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.

April 4, 2013

Priest stands aside

IRELAND
Irish Independent

A PRIEST has stepped aside from his ministry pending the outcome of a church inquiry into an allegation of child abuse dating back to the mid-1990s.

The priest is currently serving in a rural part of Co Limerick but the issues relate to an allegation when he was based elsewhere. It’s understood that while gardai are aware of the issue they have not yet received a complaint. The church has proceeded with its own inquiry nonetheless.

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.

Archdiocese Of Milwaukee To Release Dolan Testimony, Other Documents In Child Sex Abuse Scandal

MILWAUKEE (WI)
NY1

[with video]

By: Mahsa Saeidi

The Archdiocese of Milwaukee will soon release thousands of pages of documents on the child sex abuse scandal that rocked the Catholic Church, including the deposition given by Cardinal Timothy Dolan in February. NY1’s Mahsa Saeidi filed the following report.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s handling of the child sex abuse scandal that rocked the Catholic Church will soon be public.

The cardinal’s deposition is among 3,000 documents being released on July 1.

All of the documents relate to the alleged sexual abuse of children by clergy in Milwaukee.

“I think the Catholic Church has learned a very painful lesson on what not to do in terms of dealing with sexual abuse,” said Joseph Zwilling, spokesperson for the Archdiocese of New York.

Prior to coming to the city, Dolan was Archbishop in Milwaukee from 2002 to 2009.

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.

Breslov Leader On The Lam As Sex Abuse Allegations Swirl

ISRAEL
Failed Messiah

Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com

Breslov leader Rabbi Eliezer Berland, the head of Yeshiva Shuvu Banim in Jerusalem’s Old City, has gone underground and disappeared, the haredi news website Behadrei Haredim reports.

Berland allegedly sexually abused many young Breslov women, some married, some not, some of age and some apparently minors. He fled Israel for Miami weeks ago after it became clear that he and what are often described as his henchmen and thugs could no longer contain the scandal within the Shuva Banim community after violence related to the alleged coverup became a police matter.

Police opened an investigation into Berland’s alleged sexual abuse, but Berland had already fled to Miami.

When Berland realized that he was wanted for questioning in Israel and could possibly be extradited, he left Miami and went to Switzerland, where he met with his Israel attorney, Dr. Jacob Weinroth.

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.

Archdiocese of Milwaukee to release sex abuse records

MILWAUKEE (WI)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

By Annysa Johnson of the Journal Sentinel

In a major development in its bankruptcy, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee announced Wednesday that it will make public thousands of pages of documents detailing its handling of clergy sex abuse cases dating back decades.

The decision – a reversal for the archdiocese – came on the eve of a scheduled hearing at which U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Susan V. Kelley was expected to order the release of at least some of those records, which are under seal.

The release of documents has been a primary objective of victims in the hundreds of clergy sex abuse cases around the country, including the Milwaukee bankruptcy. Both the archdiocese and attorneys for victims heralded the decision as a significant step toward transparency and healing for abuse survivors.

“My hope is by making these documents public we will shed much-needed light on how the archdiocese responded to abuse survivors over the past 40-plus years, and that they will aid abuse survivors and others in resolution and healing,” Archbishop Jerome Listecki said in a letter to parishes, schools and church leaders on Wednesday.

Attorney Jeffrey Anderson, who represents most of the 570-plus men and women with sex abuse claims in the bankruptcy, called it “a great day for survivors and a giant step for child protection.”

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.

Attorney pleased with Wis. archdiocese disclosure

MILWAUKEE (WI)
Houston Chronicle

MILWAUKEE (AP) — A lawyer representing people who say they were sexually abused by priests in the Milwaukee Archdiocese says he’s glad the archdiocese has agreed to release thousands of sealed documents.

Attorney Jeff Anderson said Wednesday he’s grateful to the hundreds of abuse survivors who stayed strong in their fight to have the documents released.

The archdiocese says it’ll post about 3,000 pages of documents online by July 1.

Anderson says the victims have been seeking disclosure, exposure and closure. He says Wednesday’s announcement fulfills the first two, and the focus will soon shift toward the third.

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.

Plaintiff torn over Wis. archdiocese disclosure

MILWAUKEE (WI)
Seattle PI

MILWAUKEE (AP) — One of the plaintiffs suing the Milwaukee archdiocese says he has mixed feelings after learning the archdiocese will release thousands of documents related to sex-abuse allegations.

Billy Kirchen of Milwaukee says he’s glad people on the outside will get a chance to see what happened behind the scenes. But the 46-year-old says the documents won’t reveal anything he didn’t already know about how church officials mishandled abuse claims.

The Associated Press generally doesn’t identify people who say they were victims of sexual abuse, but Kirchen granted permission to use his name.

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.

Australia’s example in healing the sexually abused

AUSTRALIA
Christian Science Monitor

By the Monitor’s Editorial Board / April 3, 2013

On Wednesday, Australia set an example for the world by opening an official inquiry that will allow people who were sexually abused as children in institutions to finally tell their stories.

At least 5,000 Australians are expected to be heard by the commission, many of them able to recount their experiences in private before the six-member panel. They will shed light on a half century of abuse in orphanages, churches, schools, detention centers, and child-care centers, and groups such as the military, Scouts, and organized sports.

Up until now, many were too ashamed to speak out. Or their stories were neglected by authorities. As children, they suffered for years in silence.

It is noteworthy that a woman prime minister, Julia Gillard, set up this panel.

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.

Give abuse inquiry time and money: Abbott

AUSTRALIA
NEWS.com.au

Patrick Caruana
AAP
April 04, 2013

THE royal commission into institutional child abuse should be given the time and money it needs to do its job, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says.

At the commission’s first hearing, chairman Justice Peter McClellan said the inquiry would be unlikely to meet its deadlines because of the volume of evidence and the scope of the terms of reference.

The commission was due to provide an interim report by the middle of next year and complete its work before the end of 2015, Justice McClellan said on Wednesday.

Justice McClellan said the commission, which has so far cost $22 million, would continue to require “very significant sums of public money”.

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.

Abuse commission begins, but pain lingers

AUSTRALIA
NEWS.com.au

FOR years they waited.

They waited to be heard, they waited to be believed, they waited for compensation and they waited for justice.

For many victims of institutional child sex abuse, the wait was too long, and they died in anonymous silence – a lot of them by their own hand.

But for their families, and for the survivors, the opening of a royal commission was a landmark.

The outpouring of emotion immediately after the brief hearing was testament to the fact that so many victims never thought the day would come.

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.

Chetham’s gets one month to clean up its act after sex case shame

UNITED KINGDOM
Manchester Evening News

Scandal-hit Chetham’s school has been given a month to clean up its act after two damning inspection reports.

Government education chiefs have given the £31,000-a-year institution until May 10 to come up with a plan of action before ministers decide whether to take further action.

The move comes after the school was hit by allegations of abuse stretching back decades – and the jailing of former choir master Michael Brewer.

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.

Former Wetumpka youth pastor sentenced to 10 years in prison in sexual abuse of child

ALABAMA
AL.com

By Jon Reed | jreed@al.com
on April 03, 2013

MONTGOMERY, Alabama — A former youth pastor in Wetumpka was sentenced to 10 years in prison in the sexual abuse of a child.

John A. Astorga, 38, of Titus, was convicted in Cullman County Circuit Court in December 2012 on one count of first-degree sexual abuse of a child who was less than 12 years old. Astorga received the maximum sentence, according to a news release from Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange.

Astorga, a former youth minister at the Bethel Assembly of God in Wetumpka, was convicted in April 2012 on two counts of first-degree sexual abuse in Elmore County. He was sentenced to 36 months on those charges. He has appealed that conviction.

Astorga will serve the sentences consecutively.

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.

Chapter 11 Update – April 3, 2013

MILWAUKEE (WI)
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee

Most Reverend Jerome E. Listecki
Archbishop of Milwaukee

It has been more than 10 years since 2002, when the news about clergy sexual abuse of minors dominated news headlines across the country and changed forever the way the Catholic Church would be viewed because of this issue. I’m sorry this Love One Another is a little longer than usual, but there is so much ground to cover with this topic that I ask your patience. And, although you usually receive my email on Tuesdays, I send this today because I wanted you to hear this news directly from me.

This has been an especially poignant topic in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee as hundreds of courageous abuse survivors have come forward to tell their story. I beg the forgiveness of those who have been harmed. For myself and in the name of the Church I give those abuse survivors and their families my sincere apology.

The challenges facing the archdiocese are many. First, acknowledging the scandalous and embarrassing facts about how men, who were trusted priests, shattered that trust through their sinful and criminal behavior. Second, learning how some in advisory and leadership roles made ill-advised decisions, even if that only became clear in hindsight. Then there have been financial challenges – settling lawsuits, failed mediation attempts and, ultimately, my decision to file for Chapter 11 financial protection in 2011.

However, there are things the archdiocese can be proud of. In the 1990s, the archdiocese was one of the first in the country to implement a formal response to abuse survivors, to hire staff to support their needs, and to publish a Code of Ethical Standards for church employees. The archdiocese has supported legislation to include clergy as mandatory reporters of abuse from the time a bill was first introduced in the mid-1990’s until it was eventually signed into law. Even before this legislation was passed, the archdiocese had its own policy requiring employees, including clergy, to report suspected child abuse to the proper civil authorities. Our policies and protocols ensure that all abuse allegations involving someone who is still alive are immediately reported to civil authorities. Safe environment education programs were developed and are now mandatory for children and youth in every parish and school. Criminal background checks and sexual abuse awareness training are required for every bishop, priest, deacon, staff member and volunteer who works with minors. Most importantly, no priest with a substantiated allegation of sexual abuse of a minor can in any way exercise public ministry in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.

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.

