Judge orders church to release full priest abuse records

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Los Angeles Times

A trove of confidential church files detailing how the Los Angeles archdiocese dealt with priests accused of molestation must be released “as soon as possible” and include the names of Cardinal Roger Mahony and his aides, a judge ruled Thursday.

In a written order, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Emilie H. Elias gave the church a Feb. 22 deadline to turn over about 30,000 pages of internal memos, psychiatric reports, Vatican correspondence and other documents.

“Let’s just get it done,” Elias said in court Thursday.

Her order brought to a close five and a half years of legal wrangling and delays and set the stage for a raft of new and almost certainly embarrassing revelations about the church’s handling of pedophile priests. A small portion of the files were made public in a civil case last week and showed that in the 1980s Mahony and a top aide discussed methods for concealing abuse from police, including giving molesters out-of-state assignments.

DOCUMENT: Los Angeles Archdiocese priest abuse files

The files Elias ordered released are the final piece of a landmark 2007 settlement between the archdiocese and about 500 people who said clergy abused them. As part of that $660-million settlement, the archdiocese agreed to hand over the personnel files of accused abusers. Victims said the files would provide accountability for church leaders who let pedophiles remain in the ministry; law enforcement officials said the records would be important investigative tools.

But the release was delayed for years by appeals and the painstaking process of reading and redacting 89 files, some hundreds of pages long. A private mediator in 2011 ordered the church to black out the names of victims and archdiocese employees not accused of abuse, saying he wanted to avoid “guilt by association.”

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Judge orders LA archdiocese …

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Washington Post

Judge orders LA archdiocese to release 30K pages of priest files without blacked-out names

By Associated Press

LOS ANGELES — A judge on Thursday ordered the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles to turn over 30,000 pages from the confidential files of priests accused of child molestation without blacking out the names of top church officials who were responsible for key decisions in how to handle the sexually abusive priests.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Emilie Elias ordered the nation’s largest archdiocese to turn over the files to attorneys for alleged victims no later than Feb. 22.

The archdiocese had planned to black out the names of members of the church hierarchy who were responsible for the molesting priests in the documents and instead provide a cover sheet for each priest’s file, listing the names of top officials who handled that case. The church reversed course Wednesday after The Associated Press, the Los Angeles Times and plaintiff attorneys objected in court.

The archdiocese had also planned to black out handwritten comments on the files inked by recently retired Cardinal Roger Mahony and provide those in typewritten form instead.

A record-breaking $660 million settlement in 2007 with more than 500 alleged victims paved the way for the ultimate disclosure of the tens of thousands of pages, but the archdiocese and individual priests fought to keep them secret for more than five years. The AP and the Los Angeles Times intervened in court in January because the 4.3 million-person archdiocese intended to release the files with the names of top officials, including Mahony’s, blacked out.

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LA archdiocese files coming out without redactions

LOS ANGELES (CA)
ABC 6

Posted: Jan 31, 2013

By GILLIAN FLACCUS
Associated Press
LOS ANGELES (AP) – A judge has ordered the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles to turn over 30,000 pages from the confidential files of priests accused of sex abuse without blacking out the names of top church officials who were responsible for handling their cases.

Judge Emilie Elias on Thursday ordered the nation’s largest archdiocese to release the files by Feb. 22.

A record-breaking $660 million settlement with more than 500 victims in 2007 set the stage for the release of the files, but the archdiocese and individual priests fought for five years to keep them secret.

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The Los Angeles Archdiocese can’t seem to play by the rules

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Los Angeles Times

By Sandra Hernandez
January 31, 2013, 4:47 p.m.

Earlier this month, a state judge ordered the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles to include the names of church leaders who mishandled sex-abuse claims when it finally releases scores of confidential priest files as part of a 2007 settlement.

Yet despite that court order, the archdiocese has continued to act as if the rules don’t apply to it. This week, the church resubmitted a proposal that would have redacted the names of top church leaders from the documents and only provided the names of those officials in a generic cover sheet attached to the priest’s file. The church’s actions were nothing short of an attempt to delay justice and conceal the truth from the victims and the public.

I can’t say the church’s request came as a surprise. The archdiocese has spent years in court fighting to keep those records under wraps. And last week, we learned why.

As The Times’ Victoria Kim and Harriet Ryan reported, confidential letters and memos, filed in a civil court case, reveal Cardinal Roger M. Mahony’s role in plotting to shield pedophile priests from coming to the attention of police or prosecutors. The letters document how Mahony and Msgr. Thomas J. Curry, his top advisor on sex-abuse cases, discussed strategies to keep pedophile priests out of state.

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Former Orchard Lake Schools friar accused of molestation left apology note after suicide

MICHIGAN
The Oakland Press

By CAROL HOPKINS
carol.hopkins@oakpress.com Twitter: @opcarolhopkins

Officials with SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, are inviting people to come forward after learning a Franciscan friar who once worked at Orchard Lake Schools committed suicide and left a note apologizing to his victims.

Brother Stephen Baker worked at the school in Orchard Lake between 1983 and 85. There is no record that Baker molested anyone connected with the school system, said officials with the Archdiocese of Detroit.

Baker, 62 — who killed himself Jan. 26 with a self-inflicted knife wound to the heart at the St. Bernardine Monastery in Hollidaysburg, Pa. — is accused of molesting high school students in Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Baker was named in legal settlements last week involving 11 men who alleged that he sexually abused them at a Catholic high school in northeast Ohio three decades ago. The undisclosed financial settlements announced Jan. 16 involved his contact with students at John F. Kennedy High School in Warren, Ohio from 1986-90.

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Judge to Issue Order on Release of LA Archdiocese Personnel Files

LOS ANGELES (CA)
NBC Southern California

By Patrick Healy and Jonathan Lloyd

Thursday, Jan 31, 2013

A judge is expected to issue an order Thursday afternoon governing the release of personnel files that include the names of Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles leaders who handled priest abuse cases.

Attorneys and the judge concluded a conference call Thursday morning in which they discussed how the 30,000 pages of confidential personnel files will be released. The archdiocese is expected to be given 30 days to comply, but officials might have the documents ready in as soon as one week.

The files will be provided to attorneys for clergy abuse victims.

Attorneys for the archdiocese said Wednesday they will not pursue a plan that would have blacked out church leaders’ names when the files are released, according to the Associated Press. The move is a reversal of the archdiocese’s plan to redact the names, citing privacy rights of priests and others.

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Archdiocese says it doesn’t have abuse complaints against friar who taught at St. Mary’s Prep

DETROIT (MI)
Desert Sun

Written by
Patricia Montemurri
Detroit Free Press Staff Writer

EDITOR’S NOTE: An earlier headline on this story incorrectly stated that the Archdiocese of Detroit had abuse complaints tied to Catholic friar Stephen Baker. The archdiocese does not have a record of any abuse complaints against Baker. This was an editing error. The current headline is correct.

The Archdiocese of Detroit said it has no record of complaints against a Catholic friar who taught at Orchard Lake St. Mary’s Prep High School for two years, and killed himself Saturday after allegations surfaced that he had molested students at Ohio and Pennsylvania Catholic schools.

Brother Stephen Baker, a Franciscan friar, taught at the all-boys St. Mary’s Prep from 1983 to 1985. He then went on to teach at Catholic high schools in Warren, Ohio, and Johnstown, Pa.

“The Detroit archdiocese has no record of sexual abuse complaints involving minors brought against Br. Baker during the two years in Michigan,” the archdiocese said in a statement released Wednesday.

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Thu. 1:34pm: Detroit Archdiocese: No record of abuse with Baker

MICHIGAN
Tribune Chronicle

January 31, 2013

The Detroit Archdiocese is reporting that it has no record of sexual abuse complaints brought against Brother Stephen Baker during his two years in Michigan.

The archdiocese made the statement on its website after members of SNAP, a support group for clergy sex abuse victims, called on it to investigate whether Baker had sexually abused any of his students while teaching at Orchard Lakes Schools from 1983 to 1985.

Baker is accused of abusing former students while he was working at John F. Kennedy High School in Warren from 1986 to 1990 and then at Bishop McCort in the 1990s. He committed suicide Saturday morning at St. Bernardine Monastery in Hollidaysburg, Pa., where he lived. In a letter found in his room at the monastery, Baker apologized to the church, the Blair County Coroner’s Office confirmed.

In its statement, the Detroit Archdiocese confirmed that Baker, a Franciscan friar, took classes and worked at Orchard Lakes Schools. However, the archdiocese explained that OLS reports that it does not have any record of an abuse complaint during or after those years.

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Catholics cry foul over rape allegation

INDIA
Ucanews

Priscilla Pinto, Pune
India
2013-01-31

Catholic leaders are questioning the investigation of a Salesian priest accused of molesting a minor girl in Pune.

Father Igidius Falcao, a vice principal at Don Bosco high school in Pune, Maharashtra state, was arrested January 21 after a 14-year-old Catholic student complained he had attempted to molest her on January 2 in his office.

Father Falcao, 61, was transfered from police custody to magisterial custody on Monday, where he will stay until February 11, his lawyer said.

He applied for bail yesterday, but police are seeking an extension of custody while they investigate the priest’s past positions in Mumbai, according to police inspector Reshma Mulani.

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Additional Cleric Sex Allegations Information

UNITED STATES
ABC 23

There is more information tonight on the investigation into a cleric accused of sexually abusing young kids at Bishop McCort High School. We told you last week that Brother Stephen Baker also worked at two schools in Ohio and one in Virginia. Today we have learned of another, a prep school in Michigan. A support group known as “SNAP” held a rally in Detroit today asking why church leaders have kept silent about Baker’s past especially now that the number of alleged victim reach at least eight. We did reach out to the Diocese of Richmond Virginia and Detroit today both told us there were never any allegations against Brother Baker at their schools and said today was the first they even heard of the case.

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Haredi Beit Din In Case Of Alleged London Rabbi Sex Abuser Begins

UNITED KINGDOM
Failed Messiah

Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com

According to a Behadrei Haredim report, the beit din (religious court) called to investigate allegations that Rabbi Chaim Halpern has arrived in London. It met this morning to deal with administrative matters and will begin hearing Halpern’s case tomorrow.

The dayanim (rabbi-judges) are: Rabbi Sariel Rosenberg, of Rabbi Nissim Karelitz’s Beit Din Tzedek (Badatz) of Bnei Brak; Rabbi Yisroel Berger, who was sent by Rabbi Ephraim Nussbaum of Badatz Ahvas Shalom and Beit Din Hayashor Vehatov in Jerusalem; and Rabbi Avraham Baruch Rosenberg of Monsey, New York who heads the Badatz Toras Chaim-Vizhnitz Monsey USA and who also heads another beit din there, Machon Le’Hora’ah.

Rabbi David Cohen Rabbi of the large Sephardic community in London was appointed as a special assistant to the Beis Din to screen those who want to testify and determine the procedures for the hearings, which are expected to continue for another week. After the beit din finishes hearing testimony it will meet in a series of hearings to decide the case.

A decision is expected to be handed down in late February or early March.

