New trial date set for priest accused of child molestation

CALIFORNIA
The Record Searchlight

SACRAMENTO — A new trial date was set today in Sacramento County Superior Court for a suspended Redding priest charged with seven felony counts of child molestation, a spokeswoman for the Sacramento County district attorney’s office said.

The Rev. Uriel Ojeda, 33, who had been scheduled to begin standing trial next week, is now set to have his trial begin on April 11, the spokeswoman said. He also has a trial readiness conference scheduled for April 5.

The spokeswoman did not know the reason for the trial postponement.

Ojeda, who was arrested Nov. 30, 2011, is accused of seven counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a teenage girl over a two-year span — starting when she was 14 — in Sacramento and Shasta counties, according to the criminal complaint.

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Renuncia sacerdote de la iglesia Santa Agata acusado de abuso

FLORIDA
el Nuevo Herald

Melissa Sanchez
msanchez@elnuevoherald.com

El sacerdote Rolando García, acusado en varios casos de abuso sexual de menores, ha renunciado de su cargo en la iglesia St. Agatha.

García entregó su carta de renuncia al arzobispo Thomas Wenski,el 21 de noviembre, informó el viernes la Arquidiócesis de Miami.

En su carta, García dijo que renunciaba con la conciencia tranquila y que lo hacía por su propia voluntad tras un período de oración y reflexión.

El sacerdote había sido suspendido hace un mes tras una nueva alegación de que había mantenido una relación sexual con un menor durante los años 90. Esta fue una de varias acusaciones en su contra en años recientes.

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Priest accused of troubling acts

FLORIDA
WSVN

MIAMI (WSVN) — A Miami priest has stepped down from his role after being accused of sexual abuse for the fourth time.

Reverend Rolando Garcia resigned on Friday as pastor of Miami’s Saint Agatha Catholic church after a new accuser claimed Garcia sexually abused him in the mid-90s.

This is the fourth alleged victim to claim sexual abuse against Garcia.

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Court Increases Security in Wake of Sex Abuse Trial Photo Chaos

NEW YORK
DNA.info

November 30, 2012 1:44pm | By Nicole Bode, Sonja Sharp

BROOKLYN SUPREME COURT — Court officers stepped up security at sexual assault trial Friday, a day after supporters of the rabbi accused in the case were allegedly caught taking photos of the alleged victim on the stand to post online.

Officers used hand-held metal detectors to check spectators and confiscated cellphones from everyone who was not a credentialed member of the press before allowing them to enter Rabbi Nechemya Weberman’s criminal trial in Judge John Ingram’s courtroom.

Before testimony began, Ingram reminded the audience about proper court procedure.

“We’ve had several breaches of the laws of the state of New York. Our courts are open to the public but the court cannot tolerate any further violations,” he said. “This is not some kind of sporting event, it’s not a theater production, and I expect everyone to act accordingly.”

Despite his warnings several Weberman supporters scoffed and snickered at times while the alleged victim was giving her testimony.

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Justice 4 PA Kids Fights Childhood Sexual Abuse

PENNSYLVANIA
Main Line Today

By Emily Riley Published November 29, 2012

Even in the wake of the most recent wave of child sex-abuse scandals, many parents still believe it can’t happen to their family. Malvern’s Maureen Martinez used to be among them—until the day in March 2011 when she learned that one of the priests at her Malvern church would be going on administrative leave. The Rev. Peter Talocci had helped Martinez through marriage counseling and baptized their children. He was now among the 21 clergymen suspended by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia over allegations of sexual abuse. Even more disturbing: A February 2011 jury report found that dozens of priests remained active in the ministry despite credible evidence against them.

“I sat there shocked,” says Martinez of her initial reaction to the news that rocked St. Patrick’s parish. “I was a lifelong Catholic. I never heard of anyone being sexually abused by priests.”

When the sex-abuse scandal in the Archdiocese of Boston broke in 2002, Martinez had convinced herself that it was an isolated case. But as the scandal grew, so did her concern that the issue was bigger than she—and most others—first thought. “I spent some time doing research, and I couldn’t believe what I was finding out. It bothered me to the point where I didn’t want to go back [to church] ever again. It made me want to do something proactive.”

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Mercy sisters support Roy Bourgeois

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

by Joshua J. McElwee | Nov. 30, 2012

The leaders of one of the largest groups of Catholic sisters in the western hemisphere have expressed support for a U.S. priest dismissed by the Vatican for his backing of women’s ordination.

The leadership team of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas is “saddened and disturbed” by the Vatican move, made by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith against Roy Bourgeois, they wrote in a statement Wednesday.

Bourgeois, widely known for his work calling attention to injustices in Latin America, had been a member of the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers, a U.S. missionary society, for 45 years. The Vatican congregation dismissed him from the society on Oct. 4, the order announced in a press release Nov. 19.

The dismissal drew criticism from a former head of the U.S. missionary order, who said in an interview it represented interference “with the integrity of the society.”

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Former Central Catholic guidance counselor arrested on drug charges, police say

PITTSBURGH (PA)
WPXI

[with video]

PITTSBURGH —

A former Central Catholic High School guidance counselor was arrested this week on drug charges, including possession with intent to deliver, police said.

According to police, detectives had been investigating Kelly Scherer for a lengthy amount of time before arresting her this week.

Authorities said officers found dozens of needles and at least 50 stamp bags of suspected heroin in the apartment where she was arrested.

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Central Catholic Counselor Arrested, Accused Of Selling Heroin

PENNSYLVANIA
CBS Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A local high school counselor was arrested on drug possession charges.

Police say 35-year-old Kelly Scherer was dealing heroin and sold the drugs to an undercover police officer.

Scherer was a guidance counselor at Central Catholic High School in Oakland.

According to a criminal complaint, police were tipped off by a neighbor who suspected Scherer was dealing drugs out of her Forest Hills apartment.

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Religious Group Members Steering Clear of Micah Moore

MISSOURI
Fox 4

[with video]

November 29, 2012, by Macradee Aegerter

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It’s been a lonely stay in jail for Micah Moore, who had claimed that he had killed Bethany Deaton at the order of her husband – but whose attorneys now claim he made the story up.

Moore, 23, was booked into the Jackson County Jail on November 9th after police say he confessed to the October suffocation murder of Deaton, the wife of Moore’s religious leader Tyler Deaton, in a van at Longview Lake.

Moore claimed that the murder was carried out because Tyler Deaton didn’t want his wife to tell anyone of her alleged sexual abuse at the hands of the members of the group at the couple’s Grandview home.

Earlier this week, Moore’s lawyers claimed that their client made the story up, and that Bethany Deaton had committed suicide.

The Jackson County Jail’s visitor log, though partially blacked out by authorities owing to attorney-client privilege, shows no friends or religious community members have visited Moore during his incarceration, only members of his family from Texas.

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Maine priest facing drug charge appears in court

MAINE
Seattle PI

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — An Episcopal priest charged with mailing prescription drugs to inmates at a Maine jail has made his first court appearance.

The Kennebec Journal (http://bit.ly/Ufi44J ) reports that the Rev. Stephen Foote was not required to enter a plea in Lincoln County Superior Court on Thursday, but bail conditions were modified slightly.

The 70-year-old Foote, who lives in Bremen and was serving at St. Mark’s in Augusta, is charged with trafficking in prison contraband. He’s free on unsecured bail.

Prosecutors say he mailed suboxone to an inmate he knows at the Two Bridges Regional Jail in Wiscasset. Suboxone is used to treat opiate addiction but can be abused.

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Central Catholic guidance counselor arrested on drug charges

PITTSBURGH (PA)
WTAE

PITTSBURGH —
Forest Hills police arrested a Central Catholic High School guidance counselor Thursday on charges of selling heroin out of her home Thursday.

Kelly Scherer, 36, faces seven drug charges, including possession with intent to deliver, according to police records.

Police have not indicated any suspected drug use or possession involved with the Central Catholic campus.

In the criminal complaint, police said they followed and arrested a man whom they watched buy drugs from Scherer, and he gave them the phone number of a person who he had called and who sent him to Scherer.

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Austria: “Cold war” between rebel priests and the Vatican

AUSTRIA
Vatican Insider

The decision to revoke Mgr. Helmut Schueller’s title comes just as the Austrian rebel priest movement prepares for a big international event

Alessandro Speciale
Rome

This punishment, which is more symbolic that anything, is nevertheless the sign of a certain cooling towards the activity of Austria’s rebel priests, just as they prepare for a big international event in 2013, which is aimed at creating links between priests across the world who are becoming restless with the Vatican’s ultra-conservatism and are seeking deep reforms in the Catholic Church.

Yesterday, the Vatican announced it was stripping Helmut Schueller, former vicar general of the Archdiocese of Vienna who has led the Pfarrer Initiative for some years now, of title “monsignor”. The Pharrer Initiative is a movement of Austrian priests that is asking for ecclesiastical reforms in areas such as obligatory celibacy and the administration of communion to divorcees and same-sex couples. Scheuller remains a priest to all effects and purposes but is not longer the “Chaplain of His Holiness”, an honorary title he received when he was president of Caritas Austria.

The Diocese of Vienna informed Schueller about Rome’s decision, Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn’s spokesman, Michael Prueller told the Austrian press. Schueller is the parish priest of St. Stephan in the village of Probstdorf near Vienna.

The news comes just days after Schueller’s interview with Austrian news agency APA, in which he announced an international meeting of movements that have sprung up across the world in recent years, either following in the footsteps of the Austrian rebel priests or presenting their own requests.

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Mercury News editorial: Sex offender incident offers some lessons

SAN JOSE (CA)
Mercury News

Mercury News Editorial

Of all the institutions caught up in child sexual abuse allegations — public and private schools, the Boy Scouts, the disaster that is Penn State University — wouldn’t you think the Catholic Church by now would know how to deal with it?

Not the Diocese of San Jose. Its handling of an incident with a registered sex offender on an elementary school campus last month is a worst-case example of institutional culture making it all but impossible to restore public trust. Registered pedophile Mark Gurries’ volunteer work at the St. Frances Cabrini Parish fiesta and its ugly aftermath is a textbook example of what not to do.

Registered sex offenders are barred from schools, with good reason. But soon after Gurries’ release from jail, someone at the diocese gave him a letter of permission to be there. A young woman who knew Gurries’ victim recognized him at the Oct. 6 festival and mobilized parents to protest his presence, but the parish priest resisted asking him to leave for hours.

That alone was appalling. Compassion for Gurries should never have trumped the risk to children or the discomfort of members of the school community at the pedophile’s presence. But Bishop Patrick J. McGrath quickly could have calmed the waters if he’d spoken openly about the incident from the start. Instead, he issued a brief statement that Gurries’ permission was not consistent with diocese policy and would be investigated.

It took six weeks for him to write a full apology — and even then, he left the origin of the permission letter unclear. A former personnel department employee has taken the fall, but many parents believe there had to be higher authorization and wonder if the problem really is resolved. Some think the parish priest, who has resigned, is another scapegoat. At a community meeting Wednesday night, emotions were as raw as they were at the festival.

