Church in Spain confronts sexual abuse

The Asian Age

Feb 01, 2015 | AFP | MADRID

Spain’s Catholic church, which has long been accused of silencing cases of priests sexually abusing children, is starting to take a hard line against offenders, spurred by Pope Francis.

A judge in the southern city of Granada on Tuesday charged 10 priests and two Catholic lay workers with sexually abusing altar boys in their care, or being complicit in such acts, from 2004 to 2007.

It is the biggest and most serious paedophilia case involving members of the Catholic Church known so far in Spain.

The case was brought to light by a former altar boy, now 25 and a member of the Catholic institution, Opus Dei, who wrote to the pontiff to say he had been molested.

Pope Francis called the unidentified man to offer the Church’s apology and in November the pontiff said he had ordered…

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Pope Francis Errs On Child Sex Abusers, Women & the Koch Brothers

Christian Catholicism

Jerry Slevin

Pope Francis is about to meet with all his Cardinals. He needs to change his basic losing strategy before he meets with them. The pope has admitted that he has made many mistakes. The pope, unfortunately, continues to make them with his flawed strategy, including mistakes (1) on his self policing of clerical sex abusers, as indicated here,

[ABC News],

(2) on disregarding Catholic women, as indicated here,

[ABC News],

and here,

[New York Review of Books],

and here

[National Catholic Reporter],

and (3) on aligning through his US bishops with the “low tax” billionaire Koch Brothers, as indicated here

[Religion News Service].

The Vatican continues to err in handling sexual abuse by priests. Pope Francis would do well to read the wise advice of Dr. Rosemary McHugh. a priest abuse survivor and…

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Standing Committee asks Maryland bishop suffragan to resign

Episcopal News Service

By Mary Frances Schjonberg | January 30, 2015 2

[Episcopal News Service] The Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland wants Bishop Suffragan Heather Cook to resign her position in the diocese in the wake of her involvement in a fatal car accident.

“The Standing Committee has concluded that Bishop Heather Cook can no longer function effectively in her position as Bishop Suffragan. Therefore, we respectfully call for her resignation from her service to the Diocese,” the committee said in a Jan. 28 statement.

Diocese of Maryland Bishop Suffragan Heather Cook, who remains on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation into her involvement in a fatal accident, has been as by the diocesan standing committee to resign. Photo: Diocese of Maryland

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For the record…

Canonical Consultation


Jennifer Haselberger

One of the less reported on aspects of the many appearances by the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis in US Bankruptcy Court is the Archdiocese’s requests to keep information under seal (meaning filed with the Court but protected from becoming part of the public record). This week, one such request related to information regarding settlements paid to victims of sexual abuse by clergy. The Archdiocese sought ‘wide discretion’ in withholding information about settlements, including financial details, but that motion was challenged by the Star Tribune, which argued that ‘a policy of openness promotes actual fairness and the appearance of fairness, and enables the press to perform its watchdog function’. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Kessel seemed to agree, ruling that the Archdiocese’s request was ‘too vague’. All parties were in agreement that the names and identifying information of victims would remain confidential.

Of course,…

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STORY REMOVED: BC-EU-REL–Vatican-Child Pornography

The New York Times

JAN. 31, 2015, 1:33 P.M. E.S.T.

VATICAN CITY — The Associated Press has withdrawn its story about two Polish-born prelates being investigated by Holy See authorities for alleged possession of child pornography. The AP reported incorrectly that one of the prelates named in the story, Monsignor Bronislaw Morawiec, was under investigation for child pornography possession.

Morawiec is not under investigation for child pornography possession. Morawiec was convicted of fraud by a Vatican tribunal.

The AP

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The Catholic Whistle Blowers to present “A Matter of Conscience”

Catholic Whistle Blowers

The Catholic Whistle Blowers, a group that has formed to support victims of clergy sexual abuse, will present the NYC premiere of its movie, “A Matter of Conscience,” at Cardozo Law School, 55 Fifth Avenue at 12th Street, Manhattan, this Thursday, February 5, 2015 at 6:00 PM (first floor auditorium).

Attorney and Cardozo Law Professor Marci Hamilton will host the event (she also appears in the movie), and following the showing of the film, the Boston College-based producers, Professors Susan and John Michalczyk, and a few members of the Catholic Whistle Blowers who “star” in the movie will answer your questions about the film.

Admission is free, but donations will be accepted to defray the cost of the film. Please tell your friends and neighbors. The Catholic Whistle Blowers are:

Rev. John Bambrick, Jackson, NJ
Sr. Sally Butler, OP, Brooklyn, NY

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Vatican Tribunal opens new judicial year

Vatican Radio

[with audio]

(Vatican Radio) The Vatican Tribunal opened its 86th session on Saturday morning. At the Mass to mark the occasion, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin said the application of the law must be both rigorous and compassionate. But its application must also be free of vengeance and of popular notions of justice, he told the judges and members of the Vatican Tribunal. …

Following the Mass, the Tribunal’s Promoter for Justice, Gian Piero Milano, gave his opening address for the new judicial year. He spoke of the disturbing increase in the case law of financial crime and corruption. This is “a veritable plague,” which affects an inviolable right of the individual to his human dignity, he said.

He spoke of the process of reform launched by Benedict XVI and intensified by Pope Francis citing, for example, the establishment of the Council and…

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Pope confirms 48 prelates as voting members of October synod

National Catholic Reporter

Joshua J. McElwee | Jan. 31, 2015

ROME Pope Francis has ratified the elections of prelates from bishops’ conferences around the world to participate in October’s global meeting of Catholic bishops, confirming selections of 48 prelates from six continents.

Among the number are four U.S. prelates: Louisville, Ky., Archbishop Joseph Kurtz; Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput; Galveston-Houston Cardinal Daniel DiNardo; and Los Angeles Archbishop José Gómez.

The papal confirmations, announced in the Vatican’s daily press bulletin Saturday, mean the prelates will be able to participate and vote in the discussions of next October’s meeting, known as a Synod of Bishops.

The Synod, which is focused on issues of family life and has attracted hopes that the church might alter some of its pastoral practices in that area, is the second of two called by Francis for 2014 and 2015.

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TX–Texas priest exposed as predator for first time

Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Saturday, Jan. 31

Statement by Amy Smith, SNAP Dallas Director (281-748-4050, )

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

A woman who says she was sexually abused as a child by a Texas priest has settled her child sex abuse and cover up lawsuit. We applaud her and her family for their courage and beg Texas Catholic officials – especially Ft. Worth Bishop Michael Olson – to “come clean” about child molesting clerics.


A lawsuit charged that Father Bede Mitchel repeatedly sexually assaulted her when she was eight years old. He was a Benedictine priest working in the Ft. Worth diocese where these crimes took place. Fr. Mitchell also worked in seven Arkansas parishes.

Other proven, admitted…

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Two cases of child pornography possession in Vatican in 2014


VATICAN CITY Sat Jan 31, 2015

(Reuters) – The Vatican, which is still struggling with the effects of a worldwide pedophilia scandal in the Catholic Church, discovered two cases of possession of child pornography within its own walls last year, its chief prosecutor said on Saturday.

Gian Piero Milano, whose official title is Promoter of Justice, reported the cases in a 50-page report read to Vatican officials at a ceremony marking the start of the city-state’s judicial year.

The Catholic Church has been hit by scandal involving the sexual abuse of children by priests around the world in the past 15 years. Pope Francis has vowed zero tolerance for offenders but victims of abuse want him to do more and make bishops who allegedly covered up the abuse accountable.

In his report, Milano said Vatican police had investigated “two delicate cases, of…

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Vatican Hits Sour Note With Women, but Progress May Come

ABC News

VATICAN CITY — Jan 31, 2015

By NICOLE WINFIELD Associated Press

A new Vatican outreach initiative to listen to women hit a sour note before it even got off the ground: The sexy blonde on its Internet promo video came under such ridicule that it was quickly taken down.

But the program is going ahead, and an inaugural meeting this week will study women’s issues in ways that are utterly new for the Holy See.

No, there is no talk of ordaining women priests.

But the working paper for the Pontifical Council of Culture’s plenary assembly on “Women’s Cultures: Equality and Difference” speaks about opening the church’s doors to women so they can offer their skills “in full collaboration and integration” with men.

It denounces plastic surgery as a form of “aggression” against the female body “like a burqa made of flesh.” And it acknowledges…

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Tasmanian schools, churches could pay $72m in compensation to victims of sexual abuse

ABC News

Some Tasmanian schools, churches and charities will be required to pay $72 million to victims of sexual abuse under a proposed compensation scheme.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has released a consultation paper on redress and civil litigation.

The commission estimates non-government institutions in Tasmania will be liable for up to $72 million to pay for counselling and psychological care, as well as direct payments to victims.

It said any future payments would be assessed in context of what has happened previously.

The Tasmanian Government has already paid almost $55 million to victims of abuse while in state care.

The report said the “Tasmanian Government scheme made 1,848 payments, with a minimum payment of $5,000, a maximum payment of $60,000 and an average payment of $30,000”.

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Former UVA official 1 of 2 charged with solicitation of minor

NBC 12

By Susan Bahorich

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA (WWBT) – A former UVA official and a former Culpeper County dispatcher are under arrest after a joint undercover operation by the Louisa County Sheriff’s Office and the Albemarle County Police Department.

Jonathan Schnyer, 54, and Ray Calvin Lester, 29, have been charged with solicitation of a minor by computer.

Schnyer is a former UVA Associate Director of Institutional Assessments, youth minister and soccer referee. Officials say they served a search warrant on his business in Charlottesville and seized several computers, cell phones and network equipment. Schnyer was interviewed and arrested.