Milw. Archdiocese to release clergy abuse documents in July

MILWAUKEE (WI)
Fox 6

April 3, 2013, by Katie DeLong and Henry Rosoff

MILWAUKEE (WITI) — The Archdiocese of Milwaukee announced on Wednesday, April 3rd on its website and via Archbishop Jerome Listecki’s blog — it WILL release thousands of pages of documents detailing clergy sexual abuse in the Milwaukee Archdiocese as part of its Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. SNAP, the Survivors Network for Those Abused by Priests has asked that these documents be unsealed and released to the public.

The Archdiocese made its announcement the day before the matter was to be decided in bankruptcy court. The Archdiocese filed for bankruptcy in 2011 to deal with sex abuse claims. Lawyers representing the men and women who filed the claims had been seeking the documents’ release.

The documents that will be released include depositions of Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop Weakland and Bishop Sklba.

SNAP has urged the Attorney General’s Office to step in and force the Milwaukee Archdiocese to turn over hundreds of pages of documents detailing child sex abuse claims as the Archdiocese goes through bankruptcy proceedings.

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.

Cathedral Priest faces sex charges

UNITED KINGDOM
Lancaster Guardian

Published on 04/04/2013

A Priest based at Lancaster Cathedral was this week charged with three counts of indecent assault.

Canon Stephen Shield, 53, who was dean at the Roman Catholic cathedral in St Peter’s Road, Lancaster, was arrested by police on March 23.

On Tuesday he was charged with three sexual offences relating to one male and bailed to appear before Preston magistrates on Wednesday, April 17.

The offences are alleged to have been committed more than two decades ago when the alleged victim was aged between 17 and 24.

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April 3, 2013

FBI now handling Troy Catholic Church alleged misappropriated funds investigation

MICHIGAN
The Oakland Press

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

An investigation into whether a priest mishandled more than $400,000 at Troy’s St. Thomas More Catholic Church is now being conducted by the FBI, according to Troy Police.

Rev. Edward Belczak was asked to temporarily step aside from his duties at the church on North Adams Road in Troy in January during the probes that he mishandled at least $429,000 in church money. The 67-year-old remains a priest but left parish housing.

Sgt. Andy Breidenich said the FBI came to the Troy Police Department about two weeks ago and took over the case. Troy police are continuing to investigate whether healthcare fraud occurred.

FBI Detroit spokesman Simon Shaykhet declined to comment on the case, and the Detroit-based U.S. Attorney’s Office would not confirm or deny they were involved with the case.

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Assignment Record – Rev. Gary B. Tollner

CALIFORNIA
BishopAccountability.org

Summary of Case: A priest of the Oakland diocese, Tollner has been accused of sexually abusing at least six children. In 1982 his sister-in-law reported that he had sexually abused her mentally retarded young adult son who had the mind of a twelve year-old. Bishop Cummins was informed of this, and of the fact that parishioners were complaining that Tollner was engaged in “suspicious behavior” with young boys involving alcohol and drugs and a hot tub Tollner had installed on the rectory roof. Tollner was kept in ministry. He was sent to St. Luke’s Institute in Maryland for treatment in 1985, but refused to stay. In 1987 a man reported that Tollner began to sexually abuse him in 1966 when the man was 11 years old, and that the abuse continued into adulthood. From 1985 to 1995 Tollner was allowed to reside at a parish, which had a school, and to hold several Chancery positions. He died in 1999.

Ordained: 1961
Died: Feb. 17, 1999

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Dolan Hopes Release Of Documents Will Heal Sex Abuse Victims In Milwaukee

MILWAUKEE (WI)
CBS New York

MILWAUKEE (CBSNewYork/AP) — Timothy Cardinal Dolan said Wednesday that he welcomes the upcoming release of documents related to sexual abuse lawsuits filed against the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, where he previously served.

Dolan gave a deposition in February in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy case involving the Milwaukee Archdiocese. The deposition is among some 3,000 pages of documents that the archdiocese announced on Wednesday that it would post by July 1.

The Archdiocese in Wisconsin’s largest city had been fighting release of the documents, and faced a hearing Thursday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Milwaukee. It declared bankruptcy two years ago as it dealt with about 500 sex abuse claims.

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Ex-Wis. bishop: Sex abuse files will show truth

MILWAUKEE (WI)
San Francisco Chronicle

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Retired Bishop Richard Sklba (SKIL’-buh) says he agreed to have the Archdiocese of Milwaukee release a deposition he gave in sexual abuse cases as a way of getting out the truth.

The archdiocese announced Wednesday that it would release about 3,000 pages of documents by July 1, including depositions given by Sklba, New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan — who previously led the Milwaukee archdiocese — and former Milwaukee Archbishop Rembert Weakland.

The documents had been sought by attorneys representing about 500 people who say they were sexually abused by priests. Their advocates have accused church leaders of moving the priests around and covering up their crimes.

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Catholic Church to lose control of some schools …

IRELAND
National Secular Society (UK)

Catholic Church to lose control of some schools in Ireland – could this be the start of a seismic shift?

Posted: Wed, 03 Apr 2013

Following a survey of parents by the Irish Department of Education, 23 primary schools across the country will be divested of their Catholic Church patronage. The move is part of the drive to encourage more choice and diversity in the types of primary schools inIreland. At present 96% of primary schools are under the patronage of religious denominations – 90% of which are Catholic.

In 2011 the Minister for Education established an expert group to consult with people and to make recommendations on how primary schools can become more inclusive of different traditions, religions and beliefs.

In April 2012 the Minister Ruairí Quinn accepted and published the Report of the Advisory Group to the Forum on Patronage and Pluralism in the Primary Sector.

In June last year he started the process to look at the possible transfer of some schools run by the Catholic Church to other school patron bodies in 44 areas around the country.

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.

Milwaukee Archdiocese to release sex abuse records

MILWAUKEE (WI)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

By Annysa Johnson of the Journal Sentinel

April 3, 2013

Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki has authorized the release of a cache of documents related to its handling of sex abuse cases as part of its bankruptcy.

The decision is the result of negotiations between attorneys for victims and the archdiocese. It comes a day before what was expected to be a contentious hearing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court over the release of the documents.

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Milwaukee archdiocese to release sex abuse files

MILWAUKEE (WI)
WISC

The Milwaukee Archdiocese says documents related to ongoing sexual abuse lawsuits will be released by July 1.

The archdiocese said Wednesday it will post about 3,000 pages of documents on its website. It says it’s not posting them immediately because it wants to ensure victims’ names are not included.

Archdiocese spokesman Jerry Topczewski (top-CHES’-kee) says one goal in releasing the documents is to help the hundreds of sexual abuse survivors heal.

The documents contain depositions from top archdiocese officials and content from priest personnel files. Victims’ advocates have been seeking the documents’ release for several years.

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Dolan: Welcomes release of Milwaukee documents

MILWAUKEE (WI)
Newsday

Published: April 3, 2013 6:04 PM
By The Associated Press

MILWAUKEE – (AP) — New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan says he welcomes the upcoming release of documents related to sexual abuse lawsuits filed against the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.

Dolan gave a deposition in February in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy case involving the archdiocese that he once served. That deposition is among some 3,000 pages of documents that the archdiocese announced on Wednesday that it would post by July 1.

The archdiocese had been fighting release of the documents, and faced a hearing Thursday in U.S. bankruptcy court in Milwaukee. It declared bankruptcy two years ago as it dealt with about 500 sex abuse claims.

In a statement Thursday, Dolan says he was glad to give his deposition and hopes the release of the documents will help in the healing of abuse survivors.

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Milwaukee archdiocese to release sex abuse files

MILWAUKEE (WI)
KTAR

MILWAUKEE (AP) – The Archdiocese of Milwaukee said Wednesday it will publicly release thousands of pages of documents tied to sexual abuse lawsuits, including depositions with some of its former top officials.

The archdiocese had been fighting the release of the documents, and it made its announcement the day before a hearing on the matter was to be held in U.S. bankruptcy court in Milwaukee. The archdiocese filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January 2011 to deal with about 500 sex abuse claims filed by men and women. Lawyers representing those people had been seeking the documents’ release.

The documents to be released include depositions given by New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who previously led the Milwaukee archdiocese, former Milwaukee Archbishop Rembert Weakland and retired Bishop Richard Sklba. Victims’ advocates have accused archdiocese leaders of transferring abusive priests to other parishes and concealing their crimes for decades.

Jerry Topczewski, chief of staff for Archbishop Jerome Listecki, said the archdiocese plans to post the documents on its website by July 1. Along with the depositions, the cache will include documents from priests’ personnel files and the files of bishops and other church leaders.

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Australia launches national inquiry into child sexual abuse

AUSTRALIA
Los Angeles Times

By Emily Alpert
April 3, 2013

Australia launched a sweeping national inquiry Wednesday into the sexual abuse of children, holding its first public hearing in a Melbourne court to start what a government statement called “a healing process for survivors and their families.”

Prime Minister Julia Gillard said the newly opened Royal Commission into the Sexual Abuse of Children will hear the stories of abuse victims and make recommendations about stopping such crimes, and can refer suspected abusers to the police for possible prosecution. It will cover a vast array of institutions including schools, churches, child-care centers, recreational groups and detention centers.

“We’ve let children down in the past as a country,” Gillard said in an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. “We need to learn what we can do as a nation to better protect our children in the future.”

The inquiry follows the revelation last year that hundreds of children had been abused by Roman Catholic clergy in Victoria state since the 1930s. The government was also galvanized by an open letter from a New South Wales police detective who accused the church of concealing abuse.

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Our Shame: Royal Commission into sexual abuse of children

AUSTRALIA
Sunraysia Daily

By Graeme O’Neill
April 4, 2013

ONE of the first known victims of a notorious Mildura paedophile priest has warned that the Royal Commission into the sexual abuse of children, which opened yesterday, would confront Mildura with uncomfortable questions about the role of some of its citizens and institutions in covering up the priest’s abuse of children over 15 years.

