenced to five years probation.

Sheldon also had to surrender his state teaching certificate, and he was ordered to complete sex offender counseling, not to be employed in any job in which he has contact with children, and not to use the Internet.

Sheldon was arrested Dec. 17 following a police probe into an explicit discussion Sheldon allegedly had in an online chat room with someone he believed to be a 14-year-old boy.

Posted by kshaw at 06:01 AM

February 12, 2005

Victims, Wife React To Ex-Priest Porter's Death

BOSTON (MA)
WCCO

Feb 12, 2005 8:08 pm US/Central
Boston (AP) Before hundreds of sexual abuse allegations shook the foundations of the Archdiocese of Boston, and lawsuits exposed a hierarchy that protected pedophile priests, there was James Porter.

The 1993 case of the former priest, who died on Friday at a Boston hospital at age 70, was an early bellwether of a broader scandal that would hit a decade later. His death evoked strong emotions among victims, his wife and others whose lives became intertwined with his.

Peter Calderone, 55, of Attleboro, Mass., a Porter victim, said he was glad that Porter's "not a menace to society any longer."

"It's going to take a long, long time for Porter's devastation to fade from history," he said.

David Clohessy, president of the Survivor's Network of Those Abused by Priests, said he hoped Porter's victims could now find some measure of peace.

Posted by kshaw at 09:34 PM

Office for Healing gets positive audit report

WORCESTER (MA)
The Catholic Free Press

WORCESTER – The diocese is in compliance with all articles of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, Bishop McManus announced today.

An audit of the diocesan policies in regards to the sexual abuse of minors by clergy was conducted in December by the Gavin Group as part of a national audit of Catholic dioceses. The Gavin Group is an independent auditing firm whose auditors have years of experience in law enforcement. The audit reviewed actions the diocese has taken through the Office for Healing and Prevention since the last audit which was in June 2003.

“I am pleased to see that this audit has once again confirmed the commitment our diocese has made to healing for those who seek the Church’s assistance and restoring trust to the faithful community as a whole,” Bishop McManus said in a statement issued by the diocesan Office of Communications.

“A great injustice was done to these victims of sexual abuse by members of the Church. While there is no simple answer on how to foster healing in their lives, we join with the rest of the Church in expressing our sorrow for the pain which was inflicted upon them and their families. We will continue to work with those victims who have approached us to address their individual needs. The sincerest response we can make to the community as a whole is to continue to strengthen the policies, procedures and spirit of our local policies and the national charter. This audit recognizes that commitment.”

Posted by kshaw at 06:40 PM

Calvert House priest resigns following sexual allegations

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Maroon

By Daniel Gilbert
February 12, 2005 in News

The University’s Calvert House—the Catholic center on campus—became the latest stage for a sex scandal involving a Catholic priest on Tuesday, February 8. Father Michael Yakaitis announced his resignation Tuesday afternoon after a man came forward on Monday to name Yakaitis as the priest with whom he had a sexual relationship 15 years ago.

Claiming that Yakaitis sexually exploited him when he was a seminary student at the Niles Seminary College of Loyola University in 1990, the victim drafted a letter to University President Don Randel on Monday, alerting him of Yakaitis’s past. The victim—then 18 years old—said in his statement that Yakaitis was both the dean of students and his own spiritual director until 1991, when the student dropped out of the seminary.

“While functioning in those roles, Father Yakaitis used alcohol, coercion, and blackmail with me to initiate a series of sexual encounters. There is no question in my mind, nor expressed to me by the various representatives of the Archdiocese of Chicago with whom I addressed these incidents, that these actions by Father Yakaitis were unethical, abusive, and emotionally devastating,” the victim wrote. “These incidents took place in a university setting while Father Yakaitis held a position similar to the one he currently occupies at the University of Chicago, and during which time he exploited this position of trust while I was a student under his direction.”

In a press release issued on Tuesday, Yakaitis acknowledged the truth of the former seminarian’s account, and said that following the events that transpired 15 years ago, he sought and received counseling and treatment. “This enabled me to renew my commitment to celibacy and a life of priestly ministry,” read the statement. “Since that time, I have not engaged in any sexual behavior, and I believe that I have dealt thoroughly with the issues that led to my sexual actions.”

Posted by kshaw at 06:32 PM

Child porn images found at Tobyhanna rectory

TOBYHANNA (PA)
Scranton Times Tribune

BY CHRIS BIRK / STAFF WRITER 02/12/2005

TOBYHANNA -- At least two computers from the St. Ann's church rectory contain images of child pornography, according to Pocono Mountain Regional Police, who continue to search for illicit images.

A visiting priest has admitted to police that he downloaded and viewed pornographic images, according to an affidavit of probable cause. But detectives are still trying to determine "what's on a computer, and is that illegal, and if it is, who's looking at it," Detective Sgt. Jeff Bowman said earlier this week.

"The investigation is far from complete," he said.

On Jan. 17, after tips funneled into police headquarters, two detectives began digging into child porn allegations at the rectory. The parish priest, the Rev. Michael Kloton, had already contacted authorities about the allegations, according to the affidavit of probable cause.

A man brought in to clean up the hard drives of the rectory computers discovered images of young men engaged in sexual acts on a computer used by the church secretary, the priest told detectives. Father Kloton agreed to a voluntary search, and detectives removed the computer a day later.

Posted by kshaw at 05:04 PM

Priest remanded on bail over toilet indecency charge

NORTHERN IRELAND
Belfast Telegraph

12 February 2005
A Catholic priest charged with indecency in a shopping centre toilet was yesterday remanded on continuing bail at Londonderry Magistrates Court.

Fr Patrick McGarvey (37), from Main Street, Stranorlar, Co Donegal, is charged with observing another person carrying out a private act in a public toilet in Foyleside shopping centre, Derry, for the purposes of sexual gratification.

The charge relates to an incident alleged to have taken place on August 4.

The case was adjourned yesterday at the request of Fr McGarvey's solicitor, Maoliosa Barr, who said the defendant needed some time to consider submissions.

Posted by kshaw at 02:22 PM

Indiana priest denies Florida sex abuse allegations

GARY (IN)
Bradenton Herald

Associated Press

GARY, Ind. - A Roman Catholic priest accused of sexually abusing a Florida teenager more than a decade ago has denied the allegations through his attorney.

The Rev. Richard Emerson vehemently denies the allegations and has an unblemished 26-year record as a priest, said attorney James F. Gilbride of Miami.

In January, a 29-year-old man filed a civil lawsuit seeking unspecified monetary damages from the dioceses of Gary and Orlando, Fla. , alleging Emerson repeatedly molested him from the time he was 11 in 1986 until he was nearly 18.

Emerson was assigned to St. Charles Borromeo Church in Orlando when the abuse allegedly occurred on trips to Key West, Fla., Chicago, Colorado and Indiana over the seven-year period.

Posted by kshaw at 02:20 PM

Defrocked priest lives in N.H.

BARNSTEAD (NH)
Boston.com

February 12, 2005

BARNSTEAD, N.H. -- One of the four Massachusetts priests defrocked this week for sexual abuse allegations lives in New Hampshire, where he retired after admitting fondling boys.

Bernard Lane, 70, was accused of abusing boys when he ran a Massachusetts home for troubled boys in the 1970s. Then-Cardinal Bernard Law reassigned him. Years later, New Hampshire Bishop John McCormack chose to drop the allegations when working for Law.

After McCormack's decision, several men reported they had been abused by Lane. In all, at least 17 men accused Lane of abusing them.

Lane has lived in Barnstead since retiring in 1999, but he remained a priest, even after admitting he fondled boys. He said the fondling was therapy.

"It was not out of bounds to hold a youth even while naked who came needing some reassurance, stroking ... body-to-body warmth or contact," Lane wrote to church officials in 1999.

Lane's nephew, and lawyer, Gerard Lane, told the Concord Monitor his uncle was devastated when he learned the Vatican had defrocked him. Defrocked priests cannot function as priests and they cannot collect support, including retirement pay or health insurance.

Posted by kshaw at 02:18 PM

Former Notre Dame pastor denies abuse allegations

MICHIGAN CITY (IN)
The News-Dispatch

By Deborah Sederberg, The News-Dispatch

Attorneys representing the Rev. Richard Emerson on Friday issued a statement responding to what they call "unfounded allegations of sexual abuse."

In December, Emerson, then pastor of Notre Dame Catholic Church in Long Beach, was placed on administrative leave pending investigation of allegations of abuse lodged by an Orlando, Fla., man. The man, now 29, accused Emerson of sexually abusing him in the 1980s when he was a boy.

Attorney James F. Gilbride of the Miami law firm of Gilbride, Heller & Brown said in the statement, "This lawsuit is a shameful, calculated attempt to take advantage of a political and social climate that allows for rampant and frivolous accusations against Catholic priests.

"The truth surrounding the ministry of Father Emerson is that he has an unblemished career spanning more than 26 hears of devotion to the Church, his parishioners and the communities he has served."

Attorney Joseph Saunders of Pinnellas Park, Fla., representing the alleged victim, has filed a John Doe lawsuit against the Diocese of Gary, the Diocese of Orlando and Emerson. Saunders claims diocesan officials failed to respond or take action when earlier charges of abuse had been made against Emerson.


Posted by kshaw at 02:16 PM

Porter's death ignites emotions about his crimes, church response

BOSTON (MA)
Telegram & Gazette

By THEO EMERY
Associated Press Writer

BOSTON— Before hundreds of sexual abuse allegations shook the foundations of the Archdiocese of Boston, and lawsuits exposed a hierarchy that protected pedophile priests, there was James Porter.

The 1993 case of the former priest, who died on Friday at a Boston hospital at age 70, was an early bellwether of a broader scandal that would hit a decade later. His death evoked strong emotions among victims, his wife and others whose lives became intertwined with his.

Peter Calderone, 55, of Attleboro, a Porter victim, said he was glad that Porter's "not a menace to society any longer."

"It's going to take a long, long time for Porter's devastation to fade from history," he said.

David Clohessy, president of the Survivor's Network of Those Abused by Priests, said he hoped Porter's victims could now find some measure of peace.

"Many parents and victims warned church leaders about Porter," he said. "Not surprisingly, they were essentially ignored. Had church leaders heeded these warnings, much might be different today. Had church authorities acted responsibly, thousands of once-trusting Catholic families could have been spared so much severe pain."

But Porter's wife, Anne Porter, said her husband was a changed person by the time he died.

Posted by kshaw at 02:13 PM

Local church leaders accused of misusing their power

CLEVELAND (OH)
WKYC

Reported by Katherine Boyd
POSTED: Tuesday, February 08, 2005 9:41:50 AM
UPDATED: Friday, February 11, 2005 11:58:48 AM

CLEVELAND -- We’ve heard the stories of religious leaders using their positions to take advantage of children, but there’s another problem that’s gaining national attention.

It happens when ministers abuse their power and trust by having adulterous affairs with women they’re counseling.

Two local ministers are facing those accusations right now. We look at these allegations of clergy sexual misconduct and how these secret seductions have tested the faith of two separate congregations.

Back in 1999, a Sunday morning service at Willo-Hill Baptist Church in Kirtland had nearly 800 people packed in the pews to hear the Rev Gary Coiro preach.

“I now give my personal treasure of gold and silver for the temple of my God,” Coiro said at the service.

Posted by kshaw at 11:01 AM

Victim of "Clergy Abuse" Now Helps Others

CALIFORNIA
News 10

It was the ultimate test of faith for a deeply religious couple. Steve and Samantha Nelson looked up to the pastor at their Bay Area church as both a man of God and a trusted advisor. But they say their trust was betrayed in an ugly sequence of events that nearly destroyed their marriage.

Samantha Nelson approached her pastor for spiritual counseling in 1999. "He was 27 years older than me," she explained. "He was a father figure to us."

Samantha said the counseling sessions eventually led to a sexual relationship through what she calls a process of "grooming." The pastor, she says, took advantage of her fragile emotional condition and used biblical scripture to justify his advances.

The Nelsons bristle at the suggestion it was simply an affair between consenting adults. "An affair implies the two people are equals," said Samantha. "And that was never the case and it never is the case in pastoral abuse because the pastor is in a position of power and authority."

Posted by kshaw at 08:32 AM

Diocese unveils monument

DAVENPORT (IA)
Quad-City Times

By Todd Ruger

The Catholic Diocese of Davenport announced plans Friday to create a millstone monument to victims of clergy sexual abuse.

The marker, to be placed outside the diocese headquarters, will remind church officials of their commitment to protect children as well as symbolize their commitment to the healing of victims, Bishop William Franklin said in a written statement.

“This symbol is intended to help promote healing for the victims and all the faithful in our diocese,” he said. “The diocese hopes that our efforts will be meaningful to the victims and that this process will help to ease their pain.”

The diocese agreed to create a monument as a non-monetary term of a $9 million settlement with 37 victims in the wake of numerous lawsuits containing allegations of decades-old sexual abuse by priests.

Posted by kshaw at 08:28 AM

Ragsdale: Abuse reforms mean more than money

IOWA
Des Moines Register

By SHIRLEY RAGSDALE
REGISTER RELIGION EDITOR
February 12, 2005
I'm not certain people believe victims who say their lawsuits against the priests who abused them and the dioceses that covered up the crimes aren't about money.

After all, 37 men did share a $9 million settlement from the Davenport Catholic Diocese.

But in the end, their attorneys said the abuse survivors were less concerned about the checks they received than the list of nonmonetary settlement terms that Davenport Bishop William E. Franklin agreed to.

Posted by kshaw at 08:27 AM

Millstone will honor abuse victims

DAVENPORT (IA)
Des Moines Register

By SHIRLEY RAGSDALE
REGISTER RELIGION EDITOR
February 12, 2005
The Davenport Catholic diocese on Friday announced the design for a memorial to the survivors of child abuse that incorporates a millstone - a biblical symbol of punishment for those who harm children or their faith.

The memorial will "remind us of our commitment to protect God's children and to symbolize our commitment to the victims' healing," said Bishop William E. Franklin. "This symbol is intended to help promote healing for the victims and all the faithful in our diocese."

Diocese officials agreed Oct. 28 to build the memorial as part of a $9 million settlement with 37 people who made clergy sexual abuse claims or filed lawsuits against the diocese.

Posted by kshaw at 08:25 AM

Notorious Mass. pedophile ex-priest Porter dies at 70

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Herald

By Laurel J. Sweet
Saturday, February 12, 2005

Former priest James R. Porter, who first put a face to the horrific sexual-abuse scandal that enveloped the American Catholic church, died last night as cancer reportedly claimed his life at New England Medical Center in Boston. He was 70.

``I'm glad he's dead,'' said an even-toned Frank Fitzpatrick, one of a hundred people Porter is believed to have sexually molested during the 1960s and '70s.

``Death was the only thing that could stop him,'' said Fitzpatrick, 54, whose adulation of Porter when he was an altar boy at St. Mary's in North Attleboro in 1962 led to his abuse. ``I don't believe in hell, but now I really wish there was one.''

Porter, who had been hospitalized since Jan. 26, was pronounced dead at 6:12 p.m., said Diane Wiffin, spokeswoman for the state Department of Correction. He was awaiting trial to determine if he should be civilly committed as a sexual deviant to the Massachusetts Treatment Center in Bridgewater.

Posted by kshaw at 08:22 AM

Accuser's Mental Condition Argued in Priest Abuse Case

BALTIMORE (MD)
Washington Post

By Allison Klein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, February 12, 2005; Page B06

BALTIMORE, Feb. 11 -- Dontee Stokes's emotional testimony at his trial on an attempted-murder charge in 2002 helped lead to his acquittal in the shooting of Maurice J. Blackwell, a former Roman Catholic priest who allegedly had molested Stokes when he was a child. Stokes, now 29, told jurors that he had "an out-of-body experience" when he confronted Blackwell on a city street and put three bullets in him.

The jury sympathized with his emotional distress.

On Friday, Stokes faced the defrocked pastor again in court, this time with Blackwell, 58, in the defendant's chair, charged in the sexual abuse that Stokes alleges was inflicted on him by Blackwell from 1989 to 1992. And just as Stokes's psychological state was a key issue before the jury two years ago, so it is now, as Blackwell's attorney tries to portray Stokes as someone who at times has trouble differentiating fact from fantasy.

The defense attorney, Kenneth W. Ravenell, mocked Stokes's assertion of an out-of-body experience. In his opening statement, Ravenell told jurors that Stokes has struggled with his sexuality and that he lied about being molested by Blackwell.

Posted by kshaw at 08:21 AM

Pedophile priest Porter dead at 70

BOSTON (MA)
Daily News Transcript

By Ken Maguire / Associated Press
Saturday, February 12, 2005

BOSTON -- Former priest James Porter, whose widespread molestation of dozens of children foreshadowed the clergy sex abuse scandal that swept the American Roman Catholic church, died on last night.

Porter, 70, died at 6:12 p.m. at New England Medical Center in Boston, where he had been treated since being transferred from a Department of Correction medical facility on Jan. 26, department spokeswoman Diane Wiffin said. A cause of death was not immediately available, but Porter's attorney had said the former priest had incurable cancer. The hospital declined to comment.

Porter was the first high-profile case involving allegations that a priest had molested children in his parish -- and that the church had simply moved him from parish to parish to try to avoid scandal.

"Father Porter came to symbolize the start of an era when people could talk about priest abuse," said attorney Roderick MacLeish, who represented 101 Porter victims in early 1990s lawsuits. "The irony is James Porter caused a lot of laws to be changed, caused a lot of people to come forward."

Porter pleaded guilty in 1993 of molesting 28 children, but once told a television reporter that he molested as many as 100 children during his time as a priest in the 1960s and early 1970s in the Fall River Diocese.

Posted by kshaw at 08:19 AM

Kirby: For me,the ritual boredom's been awful

By Robert Kirby
Tribune Columnist

The latest diatribe against Mormons comes from Martha Nibley Beck, daughter of one of its scholarly pillars: BYU professor and LDS grouch Hugh Nibley.
In Beck's tell-all Leaving the Saints: How I Lost the Mormons and Found My Faith, she yanks all the stops on family as well as her former religion.
Among other things, Beck accuses Hugh of ritually abusing her as a 5-year-old while dressed in Egyptian garb. She also claims that sexual abuse occurs far more often among Mormons than any other group.
Beck further asserts that the church tapped her phone, that the First Presidency has an enforcer squad to deal with people like her, and that the Angel Moroni statue on the Salt Lake Temple has a rich milk chocolaty center.
It's possible that Beck's claims are true. It's possible they aren't. Not about the Angel Moroni. I made that one up. But Beck's siblings will tell you that she has an equally active imagination. Still, the truth is that I wasn't there.
If true, Beck's claims would shatter my faith. I couldn't bear thinking that I've spent my life completely missing the ecclesiastical point.

Posted by kshaw at 08:17 AM

Judge Found Dead in Park after Dispute

CALIFORNIA
The Signal

2/12/2005
Brandon Lowrey Signal Staff Writer

A local judge apparently killed himself in Towsley Canyon Park just a day after sheriff’s deputies swarmed his Valencia home, seized his guns and told him to drive away following a domestic dispute.
Lloyd Jeffrey Wiatt, 61, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge, died at 3:30 p.m. Thursday from an apparent gunshot wound to the head, a coroner’s investigator said.
Wiatt was a judge at the Chatsworth Courthouse since 2003. Before that, he held office at the San Fernando Courthouse, where he had made some controversial rulings.
During and immediately following Wednesday’s domestic dispute, most neighbors in the 24500 block of Lorikeet Lane refused to comment on what they had seen or heard. Others called it a “standoff,” saying several emergency vehicles had been there for hours before Wiatt drove off. ...
In December 2002, Wiatt dismissed a former nun’s sexual abuse lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Los Angeles because there wasn’t enough evidence to prove the church conspired to cover up an alleged rape by a Roman Catholic priest.
“It appears that this lawsuit was filed to obtain publicity and not for any proper purpose,” Wiatt wrote in his four-page ruling.

Posted by kshaw at 08:14 AM

Pedophile priest dead

BOSTON (MA)
Pawtucket Times

AP and JRC News Service reports 02/12/2005

BOSTON -- Former priest James Porter, whose widespread molestation of dozens of children foreshadowed the clergy sex abuse scandal that swept the American Roman Catholic church, died on Friday night.

Porter, 70, died at 6:12 p.m. at New England Medical Center in Boston. He had been treated there since being transferred from Lemuel Shattuck Hospital in Boston, a Department of Correction medical facility, on Jan. 26, department spokeswoman Diane Wiffin said. A cause of death was not immediately available, but Porter's attorney had said the former priest had incurable cancer. The hospital declined to comment.

Porter was the first high-profile case involving allegations that a priest had molested children in his parish -- and that the church had simply moved him from parish to parish to try to avoid scandal.

Porter pleaded guilty in 1993 of molesting 28 children, but once told a television reporter that he molested as many as 100 children during his time as a priest in the 1960s and early 1970s in the Fall River Diocese.

Posted by kshaw at 08:10 AM

C.V. church to get apology from bishop

CASTRO VALLEY (CA)
The Daily Review

By Karen Holzmeister, STAFF WRITER

CASTRO VALLEY — For the second time in as many years, the bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Oakland will come to a local church and apologize for a priest who sexually abused children in the 1970s.

The Most Rev. Allen Vigneron "will acknowledge the suffering caused by the behavior of (the Rev.) Robert Ponciroli," an associate pastor at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church during the late 1970s, according to a statement issued by the diocese.

Ponciroli was arrested in 2003 and faces at least six counts of child molestation.

During the service, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Our Lady of Grace, Vigneron, bishop for the last 16 months, "will apologize for the diocese's failure to prevent abuse and for the betrayal of trust by one of its priests," the statement read.

Vigneron heads the diocese of 540,000 Catholics in Alameda and Contra Costa counties.

Posted by kshaw at 08:08 AM

Stokes testifies of abuse by Blackwell

BALTIMORE (MD)
Baltimore Sun

By Julie Bykowicz
Sun Staff
Originally published February 12, 2005
Dontee Stokes told a crowded Baltimore courtroom yesterday that he was sexually molested by his former priest, whose warm embraces, he testified, turned to inappropriate touches and finally, a sexual assault in a church rectory.

As the trial of now-defrocked priest Maurice Blackwell opened, Stokes, 29, testified that the molestation occurred from 1989 to 1992, while he was a young parishioner at St. Edward Catholic Church in West Baltimore.

"By the time I understood what was going on, it was too late to really do anything," Stokes testified.

A decade later, after a failed investigation into his claims, and at the height of the sexual abuse scandal in the American Catholic church, Stokes shot Blackwell, 58.

Posted by kshaw at 08:04 AM

Abuse deserves severe sentence

BOSTON (MA)
Muskogee Phoenix

Convicted child molester Paul Shanley, a former priest who gained notoriety in the sex scandals that became public in Boston three years ago, will be sentenced Tuesday.

Shanley may be 74 years old, but he should receive the most severe sentence possible, life in prison.

Abusing defenseless, young children - Shanley's accuser said he was abused first at age 6 by Shanley - is reprehensible. And though Shanley had but one accuser in court, the Catholic Church apparently shuffled Shanley from one parish to another whenever complaints of abuse surfaced rather than report him to authorities and defrock him.

Muskogee County recently prosecuted a child abuse case, sentencing a Keefeton mom in January to 20 years in prison for failing to report years of sexual abuse to her now 12-year-old son by her husband.

Posted by kshaw at 08:02 AM

Bishop: Church now better able to deal with abuse problems

PHOENIX (AZ)
Arizona Daily Sun

02/12/2005

PHOENIX (AP) -- A deeper understanding of the nature of pedophiles has better equipped the Catholic Church to deal with the sex abuse scandal that has scarred its parishes, Phoenix Bishop Thomas Olmsted said Friday.

One of the biggest problems for the church was the misconception that priests who abused children could be cured. Since then, many have realized that therapy and church guidance can't completely help pedophiles move away from temptation, Olmsted told The Associated Press.

"I think ... we believed for quite a while that if you gave the person all the best means possible spiritually and psychologically, that they could actually overcome that. Nobody believes that today," said Olmsted.

At least 19 priests have been accused of abuse in the Phoenix Roman Catholic Diocese since it was formed in 1969. Only one allegation of abuse from the last decade has surfaced, Olmsted said.

Posted by kshaw at 08:01 AM

4 priests accused of abuse defrocked

BOSTON (MA)
Portsmouth Herald

By Associated Press

BOSTON - Four priests accused of sexually abusing children have been defrocked by the Vatican, the Boston Archdiocese announced Friday.
Robert D. Fay, Kelvin Iguabita, Bernard Lane and Robert Ward are "no longer in the clerical state," meaning they can no longer function as priests and will no longer receive any financial support from the Boston Archdiocese.

Iguabita was convicted in June 2003 of raping a 15-year-old girl while he was assigned to a church in Haverhill in 2000. He was sentenced to 12 to 14 years in prison.

Lane was accused by at least 17 men of abusing them as children. Some of the alleged abuse took place at the Alpha Omega House for troubled youth in Littleton, a facility he founded and directed in the 1970s. Lane retired in 1999, but remained a priest.

Fay was accused of molesting a Melrose teenager in the 1970s at a New Hampshire home, according to a lawsuit included in Fay’s archdiocese personnel file. He denied the allegations.

Posted by kshaw at 07:59 AM

New mindset is necessary for Catholics

UNITED STATES
The Times Herald

By JIM KETCHUM

These have to be tough times for American Catholics.

The church many have known their entire lives, the church they love, the church that plays a major spiritual role in their daily lives, remains in trouble.

Its spiritual leader, the beloved Pope John Paul II, has been fighting for his life in a Rome hospital. When you are 84 and have other chronic health problems, you do not come down with "just the flu."

While American Catholics, and many Protestants as well, pray for the pope, they also must be wondering about the future of the U.S. Catholic Church.

They were reminded last week of the clergy sex-abuse scandal that has rocked the American church since it broke into the open three years ago. A jury in Cambridge, Mass, convicted defrocked priest Paul Shanley of raping and fondling a boy at his church in the 1980s.

Shanley, 74, will be sentenced next week. Any sentence likely will turn into life in prison.

For his victims, the sentence must bring some relief, some closure, some vindication. For the victims of other priests who similarly violated their office, the verdict must bring a sense of hope that they, too, may one day get something amounting to justice.

Posted by kshaw at 07:54 AM

February 11, 2005

Use Lent to reflect on sex abuse

IRELAND
Belfast Telegraph

By Alf McCreary
newsdesk@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

10 February 2005
The Catholic Church has asked for reflection during Lent on a healing response to the victims of child sexual abuse.

Speaking at Maynooth yesterday, the Primate Archbishop Sean Brady, said: "Lent is an appropriate time for the Church to reflect on its journey of becoming more faithful to the Gospel in its response to the issue of child sexual abuse."

Bishop Donal Murray of Limerick stated that the Church had learned much about the measures needed to respond effectively concerning this issue. He said: "We wish to share what we have painfully learnt. The cry for healing needs to be heard from all victims of child abuse".

Posted by kshaw at 10:30 PM

Church Member Arrested For Abuse -- 5 Years Later

ISLAND POND (VT)
TheChamplainChannel.com

POSTED: 9:30 pm EST February 11, 2005
UPDATED: 9:41 pm EST February 11, 2005

ISLAND POND, Vt. -- Police charged a former member of the Twelve Tribes Church in Island Pond with molesting a young boy.

John Thomas, 32, is accused of sexually abusing at least one of the children at the church in the Northeast Kingdom.

Church elders believe there could be many more victims -- at least eight have already come forward.

According to prosecutors, Thomas sexually abused one of the young members on church property. Church elders said they found out about the allegations in 2002 and asked Thomas to leave. He's been living in Massachusetts since then.

Posted by kshaw at 10:29 PM

Thomas Arraigned On Three Sex Abuse Felonies

ST. JOHNSBURY (VT)
The Caledonian Record

By JAMES JARDINE Staff Writer
Friday February 11, 2005

ST. JOHNSBURY VERMONT
John W. Thomas Jr., 34, of Savoy, Mass., was arraigned Wednesday on three felony charges of sexual misconduct involving children.

He entered innocent pleas to all three charges.

Probable cause had been found in January by Judge Brian Grearson to charge Thomas with two felony charges of lewd and lascivious conduct with a child, and a third felony charge of sexual assault on a minor.

Probable cause was not found on a fourth felony charge of lewd and lascivious conduct with a child. That count was dismissed, but can be refiled by the state.

Essex District Court

The charges are the result of allegations by a number of individuals who were minor children living with their families in the Twelve Tribes Community Church in a number of different locations during 1995 and 1996.

The complainants allege Thomas was a member of the church and was a teacher of some of the church's children from about 1995 until he was expelled from the church in November 2002.

Posted by kshaw at 10:26 PM

Brockton real estate broker stripped of clerical authority

BROCKTON (MA)
The Enterprise

By Tim Grace, Enterprise staff writer
BROCKTON — A former Melrose priest who's been accused in a civil suit of raping a teenage girl during the 1970s, was formally stripped of his clerical authority Friday.

Robert D. Fay, a Stoughton native and currently a Brockton real estate broker, was among four priests the Boston Arch Diocese declared to be "no longer in the clerical state."

Fay, 62, Kelvin Iguabita, Bernard Lane and Robert Ward may no longer "function in any capacity as a priest, with the exception of offering absolution to the dying," church officials said in a statement distributed to the media.

Fay could not be reached for comment Friday but denied any wrongdoing when the suit was filed last year.

"It is a witch hunt," he said at the time. "I don't like the name 'witch hunt' but that's what it is."

Fay and the other three former priests have also been cut free of the church's purse strings.

Posted by kshaw at 10:22 PM

Sex Abuse Victims Urge Catholics to Boycott Kansas City Diocese

KANSAS CITY (MO)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

Calling Kansas City's Catholic bishop "the worst in the country" to clergy sex abuse victims, a support group for such victims is urging local Catholics to stop donating to the diocese, and instead give "generously and directly to charities and schools."

Dozens of civil sexual abuse cases against area priests seem stalled in the courts, they say, because Bishop Raymond Boland and his lawyers keep filing dozens and dozens of legal motions designed to "keep the truth hidden, the diocesan coffers full, the bishop's reputation intact, and the victims in the cold," according to said Mike Hunter, the Kansas City director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, a victims' support group.

"Nearly all of their nearly 100 motions have been thrown out by judges," said Hunter. "But Boland insists on trying to wear us down and overwhelm us with mountains of increasingly desperate motions. He clearly wants Catholics to remain ignorant about the horrific crimes and cover ups that have happened here. And he wants us to give up and go away."

