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.

November 26, 2013

An awkward moment in court

CANADA
Sylvia’s Site

Father Dan Miller appeared in the Pembroke courthouse this morning. He was accompanied by Father Proulx. Robert Carew, his lawyer, was not there.

It proved to be an awkward few moments for Father Miller. His name was called (He’s listed on the roster as Michael D. Miller) Dressed in gray slack sand a navy and burgundy light jacket Miller walked up to the front of the benches, all the while clutching a small sheet of paper in his right hand. He reached the last bench in the gallery on the left, – and then he carried right on into what I will refer to as the inner sanctum, the area of the courtroom reserved for lawyers and court staff ( Those who attend court know that no one but no one is supposed to go beyond that line. )

Once inside, Father Miller hesitantly moved forward, and as he did so there was a startled recognition that he was moving right into their space. That prompted a small flurry of activity – people trying to tell him to go back,- go back. Initially Father Miller didn’t quite grasp what was happening, but , at point in time realized that had to go back, and so he did. It probably was one of those moments which was over and done with in a flash, but as it played out it seemed to run in slow motion.

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 priest abuse victims ask Vatican to rescind cemetery letter

MILWAUKEE (WI)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

[letter to the Vatican]

By Annysa Johnson of the Journal Sentinel Nov. 26, 2013 1

In a move intended to bolster a potential settlement between the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and sex abuse victims, victim advocates are asking the Vatican to rescind a letter that allowed then-Archbishop Timothy Dolan to shield $57 million in cemetery funds from legal liability in 2007.

The Milwaukee chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, many of whose members have pending claims in the archdiocese’s bankruptcy, announced Tuesday that it was sending the request to the Vatican.

The action comes as the archdiocese is working on a reorganization plan to exit its bankruptcy that will be funded in part by an undisclosed settlement it reached with one of its insurers earlier this month.

The withdrawal of the Vatican’s “nihil obstat” or “no objection” to Dolan’s plan to move the $57 million into a newly created trust could allow creditors’ attorneys to pursue those funds for a potential settlement.

In 2007, Dolan sought Vatican approval to move the funds to protect them “from any legal claim or liability,” according to a document released in July as part of the bankruptcy.

“It’s apparent from the tone of Dolan’s letter that his intent in moving the money was in anticipation of the bankruptcy,” said Monica Barrett, a SNAP member who says she was raped by the late Father William Effinger at his Lake Geneva parish when she was 8.

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.

Wis. clergy abuse victims lobby Vatican on claims

MILWAUKEE (WI)
Wall Street Journal

[letter to the Vatican]

Associated Press

MILWAUKEE — Clergy sexual abuse victims and priests in Wisconsin said Tuesday that they’ve asked Roman Catholic officials at the Vatican to move more than $50 million from a cemetery trust fund and make it available to settle bankruptcy claims against the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.

The letter to the Congregation for the Clergy, the church office that oversees abuse cases, essentially asks it to undo an order that authorized New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan to create the trust fund in 2007, when he was archbishop in Milwaukee.

The cemetery fund had been seen as one of the archdiocese’s few significant assets when it filed for bankruptcy in 2011, but a federal judge declared the money off-limits last summer, saying the trust was protected by the First Amendment’s freedom of religion. That decision, coupled with the archdiocese’s recent announcement of a settlement with one of its major insurers, has raised questions about how much money is available to pay the hundreds of sexual abuse victims who have filed claims in bankruptcy court.

The letter sent Friday has no bearing on U.S. court proceedings but instead is an appeal to the church to do justice according to its own teachings and legal code, said Rev. James Connell, a former vice chancellor of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and co-founder of the Survivors and Clergy Leadership Alliance. He acknowledged the appeal was unusual and a Vatican response would be “historic.”

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 Chicago Settles Sex Abuse Case For $2.3 Million

CHICAGO (IL)
CBS Chicago

CHICAGO (CBS) — The Chicago Archdiocese has settled another lawsuit – for millions of dollars – filed by a man who says he was abused by Father Daniel McCormack almost a decade ago.

This settlement is for $2.3 million.

The alleged victim: now an adult, but known in legal documents as John Doe 184.

The accused: 45-year-old Daniel McCormack, the former West Side priest convicted of sexually abusing boys and now in the custody of the Illinois Department of Human Services.

Attorney Jeff Anderson represents the plaintiff in this latest settlement.

“The numbers of victims of Daniel McCormack alone have yet to be fully revealed, but we know of at least two dozen that have been identified through the litigation that we’ve done.”

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

Church document flagged Huberty for misconduct a decade ago

MINNESOTA
Minnesota Public Radio

by Madeleine Baran, Minnesota Public Radio
November 26, 2013

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Top officials at the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis have said they didn’t know about sexual misconduct by the pastor at the Church of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Maplewood until this year, but a document obtained by MPR News shows that a church official flagged the priest for sexual misconduct a decade ago.

The internal church document says that the Rev. Mark Huberty’s misconduct involved women and that he remains an active priest. It does not include any other information. The archdiocese’s code of conduct forbids sexual contact by priests.

Hennepin County prosecutors charged Huberty earlier this month with criminal sexual conduct for an alleged sexual relationship with a woman under his pastoral care from January to April of this year. The investigation began in May when the woman reported the alleged sexual contact to Maplewood police. It’s illegal in Minnesota for priests to have sexual contact with anyone under their pastoral care.

“The complaint was made by the woman’s husband over a decade ago.,” Huberty’s attorney, Paul Engh, said. “When interviewed thereafter, the parishioner indicated that nothing inappropriate had occurred between her and Father Huberty. The matter was thus closed.”

Huberty did not immediately return calls for comment. A spokesman for the archdiocese hasn’t responded to questions about whether officials reported the past allegations to police.

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 pays $2.3 million to settle sexual abuse case

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Sun-Times

BY FRANCINE KNOWLES Religion and General Assignment Reporter November 26, 2013

A $2.3 million settlement in a sexual abuse survivor case involving a former priest and filed against the Archdiocese of Chicago and Cardinal Francis George was announced by attorneys Tuesday.

The victim, identified as John Doe, is now in his early 20s, and was sexually abused in his pre-teen and early teen years by Daniel McCormack, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit alleged “Beginning in 2004, McCormack would invite the plaintiff inside the rectory of St. Agatha Catholic Church, where he would sit plaintiff on his lap, unzip his pants and fondle” the plaintiff.

It also alleged that the defendants “knew or should have known of McCormack’s dangerous and exploitative propensities as a child molester.”

Attorneys Jeff Anderson and Marc Pearlman also said files including information on allegations of sexual abuse made against McCormack and other priests in additional sexual abuse cases that have been settled will be released by the Archdiocese as part of settlements next month. Those files also will include information on how church officials responded to those allegations.

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.

AZ- Brewer should release money for child investigations

ARIZONA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Tuesday, Nov. 26

David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests ( 314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com )

We are horrified that Arizona Governor Jan Brewer is stalling on more funds to investigate some 6,000 suspected cases of child abuse and neglect.

[The Bugle]

It’s hard to imagine a more compelling reason to spend extra funds than to help some of the 6,000 kids who may be have been hurt recently or who may be hurting right now.

The cause of this dreadful oversight and the fate of the CPS director can be determined later. Investigating these 6,000 troubling cases – some of which almost certainly involve continuing abuse and neglect – must come first.

Brewer should not be penny-wise and pound-foolish here. Research shows that many abused and neglected kids grow up to be less productive and more reliant on government services. So there are both moral and economic reasons Arizona officials should move mountains now to get this inexcusable backlog investigated promptly.

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.

Convicted sex offender Jersey City priest headed for trial …

NEW JERSEY/MISSOURI
The Jersey Journal

Convicted sex offender Jersey City priest headed for trial on similar charges in Missouri: report

By Ron Zeitlinger/The Jersey Journal
Follow on Twitter
on November 26, 2013

A former St. Aloysius priest who sexually molested a 17-year-old boy in the early 1980s appears headed for trial in Missouri on similar charges, according to a published report.

Gerald “Gerry” Howard, whose name was Carmine Sita when he was a priest at St. Aloysius, is seeking a non-jury trial that could begin after the start of the new year, connectmidmissouri.com reported.

Howard was a priest in the Boonville, Mo. parish of Ss. Peter and Paul Catholic Church between 1984 and 1987 when authorities say he sexually assaulted three minors.

He is charged with three counts of forcible sodomy, three counts of attempted forcible sodomy and two counts of kidnapping.

In 1982 Sita pleaded guilty to sexually abusing a minor in Jersey City. In January 1983, Sita was sentenced to five years probation and ordered to undergo treatment. After getting treatment in New Mexico, Sita legally changed his name and joined Ss. Peter and Paul in Boonville.

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.

Vatican – More Vatican governance promises that ignore the church’s central crisis

UNITED STATES
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013

Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests ( 314 862 7688 home, 314 503 0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com )

Today, there are more headlines from the Vatican about self-governance. But there’s still no action from the Vatican on clergy abuse.

[Telegraph]

It’s more minimal tinkering around the edges instead of directly confronting the most devastating scandal in the church: widespread and horrific crimes against kids being concealed and enabled by bishops.

Most neutral observers would admit that the central crisis that has roiled the Catholic church and continues to roil the Catholic church is violence against kids by clerics and cover ups of that violence by bishops. Eight months into the papacy of Pope Francis has brought absolutely no progress on the scandal that most hurts Catholics at the bottom, and ironically, also at the top of the church hierarchy.

Pope Francis can ride all the buses and carry all the suitcases and make all the gestures and write all the letters he wants. But until he disciplines his corrupt colleagues and underlings who protect their reputations instead of their flocks, no meaningful reform will happen.

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.

Another priest abusing children in Nunavut has been found

CANADA
APTV

[with video]

APTN National News

The trial of father Eric Dejaeger continues in Iqaluit this week.

He’s the priest accused of more than 70 sex crimes against youth in Igloolik, Nunavut between 1978 and 1982.

Dejaeger wasn’t the only priest abusing children in that era and he wasn’t the only one to flee justice.

As APTN’s Kent Driscoll reports Joannis Rivoire who fled justice has been found in France.

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

More From Slater (Or: Haven’t We Done Well For Ourselves!)

AUSTRALIA
lewisblayse.net

Anglican Church officials, and their lawyers, have a lot to smile about. The third “case study” hearings of the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse have gone their way a lot. It began with the stage-managed “resignation” of ex-bishop Slater after “counseling” by Archbishop Aspinall (see yesterday’s extra posting) earlier in the year, and went on to the “surprise” announcement of Australia’s first female bishop on the eve of the hearings.

Yesterday, church lawyer, Philip Roland, had to be cautioned, twice, by Counsel Assisting the Commission, Simeon Beckett, for smiling a lot during evidence. Today’s witness, disgraced ex-bishop of Grafton, Keith Slater, pre-empted Mr. Beckett by declaring that he, also, would be smiling a lot while giving evidence. He said he made the comment “because Mr. Roland had been criticized for smiling while giving evidence.”

The evidence would include a “sincere” apology for all the terrible things he did to the many victims who approached him about the abuses they suffered at his dioceses North Coast Children’s Home. He would be smiling, not because of disrespect for the victims and the enquiry, but because it was just his “personality” and he should not be “judged” for it.

Mr. Slater had smiled at inappropriate times during his first day of evidence on Monday, so on the second day, he began by indicating he would be doing even more smiling. He told the enquiry that “I was aware, after the session yesterday that I had been smiling at various points. I recognize the gravity and seriousness of the matters that are before us…. But smiling is very much a part of the interaction with the person with whom I am speaking. I apologize in advance if I may seem to smile at times which are not appropriate.”

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.

‘Evangelii Gaudium’ amounts to Francis’ ‘I Have a Dream’ speech

VATICAN CITY
National Catholic Reporter

John L. Allen Jr. | Nov. 26, 2013

ANALYSIS Dreams can be powerful things, especially when articulated by leaders with the realistic capacity to translate them into action. That was the case 50 years ago with Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech, and it also seems to be the ambition of Pope Francis’ bold new apostolic exhortation, “The Joy of the Gospel.”

In effect, the 224-page document, titled in Latin Evangelii Gaudium and released by the Vatican Tuesday, is a vision statement about the kind of community Francis wants Catholicism to be: more missionary, more merciful, and with the courage to change.

Francis opens with a dream.

“I dream of a ‘missionary option,’ ” Francis writes, “that is, a missionary impulse capable of transforming everything, so that the church’s customs, ways of doing things, times and schedules, language and structures can be suitably channeled for the evangelization of today’s world, rather than for her self-preservation.”

In particular, Francis calls for a church marked by a special passion for the poor and for peace.

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.

Pope says power should be moved away from Vatican

VATICAN CITY
Telegraph (UK)

Pope Francis uses first major document of papacy to call for fundamental reform of “confined” Church and attack global capitalism

By Nick Squires, Rome 26 Nov 2013

Pope Francis called for the Vatican to place mercy above an “obsession” with moral doctrine, using his first major document of his papacy to lay out a radical blueprint for a Catholic Church that was “bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets”.

The “slum Pope” as Francis has been nicknamed for his work in the shanty towns of his native Argentina, also attacked global capitalism, saying that rising levels of inequality and poverty could “explode” into conflict unless addressed by world leaders.