As a 16-year-old schoolgirl in 1971, “Nancy”, who now lives under an assumed name in South Australia, believes she was the first person in Victoria to make a formal complaint of sexual abuse against a Catholic priest.

Interviewed by former Mildura detective Denis Ryan, she described how the then-head of Mildura’s Sacred Heart Catholic parish, Monsignor John Day, had molested her when she was a 12-year-old boarding-school student at Mildura’s Convent of Mercy in 1967.

Day, who died in 1978, had an ally and protector in the person of Senior Detective J. P. Barritt, head of the local office of the Criminal Investigation Branch in Mildura during Day’s term in the parish.

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STORY REMOVED: BC-US–Priest-Fled to Poland

PENNSYLVANIA
The Palladium-Times

Posted: Wednesday, April 3, 2013 2:54 pm | Updated: 4:01 pm, Wed Apr 3, 2013.

Associated Press

The Associated Press has withdrawn its story about a priest-abuse lawsuit accusing church and local authorities of letting a Philadelphia-area priest flee to Poland during a stalled investigation. The lawsuit has not been filed. A substitute story will not be published.

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UPDATED — Mercure priest sex abuse verdict upheld by appeals court

MASSACHUSETTS/NEW YORK
Post-Star

DON LEHMAN — dlehman@poststar.com

A Massachusetts state appeals court has rejected the appeal of former local priest Gary Mercure, who was convicted for molesting two young male parishioners.

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Appeals Court found that Mercure was not entitled to a new trial, rejecting arguments that the trial judge erroneously allowed evidence of “uncharged sex crimes” and improper testimony and other technical errors during Mercure’s 2011 trial

The former Queensbury resident, who served as a priest at Our Lady of Annunciation Church in Queensbury and St. Mary’s in Glens Falls, was found guilty of child rape and indecent assault for sexually assaulting teens he met through the local parishes when he took them to western Massachusetts for outdoors outings.

“There is no basis for the defendant’s claim that the cumulative errors at trial require a new trial,” the court opined in a decision released Tuesday.

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Appeal denied for Albany priest convicted of raping altar boys in the Berkshires

MASSACHUSETTS/NEW YORK
YNN

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — An appeal for a new trial in the case of an Albany priest convicted of four counts of rape has been denied by a Massachusetts appellate court.

Gary Mercure was found guilty in 2011 of raping two altar boys in Berkshire County in the 1980s. Mercure was a priest with the Albany Roman Catholic Diocese in Queensbury at the time of the incident.

The two boys said he raped them while on a trip to the Berkshires.

In his appeal, Mercure’s lawyer says the trial judge should not have allowed the jury to hear testimony about uncharged sex crimes from the two victims who were raped or from four other alleged victims who testified about incidents of sexual abuse by Mercure.

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Mercure priest sex abuse verdict upheld by appeals court

MASSACHUSETTS/NEW YORK
Post-Star

A Massachusetts state appeals court has rejected the appeal of former local priest Gary Mercure, who was convicted for molesting two young male parishioners.

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Appeals Court found that Mercure was not entitled to a new trial, rejecting arguments that the trial judge erroneously allowed evidence of “uncharged sex crimes” and improper testimony and other technical errors during Mercure’s 2011 trial

The former Queensbury resident, who served as a priest at Our Lady of Annunciation Church in Queensbury and St. Mary’s in Glens Falls, was found guilty of child rape and indecent assault for sexually assaulting teens he met through the local parishes when he took them to western Massachusetts for outdoors outings.

“There is no basis for the defendant’s claim that the cumulative errors at trial require a new trial,” the court opined in a decision released Tuesday.

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Legislation aims to keep predators out of school

PENNSYLVANIA
Sharon Herald

By Melissa Klaric Herald Staff Writer

MERCER COUNTY — Sexual abuse by teachers and coaches was brought to the forefront in Pennsylvania as a result of the high profile cases of Brother Stephen Baker and Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.

Baker, a Franciscan friar, killed himself in January after being accused of sexually abusing students at John F. Kennedy High School, Warren, Ohio, in the late ’80s and early ’90s and at Bishop McCort High School in Johnstown, Pa.

Sandusky, a retired coach, was sent to prison last year for 30 to 60 years for sexually assaulting 10 boys.

Locally, Jamestown High School teacher Kevin A. DeFrancesco was sentenced in November to three nine-month sentences, to be served consecutively, for sexual abuse of children, unlawful contact with a minor, and attempt to commit sexual abuse with children after he sent inappropriate text messages to two female students, ages 13 and 14.

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Diocese of Bridgeport Statement on Msgr. Wallin April 2, 2013

CONNECTICUT
Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport

When a priest falls, it wounds the entire Church. As a family of faith, we are sorry for those who have been hurt by Msgr. Wallin’s actions, and we also remember that that he did much good work in his ministry.

Msgr. Wallin’s guilty plea represents an important step in his coming to terms with his own actions and their impact on others. It is a difficult moment for all of us but we hope it is also the first step in rebuilding his life. We pray that he moves toward healing and wholeness.

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Ex-Fairfield County Priest Pleads Guilty In Meth Case

CONNECTICUT
The Daily Voice

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. — A Roman Catholic priest from Fairfield County who reportedly made more than $300,000 by selling methamphetamines pleaded guilty Tuesday to a federal drug charge, according to a report in Newsday.

Kevin Wallin, 61, admitted to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and was scheduled to be sentenced June 25. The prosecution and defense agreed on a sentence of 11 to 14 years in prison.

He had previously served as pastor of St. Augustine Parish in Bridgeport for nine years until he resigned in June 2011, citing health and personal reasons. He also served six years as pastor of St. Peter’s Church in Danbury until 2002.

“Msgr. Wallin’s guilty plea represents an important step in his coming to terms with his own actions and their impact on others,” the Diocese of Bridgeport said in a statement on its website. “It is a difficult moment for all of us, but we hope it is also the first step in rebuilding his life. We pray that he moves toward healing and wholeness.”

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Questa priest accused of sexual abuse

NEW MEXICO
KOAT

[with video]

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. —A New Mexico Catholic priest is accused of molesting a young boy in the late 1980s.

The civil suit, filed Tuesday, accuses the church of negligence in training, or checking the background of Father Michael O’Brien, who served at St. Anthony’s Parish in Questa.

According to the suit, O’Brien “groomed” the altar boy by giving him massages.

Soon after, the priest is accused of sexually assaulting the boy for more than a year.

That alleged victim is now 37, and didn’t come forward about the abuse until last year, but his attorney said there could be more victims out there.

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Uganda Catholic bishop apologises to sexual abuse victims

UGANDA
The Africa Report

By Godfrey Olukya

A top Ugandan Roman Catholic Church bishop has apologised to victims of sexual abuse by the church’s priests in the East African country after a priest exposed the scandal.

Cyprian Kizito Lwanga, the leader of the church in Uganda made the apology after a letter written by Father Anthony Musaala exposing the abuse found its way into Facebook.



Last month Father Musaala wrote a letter to Lwanga complaining that many Catholic priests and bishops in the country had wives and children.



He also called on the church to allow Ugandan clerics to marry.

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Sexuelle Übergriffe durch katholische Geistliche in Deutschland

DEUTSCHLAND
dbk

Vorwort
Im Jahr 2002 wurden durch die Deutsche Bischofskonferenz für alle Diözesen verbindliche Leitlinien zum Umgang mit sexuellem Missbrauch innerhalb der katholischen Kirche erlas-sen. Im Folgejahr wurde im Vatikan auf einem Kongress internationaler Experten zum Thema „Sexueller Missbrauch in der katholischen Kirche – wissenschaftliche und juristische Perspektiven“ (Hanson, Pfäfflin & Lütz, 2004) unter anderem festgehalten, dass für die indi-viduelle Risikobeurteilung der beschuldigten Geistlichen eine Nutzung der in der forensi-schen psychiatrischen Psychiatrie etablierten Methoden und Standards unabdingbar ist.

Im Bereich der Deutschen Bischofskonferenz wurden daher seit 2004 in entsprechenden Fällen vermehrt forensisch-psychiatrische Gutachten in Auftrag gegeben. Es etablierten sich bundesweit drei Zentren, in denen der überwiegende Teil dieser Gutachten erstellt wurden, nämlich in den Instituten für Forensische Psychiatrie der Universität Duisburg-Essen (Leiter: Prof. Dr. med. N. Leygraf) und der Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin (Leiter: Prof. Dr. med. H.-L. Kröber) sowie in der Sektion Forensische Psychotherapie der Universität Ulm (Leiter: Prof. Dr. med. F. Pfäfflin). Im Rahmen gemeinsamer Gespräche der drei Institutsleiter mit dem Vorsitzenden der Deutschen Bischofkonferenz über die im Zusammenhang mit den Be-gutachtungen gemachten Erfahrungen entstanden erste Überlegungen, die gutachterlich gewonnenen Erkenntnisse systematisch zu erfassen und wissenschaftlich auszuwerten.

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Royal Commission…

AUSTRALIA
Telegraph

Royal Commission into Catholic Church child abuse should run as long as needed, says cop

Tory Shepherd
News Limited Network
April 03, 2013

THE police officer whose revelations sparked the Royal Commission that began today says he has ”no problem” that the deadlines are already likely to blow out.

Detective Chief Inspector Peter Fox’s explosive revelations about child sex abuse and cover ups in the Catholic Church and police force started the momentum for a federal Royal Commission.

The commission began in Melbourne today and chairman Justice Peter McClellan warned that they will struggle to meet their deadlines as more than 5000 people are expected to want to tell their stories.

The final reporting date was initially set for the end of 2015, with an interim report due next year.

Insp Fox said it was a ”wise decision” to let the commission run as long as it needs to.

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The first step forward in a long journey towards healing

AUSTRALIA
The Courier

ANOTHER important day in the history of institutionalised sexual abuse was reached yesterday with the first sitting of the royal commission in Melbourne.

