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.

January 5, 2016

Former head of children’s home from Wirral jailed for sex abuse of boys

UNITED KINGDOM
Wirral Globe

A former head of a children’s home from Prenton – who has already served 21 years in prison for sexually abusing boys – has been jailed for a further nine years.

James Carragher, of Cearns Road, was head from 1976 to 1990 of St William’s – an approved school for boys with behavioural problems in Market Weighton, East Yorkshire, run by the Catholic De La Salle order.

Carragher, 75, was jailed for seven years in 1993 and a further 14 years in 2004 for offences he committed at St William’s.

On Monday, he was jailed for nine years at Leeds Crown Court by a judge who said he and co-defendant Anthony McCallen had the boys at the school “effectively trapped” and added: “It is difficult to imagine a worse case of breach of trust”.

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.

Lasting memento of clergy abuse for victim

AUSTRALIA
Sky News

Gordon Hill still has the two shillings, nine pence and a halfpenny he left St Joseph’s Orphanage with in 1959.

It is a memento of the 16 years he spent in Victorian orphanages, from the time he was five months old.

With his St Joseph’s coins in his car, Mr Hill has twice driven the 3600km from his Geraldton home in Western Australia to Victoria to be at child sex abuse royal commission hearings into the Catholic Diocese of Ballarat.

The 72-year-old is determined his story of physical, sexual and emotional abuse and those of others, including his sisters and brothers, are heard and not forgotten.

‘I’m their voice.’

Mr Hill – whose name at ‘St Joey’s’ was 29, his locker number – was five when he was first abused by a priest in the ‘horror rooms’ downstairs.

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

THE APPOINTMENT OF BELGIAN ARCHBISHOP JOZEF DE KESEL: A MISTAKE?

UNITED STATES
Church Militant

By Erwin Wolff

The lamentable situation in Belgium continues unabated. In October 2014, a priest accused of sexually abusing a minor was appointed priest for the town of Middelkerke, in the Bruges diocese, raising a public outcry. The matter was resolved only by the man’s refusal to accept the appointment — but the bishop responsible for appointing him— Jozef de Kesel — never apologized for the mishap.

On November 6, 2015, that same bishop was announced as the new archbishop of Brussels, replacing orthodox appointment Abp. André-Joseph Léonard, who had reached the age of 75, with its mandatory letter of resignation.

As spokesman for Pro Familia, a pro-life apostolate based in Belgium, we believe the new appointment of Abp. Jozef de Kesel is a grave mistake.

December 12 was the installation date for the new archbishop of the Mechelen-Brussels archdiocese. The ceremony in the Mechelen cathedral was attended by leading figures, including the Catholic king and queen of Belgium, as well as the man considered the unofficial “boss” of the Belgian Church — Koen Geens, head of the Belgian Department of Justice, who pays the salaries of all the Catholic bishops and priests in the country.

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.

January 4, 2016

Rinefierd appointed to new post

NEW YORK
Catholic Courier

By Jennifer Burke/Catholic Courier

Bishop Salvatore R. Matano has appointed Karen Rinefierd as coordinator of safe-environment education and compliance for the Diocese of Rochester.

In this newly created position, she will coordinate safe-environment efforts at parishes and for various diocesan departments. Rinefierd, who previously has served as diocesan pastoral-planning coordinator and coordinator of leadership formation for parishes, will work with the directors of diocesan departments and with parish safe-environment coordinators to ensure compliance with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.

“The new position of coordinator of safe-environment education and compliance will help us to continue our diocese’s longstanding commitment to create a safe and holy environment for all through constant vigilance, education and diligence, ensuring that we are in compliance with the mandates set forth in the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People,” Bishop Matano said.

In her new role, Rinefierd will:

* Work with Bishop Matano; Father Daniel Condon, the diocesan chancellor; and the diocesan review board to establish, maintain and oversee compliance with safe-environment policies for the Diocese of Rochester.

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.

Doe 28 vs. Duluth Diocese: Heading to jury trial

MINNESOTA
Northlands News Center

By Ramona Marozas

January 4, 2016

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) — A St. Louis County civil case against the Duluth Diocese centered around an un-named alleged abuse victim is slated for an eight-day jury trial.

Doe 28 brought a civil suit against the diocese three years ago, claiming sexual abuse of a minor by Father Robert Klein.

A Diocese of Duluth priest at the time of the alleged abuse, Klein worked at Duluth’s Sacred Heart Church and St. Jean’s School.

The Diocese of Duluth is under court order to produce all records on child sexual abuse by clergy from 1956 to 1974.

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

In England, more accusations that Jehovah’s Witnesses hid sex abuse

UNITED KINGDOM
Reveal – The Center for Investigative Reporting

By Trey Bundy / January 4, 2016

Claims that Jehovah’s Witnesses hide child sexual abuse from secular authorities have surfaced again in England.

The Daily Mail reported last week that Ian Pheasey, a 54-year-old Jehovah’s Witness, was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment for choking young girls for sexual gratification in the 1990s.

Prosecutor Nicholas Taplow said that Pheasey’s victims were told to keep quiet and that “the matter was swept under the carpet by the church.”

Meanwhile, in the North Sea coastal town of Hartlepool, England, an ex-Jehovah’s Witness told The Northern Echo last month that his former religion endangers children.

“It is very difficult for people, maybe young people, in the church to go to the police,” said Steve Rose, who claims the Witnesses have kicked him out and shunned him.

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.

Home run by evangelical missionaries to come under abuse inquiry’s scrutiny

NORTHERN IRELAND
Belfast Telegraph

A public inquiry into alleged child abuse will turn its attention today to a residential home run by evangelical Anglican missionaries in Ireland.

The Irish Church Missions was established to convert Catholics to Protestantism. The conservative organisation ran Manor House Children’s Home near Belfast in Lisburn, Co Down, and had links to the Church of Ireland.

The Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) Inquiry will begin hearing evidence of alleged wrongdoing at the home during public sessions in Banbridge, Co Down.

The missionaries are governed by Anglican evangelical clergy and laity who are concerned for Gospel growth in Ireland.

It is a recognised mission agency within the Church of Ireland and the worldwide Anglican Communion, with offices in Belfast and Dublin, the organisation’s website said.

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

Former Catholic priest pleads guilty to viewing child porn

KENTUCKY
CBS News

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A former Catholic priest accused of taking inappropriate pictures of students at his school is facing nearly three years in federal prison for viewing child pornography on a computer.

Stephen Pohl pleaded guilty Monday in federal court to one count of accessing child pornography. The 57-year-old was head pastor at St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church, which includes a school campus in eastern Louisville.

Federal prosecutors said they reached a plea deal with Pohl that, if accepted by a judge, would send him to prison for 33 months. Pohl would also be subject to lifelong supervised release after his prison term and would be required to register as a sex offender.

Pohl appeared in U.S. District Court in Louisville dressed in a suit and tie with some family members looking on. After the hearing, he reported to U.S. Marshals to be taken into custody.

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

Archdiocese has buyers, bidders for multiple properties

MINNESOTA
Minnesota Public Radio

Martin Moylan Jan 4, 2016

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has a buyer or bidder for several properties the church has put up for sale.

If the bankruptcy court approves, the Minnesota Historical Society’s will pay $4.5 million for the three-story Hayden Center on Kellogg Boulevard in St. Paul. The archdiocese had been using the building for office space.

Meanwhile, currently unidentified parties have bids on other archdiocese real estate in St. Paul and Northfield, including the chancery across the street from the St. Paul Cathedral.

Paul Donovan, whose firm has been marketing the properties, said the chancery is an attractive location for residential projects. “Whether senior housing or market-rate, mainstream housing, we think that’s a good opportunity for that,” he said.

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

Bernard Shero Loses In State Supreme Court

PENNSYLVANIA
Big Trial

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

The state Supreme Court on New Year’s Eve turned down an appeal by Bernard Shero in the Billy Doe case.

On June 12, 2013, Shero, then 51, was sentenced by Judge Ellen Ceisler to 8 to 16 years in jail after he was convicted by a jury of rape of a child, attempted rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a child, endangering the welfare of a child, corruption of a minor, and indecent assault.

The Supreme Court decision means that Shero is out of appeals on the state court level. In a 36-page decision last March, a panel of three Superior Court judges ruled that seven appeals issues raised by Shero, a former Catholic school teacher, “are either waived or devoid of merit.”

The state Supreme Court decision was more succinct. In a one-page order, the court declared, “And now, this 31st day of December, the Petition for Allowance of Appeal is DENIED.” The only other sentence on the page mentioned that “Justice Eaken did not participate in the decision of this matter.” That’s because Justice Eaken is presently serving a suspension with pay in the “porngate” scandal pending a trial by a judicial ethics board.

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.

Fr. Brennan retrial set for Oct. 24

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philly.com

JANUARY 4, 2016 T

by Joe Slobodzian

After six postponements, former Roman Catholic priest James J. Brennan has a new retrial date – Oct. 24 – on the 2011 charges of attempted rape of a 14-year-old boy in 1996.

The new trial date was agreed on Monday by Assistant District Attorney Meghan Goddard and defense lawyer William J. Brennan [not related to his client], working with courtroom staff for Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Gwendolyn N. Bright.

Some 3-1/2 years have passed since June 22, 2012, when a Philadelphia jury announced it could not reach a verdict in the case against the 52-year-old. This time, a seventh date may be the charm: Bright ordered Brennan – a busy, high-profile criminal defense lawyer — and Goddard attached for trial. That means that the judge has dibs on Goddard’s and Brennan’s time for what is estimated will be a three-day jury trial.

Just to be sure, Bright has set a status hearing for March 4 and a “trial readiness conference” on Oct. 17.

Brennan, who is charged with attempted rape and child endangerment, was one of the five original people – a monsignor, three priests and a parochial schoolteacher — charged in 2011 following a county grand jury investigation into how officials of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia handled child sex-abuse complaints against priests.

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.

MEDIA RELEASE – JANUARY 4, 2016

MAINE
Road to Recovery

Fraudulent Concealment by the Diocese of Portland, Maine, for decades leads to Civil Complaint filings by six (6) courageous childhood clergy sexual abuse victims of Fr. James Vallely

A copy of a church document obtained through legal discovery by Attorney Mitchell Garabedian (617-523-6250) indicates that the late Bishop Daniel J. Feeney knew of the sexual abuse of minor children by Fr. James Vallely in approximately 1956

The document obtained is a copy of a letter written by a currently-retired Portland, Maine, priest to a co-chancellor of the Diocese of Portland, Maine, purported to be Msgr. Marc B. Caron, in 2005. The letter indicates that as far back as approximately 1956, the late Bishop Daniel J. Feeney knew about allegations of sexual abuse against Fr. James Vallely at St. John’s Parish, Bangor, Maine. Bishop Feeney, while bishop of Portland, Maine, did not notify the public about Fr. Vallely being a sexual abuser. Subsequent to the notification, Fr. James Vallely was transferred by the late Bishop Daniel J. Feeney from St. John’s Parish, Bangor, Maine, to St. Dominic’s Parish, Portland, Maine. Fr. James Vallely was also stationed at St. Louis Parish, Limestone, Maine; Holy Name Parish, Machias, Maine; and, St. Michael’s Parish in South Berwick, Maine

What
A press conference announcing the filing of six (6) civil complaints of childhood clergy sexual abuse against Fr. James Vallely, deceased priest of the Portland, Maine, Diocese, by six (6) courageous childhood clergy sexual abuse victims of Fr. James Vallely who were parishioners of St. Dominic’s Parish, Portland, Maine, (approximately 1958-1960); St. John’s Parish, Bangor, Maine (approximately 1969); and St. Michael’s Parish, South Berwick, Maine (approximately 1975-1978). Although Fr. James Vallely was not assigned to St. John’s Parish in Bangor, Maine, in approximately 1969, he did return to that parish in approximately 1969 to participate in at least one Catholic Mass where he met the victim.

