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 3, 2015

FR. OCTAVIO MUNOZ REMOVED FROM MINISTRY DURING CIVIL INVESTIGATION

CHICAGO (IL)
WLS

[with video]

CHICAGO (WLS) — According to the Chicago Archdiocese, St. Pancratius pastor and former Casa Jesus rector Father Octavio Munoz Capetillo has been removed from his ministry during a civil investigation.

Munoz served as associate director of Casa Jesus, a program that recruited Latin American men into the priesthood, from 2008 to 2009 and as director from 2009 to 2015. In July, he was transferred from Holy Name Cathedra to St. Pancratius in Brighton Park.

The Archdiocese posted a message on their website Monday saying the removal is “pending resolution of material found on a computer in his possession.” The Archdiocese says due to the nature of that material, they reported concern to civil authorities and are cooperating with their investigation.

An Archdiocese spokesperson said that they contacted the Cook County State’s Attorney after finding “sexual images and material,” but did not offer any further details. The spokesperson also said that Munoz’s transfer to St. Pancratius happened before church leaders learned of the materials in question.

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 child abuse claims emerged after judge vowed to uncover truth about politicians

UNITED KINGDOM
Mirror

3 AUGUST 2015

BY TOM PETTIFOR

Lowell Goddard launched Britain’s largest public inquiry into historical abuse from the “corridors of power” to the poorest parts of the country

Child sex claims against former PM Sir Edward Heath have emerged after a judge vowed to uncover the truth about abuse by politicians.

Lowell Goddard launched Britain’s largest public inquiry into historical abuse from the “corridors of power” to the poorest parts of the country.

The New Zealand judge said: “No one, no matter how apparently powerful, will be allowed to obstruct our inquiries. No one will have immunity from scrutiny.”

Heath is the first former Prime Minister to be linked to child sex abuse allegations that have swept across Westminster since Labour MP Tom Watson made allegations of an paedophile ring linked to Downing Street in 2012.

A raft of politicians from across the political spectrum has been accused of abusing children, including the late former cabinet minister Leon Brittan, Liberal Democrat Sir Cyril Smith and current Labour peer and former MP Lord Janner.

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.

Statement on Father Octavio Munoz Capetillo

CHICAGO (IL)
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago
Arquidiócesis de Chicago

August 3, 2015

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.

The Archdiocese is committed to ensuring those serving our parishioners are fit for ministry. Archbishop Cupich offers his assurance of prayers and solidarity with the community at St. Pancratius, knowing that this development is unsettling and he pledges to provide updates on this situation as they become available.

_____________________

Declaración en torno al Padre Octavio Muñoz Capetillo

3 de agosto de 2015

El 27 de julio de 2015, el Arzobispo Blase J. Cupich separó de su ministerio al Padre Octavio Muñoz Capetillo, párroco de San Pancracio, en espera de la resolución de una investigación sobre un material encontrado en una computadora que él tenía consigo. Dada la naturaleza del material, comunicamos a las autoridades civiles nuestras preocupaciones y cooperaremos plenamente en la investigación. En el ínterin, el Arzobispo Cupich ha retirado al Padre Muñoz sus facultades, su autoridad para ministrar. Se nombrará un administrador quien se encargará de los deberes del Padre Muñoz en San Pancracio, mientras que el Padre Muñoz residirá fuera de la parroquia hasta que se resuelva el asunto.

La Arquidiócesis tiene el firme compromiso de asegurarse de que aquellas personas que sirven a nuestros feligreses son aptos para el ministerio. El Arzobispo Cupich ofrece sus oraciones y su solidaridad a la comunidad de San Pancracio, a sabiendas de que estas noticias son inquietantes, y promete que estará dando actualizaciones sobre esta situación a medida que se produzca nueva información sobre el caso.

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.

Chicago priest removed from ministry after materials found on computer

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Tribune

By Manya Brachear Pashman and Jeremy Gorner
Chicago Tribune

Chicago police have confirmed a criminal investigation has been opened into a parish priest who was removed from ministry by the Chicago Archdiocese after it said materials were found on a computer in his possession.

The confirmation from police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi came after the diocese disclosed Monday on its website that the Rev. Octavio Munoz Capetillo had been removed as pastor of St. Pancratius Church on Chicago’s Southwest Side.

“Given the nature of the material, we reported our concerns to the civil authorities and will cooperate fully in their investigation,” the archdiocese said in a statement. “In the interim, Archbishop (Blase) Cupich has withdrawn Father Munoz’s … authority to minister.”

Munoz, who was removed from ministry July 27, will reside away from St. Pancratius until the matter is resolved, the archdiocese said. A temporary administrator will be appointed to assume his duties at the parish.

Until his recent appointment at the church, Munoz had been director of Casa Jesus, a renowned archdiocese training program for Latin American men who aspire to become priests. In that role from 2008 to 2015, Munoz, a native of Mexico, sought candidates for the priesthood from Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador and other Latin American countries in hopes of recruiting clergy who more accurately reflected the church in Chicago.

Munoz, who was ordained in 2004, was first assigned to St. Agnes Catholic Church in Chicago Heights.

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.

“They trusted him completely,” Former Shawnee youth pastor arraigned on sex crime charges

OKLAHOMA
KFOR

JULY 30, 2015, BY ABBY BROYLES

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

Brian Burchfield is accused of sending inappropriate text messages to teenage boys who attend a church he once worked for in Shawnee.

We’re told Burchfield was the youth pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church for several years and gained the trust of some teenage boys in the youth group.

