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.

December 26, 2015

Laicos de Osorno radicalizarán acciones en rechazo a obispo Barros durante 2016

CHILE
Bio Bio

[The movement of lay Catholics in Osorno is firm is rejecting Bishop Juan Barros as their bishops and they are preparing new and more radical mobilizations during 2016.]

El movimiento de Laicos en Osorno se mantiene firme en rechazar al obispo Juan Barros, por lo que preparan nuevas movilizaciones que serán más radicales, según expresaron los dirigentes.

Mario Vargas, vocero del movimiento, afirmó que el 4 de enero próximo se cumplen 34 años del fallecimiento del primer obispo de la diócesis de la ciudad, Francisco Valdés Subercaseaux, fecha propicia para fortalecer la acción del grupo que ese día realizara una manifestación en la catedral San Mateo.

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.

Religion’s “creative destruction”: Millennials, the new religious “nones,” are experimenting with new forms and rituals

UNITED STATES
Salon

DONALD E. MILLER

From the recent attack on Planned Parenthood to the shooting in San Bernardino, extremists of all stripes are revealing the ugly side of religion. The confluence of these events and election season demagoguery is generating fear and outrage.

In the midst of these national struggles, many families are preparing for a more personal religious fight: going to church on Christmas. Americans increasingly don’t identify with a religion, with significant generational differences.

The Pew Research Center reported this year that 35% of millennials – those born between 1981 and 1996 – are religious “nones.” Many young people may darken a church door only to placate their parents on Christmas and Easter.

These disparate trends are related to the same phenomenon: cultural change. …

At the same time, both religious “nones” and members of existing religious institutions are experimenting with new forms of spiritual practice and intentional communities. They’re feeding the homeless, gathering in laundromats to offer free laundry service to the working poor and pushing the boundaries that traditionally define religious denominations. Through movements like #blacklivesmatter, they’re creating rituals that critique injustices and heal society and themselves.

This willingness to experiment with religious beliefs and forms previously birthed the Catholic Worker movement, contemporary monastic orders modeled after those in early modern Europe and renewal movements in all faith traditions. Religious institutions can seem unchanging during the span of a human life, but over centuries or millennia, they are evolving.

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.

Best movies of 2015: Don’t miss ‘Spotlight’ and ‘Brooklyn’

UNITED STATES
Belleville News-Democrat

BY LYNN VENHAUS
For the News-Democrat

No matter how dazzling visual effects can be on screen, we still crave a good story. And, in 2015, state-of-the-art technology connected with rich storytelling.

We welcomed back some of the sturdiest icons of the ’70s and ’80s – Rocky Balboa, Han Solo, Leia and Luke Skywalker, and Max Rockatansky. We witnessed 70-year-old director George Miller do his best work and a couple of new guys rejuvenate two of our most beloved franchises — Ryan Coogler “Creed” and J.J. Abrams “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

Here are my purely subjective lists on the best of the year. Happy Awards Season!

“Spotlight”

This movie gets it right on so many levels, from the way a newsroom works to how sexual abuse occurred in the Boston Archdiocese. It is a powerful, riveting and haunting masterpiece.

In 2002, the Boston Globe special investigative unit Spotlight disclosed an extensive number of pedophile priests and the church hierarchy’s cover-up in 2002. This led to more victims coming forward and widespread reform in the Catholic Church.

A superb ensemble cast shows the methodical, painstaking efforts of a newspaper operation — Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Live Schrieber, Rachel McAdams, Brian D’Arcy James, John Slattery and Stanley Tucci fiercely inhabit the real players. Director and co-writer Tom McCarthy carefully depicts the human toll.

It is not only the year’s best, but the most important film of the year, too.

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.

December 25, 2015

Abuse survivors group asks Superior bishop to revisit investigation of priest

WISCONSIN
Superior Telegram

Danielle Kaeding
Wisconsin Public Radio

An advocacy group for those abused by priests is calling on the new leader of Superior’s Catholic Diocese to look into the case of an Ashland priest suspended by the district six years ago.

The previous leader of the diocese, Bishop Peter Christensen, suspended Rev. Henry Willenborg from parish duties at Our Lady of the Lake in Ashland over accusations that he had sex with a minor. David Clohessy, the director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said the newly appointed Bishop James Powers should release information on the Franciscans’ investigation into Willenborg.

“Even though six years have passed, there’s never been an announcement about that investigation, whether it’s concluded or ongoing — never even an update,” said Clohessy.

Clohessy said the bishop should also contact parishes within the diocese for anyone who may have been hurt by Willenborg.

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.

Police examining electronic devices owned by priest charged with unlawful surveillance

NEW YORK
CBS 6

Updated: Friday, December 25 2015

COLONIE — Police say a Delmar priest was arrested after he allegedly took video of a woman while she was changing.

The alleged incident happened at the Salvation Army on Troy Schenectady Road on Wednesday around 6 p.m. According to authorities, Adam Egan, 35, took the video without the woman’s knowledge while she was in the dressing room.

Investigators say Egan deleted the video and left the property. He was located a short ways away and arrested. he has been charged with unlawful surveillance and concealing, altering, or destroying physical evidence.

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

Pope’s choice George Pell ‘untouchable’ despite spending spree

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

PAOLA TOTARO
THE AUSTRALIAN
DECEMBER 26, 2015

In his new book Avarizia (Feltrinelli, 2015), Italian investigative journalist Emiliano Fittipaldi tells the stories behind the massive cache of documents leaked from Pope Francis’s inner sanctum. Known as Vatileaks II, the paper trail also contained details of Cardinal George Pell’s first year heading the Vatican’s financial reforms. The leaked accounts and documents reveal that:

• The Pope introduced Pell to the Vatican media and has nicknamed him the “Ranger”.

• Pell’s first act as newly appointed financial tsar was to appoint Danny Casey, a close friend and colleague from his days in Melbourne, as his assistant on a €15,000 ($22,750) a month salary.

• Casey has been given an apartment in Rome’s elegant Via dei Coronari, which costs €2900 a month, and furniture and renovations costing more than €80,000 were also paid for.

• Between July last year and January this year, Pell’s office spent €500,000 on setting up apartments and offices, including computers, furniture and clothing from one of Rome’s oldest specialist religious tailors.

• Pell likes to travel business class even on short-haul flights, paying more than €1000 to fly from Rome to various European capitals, including London and Monte Carlo. Economy tickets cost two-thirds less.

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

Priest will urge Pope to reverse dismissal decision

IRELAND
Irish Independent

Ralph Riegel

PUBLISHED
25/12/2015

An elderly cleric is to use an ancient rule of Church law to lodge a personal submission to Pope Francis I in a last-ditch bid to stop his dismissal as a priest.

The revelation came after the Bishop of Cloyne Dr William Crean insisted that Daniel Duane (77) had exhausted all avenues of appeal against being dismissed from the clergy for abusing minors after his final appeal was rejected by the Church’s powerful Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The Church insisted there were no further avenues of appeal open to Mr Duane.

However, the Irish Independent has learned that the elderly cleric is to use an ancient article of Canon Law to lodge a final ‘application for recourse’ to Pope Francis.

In a statement to the Irish Independent, a relative and spokesman for Mr Duane rejected the allegations against him as totally unfounded.

“He will continue to fight to see that justice is done and that his good name is defended,” he said.

The priest, who vehemently protests his innocence, has never been convicted of an offence.

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.

Delmar pastor arrested on felony charges

NEW YORK
Bethlehem Spotlight

By Michael Hallisey First Posted: Thursday, December 24, 2015

LATHAM — A local pastor was arrested the day before Christmas Eve after a Latham thrift store called Colonie Police to report someone was peeping and recording a woman as she changed clothes in the store’s dressing room.

Rev. Adam Egan was arrested by Colonie Police at approximately 3:40 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 23, on two felony charges of unlawful surveillance and tampering with evidence after he allegedly recorded the victim changing her clothes at the Salvation Army thrift store at 350 Troy-Schenectady Road in Latham.

Colonie Police Det. Sgt. Michael Franze said the 35-year-old was caught as he “held his cell phone over the divider” of the store’s dressing room, allegedly taking a video of a woman changing from her clothes. “She saw him. The police were called, and he fled.” Police located Egan on Aragon Avenue about 10 minutes later, where he was arrested and his electronic devices confiscated.

On his Twitter account, Egan identifies himself as a “husband, father, Episcopal Priest, Rector of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Delmar NY and the Diocese of Albany. Avid Pittsburgh sports and NASCAR fan.”

In addition to the unlawful surveillance change, Colonie Police charged Egan with tampering with evidence after he allegedly deleted the video. Det. Sgt. Franze could not say whether Egan was witnessed deleting the video from his phone, or if he confessed to the crime.

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.

Module 9 – Manor House Home, Lisburn

NORTHERN IRELAND
Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry

Commencing on Tuesday 5th January 2016, the Inquiry will devote one sitting week to the investigation of the former Manor House Home in Lisburn, run by the Irish Church Missions organisation. A provisional timetable for this module is provided below. This timetable is subject to change so you are advised to check the Inquiry’s website on a regular basis.

Created 11-12-15

A link for the detailed timetable, witness statements, documents and transcripts will appear below

Module 9 detailed timetable, witness statements, evidence called and transcripts

A provisional outline schedule from 5th January 2016, which is subject to change, is provided below.

Please note that there will be no admission for either the public or the media if and when the Inquiry is sitting in Closed Session.

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 new appointments in CTV and Holy See Press Office

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Insider

ANDREA TORNIELLI
VATICAN CITY

The first significant appointments in the communications field have been made following the establishment of the Secretariat for Communications headed by Mgr. Dario Edoardo Viganò. Pope Francis has appointed Stefano D’Agostini as the new director of the Vatican Television Center (CTV). He is currently the Center’s technical director and succeeds Mgr. Viganò.

American journalist Greg Burke’s appointment as vice director of the Holy See Press Office is also significant. Burke, a former Fox News correspondent, has served as senior communications adviser to the Vatican Secretariat of State since 2012 – right when the first Vatileaks scandal broke out. He is Fr. Federico Lombardi’s third deputy, the other two being Fr. Ciro Benedettini and Angelo Scelzo.

Burke replaces Ciro Benedettini who is due to retire after 21 years of service. In his Christmas speech to journalists from the Vatican Press office, the Holy See’s spokesman, Fr. Federico Lombardi, issued the following comment: “This morning we learnt that a new vice director has been appointed. We welcome Greg (Burke) who will be working with us as of February. But I would like to express my wishes and huge gratitude to Fr. Ciro (Benedettini). If there is one person who has been a glue for Church life and the Church community over the past 20 years, that is Ciro. We are immensely grateful to him.”

In his speech, Fr. Lombardi referred back to a point Francis made in his address to the Curia this morning: “whoever renounces their humanity renounces everything,” he said. “Humanity makes us different from robots, which feel nothing. Humanity means being affectionate, friendly and kind to everyone.”

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

A “celibate” priest gives evidence to help Cardinal George Pell’s lawyers

AUSTRALIA
Broken Rites

By a Broken Rites researcher (article updated 24 December 2015)

Australia’s national child-abuse Royal Commission has learned how George Pell recruited supporters from among suburban priests when he began his rise to power in Melbourne in the 1980s and 1990s. Broken Rites understands that Pell was welcomed particularly by conservative (as distinct from moderate-minded) priests. One of these traditionalist supporters, Father John Thomas Walshe, has given evidence to the Royal Commission on behalf of Cardinal Pell’s lawyers. This Broken Rites article is an analysis of Walshe’s evidence. Father Walshe said he supports the policy of compulsory “celibacy” for Catholic priests. A week after his evidence, it was revealed that the Melbourne Catholic archdiocese has apologised to a former student who says he was sexually abused (at the age of 18) by Father Walshe.

The matter of the 18-year-old student is reported towards the end of this article but, first, here is an analysis (by Broken Rites) of Father Walshe’s evidence (on 15-16 December 2015) from the official transcript.

