ABUSE TRACKER

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

August 6, 2015

Oral Submissions to be held for Case Study 23 Knox Grammar School

AUSTRALIA
Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

6 August, 2015

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse will hear oral submissions in relation to Case Study 23 into Knox Grammar School on Monday 10 August 2015.

The public hearing commenced on 23 February 2015 and inquired into the response of Knox Grammar School in Wahroonga, New South Wales and the Uniting Church in Australia between 1970 and 2012 to concerns raised about inappropriate conduct by a number of teachers towards students at Knox Grammar School.

The oral submissions will commence at 10am at Royal Commission Hearing Room 1, Level 17, Governor Macquarie Tower, 1 Farrer Place, Sydney.

The oral submissions will also be streamed live on the Royal Commission website.

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

Mother and Baby Homes: ‘Bizarre’ reasoning for refusal to uphold appeals

IRELAND
Irish Examiner

By Conall Ó Fátharta
Irish Examiner Reporter

The Ombudsman has been criticised for its “bizarre” reasoning in refusing to uphold appeals from former residents of An Grianán seeking access to the Magdalene redress scheme.

The decision, granted on June 2, came on the same day the Irish Examiner revealed that evidence that An Grianán training centre and High Park Magdalene Laundry were “one and the same thing” was uncovered by the HSE in 2012.

Former residents of An Grianán, which was excluded fromthe McAleese inquiry, were denied access to thescheme as it was not considered a Magdalene laundry. It was on the same site as High Park Magdalene Laundry in Drumcondra, Dublin. It was included in the Residential Institutions Redress Board Scheme.

However, some former residents said they were not aware that this was the case and appealed their exclusion from the Magdalene scheme to theOmbudsman.

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

Authorities: Seaford congregation didn’t report sex abuse

DELAWARE
The News Journal

Jessica Masulli Reyes and James Fisher, The News Journal

A Delaware deputy attorney general will argue later this year that elders in a Jehovah’s Witnesses congregation in Seaford failed to report that a woman and 14-year-old boy, both members of the congregation, were having a sexual relationship.

The Department of Justice filed a civil lawsuit against the Seaford Kingdom Hall and two of the congregation’s elders in May 2014.

A Superior Court judge in Wilmington is scheduled to hear the case Nov. 9.

Authorities claimed the elders, Joel Mulchansingh and William Perkins, did not report the sexual abuse when it was disclosed to them. Delaware law requires individuals and organizations to report abuse immediately via a 24-hour state hotline.

James Liguori, the attorney representing the congregation, could not be reached for comment late Wednesday afternoon.

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

Authorities: Jehovah’s Witnesses didn’t report child sex abuse involving congregation members

DELAWARE
Daily Journal

By RANDALL CHASE Associated Press
August 05, 2015

DOVER, Delaware — The Delaware attorney general’s office is suing a Jehovah’s Witnesses congregation in Sussex County, claiming that elders failed to report an unlawful sexual relationship between a woman and a 14-year-old boy, both of whom were congregation members.

Oral arguments in the civil action are set for November.

Authorities say elders learned in January 2013 that Katheryn Harris Carmean White was having sex with the boy and failed to immediately call a child abuse hotline.

The congregation’s attorney argues that the elders are protected by clergy privilege from the reporting requirements, similar to the confidentiality of a church confessional.

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

Lawsuit accuses Delaware church of hiding child sex abuse

DELAWARE
Delaware Public Media

By JAMES DAWSON

The Delaware Attorney General’s office is suing a Laurel Jehovah’s Witness congregation, saying its leaders covered up a child sexual abuse case.

According to civil court documents, leaders of the Laurel Delaware Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses did not report a sexual relationship between a teenage boy and Katheryn Harris Carmean White – both members of the church.

White admitted having sex with the boy to congregation elders in January of 2013. Leaders learned of the relationship a few days beforehand, but didn’t report it as required by law.

She was convicted in November of that year and sentenced to six years in prison.

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

Church usher charged with sexually abusing 7-year-old girl

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Tribune

By Liam Ford
Chicago Tribune

A church usher sexually abused a 7-year-old girl attending a summer youth event at the Back of the Yards church where the man works, then was arrested when the girl told her older stepsister, who told the girl’s mother, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Richard K. Roberts, 51, was arrested Sunday at the Southwest Church of Christ, 1359 W. 51st St., after the girl’s mother went to the church, and the 7-year-old and the other children she had told about the abuse at the time pointed out Roberts as the man who had abused her, prosecutors said.

Roberts, who is charged with aggravated criminal sexual abuse, was ordered held in lieu of $50,000 bail by Judge Laura Sullivan on Wednesday afternoon. Prosecutors did not give a specific date for the abuse.

Sometime between May 31 and Sunday, the girl went to a children’s event at the church along with her brother, 12, his friend, also 12, and the siblings’ cousin, 11, said Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney Kim Przekota. Roberts — an usher and a part-time employee — had gone through the neighborhood, knocking on doors to invite children to the event, prosecutors said.

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

Local board members react to Haiti nonprofit CEO defamation case

VIRGINIA/NORTH CAROLINA
Richmond Times-Dispatch

By LAURA KEBEDE Richmond Times-Dispatch

Richmond-area board members of a North Carolina-based nonprofit that does work in Haiti celebrated a recent verdict which they said symbolically exonerated executive director Michael Geilenfeld from accusations of child molestation.

Paul Kendrick, a Maine activist for sexual abuse victims, was ordered to pay $14.5 million to Geilenfeld and the charity after leading a four-year email campaign to hundreds of donors perpetuating false accusations, The Associated Press reported.

The trial in Maine included testimony of Willie Dell, a former Richmond councilwoman and longtime friend of the nonprofit, on the executive director’s behalf, as well as seven Haitian men who claimed Geilenfeld sexually abused them while at St. Joseph’s Home for Boys in Port-au-Prince.

Three of the 11 board members for Hearts with Haiti live in the Richmond area, and several churches in the area frequently send volunteers to the organization’s Wings of Hope home for children with disabilities, St. Joseph’s Home for Boys and Trinity House for program graduates’ business startups.

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

Milwaukee Archdiocese Offers Settlement For Victims of Clergy Sex Abuse

MILWAUKEE (WI)
PBS – Frontline

August 5, 2015, by Priyanka Boghani

It has been more than a decade since the Catholic Church became engulfed in lawsuits stemming from allegations of sexual abuse by clergy in the United States. On Tuesday, one of the largest cases in the scandal inched closer to a resolution after the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee announced that it would pay $21 million to around 330 alleged victims of abuse.

While the agreement would end the longest-running church bankruptcy in U.S. history, it also ranks among the smallest settlements to emerge from the scandal for a case of its size. If given final approval by a judge, the settlement would be the fourth largest in terms of the number of alleged victims, but 27th in terms of compensation, according to data compiled by the website BishopAccountability.org.

A key sticking point in negotiations was $57 million in archdiocese funds that was diverted into a cemetery trust, a move that shielded church dollars from the legal claims of abuse victims. In the 2014 FRONTLINE investigation Secrets of the Vatican, attorney Jeff Anderson said that plaintiffs had evidence showing that approval for the transfer came directly from the Vatican.

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

REBUTTAL:Spotlight.Columbia University Journalism School, “Reporting an Explosive Truth: The Boston Globe and Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church”

UNITED STATES
Pope Crimes & Vatican Evils

Paris Arrow

Extolling the Boston Globe and its reportage of clergy abuse at its (olden) onset in 2002 –– by making a ‘Spotlight’ movie (with A-list actors LOL) and implementing a Columbia University Journalism School main case study on it –– is Vatican fairy tale come true because these two strategies will act as feel-good (deceptive) propaganda for the Catholic Church. Hollywood and Columbia University combined forces — will focus on one (archaic) spot in history — to divert attention away from the global reality of the heinous span of half-the-20th century Vatican crimes against humanity’s children – committed by the JP2 Army of thousands of bestial pedophile priests worldwide – throughout the USA, Europe, South America, as far as Australia — with the cooperation of cardinals and bishops who aided and abetted them and covered-them up.

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

August 5, 2015

Teacher and youth pastor accused of molesting 10 year old at summer camp

GEORGIA
First Coast News

BRUNSWICK, Ga. — A 26-year-old Brunswick elementary school teacher has resigned amid allegations of child molestation, authorities told First Coast News Tuesday.

William C. Lewis, 26, of Brunswick, was arrested Tuesday on two counts of child molestation, according to the Glynn County Sheriff’s Office.

An arrest warrant says the incident occurred at the “It Takes a Village” summer camp on July 6. Lewis allegedly touched and rubbed a ten year old boy and asked him if “this type of touching felt good.”

Lewis, who was hired as a first grade teacher in July 2012. He was slated to teach second grade classes at Altama Elementary this year. He was placed on leave following his arrest, a spokesperson for the Glynn County School District told First Coast News.

Lewis also served as a youth pastor at First Jordan Grove Baptist Church in Brunswick and was scheduled to lead a bible study Wednesday night.

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

600 claims filed — what next for archdiocese bankruptcy?

MINNESOTA
Minnesota Public Radio

Madeleine Baran
Aug 5, 2015

Now that Monday’s deadline for filing claims has passed, the bankruptcy case of the Twin Cities archdiocese moves to its next stage.

By the deadline, more than 600 claims had been filed, including 407 by alleged victims of clergy sex abuse.

What happens to these claims now?

First, they’ll be evaluated in the mediation that is already taking place with the archdiocese, its insurers and two creditors’ committees — one for parishes and one made up of abuse survivors.

They’ll be looking at each claim and deciding whether they think it’s valid. Arguments could arise over certain claims, as has happened in other bankruptcies.

This includes all claims — not just the abuse ones. There are 407 claims related to sexual abuse, but there are 262 from other people, parishes, schools, nonprofits and other groups. All of these need to be reviewed.

Once the claims are reviewed, parties to the mediation will need to reach a deal on a plan to pay creditors. If they are able to agree on a plan, a judge would likely need to approve it.

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

Newcastle Anglican diocese committed to changing ‘culture of fear’

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

Newcastle’s Anglican Bishop Greg Thompson says he is preparing for the harsh realities that a royal commission probe into the diocese may bring.

In June this year Bishop Thompson apologised for the church’s handling of abuse, noting there had been a culture of intimidation and fear.

Bishop Thompson also confirmed that the church has paid more than $4 million to abuse survivors so far.

A police strike force is currently investigating the diocese and Bishop Thompson said the royal commission is due to hold hearings in 2016.

“There’s no accommodation any more for criminal behaviour,” he said.

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

Tom Doyle in Robert Blair Kaiser’s Whistle: “Survivors Have Changed the Course of Catholic History. They Have Accelerated the Paradigm Shift of the Church”

UNITED STATES
Bilgramage

William D. Lindsey

I don’t want to wear you out with excerpts from Robert Blair Kaiser’s book about Tom Doyle, Whistle. I do encourage you to consider buying it, because the proceeds from sale of the book go to groups like SNAP who are doing the important work of assisting survivors of religious sexual abuse. I encourage you to buy the book and read it for that reason, and also because it provides a good overview of the way the abuse crisis has unfolded in the Catholic church — though, as I tell Jerry in a remark here today, I do have my own strong reservations about how Kaiser treats the issue of homosexuality. I hinted at some of those last summer when I wrote a review of Kaiser’s book about Pope Francis and the Jesuits.

I may say more about this down the road. My tendency is never to undercut solidarity with people and groups that deserve my solidarity. And so I am concerned not to criticize too harshly a book whose proceeds go to abuse survivors, since I am determined to stand in solidarity with survivors.

On the other hand, I have long seen it as my responsibility as a theologian to seek and try to speak the truth in season and out of season, and there’s a very important conversation that needs to be continued within the Catholic community about the easy, glib way in which gay priests were immediately scapegoated by Catholic leaders when the abuse crisis broke wide open in 2002 — a diversionary scapegoating technique designed to deflect attention from their own horrific handling of the situation. And further discussion needs to take place about the way in which that diversionary meme has been popularized in the media, including the “liberal” Catholic media, and even in some segments of the community of survivors.

Meanwhile, here’s another passage that catches my eye in Tom Doyle’s introductory essay in the book, which is entitled “To the True Heroes — The Survivors”:

This pope’s overtures to victims are grounded on three decades of courageous efforts by survivors. Without these efforts nothing would have changed. Survivors have changed the course of Catholic history. They have accelerated the paradigm shift of the Church of the past to the Church of today. If this Church is to be known not as a gilded monarchy of increasing irrelevance but as the People of God, the change in direction hinted at by the pope’s words and actions are crucial, and if he does lead the way to a new image of the Body of Christ, it will be due in great part because the survivors have led the way for him.

~ Tom Doyle, in Robert Blair Kaiser, Whistle: Tom Doyle’s Steadfast Witness for Victims of Clerical Sexual Abuse (Thiensville, WI: Caritas, 2015) (p. iv).

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

Equitable? Huh?

UNITED STATES
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

by David Clohessy

Bankruptcy “is the best way to fairly and equitably compensate victims. . .ensuring that all are treated equitably.”

Milwaukee Catholic Archbishop Jerome Listecki, June 2011

[City Pages]

“575 individuals came forward. 240 of them will get nothing. And 92 others will get about $2,000 each.”

National Catholic Reporter, August 2015

[National Catholic Reporter]

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

Pope Francis Invites Oprah, Ari Emanuel to the Vatican

UNITED STATES
Hollywood Reporter

by Matthew Belloni , Chris Gardner
8/5/2015

The pontiff has shortlisted Hollywood heavy-hitters for a special meeting at the Vatican this fall. The topic? Improving the church’s portrayal in Western entertainment.

A version of this story first appeared in the Aug. 14 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

Ari Emanuel might soon get a chance to hug it out with the pope.

Sources say the William Morris Endeavor superagent and his co-CEO Patrick Whitesell are on a shortlist of media players whom reps for Pope Francis have approached for a special meeting at the Vatican this fall.

The pontiff apparently is interested in discussing how the church is perceived by Western media influencers and ways to improve its portrayal in entertainment. The Vatican, which is said to be working with the nonprofit Varkey Foundation, came up with a list of Hollywood players to invite to a summit of sorts. Film and television producer Brian Grazer, OWN mogul Oprah Winfrey, actor Matt Damon and semiretired supermogul David Geffen also scored invites, according to sources.

