ABUSE TRACKER

A digest of links to media coverage of clergy abuse. For recent coverage listed in this blog, read the full article in the newspaper or other media source by clicking “Read original article.” For earlier coverage, click the title to read the original article.

September 27, 2016

Survivors, legislators push to revive statute of limitations bill

PENNSYLVANIA
WJAC

BY KODY LEIBOWITZ TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27TH 2016

HARRISBURG – Survivors, families and legislators took to the Capitol Tuesday to push forward changes in child abuse statute of limitations with the hope of again adding language some deem controversial others said is necessary.

A rally to revive the statute of limitations bill.

Rep. Mark Rozzi, along with colleagues and survivors of child sex abuse, stood inside the Capitol strongly urging the lawmakers to pass the statute of limitations months after it was introduced.

The bill would eliminate the criminal statute of limitations and extend civil statutes to age 50.

The bill currently sits in the House Rules committee, but Rozzi said he expects the bill will be voted out and voted on by house members, with retroactivity back in the bill.

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

Berks lawmaker seeks stronger child sex abuse lawsuits bill

PENNSYLVANIA
WFMZ

HARRISBURG, Pa. – A Pennsylvania lawmaker who has told of his victimization as a child by a Roman Catholic priest in the Diocese of Allentown said he’ll keep fighting for legislation to allow onetime-child sexual abuse victims to sue for damages. “I hear my story with every story told to me,” said Rep. Mark Rozzi, a Berks County Democrat.

“We, our families and friends, have been gravely wronged by these predators and those institutions that will do anything to protect their reputations and coffers.” Rozzi said Tuesday that he isn’t dissuaded by the Senate’s rejection of the provision. The House approved the provision overwhelmingly in April. It would revive the ability of people to sue for damages if they’re now older than the current legal age limit of 30 to sue.

“When I ran for this office, I was on a personal mission to shake open the log jam that I faced when looking for justice,” Rozzi said. “I didn’t realize the magnitude of this epidemic until, as a state representative, my office started receiving letters, emails, phone calls and personal visits from victims from every corner of the state and beyond.”

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

Why “Nones” Are Leaving the Church

UNITED STATES
Commonweal

Michael Peppard
September 23, 2016

The most significant demographic trend in American religion today is the rapidly growing numbers of “unaffiliated” or “nones.” The data has spoken clearly for years, with a rise from about 5% in 1972 to about 25% in 2016. More importantly, almost 40% of those between the ages of 18 and 29 are religiously unaffiliated. This is no mere life-cycle effect, as has been so common in the past. If you find yourself gazing at empty pews this weekend and thinking, They’ll come back when they have kids of their own, you’re in denial.

To the contrary, this is an epochal societal shift disguised as a life-cycle effect, and it remains foolish to avoid the numbers. Recent books by Kaya Oakes and Elizabeth Drescher, among others, have given voices to these numbers. Queries about what the nones do after they leave their religious communities—how they live out their days as spiritual not religious, or multi-religious, or anti-religious—will continue to occupy more and more of our bookshelves. But the prior question of why they leave in the first place is also still being asked.

Yesterday the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), an increasingly indispensable organization for the study of religion, released a report about why they leave. The report, based on August 2016 phone surveys, might be thought of as a compilation of anonymous exit interviews: real people offering real reasons, with nothing to hide or prove. Not all the answers are surprising, but some of them should be required reading for pastors, catechists, and parents.

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

Parish priest from Dallas named bishop for West Texas diocese

TEXAS
KTXS

LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) – Pope Francis has named a parish priest from Dallas as the next bishop of the Lubbock Diocese.

The Vatican on Tuesday announced the appointment of Monsignor Robert Coerver. The 62-year-old Coerver is currently a priest at St. Rita Parish in Dallas.

Coerver is a Dallas native who was ordained in 1980.

He’ll take over Bishop Placido Rodríguez, who’s led the diocese in Lubbock since 1994 but is retiring at age 75.

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

Texas firm makes inquiry over ex-priest and alleged rapist John Sutton

GUAM
Pacific News Center

Haidee V Eugenio, Pacific Daily News September 27, 2016

A Dallas, Texas-based law firm is reaching out to anyone who has information about a Catholic priest who worked on Guam from 1971 to 1974 and who last year was accused by a man of raping him repeatedly when he was a student in Texas.

Attorney Tahira Khan Merritt said the priest, John H. Sutton, worked on Guam in the early 1970s and moved to Texas in 1984 to work as a chaplain and teacher at Wichita Falls’ Notre Dame Middle-High School, a diocesan institution of the Fort Worth Diocese.

Merritt said that’s where Sutton and his friend, school Principal Ronald M. Staley allegedly abused her client, identified in court documents only as “John Doe 117.”

Sutton worked on Guam from 1971-1974 at Father Duenas Memorial School in Mangilao, a Catholic high school for boys. He also worked at Duenas Memorial Minor Seminary. He taught U.S. and world history while on Guam. But after that, his whereabouts were uncertain, Merritt said.

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

Former Pearl River Priest Removed from Ministry over Sex Abuse Allegations

NEW YORK
Patch

By Lanning Taliaferro (Patch Staff) – September 27, 2016

PEARL RIVER, NY — Timothy Cardinal Dolan has permanently removed Monsignor John O’Keefe, who had been the priest at St. Margaret of Antioch, from the ministry, the New York Daily News reports.

However, the lawyer for O’Keefe’s alleged victim told the paper that he was concerned that the archdiocese has not shared its findings with the public because it could put more children at risk.

The lawyer is Mitchell Garabedian, whose work on behalf of the victims of priest sex abuse was portrayed in the award-winning movie “Spotlight.” Garabedian told the Daily News that the archdiocese let him know in August that O’Keefe had been permanently removed from his duties.

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

Rozzi vows to get retroactivity clause back in abuse bill

PENNSYLVANIA
WITF

Written by Rachel McDevitt/Radio PA | Sep 27, 2016

(Harrisburg) — In April, the state House passed a bill to extend the statute of limitations in child sex abuse cases, which also would have given past victims of abuse more time to file a civil suit.

The Senate sent it back without the retroactive clause.

Now, a state lawmaker from Berks County is vowing to get the retroactivity back in the proposal.

Six of Pennsylvania’s eight Catholic dioceses, including the Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg, are now under investigation by the state Attorney General’s office for possible clergy sex abuse.

The new probes are spurring advocates like Democratic Representative Mark Rozzi of Berks County to push harder for passage of legislation to allow past victims to sue.

He says he believes the House will stand united, as it did earlier this year.

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

Do you know of sexual abuse within our Church?

GUAM
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Agana

The Archdiocese of Agana cares deeply about the protection of minors and all people entrusted to its care. Sexual abuse is a matter of the gravest concern, as Our Lord calls us to protect the most innocent and vulnerable among us – our children. We take the protection of children very seriously.

Archbishop Savio Hon Tai Fai, SDB, the Apostolic Administrator of Agana has appointed Deacon Leonard Stohr to be the Sexual Abuse Response Coordinator (SARC) for the Church on Guam.

We encourage all persons who have knowledge of sexual abuse by clergy or others in our Archdiocese, today or in the past, to contact Deacon Len at this hotline number: 727-7373. You may also e-mail him at deaconlen1@gmail.com

Our Archdiocese pledges to correct the wrongs and mistakes of the past. We are strengthening our sexual abuse and sexual misconduct policy so that all people – most especially our young and most vulnerable – may be confident of being in a safe environment fully protected from any harm.

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

Catholic church reaches out to anyone with knowledge of clergy sex abuse

GUAM
Pacific Daily News

Haidee V Eugenio, Pacific Daily News September 27, 2016

The island’s Catholic church has issued a new statement, encouraging anyone who knows about sexual abuse by clergy or others in the Archdiocese of Agana “today or in the past” to contact the church’s sexual abuse response coordinator.

The call comes shortly after Gov. Eddie Calvo signed into law a bill that would allow victims of child sex abuse to sue their abusers and the institutions with which they are associated, at any time.

Public Law 33-187 makes the Catholic church on Guam open to lawsuits by those who, in recent months, have publicly accused priests, including Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron, of raping or molesting them. The Vatican placed Apuron on temporary leave over sex abuse allegations, but he has not been charged with any crime.

“Do you know of sexual abuse within our Church?” the Archdiocese of Agana’s statement reads.

The statement says the Archdiocese of Agana cares deeply about the protection of minors and all people entrusted to its care.

“Sexual abuse is a matter of the gravest concern, as Our Lord calls us to protect the most innocent and vulnerable among us – our children. We take the protection of children very seriously,” it adds.

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

Holy See ratification of UN Convention against Corruption dismissed as “window dressing”

UNITED KINGDOM
National Secular Society

Posted: Tue, 27 Sep 2016

Holy See ratification of UN Convention against Corruption dismissed as “window dressing”

The Holy See’s ratification of the United Nations Convention against Corruption has been dismissed as mere “window dressing” by the National Secular Society.

Senior Vatican officials said the move would help ensure good governance not just internationally but of the city state itself. The Vatican has been rocked by numerous scandals including a far-reaching clergy sex abuse crisis, money laundering and corruption at the Vatican Bank.

Vatican Radio reported that Holy See had ratified the Convention with two reservations and three interpretative declarations. One of these reservations states that the Holy See reserves the right not to participate in any “appropriate mechanism or body to assist in the effective implementation of the Convention”.
The National Secular Society, which has been active at the UN in holding the Catholic church to account over its failure to address child abuse within its ranks, said the Holy See’s caveats meant the ratification amounted to “mere window dressing”.

NSS executive director, Keith Porteous Wood, said: “The Vatican is among the most corrupt states in the world and is close to being ungovernable, as is evident from Gianluigi Nuzzi’s book Merchants in the Temple, which reveals the shocking extent of corruption within the Vatican.

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

Chicago-based religious order sued for docs on allegations

ILLINOIS
Beatrice Daily Sun

By MICHAEL TARM

CHICAGO (AP) — A 51-year-old Colorado man who says he was sexually abused when he was around 7 years old by a teenager who later became a prominent Roman Catholic priest — one known for his work with at-risk kids — on Monday sued the Chicago-based religious order to which the priest belongs, seeking the release of all records related to allegations of abuse by any of its priests.

Eric Johnson’s lawsuit names the Claretians Missionaries, a 165-year-old order that has around 3,000 priests and brothers in about 60 countries, as the defendant. The suit filed in Cook County Circuit Court says that Father Bruce Wellems was around 15 when the abuse occurred in the early 1970s. Johnson says the abuse occurred over about a year.

Several phone messages left for Wellems on a private phone and at the Claretians headquarters were not returned Monday. He has previously acknowledged inappropriately touching of a minor when he himself was under 18, but he has also said he never again abused a child, including never as an adult and never as a priest. Messages seeking comment from the Claretians also weren’t returned.

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

Victims of paedophile Bill Kenneally call for a parish priest to resign as chair of a primary school board of management

IRELAND
Irish Mirror

27 SEP 2016
BY SAOIRSE MCGARRIGLE

Monsignor John Shine is an uncle of Bill Kenneally and heads up the Holy Cross National School in Tramore

Victims of paedophile Bill Kenneally are calling for a parish priest to resign as chair of a primary school board of management.

Monsignor John Shine is an uncle of Bill Kenneally and heads up the Holy Cross National School in Tramore, Co Waterford.