But Boland's tough legal approach is making victims more firmly resolved to "get the truth out," Hunter says.

No other diocese in America has taken such an "over the top, aggressive approach," said SNAP national director David Clohessy of St. Louis.

Posted by kshaw at 10:02 PM

Convicted pedophile priest James Porter dies at 70

BOSTON (MA)
Pioneer Press

KEN MAGUIRE
Associated Press

BOSTON - Former priest James Porter, whose widespread molestation of dozens of children from Massachusetts to Minnesota and beyond foreshadowed the clergy sex abuse scandal that swept the Roman Catholic church, died Friday.

Porter, 70, died at New England Medical Center in Boston, where he had been treated since being transferred from a Department of Correction medical facility last month, department spokeswoman Diane Wiffin said. A cause of death was not immediately available. Porter's attorney had said he had incurable cancer.

Porter's case was the first high-profile one involving allegations that a priest had molested children in his parish - and that the church had simply moved him from parish to parish to avoid scandal.

"Father Porter came to symbolize the start of an era when people could talk about priest abuse," said attorney Roderick MacLeish, who represented 101 Porter victims in lawsuits in the early 1990s. "The irony is James Porter caused a lot of laws to be changed, caused a lot of people to come forward."

Posted by kshaw at 09:58 PM

Kicanas reported rogue priest in '93

TUCSON (AZ)
Tucson Citizen

SHERYL KORNMAN
Tucson Citizen

Tucson Bishop Gerald Kicanas' name has come up as a Chicago priest stepped down this week from a campus ministry after a sexual relationship the priest had with an 18-year-old man 15 years ago surfaced in the news.

Kicanas was auxiliary bishop of the Chicago Diocese in 2001 when the priest was appointed chaplain of a University of Chicago Catholic student center.

Kicanas had advised the diocese of the priest's 1990 misconduct when he learned of it in 1993 from the seminary student involved.

The Chicago priest, the Rev. Michael Yakaitis, 52, resigned the student center post Tuesday, saying he should not have accepted the job, "given my past history," according to the Chicago Tribune.

Kicanas said in an interview with the Tucson Citizen yesterday that "there is no question the (Chicago) diocese was on notice when concerns were brought forward about the priest."

Yakaitis had been chaplain of Calvert House, the UC Catholic student center in Hyde Park, since 2001.

He admitted he had a sexual relationship 15 years ago with a male seminarian.

Posted by kshaw at 06:32 PM

30 names added to claimants vs. Catholic Diocese

TUCSON (AZ)
Tucson Citizen

SHERYL KORNMAN
Tucson Citizen

Thirty names will be added today to the list of 16 individuals who earlier filed claims with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Tucson seeking damages for alleged sexual misconduct by priests from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson.
Who the claimants are is confidential, by law.

Judge James Marlar, the U.S. Bankruptcy judge hearing the Chapter 11 case filed by the diocese in October, said he was pleased to hear yesterday that the diocese plans to publish another round of notices in the media to encourage more claimants to come forward by the court's deadline.

Those filing claims have until April 18 to submit documents called "proof of claim" to the bankruptcy court. The claim forms are provided free by the diocese.

Marlar sparred yesterday with Susan Boswell, the diocese's chief bankruptcy attorney, over her request for a 180-day extension to complete the diocese's proposed settlement plan, which is due March 18.

He said March 18 is a reasonable date.

"Your request is nothing more than window dressing," Marlar said. "I'm going to up the pressure on you to get to that disclosure hearing on time - at the time already set."

Posted by kshaw at 06:30 PM

Davenport Diocese's non-monetary settlement terms

DAVENPORT (IA)
Des Moines Register

February 11, 2005
NON-MONETARY SETTLEMENT TERMS

The Parties to the Release and Settlement Agreement, in an effort to promote healing, to protect children and to promote the resolution of any future claims, agree to the following:

1. The Bishop of the Diocese of Davenport has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Scott County Attorney's Office regarding reporting of sexual abuse of minors. Providing Iowa, Federal and Canon applicable law and regulations permit (Iowa Code Chapter 622.10, etc.), the Bishop will turn over all files on unnamed priests referenced in the February 25, 2004 Bishop's Report to the People, to the County Attorney's Office in accordance with the Memorandum and similarly, the files of priests newly identified in the mediation sessions, as permitted by those persons, will be turned over to the County Attorney.

2. The Claimants Attorneys hereby agree in principle that they will encourage any future claimants to submit their claims for mediation, not litigation, and the attorneys shall offer to be employed on an hourly basis during mediation. Any such mediation shall include adequate discovery of each claim, including: a signed, detailed statement from each new claimant as to what happened, when it happened, and who was involved; a patient's authorization for release of medical records with a complete list of medical and mental health providers; a sworn statement from the claimant; new medical or mental health exams upon request of the Diocese and other investigation reasonably necessary for the Diocese and its insurers to fully evaluate each claim. A tolling agreement similar in form to the agreement currently in effect for mediation claimants shall also be provided. Claimants Attorneys, subject to attorney-client privilege, will provide a list of any known abuse victims.

Posted by kshaw at 06:24 PM

Archdiocese settles eight abuse cases in mediation

ST. LOUIS (MO)
St. Louis Review

by Joseph Kenny, Review Staff Writer

The Archdiocese of St. Louis settled eight cases of clergy sexual abuse last month in a mediation process.

The settlements to be paid by the archdiocese total $267,500. The cases involved claims against five archdiocesan priests who have been removed from ministry: Romano Ferraro, Michael McGrath, Joseph Lessard, Donald Straub and Robert Yim. The Vatican recently dismissed McGrath, Straub and Yim from the priesthood.

One case involved a religious order priest, Vincentian Father Richard Lause. That claim is being paid by the Vincentians.

Since January 2004, the mediation process has resulted in the settlement of 31 cases at a total of $2,399,300. Approximately $742,000 was recovered from an insurance carrier.

There are nine other cases of clergy abuse of minors — all but one where a lawsuit had been filed — that have yet to be settled. Five of the cases are expected to be part of the mediation process.

Posted by kshaw at 06:22 PM

Four priests from Boston Archdiocese defrocked

BOSTON (MA)
Boston.com

February 11, 2005

BOSTON -- Four priests accused of sexually abusing children have been defrocked by the Vatican, the Boston Archdiocese announced Friday.

Robert D. Fay, Kelvin Iguabita, Bernard Lane and Robert Ward are "no longer in the clerical state," meaning they can no longer function as priests and will no longer receive any financial support from the Boston Archdiocese.

Iguabita was convicted in June 2003 of raping a 15-year-old girl while he was assigned to a church in Haverhill in 2000. He was sentenced to 12 to 14 years in prison.

Lane was accused by at least 17 men of abusing them as children. Some of the alleged abuse took place at the Alpha Omega House for troubled youth in Littleton, a facility he founded and directed in the 1970s. Lane retired in 1999, but remained a priest.

Fay was accused of molesting a Melrose teenager in the 1970s at a New Hampshire home, according to a lawsuit included in Fay's archdiocese personnel file. He denied the allegations.

Ward was suspended by the archdiocese in February 2002 after it received a single allegation of sexual misconduct involving a minor. Ward had previously had several church assignments and later worked in the archdiocese's development office.

Posted by kshaw at 06:21 PM

Man involved in shooting of former priest testifies against him in abuse trial

BALTIMORE (MD)
Fox 23

BALTIMORE (AP) - A man who shot and wounded a former priest three years ago, accusing him of abuse, testified Friday that he was "in disbelief" when the molestation began.

The former priest, Maurice Blackwell, is charged with four counts of child sex abuse. His accuser, Dontee Stokes, served home detention for accosting him on a city street in 2002 and shooting him.

Using explicit language and demonstrating with gestures, Stokes, 29, said pats on the back and ear-tugging from the popular priest led to sexual molestation. He testified he was "in disbelief" and "disgusted."

But the former altar boy acknowledged that he told no one about the abuse until a year after it ended.

"I didn't want to get him in trouble and have him removed," Stokes said.

In opening statements earlier Friday, lawyers for Blackwell described Stokes as a confused young man afraid to admit he was a homosexual for fear of being ostrascized by his family.

Posted by kshaw at 06:19 PM

Personnel Bile

CALIFORNIA
Orange County Weekly

by Gustavo Arellano

The following seven files are excerpts from a 1986 Huntington Beach Police Department report on Father Andrew Christian Andersen, who remains one of only two Orange County Catholic priests to be jailed for molesting children after pleading guilty to 26 counts of molesting four altar boys. Most of the report graphically describes how Andersen, at the time a priest at St. Bonaventure in Huntington Beach, committed his crimes—in the St. Bonaventure rectory, at a Orange diocese-owned home, inside a victim’s room, while driving to numerous funerals. Rather than dwell on the lurid, though, we’ve only included those reports that paint a picture of a diocese that, then and now, protected its pedo-priests from justice.

Please note, some of these files are large.

The highlights:

APRIL 10 REPORT

•Detectives Gary Brooks and Tom Gilligan visit St. Bonaventure and ask a secretary if they could speak with Monsignor Michael Duffy, the parish’s head priest. She informs them that Duffy is in a conference. After leaving the room for a couple of minutes, she returns with a phone number for an attorney and refuses to explain why Duffy isn’t available.

•After Brooks and Gilligan return from speaking with St. Bonaventure Elementary’s principal for a couple of minutes, the secretary informs the detectives that Duffy just left his conference "and was not sure when he would return."



Posted by kshaw at 02:08 PM

Justice, victims not served by defrocked priest's conviction

BOSTON (MA)
Duluth News Tribune

Commentary by ROBIN WASHINGTON

If there's anyone who thinks the conviction of defrocked Boston priest Paul Shanley on child rape charges Monday is a cause for great celebration, take a look at the evidence. And that means all the evidence, which unfortunately, the jury never got the chance to see.

In one of the highest-profile cases in the Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal -- and because of statute of limitation laws, one of only a handful to go to trial -- the former priest was convicted of repeatedly yanking a Sunday-schooler out of classes and raping him during the 1980s.

Actually, that's the latest version of the criminal case, which began three years ago when four young men who had been classmates at a Newton, Mass., parish filed criminal charges against Shanley. At least two of their cases hinged on repressed memories, which the accusers said flooded back to them after they saw a newspaper article naming Shanley as the alleged abuser of teens and young adults who had sought out the priest for counseling.

Before anyone goes there, know that repressed memories can indeed be real, as proved by Frank Fitzpatrick, a Massachusetts man who after recalling the horror he endured as a child scoured the country until he tracked down in Minnesota the former priest who eventually admitted raping dozens of kids. Remember James Porter?

Posted by kshaw at 12:24 PM

Rev. Kuhn jailed 30 days for violating terms of probation

DAYTON (OH)
Dayton Daily News

By Rob Modic
Dayton Daily News

DAYTON | Rev. Thomas Kuhn, convicted of public indecency in July, was jailed
for 30 days Thursday night after a judge found he violated terms of his
probation for public indecency and other misdemeanors for providing alcohol
to underage students.

Among other terms, Kuhn was barred from offering his services to any agency
that served people younger than age 21.

Kuhn testified he offered his counseling services to the principal of a
Cincinnati Catholic high school Sept. 27, the day after one of the students
had been fatally shot. But he insisted he did not want to be involved with
the students.

Montgomery County Common Pleas Judge Mary Katherine Huffman said she did not believe Kuhn's explanation and found he violated the condition she set in
July.

Posted by kshaw at 08:23 AM

Former chaplain jailed for child sex abuse

BRITAIN
One in Four

by Tom Felle of The Irish Independent

A 42-YEAR-OLD former British army chaplain has been sentenced to five-and-a-half years in jail for sexually abusing a teenage boy.

Glen Milne, originally from Berkshire and formerly of Castlepollard, Co Westmeath, had pleaded guilty to one charge of sexual assault on the boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, in 2002. He also pleaded guilty to committing an act of gross indecency on the teenager in November 2003.

Trim Circuit Court heard that Milne, who had lived in Ireland for 10 years, had gone to the home of the boy he abused pretending to be a school chaplain. The boy had been attending boarding school, where Milne had taught some religion, and while he started off well, he had been having some problems. Milne was left alone with the boy and performed a series of sexual acts. This happened on a number occasions. The young boy was aged 13 and 14 at the time. Following the events, the cleric went to England where he confessed what he had done to a bishop.

Posted by kshaw at 08:19 AM

Not an acceptable target

IRELAND
One in Four

Writes Mary Raftery in The Irish Times

There was a time in this country, not so long ago, when a particularly nasty view informed public policy. This was that children born outside marriage were in some way genetically defective.

The structures established to deal with these children and their mothers, funded by the State, were premised on the concept that children who were "illegitimate"(in the language of the day) needed to be treated in a particular way to combat the likelihood that they would inherit their mothers' "immoral" genetic make-up.

In the context of the attack by Kevin Myers in this newspaper on the children of lone parents as "bastards", and on their parents as "mothers of bastards" and "fathers of bastards", it is worth examining what the consequences of this kind of view meant to tens of thousands of people in this country during the 20th century.

Unmarried women who became pregnant usually ended up in mother and baby homes, most run by nuns. There were two types of these homes: one for what were known as "first-time offenders", i.e. those on their first pregnancies; and others for the "recidivists", those who had given birth before. The effective criminalisation of these women by the use of this kind of language was entirely intentional, and was designed to isolate and stigmatise both them and their children. ...

This identification of a group of children as being almost part of a genetic underclass goes some way towards explaining the extraordinary levels of abuse and savagery which we now know they suffered at the hands of the religious orders who ran the industrial schools. The use of language, the naming of these children as "bastards" and "illegitimate", played a crucial role in separating them from the rest of society, in defining them as being "other", and in exposing them to rape and battery.

Posted by kshaw at 08:18 AM

Court says priest violated terms of probation

DAYTON (OH)
Beacon Journal

Associated Press

DAYTON, Ohio - A Roman Catholic priest who was convicted last year of public indecency and selling alcohol to minors violated his probation and must serve 30 days in jail, a judge ruled Thursday.

The Rev. Thomas Kuhn, 63, of Cincinnati, pleaded no contest to misdemeanor charges in June and later was sentenced to five years' probation. Among the terms imposed by Montgomery County Common Pleas Judge Mary Katherine Huffman, Kuhn was barred from offering his services to any agency that serves people under age 21.

He violated those terms when he went to Elder High School in Cincinnati on Sept. 27 to offer counseling after a student had been shot to death, Huffman ruled.

Kuhn testified that he offered his services to the principal at Elder but insisted he did not want to be involved with the students.

"I don't know why you don't believe me, and I'm sorry that this happened," Kuhn said.

Posted by kshaw at 08:10 AM

Clearing the record

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Inquirer

An article in Wednesday's Inquirer erred in reporting that a priest who pleaded guilty to sexually abusing a 15-year-old boy in the late 1970s had admitted abusing him on a ski trip to Quebec. While the Rev. James J. Behan admitted other acts of abuse, Behan's lawyer, Vincent J. Morrison, said the priest denies any abuse on the ski trip.

Posted by kshaw at 08:06 AM

Prosecutors won't request jail time

CALIFORNIA
Union-Tribune

By J. Harry Jones
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
February 11, 2005

The former pastor of a Point Loma Roman Catholic church pleaded guilty yesterday to 10 misdemeanor counts of possession of child pornography.

The Rev. Gary Holtey, 59, will be sentenced at a hearing scheduled for March 10 by Superior Court Commissioner Sandra L. Berry. Prosecutors said they will not ask that Holtey be sentenced to jail.

Holtey went on leave from St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church and Academy shortly after federal agents and San Diego police raided his parish office May 6. He has since been living at a rehabilitation center in Maryland at church expense, prosecutors said.

Holtey is one of more than 100 people in San Diego and Imperial counties linked to child-porn sites through credit-card transactions in an international investigation.

Agents searched his office and found printouts of child erotica and pornography, gay-porn videos, film negatives of nude males, two computers and WebTV, a device used for accessing the Internet on a television, according to court documents.

Posted by kshaw at 08:05 AM

Worcester diocese passes audit amid clergy sex abuse scandal

WORCESTER (MA)
Dateline Alabama

The Associated Press

February 11, 2005

An outside audit found the Roman Catholic Diocese of Worcester is in compliance with standards to ensure the protection of children in the wake of the clergy sex abuse scandal.

The Gavin Group of Boston, which has audited every U.S. diocese for the past two years, offered no recommendations for improvement after finding the Worcester diocese in full compliance with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.

The Worcester audit, conducted Dec. 6-10, was completed along with the other reviews nationwide at the behest of a board of the a national Catholic Bishops' organization.

Worcester Bishop Robert J. McManus released the findings Thursday while also acknowledging that a "great injustice" was done to victims of clergy sexual abuse in his diocese. McManus also pledged to continue working for healing and restoration of trust.

Posted by kshaw at 07:56 AM

Archdiocese gets positive rating on abuse

WASHINGTON (DC)
The Washington Times

By Julia Duin
THE WASHINGTON TIMES

A recent audit found the Archdiocese of Washington compliant with new Roman Catholic Church policies on reporting child sexual abuse, church officials said yesterday.
This is the second consecutive year the archdiocese has fully complied with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, implemented in 2002 by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in the wake of the church's sexual abuse scandal. It demands every diocese comply with the charter and calls for strict annual audits.
These audits are conducted by the Boston-based Gavin Group, which is made up of former FBI investigators. A full audit of 194 U.S. dioceses will be released next week.
In 2004, the Washington archdiocese received accusations against two of its former priests, who are no longer in ministry, and a janitor.
One of the charges was against the Rev. Francis A. Benham, who pleaded guilty Dec. 20 to child abuse and sodomy charges involving a boy, 10, and a girl, 13, at Holy Family Catholic Church in Forestville. He will be sentenced Feb. 25 at the Prince George's County Courthouse.
The Archdiocese of Baltimore was also found fully compliant with the 2004 audit, according to spokesman Sean Caine.
The Diocese of Arlington refused to release its results until Feb. 18. Last year, it was found noncompliant in several areas, but since then it has instituted a mandatory fingerprinting policy for priests, seminarians, nuns, church employees and lay volunteers who work with children.

Posted by kshaw at 07:54 AM

Resigned to an active future

PROVIDENCE (RI)
Providence Journal

08:36 AM EST on Friday, February 11, 2005

BY RICHARD C. DUJARDIN
Journal Religion Writer

PROVIDENCE -- Bishop Robert E. Mulvee of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence said he hasn't composed his letter of resignation yet, but you can count on it being in the mail on Tuesday.,

Bishop Robert E. Mulvee of the Diocese of Providence, who turns 75 today, will submit his resignation letter as required to the Vatican next week. It's up to the pope to decide whether the resignation will be accepted.

Tuesday is Mulvee's 75th birthday, which looms large because there's a provision in the church's canon law that states that diocesan bishops are to turn in their resignations to the "Supreme Pontiff" when they have "completed their 75th year."

He said he never thought of not sending the letter. ...

While the Vatican has not asked Bishop Mulvee of late who he'd recommend as his successor, he did submit a list of three he thought might be excellent coadjutor bishops when his auxiliary, the Most Rev. Robert McManus became bishop of Worcester nine months ago.

With 152 parishes and 679,275 Catholics according to the latest official Catholic directory, the Diocese of Providence is the 25th largest diocese in the country, out of 180. If archdioceses were removed from the list, it ranks as the country's 11th largest diocese.

Although the diocese had once been singled out by clergy sexual-abuse groups as having one of the worst records in the country in terms of fighting victims in court, it's now recognized as being more of a model diocese when it comes to reaching out, since Bishop Mulvee and 37 plaintiffs reached a $14.5-million settlement last year.

Posted by kshaw at 07:52 AM

Accused priest suing Hughes for defamation

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
Times-Picayune

Friday, February 11, 2005
By Bruce Nolan
Staff writer
A third New Orleans priest relieved of duty on a charge he sexually abused a child has sued Archbishop Alfred Hughes for defamation, representing a growing local backlash against Hughes' determination to take accused priests out of their pulpits after a quick evaluation of the complaints against them.

Although no one keeps track of such suits nationally, a few are beginning to emerge around the country as accused priests fight back against an internal church process they believe has swung too far against them, several observers said.

Three suits in a single diocese appears to be unusual.

"Priests feel completely abandoned by their bishops -- thrown to the wolves, so to speak," said Joe Maher, a Detroit businessman who founded an organization that supports Catholic priests taken out of the ministry.

Church spokesmen, by contrast, note ruefully that while they were once criticized for acting too slowly, they are now under fire for being seen as acting too quickly. They say they have struck the right balance between protecting children and protecting priests when there are few facts to work with, only allegations and denials from each side.

"The archdiocese is attempting to lift a very, very delicate but heavy load here," said the Rev. William Maestri, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of New Orleans.

Posted by kshaw at 07:49 AM

Murder victim's mom confronts killer

FLORIDA
Miami Herald

BY LISA ARTHUR
larthur@herald.com

''I am Shelly's mother,'' Beverly Lewis said to Mykhaylo Kofel, the former monk-trainee who murdered her daughter.

''I want you to know where she is now. She is in heaven,'' she said Thursday, just minutes before Kofel pleaded guilty to murdering Michelle Lewis, 39, at Holy Cross Academy in West Kendall in 2001.

Lewis began to cry and her hands shook as she read from a letter she had written to Kofel. The pale, baby-faced 22-year-old defendant stared at the floor of a hushed Miami-Dade courtroom as Lewis continued.

''When you stabbed and beat her to death, God's angels took her soul to heaven,'' she said.

Lewis regained her composure. She wanted Kofel to know that his attack on her daughter, a nun-in-training, had been so vicious that morticians told her an open casket was impossible. ...

Prosecutors said they offered Kofel the plea deal because they believe his ''intolerable act'' of murdering Lewis was mitigated by sexual abuse inflicted upon him by priests at the academy.

Kofel, who was 18 at the time of Lewis' slaying, told investigators the day after the March 25, 2001 murder that the Rev. Abbott Gregory Wendt and the Rev. Damian Gibault -- leaders of Holy Cross -- repeatedly sexually abused him during the four years he lived at the academy, where he came to train as a monk in the Byzantine Catholic Church.

The priests, through their attorneys, deny they abused Kofel. No charges have been filed against them.

Posted by kshaw at 07:47 AM

$5 million settlement is near in Paterson clergy sex abuse

NEWARK (NJ)
Philadelphia Inquirer

By Jeffrey Gold
Associated Press

NEWARK, N.J. - A $5 million settlement for 27 men who alleged that Roman Catholic priests in the Paterson Diocese had molested them could be completed by early next week, a person involved in the case says.

If all the plaintiffs sign on, the sum would be the largest payout by a New Jersey diocese in a clergy sex-abuse case. The deal also would provide four years of counseling for the men, said the person, who spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Most of the men stated they were violated as boys from 1968 to 1982 by James Hanley, who served in three North Jersey parishes. He was removed from the priesthood in 2002, 17 years after church officials learned of complaints against him.

The men sued 13 months ago, contending that church officials, including former Bishop Frank Rodimer, had failed to protect youngsters.

Posted by kshaw at 07:39 AM

Jury chosen for sex-abuse trial of defrocked priest Blackwell

BALTIMORE (MD)
Baltimore Sun

By Julie Bykowicz
Sun Staff
Originally published February 11, 2005
With 16 men and women selected yesterday as jurors and alternates, opening statements in the trial of a defrocked Baltimore priest accused of molesting a young parishioner who later shot him are expected to begin this morning.

Maurice Blackwell, 58, is charged with four counts of sexual child abuse in the alleged molestation of Dontee Stokes, 29, between 1989 and 1992.

At the time, Blackwell was the powerful and popular minister of St. Edward Catholic Church in West Baltimore, and Stokes was a youth group leader who says he considered Blackwell a mentor and father figure.

Blackwell said Tuesday that he is innocent.

Posted by kshaw at 07:38 AM

Lawsuit accuses Milwaukee Archdiocese of fraud

ST. FRANCIS (WI)
Pioneer Press

BY XIAO ZHANG
Associated Press

ST. FRANCIS, Wis. — The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee covered up for a priest convicted of sexual misconduct in the 1970s when church officials sent him to a new parish without warning of his past, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday.

A man who says he was abused by the late Rev. Siegfried Widera in the 1970s at the new parish filed the lawsuit against the archdiocese, seeking an unspecified amount of money.

The lawsuit said the archdiocese transferred Widera from Port Washington to the St. Andrew parish in Delavan in 1973, without warning anyone of his conviction of sexual misconduct earlier that year. The archdiocese later transferred Widera to California after he finished his three-year probation for the offense.

The lawsuit, filed in Milwaukee County Circuit Court, alleges the archdiocese's "intentional nondisclosure" caused the altar boy's molestation by Widera.

"This archdiocese is a very scary place because the children are not safe here," said Jeff Anderson, a Minnesota attorney representing the accuser. Anderson said the accuser is now in his 30s and lives in the Milwaukee area.

Posted by kshaw at 07:36 AM

Priest resigns over abuse claims

BERKELEY (CA)
Contra Costa Times

By Martin Snapp
STAFF WRITER

BERKELEY - Parishioners at St. Joseph the Worker Church are in shock after learning that their longtime pastor, the Rev. George Crespin, had abruptly resigned because of a sexual abuse allegation.

The news was delivered at Sunday Mass, when other priests read Crespin's announcement.

In it, he adamantly proclaimed his innocence, saying, "Since I know the person making this accusation, I am firmly convinced that this is being done to get money from the church."

The alleged incident occurred 30 years ago, well before Crespin came to Berkeley.

Several parishioners said they couldn't believe the accusation, though none was willing to speak for the record.

Posted by kshaw at 07:34 AM

Providence Diocese Bishop Robert Mulvee Is Retiring

PROVIDENCE (RI)
News Channel 10

POSTED: 7:00 am EST February 11, 2005
UPDATED: 7:19 am EST February 11, 2005

PROVIDENCE -- Bishop Robert Mulvee, head of the Diocese of Providence, will retire on Tuesday, a decision mandated under church law because he turns 75 years of age.

The resignation letter will be sent to Pope John Paul II. The pontiff has been known to delay accepting resignations, so Mulvee may be around a while longer. It's unknown who may succeed Mulvee.

Mulvee said even when he resigns, he'll remain active in the church. "I'm still a priest, you know," he told The Providence Journal. ...

The Providence Diocese is the 25th largest diocese in the United States, with 152 parishes and about 679,000 members. It reached a $14.5 million settlement last year with 37 people who had sued the diocese over clergy sexual abuse.

Posted by kshaw at 07:32 AM

Bishop says abuse by clergy was ‘great injustice’ to victims

WORCESTER (MA)
Telegram & Gazette

By Kathleen A. Shaw Telegram & Gazette Staff
kshaw@telegram.com

WORCESTER— Bishop Robert J. McManus of the Catholic Diocese of Worcester yesterday acknowledged that a “great injustice” was done to victims of clergy sexual abuse in this diocese, and he pledged to continue working for healing and restoration of trust.

His remarks came as he announced that a recent audit done at the behest of theAbuse Tracker Review Board of the United States Catholic Bishops has found that the diocese is in full compliance with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.

The Gavin Group of Boston, which audited every diocese in the United States for the past two years, gave no recommendations for improvement. The group conducted the audit here Dec. 6 through 10. The first audit was done June 23 through 27, 2003.

“At the conclusion of this compliance audit, the diocese was found to be compliant with all articles of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People,” the audit states.

“I am pleased to see that this audit has once again confirmed the commitment our diocese has made to healing for those who seek the church’s assistance and restoring trust to the faithful community as a whole,” the bishop said.

“A great injustice was done to these victims of sexual abuse by members of the church. While there is no simple answer on how to foster healing in their lives, we join with the rest of the church in expressing our sorrow for the pain which was inflicted upon them and their families,” Bishop McManus said.

“We will continue to work with those victims who have approached us to address their individual needs. The sincerest response we can make to the community as a whole is to continue to strengthen the policies, procedures and spirit of our local policies and the national charter. This audit recognizes that commitment,” he said.

No specific recommendations for improvements were cited. It is expected that the national results will be released in Washington, D.C., later this month by the Office of Child Protection of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The audit report is posted on the diocesan Web site at www.worcesterdiocese.org.

Judge Anne Burke of Chicago, former interim chairwoman of theAbuse Tracker Review Board, spoke here Monday night at the College of the Holy Cross and said the board was proud of its work in enforcing the charter and in the auditing process.

Daniel Dick, victim support coordinator for the diocese-wide Voice of the Faithful, said the organization of lay Catholics is interested in more openness in the church. VOTF supports outside audits to see if dioceses are adhering to the charter, which was adopted by the American bishops in 2002, but he said Catholic lay people need to know more about the process.

“We have never seen what the Diocese of Worcester submitted to theAbuse Tracker Review Board so we can verify the veracity of what they are saying,” Mr. Dick said. “We need to be sure that the audit is legitimate.”

Mary T. Jean of the Worcester Voice, who advocates for clergy sexual abuse victims, said she was pleased to hear the bishop “recognize the pain of the victims.” She said she had not read the audit report and could not comment further.

According to the audit report, the diocese has instituted a policy to prevent clergy sexual abuse. The bishop late last year released a code of conduct on what is expected of clergy and paid and volunteer church workers.

The auditors said no new allegations of sexual abuse of a minor have been made to the diocese since the last compliance audit in 2003.

“The diocese has not entered into any confidentiality agreements during the audit period,” the auditors said.

The auditors also noted that the diocese has established an “effective liaison with civil authorities, ensuring that an open dialogue regarding sexual abuse allegations will occur.” Monsignor Thomas J. Sullivan, diocesan chancellor, has served as liaison to the office of District Attorney John J. Conte since 2002.

The audit also outlined the steps taken by the diocese when an allegation is made against a priest. After preliminary investigation, which complies with the church’s canon law, the diocese notifies the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the Vatican. If accusations are proven to be unfounded, “the diocese takes steps to restore the good name of the priest or deacon.”

If sexual abuse of a minor is admitted by clergy or guilt is established after a process that complies with church law, the diocese policies indicate that the priest or deacon can be permanently removed from ministry. The audit noted that “professional assistance” is given to these priests.

“In every case involving canonical penalties, the processes provided for in canon law are observed,” the audit said. “Accused clergy are encouraged to retain the assistance of civil and canonical counsel. When necessary, the diocese supplies canonical counsel to a priest or deacon,” the audit said.

In cases when a priest is not defrocked, the diocese “directs the offender to lead a life of prayer and penance,” the auditors said. A removed priest is not allowed to celebrate public Mass, administer sacrament or to “present himself publicly as a priest.”

