Case Involving Abuse By Lincoln Priest Headed Back To Trial Court

ILLINOIS
WAND

By: Doug Wolfe

Lincoln – A man abused by a priest at Holy Family Parish in Lincoln in the 1990’s will have his day in court.

Monsignor Norman Goodman was a pedophile that abused children at the church over several years. A lawyer for one victim says the Diocese of Peoria turned a “blind eye” to that ongoing abuse.

“It was sexual assault, battery, that sort of thing,” attorney Jonathan Nessler told I-TEAM reporter Doug Wolfe at his Springfield office. “Reverend Goodman was a very bad man.”

The diocese has previously settled lawsuits connected to abuse by Goodman involving at least 13 people. Bishop Daniel Jenky has ousted several priests accused of abuse.

Last week the 3rd District Appellate Court held a lawsuit filed against the diocese was improperly dismissed on the grounds the statute of limitations expired in the 1990’s. The victim, now 37, did not remember the abuse, repressing the memory of what happened until 2011, filing suit in 2012.

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Suspected Child Abuse Complaint Filed in Anthony Weiner ‘Sexting’ Scandal

NEW YORK
CNS News

By Michael W. Chapman | August 31, 2016

(CNSNews.com) — Because former Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) reportedly “sexted” a picture of his crotch while his four-year-old son was sleeping next to him, the president of the Catholic League, Bill Donohue, has filed a Report of Suspected Child Abuse or Maltreatment with the New York State Office of Children and Family Services.

“As president of the nation’s largest Catholic civil rights organization, I am well aware of the plague of child sexual abuse that marks virtually every sector of society, including, regrettably, the Catholic Church,” said Donohue in an Aug. 31 press release. “I am writing to express my concerns about the emotional and physical well being of Jordan Weiner, son of Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin.”

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Providence diocese announces new protocol to report sexual abuse

RHODE ISLAND
NBC 10

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence announced Wednesday it is working with the Rhode Island Attorney General’s Office to better report allegations of sexual abuse of a minor.

In a joint statement, the diocese said it will immediately contact the attorney general’s office in addition to law enforcement in the event that alleged sexual abuse of a minor is discovered.

Bishop Thomas Tobin said in part the additional measure keeps in step with the diocese’s ongoing effort to ensure safety for minors.

“I believe that the new agreement will serve as a useful model and an inspiration for other organizations in reporting such incidents as well,” Tobin said in a statement.

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A Priest in Good Standing?

MINNESOTA
Canonical Consultation

Jennifer Haselberger

08/28/2016

Yesterday’s Santa Rosa Press Democrat contained an interesting article about the circumstances of Archbishop Nienstedt’s residence in that diocese. Apparently, the relocation had the approval of the local bishop, as well as Archbishop Hebda.

However, as has been previously indicated, the materials released by the Ramsey County Attorneys Office include a statement indicating that the former Archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis had minors in his hotel room at World Youth Day, undressed before them, and had them undress before him (Exhibit 9). This would amount to a violation of just about any Code of Conduct, and could possibly be an act of sexual abuse of a minor if the actions were for Nienstedt’s gratification. Is the Church investigating this?

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CA–Victims want Santa Rosa bishop to oust his disgraced colleague

CALIFORNIA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, 314 645 5915 home, davidgclohessy@gmail.com)

In an act of stunning recklessness and callousness, Santa Rosa’s top Catholic official is letting a disgraced bishop minister in the Napa Valley despite his reportedly committing sexual misdeeds and concealing child sex crimes.

[Press Democrat]

Bishop Robert Vasa says he has “no concerns” about Archbishop John Nienstedt, who left Minnesota after he resigned and left Michigan after more parishioner outrage there.

The reason for the controversy surrounding Nienstedt is simple: he’s accused of sexually approaching or violating at least nine priests and seminarians and retaliating against some of them when his advances were rebuffed. And he’s also accused of endangering kids and deceiving parents about proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting clerics.

And he’s accused of interfering with a church investigation into clergy sexual misconduct.

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Man Files Sex Abuse Lawsuit Against Diocese of Norwich

CONNECTICUT
NBC Connecticut

A 37-year-old Connecticut man has filed a lawsuit against the Diocese of Norwich alleging he was sexually assaulted hundreds of times by a priest while serving as an altar boy during the 1990s.

The complaint, filed earlier this month in New London Superior Court, claims that the priest, Paul Hebert, hand-picked the plaintiff to be an altar boy at age 11.

The diocese previously settled two lawsuits brought by men who said they were molested by Hebert when he served at St. Michael the Archangel Church in Pawcatuck from 1971 to 1981.

The complaint states that Hebert coerced the victim with alcohol and lavish gifts in exchange for his silence.

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Ex-finance officers debunk claims about Yona seminary

GUAM
Pacific Daily News

Haidee V Eugenio, Pacific Daily News September 1, 2016

Former members of the island Catholic church’s finance council said on Wednesday that Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron went behind the council’s back in 2011 when the archbishop, with help from other people involved with the Neocatechumenal Way, “secretly” recorded a deed transferring a church property in Yona to the Redemptoris Mater Seminary.

The former members of the Archdiocesan Finance Council said the council, during a September 2011 meeting, had denied the Redemptoris Mater Seminary’s request to transfer the title of the Yona property to the seminary.

Richard Untalan, former president of the Archdiocesan Finance Council, said he and others are talking about the issue in response to recent statements made by Apuron and Seminary Rector Rev. Pius Sammut.

“We were there. We were intimately privy to the transactions, as our input, analysis and approval were all required by Canon Law for any transaction to occur. We know what happened,” Untalan said.

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Diocese to Enhance Child Protection Policy with Notification to Attorney General

RHODE ISLAND
Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence

August 31, 2016

Attorney General Kilmartin and Bishop Tobin Announce Enhanced Protocol for Reporting Allegations of Sexual Abuse of a Minor

In an ongoing effort to strengthen child protection policies, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence and the Rhode Island Office of the Attorney General have established an enhanced protocol for reporting allegations of sexual abuse of a minor. Under this strengthened protocol, the Diocese of Providence has agreed to notify the Attorney General’s office of any allegations of sexual abuse of a minor.

It is the clear practice of the Diocese to report every allegation of sexual abuse of a minor to law enforcement. The additional step of notifying the Attorney General’s office provides supplemental transparency in keeping with the Diocese’s ongoing effort to ensure a safe environment.

“The Letter of Understanding with the Office of the Attorney General concerning the reporting of incidents of sexual abuse of minors comes after many months, even years, of reflection and discussion. I am grateful to the Attorney General and his staff, and the staff of the Diocese of Providence, for their commitment to this task. The agreement affirms and builds upon the longstanding policy and practice of the Diocese of Providence to report each and every allegation of sexual misconduct with minors to law enforcement officials. I believe that the new agreement will serve as a useful model and an inspiration for other organizations in reporting such incidents as well,” said Bishop Thomas J. Tobin.

“This new step strengthens existing reporting practices by the Diocese, which in turn will ensure greater transparency and a more robust investigation, and if appropriate, prosecution of individuals who sexually abuse children,” said Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin. “I am very appreciative of the Diocese, and in particular, Bishop Tobin, for their work on the Letter of Understanding, and more importantly, for the recognition that the sexual abuse by a member of the Catholic Church cannot and will not be tolerated.”

“The sexual abuse of minors is a grave concern, a sin and a crime, in our society, and in the Church. In recent years we have made significant progress in addressing this widespread problem, but we cannot stop or grow comfortable now. The Diocese of Providence renews its commitment to eliminate sexual abuse of minors by any member of the Church; to provide assistance and care to victims and their families; and to treat all individuals with the justice and love, the care and compassion demanded by our Faith,” added Bishop Tobin.

For more information on reporting procedures of the Diocese and the Office of Compliance please visit www.dioceseofprovidence.org/office-of-compliance.

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Providence Catholic diocese agrees to report all sex abuse allegations to attorney general

RHODE ISLAND
Providence Journal

Posted Aug. 31, 2016

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence has agreed to notify the Rhode Island Office of the Attorney General of any allegations of sexual abuse of a minor under new protocols announced Wednesday morning.

Under current protocols, the diocese reports each allegation to law enforcement.

“The Letter of Understanding with the Office of the Attorney General concerning the reporting of incidents of sexual abuse of minors comes after many months, even years, of reflection and discussion,” said Bishop Thomas J. Tobin, in a joint news release. “I am grateful to the Attorney General and his staff, and the staff of the Diocese of Providence, for their commitment to this task. The agreement affirms and builds upon the longstanding policy and practice of the Diocese of Providence to report each and every allegation of sexual misconduct with minors to law enforcement officials. I believe that the new agreement will serve as a useful model and an inspiration for other organizations in reporting such incidents as well.”

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Exclusive Jewish school Yeshivah College issued order amid bully probe by Worksafe

AUSTRALIA
Herald Sun

Shannon Deery, Herald Sun
August 31, 2016

EXCLUSIVE Jewish school Yeshivah College is under investigation amid claims of ongoing bullying and harassment of staff.

The school came under fire during lengthy hearings at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse over claims abuse victims were threatened and intimidated.

Now allegations have surfaced of persistent and ongoing bullying and harassment of staff at the college, and its sister school Beth Rivkah College, by senior figures.

Worksafe Victoria has been probing the schools, run by the Yeshiva Centre, for several weeks after a complaint was made by a junior teacher.

This week the schools were issued with an “improvement notice” over their failure to force staff to undergo specific training in relation to bullying.

The schools have been ordered to ensure the training has been completed by December.

It is understood several teachers have left the schools this year, while some have had their hours cut.

Others are fearful of speaking out against the school’s administration, sources say.

“This issue is greatly concerning parents. How can you offer a safe environment if teachers can’t speak openly?” one community member said.

“This is strongly connected to the Royal Commission and evidence of a culture within the college that just won’t go away.”

One community member has written to Australian Childhood Foundation chief, Dr Joe Tucci, asking that Yeshiva’s accreditation as “a safe place” be urgently reviewed.

The college, in a statement released on Wednesday night, said the college had fully co-operated with the investigation.

The statement said: “Following visits to Yeshivah College, WorkSafe Victoria issued an “Improvement Notice” recommending the Occupational Health and Safety training package, already implemented by the school, be extended to include all staff.

“The College welcomes and fully supports the suggestion and will ensure that the recommendations are implemented.”

Following a damning probe by the child abuse royal commission last year, the Yeshiva Centre announced it would replace its board of trustees and committee of management.

Many of the centre’s leaders were blamed for decades of cover-ups that led to an epidemic of sexual abuse that has shamed the community.

A string of former staff have been jailed in recent years for crimes against children.

Chief Rabbi Zvi Telsner announced he would stand down indefinitely amid claims he had continued to berate victims who exposed the widespread abuse cover-up within the community.

The Herald Sun has been told both the trustees, and Rabbi Telsner, remain.

shannon.deery@news.com.au

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Elite Jewish boys’ school once at the centre of sex abuse claims is probed over bullying and harassment of staff

AUSTRALIA
Daily Mail

By NELSON GROOM FOR DAILY MAIL AUSTRALIA

An elite Jewish boy’s school notorious for child sex abuse is being investigated over accusations of widespread bullying and harassment of staff.

Yeshivah College, in Melbourne’s seafront suburb of St Kilda East, was thrown into the spotlight last year after a series of hearings at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Fresh allegations have now come to light that staff at the school, and its sister school Beth Rivkah College, have been subject to continued bullying and harassment from senior figures, reports Herald Sun.

The two schools are being probed by Worksafe Victoria after a junior teacher lodged complaints.
The schools have this week been issued an ‘improvement notice’ over their failure to force staff to undergo specific bullying training.

Several teachers are understood to have left the school and others have had their hours cut.

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Pressure Mounts on Jewish Groups to Change Course in Sexual Abuse Cases

UNITED STATES
The Jewish Week

Is there a divide in the Orthodox Rabbinate regarding preventing child sexual abuse?

In an unprecedented and crucially positive step forward, 300 Orthodox Rabbis from across the nation signed a proclamation regarding child safety in the Orthodox Jewish community. Synagogues and schools are called upon to adopt certain preventative measures outlined in the document to deter child abuse and child sexual abuse. The Rabbinic signatories consist of member Rabbis of the Orthodox Union (OU), Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) and Yeshiva University (YU).