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Austrian dissident priest stripped of ‘monsignor’

VATICAN CITY
Boston Globe

VATICAN CITY (AP) — An Austrian Roman Catholic dissident priest says the Vatican has stripped him of the right to use the title ‘‘monsignor’’ in an apparent act of censure for his campaign challenging church teachings that priests must be celibate and excluding woman from the priesthood.

The Rev. Helmut Schueller said Friday that he had been informed the title had been revoked, but that ‘‘the title for me was not so important. I can live with it.’’ He remains a priest.

The Vatican declined to comment.

Schueller earlier this month told the Austrian News Agency that he was working on making his Pfarrer-Initiative more international in 2013, with interest from Germany, Ireland, France, Australia and the United States.

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New poll shows most Irish Catholics ignore church teachings, skip mass

IRELAND
Irish Central

By
JAMES O’SHEA,
IrishCentral Staff Writer

Published Friday, November 30, 2012

Over one in five Irish who say they are Catholics do not believe in the resurrection, or that God created the universe, an Irish Times poll has shown.

It also showed that seven per cent of Irish Catholics do not even believe in God. 84 per cent believe priests should marry, while 80 per cent believe women should be priests.

The survey reveals ala carte Catholicism is very much in fashion in Ireland, with 78 per cent saying they do not follow church teaching but their own individual conscience on issues.

Meanwhile 45 per cent do not believe in hell and 18 per cent do not believe that God created man.

On some issues however they are traditional. 92 per cent believe in God, 82 per cent believe in heaven and 84 per cent believe Jesus was the son of God.

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US church paid to cover sins of priest

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

EXCLUSIVE: DAN BOX
From:The Australian
December 01, 201212:00AM

THE AMERICAN Catholic church paid tens of thousands of dollars to the US victims of an Australian pedophile priest after they agreed not to pursue legal action against the Australian bishop who sent him there.

Evidence of this international agreement is contained in documents, seen by The Weekend Australian, which show the former Bishop of Ballarat, Ronald Mulkearns, sent the priest overseas despite receiving repeated warnings of his crimes against children.

The documents include a 1992 letter from Emeritus Bishop Mulkearns to an American cleric, detailing two such allegations against the priest, Father Paul David Ryan, and asking “what options there might be for him to minister . . . in the US”.

As a result of the allegations against Father Ryan, “he feels that it is now impossible for him to work in the diocese . . . I agreed with this assessment”, the unsigned letter said..

In another, signed, letter written to Father Ryan a year before, the bishop said he had received an allegation the priest had abused a young boy and “obviously there is the potential for some scandal”.

Father Ryan, who could not be contacted last night, was also moved between parishes within Victoria, where he also abused children, one of whom later committed suicide.

In 2006, he pleaded guilty to indecently assaulting two teenage boys.

Bishop Mulkearns, who did not respond to calls yesterday, has previously told The Weekend Australian he had “no recollection” of being told Father Ryan abused children.

“I’m not saying it didn’t happen. I suffered a stroke and I’m an old man,” the 82-year-old said.

The earliest evidence of Father Ryan’s sexual activities is contained in a 1977 letter sent from the seminary where he studied to become a priest, detailing “the harm he may have done to some of the younger students here . . . naive, innocent boys”.

He was subsequently sent to the US for what Bishop Mulkearns described as “treatment” for his homosexuality, and later worked as a parish priest in Virginia.

The priest went on to make visits to the US over three decades, where he allegedly abused at least three young boys.

One of these victims yesterday said he had since discussed pursuing a criminal prosecution against the priest with US authorities.

“I hope there’s still a chance he’ll see justice in this world,” the man said.

During the 1990s, the Catholic Diocese of Richmond, Virginia, made confidential financial payments to a number of Father Ryan’s victims.

These were agreed on the condition the recipients did not pursue legal action against several named church officials in both countries, including Father Ryan and Bishop Mulkearns.

Father Ryan left the church in 1993, although the diocese continued to provide him with money and did not report the allegations against him to police.

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Police launch sex abuse taskforce

AUSTRALIA
The Age

November 30, 2012

Rachel Wells
Consumer Affairs Reporter for The Age

Victoria Police announced on Friday it has launched a new taskforce to investigate new and historical allegations of child sexual abuse that have emanated from the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into child sex abuse.

Victoria Police say Taskforce Sano will initially comprise 10 detectives but could increase as the scale of investigations becomes more evident.

The taskforce will also provide expert support and advice to the Parliamentary Inquiry and, as required, to the Royal Commission.

The taskforce will be led by Detective Senior Sergeant Michael Dwyer of the Sexual Crimes Squad who has been working closely with the parliamentary inquiry over the past five months.

Detective Superintendent Rod Jouning, head of the Sexual and Family Violence Directorate, said police were determined to ensure that all reported matters were thoroughly investigated.

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‘Witches’ coven’ sex abuse trial told of wife-swapping

UNITED KINGDOM
This is Cornwall

The former wife of a man accused of sexually abusing young girls told a court he attended “witches’ meetings” and encouraged her to wife-swap.

Prosecutors say Jack Kemp, 69, and Peter Petrauske, 72, were members of a witches’ coven whose members donned robes and used daggers to launch sex attacks on girls in Cornwall.

The two friends deny a string of sexual offences, including assault and, in Petrauske’s case, rape.

Jurors at Truro Crown Court have already heard the pair were involved in paganism from the 1970s onwards.

Yesterday Kemp’s ex-wife Pamela James said he went to “witches’ meetings” three to four times a week with Petrauske, who she admitted sleeping with.

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‘Witches coven’ child sex abuse case: Witness gives harrowing interview to court

UNITED KINGDOM
This is Cornwall

PLEASE NOTE: SOME READERS MIGHT FIND DETAILS OF THIS CASE DISTRESSING.

A harrowing video interview, made by an adult woman detailing the abuse and rape she allegedly suffered at the hands of men involved in a West Cornwall coven of white witches, was shown to a Truro Crown Court jury yesterday.

Prosecutors say Jack Kemp, 69, and Peter Petrauske, 72, were members of a witches’ coven whose members donned robes and used daggers to launch sex attacks on girls in Cornwall.

The two friends deny a string of sexual offences, including assault and, in Petrauske’s case, rape.

The witness, who cannot be named for legal reasons, repeatedly spoke of being scared and of fearing that she would be thrown onto a fire if she was “naughty” and did not do as she was told.

She said she suffered pain for weeks after she was tied to a bed and raped by an unknown man when she was nearly ten and how, years later, she recognised him when he was murdered and his picture was shown on television.

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Pell granted access to victim’s evidence

AUSTRALIA
9 News

Australia’s most senior Catholic, Cardinal George Pell, has been granted access to a transcript of evidence given by the victim of pedophile priest Robert Best.

The archbishop of Sydney has sought a transcript of evidence given by a victim of the jailed brother as he prepares for an expected appearance at a Victorian parliamentary inquiry into child sexual abuse.

The inquiry has been told Cardinal Pell was present when a grade three student at a Ballarat school in the 1960s described his alleged rape to another priest.

The Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney has said the archbishop was never present when any rape allegations were made by a victim against Best.

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Limerick priests hopeful new bishop will be appointed by Christmas

IRELAND
Limerick Leader

By Mike Dwane
Published on Thursday 29 November 2012

CHURCH sources this week expressed hope that a new Bishop of Limerick will be appointed in the coming weeks and Catholics won’t face into a fourth Christmas without a figurehead in the diocese.

It follows the appointment of Canon William Crean as Bishop of Cloyne more than two years after the resignation of John Magee.

The sudden nature of that appointment – after such a long wait – is said to have taken Cork priests by surprise.

Limerick’s wait for a new bishop has been even longer. Pope Benedict accepted the resignation of Donal Murray a week before Christmas in 2009 after his handling of child sex abuse complaints in Dublin in the 1980s was criticised in the Murphy Report.

“We are hopeful that we will have a bishop in place in the next few weeks, hopefully this side of Christmas,” said one Limerick priest.

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Judge grants Pell access to victim’s evidence

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

A Victorian County Court judge has granted the Archbishop of Sydney, George Pell, access to parts of the court material from the trial of convicted paedophile Christian Brother Robert Best.

Cardinal Pell has been given 15 pages of the transcript of the trial.

His application was prompted by submissions to the Victorian parliamentary inquiry into child sexual abuse, claiming he was present when a victim detailed Best’s abuse to a priest in the 1960s.

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Pell gets access to parts of paedophile trial transcript

AUSTRALIA
The Age

December 1, 2012

A JUDGE has granted Cardinal George Pell access to select passages from the transcript of the trial of convicted paedophile and Catholic brother Robert Charles Best.

County Court judge Roy Punshon said on Friday he had come to a pragmatic decision to allow Cardinal Pell limited access to the transcript.

Lawyers for Cardinal Pell had applied to the court for access to the transcript of the trial involving Best and one of his victims so he could have the information before he was expected to be called before the Victorian parliamentary inquiry investigating how churches dealt with sex abuse.

The victim, known as V2, claims Cardinal Pell was present when the boy told another priest he had been raped by Best.

Cardinal Pell has described the victim’s claims as ”irresponsible, untrue” and said they were ”absolutely denied”.

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Accused priest preaches in PNG

AUSTRALIA/NEW GUINEA
The Age

December 1, 2012

Rory Callinan
Investigative journalist

PARISHIONERS at the tiny Sogeri Catholic Church in the foothills of Papua New Guinea’s remote Owen Stanley Ranges pay little attention to the fact that their elderly priest has a teenage boy as his live-in helper.

But for some who knew Father Roger Mount when he was a brother working in homes run by the Catholic St John of God Order in Australia several decades ago, the scenario is disturbing.

”Bloody hell, that’s concerning. That’s not good,” says Melbourne pensioner Steve Danas, who grew up in one of the order’s homes after being orphaned at three.

Mr Danas was one of three men who came forward in the the past decade to allege they were sexually abused by the then Brother Mount at the order’s homes in Melbourne and New South Wales in the 1970s and 1980s.

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Enabling a serial child sexual predator: Prestonwood Baptist Church and John Langworthy

MISSISSIPPI
Watch Keep

[with video]

Our hearts ache for Langworthy’s victims who, once again, are being forced to wait for justice. But in one sense, the real culprit isn’t Langworthy or the justice system, but his former colleagues and supervisors at two churches who chose to protect Langworthy and their institutions over children, Prestonwood Baptist in Dallas, Texas and Morrison Heights Baptist in Clinton, Mississippi.

The justice system is designed to bend over backwards to be fair to the accused. And Langworthy is fighting for himself, using every technicality he can, just like almost every child molester does.

But we shouldn’t lose sight of the complicity of these church officials. Had even one of them done the absolute bare minimum, obeyed the law, and reported – even anonymously – their suspicions or knowledge of Langworthy’s crimes or inappropriate deeds to police, he would almost certainly have been stopped years ago from hurting more kids.