The Sunday Independent reported a Waterford woman told Bill Kenneally’s cousin – former TD Brendan – her son had been abused in 2002 but he called the priest instead of reporting it to gardai.

Sports coach Bill Kenneally, 66, was jailed in February for 14 years for abusing boys in the 1980s – and now his victims want the cleric to be removed from his position.

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

Diocese cooperating in investigation into abuse, ‘a grave sin and crime’

PENNSYLVANIA
Lehigh Valley Live

By Kurt Bresswein | For lehighvalleylive.com

The Diocese of Allentown this week affirmed its commitment to helping bring to justice those within its ranks who abuse minors.

Bishop John O. Barres issued a statement Sunday saying the division of the Roman Catholic church is cooperating in a new Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office inquiry into handling of allegations of abuse.

Diocese of Allentown spokesman Matt Kerr would not previously confirm the diocese’s involvement in the grand jury investigation, or say if the diocese was subpoenaed.

Six Pennsylvania dioceses are under investigation, Barres wrote in the letter to parishioners, posted on the diocesan website. The inquiry follows the Allentown Diocese’s cooperation in 2002 with district attorneys from the five counties that make up the diocese, during which records were shared of priests against whom allegations of abuse of minors had been leveled.

“Since then, we have notified the relevant district attorneys of claims of abuse,” Barres wrote. “The state attorney general’s office has subpoenaed our records on all possible abusers, and we are in the process of turning over that material. …

“The Diocese of Allentown is committed to the protection and safety of the children and young people entrusted to its care. To this end, it is the policy of the Diocese of Allentown to cooperate with law enforcement. We will cooperate with the attorney general’s office just as we have cooperated with the district attorneys.”

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

Korean American Pastors Glean Advice on Handling Abuse Situations in Ministry

UNITED STATES
Christianity Today

RACHAEL LEE SEP 26, 2016

About 50 Korean American pastors gathered at Cerritos Mission Church earlier this month for a ‘Crisis Management Seminar’ hosted by Dr. Benjamin Shin, the director of the Asian American Doctor of Ministry cohort at Biola University’s Talbot School of Theology.

The seminar was split into two parts, the first which featured Dave Carder, a counselor who has dealt with hundreds of cases of extra-marital affairs, sexual abuse, and other related incidents. Shin spoke during the second portion, sharing updates on an incident that occurred in July in a mission team sent by the college ministry Korean American Campus Mission (KCM), an incident which Shin said triggered this seminar.

“We wanted to provide this time to provide resources for Korean American pastors, especially since they don’t go over this in most seminaries,” said Shin, who shared a list of counselors, lawyers, and police officers who could help in similar situations.

For many involved in the KCM incident, which involved allegations that a pastor engaged in inappropriate conduct during the mission trip, this was their first such experience dealing with moral failure among ministry leaders. For Shin, who helped KCM’s leaders throughout the handling of the incident, it was his seventh time.

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IS THE RISE OF “NONES” ACTUALLY THE DECLINE OF CATHOLICS?

UNITED STATES
Religion Dispatches

BY PATRICIA MILLER
SEPTEMBER 26, 2016

The Public Religion Research Institute is out with another fascinating report on one of the most significant religious trends of our time: the dramatic rise in disaffiliation, or, as some call them, the “nones.”

PPRI found that a fully a quarter of all Americans, and a whopping 39% of young adults, now say they have no religious affiliation, making the unaffiliated the largest “religious” group in a country long known for its high levels of religiosity.

And while the rise of the “nones” will continue to make headlines and shape culture for a long time to come, there is another largely unnoticed trend lurking in the numbers: just how much the growth in the nones has been fueled by the disaffiliation of Roman Catholics. According to PPRI:

While non-white Protestants and non-Christian religious groups have remained fairly stable, white Protestants and Catholics have all experienced declines, with Catholics suffering the largest decline among major religious groups: a 10-percentage point loss overall. Nearly one-third (31%) of Americans report being raised in a Catholic household, but only about one in five (21%) Americans identify as Catholic currently.

The Catholic rate of disaffiliation dwarfs the rate for any other faith tradition; the next biggest “loser” in terms of disaffiliation are the mainline Protestant denominations, which saw a 4.5-point loss, while white evangelical denominations saw a net drop of only 2.2 points, largely because they have both a lower rate of disaffiliation and a fairly robust rate of new adherents.

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Church pastor sends statement to congregation after Problem Solvers story

COLORADO
KDVR

SEPTEMBER 26, 2016, BY ASHLEY MICHELS

THORNTON, Colo. – Agape Bible Church canceled all church services this past weekend following a Problem Solvers investigation into whether their head pastor tried to cover up an alleged sexual abuse case within the church.

A week ago, Agape’s former associate pastor Robert “Bob” Wyatt turned himself into police. He is accused of sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl who went to that church.

Police documents and former congregation members allege that Agape’s head pastor Darrell Ferguson knew about the allegations in July and refused to go to police.

A 16-page arrest affidavit describes evidence that Ferguson knew about the allegations by July 21st, 2016 when Wyatt reportedly confessed the crime to the girl’s parents.

“Ultimately Darrell and [the girl’s parent] agreed to not report the sexual assault to the police or social services because they were concerned with what would happen to Bob,” the affidavit alleges.

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Residential-school rulings raise concerns about denied compensation claims

CANADA
The Globe and Mail

GLORIA GALLOWAY
OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail
Published Monday, Sep. 26, 2016

Three recent court rulings have overturned adjudicators’ decisions to deny compensation to people who were abused at Indian residential schools, raising questions about how many other former students have been unfairly refused redress.

As the process created by the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement to provide compensation for the abuse nears the end of its work, the court rulings – two in Ontario and one in Manitoba – suggest that problems with decisions made by adjudicators are not always caught in the reviews and re-reviews to which applicants are entitled.

Bill Erasmus, the regional chief of the Northwest Territories for the Assembly of First Nations, who is responsible for the AFN’s residential schools file, said many people who were abused at the schools are intimidated by the complexity of the Independent Assessment Process (IAP) and distraught at reliving the memories. For those reasons, he said, they often do not pursue claims that were unfairly denied.

“Many people didn’t get the money that they ought to have,” Mr. Erasmus said, “and they just give up.”

In July, Justice Paul Perell of the Ontario Superior Court determined that an adjudicator made a “glaring and crucial error” when she relied on her own knowledge of how the Catholic church operates to deny compensation to a claimant who said a priest raped him at a residential school in Spanish, Ont. Her assumptions, which incorrectly led her to conclude the assault must have happened after the school was closed, should not have influenced her findings, the judge said, but neither the review nor the re-review corrected the error. He ordered that the man be compensated.

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

Cardinal Dolan ousted priest for sex abuse claim, but accuser’s lawyer says children still at risk

NEW YORK
New York Daily News

BY MICHAEL O’KEEFFE
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Monday, September 26, 2016

Timothy Cardinal Dolan has removed a Rockland County priest accused of sexual abuse — but children may still be at risk, said a lawyer for the clergyman’s alleged victim.

Boston attorney Mitchell Garabedian said the Archdiocese of New York told him in August that Monsignor John J. O’Keefe — most recently the pastor of St. Margaret of Antioch in Pearl River — had been permanently removed from his duties following an investigation into allegations he had sexually abused his client in the 1980s.

But the archdiocese has not shared its findings with the public, which Garabedian argued puts kids at risk. The archdiocese continues to provide O’Keefe with a place to live, although it would not comment on where the disgraced priest has been living.

“Children must immediately be made safe from predators like Monsignor O’Keefe,” Garabedian said. “The archdiocese failed miserably in its supervision of O’Keefe, and now it is playing more children in potential jeopardy.”

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

September 26, 2016

Chicago-based religious order sued for docs on allegations

ILLINOIS
Associated Press

By MICHAEL TARM
Sep. 26, 2016

CHICAGO (AP) — A 51-year-old Colorado man who says he was sexually abused when he was around 7 years old by a teenager who later became a prominent Roman Catholic priest — one known for his work with at-risk kids — on Monday sued the Chicago-based religious order to which the priest belongs, seeking the release of all records related to allegations of abuse by any of its priests.

Eric Johnson’s lawsuit names the Claretians Missionaries, a 165-year-old order that has around 3,000 priests and brothers in about 60 countries, as the defendant. The suit filed in Cook County Circuit Court says that Father Bruce Wellems was around 15 when the abuse occurred in the early 1970s. Johnson says the abuse occurred over about a year.

Several phone messages left for Wellems on a private phone and at the Claretians headquarters were not returned Monday. He has previously acknowledged inappropriately touching of a minor when he himself was under 18, but he has also said he never again abused a child, including never as an adult and never as a priest. Messages seeking comment from the Claretians also weren’t returned.

Speaking at a news conference at his lawyer’s Chicago office, Johnson said he decided to sue because the Claretians did not follow through on pledges the order made to Johnson earlier to closely monitor Wellems and to not allow him access to children unless another adult was present.

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Life Story for Paul Likoudis

NEW YORK
Vedder and Scott Funeral Home

Paul Augustine Likoudis, age 61 of Caywood, NY, passed away due to complications in his fight against cancer on September 22, 2016. He was surrounded by loved ones at the time of his passing. The son of James and Ruth Likoudis of Montour Falls, Paul is survived by his brother Mark, and sisters Therese Williams, Celine Schanzer, Cathy Kader, and Margaret Byerley. Paul recently celebrated his 35th Wedding Anniversary with his loving wife Paulette, and sons Peter (Sarafina), Gabriel, and Vincent, and daughters Genevieve (Rick) Bitter, Kateri, and Irene (Matthew) DeMarco. He had 6 grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews.

Paul was born in Buffalo, NY, blessed by Bishop James McNulty in St. Joseph’s New Cathedral, and grew up in St. Mary of the Lake parish in Watkins Glen, NY, where he served as an altar boy. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in American History and European Literature from Eisenhower College in 1975.

He worked as an artist/illustrator for the Catholic News Service, as assistant editor of the Catholic Commentator in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where he met his wife Paulette, and then became “special projects editor” for the Canadian Catholic Register. In 1990, after 8 years as editor and photographer for Rocket Publications, he became news editor for The Wanderer. For over two decades, he reported on the state of the Catholic Church in the United States; his range of writings included little known aspects of American Catholic history, as well as lucid commentaries on just war ethics, social justice principles, and the theological and political abuse of the findings of psychology and sociology.

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PAUL LIKOUDIS: REST IN PEACE

NEW YORK
Church Militant

by Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th. • ChurchMilitant.com • September 26, 2016

One of the giants upon whose shoulders we at Church Militant stand

A faithful son of Holy Mother Church, Paul A. Likoudis went before Our Lord on September 22 as a result of his three-year battle with cancer. A brief obituary can be read here.

His body will be buried September 28 near his hometown of Caywood, New York, but his legacy of defending the Catholic faith, oftentimes against enemies from within the Church Herself, will live on in the many thousands he inspired by his writings and talks.

In praying for the repose of Likoudis’ soul, Michael Voris remarked that Paul was “truly a good man” and “a greatly beloved defender of the Faith.” Voris pointed out the influence that Likoudis had on his own apostolate. “He was very involved in the initial resistance to the rebellion in the Church, and is one of the giants upon whose shoulders we consider ourselves here at Church Militant standing.” …

He deserves praise for exposing Church corruption in the years prior to 2002, when the clergy sex abuse scandal exploded in the secular mainstream media.”