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Getting a Grip on Religious Sex Abuse

Huffington Post

Rabbi Yitzchak Shochet

Last night, British Channel 4’s Dispatches programme did an exposé on attitudes within some of the Orthodox Jewish community in London toward sex abuse crimes. One particular victim went undercover to expose the way his community has for decades been dealing with paedophilia. It’s been a year long investigation and it has sent shockwaves through much of the Anglo-Jewish community. Unfortunately this is one of many stories emerging of late. There was the high profile trial and conviction of an Orthodox Jewish “therapist” in Williamsburg, N.Y., and a lot of media attention focussed on a spiritual leader in Golders Green, London.

Often the community rallies around alleged offenders and ostracise the would-be victim. Edward Thorndike, president of the American Psychological Association in the early 20th century, coined a term called “the halo effect.” The theory goes that we tend to give someone the benefit of the doubt based on personal image and stature. When we hear about a common man having committed an offence we immediately presume him to be guilty while feeling sorry for the victim. But when it’s someone of stature in the community, we immediately presume that person’s innocence while vilifying those who bring the accusations. As Thorndike put it, we make “a generalisation from the perception of one outstanding personality trait to an overly favourable evaluation of the whole personality.”

Isn’t that why Jimmy Saville got away with what he did for so long? I’ve spoken to several people involved in the music industry during the Saville era that now claim with hindsight that “Jimmy Saville was obviously up to no good.” Only at the time they didn’t see it. Like them, the hundreds who have clamoured to the support of a rabbi in London, the thousands who have done the same for one of their own in New York and the many more who immediately ostracise those bringing claims of sexual abuse, all suffer from the halo effect. After all who are you more likely to believe: a “skimpy clad, rebellious” teenage girl or a long frock coated, black-bearded therapist; a leading rabbi or a “desperate” divorcee; a “troubled” student or a popular star-studded teacher?

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Brooklyn rabbi arrested for sexually abusing at least three former students of his at a yeshiva

NEW YORK
New York Daily News

By Rocco Parascandola , Eric Badia AND Larry Mcshane / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Thursday, January 31, 2013

A Brooklyn rabbi sexually abused three teenage boys from the ultra-Orthodox yeshiva where he once taught, cops said Thursday.

Yoel Malik, 33, a well-regarded member of the Satmar Hasidic sect, was arrested on 28 charges ranging from sexual abuse to forcible touching, police said.

He lured two of the underaged victims to Brooklyn hotels, according to sources.

The arrest came a week after a Satmar counselor was sentenced to 103 years behind bars for his repeated sexual abuse of a teenage girl sent to him for help.

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MN – Serial predator worked in MN

MINNESOTA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

Posted by David Clohessy on January 31, 2013

A Catholic cleric who is accused of molesting dozens of boys and who killed himself on Saturday worked for at least four years in the Twin Cities and may have molested a Minnesota child, a newspaper has reported.

And a support group is blasting two Catholic institutions – the St. Paul-Minneapolis archdiocese and a religious order called the Franciscans – for not disclosing the accused man’s presence here and the allegation against him.

On Jan. 26, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette disclosed that Brother Stephen P. Baker “had been banned from ministry in 2000 after his order settled a claim that he had sexually abused a minor while serving in Minnesota in the 1980s.”

Leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, believe that Baker was at St. Patrick’s church in Inver Grove Heights from 1978 to 1981. That parish has long been staffed by priests and others from the Franciscans.

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IA – SNAP supports proposed sex offender reform

IOWA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

Posted by Barbara Dorris on January 31, 2013

We think this idea deserves serious consideration. There’s no magic age at which a sex offender is suddenly no longer dangerous. Older sex offenders may look harmless but actually be more dangerous than ever.

Serial offenders with stooped shoulders, thick glasses, thinning hair and advanced age tends look like harmless grandpas. They often lull us into complacency. But having spent years picking, grooming and assaulting the vulnerable, then telling cunning lies and making shrewd excuses, these older predators are often more dangerous than ever.

The real remedy, however, is reforming Iowa’s archaic, predator-friendly statutes of limitations. If more victims can seek justice in courts – both civil and criminal – more child predators will be suspended, arrested, charged and imprisoned. And more officials will think twice about – and decide against – covering up child sex crimes.

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Convictions in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
National Survivor Advocates Coalition

The jury in Philadelphia convicted Rev. Charles Engelhardt and former teacher Bernard Shero on Wednesday.

Here is the link to the Associated Press story via ABC News: [click here]

There will be news stories, columns, and other editorials about these convictions but it is our desire that these words spoken by Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams capture and hold center ground today.

”The victim in this case has shown exceptional courage,” said District Attorney Seth Williams. “Not only did he have the strength to report his abuse, he had the tenacity to look his abusers in the eye and testify in front of complete strangers about the horrific details of his attacks. I hope this verdict will help him to continue with the long journey of healing that comes after such trauma.”

Indeed, without the courage of victims, truth is strangled.

Society is deeply indebted to them for tearing away the masks, the veils, the abusers’ sought after opaque personas.

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Will release of priest abuse files affect you?

CALIFORNIA
KPCC

A Superior Court judge has ordered the release of thousands of documents held by the L.A. Archdiocese identifying Roman Catholic priests who have been accused of molesting children.

If you are Catholic or have been involved with the Catholic Church, how does this information release affect you, your family and the Church?

KPCC journalists want to hear from Catholics, clergy, survivors and others about the benefits or harms they see coming from the Church’s policy of keeping allegations confidential, and the public release of these files.

Responses to our questions are confidential, so nothing you share will be aired or published without your permission.

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Fr Terrence Rafferty avoids prison after sex assault

NORTHERN IRELAND
BBC News

The former administrator of Newry Cathedral has been sentenced to 100 hours community service for indecently assaulting a teenage girl.

Father Terrence Rafferty, of Chestnut Grove, Newry, pleaded guilty to four counts of indecent assault.

The priest was also given a three-year probation order.

The details of the case were only released after a court ban protecting the priest’s identity was lifted.

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Group: Brother Baker also served in Mich.

MICHIGAN
Youngstown Vindicator

Staff report

WARREN

A support group for victims of clergy sex abuse called attention in Detroit on Wednesday to what it says is another place where Brother Stephen Baker worked as a Franciscan friar.

The Survivors Network of Those Abused By Priests said Baker was assigned three years to a Catholic prep school in Orchard Lake, Mich., from 1983 to 1985.

Judy Jones, SNAP’s Midwest associate director, said the organization was told by someone in the Detroit area that Baker served at the school.

SNAP held signs Wednesday outside the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit headquarters to talk about Baker, and hand- delivered a letter to the office of the archbishop asking that he reach out to anyone who “saw, suspected or suffered” crimes by Baker, Jones said.

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Diocese gets lawsuit letter

OHIO/PENNSYLVANIA
Tribune Chronicle

January 31, 2013

By VIRGINIA SHANK , Tribune Chronicle | TribToday.com

YOUNGSTOWN – The Diocese of Youngstown confirmed it has been notified of a potential civil lawsuit on behalf of victims who say they were abused by a Franciscan friar.

Nancy L. Yuhasz, chancellor, said the matter has been turned over to the attorney representing the diocese.

“There’s really not a lot to say at this point,” she said. “There’s nothing to comment on at this point. It’s basically letting us know there could be a lawsuit.”

The Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, the Third Order Regular Franciscans and Bishop McCort Catholic High School also were to be served with similar notices this week.

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Sex abuse victims sue rabbi over comments

AUSTRALIA
The Age

February 1, 2013

Barney Zwartz

A LEADING rabbi who compared child sex abuse to diarrhoea – ”it’s embarrassing but nobody’s business” – will be sued in Jewish courts by a victim advocacy group that wants him to stand down.

In a lecture posted on YouTube but later removed, Rabbi Manis Friedman says that not reciting a blessing after eating cake is worse than being sexually abused, that victims learn ”an important lesson” from abuse, and suggests victims ”are not that damaged, cut it out”.

Rabbi Friedman is an emissary at large from the Chabad Lubavitch headquarters in New York, and has been generally regarded as a serious and moderate figure in the Orthodox movement. That movement, and particularly its Melbourne Yeshivah centre, has been embroiled in child sex abuse controversies.

Manny Waks, an abuse victim at Yeshivah himself in the 1980s and founder of the Tzedek advocacy group for Jewish abuse survivors, said on Thursday he had launched lawsuits against Rabbi Friedman in the Jewish court or Beth Din in Sydney and Crown Heights in Brooklyn, New York. The courts would decide which of them had jurisdiction.

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Former town priest avoids prison sentence

NORTHERN IRELAND
Lurgan Mail

Published on Thursday 31 January 2013

A FORMER town priest has been sentenced to 100 hours community service for indecently assaulting a teenage girl.

Father Terrence Rafferty, of Chestnut Grove, Newry, pleaded guilty to four counts of indecent assault.

The priest was also given a three-year probation order.

The details of the case were only released after a court ban protecting the priest’s identity was lifted.

This followed a request from the victim. The incident happened more than a decade ago.

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Priest files in child sex abuse cases to include key names

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Los Angeles Times

Attorneys for the Los Angeles Archdiocese are scheduled to speak with a judge Thursday to discuss the release of personnel files of priests accused of sexually abusing children.

The church had agreed to make public the personnel files of 89 priests accused of sexually abusing children as part of a 2007 court settlement. Fourteen files were released last week in ongoing civil litigation.

Those files showed Cardinal Roger M. Mahony and his chief advisor on abuse, Msgr. Thomas Curry, plotted to hide the sexual abuse of children from police in the 1980s.

This week, church lawyers submitted papers to the Los Angeles County Superior Court judge overseeing the release of the remaining, much larger batch of files. They proposed the archdiocese be allowed to hand over the documents with the names of top church officials removed.

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Ex-priest sentenced for indecent assault

NORTHERN IRELAND
UTV

Victims of clerical abuse have reacted with anger after a former priest, who pleaded guilty to indecently assaulting a schoolgirl, was given probation and community service.

Terence Rafferty, of Chestnut Grove in Newry, was a priest in St Peter’s Parish in Lurgan when the four offences took place during a six month period in 2001.

Rafferty, who was 38 years old at the time, maintained the physical relationship he had with the 16-year-old was consensual.

He stepped aside from his responsibilities as a priest following the allegation, which was made against him in April 2011.

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District Attorney Speaks Out On Priest Abuse Convictions

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
My Fox Philly

PHILADELPHIA –
There’s been another big verdict in a child sex abuse case that rocked the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

A jury on Wednesday convicted Rev. Charles Engelhardt and sixth-grade teacher Bernard Shero. …

On Thursday morning, Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams joined “Good Day” to discuss the verdict.

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A cautionary tale for all of us

CONNECTICUT
Stratford Star

By Joe Pisani on January 31, 2013

A friend of mine sent me a newspaper clip from 1981 with a story about Kevin Wallin, the notorious “Monsignor Meth,” as a young man about to enter the priesthood. The headline said, “Life’s a well-planned journey for future ‘new breed’ priest.”

The tragic irony is that the new breed of priest in the photo, smiling and mustachioed, wearing a Lacoste golf shirt and khakis, and standing on the steps of Sacred Heart Church in Byram, would 32 years later be at the center of a scandal for allegedly having sex in the rectory dressed as a woman and facing a life in prison for allegedly selling $300,000 of crystal meth and laundering the profits through a porn store. The diocese relieved him of his public ministry as pastor of St. Augustine Cathedral last May.

Is that the life of a well-planned journey for the future new breed of priest? Are there any old breed priests left?