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East Cork mothers subjected to vaccine trials …

The Corkman

East Cork mothers subjected to vaccine trials in mother and baby homes, McLellan tells Dail

TimRyan, Oireachtas Correspondent SINN Fein Deputy Sandra McLellan told the Dáil she had met several individuals in her East Cork constituency who were subjected to vaccine trials while in mother and baby homes.

The main concern for these individuals is the lack of information around the drugs prescribed. In some cases there have been residual effects. Understandably, this causes huge ongoing distress.

Speaking during a debate on the setting up of the Commission of Investigation into the homes, she said the Minister, James Reilly, has told the Dáil that the Commission of Investigation will have the power to compel the drug companies which conducted vaccine trials on children resident in the homes to come before it. This was to be welcomed.

“The Commission will examine whether regulatory and ethical standards were…

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Over 7,000 babies died in state-run hell holes

Irish Mirror

More than 7,000 babies and children died in Ireland’s mother and baby homes during the last century, new documents reveal.

But the real figure is likely to be much higher as records do not include miscarriages or stillbirths.

In some cases, babies who survived only a few hours were wrongly registered as stillborns to avoid registering the birth and the death.

Now documents shown to the Irish Mirror by Paul Redmond, chairman of the Coalition of Mother And Baby Home Survivors, reveal the true extent of the shocking loss of life.

The figures relate to the nine “official” mother and baby homes with the number of women and girls estimated to have gone through these institutions at between 25,000 and 27,000.

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British police accused of catastrophic blunders …

Daily Mail

British police accused of catastrophic blunders after file of 2,000 child abuse suspects was handed to them by Canadian investigators but ignored for TWO YEARS


Police were yesterday accused of a catastrophic series of blunders over their handling of a dossier containing more than 2,000 suspected paedophiles.

Extraordinary details have emerged of how some forces and a top anti-child abuse unit failed to act after being given a ‘customer list’ of perverts who used a child porn website.

Despite being handed the information on a plate by Canadian police who traced the Toronto-based website’s international network of clients, British suspects were left free to continue offending for up to two years and hundreds may now escape justice.

Investigators in Toronto yesterday admitted their surprise at the inaction of UK police – who in some cases refused to even…

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Bishop called 2010 DUI arrest ‘a major wake-up call’

The Baltimore Sun

By Justin Fenton and Jonathan Pitts
The Baltimore Sun

Standing before an Eastern Shore judge in 2010 after being caught driving drunk, the Rev. Heather Elizabeth Cook and her attorney pleaded for leniency.

Cook was undergoing three different forms of counseling, including Alcoholics Anonymous, her attorney said. And she had voluntarily had an ignition interlock device installed in her car.

“I am regarding this as a major wake-up call in my life, and I’m doing things now that I was not able to do without this motivation,” Cook told District Judge John E. Nunn III, according to an audio transcript obtained by The Baltimore Sun through a public records request.

She received one year of supervised probation — and a warning from the judge.

“There are people who deal with this problem every day,” Nunn told her. “Some people get it right and they…

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Archdiocese Files List of Assets, Debts in Bankruptcy Case


The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis is listing its assets and liabilities in detail as part of its latest filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

The archdiocese filed for Chapter 11 reorganization in mid-January, saying it was the best way to fairly compensate victims of clergy sexual abuse while continuing the church’s mission.

In a court filing Friday, the archdiocese lists total assets at more than $45 million, including about $11 million in real property. Liabilities are listed at about $15.9 million.

Pamela Foohey, an associate professor at Indiana University’s Maurer School of Law, says the figures don’t mean the church has $29 million for victims. She says there are many unknowns. Friday’s court filing is a good starting point, but she says numbers often change as cases progress.

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Twin Cities Archdiocese transfer of assets may protect it from bankruptcy creditors

Star Tribune

Article by: JEAN HOPFENSPERGER and JENNIFER BJORHUS , Star Tribune Updated: January 30, 2015

Local Catholic Church officials created nonprofit foundations, funds to potentially keep them out of creditors’ reach.

For decades, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has been shifting money into separate nonprofits that may be beyond the reach of its creditors in bankruptcy court.

There’s the Catholic Community Foundation, created in the 1990s. The Catholic Finance Corporation, created in 2000. The Aim Higher Minnesota Foundation in 2011. The Catholic Services Appeal Foundation in 2013.

The nonprofits were created for various reasons, but they carry the potential benefit of protecting the church’s assets from liability linked to clergy abuse suits. The moves are seen as prudent by some church finance leaders, but by others as maneuvers to transfer money to where victims and their lawyers will have a harder time reaching it.


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Statement Regarding Filing of Schedules

Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis

Date: Friday, January 30, 2015

Source: Anne Steffens, Interim Director of Communications

From Archbishop John Nienstedt

As part of the Chapter 11 Reorganization filing on January 16, 2015, the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis submitted to the bankruptcy court a schedule of its assets and creditors. This disclosure is part of the process that we hope will facilitate all available resources to be distributed equitably among victims/survivors and allow the archdiocese to continue essential ministry.

The information contained in this report is a reflection of the ongoing work to support the mission of the Catholic Church, and is overseen by our CFO and the Archdiocesan Finance Council, which is made up primarily of lay professionals. The numbers reflect our status on the day of the filing (January 16). We continue to operate in the normal course of business…

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Archdiocese bankruptcy filing lists $45M assets, $15.9M liabilities

Pioneer Press

By Amy Forliti
Associated Press
POSTED: 01/30/2015

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has assets totaling more than $45 million — including about $11 million in real estate — according to a schedule of assets and liabilities filed Friday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

The filing, required as part of the bankruptcy process, provides the public with the most detailed picture yet of the archdiocese’s financial situation. But experts caution the numbers are a merely a starting point for creditors, and could change.

The archdiocese filed for Chapter 11 reorganization in mid-January, becoming the 12th U.S. diocese to seek reorganization in the face of sex abuse claims. Archdiocese leaders have said bankruptcy is the best way to fairly compensate victims of clergy sexual abuse while allowing the archdiocese to continue the Catholic Church’s mission.

Archbishop John Nienstedt said in a statement…

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Sentencing delay for Dansville pastor angers some


By Jane Flasch

It is the first time they have faced the foster care provider who admitted having sexual contact with their five-year-old child. Thursday, the girl’s biological parents left a Livingston County courtroom frustrated that the proceeding to send Alan Fox to prison never happened.

“I was frustrated and disgusted,” said James, who is the girl’s father. 13WHAM News is not using his last name to protect the identity of his child.

The mother of the girl, who is now six years old, was also in court. The family said they were ignored when they first reported suspicions of the abuse which the child described during a visitation last spring.

This court delay adds to their frustration with a legal system that has not kept them informed.

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Clergy sex abuse survivor calls for long-term help

Southern Cross

By FIONA HENDERSON Jan. 31, 2015

A BALLARAT clergy sexual abuse survivor has called for ongoing compensation, rather than a lump sum payment, as part of any proposed redress scheme.

Survivor Andrew Collins said local victims statistically had higher rates of ongoing medical issues linked to their abuse, and not just restricted to mental health problems.

“Their whole standard of life has been compromised. Many of them have been stuck on the pension for years,” Mr Collins said.

He said provision also needed to be made for more private counselling sessions, not just through the already over-burdened public system.

“It’s nearly impossible to get appointments as it is.”

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IC Community Demands Meeting with O’Malley on Church’s Overreaction

Revere Journal

January 30, 2015

By Seth Daniel

Nearly 1,000 parents and parishioners from Immaculate Conception (IC) Church and School have officially lodged a petition of protest with the Archdiocese of Boston and Cardinal Sean O’Malley – calling for an immediate meeting with the Cardinal to discuss what they believe to be a complete overreaction in the handling of the inquiry into allegations of indecent exposure by an employee of the IC School.

That employee – a long-time custodian – has since been completely cleared by the Revere Police and the District Attorney.

However, three others, including Father George Szal, Principal Alison Kelly and a second grade teacher, were called to resign from their positions by the Archdiocese prior to the conclusion of the official investigation.

IC School parents Jeff Turco and Michael Duval said they hand-delivered the petition to the Archdiocese’s Braintree offices on Friday, complete with…

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More suits Santa Fe Archdiocese of priest sex abuse

The New Mexican

Posted: Friday, January 30

An Albuquerque law firm has filed seven more lawsuits against the Archdiocese of Santa Fe on behalf of adults who claim they were childhood victims of sexual abuse by priests.

The complaints, like dozens that came before them, allege the church protected pedophile priests and put them in churches with unknowing parishioners, according to a news release.

Attorney Brad Hall filed the latest cases on behalf of six unnamed men and one woman who claim they were sexually molested by priests as children. Hall now represents two dozen plaintiffs who have accused the church of wrongdoing, and since the mid-2000s has filed claims for a total of 42 people.

Hall said about 250 alleged victims have come forward in New Mexico since 1992.

The new complaints state that the abuses took place in parishes across the state, including in Las…

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Why is Pope Francis Still So Afraid of Oversight By the Catholic 99.99% ?

Christian Catholicism

Jerry Slevin

Common sense, and accumulated experience, tell us that organizational problems can only be fixed, long term, by changing the organizational structure that caused the problems. The Catholic Church has had escalating and scandalous problems that have resulted, since the 1870 First Vatican Council “proclamation on infallibility”, largely from the Vatican’s top down and unaccountable monarchical structure, regardless of which Church officials handled, or more likely mishandled, specific problems.

Yet, Pope Francis in two years as pope has mostly just recycled some officials, leaving the flawed top down structure intact. Pre-Constantine, early Catholics oversaw their religious leaders directly for three centuries. Catholics must do so again, soon! Who and/or what follows Pope Francis? Please see The Crisis Pope Francis Faces , “Pope Francis Is Still Failing Too Many Abused & Abandoned Children, No?‏” and Pope Francis vs. Shadow Pope Benedict —…

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46 years after alleged abuse, lawsuit against Catholic Church settled



For more than four decades the woman known in court documents only as Jane Doe was silent about her claims that she was sexually assaulted by her priest.