The diocese reported to the review board that 45 priests were credibly accused of sexual misconduct from 1950 to 2003. Eight priests were removed from ministry in 2002 and 2003 by Bishop Daniel P. Reilly and none has been returned to duty. They are the Rev. John J. Bagley of St. Mary, North Grafton; the Rev. Raymond P. Messier of St. Francis of Assisi, Athol, and St. Peter, Petersham; the Rev. Chester J. Devlin of St. Bernadette, Northboro; the Rev. Gerald P. Walsh of St. Roch, Oxford; the Rev. Joseph A. Coonan of St. John, Worcester; the Rev. Peter J. Inzerillo of St. Leo, Leominster; the Rev. Lee F. Bartlett of Sacred Heart, Worcester; and the Rev. Jean-Paul Gagnon, of St. Augustine, Millville.

The sincerest response we can make to the community as a whole is to continue to strengthen the policies, procedures and spirit of our local policies and the national charter.
Robert w. McManus Worcester bishop

Posted by kshaw at 07:28 AM

February 10, 2005

Lawyers: Most sex abuse claims probably filed

TUCSON (AZ)
KOLD

TUCSON, Ariz. Lawyers say 16 clergy sex abuse claims have been filed in response to public notices made as part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson's bankruptcy proceedings.

The diocese lawyer in its Chapter 11 reorganization case says two of the 16 cases were already filed as lawsuits in Pima County Superior Court.

Susan Boswell also says it hasn't been determined whether all 14 new claims are valid.

Another lawyer representing claimants who've sued the diocese says he anticipates 30 more claims would be added to the 16 by Friday.

Anyone filing a claim in hopes of obtaining a settlement under the bankruptcy must do so by the court's April 15 deadline.

Posted by kshaw at 11:00 PM

Parishioners question investigation of Yakima priest

YAKIMA (WA)
Seattle Post-Intelligencer

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

YAKIMA, Wash. -- A group of about 30 church members from at least six parishes in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Yakima has raised concerns about how the church handled an investigation of a Yakima priest.

The investigation began in September 2003 after photographs of nude boys were discovered on a computer belonging to the priest. The matter was immediately referred to the Diocesan Lay Advisory Board, which investigates allegations of sexual misconduct.

Board chairman Russell Mazzola, a lawyer, delivered the photographs to police the day he received them. The FBI investigated but declined to file charges, and the matter was referred to the Yakima County prosecutor's office last September.

About three weeks ago, County Prosecutor Ron Zirkle also decided against filing charges, saying the case did not meet federal or state statutes for children in sexually explicit conduct.

Through it all, church officials did not release any specifics on the investigation, and some church members now say the matter may not have been handled appropriately.

Posted by kshaw at 10:57 PM

Archdiocese faces new type of lawsuit: Fraud

MILWAUKEE (WI)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

By GINA BARTON
gbarton@journalsentinel.com
Posted: Feb. 10, 2005
A priest convicted of child molestation abused another boy while on court-ordered probation in 1976, yet officials at the Archdiocese of Milwaukee didn't notify police, according to archdiocesan records filed Thursday in Milwaukee County Circuit Court. Instead, church leaders persuaded the boy's mother to stay quiet and transferred the priest, Sigfried Widera, to California, the records show.

Had they spoken up, Widera - now deceased - could have been sent to prison on a probation violation, rather than to two parishes in California, where he reportedly molested at least nine other children.

The internal archdiocese documents, divulged as part of a lawsuit in California, are the basis of a civil fraud suit filed here Thursday on behalf of an alleged victim when Widera was at St. Andrew Parish in Delavan.

"These documents of conspiracy, deception and fraud show that church officials, at the very highest levels, conspired to keep parents, pastors, and most of all the police from intervening and saving children like myself," said Sharon Tarantino, who said Widera abused her in 1971.

No one at the archdiocese would discuss the suit, but a written statement said that "all allegations of sexual abuse of a minor received by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee are immediately reported to the appropriate civil authorities." The statement also says the archdiocese "continues to work proactively toward resolution of any issues brought to us by victims/survivors of sexual abuse as a minor by diocesan clergy."

Posted by kshaw at 10:55 PM

Priest Pleads Guilty To Charges Of Child Porn Possession

SAN DIEGO (CA)
10News.com

POSTED: 4:58 pm PST February 10, 2005

SAN DIEGO -- A Roman Catholic priest whose Point Loma office contained child erotica and gay porn videos when agents searched it last year pleaded guilty Thursday to 10 misdemeanor counts of possession of child pornography.

The Rev. Gary Michael Holtey, 59, is scheduled to be sentenced March 10 by Superior Court Commissioner Sandra L. Berry.

Ten additional counts of possession of child porn were dismissed.

Each count carries a penalty of a year in jail, but prosecutors won't ask for any more custody, said Head Deputy City Attorney Timothy E. Campen.

"We're not asking him to go to jail now," Campen said outside court.

If Holtey reoffends with similar crimes, custody would be appropriate, Campen said.

A condition of probation would be that Holtey continue counseling, which he is currently receiving at a Maryland rehabilitation center, the prosecutor said.

Posted by kshaw at 07:25 PM

Sexual abuse claims against Tucson Diocese nears 50

TUCSON (AZ)
Fox 11

03:20 PM MST on Thursday, February 10, 2005

By Stephanie Innes / Arizona Daily Star

By week's end, a total of nearly 50 claims from people alleging sexual abuse by local clergy are expected to be filed in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson's federal Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization case.

The deadline for filing claims is April 15 and the diocese's bankruptcy plan could be confirmed this summer, according to lawyers representing the diocese who appeared in court Thursday for a hearing in front of federal bankruptcy judge Judge James M. Marlar.

"This is a great model of how a Chapter 11 reorganization ought to be run - at least to this point," Marlar told lawyers during the hearing.

The nearly 50 claims include 22 lawsuits already filed by 34 plaintiffs alleging sexual abuse by clergy. The other claims have been received since the diocese filed for bankruptcy protection and began publicizing the April 15 deadline.

Also in the hearing, Marlar took issue with a proposal from attorney A. Bates Butler III - the "unknown claims representative" for the case - to hire an outside consulting firm to help him determine how many people will come forward after April 15 with claims they were abused by clergy as children but repressed memory prevented them from coming forward earlier.

Posted by kshaw at 07:20 PM

$5 million settlement nears completion for 27 who claimed priest abuse

NEWARK (NJ)
New York Newsday

By JEFFREY GOLD
Associated Press Writer

February 10, 2005, 2:45 PM EST

NEWARK, N.J. -- A $5 million settlement for 27 men who claimed they were molested by Roman Catholic priests could be completed by early next week, according to a person involved in the case.

If the settlement is signed by all the plaintiffs, the sum would be the largest payout by a New Jersey diocese in a clergy sex abuse case. The deal with the Diocese of Paterson also would provide four years of counseling for the men, said the person, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Most of the men claimed they were violated as boys from 1968 to 1982 by James Hanley, who served at three northern New Jersey parishes. He was removed from the priesthood in 2002, 17 years after church officials learned of complaints against him.

The lawsuit filed by the men 13 months ago claimed that church officials, including former Bishop Frank Rodimer, failed to take action to protect the youths.

Posted by kshaw at 07:16 PM

Apprentice Monk Admits Murdering Nun At Fla. School

MIAMI (FL)
Local 6

POSTED: 3:33 pm EST February 10, 2005

MIAMI -- An apprentice Byzantine Catholic monk pleaded guilty Thursday to fatally stabbing and beating a nun in 2001 after prosecutors agreed to a reduced sentence, believing he had been abused by two priests.

Mykhaylo Kofel, 22, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and armed burglary and was sentenced to 30 years in prison, under a plea bargain reached with prosecutors. He was originally charged with first-degree murder and could have received a sentence of death or life in prison.

Kofel, a Ukrainian, had been training with the Byzantine Monastic Order of the Eastern Orthodox Church when he stabbed Michelle Lewis, a 39-year-old Greek Catholic nun, more than 90 times. Her nude body was found March 25, 2001, in her residence at the Holy Cross Academy in western Miami-Dade County, where he had studied for five years and she taught.

"I am really sorry. I want to take full responsibility for my actions," Kofel told the court Thursday. "If I could, I would give my life for hers. Murder is wrong no matter what."

Kofel, who was 18 when the murder occurred, told authorities that two priests at the school, Father Abbott Gregory Wendt and Father Damian Gibault, sexually abused him. Although neither priest has been charged, prosecutor Gail Levine believes Kofel was abused, which led to the plea agreement.
"We learned of sexual and physical abuse of this defendant," Levine said. She said the investigation into Kofel's claims continues.

The priests say Kofel is lying.

"We have, from the very first day, denied the allegations of Kofel," said Richard Hersch, Gibault's lawyer. Hersch said many agencies, including the FBI, have closed their investigations into the abuse as there was no evidence.

Posted by kshaw at 07:13 PM

Man who claims abuse sues Archdiocese

ST. FRANCIS (WI)
The Journal Times

By Associated Press

ST. FRANCIS - The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee covered up for a priest convicted of sexual misconduct in the 1970s when church officials sent him to a new parish without warning of his past, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday.

A man who says he was abused by the late Rev. Siegfried Widera in the 1970s at the new parish filed the lawsuit against the archdiocese, seeking an unspecified amount of money.

The lawsuit said the archdiocese transferred Widera from Port Washington to a Delavan parish, without warning anyone of his conviction of sexual misconduct in 1973. The archdiocese later transferred Widera to California.

The lawsuit, filed in Milwaukee County Circuit Court, alleges the archdiocese's "intentional non-disclosure" caused the altar boy's molestation by Widera.

"This archdiocese is a very scary place because the children are not safe here," said Jeff Anderson, a Minnesota attorney representing the accuser. Anderson said the accuser is now in his 30s and lives in the Milwaukee area.

The archdiocese released a statement in response to the lawsuit Thursday, saying it is committed to working toward resolving issues brought up by victims of sexual abuse by clergy.

Posted by kshaw at 07:07 PM

Jury seated for Blackwell trial

BALTIMORE (MD)
Baltimore Sun

By Brian Witte
The Associated Press
Originally published February 10, 2005, 7:33 PM EST

A jury was impaneled today as the trial began for a former priest accused of child sexual abuse against a man who shot him nearly a decade after the alleged abuse.

Opening statements were scheduled to begin Friday morning in the case against Maurice Blackwell, who is charged with four counts of sexually abusing 29-year-old Dontee Stokes when Stokes was a teenager. Stokes shot Blackwell in 2002, when the church abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church was highly publicized.

While lawyers sifted through the jury pool, Stokes said the trial would do more than help him confront his alleged abuser. He said it will help other victims as well, and he hoped more victims would come to court to confront Blackwell.

"This trial is not just my fight, but it's the fight that we have to fight together," Stokes said outside the courtroom.

Blackwell, 58, sat in the courtroom as attorneys began putting together the jury that will decide his fate. He faces up to 60 years in prison.

Posted by kshaw at 07:06 PM

Lenten reflection on Church's journey of healing

IRELAND
One in Four

TEN YEARS ago, on the publication of the Child Sexual Abuse: Framework for a Church Response, Cardinal Daly said, "we express our shame and sorrow that such incidents of abuse have occurred. On behalf of bishops, priests and religious we apologise to all who have suffered because of sexual abuse inflicted on them by priests and religious . . ."

"Those who have suffered abuse and their families should have the first call on the Church's pastoral concern."

Lent is a time of the year when Christians are called to see things more clearly and to recognise that we are sinners. Lent is a journey in which we try to open our lives to the healing love of God. Towards Healing is a Lenten reflection about that journey.

Posted by kshaw at 09:04 AM

Priest Could Be Sent To Jail Today

DAYTON (OH)
ChannelCincinnati.com

POSTED: 8:40 am EST February 10, 2005
UPDATED: 8:45 am EST February 10, 2005

DAYTON, Ohio -- A former local priest convicted of public indecency and giving alcohol to teen-agers could be sent to jail today.

Father Thomas Kuhn is accused of not following the terms of his probation.

He appears before a judge today for a ruling in his case.

Posted by kshaw at 08:58 AM

Feds hiring private eyes to check abuse claims

CANADA
CBC Saskatchewan

Last Updated Feb 10 2005 08:38 AM CST
CBC News
OTTAWA – The federal government is about to spend millions of dollars to send private investigators to check out the claims of former students who say they were abused at Indian residential schools.

Ottawa has issued a request for proposals from private investigators across the country, hoping to hire 21 firms to track down alleged abusers and people who may have witnessed physical and sexual abuse.

The project is designed to verify about 13,000 compensation claims that former students have filed against the federal government over its role in setting up and running the schools, starting in the early 1900s. More claims come from Saskatchewan than any other province.

"It's important that people do have the right to tell their side of the story," says Nicole Dauz, who is with the federal department handling residential school claims.

Until now, Dauz says, government staff have tried to verify the information presented by former students who are asking to be compensated for the suffering imposed on them as young children. Using private investigators should speed up the process, she says.

Aboriginal leaders and former students are outraged about the plan, which they say is both a waste of money and a provocative gesture that implies the government doesn't believe the abuse happened. ...

Under an agreement signed in 2003, the Anglican Church of Canada, which ran many of the schools, agreed to put $25 million into a compensation fund for victims.

Posted by kshaw at 08:54 AM

CCD targets abuse

MASSACHUSETTS
Sun Chronicle

The Catholic Church's effort to prevent sexual abuse in the future is now reaching its youngsters.

Both the Diocese of Fall River and the Archdiocese of Boston are in the midst of implementing new abuse awareness programs in Catholic schools and in parish religious education programs as called for by American bishops.
`` We are all mandated to provide safe-environment education to children,'' said Arlene McNamee, director of Catholic Social Services in the Fall River Diocese.

Posted by kshaw at 08:50 AM

Boy Scout leader charged with molesting child

RINGWOOD (NJ)
NorthJersey.com

Thursday, February 10, 2005

By KATHLEEN CARROLL
STAFF WRITER

RINGWOOD - Reviving an old case, police say they have arrested a local Boy Scout troop leader who also is a children's music teacher and church volunteer on charges that he molested a 10-year-old boy.

Gene Giordano, 53, was arrested Wednesday morning and charged with sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a child, based on allegations that he fondled the boy in 1999. The attack allegedly occurred in Giordano's Valley Road home.

The charges represent the reopening of a six-year old case, which prosecutors dropped because the alleged victim was too young to testify effectively in court. However, new allegations in 2004 against Giordano toward other boys encouraged investigators to reopen the case.

They decided to press charges because the initial alleged victim, now 16, is emotionally mature and will make an effective witness, said Chief Assistant Prosecutor Joseph Del Russo of the Passaic County Prosecutor's Office.

"We saw this as an opportunity," he said.

Giordano is in charge of children's music programming at St. Catherine of Bologna Roman Catholic Church on Erskine Road. The church's Web site lists him as the coordinator of a children's choir, orchestra, music ministry and cantors. Giordano also is the leader of Boy Scout Troup 96, based out of St. Catherine's.

Posted by kshaw at 08:49 AM

$5M settles priest sex suits

PATERSON (NJ)
Daily Record

By Abbott Koloff, Daily Record

A group of 26 men who say they were abused by Catholic clergymen, many by a Mendham priest in one of the most notorious cases of clergy abuse in the state, have agreed to an estimated $5 million settlement to end two lawsuits against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Paterson.

Details were not made public but those involved with the case said on Wednesday that individual plaintiffs will receive settlements that appear to range from $100,000 to $200,000, the amounts determined by a court-appointed mediator and based on the damage suffered by individual plaintiffs. The agreement was reached in late January, those close to the case said, and a notice of settlement was filed in the Morris County Courthouse on Feb. 1.

The settlement is not yet official because not every victim has signed off on it.

Plaintiffs contacted Wednesday said they received copies of the agreement this week and had just signed them and returned them to their attorney. Some said they were not celebrating the agreement as a victory because the diocese refused one of their most important requests -- to make public the personnel files of priests.

Posted by kshaw at 08:44 AM

Ex-youth pastor recommended for no parole until year 2012

TENNESSEE
Jackson Sun

By JAMIE PAGE
jpage@jacksonsun.com
Feb 10 2005

A hearing officer Wednesday recommended that a former Jackson youth pastor be declined for parole for the remaining eight years of his sentence on an attempted rape and sexual battery conviction. The end decision goes to the parole board.

Curtis Hudson, a former youth pastor of First United Methodist Church in Jackson, is serving time in Brushy Mountain State Prison in Petros for attempted rape of a child and sexual battery by an authority figure. He pleaded guilty to the charges in December 2002.

It could be up to 30 days before a final decision is made by the Tennessee State Board of Probation and Parole whether to go with the recommendation of the hearing officer, said Jack Elder, spokesman for the state board. It would require at least three concurring votes from the seven-member parole board to approve the recommendation.

Posted by kshaw at 04:36 AM

Priest wants to change plea

DAYTON (OH)
Dayton Daily News

By Rob Modic
Dayton Daily News

DAYTON | The Rev. Thomas Kuhn, with new legal arguments and a new attorney, sought Wednesday to withdraw his no-contest pleas to public indecency and other misdemeanors on the eve of a hearing on whether he violated probation.

"If ever a person needed a zealous advocate, it is this defendant," Dwight D. Brannon, Kuhn's new attorney, wrote in a 39-page brief.

Brannon attacked most conditions set upon Kuhn in June and those changed or added by Montgomery County Common Pleas Judge Mary Katherine Huffman.

Prosecutors will respond to Brannon's motion at today's hearing before Huffman, a spokesman for Montgomery County Prosecutor Mathias H. Heck Jr. said.

Prosecutors allege Kuhn violated probation when he visited a Catholic high school in Cincinnati in September. He had been barred from offering his services to any institution that served minors.

Brannon said Kuhn went to the school to advise the principal with whom he had worked, the day after a student of the school had been slain nearby, and Kuhn visited when no students were at the school.

Brannon also contended that Huffman, who imposed 500 hours of community service, was barred from imposing more than 200 hours based on the law at the time of the offenses.

Kuhn, 63, pleaded no contest June 23 and was convicted of 11 misdemeanors that occurred at Kuhn's home between Nov. 1, 2001, and Oct. 15, 2003. The law was revised to 500 hours effective Jan. 1, 2004, Brannon said.

Posted by kshaw at 04:29 AM

Diocese suspects ex-priest of abuse

JEFFERSON CITY (MO)
The Kansas City Star

By DAVID A. LIEB The Associated Press

JEFFERSON CITY — The Roman Catholic Church acknowledged Tuesday that a former parish priest might have sexually abused at least a dozen boys over a couple of decades in several mid-Missouri parishes.

The Jefferson City Diocese said the Rev. John Degnan had been accused in 2001 — about the time he retired from parish ministry — of sexually abusing a boy in the 1960s.

“Additional allegations surfaced in 2002,” the diocese said in a statement issued Tuesday in response to media questions. “The investigation of this case by the diocese eventually suggested the probability of more victims … in the same locations.”

Although church officials have heard of 12 alleged victims, “our sense has been there are others out there,” said Sister Ethel Marie Biri, the diocesan chancellor.

Posted by kshaw at 04:19 AM

Catholic Church sees restorative justice as way to heal

WORCESTER (MA)
Telegram & Gazette

By Kathleen A. Shaw Telegram & Gazette Staff
kshaw@telegram.com

WORCESTER— Janine Geske, a law professor at Marquette University and former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice, last night offered the idea of restorative justice not only as one way to help victims of clergy sexual abuse but to bring about restoration to the offenders and to the entire community affected by these crimes.

Ms. Geske spoke about restorative justice last night at the College of the Holy Cross. The program was sponsored by the Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture as part of its “Beyond Brokenness: Healing, Renewal and the Church” series.

Daniel Dick of Worcester, victim support coordinator for Voice of the Faithful in the Worcester Diocese, and at least one victim of clergy sexual abuse have been talking with the Worcester Diocese about bringing the program here.

Patricia O’Leary Engdahl, who heads the diocesan Office for Healing and Prevention, attended the program.

Ms. Geske, a Catholic lay woman, said she believes the Catholic Church in the United States has a long way to go in bringing about healing from the clergy sexual abuse scandal. Some in the hierarchy fail to understand the deep hurt that was done “and some just don’t get it,” she said.

Some people may know of the concept of restorative justice because people of the Navajo nation have used it for years to bring about healing in their communities. Similar programs, which can be used in all cases of violent crime, are being used in Australia, Europe and other countries, she said.

Ms. Geske described the harm done in violent crime, including clergy sexual abuse, as being like a triangle. The victims or survivors are at the top, having been harmed by the crime. The harm also extends to the offenders and to the community at large. She called it a “ripple effect.”

There are several ways to conduct restorative justice programs. She is working with a group of offenders at a prison in Wisconsin. They form a circle, as is done with the Navajo people, and two or three victims of violent crime or other people affected by violence, come in to describe their experiences.

The victims are not meeting with the people that actually harmed them or their loved ones. The offenders also tell their stories.

Another model is to set up meetings between victims and their offenders, but this works only when both parties are willing to participate and the offender is willing to take responsibility for his or her actions.

Healing can come when all those affected by a crime have had a chance to share their stories, she said, and get to know about the other’s experience and how they thought and reacted to the crime.

Victims have a need to tell what happened to them and how it affects them and their lives as well as those who are around them, she said. Many want to tell their stories to the bishops, she said.

The professor said the institutional Catholic Church has done very little to bring about restorative justice that ultimately will help the clergy offenders, victims and survivors and the community of Catholics at large.

There has been little acceptance of responsibility by the institutional church. The “ripple effect” also has affected those priests who were not involved in sexual abuse because they have had to live with the fallout, she said.

Ms. Geske received applause when she said that people in parishes also are not helping to bring about healing when they treat clergy sexual abuse victims as “pariahs” in their parishes.

“You hit the nail on the head,” said Mr. Dick, who has said he is finding that some lay people of the Worcester diocese are shunning victims and their families rather than reaching out to help them.

Posted by kshaw at 04:14 AM

Attorney: Diocese stonewalling

ILLINOIS
Daily Herald

By Tona Kunz Daily Herald Staff Writer
Posted Thursday, February 10, 2005

An attorney for girls sexually abused by a former Geneva priest says he's making more progress finding other possible victims than getting restitution for those who already have come forward.

"There are a number of young ladies we are looking at as possible victims based on information we have been given," said Keith Aeschliman, a Shorewood attorney.

The two women who filed a lawsuit against Mark Campobello for abuse when they were in their teens lived in Geneva and Aurora. Aeschliman declined to say where the other potential victims lived. Campobello was ordained in 1991 and served at St. Peter in Geneva, Aurora Central Catholic High School, Holy Angels Parish in Aurora, St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Crystal Lake and St. James Parish in Belvidere.

Aeschliman said he's been setting up appointments with potential victims to see if they will confirm rumors of their abuse and if they want to join the lawsuits, which were filed in June and July.

Posted by kshaw at 04:10 AM

Paterson Diocese to pay $5M to settle sex abuse lawsuit

PATERSON (NJ)
Star-Ledger

Thursday, February 10, 2005
BY JEFF DIAMANT
Star-Ledger Staff
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Paterson has quietly settled a clergy sex abuse lawsuit involving allegations from 27 victims -- most of them against one priest over a 14-year period.

One plaintiff who asked not to be named said the main lawyer for the victims told him the diocese agreed to pay about $5 million to be divided in different amounts among the litigants. The church also agreed to provide up to four years of counseling for each plaintiff.

Lawyers in the case and Paterson Bishop Arthur Serratelli declined to comment on the exact settlement amount.

Serratelli said only that "my understanding is that we're moving toward a settlement, and that if there's any announcement it'll be made by the plaintiffs."

Posted by kshaw at 03:49 AM

Defrocked priest proclaims his innocence

BALTIMORE (MD)
Baltimore Sun

By Julie Bykowicz
Sun Staff
Originally published February 10, 2005
Delivering his message with the same impassioned oratory he once used from the pulpit, Maurice Blackwell, a former priest, defended himself publicly yesterday for the first time.

On the eve of his trial on sexual child abuse charges, Blackwell excoriated the Roman Catholic Church for abandoning him and called his accuser mentally disturbed.

Jury selection begins this morning in the trial of the recently defrocked priest who stands accused of molesting Dontee Stokes, a former parishioner at St. Edward Catholic Church in West Baltimore, more than a decade ago.

Stokes shot Blackwell, 58, almost three years ago. After the 29-year-old was acquitted of attempted murder charges, city prosecutors sought an indictment for the ex-priest.

"What has happened to me over the past 10 years has cost me most of what a person holds dear," Blackwell said, reading from a prepared statement. "I have lost my good name and reputation, my peace of mind; even my health and physical mobility have been impaired over something I did not do."

Posted by kshaw at 03:47 AM

February 09, 2005

Accused Pastor Returns to Congregation

NORCROSS (GA)
WXIA

Reported By: Duffie Dixon
Web Editor: Manav Tanneeru
Last Modified: 2/9/2005 10:35:10 PM

A Norcross pastor accused of molesting a child was welcomed back into his congregation Wednesday night.

Church members met at the Faith Life Fellowship Church to welcome home their pastor, Nathan Ridgeway, after he was released on bond Tuesday morning.

Police arrested Ridgeway at his church on January 25, accusing the pastor of assaulting a 3-year-old male relative at his home in Duluth.

Posted by kshaw at 10:06 PM

After Shanley

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Phoenix

THE CONVICTION and imprisonment of defrocked priest Paul Shanley brings a four-year saga to a symbolic close. Shanley, at one time a street-level priest admired for his work with runaways, had become the public face of the Catholic Church’s child-sexual-abuse scandal, accused of repeatedly taking advantage of children who had been entrusted to his care. As such, the verdict in Middlesex Superior Court this past Monday — finding him guilty of raping and fondling a Sunday-school student some 20 years ago — was anticlimactic, especially given the now-27-year-old victim’s reluctant testimony, based in part on the controversial notion of recovered memory.

But the sad truth is that this story never should have been about Shanley, the late ex-priest John Geoghan, and other rapists in Roman collars. Because the real story was always about the people in power — from the late Humberto Cardinal Medeiros, who privately mocked Shanley’s blackmail threats against the Boston archdiocese even while continuing to give him new assignments, to Bernard Cardinal Law, who resigned his position as archbishop in 2002 after the extent to which he had coddled Shanley and others became known.

The legal case against the perpetrators was never as strong, as compelling, or as important as the moral case against their protectors. It is the Catholic Church’s shameful legacy — in Boston, across the nation, and worldwide — that the worst of its priests were simply shifted about from place to place, free to continue ruining young lives for years, even decades. That’s an important fact to keep in mind now that the shock of the past four years is finally beginning to fade.

The truth about pedophile priests would never have come to light were it not for the courage of the victims and the willingness of the news media to stand up to a powerful institution. Although sex abuse within the Church had been an off-and-on scandal since the 1980s, the hierarchy itself hadn’t been implicated until March 2001, when the Boston Phoenix — in a groundbreaking series of articles by Kristen Lombardi — reported on Cardinal Law’s possible role in covering up Geoghan’s crimes. (An archive of the Phoenix’s reporting on this subject is online at www.bostonphoenix.com/pages/cardinal.asp.) Then, in 2002, the Boston Globe began its massive, relentless investigation into the hierarchy’s role in enabling abusive priests. It was the Globe that first detailed the sordid career of Paul Shanley. Within months, Law was gone.

Posted by kshaw at 10:02 PM

Blackwell Says He's Innocent Of Sex Crimes

BALTIMORE (MD)
WBAL

POSTED: 4:23 pm EST February 9, 2005

BALTIMORE -- A day before his trial, a defrocked priest broke a long silence on Wednesday to assert his innocence against child sex abuse allegations by a man who shot the cleric three times in 2002 during the widely publicized child abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church.

It was the first time Maurice Blackwell, who now walks with a cane as a result of the attack, has spoken publicly about the case. He is charged with four counts of child sexual abuse between 1989 and 1992 -- a decade before Dontee Stokes shot him. Jury selection begins Thursday.

In the past 10 years, he has lost "most of what a person holds dear," Blackwell said.

"I have lost my good name and reputation, my peace of mind -- even my health and physical mobility have been impaired over something I did not do," Blackwell said at a news conference in his attorney's office.

Blackwell, 58, described Stokes as a mentally disturbed young man who made the allegations in hopes of getting money out of him and the Catholic Church.

Posted by kshaw at 03:59 PM

Slate's Jurisprudence: Repressed Memories and the Courts

MASSACHUSETTS
NPR

by Dahlia Lithwick

Day to Day, February 8, 2005 · The recovered memory of one victim was the main evidence used to convict defrocked Boston priest Paul Shanley. Slate legal analyst Dahlia Lithwick joins NPR's Madeleine Brand to discuss the use of this form of evidence.

Posted by kshaw at 10:32 AM

Shanley verdict has local Catholics relieved

BRAINTREE (MA)
The Patriot Ledger

By DENNIS TATZ
The Patriot Ledger

Anne-Marie McCarthy was living in Braintree and attending Mass at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in the late 1960s when she first met a priest named Paul Shanley.

‘‘He made me uncomfortable,'' McCarthy said. ‘‘I don't know how else to say it. Some people have that effect on you. I just couldn't put my finger on it.''

Still, decades later when Shanley was at the center of the storm of allegations of sexual abuse of children by priests in the Boston Archdiocese, McCarthy was shocked. Now, McCarthy is relieved following Shanley's conviction by a Middlesex Superior Court jury yesterday on charges he sexually abused a young boy from a Newton church in the 1980s.

Judge Stephen Neel revoked Shanley's $300,000 cash bail and will sentence him next Tuesday on two counts each of child rape and indecent assault and battery on a child. Shanley is 74. He was impassive when the verdict was read.

‘‘I hope this helps other survivors and gives them courage and support to have their voices heard,'' said McCarthy, who now lives in Weymouth.

Shanley was assigned to St. Francis of Assisi Church in Braintree in 1967.

Posted by kshaw at 10:30 AM

Diocese of Denial: Good on DA for investigating church

DALLAS (TX)
The Dallas Morning News

10:35 PM CST on Monday, February 7, 2005

Dallas Catholics no longer have to rely on Bishop Charles Grahmann's shaky word that their priests have clean sex-abuse records. Dallas County District Attorney Bill Hill has opened an investigation of the diocese to see if the bishop is sitting on allegations of clerical sex abuse he's not reported to authorities.

Brooks Egerton reported in yesterday's Dallas Morning News the existence of sworn affidavits from 1994 alleging that Father Bill Richard, who resigned on Sunday from Our Lady of the Lake parish in Rockwall, sexually harassed and intimidated boys at Bishop Lynch High School and St. Mark's parish in Plano. It does not appear at this point that the diocese investigated the accusations, which Father Richard denied – nor did the diocese report these accusations to state officials, as the law seems to require.