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Former Pearl River priest removed from ministry

NEW YORK
The Journal News

Colleen Wilson, cwilson2@lohud.com September 26, 2016

“This claim is another example of why the statute of limitations has to be amended so that victims of sexual abuse can try to heal,” said Mitchell Garabedian, lawyer for the accuser.

A former Pearl River priest and Westchester Catholic school leader accused of sexual abuse has been permanently removed from his ministry by the Archdiocese of New York, according to a lawyer for his alleged victim.

Monsignor John O’Keefe, who served for more than a decade as president at Archbishop Stepinac High School in White Plains, had been suspended last year from St. Margaret of Antioch Parish in Pearl River after he was accused of sexually abusing a minor on two occasions — in New York and Virginia — more than three decades ago.

The announcement of O’Keefe’s status was made Sunday afternoon by New Jersey-based nonprofit Road to Recovery Inc., which helps victims of sexual abuse. It issued a joint press release with Mitchell Garabedian, the lawyer for the accuser, who said he had been informed of the action by a church official.

Joseph Zwilling, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of New York, said the archdiocese would not make public statements on the case until the process is completed, which includes bringing the matter to the Holy See, the headquarters of the Catholic Church in Vatican City.

But a church official confirmed to The Journal News that O’Keefe will never be permitted to function again as a priest.

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Child sex abuse bill opponent responds to new law

GUAM
Guam Daily Post

Neil Pang | Post News Staff

As Catholic lay protestors hail the signing of Bill 326-33 into Public Law 33-187 as a moral victory, others in the community have not been so quick to embrace the new law.

Dr. Ricardo Eusebio, president of the lay organization “I Familan Mangatoliku Siha Pari Si Apuron,” or “Catholic Families for Apuron,” told the Post that members of the organization were disappointed at the enactment of the bill because it fails to fully address the injustice perpetrated against victims of child sex abuse.

The new law lifts the statute of limitations on civil lawsuits involving child sex abuse.

“You cannot repair an injustice by creating another injustice,” he said. “It specifically discriminates against private institutions and gives the government a free pass.”

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Opinion: Stronger accountability makes the church safer

UNITED STATES
Mennonite World Review

Sep 26, 2016 by Sylvia E. Shirk

A Mennonite conference took action this summer to make the church a safer space by enhancing the accountability of its credentialed leaders.

Atlantic Coast Conference of Mennonite Church USA, which includes 33 congregations in Pennsylvania and several other states, sent a letter to all its credentialed leaders informing them that each one needed to renew their ministry credential.

The letter stated: “Because the Credentialed Leaders Covenant and the Child Safety Affirmation Statement help ACC fulfill its legal obligation under Pennsylvania’s Child Protective Services Law, those out of compliance with this policy will have their credentials suspended effective July 9.”

The required forms included the Sexual Misconduct Policy, MC USA-ACC Code of Ethics and either the Credentialed Leaders Covenant or Child Safety Affirmation Statement.

In the end, all but four of the 75 credentialed leaders met the July 8 deadline. Of those whose credential was suspended, two have since completed the forms and reinstated their credential. Of the remaining two, one has not been active in ACC and the other has left the conference and would face the credentialing contractual requirements of any new network or conference.

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Ezzati defendió decisión del Vaticano de negar antecedentes sobre obispo Barros

CHILE
ADN 91.7

[Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati defended the Vatican’s decision to deny background information on Bishop Juan Barros that was requested by secular court authorities in Chile. He is accused of witnessing abuse of minors by priest Fernando Karadima but did nothing about it.]

El cardenal Ricardo Ezzati defendió la decisión del Vaticano de negar los antecedentes del obispo de Osorno, Juan Barros. Dichos antecedentes permitieron exculpar al religioso como encubridor de los abusos cometidos por Fernando Karadima.

“La Santa Sede contestó el segundo exhorto y en ese segundo exhorto presentaba algunas objeciones, entre ellas, la fundamentación del exhorto y de acuerdo a la legislación internacional y de la legislación del Vaticano la Santa Sede comunicó en un comunicado verbal el día primero de abril de este año que eso no tenía curso”, dijo Ezzati.

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Mending Fences

UNITED STATES
The Good Men Project

I’ve always been intrigued by the different choices people make, while working to restore good boundaries in their life after an experience of abuse. Whether it’s re-establishing the broken boundary with the abusive person, or finding a safe way to relate to others, the memory of betrayed trust can complicate decisions about how to maintain safety.

When I think about my own relationship to personal boundaries, I’m often reminded of the iconic phrase, “good fences make good neighbors.” I learned the line from Robert Frost’s poem Mending Wall, first published 100 years ago, in 1914. The poem describes an annual spring ritual of two neighbors, together restoring the winter damage to an ancient stone wall between their abutting properties.

The narrator complains of the tedious, hard work involved every year, and notes that neither of them even has livestock that would require a solid fence line. His neighbor just patiently repeats the phrase, ‘’Good fences make good neighbors.”

My own healing process and my work with abused kids and violent adults inclines me to see a lot of wisdom in the neighbor’s approach. Without engaging in an argument or accusing the narrator of bad intention or being a potential “trespasser,” he respectfully insists on the firm limit he wants to live by. He does it even using the same sentence, setting a goal of being good neighbors!

But what’s a good fence?

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MEDIA RELEASE – SEPTEMBER 25, 2016

NEW YORK
Road to Recovery

MONSIGNOR JOHN J. O’KEEFE PERMANENTLY REMOVED FROM MINISTRY IN THE ARCHDIOCESE OF NEW YORK BECAUSE OF CREDIBLE CHILDHOOD SEXUAL ABUSE CLAIMS

Monsignor John J. O’Keefe, suspended Pastor of St. Margaret of Antioch Parish in Pearl River, New York, former Principal of Archbishop Stepinac High School in White Plains, New York, former teacher and guidance counselor at Cardinal Hayes High School in the Bronx, New York, and former parish priest of Christ the King Parish in the Bronx, New York, has been removed permanently from serving as a priest by Cardinal Timothy Dolan because of credible childhood sexual abuse claims

One childhood sexual abuse victim of Monsignor John J. O’Keefe was sexually abused in two locations on separate occasions:

1) In a hotel room in Virginia during a Cardinal Hayes High School trip to Washington, DC, to visit with a Hispanic Congressman and tour the nation’s Capital, in the 1980s; and,

2) At the Irish Christian Brothers’ novitiate retreat house, Santa Maria, in Esopus (West Park), New York, during a “Cardinal’s Leadership Program” training weekend for Hispanic youth when he was a student at Cardinal Hayes High School in the Bronx, New York, in the 1980s

Why has Cardinal Timothy Dolan NOT announced that Monsignor John J. O’Keefe has been removed permanently from ministry as a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, and why has Cardinal Dolan not announced that the sexual abuse case against Monsignor John J. O’Keefe has or has not been sent to the Vatican for Monsignor O’Keefe’s removal from the priesthood?

What
A press conference announcing the permanent removal from priestly ministry of Monsignor John J. O’Keefe, a well-known priest of the Archdiocese of New York, who has spent decades in ministry to children in schools and parishes, and as Director of the “Cardinal’s Leadership Program” for Hispanic youth

When
Monday, September 26, 2016 at Noon

Where
On the public sidewalk in front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Fifth Avenue and East 50th Street, Manhattan

Who
Robert M. Hoatson, Ph.D., 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
“John Doe” met then Father John J. O’Keefe at Christ the King Parish in the Bronx in approximately 1975 when he was a minor child and a parishioner of Christ the King Parish. He did simple jobs in the rectory and was an altar boy. Father John J. O’Keefe then became a teacher and guidance counselor at a nearby Bronx high school, Cardinal Hayes High School, where “John Doe” attended high school. When “John Doe” was approximately 15-17 years old and a student at Cardinal Hayes High School, he was sexually abused by Father John J. O’Keefe during two school-sponsored events. “John Doe” was invited to accompany Monsignor John J. O’Keefe and a group of Cardinal Hayes High School students on a school trip to the Washington, DC area, where Monsignor John J. O’Keefe sexually abused “John Doe” in a hotel room in Virginia. Sometime later, as Director of the “Cardinal’s Leadership Program” for Hispanic youth, Father John J. O’Keefe, who was rewarded with the title “Monsignor” by the Cardinal Archbishop of New York, sexually abused “John Doe” during a leadership training weekend at the novitiate retreat house of the Irish Christian Brothers, Santa Maria, in Ulster County, New York. “John Doe” suffered significant damages as a result of the sexual abuse by Monsignor John J. O’Keefe, including dropping out of Fordham University, because of the effects of the sexual abuse.

It will be demanded on behalf of “John Doe” and the other childhood sexual abuse victims of Monsignor John J. O’Keefe that Cardinal Timothy Dolan:

1) Investigate the “Cardinal’s Leadership Program” for Hispanic youth, reach out to those Hispanic young men who were part of that program and may have been sexually abused, and provide the necessary resources to help those men heal;

2) Announce publicly that Monsignor John J. O’Keefe has been removed from priestly ministry permanently and that he will be monitored on a full-time basis; and,

3) Confirm that the Vatican has received the sexual abuse file of Monsignor John J. O’Keefe so he may be removed from the priesthood.

“The secrecy of the Archdiocese of New York surrounding the sexual abuse of an innocent child by Monsignor John J. O’Keefe is another example of why statute of limitations laws must be changed to help sexual abuse victims heal and to protect innocent children.” – Attorney Mitchell Garabedian

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

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Catholic church needs better way to select bishops

VATICAN CITY
National Catholic Reporter

Robert Mickens | Sep. 26, 2016 A Roman Observer

Pope Francis really believes there is a serious lack of quality among priests and bishops in the Catholic church. Otherwise, he would not talk so often about the negative traits of certain men in ordained ministry, as he’s done again several times in recent days.

“The world is tired of lying charmers and — allow me say — of ‘fashionable’ priests or ‘fashionable’ bishops,” the pope said on Sept. 16 to a group of 94 bishops consecrated in the last two years for dioceses in mission territories.

“The people ‘scent’ — the People of God have God’s ‘scent’ — the people can ‘scent’ and they withdraw when they recognize narcissists, manipulators, defenders of personal causes and standard bearers of worthless crusades,” the pope warned the so-called “baby bishops,” who were in Rome for a training seminar.

He also cautioned them about too easily accepting seminarians or incardinating already ordained priests into their dioceses.

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Reminder to register for private sessions by 30 September

AUSTRALIA
Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

26 September, 2016

Survivors of institutional child sexual abuse are reminded that they must register with the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse by Friday 30 September 2016 if they wish to have a private session.

Private sessions give survivors of child sexual abuse in an institution the ability to share their story directly with a Commissioner in a private setting.

The Royal Commission has now held almost 6,000 private sessions and it expects to have held more than 7000 private sessions by the time it completes its work at the end of next year.

In April this year, the Royal Commission announced it would close registrations for private sessions on 30 September due to the strong demand from survivors to share their story, which resulted in a queue of people waiting to meet with a Commissioner.

The Hon Justice Peter McClellan AM, Chair of the Royal Commission, said that unless applications were closed off well before the final report was completed, many people seeking a private session would be disappointed.

