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.

November 2, 2015

UGA law school alumnus funds nation’s first child sexual abuse victim clinic

GEORGIA
University of Georgia

November 2, 2015

Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia School of Law will be the first in the nation to have an experiential learning opportunity dedicated solely to the assistance of victims of child sexual abuse.

The Wilbanks Child Endangerment and Sexual Exploitation Clinic will open January 2016. Initial funding for the clinic has been donated by Georgia Law alumnus Marlan B. Wilbanks, who received his Juris Doctor in 1986. It is expected that many of the clinic’s first clients will be those now eligible to bring civil charges against their abusers as a result of the passage of House Bill 17, the “Hidden Predator Act,” by the Georgia legislature.

“The act of sexually abusing a child is the attempted murder of a soul. I can see no more important task than protecting those in our society who too often have no voice,” said Wilbanks, a longtime advocate for child protection issues. “The underlying goal of this clinic will be to educate, prepare and sensitize the next generation of lawyers as to the ways victims can be protected. On behalf of the children and families who would otherwise not be able to avail themselves of legal assistance, I applaud the University of Georgia School of Law for its willingness to be the first law school in the nation to draw a line in the sand against child sexual abuse.”

Wilbanks, who was recognized by the Taxpayers Against Fraud Education Fund as the 2014 Lawyer of the Year, is the second Georgia Law alumnus involved in the DaVita Healthcare Partners false claims settlement agreement earlier this year who has chosen to make a significant investment in training for future attorneys.

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.

Lombardi: statement on arrest of former COSEA members

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) Vatican City authorities detained and arrested two people over the weekend, in connection with the unauthorized sharing of confidential documents. The two persons were the cleric, Msgr. Lucio Angel Vallejo Balda, and Dr. Francesca Chaouqui, who in the past were respectively secretary and member of the COSEA (Commission for Reference on the Organization of the Economic-Administrative Structure of the Holy See), established by the Pope in July 2013 and subsequently dissolved after the completion of its mandate. At the time the statement was issued, Dr. Chaouqui had been released from custody.

Below, please find Vatican Radio’s English translation of the communiqué from the Press Office of the Holy See regarding the developments

*********************************
As part of criminal investigations carried out by the Vatican Gendarmerie, which have been underway for several months, regarding the unauthorized removal and sharing of confidential documents, two people were summoned for questioning this past Saturday and Sunday [Oct. 31 and Nov. 1] on the basis of the evidence gathered and the indications thereof.

The two persons were the cleric, Msgr. Lucio Angel Vallejo Balda, and Dr. Francesca Chaouqui, who in the past were respectively secretary and member of the COSEA (Commission for Reference on the Organization of the Economic-Administrative Structure of the Holy See), established by the Pope in July 2013 and subsequently dissolved after the completion of its mandate.

Following the results of the interrogation these two people were held under arrest in view of the continuation of the investigation.

Today [Monday] the Office of the Promoter of Justice [the Vatican prosecutor] has, in the persons of Prof. Adv. Gian Piero Milano, Promoter of Justice, and Prof. Avv. Roberto Zannotti, Adjunct Promoter of Justice, confirmed the arrest of the aforesaid. The Promotor of Justice has taken the further step of releasing Dr. Chaouqui, against whom there were seen no evident reasons to keep her in custody, and also in view of her cooperation with the investigation.

The position of Msgr. Vallejo Balda remains under consideration of the Office of the Promoter of Justice.

It must be remembered that divulging confidential documents is a crime under the criminal code of the Vatican City State (Law IX, art. 10 and art. 116 bis c.p. – passed 13 July, 2013)

As for the books announced for the next few days it should be said clearly once again on this occasion as in the past, that they are the result of a serious betrayal of the trust placed in certain individuals by the Pope, and, as far as the authors are concerned, of an operation to draw advantage from a gravely unlawful act, i.e. the delivery of confidential documents, an operation, the legal and possibly penal implications of which are currently the object of study in view of possible further measures by the Prosecutor’s Office, which will resort, if necessary, to international cooperation.

Publications of this kind do not contribute in any way to the establishment of clarity and truth, but rather to the creation of confusion and partial and tendentious interpretations. We must absolutely avoid the mistake of thinking that this is a way to help the mission of the Pope.

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Vatican arrests two alleged moles behind books on money scandals

VATICAN CITY
Crux

By Inés San Martín
Vatican correspondent November 2, 2015

ROME — The Vatican on Monday announced interrogations and subsequent arrests of a cleric and of a laywoman, former insiders accused of passing confidential information on financial affairs to Italian journalists.

Spanish Monsignor Lucio Angel Vallejo Balda and Italian Francesca Chaouqui, who both served on a now-defunct financial reform commission, were identified by Vatican investigators as potential sources of leaked documents for two new books, set to hit the shelves in Italy this week, about Vatican finances.

Advance PR materials for both books have promised scores of previously secret Vatican documents, outlining various financial scandals.

According to a Vatican spokesman, both Vallejo and Chaouqui were called in on Saturday to the Vatican to testify, after “months of criminal investigation” about the “removal and dissemination of confidential documents.”

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.

Vatican Arrests 2 in Connection With Leaked Documents

VATICAN CITY
The New York Times

By ELISABETTA POVOLEDONOV. 2, 2015

ROME — The Vatican announced on Monday that two members of a commission set up by Pope Francis to study financial overhauls at the Holy See had been arrested on suspicion of leaking confidential documents to journalists.

The arrests come just days before the publication of two books — “Avarizia,” or “Avarice,” by Emiliano Fittipaldi, and “Merchants in the Temple” by Gianluigi Nuzzi — purporting to raise the lid on old and new scandals at the Vatican.

They also immediately added to the intrigue and infighting that appear to be intensifying around Francis, whose push for a more open Roman Catholic Church has met with stiffening resistance from traditionalists within the Vatican and beyond.

The two people arrested — Msgr. Lucio Angel Vallejo Balda and Francesca Chaouqui, a laywoman — were taken into custody by the Vatican police over the weekend, the Vatican said in a statement. Ms. Chaouqui was released on Monday after she agreed to cooperate with the investigation, the Vatican 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.

