Prosecutors wants convicted ex-priest civilly committed

MASSACHUSETTS
Fox Boston

SALEM, Mass. (AP) – Massachusetts prosecutors want a former Roman Catholic priest convicted of sexually abusing children civilly committed indefinitely now that his prison term has ended.

Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett’s office goes before a judge in Salem Superior Court on Friday to start the process to have 72-year-old Ronald Paquin held in a state hospital as a sexually dangerous person.

Paquin pleaded guilty in 2003 to sexually assaulting a 12-year-old altar boy at a Haverhill church, and was sentenced to 12 years in prison. His sentence ended in May but he remains in custody until his status is resolved.

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Expert: ex-priest, now 72, still a danger

MASSACHUSETTS
The Salem News

Friday, July 31, 2015
BY JULIE MANGANIS STAFF WRITER

SALEM — Normally, former priest Ronald Paquin’s age, 72, would make him statistically far less likely to re-offend, a psychologist testified during a hearing Friday in Salem Superior Court.
But the defrocked Haverhill priest, who completed a 12- to 15-year prison term this spring for rape and abuse of a child, a boy he abused for three years, is no ordinary sex offender, Dr. Gregg Belle testified.

While taking part in group sex offender therapy at the Massachusetts Treatment Center in Bridgewater in 2012, Belle testified, the then-70-year-old Paquin began “grooming” another inmate, described as a “young-looking male,” in apparent hopes of pursuing a sexual relationship with him.

“He’s a statistical outlier,” said Belle.

That’s one of the reasons that Essex County prosecutors are hoping to keep Paquin, the former pastor of St. John the Baptist Church in Haverhill, civilly committed as a sexually dangerous person for as long as possible.

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Parish Leadership Appointed at St. Mary University Parish

MICHIGAN
Roman Catholic Diocese of Saginaw

Monday, 27 July 2015

SAGINAW — The Most Rev. Joseph R. Cistone, Bishop of Saginaw, announced this weekend that, after prayerful consideration and upon consultation with parish and diocesan staff, including the Priest Personnel Board, he has asked the Rev. Thomas McNamara, a senior priest of the Diocese of Saginaw, who served as vicar general until 2013, to provide pastoral assistance to St. Mary University Parish in Mt. Pleasant. Father McNamara is a familiar face in the Mt. Pleasant area, having served as pastor of Most Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish (Mt. Pleasant) from 1991-99. Father McNamara will assume this new role immediately, while continuing his sacramental ministry at SS. Francis and Clare Parish in Birch Run.

“I am confident that Father McNamara’s priestly presence, his warm relationship with people in the area, as well as his kindness and wisdom will be of great benefit to the parishioners at St. Mary University Parish,” Bishop Cistone said.

In addition to the pastoral assistance of Father McNamara, Bishop Cistone has appointed the Rev. Thomas Held as the full-time sacramental minister for St. Mary University Parish and Casey Truelove as pastoral administrator pro tem. For the past three years, Father Held has served as the parochial vicar for Sacred Heart Parish (Mt. Pleasant). Truelove serves as Director of Student Outreach and he will take on greater administrative responsibilities for a period of time.

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Catholic Diocese removes priest from CMU church for ‘boundary violations’

MICHIGAN
MLive

By Jessica Shepherd | jessica_shepherd@mlive.com
on July 31, 2015

MOUNT PLEASANT, MI — The Catholic Diocese of Saginaw has removed a priest from the parish serving Central Michigan University after it says he committed “boundary violations.”

The diocese announced it had placed the Rev. Denis Heames, who served as parochial administrator for St. Mary University Parish in Mount Pleasant, on administrative leave in early July. The parish serves the campus of Central Michigan University.

According to a statement released by the diocese Monday, July 27, Bishop Joseph Cistone officially removed Heames from his position during the week of July 20.

The diocese has stated the “boundary violations” were not of an illegal nature, though no additional details about the incident or incidents that led to the decision regarding Heames were released.

Cistone has announced the Rev. Thomas McNamara will provide pastoral assistance to the St. Mary University Parish for the time being. McNamara, a senior priest, will also continue his work as sacramental minister for the Ss. Francis and Clare Parish in Birch Run.

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Expert testifies that local priest who raped child remains a danger

MASSACHUSETTS
Boston Globe

By Milton J. Valencia GLOBE STAFF JULY 31, 2015

SALEM — A forensic psychologist for the state Department of Correction testified Friday that a former Catholic priest who was at the center of the abuse scandal in the Boston Archdiocese more than a decade ago remains a dangerous sexual predator who should stay in prison even though he has completed his sentence.

“He targeted adolescent boys that he felt were disadvantaged, came from disadvantage homes,” said Gregg Belle, a private forensic examiner who specializes in reviewing sexual offenders, and does contractual work for the state prison system.

Belle told an Essex Superior Court judge that the former priest, Ronald H. Paquin, “readily acknowledges he has always been sexually attracted to teenage boys.”

Paquin, now 72, had pleaded guilty in 2002 and was sentenced to 12 to 15 years in state prison for repeatedly raping a Haverhill altar boy between 1989 and 2002. There were at least 50 incidents of assault. Paquin completed his sentence, for three counts of rape of a child, in May.

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Prosecutors Want Convicted Ex-Priest Civilly Committed

MASSACHUSETTS
NECN

Massachusetts prosecutors want a former Roman Catholic priest convicted of sexually abusing children civilly committed indefinitely now that his prison term has ended.

Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett’s office goes before a judge in Salem Superior Court on Friday to start the process to have 72-year-old Ronald Paquin held in a state hospital as a sexually dangerous person.

Paquin pleaded guilty in 2003 to sexually assaulting a 12-year-old altar boy at a Haverhill church, and was sentenced to 12 years in prison. His sentence ended in May but he remains in custody until his status is resolved.

Prosecutors want Paquin held pending a mental health examination. If that examination determines he is likely to commit more sex offenses, a trial will be held.

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Hundreds of UK sex abuse victims lose compensation after committing crimes

UNITED KINGDOM
The Guardian

Press Association
Friday 31 July 2015

Hundreds of sexual abuse victims have had their compensation payments reduced after committing crime themselves, according to figures.

A total of 12,665 people who suffered abuse as children or vulnerable adults had been awarded compensation by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (Cica), an executive agency sponsored by the Ministry of Justice, since 2010.

But data obtained by the BBC under freedom of information laws showed 438 had their government-funded payouts docked over the same period.

The BBC said that in the year to June 2015, half of the 27 people who had payments reduced had convictions for drink, drug, theft or property offences, while eight were prosecuted for violence.

Cica can refuse or reduce compensation in light of a person’s criminal record or unspent convictions using a points-based system, under the Criminal Injuries Compensation scheme.

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Bishops have striven to keep their promise to protect children

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

Edward J. Burns | Jul. 31, 2015

As a bishop and as the chairman of the Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People of the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops, the editorial “Time to end pattern of deceit, denial” was profoundly painful to read, addressing as it did the betrayal of our children and of our people by some of my brother bishops. One of the particular graces of living the Christian life within the context of community is when brothers and sisters help us to recognize our errors and our sinful behavior so that we can begin to repent and seek God’s forgiveness and healing.

We all owe a deep debt of gratitude to the survivors of sexual abuse whose courageous witness has made the church safer by giving rise to an effective child and youth protection program. They remain a top priority, evidenced by the 294 people who came forward in 2014 to report abuse that happened in the past. The problems they faced 30 years ago are not the norm today. Last year, dioceses provided outreach and support to more than 1,700 victims/survivors.

It is also true that many bishops who returned from the bishops’ conference meeting in 1992 implemented the five protection principles adopted that year, a decade before the Dallas Charter. They called for victims to come forward for healing, removed priest abusers, cooperated with authorities, implemented safe environment training and were transparent with the public and the media.

Ten years later, the U.S. bishops approved the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, and commissioned the John Jay College of Criminal Justice to do two unprecedented academic studies of this misconduct as it existed within the priesthood. They also created a National Review Board, a lay board to advise them specifically on the protection of children and they submit to an annual audit for compliance.

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Don Heinzman column: Archdiocese sets course for new shores

MINNESOTA
Hometown Source

By Don Heinzman on July 31, 2015

Don HeinzmanI am among the 825,000 Catholics in the St. Paul-Minneapolis Archdiocese with thoughts about the unprecedented news that has rocked the archdiocese these past few weeks.
Imagine, two bishops have resigned in the wake of six gross misdemeanor charges against the archdiocese for failure to protect children from an abusive priest, filed by the Ramsey County Attorney.

On top of this, the archdiocese is undergoing bankruptcy to the extent it may have to sell its property on a hill overlooking the city of St. Paul.

Like most lay people, I believe former Archbishop John Nienstedt and his auxiliary bishop, Lee Piche, had no choice but to resign. No one is surprised Pope Francis was quick to accept the resignations.

The diocesan priests assembled for a few days of rest and relaxation in Rochester, received the surprising news that week. It naturally changed the tone of the assembly and caused the clergy to return to heal the archdiocese.

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PASTOR WALT ROBERSON SENTENCED FOR NOT REPORTING HIS CHILD-STALKING SON

COLORADO
Westword

Can a pastor also be a schmuck?

He can if he’s Walt Roberson.

The senior pastor for Vinelife Church in Longmont, Roberson is one of four officials or elders at the house of worship to be sentenced for failure to report pervy sex allegations involving a church employee.

The guilty party: youth pastor Jason Roberson, Walt’s son.

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An abuse survivor speaks to the church

iUNITED STATES
Religion News Service – Rhymes with Religion

As I prepare to return to the blog next week, I wanted to end these series of guest posts with the powerful words of a dear friend I met this past year. David Linwah is a survivor of horrific child sexual abuse. David Linwah is also a survivor of being failed by the church over and over again. Through all the hurt and failings, David somehow still finds beauty and hope in Jesus. A Jesus who gave up everything in order to demonstrate His immeasurable love for David. A Jesus who values David more than life itself. A Jesus who is all too often not recognized by the very people and institutions that profess to know and follow Him. Amazingly, David still has hope that the church will one day actually reflect Jesus. The One who never fails pursuing the hurting and valuing the marginalized. The One who loves unconditionally. Perhaps, David’s words will shine Jesus into the very soul of the church and help it once again to be known for its immeasurable love. Let’s hope and pray that the church is listening. I am so grateful for David Linwah. – Boz
_____________________________________________________________________________

In our modern age the church has made a reputation for being an unsafe place. Not only do unbelievers feel unsafe when misjudged or scrutinized by the church, but many believers in Christ have left the church because of the issue of safety. As a survivor of sexual child abuse myself and a believer, I have found it very disheartening and alarming to witness the naivete of the church in response to a victim of abuse. I personally believe that the majority of the church in our nation does not understand how to respond to abuse because there is a lack of knowledge pertaining to the subject of abuse. Being made aware that there are still victims of abuse who may belong in your own ministry is crucial in the equipping of the church to become the safest place that God intended the church to be.

I am personally sharing with you from a place of having experienced the mistreatment of being a victim while growing up in a Christian family with parents who had served the Lord both as missionaries and as pastors. When I was only a child I was abducted on the missions field by my perpetrators. Tragically, my abduction was not a one time event but a recurring imprisonment of sexual manipulation and abuse. In the midst of my on-going abuse, my parents as well as the church community where oblivious to the reality of the systematic ritual abuse that I was trapped in. Nobody found me.

Speak up, make your voice heard – courtesy of Howard Lake via Flickr (Image source)
My perpetrators were not naive in the process of my abductions. They were very intentional about appearing harmless to the church community, gaining trust and making sure that there was a very good reason why they needed to spend some special time with me. In those “ special times” I would be introduced to evil that was beyond my comprehension and capability of understanding. The agonizing truth is the absent mindedness of my parents and the church community while I was being sexually taken advantage of. In God’s great mercy I was saved and preserved to share my story with others today but the lack of understanding and knowledge that the church has in regards to responding to a victim is still extremely evident to me.

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Jehovah’s Witnesses procedures …

AUSTRALIA
Daily Mail

Jehovah’s Witnesses procedures for dealing with sex abuse ‘deficient’ and can re-traumatise victims, a church expert admits at child abuse commission hearing

By AAP and RACHEL EDDIE FOR DAILY MAIL AUSTRALIA

An expert hired by Jehova’s Witnesses has admitted the church is ‘deficient’ at responding to allegations of child abuse.

Monica Applewhite, a US-based consultant specialising in child abuse risk analysis and education programs for institutions, mostly churches, was employed by Watchtower Australia to evaluate the Witnesses’ policies for the royal commission hearing into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Sydney.

Watchtower Australia is the legal entity of the Jehovah’s Witness church.

Dr Applewhite, who has been an expert witness in abuse trials in Britain and the US, submitted a report in which she noted the Jehovah’s Witnesses were a cut above other religious organisations in Australia.

