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.

February 1, 2016

Seminary Student Charged with Seeking Sex with Infants

UNITED STATES
Catholics4Change

FEBRUARY 1, 2016 BY SUSAN MATTHEWS

Click here to read: “Ohio Seminary student arrested, charged with trying to arrange sex with infants,” by Elizabeth Faugl, abc6onyourside.com, January 29, 2016

Editors note:

This unfathomable crime happens more often than sane people can comprehend. The perpetrators come from all walks of life, but we don’t expect them among our Seminary students or priests. What are the standards for acceptance to Seminaries? With a priest shortage can we expect more or less diligence in screening?

I fear there will be less. We try to keep a narrow focus on this blog. Our topics are within the context of current doctrine and clergy child sex abuse. But perhaps it’s impossible not to discuss the priest shortage in connection with the clergy child sex abuse cover up.

The shortage leaves rectories more empty and with less oversight. It leaves good priests with an enormous amount of responsibility. Elderly priests are coming out of retirement to fill the gaps. Just covering Masses is difficult. What about Last Rites, the parishioner struggling with a crisis or a newcomer with faith questions.

In these situations, does “any priest is better than no priest” mode kick in at the administration level?

The same clericalism that allows child sex abuse to go unchecked will be the same that destroys any opportunity to minister to Catholics when they most need it.

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

Phil Saviano: Message of support to clergy abuse victims in Chile

CHILE/UNITED STATES
YouTube

Published on Jan 31, 2016

Boston SNAP activist and character in movie “Spotlight” offers words of support to the Catholic clergy abuse victims fighting for recognition in the South American country of Chile.

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.

Lester: Convicted priest moving to Mount Prospect parish

ILLINOIS
Daily Herald

Kerry Lester

Pope Francis has proclaimed 2016 the “Year of Mercy” for Catholics, and that theme is being vividly demonstrated at a Mount Prospect parish.

In the coming weeks, St. Raymond de Penafort parish will begin housing a retired priest who was convicted of theft in 2008 for stealing roughly $40,000 from a Chicago church and using the money on vacations, laptops, massages and personal training sessions.

Cook County prosecutors said the Rev. Steve Patte, who formally retired last year, issued checks and wired money to his personal accounts as reimbursement for expenditures that never occurred. He was sentenced to four years of probation.

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.

Protesters Continue Call For Archbishop to Step Down

GUAM
Pacific News Center

Written by Janela Carrera

The Forward Laity Movement held their first prayer protest of the year.

Guam – The first Catholic prayer protest of the year was held yesterday and again, the message is clear, the Laity Forward Movement wants the Archbishop out.

The protest was held across the street from the Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral Basilica in Hagatna. This follow numerous protests held throughout last year in which members of the Concerned Catholics of Guam voiced their concerns about Archbishop Anthony Apuron.

There’s no sign, however, that the Archdiocese will concede as they have in the past sent out statements contesting claims and rumors of misdeeds.

Some of the demands the protesters made have to do with the controversial multimillion dollar Redemptoris Mater Seminary as well as the removal of certain priests.

Mae Ada is with the Laity Forward Movement. She explains why the group held the protest.

“To remind the archbishop that we need to get back our seminary away from the RMS and to restore the two priests, Father Paul Gofigan and Msgr. James Benavente. We need them back and we want the neo to be out of our diocese. They cannot continue to control the archbishop and to control Guam. We want our church back,” she says.

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.

Royal Commission into child abuse told Tasmanian pedophile priest’s risk to children ‘not discussed’

AUSTRALIA
Mercury

PATRICK BILLINGS
Mercury

TASMANIA’S most senior Anglican clergy did not discuss how to reduce the risk posed to children by a pedophile priest after he was forced to resign, as they believed police prosecution was imminent.

But Burnie archdeacon Louis Daniels was not prosecuted until five years later, during which time he held teaching positions in the Australian Capital Territory.

Former assistant bishop of Tasmania Ronald Stone gave evidence today in Hobart at a Royal Commission into child abuse.

Mr Stone and then Tasmanian bishop Phillip Newell forced Daniels to resign in 1994 after child abuse allegations resurfaced.

Commissioner Justice Jennifer Coate today asked Mr Stone what discussions were held between him and bishop Newell about reducing the risk if Daniels took up a job where he had “access to children” after his departure.

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

Bishop apologises for not involving police

AUSTRALIA
NT News

The former leader of the Anglican church in Tasmania has apologised for failing to alert police after boys raised allegations of sexual abuse by a priest.