“The poor are accused of violence, yet without equal opportunities the different forms of aggression and conflict will find a fertile terrain for growth and eventually explode,” he said.

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

Pope issues mission statement for papacy

VATICAN CITY
Boston Globe

By Nicole Winfield | ASSOCIATED PRESS NOVEMBER 26, 2013

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis issued the mission statement for his papacy Tuesday, outlining how the Catholic Church and the papacy itself must be reformed to create a more missionary and merciful church that gets its hands dirty as it seeks out the poor and oppressed.

In the 85-page document, Francis pulled together the priorities he has laid out in eight months of homilies, speeches and interviews and put them in the broader context of how to reinvigorate the church’s evangelical zeal in a world marked by indifference, secularization and vast income inequalities.

He explained his most controversial remarks criticizing the church’s ‘‘obsession’’ with transmitting a disjointed set of moral doctrines, saying that in the church’s ‘‘hierarchy of truths,’’ mercy is paramount, proportion is necessary, and that what counts is inviting the faithful in.

He went even further Tuesday, saying some of the church’s historical customs can even be cast aside if they no longer serve to communicate the faith. Citing St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas, Francis stressed the need for moderation in norms ‘‘so as to not burden the lives of the faithful.’’

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.

Pope Francis: No more business as usual

VATICAN CITY
CNN

By Daniel Burke, Belief Blog Co-editor

(CNN) – Pope Francis on Tuesday called for big changes in the Roman Catholic Church – including at the very top – saying he knows it will be a messy business but he expects his flock to dive in feet first.

“I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security,” the Pope said in a major new statement.

“I do not want a Church concerned with being at the center and then ends by being caught up in a web of obsessions and procedures.”

The Pope’s address, called an “apostolic exhortation,” is basically a pep talk from the throne of St. Peter. But Francis’ bold language and sweeping call for change are likely to surprise even those who’ve become accustomed to his unconventional papacy.

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.

Pope Francis calls for power to move away from Vatican

VATICAN CITY
BBC News

Pope Francis has called for power in the Catholic Church to be devolved away from the Vatican, in the first major work he has written in the role.

In the document, he says he is open to suggestions to changes in the power of the papacy.

He also warns that rising global economic inequality is bound to explode in conflict.

Since becoming Pope in March, Francis has struck a markedly different tone to his predecessor on several issues. …

Analysis

David Willey
BBC News, Rome

The new document did not address some of the key ethical reforms called for by Catholic progressives and ruled out any change in the Church’s teaching on abortion or the exclusion of women from the priesthood. However, the Pope has already set up an advisory council of eight cardinals who are due to gather in Rome for their second plenary meeting next week.

He has also set up new mechanisms for reform of the Vatican bureaucracy. the main thrust of Pope Francis’ pontificate, as outlined in this document and in his many homilies, is that he wants to see a less Vatican-centred Church whose greatest concern is for the poor and the marginalised, victims of an unjust global economic system that puts profit before people.

In addition, Pope Francis says that ties with Islam have taken on great importance for the Catholic Church because of the growing number of Muslim immigrants now residing in many traditionally Catholic countries. “We Christians,” he says, “should embrace Muslims with affection and respect in the same way that we hope and ask to be respected in countries of Islamic tradition.”

In his “apostolic exhortation”, Pope Francis said he preferred a Church that was “bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security”.

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.

SYNTHESIS OF THE APOSTOLIC EXHORTATION “THE JOY OF THE GOSPEL”

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Information Service

Vatican City, 26 November 2013 (VIS) – “The joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus”; thus begins the Apostolic Exhortation “Evangelii Gaudium”, by which Pope Francis develops the theme of the proclamation of the Gospel in the contemporary world, drawn from, among other sources, the contribution of the work of the Synod held in the Vatican from 7 to 28 October 2012 on the theme “The new evangelization for the transmission of the faith”. The text, which the Holy Father consigned to a group of thirty-six faithful following the closing Mass of the Year of Faith last Sunday is the first official document of his pontificate, since the Encyclical “Lumen fidei” was written in collaboration with his predecessor, Benedict XVI. “I wish to encourage the Christian faithful to embark upon a new chapter of evangelization marked by this joy, while pointing out new paths for the Church’s journey in years to come”, he continues. It is a heartfelt appeal to all baptized persons to bring Christ’s love to others, “permanently in a state of mission”, conquering “the great danger in today’s world”, that of an individualist “desolation and anguish”.

The Pope invites the reader to “recover the original freshness of the Gospel”, finding “new avenues” and “new paths of creativity”, without enclosing Jesus in our “dull categories”. There is a need for a “pastoral and missionary conversion, which cannot leave things as they presently are” and a “renewal” of ecclesiastical structures to enable them to become “more mission-oriented”. The Pontiff also considers “a conversion of the papacy”, to help make this ministry “more faithful to the meaning which Jesus Christ wished to give it and to the present needs of evangelization”. The hope that the Episcopal Conferences might contribute to “the concrete realization of the collegial spirit”, he states, “has not been fully realized”. A “sound decentralization” is necessary. In this renewal, the Church should not be afraid to re-examine “certain customs not directly connected to the heart of the Gospel, even some of which have deep historical roots”.

A sign of God’s openness is “that our church doors should always be open” so that those who seek God “will not find a closed door”; “nor should the doors of the sacraments be closed for simply any reason”. The Eucharist “is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak”. These convictions have pastoral consequences that we are called to consider with prudence and boldness”. He repeats that he prefers “a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church … concerned with being at the centre and then ends by being caught up in a web of obsessions and procedures. If something should rightly disturb us … it is the fact that many of our brothers and sisters are living without … the friendship of Jesus Christ”.

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.

Pope Francis urges reform of papal powers

VATICAN CITY
AFP

[APOSTOLIC EXHORTATION EVANGELII GAUDIUM]

By Dario Thuburn (AFP)

Vatican City — Pope Francis called for reform to take powers from the Vatican and said Catholics should be more engaged in helping the needy, but ruled out allowing women priests in a key document released by the Vatican on Tuesday.

The Catholic leader said he was seeking advice on how his role should change — using an informal style for his first “apostolic exhortation”, in which he outlined his vision for the future of the Roman Catholic Church.

“It is my duty, as the Bishop of Rome, to be open to suggestions which can help make the exercise of my ministry more faithful to the meaning which Jesus Christ wished to give it,” the pope wrote.

Francis said it was time for “a conversion of the papacy”, adding that “excessive centralisation, rather than proving helpful, complicates the Church’s life”.

Bishops should have “genuine doctrinal authority”, he said in the document — a type of long open letter used by popes to communicate with their faithful.

“We have made little progress in this regard,” he said.

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

Katholiken und Protestanten: Deutlich mehr Austritte aus den Kirchen

DEUTSCHLAND
HNA

[Summary: Significant numbers of Protestants and Catholics are leaving their churches. The scandal involving Limburg Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz van Elst has had an impact on the Catholic Church but people are also leaving the Protestant churches.]

Im Vorjahr haben an den Amtsgerichten Fritzlar (auch zuständig für Bad Wildungen), Melsungen und Schwalmstadt 531 Christen ihren Austritt aus der Kirche erklärt. Im laufenden Jahr sind es bis jetzt schon 693, das ist ein Zuwachs von 23 Prozent.

Besonders eklatant ist der Anstieg in der katholischen Kirche, 125 Austritten im Jahr 2012 stehen 193 im laufenden Jahr gegenüber – das sind 54 Prozent mehr, bei den Protestanten immerhin 23 Prozent.

Jörg Stefan Schütz, katholischer Dechant und Stadtpfarrer in Fritzlar, spricht von leicht erhöhten Austrittszahlen in seinen Gemeinden (Fritzlar, Wabern und Ungedanken). Wenn der Kirche vom Amtsgericht ein Austritt gemeldet werde, suche man den Kontakt, um die Beweggründe zu erfahren.

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.

Priest apologises to family for sex trial comments at funeral

IRELAND
Irish Independent

26 NOVEMBER 2013

A PRIEST has apologised to a family after using their father’s funeral to ask for prayers for a former Lord Mayor of Cork facing sex assault charges.

Fr Martin Crean OSA contacted the Cotter family in Cork to express his personal regret over what happened at the Requiem Mass and to apologise for any hurt caused.

The Cotter family confirmed to the Irish Independent that they accepted the apology and now consider the matter closed.

Michelle Cotter said she couldn’t believe the comments made by the priest, who was visiting Cork from Tipperary, which were brought to her attention by other mourners at her the funeral of her father, John.

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.

IL – Lawsuits settle but victims’ group wants more to be done

CHICAGO (IL)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013

Statement by Barbara Blaine of Chicago, president of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests ( 312-399-4747, SNAPblaine@gmail.com )

Child sex abuse and cover up lawsuits involving eight Chicago predator priests have been settled. They are Father Robert Mayer, Father Robert Becker, Father Ralph Strand, Father Ken Ruge, Father Joseph Fitzharris, Father Robert Stepek, Father Marion Snieg and Father Daniel McCormack.

We suspect that much of the attention on this settlement will be on Fr. McCormack, Illinois’ most high profile serial predator priest. While McCormack is behind bars, several of these child molesting clerics are walking free, likely living near unsuspecting neighbors or working among unsuspecting colleagues or volunteering at unsuspecting non-profits and perhaps even molesting unsuspecting relatives’ children.

For the safety of kids these predators belong behind bars. But they won’t get there unless people speak up.

Fr. Ruge, Fr. Becker and Fr. Snieg are deceased. But we believe it’s still possible that criminal charges might be filed against Fr. Stepek, Fr. Fitzharris, Fr. Mayer, and Fr. Strand or against their supervisors or co-workers who may have obstructed justice, destroyed evidence, intimidated victims, threatened whistleblowers, refused to report suspected abuse to authorities or committed other crimes.

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.

The anguish of being Catholic

MINNESOTA
MinnPost

By Elizabeth Nagel

Last week more than 300 Catholics gathered together. One by one, they came forward to an open microphone, giving their names and the parish to which they belong. I heard anger, pain, frustration – and yes, anguish.

Their perspectives varied. Some told about incidents of abuse. Others, who work for parishes, spoke about the strict standards to which they adhere in doing background checks on volunteers wishing to work with children. But they are unable to do the same with priests assigned to their parishes. Another area addressed in this debacle is the degree of pain experienced by good and decent priests in this archdiocese. Everyone present related how events relating to this scandal have deeply affected them.

There was one area of agreement. Committing sexual acts involving a child is reprehensible enough. But much of the anger went beyond the molestation of children, and instead was directed at actions of Archbishop John Nienstedt and those who work for him. Questions were raised if he is even capable of bringing about healing and necessary changes — much less whether he is willing to do so.

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.

Bishop apologises for prayer during sex assault trial

IRELAND
RTE News

Bishop of Cork & Ross Dr John Buckley has said comments made by a priest at a funeral mass in the city were “offensive” and “entirely inappropriate”.

Bishop Buckley was responding to complaints about a priest who asked mourners to pray that former Lord Mayor of Cork, John Murray would not be found guilty of sex assault charges.

In a statement, Bishop Buckley said the Diocese was unaware that these comments were going to be made, does not stand over them and sincerely regrets the obvious hurt they have caused.

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.

Smiling bishop Keith Slater failed victims of sex abuse in their hour of need

AUSTRALIA
NEWS.com.au

SMILING Bishop Keith Slater grins so much he had to apologise for doing it before giving evidence at the harrowing royal commission into child sex abuse yesterday.

“I apologise in advance if I may seem to smile at a time which is not appropriate,” he explained. It was just his “personality”.

But there was nothing to smile about as the commission heard a litany of Bishop Slater’s failures to help more than 40 victims of physical and sexual child abuse at the former North Coast Children’s Home in Lismore, adequately compensate them or report their abusers in the clergy to authorities.

Outside the commission he even smiled as he met the first of the child abuse victims to come forward – a man he refused for so long to apologise to or compensate – and blessed him.

“I just ripped into him,” said a disgusted Richard “Tommy” Campion afterwards. “If he had told the truth we wouldn’t be here today.”

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.

PA – More alleged child sex allegations involving 2 Philly Catholic schools

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Monday, Nov. 25, 2013

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests ( 314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com )

We are grateful that police are investigating alleged child sex crimes in a Philly Catholic school.

[Philly.com]

In these situations, it’s sometimes tempting for victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to contact school or church officials. That’s wrong. The independent and unbiased professionals in law enforcement should be contacted, not the biased amateurs in church or school offices.

For far too long, Philly Catholic officials have tried to handle cases like this quietly and “in house.” Those days and that practice must end.

We beg every single person who may have seen, suspected or suffered crimes or misdeeds by this teacher to call police and prosecutors. We applaud any and every one who already cooperating with secular authorities to get to the bottom of these troubling allegations.

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NJ – Accused NJ serial predator priest wants trial

NEW JERSEY
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

NJ predator priest seeks trial
He admitted molesting in Jersey City
Now, he’s accused of abusing 3 in Missouri
Cleric changed his name before being sent away

For immediate release: Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013

For more information: Mark Crawford 732 632 7687, mecrawf@comcast.net , David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP Director (314) 566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com , Barbara Dorris 314 862 7688 home, 314 503 0003 cell , SNAPdorris@gmail.com )

A defrocked Catholic priest, who admitted molesting a New Jersey boy and is accused of molesting several Missouri boys, wants to go to trial.