Vatican arrests two advisers over alleged links to leaked documents

VATICAN CITY
Washington Post

By Anthony Faiola November 2

BERLIN — The Vatican on Monday said it had arrested two members of a papal reform commission on suspicion of leaking classified information, opening a week of intrigue as the Holy See braces for two potentially damaging books purporting to reveal inside corruption.

The upcoming books — including one by Italian journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi whose 2012 book on a so-called “Vatileaks” scandal rocked the papacy of Pope Benedict XVI — are set to offer fresh revelations into fraud and mismanagement as well as challenges to Pope Francis’s push for reforms.

In a statement, the Vatican appeared to tie any bombshells in the upcoming books to two sources: Spanish priest Lucio Angel Vallejo Balda, former secretary of Francis’s financial and bureaucratic reform committee, and Francesca Chaouqui, an Italian public relations executive tapped in 2013 to bring a touch of modern thinking to the Holy See and who became known in some circles as the “the pope’s lobbyist.”

The Vatican said both suspects were brought in for questioning over the weekend, and were later held under arrest. Chaouqui was released on Monday after pledging to cooperate with the investigation, the Vatican said. Balda, however, was still being detained.

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.

BREAKING: Two Arrested Over Leak of Vatican Documents

VATICAN CITY
National Catholic Register

by Edward Pentin 11/02/2015

A monsignor and a woman who served on a financial reform commission set up by Pope Francis were arrested over the weekend suspected of leaking confidential information and documents.

A Vatican statement issued Monday said that Vatican prosecutors upheld the arrests of Francesca Chaouqui and Msgr. Lucio Angel Vallejo Balda. Chaouqui has since been freed because of her cooperation with the investigation, a Vatican spokesman said.

Both served on a now defunct commission, and Msgr. Vallejo Balda continues to work as a Vatican employee and secretary of COSEA, a body Francis set up in 2013 to advise the Pope on reform of Vatican finances.

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.

Prelate, ‘sex bomb’ arrested in new Vatileaks scandal

VATICAN CITY
GlobalPost

Agence France-Presse on Nov 2, 2015

The Vatican has arrested a Spanish prelate and social media expert for allegedly stealing and leaking classified documents in the second such scandal to hit the secretive institution in three years.

Monsignor Lucio Angel Vallejo Balda, 54, who served on a special commission set up by Pope Francis to advise him on economic reform within the Vatican, was arrested along with a second member of the commission, Francesca Chaouqui, who has been dubbed a “sex bomb”.

The arrests were part of a several months-long investigation into the “misappropriation and disclosure of classified documents and information”.

They followed Italian media reports at the weekend that Vatican police were investigating the attempted theft of a laptop belonging to Libero Milone, the head of the city state’s new finance office.

Both Vallejo Balda and social media expert Chaouqui, 33, were arrested but she was released by Vatican prosecutor Roberto Zannotti on Monday because she agreed to collaborate with investigators and was not considered a flight risk.

Chaouqui’s appointment to the economic committee, which was handpicked by the pope, caused no little embarrassment in 2013 when it emerged the woman dubbed a “sex bomb” by the Italian media had been highly critical of the Vatican on Twitter.

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Researchers find drop in giving in areas hit by sex abuse scandal

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

Vinnie Rotondaro | Nov. 2, 2015

Think of a map of Catholic America pockmarked with the equivalent of radiation zones, areas where the previously unseen consequences of the sex abuse crisis are beginning to become apparent.

The fallout? Thousands of Catholic abuse scandals in parish communities across the U.S. leading to direct, localized disaffiliation from the church, in turn precipitating substantial decline in charitable giving, affecting not only Catholic-run social service operations, but all social service operations in the scandalized communities.

This is the alarming new finding of an academic paper titled “Losing My Religion: The Effects of Religious Scandals on Religious Participation and Charitable Giving,” published in the September issue of the Journal of Public Economics.

Written by two Chilean-born economists, Nicolas L. Bottan and Ricardo Perez-Truglia, the paper identifies more than 3,000 scandal events throughout the United States from 1980 to 2010 and tracks how the scandals have affected religious affiliation and charitable giving.

It confirms a widely held belief among many social scientists that a causal relationship exists between religious affiliation and charitable giving. Indeed, the paper states that the “decline in charitable giving is an order of magnitude larger than the direct costs of the scandals to the Catholic churches (e.g., lawsuits).”

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EDITORIAL: The deep, lasting financial cost of sex abuse

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

NCR Editorial Staff | Nov. 2, 2015

The Catholic church has been deeply wounded by the abuse of minors by clergy and its cover-up. The personal tragedy of damaged individuals, lost lives and lost faith has been well-documented in these pages. The subsequent loss of trust in the institution has been documented here, too. But documentation about the actual financial cost of this crisis has been elusive.

With the publication of research by Jack Ruhl and Diane Ruhl, we have a dollar figure that we can pin on the crisis: $3.99 billion — at least. The Ruhls call their numbers “solid” but also “a very conservative estimate.”

Since 2004, the U.S. bishops’ National Review Board and their office of Child and Youth Protection have issued annual reports that capture some of that data, but we were never convinced those told a complete story. As the story points out, data from the bishops is self-reported and unaudited, and cooperation with the reports has never been 100 percent, especially in the early years and especially from religious orders. The Ruhls believe they have identified a gap of nearly a billion dollars between what they found and what the bishops have reported. (See story)

Their research also turned up reports of documents destroyed and hidden costs of the crisis. How much, for example, have bishops spent through their various state Catholic conferences lobbying against extending statute of limitations laws in childhood sex abuse cases? Those kinds of figures are nearly impossible to find.

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.

National–New studies show Catholic abuse crisis costs $4 billion

UNITED STATES
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

for immediate release: Monday, November 2

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

New studies show Catholic abuse crisis costs $4 billion

Two solid pieces of new research show that the cost of the Catholic church abuse and cover up crisis is at least $4 billion, much higher than bishops have previously disclosed. We’re not surprised. If powerful men will hide clergy sex crimes and cover ups, they’ll surely hide the costs of that wrongdoing too. …

We urge Catholics and former Catholics who have stopped donating to church officials give instead to organizations that expose child sex crimes, not institutions that enable child sex crimes.