Cardinal George Pell received several mentions in Father Walshe’s evidence. Originally a priest in the Ballarat diocese (which covered the western half of Victoria), George Pell moved to Melbourne in 1985 to become the head of the Melbourne seminary (Corpus Christi College, then based at Melbourne’s Clayton), which trained priests for Victoria and Tasmania. In 1987 he was appointed as one of Melbourne’s four regional auxiliary bishops under the authority of Archbishop Frank Little (Bishop Pell’s region was Melbourne’s south-eastern suburbs). This is when he became acquainted with allies such as Father John Walshe.

At this stage, Pell was no more famous nationally than any of Australia’s forty or so other Catholic bishops. But he was working on it.

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

Sexual Abuse in Protestant Churches

UNITED STATES
Leon J. Podles: Dialogue

In my book Sacrilege I said that I thought child abuse by clergy was not just a Catholic problem; the Catholic Church is big and keeps records. Most Protestant churches have far greater congregational autonomy and weak central record keeping, so it is easier for child abuse to disappear. The problem is not new.

Protestant churches in the nineteenth century were beset by scandals.

The Chicago Times in 1872 criticized “the extreme laxity which has commenced to govern certain denominations in accepting candidates for holy orders, and the mildness with which lesser offenses that infallibly lead to greater ones are excused.” The Chicago Times also editorialized: “The clergyman, like the physician, has extraordinary facilities for the commission of a certain class of crimes, and those facilities are such as to heap double damnation upon him if he is sufficiently diabolical to make use of them.”

“Boz” Tchividjian is a grandchild of Billy Graham and a professor at Liberty University. He saw Spotlight and sees the same dynamics at work in Protestantism as were at work in Boston:

My friend Christa Brown, who was sexually abused by her Baptist youth pastor, writes, “Eddie [pastor] always said that God had chosen me for something special. I guess I really wanted to believe that. Doesn’t every kid want to think they’re special? Besides, who was I to question a man of God? It wasn’t my place.” The sinister reality is that sex offenders who hold positions of authority while carrying Bibles and quoting scripture are treacherous, regardless of whether they are called priest, pastor, or reverend. It’s not just a Catholic problem.

And

I couldn’t help but recall the countless cases I have encountered in Protestant circles where offending pastors, missionaries, and other leaders have been reassigned or allowed to quietly resign all in an effort to insulate the institution. The youth pastor who rapes a child and is transferred to a new church and given a going away party; the pedophile missionary physician who is quietly sent home from the mission field; the church volunteer who admits to sexually abusing a child and is simply directed by the church leadership to move quietly to another state. The list could go on and on. It’s not just a Catholic problem.

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

Priest Arrested On Felony Charges

NEW YORK
Northeast Public Radio

[with audio]

By DAVE LUCAS

A priest who leads an Episcopal parish in suburban Albany has been charged with secretly videotaping a woman in a store dressing room.

Colonie police say 35-year-old Adam Egan was charged with two felonies after a customer at a Salvation Army store noticed a camera peeking over a dressing room curtain and called police.

Colonie police confirmed Egan is rector at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Delmar.

After his arrest Wednesday evening, Egan was arraigned and taken to Albany County Correctional Facility without bail to await a Dec. 28 court appearance.

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.

VICTIMS GROUP WANTS COLLEGE TO RENAME IMESCH AWARD

ILLINOIS
WLS

JOLIET, Ill. (WLS) — A victims group is calling for a Joliet college to rename an award named for the late Bishop Joseph Imesch.

Bishop Imesch, who died this week, led the Joliet diocese for 27 years and was accused of covering up alleged abuse by priests.

The group Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests wants the University of Saint Francis change the name of the award.

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.

Prestigious Rhode Island prep school reports that 26 former students were sexually abused by staff 30 years ago

RHODE ISLAND
Daily Mail (UK)

By Regina F. Graham and Kelly Mclaughlin For Dailymail.com and Associated Press

An internal investigation by a prestigious Rhode Island boarding school has found that 26 students were sexually abused by six school employees in the 1970s and 1980s.

St. George’s School sent a letter to alumni Wednesday detailing the credible allegations and apologizing for not doing more at the time to keep students safe and report abusers to authorities.

The letter from the Middletown school names only one of the six former employees, Al Gibbs, an athletic trainer who was fired in 1980 and has since died.
The others have now been reported to Rhode Island State Police, as have three former students accused of misconduct.

‘To all victims, we are truly, deeply sorry for the harm done to you by former employees or former students of the School,’ the letter states according to The Boston Globe.

‘We are heartbroken for you and for the pain and suffering that you have endured.
‘We pledge to do all we can to support you in your efforts to heal, if you want or need our support.’

The school says it is forming a support group, therapy fund for victims and creating an independent advisory support group.

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.

Rhode Island Prep School Expresses ‘Sorrow and Shame’ Over Sexual Abuse

RHODE ISLAND
The New York Times

By KATHARINE Q. SEELYE
DEC. 24, 2015

BOSTON — An investigation by St. George’s School, a prestigious prep school in Rhode Island, has found that 26 students were sexually abused by school employees in the 1970s and ’80s, and that while the administration at the time fired the employees, it failed to report the abuses to the authorities.

In an 11-page report on its investigation, which it released to alumni on Wednesday night, the school said it “failed on several occasions to fulfill its legal reporting requirements,” adding, “we believe the school could have done more to keep its students safe.”

It also expressed its “regret, sorrow and shame that students in our care were hurt” and said it was taking responsibility for trying to heal their wounds. Victims have reported an array of problems brought on by the abuse, including depression, difficulty with intimacy and relationships and attempted suicide.

The episodes at St. George’s, in Middletown, are part of a pattern of sexual abuse at elite schools, many of them in New York and New England, that took place decades ago but have come to light or been acknowledged only in recent years. They include the Horace Mann School in the Bronx, Yeshiva University High School for Boys in Manhattan, Poly Prep Country Day School in Brooklyn, the Hackley School in Tarrytown, N.Y., and Deerfield Academy in western Massachusetts.

Most of the schools have issued apologies and some have negotiated settlements with the accusers.

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.

Prestigious Rhode Island boarding school says staff abused 26 ex-students

RHODE ISLAND
New York Daily News

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Friday, December 25, 2015

An internal investigation by a prestigious Rhode Island boarding school has found that 26 students were sexually abused by six school employees in the 1970s and 1980s.

St. George’s School sent a letter to alumni Wednesday detailing the credible allegations and apologizing for not doing more at the time to keep students safe and report abusers to authorities.

The letter from the Middletown school names only one of the six former employees, an athletic trainer who was fired in 1980 and has since died. The others have now been reported to Rhode Island State Police, as have three former students accused of misconduct.

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

Priest convicted of traveling to molest seeks PR firm

PENNSYLVANIA
Philly.com

by The Associated Press.

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. (AP) – A Roman Catholic priest convicted of traveling to Honduras to molest orphaned boys during missionary trips is seeking a public relations firm to tell his side of the story.

The Rev. Joseph Maurizio Jr. was found guilty in September of engaging or attempting to engage in illicit sexual conduct in foreign places, as well as possessing child pornography and money laundering. He is being held in the Cambria County prison, where he has been held since his September 2014 arrest, and is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 2.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown suspended Maurizio after federal prosecutors filed charges.

The 70-year-old Maurizio was accused of using a self-run Johnstown-based charity called Humanitarian Interfaith Ministries to travel to an orphanage for several years ending in 2009. Prosecutors said he promised candy and cash to the boys to watch them shower, have sex or fondle 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.

December 24, 2015

JESUITS OF THE NORTHEAST PROVINCE ARE RE-VICTIMIZING A CLERGY SEXUAL ABUSE VICTIM

NEW YORK
Road to Recovery

Media Release – December 24, 2015

Jesuits of the Northeast Province are insensitive and re-victimizing Neal E. Gumpel, a childhood clergy sexual abuse victim of Fr. Roy Alan Drake, SJ, a deceased, serial, pedophile Jesuit priest

Jesuits admit to having credible information from approximately five (5) persons (besides the victim) about Neal E. Gumpel’s childhood sexual abuse by Fr. Roy Alan Drake, SJ and still refuse to settle Neal E. Gumpel’s claim reasonably

Jesuits have refused to reasonably settle the childhood sexual abuse claim of Neal E. Gumpel

What
A demonstration and leafleting alerting the media, parishioners of a Jesuit-sponsored parish, and the general public that the Northeast Province of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), has insulted and re-victimized a childhood sexual abuse victim of a Jesuit priest by refusing to settle his claim reasonably. The Jesuits have already settled at least one public claim against Fr. Roy Alan Drake, SJ.

When
Thursday, December 24, 2015 from 10:15 pm until Midnight
Friday, Christmas Day, December 25, 2015 from 10:15 am until 11:30 am

Where
On the public sidewalk outside the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola, 980 Park Avenue (between East 83rd and East 84th Streets), New York, NY 10028 – 212-288-3588

Who

Neal E. Gumpel, a childhood sexual abuse victim of Fr. Roy Alan Drake, SJ, a serial pedophile Jesuit priest; Members of Road to Recovery, Inc., a non-profit charity based in New Jersey that assists victims of sexual abuse and their families, including its Co-founder and President, Robert M. Hoatson, Ph.D.

Why
The Northeast Province of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) knows that Fr. Roy Alan Drake, SJ, was a serial molester of minor boys. The Province settled at least one public claim against Fr. Roy Alan Drake, SJ, in the past. Neal E. Gumpel’s credible story of having been sexually abused as a minor child by Fr. Roy Alan Drake, SJ, at Maine Maritime Academy in Castine, Maine, when Fr. Roy Alan Drake was a professor and Jesuit priest at Maine Maritime Academy, was credibly supported by approximately five (5) individuals, in addition to Neal E. Gumpel. Now, the Northeast Province of the Jesuits, which has found that Neal E. Gumpel’s claim is credible, has insulted and re-victimized Neal E. Gumpel by refusing to reasonably settle his claim. Demonstrators will ask Midnight Mass attendees and Christmas Day Mass attendees to voice their outrage to the Jesuits of their parish and the Northeast Province (whose headquarters are around the corner on East 83rd Street) and demand of the Northeast Jesuit leadership that they treat Neal E. Gumpel with compassion, fairness, and justice.

Contacts
Robert M. Hoatson, Ph.D., Road to Recovery, Inc. – 862-368-2800
Attorney Mitchell Garabedian, Boston, MA – 617-523-6250

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

IL–Victims ask college to rescind bishop’s honor

ILLINOIS
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release Thursday, December 24, 2015

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

A Joliet college should end its practice of honoring a disgraced, just-deceased Catholic bishop.

[Patch]

Each year, University of St. Francis officials give a “Bishop Joseph Imesch award” to a teacher. But Imesch clearly, repeatedly and deliberately concealed and enabled horrific clergy sex crimes. Honoring him rubs salt into the already-deep and still-fresh wounds of both clergy sex abuse victims and Catholics.

College officials should re-name this award and apologize to all who have been hurt by this callous decision. Honoring those who conceal child sex crimes only encourages others to conceal child sex crimes. It’s both hurtful and unwise, insulting the wounded and endangering the vulnerable.

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–Victims dismiss papal meeting with Mexican survivors

UNITED STATES/MEXICO
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release, December 24, 2015

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

Pope Francis will supposedly meet with clergy sex abuse victims in Mexico in February. We are not impressed. Instead of creating public relations opportunities by meeting with victims, Francis should be taking decisive action to reduce the number of victims.

[ANSA]

Several popes have met several times with dozens of victims. Each of these events leads to greater complacency. None of these events has led to a single helpful step toward prevention.

We long for the day a pope actually does something that exposes predators, punishes enablers and advocates for better secular child safety laws, rather than engage in more symbolic, meaningless gestures about this on-going crisis.

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.

Delmar priest accused of recording woman in changing room

NEW YORK
WNYT

[with video]

Jessica Riley

An Episcopal priest is accused of peeping in a changing room in Colonie.

Police arrested Reverend Adam Egan after they say he was recording a female in the changing room of a Salvation Army on Wednesday.

They say when officers arrived at the store, Egan ran and tried to delete the videos. Police confiscated his electronic devices during his arrest.