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Catholic Church form council to work with child sex abuse inquiry

AUSTRALIA
Herald Sun

CATHOLIC bishops will set up a new council to co-operate with the royal commission into child sex abuse.

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference said in a statement released today that the Church welcomed the royal commission as an opportunity for those who have suffered to obtain a compassionate hearing, justice and further healing.

“It is also an opportunity for the Church’s processes to be scrutinised with greater objectivity. This will allow further refinements that seek justice and pastoral care,” the statement said.

“However imperfectly, this work has been going on in the Catholic Church for the last two decades. It will continue.”

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Bishops strike conciliatory note on RC

AUSTRALIA
The Age

November 30, 2012

Barney Zwartz

AUSTRALIA’S Catholic bishops will set up a 10-member committee, including laypeople, to oversee its response to the recently announced Royal Commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse.

Responding to widespread criticism of the defensive attitude of Cardinal George Pell last week, the bishops struck a more conciliatory tone, saying that “painful and difficult as [the commission] might be for the church, it is nothing compared to the hurt of those who have suffered sexual abuse”.

The bishops announced on Friday that they had appointed a supervisory group of bishops and members of religious orders to appoint and oversee a new Council for the Royal Commission.

This follows comments on Wednesday by Sister Annette Cunliffe on behalf of Australia’s 180 religious orders that that laypeople and non-Catholics needed to be involved to improve transparency and openness and ensure it was not seen as an internal plan or cover-up.

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Brooklyn Orthodox Leader’s Defense Attorney Seeks To Discredit Sex Abuse Victim’s Claims

NEW YORK
CBS New York

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The plot thickened in the sex abuse trial of a prominent Brooklyn Orthodox Jewish leader during testimony on Thursday.

The attorney for 54-year-old Nechemya Weberman is pursing a revenge theory, WCBS 880′s Irene Cornell reported.

Defense lawyer Michael Farkus suggested that the now-17-year-old accuser, who said the counselor sexually abused her for three years, made it all up.

Farkus claimed Thursday that the now-married teen fabricated the charges to get back at Weberman for betraying her confidence.

The defense pointed out that one day after she told Weberman she was romantically involved with a boyfriend, which is strictly forbidden in the Satmar community, her father had the boy arrested.

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Photos of Accuser on Stand Disrupt Sexual Abuse Trial

NEW YORK
The New York Times

By SHARON OTTERMAN

Published: November 29, 2012

The trial of an ultra-Orthodox Jewish counselor accused of repeatedly molesting a girl was disrupted on Thursday afternoon when four spectators in a Brooklyn courtroom were accused of taking pictures with their cellphones of the accuser on the witness stand.

The four men, identified by prosecutors as Joseph Fried, Yona Weisman, Abraham Zupnick and Lemon Juice, were arrested and charged with criminal contempt in the second degree, a misdemeanor that carries a sentence of up to one year in jail.

The accuser, who is now 17, has testified that she and her family had faced a pattern of intimidation from the Satmar Hasidic community in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, since she alleged last year that Nechemya Weberman, the unlicensed therapist her parents had sent her to for counseling, repeatedly forced her to have oral sex during their sessions together from the time she was 12 until she turned 15.

In June, prosecutors charged four Williamsburg men with attempting to silence her by offering her a $500,000 bribe through her boyfriend to drop her participation in the case. Intimidation of sexual abuse victims in the ultra-Orthodox community is common, prosecutors say, because going to secular authorities with charges against another Jew is considered treasonous. But arrests for intimidation are rare.

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Judge overseeing sex abuse trial …

NEW YORK
New York Daily News

Judge overseeing sex abuse trial of Orthodox leader Nechemya Weberman gets snippy over courtroom snapshot outing accuser, 4 men detained in connection with illegal photo

By Oren Yaniv / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Thursday, November 29, 2012

A teen who says a Hasidic counselor demanded oral sex from her has been outed on the Internet, where photos of her testifying against her alleged abuser have surfaced.

Four men were detained Thursday in connection with the illegal photo sharing and are expected to be charged with criminal contempt, law enforcement sources said.

The disturbing twist in the case involves a cell phone photo — clearly showing the 17-year-old — that was snapped Wednesday inside the Brooklyn courtroom, incensing Supreme Court Justice John Ingram.

“This is on the Internet now,” the angry jurist told the four ultra-Orthodox men. “It’s probably streamed all over the world.”

The judge admonished the foursome — whom he identified as Lemon Juice, Abraham Zupnick, Joseph Fried and Yona Weisman — saying they violated a rule prohibiting photography in court.

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Warren Jeffs, Polygamist Sect Leader Accused of Sexual Abuse, Has Ranch Seized

TEXAS
Houston Press

By Kimberly Reeves
Thu., Nov. 29 2012

Attorney General Greg Abbott has moved to seize a 1,700-acre ranch in West Texas, the scene of a 2008 raid of a polygamous sect accused of rampant sexual abuse and underage marriage in the name of religion.

Warren Jeffs, the one-time prophet of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, currently is serving a life sentence for sexual assault of children in an East Texas prison. It’s only the latest in a string of states that have wanted to prosecute Jeffs for his activities in Utah, Arizona and Texas.

Four years after the initial raid, the state has successfully prosecuted nine men in the sect, with convictions on both sex abuse and bigamy. The seizure of the Yearning for Zion Ranch, however, would be a death blow in Texas for the church, which appears to have scattered to various other states where FLDS holds property.

“Based upon the evidence reviewed in this case, Affiant believes that the suspected place was designed, improved and adapted in such a manner as illicit schemes and criminal activity described in this affidavit avoid detection by law enforcement,” Sgt. Mario Martinez wrote in the warrant. “The isolation and security of this community also helped facilitate the identified criminal offenses and ensured said criminal conduct would not be reported to law enforcement.”

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Sexual Abuse by Priests Caused by Ancient Reform with Near-Opposite Intention, Argues New Book

UNITED STATES
Sacramento Bee

By Vincent J. Miles

Published: Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012

BOSTON, Nov. 29, 2012 — /PRNewswire/ — A new book about the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church delivers a highly unusual verdict: that the surge in abuse by priests during the late twentieth century was caused by an ancient reform intended to eradicate rather than encourage clerical corruption. The book further concludes that the decline in abuse more recently is the fortuitous result of a modern reform with no obvious connection to sexual abuse. Entitled Boys of the Cloth: The Accidental Role of Church Reforms in Causing and Curbing Abuse by Priests, and published by Hamilton Books, the book is now available from online booksellers in the US, UK and other countries.

The book’s unusual verdict stems from the unique perspective of its author, Vincent J. Miles, who spent seven years in a Catholic minor seminary training for the priesthood before changing direction completely to become a scientist and business executive. “My original intention was simply to write a memoir documenting the lost way of life inside minor seminaries,” said Miles, “but I then discovered that these institutions had been blamed for predisposing priests to molest children. Having trained as a scientist I wanted to understand why they might have had this effect, and my research into that question ultimately led me to contrarian conclusions about the entire abuse crisis.”

The book combines a first-hand account of seminary life during the 1960s—a period that turns out to be crucial for understanding the crisis—with explorations of the history of the seminary system, current scientific knowledge about abusive behavior, and the Church’s own investigations into abuse by priests. Its conclusions differ considerably from those reached by other works on the subject, most notably those of the controversial “Causes and Context” report released last year by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. Excerpts and further information may be found at http://boysofthecloth.com.

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Catholic council set for abuse commission

AUSTRALIA
9 News

A council of religious and lay people being set up to work with the royal commission into child sex abuse will help the Catholic Church “face the truth”, Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart says.

The Catholic Bishops Conference on Friday announced it had established a group of representatives from the conference and religious orders to establish and oversee the new 10-member council.

In a statement, the conference said the royal commission’s inquiry would be “painful and difficult” for the church, but that was nothing compared to the hurt of those who had suffered sexual abuse.

“Once again, we renew our heartfelt apology to those whose lives have been so grievously harmed by the evil perpetrated upon them by some priests, religious and church personnel.”

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Police taskforce to investigate clerical abuse

AUSTRALIA
7 News

Josie Taylor, ABC
Updated November 30, 2012

Victoria Police has created a special taskforce to investigate clerical abuse.

Taskforce Sano was set up this week.

Senior police say it is needed because of the increased reports of sexual abuse within the church, since the Victorian parliamentary inquiry into the issue began this year.

Deputy Commissioner Graham Ashton says it will initially consist of about 10 detectives.

“It will give us an opportunity to analyse and cross-match experiences from different victims in relation to specific offenders so we will be able to build a complete picture through this specialised approach,” he said.

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Do we need a royal commission into the governance of Australia?

AUSTRALIA
On Line Opinion

By Bruce Haigh – posted Friday, 30 November 2012

It was with some relief that Australians learnt that the Federal Government had agreed to a wide ranging enquiry into institutionalized child abuse in Australia over a number of decades. The reaction of the head of the Catholic Church in Australia, Cardinal Pell, served to confirm that decision in the minds of many.

Equally the ICAC enquiry into corrupt practices by members of the NSW Parliament has been welcomed, not only by NSW residents but by everyone concerned with honest and clean government in Australia.

But is there something lacking, something weak at the heart of Australia? Do we lack moral courage? It was always open to State and Federal governments to assert compliance with the law on the Catholic Church and other religious organizations in relation to members of those organizations engaging in child abuse and those seeking to cover and protect the abusers. This might have been done decades ago. Why wasn’t it?

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4 arrested at NY sex assault trial

NEW YORK
San Francisco Chronicle

NEW YORK (AP) — Four men have been arrested on charges they photographed a 17-year-old girl testifying in a New York sexual abuse trial against a religious counselor.

The men were at the Brooklyn trial of Nechemya Weberman on Thursday. Weberman has pleaded not guilty to charges he abused the girl for years when he was supposed to be counseling her. Both belong to an ultra-orthodox Jewish sect.

The girl was on the witness stand when the men, supporters of Weberman, snapped images. One was posted on Twitter, though the girl’s name was not included.

Court officers confiscated the cell phones. It’s illegal to photograph in courtrooms without a court order. The men face contempt charges.

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Four Men Are Questioned Over Photos From Orthodox Abuse Trial

NEW YORK
Wall Street Journal

By Pervaiz Shallwani

In an unexpected twist, four men were questioned Thursday for illegally taking cellphone photos during the sexual-abuse trial of a respected ultra-Orthodox Jewish counselor, including one shot that captures the alleged victim testifying on the stand.

The four were being questioned by investigators Thursday and were expected to be charged with criminal contempt, a law-enforcement official said.

Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice John Ingram halted the trial of Nechemya Weberman, 54 years old, after learning that courtroom photos were shot and distributed over the Internet. The judge then cleared the courtroom and made the roughly 50 spectators check their phones with court officers. The trial was halted for about 30 minutes and resumed in the afternoon.

“It’s against the law for people to take photos in the courtroom,” Justice Ingram scolded the audience. “This is not a game. This is a very serious case.”

