ABUSE TRACKER

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

June 26, 2015

Federal lawsuit filed by St. Louis priest cleared of child sex abuse charges

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

By Joel Currier

ST. LOUIS • The Rev. Xiu Hui “Joseph” Jiang, a Roman Catholic priest whose charges of sexual abuse of a boy were dropped this month, has filed a federal lawsuit claiming he was unfairly targeted by police, the city and advocates for sexual abuse victims.

Jiang claims in the suit filed Thursday in St. Louis that false abuse accusations were the result of religious and ethnic discrimination and that he was denied due process under the constitution and defamed by a group that seeks justice for victims of abuse by priests.

The lawsuit names the accuser’s parents — by initials only — along with St. Louis police officers Tonya Porter, Jaimie Pitterle, the city of St. Louis, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) and its leaders David Clohessy and Barbara Dorris.

Dorris called the lawsuit “a desperate move to try to intimidate other victims, witnesses and whistle-blowers into keeping silent. We hope it will backfire.”

Jiang was accused of molesting a boy in 2011 and 2012 in a bathroom of St. Louis the King School, the elementary school at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis. St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce dropped the charges this month without explanation.

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

Six new charges for former Jackson priest accused of sexual abuse

MICHIGAN
MLive

By Theresa Ghiloni | tghiloni@mlive.com
on June 26, 2015

JACKSON, MI – Six new charges were added against a former Jackson Lumen Christi High School priest Friday morning for sexual abuse he allegedly committed more than 30 years ago.

James Rapp, 76, was arraigned on 13 charges of criminal sexual conduct in late May, but now faces 19 charges of criminal sexual conduct. Assistant Attorney General Angela Povilaitis amended the charges against Rapp during a probable cause hearing in Jackson County District Judge Joseph Filip’s courtroom June 26 saying two new victims have come forward since the original charges were authorized.

Rapp now faces seven counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and 12 counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct for crimes the Attorney General’s Office say occurred between August 1981 and February 1986.

He waived his right to a preliminary examination and the case has been forwarded to Circuit Judge Susan Beebe.

Rapp served as a priest, teacher, maintenance supervisor and wrestling coach during his time at Lumen Christi High School from 1980-86. He is currently serving a 40-year prison sentence in Oklahoma, after he was convicted in 1999 of sexually abusing two teen-age boys in Duncan, Oklahoma, where he was a church pastor, according to Jackson Citizen Patriot archives.

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

Passport proves Cardinal George Pell’s point

AUSTRALIA
The Courier

CARDINAL George Pell has provided his full passport details in an extraordinary step to disprove allegations that have been made against him.

A former child victim of a paedophile Christian Brother has claimed that in 1969 Dr Pell, who was then a young priest, heard him pleading for help a few weeks after he had been raped.

The cardinal has this week given the Herald Sun access to a copy of his full passport showing his travel between the 1960s and 1970s. The passport makes it clear that Cardinal Pell was not in Australia in 1969. The Herald Sun reported on Monday that Paul Lyons, 55, had challenged the cardinal to prove he was not in Ballarat at the time he told priests at St Alipius Presbytery of his rape.

Mr Lyons, who has previously made the claims through his lawyer at a Victorian parliamentary inquiry into child abuse, went public on the weekend saying: “I want Pell to produce the pages of his passport as proof that he was visiting Australia at the time.’’

The travel documents now prove that Dr Pell was studying in Oxford at the time Mr Lyons has said he was brutally raped, at age 9, in St Alipius Primary School by Christian Brother teacher Robert Best.

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

Powerful portrait of clergy sexual abuse survivor entered into Archibald

AUSTRALIA
The Courier

By Melissa Cunningham June 26, 2015

A HARROWING portrait of clergy sexual abuse survivor David Ridsdale has been entered in the prestigious Archibald Prize.

Ballarat artist Domenico Milivoj Micich was compelled to use the nephew of one of Australia’s most notorious pedophiles, Gerald Ridsdale, as the subject of his artwork in the wake of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Mr Micich, who was sexually abused himself during his childhood in Italy, said his portrait, Magnum Silencium: David Ridsdale and the bribe, was particularly controversial due to Mr Ridsdale’s connection to his uncle and Cardinal George Pell.

It is also encompassed a deeper message.

“It explores the struggle for justice,transparency and finally healing,” Mr Micich said.

Testifying at the Royal Commission earlier this year, Mr Ridsdale revealed he had told Cardinal Pell in a 1993 phone call, he had been repeatedly raped by his uncle.

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

State agents search St. Bernardine Monastery, may be linked to Baker abuse case

PENNSYLVANIA
Tribune-Democrat

By Dave Sutor
dsutor@tribdem.com

Posted on Jun 25, 2015

HOLLIDAYSBURG – Pennsylvania Attorney General Office agents reportedly searched St. Bernardine Monastery where accused child molester Brother Stephen P. Baker, T.O.R is said to have committed suicide in 2013.

Jeffrey Johnson, assistant press secretary for Attorney General Kathleen Kane, could not confirm the search occurred. A grand jury is believed to be investigating the Baker case, another point Johnson could not discuss.

“There’s really not much we can say at this time,” Johnson said.

The Tribune-Review reported about a half-dozen investigators were on-scene Thursday at the monastery, located at 788 Monastery Road in Newry, Blair County.

A search lends support to the belief the attorney general is still investigating individuals and organizations associated with Baker, who is accused of victimizing boys when he was an athletic trainer at what was then called Bishop McCort High School from the early 1990s to early 2000s, along with previous incidents in Michigan, Ohio and Minnesota.

“I have no real information I can provide other than I was aware the investigation was ongoing,” said Altoona attorney Richard Serbin, who has represented Baker victims. “As for the details of that investigation, I have no idea.”

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

Crime …

MINNESOTA
Washington Post

Crime for minister to have sex with someone who is seeking spiritual aid — even if minister doesn’t know that this is why the person came to him

By Eugene Volokh June 26

That’s what the Minnesota Supreme Court just held Wednesday in State v. Wenthe. Indeed, the minister could be guilty even if he had no reason to know that the person came to him seeking spiritual aid. So if you’re a minister (or a rabbi or anything else), someone — acquaintance or stranger — comes to you to talk, one thing leads to another, and you have sex, you are guilty of a felony if the reason the person approached you was to seek “religious or spiritual advice,” even if that person never stated that desire before you had sex.

The relevant Minnesota statute provides that it’s a felony if

A person who engages in sexual penetration with another person … [and]

(1) the actor is or purports to be a member of the clergy, the complainant is not married to the actor, and:

(i) the sexual penetration occurred during the course of a meeting in which the complainant sought or received religious or spiritual advice, aid, or comfort from the actor in private …

The argument in favor of such laws is similar to the argument for restrictions on psychotherapist-patient sex; indeed, another provision in the same statute applies if “the actor is a psychotherapist and the complainant is a patient of the psychotherapist and the sexual penetration occurred … during the psychotherapy session.” By analogy, then, sex during a clergy counseling session would be a crime. (Other provisions also make it a crime for clergy or psychotherapists to have sex with people with whom they have an ongoing counseling relationship, even if the sex doesn’t occur during a counseling session.) And the court could have interpreted the statute as applying in situations where there really is a clear counseling session, because the clergy member knows that he is being approached for counseling purposes. (Inferring a required mental state into a statute that is silent on the subject is quite normal in American law.)

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

No leads for youth minister wanted in sexual abuse case

LOUISIANA
WDSU

[with video]

NEW ORLEANS —A day after New Orleans police released the name and photo of a man wanted for allegedly sexually abusing two teen boys, Ryan Rodgers has not been located.

Police say the 36-year-old is accused of “grooming” the teen victims for more than a year. The victims told police Rodgers “toughed them inappropriately while they slept” and they “woke up to Rodgers fondling them.”

Rodgers is also accused of buying the teens underwear and making them pose in front of him.

Most of the encounters occurred, according to police, inside Rodgers’ Baronne Street apartment.

“It’s scary, my kids live here, but also play here,” said Kelli Jones, a resident of the same complex.

Police said Rodgers has not answered his apartment door, has turned off his cellphone and may be living in motels.

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

IN–Victims urge Notre Dame to act on predator

INDIANA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Friday, June 26

Statement by Barbra Graber, leader of SNAP Mennonite Chapter, Mennonite@SNAPnetwork.org, 540-214-8874

Officials at Notre Dame are refusing to admit widely-documented and repeated sexual misconduct by a high profile former professor who worked on campus for two decades. We call on university staff to investigate his abuse and school cover ups and reach out to his victims.

[National Catholic Reporter]

[National Catholic Reporter]

In two new stories, The National Catholic Reporter says

— John Howard Yoder had “a long history of predatory behavior toward women, especially young female students.”

–“Notre Dame officials became aware of his previous sexual misconduct in the early 1980s, years before alleged victims went public in 1992,” and

–“What remains unanswered is who knew what at Notre Dame at the time of (Yoder’s) hiring, whether officials there simply ignored his past and what officials on the campus subsequently did as reports of his abusive behavior began to surface.”

–“Yoder’s presence at Notre Dame gave a significant boost to the school’s theology department,” bringing with him “international acclaim.”

Earlier this year, officials at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary — where Yoder taught for 24 years – publicly apologized to Yoder’s victims for the first time. Notre Dame must do this and more. They must launch an independent investigation into both misdeeds by Yoder and cover ups by school staff.

And even sooner, we urge the school’s hierarchy to aggressively seek out current or former students or staff who may have been hurt by Yoder and offer them help.

Catholic bishops and officials in the US have pledged, time and time again, to be “open and transparent” in abuse cases. Notre Dame staff must honor these promises in the Yoder case.

We are grateful that university officials have taken Yoder’s name off a lecture series. But much more remains to be done if the truth is to be exposed and the victims are to be healed and cover ups are to be deterred.

We are even more grateful to the brave women – victims, witnesses, whistleblowers and advocates – who have helped expose the horrific sexual misdeeds by Yoder and the cover ups and poor responses by Yoder’s colleagues and supervisors. Because of their courage, churches are safer. We hope the NCR reporting will bring them sorely-needed, long-overdue and well-deserved healing.

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

PA–Ex-Brookline priest arrested on sex charge

PENNSYLVANIA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Friday, June 26

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

An Orthodox pastor who worked in Brookline has just been arrested on a sex charge involving a teenager. Now, it’s time for his former church colleagues and supervisors in Boston to take action.

[WFMJ]

[Vindicator]

Rev. Archim Andoni, a Chicago native, lives in Pittsburgh and works at a Youngstown church. But he has also worked in Massachusetts, New Mexico, Idaho, Colorado, Illinois and Iowa, according to the Dubuque Telegraph-Herald.

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

Catholic charities launch legal action after fears of bias in abuse inquiry

SCOTLAND
Herald Scotland

Friday 26 June 2015

Two Catholic charities have raised fears of bias as they launched a legal challenge against the choice of chairwoman for Scotland’s public inquiry into historic cases of child abuse.

The Congregation of the Poor Sisters of Nazareth and the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent De Paul have lodged a petition for judicial review at Edinburgh’s Court of Session objecting to the Scottish Government’s appointment of Susan O’Brien QC.

Their action centres on Ms O’Brien’s involvement in a case brought against the Poor Sisters of Nazareth at the House of Lords by two former residents of Nazareth House children’s home in Glasgow who alleged they were abused in the 1960s and 70s.

Ms O’Brien acted as counsel for the former residents in their 2008 appeal which unsuccessfully challenged an earlier court ruling that the claims were time barred, or made too late.

Alastair Duncan QC, representing the charities, told the Court of Session: “The particular concern that my clients have is that Ms O’Brien had acted for individuals alleging abuse against them, that she had supported the allegations that were made by appearing as counsel for those individuals and that she is now being asked to adjudicate on the very same issues.”

Mr Duncan said the allegations that arose in the House of Lords case were “almost certain” to be heard again at the public inquiry.

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

Philly officials wrap Vatican meetings for pope visit

VATICAN CITY
Mercury News

By Nicole Winfield

POSTED: 06/25/2015

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Philadelphia church officials said Thursday they’re confident about preparations for Pope Francis’ visit at the three-month homestretch, having raised more than two-thirds of the $45 million needed and lining up 6,000 of 10,000 volunteers.

Archbishop Charles Chaput and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter wrapped up four days of talks at the Vatican ahead of the Sept. 22-27 World Meeting of Families. Francis arrives Sept. 26 and will celebrate a final Mass before upward of 1.5 million people.

“We expect to meet our goal of raising $45 million,” Chaput said as he confirmed pledges for more than $30 million so far. The bulk of the money is going toward security, infrastructure and cleanup.

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

Fr Brendan Smyth victim: Police must be held responsible for abuse

NORTHERN IRELAND
BBC News

A victim of a prolific paedophile priest has said Irish police must be held responsible for the abuse he suffered as a boy.

Brendan Boland was sexually abused by Fr Brendan Smyth in the 1970s.

An inquiry heard this week that police in Dublin were aware of Smyth’s activities as far back as 1972, more than 20 years before he was convicted.

Mr Boland also said an apology to abuse survivors from a senior member of the Catholic church was “weak and feeble”.

Smyth was a notorious child abuser, and was at the centre of one of the first clerical abuse scandals to hit the Catholic church in Ireland.

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

Former Archbishop Burke: I had sex with woman when I could not pay her €200k

IRELAND
Irish Independent

Tim Healy
PUBLISHED
26/06/2015

A FORMER Catholic Archbishop has told the High Court he first had sex with a Nigerian woman in 1989 when she was aged 20 and he was aged 40.