Moreover, in 2002, Bishop Grahmann said that his people combed clergy personnel records "for any indication of violations of state laws relating to minors" and removed from ministry priests who had them. Somehow, Father Richard got to keep his post. And a 2003 outside audit overlooked him, even as it praised the Dallas diocese's "Safe Environment" program as a national model.

Posted by kshaw at 08:58 AM

Cardinal may face public grilling on abuse scandals

IRELAND
One in Four

By Mary Dundon, Political Reporter - Irish Examiner

SENIOR clerics such as Cardinal Desmond Connell could be questioned in public about their responses to abuse complaints against priests in their charge under plans to be brought to Cabinet within a month. The proposals, drawn up by Justice Minister

Michael McDowell, are part of the fast-tracking of public inquiries under an alternative to tribunals which will investigate child sexual abuse by priests in the Archdiocese of Dublin.

The latest figures show that the Archdiocese of Dublin has recorded complaints against 60 priests over the last 40 years, one of which has now been established as false. It has paid out €2.5 million in compensation to 38 victims.

Posted by kshaw at 08:23 AM

Bishop rejects discreet approach to sex abuse

IRELAND
One in Four

Patsy McGarry, Religious Affairs Correspondent - Irish Times

Dealing discreetly with allegations of child sex abuse "can lead to failure to take the necessary steps", Bishop Donal Murray has said.

This was one of the painful lessons learned in 10 years' experience of the issue. Another was the pain of overcoming disbelief when somebody one knew, even loved, abused a child: "You have to experience that to know it."

Dr Murray, Bishop of Limerick, was speaking in Maynooth yesterday at the publication of Towards Healing, a pastoral reflection for Lent issued by the Irish Catholic bishops.

Introducing the document, Archbishop Seán Brady said it was intended to complement the new national guidelines on child protection for the church, agreed last week. It would do so by "emphasising the commitment of the church to bring about healing and restoration" to those who had been abused, Dr Brady said.

Posted by kshaw at 08:21 AM

Gag order sought in alleged priest abuse case

STOCKTON (CA)
Record

By Jeffrey M. Barker
Record Staff Writer
Published Tuesday, February 8, 2005

STOCKTON -- The two stories of alleged sexual abuse by a Stanislaus County Catholic priest differ greatly.

The plaintiffs -- a Hughson woman and her two daughters -- say Father Francis Arakal aggressively invited himself into their home, groped the young girls, then joined another priest in browbeating one of the girls when she attempted to report the incident.

The priests and the Roman Catholic Bishop of Stockton, however, say the woman was romantically obsessed with a priest who worked at St. Anthony's Church in Hughson and later at St. Joseph's in Modesto. The allegations against Arakal, 51, arose only after that priest had rebuffed the woman, according to the defendants.

The two versions were made public on Monday, in mandatory pretrial court filings outlining the details of the civil lawsuit.

The case is scheduled for a jury trial later this month, a rare step in priest abuse cases.

Citing pretrial publicity, attorneys for the Catholic church on Monday asked San Joaquin County Superior Court Judge Elizabeth Humphreys to place a gag order on participants in the case.

Posted by kshaw at 08:16 AM

Minister free on $50,000 bond

GEORGIA
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Published on: 02/09/05
A Norcross-area pastor accused of molesting a young relative was greeted by about 35 supporters as he left the Gwinnett County jail at 1 a.m. Tuesday.

The Rev. Nathan Ridgeway posted $50,000 bail, granted to him hours earlier by Gwinnett Superior Court Judge Melodie Snell Conner. His brother, Phil Ridgeway, said the bail was paid by a friend and member of Ridgeway's church, Faith Life Fellowship Church.

Ridgeway, the pastor of the nondenominational church on Spalding Drive, has been charged with aggravated child molestation and aggravated sexual battery. He is accused of molesting a young family member at the minister's Duluth home, Gwinnett police said. The boy is in the custody of his parents.

Posted by kshaw at 08:08 AM

Pastor allegedly wanted sex for paid holidays

SOUTH AFRICA
IOL

By Logan Govender

A pastor has denied in papers filed in the Durban High Court, that he had a sexual relationship with a Phoenix mother, who was a former member of his congregation.

Pastor and building contractor Tyrone James Pretorius also denied taking nude photographs and video footage of Preneetha "Neetha" Reddy of Palmhaven Place, Foresthaven, Phoenix.

The application was initiated by Reddy and her boarded husband, Shadrack, against Pretorius of Amethyst Place, Queensburgh.

'I was forced to lie down and be videotaped'
Under an interim order granted by Judge King Ndlovu on January 19, Pretorius was interdicted and restrained from intimidating, threatening, assaulting and harassing Reddy and her husband.

Posted by kshaw at 08:06 AM

Victim advocates: Throw book at Shanley

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Herald

By Marie Szaniszlo
Wednesday, February 9, 2005

A day after Paul Shanley was convicted of fondling and raping a Sunday school student, victim advocates yesterday called for a lengthy prison sentence to ensure the defrocked priest never harms a child again.

``The ideal sentence is one that keeps these guys off the street for as long as possible because they're never going to come to a true understanding of the harm they've done,'' said Carmen Durso, who represents seven of Shanley's alleged victims.

A Middlesex County jury deliberated for 14 hours before finding Shanley, 74, guilty of molesting a boy in the 1980s at St. Jean's parish in Newton.

Shanley's attorney, Frank Mondano, yesterday blamed the verdict on worldwide media coverage of the case and said he would appeal.

``These folks had an agenda,'' Mondano said of the jury of seven men and five women. ``All of them wanted to be on this jury. The question was why, and now that's been answered.''

An alternate juror, Eric Korsh of Newton, yesterday said he was ``vaguely aware'' that Shanley was one of several priests who had been accused of molesting children. ``But at the end of closing arguments, I was leaning toward not guilty,'' he said. ``There was some very emotional and compelling testimony from the victim, but also some serious questions raised by the defense.''

Posted by kshaw at 07:56 AM

For one accuser, penalty can't heal wound

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Herald

By Kevin Rothstein
Wednesday, February 9, 2005

Arthur Austin says he was abused by child molester Paul Shanley more than 30 years ago, but he doesn't think a jail sentence will heal the ex-priest's victims.

``There's a lot of Shanley victims out there, and some of them still can't leave their house,'' the Braintree man said. ``People are going to live with this forever.''

Austin, now 56, was a confused 20-year-old when Shanley allegedly began abusing him in a cabin in the Blue Hills. Now there is no apology or jail sentence that is strong enough to appease him.

``He should be put away for whatever remains of his really miserable life,'' Austin said.

Austin hasn't attended any of the court hearings, but if he were to address the court at sentencing he would remind the judge that the bishops and Bernard Cardinal Law who helped Shanley stay in the ministry are ``co-conspirators.''

Posted by kshaw at 07:54 AM

Church wants to share expertise on responding to abuse

IRELAND
Ireland Online

08/02/2005 - 13:42:00

The Catholic Church in Ireland has expressed its desire to share what it has learned in recent years on how to respond effectively to child sexual abuse.

The wish is contained in a pastoral reflection for Lent issued by the Irish Bishops' Conference today.

Speaking at the launch of the document in Maynooth, Co Kildare, the Bishop of Limerick, Dr Donal Murray, said the church had learned a great deal about measures needed to deal effectively with abuse.

Posted by kshaw at 07:39 AM

Shanley verdict brings 'peace'

NEWTON (MA)
Newton Tab

By Amanda McGregor/ Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 9, 2005

Now that defrocked Roman Catholic priest Paul Shanley has been convicted of child rape, a local woman who tried to blow the whistle early on says she is finally "at peace."

"I feel such a sense of gratitude to the hero who prosecuted him, for this victim's courage to stand," said Jackie Gauvreau, whose allegations of Shanley's sexual terror at the former St. Jean's Church in Nonantum fell on deaf ears for two decades.

"We're at peace, knowing that Paul Shanley, a very sick individual, will not be allowed to hold control over anyone else's life anymore. He is now being controlled, and hopefully for the rest of his life," she added.

A Middlesex County jury convicted the 74-year-old ex-priest on Monday of child rape and indecent assault against a child, bringing an end to a case that came to embody the abuse crisis that shook the Archdiocese of Boston.

Posted by kshaw at 07:30 AM

Clergy sex abuse scandal won't go away

BOSTON (MA)
Milford Daily News

By Denise Lavoie / Associated Press
Wednesday, February 9, 2005

BOSTON -- The conviction of defrocked priest Paul Shanley was both a real and symbolic victory for victims of clergy sexual abuse. But the guilty verdict will not bring a quick end to the three-year scandal that has fractured the Roman Catholic church in Boston and across the country.

Although there is only one known criminal case pending against a priest within the Boston Archdiocese, there are more than 100 civil lawsuits accusing priests of sexually abusing children. And the pain felt across generations of children molested by their parish priest remains ever-present.

"Shanley's conviction was certainly a very important milestone in the ongoing battle. It has tremendous importance for all of us, but I know that there are still new victims coming forward," said Phil Saviano, who founded the New England chapter of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

"I firmly believe there are victims from the '90s who we have not yet heard from. There were still a number of priests then who felt they had free rein and could act without consequences."

Boston attorney Carmen Durso, who settled 40 lawsuits against the archdiocese in 2003, said he has filed another 25 lawsuits since then, naming 18 different priests. The Shanley trial, he said, has brought even more phone calls to his office from people who say they were molested by priests.

Posted by kshaw at 07:27 AM

Jury hints view shift regarding the clergy

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Globe

By Kevin Cullen, Globe Staff | February 9, 2005

Eleven years ago, the Rev. Paul Manning walked out of Middlesex Superior Court a free man, surrounded by cheering parishioners after a jury acquitted him of sexually assaulting an 11-year-old boy, even though the star witness against him was another priest.

On Monday, in that same court, another jury convicted defrocked priest Paul R. Shanley of raping a boy in the 1980s, marking what some legal practitioners say is a cultural sea change in the way juries weigh accusations of sexual abuse against clergy.

Monday's verdict, prosecutors say, shows that the clergy sexual-abuse scandal, which began unfolding in Boston this time three years ago, has eroded the deference once shown priests, and that the playing field for the accusers and the accused has become level.

"What has changed is that people understand that priests sometimes do these things," said Middlesex District Attorney Martha Coakley, the prosecutor in the Manning case and whose office prosecuted Shanley.

Retired judge Robert A. Barton, who presided over Manning's trial in 1994, noted that there are key differences between the prosecutions of Manning and Shanley, principal among them is the fact that the alleged victim in the Manning case recanted his story and did not testify.

But Barton, who followed the Shanley trial through news accounts, said he was surprised at the guilty verdict, because there seemed to be little to corroborate the victim's allegations.

Posted by kshaw at 07:26 AM

Priest admits to molesting male student in '70s

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Daily News

By THERESA CONROY
conroyt@phillynews.com

A Catholic priest yesterday admitted in Common Pleas Court to sexually abusing a 15-year-old North Catholic High School student in the 1970s.

The Rev. James J. Behan, 60, pleaded guilty before Common Pleas Judge Pamela Dembe to involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and corrupting the morals of a minor.

Behan, a priest of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, faces a maximum of 25 years in prison. His sentencing was scheduled for May 24.

Behan's victim, Martin Donohoe, now 41, did not attend yesterday's proceeding, but plans to testify during the sentencing, said prosecutor Maureen McCartney. She said the priest's plea saved the victim from the "harrowing experience" of testifying during a trial.

Posted by kshaw at 07:24 AM

Priest admits sex abuse

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Inquirer

By Nancy Phillips
Inquirer Staff Writer

In the first conviction to emerge from the city's long-running grand jury investigation of sex abuse by clergy, a priest pleaded guilty yesterday to sexually assaulting a teenager he had met when he taught at Northeast Catholic High School for Boys in the late 1970s.

The Rev. James J. Behan, 60, of Childs, Md., admitted that he had repeatedly molested the boy and had oral sex with him at a home he shared with other priests, in a Germantown rectory, on trips to North Carolina, and on a weekend ski trip to Quebec.

Behan's victim, Martin Donohoe, now 42, said yesterday that he, too, felt "a sense of guilt" - because many other victims of abuse by priests had not had their day in court.

Donohoe was 15 when Behan, then 34, began molesting him. Behan taught religious studies at Northeast Catholic, where Donohoe was a student. The attacks occurred between 1978 and 1980.

Posted by kshaw at 07:22 AM

A feeling of peace as trial approaches

BALTIMORE (MD)
Baltimore Sun

By Julie Bykowicz
Sun Staff
Originally published February 9, 2005
Here in a barber chair in a Baltimore shop near Charles Village called Conscious Heads, with one of his closest friends hovering above him with a pair of clippers, Dontee Stokes says he feels peace.

Other customers greet Stokes with enthusiastic handshakes and inquiries about mutual friends. Stokes, who gained notoriety in May 2002 when he shot the priest who he alleges molested him as a teenager, says he has found a kind of sanctuary in barber shops like this.

"It's healing just being around people who care," Stokes says of the barbers here. A barber himself, Stokes talks about opening his own shop, perhaps a franchise of this one, and using it as a platform for community service.

Stokes, 29, is preparing to testify as the star witness in the sexual child abuse trial of former priest Rev. Maurice Blackwell, 58, which is expected to begin this week. Once again, Stokes says, Baltimore's close-knit community of self-taught barbers is standing with him.

Posted by kshaw at 07:20 AM

Ex-N.C. priest confesses to sexual abuse

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
News Observer

By MARYCLAIRE DALE, The Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA -- A priest who taught at a Roman Catholic high school for boys pleaded guilty Tuesday to sexually abusing a student in the late 1970s.

The Rev. James J. Behan, 61, is an Oblate priest who served in North Carolina for two decades and now lives in Maryland. He faces up to 25 years in jail for involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and corruption of minors. He remains free on bond at an Oblate retirement home until his sentencing in May.

Behan performed oral sex on the teenager dozens of times from 1978 to 1980 when he taught at Northeast Catholic High School for Boys, said prosecutor Maureen McCartney. The victim, who was 15 when the abuse started, had thoughts of becoming a priest and spent considerable time with Behan, she said.

The sex acts took place at rectories and on overnight trips, she said.

"This is a person that was a priest. He taught at the same school, he took this student under his wing, and then he abused him," McCartney said.

Posted by kshaw at 07:19 AM

Credible witness

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Globe

February 9, 2005

THE CASE against Paul R. Shanley came down to the word of one person, a man who was forced to relive horrific childhood memories in front of strangers in a Middlesex Superior courtroom. That 12 of them, empaneled as a jury, found Shanley guilty of child rape is a tribute to the witness's courage and credibility.

The Globe first reported in 2002 that complaints of sexual abuse against Shanley go back to the 1960s, but most were beyond the statute of limitations. Up until the 1990s few people were willing to face the calumny that would come to them if they accused a Catholic priest of this crime.

The Globe articles and other reports of abuse removed the veil of silence. And four people came forward to accuse Shanley of molesting them when he was the pastor of St. Jean Church in Newton. Abuse victims are often troubled themselves, either by the abuse or by other problems in their childhood. They often do not make credible witnesses, and Middlesex County District Attorney Martha Coakley decided to pursue only one case.

The man who agreed to testify -- unnamed because of Globe policy -- was already assured of a $500,000 settlement from the Archdiocese of Boston in a civil case. Despite assertions by the defense lawyer, Frank Mondano, he was clearly not testifying for financial gain. Mondano put him through a scathing, 14-hour cross-examination, but his ordeal increased his credibility before the jury.

Posted by kshaw at 07:17 AM

Priest denies abuse claims

BERKELEY (CA)
The Argus

By Kristin Bender, STAFF WRITER

The pastor of a Roman Catholic church in Berkeley has left his post amid accusations of sexual misconduct 30 years ago, while he was serving at Our Lady of the Rosary in Union City.

The Rev. George Crespin, 69, pastor at St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church in downtown Berkeley, was granted permission to retire last week by Bishop Allen Vigneron.

"He submitted his resignation and the bishop accepted it," said the Rev. Mark Wiesner, a Diocese of Oakland spokesman.

The diocese currently is investigating 44 outstanding cases of sexual misconduct involving members of the clergy. The diocese and all alleged victims are starting a mediation process next week that could result in settlements.

Sister Barbara Flannery of the Diocese of Oakland declined to release details of the accusation against Crespin. The sex and age of the accuser were not available, although Crespin called the accuser a "young adult" in a letter he read to parishioners Sunday.

Posted by kshaw at 07:15 AM

Priest resigns post over '90s sex case

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Tribune

By Manya A. Brachear, Tribune staff reporter. Tribune staff reporter Tom Rybarczyk contributed to this report
Published February 9, 2005

Cardinal Francis George expressed regret Tuesday for placing a priest who once had a sexual relationship with a college student into a University of Chicago ministry, vowing to review the flawed process that put him there.

Rev. Michael Yakaitis, 52, who has served since 2001 as chaplain of Calvert House, a Catholic student center in Hyde Park, resigned his position Tuesday, acknowledging he had engaged in sexual activity with an 18-year-old male seminarian 15 years ago.

The former seminarian, now 32, said Yakaitis served as his spiritual director at Loyola University's Niles College Seminary when the sexual relationship occurred. When the student tried to end the relationship, Yakaitis threatened him, the former seminarian said, and he eventually withdrew from the seminary, which is now defunct.

In a statement released Tuesday, Yakaitis said he had undergone counseling and residential treatment after the incidents and has remained celibate ever since. He also conceded that accepting the appointment to college ministry was not a smart choice.

Posted by kshaw at 07:13 AM

Blackwell Trial Begins Tomorrow

BALTIMORE (MD)
WJZ

Feb 9, 2005 6:45 am US/Eastern
Baltimore, MD (WJZ) Former priest Maurice Blackwell is scheduled to go on trial tomorrow in Baltimore for the alleged sexual child abuse of a former parishioner who shot Blackwell a decade later.

Blackwell's trial for the alleged abuse of Dontee Stokes has been postponed six times.

Blackwell was defrocked in October.

His lawyer, Kenneth Ravenell, says Blackwell is innocent of the charges.

Ravenell and Blackwell have scheduled a news conference this afternoon.

Posted by kshaw at 07:12 AM

Roman Catholic Chaplain Quits Post Amid Sex Scandal

CHICAGO (IL)
NBC 5

POSTED: 6:07 pm CST February 8, 2005
UPDATED: 8:38 pm CST February 8, 2005

CHICAGO -- The Roman Catholic chaplain at the University of Chicago's Catholic Center has quit on Tuesday, one day after a former student of his came forward claiming that the chaplain had sexually exploited him years ago.

The man, who preferred to remain anonymous, said the Rev. Michael Yakaitis had an abusive sexual relationship with him when the man was a seminarian 15 years ago, adding that he told seminary officials at the time.

The Survivors Network of Those Abused By Priests met outside the office of the university's president on Monday, where they raised questions about the priest and asked that he be removed, NBC5's Mary Ann Ahern reported. Critics said to place a priest back in the same age group as the young man with whom he had a sexual relationship is outrageous.

"The priest has used his position of power and authority for sexual gratification," said SNAP spokeswoman Barbara Blaine. "That is a violation and anyone that has done that should not be allowed to continue in a position of power and authority."

Yakaitis, who has resided at the university's Catholic Center called Calvert House for the past three years, admitted that he had a sexual relationship with a seminarian at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary, but said it was an "adult" relationship. At the time, Yakaitis was the dean of students, while the seminarian was 18 years old.

Posted by kshaw at 07:09 AM

February 08, 2005

Catholic church says priest may have abused at least a dozen boys

JEFFERSON CITY (MO)
Belleville News Democrat

DAVID A. LIEB
Associated Press

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - The Roman Catholic Church acknowledged Tuesday that a former priest may have sexually abused at least a dozen boys over a couple decades in several mid-Missouri parishes.

The Jefferson City Diocese said the Rev. John Degnan had been accused in 2001 - about the time he retired from parish ministry - of sexually abusing a boy in the 1960s.

"Additional allegations surfaced in 2002," the diocese said in a statement issued Tuesday in response to media questions. "The investigation of this case by the diocese eventually suggested the probability of more victims of (father) Degnan in the same locations."

Although church officials have heard of about 12 alleged victims, "our sense has been there are others out there," said Sister Ethel Marie Biri, the diocese chancellor.

Degnan, who turns 80 next week, could not immediately be reached for comment. Biri said that in 2002 Degnan was placed in a supervised residential center run by the St. Louis Archdiocese for priests who can no longer be assigned to parishes for fear they could harm others.

Posted by kshaw at 08:32 PM

St. Joseph’s Priest Resigns Amid Sex Allegations

BERKELEY (CA)
Berkeley Daily Planet

By MATTHEW ARTZ
Father George Crespin abruptly retired from his post as pastor of Berkeley’s St. Joseph The Worker parish last week amid an accusation that he sexually abused a parishioner 30 years ago.

In a letter read by priests to parishoners Sunday, Crespin denied the charge and questioned the motives of his accuser.

“Since I know the person making this accusation, I am firmly convinced that this is being done to get money from the church,” he wrote.

Crespin was out of town for an uncle’s funeral and could not be reached for comment.

The Diocese of Oakland, which includes Berkeley, refused to disclose the accuser’s gender or specifics about the allegations other than that they were sexual in nature. Diocese officials were also unable to answer which church Crespin was assigned to when the alleged misconduct occurred. Crespin joined St. Joseph’s in 1980, six years after the alleged incident.

Posted by kshaw at 06:15 PM

More Clergy Abuse Cases Pending

MASSACHUSETTS
NPR

by Luke Burbank

Day to Day, February 8, 2005 · A Massachusetts jury convicted former priest Paul Shanley of child rape and assault on Monday. NPR's Luke Burbank surveys other cases pending in the church sex-abuse scandal.

Posted by kshaw at 06:13 PM

Shanley conviction isn't end to clergy sex abuse crisis

BOSTON (MA)
Telegram & Gazette

By DENISE LAVOIE
AP Legal Affairs Writer

BOSTON— The conviction of defrocked priest Paul Shanley was both a real and symbolic victory for victims of clergy sexual abuse. But the guilty verdict will not bring a quick end to the three-year scandal that has fractured the Roman Catholic church in Boston and across the country.

Although there is only one known criminal case pending against a priest within the Boston Archdiocese, there are more than 100 civil lawsuits accusing priests of sexually abusing children. And the pain felt across generations of children molested by their parish priest remains ever-present.

"Shanley's conviction was certainly a very important milestone in the ongoing battle. It has tremendous importance for all of us, but I know that there are still new victims coming forward," said Phil Saviano, who founded the New England chapter of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

"I firmly believe there are victims from the '90s who we have not yet heard from. There were still a number of priests then who felt they had free reign and could act without consequences."

Boston attorney Carmen Durso, who settled 40 lawsuits against the archdiocese in 2003, said he has filed another 25 lawsuits since then, naming 18 different priests. The Shanley trial, he said, has brought even more phone calls to his office from people who say they were molested by priests.

Posted by kshaw at 06:12 PM

A Church At The Crossroads

UNITED STATES
Sojourners Magazine

by Heidi Schlumpf

Maria Teresa Martinez grew up in Mexico and came to the United States 33 years ago, eventually landing in Chicago. When she’s not watching her 3-year-old and 3-month-old grandchildren, the 60-year-old bundle of energy is volunteering at the legal clinic at her parish on the northwest side of the city. She can’t say enough good things about her pastor and doesn’t see much wrong with the Catholic Church.

Suzanne Morse lives in Boston and sees plenty wrong with the institutional church. Born after Vatican II, she never grew up with that "Father’s always right" attitude. So when The Boston Globe began exposing priest sex abusers, Morse, who was working in communications for a nonprofit research institution, got involved with the lay reform group Voice of the Faithful. Today she serves as the group’s public relations point person.

On the surface, Martinez and Morse - aside from both being Catholic women - may not seem to share much in common. One is a working-class Midwestern Latino woman with relatively traditional views about Catholicism. The other is a middle-class Eastern Anglo working for change in the church.

Both, however, are the faces of the future of the Catholic Church in the United States.

Posted by kshaw at 06:10 PM

Pastor pleads innocent to sex abuse

NEWARK (OH)
The Advocate

By ERIK JOHNS
Advocate Reporter

NEWARK -- A Hebron pastor accused of sexually abusing two sisters pleaded innocent in court Monday and received a stiff bond at the request of a prosecutor who claimed he is a flight risk.

Lonny "Joe" Aleshire Jr., 503 E. Main St., Hebron, pleaded innocent to 10 sex-abuse charges -- seven felonies and three misdemeanors -- in an arraignment before Common Pleas Magistrate C. Daniel Hayes.

Aleshire's lawyer David Stansbury hoped the magistrate would maintain Aleshire's $250,000 bond because of his connection to the community and lack of prior criminal history.

Hayes adjusted the bond to $500,000 after Licking County Assistant Prosecutor Melinda Seeds expressed her concern that Aleshire could flee if released, a claim Stansbury denies.

"Mr. Aleshire has substantial ties to the community and has every intention of staying here and addressing the allegations," Stansbury said.


Posted by kshaw at 12:30 PM

Statement of the Archdiocese of Boston Regarding Verdict in Case Against Paul R. Shanley

BOSTON
PR Newswire

BOSTON, Feb. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- The Archdiocese of Boston made the
following statement regarding today's verdict in the trial of former priest
Paul R. Shanley:
"Survivors of clergy sexual abuse, their family and friends have endured
much suffering as a result of the depraved violations of human dignity
perpetrated on them as children and teenagers. These sufferings are
profoundly personal and damaging to both the psyche and the soul.
For many, the trial and testimony brought the intensity of these
sufferings to the surface. It is important for the Archdiocese of Boston, in
this moment, to again apologize for the crimes and harm perpetrated against
children by priests who held the trust and esteem of families and the
community. Survivors and families who bear the wounds of these shameful acts
are held with great tenderness in our prayers.

Posted by kshaw at 12:28 PM

Church 'learnt much about abuse'

IRELAND
BBC News

The Catholic Church has learnt a great deal about the measures needed to respond effectively to sexual abuse, Ireland's bishops have said.

It was important for that knowledge to be shared and "the cry for healing needs to be heard from all victims of child sexual abuse", they said.

The bishops launched details of their Lenten pastoral reflection on Tuesday.

Catholic Primate of All-Ireland Dr Sean Brady said Wednesday was Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent.

Posted by kshaw at 12:27 PM

Priest pleads to felony sex charge involving student

PENNSYLVANIA
NEPA News

By MARYCLAIRE DALE, Associated Press Writer, The Associated Press February 08, 2005

A priest who taught at a Roman Catholic high school for boys pleaded guilty Tuesday to having a sexual relationship with a student in the late 1970s.

The felony plea by the Rev. James J. Behan, 61, an Oblate priest who now lives in Childs, Md., marks the first criminal plea involving priest sexual abuse in Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, a prosecutor said.

Behan performed oral sex on the teenager dozens of times from 1978 to 1980 when he taught at Northeast Catholic High School, Assistant District Attorney Maureen McCartney said.

The victim, who was 15 when the abuse started, had thoughts of becoming a priest and spent considerable time with Behan, who had the trust of the boy's deeply religious family, she said.

The sex acts took place at rectories and on overnight trips, but apparently not at the high school, McCartney said.


Posted by kshaw at 12:25 PM

Nothing in records to suggest abuse, says superior

IRELAND
One in Four

Patsy McGarry, Religious Affairs Correspondent - Irish Times

Nothing has been found in the records to support abuse allegations made by former residents of a Kilkenny industrial school, the child abuse commission has been told.

The superior general of the Religious Sisters of Charity, Sister Una O'Neill, told the commission's investigation yesterday that there was nothing on the congregation's files or those of the Department of Education to substantiate allegations made by 11 former residents of St Patrick's industrial school.

St Patrick's was run by the Sisters of Charity from its beginning in 1879 to its closure as an industrial school in 1966. It is now a residential centre for people with physical and mental disabilities, and is still run by the Sisters.

Posted by kshaw at 08:00 AM

The Shanley case

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Globe

February 8, 2005

1985 Then-Rev. Paul Shanley is appointed pastor of St. Jean's parish in Newton by Cardinal Bernard F. Law.
Mid to late 1980s A Newton woman says she twice confronted Law with an accusation that Shanley tried to molest a teenage boy.
January 1990 Shanley leaves for a sabbatical in California, surfacing at St. Ann Parish in San Bernardino.
1993 Shanley is recalled to Boston when several alleged victims make abuse claims against him.
1993-94 During treatment at the Institute of Living in Hartford, Shanley admits to having had sex with teenage boys.

Posted by kshaw at 07:52 AM

‘Victory,’ vindication: Former priest convicted in landmark abuse case

CAMBRIDGE (MA)
Boston Herald

By Brian Ballou and J.M. Lawrence
Tuesday, February 8, 2005

Defrocked Roman Catholic priest Paul Shanley became a convicted child rapist yesterday, bringing an end to a case that came to embody the church abuse crisis that shook the Boston archdiocese.

``This is a victory for the many, many people victimized by Paul Shanley,'' said attorney Carmen Durso, representing seven people who claim they were sexually abused by Shanley between 1963 and 1994.

At trial, Shanley's accuser testified he was groped and raped by Shanley in the early 1980s at St. Jean's Catholic Church in Newton. The victim, a member of the parish's CCD class when Shanley was assigned there, said Shanley carried out the assaults beginning when he was 6 in the bathroom, the rectory, the pews and the confessional.

The jury deliberated for 14 hours before finding Shanley guilty of two counts of child rape and two counts of indecent assault and battery on a child.

Posted by kshaw at 07:49 AM

RC priest downloaded internet child porn

BRITAIN
ic Liverpool

Feb 8 2005

By Sarah Chapman Daily Post Staff

A ROMAN Catholic priest who downloaded child porn on the parish computer was yesterday ordered to start a sex offender treatment programme.

Father Denis McNamara, 59, pleaded guilty at Liverpool Crown Court to making 1,644 indecent images of children.

Nigel Power, prosecuting, told the court McNamara, the parish priest at St Teresa's Church in Devon Street, St Helens, confessed he had been viewing the images.

The court heard that on January 29 last year, McNamara contacted the child protection co-ordinator for the Archdiocese because he was filling in a form for the Criminal Records Bureau and was under the false impression that the police would be aware of what he had been doing.