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Aus- Victims slam lawyers who want abuse inquiry slowed

AUSTRALIA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

Posted by Nicky Davis on November 29, 2012

Those who want to slow down an inquiry into child sex crimes and cover ups are wrong. They may be well-intentioned. But they are essentially – and callously – resigning dozens or perhaps hundreds of innocent children to devastated lives.

Every day, kids are being molested, crimes are being covered up, and predators are being protected.

Some dangerous predators – and their irresponsible supervisors – are no doubt intimidating victims, threatening witnesses, and discrediting whistleblowers, fabricating alibis, destroying evidence, and leaving or preparing to leave the country. So delaying this inquiry helps wrongdoers and their allies while hurting victims and their families.

It always seems reasonable to say “let’s be careful.” But in this case, seeming reasonable and being reasonable are very different things. “Slow down” may sound responsible. But it’s actually irresponsible.

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Rome clamps down on rebel priest

VATICAN CITY
The Tablet

29 November 2012

The Vatican has stripped a prominent Austrian priest who has spear-heading calls for church reform of his right to use the title monsignor.

Rome also said today that Helmut Schüller was no longer a “Chaplain of His Holiness”, Reuters reported. However he remains a priest.

Fr Schüller, a former vicar-general to Vienna’s archbishop, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, had been given the honorary title in his capacity as head of the
Austrian branch of the Catholic charity Caritas.

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Local Priest Charged

CANADA
Blackburn News

A priest with a long history of sexually related offences has been charged again with historical sexually based offences.

Linus Bastien was arrested at his Chatham retirement home yesterday morning. Police say the offences occurred between 1963 and 1970 while he was a priest at St. Charles Parish in the village of Stephenson in what was then the township of Tilbury East.

Bastien served as a priest for 40 years at 10 area parishes with the London Diocese. He has been charged multiple times over the last four decades with sexually related offences.

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State court rejects priest’s defamation lawsuit

MASSACHUSETTS
Cape Cod Times

By SEAN TEEHAN

November 29, 2012

FALMOUTH — The state appeals court has upheld a ruling that threw out a defamation lawsuit filed by a former Falmouth priest, agreeing that he brought the lawsuit past the statute of limitations.

The Rev. John P. Harrington, formerly a priest at St. Patrick’s Church on Main Street in Falmouth, filed suit in Norfolk Superior Court against the Rev. John H. Perry — the former pastor of St. Patrick’s — and the Rev. William M. Costello, the former pastor of St. Anthony’s Parish in East Falmouth, in November 2010.

Harrington’s complaint stems back to 2005, when Perry told him that Costello reported that a parishioner had accused Harrington of stalking her minor son, the decision said.

Both Costello and Perry reported this information to religious education directors at St. Patrick’s and St. Anthony’s.

As a result, the decision said, Harrington says he suffered abuse and alienation. He eventually lost his position at St. Patrick’s and was not reassigned to another church.

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Gerald T. Slevin: Mother Petitions President Obama to Combat Organizational Child Sexual Abuse

UNITED STATES
Bilgrimage

Another very important posting sent to me today by Jerry Slevin, which relates to his call for President Obama to establish a national commission to combat child sexual abuse. What follows is Jerry’s text:

As Christians prepare for the annual celebration of the birth of Jesus, a mother has just filed a White House.gov petition to have President Obama establish a commission to combat organizational child sexual abuse.

This petition is accessible by clicking here.

Please celebrate the upcoming holidays by acting now to protect defenseless children.

Please now click on the above link now and sign the petition.

Please also circulate this request now to everyone you know who may care about children, asking them also to click on and sign the petition.

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SA – SNAP applauds victims in Chile for coming forward

CHILE
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

Posted by David Clohessy on November 29, 2012

We applaud these three brave men for seeking justice and exposing wrongdoing. When child sex abuse victims sue because horrors have been committed and concealed, they help deter future horrors and cover ups.

We hope this move will inspire others who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes to step forward and pursue justice and prevention in secular courts, not in church offices.

And we are appalled that a Catholic official claims that this enormous, ancient, world-wide institution allegedly lacks the resources to compensate victims. That is simply a lie.

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Archbishop Listecki quietly adds another perpetrator …

WISCONSIN
SNAP Wiscosin

Archbishop Listecki quietly adds another perpetrator to the official list of clergy child sex offenders

Fr. Donald Musinski worked in Archdiocese for almost 40 years

Statement by Peter Isely, SNAP Midwest Director; John Pilmaier, SNAP Wisconsin Director
CONTACT: 414.429.729 or 414.336.8575

Archbishop Jerome Listecki quietly placed the name of Fr. Donald Musinski on the Milwaukee Archdiocese’s official listing of clergy sex offenders. Musinski who was given his first parish assignment in 1962 worked in parishes throughout southeastern Wisconsin for almost 40 years and passed away in 2006.

The Archdiocese was warned about Fr. Musinski’s criminal behavior years ago when Karen Konter bravely came forward to report the sexual assaults she had endured from the age of seven until the time she was thirteen years old as a parishioner at St. Adalbert’s in Milwaukee. It’s unknown how many victims of Musinksi have come forward over the years to the Archdiocese but given the pathology and extent of Musinksi’s sexual crimes, the age of the victim and the years of criminal acts against her, its highly likely that Musinski may have harmed many children.

Despite Konter’s report of sexual assault the Archdiocese refused to publically identify Fr. Musinski as a sex offender. Only now, as the Archdiocese is about to enter its second year of federal bankruptcy proceedings has Listecki decided, in the least public manner, to let Catholics of the archdiocese know that there has been yet another child sex offender in their parishes and schools for almost 40 years. Which raises the troubling question, are there additional members of the clergy who have harmed children that are not accounted for on the official listing of offenders from the Archdiocese?

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Ezzati ante demanda por víctimas de Karadima…

CHILE
La Tercera

Ezzati ante demanda por víctimas de Karadima: “En la Iglesia de Santiago somos ciudadanos y responderemos como ciudadanos”

El arzobispo de Santiago, Ricardo Ezzati, sostuvo esta mañana con respecto a la demanda interpuesta por las víctimas de Fernando Karadima, James Hamilton, Juan Carlos Cruz y José Andrés Murillo, que “la objetividad de las cosas son más que suficientes para decir por qué camino ha andado la Iglesia”.

En entrevista con Radio Futuro, en el programa Palabra que es Noticia, Ezzati sostuvo que “en la Iglesia de Santiago somos ciudadanos y responderemos como ciudadanos a lo que será la determinación de la Justicia”.

El recurso judicial fue presentado el martes por el abogado de los tres profesionales y ante este hecho, se deberá nombrar un ministro de la Corte de Apelaciones, ya que el arzobispo goza de fuero.

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“The Secret History of Sex, Choice and Catholics”

UNITED STATES
Catholics for Choice

“The Secret History of Sex, Choice and Catholics” features interviews with leading experts in the fields of theology, philosophy and ethics who examine Catholic traditions, teachings and beliefs on the following key issues:

•Abortion & Contraception
•HIV & AIDS
•Sex & Sexuality
•New Reproductive Health Technologies
•Religion in Public Policy

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Vatican’s doctrinal congregation clears Bourgeois by condemning him

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

by Eugene Cullen Kennedy | Nov. 29, 2012

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has forced Maryknoll to expel Fr. Roy Bourgeois from the society because of his public advocacy of women priests.

You may not be surprised to learn that it was only after Pope Benedict XVI, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, that the doctrinal congregation’s title of “Sacred” was removed from its coat of arms. That grandiose term was really a misprint for “Scared,” the word that captures its centuries-old dynamic of acting out of fear, or generalized ambition-anxiety, rather than out of the love that supposedly motivates the church’s actions at all levels.

It is what they are scared of that they condemn, and it is those persons they condemn that give us a reading of what triggers their fearful reactions. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith may be the only organization that suffers from a pre-stress anxiety syndrome.

Its officials get all worked up about the possibility of something or someone who may expand scientific (Galileo) or theological (a list too long to print) knowledge, or about someone who may plea for a better understanding of the human condition, like Sr. Jeannine Gramick and her pastoral work with homosexuals.

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Bourgeois’ lawyer asks Maryknoll for ‘honest answers’

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

by Joshua J. McElwee | Nov. 29, 2012

Roy Bourgeois’ canon lawyer has written to the leadership of the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers, asking for “honest answers” about the order’s involvement in the Vatican’s dismissal of the longtime peace activist and priest.

Dominican Fr. Tom Doyle’s questions include what knowledge the religious order had of the move by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and why it hasn’t shared the official document from the papal office.

Bourgeois, widely known for his work calling attention to injustices in Latin America, had come under scrutiny for his support of women’s ordination. The Vatican congregation dismissed him from the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers, of which he had been a member for 45 years, on Oct. 4, the order announced in a press release Nov. 19.

The dismissal drew criticism from a former head of the U.S. missionary order, who said in an interview it represented interference “with the integrity of the society.”

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Rome- Vatican disciplines dissident priest: SNAP responds

UNITED STATES
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

Posted by Barbara Dorris on November 29, 2012

A tiny handful of priests are “dissidents.” But the Vatican seems to discipline them often and harshly.

Tens of thousands of Catholic officials however, – bishops, priests, nuns, seminarians and brothers – have concealed or are concealing child sex crimes. But the Vatican rarely disciplines them.

In 24 years, we’ve never heard of a single church official – whether child molesting cleric or corrupt colleague – be excommunicated for committing or concealing heinous child sex crimes.

Yet more than two years ago, Pope Benedict promised he would “do everything possible” to address the crisis.

His words ring hollow. He has yet to take any significant, effective steps to better safeguard kids anywhere on the planet.

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Sex abuse victims want whistle-blower priest honored

AUSTRALIA
SNAP Australia

WHAT
Holding signs and childhood photos at a footpath news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will urge anyone who saw, suspected, or suffered child sex crimes to;

–come forward, make a report and start healing,
–SNAP will urge the current Wollongong Bishop to find more victims
–SNAP will also honor the memory of the priest who worked so hard to expose abuse

WHEN
Friday November 30 at 2:00 p.m.

WHERE
Outside Edmund Rice College 112 Mount Keira Road, West Wollongong

WHO
Two to three members of an international support group called SNAP (the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) including an American woman who is the organisations president and founder.

WHY
In 1994 police in Wollongong were prepared to lay charges against Brother Michael Evans for sexual assault against a boy. Brother Evans was the headmaster of a local school, Edmund Rice College. Brother Evans committed suicide before police were able to charge him.

Brother Evans was also accused of abusing a boy while he was working in Sydney, prior to moving to Wollongong. Upon learning of the allegation against Brother Evans, his Christian Brother superiors moved him to Wollongong.

When Father Maurie Crocker was told by a seminary student that he was abused by Brother Evans, Crocker went to the police and encouraged the victims to make a statement. Father Crocker was later found dead.

