Column: Justice denied

PENNSYLVANIA
Lancaster Online

By ELIZABETH EISENSTADT-EVANS
Correspondent
bellettrelliz@gmail.com

There’s a difference, sometimes a big difference, between justice and the law.

In June of 2012, Monsignor William Lynn, a high-ranking official in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, was convicted on one-count of child endangerment for providing a priest, Edward Avery, a venue in which he would go on to abuse a boy.

Formerly the archdiocesan secretary for clergy, Lynn’s case seemed precedent-setting at the time because, while he wasn’t directly involved in abusing children, he was the person responsible for oversight of clergy in the archdiocese.

Part of that responsibility, one would assume (as it turned out, wrongly), involved reporting abuse to secular authorities. Instead, Lynn transferred them from one church to another.

Last week, Lynn’s conviction was reversed by the state appeals court. This week, the same judge who sentenced him to serve- 3 to 6 years in prison, M. Teresa Sarmina, has set the terms of bail on which he can be released (she also ruled that he must be subject to electronic monitoring and give up his passport as Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams appeals the reversal).

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Former Tulia Priest Pleads Guilty, Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison

TEXAS
My High Plains

[with video]

Martin Barbosa

TULIA — A former Tulia priest will spend the next ten years behind bars after pleading guilty to Indecency With a Child.

John Salazar entered that plea yesterday.

He’s guilty of one count of indeceny with a child. The incident happened back in 2001 in Tulia.

Salazar was a priest from the Amarillo Catholic Diocese working there until 2003.

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Duluth list of accused priests includes 3 with Collegeville ties

MINNESOTA
St. Cloud Times

DULUTH — The Diocese of Duluth on Tuesday released the names of 17 priests who it says were credibly accused of sexual abuse.

Fourteen of the priests have died. All 17 were removed from the church, are under investigation or were dead when the accusations arose, the Duluth News Tribune reported.

Among those on the list are the Rev. Angelo Zankl, a priest and monk at St. John’s Abbey who died in 2007 at age 106. He was deceased at the time of the allegation, according to the Duluth diocese website.

Zankl served at St. Clement’s in Duluth from 1951 to 1967 and as a chaplain at the St. Scholastica Priory from 1974-87.

According to the St. Cloud Times archives, Zankl was head of the St. John’s University art department in 1934 when he designed the university’s seal. He taught theology at St. John’s Seminary and served as the university’s dean of men.

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Owensboro pastor suspended after allegations of inappropriate conduct with minor

KENTUCKY
14 News

Posted by Kara Mattingly

OWENSBORO, KY (WFIE) –
An Owensboro pastor has been suspended after allegations of inappropriate conduct with a minor.

Blessed Mother Church officials released a statement saying Father John Meredith left the church earlier this month on a medical leave of absence. That leave of absence has now turned into a temporary suspension.

Officials aren’t saying what he’s accused of doing and the investigation is continuing. Police say no criminal charges have been filed.

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Archdiocese Ordered To Surrender Names Of Priests Accused of Abuse

ST. LOUIS (MO)
KMOX

Brian Kelly Twitter:@brpkelly
December 31, 2013

ST. LOUIS (KMOX)-For the second time this year, a St. Louis Circuit Judge has ordered the St. Louis Archdiocese to turn over the names of priests credibly accused of sexual abuse between 1983 and 2003.

The Archdiocese has until Friday to turn surrender the information to the woman who is suing defrocked priest Joseph Ross and the Archdiocese for alleged abuse, and her attorneys.One her attorneys, Ken Chackes says Judge Robert Dierker has ruled the church’s history of dealing with sexual predators is relevant in the case, “He said that both prior history of how they dealt with sexually abusing priests is relevant to the case and how the Archdiocese continued to deal with complaints of sexual abuse even after our client was abused is relevant to the case.”Chackes calls the ruling “groundbreaking”, “It is the first time that a case has gotten this far and that the Archdiocese of St. Louis has been ordered to reveal the names of clergy that have been credibly accused by children.”Chackes says there were 234 credible cases over those 20 years. He cannot say how many priests were accused.

Chackes says the information will not be made public unless it comes out in trial. He adds that the names of the alleged victims will not be released.

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Judge Orders Archdiocese To Release Records

ST. LOUIS (MO)
St. Louis Public Radio

By JOSEPH LEAHY AND MARIA ALTMAN

A judge is giving the Archdiocese of St. Louis until Friday to turn over documents requested in a sexual abuse case or face sanctions.

In a ruling Tuesday, St. Louis Circuit Court Judge Robert Dierker ordered the limited release of the names and locations of clergy proven, admitted or credibly accused of child sex abuse in the diocese.

The records, which will not be made public, pertain to a suit claiming the diocese intentionally failed to protect a young girl who was abused by formerly convicted priest Joseph Ross.

Ross was later defrocked by the Roman Catholic Church.

Dierker’s order is narrower in scope than what was originally requested by the prosecution six months ago, by excluding non-clergy records.

Yet David Clohessy, the director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, says the ruling is important because it is critical for victims to prove they were put in harm’s way.

“It’s not enough just to say ‘this priest molested this girl,'” Clohessy said. “The girl also has to prove that church officials knew he was dangerous, put him in her parish without warning anybody and did this kind of deceitful maneuver time and time and time again.”

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Big institutions, and their leaders, elude punishment

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Newsworks

BY CHRIS SATULLO

When complex, powerful organizations become seedbeds of wrong-doing, how do you hold them accountable? Whom do you punish?

This is one we haven’t figured out yet in America.

Think of two of the most damaging, most appalling scandals of recent times. First, the deceitful risk-taking on Wall Street that brought down the global economy. Second, the culture of silence and evasion in the Catholic Church that permitted repeated sexual abuse by clergy.

Philadelphia had been the site of the first American court case where a Catholic Church administrator was held to account for shifting abusive priests from one congregation or school to another.

But last week a Pennsylvania Superior Court panel ruled that the legal theory used to convict Monsignor William Lynn of child endangerment was invalid. The ruling didn’t question the evidence that Lynn’s decisions as a church official gave abusive priests new chances to ruin young lives, just that the statute didn’t apply to those facts.

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The Heron’s Nest: The Holy War surrounding Monsignor Lynn

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Delaware County Daily Times

By Phil Heron, Delaware County Daily Times
POSTED: 12/31/13

Seth Williams needs to tell us what he really thinks.

Make no mistake, the Philadelphia district attorney is not even a little bit happy about an appeals court ruling that threw out the case against Monsignor William Lynn, convicted of endangering the welfare of children in the children’s sexual abuse scandal that has engulfed the Philadelphia Archdiocese.

Yesterday a Philadelphia judge admitted she may have erred in her interpretation of the law, and set bail for the only high-ranking church official convicted in the scandals.

That did not sit particularly well with Williams. In fact, he decided to raise a little holy hell.

He railed against the ruling tossing the case against Lynn and called the move to grant him bail an abomination.

Williams vowed to do everything in his power to put Lynn “back where he belongs, behind bars.”

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Monsignor William Lynn posts bail, but not immediately freed from prison

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philly.com

ALEX WIGGLESWORTH, FOR PHILLY.COM
LAST UPDATED: Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Attorneys on Tuesday posted bail for Monsignor William Lynn, but the jailed former Catholic official isn’t a free man yet.

Lynn’s lead attorney Thomas Bergstrom said the legal team still has to straighten out issues related to the terms of Lynn’s electronic monitoring, one of the conditions of his release.

“That could take a while,” Bergstrom said, though he declined to speculate exactly how long.

Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Teresa Sarmina during a hearing Monday set Lynn’s bail at $250,000 and ordered he surrender his passport and undergo weekly reporting and electronic monitoring.

Sarmina in 2012 sentenced Lynn, former Archdiocese of Philadelphia secretary for clergy, to 3 to 6 years in prison after he was convicted of felony child endangerment for transferring priests accused of child sex abuse to other parishes rather than reporting them to law enforcement. But a three-judge Superior Court panel on Thursday unanimously overturned Sarmina’s ruling, finding the state’s child-endangerment law was wrongly applied in the case.

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Philly Archdiocese Helps Monsignor Post $250k Bail

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
ABC News

By MARYCLAIRE DALE Associated Press

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia helped post the $250,000 bail needed to release a former church official who has been imprisoned for 18 months in the clergy-abuse scandal.

Monsignor William Lynn’s attorneys posted the bail on Tuesday after a state appeals court last week overturned his conviction for child endangerment. Lynn was expected to be released later this week after electronic monitoring can be arranged.

Lynn became the first U.S. church official ever convicted for his handling of abuse claims and was sent to prison in July 2012 for three to six years. But the mid-level appeals court found that the child-endangerment felony didn’t apply to him, because he did not directly supervise children when he served as the archdiocese’s secretary for clergy from 1992 to 2004. The law was changed in 2007.

Lawyers for Lynn also surrendered his passport, another bail condition.

Ken Gavin, a spokesman for the archdiocese, said the church “assisted” with the $25,000 needed to post bail.

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Judge orders archdiocese to turn over by Friday names of priests accused of abuse

ST. LOUIS (MO)
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

By Doug Moore dmoore@post-dispatch.com 314-340-81250

A judge has ordered the St. Louis Archdiocese to release by end of day Friday the names of all priests accused of sexual abuse in the past 20 years.

But St. Louis Circuit Judge Robert Dierker said the archdiocese could withhold the names of those involved in cases the church determined were “unsubstantiated.”

The ruling today is the latest in a civil suit against Joseph Ross, the first priest defrocked here as the child abuse scandal of the past few decades in the Roman Catholic Church has continued to play out in court.

The names of those involved in the complaints will be kept under seal, available only to the victim, known in court papers as Jane Doe, and her attorneys.

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Owensboro Priest Suspended

KENTUCKY
Tristate Homepage

The Owensboro Catholic Diocese has suspended Father John Meredith.

Meredith was the pastor at Blessed Mother Catholic Church in Owensboro. According to a letter signed by Bishop William Medley and sent to members of Blessed Mother, Meredith left the church earlier this month for a “medical leave of absence,” but that leave is now a temporary suspension. The Letter goes on to say there have been allegations against Meredith of in appropriate conduct with a minor.

The letter does not say what the inappropriate conduct might be, when it may have occurred, who the victim or victims might be, or when the Diocese was made aware of the allegations. It does say a Diocese Review Board has looked into the allegations and has found them to be credible.

In the letter Bishop Medley also asks for compassion for the person who brought the allegations to light, and he asks for prayers for Father John, his family and friends, and all of the Blessed Mother Community.

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Tulia priest sentenced to prison in sex abuse case

TEXAS
Amarillo Globe-News

By Jim McBride
jim.mcbride@amarillo.com

A former Tulia priest has been sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to molesting a young male parishioner who attended the Church of the Holy Spirit.

John Salazar, 58, pleaded guilty Monday in a Tulia Court to a second-degree felony charge of indecency with a child — sexual contact. Judge Robert W. Kincaid ordered him to pay a $1,500 fine and $734 in court costs, according to a copy of the plea agreement.

In 1987, Salazar pleaded guilty in Los Angeles to molesting two California altar boys. He served about half of a six-year sentence in California before the Diocese of Amarillo hired him to lead a Tulia church.

The Amarillo Diocese hired Salazar in 1991 directly from a New Mexico treatment program that treated pedophile priests and assigned him to the Church of the Holy Spirit in Tulia, but diocesan officials said earlier they had received no complaints during his service with the tiny parish.

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Ex-West Texas priest gets prison in sex abuse case

TEXAS
U-T San Diego

TULIA, Texas (AP) — A former West Texas priest has been sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to molesting a young male parishioner who attended the Church of the Holy Spirit in Tulia.

The Amarillo Globe-News (http://bit.ly/JrZpDp ) reports 58-year-old John Salazar pleaded guilty Monday to a second-degree felony charge of indecency with a child — sexual contact.

The Amarillo Diocese hired Salazar in 1991 directly from a New Mexico treatment program for pedophile priests, assigning him to the Tulia church. In 1987, Salazar pleaded guilty in Los Angeles to molesting two altar boys.

Former Amarillo Bishop Leroy Matthiesen, who died in 2010, defended hiring priests from the treatment program, saying they’d repented and were rehabilitated.

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CORRECTION: PRIEST ABUSE-APPEAL STORY

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Aurora Advocate

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — In a story Dec. 26 about a church official whose child-endangerment conviction was overturned, The Associated Press misspelled the last name of the director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. He is David Clohessy.

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Juicio contra sacerdote Audín Araya entra en su recta final: Arriesga 10 años de cárcel

CHILE
Bio Bio

Luego de concluir la entrega de pruebas por parte de la defensa del sacerdote Audín Araya, el juicio por el delito de abuso sexual de menores entró en la recta final.

El próximo jueves y viernes deberían desarrollarse los alegatos de clausura del Ministerio Público, del querellante y el abogado defensor del religioso.

Así, se prevé para la próxima semana la entrega del veredicto de los jueces de la Sexta Sala del Tribunal Oral de Concepción, respecto de la inocencia o culpabilidad del ex rector del Colegio Salesianos.

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The Diocese of Duluth Release Their List …

MINNESOTA
Legal Examiner

The Diocese of Duluth Release Their List of 17 Priests Accused of Sexually Abusing Minors

Posted by Mike Bryant
December 31, 2013

The Diocese of Duluth released a list today of 17 priests accused of sexually abusing minors. The release comes several weeks after a lawsuit was filed seeking the release of information on the 17 priests, these lists have been hidden until now. Along with the list the Bishop of Duluth, Rev. Paul Sirba released a statement.