When
Tuesday, January 5, 2015 at 11:00 am

Where
On the public sidewalk in front of the headquarters of the Diocese of Portland, Maine, 510 Ocean Avenue, Portland, Maine 04103 – 207-773-6471

Who
Dr. Robert M. Hoatson, Co- founder and President, Road to Recovery, Inc., a non-profit charity based in New Jersey that assists victims of sexual abuse and their families; 862-368-2800

Why
During earlier litigation against Fr. James Vallely, the Diocese of Portland, Maine, produced a copy of a letter written by a currently retired Portland, Maine, priest in 2005 which revealed that the Diocese of Portland and the late Bishop Daniel J. Feeney had knowledge of multiple accusations of sexual abuse of minor children against Fr. James Vallely as far back as 1956. The uncovering of that document has led to the filing of six (6) civil complaints of childhood sexual abuse against Fr. James Vallely and the Diocese of Portland, Maine. The Diocese of Portland fraudulently concealed the sexual abuse information about Fr. James Vallely, thus enabling childhood sexual abuse victims of Fr. James Vallely from approximately 1958 until 1978 to file court claims against Fr. James Vallely and the Diocese of Portland, Maine

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.

Diocese of Duluth Sets May Deadline for Abuse Claims

MINNESOTA
Wall Street Journal

By TOM CORRIGAN

he Roman Catholic Diocese of Duluth, Minn., which filed for bankruptcy last month following an $8.17 million clergy sexual-abuse verdict, has asked a judge to give victims until May to come forward with abuse allegations.

In bankruptcy-court papers, the diocese asked Judge Robert Kressel to impose a May 25 deadline by which victims must file specially written—and highly detailed—claim forms in order to seek compensation. A hearing on the proposed claims deadline, also known as the bar date, is scheduled for Thursday.

The requested deadline would give victims the full benefit of the Minnesota Child Victims Act, which expires May 25. The act, passed by the Minnesota legislature in 2013, lifted the statute of limitations for sexual-abuse cases in the state for three years, leading to the waves of abuse-related lawsuits. Other states like Delaware have enacted similar acts, known as “window” legislation.

When it filed for bankruptcy, the Diocese of Duluth faced six lawsuits and 12 additional claims of abuse, according to the Rev. James Bissonette, vicar general of the diocese. In other diocesan bankruptcies, the number of claims has grown significantly as more victims come forward to seek compensation ahead of the deadline.

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 Kentucky priest pleads guilty to viewing child porn, faces nearly 3 years in prison

KENTUCKY
Fox News

Associated Press

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – A former Catholic priest accused of taking inappropriate pictures of students at his school is facing nearly three years in federal prison for viewing child pornography on a computer.

Stephen Pohl pleaded guilty on Monday in federal court to one count of accessing child pornography. The 57-year-old was head pastor at St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church, which includes a school campus.

Federal prosecutors reached a plea deal with Pohl that, if accepted by a judge, would send him to prison for 33 months. He will be sentenced March 29.

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.

WOMAN SETTLES CIVIL CASE AGAINST SLU, ETC

MISSOURI
Berger’s Beat

January 1, 2016 11:49 am | Author: berger

For $82,000, a woman has settled her unusual civil case against St. Louis University, the Jesuits and ex-SLU prez Fr. Daniel O’Connell. She reports having been sexually abused by the priest when she was a 20 year-old student. Her suit, however, charged Catholic officials with “breach of contract” because they promised her they’d keep Fr. O’Connell out of “public ministry” but reneged. (It’s believed to be only the second abuse-related “breach of contract” ever settled against the church hierarchy.)

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.

Ex-pastor pleads guilty to porn charge

KENTUCKY
The Courier-Journal

Matthew Glowicki, @MattGlo January 4, 2016

A Lousiville Roman Catholic priest accused of viewing child pornography pleaded guilty Monday to a single felony count of accessing child porn.

Stephen Pohl, 57, a former pastor at St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church, originally entered a not guilty plea after he was arrested in August 2015. He changed his plea Monday afternoon in U.S. District Court.

Under the terms of a plea agreement, Pohl would serve 33 months in federal prison, followed by supervision by U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services for the rest of his life.

The case had been set for a Jan. 12 trial.

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 St. Margaret Mary pastor pleads guilty to accessing, viewing child porn

KENTUCKY
WHAS

LOUISVILLE (WHAS11) — Stephen Pohl, a former pastor at St. Margaret Mary church, pleaded guilty on Jan. 4 to one count of accessing child porn with the intent to view it.

The investigation into Pohl began because a child from St. Margaret Mary told his parents he felt weird about pictures Pohl had taken.

This change of plea has canceled the trial. It was originally scheduled for February.

He is accused of viewing explicit images in his office and living space at the parish.

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 pastor pleads guilty to accessing child porn with intent to view

KENTUCKY
WLKY

LOUISVILLE, Ky. —The former pastor of St. Margaret Mary charged with child exploitation pleaded guilty at a change-of-plea hearing in federal court Monday.

Stephen Pohl resigned in August after allegations surfaced that he had accessed and viewed child pornography.

Pohl pleaded guilty to access with intent to view.

The judge will now decide whether or not to accept the plea.

As part of the plea agreement, prosecutors recommended two years and nine months in prison, lifetime supervised release and required registration as a sex offender and convicted felon.

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–End the silence

ILLINOIS
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

Statement by Eric Johnson, victim of Fr. Bruce Wellems

Silence should never be a choice when it comes to any case of sexual abuse. Turning your back and doing nothing only allows the predator to gain skill in his craft, while allowing the cycle to continue.

For the past 20+ years, I have tried to inform people about Wellems, only to be met with walls of silence, denial, and lies. His attitude of “that was the culture back then” and his excuse of “behavior I exhibited as a teenager was taught behavior” is reprehensible.

At no time in a civilized culture has raping a child been acceptable. His self-prescribed penance of setting himself up to work with troubled youth is even more disturbing. He was a skilled predator at 15, presenting himself as a normal youth with a girlfriend, while repeatedly committing horrendous crimes behind his façade. I can only cringe at the thought of him being placed in his environment of choice, with young boys.

Up to 2014, Wellems has led his peers and superiors to believe that this was a consensual relationship between teenagers.

A 15-year-old having sex with a 7-year-old is a crime, and was a crime in the 70s, and yes, a sin. His partial admittance of abuse, lined with fabricated timelines, locations, and minimized contact, is shameful. His claim of being abused is quite timely and suspicious, given the fact that it was never mentioned to another reporter before Manya.

Lastly, Wellems continues to shamelessly talk about himself and the repercussions, which speaks volumes. Wellems says “As much as I hate going through this, maybe it’s good”

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 head of Savannah Catholic Diocese passes away

GEORGIA
WSAV

Bishop Raymond Lessard, Bishop Emeritus of Savannah, died Sunday at his home in St. Vincent de Paul Seminary in Boynton Beach, Florida.

Bishop Lessard served as the Catholic Bishop of Savannah From 1973 to 1995. He was serving at the St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary for the last twenty years as spiritual director and professor of ecclesiology.

After a visitation at the seminary on Saturday, his body will be transfered back to Savannah to be received at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist on Monday.

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

Catholic Bishop of Savannah, Raymond W. Lessard, dies at 85

GEORGIA
WTOC

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) –
Bishop Raymond W. Lessard, Catholic Bishop of Savannah for 22 years, died on Sunday at his home at St. Vincent de Paul Seminary in Boynton Beach, FL.

Bishop Lessard served from 1973 to 1995. He has served at St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach for the past twenty years as a spiritual director and professor of ecclesiology.

A visitation will be held at the seminary at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 9. The Mass of the Resurrection will be celebrated at the seminary at noon.

Bishop Lessard’s body will be transferred to Savannah, where he will be received at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist at 3 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 11. Visitation will be held from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. An evening prayer service including the Office for the Dead will be held at 7 p.m.

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.

GA–Bishop who hid child sex crimes passes

GEORGIA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release Monday, January 4

Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 503 0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)

Bishop Raymond Lessard, who was bishop of Savannah for twenty-two years, has passed away. We hope he will be not be buried with “full honors” given his record of concealing child sex crimes.

During his time as the head of the diocese, a serial predator priest, Fr. Wayland Brown, sexually violated a number of young boys. Brown was convicted in Maryland and served five years of a ten year sentence and was laicized in 2004. In a sentencing memo, prosecutors showed church personnel files that prove the Savannah Diocese received warnings, time and time again, from priests and others who noticed Brown’s troubling actions with young boys. But neither Bishop Lessard nor his staff took any action to protect kids, alert parents or call police. The memos also show that Bishop Lessard did not cooperate with the investigation of Brown’s crimes in 1986.

[BishopAccountability.org]

According to BishopAccountability.org, there are at least 12 publicly accused South Carolina predator priests. We strongly suspect that more than two dozen child molesting clerics have actually spent time in the diocese.

We see no evidence that Lessard acted responsibly in these cases or at best, did anything but the bare minimum.

When we ignore wrongdoing, we encourage wrongdoing. And when Catholic officials, in 2015, keep treating their most disgraced complicit colleagues as heroes or saints, they encourage other church employees to ignore, conceal and enable child sex crimes and cover ups.

Several Penn State officials – including the school’s president and popular football coach – were fired or ousted for letting one perpetrator have continued to access children. Imesch did that for about two dozen perpetrators. Yet he remained in office, suffering no penalties whatsoever, and is being honored today with elaborate funeral proceedings.

It’s not just Penn State. All kinds of institutions hold the “top dog” responsible for wrongdoing he or she engaged in or even failed to stop. One institution is the exception: the Catholic church. And this is not changing.

Over decades, Lessard knowingly put hundreds of children at risk of sexual violence by quietly assigning perpetrator priests to parishes, repeatedly showing no concern for the safety of those children or compassion for those who were sexually violated.

Honoring Lessard would rub salt into the deep wounds of caring Catholics and suffering victims. It would send a disturbing message to others in the church hierarchy: “No matter how much harm you do to children, don’t worry. We’ll stand by you to the end.” And it would send a disturbing message to child sex abuse victims: “Your pain means nothing to us. We care only about protecting the reputation of powerful prelates.”

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Other Pontifical Acts

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Information Service

Vatican City, 3 January 2016 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed:

– Fr. William Ernesto Iraheta Rivera as bishop of Santiago de Maria (area 2,866, population 563,000, Catholics 449,700, priests 85, religious 88), El Salvador. The bishop-elect was born in Jayaque, El Salvador in 1962 and was ordained a priest in 1988. He has served in a number of pastoral roles in the archdiocese of San Salvador, including deputy priest, parish priest, director of the “Rosa Blanca” school centre, moderator of the archdiocesan curia, director of Caritas and episcopal delegate for education. He is currently pastor of the “San Marcos” parish. He succeeds Bishop Rodrigo Orlando Cabrera Cuellar, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.

– Fr. Celestin-Marie Gaoua as bishop of Sokode (area 12,610, population 1,300,000, Catholics 153,000, priests 65, religious 87), Togo. The bishop-elect was born in Wahala, Togo in 1957 and was ordained a priest in 1986. He has served in a number of roles, including rector of the St. Paul minor seminary and the Fr. Jeremie Moran seminary in Atakpame, and missionary fidei donum in the diocese of Sokode, where he was parish vicar, pastor of the Cathedral parish and parish administrator. He is currently rector of the national philosophical major seminary Benoit XVI in Tchitchao, Kara, Togo. He succeeds Bishop Ambroise Kotamba Djoliba, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.

– erected the eparchy of St. Mary, Queen of Peace, of the United States of American and Canada, for faithful of Syro-Malabar rite.

– appointed Bishop Thomas Mar Eusebios Naickamparambil, apostolic exarch for Syro-Malankars resident in the United States of America and apostolic visitor for the faithful in Canada and Europe, as the first eparchial bishop of the new eparchy of St. Mary, Queen of Peace, of the United States of American and Canada.