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Assignment Record – Rev. Francis J. Reynolds

MINNESOTA
BishopAccountability.org

Summary of Case: Reynolds was accused in a 1991 lawsuit of the sexual abuse of a girl from about 1972-1984, while he was pastor of a Buffalo, MN parish. The girl was a parishioner and attended the parish school. Reynolds died in 1988.

Ordained: 1955
Incardinated: St. Paul
Retired: 1986
Died: Feb. 13, 1988

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International Spotlight on Abuse in Catholic Church: More on Philadelphia, HBO Documentary about Wisconsin, Jerry Slevin’s Petition to President Obama

UNITED STATES
Bilgrimage

William D. Lindsey

Important news in the ongoing (and now international) battle to hold the leaders of the Catholic church accountable for covering up child sexual abuse by priests: yesterday, a jury in Philadelphia found Father Charles Engelhardt and Bernard Shero guilty on multiple charges in a case involving the sexual assault of a 10-year-old altar boy. Joseph A. Slobdozian summarizes the story at the Philly.com website (and see also Jon Hurdle at the New York Times). The victim, “Billy Doe,” reports that he was serially raped by Engelhardt, his parish priest, and Shero, principal of his Catholic school, when he was in fifth and sixth grade.

As Brian Roewe writes for National Catholic Reporter, a former priest, Edward Avery, was also accused of raping “Billy Doe,” and pled guilty, but has now denied that he knew the victim. Roewe states,

The 2011 investigation [which issued in a grand jury report conducted by the Philadelphia district attorney’s office] revealed the story of “Billy Doe,” the now-24-year-old man who accused Engelhardt, Shero and Avery of serially raping and abusing him. The report presents a picture where the three men passed Billy among one another. The young man, who has battled a drug addiction since his teens, took the stand for several hours during the trial.

Just as this news breaks from Philadelphia, Alex Gibney’s hard-hitting documentary on the story of Father Lawrence Murphy and his abuse of boys at St. John’s School for the Deaf in Wisconsin is preparing to premier on HBO.* The documentary, “Mea Maxima Culpa,” will air next Monday, 4 February, on HBO at 9 P.M. ET. A press release I received yesterday about the documentary notes its significance as an exposé showing that the cover-up of clerical sexual abuse cases reaches the very highest levels of the Catholic church:

From the row houses of Milwaukee through the bare ruined choirs of Ireland’s churches, all the way to the highest office of the Vatican, it was an international and systematic conspiracy to silence victims of sexual abuse.

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Abuse inquiry faults bishop

AUSTRALIA
The Tablet

31 January 2013

An independent inquiry commissioned by two Australian bishops has found deficiencies in the Church’s response to child sexual abuse allegations about a former priest, “F”, in the 1980s and ’90s.

The inquiry accuses the late Bishop Henry Kennedy of Armidale in New South Wales of ignoring advice not to ordain the priest and of an “utterly inexplicable” failure to examine claims against him.

The inquiry, by former Federal Court judge Antony Whitlam, QC, found that, had current procedures for reporting child abuse by the Catholic Church and protocols regarding the transfer of priests been in force, “F” would have been “stopped in his tracks”.

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PA – Guilt is now clear, so Archbishop Chaput must act

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

Posted by Barbara Dorris on January 31, 2013

The newly-established guilt of two Philly Catholic employees should be a clarion call for Philly’s Catholic hierarchy. After hearing and seeing voluminous evidence, an impartial jury has found that Fr. Charles Engelhardt and Bernard Shero are child molesters. What now?

Now, Archbishop Charles Chaput has two choices. He can break with the long-standing, selfish and destructive practices of the Catholic hierarchy, and aggressively seek out others who were hurt by these two predators. Or he can do what he and his brother bishops have done for decades, and essentially be passive.

We urge Chaput to act like a compassionate shepherd, not a cold-hearted CEO. We urge him to personally visit every church or school where these two convicted child molesters worked or lived. We urge him to beg any victims, witnesses, and whistleblowers to step forward, call police, expose wrongdoers, and deter wrongdoing. We urge him to print prominent and clear appeals in every parish bulletin and on the archdiocesan website, prodding others who have been victimized to step forward. This is an inexpensive and non-controversial way to help those who were violated as kids but are still in pain as adults.

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Miller pushes for elderly sex offender site

IOWA
The Messenger

January 31, 2013

By BILL SHEA (bshea@messengernews.net) , Messenger News

Iowa would establish a specialized nursing home to house elderly sex offenders under legislation being drafted by state Rep. Helen Miller, D-Fort Dodge.

Miller said Wednesday that her proposal would direct the state government to either set up the facility or hire a private company to do so.

”The 800 pound gorilla in the room that no one wants to talk about is what are you going to do with these individuals if they’re denied entry to a nursing home or are kicked out of one,” she said. ”They’ve got to go somewhere.”

”My bill cuts to the chase and quits the dinking around because you’ve got to put them somewhere,” she added.

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Attorney: Victim In Priest Sex Abuse Case ‘Relieved’

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
CBS Philly

By Tony Hanson

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A priest and former lay teacher were taken into custody immediately after a jury convicted them of sexually assaulting the same boy, the same victim who was assaulted by another priest who pleaded guilty last year. The convicted defendants are scheduled to be sentenced in April.

Father Charles Engelhardt and Bernard Shero face possible maximum sentences of decades in prison and District Attorney Seth Williams says there’s really not enough jail time that they could get for what they did.

The victim, now 24, testified in painful detail to the attacks when he was just 10 and 11-years-old. Prosecutors have praised his courage. But, he was not in the courtroom for the verdicts. His civil attorney, Paul Lauricella says he was relieved to return home, outside this area, after his testimony and he now knows the result.

“He’s relieved, he’s gratified. He’s, quite frankly — you can’t say ecstatic in a situation like this because the story is so troubling, so horrible, that it is not even a time for joy. It’s a time for more relief and reflection.”

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Protests for censured Irish priest

IRELAND
The Tablet

31 January 2013

More than 200 people took part in a protest in support of dissident priest Fr Tony Flannery outside the papal nuncio’s residence in Dublin last Sunday.

The protesters left a letter for the nuncio calling for dialogue within the Church to address the case of Fr Flannery, who has been threatened with excommunication if he does not sign a document retracting his views on women priests, artificial contraception and homosexuality.

The letter, organised by the lay reform group We Are Church Ireland, was critical of the way the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) exercises its authority in relation to those who question church teaching.

A petition against the CDF’s treatment of Fr Flannery is being delivered to Rome and has already gathered more than 1,450 signatures.

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IRE – New Bishop of Cloyne promises reconciliation, sex abuse victims group responds

IRELAND
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

Posted by Barbara Blaine on January 30, 2013

We are hopeful that the new Bishop, Dr William Crean, will hold true to his pledge to keep children safe and continue the work of healing those who were violated.

Cloyne was one of the worst hit areas in the Catholic abuse scandal. The road to wholeness is a long one and the best start is with honesty from the church, outreach to those who have been hurt and justice for the wrongs they suffered.

We have heard Bishops make lofty promises, with little fruition. We are cautiously hopeful that Crean will follow through and that anyone who saw, suspected, or suffered abuse will speak up and get the help they need.

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All the documents of the Tony Flannery case are here

IRELAND
Association of Catholic Priests

Fr. Tony Flannery C.Ss.R.

The CDF expressed concerns about four quotes taken from articles I had written in Reality Magazine. They imposed certain sanctions on me, and also, in order to make sure a priest who has committed the delict of heresy ‘irregular for the exercise of orders received’, while I realised the seriousness of my situation, sent a document which contained the following paragraph:

“The Church’s canon law (c. 1044) callscanon 1364 says that ‘a heretic … incurs a latae sentientiae excommunication’. Before imposing the sanctions provided for in the law, it is the practice of the CDF to take steps to restore a priest to the faith, and to ensure that he is not in a state of contumacy regarding the position(s) he may have taken. Only should these remedies fail would the canonical penalties be required”

After a period of reflection I wrote the following statement and sent it to the CDF:
Since some concerns have been raised by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith over possible interpretations of articles I have written in the past few years. I respectfully take this opportunity to clarify my views and to offer the reassurance necessary to lay those concerns fully to rest. Such words as I have written were written in good faith with absolutely no intent whatever to imply anything contrary to the truths we are all obliged to hold by the divine and catholic faith to which I fully adhere and to which I have always adhered.

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St. Thomas More employee leaves amid condo investigation

MICHIGAN
The Detroit News

By Mike Martindale
The Detroit News

Troy — A spokesman for the Archdiocese of Detroit said Wednesday a longtime church employee who sold a $500,000 Florida condominium to the priest who is the focus of an embezzlement probe is no longer employed at St. Thomas More Church.

At the center of financial questions is the Rev. Edward Belczak, 67, the popular pastor of the Troy church for nearly 30 years. He has not been criminally charged, but was “temporarily excluded” as head of the church and also his church-provided lodgings Jan. 22 after an archdiocese audit revealed $429,000 in “questionable financial transactions and practices.”

“We are aware of the Florida land records and deal but we are not an investigative agency,” said Joseph Kohn, spokesman for the archdiocese. “Priests can make whatever purchases they want and other church workers and members are not restricted in making sales to them. Or, for that matter, making gifts if they feel it’s appropriate.”

Kohn said Belczak’s annual pay as parish pastor would fall in the “mid-$30,000 range.”

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Priest files will include key names

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Los Angeles Times

By Victoria Kim and Harriet Ryan, Los Angeles Times
January 30, 2013

The long-awaited release of 30,000 pages of internal church records was thrown into turmoil when attorneys for the Los Angeles archdiocese proposed, and then disavowed, a plan to turn over the documents with the names of Cardinal Roger Mahony and other church leaders handling cases of child abuse blacked out.

The church had agreed to make public the personnel files of 89 priests accused of sexually abusing children as part of a 2007 court settlement. Fourteen files were released last week in ongoing civil litigation. Those files showed Mahony and his chief advisor on abuse, Msgr. Thomas Curry, plotted to hide the sexual abuse of children from police in the 1980s.

Earlier this week, church lawyers submitted papers to the Los Angeles County Superior Court judge overseeing the release of the remaining, much larger batch of files proposing that the archdiocese be allowed to hand over the documents with the names of top church officials removed.

Attorneys for victims and the media criticized the legal maneuver, saying it flouted a previous ruling by Judge Emilie H. Elias that the public was entitled to the information.

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Advocates: Baker Worked in Mich., Va., Before Warren

MICHIGAN
WKBN

The Catholic Diocese of Detroit is looking into whether Brother Stephen P. Baker, the Franciscan friar who fatally stabbed himself in the heart Saturday after more than 80 former students in Warren and Johnstown, Pa. accused him of sexually molesting them during the 1980s and 1990s, had worked at high school in Orchard Lake, Mich.

Victim advocates on Wednesday said they are hoping officials at Catholic dioceses in Detroit and in Richmond, Va. come forward with information about Baker’s tenure at the two schools where he taught before transferring to teach religion, coach baseball and serve as the athletic trainer at Warren’s John F. Kennedy Catholic High School in 1986.

The advocates, from the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said Baker worked at the now-defunct James Barry-Robinson High School and Home for Boys in Nofolk, Va. from 1977 to 1983. They also said he was assigned to St. Mary’s Prep High School in Orchard Lake, Mich. from 1983 to 1985, when he was then transferred to Warren.