Police tell us they’ve talked to four of those boys in the past week who told them their text conversations with Burchfield were starting to make them uncomfortable.

Police tell us Burchfield would ask the boys for pictures of themselves and talk to them about pornography.

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.

Salvos knowingly promoted abuser: report

AUSTRALIA
news.com.au

THE Salvation Army failed in its response to numerous allegations made against its officers, a royal commission report into child sexual abuse has found.

THE report, released on Monday, found several allegations submitted to high-ranking members of the Salvation Army had not been investigated, while others had been mishandled and victims were left in the dark.

In one case, an officer rose through the ranks of the army despite admitting to abusing an eight-year-old girl.

The victim’s mother previously told the commission she was “in disbelief” when Salvation Army officer Colin Haggar visited her in 1989 and said: “It wasn’t that serious, I only fingered her.”

Haggar admitted the abuse and was dismissed, but rejoined the army three years later and was promoted.

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.

Youth pastor’s arrest affects two churches

OKLAHOMA
Baptist News

By Bob Allen

Two prominent Southern Baptist churches in Oklahoma are cooperating with police after the arrest of a youth pastor charged with sending inappropriate text messages to four boys at his former congregation.

Police in Shawnee, Okla., arrested Brian Burchfield, 42, July 29 on charges of soliciting sex with a minor and computer crimes. At the time of his arrest Burchfield was serving as young adult pastor at Quail Springs Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, but his alleged crimes involve four teenage boys ranging from 14 to 17 years old he met at Immanuel Baptist Church in Shawnee, Okla., where he reportedly served from June 2006 to April 2014.

Last year Quail Springs Baptist Church was host church for the annual meeting of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. At the meeting Hance Dilback, the church’s pastor since 2003, was elected president of the state affiliate of the Southern Baptist Convention.

The pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church, Todd Fisher, was president of the state convention’s pastor’s conference in 2013 and is a former trustee of Oklahoma Baptist University.

According to the Southern Baptist Convention membership database, Immanuel Baptist Church has 5,141 members and average attendance of 850, while Quail Springs has 4,808 members: and average attendance of 1,446.

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.

Do the U.S. Bishops get it?

UNITED STATES
Religion News Service – Spiritual Politics

Mark Silk | Aug 3, 2015

It’s been 30 years since Jason Berry broke the Catholic sex abuse story by courageously reporting on the case of serial abuser Fr. Gilbert Gauthe in Louisiana. When national publications refused to touch the story, Berry published his investigation in the Times of Acadiana, and that little paper proved to be the mouse that roared. The National Catholic Reporter immediately took the plunge and before long the mainstream media lost its fear of reporting how bishops systematically put the protection of their clergy and their church’s reputation ahead of the protection of minors.

NCR marked the anniversary last month with a tough editorial, which has drawn an appropriately non-confrontational response from Bishop Edward J. Burns of Juneau, Alaska, chairman of the Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People of the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops. To his credit, Burns acknowledges that the church’s considerable effort to establish a safe environment for children should not be taken as “a sign that we have somehow put this scandal behind us, nor is it an occasion for self-congratulation…Rather, our shepherds, myself included, need to face and repent of the betrayal of trust. Authentic and heartfelt repentance by the shepherds of our church is not a distraction from our mission: It is the mission at this moment in the life of the church and her leaders.”

So what’s wrong with this?

What’s wrong is that, after 30 years, we are well past the “facing up and repenting” phase of the scandal — and (finally) into the “consequences for misbehaving bishops” phase. Burns makes no reference to Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City-St. Joseph and Archbishop John Nienstedt of Minneapolis-St. Paul, both of whom were clearly forced by the Vatican to resign this year for their handling of abuse cases. Nor does he note the tribunal that has been established by Pope Francis to deal with bishops charged with covering up and/or failing to report admitted or suspected abusers.

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.

Share your experience

UNITED KINGDOM
Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

The Inquiry has launched a new area called Share your experience developed specifically for victims and survivors wishing to share their experience with the Inquiry team. A key part of this is the publication of a new form and further guidance for victims and survivors. Both of these documents are designed to help victims and survivors through the process of contacting the Inquiry and sharing their experience. All the information provided to the Inquiry will feed into the Truth Project – the strand of the inquiry that will allow victims and survivors of child sexual abuse to share their experiences with the Inquiry.

More information about The Truth Project.

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

In Search Of Cardinal Bernard Law

BOSTON (MA)/ROME
WGBH

By PHILLIP MARTIN

When Bernard Cardinal Law, Archibishop of Boston, fled to the Vatican in 2002, he left behind a trail of human and financial wreckage: 550 victims abused by parish priests and court judgments that eventually topped $85 million.

Meanwhile, Law was assigned a comfortable post in Rome, where he disappeared from the headlines.

Law led America’s fourth-largest archdiocese for 18 years. His reputation as a public figure peaked during Boston’s court-ordered school desegregation crisis, when the cardinal emerged as a steadying voice of sanity. However, as his role as the architect of the abuse cover-up emerged, first in the Boston Phoenix, then in the Boston Globe, Law was transformed into a pariah. With permission from Pope John Paul II, he resigned in 2002 ahead of the mandatory age of 75. Law was subsequently appointed head of Santa Marie Maggiore, one of the most significant basilicas in Rome. He retired from that post in 2011. Where is he now? What has he been doing since then?