The List

The list of 17 credibly accused priests includes:
– Kirby Blanchard
– Louis Brouillard
– Victor Chateauvert
– Leonard Colston
– Raymond Cossette
– Frederick Fox
– John Golobich
– Ralph Goniea
– Robert Klein
– Mark Makowski
– (Thomas) Gregory Manning
– John Nicholson
– Dennis Puhl
– Thomas Stack
– Joseph Thibaudeau
– Stephen Toporowitz
– Angelo Zankl

Additional accused priests with ties to the area:
– Cornelius Kelleher
– Vincent Fitzgerald
– Othmar Hohmann
– Richard Jeub
– Brennen Maiers

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Duluth diocese releases names of accused priests

MINNESOTA
Seattle PI

DULUTH, Minn. (AP) — The Diocese of Duluth has released the names of 17 priests whom it says were credibly accused of sexual abuse.

A Duluth News Tribune report (http://bit.ly/1lxttcF ) says 13 have died. All 17 were removed from the church, are under investigation or were dead when the accusations arose.

The list also mentions five priests with ties to the area, who were accused while working elsewhere.

Tuesday’s release comes several weeks after a lawsuit was filed asking that information on the 17 priests be released.

Duluth Bishop Paul Sirba calls the history of abuse in the church “a sad truth that must be acknowledged.”

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Duluth Diocese Releases List of Priest Accused of Abuse

MINNESOTA
KSTP

By: Cassie Hart

The Duluth Diocese has released a list of names of priests who they say have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor.

KSTP sister station WDIO reports the list has been in the works for several weeks. The goal of releasing it, according to Bishop Paul Sirba, is to encourage hope and healing for victims.

Anyone who believes they have more information about these priests is encouraged to call the Diocese and law enforcement.

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Duluth diocese releases list of 17 priests accused of abusing children

MINNESOTA
Star Tribune

[list of names]

Article by: BY JEAN HOPFENSPERGER Updated: December 31, 2013

Duluth diocese is third in the state to release names of priests accused of child abuse.

The diocese of Duluth released the names of 17 Catholic priests Tuesday who have been credibly accused of molesting children.

None of the priests are in active ministry, according to the diocese, and most are no longer living. The diocese is releasing its list to bring healing on the issue, said Duluth Bishop Paul Sirba.

“The release of this information underscores a sad truth that must be acknowledged: Over the last 65 years, a number of clergy members in the Diocese of Duluth have violated the sacred trust placed in them by children, youth and their families,” said Sirba, at a morning news conference.

“These clergy have caused terrible harm to victims, to the victims’ families, to our community, to the Church and to the many, many good priests who faithfully carry out their duties to God’s people with love and generosity,” he said.

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Clergy with credible claims against them concerning sexual abuse of a young person

MINNESOTA
Roman Catholic Diocese of Duluth

As part of the Diocese of Duluth’s ongoing efforts to foster safe environments for children and young people, Bishop Paul D. Sirba released on December 31, 2013 information about clergy members ho have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of young persons while serving or residing in the Duluth Diocese.

Included in the release are clergy members who served as diocesan priests as well as clergy from other dioceses or religious orders who at one time worked or resided in the Duluth Diocese. …

1. Rev. Kirby Blanchard
Date of birth: 11/16/1928
Date of ordination: 5/30/1953
Cleric’s prior assignments in diocese:
Asst. Pastor: Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary, Duluth – 7/ 22/1953 – 1/ 7/1965
Pastor: Our Lady of Fatima Church, Garrison – 1/ 7/19 65 – 8/24/1966
Pastor: St. Joseph’s Church, Deerwood – 1/7/1965 – 8/24/1966
Pastor: St. Augustine’s Church, Cohasset – 8/24/1966 – 2/ 27/1969
Pastor: St. Mary’s Church, Deer River – 8/24/1966 – 2/27/1969
Pastor: St. Christopher Church, Nisswa – 2/27/1969 – 3/17/1971
Pastor: St. Alice Church, Pequot Lakes – 2/ 27/1969 – 3/17/1971
Pastor: Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Pine River – 2/ 27/1969 – 3/17/1971
Pastor: St. Anthony’s Church, Duluth – 3/17/1971 – 6/1/1976
Chaplain: St. Joseph’s Hospital, Brainerd – 9/1/1976 – 12/5/1993
Retired: 12/ 5/1993
Diocese or religious order: Diocesan Priest
Date removed from ministry: 12/27/1995
Current location: Deceased
Current status: Died 8/11/2006

2. Rev. Louis Brouillard
Date of birth: 07/27/1921
Date of ordination: 12/17/1948
Cleric’s prior assignments in diocese:
Temporary Administrator: St. Joseph, Beroun – 7/27/1981 – 7/11/1984
Pastor: St. Mary, Kewatin – 7/11/1984 – 11/12/1985
Pastor: St. Anne, Kelly Lake – 7/11/1984 – 11/12/1985
Diocese or religious order: Priest of the Diocese of Agana, Guam
Date removed from ministry: 11/12/1985
Current location: Pine City, MN
Current status: Not in ministry, Faculties revoked

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Bishop Sirba releases names of credibly accused priests

MINNESOTA
Roman Catholic Diocese of Duluth

As part of the Diocese of Duluth’s ongoing efforts to foster safe environments for children and young
people, Bishop Paul D. Sirba released on Dec. 31, 2013, information about clergy members who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of young persons while serving or residing in the Duluth Diocese.

Included in the release are clergy members who served as diocesan priests as well as clergy from other dioceses or religious orders who at one time worked or resided in the Duluth Diocese. Despite our best efforts to make sure our information is accurate and complete, we know that it may include errors or be incomplete. We ask that anyone who believes they have information about any instance of child sexual abuse involving any member of the clergy to contact their local law enforcement and the diocese or a diocesan assistance coordinator.

A list of names of those credibly accused
A Q&A on the Dec. 31 disclosure
A Q&A on the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People
A glossary of terms used in the John Jay Study

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Priest Surrenders Passport

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
NBC 10

Lawyers for a Roman Catholic church official have surrendered his passport as they try to get him out of prison on bail after 18 months.

WATCH: Explanation of Overturned Conviction

Monsignor William Lynn’s bail has been set at $250,000 after an appeals court overturned his conviction in the clergy-abuse scandal.

Lynn is the first U.S. church official person ever convicted for hiding abuse complaints. But an appeals court now says the child-endangerment felony did not apply to him.

Officials at the state prison in Waymart, in northeastern Pennsylvania, are awaiting word Wednesday on when Lynn can be released.

Defense lawyer Thomas Bergstrom says he is trying to set up the electronic monitoring ordered by the trial judge.

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Bishop Sirba releases names of 17 priests accused of sexual abuse in Duluth Diocese

MINNESOTA
Northlands News Center

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) — Duluth Bishop Paul Sirba has released the names of 17 priests who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing children in the Duluth Diocese.

During a news conference, officials with the Duluth Diocese said the priests on the list have been removed from the church, are under investigation or were deceased before the accusations were known.

Officials also released the names of five other priests with ties to the area who have been accused while working in other ministries.

The group Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, released the following statement concerning today’s list of credibly accused priests:

“For the church to move forward, it’s important that all this information come out to learn how to never repeat it so Catholic officials can better protect kids right now. Still, we hope today’s disclosure will prod others who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes or cover ups in Minnesota to step forward, call police, expose wrongdoers, protect kids and start healing.”

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Diocese of Duluth releases names of accused priests

MINNESOTA
Duluth News Tribune

By: Tom Olsen, Duluth News Tribune

The Diocese of Duluth today released a list of 17 of its former priests who have been determined to be credibly accused of sexually abusing children.

All 17 priests have been removed from the church, are under investigation or were deceased before the accusations surfaced. Four are alive today.

The list also includes five other priests with ties to the area who have been accused while working in other ministries.

Duluth Bishop Paul Sirba called the history of abuse in the church a “sad truth that must be acknowledged” and said the release of names will help victims heal and encourage other victims to come forward.

The list of 17 credibly accused priests includes:

Kirby Blanchard
Louis Brouillard
Victor Chateauvert
Leonard Colston
Raymond Cossette
Frederick Fox
John Golobich
Ralph Goniea
Robert Klein
Mark Makowski
(Thomas) Gregory Manning
John Nicholson
Dennis Puhl
Thomas Stack
Joseph Thibaudeau
Stephen Toporowitz
Angelo Zankl

Additional accused priests with ties to the area:

Cornelius Kelleher
Vincent Fitzgerald
Othmar Hohmann
Richard Jeub
Brennen Maiers

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MN – Duluth predator priests names released; SNAP responds

MINNESOTA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Tuesday December 31, 2013

Statement by Verne Wagner, Northeast MN director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), 218-340-1277,lwagsmn@yahoo.com

We are glad that Bishop Sirba is releasing the names of credibly accused priests here in the Northland. Kids are safer every time a child molester is exposed. Having more names of predator priests in the news today in Duluth is a first step in transparency, outreach to victims and support for them. But this is a first step, and we hope Bishop Sirba will open and release files and documents that tell where and when alleged abuse took place, and the actions that the Bishops did or didn’t take. With the release of these predator priests, we also hope the bishop includes photos of these clerics as well as their history.

When I filed my lawsuit against the Duluth Diocese and it made the news, other victims of Fr. John Nickelson called me saying they thought they were the only ones he molested. This information should never have been kept secret.

Just this week, we learned about former priest Harry Walsh a credibly accused child molester. He was never disciplined by the Twin Cities archbishop and was – until a week or so ago – working with troubled teens and vulnerable adults in Wright County here in Minnesota teaching sex education. Think about that! A child molester who was never disciplined by Catholic officials teaching sex ed to trouble kids and vulnerable adults with no warning given to his county by the diocese. Walsh’s past crimes were kept secret until outed by a former victim of his.

For the church to move forward, it’s important that all this information come out to learn how to never repeat it so Catholic officials can better protect kids right now. Still, we hope today’s disclosure will prod others who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes or cover ups in Minnesota to step forward, call police, expose wrongdoers, protect kids and start healing.

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Pa. monsignor surrenders passport, awaits release

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Bellingham Herald

BY MARYCLAIRE DALE
Associated Press
December 31, 2013

PHILADELPHIA — Lawyers for a Roman Catholic church official have surrendered his passport as they try to get him out of prison on bail after 18 months.

Monsignor William Lynn’s bail was set at $250,000 after a Pennsylvania appeals court overturned his conviction in a clergy sex-abuse scandal.

Lynn is the first U.S. church official ever convicted for his handling of abuse claims. But an appeals court now says the child-endangerment felony didn’t apply to him.

Officials at the state prison in Waymart, in northeastern Pennsylvania, are awaiting word on when Lynn can be released.

Defense lawyer Thomas Bergstrom says he is trying to set up the electronic monitoring ordered by the trial judge.

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Year’s End and an Empty Tank

UNITED STATES
National Survivor Advocates Coalition

In this space, we try to be clear, declarative and not overly burdensome.

We hope we are the same today with a message that we deliberately don’t make frequently. …

We believe that men and women in Roman Catholic church pews and in the pews of other denominations and men and women of goodwill in society must stand against the evil of sexual abuse, against the perpetrators, of course, but also against the accomplices to abusers who cover up sexual abuse and the human roadblocks against the reform of the statutes of limitations that allow those who committed abuse and those who abetted and abet them by cover up to remain beyond the reach of the justice system in criminal and civil law as well as canon law.

There is an era of good feeling bubbling up in the Roman Catholic Church these days due to the election of Pope Francis.

We believe that many people in the pews as well as others in the general population think that the issues of the crisis will be solved or at least nicely and politely shelved by that good feeling.

We believe the opposite. We believe that the new year will bring tougher times in this fight. We believe that is foreshadowed by the court ruling regarding Monsignor Lynn.

We believe that this is no time to let down a guard.

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.

MO-Catholics urge judge to “hold firm”

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

POSTED BY BARBARA DORRIS ON DECEMBER 31, 2013

Catholics urge judge to “hold firm”
They want “openness” about predator priests
Groups to archbishop: “Start obeying court order”
“Our donations should not go to church lawyers,” they say
“Nor should our contributions finance more hurtful secrecy”

WHAT
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, local Catholics and child sex abuse victims will call upon

–a St. Louis archbishop to stop his “long and expensive fight” against a court order commanding him to release records of alleged predator priests, and
–a St. Louis judge to “hold firm” and insist on such disclosure immediately and hold the archbishop in contempt.

WHEN
TODAY, Tuesday, Dec. 31 at 1:00 p.m.

WHERE
On the sidewalk outside the “new” Cathedral, 4400 Lindell at Taylor in the city’s Central West End

WHO
A small group of Catholics who belong to three organizations – Voice of the Faithful, the Association for the Rights of Catholics, and the Faithful of Southern Illinois – along with two-three clergy sex abuse victims who belong to a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

WHY
More than six months ago, a local judge ordered St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlson to turn over, privately, records about proven and alleged child molesting local clerics. But Carlson has essentially violated that order by providing only a little bit of the information. He refuses to provide the names of proven, admitted and accused predators, despite a clear command by Judge Robert Dierker to do so.

[St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

In contrast, the alleged victim in the case has complied with Dierker’s orders. She has provided Catholic officials hundreds of pages of her private emails and her medical records.

The case revolves around accusations that Fr. Joseph D. Ross repeatedly sexually abused a then-five year old girl for years at St. Cronan’s Catholic parish in the Grove neighborhood. She is now 20 and in 2011, she filed a lawsuit as a “Jane Doe.” The suit charges that top archdiocesan staffers knew that Ross was a convicted predator yet moved him to her parish without warning anyone about him.

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.