And we urge everyone to remember who is responsible for this horrific pain and high cost: selfish bishops who fixate on advancing their clerical careers rather than protecting their vulnerable flocks.

A few years ago, Catholic researchers admitted that some 100,000 boys and girls in the US have been sexually assaulted by priests. We believe that’s a low estimate. Still, that’s the figure we beg citizens and Catholics to remember: the number of lives that have been devastated is more important than the number of dollars that have been paid out.

In the National Catholic Reporter, Diane and Jack Ruhl report that

–So far this year, US Catholic officials have made at least seven confidential settlements with victims.

–“There are no uniform reporting standards for public disclosure of financial records for U.S. Catholic dioceses. (Of) the 197 dioceses. . .NCR could find only 60 that had made some kind of public financial report available for 2014.”

Also in the NCR, economist Ricardo Perez-Truglia says that “Some priests are responsible for a very, very large cut” in charitable giving. That’s misleading. The blame lies just as squarely on the predators’ church supervisors and colleagues who often actively conceal or passively ignore the crimes.

Some will say that Catholic officials must “rebuild trust” with lay people. We disagree. Horrific abuse and deliberate cover ups of clergy sex crimes are still happening. So the church hierarchy – and the rest of us – must focus first on exposing child sex crimes and deterring cover ups. When that’s happened – and we’re a long ways off still – then and only then can “restoring trust” among adults begin to matter.

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.

Vatican arrests 2 people in latest probe of leaked documents

VATICAN CITY
Washington Times

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican said Monday it has arrested a monsignor and a woman in the latest probe of leaks of confidential documents at the Holy See.

It said in a statement that the two had been interrogated over the weekend, and that Holy See prosecutors upheld the arrests.

The woman was identified as Francesca Chaouqui and the monsignor as the Rev. Lucio Angel Vallejo Balda. The monsignor is a Vatican employee while Chaouqui had served on a commission set up by Pope Francis in 2013 as part of his drive to reform the Holy See’s finances.

A Vatican spokesman said Vallejo Balda was being held in a jail cell in Vatican City, and that Chaouqui was allowed to go free because she cooperated in the probe.

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.

Vatican makes two arrests in investigation over leaked documents

VATICAN CITY
Catholic Herald (UK)

The Vatican said Monday it has arrested a monsignor and a woman in the latest probe of leaks of confidential documents at the Holy See.

It said in a statement that the two had been interrogated over the weekend, and that Holy See prosecutors upheld the arrests.

The woman was identified as Francesca Chaouqui and Mgr Lucio Angel Vallejo Balda. The monsignor is a Vatican employee and secretary of COSEA, the body set up in 2013 to advise the Pope over the reform of Vatican finances, which Chaouqui was also a member of.

A Vatican spokesman said Mgr Vallejo Balda was being held in a jail cell in Vatican City, and that Chaouqui was allowed to go free because she co-operated in the probe.

Leaks of confidential documents from Benedict XVI’s papers in 2012 led to the arrest and trial of a papal butler and a Vatican computer technician. A 2013 Vatican law made it a crime to leak confidential documents and information.

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Vatican arrests 2 for betraying “Pope’s trust”

VATICAN CITY
CBS News

ROME — The Vatican’s own police force has arrested a monsignor and a laywoman in its latest probe into the leak of confidential documents.

The Vatican said both people were members of the commission established on Pope Francis’ order to investigate the Church’s finances. They were being held on suspicion of leaking confidential documents to the media.

A statement released by the Vatican identified the suspects as Spanish priest Lucio Angel Vallejo Balda and Francesca Chaouqui. Chaouqui was released Monday, the statement said, and was “cooperating with the investigation. Balda remained in custody.

The arrests took place over the weekend but only became common public knowledge on Monday, two days before the slated release of a pair of new books touting new revelations of past misdeeds at the Vatican.

One of the two books is written by Gianluigi Nuzzi, whose previous book “His Holiness” contained private documents stolen from Pope Benedict’s desk by his butler.

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Vatican Arrests Spanish Priest, Laywoman On Suspicion Of Leaking Documents At Holy See

VATICAN CITY
International Business Times

By Morgan Winsor @MorganWinsorIBT on November 02 2015

The Vatican said Monday it has arrested two members of a commission set up by Pope Francis to review Church reforms. Lucio Angel Vallejo Balda, a Spanish priest, and Francesca Chaouqui, a laywoman, were taken into custody over the weekend on suspicion of leaking confidential documents at the Holy See, according to Reuters.

The two were interrogated over the weekend and Chaouqui was released on her own recognizance after she agreed to cooperate with the investigation, the Vatican said in a statement Monday, according to the Associated Press. The arrests happened days before two Italian authors were slated to publish books that are expected to disclose new revelations of past scandals in the Vatican.

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Vatican arrests Spanish prelate over leaks: official

VATICAN CITY
Bangkok Post

WRITER: AFP

VATICAN CITY – The Vatican said Monday a Spanish prelate had been arrested for allegedly stealing and leaking classified documents in the second such scandal to hit the secretive institution in three years.

Monsignor Lucio Angel Vallejo Balda, who served on a special commission set up by Pope Francis to advise him on economic reform within the Vatican, was arrested as part of an investigation into the “misappropriation and disclosure of classified documents and information”.

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Vatileaks 2, due arresti: mons. Lucio Angel Vallejo Balda e Francesca Immacolata Chaouqui

CITTA’ DEL VATICANO
Giornalettismo

Fuga di documenti riservati della Santa Sede. In Vaticano sono stati arrestai monsignor Lucio Angel Vallejo Balda, spagnolo, già segretario della Prefettura degli Affari economici e della Commissione di studio sulle attività economiche e amministrative, Cosea, e Francesca Immacolata Chaouqui, anche lei componente della Cosea.