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

MAJOR HIGHWAYS, BEN FRANKLIN BRIDGE TO CLOSE FOR POPE VISIT

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
6 ABC

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — Major highways and the Ben Franklin bridge will close and traffic will be restricted in the city during Pope Francis’ visit to Philadelphia.

The details:

MAJOR HIGHWAYS

The following highway closures will start at 10 p.m. on Friday, September 25th:

*I-76 eastbound from I-476 to I-95

*I-76 westbound from I-95 to US Route 1

*I-676 will be closed in both directions from I-76 to I-95

*US Route 1 will be closed in both directions from US Route 30 to Belmont Avenue

*I-95 WILL REMAIN OPEN with selected ramps closed

BEN FRANKLIN BRIDGE

*The Ben Franklin bridge will also close to vehicular traffic on Friday, September 25th at 10 p.m. until 12 p.m. on Monday, September 28th. The only vehicles allowed will be emergency vehicles.

*The bridge will be used as a pedestrian crossing.

TRAFFIC BOX

Meanwhile, Mayor Nutter announced what’s being called a ‘traffic box’ for parts of Center City and West Philadelphia.

The traffic box for Center City will begin at 6 p.m. on Friday, September 25th, while the traffic box for West Philadelphia will begin at 10 p.m.

Vehicles will be allowed out of the traffic box, but will not be able to re-enter. However, drivers will be able to travel inside the traffic box.

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

IL–Chicago archbishop delays announcing allegation

CHICAGO (IL)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Wednesday, Aug. 5

Statement by Barbara Blaine of Chicago, president of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (312-399-4747, bblaine@SNAPnetwork.org)

Chicago’s archbishop kept quiet for more than a week about child pornography allegations against a priest.

Police are investigating possible child sex images on the computer of Fr. Octavio Munoz Capetillo, pastor of St. Pancratius in the Brighton Park neighborhood. Archbishop Blasé Cupich apparently suspended Fr. Capetillo on 8/27 but made no public announcement until 8/3.

It’s inexcusable for Catholic officials to delay disclosing alleged crimes by priests involving kids. And suspected child sex crimes should immediately be turned over to law enforcement, not “vetted” first by church officials.

[Chicago Tribune]

[Chicago Sun-Times]

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

Someday, someone you know will be accused

UNITED STATES
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

Who would have thought that the highest ranking politician in the UK, the third highest ranking politician in the US and “America’s dad” would all be accused of sexual violence?

I’m referring of course to ex-Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath, ex-House Speaker Dennis Hastert and Bill Cosby.

It’s possible that at some point in your life, someone you know will be accused of raping an adult or abusing a child. It’s likely that every bone in your body will cry out “No! He could NEVER do such a thing.”

Then pause before you utter that thought, and ponder the millions who have been shocked over – and wrong about – allegations of sexual crimes against the popular and powerful.

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

Archdiocese claims process enters next step

MINNESOTA
Minnesota Public Radio

[with audio]

A key deadline has come and gone for bankruptcy court claims against the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

Clergy sex abuse victims and other interested parties had until Monday to file claims. More than 300 people have filed claims in the bankruptcy. Parishes, schools and other entities have also filed claims.

Now, the process of evaluating those claims begins.

MPR’s Cathy Wurzer spoke with Chris Soper. The University of Minnesota Law School professor has been involved in several Catholic Church bankruptcies.

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

Christians Have Been Hypocrites; So Now What?

UNITED STATES
Christian Post

BY MICHAEL BROWN , CP OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR
August 5, 2015

Without a doubt, we have hurt our witness to the world with our hypocrisy, thereby undercutting our moral and spiritual authority. Why should people listen to us if we preach one thing and do another? How can we expose sin in the society when we’re practicing sin in the church? On what basis can we speak out against gay “marriage” when we’ve allowed our own marriages to go to pot?

The pedophile priest scandal in the Catholic Church not only inflicted terrible suffering on the boys who were abused. It also terribly damaged the reputation of the Vatican, greatly weakening its influence in many parts of the world.

The flood of scandals in the evangelical church, both sexual and financial, have made us a laughingstock, to the point that many Americans simply assume that the more famous the TV preacher or pastor the more certain it is that he (or she) is getting rich off the Gospel, not to mention probably hiding some secret sexual sin. (Of course, the vast majority of evangelical pastors and leaders are not rich, not famous, and not guilty of secret sexual sin, but there are enough bad apples to make all the apples suspect.)

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

Milwaukee archdiocese reaches $21 million settlement with sexual abuse victims

MILWAUKEE (WI)
UPI

By Amy R. Connolly | Aug. 5, 2015

MILWAUKEE, Aug. 5 (UPI) — The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee announced Tuesday it has agreed to pay $21 million to hundreds of victims of childhood sexual abuse by clergy, clearing the way for the archdiocese to emerge from its five-year bankruptcy.

Under the agreement, 330 of the 570 who filed sexual abuse claims in the bankruptcy will get financial settlements of varying amounts determined by a court-ordered administrator. The settlement also calls for a $500,000 therapy fund for abuse victims. The sum far exceeds the $4 million the archdiocese offered victims in February 2014. The settlement must be approved by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Susan V. Kelley.

“Today, we turn the page on a terrible part of our history and we embark on a new road lined with hope, forgiveness and love,” Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki said.

The dollar amount per victims is among the lowest in the many Roman Catholic Church bankruptcies nationwide filed to address sex abuse claims. In 2007, the San Diego diocese reached a nearly $200 million settlement with 144 people and in 2011 the Wilmington, Del. diocese settled for $77 million with 146 victims.

Critics are blasting the Milwaukee settlement as unjust and inadequate. Peter Isely, Midwest director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said the average individual Milwaukee amount will be about $44,000, far less than the nationwide average of about $300,000.

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

Sir Edward Heath abuse allegations…

UNITED KINGDOM
Independent

Sir Edward Heath abuse allegations: Brothel owner denies threatening to expose former Prime Minister

KASHMIRA GANDER Wednesday 05 August 2015

A brothel owner who allegedly threatened to expose former Conservative Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath as a child sex abuser has denied the claims, and said she was unaware of any wrongdoing by the late politician.

Myra Ling-Ling Forde has been widely named as the brothel owner who reportedly escaped prosecution in the early 1990s, after she threatened to expose Sir Edward as a child abuser.

She was later received two convictions for offence relation to running a home in Salisbury, Wiltshire.

However, in a statement released via her former solicitor she said she had no prior knowledge of allegations of misconduct by Sir Edward, and denied threatening to use his name to avoid prosecution.

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

Ted Heath allegations …

UNITED KINGDOM
Belfast Telegraph

Ted Heath allegations: Jersey victims’ lawyer says linking former PM to child sex abuse like ‘pinning down a jellyfish’

A lawyer representing Jersey abuse victims has said it was widely believed that Edward Heath was “implicated” in child sex abuse on the island – but that making a solid case against him was “like pinning down a jellyfish”.

Police in Jersey have confirmed that Sir Edward “does feature” in an ongoing inquiry into decades of abuse on the Crown dependency, making them one of five forces investigating allegations against the former Tory Prime Minister.

On Tuesday, a spokesperson for the inquiry said no evidence was provided in public or private during its hearings to suggest that children from the Haut de la Garenne orphanage were allowed to visit Sir Edward on his boat, the Morning Cloud.

Alan Collins, a sexual abuse litigation expert who represented Haut de la Garenne victims, told The Independent: “There were always hints, suggestions, but I never met anybody who actually said to me ‘I was abused by Ted Heath’ or ‘I know someone who was’.

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

Milwaukee archdiocese’s settlement plan stuns sex abuse victims

MILWAUKEE (WI)
National Catholic Reporter

Marie Rohde | Aug. 5, 2015

MILWAUKEE
The Milwaukee archdiocese has put forth what it hopes is the final settlement plan that will end the church’s nearly 5-year-old bankruptcy case, but victims of childhood sex abuse who filed claims against the archdiocese said they are stunned by the latest proposal. They allege that the $21 million allocated to victims is much smaller than that awarded in other bankruptcies and that it pits victim against victim.

Only sketchy details of the plan have been released in early August. The full plan is to be filed with the bankruptcy court by Aug. 24. The claimants will vote on the plan by Nov. 6 and a court hearing for its approval is set for Nov. 9.

The plan emerged during a three-day mediation “a few weeks ago in July,” according to a statement by Archbishop Jerome Listecki. It was the fourth attempt to reach a mediated agreement and the only one done secretly.

According to a statement by the archdiocese, the plan sets aside $21 million to compensate 330 victims. However, as much as $7 million of that will go to lawyers who have been working on behalf of the victims without pay for more than a decade, according to a lawyer for some claimants.

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

A question for Cupich: When does “Zero Tolerance” begin?

UNITED STATES
The Worthy Adversary

Posted by Joelle Casteix on August 5, 2015

n light of the upcoming Papal visit to the U.S., I have a question:

When does Zero Tolerance begin?

Here are some hypotheticals to help illustrate my question:

* If you found out that a new priest in your parish had admitted to his superiors (but not the parish) that he had sexually abused a child, would you be upset?

* What if you found out that the abuse occurred before the priest had been ordained?

* What if the archbishop told your parish and other parishes that the abuse was a “consensual dating relationship?”

* What if you found out that the priest had been a teenager when he sexually abused a seven-year-old boy?

* What if you knew that another archdiocese had kicked the priest out, citing Zero Tolerance?

* What if you found out that despite the admission, your local archbishop gave this priest faculties in your archdiocese (that is, permission to act as a priest) and the archbishop said that the priest was not a risk to children?

* Would you be upset? Would you want this priest around your children?

So when does Zero Tolerance begin? Does it begin at ordination? Does it begin at puberty? Does is begin at birth?

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

The SNAP Conference: A Personal Response (on Being Made Human Garbage by Church Leaders)

UNITED STATES
Bilgrimage

[Tom Doyle in Robert Blair Kaiser’s Whistle: “I Was Dead Wrong . . . in Believing the Bishops Would Do the Right Thing”]

William D. Lindsey

More on the SNAP conference this past weekend: for me personally, the conference made a big impact in a way that’s not really easy to explain. I suppose the best way to aim at explanation is to say that listening to people who have had no option except to give up on the churches – meeting many such folks in such a concentrated group – has set my heart at ease about the similar movement of my own religious and spiritual life.

What makes this a difficult matter for me to explain is that, along with many of the people I met at the SNAP conference and to whom I listened carefully, I didn’t really choose this option. Like them, when I experienced my own tiny Waterloo of abuse and betrayal at the hands of the Catholic religious leaders who cruelly destroyed my career as a theologian in the early 1990s, I very naively believed that I was dealing with a few bad apples.

I confidently turned to the abbot of the very Benedictine monastery that was destroying my theological vocation, and asked for a hearing. I sought his pastoral advice. Only to find that he slammed the door in my face and informed me in no uncertain terms that he would not talk to me . . . .

I turned to the bishop of the diocese of Charlotte, North Carolina, and had the very same thing happen to me. I made a retreat at the Trappist monastery in South Carolina and asked the abbot of that monastery, who had been highly recommended to me as a pastorally sensitive person, for spiritual counsel.

He agreed to provide it. I then came home from the retreat, wrote him a thank-you letter expanding on what I had told him face to face about my anguish at what was happening to me, to a vocation-career for which I had worked long and hard and sacrificed much. I never heard a single word from this abbot again.

I did not choose to have doors slammed in my face. I did not choose to have my career as a Catholic theologian callously destroyed by monks and bishops who natter on about social justice and human rights, while leading lives of complete comfort and security as they blithely take bread from the mouths of lay employees of their Catholic institutions, removing healthcare coverage from them, refusing to disclose any reason for doing this, and thereby making it impossible for those hapless human beings to find subsequent employment in Catholic institutions.

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

Bishop: settlement with sex abuse victim is “new birth” for Milwaukee Archdiocese

WISCONSIN
WSAU

MILWAUKEE (WSAU-Wheeler News) Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki calls the proposed settlement of its bankruptcy case a “rebirth.”

Victims of the priest sex abuse that triggered the bankruptcy say it’s nowhere near enough. The two sides have announced $21-million in payments for over 300 of the 575 victims who filed claims in the four-and-a-half year old case. A court appointee will determine how much each person gets, and Judge Susan Kelley will act on the settlement November 9th. It follows three days of negotiations last month. The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests says the average payment per victim is $44,000 — compared to $300,000 before legal fees in eleven other Catholic dioceses which filed for bankruptcy. Creditors’ attorney Jeff Anderson says many victims were treated unfairly by “hardball legal tactics.”

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Editorial: Gallup Diocese at a crossroads

NEW MEXICO
Gallup Independent

Gallup Independent editorial published July 31, 2015

As they face another round of court ordered mediation, Bishop James S. Wall and his bankruptcy attorneys are at a crossroads. They need to decide if they are really serious about resolving the Diocese of Gallup’s bankruptcy case. If they keep doing what they’ve been doing, they are going to keep getting the same dismal results.

The bankruptcy case will continue to drag on and on — into the case’s third year. And, of course, the diocese’s legal expenses will continue to climb. As of March 31, the fees and expenses for its small army of bankruptcy attorneys, accountants and other professionals had exceeded $2.25 million, and a new round of quarterly professional fees should be submitted to the court soon.

If Bishop Wall and his attorneys are really serious about resolving this bankruptcy, they need to start doing things differently. They need to start thinking differently.

For one, they need to put the interests of the clergy sex abuse survivors at the top of their priority list. Remember the clergy sex abuse survivors? They are the people whose lives have been shattered by the sexual abuse they endured as children attending Catholic parishes and schools in the Gallup Diocese. They are the people whose interests should be at the very heart of this case.

Secondly, the diocese and its insurance providers need to stop bickering and begin working together to provide a legitimate settlement for abuse survivors. The bickering was at its height in April as attorneys for the diocese and the insurance companies sniped at each other in court motions and hearings. One of the insurance companies is Catholic Mutual, a self-insurance fund of the Catholic Church in North America. Bishop Wall and the Catholic bishops who run Catholic Mutual do not impress anyone with their Christian character as they argue over how few pennies abuse survivors deserve based on insurance policies.