Bishop Phillip Keith Newell on Monday ended his evidence to a royal commission with an admission, adding it was “too much” to ask forgiveness from the victims.

“I made a wrong judgment,” said the ageing Bishop.

“If I had acted then … and done the adult thing and gone to the police, so much suffering would have been avoided.”

As a father of three sons, Bishop Newell said he has questioned his response if it had been one of his children giving the account of abuse, which he described as outrageous, gross and criminal.

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

A Welcome National Approach on Redress

AUSTRALIA
Insights

The President of the Uniting Church in Australia Stuart McMillan has welcomed the commitment by the Federal Government to develop a national approach to redress for survivors of institutional child sexual abuse.

“This commitment by the Government is important, because a nationally consistent approach has been identified as best meeting the needs of survivors,” said Mr McMillan.

“The Royal Commission recommended a single national redress scheme and it’s a principle that we strongly support.”

“The Government previously thought a single national scheme was too complex and difficult to resource, so we acknowledge and thank the Government for its principled change of position towards a national approach.”

“It is the Uniting Church’s view that the outcome of this approach must deliver adequate funding to implement and sustain a national response that includes flexible arrangements for counselling and psychological care for survivors and funder of last resort arrangements.”

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.

‘Spotlight’ wins big at the SAG Awards

MASSACHUSETTS
Boston Globe

By Meredith Goldstein GLOBE STAFF JANUARY 31, 2016

We’ll call the results of the Screen Actors Guild Awards a win for Massachusetts.

The Boston film “Spotlight” — the drama about the Globe’s Spotlight team investigation of the Roman Catholic Church sex abuse scandal — took home the night’s big prize, the award for outstanding performance by a cast in a motion picture. Star Michael Keaton, who plays the Globe’s Walter Robinson in the film, moved the crowd by saying that the film is not just for the survivors of sexual abuse in the church, but also for all of the disenfranchised. “This is for every Flint, Mich., in the world,” he said, referring to the Midwest city’s water crisis. “This is for the powerful who take advantage of the powerless.”

The “Spotlight” cast includes Newton’s John Slattery, Mark Ruffalo, and Rachel McAdams, whose date to the show was her real-life counterpart, the Globe’s Sacha Pfeiffer. After the win, Liev Schreiber, who plays former Globe editor Marty Baron in the film, tweeted a pic of his SAG statue with the note, “Thanks Marty this one’s for you.”

Medfield’s Uzo Aduba brought her prom date to the Screen Actors Guild Awards on Saturday night. After winning the prize for outstanding performance by a female actor in a comedy series for her scene-stealing role on “Orange Is the New Black,” she tweeted to fans that the man at her side was Mark Crowley, who also went to Medfield High. “He asked me to the prom, I said yes. I asked him to SAGs, he said yes,” she tweeted with photos of both events. Aduba graduated in 1999.

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.

Troy Ronald Walker sentenced to at least 10 years’ jail for child sex offences

AUSTRALIA
Newcastle Herald

By JOANNE MCCARTHY
Feb. 1, 2016

TROY Ronald Walker was a Bible-loving, God-fearing Christian who impressed fellow churchgoers with his passion for helping troubled youths.

He will spend at least 10 years in jail after convictions for sexually abusing young people for more than two decades, including inciting a teenage boy to have sex with a 14-year-old girl while he photographed them.

Walker, 45, was convicted of offences against six young people in the Lake Macquarie area after he used his associations with the Salvation Army and an evangelical Christian church to gain access to children through their families.

A woman sobbed in Sydney Downing Centre Court on Monday as Judge Peter Zahra told how Walker had sexual intercourse with her after meeting the girl’s mother at Bible study. He offered to counsel the girl because she kept running away from home. The court heard the girl was sexually abused by her father.

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

Sexual abuse royal commission: Former Tasmanian bishop’s sons made ‘sore bottoms’ joke about boys’ society

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

By Emilie Gramenz

A former Tasmanian Anglican bishop’s sons would joke about members of a church boys’ society having sore bottoms, a royal commission hearing in Hobart has heard.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is examining the Anglican Church and its youth group, the Church of England Boys Society (CEBS).

Philip Newell was Bishop of the Diocese of Tasmania from 1982 until his retirement in 2000.

Counsel Assisting Naomi Sharp asked Mr Newell about a woman who dated his eldest son in the 1980s and attended family gatherings.

“She has given evidence … the brothers would, in your presence, occasionally talk about Louis Daniels and CEBS with ‘sore bottoms’,” she said.