Some of the proclamation’s prominent signers include: Rabbi Gedalia Dov Schwartz, Av Beth Din, Beth Din of America, Rabbi Mark Dratch, Executive Vice President, RCA, Rabbi Shalom Baum, President, RCA, Rabbi Menachem Genack, CEO, OU Kosher, Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, Executive VP Emeritus, OU, Rabbi Marc Penner, Dean, RIETS, YU, Rabbi Zevulun Charlop, Dean Emeritus, RIETS, YU, Rabbi Yehuda Kelemer, Rabbi, Young Israel of West Hempstead, NY, Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, Rabbi, Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun, and Rabbi Emanuel Feldman, Rabbi Emeritus, Congregation Beth Jacob of Atlanta, GA, South Africa’s Chief Rabbi, Rabbi Dr. Warren Goldstein.

The proclamation commences by honoring the memories of individuals in the Orthodox Jewish community who tragically committed suicide as a result of enduring child sexual abuse. The gravity of this issue is linked in the proclamation to a passage in the Torah, “Do not stand by while your fellow’s blood is being spilled” (Leviticus 19:16). Prominent signer Rabbi Hershel Billet, Rabbi, Young Israel of Woodmere, succinctly expresses the gravity of the effects of child sexual abuse, stating, “Every sexual abuser is a potential murderer. They destroy the souls of their victims and at times cause the death of their victims.”

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SPECIAL REPORT: A Survivor’s Story

GEORGIA
WSAV

[with video]

SPECIAL REPORT: A Survivor’s Story Part 2

By Andrew Davis
Published: August 30, 2016

Men of the cloth. Men of God. Priests are supposed to help children grow, not take advantage of them.

But one local priest did just that. Leaving a broken boy behind.

A boy that didn’t even remember his own abuse until almost 30 years later.

“I started daydreaming about my two daughters and my son following my coffin down the aisle at my funeral,” sad a tearful Chris Templeton.

That was the lowest point in Chris Templeton’s life, and the moment that his life changed forever.

“I started crying. I got real emotional,” remembers Chris. “So i went inside and told my wife you have to call mom and dad. She said why? I said because I’m going to kill myself tomorrow.”

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Inspired by accusations against Bill Cosby, California lawmakers move to lift time limits on rape cases

CALIFORNIA
Los Angeles Times

Sophia Bollag

In the wake of sexual assault accusations against comedian Bill Cosby, California may soon end the statute of limitations for prosecuting rape and other felony sex crimes.

The state Senate on Tuesday sent the governor a bill to end time limits for prosecuting crimes including rape and child sexual abuse.

Under existing law, such crimes generally must be prosecuted within 10 years unless DNA evidence emerges later. Sex crimes against minors must be prosecuted before the victim’s 40th birthday.

If the governor signs the bill, those crimes could be prosecuted at any time.

SB 813 would not apply retroactively to crimes in which the statute of limitations will have expired by Jan. 1, 2017.

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Go To Police First, Rabbis Tell Abuse Victims

UNITED STATES
The Jewish Week

08/31/16

Gary Rosenblatt
Editor And Publisher

A proclamation signed by 300 Orthodox rabbis acknowledging that sexual abuse of children causes “immeasurable harm” in the Orthodox community, and that past efforts to combat the problem have been lacking, is being hailed by anti-abuse activists as a major step forward in reducing the stigma for victims to come forward and report sexual crimes to the authorities.

The detailed statement, made public this week and signed by member rabbis of the Orthodox Union (OU), Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) and Yeshiva University (YU), calls for policies to be put in place in synagogues and schools to prevent abuse, and it condemns cover-ups and “attempts to ignore allegations” of abuse as immoral and against Jewish law.

Further, the statement asserts that “the reporting of reasonable suspicions of all forms of child abuse and neglect directly and promptly to the civil authorities is a requirement of Jewish law. There is no need for people acting responsibly to seek rabbinic approval prior to reporting.”

The sentiment appears to be an acknowledgment that rabbis, most of whom are not experts in identifying or dealing with sexual abuse, have sometimes sought to protect a community’s image by discouraging victims and their families from speaking out.

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Former Archdiocesan Finance Council members speak out

GUAM
KUAM

Updated: Aug 31, 2016

By Krystal Paco

They’re looking to clear their names and clean up the church. Former members of the Archdiocesan Finance Council held a press conference on Wednesday to clarify what really happened behind closed doors.

They’re not doctors, but if they were, their diagnosis for Archbishop Anthony Apuron might be “He appears to be suffering from selective memory,” as noted by Richard Untalan, the past AFC president.

In a signed statement and a press conference held on Wednesday, five former members of the Archdiocesan Finance Council say they were fired from their positions not because their terms had expired, but to hide the fact Apuron and others secretly gave away the Redemptoris Mater Seminary for free. Estimated to value up to $75 million, Untalan says the funds to purchase the property weren’t donated – as previously reported – but acquired in 2002 through a $2 million loan with the Bank of Guam.

The property was not intended to be limited to exclusive groups, but to benefit all local Catholics. A donor did arise, but a year later Apuron allegedly asked that donor to take credit for the purchase. That donor refused and also objected to the use solely by the RMS and the Theological Institute.

Untalan and AFC attest that all claims that they were out to sell the property to convert into a casino are lies. “The fabricated story that we tried to sell the Yona property is as far-fetched, as if we were accused of trying to sell the White House or St. Peter’s Basilica or Andersen Air Force Base. We were volunteers. We have no corporate authority so sign even a check, let alone selling off a piece of valuable property,” he stated. “The AFC is a consultative body.”

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Former AL church staff member gets 50 years for sexually abusing 7-year-old

ALABAMA
WBRC

Tuesday, August 30th 2016
By Melynda Schauer, Digital Content Producer

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) –
A former Hoover church staff member and Shelby County resident convicted of sexually abusing a 7-year-old child has been sentenced to 50 years in prison, according to federal authorities.

Federal investigators say Jason Michael Hankins, 35, found his victim by targeting a single mom on a Christian dating site.

The government recommended a 50-year sentence, saying Hankins targeted his victim and engaged in repeated sexual exploitation that lasted the whole time he had access to the child.

Hankins was formerly on staff at the Family Life Center at Shades Crest Baptist Church in Hoover. He resigned from his position after his first arrest for a sodomy charge in 2013.

Hoover police arrested him again the same week on multiple sex abuse charges involving a young female victim and held him on a $6 million bond.

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Former church worker sentenced to 50 years for sexual abuse and child pornography

ALABAMA
AL.com

By Kent Faulk | kfaulk@al.com

A former church staff member was sentenced Tuesday to 50 years in prison for sexually abusing a seven-year-old child and possessing child pornography in 2013, federal authorities announced.

Jason Michael Hankins, 35, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge L. Scott Coogler sentenced to 30 years in prison for sexual exploitation of a child, plus 20 more years for possessing child pornography, according to a joint statement from U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and FBI Special Agent in Charge Roger C. Stanton.

Coogler also ordered Hankins to remain on supervised release for the rest of his life after completing his prison sentence, according to the statement. Hankins pleaded guilty to the charges in January.

An attorney for Jason Michael Hankins, 34, filed a not guilty plea and waived arraignment before Bessemer Cutoff Jefferson County Circuit Judge David Hobdy in the nine new cases. A cutoff grand jury had indicted Hankins in January on those charges.

Hankins had worked at Shades Crest Baptist Church in Hoover as part of the Family Life Center staff, assisting in the planning and coordinating of recreational activities, according to the statement. Hankins found his young victim by seeking out a single mother on a Christian dating website, according to the statement.

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‘I survived the Exclusive Brethren’

NEW ZEALAND
Stuff

JANET PROST

I was one of the lucky ones as I was not destroyed.

My early childhood in the Exclusive Brethren, tucked in a corner of Ontario, Canada, was almost ideal as it was loving Christians worshipping together in the way they believed.

There were a lot of edicts – no Christmas, Halloween, Easter, television, and most girls were forbidden to wear pants – but my parents didn’t bother to follow those rules.

But even in those early days I was aware of other assemblies in our sect that weren’t ideal as they had bullies in charge and were slowly and surely destroying their members with their harsh and arbitrary rules.

My childhood ended when the bullies came. It was no longer about worship, rather it was about who you were, how much Darby Bible you had read, and how well you followed the rules.

My father was first excommunicated when I was 10. We went from being the favourite family in our assembly to the pariahs; we were completely shunned and no one came to see us. My mother stopped eating and went into a deep depression. She has never been the same person again.

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Editorial | Diocese still closing ranks on child sexual abuse

PENNSYLVANIA
Tribune-Democrat

Victims advocate Robert Hoatson said he sees a “dome” of secrecy over the region of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown – a phenomenon that allowed priests to sexually abuse children for decades without fear of legal retribution.

The diocese’s ongoing actions show that it remains intent on controlling the message surrounding the mistreatment of children – despite a March 1 report from the state attorney general’s office that accused 50 priests and other clergy members of abusing children in their care, protected by bishops who moved the offenders from parish to parish rather than exposing them to criminal charges.

In a story Sunday in The Tribune-Democrat and at www.tribdem.com, diocese spokesman Tony DeGol said the church organization was reaching out “through our Diocesan media – our Proclaim! television ministry, The Catholic Register, and our website” concerning the issue of child sexual abuse.

He said messages were developed in “collaboration with the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape and agencies throughout our eight-county Diocese that offer support to survivors of sexual abuse.”

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Royal Commission hears evidence of shocking child sexual abuse in the Hunter region

AUSTRALIA
Newcastle Herald

JOANNE MCCARTHY
31 Aug 2016

THE Catholic Church has paid more than $25 million to Hunter region child sexual abuse survivors, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has been told on the first day of a public hearing into Maitland-Newcastle diocese.

The diocese has substantiated claims or complaints from 158 people relating to 31 different perpetrators, counsel assisting the royal commission, Mr Stephen Free, said in an opening address highlighting decades of abuse in the region.

Nearly two-thirds of offenders were priests, and six per cent were members of a religious order.

The diocese has paid out claims to 46 victims of abuse from just one school – St Pius X, Adamstown, the royal commission was told.

The public hearing, which is expected to hear evidence until September 9, will consider the diocese’s handling of allegations against paedophile priest Vince Ryan, and the Marist Brothers’ response to allegations involving three Brothers – Romuald (Francis Cable), Patrick (Thomas Butler) and Dominic (Darcy O’Sullivan).

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Child sex abuse royal commission: Hunter paedophile priest ‘was like Jekyll and Hyde’

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

By David Marchese

A child sexual abuse survivor has broken down while recounting to a royal commission how he was repeatedly molested by a New South Wales priest who “was like Jekyll and Hyde” and warned him “nobody will believe you because I am a priest”.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse this morning shifted its focus to the Hunter region’s Catholic church, after spending weeks probing Newcastle’s Anglican diocese.

The first witness to give evidence at the hearing was child abuse survivor Gerard McDonald, who detailed his abuse at the hands of convicted paedophile priest Vincent Ryan.

Ryan was released from jail in 2010 after serving a 14-year prison sentence for a string of sexual assaults on dozens of boys between 1972 and 1991 and is currently awaiting sentencing on separate offences.

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Friendly priest became pedophile ‘monster’

AUSTRALIA
SBS

AAP

For more than 40 years, Gerard McDonald has been living with “fear, shame and guilt” as a result of sickening sexual abuse at the hands of a notorious Catholic pedophile priest.

“Vincent Gerard Ryan was the monster of Merewether,” Mr McDonald told media outside the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Newcastle on Wednesday.

“I want the shame and guilt to be put where it belongs, with the abusers and those who did nothing or lied to protect them.”

Mr McDonald was 10 when he was abused twice a week for most of 1975 in Father Vincent Ryan’s car, as the priest dropped him home from altar boy practice at St Joseph’s in Merewether.

He told the commission that Ryan, who on one occasion performed oral sex on him and a group of other boys in the church vestry, told him “they won’t believe you, because I’m a priest”.

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Former altar boy sexually abused by NSW Catholic priest said he ‘feels guilty he didn’t kill him’

AUSTRALIA
The Daily Telegraph

AAP, The Daily Telegraph
August 31, 2016

A FORMER altar boy who was sexually abused by a NSW Catholic priest after every practice session says he feels guilty that he didn’t kill the paedophile as a child, an inquiry has heard.

Gerard McDonald was in Year 5 in 1975 when he suffered sickening abuse at the hands of Newcastle’s Father Vincent Ryan.

In a statement today to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, Mr McDonald said Ryan, who would drop altar boys home from St Joseph’s at Merewether, abused him in his car in front of his house.

Mr McDonald said he couldn’t believe it when Ryan, who also performed oral sex on him and a group of boys in the church vestry, conducted a service at his high school two years after the abuse started.