Thirdly, Bishop Wall needs to demonstrate a real willingness to sacrifice some of the diocese’s own assets to fund the plan of reorganization and provide a settlement for abuse survivors. While Wall has agreed to auction off some excess real property, the sale of those properties may not even cover the case’s legal fees and expenses. For example, the six Gallup parcels to be auctioned appear to be mere crumbs off the bishop’s table. Three of the parcels are landlocked and located on steep, rocky hillsides. There’s no sacrifice — or honor — in offering virtually worthless parcels for sale.

There are a number of other properties in the Diocese of Gallup that could be added to the upcoming auction. Some are also excess real property not being utilized for a religious purpose. In addition, Bishop Wall could also make some sacrifices and offer other property that has substantial value. For example, why does the diocese need to hold onto its chancery property when it has empty office space in the Catholic Charities complex and the now defunct Gallup Catholic High School? Why does Bishop Wall need his own private residence and chapel when other bishops are happy to live in church rectories among their own priests? Clergy abuse survivors deserve more than crumbs off the bishop’s table.

If Bishop Wall and his attorneys don’t make serious efforts and serious sacrifices at the next mediation table, the crossroads they are currently facing will quickly turn into a quagmire. The legal fees and expenses will continue to rise, and U.S. Bankruptcy Judge David T. Thuma’s patience is surely going to wear thin.

Then perhaps Bishop Wall and his attorneys will find themselves sitting at another table — the defendant’s table in Arizona’s Coconino County Superior Court. That’s the table Bishop Wall was trying to avoid nearly two years ago when he filed for bankruptcy.

We hope Bishop Wall doesn’t need to sit in that Flagstaff courtroom to finally get serious about offering a fair settlement to the survivors of clergy sex abuse.

In this space only does the opinion of the Gallup Independent Editorial Board appear

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Procurement process to run for Inquiry helpline

UNITED KINGDOM
Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has a dedicated helpline for victims and survivors. The aim of the helpline is to ensure that as many people as possible have the opportunity to engage with the work of the Inquiry.

The Inquiry will run a full, fair and open procurement process where any appropriate organisation can put in a bid to be the long term provider of the Inquiry’s helpline. Given the size and complexity of the contract this procurement process it is likely to take a minimum of 3 months. The NSPCC has been appointed to run the helpline whilst this procurement process takes place.

We are pleased to announce that the long term contract for the Inquiry helpline will be put out to tender during September. We will publish the full details of the process for making a bid and the criteria by which bids will be assessed on this website.

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Notice of Claim

MINNESOTA
Canonical Consultation

08/04/2015

Jennifer Haselberger

Since I have been fielding questions from reporters on this topic, I thought I would take the opportunity to also mention here that I too filed a notice of claim in the matter of the bankruptcy of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis.

I have not commenced a lawsuit against the Archdiocese. I simply notified them, prior to the established bar date, that I had a claim for which I may seek legal remedy.

It will come as no surprise to many of you that the basis of my claim is defamation of character. Nor will it surprise you to learn that the claim is based not on a single incident but multiple incidences that have occurred over the past year.

However, I do want it to be known that in filing the notice and contemplating legal action I am not seeking personal enrichment. If I do pursue a claim for damages my intention is to use any award in furtherance of the goal of ensuring that the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis becomes a safe and welcoming place for all individuals. I have a very specific idea about one step that can be taken towards accomplishing this, and my intention is to use any award as seed money for that project.

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BOOK REVIEW The Holy Mark: The Tragedy of a Fallen Priest

UNITED STATES
Windy City Times

Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Joe Franco
2015-08-04

By Gregory Alexander, $14.99; Mill City Press; 290 pages

I am going to start by giving you, gentle readers, a caveat to this review: I am culturally a Roman Catholic.

Anne Rice is quoted as having loved this book, saying it’s “irresistible, profoundly compelling…” That being said, I do not share Rice’s unmitigated high praise of The Holy Mark. It is not that I did not like the book, but I had a rather severe reaction to some elements in it. I thought, “Perhaps it is my inculcated loyalty to the Church.” But, no, it isn’t that, since I do not take any offense to the subject matter. The Catholic Church has perpetrated an enormous crime that has touched every corner of the Catholic world in ways that resonate with the protagonist, Father Tony.

My biggest issue was the background story—the origins of Fr. Tony. There is so much background story that the actual plot—”dirty priest from powerful, Italian, New Orleans family is disgraced and sent to work at crappy parish in huge cover up”—is relegated to not more than perhaps a hundred or so pages. Honestly, the author could have removed the first 90 pages right off the get-go and the reader would not have been lost at all, since he mentions the priest’s past so much already throughout the book. I would have rather read more on the goings-on after the priest’s childhood, even if that childhood were moderately interesting.

I also think the premise of the book could be construed as dangerous for gay men. Fr. Tony is a pedophile because he has repressed same-sex longings for his ridiculously hot cousin. Sure, that’s messed-up but it also strongly suggests that pedophile priests are latent homosexuals with terrible body dysmorphic disorder.

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Public hearing into Geelong Grammar

AUSTRALIA
Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

The Royal Commission will hold a public hearing in Melbourne commencing on 1 September 2015 at the County Court of Victoria, 250 William Street, Melbourne.

The scope and purpose of the public hearing is to inquire into:

1. The experience of former students of Geelong Grammar School, Victoria.

2. The responses of the School Council, Principals and other members of staff of Geelong Grammar School to:

a. concerns raised about inappropriate conduct, or

b. complaints about child sexual abuse

where the concerns raised or complaints made related to the behaviour of teaching and non-teaching staff of Geelong Grammar School towards students.

3. The past and current practices, policies and procedures in place at Geelong Grammar School in relation to raising and responding to concerns and complaints about child sexual abuse.

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Jehovah’s Witness hierarchy means child sex abuse goes unreported

AUSTRALIA
The Conversation

Jayne Persian
Postdoctoral Research Associate in History at University of Sydney

In 1941, during the second world war, the Menzies government banned Jehovah’s Witnesses. This gave them the distinction of being the only Christian religious body to be banned in Australia during the 20th century.

Over the past week, Jehovah’s Witnesses have again appeared in news headlines after the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse cross-examined their leaders and scrutinised their policies.

Who are Jehovah’s Witnesses?

Jehovah’s Witnesses are mostly known in Australia as suburban door-knockers. They grew out of an American Protestant Bible study group established by Charles Taze Russell in the early 1870s. Some of his adherents had arrived in Australia by 1896.

Russell stressed a particular belief that the end of the world was near, and that Christ would destroy all worldly kingdoms and replace them with a paradise earth.

Russell believed that this paradise was open to all who would accept the message. Thus, the sect had a moral and spiritual obligation to spread the word to as many people as possible.

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Abuse victims ‘face cruel choice’: inquiry

AUSTRALIA
Sky News

A victim of sexual abuse within the Jehovah’s Witnesses would face an ‘impossible choice’ between staying in the church and being cut off from friends and family, the child abuse royal commission has heard.

One of the most senior members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses in Australia, Terrence O’Brien, told the commission on Wednesday that a victim would know that by ‘disassociating’ or leaving the church, they would be shunned by other Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Counsel assisting the commission, Angus Stewart SC, said in a scenario where a survivor of abuse could not bear remaining in the same organisation as her abuser, the fate she faced was ‘cruel’.

‘No one, is it not right, should be put to the choice of remaining in an organisation which she feels is protective of her abuser, and losing her family and social network?’ Mr Stewart asked Mr O’Brien.

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Victorian Government begins process to introduce redress scheme for institutional child abuse

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

By Rachael Brown and Loretta Florance

The Victorian Government has begun consulting with the community about the possibility of developing a redress scheme for survivors of child abuse, as recommended by a State Parliament inquiry.

Survivors of abuse in Victoria currently have to go back to the organisation of their abuse.

The parliamentary inquiry’s Betrayal of Trust report, tabled in 2013, recommended the introduction of “an independent, alternative avenue of justice” operated by the state.

Victorian Attorney-General Martin Pakula said the consultation process would last a couple of months and would allow survivors of abuse to have a say on the scheme.

“We’re not going to pre-empt what might ultimately be determined, but this is an important step in giving the community, particularly survivors, an ability to have some input into the way a redress scheme might work,” he said.

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Milwaukee archdiocese settles sex abuse claims for $21 million

MILWAUKEE (WI)
CNN

By Steve Almasy, CNN

(CNN)The Archdiocese of Milwaukee has agreed to pay $21 million to hundreds of victims of sexual abuse by priests, the church announced Tuesday.

“This has been a long process filled with prayer, patience and perseverance, but I am pleased to have reached the goal of providing compensation to those who have been harmed; creating a path toward healing; and allowing the church to continue its mission,” Archbishop Jerome Listecki said in a written statement.

An attorney who represents some of the victims said the settlement favors the church over the victims, but the other option — going to trial — was worse.

“The archbishop and the archdiocese should be ashamed of this settlement,” Jeff Anderson told CNN. “I am sad for the survivors that have been put through this ordeal. … They got bloodied and bruised.”

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Former youth minister pleads guilty to child molestation

ALABAMA
Times Daily

By Tom Smith Senior Staff Writer

FLORENCE — Oliver W. Brazelle told Lauderdale County Judge Gil Self he was pleading guilty to child molestation because he enticed a boy to his lake house for immoral purposes.

Moments later Brazelle officially entered a “guilty” plea to the charge, which is a Class C felony.
Self said Brazelle will be sentenced at 9 a.m. Oct. 7, after a presentencing report has been completed. He faces 1-10 years in prison.

Lauderdale County Chief Assistant District Attorney Will Powell said the victim’s family was kept informed throughout the plea process and was in agreement with Tuesday’s guilty plea of child molestation.

Brazelle, the former music and youth minister of First United Methodist Church of Sheffield, was indicted in August 2014 on sodomy and sexual abuse charges involving a teenage boy.

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Royal commission: Jehovah’s Witnesses to review approach to sex abuse allegations

AUSTRALIA
Sydney Morning Herald

August 5, 2015

Rachel Browne
Social Affairs Reporter

The Jehovah’s Witness Church will review its approach to child sexual abuse claims after evidence before a royal commission revealed serious flaws with its current procedures.

Terrence O’Brien​, one of the most senior members of the Jehovah’s Witness Church in Australia, told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse the organisation would consider changes to its procedures for sex abuse cases.

The commission has previously heard that under church rules, based on Biblical standards, victims are forced to face their abuser before a committee of male elders. Abuse is only considered proven where there is a confession or testimony from two witnesses to the assault.

Evidence before the commission is that the rules discourage abuse victims from speaking freely, fail to adequately support them and allow the alleged perpetrator to continue living in the community.

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The Jehovah’s Witnesses

AUSTRALIA
9 News

AAP

THE JEHOVAH’S WITNESS CHURCH
ITS HISTORY

* The Jehovah’s Witness Church was founded at the end of 19th century in Pennsylvania by a small group of bible students led by Charles Taze Russell.

* Jehovah’s Witnesses live by a first-century interpretation of the bible, taking its teachings literally.

* a council of eight men based in Brooklyn make up the worldwide Governing Body.

* The church now has 8.2 million active members in 239 countries.

IN AUSTRALIA

* The religion has been active in Australia since 1896 with a branch office set up in Sydney in 1904.

* The Australian Branch Office co-ordinates activities of all congregations in Australia and New Zealand.

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Jehovah’s Witness child sex predator joined other congregations, royal commission told

AUSTRALIA
Sydney Morning Herald

August 5, 2015

Rachel Browne
Social Affairs Reporter

A self-confessed child sex abuser moved between different congregations of the Jehovah’s Witness Church without members being warned of his potential risk to children, according to evidence before a royal commission.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse heard that a high-ranking member of the Jehovah’s Witness Church allegedly molested four of his daughters in the 1970s and 1980s.

The man, given the pseudonym BCH, appeared before a committee of church elders where he was confronted with the sex abuse allegations as well as a claim of adultery, the commission heard.

Church elder Kevin Bowditch​ told the commission BCH was cast out of his congregation due to the adultery claim but not the allegations of sexual abuse.
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In evidence he said BCH was “disgusting” but was unsure why the sex abuse allegations against him had been omitted from the committee’s initial findings.

The commission heard it was not practice to warn the wider community about alleged child sex offenders.

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Questions and answers about the archdiocese abuse settlement

MILWAUKEE (WI)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

By Annysa Johnson of the Journal Sentinel

The Archdiocese of Milwaukee’s Chapter 11 case is the longest-running and most contentious of the 14 Catholic Church bankruptcies filed since 2004 to address sexual abuse liabilities going back decades. Here’s a look at how it got there and where it’s headed.

Q:Why was the Archdiocese of Milwaukee in Chapter 11?

A: The archdiocese has employed numerous priests over the decades who sexually assaulted minors. Victims began suing in the early 1990s, alleging the archdiocese knew some priests were a danger and put them in positions where they harmed children.

The lawsuits alleging negligent supervision were effectively halted in the mid-1990s, when the Wisconsin Supreme Court issued a pair of significant rulings. In 1995, it deemed such lawsuits unconstitutional, finding that meddling in the church’s staffing decisions would violate its religious liberty. And in 1997, it ruled that the statute of limitations on negligence for these cases had lapsed.

Victims continued to sue, asserting various claims, including fraud. In 2007, a new state Supreme Court ruling found that the fraud cases could proceed.

Then, courts began ruling that the archdiocese could not tap its insurance policies for settlements or judgments in those cases because fraud, unlike negligence, is an intentional act.

By late 2010, a dozen cases involving 17 victims had been filed. Church officials realized as those moved closer to trial that multimillion-dollar judgments in even a few of those could decimate the archdiocese. Victims’ attorneys also believe they were concerned about the impending depositions of retired Archbishop Rembert Weakland and Auxiliary Bishop Richard Sklba and the possible release of documents in the court’s discovery process.

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Milwaukee archdiocese to pay $21M to victims of clergy abuse in settlement

MILWAUKEE (WI)
Fox News

Published August 05, 2015
Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. – The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee said Tuesday that it will pay $21 million to more than 300 victims of clergy abuse in a settlement that would end a four-year bankruptcy proceeding.

The proposed deal, which will be part of a reorganization plan submitted to a bankruptcy court later this month, was to be reviewed by a judge overseeing the case at a Nov. 9 hearing. Archbishop Jerome Listecki called the settlement a “new Pentecost,” but an attorney for the victims, along with advocates for those abused by clergy, decried the settlement as a paltry amount.