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Victims blast papal nuncio’s abrupt departure

AUSTRALIA
SNAP Australia

WHAT
Holding signs and childhood photos at a footpath news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will;
– Demand answers as to why the papal nuncio to Australia has suddenly been reassigned to Israel with no replacement in over four months.
– Question whether or not it has to do with the current abuse inquiries, and
– Will urge anyone who may have seen or suspected clergy sex crimes in Canberra to come forward now to police and prosecutors

WHEN
Friday, November 30 at 10:15 a.m.

WHERE
Outside the Papal Nuncio’s consulate in Canberra, 2 Vancouver Street, Red Hill ACT 2603 (corner of Monaco Cres)

WHO
Three to four members of an international support group called SNAP (the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priest) including an American woman who is the organisation’s president and founder.

WHY
A prominent Australian Archbishop has recently left Australia to take up the post of Papal Nuncio in Israel, and leaders of an international support group for victims of clergy abuse believe he left in an effort to avoid scandal.

Archbishop Giuseppe Lazarotto had, while he was stationed in Ireland in 2005, repeatedly refused to provide information to the Murphy Commission, a group that was created to investigate child sex crimes by clergy in Ireland. In the time since, Archbishop Lazarotto has since been accused of “doing everything in his power to protect suspected Irish clerics.” Since Lazarotto left Australia for Israel, no replacement has been named.

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Rom entzog Schüller Ehrentitel

OSTERREICH
Kurier

Insignien muss ich keine zurückschicken. Ich hab’ ja keine“: Kirchenrebell Helmut Schüller ist um einen Titel ärmer – und um eine Schlagzeile reicher. Rom erkannte ihm vor wenigen Wochen den päpstlichen Ehrentitel „Monsignore“ (ähnlich dem Hofrat, Anm.) ab. Überbringer der Nachricht war Kardinal Christoph Schönborn. Über die Hintergründe schweigt man sich aus – vermutlich hat die „Entehrung“ jedoch mit Schüllers Ungehorsam zu tun.

Denn der Aufruf zum Ungehorsam von Helmut Schüllers Pfarrer-Initiative sorgt nicht nur in der österreichischen Amtskirche seit mehr als einem Jahr für Aufsehen. Zu Ostern hatte Papst Benedikt XVI. in einer Predigt im Petersdom offen kritisiert. Jetzt folgen den Worten Taten: Die Initiative für die Aberkennung des Ehrentitels ging von Rom aus, berichtet Michael Prüller, Sprecher von Kardinal Schönborn. Demnach bekam Schönborn vor wenigen Wochen einen Brief von dem für Auszeichnungen zuständigen Referat im Vatikan. Der Kardinal wurde darin gebeten, Schüller über die Aberkennung des Titels zu informieren.

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Vatican disciplines Austrian dissident priest

VATICAN CITY
Reuters

By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY | Thu Nov 29, 2012

(Reuters) – The Vatican has cracked down on a prominent Austrian Roman Catholic priest who has been leading a disobedience campaign to openly challenge Roman Catholic teachings on celibacy and women priests.

The Vatican said on Thursday it had stripped Father Helmut Schueller of the right to use title monsignor and said he also was no longer a “Chaplain of His Holiness”. Schueller remains a priest.

Schueller, a former deputy to Vienna’s archbishop, Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, had been given the honorary title in his capacity as head of the Austrian branch of the Catholic charity group Caritas.

Schueller is head of the group “Call to Disobedience”, which has broad public backing in opinion polls and says it represents about 10 percent of the Austrian clergy.

Nearly 150,000 Austrians left the Church in 2011-2012, many in reaction to sexual abuse scandals.

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Pennsylvania group recommends guides for reporting child abuse

PENNSYLVANIA
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

[full report]
November 28, 2012

By Laura Olson / Post-Gazette Harrisburg Bureau

HARRISBURG — A state task force created in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal has given legislators a hefty load of recommendations to review, urging among its suggestions an overhaul of how Pennsylvania defines abuse and earmarking funding for children’s advocacy centers.

The report from 11-member Pennsylvania Task Force on Child Protection also calls for expanding requirements regarding who must report suspected child abuse to outside investigators, increasing penalties for failure to report suspected abuse and tracking abuse reports at the state level instead of county-by-county.

“We attempted to be bold … but also realistic,” said Bucks County District Attorney David Heckler, who chaired the task force.

“We tried to do the very best we could to improve a system that is woefully failing in a number of ways.”

The panel was appointed in January by legislative leaders and Gov. Tom Corbett to review state policies for reporting child abuse and procedures for child protection. It held hearings across the state, taking testimony from dozens involved in how those cases currently are handled.

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PROPOSED RECOMMENDATIONS REPORT OF THE TASK FORCE ON CHILD PROTECTION

PENNSYLVANIA
Task Force on Child Protection

“First and most important, measure all of your decisions and suggestions for legislative reform against the questions of whether a change or changes will improve the protection offered to vulnerable and dependent children.”
— Richard J. Gelles, Ph.D., Dean,
School of Social Policy & Practice of the University of Pennsylvania

I am privileged to take this opportunity to offer some general thoughts on behalf of myself and the extraordinarily able colleagues who served as members of this task force. First, as you can tell from the quotations set forth in our report, the quality of the scores of persons who addressed our panel during the course of the 11 hearings which we held was such that, had we made no recommendations or proposed no draft legislation whatsoever, we would still have performed a great service for this Commonwealth and its children by gathering the collective wisdom, frustrations and advice of the able and dedicated witnesses who appeared at our hearings. We would earnestly urge that those who wish to take up our recommendations or who wish to evaluate their validity, take time to review the collective testimony of these experts. All of it is available either in written form or as live recordings. Taken together, this body of testimony is both inspiring and highly informative. No one who listens to and considers it can doubt that dramatic change is required in the way our governmental institutions work to protect children in Pennsylvania.

Early in our proceedings we heard the words inscribed above from Dr. Richard Gelles, Dean of the School of Social Policy & Practice of the University of Pennsylvania. We have done our best to make them the standard for the way in which we performed our duties. This report contains many, many recommendations – some broad and sweeping, others narrow and specific. While the process and its participants, chief among them the chair, may have regularly fallen short of the challenge, we have striven in our deliberations to recommend courses of action and legislative changes which will improve the protection of children in this Commonwealth, first and above all else.

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After Sandusky: Task force suggests steps to counter child abuse

PENNSYLVANIA
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

[full report]

As unlikely as it might seem, some good may actually come out of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.

An 11-member Task Force on Child Protection, formed in the aftermath of the criminal charges against the former Penn State assistant football coach, has recommended sweeping changes to state laws, improvements that could go a long way toward making Pennsylvania children safer and to finding and prosecuting perpetrators who abuse them.

Some of the suggestions can and should be implemented immediately: replacing the state’s ChildLine reporting number of 1-800-932-0313 with a three-digit, easy-to-remember number such as 611 and encouraging counties to expand the use of multidisciplinary teams to investigate suspected abuse.

Most recommendations require changes in state law. Those that go directly to the goal of making sure that allegations of abuse are properly reported include lowering the threshold for what constitutes child abuse to include reckless and intentional acts in addition those that cause severe pain; expanding the definition of what constitutes sexual abuse to include explicit conversation and exposure of sexual organs; adding college administrators, coaches, librarians and others who work to with children to the list of professionals required to report suspected abuse; and requiring educators to report suspicions directly to ChildLine, not simply to building administrators as currently mandated.

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Don’t bar offenders’ stories of abuse

AUSTRALIA
The Courier-Mail

Meg Perkins
From:The Courier-Mail
November 30, 2012

THE royal commission into child sexual abuse will miss very important evidence if it does not include a mechanism for convicted offenders, especially those in prison, to tell their stories.

Contrary to popular belief, most prisoners do not tell sob stories about being abused in childhood to attract sympathy.

Most keep the secret to themselves and are terrified somebody will find out.

The reason for this is plain and simple. If it becomes known in the prison population that you have been a victim of sexual abuse, you will become prey for sexual predators.

Prisoners are like most people in that they do not understand the dynamics of child sexual abuse.

They tend to blame themselves.

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Law body fears rush on abuse

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

Milanda Rout
From:The Australian
November 30, 2012

THE peak body representing 69,000 lawyers across the nation has raised alarm bells at the rushed nature of the the royal commission into child sex abuse, saying Julia Gillard should consider taking extra time to properly establish it.

In its submission to Attorney-General Nicola Roxon on the inquiry’s terms of reference, the Law Council of Australia says it is concerned about the tight timeframe and that allowing more time would facilitate a greater understanding of what is required from the commission.

“Given the sensitivity of the subject matter, the council considers that a longer timeframe for consultation and for consideration of relevant issues should be allowed,” the council says. “This would help to ensure that the terms of reference and the form of the royal commission will best facilitate the outcomes sought.”

The Prime Minister announced three weeks ago she wanted the terms of reference set by the end of the year and stakeholders were given only a week to provide input.

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Sex abuse counsellors to get legal training

AUSTRALIA
The Courier

By Nino Bucci
Nov. 29, 2012

Psychologists dealing with a surge of sex abuse victims after the announcement of a Royal Commission into the problem need to be trained to ensure their counselling does not jeopardise court proceedings, a child advocacy group says.

Bravehearts, who have had a 300 per cent leap in demand for counselling services since the Royal Commission was announced on November 12, is launching an online training program for psychologists.

Therapeutic services manager Leza Sullivan said the service, which will cost psychologists $345 to complete, was the quickest way of increasing the number of people qualified to deal with complex cases.

“There’s a real urgency to get this up and going as soon as possible because of the Royal Commission,” Ms Sullivan said.

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Pagan ceremony pair deny child sex assault allegations

UNITED KINGDOM
The Packet

Pagan ceremonies with a coven of white witches in mid and west Cornwall were cited when the trial of two men accused of sexually abusing children over a number of years began at Truro Crown Court on Monday.

In the dock were 69-year-old Jack Kemp, of Grenville Road, Falmouth, and Peter Petrauske, 72, who at the time of his arrest last December was living at The Beacon, Falmouth.

Petrauske has denied raping one girl and three charges of assault. Kemp has denied aiding and abetting attempted rape and 15 charges of assault.

Prosecutor Jason Beal told the jury of nine men and three women that the children involved ranged in age from three to 15.

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PAGANS ‘ABUSED’ CHILDREN

UNITED KINGDOM
Daily Star

CHILDREN were sexually abused by two men during magic rituals at a witches’ coven, a court heard.

Some of the alleged victims, aged between three and 15, were said to have had their wrists tied.

Peter Petrauske, 71, allegedly told police: “I am a white witch, a pagan.”

Petrauske, formerly of Falmouth, Cornwall, faces two charges of indecent assault and a count of rape.

Jack Kemp, 68, of Falmouth, Cornwall, faces 15 charges of sexual assault on girls.

The two men are jointly charged with aiding and abetting an attempt to rape.

They both deny all the charges agaisnt them.

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‘Witches’ link to Cornwall sex abuse cases

UNITED KINGDOM
BBC News

Two men have appeared in court charged with historical sex offences against children in Cornwall.