The doctor, who has listed work with the Catholic archdioceses of Melbourne and Adelaide on her extensive CV, said she had not found examples in Australia of a religious organisation that provided better information than the Witnesses on how to support abuse victims.

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Former Towson Professor Challenges Sentence for Voyeurism

TOWSON (MD)
Patch

By ELIZABETH JANNEY (Patch Staff)
July 31, 2015

The Georgetown rabbi sentenced to more than six years in jail for voyeurism is arguing the sentence is illegal.

Rabbi Barry Freundel admitted he planted recording devices in the changing room for a mikvah, or sacred bath, in Georgetown between 2012 and 2014, according to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia.

Freundel led Kesher Israel synagogue in Georgetown and taught at Georgetown and Towson universities. Those he recorded on field trips to the National Capital Mikvah allegedly included former students.

After Freundel pleaded guilty to 52 counts of voyeurism, he was sentenced in D.C. Superior Court to 45 days for each of the offenses, to be served consecutively. The total sentence is a little less than 6.5 years.

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Judge Upholds Rabbi’s Sentence Of 6.5 Years For Secretly Taping Women

WASHINGTON (DC)
CBS Baltimore

TOWSON, Md. (WJZ) –A judge upholds Rabbi Barry Freundel’s sentence of six and a half years behind bars for videotaping dozens of women as they prepared for a ritual bath.

Rabbi Freundel appeared in a DC federal court Friday for a motion for an illegal sentencing.

Attorneys from Freundel argue that he was wrongly sentenced, which lead to extra prison time.

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Sentence upheld for ex-Georgetown rabbi

WASHINGTON (DC)
WUSA

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) — Friday, a judge upheld the sentence of a former Georgetown rabbi convicted of voyeurism.

Barry Freundel secretly videotaped dozens of women while they were disrobing in a ritual bath. He pleaded guilty to 52 counts, one count for each of the victims.

The rabbi appeared in court on Friday to argue that the terms of his six and a half year sentence were illegal. A judge, however, upheld his sentence.

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Priest’s son asked to leave his vicarage home after child pornography conviction

UNITED KINGDOM
The Bolton News

Jeremy Culley, crime reporter

THE disgraced son of a Bolton priest has been ordered to leave his vicarage home after he was convicted of possessing child pornography.

Paul Holt, son of Rev Wendy Oliver, confessed at Bolton Crown Court to an interest in ‘the feet of young children’ before being spared a prison sentence on July 20.

When the case finished, the Diocese of Manchester said it would be looking into the ‘implications’ for the parish at Christ Church, Harwood.

The Diocese has now said it is ‘important’ that Holt does not continue to live at Harwood Vicarage in Stich-mi-Lane with his mother.

In a statement to parishioners, the Diocese added that Mrs Oliver has ‘felt it appropriate to take leave from her duties’.

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New Square Rabbi Acquitted of Molesting Neighbor for Years

NEW YORK
Forward

Frimet GoldbergerJuly 30, 2015

Moshe Menachem Taubenfeld, a prominent figure in the upstate New York Hasidic community of New Square, was acquitted by a judge of molesting a boy for several years.

Taubenfeld, 55, was accused of abusing Laiby Stern, a neighbor, who claimed the older man began an abusive reign of terror when he went to him for solace after the September 11 terror attacks in 2001.

Rockland County Court Judge Rolff Thorsen announced the verdict, which he conceded might be greeted with dismay by the public, to a packed, pin-drop silent courtroom.

“I must not and will not be swayed by public opinion,” he declared.

Hasidic men from New Square who came to support Taubenfeld outnumbered the media and supporters of Laiby Stern. Shortly after the verdict, they erupted in spontaneous celebratory songs outside the courtroom, and said they plan to continue the celebrations in New Sqaure.

“Mazel tov, mazel tov,” one of the men greeted defense attorney Gerard Damiani, handing him the phone to speak with a prominent supporter.

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Issues paper on the risk of child sexual abuse in schools

AUSTRALIA
Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

31 July, 2015

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse today released an issues paper on addressing the risk of child sexual abuse in primary and secondary schools.

Royal Commission CEO Philip Reed said that around 30 percent of people who have spoken to the Royal Commission were sexually abused as children in a school. “Non-government schools in particular account for a disproportionately high number of reports made to the Royal Commission. Of the Royal Commission’s 29 public hearings held to date, eight have focused on abuse in schools.

“The Royal Commission’s terms of reference require it to consider ways to ensure that institutions like schools, have effective mechanisms in place and are subject to suitable external scrutiny to respond to child sexual abuse.

“The Royal Commission is seeking submissions on a number of issues about child protection in Australian schools including governance and leadership, effectiveness of teacher training, efficacy of policies and how staff and parents are informed about policies and the need for regulatory frameworks to better protect children and young people.

“The Royal Commission is seeking submissions from interested individuals, schools, government and non government organisations on the matters raised in Issues Paper 9.

“We particularly welcome submissions from advocacy groups, teachers, parents and students with a direct experience of child sexual abuse in schools,” Mr Reed said.

Organisations and individuals wishing to respond to Issues Paper 9 have until Monday 31 August 2015 to lodge a submission by emailing schoolspolicy@childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au

For more information on Issues Paper 9 or to lodge a submission visit Issues Papers and Submissions.

Media enquiries: (02) 8282 3966 or media@childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au

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She spoke about Jehovah’s Witness abuse, and her home was vandalized

OKLAHOMA
Reveal – The Center for Investigative Reporting

By Trey Bundy / July 30, 2015

Early this morning, Debbie McDaniel stepped out into her backyard to find her patio, windows, doors and furniture tagged with ominous warnings written in black marker.

McDaniel was just hours away from being the face of a Reveal investigation showing how Jehovah’s Witnesses hide sexual abuse from law enforcement agencies and banish those who speak up about it.

On one stretch of concrete, a vandal wrote, “Watchtower Knows All,” a possible reference to the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, the parent corporation of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, McDaniel said. Two of the messages included the initials JW’s, which she suspects were meant to stand for Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Also written on the patio: “We’ll be watching you in Mexico too.” McDaniel had planned a trip to Mexico this weekend but is now thinking of canceling it.

“They wrote on my bedroom door window, 6 feet from where I was sleeping, ‘JW’s for the final win,’ ” said McDaniel, who grew up in McAlester, Oklahoma, and says she was abused as a child by an elder in her congregation. Since she was expelled three years ago, she said, she has been shunned by her family and harassed by the Witnesses in the form of anonymous threats and hate letters.

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St. Paul-Minneapolis Archdiocese keeps August 3rd’s deadline for sex abuse claims

MINNESOTA
KTTC

By Frannie Smith, Producer

MINNEAPOLIS-ST.PAUL, Minn. (KTTC)– Attorneys for clergy sex abuse victims have been asking for more time to file claims. However, a federal judge puts his foot down for this coming Monday’s deadline.

Attorneys have argued that the August 3rd deadline was not publicized enough. However, Federal Bankruptcy Judge Robert Kressel dissagrees. He said “extraordinary efforts” have been made for the upcoming deadline.

The Archdiocese filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in January after several clergy abuse lawsuits.

Richard Anderson, attorney for the archdiocese, said this Monday’s deadline is not meant to keep victims from coming forward, but to keep the bankruptcy process moving along.

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Church employee accused of sexually abusing mentally challenged child

FLORIDA
WFTV

[with video]

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — A former employee at an Apopka church is facing charges after a child came forward with allegations of abuse that date back a year.

Joseph Averitt, 33, is charged with sexual battery against a mentally challenged child.

The child told investigators the abuse started at church, where Averitt worked as a production manager.

According to a police affidavit, the first sexual encounter happened in a booth inside the sanctuary of the church last year.

That appears to be the same place where it ended, when a church minister called police to the church Wednesday to report the allegations.

In a matter of hours, deputies arrested Averitt.

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Jehovah’s Witness sex abuse response ‘deficient’: Royal Commission

AUSTRALIA
Sydney Morning Herald

July 31, 2015

Rachel Browne
Social Affairs Reporter

A sexual abuse expert hired by the Jehovah’s Witness Church told a royal commission the organisation failed to meet acceptable standards in its approach to child abuse allegations.

Under cross-examination, Monica Applewhite told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse the Jehovah’s Witness Church did not meet “best practice” in handling abuse claims.

Counsel assisting the commission Angus Stewart SC asked the church’s expert witness whether structures based on biblical scriptures were in line with benchmark standards.

The church’s policies for responding to child sexual abuse allegations were “deficient when measured against current best practice,” he said.

“Does it meet all current best practices? It probably doesn’t,” Dr Applewhite replied.

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Expert admits Jehovah’s Witnesses flawed

AUSTRALIA
9 News

AAP

The treatment of child abuse victims by the Jehovah’s Witness church is seriously flawed, a national inquiry has heard from a consultant hired by the church.

Monica Applewhite, a US-based consultant specialising in child abuse risk analysis and education programs for institutions, mostly churches, was employed by Watchtower Australia to evaluate the Witnesses’ policies for the royal commission hearing.

Watchtower Australia is the legal entity of the Jehovah’s Witness church.

Dr Applewhite, who has been an expert witness in abuse trials in Britain and the US, submitted a report in which she noted the Jehovah’s Witnesses were a cut above other religious organisations in Australia.

The doctor, who has listed work with the Catholic archdioceses of Melbourne and Adelaide on her extensive CV, said she had not found examples in Australia of a religious organisation that provided better information than the Witnesses on how to support abuse victims.

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South African Christian preacher …

AUSTRALIA
Daily Mail

South African Christian preacher living in Australia faces deportation after being one of eight men charged with abuse of a 13-year-old girl

By Leesa Smith for Daily Mail Australia and Sarah Michael and Australian Associated Press

The South African Christian minister allegedly embroiled in a paedophile ring could be sent back to his homeland under new Australian immigration laws.

Pastor David Volmer, a father-of-two from Banksia Grove in Perth, Western Australia, pleaded guilty to 12 child sex abuse charges. A 13-year-old girl was allegedly sexually exploited by a total of eight men over two years.

Now the 41-year-old South African, who moved to Perth’s northern suburbs to set up an Acts Christian Church parish in 2013, faces being turfed out of the country after the law changed in December last year allowing Immigration Minister Peter Dutton to cancel a non-citizen’s visa if they are found guilty of a child sex crime within Australia,The Australian reported.

This comes as the South African-based church’s only Australian parish will close its doors after the shocking revelation that Volmer is allegedly one of the eight men facing a total of 503 charges for offences that allegedly happened when the girl was aged between 11 and 13, the ABC reported.

Reverend Peter de Fin, whose grandfather founded the church, flew to Perth to speak to the 50-odd members of the parish.

He said he had not been able to meet with the young victim but did want to apologise on behalf of the church and offer her counselling.

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Archdiocese releases statement about the arrest of Oscar Vasquez

INDIANA
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis

The archdiocese released the following statement on July 27 regarding the arrest of Mr. Oscar Vasquez, pastoral associate of St. Anthony Parish in Indianapolis:

“The Archdiocese of Indianapolis has been informed that Mr. Oscar Vasquez, an employee of St. Anthony Parish in Indianapolis, was arrested by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and was charged with child molestation on July 27, 2015. Mr. Vasquez worked at the parish as a pastoral associate. The pastor informed people at all the Masses last weekend at St. Anthony Church about Mr. Vasquez’ arrest, and letters are being mailed to parishioners’ homes in both English and Spanish.

“Mr. Vasquez has worked at St. Anthony Parish since October of 2012. As an employee of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, Mr. Vasquez has completed the archdiocese’s child safety program and has undergone regular criminal background checks by the archdiocese. The archdiocese has never had any complaints or allegations made concerning Mr. Vasquez’s conduct at the parish. The archdiocese is cooperating with authorities.

“The Archdiocese of Indianapolis is committed to ensuring the safety of all children in its care and enforcing its policies and practices regarding the safety of children.

“If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual misconduct by a person ministering on behalf of the archdiocese, please contact law enforcement authorities and the archdiocesan victim assistance coordinator, Carla Hill, Archdiocese of Indianapolis, 1400 N. Meridian St., Indianapolis, IN 46202. You do not have to give your name. Mrs. Hill can also be reached at 317-236-1548 or 800-382-9836, ext. 1548 or by email at chill@archindy.org.

“The Archdiocese also maintains a misconduct reporting system that is available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week through EthicsPoint, and reports can be made at www.archdioceseofindianapolis.ethicspoint.com.

More information about the Archdiocese of Indianapolis’ sexual misconduct policy and information about how to report an abuse incident can be found on-line at www.archindy.org/abuse.” †

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Pastoral associate on unpaid leave following child molest charges

INDIANA
Indianapolis Star

Justin L. Mack, justin.mack@Indystar.com

As long as police are investigating accusations of child molestation against St. Anthony’s pastoral associate Oscar Vasquez-Guzman, he will not be paid by or permitted at the church.