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

Former Our Lady of the Elms employee accused of sexual battery of student

OHIO
Cleveland.com

By Adam Ferrise, cleveland.com
on December 23, 2015

AKRON, Ohio — An employee of Our Lady of the Elms school is accused of having a sexual relationship with a student.

Jeffrey Peterson, 28, of Akron is charged with sexual battery. Peterson was arrested on Wednesday and is being held in the Summit County Jail until a court appearance on Monday.

Our Lady of the Elms Chief Administrative Officer Dr. Ruth Friedman said Peterson has been fired. He worked as an IT coordinator at the school on July 1, the date when court records says that the incident took place.

“Nothing is more important to Our Lady of the Elms than the safety of our students, teachers and staff,” Friedman said in an emailed statement. “So, nothing can be of greater concern to us than an accusation like this. We are taking all necessary steps to ensure the safety and security of the entire Our Lady of the Elms family.”

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.

‘Vatileaks’ priest freed from jail, put under house arrest

VATICAN CITY
GlobalPost

A Spanish priest accused of leaking secret documents to journalists in the so-called Vatileaks scandal was released from prison and placed under house arrest, a spokesman for the Holy See said Wednesday.

Spanish Monsignor Lucio Vallejo Balda was arrested in November over accusations he leaked confidential documents to the Italian press, along with his assistant Nicola Maio and Francesca Chaouqui, a former PR consultant to the Vatican.

Vallejo Balda was released from jail Tuesday and is being housed in a small flat in a convent located above the Vatican police station, spokesman Ciro Benedettini told AFP, adding that he was barred from leaving the city-state.

The priest had made a statement saying he leaked the documents under Chaouqui’s influence and that he had been sorely tempted to break his vow of celibacy as a result of her sexual advances.
She has rubbished his claims.

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.

Bethlehem priest accused of filming woman in dressing room

NEW YORK
Albany Times-Union

By Dennis Yusko Published Thursday, December 24, 2015

COLONIE — An Episcopal priest from Bethlehem was arrested and jailed without bail for allegedly videotaping a woman who was getting dressed in the Salvation Army on Troy-Schenectady Road, according to police.

Adam Egan, 35, was charged with unlawful surveillance and tampering with evidence, both felonies, following the incident at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, according to Colonie Detective Sgt. Michael Franze. He confirmed Egan is pastor at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Bethlehem.

Egan attempted to flee the Salvation Army building after the victim noticed a camera peeking over the top of a curtain and contacted police, Franze said. Police apprehended him nearby and an electronic device.

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Catholic priest removed from priesthood over child porn

PENNSYLVANIA
WPXI

The Associated Press

PITTSBURGH — The Vatican has defrocked a Pittsburgh-area priest who was already removed from public ministry since 2009 after an allegation of past child sex abuse and later pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography.

Sixty-seven-year-old David Dzermejko (jer-MAY’-koh) is serving a three-year sentence at a federal prison hospital in Massachusetts. He was sentenced last year and indicted on the child pornography charges in 2013.

Dzermejko was the longtime pastor of Mary, Mother of the Church parish in Charleroi when he was removed from active ministry.

He never was criminally charged in the alleged abuse, which dated to the 1980s and involved another parish. The allegations surfaced in 2009 when a couple accused Dzermejko of molesting their son, who had since died.

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Pope to meet sex abuse victims in Mexico

VATICAN CITY
ANSA

(ANSA) – Vatican City, December 24 – Pope Francis is to meet with victims of child sexual abuse by priests and their relatives during a visit to Mexico in February, Vatican website Il Sismografo said Thursday.

The meeting was confirmed by the archbishop of San Luis Potosí, Monsignor Jesus Carlos Cabrero Romero.

However, exact details have not been released and every effort will be made to keep the meeting as private as possible.

The pope will be in Mexico February 12-18. Francis met with victims of pedophile priests in Philadelphia in September during a visit to Cuba and then the United States. He has made ridding the Church of the scourge of child sex abuse and asking for forgiveness for past crimes a central part of his papacy.

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The Art of the Possible

MINNESOTA
Canonical Consultation

12/23/2015

Jennifer Haselberger

Since last Friday’s announcement of a settlement between the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis and the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office regarding the civil petition filed in June of 2015, many of you have contacted me to express your disappointment with the terms of the settlement. I understand your frustration. The terms of the settlement read, at least at first glance, like a restatement of all the promises that the Archdiocese has made, and broken, over the past twenty-five years, and suggests little reason for hope. At the same time, I agree with news reports that have suggested that the agreement is without precedent, and I tend to lay the blame for the weaknesses of the agreement with the Archdiocese rather than with the court. Here is why.

When the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office filed its civil petition on June 3, 2015, it sought to prevent the Archdiocese from engaging in further acts that would cause harm to or contribute to the delinquency of minors. The means to accomplish this, according to the petition, was for the court to evaluate the Archdiocese’s child protection program and identify and develop a plan to address any weaknesses, and for the Archdiocese over a period of years to have to prove to the court’s satisfaction that such weaknesses have been addressed and that the program is functioning as intended. The settlement agreement includes provision for the latter, while the stipulations suggest exactly where such weaknesses have been found and how the Archdiocese has proposed to remedy them. On these points, the victory clearly lays with the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office.

Yet, the scope of both the court’s oversight and the practices and procedures it covers are extremely limited. This is because, as the agreement notes, it pertains only to the Archdiocese’s Central Corporation, and does not include the parishes, seminaries, or Catholic schools where, historically, the vast majority of sexual abuse of minors by clergy has taken place. In other words, the provisions of the agreement must be followed by the Central Corporation (the administrative offices of the Archdiocese) but a parish or school can disregard the provisions without fear of consequences beyond a possible letter from the Chancery. While this is extremely problematic, it is not the fault of the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office. The civil petition and criminal charges were filed against the Archdiocesan corporation and, as we all know, the Archdiocese has long maintained that its parishes and schools are separately incorporated and not under the control of the Archbishop. The agreement, therefore, represents what could be reasonably achieved within the limits of the law.

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Local priest charged with Unlawful Surveillance, Tampering with Evidence

NEW YORK
News 10

LATHAM, N.Y. (NEWS10) – An Episcopal priest is facing two felony charges after he allegedly used his cell phone to record a woman in a Salvation Army changing room.

Colonie police said they arrested 35-year-old Adam Egan, of Delmar, around 4 p.m. Wednesday. They said the woman and her mother were in the store shopping.

The daughter was trying on clothes when she said she noticed a man peering over the divider between the changing rooms. She said she alerted her mother who then chased the man out of the store.

Police said they caught up to Egan about a mile away, and he deleted the alleged video from his cell phone, according to police.

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Diocese removes incarcerated priest

PENNSYLVANIA
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

December 24, 2015

By Peter Smith / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

A Roman Catholic priest serving a federal prison term for possession of child pornography has been removed from the priesthood, according to the Diocese of Pittsburgh.

David F. Dzermejko has been incarcerated at the Federal Medical Center in Devens, Mass., since his sentencing in April 2014 in U.S. District Court for possession of what prosecutors said were more than 100 images of child pornography.

The Diocese of Pittsburgh had removed Dzermejko from ministry in 2009 following allegations he had sexually abused children. But he had remained technically a priest until Oct. 31, when the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which handles abuse cases, issued a decree dismissing him from the clerical state.

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Convicted Somerset County priest seeks public relations help

PENNSYLVANIA
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

By Liz Zemba
Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2015

A Somerset County priest awaiting sentencing on charges he traveled overseas to molest orphaned boys maintains his innocence and is soliciting public relations firms to tell his story, drawing the ire of a national support group for clergy-abuse survivors.

The Rev. Joseph D. Maurizio Jr., 70, is to be sentenced in February on federal charges he used a self-run charity based in Johnstown — Humanitarian Interfaith Ministries — to visit a Honduran orphanage numerous times between 1999 and 2009, promising candy and cash to boys to watch them shower, have sex or fondle them.

His attorney, Steven Passarello of Altoona, on Wednesday confirmed Maurizio is seeking help from public relations firms.

In September, Maurizio was convicted of engaging or attempting to engage in illicit sexual conduct in foreign places, possessing child pornography and money laundering.

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St. George’s School Accused Of Ignoring Years Of Sexual Abuse

RHODE ISLAND
Rhode Island Public Radio

By KATHERINE DOHERTY • DEC 15, 2015

An elite, private school in Middletown is at the center of an unfolding scandal over sexual abuse. After years of silence in some cases, several former students say they were abused by the school’s longtime athletic trainer, Al Gibbs. The Boston Globe first broke the story.

According to The Globe, one former student, Anne Scott, has sued St. George’s, which she attended in the late 1970s. Scott describes being molested and raped by Gibbs on school grounds, and she has renewed her quest for action some 40 years after the alleged abuse took place.

According to the article, Scott now seeks “accountability” but no monetary compensation. Scott dropped an earlier lawsuit seeking millions of dollars in the face of a vigorous defense strategy from the school’s lawyers.

St. George’s declined RIPR’s request for an interview, but said in a written statement that an investigation into the abuse claims has been underway for nearly a year and is nearing completion. The school has sent several letters to alumni and current families describing multiple, credible reports of sexual misconduct. In the most recent letter, sent in November, St. George’s offers to set up therapy funds for victims as part of the investigation.

Reporters for The Boston Globe interviewed several women in addition to Scott who said they were also abused by Gibbs, who was reportedly fired in 1980. The paper provides detailed accounts of the alleged abuse and cites court records that show several students reported the sexual abuse to the school at the time, but it does not appear those claims were investigated or passed on to authorities.

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State Police investigate prep school sex abuse claims

RHODE ISLAND
Southern Rhode Island Newspapers

MIDDLETOWN, R.I. (AP) — Police are investigating decades-old sexual abuse allegations at a prestigious Rhode Island boarding school.

The Newport Daily News reports that St. George’s School notified state police of allegations against former employees that date to the 1970s and 1980s. Police declined to comment on the scope or subjects of the investigation.

The Boston Globe first reported this week on a former student’s effort to make the school accountable for what she said was abuse by an athletic trainer who left the school in 1980 and has since died.

School administrators sent letters in April, August and November informing alumni they were investigating old allegations against the trainer and two others.

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R.I. prep school report cites more sex abuse victims

RHODE ISLAND
Boston Globe

By Bella English GLOBE STAFF DECEMBER 23, 2015

An investigation by St. George’s School has found that a total of 23 students were sexually abused by three school employees in the 1970s and ’80s, according to a draft of a report provided to the Globe Wednesday evening. The perpetrators were fired, but the prep school did not report them at the time to child protection services, as mandated by law.

In addition, three other employees during the same period engaged in sexual misconduct with a single student apiece, bringing the total to 26 victims of staff abuse, according to the draft report to alumni, signed by headmaster Eric Peterson and board chair Leslie Heaney.

“To all victims, we are truly, deeply sorry for the harm done to you by former employees or former students of the School,” the draft states. “We are heartbroken for you and for the pain and suffering that you have endured. We pledge to do all we can to support you in your efforts to heal, if you want or need our support.”

The document outlines plans to set up a therapy fund for victims, create an independent advisory support group, and consider removing former headmaster Tony Zane’s name from a dormitory. Zane, now 85, led the school in Middletown, R.I., during the years the abuse occurred.

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VatiLeaks priest released from prison

VATICAN CITY
news.com.au

AAP

Monsignor Lucio Vallejo Balda, a Spanish priest arrested almost two months ago over the VatiLeaks 2 affair, has been released from prison and placed under house arrest, the Vatican says.

Vallejo Balda is on trial, along with two other alleged leakers – his aide Nicola Maio and PR consultant Francesca Chaouqui – for revealing Vatican financial scandals to two journalists, Emiliano Fittipaldi and Gianluigi Nuzzi.

The 54-year-old prelate left his cell on Tuesday and was granted accommodation within Vatican walls, Holy See spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said on Wednesday.

Vallejo Balda was the only VatiLeaks 2 suspect behind bars.