A spokesman for the Detroit Catholic Diocese said on Wednesday they are aware of the allegations that Baker worked within their diocese but have been unable to find records of his employment. He said the diocese is “taking extra steps” to see if they can find records of him working in the area. A call to St. Mary’s Prep was not immediately returned.

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Alexander Sample Takes Over As Catholic Archbishop of Portland

PORTLAND (OR)
Daily Astorian

The Catholic Archdiocese of Portland has a new archbishop. Alexander Sample from Marquette, Mich., is taking over the reins from Archbishop John Vlazny, who is retiring. …

But the group Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests is not happy with Sample’s promotion. The group says he took no real steps to warn families about eight priests in Marquette. Spokeswoman Barbara Dorris said those priests were “credibly accused” of molesting children.

“We see no evidence that he took any steps to do outreach to the victim, to encourage witnesses or whistleblowers to come forward, so that these crimes could be fully investigated,” Dorris said.

At the meeting to welcome Sample, he addressed the sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church, saying he’s had a lot of experience listening and talking to victims.

“We have worked very hard to put in place measures that will protect children in the future,” Sample said. “Our safe environment programs, our back room checks, the educational effort that we have done. To reassure people that we are doing everything we can to protect our young people and our children from this happening again.”

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Peter Isely on LA’s “Media Mayhem”

WISCONSIN
SNAP Wisconsin

Watch Peter Isely, SNAP Midwest Director, discuss Thursday afternoon on LA’s “Media Mayhem” with Allison Hope Weiner…

the ongoing global clergy sex abuse crisis, the release of church documents in Los Angeles and more, airing 3:00 pm CST Thursday (January 31st) at www.thelip.tv/media-mayhem/. In the program, Peter argues not only why child sex offenders may have been historically attracted to the priesthood but the more disturbing possibility that the system itself may produce or manufacture a certain kind of sex predator, which is why reactionary attempts by the hierarchy to cure the illness will likely only recreate the disease. You can also view the program after that airing at the same website.

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Getting to the truth of reconciliation and healing

CANADA
Toronto Star

By:Jackson Lafferty Published on Tue Jan 29 2013

The British novelist and crusader against social injustice, George Orwell, once remarked that “telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” That’s being proven in northern Canada where schools in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut have begun teaching youth the true lessons of Canada’s residential schools history and the legacies that flow from it. In the process, they are not only confronting uncomfortable truths about the past; they are laying the foundation for a radically different future.

It has taken nearly a century for mainstream Canadian society to acknowledge the misguided historic policies of assimilation, which were designed to stamp out aboriginal cultures, heritage and languages. The resulting physical, psychological and cultural damage was inflicted on vulnerable aboriginal children and families, separated from each other and forced to attend residential schools. It’s a legacy that has haunted successive generations, is a source of national shame and at the root of widespread personal, family and community dysfunction that lingers today.

Once viewed as an instrument of oppression of aboriginal people, education is now beginning to be seen as a powerful tool to promote honesty, rectify wrongs and inspire a new generation to believe in a future of hope and possibilities. An innovative high-school social studies program recently launched by the two territories is helping families and communities to come to terms with the past and heal old wounds, enabling today’s youth to move forward to healthier, more positive and productive lives.

“Residential Schools in Canada: Understanding the Past, Seeking Reconciliation, Building Hope for the Future” is the first comprehensive teaching unit of its kind in Canada. The governments of Nunavut and the N.W.T. partnered with the Legacy of Hope Foundation to produce the groundbreaking resource.

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Feds ordered by court to release residential school documents

CANADA
Toronto Sun

OTTAWA – A judge has ordered the feds to release documents to a commission probing the dark legacy of Canada’s residential schools.

In December, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said the government would “let the courts decide” if documents related to the system could be released to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).

“The commission is now seeking some documents, which the government believes are outside of its mandate … for example, personal records of survivors given in confidence to the government,” Harper said in the Commons prior to the holiday break.

In previous documents filed to the Ontario Superior Court, the TRC suggested Ottawa was hampering the retrieval of documents related to its mandate.

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Turn over residential school files: court

CANADA
Ottawa Citizen

By Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press
January 31, 2013

The federal government is obliged to turn over its archival records on Indian residential schools to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, an Ontario court decided Wednesday.

In his decision, Justice Stephen Goudge said the obligation to provide the materials is clear from the settlement agreement that established the commission.

“The plain meaning of the language is straightforward,” Goudge said.

“It is to provide all relevant documents to the TRC.”

The decision comes in an increasingly acrimonious dispute between the federal government and the commission over millions of government documents the commission says it needs to fulfil its core mandate.

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Ottawa ordered to find and release millions of Indian residential school records

CANADA
The Globe and Mail

GLORIA GALLOWAY
OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail

Published Wednesday, Jan. 30 2013

The federal government must scour its archives for millions of documents related to the Indian residential schools that operated in Canada for more than century – institutions where physical and sexual abuse was rampant and from which many students never returned.

An Ontario Superior Court judge ruled on Wednesday that it is not good enough for Ottawa to provide the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) with records that can be found in the active files of departments.

Most of the relevant documents were long ago sent to Library and Archives Canada (LAC) for storage, and Mr. Justice Stephen Goudge said the government must now retrieve them so that the commission can fulfill its mandate of compiling a historical record of the residential-schools experience.

Canada’s obligation under a settlement agreement signed in 2006 with the school survivors, the government, the churches that ran the institutions, and others, is straightforward, Judge Goudge wrote.

“It is to provide all relevant documents to the TRC,” which was created as part of the settlement agreement, he wrote. “The obligation is in unqualified language unlimited by where the documents are located within the government of Canada.”

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Late friar accused of sexual abuse once worked in Orchard Lake

MICHIGAN
My Fox Detroit

By Taryn Asher, Fox 2 News

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (WJBK) –
A man of the cloth who once served in metro Detroit has taken his own life. He is accused of sexually abusing children in Ohio and Pennsylvania. Now many want to know if the same thing happened here.

Leading the charge is SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. They believe if it happened elsewhere with nearly 80 accusers, there’s a good chance it happened here.

Brother Stephen Baker is accused of molesting a dozen students at Catholic high schools in Pennsylvania and Ohio in the late eighties and nineties. One alleged victim explained how the Franciscan friar used his position as an athletic trainer to treat injuries with massages that would lead to the molestation.

“Quadricep muscle that was injured, back muscle, shoulders, whatever, you were usually asked to strip down regardless of the place of where the injury was,” said Michael Munno.

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New details surface in cleric’s past

PENNSYLVANIA
WJAC

[with video]

By Maria Miller

New details continue to unfold in the case against a now-deceased friar accused of sexually molesting former students in at least four states.

6 News reported last week that in addition to Bishop McCort High School in Johnstown, brother Stephen Baker also worked at two schools in Ohio and one in Virginia. On Wednesday, 6 News learned of a another; a prep school in Michigan.

“Some feel, ‘OK, he can never harm another child,'” said Judy Jones, Midwest director for the support group Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP. “Some may feel cheated that they won’t ever see him behind bars.”

It’s been nearly two weeks since allegations of sexual abuse against Baker surfaced locally, and members of SNAP continue to uncover new details.

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Probe of abuse not over, DA says: Adults who were aware could face consequences

PENNSYLVANIA
Tribune-Democrat

Kathy Mellott kmellott@tribdem.com

JOHNSTOWN — When Franciscan friar Stephen Baker took his life Saturday, the possibility of any criminal prosecution against him ended.

But adults who were aware of Baker’s abuse and failed to report it could face consequences, Cambria County’s top law enforcement officer said Wednesday.

District Attorney Kelly Callihan said she is seeking advice from the state Attorney General’s office on reporting laws and the statute of limitations in place more than a decade ago when Baker was a teacher at Bishop McCort Catholic High School.

“If the abuse alleged is as widespread as it appears to be, then I believe the criminal investigation should continue,” Callihan said.

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Alex Gibney examines church abuse in ‘Mea Maxima Culpa’

NEW JERSEY
Asbury Park Press

Written by
Alex Biese
@ABieseAPP

It all started with one case.

With his latest film, “Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God,” Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney gives voice to the students of St. John’s School for the Deaf in Milwaukee, Wisc. who were sexually abused by the charismatic head of the school, Father Lawrence Murphy. The film premieres at 9 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 4 on HBO.

In telling the story of four of Murphy’s victims — Terry Kohut, Gary Smith, Arthur Budzinksi and Bob Bolger — Giney unravels a centuries-old conspiracy to cover up church abuses leading all the way to Rome.

Gibney, who lives in Summit, said the inspiration for his film came from a 2010 front page article in the New York Times by Laurie Goodstein.

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Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God

UNITED STATES
Pop Matters

Short-listed for the Best Documentary Oscar, acclaimed documentarian Alex Gibney’s film will be broadcast on HBO February 4th.

Just when you thought you’d heard everything about Catholic priests molesting children, here comes one of the most disturbing documentaries released in recent years. Alex Gibney shares the untold story of the children of St. John’s School for the Deaf in Milwaukee, Wisconsin who for decades were under the sick regime of Father Lawrence Murphy, a cherub-faced man who raped over 200 of them while the Vatican kept it a secret.

Featuring interviews with four men – Gary Smith, Bob Bolger, Terry Cohut and Arthur Budzinski – who were abused by Murphy, the film finds the right amount of scandalous storytelling without ever becoming downright sensationalist (meaning it will infuriate you, but it will also make you want to help these people after watching the movie). The men’s testimony is read by famous actors (including Ethan Hawke and John Slattery) but you don’t really need the celebrity sounds to make out the heartbreak, horror and disappointment in their lives. Their lack of a “voice” is in fact what makes the story’s center all the more horrifying.

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Satmar Rabbi Arrested On Multiple Counts Of Child Sexual Abuse

NEW YORK
Failed Messiah

Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com

Yoel Malik, a 33-year-old rabbi from a prominent family of Satmar hasidim, was arrested and charged yesterday in Brooklyn with 28 counts of sexually abusing three teenage boys.

The arrest was reported on FailedMessiah.com yesterday afternoon.

Yoel Malik alleged brought two of the boys to motels for sexual encounters. A third boy was sexually assaulted in Malik’s car. The boys are all between the ages of 14-years-old to 16-years-old.

All of the assaults reportedly took place between March 2012 and last week, the AP reported.

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Rabbi accused of sexually abusing students

NEW YORK
My Fox New York

By KATHY CARVAJAL, Web Producer –

NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) –
The NYPD arrested the rabbi of a Brooklyn Yeshiva for allegedly having sexual relations with several students.

Yoel Malik, 33, of Brooklyn, is accused of sexual abusing three, teenage male students.

Malik, a member of the ultra-Orthodox community, reportedly had sex with one student and is accused of rubbing two others.

He was arrested late Wednesday.

According to the NY Daily News, the teens were 14 and 15 at the time of the alleged incidents.

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Brooklyn yeshiva leader …

NEW YORK
New York Daily News

Brooklyn yeshiva leader Yoel Malik, 33, charged with having sex with teenage boy in a hotel and rubbing the groin of another

By Kerry Burke AND Rocco Parascandola / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Published: Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A Brooklyn yeshiva leader was arrested late Wednesday night on a dozen sex abuse charges involving three teenage boys, cops said.