Like many searches these days, this one begins with Google, in a café in Rome. I comb through recent articles, but none from 2015. And I come across an excerpt from Wikipedia that reads, “It was ‘commonly believed that [Law would] live out his retirement in Rome’ when he was retired in 2011. As of March 2013 he was still living at the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore.” So that’s where I’m headed.

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.

OF HUMAN INTEREST

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Berger’s Beat

BARRISTER KEN CHACKES is now repping the mother of a young boy who police say was sexually violated by a priest at the Cathedral parish school in the CWE. That cleric, Fr. Joseph Jiang, recently became the first religious figure in Missouri to sue police, prosecutors and other claiming they “conspired” to violate his constitutional rights because of racism and anti-Catholic animus. Meanwhile, SNAP (also being sued by Jiang) says in a new court filing that Archbishop Robert Carlson is behind the priest’s lawsuit.

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.

SNAP’s 2015 Conference: A Few Remarks and Teasers

UNITED STATES
Bilgrimage

William D. Lindsey

One of the reasons I’ve been slow to post in the past several days, dear readers, is that I’ve been at the national meeting of Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) in Alexandria, Virginia. Because I attended the meeting primarily to take part in the leaders’ gathering preceding the conference itself, I don’t have any kind of well-developed report of the conference to offer you. I didn’t attend a large number of presentations at the meeting.

At National Catholic Reporter’s website, Tom Fox has published the text of Tom Doyle’s address to the conference, which I didn’t hear (but have now read), and which is wonderful. It will give you a feel for the conference, I think, if you read it.

One of the experiences of this conference that I’ll treasure is having the opportunity to meet not only some of the national SNAP leaders about whom I’ve long read and whom I’ve long admired, but also members of the amazing Mennonite contingent who attended this conference. As any of you who have followed this blog for any length of time will know, I’ve featured the work of Ruth Krall and Stephanie Krehbiel here repeatedly. Both are Mennonite scholars involved in the discussion of sexual violence within their own religious community of origin, the Mennonite Church USA.

Ruth and Stephanie were at the conference, and I so much appreciate having had the opportunity to meet them and other Mennonite folks attending the conference (though I suspect that in giving Ruth a big goodbye hug yesterday, I thoughtlessly smashed her glasses against her face — and I cringe at the memory of my thoughtlessness). It may not be apparent to those of you who haven’t followed SNAP’s development what a big deal it is that SNAP now has a lively (and sizable) contingent of Mennonites involved in the organization’s work.

As many of you will know, SNAP began as something of a Catholic-specific organization. Its title indicates its early Catholic-specific focus: it’s a group that was started largely by people who had experienced sexual abuse by priests when they were minors (though there have been, from the beginning, also SNAP members whose abuse occurred at the hands of nuns).

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.

Reporting an Explosive Truth: The Boston Globe and Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church

UNITED STATES
Reporting an Explosive Truth: The Boston Globe and Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church – The Knight Case Study Initiatives, The Journalism School, Columbia University

Abstract

CSJ-09-0011.0 This case is about the calculus a news organization must make when it uncovers a story that incriminates the most powerful institution in its community. It also describes the personal toll on journalists of covering misdeeds in one’s own church. In August 2001, the Boston Globe’s new editor, Martin Baron, commissioned the paper’s investigative Spotlight Team to look into the case against Father John Geoghan, a Catholic priest charged with sexual abuse of children. Within a month, the team had begun to uncover many other instances of abuse by priests. The story was potentially explosive: Boston had the highest percentage of Catholics of any major US city. The Archdiocese, and Cardinal Bernard Law, were beloved and respected. The Globe and Law had a history of tense relations. The team suspended its research to cover the September 11 attacks, but picked it up again in October. As the pieces came together, it had to decide how to play what was a literally unbelievable story, how to manage a potential backlash from the community, and how to deal with the anticipated reaction from the Archdiocese. In November, it acquired a “smoking gun”—a document that implicated Cardinal Law. The Globe, which wanted to make certain its blockbuster story was faultless, was not fully ready to publish, but the document was public and rival news organizations could discover it. The team debated what to do.

Students discussing this case will have the opportunity to examine the special challenges of covering religion, especially the dominant religion in one’s own community. They will gain insight into how individual reporters process and cope with a horrific story. They can also explore investigative techniques; the Globe had to obtain most of its information over the active objections of the Catholic Church. Students will be introduced to Computer Assisted Reporting, as well as to court reporting. They will encounter the pressures of media competition. Finally, students should gain an understanding of the dynamics of team reporting, and how team members work together in the service of a story too large for any one of them.

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.

Does the Bishop to talk to his priest?

DEUTSCHLAND
Kirchenrecht

[“I always have time for you!” This sentence probably falls on every encounter a bishop with “his” priests, and he is – I suspect – make it clear that the Bishop also sees itself as chaplain, and that includes the pastoral care of his priests. This is a commendable attitude, and it finds its theological justification in the statement that the priests “take over the worries and responsibilities of bishops and realize so zealous in daily professional services rendered”, which is why the bishops should listen willingly (cf.. CD 16).]

“Ich habe immer Zeit für sie!” Dieser Satz fällt vermutlich auf jeder Begegnung eines Bischofs mit “seinen” Priestern, und er soll – so vermute ich – deutlich werden lassen, dass sich der Bischof auch als Seelsorger versteht, und dazu gehört auch die Seelsorge an seinen Priestern.