Milwaukee is one of 12 Roman Catholic dioceses nationwide to file for bankruptcy in the past decade over a flood of abuse claims. The settlement announced Tuesday is among the smallest per-victim payments yet in these cases. The actual amount each victim receives will be determined by an appointee of the bankruptcy court.

The settlement was reached after three days of negotiations in July between the archdiocese, the creditors’ committee and attorneys for abuse survivors, the archdiocese said. …

Peter Isely, Midwest director of SNAP, said when attorneys’ fees are subtracted, the average settlement amount per victim will be $44,000. He said the average settlement amount in all other U.S. church bankruptcy cases, minus attorneys’ fees, is $300,000.

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Interim Archbishop Hebda: Flood of abuse claims is ‘staggering’

MINNESOTA
Star Tribune

By Jean Hopfensperger Star Tribune AUGUST 4, 2015

A day after the deadline for filing clergy abuse claims against the St. Paul and Minneapolis archdiocese, interim Archbishop Bernard Hebda described the number of victims who stepped forward as “staggering.”

“It’s helped me to realize how much pain there can be out there on these issues, that there can be 407 people carrying these burdens,” said Hebda, who became interim archbishop of the St. Paul and Minneapolis Archdiocese in June.

“The number encourages me not to underestimate that.”

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court Tuesday showed a final tally of 669 claims against the archdiocese, of which 407 were for clergy abuse and another 150 or so were from parishes seeking indemnification from abuse claims and also to protect their medical and dental insurance.

The others were filed by creditors and individuals, including archdiocese whistleblower Jennifer Haselberger, who filed a notice of claim for alleged defamation, and John Bussmann, a former priest charged with sexual misconduct who seeks compensation for living expenses and other support.

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Key Parts of the Proposed Settlement Between the Archdiocese and Abuse Survivors

MILWAUKEE (WI)
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee

* 330 Abuse Survivors will share $21 million.

• A $500,000 Therapy Fund will be established for abuse survivors to access therapy and
counseling for as long as they need such assistance.

• Parishes of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee will contribute to the Therapy Fund.

• All Archdiocese of Milwaukee parishes, schools and institutions will receive a legal and
binding release protecting them from future lawsuits relating to abuse claims that were
filed or could have been filed in the Chapter 11 proceeding.

• The settlement money will come from various sources, including insurance settlements
of approximately $11 million and voluntary financial arrangements with the Cemetery
Perpetual Care Trust.

• The Cemetery Perpetual Care Trust will lend the archdiocese $3 million; provide $5
million for past cemetery care expenses that had previously not been reimbursed by the
Trust; and contribute $8 million to settle all pending litigation to bring closure to the
Cemetery Perpetual Care Trust issue.

• The Cemetery Perpetual Care Trust was part of the mediation and confirms that it
retains the necessary resources to fulfill its sacred mission of providing perpetual care
for the nine Archdiocese of Milwaukee Catholic cemeteries.

• To date, nearly $12 million has been paid to attorneys and other professionals in the
bankruptcy proceeding. Another $6.5 million in fees have been accrued, but not been
paid. To conclude the proceeding, additional legal fees have been capped at $1.25
million. Any savings on the projected costs to wind up the proceeding will go directly
to the abuse survivors.

• Under the settlement, abuse survivors will receive varying amounts of payments,
overseen and determined by an independent administrator, appointed by the
Bankruptcy Court, who will evaluate the claims and make recommendations to the
Creditors’ Committee for final payment amounts. The proposed claims administrator
also served as the mediator in the successful mediation process.

Key Parts of the Proposed Settlement Between the Archdiocese and Abuse Survivors

• There are four classes of abuse survivors outlined in the Plan:

• Abuse survivors whose claim is against an Archdiocese of Milwaukee priest with a
previous substantiated allegation of sexual abuse of a minor. 223 claims fall into this
category.

• Abuse survivors whose claim is against a religious order priest, brother or sister,
or a lay employee, who experienced the abuse at an archdiocesan parish, school or
institution where the abuser was working. 107 claims fall into this category.

• Claimants whose claims are not substantiated or could not be substantiated, or where
abuse occurred by someone at a non-archdiocesan organization will be classified into
an “Unsubstantiated Claims Designated at the Creditors’ Committee’s Election” class.
The Creditors’ Committee chose to set aside a portion of the settlement funds to
permit claimants in this class to receive $2,000 each to settle their claims in exchange
for a release of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and all Archdiocese of Milwaukee
parishes, schools and institutions. 92 claims fall into this category.

• Claimants whose claims were either disallowed or dismissed or claims that are not for
sexual abuse or do not identify the abuser, along with claims filed by individuals who
had previously received a financial settlement from the archdiocese will receive no
payment. 157 claims fall in to this category.

• 579 claims were filed in the proceeding. Nine claims were either withdrawn or were filed
multiple times.

• The archdiocesan offices will remain at the Cousins Center.

• A new lease for the Milwaukee Bucks to use the Cousins Center as its training facility has
been put in place.

• No other legal action against the Faith In Our Future Trust, De Sales Preparatory Seminary
or other Catholic institutions will occur.

• The Archdiocese of Milwaukee Finance Council and College of Consultors endorsed the
settlement.

• The Cemetery Trust will voluntarily withdraw its pending U.S. Supreme Court petition for
Certiorari at an appropriate time.

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Archdiocese of Milwaukee announces $21 million settlement in clergy sex abuse case

MILWAUKEE (WI)
CBS 58

[with video]

By Marshanna Hester

Milwaukee –
Archdiocese of Milwaukee announced a $21 million settlement to compensate clergy sexual abuse survivors.

The settlement comes after four and a half years of legal battles.

The proposed settlement agreement will be outlined in an Amended Plan of Reorganization to be filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court on August 24, and Judge Susan V. Kelley is expected to review the Plan at a hearing on November 9.

Archbishop Listecki said if the plan is approved, it officially ends the bankruptcy case and allows the archdiocese to return its full attention to the spiritual, charitable and educational mission of the Church.

“We applaud the courage of the survivors who came forward, and the creditors’ committee, who fought every step of the way,” said attorney Jeff Anderson. “The treatment of the survivors by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee has been harsh and hurtful. This process has been heartbreaking for many who have been treated so unfairly by hardball legal tactics. The survivors continued to stand up for what was right, what they believed in, and to make sure the truth was brought to light. Because of them, children are better protected.”

“This settlement represents for us in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee a new Pentecost, a day of rebirth that renews our focus on Word, Worship and Service,” Listecki said. “We do so remembering those who have been harmed; keeping them in our prayers; supporting them through therapy and healing; promising never to forget the evil that has been done; and working diligently to ensure this never happens again.”

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Archdiocese of Milwaukee Settles Bankruptcy

MILWAUKEE (WI)
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee

NOTE: Key Parts of the Proposed Settlement Between the Archdiocese and Abuse Survivors (FAQ)

Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki announced today that the Archdiocese of Milwaukee has reached a collective settlement with abuse survivors of clergy sexual abuse for $21 million, setting the stage to close the Chapter 11 proceeding filed on January 4, 2011. The proposed settlement agreement will be outlined in an Amended Plan of Reorganization to be filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court on August 24, and Judge Susan V. Kelley is expected to review the Plan at a hearing on November 9.

Archbishop Listecki said if the plan is approved, it officially ends the bankruptcy case and allows the archdiocese to return its full attention to the spiritual, charitable and educational mission of the Church.

“Today, we turn the page on a terrible part of our history and we embark on a new road lined with hope, forgiveness and love,” Archbishop Listecki said.

“This settlement represents for us in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee a new Pentecost, a day of rebirth that renews our focus on Word, Worship and Service,” Listecki said. “We do so remembering those who have been harmed; keeping them in our prayers; supporting them through therapy and healing; promising never to forget the evil that has been done; and working diligently to ensure this never happens again.”

“This chapter will live on in our memories forever, but now we can turn the page from that chapter and focus on the future,” Archbishop Listecki said. “We turn that page by rededicating ourselves to the spiritual, educational and charitable mission of the Church – igniting our enthusiasm in our parishes and schools; renewing our commitment to Jesus Christ and His Church; and energizing ourselves and others in our prayer and ministry.

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Abuse victims angry as site of George Pell royal commission hearing is moved

AUSTRALIA
The Guardian

Melissa Davey
@MelissaLDavey

Wednesday 5 August 2015

Victims of child sexual abuse are outraged that Cardinal George Pell will appear before the royal commission into institutional response into child sex abuse in Melbourne, rather than in the regional town of Ballarat.

Pell had been due to give evidence to the commission at the second stage of the Ballarat hearings in November. However, last week the commission said the hearings would be held in Melbourne’s county court, citing logistical issues and a high level of public interest.

Stephen Woods – who was abused by the notorious pedophile priest Gerald Francis Ridsdale and the convicted pedophile brother Robert Charles Best while a student at St Alipius primary school – said he and many Ballarat victims were deeply upset by the decision and claimed there was a different interpretation of the reason for the change of venue.

“We feel Pell should apologise to the people of Ballarat and western Victoria for the previous cover-ups and ongoing cover-ups of the church,” Woods told Guardian Australia.

“Clearly he fears coming to Ballarat. But this community needs healing. He should front up to them, in their community where the assaults and the cover-ups happened.”

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August 4, 2015

Probe into suspected illegal migration

INDIA
The Hindu

Nine pilgrims to Jordan fail to return

: The police have launched an investigation into a case of suspected illegal migration in which nine persons who had gone to Jordan from the city for pilgrimage have failed to return. However, the priest, who had accompanied the group, has returned to the country, but remained untraceable for the authorities.

According to Jawahar Janardh, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Shangumugham, the case has been registered at the Valiathura police station against the 10 persons, including the priest, on the basis of an alert received from the Foreigners’ Regional Registration Office (FRRO).

The group of pilgrims had left for Jordan from Thiruvananthapuram on May 27 after obtaining visiting visa through a tour operator. While they were expected to return after their journey on June 6, only the priest Stansilus Theemus landed at the Delhi International Airport on May 31.

The police said that the address of the priest has been mentioned to be the same as that of the Thiruvananthapuram Latin Archbishop’s House at Vellayambalam. Fr. Theemus is believed to have been the priest of a church in Kazhakoottam.

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

Catholic Priest Booked for Human Trafficking

INDIA
The New Indian Express

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Valiyathura police on Tuesday registered a case against two persons including a Catholic priest in the city on charges of human trafficking. The priest, identified as Chancilus Femas, and a tour operator Kiran Mohanan have been accused of taking nine people to Jordan after promising them jobs on pilgrimage visa. The police registered a case after receiving a complaint lodged from the immigration officials. The two have absconded after the police began a search for them.

According to police officials, the incident came to the light after the persons who had gone with them didn’t return to the country even after the lapse of time period for which the visa had been issued. “We were informed by the officials of Foreigners Regional Registration Office and they handed over a report.

In the report it has been pointed out that the nine member team including the priest have not returned from Jordan after completion of the said period, which was the end of June. When the priest returned to India alone in the end of June, the immigration officials became suspicious and formally lodged a complaint.

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Claims against Twin Cities archdiocese pour in from sex abuse victims, former priests, employees

MINNESOTA
Pioneer Press

By Elizabeth Mohr
emohr@pioneerpress.com

A closer look at claims filed against the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis as part of its bankruptcy proceedings shows requests from former employees, outcast priests, business associates and the whistleblower whose disclosures sped the church’s unraveling.

Monday marked the last day to file claims against the archdiocese, including clergy sex abuse claims, and they flooded in as the day came to a close.

Among the claims filed:

— The IRS filed a claim for $115,024 for taxes going back to 2011.

— Retired priest Stanley Kozlak wants to keep his $1,216 monthly pay, medical insurance and $1,550 in “subsistence pay” that was part of a 2002 payoff after he fathered a child.

— The Rev. Mark Huberty, who was charged but acquitted of sexual misconduct for having an affair with a woman, is asking the archdiocese to cover $46,000 in legal fees for his criminal case. Criminal and civil cases have been filed against other priests and bishops, Huberty said in his claim affidavit, “and it is widely known that their legal expenses have been paid for by the archdiocese.”

— The Rev. John Bussmann, who was convicted of criminal sexual conduct involving an adult woman and later convicted of theft, claims he is owed more than $680,000 in back pay and material support for the more than 20 years he’s been unassigned.

He said the archdiocese this year offered to pay him $10,000 to leave the priesthood, but he rejected it because he “considers his vocation a valid calling from Almighty God, and he cannot in conscience ‘sell’ his priesthood for any amount of money,” his claim said.

He did not specify who made the $10,000 offer. Former Archbishop John Nienstedt resigned in June. The Vatican named Archbishop Bernard Hebda of Newark, N.J., apostolic administrator for the St. Paul archdiocese — a caretaker role until Pope Francis names a new archbishop.

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Milwaukee archdiocese reaches $21 million settlement with abuse victims

MILWAUKEE (WI)
Reuters

BY BRENDAN O’BRIEN

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee has reached a $21 million settlement with 330 victims of sexual abuse by clergy, church officials said on Tuesday.

The settlement will be filed as part of the church’s plan to restructure in U.S. Bankruptcy Court on Aug. 24, more than four years after the archdiocese filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, Archbishop Jerome Listecki said in a statement.

“Today, we turn the page on a terrible part of our history and we embark on a new road lined with hope, forgiveness and love,” Listecki said.

The U.S. Catholic Church has been hit with a series of sexual abuse accusations aimed mainly at clergy who targeted youths over the past two decades. The scandals have cost the U.S. church about $3 billion in settlements and driven prominent dioceses like Milwaukee’s into bankruptcy.

The archdiocese filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2011, citing the financial drain of settling sexual-abuse claims and acknowledging missteps by the church in dealing with pedophile priests.

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Youth Pastor Accused of Manipulating Manchester Teen

CONNECTICUT/MASSACHUSETTS
Patch

By ERIN QUINLAN (Patch Staff)

A 32-year-old East Longmeadow man is accused of manipulating a Manchester teen, reports the Hartford Courant.

Jimmy Chang, a youth pastor, was charged with 12 counts of second-degree sexual assault and was held on $350,000 bond. He is due to appear in Manchester Superior Court on Sept. 11.

Chang persuaded the 17-year-old girl to sneak out of her Manchester house and convinced her that she did not have to save her virginity. State law prohibits sexual relations between a person over age 20 who “stands in a position of power, authority or supervision” over a person under age 18.