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‘Spotlight’ named top film in banner year

UNITED STATES
Boston Herald

James Verniere Monday, January 04, 2016

NEW YORK — Boston made a great showing with voters at the 50th annual meeting of the National 
Society of Film Critics at Lincoln Center.

“Spotlight,” the Boston-shot drama about the Boston Catholic Archdiocese pedophile priest scandal and how it was exposed in an award-winning series by The Boston Globe in the early 2000s, took the group’s Best Picture prize.

The film also took the screenplay award, and “Spotlight” director Tom McCarthy was runner-up in the Best Director category. That award went to Todd Haynes, director of the 1950s lesbian romance “Carol,” starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara as the film’s lovers. “Carol,” shot by Edward Lachmann in super 16mm to add to the film’s dreamy, period look, took the Best Cinematography award. Both films are expected to do well at the Oscars.

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Former St. Margaret Mary Parish pastor scheduled for change of plea

KENTUCKY
WDRB

[with video]

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — A change is expected Monday in the case of a Louisville priest accused of child exploitation.

Former St. Margaret Mary Parish pastor Stephen Pohl was scheduled to go on federal trial this month. By he is now scheduled to appear for a change of plea hearing.

Authorities say Pohl violated federal child exploitation laws, when he was pastor at the parish on Shelbyville Road. He was first charged with the crime back in August and resigned after a student came forward. The boy said he was asked to pose in provocative positions.

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Christine Flowers: The over-zealous prosecution of Monsignor William Lynn

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Daily Times

By Christine Flowers, Delaware County Daily Times
POSTED: 01/02/16

Tenacity is a good thing. If you believe in something strongly enough, it’s a sign of character to keep fighting for your version of justice.

Maureen Faulkner is an example of admirable tenacity, investing decades of her life, all of her youth and much of her middle age to making her husband’s murderer accountable for his death. Mumia Abu-Jamal is still alive, and has brainwashed some addled activists into believing that he’s a victim of a racist system. But the fact that he is still behind bars and reviled as subhuman by most of those who have a soul is in large part attributable to that small and mighty woman’s crusade.

But there are those crusades that pass for a form of justice and are, instead, vindictive witch hunts carried out for a variety of reasons. There is the desire for revenge. There is the desire for publicity. There is the desire for something to tamp down the guilty nausea that roils in the gut of those who did nothing to prevent a crime, and who therefore grasp at any opportunity to say, “here, I’m making amends! Please forgive me!”

The prosecution of Monsignor William Lynn is a fascinating, and tragic, combination of all those things. It is an attempt to get that pound of flesh from a Catholic church that is hated and vilified by ex-Catholics, non-Catholics and troubled Catholics. It is a way of strutting one’s professional cred in front of an admiring audience, one that will cheer any attempt to slay the evil abusers (even imaginary ones, like the owners of the McMartin Pre-School.) It is an effective method for those who looked the other way while abuse was occurring on their watch to pay a penance beyond five Hail Marys and a command to “go and sin no more.”

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‘Spotlight’ farcical drama and Pope Francis farcical ’Year of Mercy’ are produced by the Vatican and Hollywood – the twin cities that “lie for a living” by using dramatic deception

UNITED STATES
PopeCrimes& Vatican Evils.

Paris Arrow

Argo &“saint” John Paul II are make-believe legends of Hollywood and the Vatican, the twin cities that “lie for a living” http://popecrimes.blogspot.ca/2013/07/argo-john-paul-ii-are-make-believe_11.html

Pope Francis says this is “the Year of Mercy”. Who are we kidding? The modus operandi of the Vatican is deception (by using Christ as bait)”. Below is our analysis of Pope Francis’ prayer for the Year of Mercy and his specific deceptions contained in his prayer – which prove his endless Vatican Circus of Deception as the greatest Jesuit Master of Deceits.

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LAMBETH PALACE ‘WILL PUBLISH’ REVIEW OF PETER BALL CASE AFTER LETTERS PUBLISHED

UNITED KINGDOM
The Tablet

04 January 2016 | by Sean Smith

FoI request uncovers letters of support for convicted ex-bishop from establishment figures

Lambeth Palace has said that a review into how the Church of England investigated the Peter Ball case will be “detailed” and will be “published”.

Ball, the retired Anglican Bishop of Gloucester, was jailed for 32 months in October for historic sex offences against 18 teenagers and young men.

The Church of England launched an independent investigation after it emerged during sentencing that Ball was let off with a caution in 1993 after molesting a novice monk.

Lambeth Palace’s latest response comes after a Freedom of Information request published this weekend uncovered a series of letters from prominent people to the director of public prosecutions and chief constable in charge of the original investigation into Ball defending the former bishop – including two from a former Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey.

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George Pell toured France battlefields before cancelling Melbourne trip for abuse royal commission

AUSTRALIA
Herald Sun

January 4, 2016

Shannon Deery
Herald Sun

CARDINAL George Pell toured the Somme battlefields just weeks before poor health forced him to cancel a trip to Melbourne to testify at the child abuse royal commission.

Victims of child sexual abuse were angered when the cardinal, 74, backed out of personally appearing at the inquiry in December, citing a longstanding health problem.

His doctors deemed it was unsafe for him to make the long-haul flight from the Vatican to Australia.

He offered to give evidence via video link, but his appearance before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse was instead postponed.

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Former Hillsong pastor Pat Mesiti faces domestic violence charges

AUSTRALIA
Sydney Morning Herald

January 3, 2016

Patrick Begley
Journalist

A former Hillsong Church minister who became a motivational speaker faces domestic violence charges after he allegedly assaulted his wife in a “fit of rage” on New Year’s Eve.

Police from The Hills Local Area Command in Sydney’s north-west arrested Pat Mesiti at his home about 11pm on Thursday.

“The accused was heavily intoxicated and in a fit of rage over a family issue,” Sergeant Michael Plass said.

Mr Mesiti was charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm and common assault. Police have sought an apprehended violence order on behalf of his second wife, Andrea. Mr Mesiti has not yet been required to enter a plea to the assault charge and it is not known if he will oppose the AVO application.

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Spotlight – Movie Review

UNITED STATES
WNYT

By Craig Thornton
Story Published: Jan 3, 2016

It’s hard to see the movie Spotlight, unaware of the great critical acclaim it has received (even if you have managed to dodge reading the raves). The positive swell continues and it is now considered the favorite for the best picture Oscar. A film’s power and effectiveness is often measured by its resonance after you have seen it. Do you think about it hours later, days later, even weeks later? The fact that Spotlight is so low-key and it has such tremendous resonance is one reason why it’s getting great buzz. Devoid of cinematic flashy devices or gimmicks or over the top performances, the film harnesses its power from its seeming simplicity.

In 2001, the Boston Globe gets a new editor in chief, Marty Baron (Leiv Schreiber) and he assigns a group of investigative reports nicknamed spotlight to investigate a nearly forgotten case of priest child sexual abuse that was only cursorily written about. The team of four is headed by Walter Robby Robinson (Michael Keaton) and includes Sasha Pfeiffer (Rachel McAdams), Matt Carroll (Brian d’Arcy James) and Mark Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo). As this team begins to uncover and discover the scope of the Catholic Diocese sexual abuse and cover-up their investment in finding out the truth increases. So does their shock and disbelief. Films usually work best with a central protagonist, but in Spotlight there is an ensemble and it works to its advantage. As each reporter is affected by the magnitude and disgust of their discoveries, so are we, as the audience. This “outside looking in” approach as more and more facts are slowly revealed underscores the outrage that society feels about this infamous page in Catholicism and the Boston legal system in history.

Director and co-writer Tom McCarthy (co-written with Josh Singer) have constructed an engrossing, detailed, controlled story that never overplays its hand or dips into melodrama or didactic grandstanding. Faced with an overwhelming responsibility to the journalists, victims and to their audience to entertain and illuminate the ghastly depravity of the institution of Catholicism that allowed the abuse; the filmmakers succeed without a graphic reenactment of the abuse or overly salacious details purposely designed to shock.

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January 3, 2016

ST GEORGE’S SCHOOL VICTIMS CLAIM SEX ABUSE COVER UP

MASSACHUSETTS/RHODE ISLAND
Carmen L. Durso

A growing list of alumni say they were sexually assaulted by staff or students at St. George’s School in Newport. Because the school is in Rhode Island, which has no statute of limitations for rape, sex abusers from this elite prep school may finally be prosecuted. On Tuesday, Jan. 5th, at noon, the victims speak out at a Boston press conference. Four abuse survivors will call for an independent investigation of crimes at St. Georges. Pennsylvania arrested Bill Cosby just before the clock ran out on prosecuting him. Rhode Island can still make its cases. This and more will be addressed at 12 pm, Tuesday at 255 State Street, 6th floor, Boston.

Several victims are represented by Massachusetts attorneys Eric MacLeish and Carmen Durso, who have spoken to multiple survivors since the Boston Globe ran a front page story on December 14th about abuse at the school. They have identified 42 school victims, with more coming forward. Victims have named seven former staff members and seven ex-students as abusers. MacLeish attended St. George’s for three years. He and Durso previously represented hundreds of victims in the Boston clergy abuse cases.

Just before Christmas, St. George’s issued a report on its ten month investigation of sex crimes at the school, mainly in the 1970’s and ‘80s. The school’s account got national coverage, but Anne Scott, who was abused by serial molester Al Gibbs, the former athletic trainer called that 11-page report a “sanitized version of the truth.”

On Tuesday, Scott and three other victims will counter the official St. George’s School report with the results of their own investigation, state the case for an independent investigation, and make news with new disclosures. For instance, their rebuttal will reveal that:

• Two ex-St. George’s staff members — an assistant chaplain and the choir director, left the school after they admitted to sexual misconduct with male students. No mandatory abuse report was made by the School. They both went on to work in schools and churches and are still in settings where they are at risk to reoffend.

• Two students were raped at the School in front of others by students using a broomstick and a lacrosse stick. Four alumni have made allegations of rape and intend to cooperate with the RI state police in its investigation. Current school administration has been aware of abuse reports from victims since 2004, but failed to contact police until Ms. Scott came forward.

• Past St. George’s administrators repeatedly broke Rhode Island’s law that requires schools to report credible allegations of sexual abuse of minors. Letters obtained in the new report prove it.

• St. George’s current administration tried to “gag” victims from talking about Gibbs abuse in 2012 and 2015, yet the administration now wants “transparency”

• The rape of one student was so widely known on campus, it was openly referenced in the school yearbook.

• This victim, who will speak at the press conference, notified the current headmaster of the rape in 2011, but no report was filed with the state police until early November of this year.

• The school’s “independent” investigation was headed by an attorney whose law partner represented the school. This fact was not disclosed to victims asked to come forward by the current Headmaster in April of 2015 when he “encouraged” victims to talk this attorney.

St. George’s is a boarding and day school, with graduates from some of America’s most famous and powerful families. Tuition is $56,000 per year for boarders. There are 396 boys and girls total, from 9th through 12th grades.

Copies of the investigative report prepared on behalf of the survivors, along with relevant correspondence and photographs, will be available at the news conference.

For more information, contact:
Carmen L. Durso, Esquire
DURSO LAW
LAW OFFICE OF CARMEN L. DURSO
175 Federal Street, Suite 1425
Boston, MA 02110-2287
Tel: 617-728-9123 – Fax: 617-426-7972
carmen@dursolaw.com
www.dursolaw.com

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Assignment Record– Rev. Michael Charland, O.M.I.