If found guilty, he will be terminated immediately, church officials say.

Oscar Vasquez-Guzman, 38, Indianapolis, was charged Tuesday with two counts of child molesting, seven counts of sexual misconduct with a minor and one count of attempted sexual misconduct with a minor.

He is accused of having sexual contact with two boys from the church between Sept. 10, 2013, and July 20, 2015. The boys were ages 11 to 15 at the time.

Vasquez-Guzman, who church officials say began working at St. Anthony Catholic Church in October 2012 after a criminal background check, was placed on unpaid administrative leave July 24 when officials from The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis were notified of his arrest. He was arrested the day before.

The archdiocese said in an email that the church spent weekend Masses on Saturday and Sunday informing parishioners. On Tuesday, the church sent letters explaining the situation to parishioners and to any place where Vasquez-Guzman may have served or volunteered.

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‘Spotlight’ Trailer: Rachel McAdams and Mark Ruffalo Uncover the Catholic Church’s Sex Abuse Scandal

BOSTON (MA)
Yahoo! Movies

[with video]

Gwynne Watkins
Writer
July 30, 2015

In 2002, Boston Globe reporters broke a story that changed the city of Boston — and the entire Catholic church — forever. The Globe’s series of articles on child sexual abuse in the Boston diocese, and the extreme measures taken by the Catholic church to hide priests’ crimes, cracked open a massive scandal with global repercussions. Now, the story of those Pulitzer Prize-winning reporters (the newspaper’s “spotlight” team) is coming to the big screen in the movie Spotlight, starring Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, and Michael Keaton. Watch the first trailer above.

“How do you say no to God?” an abuse victim asks the reporters, explaining how he and many other children saw the priests who took advantage of them. That quote sets up the daunting task that the film’s heroes face in bringing decades of hidden abuse to light. Ruffalo and McAdams play passionate reporters who pound the pavement, spend late nights in the library, and go head-to-head with church officials to get their story. Meanwhile, their editor (played by Keaton) takes on a high-powered lawyer who has settled abuse cases — but mysteriously, has no record of the settlements. “We’ve got two stories here: a story about degenerate clergy and a story about a bunch of lawyers turning child abuse into a cottage industry,” Keaton warns him. “Which story do you want us to write? Because we’re writing one of them.”

Even after getting their assignment, the spotlight team doesn’t realize the extent of the cover-up — until an anonymous tipster reveals that 6 percent of Boston clergy, or 90 priests, have a history of sexually abusing children. “They knew, and they let it happen!” seethes Ruffalo. “It could have been you, it could have been me, it could have been any of us!” Spotlight opens in theaters on Nov. 6.

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Royal Commission hearings with George Pell, Ronald Mulkearns won’t be in Ballarat

AUSTRALIA
Perth Now

ANGRY victims of some of the country’s most notorious paedophiles have slammed a decision by the Royal Commission not to return to Ballarat.

The child abuse Royal Commission controversially announced yesterday that its planned second hearing into institutional abuse in the regional town would now be held in Melbourne.

Cardinal George Pell and former Ballarat Bishop Ronald Mulkearns are expected to attend the hearings in person.

It is understood some victims are considering lobbying the Royal Commission to forced it to return to Ballarat.

Stephen Woods, who was raped and abused by Br Robert Best, Gerald Ridsdale and Ted Dowlan, said he was stunned by the commission’s decision.

“These hearings should be held in Ballarat, its where all the offending happened,” he said.

“Ballarat needs the healing.”

Both Cardinal Pell and Fr Mulkearns have been accused of playing a part in covering-up sexual abuse in the diocese between the 1970s and 1990s.

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Australia may deport South African preacher, David Volmer, accused of repeatedly raping 13-year-old girl

AUSTRALIA
International Business Times

By Sounak Mukhopadhyay @snksounak on July 31 2015

Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has been given new powers to execute mandatory deportation for David Volmer, a Christian priest who is a part of an eight-man paedophile ring in the country. Volmer, a native of South Africa, pleaded guilty to 12 offences including indecently dealing with a child, stupefying in order to commit an indictable offence and sexual penetration of a child.

The 41-year-old father of two was in Australia on a work visa. According to police, the Christian priest was one of the eight men who allegedly molested and raped a 13-year-old girl several times over the past couple of years. Western Australia Police described the alleged crime as “bizarre and really disturbing.”

The WA Child Protection Department is taking care of the victim. WA Police Commissioner Karl O’Callaghan said that a number of public had raised concerns about the teenage girl’s well-being.

“It’s important people understand what their children are doing online as well because there are cyber predators out there that will groom children online or even try to meet them,” ABC News quoted O’Callaghan, “This is a terrible case but it is a reminder there are people out there who will prey on our children.” He added that people should be vigilant about their online activities.

The victim’s father allegedly facilitated the abuse as he arranged for the other men to meet his daughter at a number of locations. One of the suspects had four million child pornography photographs and 200,000 videos. Some of the photographs belong to the victim.

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Prosecutors move to have ex-priest declared ‘sexually dangerous’

MASSACHUSETTS
Boston Globe

By John R. Ellement GLOBE STAFF JULY 30, 2015

A former Catholic priest who was at the center of the sexual abuse crisis in the Boston Archdiocese could remain in custody even though he has completed his prison sentence, as Essex prosecutors push for him to be declared a dangerous sexual predator.

Ronald H. Paquin pleaded guilty in 2002 and received a 12-to-15-year sentence for repeatedly raping a Haverhill altar boy between 1989 and 1992. He completed the sentence for three counts of rape of a child in late May, officials said, but remains in confinement until his status is resolved.

Facing the possibility that Paquin would be released, Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett’s office is moving to have the 72-year-old Paquin declared a “sexually dangerous person.” Blodgett filed a petition to keep Paquin locked up in the spring, before his sentence actually ended, the district attorney’s office said.

Such a designation allows for indefinite civil commitment at the Massachusetts Treatment Center at the Bridgewater Correctional Complex, where Paquin is currently being held.

The first step in the complex legal process to keep Paquin locked up begins Friday in Essex Superior Court, where prosecutors will ask a judge to hold him pending a mental health examination.

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Shawnee police report reveals new details in pastor’s arrest

OKLAHOMA
KOCO

[with video]

By Patty Santos

SHAWNEE, Okla. —A newly completed Shawnee police report is revealing more information about the accusations a former youth pastor faces.

Brian Burchfield was booked into the Pottowatomie County Jail Wednesday on one count of soliciting and engaging in sexual communications with a minor, and one count of a violation of the Oklahoma Computer Crimes Act.

Police said he was texting four teens, ages 14 to 17, things that were sexual in nature.

Shawnee police Detective Ethan Rieves said the case was turned quickly, because of the possible contact that Burchfield could have with his victims in the near future.

“He freely admitted that he knew he was crossing the lines, he tried several times to quit and it kept continuing,” Rieves said. “It was hard for him to get out of that mindset of talking in that nature.”

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New Details Surrounding Arrest Of Former OKC Pastor

OKLAHOMA
News 9

BY JOLEEN CHANEY, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY – New details are emerging surrounding the arrest of a metro pastor. Brian Burchfield is accused of soliciting sexual conduct with minors who were members at his former church, and detectives say he admitted to most of the allegations against him.
The now former pastor was arrested Wednesday, after a mother of one of the victims discovered inappropriate texts on her son’s phone. There are a total of four victims who are all teen boys ranging from 14 to 17 years old.

For about eight years, Burchfield was the youth minister at the Immanuel Baptist Church in Shawnee. About a year ago, he left and took a new position in Oklahoma City at the Quail Springs Baptist Church. But court documents state he was still communicating with teen boys from the Shawnee youth group, and it was sexual in nature.

“There was some instants where they had some times together as a group with specific boys out of that group,” Shawnee Police Sgt. Ethan Rieves said. “There were some questionable things that went on.”

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Jehovah’s Witnesses inquiry resumes

AUSTRALIA
SBS

Source: AAP
31 JUL 2015

A royal commission will continue to hear from senior officials of the Jehovah’s Witness Church when it resumes its investigation into child sex abuse allegations.

In the witness stand on day four of the hearing will be church officials who interviewed a respected member of the Mareeba congregation in Queensland, who was accused by his daughter of abusing her and her three sisters.

The man, known by the pseudonym BCH, was stood down by the church but later reinstated. He was eventually jailed in 2004 after his second eldest daughter went to police.

Evidence to date at the commission has been that church elders did not think his crimes were proven under their laws when an internal judicial inquiry was held even though BCH admitted molesting his daughters. He was stood down for adultery.

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New abuse claims hit Scotch College

AUSTRALIA
The Age

July 31, 2015

Steve Lillebuen

One of Australia’s top private schools has been hit with further legal action over alleged sexual abuse.

Melbourne’s Scotch College, which has already settled five historical abuse cases, is now facing two more claims of sexual abuse on school grounds and expects even more to be filed in the coming months.

The new abuse claims, which involve allegations dating back at least 20 years, come after the school reached out to survivors of childhood abuse in May and encouraged them to come

In a letter to the school community, principal Tom Batty said the school’s handling of historical abuse remained an ongoing process that will continue to act in the best interests of abuse survivors.

“Scotch has received two further legal claims and expects further legal claims to be presented and dealt with,” he wrote in the letter on Thursday night.

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Judge Chides Lawyers on Twin Cities Archdiocese Bankruptcy Fees

MINNESOTA
Wall Street Journal

By TOM CORRIGAN

A Minneapolis bankruptcy judge criticized legal fees and other expenses that have accrued over the course of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis’s bankruptcy case.

Though he ultimately approved the bill, Judge Robert Kressel of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Minneapolis said Thursday he was “stunned” and “frankly a little angry” over the legal fees and other expenses, which court papers show were approaching $1.8 million as of May 31. That includes the archdiocese’s professionals and those hired by a victims group, whose fees the archdiocese is obligated to cover.

“Airlines were reorganized for a fraction of this,” he said.

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January and has since been working to reach a settlement with alleged clergy sexual abuse victims, its parishes and its insurance carriers.

Lawyers working on the case have to share the same limited pool of funds that the archdiocese’s creditors—primarily, the abuse victims—are counting on for compensation.

Charlie Rogers, a lawyer with Briggs and Morgan who represents the archdiocese, said the firm’s average billing for the case was $300 an hour, which he said is standard for the area.

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Jehovah’s Witnesses cover up child sex abuse and oust a victim

OKLAHOMA
Reveal News – The Center for Investigative Reporting

By Trey Bundy / July 30, 2015

McALESTER, Okla. – In the summer of 2012, the elders in Debbie McDaniel’s congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses expelled her for having a sexual relationship with a woman. They announced her punishment to the congregation and notified the organization’s headquarters in New York. The consequences were clear: She would be shunned by the Witnesses – including her mother, father, sister and brother – and lose her chance at eternal life.

Jehovah’s Witnesses call their version of excommunication disfellowshipping, a punishment by shunning to rid the faithful of bad associations with those who break the laws of God. Once they’re expelled, the disfellowshipped cannot have any contact with Witnesses, even polite acknowledgment on the street, until they have proved their repentance and willingness to return obediently to the organization. In some cases, they’re shunned for the rest of their lives.

The disfellowshipping in 2012 was the second time that McDaniel, now 46, had been shunned by the Witnesses in her small hometown of McAlester in southeastern Oklahoma. When she was 18, elders responded to rumors that she had become sexually active by summoning her to confess the details of her sexual history. The meeting was a spiritual tribunal presided over by three elders with the power to expel sinners they deem unrepentant.

“They ask very, very personal, embarrassing questions,” McDaniel said. “Not just did you have sex with this person, but did you have an orgasm? Did you enjoy it? Where did he touch you? Where did you touch him?”

In the months leading up to that 1987 hearing, McDaniel said, the congregation’s top elder, Ronald Lawrence, had staked out her apartment and questioned her about rumors that she was promiscuous.

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Rabbi found not guilty of sexual abuse

NEW YORK
News 12

NEW CITY – A well-known rabbi from Rockland has been found not guilty of sexual abuse.

Rabbi Moshe Taubenfeld, 55, had been accused of molesting a young boy who needed counseling after the 9/11 attacks. Taubenfeld’s accuser says he was abused from ages 8 through 13.

Rockland County Court Judge Rolff Thorsen announced the verdict after a non-jury trial.

Taubenfeld did not take the witness stand in his own defense.

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Judge finds New Square rabbi not guilty in sex abuse case

NEW YORK
The Journal News

A Rockland judge on Thursday found New Square rabbi Moshe Taubenfeld not guilty of allegations he sexually abused a boy over a five-year period.

Taubenfeld, 55, also known as Mendel Zarkowsky, was charged with second-degree course of sexual conduct against a child, a felony.