Dies ist eine lobenswerte Grundhaltung, und sie findet ihre theologische Begründung in der Aussage, dass die Priester “die Sorgen und Aufgaben der Bischöfe übernehmen und in täglicher Mühewaltung so eifrig verwirklichen”, weswegen die Bischöfe sie bereitwillig anhören sollen (vgl. CD 16). Auch sind die Bischöfe nicht nur gehalten, für eine gediegene Aus- und Fortbildung ihrer Priester Sorge zu tragen, sie sollen denen “mit tatkräftiger Sorge […] nachgehen, die irgendwie in Gefahr schweben oder sich in bestimmten Punkten verfehlt haben” (CD 16).

Gesetzlichen Niederschlag hat diese Aussage im can. 384 CIC gefunden, in dem dem Bischof die Pflicht auferlegt wird, die Priester mit besonderer Fürsorge zu begleiten.

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.

Religious order to stand trial over horrific abuse

UNITED KINGDOM
Dewsbury Reporter

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

Numerous allegations of horrific abuse by priests and teachers at St Peter’s seminary in Roe Head, Far Common Road, during the 1960s and 1970s have been made in recent years.

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

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

The Liverpool-born nurse is suing the Verona Fathers, the religious order behind the college, for the abuse he says he suffered when he was a child.

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.

Over het ‘bisdom’ Brugge:

BELGIE
Katholiek Actie Vlaanderen

[The promotion of pedophilia by the parish,

abusing their own relatives,

know and concealment of this ‘misdeeds’

the abuse of disabled children,

the cover-ups of these messages,]

De promotie van pedofilie door het parochieblad,

het misbruiken van de eigen familieleden,

het weten en verzwijgen van deze ‘euveldaden’,

het misbruiken van gehandicapte kinderen,

het doofpotten van deze berichten,

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.

Die Kirche im schwierigen Kampf gegen sexuelle Übergriffe

SCHWEIZ
SRF

[The sexual assaults by priests and religious have seriously damaged the image of the Catholic Church. In Switzerland many cases are time-barred. Perpetrators are often not identifiable. In early September a fund will be set up for victims of perpetrators within the church.]

Die sexuellen Übergriffe von Priestern und Ordensleuten haben dem Image der katholischen Kirche schwer geschadet. In der Schweiz sind viele Fälle verjährt. Täter sind oft nicht identifizierbar. Anfang September will die Kirche einen Fonds für Opfer einrichten.

Priester und Mönche sind Vorbilder. Sie vertreten eine Institution mit hohen moralischen Ansprüchen. «Jedes Mal, wenn ich mit einem Opfer zu tun habe, ist es für mich ein grosses Leiden», sagt Joseph Bonnemain. Er ist Sekretär des Fachgremiums «Sexuelle Übergriffe im kirchlichen Umfeld» und selber Priester. «Die Übergriffe belasten während Jahrzehnten ein Leben und machen Menschen zum Teil krank», fügt er hinzu.

Die Schweizer Bischöfe riefen 2010 Opfer sexueller Übergriffe im kirchlichen Umfeld auf, sich zu melden. Rund 200 Opfer meldeten sich. 182 mutmassliche Täter wurden erfasst, lediglich 20 Strafverfahren gegen katholische Priester und Mönche in dieser Zeit eröffnet. Der Haken dabei: Viele Täter sind gestorben, die meisten Fälle verjährt.

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

New research on children’s views of safety

AUSTRALIA
Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

August 3, 2015

The research, “Taking Us Seriously: Children and young people talk about safety and institutional responses to their safety concerns” was conducted by the Australian Catholic University in partnership with Griffith University and the Queensland University of Technology.

In the research published today by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, children and young people have identified what institutions should do to help them feel safe and be safe.

The children and young people who participated in the research said that in order for them to feel safe and be safe institutions need to have a focus on helping children and young people, value their participation, provide a safe physical environment, proactively protect them from unsafe people and experiences and employ safe and trusted adults.

Children and young people in the study also identified what makes a good response to safety issues including that adults and institutions take the time to listen to them and to acknowledge their concerns when they arise.

Royal Commission Chief Executive Philip Reed said hearing directly from children and young people was key to the Royal Commission’s understanding of best practice in preventing and responding to institutional child sexual abuse.

“Children and young people’s participation was central to this project,” he said.

“As well as including the direct views of children themselves, this study was guided by three children and young people’s reference groups.

“The researchers have now launched an online survey which aims to explore the issues arising in the focus groups with a broader sample of Australian children and young people.”

Mr Reed said the findings will inform the Royal Commission’s work on child safe organisations.

“A child safe organisation is one that actively protects children and young people from sexual abuse.

“This research is one of a suite of research projects involving children and young people and will add to our work in examining what organisational characteristics, culture, policies and practices – such as codes of conduct, complaint handling procedures, recruitment and supervision processes – will help keep children safer in institutions.”

The aim of the research was to seek the views of children and young people about safety issues – including child sexual abuse – in institutions, and how these are best addressed.

The report presents findings from ten focus groups with 121 children and young people conducted in a range of institutional settings including out-of-home care, schools, youth activities and childcare centres.

Key findings:
The children and young people who participated in the focus groups generally agreed that institutions were safe when a number of conditions were met:

* Focused on helping children and young people. This is demonstrated in the way adults interact with children; things children can do there; and signs that children are welcome (eg child-friendly posters, pictures and play areas).

* Valued their participation. This is demonstrated in the way adults and children interact; the value the institution places on understanding children’s fears, concerns, needs and wishes; and in mechanisms in place for children to complain, shape strategies and provide feedback.

