ABUSE TRACKER

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

August 28, 2014

Legionaries of Christ apologize for Maciel-Magdalene parallel

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

Brian Roewe | Aug. 28, 2014

The Legionaries of Christ have apologized for a reflection in a promotional booklet comparing the order’s serial abuser founder to Mary Magdalene.

“I personally and profoundly apologize for my reflections in the booklet, Magdala: God Really Loves Women, published this summer by the Magdala Center in Jerusalem, which is managed by the Legion of Christ,” Legionary Fr. Juan Solana, director of the Magdala Center, said in a statement Thursday.

On Tuesday, NCR reported that the booklet promoting the new $100 million center included a reflection by Solana on Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado — dismissed from ministry in 2006 by the Vatican after it was discovered he sexually abused seminarians and had fathered children — in which he compared the Legion founder to Mary Magdalene, the disciple of Jesus who was present at the cross where Jesus was crucified and the tomb after his resurrection.

“The priest speaks his heart,” wrote Solana in the booklet. “Marcial Maciel’s initials are also MM, just like Mary Magdalene. She had a problematic past before her deliverance, so there’s a parallel. Our world has double standards when it comes to morals. Some people have a formal, public display and then the real life they live behind the scenes.

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

Kardinal Brandmüller: Begeisterung um Papst ist oberflächlich

DEUTSCHLAND
kath.net

[Summary: Walter Brandmuller, emeritus German cardinal, said he does not think much of the enthusiasm for Pope Francis. He said it is superficial and churches would be full if this were a religious movement.]

«Das ist oberflächlich. Wäre diese Bewegung eine religiöse, wären die Kirchen voll» – Gegen Abschaffung des Zölibats und Frauenpriestertum: «Wir beziehen bezüglich des Glaubens klare Grenzen. Das ist kein Zeichen von Schwäche, sondern von Stärke»

Hamburg (kath.net/KNA) Der emeritierte deutsche Kardinal Walter Brandmüller (85) hält nicht viel von der Begeisterung um Papst Franziskus: «Das ist oberflächlich. Wäre diese Bewegung eine religiöse, wären die Kirchen voll», sagte der ehemalige Präsident des Päpstlichen Komitees für Geschichtswissenschaften im Interview mit der Hamburger Zeitschrift «Zeit Geschichte».

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Judges Slam Yeshiva University in $680 Million Abuse Case

NEW YORK
The Jewish Daily Forward

By Paul Berger
Published August 28, 2014.

Imagine you are in a car accident. It’s the other guy’s fault, and you know your insurance company will sue his. But should you then and there investigate the car manufacturer for deliberately ignoring a mechanical fault, even if you have no reason to know that’s true?

That’s essentially the question United States Circuit Judge Guido Calabresi asked August 28 as he lambasted a Yeshiva University lawyer for claiming that dozens of former schoolboys ought to have sued Y.U. decades ago for a sexual abuse cover-up.

Y.U.’s lawyer, Karen Bitar, argued that students should have found out soon after they were assaulted, during the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, that Y.U. was deliberately indifferent to the fact that it employed abusive staff. Calabresi said: “It seems to me that’s a mighty hard way to look at this.”

Thirty-four former students of Yeshiva University High School for Boys sued Y.U. for $680 million in 2013. They claimed Y.U. administrators, trustees, and other staff, facilitated a massive, decades-long cover-up of abuse at the Y.U.-run high school.

They said that they first found out about the cover-up in a December 2012 article in the Forward.

The lawsuit was dismissed in January 2014 by United States District Judge John G. Koeltl. He cited federal and state statutes of limitations, noting that “the statutes of limitations have expired decades ago, and no exceptions apply.”

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Why Is Pope Francis Protecting a High-Ranking Pedophile?

UNITED STATES
Indian County Today Media Network

Steve Russell
8/28/14

The latest pedophile scandal involving the Roman Catholic Church raises a distressingly familiar question: is the Church fighting to end sexual abuse by its priests, or still trying to avoid responsibility? Even worse, from the Church’s perspective, the current outrage calls into question the personal ethics of Pope Francis, whose popularity with rank-and-file Catholics and with the faith community generally is in the same league with that of John XXIII or John-Paul II.

Pope Francis is popular for the excellent reason that “humble” and “frugal” have not been common words to describe those who have occupied the throne of St. Peter, and this Pope has made very public efforts to emulate the life of a carpenter’s son rather than a life of royal privilege. Still, the Pope has personal representatives and many of them are accustomed to royal privileges.

The Papal Nuncio to the Dominican Republic, Jozef Wesolowski, came to the attention of prosecutors when Nuria Piera, General Director of Cadena de Noticias (CDN), a television station owned by the principal newspaper in Santo Domingo, El Caribe, sent a camera crew to chase down rumors that the nuncio had been luring boys to the beach house (a perk of his office) to engage in sex for money. According to The New York Times, Wesolowski caught the reporters following him and quit cruising for boys on the beach. Instead, he sent a Church deacon, Francisco Reyes, to pander for His Excellency.

(A Papal Nuncio does not represent the city-state of Vatican City. He [always “he”] represents the Holy See, and its personification, the Pope. Each nuncio is personally selected by the Pope and, in Catholic countries, the nuncio is senior in diplomatic protocol to secular ambassadors. Even in non-Catholic countries, the nuncio has all the privileges and immunities of other ambassadors because the Holy See is a signatory to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.)

Reverend Mr. Reyes got arrested for solicitation of a minor on June 24, 2013. When nobody from the Church appeared promptly to bail him out, he squealed and named names of alleged child molesters in a letter written on July 2 to, among others, Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus López Rodriguez, who flew to the Vatican and presented the evidence directly to Pope Francis.

The Pope then quietly recalled his nuncio on August 21 without informing Dominican authorities of either the allegations or the recall, spiriting His Excellency Jozef Wesolowski out of the Dominican Republic just ahead of an investigation of numerous counts of child sexual abuse, which began in early September when CDN ran Ms. Piera’s reports. Only then, did the Church announce that Pope Francis had recalled his nuncio. The Vatican then invoked diplomatic immunity to keep the nuncio from being tried for his crimes in the Dominican Republic. After The New York Times reported the story in August of this year, the Vatican reversed course and stripped Wesolowski’s diplomatic immunity, but hedged the decision in a way that sends mixed messages.

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Robert “Bobby” Price Criminal Hearing at 3:00 p.m. Today

NORTH CAROLINA
Seth H. Langston

Posted on August 28, 2014

Former Youth Pastor Robert ” Bobby” Price will have a hearing today at 3:00 p.m. in Cabarrus County Superior Court. This is in connection with the criminal childhood sexual abuse charges that are pending in that county. The courtroom is open to all.

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

Talking About Exile: Valuable Testimony from Tom Doyle and Ruth Krall

UNITED STATES
Bilgrimage

William D. Lindsey

Yesterday, I looked at the movement now developing among conservative Christians in the U.S. to herd the church into exile. The reasoning that lies behind this rhetoric appears to be that since contemporary American culture has resisted the attempt of the churches to control culture [words are crossed through] to offer the good news of Christ to it via culture wars, the churches are left now with only one plausible response: to turn their backs on contemporary culture and go into exile.

In what I posted yesterday, I sketched my own reasons for being underwhelmed by what strikes me as a petulant and immature response to the failure of right-wing Christians to capture the imagination of many Americans in the latter part of the 20th century and early part of the 21st century, as those Christians have obsessively focused on opposing women’s and gay rights and have equated this focus with the gospel itself. Today, I’d like to point to some contemporary voices that speak credibly about exile, as far as I’m concerned.

These are people with roots in the Christian churches who have actually experienced exile — as opposed to those who want to manufacture a reactive exile in which to nurse their bruised egos after they failed to seize control of American culture through their culture wars. These are people whom the churches themselves have shoved into exile, because they asked too many questions, wanted too much honesty, demanded too much justice for those on the margins.

These are some credible voices to which I’ve been listening lately as I think about themes of exile in contemporary Christianity: here’s Father Thomas Doyle speaking at the recent SNAP conference (thanks to Jerry Slevin for putting the text of Tom Doyle’s SNAP address online):

My own confidence and trust in the institutional church has been shattered. I have spent years trying to process what has been happening to the spiritual dimension of my life. The vast enormity of a deeply engrained clerical culture that allowed the sexual violation of the innocent and most vulnerable has overshadowed the theological, historical and cultural supports upon which the institutional Church has based its claim to divinely favored status. All of the theological and canonical truths I had depended upon have been dissipated to meaninglessness.

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Why The Times Identified and Photographed Teenagers in a Sex Abuse Article

UNITED STATES
The New York Times – Public Editor’s Journal

By MARGARET SULLIVAN
AUGUST 28, 2014

Several readers wrote to me concerned about a Times article earlier this week that told the stories of some Dominican teenagers who described sexual abuse by a former priest and Vatican official. They told me they were surprised and dismayed to see the young people identified by name with their photographs used in an accompanying gallery.

One reader, Julio César Diaz, who said he read the article with particular interest because he is Dominican, said in an email:

I can’t help but feel a little sickened by the fact that several child sexual abuse victims are named in the article. Their photographs also appear in the gallery accompanying the article. I don’t think it’s ethical to do this. I think sexual abuse victims’ identities should be protected, especially if the victims are still children, as is the case of Darwin Quervedo, who is 14 right now, according to the article, or Francis Aquino Aneury, who is 17. Or do these protections apply only if the victims are Americans?

And Dan Hortsch of Portland, a former ombudsman for The Oregonian, wrote, in part:

Were the boys named as victims in the story given the opportunity to not have their names reported and their faces photographed for use with the story? Presumably they knew that they were being photographed, but did The New York Times explain that they could remain anonymous? If not, the matter is definitely disturbing.

Presumably, too, that is the practice with other victims of sexual abuse unless the victims approve use of their names and photos. And then the articles normally would explain that they were willing to be named and photographed.

I understand the need for credible sources, but these victims of sexual abuse are no different from anyone in this country. The fact that one boy, 14, is described as speaking “haltingly, with eyes downcast” about his experience makes clear the embarrassment.

These readers raise important concerns. I asked the article’s author, Laurie Goodstein, who covers religion for The Times, to explain how the teenagers were approached on this subject.

She responded:

The teenagers identified in the story as abuse victims not only gave us permission for us to use their names and take their photographs, but wanted their stories to be told. There is no double standard here. I have found that some victims of sexual abuse feel that by going public, they may help prevent other people from being victimized by their abusers, and in this they find some purpose in their suffering. In the case of these specific children, they wanted to give their testimony to someone because they had not been interviewed by the authorities. We interviewed them on multiple occasions, made it clear that their names and pictures would be published in a newspaper and on the Internet, and they were sure that they wanted to proceed.

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PA- Convicted predators seek new trial, SNAP responds

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Thursday, August 28, 2014

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

A Pennsylvania priest and Catholic teacher, who were convicted of sexually abusing a child, are seeking a new trial. We hope they do not succeed.

Attorneys for Bernard Shero and Fr. Charles Engelhardt have filed for a new trail using a legal technicality by claiming prosecutor misconduct. It is a shame when child molesters and their attorneys try and exploit every possible legal loophole.

Engelhardt and Shero were found guilty of sexually assaulting a man when he was a child. During their initial trial Engelhardt and Shero tried to avoid justice by claiming the victim was not credible. We are glad their hurtful and malicious legal tactic did not work then and we hope it does not work now.

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FORMER TEACHER AND CHURCH DEACON JAILED FOR ABUSING SCHOOLBOYS

UNITED KINGDOM
Manchester Gazette

A former teacher and church deacon has been sentenced to nine years imprisonment for sexually abusing boys at a School in Hale, Greater Manchester.

The crimes took place between 1973 and 1990 when the victims were between 11 and 17 years old, all but one of his victims being under 16 years of age.

Alan Morris taught at the school for 23 years between 1972 and 1995. In 1992 he was ordained as a Deacon and took up a position at the Church of the Holy Angels in Hale Barns.

He was found guilty of 19 sexual offences against ten victims after a trial.

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Sick teacher who had fetish for spanking schoolboys…

UNITED KINGDOM
Mancunian Matters

Sick teacher who had fetish for spanking schoolboys jailed over decades of abuse at top Altrincham Catholic school

By Liam Geraghty

A Catholic science teacher with a fetish for spanking schoolboys has been jailed for nine years after abusing pupils over two decades at an Altrincham school.

Deacon Alan Morris, 64, of Rivington Road, Hale, preyed on young boys during his time at St Ambrose RC College, an all-boys grammar school where a ‘culture of abuse was rife’.

Morris used religious corporal punishment as a ‘cloak’ for his abuse at the top Catholic school, from which he gained his own sick sexual gratification.

He was able to conduct his campaign of terror – lasting for almost 20 years, between 1972 and 1991 – because his ‘fearsome’ reputation meant victims were too terrified to speak out.

Detective Chief Inspector Chris Bridge said: “For decades, Morris displayed a veneer of total respectability: a science teacher in a well-respected and high-performing school and latterly as a deacon of the church.

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Son of Manchester United legend tells of how he was sexually abused by pervert teacher Alan Morris

UNITED KINGDOM
Manchester Evening News

Aug 28, 2014 By John Scheerhout

Scott Morgan, son of Willie Morgan, was abused from the age of eleven when Morris became his form teacher at St Ambrose College in Altrincham, and it continued until he was 16.

The son of Manchester United legend Willie Morgan was among scores of pupils sexually abused by St Ambrose College pervert Alan Morris, the MEN can reveal.