Posted by kshaw at 07:45 AM

Priest accused of abusing boys in '60s faces criminal charges

WISCONSIN
Chicago Tribune

By Manya A. Brachear
Tribune staff reporter
Published February 8, 2005

A Jesuit priest named in two former civil suits alleging he abused minors in the 1960s at Loyola Academy in Wilmette was charged criminally in Walworth County, Wis., authorities said Monday.

The criminal charges stem from two civil suits filed in Cook County Circuit Court in 2003, both of which alleged that Rev. Donald McGuire, a former counselor at Loyola, molested two students repeatedly at school and on field trips to places including Wisconsin.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs notified authorities in Illinois and Wisconsin. While Illinois authorities determined criminal prosecution would exceed the state's statute of limitations, Wisconsin prosecutors investigated and pressed charges based on a 1967 statute regarding indecent liberties with a child.

"It's so seldom that these perpetrators are able to be criminally prosecuted," said the plaintiffs' attorney Marc Pearlman, adding that parties in both civil suits agreed to pursue a resolution out of court.

Posted by kshaw at 07:38 AM

Parish priest admits taking 4,000 child-porn pictures

SCOTLAND
News & Star

By staff reporter

A 61-YEAR-OLD parish priest has been placed on the sex offenders’ register after admitting taking or making more than 4,000 indecent photographs of children.

Father George Stuart Campbell, who stood down from his duties at St. Columba’s in Annan last June, made a brief appearance in the dock before Sheriff Kenneth Barr at Dumfries.

He admitted that over a 15-month period to last June he took or permitted to be taken or made 4,070 indecent or pseudo-photographs of youngsters at Scotts Street, Annan. The case was continued for background reports to March 2.

Father Campbell, who converted to Catholicism after several years as Scottish Episcopal Church minister at Greyfriars in Kirkcudbright, was caught after information was passed on by the FBI.

Posted by kshaw at 07:36 AM

Shanley Juror: Victim Was Convincing

CAMBRIDGE (MA)
TheBostonChannel.com

POSTED: 6:52 am EST February 8, 2005

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- For weeks, jurors in the trial of Paul Shanley listened carefully to tense exchanges between Shanley's accuser and the former priest's lawyer, conflicting opinions from doctors about memory, and the recollections of the man's classmates.

In the end, the jury decided that the now-frail, 74-year-old former "street priest" should go to prison for raping and sexually assaulting the child decades ago, ending a chapter in what became one of the most-watched and notorious clergy abuse cases.

Juror Victoria Blier said she and her fellow jurors were swayed by the memories of the one man whose testimony proved pivotal for Shanley's prosecution, believing that the man would not have come forward if he wasn't telling the truth.

"I think a persuasive sentiment was he had already gotten a half million dollar settlement and he had no reason whatsoever to pursue this criminal case, and he knew that pursuing the criminal case was going to lay a painful life bare," she said.

Posted by kshaw at 07:26 AM

Archdiocese May Have Known About Priest's Past

CHICAGO (IL)
CBS 2

Feb 8, 2005 6:42 am US/Central
CHICAGO (CBS 2) A young man who charges he was sexually exploited by a priest is now shocked to find out that the man he accused of abuse is working on a local college campus.

On Monday night, CBS 2 News found the priest conducting a service on the University of Chicago campus.

And CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine has exclusive information that the archdiocese may have known about his past.

The traditional burning of palm leaves outside Calvert House in Hyde Park was presided over by the Rev. Michael Vakaitis, now chaplain and director of the campus Catholic ministry.

It is not his first campus post. In the early 1990s, he was dean of students at Niles College, a spiritual director for an aspiring seminarian.

Posted by kshaw at 07:21 AM

Clergy Abuse Survivor Responds to the Conviction of Rev. Paul Shanley

BOSTON (MA)
Market Wire

BOSTON, MA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- 02/07/2005 -- The conviction of Rev. Paul Shanley on all counts today in Boston should serve as notice that no person, regardless of his position or the institution he represents, is immune to prosecution for abusing a child.

The painful door which survivors of childhood sexual abuse have opened has allowed society to begin to shed light on the horrific abuse which children have endured for decades. Survivors of childhood sexual abuse continue to hope that society will have the courage to walk through that door.

I take this opportunity to ask judicial leaders throughout the United States to strengthen the existing child endangerment laws and to make the necessary changes in the statute of limitations laws. This change would allow all victims of childhood sexual abuse an opportunity to find justice.

Posted by kshaw at 07:16 AM

Compelling witness overrode questions on memories

CAMBRIDGE (MA)
Boston Globe

By Jonathan Saltzman, Globe Staff | February 8, 2005

The lawyer for defrocked priest Paul R. Shanley gambled that jurors wouldn't believe that the priest's accuser suddenly remembered sexual abuse from two decades earlier.

Defense attorney Frank Mondano was so confident in the strategy that the only witness he called was Elizabeth Loftus, a professor at the University of California at Irvine, who testified that false memories can be placed by psychotherapists in susceptible minds.

Even some lawyers who thought Shanley was guilty said Mondano might have succeeded in convincing the jury of seven men and five women that there were serious questions about the credibility of Shanley's accuser.

But the Middlesex County jury believed the accuser, and Mondano lost his gamble.

Patrick Kierce, a member of the jury that convicted Shanley, said he had no reason to doubt the 27-year-old accuser, who testified that Shanley repeatedly raped and fondled him at St. Jean the Evangelist Parish in Newton in the 1980s.

Kierce, who lives in Medford, said the accuser's emotional testimony struck him as ''heartfelt."

Posted by kshaw at 07:06 AM

Survivor: `I just felt a tremendous sense of relief'

CAMBRIDGE (MA)
Boston Herald

By Kevin Rothstein
Tuesday, February 8, 2005

Paul Shanley was convicted of molesting one boy yesterday, but the verdict gratified the dozens who claim the perverted ex-priest hurt them during a decades-long reign of sexual terror.

``I just felt a tremendous sense of relief when I heard the word guilty,'' said Phil Saviano, head of the local chapter of Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests, who knows many alleged Shanley victims.

Shanley's profile was one of the highest among priests exposed during the church sexual-abuse crisis that rocked the Boston archdiocese. Many alleged victims, already fearful their stories were doubted, felt their credibility depended on a successful prosecution, Saviano said.

``It seems like everybody's hopes and fears were tied into the Shanley case, and I was frankly worried for survivors emotionally and how they were going to respond if Shanley was in fact acquitted,'' he said.

Posted by kshaw at 07:04 AM

Former Priest Found Guilty of Child Rape

CAMBRIDGE (MA)
Los Angeles Times

By Elizabeth Mehren, Times Staff Writer

CAMBRIDGE, Mass .— A jury Monday found defrocked priest Paul Shanley guilty of repeatedly raping a young boy at a Boston-area church during the 1980s.

The panel of seven men and five women deliberated for nearly 15 hours before convicting Shanley, 74, on two counts of child rape and two counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14.

One of the most notorious figures in the Boston clerical abuse scandal, Shanley showed no emotion as the verdict was delivered. He was immediately placed into custody, his $300,000 bail revoked. Judge Stephen Neel said Shanley would be sentenced Feb. 15. He could receive life in prison.

Posted by kshaw at 07:02 AM

Dallas Probes Reports of Church Sex Abuse

DALLAS (TX)
The Mercury News

Associated Press

DALLAS - The Dallas County district attorney is investigating whether the Catholic Diocese of Dallas has failed to report allegations of clergy sexual abuse to law enforcement officials.

The diocese declared in writing three years ago that no one in the ministry had violated any state law, but two recent cases have made prosecutors suspicious of that claim, Rachel Horton, spokeswoman for District Attorney Bill Hill, told Monday night's online edition of The Dallas Morning News.

Sunday, a pastor in Rockwall who had been accused in the early 1990s of sexually harassing boys at jobs in Dallas and Plano resigned. The pastor's accusers said they never saw any indication that the diocese investigated the allegations or reported them to authorities.

In the other case, police in Grand Prairie arrested a pastor on child pornography possession charges last week.

Both priests have declined to comment.

Posted by kshaw at 07:01 AM

Jury finds defrocked priest guilty

CAMBRIDGE (MA)
Daily News Transcript

By Denise Lavoie / Associated Press
Tuesday, February 8, 2005

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Defrocked priest Paul Shanley, the most notorious figure in the clergy sex abuse scandal that rocked the Boston Archdiocese, was convicted Monday of repeatedly molesting a boy at his church during the 1980s.

The conviction on all four charges gives prosecutors a high-profile victory in their effort to bring pedophile priests to justice for decades of abuse at Roman Catholic parishes around the country.

The jury of seven men and five women deliberated for about 13 hours over five days before reaching the verdict in a trial that turned on the reliability of the accuser's recovered memories of long-ago abuse.

The victim, now 27, put his head down and sobbed as the verdicts were announced.

Posted by kshaw at 06:59 AM

Ex-Priest Convicted in 1980's Rape of Boy in Boston-Area Church

CAMBRIDGE (MA)
Herald Tribune

By PAM BELLUCK
New York Times
CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Feb. 7 - Paul R. Shanley, a defrocked priest who became a lightning rod for the sexual abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church, was convicted on Monday of raping and assaulting a boy when he was a parish priest in suburban Boston in the 1980's.

Mr. Shanley, 74, was one of the few priests to face criminal charges in the scandal, and his conviction came in a case in which prosecutors relied almost solely on one accuser, who said he had repressed the memory of the abuse until reading a newspaper article about Mr. Shanley three years ago.

After deliberating for nearly 15 hours beginning last Thursday, the jury of seven men and five women pronounced Mr. Shanley guilty of two counts of rape and two counts of indecent assault on a child. Judge Stephen A. Neel of Middlesex Superior Court revoked Mr. Shanley's bail and scheduled him to be sentenced on Feb. 15. He could face up to life in prison.

Posted by kshaw at 06:57 AM

Boston ex-priest guilty of raping boy in 1980s

CAMBRIDGE (MA)
Chicago Tribune

From Tribune news services
Published February 8, 2005

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Paul Shanley, a defrocked priest who became a focal point for the sexual abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church, was convicted on Monday of raping and assaulting a boy when he was a parish priest in suburban Boston in the 1980s.

Shanley, 74, was one of the few priests to face criminal charges in the scandal, and his conviction came in a case in which prosecutors relied almost solely on one accuser, who said he had repressed the memory of the abuse until reading newspaper articles about Shanley a few years ago.

The panel of seven men and five women deliberated nearly 15 hours before convicting Shanley on two counts of child rape and two counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14.

Posted by kshaw at 06:55 AM

Speaker: Catholic laity must question hierachy

WORCESTER (MA)
Telegram & Gazette

By Kathleen A. Shaw TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF
kshaw@telegram.com

WORCESTER— Judge Anne Burke, who served 30 months on theAbuse Tracker Review Board created by the American Catholic bishops to monitor adherence to Charter for the Protection of Children and who initiated studies into the root causes of clergy sexual abuse, last night called on lay Catholics to become more involved in the church.

“We cannot allow this to happen again,” she told an audience of more than 60 people last night at the College of the Holy Cross. The review board was able to ascertain 11,000 documented instances of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy, she said. She called the ensuing scandal in the church a “horror.”

Judge Burke, who serves in the U.S. Court of Appeals 1st District in Chicago, said her work on the review board — she most recently was interim chairwoman — changed her. Catholics throughout American history have risen to the challenges of their times. Catholics of the 21st century must deal with what she called “darker issues.”

The lay members of the review board found the sexual abuse crisis emerged from a hierarchy that was arrogant, lacked good leadership and had no real understanding of sexuality, she said. “The clear certainty is the church needs to be reborn and it needs the service of the laity,” she said.

Judge Burke said her own experiences in grappling with the issue of clergy sexual abuse in the Catholic Church convinced her she needed to go around the country and talk to lay Catholics about the imperative need for them to become involved in their church in a meaningful way.

While many of the bishops and cardinals saw the work of the review board as a positive way of bringing healing to the church, of dealing with the serious abuse problem and of helping to restore trust, others sought to undermine the board’s work, she said. She talked of “Byzantine” plots by some in the hierarchy, of some personal attacks on review board members and hierarchal politics that at times “was medieval.” Judge Burke, who has been politically involved in Chicago, said she thought she knew about politics but she was unprepared for what she encountered in some in the American hierarchy. She did not name names.

Judge Burke added that the review board had good cooperation with cardinals and others in the hierarchy at the highest reaches of the Vatican. “They listened to what we had to say and they were open,” she said. The problems came from a small group of the American hierarchy, she said.

Daniel Dick, victim service coordinator for Voice of the Faithful in the Worcester diocese, questioned Judge Burke on what he saw as language missing from the charter. Accused priests have been placed on leave by their dioceses but lay people do not know where they are. He called these priests “a threat” to minors. Judge Burke said unless they are laicized — a Catholic term for defrocked — the bishops know where they are. Lay people do not know where they are, he said.

Judge Burke said the charter may not be a perfect document but it contains some positive things. The document is both a “Magna Carta” that for the first time created a national policy for handling sexual abuse cases and it is also a “Rosetta stone” because it created language so that Catholics could talk to each other about the issue.

Posted by kshaw at 06:54 AM

Parishioners back priest in abuse row

NORTHERN IRELAND
Belfast Telegraph

By Sarah Brett

08 February 2005
Over 2,000 parishioners in the Dungiven area have signed a petition of support for a priest accused of sexually assaulting a teenage male.

During Sunday masses in Dungiven, Gortnahey and Drumsurn, more than 2,000 backed Father Andrew McCloskey, who remains the curate of Dungiven parish despite an allegation that he sexually assaulted an 18-year-old in 1992.

The Catholic Church came under fire for allowing the priest to continue parochial duties, including working with a group offering counselling to abuse victims.

Fr McCloskey admitted to parishioners two weeks ago that he was the man involved in media reports that a priest paid out a five-figure settlement to a man accusing him of sexual assault.

The out-of-court settlement was made without any admissions of guilt.

Posted by kshaw at 06:49 AM

February 07, 2005

Ex-Priest Shanley Found Guilty in Child Abuse Case

CAMBRIDGE (MA)
NPR

by Tovia Smith

All Things Considered, February 7, 2005 · A jury in Cambridge, Mass. convicts defrocked Catholic priest Paul Shanley on four charges of child rape and indecent assault and battery. Shanley, accused of molesting a boy at his church during the 1980s, faces up to life in prison at sentencing next week.

Posted by kshaw at 11:20 PM

Local attorney comments on Shanley verdict

ALBANY (NY)
Capital News 9

2/7/2005 10:09 PM
By: Capital News 9 web staff

Defrocked priest Paul Shanley has been convicted of child rape by a Middlesex Superior Court jury.

The 74-year-old showed no reaction when the verdict was read. He was one of the most notorious figures in the clergy sex abuse scandal that rocked the Boston archdiocese.

Shanley was found guilty of molesting a young boy over a six-year period. Jurors deliberated for about 13 hours over five days.

Capital Region attorney John Aretakis, who represents many alleged victims of clergy sex abuse, said the verdict reinforces the message that justice is being served.

Posted by kshaw at 11:17 PM

Church Splits After Pulpit 'Assassination'

SOUTH AFRICA
allAfrica.com

Sunday Times (Johannesburg)

February 7, 2005
Posted to the web February 7, 2005

Futhi Ntshingila
Johannesburg

THE public denunciation of a popular pastor for alleged extramarital affairs has left a big church congregation deeply divided.

The resignation of Vusi Dube, a driving force behind "Abstinence Walk", which forms part of the "True Love Waits" campaign, has split the 7 000-strong Durban Christian Centre. Dube resigned in the wake of the allegations made from the pulpit by pastor John Torrens.

Dube, who denies the allegations, and his wife, Taki, resigned from their positions in the church two weeks ago after they were suspended by c hurch leaders.

More than a thousand black members of Durban Christian Centre rallied behind Dube, saying the accusations made against him by Torrens were untrue. In a show of solidarity many black members have left the church and formed a "Pastor Dube Support Group".

Posted by kshaw at 11:02 PM

Pastor granted bond in molestation case

GEORGIA
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

By TASGOLA KARLA BRUNER
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 02/08/05

About 50 supporters of a Norcross-area pastor accused of molesting a young male family member rejoiced Monday when he was granted bond.

Gwinnett Superior Court Judge Melodie Snell Conner, saying she knows Pastor Nathan Ridgeway is "not an extremely wealthy man," set the bond at $50,000.

"We can handle that," a member of Faith Life Fellowship Church said quietly, to no one in particular, from the back of the courtroom.

Supporters, wearing yellow ribbons, had been prepared to post an even higher bond to free their minister, maintaining he is innocent. One parishioner offered $250,000, another $50,000.

Several had offered their homes to back the bond, said one of Ridgeway's six siblings, Phil Ridgeway, holding a pile of financial statements.

Posted by kshaw at 10:59 PM

Associate Pastor Pleads Not Guilty To Sex Charges

HEBRON (OH)
NBC4i

UPDATED: 1:21 pm EST February 7, 2005

HEBRON, Ohio -- A pastor accused of having sexual contact with two teenage girls pleaded not guilty Monday, NBC 4 reported.

Lonny Aleshire Jr., the associate pastor at the Licking Baptist Church in Hebron, was indicted Friday on seven felony sex abuse charges involving two teenage sisters, NBC 4's Elizabeth Scarborough reported.

Prosecutors said Aleshire, 34, had sex with two sisters while taking them to and from babysitting jobs, Scarborough reported.

Aleshire faces multiple charges, including one count of rape by force for allegedly forcing a 17-year-old girl to have sex with him in the church hallway in June. Authorities said he also had sex with the girl's younger sister from the time she was 13 to 15. For that, Aleshire faces six counts of sexual misconduct with a minor and three counts of sexual imposition.

Posted by kshaw at 10:51 PM

Cardinal may face public grilling on abuse scandals

IRELAND
Irish Examiner

08/02/05

By Mary Dundon, Political Reporter
SENIOR clerics such as Cardinal Desmond Connell could be questioned in public about their responses to abuse complaints against priests in their charge under plans to be brought to Cabinet within a month.

The proposals, drawn up by Justice Minister

Michael McDowell, are part of the fast-tracking of public inquiries under an alternative to tribunals which will investigate child sexual abuse by priests in the Archdiocese of Dublin.

The latest figures show that the Archdiocese of Dublin has recorded complaints against 60 priests over the last 40 years, one of which has now been established as false. It has paid out €2.5 million in compensation to 38 victims.

Posted by kshaw at 10:44 PM

US priest convicted of raping boy

CAMBRIDGE (MA)
BBC News

A court in the United States has convicted defrocked Roman Catholic priest Paul Shanley of raping a boy at a Massachusetts church in the 1980s.

The victim, now 27, lowered his head as the verdicts were read out in the Cambridge court on four charges including rape and fondling.

Shanley, at the centre of a scandal which shook the Boston archdiocese, reportedly showed no emotion.

The 74-year-old could face a maximum sentence of life in prison.

He was taken into custody after the verdicts. He had been pleading not guilty.

Posted by kshaw at 10:31 PM

Timeline: US Catholic sex scandal

UNITED STATES
BBC News

The main events in the ongoing sex abuse scandal involving the US Roman Catholic Church and in particular the Boston Archdiocese, which has been at the centre of many of the highest-profile accusations.

1984: Bernard Law is appointed archbishop of Boston, and elevated to cardinal a year later.

1985: Sex abuse by priests becomes a national issue in the US for the first time, as Louisiana priest Gilbert Gauthe pleads guilty to 11 counts of molestation of boys.

Posted by kshaw at 10:28 PM

Diocese faces DA inquiry

DALLAS (TX)
The Dallas Morning News

09:03 PM CST on Monday, February 7, 2005

By BROOKS EGERTON / The Dallas Morning News

Dallas County District Attorney Bill Hill is launching a broad criminal investigation of how Catholic Bishop Charles Grahmann and his staff have handled sexual abuse cases, officials confirmed Monday.

The goal is to determine whether the Dallas Diocese "has received any allegations of abuse by members of the clergy that have not subsequently been reported to law enforcement," said Rachel Horton, a spokeswoman for Mr. Hill.

She said two recent disclosures made prosecutors suspicious of the diocese's written insistence, in 2002, that it had no one in the ministry with "any indication of violations of state laws relating to minors."

First, a Rockwall pastor who announced his resignation Sunday had been accused in sworn statements in the early 1990s of sexually harassing boys at jobs in Dallas and Plano, The Dallas Morning News reported Monday. Accusers said they saw no sign that the diocese investigated the allegations or reported them to state authorities.

Posted by kshaw at 10:25 PM

Shanley Convicted in Clergy Sex Abuse Case

CAMBRIDGE (MA)
Independent Record

By DENISE LAVOIE

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Defrocked priest Paul Shanley, the most notorious figure in the sex scandal that rocked the Boston Archdiocese, was convicted Monday of repeatedly raping and fondling a boy at his Roman Catholic church during the 1980s.

The conviction on all four charges gives prosecutors an important victory in their effort to bring pedophile priests to justice for decades of abuse at parishes around the country.

Shanley, 74, could get life in prison for two counts each of child rape and indecent assault and battery on a child when he is sentenced Feb. 15. His bail was revoked and he was immediately led off to jail.

The victim, now 27, put his head down and sobbed as the verdicts were announced after a trial that turned on the reliability of what the man claimed were recovered memories of the long-ago abuse. Shanley showed no emotion as he stood next to his lawyer.

Posted by kshaw at 10:22 PM

Jury: Shanley Guilty Of Child Rape

BOSTON (MA)
TheBostonChannel.com

POSTED: 11:48 am EST February 7, 2005
UPDATED: 4:38 pm EST February 7, 2005

BOSTON -- After three days of deliberations, a jury found defrocked priest Paul Shanley guilty of two charges of child rape and indecent assault and battery on a child under the age of 14 Monday.

Shanley showed no emotion as the unanimous verdict was read in a Middlesex Superior courtroom. Shanley still awaits sentencing, but the verdict could leave him in prison for the rest of his life.

The jury began deliberating Shanley's fate Thursday afternoon.

The case against Shanley, 74, hinged solely on the account of one unidentified accuser, now 27, who said that memories of abuse came flooding back a few years ago.

The defense criticized the concept of "repressed memories," and questioned the alleged victim's motive, noting he settled his civil case last spring for about $500,000. The defense called one witness, Dr. Elizabeth Loftus, from the University of California at Irvine who testified that she doesn't believe that there is any evidence that the victim has repressed memories about the alleged abuse.

"I don't believe there is any credible scientific evidence for the idea that years of brutalization can be massively repressed," Loftus said.

The defense said the accounts of another alleged victim influenced the accuser's memories.

Posted by kshaw at 03:42 PM

Shanley Convicted of Child Rape in Mass.

CAMBRIDGE (MA)
Yahoo! News

By DENISE LAVOIE, Associated Press Writer

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Defrocked priest Paul Shanley, the most notorious figure in the sex scandal that rocked the Boston Archdiocese, was convicted Monday of raping and fondling a boy at his church during the 1980s.

The conviction on all four charges gives prosecutors a high-profile victory in their effort to bring pedophile priests to justice for decades of abuse at Roman Catholic parishes around the country.

The victim, now 27, put his head down as the verdicts were announced after a trial that turned on the reliability of what he claimed were recovered memories of the long-ago abuse. Shanley showed no emotion as he stood next to his attorneys.

Posted by kshaw at 03:32 PM

Juror's Request to Read Accuser's Diary

CAMBRIDGE (MA)
WPRI

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) -- The jury in the sex-abuse trial of defrocked priest Paul Shanley has asked the judge if they can review the alleged victim's diary. The trial began two weeks ago in Middlesex Superior Court in Cambridge. Jurors began deliberating Thursday.
Judge Stephen Neel said the jury could only look at transcripts from the diary that were read into the record during the trial, but not the entire diary. Shanley was one of the most notorious figures in the clergy sexual abuse scandal that has shaken the Roman Catholic Church. He is accused of molesting a boy at a Newton parish in the 1980s.

Posted by kshaw at 03:30 PM

Fast-track inquiry into abuse moves a step closer

IRELAND
One in Four

Liam Reid - Irish Times

The Minister for Justice, Mr McDowell, is to bring proposals to Cabinet in the next month for the first fast-track public inquiry under the new alternative to tribunals which will investigate child sexual abuse by priests in the Archdiocese of Dublin.

The new inquiry, which will be called a commission of investigation, will have similar powers to tribunals to gather evidence. It could involve the investigation of abuse claims and their handling from potentially thousands of victims of sexual abuse.

Much of its work is expected to be carried out behind closed doors however, although it will be able to hold some parts of the inquiry in public.

Posted by kshaw at 08:10 AM

Rebel Mormon's memoir ignites a furor

UTAH
The Salt Lake Tribune

By Peggy Fletcher Stack
The Salt Lake Tribune

A daughter of famed Mormon intellectual Hugh Nibley has accused him of ritually abusing her as a 5-year-old, possibly wearing some kind of Egyptian garb and imitating the sacrifice of the biblical Abraham.
Martha Nibley Beck makes this and a host of other allegations against her aged father, mother, siblings, Brigham Young University, Mormons in general as well as leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in an explosive new book, Leaving the Saints: How I Lost the Mormons and Found My Faith.
Beck, author of the best-seller Expecting Adam, takes the far side of often virulent debates about recovered memories of sexual abuse versus false memories, dissidents versus the LDS Church, scholarly debate about the veracity of Mormon truth claims, and feminists versus patriarchal religions.
For many, especially non-LDS readers, it will be a compelling tale, enlivened by hilarious as well as agonized dispatches from Mormon country.

Posted by kshaw at 08:02 AM

Temple priest booked for rape

INDIA
Express India

Express News Service

Ludhiana, February 6: THE Basti Jodhewal police have registered a case against the priest of a temple. The priest had allegedly drugged a girl and taken her to Mohali where he allegedly raped her for over three months. Later, the girl managed to flee from his custody. The priest has not been arrested.

According to the FIR registered by the Basti Jodhewal police, a 25-year-old girl, a resident of Subhash Nagar in the city, had gone to a temple in the area on October 15, 2004. In her complaint to police, she has said that the family of her maternal grandparents was familiar with the priest of that temple.

The girl, in her statement to police, said that due to the crowd in the temple that day, she got late and the temple priest Prem Chand said he would drop her home. According to the FIR, on the way near Tibba Road the priest allegedly gave her something to eat after eating which she became unconscious.

Posted by kshaw at 07:10 AM

Parishioners asked to forgive GP priest

GRAND PRAIRIE (TX)
The Dallas Morning News

02:44 AM CST on Monday, February 7, 2005

By CHRISTY A. ROBINSON / The Dallas Morning News

GRAND PRAIRIE – Dallas Bishop Charles Grahmann, in an address laced with tears, asked parishioners in Grand Prairie on Sunday to forgive their priest who four days earlier was arrested on charges of child pornography possession.

The bishop stood before the standing-room-only congregation at Immaculate Conception Church to announce the allegations against the Rev. Matthew Bagert and deliver words of comfort.

"It's with profound sadness that I address these words to you," he said before stating the accusations against Father Bagert, 36. "We all know this is a federal offense. This is in the hands of the Grand Prairie police."

He publicly thanked the church's associate pastor, the Rev. Jesus Belmontes, who alerted the Dallas Catholic Diocese of his suspicions, and added that it's proof the diocese's reporting procedures with regard to sexual misconduct are working.

He also told parishioners – a crowd of varied ages and ethnicities – that their priest had been suspended pending the outcome of the police investigation.

Emotion broke the bishop's normally reserved demeanor as parishioners listened intently.

Posted by kshaw at 06:58 AM

Rockwall priest agrees to leave

ROCKWALL (TX)
The Dallas Morning News

10:20 PM CST on Sunday, February 6, 2005

By BROOKS EGERTON / The Dallas Morning News

ROCKWALL – An embattled pastor announced his resignation Sunday, making him the second Dallas Catholic Diocese priest in a week to fall in connection with sexual misconduct allegations.

The Rev. William "Bill" Richard said he was leaving Our Lady of the Lake Church to bring "peace and reconciliation" to the parish, where protesters recently began pressing Dallas Bishop Charles Grahmann to remove him. They have cited Father Richard's efforts to save the job of a top aide – who is serving probation for indecent exposure – and his dismissal of critics from church positions.

Bishop Grahmann responded to the campaign by seeking Father Richard's resignation last week. It is highly unusual for him to give in to parishioners' personnel demands, especially given the diocese's severe shortage of priests – one was arrested on child pornography charges last week in Grand Prairie, and another recently was suspended for planning to get married.

Posted by kshaw at 06:56 AM

Local Priest Cheered For His Role As Whistleblower

CINCINNATI (OH)
WCPO

Reported by: 9News
Web produced by: Neil Relyea
Photographed by: 9News
2/6/2005 11:15:01 PM

On Sunday survivors of priest sex abuse gave an emotional thank you to the local priest who publicly condemned the Archdiocese Cincinnati this week.

If you saw our 9News I-Team report, you know his actions were bold -- and on Sunday night, he got some bold support.

Dan Frendorf hasn't walked into a Roman Catholic church in two years, but someone inspired him to come to St. Ignatius of Loyola on Super Bowl night.

The presiding priest, Father Tom Bolte, stood up for priest sex abuse victims -- like him.

Posted by kshaw at 06:52 AM

Notre Dame Academy "no bill"

WORCESTER (MA)
Worcester Voice

In reviewing documents from Worcester Superior Court in the case where Kallin Johnson is alleged to have sexually abused a female student at Notre Dame Academy in Worcester, it becomes apparent that Mr. Johnson at one point was a business partner with the wife of the attorney representing Notre Dame, Kevin Byrne.

The records also show an appalling lack of action on behalf of the district attorney, John Conte.

District Attorney Conte allowed Mr. Johnson, a music teacher at Notre Dame, to remain in the school after the allegation against him was supported by the Massachusetts Department of Social Services and his name was placed on their registry for sexual offenders. This information was provided by Attorney Wendy Murphy.

Posted by kshaw at 06:45 AM

February 06, 2005

Supporters, accusers have stake in priest trial

CAMBRIDGE (MA)
Telegram & Gazette

By DENISE LAVOIE
AP Legal Affairs Writer

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.— Defrocked priest Paul Shanley was one of the most notorious figures in the clergy sexual abuse scandal that has shaken the Roman Catholic Church, but his trial has been a low-key affair, drawing only a smattering of spectators on any given day.

A few Shanley supporters have shown up, offering him a handshake or an occasional cup of coffee during breaks in the testimony. Some of his alleged victims have been there, too, listening as his now-adult accuser testified the once charismatic priest would take him out of Catholic education classes to molest him.