[Connect Mid-Missouri]

He is Fr. Gerry Howard of the Diocese of Jefferson City. But when he worked in Jersey City in the 1980s, he was known as Fr. Carmine Sita. He’s been in jail for two years on charges that he sexually assaulted boys in the small town of Boonville Missouri, just west of Columbia.

“We welcome this move. We have tremendous confidence in the three brave men who have reported being abused by Fr. Gerry Howard in Boonville,” said David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP’s director. “We hope that the judge also lets into evidence Howard’s guilty plea in New Jersey.

“Shame on New Jersey Catholic officials for letting a convicted child predator legally change his name and then quietly sending him off to unsuspecting Missouri parishioners with no warning,” said Mark Crawford, SNAP’s New Jersey director. “This is one of the most glaring examples of how callous and deceitful the church hierarchy has been.”

“We strongly urge anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered Howard’s crimes to come forward,” Clohessy said. “Police and prosecutors can never have too much evidence or too many witnesses in a clergy sex abuse trial. Pedophile priests typically get top notch lawyers and exploit technicalities, often escaping responsibility for their crimes or getting little or no jail time if they are convicted.”

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Anglicans warned on abuse cover-up

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

DAN BOX THE AUSTRALIAN NOVEMBER 27, 2013

CONFIDENTIAL documents written by a senior employee of the Anglican Church earlier this year state others within the church may be at risk of criminal prosecution for failing to report allegations of child sex abuse to police.

In one letter, tendered to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, the professional standards director of the diocese of Grafton, Michael Elliott, said the allegations related to abuse committed in a children’s home in northern NSW.

The diocese spent years denying it was legally liable for this abuse, the commission has heard. In his letter written in February to the acting registrar of the diocese, Mr Elliott wrote: “By virtue of their complaints being so mishandled, the situation has resulted in the re-traumatising of these victims. Furthermore, non-reporting to authorities may have put individuals at risk of criminal prosecution.”

The commission has heard the church received allegations that about 12 people allegedly abused children at the North Coast Children’s Home in Lismore between the 1940s and 80s. The allegations against three of those, all Anglican priests, were reported to police in 2006, but the others were not passed on until Mr Elliott did so earlier this year. The commission has heard that another priest, Allan Kitchingman, had been found guilty of indecently assaulting a teenage boy in 1968, before being employed at the home, where he went on to abuse another teenager and was subsequently jailed.

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Anglican Priest arrested for rape

GHANA
Business Ghana

A 39-year- old priest of the Anglican Church, Rev. Fr Emmanuel Quartey, was on Monday remanded in prison custody when he appered before a Cape Coast Circuit Court for allegedly raping a 20-year-old woman.

His plea was not taken and will be re-arraigned on December 11.

Chief Inspector Ockom told the court presided over by Mrs. Eva Bannerman Williams that on Sunday October 17 Hannah, a resident of Siwdo in Cape Coast approached Rev. Quartey to help her break a blood covenant she had with her boyfriend.

Rev. Fr Quartey agreed to help her and asked Hannah to meet him on October 18 in a hotel in Elmina.

She complied and met Rev. Fr Quartey in one of the rooms where he forcibly had sex with her and warned her not to tell anyone or she would die.

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Francis decentralizes the Church: More power to Bishops’ Conferences

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Insider

One paragraph of the Apostolic Exhortation “Evangelii Gaudium” announces changes and a “conversion of the papacy”: “Excessive centralization, rather than proving helpful, complicates the Church’s life and her missionary outreach”

ANDREA TORNIELLI
VATICAN CITY

It is only a short paragraph but it announces significant changes to the papacy as well as decentralization and more power to Bishops’ Conferences. In section 32 of the document published today, Francis refers to the “pastoral conversion” he is asking the Church to undergo and writes: “Since I am called to put into practice what I ask of others, I too must think about a conversion of the papacy.”

“It is my duty, as the Bishop of Rome, to be open to suggestions which can help make the exercise of my ministry more faithful to the meaning which Jesus Christ wished to give it and to the present needs of evangelization,” Francis adds. In the document, the Pope recalls that in the encyclical “Ut unum sint” (1995), John Paul II asked for help in finding “a way of exercising the primacy which, while in no way renouncing what is essential to its mission, is nonetheless open to anew situation.” But, Francis remarks, “we have made little progress in this regard.” “The papacy and the central structures of the universal Church also need to hear the call to pastoral conversion. The Second Vatican Council stated that, like the ancient patriarchal Churches, Episcopal conferences are in a position “to contribute in many and fruitful ways to the concrete realization of the collegial spirit.”

“Yet this desire has not been fully realized, since a juridical status of Episcopal Conferences which would see them as subjects of specific attributions, including genuine doctrinal authority, has not yet been sufficiently elaborated. Excessive centralization, rather than proving helpful, complicates the Church’s life and her missionary outreach,” the Pope remarks.

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What Ex-Bishop Slater Said (Or: The Plot Thickens)

AUSTRALIA
lewisblayse.net

Posted on November 25, 2013 by lewisblayse

Keith Slater (see previous postings), 65, the former bishop at the centre of the North Coast Children’s Home scandal, appeared before the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Sydney today. Slater was the bishop of the Grafton diocese of the Anglican Church (known elsewhere as the Episcopalian Church or the Church of England) from 3002 until May of this year.

[This extra posting is made in the hope that the Royal Commissioners, today, will quiz ex-bishop Slater on the details of when he decided to “resign” his position.]

Slater claims he “resigned” over failings to do with his handling of the abuse allegations. The head of the Anglican Church in Australia, Phillip Aspinall, has previously said he had no power to dismiss Slater, but has implied in the media that his “counseling” had resulted in Slater’s decision. Aspinall said that he urged Slater to resign on 10th May, and that Slater did so on the 17th May of this year.

However, the churchtimes website in the U.K. reported that Slater had previously announced that he intended to retire in November of this year. Co-incidentally, this was the previously-announced month when the Royal Commission would be investigating him. Could there have been a view that Slater should go before this hearing of the enquiry?

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Priest remains diocese leader despite abuse conviction

AUSTRALIA
Northern Star

Jessica Grewal 26th Nov 2013

A PRIEST convicted of sexually abusing a former resident of Lismore’s North Coast Children’s Home has yet to be disciplined by the Anglican Church and remains a leader of the Newcastle Diocese, the royal commission has heard.

Giving evidence on Tuesday afternoon, a clearly disenchanted Michael Elliott, Professional Standards Director for the Grafton and Newcastle Diocese, conceded that despite his urgings for safeguards to be put in place “no steps have been taken to adopt practices with respect to those convicted of child sex abuse”.

He said that as recently as “a few weeks ago” the Newcastle Diocese had adopted “safe ministry practises” protocol for clergy members but that the changes had not yet been applied to anyone, including Rev Allan Kitchingman, a former Lismore priest who was convicted and jailed in 2003 over the indecent assault of a teenage boy in the 1980s.

He also confirmed that due to administration issues, none of the people accused of abusing children at the home had been listed on a national sex offenders register.

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Bishop: Friar’s comments on former lord mayor Murray ‘inappropriate’

IRELAND
Irish Examiner

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Bishop of Cork and Ross has distanced himself from comments made by a priest who asked mourners at a funeral to pray that former lord mayor of Cork, John Murray, would be found not guilty of sex assault charges.

By Eoin English
Irish Examiner Reporter

Dr John Buckley described the comments as “offensive and entirely inappropriate”.

“The diocese fully respects the independence of the DPP and the Courts Service and regards it as entirely inappropriate that a funeral Mass should be used in such a manner,” he said.

Murray, 83, of Gregg Rd, Cork, was found guilty by a jury at Cork Circuit Criminal Court last Friday of sexually assaulting a teenager in 1996. The former Labour city councillor is due to be sentenced by Judge Sean Ó Donnabháin next Monday.

However, it has emerged a visiting Augustinian priest who was celebrating a funeral Mass in a church on the southside of Cork City last Thursday asked mourners during the prayers of intercession to pray that Murray would be found not guilty. The priest knew the deceased and it is also understood he is a friend of the Murray family.

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The Survivors and Clergy Leadership Alliance (SCLA)

WISCONSIN
SNAP Wisconsin

Milwaukee Survivors and Clergy Alliance reach out to Vatican for help

WHAT
Officers of the Milwaukee based SCLA, (“The Survivors and Clergy Leadership Alliance”), a newly formalized organization of priests and survivors of clergy sexual abuse, will:

–Release a letter of appeal sent to the Vatican late last week by the group requesting that the Congregation for the Clergy formally and legally rescind a 2007 approval (or “nihil obstat”) to Archbishop Timothy Dolan’s request to move $57 million dollars of archdiocesan money into a newly created “Cemetery Trust.” The SCLA is requesting that money be returned to the archdiocese as an asset based upon the tenants of canon law and justice for survivors.

–Discuss the upcoming settlement offer by the Milwaukee Archdiocese and their major insurance carrier to the 570 victims of clergy sexual abuse who filed cases in Milwaukee Federal court.

WHEN
Tuesday, November 26, 1:00 p.m.

WHERE
The Healing Center, 130 W. Bruce Street, Fourth Floor, Milwaukee

WHO
Officers of SCLA, “The Survivors and Clergy Leadership Alliance” a newly formalized Milwaukee based organization. The only initiative of its kind, SCLA members began meeting privately nearly three years ago to promote dialogue and change in the church and society through a unique and supportive coalition of survivors and priests.

WHY
A unique collaboration of survivors and clergy based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (The Survivors and Clergy Leadership Alliance or SCLA) has sent a formal appeal to the Vatican asking to reverse a 2007 decision by the Congregation of the Clergy and return $57 million dollars to the Milwaukee Archdiocese.

The money was transferred in 2007 by then Archbishop Timothy Dolan into a so-called “Cemetery Trust” but was actually designed, according to documents that surfaced in Milwaukee Federal Court this summer, to prevent compensating childhood victims of rape, sexual assault and abuse by priests.

To create the Trust, under Catholic Canon Law, Dolan required formal approval (or “nihil obstat”) by the Congregation for the Clergy, headed at the time by Cardinal Claudio Hummes. Hummes was appointed to the post by former Pope Benedict XVI.

After filing for bankruptcy in 2010, the Archdiocese claimed that the funds were not part of their assets but were part of a protected cemetery trust.

It wasn’t disclosed until a few months ago that the $57 million cemetery trust was for the maintenance of only eight catholic cemeteries within the Milwaukee Archdiocese.

The SCLA letter was sent Friday to Archbishop Beniamino Stella, who has replaced Cardinal Claudio Hummes at the direction of Pope Francis, asking him to rescind the prior decision allowing the transfer of the nearly $57 million into the cemetery trust. The letter cites reasoning based in both canon law and justice.

It is anticipated that very soon the Archdiocese will file its reorganization plan, which will include proposed “settlements” for survivors. Those “settlements” will be based upon an agreement the Archdiocese made with its major insurance carrier. Victims were not allowed to participate in the agreement negotiations.

In anticipation of the settlement figure, SCLA will also discuss and compare a likely archdiocesan settlement figure per victim to other bankruptcy settlements around the United States, as well as projected priest offender costs.

CONTACT
Monica Barrett, 414.704.6074
Michael Sneesby, 414.915.4374
Peter Isely, 414.429.7259
Fr. James Connell, 414.940.8054

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Vatican Diary / The “Bergoglio effect” on the bishops of Italy and Spain

VATICAN CITY
Chiesa

VATICAN CITY, November 26, 2013 – As has already taken place in the United States, the episcopates of Italy and Spain also have significant changes in their leadership under way.

And the observers of ecclesiastical questions, but not only they, have gone to work to interpret these changes in the context of the new pontificate.

They want to understand the impact of the “Bergoglio effect” on the corps of Catholic hierarchies profoundly shaped by his predecessors John Paul II and Benedict XVI.

IN SPAIN

In Madrid, after two five-year mandates and with the statutory impossibility of being reelected, Bishop Antonio Martínez Camino was on his way out as secretary and spokesman of the episcopal conference.

An anomalous Jesuit – hardly Bergoglian in style – and an ironclad conservative, Martinez was a staunch ally of cardinal of Madrid Antonio María Rouco Varela, no Bergoglian himself, “dominus” of the Iberian episcopate over the past two decades with an iron fist in opposing internal ecclesial dissent, the political separatist impulses present also in sectors of the Church, and the secularist tendency personified by socialist leader José Luís Rodríguez Zapatero.

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Former Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Grafton admits …

AUSTRALIA
Telegraph

Former Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Grafton admits he had “fallen very short” in his oversight

MATTHEW BENNS THE DAILY TELEGRAPH NOVEMBER 26, 2013

SMILING Bishop Keith Slater smiles so much he apologised for doing it before giving evidence at the harrowing royal commission into child sex abuse today.

“I apologise in advance if I may seem to smile at time which is not appropriate,” he explained. It was just his “personality”.

But there was nothing to smile about as the commission heard a litany of Bishop Slater’s failures to help more than 40 victims of physical and sexual child abuse at the former North Coast Children’s Home in Lismore, adequately compensate them or report their church abusers to authorities.