UNITED STATES
BishopAccountability.org

Summary of Case: Michael Charland was a priest of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, ordained in 1971. He was assigned to parish work, was an assistant principal and counselor at a preparatory seminary, and he was involved in campus ministry and Teens Encounter Christ. He worked in the the dioceses of Belleville IL, La Crosse WI, New Ulm MN and the archdioceses of San Antonio TX, Milwaukee WI, St. Paul and Minneaopolis MN and Ontario, Canada. He was laicized in 1989. In 2002 a man reported to the St. Paul and Minneapolis archdiocese that Charland sexually assaulted him in 1981 during a retreat, when the man was a 17-year-old boy. Charland’s accuser said the priest kissed him then ground his pelvis against him. In October 2014 Ramsey County Attorney John Choi announced that Charland’s case could not be prosecuted due to the statute of limitations. As part of an April 2015 settlement with the Oblates, a law firm announced publicly in July 2015 that Charland was one of seven credibly accused O.M.I. priests. Charland was working as a therapist in a Woodbury MN counseling center at the time of the announcement. By September 2015 his name was no longer on the center’s website.

Born: June 22, 1945
Ordained: August 21, 1971
Laicized: November 5, 1989

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Marc Gafni and the Misused Power of Religious Leaders

UNITED STATES
Forward

Mira Sucharov
January 3, 2016

With the recent New York Times profile airing the troubling past of Jewish spiritual guru Marc Gafni, issues of sexual impropriety by spiritual leaders in the Jewish community are again being brought to the surface. Past reports include Washinton D.C. Rabbi Barry Freundel’s covert filming of more than 50 women in the mikvah; New York-based Rabbi Jonathan Rosenblatt and allegations of his sexual inappropriateness with minors (brought to light earlier this year in The New York Times); and the case of Rabbi Ephraim Bryks of Winnipeg and his alleged abuse of minors in the 1980s.

Every instance is unique, but there are common themes across cases of sexual impropriety by spiritual leaders.

Perhaps most obviously is the issue of power.

Michael Plaut, a clinical psychologist who has chaired a state-wide task force in Maryland examining professional boundaries, is clear about the limits of relationships in situations where there is a power differential. “A patient cannot give consent to sexual behavior with a professional by definition,” he said. This is even more relevant in the case of a spiritual leader, Plaut added. Such a leader may, in the mind of a congregant, be “identified with a deity, so the level of dependency may be even greater.”

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Ramsey County won’t prosecute in 7 priest cases; 4 remain open

MINNESOTA
Pioneer Press

By Emily Gurnon
egurnon@pioneerpress.com
POSTED: 10/17/2014

Prosecutors will not charge seven priests and one deacon accused of sexually abusing children decades ago, but four other cases remain open, Ramsey County Attorney John Choi said Friday.

Four of the cases were closed by the St. Paul police because the suspect was dead or not identified, or the case was impossible to prove. One of those cases involved two priests.

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Holy improper: Catholic priest sacked after ‘fling’ with student

UNITED KINGDOM
The Sun on Sunday

A CATHOLIC priest has been sacked from a university over allegations of a relationship with a student.

Father Paul Rowan, 47, is said to have become close to mum-of-two Charmaine Garton, now 33, around two years ago.

Fr Rowan is understood to be appealing November’s decision to dismiss him, but also faces a church probe into his conduct.

He was senior lecturer and programme director of theology and religious studies at St Mary’s University, in Twickenham, South West London. Undergraduate Charmaine, who ran for the university’s student union presidency in 2013, is said to no longer be at the university.

Popular Fr Rowan, from Warrington, Cheshire, boxed for England under 19s. He joined St Mary’s in 2008.

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Catholic priest, 47, is ‘sacked from university over claims he had relationship with a 33-year-old student’

UNITED KINGDOM
Daily Mail

By JULIAN ROBINSON FOR MAILONLINE
3 January 2016

A Catholic priest has been sacked from a London university amid allegations he had a relationship with a 33-year-old student, it has been claimed

Father Paul Rowan was reportedly dismissed from his job as senior lecturer and programme director of theology and religious studies at St Mary’s University, in Twickenham.

It came amid claims he had become close to undergraduate Charmaine Garton – a mother-of two – about two years ago.

According to the Sun on Sunday, Father Rowan is understood to be appealing against the decision, which was made in November.

But the 47-year-old is also due to face a church probe, it is claimed.

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Former Louisville priest accused of child exploitation expected to change not guilty plea

KENTUCKY
WDRB

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — A former Louisville priest accused of child exploitation is expected to change his not guilty plea.

Stephen Pohl is expected to change his plea on Monday.

Pohl was a priest at St. Margaret Mary Parish on Shelbyville Road.

He was first charged with the crime last August and resigned after a student came forward saying he was asked to pose in provocative positions.

Pohl could spend 10 years in prison if he’s convicted.

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The Toughest Scene I Wrote: Introducing a Key Character in Spotlight

UNITED STATES
Vulture

By Josh Singer and Stacey Wilson Hunt

Vulture is speaking to the screenwriters behind 2015’s most acclaimed movies about the scenes they found most difficult to crack. Our first post of this season takes a look at Best Picture front-runner Spotlight. As screenwriter Josh Singer describes below, it was an early scene, featuring the introduction of a new character and the different perspective that he brings to the Boston Globe, that Singer and co-screenwriter/director Tom McCarthy found most challenging.

Before the real Marty Baron started at the Boston Globe in July 2001, he sat down with a number of the leaders at the paper. One of these sit-downs was with Walter “Robby” Robinson (Michael Keaton in the film), the head of the Spotlight team. According to Marty (Liev Schreiber), when he sat down with Robby, he had no idea what the Spotlight team was. And, having never spent much time in Boston, all he knew about the town was what he’d managed to read in books (and the Globe) in the three weeks prior. Robby, on the other hand, had gone to BC High and Northeastern, and worked for the Globe for over 20 years. Classic outsider versus insider, rife with tension and possibility. The scene should write itself, right? Wrong.

David Simon on Spotlight, His Pal Tom McCarthy, and the Death of Print Journalism
This was the last scene we shot, and we were writing up until we handed it over to Liev. It’s not an overstatement to say that we worked on this scene for three years. We wrote it. And wrote it again. We put it down, picked it back up. Thought we were done. We weren’t. Introducing a character is always hard, especially when you’re trying to also get across a lot of exposition.

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Range author tackles controversial topic

MINNESOTA
Hibbing Daily Tribune

Posted: Sunday, January 3, 2016

by Tony Potter Staff Writer tpotter@hibbingdailytribune.net

HOYT LAKES — An author with Iron Range connections has published his fourth book.
Jim Koepke, who grew up in Hoyt Lakes, has released the novel “Confessions of a Priest.” It mirrors the sexual abuse crisis and situation that occurred recently at the St. Paul Archdiocese.

The story begins with a local parish priest confronting his bishop about his handling of someone accused of sexual abuse. Although he had nothing to do with it, the parish priest’s life is turned upside down as he needs to cope with the turmoil caused by the occurrence.

“The book is not a hit piece on the church or priests,” Koepke said. “In fact, I have an extremely positive review written by a Catholic priest as my story details how to embrace a negative situation and focus on making something positive come out of it.”

The reason he wrote the book was because there had been so much press about sexual abuse in the Catholic church during the last several years.

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The Greene Espel Report

MINNESOTA
Canonical Consultation

01/02/2016

Jennifer Haselberger

It was in July of 2014 that Commonweal Magazine broke the story that Archbishop John Nienstedt had authorized an investigation into his own conduct as a result of complaints received from priests, former priests, and seminarians. That investigation was entrusted to, and then removed from, a team of attorneys from the Greene Espel law firm in Minneapolis. While the results of the investigation have never been made public, what is known is that at least one matter under investigation was the emeritus Archbishop’s relationship with Curtis Wehmeyer, a former priest of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis currently serving prison sentence for sexually abusing minors.

The scandalous nature of the investigation’s findings can be deduced by how strenuously the Archdiocese has fought to keep those findings secret- even from the prosecutors who have charged the Archdiocese criminally. Priests, lay people, and the general public have all called upon the Archdiocese to release the report, but even after Nienstedt’s resignation no action has been taken. Instead the Archdiocese has demurred, indicating that releasing the report would only embarrass the Church, those who made complaints, and would serve no purpose but to ‘out’ Archbishop Nienstedt.

However, now there may be a more pressing reason to release the report. Rumors are flying that at long last Nienstedt will be moving out of the Summit Avenue Residence (likely in preparation for the sale of the building), and taking up residence at a rectory somewhere in the Archdiocese. This could put the Archbishop in close proximity to priests, seminarians, and parish staff, not to mention school children and minors affiliated with the hosting parish or neighborhood. Given the concerns that have been raised about his conduct (including his conduct towards minor males while on World Youth Day trips), disclosures regarding the risks associated with his residency seem to be necessary.

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Priest faces lengthy sentence

PENNSYLVANIA
The Altoona Mirror

January 3, 2016

By Phil Ray (pray@altoonamirror.com) , The Altoona Mirror

The Rev. Joseph D. Maurizio Jr. of Central City in Somerset County faces a prison term up to 30 years for sexually abusing and photographing children while on missionary trips to the Pro Nino orphanage in El Progresso, Honduras, according to documents filed in U.S. District court in Johnstown.

Maurizio’s Altoona attorney Steven P. Passarello on Wednesday filed a petition asking U.S. District Judge Kim R. Gibson to sentence Maurizio below the recommended federal guidelines, pointing out the priest is 70 years old and has led an exemplary life that included 28 years in the clergy.

The priest was convicted on Sept. 22 of five of eight counts by a federal jury in Johnstown, but in a post-trial opinion, Gibson dismissed one of the counts because it involved a young man who initially gave statements confirming Maurizio’s abuse but then recanted when called to the witness stand.

Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 2.

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IL–Admitted predator priest is still on the job; Victims respond

ILLINOIS
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

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

Chicago Archbishop Cupich and LA Archbishop Gomez can’t be trusted to keep their promises.
In a long and troubling new article, the Chicago Tribune asks “Should Chicago priest return to ministry after revelations of teen misconduct?”

To be concise, the answer is no.

[Chicago Tribune]

Fr. Bruce Wellems admits repeatedly sexually abusing a seven-year-old boy. At the time, Wellems was an older teenager. When confronted with these facts in Los Angeles, Fr. Wellems attacked the messenger, saying reports of his abusive acts had “no factual basis.”

[Pasadena Star-News]

Archbishop Blasé Cupich should not put Fr. Wellems back into priestly ministry. No bishop should. This is a “no brainer.” Why take the risk?

Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez won’t let Fr. Wellems work in a parish there. Cupich evidently disagrees. He should hold a news conference and explain his irresponsible behavior with this admitted predator. Cupich should also explain why he’s been secretive about this case.

Fr. Wellems’ backers try to spin this as a story of sin and redemption. That’s disingenuous at best and downright dangerous at worst. This is a story of crime, not sin, and of recklessness, not redemption.

In a bizarre twist, when our group warned California parents and parishioners about Fr. Wellems, he attacked us, saying we’re guilty of “poor judgment” and “victimizing the thousands of families in the parishes where I have worked.”

Catholic officials in at least two states have long kept Catholic families in the dark about Fr. Wellems’ past. If they truly feel he is not a risk to re-offend, why won’t the honor their pledges to be “transparent” and be open and public about Fr. Wellems’ admitted crimes? Why won’t they be honest with parents and let them make their own decisions about whether to trust Fr. Wellems around their kids.

Instead, church officials kept quiet about his past and put children at risk.

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles is not much better. Although they did remove Fr. Wellems, they posted no public announcement and duped parishioners about the scope and scale of Fr. Wellems’ crimes.

If Fr. Wellems had admitted to embezzling money before he was a priest, we doubt that Catholic officials would be so “forgiving” and let him act as a treasurer.

Making excuses and minimizing crimes by calling them “sins” endangers children. Violating “zero tolerance” pledges by keeping admitted molester priests in ministry puts children in harm’s way.

Fr. Wellems may never be jailed for his crimes. But he can be removed from all work with children and youth. Parishioners can be informed and warned. Children can be kept safer.