And what they see is not the long-haired vigorous "street priest" once hailed for befriending the downtrodden, but a frail old man wearing a hearing aide remaining stoic as the most graphic of allegations unfolded over the course of the two-week trial. The jury resumes deliberations Monday.

"I didn't want to be afraid any more," said one man who went to see Shanley for counseling 30 years ago at age 15, when he felt confused after his first homosexual experience.

Posted by kshaw at 01:37 PM

Sex molestation cases against Jehovah's Witnesses narrowed

CALIFORNIA
Napa Valley Register

Saturday, February 5, 2005

By DAVID RYAN
Register Staff Writer

A stack of child molestation cases filed against the Jehovah's Witnesses is due to shrink.

Lawyers representing individuals suing Jehovah's Witness organizations said Friday they would move next week to dismiss eight Sonoma County plaintiffs they believe are more trouble than they're worth.

In the case of two of the plaintiffs, lawyers had been unsuccessful in their attempts to communicate with their clients.

When finalized, the action will drop the number of lawsuits against the Jehovah's Witnesses in Napa Superior Court from 11 to seven. Three of the cases affected were originally filed in Sonoma County, but were later consolidated in Napa with cases from Napa, Tehama, Placer, Yolo and Monterey counties.

The Sonoma County plaintiffs accused the church of taking no action to stop a former Sonoma County Jehovah's Witness official named Donald Glew from molesting children, even though they claim the church knew of Glew's conduct.

Posted by kshaw at 09:51 AM

A full accounting

MANATEE (FL)
Herald Tribune

When Manatee County school officials complete their review of allegations against longtime educator Joseph Gilpin, they need to publicly detail the events leading to his departure and any resulting changes in school district policies and practices.

Gilpin, a 34-year employee of the district, resigned as assistant principal at Haile Middle School last week after officials learned of accusations that he sexually molested two boys while he was studying to become a priest in the Northeast in the 1960s.

One of the complaints was part of an $85 million settlement reached by the Archdiocese of Boston with numerous individuals who reported being abused by priests. A second man has filed a complaint with the Roman Catholic Church in Maine, alleging Gilpin molested him from 1968 to 1970.

Although Manatee officials now appear to be on the right track with their review, numerous reports have emerged in recent days that warrant a formal report explaining certain details:

Posted by kshaw at 09:49 AM

Advocates for victims of abuse seek reforms

OHIO
The Cincinnati Post

Post staff report

Stung because court decisions have ended most Hamilton County cases alleging priest sex abuse before they can be prosecuted, advocates for the victims want to change the law.

Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, a support groups for victims, called for support for new legislation that would extend or eliminate the statute of limitations.

Ohio's law now usually gives victims only until they turn age 20 to expose the abusers, not enough time for children victims of abuse to realize what has happened to them, deal with it and report it.

Specifically, SNAP is advocating for a law change that allows for a two-year time frame "in which the statute of limitations may not be asserted as a defense."

Posted by kshaw at 09:48 AM

Phoenix Bishop says that scandal may return a healthy sense of sin

PHOENIX (AZ)
Catholic News Agency

Phoenix, Feb. 04, 2005 (CNA) - Speaking to a group of youth ministers in the Diocese of Phoenix in January, Bishop Thomas Olmsted said that, “popes this century have described a loss of the sense of sin, a phenomena that is accompanied by the loss of the sense of God. But, through the scandal of child abuse by clergy, this trend may be changing.”

According to the Phoenix Catholic Sun, Olmsted told the group that, “We become truly eager for the grace of conversion when deep down inside of us we feel real shame and real sorrow for our own sinfulness and the harm it causes others,”

Posted by kshaw at 09:44 AM

Some call him priest; church calls him fake

GALESBURG (IL)
Chicago Tribune

By E.A. Torriero
Tribune staff reporter
Published February 6, 2005

GALESBURG, Ill. -- His followers know him as Father Ryan St. Anne Scott, bishop of the independent Holy Rosary Abbey, currently housed in a converted home for the mentally ill in this western Illinois city.

For more than 15 years, the gregarious Scott--divorced and a convicted felon--has moved his troubled abbey around the Midwest, drawing small bands of disenchanted, mostly elderly, Catholics who long for the Latin mass of their youth.

But time after time, Scott and his followers have parted acrimoniously after battling over property, money and theology. Roman Catholic officials in at least four states have publicly warned that Scott is not a legitimate priest and that the baptisms, weddings, funerals and other ceremonies he conducts are not sanctioned by the church.

Those warnings are now being echoed by the Peoria diocese, which has advised Roman Catholics in western and central Illinois not to attend mass or receive sacraments or counseling from Scott. ...

In 2002, while still running his abbey in Iowa, an emotional Scott appeared in full clerical garb at news conferences in Washington and Dallas, where Catholic bishops were meeting to grapple with the priest sex-abuse scandal.

He provided a graphic account of being gang-raped, along with several other young men, in the 1970s by a group of priests in the rectory of St. John's Cathedral in Milwaukee.

Church officials, police in Wisconsin and victim support groups all rushed to investigate his claims, but none could substantiate his story.

A diocese spokeswoman says Scott never provided specifics, including dates and names of priests or other possible victims. Scott says he attempted to get church officials and detectives in Wisconsin to investigate his claim before going public.


Posted by kshaw at 09:30 AM

I enjoy being a Pastor

NEW MEXICO
The New Mexican

HENRY M. LOPEZ | The New Mexican
February 6, 2005

When he was a boy, Jerome Martinez y Alire told his father he wanted to become a priest in the Roman Catholic Church. He remembers his father's words, which have served as an inspiration during his 29 years as priest.

"If you want to be a priest, I want you to be a damn good one," Martinez recalled with a laugh Friday. "So I have to live up to that and try and be a damn good priest."

Last Sunday, the 54-year-old was named monsignor, a title of honor demonstrating how far he had come to meet his father's expectation. The title monsignor is conferred on Catholic clergymen for outstanding service to the church.

Martinez becomes only the second priest in the Archdiocese of Santa Fe so honored in the last 40 years. And while it is Martinez who will be called monsignor, he said, the honor belongs to all the archdiocese priests who persevered during the past decade, when allegations of sexual abuse and their resulting lawsuits bludgeoned the church's image in the United States.

"The vast majority of priests kept their parishes together during all the crises by just being outstanding, hard-working men of God," Martinez said. "And that's why (last) Sunday I accepted this honor, not for me -- I don't count for much -- but for the all the priests."

Posted by kshaw at 09:25 AM

The Men Behind The Pope

VATICAN CITY
Time Magazine

BY JEFF ISRAELY | VATICAN CITY

Ever since the Pope barely survived a 1981 assassination attempt, Catholics worldwide have got used to praying for his health. Whenever John Paul II has a setback — and he's had quite a few in the past 10 years — speculation about his successor ratchets up another notch. So when the Pope was rushed to the hospital last week suffering from an inflamed windpipe, spasms of the larynx and the flu, people wondered how long he would be able to continue in office. The Vatican reported that John Paul was making a good recovery, but with the 84-year-old Pontiff increasingly debilitated by Parkinson's disease, some are asking a more immediate question: Who's running the church?

Despite his physical frailty, Vatican officials say John Paul is still mentally alert and capable of making the big decisions. And the Pope insists on appearing as often as possible in public. But even the most steadfast loyalists concede that his failing health has forced the Pope to delegate a substantial chunk of his workload. "He's still the head of the church," says one priest based in Rome who is well-connected to top Vatican officials. "But he's more of a figurehead. He's not making the day-to-day decisions anymore." That, according to one senior Vatican official, poses risks. "There's more of a chance for corruption," the official told TIME. "People start coming in and looking for a favor — sometimes with money — looking to have someone appointed or transferred to this or that diocese."

There have been no recent reported charges of priests or laypeople bribing church officials, but there have been concerns that the Holy See was lax in responding to the ongoing sexual abuse scandal in the U.S. And there have been some mixed messages coming out of Rome. Just last week, the theologian Georges Cardinal Cottier contradicted longstanding Church teachings that ban condom use, saying they could be "legitimate" to fight aids. The Vatican also seems to have been caught off guard by Spain's move to legalize gay marriage, which the church vehemently opposes.

Posted by kshaw at 09:20 AM

Cleric removed from priesthood

TULIA (TX)
Amarillo Globe-News

By BRANDI DEAN
brandi.dean@amarillo.com
Amarillo Globe-News

A former priest of Church of the Holy Spirit in Tulia accused of sexual abuse was recently removed from the priesthood by the Vatican.
The Rev. Michael Colwell, vicar general of the Catholic Diocese of Amarillo, said the diocese received word about a week ago that Pope John Paul II had made the final decision to end John Salazar's employment as a result of proven inappropriate sexual behavior with a minor in California in the late 1980s.

Salazar pleaded guilty to two child-sex related charges in Los Angeles in 1987. He served three years in prison and was released to a treatment program for sex offenders before coming to the Amarillo diocese in 1991.

He is now awaiting a Dallas trial to face accusations of sexually assaulting an 18-year-old former parishioner in an Irving hotel room while the man was unconscious. The trial was delayed in August to give the prosecutors time to amend the indictment after they received information that Salazar allegedly committed other acts of sexual misconduct against victims in Swisher County, according to Globe-News files.

Until now, the diocese had to provide Salazar with a food allowance and money for basic sustenance, as well as medical insurance while he awaited trial. But as he has now been dismissed, Colwell said, the food and basic sustenance allowance ended immediately, and the medical care will be discontinued at the end of February.

Posted by kshaw at 09:04 AM

Clergy sex abuse inquiry labors on

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Inquirer

By Nancy Phillips
Inquirer Staff Writer

Hundreds of witnesses have been interviewed. A cardinal's words and deeds have come under scrutiny; even his appointment books are of interest. Behind the closed doors of a Philadelphia grand-jury room, tears have flowed.

But after nearly three years, the nation's longest-running investigation of sex abuse by Catholic clergy has yielded but a single arrest. And some victims have become frustrated by the probe's secrecy and its lumbering pace.

When she launched the inquiry at the height of the abuse scandal, District Attorney Lynne M. Abraham vowed to root out abuses by Philadelphia clergy, living or dead. That was in April 2002.

"It's been three years, and the victims want to know what's going on," said James P. Dolan of South Philadelphia, who told investigators that his parish priest abused him as a teenager. "I want to know what's going on behind those doors."

People familiar with the investigation say the grand jury toils on, with new documents or testimony each week, and prosecutors considering criminal charges.

Any decision on whether to file charges will fall to Abraham, who declined to comment last week, citing grand-jury secrecy rules and a gag order imposed by the judge.

Posted by kshaw at 05:36 AM

IRS documents show ties between charity, sex cult

CALIFORNIA
San Francisco Chronicle

Don Lattin, Chronicle Religion Writer

Sunday, February 6, 2005

Dulzura, San Diego County -- Internal Revenue Service documents filed by the Family Care Foundation, a not-for-profit charity in Southern California, show deep, ongoing ties between the organization and the Family, the evangelical sex cult rocked by a recent murder-suicide.

But officials with the Family Care Foundation deny any connection to the controversial cult.

The religious sect, formerly known as the Children of God, was started in the late 1960s by Oakland native David "Moses" Berg, who attracted tens of thousands of devotees in the 1970s with his strange brew of evangelical Christianity and sexual license.

But J. Gordon Melton, an authority on new religions who has studied the Family for years, said the sect established the charitable foundation to help raise money for church projects.

"The Family Care Foundation is the Family," said Melton, who directs the Institute for the Study of American Religion in Santa Barbara.

Posted by kshaw at 05:30 AM

Utah court upholds child rape conviction

UTAH
Casper Star-Tribune

By DEBBIE HUMMEL
Associated Press writer

SALT LAKE CITY -- The Utah Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the child rape conviction of polygamist Tom Green for having sex with his first wife, Linda Kunz, in 1986, when she was 13 years old.

Green, 56, one of Utah's most prominent polygamists, was sentenced to up to life in prison after his June 2002 conviction.

He appealed, arguing the statute of limitations had run out. He also claimed the trial court lacked jurisdiction because the alleged rape occurred in Mexico.

The high court ruled Tuesday the statute had not run out because the 1985 incident wasn't reported to law enforcement until 1999. ...

Dupaix also said the decision would be important in future child sexual abuse cases because the ruling more clearly outlines the statue of limitations and clarifies what constitutes a report to law enforcement.

Posted by kshaw at 05:28 AM

Psychologist Sues Catholic Church and Midwest Attorney Generals to Enforce Child Sex Abuse Laws, Asks Court to Equate Abuse with “Emotional Murder”

CHICAGO (IL)
PR Leap

The Catholic church’s sex abuse scandal takes center stage Wednesday, February 16th at
10:30 before the Chicago federal courtroom of 7th Circuit District Court Senior Judge George
Marovich, when Illinois psychologist Dr. Theophilus Green takes on Chicago’s Cardinal Joseph
Cardinal George and asks the court to remove state and federal statute of limitations on child
sexual abuse. At this hearing, both are expected to be present.
Dr. Green sued Cardinal George and the Washington-based United States Conference of
Catholic Bishops on behalf on his clients, using a rarely used and little understood legal strategy
called jus terii. Simply put, it allows a third party stakeholder to sue on behalf of another, for
himself and the second party, when both are damaged and the latter is unable to sue the first.
As a psychologist, Dr. Green sued Cardinal George, a vice president of USCCB, Vatican
City’s legal representative in America, for not complying with child protection laws that could
have protected his clients from abusers church Mandated Reporters knowingly failed to report.
Dr. Green complains that when Illinois unlawfully placed sanctions on his license, following
compliance with child protection laws, and enforced them with other states, they interfered with
his ability to protect his clients locally and nationally.

Posted by kshaw at 05:26 AM

Five church abuse victims compensated

ALBANY (NY)
Record

Five victims of clergy sexual abuse each received tens of thousands of dollars under a program that investigates abuse allegations and provides financial assistance to victims.
Retired state Court of Appeals Judge Howard Levine, who heads the program, declined to release the names of the priests involved but said none are in active ministry.
"I think the victims are satisfied, and I think the diocese is satisfied," Levine said Friday. He would not provide details about specific settlement amounts.
A $5.2 million fund is available to pay church abuse victims. The five victims are the first to be compensated by the program. Another 25 claims are pending.

Posted by kshaw at 05:22 AM

Avoid St. Padre Pio magazine, diocese warns

PITTSBURGH (PA)
Post-Gazette

Sunday, February 06, 2005

By Ann Rodgers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh has warned local Catholics against a magazine devoted to St. Padre Pio that is closely associated with a former Pittsburgh priest who was removed from ministry by the pope due to allegations of child sexual abuse.

Copies of Thorns and Roses, containing an article signed "Father Anthony Cipolla" had been found at several parishes, said the Rev. Lawrence DiNardo, diocesan chief canon lawyer.

Cipolla has been forbidden to call himself "Father" since Bishop Donald W. Wuerl banned him from ministry in 1988. After diocesan officials repeatedly caught him acting as a priest outside the diocese, Wuerl successfully appealed to have Pope John Paul II remove Cipolla from all ties to the priesthood. That was done in 2002.

Thorns and Roses is published by Padre Pio Spiritual Refuge Inc., which Cipolla founded. "As you read through the magazine, it is very clear that the main leadership of the spiritual refuge organization is Anthony Cipolla," DiNardo said.

Posted by kshaw at 05:20 AM

3 priests quietly dismissed

PENNSYLVANIA
Philadelphia Inquirer

By David O'Reilly
Inquirer Staff Writer

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia dismissed three priests in November - quietly.

Months earlier, two of the priests had stepped down as pastors after they were accused of sexually abusing minors, which they denied.

But on Nov. 22, when the church removed them from ministry, effectively ending their careers, it made no announcement outside their parishes, and last week provided little additional information.

The three men removed from ministry were the Rev. John P. Schmeer, pastor of St. Martin of Tours parish in New Hope since 1991; the Rev. David C. Sicoli, pastor of Holy Spirit parish in South Philadelphia since 1999; and the Rev. James T. Henry, parochial vicar at Christ the King parish in Philadelphia since 2000.

Their exits were in contrast with the archdiocese's public announcement of the dismissals of four priests for sex-abuse charges in 2003. The church identified the priests by name - suggesting a new transparency after decades of secrecy.

On Dec. 18, 2003, the archdiocesan newspaper reported that the church review board had "determined that allegations of sexual misconduct with teenagers against [the] four priests are deemed credible."

Posted by kshaw at 05:16 AM

Abuse victims urged to talk

CALIFORNIA
The Press-Enterprise

12:15 AM PST on Sunday, February 6, 2005

By MICHAEL FISHER and MELISSA EISELEIN / The Press-Enterprise

Just days after prosecutors filed a record 58 sexual-abuse charges against a defrocked Inland priest, the diocese's leader urged any molestation victims to come forward at four area churches where Jesús Armando Dominguez once worked.

A letter issued by Bishop Gerald R. Barnes was read Saturday evening at English- and Spanish-language Masses at Our Lady of Soledad Church in Coachella, St. James Church in Perris, St. Edward Church in Corona and Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Chino -- all parishes where Dominguez worked during his 15 years in the diocese.

The letter, which will be read again today at all Masses celebrated at the four churches, states that the San Bernardino Diocese is being sued over sexual-abuse accusations against Dominguez, also known as Father Jesse.

But the letter made no mention of the criminal charges filed last week against Dominguez, accused of molesting two teenage boys in 1988 and 1989 at Our Lady of Soledad and at St. James.

"Bishop Gerald Barnes asked us to encourage anyone who may have been victimized or knows anyone who claims to be a victim of Jesse Dominguez or any other church personnel to please come forward by contacting civil authorities, the diocesan hotline or by using the reporting form available in the back of the church," said Father Arturo-Guadalupe Chávez as he read the letter at St. James Church.

Posted by kshaw at 05:14 AM

Mystery surrounds case of ex-bishop

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
Republican

Sunday, February 06, 2005
By BILL ZAJAC
wzajac@repub.com

Nearly a year after the Most Rev. Thomas L. Dupre resigned as bishop, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield has struggled through chaos, challenges and controversy.

While the Most Rev. Timothy A. McDonnell has shepherded the diocese through many changes since being installed as bishop last April 1, some questions remain unanswered.

Dupre's whereabouts remain a mystery as do the results of a Vatican investigation into allegations that he abused two minors when he was a parish priest.

Dupre's resignation at 70 was announced Feb. 11 - a day after he was confronted by The Republican with allegations that he sexually abused two boys decades earlier when he was a parish priest.

Dupre became the first U.S. bishop indicted on sexual abuse charges when a Hampden County grand jury handed down two indictments of rape against him in September.

Posted by kshaw at 05:12 AM

February 05, 2005

Catholic hero now faces Vatican inquiry

MEXICO
Guardian

Jo Tuckman in Mexico City
Sunday February 6, 2005
The Observer

It was nearly 50 years ago, but José Barba winces as he remembers Father Marcial Maciel, founder and icon of the Legion of Christ, the secretive Roman Catholic order said to be second only in papal influence to Opus Dei.
'Oh, I felt so very unhappy,' he said, after describing one incident just before the priest said Mass one Easter Sunday. 'I wanted to run, but he was everything to us. He was Our Father and we thought he was a saint. I went to my room and I cried and cried, and then I went to Mass.'

The fear, pain, humiliation and resentment that Barba says once tormented him have faded over the years, but for the Catholic church the abuse he and others claim to have suffered threatens to erupt into a child abuse scandal that reaches the highest Vatican ranks.

Barba wants the church to recognise publicly the crimes he and many others claim Maciel committed. 'We want people to know that the founder of an institution so close to the Pope and who has written so much about chastity is in fact a pederast.'

Along with seven other former seminarians - all now in their sixties - this mild-mannered university lecturer has been trying to get the Vatican to investigate Maciel for years. Several of the eight plaintiffs approached bishops as early as the 1960s, only to be told to leave it all in God's hands. One of the group, Juan José Vaca, sent several complaints to the Vatican and got no response. The group lodged formal charges at the Vatican in 1998. A year later they were informed the case had been shelved with the extra-official justification that their suffering could not compare to the risk of disillusioning thousands of Catholics.

Posted by kshaw at 08:42 PM

Archbishop Fails to Send Letter

ST. LOUIS (MO)
KWMU

Kevin Lavery, KWMU

ST. LOUIS, MO. (2005-02-03) The sister of an accused child molester is calling on St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke to make a formal apology for the abuse.

Last December, the archdiocese settled a lawsuit against Father Norman Christian, who was accused of molesting victim Tim Fischer in 1972. The settlement required Archbishop Burke to write Fischer a letter of apology.

But Carol Kuhnert, the priest's sister, says that letter has yet to come and she wants Burke to express more compassion for victims.

"You would think he would be reaching out and protecting his flock, and I don't see him doing that," Kuhnert said. "He protects his priests very well, but he does not reach out to his priests' victims."

Church officials say an administrative snag is holding up the court-ordered apology.

Posted by kshaw at 08:37 AM

Rapist priest preyed on vulnerable women

BRITAIN
Local London

By Local London Reporter

A Hindu priest fired by a temple in Tooting for his behaviour around women went on to rape a female worshipper from a temple in Croydon.

Ramanathan Somanathan was found guilty of twice raping the 29-year-old woman, abusing his position as a respected priest at the Sivaskanthagiri Arulmigu Murugan Temple in Thornton Road, Croydon.

Croydon Crown Court heard how the chairman of the Sivayogam Muthumariyamman temple in Upper Tooting Road had decided not to renew Somanathan's contract when he worked there six years ago, because he had become concerned about the defendant's behaviour towards women at the temple.

The court heard that the married 41-year-old from Thornton Heath had told his victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, that they had been married in a previous life.

Gillian Etherton, prosecuting, told the court that Somanathan had also sexually harassed other worshippers at the Croydon temple, and many of them had been afraid to come forward fearing a backlash from the local Hindu community.

Posted by kshaw at 06:59 AM

Church clergy board clears priest

CALIFORNIA
Pasadena Star-News

By Marianne Love , Staff Writer

A lawsuit accusing a former Covina priest of molesting an 11-year-old boy will go forward, despite a church oversight board's finding that he did nothing wrong.

The attorney for the plaintiff said the decision by the Clergy Misconduct Oversight Board of the Los Angeles Archdiocese doesn't affect his case against the Rev. Thomas King, who began his career at St. Louise de Marillac Catholic Church 37 years ago and continues as pastor at St. Anastasia Catholic Church in Los Angeles.

"I'm not surprised. It's like the wolf watching over the hen house,' said Irwin M. Zalkin of Zalkin and Zimmer, LLP in San Diego. "I don't have any faith in what they do. The depth and breadth of their investigation doesn't compare with what we will do when we have the opportunity to conduct discovery, to get documents, interview witnesses under oath that's when life changes.'

King remains accused of engaging in sexual molestation for three to six months when the plaintiff, fictitiously referred to as John Roe 6, now 48, was 11 years old. Attorneys have refused to release the plaintiff's name.

Posted by kshaw at 06:54 AM

Prosecutor: Pastor Seduced Victim

NEWARK (OH)
The Advocate

By Erik Johns
Advocate Reporter

NEWARK -- A local prosecutor described a two-year relationship between a Hebron pastor and his teenage parishioner as a love affair that included hand-holding and romance.

"He and (the victim) actually had a love affair," Licking County Assistant Prosecutor Melinda Seeds said Friday. "He completely seduced her."

A Licking County grand jury on Friday indicted Lonny J. Aleshire Jr., 34, of 503 E. Main St., Hebron, on seven felony sex abuse charges involving two teenage sisters, including one count of rape by force. Aleshire also faces three misdemeanor counts involving the youngest girl, now 15.

Seeds says she plans to seek more charges from a grand jury next week.

Authorities allege the rape occurred last June in a hallway at the Licking Baptist Church, 1380 Beaver Run Road, Hebron, where Aleshire is the associate pastor. The victim in that case is the older sister of the girl who reportedly had the two-year relationship.

The older sister, now 17, told authorities what had happened.

Aleshire faces six counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, third-degree felonies, three counts of sexual imposition, third-degree misdemeanors, and one count of rape by force, a first-degree felony.

Posted by kshaw at 06:42 AM

Gilpin quits vestry

MANATEE (FL)
Bradenton Herald

RICHARD DYMOND
Herald Staff Writer

Joseph Gilpin resigned from the vestry of Christ Episcopal Church on Friday morning, hours before two clergy abuse groups had planned to ask the Episcopal Diocese of Southwest Florida to remove him.

"This has been the best news," said Christopher M. McCafferty, president of Advocates for Children's Innocence Inc., after Bishop John Lipscomb of the diocese made the announcement in the middle of a news conference.

McCafferty's group and the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests called the news conference at the diocese's Lakewood Ranch headquarters, alarmed that Gilpin was allowed to continue serving on the vestry.

Gilpin resigned as assistant principal at Haile Middle School on Jan. 28 after allegations surfaced that he molested two boys in the 1960s.

Posted by kshaw at 06:41 AM

Sex-abuse scandal puts parish assets in jeopardy

FLORENCE (OR)
Winston-Salem Journal

By Steve Woodward
RELIGION NEWS SERVICE

The 450 families of St. Mary Our Lady of the Dunes Catholic Church in Florence, Ore., have no doubt that the parish belongs to them.

The congregation dates to at least 1949, when the parish priest in Reedsport made monthly trips to Florence to celebrate Mass in people's homes. Since then, the church has been housed in an American Legion hall, the upstairs of Cooper's Mercantile Store and a 20-by-50-foot donated building that had to be trucked to the site in 1953. Parishioners have pledged $1.9 million toward a major building expansion, said Ken Janowski, fund-raising chairman.

There's just one problem: The parish might not actually exist as a separate legal entity, because the archdiocese holds the title for its property. If that's the case, St. Mary's could see $1.5 million in property, cash and savings used to help settle a staggering $534 million in claims against the bankrupt Archdiocese of Portland for alleged clergy sexual abuse of at least 72 men and women.

As a result, the building expansion, which had already gone out to bid, is on indefinite, and perhaps permanent, hold.

Posted by kshaw at 06:37 AM

5 clergy abuse victims get cash from diocese

ALBANY (NY)
Albany Times Union

By MICHELE MORGAN BOLTON, Staff writer
First published: Saturday, February 5, 2005

ALBANY -- Five victims of clergy sexual abuse have each been paid tens of thousands of dollars to settle claims against the Albany Roman Catholic Diocese, the first to be compensated through an independent mediation program.

"I think the victims are satisfied and I think the diocese is satisfied," said Howard Levine, the retired Court of Appeals associate judge who oversees the program created last fall.

Even as these settlements are announced, another 25 claims are being investigated and a victims advocacy group is seeking to extend a Feb. 20 deadline to apply for the program.

Levine declined to release the names of the five priests involved in these cases, but said none are in active ministry. He also declined to discuss specific settlement amounts, but noted that several were "substantial."

Posted by kshaw at 06:35 AM

February 04, 2005

No Verdict Yet in Mass. Priest Abuse Case

CAMBRIDGE (MA)
Guardian

Friday February 4, 2005 10:16 PM

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) - A jury deliberated for seven hours Friday without reaching a verdict on child rape charges against defrocked priest Paul Shanley.

The jury is to resume deliberations Monday.

Shanley's accuser, now a 27-year-old firefighter in a Boston suburb, testified that the priest began molesting him while he was in the second grade, taking him out of religious education classes for discipline and raping him in the confessional.

The man says his repressed memories of the alleged abuse were recovered when he heard media reports about the clergy sex abuse crisis in Boston in 2002.

Posted by kshaw at 07:11 PM

Grand jury indicts Hebron pastor on sex charges

NEWARK (OH)
The Advocate

By ERIK JOHNS
Advocate Reporter

NEWARK — A Licking County grand jury indicted a Hebron pastor Friday on seven felony sex abuse charges, including one count of rape.

Lonny J. Aleshire Jr., 34, of 503 E. Main St., Hebron, faces six counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, third-degree felonies, three counts of sexual imposition, third-degree misdemeanors, and one count of rape, a first-degree felony.

The indictment claims Aleshire engaged in sexual conduct and contact with a girl, now 15, between August 2002 and August 2004.

Prosecutors also claim that Aleshire raped a second girl in June 2004, when she was 16. She is now 17.

Licking County Assistant Prosecutor Melinda Seeds alleges that some of the abuse — including the rape — took place in the Licking Baptist Church, Hebron, where Aleshire is the associate pastor.

Posted by kshaw at 07:08 PM

3 priests laicized

ST. LOUIS (MO)
St. Louis Review

Three priests accused of sexual abuse have been dismissed from the priesthood, Archbishop Raymond L. Burke announced Jan. 28.

Archbishop Burke had initiated laicization proceedings last year against Michael McGrath, Donald Straub and Robert Yim "for the welfare of all children and for the welfare of the Church," according to a statement by the archdiocese.

The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith dismissed the three from the clerical state.

According to the statement by the archdiocese, all three men had credible allegations of sexual abuse of a minor against them. Last year in a mediation process the archdiocese settled several civil cases of clergy abuse that involved McGrath and Yim as well as others.

Laicization, which is given with the approval of the pope, means that a priest has been definitively returned to the status of a layman, is dispensed from all the obligations that he assumed by sacred orders and that a diocese no longer has responsibility for his support.

Posted by kshaw at 07:04 PM

Jury resumes deliberations in case against defrocked priest

CAMBRIDGE (MA)
azcentral.com

Associated Press
Feb. 4, 2005 12:55 PM

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - A jury resumed deliberating the fate of defrocked priest Paul Shanley on Friday, weighing conflicting views on the repressed memories his accuser said came to him decades after the sexual abuse allegedly took place.

The jurors received the case Thursday afternoon and deliberated for 30 minutes before the judge sent them home for the day. They returned to Middlesex Superior Court on Friday.

The accuser said his memories of the abuse were repressed for 20 years and then resurfaced when the Boston church abuse scandal broke in 2002.
But Shanley's lawyer, Frank Mondano, said in his closing argument Thursday that they were false memories that were planted by a friend, who also had accused Shanley of abuse, and then were exploited by attorneys who filed a lawsuit.

"The core facts in this case are just not true," Mondano said.

Posted by kshaw at 07:03 PM

Missionary indecently assaulted teenage nephew

IRELAND
One in Four

Azra Naseem - Irish Independent

A MISSIONARY brother who indecently assaulted his teenage nephew has been remanded in custody for sentence by Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

The Capuchin Order brother pleaded guilty to two counts of indecently assaulting his nephew between February 27, 1978, and February 27, 1982, at two locations in Ireland.

Patrick MacEntee SC, for the 51-year-old brother, told Judge Frank O'Donnell his client had committed the offences at a time when he was coming to terms with the realisation that he was of homosexual orientation.