“On reflection,” Bishop Slater agreed in the witness box, that withdrawing the church’s compensation offer to victims at one stage to help broker a better settlement was at odds with any kind of moral approach.

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$200m in assets, but church couldn’t find $4m for victims

AUSTRALIA
CQ News

THE Grafton Anglican Diocese had access to more than $200 million in assets when it refused to pay out less than $4 million to victims of child sex abuse, the royal commission has heard.

The revelation came just moments before former registrar Pat Comben surprisingly announced he had voluntarily relinquished holy orders and was no longer a reverend of the Anglican Church.

During yesterday’s cross-examination, Mr Comben, who last week told the commission the diocese had felt threatened by the “scary” group claim being brought by former residents of Lismore’s North Coast Children’s Home, was quizzed about a significant jump in the diocese’s recorded equity between 2005 and 2007.

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‘Unverantwortliches Signal’

DEUTSCHLAND
Sueddeutsche

München – Familienpolitiker der Union wollen offenbar die unabhängige Stelle gegen Kindesmissbrauch abschaffen. Wie der Spiegel berichtet, überraschten CDU-Unterhändler die SPD mit dem Vorschlag, nur noch einen ‘Kinderrechtebeauftragten’ einzusetzen, der unter anderem für das Thema Missbrauch zuständig wäre. Die SPD lehne das ab. Nach den Missbrauchsskandalen in der katholischen Kirche und der Odenwaldschule war die Stelle des Missbrauchsbeauftragten 2010 von Union und FDP gegründet worden. Er entwickelte sich zum Bündnispartner für Betroffenen-Initiativen und kritisierte mehrmals die Regierung. Der unabhängige Beauftragte Johannes-Wilhelm Rörig spricht laut dem Bericht von einem ‘unverantwortlichen Signal’. SZ

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Union will Missbrauchsbeauftragten abschaffen

DEUTSCHLAND
Spiegel

Familienpolitiker der Union wollen die erst 2010 geschaffene unabhängige Stelle gegen Kindesmissbrauch in dieser Form offenbar nicht erhalten. In den Verhandlungen über eine Große Koalition überraschten CDU-Unterhändler die SPD mit dem Vorschlag, nur noch einen “Kinderrechtebeauftragten” einzusetzen, der unter anderem für das Thema Missbrauch zuständig wäre. Die SPD lehnt das ab. Am vorigen Donnerstag konnten sich die Parteien in der Arbeitsgruppe Familie nicht einigen. Intern heißt es, womöglich müsse Kanzlerin Angela Merkel am Ende den Streit entscheiden, wenn es zu einer Koalition kommt. Nach den Missbrauchsskandalen in der katholischen Kirche und der Odenwaldschule war die Stelle des Missbrauchsbeauftragten 2010 von Union und FDP gegründet worden. Er entwickelte sich zum Bündnispartner für Betroffeneninitiativen und warf der Bundesregierung wiederholt Untätigkeit vor.

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Man Gets Multiple Life Sentences for Sexual Abuse

NEW YORK
YNN

A federal court judge today sentenced a Schuyler County man to multiple life sentences in state prison.

Daryl Vonneida was previously convicted of 14 counts of sexual abuse. Two teenage brothers and a 21-year-old testified that they were sexually abused and photographed by Vonneida.

Prosecutors say Vonneida met the kids through a church in Schuyler County and sexually abused them after having them pretend to kill each other and then play dead. Prosecutors said the acts took place in hotel rooms, the defendant’s home and in his car.

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Dix man sentenced on child sex abuse charges

NEW YORK
YNN

SCHUYLER COUNTY, N.Y. — A Schuyler County man convicted of child sex abuse will spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Daryl Vonneida, 63, of Dix, was found guilty of 14 counts, including producing and possessing child porn and transporting minors over state lines for illegal sexual activity. The investigation began after two children came forward saying Vonneida sexually abused them.

Vonneida was a volunteer photographer at a church in Horseheads at the time. He was sentenced to life in prison on each count of producing child porn and transportation and another 20 years for possessing child porn.

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Former Spiritual Mentor Accused of Sexual Abuse

CHICAGO (IL)
Comcast Sportsnet

A suburban mom has filed a lawsuit against a female teacher who worked at a Chicago church and religious camp in Wisconsin. The woman says she was sexually abused when she was a teenager and the woman she’s accusing has worked with children for decades.

“I am very passionate about Jesus,” says this Cherie Carlson in an online video.

The YouTube video shows Carlson conducting a religious seminar.

Carlson is now a middle school teacher in Buffalo Grove but she used to work at the North Side Gospel Center in Chicago in the ’90s, and Camp Awana in Fredonia, Wisc.

This woman, whose identity we agreed to conceal, says Carlson was her spiritual mentor back then but began to sexually abuse her when she was 16-years-old.

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Smiling church abuse witness says sorry

AUSTRALIA
Sky News

The former head of the Anglican Diocese of Grafton has apologised for smiling while giving evidence at a royal commission into the church’s response to child sex abuse claims.

The commission is examining the response of the NSW north coast diocese to claims of child abuse involving clergy and staff at the former North Coast Children’s Home in Lismore.

Giving evidence on Tuesday, the former bishop Keith Slater apologised for smiling during his testimony on Monday.

‘I was aware, after the session yesterday, that I had been smiling at various points,’ he said.

‘I recognise the gravity and the seriousness of the matters that are before us … But smiling is very much a part of the interaction with the person with whom I’m speaking.’

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Archbishop Phillip Aspinall says he urged bishop to be kinder on abuse

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

Dan Box
From: The Australian
November 26, 2013

THE head of the Anglican Church, Archbishop Phillip Aspinall, spent years privately trying to convince one of his bishops to change the way he dealt with victims of child sex abuse, before finally suggesting he resign earlier this year.

Under Bishop Keith Slater, the Diocese of Grafton in northern NSW spent years denying it was liable for child abuse allegedly committed over several decades at a local children’s home, the Royal Commission has heard.

One of about 40 such victims, who ultimately received settlements of up to $10,000 after legal costs, has told the commission the experience of dealing with the church “was like being raped all over again.”

Giving evidence this morning, Bishop Slater said he was now “personally totally humiliated in myself” over how he handled the matter.

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Church reveals abuse case details

SCOTLAND
Herald Scotland

SCOTLAND’s Catholic Church is dealing with an average of six allegations of abuse a year, half of them historic.

For the first time, the country’s eight dioceses yesterday published full figures for complaints received against its clergy, volunteers and parishioners.

The Church, in an audit of abuse allegations involving children or vulnerable adults, said fully 27% of complaints were against individuals who are now dead. Some 55% of them were sexual in nature. There have been no prosecutions in respect of 61% of all cases.

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‘I’m totally humiliated’: ex-bishop apologises to abuse victims

AUSTRALIA
Sydney Morning Herald

Paul Bibby
Court Reporter

The former Anglican bishop who oversaw the church’s allegedly “harsh” response to victims of child sexual abuse at a north coast children’s home has publicly apologised for his actions, declaring, “I’m totally humiliated.”

Keith Slater, the Bishop of Grafton from 2003 until his resignation in May this year, delivered the apology while giving evidence before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse.

The commission has heard harrowing evidence from victims of abuse at the North Coast Children’s Home, who recalled being assaulted on a regular basis by members of the clergy, other employees and residents between 1944 and 1985.

When the victims, led by Richard “Tommy” Campion, finally took the church to court in 2007, the Grafton Diocese took a “harsh”, “commercial” approach to negotiations, eventually forcing them into a settlement that left each victim with just $10,000.

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Church to audit child sex abuse settlement

AUSTRALIA
Herald Sun

BY SAM MCKEITH AAP NOVEMBER 26, 2013

THE former head of the Grafton Anglican diocese says he is totally humiliated for personally falling “very short” in dealing with the victims of sex abuse.

Keith Slater, the former Bishop of Grafton, said he felt deep sorrow about the way he had handled claims from dozens of former residents of a children’s home on the NSW north coast.

A royal commission is examining the response of the Diocese of Grafton to claims of child abuse involving clergy and staff at the former North Coast Children’s Home in Lismore from 1944 to 1985.

The Sydney hearing is focused on the response to a group claim made by about 40 former residents of the home, who claimed to have suffered sexual, physical and psychological abuse there.

“I want to express my deep sorrow to those who were abused, who were claimants, during my time as the bishop of the Diocese of Grafton,” Bishop Slater told the commission on Tuesday.

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Bishop admits the Anglican Church was harsh in dealing with NSW child sex abuse victims

AUSTRALIA
7 News

BY ASHLEIGH RAPER – ABC
November 26, 2013

A bishop has admitted to the Royal Commission into child sexual abuse that the Anglican Church was harsh in its dealing with victims from a children’s home in northern New South Wales.

A group of former residents from the North Coast Children’s Home in Lismore run by the Anglican Church made a compensation claim for alleged sexual and physical abuse between the 1940s and 1980s.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is looking into the response from the Diocese to the allegations and how it handled the group claim.

Bishop Keith Slater held a powerful position when the former residents came forward claiming abuse.

This year he resigned as Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Grafton over his handling of the claims and has now been called to explain his actions to the commission.

During questioning, Bishop Slater told Counsel Assisting Simeon Beckett that the Church’s finances were his main concern.

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Diocese of Antigonish reaches out after sex abuse scandal

CANADA
CBC News

A Roman Catholic diocese in Nova Scotia is trying to connect with people who may have been abused by clergy, or otherwise hurt by the church.

The Diocese of Antigonish is holding a series of meetings, beginning Tuesday night, in the wake of a sexual abuse scandal.

Three years ago, the diocese reached a landmark settlement with victims of sexual abuse by priests.

Soon after that settlement was announced, then-bishop Raymond Lahey was charged with possessing and importing child pornography. He was later convicted, sentenced to time served, and defrocked by the Holy See in Rome.

Bishop Brian Dunn said these public meetings will try to address the anger and hurt that’s still out there.

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Former Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Grafton …

AUSTRALIA
NEWS.com.au

Former Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Grafton admits he had “fallen very short” in his oversight

SMILING Bishop Keith Slater smiles so much he apologised for doing it before giving evidence at the harrowing royal commission into child sex abuse today.

“I apologise in advance if I may seem to smile at time which is not appropriate,” he explained. It was just his “personality”.

But there was nothing to smile about as the commission heard a litany of Bishop Slater’s failures to help more than 40 victims of physical and sexual child abuse at the former North Coast Children’s Home in Lismore, adequately compensate them or report their church abusers to authorities.

“On reflection,” Bishop Slater agreed in the witness box, that withdrawing the church’s compensation offer to victims at one stage to help broker a better settlement was at odds with any kind of moral approach.

Commission chair, Justice Peter McClennan, said: “When you say ‘the settlement being brokered’ I take it what you mean is achieving the best outcome for the church?”

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Catholic Church in Scotland reveal 27 priests have been reported for sex abuse allegations

SCOTLAND
Daily Record

ABUSE allegations have been made against 27 Scots priests in a six-year period, a report revealed yesterday.

Figures released by the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, who represent the Catholic Church in Scotland, showed 46 allegations of abuse between 2006 and 2012. More than half involved sex abuse claims.

Just over half of the accusations were made against priests, with the rest linked to volunteers, parishioners or other church staff.

Just seven – 15 per cent – have resulted in prosecution.

Archbishop of Glasgow Philip Tartaglia, president of the Bishops’ Conference, said 2013 had been “a test of faith” for Catholics.

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November 25, 2013

Priest sparks outrage at call to acquit sex offender

IRELAND
Irish Independent

RALPH RIEGEL – 26 NOVEMBER 2013

A PRIEST sparked outrage when he asked Mass-goers to pray for the acquittal of a high profile politician accused of sex assault.

The Bishop of Cork and Ross moved to distance himself from comments made by the priest, who asked that former Lord Mayor of Cork John Murray be found not guilty.

Bishop Dr John Buckley described the comments as “offensive and inappropriate” and that he expects the priest’s order to address the issue.

The priest, who is not assigned to the diocese, apparently called for prayers for Murray (83) who was facing a trial in the Circuit Criminal Court on six charges of sexually assaulting a young teen.

Murray, who served as Lord Mayor of Cork in 1993-94, was convicted on five of the six charges last Friday.

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Nunavut witness says Dejaeger threatened her with hell if she reported his abuse

CANADA
Nunatsiaq Online

DAVID MURPHY

On the first day of week two at the Eric Dejaeger trial in Iqaluit, a witness said Dejaeger told her she would go to hell if she told anyone about his sexual advances.

The woman, now 39, but a young girl at the time, said the Oblate priest fondled her during colouring time at the St. Stephen’s Catholic Church in Igloolik.

The incident forms one of many alleged to have occurred between 1978 and 1982, when Dejaeger worked as a priest in Igloolik.

Dejaeger faces 69 charges arising from information provided by 39 complainants.

The witness said she didn’t understand much English at the time, only Inuktitut, but still found herself surrounded by other children at a table in church at a religion class taught by Dejaeger, who spoke only English to them.

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Athletic Director At Roman Catholic High School On Administrative Leave

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
CBS Philly

[with video]

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The athletic director at Roman Catholic High School in Center City is on administrative leave.