Co Tipperary-born Richard Burke (66) said he later paid sums totalling about €176,000 sought by Dolores Atwood. He also agreed to have sex with her in a hotel in Canada in 2009 after she asked him to do that when he told her he could not pay her another €200,000 sought by her, he said.

Mr Burke said he felt “terrorised” by Ms Atwood and feared she would disclose their relationship which would bring disgrace and shame on himself, his family and his ministry.

Mr Burke said he first met Ms Atwood in 1986 or 1987 when she was aged 17 or 18 and he first had sex with her in 1989 when she was aged 20 in his bedroom in Cathedral House in Warri city in Nigeria. He did not know her when she was aged 13 or 14, he said.

He was ordained a Bishop in 1996 and an Archbishop in December 2007, the jury heard.

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

Former archbishop: I was portrayed as a rapist by RTÉ

IRELAND
Irish Examiner

Friday, June 26, 2015

by Ann O’Loughlin

A former Catholic archbishop has told a High Court jury he was portrayed during an RTÉ television programme as leading a young girl up a stairs to his bedroom where he had sexually abused, sexually assaulted, and raped her.

“I could not believe my eyes,” Richard Burke said. “This did not happen, I did not do that, what is portrayed there is a lie.”

When his counsel, Jack Fitzgerald, asked: “Are you a paedophile,” he replied: “No.”

Mr Burke, aged 66, from Tipperary, said he was living in London with a member of his order, the Kiltegan Fathers, when Prime Time Investigates: Mission to Prey was screened on May 23, 2011.

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

Orthodox priest charged with sex crime in Ohio

PENNSYLVANIA
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

By Peter Smith / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

A Pittsburgh-based priest with ties to several Orthodox Christian jurisdictions is on leave from his parish in Youngstown, Ohio, pending resolution of a criminal charge of sexual imposition in that state.

The Rev. James Callozzo, 73, of Brookline, faces a third-degree misdemeanor charge. An 18-year-old man alleged Rev. Callozzo followed him into the bathroom of a suburban Youngstown restaurant May 15, started talking explicitly about the younger man’s private parts and then grabbed them before the man forced him away.

Rev. Callozzo has a pretrial hearing on July 28. He pleaded not guilty Tuesday at his arraignment at Mahoning County Area Court and was released on $2,500 bond.

Rev. Callozzo has been relieved of duties as pastor of Nativity of Christ Orthodox Church while the case is pending, said Archpriest Roman Star, dean of the Central States for the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA, part of the Russian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate), to which the parish belongs.

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

SYDNEY CATHOLIC DIOCESE SENDS LETTER …

AUSTRALIA
Star Observer

SYDNEY CATHOLIC DIOCESE SENDS LETTER WARNING BUSINESSES TO NOT SUPPORT GAY MARRIAGE

JULIE GREKSA — JUNE 26, 2015

THE Catholic Church in Sydney has sent letters to companies that expressed their support for marriage equality as part of an open letter.

Advertisements showing some of the 180 business signatories to a corporate support campaign by Australian Marriage Equality were run in the Weekend Australian this month.

In one response to the ads, business manager of the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney Michael Digges wrote to law firm Maurice Blackburn questioning their role and accusing them of “over stepping” by participating in the marriage debate.

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

Remaining submissions for redress consultation paper published

AUSTRALIA
Royal Commission into Institutional Response to Child Sexual Abuse

The Royal Commission has published further submissions in response to its consultation paper on redress and civil litigation, released by the Royal Commission 30 January 2015.

The submissions are available on the Royal Commission website

Submissions were required to undergo procedural fairness and privacy checks prior to publication.

1. The incidence of child sexual abuse in contemporary out-of-home care settings.
2. Recruitment, assessment and training of carers in out-of-home care.
3. Monitoring and oversight of children in out-of-home care in the context of preventing child sexual abuse and responding to allegations of child sexual abuse.
4. Systems, policies, practices and procedures for
a. reporting allegations of child sexual abuse in out-of-home care
b. responding to allegations of child sexual abuse in out-of-home care, and
c. supporting children who have been sexually abused in out-of-home care.

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

Sex abuse suspect in Deschutes County charged in Tillamook

OREGON
Bend Bulletin

By Claire Withycombe / The Bulletin / @kcwithycombe
Published Jun 26, 2015

A Gresham man conditionally released before his Deschutes County sexual abuse trial is in custody at the Tillamook County jail on related charges, court records show.

James Daniel Worley, 42, is being held in lieu of $1.1 million bail in the Tillamook County jail on charges of sexual abuse, rape and sodomy of two children, alleged to have occurred in 2005 and 2006. The Tillamook County jail confirmed Worley remained in custody Thursday.

Court records show Worley, a pastor and former Tillamook police officer, pleaded not guilty on April 29 to 12 counts of first-degree sexual abuse, three counts of first-degree rape and several other sex crimes in Tillamook County. Records also indicate Worley’s attorney argued for his conditional release, but the motion was denied.

Worley pleaded not guilty in January to 37 charges pertaining to the alleged sexual abuse of two children between 2002 and 2004 in Deschutes County. He was conditionally released from the Deschutes County jail in late January after his bail was reduced from $1 million to $250,000.

He now also awaits a trial in Tillamook County, which is scheduled to begin Aug. 11. His Deschutes County trial is scheduled to begin about a month later on Sept. 15 and is expected to take eight to 10 days.

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

FORMER PUPIL’S BOOK WILL “TELL THE TRUTH” ABOUT HISTORIC ABUSE AT ST AMBROSE COLLEGE

UNITED KINGDOM
Altrincham Today

A former St Ambrose College pupil is to detail the abuse that he and others suffered at the school in a new book to be published next week.

David Nolan will release Tell the Truth and Shame the Devil on July 2nd, with a sold-out launch event at Local Creation in Altrincham tonight.

The book follows on from his involvement with the trial of former teacher Alan Morris, who was jailed for nine years last summer for decades of abuse at the Hale Barns school.

Nolan withdrew his right to give evidence in the trial in order to document the lead-up to the trial in an 11-minute film for Granada Reports.

The film prompted more former pupils to come forward – Nolan says a total of “nearly 100″ for the trial and after sentencing – and he says he has written the book to help those who continue to struggle with their experiences at the school.

He adds: “For the victims it didn’t happen in the past, because they thought about it this morning. One of the interviewees in the book tried to kill himself twice. I get very annoyed with people who say, ‘oh it’s all in the past’, because it isn’t in the past for them.

“Some of the victims got to see Morris in court, but for others, they never got that, so this is some form of alternative.

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

Priest sex abuse allegations lead to Pa. AG agents’ monastery search

PENNSYLVANIA
Tribune-Review

By Andrew Conte and Brad Bumsted
Thursday, June 25, 2015

HOLLIDAYSBURG — The only way to stop Catholic clerics who abuse children is to prosecute the people who oversee them and let it continue, said an Altoona lawyer who has successfully represented dozens of victims across Pennsylvania.

Attorney Richard Serbin said he thinks agents with the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office were pursuing a broader investigation Thursday near this Blair County borough when they raided St. Bernardine Monastery, where a Franciscan friar accused of molesting children killed himself two years ago.

“If they knowingly allow children to be abused or place them in situations where they were likely to be abused, they should be prosecuted,” he said.

Brother Stephen Baker, 62, worked in various roles as a religion teacher and baseball and wrestling coach at Catholic facilities in several states. He was athletic trainer at Bishop McCort Catholic High School in Johnstown from 1992 to 2001.

In late January 2013, he fatally stabbed himself in the heart at the monastery, where he had been living.

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

New hope for clergy abuse survivors

AUSTRALIA
The Courier

By Matthew Dixon June 26, 2015

Survivors of clergy sex abuse who have already received payments from the Catholic Church may be entitled to a further settlement, according to a leading lawyer.

Shine Lawyers partner Roger Singh has represented a number of people with claims and believes the evidence presented at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse may allow survivors who have already received payments to be open to further settlements.

“So when I look at what is coming out of the Royal Commission what concerns me, especially with what we are hearing about from the Catholic Church, is that there is a time when they knew (what was happening), that is what is being suggested,” he said.

Mr Singh said if abuse survivors had approached the church to seek answers and redress, and the church provided it to them, and it was then proven the church had some knowledge of what had occurred, it would be considered that agreement was struck without all of the information provided.

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

Cardinal Brady apologises …

NORTHERN IRELAND
Belfast Telegraph

Cardinal Brady apologises to Fr Brendan Smyth’s victims after revelations two teenage boys were asked if they enjoyed abuse they suffered

By Rebecca Black
PUBLISHED
26/06/2015

Two teenage boys abused by Father Brendan Smyth were interrogated by three priests after speaking out, and even asked whether they had enjoyed their sexual abuse.

The harrowing details of how the victims were treated by the Catholic Church was revealed at the Historic Institutional Abuse inquiry (HIAI) sitting at Banbridge courthouse yesterday.

Former head of the Catholic Church in Ireland, Cardinal Sean Brady (75), issued an “unreserved apology” to all of Fr Smyth’s victims and spoke of his regret at how the situation had been handled.

Giving evidence to the inquiry yesterday, it emerged that Cardinal Brady was present at separate meetings in 1975 with both the boys, aged 14 and 15 years old.

He was then a teacher at St Patrick’s College in Cavan and was acting as notary going under the name Father John Brady.

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

June 25, 2015

Three area priests in abuse cases defrocked

WORCESTER (MA)
Telegram & Gazette

By Mark Sullivan
Telegram & Gazette Staff

Posted Jun. 25, 2015

WORCESTER – Three former Worcester Diocese priests implicated in the sexual abuse of minors have been formally defrocked by Rome, the diocese has announced.

The three men, Gerard L. Branconnier, Robert E. Kelley and Lowe B. Dongor, have been dismissed from the clerical state by the Vatican and may never again function in any capacity as priests, according to a statement issued by Bishop Robert J. McManus.

“It is my fervent prayer that Christ may bring healing and hope to anyone who has been abused by these men or by anyone in the Catholic Church,” Bishop McManus said.

Mr. Branconnier, 63, who was assigned as a priest to the parishes of St. Roch in Oxford, North American Martyrs in Auburn, Sacred Heart of Jesus in Gardner, and St. Paul & St. Thomas Aquinas in Warren, had been removed from ministry by Bishop Timothy Harrington in 1993 following “credible allegations of abuse” involving a 16-year-old boy, the diocese said. His case was sent to Rome in 2005.

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

Former ROC Church Pastor Geronimo Aguilar…

TEXAS
Christian Post

Former ROC Church Pastor Geronimo Aguilar Who Ran ‘Tax-Free Harem’ Found Guilty of Multiple Sex Crimes

By Leonardo Blair , Christian Post Reporter

Former and founding pastor of the Richmond Outreach Center megachurch in Richmond, Virginia, Geronimo “Pastor G” Aguilar, who a prosecutor said ran a “tax-free harem,” was convicted Wednesday of sexually assaulting two sisters in Fort Worth and Grapevine, Texas, nearly 20 years ago when they were both younger than 14 years old.

A report from the Star-Telegram said a jury in Tarrant County spent less than four hours deliberating before convicting Aguilar, 45, on all seven counts of an indictment that included two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child which carry a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Aguilar was also convicted of three counts of sexual assault of a child younger than 17, and two counts of indecency with a child, according to WTVR. Each of these second-degree felonies, carry a maximum sentences of 20 years.

Aguilar, who was free on bond during his trial, was immediately taken into custody after the verdict, according to the Star-Telegram. Some jurors reportedly hugged the two sisters who were 13 and 11 when the assaults began in 1996, according their testimonies that were delivered last week.

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

MA–Victims want Catholics to do more re 3 predators

MASSACHUSETTS
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Thursday, June 25

Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests ( 314 503 0003, bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org )

Exactly three decade after he was suspended because of child sex crimes, the Vatican has defrocked one of Worcester’s most notorious predator priests, along with two other child molesting clerics. But local Catholic officials, who hid these decisions for at least six months, must do more.

[Catholic Free Press]

Robert E. Kelley, Lowe B. Dongor and Gerard L. Branconnier are no longer priests. Worcester Bishop Robert McManus should use his vast resources to aggressively seek out and help others who are suffering because they were sexually violated as kids by these pedophiles. And he should defrock, demote, discipline and denounce current and former church staffers who ignored or concealed their crimes.

Kelley was twice convicted of molesting kids, served two prison terms and is a registered sex offender. He worked at churches in Southbridge, Lunenburg, Leominster, and Gardner.

Branconnier was supposedly suspended from active ministry in 1993 for abusing a boy at North American Martyrs Parish in Auburn. But in 2006, that alleged that Branconnier was continuing to function as a priest.

Dongor studied at Assumption College and St. Mary Seminary and was removed in 2001 from St. Joseph Parish in Fitchburg because computer technicians found child pornography on his computer and called police. Later he was arrested and fled to the Philippines 11/11. Vatican asked to laicize him. In 2012, he was extradited to the US and pled guilty.

We hope this belated, grudging and paltry move brings some healing to the dozens who were assaulted by these clerics. And we hope that every single person who saw, suspected or suffered their crimes – or cover ups by Worcester Catholic officials – will get help, protect kids, call police, expose wrongdoers, deter cover ups and start healing.

NOTES

1) For a moving account by a victim of Kelley, see

[SNAP]

2) Photos of all three are at BishopAccountability.org. According to that organization, there are 41 publicly accused Worcester area child molesting clerics.