Yoel Malik, 33, of Brooklyn had sex with one of the teens and rubbed his hand on two others, a police source said.

The teens were 14 or 15 at the time of the alleged incidents. The sexual intercourse assault on the one boy took place in a hotel, a cop source said, adding another victim fled a different hotel after Malik started rubbing his back.

The third teen was in the suspect’s car, en route to school, when Malik allegedly rubbed the boy’s groin through his pants.

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Child Abuse Hidden in London’s Strict Orthodox Jewish Community, Claims C4’s Dispatches [VIDEO]

UNITED KINGDOM
International Business Times

By Hannah Osborne

January 30, 2013

A Channel 4 Dispatches investigation has uncovered evidence of religious officials hiding child sex abuse in Britain after secretly filming a senior rabbi telling a victim not to involve the police.

The documentary, Britain’s Hidden Child Abuse, shows how some rabbis within a strict Orthodox Jewish community forbid victims from reporting crimes committed against them.

There are around 40,000 Charedin – strict Orthodox Jews – in Britain. During the investigation, reporters uncovered 19 alleged cases of child sex abuse. None had been reported to the police.

Rabbi Ephraim Padwa, who leads the Charedi community in north London’s Stamford Hill, is secretly filmed speaking to an alleged victim of child sex abuse.

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NY religious school rabbi faces sex abuse charges

NEW YORK
Wall Street Journal

Associated Press

NEW YORK — A rabbi at a religious school in New York’s ultra-orthodox Jewish community has been arrested on charges of sexually abusing students, a law enforcement official says.

The arrest of Yoel Malik, 33, of Brooklyn comes amid mounting pressure to report allegations of abuse within the insular, secretive community, the largest outside Israel, and barely a week after a respected religious counselor in the same sect was sentenced to 103 years in prison for sexually abusing a girl.

Both cases come from within the Satmar Hasidic sect, the official said.

Malik was taken into custody Wednesday after reports he may have brought two students to motels for sexual liaisons, said the official who was not authorized to speak publicly on the case and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. A third encounter was reported in a car. The official said the victims were all teenage boys, ages 14 to 16, and the encounters took place between March of last year and last week.

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Pres. Obama, Help! Philly, L.A., N.Y., K.C., Boston, Miami, Milwaukee & ?

UNITED STATES
Christian Catholicism

Jerry Slevin

Another Philly priest and a Catholic school teacher were convicted today of sexually abusing a young boy. A New York City rabbi was recently convicted of sexually abusing a young girl. Los Angeles Catholic Archdiocesean recent file revelations indicate extensive priest abuse of children. Often the abuse crimes were covered-up for years. Too many similar stories have come out about these and other other religious groups in cities ranging from Boston, to Miami, to Kansas City, to Milwaukee and many U.S. cities in between.

It seems evident that these cases are just the tip of the iceberg of child sexual abuse in religious organizational settings. What is disturbingly also evident, to me as a parent and a retired experienced lawyer, is that neither local legislators nor prosecutors have dealt with many of these cases adequately, timely or comprehensively. Many thousands of abuse survivors have been totally denied justice by all indications.

President Obama was just re-elected with the strong support of mothers and mothers-to-be who wanted him to protect their access to family planning. They also expected, and still expect, his help in protecting the families they have, and will yet have, from sexual violence in institutional settings. These families need his help now!

A petition has been opened for signatures today asking President Obama to set up a national investigation commission into the sexual abuse of children by priests, rabbis, ministers and other religious leaders. Already many have begun to sign it, including abuse survivors and their supporters. Please take 30 seconds to sign it no matter where in the world you live. This is a worldwide epidemic. Just click on the below link at:

[Click here for the petition site.]

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Fr. Tony Flannery’s censure by Vatican was necessary!

IRELAND
Renew America

By Eamonn Keane

Since April 2012, Irish Redemptorist priest, Fr. Tony Flannery, has been at the centre of a controversy over questions of Catholic doctrine that has gained media coverage in many parts of the English-speaking world.

News of the controversy erupted in April 2012 when the Catholic Church’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (hereafter CDF) instructed Fr. Flannery to discontinue his regular column in Reality magazine which is a publication of the Redemptorist Order in Ireland. Amongst other things, the CDF exists to help the Pope carry out his duty of guarding Catholics from false doctrine and its negative impacts on their understanding and practice of the faith.

The CDF censure of Fr. Flannery was all the more noteworthy given that he was a founding member and one of the spokespersons of the Association of Catholic Priests (hereafter ACP) in Ireland. The ACP claims to have a membership of 1000, representing about twenty five percent of priests in Ireland.

Many media headlines reporting on the controversy portrayed Fr. Flannery as a victim of an abusive use of power by Pope Benedict XVI and the CDF. Some examples of this are: “Hoover FBI tactics used against Irish priests by Vatican” (IrishCentral, April 7, 2012); “Fr Flannery may not be burned at the stake but the censure is itself frightening” (Irish Examiner, April 9, 2012); “Dissent in the Catholic Church, especially from members of the clergy, invariably elicits a mailed fist reaction from the Vatican” (Irish Examiner, April 7, 2012); “Pope has consistently come down on dissent within the church like a hammer” (Irish Times, April 18, 2012); “Fr. Flannery’s grasp of theology better than that of his silencers” (Catholic National Reporter, January 25, 2013).

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Cafardi considered for ambassador to Vatican

UNITED STATES
The Duquesne Duke

By Wes Crosby
News Editor

Published: Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Law professor Nicholas Cafardi has been mentioned as a potential candidate for ambassador to the Vatican. Cafardi was also considered in 2009, but was passed over.

Duquesne law professor and Dean Emeritus of the School of Law Nicholas Cafardi was mentioned as one of the possible candidates President Barack Obama is considering for ambassador to the Vatican.

Cafardi, a Duquesne graduate who has taught at the University for 20 years, said he is honored to be considered, but realizes there is a possibility he might not be chosen.

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Regarding Br. Baker, Detroit, and claims by SNAP…

DETROIT (MO)
Melodika

Thursday, 31 January 2013

SOURCE Archdiocese of Detroit

An open letter dated January 30, 2013, the group SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) levels a series of unfair and untrue statements regarding the Archdiocese of Detroit.

1. Regarding Br. Stephen Baker, TOR (Third Order of Regular Franciscans): The Detroit archdiocese has no record of sexual abuse complaints brought against Br. Baker during his two years in Michigan. As a professed Franciscan friar, Br. Baker took classes and worked at Orchard Lakes Schools (OLS) from 1983-85. OLS reports that it does not have any record of an abuse complaint during or after those years. Neither the archdiocese nor OLS ever received any reports/advisories from the other locations where Br. Baker subsequently worked. Additionally, we were not informed of the legal claims made against Br. Baker or his apparent suicide last weekend. SNAP’s criticism of the archdiocese makes absolutely no sense. How and why would the archdiocese be criticized as negligent for not disclosing information it did not have?

2. Regarding Fr. James Kurtz, SJ (Jesuits): When a sexual abuse complaint involving a minor came in against Father Kurtz in 2002, then a teacher at University of Detroit Jesuit High School (UDJ), the Detroit archdiocese notified the Jesuit provincial and the office of the Wayne County Prosecutor. Information about the 2011 arrest and subsequent legal actions involving Fr. Kurtz was communicated locally by UDJ officials and nationally by the Chicago-Detroit Province of the Jesuits. Fr. Kurtz is listed on the archdiocesan website. These facts counter the claim made by SNAP that the public was not notified about this matter.

3. Regarding Fr. Thomas Williams, LC (Legion of Christ): While he grew up in the Detroit-area, Fr. Williams neither studied for nor was ordained to the priesthood in the Detroit archdiocese, nor did he serve here. When information regarding his personal life was released last year, Fr. Williams’ religious order granted him a leave of absence. The Legionaries were not required to report to the archdiocese his choice of residence. They did not and have not. Fr. Williams does not have “faculties” (permission) from the archdiocese to perform any public ministry in southeast Michigan. Again, SNAP criticizes the archdiocese for not warning the public about something it did not know. And, does not now.

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Ex-Teacher and a Priest Are Convicted in Abuse Case

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
The New York Times

By JON HURDLE

Published: January 30, 2013

PHILADELPHIA — A Roman Catholic priest and a former Catholic school teacher were convicted on Wednesday on nine charges relating to the sexual abuse of a 10-year-old boy at different times more than a decade ago.

A jury in Common Pleas Court here found the teacher, Bernard Shero, guilty of five charges, including rape and involuntary deviant sexual intercourse, after hearing testimony that he had assaulted the boy in the back of his car.

After deliberating for about 19 hours over four days, the jury also convicted the Rev. Charles Engelhardt on four counts, including indecent assault and endangering the welfare of a child.

The jury was unable to reach a verdict on a charge of involuntary deviant sexual intercourse against Father Engelhardt, who was accused of abusing the boy in a church sacristy during the 1998-99 school year. Judge Ellen Ceisler declared a mistrial on that count.

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Clergy abuse settlement documents follow pedophile priest’s path back to New Mexico

NEW MEXICO
Santa Fe New Mexican

Tom Sharpe | The New Mexican
Posted: Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Documents made public this month on a multimillion-dollar settlement in 2007 between the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and hundreds of victims of clergy abuse have tarnished the reputations of dozens of priests, including some well-connected Catholic leaders.

But the documents also shed light on one New Mexico-born pedophile who advanced through priestly ranks with protection from church officials.

Peter E. Garcia, born in Albuquerque in 1940, began seminary at age 14 in Los Angeles, where he had moved with his parents a couple of years earlier. Soon after he was ordained as a priest at age 26, Garcia began to have sex with underage boys, often the children of undocumented immigrants he had befriended.

Garcia was first accused of sexually abusing minors when he was 35. Nevertheless, he advanced to the rank of monsignor. By then, he’d reportedly had sex with up to 20 boys. After his third accusation, Garcia tried to commit suicide by combining sleeping pills with alcohol, and he was sent back to New Mexico, where he received psychiatric treatment at the Foundation House of the Servants of the Paraclete in Jemez Springs.

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Phila. jury convicts 2 in sexual assault of altar boy

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Inquirer

Joseph A. Slobodzian, Inquirer Staff Writer

Posted: Thursday, January 31, 2013

In a case that has already put a Philadelphia Catholic Church official behind bars for covering up child sexual abuse, a jury returned guilty verdicts Wednesday against a priest and a former parochial-school teacher for the sexual assault of a 10-year-old Northeast altar boy.

Wednesday’s verdicts against the Rev. Charles Engelhardt and Bernard Shero for the serial sexual assault of a St. Jerome’s pupil in 1998 and 1999 were lauded by District Attorney Seth Williams as another victory for sexual-abuse victims.

“You saw how . . . they tried to victimize and demonize the victim,” Williams said afterward. “I’m very thankful that the jury listened and did what they did to hold these two men accountable and responsible for the heinous crime they committed.” …

Defense lawyers Michael McGovern and Burton A. Rose seemed stunned at the verdict and at Judge Ellen Ceisler’s decision to have both defendants immediately taken into custody.

“I’ve been present for trial jury verdicts for 37 years now, and this is the most disappointing, shocking verdict I’ve ever experienced,” McGovern said afterward. “I still believe that Father Engelhardt is innocent of all charges 100 percent.”