As uncomfortable and lengthy as the royal commission is predicted to be, it promises to provide an opportunity for ultimate discovery of the truth.

Through the state government’s own inquiry, Victorians have seen that the impact of institutional sexual abuse continues to adversely affect victims, their families and the wider community. As we have heard in recent months, Ballarat remains an epicentre of the issue.

While the Catholic Church is not the only institution facing scrutiny through the royal commission, its response will be watched with considerable interest.

The church, through its Truth, Justice and Healing Council chief executive Francis Sullivan yesterday suggested it was time for full disclosure: “People have to brace themselves, but the reality is that unless we know what the facts are we won’t be able to get justice for victims. A lot of ordinary Catholics, though, want to see the church stand up here in this process, reveal its story and its truth,” he said.

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Vic inquiry may start abuse reform: parent

AUSTRALIA
The West Australian

AAP
April 3, 2013

Parents of abuse victims say they hope to see legal changes to right the wrongs of the past start as early as this year.

Anthony Foster said it was important for governments to introduce laws that will enable the Catholic Church and other organisations to be brought to task for what they have done in the past.

He and his wife Chrissie hope the Victorian parliamentary inquiry into institutional abuse, which is already well underway, will enable this to happen sooner rather than later.

“We can start to see that action being taken this year,” Mr Foster said after the first hearing of the royal commission into institutional sexual abuse in Melbourne on Wednesday.

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Revealing the evil of child abuse

AUSTRALIA
Herald Sun

Editorial
From:Herald Sun
April 04, 2013

HARROWING evidence of the abuse they suffered is being heard from witnesses at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

It is a time for soul-searching, but it is also a chance to expose the cover-ups that have kept these abuses secret for so long.

The Catholic Church is not the only one guilty of protecting the predators. Other churches and state institutions are also culpable.

The preliminary report of the commission is expected in 18 months. This is ambitious when it is remembered a similar inquiry in Ireland took nine years to present its damning findings.

The Australian royal commission was established after Victorian and New South Wales inquiries started hearing evidence, not only from victims of abuse but police, who for years found their investigations frustrated by the churches and institutions where such crimes took place.

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Victim upbeat as commission makes an impressive start

AUSTRALIA
WA Today

April 4, 2013

Barney Zwartz
Religion editor, The Age.

Analysis

Twenty years ago Bill Nelson left court a crushed man, his solicitors telling him to give up his quest for redress as a child sex abuse victim because the Catholic Church had all the power.

On Wednesday he sat in room 3.3 of the County Court awaiting the opening hearing of the royal commission on child sex abuse and reflected: ”Now I’m in court, and it’s on our side. It’s huge, it’s historic!”

His eager anticipation exemplified the mood of the victims who filled the courtroom to hear commission chairman Peter McClellan outline the plans, processes and priorities for the coming years.

And what they heard was highly encouraging. Justice McClellan was frank and forthright. The commission will be expensive. It will struggle to finish by the end of 2015. It is an enormous and complex undertaking that will hear from thousands of victims, and from many institutions, mostly taking a highly defensive posture.

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Royal commission into child sexual abuse starts in Australia: over 5,000 testimonials expected

AUSTRALIA
The Voice of Russia

A historic royal commission in child sex abuse has started in Australia. The six commissioners will have to hear to over 5,000 testimonials, look into multiple organizations, including religious, and elaborate recommendations for the future.

Speaking at the opening ceremony Julia Gillard, the Australian Prime Minister, said it was an “important moral moment” for Australia as “some very uncomfortable truths” will be revealed.

The first announcement of the commission’s formation appeared in November last year, following persistent claims from police that the Roman Catholic Church had concealed evidence of paedophile priests.

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Silence is not golden, these terrible stories must be told

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

Patrick Carlyon
From:Herald Sun
April 03, 2013

IT was the start of the end of the silence, and wasn’t it a racket? Yet officially at least, the “survivors” of child sex abuse who have waited decades to be unburdened of their stories must wait a little longer.

Inside the Royal Commission, where the hands on the wall clock were missing, chair Justice Peter McClellan announced that evidence was unlikely to start being heard in public until October.

Outside the County Court, however, where trams tinkled and the wind bit, some survivors rushed to tell their secrets now.

They wore bright scarves and waved placards. Hearty greetings and outbreaks of laughter disguised a united grief.

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POLL: Whistleblower laws under scrutiny

AUSTRALIA
Newcastle Herald

By MICHELLE HARRIS, State Political Reporter
April 3, 2013

DETECTIVE Chief Inspector Peter Fox has questioned the adequacy of whistleblower laws after being told his public allegations of interference with police investigations, which sparked two inquiries into child sex abuse, did not qualify him for protection.

Mr Fox said NSW Police representatives told him that his publicly aired concerns – which included allegations members of the Catholic Church in the Hunter had sought to cover up sex abuse and senior police removed him from investigations into such matters – were not protected as public-interest disclosures.

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Church welcomes scrutiny

AUSTRALIA
Canberra Times

April 4, 2013

Thomas McIlroy

The administrator of Canberra’s Catholic archdiocese welcomed the opening hearings of the royal commission on child sexual abuse on Wednesday.

Speaking while on leave, Monsignor John Woods said he hoped the inquiry ”would be for the good of all Australians, especially our children”.

Monsignor Woods will serve as the administrator of the archdiocese until the appointment of a new archbishop. His predecessor, former archbishop of Canberra and Goulburn Mark Coleridge, was this week appointed to a newly created Catholic body dealing with the commission. The 13-member truth justice and healing council will oversee the engagement with the royal commission, assisted by lay staff.

Council chief executive Francis Sullivan said council members were selected for their expertise, including across sexual abuse, paedophilia, trauma, mental illness, suicide and public policy.

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No more suffering in silence for sexually abused

AUSTRALIA
Telegraph

Janet Fife-Yeomans
The Daily Telegraph
April 04, 2013

THE long-suffering victims of child sex abuse will finally be given a voice after decades of suffering in silence.

It’s expected more than 5000 will relive their harrowing ordeals as the royal commission into institutionalised sex abuse against children began yesterday.

The six commissioners, headed by Justice Peter McClellan, said the victims – of all ages and backgrounds – would no longer be ignored and the commissioners were expecting to hear “serious and often shocking allegations”.

“Part of the task given to us is to bear witness, on behalf of the nation, to the abuse and consequential trauma inflicted on many people who have suffered sexual abuse as children,” he said.

The commission has chosen the non-threatening surroundings of regional motel function rooms for the victims to open their hearts and reveal their most agonising and painful secrets.

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After the pain is the punishment

AUSTRALIA
Telegraph

DECADES of pain and torment are set to be revealed with the first steps in the government’s royal commission into institutionalised child sex abuse.

Thousands of childhood abuse victims are preparing for the hopefully liberating process of explaining the crimes they endured.

As stressful as this will be, the challenge of giving evidence does not compare to the ordeals many have already suffered. These Australians remain physically and emotionally scarred by the cruelty inflicted upon them and their numbers are such that the royal commission will continue for years.

The commission’s first task is to listen, but listening will not be enough. Beyond the gathering of evidence and the agonies of revelation, action is required.

This will be the true test of the royal commission. While even the hearing of victims is to be applauded, this will be undercut unless it is supported by a meaningful legal response.

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More than 5000 victims to give evidence

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

[with video]

The Royal Commission into child abuse has warned that it expects to run longer than its allotted time and is likely to hear the stories of over five thousand victims.

Hamish Fitzsimmons

Transcript

TONY JONES, PRESENTER: In its historic first sitting, the national Royal Commission into child abuse has already warned that it’s likely to overrun its 2015 deadline because of the scale of the job ahead.

From Melbourne, Hamish Fitzsimmons reports.

HAMISH FITZSIMMONS, REPORTER: The commission says it’s already received 1,200 calls about submissions. It expects many more to come forward.

PETER MCCLELLAN, COMMISSION CHAIRMAN: It has been made clear to us that it is likely that there are thousands of people throughout Australia who want to give an account of their experience to the commission. It seems likely that at least 5,000 people will want to talk to the commission.

HAMISH FITZSIMMONS: Some think the real number of people wanting to tell their story will well exceed that figure.

VLADIMIR SELAKOVIS, ABUSE SURVIVOR: Thousands upon thousands – not just hundreds; there are thousands upon thousands of these people who are in exactly the same situation as all of us. Our stories may seem the same, but we all travelled the same road, but it was a different situation for all of us.

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Abuse inquiry warns of cost blowouts

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

Pia Akerman
From:The Australian
April 04, 2013

COSTS and deadlines for the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse have blown out before any evidence has been heard, with nearly $1 million spent for each week since the inquiry was announced.

At the commission’s opening session in Melbourne yesterday, chairman Peter McClellan warned the timelines for the inquiry were “unlikely” to be met, though legal processes to elicit documents from the Catholic Church were already under way.

“The task we have is large, the issues are complex,” Justice McClellan said. “But we are now in a position to actively begin the work of gathering the stories and examining the responses of institutions.” He said the commission had spent or committed to spend $22m in the 25 weeks since it was announced by the Gillard government, with the money spent on start-up costs such as fitting out premises and buying an IT system.

“The running costs, including the cost of travel and resourcing commissioner hearings throughout Australia, will have the consequence that the work . . . will continue to require the commitment of very significant sums of public money,” Justice McClellan said.

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Traumatic, costly, complex, shocking: bring it on

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

Stuart Rintoul
From:The Australian
April 04, 2013

“THE task we have is large, the issues are complex,” royal commissioner Peter McClellan said, after setting out the magnitude of the inquiry into child-sex abuse.

The first hearing day was brief, a first step towards a dark and ominous mountain. It heard no evidence and none will be heard until the last quarter of the year at least, although Justice McClellan revealed that the cost of the commission was already at $22 million and notices had been served on “particular bodies within the Catholic Church in Australia and its insurer, the Salvation Army and the NSW Director of Public Prosecutions, seeking the production of documents”.