“All I could think about was running to my mate’s parents’ place and grabbing the two biggest knives he had and killing Father Ryan,” he told the royal commission.

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Royal Commission: Maitland-Newcastle Catholic bishop Bill Wright urges support during Case Study 43 hearings

AUSTRALIA
Newcastle Herald

[with video]

Matt Carr
@MattCarrNH

31 Aug 2016

THE head of the Maitland-Newcastle diocese has released a statement ahead of the Royal Commission hearings.

Bishop Wright released a video statement on Wednesday morning as the Royal Commission began hearings into the diocese.

He said he expected the diocese would be “severely criticised” for its handlings of matters related to Vincent Ryan.

Ryan, 78, pleaded guilty to historical child sex offences in April.

“The inescapable facts are reports of Ryan’s abuse were received in the early 1970s but he remained in ministry until charged by police in 1995 and he had continued to abuse children during those two decades,” Bishop Wright said.

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Former Geelong priest admits to shocking abuse

AUSTRALIA
Bay 93.9

Rebecca McDonald / 31 August 2016

A former Victorian priest who worked in Geelong during much of his career has pleaded guilty to a string of child sexual assault charges.

73-year-old Robert Claffey was due to stand trial in the County Court on 21 charges, but two were dropped as part of a plea deal.

Claffey abused boys and girls over three decades in areas including Apollo Bay and Skenes Creek, under the watch of disgraced former bishop Ronald Mulkearns.

Two of his victims were assaulted after Claffey went to their home to “comfort” them after their sister died in a car accident.

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Royal commission to explore child abuse ‘epicentre’ in Newcastle

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

[live stream]

By Thomas Oriti and staff

A royal commission will begin a public investigation today into allegations of child abuse by the Catholic diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse will turn its focus to the Catholic diocese in the Hunter having spent recent days investigating cases of abuse in the region’s Anglican diocese.

Peter Gogarty, who was abused by Catholic priest James Fletcher, said he had waited years for such an inquiry.

“The Hunter region and people around Newcastle fought so hard for there to be a royal commission,” he said.

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Ex-rabbi admits role in embezzling scheme

MASSACHUSETTS
Boston Globe

By John R. Ellement GLOBE STAFF AUGUST 30, 2016

A former Sharon rabbi who tapped into temple funds to pay off a blackmailer has admitted to financial wrongdoing in Norfolk Superior Court, but he could see all the charges against him dismissed if he is not charged with any crimes during the next 12 months.

Barry Starr, who was the rabbi at Temple Israel for 28 years, used the temple’s discretionary charitable fund to pay $458,300 to blackmailer Nicholas Zemeitus between 2012 and 2014, according to the Norfolk district attorney’s office and court records.

Appearing before Superior Court Judge Robert Cosgrove on Friday, prosecutors asked that Starr be found guilty of embezzlement by fiduciary and sentenced to two years probation. But Cosgrove adopted the defense’s suggestion that Starr admit there were enough facts to convict him and continue the case without a finding for a year, which could lead to the charges being dismissed.

While married and the leader of the Conservative temple, Starr was secretly dating men when Zemeitus falsely told Starr one of the people he had been intimate with was his 16-year-old brother and threatened to reveal his actions, prosecutors said.

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Sharon rabbi targeted by blackmail plot avoids jail time for embezzlement

MASSACHUSETTS
Wicket Local

A Norfolk County Superior Court judge agreed to dismiss one charge of larceny against former Temple Israel Rabbi Barry Starr and continue the embezzlement charge for a year without a finding, meaning it will likely be dismissed if Starr stays out of trouble during that time.

By Neal Simpson
The Patriot Ledger

SHARON – Once the venerated rabbi of Temple Israel of Sharon, Barry Starr now drives a cab in a Cleveland suburb and lives in a rooming house. He is divorced from his wife, estranged from his daughter and has “minimal contact” with his son.

That was the picture Starr’s attorneys painted this week as they tried to convince a Norfolk Superior Court judge to stop short of finding Starr guilty of embezzling some $360,000 from the synagogue even though the former rabbi admitted that prosecutors had sufficient evidence for such a finding.

The judge on Friday agreed, dismissing one charge of larceny and continuing the embezzlement charge for a year without a finding, meaning it will likely be dismissed if Starr stays out of trouble during that time.

The decision could bring to a close a scandal complete with threats of blackmail, pilfered congregational donation and false allegations of child molestation that exposed the congregation of Temple Israel to unwanted national attention and decimated Starr’s rabbinical career, which included 28 years at the Sharon synagogue. Temple Israel ended up losing some $67,000 to Starr’s embezzlement, but prosecutors wrote in a court filing this month that “the greatest harm it incurred was that it was thrust into a spotlight through no fault of its own.”

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Manassas-area youth pastor charged with third count of ‘indecent liberties’ with a teen

VIRGINIA
Inside NOVA

The youth pastor of a Manassas area church is facing additional charges after a second person reported that he had inappropriate contact with her when she was a teen.

Jordan Baird, 25, was arrested Aug. 17 after Prince William County police investigated reports of an incident at Life Church, 11234 Balls Ford Road in the Manassas area, Prince William County police said in a news release.

Police said a 16-year-old girl told reported that Baird, a youth pastor at Life Church, sent inappropriate text messages and inappropriately touched her one more than one occasion between January and September 2015. Police said the alleged incidents happened at the church.

Baird, of Kelly Road in Warrenton, was arrested and charged with two counts of indecent liberties by a custodian.

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Ex-priest, ex-altar boy keep trading accusations

CONNECTICUT
Journal Inquirer

Posted: Tuesday, August 30, 2016

By Alex Wood
Journal Inquirer

The priest formerly assigned to East Windsor’s two Roman Catholic churches and a former altar boy are continuing to trade charges, even as the last of three criminal cases stemming from their former friendship moves toward a conclusion after more than three years of litigation.

The Rev. Paul A. Gotta — formerly administrator of St. Philip Church on South Main Street and St. Catherine Church on Windsorville Road — had been scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Hartford for giving about 2 pounds of black powder to the altar boy. Federal law prohibits providing explosives to a person younger than 21.

But Judge Robert N. Chatigny has postponed the sentencing to Dec. 7 as a result of a motion by Gotta’s lawyer, Moira L. Buckley, requesting more time to prepare.

Buckley said in the motion that the former altar boy, Kyle D. Bass, whom she referred to only by his initials, has made “numerous additional allegations,” related to the federal case and to a closed state case in which Bass accused Gotta of sexually assaulting him.

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Ex sacerdote es detenido por violación a menores después de 22 años

MEXICO
Equilibrio Informativo

El ex sacerdote fue capturado en Morelos.

Detienen en Morelos al exsacerdote, Carlos López Valdez, acusado de abuso sexual a menores durante cuatro años, se informó en el noticiero de López Dóriga.

Se trata del sacerdote Carlos López Valdez, suspendido ya de sus funciones por la misma iglesia, quien ahora se encuentra preso en el Reclusorio Preventivo Varonil Oriente, al ejecutarse en su contra la correspondiente orden de aprehensión que fuera girada por el Juez 55 de lo Penal.

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Mexican priest to stand trial in 1990s sex abuse

MEXICO
Daily Mail (UK)

By ASSOCIATED PRESS

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Prosecutors in Mexico City say a judge has ordered a priest to stand trial on charges he sexually abused a boy in the 1990s.

Carlos Lopez Valdez allegedly abused the boy between 1994 and 1998, although the criminal complaint against him wasn’t filed until 2007.

Lopez Valdez was stripped of priestly duties by the Roman Catholic Church in 2010.

He was arrested recently in a town south of Mexico City.

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Abuse focus on NSW Catholic authorities

AUSTRALIA
9 News

AAP

A public hearing into the response of Catholic authorities to reports of child sexual abuse in NSW’s Maitland-Newcastle region is expected to start on Wednesday.

The response to allegations levelled at Father Vincent Ryan and Marist Brothers Francis Cable and Thomas Butler will be investigated by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse during the hearing, which is expected run for at least eight days.

The investigation into the region’s Catholic authorities is the royal commission’s 43rd case study and comes the day after the end of two extra days of evidence into responses by the Newcastle Anglican diocese.

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Third lawsuit filed against Baptist church, youth pastor convicted of sex abuse

ALABAMA
AL.com

By Greg Garrison | ggarrison@al.com
on August 30, 2016

A third lawsuit has been filed by someone claiming to be a victim of Jeff Eddie, the convicted child molester who was formerly children’s minister at a Baptist church in Muscle Shoals.

Using the alias “John Doe,” the plaintiff says that he was 12 years old at the time Eddie began to molest him in 2009. The molestation continued until the summer of 2013, the lawsuit says. The lawsuit against Eddie and Highland Park Baptist Church seeks compensatory and punitive damages.

The plaintiff says he was sexually abused in various locations at Highland Park Baptist Church, including Eddie’s office and storage closet, a storage room in the basement, and a sound booth at the church, as well as on church-sponsored trips. The trips included Earle Trent Assembly Camp, Elk River and Shocco Springs Baptist Conference Center, camping trips and church sleepovers at Eddie’s home, and while Eddie was driving the church van taking youth to church-sponsored events.

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Chessy Prout, St. Paul’s School sexual assault survivor, speaks out about case and attacker Owen Labrie

NEW HAMPSHIRE
Yahoo! News

Jason Sickles
National Reporter
•August 30, 2016

The teenage victim in a high-profile prep school rape case revealed her identity on national TV Tuesday morning, saying she’s “not afraid or ashamed anymore.”

Chessy Prout, a former student at the prestigious St. Paul’s School in Concord, N.H., told NBC’s “Today” that she’s coming forward to embolden all victims of sexual assault.

“I want other people to feel empowered and just strong enough to be able to say, ‘I have the right to my body. I have the right to say no,’” said Prout, whose name was previously withheld because of the nature of the crime. “I just can’t imagine how scary it is for other people to have to do this alone, and I don’t want anybody else to be alone anymore.”

Owen Labrie, now 20, was accused of raping Prout at the historic co-ed school in May 2014. His arrest and conviction exposed a tradition at the $55,290-a-year boarding school called “senior salute,” in which some graduating boys allegedly kept score of how many younger students they had sex with.

The trial, which took place a year ago, was the focus of national media attention.

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NH–Group praises victim who’s revealing her identity in NH case

NEW HAMPSHIRE
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, 314 645 5915 home, davidgclohessy@gmail.com)

We applaud the courage and compassion of Chessy Prout, the brave victim of a sexual assault at St. Paul’s school in Concord by Owen Labrie, who is revealing her identity today. Her bravery will inspire others who have been abused or raped. And we are confident that it will also help her heal.

[Yahoo]

This smart, strong teenager is absolutely right when she says that none of us who have been assaulted need to “feel ashamed.” The shame belongs entirely on those who hurt us and those who ignored or hid or defended these awful crimes.

As Alcohol Anonymous teaches us, “we’re only as sick as our secrets.” Honesty is usually very healing.

No matter what court officials or school officials do or don’t do, we urge every single person who saw, suspected or suffered sexual violence and cover ups in institutions – especially schools – to protect kids by calling police, get help by calling therapists, expose wrongdoers by calling law enforcement, get justice by calling attorneys, and be comforted by calling support groups like ours. This is how kids will be safer, adults will recover, criminals will be prosecuted, cover ups will be deterred and the truth will surface.

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Victim in New Hampshire Prep School ‘Senior Salute’ Case Speaks Out

NEW HAMPSHIRE
New York Times

By CHRISTINE HAUSER
AUG. 30, 2016

A student at an elite prep school in New Hampshire who accused a senior of rape in 2014 only to see him convicted of misdemeanor charges revealed her identity on Tuesday in an interview with NBC, saying that she hoped to support other victims by discussing the difficulties she has faced, including being shunned when she returned to the school.

“I want everyone to know that I am not afraid or ashamed anymore, and I never should have been,” the teenager, Chessy Prout, who was 15 at the time of the assault at St. Paul’s School in Concord, said on the “Today” show.

“It’s been two years now since the whole ordeal, and I feel ready to stand up and own what happened to me and make sure other people, other girls and boys, don’t need to be ashamed, either,” Ms. Prout said with her parents at her side.

Ms. Prout said she was attacked in a mechanical room at the school in May 2014. In the trial that ended in August 2015, Owen Labrie, a senior, was cleared of felony sexual assault charges but convicted of misdemeanor charges, including having sex with someone below the age of consent.