Some of the alleged victims say they were abused as part of pagan ceremonies by men purporting to be white witches, Truro Crown Court was told.

Jack Kemp, 69, of Grenville Road, Falmouth, denies 15 charges of sexual assaults on girls five to 14 years old.

Peter Petrauske, 72, formerly of Falmouth, denies two charges of indecent assault and one of rape.

The two men are also jointly charged with aiding and abetting an attempt to rape, which they deny.

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‘White witches’ abused young girls in pagan sex rituals, court told

UNITED KINGDOM
Mirror

Members of a so-called “witches’ coven” donned ceremonial robes and used daggers as part of ritualistic sex abuse on young girls, a court heard.

Peter Petrauske and Jack Kemp were said to have been involved in a pagan group from the 1970s onwards, in which children said they were plied with alcohol before being made to undress in front of a crowd of men wearing robes.

The victims, from Cornwall, were then abused by their tormentors, before being given money and sweets to buy their silence, the court was told.

The abuse was only investigated further by police last year when Kemp was arrested in connection with another incident, causing rumours to spread around his home town of Falmouth and prompting the alleged victims of the historic offences to contact detectives.

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Caso Karadima…

CHILE
Bio Bio

Caso Karadima: Nombrarán ministro de fuero para tramitar acción civil contra Arzobispado de Santiago

Publicado por Gerson Guzmán | La Información es de Agencia UPI

El presidente de la Corte de Apelaciones de Santiago, Patricio Villarroel, anunció que la medida prejudicial probatoria presentada contra el Arzobispado de Santiago por tres querellantes del sacerdote Fernando Karadima será tramitada por un ministro del tribunal de alzada.

Esto según lo establece el número 2 del Artículo 50 del Código Orgánico de Tribunales donde “de las causas civiles y de las criminales por crímenes o simples delitos en que sean parte o tengan interés (…) los arzobispos, los obispos, los vicarios generales, los provisores y los vicarios capitulares”, dice el texto legal.

El presidente del tribunal de alzada capitalino, Patricio Villarroel resaltó que “según el Código, el Arzobispo está contemplado entre aquellas las personas que gozan de fuero de manera que de esa causa tendría que conocerla un ministro de la Corte de Apelaciones. Es un tribunal de primera instancia. Para todo el juicio civil”, apuntó el magistrado.

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Accused molester Nechemya Weberman …

NEW YORK
New York Daily News

Accused molester Nechemya Weberman appears to menacingly stare at teenage accuser through glass door

Joanna Molloy

Court officers had to move an accused molester back into a courtroom in Brooklyn Supreme Court Wednesday after he appeared to menacingly stare at his teenage accuser through a glass door.

The 17-year-old girl was having a moment of peace in an interview room during recess in the trial of Nechemya Weberman, whom she has accused of sexually abusing her four times a week for three years starting from the time she was 12.

But when the beautiful teenager looked up, she saw Weberman, staring at her through the glass long enough to set the officers scrambling.

George Farkas, a member of Weberman’s defense team, was quick to call the menacing allegation “pure unadulterated bulls—.”

But Rabbi Yakov Horowitz told the Daily News, “I was there. I saw it.”

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Texas moves to seize ranch of polygamist Warren Jeffs

TEXAS
The Salt Lake Tribune

[seizure warrant]

Fraud, sex crimes » No new charges filed, but the warrant may force the sect to move off the property.

By Lindsay Whitehurst and Nate Carlisle
The Salt Lake Tribune

First Published Nov 28 2012

The Texas Attorney General’s Office moved Wednesday to seize the remote ranch where polygamous sect leader Warren Jeffs and other men sexually abused underage girls taken as plural wives.

Authorities say sect leaders purchased the Yearning for Zion Ranch to commit crimes, which constitutes money laundering under Texas law and also makes the property subject to seizure laws as contraband,according to a 91-page search-and-seizure warrant. Sect members bought the 1,600-acre property “in a failed attempt to establish a remote outpost where they could insulate themselves from criminal prosecution for sexually assaulting children,” according to a news release from Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott.

The property is appraised at $19.96 million, according to county tax rolls.

The warrant is akin to civil foreclosure rather than a criminal investigation, but it could force the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS) members living there to move off the property, said sect attorney Rod Parker. Authorities taped the warrant to the YFZ Ranch gate Tuesday afternoon and made it public Wednesday.

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If Texas takes Warren Jeffs’ ranch, then what?

TEXAS
Salt Lake Tribune

Published on Nov 28, 2012

Lindsay Whitehurst

Big news today: The state of Texas wants to seize ownership of the YFZ Ranch, once controlled by Warren Jeffs. Read our story on the search and seizure warrant served Tuesday here, and take a look at the full affidavit, which is attached to the story.

There are still a number of unanswered questions with the seizure that I’ll be taking a look at over the coming days, including:

• What does Texas have to prove to win ownership of the trust? Do they have to show that everyone who bought/worked on the ranch knew Jeffs and others were sexually assaulting underage girls?

• Over the last five months or so, just about everyone has cleared out of the ranch, apparently to smaller FLDS outposts and houses of hiding around the country. How does that change the dynamic? Does it make it more difficult to investigate potential ongoing problems?

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Warren Jeffs’ ranch may be seized by Texas

TEXAS
The Christian Science Monitor

By Paul J. Weber, Associated Press / November 28, 2012

AUSTIN, Texas

Texas wants to take ownership of Warren Jeffs’ polygamist ranch where the convicted sect leader and his followers sexually assaulted children, state prosecutors said Wednesday.

The Texas attorney general’s office filed a seizure warrant on Wednesday. A judge will determine whether the state can take control of the 1,600-acre (650-hectare) property owned by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Jerry Strickland, a spokesman for the attorney general’s office, said the court filings do not mean FLDS members still living at the Yearning for Zion Ranch must immediately leave.

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CathBlog – The gravity of the present moment

AUSTRALIA
CathNews

BY DANIEL ANG

To say that these are dark days for the Catholic Church is an understatement.

In this fiftieth year since the Second Vatican Council, and in the accompanying Year of Faith, we ought to feel our hearts rising with Christ as they did among his first followers.

Instead the ongoing revelations of sexual abuse, our shame of past failures, and accusations of maladministration, have disgraced the Church and left many ordinary Catholics feeling demoralised.

For those of us who remain close to the life of the Church, who still hold it precious as an intrinsic dimension of our Christian faith, how are to go on with the same confidence and morale? In a certain sense, this is impossible.

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Sexual abuse scandal with Chilean priest resurfaces

CHILE
Santiago Times

Wednesday, 28 November 2012
Written by Emily Green

Victims request compensation from the Church for personal hardships.

Victims sexually abused in the 1980s by infamous Santiago priest Fernando Karadima are requesting monetary compensation from the Catholic Church on the grounds that the Archbishopric of Santiago failed to properly investigate allegations against Karadima in 2004.

On Tuesday, the three plaintiffs, James Hamilton, José Andrés Murillo and Juan Carlos Cruz, initiated a civil suit against the Archbishopric of Santiago, now led by Archbishop Ricardo Ezzati, for the personal distress caused by the Church.

“It’s come to this because (the Church) has given us no other options,” Hamilton told local press. “There has not been any kind of spiritual accompaniment or reparations.”

Karadima was found guilty by the Vatican but was never convicted by the state following a long history of accusations and investigations against the high-profile priest who led a parish in Santiago’s El Bosque borough from 1973 to 1990. While rumors and accusations against Karadima for sexual abuse circulated as early as 1984, no investigations happened for years.

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Micah Moore’s confession in Deaton death was untrue, lawyer says

MISSOURI
The Kansas City Star

By GLENN E. RICE
The Kansas City Star

Attorneys for Micah Moore, the man charged with first-degree murder in the death of prayer-group friend Bethany Ann Deaton, said Wednesday that their client’s fragile mental state led him to make a false confession.

“We are aware of no evidence that a crime has occurred,” said Melanie S. Morgan, one of Moore’s attorneys, reading a statement after the brief court hearing. “The facts suggest Bethany Deaton’s death was an unfortunate suicide and Micah Moore had nothing to do with that suicide.

“Driven to the police station by representantives of his church community, Micah told a fictional account that was bizarre, nonsensical and most importantly, untrue. They were the figments of a distraught and confused young man under extreme psychological pressures as a result of his friend Bethany’s untimely suicide and the sudden removal of his spiritual leader, Tyler Deaton, from their extremely close-knit religious community.

“The doctrines taught in that community affected Micah’s mental state and, unfortunately, dominated his thinking. Micah’s fiction to the police led to the filing of the complaint in this case.”

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Retired priest charged

CANADA
Chatham Daily News

By Vicki Gough, Chatham Daily News

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A list of charges against a retired priest living in Chatham has grown.

Chatham-Kent police arrested Linus Bastien, 86, at his retirement residence on Keil Drive Wednesday morning.

“This investigation is a result of charges started by Essex OPP,” said Chatham-Kent Sgt. Mike Thompson.

The accused is charged with numerous historic sex-related offences, said Thompson.

But the officer declined to give specific numbers nor the nature of the charges.

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The Trial of a Rasha

NEW YORK
The Jewish Press

By: Harry Maryles
Published: November 28th, 2012

The trial of of accused sexual abuser Rabbi Nechemya Weberman is underway. I thought I would post a few of my thoughts about it. First let me excerpt the following quote by Anna C. Salter PhD from Rabbi Yakov Horowitz’s website:

1. It is perhaps not surprising that predators who have never been arrested are so successful in fooling people. They simply take on the lifestyle and manner of genuinely nice people, and it is understandable, if tragic, that we can’t tell the difference.

2. It is a misconception that child molesters are somehow different from the rest of us, outside their proclivities to molest. They can be loyal friends, good employees, and responsible members of the community in other ways.

3. Offender self-reports have dubious validity, especially when the offender’s self-interest is at stake. The only rule for deception in sex offenders I have ever found is this: If it is in the offender’s best interest to lie, and if he can do it and not get caught, he will lie.

I have little doubt about Rabbi Weberman’s guilt. And I am encouraged by the over 40 people who have so far shown up at the trial to show support for the victim. I am also encouraged by the number of people who have responded to the request by Rabbi Horowitz to post a comment on his website in support of the victim. I encourage everyone to do so. She can use all the support she can get. Her character is being attacked. It is a typical ploy of defense attorneys to attack the character of an accuser at trial so as to undermine their credibility.

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Orthodox Brooklyn Girl Testifies That Hasidic Rabbi Made Her Perform Oral Sex For Years

NEW YORK
Gothamist

A Brooklyn girl testified yesterday in detail that she was sexually abused by a Hasidic rabbi and counselor for years. The teen, who is now 17, but was 12 when the alleged abuse started, had been sent to Rabbi Nechemya Weberman for counseling after she started questioning the strict rules of her ultra-Orthodox Hasidic Satmar sect. “I wanted to die rather than live with myself,” the woman said about the attacks. “I didn’t know how to fight. I was numb.”