* Provided a safe physical environment. Children felt most safe in ordered and child-friendly environments. They valued physical signs such as fences, security cameras, cameras and locks, and felt the best way of determining whether the environment is safe is to observe how children behave there.

* Proactively protected children and young people from unsafe people and experiences. This is identifying issues early; informing children of potential threats and hazards; actively communicating with children and their safety concerns; employing safe and trusted adults, and being open to monitoring by an external agency.

* Employs safe and trusted adults who: care about children and young people, act in appropriate ways, are available when children and young people need them, are able to talk about sensitive issues, prioritise children’s needs and concerns over the needs of other adults and institutions, and who do what they say they will do.

Read the full report here.

Read the kids summary here.

The focus groups are part of a broader research project examining children and young people’s views of safety. The project also involves an online survey which is being launched today. For more information, visit Australian Catholic University -Learning Sciences Institute Australia – Australian Survey for Kids and Young People.

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.

Report of Case Study 10 released

AUSTRALIA
Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

3 August, 2015

The Royal Commission’s Report of Case Study no.10 – the Salvation Army’s handling of claims of child sexual abuse 1989 to 2014 was released today.

This is the second case study report released into The Salvation Army. The report for Case Study 5 was released in March 2015.

The public hearing was held in March 2014 and examined The Salvation Army’s Eastern Territory’s (covering New South Wales, Queensland and the ACT) response to claims of child sexual abuse at children’s homes it operated, the experience of people who made complaints and the disciplining of officers who were subject to allegations.

A number of the claimants gave evidence to the Royal Commission that they were concerned that The Salvation Army’s claims process was not clear. The claimants also said they were unaware of what matters were considered in the determination of ex-gratia payments.

The Commissioners found that in a number of claims examined in the case study The Salvation Army did not clearly explain the claims process including what steps it would take to discipline officers or members of The Salvation Army who were implicated by the claimants.

The Commissioners also found that in a number of the claims, The Salvation Army did not give the victims an opportunity to respond to the information it had obtained. This included not giving the victims the opportunity to respond to information it had obtained that contradicted or was adverse to the victim’s evidence. The Commissioners found The Salvation Army relied on this contrary or adverse information, to determine a low or reduced ex-gratia payment.

The case study also considered allegations of sexual abuse against Captain Colin Haggar.

In 1989 Captain Colin Haggar admitted to sexually abusing an eight-year-old girl at the Salvation Army Citadel in a central west New South Wales country town. As a result of a meeting of the Officers Review Board (ORB) both Captain Haggar and his wife, Captain Kerry Haggar, were dismissed as officers.

In 1993 the Haggars were permitted to return to their positions as captains of The Salvation Army. Colin Haggar then served in a number of managerial positions within The Salvation Army including at Samaritan House and Carinya Cottage. In 2012 he was promoted to lieutenant-colonel.

The Commissioners found Colin Haggar occupied a position of managerial responsibility for children even though he had admitted to sexually abusing a child. The Commissioners found that The Salvation Army should not have promoted Colin Haggar to the rank of lieutenant-colonel.

The Commissioners found that Commissioner James Condon was, from 3 September 2012, required to report to the New South Wales Ombudsman the allegation of sexual abuse of a girl in 1989 by Colin Haggar as soon as Colin Haggar became responsible for Samaritan House and Carinya Cottage.

Commissioner James Condon did not take steps to report the allegation to the Ombudsman until 10 December 2013 because he had received equivocal legal advice as to whether he was required to report.

The Commissioners also found that from 15 June 2013, The Salvation Army had an obligation under section 35 of the Child Protection (Working with Children) Act 2012 (NSW) to notify the New South Wales Children’s Guardian that in 1990 it had dismissed Colin Haggar.

Read the full report.

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.

Monday deadline to file priest abuse claims

MINNESOTA
KARE

ST. PAUL, Minn – Victims of clergy sex abuse in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis must file their claims by 5 p.m. Monday.

The Aug. 3 deadline was challenged by victims’ attorneys, who asked a U.S. bankruptcy court judge to honor a May 2016 deadline – the same filing cutoff for all other abuse victims in Minnesota. But, last week, Judge Robert Kressel reaffirmed his April decision, designed to expedite the archdiocese’s reorganization plan.

The archdiocese filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in January following a wave of clergy abuse lawsuits. Minnesota Public Radio News reports more than 400 creditors had filed claims. Abuse victims accounted for more than 250 of them.

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Jehovah’s Witness Church inquiry resumes

AUSTRALIA
Sky News

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

In the witness stand on day five of the hearing will be church elders and officials from Watchtower Bible Tract Society of Australia – the church’s legal entity.

Last week the commission heard from two women who who went through the Witnesses internal process for dealing with sex abuse allegations.

They revealed they were required to confront their abusers when they gave evidence at an internal judicial hearing before three elders – all men.

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Bible joust at abuse hearing

AUSTRALIA
news.com.au

A ROYAL commission has heard that Jehovah’s Witnesses rely on a biblical text, which also recommends the stoning of adulterous women, when it comes to judging child sex abusers in their midst.

BUT in the case of child abusers, the Book of Deuteronomy rule about needing two witnesses to a wrongdoing is applied, which in effect means it is highly unlikely the allegation against the abuser will be proved.

The Book of Deuteronomy is the fifth book of the Hebrew Bible, and of the Jewish Torah and sets out rules and laws based on Moses’ teachings before the Israelites entered the Promised Land.