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Chessy Prout, St. Paul’s Sex Assault Survivor, Speaks Out For The First Time

NEW HAMPSHIRE
The Daily Beast

Lizzie Crocker

The teenage victim of a high-profile campus sexual assault has revealed her identity for the first time–along with her plan to help other survivors.

In an interview with NBC’s Today, Chessy Prout, now 17, told Savannah Guthrie that she hoped going public with her story would send a message to other victims of sexual assault that they “don’t have to be ashamed either.”

It’s been more than two years since Prout was assaulted by Owen Labrie, now 20, at the elite St. Paul’s School in New Hampshire. “I feel ready to stand up and own what happened to me, and I’m going to make sure that other people–other boys and girls–know that they can own it too.”

One night in late May of 2014, Prout had agreed to meet with Owen in a planned encounter that arose from the so-called “Senior Salute,” an unofficial tradition at St. Paul’s wherein male and female upperclassmen attempted to hook up with younger students before graduating.

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St. Paul’s Sexual-Assault Survivor Speaks Out: ‘I Want Everyone to Know That I’m Not Ashamed’

NEW HAMPSHIRE
New York

By Claire Landsbaum

Chessy Prout was 15 when Owen Labrie, a senior at St. Paul’s School in Concord, New Hampshire, asked her out on a date. That was in 2014, and shortly afterward, Prout accused Labrie of sexual assault. Labrie was acquitted of three counts of felony sexual assault, but convicted on three lesser misdemeanor charges — a conviction he’s currently appealing.

The ruling has always bothered Prout, who spoke publicly for the first time to Today’s Savannah Guthrie Tuesday morning. “They said that they didn’t believe that he did it knowingly, and that frustrated me a lot because he definitely did do it knowingly,” she said. “And the fact that he was still able to pull the wool over a group of people’s eyes bothered me a lot and just disgusted me in some way.”

After Prout’s family filed a separate lawsuit against St. Paul’s alleging administrators didn’t do enough to protect students, the school threatened to force Prout to reveal her identity at trial, claiming her family was dragging its good name through the mud “from behind a cloak of anonymity.” So Prout decided to come forward of her own accord to stand in solidarity with other victims. “I want everyone to know that I am not afraid or ashamed anymore, and I never should have been,” she said. “It’s been two years now since the whole ordeal, and I feel ready to stand up and own what happened to me and make sure other people, other girls and boys, don’t need to be ashamed, either.”

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Rally Wednesday to Support Child Sex Abuse Victims Legislation

NEW YORK
Patch

By Lanning Taliaferro (Patch Staff) – August 30, 2016

MOUNT KISCO, NY — The public is invited to join advocates, officials and survivors of child sex abuse in front of Town Hall Aug. 31 to call on New York lawmakers to extend the statute of limitations for child sex abuse.

The rally is hosted by Ali Boak, candidate for State Senate in the 40th District, who includes passage of the Omnibus Child Victims Act among her campaign issues.

New York’s current laws demand that a victim of child sexual abuse claim justice before their 23rd birthday, she said. But research shows that it takes an average of 21 years for a victim to disclose their abuse. So most victims of child sexual abuse cannot seek justice because the statute of limitations kicks in.

The rally begins at 1 p.m.

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Assignment Record– Rev. Robert J. Maher

PENNSYLVANIA
BishopAccountability.org

Summary of Case: Robert J. Maher was ordained for the Harrisburg diocese in 1937. He was an assistant in York, Columbia and Lebanon parishes, later pastoring parishes in Harrisburg and Hanover. From 1948-61, Maher was Diocesan Superintendent of Schools; he resided at a girls’ orphanage for most of that time. For 15 years he also held a position with the Diocesan Examiners of Clergy. He retired in 1975 and died in 1990. In August 2016 the diocese publicly acknowledged that Maher was among priests of the diocese with credible allegations against him of child sexual abuse. The allegations were reported to the diocese in 1994, regarding “an incident that took place in the 1960s.”

Ordained: 1937
Died: June 19, 1990

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Assignment Record– Rev. George J. Koychick

PENNSYLVANIA
BishopAccountability.org

Summary of Case: George Koychick was ordained for the Harrisburg diocese in 1949. He assisted at parishes in Harrisburg, Mt. Carmel, York and Mechanicsburg, and was pastor in Williamstown, York and Palmyra. He was also chaplain during the late 1950s-early 1960s at the PA Industrial School in Camp Hill. The Official Catholic Directory does not index Koychick 1997-2000; his whereabouts during that time are unclear. He was in residence 2000-2003 at a McSherrytown parish, then drops out of the Directory altogether. In August 2016 the diocese publicly acknowledged that in 2003 it received credible allegations against Koychick of child sexual abuse that occurred in the 1970s.

Ordained: 1949

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Police ‘queried bishop on sex ring’

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

August 31, 2016

DAN BOX
Crime reporterSydney
@DanBox10

The Anglican Archbishop of Perth was interviewed by police investigating a pedophile ring while he was bishop of the Newcastle diocese in NSW, a royal commission has heard.

The revelation, in documents released by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child ­Sexual Abuse, comes after Archbishop Roger Herft gave evidence this week that he was told priests were abusing children but did not report this to police.

Archbishop Herft said yesterday that he was given a “sacred trust” by the people of Newcastle during his time there as bishop between 1993 and 2005, and “I have let them down and let them down badly”. “I want to thank the commission for holding me personally accountable, for holding the church personally accountable,” he said.

Under questioning this week, he accepted that evidence shows he was warned on three occasions in the late 1990s that senior priest Graeme Lawrence was a sexual abuser, including of children. The archbishop also was warned repeatedly about sexual crimes by the late pedophile priest Peter Rushton, but did not report either man to police, the commission has heard.

A record of a meeting in January between Archbishop Herft and current Newcastle Bishop Greg Thompson states: “Roger then spoke of police visiting him when bishop of Newcastle and interviewing in relation to a pedophile ring. He said he could report that he had no evidence of such.

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‘Vatileaks’ convict begins serving 18-month sentence

VATICAN CITY
Catholic Culture

August 29, 2016

Msgr. Lucio Vallejo Balda, the former Vatican official who was convicted in the “Vatileaks II” trial, has been taken into custody to begin serving an 18-month prison sentence.

Msgr. Vallejo Balda, who had admitted passing confidential Vatican documents to Italian journalists, was convicted by a Vatican tribunal on July 7. The court’s sentence took effect on August 29.

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Newcastle Anglican lawyer accused of leading “coordinated opposition” to Bishop Greg Thompson

AUSTRALIA
Newcastle Herald

JOANNE MCCARTHY
30 Aug 2016

ROYAL commission chair Justice Peter McClellan accused solicitor Robert Caddies of leading “coordinated opposition” to Newcastle Anglican Bishop Greg Thompson during an explosive few minutes of evidence after a group of senior Newcastle Anglicans complained to the royal commission about the bishop in April.

In extraordinary letters sent to Sydney Archbishop Glenn Davies and the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, the group that included Mr Caddies and former Newcastle Lord Mayor John McNaughton, questioned Bishop Thompson’s “unsubstantiated” claim he was groomed and sexually abused by two senior clerics, including the late Bishop Ian Shevill.

The bishop revealed the abuse in a Newcastle Herald article in October, 2015.

“If the allegation were correct, Bishop Thompson apparently took no action at the time, and until recently, to report the supposed abuse, thus potentially exposing younger members of the diocese to the danger involved,” the Newcastle group wrote in a letter to the royal commission in April that was revealed on Tuesday, on the 11th day of a public hearing into Newcastle Anglican diocese.

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Priest defends seminary, dismisses CCOG’s claims as myths

GUAM
KUAM

Updated: Aug 30, 2016

By Krystal Paco

It’s not just the ownership of the Redemptoris Mater Seminary that’s under fire, but the institution itself.

On Monday, the Concerned Catholics of Guam called the seminary a “sham”, alleging the priests in training had no background checks, no psychological screenings, and no records to prove they were high school graduates. The CCOG also alleged the faculty were few and unqualified.

Today, we heard from the rector of the seminary himself, Father Pius Sammut, and he’s out to debunk what he’s calling “misgivings” from the CCOG.

Sham or seminary? Father Sammut is defending the institute which he says has produced 17 priests for the archdiocese. In an emailed response to KUAM News, Father Pius responds to recent statements made by the Concerned Catholics of Guam.

“This is another myth propagated by the enemies of Archbishop Anthony Apuron,” the priest wrote.

One by one, he tackles the CCOG’s issues, from admissions to faculty and the high cost of running the rms. The CCOG contends the Archdiocese of Agana funds $200,000 for the RMS. Father Pius, however, says their calculations are wrong.

“Last fiscal year, June 2015-2016, the total RM expenses were $531,353. The subsidy of the archdiocese was $73,800, less than $3,000 per head per year!” he maintained.

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Former Church Intern Accused of Sexual Assault No-Show for Trial

TEXAS
Big Country Homepage

An Abilene man who is accused of sexually assaulting a child while serving as an intern at Pioneer Drive Baptist Church more than two decades ago did not show up for his trial Monday.

Jeffrey Forest, 44, is charged with two counts of sexual assault of a child and was scheduled to face a jury Monday in the 350th District Court in Abilene.

A warrant has been issued for his arrest.

According to an arrest report, a victim came forward saying he/she was sexually abused by Jeff Forrest back in September of 1993.

Forrest was the victim’s after-school daycare teacher, court documents state.

The victim reported that alleged abuse continued until the child was in 8th grade.

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Reward offered for capture of fugitive polygamist from Utah

UTAH
The Hour

Brady Mccombs, Associated Press
Monday, August 29, 2016

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Federal authorities hope a $50,000 reward announced Monday, coupled with a falling out between polygamist fugitive Lyle Jeffs and his brother — imprisoned sect leader Warren Jeffs — will lead someone to reveal his whereabouts.

Lyle Jeffs has been on the lam after slipping out of his GPS ankle monitor and escaping home confinement in Salt Lake City in June while awaiting trial on food stamp fraud charges.

He was in touch with his brother while on the run and was sent away to repent in July after refusing to follow an order, Eric Barnhart, the FBI’s special agent in charge in Salt Lake City, said at a news conference.

Lyle Jeffs was in the sect’s community on the Utah-Arizona border when the falling out occurred, and he feared the order could put him at risk of being captured, Barnhart said.

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Former Abilene church day care teacher accused of sexual assault of child no show at trial

TEXAS
Abilene Reporter News

By Brooke Crum of the Abilene Reporter News

A warrant has been issued for the arrest of a former Abilene church day care teacher accused of aggravated sexual assault of a child who did not show up for his jury trial Monday.

Meanwhile, Jeffrey Winston Forrest’s attorney filed a motion to dismiss the case Monday morning, claiming the statute of limitations has expired.

After Forrest did not show up, Judge Thomas Wheeler scheduled a 1:30 p.m. hearing to check the status of Forrest.

Forrest’s attorney said he had not heard from his client. Judge Wheeler said he would revoke Forrest’s bond and issue a warrant for his arrest.

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Texas Seminary First in Nation to Require Students to Complete Sexual Abuse Awareness Training

TEXAS
Christian Post

BY MICHAEL GRYBOSKI , CHRISTIAN POST REPORTER
August 29, 2016

Students pursuing a ministry degree at an evangelical seminary in Texas are now required to complete sexual abuse awareness training as part of their education.

Dallas Theological Seminary announced earlier this month that it’s partnering with the group MinistrySafe to provide training for ministry degree students.

Reportedly the first seminary in the nation to do so, the requirement takes effect during the fall semester, which began on Monday, and can be met via an internship offered by MinistrySafe.

DTS President Mark Bailey said in a statement, “we’re pleased to partner with MinistrySafe to equip our students to protect those who are most vulnerable.”

“There are some issues that a seminary just can’t prepare you for and that you have to learn on the job once you’re out in ministry,” Bailey said.

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Activist pastor appears in court on child molestation charges

GEORGIA
News4Jax

By Heather Leigh – Reporter
August 29, 2016

BRUNSWICK, Ga. – A controversial Southeast Georgia pastor who was arrested Friday on child molestation charges appeared in Glynn County court Monday.

Kenneth Adkins, 56, was read his charges and then told a bond hearing would have to be set by a Superior Court judge.

Adkins, who is charged with one count of aggravated child molestation and one count of child molestation, is expected to have a preliminary probable cause hearing Friday, at which the state must present enough legal evidence to keep Adkins in jail on the charges. If the state can’t provide that evidence, a judge can dismiss the case.