The girl was a member of a Christian youth group based in Agawam, Mass., and Chang was a leader of the group. He was also a tutor with a Longmeadow-based company.

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East Longmeadow man charged with 13 counts of sexual assault

CONNECTICUT/MASSACHUSETTS
WWLP

[with video]

By Anthony Fay
Published: August 4, 2015

MANCHESTER, Conn. (WWLP) – A man from East Longmeadow has been arrested by Connecticut police on numerous counts of sexual assault.

Manchester Police Capt. Christopher Davis told 22News that Jimmy Chang, 32, turned himself in to police on Tuesday morning. Davis said that Chang is being charged with 13 counts of sexual assault.

Davis told 22News that he has few details on the alleged assaults at this time, but they are claimed to have taken place in Manchester between March and September of 2012.

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Youth Pastor Charged With Sexually Exploiting Manchester Teen

CONNECTICUT/MASSACHUSETTS
Hartford Courant

By Jesse Leavenworth

MANCHESTER — A Massachusetts youth pastor was arrested Tuesday, accused of manipulating a teenage girl in his charge into a long-term sexual relationship, police said.

Jimmy Chang, 32, of East Longmeadow, was charged with 12 counts of second-degree sexual assault. Chang was being held on bail of $350,000 and is to appear in Manchester Superior Court on Sept. 11.

Police say Chang persuaded the girl to sneak out of her Manchester house and convinced her that she did not have to save her virginity. The victim was 17 at the time of the offenses, from March 14 to Sept. 11, 2012, police said. State law prohibits sexual relations between a person over age 20 who “stands in a position of power, authority or supervision” over a person under age 18.

The girl was living in Manchester and was a member of a Christian youth group based in Agawam, Mass. at the time of the assaults, according to an arrest warrant. Chang was a leader of the group and also a tutor with a company based in Longmeadow, police said.

The girl reported the assaults to Manchester police on March 26. Her sister told police that she found detailed descriptions of the sexual relationship in the victim’s online diary, police said.

Chang and the girl had sex in the back seat of his vehicle on several occasions, police said. Although she expressed love for Chang in her online diary, the girl also wrote that she felt “used and pathetic,” police said.

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CA–Victims praise ruling on Catholic abuse records

CALIFORNIA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Tuesday, Aug. 4

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 newspaper has won in its battle to force secretive Catholic officials to release records in a clergy sex abuse and cover up case. We are grateful for this ruling. And we’re disgusted that Monterey Catholic officials continue to protect predators.

[Metropolitan News-Enterprise]

We applaud the judge and the Monterey County Weekly, which filed a motion to rescind a secrecy clause sought and won by church officials in a case against Fr. Edward Fitz-Henry. We hope the newspaper’s victory will encourage other news outlets to take similar steps to expose Catholic church deceit, recklessness, callousness and secrecy.

The newspaper says “In exchange for his resignation, Fitz-Henry received a financial settlement from the Diocese, the terms of which have never been disclosed.”

We also hope this victory will embolden others who have been hurt by child molesting Catholic clerics in the Monterey diocese to step forward, expose predators, protect kids and deter cover ups by taking legal action against clerics who commit and conceal heinous crimes against children.

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Milwaukee archdiocese settles with abuse victims for $21 million

MILWAUKEE (WI)
Wisconsin Radio Network

August 4, 2015 By Bob Hague

The Archdiocese of Milwaukee has reached a collective settlement with survivors of clergy sexual abuse. The $21 million settlement with more than 300 victims sets the stage to close a Chapter 11 proceeding which was filed in 2011. The proposed settlement agreement will be filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court this month, and reviewed at a hearing on November 9.

Archbishop Jerome Listecki said if the plan is approved, it officially ends the bankruptcy case and allows the archdiocese to return its full attention to the spiritual, charitable and educational mission of the Church. “Today, we turn the page on a terrible part of our history and we embark on a new road lined with hope, forgiveness and love,” Listecki said. “This settlement represents for us in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee a new Pentecost.”

Peter Isely, Midwest Director of the SNAP survivors organization, criticized the settlement, calling it “perverse and cynical parody of the famous biblical story of King Solomon.”

The agreement was endorsed by both the Archdiocese of Milwaukee Finance Council and the College of Consultors, according to Archbishop Listecki. The settlement came after three days of mediation and negotiations between the archdiocese, the Creditors’ Committee, and attorneys for abuse survivors July 15-17, in Milwaukee.

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Milwaukee Archdiocese Settles With Victims of Alleged Clergy Sex Abuse

MILWAUKEE (WI)
Wall Street Journal

By TOM CORRIGAN
Aug. 4, 2015

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee said Tuesday it would pay $21 million to several hundred alleged victims of sex abuse by members of the clergy under a settlement that aims to end the longest-running church bankruptcy in U.S. history.

The settlement, which is subject to final approval by Judge Susan Kelley of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Milwaukee, resolves a dispute over whether a $55 million cemetery maintenance trust can be tapped to compensate the alleged victims, the most significant sticking point in the 4½-year-old chapter 11 case.

“Today, we turn the page on a terrible part of our history and we embark on a new road lined with hope, forgiveness and love,” Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki said Tuesday.

The terms of the settlement divide about 570 alleged victims into several groups, some of whom will receive nothing.

About 330 alleged victims will share the bulk of the $21 million settlement, according to James Stang, a Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones bankruptcy lawyer who is representing the committee of alleged victims in the archdiocese bankruptcy.

The settlement also provides $250,000 for alleged victims who come forward in the future, as well as an additional $500,000 to provide therapy for alleged victims.

The archdiocese sought chapter 11 protection in 2011 in the face of mounting claims of alleged abuse. The archdiocese, in February 2014, offered $4 million to pay about 125 of the alleged victims who have sought compensation, as well as another $500,000 to provide lifetime therapy. The alleged victims rejected the offer as being too low.

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Whistleblower files defamation claim against archdiocese

MINNESOTA
Minnesota Public Radio

Madeleine Baran Aug 4, 2015

Whistleblower Jennifer Haselberger has filed a claim against the Twin Cities archdiocese for at least $50,000 for alleged defamation.

The claim filed Monday in the archdiocese’s bankruptcy case said the defamation occurred after June 6, 2014. It did not elaborate.

Haselberger resigned as the archdiocese’s chancellor for canonical affairs in April 2013 and contacted MPR News in July 2013 to reveal a cover-up of clergy sex abuse. She had served as a top adviser to then-Archbishop John Nienstedt since 2008.

More than 300 people who say they were sexually abused by priests have also filed claims in the bankruptcy. Parishes, schools and other entities also filed claims.

Haselberger’s claim was one of several filed on the final day for creditors to come forward.

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Milwaukee archdiocese settles abuse cases for $21 million

MILWAUKEE (WI)
Chicago Tribune

By Tribune wire reports

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee said Tuesday that it will pay $21 million to more than 300 victims of clergy abuse in a settlement that would end a four-year bankruptcy proceeding.

The proposed deal, which will be part of a reorganization plan submitted to a bankruptcy court later this month, was to be reviewed by a judge overseeing the case at a Nov. 9 hearing. Archbishop Jerome Listecki called the settlement a “new Pentecost.”

“Today, we turn the page on a terrible part of our history and we embark on a new road lined with hope, forgiveness and love,” Listecki said in a statement.

The settlement was reached after three days of negotiations in July in Milwaukee between the archdiocese, the creditors’ committee and attorneys for abuse survivors, the archdiocese said.

Attorney Jeff Anderson, who represents 350 of the approximately 570 people with bankruptcy claims, criticized the archdiocese for trying to have hundreds of claims thrown out of court before a November bankruptcy hearing. As a result, the creditors’ committee was forced to prevent the case from being drawn out any longer, Anderson said.

“The treatment of the survivors by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee has been harsh and hurtful,” Anderson said in a statement. “This process has been heartbreaking for many who have been treated so unfairly by hardball legal tactics. The survivors continued to stand up for what was right, what they believed in, and to make sure the truth was brought to light. Because of them, children are better protected.”

The deal was also criticized by David Clohessy, director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. He accused church officials of “cramming a self-serving plan down the throats of struggling abuse victims.”

Under terms of the deal, 330 abuse survivors will share $21 million and a $500,000 therapy fund will be established for them to receive counseling for as long as they need it. All of the archdiocese’s parishes, schools and institutions would be protected from future lawsuits related to abuse claims.

Some people will get no money under the deal. No payment will be given to 157 claims that had previously been disallowed or dismissed, were not for sexual abuse, did not name the abuser or where a financial settlement had already been paid, the archdiocese said.

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Archdiocese of Milwaukee reaches $21M settlement with abuse survivors

MILWAUKEE (WI)
Milwaukee Business Journal

David Schuyler
Digital Producer
Milwaukee Business Journal

The Archdiocese of Milwaukee has reached a settlement with the survivors of clergy sexual abuse under which 330 claimants will share $21 million, setting the stage to close the Chapter 11 bankruptcy filed in January 2011.

A proposed settlement agreement will be outlined in an amended plan of reorganization to be filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court on Aug. 24, and Judge Susan Kelley is expected to review the plan at a hearing on Nov. 9. Archbishop Jerome Listecki said if the plan is approved, it officially ends the bankruptcy case and allows the archdiocese to return its full attention to the spiritual, charitable and educational mission of the Church.

“Today, we turn the page on a terrible part of our history and we embark on a new road lined with hope, forgiveness and love,” Listecki said.

The agreement was endorsed by both the Archdiocese of Milwaukee Finance Council and the College of Consultors, according to Listecki.

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Church Turned In Prominent Priest Over Possibly Criminal Sexual Images

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicagoist

BY SELENA FRAGASSI IN NEWS ON AUG 4, 2015

Suspicious material found on the computer of a prominent pastor has resulted in an investigation and the removal of Rev. Octavio Munoz Capetillo from his position at St. Pancratius Church in Brighton Park.

The Archdiocese of Chicago released a statement this week, picked up by ABC7, notifying the public of Capetillo’s dismissal on July 27 after “sexual images and material” were found in his possession, though no further details were released about the nature of the items. The statement reads in full:

On July 27, 2015, Archbishop Blase J. Cupich removed Father Octavio Munoz Capetillo, pastor of St. Pancratius from ministry, pending resolution of an investigation of material found on a computer in his possession. Given the nature of the material, we reported our concerns to the civil authorities and will cooperate fully in their investigation. In the interim, Archbishop Cupich has withdrawn Father Munoz’s faculties, his authority to minister. An Administrator will be appointed to assume Fr. Munoz’s duties at St. Pancratius and Father Munoz will reside away from the parish until the matter is resolved.

According to church records, Capetillo was ordained in 2004 and was first assigned to St. Agnes Catholic Church in Chicago Heights. He was also formerly the director of a program called Casa Jesus that recruited potential priests from Latin America up until this year. Just last month Capetillo was welcomed at St. Pancratius from his former ministry at Holy Name Cathedral, though a spokeswoman for the Archdiocese says the transfer “happened before church leaders learned of the materials in question.” There’s been no further comment from the church or the police other than stating it’s an ongoing investigation.

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Milwaukee archdiocese to give $21 million to survivors of clergy sex abuse

MILWAUKEE (WI)
National Catholic Reporter

Marie Rohde | Aug. 4, 2015

MILWAUKEE The Milwaukee archdiocese has agreed to give survivors of clergy sex abuse $21 million, a move that is expected to end the four and a half years that church has been in bankruptcy court.

In a statement issued by the archdiocese, 330 of the 575 survivors will share in the compensation. They will receive varying amounts to be determined by an outside administrator. There will also be a $500,000 therapy fund established and it will be paid for by all of the parishes in the archdiocese. The agreement otherwise protects parishes and schools from future lawsuits.

Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki acknowledged that the projected total legal and professional fees will be about $20 million when the bankruptcy is complete. That does not include the amount Jeff Anderson & Associates, the law firm that represents many of the survivors, will receive.

The funds will come from a variety of sources, including $11 million from insurance and $16 million from the controversial Cemetery Trust Fund.

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Archdiocese of Milwaukee settles bankruptcy – painfully

MILWAUKEE (WI)
The Worthy Adversary

Posted by Joelle Casteix on August 4, 2015

One of the ugliest, most painful Catholic diocese bankruptcies has come to an end. Just in time for Pope Francis to visit the U.S.

I haven’t spoken much here about the Milwaukee Archdiocese Chapter 11 bankruptcy. But today, they settled with victims after—what victim’s attorney Jeff Anderson calls—”four and a half years of drawn-out, painful legal battles resulting in millions of dollars in legal fees to bankruptcy attorneys.”

Only 330 of the 575 who filed claims will get compensation. The archdiocese lawyers worked hard to get a ton of cases tossed—like that of advocate Peter Isely—because he was a longtime outspoken critic and survivor. I guess if you help other people get justice, the Archdiocese makes sure you get no compensation of your own.

The 330 survivors will receive $21 million.

Documents exposed in the bankruptcy showed a widespread cover-up. From FOX 6:

These documents detailed Cardinal Timothy Dolan and the Vatican’s role in sexual abuse cases and demonstrated how church officials and the Vatican repeatedly denied sexual abuse survivors justice by failing to act with urgency on reports of sexual abuse, often waiting years to remove a priest from ministry who had credible allegations of child sexual abuse.

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Fairfax VA church “Care Director” is outed as a violent sex offender. Guess what happens next …

VIRGINIA
The Worthy Adversary

Posted by Joelle Casteix on August 4, 2015

Amy Smith is a hell of a blogger and advocate for victims of sexual abuse in Protestant churches. A few weeks ago, she discovered that the “Care Director” at Fairfax (VA) Community Church is a registered violent sex offender.

What happened afterward is shocking. Here’s a teaser: in their defense of sex offender Eric Nickle, they gave away the identity of his victim. Read the whole thing here.

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Chile–Controversial Chilean cleric is quietly sent away

CHILE
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Tuesday, Aug. 4

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

Catholic officials have quietly sent to another country a priest who admits facilitating illegal adoptions. Shame on them.

[KOAT]

Fr. Alex Vigueras of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts order has moved Fr. Gerardo Joannon to a house for priests in the city of Merlo, Argentina, according to CNN.

“Chilean authorities said Joannon is only one of many priests, nuns, doctors, nurses and others who conspired to carry out illegal adoptions” as recently as 1990, CNN also reports.