While Doe pursued her career and marriage, the target of her allegations, Father Bede Mitchel, continued to teach and work in the Catholic church and maintained a good reputation, according to one church official.

Even after her mental and physical state deteriorated to the point where she could no longer perform her work duties, the woman remained quiet about her childhood abuse. Her husband, John Doe, filed a lawsuit on her behalf in November, court documents show.

The court approved a settlement for an undisclosed amount in the lawsuit between the Does, the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth and Subiaco Abbey in Subiaco, Ark., last week. The abuse began…

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Cardinal George: Doctors Have Run Out Of Options For Him

CBS Chicago

CHICAGO (CBS) – Retired Cardinal Francis George said his cancer treatments have been stopped and doctors have run out of options.

“They’ve run out of tricks in the bag, if you like,” he said, referring to doctors. “The normal treatments now have been exhausted.”

George, looking frail and moving with the help of crutches, said he’s not keeping entirely still. He says doctors are trying to manage his quality of life and that he still hears confessions most Thursdays at Holy Name Cathedral.

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Maine man accused of defaming former priest …

Bangor Daily News

Maine man accused of defaming former priest says he defied a court order to protect more kids from sex abuse

By Seth Koenig, BDN Staff
Posted Jan. 30, 2015

PORTLAND, Maine — Child sex abuse victims rights advocate Paul Kendrick told a federal judge Friday he defied a court order and distributed confidential information because he believed more children were in imminent danger of abuse.

Former Catholic brother Michael Geilenfeld and a nonprofit in which he’s involved are suing Kendrick for defamation — Kendrick publicly accused the former priest of sexually abusing children — at the same time that Geilenfeld is facing potential criminal sex abuse charges in Haiti.

Attorneys for Geilenfeld and the nonprofit Hearts With Haiti are now seeking heavy sanctions against Kendrick for releasing confidential emails, as well as excerpts from depositions and a private investigation, gathered in the discovery process…

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Controversial Koch brothers give big (again) to Catholic University

Religion News Service

David Gibson | January 30, 2015

(RNS) Billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch recently made headlines by pledging nearly $900 million to help elect candidates who support their libertarian strain of economic conservatism, but the industrialists are also nearly doubling their investment in the business school of Catholic University of America, which is overseen by the U.S. bishops.

That’s despite the fact that many Catholics — including Pope Francis — say the kind of unregulated capitalism that the Kochs promote runs counter to church teaching.

The $1.75 million dollar grant from the Charles Koch Foundation, one of several nonprofits with ties to the industrialist brothers, is part of a $3 million pledge to CUA announced in January that includes $500,000 from the Busch Family Foundation and $250,000 each from three business leaders.

The donation to the Washington-based university comes just over a year after…

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Priest sentenced to 2 years of probation for groping woman

Greenwich Times

TOMS RIVER, N.J. (AP) — A Catholic priest has been sentenced to two years of probation for groping a woman more than two years ago.

The Rev. Marukudiyil Velan, known to his congregation as “Father Chris,” was convicted in October 2014 of criminal sexual contact against the woman, but was acquitted of sexual assault charges involving the woman’s two children.

The 67-year-old priest told a judge Friday that he couldn’t bear any more of the pain and “didn’t do anything wrong.” His attorney, S. Karl Mohel, says Velan lost his job and wants to return to his home country of India.

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Tony Merchant’s law firm files countersuit against Ottawa following $25M claim

CBC News

The federal government has filed a $25-million statement of claim accusing Tony Merchant’s law firm of overbilling for legal services and falsifying documents to cover it up, in a scheme to defraud Canada.

The civil suit, filed in the Court of Queen’s Bench for Saskatchewan, claims the Merchant Law Group should repay $25 million, plus interest, and cover the costs incurred by taxpayers in an eight-year legal battle.

“The government is taking legal action to recover public money that was paid to this firm as a result of serious misrepresentations,” a Department of Justice spokesperson told CBC News in an email.

Allegations not proven

None of these allegations have been proven in court.

In an emailed statement to CBC News, the Merchant law firm said that it “denies that any of the government’s concocted allegations have merit or any basis in reality.” Merchant has 20 days…

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Ask a Question Friday: How can I learn more about the Survivors’ Movement

The Worthy Adversary

Posted by Joelle Casteix on January 30, 2015

(Note: Yes, I am actually posting this on a Friday. Shocker.)

How can I learn more about the Survivors’ Movement and SNAP, that organization with whom you do so much work? Is there anywhere I can hear the best and brightest speakers on the topic and meet people who are working for justice for adult victims of child sexual abuse (as well as stopping the cycle and preventing abuse)?

The best place to learn about the Survivors’ Movement and legislative change, hear the latest news, meet leaders and newsmakers, and get the best information on abuse prevention and victim healing is to attend the SNAP (the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) National Conference. I am not a huge fan of conferences, but the SNAP conference—scheduled for July 31-August in Alexandria, VA—hosts the best and…

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NJ–Predator priest gets probation

Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Friday, Jan. 30

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

We are sad that Fr. Marukudiyil Velan, known as “Fr. Chris,” will not do jail time. But we are grateful to the brave family that reported this priest’s crimes. And we are confident that this mom’s courage to speak up and to seek justice will protect more people.

[Asbury Park Press]

Often trusted members of the clergy are given “light” sentences and then free to move into unsuspecting communities where they pose a very real danger.

We are especially grateful that this brave mom reported what happened to her and allegedly to her children to secular officials, not church officials. Both her courage to speak up…

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Priest sentenced to probation for molesting female parishioner


By MaryAnn Spoto | NJ Advance Media for
on January 30, 2015

TOMS RIVER — A former priest at a Brick church was sentenced this morning to two years’ probation for groping a female parishioner.

Marukudiyil Velan, known to members of the Church of the Visitation as Father Chris, will also have to undergo counseling as part of the sentence imposed by Superior Court Judge James Blaney, who said the priest did not understand the gravity of his crime.

Convicted Oct. 16 of criminal sexual contact, Velan, 67, could have been sentenced to 18 months in prison. The judge, however, imposed a probationary sentence, as requested by his attorney.

“He has suffered immensely as a result of these charges,” his attorney, S. Karl Mohel, told Blaney. He said Velan’s health has suffered since he was charged, he’s had great expenses and he lost his…

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Priest sentenced: ‘I didn’t do anything wrong’

Asbury Park Press

Kathleen Hopkins, @Khopkinsapp January 30, 2015

TOMS RIVER – A Brick priest was sentenced Friday to two years on probation for groping a woman in 2012.

Rev. Marukudiyil Velan, better known as “Father Chris” to parishioners at Church of the Visitation in Brick, told Superior Court Judge James M. Blaney that he was innocent before the judge placed him probation and ordered him to undergo a psychiatric examination.

“I can’t bear any more of this pain,” the 67-year-old priest told the judge. “I didn’t do anything wrong. … I couldn’t believe what happened.”

Blaney disagreed with the diminutive clergyman.

“The reality is, that you did do something wrong,” Blaney told him. “You were in a position of trust, a sacred trust, a spiritual trust. … You took advantage of your position as a priest and violated that trust. That’s wrong.”

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Words matter

Rhymes with Religion

Boz Tchividjian | Jan 30, 2015

Words matter. They restore. They wound.

Words have opened the eyes of a blind beggar and welcomed a rejected tax collector. They have also sent millions to death camps and taught children to be terrorists. Perhaps Scripture communicates the power of words best when the Apostle James writes, “With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God.”

In the past weeks, I have witnessed a seemingly new boldness to communicate incredibly wounding and cruel words to victims of abuse. Such words are not confined by ideology, politics, or religious beliefs. Just a few weeks ago, liberal agnostic “comedian” Bill Maher told Jimmy Kimmel, “When I was twelve, I was once brutally beaten on the playground by two bullies. One held me down, and the other…

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Who Is the Pope?

The New York Review of Books

Eamon Duffy

The Great Reformer: Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope
by Austen Ivereigh
Henry Holt, 445 pp., $30.00

A Big Heart Open to God: A Conversation with Pope Francis
by Antonio Spadaro, SJ
HarperOne, 150 pp., $17.99

Pope Francis: Untying the Knots
by Paul Vallely
Bloomsbury, 227 pp., $20.95 (paper)

On December 22, 2014, Pope Francis delivered the traditional papal Christmas speech to the assembled ranks of the Roman Curia. This annual meeting with the staff of the church’s central administration offers popes the opportunity for a stock-taking “state of the union” address. In 2005, his predecessor Pope Benedict XVI had used the occasion to deliver a momentous analysis of the “hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture” that he believed had distorted understanding of the Second Vatican Council…

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Mega Manifesto: On Behalf of Prestonwood Baptist Church and Convicted Child Molester John Langworthy

Watch Keep

[with document]

Amy Smith

Over the last two weeks 26 named individuals have received an anonymous package in the mail. Inside was a 24 page essay. I am the subject of this composition.

The anonymous writer spends dozens of pages attacking my truthfulness, motivations, and personal character. He claims to be a proponent of Jack Graham and the rest of the leadership at Prestonwood Baptist Church. The letters were addressed to a variety of people: Prestonwood leadership, SNAP leaders, TV and newspaper reporters, bloggers, and others. He did not send me a copy, but several of my contacts sent me theirs.

This approach is curious, because if this anonymous writer had just sent me a copy, I could have posted it for the entire public to read much sooner. Take a look.