“And you would shush them and say, ‘Come boys, let’s not have that at the dinner table’.

“What do you say to that?” Ms Sharp said,

“I don’t believe it,” Mr Newell answered.

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.

Drama shines bright

UNITED KINGDOM
This is the West Country

SPOTLIGHT (15) 129 mins. Starring Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber and John Slattery.

AT its best, investigative journalism is a scalpel that slices through fatty rhetoric and cuts readers to the bones of institutions that should be defending our interests.

In early 2002, the Spotlight Investigations team of the Boston Globe ran a series of meticulously researched articles, exposing the sexual abuse of minors in the Boston archdiocese.

Coverage of the scandal rippled far beyond the city, causing untold problems for those behind it, even before publication of the shocking revelations.

The expose compelled other victims to come forward, which sent shockwaves through the Roman Catholic Church.

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.

Review: Spotlight

AUSTRALIA
Adelaide Review

This all–too–true story from co–writer/director Tom McCarthy is superbly cast and strongly played but flatly handled at times. Yet the tale is so appalling it has real power anyway and should leave any audience enraged.

The facts behind the Boston Globe’s Pulitzer Prize–winning investigation into child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church are depicted in the build–up to a series of articles that began running in January 2002. The ‘Spotlight’ team are Walter ‘Robby’ Robinson (Michael Keaton) and three reporters, Michael Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo), Sacha Pfeiffer (Rachel McAdams) and Matty Carrol (Brian d’Arcy James), and while an uneasy change in management takes place and a new editor, Marty Baron (Liev Schreiber), comes on board, the team start investigating a priest named John J. Geoghan, whose crimes took place years beforehand.

The non–Bostonian Baron clashes with deputy editor Ben Bradlee Jr (Mad Men’s John Slattery) while the Spotlight gang realise that they’ve truly opened a can of worms, as they approach opposing lawyers Eric Macleish (Billy Crudup) and Mitchell Garabedian (Stanley Tucci) to help encourage traumatised and now–adult victims of other abusers to come forward. These survivors question why the Globe is suddenly so interested, and we’re even treated to a deeply uncomfortable scene where Baron attends a meet–and–greet and shakes hands with Cardinal Bernard Law (Len Cariou), who says that the Globe could work with the Church in ensuring only good–news Catholic stories are printed.

With the expected sequences showing the Spotlight members arguing and grappling with their consciences as September 11, 2001 proves a distraction and their personal lives intrude at times, McCarthy’s film’s key facts won’t prove a surprise for punters who have heard such stories over and over (and over) again. While this isn’t quite on par with something like All The President’s Men, the performances and the quiet anger make it worth catching, as you sit wondering where God is in this whole unholy mess.

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.

Seminary Student’s Past Reveals Troubling Information

OHIO
10TV

By Evan Anderson
UPDATED: Monday February 1, 2016

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Joel Wright – a “priest in training” at the Pontifical College Josephinum was arrested Friday by Homeland Security agents after flying to San Diego from Columbus with the intent of having sex with young children.

The case was opened last November when federal authorities say an undercover agent posing as a tour guide in Mexico began chatting with Wright online. During the conversations, they he laid out his intentions to adopt or own a girl under 3-years-old and have sex with the child.​

Wright was supposed to continue on to Tijuana, Mexico from San Diego, where federal agents say he was allegedly going to carry out the unthinkable with a baby. Federal agents say Wright had more than $2,000 in cash, along with baby clothes and a bottle in his luggage when he was arrested in San Diego.

He has been charged with two felony counts of traveling with the intent to engage in a sexual act with a minor and attempting to engage in illicit sexual conduct in a foreign country.

Officials say the 23-year-old left his seminary in Columbus without permission, and because of the disturbing and sick allegations, his ties to the school were immediately severed.

“We certainly do not want to admit anyone into our program with whom there is any inkling that that person might pose a threat to any person, especially to the young and to the vulnerable,” Father John Allen explained to 10TV.

Carol Zamonski with SNAP – an international survivors network for people who have been abused by priests or clergy – says she’s not surprised by these allegations.

“This is common, sexual abuse of children of this age is. This is not a shockingly isolated incident. This is human trafficking. This is sexual abuse within a religious context. This is possibly a perpetrator who was himself abused at some time.”

Wright is from Burlington, Vermont, and was featured in a number of feel-good stories in his hometown. He was praised for his work in reaching out and helping others overcome disabilities. He was diagnosed with Glaucoma when he was an infant and said he wanted to become a priest to encourage others.

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.