Young Scott Morgan was abused from the age of eleven when Morris became his form teacher and it continued until he was 16.

It began as physical punishment but soon became sexual, with Morris forcing the terrified youngster to bend over a stool in a small office at the rear of his classroom where he would close the curtains and smack Scott on his naked bottom with a variety of implements.

He would line up a pink rubber paddle known as the Paddywhacker, a series of canes and shoes and a leather strap on the desk before slowly choosing which one to use with his victim bent over the stool waiting for the punishment to be delivered.

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Deacon Alan Morris: Schoolboy was whipped in sex abuse

UNITED KINGDOM
BBC News

One of the victims of church deacon Alan Morris has recalled how the “vicious beatings” he suffered became sexual abuse from which he never recovered.

Morris, 64, has been jailed for nine years for physically and sexually abusing ten pupils at St Ambrose RC College in Hale Barns, Altrincham, between 1972 and 1991.

The former pupil, who does want to be named, said Morris “ruled with an iron hand” but described how the teacher got sexual gratification from chastising him.

The victim said he would be “taken aside” during his lunch to be beaten or whipped in “extra lessons” in a private classroom.

‘Whipped with hose’
He said Morris was not the only teacher at the boys-only school to use corporal punishment where beatings were “the norm”.

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Deacon Alan Morris jailed for school sex abuse

UNITED KINGDOM
BBC News

A deacon convicted of sexually abusing 10 schoolboys at a Greater Manchester school has been jailed for nine years.

The Rev Alan Morris, 64, was found guilty of 19 sex assaults between 1972 and 1991 when he taught at St Ambrose RC College in Hale Barns, Altrincham.

When the offences took place the school was run by Roman Catholic religious order the Christian Brothers.

Morris, of Rivington Road, Hale, had denied all charges at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court.

‘Fearsome reputation’
Joanna White of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said he “abused his position of power within the school to prey on vulnerable young boys and continued to do so years after corporal punishment was abolished”.

“He utilised the ability to carry out corporal punishment to perform acts and force others into acts which were designed to humiliate his victims in order to satisfy his own sexual desires,” said Ms White.

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Pervert Catholic priest jailed for NINE years after decades of preying on schoolboys

UNITED KINGDOM
Daily Star

A ROMAN Catholic cleric who disguised decades of sexually abusing pupils at an all-boys school behind his religious status and love of corporal punishment was jailed for nine years today.

By Jon Harris / Published 28th August 2014

The Rev Alan Morris, 63, was free to prey on youngsters at St Ambrose Catholic College, one of Britain’s top Catholic schools, over three decades despite repeated attempts by victims to stop him.

Morris, who taught chemistry and religious education, became the highly feared Head of Discipline at the 1,030 pupil school in the wealthy village of Hale Barns, near Altrincham, Cheshire, where he abused boys during break-time for his own sexual pleasure.

Calling himself “the chief policeman” of the school, Morris kept an array of implements in a schoolbag for his punishment beatings and whippings which included the tubing of a Bunsen burner, a cane and a specially adapted table tennis bat known as “the paddywhacker”.

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Philadelphia priest, teacher convicted of abuse seek new trial

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
National Catholic Reporter

Ralph Cipriano | Aug. 28, 2014

PHILADELPHIA
Defense lawyers for a priest and a Catholic school teacher convicted of raping a former altar boy claim that prosecutors didn’t tell them about a witness who would have bolstered the testimony of a key defense witness and called into question the accuser’s credibility.

Claiming prosecutorial misconduct, defense lawyers are seeking a new trial in Pennsylvania Superior Court. In their latest filings, they charge that prosecutors violated Brady v. Maryland, a landmark 1963 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that says prosecutors can’t withhold “exculpatory evidence” that could clear a defendant.

In a strange twist that confounds legal experts, the court ordered the filings to be sealed.

The charge of prosecutorial misconduct is in an application to amend the appellant brief filed July 9 in Pennsylvania Superior Court by Burton A. Rose, a lawyer for former teacher Bernard Shero. Michael J. McGovern, who is also seeking a new trial for his client Fr. Charles Engelhardt, filed the same application to amend on July 10.

The same day, the district attorney’s office asked the court to seal the records in the cases. On July 29, the dockets in both cases recorded that the seal was granted, but no reason was stated regarding why.

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Former St Mary’s Cathedral College principal charged with historical child abuse offences

AUSTRALIA
Sydney Morning Herald

August 28, 2014

Emma Partridge
Crime Reporter

A Catholic brother and former principal of a Sydney school has been charged with child abuse offences dating back more than three decades.

Police will allege David Standen, 65, molested five boys, all aged 12, when he was a teacher at St Patrick’s, Goulburn between 1978 and 1980.

David Standen, who also goes by the name William Peter Standen, was the principal at St Mary’s Cathedral College for a decade before he retired in 2010.

He cared for thousands of boys during his 37-year teaching career, during which time he spent six years as the deputy principal at St Dominic’s College, Penrith.

Detectives arrested Brother Standen at Sydney Airport on August 19.

He appeared before Waverley Local Court charged with 11 counts of indecently assaulting a male and was granted conditional bail.

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Gozo abuse case priest loses bail

MALTA
Times of Malta

A Gozitan priest accused of sexual molestation of minors has been remanded in custody.

Mr Justice Michael Mallia this morning revoked bail for Fr Jesmond Gauci after an appeal was filed by the Attorney General.

He will be held in remand until the main witnesses are heard.

The appeal hearing was heard before the courts in Malta.

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Gozitan priest charged with molestation to be kept in custody until victims testify

MALTA
Malta Independent

A court ruled this morning that the Gozitan priest charged with molesting minor girls is to be kept in custody until the victims testify. The Gozo Court had ruled that the priest was to be released on bail, but this decision has been reversed – the priest would be granted bail only when the testimonies are heard.

The Police and AG had contested the initial ruling that the priest, Jesmond Gauci, was granted bail by a Gozitan court.

A number of submissions were made by the prosecuting team and the defence team of the accused during this morning’s sitting.

Lawyers Kristina Debattista and Philip Galea Farrugia from the AG’s office argued that it was not correct that the priest was granted bail when the procedures are still in their early stages.

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Bail revoked for Gozitan priest accused of chld molestation

MALTA
Gozo News

Fr Jesmond Gauci, the Gozitan priest accused of child molestation earlier this month, this morning had his bail revoked by Mr Justice Michael Mallia in Malta.

An appeal had been filed by the Attorney General, which was upheld by the Court, saying that Fr Gauci will be held in custody until the witnesses have given their testimony.

Last week, the Gozo Court on appeal, overturned an order against the publication of the priest’s name.

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Ultra-Orthodox rabbi accused in sex assault suit

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Tribune

By Ron Grossman, Tribune reporter
Email – RGrossman@tribune.com

A federal lawsuit alleging that an ultra-Orthodox rabbi who runs seminaries for girls in Israel is a sexual predator offers a rare look into the most traditional branch of Judaism, where a young woman’s religious education can prove key to finding a good husband through a matchmaker.

The allegations raised in the lawsuit, filed this month in Chicago, have already been brought before rabbinical courts in Chicago and Israel. The courts —known as beis din — came to contradictory decisions on the accusations against Rabbi Elimelech Meisels.

The lawsuit was filed by parents of girls who want their tuition money back in light of allegations against Meisels. They say in the suit that the rabbi for 10 years recruited young women from Chicago and other cities to his seminaries in Israel “under the guise of educational and spiritual development.”

Meisels is accused in the lawsuit of “developing mentor-mentee relationships with girls,” taking them on late-night coffee meetings and sexually assaulting them. Meisels, who could not be reached for comment, does not face any criminal charges.

A few weeks before the suit was filed, a Chicago beis din heard the allegations against Meisels. The body ruled that, based on testimony (including from Meisels) and documents, it believed “students in these seminaries are at risk of harm and does not recommend that prospective students attend these seminaries at this time,” according to the lawsuit.

Given the strictures of a religious prescription known as loshan hara (evil tongue), which forbids the ultra-Orthodox from speaking ill of anyone, parties to the lawsuit declined to talk about the matter, said Shneur Nathan, their attorney.

However, a parent who is not a party to the lawsuit agreed to talk about his experience with Meisels as long as his name was not used.

His daughter, a recent high school graduate, was scheduled to spend a year at one of four women’s seminaries in Israel operated by Meisels. With a tuition of about $20,000, plus living expenses, sending her would deplete the family’s savings and mean taking out loans. His wife volunteered to work extra hours.

But the two of them thought it worthwhile. For a girl in their community, a year at an Israeli seminary has become a sort of finishing-school experience; it separates childhood from the next stage of life, finding a husband and setting up her own observant household. As the lawsuit notes, for Orthodox Jewish girls a seminary experience in Israel “profoundly shapes and influences their marriage prospects.”

In the midst of making her travel arrangements, they learned of the Chicago beis din ruling against Meisels. When the man and his wife told their daughter why she wouldn’t be going, the young woman was deeply upset, her father said.

Parents seeking refunds have been unable to get answers from administrators at the seminaries, according to the lawsuit. The named plaintiffs are seeking class-action status to cover damages, said Nathan, their attorney.

Meisels did not respond to an email request for comment or to a phone message left with the U.S. office of his seminaries.

Parents scrambling to find an alternative Israeli school for their daughters were further stymied when an Israeli rabbinical court issued its ruling on the case July 25 and sided with Meisels.

According to the Israeli rabbis, “there is no cause for concern” at Meisels’ seminaries. In addition, the Israeli court said that “it is absolutely forbidden” for other seminaries to offer Meisels’ prospective students the opportunity “to switch to their institutions.”

If the federal lawsuit goes to trial, jurors will have to sift through claims and counterclaims connected to a lifestyle virtually unknown to outsiders, even to other Jews.

“The ultra-Orthodox are in the larger world, but not of the larger world,” said Samuel Heilman, a professor at City University of New York, who has written extensively about the ultra-Orthodox.

In Hebrew, they’re called haredim, “tremblers.” The men have long beards, and ritual fringes trail out of their shirts; women wear ankle-length dresses and keep their hair covered after marriage. They live in strict obedience to 613 prescriptions — plus so many extrapolations made by ancient commentators, medieval rabbis and contemporary sages that it could take a lifetime to master the literature.

Not just rabbis, but all men who make that intellectual effort, command enormous respect in the ultra-Orthodox community.

“The social bonds of the ultra-Orthodox community are loshan hara, the seminary and the matchmaker,” said Michael Salamon, a clinical psychologist with a practice near a largely ultra-Orthodox community outside New York City.

The matchmaker, called a shadchan, is necessary because of the strict separation of the sexes. So a third party has to introduce an eligible man to a suitable woman, a responsibility that’s gotten harder lately,

“There’s a crisis,” said Rabbi Yitzchok Wolf, a Chicago-area matchmaker. “There are more girls looking for husbands than boys looking for wives.”

That demography, Salamon notes, puts a premium on polishing a young woman’s credentials, if she is to be introduced to a pious and scholarly man. “Parents are convinced a daughter must go to the right seminary,” he said.

The federal lawsuit quotes from Meisels’ acceptance letter: “Your choice of our seminary ensures you the wonderful benefits of gaining from our marvelous faculty and staff as you prepare to build homes and lives that reflect the centrality of Torah.”

Both supporters and detractors of Meisels agree that his is a charismatic personality. The lawsuit alleges that Meisels “threatened his victims that if they shared their story he would draw upon his vast contacts within the Shiduch system to ruin their reputations and ensure that no viable candidate would want to take their hand in marriage.”

The accusations leveled against Meisels have sent shock waves through the ultra-Orthodox world. “The whole tapestry of their lives is tightly woven together,” Heilman said. “So one thread coming loose threatens to unravel the whole thing.”

The fact that the members of the community came forward could mark a turning point, said Nathan, the attorney who filed the civil case. There is even a chance that the question will be aired in open court because of a handful of parents who, by putting their names on a federal lawsuit, challenged loshan hara.

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NC Man’s Conviction Of ‘Ritual Sex Abuse’ Vacated

NORTH CAROLINA
WFMY

Romando Dixson, Asheville Citizen-Times

A judge on Monday dismissed all charges and vacated the sentence of a man who has spent more than 20 years in prison on convictions of multiple sex crimes against three children.

Michael Alan Parker dropped his head and wept as Judge Marvin Pope announced his decision in Buncombe County Superior Court. Parker’s lawyer, Sean Devereux, expects him to be released Tuesday from Craggy Correctional Center

“I’m elated that justice has been finally served,” said Parker’s brother, Larry Wayne Parker Sr.

Devereux said Parker, 57, was convicted during the satanic ritual abuse frenzy of the late 1980s and early ’90s and not a single accusation of satanic ritual sexual abuse has proven to be true. All of the defendants originally imprisoned have had their convictions overturned, and Parker may be the last one, Devereux said.

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Orange County lawsuit alleges sex abuse by Jehovah’s Witness leader

CALIFORNIA
Orange County Register

BY ERIC HARTLEY / STAFF WRITER
Published: Aug. 27, 2014

Two men who say they were molested as teenagers by a Jehovah’s Witness church leader in south Orange County filed a lawsuit against him and the church this week.

The lawsuit says the men were abused in middle school and high school in the 1990s, but “did not begin to discover the causal relationship between the molestation and adulthood psychological injuries until after news broke in September of 2011 regarding the rampant sexual abuse of children by Jerry Sandusky at Penn State University.”

Their complaint, filed Monday in Orange County Superior Court, seeks unspecified damages from the local and national church organizations and from the man accused of carrying out the abuse. It alleges sexual battery and negligence.