Rose said he also remained convinced that Shero was innocent and called him a “soft-spoken man with a lot of integrity.”

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Jury Convicts Priest, Teacher On Nine Of Ten Counts

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Big Trial

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

By Ralph Cipriano
for bigtrial.net

Even the district attorney was surprised.

“I’m overjoyed; I did not expect it,” District Attorney Seth Williams told reporters today after a jury convicted Father Charles Engelhardt and former Catholic lay teacher Bernard Shero on nine of ten counts in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia sex abuse case.

Given the way “the victim in this case” was “vilified” and subjected to lengthy cross-examination, Williams said, he would have understood if the jury had reached another conclusion, say an acquittal or a hung jury, and not the verdict that had the district attorney beaming.

Williams talked about the suffering of the victim, “Billy Doe,” the former 10-year-old altar boy who was “passed from priest to priest to teacher” for alleged sex sessions in a sacristy, a church supply closet, and the back seat of Shero’s car. Engelhardt faces a maximum sentence of 37 years in prison, Shero, a maximum of 57 years, when both men are sentenced on March 18.

As far as the DA was concerned, however, the judge can’t give the two defendants enough time. The district attorney at today’s press conference also castigated the archdiocese for its official response to the triple rape of Billy Doe. “They protect them,” Williams said of the convicted rapists, “and then they “cover up. It’s disgusting.”

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Priest, teacher convicted in Pennsylvania church abuse case

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
The Item

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A jury on Wednesday convicted a priest and teacher in a pivotal church-abuse case that rocked the Philadelphia archdiocese and sent a church official to prison for child endangerment.

The verdict supports accounts by a 24-year-old policeman’s son that he was sexually abused by the Rev. Charles Engelhardt and sixth-grade teacher Bernard Shero in about 1999.

The accuser’s 2009 complaint describing abuse by two priests and the teacher led to Monsignor William Lynn’s landmark conviction last year for endangerment. Lynn is serving three to six years in prison for his role transferring an admitted pedophile priest to the accuser’s parish in northeast Philadelphia.

The young man said the abuse started after Engelhardt caught him drinking altar wine in fifth grade. He said Engelhardt told fellow priest Edward Avery about their “session,” prompting Avery to twice sexually assault the boy. And he said Shero raped him in a car a year later, after driving him home after detention.

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LA archdiocese says will release files with names

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Lompoc Record

Associated Press

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles has said the names of church leaders who made key decisions on how to deal with cases of sexual abuse by priests will not be blacked out in some 30,000 soon-to-be-released pages of confidential personnel files.

The names of any bishops, vicars for clergy and supervisory parish priests will be included in all the documents and they will be turned over to lawyers for abuse victims soon, archdiocese attorney Michael Hennigan said Wednesday. Vicars for clergy are responsible for priestly discipline and often made significant decisions about how to handle problem priests with input from the bishop or archbishop.

“We have chosen to remove redactions of those key individuals on every document,” Hennigan said in an email. “There will be no ambiguity.”

The commitment to release the documents without significant redactions comes after a five-year legal battle over the priests’ privacy rights and a more recent dispute in court with The Associated Press and the Los Angeles Times, along with victims, over identifying those in positions of responsibility within the archdiocese.

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LA archdiocese to undo redactions in priest files

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Miami Herald

By GILLIAN FLACCUS
Associated Press

LOS ANGELES — The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles says it will soon reveal 30,000 pages of confidential personnel files without blacking out the names of church leaders who knew about sexual abuse by priests.

Archdiocese attorney Michael Hennigan said Wednesday the church has given up on its plan to redact the names and the files will be turned over to lawyers for abuse victims.

The Associated Press and the Los Angeles Times, along with victims, went to court to force the archdiocese to reveal the names.

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Dead Catholic priest accused of molesting students taught in metro Detroit, victim’s group says

DETROIT (MI)
Detroit Free Press

By Patricia Montemurri
Detroit Free Press Staff Writer

A Catholic friar found dead Saturday after being accused of sexually molesting former Catholic school students in Ohio and Pennsylvania taught at the all-boys St. Mary’s Preparatory School in Orchard Lake, according to a victim’s advocacy group.

Representatives of The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), said Brother Stephen Baker worked at the all-boys St. Mary’s Preparatory School in Orchard Lake from 1983-85. On Tuesday, the group delivered a letter to the Archdiocese of Detroit headquarters demanding that Archbishop Allen Vigneron investigate the Detroit-area tenure of the Franciscan friar.

Baker died of a self-inflicted knife wound at St. Bernardine Monastery near Altoona, Pa.

“We’re asking the bishop to acknowledge it and ask that anybody abused by Baker to come forward,” said Matt Jatczak, a Detroit-area representative for SNAP.

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Jury convicts priest, teacher in Philadelphia abuse case

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
National Catholic Reporter

by Brian Roewe | Jan. 30, 2013
NCR Today

On Wednesday afternoon, a Pennsylvania jury found two men guilty of sexually assaulting the same altar boy during the late 1990s, the latest convictions in the ongoing sexual abuse scandal in the Philadelphia archdiocese.

The jury of eight men and four women found Fr. Charles Engelhardt guilty of indecent assault of a minor, corruption of a minor and conspiracy, but could not come to agreement on a count of indecent sexual assault, according to the Associated Press.

In addition, Bernard Shero, a former Catholic school teacher at St. Jerome parish school, was found guilty of rape and indecent sexual assault, among other charges.

Engelhardt’s conspiracy charge was tied to former priest Edward Avery — accused as well by the same boy, who was 10 years old at the time of the abuse — who pleaded guilty in March 2012 to charges of conspiracy and sexual assault.

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Philadelphia priest and former teacher guilty of child sex abuse

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
The Star

By Dave Warner

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) – A priest and a former parochial school teacher were found guilty on Wednesday of sexually attacking a former altar boy, the latest chapter in the child sexual abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Rev. Charles Engelhardt, 66, faces the possibility of 37 years in prison, and Bernard Shero, 50, faces a maximum sentence of 57 years in prison following the guilty verdicts by a jury in Common Pleas Court in Philadelphia.

Engelhardt and Shero were accused of molesting an altar boy who was 10 years old at the time at St. Jerome’s parish in the Northeast section of Philadelphia.

A grand jury report in 2011, which detailed child sex abuse in the archdiocese, the nation’s sixth largest with 1.5 million members, said the altar boy was “in effect passed around” from one molester to another in 1998 and 1999.

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Prosecutors: Priest trial verdict a victory

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Inquirer

[The Philadelphia Archive – BishopAccountability.org]

Joseph A. Slobodzian, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER

Posted: Wednesday, January 30, 2013, 6:48 PM

In a verdict prosecutors hailed as another victory for the victims of child sexual abuse, a Philadelphia jury has returned guilty verdicts against a Philadelphia priest and a former Catholic schoolteacher charged with the serially sexual assault of a 10-year-old Northeast altar boy in 1998 and 1999.

The Common Pleas Court jury deliberated about 20 hours since getting the case Friday afternoon before returning the verdicts today in the trial of the Rev. Charles Engelhardt and Bernard Shero.
Engelhardt, 66, a priest for more than four decades, was found guilty of four of the five charges against him: child endangerment, corruption of a minor, indecent assault and criminal conspiracy. …

Both defense lawyers said they will appeal.

In a news conference after the verdict, District Attorney Seth Williams praised the verdict and noted that one out of four women and one out six men under the age of 18 have been sexually abused.

“The message for me is that we have to listen to children,” Williams added.

Engelhardt and Shero were charged in February 2011 with serial rape of the boy while he was in the fifth and sixth grades in the St. Jerome’s parish school.

The victim – named “Billy Doe” in the 2011 grand jury report about sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests – alleged that Engelhardt, the Rev. Edward V. Avery, 70, and Shero serially raped him when he was in fifth and sixth grades at St. Jerome’s.

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Priest, Teacher Convicted in Pa. Church Abuse Case

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
ABC News

By MARYCLAIRE DALE Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA January 30, 2013 (AP)

A jury on Wednesday convicted a priest and teacher in a pivotal church-abuse case that rocked the Philadelphia archdiocese and sent a church official to prison for child endangerment.

The verdict upholds the stunning account by a 24-year-old policeman’s son that he was sexually abused as a boy by two priests and his sixth-grade teacher. One priest pleaded guilty before trial while the Rev. Charles Engelhardt and former teacher Bernard Shero were convicted at trial. …

“I’m overjoyed that there was a conviction, mostly because of this victim. I really didn’t expect it,” said Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams, an active Catholic who revived efforts to prosecute the archdiocese after taking office three years ago.

The accuser, now a gaunt young man, has battled heroin abuse since his teens and still has a drug case pending. And details of his story changed frequently over the years, even about whether Shero raped him in the classroom or in a parked car.

“The victim was demonized, cross-examined, … dehumanized. I would understand how a jury could come to a different verdict,” Williams said.

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Troy pastor’s $500,000 condo purchase in question

MICHIGAN
Click on Detroit

Author: Matt Morawski

Published On: Jan 30 2013

TROY, Mich. –
A Catholic priest accused of embezzling from a Troy church now faces even more scrutiny for purchasing a $500,000 condo.

Father Edward Belczak was removed from his post at St. Thomas More last week while he is accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from the church.

Now, a church employee is no longer employed with St. Thomas More after selling her $500,000 condo to the pastor.

Records show the condo in Florida was purchased in 2005 by Belczak from former church administrator Janice Verschuren. It’s unclear how Belczak paid for the home.

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Roman Catholic Diocese launches $3.5 million public campaign

NEW YORK
Democrat and Chronicle

[with video]

Written by
Jeffrey Blackwell
Staff writer

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester is calling on local parishioners to complete a $14 million fund-raising campaign designed to support young priests in training and older priests in retirement.

With more than 110,000 Catholic households in the 12-county Diocese, church officials are hoping to bring in at least $3.5 million to add to donations of $10.5 million already raised for the “Our Legacy, Our Future, Our Hope” campaign.

“I know the good and gracious people of God share my pride at our priests, who serve them at every stage of their lives,” said The Rev. Robert Cunningham, Bishop of Syracuse and Apostolic Administrator of the Rochester Diocese. “We must support these men as much as we can.”

The fund will be split with $7 million to support seminarians seeking ordination to the priesthood. There are 25 seminarians from the Rochester Diocese currently in school, the largest class in years, church officials said.

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US bishops to replace staffer behind theological investigations

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

by Joshua J. McElwee | Jan. 30, 2013

The U.S. bishops’ staffer behind several controversial criticisms of Catholic theologians in recent years is stepping down.

Capuchin Fr. Thomas Weinandy, head of the bishops’ office tasked with upholding church teaching, is to leave his post as executive director for the bishops’ Secretariat of Doctrine in August. Mercy Sr. Mary Ann Walsh, director of media relations for the U.S. bishops’ conference, confirmed the departure Wednesday.

Weinandy has led the secretariat, which carries out the work of the nine prelates who are members of the U.S. bishops’ doctrine committee, since 2005.

During his tenure, the bishops’ committee has issued public rebukes of five prominent U.S. theologians. Those rebukes have been the subject of wide criticisms — including from both of the primary membership societies of U.S. theologians — because they came without pursuing consultation or dialogue with the theologians.

