Montana Catholic diocese files for bankruptcy in abuse settlement

MONTANA
Reuters

BY LAURA ZUCKERMAN
Sat Feb 1, 2014

Jan 31 (Reuters) – A Montana Roman Catholic diocese filed for bankruptcy on Friday as part of a proposed $17.5 million settlement with hundreds of adults alleging childhood sexual abuse by its priests, nuns and lay workers, a church spokesman said.

The Helena diocese, serving an estimated 44,500 Catholics in 57 parishes and 38 missions in western Montana, is the eleventh U.S. diocese to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization since 2004 because of liabilities linked to child abuse cases.

Under the proposed agreement, the church would pay $15 million to settle claims brought by 362 victims in two lawsuits filed in 2011. It also would set aside an additional $2.5 million for future claims and to cover legal costs, said Helena diocese spokesman Dan Bartleson.

“We don’t really have any reserves,” Bartleson said, adding that bankruptcy protection would help facilitate the payouts to abuse survivors. The agreement must still be approved by a federal bankruptcy court and by victims.

Attorneys representing the majority of claimants said the move brought the church closer to accepting responsibility for abuse that spanned three decades beginning in the 1940s and affected both young children and young adults. …

The settlement does not include the Ursuline Sisters, also defendants in the case against the Helena diocese, Bartleson said. Claims against the sisters are tied to Native Americans who allege they were abused decades ago as students in Montana schools overseen by the order.

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Montana Catholic diocese files bankruptcy to settle sex abuse claims

MONTANA
Los Angeles Times

Associated Press
January 31, 2014

HELENA, Mont. — The Roman Catholic Diocese of Helena filed for bankruptcy protection Friday as part of a proposed $15-million settlement for hundreds of victims who say clergy members sexually abused them over decades while the church covered it up.

The Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization plan comes after confidential mediation sessions with the plaintiffs’ attorneys and insurers, resulting in a proposed deal to resolve the abuse claims, diocese officials said.

Bishop George Leo Thomas expressed his “profound sorrow” at a news conference and apologized to the victims.

“I know the pain is real, the pain is in the present tense, and in the name of the church, I want to say I’m sorry and we’re sorry as a church,” Thomas said.

The $15 million “will at least be a beginning point for people who are seeking resolution in their lives and in their hearts,” he added. …

Molly Howard, an attorney for the plaintiffs in one of the lawsuits, said she believed the bankruptcy process would resolve the case more quickly than years of litigation and trials with uncertain outcomes.

“Given the age and ill health of many of the victims, this is in their best interest,” Howard said. …

David Clohessy, the executive director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, criticized the diocese for seeking bankruptcy protection, saying it would allow church officials to keep records closed that might have come out in a trial.

He also said the settlement fell short because it did not publicly name the church officials who shielded and protected predator clergy members.

“Those individuals have to be exposed and punished,” Clohessy said.

Thomas said in response that church officials would comb their records to see if there were “intentional failures of leadership.” But the records from the time of the abuse are incomplete, he said.

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Diocese settlement only part of the victims healing

MONTANA
KPAX

by Jacqueline Quynh – KPAX News
Updated: Jan 31, 2014

MISSOULA – Despite the settlement, the anguish of the victims is not going away. And, even though the diocese has reached a settlement with 362 victims of sexual abuse, to some this by no means is closure. We talked with 4 victims, men and women, who came forward on Friday, to share the experiences they say, no one would believe, or chose to ignore. They talked about how hard it was to have had to carry this pain all these years alone.

And they tell us, the settlement at least gives light to something that had happened for decades, and that this acknowledgement could help prevent abuse in the future. “The apology the fact that we were telling the truth is a big deal, the most important, but it doesn’t take away the pain, I’ve dealt with for over 50 years, the disappointment because I wanted to be a nun,” said Jackie Trotch, abuse survivor.

That’s just one of the stories we heard on Friday, and they are all hard to hear. The Tamaki Law Firm vows to continue to pursue more cases of abuse. The group is currently preparing for a case against the Ursuline Sister of the Western Province. Also as part of the settlement, The Diocese of Helena will provide counseling for abuse victims.

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Lawsuit against St. Ignatius Ursuline Academy to proceed, lawyers say

MONTANA
Missoulian

By Kathryn Haake

Lawyers representing victims of sexual assault that allegedly occurred for more than 40 years at the Ursuline Academy in St. Ignatius are pledging to take the case to trial this summer – even after the Catholic Diocese of Helena filed for bankruptcy Friday to settle a similar lawsuit.

The case against the Ursuline Sisters of the Western Province alleges that 10 nuns sexually abused Native American children at the Catholic boarding school from the 1930s to the 1970s, and lists 37 men and women as the victims of sexual molestation.

The lead counsel in the case, Blaine Tamaki of the Tamaki Law Offices of Yakima, Wash., is hoping to go to trial this summer and expose the alleged abuse to the public.

The 2011 lawsuit was filed in conjunction with another lawsuit against the Diocese of Helena, listing 362 victims as plaintiffs. The diocese filed for bankruptcy and pledged a settlement of $15 million Friday, to be funded by insurance and the diocese’s assets.

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Sex offender no longer a priest, Anglican Church says

CANADA
The Record

By Record staff

Convicted sex offender George Ferris is no longer an Anglican priest.

The Cambridge man has been sentenced to five-and-a-half-years in prison for three sexual assaults on teenage boys in the 1980s and 1990s.

The retired minister from Cambridge was most recently in court in Brantford on Wednesday, when he was sentenced on two charges. He was found not guilty of one count of sexual exploitation of a young person.

Ferris has now been stripped of his title of priest.

Reverend Robert Bennett, of the Anglican Diocese of Huron, disciplined Ferris on Thursday, a church press release says.

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Love to all

AUSTRALIA
lewisblayse.net

Posted on January 31, 2014 by lewisblayse

Dear all,

My Dad, Lewis, passed away last night. They think he had a heart attack.

To everyone who has supported his work and encouraged him in his fight against paedophilia, thank you. He was behind in his emails, but intended to respond to all who have sent messages of support.

Please watch ABC 24 tonight and the rerun of “The Homies” on Four Corners at 8pm.

I will post again when I have details about his funeral, for those who would like to attend.

With love,

Aletha

[Postscript: Dad believed that when we die, we become a pure beam of light energy, unrestricted by time or space. He told me that when it was his time, he was looking forward to exploring the universe.]

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The UK Paedophile Scandal

UNITED KINGDOM
Whatsupic

By Michael Aydinian

Whatsupic — I often wonder whether or not people outside the UK are cognizant of what is nothing less than one of the greatest Paedophile scandals in history? It’s bad enough in the UK, for the entire mainstream media has been doing it’s level best to hush up the whole sordid affair. Indeed the very foundations of this scandal is inextricably linked to the BBC for Disc Jockey Jimmy Savile began his association with them in the mid 60’s. His eccentric, flamboyant manner would make him a household name. As well as presenting Top of the Pops, at the time a popular music show, his program ‘Jim’ll Fix It’ became prime time viewing, very much catching the imagination of younger generation! Here the somewhat outlandish wishes of children would become reality! For the largely unsuspecting public Jimmy Savile was fast-becoming an iconic figure; For the BBC he had become an absolute gold mine!

It has to be said Savile’s philanthropic activities made him the very last person people would ever suspect of wrong-doing! His lifetime work fundraising for charities & hospitals amassed as much as a staggering £40 million! Small wonder senior politicians, Prime Ministers & even Royalty were attracted to him. Evidently he spent several Christmas holidays at the residence of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. It seemed he could do no wrong! Of course we now know nothing could have been further from the truth!

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Francis: In the Church children need to be protected and supported

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Insider

In today’s address to participants at the Plenary meeting of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Pope urged them to reflect further on Benedict XVI’s teachings regarding the relationship between marriage and faith

IACOPO SCARAMUZZI
VATICAN CITY

Children must always be protected and supported in their human and spiritual development,” Francis said in this morning’s audience with participants at the Plenary meeting of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, led by Mgr. Gerhard Ludwig Müller. The meeting was a chance for the Pope to emphasise the importance of not portraying Catholic doctrine as an ideology, reducing it to a “bunch of abstract, crystalised theories”; it was also a chance for him to urge the Vatican dicastery to safeguard the integrity of the faith “always working with local Pastors and the doctrinal commissions of the various Episcopal Conferences. Francis asked the dicastery to dig deeper into the relationship between personal faith and celebration of the Sacrament of marriage.”

“You must think of the wellbeing of children and young people. In Christian communities they must always be protected and supported in their human and spiritual development,” Francis said, clearly alluding to the issue of clerical sex abuse of minors. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is canonically responsible for stamping out sex abuse in the Church. “we are looking into the possibility of linking your dicastery with the special commission for the protection of children which I set up and which should be seen as an example by all of those who intend to safeguard the wellbeing of children.” In December Cardinal Sean O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston and a member of the Council of Cardinals – the so-called “C8” which is helping the Pope to reform the Roman Curia and govern the universal Church – announced the decision to set up the commission.

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Doyle rebuts Cardinal George regarding Chicago abuse files

CHICAGO (IL)
National Catholic Reporter

Robert McClory | Jan. 31, 2014 NCR Today

In a blistering rebuttal of Chicago Cardinal Francis George’s response to the release of the files on priest abusers, Fr. Tom Doyle analyzes in painful detail what the cardinal wrote in his Jan. 12 column in the Chicago New World. Doyle finds the cardinal “defensive, misleading and insulting in addition to the fact that it does not reflect the reality of the key issues.” He takes particular aim at the cardinal’s discussion of the case of Dan McCormack and his denial that he acted contrary to the findings of his own review board.

In the conclusion of his lengthy analysis, Doyle said, “It goes without saying that the Cardinal and the archdiocese would have been much better served had he said nothing. But he didn’t remain silent. The McCormack fiasco was not the result of confusing or bungled procedures, incomplete information. It was the result of the Cardinal’s arrogance, his over-riding concern for his and the Church’s image and worst of all, his disdain for the victims. The attitude that underlies the Cardinal’s statement is not unique to him. This attitude, painfully evident wherever clergy sexual abuse has been reported throughout the Church, shows that the bishops in general have a long, long way to go before their actions began to match up with their promises.”

Doyle’s analysis, published in National Survivor Advocates Coalition News on Thursday, follows:

Guest Opinion

CLERGY SEX ABUSE TRANSPARENCY ACCORDING TO CARDINAL GEORGE

Introducing Faith and Justice, the new column from NCR senior analyst Thomas Reese, SJ. Sign up for email alerts here.
Thomas Doyle

January 20, 2014

The leadership of the Archdiocese of Chicago has a mediocre to poor track record in responding to reports of clergy sexual abuse and their honesty with the public. Cardinal George’s recent statement to the archdiocese (January 12, 2014 in The Catholic New World) does nothing to change this pattern. This statement was issued to prepare the archdiocese for the release of the files of thirty priests confirmed as sexual abusers. His statement is defensive, misleading and insulting in addition to the fact that it does not reflect the reality of the key issues. A significant part of the statement is devoted to the defense of his mishandling of the Dan McCormack case. The McCormack files are not among those released!

In 1982 the parents of a minor boy reported that former Fr. Bob Mayer had sexually abused their teenaged son. This was under Cardinal Cody’s watch. They reported the abuse to the archdiocese and in return were intimidated and even threatened with excommunication by the chancellor at the time, Fr. J. Richard Keating who later became the bishop of Arlington VA. In 1988 they finally settled for a measly $10,000.00 that didn’t even cover their legal costs. The boy’s mother was not about to succumb to the scare tactics nor was she buying any of the dishonest mumbo-jumbo served up as excuses for their deliberate neglect. She went on to found the Linkup which quickly became one of the two most influential victim support organizations in the world.

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It’s time a healing took place in our church

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

Thomas Gumbleton | Jan. 31, 2014 The Peace Pulpit

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Isaiah 8:23-9:3
Psalms 27:1, 4, 13-14
1 Corinthians 1:10-13, 17
Matthew 4:12-23
Full text of the readings

As we begin this account in Matthew’s Gospel of the public life of Jesus, at the very beginning, we are challenged directly by Jesus: “Change your lives, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand — change your lives.” The word is one that means a profound reordering of our lives — a 180-degree turn, a change in our value systems. The reign of God or the kingdom of heaven — this is something that Jesus is beginning to proclaim.

It’s important that we get a sense of what Jesus means by this kingdom of heaven. First of all, it has nothing to do with the afterlife. We might think, “The kingdom of heaven — that’s where we go after we die.” No; what it refers to is the reign of God, the reign of God throughout all of creation — on our planet, on our earth, in our lives. It refers to God working effectively in our everyday lives right here and now. …

If there’s been an offense against another, we go first and be reconciled. What I’m referring to is something that became very prominent in the news this week. It was reported on national news that the Chicago archdiocese, because of court order, released the personnel files on priests who had abused victims. Over the decades, these priests have been sheltered and then moved from one parish to another, and for a long time, never really held accountable.