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Duggar Church Sex Abuse Lawsuit Dismissed— But Alleged Victims Vow To Refile

UNITED STATES
Radar

More than two months after five women filed a damning lawsuit against the Duggar family’s beloved church organization, a judge has dismissed the case— but the alleged victims have vowed to refile the documents, RadarOnline.com can exclusively reveal.

As Radar reported in October, five former employees of Institute in Basic Life Principles, Gretchen Wilkinson, Charis Barker, Rachel Lees, Rachel Frost and a Jane Doe, sued the ministry and six of its directors—including Bringing Up Bates patriarch Gil Bates— for “failing to report known allegations of sexual abuse and sexual harassment…to the appropriate law enforcement agencies.”

While employed by the church, the women claimed they were victims of “sexual abuse, sexual harassment and inappropriate/unauthorized touching” by church staff members and managers.

Now, Radar can report, the defendants have filed a motion to dismiss the suit, claiming the plaintiffs failed to cite specific examples of abuse in their initial filing.

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Lynn’s lawyers ask for bail and a new judge

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philly.com

by Jeremy Roebuck, Staff Writer.

Msgr. William J. Lynn, the first Roman Catholic Church official convicted in the United States for covering up child sex abuse by priests, wants out of prison and to have his case assigned to a new judge.

A day after a Pennsylvania Superior Court panel overturned – for a second time – the 64-year-old’s 2012 conviction, his lawyer, Thomas A. Bergstrom, sought an emergency bail hearing for his client and the removal of Common Pleas Court Judge M. Teresa Sarmina from the case.

In court filings Wednesday, Bergstrom cited Sarmina’s “previous harsh sentence and other rulings,” as well as her decision to admit evidence at trial of decades worth of child-abuse complaints involving Philadelphia area priests, some of which predated Lynn’s tenure as secretary for clergy for the Philadelphia Archdiocese.

Superior Court called that evidence “unfairly prejudicial” in its ruling Tuesday and sided with Lynn’s argument that it effectively turned him into a scapegoat for the wider sins of the church. Prosecutors had argued it offered insight into Lynn’s decision-making, and shed light on the archdiocese’s historic practice of covering up abuse to protect the interests of the church.

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Child care provider accused of molestation, sodomy

MISSOURI
Fox 2

DECEMBER 23, 2015, BY KEVIN S. HELD

NORMANDY, MO (KTVI) – A 68-year-old man is in jail amid accusations of having inappropriate sexual contact with children at a north county church.

According to Officer Tameika Sanders, a spokeswoman for the Normandy Police Department, police were contacted December 18 regarding a sexual assault of a child at Bethesda Temple Church.

The suspect, Mickey Flanigan, has worked at Bethesda Temple Church since October 2014 as a summer school caregiver and as a bus driver during the school year.

The St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office charged Flanigan with first-degree child molestation and first-degree statutory sodomy. He’s being held in St. Louis County Jail on $150,000 cash-only bond.

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Caregiver at Normandy church accused of sexual abuse

MISSOURI
KMOV

[with video]

NORMANDY, Mo. (KMOV.com) — A caregiver at a Normandy church is facing charges for allegedly molesting a child.

Mickey Flanigan, 68, is charged with statutory sodomy and child molestation. Police told News 4 one victim has been identified.

Flanigan works at Bethesda Temple Church as a summer school caregiver and a bus driver during the school year.

Authorities believe there may be more victims.

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Faithful fear Christmas may be last for church

MASSACHUSETTS
Boston Herald

Brian Dowling Thursday, December 24, 2015

It’s an unwelcome thought for members of St. Frances X. Cabrini Church that tonight’s Christmas Eve service could be their last at the Scituate parish.

“The reality of the day is it’s possible,” said Maryellen Rogers, a spokeswoman for the parishioners, who are counting on an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court to keep them in their beloved house of worship.

Tomorrow will be the parishioners’ 12th defiant Christmas in the church. The archdiocese and civil courts see them as trespassers, while those who have held vigil in the church since October 2004 say they are standing up for the church that their families built and cared for.

Rogers said her hope has helped her stay strong over the years.

“It would be so much easier to walk away,” she said. “We have given up a big part of our lives, but sometimes you have to do the right thing. … There’s only so much you can take until you stand up and say enough.”

Rogers and others spent hours yesterday replacing Advent’s purple decorations with reds and whites of Christmas. The parish’s Christmas Eve celebration is at 5 p.m.

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Gallup Diocese case attorney says deal ‘nonbinding’

NEW MEXICO
Albuquerque Journal

By Olivier Uyttebrouck / Journal Staff Writer
Published: Thursday, December 24th, 2015

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — An attorney for alleged victims of sexual abuse by priests has declined to sign a letter listing financial terms of a settlement in the Diocese of Gallup bankruptcy case because the agreement is “nonbinding” and could allow insurers to walk away from the deal, Los Angeles attorney James Stang told a judge on Wednesday.

“We want to know that the letter means something,” and that insurers and others are required to provide the amounts indicated in the letter, said Stang, who represents 57 alleged victims of clerical abuse who have filed claims in the case. “We have got a long road to go here.”

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge David T. Thuma said he was not surprised that attorneys are having difficulty finalizing a settlement in the 2-year-old bankruptcy case and asked them to continue working toward resolution. He set a hearing for Jan. 6 to review any progress toward a deal.

The Diocese of Gallup in November 2013 became the ninth U.S. diocese to file for bankruptcy in response to a growing number of lawsuits alleging sexual abuse of children by clergy in the diocese.

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‘The sexual abuse was the underlying, emotional trigger’: John Leonard on surviving

IRELAND
The 42

EDITOR’S NOTE: We caught up with former Dublin goalkeeper John Leonard in October to talk about his extraordinary story of abuse, addiction and Gaelic football. Since then his book Dub Sub Confidential has won the inaugural Setanta Sports Book of the Year and we feel his tale bears repeating.

WE’RE SITTING ON some steps, gazing out across Dublin Bay. It’s late morning and the sun glistens on the water, casting shadows.

John Leonard knows this place well. But it’s complicated. His family home is a five-minute walk away. But high up into the clouds, in the opposite direction, is the imposing spire of St Fintan’s Church. And it was there where Leonard’s childhood was destroyed, his adulthood subsequently descending into a cocktail of wild drug abuse and alcoholism.

He was nine when the prolific paedophile priest Fr. Ivan Payne first sexually abused him. It was years later when Leonard told his parents and his life became engulfed by chaos and self-sabotage.

“I was on a mission of wanting destruction”, he says.

But there was a slight issue.

Leonard became a relatively high-profile athlete – a reserve goalkeeper for the Dublin senior footballers. Balancing the drugs, the drink and the sex with relentless training, recovery sessions and games was a struggle. But somehow, he managed it. Somehow, through bleary eyes and a heavy head, through the paranoia and the hallucinations, Leonard was part of a Dublin squad that reached an All-Ireland semi-final in 2007.

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University of St. Francis Dishonors Priest-Abuse Survivors by Honoring Bishop Joseph Imesch

ILLINOIS
Patch

By Ted Slowik | Commentary

I went to see the movie “Spotlight” about the Boston Globe’s groundbreaking coverage of priests who sexually abused children and the bishops and cardinals who covered it up. Had Catholic Church leaders acted differently, predator clergy wouldn’t have had access to children. Many people who were harmed would have been spared.

As a reporter for the Joliet Herald News in 2002, I spoke with more than 50 people who were sexually abused as children by Joliet priests. The Joliet Diocese lists on its website 35 priests linked to sexual abuse of children. Hundreds of children were horrifically abused in DuPage, Will and five other counties.

The guy in charge of the Joliet Diocese from 1979 to 2006, when a great number of cases were reported, was Bishop Joseph Imesch. Based on my first-hand interviews with abuse survivors, their parents and diocesan insiders, I firmly believe Joe Imesch cared more about protecting his priests and the reputation of the Church than protecting children from harm.

He’d say, in interviews and in depositions, that he relied on the advice of therapists who assured him the sexual deviants could be treated and returned to service. At other times Joe would say there was a lack of evidence that a crime occurred, or some other lame excuse. I call bullshit on all that.

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Father John Walshe apologises for acting contrary to his vows but denies abuse allegations

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

A Melbourne priest accused of sexual abuse has apologised to his parish for “any hurt or disappointment” his behaviour caused following revelations a church investigation found his conduct inconsistent with his duties.

The ABC has revealed that in 2012 the Catholic Church paid $75,000 compensation to John Roach, who claimed he was sexually abused by Father John Walshe in 1982.

Father Walshe, who now works at St Patrick’s at Mentone-Parkdale, denied he abused Mr Roach, but had engaged in “consensual conduct” with another adult.

“My conduct was contrary to my religious beliefs. However it by no means constituted any form of abuse,” he said in a statement.

Mr Roach, who said the abuse took place while he was an 18-year-old seminarian, made a formal complaint to the Melbourne Response in 2002, which was later upheld following an investigation by Peter O’Callaghan QC.

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December 23, 2015

Melbourne man asks for public’s support to start foundation for Jesuit abuse victims

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

By Loretta Florance

A man who is still fighting for compensation over alleged abuse he suffered at Xavier College in the 1970s has turned to crowdfunding in an effort to establish a foundation to support other abuse victims.

Janusz Skarbek, 54, attended the prestigious Melbourne school for three years in the 1970s, but said it was not until decades later that he remembered his ordeal.

He said he told his story at a private hearing at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, and now he is telling it again as part of a public plea to raise $15,000 to start the Fellows Foundation.

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‘Vatileaks’ priest freed from jail, put under house arrest

VATICAN CITY
GMA News (Philippines)

A Spanish priest accused of leaking secret documents to journalists in the so-called Vatileaks scandal was released from prison and placed under house arrest, a spokesman for the Holy See said Wednesday.

Spanish Monsignor Lucio Vallejo Balda was arrested in November over accusations he leaked confidential documents to the Italian press, along with his assistant Nicola Maio and Francesca Chaouqui, a former PR consultant to the Vatican.

Vallejo Balda was released from jail Tuesday and is being housed in a small flat in a convent located above the Vatican police station, spokesman Ciro Benedettini told AFP, adding that he was barred from leaving the city-state.

The priest had made a statement saying he leaked the documents under Chaouqui’s influence and that he had been sorely tempted to break his vow of celibacy as a result of her sexual advances.

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PA police drop priest investigation, citing ‘insufficient evidence’

TEXAS
Beaumont Enterprise

Father David Placette, pastor of St. Catherine Catholic Church in Port Arthur, was cleared by Port Arthur police in connection with an indecency complaint involving four juvenile males, according to a statement released today by Port Arthur police.

“Due to insufficient evidence, no charges will be pursued against Father David Placette,” said Deputy Chief Raymond E. Clark. “After interviewing the juveniles, investigators were unable to establish probable cause.”

Clark said the parents of one of the boys complained to police on Dec. 2, launching the investigation on Dec. 4 that resulted in detective interviews of each of the boys. He said the investigation was conducted with the guidelines of the Jefferson County District Attorney’s office.

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Priest on trial for VatiLeaks 2 leaves prison, granted house arrest

VATICAN CITY
The Eagle (Nigeria)

BY SEGUN ADEBOWALE

The Vatican said on Wednesday Monsignor Lucio Balda, a Spanish priest arrested in November over the VatiLeaks 2 affair, has been released from prison and placed under house arrest.

Balda is on trial along with two other alleged leakers – his aide, Nicola Maio, and PR consultant, Francesca Chaouqui – for revealing Vatican financial scandals to two journalists, Emiliano Fittipaldi and Gianluigi Nuzzi.

The 54-year-old prelate, who sat on a now-disbanded church reform committee with Chaouqui, left his cell on Tuesday and was granted accommodation within Vatican walls, Holy See spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi said.

The trial was suspended in December after the court agreed to a request from Chaouqui’s lawyer to have an independent expert review the data prized from defendants’ mobile phones and computers during the investigations.

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PA priest cleared of wrongdoing

TEXAS
Port Arthur News

By Mary Meaux

Port Arthur Police have concluded their investigation thus clearing a local priest of wrongdoing.