Detective Garda Michael Lally told the court that the brother had spent most of his working life as a missionary in South Africa. He was on holiday in Dublin when he invited his nephew to the Capuchin Priory in Raheny.

Posted by kshaw at 09:12 AM

Priest's tip led to pastor's arrest in porn case

GRAND PRAIRIE (TX)
The Dallas Morning News

08:40 PM CST on Thursday, February 3, 2005

By STEPHANIE SANDOVAL / The Dallas Morning News

GRAND PRAIRIE – While associate priest Jesús Belmontes spoke with Father Matthew Bagert in his office at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Grand Prairie in December, he noticed a reflection from the pastor's computer screen on a glass picture frame behind his desk.

The reflection turned out to be the image of a nude boy. Father Belmontes alerted a Dallas Catholic Diocese official, and his tip ultimately led to the arrest Wednesday of Father Bagert on charges of possession of child pornography, a third-degree felony. He was released on $20,000 bail.

According to Grand Prairie police arrest affidavits, investigators seized Father Bagert's computer Jan. 31 at the church rectory. They found that the hard drive contained "numerous images, sexual and lewd in nature" of naked boys from ages 4 to 14 years old.

Police also seized videotapes and printed materials during the search of the rectory.

The Dallas Catholic Diocese on Wednesday suspended Father Bagert – the pastor of Immaculate Conception since 2001 – pending the outcome of the police investigation.

Father Bagert, 36, could not be reached for comment. But he has retained former Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick McLain, who specialized in prosecuting child exploitation cases.

Posted by kshaw at 05:34 AM

Diocese suspends accused priest

GRAND PRAIRIE (TX)
Star-Telegram

By Susan Schrock
Star-Telegram Staff Writer

GRAND PRAIRIE - The Dallas Catholic Diocese has indefinitely suspended a Grand Prairie priest who was arrested after diocesan officials accused him of having child pornography on his church computer.

Father Matthew Bagert, 36, was arrested Wednesday morning at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church on Northeast 17th Street. The arrest came two days after the diocese told Grand Prairie police that he had child pornography on his computer.

Bagert was released from the Grand Prairie Jail on $20,000 bond.

Bronson Havard, spokesman for the diocese, said Bagert was consulting a lawyer Thursday and was declining interviews.

Bagert was ordained in 1997 and has been the church's pastor since 2001, Havard said. The diocese had received no previous complaints about him, he said.

"This was a shock for all of us," Havard said.

Posted by kshaw at 05:29 AM

Clergy abuse payouts delayed

CINCINNATI (OH)
Cincinnati Enquirer

By Dan Horn
Enquirer staff writer

Victims of clergy abuse might have to wait another two months to find out whether they will be paid from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati's $3 million victims' compensation fund.

The officials overseeing the fund originally had hoped to complete their work and begin paying victims in December.

But they said Thursday it has taken longer than expected to review the 134 applications for compensation - nearly twice the number expected - and to interview the victims and the accused priests.

"We're not dragging our feet," said Robert Stachler, a Cincinnati attorney and member of the independent tribunal that will disburse the money. "We want to get this behind us."

The administrator of the fund, Matthew Garretson, said the process of evaluating the claims is long, hard work. He said he could not set a deadline for finishing that work, but he estimated it could be another six to eight weeks.

Posted by kshaw at 05:27 AM

Pre-trial talks heat up in clergy sex-abuse cases

OAKLAND (CA)
Contra Costa Times

By Randy Myers

OAKLAND - With two cases set to go to trial in a month and intense mediation under way, attorneys in the Northern California clergy sex abuse scandal went to court Thursday to hash out more pretrial details.

But while an Alameda Superior Court judge tentatively ruled on several actions that could shape the 11 scheduled trials, it was the legal maneuvering going on behind closed doors that seemed to hang over the proceedings.

Those discussions will likely produce more settlements, stopping some of the 150 cases from going to trial.

Some of the victims remain steadfast and want their day in court, said plaintiff attorney David Drivon.

"Some clients are motivated to have (a) public record made of this," he said.

Even without a trial, some of the victims' settlements require release of key documents.

Posted by kshaw at 05:23 AM

Child-Rape Case Against Ex-Priest Is Before the Jury

CAMBRIDGE (MA)
Washington Post

By Jonathan Finer
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, February 4, 2005; Page A03

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Feb. 3 -- On the final day of testimony in the trial of defrocked priest Paul R. Shanley, attorneys for both sides focused closing arguments Thursday on the validity of his lone accuser's account of sexual abuse forgotten for decades and then remembered.

The case, which includes two counts of child rape and two counts of indecent assault and battery, was left to a 12-member jury, which deliberated for half an hour before adjourning until Friday morning.

Middlesex County Superior Court Judge Stephen A. Neel threw out a third count of child rape earlier this week for lack of evidence.

Defense attorney Frank Mondano said the accuser, a 27-year-old firefighter who has asked not to be identified, was manipulated by personal-injury lawyers bent on pursuing a civil suit against Shanley.

"The core facts in this case are just not true," Mondano said.

Posted by kshaw at 05:21 AM

2 Sides Finish at the Trial of Ex-Priest in Abuse Case

CAMBRIDGE (MA)
The New York Times

By PAM BELLUCK

Published: February 4, 2005

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Feb. 3 - The lawyer for Paul R. Shanley, a defrocked priest accused of sexual abuse, told a jury in closing arguments on Thursday that the accuser, now a 27-year-old firefighter, either had false memories of fictitious abuse or invented the accusations to win a suit.

"There isn't reasonable doubt in this case," the lawyer, Frank Mondano, said. "There is massive doubt in this case."

The prosecutor countered in her closing that the lack of specificity lent the accusations veracity.

"If it was all a lie, it would have been a better one," the prosecutor, Lynn Rooney, said. "If it was all made up, wouldn't it have been better scripted? Wouldn't there have been more detail?"

The jury began deliberating and went home after half an hour. Earlier, Judge Stephen A. Neel of Middlesex Superior Court, had instructed the seven men and five women on the jury that there was no direct evidence to support one of the accuser's main contentions, that as a boy he was sent out of his Christian doctrine class when he misbehaved.

Posted by kshaw at 05:20 AM

Diocese OKs priest to return to duties

TENNESSEE
Jackson Sun

By TAJUANA CHESHIER
tcheshier@jacksonsun.com
Feb 4 2005

Although a civil lawsuit against him is still pending, Father Richard Mickey will return to his duties later this month at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Jackson and St. John's Catholic Church in Brownsville.

Twin brothers Blain and Blair Chambers have accused Mickey of sexually abusing them in 1980 while they were students at Bishop Byrne High School in Memphis, according to a lawsuit the brothers filed in August in Memphis Circuit Court.

After the lawsuit was filed, Mickey was reassigned to administrative duties in Memphis pending an internal investigation by the Catholic Diocese of Memphis.

Bishop J. Terry Steib announced this week he decided the allegations against Mickey were not credible, a press release from the diocese said. The bishop made the decision to allow Mickey to return to Jackson after he accepted a report from the Diocesan Review Board. The board's task is to advise the bishop in his assessment of allegations of sexual abuse of minors, the release said.

Mickey, who has denied the allegations, will return to the parishes on Feb. 19.

Posted by kshaw at 05:18 AM

Paterson Diocese finds priest sexually abused teen

PATERSON (NJ)
Star-Ledger

Friday, February 04, 2005
BY JEFF DIAMANT
Star-Ledger Staff
A Paterson Diocese tribunal has determined that a priest molested a teenager in the 1960s and should be permanently suspended from priestly duties, but it did not recommend he be formally removed from the priesthood.

The diocese announced Wednesday that a judicial panel of three priests decided, after a closed church-run trial, that the Rev. James A.D. Smith was "guilty of at least one act of sexual abuse of a minor."

Bishop Arthur Serratelli has approved the penalty, a spokeswoman said.

Smith, 74, a diocesan priest for about 50 years, was accused of repeatedly molesting a teenager in the 1960s while he worked at Our Lady of Victories Church in Paterson.

Smith has long denied the charge and will appeal the verdict to the diocese judges and, if necessary, to the Vatican, diocese spokeswoman Marianna Thompson said.

Posted by kshaw at 05:15 AM

Shanley case goes to the jury

CAMBRIDGE (MA)
Boston Globe

By Joanna Weiss, Globe Staff | February 4, 2005

CAMBRIDGE -- Paul R. Shanley's accuser is a victim overwhelmed with true memories of abuse by his parish priest, or he's a suggestible man who believes vivid stories that were planted in his mind.

He is a publicity-monger desperate for attention and reward, or he's a brave young man with a story to tell and nothing to gain but the truth.

It's now up to a Middlesex County jury to decide, as it debates whether Shanley, 74, repeatedly raped and abused the alleged victim in the early 1980s.

As lawyers delivered their closing arguments yesterday in Shanley's child rape trial in Middlesex Superior Court, it was the accuser who seemed more directly on trial: his life recounted, his motives questioned, his testimony examined. Both sides reminded jurors how the accuser had sobbed last week on the witness stand, but they offered different theories for those emotions.

The alleged victim, a 27-year-old firefighter, accuses Shanley of molesting him during Sunday school hours from ages 6 to 11, in the pews, rectory, confessional, and boys' room of St. Jean Church in Newton. The accuser says he forgot about the abuse, but remembered it in 2002, when he learned of Boston Globe stories about Shanley and a Sunday school classmate. Last year, he was awarded $500,000 in a civil settlement with the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston.

Posted by kshaw at 05:13 AM

Former parishioners try to save priest's image

CALIFORNIA
The Press-Enterprise

11:27 PM PST on Thursday, February 3, 2005

By MICHAEL FISHER / The Press-Enterprise

When Diane Lamb wed in 1976, the Riverside woman vowed that her family's former priest, the Rev. Theodore Feely, would perform the ceremony.

"He was just a wonderful man," said Lamb, now 48. "I changed parishes because it meant that much to me that he officiate over my wedding."

Nearly two decades later, Lamb is organizing a group of former Queen of Angels parishioners who are defending Feely, accused in recent months of molesting two boys in Rockford, Ill., during the1970s.

The Riverside group, who grew up revering the Franciscan friar in the 1960s, are gathering signatures to send to Feely's religious order, hoping to preserve his memory as a quiet, spiritual priest who died in 1991.

"I believe to my soul that he didn't do it," said Lamb's brother, Robin Woolsey, 50, who suspects Feely's accusers are trying to cash-in on the clergy sex scandal gripping the Catholic Church. "It's an opportunity to make a buck by leveling charges that really can't be defended."

Posted by kshaw at 05:11 AM

Assistant principal resigns

MANATEE (FL)
East County Observer

02/03/05
By Christine Suh

When the news hit that Joseph Gilpin, assistant
principal at Haile Middle School, was suspended
for allegations of sexual abuse in the late
1960s, parent Lisa Veltri said she supported the
decision. And like the Manatee County School
Board, she would wait for the outcome of a
private investigation before drawing any
conclusions.
At the same time, she said although disturbing,
the announcement wasn't shocking. Gilpin's
behavior around children didn't seem appropriate
for an educator.
In fact, Gilpin had been accused of inappropriate
behavior with students in Manatee schools as
early as 1996 and as late as last November.
According to Manatee County Sheriff's Office
reports, three Haile students accused Gilpin of
inappropriate behavior on Nov. 3. Investigators
questioned the students as well as Gilpin. The
statements among the parties conflicted, and the
investigators found no evidence of criminal
violation.
Veltri wished there was some mechanism to catch
people who fall through the cracks of the
school's background check.

Posted by kshaw at 05:09 AM

Church suspends Gilpin as teacher

MANATEE (FL)
Bradenton Herald

RICHARD DYMOND
Herald Staff Writer

MANATEE - A man accused of molesting two boys in the 1960s will not be permitted to work directly with children at Christ Episcopal Church, where he has attended services for three decades.

The Episcopal Diocese of Southwest Florida issued a news release Thursday afternoon that said Gilpin had been suspended from participation in a program titled "Safeguarding God's Children," designed to protect children from sexual abuse.

Joseph Gilpin, however, will remain on the church vestry, said the Rev. Kerry Robb, Bradenton's Christ Episcopal Church interim rector.

"In light of the circumstances, our bishop has said that Mr. Gilpin should not participate at that level," Robb said of Gilpin working with children. "I have not talked to Mr. Gilpin, but I am sure he agrees."

The news release said even though there is no evidence of Gilpin's guilt, the allegations were enough for the church to make the announcement. "Obviously, teachers of a program to prevent child sexual abuse must be above reproach on this issue, and so allegations involving Mr. Gilpin's conduct with youth that have recently come to our attention are disturbing. While we recognize that Mr. Gilpin has not admitted wrongdoing, the allegations alone have severely damaged his credibility as a trainer," the news release said.

Posted by kshaw at 05:07 AM

Boston priest's child-rape case goes to jury

CAMBRIDGE (MA)
The Seattle Times

By Denise Lavoie
The Associated Press

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — A jury yesterday began deliberating the fate of defrocked priest Paul Shanley, charged with raping a boy at his Boston-area church in the 1980s.

The jury received the case after lawyers clashed over the validity of the repressed memories Shanley's accuser said came to him three years ago, when the Boston church abuse scandal broke.

The jury of seven men and five women deliberated for 30 minutes before the judge sent them home for the day. They were to return today.

The defense earlier presented a sole witness: a psychologist who argued that some people's repressed memories are false. Shanley's lawyer said the accuser's claims of sexual abuse were lies orchestrated by personal-injury lawyers.

Posted by kshaw at 05:06 AM

Jury begins deliberations in ex-priest's child-rape trial

CAMBRIDGE (MA)
Boston Herald

By Marie Szaniszlo
Friday, February 4, 2005

After six days of emotional, often combative testimony about memory and motive, a Middlesex jury yesterday began deliberations in the child-rape trial of defrocked priest Paul Shanley.

The panel of seven men and five women met for only a half-hour late yesterday afternoon before Superior Court Judge Stephen Neel told them to resume talks this morning about whether Shanley, 74, repeatedly molested a former Sunday school student from 1983 to 1989 at St. Jean's parish in Newton.

The alleged victim, now a 27-year-old firefighter, claims he repressed memories of the abuse until early 2002, when he began having flashbacks after learning that a former classmate had made similar allegations. The Herald does not name alleged sexual assault victims.

Yesterday, the defense called its only witness, Elizabeth Loftus, a University of California at Irvine psychologist, who testified, ``I don't believe there is any credible scientific evidence that years of brutalization can be massively repressed.''

During cross-examination, Deputy First Assistant District Attorney Lynn Rooney noted that Loftus had acknowledged in an article that people ``most certainly'' can forget ``horrible'' events because they are too painful to remember.

Loftus acknowledged she has testified on behalf of such criminals as serial killer Ted Bundy and the ``Hillside strangler,'' even though she is neither a clinician nor an expert on dissociative disorders.

Posted by kshaw at 05:04 AM

February 03, 2005

Personnel Bile

CALIFORNIA
Orange County Weekly

by Gustavo Arellano

For the past two years, sex-abuse victims with civil cases against the Catholic Diocese of Orange have clamored for the release of personnel files they say will prove the church’s complicity in their molestations. That day is coming soon: on Jan. 31, diocesan officials turned over personnel files to Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Peter Lichtman as part of their $100 million settlement with sex-abuse victims, the largest in the history of the Catholic Church. Lichtman will decide at a yet-to-be-determined date what documents to release and, citing legal privileges, which to keep sealed.

Whenever that date is, it won’t come soon enough. So, as a public service, the Weekly is opening our personal archives of church documents. Every week on our website, www.ocweekly.com, readers will find a new file available for viewing or printing in a .pdf format.

Some files are public record, such as the 1986 police report in which a Huntington Beach detective investigating allegations that Andrew Christian Anderson was molesting altar boys at St. Bonaventure noted that church officials were "attempting to avoid me." Other documents include private church correspondence that illuminates how Orange Bishop Tod D. Brown spun the scandal to his priests. All of them are damning.

Our first document is a psychological profile on Monsignor Michael Harris, the former Mater Dei and Santa Margarita principal who was sued by nine plaintiffs as part of the $100 million settlement. Orange officials forced Harris to undergo the exam at the St. Luke Institute in Maryland in 1994 after pedophilia allegations first surfaced against him. In 2001, when Ryan DiMaria sued Harris and the Orange diocese and eventually settled for $5.2 million, Brown sought to keep the profile sealed, going as far as the California State Supreme Court.

Posted by kshaw at 09:03 PM

Archdiocese Documents

CINCINNATI (OH)
WCPO

Reported and Web Produced by: I-Team
Updated: 02/03/05 21:23:27

TONIGHT THE I-TEAM LAYS OUT DOCUMENTS THE ARCHDIOCESE OF CINCINNATI HOPED PEOPLE WOULD NEVER SEE.

THEY SHOW THE CINCINNATI ARCHDIOCESE LEADERS' FAILURE TO REPORT THE SEXUAL ABUSE OF A PRIEST WITH DOZENS OF VICTIMS.

I-TEAM REPORTER LAURE QUINLIVAN HAS OUR EXCLUSIVE REPORT.

(Laure Quinlivan) Have you covered up any of the crimes of your priests?

(Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk) No, No.

(Laure Quinlivan) Have you reported felony child abuse to police as required by Ohio law?

(Archbishop Pilarczyk) Yes. (Laure Quinlivan) When? (Pilarczyk) When required. (Quinlivan) Well that's been a law since 1974, have you been reporting all the child abuse you've become aware of to police?"

Posted by kshaw at 09:00 PM

Ex-Priest's Child Rape Trial Goes to Jury

CAMBRIDGE (MA)
Reuters

Thu Feb 3, 2005 04:20 PM ET

By Greg Frost CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (Reuters) - The defense attorney for Paul Shanley, the defrocked U.S. Catholic priest accused of child rape, said Thursday there was "massive doubt" about what occurred two decades ago and called for the jury to acquit him.

In closing arguments of the trial of Shanley, a central figure in a U.S. Catholic Church abuse scandal, attorney Frank Mondano said the accuser may have lied about events at a Boston-area church, but the prosecution contended there was no doubt the boy was molested "again and again and again."

"There isn't reasonable doubt in this case. There's massive doubt in this case," Mondano said in his closing arguments, in which he cast doubt on the memory and motives of the sole accuser in the criminal trial.

The jury retired to consider its verdict Thursday afternoon.

Shanley, the 74-year-old former priest, was indicted in 2002 on charges of child rape and indecent assault and battery on a child. Prosecutors dropped most of the charges because three of the original four accusers either would not testify or could not be found.

The only remaining charges relate to a 27-year-old firefighter who last week took the witness stand and tearfully told of being raped and molested in the 1980s -- memories he says he repressed until they came flooding back as a clergy sex scandal rocked the Archdiocese of Boston.

Posted by kshaw at 06:31 PM

Priest suspended after child porn arrest

GRAND PRAIRIE (TX)
Star-Telegram

By Susan Schrock
Star-Telegram Staff Writer

The Dallas Catholic Diocese has suspended a Grand Prairie priest indefinitely after he was arrested for reportedly possessing child pornography on his church computer.

Father Matthew Bagert, 36, was arrested Wednesday morning at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church on NE 17th Street, two days after the diocese contacted Grand Prairie police that he had child pornography on his computer.

Bagert was released from the Grand Prairie Jail on $20,000 bond.

Bronson Havard, spokesperson for the diocese, said Bagert was consulting an attorney Thursday and was declining interviews.

Bagert was ordained in 1997 and has been the church's pastor since 2001, Havard said. The diocese had received no previous complaints about him, Havard said.

"This was a shock for all of us," Havard said.

Posted by kshaw at 06:26 PM

Supes seek to save St. Brigid Church

SAN FRANCISCO (CA)
San Francisco Chronicle

Suzanne Herel, Chronicle Staff Writer

Thursday, February 3, 2005

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors wants to label the long- closed St. Brigid Catholic Church a local historic landmark in an effort to thwart the archdiocese's plan to demolish the building and sell the land to pay off settlements of priest abuse cases.

Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier, who represents District 2, where the church sits at Broadway and Van Ness Avenue, introduced a resolution Tuesday urging the Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board to consider an official historic designation for the structure, built in Richardsonian Romanesque style in 1900. The measure has enough co-sponsors to pass at the board meeting Tuesday.

But Maurice Healy, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of San Francisco, said that even if the church does become a historic landmark, it won't affect the archdiocese's plan to sell the building to a developer who intends to erect condominiums on that corner.

Under state law, Healy said, religious organizations are permitted to reject landmark status -- as the archdiocese already did in this case with the national and state registers of historic places -- and do what they like with the buildings they own.

Posted by kshaw at 06:19 PM

Support Groups Help Victims of Sexual Abuse

VIRGINIA
Arlington Catholic Herald

By Soren Johnson
Special to the Herald
(From the issue of 2/3/05)

The diocesan Victim Assistance Office and Catholic Charities will collaborate to offer two support groups for victims of sexual abuse beginning this spring.

The confidential support groups, to be offered initially in Arlington and Fredericksburg over a 10-week period, will be a "safe place of ongoing healing, where trust might be in some part regained," according to Pat Mudd, diocesan victim assistance coordinator. "We’re here to support victims/survivors on their journey to healing." The establishment of the groups was requested by Arlington Bishop Paul S. Loverde last fall.

Because of the sensitive nature of the topic, it will not be a drop-in group; participants will be asked to register and commit to attend weekly sessions.

Among those leading the support groups will be Pamela Staszak, a professional counselor with Catholic Charities who has previously overseen support groups for victims of sexual abuse in North Carolina; Pat Cole, assistant program director of Family Services for CCDA who has worked extensively with adult victims of sexual abuse and trauma in workshops and support groups; and Marguerite Turner, assistant program director of Family Services, who has provided therapy to individuals, couples and families focusing on issues of depression, self-esteem, abuse survival, trauma and anxiety.

Posted by kshaw at 06:17 PM

Second creditors' committee formed

SPOKANE (WA)
KGW

02/03/2005

By NICHOLAS K. GERANIOS / Associated Press

A second committee of creditors has been formed in the bankruptcy of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Spokane, to satisfy complaints that the first group did not include enough victims of sexual abuse.

The new committee contains five men who have filed lawsuits against the diocese contending they were abused by priests.

The original committee now contains just three members, representing sexual abuse victims who so far have declined to sue the diocese. Two other members of the original committee have moved over to the new committee.

The Office of the U.S. Trustee made the changes on Wednesday.

"The trustee advised diocesan attorneys that the second committee had been formed because the makeup of the original, single committee left some individuals feeling disenfranchised from the process," the diocese said in a news release.

Posted by kshaw at 06:13 PM

BIAS DETECTED IN SUPER BOWL AD PROTEST

UNITED STATES
Catholic League

Bowing to pressure from SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests), Catholic activists, lawyers, psychologists and feminists, the Ford Motor Company has withdrawn a Super Bowl ad for a new Lincoln truck, the Mark LT. The ad shows a clergyman (dressed to look like either a Catholic or an Episcopalian priest) who finds the keys to the truck in the collection plate; a little girl put them there as a prank. The happy cleric, who thinks the truck is his, is dismayed when the girl and her father show up to claim the keys. The ad ends by showing the cleric approaching a church marquee; he then puts the letters L and T on the opposite sides of the word US, thus spelling LUST.

Catholic League president William Donohue criticized the protesters today:

“When asked yesterday by the Chicago Tribune what I thought of the ad (it could be seen on the Internet), I had a one-word response—asinine. When asked what I had to say about the protesters, I said it was ‘absurd’ to charge that the ad ‘trivializes and exploits the sex scandal.’ Indeed, it is worse than absurd—it reveals a deep-seated bias against Catholic priests that is very disturbing.

Posted by kshaw at 06:08 PM

Jury gets case in Shanley priest-abuse trial

CAMBRIDGE (MA)
Union-Tribune

By Denise Lavoie
ASSOCIATED PRESS
1:34 p.m. February 3, 2005

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – A jury on Thursday began deliberating the fate of defrocked priest Paul Shanley, who is charged with raping a boy at his church outside Boston in the 1980s.

The jury got the case after lawyers clashed over the validity of the repressed memories Shanley's accuser said came to him three years ago, when the Boston church abuse scandal broke.

The jury of seven men and five women deliberated for all of 30 minutes before the judge sent them home for the day. They were to return Friday.

The defense earlier presented a sole witness: a psychologist who argued that some people's repressed memories are really false.

Shanley's lawyer said the accuser's claims of sexual abuse were lies orchestrated by personal injury lawyers.

But prosecutor Lynn Rooney said the accuser had no reason to lie, particularly since he was required to endure three days of intense questioning on the witness stand.

Posted by kshaw at 06:06 PM

Accused priest being returned to Jackson parish

TENNESSEE
Commercial Appeal

By Bill Dries
Contact
February 3, 2005

A Catholic priest accused in a civil lawsuit of sexually abusing two teenage brothers will return to his parish in Jackson, Tenn.

Memphis Catholic Bishop J. Terry Steib announced Wednesday he is returning Father Richard Mickey to the ministry after the church's investigation concluded the allegations were "not credible."

Blain and Blair Chambers are suing Mickey, the Memphis Diocese and Bishop Byrne High School, claiming Mickey sexually abused them in 1980 when they were students at the high school and Mickey was a counselor and teacher. Mickey was not a priest at the time.

The lawsuit, filed in July, claims the twins each had repressed memories of the alleged abuse that surfaced during a July 2003 fishing trip in Montana.

It is the first time a priest in the Memphis Diocese has been publicly accused of child sexual abuse.

Depositions in the lawsuit are scheduled to begin later this month.

Posted by kshaw at 06:03 PM

Man accused of molesting girls at church

RICHMOND (CA)
KESQ

RICHMOND, Calif. A man arrested for allegedly molesting four girls was kicked out of a Richmond church last year -- but officials there never called police.

Prosecutors filed charges last week against 34-year-old Boris Mauricio Ruiz on suspicion of molesting four girls during a five-year span that ended last March or April, when a pastor counseled a family in his congregation to report the crimes.

After that meeting at Iglesia de Cristo Ministerios Elim -- Ruiz vanished and no one called police until July.

Three of the four victims are sisters related to Ruiz who were all 8 to 10 years old when he allegedly propositioned them, showed them pornography, exposed himself and fondled them at times from 1999 to 2004.

Posted by kshaw at 09:25 AM

Ex-Priest's Defense to Call Psychologist

CAMBRIDGE (MA)
Guardian

Thursday February 3, 2005 1:46 PM

By DENISE LAVOIE
Associated Press Writer

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) - The defense in the child rape trial of a former priest is focusing on the validity of repressed memory theories, hoping to debunk a key claim of the 27-year-old accuser in the case.

Paul Shanley's defense was expected to call just one witness - Elizabeth Loftus, a psychologist and memory researcher who is skeptical about the validity of repressed memory theories.

After her testimony is presented Thursday, closing arguments are expected to follow.

On Wednesday, a judge rejected a request from Shanley's attorney to dismiss the child rape and indecent assault charges against the defrocked priest. Attorney Frank Mondano said the evidence showed Shanley's accuser has a false memory of being abused in the 1980s.

``You have either a false memory or a repressed memory, and I submit that the evidence is greater on the false memory theory,'' Mondano said.

Posted by kshaw at 09:22 AM

Lustful cleric ad is now commercial that never was

UNITED STATES
Sun-Sentinel

By Bonnie Miller Rubin and Meg McSherry Breslin, Tribune staff reporters. Tribune staff reporter Jim Kirk contributed to this report
Posted February 3 2005

An automaker on Wednesday said it would pull a 30-second Super Bowl commercial featuring a clergyman who lusts in his heart for a truck, after a group representing victims of clergy sex abuse registered its outrage.

In the ad, the clergyman discovers an unusual tithe in the collection plate: the keys to a new Lincoln Mark LT. The cleric checks out the truck and finds it heavenly, but then is returned to earth when the owner arrives to say his little girl had put the keys on the plate by mistake. The commercial ends with the clergyman adjusting the church marquee to note that next week's sermon will be on "lust."

Leaders of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests sent a letter Wednesday to Ford Motor Co., urging the firm to withdraw the ad, contending it trivializes and exploits the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church.

"We are appalled at how insensitive this ad is," SNAP president Barbara Blaine said in a statement. "It just rubs salt into an already very deep and still hurting wound for many of us."

Posted by kshaw at 09:20 AM

Paterson Diocese rules priest molested boy

PATERSON (NJ)
NorthJersey.com

Thursday, February 3, 2005

By JOHN CHADWICK
STAFF WRITER

The Paterson Diocese has determined that one of its priests molested a Fair Lawn boy in the 1960s and should be removed from public ministry, a spokeswoman said Wednesday.

The ruling brings to a conclusion the first church trial held in North Jersey as a result of the clergy abuse scandal of 2002.

A panel of three priests found that the Rev. James A.D. Smith was "guilty of at least one act of sexual abuse of a minor," spokeswoman Marianna Thompson said in a statement.

Smith, in his 70s, is barred from celebrating the sacraments of the church, including communion.

"The penalty shall be permanent suspension of Rev. Smith's faculties as a priest," the statement said. "He may no longer represent himself as a priest or exercise any of the authorities or duties of ecclesiastical office."

Smith, who served in several parishes, including Sacred Heart in Clifton and Our Lady of Victories in Paterson, is expected to appeal the decision to Rome.

Posted by kshaw at 09:18 AM

Head Priest Suspended From School After Arrest

GRAND PRAIRIE (TX)
NBCi.com

POSTED: 8:31 am CST February 3, 2005
UPDATED: 8:57 am CST February 3, 2005

GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas -- A Grand Prairie priest has been suspended after being arrested, accused of, possessing child pornography.

Officials arrested Father Matthew Bagert on Wednesday. Bagert served at Immaculate Conception Catholic School in Grand Prairie.

The school notified parents of Bagert's arrest by sending letters homes with the children.

"I don't want to say that I do believe, and I don't want to say I don't believe. We need to wait and see. He was always real nice, talking to everyone. But you never know what people do behind closed

Posted by kshaw at 09:16 AM

Lawsuit says priest molested two girls

MODESTO (CA)
Modesto Bee

By AMY WHITE
BEE STAFF WRITER

Last Updated: February 3, 2005, 05:15:22 AM PST

A lawsuit alleging that a Modesto priest molested two Hughson girls is set for trial in Stockton this month.

The lawsuit, filed in September 2002, alleges that the Rev. Francis Arakal, an associate pastor at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Modesto, fondled 11- and 13-year-old sisters at their Hughson home in July 2001. The trial proceedings are set to begin Feb. 22 in San Joaquin County Superior Court.