Adkins, who is pastor of the Greater Dimensions Christian Fellowship, has been in jail since he turned himself in at 9 a.m. Friday in Glynn County.

A young man who used to be a member of Adkins’ church told the Georgia Bureau of Investigation that Adkins molested him in 2010 when he was under the age of 16. A GBI agent told News4Jax that several incidents of molestation were alleged to have occurred at the church, in a vehicle and at the victim’s residence. The Brunswick Judicial Circuit asked the Brunswick police to assist in the investigation, which began Aug. 12 and is ongoing.

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Norwich Diocese, retired bishop sued in priest sex abuse case

CONNECTICUT
The Day

Published August 29. 2016
By Karen Florin Day staff writer
k.florin@theday.com KFLORIN

A 37-year-old Woodstock man who says he was sexually assaulted hundreds of times by a Catholic priest while serving as an altar boy at the Holy Trinity Church in Pomfret in the 1990s has filed a lawsuit against the Diocese of Norwich, retired Bishop Daniel P. Reilly and the church.

The Norwich Diocese previously settled two lawsuits brought by boys who were molested by the priest, Paul Hebert, when he served at St. Michael the Archangel Church in Pawcatuck from 1971 to 1981.

Hebert, who died in 2010, served at the Pomfret church from 1981 until 2004, when Bishop Michael R. Cote placed him on a leave of absence after the St. Michael incidents came to light. Hebert had also served at parishes in Old Saybrook, Montville and Clinton.

Jonathan Roy, the alleged victim, and his wife, Melissa Roy, are represented by the Reardon Law Firm of New London, which has handled about two dozen lawsuits in priest sex abuse cases.

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Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in the Newcastle Anglican diocese day 11 | live blog

AUSTRALIA
Newcastle Herald

Joanne McCarthy
30 Aug 2016

6.30pm: Newcastle Herald journalist Joanne McCarthy wraps up day 11 of the Newcastle child sexual abuse royal commission.

3.49pm Justice Peter McClellan has just told the royal commission that a group of Newcastle Anglican parishioners, including Caddies, wrote to the Royal Commission on April 13, 2016, complaining about Newcastle Bishop Greg Thompson giving evidence at the royal commission.

The letter includes: “Our concern relates to the behaviour of, and statements made by, the current bishop…”

Naomi Sharp: “Firstly, you say that you are gravely concerned that Bishop Thompson apparently took no action in relation to his own abuse?”

Caddies: “Yes.”

Sharp: “Do you see that you express concern about Bishop Thompson having made an ‘unsubstantiated’ claim about another priest?”

Caddies: “Yes.”

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Principal calls for urgent review of school governance

AUSTRALIA
The Educator

by James Reid
30 Aug 2016

An outspoken Catholic school principal has called for an urgent review of Catholic primary and secondary schools, saying their governance models are “antiquated”.

In a submission to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, Paul Tobias, principal of St Joseph’s College Geelong, said that people who expressed different views to the church could “expect to be penalised, isolated or have their careers impacted”.

“The Catholic Church persists with antiquated governance models which are no longer appropriate, rather than distribute power appropriately,” he said.

“In the case of primary schools, the local Catholic Priest is often the Canonical Administrator. This is a role unsuited to many Parish Priests, due to their other work commitments, lack of interest or expertise in education, lack of understanding in relation to modern work place practices, etc.”

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Archbishop Roger Herft tells child abuse royal commission he ‘let down’ victims

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

By David Marchese

One of Australia’s most senior Anglicans, the Archbishop of Perth, Roger Herft, has told a royal commission he “let down” survivors of child sexual abuse.

Archbishop Herft has wrapped up his evidence at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse after three days in the witness box.

The Archbishop finished his testimony with an apology to the people of Newcastle, where he served as Bishop between 1993 and 2005.

“I’ve become aware that the sacred trust that the people of this region placed upon me, I have let them down,” he said.

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Roger Herft thanks abuse royal commission for holding him accountable

AUSTRALIA
Australian

August 30, 2016

DAN BOX
Crime reporterSydney
@DanBox10

The Anglican Archbishop of Perth has thanked the child abuse royal commission for “holding me personally accountable” after giving evidence that he knew about a number of paedophile priests but did not report this to the police.

Archbishop Roger Herft told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse he had been given a “sacred trust” when appointed bishop of Newcastle in NSW during the 1990s and early 2000s.

“I have let them and down and let them down badly, and let down the (child abuse) survivors in ways that remorse itself is a very poor word to express,” the archbishop said this morning.

Giving evidence yesterday, Archbishop Herft accepted he had been repeatedly warned several Newcastle priests were allegedly abusing children, but had not reported this to police.

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Former Ballarat priest Robert Claffey admits to 19 charges of sexual abuse between 1970-1990

AUSTRALIA
Herald Sun

Shannon Deery, Herald Sun
August 30, 2016

ANOTHER Victorian former priest from Australia’s most notorious child sexual abuse district has been exposed as a serial paedophile.

Robert Claffey, 73, today pleaded guilty to a string of child sexual assault charges from his time as a priest in the Catholic diocese of Ballarat.

Claffey was due to stand trial in the County Court this week on 21 charges, but pleaded guilty to 19 charges at the last minute instead.

Bishop Ronald Mulkearns, who died in April, admitted to failing in his role. Picture: Mike Dugdale
Prosecutors withdrew two charges with Claffey pleading guilty to counts of buggery, indecent assault and sexual penetration of a child.

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Perth Anglican Archbishop says he let sex victims down in NSW diocese

AUSTRALIA
PerthNow

AAP
August 30, 2016

THE Anglican Archbishop of Perth says he badly let down child sexual abuse survivors in his former diocese and hopes the church has been “woken up” by the Royal Commission.

Archbishop Roger Herft has finished giving evidence at hearings into how the NSW diocese of Newcastle, which he headed between 1993-2005, handled allegations of abuse.

“I have let them down … let down survivors in ways that remorse itself is a very poor emotion to even express,” Archbishop Herft told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse on Tuesday.

“I hope that the church in this diocese and the church across the Australian continent will be one that has not only woken up … but become more and more transparent and accountable.”

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Monahan’s attorney denies allegations of bathroom incident that led to charges

IOWA
Daily Nonpareil

Posted: Monday, August 29, 2016

By John Schreier
jschreier@nonpareilonline.com

A retired Council Bluffs priest, St. Albert volunteer chaplain and former principal was arrested last week on suspicion he was looking at the genitals of high school students in a public restroom.

The Rev. Paul Monahan, 83, was charged on Thursday, Aug. 25, with five counts of invasion of privacy, a serious misdemeanor, according to online court records. He was released on his own recognizance the next day.

When reached at home Monday afternoon, Monahan declined comment on the allegations. His attorney, Bill McGinn of Council Bluffs, said the allegations against Monahan were completely false and that his client would be pleading not guilty to the charges.

Monahan was suspended on July 8 from all public ministries, according to the Diocese of Des Moines, pending the outcome of his legal proceedings. His preliminary hearing has been set for Friday, Sept. 16.

The Daily Nonpareil first reported Monahan’s arrest online Friday evening, following a statement released by the Diocese of Des Moines provided to the newspaper by St. Albert Catholic School. The newspaper obtained court documents Monday, which were initially unavailable, outlining the details of his arrest.

According to Monahan’s arrest affidavit, the alleged incident involved five male high-schoolers who were in the restroom during an April 4 track meet at Treynor High School that featured 11 area schools.

The students, along with a witness, told authorities that Monahan, who was using the restroom at the time, stepped back to look at their genitals. When confronted by one of the students, Monahan reportedly left both the restroom and track meet hurriedly.

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Iowa priest facing invasion of privacy charges

IOWA
KETV

[with video]

TREYNOR, Iowa —We’re learning new details about an Iowa priest suspended after being charged with five counts of invasion of privacy.

Father Paul Monahan was the senior chaplain at St. Albert Schools when the alleged incident happened at a track meet last spring.

Fr. Monahan has worked at parishes and schools throughout southwest and central Iowa.

He was the principal at St. Albert from 1975 to 1979.

Now, he’s suspended, accused of inappropriately looking at five boys using a bathroom.

The incident allegedly happened back in April during a track meet at the Treynor athletic complex in Treynor, Iowa.

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Priest charged with violation of privacy-nudity

IOWA
KMTV

[with video]

Joe Cadotte
Aug 29, 2016

A well-known Iowa priest is accused of invasion of privacy nudity.

The priest is accused of watching five students use the bathroom in April.

Father Paul Monahan, 83, was suspended as the chaplain of St. Albert’s Catholic School after being arrested Thursday for five counts of invasion of privacy nudity.

He was released from jail the next day.

Because Father Monahan is well known in Pottawattamie County, the state attorney general’s office is investigating to avoid a conflict of interest,” said Pottawattamie County Sheriff Jeffery Danker.

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John Swinney to meet with historic child abuse survivors

SCOTLAND
Scotsman

CHRIS MARSHALL
Monday 29 August 2016

Survivors of historical child abuse have said a meeting with John Swinney will have a “major impact” on whether they continue to engage with Scotland’s crisis-hit national inquiry.

Campaigners will meet the education secretary today to make a series of demands about the remit of the inquiry and the financial redress on offer.

The Scottish Government last month appointed senior judge Lady Smith to lead the inquiry following the resignation of the previous chairwoman, Susan O’Brien QC.

The national inquiry is investigating the abuse of children in care going back decades.

But it has been mired in controversy, with survivors saying they have “lost confidence” in the government’s handling.

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Perth Archbishop gives second day of evidence in Royal Commission

AUSTRALIA
Newcastle Herald

IAN KIRKWOOD
29 Aug 2016

PERTH Archbishop Roger Herft has repeatedly told the Royal Commission he is unable to recall anything about a range of child sexual abuse allegations that documents show were raised with him during his 12 years as bishop of Newcastle from 1993 to 2005.

I can’t answer that, I can’t answer that question because I have no recollection of it happening.
– Roger Herft

Resuming evidence he began on Friday, August 12, Reverend Herft was questioned a number of times about his lack of recall, but he insisted he could remember nothing without documentation in relation to various high-profile abuse cases being examined by the commission.

Numerous times, Reverend Herft agreed he had failed the victims of abusive priests in his diocese, and said he was tortured in not knowing why he did not do more.

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I was fooled by priest on sex abuse: Herft

AUSTRALIA
The West Australian

Phoebe Wearne, Newcastle – The West Australian on August 30, 2016

The Anglican Church has revealed “continuing distress and sadness” in its Perth diocese as Archbishop Roger Herft yesterday admitted to being told on three occasions that a senior priest had abused children but had raised the allegations only with the clergyman involved.

Appearing before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, Archbishop Herft faced a second day of questioning in Newcastle about his knowledge of child sex offences in the NSW Hunter region in the 1990s and early 2000s.

He accepted evidence that during his time as Bishop of Newcastle he received three serious complaints about former Dean of Newcastle Graeme Lawrence in 1995, 1997 and 1999.

He told the commission he had “no reason to doubt” Lawrence’s denials at the time and therefore accepted his “say so” that the offences did not take place.

“There was a sense in which I trusted him,” Archbishop Herft said.

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Retired priest suspended following arrest

IOWA
KMTV

The Diocese of Des Moines has suspended a retired priest in Council Bluffs from all public ministry following his arrest.

Father Paul Monahan faces five counts of invasion of privacy stemming from an incident at a high school track meet in April 2016. The charges are a serious misdemeanor.

The Diocese says Bishop Richard Pates first became aware that police were investigating an allegation against Monahan in July. Bishop Pates immediately suspended Monahan pending the the investigation. Monahan will remain suspended until the case is resolved in court.

Monahan has served as a senior chaplain at St. Albert Schools. He previously served as a teacher and principal at St. Albert High School. He also was a priest at St. Mary in Avoca, St. Patrick in Walnut, Holy Family in Council Bluffs and Our Lady of the Holy Rosary in Glenwood.

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Protesting Catholics demand “Three Rs”

GUAM
KUAM

Updated: Aug 29, 2016

By Krystal Paco

Dozens representing the Concerned Catholics of Guam and the Laity Forward Movement continued their weekly protest outside the Hagatna Cathedral on Sunday morning. Their demands can be summed-up with their Three Rs: return the Redemptoris Mater Seminary to the Archdiocese of Agana, restore Father Paul Gofigan and Monsignor James Benavente, and a demand that Anthony Apuron resign as archbishop of the Archdiocese of Agana.