Now finally, the files come out, and it’s clear that the bishops were much more concerned about protecting the good name of the church, preventing what they call scandal. They did such things as recently as the year 2000. Cardinal [Francis] George wrote a letter to a priest in prison whose prison sentence he was seeking to reduce, and he writes, “It would be a great fulfillment of the millennium spirit to see your captive heart set free.”

The cardinal was saying how marvelous it would be if this priest would be released from jail. But there’s no letter to the victim. There’s no letter going to the victim, saying, “Yes, we need to be reconciled and go and be reconciled,” with the perpetrator coming, admitting the guilt, and asking forgiveness. The victims in these cases have just been ignored. Further back, a priest wrote to Cardinal [Joseph] Bernardin from jail, “How full of shame I feel for having betrayed you and the archdiocese.”

No shame or sense of having to make reconciliation with the person whom he abused or the many people he abused. There’s been a big gap in what is happening in the church and what Pope John Paul II called, “A cancer on the body of Christ” — the sex abuse scandal. We still haven’t gotten to the real way and the only way that this healing could take place. The victims or survivors are still treated as though they’re adversaries.

People still say they only want the money. They don’t recognize these are people who have been profoundly hurt, who have been denied the real acceptance of what they say happened to them. The priests deny it, the bishops hide it, and even if the person tries to forgive, there’s no one there to receive the forgiveness. There can’t be reconciliation until the one who has perpetrated the harm comes, as Jesus says in the Gospel, “Go first and be reconciled with your brother or sister, then come and offer your gift.”

We have failed in this terrible cancer on the body of the church — failed to bring about the healing that is still so much needed for the thousands of people around the world who have been abused and then denied a real chance for reconciliation, not recognized as the ones who have been hurt. My thought is that we, as a community of people, followers of Jesus, trying to change our lives and live the gospel of love, must do what we can first of all, in changing our lives to live out that commandment of Jesus — love one another as I have loved you — and spelled out in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians.

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Lawyers suing two Catholic dioceses in Montana represent more than 250 clients

MONTANA
Kosnoff Fasy

Breaking News: Helena Diocese Bishop George Leo Thomas asks sex-abuse victims to come forward.

Incidents of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church are well-known, as are the Church’s attempts to cover up and even ignore the crimes of sexual predators. Across the country, court records have detailed how church officials for years have knowingly transferred offending priests from one location to another.

Currently, we’re involved in two large, multi-plaintiff cases in Montana against the Helena diocese and the Great Falls-Billings diocese.

Helena Diocese Sex Abuse

The case against the Helena diocese was filed in September 2011 in Montana First Judicial District Court of Lewis and Clark County in Helena, Montana. We represent 250 men and women in that case. More abuse survivors continue to come forward, and we continue to investigate claims of abuse in that diocese. Recently, we ran a TV commercial urging survivors to come forward to file a claim while they still can, before settlement talks later this year.

Helena’s Bishop George Leo Thomas urged survivors to come forward and recently pledged that the Diocese will open its books and attempt to use a mediator to settle claims for those sexually abused by clergy in western Montana. Diocese officials posted on its web site, “The Diocese is working with victims’ attorneys and has extended an offer for Bishop George Thomas to meet with victims individually.” http://www.diocesehelena.org/resources/safe-env/_pdfs/reporting.pdf

Meanwhile, the case against the Great Falls-Billings diocese is progressing on behalf of 29 child sex-abuse victims. Additional witnesses have come forward with information, and we’re continuing to investigate. The case has been filed in Montana Eighth Judicial District Court in Cascade County. The case has numerous unnamed alleged perpetrators and five named alleged abusers, including Father Ted Szudera. One of our clients, a former altar boy, was raped by Szudera for two years. The Great Falls diocese conducted its own self-styled investigation, dismissed the allegations as unfounded and allowed Szudera to continue serving as a priest around children. Following the allegations, Szudera served on a bishop’s committee advising the diocese on how to handle clergy sex-abuse allegations.

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Catholic diocese in Helena, Mont., to file for bankruptcy to resolve sex abuse lawsuits

MONTANA
NBC News

[letter from the bishop]

By Alessandra Malito, NBC News

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Helena, Mont., planned to file for bankruptcy on Friday to pave the way for a $15 million settlement of lawsuits alleging clergy members sexually abused 362 children over five decades, according to a diocese spokesman.

“The settlement here will be as much help financially as we can offer to claimants,” the spokesman, Dan Bartleson, told NBCNews.com. “And the bankruptcy puts us in a place at the diocese where we can care for the Catholics who are currently part of the church.”

The lawsuits, originally filed in 2011, claimed that clergy members had abused children from the 1940s to 1980s and that the diocese knew or should have known what was happening.

“It’s widespread … (and) some of the most horrific abuse we’ve dealt with,” Dan Fasy, an attorney with law firm Kosnoff Fasy, which represents 268 of the 362 claimants, told NBC News.

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“Bishop” Raymond Goedert And Clergy Sex Abuse: “We Have Done What We Were Obliged To Do.”

CHICAGO (IL)
Rant Lifestyle

Retired Chicago auxiliary Bishop Raymond Goedert was vicar for priests in the Archdiocese of Chicago in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s until leaving that post in September, 1991 upon becoming a Bishop. The post of vicar for priests put him in charge of dealing with charges of sexual abuse by clergy. It was during Goedert’s tenure as vicar that two of the most notorious cases of sexual abuse of minors by priests in the Chicago Archdiocese came to light, that of Robert Mayer, who eventually served a three year sentence for fondling a teenage girl in a church rectory and of Vince McCaffrey, who is currently serving a 20 year sentence for child pornography. These were only the two most notable cases of such abuse that came to light during Goedert’s tenure.

That Mayer and McCaffrey wound up in jail had nothing to do with Goedert’s efforts; during Goedert’s entire tenure as vicar for priests, he never once called police when allegations of perversion by his priests arose. Not once…even though, as Goedert admitted, priests who were confronted with allegations “frequently, if not always, admitted to it.”

Goedert argues that he didn’t call police because, at the time of his service as vicar, clergy were not “mandated reporters,” specifically required to report cases of sexual abuse to the authorities, under Illinois law. Goedert expects us to believe that, while he was, as he puts it, “concerned for the children,” he did only what he was required by law to do to protect them. Oh, yeah, he was concerned with the children, but not to the point at which he would do anything more than the letter of the law required, especially when doing so might hurt the reputation of the Church…which, one suspects, is the heart of the matter, though Goedert would never admit that.

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Montana diocese to file bankruptcy protection amid sex abuse lawsuits

UNITED STATES
The Guardian (UK)

Associated Press in Helena
theguardian.com, Friday 31 January 2014

The Roman Catholic diocese of Helena planned to file for bankruptcy protection Friday in advance of proposed settlements for two lawsuits that claim clergy members sexually abused 362 people over decades and the church covered it up.

Diocese spokesman Dan Bartleson said the Chapter 11 bankruptcy re-organization will be filed Friday morning, and comes after confidential mediation sessions with the plaintiffs’ attorneys, resulting in the deals to resolve the abuse claims.

The settlement details are being worked out, but the US Bankruptcy Court in Montana would be responsible for approving and supervising the disbursement of $15m to compensate the identified victims, plus an additional amount set aside for those who come forward later.

The victims and creditors will have the chance to vote on the proposed settlement, Bartleson said.

The plaintiffs’ attorneys said they planned to release a statement later Friday.

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Money drove church to fail child victims

AUSTRALIA
Sunshine Coast Daily

Jessica Grewal 1st Feb 2014

DRIVEN by a desire to protect church money, the Anglican Diocese of Grafton “comprehensively failed” victims of child sex abuse and in some cases, damaged them further, the royal commission has heard.

Sweeping reforms to the structure of the Anglican Church are likely after the senior barrister tasked with bringing evidence before last year’s North Coast Children’s Home inquiry released a damning assessment of its ability to deal with child abuse survivors and discipline the perpetrators.

The landmark inquiry uncovered haunting accounts from former residents of the Lismore home and raised serious questions about the Grafton Diocese’s response to a group compensation claim and its treatment of the victims involved.

Counsel Assisting the Commission Simeon Beckett found that despite having “sufficient assets to meet the claims of the abused former residents”, the Diocese chose to protect its finances rather than provide victims with “appropriate redress”.

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Church fails in duty as Tweed priest abuser kept on

AUSTRALIA
My Daily News

THE royal commission has been asked to find that the Anglican Church failed in its duty to report and discipline convicted sex offender and former Tweed Parish priest Allan Kitchingman.

In a damning report released on Thursday, counsel assisting the Commissioner Simeon Beckett submitted there were 59 findings available to the commission arising from last year’s inquiry into the Grafton Diocese response to allegations of abuse at Lismore’s North Coast Children’s Home.

During the hearing, diocese members were questioned as to what steps had been taken to reprimand Kitchingman, whose name remained on the Anglican Church directory for some time after he was convicted of five counts of sexual assault.

Court documents revealed Kitchingman was chaplain of the home when he sexually abused a boy at a Ballina youth camp.

He went on to serve for more than a decade between Mullumbimby and Tweed Heads, and was charged in 2002, aged 69, and jailed for a minimum of 18 months.

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Accusations against priest now being investigated by police

AUSTRALIA
Northern Star

1st Feb 2014

Reverend Campbell Brown, a retired Grafton priest believed to be living in the Newcastle area, is accused of sexually assaulting children, including whistleblower Richard “Tommy” Campion, while he was in a position of trust at the Lismore home.

Documents tendered to the commission this week confirm Rev Brown was referred to the police in December last year.

He had previously been referred to the Child Abuse Squad in 2006.

At the time, the Grafton Diocese was told Rev Brown had not had any contact with the Church since the ordination of women, was nearly 80 years old and was vision impaired.

The commission heard the Diocese was first made aware of allegations against Rev Brown and another priest – Rev Winston Morgan, through a letter, written by Mr Campion in 2002.

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Officials say final report on visitation of U.S. nuns expected soon

VATICAN CITY
National Catholic Reporter

Cindy Wooden Catholic News Service | Jan. 31, 2014

VATICAN CITY Before the year dedicated to consecrated life begins in November, the Vatican congregation for religious hopes to release its final report on the 2009-2010 visitation of U.S. women’s communities.

Archbishop Jose Rodriguez Carballo, secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, said, “We are working intensely on the final report, and after careful study and consideration, we think it will be made public soon. We’re at a good point. I think we can conclude it before the beginning of the Year for Consecrated Life” in November.

The former prefect of the congregation, Cardinal Franc Rodé, initiated the visitation in January 2009, saying its aim would be to study the community, prayer and apostolic life of the orders to learn why the number of religious women in the United States had declined so sharply since the 1960s.

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Montana Catholic diocese files for bankruptcy in face of 362 abuse claims

MONTANA
Washington Times

By Cheryl K. Chumley-The Washington Times

A Roman Catholic diocese in Montana has filed for bankruptcy, the latest move to resolve a long-running court fight against 300-plus plaintiffs who allege the church covered up the years of childhood abuse they suffered.

Three-hundred and sixty-two plaintiffs joined separate lawsuits in 2011, accusing church officials of abusing them when they were children, between the years of 1930 and 1980 — and that the church knew of the abuse, CNN reported.

Plaintiffs also allege the Diocese of Helena actively protected some of the church officials who were involved in the abuse, CNN said.

The case has been stretching for months. Various mediation attempts have failed, and it’s hoped that the bankruptcy will bring about an acceptable resolution, diocese spokesman Dan Bartleson said, CNN reported.

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Helena Diocese plans to file for bankruptcy reorganization

MONTANA
KXLH

HELENA – The Diocese of Helena plans to file for financial reorganization in federal bankruptcy court on Friday, January 31st.

In a press release on Friday, the diocese called the move “a major step toward bringing resolution to 362 claims of abuse of minors by diocesan priests, religious community priests, women religious and lay workers who have served in the diocese, primarily between 30 and 60 years ago.”

The filing in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Butte results from negotiations with “known abuse survivors” and the diocese’s insurers.

“The Diocese chose a pastoral mode and entered into a confidential mediation process,” the diocese said.

Negotiations in the matter are still ongoing, but the settlement will include a $15 million fund for victims already identified, and additional funds for possible additional victims.

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Montana diocese in bankruptcy move amid abuse lawsuits

UNITED STATES
BBC News

A Roman Catholic diocese in the US state of Montana has filed for bankruptcy protection, amid claims hundreds of children were abused.

Two 2011 lawsuits against the diocese in Helena, the state capital, allege that 362 children were abused between 1940-1980.

Plaintiffs claim the diocese protected the offenders or turned a blind eye.

The filing precedes proposed settlements reached during confidential mediation sessions, US media report.

A Montana bankruptcy court will be responsible for approving disbursement of a reported $15m (£9m) in compensation for identified victims, plus an undisclosed amount to be set aside for those plaintiffs who come forward at a later date.