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Assignment Record– Rev. Michael Brennan, T.O.R

UNITED STATES
BishopAccountability.org

Summary of Case: Michael Brennan was a Third Order of Regular Franciscan priest, ordained in 1951. He was assigned to parishes in the Baker OR diocese, the T.O.R.’s monastery in the Altoona PA diocese, and at a parish as well as a boarding school for elementary school children in the St. Cloud MN diocese. Brennan’s name was included on the St. Cloud diocese’s list released January 3, 2014 of 33 clergy members “who were likely involved in the sexual abuse of minors.” His whereabouts after 1968 are unknown.

Ordained: 1951

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Releasing abuse info about Furlong in advance was a mistake, UBC prof says

CANADA
The Globe and Mail

SUNNY DHILLON
VANCOUVER — The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Jun. 25, 2015

Freelance journalist Laura Robinson should not have directly mentioned former Vancouver Olympics CEO John Furlong and the word “abuse” when she posted a notice looking for people to interview, an expert on conducting historical child sex-abuse investigations testified on Thursday.

John Yuille was the final witness in a B.C. Supreme Court defamation case. Ms. Robinson has sued Mr. Furlong over his response to a story she wrote in September, 2012. Closing arguments are scheduled for Friday.

Dr. Yuille, a professor emeritus of psychology at the University of British Columbia, told the court an investigator should not reveal who or what behaviour is being investigated.

“This is central, detailed information and it must come from the witness, not from the investigator. As soon as the investigator supplies the identity, the time frame, the location, the allegation that there’s abuse, this makes it no longer possible for that information to come spontaneously from the witnesses,” he said.

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John Howard Yoder’s Story at Notre Dame University, and the Continuing Damage That Heterosexism Does to Catholic Institutions

UNITED STATES
Bilgrimage

William D. Lindsey

Yesterday, I noted that Catholic culture (at an official level) remains irredeemably heterosexist, and has gotten even more so in response to the movements for women’s and LGBT rights in the 20th and 21st century. I predicted that the upcoming synod on the family will only cement into place more firmly than ever the trend to heterosexism — to the domination of women by men and of homosexual people by heterosexual ones — in Catholic institutions.

To me, the recently released draft of the report on which synod discussion will be based strongly suggests that the upcoming synod will not be a kairotic occasion for the Catholic church to acknowledge the manifold ways in which heterosexism, with the unmerited power and privilege it accords heterosexual males and its belief that women should be subordinated to men and gay folks excluded from the order of creation, does very serious damage to the church itself and to the world at large.

I’d like to ask you to keep those remarks in mind as I talk now about an important set of articles by Soli Salgado that National Catholic Reporter published online this morning. The first of these notes that allegations of sexual harrassment of female students by Mennonite theologian John Howard Yoder now extend to Notre Dame University, which hired Yoder as a full-time professor of theology in 1984. The second article, also by Salgado, explains why it seemed important that this story be told, given that Yoder died in 1997 and the officials who chose to ignore or cover up his sexual violence towards female students are also themselves no longer with us in many cases.

One of the people cited in both articles is Mennonite theologian and mental health clinician Ruth Krall, whose outstanding theological work on issues of sexual abuse I’ve often noted here. As I’ve indicated, at her blog site Enduring Space, Ruth has published a series of books entitled The Elephants in God’s Living Room: Clergy Sexual Abuse and Institutional Clericalism, which deal with the Yoder story. These books, and Ruth’s work on issues of abuse in the Mennonite church, have been ground-breaking in forcing the Mennonite church to talk honestly about Yoder’s legacy, and to come to terms with what it means for Mennonite pacifist theology to have been represented, in the 20th century, by a leading theologian with a history of sexual violence towards his students.

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Catholic groups lodge legal objection to historic abuse inquiry chair

SCOTLAND
Herald Scotland

Stephen Naysmith
Social affairs correspondent

TWO Catholic charities are to lodge a legal objection to the choice of chair for the Scottish Government’s inquiry into the historic abuse of children in care.

The Congregation of the Poor Sisters of Nazareth and the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent De Paul will seek a judicial review today challenging the appointment of Susan O’Brien QC, who is due to take up the post within days.

Last night a senior civil servant wrote to various parties, including several victims of historic child abuse who have campaigned for more than 14 years to achieve an inquiry, warning them about the action being taken by the charities.

The first hearing will be at the Court of Session in Edinburgh, he said, adding: “Please be reassured that the Scottish Ministers are defending this challenge robustly. It is still intended that Ms O’Brien will take up her position as planned on the 1st of July.”

Education Secretary Angela Constance appointed Ms O’Brien last month to head the inquiry which will examine any instance in which a child was abused in care.

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‘Sex abuse’ nuns challenge Holyrood ministers

SCOTLAND
Scotsman

CHRIS MARSHALL
Friday 26 June 2015

TWO religious groups have launched a legal challenge to block the appointment of a respected QC to chair Scotland’s national inquiry into child abuse.

The Congregation of the Poor Sisters of Nazareth and the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent De Paul have raised judicial review proceedings against Scottish Government ministers.

The move is designed to challenge a decision to appoint Susan O’Brien as the chair of Scotland’s child abuse inquiry, which is due to get under way later in the year.

A hearing is expected to take place today at the Court of Session in Edinburgh. The Scottish Government said it would defend its position “robustly”.

In an e-mail to abuse survivors, Scottish Government official Ellen MacKinnon wrote: “I am writing to make you aware that the Congregation of the Poor Sisters of Nazareth and the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent De Paul have raised judicial review proceedings.

“I was not sure if you would be aware of these proceedings and did not want this to come as a surprise to you. Please be reassured that the Scottish ministers are defending this challenge.”

The Poor Sisters ran a number of children’s homes across Scotland and the UK which have been at the centre of abuse allegations. They have links with the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent De Paul, which has also been subject of abuse allegations.

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Former pastor sentenced to three years for sexually abusing preteen girl

ILLINOIS
Journal Star

Andy Kravetz
Journal Star courts reporter

Posted Jun. 25, 2015

PEORIA — A former pastor was sentenced to three years in prison Thursday for sexually abusing a preteen girl for a number of years.

Ralph W. Barnett, 74, of 4216 N. Patricia Court, spoke in soft and measured tones. He apologized for his actions, telling Judge David Brown that it “just happened” and he was going through a bad time in his life. He told the judge he stopped himself after five years and now was seeking repentance and forgiveness.

But the judge took issue with the statement that Barnett “just happened” to begin abusing the girl in 2003 and then just stopped in 2008.

“It just doesn’t happen that you enter into a sexual relationship with a child for several years,” he said, before imposing sentence. The judge said probation, which Barnett wanted due to his extensive medical issues, wasn’t appropriate as children needed to be protected and a message had to be sent.

The judge also noted the testimony from the victim, now a teenager, who tearfully told how the abuse affected her.

In April, Barnett pleaded guilty in Peoria County Circuit Court to aggravated criminal sexual abuse. In return for his plea, three other counts including criminal sexual assault and predatory criminal sexual assault of a child were dropped. Prosecutors agreed to a 10-year cap. Without the deal, he had faced up to 60 years behind bars.

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Youth pastor in 3 parishes sought for molestation of boys

LOUISIANA
Fox 8

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) –
The NOPD has obtained an arrest warrant for a 36-year-old youth minister accused of having inappropriate sexual contact with two teen males.

Most of the incidents are reported to have occurred at the Baronne Street home of Ryan Scott Rodgers.

Rodgers is accused of touching the two teenage boys inappropriately while they were sleeping. Both victims told detectives that they were awakened by Rogers fondling them. The victims told Detective Stephanie Taillon that Rodgers sexually abused them for over a year.

During the course of the investigation, Taillon learned that Rodgers would buy the teen underwear and make them pose in front of him. Rodgers is a youth minister at several local churches in Orleans, Jefferson and Plaquemines Parishes.

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TN–Admitted predator priest loses again

TENNESSEE
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Thursday, June 25

Statement by Susan Vance of Knoxville, Eastern TN SNAP leader ( 865-927-2923, 865-748-3518 cell, vancefamily1@comcast.net )

We’re glad that an increasingly desperate and manipulative predator priest has lost in court again. We hope his relentless legal maneuvers will prod others who saw, suspected or suffered his crimes to step forward, help prosecutors, protect kids and start healing.

[WJHL]

We’re sad that an admitted predator priest, Fr. William Casey, is rubbing salt into the wounds of his victims by making yet another desperate legal move to escape responsibility for his heinous crimes by exploiting legal technicalities.

[Greeneville Sun]

Shame on Fr. Casey for his latest hurtful, self-serving legal maneuver. We hope he fails with every one of his seemingly endless “Hail Mary” filings and that they will prompt more people with information or suspicions about his crimes to step forward.

We call on every bishop who supervised Fr. Casey to publicly denounce this hurtful move, especially Knoxville Bishop Richard Stika.

Finally, we in SNAP call on other victims of Fr. Casey to come forward and help police and prosecutors keep this dangerous cleric locked up and away from kids.

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PA–Victims applaud AG probe of monastery

PENNSYLVANIA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Thursday, June 25

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

We’re glad law enforcement are searching a Catholic institution where a serial child molesting cleric spent time. We hope current and former monastery staff and students with information about the predator will pick up the phone and call the Pennsylvania attorney general’s office immediately.

[Tribune-Review]

We also hope sources who talked with the Tribune-Review are correct and that today’s action “may be part of a larger investigation of child molestation over nearly three decades involving more than 20 priests in the Altoona-Johnstown Roman Catholic Diocese.”

Beyond the Brother Stephen Baker cases, Altoona-Johnstown Bishop Mark Leonard Bartchak has a dreadful record on safeguarding kids, ousting predators and helping victims. We hope law enforcement officials at the local and state levels will more aggressively investigate crimes and cover ups in his diocese.

We also hope sources who talked with the Tribune-Review are correct and that today’s action “may be part of a larger investigation of child molestation over nearly three decades involving more than 20 priests in the Altoona-Johnstown Roman Catholic Diocese.”

Beyond the Brother Stephen Baker cases, Altoona-Johnstown Bishop Mark Leonard Bartchak has a dreadful record on safeguarding kids, ousting predators and helping victims. We hope law enforcement officials at the local and state levels will more aggressively investigate crimes and cover ups in his diocese.

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Sex pervert teacher Anne Lakey taught in Huddersfield

UNITED KINGDOM
Huddersfield Daily Examiner

BY NEIL ATKINSON

Police have confirmed they expect to hear from more victims of perverted headteacher Anne Lakey.

And it has been revealed that the disgraced teacher – jailed for sex offences against young pupils – worked in Huddersfield.

She was a teacher at the then All Saints Catholic High School at Bradley Bar.

It was one of her first teaching posts after qualifying at Sheffield University.

Now her career is in ruins after she was jailed for eight years for having sex with two boys.

Police have also revealed they are expecting other victims to come forward from Lakey’s past.

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Three laicizations announced by Worcester Diocese

WORCESTER (MA)
Roman Catholic Diocese of Worcester

June 25, 2015

Related: 2014 Audit finds Diocese compliant with National Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People

June 25, 2015, WORCESTER, MA — Following the Catholic Church’s commitment to the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, Most Rev. Robert J. McManus, Bishop of Worcester, has announced that Gerard L. Branconnier, Robert E. Kelley and Lowe B. Dongor have been laicized. All were dismissed from the clerical state by the Holy Father, Pope Francis. As a result of the laicizations, the three men may never function in any capacity as priests or be referred to as priests or as “Father” in writing such as in future obituaries. Although the decisions were reached by late 2014, formal announcement has waited until the period for any individual appeals was concluded.

“It is my fervent prayer that Christ may bring healing and hope to anyone who has been abused by these men or by anyone in the Catholic Church,” said Bishop McManus.
Bishop McManus encourages anyone in need of pastoral assistance as a result of clerical abuse to contact the diocesan Victims Assistance Coordinator in the Office of Healing and Prevention by calling 508-929-4363. The bishop noted, “As Pope Francis wrote to the Episcopal Conferences throughout the world in February 2015, ‘everything possible must be done to rid the Church of the scourge of the sexual abuse of minors and to open pathways of reconciliation and healing for those who were abused.’” …

In a related announcement, the Diocese of Worcester was found compliant in the national compliance audit in 2014 regarding the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. In 2014 it reported having received three new reports of abuse, all of which occurred prior to 1980, and has had ongoing contact with 24 victims and their families who made reports prior to July 2013. The Diocese of Worcester is committed to creating safe environments in all diocesan parishes and institutions and continues to work closely with local law enforcement agencies and community resources to support that commitment. In late 2014 it launched a new online training program for recognizing the signs and symptoms of child abuse in collaboration with Dallas Child Advocacy Center to augment the diocesan onsite training programs. The diocese has processed more than 36,000 background checks over the past decade for ordained and lay employees and volunteers which is another example of how it has been fully supportive of the commitment toward the safety of children in its care.

A Diocesan Review Board meets regularly to review cases brought forward from victims of abuse, as well as concerns involved in the ongoing support of victims and their families who have come forward over the years. More than half of the board members are from outside the employ of the diocese, as mandated by the charter and have pertinent experience to assist the diocese in meeting its commitment to safety. They include the following: Judith Audette, L.I.C.S.W., Chairperson, Executive Director, Pathways of Central Massachusetts; Maurice Boisvert, L.I.C.S.W., CEO Emeritus, YOU Inc.; John Duggan, M.D., Pediatrician; Claire Freda, Leominster City Councilor; Richard Hummel, Ph.D., Psychologist, Child Sexual Assault Specialist; Marian McGovern, State Police Colonel (retired); Christina Martinez, LMFT; Father Dean N. Paleologos, Saint Spyridon Greek Orthodox Cathedral (retired); Katherine Perkins, L.I.C.S.W., Child Sexual Assault Specialist; Honorable Edward J. Reynolds; and Lynda M. Young, M.D., Pediatrician.