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News Event – January 3, 2016 – LA priest admits abuse, Archdiocese misleads parishioners

CALIFORNIA
The Worthy Adversary

Posted by Joelle Casteix on January 2, 2016

NEWS EVENT: Victims to leaflet mass attendees

LA Priest admits he repeatedly abused a child

But Catholic officials let him work in parishes

In 2014, they “quietly removed” him from LA church, misled parishioners about cause
And they insisted that incriminating documents be destroyed

Now, despite “zero tolerance” policy, he may be put back on the job

What:
As Catholics enter and leave mass, sex abuse victims and their supporters will hand out leaflets that show LA Catholic officials:
— quietly removed a priest in 2014 who admitted sexually abusing a child, and
— mislead parishioners about the priest’s crimes.
The fliers urge Catholics to demand that LA’s archbishop:
— reach out to families who were endangered and church-goers who were duped by LA Catholic officials, and
— publicly disclose everything they know about this sex abusing priest and all sex-offending clerics.

When:
Sunday, January 3 at 10:30 am

Where:
Outside of the LA Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, 555 W Temple St (at Hill), Los Angeles

Who:
Five to six adults who were sexually abused as children who are members of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org), the nation’s largest support group for people who have been sexually abused in religious or institutional settings.

Why:
A new page one Chicago Tribune story reveals that a former Los Angeles priest admitted to sexually abusing a seven-year-old. Local church officials kept LA Catholics in the dark about allegations, and then allowed him to work in another parish.

[Chicago Tribune]

Fr. Bruce Wellems acknowledges that when he was around 16, he repeatedly sexually assaulted a seven year old. Catholic church officials kept silent about Fr. Wellems’ admission for years and kept him on the job. Both actions, SNAP contends, violate an allegedly binding national abuse policy that mandates “zero tolerance” of abuse and “transparency” in abuse cases.

Until 2014, Fr. Wellems was a priest at the San Gabriel Mission. Then Los Angeles officials learned of the abuse reports. Although they sent him back to Chicago, LA Archbishop Jose Gomez and other church officials didn’t publicly disclose the allegations on their website, the parish website, or any other sources. They also misled parishioners, claiming that Fr. Wellems had not abused a child but faced allegations from a “consensual dating relationship.”

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Church of England accused of cover-up over abuse claims against chaplain at school attended by Prince Charles

UNITED KINGDOM/AUSTRALIA
Independent (UK)

Adam Luck

The Church of England has been accused of a cover-up over allegations that a chaplain at the Australian school attended by the Prince of Wales was a paedophile.

At the Australian royal commission into child abuse in September, the Reverend Norman Smith was accused of raping a pupil at Geelong Grammar School in the late 1960s.

Now a 68-year-old former churchwarden has come forward to say that the Church dismissed his earlier claims that he was abused by Mr Smith in Sussex in the early 1960s.

Alan Baker, from Gloucestershire, has also written to Prince Charles to ask if he can provide any information that would help his case for damages.

“I would like to know what the links were between Geelong and the Church of England and the Anglican Communion,” said Mr Baker.

“Was it a coincidence that Smith abused me and then moved to Australia and then abused a child in Australia and moved back to the UK to take up a position as a vicar? The Church of England has treated me disgracefully and dismissed my complaints even though they must have known about the Australian allegations.”

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New Age guru Marc Gafni allegedly molested two NYC teen girls during the 1980s, denies sexual misconduct allegations

UNITED STATES
New York Daily News

BY LARRY MCSHANE NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Saturday, January 2, 2016

His address changed across the decades: Brooklyn, Israel — and now, California. His name changed, too, from Mordechai Winiarz to Marc Gafni.

For two women from his past, there was one constant for the Jewish scholar-turned-New Age guru — he was the man who shamed and molested them as teens during the 1980s.

The pair — one was 13, the other 16 — shared their stories last week with the Daily News as Gafni’s alleged 20th century indiscretions crashed hard into his 21st century incarnation.

Gafni, in an emotional interview with The News, denied the accusations of sexual misconduct made by the women.

“This is sexual McCarthyism,” insisted Gafni, who provided polygraph tests to support his position. “What they’re doing is social media rape.”

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Ex-students of prep school call for 2nd probe into sex abuse claims

RHODE ISLAND
WCVB

MIDDLETOWN, R.I. —Former students who say they were sexually abused at a prestigious Rhode Island boarding school are calling for another investigation after the school issued a report acknowledging the accusations.

An internal investigation recently found that 26 students at St. George’s School were sexually abused by six school employees in the 1970s and ’80s.

The private coeducational Episcopal school in Middletown sent a report to alumni in which school officials apologized and detailed the credible allegations. Administrators at the time fired three staff members but didn’t report the matter to state authorities.

Lawyers representing some of the 26 former students said they’ve identified at least 39 accusers and called the report a “sanitized version of the truth,” the Providence Journal reported.

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The Peeping Rabbi Was Even Worse Than You Thought

WASHINGTON (DC)
Washingtonian

By Harry Jaffe | January 3, 2016

Bethany Murphy grew up in a trailer park outside Rochester, New York.

Her father was Jewish, her mother Catholic. When they divorced, they gave her a choice between the two faiths.

“The Jesus statues creeped me out,” Murphy says. “And the story about Jesus being reborn didn’t seem plausible.”

Her mother—the gentile—explained that Jews were “people of the book.” Bethany, then seven, loved books. “I was sold,” she says. She later read My Name Is Asher Lev and The Chosen. “From then on, I was a Jew.”

Often, she was the only Jew. She recalls kids throwing quarters at her on the school bus. One day, a girl said, “Hitler didn’t finish his job.” Bethany spat in her face.

Her mother did the job of teaching her about Judaism. It took. At Rutgers, Bethany minored in Jewish studies. Many of her friends were Orthodox, the most observant Jews.

But Jewish pedigree is matrilineal. Membership in the “tribe” is passed down through the mother. Because Bethany’s last name was Murphy, everyone figured she had taken her father’s name and her mother was Jewish. In fact, it was the other way around.

It wasn’t until Bethany traveled to Israel that it hit home. Sure, she tried to follow kosher dietary laws and observe the Sabbath, and she could speak some Hebrew. But to be considered a Jew, she’d have to convert.

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UK Jehovah’s Witnesses accused of sex abuse ‘cover-up’

UNITED KINGDOM
Daily Star

By Joe Hinton / Published 3rd January 2016

It comes as a member who throttled young girls for sexual gratification was jailed after his crimes were kept secret by the church for more than 25 years.

Ian Pheasey first attacked a sevenyear-old girl while he was working as a volunteer librarian at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Warwick in the 1990s.

Last week Pheasey, from Warwick, was jailed for five years after pleading guilty to assaulting one girl causing her actual bodily harm and indecently assaulting two others.

Prosecutor Nicholas Taplow told Warwick Crown Court the parents of one of his victims, a 14-year-old girl, “chose to conceal the sexual nature of the incident and told her not to say anything about it”.

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Pastor in sex ‘counseling’ goes on trial for child abuse

NEVADA
Inquirer (Philippines)

Associated Press

LAS VEGAS, United States — After years of delays, a former storefront church pastor and international fugitive is due for trial Monday in Las Vegas on allegations that he sexually assaulted girls in his congregation under the guise of counseling.

Otis Holland, 59, faces life in prison on charges he abused girls as young as 7. He has been in jail since his arrest in January 2012 in Tijuana, Mexico. Known to his United Faith Church congregation as “Reverend Otis,” he was featured before his arrest on the television show “America’s Most Wanted.”

“He told my mother that he was going to take me for counseling,” a 21-year-old woman testified during a preliminary hearing in February 2013. She said she was 14 when Holland first took her after Sunday church services to a limousine fitted with a back seat that reclined into a bed and used a sex toy on her.

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January 2, 2016

Church Now Has Zero Tolerance To Sex Abuse

INDIA
New Indian Express

By Cithara Paul Published: 03rd January 2016

NEW DELHI: The Catholic Church in India is aiming for a cleaner image this new year as the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) has decided to deal with priests accused of sexual abuse through severe punishments, including defrocking them.

In the past, many sexual abuse allegations have been made against Catholic priests. The Catholic Church has taken this decision following Pope Francis’ exhortation against erring priests. As per the new procedures, Archdioceses (districts under archbishops) have been asked to take a sympathetic stand towards the victims who allege sexual abuse by priests instead of adopting a holier-than-thou attitude, which it had been taking so far. Also, the archdioceses will be duty bound to carry out investigations against such priests, and will have to send probe reports to the Vatican.

“There will be no place for any abuser in the Catholic fold. Vatican will decide on the case considering the reports and may even suggest defrocking of the priests, if found guilty,” said a source.

Defrocking (removal of their rights to exercise the functions of the ordained ministry) is the ultimate punishment a priest can receive in the Catholic establishment.

“Pope Francis has set a new beginning and we are happy that the Indian church is following his ideas. The fact that Catholic Church is even considering defrocking in itself shows the seriousness attached to the idea,” Francis Joe Saldana, a Church activist, said. The Catholic establishment is also mulling over taking steps such as seizing passports of accused priests to stop them from fleeing the country. It is also working out a plan to hire corrections staff to monitor guilty priests. The Catholic Church has also decided to be more compassionate to the abuse victims, who are mostly children. It has decided that only licensed therapists would be appointed to counsel abuse victims. The current practice is to ask nuns or priests to counsel the victims.

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Cupich: Priest abused BEFORE ordination, so it’s okay

ILLINOIS
The Worthy Adversary

Posted by Joelle Casteix on January 2, 2016

Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich has a lot of explaining to do about why he has allowed a priest—who has admitted to sexually abusing a child—to remain a priest and work with kids.

In fact, in light of a Chicago Tribune article today, I think Cupich should step down for his blatant disregard for zero tolerance when it comes to sexual abuse.

Priests who have EVER sexually abused a child should NOT be in ministry. Especially if that ministry involves youth. Period.

A scenario:

You have teenager who has been kicked out of school, struggles at home, and is dabbling with drugs and violence. English is not your first language. Maybe your immigration status is less than ideal. You are working two jobs and have younger children.

A local priest reaches out to you and asks if he can help your son. You say yes. Why? Because church officials have promised Zero Tolerance when it comes to sexual abuse. You trust them. You believe that Zero Tolerance means that this priest has NEVER abused a child. Soon your child joins the priest’s marimba band and travels with the priest. You invite the priest into your home. He babysits your younger children.

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Should Chicago priest return to ministry after revelations of teen misconduct?

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Tribune

Manya Brachear PashmanContact Reporter
Chicago Tribune

Should a priest’s sexual misconduct as a youth bar him from ministry? That’s the question facing Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich.

For decades, the Rev. Bruce Wellems, a Roman Catholic priest with the Claretian Missionaries, has served as a father figure for young men in Chicago’s Back of the Yards neighborhood.

But when revelations of his sexual misconduct as a teenager resurfaced in 2014 shortly after his religious order transferred him to California, Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez removed him from ministry immediately. He returned to his former neighborhood to resume work as a youth advocate and community organizer.

Now Cupich must decide whether the popular priest can wear a collar, celebrate Mass and officially return to active ministry. Wellems, 58, admits to the abuse, though his recollection of the details and how long it lasted differs from the victim’s.

“These allegations had nothing to do with who I was as a person,” Wellems said in an interview with the Tribune. “In my adult life I’ve done nothing against children. There’s nothing that’s ever come up.”

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The year in review in Catholicism 2015

UNITED STATES
Crux

By Michael O’Loughlin
National reporter December 30, 2015

Keeping up with news about the Church is always interesting, but 2015 was a banner year in many ways. There was the release of a first-ever encyclical on the environment, vigorous debates about religious freedom after the legalization of same-sex marriage in Ireland and the United States, an intense back-and-forth about how the Church deals with the modern family, and of course, Pope Francis’ three-city tour of the United States.

Here are some of the biggest stories from 2015, as told through Tweets from Crux, our staff and contributors, and you, our readers. …

Some bishops were booted out because of their records on sex abuse.