Allegations were brought against The Rev. David Placette, pastor of St. Catherine Catholic Church, for an incident reported at the St. Catherine School earlier this month. On Wednesday Placette was cleared and no criminal conduct was found, according to an official with the Port Arthur Police Department.

Bishop Curtis Guillory of the Diocese of Beaumont issued a statement regarding the allegations last week saying the diocese was very concerned to learn about the allegations against Placette. The priest was placed on administrative leave from all priestly ministry, pending both civil and ecclesiastical investigations into the matter.

PAPD Sgt. Scott Gaspard said, in a Dec. 18 interview, that police take the allegations seriously and would investigate thoroughly to determine if a crime had occurred and take appropriate steps toward justice.

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Local Journalist Reflects on Milwaukee’s Catholic Sex Abuse Scandal

WISCONSIN
WUWM

By AUDREY NOWAKOWSKI

The nationwide sexual abuse scandal involving Catholic priests has gotten increased scrutiny in recent days with the release of a new movie about the investigation. “Spotlight” dramatizes the effort by the Boston Globe newspaper to bring abuses by priests in the Boston archdiocese to light.

It’s a scandal that also involved priests in Milwaukee. Reporter Marie Rohde’s work stretches back to 1980s, when she covered religion for the Milwaukee Journal. More than a quarter-century later, Rohde still writes about the issue as a freelancer, often for the independent National Catholic Reporter.

Rohde says the first time she heard about sexual abuse committed by a priest was in the mid 1980’s when a Louisiana priest was accused of abusing many boys for decades.

“My response was, ‘thank goodness it’s not here,'” she says.

However, within a few years, a priest in a Milwaukee northeast parish was accused by a victim of sexual abuse. At the time the allegations were not widely accepted by the community and the matter proceeded into a civil lawsuit and later, an out-of-court settlement.

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Priest cleared to return to ministry – seven months after police dismiss unfounded sex abuse allegations

SCOTLAND
Herald Scotland

Martin Williams Wednesday 23 December

A PRIEST who was suspended over unfounded allegations of historic sexual abuse is set to make a return to full ministry in Scotland – over seven months after police said there was no case to answer.

Father Paul Morton is expected to return to St Bride’s RC church in Cambuslang, South Lanarkshire, following the conclusion of a Catholic church canonical inquiry.

Campaigners calling for the re-instatement delivered a 2,037-signature petition to the Chancellor of the Diocese of Motherwell in September, almost a year after the priest was removed from his home and parish following the anonymous claims.

Father Morton, 55, was cleared of any wrongdoing in May after being falsely accused in 2014.

Many worshippers at St Bride’s wanted him reinstated and criticised the Catholic Church for dragging its heels on the issue.

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Advent-ually

UNITED STATES
Religion News Service – Rhymes with Religion

Boz Tchividjian | Dec 23, 2015

As we find ourselves in the middle of this Advent season, Pastor Chris Armfield shares some hopeful reminders to Christians who are weary and find themselves struggling will loneliness, anxiety, and fear. Besides being a pastor of a fantastic church, Chris is my brother-in-law and a dear friend. I am grateful for his words. Merry Christmas and happy holidays! – Boz
_____________________________________________________________________________

It’s officially winter and the Christmas-holiday-season is in full effect. I can nearly feel the cut of the cold breeze outside as I sit inside, fingers cloaked around a hot and freshly brewed chai tea. Looking through an expansive window from a local coffee shop in Greenville, SC, I examine withered trees bearing the battle scars of surrendered leaves due to wrestling with an early Fall. The common busyness of people walking and people watching on sidewalks, benches, waterways and patches of manicured grass has lulled to a few brave souls executing their mandatory A to B commute. The city looks lonely.

It’s no secret that the presence of the holidays ushers in wanted and at times unwanted anticipation and change. For many, holiday anticipation can bring about loneliness and depression. According to Adam K. Anderson, Ph.D., an associate professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, “the bombardment of media during the holidays showing images of smiling families and friends often causes people to start questioning the quality of their own relationships.” Studies reveal many people are experiencing what is called SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as seasonal depression. This makes sense to me on several levels.

Sadly, I know many people who experienced the bulk of their abuse while family spent the holidays together. The festive decorations and songs combined with the gathering of uncles, aunts, grandparents and cousins serves a consistent reminder of the worst days of their lives.

If your mind and heart were visible during this season, what would an onlooker, like me, uncover?

For some, maybe even you, a richly Christian word like Advent may conjure up fear or disappointment. Orthodox Christianity teaches that Advent is a season set apart for anticipating the coming of Christ. Yet for many, Advent means “I’ll be depressed ‘advent-ually.’” If this is you, you’re not alone in this struggle of the mind and spirit.

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Police clear Port Arthur priest of accusations

TEXAS
12 News

The Port Arthur police department Wednesday cleared a Port Arthur priest of allegations made against him earlier this month.

Father David Placette, 61, who is the pastor of St. Catherine Church, was placed on administrative leave following the allegation.

Police say after interviewing the juveniles involved, investigators were unable to find probable cause for the offense.

The Port Arthur police worked with the Texas Department of Family Services as well as the Diocesan Review Board of the Diocese of Beaumont.

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Pearl River Pastor Abuse Allegation Credible, Not Yet Substantiated

NEW YORK
Catholic New York

An allegation of abuse of a minor on two occasions more than 30 years ago by Msgr. John J. O’Keefe, pastor of St. Margaret of Antioch Parish in Pearl River, has been deemed credible but not yet substantiated, according to the archdiocese.

The pastor is not permitted to publicly function as a priest until the matter is resolved, Cardinal Dolan said in a Dec. 16 letter to parishioners of St. Margaret’s.

The cardinal’s letter also stated that Msgr. O’Keefe is in a supervised setting as he undergoes a thorough evaluation and risk assessment. He had been on leave from the parish since Sept. 1, receiving treatment for unrelated personal health issues. (Father Eric Raaser has been serving as the parish’s temporary administrator.)

Auxiliary Bishop Dominick Lagonegro, episcopal vicar of Orange, Sullivan, Ulster and Rockland Counties, spoke at weekend Masses at St. Margaret of Antioch on Dec. 19-20. Also representing the archdiocese at the church were Msgr. Edward Weber, director of the Priest Personnel Office, and Joseph Zwilling, communications director for the archdiocese.

When the archdiocese received the allegation, it was immediately turned over to the Bronx and Rockland district attorneys’ offices and then forwarded to the district attorney in Virginia, where one of the acts of abuse allegedly occurred.

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CT–Accused predator priest put back to work; Victims respond

CONNECTICUT
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2015

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

An accused predator priest has supposedly been “cleared” by his clerical colleagues and will be put back to work, a move that we believe may endanger more innocent kids.

[Republican-American]

Hundreds of times, Catholic officials have repeated this dangerous pattern: deeming child sex abuse reports against clerics “not substantiated,” putting those clerics back into parishes, then removing them again later for the same allegations or added allegations, and having put vulnerable kids in harm’s way for years and years. It’s utterly tragic and irresponsible. It’s proof that bishops keep putting their employees above their flocks.

Fr. Jeremiah Murasso of Blessed Sacrament Church and the Shrine of St. Anne is accused of molesting a child years ago at St. Francis Home for Children (also known as Highland Heights) in New Haven. Archbishop Leonard Blair claims his staff did an “extensive” investigation. Really? The let him hold a news conference and explain this process, instead of hiding behind a vague news release.

Shame on Fr. Kevin J. Forsyth of St. Augustine parish in Seymour, who publicly said the accusations were “baseless and just about money.” We strongly doubt Fr. Forsyth has ever met the accuser. His callous, hurtful comment will deter others who have been sexually violated – by clergy, parents, teachers and other trusted adults – from finding the courage to report these horrific crimes.

We beg anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes or cover ups in Hartford to summon the strength to speak up. Kids are safer only when adults are courageous enough to call police, prosecutors, therapists, or support groups like ours with information or suspicions about child sex crimes.

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MSGR. LYNN’S CONVICTION OVERTURNED

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Catholic League

Bill Donohue comments on Monsignor William Lynn:

There are many innocent priests who have been railroaded by lying accusers, malicious so-called victims’ advocates, rapacious lawyers and biased newspapers, but few have been more badly treated than Philly’s Msgr. William Lynn. Yesterday, a Pennsylvania appellate court overturned his conviction—for a second time—and ordered a new trial. The badly tainted Philadelphia D.A., Seth Williams, has not said whether he will appeal.

Finally, Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge M. Teresa Sarmina was taken down for her disgraceful decision to present evidence against Lynn that antedated his birth. The Superior Court judges ripped her for presenting evidence that was “trivial or minimal.” It was obvious from her deceitful ploy that she was putting the entire Catholic Church on trial. But she is far from the only unethical official in this scam.

* On March 31, 2011, I sent Philly D.A. Lynne Abraham (Williams’ predecessor) a letter in the overnight mail asking her to identify which “religious organizations and denominations” she pursued other than the Roman Catholic Church (that was her specific charge). She never answered.

* On February 1, 2012, I publicly called on Judge Sarmina to step down as the presiding judge, citing an anti-Catholic remark she made from the bench. She said she “misspoke.”

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Assignment Record– Rev. Henry G. Carriere

MINNESOTA
BishopAccountability.org

Summary of Case: Henry G. Carriere was ordained for the Crookston MN diocese in 1946. He served parishes in Crookston, Fertile, Bemidji, Argyle, Radium, Guthrie, Laporte, Blackduck, Brooks, Plummer, Terrebonne, Roseau and Badger. He was also chaplain at a Park Rapids hospital in the 1950s. He retired in 1990. In December 1991 Carriere pleaded guilty to three counts of child sexual abuse. He died in 2003.

Born: May 9, 1920
Ordained: June 16, 1946
Died: November 3, 2003

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Vatican ousts priest imprisoned for child pornography

PENNSYLVANIA
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

December 23, 2015
By Peter Smith / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

A Roman Catholic priest serving a federal prison term for possession of child pornography has been removed from the priesthood, according to the Diocese of Pittsburgh.

David F. Dzermejko, of Braddock, has been incarcerated at the Federal Medical Center in Devens, Mass., since his sentencing in April 2014 in U.S. District Court for possession of what prosecutors said were more than 100 images of child pornography.

The Diocese of Pittsburgh had removed Dzermejko from ministry in 2009 following allegations he had sexually abused children. But he had remained technically a priest until Oct. 31, when the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which handles abuse cases, issued a decree dismissing him from the clerical state.

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Watching and responding to ‘Spotlight’

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

Fr. Peter Daly | Dec. 23, 2015

“Spotlight” is a very good movie. It might win an Oscar for best screenplay.

“Spotlight” is a very sad story. It might mark a watershed in the way priests are seen in movies.

“Spotlight” was a tragedy brought on by sins of priests and bishops. The damage is not yet finished and the perpetrators of these crimes have never been held fully accountable.

I went to see “Spotlight” by myself. I knew it would be painful to watch.

The movie is the story of The Boston Globe investigation of the priest pedophilia scandal in the Archdiocese of Boston. The scandal exploded into public awareness in 2002. The investigative team of the Globe, known as “Spotlight” had generally investigated corruption in government or the police. But they turned their attention to the Archdiocese of Boston with devastating effect. While the scandal broke in 2002, it had been simmering below the surface for years.

Michael Keaton leads an ensemble cast that is entirely believable. They capture the atmosphere of the newsroom and the atmosphere of the Catholic church in Boston. The real Spotlight team spent more than a year uncovering the child abuse scandal. They won a Pulitzer Prize for their series and they touched off similar investigations worldwide. It has been a scandal that continues to convulse the church.

As a parish priest I found it painful to watch. I was ashamed.

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A touching poem from a son about his mom

UNITED STATES
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

I’m grateful that so many of us whose souls were violated and whose voices were silenced by clergy sex crimes and cover ups have been able to use the arts to help ourselves heal. I’m also grateful that some who have done this share their creative, cathartic work with us at SNAP.

James R. Antonik is one such kind person. He recently sent us a poem he wrote after his mother’s death. He calls it “a work of fiction based on at least one truth,” events relating to St. Stephan’s parish in South Buffalo, NY around 1945.