In addition to these three laicizations, the Diocese of Worcester has previously announced the following men as having been removed from the clerical state by Rome since 2011: David Blizard, Thomas Kane, Robert Shauris, and Thomas Teczar.

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Pope laicizes three from Diocese

WORCESTER (MA)
The Catholic Free Press

Three former diocesan priests have been laicized, according to a press release from the Diocese.

Following the Catholic Church’s commitment to the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, Bishop McManus has announced that Gerard L. Branconnier, Robert E. Kelley and Lowe B. Dongor have been laicized. All were dismissed from the clerical state by Pope Francis, according to the press release.

As a result of the laicizations, the three men may never function in any capacity as priests or be referred to as priests or as “Father” in writing, such as in future obituaries, explained Raymond L. Delisle, director of the Office of Communications and chancellor. The decisions were reached late in 2014, but formal announcement was delayed until the appeal period was concluded.

“It is my fervent prayer that Christ may bring healing and hope to anyone who has been abused by these men or by anyone in the Catholic Church,” Bishop McManus said.

Contact Diocese for help

Bishop McManus encourages anyone in need of pastoral assistance as a result of clerical abuse to contact the diocesan victims assistance coordinator in the Office of Healing and Prevention by calling 508-929-4363. The bishop noted, “As Pope Francis wrote to the Episcopal Conferences throughout the world in February 2015, ‘everything possible must be done to rid the Church of the scourge of the sexual abuse of minors and to open pathways of reconciliation and healing for those who were abused.’”

Gerard L. Branconnier, 63, was removed from ministry in 1993 by Bishop Timothy J. Harrington following the determination of credible allegations of abuse with a 16-year-old young man. Branconnier has not had faculties for priestly ministry since 1993. He was ordained in 1978 and served in the following parishes: St. Roch, Oxford; North American Martyrs, Auburn; Sacred Heart of Jesus, Gardner, and St. Paul and St. Thomas Aquinas, Warren. Bishop McManus submitted the case to Rome in November 2005.

Robert E. Kelley, 73, was removed from ministry in 1985 by Bishop Harrington after learning of credible allegations of abuse which had occurred in the 1970s. He has not had faculties to serve in priestly ministry since 1985. Kelley was ordained in 1968 and served in the following parishes: Notre Dame, Southbridge; St. Boniface, Lunenburg; St. Cecilia, Leominster, and Sacred Heart of Jesus, Gardner. He has served two prison terms, one in 1990 and one in 2003, for sexual abuse of children prior to 1984 and is registered in Massachusetts as a Level 3 sex offender. Bishop McManus submitted the case to Rome in November 2005

Lowe B. Dongor, 38, was removed from ministry by Bishop McManus in July 2011 for possession of child pornography. Dongor had not yet completed his first year as a priest. He was an associate pastor at St. Joseph Parish, Fitchburg. Dongor has not had faculties to serve as a priest since then. When it was learned that he returned to his native Philippines prior to a pre-trial hearing, Bishop McManus notified the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines that Dongor was not a priest in good standing should he try to present himself for ministry there.

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John Furlong investigation by reporter ‘very suspect,’ says memory expert

CANADA
CBC News

By Jason Proctor, CBC News

An expert on human memory says journalist Laura Robinson conducted a flawed investigation after she travelled to Burns Lake, B.C., to interview potential abuse victims about John Furlong.

UBC professor John Yuille questioned a flyer Laura Robinson posted in the community while researching a damning 2012 Georgia Straight article on the former Olympics CEO’s time as a teacher at a Catholic school in 1969.

The poster said she was a “journalist investigating abuse” and was interested in students who “had John Furlong as a phys-ed teacher.”

“I’m not a journalist. I don’t set journalist standards,” Yuille said.

“This is bad investigation — that I know.”

Keeping an open mind

Yuille was the final witness Thursday in an unprecedented B.C. Supreme Court trial.

While Furlong was the subject of an article containing allegations he verbally and physically abused children at Immaculata Catholic school, the reporter is suing him for defamation.

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Lawyer says John Furlong defamed Laura Robinson with extortion claim

CANADA
Georgia Straight

by Carlito Pablo on June 25th, 2015

On the eve of final arguments in the civil trial of former Vancouver Olympics CEO John Furlong, the plaintiff’s lawyer summed up what the case is all about.

“The main argument is that she was defamed,” Bryan Baynham told the Georgia Straight, referring to his client, Laura Robinson.

Robinson is the journalist who first reported on Furlong’s previously undisclosed history as a Christian missionary in northern B.C., and the alleged abuses he committed against First Nations children he taught at a school in Burns Lake.

Giving a preview of some of the facts he will be citing on Friday (June 26) in his closing argument in B.C. Supreme Court, Baynham said that Furlong claimed Robinson went to the RCMP to file a complaint of sexual abuse against him on behalf of a First Nations woman, “and she didn’t”.

The lawyer also recalled that Furlong “said she tried to extort money and she didn’t”.

“You can’t say that about anybody,” Baynham said in an interview outside the courtroom today (June 25). “It doesn’t matter whether you’re a reporter or a person walking down the street or the prime minister.”

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Ambler Borough Council appoints new member

PENNSYLVANIA
Times Herald

By Stephen Pileggi, Digital First Media News Service

POSTED: 06/25/15

AMBLER >> After an unexpected turn of events at the Ambler Borough Council meeting June 16 that saw a two-way tie for the vacant seat in Ward 2, council, with the help of a rarely used outside party, finally determined a clear winner the following week.

In a 5-4 vote at a special meeting Tuesday night, June 23, it was decided that Karen Polesir will be filling Richard Palumbo’s vacant seat until Dec. 31. Palumbo resigned from borough council May 20 to pursue a career opportunity in Tennessee.

Polesir serves on the executive board of Ambler Main Street and has been a member and co-director of a local branch of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests since 2002.

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El papa acepta la renuncia de un obispo mexicano acusado de encubrimiento

MEXICO
CNN

[VATICAN CITY (AFP) – Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Gonzalo Galván Castillo, bishop of the diocese Autlan, Jalisco, noted for allegedly covering up a priest accused of sexual abuse, according to the Vatican The resignations of bishops have increased since the pope authorized earlier this month the establishment of a tribunal to judge the crime of “abuse of power” of the bishops who covered up for pedophile priests.]

CIUDAD DEL VATICANO (AFP) — El papa Francisco aceptó la renuncia del obispo mexicano Gonzalo Galván Castillo, de la diócesis Autlán, Jalisco, señalado por supuestamente encubrir a un sacerdote acusado de abuso sexual, informó este jueves el Vaticano.

El obispo Galván, de 64 años, renunció antes de los 75 años establecidos por el derecho canónico y argumentó razones de salud, explicó la Santa Sede.

Las renuncias de obispos han aumentado desde que el papa Francisco autorizó a inicio de este mes la creación de un tribunal para juzgar por el delito de “abuso de poder” a los obispos que han encubierto a sacerdotes pederastas.

Las acusaciones comenzaron en 2009, cuando un joven de 24 años denunció ante el obispo de Autlán al sacerdote Horacio López, de la misma diócesis, de haber abusado de él cuando tenía 11 años.

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Episcopalians examine alcohol use after fatal drunken driving case involving assistant bishop

UTAH
Daily Journal

By BRADY McCOMBS and RACHEL ZOLL Associated Press
June 25, 2015

SALT LAKE CITY — The top legislative body of the Episcopal Church is reviewing its policies on alcohol and addiction as part of the churchwide soul-searching over a Maryland assistant bishop charged with drunken driving while texting and killing a bicyclist.

Leaders of the Episcopal General Convention, meeting in Salt Lake City, put the topic on the agenda after the criminal case against Heather Cook drew national attention.

The Diocese of Maryland acknowledged they knew of an earlier drunken driving charge against Cook when she was being considered for the position of second-ranked local bishop, but did not disclose the information to local church members before they voted to elect her.

Cook, who has been defrocked, has pleaded not guilty to vehicular manslaughter, drunken driving and other charges.

In committee meetings Thursday, Episcopal leaders discussed updating the denomination’s guidance on alcohol use and abuse, which hasn’t been changed since 1985. Those guidelines suggest clergy and lay people educate themselves on pastoral support for substance abusers in the church, encourage moderate consumption of alcohol and suggest providing both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages at parish events.

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The same old song and dance…

MINNESOTA
Canonical Consultation

[with copy of the memorandum]

06/25/2015

Jennifer Haselberger

For those of us that hoped that the leadership changes in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis would extend beyond the resignations of the two bishops and the appointment of an Apostolic Administrator, the first dash of cold water has now been tossed in our direction.

According to a memo sent to all priests today, Archbishop Hedba has asked several staff members, including the most recent Vicar General, to ‘continue to play the same leadership role in the Archdiocese’.

I have been trying all morning to think of a positive aspect of this decision, but my efforts have failed. In fact, I find it almost as concerning as the rumors that I have been hearing alleging that Archbishop Nienstedt, upon his departure last week, sent personal letters to all the Archdiocesan seminarians signed ‘Archbishop Emeritus’.

This is a good reminder that not only good times lead to delusions, but that bad times can lead to them as well.

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Shamed former cleric says the church’s response to sexual abuse was inadequate

NORTHERN IRELAND
Sunday World

The response to child sex abuse allegations was totally inadequate and ineffective, the former head of the Catholic church in Ireland has said.

Cardinal Sean Brady said he had been horrified by the unspeakable crimes and hoped a public inquiry would shed light on the church’s dark history.

He said: “You have been tasked with inspecting a dark chapter in our history. But, I am confident that your patient and diligent work will cast a welcome light of truth on this situation and hopefully lead to a better future.”

The 75-year-old, who resigned as head of the Catholic church in Ireland on age grounds last year, was giving evidence to Northern Ireland’s long running Historical Abuse Inquiry (HIA) at Banbridge, Co Down.

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How often did police join in the cover-up of sexual abuse?

UNITED STATES
Catholic Culture

By Phil Lawler
Jun 25, 2015

Cardinal Sean Brady has apologized yet again for the failure to stop the predatory behavior of a pedophile priest, the late Brendan Smyth. If you’ve been following the story you know that Cardinal Brady—now retired, but once the Archbishop of Armagh, successor to St. Patrick, and Primate of All Ireland—became aware of Smyth’s misconduct in 1975, when he was a relatively young priest handling canonical affairs for the archdiocese. He informed archdiocesan superiors about the abuse, but did not inform police. Smyth remained on the loose, a menace to children, until his arrest in 1994.

Cardinal Brady has admitted that he should have done more to stop the pedophile priest. For several years now he has been harshly criticized by people who insist that he should have notified the police, and it’s difficult to argue with that criticism.

But what would have happened if then-Father Brady had told the Irish police, the gardai that Father Smyth has abused children? Would the abuse have stopped? We now have answers to those questions: Nothing and No.

Thanks to the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry, which heard the cardinal’s testimony this week, we now know that the gardai actually were informed about Father Smyth’s abuse, by a psychiatrist who was treated the priest for pedophilia. And how did the gardai respond? Well, you already know the answer to that question; the pedophile priest was not arrested until 1994.

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Brady’s evidence raises questions about 1975 abuse investigation

IRELAND
Irish Times

Patsy McGarry

Hearing Cardinal Seán Brady’s evidence to the North’s Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry was to be reminded of a damning conclusion in Judge Yvonne Murphy’s 2009 report on clerical child sexual abuse in the Dublin archdiocese.

He told the inquiry in Banbridge on Thursday that clergy investigating child sexual abuse were bound to secrecy so that the Catholic Church’s “good name” could be protected.

“The scandal was kept a secret; very, very secret . . . Everybody involved would be bound to secrecy too,” he said.

Following her investigation six years ago into the handling of abuse allegations in Dublin, Ms Justice Murphy concluded: “The welfare of children, which should have been the first priority, was not even a factor to be considered in the early stages . . . Instead, the focus was on the avoidance of scandal and the preservation of the good name, status and assets of the institution and of what the institution regarded as its most important assets: the priests.”

There is no doubt that Cardinal Brady regrets his actions and inaction in 1975 when, as a 35-year-old priest, he conducted canonical investigations into allegations by two teenage boys of abuse by Fr Brendan Smyth.

One of those boys, Brendan Boland, has since gone public; the second has chosen not to do so.

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Judge denies request of former priest convicted of rape

TENNESSEE
WJHL

By Allie Hinds

SULLIVAN COUNTY, TN- A Sullivan County judge denied the request to remove himself from the case of a former Tri-Cities priest convicted of rape.

William Casey’s new attorney Frank Santore, Jr. has filed a request for a new trial.

Thursday, Santore made a motion for Judge James Goodwin to recuse, or remove, himself from the case. He claims Goodwin may be partial because he worked for the Sullivan County district attorney’s office during the time of the trial.

If no appeal is filed on the judge’s decision not to remove himself from the case, another defense request will be heard in July, the request that District Attorney General Barry Staubus and his office be removed from the case.

“Essentially he’s stating that we should recuse ourself because of an employee in the office and we’ll address that at a later time,” Staubus said.