The lawsuit also charges that the Diocese of Stockton and St. Joseph's pastor, the Rev. Joseph Illo, responded inappropriately when one of the girls told Illo about the alleged abuse on Sept. 11, 2001.

Diocese officials declined to comment on the case. Illo, reached by phone this week, contested the lawsuit's description of events.

According to the complaint, Arakal touched the breasts of the 13-year-old girl and breasts and groin area of the 11-year-old girl on July 25, 2001.

According to her attorneys, the younger girl told Illo of her sister's abuse in a setting at the church that she believed was confidential. Illo violated that confidentiality, the lawsuit says, setting a meeting for him, Arakal and the younger girl.

"During the confrontation, (Arakal and Illo) began to yell, berate and intimidate (the girl), calling (her) a 'liar,'" the complaint says. It states that Illo said, "All your mother wants to do is have sex with me."

Posted by kshaw at 07:32 AM

Hurt, angered by abuse scandal, Catholics gather to seek healing

NORTH NAPLES (FL)
Naples Daily News

By JANINE A. ZEITLIN, jazeitlin@naplesnews.com
February 3, 2005

Catholics burdened by how their church leaders tucked decades of sexual abuse by priests into shadows left a North Naples mass Wednesday feeling lighter.

Nearly 500 attendees packed pews at the spacious St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church for the noon mass pulled together by the Southwest Florida chapter of Voice of the Faithful.

The group with 40,000 members nationwide was formed by lay people to respond to unraveling scandals and to support sexual abuse victims and innocent priests.

Devout Catholics compared the church response's to sexual abuse to familial deception.

"It was just like being viscerally hurt by your family. There was a lot of anger," said Peg Clark of East Naples, president of the local chapter.

Of Wednesday's mass, Clark said: "I could feel the embrace. Everything today clicked . . . There was definitely community there."

Posted by kshaw at 07:30 AM

Church wants Gilpin to stay

MANATEE (FL)
Bradenton Herald

RICHARD DYMOND
Herald Staff Writer

MANATEE - Fellow church members of a man accused of molesting two boys in the 1960s have offered their public support to him and will not ask him to resign from the church's vestry.

Christ Episcopal Church officials cited Joseph Gilpin's service to the church, including teaching a sexual molestation awareness course for adults called "Safeguarding God's Children."

Gilpin's decades of service prompted the church to back him amid the allegations made public last week, said the Rev. Kerry Robb, the interim rector of Christ Episcopal Church on Manatee Avenue West.

"I have received letters from church members saying the allegations against him are unproven and we should support him," Robb said. "And that is our posture. We are going to continue to support him."

Posted by kshaw at 07:28 AM

Sex-abuse talks set

WORCESTER (MA)
Telegram & Gazette

WORCESTER—College of the Holy Cross is sponsoring two lectures dealing with aspects of the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church as part of its “Beyond Brokenness: Healing, Renewal and the Church” series.

Judge Anne Burke, former interim chairwoman of the United States Catholic Bishops’Abuse Tracker Review Board for the Protection of Children and Young People, will speak at 7:30 p.m. Monday in the Rehm Library at the college as part of the series.

Judge Burke, who lives in Chicago, serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals, and will speak on “Lay Catholics and the Future of the American Church.” She will be giving the annual Bishop Flanagan Lecture which began in 1991 to build a relationship between the Diocese of Worcester and Holy Cross on social justice and peace issues. Janine Geske, professor at Marquette University Law School, will speak at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Rehm Library.

Posted by kshaw at 07:26 AM

Revelations: Faith betrayed (Part 4)

ALASKA
KTUU

Tuesday, February 1, 2005 - by Megan Baldino

Fairbanks, Alaska -- “There is no one in this room that is anti-Catholic. The last thing anybody at this table wanted is to be here.”

John Manly is a partner with the law firm Manley and McGuire in Orange County, Calif. The firm helped win the largest clergy sex-abuse settlement in the nation -- $100 million -- against the Orange County Diocese.

Manley represented 30 of 90 clients. “Ten years ago, if you told me I was going to be doing this work, I would've laughed,” he says.

Manley says he’s a real estate lawyer, who got a call one day that changed his life. A young man needed a lawyer to sue the Orange County Diocese. That man, now a lawyer at Manley’s firm, was abused by a popular priest.

Manley says the diocese would not accept an initial offer to settle for $100,000.

“Four-and-a-half years later, they paid my client $5.2 million,” he says.

Posted by kshaw at 07:24 AM

Revelations: Faith betrayed (Part 5)

CHICAGO (IL)
KTUU

Wednesday, February 2, 2005 - by Megan Baldino

Chicago, Illinois - When 34 men came forward accusing Deacon Joseph Lundowski of sexually abusing them as children, many questions surfaced about who Lundowski is. The church says it has little record of Lundowski, saying that he was simply a lay volunteer.

Despite the lawsuit, officials haven't tried to track him down.

In the darkest days of winter, the secrets of a small church on the edge of Alaska's Norton Sound are finally being exposed.

“He pulled my pants down and I was holding them like this, and he unbuckled and un-zippered my pants and pulled it down, and I keep asking what he was doing and he said I'll find out,” said Peter Kobuk, who is James Doe 18 in the lawsuit.

The man Kobuk is referring to is Deacon Joseph Lundowski, now accused by 34 men of sexually abusing them as children -- the largest case of alleged clergy sex abuse in Alaska.

“He was a big heavy-set person, very strong,” Kobuk says.

Posted by kshaw at 07:23 AM

Revelations: Faith betrayed (Part 6)

ALASKA
KTUU

Wednesday, February 2, 2005 - by Megan Baldino

Anchorage, Alaska - The village of Stebbins has always been a quiet place. Residents tend to keep to themselves. That makes it that much more surprising that several men of the village are finally talking about what they say happened to them when they were children.

In a lawsuit filed against the Catholic Diocese of Fairbanks, 33 men claim that Joseph Lundowski -- who served in Stebbins, St. Michael and Hooper Bay -- sexually abused them, even raped them, as children.

Most of the men say the abuse has changed them and their communities.

“I know it had an effect on them inside them. I know it had an effect on the community, too,” says one victim who did not wish to be identified. He admits he has struggled

Posted by kshaw at 07:21 AM

Shanley defense to call just one witness

CAMBRIDGE (MA)
Boston Globe

By Joanna Weiss, Globe Staff | February 3, 2005

CAMBRIDGE -- When the child rape trial of defrocked priest Paul R. Shanley resumes today, the defense will call only one witness: a California professor who has built a long and prominent career out of debunking repressed memories.

Elizabeth Loftus has drawn both accolades and death threats, as well as a steady stream of legal consulting work, for her contention that false memories can be planted in susceptible minds.

She represents the debate at the core of the Shanley case: whether his accuser's 20-year-old memories are genuine or were suggested to him by personal-injury lawyers and the experts they hired.

Loftus's believers are drawn to her vivid descriptions and striking experiments; at the University of California-Irvine, where she teaches social ecology, she once persuaded some lab subjects, falsely, that they remembered hugging Bugs Bunny at Disneyland.

"Elizabeth Loftus has done a lot of research which helps us in understanding that not all of the repressed memory cases are legitimate," said Michael Avery, an evidence professor at Suffolk Law School.

But advocates of child abuse victims have long criticized Loftus's methods and her willingness to help certain defendants. David Clohessy, national director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, calls her "a hired gun for the defenders of child molesters."

And some mental-health specialists question whether her research, often done within the confines of a lab, bears weight in a highly charged case of child trauma.

Posted by kshaw at 07:18 AM

Ex-priest vanishes

CALIFORNIA
San Bernardino Sun

By BILL BYRON and BRAD A. GREENBERG Staff Writers

Investigators believe a defrocked Catholic priest called Father Jesse has fled to Mexico to escape charges of sexually molesting two teenage altar boys in the 1980s.

Jesus Armando Dominguez, who once served as associate pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Chino, could not be found when Riverside County sheriff's deputies tried to execute a $500,000 arrest warrant that was issued Tuesday morning.

When the incidents occurred, Dominguez, 55, was a priest at Our Lady of Soledad Church in Coachella and St. James Church in Perris, Riverside County prosecutors said.

He last lived in Whittier. Dominguez is accused of oral copulation, sodomy and other sexual acts involving two boys in a period from the mid-1980s to 1989. The boys were around 14 and 17.

If found and convicted, Dominguez could face more than 43 years in prison.

Posted by kshaw at 07:15 AM

Gauthier: Who would you believe?

CAMBRIDGE (MA)
MetroWest Daily News

By Deborah E. Gauthier / News Staff Writer
Thursday, February 3, 2005

It's hard to feel anything but compassion and admiration for the 27-year-old Newton firefighter with courage enough to confront the man he says raped him over a period of years when he was a young boy. It's hard to feel anything but contempt for the man accused.

But in a court of law, one is innocent until proven guilty. Who would you believe if you were on the jury?

The young man says he repressed the memories of sexual abuse until two years ago when three other men -- who were parishioners of St. Jean's Parish in Newton between 1979 and 1989 just as he was -- filed charges that they were molested by the Rev. Paul Shanley.

He heard their stories, and a torrent of memories flooded in -- memories of being pulled from CCD classes and sexually abused in church pews, the bathroom and the confessional. He was 6 years old the first time it happened. It continued for six years.

His sobs at the end of the first day of grueling cross-examination, when his memories, motives and lifestyle were attacked, tore at the heart. He begged the judge not to make him go through it again.

But the judge said the case would be lost if he did not return, and he returned. He is a brave man, Shanley's lone accuser. Prosecutors dropped the complaints from three others rather than have them face Shanley's defense attorneys.

Posted by kshaw at 07:13 AM

Ford forced to pull 'lustful' clergy ad from Super Bowl

NEW YORK
Brand Republic

Staff, Brand Republic 12:30 03-02-2005
NEW YORK - Ford has pulled an ad it was planning to run during the Super Bowl, which showed a clergyman being tempted by a Lincoln truck, after complaints from those who have been sexually abused.

People who had been sexually abused by the clergy objected to the spot because it featured a little girl, and a joke at the end where the priest was set to give a sermon on the topic of lust.

There is super sensitivity regarding every second of Sunday's broadcast, after last year's debacle when Janet Jackson exposed her breast, leading to some parents claiming that their children were damaged by the site of her heaving bosom.

In the spot, produced by WPP's Young & Rubicam New York, a Christian clergyman finds not just cash on the collection plate, but a set of car keys for a Lincoln Mark LT luxury pick-up truck.

Outside in the church's parking lot, he sees the new Lincoln and stands admiring his new drive as a parishioner turns up with his young daughter in tow.

The father explains that his daughter dropped the keys in the collection plate by accident.

The 30-second spot finishes the with minister putting the letters "LT" outside the church to spell out next week's sermon topic: "LUST."

Posted by kshaw at 07:11 AM

February 02, 2005

Lincoln pulls Super Bowl car ad after sex abuse victims complain

NEW YORK
San Francisco Chronicle

DAVID BAUDER, AP Television Writer

Wednesday, February 2, 2005

(02-02) 17:45 PST NEW YORK (AP) --

Ford Motor Co. on Wednesday yanked a planned Super Bowl advertisement that depicts a clergyman tempted by a new pickup truck after some victims of clergy sex abuse complained it made light of their trauma.

The company wants to keep the focus on its new truck model rather than any controversy, said Sara Tatchio, spokeswoman for Ford's Lincoln division.

The ad shows a set of car keys placed on a collection plate. The clergyman finds a new Lincoln Mark LT truck in the parking lot, and lovingly caresses the exterior.

The car's owner then enters the picture, with his little girl poking her head from behind him -- the implication being she had dropped the keys in the plate. The clergyman hands over the keys, then is depicted adding the letters L and T to a message board advertisting an upcoming sermon, to spell lust.

The Chicago-based Survivors Networks of those Abused by Priests believed the little girl's presence in the ad with the clergyman and word "lust" had sexual overtones and that Lincoln was playing off the news of religious sex scandals to sell cars.

Posted by kshaw at 08:10 PM

Church Members May Have Known About Allegations In Harnett Sex Abuse Case

NORTH CAROLINA
WRAL

POSTED: 4:04 pm EST February 2, 2005
UPDATED: 6:09 pm EST February 2, 2005

HARNETT COUNTY, N.C. -- The investigation surrounding Lloyd Coats is growing. The investigation may focus on members of his church who may have known about crimes he allegedly committed.

Lloyd Coats appeared in court to answer charges that he allegedly touched children in an inappropriate manner.

Coats is a former postal worker and church van driver charged with molesting 15 children over several years. Erwin police and the Harnett County Sheriff's Office are looking into whether members of Coats' church, Erwin Church of God, knew what he was doing to young girls but never took the information to police.

The Erwin police chief confirms he will consult with the district attorney to see if there is enough evidence to charge members of Coats' church.

"Things keep coming up. There are a lot of questions that are unanswered," Police Chief Tom Chandler said.

"Someone should be held accountable for what happened to us," said Felicia Fisher, Coats' cousin.

Felicia Fisher said Coats touched her inappropriately on the church van in the late 1980s. The 23-year-old said her uncle brought his concerns to the church.

Posted by kshaw at 06:41 PM

Judge Denies Shanley Motion in Abuse Case

CAMBRIDGE (MA)
Guardian

Wednesday February 2, 2005 11:16 PM

By DENISE LAVOIE
AP legal Affairs Writer

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) - A judge rejected a request Wednesday from a defrocked priest's attorney to dismiss the child rape and indecent assault charges against him.

Two days after the prosecution wrapped up its case, attorney Frank Mondano said the evidence showed that Shanley's accuser has a false memory of being abused by former priest Paul Shanley in the 1980s.

``You have either a false memory or a repressed memory, and I submit that the evidence is greater on the false memory theory,'' Mondano said.

Prosecutor Lynn Rooney said there is no evidence the memory was implanted in the accuer's mind as the defense suggests.

Middlesex Superior Court Judge Stephen Neel rejected Mondano's motion, saying the question will have to be answered by the jury.

Posted by kshaw at 06:34 PM

Sex Abuse Suspect May Have Taped In Locker Room

OREGON CITY (OR)
KOIN

OREGON CITY, Ore. -- A church volunteer accused of sex abuse may have videotaped boys in a high school locker room.

Steven Bulleit faced a Clackamas County judge Tuesday on sodomy and child pornography possession charges.

Bulleit was arrested after a computer repairman allegedly found illegal images on his hard drive and alerted police. The man told KOIN News 6 that he saw obscene pictures and videos, including images of boys in a locker room. ...

Bulleit is a volunteer at Atkinson Memorial Church in Oregon City. The pastor told KOIN that the church is stunned by the allegations and is cooperating with the investigation.

Posted by kshaw at 06:31 PM

Sex Abuse Victims Seek Pulling of Super Bowl Ad

UNITED STATES
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

A support group for clergy sex abuse victims is urging Ford/Lincoln to not air a planned Super Bowl TV ad that they say trivializes and exploits the Catholic church sex scandal and offends females who have been molested.

Leaders of SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) are urging the company to withdraw the spot, which features a priest in a Roman collar longingly rubbing his hands over a new truck, looking at a shy young girl, and posting the word “LUST” on the church marquee.

(To see the ad: http://www.superbowl-ads.com/2005/videos-2005/lincolnLT.html)

"It trivializes childhood sex crimes by trusted clergy and exploits a horrific trauma," said Barbara Blaine of Chicago, SNAP founder and president. "We are appalled at how insensitive this ad is. It just rubs salt into an already very deep and still hurting wound for many of us."

Joining their concern are officials from a New York-based grassroots activist organization, a former prosecutor, and therapist.

“Are there no limits to what advertisers will do for commercial gain?” asks Irene Weiser, founder and executive director of StopFamilyViolence.org “To capitalize on the lifelong suffering of sexual abuse victims and the scandalous cover-up by church officials in order to sell a truck? This advertisement goes beyond insensitive it is sickening.”

Posted by kshaw at 06:27 PM

Bill would extend time limit to file civil suit for abuse

CONCORD (NH)
Nashua Telegraph

By KEVIN LANDRIGAN, Telegraph Staff
landrigank@telegraph-nh.com

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2005

CONCORD - Lisa Solange Couturier said sexual abuse victims like her often have to choose between trying to punish the abuser by seeking a prison term or seeking monetary damages through a civil lawsuit.

“Why can’t he or she have the choice of taking both actions, the choice they deserve,” Couturier told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.

County prosecutors and advocates joined in support for legislation to extend the time period that child sexual abuse victims can launch a civil suit in court.

Any child abuse victim has until age 21 - three years after they turn 18 years old - to bring a civil suit against the abuser.

Manchester Democratic Sen. Lou D’Allesandro wants to extend that period until the victim turns 25 years old.

Posted by kshaw at 06:22 PM

SR Diocese cases could be settled

SANTA ROSA (CA)
The Press Democrat

By GUY KOVNER
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Ten remaining lawsuits alleging sexual abuse by Sonoma County priests could be resolved in talks set to begin Monday, but any settlements could cost the Santa Rosa Catholic Diocese millions of dollars and force it into bankruptcy.

Santa Rosa's cases are first in line for court-ordered mediation efforts of about 160 civil suits against Santa Rosa and seven other dioceses.

Whether any of the local cases will be settled and how much it might cost is unknown. But Santa Rosa Bishop Daniel Walsh has warned 150,000 North Coast Catholics that a "single large verdict" could prompt the diocese to file for bankruptcy.

"Only time will tell (if settlements can be reached)," said Stockton attorney Larry Drivon, who represents nine of the 10 plaintiffs against Santa Rosa.

Diocese attorney Dan Galvin said he will "make every effort" to settle the cases, offering "reasonable compensation" to victims and also preserving the church's ability to perform its ministries.

Posted by kshaw at 06:08 PM

Sonoma County priest abuse lawsuits may be settled

SANTA ROSA (CA)
KESQ

SANTA ROSA, Calif. Ten remaining lawsuits alleging sexual abuse by Sonoma County priests could be resolved in talks set to begin Monday.

But any settlements could cost the Santa Rosa Catholic Diocese millions of dollars and force it into bankruptcy.

Santa Rosa's cases are first in line for court-ordered mediation efforts of about 160 civil suits against Santa Rosa and seven other dioceses.

Whether any of the local cases will be settled and how much it might cost is unknown. But Santa Rosa Bishop Daniel Walsh has warned 150-thousand North Coast Catholics that a "single large verdict" could prompt the diocese to file for bankruptcy.

Posted by kshaw at 06:04 PM

Reviewing the abuse norms: U.S.-Vatican talks expected to be positive

VATICAN CITY
The Tidings

By John Thavis

Two years after adopting special norms for dealing with priestly sex abusers, U.S. bishops and Vatican officials are sitting down in early February to review how the new policies have worked and to consider possible revisions.

Vatican officials described the meeting as a simple consultation. They said the talks were expected to be positive, reflecting progress made since the first major U.S.-Vatican meetings on sex abuse in 2002.

"The climate has matured. The norms have been in place for two years, and a lot of cases have been handled. On all sides, there is recognition that much has been accomplished," said one Vatican official.

The "Essential Norms" laid out a strict policy on priestly sex abuse, providing for removal from ministry or laicization of priests who have sexually abused minors. The Vatican approved the norms on an experimental basis for a two-year period beginning in March 2003; new Vatican approval, called a "recognitio," would presumably have to be given again this year, whether or not revisions are made.

Some Vatican sources said they do not expect major changes to the norms. They pointed to improved coordination on sex abuse cases over the last two years between U.S. bishops and the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which was given special competence over such offenses.

Other Vatican officials, however, said they anticipated a re-airing of earlier objections to some elements of the norms and the U.S. bishops' "Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People" --- including the basic issue of "zero tolerance" for offending priests and their removal from ministry after a single act of sexual abuse.


Posted by kshaw at 06:02 PM

Man begins action over alleged abuse

IRELAND
One in Four

from RTENews

A 45-year-old man who claims he suffered sexual and physical torture as a child in care is claiming aggravated damages from the State.

Raymond Noctor told the High Court that the abuse continued at St Joseph's Industrial School in Kilkenny even after he complained personally to the Bishop of Ossory, Dr Peter Birch.

Mr Noctor said the abuse started at the Sisters of Charity-run institution in 1971 when he was 12 and continued for four years.

The court was told he was raped two to three times a week by housemaster David Murray.

After it started he complained repeatedly to the head nun - once in the presence of two off-duty gardaí, the court heard.

Posted by kshaw at 07:18 AM

Ex-Priest's Rape Trial Hangs On Recovered Memories

BOSTON (MA)
TheBostonChannel.com

POSTED: 6:35 am EST February 2, 2005

BOSTON -- At the height of the Boston Archdiocese sex scandal, Paul Shanley was brought back to Massachusetts in handcuffs, accused of raping four boys while he was a priest at a suburban parish in the 1980s.

But as Shanley's trial winds down this week, there is only one accuser left, and prosecutors are fighting to convince a jury the man's recovered memories are for real.

"It all hinges on the credibility of this one victim," said Michael Cassidy, an associate professor at Boston College Law School.

In a sign of the central importance of recovered memory to the case, the defense plans to call only one witness: a research psychologist who has challenged the science behind recovered memories.

The trial is one of the few criminal cases that prosecutors have been able to bring against priests accused of molesting youngsters decades ago. Most of the priests avoided prosecution because the statute of limitations on their alleged crimes had run out. But when Shanley moved away from Massachusetts, the clock stopped, allowing authorities to arrest him in California in 2002.

Posted by kshaw at 07:00 AM

Diocese costs rising in defense against sex abuse allegations

ARIZONA
East Valley Tribune

By Gary Grado, Tribune
The cost of defending lawsuits against priests sent behind bars for sex offenses keeps rising for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix.

Since December 2002, when the first of eight priests was indicted after a yearlong investigation, at least 14 lawsuits have been filed against the diocese alleging sexual misconduct.

The latest involves Monsignor Dale Fushek, pastor of St. Timothy Catholic Community in Mesa. On Friday, the Rev. Karl LeClaire became the third priest to plead guilty and to be sentenced for his crimes.

Diocese officials refuse to disclose how much they are paying the private law firms defending the cases, but insist their finances are in good shape.

"The diocesan resources and insurance resources are sufficient to resolve these cases," said Mike Haran, diocesan attorney. Insurance will cover some of the cases, but not all, he added.

Posted by kshaw at 06:56 AM

Alleged abuser quits job at school

MAINE
Maine Today

By Staff and news services,

A man who is accused of molesting a boy when he was a teacher in Biddeford in the late 1960s has resigned his job as assistant principal at a middle school in Florida.

Church officials in Maine, meanwhile, circulated a notice to parishioners in Biddeford addressing the allegation and encouraging anyone with a complaint to come forward.

Haile Middle School Assistant Principal Joseph Gilpin resigned Friday, two days after the school district learned that the former Catholic seminary student had been accused of sexually abusing two boys - one in Massachusetts and one in Maine - in the 1960s.

Gilpin was put on administrative leave last Wednesday pending a school district investigation.

Posted by kshaw at 06:54 AM

58 sexual-abuse counts filed against former Inland priest

CALIFORNIA
The Press-Enterprise

11:18 PM PST on Tuesday, February 1, 2005

By MICHAEL FISHER / The Press-Enterprise

Prosecutors have filed 58 sexual-abuse charges against a defrocked Inland priest accused of molesting two teenage boys at churches in Perris and Coachella during the late 1980s.

Jesús Armando Dominguez, the onetime personal aide to Bishop Phillip F. Straling, the former head of the San Bernardino Diocese, faces more than 43 years in prison if convicted of the charges of unlawful oral copulation, sexual penetration and sodomy, Riverside County prosecutors said.

Dominguez, a 55-year-old registered sex offender, could not be located for comment Tuesday. Prosecutors, who say they are wrangling with diocesan lawyers to unseal Dominguez's personnel file, have secured a $500,000 arrest warrant for the former priest, but they suspect he has fled to Mexico.

Dominguez, known in his days of ministry in the Inland diocese as Father Jesse, is accused of abusing the boys in 1988 and 1989 at Our Lady of Soledad Church in Coachella and St. James Church in Perris.

Posted by kshaw at 06:52 AM

Hunt Is On for Ex-Priest Charged in Abuse Cases

CALIFORNIA
Los Angeles Times

By Lance Pugmire, Times Staff Writer

A defrocked Roman Catholic priest was charged Tuesday with molesting two teenage altar boys after allegedly plying them with alcohol, cash and pornographic movies while he served parishes in Coachella and Perris in the 1980s.

Jesus "Father Jesse" Armando Dominguez, 55, allegedly abused the boys over a four-year period and faces 58 counts of sexual abuse. Dominguez was registered as a sex offender in 2001 when he was convicted of trying to take nude pictures of a 15-year-old boy from La Mirada.

Authorities believe the former priest has fled to Mexico, where he may have relatives.

"We're looking for him, working with all authorities, including Mexico," said Sgt. Earl Quinata, Riverside County Sheriff's Department spokesman. "We're putting as many resources as possible into this. Based upon his offenses, he's a priority for us."

Posted by kshaw at 06:50 AM

Accuser's 'life was destroyed'

MANATEE (FL)
Bradenton Herald

RICHARD DYMOND
Herald Staff Writer

Joseph Gilpin's accuser from Maine has been divorced three times, is alienated from his one child, is hooked on drugs and suffers from depression and anxiety, his attorney said.

"He's had anything but a normal life," said Irwin Zalkin, a partner in the San Diego law firm Zalkin & Zimmer LLP. Zalkin declined to reveal the identity of his client, who he said is now in his 50s and working as a mechanic.

But Zalkin and his client contend that all his emotional problems stem from sexual encounters with Gilpin in the 1960s.

Zalkin & Zimmer handles roughly 200 clergy sexual abuse cases a year, the attorney said.

"He is very typical of what children experience," Zalkin said. "He has a difficulty with sexual identity and very difficult times in relationships. His life was destroyed. . . . He's had a life of substance abuse and multiple marriage."

Posted by kshaw at 06:48 AM

Revelations: Faith betrayed (Part 1)

ST. MICHAEL (AK)
KTUU

Monday, January 31, 2005 - by Megan Baldino

St. Michael, Alaska - When Alaska's bishops met in Anchorage in February last year, they came together to divulge the scope of clergy sex abuse in Alaska. One bishop said he never imagined that the problem in his diocese was only just beginning.

In what is now the largest clergy sex abuse lawsuit, 34 men claim a deacon raped them hundreds of times as children. They're now suing the Diocese of Fairbanks.

Just off the coast of Norton Sound, an old Catholic Church stands tall, among plywood and log homes that make up the village of St. Michael, home to 400 people. Early missionaries talked about how easy it was to convert the people here to Christianity. They were already deeply spiritual. It wasn't long before the church became the center of their world.

Peter Kobuk, 45, is a devout Catholic. He's lived in St. Michael his entire life. When he was young, he spent half his day at public school and then crossed the road and spent the rest of his day at St. Michaels Church.

These days, Kobuk rarely comes this close to the old church. He was hoping it would be torn down years ago. Instead, the church looms over the village as a constant reminder of the horrible things that many say happened here years ago.

Posted by kshaw at 06:45 AM

Revelations: Faith betrayed (Part 3)

FAIRBANKS (AK)
KTUU

Tuesday, February 1, 2005 - by Megan Baldino

Fairbanks, Alaska - Dozens of men claim that a deacon or lay volunteer sexually abused and raped them for years in western Alaska villages.

The Diocese of Fairbanks has responded to the allegations, but in doing so, Bishop Donald Kettler may raise more questions than answers about what may have happened to these young boys years ago.

As wave upon wave of accusations pound the Catholic Church in Alaska, nightmares of sexual abuse churn in the minds of men from Stebbins, St. Michael and Hooper Bay. After years of silence, the tide has turned. They are ready to speak out against Joseph Lundowksi.

Peter Kobuk is one of 33 men suing the Northern Bishop of Alaska, the Oregon Province of Jesuits and the Society of Jesus - Alaska.

“I only told a Catholic because I wanted a Catholic to fix it themselves and come forward themselves and say, yes, Joseph Lundowski was molester,” says Peter Kobuk, who is James Doe 18 in the lawsuit.

Posted by kshaw at 06:42 AM

Warrant issued for ex-priest's arrest

CALIFORNIA
The Desert Sun

Lois Gormley
The Desert Sun
February 2, 2005

A warrant was issued Monday for the arrest of a former Coachella priest on 58 counts of sexual abuse and molestation against two boys during his service as a priest in Riverside County in the 1980s.
The current whereabouts of Jesus "Jesse" Armando Dominguez, 55, are unknown. He served for three years at Our Lady of Soledad in Coachella. His last address of record was in the Los Angeles area near Whittier but authorities believe he might now be in Mexico.

"We are confident there are other victims out there," said Riverside County Deputy District Attorney Morgan Gire. "Until he is apprehended we are concerned he is continuing to victimize children."

Bishop Gerald R. Barnes has directed that a letter be read following weekend Masses at the four parishes to which Dominguez was assigned.

"That message will urge any victims of abuse by priests or church personnel to please come forward and begin the healing process," said the Rev. Howard Lincoln, spokesman for the San Bernardino Diocese which also covers Riverside County.

Dominguez is charged with numerous acts of unlawful oral copulation, sexual penetration and sodomy against two boys, ages 14 to 17, between January 1988 and April 1989 while working at churches in Coachella and Perris.

The investigation is ongoing.

Posted by kshaw at 06:39 AM

Ouster of Rockwall priest sought

ROCKWALL (TX)
The Dallas Morning News

08:10 PM CST on Tuesday, February 1, 2005

By BROOKS EGERTON / The Dallas Morning News

Some Catholics in Rockwall are urging Dallas Bishop Charles Grahmann to remove their pastor, citing the priest's support for a lay minister who is serving a probationary sentence for indecent exposure.

The protesters say the Rev. William Richard is seeking the bishop's permission to continue employing the layman – and is dismissing parishioners who oppose this from volunteer positions.

"There are several other grave matters we would like to discuss with you," adds a letter to the bishop that is posted on the group's Web site. It does not elaborate.

More than 110 people from Our Lady of the Lake parish have recently signed petitions calling for the pastor's removal, the Web site says. About 1,500 people attend Sunday services, according to the Dallas Catholic Diocese.

Bronson Havard, the bishop's spokesman, said the petitions are under review, as is the lay minister's status. He declined to comment further Tuesday.

Father Richard said the reviews had led him to be quiet.

"With the parish I haven't said a lot, out of discretion and so forth, but that's given a lot of people an opportunity to spin things their own way," the priest said.

Posted by kshaw at 01:06 AM