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Helena Diocese plans to file for bankruptcy reorganization

MONTANA
KAJ18

Jan 31, 2014 10:29 AM by Sanjay Talwani – MTN News

HELENA – The Diocese of Helena plans to file for financial reorganization in federal bankruptcy court on Friday, Jan. 31.

In a news release on Friday, the diocese called the move “a major step toward bringing resolution to 362 claims of abuse of minors by diocesan priests, religious community priests, women religious and lay workers who have served in the diocese, primarily between 30 and 60 years ago.”

The filing in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Butte results from negotiations with “known abuse survivors” and the diocese’s insurers.

“The Diocese chose a pastoral mode and entered into a confidential mediation process,” the diocese said.

Negotiations in the matter are still ongoing, but the settlement will include a $15 million fund for victims already identified, and additional funds for possible additional victims.

“On behalf of the entire Diocese of Helena, I express my profound sorrow and sincere apologies to anyone who was abused by a priest, a sister, or a lay Church worker,” Helena Bishop George Leo Thomas said in the statement . “No child should experience harm from anyone who serves in the Church.”

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In the Spirit…

MONTANA
Wisconsin State Journal

In the Spirit: Madison Bishop Robert Morlino’s former diocese to file for bankruptcy

DOUG ERICKSON | Wisconsin State Journal | derickson@madison.com | 608-252-6149

The Catholic Diocese of Helena, Mont., will file for bankruptcy reorganization Friday as part of its effort to resolve two lawsuits that claim clergy members sexually abused 362 people over several decades and the church covered it up.

Madison Bishop Robert Morlino served as bishop of the Helena diocese from 1999-2003. The lawsuits were filed in 2011 and relate to allegations of abuse from the 1940s to the 1970s, according to the Associated Press.

The allegations pre-date Morlino’s tenure in Helena, and he has not been brought into any conversations related to the lawsuits, said Brent King, spokesman for the Madison Catholic Diocese.

A statement released Friday by the Helena diocese said the details of the settlements are still being worked out but that $15 million would be available to compensate the currently identified victims, with additional settlement funds for other and unknown victims.

Morlino was bishop of Helena in 2002 when the national priest-abuse crisis broke. In a 2002 story in the (Helena) Independent Record, Morlino referenced allegations of abuse that pre-dated his arrival there.

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Roman Catholic Diocese of Helena Files for Bankruptcy

MONTANA
ABC Fox Montana

By Emily Foster

HELENA –
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Helena is filing for bankruptcy protection amid lawsuits claiming clergy members abused 362 children over decades.

Diocese spokesman Dan Bartleson said in a statement Friday the Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization case will help resolve the abuse claims.

The diocese covers western Montana and employs about 200 people.

The two lawsuits filed in 2011 claim clergy members abused the children from the 1930s to the 1970s.

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Facing Abuse Claims, Helena Diocese to File for Bankruptcy

MONTANA
Wall Street Journal

By Tom Corrigan

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Helena said Friday it plans to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in an effort to resolve more than 350 sexual abuse claims.

The filing, expected later Friday in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Butte, Mont., follows a mediation process that resulted in a settlement with insurers and the individuals who have brought sexual abuse claims against the diocese.

“Once the reorganization proceedings conclude, we will be able to plan confidently for future ministry for the people of the Church of the Diocese of Helena,” Helena Bishop George Leo Thomas said Friday in a statement.

Should a bankruptcy judge approve the settlement, the diocese would pay $15 million to currently identified holders of sexual abuse claims with additional funding set aside for others who may come forward with abuse claims in the future.

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Priest is Accused of Misconduct

NEW MEXICO
Cibola Beacon

Staff Report

According to Suzanne Hammons, the spokesperson for the Diocese of Gallup, Father Timothy Conlon, a priest of the Diocese, has been credibly accused of two incidents of sexual abuse toward a minor.

Conlon, a member of the Crosier Brothers, based in Phoenix, Ariz., was in the process of becoming incardinated within the Gallup Diocese when the accusations came to light.

The accusations refer to an incident that took place approximately 40 years ago, before Fr. Conlon came to Arizona and before he was ordained a priest.

Upon learning of the accusation, Bishop James Wall immediately notified law enforcement in Arizona, and, working with the Crosier Prior Provincial Thomas Enneking, O.S.C., immediately removed Conlon from ministry in the Diocese of Gallup, where he had been assigned as Parish Administrator for St. John the Baptist Parish, in St. John’s, Ariz., and San Raphael Parish, in Concho, Ariz.

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ROME- More vague Vatican abuse ‘hopes’

VATICAN CITY
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Friday, Jan. 31 2014

Statement by Joelle Casteix of Newport Beach CA, western regional director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests ( 949 322 7434, jcasteix@gmail.com )

Today the Pope asked one ancient Vatican bureaucracy to “study” clergy sexual abuse and cooperate with another Vatican body that hasn’t even been set up yet.

This isn’t progress. It’s perhaps the 20th or 30th time that a pope has talked about his hopes and plans about clergy sex crimes and cover ups. But not a single pope has exposed a single predator or a single enabler. Not a single pope has really punished a single complicit bishop. And not a single pope has taken a single effective step to prevent clergy sex crimes or cover ups.

When will the words stop and the action start?

[Vatican Information Service]

[Catholic News Service]

Pope Francis says he hopes the latest in a long series of church abuse panels will be “exemplary.” If history is any guide, it won’t be, especially if the person who sets it up, the Pope himself, refuses to make a single dramatic move to disrupt the centuries-old, self-serving and secretive clerical culture that has creates and perpetuates this crisis.

The Pope won’t even sack convicted Missouri Bishop Robert Finn or disband the corruption-riddled Legion of Christ. “The Pope won’t even tell bishops “Report abuse to police regardless of whether laws require this.” The Pope won’t even rebuff disgraced Cardinal Roger Mahony, with whom he said mass and had a private audience earlier this month.

So the odds that his hand-picked abuse panel – whenever it’s set up – will make any difference are exceedingly slim.

And we believe his plan to put another abuse panel under the CDF is dreadful, especially given the poor tracker record of Muller on abuse. At best, this hide-bound institution has shown no interest or expertise in prevention, which should be the church hierarchy’s top priority.

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Francis calls for doctrine within the spirit of charity

VATICAN CITY
National Catholic Reporter

Thomas C. Fox | Jan. 31, 2014 The Francis Chronicles

In an important address to staff of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Pope Francis today essentially said, “tone it down.”

He called for Vatican doctrinal officials to work with a new spirit of service and charity and to cooperate more with local churches. He reminded the CDF that doctrine “must be taught and judged within the context of the needs of the community.” In other words, he emphasized his pastoral vision, his Vatican II vision, as the primary vision of church. There can be little doubt this represents a major shift from the papacies of Pope John Paul II and Benedict XVI.

He said, “right from the earliest times of the Church there has been a temptation to consider the doctrine in an ideological sense or to reduce it to a series of abstract and crystallized theories.” He went on to say that “doctrine’s sole role is to serve the life of God’s people and is meant to ensure a solid foundation to our faith,” according to Vatican radio.

There is a great temptation, he continued, “to take control of the gifts of salvation that come from God to domesticate them, maybe even with good intentions, according to the views and spirit of the world.”

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Women; the old guard; pope v. pope; graffiti; and All Things Catholic

VATICAN CITY
National Catholic Reporter

John L. Allen Jr. | Jan. 31, 2014 …

By now, many people have commented on the Rolling Stone cover story on Pope Francis, particularly the “Benedict bad, Francis good” framework the piece adopted. (Words such as “dour” and “disastrous” about Benedict loomed large.) A Vatican spokesman called the contrast between the two pontiffs “superficial journalism” marked by “a surprising crudeness.”

To be fair, comparisons between Francis and his predecessor are inevitable, and there’s no getting around the point that Francis is more of a crowd-pleaser. For sure, too, there is a shift in tone under Francis in what could be described as a “moderate” direction, though it might better be expressed as the ascendancy of the church’s pastors and diplomats over its theologians and canon lawyers.

That said, it’s also clear that Francis tends to get credit for several perceived reforms that actually began on Benedict’s watch, especially in two chronic sources of scandal for the church: money and sex abuse.

On money, it was Benedict who created a new financial watchdog agency, who opened the Vatican for the first time to outside secular inspection through the Moneyval process (the Council of Europe’s anti-money-laundering agency), and who appointed a new president of the Vatican bank who just released its first independently certified financial statement.

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Lawsuit Alleges Reverend Sexually Harassed Female Minister In St. Louis AME Church

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Riverfront Times

By Danny Wicentowski Fri., Jan. 31 2014

A former African Methodist Episcopal Church minister was hit with a lawsuit Wednesday over allegations of sexual harassment.

Filed in St. Louis Circuit Court, the suit alleges that Reverend Frederick McCullough brazenly harassed — and nearly raped — an associate female minister during the two years he headed the Wayman AME Church in St. Louis.

“The unspoken message for women and especially female preachers has been that we must either accept the sexual harassment…or risk being being expelled,” said the plaintiff, Brenda Jones, in written statement. “I am fighting this because it has to stop.”

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MT- Another bishop “hides behind” bankruptcy

MONTANA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Friday, Jan. 312014

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

Helena’s Catholic bishop is now seeking bankruptcy protection.

[Seattle PI]

It’s a selfish cop-out when Catholic institutions misuse the Chapter 11 process to protect their secrets and deny child sex abuse victims a chance to expose predators in court.

This isn’t about protecting church assets. It’s about protecting the power and reputations of powerful church officials who desperately want to keep their complicity in child sex cases under wraps.

We hope every single man, woman and child who is being or has been molested by Montana child molesting Catholic clerics steps forward, calls police and protects others. And we hope every single person who saw or suspected crimes by Christian Brothers will do the same.

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Florida missionary sentenced to 58 years in prison for sexually abusing indigenous girls in Amazon

FLORIDA
New York Daily News

BY LEE MORAN / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

THURSDAY, JANUARY 30, 2014

A Florida-based Christian missionary will spend the next 58 years behind bars after being busted sexually abusing young indigenous girls in the Amazon.

Warren Scott Kennell also filmed his sick sex acts which he secretly carried out as he tried to set up a church with the remote Katukina tribe in Brazil.

The 45-year-old, who worked for the Sanford-based New Tribes Mission, at first befriended the youngsters.

Then, after gaining their trust, he abused them over a number of years.

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Pope may link child protection arm to Doctrine of the Faith

VATICAN CITY
Gazzetta del Sud

Vatican City, January 31 – Pope Francis told the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on Friday that it may be directly linked with a new Vatican commission to protect children. “The possibility is being assessed,” he told the orthodoxy watchdog’s plenary session in Rome. Francis was referring to a special commission advising him on how the Catholic Church should protect children and help victims of sexual abuse by the clergy, launched last month in response to a worldwide scandal involving untold victims that has put the Church on the defensive for more than a decade. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has traditionally been tasked with overseeing reports of priests sexually abusing children, whereas the new commission deals specifically with preventing pedophelia and looking after victims.

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Church must always protect, support children against abuse, pope says

VATICAN CITY
Catholic News Service

By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Children and young people must always be protected against sexual abuse and always find adequate support in the church community, Pope Francis told the Vatican doctrinal office dealing with suspected cases of sexual abuse by clergy.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith should also look at ways to collaborate with a new papal advisory commission on abuse, which, the pope said, he wants to be an exemplary model for child protection.

“I want to thank you for your dedication to dealing with the delicate set of problems concerning the so-called most grave crimes, in particular cases of sexual abuse of minors by clerics,” Pope Francis said in a written speech Jan. 31.

He called on the congregation, which was given exclusive jurisdiction over a number of these most serious crimes in 2001, to focus on “the well-being of children and young people, who in the Christian community must always be protected and supported in their human and spiritual growth,” he said.

The pope asked the doctrinal office to also study ways it could cooperate with the special commission for the protection of young people he established in December.

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HOLY SEE PRESS OFFICE BULLETIN ANNOUNCED ON TWITTER

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Information Service

Vatican City, 31 January 2014 (VIS) – The Press Office of the Holy See has announced the launch of a new Twitter account, @HolySeePress, to give notice when the Bulletin—which gives information in the various official languages of the Holy See on the important events occurring in the Vatican—is published daily. The notifications will also have a link to the Bulletin’s webpage on the Vatican site.

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POPE RECEIVES CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH, ANNOUNCES POSSIBILITY OF PLACING COMMISSION FOR PROTECTION OF MINORS UNDER ITS RESPONSIBILITY

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Information Service

Vatican City, 31 January 2014 (VIS) – “To promote and safeguard the doctrine on faith and morals in the whole Catholic world” is the duty that John Paul II’s Apostolic Constitution “Pastor bonus” assigns to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. This morning, at the end of their plenary session, Pope Francis received in audience the members of the dicastery.

The Holy Father emphasized that, “from the earliest days of the Church, there has been a temptation to understand doctrine in an ideological sense or to reduce it to a set of abstract and fossilized theories. In fact, doctrine has the sole purpose of serving the life of the People of God and seeks to ensure a firm foundation to our faith. Great indeed is the temptation to commandeer the gifts of salvation that come from God, to acclimate them—maybe even with the best intention—to the world’s viewpoints and spirit.”