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Priest sex abuse allegations lead to AG search of monastery

PENNSYLVANIA
Tribune-Review

By Andrew Conte and Brad Bumsted
Thursday, June 25, 2015

HOLLIDAYSBURG — Agents with the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office on Thursday searched the grounds of St. Bernadine Monastery near this Blair County borough, where a Franciscan priest accused of molesting children killed himself two years ago.

The search may be part of a larger investigation of child molestation over nearly three decades involving more than 20 priests in the Altoona-Johnstown Roman Catholic Diocese, sources told the Tribune-Review.

About a half-dozen investigators wearing black T-shirts with the attorney general’s logo appeared Thursday morning with search warrants. The agents, who arrived with a black van and a white box truck marked “Attorney General Special Investigations,” took photos and notes.

The investigation began in early 2014 to look at the priest’s death and may have expanded to examine the diocese, sources said.

Deputy Attorney General Dan J. Dye said at the monastery he could not comment on what the investigators were doing there because their actions have been “sealed.” The monastery sits along a two-lane road among groves of tall pines with several yellow-brick buildings, including one that appears to hold apartments or offices, a three-story house and smaller buildings.

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Beyond the Duggars: 5 things you can do to prevent child sexual abuse

UNITED STATES
Generation X

The following is a guest post from Joelle Casteix, author of The Well-Armored Child: A Parent’s Guide to Preventing Sexual Abuse, due out September 15. I’ve written about childhood sexual assault many times on this blog, particularly as it relates to Generation X, so be sure to review the related posts section at this end of this article. It’s a privilege to share this humble space with Joelle and shine a light on a problem that can be so devastating and difficult for families to navigate.

By Joelle Casteix

You have just learned that your 14-year-old son has been sexually molesting his younger sisters as they slept. What do you do?

You can call the police. They may arrest your son and take him to a juvenile detention facility. Once there, you have no idea what will happen. Will he have a record? Will his life be ruined? Will your whole family be placed under the spotlight? Will your son have to become a registered sex offender?

You have second option: you can keep quiet and find a facility that treats sexually offending youth. But the few that do exist are expensive. Can you afford it? If your friends and neighbors find out, will your family be shunned? Will your son’s chances for jobs, higher education, sports, and marriage evaporate? If other parents find out, your daughters’ friends may no longer be able to come to your house. You may even have to move away to escape the stigma.

Then there is the final option: you can make your son promise to never do it again, take no action, and protect your son and his future.

And what about your daughters? Well, they seem okay. You have them in therapy. You’re keeping an eye on them.

So, what do you decide?

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Seán Brady sorry for ‘inadequate’ response to Smyth abuse

NORTHERN IRELAND
Irish Times

Gerry Moriarty

Retired Catholic primate Cardinal Seán Brady has said he was “truly sorry” for the “totally inadequate and ineffective” manner in which the church dealt with paedophile priest Brendan Smyth.

He also admitted that the church applied a “shroud of secrecy” in relation to Smyth in order to protect the good name of the church.

This policy of secrecy was counter-productive, Cardinal Brady (75), the retired Archbishop of Armagh, acknowledged at the Historical Institutional Abuse inquiry in Banbridge, Co Down on Thursday.

In his evidence, the cardinal chiefly concerned himself with how in 1975 he was involved in separate secret interviews with two boys who alleged they were sexually abused by Smyth, then 35. The then Fr Brady was charged by the late Bishop of Kilmore, Francis McKiernan, with establishing if the allegations were true.

The boys, after giving evidence, which Cardinal Brady said he believed, had to sign oaths of secrecy. The boys were also interviewed without their parents present and the Garda was never notified about the boys’ allegations.

“There was a shroud of secrecy and confidentiality with a view not to destroying the good name of the church,” Cardinal Brady told the inquiry.

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Papa acepta renuncia de obispo mexicano señalado de encubrir pederastia

MEXICO
Excelsior

[MEXICO CITY, 25 June.- Pope Francis accepted Thursday the resignation early “for serious reasons” of the bishop of Autlan, Gonzalo Galván Castillo, the Vatican announced. The Catholic leader is accused of allegedly covering up a pedophile priest.]

CIUDAD DE MÉXICO, 25 de junio.- El Papa Francisco aceptó este jueves la renuncia anticipada “por causas graves” del obispo de Autlán, Gonzalo Galván Castillo, dio a conocer el Vaticano.

El dirigente católico es señalado por presuntamente encubrir a un sacerdote pedófilo.

En un breve comunicado, la sala de prensa de la Santa Sede informó que Francisco aceptó la dimisión, según el artículo 401.2 del Código del Derecho Canónico, la ley fundamental de la Iglesia católica.

Ese apartado considera las renuncias anticipadas de los obispos por enfermedad y “otra causa grave” que disminuya la capacidad para desempeñar el cargo.

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Other Pontifical Acts

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Information Service

Vatican City, 25 June 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has:

– accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Autlan, Mexico, presented by Bishop Gonzalo Galvan Castillo, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.

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Bischof in Mexiko tritt zurück – Vertuschung?

VATIKAN
kath.ch

[Bishop in Mexico resigns – coverup? Rome / Mexico City, 6/25/15 (kath.ch) Pope Francis has acceptedthe early resignation of the Mexican Bishop Gonzalo Galvan Castillo on Thursday, June 25. The Vatican gave no substantive reasons. Mexican media referred to allegations of abuse against a priest of the Diocese of Autlan.]

Rom/Mexiko-Stadt, 25.6.15 (kath.ch) Papst Franziskus hat den vorzeitigen Rücktritt des mexikanischen Bischofs Gonzalo Galvan Castillo am Donnerstag, 25. Juni, angenommen. Der Vatikan nannte keine inhaltlichen Gründe. Mexikanische Medien verwiesen auf Missbrauchsvorwürfe gegen einen Priester des Bistums Autlan.

Auf die 2009 laut gewordenen Anschuldigungen hin habe Galvan den betreffenden Geistlichen lediglich in eine andere Pfarrei versetzt. Galvan, heute 64, stand seit 2004 an der Spitze der Diözese.

Der Vatikan verwies in seiner Mitteilung zum Rücktritt Galvans auf einen Kirchenrechtsparagrafen, der einen Amtsverzicht dann vorsieht, wenn ein Diözesanbischof «wegen seiner angegriffenen Gesundheit oder aus einem anderen schwerwiegenden Grund nicht mehr recht in der Lage ist, seine Amtsgeschäfte wahrzunehmen».

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IL– Ex-Chicago priest arrested on sex charge

ILLINOIS
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

immediate release: Thursday, June 25

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

An Orthodox pastor has just been arrested on a sex charge involving a teenager. Now, it’s time for his former church colleagues and supervisors in Chicago to take action.

[WFMJ]

[Vindicator]

Rev. Archim Andoni, a Chicago native, now lives in Pittsburgh and works at a Youngstown church. But he has also worked in Idaho, Colorado, New Mexico, Iowa and “mostly in the Chicago area,” according to the Dubuque Telegraph-Herald.

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TN–Judge rules in Baptist child sex case

TENNESSEE
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Thursday, June 25, 2015

For more information: David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP Director (314) 566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com, Barbara Dorris 314-503-0003, bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org,

Judge rules in Baptist child sex case
Group deplores secrecy by church officials
SNAP: Pastor “changed his tune” about abuse
Victims think he should be investigated & charged
Preacher “clearly filed false police report,” self-help organization says

A judge has ruled that parties in a civil clergy sex abuse and cover up case can’t discuss or disclose the evidence publicly and a support group that sought to intervene is criticizing church officials for “continuing their reckless secrecy” in the case.

“Kids are safer when those who commit or conceal child sex crimes can’t keep hiding their wrongdoing,” said David Clohessy, the director of a Chicago-based self-help group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. “We’re especially worried because the convicted child molester and the accused complicit church officials are still in the area. Parents, police and the public should know as much about them as possible.”

Years after he reported suspected child sex crimes by a church volunteer to police, a Jackson minister went back to police again and tried to “water down” his formal report in an unusual move to apparently try to protect himself and his congregation from civil liability, SNAP says. A civil abuse and cover up case was filed against him and his church in May 2014.

[BishopAccountability.org]

The group has urged prosecutors to investigate the two very different accounts and possibly charge the minister for making a false police report.

( Read the police report here: [police report] )

In 2006, Pastor Mark McSwain of First Church in Bemis reported to police that Chad Lutrell was inappropriately touching young girls and kissing one on the mouth. He also said that Lutrell was stalking and harassing adult women.

Three years later, however, in 2009, McSwain backtracked from his original statement. McSwain approached police again, this time telling an officer that Lutrell kissed a child on the cheek, not on the mouth. McSwain also denied that Lutrell had inappropriately touched children, and claimed that Lutrell only sent one adult woman an inappropriate email and follower her home.

“It is very suspicious that the pastor changed his tune so much, especially after three years, and in such self-serving ways” said Barbara Dorris, outreach director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. “We hope prosecutors will consider filing charges against McSwain for making a false police report.”

“The pastor clearly is trying hard to protect his reputation and his church’s reputation from negative news coverage and civil lawsuits,” said David Clohessy, SNAP’s director. “There’s really no other possible explanation for his bizarre behavior.”

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‘Sauna Rabbi’ Jonathan Rosenblatt Vows To Fight for Job

NEW YORK
Jewish Daily Forwward

JTA

Rabbi Jonathan Rosenblatt told his congregants that he plans to continue serving as spiritual leader of the Riverdale Jewish Center despite media attention over his method of outreach to young men.

Rosenblatt’s unusual behavior of inviting young males to join him for naked heart-to-heart talks in the sauna has prompted talk about a contract buyout or firing the rabbi, who was the subject of a recent article in The New York Times.

“This is a crisis created by my own lapses of judgment,” Rosenblatt, told a meeting of congregants on Wednesday, the New York Times reported, citing a recording of the speech transcribed by a synagogue member. “I have brought pain to people, shame to my family and I have caused a desecration of the divine name.”

Rosenblatt reportedly said that calls for him to be removed from his position are “disproportionate,” and that he plans to continue to serve the 700-member congregation, as he has for the last 30 years.
Earlier this month, the board of directors of the Riverdale Jewish Center voted 34-8 to seek a financial settlement to get Rosenblatt to resign his pulpit position.

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Sauna Shanda Rabbi Won’t Step Down

NEW YORK
Gawker

Ashley Feinberg

A New York Orthodox rabbi announced last night that he’s refusing to leave his post—despite his synagogue board’s requests to the contrary in response to the revelation of his habit of taking naked sauna dips with young male congregants in the 1980s and 90s, some of whom were as young as 12 years old.

The shvitz enthusiast, Rabbi Jonathan Rosenblatt, had previously promised to work out a deal in which the board would buy out his remaining contract. But it appears that the pants-less patriarch of the Riverdale Jewish Center had a change of heart. From The New York Times:

“This is a crisis created by my own lapses of judgment,” said Rabbi Rosenblatt, 58, on a recording of the speech transcribed by a synagogue member. “I have brought pain to people, shame to my family and I have caused a desecration of the divine name.”

Still, according to another member, he said “that the calls for him to no longer be the rabbi are disproportionate to what he did. And he said he looks forward to serving his community.”

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BILL HANNEGAN ON TV

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Berger’s Beat

June 25, 2015 10:53 am | Author: berger

With friends like these, who needs enemies? That was Bill Hannegan on local TV news last night defending the flying of Confederate flags. He’s also founder of Friends of Fr. Joseph Jiang, the twice-accused predator priest who’s close to Archbishop Robert Carlson. Hannegan has also fought restrictions on smoking cigarettes in public.

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Smyth victims take legal action against Gardaí

IRELAND
UTV

Victims of the paedophile priest Brendan Smyth have said they will be taking legal action against An Garda Síochána.

It follows Wednesday’s claims at the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry that Irish police knew about Smyth’s activities in the early 1970s.

Solicitor Kevin Winters said civil proceedings had been launched because of the “appalling failure” to stop the paedophile priest.

He said: “A number of victims of Smyth’s abuse have asked us to write to the Garda commissioner to find out why they didn’t act on a letter sent to Finglas Garda station in 1973.

“Our clients are shocked to learn that the document didn’t alert the Gardai and the authorities to the very real risk of future abuse by Smyth.”

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Northern Ireland: Cardinal Sean Brady admits ‘shroud of secrecy’ over historic sex abuse cases

NORTHERN IRELAND
International Business Times

By Callum Paton
June 25, 2015

The former leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland has admitted information surrounding historical sex abuse involving clerics was protected by a code of secrecy.

Speaking at the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry, which is hearing evidence on the abuse of children in Northern Ireland in residential institutions, Cardinal Sean Brady said victims were made to swear oaths promising they would not divulge information to anyone outside the Catholic church.

“There was a shroud of secrecy and confidentiality with a view not to destroying the good name of the church,” he said to the inquiry in Banbridge.

“The scandal that somebody who was ordained to serve people should so abuse the trust for their own pleasure was appalling.

“To offset that, the scandal was kept a secret – very, very secret.”

The Belfast Telegraph reported Brady was criticised over revelations that he was present when two teenage victims of paedophile priest Father Brendan Smyth were sworn to secrecy during interviews over their abuse.

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The real issue in the John Furlong trial

CANADA
Rabble

BY JOHN MILLER | JUNE 25, 2015

For two months after a damaging story about him appeared in the Georgia Straight, John Furlong made no move to sue anyone.

Not the eight former students named in the story who claimed that he beat and racially taunted them when he was a missionary-teacher in northern British Columbia in 1969 and 1970, a period of time that he strangely left out of his autobiography.