As he left the courtroom, his supporters started singing and dancing until court officers told them to be more composed. They said they planned to host a big celebration in New Square.

His lawyer, Gerard Damiani, said “Mr. Taubenfeld is very happy it is over with. He always denied he ever abused (the boy) or anyone.”

He said Taubenfeld had taught over 200 students over the course of his career and not one of them has ever suggested he did anything inappropriate.

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Abuse whistleblowers seek Vatican inquiry of Newark Archbishop Myers

NEW JERSEY
National Catholic Reporter

Brian Roewe | Jul. 30, 2015

NEWARK, N.J.
In a test of Pope Francis’ pledge that bishops will be held accountable, an advocacy group for survivors of clergy sexual abuse has formally petitioned the Vatican to investigate Newark, N.J., Archbishop John Myers for possible abuse of his episcopal office.

If found complicit, the group is requesting that Myers be removed from his post and blocked from his controversial retirement home.

The Catholic Whistleblowers sent their case Tuesday to Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, apostolic nuncio to the U.S., with instructions to forward it to the Congregation of Bishops in Rome. The group alleges that since his appointment in 1987 as coadjutor to the Peoria, Ill., diocese, Myers has mishandled abuse allegations — including former Newark priest Michael Fugee — and has shown a pattern of harsh treatment toward victims and their advocates.

“Myers did everything to protect priests, and virtually nothing to protect the innocent, the kids, the victims,” said Robert Hoatson, a member of Catholic Whistleblowers and former priest of the Newark archdiocese whose 2003 co-founding of Road to Recovery put him at odds with Myers.

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Group Says Newark Archbishop Mishandled Sex Abuse Cases

NEW JERSEY
Patch

By ERIC.KIEFER (Patch Staff)
July 30, 2015

A Livingston-based advocacy group is calling for a Vatican investigation into the oversight practices of Newark Archbishop John Myers.

Catholic Whistleblowers – a group of priests and nuns who advocate for victims of sexual abuse – is alleging that Myers has been “persistently hostile” toward people who come forward with abuse allegations, the Associated Press reported.

In addition, the group is alleging that Myers has left guilty priests in parishes in the Newark archdiocese and in Peoria, Illinois, where he previously served as bishop.

Myers has refuted the group’s accusations.

“Myers’ spokesman says the archbishop has aggressively confronted abusers and has removed 19 priests from church work in the Newark archdiocese alone,” the AP reported.

The group’s steering committee include West Orange resident Robert M. Hoatson, a former Catholic school teacher who led a whistleblowing campaign against the Archdiocese of Newark in 2013.

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Focus on abuse prosecutions: victims group

AUSTRALIA
SBS

Broken Rites is not expecting much out of the highly-anticipated appearance of Cardinal George Pell and a former bishop at the child abuse inquiry.

Source: AAP

The greatest impact of the child abuse royal commission will be in prosecuting more offenders, an advocate for victims of pedophile priests says.

Cardinal George Pell and a bishop who knew about clergy sexually abusing children in Victoria’s Ballarat diocese will front the commission’s public hearing later this year.

It is what victims wanted but advocacy group Broken Rites founder Chris Wilding is sceptical Cardinal Pell will shed any further light on widespread abuse over decades in the Victorian diocese.

She also doubts former Ballarat bishop Ronald Mulkearns will reveal the full extent of what he knew, despite the commission hearing that he presided over pedophile priests being moved between parishes.

“I had great hopes for the royal commission that we would at last get some shred of truth,” she told AAP.

“But I just don’t see it happening.”

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Judge Denies Deadline Extension for Priest Abuse Victims

MINNESOTA
KSTP

By: Dave Aeikens and Tom Durian

A federal judge has denied a request to extend a deadline that allows people to file abuse claims against the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis until Aug. 3.

The victims’ lawyers wanted the deadline moved to May 2016 to match state law, which says parishes can still be sued until May. Attorney Rob Kugler said the notices sent by parishes about the deadline were “lukewarm and clouded.”

The judge ruled that notice was “extensive and sufficient.”

Lawyers for the parish committees said the request for a delay is “an attempt to have more time to persuade people to file claims.”

The case is tied to the archdiocese’s bankruptcy claim. Therefore the proceedings will follow federal bankruptcy law. More than 230 cases of priest abuse have been filed against the archdiocese and its 187 parishes.

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Judge Rules, For Now, Neither Katy Perry Nor Nuns Can Lay Claim To Los Feliz Convent

CALIFORNIA
CBS Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A judge has announced that the Los Feliz convent that Katy Perry claims she bought from the Los Angeles Catholic Archdiocese may not belong to the pop superstar.

A ruling in court Thursday found that neither the singer nor restaurant magnate Dana Hollister can lay claim to the multimillion-dollar property until the matter is investigated further.

The judge said he’ll evaluate whether Perry’s deal with the archdiocese holds firm, saying that his initial findings deem it “clearly invalid.”

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles has been in talks with pop superstar Katy Perry, who has agreed to pay the archdiocese $10 million in cash and alternative property for House of Prayer valued at $4.5 million.

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Judge won’t extend deadline for archdiocese bankruptcy claims

MINNESOTA
Minnesota Public Radio

Madeleine Baran, Martin Moylan Jul 30, 2015

A federal judge on Thursday rejected abuse victims’ request to extend a deadline for bankruptcy court claims against the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. The deadline remains Monday.

The creditors committee in the archdiocese bankruptcy case, composed entirely of clergy sex abuse victims, had wanted Judge Robert Kressel to push the deadline back to May 2016, contending that the archdiocese had provided inadequate notice of the Aug. 3 deadline and that victims might need more time to file.

The panel also argued that pushing back the deadline would expedite a settlement and provide more insurance money for abuse victims.

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Former Shawnee youth pastor jailed on sex crimes complaint

OKLAHOMA
Shawnee News-Star

A former Shawnee youth pastor was booked into the Pottawatomie County jail Wednesday on complaints involving sex crimes.

Jail records at the Pottawatomie County Public Safety Center show Brian Burchfield, 42, is being held on complaints of soliciting sexual conduct with a minor by use of technology and violation of computer crimes act.

Formal charges have not been filed.

His online Linked in page shows he is a young adult pastor at Quail Springs Baptist Church and he was previously a pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church in Shawnee.

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Update: Former Shawnee youth pastor jailed

OKLAHOMA
Shawnee News-Star

By Kim Morava

Posted Jul. 30, 2015

A former Shawnee youth pastor was arrested and booked into jail Wednesday on complaints involving sex crimes.

Jail records at the Pottawatomie County Public Safety Center show Brian K. Burchfield, 42, is being held on complaints of soliciting sexual conduct with a minor by use of technology and violation of computer crimes act.

Formal charges have not been filed.

Burchfield’s online LinkedIn page shows he is a young adult pastor at Quail Springs Baptist Church in Edmond and that he was previously a youth pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church in Shawnee.

He was reported to be with Immanuel Baptist Church from June 2006 to April 2014.

The Shawnee church posted a statement on its website late Wednesday night.

“We are very saddened to hear of the allegations regarding Brian Burchfield, a former minister at our church,” it reads.

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Former Shawnee youth pastor accused of sex crimes arraigned Thursday

OKLAHOMA
KFOR

JULY 30, 2015, BY ABBY BROYLES

SHAWNEE, Okla. — A former youth pastor was arraigned in Pottawatomie County on Thursday morning after being accused of sex crimes.

Authorities say Brian Burchfield is accused of soliciting and engaging in sexual communications with four teenage boys, which is a violation of the Oklahoma Computer Crimes Act.

Police say Burchfield was the boys’ youth pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church in Shawnee.

Court documents show the senior pastor and associate pastor at Immanuel Baptist met with police and told them about the alleged inappropriate conversations between Burchfield and the teens.

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Former OKC Youth Pastor Arrested On Suspicion Of Sex Crimes

OKLAHOMA
9 News

BY RACHEL CALDERON, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY – A man who spent his career ministering to young people now sits behind bars, accused of sex crimes.

At the time authorities arrested Brian Burchfield, 42, he was the Young Adult Pastor at Quail Springs Baptist Church. Samantha Decker, Director of Communications at Quail Springs Baptist Church told News 9, “Brian has been relieved of his duties at our church.”

The married, father of four was brought into the Shawnee Police department on Wednesday and was questioned by officers. He was booked into the Pottawatomie County jail around 3 p.m.. He is accused of soliciting sexual conduct with a minor by use of technology and for violating the Computer Crimes Act.

According to Burchfield’s LinkedIn account he served as a pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church in Shawnee and ministered there for almost eight years, before becoming Young Adult Pastor for Quail Springs Baptist Church in 2014.

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Twin Cities archdiocese wins bid to move up clergy abuse claims to Aug. 3

MINNESOTA
Star Tribune

By Jean Hopfensperger Star Tribune JULY 30, 2015

Victims of clergy sex abuse in the St. Paul and Minneapolis archdiocese must file their claims by Aug. 3, U.S. bankruptcy judge Robert Kressel reaffirmed Thursday.

The Aug. 3 deadline was challenged in federal bankruptcy court in Minneapolis Thursday by victims’ attorneys, who asked the court to honor a May 2016 deadline, the same filing cutoff for all other abuse victims in Minnesota.

But Judge Robert Kressel reaffirmed his April decision, designed to expedite the archdiocese’s reorganization plan.

The victims’ committee had argued that the rights of victims to be notified of the changed date, and their ability to seek compensation, were harmed by the Aug. 3 date. They said the archdiocese hadn’t fully complied with orders to publicize the filing date and that the early deadline would not speed up financial reorganization.

The archdiocese insisted it had meet the court’s publicity plan, and that a later deadline would increase “professional fees” and impair its ability to raise funds from the faithful.

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Vercelli, agli arresti domiciliari il prete pedofilo che adescava ragazzini all’oratorio

ITALIA
Repubblica

[Don Massimo Iuculano has been suspended by the bishop after being accused of abusing three boys.

di FLORIANA RULLO

E’ ai domiciliari in una comunità religiosa don Massimo Iuculano, il sacerdote vercellese accusato di aver abusato di tre ragazzi che frequentavano la scuola dell’oratorio in cui era parroco. ”Siamo soddisfatti – spiega il legale del parroco Carlo Blengino -. La decisione è stata presa oggi dopo l’istanza da noi presentata. Sono cadute tutte le ragioni per cui dovesse stare in carcere”.

A raccontare degli abusi sono stati gli stessi ragazzi, quattordicenni e diciassettenni che frequentavano l’istituto Don Bosco di Vercelli. Proprio in quell’istituto, dedicato al sacerdote che aveva a cuore i ragazzi, il prete abusava di loro e della loro adolescenza.

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Gigantischer Cast macht Jagd auf die katholische Kirche – Erster Trailer zu “Spotlight”

MASSACHUSETTS
Moviebreak

Seit seinem großen Erfolg mit der Hauptrolle in “Birdman” ist Michael Keaton wieder gefragt in Hollywood. Mit “Spotlight” kommt nun, mal abgesehen von den “Minions”, in denen er Walter Nelson seine Stimme verlieh, der erste Film seit “Birdman” mit Keaton in einer der Hauptrollen in die Kinos. Neben ihm werden eine Reihe bekannter Gesichter auf der Leinwand zu sehen sein, denn der Cast lässt nicht zu wünschen übrig: Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo, Liev Schreiber, Stanley Tucci, John Slattery, Billy Crudup und Brian d´Arcy James. Regie führte Tom McCarthy (“Ein Sommer in New York – The Visitor”, “Win Win”), der hauptsächlich als Schauspieler bekannt ist, aber in letzter Zeit auch auf dem Regiestuhl sein Talent beweisen konnte.

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Zeugen Jehovas vertuschten über Jahrzehnte sexuellen Missbrauch

AUSTRALIEN
Sueddeutsche

Missbrauchsskandal bei den Zeugen Jehovas

Die Zeugen Jehovas in Australien haben offenbar Kindesmissbrauch von mehr als 1000 Tätern jahrzehntelang vertuscht.

Die Fälle liegen weit zurück, sie haben sich teilweise in den Fünfzigerjahren ereignet. Allerdings gab es darüber Aufzeichungen und protokollierte Zeugenaussagen. Zur Rechenschaft gezogen wurden die Täter dennoch nicht.

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Sexueller Missbrauch: Papst entlässt Pfarrer

DEUTSCHLAND
Frankfurter Neue Presse

Von Johannes Laubach

Es sind abstoßende Taten, die einem Pfarrer zur Last gelegt werden, der auch im Bistum Limburg tätig war. Der Papst hat jetzt darauf reagiert. Das hat diese Zeitung erfahren.