The task of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith should “also always seek to keep in mind the needs of constructive, respectful, and patient dialogue with the authors. If truth demands precision, this always grows in charity and fraternal assistance for those called to deepen or clarify their beliefs.” Likewise, the Pope noted that the Congregation’s method of working is distinguished “by its practice of collegiality and dialogue. Effectively, the Church is a place of communion and, at all levels, each of us is called to cultivate and promote communion, each one with the responsibility assigned to us by the Lord.”

Then, mentioning their plenary session that was dedicated to the relationship between faith and marriage, he stated that “it is a reflection of great importance. It arises in the wake of the invitation already formulated by Benedict XVI regarding the need to question more deeply the relationship between personal faith and the celebration of the sacrament of marriage, especially in the changed cultural context.”

“On this occasion, I would also like to thank you for your efforts in dealing with sensitive issues regarding the most serious crimes, in particular, the cases of the sexual abuse of minors by clerics. Think of the welfare of children and the young, who in the Christian community must always be protected and supported in their human and spiritual growth. In this sense, the possibility is being looked into of connecting the specific Commission for the Protection of Minors, which I have established, to your dicastery. I hope it will be an example for all those who wish to promote the welfare of children.”

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Judgment reserved in Cardinal Brady and Bishop O’Reilly case

IRELAND
BBC News

The High Court in Dublin has reserved its decision on an application by a Catholic bishop to dismiss cases being taken against him by three victims of paedophile priest Brendan Smyth.

The Bishop of Kilmore, Leo O’Reilly, is being sued as successor to the previous bishop, Francis McKiernan, as is Cardinal Sean Brady, formerly secretary to the bishop of Kilmore.

The victims accuse them of negligence.

They allege they did not take steps to prevent Smyth from abusing children.

Smyth abused children in the 1970s and the 1980s.

The victims said the churchmen did not report complaints made about Smyth in interviews conducted with two young boys in 1975.

One of the boys identified one of those taking the case as a victim of the priest during these interviews.

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MN–Three steps archbishop should take right now

MINNESOTA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Friday, Jan. 31

Statement by Barbara Dorris of SNAP ( 314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com )

On Thursday, one of Archbishop John Nienstedt’s public relations staffers said “We have continuously made ourselves available to law enforcement to address any outstanding questions they may have. . .”

[St. Paul-Minneapolis archdiocese]

On Wednesday, St. Paul’s police chief said “We have not had the opportunity to speak with Fr. McDonough.” (McDonough is a key figure in this scandal.)

[Pioneer Press]

Someone’s lying. We suspect it’s a Catholic official, not a law enforcement official. We suspect it’s Jim Accurso, not Captain Tom Smith.

It’s time for Nienstedt and his staff to fully cooperate, not just claim to cooperate, with police and prosecutor. There are two steps he should take immediately.

First, this week, Ramsey County prosecutors publicly begged victims, especially those who were forced or pressured to sign “gag orders” by church officials, to step forward.

Nienstedt should put this plea in every parish bulletin this Sunday, verbatim, and include contact numbers for local law enforcement agencies.

Second, Niestedt should issue a public statement today promising that he will not in any way retaliate against victims who break those “gag orders.”

Third, he should announce that he’s suspended Fr. McDonough and started defrocking him because of McDonough’s complicity in decades of cover up and his refusal to answer questions from police.

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MO- Archdiocese admits rarely calling 911 re: predators

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

For immediate release Friday, January 31, 2014

Statement by Judy Jones of St. Louis, Assistant Midwest Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests ( 314 974 5003, snapjudy@gmail.com )

By their own admission, St. Louis archdiocesan officials admit that only 8% of the child sex abuse reports they received about priests were turned over to police or Division of Family Services.

[St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

These reports span the years from 1993-2003, a time when even high school drop outs knew that suspected crimes, especially heinous crimes against kids, should be reported to law enforcement

It’s also very telling that in 35 cases, relatives or loved ones of victims reported abuse. Yet church officials apparently did little or no outreach, ostensibly because the victim himself or herself didn’t take the initiative. Had a third party reported a pastor stealing money, we seriously doubt that Catholic officials would have taken such a passive approach.

Finally, keep in mind that Archbishop Robert Carlson was forced to make even this vague and misleading disclosure, because a brave victim of Fr. Joseph D. Ross is seeking justice and endured years of hard-ball and stalling legal strategies by Catholic officials. If not for her courage and persistence, none of this information would ever have been made public. We are grateful to her and to every victim, witness and whistleblower who has helped peel back decades of secrecy by callous, reckless and deceitful church employees, at the top and the bottom of the Catholic hierarchy.

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Diocese of Helena moves toward settlement in abuse claims

MONTANA
Montana Standard

The Diocese of Helena released the following statement this morning, and will hold a press conference this afternoon, Jan. 31, in Helena:

The Diocese of Helena has taken a major step toward bringing resolution to 362 claims of abuse of minors by diocesan priests, religious community priests, women religious and lay workers who have served in the diocese, primarily between 30 and 60 years ago.

On Friday, January 31, 2014, the Diocese will be filing a chapter 11 reorganization case before the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Montana to complete pre-bankruptcy mediated negotiations with known abuse survivors and the Diocese’s liability insurance carriers.

The Diocese chose a pastoral mode and entered into a confidential mediation process. The mediation resulted in the general parameters of proposed settlements with the victims and the insurance carriers. The details of written agreements are still being worked on by the parties. Under the supervision and ultimate approval of the Bankruptcy Court, $15 million would be available to compensate the currently identified victims with additional settlement funds for other and unknown victims. The process of obtaining Bankruptcy Court approval included the opportunity for victims and creditors to vote on the proposed settlement. The Diocese expects that its reorganization will be expedited by the pre-bankruptcy negotiations with all of the affected parties.

“On behalf of the entire Diocese of Helena, I express my profound sorrow and sincere apologies to anyone who was abused by a priest, a sister, or a lay Church worker,” said Helena Bishop, George Leo Thomas. “No child should experience harm from anyone who serves in the Church.”

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Catholic diocese files for bankruptcy protection

MONTANA
Seattle PI

By MATT VOLZ, Associated Press
Updated 7:38 am, Friday, January 31, 2014

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The Roman Catholic Diocese of Helena filed for bankruptcy protection Friday in advance of proposed settlements for two lawsuits that claim clergy members sexually abused 362 people over decades and the church covered it up.

Diocese spokesman Dan Bartleson said in a statement Friday the Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization case came after confidential mediation sessions with the plaintiffs’ attorneys, resulting in the deals to resolve the abuse claims.

The settlement details are being worked out, but the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Montana would be responsible for approving and supervising the disbursement of $15 million to compensate the identified victims, plus an additional amount set aside for those who come forward later.

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Salvation Army captain accused of raping boys was acquitted in 1990s

AUSTRALIA
The Guardian

Australian Associated Press
theguardian.com, Wednesday 29 January 2014

A Salvation Army officer who allegedly raped boys and sent them to the homes of other people to be sexually assaulted had been acquitted when brought to trial, an inquiry has been told.

Detective Inspector Rick John Cunningham told the royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse on Thursday that the child protection enforcement agency investigated allegations made in 1996 about abuse at a boys’ home in the southern Sydney suburb of Bexley and at the Gill Memorial Home in Goulburn, New South Wales.

Both homes were run by the Salvation Army and the allegations were made during investigations arising out of the Wood royal commission into NSW police.

At the Wood hearing, a witness identified as EP gave evidence about being sexually assaulted by Captain Lawrence Wilson at Bexley and gave names of others who were allegedly assaulted by Wilson and Captain Russell Walker while at Bexley.

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Documents show scope of priest abuse complaints

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Seattle PI

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Documents released by the Archdiocese of St. Louis as part of a civil lawsuit show that 16 church employees had at least five sex abuse complaints made against them in the decades before such cases were publicly known.

The archdiocese released the information while fighting demands for further disclosures in a lawsuit filed by an alleged victim of the since-defrocked Rev. Joseph Ross.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch bit.ly/1a6KEBQ reports that nearly half of the 240 abuse complaints against 115 priests and other church employees received over a 20-year period were made in 2002. The incidents dated back as far as the 1940s.

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Clergy abuse: Papers spur new review of Wehmeyer case

MINNESOTA
Star Tribune

Article by: JEAN HOPFENSPERGER and TONY KENNEDY , Star Tribune staff writers
Updated: January 30, 2014

The Ramsey County attorney’s office and St. Paul police began reviewing documents Thursday that indicate that the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis failed to notify authorities of a child sex-abuse accusation against a St. Paul priest within 24 hours, as required by law.

The move comes a day after County Attorney John Choi announced he would not prosecute the archdiocese for its reporting of the abuse complaint against the Rev. Curtis Wehmeyer, now in prison for sexually abusing two boys.

Within hours of that announcement, however, authorities received an archdiocese document that appeared to indicate that the archdiocese waited more than two days to notify police. The document was made public by Minnesota Public Radio.

“We’ll be looking at the new information as to the impact it may have on the investigation,’’ said Dennis Gerhardstein, spokesman for the county attorney’s office. “We’re still in the early stages of discussion.’’

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Synod Survey results published

IRELAND
Association of Catholic Priests

» Download the ACP Family Life Synod Survey Data Analysis

A version of the Vatican survey on Family Life was prepared by the Association of Catholic Priests and hosted on this website, and over 1,500 participated in it. The participants included priests, religious, lay people, parents and teachers.

Respondents generally welcomed the opportunity to participate but there was widepread criticism of the subject matter (emphasis on sexuality) and format (overly long, complicated, linguistically challenging).

The key findings from the overall responses is that those who participated consider the Church’s teaching on family life, sexual practice and sexual unions to be little understood, not relevant, of low influence and not agreed with, whether understood or not. These findings are consistent across all age groups and religious role (clergy, lay etc) where identified.

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Salvo admits burning child with a cigarette

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

DAN BOX THE AUSTRALIAN FEBRUARY 01, 2014

A SALVATION Army major suspended this week “in light of evidence tendered to the royal commission” is alleged in reports dating back to 1974 to have sexually and physically abused children.

Several years before the current commission hearing, the army paid compensation to two men who alleged they were sexually abused by Major John McIver, who has denied these claims.

Confidential correspondence tendered to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse shows Mr McIver criticising the army’s response to allegations of child abuse. “Every Tom, Dick and Harry who was ever unloved by his mother and ended up in an Army institution now feels emboldened to shift the blame because he/she thinks there might be money in it,” Mr McIver wrote.

The 2009 letter, sent after the Salvation Army received two separate allegations of sexual assault, concludes: “I have a rather satisfying and enjoyable life to lead and you won’t want to be troubled by me making any premature responses.”

The commission is investigating the alleged abuse of dozens of children by five Salvation Army officers at homes in Queensland and NSW between 1957 and 1975.

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ROYAL COMMISSION TO HEAR STORIES FROM THE PARRAMATTA GIRLS HOME

AUSTRALIA
Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

MEDIA RELEASE

Royal Commission to hear stories from the Parramatta Girls Home

The Royal Commission will hold a public hearing in Sydney commencing Monday 24 February 2014 into the experience of women who were sexually abused as children, between 1950-1974, while residing in two institutions which were within the responsibility of the NSW Government:

a. The Parramatta Girls Training School in Sydney, NSW
b. The Institution for Girls in Hay, NSW

The hearing will also consider any related matters.

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SIXTH PUBLIC HEARING BY ROYAL COMMISSION TO BE HELD IN BRISBANE IN FEBRUARY

AUSTRALIA
Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

The first public hearing to be held outside Sydney by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse will commence in Brisbane on 17 February. The purpose of the hearing will be to inquire into the response by the Catholic Education Office, of the Diocese of Toowoomba in Queensland, to allegations of child sexual abuse at St Saviour’s Primary School. The public hearing – the sixth since the Royal Commission was established – is scheduled to run for two weeks.

Royal Commission CEO, Ms Janette Dines, says the scope and purpose of the public hearing is to inquire into:

* The response by the Principal and other members of staff at St Saviour’s Primary School in Toowoomba, Queensland, to allegations of child sexual abuse made against a teacher at the primary school in September 2007.
* The response by officers of the Catholic Education Office, Diocese of Toowoomba, to information supplied by the primary school Principal at St Saviour’s Primary School regarding the allegations of child sexual abuse received in September 2007.
* The adequacy and implementation of systems, policies and procedures of the Catholic Education Office, Diocese of Toowoomba, and St Saviour’s Primary School for the prevention, detection, investigation and reporting of allegations of child sexual abuse since 2007.
* Any other related matters.

The venue for the hearing will be Court 17, Level 4, Brisbane Magistrates Court, 363 George Street, Brisbane. Ms Dines said, “The Royal Commission has a national focus and in the first half of 2014 there will also be public hearings in New South Wales, South Australia, Western Australia and the ACT.”