Late last week, administration at Roman Catholic High School received an allegation that its athletic director, Sean Fitzherbert, had allegedly engaged in inappropriate conduct via computer technology with a minor attending Father Judge High School, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced Monday.

Fitzherbert is currently on administrative leave, meaning that he is relieved of all duties within the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Prior to beginning employment at Roman Catholic High School in July 2013, Fitzherbert’s criminal record checks and child abuse clearances were obtained. He also participated in the Archdiocesan Safe Environment Training Program, according to a spokesperson for the Archdiocese.

Fitzherbert was not previously employed with the Archdiocese.

The spokesperson says information regarding this situation was communicated to the Roman Catholic and Father Judge High School communities Monday afternoon.

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More than half of allegations made to Scots Church ‘were of a sexual nature’

SCOTLAND
The Tablet

25 November 2013 16:41 by Sabrina Sweeney

More than half of allegations reported to the Catholic Church in Scotland over a six-year period were of a sexual nature, according to a report prepared for the Scottish Catholic Safeguarding Service.

The audit report revealed that 46 allegations of abuse were reported between 2006 and 2012.

Some 55 per cent of the allegations were of a sexual nature, 19 per cent reported physical abuse, 11 per cent alleged verbal abuse and 15 per cent related to alleged emotional abuse.

More than half of the allegations – 56 per cent – were made against priests, while 22 per cent were claims against volunteers.

The audit report is one of three initiatives announced by the Catholic Church in Scotland “in a spirit of openness and transparency”, following a series of scandals, including a spate of allegations of sexual abuse at Fort Augustus Abbey School. Earlier this year the most senior Catholic in Scotland, Cardinal Keith O’Brien announced he was stepping down after allegations of sexual misconduct appeared in the press.

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Abuse statistics an act of ‘atonement’ by Church

SCOTLAND
The Times

Mike Wade
Last updated at 9:00PM, November 25 2013

The Catholic Church has published statistics showing that about 20 priests in Scotland have been accused of sexual, physical, verbal or emotional abuse since 2006.

Figures disclosed yesterday showed that more than half of all 46 complaints of abuse made against the Church were sex-related in the six years to 2012. Priests, volunteers, employees and parishoners were included in allegations which relate to contemporary and historical cases of abuse.

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STATEMENT REGARDING MR. SEAN FITZHERBERT

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadlephia

Late last week, administration at Roman Catholic High School received an allegation that its Athletic Director, Mr. Sean Fitzherbert, had engaged in inappropriate conduct via computer technology with a minor attending Father Judge High School.

In accordance with Archdiocesan policy, this information was shared with the Philadelphia Police Department, Special Victims Unit, which is handling the ongoing investigation.

Mr. Fitzherbert is currently on administrative leave, meaning that he is relieved of all duties within the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Prior to beginning employment at Roman Catholic High School in July 2013, his criminal record checks and child abuse clearances were obtained. Mr. Fitzherbert also participated in the Archdiocesan Safe Environment Training Program. He was not previously employed by any Archdiocesan entity.

Information regarding this situation was communicated to the Roman Catholic and Father Judge High School communities this afternoon.

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Roman Catholic High athletic director investigated

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philly.com

The athletic director at Roman Catholic High School is under police investigation for alleged inappropriate conduct with a student at another school, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced Monday.

Sean Fitzherbert is on administrative leave as the police Special Victims Unit investigates an allegation that surfaced late last week that he had “engaged in inappropriate conduct via computer technology with a minor attending Father Judge High School,” said Kenneth A. Gavin, an archdiocese spokesman.

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MO- Accused serial predator priest wants trial

MISSOURI
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Monday, Nov. 25

Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests ( 314 862 7688 home, 314 503 0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com )

A defrocked Catholic priest, who admitted molesting in New Jersey and is accused of molesting several boys in mid-Missouri, wants to go to trial.

[Connect Mid-Missouri]

We welcome this move. We have tremendous confidence in the three brave men who have reported being abused by Fr. Gerry Howard in Boonville. We hope that the judge also lets into evidence Howard’s guilty plea in New Jersey.

At the same time, however, we strongly urge anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered Howard’s crimes to come forward. Police and prosecutors can never have too much evidence or too many witnesses in a clergy sex abuse trial. Pedophile priests typically get top notch lawyers and exploit technicalities, often escaping responsibility for their crimes or getting little or no jail time if they are convicted.

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MEDIA ADVISORY: ATTORNEYS TO ANNOUNCE SETTLEMENT…

CHICAGO (IL)
Jeff Anderson & Associates

MEDIA ADVISORY: ATTORNEYS TO ANNOUNCE SETTLEMENT IN FR. DANIEL MCCORMACK SEXUAL ABUSE CASE

Chicago News Conference Tuesday

Attorneys to Announce Multi-Million Dollar Settlement in Sexual Abuse Case Involving
Father Daniel McCormack and the Archdiocese of Chicago

Nine additional cases settled involving multiple clerics

Jeff Anderson and Marc Pearlman to discuss status of the release of documents
and priest files on 30 credibly accused offenders

What: At a news conference on Tuesday, November 26, 2013, in Chicago, sexual abuse attorneys Jeff Anderson and Marc Pearlman will:

• Announce a multi-million dollar settlement on behalf of a sexual abuse survivor who was abused by Father Daniel McCormack.
• Disclose additional information concerning the release of files on a total of 30 credibly accused offenders in the Archdiocese of Chicago, including photographs of those identified.
• Provide details on nine additional settlements on behalf of multiple sexual abuse survivors involving Father Robert Mayer, Father Robert Becker, Father Ralph Strand, Father Ken Ruge, Father Joseph Fitzharris, Father Robert Stepek and Father Marion Snieg.

WHEN: Tuesday, November 26, 2013 at 1:00PM CST

WHERE: Law Offices of Kerns, Frost & Pearlman and Jeff Anderson & Associates
*Please note address change
30 West Monroe
Suite 1600
Chicago, IL 60603

WHO: Attorneys Jeff Anderson and Marc Pearlman, lawyers specializing in sexual abuse litigation who work together on behalf of sexual abuse survivors in Illinois helping them achieve justice and healing.

Contact Marc Pearlman: Office/312.261.4550 Mobile/773.368.0142
Contact Jeff Anderson: Office/651.538.5049 Mobile/612.817.8665

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Accused priest wants bench trial

MISSOURI
Connect MidMissouri

by Mark Slavit

A former Boonville priest charged with 8 felony counts, including sodomy and kidnapping, wants a bench trial.

An attorney representing Gerry Howard made that request before a Cooper County judge today.

The case will be set for trial sometime after the first of the year.

Howard worked as a priest at Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Boonville.

His victims said the sexual abuse happened between 1984 and 1987.

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Royal Commission will hear of former paedophile Tweed priest

AUSTRALIA
Daily News

Jessica Grewal 26th Nov 2013

THE royal commission into child sex abuse is expected to hear a known paedophile was allowed to work as a priest for almost 40 years – many years of which were spent in Tweed.

It’s understood while the man was convicted of indecent assault against a male in the late 1960s he remained in a position of trust with children across the NSW North Coast before his past caught up with him.

Documents tendered during the first hearings into abuse at Lismore’s North Coast Children’s Home reveal Allan Kitchingman was before the courts in Newcastle when the bishop of the day recommended he be transferred to the Grafton diocese.

In a letter before the commission, the Newcastle bishop explains that Kitchingman is a “most acceptable” priest who is currently “living under a shadow” and needs to leave the diocese.

A handwritten footnote marked “highly confidential” describes Kitchingman as being popular with young people but having “some homosexual difficulties.”

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Catholic Church reveals details of abuse claims

SCOTLAND
Telegraph

The Roman Catholic Church in Scotland has received 25 complaints about alleged sexual abuse in the past six years

By Auslan Cramb, Scottish Correspondent 25 Nov 2013

The figure emerged as the church published the results of “safeguarding audits”, covering the period from 2006 to 2012.

A total of 46 allegations of abuse, including emotional and physical abuse, were made against 27 priests and 20 volunteers and parishioners.

The Archbishop of Glasgow, Philip Tartaglia, said in a letter read out during mass in Scotland’s 500 Catholic parishes on Sunday that 2013 had been a “test of faith”.

He added: “We recognise the trauma and pain that survivors of abuse have suffered and we are committed to providing for them both justice and healing.”

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Roman Catholic Church in Scotland reveals abuse case details

SCOTLAND
BBC News

The Roman Catholic Church in Scotland has published details of abuse allegations made between 2006 and 2012.

The statistics showed there were 46 allegations of abuse made over the six year period, of which 56% were made against priests.

Some 55% of the allegations were of a sexual nature, 19% alleged physical abuse, 11% were verbal and 15% were emotional.

The document also revealed the results of investigations into the claims.

There have been no prosecutions in relation to 61% of all cases reported, the church said.

A further 15% resulted in a prosecution, 10% are still under investigation and the remaining 14% are described as “unknown historical cases”.

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DC – New court cases about clergy abuse

SUITLAND (MD)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

One targets DC area Catholic facility
Hundreds of predator priests have been sent there
The center was sued this week for the first time ever
The other case let’s an accused Maryland priest “off the hook”

WHAT:
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will disclose that

–a Catholic priest accused of molesting in Baltimore won a key court case last week, and
— the first-ever clergy sex abuse and cover up lawsuit against a Maryland facility for predator priests was filed last week.

They will also urge anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes in the state to “speak up,

WHEN:
Monday, Nov. 25 at 11:30 a.m.

WHERE:
On the sidewalk in front of the Saint Luke’s Institute – 8901 New Hampshire Ave Silver Spring, MD 20903

WHO:
Four to five members of a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org)

WHY:
1)Last week, apparently for the first time ever, a Catholic facility in Maryland that has housed hundreds of predator priests was named as a defendant in a civil clergy sex abuse and cover up lawsuit.

[Star Tribune]

[Pioneer Press]

The suit, filed Tuesday in Dakota County Minnesota, was brought by a Minnesota man who charges that Fr. Francis Hoefgen sexually abused him after the priest “graduated” from sex offender treatment at the St. Luke’s Institute in Suitland and was then put back in to a church with no warning to the parishioners.

Before being sent to the center, Fr. Hoefgen admitted to police that he had twice performed oral sex on a boy, according to Minnesota Public Radio.

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STJ condena Igreja Católica a pagar indenização por pedofilia

BRASIL
G1

Mariana Oliveira
Do G1, em Brasília

A Terceira Turma do Superior Tribunal de Justiça (STJ) decidiu, por unanimidade, manter decisão que condenou a Diocese de Umuarama, no Paraná, e um padre do local a pagarem indenização de R$ 100 mil a um garoto que sofreu abuso sexual quando dia 14 anos, em 2002. O fato ocorreu na cidade paranaense de São Tomé, que faz parte da Diocese de Umuarama.

A decisão foi tomada em julgamento realizado na terça-feira passada (19) na análise de um recurso da Diocese, que questionou condenação no Tribunal de Justiça do Paraná. O TJ havia reconhecido “ato ilícito” do padre com “responsabilidade civil” da Igreja. Cada um foi condenado a pagar R$ 50 mil “de forma solidária”.

No processo, a Diocese de Umuarama argumentou que não houve responsabilidade solidária, uma vez que os atos foram “exclusivamente” praticados pelo padre que “desenvolvia trabalho voluntário e vocacional de ordem religiosa”. O TJ, porém, entendeu que o fato de ele cumprir funções e horários foram “suficiente para configurar a relação de preposição”

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Vatican abuse prosecutor says Rome ‘well aware’ of accountability problem

VATICAN CITY
National Catholic Reporter

John L. Allen Jr. | Nov. 25, 2013 NCR Today

The Vatican’s top prosecutor for sex abuse cases says Rome is “well aware” of how frustrated many people are with perceived confusion about how to hold bishops accountable when they’re accused of failing to make a “zero tolerance” policy stick and hopes a solution will emerge from debates over curial reform under Pope Francis.

Fr. Robert Oliver, a New York native who helped lead recovery efforts from the abuse crisis in the Boston archdiocese before being appointed as the Promoter of Justice in the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in late 2012, spoke to NCR on Friday.

He made the comment on accountability in the context of a question about Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo., who was convicted in September 2012 of a misdemeanor crime of failure to report a priest suspected of abuse and has remained in office.

This week, Oliver will be in the United Kingdom for a series of talks as well as meetings with abuse victims and child services professionals. It marks a fairly rare public outing for the 53-year-old canon lawyer, who so far has not developed the same high profile as his predecessor, Charles Scicluna, a Maltese cleric who became the face and voice of the cleanup effort on sex abuse under Pope Benedict XVI before returning to Malta as an auxiliary bishop a year ago. …

Other highlights from his NCR interview:

* Oliver asserted that recent reports suggest “a dramatic drop in incidents of abuse” committed by Catholic personnel, confirming, in his view, that “the church has made great strides in all parts of the world.”
* He conceded that in some instances, processing abuse cases both at the local level and in Rome “takes too long” and said his office is working on the problem.
* Oliver said in an average month today, the number of abuse cases reported to Rome is in the dozens, most dating from the distant past.
* He commends the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child for taking an interest in child sexual abuse, including the Vatican’s record on the problem, despite suspicions in some Catholic circles that it’s an excuse for attacking the church. He confirmed that the Vatican is preparing a response for the committee ahead of a scheduled Jan. 16 hearing in Geneva.
* Without commenting directly on recent charges of abuse against a papal nuncio in the Dominican Republic, Oliver said such situations offer a reminder that the problem “never goes away” but also that “the changes the church has made are working.”
* Oliver said it’s legitimate for church leaders to be concerned about the impact of litigation related to the abuse scandals, but they need to make clear that “our main concern is not about protecting the church’s money.”