He said that it would be ‘intolerable for a survivor to be accepted for a private session only to find we could not meet with them.’

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Lev Tahor sect in Guatemala resettles, claiming harassment

GUATEMALA
Times of Israel

A community of ultra-Orthodox Jews living outside Guatemala’s capital moved out Sunday, claiming persecution because of their faith.

The 500-strong group hails from the United States, Israel, Canada, several European countries, Mexico and El Salvador.

The leader of the Lev Tahor community, the US rabbi Uriel Goldman, said his people are moving to a village in eastern Guatemala because of harassment including a raid of the group’s buildings on September 13 on the outskirts of the capital.

Guatemalan authorities said that search was carried out at the request of Israeli authorities to search for a girl who was barred from leaving Israel.

The raid was also aimed at investigating allegations of child abuse, the Guatemalan authorities said. The community includes some 150 minors.

“We cannot take any more,” said Goldman. “We are going to start over.”

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El enojo de los osorninos tras la posible visita del Papa a Chile

CHILE
El Vaca Nudo

[There is not a lot of joy in Osorno after announcement that Pope Francis possibly will visit Chile next year as part of a tour of several South American country. This is because all still remember how the pope supported Bishop Juan Barros after he was accused to covering up the sexual offensesof priest Fernando Keradima. Recall that in the video that was widely disseminated, the pope himself said that the people of Osorno are “silly” in not believing Barros who has denied the allegation against him.]

Alegría es lo menos que hay en Osorno luego del anuncio del Papa Francisco que dijo que posiblemente visitará Chile el próximo año en el marco de una gira por algunos países sudamericanos.

Esto, porque todos aún recuerdan cómo el Sumo Pontífice apoyó al obispo Juan Barros luego de que éste fuese acusado de encubrir los delitos sexuales de Fernando Karadima.

Precisamente el día miércoles, cuando se anunció su posible visita, El Vaticano se negó a entregar antecedentes sobre la defensa que hizo Francisco I.

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Victims celebrate passage of Bill 326, but say they’re far from done

GUAM
KUAM

Updated: Sep 26, 2016

By Krystal Paco

It’s a law that opposers have said could potentially bankrupt the local Catholic Church. While others say it’s a step toward healing for victims of child sexual abuse. Late Friday afternoon, Governor Eddie Calvo put pen to paper and signed the highly-controversial Bill 326 into law. While the church braces for doomsday, survivors celebrate.

Survivors of child sexual abuse, the time is now. “We want justice,” stated Roland Sondia, adding, “and we think this is the opportunity now.” Sondia and others who have publicly accused clergy men of child molestation can finally get their day in court. “I’m very happy that the governor signed it. By doing that that, he just made the island a much safer place for our children,” he shared.

Governor Eddie Calvo shared the same sentiment in his weekly address, in which he said, “I hope that we can now move forward and begin the process of healing. I ask everyone to pray for our island’s victims – of this most heinous crime, most especially the vulnerable of our community, our children.”

The Archdiocese of Agana meanwhile is preparing for the new law’s potentially crippling consequences, including bankruptcy, school closures, and an end to the church’s community services for the less fortunate. Days before Calvo took action on the legislation, the church circulated a petition to block the bill. Over 4,500 signatures were submitted to the Governor’s Office to veto the measure. The church offered assurance that a trust fund was being established for victims of sex abuse by church clergy.

Delegate to the administrator Father Jeff San Nicolas said, “Our archdiocese did not want to cause division and we are thankful for those who spoke up and expressed themselves and we will work cooperatively and fully with the process that justice is served and we want to meet the needs of whatever we can as a church to help that process of justice take place. And thank for all those who have made this bill, made the will of the people very clear and we’re cooperative with that.”

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September 25, 2016

Protesting Catholics call Archbishop Hon “a failure”

GUAM
KUAM

By Jason Salas

Members of the Concerned Catholics of Guam and the Laity Forward Movement continue to their weekly picket line on the steps for the Hagatna Cathedral Sunday morning. Messages on their signs have changed slightly — now calling Apostolic Administrator Archbishop Savio Hon Tai Fai a failure and demanding he go home to Rome.

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Opinion: It’s time for Guam’s second great awakening

GUAM
Pacific Daily News

Steven Castro McManus September 24, 2016

The long and arduous “mumon linahyan” that has engulfed Guam’s community for a number of years is echoing schisms of another era in history – 1517 to be exact and seems to be resulting in the same kind of reformation that followed. Pope Leo X’s corruption that exploited the faithful seem to have been reborn today in the person of one Archbishop Anthony Apuron. Unfortunately, the people of Guam have been suffering at the hands of this kind of colonial screw balling since Magellan “discovered” Guam in March 1521 and perhaps the passage of Bill 326 is the beginning of a new era.

Leo’s pattern of abuse served only to alienate indigenous peoples and drive them into the arms of another genus of Christianity. The radical ideas of Martin Luther was not just spiritual; it was nationalist in nature. German sentiment against the powerful Italian Medici was fertile soil for a reformation that would give them their own Christianity – thus the Lutheran Church was born. The Scots would get their Presbyterian Church, the English, their Anglican Church and the American colonists their Methodist and Baptist churches. And in each case, better systems of governments ensued.

Is it a coincidence that Guam’s religious rumblings are occurring simultaneously with the islands growing movement toward decolonization? Massachusetts outcast and Rhode Island founder Roger Williams probably wouldn’t think so. His Christian zeal for a better church in 1636 also fashioned a more democratic state that would inform the ideals of the U.S. Constitution more than a hundred years later.

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Church protest grows

GUAM
Guam Daily Post

Neil Pang | Post News Staff

About 150 Catholic activists – the most so far – turned out yesterday morning for the weekly protests held outside the Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica in Hagåtña. Stretching to the driveways on both ends of the walkway in front of the cathedral, protestors were stalled at multiple segments of the picket line as they adjusted to the unprecedented turnout.

The reason

Taking part were members of Silent No More, Concerned Catholics of Guam and the Laity Forward Movement – the three lay organizations that have organized the major protests concerning the allegations of child sex abuse against members of the clergy, the property dispute over the Redemptoris Mater Seminary and the call for the laicization of Archbishop Anthony Apuron. In addition, yesterday’s picket line included parishioners from the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Toto.

Picket organizers said the Toto parishioners took part as a show of support for their pastor, Rev. Mike Crisostomo. Crisostomo had recently been reprimanded by Archbishop Savio Hon Tai Fai, the apostolic administrator to the Archdiocese of Agana.

“We stand in solidarity behind our parish priest,” said John Taitano, member of the Toto parish council. “We are here to support him.”

According to sources, Crisostomo attended a meeting of the Presbyteral Council of the Archdiocese where Hon is said to have singled him out and accused him of disobedience in the presence of other council members.

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An einem verfluchten Ort

AUSTRALIEN
Frankfurter Allgemeine

[In the Australian city of Ballarat. abused priests and teachers abused children for years. To this day, many people refuse to see the truth in the eye.]

on TILL FÄHNDERS, BALLARAT

Das australische Städtchen Ballarat ist auf Gold gebaut. Abenteurer, die auf der Suche nach schnellem Reichtum gekommen waren, hatten die Ortschaft Mitte des 19. Jahrhunderts gegründet. Die gewaltigen Vorkommen im Buschland nördlich von Melbourne führten damals zu einem fiebrigen Goldrausch. Bis heute zeugen die verschnörkelten Fassaden aus der Zeit der britischen Königin Viktoria von diesem Reichtum. Ein bewaffneter Aufstand in Ballarat im Jahr 1854, mit dem Goldsucher sich mehr Rechte sichern wollten, wird sogar als Ursprung der australischen Demokratie gesehen. Man ist hier stolz auf diese Geschichte.

Jedoch liegt ein anderer Teil ihrer Vergangenheit wie ein dunkler Schatten über der ehemaligen Goldgräbersiedlung im Bundesstaat Victoria. In Ballarat fand einer der schlimmsten sexuellen Missbrauchsskandale in der Geschichte Australiens und der katholischen Kirche statt. Über Jahre hinweg hatten sich Priester, Mönche, Ordensleute, Lehrer und von der Kirche beschäftigte Laien an Minderjährigen vergangen.

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PERUGIA: “Don Lucio Gatti ha abusato di me. Avevo 13 anni”

ITALIA
Rete L’Abuso

[A 20-year-old man has gone to police and accused priest Lucio Gatti of abusing her when he was age 13.]

E l’agghiacciante racconto di un ragazzo oggi 20enne, ai carabinieri, ai quali racconta le presunte violenze psicologiche e sessuali che avrebbe subito da don Lucio Gatti quando aveva 13 anni, quando i servizi sociali lo portarono via di casa per affidarlo ad una delle comunità gestite da don Lucio, il centro Caritas di San Fatucchio.

La querela risale allo scorso aprile quando il ragazzo che stavamo da tempo seguendo ha trovato il coraggio di denunciare i presunti abusi.

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Esplora il significato del termine: «Don Angelo mi ha violentato a 9 anni», nuovo testimone contro il parroco bresciano«Don Angelo mi ha violentato a 9 anni», nuovo testimone contro il parroco bresciano

ITALIAS
Corriere della Sera

“Don Angelo raped me in nine years,” said a new witness against priest Angelo Blanchetti from Brescia.]

di Mara Rodella

Impresse nero su bianco sulla pagina virtuale. Chiare, inequivocabili. E riconducibili a un nome e un cognome. Digitate d’impeto – ma non per questo senza sofferenza o dopo una riflessione attenta sulle conseguenze – davanti all’ennesima «difesa» di chi, di quel sacerdote, si è sempre fidato. E che alle accuse non ci crede.

Ma «io sono ancora in cura, da anni. Ne avevo nove quando ho subito gli abusi da lui, adesso ne ho 35». Lo ha scritto su Facebook un giovane camuno, mettendoci la faccia. O meglio, il suo profilo. Quello vero. E «lui» è don Angelo Blanchetti, 55 anni, parroco di Corna di Darfo e di Bessimo, agli arresti domiciliari da martedì con l’accusa di violenza sessuale su minore: un ragazzino che ha compiuto 14 anni in aprile ha trovato il coraggio di confidare a un pastore milanese prima e agli inquirenti coordinati dal pm Ambrogio Cassiani poi, gli abusi che avrebbe subito per circa due anni

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Mgr di Falco de nouveau assigné au civil pour un viol prescrit

FRANCE
Liberation

Par Bernadette Sauvaget — 23 septembre 2016

Mgr di Falco de nouveau assigné au civil pour un viol prescrit

Quatorze ans après avoir été classée sans suite à cause de la prescription des faits, l’affaire mettant en cause Mgr Jean-Michel di Falco, l’actuel évêque de Gap, ressurgit. Accusant le prélat de l’avoir violé et abusé sexuellement au début des années 70, «Marc» (un prénom d’emprunt), la victime présumée, a entamé selon son avocat Jean-Baptiste Moquet une procédure au civil pour obtenir réparation du préjudice subi et réclamer des dommages et intérêts. Une démarche courante dans les pays anglo-saxons. «Nous avons épuisé toutes les autres procédures judiciaires», explique, à Libération l’avocat de Marc. Personnalité très médiatique, Mgr di Falco, un proche de Bernadette Chirac et de l’homme d’affaires François Pinault, a toujours nié les faits. En 2003, le prélat, promis à un brillant avenir, avait été nommé dans un petit diocèse peu prestigieux, celui de Gap (Hautes-Alpes). Di Falco est récemment revenu sur le devant de la scène grâce au succès du groupe de chanteurs qu’il a créé, les Prêtres.