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Nuns did nothing to stop our abuse by older boys in home, victim tells inquiry

NORTHERN IRELAND
Belfast Telegraph

BY JACK BRENNAN – 31 JANUARY 2014

A former resident of a Church-run children’s home has told an inquiry how he was sexually abused by older boys while he slept.

He told the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry that St Joseph’s children’s home in Termonbacca, Co Londonderry, was “run on starvation”.

The man was handed over to a priest at St Joseph’s by his mother when he was a child and lived at the home in the 1950s and 1960s.

He told the inquiry which is investigating abuse claims against children’s residential institutions from 1922 to 1995 that responsibility for the younger boys was given over to the older boys by the nuns. The witness described how the older boys would call out the names of children at night, before having them stripped and sexually abusing them “for their own entertainment”.

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Department imposes strict childcare conditions on YMCA NSW

AUSTRALIA
Sydney Morning Herald

January 31, 2014

Catherine Armitage
Senior Writer

A government department has written to YMCA NSW expressing doubt that it is a child-safe organisation and imposing tough new conditions on its childcare licence based on evidence from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

A year after one of its staff Jonathan Lord was jailed for molesting boys as young as six in his care, and a month after scorching publicity and damning evidence about lax child-safety practices, an inspection last November revealed some childcare staff at YMCA Caringbah where Lord worked were still ignorant of child-protection laws and their obligation to comply with them, the commission has been told.

A compliance notice dated January 17 from the NSW Department of Education and Communities to YMCA NSW chief executive officer Phillip Hare sets out strict conditions for continuation of the YMCA’s childcare licence, which must be met by April 30. The letter was tendered as evidence at the commission.

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Archdiocese data give fuller accounting of St. Louis priest abuse scandal

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

[with extensive chart]

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

ST. LOUIS • As the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal exploded across the nation in 2002, St. Louis was exposed to seamy details that previously had been hidden behind local parish walls.

A cascade of complaints against priests and other church employees — some, of abuse kept secret for decades — poured in to the Archdiocese of St. Louis. Only recently has the archdiocese revealed the extent.

The number of abuse allegations made here that year, according to the archdiocese’s own record keeping, was 111 — nearly half of what church officials say they received in total over a 20-year period ending in 2003. Those incidents dated back as far as the 1940s.

It is one of several revelations found in a cryptic court filing that provides the clearest view yet of the scope of the crisis here. The archdiocese released the information while fighting demands for further disclosures in a lawsuit filed by an alleged victim of the since-defrocked Rev. Joseph Ross.

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Group seeks criminal probes of Catholic order

RHODE ISLAND
Boston.com

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A group that advocates for victims of clergy abuse wants authorities to investigate the Legion of Christ, a disgraced Roman Catholic order.

Two lawsuits in Rhode Island claim the Legion of Christ deceived elderly donors into giving it millions at the same time its officials knew the church was investigating its founder, the late Rev. Marcial Maciel, for allegations including sex abuse. The order has said its actions in both cases were proper. A spokesman for the Legion did not return messages seeking comment this week.

The Vatican took over the order in 2010 after the investigation determined that Maciel had fathered three children and molested seminarians. In December, the Legion admitted a superior in charge of American priests-in-training sexually abused a minor at the Legion’s novitiate in Cheshire, Conn., where he was novice director from 1982 to 1994.

David Clohessy, executive director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said on Thursday that Rhode Island and Connecticut law enforcement should investigate.

‘‘The Legion’s known and suspected wrongdoing is so persistent and widely documented that we think action by law enforcement is warranted. No institution can or should be allowed to essentially police itself,’’ he said.

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Judge Dismisses Suit Accusing Yeshiva University of Hiding Abuse

NEW YORK
The New York Times

By ARIEL KAMINER
JAN. 30, 2014

A federal lawsuit accusing Yeshiva University of covering up the sexual abuse of dozens of high school students has been thrown out by the judge hearing the case.

The lawsuit sought to hold the school, former administrators and former trustees accountable for hundreds of acts of abuse by two rabbis and an alumnus during the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s. But the judge, John G. Koeltl of United States District Court in Manhattan, ruled on Thursday that it could not proceed because too many years had elapsed since the abuses took place.

The plaintiffs had sought to circumvent the statutes of limitations. They argued that the clock did not start ticking on their case until Yeshiva’s role in covering up the abuse was revealed in a December 2012 article in The Daily Forward.

But Judge Koeltl rejected that argument. “In this case,” he wrote, “the statutes of limitations have expired decades ago, and no exceptions apply.”

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Teacher at St Aloysius’ College in Sydney resigns amid student sex claim

AUSTRALIA
NEWS.com.au

A FEMALE teacher at an all-boys Catholic school in Sydney has resigned over reported inappropriate relationships with students.

The St Aloysius’ College teacher, who taught Drama and English and is aged in her late 20s, had sex last year with at least two Year 12 students who were over 16 years old.

The teacher’s behaviour was exposed when a parent found out about a relationship with her son, Fairfax Media reports.

The school sent a note home to parents this week, alerting them about the incident.

Other teachers at the school were shocked to learn of the allegations, news.com.au has learnt.

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Sex with students claims: female teacher quits top Catholic boys school

AUSTRALIA
Sydney Morning Herald

January 31, 2014

Anne Davies

EXCLUSIVE

A teacher has resigned from one of the north shore’s leading Catholic boys schools, St Aloysius College, after an internal investigation revealed she had been having “inappropriate relationships” with a number of boys in year 12 last year.

It is understood the teacher had sex with at least two boys at the school, including one who was a member of the school’s leadership group.

The boys were over the age of 16 but, because of the student-teacher relationship, the alleged contact contravened the rules of the school and child protection legislation.

It is believed that the events came to light at the school after a parent became aware of the teacher’s relationship with the son.

The rector of St Aloysius, Peter Hosking, who is responsible for pastoral care at the Jesuit school, confirmed the teacher had left the school after an internal investigation into “inappropriate contact”.

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Sydney Catholic school teacher ‘had sex with boys’

AUSTRALIA
9 News

January 31, 2014

A teacher has resigned from an elite Catholic boys school in Sydney amid claims she had sex with at least two Year 12 boys last year.

St Aloysius’ College confirmed that the teacher, who taught drama and English and is aged in her late 20s, had left the school after an internal investigation into “inappropriate contact”, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

The rector of St Aloysius, Peter Hosking, declined to say how many students were involved but said the Jesuit school was taking the matter very seriously and had written to parents.

The two boys understood to have had sex with the teacher were over the age of 16 at the time but the alleged acts still breached child protection legislation as well as school rules because of the teacher-student relationship.

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When the “Family Values” Agenda Includes Child Sex Abuse

UNITED STATES
The Age of Blasphemy

This is crossposted from Eyes Right, the blog of Political Research Associates, where I will be doing a series of posts on the Christian Right and child sex abuse. — FC

The exposure of widespread sex abuse by Roman Catholic clergy–and of the subsequent cover-ups by church leaders–has rocked the Catholic church for more than a decade. Less well known, though closely analogous, is the issue of widespread abuse within Protestant evangelical churches. Such stories raise doubt that the evangelical/Catholic alliance that defines the contemporary Christian Right is, in any legitimate sense, a defender of “family values.”

Boz Tchividjian rattled the evangelical world in 2013, when he declared that the problem of child sex abuse in evangelicalism is “worse” than the problem in the Roman Catholic Church. The grandson of Billy Graham, a former child sex crimes prosecutor for the state of Florida, and now a law professor at Liberty University, Tchividjian has both the public profile to hold an audience, and the professional experience to back up his assertions.Tchividjian is not the only prominent evangelical speaking out. “Catholic and Baptist leaders have more similarities than differences on the child-abuse front,” wrote Robert Parnham, executive director of the Baptist Center for Ethics. “Both have harmed church members and the Christian witness by not swiftly addressing predatory clergy and designing reliable protective systems.”

The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), which currently claims 15.9 million members in 46,000 churches in the U.S., has acknowledged the problem of child sex abuse within member churches. Still, too many Baptist leaders–like their Catholic counterparts–have responded to the problem with denials, inattention, and cover-ups. Indeed, Rev. Peter Lumpkins of Georgia called for the SBC’s governing body to adopt “a zero-tolerance policy toward the sexual abuse of children in churches,” but now thinks church officials are ignoring his 2013 resolution.

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Mo. Bill Proposes Criminalizing Clergy Sexual Exploitation

MISSOURI
CBS St. Louis

By: Christina Turner, State Capitol Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (MDN) – Missouri lawmakers considered a bill that would criminalize clergy sexual exploitation.

House Bill 1346 would create a class C felony of sexual exploitation by or of a clergy person. The bill would prevent any sexual conduct between a parishioner and religious leader within 120 days of first advisement.

Rep. Kathie Conway, R-St. Charles, is the bill sponsor and vice-chair of the House Committee on Crime Prevention and Public Safety. She says the bill was inspired by a woman whose pastor took advantage of her in the aftermath of a difficult pregnancy. After telling her husband what happened, the victim went to the police.

“The police of course said, ‘Well, there’s nothing we can do, it was consensual,’” Conway said. “Well her response was, ‘Well, it was consensual because she was so unduly influenced by this man.”

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Piden investigar a los Legionarios de Cristo

ESTADOS UNIDOS
Terra

[Group seeks criminal probes of Catholic order]

Associated Press

Un grupo que defiende a las víctimas de abusos sexuales por parte del clero quiere que las autoridades investiguen a los Legionarios de Cristo, una orden católica desprestigiada.

En dos demandas interpuestas en Rhode Island se afirma que los Legionarios engañaron a personas de edad avanzada para que les donaran millones de dólares mientras sus autoridades sabían que la Iglesia católica investigaba a su fundador, el sacerdote mexicano Marcial Maciel, por denuncias de abuso sexual. Un portavoz de los Legionarios no devolvió un mensaje en busca de comentarios esta semana.

El Vaticano tomó control de la orden en el 2010 luego de que una investigación determinó que Maciel tuvo tres hijos y acosó sexualmente a seminaristas. En diciembre, los Legionarios admitieron que un superior a cargo de los sacerdotes en formación en Estados Unidos abusó de un menor en Cheshire, Connecticut, donde fue director de novicios de 1982 a 1994.

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Catholic priest charged …

AUSTRALIA
New South Wales Police Force

Catholic priest charged over alleged historical indecent assault – Strike Force Rufina

Friday, 31 January 2014

A Catholic priest has been charged following an alleged historical indecent assault in Croydon.

In 2013, Strike Force Rufina was formed to investigate an allegation of the indecent assault of a teenage boy at a Croydon parish in 2005.

About 12pm on Wednesday 29 January 2014, detectives attached to Strike Force Rufina arrested a 38-year-old man at Burwood Police Station.

He was charged with one count of aggravated indecent assault and granted conditional bail, to appear at Burwood Local Court on 20 February 2014.

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Sydney priest charged with sexual assault

AUSTRALIA
NEWS.com.au

A CATHOLIC priest in Sydney’s inner west has been charged with the historical indecent assault of a teenage boy.

Last year a strike force was established to investigate allegations a teenage boy had been abused at a Croydon parish in 2005, police said.

A Catholic priest, 38, was arrested and charged with aggravated indecent assault.

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Court tells priest suspended over ‘sexual bullying’ expose to quit parish house

SCOTLAND
Herald Scotland

Friday 31 January 2014

A priest suspended for alleging a culture of homosexual bullying within the Catholic Church in Scotland has lost a legal challenge over access to his parish house.

Parishioners in Blantyre, Lanarkshire, have been told an interdict was granted at Hamilton Sheriff Court forbidding Father Matthew Despard, who has been suspended since last November, from preventing his replacement gaining access to the presbytery.

Father Despard, 48, had refused to leave the presbytery house of St John Ogilvie, High Blantyre, having changed the locks.

He continued to live in the property against the will of the interim Bishop Of Motherwell Joseph Toal. His temporary replacement, the Reverend William Nolan, has been unable to get into the property, leading to the court action against him.

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Anglican Diocese damned in child abuse commission findings

AUSTRALIA
The Satellite

Jessica Grewal 30th Jan 2014

THE royal commission is expected find that Anglican Diocese of Grafton failed in its handling of child abuse claims at Lismore’s North Coast Children’s Home and withheld information from the police.

In a damning report released on Thursday night, Counsel Assisting the Commissioner Simeon Beckett recommends that two Northern NSW priests – Reverend Morgan and Reverend Brown – be referred to the Anglican Church’s Professional Standards Committee to determine whether disciplinary proceedings should be initiated against them.

Final submissions arising from the November inquiry into abuse at the home closed on January 24.

Mr Beckett submitted there were 59 findings available to the commission – including that the Grafton Diocese put the interests of the Anglican Church ahead of providing financial support to victims.

He found former Grafton Diocese registrar Pat Comben was aware former Lismore Priest Allan Kitchingman had been convicted of sexual offences against a child but failed to commence disciplinary proceedings against him.