Australian inquiry scrutinizes church

AUSTRALIA
National Catholic Reporter

Stephen Crittenden | Dec. 31, 2013

SYDNEY
Australian survivors of clerical sexual abuse have been complaining for years about their dissatisfaction with Towards Healing, the Catholic church’s national protocol for responding to abuse.

The inner workings of Towards Healing were laid bare in November and December during two weeks of public hearings held here before the Royal Commission Into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, chaired by New South Wales Supreme Court Judge Peter McClellan.

The royal commission was established in November 2012 to inquire into how private, public and nongovernment institutions, including churches, have responded to child sexual abuse, and to make recommendations on improvements where systems have failed. With more than 5,000 people expected to come forward to tell their stories, it is likely to take years to complete its work. One thousand private hearings have already been conducted.

One of the most shocking revelations in early December concerned the handling of allegations of abuse by Marist Br. Raymond Foster, a teacher who committed suicide in 1999, just hours before he was due to face charges of abusing a 13-year-old boy in a north Queensland school in the early 1970s.

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.

Amid joyful celebrations, wounds are reopened

MINNESOTA
Roman Catholic Diocese of Duluth

Bishop Paul D. Sirba

The month of October was filled with light and shadows for me. The bright lights were events surrounding the celebration of the Year of Faith. We hosted Baraga Days for the first time. Our Diocesan Assembly was held at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College and celebrated the lives of St. Kateri and the Ven. Frederic Baraga and conferences on the New Evangelization.

We prayed for our health care professionals at our annual White Mass and listened to a presentation by the legal counsel of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on Religious Liberty and the HHS mandate.

The Catholic school children, their principals and teachers from seven of our Catholic schools outside the city of Duluth, as well as home school families from around the diocese, made a pilgrimage to the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary to gain the Year of Faith indulgence and celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass together.

I celebrated the Sacrament of Confirmation at St. Joseph’s in Chisholm, St. Michael’s in Duluth and St. Joseph’s in Grand Rapids. Our high school students opened their hearts and lives to the outpouring of God and the Holy Spirit, in this great Sacrament of Initiation.

As a member of the Committee on Home Missions for the USCCB, I was privileged to travel to one of the poorest dioceses in the country, Gallup, N.Mex., to disperse grants on behalf of the National Collection for Home Missions. Memories of reading Willa Cather’s “Death Comes for the Archbishop” came to life for me as we visited the descendants of the people and the places that she wrote about in her classic novel.

A dark past emerged

The shadows came in the painful realities surrounding past cases of clergy sexual abuse. I am so grateful for your prayers and for God’s mercy on our diocese. Any time a case comes to light the painful wounds are reopened.

I pray we reach out to the victims and their families, the faithful and the clergy to bring God’s healing and continue to make our diocese the safest place for children to be. The efforts of our diocese over the years in providing safe environment training have borne much fruit, contrary to the impressions and misstatements by our local press, but we still have much work to do.

Our clergy conference, which began on the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, Oct. 7, was dedicated to clergy health and well-being. Coming after our most recent disclosure, the sadness, hurt and anger of our priests and deacons was palpable. We shifted the focus of our meeting to discuss what was most important to our family, as painful as it was to discuss it, the effects of clergy sexual abuse and our response to it.

As ordained men we cannot fathom at times the breaking of a sacred trust by a few of our brothers and the hurt caused to victims and their families. Since the vast majority of your priests serve with the heart of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, to fall under the pall of this terrible sin is most discouraging. We also have a heart for our brothers who offend and hope and pray for them.

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.

D.A. to appeal Superior Court decision to free Msgr. Lynn on bail

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Daily News

JENNY DEHUFF, DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER DEHUFFJ@PHILLYNEWS.COM, 215-854-5218
POSTED: Tuesday, December 31, 2013

DISTRICT ATTORNEY Seth Williams is taking an appeals-court ruling to the state Supreme Court in attempt to keep Monsignor William Lynn behind bars.

But Lynn – whose felony child-endangerment conviction was overturned in state Superior Court last week – could walk free any day this week by posting 10 percent of $250,000 bail, which was granted yesterday by Common Pleas Judge M. Teresa Sarmina.

“We can say with great confidence that the way the Superior Court read this law is not how this law is supposed to work,” Williams said during a news conference yesterday.

“I am disgusted by the ruling of the Superior Court panel that was persuaded by the defense argument that Monsignor Lynn did not have a duty to protect children. I have no doubt that a misguided, wealthy benefactor will pay for his release.”

In June 2012, a jury found that Lynn was solely responsible for allowing pedophile priests to have contact with young boys and shuffling them from parish to parish to keep the abuse quiet.

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’s new broom sweeps Vatican Bank

VATICAN CITY
Irish Times

Paddy Agnew

As tourists walk past the Porta Sant’Anna in Rome, just off St Peter’s Square, few pay much attention to the strange-looking, rounded tower that sits just inside the gates of the Holy See. Built by the 15th century humanist pope Nicholas V, the tower looks more like a fortress than a palatial villa, a sort of Martello tower that contrasts starkly with the elegance of Bernini’s famous colonnade in the square.

The point about this Torrione di San Nicolò, of course, is that it is indeed a fortress, a fortress of money. For this tower is today the seat of the Vatican Bank, the Istituto Per le Opere di Religione, otherwise known as the IOR.

There was a time when, for the media at least, the bank was off limits. As of last summer, however, that has changed. And when I turned up at the Porta Sant’Anna recently, the IOR spokesman Markus Wieser and a Vatican gendarme were waiting at the gate.

On request, Wieser had invited me to the bank for what he called a “tour d’horizon”. His basic message was, and is: Look, we have nothing to hide, this is what we are doing now in the Great Clean-Up operation.

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.

Judge Sarmina Declares She’s Fallible, Lets Lynn Out Of Jail

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Big Trial

By Ralph Cipriano
for Bigtrial.net

After declaring “I am fallible,” the Hon. M. Teresa Sarmina today announced she would reverse course, and grant bail to Msgr. William J. Lynn.

It was Judge Sarmina who denied Lynn bail twice in 2012, before and after she put him away for three to six years after a jury found the monsignor guilty of one count of endangering the welfare of a child.

A three-judge panel of Superior Court appeal judges on Dec. 26th reversed that conviction, saying the “plain language” of the state’s original child endangerment statute plainly didn’t apply to Lynn. It only applied to adults who had direct contact with children, such as parents, teachers and guardians, the Superior Court judges said. It did not apply to the monsignor, who never even met the alleged victim in his case. [The state’s original 1972 child endangerment law was amended in 2007 to include supervisors such as Lynn.]

The Superior Court judges went one step further, labeling Sarmina’s handling of the law in the Lynn case as “fundamentally flawed.” So no wonder Judge Sarmina looked like she was sucking on lemons today when she read a legal soliloquy from the bench that basically amounted to: I may have screwed up the case, but I really don’t think so; I’m still the trial judge and you’re not; and I bet I’m going to be upheld when the state Supreme Court takes this up on appeal.

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.

Duluth Diocese to Release List of Accused Priests

MINNESOTA
KSTP

By: Leslie Dyste
The Diocese of Duluth plans Tuesday to release the names of its priests who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse.

The Duluth News Tribune reports the announcement comes several weeks after a lawsuit was filed seeking the release of information on the 17 priests.

The lawsuit alleges the diocese was negligent in allowing abuse to continue and has created a nuisance by not releasing the names of accused priests.

Earlier this month, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the Diocese of Winona released lists of credibly abused priests, following a court order.

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.

Duluth Diocese to Release Names of Priests Accused of Abuse

MINNESOTA
WDIO

The Diocese of Duluth says they will be releasing the names of priests accused of sexually abusing minors Tuesday morning.

A man known as “Doe 28” filed a lawsuit earlier this year alleging he was abused by Father Robert Klein in the 1970s.

The suit is seeking $50,000 and the identification of 17 total priests allegedly accused of abuse.

Tomorrow, Bishop Paul Sirba will release the names of priests that are “credibly accused.” It is not clear how many that is.

The press conference starts at 10 a.m. Tuesday.

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.

Duluth diocese to release list of accused priests

MINNESOTA
Seattle PI

DULUTH, Minn. (AP) — The Diocese of Duluth plans Tuesday to release the names of its priests who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse.

The Duluth News Tribune (http://bit.ly/1chFAbq ) reports the announcement comes several weeks after a lawsuit was filed seeking the release of information on the 17 priests.

The lawsuit alleges the diocese was negligent in allowing abuse to continue and has created a nuisance by not releasing the names of accused priests.

Earlier this month, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the Diocese of Winona released lists of credibly abused priests, following a court order.

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.

20% rise in reports of historic offences to Devon and Cornwall Police following Savile scandal

UNITED KINGDOM
Express and Echo

High profile sexual abuses cases including that of disgraced DJ Jimmy Savile have led to a 20% rise in reports of historic offences to Devon and Cornwall Police.

Savile, now exposed as a predatory paedophile, is thought to have targeted hundreds of youngsters across the country in attacks spanning from 1955 to 2009.

Investigations have been launched into complaints that four youngsters were abused by the star during visits to the Royal Marines’ prestigious Commando Training Centre at Lympstone, in East Devon. Another attack is said to have taken place at a mental health facility in Exeter in 1970.

Intense publicity surrounding Savile’s case, and investigations into other well-known celebrities, have seen the number of historic reports of abuse rocket.

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.

‘Jimmy Savile effect’ sparks huge rise in reports of historic sex abuse in Plymouth area

UNITED KINGDOM
Herald

By ANDY GREENWOOD @hackintheshack

HIGH profile sexual abuses cases including that of disgraced DJ Jimmy Savile have led to a 20 per cent rise in reports of historic offences to Devon and Cornwall Police.

Savile, now exposed as a predatory paedophile, is thought to have targeted hundreds of youngsters across the country in attacks spanning from 1955 to 2009.

Investigations have been launched into complaints that four youngsters were abused by the star during visits to the Royal Marines’ prestigious Commando Training Centre at Lympstone, in East Devon. Another attack is said to have taken place at a mental health facility in Exeter in 1970.

Intense publicity surrounding Savile’s case, and investigations into other well-known celebrities, have seen the number of historic reports of abuse rocket.

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 lawyer turned whistleblower named ‘person of the year’

MINNESOTA
Star Tribune

Article by: RICHARD MERYHEW , Star Tribune Updated: December 30, 2013

National Catholic publication honors former archdiocesan lawyer.

The whistleblower who set off a storm of controversy over clergy sex abuse in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has been named “person of the year” by a national Catholic newspaper.

Jennifer Haselberger, 39, of St. Paul was honored Monday in an editorial by the National Catholic Reporter for her courage in speaking out against Archbishop John Nienstedt and his handling of evidence in potential child abuse cases involving archdiocesan priests.

“Thank God for the courage of abuse survivors and the families of victims who will not let our bishops and leaders forget the abuse and their complicity in it,” the editorial said. “Thank God for activists who stand with survivors. But most of all, thank God for one very special class of people: the priests and church personnel who do stand up to their leaders and cry out for justice. … Finally, thank God for Jennifer Haselberger.”

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Duluth Diocese to release list of ‘credibly accused’ priests

MINNESOTA
Duluth News Tribune

By: Tom Olsen, Duluth News Tribune

The Diocese of Duluth announced Monday that it will voluntarily release a list of its priests who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing children, a measure that abuse advocates are hailing as a “step forward” in restoring community trust.

Bishop Paul Sirba plans to reveal the list, believed to contain the names of at least 17 former priests, today during a 10 a.m. news conference.

Verne Wagner, the Northeastern Minnesota director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, was not yet aware of the diocese’s plans when contacted Monday afternoon by the News Tribune.

“That’s great news,” he said. “I’m very pleased that the bishop made that decision. It’s the right thing for him to do.”

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 St. Louis fights judge’s order …

ST. LOUIS (MO)
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Archdiocese of St. Louis fights judge’s order to release unprecedented level of abuse records

By Jennifer S. Mann jmann@post-dispatch.com 314-621-580487

ST. LOUIS • The first priest defrocked here as the child abuse scandal erupted in the Roman Catholic Church is now at the center of a lawsuit burrowing more deeply into the issue than ever before.

A civil suit against Joseph Ross has the potential to reveal two decades of internal records on sexual abuse allegations made against St. Louis priests, if a judge’s order holds.

The suit, which also names Archbishop Robert Carlson and the Archdiocese of St. Louis, was filed in 2011 by a 19-year-old woman who says Ross began abusing her 16 years ago at St. Cronan’s Church.

Ross had been convicted of sexually assaulting an 11-year-old boy at a University City parish a decade earlier, and was sent away for treatment, then reassigned to the new parish. Years later, additional abuse allegations surfaced.

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Law should prosecute criminals, not scapegoats

PENNSYLVANIA
Pottstown Mercury

In a decision that came as a surprise to many and a blow to some, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania last week voided the child-endangerment oversight conviction of Msgr. William Lynn, the former secretary for clergy in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. He has spent the last 18 months in prison as the highest-ranking official in the Roman Catholic Church to be convicted of charges stemming from the child sex-abuse scandal that has rocked the church from Philadelphia to the Vatican.

The unanimous 43-page opinion is sure to be unpopular with many, especially advocates for the victims of sexual abuse by the clergy. Indeed, Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams has vowed to an appeal.

But the ruling is legally sound. It’s hard to see how an appeal will be successful. That means that Lynn must be freed.

Since the early 1990s, beginning in Boston, it became clear that the Catholic Church had long tolerated abusers and pedophiles in its ranks. When a “problem” would surface, the “problem” priest would be transferred to a new parish, sometimes after receiving therapy and sometimes not. Usually neither the pastor nor the parishioners were warned about the monsters in their midst.