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NDR-Missbrauchskampagne gegen die Kirche – 2015 wie 2010 – medienethisches Versagen ARD (10)

DEUTSCHLAND
katholisches

In einer beispiellosen Kampagne im Sinne von Schwarmjournalismus hatten die Medien im Frühjahr 2010 die Kirche wegen Missbrauchsvorfällen an den Pranger gestellt. Damit verbreiteten sie in der Bevölkerung die absurd irrige Meinung, Kindesmissbrauch sei unter Priestern in der katholischen Kirche weit verbreitet. So lautete damals der Vorhalt des Allensbach-Instituts, dem 47 Prozent der Befragten zustimmte. Fünf Jahre nach dem rufschädigenden Kampagnen-Journalismus, an dem sich auch der NDR beteiligte, schlägt der Sender mit einem neuen Filmbericht in die gleiche Kerbe.

Ein Gastbeitrag von Hubert Hecker.

Im Jahre 2011 hatte das Kriminologische Forschungsinstitut Niedersachsen in einer repräsentativen Studie 11.428 Personen zwischen 16 und 40 Jahren nach Missbrauchserfahrungen befragt. Daraus ergab sich, dass 683 Personen (knapp sechs Prozent der Befragten) vor dem 16. Lebensjahr mindestens einmal Opfer von Missbrauch geworden waren. Bei mehr als drei Viertel der den Opfern „bekannten“ Missbrauchstätern mit Körperkontakt (473 Betroffene) handelt es sich um männliche Täter aus dem engen Familienkreis oder aus dem Umfeld der Eltern. Zugeordnet nach gesellschaftlichen Bereichen kamen fast einhundert Missbrauchstäter bezüglich aller Sexualdelikte aus dem Schulbereich, jeweils um die vierzig aus dem Freizeit/Sportbereich sowie dem Heim- und Pflegekontext. Von den elftausend Befragten gab eine Person an, von einem katholischen Priester missbraucht worden zu sein.

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INFO FRANCEINFO. Pédophilie : l’affaire di Falco relancée

FRANCE
Franceinfo

C’est une information franceinfo : monseigneur di Falco, l’évêque de Gap, ex-porte-parole médiatique de l’épiscopat, est assigné au civil dans une affaire de pédophilie présumée.

Un ancien élève, qui se fait appeler “Marc”, veut demander réparation pour le préjudice qu’il aurait subi, après des viols et des agressions sexuelles que le prêtre aurait selon lui commis dans les années 1970, alors qu’il avait entre 12 ans et 15 ans. À l’époque, monseigneur di Falco était le directeur du petit collège de Saint-Thomas-d’Aquin dans le 7e arrondissement de Paris.

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Französischer Bischof in Missbrauchs-Prozess vorgeladen

FRANCE
cath.ch

[Bishop Jean-Michel Di Falco of the Southeast French Alps Gap diocese, has been summoned to a civil court to answer an allegation of child abuse. Various French media report he is accused of sexually abusing a student in the 1970s. The alleged abuse happened at the private College Saint-Thomas-d’Aquin in Paris. Di Falco was director at the time.]

Paris, 23.9.16 (kath.ch) Der Bischof der südostfranzösischen Alpendiözese Gap, Jean-Michel Di Falco, ist in einem Zivilprozess zu Kindesmissbrauch vorgeladen. Verschiedene französische Medien berichten, dass er beschuldigt werde, sich in den 1970er Jahren an einem Schüler vergriffen zu haben. Der angebliche Missbrauchsfall habe sich im Privatcollege Saint-Thomas-d’Aquin in Paris ereignet, dessen Direktor Di Falco damals war. Das Opfer klagt laut Medienangaben auf Schadenersatz.

Ein 2002 eröffneter Prozess zu dem Fall war wegen Verjährung eingestellt worden. Zum aktuellen Prozess wollte der Bischof sich nicht äussern.

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Spotlight: 9/24/16 Gallup, NM panel discusses area child abuse by Priests and other adults

NEW MEXICO
WGLP

A panel discussion was held Saturday (Sept. 24) in Gallup, New Mexico, on “Spotlight: A Public Discussion about Faith, Journalism and Protecting Children from Sex Abuse.”

Speaking were Terry McKiernan of Boston, the founder of BishopAccountability.com and a consultant to “Spotlight”; Ralph Lind of Albuquerque, a licensed professional clinical counselor and former minister; Phoenix attorney Robert E. Pastor, who represented 18 clergy sex abuse claimants in the Diocese of Gallup’s bankruptcy case; Gallup attorney Billy Keeler, who has represented Navajo plaintiffs in Catholic sex abuse lawsuits and currently represents Navajo plaintiffs in abuse complaints against the Mormon Church; Elizabeth Hardin-Burrola, a freelance journalist who has covered the Gallup Diocese for 14 years.

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Pesch: What happens after child sex abuse bill becomes law

GUAM
Pacific Daily News

Bill Pesch September 25, 2016

Like many others on Guam, I woke up Saturday morning wondering what the future holds for us as a community. With Gov. Eddie Calvo’s signature of approval to Bill 326, we are on an unchartered course of attempting to hold a religious institution accountable for alleged acts that, if true, are both morally and legally deplorable. This is going to take some time to sink in.

There is no doubt that Gov. Calvo anguished over his decision to let the courts decide the merits of the public accusations of child sexual abuse made against Catholic priests. He deserves our thanks and appreciation, as does the Guam Legislature, for opening a legal channel for child abuse victims to seek justice and retribution. The difficult journey these victims face will be easier to endure with the knowledge that a large segment of the community stands united behind them.

So, what happens now? In light of the governor’s action, we can expect an outburst of loud and lively public comment. I suspect that after a couple of weeks things will quiet down. There will be a shift from public to private conversations that will take place within families trying to determine if any members suffered child sexual abuse at the hands of persons in authority. Hopefully, families will encourage victimized relatives to come forward with their accusations. To optimize the healing process, victims will need strong family support throughout the long legal ordeal.

Victims will next need to retain a reputable attorney to represent them in moving forward. The attorney should have a strong background in personal injury law and a proven track record of successful trial litigation experience. Do not hesitate to ask an attorney to cite specific examples of his or her trial experience, along with the outcomes. Before making a final decision, meet with several attorneys and talk to their former clients, if possible.

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September 24, 2016

Should Pennsylvania sex abuse survivors accept half loaf of justice?

PENNSYLVANIA
The Morning Call

Bill White

Should advocates for extending child sex abuse statute of limitations accept half a loaf?
Is half a loaf better than none?

Not when it comes to this year’s emotional and contentious effort to offer justice to many victims of child sex abuse in Pennsylvania by extending or eliminating statutes of limitations, according to the Legislature’s most visible advocate for changing the law.

State Rep. Mark Rozzi, D-Berks, told me last week that he has consulted with survivors, advocacy groups and other House members over the question of whether the House should accept the watered down version of House Bill 1947 that passed the Senate in June.

He says the consensus is that they need to revert to the original House bill, or at least restore the language that gave victims of child sex abuse up to age 50 — including those blocked by the present statute — the retroactive right to sue their abusers.

One of those advocates, constitutional scholar Marci Hamilton, told me Rozzi is right to push hard for retroactivity, but she’s OK with incremental improvements if necessary.

“My view is that you get what you can each year, and you keep pushing,” she said. “If they pass an inadequate bill, they’ll have to reconsider the issue next year. It’s not going away.”

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Magdalene Laundries: 20 years since the last laundry closed in Ireland, five survivors tell their heartbreaking stories

IRELAND
Irish Post

September 23, 2016, By Erica Doyle Higgins & Fiona Audley

THIS weekend marks the 20th anniversary of the closure of the last Magdalene Laundry in Ireland.

On September 25 1996, Ireland’s final laundry, which was located on Sean MacDermott Street in Dublin and run by the Sisters of Our Lady, closed its doors for good.

While it’s not known for definite, it’s estimated that 10,000 women were institutionalised in laundries since the foundation of the Irish state in 1922.

The Irish Post reported in 2013 that the majority of laundry survivors escaped to Britain, for fear they’d be caught and incarcerated again.

As a result of the secrecy of the institutions, many survivors felt forgotten and unable to tell their stories.

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Sex charge dropped after church decides to return Iowa priest to home country

IOWA/GHANA
World-Herald

By Andrew J. Nelson / World-Herald staff writer

A charge of soliciting prostitution has been dropped against a southwest Iowa priest after the Catholic church decided to return him to his home country of Ghana, according to a prosecutor and court documents.

Dominic Yamoah, now 41, was arrested in Fremont County on July 9; authorities accused him of offering to purchase the services of a confidential informant for a sex act.

The Diocese of Des Moines said in a statement after the arrest that Yamoah “very sincerely regrets his actions” and that it had suspended him from public ministry, according to The Associated Press. Yamoah, who was released on bail, had been a pastor of churches in Clarinda, Bedford and Villisca.

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Malka Leifer extradition: Accused principal must be brought back to Australia

AUSTRALIA
Brisbane Times

Michael Short

There is a school in the inner Melbourne suburb of Elsternwick that exclusively serves a small and secretive Jewish sect, the ultra-Orthodox Adass Israel community, comprising about 200 families. It has been the scene of shocking sexual abuse, and is at the centre of an ongoing scandal that allegedly involves community members helping to finance the life of the exiled perpetrator, the predatory former principal Malka Leifer, who was protected by school leaders after her crimes were discovered.

The Adass Israel School looks like a prison. Upon its looming, grim walls perch security cameras. Its gates are locked. Security guards prowl throughout the day. These unusual measures are presumably to protect the children. But the enemy has been within.

There is no suggestion of which I am aware that current students are being abused. But the available evidence indicates the school leaders have failed to adequately grasp their responsibility to ensure any current or former members of the school community can seek the most appropriate help should they have been involved in the Leifer atrocity or any similar occurrence.

The entire situation is a tragedy and a travesty. Back in 2008, Leifer, a mother of eight, was found to have abused girls under her charge. Instead of denouncing her to the police, school leaders immediately arranged a late-night flight and she escaped to Israel, where she remained at large for several years. The tickets were funded by members of the Adass community.

Supreme Court judge Jack Rush has indicated in a judgement that some of the school and community leaders responsible for such a perversion of justice may well have broken the law, and police are reportedly belatedly investigating. What sort of message does protecting a child-sex criminal send to the obedient and reserved members of the Adass community, who undoubtedly cherish their children as much as any other people? When he awarded one of Leifer’s victims $1.2 million compensation last year, Justice Rush lambasted then and current Adass Israel school board president Yitzhak Benedikt and board member Mark Ernst for organising the 1.20am flight – hours after her sacking – in full knowledge of the hideous, criminal abuse of trust and power she had allegedly committed.

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Special advocates team up with Rozzi to push for end-of-session passage of statute of limitations bill.

PENNSYLVANIA
Foundation to Abolish Child Sex Abuse – FACSA

Advocates, survivors and members of the General Assembly will stand with state Rep. Mark Rozzi, D-Berks, to call on House leadership to run H.B. 1947 with the retroactive component that overwhelmingly passed the House 180-15 in April.