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Second apology over Magdalene laundries urged

Irish Examiner

By Conall Ó Fátharta
Irish Examiner Reporter

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has been told to apologise to Magdalene laundry victims for a second time in just two years, after failing to live up to promises to women who were effectively forced into State “slavery”.

Opposition TDs insisted the step is needed during the second day of debate in the Dáil on what supports will be made available for women kept in the religious institutions without their consent.

Speaking during the second stage of the Redress for Women Resident in Certain Institutions Bill 2014, which outlines payments to those affected if they agree not to sue the State,and certain health services in some cases, politicians across the political divide criticised what is on offer.

They included Fianna Fáil mental health and special needs spokesperson Colm Keaveney, who insisted the failure to live up to expectations since Mr…

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From Laundering To Profiteering, A Multitude Of Sins At The Vatican Bank


[with audio]

For decades, the Catholic Church has been dogged by scandals involving money. The Vatican — a sovereign country — controls its own finances through the Vatican Bank. It developed as a cross between the Federal Reserve and an offshore bank. In a new history, God’s Bankers, Gerald Posner explains that its roots go back to the mid-19th century.

“They had 15,000 square miles of what was central Italy with thousands of subjects,” Posner tells NPR’s Renee Montagne. “They levied taxes and paid for this lavish lifestyle — with 700 servants and a big and growing bureaucracy around them. Then, in 1870, Italy’s nationalists have a revolution they throw the Pope out they get rid of the papal states. The Vatican goes from being an empire — an earthly empire — to a little postage stamp size of property called Vatican City.”

By World War…

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Abuse royal commission and compensation

9 News



* The commission is not yet making recommendations but has employed an actuarial firm to model costs of a scheme covering 65,000 claimants receiving average payments of $65,000, where governments pay not only for the abuse committed in their institutions but become “funders of last resort”.

This means governments pay extra to cover abuse survivors from institutions that no longer exist or are too poor to make a contribution.

In this scenario, if 65,000 abuse survivors sought redress from government and non-government institutions, an estimated 29,730 of them would make claims against states and territories and 35,270 would claim against non-government organisations.

* The total cost of the scheme would be $4.378 billion. Governments would pay $1.971 billion and non-government institutions $2.407 billion.

* The costs would cover administration, monetary payments adjusted for past payments…

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Just redress scheme for abuse victims may exceed Royal Commission’s $4.3b cost estimate

Sydney Morning Herald

January 30, 2015

Paul Bibby

Providing just redress to victims of child sexual abuse could cost more than the $4.3 billion estimated by the Royal Commission, victims advocates say.

But they say the figure pales in comparison to the cost of abuse in the community in terms of homelessness, mental health treatment and drug and alcohol abuse.

The release by the commission of a major discussion paper on redress on Friday brought a sharp intake of breath from some after it was revealed that such a scheme could cost $4.37 billion over 10 years.

In reaching its headline figures, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse assumed an average payment of $65,000 for each victim.

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Background Checks for Youth Leagues Defeated


[with audio]


A bill to require background checks for volunteers and employees of youth sports clubs failed to pass the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Opponents said the measure had too many gaps in it. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.

In Colorado, roughly 6 million children play in youth sports clubs, ranging from soccer and baseball to swimming and basketball. Supporters say these sports clubs attract sexual predators because of lax standards.

Senate Bill 48 [.pdf] would have required any employee or volunteer who spends more than five days each month with the children to have a background check.

“Offenders who were in the Catholic Church and in the Boy Scouts, those offenders are leaving those programs and they’re coming to youth sports,” said Michelle Peterson, a child abuse investigator. “There’s absolutely no doubt, and I see that myself. The Catholic Church,…

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Noch lange kein Schlussstrich


BERLIN dpa | Es ist ein Zufall, der den Stein ins Rollen bringt: ein unerwartetes Wiedersehen mit einem ehemaligen Pater des Berliner Canisius-Kollegs, einer Jesuitenschule. Matthias Katsch hat dort vor mehr als 30 Jahren Abitur gemacht. 2005 steht er auf einem Kongress jenem Mann gegenüber, der in den 70er-Jahren Beichtgespräche für sexuellen Missbrauch nutzte. „Ich war wie gelähmt“, erinnert er sich. „Ich war wieder 13.“

Doch dieses Ohnmachtsgefühl will Katsch nicht länger hinnehmen. Mit Anfang 40 schreibt er einen Brief an die Missbrauchsbeauftragte des Jesuitenordens. Die Folgen erschüttern die deutsche Gesellschaft.

Ende Januar 2010 informiert Klaus Mertes als Rektor des Canisius-Kollegs mehr als 600 Absolventen über die jahrelangen systematischen Übergriffe an ihrer Schule. Mertes macht damit öffentlich, dass sein Orden Missbrauch vertuschte und verschwieg. Das ist der Anfang. Wie in einem Dominoeffekt offenbaren sich Betroffene aus anderen Ordensschulen, bei den Regensburger Domspatzen, auch aus der…

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“Mitwisser werden zu Mittätern”


Vor fünf Jahren wurden etliche Missbrauchsfälle am Berliner Canisius-Kolleg bekannt. Der damalige Rektor hatte sich in einem Brief bei den Opfer entschuldigt, die Bundesregierung richtete daraufhin die Stelle eines Missbrauchsbeauftragten ein. Dessen Bilanz lautet nun: Vor allem die Katholische Kirche hat noch viel aufzuarbeiten. Von Ulrike Bieritz

Matthias Katsch war einer der Männer, die in ihrer Schulzeit am Berliner Canisius-Kolleg systematisch missbraucht wurden. Er war auch einer derjenigen, der sich 2010 traute an die Öffentlichkeit zu gehen und die Lawine ins Rollen brachte. Die Opfer haben damals Aufarbeitung, Hilfe und eine Entschädigung gefordert. Doch was sie laut Katsch erhielten war “wenig Aufklärung, wenig Hilfe und keine Entschädigung, sondern eine so genannte Anerkennungszahlung.”

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Independent committee to investigate sexual abuse

Deutsche Welle

Five years after the exposure of the German sexual abuse scandal affecting schools and Catholic institutions, victims are calling for an independent committee. They claim that important issues are still unresolved.

Being able to speak to the well-attended Federal Press Conference was a special experience to him, said Matthias Katsch. When it was made public five years ago that the former student at the Catholic Canisius College had been a victim of sexual abuse, he did not have the courage to use his real name, using a pseudonym when talking to journalists.

Katsch said that it was a liberating experience to be finally able to talk about the abuse, noticing at the same time that he was not alone in his plight. In January 2010, reports of sexual abuse of students at the Berlin-based Canisius College triggered a wave of further revelations. A large number of…

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Big gaps in redress schemes

9 News

Cornelia Rau received almost $3 million from the federal government in 2005 because she had been unlawfully locked up in a detention centre for 10 months.

That payout has abuse survivors support group Care Leavers Australia Network wondering about equity in any system backed by governments and institutions, which may recommend maximum payments between $100,000 and $200,000.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse launched a consultation paper on redress on Friday.

The commission outlined models for a scheme that would cost more than $4 billion over 10 years, with an average payment of $65,000 for 65,000 assumed claimants.

Some states and territories already have redress schemes for abuse victims, with Tasmania capping payments at $60,000, Queensland $40,000 and Western Australia $45,000.

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Gresham pastor pleads not guilty in abuse case

Bend Bulletin

By Claire Withycombe / The Bulletin / @kcwithycombe
Published Jan 30, 2015

A Gresham pastor pleaded not guilty Thursday in Deschutes County Circuit Court to 37 criminal charges, including multiple counts of first-degree sexual abuse, first-degree rape and first-degree sodomy, in connection with allegations he sexually abused two children in Sunriver more than a decade ago.

James Daniel Worley, 42, is scheduled to go to trial Sept. 15. The trial is expected to take eight to 10 days.

“This is a complex case involving 37 counts of Measure-11 sex abuse,” said attorney Andrew Coit, who appeared in court on behalf of Worley’s attorney, Richard Cohen. Ballot Measure 11, approved by Oregon voters in 1994, outlines mandatory sentencing minimums for specific crimes.

Worley, who was released from county custody on or about Jan. 23, appeared beside Coit in court Thursday morning.

Deschutes County Circuit Judge Beth…

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State laws examined in abuse paper


A consultation paper launched by the federal child sex abuse royal commission looks at who is a proper defendant when it comes to being sued.

The child sexual abuse royal commission suggests it may be appropriate to amend state and territory laws so the property trusts of churches and religious bodies can be sued for abuse.

In a consultation paper on redress and civil litigation launched on Friday the commission looks at who is a proper defendant when it comes to being sued.

Last year it heard one of the most famous cases in this sphere when it examined the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney’s legal response to abuse survivor John Ellis.

Mr Ellis failed in his attempt to sue the diocesan trust when a court ruled it could not be held liable.

Cardinal George Pell defended the finding as confirming an existing law and since then church…

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Child sexual abuse royal commission: Consultation paper predicts national redress scheme for victims would exc

7 News

By Deborah Rice and staff
January 30, 2015

The total cost of a national compensation scheme for victims of child sexual abuse would exceed $4 billion, according to a consultation paper released by the royal commission.

The commission has today released a consultation paper inviting community input on the issue of redress and civil litigation.

It said that many people would prefer a single national redress scheme to be administered by the Australian Government, with institutions contributing to the funding of the scheme based on their responsibility to individual survivors.

Based on modelling assuming that 65,000 eligible survivors would receive payments of $65,000 each, the total cost of redress would be $4.38 billion according to the report.

“The cost of redress would be spread over a number of years,” royal commission chairman Justice Peter McClellan said in Sydney this morning.

