ABUSE TRACKER

A digest of links to media coverage of clergy abuse. For recent coverage listed in this blog, read the full article in the newspaper or other media source by clicking “Read original article.” For earlier coverage, click the title to read the original article.

March 1, 2013

Police: Church janitor posed as youth leader, abused young girls

CASPER (WO)
Star-Tribune

Posing as a youth group leader, James David Jaure was able to gain the girls’ trust, witnesses told police. He was always at the group meetings on Wednesday nights, talking and counseling the children.

In reality, Jaure was the Highland Park Church janitor with a criminal record. In 2004, the now-28-year-old, also known by the last name “Juare,” was convicted of third-degree sexual assault of a minor in Cheyenne. He is now living in Evansville.

Upon learning this information, parents and other youth workers at the church expressed concern about Jaure’s Wednesday night presence and his particular interest in the young girls.

On Feb. 7, a father reported Jaure to Casper police. His daughter told a forensic interviewer she had been sexually assaulted by Jaure in the church’s basement.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

Recurring sexual abuse needs to be addressed by Catholic Church

UNITED STATES
The Daily Campus

By Brandon Bub, Michael Dearman

Emails: bbub@smu.edu, mdearman@smu.edu
Institutional reform necessary within Catholic Church

It is no secret that the Catholic Church is either directly or indirectly responsible for some of the worst atrocities perpetrated by a single institution in history. The Spanish Inquisition, the Crusades and witch hunts throughout the medieval era are just a few “incidents” that left tens of thousands of people dead.

However, I do not want to make this a “Let’s talk about how horrible the Church is” column. I might not be a Catholic anymore, but I come from a family of them and I feel like I have a vested interest in the state of the institution. I do not want to treat the Church as some monolithic entity that has consistently sought to oppress heretics, minorities and nonbelievers. The Church is linked to unspeakable crimes, but such crimes are committed by individuals, and I do not want to absolve these individuals of guilt by attributing it to something larger than them.

Nevertheless, as evidence has grown to illustrate the systemic nature of sexual abuse (and subsequent cover-ups of that abuse), it becomes clear that institutional reform is necessary. Priests who abuse children or other members of their congregation should rightly be defrocked and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

The same ought to be true of clergy members who know of such abuse and willingly cover it up: much like how Joe Paterno and members of Penn State who covered up Jerry Sandusky’s abuse were dismissed from the university, so too should priests who try to protect the reputations of colleagues by moving them to other parishes to prevent crimes from being found be stripped of their Holy Orders.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

Shayne Looper: The Catholic Church and the media’s mea culpa

UNITED STATES
Wicked Local Cape Cod

By Shayne Looper
GateHouse News Service

Posted Feb 28, 2013

I am neither a Catholic nor the son of a Catholic (to misquote the prophet Amos), and I disagree with Rome on a wide array of ecclesiastical and theological issues. Yet here I am, rising to the defense of the Catholic Church in the face of media attacks that seem to me to be patently unjust.

The journalist Sheila Liaugminas attributes the recent spate of biased stories about Pope Benedict XVI and the Catholic Church to “lazy journalism and tendentious reporting.” She is being charitable. The slanted stories and offensive editorials are motivated by something darker: by a disrespect for the Church in general, for Catholics in particular and for conservative beliefs, in toto.

Consider the Feb. 15 Newsweek article by Tim Parks titled “Benedict’s Act of Grace” and subtitled “John Paul II left the church a mess.” There is a sense of disdain throughout the article. Rather than using papal names, the author repeatedly refers to John Paul II as Wojtyła and Gregory XVI as Ratzinger. He chooses inflammatory adjectives to describe the pontiffs: “reactionary,” “arch-conservative,” “interminably glamorous” (John Paul II) and “unimpressive” (Benedict XVI).

Michael Moynihan’s Newsweek column, “Good Riddance, Benedict! Why the pope was a moral failure,” is, if possible, even more disrespectful. The lead calls Benedict “the failed pontiff” and the article characterizes the 85-year-old ailing pope’s retirement as an abandonment of his post.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

Church ‘rubbing salt into victim’s wounds’

AUSTRALIA
9 News

The Catholic Church’s processes of dealing with sex abuse victims often makes mental and emotional wounds worse, a psychologist has told a Victorian parliamentary inquiry.