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Police probe pedophile priest allegations from inquiry

AUSTRALIA
Fraser Coast Chronicle

Jessica Grewal 31st Jan 2014

ALLEGATIONS made against an accused pedophile priest during last year’s North Coast Children’s Home inquiry are now subject to a police investigation, documents before the royal commission have revealed.

Reverend Campbell Brown, a retired Grafton priest believed to be living in the Newcastle area, is accused of sexually assaulting children, including whistleblower Richard “Tommy” Campion, while he was in a position of trust at the Lismore home.

Documents tendered to the commission this week confirm Rev Brown was referred to the police in December last year.

He had previously been referred to the Child Abuse Squad in 2006.

At the time, the Grafton Diocese was told Rev Brown had not had any contact with the Church since the ordinance of women, was nearly 80 years old and vision impaired.

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Findings released into child sexual abuse claims at Anglican children’s home

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

Claims of child sexual abuse at Lismore’s North Coast Children’s Home are the focus of findings and recommendations just released.

Among them is that the Anglican Church put school funding ahead of settling child sexual abuse claims.

The Commission itself is yet to release its final report, but Counsel Assisting, Simeon Beckett, published 59 findings and 6 recommendations.

He found there was a long history of knowledge about child abuse, with Reverend Pat Comben and Peter Roland knowing since 2006 of at least 20 cases.

He found Rev Comben failed to refer the allegations to police.

Another finding was that former Grafton Bishop Keith Slater wrote hostile letters to abuse survivors.

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Only On 7: San Francisco church accused of lurid sex cover-up

CALIFORNIA
KGO

[with video]

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — There are charges of lurid sex and cover-ups at the landmark St Francis of Assisi Church in San Francisco’s North Beach. The accuser is a former worker who just filed a lawsuit against the Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco. It’s a story you’ll only see on ABC7 News.

Jhona Mathews is a single mother in her 30s with a 2-year-old child. She worked in the administration office of the Church of St. Francis of Assisi.

Mathews says church trustee Bill McLaughlin, who has since been fired, became her supervisor. Her lawsuit charges that he forced her to have sex and spanked her with a wooden paddle.

“Many of these sex acts and demands and the spankings occurred inside the shrine premises, in the sacristy of the shrine,” said the plaintiff’s attorney, Sandra Ribera.

Mathews says the paddle was given to McLaughlin by his close friend, Monsignor James Tarantino. He’s charged in the lawsuit with covering up the alleged wrongdoings.

“The inscription BNO, which stands for boys night out,” Ribera said. “And it says To Bill M. from Father T. The sexual acts that Bill McLaughlin was basically threatening my client to engage in otherwise she would lose her job.”

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California church leader accused of hiding ex-trustee’s sexual abuse of employee

CALIFORNIA
The Raw Story

By Arturo Garcia
Thursday, January 30, 2014

The head of a San Francisco church is accused of covering up one of his former trustees’ sexual abuse toward an employee, including paddlings and coerced sexual activities, KGO-TV reported on Thursday.

“Many of these sex acts and demands and the spankings occurred inside the shrine premises, in the sacristy of the shrine,” the alleged victim’s attorney, Sandra Ribera, told KGO.

Ribera’s client, Jhona Mathews, claims that the incidents took place over the course of her year working at St Francis of Assisi Church, saying her supervisor, trustee Bill McLaughlin, forced her to have sex under threat of termination. The suit also accuses McLaughlin of using a paddle given to McLaughlin by Monsignor James Tarantino. Tarantino is also accused of hiding McLaughlin’s alleged activities. McLaughlin is no longer a trustee at the church.

The paddle, Ribera told KGO, bears “the inscription ‘BNO,’ which stands for ‘boys night out.’ And it says, ‘To Bill M. from Father T.’”

According to Ribera, Mathews eventually told McLaughlin she would not comply with his demands, only to be fired. St. Francis of Assisi released a statement saying Mathews was fired “for financial improprieties that are the subject of an ongoing police investigation.” It also called her lawsuit “full of lurid accusations but devoid of the truth.”

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Ireland and Child Abuse

IRELAND
The New York Times

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD
JAN. 31, 2014

For years, the government of Ireland has denied liability for child sexual abuse by teachers in state-financed schools managed by the Roman Catholic Church. The European Court of Human Rights punctured this denial Tuesday with a finding that the Irish government, in financing and regulating the education of youngsters, had “an inherent obligation” to protect them, and owed compensation to a victim whose case was rejected as groundless by Ireland’s highest court.

The European court pointed to the obvious: The Irish government is responsible for failing to act against inhuman and degrading treatment of citizens that is specifically barred under Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The court ordered more than $150,000 in compensation and court costs for Louise O’Keeffe, who had been repeatedly abused 40 years ago as a 9-year-old at the national school at Dunderrow, County Cork.

The abuser was a lay teacher, Leo Hickey, who was not charged for 20 years, even though parents had complained about him to a school administrator in the early 1970s. The scandal finally broke into the open in the 1990s and the abuser was sentenced to three years in prison after being charged with 386 criminal offenses involving 21 youngsters.

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At least 15 people allege pastor molested them

NEW YORK
WIVB

[with video]

By Posted by: Eli George
Updated: Thursday, January 30, 2014

More than a dozen people have now come forward with allegations of sexual abuse against a local pastor.

A grand jury will review Reverend Roy Harriger’s case. At least 15 people in three states have now signed affidavits claiming that Harriger molested them as children.

The case first came to light last Thanksgiving, when State Police announced Harriger’s arrest. The 70-year-old pastor of Community Fellowship Church in the Town of Hartland was charged with incest, sodomy, and course of sexual conduct.

He’s accused of molesting a boy and a girl about 12 years ago when he was pastor of the Wesleyan Church in Lyndonville.

Those who know him from church came out to support him.

Church member Donna Kidney said, “I know he did not do it. He’s innocent. I know in my spirit, he’s innocent.”

His own son, George Harriger, told News 4 he was molested as a boy but never realized there were others.

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Stockton Diocese, Liable in Abuse Cases, Wins Initial Bankruptcy Approval

CALIFORNIA
Wall Street Journal

By TOM CORRIGAN
Jan. 28, 2014

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Stockton, Calif., which is the 10th Catholic diocese in the U.S. to enter Chapter 11 protection as a result of increasing sexual-abuse claims, has received a judge’s approval of its initial bankruptcy requests.

The ruling by Judge Christopher M. Klein of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Sacramento, Calif., on Friday will allow the diocese to continue to pay its 37 salaried employees and seven hourly employees, according to court papers. Judge Klein is also overseeing the Chapter 9 bankruptcy case for the city of Stockton.

These so-called first-day motions ease the company’s transition into Chapter 11 protection, allowing it to pay some debts, arrange financing and maintain existing operations. The bankruptcy filing will allow the diocese to discharge liabilities stemming from sexual-abuse allegations and set up a trust for victims to receive compensation.

Earlier this month, Bishop Stephen E. Blaire announced the diocese’s plan to file for bankruptcy.

“Very simply, we are in this situation because of those priests in our diocese who perpetrated grave, evil acts of child sexual abuse,” he said.

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Catholics ‘disgusted’ by abusive priests files

ILLINOIS
Southwest News Herald

[documents]

By DERMOT CONNOLLY • Friday, January 31, 2014

The Jan. 21 release by the Chicago Archdiocese of 6,000 pages of documents relating to sexual abuse by priests dating back decades, reminded some area residents of the local connections to the scandal that continues to have repercussions.

Members of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests maintain
that the information does not go far enough, and point out that the
documents were released to plaintiffs’ lawyers to comply with a settlement agreement, rather than willingly.

The documents include information about 30 of at least 65 priests for whom the archdiocese has substantiated claims of child abuse.

Those not included belong to religious orders, and church officials said members of religious orders, unlike diocesan priests, are not under the control of Cardinal Francis George.

Few people contacted wanted to comment by name, but words such as “disgusting,” “disgraceful” and “sinful” were used to describe the scandal, which was uncovered on a national and international
scale in the 1990s.

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Archdiocese Settles Priest Abuse Suit For $3.2 Million

CHICAGO (IL)
NBC Chicago

[with video]

By MaryAnn Ahern | Thursday, Jan 30, 2014

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago has settled a civil lawsuit filed in connection with the sexual abuse of a boy by a former priest.

The $3.1 million settlement Daniel McCormack and a 25-year-old man who was 13 at the time of the abuse.

The boy met McCormack at St. Agatha’s Church.

“He came from a difficult family and gravitated toward St. Agatha and Father McCormack because Father McCormack was his basketball coach, his friend, his priest, his mentor,” attorney William Martin said.

Attorneys say the abuse took place over a period of four years. The accused the archdiocese of failing to promptly remove Daniel McCormack after claims he abused children had emerged.

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Victims’ attorney sues church and says Choi is protecting church, abusive priests

MINNESOTA
Minnesota Public Radio

[with video]

Madeleine Baran St. Paul, Minn. Jan 30, 2014

Victims’ attorney Jeff Anderson sued the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis Thursday then immediately slammed Ramsey County Attorney John Choi for what he called a “defective and deficient” response to allegations that top archdiocese leaders covered up clergy sex abuse.

Anderson, who was the first to expose the archdiocese’s failure to report sex crimes nearly three decades ago, said Choi’s handling of the abuse scandal is putting children at risk.

Anderson’s remarks came at a news conference held at his St. Paul office to announce the filing of a lawsuit on behalf of a victim of the Rev. Curtis Wehmeyer. The lawsuit accuses the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis of deceiving the public by saying it has made every effort to protect children and for failing to protect the young boy from Wehmeyer.

Anderson sharply criticized Choi’s decision Wednesday not to charge anyone at the archdiocese for failure to promptly report sexual abuse by the Rev. Curtis Wehmeyer in 2012.

“If I have to publicly shame John Choi for making the decision, that’s what I’ll do,” he said.

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Statement Regarding Questions Related to Wehmeyer Case

MINNESOTA
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Paul

Date:Thursday, January 30, 2014

Source: Jim Accurso

In response to questions seeking clarity regarding the Weymeyer case, we affirm the finding of law enforcement that we complied with the requirements of mandated reporting. We have continuously made ourselves available to law enforcement to address any outstanding questions they may have on the matter and we know, based on the body of facts of the case, that the findings announced yesterday by civil authorities are accurate.

With respect to the timeline associated with our reporting in June 2012, the earliest that any representative of the archdiocese became aware of the specific allegations of sexual abuse of a minor by Wehmeyer was on the morning of June 19, 2012. However, that information was provided to a priest of the archdiocese in the context of a pastoral relationship, which is considered privileged communication under Minnesota law. The archdiocese sought the waiver of the privilege so that we could report the matter to the police. The privilege was waived by the mother of the victim, the only person who could waive the privilege, on the afternoon of June 20. This then allowed the archdiocese to make a formal report to police the same afternoon regarding the allegations shared within the pastoral relationship. Undeniably, the report was made immediately thereafter.

We have provided a detailed timeline to law enforcement with clear supporting documentation and stand ready to provide any additional information they may need.

With respect to the decree document that states the archdiocese received a complaint regarding Wehmeyer on June 18, the following information is important to know: first, the decree was written by the former Chancellor for Canonical Affairs and provided to Archbishop John Nienstedt to sign, and so reflects her perception of the timeline; second, the date reference is inaccurate, based on all of the detailed and substantial information and documentation we have provided to the police; and third, the decree, which is a canonical document, was filed with other documents submitted to the Holy See and not included in the priest file.

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Police reviewing new document in Archdiocese clergy sex abuse case

MINNESOTA
KARE

Boua Xiong, KARE

ST. PAUL, Minn.–For three decades attorney Jeff Anderson has been filing clergy sex abuse lawsuits. This is the first time he’s publicly criticized law enforcement.

Anderson doesn’t believe Ramsey County attorney John Choi and St Paul Police Chief Tom Smith didn’t do their jobs.

“They didn’t seize one piece of evidence. They didn’t execute one search warrant,” Anderson said.

That’s why Anderson filed a new lawsuit against the Archdiocese. The suit alleges the Archdiocese destroyed evidence and failed to report abuse by Reverend Curtis Wehemeyer. Anderson says the evidence of cover-up is there, pointing to a document first obtained by MPR which showed church leaders knew about Wehemyer but delayed reporting.

The county attorney’s office and St. Paul Police are reviewing the document, which they did not have on Wednesday when they announced no criminal charges would be filed against the Archdiocese. Howie Padilla, with St. Paul Police, wrote in an email to KARE 11 they will not reopening the case at this time.

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Jeff Anderson files lawsuit against archdiocese in convicted St. Paul priest’s case, blasts county attorney

MINNESOTA
Pioneer Press

[Documents via Jeff Anderson & Associates:

Complaint
Criminal Complaint 1
Criminal Complaint 2
Wehmeyer Timeline
Emails Between Archdiocese and SPPD June 20-21, 2012
Wehmeyer Docs – Highlighted
Photo of Nienstedt
Photo of Wehmeyer ]

By Emily Gurnon
egurnon@pioneerpress.com
POSTED: 01/30/2014

St. Paul attorney Jeff Anderson said officials of the Twin Cities archdiocese Thursday hid evidence and obstructed an investigation into child sexual abuse by the Rev. Curtis Wehmeyer.