“The actuarial model over…

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Royal commission: $4.3 billion is cost of redress to victims of child sex abuse

Sydney Morning Herald

[with video]

January 30, 2015

Paul Bibby

It would cost $4.3 billion over 10 years to provide redress to the 65,000 victims of child sex abuse in Australia, the royal commission says, with government footing nearly half the bill.

The explosive figures were contained in the commission’s redress and civil litigation consultation paper released on Friday in Sydney.

The paper considers a range of options for assisting child sex abuse victims to “heal and live a productive and fulfilled life”, including national and state-based redress schemes.

In reaching its headline figures, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse assumed an average payment of $65,000 for each victim.

The costs would equate to $1.971 billion from government, $582 million of which reflects government’s contribution as “funder of last resort” – its role in backing up institutions where abuse occurred but which now…

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Duluth Diocese ordered to hand over sealed documents in sex abuse case

Northlands News Center

January 29, 2015

DULUTH, Minn. ( — For the first time, the Duluth Diocese is being required to produce documents relating to several sexual abuse cases.

Judge John Guthmann ordered the release of the documents on Tuesday, saying they will provide a clearer picture of the alleged practices of abusive priests.

Under the order, the documents must be produced to give to an unidentified man known as DOE 30, who filed suit in 2010.

The man claims he was molested by Father Vincent Fitzgerald at St. Catherine’s Church in Squaw Lake, Minnesota. This is one of three sex abuse cases pending against the diocese.

Duluth, along with New Ulm, have refused to provide the documents in the past, however Duluth did voluntarily release a list of all past priests who had been accused of sexual abuse.

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Child sexual abuse royal commission: Consultation paper predicts national redress scheme for victims would exceed $4 billion

ABC News

By Deborah Rice and staff

The total cost of a national compensation scheme for victims of child sexual abuse would exceed $4 billion, according to a consultation paper released by the royal commission.

The commission has today released a consultation paper inviting community input on the issue of redress and civil litigation.

It said that many people would prefer a single national redress scheme to be administered by the Australian Government, with institutions contributing to the funding of the scheme based on their responsibility to individual survivors.

Based on modelling assuming that 65,000 eligible survivors would receive payments of $65,000 each, the total cost of redress would be $4.38 billion according to the report.

“The cost of redress would be spread over a number of years,” royal commission chairman Justice Peter McClellan said in Sydney this morning.

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Child sexual abuse survivors praise commission’s compensation proposal

Melissa Davey
Thursday 29 January 2015

Former prime minister Julia Gillard “chose the right man for the job” when she appointed Justice Peter McClellan to chair the royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse, victim advocates say.

Responding to the release on Friday of the commission’s consultation paper on a redress scheme for victims, the chief executive of the Care Leavers of Australia Network (Clan), Leonie Sheedy, said it showed McClellan had listened to them.

Child sex abuse royal commission calls for $4.38bn national compensation scheme

Assuming an estimated 64,900 survivors received payments of $65,000 each, the redress scheme would cost governments and non-government institutions $4.38bn over 10 years, the report said.

“I commend the royal commission for this report, and it is good to finally have a discussion paper for redress and litigation,” Sheedy said.

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Consultation Paper: Redress and Civil Litigation

Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

The Royal Commission is seeking community input into its consultation paper on redress and civil litigation. You are invited to have your say on the consultation paper via written submission or by commenting on our online feedback form.

* download the consultation paper (PDF 2MB)
* download Justice McClellan’s remarks (PDF 134KB)
* download Actuarial Report (PDF 1.5MB)

Formal written submissions to this consultation paper will be published on our website unless the person making the submission requests that it not be made public or the Royal Commission considers it should not be made public.

Comments made through the online feedback form will not be published on our website, however they may be used in our final report, either with permission or without identifying who made them.

Submissions and comments are due by midday…

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“I didn’t get the compensation I was expecting” – Magdalene Laundry survivor speaks out about health care


Sue Murphy

Following an inquiry into the Magdalene Laundries, the provision of Health Amendment Act 1996 Card was recommended by Mr Justice John Quirke, who prepared a compensation scheme for the women.

However, ‘Justice for Magdalenes Research’ have criticised the health care provisions in the bill for not matching up to what was promised in 2013.

Maeve O’Rourke,a barrister and an advisory committee member of Justice for Magdalenes Research, spoke to Jonathan Healy earlier this week and stated that Enda Kenny is in danger of breaking his promises to the Magdalene Laundry women.

Ms O’Rourke detailed the difficulties that certain women have accessing the HAA card and that the matter is on the Dáil record.

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Bail Reduced For Ohio Rabbi Accused Of Sexually Abusing Md. Girl

CBS Baltimore

Rick Ritter

TOWSON, Md. (WJZ)– Big changes at a hearing for an Ohio rabbi accused of sexually abusing a Baltimore girl. Bail was reduced dramatically from $5 million to $500,000 for Rabbi Frederick Karp.

Karp was extradited back to Maryland and appeared in front of a judge this afternoon.
Rick Ritter has new details on the case.

From center stage to behind bars, Rabbi Frederick Karp faces a slew of charges.

At a bail hearing Thursday, Karp said little as prosecutors described the allegations against him saying, “Karp sexually abused the girl when she was 7-years-old, which continued until she was 12.”

The victim has two sisters, who allege they were touched inappropriately by the rabbi as well. Karp’s wife and brother-in-law were both in court,but declined to comment on the allegations.

Ritter: “Mrs. Karp, is there anything you want to say about your husband…

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Bail reduced for Ohio rabbi accused of sexual abuse in Balto. Co.

The Baltimore Sun

By Alison Knezevich
The Baltimore Sun

A District Court judge on Thursday reduced the bail for an Ohio rabbi accused of sexually abusing a Baltimore County girl after the rabbi’s lawyer argued that he is not a flight risk.

Judge Leo Ryan Jr. set bail for Frederick Martin Karp, 50, at $500,000 — down from $5 million — and ordered him to relinquish his passport. Karp, the spiritual-living director at a Cleveland-area senior center, was arrested Jan. 15 at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York; he was on his way to Israel — a trip his lawyer said had been planned for months. Karp was extradited to Maryland on Wednesday.

Karp is accused of sexually abusing the girl, now 12, since she was 7 years old. Police say the rabbi was a friend of the girl’s family and would visit them occasionally.


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Rabbi Barry Freundel Won’t Move Out of Kesher Israel Synagogue’s House

Jewish Daily Forward

By Josh Nathan-Kazis
Published January 29, 2015

The Washington, D.C. rabbi charged peeping at his synagogue’s mikveh has refused to move out of the synagogue-owned house where he and his family had been living, the congregation said in an email to congregants today.

Rabbi Barry Freundel has pled not guilty to criminal charges of surreptitiously videotaping women showering and changes at the mikveh adjacent to his synagogue, Congregation Kesher Israel.
Freundel was arrested in October and fired by the synagogue board in late November. The synagogue gave him until January 1 to vacate the rabbinic residence on O Street in Georgetown. According to the synagogue’s email, he has not moved out.

“We were informed in late December that Rabbi Freundel did not have plans to leave the house,” the synagogue wrote to congregants in today’s email. “So, we began informal conversations to…

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Rabbi Accused of Voyeurism Won’t Leave Synagogue-Owned Home


More drama boiling over in the incident involving Barry Freundel, the Georgetown rabbi accused of voyeurism. The Post reports that Freundel is refusing to vacate his house, which is owned by the synagogue that terminated his employment after allegations surfaced.

Kesher Israel fired Freundel in early December after he was arrested and charged with voyeurism. Freundel is currently facing up to six years in prison for allegedly videotaping women in a showering area and in the synagogue’s mikvah—a bath used for conversion and cleansing.

As part of Freundel’s termination, he was required to leave the Georgetown house he and his family have lived in since the ’80s, which is owned by Kesher Israel. Freundel was instructed to leave the house by January 1, but he asked the synagogue for more time. From the Post:

The synagogue demanded Freundel move out of the Georgetown house, where he…

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D.C. rabbi accused in videotaping scandal …

Washington Post

D.C. rabbi accused in videotaping scandal refuses to leave synagogue-owned home

By Michelle Boorstein January 29

A Georgetown rabbi accused of secretly videotaping women in a ritual bath is refusing to vacate the house owned by his former synagogue, and a religious court is being convened to deal with the dispute, the synagogue said Thursday.

News of the dispute was sent to Kesher Israel synagogue members via an e-mail from their president, Elanit Jakabovics. In the e-mail, she lays out a bit of the legal stalemate between Rabbi Barry Freundel, once a leading figure in the national Orthodox community, and Kesher, a small synagogue dotted with prominent Washingtonians.

The synagogue had set a Jan. 1 deadline for Freundel to move out of the Georgetown house where he and his family have lived since the late 1980s, but he did not, the e-mail said. “We were…

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Synagogue launches religious court case to evict Rabbi Barry Freundel


January 29, 2015 5:04pm

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Washington synagogue that dismissed Rabbi Barry Freundel after he was charged with voyeurism is trying to evict him from his synagogue-owned residence.

On Wednesday, Kesher Israel launched a case with the Beit Din of America to oust Freundel, who was arrested in October on charges that he spied on women, among them his students and converts, who used a ritual bath adjacent to the Orthodox synagogue.

“We were informed in late December that Rabbi Freundel did not have plans to leave the house,” Elanit Jakabovics, the president of Kesher Israel, said Thursday in an email to congregants. “So, we began informal conversations to resolve this issue with Rabbi Freundel and his attorney, but to no avail.”

Jakabovics said the synagogue was contractually bound to resolve disputes with Freundel through the Beth Din of America.