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Third Hearing – Week Two (Or: Just A Joke)

AUSTRALIA
lewisblayse.net

Pat Comben, former registrar of the Grafton Anglican Church diocese and former Education Minister in the Queensland State Government, made a very (melo?)dramatic move outside the Royal Commission before giving evidence. He signed the “letter of holy orders relinquishment,” in public.

“Fifty years in the Church and I do not know if I can even say I am a Christian. Some of us have some guilt and take some responsibility for this,” Mr Comben said, outside the commission today, after he had completed two days of evidence. Mr Comben claimed that, if he did not take the line he did and keep compensation low, he would have been sacked.

As a former politician, Mr. Comben has been in receipt of a generous parliamentary pension. After he left parliament, he was director of the Wildlife Preservation Society, consultant for the Rowland Company and an environmental reporter for Channel 7 television (see http://www.crikey.com.au/2005/03/12/when-generous-pensions-are-not-enough/).

Since retiring recently from his job with the Anglican Church, he has operated the Koala Villas Caravan (trailer) Park at 539 Pacific Highway, Boambee NSW 2450, in the Grafton area. Apparently, he has had some property investments. A testimonial he provided for his local real estate agent reads, in part, “We have dealt with (redacted) over a number of years to buy and sell properties In some difficult situations we have encountered with tenants, (redacted) has dealt with the issues calmly and effectively leading to positive outcomes for all.”

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Sam Kellner’s Attorney Responds to Forward Article

NEW YORK
The Jewish Daily Forward

Paul Berger’s Response to Sam Kellner’s Attorney

By Niall MacGiollabhui

In the letter posted below, Niall MacGiollabhui responds to the Forward’s November 14, 2013 article, “Sam Kellner’s Tangled Hasidic Tale of Child Sex Abuse, Extortion and Faith; Is Alleged Shakedown Artist a Hero or Crook?” The article discussed controversies surrounding two separate, ongoing criminal prosecutions-one of Mr. Kellner and one of Baruch Lebovits. Mr. MacGiollabui represents Mr. Kellner.

I write this letter on behalf of my client, Sam Kellner, in response to the article that was published online on November 14, 2013 by the Forward headlined: “Sam Kellner’s Tangled Hasidic Tale of Child Sex Abuse, Extortion and Faith,” “Is Alleged Shakedown Artist a Hero or Crook?”

According to Mr. Berger, the author of the article, he looked deeply into the unraveling prosecution of Sam by the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office “largely at the urging of [Baruch] Lebovits’s family.” Baruch Lebovits is an alleged pedophile whose conviction in 2010 was overturned in 2012 on a technicality, and is facing retrial. His family claims that Sam tried to extort them after being told by his son that Lebovits molested him and after other victims came forward. The family also maintains that Lebovits is innocent of the many heinous accusations leveled against him by multiple victims. Offering this disclosure, however, does not excuse or mitigate what is disclosed: Mr. Berger put himself and your paper at the service of a notorious, longtime, alleged pedophile who, it seems, is desperately trying to avoid retrial and the justice his alleged evil deeds deserve.

Mr. Berger contacted me in early November, we spoke at length, and he provided me with a list of questions addressed to my client. Based on the form of the questions, which was accusatory, I told him it appeared his proposed article would adopt the prosecution perspective of Sam’s case.

(Nonetheless, I continued, we were willing to answer any questions he wished to ask and provide him with any material he sought.) On the contrary, Mr. Berger assured me, the article would be a balanced one examining the merits or otherwise of the prosecutions against both Sam and Lebovits. He further proclaimed by email on November 8: “I have asked the hard questions of both sides. That’s what I do.” For anyone who reads Mr. Berger’s article, the sound to be heard is the Lebovits family laughing out loud.

I made a simple inquiry of Mr. Berger: have you found a single shred of credible evidence to support the accusation that Sam Kellner attempted to extort the Lebovits family by claiming he controlled two victims, other than his son – identified in the article as Y.R. and M.T., respectively – who reported being abused by Baruch Lebovits. (The other accusation, that Sam bribed M.T. to falsely testify, is generally accepted to have been thoroughly discredited). Ten questions were emailed to me for my client to answer. The first five related to a secret recording made by Meyer Lebovits, a son of Baruch Lebovits, of a conversation with Sam in May 2009, supposed to be the “smoking gun” in the case. I asked Mr. Berger why he used his own, at times inaccurate, characterizations of the tape’s content, rather than the content itself, as the basis of his questions. He sheepishly conceded that he did not really analyze the content of the tape, relied on a transcript given to him by the Lebovits family, and volunteered that I understood it a lot better than he did. To help Mr. Berger, I emailed him the transcript provided by the District Attorney’s office, which he hadn’t seen. By email on November 7, I stated to him: “[I]f what is alleged against Sam was true, you would expect him somewhere in the course of 161 pages [of the transcript] to say he “controls” YR and MT and that’s why a trial [of Baruch Lebovits] won’t happen. As you know, it’s nowhere to be found. Likewise, when he’s asked repeatedly what he wants by Meyer [Lebovits], you would expect him to demand money. Again, nowhere to be found. Either he’s the world’s worst extortionist or he’s innocent.” Mr. Berger, however, quickly lost interest in the tape (as shown by the single thoroughly bland paragraph in his article in which he refers to its content), once he realized it didn’t support his pernicious agenda.

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Paul Berger’s Response to Sam Kellner’s Attorney

NEW YORK
The Jewish Daily Forward

Sam Kellner’s Attorney Responds to Forward Article

By Paul Berger
Published November 24, 2013.

Setting aside the hyperbole and mischaracterizations deployed liberally throughout Mr. MacGiollabhui’s letter, I would like to correct one of his primary assertions and also to answer his questions.

My article did not, as Mr. MacGiollabhui implied, attempt to find evidence that “Sam Kellner attempted to extort the Lebovits family.” Instead, I showed how Kellner’s involvement in the Lebovits prosecution went way beyond the actions of a wounded father looking for justice for his abused son. Readers can judge whether the evidence I marshaled in this respect was compelling.

Mr. MacGiollabhui asks at the end of his letter why he was not given several recordings referenced in the story. As I explained to Mr. MacGiollabhui during my reporting, I could not release the recordings to him because of commitments I made to the sources who provided them.

Mr. MacGiollabhui’s assertion that I claim in my article that Mr. MacGiollabhui would not comment upon one of the tapes “except in response to hearing the whole tape, is wholly dishonest” — is itself dishonest. Instead, in the article, I state that Mr. MacGiollabhui said he “preferred to respond after hearing the tape in full.” This is correct.

My agreement with a confidential source permitted me to use only excerpts of the tape with Mr. Kellner’s voice. I did send short audio and text excerpts to Mr. MacGiollabhui on November 6. When these proved insufficient, I offered to try to get further excerpts, as Mr. MacGiollabhui correctly points out.

However, Mr. MacGiollabhui omits that shortly after our conversation, the content of my November 6 email, which Mr. MacGiollabhui told me he shared only with his client, appeared on the website of an anonymous blogger — and cheerleader for Kellner — under the headline: “Which Lazy Journalist Will Take the Dershowitz Bait?http://frumfollies.wordpress.com/2013/11/07/which-lazy-journalist-will-take-the-dershowitz-bait/” This attempt to preempt my story before it had been published destroyed my confidence that anything further I sent to Mr. MacGiollabhui for his client would not be publicized elsewhere before my story was published.

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Priest Grozovsky’s trip to Israel officially stopped – diocese

RUSSIA
Interfax

St. Petersburg, November 25, Interfax – The business trip of priest Gleb Grozovsky, who is accused of child molestation, has been officially stopped, Alexander Asonov, press officer for the Gatchina Diocese, told Interfax.

“Father Gleb’s business trip to Israel automatically stopped when he was suspended from service,” Asonov said.

Asonov reiterated that the Gatchina Diocese encourages Grozovsky to return to Russia and cooperate with the investigators. “We don’t support his delay in Israel,” he said.

According to earlier reports, Grozovsky, the former senior priest of a church in the Leningrad Region, is accused of molesting two schoolgirls. A criminal case has been opened against him based on Part 4 of Article 132 of the Russian Criminal Code (molesting a child younger than 14).

According to information possessed by the investigators, Grozovsky, who is accused of molesting two schoolgirls, was suspended from service for the period of the investigation into his case on November 18.

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Kellner Attorney Calls Forward Journalist “Lazy, Shoddy, Dishonest” – And Proves It

NEW YORK
Failed Messiah

Sam Kellner’s attorney Niall MacGiollabhui wrote a long letter to the Forward rightly criticizing Paul Berger’s mistake-ridden, biased article on Kellner published November 14.

If you don’t know the case, Kellner’s attorney’s letter will be difficult to follow. So I suggest you read my refutation of Berger’s article first. It will make Kellner’s attorney’s letter somewhat easier to follow.

In his response, Berger essentially claims the Forward did not give Kellner and his attorney extended excerpts from the tape that supposedly incriminates him because Berger did not want to be scooped by a leak from Kellner. How this excuses publishing a hit piece full of inaccuracies is beyond me. But even more so, how can that be used as an excuse not to give Kellner extended excerpts now?

Kellner’s attorney calls Berger a “useful idiot” for the Lebovits family and calls him a lazy, shoddy reporter – all true in my estimation.

But most devastating are the number of things Kellner’s attorney points out Berger did not know about the case and Berger’s near-complete lack of curiosity about the actual evidence.

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Deacon quits church in protest …

AUSTRALIA
Telegraph

Deacon quits church in protest moments before taking stand at royal commission into child sex abuse

MATTHEW BENNS THE DAILY TELEGRAPH NOVEMBER 26, 2013

THE deacon who led the Anglican Church’s response to allegations of child abuse in Lismore quit the church in protest just moments before stepping into the witness box at the royal commission into child sex abuse.

Pat Comben, former registrar at the Diocese of Grafton, said he should no longer be referred to by the title reverend and was not even sure he could still call himself a Christian after 50 years in the church.

The royal commission is examining the response of the Anglican Diocese of Grafton to harrowing claims of physical and sexual child abuse over a 48-year period and involving 12 members of clergy and staff at the former North Coast Children’s Home in Lismore.

“Some of us do have some guilt and take some responsibility for this,” he said after a gruelling two days of evidence finished yesterday.

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Hundreds of church-goers urge bishop to give suspended priest Father Despard his job back

SCOTLAND
Daily Record

MORE than 1000 angry church-goers have signed a petition demanding a suspended priest be reinstated.

Helen Ann Hawkins, 40, set up the campaign after Father Matthew Despard was told he was being stripped of his duties after failing to meet with Bishop Joseph Toal.

The decision came eight months after he self-published his book Priesthood in Crisis, which accused the Catholic Church of covering up sexual bullying.

But his supporters have given him strong backing, signing an online petition as well as a separate paper petition in their droves.

Now Helen plans to take the campaign to Bishop Toal, who announced the decision to suspend him eight days ago, then on to the Vatican.

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When Faith Becomes Ideology

UNITED STATES
Michigan Chronicle

Written by Aubrey J. Lynch Sunday, 24 November 2013

The title is taken from words spoken by Pope Francis as reported at rawstory.com on Oct. 21 of 2013. In his brief words, the Pope took issue with those who are so focused on ideology that any indication of love, compassion, understanding and other higher level facets of humanity are lost.

These are powerful, near shocking words to come from the leader of the centuries old Catholic church. The new Pope likely uses messages such as this one to let the world know how he is working to change the institution that has done so much in recent years to attack gays and women.

Bishops of the Catholic Church had put themselves so far out into the public spotlight that they appeared to be campaigning for Republicans in their efforts to defeat the Affordable Care Act. This view has been borne out by a recent article in the National Catholic Reporter on Nov. 14. The article reveals that many bishops are afraid that focusing on economic issues in support of the poor will alienate their Republican donors and help the Democrats. Those donors would then not support the bishops’ focus on gays, abortion and religious liberty.

An article in Enlightened Catholicism tells us that the billionaire Koch Brothers gave a million dollars to the Catholic University of America. In their cozy relationship with the Republicans and their billionaire supporters, the bishops came dangerously close to sedition, if not treason, as they pounded away at “religious freedom” in their attempts to subvert the law of the land that had given women access to insurance to help them control the timing and process of reproduction.

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Richard Joel Knew About Yeshiva Sex Abuse Allegations, Documents Show

NEW YORK
The Jewish Daily Forward

By Paul Berger
Published November 25, 2013.

When an investigative team appointed by Yeshiva University reported in August that the school had “failed to appropriately act to protect the safety of its students or did not respond” to credible allegations that they’d been sexually abused, it drew an important caveat: This dereliction of responsibility had continued, the investigators said, “until 2001.”

After that, “the University acted decisively to address the allegations,” the investigators stated.