Anderson also blasted Ramsey County Attorney John Choi for choosing not to prosecute church officials on charges of failure to report sexual abuse, obstruction of legal process or aiding an offender.

“Law enforcement and John Choi chose to give them a pass,” Anderson said. “They did not treat them nor have they treated them like ordinary suspects in a criminal enterprise.”

Anderson’s assertions about the archdiocese are “false, inflammatory and misleading,” archdiocese spokesman Jim Accurso said in a written statement Thursday. “We take particular exception to his unfounded assumptions regarding the intent and actions of Archbishop (John) Nienstedt, who has been resolute in his commitment to strictly adhering to both canon and civil laws.

“We wish to reassert that we have cooperated with civil authorities and will continue to do so,” the statement said.

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Priest abuse victim awarded $3 million in lawsuit

CHICAGO (IL)
WGN

[with video]

by Julie Unruh
Reporter

As the stories keep on surfacing, the settlements with the Chicago Archdiocese just keep on coming. On Thursday– another case accusing disgraced former Priest Daniel McCormack.

John Doe was abused between 2001 and 2005. He was in 8th grade when it started and the nightmare with McCormack did not end until he was a junior in high school.

On Thursday he walked away with over $3 million– but his nightmare is far from over. The healing process can take a lifetime.

Bill Martin is describing his 25-year old African American client– once a Lawndale teen abused for four years by Daniel McCormack– a priest, teacher and mentor he trusted from st. Agatha in Chicago. Bill Martin described how McCormack preyed on the boy during those years and violated the child’s trust.

Three lawyers alone have handled or are working through a minimum of 10 sexual abuse claims related to the disgraced priest. Thursday’s settlement of $3.15 million took five years to reach. Just last week, another group of lawyers unveiled 6,000 pages of documents revealing sexual misdeeds by 30 or so other priests. Those lawyers claim the archdiocese should have done more to protect children rather than their own reputation. These lawyers say Cardinal George specifically ignored the suggestions of the archdioceses’ review board to remove McCormack from proximity to children –yet he sent him back to St. Agatha again.

The archdiocese released a statement today that says in short:

“The abuse of any child is a crime and a sin. The Archdiocese encourages anyone who has been sexually abused by a priest, deacon, religious or lay employee, to come forward?

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Churches confront sexual violence: Column

UNITED STATES
USA Today

Tom Krattenmaker, USATODAY
January 30, 2014

It’s a scourge as old as the ages, yet sexual violence against women and children is fresh in the headlines as President Obama launches an initiative to address sexual assaults on college campuses, while the military tries to fix its own problem and newly released documents shed galling light on the Catholic Church’s pattern of abuse and coverup in the Chicago diocese.

As the priests’ crimes remind us, religious institutions, at their worst, have often proved complicit and sometimes out-and-out guilty when it comes to sexual advances against vulnerable people. As real as that problem is, however, there’s a counterstory emerging that could redeem religion’s role in this ugly dynamic:

Faith organizations are beginning to address sexual abuse with a new energy and earnestness — a welcome step toward the fulfillment of their enormous potential to do good on this front.

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Interim priest selected for Lancaster parish

MASSACHUSETTS
Telegram & Gazette

By Bronislaus B. Kush TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF
bkush@telegram.com

LANCASTER — The Rev. Thomas Hultquist, the pastor of the former St. Joseph Parish in Barre, has been named the temporary administrator at Immaculate Conception Parish on Main Street.

He will fill in until a pastor is named to replace the Rev. Edward Lettic, who was relieved of his pastoral duties last weekend after an allegation of sexual misconduct was made against the longtime clergyman.

Rev. Hultquist, a native of Northbridge, was pastor at St. Joseph’s from 1992 until last year when that congregation was merged with St. Thomas-a-Becket Parish to form St. Francis of Asissi Parish.

Ordained in 1976, he has served as associate pastor at St. Joseph’s in North Brookfield, the former St. Camillus Parish in Fitchburg, St. Peter’s Parish in Worcester, and St. Cecelia’s Parish in Leominster.

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Philomena Lee lucha por transparencia en adopción

ESTADOS UNIDOS
Metro

WASHINGTON (AP) — Philomena Lee describió tristemente cómo perdió a su hijo cuando fue adoptado y cómo lo busco 50 años después, una historia retratada en la película nominada al Oscar, protagonizada por la actriz ganadora del Premio de la Academia Judi Dench.

Su experiencia es un argumento poderoso para que Irlanda abra los archivos de adopción para miles de madres más cuyos hijos terminaron en ciudades estadounidenses como San Luis, Filadelfia, Boston y Nueva York, dijo la senadora Claire McCaskill el jueves después de una reunión con Lee.

Las dos mujeres, acompañadas por la hija de Lee, Jane Libberton, hablaron ante reporteros en el Capitolio sobre el Proyecto Philomena y sus esfuerzos para reunir familias. La película ha puesto la atención en las adopciones, al igual que la conmovedora historia de Lee.

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Real life Philomena seeks help on Irish adoption law

UNITED STATES
Toronto Sun

IAN SIMPSON, REUTERS

FIRST POSTED: THURSDAY, JANUARY 30, 2014

WASHINGTON – The 80-year-old Irish woman who inspired the Oscar-nominated film “Philomena” took her campaign for access to adoption records to the U.S. Congress on Thursday, and a senator said lawmakers might urge Ireland to act on the issue.

Philomena Lee, who searched for 50 years for the son she was forced to give up as a teenager, launched a campaign last week calling on Dublin to pass laws for the release of more than 60,000 adoption files held by the state, private adoption agencies and the Catholic Church.

Like thousands of other children, Lee’s son was adopted by an American family, and she said she was overwhelmed by the support her story has generated in the United States. “Philomena” received four Academy Award nominations this month, including one for actress Judi Dench, who plays Lee.

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McCaskill Talks International Adoption Issues With Heroine Of Oscar-Nominated Film

UNITED STATES
CBS St. Louis

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill today met with Philomena Lee to discuss Irish adoption laws and Philomena’s work to reunite American children separated from their Irish families through forced adoption. The story of Philomena’s decades-long search for the son who was forcibly adopted and raised by a family in St. Louis, Mo., is the subject of a recent book and Oscar-nominated film.

“Philomena’s story is heart-wrenching, and she has one of the most just causes you could possibly have—the simple premise that if a child is taken from a mother against her will, there should be an easy way to reconnect with that child,” McCaskill said. “Unfortunately in Ireland, for many years there was a repugnant practice of children taken from their young mothers, put in a home, and when the child got a certain age, shipped off to America to new parents. I have a blended family of seven children. All of my husband’s children from his first marriage are adopted, and we are fortunate in that his oldest son has reconnected with his birthmother—we know and socialize with her, and they have a wonderful relationship. So I know firsthand how important it is to keep those doors open and to allow the transparency and availability of adoption records so that children and parents can have the opportunity to reunite when it is their life’s wish.”

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McCaskill joins real life ‘Philomena’ to push for adoption rights

UNITED STATES
KSDK

WASHINGTON (AP) – Philomena Lee wistfully described her search for her son 50 years after his adoption, a quest captured in an Oscar-nominated film.

Missouri Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill said Lee’s experience was an argument for adoption rights and an incentive for Ireland to open its records.

The two women met Thursday and spoke to reporters about the Philomena Project and efforts to reconcile families. They were joined by Lee’s daughter, Jane Libberton, who helped in the search.

The movie starring Judi Dench has drawn attention to Lee’s story and what transpired in Ireland for decades. Children were adopted by Americans, and their birth mothers were unable to find out what happened to them.

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‘Philomena’ inspires McCaskill to press for opening Irish adoption records

UNITED STATES
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Nancy Cambria nancy.cambria@post-dispatch.com 314-340-82387

The Oscar-nominated movie “Philomena,” which highlights children adopted out of Irish convents against their birth mothers’ wishes, has inspired Sen. Claire McCaskill to press the Irish government to open its adoption records.

In a Washington press conference this morning with the namesake of the movie, Philomena Lee, McCaskill said the Irish government needs to immediately pass legislation to help these children and birth parents reconnect. Many of those records remain closed despite the thousands of adoptions that took place.

Lee spent nearly 10 years trying to find her son who was adopted out of a convent without her consent in the 1950s and given to an American couple from St. Louis. Lee was blocked by nuns at the convent from obtaining vital information to find him. She later learned her son, Michael Hess, had also been trying to find her and had made trips to the convent begging the nuns to give him information to find his birth mother.

Hess, who had risen through the ranks of the Republican party and was a chief legal adviser in the Reagan Administration, died of AIDS without ever finding Lee. His dying wish was to be buried at the convent.

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Truth and Reconciliation Commission extended a year

CANADA
APTN

APTN National News

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has been extended by a year.

The commission was expected to end this summer, but is now scheduled to come to a close June 30, 2015 after being extended Thursday.

It doesn’t come a surprise as the TRC had to fight the government twice to release documents it was withholding.

That includes thousands held at the Library of Archives Canada, and most recently documents involving a police investigation into the former St. Anne’s Residential School.

The TRC needs the documents before writing its final report.

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Truth and Reconciliation Commission Granted One-Year Extension to its Operating Period

CANADA
Digital Journal

Canada NewsWire

OTTAWA, Jan. 30, 2014

Harper Government’s request to extend the operating period of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is approved by the supervising court

OTTAWA, Jan. 30, 2014 /CNW/ – Further to the Statement on November 14, 2013, the Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, announced that the British Columbia Supreme Court has approved, on consent of the parties to the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, Canada’s request that the operating period of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) be extended for a period of one year ending June 30, 2015.

This additional year will allow the Commission sufficient time to fulfill its mandate, including writing its final report and receiving those documents held at Library and Archives Canada that Canada provides during this period.

Quick Facts

On November 14, 2013, AANDC Minister Bernard Valcourt announced that the Government of Canada would work with the TRC and parties of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, as well as the British Columbia Supreme Court, to extend the operating period of the TRC until June 30, 2015.

All parties, including the Government of Canada, legal counsel for former students, legal counsel for the Churches, the Assembly of First Nations and the Inuit representatives, agreed to seek the court’s permission for the extension.

On January 30, 2014 the British Columbia Supreme Court approved the request to extend the mandate of the TRC, to June 30, 2015.

Quotes

“I am pleased that the supervising court has approved an Order that the operating period of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission be extended by one year. Our government remains committed to achieving a fair and lasting resolution to the legacy of Indian Residential Schools, which lies at the heart of reconciliation and the renewal of the relationship between Aboriginal people and all Canadians.”

Bernard Valcourt
Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

“I commend the parties to the Settlement Agreement for requesting the extension to the mandate, and the court for granting their request. This additional year will enable the Commission to continue to receive the documents held at Library and Archives Canada and to write its final report. The Commission is glad of the opportunity to finish the work it was mandated to do under the Settlement Agreement.”

The Honourable Justice Murray Sinclair
Chair of Truth and Reconciliation Commission

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Teen molested by priest sues archdiocese, alleging it concealed abuse

MINNESOTA
Star Tribune

[Documents via Jeff Anderson & Associates:

Complaint
Criminal Complaint 1
Criminal Complaint 2
Wehmeyer Timeline
Emails Between Archdiocese and SPPD June 20-21, 2012
Wehmeyer Docs – Highlighted
Photo of Nienstedt
Photo of Wehmeyer ]

Article by: ASSOCIATED PRESS

ST. PAUL, Minn. — A teenage boy who was molested by the Rev. Curtis Wehmeyer from 2008 through 2011 sued the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis on Thursday, alleging it conspired to protect the priest from criminal prosecution and conceal his history of sexual misconduct from the public.

The lawsuit comes one day after Ramsey County prosecutors said they wouldn’t charge members of the archdiocese for the way they handled allegations against Wehmeyer because there was insufficient evidence to prove anyone failed to immediately report the abuse. Wehmeyer pleaded guilty in 2012 and is serving a five-year prison sentence.

However, a document obtained Wednesday by Minnesota Public Radio News raised questions about when church leaders knew about the accusations against Wehmeyer and about the timing of the report to police. St. Paul police and prosecutors said Thursday they didn’t have that document in their initial investigation, but they are now reviewing it to see if it warrants reopening the case.

“At this point, we are not reopening anything,” said police spokesman Howie Padilla.

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Landmark Lawsuit Involving Yeshiva University High School Dismissed

NEW YORK
Jeff Anderson & Associates

News Release

January 30, 2014

Judge dismisses 32 sexual abuse claims based on the statute of limitations

(New York, NY) – Judge John G. Koeltl issued an order today dismissing a civil lawsuit filed in the Southern District of New York on behalf of 32 former students of Yeshiva University High School in New York. The defendants named in the lawsuit were Yeshiva University, Marsha Stern Talmudical Academy-Yeshiva University High School for Boys, Rabbi Norman Lamm, Rabbi Robert Hirt and various members of the Board of Trustees for Yeshiva University.