VATILEAKS, CHAOQUI ARRESTATA E LIBERATA

Per quanto riguarda Chaouqui, il pm ha «convalidato l’arresto», ma la donna è stata riemssa in libertà perché «non sono più state ravvisate esigenze cautelari, anche a motivo della sua collaborazione alle indagini». Questa la nota rilasciata dalla sala stampa vaticana:

Nel quadro di indagini di polizia giudiziaria svolte dalla Gendarmeria vaticana ed avviate da alcuni mesi a proposito di sottrazione e divulgazione di notizie e documenti riservati, sabato e domenica scorsi sono state convocate due persone per essere interrogate sulla base degli elementi raccolti e delle evidenze raggiunte.

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Vatican arrests priest, laywoman suspected of leaking confidential documents

VATICAN CITY
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

November 2, 2015

Reuters

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican said today that two members of a commission that Pope Francis set up to study Church reforms had been arrested on suspicion of leaking confidential documents to the media.

Spanish priest Lucio Angel Vallejo Balda, number two at the Vatican’s Prefecture for Economic Affairs, and Italian laywoman Francesca Chaouqui, a public relations expert, were arrested over the weekend, a statement said.

Chaouqui was released on Monday after she agreed to cooperate with the investigation, it said.

Both were members of a commission that Francis set up shortly after his election in 2013 to advise him on economic and bureaucratic reforms in the Vatican administration, or Curia.

The commission completed its work last year and handed its report to the pope.

The twin arrests came just days before two Italian authors were due to release books that their publishers say will reveal new evidence of past scandals in the Vatican.

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Doing the Right Thing

UNITED STATES
The New Yorker

BY ANTHONY LANE

The title of the new Tom McCarthy film, “Spotlight,” refers to the investigative section of the Boston Globe. The main action begins in 2001, with the arrival of a new editor, Marty Baron (Liev Schreiber), lately of the Miami Herald. He has lunch with the head of Spotlight, Walter Robinson (Michael Keaton), who tells him, “We’re trolling around for our next story,” adding that a year or more can be spent on a single case. Recently, the paper ran a column about a local priest who was charged with abusing children; Baron wonders if this was an isolated incident, or if there might be more to dig up. The movie, to put it mildly, has news for us: there’s more.

Robinson has a crew of three at his behest: Matty Carroll (Brian d’Arcy James), a quiet family man with a mournful mustache; Mike Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo), pushy and restive, the kind of guy who will never stroll across a street when he can hustle and barge; and Sacha Pfeiffer (Rachel McAdams). Any film that can make McAdams look resolutely unglamorous is flashing its heavyweight credentials, and “Spotlight” gets bonus points for giving her a thrilling scene in which she struggles to load a dishwasher. The movie adheres to the downbeat and the dun, with cheerful colors banished from our sight. The exception is a youthful choir, chanting “Silent Night” in a church ablaze with the trappings of Christmas. Even then, we see Rezendes watching, with a sour expression on his mug, and clearly thinking, Are these kids safe?

He has a point. The film is a saga of expansion, paced with immense care, demonstrating how the reports of child abuse by Catholic clergy slowly broadened and unfurled; by the time the paper’s exposés were first published, in 2002, Spotlight had uncovered about seventy cases in Boston alone. (In a devastating coda, McCarthy fills the screen with a list of other American cities, and of towns around the world, where similar misdeeds have been revealed.) The telling of the tale is doubly old-fashioned. First, there are shots of presses rolling and spiffy green trucks carrying bales of the Globe onto the streets; we could be in a cinema in 1945. Second, the events take place in an era when the Internet still seems an accessory rather than a primary tool. As the journalists comb through Massachusetts Church directories, looking for disgraced men of God who were put on sick leave or discreetly transferred to another parish, we get closeups of rulers moving down lines of text. Don’t expect “Spotlight” to play at an IMAX theatre anytime soon.

On balance, this arrant unhipness is a good thing. So crammed are the details of the inquiry, and so delicately must the topic of abuse be handled, that a more intrepid visual manner might have thrown the movie off track, and one of its major virtues is what’s not there: no creepy flashbacks of prowling priests, or—as in the prelude to Clint Eastwood’s “Mystic River”—of children in the vortex of peril. Everything happens in the here and now, not least the recitation of the there and then. You sense the tide of the past rushing in most fiercely during some of the plainest scenes, as Globe staffers listen to victims like Joe (Michael Cyril Creighton) and Patrick (Jimmy LeBlanc) explain what they underwent decades before. They are grown men, but they are drowning souls. Boldest of all is the brief appearance of Richard O’Rourke as Ronald Paquin, a retired priest, who answers the door to Pfeiffer and answers her questions with the kindliest of smiles. “Sure, I fooled around, but I never felt gratified myself,” he says, as if arguing the finer points of doctrine.

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.

Keeping the spotlight on the Catholic Church

MASSACHUSETTS
Boston Globe

By Adrian Walker GLOBE COLUMNIST NOVEMBER 02, 2015

Terry Donilon, an affable man who is the spokesman for the Archdiocese of Boston, audibly gasped when I asked what I considered a fair question:

“How much abuse do you think still exists in the Archdiocese of Boston?”

Donilon caught his breath and responded: “We think we have the safest entity in the entire Commonwealth,” he said. “Now, I’m not saying someone couldn’t still come forward with a claim from 30 years ago. That could happen. But we believe there is zero abuse going on. None.”

The question hadn’t been intended as a provocation. It had been on my mind since I attended a screening of “Spotlight,” the new movie depicting the Globe Spotlight Team’s 2002 coverage of the clergy abuse scandal. Over the course of its reporting, the paper found that roughly 250 priests in the archdiocese had molested children, often with the protection of Cardinal Bernard Law. It unleashed a wave of reporting by other news organizations that found major abuse scandals in other cities and many foreign countries as well.

The cases stretched back decades. So did the efforts of the church hierarchy to keep the scandal under wraps. The city was rocked by the revelations, and so was the church itself, internationally. Law resigned and was replaced by Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley, who pledged to heal the damage.