Advocates for victims of clergy sex abuse often lament that bishops have not been held accountable for their handling of the crisis, but in 2015, a few bishops were removed from office for precisely that reason.

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Condenado a 33 años de prisión el sacerdote William Mazo Pérez por abuso sexual

COLOMBIA
Caracol Radio

[The Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court in Colombia has upheld the sentence of 33 years imprisonment handed down against the pastor of the Church of Our Lady of Candelaria de Cali – William de Jesús Pérez Mazo – finding him guilty of the crime of sexual abuse of youngsters under 14 years.. Mazo Perez is accused to sexually abusing four minors who were left to sleep in the rectory.]

La Sala Penal de la Corte Suprema de Justicia ratificó la condena de 33 años de prisión proferida contra el párroco de la Iglesia Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria de Cali, William de Jesús Mazo Pérez, al hallarlo responsable del delito de abuso sexual con menor de 14 años.

La Corte tomó la decisión al considerar que Mazo Pérez se aprovechó que cuatro menores de edad se quedaban a dormir en la casa cural, y los obligó a sostener relaciones sexuales a cambio de dinero e invitaciones a comer.

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Nach Würstchendosen-Affäre im Vatikan: Lebt Kardinal Müller auf 300 Quadratmetern?

DEUTSCHLAND
Wochenblatt

[Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Muller said the situation where money was found behind a sausage can in his office has ended. The 20,000 euros in cash was said to have been sent from dioceses around the world to handle cases of sexual abuse by clergy.]

Kardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller hat die Würstchendosen-Affäre für beendet erklärt. Doch ein neues Buch wirft die Frage auf, ob der Geistliche auf 300 Quadratmetern in bester Lage in Rom logiert.

Die Würsteldose in der Glaubenskongregation hat heuer eine gewisse Berühmtheit erlangt. Laut einem Bericht der Bild-Zeitung fand man bei einer Razzia dort im Büro des Verwaltungsleiters hinter einer Würstchendose 20.000 Euro in bar. Der Bericht schlussfolgerte, dass es sich um Geld handelte, das die Diözesen weltweit zur Aufklärung und Prävention sexuellen Missbrauchs in der Kirche nach Rom schicken. Der frühere Regensburger Bischof Gerhard Ludwig Kardinal Müller ist oberster Aufklärer – ein Umstand, der durchaus für Kritik sorgt, weil Müller selbst in seiner Zeit als Regensburger Bischof einen Priester, der bereits Kinder sexuell missbraucht hatte, in Riekofen im Landkreis Regensburg wieder eingesetzt hatte.

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“Die Kirche ist kein Philosophenclub”

DEUTSCHLAND
Zeit

[“The Church is not a philosopher Club”]

Interview: Evelyn Finger

DIE ZEIT: Herr Kardinal, dürfen wir fragen, wie Sie Weihnachten gefeiert haben?

Gerhard Ludwig Kardinal Müller: An Weihnachten war ich, wo ich hingehöre, im Petersdom an der Seite des Heiligen Vaters. Mit meiner Hausgemeinschaft feiere ich Weihnachten immer mit Gebet, Gesang und der Lesung des Weihnachtsevangeliums, so wie es einem deutschen Gemüt guttut.

ZEIT: Die Christen haben ein dramatisches Jahr hinter sich. Was war für Sie 2015 das Wichtigste?

Kardinal Müller: Das Wichtigste für die Glaubenskongregation ist immer dasselbe: dass wir dem Heiligen Vater in seinem Lehramt dienen und uns auch um “Delikte” gegen die Glauben oder gegen die Heiligkeit der Sakramente kümmern müssen. Wir, das sind nicht nur die 45 Mitarbeiter in unseren drei Abteilungen Glaubenslehre, Disziplin und Ehefragen, sondern auch etwa 25 Kardinäle und Bischöfe als Mitglieder sowie 30 theologische Konsultoren in Rom.

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Pfarrer Jansen darf im Einzelfall wieder arbeiten

DEUTSCHLAND
Kolner Stadt-Anzieger

[Pastor Jansen allowed to work again although he has been accused to sexual boundary violations.]

Erftstadt.

Das Verfahren gegen den Liblarer Pfarrer Winfried Jansen, der im Februar dieses Jahres wegen des Vorwurfs sexueller Grenzverletzungen entpflichtet worden war, ist immer noch nicht beendet. „Wir hoffen auf eine baldige Lösung“, sagte Christoph Heckeley, Pressesprecher des Erzbistums Köln, auf Anfrage.

Pfarrer Jansen musste sich im Zuge des Verfahrens auch einer psychologischen Begutachtung unterziehen. „Das Ergebnis ist selbstverständlich vertraulich“, sagte Heckeley.

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Carey told to explain praise for sex abuser

UNITED KINGDOM
The Times

Lucy Bannerman
Published January 2 2016

A former Archbishop of Canterbury has been urged to explain why he wrote to police in praise of a disgraced bishop who initially escaped prosecution for sexual abuse.

Lord Carey of Clifton has always insisted that he did not interfere in the case of Peter Ball, a former bishop of Gloucester and a friend of the Prince of Wales.

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The news stories about Pope Francis that you will be reading about in 2016

VATICAN CITY
Rome Reports

[with video]

The new year has started and the Pope’s plate is full as he is already busy with upcoming plans and projects.

NEW DOCUMENTS
During this year, probably before mid-March, Francis will publish an official papal document on the family. Technically it is an “apostolic exhortation”, which will reflect on the ideas of the recent Synod.

Some months ago he hinted he would like to sign this document in Nazareth, yet it is uncertain whether he will return to the Holy Land to fulfill his dream.

TRIPS
Yes, he will travel to Mexico. On Friday, Febuary 12th he will be in Mexico City and then visit other states like Chiapas, Michoacan and Chihuahua.

If there are no surprises, the other major trip of the year will be in July to the land of John Paul II. On July 31st the Pope will close in Krakow the World Youth Day with millions of young pilgrims.

GREAT CEREMONIES
The largest ceremony of the year will probably be the canonization of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, which almost certainly will be in early September.

REFORM OF THE CURIA

This year will begin to materialize simplifying the Vatican Curia. In January, the first expected major changes in the Secretariat for Communication, and shortly after the new two congregations (one of lay people and other on social justice), which they encompass most current pontifical councils.

CARDINALS
This year 10 cardinals will turn 80 years old and will lose the right to participate in a conclave. It is a figure high enough that the Pope decided to name new cardinals.

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Bill Cosby, Bill Lynn and undue process

PENNSYLVANIA
Philly.com

JANUARY 3, 2016

PROSECUTIONS ARE like snowflakes, no two the same. Sometimes, you have a low-profile drunken-driving case where the defendant is a first-time offender, the district attorney doesn’t have too much skin in the game and is willing to offer a plea deal, and no one except the parties involved will ever know about it.

And then there are those cases that catapult a prosecutor into the cable-news firmament, cementing his or her status as a legal and political superstar for years to come (assuming, that is, the prosecutor ends up winning).

It’s not a good thing to become famous as the district attorney who screwed up a slam-dunk conviction, like Marcia Clark, who will forever be known as the woman who let O.J. Simpson try on a glove.

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams is aiming to be one of those prosecutors who don’t end up as the laughingstock on a future Nancy Grace marathon.

He has taken on the prosecution of Monsignor William Lynn, who is forced to answer for a hierarchy’s perfidy and absorb the vengeance of unleashed ex-Catholics and an ambitious prosecutor who is aiming either for a halo or higher office.

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Confronting abuse: Victims want independent investigation after St. George’s School apology for systematic sexual assault

RHODE ISLAND
Providence Journal

By Jacqueline Tempera
Journal Staff Writer

Karen Lee Ziner
Journal Staff Writer Posted Jan. 1, 2016

MIDDLETOWN, R.I. — On a sprawling hilltop overlooking the Atlantic sits St. George’s School, an elite private Episcopal boarding school established more than a century ago. Known for its prestigious alumni and oceanic views, the preparatory school has been a coveted location for the country’s youth since 1896.

But recently revealed accusations of systematic sexual assault at the school during the 1970s and ’80s have cast a shadow on the bucolic campus’ glowing reputation.

St. George’s School has publicly apologized for sexual abuse by several former staff and students during that period. Administrators at the time fired three staff perpetrators, but never reported the matters to state authorities as Rhode Island law required.

Headmaster Eric Peterson and board chair Leslie Heaney wrote that apology in a Dec. 23 report to alumni that followed a nearly year-long investigation begun earlier in 2015. Among the factors: “the evolving landscape of best practices” by peer institutions that have faced similar issues.

“The School underscores its regret, sorrow and shame that students in our care were hurt,” Peterson and Heaney wrote in the 11-page report. “We commit ourselves to taking responsibility; to healing those wounds, and to making every effort to mend the fabric of the St. George’s community.”

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Man ruled competent in molestation case

MINNESOTA
Mesabi Daily News

Lisa Rosemore Herald-Review

A Grand Rapids man convicted of setting a fire in the Grand Rapids United Methodist Church in 2011 has been found competent to proceed in a criminal case alleging he molested two children.

Robert Evans Shepard, 71, has been charged with two counts of felony second degree criminal sexual conduct in connection with the suspected abuse. At Shepard’s first court appearance on the charges in October, Itasca County District Court Judge Jon Maturi ordered an evaluation to determine if Shepard was competent to proceed in the case against him.

In a brief hearing Tuesday afternoon, Maturi said after reviewing the report from the evaluator it appeared Shepard was competent to proceed.

Maturi set Shepard’s next court hearing for 8:30 a.m. on Jan. 12 before Itasca County District Court Judge Lois Lang.

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Review: Riveting ‘Spotlight’ uncovers church scandal

UNITED STATES
Record Searchlight

By LINDSEY BAHR, AP Film Writer

Mark Ruffalo never walks in “Spotlight.” His very slowest is just shy of a flat out jog. It’s a minor detail, but it’s crucial to appreciating why this studied, smart look at The Boston Globe’s Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation into the abuses of the Catholic Church is also utterly exhilarating.

This is the kind of simmering process film that makes you want to roll up your sleeves and do some work. To knock on some doors, ask some questions, ignore warnings, crack open a beer, burn the midnight oil and really do something — or maybe that’s just what every journalist watching this film will think.

After all, investigative print journalism isn’t the most cinematic of endeavors. It’s tedious and quiet and there are more dead ends than big revelations. It’s a test of endurance — a long distance run where the finish is not even clear.

Of course, unlike an ongoing investigation, we know the outcome here already. The trick of “Spotlight” is making the potentially unsexy “how they got there” into not only one of the best movies of the year, but one of the best journalism movies of all time.

Spotlight refers to the paper’s four person investigative team responsible for exposing the systematic cover-up of the pedophilia of more than 70 local priests — editor Walter “Robby” Robinson (Michael Keaton), reporters Sacha Pfeiffer (Rachel McAdams) and Michael Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo), and researcher Matt Carroll (Brian d’Arcy James).

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Charges dropped against Baptist church leader accused of molesting disabled man in Missouri

MISSOURI
Christian Today

Jonah Hicap 01 January 2016

Prosecutors dropped the charges against a deaf church official in Missouri who was accused of sexually molesting a male churchgoer with disability.

Rodney Sexton, a treasurer at the Deaf Liberty Baptist Church in Overland Park, was charged in Johnson County with aggravated sexual battery of a 31-year-old male, who is deaf and has a mental age of an eight-year-old, according to KCTV5.

Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe dropped the charges against Sexton a day after the latter appeared in court for the first time.

Sexton is also on the roster of sign language teachers at Maple Woods Community College in January and also once taught at the Metropolitan Community College (MCC).

He faced six felony sex charges involving a child in the 1980s and was convicted on two counts and served time in prison. He is not listed on the Kansas Sex Offender Registry as his convictions occurred before 1994. Sexton was released from prison in 1989 and released from probation four years later.