“The dismissal of these cases is a serious set-back for the child protection movement,” said attorney Jeff Anderson of St. Paul, Minnesota-based law firm Jeff Anderson & Associates. “This is a sad reminder how the law in New York protects offenders and those institutions who protect offenders. We encourage the courts and lawmakers in New York to pay attention to these laws and to make the necessary changes. This is a sad day but it is not the end of the journey of help, hope and healing for these survivors and others hurt at Yeshiva University High School and in the state of New York.”

The complaint states that the 32 Plaintiffs were sexually abused while students at Yeshiva University High School by perpetrators including the school’s former Principal George Finkelstein, who targeted vulnerable students, used his power as an administrator to silence the victims and lowered their grades thus affecting their scholastic futures.

J. Michael Reck, from the New York office of Jeff Anderson & Associates, who was one of the attorneys handling the litigation on behalf of some of the Plaintiffs said, “We are saddened and disappointed that these survivors of institutional abuse were turned away from their day in court. However, our resolve is hardened and we will continue to advocate on their behalf.”

Soon after the lawsuit was brought, the defendants filed motions to dismiss alleging that the claims were too old to be adjudicated in the New York courts. The ruling is currently being analyzed and an appeal is being considered.

A copy of the complaint and order are available at: www.AndersonAdvocates.com.

Contact: Attorney Mike Reck: Mobile 714.742.6593
Contact: Attorney Jeff Anderson: Office: 651.227.9990 Mobile 612.817.8665

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No charges for St. Paul-Minneapolis archdiocese in sex abuse cases

MINNESOTA
National Catholic Reporter

Brian Roewe | Jan. 30, 2014

Prosecutors in two Minnesota counties announced Wednesday that they will not pursue criminal charges against the St. Paul-Minneapolis archdiocese for failure to report clergy sex abuse allegations of two priests.

The investigations pertained to whether the archdiocese fulfilled its mandatory reporter duties in regard to two much-publicized cases: Fr. Curtis Wehmeyer and Fr. Jonathan Shelley. Details related to both men surfaced through documents and files provided to Minnesota Public Radio by former archdiocesan chancellor Jennifer Haselberger.

According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Washington County Prosecutor Pete Orput said at a press conference he has closed the investigation into whether Shelley’s computer contained pornographic images of minors after determining that none of the files met the statutory definition of what constitutes “pornographic work involving a minor.” The investigation, which had previously closed in February 2013, reopened in October when the parishioner who originally reported the files to the archdiocese provided police an additional cache of photos.

It was Haselberger who had alerted police and who, in February 2012 and again that May, urged the archdiocese to report to police the files on Shelley’s computer that a private investigator in 2004 had determined “could be considered borderline illegal, because of the youthful male image.” The archdiocese has contended that the images in question were unsolicited pop-up ads that attached to the hard drive without permission.

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Victim’s Long Silence Didn’t Help Rapist Priest

TENNESSEE
Courthouse News Service

By JEFF D. GORMAN

(CN) – A Tennessee priest was properly convicted of criminal sexual abuse and aggravated rape related to decades-old attacks, a state appeals court ruled.

An altar boy at St. Dominic’s Church in Kingsport testified that his pastor, William Casey, starting abusing him in 1975 when he was 10. The abuse included oral sex and anal penetration, according to the victim’s testimony.

The victim said he had been reluctant to speak out because his mother told him that she was in love with Casey, who was supposedly going to leave the priesthood to marry her. He also felt nobody would believe him and that he had been taught that priests were God’s representatives on Earth.

Casey meanwhile professed to love the boy, with whom he claimed to have a “special” relationship, the victim later testified. Casey gave him a medallion and 10 shares of Piedmont Airlines stock, he said.

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Arzobispo admite oferta de dinero a víctima de abuso sexual

PUERTO RICO
El Nuevo Dia

[Summary: Archbishop Roberto Gonzalez Nieves of San Juan responded this afternoon to an offer of financial aid to a victim of sexual abuse and confirmed that his lawyer yesterday asked the victim to conclude the agreement. Gonzalez Nieves said the priest who sexually assaulted the victim was suspended in 2010.]

El arzobispo de San Juan monseñor Roberto González Nieves, reaccionó esta tarde al ofrecimiento de ayuda económica a una víctima de abuso sexual y confirmó que su abogada le pidió ayer a la víctima concluir con el acuerdo.

En un comunicado de prensa González Nieves señaló que el sacerdote que agredió sexualmente a la víctima entrevistada por El Nuevo Día está suspendido. Todavía el Vaticano no ha emitido un decreto de expulsión.

“En una investigación preliminar el sacerdote admitió el abuso al entonces menor. Fue suspendido, quedando relevado de sus funciones ministeriales el 7 de septiembre de 2010. El día 30 de diciembre de 2011 el Tribunal Metropolitano culminó la investigación preliminar y el 4 de enero de 2012, el Tribunal Metropolitano remitió el expediente de este asunto a la Congregación para la Doctrina de la Fe, dando cumplimiento al trámite requerido por el orden jurídico canónico”, aceptó González Nieves.

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$380M Yeshiva U. Sex Abuse Case Tossed by Judge

NEW YORK
Jewish Daily Forward

By Paul Berger
Published January 30, 2014.

Citing New York State’s statute of limitations, a federal judge has dismissed a $380 million lawsuit brought by former students of Yeshiva University’s High School for Boys in Manhattan.

“Statutes of limitations strike a balance between providing a reasonable time for victims to bring their claims while assuring that defendants have a fair opportunity to defend themselves before evidence is lost or memories fade,” United States District Judge John G. Koeltl, wrote in a 52-page decision that was published January 30. “In this case, the statutes of limitations have expired decades ago, and no exceptions apply.”

Kevin Mulhearn, a lawyer for the students, vowed to appeal, calling the judge’s decision “a disgrace and an abomination.”

“My clients deserve far better than this,” Mulhearn said. “The court basically is congratulating Yeshiva University High School for succeeding in its multi-decade cover-up of sexual abuse.”

A Y.U. spokesman said the university is “gratified that the federal court recognized the validity of our arguments in dismissing the case against Yeshiva University, which has been an incredibly trying process for all involved.”

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Manhattan judge tosses $680 million sex abuse lawsuit against Yeshiva University

NEW YORK
New York Daily News

BY DANIEL BEEKMAN / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

THURSDAY, JANUARY 30, 2014

A federal judge Thursday tossed out the $680 million sexual abuse lawsuit brought by 34 former Yeshiva University prep school students against the Washington Heights institution.

Manhattan Federal Judge John Koeltl said the claims in the lawsuit are barred by statutes of limitation because the alleged incidents of abuse by Yeshiva University High School for Boys staff members occurred several decades ago.

“My clients are men who have been suffering for years,” fumed Kevin Mulhearn, lawyer for the plaintiffs. “They deserve justice, not this perversion of justice.”

Yeshiva University didn’t immediately return a request for comment Thursday.

Mulhearn said the plaintiffs will “prosecute a vigorous and effective appeal.”

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Judge tosses $680M sex abuse lawsuit against Yeshiva U.

NEW YORK
New York Post

By Rich Calder
January 30, 2014

A federal judge on Thursday tossed a scathing $680 million lawsuit filed by 34 ex-students of Yeshiva University’s prestigious all-boys high school who allege honchos there covered up decades of sexual and physical abuse.

Manhattan federal Judge John Koeltl in his 52-page legal opinion said the victims — who range in age from late-30s to early-60s and reside as far as Israel – simply waited too long to speak up.

“Statutes of limitations strike a balance between providing a reasonable time for victims to bring their claims while assuring that defendants have a fair opportunity to defend themselves before evidence is lost or memories fade,” Koeltl said “In this case, the statutes of limitations have expired decades ago, and no exceptions apply.”

After the written decision, Kevin Mulhearn, the plaintiffs’ lawyer, called Koeltl’s decision an “abomination and a disgrace” and said he plans to appeal.

“The court has stood up and said to Yeshiva University, ‘Congratulations, you have succeeded in your cover-up of the sex abuse!” he said.

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Ireland–Irish official apologizes for abuse

IRELAND
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Thursday, Jan. 30

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

It was gracious for Enda Kenny to offer and Louise O’Keefe to accept his apology for her suffering.

[Kildare Nationalist]

That gesture, however, in a real sense, changes nothing. Irish Catholic and governmental officials have a moral and civic duty to take four simple, long-overdue steps.

First, they must aggressively seek out and help those who were hurt in institutions, especially those who have moved oversease.

Second, they must offer tangible and generous compensation to all who were injured and betrayed in these institutions.

Third, they must expose every wrong doer involved (living or dead, high level or low level, on the state payroll or the church payroll).

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Group calls for criminal inquiries of disgraced Catholic order Legion of Christ in RI, Conn.

RHODE ISLAND
Fox News

Published January 30, 2014

Associated Press

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – A group that advocates for victims of clergy abuse wants authorities to investigate the Legion of Christ, a disgraced Roman Catholic order.

Two lawsuits in Rhode Island claim the Legion of Christ deceived elderly donors into giving it millions as its officials knew the church was investigating its founder for allegations including sex abuse. The order has said its actions were proper.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests says the suspected wrongdoing is so persistent that Rhode Island and Connecticut law enforcement should investigate.

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Insurer needn’t pay archdiocese for abuse-related death claim settlement

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Business Insurance

Judy Greenwald

A Fireman’s Fund Insurance Co. unit is not obligated to pay for settlement of a wrongful death claim filed against the Archdiocese of St. Louis in connection with a man’s suicide allegedly caused by a priest’s sexual abuse because the archdiocese could not be held legally liable for the claim, says an appellate court.

Allen Klump, the father of Christopher Klump, filed a wrongful death suit against the Archdiocese of St. Louis in state court in June 2003, charging that a priest employed by the archdiocese had sexually molested his son, which eventually led to Christopher’s suicide, according to Wednesday’s ruling by the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis in Chicago Insurance Co. v. Archdiocese of St. Louis; Robert J. Carlson, Archbishop, Father Michael S. McGrath.

According to a news report, Mr. Klump charged in his suit that his 30-year-old son killed himself as a direct result of the sexual abuse he had suffered as a preteen in the 1980s at the hands of a priest during outings billed as spiritual counseling. The report said the accused priest was suspended by the archdiocese in 1997.

The parties subsequently entered into a settlement for an undisclosed amount that released the archdiocese from any future liability associated with the alleged misconduct, according to the ruling. The archdiocese then sought indemnification for its loss.

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Franziskus…

OSTERRICH
Die Presse

Franziskus: Expriester in die Kirche einbinden

Der Innsbrucker Bischof, Manfred Scheuer, zieht eine Bilanz des Ad-limina-Besuchs im Vatikan. Dem Papst, sagt Scheuer, gehe es nicht so sehr um Moral als um die Gottesfrage.

30.01.2014 | 18:21 | Von Paul Kreiner (Die Presse)

Vatikanstadt. Keine konkreten Rezepte, keine Ankündigung unmittelbar bevorstehender Reformen, aber die Gewissheit, dass Papst Franziskus „sehr offen für den Dialog“ ist und dass zukunftsträchtige Dialogprozesse auch tatsächlich angestoßen sind. Das ist es, was der Innsbrucker Bischof, Manfred Scheuer, vom fünftägigen Ad-limina-Besuch im Vatikan „erfreut und ermutigt“ mit nach Hause nimmt.

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Pope will make mark on US church through Chicago

CHICAGO (IL)
Post-Bulletin

Associated Press

When he turned 75, Cardinal Francis George did what the Roman Catholic Church expects of its bishops. He submitted his resignation so the pope could decide how much longer the cardinal would serve.

George said he hoped Pope Benedict XVI would keep him on as Chicago archbishop for two or three more years. “But, it’s up to him, finally,” George told WLS-TV in Chicago.

Two years and one surprise papal retirement later, the decision now belongs to Pope Francis. The pontiff’s choice will be closely watched as his first major appointment in the U.S., and the clearest indication yet of the direction he will steer American church leaders.

“Many signals for this relationship between the pontificate and the U.S. church will come from Chicago,” said Massimo Faggioli, a professor at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota who studies the Vatican and the papacy. “I think this is going to be the most important decision by Pope Francis for the U.S. church.”

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O’KEEFFE ACCEPTS TAOISEACH’S APOLOGY

IRELAND
Kildare Nationalist

Abuse survivor Louise O’Keeffe has accepted the Taoiseach’s apology on behalf of the Irish State.

The Cork woman won a case earlier this week that she brought to the European Court of Human Rights over abuse she suffered at a school in the 1970s.

In a statement, she says she’s grateful for the speed of the Taoiseach’s apology and she graciously accepts it.

“I appreciate very much his apology and I suppose I appreciate the fact that he did it quickly,” she said.

“I would never have looked for an apology for myself.

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