The news conference will begin at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 27 in the Main Capitol Rotunda. The bill would substantially revise the statute of limitations on child sex crimes and abuse.

Special guest speakers at the news conference will include:

*Jennifer Storm – state victim advocate;
* Josh Shapiro – chairman, Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD);
* Delilah Rumburg – chief executive officer, Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR);
* Charles Gallagher – senior prosecutor for the 2003 and 2005 Philadelphia Archdiocese grand juries under former Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham; and
* Shaun Dougherty – Altoona/Johnstown clergy abuse survivor, advocate.

Rozzi will address the recent news of the investigation of the remaining six Roman Catholic dioceses within the commonwealth and the statements by state Attorney General Bruce Beemer concerning H.B. 1947. Additionally, Rozzi intends to discuss the need for the state Senate to allow the courts to decide the constitutional concerns of the bill and pass the reinstated measure to the governor before the end of the legislative session.

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Teacher’s victim ‘learning how to live again’ after sexual exploitation

CANADA
Ottawa Sun

SABRINA BEDFORD, THE RECORDER AND TIMES

“Mr. Rancourt, you no longer own me.”

That statement, from a woman in a case of sexual exploitation and sexual assault, was part of a powerful victim impact statement delivered Friday at the Brockville courthouse that left many in the courtroom in tears.

“I was outsmarted and manipulated by a person I trusted,” said the victim of years abuse at the hands of her high school teacher, adding she has been diagnosed with depression, anxiety and PTSD in the aftermath of the abuse.

“I can’t walk down the street. I live each and every day in fear of being hit, of being yelled at, of being used as a sexual tool.”

Dave Rancourt, a former teacher at St. Mary Catholic High School, was found guilty on one count of sexual exploitation and one count of sexual assault in July.

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Former Wyckoff pastor sentenced in youth group sex abuse case, report says

NEW JERSEY
NJ.com

By Craig McCarthy | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

HACKENSACK — A former pastor at a Wyckoff church has been sentenced to six years in prison for sexually assaulting teenage girls in a youth group, NorthJersey.com reports.

David Hayman, 38, was arrested in March of last year. Hayman was charged with two counts of sexual assault and five counts of child endangerment.

Authorities said Hayman exchanged videos with two 16-year-old girls in the youth group and texted explicit messages to two others, one who was 15-years-old and another who was 16 at the time.

“All of the victims were members of a church youth group, of which Hayman was the pastor and for whom he had direct supervisory responsibility,” Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli said in a statement last year.

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Former Richmond megachurch pastor, convicted felon ‘Pastor G’ asks for new trial

VIRGINIA/TEXAS
WRIC

[with video]

By Kerri O’Brien
Published: September 23, 2016

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Convicted sex offender and former Richmond megachurch Pastor Geronimo Aguilar has officially filed his appeal in Texas. You’ll remember, last year the former “Roc Church” pastor was convicted on seven counts of sexual assault on a minor. It happened during the 1990’s while he was a youth pastor in Texas.

In the brief, Aguilar and his legal team are asking a Texas appeals court to reverse his conviction and grant him a new trial. One of the grounds for appeal argues the Texas trial court abused its discretion in admitting extensive evidence of Pastor Aguilar’s extramarital affairs here in Virginia.

READ: Pastor G files appeal

Aguilar’s attorneys argue, “what started out as an allegation in Texas 19 years ago evolved into a Virginia circus.” The brief goes on to say the “pastor’s circus of a trial was anything but fair.”

Legal experts say the inclusion of those adult affairs could give an appellate judge some pause to consider the case.”

“Generally speaking, if it is more prejudicial than probative that is going to hurt the witness worse than any reason for admitting it’s not admissible,” Chesterfield County attorney Bill Shields told 8News Investigative Reporter Kerri O’Brien. “In Virginia the admission of that evidence would have been problematic.”

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Former Bergen Youth Pastor Sentenced To 6 Years For Teen Sex Abuse, Report Says

NEW JERSEY
Patch

By Daniel Hubbard (Patch Staff) – September 24, 2016

A former church youth pastor was sentenced to six years in prison Friday for sexually-explicit charges involving teenage girls, NorthJersey.com reported.

David Hayman, 38, of Oradell, was charged with engaging in inappropriate sexual activity and exchanging sexual explicit videos on several occasions with two 16-year-old girls, then-Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli said when Hayman was arrested in March 2015.

Hayman, a married father of three, had inappropriate relationships with at least five girls at Cornerstone Christian Church in Wyckoff, the report said. Hayman worked at the church for about 10 years.

One victim said in court that knowing Hayman, “has been the most negative experience of my life,” according to the report.

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Hunter Marist Brothers left trail of violence: Royal Commission

AUSTRALIA
Newcastle Herald

IAN KIRKWOOD
24 Sep 2016

THE Royal Commission hearings in Newcastle earlier this month heard repeated evidence of the physical and sexual abuse that characterised life for many Marist Brothers pupils at Hamilton and Maitland.

Counsel assisting the commission, Stephen Free, said 32 people had made claims of sexual abuse against one or more Marist brother from schools in the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle, including nine people whose claims were against more than one individual.

Francis Cable, known as Brother Romuald, had been the subject of 12 claims, nine of which related to incidents at Marist Brothers Hamilton and Maitland. Cable went to trial in 2015. He is serving a 16-year jail term, with eight years minimum non-parole, over offences relating to 19 complainants.

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Allegations of child sexual abuse at Lincoln school being investigated by police

UNITED KINGDOM
Lincolnshire Echo

By PWhitelam_LE | Posted: September 24, 2016

Allegations of child sexual abuse at a Lincoln school are being investigated by Lincolnshire Police.

The force has confirmed that it is looking into claims surrounding the Cathedral School in Lincoln as part of an investigation called Operation Redstone.

The school, which educated the minster’s choristers, was amalgamated with others in 1996 to become Lincoln Minster School.

Detectives launched Operation Redstone after “a number of concerns” were referred to Lincolnshire Police in 2015 following a review of past safeguarding cases by the Diocese of Lincoln dating back to the 1958.

Detective Superintendent Rick Hatton, who is leading the enquiry team, said: “As there are individual investigations under the umbrella of this operation it would not be appropriate to give specific details, but suffice to say that all appropriate care and support is being given to past victims by both the police and the Diocese.

“Anyone who has any information relating to such cases is urged to contact Lincolnshire Police or the Diocese of Lincoln and the matter will be investigated.”

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IAN KIRKWOOD: the impact of paedophile priests on a faithful congregation

AUSTRALIA
Newcastle Herald

AS the Royal Commission hearings into events at the Maitland-Newcastle Diocese of the Catholic Church drew to a close, I found myself wondering about the sanctity of priests, and what a devout, doctrinal Catholic would think about the sins of their priests, from a theological point of view.

Despite the march of science, some practising Christians still adhere to a literalist reading of the Bible, meaning that they take both the Old and New Testaments as the literal word of the one God. They believe in Heaven and in Hell, and accept that God created the world in seven days, shortly before he put Adam in Eden and fashioned Eve from one of his ribs.

Even if most Catholics now recognise the mythical aspects of Christianity, many of the church’s 1.2 billion adherents still place great store in the rituals and symbols of the church despite the reprehensible behaviour of many of its priests and brothers.

As an example, one of the aged Marist Brothers whose conduct was examined at the Newcastle royal commission hearing – Darcy John O’Sullivan, known as Brother Dominic – was jailed on Friday for crimes he committed in the 1970s and early 1980s.

The chairman of the commission, Justice Peter McClellan, said more than once during the hearings that the inquiry was very interested in the Catholic use of the confessional, which critics say was relied on by the church to absolve the sins of its priests while keeping the church’s problems away from public scrutiny.

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Farrell scandal puts Catholic church’s attitude to Australian law under the microscop

AUSTRALIA
The Guardian

David Marr
Friday 23 September 2016

The furrows deepened on the brow of Father Brian Lucas. His bouncy confidence evaporated in the witness box. He sweated under questioning. He confessed over and over again to be puzzled by his own actions. Puzzled by the actions of others. So puzzled. But he gave no ground.

On one reading of this tangled story, Lucas could face possible criminal charges for failing to alert the police 24 years ago to the apparently frank confessions of a paedophile priest. He doesn’t see it that way.

Lucas put everything he had this week into convincing the royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse that his handling of the case of Father John Farrell – who was abusing children from the moment he was ordained in 1981 – was absolutely proper.

Lucas matters. Though he has no fancy title and doesn’t wear lace, this lawyer priest has been a fixer of great skill within the Catholic church for decades. He has been one of the hard men in the church bureaucracy: for years the spokesman of the archdiocese of Sydney and then secretary to the Bishops’ Conference.

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Diocese of Stockton submits bankruptcy plan

CALIFORNIA
Turlock Journal

By Sabra Stafford
Crime Desk sstafford@turlockjournal.com 209-634-9141, ext. 2002

The Diocese of Stockton has filed a reorganization plan with the bankruptcy court that, if approved, will allocate $15 million to the more than two dozen victims of sexual abuse that have come forward since 2014.

The Roman Catholic Bishop of Stockton filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January 2014 after a series of costly sexual abuse settlements left them financially drained. Once the Diocese made the decision to file for bankruptcy they began a notification process that over the course of three months led to 34 new claims of sexual abuse. The new claims were filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court and the proposed plan will provide $15 million to 27 survivors of sexual abuse as well as non-monetary commitments such as therapy and counseling.

“The plan demonstrates the Diocese of Stockton’s continued commitment to providing for survivors of sexual abuse in a fair, just and equitable manner from its available resources,” the Diocese said in a released statement.

Locally, the Diocese oversees All Saints University Parish, Sacred Heart Church and Our Lady of the Assumption of the Portuguese Church, all in Turlock, and St. Anthony’s Church in Hughson. It also includes Sacred Heart’s Turlock schools. However, the bankruptcy filing will have no impact on the parishes, schools and other ministries.

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September 23, 2016

Calvo signs sex abuse bill

GUAM
Guam Daily Post

John O’Connor | Post News Staff

Bill 326-33 has been signed into law by Gov. Eddie Calvo, opening the door for civil action against perpetrators of child sex abuse. The governor, in a lengthy letter, detailed his reasoning for signing the bill.

“My conscience has been conflicted for the last two weeks. Let me be clear that I am not judging any single person or institution. I am deciding whether a group of people has been denied justice and should therefore be entitled to seek it with judgment by due process of law,” the governor stated.

Bill 326 lifts the statute of limitations for civil cases involving child sex abuse. The measure was authored by Sen. Frank Blas Jr. and was passed by 13 senators during a legislative session in September. Sens. Tina Muña-Barnes and Tom Ada were absent during the vote.

The bill developed amid accusations of sexual molestation by Archbishop Anthony Apuron. Three former altar boys – Walter Denton, Roy Quintanilla and Roland Sondia – and Doris Concepcion, the mother of the late Joseph “Sonny” Quinata, have all accused Apuron of abuse. Other individuals have also come forward either as alleged victims of abuse by clergy or as witness to such abuse.

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NSW Government accused of stalling national compensation scheme for abuse victims

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

By Michelle Brown

The New South Wales Government has been accused of holding up a national $4.8 billion redress scheme for children who suffered abuse in institutions.

The scheme was recommended by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in August last year.