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Former Bishop Ryan dies at 85

ILLINOIS
Springfield Journal-Register

Steven Spearie
Correspondent

Posted Jan. 1, 2016

Most Reverend Daniel Ryan, who served as bishop of the Springfield Catholic Diocese for 15 years but abruptly resigned in 1999, died Thursday in Naperville. He was 85.

Ryan died at Sunrise of Naperville North, an assisted living facility, said a source in the Springfield diocese who didn’t want to go on the record. Ryan, who was bishop emeritus of the diocese, had been under hospice care.

His death was confirmed by several sources, including by Marlene Mulford, a spokeswoman for the Springfield diocese.

An independent investigative report in 2006 stated that Ryan fostered “a culture of secrecy” in the diocese that discouraged priests from coming forward with information about sexual misconduct by other priests in the diocese, which covers 28 counties in central Illinois.

Personally plagued by sexual abuse allegations, some masses that Ryan celebrated around the diocese were picketed, though Ryan was never charged or prosecuted.

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January 1, 2016

The Church, the police and the unholy destruction of Bishop Bell

UNITED KINGDOM
Telegraph

By Charles Moore 01 Jan 2016

On April 8 1945, Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German theologian and anti-Nazi, was condemned to death in Flossenburg concentration camp by an SS judge, without witnesses, defence or records. He was executed the following dawn. On the day of his sentence he sent a message, via a British prisoner, to George Bell, the Bishop of Chichester.

Bonhoeffer regarded Bell as the greatest friend of the German Christian resistance to Hitler (“I feel ashamed when I think of all your goodness”). His message was “Tell him that for me this is the end but also the beginning – with him I believe in the principle of our Universal Christian brotherhood… and that our victory is certain.”

More than 70 years later – last October – the current Bishop of Chichester, Martin Warner, issued a “formal apology” to an unnamed individual who was “at the time [the late 1940s and early 1950s] a young child”, and announced the settlement (with an unspecified sum paid) of “a legal civil claim regarding sexual abuse against the Rt Rev George Bell”. Bishop Warner said “I am committed to ensuring that the past is handled with transparency and honesty.”

Bishop Bell died in 1958. When he was thus condemned 57 years later, he had no witnesses in his defence and, indeed, no defence. There are no published records of the process which condemned him. The decision was made by the “core group” of “safeguarding professionals” and the bishops of the diocese, under the Church of England’s National Safeguarding Team. They decided, not on a level of proof that would satisfy a criminal court, but “on the balance of probabilities”, that Bell had committed the alleged acts. There was no “transparency” about the past: we shall not be told what the alleged acts were, who the “victim” was and what the evidence consisted in.

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Church of England apologises to victims of shamed bishop

UNITED KINGDOM
Evening Standard

HANNAH AL-OTHMAN

The Church of England has apologised to victims of a shamed Bishop after it was revealed a former Archbishop of Canterbury was among a number of establishment figures who reportedly wrote to police in his support.

The letters, which have come to light as a result of a Freedom of Information Act request submitted to the Crown Prosecution Service, were written in support of the then Bishop of Gloucester Peter Ball, who was being investigated for sex offences in 1993.

In one letter, Lord Carey said Peter Ball was in “torment” because of the investigation, according to the BBC.

Ball was jailed for a string of historic offences in October, including two counts of indecent assault.

While Bishop of Lewes, he hand-picked 18 vulnerable victims to commit acts of “debasement” in the name of religion, including praying naked at the altar and encouraging them to submit to beatings.

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Former Tory minister defended bishop later convicted of sex abuse

UNITED KINGDOM
PoliticsHome

Written by
Emilio Casalicchio
Last updated
01.01.16

A former Conservative minister wrote to the Director of Public Prosecutions in defence of a bishop who was under investigation for, and later convicted of, child sexual abuse.

Tim Renton, who had been Arts Minister in John Major’s government, wrote more than 20 years ago that the “shame” of criminal action would be “far too great a punishment​” for former bishop of Lewes and Gloucester, Peter Ball.

The inquiry against Mr Ball was dropped, but a fresh probe in 2012 led to his conviction last year for 18 counts of sex abuse against vulnerable young men between 1977 and 1992.

Mr Ball, now aged 83, was sentenced to 32 months in prison after pleading guilty to the offences.
Writing to the DPP during the original investigation, then-Mid Sussex MP Mr Renton said had never heard a “breath of any suggestion of impropriety” regarding the period that Mr Ball was bishop in his former constituency of Lewes.

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Pope Francis rings in the New Year extolling an oft-unseen ‘Ocean of Mercy’

VATICAN CITY
Crux

By John L. Allen Jr.
Associate editor January 1, 2016

ROME — Although Pope Francis at times can come off almost as an angry Old Testament prophet in his critique of injustices and abuses of power, he rang in the New Year instead by extolling all the good in today’s world, referring to it as part of an often unseen, and under-appreciated, “ocean of mercy.”

In an almost poetic turn of phrase, he insisted that an “ocean of mercy” stands in contrast to the “torrent of misery, swollen by sin,” evident from scanning daily headlines.

Francis didn’t take his eyes off the realities of the world, acknowledging during his noontime Angelus address on Friday that “we all know a New Year doesn’t change everything, and that many problems from yesterday will still be there tomorrow.”

Although Christians believe in a loving God, Francis warned, God does not use a “magic wand” to simply make problems disappear.

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Names released of bigwigs who pleaded for disgraced pervert bishop Peter Ball

UNITED KINGDOM
The Sun

THE names of MPs, a High Court judge, a magistrate, public school headteachers and clergy who defended a pervert bishop were revealed yesterday.

Disgraced Peter Ball, 83, was jailed for two years and eight months in October for indecent assaults on 18 teenagers and young men.

His Old Bailey trial heard cops received 2,000 letters in support of him.

The former Bishop of Lewes and Gloucester dodged charges in 1993, accepting a caution for gross indecency against a lad of 16, but carried on working in churches.

The CPS has released letters sent from Establishment figures to police and the Director of Public Prosecutions that year.

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Establishment figures wrote letters that helped sex-abusing bishop escape justice for years

UNITED KINGDOM
Christian Today

Ruth Gledhill CHRISTIAN TODAY CONTRIBUTING EDITOR
01 January 2016

Senior establishment figures wrote letters to the Crown Prosecution Service and leading police officers in support of disgraced Church of England bishop Peter Ball. They included the former Lord Justice Anthony Lloyd, the late Tory Tim Rathbone who was Prime Minister David Cameron’s godfather and the former Tory Cabinet Minister Tim Renton. Ball, 83, is currently in prison after being sentenced last October for a string of offencs against 18 teenagers and young men between 1977 and 1992. Lord Justice Lloyd wrote to the Chief Constable of the Gloucestershire force, which was investigating Ball, and said: “He is the most gentle upright and saintly man I have ever met.”

The 12 letters were released after The Telegraph and BBC submitted Freedom of Information requests. The law which allows the requests is currently being reviewed due to cost.

Among those who wrote letters to Barbara Mills, Director of Public Prosecutions, was former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey of Clifton. He was clear that he did not wish to influence the decision to prosecute, but he wrote two letters. In the first, in February 1993, he said his first reaction to allegations of indencent behaviour with an adolescent was that it was “improbable” and that the allegations had caused Ball “excruciating pain and spiritual torment”. In the second, a month later, he expressed concern about Ball’s “fragile health”.

Tim Rathbone wrote to Gloucester Police that it was “literally inconceivable” that Ball would ever become involved with anyone in in the way “insinuated” by “the newspapers”.

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George Pell: a scapegoat at the altar of progressivism

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

JANUARY 2, 2016

Gerard Henderson
Columnist

Australians concerned about freedom of religion in this country would be well advised to look beyond the present and likely future debate over same-sex marriage.

Already, what was until recently the traditional view, that marriage is a union between a man and a woman, is being presented as offensive at best and discriminatory at worst by some who advocate what they term marriage equality.

It is not only many believers who hold the traditional view about marriage. However, it is possible that the Catholic Church and some other Christian denominations, plus adherents of Hinduism and Islam, will be targeted for their attitudes on this issue by government tribunals and the like in the future. The first instance is already manifesting itself in Tasmania with respect to the Catholic Church.

For an example of how current government-funded institutions regard religion, attention should be given to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. The royal commission has done good work in revealing the extent of mainly historical cases of child sexual abuse in churches and secular and government institutions up until relatively recent times.

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Assignment Record – Rev. Angel Armando Perez

OREGON
BishopAccountability.org

Summary of Case: A native of Mexico, Angel Armando Perez entered El Seminario Mayor de Guadalajara at age 20. After 7 years he took two years off, returned briefly, then entered Mount Angel Seminary near Portland, OR in 1996. He was ordained for the Archdiocese of Portland in 2002, at age 37. He was assigned to parishes in Corvallis, Coos Bay and Woodburn. In August 2012 Perez was arrested on charges of sexual abuse, use of a child in a display of sexually explicit conduct and furnishing alcohol to a minor. Perez had invited a 12-year-old boy to spend the night with him after a church party, the night before a planned trip to the mountains. The priest and the boy drank beer and watched a movie, then went to bed. The boy awakened to find Perez fondling him and taking pictures with a cell phone. The boy ran into the street and sought help from neighbors who were outside. Perez chased the boy, wearing only his underwear. When the neighbors said they were going to call the police, Perez fled. In April 2013 Perez pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 6 years, 3 months in prison. The boy’s parents filed a lawsuit in April 2014. The archdiocese settled with them in December 2014.

Ordained: 2002

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Carey pleaded for sex abuse bishop

UNITED KINGDOM
The Times

John Simpson Crime Correspondent
January 1 2016

A former Archbishop of Canterbury intervened on behalf of a disgraced bishop who initially escaped prosecution for sexually abusing 18 priests.

Peter Ball, who had been the bishop of both Lewes and Gloucester, received a caution when initially he was accused in 1993, but last year he was jailed for two years and eight months after confessing to misconduct in a public office and indecent assaults.

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Abuse bishop escaped prosecution after being backed by two Archbishops, a judge and Tory MPs including David Cameron’s godfather

UNITED KINGDOM
Daily Mail

By TOM KELLY FOR THE DAILY MAIL

A predatory bishop escaped prosecution for sex abuse for 22 years after leading Establishment figures told police and prosecutors he was a ‘saint’.

Two Archbishops of Canterbury, Tory MPs – including David Cameron’s godfather – a senior judge and public school headmasters mounted an extraordinary campaign to protect Peter Ball after he was accused of molesting a teenage novice monk in 1993.

In letters to police chiefs and the Director of Public Prosecutions they variously complained that the allegations had caused the bishop ‘excruciating pain’ and claimed it was ‘literally inconceivable’ that he could have committed the offences.

Twelve letters have been released following requests under the Freedom of Information Act – which has exposed numerous scandals but which is threatened by a government review set up after ministers claimed the law is ‘too costly’ to administer.

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Statement on Peter Ball letters released under FOI

UNITED KINGDOM
Church of England

31 December 2015

“It is a matter of deep shame and regret that a bishop in the Church of England was sentenced earlier this year for a series of offences over 15 years against 18 young men known to him. There are no excuses whatsoever for what took place, nor for the systematic abuse of trust perpetrated by Peter Ball.

We apologise unreservedly to those survivors of Peter Ball’s abuse and pay tribute to their bravery in coming forward. They have had to endure a long wait for justice over decades. We also remember Neil Todd, whose bravery in 1992 enabled others to come forward but who took his own life before Peter Ball’s conviction or sentencing.

Peter Ball systematically abused the trust of the victims, many of whom who were aspiring priests, whilst others were simply seeking to explore their spirituality. He also abused the trust placed in him by the Church and others, maintaining a campaign of innocence for decades until his final guilty plea earlier this year.