Local Jehovah’s Witness officials could not immediately be reached Wednesday, and the church’s main legal and public information offices in New York didn’t respond to requests for comment.

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Youth minister indicted for sex abuse

VIRGINIA/KENTUCKY
Harlan Daily

A Virginia youth minister has been indicted on sex abuse charges involving a minor, stemming from an incident which is alleged to have occurred in Kentucky.

According to a press release, on July 10, Kentucky State Police Post 10 received information from the Lee County, Va. Department of Social Services. Workers from DCBS were requesting an investigation into a possible sexual abuse allegation involving a youth minister from Freedom of Worship Church in Norton, Va.

Allegations were made involving youth minister Bradley Carter having sexual contact with a juvenile while he was at a bible camp in Barbourville on or about July 14 of 2012.

Through investigation KSP Det. Josh Howard, along with assistance of Lee County DCBS, was able to obtain information that led to the indictment of Carter, 30, of Pound, Va.

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Virginia youth minister arrested on sex-abuse charge out of Knox County

VIRGINIA/KENTUCKY
Herald-Leader

BY HERALD-LEADER STAFF REPORT
August 27, 2014

A Virginia youth minister was arrested Tuesday and charged in connection with a sexual-abuse case that allegedly happened in Knox County, Kentucky State Police said in a release.

Bradley Carter, 30, of Pound, Va., was arrested in Coeburn, Va., after he was indicted in Knox County on a charge of first-degree sexual abuse, state police said. The arrest followed an investigation into an allegation that Carter had sexual contact with a juvenile at a Bible camp in Barbourville on or about July 14.

Carter is affiliated with Freedom of Worship Church in Norton, Va., state police said. The case is still under investigation.

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Child sex abuse cover-up institutionalized in UK: Analyst

UNITED KINGDOM
Press TV (Iran)

[with video]

Press TV has conducted an interview with Ian Williams, an analyst at Foreign policy & Focus, from London, about the cover-up of child sexual abuse cases in Rotherham, Britain, and the abuse committed by high-ranking officials and celebrities.

The following is an approximate transcript of the interview.

Press TV: Let me get your reaction about this case, it is really horrific what has happened and also in terms of numbers not only of the number of children, but the number of years that his has been going on for.

Williams: The numbers are appalling. It is difficult to actually believe that 1,400 children in a small city like Rotherham would have been victims like this; but that is over many, many years (16 years) so that makes it more plausible. And this is in the trail of many other scandals.

The difference here is that the perpetrators don’t seem to have been well connected in the British establishment; they seem to have been involved in – according to reports – in one ethnic group and the police were reluctant to prosecute for fear of Racism.

But the pervading problem is that people in authority and adults tend not to take children seriously when they complain and children are basically indoctrinated to think that adults have authority over them.

And that’s re-enforced. If they went to the police station or were turned away or they went to their teachers or parents and were told don’t be silly then they’d go away and nurse the wounds instead of pursuing them.

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Shining a Light on Child Sexual Abuse

UNITED KINGDOM
Huffington Post

Nick Lowles
Director of HOPE Not Hate

The publication of a report into child sexual abuse in Rotherham is harrowing reading, both in the scale of the horrendous abuse and the appalling errors and cover-up by senior staff, local politicians and the police.

Even more depressing is the fact that none of this comes as a complete surprise. Similar failings were highlighted in previous reports, such as Rochdale, and we will undoubtedly see more reports like these in the future. Young people have been let down by the system for far too long.

What the perpetrators did was truly awful and the subsequent errors and cover-up by those in the council and police are inexcusable and criminal. More of those who were involved must be brought to justice and those in authority held accountable, starting with South Yorkshire’s police and crime commissioner, Shaun Wright, who should resign after failing to act on three reports on the widespread nature of the abuse during his time as Cabinet Minister responsible for Children and Young People’s services on Rotherham council.

The report details a combination of factors behind the failure of Rotherham Council to understand the scale of the problem, including disbelieving both the victims and the social workers who raised the issue, concern over being considered racist for highlighting the problem and a mood of denial amongst prominent Muslim councillors about the scale of the problem within the local Muslim communities.

Sadly, these are all problems we have heard before. …

As with have seen with the Jimmy Savile affair and with the long history of abuse within the Catholic Church, young people are sexually abused by people of all colours and religions, but let us not pretend that there is not a specific problem with some men within the British Pakistani/Kashmiri communities around on-street grooming by gangs. Rotherham is sadly just the latest in a long, and growing, list of British towns and cities which has experienced grooming by Pakistani/Kashmiri gangs. So, if it is right to call on public institutions like the BBC and the NHS to review procedures and the Catholic Church to address abuse by its clergy, we should not shy away from dealing with the problem within specific communities.

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Police probe if … PASTOR MOLESTS STUDENT DURING PRAYER

JAMAICA
Jamaica Star

A male pastor who is employed as a guidance counsellor at a high school in central Jamaica is now before the court answering to a charge of indecent assault.

THE STAR has learnt that about three months ago, a female second-form student at the school visited the office of the guidance counsellor, after she was experiencing personal challenges.

It is understood that the professional service of the counsellor was administered to the student, following which the service as a pastor was offered by way of prayer for the minor.

several times

It is alleged that during the prayer, the guidance counsellor sexually assaulted her when he touched her breasts several times and used his hands to touch her vagina, bruising her badly.

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Man Claims Teacher Assaulted Him as ‘Ex-Gay’ Therapy

MISSISSIPPI
The Advocate

BY MICHELLE GARCIA AUGUST 27 2014

A gay man filed a complaint Tuesday against Bethel Baptist School in Walls, Miss., saying he endured three years of sexual assault by a teacher attempting to change his sexual orientation.

Jeff White, now 32, came out to his parents in 1996, and the family turned to Bethel Baptist Church for guidance. The church’s affiliated school claimed it could change White’s sexuality through weekly counseling sessions, and during three years of such sessions, teacher Steven Barnes raped and sexually assaulted White, his complaint alleges.

White is now the executive director of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Rainbow Center, the first LGBT center in Mississippi. Barnes is now the assistant pastor of Bethel Baptist Church.

The complaint was filed with the DeSoto County, Miss., Sheriff’s Department on White’s behalf by the National Center for Lesbian Rights with Hawkins & Gibson, a law firm that has taken on other sexual abuse cases involving clergy.

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NCLR representing conversion survivor alleging abuse

MISSISSIPPI
Windy City Media Group

From a press release

( DeSoto County, MS, August 27, 2014 )—Yesterday, the National Center for Lesbian Rights ( NCLR ) helped file a complaint with the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Department on behalf of a former student of Bethel Baptist School in Walls, Mississippi who says he was sexually abused for three years by a teacher attempting to “cure” his sexual orientation.

The former student, Jeff White, now 32, alleges that, shortly after coming out in 1996, his parents turned to the local church, which ran a school it promised could “cure” their son and stop him from being gay. Beginning his freshman year, according to White, teacher Steven Barnes began subjecting White to weekly “counseling” sessions in which he regularly raped and sexually assaulted the teenager to convince him that being gay was more painful than suppressing his sexual orientation.

After more than a decade of emotional turmoil, White heard about NCLR’s #BornPerfect campaign to end conversion therapy in five years. He found the courage to come forward because he wants to ensure that what happened to him will not happen to other children and to raise awareness about the dangers of attempting to change someone’s sexual orientation.

“After growing older and witnessing so many who are still harmed by the church and by efforts to correct homosexuality through traumatic and damaging tactics like the ones used against me, I finally realized that it is my duty to stand up against those who have harmed me,” said White. “By speaking out against the wrongdoings that were committed within the walls of Bethel Baptist School, I hope to shed light on the darkness that is so easily hidden within the church, and to help ensure that no one else suffers the pain that I had to endure. I am extremely grateful to NCLR staff attorney Samantha Ames and the NCLR team for assisting me and so many others who have been hurt by the immoral practices of conversion therapy.”

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The people’s bishop

OHIO
Toledo Blade

Editorial

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Toledo’s bishop, Daniel Thomas, has set a hopeful tone, as someone who is intent on reaching out to his flock in an open and inviting manner.

His first appearance this week was at a Catholic Charities organization that provides clothes, meals, and a food bank. His symbolic introductory acts included visiting students at Central Catholic High School, nuns at the Sisters of the Visitation Monastery, and priests and other infirmary patients at the Ursuline Center. All send a message of seeking to help and unify the local faithful.

Bishop Thomas becomes the eighth bishop of Toledo. He will lead the Roman Catholic Church in the northwest Ohio diocese, which includes 19 counties. He succeeds Toledo’s former bishop of 10 years, the Most Rev. Leonard Blair, who is now archbishop of Hartford, Conn.

Area Catholics can hope that Bishop Thomas will maintain a spirit of inclusion within the local church and its policies, particularly as they relate to women. He must press for transparency in the continuing scandal in the church about sexual abuse and other crimes committed by priests, sometimes covered up by their superiors.

He has already rightly spoken out against such abuse. During an interview with The Blade, Bishop Thomas said he stands with Pope Francis, who has said there is absolutely no place in the church for an abuser. Bishop Thomas also demonstrated a level of compassion by offering a “mea culpa in asking for deep forgiveness of any of the survivors who were wounded or hurt by what is a horrible, horrible crime, a grave moral sin, and a scourge to our church.”

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The Seal Cannot Be Broken: Priestly Identity and the Sacrament of Confession

AUSTRALIA
ABC – Religion and Ethics

Father Richard Umbers
ABC RELIGION AND ETHICS 27 AUG 2014

The Anglican Communion has demonstrated, yet again, how eager it is to keep up with changing times. In line with society’s greater recognition of the devastation wrought by child sexual abuse, a recent Synod has sought to remove any impediment to good professional practice and individual conscience by allowing individual priests to report on serious crimes they may have learnt about through confession.

It has not taken long for commentators to wonder if the much slower moving Catholic Church will eventually follow suit. Thus, while Alison Cotes congratulates the Anglican Church in Australia for giving short shrift to the inviolability of confession, she also wonders if “in the fullness of time, the Roman Catholic Church will also see that what was good theology in 1215 may not be so useful, or even moral, 800 years later.”

In an atmosphere of disgust and disappointment at the shocking betrayal of so many vulnerable parishioners on the part of abusers in the clergy, some tangible show of genuine reform on the part of the institutional Church is sorely needed. Bishops and priests need to be seen to be walking with Pope Francis in living out the Gospel, creating an environment of blessing for little children.

As Cotes reminded us, Jesus even taught that millstones should be placed round the necks of those who would scandalise the little ones, not that they should remain in office or be shifted around and hence be given new opportunities to prey.

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Priest accused of ‘boundary violation’ not going to grad school

MINNESOTA
Pioneer Press

By Emily Gurnon
egurnon@pioneerpress.com
POSTED: 08/27/2014

The future of a Twin Cities priest who resigned from his parish over the summer apparently is up in the air after a plan to send him to graduate school was scuttled.

Officials at the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis have confirmed that the Rev. Joseph Gallatin will not be attending Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

“After we published in the Catholic Spirit Father Gallatin’s assignment to pursue his studies at Catholic University, it is our understanding that a victims’ group contacted the university to oppose Father Gallatin’s attendance,” Auxiliary Bishop Andrew Cozzens said Wednesday.

“In consultation with Father Gallatin, we agreed this would not be a good situation for all involved, and he voluntarily withdrew his application. Full disclosure was made to Catholic University at the time of his application.

“At this time, no decision has been made about Father Gallatin’s assignment.”

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Appeals’ court revokes Gozitan priest’s bail, remands him in custody

MALTA
Malta Today

Matthew Agius 28 August 2014

An Appeals’ Court has this morning revoked the bail of Fr Jesmond Gauci after partially upholding an appeal filed by the Attorney General.

Fr. Gauci is accused of the sexual abuse of several young girls from Fontana, Rabat and Xewkija, Gozo.
In the appeal, the Attorney General, represented by Dr Kristina Debattista, insisted that it is “unheard of that an accused is granted bail before the victim’s testimony is heard.”

“This is further compounded by the fact that the [alleged] victims are young girls. Moreover, the case took place in Gozo – a small community where the possibility of involuntary encounters between the victims and Fr Gauci is especially probable.”

“The victims are under immense psychological pressure and their concerns that they may end up in contact with the accused are valid,” Debattista said, adding that “the risk of tampering with evidence is a real one.”

Debattista went on to tell the court that she has been informed by the Police inspector that some witnesses are already reluctant to testify.

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August 27, 2014

After Vatican removes immunity, Dominican court opens abuse case against ex-diplomat

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Daily Journal

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
First Posted: August 27, 2014

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic — A court in the Dominican Republic has taken the first steps toward possible sexual abuse charges against a former Vatican ambassador to the Caribbean country.

An investigative magistrate is examining allegations against Josef Wesolowski to determine if there is sufficient evidence to warrant criminal charges, the Santo Dominican prosecutor’s office announced late Tuesday.

The announcement came a day after the Vatican said its former ambassador had lost his diplomatic immunity.

The Vatican recalled Wesolowski in August 2013 after allegations emerged he had sexually molested boys there.

Dominican officials say his presence is not required in the country for authorities to review an investigation of the allegations and decide whether formal charges are warranted.

The court says it will begin interviewing alleged victims on Sept. 2.

Dominican authorities have said their country’s investigation uncovered allegations that Wesolowski had paid at least six minors to watch them masturbate and had recorded it with his mobile phone, but prosecutors did not file charges because the nuncio had diplomatic immunity.