The reporting prompted major changes. The Legislature quickly passed a long-pending law to make church officials mandatory reporters of sexual abuse. The church sold property to pay victims compensation for the abuse they had suffered. The sales included the Cardinal’s ornate residence on Lake Street. The archdiocese adopted a “zero tolerance” policy toward abuse and trained church officials to recognize, and report, abuse.

But victims and advocates say the reforms have not gone far enough. While Boston, under a microscope, took many concrete steps, more needs to be done, they say.

“In general I think that there’s been tons of policies and procedures and protocols that have largely amounted to public relations,” said David Clohessy, the executive director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP). “This will continue as long as the fundamental and nearly unlimited power of O’Malley and his brother bishops remains in place, and it certainly does.”

One change advocates continue to push is extending the statute of limitations, so victims have a longer time to bring legal action against abusers. That has been a major issue in cases here and elsewhere, because traumatized victims commonly come forward years after their abuse has taken place. Caps on damages in suits against charities are outdated relics as well and need to be raised.

If anyone thinks the scandal is all in the past, they are mistaken. Just this year, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis was criminally indicted for failing to protect children, and a bishop in Kansas City resigned after being convicted of a misdemeanor for negligently handling a case of abuse. While he no longer heads a diocese, he’s still a bishop, a prince of the church. Some prince.

O’Malley chairs a 17-member Vatican commission to address clergy abuse worldwide, and Pope Francis has also approved the creation of a tribunal that is charged with holding bishops accountable for failing to act on abuse. But skeptics aren’t sure either body has done much. Given the church’s track record, their skepticism is earned.

“There is a lot that needs to be done, and as far as I can see that commission has done nothing,” said Ann Hagan Webb of SNAP, the survivors’ group.

By its nature, sexual abuse is not the kind of problem that is ever “solved;” it will take constant vigilance to keep at bay the tragedies “Spotlight” captures. I want to believe that Donilon is right about the lack of abuse in Boston. But the sad reality is that there will never be a safe time to declare victory.

Adrian Walker is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at walker@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter@Adrian_Walker.

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The true story behind that Catholic priest ‘rehab house’ in ‘Spotlight’

MASSACHUSETTS
Boston.com

NOVEMBER 2, 2015

BY CHARLOTTE WILDER @THEWILDERTHINGS

There’s a scene in the movie Spotlight when Boston Globe reporter Matt Carroll, played by actor Brian d’Arcy James, realizes that a “rehab facility” for priests accused of sexual abuse is located around the corner from his own house.

“Oh, s–t,” Carroll says in the movie. Which is what he said in real life when he made the discovery in his West Roxbury home 14 years ago.

“I’m not exactly sure what the script said,” Carroll said. “But as they were filming, Brian (d’Arcy James) said, ‘What did you actually say when you realized [that house] was around the corner?’ And I said, ‘I probably said oh, s–t.’ And that’s the line they used in the movie.”

While his exclamation is accurate, Carroll said the rest of the scene isn’t totally true. The house that Carroll discovered wasn’t actually a rehab facility. It was the home of Father John J. Geoghan, a priest accused of sexually assaulting more than 130 boys. Geoghan was eventually convicted of a single count of molesting a boy at a public swimming pool and later murdered by his prison cellmate.

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Jon O’Brien: “The Catholic Church has an obsession with sexuality”

UNITED STATES
El Pais (Spain)

MARÍA R. SAHUQUILLO Brussels 2 NOV 2015

Jon O’Brien believes that the Catholic Church’s hierarchy is drawing further away from its followers and social reality – above all when it comes to sexual and reproductive rights.

The 50-year-old Irish Catholic, who is president of the US organization Catholics for Choice, believes in a secular state, and has severely criticized the Vatican for its treatment of women and homosexuals.

Question. Do you think Catholic Church officials are successfully taking on the challenge of adapting to the diversity of their believers in today’s society?

Answer. There was a great theologian who once said: “Catholicism is defined by unity and diversity.” In other words, this is not a monolithic Church. When I go to Mass on Sunday and I look around me, I see over there two gay men who’ve been in a relationship for a long time. Over on my right hand side I see two gay women who’ve adopted a child. There is also a couple who have divorced and been remarried. All of us are using birth-control methods, and many women have had abortions. This is the reality of the Catholic Church today. The Church is not a building somewhere in Rome; it’s not a building in Madrid. The Church is all of the people and the people as we are manifesting ourselves today have a very different sexual aspect than what the hierarchy has emphasized.

All of us are using birth control methods, and many women have had abortions. This is the reality of the Catholic Church today ”

Q. Do its doctrines correspond to reality?

A. It seemed as though the last two papacies, John Paul II and Pope Benedict, were very focused on the pelvic zone, very focused on our genitalia, and very focused on adherence to a rule. No matter where you go, if you ask Catholics what they believe, if you ask Catholics what they do, it’s very different than what they do in the hierarchy. I think that’s the reality of the Church. My biggest problem is that they have failed us as Catholics to follow them. And they do not represent, I would argue, we Catholic people – they represent themselves. The Bishops now go to Congress in the United States, they go to the UN, and they go to the government in Spain, and they try to convince them to turn their theology into law that doesn’t represent us.

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SNAP Update: A “Shout Out”–and A Challenge–to Prosecutors

MISSOURI
Hamilton and Griffin on Rights

Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

Last week, a Missouri prosecutor did something I’d never seen before. His courage prompted me to think about how district attorneys handle child sex abuse cases, especially involving influential institutions and oppressive cultures.

My conclusion: prosecutors deserve both praise and prodding. Too often, they seem to play it safe, pursue only the low hanging fruit and carefully avoid confronting powerful organizations. But increasingly, some of them seem to be acting with more creativity and vigor. They deserve recognition for doing so.

So first, the praise:

In Platte County Missouri, after two hours of police questioning, Darren L. Padden pled guilty to sexually assaulting a girl 200 and 300 times over a decade, starting when she was four.