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.

Duluth Diocese to reveal list of ‘credibly accused’ priests

MINNESOTA
Duluth News Tribune

The Duluth Diocese will release the names of its priests who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse Tuesday, a spokesman said today.

The announcement comes several weeks after a lawsuit was filed in State District Court seeking the release of information on 17 priests. The suit, filed Dec. 9 on the behalf of an anonymous victim, claimed that the diocese was negligent in allowing abuse to continue and has created a nuisance by not releasing the names of accused priests.

Earlier this month, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the Diocese of Winona released lists of credibly abused priests, following a court order. That order stemmed from a suit brought by Twin Cities law firm Jeff Anderson and Associates, which also filed the Duluth suit.

Duluth Bishop Paul Sirba will release the list during a 10 a.m. news conference Tuesday at the diocese’s headquarters, communications director Kyle Eller 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.

Duluth Bishop Sirba to release names of priests accused of sexual abuse

MINNESOTA
Northlands News Center

December 30, 2013
Updated Dec 30, 2013

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) — Duluth Bishop Paul Sirba will release names of priests in the Duluth Diocese who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor.

Bishop Sirba plans to host a press conference on Tuesday to release the list. Attorneys requested earlier this month that the names of 17 priests accused of sexual abuse be released to the public.

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.

Greek Orthodox council moves to dismiss one of its priests

UTAH
The Salt Lake Tribune

By Peggy Fletcher Stack | The Salt Lake Tribune

The simmering tensions between the parish council of the Salt Lake Valley’s Greek Orthodox community and its priests erupted again this week.

In a letter dated Dec. 28, the council informed the Rev. Michael Kouremetis that “there are no funds allocated in the 2014 budget to pay your salary or compensation package beyond December 31, 2013.”

The letter was signed by council chairman Dimitrios Tsagaris, who declined to comment beyond saying that the council would discuss the matter with the community in the coming weeks.

Kouremetis, though, has no intention of leaving the state, the priest told worshippers Sunday at Holladay’s Prophet Elias Greek Orthodox Church.

Kouremetis, who did not return a phone call seeking comment, said he is not going anywhere, according to congregants who were there. He serves “the Lord and the hierarchs of the church, not the parish council.”

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

Former Los Angeles priest pleads guilty to molestation in Texas

TEXAS
Los Angeles Times

By Ashley Powers
December 30, 2013

A former priest convicted twice of sex crimes in California and Texas pleaded guilty Monday to a molestation charge, Texas authorities said.

John Salazar, the subject of a front-page story in The Times, was sentenced to 10 years in prison, according to the office of the Swisher County attorney.

Salazar, 58, had been accused of abusing a young man who attended the Church of the Holy Spirit in Tulia, Texas, where Salazar served as pastor. Salazar’s lawyer did not return a phone call seeking comment.

The case was the fourth time Salazar has faced a criminal charge.

Salazar was ordained in Los Angeles in 1984. Within three years, he pleaded guilty to abusing two teenage boys and was sent to prison.

Upon his release, he met Bishop Leroy Matthiesen, who took him to the Diocese of Amarillo over the objections of church officials in L.A. Salazar started at the Tulia parish in 1991 and became a beloved figure in the Texas Panhandle community.

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Church asks judge to loosen requirements for disclosing priest abuse allegations

MINNESOTA
Minnesota Public Radio

Madeleine Baran St. Paul, Minn. Dec 30, 2013

Lawyers for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis have asked a judge to loosen an order requiring it to disclose the names of all priests accused of child sexual abuse since 2004.

The archdiocese now argues that it doesn’t want to release the names of all priests accused of abuse. Rather, it wants time to investigate the allegations first and release the names of the accused priests only if Catholic Church officials determine the claims are credible.

Ramsey County Judge John Van de North ordered the Twin Cities archdiocese and the Diocese of Winona to release the names of all recently accused priests by Jan. 6. A hearing in the case is scheduled for Friday — three days before the Jan. 6 deadline.

In a Dec. 18 letter to Van de North, archdiocese attorney Tom Wieser asked the judge to grant the archdiocese “30 days upon learning of an accusation of sexual abuse of a minor to investigate the claim. If The Archdiocese determines that the claim is not credible, it shall be permitted an opportunity to seek an independent review and determination from the Court regarding The Archdiocese’s obligation to publicly disclose the accusation,” Wieser wrote.

The Diocese of Winona submitted a similar letter to Van de North, in which attorney Thomas Braun explained, “The Diocese shares concerns that a wholesale public disclosure of incredible, unsubstantiated, frivolous or malicious accusations would do irreparable harm to the reputations of those individuals without good cause.”

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Local Reactions To Monsg Lynn Getting Bail

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
My Fox Philly

[with video]

PHILADELPHIA –
“I’m disgusted by the Superior Court’s cavalier disregard for the child victims…”

District Attorney Seth Williams says that the battle to get Monsignor William Lynn back behind bars has just begun.

After serving 18 months of his 36 year sentence, Monsignor William Lynn will be released from prison on bail. The 62-year old former Secretary of Clergy for the Archdiocese was convicted in July of 2012 for covering up sex abuse claims in his role of assigning priests.

Last week in state superior court, the landmark conviction was overturned on the grounds that the child endangerment law that he was convicted under didn’t apply to him…

“He’s gonna be out of jail and that’s what pleases me. And we can accommodate your honor and we will so,” said Tim Bergstrom, the defense lawyer.

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.

DA to appeal superior court decision to free Msgr. Lynn on bail

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philly.com

Jenny DeHuff

POSTED: MONDAY, DECEMBER 30, 2013

District Attorney Seth Williams is taking an appeals court ruling to the state Supreme Court in attempt to keep Msgr. William Lynn behind bars.

Lynn could be sprung any day this week with the posting of 10 percent of $250,000 bail, granted yesterday by Superior Court Judge Teresa M. Sarmina, after his child endangerment conviction was overturned a day after Christmas.

“We can say with great confidence that the way the superior court read this law is not how this law is supposed to work,” Williams said during a press conference yesterday.

“I am disgusted by the ruling of the superior court panel that was persuaded by the defense argument that Monsignor Lynn did not have a duty to protect children. I have no doubt that a misguided, wealthy benefactor will pay for his release.”

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.

Gallup, Budgets, Insurance, and Game-Playing

NEW MEXICO
The Worthy Adversary

Posted by Joelle Casteix on December 30, 2013

I have been brewing about the bankruptcy debacle in Gallup for the past few days. And I keep coming up with the same fable:

Mortimer Snerd gets a speeding ticket. Instead of paying the ticket or going to traffic school (that is, being accountable for what he has done), our pal Snerd goes to the judge and says, “I am so poor. Look at my unitemized list of belongings. I am one of the poorest people I know. I have less than a fraction of the wealth of the majority of people in Newport Beach. I live in a simple condo and a family to support. I just can’t pay what you ask.”

But the truth is this: Snerd CAN pay. He has a job, knew he was speeding, and is just trying to get out of being accountable. He can pay the fines for his transgressions. But now, he claims he’s a victim, because he is not a multi-millionaire.

Snerd wouldn’t have an argument if he lived in Boise, where the same salary puts him in the 1%. It’s all in how he chose to frame himself. He’s not poor. He’s just not mega-rich.

So, we move on to Gallup.

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.

Peter Bryce and Duncan Campbell Scott: the road not taken on residential schools

CANADA
Rabble

BY CHARLIE ANGUS | DECEMBER 30, 2013

This past fall, I was involved in the musical-historical project Four Horses that tells the story of a dark chapter in Canadian history. Working with University of Regina Press (publishers of Clearing the Plains) we set out to introduce a new generation to the story of how the federal government used disease and famine in an attempt to destroy First Nation identity in Canada. Until I was involved in this project, I would have thought that such accusations couldn’t be true in a country such as ours. The Four Horses project forced me to look closer, and the closer I looked, the starker the picture became.

So let’s look at the residential schools and the legacy of two men: one famous and one obscure. The famous man is Duncan Campbell Scott — the architect of the 20th century’s brutal residential school regime. The obscure figure is a crusading bureaucrat named Peter Henderson Bryce.

Bryce was the Chief Medical Officer for the Department of Indian Affairs at the turn of the 20th century. In 1907 he released an explosive report On the Indian Schools Of Manitoba and the Northwest Territories that exposed the atrocious death rates of tuberculosis among children in the residential school system.

He laid the blame on both the Churches and the Federal government. To Bryce, it wasn’t simply a case of negligent local school officials but a systemic failure of the federal government to ensure adequately funded education and health support for Aboriginal children. He pointed out that a number of institutions didn’t even bother to provide soap or clean water for the children.

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

Archdiocese: Two priests reported to police

MINNESOTA
Minnesota Public Radio

[with audio]

Tom Scheck St. Paul, Minn. Dec 29, 2013

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has forwarded information about two parish priests to law enforcement. The two priests in question are taking leaves from active ministry.

An outside firm found that the Rev. Joseph Gallatin and the Rev. Mark Wehmann were involved in incidents of “inappropriate conduct” with minors. The archdiocese didn’t say how the firm reached its decision. No information about the allegations has been released.

The archdiocese said it reported the information to police recently. An official with the archdiocese described the acts by both men as boundary violations that “do not constitute criminal activity or sexual abuse” but didn’t provide additional information.

Officials also didn’t say why no one removed the men from ministry sooner. Church leaders have claimed for years to have zero tolerance for any sexual abuse of minors. Any priest with a credible allegation of child sexual abuse is supposed to be removed from ministry right away.

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.

DA to appeal court’s decision to overturn conviction of Catholic priest

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
CNN

By Luisa Navarro, CNN
updated 5:03 PM EST, Mon December 30, 2013

(CNN) — Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams said Monday he will appeal a Superior Court’s decision to reverse Monsignor William Lynn’s conviction for covering up crimes of offending priests.

A three-judge panel ruled Thursday that Lynn — who had been the first Roman Catholic priest in the United States to be convicted of covering up the abuses of others — should be released, reversing his 2012 conviction for one count of child endangerment. He originally was sentenced to three to six years.

“There is something wrong with this Superior Court panel,” Williams said.

Lynn’s conviction was for not removing a defrocked priest, Edward Avery, from active ministry in the 1990s after learning Avery had molested a teen. Avery pleaded guilty in March 2012 to sexually assaulting the 10-year-old altar boy during the 1998-99 school year and remains in prison.

Williams adamantly expressed his disapproval of the Superior Court’s decision.

“I am disgusted by the Superior Court’s cavalier, disregard for the child victims of pedophile priests and Monsignor Lynn’s role,” Williams told reporters. “Monsignor William Lynn knew Father Avery had sexually molested children.”

Lynn’s attorneys had convinced the Superior Court panel that the laws at the time only applied to people who directly supervised children.

“Certainly, he (Williams) has a prerogative to appeal. I don’t think his appeal will be successful, but he certainly has the right,” Lynn’s attorney, Thomas Bergstrom said.

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US priest gets bail after abuse cover-up conviction reversed

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Irish Times

A Philadelphia judge today set bail at $250,000 for a senior US Roman Catholic Church official whose conviction in a high-profile child sex abuse case was overturned last week.

Monsignor William Lynn (62), was convicted in June 2012 of endangering the welfare of a child for reassigning a priest with a history of sex abuse to a Philadelphia parish that was unaware of his past.

That priest, Edward Avery, later pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 10-year-old altar boy in the Philadelphia parish. …

“Let’s be clear, William Lynn is no patsy, he is no fall guy,” District Attorney Seth Williams said in a statement, indicating his office would appeal the reversal of Lynn’s conviction.

“He is a cold, calculating man who endangered the welfare of countless children for decades by moving known predators throughout the Archdiocese of Philadelphia,” he said.

Lynn’s attorney, Thomas Bergstrom, said it would likely take until Thursday before arrangements for payment of the bail and monitoring are made. He said he does not know where Lynn will live when he is released from prison.

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St. Paul archdiocese whistleblower lauded by Catholic newspaper

MINNESOTA
Pioneer Press

By Emily Gurnon
egurnon@pioneerpress.com
POSTED: 12/30/2013

A national independent Catholic newspaper has named Jennifer Haselberger of St. Paul its person of the year for 2013.

The Kansas City, Mo.-based National Catholic Reporter said Monday on its website that Haselberger was one of few who dared to speak out against an archbishop.

“Thank God for the courage of abuse survivors and the families of victims who will not let our bishops and leaders forget the abuse and their complicity in it,” the editorial staff wrote. “Thank God for activists who stand with survivors. But most of all, thank God for one very special class of people: the priests and church personnel who do stand up to their leaders and cry out for justice.”

Finally, it wrote, “thank God for Jennifer Haselberger.”

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$250,000 bail set for Philadelphia’s Monsignor William Lynn

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Washington Post

By David Gibson | Religion News Service, Monday, December 30

The Philadelphia priest whose conviction for failing to report child-abusing clerics to authorities was overturned last week was granted a $250,000 bail on Monday (Dec. 30). But it could take at least another week before Monsignor William Lynn is free.

Common Pleas Court Judge M. Teresa Sarmina also ruled that Lynn, who has already spent 18 months of his three-to-six-year sentence behind bars, must surrender his passport and be subject to electronic monitoring and weekly reporting while on bail.

The Philadelphia district attorney’s office had requested that Lynn, 62, remain in jail while prosecutors appealed the reversal of his conviction.

Lynn’s June 2012 conviction on one count of child endangerment was seen as a milestone because it was the first time anyone in the upper levels of the Catholic Church had ever faced a trial or been found guilty for shielding molesters.