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Priest, Teacher Convicted in Pa. Church Abuse Case

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
ABC News

By MARYCLAIRE DALE Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA January 30, 2013 (AP)

A jury on Wednesday convicted a priest and teacher in a pivotal church-abuse case that rocked the Philadelphia archdiocese and sent a church official to prison for child endangerment.

The verdict supports accounts by a 24-year-old policeman’s son that he was sexually abused by the Rev. Charles Engelhardt and sixth-grade teacher Bernard Shero in about 1999.

The accuser’s 2009 complaint describing abuse by two priests and the teacher led to Monsignor William Lynn’s landmark conviction last year for endangerment. Lynn is serving three to six years in prison for his role transferring an admitted pedophile priest to the accuser’s parish in northeast Philadelphia.

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Victim support group says Brother Baker also worked in Michigan

OHIO
Youngstown Vindicator

WARREN

A support group for victims of clergy sex abuse will have a news conference at 1 p.m. today in Detroit to call attention to what it says it has learned about another of the places where Brother Stephen Baker worked as a Franciscan friar.

The Survivors Network of Those Abused By Priests issued a statement saying Baker was assigned three years to a Catholic prep school in Orchard Park, Mich., from 1983 to 1985.

SNAP says it will hold signs and childhood photos outside of the Detroit Archdiocese headquarters in Detroit to discuss what has been learned about Baker, who committed suicide Saturday in Hollidaysburg, Pa., after being accused of committing sexual assaults against students at Warren John F. Kennedy High school between 1986 and 1991 and at Bishop McCort High School in Johnstown, Pa. from 1992 to 2000.

SNAP will ask Detroit area people to report anything they know about any offenses Baker may have committed in the Detroit area to authorities, the press release says.

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PA – Philly priests found guilty, SNAP responds

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

Posted by David Clohessy on January 30, 2013

We are glad to learn that Fr. Charles Engelhardt, and ex-teacher Bernard Shero were found guilty of child sexual abuse. Children are safer and justice is served with these men behind bars.

Engelhardt and Shero were found guilty of sexually assaulting a now 24 year old man when he was a child. Engelhardt and Shero tried to avoid justice by claiming the victim was not credible. We are glad their hurtful and malicious legal tactic did not work.

We hope this verdict will give hope and encouragement to others who saw, suspect, or suffered child sex crimes to come forward, no matter what their personal background is.

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Ottawa ordered to provide all residential schools documents

CANADA
CBC News

The federal government is obliged to turn over its archival records on Indian residential schools to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, an Ontario court decided Thursday.

In his decision, Justice Stephen Goudge said the obligation to provide the materials is clear from the settlement agreement that established the commission.

“The plain meaning of the language is straightforward,” Goudge said. “It is to provide all relevant documents to the TRC.”

The decision comes in an increasingly acrimonious dispute between Ottawa and the commission over millions of government documents the commission says it needs to fulfil its core mandate.

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‘Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God,’ Feb. 4, HBO

UNITED STATES
Catholic Sentinel

Catholic News Service

The clergy sexual abuse scandal that has plagued the Catholic Church in recent years is not an easy subject to approach dispassionately.

For faithful Catholics, especially those with firsthand knowledge of the wonderful work carried out by the vast majority of upstanding priests, the topic is a source of deep shame and distress. For those alienated from the church, it can provide another reason to keep their distance. And for those intent on curbing the church’s moral influence in society, it provides a readymade, pre-emptive weapon with which to short-circuit all debate.

So it’s disappointing, though hardly surprising, to find that the documentary “Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God,” which focuses on students molested at a school for the deaf, is a grab-bag in which facts get mixed up with poorly founded accusations and inflated rhetoric. Filmmaker Alex Gibney’s uneven study, which had a limited theatrical release last fall, premieres on the HBO pay-cable service Monday, Feb. 4, 9-11 p.m. EST.

Gibney’s narrative begins with the straightforward — and harrowing — testimony of four men who endured abuse at the hands of Father Lawrence C. Murphy, a priest of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, during the late Father Murphy’s long tenure (1950-74) on the staff of St. John’s School for the Deaf in St. Francis, Wis.

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Catholic Priest, Teacher Guilty of Abusing Alter Boy

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
NBC 10

By Dan Stamm and Maryclaire Dale

Wednesday, Jan 30, 2013

A Philadelphia jury returned guilty verdicts on child-sex charges against a Roman Catholic priest and former Catholic school teacher.

The jury found Rev. Charles Engelhardt guilty on 4 of 5 charges but they were deadlocked on a charge of involuntary deviant sexual behavior with a minor. Teacher Bernard Shero was found guilty on all charges including corruption of minors.

A 24-year-old policeman’s son and longtime heroin addict says he was sexually assaulted as a child by both defendants. His complaint led to last year’s landmark prosecution of a church official convicted of child endangerment for transferring a suspected predator priest.

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Priest, Catholic School Teacher Guilty On All But One Count Of Sexual Assault

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Fox 29

PHILADELPHIA –
The priest and a Catholic school teacher accused of sexually assaulting a Northeast Philadelphia boy were found guilty on all but one count, FOX 29 has learned.

FOX 29’s Chris O’Connell reports bail was revoked and both men were led off to jail.

The charges were made against Rev. Charles Engelhardt and teacher Bernard Shero. Earlier the city jury said it had resolved most counts against the two but wanted to try to avoid a deadlock on one remaining count.

The charges stem from the complaint of a 24-year-old who claimed he was sexually assaulted as a boy by both defendants.

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Guilty verdicts in priest sex abuse trial

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Inquirer

Joseph A. Slobodzian, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER

Posted: Wednesday, January 30, 2013,

A jury has found a Catholic priest and a former parochial school teacher guilty of charges involving the serial sexual assault of a 10-year-old altar boy at St. Jerome’s parish school.

The Rev. Charles Engelhardt was found guilty on all but one count. Former parochial schoolteacher Bernard Shero was found guilty on all counts. Both men were taken into custody late this afternoon. Sentencing will be April 18.

The verdict came after after nearly three full days of deliberations.

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Priest, teacher convicted in Pa. church abuse

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
KTAR

Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA (AP) – A jury has convicted a priest and teacher in a church abuse case that has rocked the Philadelphia Archdiocese.

The verdict Wednesday supports claims by a 24-year-old policeman’s son that he was abused by the Rev. Charles Engelhardt and sixth-grade teacher Bernard Shero in about 1999.

His 2009 complaint describing abuse by two priests and the teacher led to a church official’s conviction last year for felony child abuse. Monsignor William Lynn is in prison for his role in transferring an admitted pedophile priest to the accuser’s parish in northeast Philadelphia.

Defense lawyers attacked the credibility of the accuser. He gave varying accounts of where and how the alleged abuse occurred.

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Philadelphia Priest and Lay Teacher Convicted on Most Counts in Child Sex Abuse Trial

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
CBS Philly

By Tony Hanson

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) –A Philadelphia jury today returned “guilty” verdicts on most counts against a former priest and a former lay teacher in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Father Charles Engelhardt and lay teacher Bernard Shero were charged with sexually molesting the same boy in 1999 and 2000 (see related stories).

Earlier this afternoon, the jury told the judge that it was deadlocked on one of the charges but had reached a decision on all the others.

The judge, not willing to let the jury declare itself hung on that one remaining charge, sent the panel back to continue its deliberations.

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Jury Says Only 1 Charge Remains Undecided in Phila. Priest Sex Abuse Trial

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
CBS Philly

By Tony Hanson

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The jury in the latest Philadelphia priest sex abuse case this afternoon told the judge that it is deadlocked on one of the charges but has reached a decision on all the others.

The judge, not willing to let the jury declare itself hung on that one remaining charge, sent the panel back to continue its deliberations.

It was not known for which count, or for which defendant, the jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict, nor what the decisions were for the other counts.

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Australia’s challenge: addressing the evil within

AUSTRALIA
The Tablet

Fr Peter Day, guest contributor
30 January 2013, 9:00

With the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse upon us, society at large, and especially the Catholic Church, is set for a distressing time; one in which we will be asked to further confront the reality that evil, both individual and institutional, is closer to home than we like to think, or want to acknowledge.

We like to think that evil is what others do in other places and in other times. But what about my trusted priest and church, my trusted teacher and school? My God, what about my parents, my siblings, my uncle, my home?

Thus, after decades of broken trust, shameful tales, jailed clergy, and persistent calls for a broader inquiry, on Friday 11 January 2013, Quentin Bryce, Governor-General of Australia, appointed a six-member Royal Commission to investigate the scourge of child abuse within institutions.

Meanwhile, the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference has established a lay-led Truth, Justice, and Healing Council to coordinate the Church’s response and advise its leaders.

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Jury Says Only 1 Charge Remains Undecided in Phila. Priest Sex Abuse Trial

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
CBS Philly

By Tony Hanson

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The jury in the latest Philadelphia priest sex abuse case this afternoon told the judge that it is deadlocked on one of the charges but has reached a decision on all the others.

The judge, not willing to let the jury declare itself hung on that one remaining charge, sent the panel back to continue its deliberations.

It was not known for which count, or for which defendant, the jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict, nor what the decisions were for the other counts.

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Detroit archdiocese urged to investigate priest who killed self after abuse allegation

DETROIT (MI)
The Detroit News

By Oralandar Brand-Williams
The Detroit News

Detroit — Metro Detroit activists want the Archdiocese of Detroit to investigate whether a priest who killed himself last weekend in Pennsylvania was accused of molesting youngsters while serving at an Oakland County school in the mid-1980s.

Franciscan brother Stephen P. Baker, who was assigned to St. Mary’s Prep in Orchard Lake from 1983-85, was found dead Saturday of reported self-inflicted stab wounds to the chest.

Baker’s suicide in the St. Bernadine Monastery in Newry, Pa., occurred a week and a half after a legal settlement by 11 men who said Baker sexually abused when they were youngsters and he served as a priest in Ohio and Pennsylvania. After the settlement was announced Jan. 16, 60 more accusers came forward, said Matt Jatczak, a representative of the Detroit area office of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

Jatczak was joined at a news conference by a SNAP member from Canada who accompanied him to try to deliver a letter Wednesday at the Archdiocese of Detroit’s downtown office on Washington Boulevard. The letter asks Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron to investigate whether Baker molested any students while employed by St. Mary’s.

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Jury resolves most counts in Philly priest trial

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Albany Times Union

By MARYCLAIRE DALE, Associated Press

Updated 3:01 pm, Wednesday, January 30, 2013

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A verdict may be near in a church-abuse case that rocked the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

The city jury says it has resolved most counts against the Rev. Charles Engelhardt and teacher Bernard Shero.

But they’re back at work trying to avoid a deadlock on one remaining count.

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No evidence to show former McCort trainer was certified

PENNSYLVANIA
WJAC

Monday, Jan. 21, 2013

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. —

6 News is taking a closer look at a cleric accused of sexually assaulting minors while he worked at Bishop McCort High School in Johnstown more than a decade ago.

Brother Stephen P. Baker had first been accused of molesting minors at a school in Ohio. Allegations in Cambria County hadn’t surfaced until 2011.

Baker had been known at McCort as “trainer Steve,” because he served a role as an athletic trainer. But as 6 News reporter Maria Miller uncovered, there’s no evidence he was certified for that position.