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Royal commission advises $4.4bn scheme for sex abuse redress

The Australian

JANUARY 30, 2015

Rick Morton
Social Affairs Reporter

THE “ideal” redress scheme for victims of child sex abuse, which would include an estimated $4.4 billion of financial compensation, is a national scheme led by the Australian government but including all jurisdictions and non-government institutions, according to the national royal commission.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse released a consultation paper this morning which will serve as the scaffold on which it builds a redress scheme for tens of thousands of victims and will begin a hearing at 9.30am investigating the possibilities.

Although the Commission has “no fixed view” on what the financial payments should be, the paper uses minimum individual payments of $10,000 and maximums of between $100,000 and $200,000 for modelling.

“Individual experiences of inadequate or unobtainable redress should be placed in the broader context of a…

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Abuse royal commission compo plan


The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has published an example of a redress scheme for people abused as children.

Source: AAP
30 JAN 2015 – 8:43 AM


* The commission is not yet making recommendations but has employed an actuarial firm to model costs of a scheme covering 65,000 claimants receiving average payments of $50,000, $65,000 or $80,000.

* Data used was provided to the commission on redress schemes already operating in some states and in institutions like the Catholic Church and the Salvation Army.

* If 65,000 abuse survivors sought redress from government and non-government institutions, an estimated 20,460 of them would make claims against states and territories and 44,540 would claim against non-government organisations.

* The total cost of the scheme would be $4.377 billion – governments would pay…

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Child sex abuse royal commission calls for $4.38bn national compensation scheme

The Guardian

Helen Davidson
Thursday 29 January 2015

A $4.38bn nationally run scheme with no fixed end date is the “ideal” proposal for giving appropriate redress to victims of institutional child sexual abuse, the royal commission has found, but it would be impossible without the full support of every Australian government.

On Friday the royal commission released its consultation paper on redress and civil litigation at a public hearing to seek input for its final report this year.

The 310-page paper said: “Although the primary responsibility for the sexual abuse of an individual lies with the abuser and the institution they were part of, we cannot avoid the conclusion that the problems faced by many people who have been abused are the responsibility of our entire society.”

“This broad social failure to protect children across a number of generations makes clear the pressing need…

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State laws examined in abuse paper

9 News

The child sexual abuse royal commission suggests it may be appropriate to amend state and territory laws so the property trusts of churches and religious bodies can be sued for abuse.

In a consultation paper on redress and civil litigation launched on Friday the commission looks at who is a proper defendant when it comes to being sued.

Last year it heard one of the most famous cases in this sphere when it examined the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney’s legal response to abuse survivor John Ellis.

Mr Ellis failed in his attempt to sue the diocesan trust when a court ruled it could not be held liable.

Cardinal George Pell defended the finding as confirming an existing law and since then church entities use the Ellis defence to deter abuse victims from going to court.

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Catholic Church needs kick in the pants: My Word

Orlando Sentinel

By Gerald J. Schiffhorst

A guest columnist calls for the Catholic Church to allow women and married priests.

As a lifelong Catholic, I appreciated the letter to the editor by Susan Talana Harris on Sunday concerning the brave action of Rita Lucey in being ordained a Catholic priest earlier this month.

The church we both love is more than an institution that hands down commandments; it is also a community that seeks discussion, which Pope Francis is calling for.

We know that “over the pope … there still stands one’s own conscience, which must be obeyed before all else, if necessary even against the requirement of ecclesiastical authority.” I quote a German theologian, Joseph Ratzinger, who became Pope Benedict XVI.

The tension between top-down authority and freedom of conscience has kept the Catholic church lively for many centuries. And it is basic to issues involving…

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Ex-Pater zu zwölf Jahren Haft verurteilt

Wiener Zeitung

Kremsmünster/Steyr/Linz. Die Missbrauchsaffäre im Stift Kremsmünster hat in den vergangenen Jahren die Justiz beschäftigt, viele Ermittlungen und Verfahren verliefen aber – meist wegen Verjährung – im Sand. Drei Zivilklagen wurden abgewiesen. Vor einem Strafgericht landete nur der ehemalige Konviktsleiter. Er fasste zwölf Jahre aus. Das Urteil wurde am Donnerstag vom Oberlandesgericht Linz bestätigt. Nun muss ein Sachverständiger klären, ob der 81-jährige Ex-Pater haftfähig ist. Laut seinem Verteidiger wurde dazu bereits ein Gutachter vom Gericht bestellt.

Der Mann hat von 1967 bis 1996 sexuelle und gewalttätige Übergriffe auf ehemalige Schüler verübt. Teils ging er mit einer Ochsenpeitsche, Tritten oder beidhändig ausgeführten “Stereowatschen” auf die Zöglinge los. Gelegentlich erklärte er Kinder für “vogelfrei”. Insgesamt 24 Opfer wurden in der Anklage genannt.

Zudem drohte der Beschuldigte mehrmals, er werde seine Pumpgun holen. Dass er die Waffe bis 2010 illegal besessen hat, war offenbar ausschlaggebend, dass die anderen Vorwürfe nicht…

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Haft für Ex-Pater vom Stift Kremsmünster bestätigt

Salzburger Nachrichten

Das Urteil zwölf Jahre Haft für den ehemaligen Konviktsdirektor des oö. Stiftes Kremsmünster ist am Donnerstag vom Oberlandesgericht (OLG) Linz bestätigt worden. Die Privatbeteiligten wurden auf den Zivilrechtsweg verwiesen. Nun muss ein Sachverständiger klären, ob der 81-jährige Ex-Pater haftfähig ist. Laut seinem Verteidiger wurde dazu bereits ein Gutachter vom Gericht bestellt.

Der Mann hat in den Jahren 1967 bis 1996 sexuelle und gewalttätige Übergriffe auf ehemalige Schüler verübt. Teils ging er mit einer Ochsenpeitsche, Tritten oder beidhändig ausgeführten “Stereowatschen” auf die Zöglinge los. Gelegentlich erklärte er Kinder für “vogelfrei”. Dann durften Mitschüler den Betreffenden drangsalieren, ohne Konsequenzen befürchten zu müssen.

Insgesamt 24 Opfer wurden in der Anklage genannt. Zudem drohte der Beschuldigte mehrmals, er werde seine Pumpgun holen. Dass er die Waffe bis 2010 illegal besessen hat, war offenbar ausschlaggebend, dass die anderen Vorwürfe nicht verjährten. OGH und OLG bestätigten Schuldspruch und Strafmaß.

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Abusive defrocked priest denied jail appeal

The Local

An 81-year-old former priest sentenced to 12 years in prison for sexual and physical abuse of at least 24 victims has had his sentence confirmed by the Higher Regional Court in Linz on Thursday.

During the period 1967-1996, August M. committed violent and sexual attacks on his students while head of a Catholic boarding school run by Kremsmünster Abbey in Upper Austria.

He used a bull whip, hands and feet while beating students. He specialized in a two-handed slap to the head. Additionally, he threatened students with a shotgun, and sometimes ordered the students to beat up one of their number without repercussions.

He was also found guilty of sexually abusing 15 children whilst head of the school.

In November, August M. appealed to the high court against a custodial sentence of twelve years imposed in 2013. His appeal based on a statute of limitations defense…

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Furlong seeks to have sexual assault lawsuit dismissed

The Globe and Mail

VANCOUVER — The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Jan. 29 2015

A lawyer for former Vancouver Olympics CEO John Furlong has applied to have a lawsuit alleging his client committed sexual assault dismissed.

John Hunter made his application Thursday in B.C. Supreme Court. He argued the complainant in the case wasn’t even enrolled at the school where Mr. Furlong was a physical education teacher more than four decades ago.

Mr. Hunter said the complainant, Grace West, has also ceased communication about the case and Mr. Furlong’s legal team has not heard from her in months.

A courtroom assistant made several attempts to reach Ms. West by telephone Thursday, but she did not answer. A lawyer also did not appear on her behalf.

The judge reserved her decision, saying she wanted time to review the materials. It was not immediately clear…

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Vancouver Olympic CEO seeks to dismiss sexual-abuse lawsuit


VANCOUVER – A British Columbia Supreme Court judge has reserved a decision on whether to throw out a sexual abuse lawsuit against former Vancouver Olympic CEO John Furlong.

Grace West filed legal action in 2013 alleging that Furlong sexually abused her while he was a teacher at Immaculata School in Burns Lake, B.C., in 1969 and 1970.

Furlong’s lawyer has applied to have West’s lawsuit dismissed, arguing that she attended a different school at the time that she alleged she was abused.

The application by Furlong’s lawyer claims that West’s name does not appear in student records for Immaculata and that records show she attended St. Joseph’s School in Smithers, B.C., during that time period.

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Furlong seeks to dismiss sexual-abuse lawsuit

Blackburn News

The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER – A British Columbia Supreme Court judge has reserved a decision on whether to throw out a sexual abuse lawsuit against former Vancouver Olympic CEO John Furlong.

Grace West filed legal action in 2013 alleging that Furlong sexually abused her while he was a teacher at Immaculata School in Burns Lake, B.C., in 1969 and 1970.

Furlong’s lawyer has applied to have West’s lawsuit dismissed, arguing that she attended a different school at the time that she alleged she was abused.

The application by Furlong’s lawyer claims that West’s name does not appear in student records for Immaculata and that records show she attended St. Joseph’s School in Smithers, B.C., during that time period.

Judge Miriam Gropper reserved her decision after a hearing on the application Thursday morning.

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Second lawsuit alleging sexual abuse by John Furlong coming apart at seams

The Province


A second lawsuit alleging that former Vancouver Olympic Games CEO John Furlong sexually abused elementary school students more than 40 years ago appears to be in jeopardy.

In December, a First Nations woman named Beverly Abraham withdrew her claims that Furlong had abused her while she was a young student and he was a teacher at Immaculata Roman Catholic elementary school in Burns Lake, in 1969 and 1970.