Justice McClellan and senior counsel assisting the inquiry Gail Furness warned repeatedly that evidence given to the commission would be traumatic, but victims’ advocates left the Victorian County Court grimly satisfied with what they had heard.

Broken Rites researcher Wayne Chamley, who had pressed for a royal commission for 15 years as the organisation pursued pedophile priests who were in many cases shielded by the church, was feeling “rapt”.

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Children betrayed: now for the healing

AUSTRALIA
Sydney Morning Herald

April 4, 2013

Barney Zwartz

The royal commission into child sex abuse is now operating. It expects more than 5000 people to share their experiences, has already spent more than $22 million, and is unlikely to complete its task by the end of 2015 as requested.

Victims can now contact the royal commission to register to tell their stories because trained staff are ready, chairman Justice Peter McClellan said at the first public hearing, in Melbourne.

He said the commission had served notice to produce documents on the Catholic Church, its insurer, the Salvation Army and the NSW Director of Public Prosecutions.

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Archbishop silent over accusations of abuse by clergyman

MALTA
Malta Today

Nestor Laiviera

Archbishop Paul Cremona has refused to react to allegations that a prominent priest has abused of an emotionally and psychologically vulnerable person for sexual purposes.

Over the past few days, two police reports were filed against the same priest by two different people. While separate, both reports tie in as they deal with the same case.

The most serious of the two police reports deals with accusations by a person who alleges that she was abused by a prominent priest for sexual purposes despite being vulnerable both emotionally and physically.

She alleges that the abuse took place over a number of months, and that it involved sexual acts which he either persuaded her to perform on him, or her performed on her.

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Priest accused of abuse in 1980s

NEW MEXICO
ABQ Journal

By T.S. Last / Journal Staff Writer on Wed, Apr 3, 2013

A 37-year-old man filed a lawsuit in Second Judicial District Court in Albuquerque on Tuesday alleging that a Roman Catholic priest in Questa sexually molested him over a 1 1/2-year period in the 1980s.

The lawsuit alleges that the Rev. Michael O’Brien abused the plaintiff, identified only as “John Doe” in the complaint, beginning when he was about 10 or 11 years old and while he was in training to become an altar boy at St. Anthony Parish in Questa, north of Taos.

According to the complaint, the alleged abuse began with what the now-deceased O’Brien, known as “Father Mike,” called “massage time” and “escalated to the point that Fr. O’Brien committed many counts of criminal sexual contact and penetration against Plaintiff.”

The lawsuit states that the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, which oversees parishes in northern New Mexico, and St. Anthony Parish knew or should have known that O’Brien was a pedophile priest and had “unbridled access to children.” It further alleges that the archdiocese placed O’Brien and other pedophile priests into New Mexico parishes and “deliberately chose to conceal the fact of the priest’s problems.”

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Inquiry Into Suspended Troy Priest Is Now An FBI Case

MICHIGAN
Deadline Detroit

April 3rd, 2013

Three months after a Troy parish priest was abruptly suspended and kicked out of his St. Thomas More Catholic Church home, FBI agents have taken over an inquiry into his handling of more than $400,00, Carol Hopkins reports in The Oakland Press.

Rev. Edward Belczak was asked to temporarily step aside from his duties at the church on North Adams Road in Troy in January during the probes that he mishandled at least $429,000 in church money. . . .

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Church agonises, Hollywood seizes moment

AUSTRALIA
WA Today

April 4, 2013

Karl Quinn
National Film Editor for Fairfax Media

The Catholic Church’s handling of abuse allegations will soon face the full glare of Hollywood’s publicity machine, with Steven Spielberg’s DreamWorks studio backing a feature based on a true scandal involving paedophile priests in Boston.

As yet untitled, the film will be based on a year-long series of reports by investigative journalists at The Boston Globe, which earned a Pulitzer prize in 2003.

The Catholic Church’s handling of the abuse scandal is increasingly rich territory for filmmakers. In 2006, Amy Berg’s documentary Deliver Us From Evil looked at the case of a paedophile priest repeatedly moved around the US by church authorities well aware of his offending. Now showing is Alex Gibney’s Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God, which examines the abuse of boys at a deaf school in Wisconsin from the 1950s to the 1970s.

A Polish feature film, In The Name Of, first shown at the Berlin Film Festival this year, takes a more sympathetic approach to the story of a homosexual priest.

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Gardai informed about abuse claim against Limerick priest

IRELAND
Limerick Leader

By Mike Dwane
Published on 03/04/2013

GARDAI have been made aware of an allegation of child sexual abuse made against a priest of the Limerick diocese.

The allegation is one of sexual impropriety involving a minor and dates back to the 1990s when the priest was serving in a parish in the city.

Mass-goers in the priest’s County Limerick parish were told at the weekend that the cleric had voluntarily stepped aside from ministry on being made aware of the complaint last week. A canonical investigation into the matter has now been set in motion.

A source familiar with the priest involved described the allegation as being “at the lower end of the spectrum” and said the priest would “strenuously deny” any wrongdoing.

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Welcome to the Royal Commission

AUSTRALIA
Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

Latest news
•3 April 20113 – Image gallery from first Hearing
See images from the first Hearing held on 3 April 2013.
•2 April 2013 – First Hearing webcast
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (the Commission) will hold its first sitting at 10.00 am on Wednesday 3 April 2013 at the County Court of Victoria, 250 William Street, Melbourne.

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Call to clarify abuse support training

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

AAP
April 03, 2013

THE peak national body supporting adults abused as children says the royal commission’s off to a great start, but is concerned about how well trained its support staff are.

Adults Surviving Child Abuse (ASCA) president Cathy Kezelman says the commission’s willingness to communicate and inform while setting reasonable expectations is positive, adding that a very thorough process had been undertaken.

She wants to ensure, however, all support personnel have had adequate training, particularly to prevent victims from being retraumatised.

“It’s very important for the health and wellbeing of everyone coming forward, but also for everyone involved in the commission,” Dr Kezelman told AAP.

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New Archbishop Expresses Regret To Victims Of Sexual Abuse

OREGON
OPB

OPB | April 02, 2013

Portland has a new archbishop. The Most Reverend Alexander Sample leads an archdiocese of approximately 400,000 Catholics.

He was installed at a formal ceremony at the University of Portland Tuesday.

A Vatican delegate read out the apostolic letter of appointment in front of the public and representatives from around the world.

Once Sample took a seat in the bishop’s throne, he officially assumed his new position.

In the Archbishop’s sermon, he spoke explicitly about the Catholic church’s recent sex abuse scandals.

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Pope Francis hasn’t done anything unusual or unexpected in regard to clergy sex abuse

UNITED STATES
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

Posted by David Clohessy on April 02, 2013

“He’s done something unusual/unexpected practically every day.” That’s how an anonymous but high ranking Vatican official describes Pope Francis.

[click here]

Except, however, in clergy sex abuse and cover up cases. So far in that arena, tragically, we see no changes whatsoever.

Pope Francis is being proclaimed as a master of the touching and unexpected gesture. He’s known for his simple lifestyle, and his openness and willingness to meet with “regular” people by doing things like taking the bus to work.

But the sole gesture he’s made regarding the church’s central crisis has been a hurtful one: meeting with disgraced Cardinal Bernard Law.

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Niederlande: Gericht hebt Verbot des Pädophilen-Vereins “Martijn” wieder auf

NIEDERLANDE
Short News

Das Berufungsgericht in Leeuwarden hat am heutigen Dienstag das Verbot gegen den Pädophilen-Verein “Martijn” wieder aufgehoben. Der Verein würde nicht für soziale Unruhen sorgen, hieß es unter anderem in der Urteilsbegründung. “Martijn” wurde 2012 verboten (ShortNews berichtete).

In der Urteilsbegründung gab das Gericht weiter an, dass die Texte und Bilder auf der Vereinswebsite nicht strafbar wären. Auch könne man den Verein nicht verbieten, nur weil einige Mitglieder wegen Kindesmissbrauch vorbestraft sind.

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DreamWorks dreht Film über Sexskandale in US-Diözese

LOS ANGELES (CA)
News

Los Angeles – Das von Steven Spielberg mitbegründete Hollywood-Studio DreamWorks greift einen kontroversen Stoff auf.

Zusammen mit der Produktionsfirma Participant Media hat sich DreamWorks die Rechte zu einer Enthüllungsgeschichte über sexuellen Missbrauch durch katholische Priester in der Erzdiözese Boston gesichert. Wie das US-Branchenblatt «Hollywood Reporter» berichtete, übernimmt Tom McCarthy («Station Agent», «Ein Sommer in New York – The Visitor») die Regie.

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Heibel: „Verfahren in Südafrika muss ein Ende haben“

DEUTSCHLAND
WZ

Von Peter Korall

Bischof Stephan Ackermann soll das Gespräch mit Georg K. suchen, der vor Gericht steht.

Willich. Johannes Heibel, Vorsitzender der Initiative gegen sexuellen Missbrauch, versucht, Bewegung in den Fall des gebürtigen Willicher Geistlichen Georg K. zu bringen. K. steht in Johannesburg vor Gericht (die WZ berichtete). Ihm wird vorgeworfen, sich zwei Jugendlichen während eines Kommunioncamps genähert zu haben. Zudem hat er massive Missbräuche in Deutschland eingestanden. Das Verfahren in Johannesburg kommt unterdessen nicht voran, immer wieder wird es von Anträgen der Verteidigung verzögert.

Heibel hat sich an den Trierer Bischof Stephan Ackermann gewandt. Der ist Missbrauch-Beauftragter der katholischen Kirche und reist demnächst nach Südafrika. Dort trifft er unter anderem auf Pfarrer Hippler, der Georg K. derzeit betreut.