Rom/Würzburg/Limburg.
Papst Franziskus hat nach Informationen dieser Zeitung den Priester Wolfdieter W. aus der Diözese Würzburg wegen sexuellen Missbrauchs Minderjähriger mit sofortiger Wirkung alle Rechte und Pflichten entzogen, die mit dem Klerikerstand verbunden sind. Damit ist der 75-Jährige, der zeitweise auch im Bistum Limburg und im Erzbistum Bamberg tätig war, aus dem Klerikerstand entlassen.

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Aus Klerikerstand entlassen

DEUTSCHLAND
Bistum Wuerzburg

[Pope Francis has laicized 75-year-old Wolf Dieter W., a priest accused of sexual abuse of minors.]

Papst Franziskus entzieht 75-Jährigem alle Rechte und Pflichten eines Priesters

Rom/Würzburg/Limburg (POW) Papst Franziskus hat einem Ruhestandspriester der Diözese Würzburg wegen sexuellen Missbrauchs Minderjähriger mit sofortiger Wirkung alle Rechte und Pflichten entzogen, die mit dem Klerikerstand verbunden sind. Damit ist der 75-jährige Wolfdieter W., der zeitweise auch im Bistum Limburg und im Erzbistum Bamberg tätig war, aus dem Klerikerstand entlassen. Das Schreiben vom 26. Juni 2015 ist vom Präfekten der römischen Kongregation für die Glaubenslehre, Gerhard Kardinal Müller, unterzeichnet. Es wurde Bischof Dr. Friedhelm Hofmann über die Apostolische Nuntiatur in Berlin zugestellt. Bischof Hofmann, Generalvikar Thomas Keßler und Offizial Dr. Stefan Rambacher teilten dem Priester die Entscheidung am Donnerstag, 30. Juli 2015, im Bischöflichen Ordinariat Würzburg mit. Gegen den Ausschluss aus dem Klerikerstand kann der Betroffene keine Rechtsmittel einlegen.

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The rise and fall of the Catholic blogosphere

UNITED KINGDOM
Catholic Herald

by Damian Thompson
posted Thursday, 30 Jul 2015

During the reign of Benedict XVI, blogging became a mighty instrument in the hands of conservative Catholics. But the medium soon revealed a darker side

A fortnight ago, Pope Francis appointed Fr Robert Barron, rector of Mundelein seminary in Chicago, to be a new auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. The news was greeted with little explosions of delight from conservative-leaning Catholics all over Twitter, including many from Britain. Why?

It wasn’t just because Fr Barron, 55, is himself rather conservative theologically, though he’d prefer to think of himself as simply orthodox. That wouldn’t be big news: plenty of conservative priests get made bishops, even under this supposedly “liberal” Pope (though not so often in England and Wales).

No: Twitter and the blogosphere were excited because Fr Barron is famous. He runs “Word on Fire Ministries”, which sounds to a Brit like an outfit run by an orange-haired US televangelist or one of those pop-up Nigerian “prosperity gospel” churches. He hosts Word on Fire with Father Barron, a half-hour show that airs nationally on WGN America, making him the first Catholic priest to have his own regular television programme on a national commercial channel since Fulton Sheen in the 1950s.

Word on Fire also makes programmes and DVDs for EWTN, the Catholic television network founded by Mother Angelica, and Fr Barron has a weekly radio programme called – you guessed it – Word on Fire. He pops up on NBC and Fox News as a Catholic commentator and writes lots of articles for Catholic publications, including this one. So he’s a media priest, and one who can call on expert advice: his brother John is a former editor-in-chief of the Chicago Sun-Times. (Incidentally, Fr Robert Sirico, distinguished founder of the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty, also has a brother in the media: Tony Sirico, the mobster-turned-actor who played Paulie “Walnuts” Gualtieri in The Sopranos.)

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55 priests defrocked for sex abuse since 2001

UNITED KINGDOM
Belfast Telegraph

More than 50 priests in England and Wales have been defrocked for clerical sex abuse since 2001, new figures show.

There have been 55 laicisations since 2001 – meaning they have been evicted from the clergy – after new rules were put in place to protect children and vulnerable adults in the Catholic Church.

But the Church, which has been rocked by a series of historic abuse scandals, received many more complaints of sexual misconduct against the clergy.

And officials said there were a number of cases involving child abuse images where the victims could not be identified, meaning the number of overall victims may be much higher.

There was an increase in the number of perpetrators subject to “covenants of care”, essentially withdrawing them from ministering and severely restricting what they could do in the Church, from 384 at the end of 2013 to 462 at the end of 2014.

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Church safeguarding body announces partnership with abuse survivors

UNITED KINGDOM
The Tablet

30 July 2015 by Joanna Moorhead

A panel of survivors of clerical abuse is to be set up to help put the voice of the victims at the heart of the work of the National Catholic Safeguarding Commission (NCSC).

The creation of the new panel was described this week by the commission’s acting chairman Christopher Pearson as an important new development. “It will significantly inform and influence the work of the NCSC and help improve the Church’s pastoral support for those hurt by abuse,” he said.

The panel will have an independently-appointed chairperson and those hurt by abuse will make up the majority of the membership.

“It will be a real partnership between the commission and survivors,” he added.

In its annual report published this week, the NCSC said the membership of the panel would include individuals with direct personal experience of abuse by Catholic clergy or Religious, as well as a parent of an abused child.

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Judge to decide whether to extend archdiocese claims deadline

MINNESOTA
Minnesota Public Radio

Martin Moylan Jul 30, 2015

Time is running out for sex abuse victims and others to file claims against the bankrupt Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. But that could change.

The claims deadline is Monday. But a federal judge will hear arguments Thursday morning for and against pushing the claims deadline back to May of 2016.

The creditors committee in the case — composed entirely of sex abuse victims — contends that the archdiocese has provided inadequate notice of the Aug. 3 deadline. It wants to give victims more time to file.

The committee also contends that pushing back the deadline would actually expedite a settlement and provide more insurance money for abuse victims.

Robert Kugler, attorney for the creditors’ committee, said insurers don’t want to settle claims against the archdiocese only to get hit with another round of potentially costly claims against the parishes for abuse suffered perhaps decades ago.

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Orthodox priest fined, placed on probation …

OHIO
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Orthodox priest fined, placed on probation in Ohio after misdemeanor sex offense conviction

July 30, 2015

By Peter Smith / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

An Orthodox Christian priest living in Pittsburgh has been fined and placed on probation for his conviction on a misdemeanor sexual offense in Ohio, and he has been removed as pastor of a Youngstown parish.

James F. Callozzo, 73, of Brookline Boulevard was found guilty Tuesday of sexual imposition, a third-degree misdemeanor, in Mahoning County Area Court in Boardman, Ohio. He was charged after an 18-year-old man told police that Father Callozzo followed him into a restaurant bathroom in Boardman, made sexually explicit comments and grabbed his private parts.

The court fined Father Callozzo $150, charged additional administrative costs and placed him on 12 months’ probation, according to a court clerk.

Father Callozzo has been permanently removed as pastor of Nativity of Christ Orthodox Church in Youngstown, according to 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.

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Where’s ‘Father Manuel’? Police hunting fugitive priest, teacher accused of raping N.J. teen

NEW JERSEY
NJ.com

By Mark Mueller | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
on July 30, 2015

Twelve years ago, amid allegations he raped a 15-year-old boy in the rectory of a Plainfield church, the Rev. Manuel Gallo Espinoza vanished.

The Archdiocese of Newark, where Gallo Espinoza had served as a visiting priest, said he apparently fled to his native Ecuador after church officials informed him of the claim and suspended him from ministry.

Authorities never interviewed him. Within months, the investigation went dark.

Now, with the filing of a lawsuit by his alleged victim and an examination by NJ Advance Media, federal and county authorities have expressed renewed interest in finding and questioning the 51-year-old priest.

The NJ Advance Media investigation — drawing on law enforcement documents, public records and interviews — found that Gallo Espinoza obtained a visa to return to the United States in 2005. Three years later, unbeknownst to authorities in New Jersey, the man accused of raping a teenage boy took a job as a high school teacher in Prince George’s County, Md., the inquiry found.

Gallo Espinoza abruptly left the post in February of last year, a spokesman for the district confirmed. The spokesman, Max Pugh, said he could not disclose the reason for the departure because it was a personnel matter. Pugh said he was unaware of any allegation of sexual misconduct involving the former teacher.

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Coming To Terms With Child Sex Abuse: I Was “The Sinful Woman”

UNITED STATES
The Garden of Roses: Stories of Abuse and Healing

Virginia Jones

Many people assume that the sinful woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears while he was dining in the house of Simon, the Pharisee, was a prostitute. The story is told in the Gospel of Luke (7:38-50).

Simon observed Jesus’ interactions with the woman and said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who and what kind of woman this is.”

Jesus heard Simon and rebuked him.

If the sinful woman was a prostitute, then her sin of sex outside of marriage made her unclean and unfit to touch a man, especially a priestly man. But was the sinful woman just a prostitute?

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50 priests in England and Wales defrocked over sex abuse since 2001

UNITED KINGDOM
Irish Examiner

Thursday, July 30, 2015

More than 50 priests in England and Wales have been defrocked for clerical sex abuse since 2001, new figures show.

There have been 55 laicisations since 2001 – meaning they have been evicted from the clergy – after new rules were put in place to protect children and vulnerable adults in the Catholic Church.

But the Church, which has been rocked by a series of historic abuse scandals, received many more complaints of sexual misconduct against the clergy.

And officials said there were a number of cases involving child abuse images where the victims could not be identified, meaning the number of overall victims may be much higher.

There was an increase in the number of perpetrators subject to “covenants of care”, essentially withdrawing them from ministering and severely restricting what they could do in the Church, from 384 at the end of 2013 to 462 at the end of 2014.

There were 79 allegations of abuse against children during the last year. These allegations involved 97 different forms of abuse against 118 victims, abused by 83 suspects.

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Will Vatican officials face term limits?

VATICAN CITY
Headlines from the Catholic World

Vatican City, Jul 30, 2015 / 01:02 am (CNA).- A fixed term mandate for Vatican officials serving in the Roman Curia was among recent proposals for the Vatican’s ongoing reform process, and will likely be discussed at the Sept. 14-16 meeting of the Council of Cardinals.

It’s still unclear whether the fixed term mandate refers to all Vatican officials – that is, those who hold an office of the Roman Curia – or if it would just apply to the clergy.

According to the prominent Italian journalist Marco Tosatti, “the idea is to give a term – a five year term, to be eventually renewed for another five year term – to the mandate of the Curia officials, which are the priests who make up the bulk of the jobs in the various Congregations and Pontifical Councils.”

So if a priest is called to serve in the Roman Curia, he would return to his home parish after five years. On the other hand, there are many lay Vatican officials: would the fixed term mandate apply to them as well?

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Second stage of public hearing into Catholic Church authorities in Ballarat

AUSTRALIA
Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

30 July, 2015

The second stage of Case Study 28 will be held from 23 November 2015 in Melbourne.

The first stage of the public hearing was held in Ballarat in May 2015. Because of the logistical issues relating to the anticipated level of interest in the community, the next stage of the hearing will held in the ceremonial court in the County Court complex in Melbourne.

The Royal Commission will provide a webcast of proceedings in the Trench room at the Ballarat Town Hall, Sturt Street, Ballarat, and the proceedings will be live streamed on the Royal Commission website www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au.

The scope and purpose of Case Study 28 remains unchanged and can be viewed on the Royal Commission’s website. Parties who have not sought leave to appear but wish to apply for leave at the resumed hearing will be able to do so at a later date.

The Royal Commission anticipates that Cardinal Pell and Bishop Mulkearns will give evidence at this hearing. The witness list will be published on the website closer to the hearing.

People with questions are encouraged to contact the Royal Commission on
1800 099 340 or email contact@childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au.

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Child abuse royal commission summons George Pell, Ronald Mulkearns

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

TESSA AKERMAN THE AUSTRALIAN JULY 30, 2015

Bishop Ronald Mulkearns will be summoned to give evidence to the child sex Royal Commission in November.

In a press release issued this afternoon the Royal Commission stated it anticipated Cardinal George Pell and Bishop Ronald Mulkearns would give evidence at the public hearing which will take place in Melbourne and not Ballarat due to logistic issues.

The Royal Commission previously heard evidence that the former Bishop of Ballarat knew of paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale’s offending in the diocese and moved Ridsdale from parish to parish when complaints were made.

Bishop Mulkearns served as the bishop of Ballarat between 1971-97.

After having a stroke in 1998, Bishop Mulkearns avoided the Victorian parliamentary inquiry into child sex abuse in institutions, citing ill health.

Last week however Geelong Magistrate John Lesser ordered him to give evidence in the committal hearing of another Ballarat priest charged with historical sex offences, Robert Claffey.

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Pell and bishop before abuse inquiry

AUSTRALIA
9 News

Victims’ advocates are sceptical a former Victorian bishop will reveal the full extent of what the church knew about pedophile priests when he and Cardinal George Pell appear before the child abuse royal commission.