Adding insult to injury, Catholic officials refused to explain or discuss their irresponsible move.

This is why clerics continue to commit and conceal crimes in the church: because they’re almost never disciplined by their supervisors or denounced by their colleagues. Usually, they’re just quietly moved, no matter how harmful or recent or illegal their crimes may be.

Instead of quietly protecting their colleagues, Catholic officials should be begging anyone with information about Fr. Joannon’s crimes to contact law enforcement. It’s always possible that a criminal who has so far evaded the law might still be prosecution. It’s likely that Fr. Joannon has committed more recent offenses for which he could still be charged. That’s why Catholic officials should prod parishioners and others to step forward if they saw, suspected or suffered wrongdoing by Fr. Joannon or other priests.

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WI–Milwaukee Archdiocese “settles” …

MILWAUKEE (WI)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

WI–Milwaukee Archdiocese “settles” sex abuse bankruptcy: $15 million dollars for hundreds of victims, $30 million for a handful of lawyers

August 04, 2015

Statement by Peter Isely, SNAP Midwest Director (Milwaukee; but in Washington DC today CONTACT: 414.429.7259; available in Milwaukee today CONTACT: Mark Salmon, 414.712.2092; Monica Barrett 414.704.6074)

In a perverse and cynical parody of the famous biblical story of King Solomon, it has been announced today that the Archdiocese of Milwaukee has reached a monetary “settlement” with the Creditors Committee of the nearly five year old church sex abuse bankruptcy. It is exponentially the lowest bankruptcy compensation for victims in the United States.

(To see what the settlement should have looked like and the issues it should have addressed go to yesterday’s statement on the revised plan here).

One number dramatically demonstrates just how unjust this “settlement” is: at the end of the day, lawyers will be end up getting twice as much money than victims, approximately $30 million dollars for a handful of lawyers and $15 million dollars for hundreds of victims.

The entire settlement amount to victims is around $21 million dollars (after subtracting one third for their lawyers or $7 million dollars, that leaves $15 million dollars). Church and bankruptcy lawyers will be paid at least $23 million dollars. (That number includes at least $13 million that has already been paid to lawyer, $7.5 million more in the settlement, an estimated $2 million in litigation and lawyers’ fees for Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s Milwaukee “cemetery trust”.)

The average victim settlement for all the other US church bankruptcies when you subtract one third for attorney fees is $300,000. When you subtract the Milwaukee victims’ attorney fees, their average settlement amount (per “allowed” victim) is $44,000.

So why did the victims on the Creditors Committee agree to such a terrible settlement?

In the famous bible story, King Solomon is asked to judge between two woman who live in the same household, both claiming to be the mother of an infant boy. After much deliberation and anguish, he asks for a sword. There is only one fair solution, he says: the live son must be split in two, each woman receiving half of the child. Upon hearing this terrible verdict, the boy’s true mother cries out, “Oh Lord, give the baby to her, just don’t kill him!” The king, of course, declares this mother the true mother. Only a loving and true mother would rather surrender her baby to another than have him harmed.

The Creditors Committee, like Solomon, made the only ethical choice they could make: to not sacrifice those who would have been harmed if the archdiocese went back into court. These rape victims were forced, literally, into settling with the church because if they did not, as laughably low as the compensation amount is, hundreds of victims would have received no compensation whatsoever. Settle now before hundreds of victims get tossed by the archdiocese (and, as the church lawyer said in court last month, Archbishop Listecki intentionally “spends down” “all the money down”), or take the settlement. So, some victims choice to take less money for themselves so that other victims might get a little bit of help.

575 victims of rape, sexual assault or abuse by dozen of clergy over several decades filed cases into court because their archbishop and pastor, Jerome Listecki, publically urged them to for “healing and resolution”. They did so, knowing that by allowing the archdiocese to file for federal bankruptcy, the court was effectively removing their rights to file cases in state court, where depositions, documents and jury trials would have led to a very different outcome than today.

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Archdiocese settles sexual abuse claims for $21 million

MILWAUKEE (WI)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

By Annysa Johnson of the Journal Sentinel Updated: 2:58 p.m.

The Archdiocese of Milwaukee announced Tuesday it will pay $21 million to compensate victims of childhood sexual abuse under a settlement agreement announced Tuesday — a deal that clears the way to ending its nearly 5-year-old bankruptcy.

Of the 575 men and women who filed sex abuse claims in the bankruptcy, 330 would receive financial settlements of varying amounts, to be determined by an administrator appointed by the bankruptcy court. Federal law requires the settlement to be approved by a bankruptcy judge.

It’s also not known how many additional millions of dollars will go to pay fees of numerous attorneys and other professionals hired by the archdiocese and its creditors committee over the course of the case.

A $500,000 fund will be created to help abuse survivors obtain counseling and any other therapy they might need. Parishes will contribute to that fund.

Tuesday’s settlement paves the way to conclude what has become the longest-running and most contentious of the 14 U.S. Catholic Church bankruptcies filed since 2004 to address sexual abuse liabilities dating back decades.

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Sir Edward Heath: The Filipino brothel keeper who sparked child sex abuse inquiry

UNITED KINGDOM
Telegraph

By Martin Evans, Crime Correspondent, Tom Whitehead and Lucy Clarke-Billings
04 Aug 2015

The woman at the centre of the Sir Edward Heath child abuse storm can be revealed as a Filipino prostitute, who ran a brothel just a mile from the late Prime Minister’s former home in Salisbury.

Myra Ling-Ling Forde, 67, has twice been jailed for operating as a madam out of her terraced property in the Wiltshire town where Sir Edward made his home after leaving office.

But in the early 1990s it is alleged she had a prosecution dropped after threatening to expose Sir Edward as a paedophile.

A retired senior detective from the force came forward last year to allege that his colleagues quietly dropped a trial against twice married Forde in order to protect the reputation of the former Tory leader.

That allegation is now the subject of an Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigation, but Wiltshire Police have also appealed for any potential victims of Sir Edward to come forward.

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Former archdiocese employee files claim in bankruptcy court

MINNESOTA
Houston Chronicle

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A former employee of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis who went public with concerns that clergy sex abuse cases were being mishandled has filed a claim in bankruptcy court.

Jennifer Haselberger’s claim is dated Monday, the court-imposed deadline for filing claims as the archdiocese reorganizes its finances. More than 400 claims have been filed.

Haselberger’s claim says she’s seeking not less than $50,000 for defamation occurring after June 6, 2014. Haselberger says in an email to The Associated Press that the claim relates to multiple incidences from June of 2014 to the present. She didn’t provide specifics.

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Archdiocese of Milwaukee: $21M settlement reached to compensate clergy sex abuse survivors

MILWAUKEE (WI)
Fox 6

AUGUST 4, 2015, BY KATIE DELONG

MILWAUKEE — The Archdiocese of Milwaukee on Tuesday, August 4th announced a $21 million settlement has been reached to compensate clergy sexual abuse survivors.

The settlement comes after four-and-a-half years of drawn-out, painful legal battles resulting in millions of dollars in legal fees to bankruptcy attorneys.

The Archdiocese objected to all 575 sexual abuse claims filed in bankruptcy court and attempted to have hundreds of the claims thrown out of court before the November 2015 plan of reorganization hearing. As a result, the creditors’ committee, which represents all creditors in the bankruptcy proceedings, was forced to make a decision that would prevent the case from being drawn out longer and incurring additional bankruptcy attorneys’ fees.

“We applaud the courage of the survivors who came forward, and the creditors’ committee, who fought every step of the way,” said attorney Jeff Anderson. “The treatment of the survivors by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee has been harsh and hurtful. This process has been heartbreaking for many who have been treated so unfairly by hardball legal tactics. The survivors continued to stand up for what was right, what they believed in, and to make sure the truth was brought to light. Because of them, children are better protected.”

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APNewsBreak: Milwaukee Archdiocese Settles for $21 Million

WISCONSIN
ABC News

MADISON, Wis. — Aug 4, 2015

By SCOTT BAUER Associated Press

The Milwaukee archdiocese has agreed to a $21 million settlement with victims of clergy abuse.

The Roman Catholic archdiocese provided details of the settlement to The Associated Press on Tuesday before releasing them more broadly.

Archbishop Jerome Listecki says the settlement sets the stage for the archdiocese to close a bankruptcy proceeding that was filed in January 2011.

The proposed settlement will be outlined in detail in a bankruptcy court filing on Aug. 24. Judge Susan Kelley is expected to review terms of the deal in a court hearing on Nov. 9.

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Archdiocese of Milwaukee Settles Bankruptcy Case for $21 million

MILWAUKEE (WI)
Jeff Anderson and Associates

August 4, 2015

Archdiocese fails to treat survivors fairly in long, drawn-out legal battle

(Milwaukee, WI) – Today the Archdiocese of Milwaukee announced a $21 million settlement to compensate clergy sexual abuse survivors. The settlement comes after four and a half years of drawn-out, painful legal battles resulting in millions of dollars in legal fees to bankruptcy attorneys. The Archdiocese objected to all 575 sexual abuse claims filed in bankruptcy court and attempted to have hundreds of the claims thrown out of court before the November, 2015, plan of reorganization hearing. As a result, the creditors’ committee, which represents all creditors in the bankruptcy proceedings, was forced to make a decision that would prevent the case from being drawn out longer and incurring additional bankruptcy attorneys’ fees.

“We applaud the courage of the survivors who came forward, and the creditors’ committee, who fought every step of the way,” said attorney Jeff Anderson. “The treatment of the survivors by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee has been harsh and hurtful. This process has been heartbreaking for many who have been treated so unfairly by hardball legal tactics. The survivors continued to stand up for what was right, what they believed in, and to make sure the truth was brought to light. Because of them, children are better protected.”

On January 4, 2011, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. The Archdiocese claimed its initial purpose for filing was “[t]o provide compensation for the unresolved claims of victims/survivors of Abuse including those Abuse victims/survivors who have not yet come forward.” Prior to filing bankruptcy, the Archdiocese faced less than two dozen lawsuits over its handling of clergy sexual abuse cases and the disclosure of information and depositions of retired Archbishop Rembert Weakland and Richard Sklba.

Over two years after filing for Chapter 11 reorganization, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee was forced to turn over thousands of once-secret church documents and depositions of top Archdiocese officials. These documents detailed Cardinal Timothy Dolan and the Vatican’s role in sexual abuse cases and demonstrated how church officials and the Vatican repeatedly denied sexual abuse survivors justice by failing to act with urgency on reports of sexual abuse, often waiting years to remove a priest from ministry who had credible allegations of child sexual abuse.

The documents also showed that in July 2007, at Dolan’s request, the Vatican quickly approved the transfer of more than $56 million into a cemetery trust to “protect” the funds from sexual abuse victims. The cemetery trust funds continued to play a key role in the bankruptcy proceedings. Other revelations in this legal struggle showed Cardinal Dolan’s policy of paying predator priests to leave the priesthood.

The Archdiocese continued to fight survivors every step of the way. In November 2013, the Archdiocese attempted to settle with one of its insurers without the survivors’ participation. It also continued to try to hide behind the passage of time to get cases thrown out of court.

On March, 3, 2015, survivors emerged victorious when the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and First Amendment did not preclude survivors from challenging the transfer of the cemetery funds.

For more information and to view the documents and depositions, visit http://www.andersonadvocates.com/Documents/Milwaukee.

Contact Jeff Anderson: Office/651.227.9990 Cell/612.817.8665
Contact Mike Finnegan: Office/651.227.9990 Cell/612-205-5531

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Assignment Record– Rev. James Augustine Mohm

MINNESOTA
BishopAccountability.org

Summary of Case: Born in Germany, James A. Mohm fought in WWI before emigrating to the United States. He was ordained a priest of the St. Cloud diocese in 1927. Mohm was assigned to parishes in Pierz, Hillman, Brushvale, Maine, Foxhome and Osakis. He was a hospital chaplain for a time in Breckenridge and was longtime pastor of St. James in the town of Maine and later of Immaculate Conception in Osakis. He died in 1982. Mohm’s name was on the diocese’s list released January 3, 2014 of 33 clergy involved in incidents of likely claims of sexual abuse of minors.

Born: December 2, 1897
Ordained: 1927
Died: September 10, 1982

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Gay rights groups to send contingent to Catholic convention in hopes of meeting Pope Francis

UNITED STATES
Washington Times

Some 30 gay rights groups said Tuesday they are sending members to the Catholic Church’s major family convention in September, in hopes of meeting with Pope Francis.

Equally Blessed — a coalition of Catholic organizations working for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people — says it will have a dozen families at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia ​in September.

​”Each and every one of these ​pilgrims is deeply committed to their Catholic faith,” said Marianne Duddy-Burke, ​executive ​director of DignityUSA, a member of the Equally Blessed coalition​.

​”​We have to address the challenges that current Catholic teaching presents, and the way too many people are hurt by things that happen in the church​,” said Ms. Duddy-Burke, who will attend the ​Philadelphia conference with her wife and daughters.

Members of Equally Blessed, along with 26 other organizations, sent a letter to Francis ​asking that he meet with ​their members and families during his ​U.S. ​visit​.

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Adoption scandal priest leaves Chile

CHILE
KOAT

By Rafael Romo Senior Latin American Affairs Editor

SANTIAGO, Chile (CNN) —A priest at the center of an illegal baby adoption scam in Chile has been moved out of the country and faces no charges, even after admitting he participated in at least two illegal adoptions.

The Rev. Gerardo Joannon, who belongs to the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts order, has been relocated to a house for priests in the city of Merlo, Argentina.

The transfer is supposed to be “an act of religious obedience” and a time to pray and serve penance, according to a statement issued by the order. The statement does not give a reason for his penance.

Joannon, who is in his late 70s, publicly admitted last year that he had facilitated illegal adoptions during the 1970s and ’80s.

According to the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts order and Chilean authorities, the priest took at least two babies from their biological mothers, either through lies or coercion, and in secret gave them to adoptive families.

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Documents in Case of Sexual Abuse by a Priest to Be Made Public, Under C.A. Ruling

CALIFORNIA
Metropolitian News-Enterprise

By a MetNews Staff Writer

The Sixth District Court of Appeal has affirmed an order that confidential discovery responses by the Roman Catholic Diocese in Monterey, in an action by a man who was a minor when he was allegedly sexually abused by a priest in 2004 and 2005, be turned over to a local newspaper.