As a result of these findings, Y.U.’s current president, Richard Joel, was spared any stigma stemming from the scandal, which involved several decades of alleged sexual abuse by faculty and staff. The problem was pegged instead to the tenure of his predecessor, Rabbi Norman Lamm.

But internal documents obtained by the Forward indicate that, in fact, Joel, who arrived at Y.U. in 2003, was told both before and after he became president about allegations against Rabbi George Finkelstein, the former principal of a Y.U. high school — and that he declined to intervene in the first instance or respond in the second.

The documents show that Mordechai Twersky, a Y.U. alum who is now one of 34 former students suing Y.U. for having failed to protect them, approached Joel in 2000 and again in 2004 to complain about the abuse he had suffered as a high school student at Finkelstein’s hands. But Joel did not take those complaints seriously, according to the documents.

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‘Community politics’ in abuse claims

AUSTRALIA
Herald Sun

ANNETTE BLACKWELL AAP NOVEMBER 25, 2013

A FORMER politician who became registrar of a NSW Anglican diocese at the centre of an abuse inquiry has denied playing community politics over a group claim from people who suffered abuse.

Pat Comben, who served in the Queensland government in the 1990s was registrar at the diocese of Grafton when 42 former residents of the North Coast Children’s Home started legal action over sexual, psychological and physical abuse at the home over for decades to the early 80s.

Mr Comben who is continuing his evidence at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse said on Monday he sent out a press release in response to a story in the Northern Star about the allegations.

In the release, which was recalled after a legal threat by the solicitor for the claimants, Mr Comben said he saw “these matters as being a challenge to the very community of Lismore”.

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Anglican directory of clergy a ‘stud book’

AUSTRALIA
9 News

Four years after an Anglican clergyman was jailed for sexually abusing children at a NSW Anglican home he was still on the Church’s “stud book”, a witness has told a national abuse inquiry.

The official Anglican directory of clergy was jokingly referred to as the stud book, a former registrar of the Anglican Diocese of Grafton told the national inquiry into child sex abuse in Sydney on Monday.

Pat Comben, apologised for the use of the “totally inappropriate name”, which he used when he was being questioned about what he did about disciplining Rev Allan Kitchingman, a convicted sex offender.

Kitchingman was jailed for two and a half years in 2002 for indecent assault on two boys who were under his care at the North Coast Children’s Home, when he was chaplain in the 1970s.

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New Poll: ‘Faithful Catholics’ an Endangered Species

UNITED STATES
Religion Dispatches

By LINDA WOODHEAD

Pope Francis is full of surprises. This month he launched a survey of Catholic opinion in order to inform a special synod on the family scheduled to meet in Rome next October. Not surprisingly, it’s caught many national conferences of bishops on the hop. Under John Paul II and Benedict XIV they’d got used to a Vatican which looked inwards rather that outwards for authority. A favourite text was Lumen Gentium’s passage which insists that the magisterium of the Pontiff requires “religious submission of mind and will.” A survey of ordinary Catholics sits oddly with this stance. What can it mean?

Catholic opinion is divided on the answer. Conservatives say the survey’s designed to do no more than expose how the church’s irreformable teaching on family and sex needs to be strengthened. It will aid in the re-confessionalisation of the faithful, helping gather strayed sheep back to the fold. Reformists say the opposite. They welcome the initiative as a sign that Francis really cares about what ordinary Catholics think, and that Vatican II’s claim that the Church is “the whole people of God” is at last being made good.

A closer look at the questionnaire supports the conservative view over the reformist one, for it’s not a survey in any sense that a social scientist would recognize. The 38 questions are larded with theological jargon, and will leave many of the faithful scratching their heads and Googling the Catholic Encyclopedia. Take question 1a, for example:

Describe how the Catholic Church’s teachings on the value of the family contained in the Bible, Guadium et spes, Familiaris consortio and other documents of the post-consiliar Magisterium is understood by people today?

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Catholic Church abuse claims sparks probe

SCOTLAND
Edinburgh Evening News

FORMER Church of Scotland Moderator the Very Rev Dr Andrew McLellan has been appointed to look into safeguarding procedures in the Catholic Church.

Dr McLellan, former minister of St Andrew’s and St George’s Church in George Street, is also a former chief inspector of prisons for 
Scotland.

The move comes as it was revealed a dossier of documents containing allegations of more than 20 cases of abuse in the Catholic Church has been passed to police.

Confidential letters from Scottish bishops, dating back to 1995 and including every diocese in Scotland, will be reviewed by Police Scotland, the force ­confirmed.

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AUDIT REPORTS: 2006-2012

SCOTLAND
Bishops’ Conference of Scotland

Introduction

Each year the Scottish Catholic Safeguarding Service (formerly National Office for the Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults) in the person of the National Co-ordinator presents a report to the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland at their November meeting which details an Audit of the eight dioceses in Scotland in relation to the work of safeguarding in the previous calendar year. For example the 2012 Audit was presented earlier this month to the Bishops’ Conference. The process began with an audit in 2006, by 2007 the format was established.

The Audit contains details of how safe environments are created with disclosure checks on those involved with children and vulnerable adults in a Church setting. When the Disclosure Scotland scheme was introduced it was decided by the Bishops that all Clergy, anyone applying for seminary and all volunteers in parishes would be required to complete an Enhanced Disclosure, the most rigorous level. All employees of the Church engaged in work with children or vulnerable adults are required at recruitment to undertake an Enhanced Disclosure. This Disclosure scheme is presently being systematically replaced by the PVG (Protecting Vulnerable Groups) scheme.

As well as Disclosure/PVG Training plays an important role in creating safe environments. The current national safeguarding training programme developed by professionals within the Catholic Church is called “Awareness and Safety in Our Catholic Communities”. The training programme includes a Welcome Guide for all volunteers in the parishes with clear guidance about appropriate safeguarding procedures and good practice. This training is mandatory and delivered by experienced and trained Diocesan safeguarding Trainers. The Audit contains details about the training undertaken annually.

Finally, the Audit presented to the Bishops’ Conference contains details of any allegations which have been made and how these have been dealt with.

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55% of church allegations ‘sexual’

SCOTLAND
Belfast Telegraph

25 NOVEMBER 2013

More than half of all complaints of abuse received by the Catholic Church in Scotland over a six-year period were sex-related, according to a report.

The church has published the results of its Diocesan Safeguarding Audits from 2006/12, giving a breakdown of incidents reported during that time.

A total of 46 allegations were reported, of which 55% related to sexual abuse, 19% to physical abuse, 11% were allegations of verbal abuse and 15% were in connection with emotional abuse.

Of those accused , 56% were priests , 22% were volunteers, 11% were parishioners and the remainder were staff or other people connected to the church.

There have been no prosecutions in relation to 61% of all cases reported, the church said. A further 15% resulted in a prosecution, 10% are still under investigation and the remaining 14% are described as “unknown historical cases”.

More than a quarter of all the accused reported (27%) are now dead, according to the audit report prepared for the Scottish Catholic Safeguarding Service.

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Scotland’s Catholic Bishops announce range of safeguarding initiatives

SCOTLAND
Scottish Catholic Media Office

Scotland’s Catholic Bishops announce range of safeguarding initiatives.

Monday 25 November 2013.

Embargo 11.00

The Bishops’ Conference of Scotland has today announced details of three safeguarding initiatives, which will be launched over the next 12 months. In a letter read out at all of Scotland’s 500 Catholic parishes yesterday (24 November, the Feast of Christ the King) the President of the Bishops’ Conference, Archbishop Philip Tartaglia said:

“We recognise the trauma and pain that survivors of abuse have suffered and we are committed to providing for them both justice and healing.” The Archbishop added that 2013 had been “a test of faith” for Catholics, but the Church was committed to “consolidation of our safeguarding practices, the renewal of trust in our unshakeable commitment to atoning for abuse in the past, guarding against abuse in the present and eliminating abuse in the future, and supporting those who have been harmed.”

Archbishop Tartaglia also promised that all the initiatives were being “launched in a spirit of openness and transparency” and in recognition of the fact that “safeguarding is a priority within the Church, and all who work in the Church must realise this.”
The initiatives concerned are:

1. Immediate publication of all Diocesan Safeguarding Audits from 2006-2012, giving a statistical breakdown of reported safeguarding incidents during those years.

2. An external “Review of Safeguarding Protocols and Procedures” which will review the suitability and robustness of safeguarding procedures and the quality and rigour of their implementation nationally. The Very Rev Dr Andrew McLellan, CBE, former Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland and former Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Prisons will direct this.

3. A Statistical Review of all Historic Cases of Abuse from 1947-2005

A full description of each of these processes is given below.

Commenting on his participation in the review process, Dr McLellan said:

“I have agreed to chair the review panel which will instigate and complete a review of ‘Awareness and Safety’ in the Catholic Church in Scotland. My appointment is a generous sign of respect not simply for me but for the Church of Scotland; and I am pleased to be able to help the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland in what has been for them a difficult year. But my first concern is not to support the Catholic church: rather it is to seek the best protection of many vulnerable children and adults. In pursuing that aim I will be determined to discover the truth and to make clear recommendations. I am very much encouraged by the independence I will have in selecting the membership of the panel, detailing its remit and deciding on its timescale; and by the assurance I have been given that the Catholic Bishops will accept our recommendations.”

Dr McLellan added: “Over the remaining weeks of 2013, I hope to turn my attention to these matters so that I can announce the particulars of the review process and structure early in 2014.”

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Survivors group praises church for decision to release maltreatment claim figures in Scotland

SCOTLAND
Herald Scotland

Monday 25 November 2013

A Catholic abuse survivors’ group has praised the Church’s groundbreaking decision to reveal full sets of figures relating to maltreatment claims against priests and members of religious orders in Scotland.

The measure to publish annual and historic figures emerged in a letter by the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland which was read out at masses across the country.

It includes the publication of figures relating to complaints made against priests, nuns and monks dating back to 2006 and a statistical review of historic cases from 1947 to 2005. Helen Holland, chairwoman of In Care Abuse Survivors, said that the development, which begins today, would be a major step towards making the Catholic Church more transparent about its past and in the future.

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Catholic Church: more than 50% of abuse complaints received were sex related

SCOTLAND
Herald Scotland

Monday 25 November 2013

More than half of all complaints of abuse received by the Catholic Church in Scotland over a six-year period were sex-related, according to a report.

The church has published the results of its Diocesan Safeguarding Audits from 2006/12, giving a breakdown of incidents reported during that time.

A total of 46 allegations were reported, of which 55% related to sexual abuse, 19% to physical abuse, 11% were allegations of verbal abuse and 15% were in connection with emotional abuse.

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No copping out of abuse blame

AUSTRALIA
Eureka Street

Frank Brennan | 25 November 2013

Police Victoria badgeAustralia’s quest to uncover the plague of child abuse and put right the failure of government and non-government organisations (including churches) to deal compassionately and justly with victims, and firmly and appropriately with perpetrators, continues. Quite rightly, the Catholic Church remains in the spotlight. In February, retired judge Tony Whitlam QC reported on the ‘Father F’ Case in Armidale. He highlighted that all the blame did not lie just with the deceased bishop Kennedy. There were systemic failures not just in the Church but also with psychologists, the police and the courts.

This month, the Victorian parliamentary committee’s report ‘Betrayal Of Trust: Inquiry Into The Handling Of Child Abuse By Religious And Other Non-Government Organisations’ was published.

The Catholic Church hierarchy now seems more prepared to admit institutional and personal failures prior to 1996 when Towards Healing and the Melbourne Response were instituted. They are yet to admit the pervasive, closed clericalist culture which infected the Church until at least 1996. But that will come.

Cardinal Pell who had been an auxiliary bishop in the Melbourne Archdiocese from 1987 to 1996 when he then was made Archbishop told the Victorian inquiry:

As an auxiliary bishop to Archbishop Little I did not have the authority to handle these matters and had only some general impressions about the response that was being made at that time, but this was sufficient to make it clear to me that this was an issue which needed urgent attention and that we needed to do much better in our response.

Understandably, this left many people inside and outside the Church wondering, ‘If Archbishop Little didn’t act between 1987 and 1996, why didn’t his auxiliary Bishop Pell try to do something?’ and ‘If the Archbishop knew during those nine years, why didn’t his Auxiliary?’

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Rwanda: The Church Should Prevent Sex Abuse

RWANDA
allAfrica

The New Times

BY JOSEPH OINDO, 24 NOVEMBER 2013

In the Old Testament, there are stories of sexual abuse, meaning that this is not a thing that is only plaguing modern society. In 2 Samuel, the Bible documents the story of Amnon, David’s son, contriving to have his half-sister Tamar alone in order to have incestuous sex with her.

Modern society has seen rising cases of sexual abuse, reported in the media while many of them go unreported. Teachers have been caught up in sexual liaison with students, priests have been accused of paedophile while parents have been caught in incest with their daughters.

Pope Benedict is reported to have admitted that sexual abuse of minors plagued the Catholic Church during his papacy. “As far as you mentioning the moral abuse of minors by priests, I can only, as you know, acknowledge it with profound consternation…,” he said.

According to Justin Halcomb in Grace and Truth, “sexual assault is a sin against God because the blessing of sexuality is used to destroy instead of build intimacy and because it is an attack against His image in His image-bearers. The ability of sexual assault to obscure internal and external relationships makes it a cosmic affront to the Creator and the order of his creation. Sexual assault is a sin against God because it violates his most sacred creation-human beings made in His image.”