At the national hearing into how the theocratic church handles allegations of child sex abuse, Elder John de Rooy on Monday quoted Deuteronomy.

“No single witness may convict another for any error or any sin he may commit. On the testimony of two witnesses rules, or on the testimony of three witnesses the matter should be established.”

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Child sex abuse royal commission …

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

Child sex abuse royal commission: Salvation Army commissioner took year to report that officer allegedly sexually abused girl, report finds

A Salvation Army commissioner failed to report to authorities for more than a year an allegation that one of its officers had sexually abused an eight-year-old girl, the child sex abuse royal commission has found.

Captain Colin Haggar admitted to sexually abusing the girl in the state’s central-west in 1989.

After initially being dismissed, he was later given a position with managerial responsibility for children within the Salvation Army.

In a report handed down on Monday, the royal commission found commissioner James Condon was required to report the allegation to the state’s Ombudsman in September 2012, as soon as Captain Haggar was given the new role.

However, Mr Condon failed to report the matter to the Ombudsman until December 2013 because, the report said, “he had received equivocal legal advice as to whether he was required to report”.

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Friend of Pope Francis: ‘What Happened in America Hurt Him’

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
NBC Philadelphia

[with video]

By Karen Araiza

When Pope Francis comes to Philadelphia, friend and former colleague Silvia Tuozzo expects he may bring a “healing message” that addresses deep wounds left by the priest sex abuse scandal.

Before he was elected pope, Tuozzo was hired by Father Jorge Bergoglio in 2007 to help run the television station for the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires, Argentina. She saw him or spoke with him almost daily.

“What happened in America hurt him as a priest,” Tuozzo said from a balcony in the center of Buenos Aires that looks out over the Cathedral where Archbishop Bergoglio said Mass and served the people of his homeland.

Although he was a stern boss who rarely smiled, according to Tuozzo, the themes you hear Pope Francis talk about when he visits Philadelphia the last weekend of September, will be themes he has believed in and preached about for years.

“He has always spoken about a God of mercy. Since the first day. He really believes in a God of mercy. He really believes in love; love as healing. And I think he understands the pain in people,” Tuozzo said. “I think he needs to heal the people [in the United States] and I think he will go with a healing program to America.”

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Sex predator welcomed back by church

AUSTRALIA
Sky News

The Jehovah’s Witnesses reinstated a man to the church after he repented leaving his wife, despite being accused of sexually preying on his four daughters, a royal commission has been told.

Less than three years after the man was stood down by the Witnesses for ‘loose conduct and lying’, he was welcomed back with the approval of church congregations in Queensland.

The man referred to as BCH was jailed in 2004 for multiple sexual offences against his daughter BCG, but his confession and her evidence were not enough to convince the church to expel him for child sex abuse.

BCH was stood down for leaving his wife and moving in with another woman.

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Jehovah’s Witnesses let ‘repentant’ child sex abusers return to church

AUSTRALIA
The Guardian

Australian Associated Press
Sunday 2 August 2015

The Jehovah’s Witnesses church let “repentant” child sex abusers return to the congregation, who were then kept in the dark about their crimes, an alleged abuse victim has claimed.

John de Rooy, an elder in a Mareeba, Queensland, congregation in the early 1990s, was on a church judicial committee which heard a complaint from a woman who alleged her father had abused her and her three sisters.

The woman, given the pseudonym BCG, has given evidence her father repeatedly sexually abused her but the church’s committee found her allegations were unproven.

Last week BCG said the elders refused to accept the evidence of her sisters or her mother.

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August 2, 2015

Catholic Church failing to honour royal commission compassion pledge, alleged sex abuse victim Gina Swannell says

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

By the National Reporting Team’s Lorna Knowles

A woman who alleges she suffered horrific child sexual abuse at the hands of a priest has accused the Catholic Church of failing to honour its pledge to treat victims with more compassion.

Gina Swannell is suing the church for damages in relation to sexual abuse she allegedly suffered when she was six years old at the St Francis Xavier boarding school in Urana, New South Wales.

Ms Swannell said the order of nuns which ran the school, the Presentation Sisters, had offered to mediate but the Church had declined to do so, leaving her to take her claim to the courts.

“People need to know that [what] is happening behind closed doors is not what they are saying to the public,” she said.

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“Sex Abuse Is a Plague in the Ultra Orthodox Community” According to Author Judy Brown

UNITED STATES
Frum Follies

Sexual abuse was a plague in the [ultra orthodox Jewish] community… because they denied its existence, allowing pedophiles full freedom to sexually molest children.

Before I ever wrote a word of “Hush,” I had written for years in the ultra-Orthodox world. My writings were taught in their schools. Being a writer brought me readers, and they would tell me their stories. And more and more of them were about sexual abuse…

You begin to hear a pattern. Something happened… but you can’t think about it in a world where it is denied. You deny it to yourself… You just think about it as an isolated event. You think this isn’t the community. It’s just me or her or him…

This isn’t some theoretical concept. It’s young adults committing suicide one after another. It’s people who go through hellish agony trying to untangle themselves and deal with the trauma. It’s knowing that as long as you are silent there’s another person you are literally killing. For me that book [Hush] was survival. So the ugliness that it unleashed was a nightmare to deal with. It’s something that still hurts me to think about. I guess it always will.

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The Kiwi who’s cleaning up the church for Pope Francis

NEW ZEALAND
Stuff

ADAM DUDDING

Take the motorway north across Auckland’s Harbour Bridge and in 15 minutes you’ll reach Albany.