Cardinal Pell has already agreed to return from Rome to give evidence to the inquiry into widespread abuse in the Ballarat diocese.

The commission has now said then-Ballarat Bishop Ronald Mulkearns, who knew Australia’s worst pedophile priest Gerald Francis Ridsdale and others were sexually abusing children, will also give evidence at a public hearing later this year.

Victims’ advocacy group Broken Rites has previously said Bishop Mulkearns has a lot to answer for after he moved Ridsdale and other priests between parishes during his time as bishop of Ballarat from 1971 to 1997.

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Former Ballarat Bishop Ronald Mulkearns to appear at royal commission in Melbourne

AUSTRALIA
The Age

July 30, 2015

Jane Lee
Legal affairs, industrial relations and science correspondent

A former bishop described as “pivotal” to the failure to prevent decades of widespread child sexual abuse at Catholic schools in Ballarat will appear before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

The commission confirmed in a statement on Thursday that former Bishop Ronald Mulkearns was expected to appear at the second hearing, which will be held in Melbourne starting on November 23. Cardinal George Pell will also give evidence at the hearing, which will focus on authorities’ role in child sexual abuse.

Ronald Mulkearns, the Bishop of Ballarat between 1971 and 1997, presided over many decisions to move disgraced serial paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale to numerous parishes despite knowing of allegations of child sexual abuse against him, the royal commission heard earlier this year.

Father Adrian McInerney, who was Bishop Mulkearns’ secretary for five years during this period, described him as the “pivotal person” responsible for addressing child abuse. “In retrospect, he needed to remove people completely from ministry,” he told the commission in May. Ten of Ridsdale’s victims are suing Bishop Mulkearns in the Supreme Court, arguing that he failed to act on abuse claims.

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Trailer debuts for ‘Spotlight’ film on Boston Globe sex abuse investigation

MASSACHUSETTS
National Catholic Reporter

[with video]

Brian Roewe | Jul. 29, 2015

The first trailer released Wednesday for the film “Spotlight,” which follows the Boston Globe’s investigation into clergy sexual abuse in the Boston archdiocese in the early 2000s.

The investigation began in 2001 and published its first stories in January 2002. The reports ultimately led to the resignation of Cardinal Bernard Law in December of that year.

In addition, it also spurred a national review of the church’s policy regarding sexual abuse by clergy, and at their June 2002 meeting, the bishops approved the “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People,” or Dallas Charter, and formed the National Review Board to report on dioceses’ implementation of the charter and to study the sex abuse issue in the Catholic church. The investigation won the newspaper the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.

The drama from Open Roads Films is directed and co-written by Tom McCarthy and features several notable actors and actresses: Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, Mark Ruffalo, Stanely Tucci and John Slattery.

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WA branch of Acts Christian Church to close after local leader David Volmer linked to paedophile ring

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

By Lucy Martin

The South African-based Acts Christian Church is closing its only Australian branch after revelations the leader was involved in a paedophile ring.

Pastor David Volmer is one of eight West Australian men accused of sexual crimes against a 13-year-old girl over a period of two years.

The 41-year-old has pleaded guilty to 12 offences including drugging and raping the girl.

Originally from South Africa, Volmer moved to Australia and set up a branch of the Acts Christian Church in Perth’s northern suburbs in 2013.

Church leader Reverend Peter de Fin, whose grandfather founded the church, said he was shocked by the charges.

“This is the first time we’ve had to deal with such a case,” he said.

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Trailer released for ‘Spotlight,’ film chronicling Boston Globe’s sex abuse investigation

BOSTON (MA)
Crux

By Michael O’Loughlin
National reporter July 29, 2015

The first trailer for “Spotlight,” the film starring Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, and Rachel McAdams chronicling The Boston Globe’s investigation of child sexual abuse at the hands of Catholic priests, was released Wednesday.

Reporting by the Globe’s Spotlight team eventually led to the resignation of the once-powerful Cardinal Bernard Law, former archbishop of Boston. The newspaper won a Pulitzer Prize in 2003 for its coverage.

A decade earlier, when the paper reported on abuse allegations against the Rev. James R. Porter — accused of molesting up to 100 children in the 1960s — Law famously condemned the paper.

“St. Paul spoke of the immeasurable power at work in those who believe. . . . We call down God’s power on our business leaders, and political leaders and community leaders. By all means we call down God’s power on the media, particularly the Globe,” Law said in 1992.

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National Catholic Safeguarding Commission (NCSC) Press Release

UNITED KINGDOM
National Catholic Safeguarding Commission

30th July 2015

1 The National Catholic Safeguarding Commission has today published its annual report.

Highlights:

The working party on pastoral support for survivors is proposing a model of support for victims and survivors, based on the Hallam Project which could be implemented gradually across all Dioceses and Religious Communities. NCSC is in discussions The Commission has approved the setting up of a Survivors Advisory Panel which will help inform the work of the NCSC and the safeguarding policies and practices within the Catholic Church in England and Wales.

Over 95% of Catholic parishes in England and Wales have at least one safeguarding representative.

This is the 11th year we have collected and published safeguarding data.

The NCSC is overseeing the introduction of a national electronic recording system of data.

Acting Chair of the National Catholic Safeguarding Commission, Chris Pearson: “This report highlights in full the work of the Commission and this announcement is just a snapshot of some of that work and findings over the last year. We are moving towards a much more consistent and sensitive approach in response to the victims and survivors of abuse.”

A copy of the annual report can be downloaded from: www.catholicsafeguarding.org.uk

2 The Commission has today launched its E-learning programme.

We have worked with EduCare to develop a bespoke e-learning package available to all members of the Catholic Community in England and Wales.

The launch of the E-learning programme is part of the Church’s ongoing commitment to safeguarding. We want every member of the Catholic Community in England and Wales to have the opportunity to access safeguarding learning with a view to raising awareness, increasing understanding and promoting best practice. The Catholic Church in England and Wales is possibly the first Church in the UK, to offer safeguarding e-learning to every parishioner free of charge.

-EndsNational

Catholic Safeguarding Commission

The National Catholic Safeguarding Commission (NCSC) is an independent body working within the framework of the Catholic Church in England and Wales. It is mandated by the Conference of Bishops and Conference of Religious Congregations and has accountability across Dioceses and Religious Congregations to ensure that standards are met and policies are implemented.

Established in 2008 the NCSC sets the strategic direction of the Church’s safeguarding policy for children and vulnerable adults. It also monitors and audits the compliance of the Church with safeguarding procedures. The NCSC has sixteen members who bring together a wide range of knowledge, skill and expertise in safeguarding matters, and in state and canon law. For further details see www.catholicsafeguarding.org.uk

For further information or to arrange an interview contact:

Email rose.anderson@catholicsafeguarding.org.uk
Phone: 07530 972830

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More than 50 priests defrocked for abuse since 2001

UNITED KINGDOM
Premier

Thu 30 Jul 2015
By Antony Bushfield

The Catholic Church has said it defrocked 55 priests for clerical sex abuse since 2001.

In new figures released today the Church said they had been removed from the priesthood after new rules were put in place to protect children and vulnerable adults.

The Church said in addition it has received many more complaints about sexual misconduct by members of the clergy.

Officials said there had been a number of cases involving child abuse images where the victims could not be found, meaning the actual number of victims was hard to know.

The number of “covenants of care” orders, withdrawing people from ministering and severely restricting what they could do in the Church, increased from 384 at the end of 2013 to 462 at the end of 2014.

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Ex-pastor sentenced

PENNSYLVANIA
Wayne Independent

By K.O. Kearney
kkearney@wayneindependent.com

Posted Jul. 29, 2015

HONESDALE – A former pastor was sentenced Monday to 27 months to 15 years in state prison on sex abuse charges.

Norman Theodore Faux, 55, of Lake Ariel, also was ordered to pay up to $5,000 in counseling fees for the victim.

The defendant, who had served as a United Methodist pastor, previously pleaded guilty to having sexual intercourse on several occasions with a male juvenile.

The assaults started when the boy was 9 years old and lasted until he was 19, according to court paperwork.

The lead prosecutor, Wayne County First Assistant District Attorney said in a statement Faux “perverted his role as a father and as a clergyman” and he belongs in state prison.

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Seminary abuse lawsuits filed involve clergy who abused children in Onamia

MINNESOTA
Grand Forks Herald

ONAMIA, Minn. — As deadlines near, civil lawsuits were filed Tuesday by two men who were sexually abused as minors by clergy at Crosier Seminary in Onamia near the southern shores of Mille Lacs Lake.

Doe 51 and Doe 56, the names given to the victims in a press release, were molested by multiple priests and brothers of the Canons Regular of the Order of the Holy Cross (“Crosier”) religious order, according to the lawsuit.

Several of the clergy named in the complaints also interacted with and sexually abused children throughout Minnesota, including at parishes and schools in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, and the Diocese of St. Cloud, said the lawsuit.

Doe 51 was sexually abused from approximately 1979-81 by Father Gerald Funcheon, Brother Gabriel Guerrero and Brother Roman Fleischhacker, when Doe 51 was approximately 15-17 years old, said the lawsuit. Doe 56 was sexually abused in approximately 1979-80 by Funcheon, Brother Wendell Mohs and Father Roger Vaughn, when Doe 56 was approximately 14-15 years old, according to the lawsuit.

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Former Catholic Bishop Ronald Mulkearns called to front abuse Royal Commission

AUSTRALIA
Herald Sun

SHANNON DEERY HERALD SUN JULY 30, 2015

THE ex-Catholic bishop of Ballarat who oversaw decades of child sexual abuse will be forced to testify at the child abuse Royal Commission despite his ill health.

In a much-anticipated announcement the Royal Commission announced today Fr Ronald Mulkearns would give evidence at hearings set to return to Ballarat from November 23.

His appearance could unlock decades of secrets from the former bishop who has remained tight-lipped about his handling of child sexual abuse complaints.

Critics say he turned a blind eye to sexual abuse complaints, shuffling priests around the large diocese, but not reporting any of them to police.

A string of priests under his charge have since been jailed for heinous crimes against children.

Among them, Gerald Ridsdale, one of Victoria’s most notorious paedophiles who has admitted molesting hundreds of children.

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George Pell to appear at abuse commission

AUSTRALIA
Sky News

Cardinal George Pell, and a bishop who was aware Australia’s worst pedophile priest had abused boys when he moved him between parishes, will tell a royal commission what they knew about widespread abuse in the Ballarat diocese.

Cardinal Pell has already agreed to return from the Vatican to give evidence during the second stage of a public hearing into clergy abuse in the Victorian regional centre, which will be held in Melbourne from November 23.

The royal commission has now said then-Ballarat Bishop Ronald Mulkearns, who knew Gerald Francis Ridsdale was sexually abusing children, will also give evidence.

‘The royal commission anticipates that Cardinal Pell and Bishop Mulkearns will give evidence at this hearing,’ it said in a statement on Thursday.

Child abuse advocates had hoped Bishop Mulkearns would appear before the royal commission, after he did not give evidence to a previous Victorian inquiry owing to ill health.

– See more at: http://www.skynews.com.au/news/national/2015/07/30/george-pell-to-appear-at-abuse-commission.html#sthash.VNvSymlV.dpuf

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Defense reviewing evidence in former Los Banos priest’s child porn case

CALIFORNIA
Los Banos Enterprise

BY COREY PRIDE
cpride@losbanosenterprise
July 29, 2015

A former Los Banos Catholic priest who has been charged with possession of child pornography appeared in court Wednesday.

The Rev. Robert Gamel entered the courtroom on crutches, nursing a left foot injury he suffered while hiking, according to his attorney Roger Litman. Gamel appeared in Merced Superior Court in Los Banos for a pre-preliminary hearing on a felony count of possession of matter depicting sexual conduct of a person under the age of 18.

If convicted, Gamel faces up to three years in jail or prison. He has pleaded not guilty.

Litman told Judge Harry Jacobs the prosecution is still in the process of providing discovery evidence and he needs more time before going forward with the case.

“We will need time to review those items, which to my understanding is at least four DVDs and some other evidence we’ve asked to view,” Litman said. “I have a plan as far as how to proceed, accomplish review of the items, and what needs to be done to prepare for the next appearance in this matter.”

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York man guilty of sexually touching child at church summer camp

MAINE
Seacoast Online

By Deborah McDermott
dmcdermott@seacoastonline.colm

Posted Jul. 28, 2015

YORK — A York Harbor man has been found guilty in York County Superior Court in connection with a sexual touching incident at a First Parish Church summer camp last year.

Jason Paciulli, 38, Route 103, York Harbor, was sentenced on July 17 to 364 days in jail on condition he have no contact with the victim, receive counseling and is never employed in a setting that caters to minors.