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TENTH ANNIVERSARY OF THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE CHILD SAFEGUARDING AND PROTECTION OFFICE OF THE ARCHDIOCESE OF DUBLIN

IRELAND
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin

Homily Notes of Most Rev. Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin
Saint Mary’s Pro-Cathedral, Dublin, 24th November 2013

“For over a year now the Church has been celebrating a Year of Faith. The year ends today as we celebrate the final Sunday of the Liturgical Year – the Feast of Christ the King.

The word “king” is a little foreign to us who really only know democratic government. That is not important. Jesus never wanted to be a king in any political sense. His kingdom was not of this world. His reign was not to be one of domination and power but of service.

Yet it is interesting to recall that the term “king” appears at the very first moments of the life of Jesus on earth and at the very last moments of his life. At the first Christmas, the angels announce to the shepherds that “a king” has been born. On the cross of Jesus is written “Jesus of Nazareth, King”.

Some of the theologians of the early Church referred to Jesus’ kingship as a “kingship of wood”: the only time that his kingship is unequivocally recognised is on the wood of the cross, when that inscription “This is Jesus the King of the Jews” is placed above his dying body. We can only understand the kingship of Jesus when we understand the mystery of the Cross. “Jesus, the king” undergoes the death of a criminal, yet what appears to the world as an ignominious death opens the possibility for Jesus’ true kingship to be recognised and to spread.

On the Feast of Christ the King, we remember that that spreading of the kingdom of Jesus will only come to its conclusion when the salvation won for us by Jesus on the Cross is fully reflected in the life of our world and in the way we live. What does God’s kingdom look like? We hear that in the preface of today’s Mass. The kingdom of Jesus is “a kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice, love and peace”.

When we look at the world around us we must quickly recognise that we have a long way to travel before our world truly mirrors that vision of God’s kingdom. Evil and corruption, exploitation and violence still abound. Not everything that was introduced as progress has turned out to be true progress for the human community or the human soul. Human progress does not depend only on scientific progress or economic growth or political power. Progress requires justice. But justice will remain only a word if it is not accompanied by caring and solidarity, by compassion and understanding.

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Church’s response to abuse victims was too slow, says Archbishop

IRELAND
Irish Independent

SARAH MAC DONALD – 25 NOVEMBER 2013

ARCHBISHOP Diarmuid Martin of Dublin has rebuked those in the Catholic Church who were “all too slow” in recognising the extent of the “criminal abuse of children” by priests.

He was speaking at a Mass to mark the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Child Safeguarding and Protection Office in the archdiocese of Dublin.

SURVIVORS

At a ceremony in the Pro-Cathedral attended by 400 child safeguarding representatives from parishes across Dublin, as well as priests and representatives of survivors of abuse, Dr Martin said the church needed to do more to reach out to survivors of clerical abuse.

The Archbishop urged the church to create “an open door and a safe space for those survivors who still fear telling their story and who still live alone with their anguish”.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, the Archbishop explained that from his meetings with survivors, he realised that some of them “are in a lonely place”.

“Very often they have nobody to talk to – they are not a member of an association. They were abused in a way that the pressure was put on them to keep it secret.”

He said they would like to have a space where they could come together, meet one another and support one another.

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Pastor Implicated in Sex Abuse Scandal is Back

UNITED STATES
Religion Dispatches

Post by ROB SHRYOCK

When a pastor resigns after his 77-church network is implicated in “the largest evangelical sex abuse scandal to date,” how long does it take for him to regain the trust of his colleagues?

The answer, apparently, is 7 months. CJ Mahaney, the founding pastor of Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM), recently spoke at a conference called “Conviction to Lead 2013” at an SGM megachurch in Knoxville after a long absence from the public eye.

The lawsuit against SGM, which fizzled out in the late spring due to statutes of limitations, alleged that church leaders, including Mahaney, had actively worked to protect multiple abuse perpetrators while harassing and intimidating victims into silence. As T.F. Charlton wrote here on RD back in March:

The suit has been filed not only on behalf of the individual plaintiffs [8 at this point], but also on behalf of a much larger class of people allegedly abused as minors in SGM, who do not wish to come forward with their stories. The suit alleges that the potential additional victims are too many to be included as individual plaintiffs in the suit because SGM’s leaders have cultivated an “environment conducive to and protective of physical and sexual abuse of children.”

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Anglican Church official Pat Comben quizzed…

AUSTRALIA
7 News

Anglican Church official Pat Comben quizzed in Royal Commission over response to child sex abuse at North Coast Children’s Home

BY ASHLEIGH RAPER – ABC
November 25, 2013

The Royal Commission into child abuse has heard a former Anglican Church official responsible for responding to historic abuse claims did not pass on allegations to police.

The former registrar of the Anglican Diocese of Grafton, Pat Comben, today took the stand for a second day at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Mr Comben, who had previously served as Queensland education minister under premier Wayne Goss, was the first to receive claims about the North Coast Children’s Home at Lismore.

He has faced intense scrutiny about the evidence given to the commission by former residents of the home about the physical and sexual abuse they suffered between the 1940s and 1980s.

Witnesses at the commission last week criticised Mr Comben’s handling of the allegations and subsequent negotiations for compensation, with his actions described as cruel and inappropriate.

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I’m not sure I’m still a Christian, Anglican priest Pat Comben says

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

Dan Box
From: The Australian
November 25, 2013

THE priest who was at the centre of handling a group claim from abuse victims at an Anglican Church children’s home in NSW has quit, saying he is no longer sure he call himself a Christian.

Former registrar of the Grafton Diocese, Pat Comben said he had taken the view that he had some guilt and responsibility in the mishandling of the claims by 42 former residents of the North Coast Children’s Home in Lismore who suffered shocking sexual and physical abuse.

He said on Monday he was quitting because history is being re-written by some members of the church.

Mr Comben said he had signed the letter of holy orders relinquishment outside the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses into Child Sexual Abuse on Friday. That was just before he took the stand to give evidence into the diocese’s handling of allegations by former residents of the home.

“Fifty years in the Church and I do not know if I can even say I am a Christian,” said Mr Comben outside the commission on Monday after he had completed two days of evidence.

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Cleric quits over abuse handling

AUSTRALIA
Perth Now

By Annette Blackwell
From: AAP
November 25, 2013

AFTER 50 years in the church, an Anglican priest says he doesn’t know if he can say he’s a Christian.

The priest, who was central to handling a group claim from people who suffered abuse in a NSW Anglican children’s home, has announced he is quitting the clergy.

In a surprise revelation at Monday’s hearing into how the Anglican Church dealt with victims of abuse at a children’s home in Lismore, the former registrar of the Grafton Diocese, Pat Comben, said he had relinquished holy orders.

Mr Comben was the first to hear of the allegations of abuse at the home and was central to the diocese’s handling of them for three years.

He said he’d signed the papers to leave the ministry on Friday, before taking the stand at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

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Former church moderator to lead probe into Catholic Church’s safeguarding procedures after priest sex abuse allegations

SCOTLAND
Daily Record

A FORMER moderator of the Church of Scotland is to head an inquiry into how the Catholic Church in Scotland handles sex abuse allegations.

The Very Reverend Dr Andrew McLellan’s overhaul of the Church’s safeguarding procedures follows scandals relating to inappropriate sexual conduct of priests.

Earlier this year, the Catholic Church was rocked by revelations of alleged abuse at Fort Augustus Abbey School in the Highlands.

Former pupils claim they were molested and beaten by monks who taught them decades ago.

Police are investigating and it has emerged at least 20 other cases of abuse are being probed in Scotland.

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Priest at centre of abuse claim quits

AUSTRALIA
Sky News

The priest who was at the centre of handling a group claim from abuse victims at an Anglican Church children’s home in NSW has quit, saying he is no longer sure he call himself a Christian.

Former registrar of the Grafton Diocese, Pat Comben said he had taken the view that he had some guilt and responsibility in the mishandling of the claims by 42 former residents of the North Coast Children’s Home in Lismore who suffered shocking sexual and physical abuse.

He said on Monday he was quitting because history is being re-written by some members of the church.

Mr Comben said he had signed the letter of holy orders relinquishment outside the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses into Child Sexual Abuse on Friday. That was just before he took the stand to give evidence into the diocese’s handling of allegations by former residents of the home.

‘Fifty years in the Church and I do not know if I can even say I am a Christian,’ said Mr Comben outside the commission on Monday after he had completed two days of evidence.

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November 24, 2013

Police get dossier of alleged abuse in Catholic Church

SCOTLAND
Scotsman

by TRISTAN STEWART-ROBERTSON
Published on the 25 November 2013

A DOSSIER of documents containing allegations of more than 20 cases of abuse in the Catholic Church has been passed to police.

Confidential letters from Scottish bishops, dating back to 1995 and including every diocese in Scotland, will be reviewed by Police Scotland, the force ­confirmed.

In one, a bishop describes abuse against “two severely mentally-handicapped young female adults”, according to reports in a Sunday newspaper. Another reportedly refers to a 15-year-old boy as “sexually mature”.

Former advisor to the Motherwell diocese, Alan Draper, called for criminal investigations and an independent Scottish Government inquiry into sexual abuse in the Church.

The revelation came as it was revealed that a former moderator of the Church of Scotland’s General Assembly has been asked to look into safeguarding procedures in the Catholic church. Andrew McLellan, who is also a former chief inspector of prisons for Scotland, will oversee the review.

Peter Kearney, a spokesman for the Catholic Church in Scotland, said the Church has co-operated with police and would continue to do so.

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Rabbis who Publicly Support the Efforts of The Awareness Center To End Sexual Violence in Jewish Communities Around The World

UNITED STATES
The Awareness Center

Below is a list of Rabbis who support the efforts of The Awareness Center. If you are a rabbi (of any recognized affiliation) and would like to be included, please send an email to: VickiPolin or a “snail mail”, with a note giving us permission to add your name on your synagogues stationary. Please include your full name, synagogue, organization, city, state, and country.

If you are or are not a rabbi, please share this request for supporters with every rabbi you know.

List of Rabbis
Rabbi Jonathan F. Adland – Indianapolis, IN

Rabbi Barbara Aiello – Milan, Italy

Rabbi Morris Allen – Mendota Heights, MN

Rabbi Ruth Alpers – Cincinnati, OH

Rabbi Camille Shira Angel – San Francisco, CA

Rabbi Benjamin Arnold – Evergreen, CO

Rabbi Stephen A. Arnold – South Easton, MA

Rabbi Jeffrey Astrachan – Old Bethpage, NY

Rabbi Craig Axler – Spring House, PA

Rabbi Ian J. Azizollahoff – New York, NY

Rabbi Stephen Baars – North Bethesda, MD

Rabbi Jeremy Barras – Charlotte, NC


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Catholic church to publish details of abuse and misconduct complaints

SCOTLAND
STV

The Catholic Church in Scotland for the first time publish a breakdown of complaints of abuse and misconduct as it responds to a series of scandals.

It will give details how many ‘safeguarding’ incidents in each dioceses, their type, the category of victim and perpetrator, as well as the outcome of the investigation as part of a new policy.

The church also said it will bring in the former moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland Andrew McLellan to review its procedures.

The church also announced a statistical review of historic abuse cases between 1947 and 2005

The moves come after the church has been hit by a series of scandals. It faced allegations of sexual abuse at its Fort Augustus Abbey school, while the most senior Catholic in Scotland, Cardinal Keith O’Brien announced he was stepping down earlier this year over allegations of “sexual misconduct”.

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Church to reveal past abuse cases

SCOTLAND
Paisley Daily Express

Nov 24 2013

The Catholic Church in Scotland has said it will publish a review into cases of reported abuse over a period spanning more than five years.

The church will give details of the number of incidents reported between 2006 to 2012, their nature and the results of investigations into them, members have been told.

It is also expected to announce a further audit of all cases of historic abuse allegations between 1947 and 2005 and a full review of its safeguarding procedures.

The three initiatives, it says, are being launched ” in a spirit of openness and transparency”.

Members of the Catholic community were told about the plans at Mass today. A formal announcement by the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland will be made at 11am tomorrow.

Bishops of the eight Scottish dioceses make up the Bishops’ Conference, which represents the Catholic Church in Scotland.

A letter read to mass-goers said: “T he Bishops wish to say on behalf of the Catholic Church in Scotland that we recognise the trauma and pain that survivors of abuse have suffered and that we are committed to providing for them both justice and healing.

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Catholic Church in Scotland to reveal past abuse cases

SCOTLAND
ITV

The Catholic Church in Scotland will review recent and historic cases of abuse in the church in a “spirit of openness and transparency.”

The church will give details of the number of incidents reported between 2006 to 2012, their nature and the results of investigations into them, it announced to members.

A further audit of all cases of historic abuse allegations between 1947 and 2005 is then expected to be launched, along with a full review of its safeguarding procedures.

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Church accused of hiding from abuse claims

SCOTLAND
The Times

Michael Glackin

A former adviser to the Catholic Church in Scotland has accused it of creating a “smokescreen” to divert attention from the latest allegations of sex abuse.

The comments were made as the Church announced a three-point plan in response to criticism of how it has dealt with child abuse and sex scandals within its ranks.

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