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Group: Yona seminary is a ‘sham’

GUAM
Pacific Daily News

[with video]

Haidee V Eugenio, Pacific Daily News August 30, 2016

A group that has repeatedly called for the removal of Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron said on Monday, Aug. 29 that a seminary in Yona is a “sham” and should be shut down, but the seminary’s rector said it will start a brand new academic year on Sept. 5 with 38 students enrolled.

Andrew J. Camacho, vice president of the Concerned Catholics of Guam, cited alleged problems and deficiencies of the Redemptoris Mater Seminary, which he said include a lack of strict admission requirements, poor quality and quantity of permanent and visiting faculty, and a sole focus on the Neocatechumenal Way. There is an ongoing rift in the local Catholic church between traditional Catholics and those who follow the Neocatechumenal Way, including Apuron.

Camacho also said the seminary lacks a true vetting process for students, its priests do not serve the faithful in Guam and there is a high operational cost.

“In my opinion the Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Yona is a sham. The beauty of its exterior masks an empty shell. This seminary should be shut down,” Camacho said during a press conference in Tamuning, Monday afternoon. The Yona property, which used to be the 100-room Accion Hotel has been valued between $40 million to $75 million.

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Shame! 4-yr-old raped by temple priest!

INDIA
Odisha TV

Cuttack: Cuttack police today arrested Ratikant Das, a priest of a temple at Andoti village under Sadar police limits, from Bhingarpur after a complaint was lodged against him alleging that he had raped a four-year-old girl of the village on Sunday.

Informing news men about the manhunt here, Sanjeev Arora, Cuttack DCP, said, “A case has been registered under Sec 376 of the IPC and the relevant section of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act at the Sadar police station and the victim has undergone preliminary medical examination.”

He further stated, “We have got evidence and the probe is on.”

The incident happened when the four-year-old victim had gone to the temple at 6 pm yesterday to offer prayers and handed over fruits to the priest for offerings to the deity.

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Catholic priest allegedly rapes minor in Abuja

NIGERIA
Daily Post

A Gudu Upper Area Court, Abuja, on Monday remanded Rev. Fr. Anthony Ochigbo, Parish priest of Church of Assumption, Asokoro, in police custody for alleged rape of a 10-year-old girl.

Ochigbo was arraigned on a one-count charge of rape.

The Upper Area court judge, Alhaji Umar Kagarko, adjourned the case till Aug. 30 for ruling.

His counsel Godwin Chukwukere had applied for his bail pursuant to sections 158, 162, 163 and 164 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA).

Chukwukere urged the court to grant the defendant bail because he was still innocent until proven otherwise.

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Geelong Grammar teacher sex abuse claims by former student

AUSTRALIA
Herald Sun

PETER MICKELBUROUGH, Herald Sun
August 29, 2016

GEELONG Grammar has been rocked by another sex abuse claim, with a former student claiming she was sexually assaulted by her English teacher 25 years ago.

The woman, who the Herald Sun has chosen not to identify, said the assault occurred when she was 18 when her teacher invited her to his home on the campus of the elite school.

Once inside, the now 42-year-old alleges the teacher placed her hand on his crotch and forced her to perform a sex act, touched her breasts through her clothing and kissed her. She said the assault occurred despite earlier complaints of sexual misconduct by other students against the same teacher.

The school was rocked last year by revelations at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse of sex abuse and cover-ups spanning six decades and involving five other teachers.

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Concerned Catholics of Guam calls seminary “a sham”

GUAM
KUAM

Updated: Aug 29, 2016

By Krystal Paco

While the Concerned Catholics of Guam prepares for what could be a lengthy legal takeback of the multimillion dollar Redemptoris Mater Seminary, they’re now speaking out about the validity of the seminary’s graduates.

“The Redemptoris Mater Seminary is a sham,” stated Andrew Camacho, vice president of the Concerned Catholics of Guam organization. In a press conference on Monday, the CCOG questioned not only the validity of priests being formed at the Redemptoris Mater Seminary, but also the Archdiocese of Agana’s continued investment in the institute, calling it “money down the drain.”

“RMS has produced 17 priests in the last few years. Do they serve the Catholic faithful in Guam? Seven priests serve in local parishes. Two are at RMS. Eight are not in Guam. Some are serving in other countries. The status of the others is unknown,” Camacho continued. “The cost of running the RMS is too high. Approximately $200,000 comes from the Archdiocese of Agana.”

The CCOG also alleges there are no background checks, no psychological screenings, and no records to prove seminarians are high school graduates. Instead, the CCOG states the RMS is strictly in the business of promoting Archbishop Anthony Apuron’s personal agenda – to form priests following the life and practice of the Neocatechumenal Way, not traditional diocesan priests.

According to the CCOG’s look of the curriculum and faculty, the RMS doesn’t meet standards of model seminaries stateside noting the RMS has limited faculty and teachers who aren’t qualified to teach their subject areas. Said Camacho, “This seminary should be shut down. I feel sorry for the men who have true vocations to the priesthood and have to endure the poor formation in this so-called seminary.”

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Criminal justice research reports released

AUSTRALIA
Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

29 August, 2016

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has released two research reports it commissioned on criminal justice issues that make significant findings about how child sexual abuse cases are handled in the criminal justice system.

An evaluation of how evidence is elicited from complainants of child sexual abuse conducted 17 studies using information from various sources to examine the use and effectiveness of alternative measures for eliciting evidence from child sexual abuse complainants.

In some of these studies, judges, prosecutors, defence lawyers and witness advisors were interviewed and surveyed to provide their perspective. Other studies analysed prosecution case files, trial transcripts and police video interviews with complainants to determine trends and evaluate how measures for eliciting evidence are actually being administered.

The overall findings from the 17 studies suggest that alternative measures are supported by legal professionals and are being used as a matter of course with child complainants. Five main areas were identified for improvement:

1. Overcome obstacles to using technology
2. Align police interviews with evidence-based practice guidance
3. Improve the quality of questioning in the courtroom
4. Increase the availability of alternate measures for adults
5. Reduce delays and streamline the prosecution process.

The other research study – The impact of delayed reporting on the prosecution and outcomes of child sexual abuse cases – examined how the criminal justice systems in New South Wales and South Australia deal with complaints of child sexual abuse reported to the police in childhood, compared with those in which the report is delayed until adulthood.

Researchers from the University of Sydney Law School examined data from police and court records in both jurisdictions, and conducted case file analysis and discussion with legal and other professionals in New South Wales.

Key findings included:

* In both New South Wales and South Australia, most reports of child sexual abuse were made within three months of the incident, but there has been an increase in the number of reports made beyond 10 years after the incident.

* The longest delays in reporting occurred where the alleged perpetrator was a person in a position of authority, such as a teacher, priest or foster carer. In these cases, the data shows that the majority of reports were made at least 10 years after the incident.

* Victims of child sexual abuse are not disadvantaged by reporting in adulthood. For example, the proportion of incidents in New South Wales in which an identified person of interest was proceeded against was consistently highest for offences reported in adulthood.

The delayed reporting research also looked at appeals in child sexual abuse cases in New South Wales.

Royal Commission CEO Philip Reed said the research papers aimed to provide greater understanding in their areas of exploration.

“These research reports will significantly inform our upcoming criminal justice consultation paper. The reports examine the entire criminal justice experience, from the initial police report to the trial process and conviction rates,” Mr Reed said.

“The research on complainants’ evidence provides an invaluable insight into what really happens in court and how this can impact on a complainant’s ability to provide accurate and useful evidence.”

Read An evaluation of how evidence is elicited from complainants of child sexual abuse – by Martine Powell, Deakin University; Nina Westera, Griffith University; Jane Goodman-Delahunty, Charles Sturt University; and Anne Sophie Pichler, Deakin University.

Read The impact of delayed reporting on the prosecution and outcomes of child sexual abuse cases – by Judy Cashmore, Alan Taylor, Rita Shackel and Patrick Parkinson, University of Sydney Law School.

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Maverick cleric Buckley willl ‘keep highlighting Maynooth sex scandal’ despite blog ban

NORTHERN IRELAND
Belfast Telegraph

By Suzanne Breen
PUBLISHED
29/08/2016

Controversial cleric Bishop Pat Buckley has accused the Catholic Church of attempting to censor him after a blog, in which he revealed a gay sex scandal in Maynooth training college, was deleted by Google.

For six weeks the Larne-based bishop has disclosed details of a gay sub-culture in Maynooth with some students having profiles on the gay dating app Grindr, and using the site to solicit sex with priests and laymen.

Bishop Buckley also revealed that a former seminarian was filing a complaint of sexual harassment with gardai against a staff member. He claimed that whistleblowers were dismissed from the seminary after bringing the issue to the authorities.

His blogs, exposing the scandal, were picked up by the mainstream media and led to Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin announcing that he would no longer send student priests to Maynooth. …

He has since received notification from the Google-owned platform, Blogger, that his blog has been taken offline.

In an email, Blogger stated: “Your blog at http://wisecatholic.blogspot.com has been reviewed and confirmed as in violation of our terms of service for: HATE. In accordance to these terms, we’ve removed the blog.”

Bishop Buckley said: “I was shocked when I received this email.

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Concerned Catholics of Guam VP says RMS should be shut down

GUAM
KUAM

Updated: Aug 28, 2016

By Krystal Paco

During a press conference this afternoon, Concerned Catholics of Guam Vice President Andrew Camacho said that in his opinion the Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Yona is a sham, “the beauty of its exterior masks an empty shell. This seminary should be shut down,” he said.

Camacho cited a comparison between the functions of the RMS to that of the St. Patrick’s Seminary in California.

He noted the following deficiencies at RMS:
– Lack of strict requirements for admittance to the program
– Lack of true vetting process for students
– Poor quality of the faculty to teach courses
– Poor quality of the permanent and visiting faculty
– The sole focus on the Neocatechumenal Way
– Priests who do not serve the faithful in Guam
– The high cost of running the RMS (approximately $200,000 comes from the archdiocese of Agana according to the CCOG)

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Archbishop Herft denies protecting defrocked priest at child sexual abuse royal commission

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

By David Marchese

One of Australia’s most senior Anglicans, the Archbishop of Perth, Roger Herft, has denied protecting a former priest accused of child sexual abuse.

Archbishop Herft is being questioned about his time as Bishop of Newcastle between 1993 and 2005 at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

The Newcastle case study is examining the way the local Anglican diocese responded to allegations of child sexual abuse made against clergy and lay members of the church.

The counsel assisting the commission, Naomi Sharp, questioned Archbishop Herft about allegations of abuse made against the de-frocked former Newcastle Dean Graeme Lawrence in the 1990s.

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Archbishop denies clergyman intimidation

AUSTRALIA
9 News

The Anglican Archbishop of Perth denies he was intimidated by a former senior clergyman accused of child sex abuse, with whom he had three conversations that he cannot remember.

Archbishop Roger Herft, who was in charge of the Newcastle diocese until 2005, on Monday conceded documents indicate he spoke to former Dean Graeme Lawrence about allegations over numerous years.

But he has told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse that he has no recollection of the conversations and is concerned by the fact that the appropriate file notes don’t seem to have been made.

He denied trying to protect Mr Lawrence, who has since been defrocked.

“Are you intimidated by Graeme Lawrence?” counsel assisting the commission Naomi Sharp asked.

“I’m not intimidated by Graeme Lawrence,” Archbishop Herft replied.

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Moorhead native’s abuse by pastor inspires fictional play

MINNESOTA
InForum

By Rohan Preston / (Minneapolis) Star Tribune on Aug 28, 2016

MINNEAPOLIS—James Hanson, an actor and religion professor at St. Olaf College in Northfield, was doing a solo show about the apostle Paul a couple of years ago when he shared a secret with John Woehrle.

Hanson told Woehrle that he had been molested as a teenager by a Lutheran pastor in Moorhead, where he grew up. The cleric, David L. Anderson of Trinity Lutheran Church in Moorhead, was a family friend.

Woehrle, a playwright, actor, director and teacher who was helping Hanson stage the production, consoled him. He suggested that Hanson share his story in a play.

“While clergy abuse has gotten a lot of press in movies like ‘Spotlight’ and other shows, there hasn’t been a lot from the victims’ perspective,” Hanson said. “I wanted to show the ripple effects of the abuse on the victim, the family, the community at large. It’s corrosive and ugly stuff that took me 17 years to acknowledge, but I’ve gotten to a good place now.”