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All abusers must be punished: victims

AUSTRALIA
Telegraph

AN abuse victims advocate says nobody should be spared punishment for crimes against children, be they a charity, church, government or a 99-year-old individual.

On the first day of the royal commission into child sex abuse, Leonie Sheedy of the Care Leavers of Australia Network fought back tears as she called for the royal commission to “get it right”.

She described the abuse of children in care as “Australia’s grubbiest little secret”, and said she wanted justice for victims.

“I want to see people who have sexually used children … be made accountable,” Ms Sheedy said.

“I don’t care how old they are. I think if you’re 99 and you’re still alive you should face the full force of the courts of this country, you should be sentenced to appropriate sentences.

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Royal Commission …

AUSTRALIA
Herald Sun

Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse: Banners said ‘You have the records of our abuse’

Erin Marie
Herald Sun
April 03, 2013

VICTIMS of child sex abuse wept openly in the street as the Royal Commission commenced its long-awaited hearing this morning.

More than 20 advocates wielding placards rallied outside the County Court in Melbourne as The Royal

Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse commenced its long-awaited inquiry.

Victims gathered descended outside the court eagerly awaiting the outcome of the first hour-long hearing, some armed with signs which read: “You have the records of our abuse” and “Government OK’S abuse in state-run orphanages”.

Victims, organisations and advocates poured onto William St following the hearing, with some openly embracing and others appearing teary-eyed by the emotion of the inquiry’s launch.

Leonie Sheedy of the Care Leavers of Australia Network (CLAN) – a network for people raised in the nation’s orphanages, Children’s Homes and foster care – said the first day of proceedings had been “overwhelming” for the organisation’s members.

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Royal Commission’s start is itself a blessing

AUSTRALIA
NEWS.com.au

Peter Fox
From: News Limited Network
April 03, 2013

FORMER NSW Detective Inspector Peter Fox’s decision to blow the whistle on a Catholic Church cover-up of child sexual abuse was the catalyst for Julia Gillard’s announcement of the Royal Commission, which starts today.

I am absolutely delighted that this day has finally come. A lot of people have been waiting for so long for something like this to happen.

I realise that the hard evidence will be a long slow process, but just to see it begin is fantastic.

Through various means about six or eight of childhood sexual abuse victims have contacted me since I spoke out in November and I have steered them in the right direction to get help.

But the start of this Royal Commission means that a lot more people will now be prepared to come forward.

This has been a very difficult subject for a very long time and a lot of people have kept it as a deep dark secret.

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Abuse hearings ‘unable to meet deadline’

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

PIA AKERMAN
From:The Australian
April 03, 2013

THE royal commission into child sexual abuse has leapt into action by serving notices on the Catholic Church to produce documents, while warning the timelines laid out for the massive inquiry are “unlikely” to be met.

Commission chairman Justice Peter McClellan said he expected evidence would not be taken until at least the last quarter of this year.

He said expects the commission will hear serious and shocking allegations and that he had been advised the commissioners themselves and their staff could be harmed by constantly hearing the allegations.

Justice McClellan said for that reason it would not be possible for the commission to continuously listen to victims’ stories.

The commission’s opening hearing in Melbourne today heard the 2016 deadline for its final report was unrealistic because of the number of people expected to give personal accounts and the number of institutions affected by allegations.

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Royal Commission a time to tell the truth

AUSTRALIA
ABC Gippsland

By Celine Foenander

A group which represents children who grew up in orphanages, children’s homes and foster care is calling on its members to be brave enough to tell their story to a Royal Commission.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse got underway in Melbourne this morning.

The Care Leavers Australia Network or CLAN says it will support its members through the process, many of whom are in Gippsland.

“The public needs to know what happened to us, we’re the invisible children and when we did try to speak out, we weren’t believed,” CLAN executive officer and co-founder Leonie Sheedy told ABC Gippsland.

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Wide scope for abuse royal commission

AUSTRALIA
9 News

[with video]

The royal commission into sexual abuse in institutions will give a voice to victims and gain vital information to deal with cases in the future, its chairman says.

The commission will examine all institutions in a far-ranging inquiry that will last at least three years.

More than 5000 people are expected to tell their stories meaning the commission will struggle to meet its deadlines, chair Justice Peter McClellan said.

The commission will look at a number of issues associated with the abuse and lessons that can be learned.

People who have suffered abuse in institutions such as churches, schools, scouting groups, orphanages, athletic clubs, childcare centres and detention centres will be invited to give evidence.

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Royal Commission begins with warning about workload

AUSTRALIA
ABC – The World Today

ELEANOR HALL: Let’s go now to Melbourne, where the Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse has opened this morning. The hearing began with a warning about the size of the Commission’s workload and a prediction that it won’t meet its reporting deadline.

The chairman, Justice Peter McClellan, said he expects many thousands of witnesses to give evidence about suffering sexual abuse in institutions.

Simon Lauder was at the County Court in Melbourne as the inquiry began and he joins us now.

Simon, the Commissioner is clearly indicating that he has a very large task. Just how wide-ranging is this inquiry?

SIMON LAUDER: It’s possibly Australia’s most wide-ranging Royal Commission ever. The name says it all really, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. So that’s anyone under the age of 18 whose been, who was abused in any institution, be it private or government run and that can be a sporting institution, an educational one.

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Sex abuse victims asked to be patient

AUSTRALIA
NEWS.com.au

Genevieve Gannon
AAP
April 03, 2013

ABUSE victims who have waited decades to tell their story have been asked to be patient as the royal commission into responses to child sex abuse begins the lengthy process of collecting information.

More than 5000 people are expected to approach the royal commission to share their experiences, commission chair Justice Peter McClellan said.

Counsel assisting the commission, Gail Furness SC, said the volume of submissions meant it could take some time for staff to respond.

“While I understand that people may have been waiting years if not decades to tell their story, I ask each of you to be patient,” Ms Furness said on Wednesday.

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Royal Commission into Child Sex Abuse updates

AUSTRALIA
Herald Sun

Janet Fife-Yeomans
From:The Daily Telegraph
April 03, 2013

VICTIMS of child sex abuse wept openly in the street as the Royal Commission commenced its long-awaited hearing this morning.

More than 20 advocates wielding placards rallied outside the County Court in Melbourne as The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse commenced its long-awaited inquiry.

Victims gathered descended outside the court eagerly awaiting the outcome of the first hour-long hearing, some armed with signs which read: “You have the records of our abuse” and “Government OK’s abuse in state-run orphanages”.

11.04am: The Royal Commission into Child Sex Abuse will look at the sentences handed down in the courts for child predators.

Counsel assisting the commission, Gail Furness SC, said the Scouts, Girl Guides, orphanages, swimming, child care centres, kindergartens and little athletics are among the institutions to be investigated by the royal commission into child sex abuse.

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Church will pay compo to child sex victims

AUSTRALIA
Otago Daily Times (New Zealand)

The Catholic Church wants the truth exposed at the royal commission into responses to child sex abuse, and will pay compensation to victims, its representative says.

Truth Justice and Healing Council chief executive Francis Sullivan says the commission will be embarrassing for the church but it is imperative the truth emerges.

“We are going to encourage, wherever possible, individuals to come forward with their experiences so that the truth can come out,” he said.

“The church leadership in Australia have made it clear that they are going to be open and honest and co-operate fully.”

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Abuse wrongs ‘must be acknowledged’

AUSTRALIA
Sky News

The first sitting of the royal commission into sexual abuse has heard past wrongs must be acknowledged.

Justice Peter McClellan was outlining the process under which the commission will operate.

He said the commission had to examine some difficult truths.

‘The community has come to acknowledge that fundamental wrongs have been committed in the past which have caused great trauma and lasting damage to many people,’ Justice McClellan said at the first sitting in Melbourne on Wednesday.

The commission will not begin hearing evidence until later this year.

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Does my voice count? Royal Commission into child abuse

AUSTRALIA
ABC Sydney

[with audio]

Victims of institutional child sexual abuse in Australia continue to question the value of speaking out, even though a Royal Commission into the crimes has begun its work. A total of six commissioners, led by Justice Peter McClelland, held an initial meeting in Melbourne to outline how the Royal Commission will now tackle the process of seeking justice for an epidemic of abuse that has scarred thousands of Australians for decades.

As the Federal government also announced free legal assistance to victims, Tony called 702 Mornings, emotionally shaken as he recounted abuse at the hands of a Catholic brother at a school in Burwood in the early 1960s.

“I thought I’d dealt with it, I thought I’d got over it,” Tony said, his voice shaking as he described the unwelcome memories flooding back.

And to compound the original abuse, Tony said he had found the school unwilling and secretive when he had made an approach hoping to speak to the brother, to seek an apology and offer forgiveness as the “Christian thing to do.”

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Church determined the truth be told

AUSTRALIA
Catholic Leader

Published: 7 April 2013

AS the Church announced members of the council that will oversee its engagement with the Royal Commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse, Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane has reaffirmed his commitment to working with the commission.

Australian Catholic Bishops Conference president Archbishop Denis Hart and Catholic Religious Australia president Sister of Charity Annette Cunliffe announced the members of the Truth, Justice and Healing Council (TJHC) on Tuesday (April 2).

The TJHC will oversee the Church’s engagement with the Royal Commission.

Council chief executive officer Francis Sullivan welcomed the announcement saying the 13-member council was made up of men and women with professional and other expertise, especially across child sexual abuse, paedophilia, trauma, mental illness, suicide and public policy.

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Answering your questions …

AUSTRALIA
NEWS.com.au

Answering your questions on The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

Tory Shepherd
adelaidenow
April 03, 2013

LATE last year, a NSW police officer made shocking allegations about child-sex abuse and cover-ups within the Catholic Church and the police force.

That started a snowball effect, a rallying cry for a federal Royal Commission to investigate institutional sex abuse once and for all.