The case was highly sensitive, given that the Polish-born Wesolowski was an ambassador of the Holy See — not just one of the world’s 440,000 priests — and had been ordained both a priest and a bishop by St. John Paul II.

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Polish diplomat raises extradition for Vatican official accused of sex abuse

VATICAN CITY
Religion News Service

Josephine McKenna | August 27, 2014

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Poland’s ambassador to the Holy See has forcefully condemned the alleged sexual abuse of children by a Polish-born former archbishop and Vatican diplomat, and said Warsaw is considering a fresh request to extradite Jozef Wesolowski to face trial in his homeland.

Ambassador Piotr Nowina-Konopka said Wednesday (Aug. 27) the Polish government was reviewing its options after the Vatican announced this week that the former papal envoy to the Dominican Republic had been defrocked and no longer had diplomatic immunity.

“We are currently analyzing the situation regarding immunity,” the ambassador told Religion News Service in remarks that were unusually frank for a diplomat, and especially one from a country that is as strongly Catholic as Poland.

“Without doubt Poland considers the acts that the archbishop is alleged to have carried out as particularly repugnant and Pope Francis’ firm approach to that type of crime has won great respect and full support in Poland,” Nowina-Konopka said.

Wesolowski, the 66-year-old former papal envoy to the Dominican Republic, was quietly recalled from Santo Domingo last August after rumors emerged that he had sexually molested young boys there. But he is also wanted on sex abuse charges in Poland, though details of the charges were not known.

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Rotherdam: Cowardice must never be an option

UNITED STATES
The Worthy Adversary

Posted by Joelle Casteix on August 27, 2014

Child protection officials in Rotherham, England are facing worldwide scorn for saying that they did not report the sexual abuse of 1400 children because they feared being branded “racists.”

The child victims were horrifically molested and trafficked by men of Pakistani descent over a 16-year period. At the time, government officials knew about approximately a third of the abuse allegations … and did nothing (or impeded arrest and prosecution).

The news and subsequent fears of “racism” made by police, child protection officials, and other social service workers are appalling and disgusting.

Unfortunately, it’s not surprising.

For victims, the cry of “racism” is only the latest of a stream of obstacles that children face in seeking justice, accountability, and—in this case—rescue from gang rape and sex trafficking.

Child sex abuse is a crime of shame and secrecy. It is a crime of power. It is a crime of dominance. In the vast majority of cases, the children who are abused lack the ability or the words to describe what happened to them. They live in fear of their perpetrators, whom, they believe, will come after them and hurt them for telling. They are helpless, which is why child sex predators are often confident that they will never be caught or prosecuted.

And this is before children are betrayed by the system. The next hurdle they face is fear. Not their own fear, but the fear and cowardice of adults who should have reported the abuse.

We have seen this in the Catholic Church, where for decades, witnesses and church officials didn’t report abuse because they feared that the church would punish them or that they may besmirch the name of a “good priest.”

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Ahora juzgarán a Grassi por malversación de fondos de la Fundación

ARGENTINA
Minutouno

El Tribunal Oral Criminal 3 de Morón rechazó un pedido de “probation” solicitado por la defensa del cura para suspender la realización del juicio por supuesta malversación de fondos.
Ahora juzgarán a Grassi por malversación de fondos de la Fundación

Grassi, que cumple una condena de 15 años por abuso sexual de menores, deberá ir a un nuevo juicio, esta vez en la causa por supuesta malversación de fondos de la Fundación Felices los Niños.

Se trata del caso en el que se investiga si Grassi alquiló una quinta en Hurlingham para uso personal con dinero que era de la Fundación. Recientemente se reveló otro caso en el que el sacerdote está acusado de desviar donaciones de la institución hacia el penal de Campana, donde está detenido.

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Revés para Grassi: ratifican que irá a juicio por malversación de fondos de la Fundación

ARGENTINA
Infobae

[Summary: Priest Julio Cesar Grassi, who is serving a 15-year prison sentence for child abuse, will now is being investigated for allegeations that he embezzeled money from the Happy Children Foundation, which he once headed.]

Por: Sergio Farella sfarella@infobae.com

El cura Julio César Grassi sumó otro revés judicial. Mientras cumple una condena de 15 años por abuso sexual de menores, ahora el Tribunal Oral 3 de Morón rechazó un pedido de su defensa para hacer una probation y confirmó que irá a juicio por otra causa. Se trata de una investigación por malversación de fondos de la Fundación Felices los Niños.

La Justicia intentará determinar si Grassi alquiló una quinta en Hurlingham para uso personal con dinero de la Fundación. El caso está vinculado con la acusación que pesa sobre el sacerdote de desviar donaciones hacia el penal de Campana, donde está detenido. Estas irregularidades fueron denunciadas en el programa Periodismo para Todos.

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Former Hastings priest’s court appearance moved to Sept. 5

MINNESOTA
Hastings Star Gazette

By Jane Lightbourn

An omnibus hearing Thursday, Sept. 5, in Dakota County District Court will determine the admissibility of evidence in the legal process for a former Hastings priest charged with two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct.

Francis Hoefgen, 63, now living in Columbia Heights, was charged by criminal complaint in late May following an investigation by Hastings Police. The investigation began last fall after the victim contacted the police department.

The criminal sexual abuse allegedly occurred 20 to 25 years ago, when the victim was an altar boy at St. Boniface Catholic Church in Hastings. His alleged abuser was the church pastor at the time, Hoefgen.

An omnibus hearing is a pretrial hearing. It is held after a defendant’s arraignment, which was May 21. The main purpose of the hearing is to determine the admissibility of evidence, including testimony and evidence seized at the time of arrest. At the time of his arraignment, Hoefgen posted $25,000 bail and was released.

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Catholic priest and former children’s home boss appear in court …

UNITED KINGDOM
Daily Mail

Catholic priest and former children’s home boss appear in court accused of abusing young boys in their care in the 1980s

By STEPH COCKROFT FOR MAILONLINE

A Catholic priest and a former children’s home boss have appeared in court accused of indecently assaulting young boys.

Father Anthony McSweeney, 67, and John Stingemore, 72, are charged with abusing young boys in their care during the 1980s.

Both men are accused of together indecently assaulting a boy under 16 between November 1980 and July 1981 at Grafton Close children’s home in Hounslow, west London.

The home is at the centre of Operation Fernbridge, a Met probe launched last February looking into claims of a paedophile ring operating out of the Elm Guest House in Barnes, South West London.

As part of the probe investigators are looking into claims that children were taken from the home to the Elm Guest House to be sexually abused.

Detectives are examining allegations that several high profile figures including the late MP Cyril Smith, abused children from Grafton Close at the guest house.

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Inquiry takes on new Anglican abuse file

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

AUGUST 28, 2014

Dan Box
Crime Reporter
Sydney

THE Anglican diocese at the ­centre of a major new police ­inquiry into church child sex abuse is also being investigated by a royal commission, which has asked it to provide tens of thousands of documents dating back to the 1950s.

The documents, including the correspondence of every Anglican bishop of Newcastle since the early 1950s, were provided to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse last month, in response to a formal summons issued earlier this year.

The Australian yesterday ­revealed a dedicated NSW Police strike force, codenamed Arinya-2, is also investigating ­allegations of child sex abuse within the Anglican Church in Newcastle, NSW.

The current bishop, Greg Thompson yesterday said his diocese would “co-operate fully and completely with the commission’s investigations and we have over recent months provided all ­material relating to allegations of child sexual abuse, including the church’s response”.

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Former St. Bernadette pastor pleads not guilty to $240K theft

WORCESTER (MA)
Telegram & Gazette

By Gary V. Murray TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF
gmurray@telegram.com

WORCESTER— The Rev. Stephen M. Gemme, the 44-year-old former pastor of St. Bernadette Parish in Northboro, pleaded not guilty today to charges of stealing nearly $240,000 from the parish and its school to support a gambling addiction.

Accompanied by his lawyer, Carol S. Wheeler, Rev. Gemme entered not-guilty pleas in Worcester Superior Court to five counts of larceny of more than $250 by a common scheme. Judge Janet Kenton-Walker released the Catholic priest on personal recognizance and continued his case to Oct. 7.

The thefts, more than $110,000 from a school account and in excess of $120,000 in parish money, allegedly occurred over a five-year span beginning in 2008, according to the indictments handed up Aug. 21 by a Worcester County grand jury. Rev. Gemme had been appointed to the parish in 2003.

Bishop Robert J. McManus removed him as pastor of St. Bernadette’s last year, after being advised by a member of the school’s advisory board of financial irregularities in a school account. The bishop said he met with Rev. Gemme the next day and the priest acknowledged a gambling problem.

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Judge Rejects Reduced Sentence In Former Pastor’s Sex Case

INDIANA
CBS Chicago

CHICAGO (STMW) – A federal judge has shot down former First Baptist Church of Hammond Pastor Jack Schaap’s motion to cut his 12-year prison sentence.

U.S. District Judge Rudy Lozano also denied Schaap’s request for a hearing on his motions and denied him a certificate to appeal to the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

Schaap pleaded guilty in September 2012 to taking a 16-year-old parishioner, who was also a student at the church’s school and under Schaap’s care for counseling, across state lines for sex three times. Lozano sentenced him in March 2013 to 12 years in prison, two years more than the 10-year sentence that federal attorneys had agreed as part of his plea deal to recommend.

Schaap then filed a motion earlier this year asking to have his sentence vacated because he claimed his original attorneys had promised that Lozano would sentence him at most 10 years in prison and most likely only a few years.

The charge comes with a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison, however. Lozano noted in his order, issued Tuesday in the U.S. District Court in Hammond, that he quizzed Schaap on the issue thoroughly during Schaap’s change of plea hearing, including on whether he understood that the final sentence was up to the judge.

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Judge denies Schaap’s request to overturn 12-year prison sentence

INDIANA
NWI Times

Jim Masters
Times Correspondent

HAMMOND | A federal judge denied a petition from Jack Schaap, former First Baptist Church of Hammond pastor, to overturn his 12-year prison sentence for sexually abusing a 16-year-old church member.

U.S. District Court Judge Rudy Lozano issued the ruling Tuesday. Lozano dismissed Schaap’s claims that his attorney ineffectively advised him during plea agreement and sentencing proceedings.

Schaap contended his attorney advised him the sentence would be a maximum of 120 months if he pleaded guilty, more likely between three and four years, and perhaps as low as 18 months. Schaap testified he did not realize his actions with the girl were illegal, which included driving the girl from Illinois to Michigan to engage in sexual activity.

Furthermore, the court advised Schaap he would waive his right to an appeal by accepting the plea agreement. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jill Koster argued Schaap’s claims contradict statements he made during sentencing proceedings in which “he acknowledged he faced a minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum of life in prison.”

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Judge rejects Schaap bid for sentencing adjustment in sex case

INDIANA
Post-Tribune

By Teresa Auch Schultz tauch@post-trib.com
August 26, 2014

A federal judge has shot down former First Baptist Church of Hammond Pastor Jack Schaap’s motion to cut his 12-year prison sentence.

U.S. District Judge Rudy Lozano also denied Schaap’s request for a hearing on his motions and denied him a certificate to appeal to the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

Schaap pleaded guilty in September 2012 to taking a 16-year-old parishioner, who was also a student at the church’s school and under Schaap’s care for counseling, across state lines for sex three times. Lozano sentenced him in March 2013 to 12 years in prison, two years more than the 10-year sentence that federal attorneys had agreed as part of his plea deal to recommend.

Schaap then filed a motion earlier this year asking to have his sentence vacated because he claimed his original attorneys had promised that Lozano would sentence him at most 10 years in prison and most likely only a few years.

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Pastor’s request for reduced sentence rejected

INDIANA
The News Dispatch

Associated Press

HAMMOND, Ind. (AP) — A federal judge has rejected a request by a former pastor of a northwestern Indiana megachurch that his 12-year prison sentence for having sex with a teenager be reduced.

The Post-Tribune of Merrillville reports (http://bit.ly/1tRYEov ) U.S. District Judge Rudy Lozano on Tuesday also denied Jack Schaap’s request for a hearing on his motions and denied him a certificate to appeal to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Schaap was pastor of the 15,000-member First Baptist Church of Hammond for 11 years when he was fired in 2012. He pleaded guilty to bringing the girl to Illinois and Michigan for sex.

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FBI files reveal that Televangelist Paul Crouch had ties to … well, everybody

UNITED STATES
MuckRock

What do the Italian mob, East Germany, and the PLO have in common?

by M.G. Lee on Aug. 19, 2014

Paul Crouch, founder of the Trinity Broadcasting Network, the world’s largest Christian television network, always had a knack for avoiding scandal, brushing off allegations of graft and sexual harassment with ease. However, the televangelists’ FBI file, released after his death, reveals that his criminal ties potentially go a lot deeper – and weirder – than anybody could have imagined.

Requested by long-time MuckRock user RobbyD, the file reveals the laundry list of Crouch’s activities the FBI was monitoring or even investigating. Though the file is heavily redacted, it’s intact enough to describe the FBI’s investigations into some of his exploits, whose findings are mostly based on a host of phone calls to and from Trinity Broadcasting Network with some pretty sketchy players.

Investigation by the Italian IRS

The first 20 or so pages of the Crouch document make it clear that the FBI and IRS were working closely with the Italian GDF, essentially their Internal Revenue Service, to fully investigate Crouch’s foreign and domestic holdings. According to the file, the FBI and GDF found that, among other things, CHLC, an apparent subsidiary of TBN, was conducting a false financial statements scam they called “pre-billing,” where in order to continue receiving loan money the organization would submit receipts for completed sales that were actually still a “work in progress, with no amount being due from the customer as of the date of the collateral report.”