On Thursday, lawyers for Furlong applied in court to throw out the lawsuit of a second claimant, Grace Jessie West.

“The evidence seems fairly clear that Ms. West was not even at the school Mr. Furlong was teaching at, at the relevant time,” Vancouver lawyer John Hunter told B.C. Supreme Court Justice Miriam Gropper.

Hunter said there was no explanation for how West, who was not in court Tuesday, could…

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THOMAS DOYLE – “Why the Institutional Church Does What It Does – A Look Inside Institutionalized Narcissism”


Tom Doyle is a Dominican priest. He holds a doctorate in Canon Law and five separate master’s degrees. Tom served at the Vatican Embassy between 1981 and 1986 and while there he became directly involved with the clergy sex abuse case of former Fr. Gilbert Gauthe that received national publicity. After leaving the embassy he joined the U.S Air Force and served as a chaplain for almost 19 years. Tom worked with Ray Mouton and the late Fr. Michael Peterson, M.D., to compose the report on the problem of sexual abuse by clergy that served as the notice to the Vatican and to the U.S. bishops about the grave nature of the sexual abuse by clergy. He has served as an expert witness and consultant in criminal and civil cases throughout the U.S., in Canada, Ireland, the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, the Netherlands and Israel….

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EBook about John Howard Yoder and Sexual Abuse in Mennonite Community Now Available


William D. Lindsey

On behalf of Ruth Krall* of the Enduring Space site, I’m posting the following announcement of an important new Ebook about Mennonite theologian John Howard Yoder, which Ruth wants to recommend to those interested in issues of sexual abuse and faith communities:

MennoMedia and the editors of the Mennonite Quarterly Review (MQR) are making the January, 2015 MQR issue available in an Ebook format. This particular issue of the MQR “is devoted to the issue of sexual abuse – and the related issues of discipline, healing and forgiveness – within the Mennonite Church, with a particular focus on the controversy surrounding the actions of its most widely recognized theologian, John Howard Yoder.”

Mennonite historian Rachel Waltner Gossen presents the history of Yoder’s sexual abusive behaviors and the Mennonite Church’s responses to those behaviors during his lifetime. Her article is entitled, Defanging the Beast:…

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Jerry Slevin on Pastoral Treatment of Divorced and Remarried Catholics, and Popes Benedict and Francis: Which Pope Is Infallible?


William D. Lindsey

In a recent posting at his Christian Catholicism blog, Jerry Slevin points readers to William McDonough’s Commonweal essay about Pope Benedict XVI and the issue of divorce entitled “Right the First Time.” As Jerry notes, McDonough reports that Benedict is in the process of issuing his opera omnia. Nine volumes of his theological work have now been published.

The latest volume has a 1972 essay on the indissolubility of marriage, written when the then Joseph Ratzinger was a theology professor in Regensburg. The 1972 essay “had proposed that divorced and civilly remarried Catholics be allowed to return to Communion in some circumstances” (I’m quoting Professor McDonough here). As Professor McDonough notes,

In an important change, that proposal is conspicuously missing from the newly rewritten conclusion.

And so, as Jerry Slevin rightly concludes, what the emeritus pope is effectively doing with his revised…

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Twin Cities archdiocese reopens case of priest accused of sex abuse

National Catholic Reporter

Brian Roewe | Jan. 29, 2015

The St. Paul-Minneapolis archdiocese has reopened the case of a retired priest accused of sexual abuse in the 1970s who has already twice cleared of sexual misconduct.

The archdiocese announced Friday morning that it had begun reinvestigating an allegation against Fr. William Stolzman, 76, it first received in 2008. The decision came Jan. 14, the same day attorney Jeff Anderson made public Stolzman’s file, along with those of five other priests. Stolzman has been placed on a leave of absence and is restricted from exercising priestly ministry during the investigation.

Director of Ministerial Standards and Safe Environment Tim O’Malley told NCR that to his knowledge, Stolzman has not had additional allegations brought against him. He added that at this point, no new evidence has surfaced, and the review is part of a process in his office of re-examining old…

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Death Threats After Files Published Online

Sky News

By Afua Hirsh, Social Affairs Editor

Survivors of child sex abuse have received death threats after their personal details and confidential communications with an abuse inquiry were published online.

Members of the group have written to the Home Secretary expressing “grave concern” about the publication of documents they say were leaked by a member of an abuse inquiry panel.

The Home Affairs Select Committee – the panel of MPs tasked with scrutinising the creation of an inquiry into historical child sex abuse allegations, and chaired by Keith Vaz – then published the documents on its website, it was claimed.

The group says that names and contact details of panel members have since been redacted from the site.

Sky sources claim Home Secretary Theresa May has written to Mr Vaz describing her “dismay” at the Committee’s publishing of the documents. The source added Mr Vaz was…

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Who Will Lead The Child Abuse Inquiry?

Sky News

Tom Parmenter
News Correspondent

It is the decision Theresa May simply cannot get wrong again.

She has boxed herself in by promising to make the announcement of who will lead the child abuse inquiry by the end of January.

The hours are counting down – she simply cannot afford another delay, for another promise to survivors to go unfulfilled.

For some time now her team at the Home Office has been making the kind of thorough checks that they failed to make with Baroness Butler-Sloss and Fiona Woolf.

To those who were abused by members of the British establishment it simply isn’t good enough to have someone who has even the loosest links to that establishment.

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Child sex abuse victims got death threats after inquiry published emails

The Guardian

Sandra Laville and Alan Travis
Thursday 29 January 2015

Survivors of child abuse say they have received death threats after the chairman of a commons committee released scores of emails containing the identities of four abuse victims.

In a letter to the home secretary, the victims, who have been campaigning for changes to the independent child abuse inquiry, condemned the decision by Keith Vaz, chair of the home affairs select committee (HASC), to place the emails which contain the victims’ names and disparaging comments about them, on the committee website.

The row is the latest controversy to engulf the independent inquiry, which has had to halt its work over complaints about its structure, lack of transparency and the actions and comments of some inquiry panel members.

Lucy Duckworth, of the Survivors Alliance, which represents several victims’ organisations, said: “Since this information was published the…

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Child abuse victims received death threats …

Daily Mail

Child abuse victims received death threats after MPs revealed their identities by publishing leaked evidence from paedophile inquiry


Survivors of child sex abuse have received death threats after their names and confidential details were published by MPs after being leaked by the Government’s inquiry into historic child abuse.

A group of victims have written to the Home Secretary expressing ‘grave concern’ that documents leaked by a member of the inquiry were published online.

The Home Affairs Select Committee published the documents on its website without blanking out the names of the victims, it has emerged.

The revelation came after the Government admitted it had lost two confidential discs containing sensitive information – including the identity of the police marksman who killed Mark Duggan in 2011 sparking nationwide riots.

Information relating to three judge-led inquiries including the fatal…

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Fill-in priest removed from St. Michael’s

Farmington Independent

By Nathan Hansen Today at 10:13 a.m.

A retired priest who has been filling in recently at the Church of St. Michael in Farmington has been placed on leave of absence by the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis as part of an investigation into whether he sexually abused a minor in the 1970s.

Father William Stoltzman has presided over two Saturdays and one Sunday service since early October. He is one of several priests filling in while Father Dennis Thompson is on sabbatical.

Stoltzman was ordained in 1971 and served in a number of parishes in Wisconsin and Minnesota. According to documents made public by the Jeff Anderson & Associates law firm, there are letters in which Stoltzman admitted watching adult pornography but denied watching pornography involving children.

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Judge sets Feb. 17 deadline for documents in alleged clergy abuse case

The Republic

January 29, 2015

ST. PAUL, Minnesota — A judge has given the Dioceses of New Ulm and Duluth until Feb.17 to turn over documents pertaining to alleged clergy sex abuse dating back to 1949.

Ramsey County Judge John Guthmann issued the order after hearing arguments in the case of a man who has accused the Rev. James Vincent Fitzgerald of sexually abusing him when he was boy in 1976.

Diocese of Duluth attorney Susan Gaertner says the plaintiffs earlier asked for a bigger volume of documents in what she called a “fishing expedition.” Minnesota Public Radio says this order pertains to documents from the time Fitzgerald was ordained in 1949 to 1978, a period when the alleged abuse took place. He died in 2009.

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SD–Records on SD predator priest to be released

Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Thursday, Jan. 29

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

South Dakota citizens and Catholics will learn much more about a predatory priest who worked in the state thanks to a court ruling issued yesterday.

A Minnesota judge has ordered two Catholic dioceses to turn over long-secret records about Fr. James Vincent Fitzgerald to attorneys who represent child sex abuse victims.

[Minnesota Public Radio]

In 2010, a civil lawsuit was filed against the Sioux City Iowa Diocese, Oblates & Sisters of the Divine Savior alleging that Fr. Fitzgerald sexually assaulted a boy and a girl in the 1960s at the Tekakwitha Indian Mission in Sisseton, SD. (In 2013 and 2014, Fr. Fitzgerald was named in other civil suits…

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Rhinebeck priest suspended after allegation of sexual abuse

Oneida Dispatch

By Diane Pineiro-Zucker, DianeAtFreeman on Twitter
POSTED: 01/29/15

RHINEBECK >> A “credible” sexual abuse allegation dating back 30 years has led to the suspension of the parish priest at Good Shepherd and St. Joseph churches in Northern Dutchess, according to the New York Archdiocese.

Rev. Peter Kihm, 59, was removed by church officials, according to archdiocese spokesman Joseph Zwilling, who said the alleged victim was male and “certainly a minor.”

Kihm, who could not be reached for comment, has denied the allegation, according to the archdiocese.