Within days, Prime Minister Julia Gillard ordered that such a commission be established to investigate child-sex offenders and those who protected them, and those who “averted their eyes” to what was going on.

Now The Royal Commission of Inquiry into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has held its first hearing in Melbourne.

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Australia opens royal commission into child sex abuse

AUSTRALIA
The Times (UK)

More than 5,000 people are expected to appear before a royal commission into child sex abuse that opens in Australia today.

Julia Gillard, the Prime Minister, warned Australians on the first day of the inquiry, which will examine decades of child abuse in church and state institutions, that they faced “some very uncomfortable truths”.

“This is an important moral moment for our nation,” Ms Gillard told ABC Radio as the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse got under way at the Victorian County Court in Melbourne.

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Catholic church urged to speed up abuse compensation payments

NETHERLANDS
Expatica

The Catholic church must speed up the processing of sexual abuse damages claims and complete the hundreds of payments by the end of the year, parliament has told the church authorities.

Last week, Wim Deetman who chaired the commission investigating the abuse called on the church to increase the tempo of settlements, a position now echoed by a majority of MPs.

Last month it emerged the church has so far paid out €3.1 million to abuse victims. Compensation is made on a sliding scale of one to five.

‘If you consider how long the church has hidden the abuse, then they shold want to solve this as quickly as possible,’ VVD parliamentarian Ard van de Steur told Nos television.

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Abuse royal commission begins work

AUSTRALIA
WA Today

April 3, 2013

Patrick Caruana and Genevieve Gannon
AAP

Finally, the powerful people are here to help.

It is only the beginning of a long and traumatic process but victims and their families have tearfully embraced after waiting decades for the royal commission into responses to child sex abuse.

Chrissie Foster, whose daughter died of a medication overdose after being abused by a priest, said it was a day she thought would never come.

“It’s an amazing thing to sit in there with those powerful people and hear what they’re going to do for future children and right the wrongs of the past,” she said after the commission’s first hearing.

“I’m just so overwhelmed and happy that this is happening in our country.”

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Australia launches national child sex abuse inquiry

AUSTRALIA
7 News

MELBOURNE (AFP) – Australia opened a national probe into child sex abuse on Wednesday, with premier Julia Gillard warning of “uncomfortable truths” as institutions including schools and churches come under scrutiny.

Gillard ordered the inquiry in November after a decade of growing pressure to investigate widespread allegations of paedophilia, two months after the Catholic Church in Victoria revealed hundreds of children had been abused.

“This is an important moral moment for our nation,” Gillard told ABC radio as the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse began at the Victorian County Court in Melbourne.

“When I established this royal commission I understood that it was going to require our whole country to stare some very uncomfortable truths in the face,” the prime minister said.

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Factbox: the royal commission into child sexual abuse

AUSTRALIA
SBS

The first sitting of the royal commission into institutional child sexual abuse began today in Melbourne.

WHY IS IT HAPPENING?

The main aim of the royal commission is to investigate systemic failures within church and state-run institutions relating to child sexual abuse and related matters.

Earlier this year Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced the terms of a Royal Commission into institutional child sexual abuse.

A joint statement from Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Mr Dreyfus and Families and Community Services Minister Jenny Macklin said the commission hearings would “mark the start of a healing process for survivors and their families”.

“The royal commission will enable thousands of Australians who suffered as children to recount their experiences and express feelings that many carry to this day as a result of the harm caused to them,” the statement said.

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Abuse royal commission expects 5000 submissions

AUSTRALIA
Sydney Morning Herald

April 3, 2013

Barney Zwartz
Religion editor, The Age.

The royal commission into child sex abuse is now open for business. It expects more than 5000 submissions, has already spent more than $22 million, and is unlikely to complete its task by the end of 2015 as requested.

From today, victims can contact the royal commission to register to tell their stories because trained staff are now ready, chairman Justice Peter McClellan announced at the commission’s first public hearing, in Melbourne.

He said the commission had already serviced notice to produce documents on the Catholic Church, its insurer, the Salvation Army and the NSW Director of Public Prosecutions.

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Finally, the child victims can speak at the royal commission

AUSTRALIA
Herald Sun

Peter Fox
From:Herald Sun
April 04, 2013

OVER decades I have investigated and witnessed the terrible lifelong effect of child sexual abuse on victims and their families.

After seeing systems fail those victims, I finally joined the call for a federal royal commission by writing to the NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell last November. Now we have a chance to get this right.

The Australian Royal Commission examining Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has an enormous assignment before it: listening to hundreds, if not thousands, of witnesses, and investigating and examining evidence, before making nation-changing recommendations.

It’s not going to be easy, and no one is imagining that it will be. Public expectations are high, as they should be. Just because this is going to be difficult and painful doesn’t mean we shouldn’t go there. Australians are noted for tackling difficult situations.

Similar commissions and inquiries have been conducted overseas, exposing child sexual abuse of horrific proportions. The scale of these crimes shocked the US, Canada, the Netherlands, Austria and elsewhere in Europe.

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Catholic Church comes under attack

AUSTRALIA
Herald Sun

Andrew Bolt
From:Herald Sun
April 04, 2013

THERE’S a smell of burning Christian.

And the royal commission into child sexual abuse in institutions is stoking a hot fire. The commission opened yesterday with ominous warnings that suggest the Catholic Church will be under serious ideological attack.

Royal commissioner Peter McClellan declared there had been “changes in power” in society, thanks in part to the “women’s movement” , and we should expect “changes in the culture and management practices of institutions”.

Was he referring to the church? Must it fit in more with these secular, feminist and even anti-clerical times? Incidentally, all three barristers assisting the commission are women.

True, McClellan will also investigate abuse in state-run institutions and even sporting clubs, but his commission will inevitably be influenced by a media-class culture that has a patricidal hatred of the Catholic Church to the exclusion of worse sinners.

Take comedian Josh Thomas on the ABC’s Q&A on Monday. Faced with a Catholic archbishop who opposed gay marriage, Thomas blustered for two minutes: “You play a constant game of stop hitting yourself . . . Sodom and Gomorrah. It’s pretty odd I reject that.”

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Australia begins child sex abuse inquiry

AUSTRALIA
Deutsche Welle

An investigation into widespread child sex abuse in state and religious institutions in Australia has begun. The inquiry is expected to hear from more than 5,000 people.

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced the royal commission last November in response to growing allegations of child sex abuse against the Catholic Church. In September, the Church in the southern state of Victoria admitted to more than 600 cases of children being abused by pedophile priests since the 1930s. However, the inquiry is not specific to the Catholic Church and will cast a wide net over all institutions.

It is being conducted to investigate how widespread alleged abuse has been, but also gain an understanding of how institutions respond to such allegations. It will look into all institutions that work with children, including those run by the government, other religious groups and non-profit organizations.

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Items Seized During Sexual Torture Investigation of Former Pastor

ALABAMA
WHNT

[with video]

FRANKLIN COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – A former Franklin County pastor faces serious sexual abuse allegations.

Sheriff’s investigators say 72-year-old Freddy Hovater is accused of sexual torture, sexual abuse, and enticing a child.

Detectives say Hovater was arrested at his home in October 2011. A Franklin County grand jury handed down an indictment for the alleged crimes during its most recent session.

According to Franklin County Sheriff, Shannon Oliver, Freddy Hovater knew his eight-year-old victim very well.

According to investigators, the sexual abuse happened inside Hovater’s Spruce Pine home for nearly a year.

“It’s very disturbing,” said Oliver. “I`m really kinda lost for words why anyone would do that.”

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Australian child sex abuse inquiry chief …

AUSTRALIA
Washington Post

Australian child sex abuse inquiry chief says more than 5,000 victims likely to testify

By Associated Press

Updated: Wednesday, April 3

MELBOURNE, Australia — The head of an Australia-wide commission looking into allegations of child sex abuse in state and religious institutions as well as community groups said more than 5,000 victims are likely to give evidence of their harrowing experiences.

Justice Pete McClellan chairs a bench of six commissioners who on Wednesday started a powerful government-appointed inquiry known in Australia as a Royal Commission. Witnesses can be compelled to testify and risk imprisonment for lying.

The inquiry was unlikely to achieve its deadline set by the government of late 2015 because so many people wanted to give evidence, he said.

McClellan said he expected at least 5,000 people will want to give evidence, but the actual number could be much higher.

“The task we have is large; the issues are complex,” McClellan said.

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April 2, 2013

Imam arrested in Toronto for crimes in the US

CANADA/UNITED STATES
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

Posted by Barbara Dorris on April 02, 2013

Yesterday, a day after being acquitted of charges in Canada, police in Toronto arrested Mohammad Masroor for extradition to the US in the case of a Muslim cleric who is also accused of molesting in Michigan and Florida.

We are grateful to Toronto police for arresting this Imam before he could flee to a country where he could avoid extradition to the US. It is important that he face trial for the alleged abuse that allegedly occurred in Michigan and Florida. We hope that this arrest will bring hope to the children who have been victimized by him.

Given the history of allegations against Masroor and the multitude of countries to which he has ties, we believe that there are likely other victims out there suffering in silence. We urge anyone who may have seen or suspected crimes by Masroor or any other Imam will come forward and make a report to police.

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DreamWorks, Participant Pick Up Church Sex Abuse Scandal Film (Exclusive)

UNITED STATES
Hollywood Reporter

Tom McCarthy has signed on to direct and co-write the script with Josh Singer.

In a move certain to spark controversy, DreamWorks Studios and Participant Media have acquired film rights to the story of the Catholic Church’s decades-long cover-up of its pedophile priests in Massachusetts as uncovered during a yearlong investigation by the Boston Globe.

Tom McCarthy (The Visitor) has signed on to direct and co-write the script with Josh Singer (the upcoming WikiLeaks movie The Fifth Estate).