The opinion was handed down Friday and was not certified for publication. Justice Franklin D. Elia authored it.

The Diocese had obtained a protective order in 2011 when it was sued by “John RJ Doe” in connection with the purported abuse of him by then-Father Edward Fitz‑Henry. The order said:
“Until further notice, no records produced in discovery shall be disseminated or their contents disclosed to third persons prior to trial or adjudication on the merits.”

According to news reports at the time, an investigation commissioned by the Diocese did not bear out allegations by Doe, but did find that there was credible evidence of sexual abuse by Fitz‑Henry of a youth 20 years earlier.

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Royal commission: Jehovah’s Witnesses grilled over bungled child abuse investigation

AUSTRALIA
ABC – The World Today

ELEANOR HALL: Let’s go now to the royal commission into child sexual abuse which has heard further evidence today about how the Jehovah’s Witness Church dealt with a confessed child sex offender.

Angela Lavoipierre has been following the latest developments in the inquiry and she joins us now.

Angela, who was giving evidence this morning?

ANGELA LAVOIPIERRE: So the commission has heard from an elder of a Queensland congregation called Loganholme named Allan Pencheff. So, this all goes to a case of a woman known as BCG. Which has been one of the key focuses of the commission.

So her father, a senior member of the Jehovah’s Witness Mareeba congregation in Queensland, abused her when she was 17; that was around 1989.

The commission has heard extensive evidence about the fact that BCG’s account was not deemed to be provable under the biblical rules used by the Jehovah’s Witness Church; that’s despite the fact that her three sisters were also abused, and their father, as you mentioned, even confessed to some of the allegations at one point.

So BCH her father was ultimately disfellowshipped for infidelity in his marriage, charges that were completely unrelated to the abuse of his daughters.

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Church Cites “Stress, Grief, and Fatigue” For Embattled Pastor Steve Wingfield’s Sabbatical

MISSOURI
Riverfront Times

By Danny Wicentowski Tue., Aug. 4 2015

After months of criticism, pastor Steve Wingfield is taking a paid sabbatical to escape the hubbub.

Boasting a congregation of more than 2,000 members, Wingfield’s church, First Christian Church of Florrisant (or FCCF), is among the largest evangelical institutions in north county. It’s also become a battleground between Wingfield’s supporters and those who believe he failed to improve the church’s sexual assault policies after a former youth minister was exposed as a child a molester and sentenced to 25 years in prison in March.

In a statement made during the July 26 Sunday services, Stan Dubose, vice chairmen of the church’s board of elders, told the congregation that Wingfield needed a break.

“During this time away from the church, Steve will be seeking counsel, not only to address the stress, grief, fatigue and emotional trauma that he has sustained, but also to address issues that have become deficits to his management and leadership style,” Dubose said, according to a recording made by a church member. “It is important for you to know that this action is in NO way a reflection of a change of direction on the part of the elders regarding our support, trust and belief that Steve Wingfield is a man called of God to be and to serve as senior pastor here at First Christian Church.”

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Statement of Archbishop Hebda Regarding Today’s Filing Deadline

MINNESOTA
Canonical Consultation

[with document]

08/03/2015

Pastors and parish administrators today received the following email from Archbishop Hedba regarding the August 3 filing deadline for claims against the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. The deadline, you may recall, restricted the amount of time that victims of clergy sexual abuse had to file claims against the Archdiocese as a result of the Archdiocese’s bankruptcy filing. Rather than having until May 25, 2016, as was legislated with the passage of the Child Victims Act, victims of priests and deacons of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis have only until midnight today to file notice of claims. What follows is Archbishop Hebda’s statement to parishes about the deadline and the Archdiocese’s efforts to see it upheld.

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Ischia: sesso con minori. Parte processo canonico per due sacerdoti

ITALIA
New Ecclesia

[Ischia (NA) – On a Sunday morning, bathed in spring sunshine runs fast the news that two priests of the Diocese of Ischia seem to have been “suspended”: Don.Giovanni Trofa and Don Nello Pascale There is no certainty of official acts of the curia of Ischia. We only know that in their parishes respectively Fontana and Vatoliere.]

Ischia (NA) – In una domenica mattina baciata dal sole primaverile corre veloce la notizia che due preti della Diocesi di Ischia pare siano stati “sospesi”: Don Giovanni Trofa e Don Nello Pascale. Non si ha certezza di atti ufficiali della curia di Ischia si sa solo che nelle loro parrocchie rispettivamente di Fontana e del Vatoliere – Schiappone celebrano altri sacerdoti. Ufficialmente i due prelati avevano comunicato che si allontanavano per problemi di salute e per un viaggio. La verità è che Sua Eccellenza il Vescovo di Ischia, Mons. Pietro Lagnese, gli aveva notificato la sospensione dalle funzioni sacerdotali, esautorandoli da tutte le funzioni religiose e rinviati al giudizio del Tribunale ecclesiastico.

Dunque, dalla Curia di Ischia sarà partito un plico contenente una documentazione riguardante i sacerdoti e che giunta presso la Santa Sede e vagliata opportunamente ha permesso al Vescovo di Ischia di notificare i provvedimenti ai due parroci che hanno lasciato l’isola alla volta di località rimaste segrete. Questo nel mese di Aprile.

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Slachtoffers vragen paus om Danneels en Léonard te berechten

BELGIE
Nieuwsblad

[Victims of abuse in the Belgian Catholic Church have asked the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to bring Godfried Danneels and André-Joseph Léonard, among others, fbefore the new tribunal that will investigate bishops who allegedly covered up abuse.]

Slachtoffers van misbruik in de Kerk hebben aan de Congregatie van de Geloofsleer gevraagd om onder anderen Danneels en Léonard voor het nieuwe tribunaal te brengen dat nalatige kerkleiders moet beoordelen.

Paus Franciscus kondigde begin juni de oprichting aan van een tribunaal, in de schoot van de Congregatie voor de Geloofsleer. Dat moet bisschoppen horen die nalatig zouden zijn geweest in het aanpakken van dossiers van pedofiele priesters. Een rondvraag leert dat in België al verschillende slachtoffers Rome hebben aangeschreven met de vraag om aartsbisschop André-Joseph Léonard, kardinaal Godfried Danneels, oud-bisschop van Brugge Roger Vangheluwe en de bisschop van Hasselt, Patrick Hoogmartens, te berechten.

Operatie Kelk

Een van hen is Joël Devillet. Hij werd als tiener jarenlang misbruikt door de dorps­pastoor. Begin jaren negentig stapte hij naar Léonard, toen bisschop van Namen, maar die plaatste de priester gewoon over naar een andere parochie. In april werd ­Léonard daarvoor veroordeeld tot het betalen van 10.000 euro schadevergoeding.

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POPE FRANCIS USHERS IN ERA OF VATICAN AUSTERITY

ROME
Breitbart

by THOMAS D. WILLIAMS, PH.D.
4 Aug 20151

The pontificate of Pope Francis with his emphasis on poverty has resulted in a new tone of austerity in Vatican circles, with clerics avoiding any show of ostentation in favor of a new sobriety in dress, transportation and manners.

Francis has put aside official Vatican limousines, wears plain black shoes instead of soft red loafers and sits down to common meals with priests and other clerics in the cafeteria of the Casa Santa Marta, the Vatican residence where he is living. His Vatican spending cuts have affected almost everyone, and even the office in charge of naming saints has been told to lower expenses.

A shopkeeper named Luciano Ghezzi who sells clerical wear says that styles have definitely changed in the era of Pope Francis. When the Pope tones down his own dress, he says, “it is natural that everything around him takes on a more sober tone.”

“I know the bishop of Santo Domingo well,” Ghezzi told the Italian daily Corriere della Sera. He has a wardrobe full of crazy miters. But he told me that now he is ashamed to wear that sumptuous headgear.”

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Recommended…

UNITED STATES
Bilgrimage

William D. Lindsey

Recommended: Robert Blair Kaiser’s Whistle, on Tom Doyle’s Life and Work with Abuse Survivors

I appreciate Jerry Slevin’s reminder, in a response to my posting earlier today, about Robert Blair Kaiser’s last book (Kaiser died in April this year), Whistle. Jerry notes that Whistle is an examination of Tom Doyle’s life and work with abuse survivors.

He writes,

Whistle is Robert Blair Kaiser’s last effort and a profile in courage about Tom Doyle’s steadfast witness and advocacy on behalf of the victims of clerical sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. If one is looking for a credible historical account of this scandal, this is the book you need to have as a guide and a text and a roadmap for actions to be taken to never have this happen again. It highlights Tom Doyle’s remarkable story (which continues ) from the inside.
The book is inexpensive and the net proceeds will go to survivors as indicated.

Jerry’s valuable review of Whistle, which he mentions in his comment, is at the Amazon page for the book linked above. And here’s a direct link to it.

As Jerry notes, if you purchase a copy of this book (and I hope you’ll do so), you benefit survivors, since all proceeds of the book go to organizations supporting survivors. I’d like to tell you I’ve read Whistle, but I haven’t. I was given a copy at the SNAP conference (and had a chance to meet and talk very briefly to Tom Doyle, who has long been one of my heroes).

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Ted Heath: the bachelor prime minister whose private life remained a closed book

UNITED KINGDOM
Telegraph

By Rosa Prince, Assistant Political Editor
03 Aug 2015

During his 51 years in the House of Commons the rumours swirled around Sir Edward Heath like a mist of innuendo.

The bachelor prime minister flatly refused to discuss his private life, his only confessed passions music and his beloved yacht, Morning Cloud. Even those closest to him could not say for certain where his interests lay.

Now, a decade after his death, the former prime minister’s sexual leanings have once again become subject to public attention. Only this time, with an inquiry into claims of a cover-up over allegations he was to be accused of paedophilia, some answers must finally be provided to the many questions surrounding the mystery that was “Ted” Heath.

So what do we know about the private life of this most shy and retiring former premier?

Edward Richard George Heath was born in Broadstairs, Kent, at the height of the First World War, to a lower middle class family. His mother, Edith, would remain the woman he was closest to for the rest of his life.

A grammar schoolboy and talented musician, he won an organ scholarship at Balliol College, Oxford, before graduating in PPE on the eve of the Second World War in 1939 and enlisting.

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What to look for in the Milwaukee Archdiocese new bankruptcy reorganization plan

MILWAUKEE (WI)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

New plan must fairly compensate victims and demonstrate the archdiocese no longer practices sex abuse fraud

Statement by Peter Isely, SNAP Midwest Director (Milwaukee)
CONTACT: 414.429.7259 (Or Mark Salmon, 414.712.2092; Monica Barrett 414.704.6074)

The Milwaukee Archdiocese is scheduled to file into court soon a revised corporate reorganization plan in what is now the largest, longest and legally expensive church bankruptcy in US history.

The purpose of the archdiocese bankruptcy has always been twofold:

(1) To provide fair restitution to victims of childhood rape, sexual assault or abuse by clergy, vowed religious and other church workers assigned to or ministering within the Archdiocese of Milwaukee;

(2) To demonstrate that church officials are no longer involved in the institutional pattern and practice of fraud related to the concealment and transfer of child sex offenders.

Much is at stake in what the new plan actually proposes that is substantially different from the first one. If not, what will be resolved? Why wouldn’t the church sexual abuse crisis continue on indefinitely, become even more chronic, put children at risk, keep abusive clerics hidden, and leave complicit church officials unaccountable?

What should we look for and expect from a new plan that will prevent these terrible consequences and stop the ongoing erosion of trust in Archbishop Listecki’s leadership?

Victim Settlements

Any serious plan to compensate victims should both reflect the actual value and assets available to the archdiocese and be comparable to settlements to other victims in other church bankruptcies around the United States.

In the 1990s’, the archdiocese listed its net worth to its major insurance carrier as 1.3 billion dollars, including all of its parishes and properties. Even without those entities and assets, the archdiocese today has between $250 to $300 million dollars it could use to compensate victims, including approximately $65 million dollars in a likely fraudulently constituted “cemetery trust” created by former Archbishop Timothy Dolan before the bankruptcy filing. According to a ruling by the US Federal 7th Circuit Court the trust should be included in the archdiocese estate. But Archbishop Listecki is also likely have available to him under church law a $120 million dollar “Faith in our Future” fund, $15 million or more in property (including his lakefront archdiocesan headquarters), and $70 million dollars in a parish “investment” or “deposit” fund.

The average settlement for each survivor in the eight other US church bankruptcies is over $400,000 dollars each (note: the Fairbanks figure should also include the money from religious orders, which is sometimes not tabulated in press accounts of the archdiocesan settlement).

Total costs for a diocese depends on the number of victims, and there is a larger number of Milwaukee victims, but why would not expect a serious and fair offer from the archdiocese in its new plan would have to meet or exceed $150 million dollars.

If a new plan does not reflect these numbers or even get near them, the question will be: why would the bankruptcy court in Milwaukee treat victims so dramatically differently than other victims from around the US and how is that going to bring “healing and resolution” and not the very opposite? (Of particular importance will be the amount of money already paid to and proposed for lawyers’ fees and court costs).

Continuing Pattern and Practice of Fraud

While the issue of financial compensation of victims has, understandably, gotten much of the attention over the past four and half years in bankruptcy, maybe the more urgent question is if the Milwaukee Archdiocese has actually:

· ended its historic and demonstrated practice of concealing child sex offender clerics, dumping them into unsuspecting parishes and communities,

· is still providing incomplete and false information concerning what church sponsored ministers have been involved in criminal sex acts,

· still concealing information and documents concerning the true nature and extent of the problem,

· still covering up for complicit church officials, and

· lobbying to change state laws to provide continual exemption of clerics from criminal and civil accountability

Here, then, are three main points to look for in the new plan, which will determine, among other things, if the archdiocese is no longer involved in fraudulent practices and communication:

(1) 575 victim cases were filed into the bankruptcy now under court seal. These reports contain direct evidence of thousands of detailed acts of criminal rape, sexual assault and abuse. Of the 575 reports, according to victim attorneys, there are at least 100 never before identified clerics who are alleged to have committed child sex crimes. The alarming questions that obviously have to be addressed about these reports are: Who are these individuals? Where are they? Who is watching or supervising them? What crimes against children are they alleged to have committed? Why has not a single newly named cleric been identified to the public and removed from ministry by Archbishop Listecki for abusing a child and turned over to law enforcement?