It recommended a national scheme be set up under the auspices of the Commonwealth Government, which would provide the support and back up.

Institutional and other parties would make their contributions to a board of trustees that would run the scheme.

Wayne Chamley, from victims advocacy group Broken Rites, said all the major churches except for the Salvation Army had agreed to contribute to the scheme as required.

“There’s no argument among the major religions, Anglicans, Presbyterians, Catholics, they will contribute whatever is required,” he said.

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Catholics who have left the church say they would not return

UNITED STATES
Irish Central

Frances Mulraney @FrancesMulraney September 21, 2016

US Catholics who have left the church don’t believe they could be tempted to return, according to a survey by Pew Research Center, carried out in 2015, examining American Catholics and family life.

In the lead up to Pope Francis’ US visit at the end of September 2015, the survey also revealed that although the number of practicing Catholics in the US may be dropping, the number of people affiliated in some way with the Church is in fact rising, be it through their parents, a spouse or some other cultural connection.

For a long time, a quarter of the US population was made up of Catholics but the new Pew survey shows that this dropped to 20.8 per cent in 2014 from 23.9 per cent in 2007.

Many Americans brought up as Catholics are turning their backs on the faith for a number of reasons. Seventy-seven per cent of those who have left say they could never envision returning to the Church and gave no clear indication that any change to Church teachings would make them reconsider this.

The survey showed that as many as half those who were raised as Catholics left at some point in their lives, although 11 per cent did return.

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Chicago priest charged in child porn case posts bond

ILLINOIS
Chicago Sun-Times

Andy Grimm
@agrimm34 | email

Octavio Munoz, a 40-year-old Chicago priest accused of possessing child pornography, has posted $50,000 bail and is free on electronic monitoring, authorities said Friday.

A family member put up the money–$5,000–to secure Munoz’s release, a Cook County Jail spokesman said Friday.

Munoz’s had only $2,000 in savings, his lawyer said at a bond hearing Wednesday.

Munoz is charged with a single felony count, after investigators hired by the Archdiocese of Chicago found a video of pre-pubescent boys engaging in sex acts on a computer that belonged to the priest, prosecutors said.

Police still are sorting through hundreds of DVDs and VHS tapes seized in a search of Munoz’s home, Assistant State’s Attorney Guy Lisuzzo said Wednesday. Investigators also found child-sized underwear and magazines depicting young boys.

Munoz was director of Casa Jesus, 750 N. Wabash, an archdiocese program that recruited Spanish-speaking candidates for the priesthood locally and internationally. Munoz left that post in July to become pastor of St. Pancratius,, 4025 S. Sacramento in the Brighton Park neighborhood.

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TX–Churches tout abuse prevention program; Victims respond

TEXAS
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Friday, Sept. 23, 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)

Some Dallas churches are patting themselves on the back for a purported child abuse prevention program in which they’re involved. Such self-congratulations is self-serving and dangerous.

[WFAA]

We endorse virtually any effort to increase public awareness and understanding of abuse and prevention. But we worry that many church officials engage in programs like this for their public relations value. And we worry that these programs can inadvertently add to an already pervasive and unhealthy sense of complacency in churches.

And we must remember that it’s rarely a lack of information that’s problematic in these cases. It’s a lack of courage and compassion. Church officials usually know the right thing to do about suspicions or knowledge of child sex crimes. But all too often, they’re too timid to call 911, fearing controversy, decreased membership and declining donations.

So while education can be and usually is beneficial, it’s not a panacea. Secular authorities must aggressively investigate, prosecute and punish church officials who know of or suspect child sex crimes and cover ups.

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Former Wyckoff youth pastor sentenced to six years in sex abuse case

NEW JERSEY
The Record

BY ALLISON PRIES
STAFF WRITER | THE RECORD

A former youth pastor at a Wyckoff church was sentenced to six years in prison on Friday for crimes against teenage girls that ranged from sexually explicit text messages to intercourse.

David Hayman, 38, a married father of three, appeared before Judge Margaret Foti in Superior Court in Hackensack. Hanging his head, he listened as three victims spoke of the damage they suffered after becoming his “daughters,” as Hayman had described them.

“What could be safer than a youth group?” Assistant Prosecutor Demetra Maurice said. “But it wasn’t.”

Related: Wyckoff youth pastor charged with sex assault

Hayman had inappropriate relationships with at least five girls at Cornerstone Christian Church.

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Cardinal Pell holds his head up high as he cleans up Vatican finances

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

ANGELA SHANAHAN
Columnist
Canberra

During the past 15 years almost no public figure in Australia has been subjected to the amount of abuse, vilification and downright hate as Cardinal George Pell. This has ranged from smears about lack of action on sexual abuse by clergy to vague innuendo about his own behaviour and flimsy allegations about impropriety while play-fighting in a pool and changing in the dressing sheds, which, frankly, verge on the ridiculous. Ask anyone what they think about the cardinal and you will get responses on a spectrum from villain to hero.

I had lunch with Pell in his apartment in Rome in July. It was not the first time I had met him, but it was the first time I had a prolonged conversation with him.

He lives in a quiet block comfortably furnished in clerical style and the lunch was prepared and served by a sharp young American nun who, much to everyone’s astonishment, had attended the West Point military academy.

Conversation moved from the cardinal’s work at the Vatican to the scandals destroying his character in Australia. Although he seemed pessimistic about his financial reforms, he was in a very relaxed mood and — oddly, considering what is happening here — much more generally good-­humoured than I had expected. Many people close to Pell are confident that the latest accusations being investigated by Victoria Police, arising from complaints about Pell’s time in Ballarat, Torquay and Melbourne, will simply fade away.

Pell is not a man to be destroyed easily. Time and again, from the beginning of his archbishopric in Sydney, enemies of the church have focused on the cardinal as the personification of wrongdoing — as in David Marr’s Quarterly Essay The Prince, a simplistic way of trying to further destabilise and disenfranchise the confused laity, most of whom don’t identify as reactionaries or conservatives.

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Why most people leave religion? They just ‘stop believing’

UNITED STATES
Salt Lake Tribune

By KIMBERLY WINSTON Religion News Service

It’s bad news for organized religion: A majority of the religiously unaffiliated — the so-called “nones” — say they fell away from faith not because of any negative experience, but because they “stopped believing,” usually before age 30.

Gloomier still for religion is this: Nones make up 25 percent of the American population, making them the single largest “faith group” in the U.S., ahead of Catholics (21 percent) and white evangelicals (16 percent).

And only a fraction — 7 percent — say they are looking for a religion to belong to at all.

Those are among the more salient findings of a new study of the religiously unaffiliated conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute.

The study challenges the assumption that the unaffiliated are leaving religion because they are offended by religious institutions’ treatment of gay and lesbian people or clergy sex abuse scandals, said Daniel Cox, PRRI’s research director.

“Those things matter,” he said, “but they are dwarfed by this central idea that people no longer believe in religious teachings.”

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Casa Grande man can sue Catholic church over alleged sex abuse in Guam

ARIZONA/GUAM
Casa Grande Dispatch

Staff and Wire Reports

HAGATNA, Guam — Guam Gov. Eddie Calvo said Friday he signed a bill that would lift the statute of limitations on child sex abuse charges for civil cases after allegations were made earlier this year by a Casa Grande man and three others that they were abused as children by the local archbishop.

Catholic leaders say the move could bankrupt the church in the largely Catholic U.S. territory.

The bill, which does not apply to criminal prosecutions, was approved by the Legislature after abuse allegations surfaced against Archbishop Anthony Apuron.

Current Casa Grande resident Walter Denton publicly revealed he was molested as a child by Apuron when the archbishop was a Catholic priest in Guam. The 52-year-old Denton told the Casa Grande Dispatch he attempted to report the incident almost 40 years ago, but nothing was done about it.

Denton held a press conference June 7 in Guam where he alleged he had been the victim of sexual abuse while serving as an altar boy at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, located in the village of Agat. He accused Apuron of raping him as a 13-year-old during a sleepover.

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Former Prior Lake Youth Pastor Charged with Having Relationship with Teen

MINNESOTA
KSTP

September 23, 2016

A former Bloomington resident and Prior Lake youth pastor has been charged after he admitted to having a sexual relationship with a girl who was 16 years old at the time.

According to the criminal complaint, the girl told her priest about her relationship with 23-year-old Mitchell Geoffrey Bolkcom, who now lives in Grand Forks, North Dakota. The relationship was reported to police Tuesday, Sept. 13.

In an interview, the girl told police she met Bolkcom at a church retreat in late 2015. The Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis said in a statement that Bolkcom was an employee and volunteer at the Church of Saint Michael in Prior Lake at the time.

The girl told police she and Bolkcom started to meet up to talk about her depression. At first, they met at coffee shops, but she said they eventually started going to Bolkcom’s apartment in Bloomington, according to the criminal complaint.

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No trial for St Asaph man accused of harassing priest

UNITED KINGDOM/ITALY
BBC News

A man from Denbighshire who was accused of harassing a Catholic priest who he claimed abused him will not face trial.

Mark Murray from St Asaph will instead have to pay 1,700 euros – nearly £1,500 – in legal fees.

He went to Italy last year to face Father Romano Nardo, who taught him in Yorkshire in the late 1960s and told him the impact he had on his life.

The encounter was filmed by Italian newspaper La Repubblica and posted online.

In the film, the priest can be seen sinking to his knees and begging forgiveness.

Mr Murray was summoned to court in Verona earlier this year over the encounter and a hearing took place last week in his absence.

The judge found Mr Murray had not persecuted Father Nardo and his behaviour was not considered criminal – the case was dropped but Mr Murray will have to pay legal fees.

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Guam Gov signs Civil Window into law

GUAM
The Worthy Adversary

September 23, 2016 Joelle Casteix

Today, Guam Governor Eddie Calvo “signed a bill that allows victims of child sexual abuse to sue their abusers as well as anyone who helped them and the institutions with which they are affiliated.”

I am overjoyed for Guam’s victims of sexual abuse and Catholics as a whole. They have fought long and hard for accountability. Now, they are going to be able to use the courts to get it.

I predict that the local church and Rome are going to throw tons of money into the legal fight against these cases. Fortunately, the recent civil windows in Hawaii, Minnesota, Delaware, and California have provided victims and their attorneys with great knowledge, expertise, and insight.

We will learn a lot about what people knew on Guam and when they knew it. A lot of accused predators are going to be exposed—many still working in churches. It won’t be pretty, but victims and local Catholics will come out stronger.

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Diocese to sell iconic building

NEW MEXICO
Gallup Independent

Published in the Gallup Independent, Gallup, N.M., Sept. 17, 2016

Facility will be donated to Sisters of Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Joseph

By Elizabeth Hardin-Burrola
Independent correspondent
religion@gallupindependent.com

GALLUP – In further fallout from the Diocese of Gallup’s bankruptcy case, diocesan officials announced this week they have sold the diocese’s chancery building in Gallup.

“There are several reasons for this move, all of them positive,” Bishop James S. Wall stated in a letter to local Catholics released Wednesday. “The first reason is that the sale of the current chancery offices will allow us to make a substantial contribution to our Chapter 11 payment plan, which was set in place to ensure that survivors of abuse receive just compensation.”

The chancery building, located at 711 S. Puerco Drive, has long been a religious landmark in Gallup’s downtown residential neighborhood. It was previously used by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints before being sold to the Gallup Diocese.