“I would hope that your sharing of this poem enables survivors to understand the long term damage of abuse and empowers them to come forward,” James says. “Writing this poem was cathartic to a man who lost his religion when his mother related her long suppressed abuse. I could no longer support an organization that was a magnet for pedophiles.”

He reports that “done fine since leaving the Catholic Church” and that his “life and faith have gotten exponentially better” as he now reads the Bible “almost daily.”

Thank you James for your creativity, generosity and concern. Here’s his poem:

Just One Lie
My Mom as a child, told just one lie.
A fib that would haunt her, till the day she die.
2nd Grade Pauline and her friends were just having fun.
When she so innocently told a lie to the Nun.
Monsignor wouldn’t have it, said “Your Daughter’s a liar.”
In retribution, Grandpa’s belt set her britches on fire.
The lesson was learned. All the days of her youth,
Young Pauline Benes…..ALWAYS ….., told the truth.

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Pope Francis faces a real dilemma in ‘Vatileaks 2.0’

ROME
Crux

By John L. Allen Jr.
Associate editor December 23, 2015

ROME — In a Christmas audience with Vatican employees and their families on Monday, Pope Francis issued an unusually blunt mea culpa: “I want to apologize for the scandals that there were in the Vatican,” he said, referring to 2015.

He didn’t say which scandals he meant, and people from the United States or other parts of the world might wonder, since there have been more than a few: A former Vatican official who came out as openly gay, a former papal envoy accused of sex abuse who died under what some see as mysterious circumstances before he could be put on trial, and so on.

In Italy, however, no one is asking that question, because virtually everyone here assumes they know exactly what Francis had in mind: “Vatileaks 2.0.”

The term refers to the sensation that broke out in early November when two Italian journalists, Gianluigi Nuzzi and Emiliano Fittipaldi, simultaneously published books exposing various financial meltdowns, based in part on leaked documents from a study commission set up by Pope Francis shortly after his election to prepare the basis for reform.

In short order, three former Vatican insiders were charged with crimes under Vatican law for leaking those documents, and the two journalists were charged for pressuring them to do so.

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A friend of George Pell gives evidence to help Pell’s lawyers

AUSTRALIA
Broken Rites

By a Broken Rites researcher (article posted 22 December 2015)

Australia’s national child-abuse Royal Commission has learned how George Pell recruited supporters from among suburban priests when he began his rise to power in Melbourne in the 1980s and 1990s. Broken Rites understands that Pell was welcomed particularly by conservative (as distinct from moderate-minded) priests. One of these traditionalist supporters, Father John Walshe, has given evidence to the Royal Commission on behalf of Cardinal Pell’s lawyers. This Broken Rites article is an analysis of Walshe’s evidence.

Originally a priest in the Ballarat diocese (which covered the western half of Victoria), George Pell moved to Melbourne in 1985 to become the head of the Melbourne seminary (Corpus Christi College, then based at Melbourne’s Clayton), which trained priests for Victoria and Tasmania. In 1987 he was appointed as one of Melbourne’s four regional auxiliary bishops under the authority of Archbishop Frank Little (Bishop Pell’s region was Melbourne’s south-eastern suburbs). This is when he became acquainted with allies such as Father John Walshe.

At this stage, Pell was no more famous nationally than any of Australia’s forty or so other Catholic bishops. But he was working on it.

Father John Walshe and Bishop George Pell

Broken Rites has analysed the Royal Commission transcripts for 15-16 December 2015.

Fr John Thomas Walsh gave the Royal Commission a copy of his curriculum vitae. Born in Melbourne in 1958, Walshe attended school at St James Catholic Primary School Gardenvale (1963-1967) and Christian Brothers College St Kilda (1968-1975). He began studying for the priesthood at the Melbourne seminary in 1976, aged 18, and was ordained as a priest in 1982 [Father George Pell then was still based in Ballarat]

Father Walshe’s early appointments as an assistant priest in the Melbourne archdiocese included:

* Parish of St Mary of the Angels, Geelong (1982-1983);
* Parish of St Thomas the Apostle, Blackbum (1983-1986);
* St Jude’s, Scoresby (1986-1988); and
* St Gerard’s, North Dandenong (1988-1992).

By 1988 or so, Walshe became acquainted with George Pell who was now in leading roles in Melbourne. Walshe told the Commission:

“When I was in the Parish of St Gerard in North Dandenong, Bishop Pell was our Regional Bishop. . . He had the practice of inviting priests of his zone, his area, to dinners, so to get to know them because he wasn’t a priest of Melbourne and he sort of took every opportunity to get to know the clergy, so I came to know him better through then.”

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Archdiocese facing more lawsuits

LAS VEGAS (NV)
Las Vegas Optic

OLOS named as defendant

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Four more lawsuits have been filed against the Archdiocese of Santa Fe alleging that pedophile priests molested and raped boys decades ago while church officials looked the other way. Two of those lawsuits allege abuse at Our Lady of Sorrows Church in Las Vegas.

The lawsuits were filed last week in state District Court in Albuquerque by the Law Offices of Brad D. Hall. Two of those lawsuits also list Our Lady of Sorrows Parish as a defendant. The new suits join more than a dozen other lawsuits filed against the archdiocese by Hall’s firm.

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Vatican court names expert witness

VATICAN CITY
ANSA

(ANSA) – Rome, December 23 – A Vatican court has appointed a technical consultant who will examine digital communications between three defendants in the so-called Vatileaks 2 trial over a document-leaking scandal, ANSA learned on Wednesday.

The expert witness, Paolo Atzeri of Rome, will examine emails, text messages and Whatsapp communications between Monsignor Lucio Vallejo Balda, his former assistant Nicola Maio, and PR expert Francesca Immacolata Chaouqui.

Chaouqui’s attorney requested the examination, sustaining that the version of communications provided in the lawsuit was incomplete, with deletions and omissions.

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Former Fox News Correspondent Gets a Vatican Promotion

VATICAN CITY
TV Newser

By Chris Ariens on Dec. 23, 2015

A former Fox News correspondent has been elevated at the Vatican.

Pope Francis has appointed Greg Burke the new vice director of the Holy See Press Office. Burke was Fox News’s correspondent in Rome until 2012, when he left for a position in the Vatican communications office.

John Allen, associate editor of the Crux and a CNN Vatican analyst, reports the promotion “sets Burke up as heir apparent to the Rev. Federico Lombardi, the 73-year-old Jesuit who’s headed the press office and acted as spokesman for both Popes Benedict XVI and Francis since 2006.”

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Church official’s conviction over complaints reversed again

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Salina Journal

By MARYCLAIRE DALE Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA — The landmark conviction of a Roman Catholic church official imprisoned over his handling of abuse complaints in Philadelphia was overturned Tuesday for the second time.

The state Superior Court ruling awarded a new trial to Monsignor William Lynn, who has been on a legal roller coaster since his 2012 trial on child endangerment charges.

The appeals court said the trial judge erred in allowing about 20 other victims of sex abuse by clergy to testify about how their complaints were handled by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. The judges said the trial court “abused its discretion by admitting a high volume of other-acts evidence.”

Lynn was convicted of endangering a boy who said he was assaulted by two priests and a teacher, including a previously accused priest who was transferred to his parish.

The 64-year-old has been back in prison since April, after the conviction overturned in 2013 on different grounds was reinstated by the state Supreme Court.

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Court Overturns Catholic Church Supervisor’s Sex Scandal Conviction, Again

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Press Telegraph

Arnold White | 23 December, 2015

Tuesday’s Superior Court ruling ordering a new trial also could be appealed to the state’s highest court.

Lynn was the first USA church official ever convicted in the handling of abuse complaints.

The landmark conviction of a Roman Catholic church official imprisoned over his handling of priest sexual abuse complaints was overturned Tuesday for the second time.

The appeals court said the trial judge erred in allowing weeks of testimony from 21…

The Pennsylvania Superior Court found that Monsignor William Lynn of Philadelphia did not receive a fair trial because a trial judge allowed jurors to hear too much evidence about the wrongdoing of priests who had abused children. William Lynn, the central defendant in the landmark 2012 trial involving clergy sex-abuse in Philadelphia.

“It’s certainly taken a toll, but he’s holding up”, said defense attorney Thomas Bergstrom, who visited Lynn last week and hopes to get him released quickly.

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STORY REMOVED: BC-US–Priest Abuse-Appeal

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Monterey Herald

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Associated Press has withdrawn its story about the conviction of a church official overturned for a second time because it incorrectly names The Rev. Andrew McCormick, a priest in another case, as being convicted and since dying in prison. McCormick’s two trials ended in a deadlocked jury; he was never convicted and is free. A substitute story will move shortly.

The AP

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Bishop Joseph L. Imesch who passed from this life into Eternal Life, today, December 22, 2015.

ILLINOIS
Roman Catholic Diocese of Joliet

12/22/2015

Joseph Imesch was born on June 21, 1931 in Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan, the second son of immigrant Swiss parents, Dionys and Margaret (Margelisch) Imesch. He was baptized at St. Ambrose Church in Grosse Pointe, and later attended the parish elementary school as well as St. Paul Elementary School in Grosse Pointe Farms. He completed his high school and college education at Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit.

He earned a Licentiate of Sacred Theology (STL) while studying in Rome at the North American College (1953 -1957). On December 16, 1956, he was ordained to the priesthood in Rome and completed further studies at the Gregorian University (1969 – 1970).

After ordination, Father Imesch was assigned to St. Charles Parish in Detroit (1957) where he served as associate pastor until becoming Secretary to John Cardinal Dearden from 1959 to 1971. He was named pastor of Our Lady of Sorrows Parish in Farmington, Michigan in 1971 and served in that capacity until 1977.

On April 3, 1973, while yet ministering as a pastor, Father Imesch was ordained as an Auxiliary Bishop of Detroit. Bishop Imesch served as Regional Bishop of the Northwest Region of Detroit from 1977 to 1979 until being named as Bishop of Joliet. On August 28, 1979, he was installed as Third Bishop of the Diocese of Joliet. …

The body of Bishop Imesch will lie in state at the Cathedral of St. Raymond Nonnatus in Joliet on December 28, 2015 from 1:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., and on December 29, 2015 from 9:00 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. Solemn Vespers will be celebrated at 7:00 p.m. on December 28, 2015.

Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m. on December 29, 2015 at the Cathedral.

Following the Mass, the body of Bishop Imesch will be laid to rest in Resurrection Cemetery in Romeoville.

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Directions hearing called

AUSTRALIA
Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

23 December, 2015

The Royal Commission has called a directions hearing to be held in Sydney on Friday 5 February 2016 at 10am immediately following the directions hearing in relation to Cardinal Pell.

The purpose of the directions hearing is to consider Bishop Ronald Mulkearns’ capacity to attend the third part of the public hearing into Catholic Church authorities in Ballarat.

The directions hearing will be presided over by Justice Peter McClellan AM, Chair of the Royal Commission and will be live-streamed.

Venue: Hearing Room 1, Level 17, Governor Macquarie Tower, 1 Farrer Place, Sydney.
Time: 10:00AM AEDT

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PROGRESS ON WORK OF HISTORICAL CHILD ABUSE INQUIRY

SCOTLAND
Historical Child Abuse Inquiry

The Chair of the Historical Child Abuse Inquiry Scotland has announced two key dates in the work of the Inquiry.

The Inquiry’s Terms of Reference covers that period which is within living memory of any person who suffered such abuse up until such date as the Chair may determine but not beyond 17 December 2014.

Ms Susan O’Brien QC has now confirmed that for a person who suffered abuse to give their account to the Inquiry of their experience of abuse, its impact and the effect on their family, the abuse must have taken place no later than 17 December 2014.

Since it was formally established in October, the Inquiry has engaged with a range of organisations with an interest in the work of the Inquiry to listen to their suggestions as to how the Inquiry should approach its work.

The Chair has indicated that the Inquiry wishes to engage with as many groups as possible to understand their views on how the Inquiry should proceed, with interested parties having until 31 January 2016 to make their views known.