Not the weekly newspaper that dared to print the story.

Not even the CBC, which broadcast more serious allegations against him, including evidence of sexual assault.

At a press conference on Sept. 27, 2012, the day the Georgia Straight article appeared, Furlong issued a blanket denial and accused Laura Robinson, the reporter, of a “shocking lack of diligence in researching the article.” He added that “this feels very much like a personal vendetta.” He threatened to sue for defamation.

Instead, the man who organized the Vancouver Olympics resorted to the court of public opinion. He mounted a public relations campaign against her, accusing her of having “open contempt for the Olympic Games and male authority figures in sport.” He also disparaged her long career exposing wrongdoing in amateur sport as “a two-decade long pattern of inaccuracy.” She was an activist, he said, not a journalist. …

Robinson expects the fight for her reputation and to defend herself from Furlong`s abandoned lawsuit will cost her and her husband up to $500,000, but feels it is necessary. Perhaps she feels she is also fighting for the right of other journalists to investigate public figures who happen to have wealthy and influential friends and who choose to defend themselves by blaming the messenger. The tactics of former Toronto mayor Rob Ford come to mind.

Her case should be all about journalistic standards, and whether her story met them. Was there any evidence she was out to get Furlong and took shortcuts in verifying the information she was given? Did she make a genuine effort to get his side of the story? Did she use questionable journalistic techniques? Is there any evidence she had a personal interest in damaging his reputation? Were any facts or details fabricated? Was she an advocate for a certain cause or was she acting as an ethical and diligent journalist?

I examined her reporting and the story as an independent expert witness and gave testimony on the opening day of the trial. I found no evidence that what Furlong said about her was factual. Rather the opposite: I measured her reporting techniques against accepted journalistic standards (mainly those of the Canadian Association of Journalists) and found that she’d met the test. Her sources were all named, each had sworn an affidavit, and she’d approached Furlong five times over four months to give his side of the story. Each time he refused to answer her questions.

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Irish cardinal admits inquiries into child rapist priest were only to protect church

NORTHERN IRELAND
The Guardian

Henry McDonald Ireland correspondent

Thursday 25 June 2015

Senior figures in Ireland’s Catholic church set up inquiries into historical sexual abuse by solely to protect the church from scandal, the former leader of Ireland’s Catholics has admitted.

Dr Seán Brady, the former primate of All Ireland, told an inquiry into historical abuse on Thursday that he and other Catholic clerics were sworn to secrecy about these tribunals so that the “good name” of the church could be protected.

Brady was giving evidence on Thursday at the historical abuse inquiry in Northern Ireland, a wideranging investigation into the abuse of children at state and church-run care homes and other institutions across the region.

The retired cleric’s evidence focused on the scandal surrounding Father Brendan Smyth, a serial child rapist who continued to abuse for decades after the church first learned that he was a paedophile.

The cardinal has faced heavy criticism for keeping secret a meeting in 1975 between senior clerics and victims of Smyth, Ireland’s most notorious paedophile priest whom the inquiry was told earlier this week possibly abused hundreds of children.

Although the Catholic hierarchy knew about Smyth’s abuse in the mid-70s they failed to report it to the police in Northern Ireland. Instead, the church moved Smyth around parishes and even hospital chaplaincies for two decades while he raped and abused children in Ireland, Britain and the US.

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Mother says she’s been outlawed in Jewish community following allegations against rabbi

FLORIDA
Local 10

The mother of an 11-year-old girl who was allegedly sexually assaulted by a Miami Beach rabbi said she’s being ostracized by members of the congregation after coming forward to police.

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Former archbishop claims RTÉ falsely depicted him as a rapist

IRELAND
Irish Times

Mary Carolan

A former Catholic Archbishop claims an RTÉ programme falsely depicted him as a “sexual predator” and a “rapist” who took advantage of a vulnerable teenage girl in Nigeria who regarded the church as a “sanctuary”.

The Prime Time Investigates: Mission to Prey programme broadcast on May 23rd, 2011, wrongly meant Richard Burke sexually assaulted Dolores Atwood in a hospital bed in Nigeria when she was 13 and had had sex with her when she was aged 14, Jack Fitzgerald SC said.

Mr Burke (66), from Clonmel, Co Tipperary, would say he had had consensual sexual relations with Ms Atwood when she was an adult but this programme wrongly depicted him as a paedophile, counsel said.

RTÉ had sought information from Mr Burke about how many people he had sex with but his consensual sexual relations with other women were irrelevant as this defamation case is “about paedophilia and nothing else”.

He will say he is not a paedophile, he “abhors it, it offends him and he will tell you the truth”, counsel said. “This man is a human being and he has a reputation.”

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Brendan Smyth’s victims to take legal action against gardai

IRELAND
Irish Independent

Lesley-Anne McKeown, Press Association
PUBLISHED
25/06/2015

VICTIMS of paedophile priest Father Brendan Smyth are to take legal action against the Gardai.

The move follows revelations that officers in Dublin knew about his sex abuse in the early 1970s.
Solicitor Kevin Winters said civil proceedings had been launched because of the “appalling failure” to stop Smyth.

He said: “A number of victims of Smyth’s abuse have asked us to write to the Garda commissioner to find out why they didn’t act on a letter sent to Finglas Garda station in 1973.

“Our clients are shocked to learn that the document didn’t alert the Gardai and the authorities to the very real risk of future abuse by Smyth.”

Yesterday, previously unseen confidential documents from St Patrick’s Hospital in Dublin were shown to the Historical Abuse Inquiry (HIA).

They revealed Smyth had asked his psychiatrist to have him admitted to hospital after coming to the attention of Gardai in Finglas in 1973.

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Rome summit looks to improve church’s handling of child sexual abuse

ROME
Religion News Service

Rosie Scammell | June 25, 2015

ROME (RNS) As the Vatican continues to work on policies to combat clergy sex abuse, a leading pontifical university in Rome hosted a conference this week on how the Catholic Church can better address the current crisis and released details of a new diploma program on protecting children.

A series of measures pushed through in recent months by Pope Francis has given Vatican officials new tools for dealing with child molesters within the church, but critics argue that the Holy See has been too slow to act on scandals globally.

In the latest such move, the Vatican set a July trial date for Jozef Wesolowski, a Polish ex-archbishop who stands accused of abusing children while ambassador to the Dominican Republic. He will be tried in a Vatican criminal court, an unusual step.

That announcement came just days after the pope approved the Vatican’s first system for judging bishops who fail in their duty to protect children from abusive clerics, a plan proposed by the papal commission that Francis set up to tackle sexual abuse.

As new policies are implemented at the Vatican, similar discussions are underway in Rome and around the world.

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Spiritual support in the wake of the sexual abuse crisis

ROME
Vatican Radio

[with audio]

(Vatican Radio) Representatives of bishops conferences from 15 English speaking countries met at the Pontifical Gregorian University this week to discuss a spiritual and theological response to the sex abuse crisis in the Catholic Church.

The annual meeting of the Anglophone conference on the Safeguarding of Children, Young People and Vulnerable Adults, which concluded on Wednesday, was jointly hosted by the Gregorian’s Centre for Child Protection and the U.S. Catholic Bishops Conference.

Participants raised challenging questions about the meaning of redemption or reconciliation for survivors of sexual abuse. They also discussed the anger and confusion of so many Catholics who’ve left the Church as a result of the abuse crisis.

Among the renowned theologians addressing the conference was Sr Sara Butler, president of the Academy of Catholic Theology in Washington D.C. and former member of the International Theological Commission….

Sr Sara says people who’ve heard about the sex abuse crisis begin to wonder whether the sacraments celebrated by priests who were offenders are valid…..

She looks back at the history of the Church, starting with the Diocletian persecution in North Africa in the early 4th century, through to later reformers who sought to stop the sexual abuses of the clergy of their day by saying that the sacraments were not valid…..

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What’s next for Geronimo ‘Pastor G’ Aguilar after sexual assault conviction

TEXAS
WRIC

TARRANT COUNTY, Texas (WRIC) — Geronimo ‘Pastor G’ Aguilar’s legal proceedings are far from over.

Aguilar was convicted of sexually assaulting two girls when they were just 11 and 13-years-old in Texas on Wednesday.

The defense has requested a pre-sentence report, which could take a couple of months. Sentencing may take place as soon as September. Prosecutors plan to push for life behind bars.

In Texas, both the defense and the prosecution will be allowed to call witnesses at Aguilar’s sentencing. Prosecutors have told 8News investigator Kerri O’Brien that they have several people lined up. We could hear from witnesses we never heard from during the trial . 8News was also told a number of the potential witnesses are from here in Richmond.

While the defense wouldn’t talk to 8News on camera, they have told other media outlets they plan to appeal.

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Gays can’t use U.S. Catholic family meet to attack Church, bishop says

VATICAN CITY
Reuters

VATICAN CITY | BY PHILIP PULLELLA

Homosexuals can attend a Catholic family congress in Philadelphia during Pope Francis’ U.S. visit this year but won’t be allowed to use it to attack Church teachings, the city’s archbishop said on Thursday.

“We don’t want to provide a platform at the meeting for people to lobby for positions contrary to the life of our Church,” said Archbishop Charles Chaput. The Catholic Church teaches homosexuality is not sinful but homosexual acts are.

“We are not providing that kind of lobbying opportunity,” he told a news conference presenting the September 22-27 congress known as the World Meeting of Families.

Gay Catholic groups and families headed by gay Catholics had asked for an official presence at the gathering to present their view that homosexuals should be fully welcomed in the Church.

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Why write the story of the allegations against John Howard Yoder?

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

Soli Salgado | Jun. 25, 2015 NCR Today

Sexual abuse allegations against theologian John Howard Yoder are decades old. The officials who chose to either ignore his past or bury it are mostly dead. The institutions where the misconduct happened have since enacted policies to prevent such harassment. And Yoder is no longer a threat, having died in 1997. So why is his story worth revisiting?

Rachel Goossen, the historian who recently researched Yoder’s past for the Mennonite church, said that Yoder’s works and writings did not die with him. They continue to be reprinted and have a formative place in the theological realm. Such studies require context.

“It’s important to know that while he was incredibly influential in his lifetime and also after his death in his writings on nonviolence, Yoder was also perpetrating violence in his private life and using his religious status to make things happen for himself,” Goossen said. “If they’re going to interpret his writings, they should have information about this extraordinary theologizing that he did that was very harmful to women.”

While many of the key players in the story have died, she added, most of his victims — who were typically decades younger than Yoder — are still alive.

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Allegations of sexual harassment against John Howard Yoder extend to Notre Dame

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

Soli Salgado | Jun. 25, 2015

When John Howard Yoder became a full-time professor exclusively at the University of Notre Dame in 1984, he gave a significant boost to the school’s theology department. He brought with him international acclaim as a Mennonite theologian, scholar, ethicist and pacifist.

He also brought with him a long history of predatory behavior toward women, especially young female students, described as his “experiments.”

Leaders of the Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary — formerly Goshen Biblical Seminary, where Yoder taught theology for 24 years — gathered March 22 this year to apologize to his victims for the first time, publicly taking responsibility for the seminary’s neglect that allowed Yoder to abuse more than 100 women. Yoder, who died in 1997, faced 13 charges of sexual abuse in 1992.

But what remains unanswered is who knew what at Notre Dame at the time of his hiring, whether officials there simply ignored his past and what officials on the South Bend, Ind., campus subsequently did as reports of his abusive behavior began to surface.

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Former bishop claims RTE Prime Time programme wrongly depicted him as a sexual predator

IRELAND
Irish Independent

Mary Carolan
PUBLISHED
25/06/2015

A FORMER Catholic Archbishop claims an RTE programme falsely depicted him as a “sexual predator” and a “rapist” who took advantage of a vulnerable teenage girl in Nigeria who regarded the church as a “sanctuary”.

The Prime Time Investigates Mission to Prey programme broadcast on May 23rd 2011 wrongly meant Richard Burke sexually assaulted Dolores Atwood in a hospital bed in Nigeria when she was aged 13 and had had sex with her when she was aged 14, Jack Fitzgerald SC said.

Mr Burke (66), from Clonmel, Co Tipperary, would say he had had consensual sexual relations with Ms Atwood when she was an adult but this programme wrongly depicted him as a paedophile, counsel said.

RTE had sought information from Mr Burke about how many people he had sex with but his consensual sexual relations with other women were irrelevant as this defamation case is “about paedophilia and nothing else”.

He will say he is not a paedophile, he “abhors it, it offends him and he will tell you the truth”, counsel said. “This man is a human being and he has a reputation.”

Today is the second day of Mr Burke’s action over alleged defamation in the Mission to Prey programme. The case is being heard before Ms Justice Iseult O’Malley and a High Court jury of six men and six women.

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Sean Brady apologises for Brendan Smyth crimes

NORTHERN IRELAND
RTE News

The former Catholic Primate of All Ireland, Sean Brady, has said he wanted to express his horror and to offer an unreserved apology to all those affected as a result of the crimes of convicted paedophile Brendan Smyth.

The Cardinal is appearing before the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry in Northern Ireland.

The Cardinal commended the courage of the 14-year-old boy who came forward in 1975.

He said “unfortunately the response to his complaint was neither adequate or effective. For this I’m truly sorry,” he said.

He is giving evidence about a meeting in 1975 where the then teaching priest took notes when a 14-year-old told of being sexually abused by Smyth.

Cardinal Brady said that there was a shroud of secrecy and confidentially with a view to not destroying the good name of the church.