Operation Dunhill – which led to Peter Ball’s conviction – began as a result of the safeguarding officer at Lambeth Palace working with survivors in raising concerns about Peter Ball. The approach to the police was a proactive step on the part of the national Church leading to a self-initiated referral via CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection centre) to Sussex Police in 2012. This led to active co-working between Lambeth Palace, the Diocese of Chichester and Sussex Police on a complex enquiry with full information sharing.

In October of this year the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, commissioned an independent review of the way the Church handled the Peter Ball case. The independent review will examine the Church of England’s cooperation with the police and other statutory agencies and the extent to which it shared information in a timely manner. It will also assess the extent to which the Church both properly assessed the possible risk that Bishop Ball might pose to others and responded adequately to concerns and representations submitted by survivors.

Consultation with the Church’s National Safeguarding Panel – which includes members of survivor’s groups – has been taking place since October to identify a suitably independent chair of the review. It is hoped that the terms of reference for the reviews, its independent chair and other members of the group will be announced early in the New Year.

The Archbishop has confirmed that the report of the review will include a detailed account of how the case was handled within the church and will be published. We will also be co-operating fully with the Justice Goddard Inquiry who have announced they will also be looking into the Peter Ball case.

Over recent years the Church of England has been persistent and determined in dealing with allegations of abuse against clergy be they living or deceased. We are painfully conscious of our past failings and are committed to ensuring the highest levels of safeguarding in all our churches.

The Church of England always takes any allegations of abuse very seriously and is committed to being a safe place for all. To this end we have robust procedures and policies in place. But we can never be complacent. Any survivors or those with information about church-related abuse must always feel free to come forward with confidence that safeguarding procedures will be followed.

Should anyone have further information or need to discuss the personal impact of this news the Church has worked with the NSPCC to set up a confidential helpline no. 0800 389 5344.”

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Church apologises to sex abuse victims of shamed bishop

UNITED KINGDOM
Belfast Telegraph

A former Archbishop of Canterbury reportedly wrote to police in support of the then Bishop of Gloucester, who was being investigated for sex offences in 1993.

The letter has come to light as a result of a Freedom of Information Act request submitted to the Crown Prosecution Service.

In the letter, Lord Carey said Peter Ball was in “torment” because of the investigation, according to the BBC.

The Church of England (CoE) apologised “unreservedly” to Ball’s victims in response to the letter last night.

In October Ball was jailed for a string of historic offences, including two counts of indecent assault.

While Bishop of Lewes, he hand-picked 18 vulnerable victims to commit acts of “debasement” in the name of religion, such as praying naked at the altar and encouraging them to submit to beatings.

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New Year brings fresh challenges for Pope Francis

VATICAN CITY
GMA News

January 1, 2016

By JEAN-LOUIS DE LA VAISSIERE, AFP

VATICAN CITY, Holy See – Pope Francis faces a tough 2016, Vatican insiders say, with no let-up in his physically demanding schedule or the political battles over his efforts to modernize the Church.

The 79-year-old pontiff, who eschews holidays and has appeared worn out at times during the last year, has already scheduled major trips to Mexico (February) and Poland (July).

Visits to Kosovo and Armenia (to mark the 100th anniversary of the World War I mass killings) are expected to be added to his diary while France and his native Argentina are also seen as possible destinations in the next 12 months.

Laid low by the flu over Christmas, Francis nevertheless had the energy to insist that his wave-making shake-up of Vatican governance would be pursued in the New Year.

“The reform of the Curia (the Vatican bureaucracy) will progress with determination, clarity and resolve,” he said in his end-of-year message to the faithful.

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Ready for jail, the woman at the heart of the latest Vatican scandal

ROME
The Guardian

Stephanie Kirchgaessner in Rome
Friday 1 January 2016

When Francesca Chaouqui was summoned two months ago to a meeting with Vatican police, the public relations expert – who had served on a prominent Vatican commission examining financial reforms – willingly went along. She assumed it would be an hour-long affair.

Instead, the 33-year-old was arrested, interrogated and held for 72 hours within the Vatican walls – apart from a short stint in hospital after falling ill – and says she was denied access to a lawyer. “I was wearing very light clothing because I had been at home, and I stayed in those clothes for three days,” she told the Guardian in a recent interview.

Since then, having been charged by Vatican prosecutors with leaking confidential documents to two journalists, a crime under Vatican law punishable by up to eight years in prison, Chaouqui has emerged as an unlikely protagonist in the biggest scandal to rock the Vatican under Pope Francis.

At the centre of the case are allegations that Chaouqui and two others stole documents they had gathered in the course of work on the Vatican commission and leaked them to journalists who used them to write explosive books about alleged financial mismanagement of church funds. The pope himself has suggested Chaouqui was lashing out at the church because she had not been offered a permanent position after the commission she served on was disbanded.

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Archbishop and MPs wrote in support of bishop later convicted of sexual offences

UNITED KINGDOM
The Guardian

Harriet Sherwood Religion correspondent
@harrietsherwood
Thursday 31 December 2015

Letters written by a former archbishop of Canterbury and a coterie of establishment figures – including a former government minister and a high court judge – in support of a bishop accused of sexual abuse more than 20 years ago have been disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act.

The confidential letters to police and prosecutors springing to the defence of Peter Ball, the former bishop of Lewes and Gloucester, are likely to fuel accusations by survivors of sexual abuse of a cover-up at the heart of the Church of England and wider establishment.

Ball escaped prosecution at the time, resigned his post as bishop and retired to a rented cottage on the Prince of Wales’s Duchy of Cornwall estate. After a fresh investigation was opened in 2012, Ball, now 83, was sentenced to 32 months in prison in October 2015 after pleading guilty to abusing 18 vulnerable young men between 1977 and 1992.

George Carey, who was archbishop of Canterbury at the time when police were investigating claims of sexual abuse by Ball, wrote to the director of public prosecutions and the chief constable of Gloucester police in February 1993. While repeatedly stressing he was not trying to influence the outcome of the investigation, Carey wrote of Ball’s “excruciating pain and spiritual torment” and the implications for the state of his mental health.

A separate letter from Tim Renton, then the Conservative MP for Mid Sussex and a former government minister, spoke of Ball “suffer[ing] terribly” during the investigation while implicitly acknowledging that the bishop may have broken his vows of chastity.

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AP pursuit of Cosby documents was the key to generating sex assault charge

PENNSYLVANIA
Newsworks

BY BOBBY ALLYN

There’s a testy exchange in the movie “Spotlight,” about the Boston Globe’s investigation into child sex abuse in the Roman Catholic Church, between the paper’s recently appointed editor and its publisher.

“You wanna sue the Catholic Church?” says the publisher, played by John Slattery.

“Um. We’re just filing a motion, but, yes,” responds the new newsroom boss, played by Marty Baron.

“You think it’s that important?” the publisher says.

“Yes I do.”

The Globe’s motion persuaded a judge to unseal documents that turned out to hold some of the most damning evidence against the church.

The Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office said the sexual assault charges leveled against Cosby on Wednesday were triggered after a move not that dissimilar.

Attorneys for Associated Press reporter Maryclaire Dale filed a motion to unseal depositions of Cosby answering questions from investigators over four days in 2005. The conversations were part of a civil lawsuit filed by a Cosby accuser that was settled and never went to trial.

Dale won on July 6, 2015, when U.S. District Judge Eduardo Robreno ordered that the AP’s motion to intervene and obtain access to documents under seal be granted.

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Ex-Boston Globe Editor Marty Baron Hails ‘Spotlight’: Filmmakers ‘Nailed’ Story

UNITED STATES
Hollywood Reporter

by Scott Feinberg

The man who oversaw the landmark sex abuse investigation — which you can read here — says he has no complaints about the resulting film, which moved him to tears and which he hopes will provoke renewed interest in investigative journalism.

“There’s something oddly incongruous about all of the events and the red carpet interviews that surround a movie when you’re dealing with a subject that’s as serious as this one,” says Marty Baron, the former editor of The Boston Globe, in reference to Spotlight, the acclaimed new film — in which he’s played by Ray Donovan’s Liev Schreiber — about the Globe’s 2002 investigation that exposed a massive sex abuse scandal in the city’s Catholic Church, for which the paper was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 2003. “But,” he acknowledges with a laugh, “it’s been fun.”

Three years ago today, Baron, 61, left the Globe to become the editor of The Washington Post — another publication famous for its investigative reporting — and, in so doing, thought he was closing a chapter of his life that had been unlike any other. He’d covered important stories for decades, but the Catholic Church investigation “was the most meaningful work that I’ve been involved in,” he says, “because it had such a direct impact on people’s lives — not politicians, but ordinary people. It had such a profound impact on the Catholic Church then, and even today I think its impact endures. Its impact went way beyond the Church and went into how other major institutions deal with accusations of sexual assault.”

Eight years ago, long before he left the Globe, Baron was approached by producers Nicole Rocklin and Blye Faust, who said they were working on putting together a film about the paper’s coverage of the scandal. He was forewarned, however, that it might not come to fruition — “It’s a difficult subject, and not everybody loves journalists,” he notes. A few years later, the producers lined up Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy to pen a script, and Baron says, “When Josh and Tom really started doing their research, I had a sense that this really might be real — but I knew that they had to obtain financing, as well, and that that would be a huge challenge.”

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El Centro man to be arraigned Monday on child molestation charges

CALIFORNIA
Imperial Valley Press

Friday, January 1, 2016

By JULIO MORALES, Staff Writer

El Centro resident and former pastor Mark Quinn Anderson, who is accused of engaging in and attempting to engage in lewd acts with a minor, is scheduled to be arraigned in court on Monday following his arrest Wednesday in the Los Angeles area by the U.S. Marshal’s Service.

Anderson was booked into the county jail on Thursday afternoon and was being held on a $75,000 bond, according to the Imperial County Sheriff’s Office. He is being charged with nine felony counts in connection to the alleged sexual molestation of two juvenile females.

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Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson to return to work despite charge of concealing child sexual abuse

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

Adelaide’s Catholic Archbishop Philip Wilson has announced he will return to his post this month, despite facing a charge of concealing child sexual abuse.

Wilson has been on indefinite leave since March, when he was charged by New South Wales police.

The charge relates to when he was a junior priest, living and working in the Hunter Valley.

Wilson has pleaded not guilty to concealing the serious indictable offence of the now-dead paedophile priest James Fletcher in the 1970s.

In a letter published on the Catholic Archdiocese’s website, Wilson said he had “decided that it is now appropriate for me to end my leave and resume my duties as Archbishop of Adelaide”.

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Hard-fought legal battles expected in the Bill Cosby case

PENNSYLVANIA
Morning Times

Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Bill Cosby’s lawyers went on the attack Thursday after the comedian’s arrest, calling the sexual assault charges a flawed, politically motivated case that will not hold up in court.

They are expected to try to gut the prosecution’s case or get it thrown out altogether by a variety of means, including preventing some of Cosby’s numerous other accusers from taking the stand; blocking the use of testimony he gave in a decade-old lawsuit; and making an issue out of the 12 years it took to file charges.

OTHER ACCUSERS

While Cosby is charged with drugging and sexually assaulting just one woman, Andrea Constand, legal experts predict a key pretrial battle over whether some of the dozens of other women who have accused the comedian of violating them can testify, too, to prove he had a “modus operandi.”

“Prior bad acts” are sometimes allowed as evidence in criminal cases, but judges often take a dim view of such testimony because it can be so damaging. They typically require prosecutors to prove it is directly relevant.

“We don’t want a jury to say, ‘If he did it once before, he must have done it now,'” said Philadelphia attorney Jeffrey Lindy, who is unconnected to the Cosby case.

Lindy helped defend a Catholic Church official whose child-endangerment conviction for shielding a pedophile priest was overturned by an appeals court in December.

The reason: The prosecution put on weeks of testimony about the handling of 21 other priests under suspicion, even though the defendant wasn’t charged in connection with any of them. The appeals court called it overkill — in legal terms, more prejudicial than probative.

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