According to police, the minor victim told her mother that she had been touched inappropriately by a staff maintenance worker at the church while attending the summer camp in July 2014. She said she had been kissed and touched on her chest while in the basement area of the church, police said.

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Advocates seek Vatican inquiry of Newark archbishop

NEW JERSEY
The Record

BY JEFF GREEN
STAFF WRITER | THE RECORD

In what might be the first formal complaint to a new Vatican tribunal, an advocacy group for clergy sexual abuse victims on Wednesday called for an investigation of Newark Archbishop John J. Myers and his handling of child molestation cases spanning three decades.

Eight members of Catholic Whistleblowers, a national group of church reformists, said they would be filing an 80-page document detailing Myers’ actions in various cases in Newark and at his former diocese in Peoria, Illinois. On Wednesday, they hand-delivered a copy of their grievances to Myers’ spokesman at the Newark chancery and said they would send another to the Vatican’s top U.S. diplomat in the coming days.

The group is aiming to get the attention of a tribunal set up by Pope Francis in June to hold bishops accountable for covering up or failing to take action against sexually abusive priests.

It was unknown on Wednesday whether the tribunal, housed in the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, had received any other cases for its review, but the activists said they believed their complaint was among the first, if not the first, to be presented publicly.

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Catholic schools must refuse to fire LGBT employees

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

Jamie L. Manson | Jul. 29, 2015

It’s beginning to feel like every week brings a new story about the firing of an LGBT employee from a Catholic institution.

The most recent well-publicized termination happened earlier this month at Waldron Mercy Academy in Philadelphia. The school declined to renew the contract of Margie Winters, the school’s director of religious studies, when it came to light that she is in a same-sex marriage.

Winters, who has been with the school for eight years, says her administrators were well aware that she was married to a woman. It wasn’t until two parents complained to the Philadelphia archdiocese that she was terminated.

In the wake of Winters’ firing, many commentators have suggested that bishops and Catholic institutions need to show greater mercy and compassion in dealing with its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees.

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Advocates Seek Vatican Inquiry of Newark, NJ, Archbishop

NEW JERSEY
ABC News

NEW YORK — Jul 29, 2015
By RACHEL ZOLL AP Religion Writer
Associated Press

Priests, nuns and canon lawyers who advocate for molestation victims urged Pope Francis on Wednesday to use the new Vatican tribunal he formed on negligent bishops to investigate the archbishop of Newark, New Jersey, who has long been accused of sheltering abusive priests.

The plea comes as Francis prepares for his first visit to the U.S. in September, a trip which will take place against the backdrop of the broad unfinished business of the molestation scandal. The crisis erupted in 2002 with the case of one pedophile priest in the Archdiocese of Boston before spreading nationwide, then engulfing the Roman Catholic Church.

The advocates, who call themselves the Catholic Whistleblowers, said they will present evidence to the Vatican that Archbishop John Myers has been persistently hostile toward people who come forward with abuse allegations, and had left guilty clerics in parishes in the Newark archdiocese and in his previous post as bishop of Peoria, Illinois. Myers has repeatedly defended his record, noting that he has removed many guilty priests, but he has been dogged by revelations about cases bungled on his watch in both states.

“When Pope Francis last month announced the new tribunal, instantly — within 24 hours — we were saying, ‘Myers has to be one,'” said the Rev. James Connell, a canon lawyer and retired priest from Milwaukee, who is part of the whistleblower group. “It’s a place to start.”

Three American dioceses — Gallup, New Mexico, Milwaukee and St. Paul and Minneapolis — are in bankruptcy court trying to limit settlements with victims and preserve church assets; the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis is being prosecuted on charges of failing to protect children from a now-convicted priest, and the Diocese of Honolulu is facing a raft of new claims after Hawaii lawmakers temporarily abolished time limits on lawsuits over child sex abuse.

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IN–Victims push Indiana archbishop to act on abuse

INDIANA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Wednesday, July 29

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

A Catholic employee has been arrested for alleged child sex abuse and Indianapolis’ archbishop must do more to help law enforcement prosecute him.

[Fox 59]

Oscar Vasquez-Guzman, religious education director at St. Anthony Catholic Church, was charged Tuesday with molesting two boys as recently as two weeks ago.

Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin claims he’s “cooperating” with law enforcement and has notified St. Anthony parishioners of the charges. That’s not enough. He and his staff should use their vast resources – parish bulletins, church websites and pulpit announcements to seek out anyone else who saw, suspected, suffered or hid Vasquez-Guzman’s crimes.

Vasquez-Guzman may have assaulted kids at several parishes or non-Catholic kids. So Tobin should hold a news conference begging victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to call police and prosecutors.

Tobin also claims he’s “cooperating” with law enforcement. Again, that’s not enough. Catholic officials make this claim all the time. In reality, it usually means that they’re doing the absolute bare minimum. Answering questions from the police is common decency. Catholic officials must do more. Given the on-going culture of secrecy within the church, they must actively work to find others with information or suspicions

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Germany–Victims applaud move against Bishop of Bling

GERMANY
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Wednesday, July 29

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

A German diocese will file a €3.9m claim for damages in a Vatican court against the so-called “Bishop of Bling.” We applaud this move. We hope a similar case can and will be filed in secular court too. It’s progress any time anyone takes steps that might help deter callous, selfish acts by Catholic bishops who act like kings.

[The Tablet]

Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst once headed the Diocese of Limburg. He resigned in 2013 after having spent more than €31m on redecorating his home. But he now works for the Vatican, which is an outrage. When will Catholic officials stop coddling and promoting their irresponsible colleagues?

We believe church “courts” are usually biased, secretive and ineffective. (They are usually more about damage control than real justice.) Still, we hope Limburg diocesan officials succeed in Rome and go further in their push to make Tebartz-van Elst responsible for his extravagant selfishness.

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OR–Rare child sex case filed in Portland vs. Quakers

OREGON
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Wednesday, July 29

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

A rare child sex abuse and cover up lawsuit has been filed against Oregon Quaker officials who apparently put an admitted child molester back on the job last year and hid his crimes. We hope law enforcement will investigate and charge church staff for their reckless, callous, secretive and selfish actions.

[The Newberg Graphic]

A former Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends youth superintendent, Bruce Bishop, is being sued for allegedly repeatedly abusing a boy between 11 and 16 years old. According to one news source, last year, Quaker officials confronted Bishop with abuse accusations, he “confirmed” them, was quietly suspended, but was later forgiven by his church colleagues and returned to ministry. If true, this is horrifying.

“Forgiveness” doesn’t sanction recklessness. We can forgive a drunk driver but shouldn’t give him school bus keys. We can forgive someone who commits violence but shouldn’t give him a gun. We can forgive someone who abuses kids but shouldn’t give him any role, much less a paid position around youngsters, in a church.

We’ve seen few lawsuits like this against Quakers. Often, in smaller, less rigid and authoritarian churches like this, it’s even harder for victims to come forward, seek justice and expose church officials who commit or conceal child sex crimes. We applaud this brave man for speaking up and hope his courage will inspire others abused in Quaker congregations to take action to protect others.

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Archbishop Confronted …

MINNESOTA
Lavender Magazine

Archbishop Confronted: Gay Man in 35-Year Relationship Clarifies Archbishop Nienstedt’s Restaurant Comment to the Star Tribune

By John Townsend

October 18, 2012

Last year the Archdiocese distributed 400,000 antigay DVDs* made by the Knights of Columbus meant to stir antigay marriage sentiments.

In the Oct. 6, 2012, Star Tribune Q&A with John Clayton Nienstedt, Archbishop for the Minneapolis-St. Paul Archdiocese, one question asked for clarification about a recollection by Rev. Michael Becker of St. Paul’s St. John Vianney Seminary that occurred at St. Paul’s Lexington Restaurant. The questioner said, “a man came into the restaurant and threw one of the church’s DVDs at you” to set context for a response.

Gregg Larson has come forth to challenge Rev. Becker’s account. He was at the restaurant with his partner of 35 years on Friday evening Dec. 3, 2010. He was the man who confronted Archbishop Nienstedt. Larson: “First off, I didn’t come into the restaurant. My partner and I were there before they arrived. Also, I did not throw the DVD at him [contrary to Rev. Becker’s account to the Star Tribune]. I would never have done that. In fact, nobody in the restaurant even was aware of the conversation that we had with them. It’s less than accurate to characterize what happened that way. It also says that the Archbishop remained composed. He didn’t really remain composed. And in the Archbishop’s answer he didn’t refute any of that. He simply said, ‘I try to reply to emotional outbursts with reason, calm, and patience.’ Well, there was no emotional outburst. And nobody in the restaurant was aware of the conversation.”

Synchronistically, Larson had a copy of the DVD sent to his elderly mother at her nursing home in his car which he was intending to return to the Archdiocese. What follows is what Larson says actually happened starting when he saw Nienstedt waiting alone near the coat check to sit down. Larson: “First I went up to him and asked, ‘Are you John Nienstedt?’ And he said, ‘Yes.’ And I introduced myself. Then I said my mother got this piece of junk mail and I wanted to return it. And I said it was the [antigay marriage] DVD that you had sent out.” Larson then told Nienstedt that he had heard he is gay and that “if that was true then he was a hypocrite and I went back and sat down.”

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Former Saint Ignatius College priest…

AUSTRALIA
Perth Now

Former Saint Ignatius College priest Stanislaus John Hogan has sentence for child porn offences suspended on appeal

A PRIEST at a prestigious Adelaide private school who downloaded more than 1500 images of child pornography will walk from jail after his sentence was suspended on appeal.

Father Stanislaus John Hogan was sentenced in March this year to two years and six months’ jail, with a non-parole period of 10 months, after pleading guilty to one count of using a carriage service to access child pornography and one aggravated count of possessing child pornography.

The District Court had heard that police seized 1555 images and videos as part of an illicit children pornography collection, which also included magazines and books of children aged between three and 16 years.

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Advocates seek Vatican investigation of Newark, NJ, archbishop, as pope readies 1st US visit

NEW JERSEY
Daily Journal

By The Associated Press
July 29, 2015

NEW YORK — Advocates for victims of clergy sex abuse want a Vatican investigation of the archbishop of Newark, New Jersey.

A group of Roman Catholic priests, nuns and canon lawyers who call themselves the Catholic Whistleblowers say an investigation is needed because Archbishop John Myers has been hostile to victims and has failed to stop predators from molesting children in Newark and in his previous diocese of Peoria, Illinois.

The group wants an inquiry through the new tribunal Pope Francis formed to discipline bishops who don’t protect young people.

Myers’ spokesman says the archbishop has aggressively confronted abusers and has removed 19 priests from church work in the Newark archdiocese alone.

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Court to hear historic sex abuse allegations against Mirfield priests

UNITED KINGDOM
Huddersfield Examiner

BY NEIL ATKINSON

Abuse victim Peter Murray seeks damages after alleged campaign of abuse by seminary teacher

Evidence of historic sexual abuse at a Kirklees religious school will be considered in court for the first time later this year.

Numerous allegations of horrific abuse by priests and teachers working for the Verona Fathers at St Peter Claver College, Mirfield, have been made in recent years.

However, despite £120,000 in compensation payouts, the cases have not reached court and there has been no apology or finding of guilt.

But a case will finally be tried in November, after former pupil Peter Murray, 57, launched his bid for a substantial damages payout.

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A case of secrecy and self-silencing

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter – Global Sisters Report

by Jeannine Gramick Jul. 29, 2015

April 16 was a momentous day for U.S. women religious, and indeed for all Catholics. The Vatican and other Catholics on both sides of the Atlantic breathed a collective sigh of relief when the doctrinal assessment of the U.S. Leadership Conference of Women Religious by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the congregation’s mandate for implementation came to a conclusion.

In a May 15 statement, the LCWR officers said that the process was conducted in a spirit of prayer and openness, but it was “time-consuming,” “difficult” and “had its costs.” The officers were “deeply saddened that the report caused scandal and pain,” and said they “felt publicly humiliated” by false accusations.

I surely sympathize with all the heartache, frustration and anger these leaders must have felt in the years of dealing with the assessment and the mandate because I was engaged in a Vatican investigation of my ministry to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from the mid-1980s to 1999. It was a time of great anxiety and distress for me, but I remember the caution that former LCWR officers urged me to keep in mind: “Do not confuse the personal with the structural.”

So while I feel deep sympathy for the personal toll suffered by these leaders, I also feel deeply troubled by the structural implications of the settlement. I believe the two main pillars of the church’s bureaucracy have been maintained. There is still secrecy and there is still self-silencing.

The LCWR officers spoke honestly and directly with the Vatican representatives, but they did not share these conversations with the media. I believe the matters they discussed affected the whole church, so what was spoken should not have been treated as confidential matter between two parties. Through the media, we in the Catholic community can become informed and learn how to deal with conflict in an adult and Christian way.