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‘Like a spider that keeps building its web’: family of sexual abuse survivor speaks out

AUSTRALIA
Guardian

Melissa Davey
@MelissaLDavey
Sunday 28 August 2016

When Meg was 12, her mother, Annie, found herself unable to look at her. Seeing her daughter made Annie feel unsettled, at times almost angry. At first, she couldn’t figure out why.

“And then, Meg turned 13 and suddenly, everything slid into place for me,” Annie says.

“I found myself thinking, ‘She’s so tiny. She is so little.’ And I realised I was actually talking about myself, not her.

“It felt like something just broke. It was something big and ugly, and it just broke.”

Annie was 13 in 1987 when an Anglican priest began sexually abusing her, over a period of eight to 10 months. Seeing her daughter turn the same age was a trigger that not only bring back memories of the abuse, but that also helped her to comprehend just how small and innocent she would have been.

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Abuse royal commission: Archbishop Roger Herft told about Graeme Lawrence

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

August 29, 2016

DAN BOX
Crime reporterSydney
@DanBox10

The Anglican Archbishop of Perth has admitted being told on three separate occasions that a senior priest was a sexual abuser, including of children, but did nothing about it other than speak to the alleged offender involved.

The admission, under questioning before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse this morning, contradicts Archbishop Roger Herft’s own previous evidence to the commission that “no one ever raised with me” any allegations against the priest.

“That particular statement of mine is not correct,” Archbishop Herft told the commission this morning.

During the 1990s and early 2000s, the archbishop was the bishop of Newcastle in NSW, which is currently being investigated by the commission over the handling of child abuse committed by its priests.

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ROYAL COMMISSION: Herft quizzed on Rushton and CKC matters

AUSTRALIA
Newcastle Herald

IAN KIRKWOOD
29 Aug 2016

Former Newcastle bishop Roger Herft has told the royal commission he “failed miserably” in his response to priest abuse victim CKA.

Resuming after a morning adjournment, Reverend Herft, now the Archbishop of Perth, was taken through his handling of a number of matters that took place during his watch, including the CKA/CKC matter, disgraced priest Peter Rushton and the seminary student Ian Barrack, who left the Morpeth college before being ordained and was subsequently convicted of child sexual abuse.

Questioned by counsel assisting the commission, Naomi Sharp, Reverend Herft agreed that there had been two allegations raised with him against Rushton, on top of the child pornography matter, but he disagreed with her description of there being “alarm bells ringing”.

He agreed he did not take action against Rushton despite being told he had his “own group of boys”.

He said he had been “deeply fooled” by Rushton into believing that he had changed his ways, when he had not.

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Royal commission hears how senior priest within Newcastle diocese got away with years of sexual abuse

AUSTRALIA
Herald Sun

Rohan Smith, news.com.au
August 29, 2016

WARNING: Graphic content

BETWEEN 1998 and 2003, the ringleader of a Newcastle-based paedophile priest network preyed on his victims with impunity.

Father Peter Rushton is believed to have raped a number of boys in the Hunter Region, two hours north of Sydney.

On one occasion he used a small knife to cut the back of a victim during the assault. The blood, his victim said through tears, was “symbolic of the blood of Christ”.

Rushton was accused of owning child pornography and raping a number of children, including a priest’s son. He died in 2007 having never been convicted of his crimes.

A royal commission investigating years of abuse within the Newcastle diocese heard on Monday how Rushton got away with it for so long.

The commission heard evidence from Roger Herft, who was the bishop of Newcastle for more than 10 years and who oversaw Rushton’s conduct. He is now the Archbishop of Perth.

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Archbishop thought ‘abuser’ had repented

AUSTRALIA
SBS

AAP

29 AUG 2016

The Anglican archbishop of Perth has conceded he should have done more amid allegations a senior NSW clergyman, who had formerly been investigated for child porn, had his “own group of boys”.

Archbishop Roger Herft, who was head of the Newcastle Diocese between 1993 and 2005, was alerted to a child sex complaint relating to four men in 2003.

One of the men was senior priest Peter Rushton, who was accused of abusing another priest’s son around the same time and had come to the archbishop’s attention when removalists thought they found child pornography at his house five years prior.

Archbishop Herft on Monday told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse that he was “deeply fooled” by Rushton, who he thought had “changed” after the pornography matter.

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Archbishop says ‘alarm bells should have rung’ over abuse allegations

AUSTRALIA
Guardian

Australian Associated Press
Monday 29 August 2016

The Anglican archbishop of Perth says alarm bells should have rung over allegations a senior New South Wales clergyman had his “own group of boys” and had abused a priest’s son.

The royal commission heard that archbishop Roger Herft, who was head of the Newcastle diocese between 1993 and 2005, was alerted to a child sex complaint relating to four men in 2003.

One of the men was senior clergyman Peter Rushton, who had been accused of abusing a boy around the same time and had previously come to the archbishop’s attention when removalists found what they thought was child sexual abuse material at his home five years previously.

Anglican church tried to change rules to keep child sex abuse findings quiet – inquiry

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Church can’t be trusted to run Catholic schools: Catholic principal

AUSTRALIA
The Age

Henrietta Cook

A Catholic principal has blasted the Catholic Church, saying school leaders are being pressured into “inappropriate” situations and silenced.

Paul Tobias, the outspoken principal of St Joseph’s College Geelong, has called for an urgent review of the governance of Catholic primary and secondary schools.

“The Catholic Church persists with antiquated governance models which are no longer appropriate, rather than distribute power appropriately,” he said.

In a strongly worded submission to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, Mr Tobias said people who expressed different views to the church could “expect to be penalised, isolated or have their careers impacted”.

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Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in the Newcastle Anglican diocese day ten | live blog

AUSTRALIA
Newcastle Herald

Joanne McCarthy
29 Aug 2016

6pm:

Newcastle Herald journalists wrap-up day 10 of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

4.31pm

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has ended hearing evidence on the 10th day of the Newcastle Anglican public hearing.

The hearing will resume at 9.30am on Tuesday, August 30.

4.18pm

Solicitor Mr Healy has started asking the archbishop questions on behalf of solicitor Keith Allen, the man who gave evidence in the earliest part of the public hearing that he had “the ears” of three bishops.

Healy is questioning Herft about the yellow or brown envelopes.

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Edina grad wrote and stars in new play about clergy abuse

MINNESOTA
Home Town Source

By Home Town Source on August 29, 2016 at 4:14 am

After decades away in Hollywood and a dark period including government collusion and gold mining, John Woehrle is returning to the stage in his home state.

Woehrle, an Edina High School class of 1970 graduate, is premiering the play “Trust,” which he wrote and stars in, beginning this weekend at the Lab Theater in Minneapolis.

The play follows a Catholic college senior, Michael, who must come to terms with the sexual abuse he endured as a child by a trusted priest and the difficult time he has balancing his memories of past trauma and normalcy he thought had built for himself.

The play is more than simply fiction.

Woehrle was working with a former student Jim Hanson, now a professor at St. Olaf, on a project called “Apostle on the Edge,” when he discovered that Hanson had been abused in his past by a Lutheran pastor.

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Editorial: The horror of St. George’s

RHODE ISLAND
Providence Journal

Posted Aug. 28, 2016

There were cries of relief this month after St. George’s School, in Middletown, agreed to a settlement with as many as 30 alumni who claimed they had been sexually abused. Finally, after decades, the victims’ claims had been acknowledged, and validated.

But even if the settlement, which was not made public, eases some of the pain felt by the victims, the story of abuse at this elite Episcopal prep school and the decades-long trail that followed one of the alleged perpetrators presents a clear warning.

Adults in any setting who are entrusted to care for children must be vigilant and do everything in their power to protect these innocent lives. Loyalty to friends or employees, or fear of scandal or disgrace, have no place in any decision-making process. Children must be protected. And people who hurt them or present a threat to them should be removed and reported to the authorities.

Sadly, that did not happen at St. George’s, where it appears that dozens of students were sexually abused by teachers and staff during a period from the 1970s into the 1980s. That these acts could have taken place over such a long period is almost as stunning as the number of children who may have been assaulted.

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Protests continue strong in light of Apuron statement

GUAM
Guam Daily Post

The past two weeks have seen a number of developments in the ongoing dispute between Archbishop Anthony Apuron and concerned Catholic laity over the Redemptoris Mater Seminary (RMS) property in Yona.

The most recent development is a statement released by Apuron on Thursday, Aug. 25. Jacqueline Terlaje, legal representative of Apuron, issued a statement with the first words from Apuron since his disappearance from public view in June.

In the release, Apuron confirmed statements made by the Archdiocese of Agana and RMS administrators in which ownership of the Yona property was concluded in favor of the archbishop. However, the main concern of the statement seemed to be the allegations that he defied the Pope, as stated in the media following Hon’s an Aug. 18 statement from Archbishop Savio Hon Tai Fai, apostolic administrator of the Archdiocese of Agana.

Apuron claimed that the decisions he undertook in regard to the purchase and subsequent management of the former Hotel Accion were done within ecclesiastical law and under the advisement of both the Archdiocesan Finance Council and College of Consulters, contrary to reports from the Concerned Catholics of Guam and other sources. Apuron cited a number of threats, as he perceived them, to the spiritual well-being of Guam Catholics and concluded that he could not “in conscience” lift the deed restriction as requested by Hon.

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Archbishop to continue sex abuse evidence

AUSTRALIA
7 News

Rebekah Ison – AAP on August 29, 2016

The Anglican Archbishop of Perth, Roger Herft, is expected to continue his evidence at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Earlier this month, Herft admitted to major failings in handling sex abuse complaints while he was in charge of the Newcastle diocese between 1993 and 2005.

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Assignment Record– Rev. Thomas J. Brunner

OHIO
BishopAccountability.org

Summary of Case: Thomas J. Brunner was ordained for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati in 1974. He assisted at parishes in Reading, Deer Park and Montgomery, then held the position of pastor at parishes in Anderson Township and Troy. For many years he was also a religion teacher, music minister and chaplain at Mount Notre Dame High School in Reading. In 1985 two girls, who were Mount Notre Dame students, told their principal that Brunner had sexually abused them. He did not deny the allegations. His assignment at the school was terminated and he was sent by the archdiocese to counseling. He was allowed to continue in parish ministry. In 1989 a woman told the archdiocese that Brunner had sexually abused her when she was a high school student in the 1970s. He was sent for a psychological evaluation and again allowed to stay in ministry. In September 2003 Brunner resigned from his long-time position as pastor of St. Patrick’s in Troy in anticipation of his impending removal per recommendation of the Archdiocese’s review board. He was on paid leave until laicized by the Vatican in March 2006.

Ordained: 1974
Laicized: 2006

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Court voids state sex offender registry for imposing unconstitutionally retroactive punishment

MICHIGAN
Washington Post

Jonathan H. Adler
August 25

Today the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit held that recent amendments to Michigan’s Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA) are unconstitutional because they impose retroactive punishment on sex offenders in violation of the Constitution’s prohibition on ex post facto laws. Among other things, the plaintiffs argued that amendments to Michigan’s SORA increased the severity of its requirements after their convictions imposed retroactive punishment. In John Does #1-5 v. Snyder, the Sixth Circuit agreed.

Judge Alice M. Batchelder wrote for the court, joined by Judges Gilbert S. Merritt and Bernice B. Donald. Her opinion for the court begins.

Like many states, Michigan has amended its Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA) on a number of occasions in recent years for the professed purpose of making Michigan communities safer and aiding law enforcement in the task of bringing recidivists to justice. Thus, what began in 1994 as a non-public registry maintained solely for law enforcement use . . . has grown into a byzantine code governing in minute detail the lives of the state’s sex offenders . . . Over the first decade or so of SORA’s existence, most of the changes centered on the role played by the registry itself. In 1999, for example, the legislature added the requirement that sex offenders register in person (either quarterly or annually, depending on the offense) and made the registry available online, providing the public with a list of all registered sex offenders’ names, addresses, biometric data, and, since 2004, photographs. . . . Michigan began taking a more aggressive tack in 2006, however, when it amended SORA to prohibit registrants (with a few exceptions . . .) from living, working, or “loitering”1 within 1,000 feet of a school. . . . In 2011, the legislature added the requirement that registrants be divided into three tiers, which ostensibly correlate to current dangerousness, but which are based, not on individual assessments, but solely on the crime of conviction. . . . The 2011 amendments also require all registrants to appear in person “immediately” to update information such as new vehicles or “internet identifiers” (e.g., a new email account). . . . Violations carry heavy criminal penalties.