There the once-green rolling hills are carpeted with light-industrial business parks – hectare after hectare of grey, low-rise boxes clumped into small groups around a carpark, with a roadside sign vaguely hinting at what might be going on inside.

In one of these grey boxes, a stone’s throw from the Albany Expressway interchange, the occupants include an animal-exporting business, a builder who’s never there, a web design company, and a smiley, white-haired Yorkshireman in his late 60s who occupies a small office with a computer, a meeting table and a view of a roundabout. His name is Bill Kilgallon, and his job is to help dig the Catholic Church out of a deep, ugly hole.

Since the mid-1980s, when the first reports of sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests began to appear in the US, the scandal has mushroomed: the American church has spent a reported $3 billion settling lawsuits with victims. Abuse in church-run boys’ school in Ireland was described in a 2009 report as having been at “epidemic” levels. Senior church officials have been sacked for moving known paedophile priests from diocese to diocese, or even between countries. Last year Pope Francis reportedly told an Italian journalist that as many as 1 in 50 members of the Catholic clergy was an abuser.

In New Zealand, meanwhile, at least a dozen priests or members of Catholic orders have been convicted of sexually abusing children.

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August 1, 2015

Last papal visit traumatic for some abuse victims

PENNSYLVANIA
The Morning Call

Bill White
THE MORNING CALL
bill.white​@mcall.com

Robert Corby of Bethlehem tells a story about the time ex-football star Franco Harris visited Northampton Community College to lead a town hall meeting about how Penn State handled the Jerry Sandusky scandal.

Corby, now 80, who says he was a victim of child sexual abuse by a priest, decided to attend, and at some point, very nervously, he stood up to speak about what happened to him. “I’m not here to question Joe Paterno’s motives,” he says he began. “I’m here to speak for all the victims of sexual abuse.”

He was rewarded with applause — and a surprise when the event ended. “An old guy came down the aisle, tears running down his face,” Corby recalled. “He said, ‘Thank you for speaking up for the victims.'”

The first time I met Corby, we were at Juliann Bortz’s kitchen table seven years ago, talking about Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to the United States and the toll it was taking on people who were victims of sexual abuse by priests.

Including them.

Benedict’s first U.S. visit rekindled anger and anxiety over the betrayal by pedophile priests and the church leaders who allowed their crimes to continue. Bortz, then local coordinator for the Survivors Network of Those Abused By Priests — known as SNAP — was bombarded with phone calls from emotional survivors.

Bortz, then 58, was one of several victims who years ago sued the Allentown Diocese and church officials for systematically covering up years of abuse, including her alleged molestation by a teacher at Allentown Central Catholic High School when she was 14. The case was blocked by the state’s statute of limitations.

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Tom Doyle addresses priest sex abuse survivors

WASHINGTON (DC)
National Catholic Reporter

Thomas C. Fox | Aug. 1, 2015

ALEXANDRIA, VA — Dominican Father Thomas Doyle, who has worked with survivors of priest sex abuse for more than three decades, said Friday he continues to grapple with its full dimensions.

“It just seems too big to get my head around,” he said.

Dolye spoke Friday at the 2015 gathering of SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests), which drew several hundred abuse survivors and supporters to the Westin Alexandria hotel here.

He mused, considering the many years of work survivor supporters have been engaged in, adding the when they got into the work “there was no plan.” Those who got into efforts to bring priest sex abuse to the full attention of the church and force bishops to be accountable, he said, “still did not understand the widespread nature of sex abuse within the church.”

“We only knew the shocking reality that a few Catholic priests had sexually molested by rape and other forms of sexual violation, a number of Catholic children. … Before long however, some began to get glimpses of a far more treacherous and complex reality that was hidden behind the
Doyle, who has testified in numerous civil suits on behalf of sex abuse survivors, confirmed he met recently with four members of the Vatican commission appointed by Pope Francis to advise him on sex abuse. Recently, a book on Doyle’s life and work with survivors was published on Amazon.

The following is the text of his July 31 remarks.

1. In the beginning there was no plan

When the reality of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy gradually emerged into the light back in 1984 and 85, there was no plan. Those of us who were involved back then and who are still around, Jason Berry, Jeff Anderson, Ray Mouton, Tom Fox and myself, among others, only knew the shocking reality that a few Catholic priests had sexually molested by rape and other forms of sexual violation, a number of Catholic children. The predatory priest who brought it all to the surface, Gilbert Gauthe, was a true pedophile with scores of pre-pubescent little boys left in his wake. Hence the inaccurate label, “The Pedophile Priest Problem.”

No one had any idea of the magnitude of the issue. In fact, I don’t think any of us even knew what the real issue was other than the fact that a few families had openly denounced Gauthe and in time a few other priests, to Church authorities.

Before long however, some began to get glimpses of a far more treacherous and complex reality that was hidden behind the thin cover of the few known cases of sexual abuse. Ray Mouton, Mike Peterson and I began to see some of the indicators as events rapidly unfolded in 1985, but we could not possibly have comprehended the monster that was slowly showing itself.

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Royal commission examines Jehovah Witnesses cover-up

AUSTRALIA
The Saturday Paper

In the West Australian Wheatbelt town of Narrogin, they wait for Armageddon. They wait for Jehovah’s angels to empty the vials of his wrath, turning the oceans into blood and fracturing the land with “a great earthquake, such as was not seen since men were upon the earth”. The vast fields that surround their town will no longer yield crops; the voices of avenging angels will sound like trumpets in the sky. Despite numerous revisions to their prophecies, the Jehovah’s Witnesses believe End Times are imminent. This eschatology remains central to their faith – their expectation that the world will be violently purged. Politics is anathema, a vain repudiation of this final reckoning. It is what explains their tireless evangelising – it’s pointless to change a world that will be destroyed, the real game is changing souls.