Dr Joseph Poznanski told the inquiry into sex abuse within religious and other organisations that victims often came to him expressing despair and helplessness after dealing with the church’s compensation process.

He said the church’s psychiatric assessments would downplay the effect of sexual abuse on victims.

“In the majority of cases this is more like salt to festering wound,” he told the inquiry in Melbourne on Friday.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

More alleged cleric abuse victims emerge

PENNSYLVANIA
Tribune-Democrat

Kathy Mellott kmellott@tribdem.com

— Notification of two additional civil lawsuits on behalf of former students at Bishop McCort Catholic High School who allege they were sexually molested by the late Brother Stephen Baker were filed in Blair County court on Thursday.

Altoona attorney Richard Serbin filed the notice, the first step in the civil action, to be served on Franciscan Friars of the Third Order Regular; Province of the Immaculate Conception; The Very Most Rev. Father Robert D’Aversa, T.O.R.; Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown; former Bishop Joseph V. Adamec; and Bishop McCort Catholic High School.

Adamec was named because, while he is now retired, he was in charge of the diocese during the time when Baker was working at Bishop McCort, which was at that time a diocesan high school.

In 2008 the school became independent of the diocese.

D’Aversa was leader of the Province of the Immaculate Conception order during the years Baker worked for the diocese at Bishop McCort, Serbin said.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

Two more notices in Baker case

PENNSYLVANIA
Tribune Chronicle

March 1, 2013

By PHIL RAY Special to the Tribune Chronicle , Tribune Chronicle | TribToday.com

HOLLIDAYSBURG, Pa. – An Altoona, Pa., attorney has filed two additional notices of lawsuit against officials of the Roman Catholic Church and Bishop McCort Catholic High School in Johnstown, Pa., stemming from sexual abuse allegations against the late Brother Stephen Baker.

Attorney Richard M. Serbin filed the summons in the Blair County Courthouse.

The victims were identified as John Doe 78 and John Doe 79, pseudonyms for McCort students allegedly abused by Baker when he served as an instructor at the school in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Serbin filed three John Doe summons on Monday. He said Thursday he was still reviewing case files and that other notices of lawsuit, called summons, would probably be filed.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

Alleged Priest Abuse Victim Speaks Out

CALIFORNIA
Annenberg TV News

[with video]

By Dawn Megli

Rita Milla has been litigation with the church over abuse allegations for more than two decades.A Los Angeles woman and alleged priest sex abuse survivor spoke out Thursday on the changes she wants to see in the Catholic Church. Rita Milla appeared with Attorney Gloria Allred to discuss the lawsuit she filed against the LA Archdioses and Catholic priests, calling for change in the Catholic Church.

Milla claimed she was abused by seven different priests over a four-year period at several Los Angeles-area churches in the 1980’s. When she eventually became pregnant, she says the men sent her to live with some of their relatives in the Philippines to hide her pregnancy. According to Milla, her parents were told she was studying abroad at the time. When she returned with an infant daughter, the priests offered no assistance. Milla sued for $21 million in 1984, according to the Los Angeles Times.

At Thursday’s press conference Allred provided a statement on the lawsuit which said, “In 1984 we filed a lawsuit on behalf of Rita against the LA Archdiocese and the seven Catholic priests who had abused her. On the day that we filed this lawsuit all seven priests suddenly disappeared from their parishes making it difficult or impossible to serve them with the lawsuit.”

While the LA Archdiocese said they would help find the missing priests, the Church aided in the cover-up and an obstruction of justice, said Allred.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

Clergy sexual abuse victims say Benedict failed to take serious action

UNITED STATES
CTV (Canada)

CTVNews.ca Staff
Published Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013

As Benedict XVI’s papacy ended Thursday with crowds of well-wishers at the Vatican showing their support, clerical sex abuse victims continued to call for action against child predators within the Church, disappointed in what they see as a failure by the pontiff to take real action.

The U.S.-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, announced on the same day that it has submitted a report to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, blasting the Vatican’s handling of the “ongoing worldwide sex abuse crisis in the Catholic Church.”

The Vatican has pledged to report to the UN on its efforts to protect children from abuse and sexual violence.

But SNAP said little has been done to address the problem.

The group teamed up with the Center for Constitutional Rights, a non-profit legal group,to produce its submission to the UN, which outlines how Church policies and practices have enabled priests to take advantage of children.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.