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FBI files link Christian TV’s Paul Crouch to Italian mob, Palestinian gun trafficking

UNITED STATES
The Raw Story

By Scott Kaufman
Wednesday, August 27, 2014

According to files compiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the founder of the world’s largest Christian television network financed his endeavor with the assistance of numerous international criminal organizations.

Documents obtained by MuckRock show that the FBI was investigating Trinity Broadcasting Network and its founder, Paul Crouch, for being in communication with the infamous Bronx mafia figure, Vincent Gigante, with regards to a “narcotics transfer of funds,” which is how the FBI classifies money-laundering.

In another document, Crouch is listed alongside Reverend Earl Paulk and Oral Roberts as “anti-Semitic white supremacists [who] were supposedly receiving funds from the [Palestinian Liberation Organization] to ‘run guns’” via an “Islamic Education Center” in Baltimore, Maryland. Both of these investigations were tagged as relating to “financial flow” involving narcotics.

Crouch and the Tustin, California-based Trinity Broadcasting Network he founded have come under fire in the past for “the prosperity gospel” that is preached on the network, which promises immediate material rewards to viewers who donate generously.

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Dominican Republic presses sex abuse charges against defrocked nuncio

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
The News (Poland)

27.08.2014

The Dominican Republic has began criminal proceedings against Archbishop Wesolowski, the former papal diplomat defrocked by the Vatican after paedophile allegations.

The Italian ANSA news agency says the state prosecutor’s office in Santo Domingo has already filed charges, following the Vatican informing on Monday that they have taken away diplomatic immunity from Jozef Wesolowski, the former Holy See representative in the Dominican Republic. It has been alleged that Wesolowski paid boys to perform sexual acts.

The Vatican defrocked the priest in June and have launched their own criminal proceedings. Wesolowski has appealed the defrocking.

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República Dominicana podría juzgar …

REPUBLICA DOMINICANA
Univision

[con video]

República Dominicana podría juzgar a un exnuncio papal por abusos sexuales

Jozef Wesolowski, un antiguo arzobispo polaco y diplomático papal que fue expulsado del sacerdocio tras acusaciones de abusos sexuales contra menores, perdió su inmunidad diplomática y podría ser juzgado en República Dominicana, donde sirvió como nuncio.

Sobre este caso el portavoz del Vaticano Federico Lombardi, dijo que el exarzobispo de 66 años “podría estar sujeto a procedimientos judiciales en los tribunales que tengan jurisdicción específica sobre él”.

Wesolowski fue despedido del sacerdocio el año pasado, después de que un tribunal administrativo lo declaró culpable de pagarles a niños a cambio de sexo, por lo que actualmente se encuentra en Roma para apelar contra el veredicto.

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Father Jack Gubbels died while police were seeking to interview him

AUSTRALIA
Broken Rites

By a Broken Rites researcher (article updated 27 August 2014)

Australia’s Melbourne Catholic archdiocese recruited and trained a priest, Father Jack Gubbels, whose big interest was in “befriending” boys. The Melbourne diocesan authorities soon transferred him “on loan” to far-north Queensland, out of the reach of the Victoria Police. Eventually Gubbels took sick leave and worked as a bus driver in Queensland — until some of his Melbourne victims contacted Broken Rites.

Broken Rites advised these Melbourne victims to contact a unit of detectives in the Victoria Police.

On 18 August 1995, a Victoria Police detective went to Queensland, seeking to interview Father Jack William Gubbels on the Gold Coast about child-sex sex offences that he had allegedly committed in Melbourne. According to the police, Gubbels (then aged 49) refused to co-operate with them. A few hours later that day, Gubbels was found dead in his bed in his home at Helensville on the Gold Coast. As result, being dead, he could no longer be taken to court to be charged with the sex offences.

The Victoria Police had wanted to interview Gubbels about a complaint from Springvale, a suburb in Melbourne’s south-east. The police had obtained a written, signed and sworn statement from a Springvale man (“Basil”), stating that, when he was a 13-year-old altar boy at St Joseph’s parish there in 1977, he had been indecently assaulted by Gubbels.

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Priest dies while facing child-sex charges

AUSTRALIA
Broken Rites

By a Broken Rites researcher (article updated 27 August 2014)

On half a dozen occasions during 2013 and 2014, a Queensland magistrate granted an adjournment to a retired Catholic priest, Father Dermot Casey, who had been charged with sexual offences against ten children. The defence lawyers kept producing medical certificates saying that the priest (aged 78 in 2014) was not well enough to come to court. Now Father Casey has died, thus defeating his victims. .

Dermot Casey was charged with 57 counts of indecent treatment of ten children (including girls and boys), allegedly committed between 1977 and 1988. He was also charged with one count of common assault.

The prosecution file included statements from former school pupils, including some from Beenleigh (a Brisbane suburb) and some from Salisbury (south of Brisbane).

The prosecution alleged that some of the incidents occurred during visits to Queensland’s south coast.

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Former Vatican envoy could be extradited to Dominican Republic

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Dominican Today

Santo Domingo.- Justice minister Francisco Dominguez Brito issued a statement saying it was just and positive for the Vatican to remove Josef Wesolowski’s immunity and that the Dominican Republic would consider seeking the former archbishop’s extradition so he could stand trial in the country.

Wesolowski, former Vatican envoy to the Dominican Republic, had been indicted on sexual abuse of boys and thus defrocked. Since the Holy See doesn’t extradite its own citizens, the Vatican had previously insisted that the former papal diplomat enjoyed diplomatic immunity.

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Former Quinte area priest found dead

CANADA
Quinte News

Several sources are confirming the death of Rene Labelle, a former Quinte area Roman Catholic priest.

The 65 year old was discovered dead in his west end Kingston apartment on Monday.

Labelle was appealing a court ruling which found him guilty on sex assault charges against a minor, something he denied.

Labelle plead not guilty and maintained his innocence in the case, which completed in April.

He was scheduled to appear in a Kingston court tomorrow.

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Turmoil in the Church

MALTA
Times of Malta

Wednesday, August 27, 2014 by Martin Scicluna

It has been a great sadness to those who love the Maltese Church to see its dirty linen being exposed so ruthlessly to public gaze. While commentators – outsiders like me – have long spoken of the need for the Maltese Church to renew itself after the debacle of the divorce referendum, those who have been at the forefront of working within the Church to save it from itself have previously held their counsel. As they should.

Loyalty to any leader or organisation is an essential quality. Loyalty should flow upwards to a leader, as well as downwards to subordinates. This does not mean that members of an organisation (including the Church) should not express their views clearly and frankly within it. But when a decision has been reached – even a decision to do nothing – it should be fully supported and public criticism should not then follow. Internal dissent properly expressed is all part of the clash of ideas that are healthy in an organisation. Public dissent that undermines the leadership, however, is destructive and self-defeating.

For reasons best known to him, one priest, who is also, like me, a commentator on the public scene, felt it incumbent, “as an act of conscience”, to state publicly what most who have been following the Maltese Church for the last few years were well aware of: that the Archbishop was not giving the Church the leadership it desperately needed.

This public act of disloyalty – albeit no doubt well-intentioned – led inevitably to a passionate response from a most respected academic close to the Church, accusing the priest and others of “crucifying” the Archbishop (for English speakers, the word “crucify” here is translated from the Maltese, meaning “dragging the Archbishop through the dirt”). Moreover, he accused the priest who had first broken the story of being driven by local politics: an old-fashioned Nationalist Party agenda which placed him at loggerheads with the Archbishop’s (correct) non-political stance on public issues.

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The unpleasant truth is that the Archbishop’s time is over

MALTA
Malta Today

Frank Psaila 27 August 2014

The leadership vacuum within the local Church was evident as early as three years ago when Auxiliary Bishop Charles Scicluna was flown down from Rome to help revitalise an ailing Church.

The unfortunate thing about the current tension in the local Church is that instead of being embraced to help the Church grow, it is being met with deafening silence [read resistance] from the Church’s hierarchy. The problem boils down to Archbishop Paul Cremona and his leadership team. They are afraid of internal dissent because they are reluctant to change. Cremona and his men at the Curia need to grasp the following, unpleasant truth – their time is over.

There is no point trying to fix the situation, the only solution is a clean sweep at the top. Before anyone accuses me of seeking to ‘crucify’ the Archbishop by seeking to pull the Church closer to the Nationalist Party, I’ll put my cards on the table:

1. I strongly believe that the Church ought to be outside party politics;

2. I support the separation of church and state;

3. Untold harm was done to the PN when some of its members, including MPs, tried to pull closer to the Church and ‘fight’ the introduction [another huge mistake] of divorce, together;

4. I am sure that if the PN wants to be destined to a very long period in opposition it should seek to pull closer to the Church. The PN is [or should be] a secular party and it should make this unequivocally clear in its statute. So far it has failed to do so, which is a pity, and a mistake;

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FBI: More victims have come forward with molestation claims

MISSISSIPPI
WLOX

By Michelle Lady

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) –
More victims have come forward accusing a veteran South Mississippi teacher of molesting them while students at Bayou View Middle School. FBI agents now believe William Richard Pryor molested 11 male students between the ages of 12 and 14.

Tuesday, Pryor was in court for nearly two hours as testimony reveled shocking, new details of the alleged sexual crimes.

An FBI agent was called to the stand and told the judge three more former students have come forward claiming Pryor molested them since the FBI arrested Pryor last week. The students were all between the ages of 12 and 14 when the alleged molestation happened.

The agent also said Pryor told officials they will find child pornography on his computer. Right now, Pryor’s computer is in the FBI crime lab being searched.

The FBI agent also described Pryor’s demeanor when they showed up that first day to interview him. He testified that when the agents got Pryor out of class to interview him, the first thing the agent said was, “Do you know why we are here?” Pryor said to him, “I probably know why you are here.”

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UPDATE Teacher accused of molesting boys had no negative personnel reports

MISSISSIPPI
Sun Herald

BY ROBIN FITZGERALD AND LAUREN WALCK
Sun Herald
August 26, 2014

GULFPORT — Longtime teacher Richard Pryor’s personnel file from the Gulfport School District contains no complaints about him or letters of reprimand during the 32 years in which he allegedly molested boys he took on trips, an FBI agent said.

But Pryor, 68, did not seem surprised when FBI agents showed up at St. Patrick Catholic High School on Aug. 19 to question him about the allegations, Special Agent Matthew Campbell testified in court Tuesday.

“He seemed to almost be relieved that we had shown up when we did,” Campbell said. “He indicated it was not fair to the boys.”

After his arrest, Pryor told agents they could find his computer hidden under the chest of drawers in the bedroom of his Gulfport apartment.

“He told us there were things on the computer that shouldn’t be there,” Campbell said.

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Judge Suppresses Images Found in Cellphone Search

NEW YORK
New York Law Journal

John Caher, New York Law Journal
August 27, 2014

In an early application of a new U.S. Supreme Court precedent on cellphone records and the Fourth Amendment, a judge in Brooklyn has suppressed evidence that allegedly would have shown that a defendant photographed a child sex crime victim during a trial.

Criminal Court Judge Michael Gerstein’s (See Profile) suppression decision stemmed from allegations that a Satmar spiritual counselor, Nechemia Weberman, had molested a girl for three years. Weberman was convicted of all 59 counts against him and is serving a 50-year prison term.

The 2012 trial was a polarizing event, with some members of the Hasidic community strongly supporting Weberman and sharply criticizing the victim.

As the trial began, Supreme Court Justice John Ingram admonished the audience against using a cellphone in the courtroom. Additionally, court rules prohibit the taking of photographs inside the courthouse.

Yona Weissman, who attended at least part of the trial, was charged with two counts of second-degree criminal contempt after a court officer searched his cellphone and found a photograph of the victim.

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Trial observer who took photo of victim in high-profile case wins motion to suppress phone search

NEW YORK
ABA Journal

Posted Aug 26, 2014
By Martha Neil

A court officer who suspected an observer of a high-profile 2012 trial had taken his photo in a hallway outside a Brooklyn, N.Y., courtroom had a right to seize the individual’s cellphone and check it for photos of himself.

But once that suspicion was disproven, the officer should not have directed Yona Weissman to display all the photos on his cellphone without first obtaining a warrant, ruled Criminal Court Judge Michael Gerstein on Tuesday. Photographs are prohibited throughout the courthouse, and the judge presiding over the trial had also ordered that no pictures be taken.

The search revealed that Weissman had earlier taken a photo of the victim in a sexual abuse case against her Hasidic counselor, Nechemya Weberman, the New York Law Journal (sub. req.). reports.

Because of the improper search, however, Gerstein granted Weissman’s suppression motion, which is expected to conclude the contempt case he has been facing.

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Sex-abuse victim court photos inadmissible as evidence: judge

NEW YORK
New York Post

By Josh Saul

August 27, 2014

The case against an man accused of taking photos of a sex-abuse victim as she testified in a blockbuster 2012 trial took a major hit Tuesday when a Brooklyn judge ruled the photos inadmissible as evidence because court officers didn’t follow search- and-seizure laws, court papers show.

Yona Weissman, 24, was charged with contempt after court officers caught him with photos on his phone of a 17-year-old girl on the stand in the trial of her Hasidic counselor, Nechemya Weberman, who was later convicted of abusing her.