Sadly but not surprisingly, almost 20 adults in the community publicly rallied to Padden’s side. Here’s the shocking part though: The local district attorney called them out by name.

Upset by such callousness, prosecutor Eric Zahnd sent out a new release. He blasted these irresponsible individuals for adding to the now 18 year old victim’s pain by writing letters or testifying on behalf of the admitted predator. And Zahnd named each one of them: a local school board member, a former bank president, a former county official, a female church elder, a male church trustee, a nurse and two ex-teachers and two ex-school district employees. (Their names are listed at the end of this blog.)

So again, kudos to prosecuting attorney Eric Zahnd. Thanks to him, a serial predator is behind bars and a girl is no longer being assaulted. And thanks to him, many in northwest Missouri now know who sides with predators and against victims. Hopefully, others who are tempted to back a child molester – and hurt a victim – will think twice before minimizing horrific crimes, helping sick predators and hurting already-wounded victims.

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Survivors Of Clergy Sex Abuse Screen ‘Spotlight’ Film

MASSACHUSETTS
WBUR

BOSTON Survivors of the Boston clergy sex abuse scandal are praising “Spotlight,” the new film that details The Boston Globe’s investigation into the abuse and its cover-up.

Many of those abused by priests gathered for a private screening in Boston Thursday night, ahead of the movie’s public release next week.

One word seemed to come to mind for survivors after seeing the film: validation.

“First of all, it’s very validating for any victim, especially from this area,” said David Lewcon, of Uxbridge.

He saw the movie for the first time at the Regal Fenway theater Thursday night. The screening was closed to the media, and organizers kept the location secret out of respect for those in attendance.

“There are a lot of moments in the movie, I mean, I had my tissue in my pocket and used it quite often just to wipe my eyes because it just brought out the emotion of the moment and what I’ve been experiencing most of my life,” Lewcon said.

As buzz for the movie spreads around the city, an anti-abuse group called on the Boston Archdiocese to require church staff to watch the film.

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Catholics protest outside archbishop’s birthday gala

GUAM
KUAM

By Sabrina Salas Matanane

It’s clear the Catholic Church remains divided in Guam. Those who attended a birthday fundraiser held in Tumon, were greeted by a stream of protestors upset with the archbishop.

Inside the Hyatt-the sweet sound of jazz music fills the room. Outside a much different tune.

Teri Untalan said, “He’s got a gala in their for his pseudo-seminary.

Inside: precious items up for silent auction. The archbishop said, “They will announce it as well as other items out there that you may see icons, statutes, figurines whatever.”

Outside: picket signs of protestors vocal about their discontent. “Just get him out of here, we just want him out,” said protesters.

Untalan was among a group of 50 members of the Catholic Church, that are part of the Laity Forward Movement Group, upset with Archbishop Anthony Apuron. As he celebrated his 70th birthday inside the Hyatt Sunday night, they stood outside in protest of the $200 a plate birthday fundraiser .

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Protesters Call for Archbishop’s Resignation, Call Actions “Heresy”

GUAM
Pacific News Center

[with video]

Written by Janela Carrera

Some members of the catholic church held a protest in front of the Hyatt Hotel Sunday evening to coincide with Archbishop Anthony Apuron’s benefit event also held at the Hyatt.

Guam – Picketers staged a protest outside the Hyatt Hotel last night calling for the resignation of Archbishop Anthony Apuron who was hosting a benefit dinner at the hotel.

The protest was organized by a group of members of the catholic church who have been holding protests almost on a monthly basis.

This time, the message was stronger than ever. In addition to expressing dismay at the archbishop’s decision to remove two beloved priests from their duties, as well as the controversial alleged turnover of the Redemptoris Mater Seminary to a third party, organizers of yesterday’s protest say they’ve finally had it and want the archbishop to step down.

Teri Untalan is a spokesperson for last night’s protest. “We are at this point just asking the archbishop to restore these priests to their parishes, return the Yona property that he stole from the catholics of Guam and resign. We are not looking for reconciliation at this point. We are just asking him to resign from his position. We have no confidence in him and we feel that the only solution when you have no confidence in your leader is to step down,” Untalan says.

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Former Brisbane students come forward to royal commission into abuse

AUSTRALIA
Brisbane Times

November 2, 2015

Jorge Branco
Journalist

More former students of one of Queensland’s most prestigious schools have come forward with complaints of abuse at the hands of a disgraced paedophile former school counsellor.

As the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse prepared to hear stories from abuse victims at both Brisbane Grammar School and St Paul’s School over the next two weeks, BGS confirmed the inquiry had caused more victims to come out of the woodwork.

“The work of the Royal Commission has already encouraged others to come forward, and we are glad that they have now chosen to do so,” the school posted to Facebook on Friday.

“The School has already started to engage with them, as we have done with many others to date, with a response built on a personal apology, counselling and mediation.”

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Child sex inquiry: ‘Skippy’ victims may be in hundreds

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

NOVEMBER 2, 2015

Michael McKenna
Reporter
Brisbane

The victims of notorious pedophile Kevin “Skippy’’ Lynch may be in the hundreds, with new ­evidence given to the royal commission into child sexual abuse about the unknown extent of his private “relaxation sessions’’ with students.

Lynch’s appointment diaries from his almost 10 years as a counsellor at St Paul’s Anglican school in Brisbane have emerged, showing hundreds of students were booked for regular visits to his locked rooms up until his arrest and suicide in 1997.

At least 100 boys are known to have been abused in the ­sessions by Lynch at Brisbane Grammar School, where he worked between 1974 and 1988, and later at St Paul’s.

It is understood the appointment diaries have never been handed over to authorities, with police closing their covert operation soon after Lynch, 64, gassed himself in a car after he was charged with seven counts of ­indecent dealing with a student.

The royal commission is understood to have unearthed evidence of inaction over complaints and a subsequent cover-up of Lynch’s offending over decades. Two weeks of hearings will begin in Brisbane tomorrow, after the commission said in September that it was reopening the Lynch case and that of Gregory Robert Knight, who taught at St Paul’s in the late 1980s and early 90s and was convicted of child abuse in 2005.