She claims Weberman, who is accused of 88 counts of sexual abuse of a minor, forced her to give him oral sex and inappropriately touched her from March 2007 to March 2010. Prosecutors say the victim grew up in an ultra-religious community that labelled her a “heretic” because she asked questions about God’s existence and wore thin tights: “You had to wear tights that are very thick so there’s no way anybody can see your legs,” she said. “I was sent to the principal’s office every day because my tights weren’t thick enough.”

So her parents sent her to Weberman, who met her at his home; those sessions lasted up to four hours each, multiple times a week, for three years. During the first one, she didn’t understand what Weberman was doing when he allegedly forced her to give him oral sex. “My whole body froze,’’ she recounted tearfully.

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‘White witch coven’ took part ritualistic sex abuse of young girls, court told

UNITED KINGDOM
The Guardian

Steven Morris and agency
guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 28 November 2012

Members of a “white witch coven” in Cornwall donned ceremonial robes and used daggers in ritualistic sex abuse of young girls, a court has heard.

Peter Petrauske, 72, who allegedly told police he was high priest of the coven, and Jack Kemp, 69, were said to have been involved in criminal “pagan ceremonies” over a 30-year period.

Children were plied with alcohol before being made to undress in front of a crowd of men wearing robes, it was claimed.

The alleged victims, the youngest of whom aged three to five, were then abused by their tormentors before being given money and sweets to buy their silence, Truro crown court was told.

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Two male ‘white witches from Cornwall coven raped young girls during pagan rituals’

UNITED KINDOM
Daily Mail

Two men belonging to a ‘witches’ coven’ wore ceremonial robes and used daggers as part of ritualistic sex abuse on young girls, a court has heard.

Peter Petrauske, 72, and Jack Kemp, 69, are said to have been involved in a pagan group of ‘white witches’ operating in Cornwall since the 1970s.

The alleged abuse, spanning three decades, involved knives and melting wax, Truro Crown Court heard.

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Three allegations in three years, but church kept quiet

OKLAHOMA
Stop Baptist Predators

In Oklahoma, police arrested Southern Baptist youth pastor Dustin Ray Werneburg on multiple charges of child sex crimes. Werneburg, who was previously a pastor at First Baptist Church in Coalgate, now faces three counts of second degree rape and three counts of forcible sodomy along with charges of lewd molestation and lewd or indecent proposals to a child. Investigators say that all of the crimes were committed against a girl under the age of 16.

Jeff Self, the senior pastor at First Baptist Church in Coalgate, has admitted that he knew about prior allegations against Werneburg.

“We had three allegations over the course of three years,” said pastor Self in a statement to KXII News. “Two of them he had come to me and said you are going to hear this . . . and it was a he said she said and we believed him . . . but once we had that third allegation that was really significant in August,” Self said.

So what exactly did pastor Self do with the third allegation – the one that he finally viewed as being “really significant”?

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“Those days” are still here in Baptistland

UNITED STATES
Stop Baptist Predators

“In those days, this was a no-no in terms of publicizing it,” said Rev. James Griffith, former executive director of the Georgia Baptist Convention.

Griffith was talking about the numerous child sex abuse allegations against former scoutmaster Ernest Boland, whose troops were sponsored by Baptist churches, including Griffith’s own church, Beech Haven Baptist in Athens, Georgia.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Griffith acknowledged that, as Boland’s pastor, he had heard reports about Boland’s “sexual transgressions.”

“It was suspected, but there was not much done about it,” said Griffith.

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James Bailey, former preacher and scout leader from Thornton Heath, convicted of child sex offences

UNITED KINGDOM
Your Local Guardian

By Chris Baynes

A former scout leader and Christian preacher has been jailed for luring boys as young as four into his home with sweets and money and filmed them performing sex acts.

James Bailey, 69, of Brigstock Road, Thornton Heath, exploited his positions of trust to subject three vulnerable victims under the age of 10 to repeated assaults over the course of a decade.

He persuaded his youngest victim, aged just four when the abuse began in the early 1990s, into depraved acts.

The boy’s elder brother, aged six at the time of the earliest offences, was filmed masturbating by Bailey, who assured him that “no one else” would watch the footage.

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25 Signs of a Predatory Preacher

Sharon Johnson Fresh Oil Ministries

What is a Predatory Preacher:

A man or woman who claims to be a follower and messenger of Jesus Christ who uses false doctrines and traditions to seduce, manipulate and control their followers. Their primary goal is money, materialism, control and fame:

They will use ‘scare’ tactics regarding tithes and offerings, and if you leave their church, they will tell you and others that you are under a curse.

Carry themselves like celebrities, rather than servants insisting on being called by a lofty title ~ Dr. Bishop, Elder, The Most Reverend, Prophetess, Chief Apostle. Make sure to read my Blog, “The Great “TITLE” Wave.”

Materialistic, boastful, and flaunts extravagant lifestyle while regarding their wives as ‘first lady’ of the church.

Allow provocatively dressed women to teach, usher, sing on praise teams and lead in the church.

Rarely, if ever, talks about sin or hell, makes light of sin when they do. Jesus is hardly ever mentioned, but rather GOD. Usually, they are very charismatic and GREAT speakers ~ Very Eloquent in speech.

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Former youth minister arrested on sex crimes

OKLAHOMA
KXII

[with video]

COAL COUNTY, OK — A Former Coalgate youth pastor has been arrested for sex crimes against children. 28-year-old Dustin Werneberg was taken into custody Wednesday on several second degree rape charges.

An affidavit states the sexual abuse has been going on for more than a year. Kristen Shanahan spoke with the lead investigator of this case and the pastor who says he never believed his employee could be involved in something like this.

Police tell us Werneburg was arrested at Blanchard Middle School in McClain County Wednesday where he was serving as a teacher’s aid. He is now behind bars in Coal County on three counts of Second Degree Rape, three counts of Forcible Sodomy, a charge of Lewd or Indecent Proposals to a Child and Lewd Molestation. Investigators say all these crimes were committed against a girl under the age of 16.

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Defense Attorneys: Accused Murderer Made Up Entire Bizarre Story

MISSOURI
Fox 4

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. – Attorneys for the man who claimed he killed a woman at the order of her husband said Wednesday that Micah Moore, 23, made up the whole story.

Moore turned himself into police on November 9th. In the probable cause statement, Moore claimed he killed Bethany Ann Deaton, 27, after he says his spiritual leader and her husband ordered him to do it.

Deaton was found dead in the backseat of a van on Oct. 30, at Longview Lake. Near her body was an empty bottle of Acetaminophen PM.

Police say there was also a suicide note in the van.

But then, almost three weeks ago, Moore told police Bethany didn’t kill herself but was instead murdered on the order of her husband, Tyler Deaton – the leader of a close-knit religious group in which court documents say the members had sex with each other.

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Awareness, enforcement help reduce child sex abuse

UNITED STATES
The Associated Press

By BETH J. HARPAZ, Associated Press – 3 hours ago

NEW YORK (AP) — Increased public awareness of how child predators operate, along with better law enforcement and policies to protect children, may be helping to reduce child sex abuse despite this year’s headlines about cases connected to institutions like Penn State, the Boy Scouts and the BBC.

A recent report from the University of New Hampshire’s Crimes Against Children Research Center found incidents of child sexual abuse have been declining in the U.S. for 20 years, with some statistics showing decreases as steep as 60 percent.

The findings may be surprising given the high-profile cases in the news. But many of those incidents took place years, sometimes decades, ago. Ironically, experts say, publicity surrounding such scandals may help reduce the problem.

“One or two or even five or 10 high publicity cases are not going to stop the problem in its tracks,” said David Finkelhor, director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center and a UNH sociology professor. “But there is a lot of evidence that the greater awareness and actions taken to improve safety in the wake of these things does reduce the amount of abuse.”

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SNAP Leader Blaine Comes Unglued In Search of Media Attention: ‘Nothing’s Changed’ in Catholic Church’s Handling of Abuse Cases

AUSTRALIA
TheMediaReport

Dave Pierre

The measures are unprecedented: “Abuse panels” in nearly every diocese … the training of millions of children and adults (including 99 percent of all priests) to recognize signs of abuse … intensified screening of seminarians and other Church employees … strict annual audits for compliance of procedures … a “zero tolerance” policy that is so strict that accused priests feel abandoned by their bishops … and billions of dollars in settlements and therapy for victims.

Yet despite all of these dramatic actions undertaken by the Catholic Church, according to the always hyperbolic SNAP President Barbara Blaine, “nothing’s changed” in the handling of abuse cases and “[bishops] are still saying now what they said in 1993.”

Blaine’s latest loopy salvo was made in an Australian newspaper.

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SNAP in Australia!

AUSTRALIA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

Posted by Barbara Dorris

SNAP was invited to testify before the Royal Commission into Sex Abuse convened by Prime Minister Julia Gillard. SNAP President and Founder Barbara Blaine made the 28 hour trip and our Australian leaders Nicky Davis and Mark Fabro all testified not only to their own experiences but also to the scope of the abuse and cover-up by church officials.

Nicky and Mark have been working hard to set up media events and support groups meetings in Australia in Melbourne, Sydney, New Castle, Milton, Toowomba, Brisbane, Invermay Park, Ballarat, Wollongong and Canberra. They have met with survivors in every city and in Invermay Park they met with families who had lost loved ones to suicide.

As always we have heard horrific stories of abuse, of cover-up by church officials and of the courage of survivors who have come forward to protect others. While Australia may be thousands upon thousands of miles away we are all working toward the same goals-heal the wounded and protect the vulnerable.

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Former Shattuck teacher facing criminal charges subbed at St. Paul school

MINNESOTA
Minnesota Public Radio

by Madeleine Baran, Minnesota Public Radio
November 26, 2012

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Joseph Machlitt, who faces criminal charges for allegedly sexually abusing a boy in 1980 at a Faribault boarding school, recently worked as a substitute teacher at a private school in St. Paul.

St. Paul Academy and Summit School, which employed Machlitt as a substitute teacher, notified parents, faculty, staff and trustees about the charges via email on Friday.

“At the time of his employment, we were unaware of any prior complaints involving Mr. Machlitt and we are unaware of any complaints about his conduct during his brief time at SPA,” Head of School Bryn Roberts wrote in his email. “Mr. Machlitt, who will never work again at SPA, filled in for absent teachers principally in the Upper and Middle Schools and on one occasion in the Lower School.”

Machlitt was charged Wednesday with third-degree criminal sexual conduct and fourth-degree attempted criminal sexual conduct for allegedly sexually abusing a 14-year-old student at Shattuck-St. Mary’s School in Faribault in 1980. Machlitt, who is 63, was a teacher at Shattuck-St. Mary’s School at the time of the alleged crime. According to the criminal complaint, Machlitt admitted to investigators in October 2012 that he had a “sexual relationship” with the boy.