Zwilling said the archdiocese’s concerns “go back a couple of months” and were being discussed with the Dutchess County District Attorney’s Office, but it was “only in the past couple of weeks that a person came forward, that we were able to take action.”

Dutchess County District Attorney William Grady said he has been assisting state police…

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Ireland: A Priest Predator, A Young US Doctor & an Archbishop

Christian Catholicism

Jerry Slevin

Dr. Rosemary McHugh, a US family physician, has just bravely described her own experience as a victim of an Irish priest predator and the hurt it has caused her. She describes his outrageous and unexpected misconduct when she sought spiritual guidance from him, while she was a young doctor in Dublin following her Jesuit Loyola University (Chicago) undergraduate education. She also describes the help she received from present Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin. Aiming to help curtail priest abuse, Dr. McHugh has generously made available to me for posting here a chapter she prepared on a pro bono basis for an upcoming book on restorative justice. Dr. McHugh’s chapter, set forth below in full, offers much hope and wisdom to abuse survivors and the entire Church community, as they continue to try to come to grips with this terrible and ongoing scandal in…

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Endgültige Strafe für Ex-Pater


[The Linz Court will decide on Thursday on the sentence for the former director of Kremsmünster. The now 81-year-old priest was sentenced to 12 years in prison during the summer of 2013 for violent and sexual assaults on pupils at the school.]

Das Oberlandesgericht Linz entscheidet am Donnerstag über das Strafmaß für den ehemaligen Konviktsdirektor des Stiftes Kremsmünster. Der heute 81-Jährige war im Sommer 2013 wegen gewalttätiger und sexueller Übergriffe auf Zöglinge zu zwölf Jahren Haft verurteilt worden.

Der Oberste Gerichtshof hat den Schuldspruch bereits bestätigt. Nun wird das Berufungsgericht klären, ob es bei der ursprünglichen Strafhöhe bleibt. Zudem entscheidet es darüber, ob der mittlerweile in den Laienstand zurückversetzte Pater den Privatbeteiligten Schadenersatz bezahlen muss. Sie waren in der ersten Instanz auf den Zivilrechtsweg verwiesen worden.

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Abusive priest list must be released

Mankato Free Press

Posted: Wednesday, January 28, 2015
By Dan Nienaber

NEW ULM — A Ramsey County judge has ordered the Diocese of New Ulm to release all the records it has pertaining to reports of sexual abuse by any of its priests prior to 1978.

That order includes a New Ulm Diocese list of priests who were credibly accused of molesting children. It is the only Catholic diocese that hasn’t made its list public, either voluntarily or through a court order. The lists were created during an investigation into abusive priests throughout the country that was started by the Catholic Church.

District Court Judge John H. Guthmann made the order through a lawsuit that has been filed by a man who is claiming he was molested by the late Rev. J. Vincent Fitzgerald while he was a 13-year-old altar boy at St. Thomas…

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A War of Words?

Canonical Consultation


Jennifer Haselberger

Thank you to the many of you who have emailed me or commented publicly about the bulletin column written by Father Patrick Kennedy. As I said in an earlier post, I think Father Kennedy gets some things right. However, where it comes to me and my situation, his errors extend beyond his misspelling of my name.

For instance, I too was surprised to see his statement that I had ‘ruined’ the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. Yet, what I really took issue with was his assertion that what I am engaged in is ‘a war of words’. When I think of a war of words, I think of a protracted argument or dispute over a debatable topic- the sort of back and forth politicians might engage in. I have no interest in engaging in a prolonged dispute with the Archdiocese of…

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Maryland diocese asks bishop accused of killing cyclist to resign


(Reuters) – The Episcopal Diocese of Maryland has asked a bishop who is accused of killing a cyclist while driving drunk to resign her position, saying she was no longer able to function effectively.

Bishop Suffragan Heather Cook, the diocese’s first female bishop and second highest official, is charged with manslaughter in the Dec. 27 hit-and-run death of cyclist Tom Palermo in Baltimore.

In a letter to Cook dated Monday, the Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland said it had unanimously agreed to ask for her resignation.

Her attorney, David Irwin, said he received the letter on Wednesday and discussed it with his client but did not yet have a public comment.

Cook, 58, who is free on bail, is attending an in-patient alcohol treatment facility, her lawyer has said.

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Episcopal diocese asks bishop in biker-death case to step down

Washington Post

By Michelle Boorstein January 28

Episcopal officials in Maryland have asked a bishop charged with killing a bicyclist to resign, but her lawyer Wednesday said she had no immediate comment.

Bishop Heather Cook is facing charges of vehicular manslaughter, driving under the influence, and texting while driving, among other charges, in the Dec. 27 death of Thomas Palermo, a father who was popular in Baltimore’s bicyclist scene.

Cook has made no statement since Palermo’s death, and has been since late December in a residential treatment center.

On Wednesday the Diocese of Maryland, which last year made Cook their first female bishop, released the letter in which leaders asked Cook to step down from her position as second-in-charge.

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Effort to Change Statute of Limitations Law for Childhood Sexual Abuse Cases

TWC News

[with video]

By Kaitlyn Lionti
Wednesday, January 28, 2015

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Tuesday, we introduced you to Vanessa DeRosa and Tino Flores, who as adults, are still affected by sexual abuse in their childhood.

“I’m on psychotic and anti-depression medicines because of this. I’m still seeing a psychologist and a psychiatrist,” said Flores.

“I actually am just getting out of a domestic violence relationship with my soon-to-be ex-husband so, after something like that happens, it just kind of leads you from one bad thing into another,” said DeRosa.

Their lawyers say legal action isn’t an option for them, because the statute of limitations for New York state has expired. That’s something they’re hoping to change.

“So that victims of this abuse need not continue to hear that the law protects, rather than punishes, their abusers,” said Diane Tiveron, managing partner at Hogan Willig.

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Vermont Welcomes New Bishop


[with video]

Alex Rose

Burlington, Vt.- “It is with great joy that we welcome you, Bishop Coyne, to the Diocese of Burlington,” were the words Bishop Christopher Coyne heard after symbolically knocking three times on the door of the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception.

Catholics, non-religious and members of the community packed into the cathedral to welcome the new type of religious leader.

“He’s a joyful presence,” said Diocese member Betty Wyhownanek.

“I’ve heard even from my non-catholic friends how they’re watching him on the blog and stuff and he’s just this wonderful personality,” said Burlington Deacon Tim Gibbo. …

But leading Vermont’s catholic clergy comes with history. A national group, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, cites Vermont has 15 public accounts of accused, sued, and in one case convicted members of the state’s clergy for varying accounts of sexual abuse.

Bishop Coyne says his reach…

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Dad Conquers Addiction, wants Custody of Children Abused by Pastor Fox

Genesee Sun

29 Jan, 2015 – CONRAD BAKER

LIVINGSTON COUNTY – In a long, complicated, and painful legal battle involving drug addiction, divorce, and sexual abuse of his young daughter at the hands of hand-picked foster parent Pastor Alan Fox, a father is now seeking custody of his five children, including the girl who was abused.

In November 2011, the dad, James, moved to York with his now ex-wife and their five children, at the time ranging in age from early teens to toddlers. By April 2012, all five were removed from the home by Child Protective Services, and shortly afterwards placed in foster care.

“In April of 2012, there was a raging pill addiction in our house,” said James, 41. “My ex-wife was addicted to Methadone and I was doing Vicodin. The kids weren’t getting to school, the house was a mess, it was an awful…

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Archdiocese should set example

Minnesota Daily

By Jared Rogers-Martin
January 29, 2015

Last year was arguably a year of bad news, the kind that made you cringe and feel sad. Unfortunately, 2015 is starting off much the same way.

The Minneapolis-St. Paul Archdiocese has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy because it needs to handle several lawsuits related to clergy abuse victims.

Filing bankruptcy is the right move in this situation. However, this bankruptcy shouldn’t have happened in the first place.

You may have come to know and love Pope Francis. Loved by many, he is certainly a great face for the Roman Catholic Church. But even Pope Francis and his arguably nontraditional views can’t erase years of scandal.

The Catholic Church needs to look to leaders like Pope Francis to prevent child abuse by priests and bishops from happening in the first place. For men who are as close to God…

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Yeshivah police target declares it OK to kill Jews who report abuse

The Age

January 29, 2015

Richard Baker and Nick McKenzie

The man’s extreme views were posted online in a discussion about Mesirah, the Jewish law that forbids a Jew from informing on another.

A Melbourne man wanted by police for questioning over an alleged sex offence at St Kilda’s Yeshivah centre wrote on an internet blog that it is acceptable to kill a Jew who reports another to secular authorities.

The man, who Fairfax Media has chosen to not to name, made his comments on an internet blog allegedly associated with prominent figures from Melbourne’s Orthodox Jewish community.

Fairfax Media has confirmed the man, who is a member of one of the St Kilda Yeshivah centre’s leading families and is presently overseas, is wanted for questioning by police in connection to an alleged sexual assault in the 1990s.

The man’s extreme views were posted in 2011 and were…

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Rabbi accused of child molestation being held in Maryland on $5m bond

Fox 8

BALTIMORE COUNTY, Maryland– New developments tonight in the case of a well-known Cleveland-area rabbi, facing child molestation charges in Maryland.

The Fox Eight I-Team, which first broke news of the arrest of Rabbi Frederick Karp at JFK Airport in New York, has learned that Karp has been extradited from New York to Maryland.

He is currently being held on $5 million bond.

Karp, who is a rabbi at the Menorah Park Center for Senior Living in Beachwood, is being held tonight at the Baltimore County Detention Center.

Authorities in Maryland say Rabbi Karp is facing charges that include the sex abuse of a minor as a continuing course of conduct.

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