But Brooklyn Criminal Court Judge Michael Gerstein ruled Tuesday that while the officers were allowed to seize Weissman’s phone when they suspected he had violated courthouse rules against photography, they should not have “compelled” him to show them the photos without a warrant.

“Nobody saw him take photos in the courtroom. Without the photos there’s no evidence against him,” said Weissman’s defense attorney, Izzy Fried.

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Brooklyn judge cites recent Supreme Court ruling…

NEW YORK
New York Daily News

Brooklyn judge cites recent Supreme Court ruling while tossing cellphone evidence against man accused of taking picture of sex abuse victim on witness stand

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

BY OREN YANIV

A case centered around an improper digital image that captured a sex abuse victim on the witness stand is its last throes after a Brooklyn judge threw out all the evidence Tuesday.

Relying on a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision from two months ago — establishing that a search of a cell phone requires a warrant — Criminal Court judge Michael Gerstein found that the photo recovered from the phone of Yona Weissman, 24, cannot be used against him at trial.

The picture showed an 18-year-old Orhodox Jewish woman testifying against her former religious counselor Nechemya Weberman, who was convicted of molesting her following a closely-watched trial in 2012.

The contempt case involving the photograph garnered extra attention because one of the codefendants was weirdly named Lemon Juice.

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Brooklyn Judge Tosses Evidence …

NEW YORK
Failed Messiah

Brooklyn Judge Tosses Evidence Against Satmar Hasidic Man Who Allegedly Intimidated Weberman Sex Abuse Victim

Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com

A Brooklyn judge threw out most of the evidence against a haredi man who allegedly took a picture of a child sex abuse victim as she was testifying and allegedly sent that picture to blogs, Facebook accounts and Twitter feeds to to post in a sick bid to intimidate her, the Daily News reported.

Relying on a US Supreme Court decision issued two months ago the says that a search of a cell phone requires a warrant, earlier today Brooklyn Criminal Court judge Michael Gerstein refused to allow the photo taken of the victim to be admitted into evidence – effectively ending the case.

The decision may be incorrect because witnesses, including court officers, apparently saw the hasidic man, 24-year-old Yona Weissman, take a photo of the victim, and that would have supplied probable cause that should have allowed the phone to be immediately searched.

However, court officers testified they thought Weissman took a different photo of the victim in a courthouse hallway. They took his phone and found the first image, which was allegedly snapped the day before.

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Rotherham abuse report: protection is what matters, not blame

UNITED KINGDOM
The Guardian

Paul Vallely
The Guardian, Tuesday 26 August 2014

The detail disclosed by the Jay report into the sexual exploitation of children in Rotherham is so shocking it will grab the headlines with its accounts of children as young as 11 being doused in petrol and threatened with being set alight. But it is the scale of the abuse that ought to give most concern. The figure of 1,400 children subjected to a series of appalling ordeals is almost certainly a conservative one.

If we are still shocked we are, sadly, less surprised by yet another example of the way in which those in authority over decades disbelieved, suppressed or ignored evidence of abuse. That is not just true of the police and social workers. The warp runs through the weft of establishments from schools and children’s homes to the BBC and the Catholic church. Abuse was made worse by cultures of denial and cover-up. The victims were blamed for what had happened to them. Whistleblowers were chastised.

But we should take care with one particular aspect of the Rotherham case – and those that preceded it in Rochdale, Derby and Oxford. In all, the abuse was categorised as being perpetrated by Asian men with young white girls as the victims. The authorities’ failure to act, it is suggested, was conditioned by nervousness about being branded racist.

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Lawsuit accuses Seventh-day Adventist Church in 1970s of supporting convicted child molester’s habit

OREGON
Oregonian

By Aimee Green | agreen@oregonian.com
on August 26, 2014

Two men who say they were molested when they were children in the 1970s by an Oregon youth leader with the Seventh-day Adventist Church are suing for $13.5 million, claiming the church knew the man was a convicted child molester but let him work with children anyway.

The suit, filed Tuesday in Multnomah County Circuit Court, claims the Maryland-based church knew Leslie “Les” Bovee had served two years in prison for molesting at least one boy. Nonetheless, the suit claims, church officials didn’t warn parents in Junction City or Veneta when it placed the ex-con in charge of the Pathfinder Club, a church-sponsored youth activity program.

“The SDA Church made a conscious choice to let a ‘wolf’ guard the ‘flock,’” said Portland attorney Steve Crew, in a news release Tuesday.

Crew’s firm — O’Donnell Clark & Crew — is representing the two plaintiffs, identified by the letters D.M. and F.D. The suit claims that the men were 10 or 11 years old when the abuse started in 1974, and it lasted for about six years, ending in 1980. The plaintiffs’ families attended churches in Junction City and Veneta, both near Eugene.

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Oregon Men Suing Over Sex Abuse Say They Want Seventh Day Adventist Church To Change

OREGON
OPB

Two Oregon men have filed a civil lawsuit against the local and national branches of the Seventh Day Adventist church. They allege that church elders in Veneta, a town near Eugene, knowingly allowed a convicted sex offender to lead a youth program in the 1970s.

The men are represented by O’Donnel, Clarck, and Crew LLP, a Portland firm known for winning civil liability sexual abuse lawsuits against the Boy Scouts of America and the Portland Archdiocese.

The Seventh Day Adventists and the firm have already settled three lawsuits over abuse committed by Les Bovee, formerly one of the church’s youth group leaders in Oregon. The two new plaintiffs who filed suit today served as witnesses in those earlier cases, according to their attorneys.

The civil suit stems from events that took place in Oregon in the 1970s.

In 1970, according to court documents, Les Boyee was sentenced to two years in state prison for fondling a child. Shortly after his release, he moved to Veneta and was chosen to lead an Adventist church youth group called the Pathfinder Club there. The lawsuit alleges that church leaders knew of Boyee’s criminal history when they selected him to lead the club, and allowed him to continue serving as a youth leader even after reports surfaced in 1975 that he was abusing children in the club.

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The ‘trucking company’ losing parishioners by the truckload: learn from the 4 big cultural failings of the Catholic Church

AUSTRALIA
BRW

Darren Hill

I don’t know whether you shared the same response as I did when I read this article regarding recent responses by the Catholic Church at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses into Child Sexual Abuse.

My initial reaction was one of slack-jawed disbelief. I was speechless. Then I got angry. I then did what most opinionated buggers like me do—I took to social media to exercise my righteous indignation. Bam.

Rather than simply rant to our friends and family on Facebook and the like, perhaps we should take a closer look into what essentially is a public display of leadership; or more specifically, what NOT to do as a leader of an organisation facing turmoil.

It is in fact, a case study of the reactions of a senior leader of arguably the most powerful organisation on the planet. And quite simply, George Pell demonstrated—in a very public fashion—exactly why the Catholic Church continues to lose relevance.

Half a century ago, 70 per cent of Catholics were attending mass, but that has now dropped and is approaching single figures. The recent lack of humanity shown by Pell in his comments via weblink in the Royal Commission has highlighted the lack of touch the management of this organisation displays towards its flock.

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Lawsuit: Church Knew Abuser Ran Youth Program

OREGON
WBOC

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP)- Two 50-year-old men allege the Seventh-Day Adventist Church put a man known to abuse children in charge of its youth program in the 1970s and kept him in that position, even after learning he was accused of abusing a child in the program.

The men filed suit in Oregon on Tuesday, seeking $15 million from the Maryland-based church and its Oregon branch, alleging sexual battery, inflicting emotional distress, fraud and negligence.

The men say they were abused in the 1970s but only discovered in 2012 that the church knew it had a convicted child molester in its ranks and did nothing.

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Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church settles child sex abuse lawsuit out of court

WASHINGTON
Q13 Fox

AUGUST 26, 2014, BY JAMES LYNCH

SEATTLE — “It means that he wanted to, they as a whole wanted to, close a chapter and sweep it under the rug,” child sexual abuse victim Kenny M. said Tuesday.

Kenny M. is one of three plaintiffs in a recently settled civil lawsuit against Seattle’s Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church and its pastor, Robert Lee Manaway

At the center of the lawsuit — Timothy Dampier, a longtime leader, youth pastor and singer at Tabernacle.

Two years ago, Dampier was found guilty of sexually abusing 17 boys and was sentenced to 22 years in prison.

“We maintained in the lawsuit that Tabernacle knew or should have known that Dampier was a problem,” Kenny’s attorney, Bill Waechter, said.

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Anglican bishop vows to support inquiry

AUSTRALIA
Maitland Mercury

By NICK BIELBY Aug. 26, 2014

The Anglican Bishop of Newcastle says the church will fully support police investigations into alleged sexual assaults against children.

Police have launched Strike Force Arinya-2 to investigate alleged sexual assaults involving the Newcastle Diocese of the Anglican Church, which includes Maitland, dating back to the 1970s.

The investigation will also look into how allegations were handled at the time.

In a letter to parishioners released yesterday, the Bishop of Newcastle Gregory Thompson said his first concern was that victims and survivors saw justice and received support.

“It is clear to me that in the past we did not always handle allegations of abuse in the best way,” he said.

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August 26, 2014

Grifty Gov. Bob McDonnell Hanging Out In Gay Priest’s Rectory

VIRGINIA
Wonkette

by Gary Legum
Aug 26 2014

How much do we love the Bob McDonnell grift trial, currently underway in Richmond, Virginia, for giving us a break from August’s unrelentingly bad news? So very, very much. Thank you, Bob and Maureen McDonnell! We would even consider voting for you in the future, if you had any prayer of running for elected office ever again.

Speaking of prayer, today brings us the news that Bob has moved out of the McDonnell family home and is shacking up in the rectory of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church with the Rev. Wayne Ball, a family friend who officiated one of the weddings of a McDonnell offspring that snake-oil salesman Jonnie Williams allegedly paid for. Why is this significant, aside from being evidence that Bob is all in on his “My marriage was going off the rails so the grifting was all my wife’s fault” defense strategy? Let’s just say that Rev. Ball has a colorful history.

Take it away, Norfolk paper The Virginian-Pilot in 2003.

A Roman Catholic priest was charged last week with a misdemeanor count of frequenting a public park for “lewdness,”‘ police said Monday night.

The Rev. Wayne Ball, pastor of Holy Trinity Catholic Church in West Ocean View, was issued a summons for a future date in General District Court, police said.

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Winona Diocese appeals to move clergy abuse trial from Ramsey County

MINNESOTA
Star Tribune

Article by: JEAN HOPFENSPERGER , Star Tribune Updated: August 26, 2014

Winona Diocese claims it cannot get a fair trial in Ramsey County.

The Diocese of Winona has asked the Minnesota Court of Appeals to throw out a recent court decision to keep a high-profile clergy abuse trial in Ramsey County.

Diocese attorneys argued that they could not get a fair trial in Ramsey County because of widespread media coverage of the clergy abuse case and because their survey of potential jurors indicated that more than a third had already made up their minds about the case.

At issue is the lawsuit filed last year by an alleged victim of former priest Tom Adamson. It claims Adamson had sexually abused children in the Winona Diocese before he was transferred to the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis in the 1970s and abused the alleged victim.

The lawsuit has resulted in an unprecedented release of documents related to clergy abuse.

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Former Binghamton Priest Pleads Guilty to Child Porn Charges

NEW YORK
WICZ

A former priest who spent three decades in the Binghamton area, including a 19-year career at Seton Catholic Central pled guilty to six counts of child pornography Tuesday.

The Syracuse Diocese says Father Robert Ours was at Seton Catholic from 1992-2011.

He has been inactive from the diocese since 2011. According to the Syracuse Diocese Ours also served at St. Vincent’s in Binghamton, St. John’s the Evangelist, Our Lady of Good Counsel, and St. Rita’s until 2011 prior to its closing.

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Ramsey County priest abuse trial put off; Winona diocese wants it moved

MINNESOTA
Pioneer Press

By Emily Gurnon
egurnon@pioneerpress.com
POSTED: 08/26/2014

St. Paul archdiocese put accused priest on marriage tribunal, documents say
The Diocese of Winona has made another attempt to move a civil court trial involving one of its former priests out of Ramsey County.

The trial of Doe 1, a man who claims he was sexually molested by former Rev. Thomas Adamson, was scheduled to begin Sept. 22 in Ramsey County District Court. It has been delayed until Nov. 3.

The Winona diocese asked the state Court of Appeals on Tuesday to force the trial judge to reverse his previous ruling on where the trial should be held. In the alternative, the diocese asked the appeals court to temporarily halt the case proceedings.

Judge John Van de North on Aug. 4 denied the Diocese of Winona’s petition to move the trial to another county. Thomas Braun, attorney for the diocese, argued Tuesday in his petition to the appeals court that the “excessive pre-trial publicity” has made it impossible for the diocese to get a fair and impartial trial.

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Former Vatican ambassador Jozef Wesolowski …

UNITED KINGDOM
The Independent

Former Vatican ambassador Jozef Wesolowski could face trial over alleged sex abuse after losing diplomatic immunity

KASHMIRA GANDER Tuesday 26 August 2014

A former papal diplomat, who was defrocked over allegations that he sexually abused young boys, has lost his diplomatic immunity and could therefore face trial in the Dominican Republic, according to the Vatican.

Authorities in the Dominican Republic, where Jozef Wesolowski served as nuncio, or ambassador, said an investigation uncovered allegations that Wesolowski had paid young boys to perform sexual acts. However, prosecutors did not file charges because as nuncio, Wesolowski had diplomatic immunity.

The Vatican has previously insisted in its handling of the delicate case of Josef Wesolowski that he enjoyed diplomatic immunity and that the Holy See doesn’t extradite its own citizens.

But Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said in a statement on Monday that the 66-year-old former archbishop no longer had immunity and might “be subjected to judicial procedures from the courts that could have specific jurisdiction over him”.

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Priest held for sodomising 7-year-old

INDIA
Indian Express

A 65-year-old priest has been arrested for allegedly sodomising a seven-year-old boy after luring him to a room within the temple premises located on Sikandra Road in the district, the police said Tuesday.

The incident came to light Monday when the father of the boy approached Soraon police station accusing the priest, Ram Prakash Das, of sodomising his son. Based on the complaint and the victim’s statement, the police arrested the priest.

“The boy has told us that Das was involved in similar acts earlier also. We are verifying his claims. The priest has been sent to jail,” said Circle Officer (Soraon), Lal Pratap Singh.

Preliminary investigations revealed that Das, who originally hailed from Madhya Pradesh, had come to the temple located on Sikandra Road 15 years ago. He performed his duties there and lived in one of the rooms within the temple complex.

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Now he’s dead

CANADA
Sylvia’s Site

Posted on August 26, 2014 by Sylvia

Father Rene Labelle is dead. I have confirmation from several reliable sources that the priest was found dead in his apartment yesterday. There is talk but no confirmation that his death was by suicide. I have heard that an autopsy was being conducted.

Father Labelle was convicted in January of this year for sexually abusing a young boy. He was sentenced to 16 months in jail.

Labelle filed an appeal. Pending the appeal he was out on bail. As of 16 August August all the requisite paperwork had not yet been filed with the court.

At some point Father Labelle violated his bail conditions and was facing two new charges of breach of bail. He had a courtdate at 09:00 am this Thursday, 28 August 2014, on the breach charges.

And now he’s dead.

The appeal has not been dealt with. The breach has not been dealt with. His victim is left in Never Never Land with the conviction of his molester under appeal.

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A ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST FOUND GUILTY OF SEX RELATED CHARGES EARLIER THIS YEAR IS DEAD.

CANADA
CKWS

A ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST FOUND GUILTY OF SEX RELATED CHARGES EARLIER THIS YEAR IS DEAD.

FATHER RENE LABELLE’S BODY WAS DISCOVERED IN A WEST END APARTMENT LATE MONDAY AFTERNOON.

AS NEWSWATCH’S MORGANNE CAMPBELL REPORTS LABELLE WAS FREE ON BAIL, WAITING FOR AN APPEAL.

It was here in an apartment building on Norwest Road where Father Rene Labelle’s lifeless body was discovered Monday. Police don’t suspect foul play and it’s been suggested the Priest took his own life.

A sad day for those at the Archdioceses in KIngston. In a prepared statement the organization said,

“We are saddened to learn that Father Rene Labelle was found dead in his Kingston apartment.”

The church stated Labelle was 65 years old and had been priest of the Archdiocese of Kingston for 36 years.

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Priest pleads not guilty to theft charge

WISCONSIN
Chicago Tribune

By Alexandra Chachkevitch,
Tribune reporter

The Rev. James Dokos pleads not guilty to felony theft charge this morning

A Greek Orthodox priest pleaded not guilty to a felony theft charge during his arraignment in a Milwaukee County courtroom this morning.

The Rev. James Dokos, who has been placed on leave from Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Glenview pending the outcome of the case, is accused of improperly spending more than $100,000 from a trust fund intended to benefit Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Milwaukee.

Dokos, 62, was the longtime pastor at Annunciation before transferring to Sts. Peter and Paul in 2012.

Authorities in Milwaukee announced in June that they would file the charge against Dokos after launching an investigation last year into how the trust fund money was spent. The fund was established by a longtime Annunciation parishioner and his wife, and while the church received $1.1 million from the fund, Annunciation members alerted authorities after finding possible discrepancies in how the rest of the money was allotted.

Dokos’ attorneys have denied he engaged in wrongdoing and have said Annunciation members sought the prosecution against him to cover up their own mismanagement of the fund.

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Former St. Thomas More Middle School teacher arrested for child pornography possession

SOUTH DAKOTA
Black Hills Fox

After receiving a tip last week, law enforcement has arrested a now former St. Thomas More Middle School teacher on eight counts of possession of child pornography.

Authorities say 26–year–old Andrew Hiipakka was taken into custody Tuesday afternoon. Detectives with the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force received a tip last week, that led to a search warrant at Hiipakka’s residence.

The task force found numerous images of child pornography on Hiipakka’s personal computer. Once they discovered he was employed as a teacher, detectives say they contacted the Rapid City Catholic School System about the investigation and Hiipakka was immediately terminated.

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Former Middle School Teacher Indicted On Child Pornography Charges

SOUTH DAKOTA
Keloland

[with video]

by Don Jorgensen

RAPID CITY, SD – A former Rapid City middle school teacher is accused of having child pornography on his personal computer.

A tip last week led police to search 26-year-old Andrew Hiipakka’s home on the 400 block of East Fairlane, where several disturbing images were found on his home computer.

Hiipakka is now facing eight counts of possessing, manufacturing, or distributing child porn.

According to these court papers, Hiipakka had stored several videos and other images depicting young boys in various sexual acts, including with some adults.

All of them too offensive to describe in detail on television.

According to police, their ages ranged from three years old to 14-years-old, some of them approximately the same age as some of the students Hiipakka once taught.

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Middle school teacher arrested on child-pornography charges

SOUTH DAKOTA
Rapid City Journal

August 19, 2014 • Andrea J. Cook Journal staff

A teacher at St. Thomas More Middle School in Rapid City was fired last week after school officials learned he was the subject of a child-pornography investigation.

A tip brought Andrew Hiipakka, 26, of Rapid City, to the attention of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, according to a Rapid City Police Department news release.

A search of Hiipakka’s home produced numerous images of child pornography on his personal computer, the release said.

Hiipakka was arrested without incident Tuesday. He was being held in the Pennington County Jail under a $50,000 bond.

The Rapid City Catholic School System was informed of the investigation on Aug. 14, and he was fired that day, according to police spokeswoman Tarah Heupel.

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St. Thomas More teacher arrested for possession of child porn

SOUTH DAKOTA
Black Hills Pioneer

Posted: Thursday, August 21, 2014

By Heather Murschel Black Hills Pioneer

SPEARFISH — A St. Thomas More teacher was arrested for possession of child pornography and terminated from his position within the Rapid City Catholic School System.

Authorities say Andrew Hiipakka, 26, of Rapid City allegedly had numerous images that exploit children for sexual gratification on his personal computer.

Tuesday’s arrest came after detectives with the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force confirmed a tip they had been given last week that led to a search warrant at the middle school teacher’s residence.

Black Hills Fugitive Task Force took Hippakka into custody without incident.

Detectives discovered that he was employed as a teacher, and after contacting the Rapid City Catholic School System about the investigation they “immediately” terminated Hippakka’s employment.

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Wesolowski podrá ser enjuiciado en Rep. Dominicana

CIUDAD DEL VATICANO
El Nuevo Herald

BY POR NICOLE WINFIELD
ASSOCIATED PRESS

CIUDAD DEL VATICANO — Josef Wesolowski, quien fue nuncio apostólico en la República Dominicana y ahora está acusado de abusar sexualmente de niños, no tiene ya inmunidad diplomática y puede ser enjuiciado en el país caribeño, declaró el lunes el Vaticano.

La decisión fue calificada de “justa y positiva” por el procurador general dominicano Francisco Domínguez Brito.

“Si ya ese señor no tiene inmunidad, eso podría facilitarnos las cosas para pensar en el tema de la extradición, para que venga aquí a enfrentar la Justicia y no haya impunidad”, dijo el funcionario a la prensa.

Domínguez Brito, quien en agosto del 2013 ordenó una investigación ante los rumores de pederastia de Wesolowski, detalló que antes de pensar en una eventual extradición “tenemos que ver en detalles la decisión del Vaticano, pero siempre he dicho que en casos como éste, siempre barajamos todas las opciones”.

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Domínguez Brito: Fue justo y positivo despojo inmunidad a Wesolowski

REPUBLICA DOMINICANA
El Jaya

26 Agosto 2014 09:19 Escrito por Ramón Cruz Benzán

El procurador general de la República, Francisco Domínguez Brito, juzgó ayer justa y positiva la decisión del Vaticano de despojar de la inmunidad diplomática de Josef Wesolowski, quien fue nuncio apostólico en República Dominicana y está ahora acusado de abusar sexualmente de niños.

Asimismo,Domínguez Brito dijo que será solicitado al Vaticano información en torno al despojo de la inmunidad diplomática a Wesolowski, como en ocasiones anteriores.

El jefe del ministerio público fue entrevistado al final de una audiencia celebrada en la Octava Sala de la Jurisdicción Inmobiliaria, donde ese tribunal ordenó la anulación de cientos de títulos de propiedad de Bahía de las Águilas, obtenidos de manera fraudulenta.

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Dominican Republic may seek ex-Vatican envoy’s extradition

VATICAN CITY
Religion News Service

Josephine McKenna | August 26, 2014

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Josef Wesolowski, the ex-Vatican envoy stripped of diplomatic immunity after claims he sexually abused young boys in the Dominican Republic, may face a criminal trial in the Caribbean country.

Francisco Dominguez Brito, the Dominican Republic’s attorney general, issued a statement saying it was “just and positive” for the Vatican to remove Wesolowski’s immunity and that the country would consider seeking the former archbishop’s extradition so he could stand trial there.

Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, former nuncio to the Dominican Republic, is pictured during a 2011 ceremony in Santo Domingo. The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith found the archbishop guilty of sexual abuse of minors and has ordered that he be laicized.
Show caption

Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, former nuncio to the Dominican Republic, is pictured during a 2011 ceremony in Santo Domingo. The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith found the archbishop guilty of sexual abuse of minors and has ordered that he be laicized. RNS photo by Orlando Barria/CNS
This image is available for Web and print publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

“At this time extradition is an option. However, first we must look at the details of the Vatican’s decision,” the prosecutor said. “It is clear that since this man no longer has immunity, this can help us on the question of extradition so that he can come here and face justice.”

His comments were published on a Dominican news website and confirmed by an official at the Dominican Embassy in Rome on Tuesday (Aug. 26).

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Will the Vatican extradite Josef Wesolowski?

UNITED STATES
dotCommonweal

Grant Gallicho August 25, 2014

Did you read Laurie Goodstein’s disturbing story about the former papal nuncio to the Dominican Republic, Josef Wesolowski? Do. Wesolowski was recalled to the Vatican after it was alleged that he had sexually abused minors (Goodstein spoke with several of his accusers). He was laicized, and could face a criminal trial at the Vatican (Pope Francis updated Vatican criminal law last summer). Obviously that isn’t terribly comforting to some Dominicans who would rather see him tried in the country where he committed his alleged crimes. If Pope Francis is serious about reforming the church’s response to clerical sexual abuse, why did he allow Wesolowski to escape local justice?

According to a Vatican statement released this afternoon, the former nuncio may face extradition after all–because, now that he’s been laicized, he no longer enjoys diplomatic immunity.

Former nuncio Josef Wesolowski has recently appealed, within the prescribed limit of two months, the most serious canonical sentence of a return to the lay state that has been imposed upon him. The appeal will be judged without delay over the course of the coming weeks, most likely in October 2014.

 It is important to note that former nuncio Wesolowski has ceased functioning as a diplomat of the Holy See and has therefore lost his related diplomatic immunity, and has been previously stated, the punitive procedure of the Vatican’s civil judiciary departments will continue as soon as the canonical sentence becomes definitive.



The statement continues, suggesting that Wesolowski was returned to Rome so that he could be swiftly returned to the lay state and relieved of his diplomatic duties, which means that he could be tried by another country.

Regarding stories that have appeared over the past few days in various media, it is important to note that the Authorities of the Holy See, from the very first moments that this case was made known to them, moved without delay and correctly in light of the fact that former nuncio Wesolowski held the position of a diplomatic representative of the Holy See. This action relates to his recall to Rome and in the treatment of the case in relation to Authorities of the Dominican Republic.

 Far from any intention of a cover-up, this action demonstrates the full and direct undertaking of the Holy See’s responsibility even in such a serious and delicate case, about which Pope Francis is duly and carefully informed and one which the Pope wishes to address justly and rigorously.



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No, Marcial Maciel was not like Mary Magdalene, at all

UNITED STATES
dotCommonweal

Mollie Wilson O’Reilly August 26, 2014

Don’t miss Jason Berry’s lengthy update on the Legion of Christ’s ventures in the Holy Land, in the National Catholic Reporter this week. How has the order coped with diminishment and disgrace following the belated exposure and censure of its founder, serial sexual abuser and all-around con artist Marcial Maciel? Oh, you know, they’re working on it.

“Marcial Maciel’s initials are also MM, just like Mary Magdalene. She had a problematic past before her deliverance, so there’s a parallel. Our world has double standards when it comes to morals. Some people have a formal, public display and then the real life they live behind the scenes.

“But when we accuse someone else and we are quick to stone him, we must remember that we all have problems and defects. With modern communications so out of control, it is easy to kill someone’s reputation without even investigating about the truth. We should be quieter and less condemning.”

Berry quotes the above from a booklet promoting the Legion’s new project, the $100 million Magdala Center at the Sea of Galilee. (Learn more at this website — but be warned, there’s a startling autoplaying introductory video.) The author is Fr. Juan María Solana.