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Priest’s pretrial continues in February

CANADA
The Tribune

WELLAND – The pretrial hearing for Rheal LeBlanc will continue in the new year.

The Catholic priest’s case was before a St. Catharines courtroom on Tuesday for its first pretrial date and then before a Welland courtroom on Wednesday.

The pretrial will continue on Feb. 22 at 9:15 a.m. in St. Catharines.

LeBlanc, a former principal of Notre Dame College School in Welland and Saint Paul Catholic High School in Niagara Falls, was charged with possession of child pornography in December 2011 after a search warrant was executed at a Welland residence.

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Nechemya Weberman, Hasidic Counselor In Brooklyn, On Trial For Sexual Abuse Of Teen Girl (VIDEO)

NEW YORK
The Huffington Post

By Meredith Bennett-Smith

NEW YORK — The alleged abuse started when the victim was 12. The girl, a member of the Satmar Hasidic community, had been sent to the office of Nechemya Weberman because she had questioned the existence of God in school and rebelled against her ultra-Orthodox Jewish community’s strict modesty codes.

Weberman, an unlicensed counselor in their Williamsburg, Brooklyn, neighborhood, had a reputation for helping people get “back on the spiritual path,” according to the Associated Press. Prosecutors contend that Weberman abused his young client for the next three years, forcing her to perform oral sex and touching her breasts and vagina, according to The New York Times.

On Tuesday, the newly married girl, now almost 18, testified against Weberman in New York State Supreme Court in Brooklyn. Her former counselor is charged with 88 counts of sexual abuse of a minor, according to the Times.

“I wanted to die rather than live with myself,” the alleged victim told the courtroom, according to the New York Daily News. “I didn’t know how to fight. I was numb.”

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Confessional debate is a Royal Commission red herring

AUSTRALIA
Eureka Street

Chris McGillion
November 28, 2012

The clamour is growing to enable the forthcoming Royal Commission into child sex abuse to require Catholic priests to break the seal of confession if doing so is deemed necessary to investigate abusers and/or the issue of institutional cover ups. The Federal Attorney-General, Nicola Roxon, has expressed support for such a power, saying that child abuse is ‘a crime’ that ‘should be reported’ under any circumstances.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard also supports the move. ‘Adults have got a duty of care towards children,’ she has said, ‘and it’s not good enough for people to engage in sins of omission and not act when a child is at risk.’

The former auxiliary bishop of Sydney, Geoffrey Robinson, a vocal critic of the way the Church has handled clerical sex abuse cases, said he’d break the seal for the ‘greater good’ and report a confessor to the police if he believed there was an ongoing risk of further offences. At least one Melbourne priest has said he’d do the same.

Before this debate goes much further, it would be wise for everyone to consider what is at stake. Roxon has said that the more important issue is the failure to report to police known cases of abuse and ‘open secrets’ that came to the attention of priests and Church authorities by means other than the confessional. Similarly, Bishop Robinson has conceded the obvious: ‘Offenders in this field, in paedophilia, do not go to confession and confess.’

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East Timor’s lessons for our abuse Royal Commission

AUSTRALIA
Eureka Street

Pat Walsh
November 28, 2012

The support group for victims of sexual abuse, Broken Rites, has proposed that victims be given the opportunity to tell their stories as part of the proceedings to be undertaken by the upcoming Royal Commission.

According to the Fairfax press on Monday, the group’s spokesman, Dr Wayne Chamely, is advocating that a ‘truth commissioner’ be appointed specifically for the purpose of listening to victims. The commissioner ‘would move around and meet people in their own communities’ and carry out this function concurrently with the Commission’s other terms of reference.

At the heart of this proposal is a conviction that the Royal Commission must be as victim-friendly as possible if it is to get at the whole truth, contribute to the healing of victims, educate the public about this entrenched issue and its origins, and generate effective recommendations.

Broken Rites is clearly concerned that the Royal Commission may not be able to adequately accommodate victims because some may not feel comfortable testifying in such a setting or will not be heard because the Commission, due to its anticipated huge work load, will have to be selective.

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Catholic Priest Conviction For Clergy Sex Abuse of An Adult Is Thrown Out – Testimony Too Religious

UNITED STATES
Opinionated Catholic

In the famed King of the Hill episode The Passion of Dauterive , which can be viewed here , the ever
emotionally unstable Bill after a near death experience no less enters into a romantic relationship with his Clergyperson the Methodist Pastor Stroup. The good producers of the show appears did not know that Rev Stroup had put herself in danger of doing a crime that being Texas. Penal Code Chapter 5. (22.011) .

I am of still of two conflicted minds about these adult abuse clergy laws as a criminal matter.

Part of me thinks that much of this would be better served by remaining in the realm of a civil tort. I am not saying I think there is no moral problem or real harm can not occur.

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Autonomy and clergy sex abuse

UNITED STATES
SBC Plodder

William Thornton

Southern Baptists have no real power when it comes to removing even the most offensive pastors from their church staff positions. No associational missionary, no state convention executive, no Southern Baptist Convention CEO, no megachurch pastor – no one compels even the smallest SBC church in the handling their church matters.

So, what should be done when a local church affiliated with a Southern Baptist association, state convention, or national SBC has as their pastor a man who has credible accusations of and pending charges for child sex crimes?

Such is the question raised concerning a pastor and Baptist church in Missouri that is affiliated with a local Baptist association, the Missouri Baptist Convention, and the SBC.

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The Need for a National Commission to Address Child Abuse: A Checklist of Ten Notes

UNITED STATES
Bilgrimage

With the establishment of a royal commission to investigate child abuse (and its cover-up) in Australia, I’ve been going through a checklist of mental notes I’ve made about the issue of child abuse over the years. I’ve blogged about most of these items.

Here’s the checklist I’ve compiled thus far:

1. I’m convinced that Alice Miller and Phillip Greven are correct when they find that the abuse of children is far more widespread and taken for granted (and covered up) in many societies than most of us have been willing to admit.

2. I also think (and here, Miller has been determinative for my thinking) that societies that are the most sentimental about their love of children (or fetuses) and the most vocal in protesting how they cherish and protect minors are likely to be precisely the societies that are most callous towards minors. And the most tolerant of child abuse.

3. I think with Miller and Greven that the roots of Western culture’s toleration of child abuse lie in longstanding religious attitudes that absolutely have to be re-examined if we’re to stem the tide of child abuse.

4. I think that the Catholic church is far from the only institution in which abuse of children has been widespread, tolerated, and hidden by church officials.

5. At the same time, I think the problem of abuse of children (and its cover-up) is deeply endemic to Catholicism, and the argument that child abuse occurs in other institutions, when it’s advanced by Catholic officials, is an impermissible diversionary argument that ought to be rejected out of hand by people with good sense.

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The Ongoing Challenge of Dealing with Child Abuse in the Catholic Church: Testimony of Bishop Geoffrey Robinson

UNITED STATES
Bilgrimage

William D. Lindsey

As I offer my ten notes about the problem of child abuse and Jerry Slevin’s valuable proposal for a U.S. national commission to address this problem, I want to offer as well a reprise of some notes from the powerful and prophetic book of Australian bishop Geoffrey Robinson, Confronting Power and Sex in the Catholic Church: Reclaiming the Spirit of Jesus (Dublin: Columba, 2007). I’ve blogged about Bishop Robinson’s book in the past.

But it strikes me that, with the recent establishment of a royal commission to investigate child abuse (and its cover-up) in Australia, Bishop Robinson’s book is timely all over again–and it deserves recognition as a ground-breaking resource that led Australian Catholics and Catholics in many parts of the world to begin looking with new eyes at child abuse in the Catholic church and other institutions.

Here are some valuable lessons Bishop Robinson’s book taught me when I read it, which I think are worth remembering all over again as Australia investigates child abuse:

1. Why should Catholics who have ourselves not experienced sexual abuse by clergy care about the experiences of those who have had such experiences?

Bishop Robinson’s answer to this question: abuse by a religious authority figure disrupts the entire “ecosystem” of love and meaning in the life of a person who experiences such abuse as a minor. This disruption of love and meaning in one’s life can perdure throughout one’s entire life.

Bishop Robinson writes,

The systems of meaning that people build up are always fragile, for they are made up of the many tiny fragments of their lived experience, the many loves, small and great, of their lives. Sexual abuse is a bulldozer gouging a road through this fragile ecosystem of love and meaning that a person has been painfully constructing (p. 217).

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“MEA MAXIMA CULPA” IS A FRAUD

UNITED STATES
Catholic League

Bill Donohue comments on the HBO produced film, “Mea Maxima Culpa,” which completes its New York City run tomorrow:

Director Alex Gibney wants us to believe he has proven a “direct connection of the Vatican” to the homosexual scandal, though his effort fails miserably (the horror-film music is laughable).

As one review of the movie said, “All the reports of sex abuse in the church since the 1960s went directly to the current pope, Benedict XVI, to the time when he was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.” Wrong. There was no central command center until 2001 when Ratzinger took over. And that’s when things really began to change—just the opposite of what Gibney would have us believe.

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Uncovering the abusers

BALTIMORE (MD)
The Baltimore Sun

Our view: Recent cases of serial child sexual abuse demonstrate why Maryland must reform its reporting laws to discourage cover-ups and prosecute perpetrators

November 27, 2012

The case of John Merzbacher, the former South Baltimore Catholic middle school teacher who turned out to be a serial child sexual abuser, represents a terrible tragedy of child abuse fostered by too many others willing to turn a blind eye.

But if his case is extreme, it is not unique, and it’s particularly galling to hear of cases like that involving Mr. Merzbacher, whose behavior went unreported for decades, or Penn State’s Jerry Sandusky, where even an incident in the men’s shower witnessed by a staff member failed to motivate school officials to alert authorities.

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Child abuse inquiry must include Indigenous Royal Commissioners

AUSTRALIA
Indigenous Times

The Royal Commission into child sexual abuse must include a dedicated Indigenous space with Indigenous commissioners according to a former senior public servant.

Assistant Professor Tjanara Goreng Goreng sees the current Royal Commission as a great opportunity for Indigenous Australians.

“I believe there have been a lot of abused Aboriginal people who have never had the…

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Call to include foster care in sex-abuse inquiry

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

Milanda Rout
From:The Australian
November 29, 2012

THE Australian Commission for Human Rights has called on Julia Gillard to include children who have been sexually abused in foster care in her national inquiry.

In a submission to the Gillard government on the terms of reference for the royal commission, the AHRC says institutions and organisations are responsible for placing those children in care.

The AHRC also wants an indigenous person and a person with a disability to be among the multiple commissioners. …

Details of the AHRC submission emerged as the Catholic Church was understood to be preparing to announce the establishment of a “working group” to formally convey its views on the royal commission.

The November plenary meeting of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference is discussing this week the church’s strategy to ensure a national, uniform position on the commission is conveyed. This will remove any confusion over who will speak for the church and is likely to ensure that Cardinal George Pell, the Archbishop of Sydney, does not assume official national responsibility as a spokesman on the issue.

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