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November 1, 2015

VATICANO, VIOLATO IL COMPUTER DEL REVISORE GENERALE. “NO COMMENT” DELLA SANTA SEDE

CIUDAD DEL VATICANO
Rai News

31 ottobre 2015

Un episodio che mostra il riemergere di un nuovo clima di “veleni” e sospetti, quasi una nuova stagione di “corvi”, come nella non rimpianta era-Vatileaks. In Vaticano è stato violato il computer del revisore generale Libero Milone, 67 anni, il professionista scelto da papa Francesco nel giugno scorso con il compito di supervisione e controllo sui conti e i bilanci di tutti gli organismi, gli uffici e le istituzioni della Santa Sede. Insomma, su tutta la finanza vaticana.

La notizia, anticipata in tv da Luigi Bisignani e pubblicata dal quotidiano Il Tempo, in via ufficiale non viene confermata né smentita, né tanto meno commentata, dalla Santa Sede. “Al momento non abbiamo nulla da dire”, replica la Sala stampa vaticana. Ma sul fatto che sia vera non ci sono dubbi e nelle stanze d’Oltretevere se ne parla parecchio.

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Vatican investigates mystery over hacked computer belonging to finance chief

VATICAN CITY
Telegraph (UK)

By Nick Squires, Rome 01 Nov 2015

Vatican police are investigating whether an insider unhappy with Pope Francis and his drive for transparency hacked into a computer belonging to the Holy See’s auditor general.

The Vatican gendarmerie, which is responsible for security in the sovereign city state, is trying to find out who may have tried to steal information from a laptop belonging to Libero Milone, the head of the audit office.

There were rumours the person behind the attack could be someone within the Vatican who opposes Pope Francis’s reform of Holy See finances and his drive for more accountability.

That could include someone who has lost influence or power as a result of new appointments.

The prime suspect in the case was a monsignor working within the Vatican, according to Ansa, Italy’s national news agency.

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Tom Doyle Reviews Spotlight

UNITED STATES
Hamilton and Griffin on Rights

One fall morning in 2001 I was sitting with Dick Sipe in a hotel coffee shop in Oklahoma City. We were both there for depositions in a case in which we were both expert witnesses. Not long after we sat down Dick asked me “Have you talked to Mike Rezendes yet?” I told him I hadn’t and what’s more, I didn’t know who he was. Dick proceeded to tell me that Mike was an investigative reporter with the Boston Globe and had been talking to him for information on clergy abuse cover-up in the Archdiocese of Boston. “I gave him your name. He’ll be calling you soon. This is really big”

Mike did in fact call me very soon after my visit to Oklahoma City. I was in the Air Force then stationed in Germany but back in the States on a short leave. Before the end of our first conversation I was impressed. This guy really “gets it.” He’s gutsy, very bright and most important, committed to finding the truth.

I already knew the foundation of the story. In March 2001 Kristen Lombardi, then with the Boston Phoenix, was doing a story about the cover- up of the late John Geoghan’s serial sex abuse of young boys in the archdiocese of Boston and the serial cover-up by Cardinal Law and his staff. Her story came out with a full-page picture of Cardinal Law on the cover. It was a great story and had a very important effect but nothing like the nuclear reaction caused by the cover story published by the Boston Globe on Sunday, January 6, 2002…the Feast of the Epiphany.

I happened to be back in the U.S. the first week of January 2002. I was at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama at a continuing education program for officers. I had remained in contact with Mike and had a head’s up that the story was coming out on January 6. It was a major, major explosion in the seemingly never-ending exposure of the Catholic Church’s bungling of the sexual and spiritual violation of minors by the clergy.

January 6 was only the beginning. I cynically expected that the explosion would dominate the news, put some well-deserved fear into the bishops and wake up the complacent laity for a while and then after a couple weeks things would go back to the way they had been. There had been other explosions that we thought would cause a significant shakeup…..the Fr. Porter scandal in 1993, the revelation of widespread sex abuse of young seminarians at St. Anthony’s Seminary in California and St. Lawrence Seminary in Wisconsin, also in 1993 and then the Rudy Kos trial in 1997. This time I was wrong, very wrong. The aftershocks from the Globe’s Spotlight investigations are still happening. People have tried to figure out why the Boston phenomenon was different from anything else but it really doesn’t matter. What does matter is that Martin Baron, the Globe’s editor, had the insight to see that the real story was about the Archdiocese’s systemic, destructive response to the victims and had the courage to take on the ultra-formidable Catholic Church to find the truth. What does matter is that the Spotlight Team had the brilliance, courage, determination and just plain guts to keep digging until the mind-boggling reality of what was really happening in the Archdiocese was forced into the light.

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Child abuse campaigner: I’ve walked across Europe but now my message must cross the world

SCOTLAND
Daily Record

1 NOV 2015
BY MARION SCOTT

WALKING 10,000 miles across Europe to try to end child abuse was just the start of a journey now taking actor Matthew McVarish across the world.

The CBeebies star has just returned from Geneva, where he gave a talk to the United Nations on how to tackle the ­problem.

Matthew knows all about the issue from bitter experience. He was abused by his uncle from the age of seven.

He got to speak to delegates after walking through Europe to raise awareness of the issue.

He met the Pope and political leaders during his hike to press for the removal of statutes of ­limitations so sex crimes dating back decades can be prosecuted.

Eight EU countries have amended their laws since his walk and he has now been invited to speak in India and Thailand.

Matthew, who played buffet car manager Raymond in CBeebies show Me Too, said: “Hungary, ­Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia, ­Lithuania, Portugal, Malta and Romania removed their ­statute of limitations as a result of my walk.

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Protesters: ‘We want our church back’

GUAM
Pacific Daily News

Jojo Santo Tomas, jsantotoma@guampdn.com November 2, 2015

Holding signs that read “Reform, Restore, Resign” and “I Love my Catholic Church,” at least 50 Catholics gathered for a protest in Tumon on Sunday.