Anonymous Content’s Michael Sugar and Steve Golin and Rocklin/Faust’s Nicole Rocklin and Blye Faust will produce. David Mizner, who brought the project to the producers, will serve as a consultant and associate producer. Participant’s Jonathan King and Jeff Skoll will serve as executive producers.

Life rights have been acquired to the Boston Globe’s “Spotlight Team” of reporters and editors, including then-Globe editor Marty Baron, special projects editor Ben Bradlee Jr., Spotlight Team editor Walter “Robby” Robinson and reporters Michael Rezendes, Sacha Pfeiffer and Matt Carroll.

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Man sues archdiocese, alleging sex abuse by priest

NEW MEXICO
The New Mexican

By Tom Sharpe
The New Mexican

An anonymous Taos County man alleges in a lawsuit that he was molested as a child by a priest in Questa some 25 years ago.

He claims the Rev. Michael O’Brien raped him, beginning when he was 10 or 11 years old and continuing until he was 12 or 13.

O’Brien was known for starting the Pilgrimage for Vocations while he was a pastor in Estancia in 1973. The 100-mile walk from Estancia to Chimayó was meant to recruit young men to the priesthood.

He went on to serve at the San Francisco de Asis Catholic Church in Ranchos de Taos from from 1980 to 1981, at St. Gertrude the Great in Mora, 1982-84, Our Lady of Sorrows in Las Vegas, N.M., 1985-86, and St. Anthony in Questa, 1987-89.

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And on the first day of Child Abuse Prevention Month, this happened …

OREGON
Statesman Journal

Here is a draft of our Wednesday editorial:

On Monday, the first day of National Child Abuse Prevention Month, a Woodburn priest pleaded guilty and was sent to prison for six-plus years for molesting a boy.

What Angel Armando Perez did was awful. His is the type of story that often makes the news, sometimes with a worse ending. In this case, the 12-year-old boy ran for help when he awoke to find Perez touching him inappropriately.

Many abusers are people like Perez — people in authority, people who would never be suspected, people who choose victims whom they think would stay silent about the abuse.

However, Angel Armando Perez is not the typical or most common child abuser in the Mid-Valley. That is the parent who neglects his or her children, often because the parent is hooked on drugs or alcohol.

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Questa man claims sexual abuse, sues Archdiocese of Santa Fe

NEW MEXICO
KOB

[with video]

A 37 year old man from Questa says he was sexually abused by his parish priest when he was a boy back in the 1980s. Now he’s suing the Archdiocese of Santa Fe for damages.

He’s known as “John Doe” in the lawsuit filed Tuesday in Albuquerque. The idea is that the archdiocese failed to screen, train or supervise Father Michael O’Brien, a priest the lawyers believe is now dead.

John Doe says he was an altar boy at St. Anthony church in Questa. He says he was about ten or eleven years old when Father O’Brien escalated from back rubs to criminal sexual contact and penetration.

Doe’s lawyer, Brad Hall of Albuquerque, says the lawsuit is part of the healing process for his client.

“I believe this is one of those cases,” Hall said. “I don’t think he’s motivated by verdicts or dollars. He truly has been in dire straits psychologically as he has come to grips with this.”

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Archdiocese named in sex-abuse lawsuit

NEW MEXICO
KRQE

Updated: Tuesday, 02 Apr 2013

Kim Vallez

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – A New Mexico man has filed a lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Santa Fe alleging he was sexually abused by a priest when he was an altar boy at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Questa.

In the lawsuit the man identified only as John Doe names Father Michael O’Brien as the man alleged to have abused him.

He claims Father Mike started with hugs, soon was massaging the boy and then moved on to rape.

The man claims the incidents happened over a two-year period when he was about 10 or 11 years old, but he didn’t reveal the alleged incidents until 2012.

Attorney Brad Hall, who is representing the man, says he went to the archdiocese first for help. They offered him counseling with the condition that he could not contact any attorneys or file a lawsuit.

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BREAKING: New lawsuit alleges 1980s Questa priest was pedophile

NEW MEXICO
ABQ Journal

By Mark Oswald / Journal Staff Writer
on Tue, Apr 2, 2013

A new lawsuit has been filed in state District Court alleging that a Roman Catholic parish priest in Questa sexually abused a 10-year-old or 11-year-old boy repeatedly over a period of a year and half in the 1980s.

The suit alleges that the Rev. Michael O’Brien abused the boy while assigned to St. Anthony Parish in Questa, north of Taos, where the victim’s parents wanted him to be an altar boy and the priest was known as “Father Mike.” The Archdiocese of Santa Fe and St. Anthony Parish are named as defendants.

Efforts by a Journal reporter to reach an archdiocese spokeswoman for comment today were not immediately successful.

The lawsuit says the victim of O’Brien’s “many counts of criminal sexual contact and penetration” went to the archdiocese in 2012, “seeking help.” The suit alleges he was told the archdiocese would pay for counseling for him “as long as he did not talk to a lawyer or bring a claim.”

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St. Paul dad pleads not guilty to pointing AK-47 at daughter for not getting A’s

MINNESOTA
Star Tribune

Article by: JOY POWELL , Star Tribune
Updated: April 2, 2013

A 52-year-old Russian Orthodox priest rejected a plea deal on charges that he pointed an assault rifle at his wife and teen daughter over the girl’s failure to get straight A’s.

A Russian Orthodox priest rejected a plea deal on Tuesday in St. Paul and is headed to trial for allegedly pointing an AK-47 assault rifle at his wife and teen daughter because the girl got two B’s in school.

Kiril Bartashevitch, 52, pleaded not guilty to two felony counts of terroristic threats after allegedly point the rifle at the mother and daughter during a dispute on Jan. 13, according to a criminal complaint filed in Ramsey County District Court.

Bartashevitch fired no shots, but he threw his wife to the floor when she tried to protect her daughter, the complaint says.

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Priest convicted of rape loses appeal

NEW YORK/MASSACHUSETTS
Albany Times Union

By Brendan J. Lyons

Published 5:38 pm, Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A Massachusetts appellate court on Tuesday rejected the appeal of a former Albany Roman Catholic Diocese priest who was convicted of raping altar boys during trips to Berkshire County in the 1980s.

Gary Mercure, 65, was sentenced to more than 20 years in prison for his 2011 conviction on charges he raped two boys that he drove to Massachusetts on hiking and skiing trips. The victims were altar boys for Mercure at Our Lady of Annunciation parish in Warren County.

In his appeal, Mercure’s attorney argued that the trial judge should not have allowed the jury to hear testimony about uncharged sex crimes from the two victims raped in Massachusetts, as well as from four other alleged victims who testified about incidents of sexual abuse by Mercure between 1981 and 1993. The uncharged crimes took place in New York, where the statute of limitations time-barred any prosecution.

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Suspended Conn. priest admits to meth charge

CONNECTICUT
News 12

Updated: April 2, 2013
By The Associated Press DAVE COLLINS

HARTFORD, Conn. – (AP) — A suspended Roman Catholic priest accused of making more than $300,000 in methamphetamine sales out of his Connecticut apartment while running an adult video and sex toy shop pleaded guilty Tuesday to a federal drug charge.

Kevin Wallin, 61, of Waterbury, admitted to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and was scheduled to be sentenced June 25. The prosecution and defense agreed on a sentence of 11 to 14 years in prison.

Prosecutors said the 61-year-old Wallin had meth mailed to him from co-conspirators in California and sold the drugs out of his Waterbury apartment last year. He also bought an adult video and sex toy shop in North Haven named Land of Oz & Dorothy’s Place, apparently to launder the drug money, authorities said.

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Franklin County Man Indicted for Sexual Assault

ALABAMA
WZDX

FRANKLIN COUNTY, Ala. (WZDX) – A Franklin County grand jury indicted a Spruce Pine man for sexually assaulting a child.

Freddy Hovater was indicted during a March grand jury session on charges of first degree sexual abuse and sexual torture of a child under 12.

Hovater was arrested in October. Investigators said he sexually assaulted a child with a vibrator and the wooden handle of a bell. He also is accused of watching the child take a bath.

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Former Franklin County Pastor Charged With Sexual Torture, Abuse

ALABAMA
WHNT

April 2, 2013, by Carter Watkins and Melissa Payne

FRANKLIN COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – A former pastor in Franklin County is charged with sexual torture and abuse.

Freddy Hovater, 72, was arrested on October 1, 2012 and a grand jury just indicted him on the charges.

Sheriff Shannon Oliver says the abuse happened for nearly a year inside Hovater’s home in Spruce Pine. The victim was an 8-year-old girl. Her family attended Hovater’s church.

Sheriff Oliver did not say which church Hovater used to lead.

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Kirche meldet weniger Missbrauchsfälle

DEUTSCHLAND
Schwabische

Bamberg / lby In Bayern zeichnet sich ein Rückgang der Verdachtsfälle von sexuellem Missbrauch in der katholischen Kirche ab. Im vergangenen Jahr gingen bei der Missbrauchsbeauftragen des Erzbistums Bamberg, der Anwältin Eva Hastenteufel-Knörr, sieben neue Vorwürfe ein. Im Jahr zuvor seien noch zwölf Fälle aktenkundig geworden, sagte ein Sprecher der Erzdiözese.

Auch im Bistum Augsburg nahmen die Meldungen von sexuellem Missbrauch durch Geistliche oder Mitarbeiter der Diözese im vergangenen Jahr deutlich ab: Es gingen 14 Hinweise ein, im Jahr 2011 waren es nach Angaben des Missbrauchsbeauftragten mit 30 Fällen mehr als doppelt so viele. Zugenommen haben aber 2012 die Meldungen von körperlicher Gewalt von 4 auf 16. Seit 2010 wurden in dem Bistum insgesamt 148 sexuelle oder gewalttätige Übergriffe registriert. Zu zwei Dritteln handelte es sich dabei um sexuellen Missbrauch, zum größten Teil fanden diese Taten vor 1980 statt.

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