Lynn was responsible for clergy personnel and fielded abuse complaints for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia from 1992 to 2004. His lawyers said that in covering up for molesters he was following the orders and policies of his superiors, primarily the late Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, who died in January 2012 before Lynn’s three-month trial began.

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Pope’s birthday a turning point in reform campaign

VATICAN CITY
National Catholic Reporter

John L. Allen Jr. | Dec. 30, 2013

ROME
Officially speaking, the Vatican doesn’t do much to mark a pope’s birthday. Celebrations are reserved for his saint’s name day and the anniversary of his election, reflecting a preference to focus on the office rather than the man.

Unofficially, however, Francis marked the period around his 77th birthday Dec. 17 with a series of striking gestures and decisions that, taken together, represent a further turning point in his reform campaign.

Within the space of just four days, the pope reached out to the world with yet another blockbuster interview, laid the basis for a new generation of moderate “Francis bishops,” saw a reform commission he erected in July hire two global consulting firms to reorganize the Vatican’s PR operation and to beef up its accounting procedures, and also provided a new visual for his vision of a “poor church for the poor” by inviting three homeless men, as well as their dog, to join him for a birthday breakfast.

Given the Vatican’s typically somnambulant pace at Christmastime, the frenzy offers a further index of the “Francis effect.” This is a pope, it would seem, who just doesn’t have an off switch.

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The True Scandal of the Magdalene Laundries

IRELAND
Huffington Post

Sidonie Sawyer
Newspaper editor

The newly released movie Philomena, from British filmmaker Stephen Frears, starring Judi Dench and Steve Coogan, is inspired by a tragic book written by Martin Sixsmith. It is the true story of a woman searching for her lost son, a lifelong quest that will take her from the UK to America, a desperate quest and heart-wrenching saga.

Taking place in Ireland, which explains some of the conservative positions of the highly Catholic society in which she lives, Philomena, the woman in the film, found herself pregnant out of wedlock (such a word) shipped away to a convent of sort, and forced by nuns to give up her baby boy to a rich family.

The only choice available to her in those days, and in that society, was to live in hiding in one of the many “asylums” suited for scandalous behaviors and unspeakable actions, mostly errors of the flesh. It is highly probable that none of the residents were actually insane. Guarded by nuns, the women were subject to forced unpaid labor for the benefit of the Catholic Church.

These medieval and cruel institutions were known in Ireland as the Magdalene Laundries, maybe referring to the work the jailed victims were doing, and so named after Mary Magdalene, who was wrongly thought to be a prostitute. Several such places existed in Australia, England, Ireland and even in North America.

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Philadelphia Monsignor to Be Released on Bail

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
The New York Times

By JON HURDLE
Published: December 30, 2013

PHILADELPHIA — A state judge ruled on Monday that a senior Catholic official who was sent to prison for his role in a sexual abuse scandal should be released on bail after an appeals court overturned his conviction for child endangerment.
Multimedia

Msgr. William J. Lynn, the most senior Catholic official to be convicted in connection with charges of sexual abuse of children by clergy members, was granted bail on Monday by Judge M. Teresa Sarmina of the Court of Common Pleas after the conviction reversal last week by the Pennsylvania Superior Court.

The appeals court ruled that prosecutors had provided “more than adequate” evidence that Monsignor Lynn “prioritized the archdiocese’s reputation over the safety of potential victims of sexually abusive priests.” But it rejected the argument, accepted at the trial last year, that a child welfare law applied to a “parent, guardian or other person supervising the welfare of a child” could be used to prosecute Monsignor Lynn.

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Catholic group calls overturned Lynn conviction…

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Weekly

Catholic group calls overturned Lynn conviction “win for justice”—but is it?

After serving 18 months in prison stemming from 2012 child endangerment charges, Philadelphia Msgr. William Lynn’s conviction was overturned last week.

The conviction stemmed from his covering up other priests’ sexual abuse and supervising priest Edward Avery as Avery was sexually abusing an altar boy in the 90s.

But the Pennsylvania Superior Court panel overturned the law because, they now say, the state’s child endangerment law was misapplied in this case.

At the time of the abuse, the law only applied to adults to regularly supervised children—not those who supervised other adults who supervised children. That law was broadened in 2007 to cover people like Lynn, when the abuse had already ended. And Lynn was the first conviction of someone who did not actually commit abuse, but supervised those who did.

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Msgr. Lynn’s bail set at $250K

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Newsworks

BY HOLLY OTTERBEIN

A Philadelphia judge set bail at $250,000 for Monsignor William Lynn Monday, following a Superior Court decision last week overturning his conviction.

Lynn was the first official in the Roman Catholic Church to be convicted in the United States for mishandling allegations of clergy sex abuse.

To be released, Lynn must post $25,000, relinquish his passport, as well as submit to electronic monitoring and weekly reporting.

A jury found Lynn guilty of child endangerment in 2012. Prosecutors said he transferred priests who were accused of sexual abuse to other parishes, rather than removing them.

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Judge sets bail at $250K for jailed Philly priest

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
MSN News

A judge granted bail to Monsignor William Lynn, a Roman Catholic priest whose conviction in the clergy sex abuse scandal was reversed by an appeals court.

PHILADELPHIA — A Roman Catholic official whose novel conviction in the clergy sex abuse scandal was overturned by a Pennsylvania appeals court could be freed this week after a judge set his bail Monday at $250,000.

Monsignor William Lynn, currently an inmate at the state prison in Waymart, would have to submit to electronic monitoring and surrender his passport.

Lynn has been serving a three- to six-year sentence after being the first church official ever convicted over his handling of abuse claims against other priests.

A three-judge appellate panel threw out his conviction last week, saying Lynn was tried under a child-endangerment law that didn’t apply to him. On Monday, the defense lawyers asked Judge M. Teresa Sarmina to release the 62-year-old priest while prosecutors appeal.

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Philadelphia priest gets bail after abuse cover-up conviction reversed

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
WKZO

By Dave Warner

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) – A Philadelphia judge on Monday set bail at $250,000 for a senior U.S. Roman Catholic Church official whose conviction in a high-profile child sex abuse case was overturned last week.

Monsignor William Lynn, 62, was convicted in June 2012 of endangering the welfare of a child for reassigning a priest with a history of sex abuse to a Philadelphia parish that was unaware of his past.

That priest, Edward Avery, later pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 10-year-old altar boy in the Philadelphia parish.

Lynn, who was not accused of molesting children himself, was the first high-ranking U.S. Roman Catholic Church official to be found guilty of covering up allegations of molestation by a priest. Lynn was secretary of clergy for the Philadelphia Archdiocese from 1994 to 2004,

Common Pleas Court Judge Teresa Sarmina ordered Lynn to surrender his passport, wear an ankle-monitoring bracelet and check in weekly with authorities as part of the conditions of his release from state prison. He is expected to be released from prison later this week, attorneys in the case said.

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Bottom Line: Msgr. Lynn Case Uncovered Decades of Coverup

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Catholics4Change

DECEMBER 30, 2013 BY SUSAN MATTHEWS

As the judge set bail for Msgr. Lynn today, many are disheartened. However, justice isn’t the end game for many advocates and victims. It’s one of many means to an end. While many would like to paint victims as vengeful and money hungry, that simply isn’t the case for those I’ve met. Most lie awake at night worried that another child is enduring what they experienced. Protecting children is the victory.

Had Seth Williams not indicted Msgr. Lynn on child endangerment charges, no one would have seen the mountains of evidence proving a Church coverup of epic proportions. While Williams’ intentions have been called into question, they are irrelevant to me as a Catholic mother. What matters is that clergy child sex abuse will not continue completely unchecked in the Archdiocese if Philadelphia. At least now, many are carefully watching.

Now that we know there is a problem, we can seek solutions for our state and our Church. The first is difficult but doable. We will work together to strengthen Pennsylvania’s state laws. We will not settle for being a predator-friendly state. The latter leaves me with dwindling hope.

Msgr. Lynn may not be criminally liable but he is certainly morally liable. And shouldn’t that inform the next steps of the hierarchy? Yet, the archdiocesan press release falls woefully short of commenting on his actions. The Catholic Church will not call him or others involved in the cover up of clergy sex abuse out to the carpet. After all, he was just obeying his Bishop. And to date, no Bishops have been reprimanded or punished publicly by the Church. Will the Pope weigh in on this obscene clericalism that put predators in the midst of children? This isn’t about vengeance or even justice. This is about sending a message to the world that the Catholic Church values children – all children – above the institution.

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The Salvation Army’s Global Abuse (Or: It’s Still Happening, Worldwide)

AUSTRALIA
lewisblayse.net

Whenever child sexual abuse by clergy is revealed, the church involved always says that these things happened decades ago, and that procedures are in place to ensure such crimes can no longer occur. This has been the theme at the recent New South Wales State government and Victorian State Parliamentary enquiries. It has also been used by the Catholic and Anglican churches, the YMCA and Scouts Australia at the hearings of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

At the Royal Commission hearings, due to begin 28th January, the Salvation Army is most likely to say the same thing about abuses at its Children’s Homes.

However, such things are still occurring in recent years, not just recent decades. Further, since the Salvation Army is a multinational organisation, operating in 126 countries at last count, the total number of such recent offences is very large. Because a full coverage would constitute a book, a few cases have been selected, randomly (really!), from the many reported elsewhere.

When caught out in these more recent cases, the response has been altered to indicate, usually, that the organisation is co-operating fully with the relevant authorities, and reviewing its practices. It also is in the habit of claiming these are very rare, isolated cases. The Salvation Army’s many corporate business “partners” are having to review their associations with the organisation. For example, Target stores have banned the Salvo’s “red kettle” collections at Christmas outside its stores.

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Phila. Monsignor To Be Released On Bail in Child Endangerment Case

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
CBS Philly

By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Philadelphia judge said today that she will order Msgr. William Lynn released on bail while his conviction on child endangerment charges works through the appeals process.

Today, at the Criminal Justice Center, Philadelphia Common Please Court judge Teresa Sarmina said that she wants Lynn, 62, to appear in person before her when she outlines the full conditions of his bail.

An appeals court last week overturned Lynn’s 2012 conviction in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia child sex abuse case (see related story), saying the particular law under which he was found guilty did not apply to him at the time (see related story).

Sarmina, who oversaw the 2012 trial, acknowledged today that she may have erred but thinks she will be upheld when the Philadelphia district attorney appeals the case.

Hugh Burns, from the Philadelphia DA’s office, told the judge today that the DA will be filing an appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. The DA charged that Lynn routinely returned predatory priests to positions within the archdiocese where they continued to have contact with children.

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Judge sets bail at $250,000 for monsignor

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Inquirer

ALLISON STEELE, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
LAST UPDATED: Monday, December 30, 2013

Bail was set Monday at $250,000 for Msgr. William J. Lynn, four days after an appeals court ruled he was wrongly convicted of endangering children.

Common Pleas Court Judge M. Teresa Sarmina also ruled that Lynn must surrender his passport and be subject to electronic monitoring and weekly reporting while on bail.

He must post $25,000 to be released.

District Attorney Seth Williams scheduled a noon news conference to respond to the ruling.

Convicted after a three-month trial last year, Lynn, 62, was the first Catholic church official in the country to be tried and imprisoned for covering up child sex-abuse by priests.

The monsignor has served 18 months of a 3- to 6-year term imposed by Sarmina, mostly at the State Correctional Institution at Waymart, in northeastern Pennsylvania.

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Judge Sets Bail at $250K for Jailed Philly Priest

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
ABC News

By MARYCLAIRE DALE Associated Press

A Roman Catholic priest whose conviction in the clergy sex abuse scandal was overturned by a Pennsylvania appeals court could be freed this week after a judge set his bail Monday at $250,000.

Monsignor William Lynn, currently jailed at a state prison in Waymart, will also have to submit to electronic monitoring and surrender his passport, Common Pleas Judge M. Teresa Sarmina ruled.

Lynn has been serving a three- to six-year sentence after being the first church official ever convicted over his handling of abuse claims.

A three-judge appellate panel threw out his case last week, saying Lynn was tried under a child-endangerment law that didn’t apply to him. On Monday, the priests’ lawyers asked Sarmina to release the 62-year-old priest while prosecutors appeal.

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POPE FRANCIS APPOINTS BISHOP NUNZIO GALANTINO AS SECRETARY GENERAL OF THE ITALIAN EPISCOPAL CONFERENCE

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Information Service

Monday, December 30, 2013

Vatican City, 30 December 2013 (VIS) – A letter was published today, dated 28 December, by which the Holy Father Francis appointed Bishop Nunzio Galantino of Cassano all’Jonio, Italy, as secretary general “ad interim” of the Italian Episcopal Conference.

In relation to this appointment, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., director of the Holy See Press Office, published the following communique:

“The appointment of the new secretary general of the Italian Episcopal Conference has become urgent to the ordinary functioning of the General Secretariat, and for a series of duties that require his presence.

The appointment is on an ‘ad interim’ basis: Bishop Galantino will have all the faculties of the secretary general, but the duration of his mandate has not yet been established.

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Editorial: 2013’s person of the year

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

NCR Editorial Staff | Dec. 30, 2013

EDITORIAL

It is a tale we have heard many times, too many times: Fr. James Spencer, testifying before Australia’s Royal Commission Into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, said that in the 1990s and early 2000s when he was chancellor of the Brisbane archdiocese, he was concerned that the church’s response to victims of clergy sexual abuse wasn’t just. Priest perpetrators were going unpunished and lawyers were bullying victims.

“Did you ever say to the archbishop,” this isn’t right’?” the commission asked.

“I certainly inferred it,” Spence answered. “One doesn’t generally speak so directly to the archbishop. Perhaps one should.”