(2) Court documents show that Archbishop Timothy Dolan, now Cardinal of New York, sought and received permission from the Vatican, in anticipation of court cases, to fraudulently conceal $60 to $65 million dollars in a hastily invented “cemetery trust” for the express purpose of not compensating victims of clergy sex crimes. Will that money be used to compensate victims and Dolan investigated for fraud?

(3) The Archdiocese is proposing a fund which gives church officials full and dangerous control over the counseling and mental health treatment of victims. Any new plan is going to have to place the management and availability of mental health services to victims in a manner completely independent from the archdiocese and in the hands of licensed and competent sexual abuse agencies and treatment providers.

When bankruptcy judge Susan V. Kelley accepted the filing for bankruptcy by the archdiocese four and a half years ago, her action halted dozens of victim cases in Wisconsin state court that would have likely resulted in widespread disclosure, transparency and accountability by the archdiocese for clergy sex abuse.

The archdiocese, in both written an oral briefs, motions and arguments has argued that not a single one of the 575 cases filed into court, cases Listecki himself urged victims to file, are valid.

In other words, if the new plan is not significantly different than the first one, why is the archdiocese even in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, especially if they continue to say there are no valid claims?

If that is the case, it’s long overdue for Kelley to dismiss the archdiocese from bankruptcy court altogether and have them investigated for filing bankruptcy in bad faith in order to avoid compensating victims and to continue significant elements of their fraudulent practice and behavior. In 2007, in the only other church bankruptcy larger than Milwaukee’s, Judge Louise DeCarl Adler did pretty much just that. Like Kelley, DeCarl Adler is a Catholic. After just 8 months in court, she dismissed the diocese from court, rebuked church officials from the bench, and called their attempt to avoid accountability and responsibility for clerical sex abuse through bankruptcy “disingenuous”. The result was that the diocese had to compensate victims for $200 million dollars. Parishes and schools did not close, corporate operations continued, and the diocese, for good or ill, has moved on.

If the Archdiocese of Milwaukee is not serious about compensating survivors and ending its fraudulent practices, expect Judge Kelley to show the same judicial authority and leadership on behalf of justice as Judge DeCarl Adler.

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Public hearing to hear evidence from Retired Bishop Geoffrey Robinson

AUSTRALIA
Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

4 August, 2015

The Royal Commission will hold a public hearing in Sydney on Monday 24 August 2015.

The scope and purpose of the public hearing is to hear the evidence of retired Bishop Geoffrey Robinson regarding:

1. The history and development of the Catholic Church’s response to child sexual abuse prior to the introduction of Towards Healing.

2. His membership of the College of Consultors of the Archdiocese of Sydney.

3. The operation of Encompass Australasia.

4. His discussions with senior Vatican officials.

5. Any related matters.

Any person or institution who believes that they have a direct and substantial interest in the scope and purpose of the public hearing is invited to lodge a written application for leave to appear at the public hearing by 12 August 2015.

Applications for leave to appear should be made using the form available on the Royal Commission website entitled ‘Application for Leave to Appear at the Royal Commission’ and include a short submission setting out the basis on which it is said the applicant has a substantial and direct interest in appearing.

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Abuse inquiry hears from outspoken bishop

AUSTRALIA
SBS

AAP

An architect of the Catholic Church’s response to clergy sex abuse will give evidence to the child abuse royal commission.

Retired Sydney Bishop Geoffrey Robinson will detail his discussions with senior Vatican officials and the Catholic Church’s response to child sex abuse before the 1996 establishment of Towards Healing, its national internal scheme for handling abuse complaints.

Bishop Robinson, who retired as auxiliary bishop of Sydney in 2004, has long been outspoken about the need for the church to confront clergy sex abuse.

His evidence will include the operation of Encompass Australasia, a church rehabilitation program which operated from 1997 to 2008 to treat clergy with psycho-sexual disorders and those guilty of offending against children.

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Investigation of alleged sexual abuse at camp underway

IOWA
KCCI

INDIANOLA, Iowa —Authorities are investigating an alleged sexual abuse incident that took place between two camp employees.

Warren County Sheriff’s officials say the alleged incident happened at Camp Wesley Woods, just south of Indianola, on July 31. The victim is an 18-year-old woman and the suspect is an adult man who were both employees of the camp.

Officials said no campers were involved in the incident.

Camp Wesley Woods is a retreat center that is part of the United Methodist Church. The church’s spokesman, Arthur McClanahan, said camper safety is one of the church’s top priority.

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NY Jehovah’s boss won’t appear at inquiry

AUSTRALIA
9 News

A member of the Jehovah’s Witness governing body in New York, who is in Australia, declined to be a witness at the royal commission into child sexual abuse.

On Tuesday the commission was told by lawyers for the church that Geoffrey Jackson who is in Australia for “private, compassionate matters” would not be able to give relevant evidence.

Angus Stewart, SC, counsel advising said the commission wrote a second time to the church lawyers asking if they would accept service of a summons on Mr Jackson because his evidence would be useful in relation to the formulation of policies and procedures by the governing body and the possibility of changing those laws.

Mr Stewart said it was decided not to summon Mr Jackson because lawyers outlined the compassionate reasons for his visit to the country, however the commission would need to hear more evidence from the church’s governing body Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Australia – possibly by video conferencing.

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Women to ‘never rule’ in Jehovah’s church

AUSTRALIA
7 News

By Annette Blackwell
August 4, 2015

A Jehovah’s Witness official says the church’s stance to never let women hold decision-making roles compares to Muslim and Aboriginal people adhering to their own ancient beliefs.

Rodney Spinks, who advises church elders on how to handle child sex abuse cases, told the sex abuse royal commission on Tuesday women would never make decisions in the Jehovah’s Witnesses because it would mean changing a “clear scriptural arrangement”.

Commission chair Peter McClellan said the practice did not fit with current understandings of responses to child sex abuse and asked if women could become decision makers because victims often preferred to tell their intimate stories to women.

Mr Spinks said there was no possibility that would happen because the church would not adjust what it saw as “clear instructions” in the Bible.

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Jehovah’s Witness church says it will comply with mandatory reporting of child abuse

AUSTRALIA
The Guardian

Australian Associated Press
Tuesday 4 August 2015

The Jehovah’s Witness church says it will comply with mandatory reporting obligations when they learn about sexual abuse crimes against children in their congregation.

A royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse has heard that the theocratic church records more than one child abuse allegation every month yet in 60 years has never reported them to police.

In the second week of a hearing into the church’s handling of abuse incidents, the head of the community’s service desk, Rodney Spinks, acknowledged they dealt with matters internally and did not encourage reporting to police.

The service desk under the auspices of the church’s legal entity, the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society Australia, is the first point of contact for elders looking for advice on how to deal with child abuse reports.

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Doogue, Brereton on keeping faith in the face of the abuse crisis

AUSTRALIA
Eureka Street

[with video]

Peter Kirkwood | 04 August 2015

A few months have passed since the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse sat in Ballarat. Witnesses there, including paedophile and former priest, Gerald Ridsdale, spoke of some of the most horrific cases of abuse in the Catholic Church.

The Commission will continue hearings about the situation in the Ballarat Diocese in November. It confirmed at the end of last week that former Bishop of Ballarat, Ronald Mulkearns will be compelled to take the stand. Cardinal George Pell is also expected to give evidence then.

The ongoing revelations about sexual abuse in the Church have had a drastic effect on believers, forcing some to turn away from the institution, and demoralising many who remain.

In this edition of Eureka Street TV two journalists who are practising believers — one a cradle Catholic and the other a recent convert — speak candidly about the effect of the sexual abuse crisis on their faith. In their professional lives, both have reported on different aspects of the crisis.

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Questionable computer files leads to priest’s suspension

CHICAGO (IL)
Newsburg

CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago’s Roman Catholic Archbishop Blase Cupich has removed a priest from his pastoral duties as authorities investigate why he had questionable material stored on a computer in his possession.

The Archdiocese of Chicago announced Monday they told the Cook County state’s attorney’s office that church officials found “sexual images and material” on the computer of St. Pancratius pastor the Rev. Octavio Munoz Capetillo. Church officials did not provide further details about what they found.

Chicago police officials will only say detectives are in the midst of an ongoing investigation.
Church officials say while the investigation is underway, an administrator will take over Capetillo’s duties at St. Pancratius and he will reside away from the parish.

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August 3, 2015

Cupich removes SW Side priest amid police investigation

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Sun-Times

Father Octavio Munoz Capetillo, pastor of St. Pancratius in the Brighton Park neighborhood, was removed from ministry by Archbishop Blase Cupich on July 27, according to a statement posted on the Chicago Archdiocese’s website.

Munoz was removed from his post “pending resolution of an investigation of material found on a computer in his possession,” the statement said.

After the material was discovered, Munoz was reported to civil authorities, the statement said.

Chicago Police confirmed they were investigating Munoz but did not provide additional details Monday evening.

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Priest says archdiocese offered him $10K to leave clergy

MINNESOTA
Minnesota Public Radio

Madeleine Baran Aug 3, 2015

Earlier this year, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis offered to give a priest who had been convicted of sexual misconduct $10,000 in exchange for leaving the priesthood, according to a court filing by the priest.

The Rev. John Bussmann made the allegation in a claim submitted Monday as part of the archdiocese’s bankruptcy case. He said the archdiocese owes him $680,365 in unpaid salary, living expenses and other support.

Bussmann, 61, refused the archdiocese’s $10,000 offer to leave the priesthood, according to a supplemental document he filed with the claim. “Because Fr. Bussmann considers his vocation a valid calling from Almighty God, he cannot in conscience ‘sell’ his priesthood for any amount of money,” it said.

Bussmann’s filing came on the final day for creditors to file claims against the archdiocese as part of bankruptcy proceedings. At least 342 alleged clergy sex abuse victims had filed claims as of Monday afternoon, according to victims’ attorney Mike Finnegan. At least two other priests accused of sexual misconduct have also filed claims, as have many of the archdiocese’s parishes.

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Deadline passes for archdiocese bankruptcy claims

MINNESOTA
Pioneer Press

By Elizabeth Mohr
emohr@pioneerpress.com

Monday marked the deadline to file claims in the bankruptcy case of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

By 5 p.m., more than 650 claims had been filed and processed, though the final number likely won’t be available until Tuesday. At least 370 of those were filed by victims of clergy sexual abuse — that number was expected to rise to more than 400 — and more than 150 were filed by local churches or parishes. Dozens were also filed by other religious organizations and Catholic schools.

An attorney filing on behalf of many victims said it was shaping up to be the third-highest number of abuse claims in an archdiocese or religious order bankruptcy in recent memory. In the case of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, there were more than 500. In the Jesuits’ Oregon Province case, there were about 460.

A Twin Cities archdiocesan legal representative could not be reached for comment.

The archdiocese filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in January, citing an operating deficit and sex abuse lawsuits.

There is hope that the archdiocese’s many insurance policies will cover the claims, but the insurance companies have reportedly pushed back and how much eventual coverage will be available is unresolved.

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Deadline Reached For Bankruptcy Claims Against Twin Cities Archdiocese

MINNESOTA
CBS Minnesota

Esme Murphy

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Monday at 5 p.m. was the deadline for filing a claim against the Twin Cities Archdiocese.

As of Monday evening, the Archdiocese is facing $25.6 million in claims, but that figure will jump dramatically. Of the 655 claims against the Archdiocese, more than 400 are from victims of clergy abuse.

A bankruptcy court will decide at a later date how much those claims are worth, and there was a last minute rush Monday to beat the deadline.

At the offices of attorney Jeff Anderson the phone has not stopped ringing. Office coordinator Michelle Stoltz answered the phone all day.

“It’s been frantic, nonstop,” Stoltz said.

Stoltz said some victims waited until Monday to come forward and file a claim.

“I had a man tell me he was very nervous to call in,” Stoltz said. “He felt that God was going to strike him dead.”

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Attorneys say sex abuse claims against Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis surpass 400

MINNESOTA
Star Tribune

By Jean Hopfensperger Star Tribune AUGUST 3, 2015

Clergy sex abuse claims against the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis poured in as the 5 p.m. deadline approached Monday. By the end of the day, the scope of the church’s problem was more clear: Attorneys counted more than 400 claims.

Attorneys representing sex abuse victims had been working around the clock to prepare the claims, stemming from the sexual abuse of children by dozens of Catholic priests over decades.

“It’s been very busy, both over the weekend and today,” said Mike Finnegan, an attorney with the St. Paul law firm of Jeff Anderson & Associates. “There’s a lot of people with a lot of questions, some breaking their silence for the first time.”

An official count was not available from the bankruptcy court as of the filing deadline, but 370 claims had been filed as of Monday morning.

Finnegan said the 400 claims tallied represent the third highest number filed against a Catholic institution in bankruptcy. That is partly due to the large number of Catholics in the archdiocese, he said. There are about 800,000 Catholics in the 12-county metro area.

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Ballarat anger over child sex abuse royal commission hearings moving to Melbourne

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

Survivors of child sexual abuse in Ballarat are up in arms over the royal commission’s decision to move the hearings to Melbourne later this year.

The commission expects to hear from former bishop of Ballarat, Ronald Mulkearns, and Cardinal George Pell, when it continues its inquiry into Ballarat’s Catholic Church in November.

However, the Ballarat and District Survivors Group said it was not consulted on the decision and called for the hearings to be held in the city.

Spokesman Andrew Collins said it was an important part of the community’s healing process.

“The next step is to try and get the hearings moved to Ballarat or at least the bulk of the hearings here, otherwise it just won’t have the same impact,” he said.

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Chicago priest faraway from ministry after supplies discovered on pc

CHICAGO (IL)
Observer Chronicle

Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich has faraway from ministry a former director of Casa Jesus, a famend archdiocese coaching program for Latin American males who aspire to develop into clergymen, after supplies have been discovered on a pc in his possession, the archdiocese stated Monday on its web site.

The Rev. Octavio Munoz Capetillo had lately been assigned pastor of St. Pancratius Church on Chicago’s Southwest Aspect.

“Given the character of the fabric, we reported our considerations to the civil authorities and can cooperate absolutely of their investigation,” the archdiocese stated in a press release. “Within the interim, Archbishop Cupich has withdrawn Father Munoz’s … authority to minister.”

Chicago police have opened a legal investigation into the matter, Anthony Guglielmi, a police spokesman, stated Monday.

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