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Historical abuse inquiry live…

NORTHERN IRELAND
Belfast Telegraph

Historical abuse inquiry live: Cardinal Brady admits ‘shroud of secrecy’ over sex abuse investigations

By Lesley Anne McKeown
PUBLISHED
25/06/2015

Clerics involved in investigating child sex abuse were bound to secrecy so the Catholic church’s “good name” could be protected, a former primate of Ireland has claimed.

Cardinal Sean Brady, who resigned on age grounds last year, was giving evidence to the Historical Abuse Inquiry (HIA) in Banbridge, Co Down.

He said: “These were unspeakable crimes.

“There was a confidentiality resting upon us too.”

Live updates from Belfast Telegraph reporter Rebecca Black @RBlackBT

The Cardinal faced fierce criticism after it emerged he had attended meetings where two teenage victims of paedophile priest Father Brendan Smyth were sworn to secrecy in 1975.

He added: “There was a shroud of secrecy and confidentiality with a view not to destroying the good name of the church.

“The scandal that somebody who was ordained to serve people should so abuse the trust for their own pleasure was appalling and it was.

“To offset that, the scandal was kept a secret – very, very secret.

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Accused minister suspended

NEW ZEALAND
New Zealand Herald

A Napier-based Anglican minister accused of sexual violation was stripped of his “permission to officiate” when the church learned of the allegations against him.

John Hamilton Tovey, 64, a former associate priest at Taradale’s All Saints Anglican church, faced court on sex and indecency charges yesterday.

He appeared in Napier District Court and was remanded on bail without plea until July 15 by a registrar.

Tovey faces one charge of sexual violation and two charges of indecent assault – all three charges relating to the same alleged female victim.

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Jesus weeps today: Archdiocese persisted in its sin

MINNESOTA
LaCross Tribune

MIKE TIGHE mtighe@lacrossetribune.com

Unlike most Catholics, John Nienstedt must have been inoculated against guilt somewhere along his career path toward becoming an archbishop.

Or perhaps he has spent so much of his life pointing out the splinters in others’ eyes that he simply can’t see the log in his own.

How else could he shirk blame for criminal charges against the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis that propelled his resignation just days after the charges were filed?

No individuals are charged in the 44-page legal document detailing six misdemeanor counts related to sexual abuse cover-ups. But it chronicles Nienstedt’s acceptance of the Rev. Curtis Wehmeyer’s escapades of drinking, drug use, cruising for sex among adults and boys, and abuse of teens that would have resulted in a lifetime in sack cloth and ashes for a lay person in confession.

Bishops, priests and lay staffers warned Nienstedt not to make Wehmeyer a pastor because of such behavior, for which the archdiocese had sent the priest to treatment for sexual disorders in 2004 and ordered him to attend Sexaholics Anonymous.

Turning a deaf ear, Nie

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John Furlong ‘always kind’ to students, nun testifies

CANADA
CBC News

By Jason Proctor, CBC News

A nun who ran a Burns Lake, B.C., Catholic elementary school where John Furlong taught more than 40 years ago says the former Olympics CEO was “always kind” to his students.

Sister Marie Melling testified Wednesday in B.C. Supreme Court, where Furlong is defending himself against a claim he defamed Laura Robinson, the journalist who wrote an article claiming he abused students at Immaculata school in 1969.

“He treated the children with respect,” Melling said. “He was always pleasant.”

Furlong arrived in B.C. as a teen

Melling was one of four defence witnesses called on Furlong’s behalf; among the others were his romantic partner and an RCMP officer who investigated an allegation of sexual abuse by a former student.

In the September 2012 Georgia Straight article, Robinson reported that eight people had signed affidavits claiming Furlong physically and verbally abused them while they attended the school.

She claims Furlong’s responses to her article caused her financial and emotional damage by implying she was unprofessional and motivated by a personal vendetta.

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Learning to deal …

NEW YORK
The Riverdale Press

Learning to deal with clergy abuse

By Shant Shahrigian
Posted 6/25/15

While Riverdale grapples with the consequences of recent revelations that a long respected rabbi led boys into a sauna naked over a period of years, one local institution is working to avert that kind of scandal from happening in the first place.

Yeshivat Chovevei Torah (YCT), located at 3700 Hendry Hudson Parkway, requires its roughly 40 rabbis in training to undergo weekly sessions with psychologists or a psychotherapist. Small groups of students meet with professionals to discuss issues like boundaries with congregants, part of YCT’s effort to train rabbis both as experts on Judaism and community leaders.

“You’re really working so hard to help people and make a difference,” said YCT’s president, Rabbi Asher Lopatin. “You don’t always stop to think, what am I doing? Am I doing the right thing? What are my motivations?”

After a May New York Times article about Riverdale Jewish Center’s (RJC) Rabbi Jonathan Rosenblatt taking boys to a sauna naked in the 1980s and 1990s prompted the Bronx District Attorney’s office to ask people to come forward if they have information, Rabbi Lopatin took to Facebook to encourage people to do so. Most other local Jewish leaders have shied away from openly addressing the situation at RJC, where congregants have bitterly disagreed over whether Rabbi Rosenblatt should remain as their leader.

In a recent interview, Rabbi Lopatin, who became head of YCT in fall 2013, did not discuss the crisis at RJC at length, saying he did not want to inflame the situation while the community is going through a tough time.

But Rabbi Lopatin said longstanding feelings with Jewish communities against “airing dirty laundry” and against gossiping make it hard to deal with abuse when it arises in the first place.

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Rabbi Who Had Naked Chats in Sauna Intends to Keep His Job at Riverdale Jewish Center

NEW YORK
New York Times

By ANDY NEWMAN
JUNE 25, 2015

A prominent Modern Orthodox rabbi who has been criticized for taking boys as young as 12 naked to the sauna defied the board of his synagogue and told supportive congregants Wednesday night that he would remain as their spiritual leader.

The rabbi, Jonathan Rosenblatt, of Riverdale Jewish Center in the Bronx had agreed to negotiate with the board on a deal to buy out the last three years of his contract, after a New York Times article last month about his sauna talks with young men.

But an apologetic Rabbi Rosenblatt told a mostly packed house that he intended to stay at the helm of the 700-member synagogue he has led for 30 years, according to several people who attended the members-only event.

“This is a crisis created by my own lapses of judgment,” said Rabbi Rosenblatt, 58, on a recording of the speech transcribed by a synagogue member. “I have brought pain to people, shame to my family and I have caused a desecration of the divine name.”

Still, according to another member, he said “that the calls for him to no longer be the rabbi are disproportionate to what he did. And he said he looks forward to serving his community.”

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Listen: Sean Brady to appear before North’s Abuse inquiry

IRELAND
Newstalk

[with audio]

Patrick Corrigan of Amnesty International speaks to Breakfast ahead of the former Primate’s testimony today

The former Primate of All Ireland Sean Brady will appear before the North’s Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry today.

The probe is focusing on the abuses carried out by paedophile priest Brendan Smyth and examining whether systemic failings allowed him to continue offending for so long.

Yesterday, the inquiry heard that Gardaí were aware of Smyth’s abuses as early as the 1970s.

Patrick Corrigan, Programme Director of Amnesty International in Northern Ireland, spoke to Breakfast this morning and said former Cardinal Brady’s testimony comes after a harrowing week of testimony.

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Brendan Smyth victim: ‘I could have been saved’

NORTHERN IRELAND
Yahoo! News

The Journal

By Catherine Healy

A woman who was sexually assaulted by paedophile Brendan Smyth at the age of 13 has said that she may take legal action against members of An Garda Síochána who had known about his activities at the time of her abuse.

Smyth abused Rose (not her real name) in 1993, 20 years after his behaviour first came to the attention of gardaí.

She was 13 at the time.

Speaking on Morning Ireland, Rose said she would consider including gardaí who were aware of his abuse in a civil case she is taking against Bishop Leo O’Reilly, Cardinal Sean Brady and Smyth’s former order, the Norbertines.

I think all the victims’ civil cases could be broadened out – even those that have been settled.

She said she knew “for a fact that [Smyth] didn’t just visit [her] house” in the years he took shelter in Kilnacrott Abbey in Cavan after being extradited from Northern Ireland.

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Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry: Cardinal Sean Brady arrives to give evidence

NORTHERN IRELAND
BBC News

The former leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland has arrived at a public inquiry into abuse by the paedophile priest, Fr Brendan Smyth.

Cardinal Seán Brady will address Northern Ireland’s Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry about a “secret” church inquiry into Smyth’s behaviour in 1975.

The senior cleric has already provided a statement to the inquiry.

He has admitted that he now recognises that the church inquiry was flawed.

Smyth was at the centre of one of the first clerical child sex abuse scandals to rock the Catholic Church in Ireland.

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Mountie says complainant’s story on John Furlong was inconsistent

CANADA
The Globe and Mail

SUNNY DHILLON
VANCOUVER — The Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, Jun. 24, 2015

The RCMP officer who investigated a sex-abuse allegation against former Vancouver Olympics CEO John Furlong says the complainant’s story kept changing and could not be corroborated, prompting the decision to not lay charges.

Corporal Quinton Mackie testified Wednesday in a B.C. Supreme Court defamation case. Freelance journalist Laura Robinson has sued Mr. Furlong and alleged he defamed her in his response to a September, 2012, story.

A criminal complaint was filed against Mr. Furlong by Beverly Abraham in July, 2012. She had been a student at Immaculata Roman Catholic Elementary School in Burns Lake, B.C., where Mr. Furlong was a physical-education instructor in 1969-70.

Cpl. Mackie testified that after investigating Ms. Abraham’s complaint he chose not to file a report to Crown counsel.

“In the case of Ms. Abraham, there was never a consistent story,” he said. “There were certain consistent aspects to the story but names were changed, scenarios were changed all the time. And there was nobody – be it a parent, a friend, a family member – that could corroborate anything that was being said.”

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Ex-Archbishop ‘paid woman €176k over threats of exposure’

IRELAND
Herald

A FORMER Roman Catholic Archbishop who resigned over breaking his vow of celibacy has sued RTE for defamation.

Tim Healy – 25 June 2015

Richard Burke, former Archbishop of Benin city in Nigeria, claims he was wrongly depicted as a paedophile in the 2011 Prime Time Investigates programme Mission to Prey.

Co Tipperary-born Mr Burke, now aged 66, had intimate sexual relations with Dolores Atwood, who featured on the RTE programme, but not when she was under age, his counsel Jack Fitzgerald SC told a High Court judge and jury.

Mr Burke “is not a paedophile”, has never in his life ever molested a child and, at the end of this case, you will be convinced that is the truth, counsel said.

As an Archbishop who had sexual relations with Ms Atwood, she had “leaned” on him and he paid her “a large sum of money”, about €176,000, but that was something not mentioned in the programme, counsel said.

The jury would hear the pressure Ms Atwood put on Mr Burke was such he became “terrified” of the exposure of their relationship, he said.

The court would also hear Mr Burke paid large sums to her due to pressure she was putting him under.

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Police seek youth pastor who they say groomed teenage boys for sexual abuse at sleepovers

LOUISIANA
New Orleans Advocate

BY MATT SLEDGE| MSLEDGE@THEADVOCATE.COM
June 25, 2015

Police are searching for a youth minister affiliated with the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in Gentilly who they believe sexually abused two teenage boys and may have more victims in parishes across the region.

Ryan Scott Rodgers, 36, is accused of touching two teenage boys while they were sleeping. The boys then woke up to find Rogers fondling them, police said. The abuse occurred for more than a year, according to police.

NOPD Detective Stephanie Taillon said Rodgers abused the boys during sleepovers at his house and elsewhere.

“He groomed them for future molestations,” she said.

The case was brought to authorities’ attention when the boys’ mother contacted police, Taillon said.

Rodgers is not married and is not a registered sex offender.

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Sheriff seeks more victims in Holiday abuse case

FLORIDA
WTSP

[with video]

Kendra Conlon, WTSP

A local church is trying to keep the faith after a trusted parishioner is accused of molesting a boy in the church parking lot.

The Pasco County sheriff fears Huiell “Derk” Denton may have more victims.

The Adult Sunday School teacher is accused of groping and kissing a fellow parishioner, an 11-year-old boy, outside Calvary Baptist Church of Holiday. This isn’t the first time he’s been accused of a similar crime.

“Both of these families, and it doesn’t just affect those two families, but the whole church are suffering right now,” says Pastor Doug Kirk from Calvary Baptist.

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Ex-megachurch pastor guilty of sexually assaulting young sisters

TEXAS
New York Daily News

BY DOYLE MURPHY

A perverted pastor is going to prison.

Former megachurch preacher Geronimo Aguilar was found guilty on Wednesday of sexually assaulting two young sisters two decades ago in Texas.

The Tarrant County jury convicted the 45-year-old church leader on all seven felony charges, including sexual assault of a child, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.

Aguilar shared a home with the sisters, who were ages 11 and 13 at the time, while he was a Fort Worth minister.

The older sister testified the abuse lasted for two years in the 1990s and included rape.

Aguilar moved in 2001 to Richmond, Va., where he founded the Richmond Outreach Center with his wife. He helped build the congregation of just 19 people into the ministerial powerhouse ROC parish with thousands of members. He was fired in 2014 following his indictment.

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Victims from Geronimo Aguilar trial speak out

TEXAS
WRIC

By Kerri O’Brien
Published: June 24, 2015

FORT WORTH, Texas (WRIC) — Former Richmond megachurch pastor Geronimo Aguilar was found guilty of sexually assaulting two girls when they were just 11 and 13-years-old in Texas on Wednesday.