Indeed, one doesn’t generally speak so to the bishop, lord of his fiefdom, not if one wants to keep his job or advance in his career.

NCR has been reporting on the priest sex abuse crisis since 1984. It has been a soul-numbing experience, as we heard again and again of the pain of victims damaged by abuse and then re-victimized by bishops and chancery personnel and their lawyers who covered up abuse, stonewalled investigations and hid criminals “to protect the church,” as if the church were something other than its most vulnerable members. No, one doesn’t generally speak so to the archbishop, but thank God that some do.

Thank God for the courage of abuse survivors and the families of victims who will not let our bishops and leaders forget the abuse and their complicity in it. Thank God for activists who stand with survivors. But most of all, thank God for one very special class of people: the priests and church personnel who do stand up to their leaders and cry out for justice. People like Dominican Fr. Thomas Doyle and former Benedictine Patrick Wall, who sacrificed promising ecclesiastical careers because they sided with the victims of abuse and not with those who would cover it up. Thank God for the recently formed Catholic Whistleblowers, a group of mainly priests and religious women, Catholic insiders dedicated to fighting the scourge of sex abuse and its cover-up.

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La Cámara Penal de Morón ratificó la prisión preventiva de Julio César Grassi

ARGENTINA
Infobae

La Justicia rechazó el recurso que había presentado la defensa del sacerdote. Venía gozando de una libertad vigilada luego de que la Corte confirmaran su condena de 2009 a 15 años de prisión por “abuso sexual”

Grassi había sido detenido el 7 de octubre pasado luego que la Cámara de Casación Bonaerense así como la Suprema Corte confirmaran su condena de 2009 a 15 años de prisión por “abuso sexual agravado por resultar sacerdote, encargado de la educación y de la guarda del menor víctima, reiterado, dos hechos, en concurso real entre sí, que a su vez concurren formalmente con corrupción de menores agravada”.

El sacerdote venía gozando de una libertad vigilada por decisión del Tribunal que lo condenó y no había sido detenido en virtud de que el fallo no estaba firme. Al confirmar su condena, selló su detención y ahora sólo le resta que se pronuncie la Corte Suprema de Justicia de la Nación sobre el caso.

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El cura Julio César Grassi continuará preso

ARGENTINA
El Tribuno

La Cámara Penal de Morón confirmó la prisión preventiva para el sacerdote Julio César Grassi, condenado a 15 años de prisión por abuso sexual agravado y detenido desde octubre pasado.

El tribunal rechazó un planteo del abogado Ricardo Walter Malvicini, quien representa al cura condenado.

Los jueces Fabián Cardoso, Aldo Acosta Argañaraz y Elisabet Fernández avalaron así la decisión de detener a Grassi, adoptada después de que la Suprema Corte Bonaerense confirmara la condena dictada por un tribunal oral por abuso contra alumnos de la Fundación Felices los Niños, que dirigía.

Grassi fue detenido por decisión del Tribunal Oral Criminal 1 de Morón que lo había condenado en julio de 2009 pero el sacerdote permaneció en libertad porque el fallo no estaba firme.

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Argentine priest serving time for sex abuse loses bid for freedom pending appeal

ARGENTINA
Global News (Canada)

By Staff The Associated Press

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – An Argentine priest serving 15 years in prison for sexually abusing a boy has lost another appeal.

Father Julio Cesar Grassi lived freely across the street from the orphanage where the crimes took place even as courts repeatedly found him guilty. He began serving the sentence behind bars in September after the provincial Supreme Court in Buenos Aires upheld the verdict.

The ruling published Monday on the justice system’s website said the appeals court turned down his lawyer’s request to free him pending a final appeal to the national Supreme Court, saying his arguments were unfounded.

Grassi was a celebrity priest who channeled big money donations to his Happy Children Foundation until he was accused of sex abuse in 1996. He was first convicted in 2009, and still maintains he is innocent.

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MO – Victims blast archdiocese’s “self-serving secrecy”

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Monday, Dec. 30, 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 )

Twice recently, St. Louis Catholic officials have violated a local judge’s order. Archbishop Robert Carlson is choosing to keep information about years of horrific clergy child sex crimes and church cover ups hidden, like he and his predecessors have done for decades.

[St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

They are refusing to obey this judge’s ruling even though he gave them more than six months to comply and even though there’s a protective order that would prevent anyone but two attorneys from seeing the information.

Today’s Post-Dispatch story is long but here’s the key phrase: “The archdiocese is fighting . . . to keep accused priests’ names secret.” That strategy – keeping accused priests’ names secret – has long been the goal of virtually every Catholic official. And despite years of promises of reform, it still is.

Earlier this month in Minnesota, a judge forced two Catholic bishops to make names of predator priests public. But here in St. Louis, a judge apparently can’t even force one Catholic bishop to turn over such names in private (with a protective order, so no one can see who they are).

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PA – Victims want Catholic official to stay locked up

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

Statement by Barbara Dorris, SNAP Outreach Director, 314-862-7688 SNAPdorris@gmail.com

For immediate release: Monday December 30, 2013

We support DA Seth Williams’ effort to keep Msgr. William Lynn behind bars for now. We too worry that he might flee overseas, like hundreds of predator priests – and several corrupt church officials – already have. Why take the risk that a complicit Catholic cleric might escape justice?

Shortly after Archbishop Charles Chaput came to Philly, he was meeting with hundreds of priests and they gave Lynn a rousing round of applause, even though he’d already been charged with endangering children’s safety. And since he was convicted, virtually no Philly Catholic official has clearly denounced his wrongdoing.

So it’s clear that Lynn continues to enjoy the support of many of his Catholic supervisors and peers, any of whom could help him flee.

For decades, many in the justice system – like many in the pews – have trusted the Catholic hierarchy to act responsibly. That trust has been, and continues to be, repeatedly and egregiously violating, bringing more and more harm to still-vulnerable kids and already-wounded adults. We hope that in this case, the judge takes a more prudent course and keeps Msgr. Lynn locked up until there’s a final resolution.

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The Heron’s Nest: Justice for Monsignor Lynn

PENNSYLVANIA
Daily Times

By Phil Heron, Delaware County Daily Times
POSTED: 12/30/13

Attorneys for Monsignor William Lynn – the only high-ranking church official ever convicted in connection with the burgeoning child sex abuse scandal – will be in court today looking to have their client freed on bail.

I hope he gets it, and he goes free after 18 months behind bars.

That’s not because I condone for a second what I believe he and other archdiocesan officials did. It remains in my view no less horrendous, what amounts to a policy of putting the reputation of the church and problem priests over that of children.

I believe Monsignor Lynn was doing the bidding his job as best he could, implementing the policies put in place by Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, who was not charged in the scandal.

I think his actions – and the church’s policies – did in fact endanger the welfare of children. Lynn himself while on the stand during his trial indicated that “doing his best” to protect kids was not enough. But opinions – even moral ones – do not trump the law.

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Monsignor Asks to Leave Prison After Reversal

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
NBC 10

[with video]

A Roman Catholic monsignor could leave prison after 18 months after a Pennsylvania appeals court reversed his unusual conviction in the clergy-abuse scandal.

Monsignor William Lynn is the first church official ever convicted over his handling of abuse claims. However, an appeals court has thrown out his case, saying he was tried under a child-endangerment law that didn’t apply to him.

His lawyers will be in court Monday to ask Common Pleas Judge M. Teresa Sarmina to release the 62-year-old priest.

Lynn is the former secretary for clergy in the Philadelphia archdiocese, a post he held from 1992-2004.

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.

Bail hearing set for Msgr. Lynn

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Inquirer

INQUIRER STAFF
LAST UPDATED: Monday, December 30, 2013

A bail hearing is set for Monday for Msgr. William J. Lynn in response to an appellate court ruling that he was wrongly convicted of endangering children.

Lynn is not expected to appear at the hearing before Common Pleas Court Judge M. Teresa Sarmina, who sentenced the priest to three to six years in prison, saying he had “enabled monsters in clerical garb … to destroy the souls of children.”

District Attorney Seth Williams’ office said it would challenge the request by Lynn’s lawyers that he be released from prison.

Convicted after a three-month trial last year, Lynn, 62, was the first Catholic church official in the country to be tried and imprisoned for covering up child sex-abuse by priests.

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One troubled priest who got a second chance

TEXAS
Los Angeles Times

After he left Los Angeles, Father John Salazar-Jimenez became a trusted figure in a small Texas parish. But no one there knew his history.

By Ashley Powers
Reporting from Tulia, Texas
December 30, 2013

He was given a second chance here, in the High Plains of Texas, where a patchwork of cotton and wheat fields unfurls beneath a giant blue sky.

He was no longer Father John Salazar, a name typed across yellowed newspapers and courthouse microfilm more than a thousand miles away in Los Angeles. He was Father John Salazar-Jimenez, the face of Catholicism in this town of emptied grain elevators and darkened shop windows.
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Yolanda Villegas adored Father John. A pillar of the Church of the Holy Spirit, she knew nothing of his past. Few parishioners did. Nearly every Sunday for a decade, she arrived for the Spanish-language Mass, knelt in the same pew and wondered how he’d inspire her that week.

“When he lifted the chalice and lifted the host, it almost felt like Jesus was doing it,” Villegas said.
They grew close as Villegas grieved for her daughter who had been killed in a car accident not long before the priest’s arrival in 1991. He later helped her teenage grandson Beau practice Spanish.
One day, in the spring of 2002, he asked Villegas to gather her family. He had something to confess.

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Bishop goes before bankruptcy trustee – Published in the Gallup Independent, Gallup, NM, Dec. 27, 2013

NEW MEXICO
The Worthy Adversary

Posted by Joelle Casteix on December 29, 2013

*The article is not available online, hence the repost here.*

My opinion: What a mess. If James Wall were a CEO, he would be fired. But he’s a smart man who has a lot of bishops helping him out. I can’t help but think that Wall’s “bumbling fool” tack is simply an act.

Bishop goes before bankruptcy trustee
Testimony points to few answers, poorly kept records

First in a two-part series

By Elizabeth Hardin-Burrola
Independent correspondent
religion@gallupindependent.com
ALBUQUERQUE — The Diocese of Gallup’s petition for Chapter 11 reorganization continues to raise far more questions about the diocese’s finances rather than provide answers.

With the initial bankruptcy filing, Gallup Bishop James S. Wall submitted an opening declaration in U.S. Bankruptcy Court stating the Gallup Diocese “is the poorest diocese in the United States” without providing any facts or figures to substantiate that claim. On Nov. 26, Wall submitted a lengthy Statement of Financial Affairs, featuring incomplete documentation of properties in Arizona and New Mexico with reportedly “unknown” real estate value.

Wall’s sworn testimony during an Unsecured Creditors Committee meeting Dec. 19 didn’t provide much more clarification. The public meeting was supposed to produce answers about the diocese’s finances to the largest group of unsecured creditors in the bankruptcy case, survivors of clergy sex abuse.

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.

Iglesia pide perdón a familias de víctimas de abuso sexual en Oaxaca

MEXICO
Milenio

[Summary: The Oaxaca archdiocese has apologized to families of victims of sexual abuse caused by priest Silvestre Hernandez. Gonzalo Alonso Guerror Calzada, auxiliary bishop, said the Catholic Church condemns actions of clergy subject to criminal proceedings.]

OSCAR RODRÍGUEZ
29/12/2013

Oaxaca
La arquidiócesis de Oaxaca, pidió perdón a las familias de víctimas de abuso sexual, causada por el sacerdote Silvestre Hernández, quien fue arrestado en acatamiento a una orden de aprehensión librada por un juez local señalado de cometer el delito de pederastia.

El obispo auxiliar, Gonzalo Alonso Calzada Guerrero, dijo que la iglesia católica reprueba la actuación del clérigo sujeto a proceso penal, exigiendo a las autoridades judiciales aplicar todo el peso de la ley de resultar responsables de las acusaciones que se le imputan.

Detalló que la grey católica estatal se mantendrá atenta del procedimiento judicial instaurado contra el obispo, quien fue detenido por elementos de la Agencia Estatal de Investigaciones (AEI), dependiente de la Procuraduría General de Justicia (PGJ), luego de mantenerse prófugo de la justicia por casi más de un año.

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 Truth Is In The Secrets

MINNESOTA
Legal Examiner

Posted by Mike Bryant
December 29, 2013

If the Church has nothing to be ashamed of, if they have nothing to hide, then why are there still so many secrets the Catholic Dioceses are trying to keep safe? It was fortunate for everyone earlier this month when the announcement came that some Dioceses must release the names of priests who have been accused of sexual assault. But why would information like this have to be court ordered for it to be made public in the first place? And why are these priests being protected when they themselves are the predators? Lawyers and advocates have been very hard at work getting answers to these questions.

The information that has been hidden for years regarding sexual abuse within the Catholic Church is proof enough that those who should be protecting us and providing us with moral and spiritual support, instead are taking it away from us.

Jennifer Haselberger, the former canon lawyer for the archdiocese resigned from her position after her attempt to bring to light information regarding evidence of illegal activity within the diocese. Archbishop John Nienstedt, among others, had allegedly hide this evidence to protect the priests and his church. We now have a great opportunity to uncover these truths and get survivors the help they are warranted.

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.

Diocese questioned about finances

NEW MEXICO
Gallup Independent

Published in the Gallup Independent, Gallup, NM, Dec. 28, 2013

Second in a two-part series

By Elizabeth Hardin-Burrola
Independent correspondent
religion@gallupindependent.com

ALBUQUERQUE — Bishop James S. Wall’s recent testimony during the Diocese of Gallup’s Unsecured Creditors Committee meeting raised questions about just how well prepared diocesan officials were when they filed their Chapter 11 petition.