When the allegations against Maciel were first surfacing in the media, I remember hearing that rank-and-file Legionaries themselves were shielded from the worst of it. That, at least, was the excuse offered for why some priests didn’t leave the order sooner. Given the amount of control Maciel and his fellow leaders exerted over the lives of their recruits, it seems plausible. But Maciel is dead; his corruption and crimes are definitively exposed; the order is supposedly reforming itself under Rome’s supervision. So what’s the excuse now for someone in a leadership position with the LCs to be referring to Maciel as having had any kind of “deliverance” (when, in fact, he and the order denied the allegations against him to the end of his life, even after Benedict removed him from ministry and ordered him to a life of repentance), or using his story as an example of how “We should be quieter and less condemning”?

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Why is Bill Donohue Defending +Finn?

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

Michael Sean Winters | Aug. 26, 2014 Distinctly Catholic

Check out the video of last week’s episode of “The World Over” with Raymond Arroyo. At minute 44:00, he begins an interview with Bill Donohue, head of the Catholic League. Among other subjects, Donohue discusses the situation of Bishop Robert Finn and accuses NCR, among others, of leading the charge against Bishop Finn because he is an orthodox bishop. Actually, as far as I can tell, most of us at NCR are concerned about Bp Finn because he has been a disaster as a bishop and, specifically, violated the bishops’ own norms for dealing with clergy sex abuse. But, my question is this: Why is Donohue so intent on defending Bp Finn? “>Check out the video of last week’s episode of “The World Over” with Raymond Arroyo. At minute 44:00, he begins an interview with Bill Donohue, head of the Catholic League. Among other subjects, Donohue discusses the situation of Bishop Robert Finn and accuses NCR, among others, of leading the charge against Bishop Finn because he is an orthodox bishop. Actually, as far as I can tell, most of us at NCR are concerned about Bp Finn because he has been a disaster as a bishop and, specifically, violated the bishops’ own norms for dealing with clergy sex abuse. But, my question is this: Why is Donohue so intent on defending Bp Finn?

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McDonnell Living With Priest Who Pleaded Guilty To Sex Crime

VIRGINIA
Talking Points Memo

By CATHERINE THOMPSON
Published AUGUST 26, 2014

Virginia ex-Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) revealed during testimony last week that he moved out of his family home and in with his parish priest the week before his federal corruption trial began.

McDonnell explained on the stand that living separately from his wife Maureen would make it easier for him to prepare for trial each day and described their marriage as “on hold.” The priest he is staying with or the time being, Rev. Wayne Ball of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Richmond, Va., is a family friend who officiated his daughter Cailin’s wedding.

Ball also pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor sex charge in late 2002.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported at the time that Ball, then pastor of Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Norfolk, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of frequenting a bawdy place. Other media reports defined that as a place used for “lewdness, assignation or prostitution.” Norfolk police had arrested Ball and another Richmond man the night before Thanksgiving when they were found together in a parked car in a local park.

The charge was dismissed in 2003 after Ball fulfilled the terms of his plea agreement.

McDonnell railed against sex outside of marriage in his now-infamous master’s thesis, making his friendship with Ball and his decision to move into the rectory at St. Patrick’s during the trial all the more interesting. In the paper, written for Regents University in 1989, McDonnell deplored “the perverted notion of liberty that each individual should be able to live out his sexual life in any way he chooses without interference from the state,” going on to blast gays and unwed mothers.

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Former Hindu Temple of Georgia leader convicted of fraud

GEORGIA
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

By Steve Visser
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The former leader of the now defunct Hindu Temple of Georgia may be headed to federal prison after a jury convicted him of defrauding his followers.

Federal authorities on Monday announced the conviction of Annamalai Annamalai, also known as Dr. Commander Selvam and Swamiji Sri Selvam Siddhar. He charged his followers fees in exchange for spiritual and related services, but then would run-up unapproved charges, using their credit card numbers, authorities said.

“This defendant traded on his perceived religious authority and spiritual powers to cheat the faithful who believed in him,” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. “The jury saw through his deception.”

Annamalai, 49, would then submit bogus documentation to the credit card companies to support any charges that were disputed, prosecutors said.

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High priest of Shiva temple convicted of bank fraud in US

GEORGIA
India Today

An Indian-origin former leader of a now defunct Hindu temple in Georgia has been convicted on multiple charges of bank fraud, moneylaundering and using the temple’s income to fund his personal lifestyle.

Annamalai Annamalai, who also went by the name of Commander Selvam and Swamiji Sri Selvam Siddhar, was convicted after a two-week jury trial on 34 felony counts, including bank fraud offenses, filing a false tax return, bankruptcy fraud offenses, money laundering, obstruction, false statement offenses and conspiring to conceal a person from arrest.

He will be sentenced on November 13. According to information presented in court, Annamalai generated income through the Hindu Temple of Georgia by charging fees to his followers in exchange for providing spiritual or related services.

Annamalai charged the followers’ credit card numbers on multiple occasions, in excess of the agreed amount and without authorization. Court documents said that if the followers disputed the charges with their respective credit card companies, Annamalai submitted false documents in support of the unauthorized charges.

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Catholic priest living in Syracuse pleads guilty to child porn, avoids prison

NEW YORK
Syracuse.com

By Douglass Dowty | ddowty@syracuse.com
on August 26, 2014

Syracuse, NY — A retired Syracuse priest pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography today in a deal that spared him prison time.

Robert Ours, 65, admitted to six counts of possessing a sexual performance by a child in a deal with County Court Judge Joseph Fahey.

The judge promised to sentence Ours to 10 years of probation. Ours will also become a registered sex offender.

Senior Assistant District Attorney Jeremy Cali said he wanted Ours to spend 1 to 3 years in prison.

But by pleading guilty to all six counts, Ours avoided dealing with the DA’s office and worked out the deal with Fahey directly.

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Strong reactions to Joanne McCarthy on ABC’s Australian Story

AUSTRALIA
Newcastle Herald

By SIMON WALKER Aug. 26, 2014

Read Joanne McCarthy’s work on child abuse by the Catholic Church here.

COMMENT: Why we need a royal commission into church sex abuse (the opinion piece Joanne McCarthy talks about in Australian Story)

The Newcastle Herald was inundated on Tuesday with a wave of reactions from across the nation after ABC’s Australian Story on journalist Joanne McCarthy and her investigation into child sex abuse within the Catholic Church.

That investigation led to a historic royal commission.

‘‘Joanne McCarthy’’ was trending on Twitter on Monday night as the program was broadcast as viewers took to social media to congratulate McCarthy, the Herald and Australian Story.

Tuesday morning, the letters began pouring in.

Rex Williams, from the ACT, wrote that Joanne deserved the acclaim of her peers and the media industry.

‘‘The district should forever be grateful that such an honourable person took up the public running of these insidious crimes against the young. She is a wonderful example to potential journalists.’’

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Tzedek announces impending resignation of founder and CEO Manny Waks

AUSTRALIA
Tzedek

The Tzedek Board of Management would like to announce that its founder and CEO Mr Manny Waks will be stepping down from his position at the end of November 2014. At a recent Board meeting Mr Waks advised the Board that after more than three years of working with the highly complex, sensitive and controversial issue of child sexual abuse, the time has come to move on from this role.

“It has been a great honour and privilege to establish and lead Tzedek. Over three years ago, when I publicly disclosed my personal experience of abuse, I set out on a long and challenging journey, which has led to great achievements both personally and professionally,” Mr Waks said.

“We could not have achieved what we achieved without the support, assistance and guidance of the Board of Management and Board of Advisors, the generous donors, volunteers and support agencies. Most importantly, I wish to thank my family and friends who supported me while undertaking this most challenging work,” Mr Waks said.

He went on to say, “I have accomplished what I set out to achieve, and am comfortable moving forward knowing that I leave behind a strong foundation from which Tzedek’s important vision and mission can continue to grow. This position wasn’t a life tenure, rather a role I felt compelled to undertake at a particular point in time. I feel a great sense of pride and satisfaction in what I have accomplished. Indeed it is humbling to have been part of creating a cultural shift in the context of child sexual abuse within the Jewish community – not only in Australia. While we have made significant progress, there is still much work to do.”

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Anglican paedophile priests warnings ‘ignored’

AUSTRALIA
Newcastle Herald

By JOANNE McCARTHY Aug. 26, 2014

A FORMER Newcastle Anglican church employee said he repeatedly warned the diocese, from as early as 1984, that a ‘‘network’’ of paedophile priests preyed on children, but the diocese failed to act on the warnings.

‘‘I told them in 1984 that ‘You’ve got a network of these bastards preying on altar boys’, and I named names,’’ the former church employee said.

In the past four years the diocese has defrocked three priests and sanctioned others, and confirmed a number of clergy and church workers were child sex offenders.

In 2010 former Newcastle Anglican bishop Brian Farran apologised to victims of Father Peter Rushton after confirming allegations he was an offender over four decades and part of a broader network of paedophiles in the Hunter.

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Ex-Nuntius legt Berufung gegen Entlassung ein

VATIKAN
Radio Vatikan

Zum Ablauf der zweimonatigen Berufungsfrist hat der ehemalige polnische Erzbischof und Kuriendiplomat Josef Wesolowski Berufung gegen das Urteil der Glaubenskongregation gegen ihn eingelegt. Das sagte Vatikansprecher Pater Federico Lombardi an diesem Montag gegenüber Journalisten. In erster Instanz war er am 27. Juni dieses Jahres aus dem Klerikerstand entlassen worden. Die Vorwürfe lauteten auf sexuellen Missbrauch Minderjähriger während seiner Zeit als Nuntius in der Dominikanischen Republik. Das Urteil der Glaubenskongregation stellt die kirchenrechtliche Behandlung des Falles dar, strafrechtlich muss sich Wesolowski noch vor den zuständigen Gerichten des Vatikans verantworten. Der ehemalige Bischof ist Staatsbürger des Vatikan.

Die Verhandlung in zweiter Instanz werde sehr bald aufgenommen, so Lombardi, wahrscheinlich noch im Oktober dieses Jahres. Der Vatikan habe kein Interesse daran, den Fall zuzudecken, fügte er mit Verweis auf Medienberichte in den USA an, im Gegenteil, der Vatikan akzeptiere voll und ganz die Verantwortung in diesem Fall. Papst Franziskus werde laufend informiert und habe bekräftigt, dass alle gerechte und notwendige Strenge in diesem Fall angewendet werde.

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Katholische Kirche richtet Zentren für Missbrauchsopfer ein

POLEN
Weiner Zeitung

[Summary: The Polish Catholic Church is setting up at least four counseling centers for victims of clergy sexual abuse. Announcement was made Monday by Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki, who heads the Polish Episcopal Conference.]

Warschau. In Polen sollen mindestens vier Beratungszentren für Opfer sexuellen Missbrauchs durch Priester entstehen. Das kündigte der Vorsitzende der polnischen Bischofskonferenz, Erzbischof Stanislaw Gadecki, am Montag im polnischen Wallfahrtsort Czestochowa (Tschenstochau) an. Dort hatten sich die polnischen Bischöfe zu ihrer Bistumskonferenz versammelt.

Die Zentren sollen als Anlaufstellen für Missbrauchsopfer dienen und auch Therapie- und Hilfsangebote machen. Im Herbst wollen die Bischöfe Gadecki zufolge über die Finanzierung der Zentren und Einzelheiten ihrer Arbeit beraten.

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Archdiocese names new ‘safe environment’ leader

MINNESOTA
Minnesota Public Radio

Laura Yuen St. Paul, Minn. Aug 25, 2014

Updated at 4:55 p.m.

Scorched by a sexual abuse scandal, the Twin Cities archdiocese has hired an outsider with extensive leadership in law enforcement to help win back the public’s trust.

Tim O’Malley, an administrative law judge and former FBI agent who once headed up the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, will respond to allegations against priests.

Even critics of the Catholic Church acknowledge O’Malley has impeccable credentials. But they say the real question is: Will he have power to make true change?

O’Malley will serve as the director of ministerial standards and safe environment, a new position created in the wake of the clergy abuse scandal. He will be responsible for making sure the archdiocese complies with the law when abuse allegations arise.

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On a roll in the Holy Land, Legion compares Maciel to Magdalene

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

Jason Berry | Aug. 26, 2014

ANALYSIS

The scandal-battered Legionaries of Christ, still facing the unresolved consequences of a disgraced founder, may be seeing a turn in their fortunes with the development of the Magdala Center at the Sea of Galilee in the Holy Land. The order is conducting a major fundraising drive to cover the projected $100 million cost.

The complex, with newly discovered ruins of a synagogue Jesus may have visited, will contain an archaeological park, women’s institute, media center and a luxury hotel the Legion will own. Eduardo Guerra, the center’s assistant director, said that the Legion has raised $40 million from benefactors toward the finished work. (See story.)

Whether the center can overcome its founder’s reputation and the fallout from the prolonged scandal is an open question. While the order is still reeling from revelations that its founder, Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado, was a sexual predator, abusing young seminarians and living a double life that included fathering three children by two women from Mexico, he still has his loyalists.

A booklet intended to promote the new center, Magdala: God Really Loves Women, contains material demonstrating Maciel’s posthumous hold on certain top-rank Legionaries. The booklet compares Maciel to Mary Magdalene and portrays the Legion founder as harshly judged. In the quotation from the text that follows, the speaker is Fr. Juan María Solana, who heads the Magdala project:

The priest speaks his heart: “Marcial Maciel’s initials are also MM, just like Mary Magdalene. She had a problematic past before her deliverance, so there’s a parallel. Our world has double standards when it comes to morals. Some people have a formal, public display and then the real life they live behind the scenes.

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