The protest brought together many concerned Catholics who feel their church being torn apart. Protesters gathered at four corners of the entrance to the Hyatt Regency Guam hotel, where Archbishop Anthony F. Apuron was inside, celebrating his birthday with hundreds of guests who paid $200 each for the gala fundraiser.

Many protesters said the money could better be used elsewhere.

“We have been waiting for more than a year for him to talk to us about the problems of our church, and he has said nothing, done nothing, to address our issues,” said Vangie Lujan, of Chalan Pago. She is a 30-year Catholic and sings for the choir at the Agana Cathedral.

“We want transparency. Why we’re here? He wants to raise $300,000 tonight … but he never uses this amount of resources, or effort, to raise funds for other parts of the church like Kamalen Karidat. He doesn’t use his resources to help Catholic Social Services.

“And yet, he will do everything for the RMS? Or the St. John Paul II? And they’re saying the bills of the Cathedral … but we know it’s going to support the Neocatechumenal way. When is he going to start supporting the rest of us Catholics? We want our church back.”

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Haitian officials look into new allegations against man who founded orphanage

HAITI/MAINE
CentralMaine.com

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti —Haitian investigators are looking into new allegations of child sex abuse against an American man who founded an orphanage for boys in Haiti’s capital decades ago and who successfully sued a Freeport, Maine, man for defamation this summer.

Police with an arrest warrant searched unsuccessfully Friday for Michael Geilenfeld at a modest private residence in a mountainside community above Port-au-Prince and the nearby Wings of Hope home for about 30 physically and mentally disabled children and young adults. On its website, the facility says it is a “critical part” of Geilenfeld’s charitable organization.

Geilenfeld and his North Carolina charity, Hearts with Haiti, this year sued Paul Kendrick of Freeport for defamation. In July, a federal jury in Portland, Maine, agreed with Geilenfeld and the charity that Kendrick had been reckless and negligent in launching an email campaign spreading false claims that Geilenfeld had sexually abused some orphans in his care.

The jury awarded $7.5 in damages to the charity and $7 million to Geilenfeld.

Kendrick said Saturday that he welcomed the new investigation of Geilenfeld.

“In my mind, children in Haiti are still not safe from Michael Geilenfeld,” Kendrick said. “Now, Haiti officials are stepping in and I applaud that.”

Kendrick said a U.S. District judge in Portland dismissed a motion to order a new trial and another asking that the award be determined excessive in the defamation case. He said his lawyer will file an appeal with the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals this month.

Geilenfeld is already the subject of another criminal case in Haiti that accused him of sexually abusing boys in his care. He spent 237 days in detention before being released in April by a Haitian judge who dismissed the charges in a brief trial that was not attended by the accusers, now adults. But the country’s justice minister granted a re-examination of the case and it is now in court again on appeal.

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Catholic church reaches out to heal those impacted by past clergy abuse

MINNESOTA
Brainerd Dispatch

By Jennifer Stockinger on Oct 31, 2015

A Brainerd Catholic church is reaching out to the community and to the survivors who were abused by clergy in hopes to help them heal.

Father Tony Wroblewski of St. Francis Catholic Church said the Brainerd church is keeping with the theme of “A Year of Mercy” as declared by Pope Francis and have created a diverse group of parishioners to reflect on how the church, the Brainerd lakes Catholic community, can integrate the Pope’s focus on the Catholic faith and to present actions taken, both within and without the Catholic church, to address the past abuse of young people by clergy.

Wroblewski said the church wants to help victims, families and the community heal. The group, named the Mercy Task Force, is studying ways the Catholic community can promote atonement, healing and where fitting, forgiveness.

Wroblewski said since the Minnesota Child Victims Act went into effect a number of lawsuits about abuse of young people by clergy have been filed. The act changed the statutes of limitations and gives child sexual abuse victims until May 25, 2016, to file civil lawsuits.

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Clergy, laity pray for justice for Cassidy

ILLINOIS
The Community Word

Hundreds of Central Illinoisans for years watched Father Terry Cassidy mimic a fish that’s unaware it’s surrounded by water. It’s been his light-hearted effort to show how people often don’t realize they’re surrounded – by grace.

But Cassidy, 64, now finds himself feeling surrounded, too – by an allegation of sexual misconduct with a minor, by a group advocating for such victims, and by a handful of influential people within the Catholic Diocese of Peoria (CDOP).

“What’s happened to Father Terry is evil,” says an ordained deacon who spoke on the condition his name not be used since the Diocese instructed clergy to not respond to media inquiries.

“I’m not defending child abusers,” he continues. “They should be held accountable. But I am defending a wonderful man persecuted, I think, for his popularity, his success as a minister.”

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Dianne Williamson: Clergy sexual abuse scandal in ‘Spotlight’

MASSACHUSETTS
Telegram & Gazette

Dianne Williamson

Posted Nov. 1, 2015

Today, it’s hard to remember a time when innocent victims of clergy sexual abuse were derided and scorned, when damaged families were hushed by a hierarchy, when the Catholic Church used its considerable power to protect and cover for the criminals within its ranks.

That culture of denial was upended in 2002, when The Boston Globe published an investigative series showing how the church enabled scores of pedophile priests by transferring them from parish to parish, while settling secretly with families who complained.

I don’t catch many movies in the theaters these days, but one I plan to see is the well-received “Spotlight,” which opens this month and recounts how the Globe’s Spotlight team broke the scandal wide open. Its stories led to the resignation of Cardinal Bernard Law and a seismic shift in the public’s acceptance of the realities of clergy sex abuse. …

On a professional level, I’m well aware of the deep pain caused by the scandal within the diocese of Worcester. More than five years before the Globe’s investigative team tackled the topic, this newspaper was writing strikingly similar stories about priestly abuse. Years before the Globe won a Pulitzer Prize for its reporting, brave victims were telling us their stories.

One of them, now a middle-aged man who lives in a nearby town, was sexually abused by a priest when he was an altar boy. Years later, still traumatized, he sought counseling from another priest who also sexually abused him. I’ve written about this man many times and used his name, but last week he said he’s trying to put the past behind him.

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