BCB – a pseudonym appointed by the royal commission into child abuse – was a young girl living on her family’s farm in the Wheatbelt. About 1979, her parents decided she should change schools to the nearby town of Narrogin. Her mother was a Jehovah’s Witness, and decided they should change to the Narrogin congregation as a matter of convenience. “The Sunday and Wednesday meetings of the Narrogin congregation were held at the Narrogin Kingdom Hall and were attended by the whole congregation,” BCB said in tearful testimony this week. “At these meetings, one of the elders would usually deliver a public talk from the platform based on a reading from The Watchtower magazine, or give a talk from the Bible. At these meetings, the elders would also lead question-and-answer sessions and give specific training about our door-to-door preaching.

“Bill Neill was one of two elders. At the time I understood that Bill’s position as an elder gave him authority in the Jehovah’s Witness community. I looked up to Bill because he was an elder. Everybody in the congregation respected and trusted Bill, including my mum.”

Neill would serially molest BCB throughout the 1980s. But compounding the trauma of this abuse was the congregation’s disastrous – and yet entirely predictable – response to it.

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Why Pope Francis has work cut out in changing Church

NORTHER IRELAND
Belfast Telegraph

By Alf McCreary
PUBLISHED
01/08/2015

In this month’s edition of the National Geographic Magazine, there is a front page picture with the headline “Pope Francis remakes the Vatican”. However, on the inside there is a more subtle headline across two pages, which accords with my own point of view. It reads “Will the Pope change the Vatican, or will the Vatican change the Pope?”

This cuts to the heart of the current debate about the remarkable Pope Francis, who made headlines by being the first Latin-American, and the first Jesuit, to become Pontiff, and the first to adopt the name of St Francis.

He was reputedly a strong contender to succeed Pope John Paul II previously, but the cardinals elected the scholarly German Joseph Ratzinger, who became Pope Benedict XVI, and who was also the first to resign since Pope Gregory II was forced to do so in the mid-15th century.

Pope Francis has been a breath of fresh air compared to his studious, gentle and shy predecessor. He has most of the qualities required for an age when leadership is scrutinised in such depth.

He has charisma and a knack for providing the right picture opportunities and soundbites to connect with ordinary people and to consolidate his reputation as a man for the poor. There is no doubt that this public image reflects the views of the private man but, as the spiritual leader of 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide, he faces an enormous task to modernise the Vatican and to make it fit for Church leadership in the 21st century. …

At heart, there is a struggle between his reforming zeal, and the vested interests within the Vatican who see any change as a threat, and who will resist many of his serious attempts to make the Catholic Church fit for purpose. At last year’s special gathering of cardinals, the Pope received a frosty reception for some of his proposed new measures. That is why he rounded on the cardinals in a Christmas message when he outlined what he regarded as some of the “diseases” of the Vatican Curia, or civil service. He accused them of gossip, worldly profit and other “vainglory” characteristics, which was likely to increase their opposition to him, rather than reduce it.

There seems to be a battle of ideologies going on, and Pope Francis, at 78, does not have time on his side. He is undoubtedly a good man, but his major contribution may be to sow the seeds of change that will grow to fruition when he has gone.

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Prosecutors wants convicted ex-priest civilly committed

MASSACHUSETTS
WCVB

[with video]

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

Essex County prosecutors went before a Salem Superior Court judge Friday to start the process to have 72-year-old Ronald Paquin held in a state hospital as a sexually dangerous person.

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

A forensic psychologist testified at a probable cause hearing Friday that Paquin is still a dangerous sexual predator. The hearing was continued to Aug. 18.

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Lawsuit alleges child sexual abuse in Friends organization

OREGON
Portland Tribune

Written by Seth Gordon

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

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

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

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

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Hypocrisy in the Jehovah’s Witness Church laid bare at child abuse royal commission

AUSTRALIA
Daily Telegraph

JANET FIFE-YEOMANS THE DAILY TELEGRAPH AUGUST 01, 2015

THOSE fresh-faced, nice mannered and well-dressed young people who knock on your front door and leave behind a copy of their magazine Watchtower are all that most of us see of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

As they preach their particular brand of religion door-to-door, they can expect a range of reactions from a pleasant greeting to the door being slammed in their faces.

But they couldn’t have bargained for the reception they got at one house.

“From time to time a (Jehovah’s) Witness will come and knock on my door. I usually say I’m not interested,” a 43-year-old woman told the child sex abuse royal commission last week.

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Disgraced priest is jailed for 21 months for indecent assault on boy

UNITED KINGDOM
Portsmouth News

A DISGRACED priest has been jailed after being told by a judge his abuse of boys was a ‘gross breach of trust’.

Terry Knight, 77, appeared for sentencing at Portsmouth Crown Court after being found guilty during an earlier trial of indecently assaulting a 12-year-old boy.

It is the second time Knight has been convicted for offences in the 1980s at St Saviour’s Anglican Church in Stamshaw, Portsmouth.

Knight was jailed for three-and-a-half years in 1996 after admitting abusing seven boys aged between 11 and 14 between 1975 and 1985.

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