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Anglican dean ‘gave court reference for priest accused of sex abuse’

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

August 29, 2016

DAN BOX
Crime reporterSydney
@DanBox10

A former dean of Newcastle’s Anglican cathedral wrote a character reference for an alleged pedophile priest at the centre of a new police investigation, a royal commission has heard.

The reference was one of three provided by Graeme Lawrence for the criminal trials of alleged sex offenders within the NSW diocese, according to evidence before the Royal Commission into Instit­utional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Mr Lawrence was himself later defrocked after having group sex with a teenager.

The former cathedral dean prepared the reference in about 2001, although the charges were ultimately “no-billed”, meaning prosecutors decided not to pursue the case.

The Newcastle diocese subsequently released a media statement falsely claiming that the priest, who cannot be named, had been acquitted, the commission has heard.

The priest moved to the Victorian diocese of Ballarat.

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Back-to-school legal troubles at 2 Catholic high schools | Quigley

NEW JERSEY
The Jersey Journal

By Joan Quigley | For The Jersey Journal
on August 28, 2016

This wasn’t a good-news month at two Catholic high schools in Bergen County.

Without admitting wrongdoing, officials of Bergen Catholic High School agreed to pay $1.9 million to 21 former students who alleged sexual abuse decades ago. And Paramus Catholic High School was knocked down in court on its plea to deny a hearing to a teacher who was fired because she is in a same-sex marriage.

Mitchell Garabedian, attorney for seven people in the Bergen Catholic suit, said that between 1963 and 1978 students were subjected to routine sexual abuse by some of the Christian Brothers in charge of the school. The students were between 13 and 17 years old at the time, he said, and had been taught to do whatever the brothers instructed, no matter how they felt about it.

The victims recalled being told to pull down their pants so they could be whipped with leather straps or pinched and groped by some instructors. Others said they were punched or beaten for minor offenses, while some complained not about touching of any sort but having to remove their underwear to allow brothers simply to stare at them.

Court-ordered payments will be distributed during the first week of December, with each award ranging from $65,000 to $115,000. An arbitrator will decide how much each alleged victim receives based on the nature of the abuse suffered, the duration and frequency of such abuse, and the extent of injuries suffered.

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MEDIA RELEASE – AUGUST 27, 2016

NEW YORK
Road to Recovery

“Move-in Day” for Fordham University students should signal “Movement Day” for the Northeast Province of Jesuit Priests and Brothers in reasonably settling the case of childhood sexual abuse of Neal E. Gumpel by a deceased Jesuit priest, Fr. Roy Alan Drake, S.J., who taught and lived on the Fordham campus for many years

Reports of childhood sexual abuse by Fordham University and Fordham Prep Jesuit priests and lay teachers, including Neal E. Gumpel’s credible claim of sexual abuse by Fr. Roy Alan Drake, S.J., continue to surface in the aftermath of the recent announcement by Fordham Prep alumnus, Michael Meenan, that religion teacher, Fernand Beck, sexually abused him in 1984

Neal E. Gumpel was a high school student from Westchester County, New York, who was sexually abused as a minor child by Fr. Roy Alan Drake, S.J., deceased Fordham University and Fordham Prep teacher, who was teaching at Maine Maritime Academy in Castine, Maine, while Neal E. Gumpel was visiting his brother, a student at Maine Maritime Academy. Jesuit leaders thus far have refused to help Neal E. Gumpel heal by validating and reasonably settling his claim which they have found to be credible

The Jesuits of the Northeast Province, in a media report, recently expressed their willingness to help victim/survivors of sexual abuse by Jesuit Priests and brothers, BUT they have not done so with Neal E. Gumpel

What
A demonstration and leafleting alerting the media, Fordham University and Fordham Prep students, parents, alumni and the general public about the growing number of reports of sexual abuse against Fordham University and Fordham Prep faculty and staff members in the aftermath of the recent announcement (New York Times, New York Post, The Ram, e.g.) by Michael Meenan, Fordham Prep ’84, that he was sexually abused by his religion teacher, Fernand Beck, during a graduation party in Westchester County, New York. Demonstrators will also draw attention to the claim of Neal E. Gumpel, a childhood sexual abuse victim of Fr. Roy Alan Drake, S.J., a deceased Fordham University and Fordham Prep teacher, at Maine Maritime Academy, Castine, Maine, and which was found credible by Jesuit leaders of the Northeast Province of the Society of Jesus. However, the Northeast Province of the Jesuits still have not validated Neal E. Gumpel’s claim, thus preventing Neal E. Gumpel from healing

When
Sunday, August 28, 2016 from 11:00 am until 1:00 pm

Where
On the public median outside the Fordham University gates near 400 Southern Boulevard, Bronx, New York, which also is in front of the entrance to the New York Botanical Gardens

Who
Neal E. Gumpel; his wife Helen, Gumpel; and Robert M. Hoatson, Fordham University Ph.D., 1988, co-founder and President of Road to Recovery, Inc., a non-profit charity based in New Jersey that assists victims of sexual abuse and their families

Why
Neal E. Gumpel’s account of having been sexually abused by Fr. Roy Alan Drake, S.J., has been found credible by the Northeast Province of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), but the Jesuits have yet to reasonably settled Neal E. Gumpel’s claim. Recently, in a media report, the Jesuits expressed their willingness to help victims of childhood sexual abuse. It is time for the Jesuit Priests and Brothers of the Northeast Province to reasonably settle the childhood sexual abuse claim of Neal E. Gumpel.

Demonstrators will call upon the Jesuits of the Northeast Province, including Jesuits at Fordham University and Fordham Prep, to stop their foot dragging and reasonably settle the childhood sexual abuse claim of Neal E. Gumpel.

Contacts
Robert M. Hoatson, Fordham University Ph.D., 1988 – 862-368-2800 – roberthoatson@gmail.com

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Napa County now home for John Nienstedt, Twin Cities archbishop who resigned under legal cloud

CALIFORNIA
The Press Democrat

CHRIS SMITH
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT | August 27, 2016.

Minnesota and then Michigan evidently grew too hot for John Nienstedt, a former Catholic archbishop who was accused of protecting predatory priests and who now cools his heels in Wine Country.

Nienstedt came far west after departing Minnesota under duress and stopping briefly in Michigan. A newspaper report out of Battle Creek earlier this year revealed that only two weeks after Nienstedt arrived and took a temporary church post there he “left amid a swirl of criticism.” Residents opposed to his assignment hounded the diocese and the media, and pulled tuition support for a school associated with the church, according to another news report.

His resignation in June of 2015 as the Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis came 10 days after prosecutors there filed criminal charges against the archdiocese that he ran since 2008, alleging “its failure to protect children.”

Earlier last year, in the midst of multiple lawsuits, the archdiocese filed for bankruptcy, citing “the scourge of sexual abuse of minors.” …

HAVING MOVED ON on to the North Bay, Nienstedt now is doing work at the private Napa Institute, created by Orange County attorney and Meritage Resort & Spa owner Tim Busch. The institute’s declared mission is “to equip Catholic leaders to defend and advance the Catholic Faith in ‘the Next America’ — today’s emerging secular society.”

Nienstedt has presided over Mass at the chapel at Meritage, in Napa. Bishop Robert Vasa of the Diocese of Santa Rosa, which encompasses Napa County, is aware he’s here and said the resort chapel is “a suitable place for him to celebrate Mass.”

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Bishop tended Catholic flock quietly for 23 years

TENNESSEE
Commercial Appeal

David Waters
Columnist

J. Terry Steib, a former missionary, was introduced as the new Catholic bishop of Memphis on the 23rd day of March in 1993.

He was the fourth bishop — and first African-American bishop — in the 23-year history of the Catholic Diocese of Memphis.

Last week, Steib officially retired on the 23rd day of August, having led the diocese for 23 years. …

Steib’s critics say he didn’t do enough to keep predators away from the flock — especially clergy sex abusers.

“Bishop Steib disclosed information on predator priests only when forced to do so by external forces,” said David Clohessy, a former Memphian and national director of SNAP — Survivor’s Network of Those Abused by Priests.

“He didn’t discipline a single church employee for ignoring or concealing clergy sex crimes.”

In court depositions, Steib admitted he made mistakes that put children at risk. But he said the church “responded according to what it knew and believed at the time.”

Some say Steib was too quiet about a lot of things.

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AG’s office: Kane’s resignation will not impact Baker-McCort abuse case

PENNSYLVANIA
Tribune-Democrat

By Dave Sutor
dsutor@tribdem.com

The resignation of Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane is not expected to impact the trial against three priests accused of failing to sufficiently protect children from Brother Stephen Baker, who was believed to be a child predator.

Revs. Giles A. Schinelli, Robert J. D’Aversa, and Anthony M. Criscitelli each face charges of conspiracy and endangering the welfare of children. Deputy Attorney General Daniel Dye, the lead prosecutor in the case, has argued the three defendants – in their roles as ministers provincial of the Third Order Regular, Province of the Immaculate Conception – gave Baker assignments that provided him access to children.

A status conference is scheduled to take place Wednesday in the case against Schinelli, D’Aversa, and Criscitelli.

The trial is not likely to begin until 2017, according to Blair County Judge Jolene Kopriva.

Baker allegedly abused at least 100 students at what was called Bishop McCort High School when he served there from 1992 through 2000. The friar died from a reported suicide in 2013.

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Whistleblower Hoatson: Local child abuse ‘secret’ protected by culture, ‘dome’ of faith

PENNSYLVANIA
Tribune-Democrat

By Dave Sutor
dsutor@tribdem.com

The Catholic Church is deeply ingrained in the Johnstown region’s identity.

Worshipers have celebrated and mourned together, lived lives of virtue, served their communities, and raised their children in the faith – all within the framework of the institution. But, that same structure allowed countless acts of alleged child sexual abuse to take place – and be covered up – in the opinion of Robert Hoatson, founder of Road to Recovery, a New Jersey-based advocacy group.

Earlier this year, the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General released a report that accused the Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona–Johnstown of perpetrating a decades-long conspiracy to shield priests and other religious leaders who preyed upon children.

The investigation started after the office learned Brother Stephen Baker allegedly abused students when he served at what was then Bishop McCort High School in the 1990s.

Hoatson is a former Irish Christian Brother and Roman Catholic priest who was laicized – had his privileges withdrawn – in 2011 after challenging the church for allowing abuse and coverups to occur.

“In 40 years of being inside the church, and then obviously now five years outside the organization of the church, I have never seen a phenomenon quite like Stephen Baker and the affect he’s had on a geographic section or area of our country,” Hoatson said in a meeting with The Tribune-Democrat.

“Having been here so long now on different occasions, it’s almost as if these beautiful hills around here – or mountains, whatever you call them – a dome was put over it, and the secret was kept in here for so many decades that, even today, it’s the hardest place I’ve experienced to get people to talk about it.”

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Mauro Visigalli: Priests deserve basic justice, too

RHODE ISLAND
Providence Journal

By Mauro Visigalli

Mauro Visigalli, of Codogno, Italy, is a lawyer in Italian courts and at the Vatican.

Posted Aug. 26, 2016

I am an Italian “avvocato rotale.” I usually work in the Roman Curia of the Catholic Church where certain canonical crimes arrive for consideration from all over the world. For this reason, I often look at American newspapers online, sometimes printing out their pages for my folders.

I was doing that the other day, searching for news about a priest who entrusted his case to me, when I found in The Providence Journal an article about a different priest, unknown to me (“Priest prohibited from serving,” news, July 1). His story made me want to share some thoughts, based on my professional experience.

What amazes me is that in a country like yours, where the rights of the accused are considered so important, that rights do not seem to count when a priest is accused of a sexual crime. Such is the paradox of a 95-year-old priest who is prohibited from serving based on “credible” facts of an incident that happened 60 years before.

I would simply ask: How could someone defend himself against such old charges? And is the “presumption of innocence” a mere option, or has it been replaced in these cases with a “presumption of guilt?” I can find this same expression — “credibly alleged” — on the websites of many American dioceses, with attached blacklists of priests smeared forever after having dedicated their whole life to the church (sometimes dead priests, too). Some websites include a red button and phone numbers with the list, so that everyone can easily send in his or her accusation and everyone can infer, however wrongly, that such crimes are absolutely normal in the church!

Do you know how many of those “credible accusations” started with a simple anonymous letter? Do you know how often the letter was sent from someone who was in a position to gain from the denunciation? Do you know how many priests weren’t found guilty but are still suspended because their bishop is frightened about public opinion? Do you know how long the accused priests, immediately suspended from their ministries with a simple letter from their bishop, live under the double pressure of a civil and a canonical tribunal?

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