Wall and Christopher G. Linscott, the diocese’s recently hired financial consultant from Tucson, Ariz., offered sworn testimony about the Gallup Diocese’s finances at the public meeting, which was held in Albuquerque’s U.S. Bankruptcy Court Dec. 19. They were accompanied by Susan G. Boswell, the diocese’s lead bankruptcy attorney from Tucson, and Thomas D. Walker, its Albuquerque bankruptcy attorney.

Assistant U.S. Trustee Ronald E. Andazola, the Department of Justice official who conducted the meeting, asked the bishop what goals he had for the submission of a Chapter 11 reorganization plan.

“In terms of dates, not any hard dates,” Wall said. “As soon as possible.”

Andazola also asked Wall if the diocese was considering the liquidation of property to raise settlement money for clergy sex abuse claimants.

“I think we’re looking at everything. … We want to come up with a good fund,” Wall said.

Timing questioned

But just how long will Wall have to submit a reorganization plan and raise settlement money? The timeline requirements of the federal bankruptcy court system and the vocal expectations of attorneys representing sex abuse claimants may force some “hard dates” on the Gallup bishop.

Two of those attorneys, John C. Manly of California and Robert E. Pastor of Arizona, co-counsels currently representing 14 sex abuse claimants, questioned why the Gallup Diocese filed its Chapter 11 petition without first taking the time to assemble complete and accurate financial data.

Manly, appearing to scoff when Linscott and Wall could not provide a figure for the diocese’s net worth, asked them if they didn’t think it would have been “a good first step” to determine the diocese’s net worth before filing for bankruptcy.

Under questioning by Pastor, Wall admitted he had been considering Chapter 11 reorganization for a long time and had begun talking with bankruptcy attorney Boswell about two years ago. Wall also agreed that Manly and Pastor had met with Boswell and Deacon James P. Hoy, the former diocesan chief financial officer, to discuss the diocese’s possible bankruptcy plans 18 months ago, in June 2012.

Confidential document

Pastor raised the ire of Boswell when he produced a 12-page confidential financial document that he said included a list of all real estate the Gallup Diocese owns in Arizona and New Mexico, along with financial values listed for each property.

Wall has submitted a Statement of Financial Affairs to the bankruptcy court, which includes a list of diocesan-owned property, but without any financial values included.

According to Pastor, attorneys for the diocese produced the confidential financial document during litigation negotiations involving the first clergy sex abuse lawsuit Pastor filed in Arizona’s Coconino County Superior Court.

Earlier in the meeting, Andazola had similarly questioned why the Gallup chancery property had been valued at more than $315,000 in a 2012 fiscal year audit report, but was listed as having an “unknown value” in the bankruptcy documents.

When Pastor attempted to give Wall a copy of the 12-page confidential document to review, Boswell jumped up from her seat, grabbed the document, and threw it back on Pastor’s table. After some bickering between the attorneys on different types of real estate valuations, Boswell agreed to accept the document for Wall and provide a copy to Andazola.

Legal argument

Much of the meeting’s testimony focused on the more than 160 pieces of “trust” and “real” property listed by Wall in his Statement of Financial Affairs and the differences between real estate replacement value and market value.

Because the diocese has not maintained a record of all its properties or copies of all its deeds, diocesan officials said they had to ask county officials in both states to search land records for diocesan property. According to Boswell, the diocese is now trying to retain brokers who can determine the market value of key properties.

“To date it has been a challenge,” Boswell admitted, explaining that the diocese owns various properties in widespread locations.

Other testimony centered on the diocese’s legal argument that Gallup priests and Gallup parishes are somehow separate from the Diocese of Gallup.

“No they’re not employees of the diocese,” Linscott said of Catholic priests working in the Diocese. Later in his testimony, Linscott admitted some parishes might need to contribute money to the diocese for settlements with sex abuse claimants.

When Manly asked Wall how much money parishes can spend without approval from the chancery or if parishes can enter into contracts without the chancery’s approval, Wall admitted he did not know the answers.

“Well, they’re on the website,” Manly said, explaining the Gallup Diocese had the information posted online under its fiscal guidelines.

“Can parishes fire their pastors?” Manly asked the bishop.

“I don’t believe so,” Wall replied.

Walker, the diocese’s Albuquerque attorney, angrily objected twice to Manly and Pastor’s line of questioning during the meeting. At one point, Walker held out his right arm in a blocking motion toward Pastor and said, “This isn’t a deposition, do you know that?”

This first Unsecured Creditors Committee meeting exceeded its scheduled time and ran nearly four hours. It will reconvene at 10 a.m., Jan. 23, in Judge David T. Thuma’s courtroom, located in Albuquerque’s U.S. Bankruptcy Court, 500 Gold Ave. S.W. The newly appointed committee, composed of seven clergy sex abuse survivors from the Gallup Diocese, should have an attorney by that date who will be able to ask further questions about diocesan finances. The meeting is open to the public.

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.

Victim advocates take anger over Lynn decision to church

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Inquirer

SULAIMAN ABDUR-RAHMAN, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
LAST UPDATED: Monday, December 30, 2013

Under a steady rain Sunday, Judy and Chuck Miller took up spots that have often been occupied by child-abuse victim advocates: the steps of the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul.

Judy Miller leads the Delaware branch of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), a group that hosted regular protests after the 2011 grand jury report about clergy sex-abuse in Philadelphia.

Her return Sunday was prompted by last week’s Superior Court ruling that overturned the conviction of Msgr. William J. Lynn, the central figure in the case.

“In my humble opinion, he was certainly guilty,” Miller, 74, said as she and her husband handed leaflets to attendees at the Mass.

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Minnesota, 2 More Cases: No Dearth of Pedophilia Among Catholic Priests

MINNESOTA
Liberty Voice

Minnesota has just added two more names to a growing list of Catholic priests who have been found as credibly accused of sexually irresponsible behavior. Early in December the list was announced to have 34 names. Today they added the Rev. Joseph Gallatin and the Rev. Mark Wehmann to the list. These priests will be taking a leave of absence, according to the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis referring to the two names just added to their list.

In an attempt to be responsive and dutiful, a third-party consulting firm was hired to make evaluations. In this investigation the Minnesota firm, Kinsale Management Consulting, has sustained allegations of sexual misconduct among priests going back decades. This activity is a response to allegations that the Archdiocese has been slow to act once misconduct has been uncovered.

It is all part of a never-ending series of sexual misconduct allegations, most of which involve adolescents and young teens, that has begun to seem like the veritable unraveling of the Catholic clergy as an institution in western culture.

Moreover, it’s not as though we have had a questionable, small body of evidence surfacing after much investigation. Rather, it is as if there is no end to the rampant child sexual abuse, pedophilia, and disturbingly unethical behavior we keep hearing about on the part of priests.

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Father Joseph Gallatin and Father Mark Wehmann…

MINNESOTA
Legal Examiner

Father Joseph Gallatin and Father Mark Wehmann Temporarily Removed by The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis

Posted by Mike Bryant
December 29, 2013

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis announced today that they were removing temporarily Father Joseph Gallatin and Father Mark Wehmann for claims of inappropriate interactions with minors. Gallatin has been serving as pastor at the Church of St. Peter in Mendota since 2008.

Wehmann has been serving as pastor at St. Boniface in Minneapolis and also at Fairview University Hospital in Minneapolis. Previously he was at Church of St. Bridget of Sweden (Lindstrom). Neither name was on the list recently released by the Archdiocese.

According to the St Paul Pioneer Press:

A consulting firm that has been reviewing diocesan files identified the incidents.

Gallatin, who has been serving as a pastor at the Church of St. Peter since July 2008, was found to have had one incident of inappropriate conduct with a minor several years ago that involved a “boundary violation.” The incident did not involve a crime, the consulting firm said.

Wehmann, who has served as a pastor at St. Boniface since July 2013, was also found to have had inappropriate conduct with minors, but in several cases. The consulting firm said law enforcement had been informed about “most of these” in the past, and no criminal charges were filed. The archdiocese recently informed law enforcement about the remaining incidents. Until recently, Wehmann was a part-time chaplain at Fairview University Hospital in Minneapolis.

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Scandal stunned Bishop McCort

PENNSYLVANIA
Tribune-Democrat

Kathy Mellott
kmellott@tribdem.com

JOHNSTOWN — The Tribune-Democrat is counting down the top stories of 2013, as determined by voting by newsroom employees. One story will appear each day in print and e-editions between now and the end of the year.

Readers can vote for their choice for the top story at www.tribdem.com/beststories.

A highly respected Roman Catholic high school, its alumni and students were rocked in January after it was learned that one of its beloved former instructors and friend to many had sexually molested what appears to have been nearly 100 people.

News hit the Johnstown area in mid-January that Franciscan friar Brother Stephen Baker had been accused of molesting male students at John F. Kennedy High School in Youngstown, Ohio, two decades ago. Church officials there reached a financial settlement with 11 of those accusers and all eyes turned toward Bishop McCort Catholic High School.

Baker came to Johnstown from Youngstown in 1992 and stayed through 2001. He was known by students as a religion teacher, but left his mark on mostly male athletes because he was a part of the athletic department.

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St. Louis suit follows push toward transparency …

ST. LOUIS (MO)
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

St. Louis suit follows push toward transparency in church sexual abuse claims

By Jennifer S. Mann jmann@post-dispatch.com 314-621-58040

ST. LOUIS • The lawsuit filed by an anonymous Jane Doe against a now-defrocked St. Louis priest echoes thousands of others nationwide that have forced more than $3 billion in legal awards and settlements from the Roman Catholic Church.

But it has particular relevance here because of an added promise: unprecedented disclosure.

Experts on the Catholic Church abuse scandal say Doe’s suit fits with a trend of the last decade or so, in which victims are increasingly pushing for transparency, and not just big payouts.

Timothy Lytton, author of “Holding Bishops Accountable: How Lawsuits Helped the Catholic Church Confront Clergy Sexual Abuse,” said that when plaintiff’s attorneys began filing suits against the church in the mid-1980s, they were motivated primarily by settlements and limited by judges who were disinclined to grant large discovery requests.

But gradually, over time, he said, three things began happening: The crisis was framed in terms of institutional failure, versus a few “bad apple” priests; lawsuits forced the Catholic Church to divulge information that prosecutors had been politically afraid of demanding; and the scandal gained the focus of major institutions — the church, law enforcement, legislatures and the press.

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Archdiocese fights judge’s order …

ST. LOUIS (MO)
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Archdiocese fights judge’s order to release unprecedented level of abuse records

By Jennifer S. Mann jmann@post-dispatch.com > 314-621-58043

ST. LOUIS • The first priest defrocked here as the child abuse scandal erupted in the Roman Catholic Church is now at the center of a lawsuit burrowing more deeply into the issue than ever before.

A civil suit against Joseph Ross has the potential to reveal two decades of internal records on sexual abuse allegations made against St. Louis priests, if a judge’s order holds.

The suit, which also names Archbishop Robert Carlson and the Archdiocese of St. Louis, was filed in 2011 by a 19-year-old woman who says Ross began abusing her 16 years ago at St. Cronan’s Church.

Ross had been convicted of sexually assaulting an 11-year-old boy at a University City parish a decade earlier, and was sent away for treatment, then reassigned to the new parish. Years later, additional abuse allegations surfaced.

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Bishop goes before bankruptcy trustee

NEW MEXICO
Gallup Independent

Published in the Gallup Independent, Gallup, NM, Dec. 27, 2013

Testimony points to few answers, poorly kept records

First in a two-part series

By Elizabeth Hardin-Burrola
Independent correspondent
religion@gallupindependent.com

ALBUQUERQUE — The Diocese of Gallup’s petition for Chapter 11 reorganization continues to raise far more questions about the diocese’s finances rather than provide answers.

With the initial bankruptcy filing, Gallup Bishop James S. Wall submitted an opening declaration in U.S. Bankruptcy Court stating the Gallup Diocese “is the poorest diocese in the United States” without providing any facts or figures to substantiate that claim. On Nov. 26, Wall submitted a lengthy Statement of Financial Affairs, featuring incomplete documentation of properties in Arizona and New Mexico with reportedly “unknown” real estate value.

Wall’s sworn testimony during an Unsecured Creditors Committee meeting Dec. 19 didn’t provide much more clarification. The public meeting was supposed to produce answers about the diocese’s finances to the largest group of unsecured creditors in the bankruptcy case, survivors of clergy sex abuse.

“This is an opportunity to learn what the resources of the diocese are,” Assistant U.S. Trustee Ronald Andazola said in his opening remarks.

Andazola, employed with the Department of Justice, oversaw the meeting and led the initial questioning.

Wall, however, was frequently not able to answer many of the questions posed to him about the diocese’s finances, its financial policies or the property it owns.

The individual who might have been able to answer those questions, Deacon James P. Hoy, the former diocesan chief financial officer for 14 years, was not in attendance. Hoy resigned June 30, about two months prior to the Chapter 11 announcement. Hoy’s financial policies and his financial record keeping, however, were the subject of many questions posed to the bishop.

Poorly kept records

In addition to Andazola, private attorneys John C. Manly and James I. Stang, of California, Robert E. Pastor, of Arizona, and Richard T. Fass, of Texas, all representing sex abuse claimants, also questioned the bishop.

Wall, looking somber and speaking very softly, was assisted with the questions by Christopher G. Linscott, the Diocese of Gallup’s recently hired financial consultant from Tucson. Susan G. Boswell, the diocese’s lead bankruptcy attorney, also from Tucson, occasionally advised Wall about how to answer.