Marking these dates, Ms O’Brien QC said: “We are developing procedures to take the evidence of survivors, as it is likely that many individuals will apply to give us their testimony.

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Final date – Terms of Reference

SCOTLAND
Historical Child Abuse Inquiry

The Inquiry’s Terms of Reference cover that period which is within living memory of any person who suffered abuse, up until such date as the Chair may determine but not beyond 17 December 2014.

The Chair has now confirmed that for a person who suffered abuse to give their account to the Inquiry about the experience of abuse, its impact and the effect on his or her family, the abuse must have taken place before the final date. The date is 17 December 2014. To see the Inquiry’s latest Press Release, please click here.

A Note setting out the reasons for that decision will appear on the website in due course.

Engagement with key groups

Since the Inquiry formally began work in October, several meetings have taken place with survivor groups, and representations have been made to the Inquiry about its Terms of Reference.

Among the concerns raised is that the only abuse we will consider is abuse which affected children in residential and care establishments, or children in foster care. We cannot look at abuse which took place in clubs or in the community generally. The Chair was asked to take that concern to the Cabinet Secretary, and she did so in a letter (which is published here). Decisions about the scope of the Inquiry’s remit are Scottish Government decisions, and not matters on which the Chair can or should comment.

Meetings have taken place, or have been arranged, with several organisations with an interest in the Inquiry. The door remains open for any interested groups to make representations to the Inquiry about how it should go about its task up until 31 January 2016.

Those who wish to make contact with the Inquiry can do so either by email, information@childabuseinquiry.scot or post, Historical Child Abuse Inquiry, PO Box 24085, Edinburgh, EH7 9EA

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Historical child abuse inquiry announces key dates

SCOTLAND
BBC News

The chairwoman of the inquiry into historical child abuse has announced two key dates for the investigation.

Susan O’Brien QC has said those giving evidence must have experienced abuse no later than 17 December 2014.

Furthermore, the QC wants any group which wants to express how the inquiry should proceed to make their views known by 31 January next year.

Survivors’ groups have previously criticised a lack of progress in the work of the Scottish inquiry.

The probe – established in October after its initial announcement in December, 2014 – will cover abuse within living memory up to 17 December, 2014.

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Catholic Church calls Melb victims forward

AUSTRALIA
Sky News

The Catholic Church is urging anyone who was sexually assaulted at Melbourne’s St Patrick’s Cathedral during the 1990s to come forward.

Victoria Police’s Sano Taskforce is investigating allegations male teenagers were assaulted at the East Melbourne church between 1996 and 2001.

The alleged victims were aged 14 at the time.

‘Victoria Police is committed to investigating and bringing to justice those people who prey on children no matter how many years have passed,’ Sergeant Sharon Darcy said in a statement on Wednesday.

Catholic Church spokesman Shane Healy told AAP he couldn’t comment on the investigation but he urged other victims and witnesses to come forward.

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Victoria police seek victims of sexual assault at St Patrick’s cathedral

AUSTRALIA
The Guardian

Calla Wahlquist
Tuesday 22 December 2015

Victoria police are investigating allegations of sexual assault at Melbourne’s St Patrick’s cathedral during Cardinal George Pell’s tenure as archbishop of Melbourne.

The victims were reportedly 14-year-old boys.

In a statement on Wednesday, Sgt Sharon Darcy said detectives from the Sano taskforce wanted to speak to anyone who was a victim of sexual assault at the cathedral, or who knew of sexual assaults at the cathedral, between 1996 and 2001.

“Victoria police is committed to investigating and bringing to justice those people who prey on children, no matter how many years have passed,” Darcey said.

Pell was appointed archbishop of Melbourne in 1996 and remained in the role until being appointed archbishop of Sydney in 2001.

He was scheduled to appear at a hearing of the royal commission into institutional responses to child sex abuse last week, but his lawyers said he was too ill to make the flight from Rome where he is the head of the Vatican’s economic secretariat.

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Trial canceled for priest facing child porn charges; change of plea expected

KENTUCKY
WHAS

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) — The trial for a former priest of St. Margaret Mary that was originally scheduled for next month, has been cancelled.

A change of plea hearing is now set for January 4th for Stephen Pohl.

Pohl is facing child porn charges. He is accused of viewing the explicit images in his office and living space at the Parish.

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Hearing to decide George Pell fate

AUSTRALIA
The Courier

By Melissa Cunningham
Dec. 23, 2015

Two directions hearings will be held in Sydney in February to find out if Cardinal George Pell and Bishop Ronald Mulkearns are too ill to give evidence to a child sex abuse inquiry in Ballarat.

The Royal Commission into child sex abuse has called the directions hearing on Bishop Mulkearns to be held on February 5 at 10am immediately following a directions hearing on Cardinal Pell. The purpose is to consider Cardinal Pell and Bishop Mulkearns’ capacity to attend the third part of the public hearing into Catholic Church authorities in Ballarat on February 22.

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Italian prosecutors seek 4.5-year prison term for Vatican monsignor charged in illegal transfer of €20 million

ITALY
Catholic Culture

December 22, 2015

Italian prosecutors are seeking a prison sentence of 54 months for Msgr. Nunzio Scarano, the former Vatican official who is charged with attempting to bring €20 million into the country illegally.

Msgr. Scarano, the former chief of accounting for the Administration of the Patrimony of the Holy See (APSA), was arrested in June 2013 along with two others charged with involvement in the same scheme. He had earlier been removed from his post at APSA because he was the focus of a separate money-laundering investigation.

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SEXUAL ASSAULT INVESTIGATION – ST. PATRICKS CATHEDRAL, EAST MELBOURNE

AUSTRALIA
Victoria Police

WEDNESDAY, 23 DECEMBER 2015

Sano Taskforce detectives are appealing for information in relation to allegations of sexual assault at the St. Patricks Cathedral, East Melbourne in the 1990s.

The male victims were aged 14 at the time of the alleged incidents.

Detectives would like to speak to anyone who was a victim of a sexual assault, or anybody with any information relating to any alleged sexual assaults, committed at the St. Patricks Cathedral between 1996 and 2001.

Anyone with information is urged to call the Sano Taskforce toll free on 1800 110 007.

The Sano Taskforce detectives specialise in investigating historical sexual assault and child abuse matters.

Victoria Police encourages all victims of sexual assault and child abuse, and anyone who has knowledge of such a crime, to make a report.

Victoria Police is committed to investigating and bringing to justice those people who prey on children no matter how many years have passed.

Information relating to any alleged sexual assaults, committed at St. Patricks Cathedral, East Melbourne during this time period, can also be provided anonymously to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submitted confidentially on-line at www.crimestoppersvic.com.au

Sergeant Sharon Darcy
Media Officer

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Detectives investigating allegations of abuse at St Patrick’s Cathedral in East Melbourne in 1990s

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

Allegations of sexual assault at St Patrick’s Catholic Cathedral in East Melbourne between 1996 and 2001 are being investigated by Victorian detectives.

Police have released a statement saying male victims were aged 14 at the time of the alleged incidents.

Detectives from the Sano Taskforce, which specialises in investigating historical sexual assault and child abuse matters, have appealed to anyone with information to come forward.

“Detectives would like to speak to anyone who was a victim of a sexual assault, or anybody with any information relating to any alleged sexual assaults, committed at the St Patrick’s Cathedral between 1996 and 2001,” Victoria Police spokeswoman Sharon Darcy said in a statement.

“Victoria Police is committed to investigating and bringing to justice those people who prey on children no matter how many years have passed.”

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Sex abuse claims at St Patrick’s Cathedral in East Melbourne under police investigation

AUSTRALIA
Herald Sun

December 22, 2015

REBEKAH CAVANAGH
Herald Sun

BOYS as young as 14 were allegedly sexually abused at St Patrick’s Cathedral in East Melbourne while Cardinal George Pell was in charge.

Sano Taskforce detectives are investigating claims of assault at the Catholic church between 1996 and 2001 — the same period when Cardinal Pell was archbishop of Melbourne.

Investigators are appealing to anyone who was a victim or with any information relating to any alleged sexual assaults committed at the church during this period to contact them.

The Sano Taskforce detectives specialise in investigating historical sexual assault and child abuse matters.

“Victoria Police encourages all victims of sexual assault and child abuse, and anyone who has knowledge of such a crime, to make a report,” Sergeant Sharon Darcy said.

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Sisters of Nazareth accused of impeding historic sex abuse investigation

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

By Charlotte King

A religious order in Melbourne has been accused of impeding an investigation into historic sex abuse at a former children’s home.

Barry Potocic, 54, has spent thirty years trying to identify the nun who he says used him as a sex toy at the age of eight, at Nazareth House in Camberwell.

He suffers post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety, as well as serious dental problems — the result of grinding his teeth during regular nightmares.

Mr Potocic is seeking compensation from the Sisters of Nazareth to get counselling and for dental work, but says the order is stalling his efforts.

The Sisters of Nazareth told the ABC they would be happy to provide historic photographs to an assessor as part of a Towards Healing investigation, which is the in-house method the Catholic Church uses to settle historic sex abuse claims.

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St Patrick’s Cathedral investigated for child sex abuse

AUSTRALIA
The Age

December 23, 2015

Rania Spooner, Steve Lillebuen

The Catholic Church in Melbourne has been hit with child sexual abuse claims just two days before Christmas as police target allegations that fall directly under the leadership of George Pell.

In a rare public statement, Sano taskforce detectives investigating historic allegations of abuse have made an appeal for information about sexual assaults at St Patrick’s Cathedral between 1996 and 2001.

Its investigation centres on claims that 14-year-old boys were sexually assaulted at the East Melbourne landmark, described by the church as the “mother church of the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne”.

The taskforce is understood to have executed search warrants on buildings linked to the church in East Melbourne, Melbourne, Maidstone and Toorak, on December 2.

The timeframe of the allegations covers the years when Cardinal Pell was archbishop of Melbourne and current archbishop Denis Hart was vicar-general.

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St Patrick’s abuse allegations: Claims strike at heart of church

AUSTRALIA
Sydney Morning Herald

December 23, 2015

Dr Judy Courtin

Sano taskforce detectives are appealing for information in relation to allegations of child sexual assault of an unknown number of male victims who were 14 years of age at the time.

The alleged crimes were said to have occurred between 1996 and 2001. The location is peculiarly specific – St Patrick’s Cathedral in East Melbourne – the cathedral of the archdiocese of Melbourne.

The police are asking for victims, or anyone with information, to come forward.

The dates here are noteworthy. In 1996 George Pell, then an auxiliary bishop, became the archbishop of Melbourne. Father Denis Hart, as he was then, became Monsignor Hart, the vicar-general (the forerunner to becoming a bishop).

There has been much evidence before the child abuse royal commission that 1996 marked the beginning of an era when the church took its obligations and responsibilities for clergy sex crimes and their cover-up much more seriously.

Church spokesmen have said this new era meant transparency, accountability, justice for victims and a new leadership showing integrity, courage and a commitment to authentic change, including ending the clerical culture that put the good name of the church before the needs and rights of victims.

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Royal Commission to consider George Pell, Ronald Mulkearns appearances

AUSTRALIA
Sydney Morning Herald

December 23, 2015

Jane Lee

A royal commission will test whether Cardinal George Pell and former Bishop of Ballarat Ronald Mulkearns are still too ill to front hearings on their past handling of child sexual abuse claims next year.

Both men were scheduled to give evidence to a Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse hearing in Melbourne earlier this month. Chairman of the commission, Justice Peter McClellan, accepted medical evidence that Bishop Mulkearns was receiving palliative care, and that Cardinal Pell was too ill to travel from Rome to testify in person.

Cardinal Pell’s evidence has been deferred to next February’s third hearing on Ballarat, where children were sexually and physically abused at a number of schools run by Catholic clergy over decades. Justice McClellan rejected his application to appear via video link from Rome, saying he preferred Cardinal Pell to appear in person.

The commission announced on Wednesday it would hold two directions hearings on February 5, to consider both Cardinal Pell and Bishop Mulkearns’ “capacity to attend the third part of the public hearing into Catholic Church authorities in Ballarat.”