The founder of the Richmond Outreach Center (ROC), once considered the fastest growing church in America, is now a convicted criminal off to prison.

As a policy, 8News doesn’t normally identify victims, but the women asked we show their faces and use their names because they said they want others to know it’s okay to come forward.

“We’re just very thankful, 20 years and it is finally coming out,” said victim Nancy Mohr. “The hardest part is that nobody believes you or that people who have heard don’t do anything.”

The victims were overcome with emotion — tears of joy and a sense of justice — after all this time, someone believes them. And the man who abused them will pay the price.

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Richmond ‘Pastor G’ found guilty of child sex abuse in Texas

VIRGINIA/TEXAS
NBC 12

By Britni McDonald

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) –
Geronimo Aguilar, better known as Pastor G, faced a Texas jury Wednesday for the ultimate decision: Guilty on all seven counts of child sexual abuse.

The verdict comes after hours of deliberations and years after his arrest, but it’s been more than two decades since the alleged assaults of the two girls in Texas. They date back to the ’90s, years before Pastor G founded the Richmond Outreach Center. The ROC made its mark quickly, even named one of the fastest growing churches in America. But that all came to a standstill in 2013 when Aguilar was arrested and charged with sexual assault.

He and three other pastors resigned shortly after. But Pastor G has denied the allegations from the start. In fact, just a day before the verdict, he took the stand in his own defense, reportedly denying having any sexual contact with the alleged victims, even saying he considered them like sisters. It’s something the jury and Virginia Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests Director Becky Ianni doesn’t buy.

“I’m glad that he was found guilty,” said Ianni. “When you’re abused by someone religious, in a way, you almost feel like you’ve been abused by God.”

Being a victim of sexual assault as a child by a church leader herself, she applauds the victims for coming forward and hopes more can do the same.

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Former Archbishop takes defamation case against RTÉ over ‘Mission to Prey’

IRELAND
RTE News

A former Catholic archbishop who was based in Nigeria has commenced a defamation case against RTÉ arising out of allegations of paedophilia in the 2011 Prime Time Investigates programme on clerical sexual abuse entitled “A Mission to Prey”.

Opening the case, counsel for Richard Burke, Jack Fitzgerald SC, told the jury that the RTÉ programme had claimed that his client was a paedophile – but he was not.

He said this case was at the extreme level of defamation because the allegation was so serious, and there was nothing worse you could say about anyone.

Mr Fitzgerald acknowledged that Mr Burke was a man who had resigned as Archbishop of the diocese of Benin City in Nigeria in 2010 because he had not complied with his commitments to celibacy as a cleric.

He said for that reason he had let down himself, his family and his church because of his non-compliance with his celibacy commitment.

He said Mr Burke was ashamed, remorseful, humiliated and in pain because of that resignation.

However, he was not a paedophile.

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‘Fr Brendan Smyth threatened to knock my head off… I said make my day, you b*****d’

NORTHERN IRELAND
Belfast Telegraph

By Deborah McAleese
PUBLISHED
25/06/2015

Paedophile priest Brendan Smyth threatened to punch another cleric who warned him to stay away from children.

Smyth told Fr William Fitzgerald he was going to “knock (his) head off” when confronted with allegations that he had sexually abused young boys and girls, the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry (HIAI) heard yesterday.

Fr Fitzgerald, who is a member of the Norbertine Order which Smyth belonged to, said that the notorious child abuser turned angry when he told him he was not welcome to assist in altar service.

“I told him that ‘in view of rumours about your sexual activities I will not have you near these kids under my watch’,” Fr Fitzgerald told the court.

He added: “He told me ‘I’ll knock your head off’, and I said ‘make my day, you b*****d’. I’m 18 inches taller than him.”

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Historical abuse inquiry live…

NORTHERN IRELAND
Belfast Telegraph

Historical abuse inquiry live: Former leader of Catholic church in Ireland Cardinal Brady gives evidence

A long running public inquiry into child abuse is expected to hear from a former leader of the Catholic church in Ireland.

Cardinal Sean Brady, who resigned on age grounds last year, is due to give evidence to the Historical Abuse Inquiry (HIA) in Banbridge, Co Down later today.

Live updates from Belfast Telegraph reporter Rebecca Black @RBlackBT

The senior cleric faced fierce criticism after it emerged he had attended meetings where two teenage victims of paedophile priest Father Brendan Smyth were sworn to secrecy in 1975.

Their evidence was never handed over to police, allowing the west Belfast churchman to continue abusing children before he was finally jailed in 1994.

As Cardinal Brady arrived to give evidence at the inquiry Amnesty International repeated its call for the Northern Ireland Executive to establish an inquiry into clerical child abuse in non-residential settings.

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June 24, 2015

Defamation trial: Witnesses defend Furlong, call journalist aggressive

CANADA
Times Colonist

Keith Fraser / The Province
June 24, 2015

A former head coach of Canada’s men’s basketball team took the stand yesterday in defence of John Furlong at the trial at which the former Vancouver Olympic CEO is being sued for defamation.

Ken Shields said he received a phone call from freelance journalist Laura Robinson, who filed the defamation suit against Furlong, in 1994 during the world championships in Germany.

“It was a very aggressive, I would say, caustic call accusing me of racial bias,” Shields said.

“It was just a horrendous experience. I didn’t feel that she was open to anything I said.”

Shields told B.C. Supreme Court Justice Catherine Wedge that Robinson accused him of racism in his selection of national team members. – See more at: http://www.timescolonist.com/news/b-c/defamation-trial-witnesses-defend-furlong-call-journalist-aggressive-1.1977761#sthash.xZt9bHiy.dpuf

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Writer suing John Furlong for defamation sets up legal defence fund

CANADA
Georgia Straight

by Carlito Pablo on June 24th, 2015

The freelance journalist behind an explosive exposé on previously unknown facts about the early life of 2010 Olympics head John Furlong is dealing with huge legal bills.

According to Laura Robinson, she has an outstanding tab as of April 30 this year of about $160,000 in connection with the defamation countersuit she filed against Furlong.

That doesn’t cover expenses in May leading up to and including the trial of her suit against the former Vancouver Olympics CEO, which started on June 15.

“It’s a massively expensive undertaking,” Robinson told the Straight during an interview at B.C. Supreme Court. The Ontario writer is being represented by Bryan Baynham of the Harper Grey law office.

In her testimony on June 16, Robinson said she spent $150,000 to defend against a defamation suit filed by Furlong, one that he eventually dropped. He also discontinued a similar lawsuit against the Georgia Straight.

Robinson authored a story headlined “John Furlong biography omits secret past in Burns Lake”, which was published in the Straight on September 27, 2012. The article reported that he arrived in the northern B.C. town in 1969 as a Christian missionary—not in 1974, as he wrote in his memoir Patriot Hearts—and that he allegedly taunted and physically hurt First Nations students he taught as a gym teacher at the former Immaculata Elementary School.

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‘It Was True to Me’: Furlong

CANADA
The Tyee

By Bob Mackin, Today, TheTyee.ca

Former Vancouver 2010 CEO John Furlong told court journalist suing him for defamation ‘was trying to destabilize my relationships with the companies.’

On the annual International Olympic Day, the former chief executive of Vancouver’s 2010 Winter Games revealed in B.C. Supreme Court that his wife left their Olympic Village apartment while he slept in a desperate effort to save his reputation.

Deborah Sharp Furlong, who died after a 2013 car crash in Ireland, roamed Vancouver streets and filled his 4×4 with copies of the Sept. 27, 2012 Georgia Straight. The issue contained reporter Laura Robinson’s exposé that alleged Furlong abused gym class students in 1969 and 1970 at an aboriginal elementary school and that his 2011 Patriot Hearts memoir was riddled with inconsistencies. The woman he married that summer was gone three hours, he said.

“She felt she made a contribution,” Furlong said June 23 under cross-examination by Robinson’s lawyer Bryan Baynham in the high-profile defamation trial against Furlong.

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John Furlong’s girlfriend testifies in his defence on eighth day of defamation trial

CANADA
Georgia Straight

by Carlito Pablo on June 24th, 2015

John Furlong’s girlfriend testified in court as part of his defence in a defamation suit brought by freelance journalist Laura Robinson.

Renee Smith-Valade, a former subordinate of Furlong at the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, of which he was CEO, took the witness stand on the eighth day of the trial of the civil case.

As Smith-Valade recalled in B.C. Supreme Court, she has worked with Furlong for many years and they were friends.

Sometime in late 2013 or early 2014, according to her, that changed.

“Our relationship evolved into more of a committed relationship, a partnership,” Smith-Valade said in her direct testimony today (June 24).

In cross-examination, Robinson’s lawyer, Bryan Baynham, asked Smith-Valade about her role in events that are subject to his client’s defamation suit.

These include the creation of Furlong’s October 2, 2012, statement, which accused Robinson of contempt towards the Olympics, the leadership of Vanoc, and male authority figures in sport.

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Journalist handed me letter alleging Furlong abused kids, spokeswoman tells court

CANADA
CTV

Geordon Omand, The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, June 24, 2015

VANCOUVER — A freelance journalist suing former Vancouver Olympics’ CEO John Furlong for defamation penned a hand-written letter claiming he had abused more than 40 First Nations’ students at a northern British Columbia school, the trial has heard.

Former 2010 Games spokeswoman Renee Smith-Valade told B.C. Supreme Court Wednesday she was “stunned” when Laura Robinson handed her a lengthy note during a chance encounter at a Toronto airport in April 2013. The note alleged Furlong’s actions had resulted in at least one suicide.

“She invites me to be an off-the-record interview for her,” said Smith-Valade, reading from the message. “She said, ‘I’m hoping you will consider this option to go off the record as a way of being a member of the human race.”‘

Smith-Valade said she immediately handed the letter over to Furlong’s lawyers after landing in Vancouver.

Robinson is suing Furlong for defamation based on public comments he made after she published a newspaper article in 2012.

The article included affidavits from eight former First Nations’ students and alleged Furlong physically and verbally abused the children while working as a gym teacher at a Roman Catholic school in Burns Lake, B.C., about 45 years ago.

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VA–Ex-Richmond pastor found guilty of child sex crimes in Texas

VIRGINIA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Wednesday, June 24

Statement by Becky Ianni of Burke VA, DC area director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests ( 703 801 6044, SNAPvirginia@cox.net )

A jury has found a Richmond pastor guilty on seven counts of child sexual abuse.

The former pastor of Richmond Outreach Center, Geronimo Aguilar (a.k.a. Pastor G) was convicted by a Texas jury this afternoon. We applaud this verdict and hope it brings some comfort to Aguilar’s victims.

We also hope he gets the most severe sentence possible.

Last year, even after being indicted, Pastor G was scheduled to speak on Good Friday at Cedar Street Baptist Church in Richmond.

We continue to urge anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered Aguilar’s crimes to contact police. And we urge current and former ROC staff and members to help reach out to others who may have suspicions or knowledge about Aguilar.

According to the Dallas Morning News, “Aguilar settled in Richmond in 1999 and has been a pastor at the Richmond Outreach Center since the early 2000s.” According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, some in Aguilar’s church community have expressed its support for the religious leader. (Among the ROC members who have, as recently as last year, spoken up in support of Aguilar are Shebeney Miles, Kimberly Williamson, and Bobby Thomas.) We hope they will publicly apologize for their hurtful remarks.

Finally, we encourage anyone who may have been harmed by or who has any information about harm done by Aguilar to contact the police. Only when victims and witnesses speak out are children safer.

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Charges may let Archdiocese insurers avoid abuse payout

MINNESOTA
Minnesota Public Radio

Martin Moylan Jun 24, 2015

Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis officials are concerned criminal charges filed against the archdiocese might compromise insurance coverage for clergy sex abuse by bolstering insurers’ arguments for denying claims.

Ramsey County Attorney John Choi has charged the archdiocese with six gross misdemeanors for allegedly failing to protect the victims of a former St. Paul priest. At most, the archdiocese faces fines of $18,000, not much for an organization worth millions.

The archdiocese, however, warned in a recent bankruptcy filing that a criminal conviction may affect its insurance coverage for existing and future sex abuse claims and create ripple effects on the church’s bankruptcy proceedings.

Archdiocese insurers were already challenging their coverage liability months before the criminal charges — and the insurers’ case now becomes stronger, University of Minnesota law professor Christopher Soper said.

“The charges allege that the archdiocese knew about the abuse and didn’t protect the child,” Soper said. “That would likely preclude insurance coverage for the charged conduct because most insurance policies don’t cover intentional acts or criminal acts.”

It’s clear why insurers fight. The financial stakes are high.

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Geronimo Aguilar, former mega-church pastor, found guilty of all sex crimes

TEXAS
WTVR

FORT WORTH — Former Richmond pastor Geronimo Aguilar has been found guilty on all counts of sexual assault in his jury trial. The jury just handed down the decision and CBS 6 confirmed the verdict via the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Two sisters said Aguilar had sexual relationships with them beginning when they were 11 and 13 years old. They said it happened in the 90s while he was a pastor at their church there in Houston. The 13-year-old said she was raped by Aguilar.

Aguilar denied the allegations though he confessed to affairs with other women, but the jurors still convicted him. Aguilar’s wife Samantha testified that his affairs were “emotionally draining,” and that he slept with her sister-in-law. “I didn’t want the details. I still don’t want the details,” Samantha Aguilar said to the Star Telegram. “I don’t want to have to keep going through it.”

Aguilar served as pastor and founder of the ROC church here in Richmond, which was recently renamed. He was fired in 2014.

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