During the meeting, which ran nearly four hours, Wall and Linscott testified about a variety of subjects including audits of the diocese, loans, bank accounts, clergy abuse lawsuits, an underfunded Priests Retirement Fund, oil and gas leases, and property deeds. Many of their answers spoke to a diocesan financial office in apparent disarray, with poorly kept records.

Andazola said he had been given a copy of the most recent audit of the diocese, which was for fiscal year 2012. He was given an incomplete copy, he said, and he requested the audit’s missing pages. Andazola noted the audit indicated the diocese had spent $114,000 on legal fees and settlement payments to clergy abuse victims during 2012.

Andazola also requested Wall give him a copy of the report the bishop submitted to the Vatican during his “ad limina” visit which reportedly includes financial information about the diocese.

Linscott was able to provide an annual diocesan revenue figure of $2.6 to $2.7 million for fiscal year 2012, but he was not able to specify how much revenue came from restricted or unrestricted funds. Neither Linscott nor Wall could explain some “allocations” listed in the 2012 audit.

Wall admitted he hadn’t authorized an audit of the most recent fiscal year, ending June 30, 2013, which fell just two months before his Chapter 11 announcement and which coincided with Hoy’s date of resignation. “The primary reason one wasn’t done this year was because of the costs,” Wall said.
Loans and leases

Two undated loans signed with other Catholic dioceses, $29,000 from the Archdiocese of Santa Fe and $200,000 from the Diocese of Phoenix, were arranged because the Gallup Diocese needed money to file its Chapter 11 petition, Wall explained.

The diocese also signed a $200,000 promissory note with Pinnacle Bank in 2011. Wall said he thought the money had been borrowed to assist Gallup Catholic School, but he was not sure as to the loan’s specific need.

According to Wall and Linscott, the diocese recently discovered 12 Wells Fargo bank accounts that were not in the diocese’s name but were using its tax I.D. number. Two accounts had no money, one account for the local Marriage Encounter program had $5,000, and the largest account, opened in the name of a parish on the Navajo Nation, had $150,000. Diocesan officials are now trying to determine who opened the accounts.

Although 13 clergy abuse lawsuits have been filed against the Gallup Diocese in Arizona’s Coconino County Superior Court, Wall was unaware the Gallup Diocese had an Arizona attorney representing the diocese in at least one of those cases, and he was not able to answer questions about what other Catholic dioceses or religious orders were co-defendants in the cases or which ones might share legal liability for clergy abuse claims.

Linscott admitted money intended for the Priest Retirement Fund or Pension Plan used to be deposited into a general checking account, but now the money is being put into the proper custodial account. “It is an underfunded plan,” Linscott said, adding he did not know what the total “underfunded amount” was.

Although Linscott said the diocese apparently receives about $10,000 annually from oil and gas leases, its financial office doesn’t have documentation as to where those properties are located.

And finally, Wall, Linscott and Boswell admitted that diocesan officials had to seek the help of county officials in Arizona and New Mexico to search county land records to develop a list of the diocese’s own real estate holdings.

Editor’s Note: Saturday’s Part 2 looks at the Diocese of Gallup’s list of properties and other contentious issues in the Unsecured Creditors Committee meeting.

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.

2 metro priests placed on leave over ‘boundary violations’ with minors

MINNESOTA
Fox 9

by Shelby Capacio – email

MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) –
On Sunday, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis announced that two metro priests are being placed on leave pending a review of alleged inappropriate conduct involving minors.

Church officials say both Father Joseph Gallatin, pastor at the Church of St. Peter in Mendota, and Father Mark Wehmann, of St. Boniface in Minneapolis, agreed to take a leave of absence from active ministry; however, both will remain pastors until a final review is completed.

The move came as part of a review of clergy files that is still being performed by an outside professional firm, Kinsale Management Consulting, which is combing through the records of all clergy members in active ministry.

According to a pair of releases from the archdiocese, both cases involve so-called “boundary violations,” but no further information was given.

FATHER JOSEPH GALLATIN

According to a release, a single incident of inappropriate conduct with a minor dating back many years ago was uncovered by the current review.

The archdiocese said the review team did not conclude that the incident was criminal, but law enforcement has since been notified “to ensure all appropriate steps have been taken.”

Gallatin has served as a pastor in Mendota since July 2008.

FATHER MARK WEHMANN

In the case of Wehmann, the review team identified several instances of inappropriate conduct involving minors. Although law enforcement had been informed of most of the incidents in the past and decided not to press charges, the archdiocese has now informed police of the remaining incidents that were not previously disclosed.

Wehmann only recently came to be pastor at St. Boniface in Minneapolis in July 2013. Until recently, he had also served as a part-time chaplain at Fairview University Hospital in Minneapolis.

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“Gunfight at Philly Corral” Lynn & Vatican vs. US Law

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Christian Catholicism

Jerry Slevin

Philly’s Catholic DA, Seth Williams, is asking Jesuit educated Catholic trial judge, M. Teresa Sarmina, to deny bail to Cardinal Justin Rigali’s former top aide, Monsignor William Lynn, on the basis that Lynn is a “flight risk” who may seek refuge in the Vatican. Rigali had just been spotted on worldwide TV in the prime seats at Pope Francis’ Christmas Eve Mass at the Vatican. Will Lynn soon be reuniting with his old boss?

Is there a risk of flight of a priest implicated in decisions that placed many children at risk of priest predators? Amazingly, Lynn’s lawyer suggested that Lynn be put back to Church work, which likely would give him access to children.

There is, of course, some risk Lynn would flee to the Vatican to avoid returning to prison. Recently, for example, an allegedly child abusing Archbishop fled to Rome from the Dominican Republic, as reported at:

[CNN]

And a Polish priest facing likely charges of child sexual abuse also recently fled the Dominican Republic for Poland, as reported at:

[BBC News]

And over recent decades, numerous foreign Catholic priests have fled possible US criminal proceedings, with few returning and apparently little help from the Vatican in getting them to return; see, “Fugitives from justice: Roman Catholic priests”, as reported at:

[Chicago Tribune]

For some of other important implications of the Lynn case, see, “Monsignor Lynn Proves Why President Obama Must Step Up”, at: http://wp.me/P2YEZ3-WZ

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. Priest Case Could Affect Penn State Trial

PENNSYLVANIA
WTRF

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) –
A legal ruling reversing the landmark conviction of a Roman Catholic priest might have implications for the criminal case against three former Penn State administrators.

Lawyers for the university officials charged in the Jerry Sandusky scandal say that child endangerment counts could be dropped because of the Superior Court’s decision.

Judges ruled Thursday that Monsignor William Lynn should not have been retroactively charged under a 2007 child endangerment law for alleged actions that occurred in 1990s. Prosecutors say he shuffled predator priests among parishes in Philadelphia.

The former university officials are charged under the same law with endangering children for allegedly not reporting a molestation claim against Sandusky in 2001.

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McMahon Comments that PA Appeal Court’s Reversal of Monsignor Lynn’s Endangering Welfare of Children Conviction Undermines Case Against Three Penn State Administrators

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Digital Journal

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (PRWEB) December 29, 2013

The reversal of Monsignor William Lynn’s criminal conviction for Endangering the Welfare of Children by the Pennsylvania Superior Court, docket 3201-EDA-2011, has caught the eye of law enforcement in its campaign to aggressively prosecute individuals who ignored or failed to report the conduct of child predators whom they previously controlled or supervised within their own institutions.

Monsignor Lynn, an Archdiocese of Philadelphia priest, was convicted of Endangering the Welfare of Children in Philadelphia County docket CP-51-CR-3530-2011, based on prosecution allegations that he knowingly reassigned suspected predator priests to different Catholic parishes, where further acts of child molestation were allegedly committed by the same transferred priests. The Superior Court’s ruling that Lynn should never have been prosecuted in the first place under the 2007 statute retroactively, will likely result in his release from prison shortly where he has been serving a six year sentence.

The Lynn decision could also present a significant legal hurdle in the Attorney General’s pending prosecutions in Dauphin County, docket CP-22-CR-3615-2013, against Graham Spanier, Tim Curley and Gary Schultz, the three Penn State administrators charged under the same 2007 statute in connection with the Sandusky case, according to John I. McMahon, Jr., Esquire.

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No red herrings, please. Let’s talk about the REAL scandal in St. Paul

UNITED STATES
The Worthy Adversary

Posted by Joelle Casteix on December 29, 2013

The Red Herring Award of the month is a doozey:

Earlier this week, this op-ed appeared in the Port Huron MI Times Herald. The author, Mike Stechschulte, says that the media and the public need “perspective” about the clergy abuse crisis.

He cites “huge improvements in policies,” low numbers of recent clergy sex abuse cases, and a recent problematic abuse allegation made against St. Paul and Minneapolis Archbishop John Nienstedt (currently being investigated) as proof that we need to focus our attentions elsewhere.

But a single allegation against the Archbishop is NOT why there is a scandal in St. Paul. It’s a big, fat red herring and Stechschulte hopes that low-information citizens will fall in step.

Stechschulte is wrong. There is a huge scandal in St. Paul, and the media and public must maintain razor sharp focus. It’s not about a recent allegation, it’s about the COVER-UP.

Here’s what Stechschulte “forgot” to tell the folks in Port Huron:

– The fact that just this month, the Archdiocese was forced by the courts to make public the names of accused priests. When church officials “suddenly” decided to review their own files on these men, two priests were put on leave. Why didn’t the Archbishop put them on leave when the credible accusations were made and verified? Why didn’t church leaders warn parishioners and protect kids? THAT’S a scandal.

– Stechschulte neglected to include that the former Vicar for Clergy (and brother of Obama’s chief of staff) is refusing to cooperate with police and hired a personal attorney. THAT’S a scandal.

– He “forgot” to mention the Curtis Wehmeyer case, the child porn cache in the Archdiocese basement, and the whistleblower who blew the lid off of the cover-up just this past autumn. Yeah, you got it: THAT’S a scandal.

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Two Priests Placed on Leave Following File Review by Outside Firm

MINNESOTA
KAAL

By: Megan Stewart

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has placed two priests on leave following a review of clergy files conducted by an outside firm hired by the Archdiocese.

On Sunday, the Archdiocese announced in a statement that Father Mark Wehmann and Father Joseph Gallatin have agreed to take a leave of absence after their files were reviewed by a consulting firm specializing in investigative support for faith-based organizations.

Wehmann was placed on leave after the firm found several incidents of inappropriate conduct with minors. According to the statement, the Archdiocese notified law enforcement about most of the incidents in the past and determined no criminal charges were appropriate.

The Archdiocese recently informed law enforcement about the remaining issues, the statement said.
Wehmann has been serving as a pastor at St. Boniface in Minneapolis since July and, until recently, was a part-time chaplain at Fairview University Hospital.

The firm also identified an incident of inappropriate conduct involving Gallatin, who has been serving as a pastor at the Church of St. Peter in Mendota since July 2008, the Archdiocese said in a statement.

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Minneapolis, Mendota priests take leave after ‘inappropriate conduct’ revealed

MINNESOTA
Pioneer Press

By Raya Zimmerman
rzimmerman@pioneerpress.com
POSTED: 12/29/2013

Two priests from Catholic churches in Minneapolis and Mendota are taking leaves of absence after a review of files revealed previous cases of inappropriate conduct with minors.

The priests were identified in a statement Sunday by the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis as the Rev. Joseph Gallatin from the Church of St. Peter in Mendota and the Rev. Mark Wehmann from St. Boniface Catholic Church in Minneapolis. A consulting firm that has been reviewing diocesan files identified the incidents.

Gallatin, who has been serving as a pastor at the Church of St. Peter since July 2008, was found to have had one incident of inappropriate conduct with a minor several years ago that involved a “boundary violation.” The incident did not involve a crime, the consulting firm said.

Wehmann, who has served as a pastor at St. Boniface since July 2013, was also found to have had inappropriate conduct with minors, but in several cases. The consulting firm said law enforcement had been informed about “most of these” in the past, and no criminal charges were filed. The archdiocese recently informed law enforcement about the remaining incidents. Until recently, Wehmann was a part-time chaplain at Fairview University Hospital in Minneapolis.

Since this fall, the archdiocese has faced harsh criticism for failing to expose clergy who sexually abused children and for allegedly covering up cases. Earlier this month, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis released a list of 34 priests “credibly accused” of sexually abusing children in decades prior. Los Angeles-based Kinsale Management Consulting has been conducting an ongoing review of all clergy files since mid-November.

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2 Minn. priests to take leave of absence

MINNESOTA
KARE

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Two priests will be taking a leave of absence as a result of an ongoing review of clergy files, according to the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

In a statement released Sunday, the archdiocese announced the priests have agreed to take a leave of absence from their ministries. They state that the two situations are not related, but are both a result of the review of clergy files by an outside firm that archdiocese hired.

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Statement Regarding Father Mark Wehmann

MINNESOTA
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis

Date: Sunday, December 29, 2013

Source: Jim Accurso

The Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis today announced that Fr. Mark Wehmann has agreed to take a leave of absence from active ministry. Fr. Wehmann’s clergy file recently was reviewed as a part of the comprehensive file review by an outside professional firm that currently is reviewing files of all clergy in active ministry.

This review has identified several incidents of inappropriate conduct with minors involving boundary violations. Law enforcement has been informed about most of these in the past and has determined that no criminal charges were appropriate. The archdiocese recently has informed law enforcement about the remaining incidents.

Fr. Wehmann has been serving as a pastor at St. Boniface in Minneapolis since July 2013 and until recently as a part time chaplain at Fairview University Hospital in Minneapolis. While on his leave of absence, Fr. Wehmann will remain pastor but will not be performing any public ministry until a final review is complete.

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