“These young guys are shocked that what was relayed to them as therapeutic treatment was actually just probably a creative ruse for a sexual assault or molestation,” said Johnstown Attorney Michael Parrish.

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Priest trial jury deliberates for third day

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Inquirer

Joseph A. Slobodzian, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER

Posted: Wednesday, January 30, 2013, 12:57 PM

Deliberations continued into a third full day in the child sex-assault trial of a Catholic priest and former parochial school teacher with no sign that the Philadelphia Common Pleas Court jury is near a verdict.

Unlike previous days of deliberations in the case against Rev. Charles Engelhardt and former parochial schoolteacher Bernard Shero the jury today has asked no questions of Judge Ellen Ceisler.

Shortly before noon, the jury of eight men and four women made its first public appearance in days when – poker-faced and staring straight ahead – they were escorted by court officers out of the building for some fresh air.

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MI – Letter to Archbishop Vigneron

DETROIT (MO)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

Posted by David Clohessy on January 30, 2013 ·

Dear Archbishop Vigneron:

We are members of a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. Our mission is to protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded.

In June 2002, you and your brother bishops formally pledged to be “open and transparent” in clergy child sex abuse and cover up cases.

Tragically, this promise was made belatedly, grudgingly, and only because of pressure. Worst of all, it was made only after tens of thousands of kids were sexually violated. Still, that pledge gave some Catholics hope. Over the past decade, however, that hope has often and largely been dashed.

You and your brother bishops have kept that promise only very sporadically and again, only in the face of public pressure. Consider your own recent actions.

1. In November 2011, you refused to warn your flock about Fr. Richard James Kurtz even though he was arrested for sexually assaulting a 10 year old boy outside Denver.

2. In May 2012, you refused to warn your flock about Fr. Thomas D. Williams who returned to the Detroit area after exploiting a woman and fathering her child (a child neither he nor his Catholic supervisors are supporting).

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Priest Arrested In Moscow With Cocaine In Stomach

RUSSIA
Radio Free Europe

An Anglican priest from Colombia was detained at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport on January 30 on suspicion of smuggling drugs. The suspect, identified as Fabio Ricardo Rodriguez, a priest in the Holy Catholic Church-Western Rite in Bogota, was taken to a hospital where 13 condoms stuffed with cocaine were extracted from his stomach and intestines. Five more containers of cocaine were found in his luggage. Officials said they were alerted to the smuggling attempt by the priest’s sickly appearance and nervous behavior.

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OH – SNAP blasts Youngstown bishop over secrecy

YOUNGSTOWN (OH)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

Posted by David Clohessy on January 30, 2013

A support group for clergy sex abuse victims is blasting Youngstown Bishop George Murry over what they call his “continued secrecy and deception” in the case of a credibly accused Catholic cleric.

Leaders of SNAP have discovered that Br. Stephen P. Baker – who is accused of molesting dozens of boys in Ohio and Pennsylvania – has also worked in Michigan and Virginia, a fact that Youngstown church officials have kept hidden in recent discussions of Baker’s history.

“Any official with real compassion would want every victim of Baker – no matter where they live or where they were hurt – to get help,” said Judy Jones, SNAP’s Midwest Associate Director. “There’s only one reason he’d keep quiet at this point about other places Baker works: he wants to continue protecting other corrupt Catholic officials and prevent other suffering victims from stepping forward.”

Today, outside the Detroit Archdiocesan headquarters, SNAP members are holding a news conference. They’re calling on the archbishop there to reach out to others who “saw, suspected or suffered” crimes by Baker when he worked at St. Mary’s Prep., Orchard Lake, MI between 1983-1985.

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William Crean appointed as Bishop of Cloyne

IRELAND
RTE News

The 67th Catholic Bishop of Cloyne has been appointed at a ceremony at St Colman’s Cathedral in Cobh.

Bishop William Crean told the congregation that he was renewing his commitment to continue the work of healing and reconciliation that is so necessary in the diocese, while acknowledging it will take time, understanding and patience.

Bishop Crean was appointed to replace Dr John Magee who stepped down in 2010 after it was found he had not followed proper child protection procedures in the Catholic diocese.

Bishop Crean was appointed at a special ceremony in the Cathedral by the Papal Nuncio to Ireland, Archbishop Charles Brown, assisted by the Archbishop of Cashel and Emly, Dr Dermot Clifford, and the Bishop of Kerry, Rev William Murphy.

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Newly ordained Bishop of Cloyne …

IRELAND
Irish Central

Newly ordained Bishop of Cloyne promises reconciliation in diocese badly affected by clerical abuse

By
PATRICK COUNIHAN,
IrishCentral Staff Writer
Published Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The new Bishop of Cloyne has vowed to bring about reconciliation in one of the dioceses worst hit by clerical sex abuse scandals.

Dr William Crean made the pledge at his inauguration at Cobh Cathedral when he paid tribute to Archbishop Dermot Clifford for his role in ensuring the diocese meets child protection safety standards.

The Irish Times reports that Bishop Crean told his congregation: “We can be confident that the best practice now prevails and will be subject to continual renewals.

“Today I renew my commitment to continue the work of healing. This work will take time, understanding and patience.”

He also told the paper that he believed it would take a long time for healing to take place but that he was determined to do all he could to bring about reconciliation.

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Petition To Pres. Obama On Child Sex Abuse By Religious

UNITED STATES
Christian Catholicism

Jerry Slevin

A petition has been filed asking President Obama to set up a national investigation commission into the sexual abuse of children by priests, rabbis and other religious leaders. Please take 30 seconds to sign it no matter where in the world you live. This is a worldwide epidemic. Just click on the below link at:

[Click here for the petition site.]

Believing parents and innocent children have too often been betrayed by religious leaders they trusted too much. The obscene revelations of child sexual abuse from Boston, Philly, Milwaukee, Kansas City, St.Louis, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Phoenix, Manchester, Salt Lake City and many other U.S. cities confirm this cancer cannot be curtailed effectively by local political leaders and prosecutors. They seem frequently incapable and/or unwilling to apply or amend a hodgepot of inconsistent laws, often outdated and inadequate, to powerful religious organizations.

The new award winning HBO documentary, “Mea Maxima Culpa”, that begins airing internationally in English and Spanish on next Monday evening, February 4, shows, for example, graphically and incisively how local governmental authorities and the Catholic Church hierarchy in the USA and in the Vatican failed for decades to protect over 200 defenseless deaf boys from sexual abuse allegedly by a single Milwaukee priest.

Instead of being made to account for child endangerment on their watch, leaders like Cardinals Mahony, Law, Levada, Rigali, Egan and, earlier Bevilacqua, sail off into well funded retirements, leaving high priced lawyers behind to clean up the mess they leave behind. Abuse survivors often must fend for themselves. Trusting Catholics, whose children were at risk of priest sex abuse and whose churches and schools are ruthlessly being closed, are expected to fund the billions spent by the Catholic hierarchy on a flawed and shameful legal strategy aimed mainly at protecting the hierarchy from prosecution.

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MI – Serial predator priest worked near Detroit

DETROIT (MO)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

Posted by David Clohessy on January 30, 2013

■Serial predator priest worked near Detroit
■He committed suicide on Saturday in PA
■More than 80 kids say he molested them
■Eleven settlements were just disclosed last week
■Church officials in four states concealed allegations
■SNAP: “How many other child molesting clerics are still hidden?”
■Group asks challenges local archbishop: “Come clean re secret deals here”

WHAT
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will disclose that a recently “outed” and credibly accused child molesting cleric worked in Detroit Archdiocese for three years. He killed himself on Saturday and has allegedly assaulted at least 80 children in two states. The group will urge Detroit Catholic officials to

–explain why they’ve been secret about accusations against and settlements involving the cleric,
–disclose whether he’s allegedly molested any Michigan kids, and
–start aggressively seeking out others in Michigan who he may have molested.
They will also
–urge victims, and whistleblowers to contact secular authorities, not church officials, and
–beg anyone who may have seen, suspected, or suffered clergy crimes in Detroit (by this cleric or others) to come forward, call police, expose wrongdoing, protect kids and start healing.

WHEN
Wednesday, Jan. 30 at 1:00 p.m.

WHERE
Outside the Detroit Archdiocese headquarters (“chancery office”), 1234 Washington Blvd. in Detroit, MI

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IA – SNAP applauds victims in case against Pella pastor

IOWA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

Posted by Barbara Dorris on January 30, 2013

We applaud these brave women who are continuing their fight for justice after being abused by Rev. Patrick Edouard. Valerie and Anne Bandstra deserve praise for continuing forward with their lawsuits despite apparent attempts from church leaders to undermine the abuse that the Bandstra women suffered.

Sexual contact with a priest or reverend – someone who is supposedly God’s envoy on earth – involves an inherent power imbalance that undermines it and prevents it from being a true relationship. The fact that Rev. Edouard used this position and assumed authority as a counselor in order to groom and abuse these women – both sexually and financially – is indicative of exactly why this is a form of sexual abuse. We are disappointed, but not surprised, that church leaders in Pella refuse to acknowledge this.

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PA – Abusive priest also worked in two more states

PENNSYLVANIA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

Posted by David Clohessy on January 30, 2013

A support group for clergy sex abuse victims is blasting Altoona-Johnstown Bishop Mark Leonard Bartchak over what they call his “continued secrecy and deception” in the case of a credibly accused Catholic cleric.

Leaders of SNAP have discovered that Br. Stephen P. Baker – who is accused of molesting dozens of boys in Ohio and Pennsylvania – has also worked in Michigan and Virginia, a fact that Altoona-Johnstown church officials have kept hidden in recent discussions of Baker’s history.

“Any official with real compassion would want every victim of Baker – no matter where they live or where they were hurt – to get help,” said Judy Jones, SNAP’s Midwest Associate Director. “How can Bartchak justify telling only part of the truth. There’s only one reason he’d keep quiet at this point about other places Baker works: he wants to continue protecting other corrupt Catholic officials and prevent other suffering victims from stepping forward.”

Today, outside the Detroit Archdiocesan headquarters, SNAP members are holding a news conference. They’re calling on the archbishop there to reach out to others who “saw, suspected or suffered” crimes by Baker when he worked at St. Mary’s Prep., Orchard Lake, MI between 1983-1985.

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Fälle sexueller Gewalt im Bistum Münster

DEUTSCHLAND
Westfalische Nachrichten

Seit dem letzten Zwischenbericht, den die zuständige Kommission des Bistums Münster 2010 vorlegte, sind nach jüngsten Angaben keine neuen Fälle sexualisierter Gewalt bekannt geworden. 60 Priester (1,5 Prozent von ungefähr 4000 Priestern im gesamten Zeitraum) waren zwischen 1949 und 2010 in Fälle sexueller Gewalt verstrickt.

Bekannt wurde die Zahl von 106 Opfern. In 82 Fällen wurde nach Auskunft von Domkapitular Bernd Köppen eine Entschädigung gezahlt, in den anderen Fällen wurde dies nicht gewünscht. Die überwiegende Zahl der Täter (56) wurde zwischen 1949 und 2001 registriert, 27 der Beschuldigten waren bereits verstorben. Zwischen 2001 und 2010 erhielt die Kommission Kenntnis von vier neuen Beschuldigten. Die Verfahren dauern teilweise an.

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