LCWR missed a golden opportunity to help move the church hierarchy toward transparency, which is increasingly being called for in civil and ecclesial arenas. Transparency is a means of accountability to the faith community. Instead, LCWR and the doctrinal congregation followed the old model of a closed and secret system — a process that the Vatican has used for centuries to rule and intimidate.

What was said, and who said it, during the three years of discussing the mandate? What was said about the charge of radical feminism or the charge of questioning the hierarchy’s position on women’s ordination and homosexuality? What was said about the charge of silence on the issues of abortion and euthanasia or the charge that some of LCWR’s public statements challenge positions taken by the bishops? How did LCWR handle the congregation’s claim that dissent from the doctrine of the church is not justified as an exercise of the prophetic office because prophecy cannot be directed at the magisterium?

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Former Ballarat bishop Ronald Mulkearns breaks silence on sex abuse

AUSTRALIA
The Age

July 29, 2015

Alicia Thomas

Former Ballarat bishop Ronald Mulkearns has finally broken his silence about clergy sex abuse within the Catholic Church, telling a court he remembers a priest “misbehaving” in a sexual way.

Bishop Mulkearns was forced to give evidence against former priest Robert Claffey who has pleaded not guilty to a string of sexual assault charges.

Appearing in Geelong Magistrates Court on Wednesday, Bishop Mulkearns, now retired, underwent a compulsory examination revealing evidence about child sexual abuse for the first time in almost two decades.

“I remember he (Claffey) had been misbehaving … in a sexual way”, Bishop Mulkearns told the court.
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“But I only would have recalled Wendouree in connection with that. I don’t remember details”.

Claffey is charged with one count of buggery, 14 counts of indecent assault and one count of committing an indecent act on a child under the age of 16.

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Gerald Funcheon … sued again

UNITED STATES
The Worthy Adversary

Posted by Joelle Casteix on July 29, 2015

A number of years ago, a family reached out to me asking for help. Their son had been abused by a priest named Gerald Funcheon, and the family wanted to know what happened to the Crosier cleric.

At the time, I looked at the resources available. I saw a priest with huge holes in his assignment record and a couple of lawsuits. Other than that, he had simply vanished.

How times have changed.

This week, Funcheon (who had hidden assignments in Hawaii and California and very public assignments all over the country—including Indiana, where he was banned because of his “plans” to molest) was sued for sexual abuse by two more victims in Minnesota. That brings the victim tally to somewhere around 20.

Funcheon was also the first predator exposed under Hawaii’s civil window. His video deposition—where he talks about abusing kids in Hawaii and elsewhere—was made public a few years ago.

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NE–Victims push Lincoln bishop to act on 3 accused clerics

NEBRASKA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Wednesday, July 29

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

A Catholic cleric who spent time in Nebraska is being publicly accused for the first time of molesting a child. Two other Catholic clerics, who also worked in Nebraska, are being accused as well.

[Star Tribune]

We call on Lincoln Bishop James Conley to aggressively reach out to others who may have been hurt by the three predators. We strongly suspect that there are several Nebraska adults who were assaulted as kids by these clerics and who are still suffering in shame, silence and self-blame.

A Minnesota man filed a civil lawsuit yesterday charging that he was sexually assaulted by the three clerics – Brother Roman Lawrence Fleischhacker, Brother Gabriel Guerrero and Fr. Gerald Allen Funcheon from about 1979 to 1981 when he was 15 to 17 years old.

Fleischhacker is being named publicly as a predator for the first time. Funcheon and Guerrero have been publicly accused before. (Funcheon has admitted abusing “numerous children.”)

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Stephanie Krehbiel on Violence…

UNITED STATES
Bilgrimage

Stephanie Krehbiel on Violence, Community, and Struggle for LGBTQ Justice in the Mennonite Church: Parallels to Catholic Conversations — Or, Why LGBT Folks Remain the Problem Even As Straight Men Engage in Sexual Predation

I’ve mentioned the work of Mennonite American Studies scholar Stephanie Krehbiel here in the past — for instance, in this February 2014 posting highlighting an article she published at Religion Dispatches on the parallels between “the Woody Allen problem” and the story of Mennonite theologian John Howard Yoder. As she notes, in the stories of both of these men, we encounter troubling questions about the ability of not merely conservative social and ecclesial structures, but also liberal ones, to shelter and offer excuses for the predatory sexual behavior of powerful men.

One of the questions driving Krehbiel’s work is the question of how and why various institutions — notably, her church of origin, the Mennonite Church USA — can for so long shield such men while resisting accountability and transparency, especially as the victims of their sexual abuse come forward with their stories. As I noted in the February 2014 posting linked above, part of the answer to this puzzle, Stephanie suggests, is that “theology is a male-dominated field with a long history of covering, enabling, and trivializing sexualized violence.”

But in Yoder’s case, there’s the added fillip, the grand irony, of his world-renowned witness to the Mennonite value of non-violence — a witness he was offering at the same time that he was sexually coercing female students and women under his pastoral guidance. In her article about Allen and Yoder, Krehbiel writes,

As a powerful male leader operating in a patriarchal religious academia, Yoder was anything but atypical as a sexual predator. His pacifism makes for some interesting irony, but there’s always been something oddly masculinist about the way Mennonites teach nonviolence. Mennonite pacifist discourse evolved as a response to the dominant ideal of warrior masculinity, a way for men to justify not going to war; it has never been as fully formed or as celebrated for its challenge to interpersonal violence.

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Catholic Church prioritised protecting reputation over children in Ballarat abuse case, senior sergeant says

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

By Louise Milligan

A senior sergeant on the 1990s Victoria Police attempt to charge a bishop with covering up the crimes of paedophile priests has broken his silence, saying the Catholic Church he encountered was more concerned with “brand protection” than protecting vulnerable children.

Chris O’Connor, who led the force’s Child Exploitation Squad in the 1990s, worked on Operation Arcadia, an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to prosecute Bishop Ronald Mulkearns for moving Gerald Francis Ridsdale from parish to parish in the Ballarat diocese, where the priest was able to abuse hundreds of children.

“In today’s parlance, the Catholic Church was more concerned about its name, its organisation, its brand, than it was about the very reason for it being — and that was the protection of the most vulnerable that were under its guidance,” Mr O’Connor told 7.30.

He was dismayed by the fact that, despite being told by a police officer that Ridsdale had abused children in 1975, the bishop continued to move the priest around parishes until the 1990s.

“Given that he was a man of the cloth, given his position that he was a leader within that organisation, he was morally bankrupt to behave in a manner where he knew or at least expected that by leaving this person or moving this person to another church, or district or region, would in itself expose other potential victims,” Mr O’Connor said.

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‘Bishop of bling’ sued by his former diocese for €3.9m after lavish refurbishment project

GERMANY
The Tablet (UK)

28 July 2015 by Christa Pongratz-Lippitt

The diocese of Limburg, whose former bishop resigned in 2013 after having spent more than €31m on redecorating the bishop’s residence, and who has often been dubbed the “Bishop of Bling”, plans to file a €3.9m claim for damages in a Vatican court against him.

The Limburg diocese is at the moment being administered by Manfred Grothe, formerly auxiliary Bishop of Paderborn, who was installed as Apostolic Administrator of Limburg by Pope Francis after the resignation of Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst.

The €3.9m represents the loss the diocese suffered after the €31.3m refurbishment works cost far more than its original €5.5m budget.

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A bishop has a memory lapse about the alleged crimes of an ex-priest

AUSTRALIA
Broken Rites

By a Broken Rites researcher (article updated 29 July 2015)

A retired Australian Catholic bishop, Most Reverend Ronald Mulkearns, has been forced to appear in court to answer questions about a former priest, Robert Claffey (now aged 70), who is charged with multiple incidents of indecent assault against seven children. In court on 29 July 2015, Bishop Mulkearns was forced to admit that, yes, he had known about Father Claffey’s “misbehaviour” but claimed that he could not remember the details.

Bishop Mulkearns (born in 1930) was the head of the Catholic Church throughout the western half of the state of Victoria (with his cathedral in the city of Ballarat), from 1971 to 1997. Father Robert Claffey worked in west Victorian parishes under Bishop Mulkearns in the 1970s and 1980s. Claffey is charged with having committed indecent assaults at various locations in western Victoria, including Ballarat, Warrnambool, Portland and Apollo Bay, between 1970 and 1992.

During a preliminary procedure in the Geelong Magistrates Court on 12 December 2014, the court was told that one of the alleged assaults involved Father Claffey going to a boy’s house and indecently assaulting him during the 1980s. Detective Sergeant Tim Kennedy, from the Sano Taskforce in the Victoria Police, told the court that the boy allegedly reported the assault to his father, who then allegedly reported it to Bishop Mulkearns. Claffey was then moved from his parish at Wendouree (in Ballarat) to another parish [in a different part of the diocese], Sergeant Kennedy said.

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Just released from jail, a priest is in court again re more children from his early career

AUSTRALIA
Broken Rites

By a Broken Rites researcher (article updated 28 July 2015)

In March 2015, Victorian Catholic priest Father Leslie Sheahan, now 84, was jailed for three months for indecently assaulting a nine-year-old girl in one of his parishes forty years ago. In July 2015, immediately after leaving jail, he was charged in court again with indecently assaulting two more girls from another of his early parishes. He is now awaiting the outcome of this new court case.

In both court cases, the charges were laid in the Ballarat Magistrates Court by detectives from the Sano Taskforce in the Victoria Police sex crimes squad in Melbourne.

Father Leslie John Sheahan belongs to the Ballarat diocese, which covers the whole of western Victoria, extending to Mildura in the state’s far-north, to Horsham in the far-west and to Portland on the south-western coast. The city of Ballarat is where the bishop is based.

The March 2015 case

In the March 2015 court case, Sheahan pleaded guilty to “unlawful/indecent assault” of one girl. The offence was committed in 1970-1971 and therefore the charge was laid according to the criminal statutes existing at that time. (For crimes committed since the 1980s, the statutes include revised laws relating to sexual penetration.)

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Archdiocese abuse victims to ask court to extend Aug. 3 claims deadline

MINNESOTA
Star Tribune

By Jean Hopfensperger Star Tribune JULY 28, 2015

The bankruptcy case of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis reaches a critical point this week, when a judge will be asked to reverse his decision to move up the deadline for filing clergy abuse claims.

The victims’ committee will argue Thursday that the archdiocese didn’t publicize the deadline as ordered and that the Aug. 3 date for the archdiocese will complicate a timely settlement, because the 187 parishes can still be sued until May 2016.

The archdiocese insists that it has complied with the publicity plan and that the Aug. 3 deadline will speed up its financial reorganization.

Both sides are in uncharted territory. The Twin Cities is the first place in the nation where a court has cut short a filing deadline despite a state law that allows all other abuse survivors to file claims considerably later.

Even so, 228 abuse claims have been filed against the church as of this week.

“There is not an ideal solution,” said University of Minnesota law Prof. Christopher Soper. “There’s a tension between getting this bankruptcy resolved as quickly as possible and realizing that this isn’t a typical bankruptcy case.”

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Lawsuit alleges child sexual abuse in Friends organization

OREGON
The Newberg Graphic

Written by Seth Gordon | Print

PORTLAND — A lawsuit filed July 17 in Multnomah County Circuit Court alleges that child sexual abuse occurred in the Friends (Quaker) church in Newberg from approximately 1987 to 1991.

The plaintiff, referred to by his initials “A.J.” in the suit, claims to have been sexually abused by former Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends youth superintendent Bruce Bishop when the youth was between the ages of 11 and 16 years old.

The suit makes five legal claims, including sexual exploitation and abuse and/or battery of a child, breach of fiduciary duty, intentional infliction of distress and negligence.

The suit seeks $4 million in noneconomic damages, as well as economic damages, loss of earning capacity and legal costs. It also states the plaintiff’s intent to include a claim for punitive damages.

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8 Australian men charged with 500 sex offences against girl

AUSTRALIA
Today

PERTH — An Australian man was accused today (July 29) of allowing seven men to sexually abuse his 13-year-old daughter over the past two years, with police charging all eight men with more than 500 child sex offences.

Western Australia police arrested the men after receiving a tip-off from the public. Police say the father knew all of the men, and arranged for them to meet his daughter and subsequently assault her when she was between the ages of 11 and 13. The father is also accused of assaulting the girl.

The father and the other men, who range in age from 35 to 47, are facing 503 charges, including sexual penetration of a child under 13, stupefying with intent to commit a criminal offence and sexual servitude of a child.

Police Detective Superintendent Glenn Feeney, who described the abuse the girl suffered as “horrific”, said one of the men had 200,000 videos and four million child pornography images. The victim was featured in 149 images, he said.

“It’s disgusting material — there are no words to describe it,” Mr Feeney said. “Any sex offence against a child is just beyond words.”

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