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The scandal of defending George Pell: Amanda Vanstone’s moral support

AUSTRALIA
Online Opinion

By Rob Cover – posted Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Former Howard government minister and ambassador to Italy, Amanda Vanstone, is broadly incorrect to characterise Australians as a pack mob, ignorantly going after Cardinal George Pell in the Into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and in media commentary.

In recent weeks, questions have been asked in public sphere debate about whether or not Cardinal Pell’s inability to complete his long-promised travel to Australia for the royal commission, and to give evidence instead by video link, is an insult to victims and to an inquiry that seeks to uncover the framework and reasoning as to why sexual abuse occurred for so long in religious institutions.

In her Age column Vanstone presents a picture of contemporary humanity as having momentarily fallen away from civilisation, fallen under the “primal” animal instincts and seeking to bring about the fall of “a decent, honest, intelligent man” because the public are not satisfied that perpetrators of child sex crimes conducted by Catholic priests and religious have been adequately punished. In other words, baying for the blood of, in her view, the wrong man, a “blood sacrifice”.

Vanstone gives an example to foster the idea of an unthinking mob seeking vigilante-like retribution for child sex crimes, referring to a past case in which an Anglican bishop in a South Australian diocese was forced to retire early after helping a priest who had molested a boy leave the country. For Vanstone, the problem was that there may have been others who knew about but failed to report the priest’s crime, while the early retirement of the bishop meant one man took the fall for the failings of many, as a result of the aggressive demands of the people out for blood-any blood.

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Accused priest cleared

CONNECTICUT
Republican-American

BY DESTINY LOPEZ REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN

WATERBURY — The Rev. Jeremiah Murasso of Blessed Sacrament Church and the Shrine of St. Anne will return to ministry after accusations of sexually abusing a minor were found insubstantial by the church.

The Archdiocese of Hartford said in a release Monday it “conducted an extensive and thorough investigation” of the sexual abuse allegations made this past summer and found the accusations without basis.

Attempts to reach Murasso were unsuccessful Tuesday afternoon.

In a statement last June, the archdiocese said the alleged abuse took place 20 years ago while Murasso was serving as director of St. Francis Home for Children in New Haven. The orphanage, also known as Highland Heights, closed in September 2012 after more than 160 years of service.

Established procedures prompted the archdiocese to place Murasso on administrative leave for six months while the allegations were being investigated.

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Priest John Walshe who defended George Pell accused of sexually abusing John Roach

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

By North America correspondent Stephanie March

A Catholic priest who gave evidence to the child abuse royal commission in defence of Cardinal George Pell was himself the subject of a historical sexual abuse claim, the ABC can reveal.

In 2012, the victim, John Roach, received an apology and $75,000 compensation after the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne accepted he had been sexually abused by Father John Walshe, a parish priest based at Mentone in Melbourne’s south east.

Father Walshe denies he abused Mr Roach.

Mr Roach was an 18-year-old seminarian in 1982 when the incident took place.

Father Walshe had recently been ordained and was in his early 20s.

Mr Roach, who now lives in the United States, said he felt compelled to speak publicly after seeing Father Walshe giving evidence at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse last week.

“Walshe cannot hold himself up as this paragon of virtue,” Mr Roach said.

“I think he is certainly a compromised witness.”

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Priest John Walshe who defended George Pell accused of sexually abusing teen

AUSTRALIA
Sydney Morning Herald

December 23, 2015

A Catholic priest who defended Cardinal George Pell at the child abuse royal commission last week was the subject of a historical sexual abuse claim.

ABC TV reported on Wednesday that an apology and $75,000 compensation was given to survivor John Roach in 2012 after the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne accepted Father John Walshe had sexually abused him in 1982.

Mr Roach told the ABC he was an 18-year-old first-year seminarian when he met the recently ordained Father Walshe, then in his early 20s, at the Corpus Christi College in Clayton.

“One night he invited me up to his room, which was not uncommon,” Mr Roach said.

“We had a fair bit of port to drink — I was very unfamiliar with drinking — and I woke up in his bed and he was abusing me.

“I left as quickly as I could, I was very confused, I didn’t know what to do, what to think.”

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December 22, 2015

Child sex crime detectives investigate abuse claims at Melbourne’s St Patrick’s Cathedral

AUSTRALIA
The Age

December 23, 2015

Rania Spooner
Crime reporter

Historic child sex crime detectives are investigating allegations that teenage boys were abused at St Patrick’s Cathedral in East Melbourne.

The allegations relate to 14-year-old boys who may have been abused at the cathedral in the late 1990s.

Detectives from the Sano Taskforce, which investigates historical sexual assault and child abuse, is urging anybody with information to contact them.

Detectives would like to speak to anyone who was a victim of a sexual assault, or anybody with any information relating to any alleged sexual assaults, committed at the St Patrick’s Cathedral between 1996 and 2001.

“Victoria Police is committed to investigating and bringing to justice those people who prey on children no matter how many years have passed,” Sergeant Sharon Darcy said.

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Sheriff: Wayne County pastor admits to sexually abusing children

MISSISSIPPI
Tucson News Now

Buckatunna, MS –
A Wayne County pastor is facing multiple charges of sexual abuse of a minor.

Pastor Tommy Joe Newberry was arrested last week in Washington County, Alabama.

He is charged with enticing a minor child, and two counts of sexual abuse and sodomy, according to Washington County Sheriff Richard Stringer.

Newberry is listed as the pastor at Red Creek Church of God in Buckatunna, according to the church’s website.

Stringer said the crimes happened at Newberry’s home in Alabama, one of which spanned over several years.

According to Stringer, authorities arrested Newberry after a victim came forward.

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Powell County pastor charged with sexual abuse pleads not guilty

KENTUCKY
WKYT

POWELL COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) – A Powell County pastor and school bus driver who was in a position of authority and trust is accused of using his power to abuse two girls who went to his church.

Steve William’s attorney and longtime friend says the allegations don’t line up with the 52 year old’s character.

Williams didn’t say much during his video arraignment Tuesday morning. His attorney spoke for him, entering a not guilty plea for his charges of first-degree sexual abuse.

Deputies say Williams touched a girl inappropriately during a church field trip and he also is accused of abusing another girl inside Bowen First Church of God, the church where he was pastor. He resigned from Bowen First Church of God on Friday.

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Under-the-radar signs of progress in Vatican reforms

UNITED STATES
Catholic Culture

Phil Lawler

Have you noticed that as Christmas approaches, you spend less time reading news headlines? There are two reasons for that phenomenon. First, you have other things on your mind; you’re busy with your last-minute preparations for the great feast. Second, the people who usually make the news—the politicians and entertainers and corporate executives and religious leaders—all know that you’re busy. So they save their big splashy announcements for a time when they can command more attention.

By the same logic, these last few days before Christmas are an ideal time for under-the-radar announcements. If you need to make a statement, but you really don’t want people to pay attention, this is a good week for it.

Since Vatican officials have the same PR concerns as any other executives, and since the process of reform in the Roman Curia will inevitably involve some in-house conflicts, let’s take a closer look at the news from Rome this week, and see if there are any developments that warrant extra scrutiny.

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Cleric jailed for ‘mishandling’ abuse complaints has conviction overturned

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Belfast Telegraph

The landmark conviction of a Roman Catholic church official imprisoned over his handling of abuse complaints in Philadelphia has been overturned for the second time.

Monsignor William Lynn has been on a legal roller coaster since his 2012 trial on child endangerment charges.

A Superior Court ruling Tuesday awarded Lynn a new trial.

His lawyers say the trial judge allowed too many victims not closely related to his case to testify. They also say the law did not apply to church supervisors when he was secretary for clergy.

Lynn has been back in prison since the conviction overturned in 2013 was reinstated.

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Pennsylvania court orders new trial for priest convicted of sex crimes

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Reuters

PHILADELPHIA | BY DANIEL KELLEY

A Pennsylvania appeals court on Tuesday ordered a new trial for a Roman Catholic priest who was convicted in a landmark case of mishandling reports of child sex crimes.

The Pennsylvania Superior Court found that Monsignor William Lynn of Philadelphia did not receive a fair trial because a trial judge allowed jurors to hear too much evidence about the wrongdoing of priests who had abused children.

Lynn, who once oversaw the work of 800 priests in the Philadelphia Archdiocese as secretary of the clergy, was sentenced in 2012 to three to six years in prison for failing to supervise a priest accused of sexual misconduct who later sexually assaulted a 10-year-old boy.

At the time of his conviction, he was the highest-ranking Catholic priest to face charges for covering up abuse by priests in the Catholic church, and his trial re-focused attention on a sex abuse scandal that has roiled the faithful across the United States and undermined the church’s moral authority around the world.

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Younger child abuse victims to give evidence to inquiry

SCOTLAND
The National

DECEMBER 23RD, 2015

KATHLEEN NUTT

YOUNGER victims of child abuse will entitled to give their accounts to the public inquiry into historical abuse of children in care, its chairwoman revealed yesterday.

Susan O’Brien QC said under-18s who had experienced maltreatment up to and including on 17 December last year are eligible to take part.

She also announced yesterday that anyone who would like to have a say on how the inquiry should proceed should come forward by the end of January next year.

Marking these dates, O’Brien said: “We are developing procedures to take the evidence of survivors, as it is likely that many individuals will apply to give us their testimony.

“We are considering how best to assess the evidence from victims/survivors and all the other evidence the inquiry receives. We also require to determine which of the witnesses will remain anonymous.

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Italy: Bishop ‘protected’ Grindr priest dismissing allegation he paid boys for sex as ‘nuns’ chatter’

ITALY
International Business Times

By Umberto Bacchi
December 21, 2015

Italian police have arrested an alleged paedophile priest amid media accusation he was protected by the local bishop. Detectives allege father Antonello Tropea, 44, used gay dating app Grindr to groom teenage boys who he then paid for clandestine encounters in the southern Calabria region.

Tropea was held on 18 December at the end of a lengthy investigation that was launched after he was surprised by police while in the company of a minor inside a car parked in a secluded area near the deprived port city of Gioia Tauro. The boy later told investigators the priest had paid him €20 (£15, $21) for an oral sex act, a fee they had agreed on WhatsApp after having first met on Grindr.

Tropea allegedly posed as a scientific researcher in his thirties named Nicola, an alias he apparently drew from the patron saint of his own parish, the San Nicola di Mira church in the rural town of Messignadi. A police search of the clergy house reportedly revealed a trove of evidence, including child porn images and message exchanges with other teenagers. Investigators are also said to have also found 16g of marijuana, sex toys and a penis enlargement tool.

In a warring twist, Tropea’s boss, bishop of the Oppido-Palmi diocese Francesco Milito, had allegedly been aware of accusations against the priest for some time but did not take any action. According to court papers seen by local media confirming the arrest, two parishioners had warned the bishop of his subordinate’s deviant tendencies as early as this summer.

But Milito dismissed the accusations as “nuns’ chatter” in a phone conversation with Tropea that was taped by police, Il Fatto Quotidiano newspaper reported. Moreover, as the clergyman was placed under investigation, the bishop was alleged to have openly advised him “not to talk with Carabinieri police” on the issue.

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PA–Top Philly Catholic official to get new trial; Victims respond

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2015

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

The nation’s only Catholic supervisor in jail for endangering kids and protecting predators will get a new trial. This ruling rubs salt into already deep and still fresh wounds of Philadelphia Catholic and victims. It also emboldens those who are hiding or are tempted child sex crimes.

[The Morning Call]

Msgr. William Lynn was, for years, a key part of a Catholic hierarchy that repeatedly and recklessly put kids in harm’s way, deliberately choosing to safeguard clerical careers while jeopardizing children’s safety. But instead of just serving out his extremely light sentence, Msgr. Lynn is doing what virtually every child molester does: exploiting every legal maneuver and loophole, trying to evade justice.

We hope he’s found guilty again. We hope he serves every day of his sentence. And we hope this outcome will deter other church staff – in Catholic circles and other circles – from ignoring or enabling horrific crimes against kids.

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