According to the bishop, the chancery was purchased earlier this month by Dr. and Mrs. Raymond Ponce, of California, who “will be gifting” the property to Mother Magda Garcia and her Sisters of Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Joseph “as a permanent place to live and work.” The sisters have long operated a ministry in Gallup’s north side neighborhood, near East Wilson Avenue and Black Diamond Canyon Drive. Suzanne Hammons, a spokeswoman for the diocese, said the chancery building’s appraised value was $475,000, which “is around what it sold for” to Ponce.

The diocese will move its chancery offices to the second floor of the Catholic Indian Center, located at 503 W. Historic Highway 66. That move is expected to be completed by the end of October, the bishop said. Two diocesan nonprofit organizations, Catholic Charities of Gallup and the Catholic Peoples Foundation, will continue to use their current office space in the Catholic Indian Center.

Parking is limited in the center’s parking lot and along Historic Highway 66. Neither the bishop’s letter nor a follow-up response by Hammons addressed the move’s impact on the parking issue.

North side presence

In a telephone interview Friday, Garcia said she did not know when the sisters in her religious order would be moving into the chancery property. Garcia said she was not involved in the meetings between Ponce and diocesan officials.

Garcia said she met Ponce more than 50 years ago in California, and she cited his ongoing kindness in supporting her ministry.

Garcia was asked if she will miss having a presence on the north side.

“Of course,” she said. “I never wanted to move.”

Garcia explained, however, that she and her sisters had no choice but to move because of the poor condition of their current location. Garcia said December will mark the 40th anniversary of her sisters’ ministry on the north side of Gallup.

The Sisters of Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Joseph are known for their outreach to the local Spanish-speaking community, their service to St. Francis Parish and elementary school, their assistance to immigrants, and the operation of Casa Reina, a chapel of perpetual adoration.

Garcia said the sisters will move Casa Reina to the new south side location. They will also continue their ministry to immigrant families in Gallup.

“I’ll keep doing that as long as I live,” she said.

Garcia said she did not know what would eventually be done with the north side property because it belongs to the Diocese of Gallup. She also said she wasn’t sure what would be done with a house on Green Street, located across the street from Sacred Heart Cathedral, which Ponce purchased for her sisters several years ago.

Bankruptcy appraisal

In January 2015, the Diocese of Gallup requested permission of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to get an appraisal of the chancery property, along with a request to appraise the Sacred Heart Retreat Center, Sacred Heart School (formerly Gallup Catholic School), and disputed property at St. Bonaventure Indian Mission and School in Thoreau.

According to court documents, the diocese obtained a loan for approximately $2.3 million from the Catholic Order of Foresters, which was secured by the retreat center and school property. St. Bonaventure contributed $550,000 to the diocese’s plan of reorganization to settle its property ownership dispute with the diocese.

The sale of the chancery completes the diocese’s efforts to raise funds from this set of appraised property.

Hammons was asked if the diocese or Ponce would be doing renovations to the aging chancery before Garcia’s religious order moved into the building.

“While we’ve been here we’ve done some work on things like the air conditioning and heating, so those things plus others, like windows, are in operational order,” Hammons stated in an email. “I believe Dr. Ponce plans to do some work on the roof, and other basic remodeling to turn it from a building with offices into one more suited to a convent.”

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Governor signs Bill 326-33 into law

GUAM
Guam Daily Post

Gov. Eddie Calvo has signed Bill 326-33 into law, which now means the statute of limitations has been removed for sex abuse crimes, and victims can now take legal action against their assailants.

Download Gov. Calvo’s letter to the people of Guam.

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Marcharán contra la pedofilia tras caso de abuso sexual en escuela religiosa

PARAGUAY
Hoy

[Relatives and neighbors of a child allegedly sexually abused by a pastor have organized a march in protest against the pastor in in front of the religious school where the child was abused.]

Familiares y vecinos del menor de 8 años que aparentemente fue víctima de abuso sexual por parte de un pastor que ejercía la docencia en la Escuela Emanuel, organizan una marcha en repudio a la pedofilia que se llevará a cabo frente a la institución educativa donde aparentemente el niño fue manoseado.

A las 18:00 horas iniciará la manifestación contra la pedofilia que se llevará a cabo frente a la Escuela Emanuel de San Antonio, donde se registró el abuso sexual contra un menor de 8 años, que presuntamente fue perpetrado por el pastor Josías Cabral

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Ontario lawyers facing law society complaint over handling of St. Anne’s residential school case: cou

CANADA
APTN

September 22, 2016

Jorge Barrera
APTN National News

A survivor from the notorious St. Anne’s Indian Residential School has asked the Law Society of Upper Canada to investigate the handling of his residential school case by lawyers from a firm based in northern Ontario, APTN National News has learned.

The survivor, known in court documents only as H-15019, filed the complaint sometime before May 20 against lawyers from Wallbridge, Wallbridge, a law firm with offices in Timmins, Ont., North Bay, Ont., Sudbury, Ont. and Liskeard, Ont. The firm is also looking to expand in Ottawa, according to its website.

The law society complaint against the lawyers was noted in court documents filed this August as part of a $15 million defamation lawsuit launched by James Wallbridge, Almeda Wallbridge and Wallbridge, Wallbridge against Fay Brunning, the Ottawa lawyer currently representing H-15019. The Wallbridge firm’s lawyers allege they were defamed by Brunning when she claimed they sat on pivotal police files that supported H-15019’s residential school compensation claim.

H-15019 is in the midst of a re-hearing of his case before the residential school settlement agreement created adjudication process known as the Independent Assessment Process (IAP). An IAP adjudicator initially rejected his claim. The IAP determines the level of compensation and whether it is deserved for claims of abuse suffered at the schools which existed for over a century.

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Marist brother jailed for abusing students

AUSTRALIA
news.com.au

SEPTEMBER 23, 2016

Male students accustomed to Brother Dominic’s abuse would tighten their belts, barricade their desks and even meet before class to discuss how to avoid him reaching under their clothes.

“Bums to the wall, Dom’s on the crawl” was a well-known catch phrase among students at one of his schools.

The 78-year-old Marist brother and former school teacher was on Friday jailed for at least three years after pleading guilty to a string of child sex offences involving 12 victims at NSW Catholic secondary schools between 1971 and 1983.

Sydney District Court judge Kate Traill stressed that she was required to sentence according to laws at the time, which were more lenient towards sex offenders.

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Congrégation de Ste-Croix: Catholic brother’s sexual abuse trial set for November

CANADA
Montreal Gazette

JESSE FEITH, MONTREAL GAZETTE

The case against a member of the Congrégation de Ste-Croix who faces charges of sexually abusing a former student at Collège Notre-Dame will go to trial in November, it was decided on Thursday.

Olivain Leblanc, 74, faces charges of gross indecency and sexual touching of an ex-student between 1979 and 1981.

Following many delays, the congregation handed out $18-million in settlements in 2013 to more than 200 victims from three schools — Collège Notre-Dame, Collège Saint-Césaire and Notre-Dame-de-Pohénégamook. Leblanc is one of two members who were charged in criminal court the same year.

Sébastien Richard, a spokesperson for the victims, was irate with Thursday’s decision to postpone the case to November.

“Men suffer in silence for years. The day they decide to finally come forward often only comes after having lived wasted lives,” Richard said outside the courtroom.

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Church criticised over safeguarding policies after former youth pastor convicted of sexual offences

UNITED KINGDOM
Third Sector

23 September 2016 by Andy Ricketts

The Charity Commission says its inquiry found inadequacies in the procedures and practices at Bourne Christian Centre

The Charity Commission has criticised a Christian church in Bristol for management and safeguarding failures after its former youth pastor was convicted of sexual offences.

The regulator today published an inquiry report on the Bristol Community Church, which has since changed its name to Bourne Christian Centre. The regulator says there had been misconduct and mismanagement in the administration of the charity because failures in its safeguarding policies and practices had left beneficiaries vulnerable to undue risk.

In October 2011, it says, it was notified by a congregational member that allegations of sexual abuse had been made against the charity’s youth pastor, who is not named in the report.

The regulator opened a compliance case on the charity in the same month. This was escalated to a statutory inquiry in December 2011 after the initial responses from the charity raised serious concerns about the adequacy of its safeguarding policies.

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Governor Calvo signs Bill 326 into public law

GUAM
KUAM

Updated: Sep 23, 2016

By Krystal Paco

The highly-controversial legislation that’s predicted to force the church into bankruptcy has been signed into public law by Governor Eddie Calvo. Bill 326 lifts the civil statute of limitations for child sex abuse cases.

The bill was inspired by a petition circulated by the Silent No More Movement with a mission to bring justice to victims of child sex abuse. On Wednesday however, a petition circulated by the Archdiocese of Agana was submitted to the Governor’s Office to veto the measure due to concerns over bankruptcy and potential closures of Catholic schools and other church services.

A statement from the Archdiocese of Agana states that they acknowledge the agony suffered by victims of child sex abuse by clergy and the responsibility the archdiocese has to bear. They are in the process of developing a dedicated fund to help persons who have been hurt.

The signing drew praise from outspoken critics of Archbishop Anthony Apuron. JungleWatch blogger Tim Rohr said it was the right thing to do, and that the next step is up to the archdiocese. He said if they are cooperative to the victims there will be an outpouring of support. If not, he asserted, the people will turn against them.

Former senator Bob Klitzkie said it was good news for the victims, and all those who are concerned for them. He says it shows that the governor cares.

Concerned Catholics of Guam spokesman David Sablan added, “This will bring closure to all the heartaches and pain survivors of child sex abuse have held on to over the past several years. It brings justice now for these survivors. God bless him.”

Meanwhile, veto advocate former Guam attorney general Doug Moylan says he believes the law has constitutional flaws, including its retroactive provisions. Moylan says the Guam Legislature and the governor now have the right to request a declaratory judgment from the Supreme Court of Guam, and he hopes he exercises that right.

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Archdiocese responds to signing of bill 326; thanks governor and senators

GUAM
Pacific News Center

Written by Janela Carrera

The church announced that they will be setting up a special fund.

Guam – The Archdiocese of Agana released a statement today minutes after Governor Eddie Calvo signed bill 326 into law, announcing that they will set up a special fund “to help persons who have been gravely hurt” by clergy members.

“We acknowledge the agony suffered by victims of child sexual abuse by clergy and the responsibility the Archdiocese has to bear,” the statement, signed by Apostolic Administrator Archbishop Savio Hon Tai Fai.

He also thanked Governor Eddie Calvo and lawmakers “for their part in Bill 326-33.”

“Once again, we apologize to and ask forgiveness from all victims of sexual abuse in our Archdiocese. We pledge to strengthen our response and care of victims and are working to ensure that all people, especially the most vulnerable, our children, are served in a welcoming, safe environment in our Church,” Archbishop Hon concluded.

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Governor signs bill 326 into law

GUAM
Pacific News Center

Written by Rebecca Elmore

The measure lifts the civil statute of limitations on child sexual abuse crimes.

Guam – Governor Eddie Calvo signed bill 326 into Public Law 33-187, opening the door for victims and survivors of child sex abuse to go after their perpetrators and the institutions that protected them through civil litigation.

You can read the governor’s signing message below:

My Dear People of Guam,

Transmitted herewith to the elected representatives of your Legislature is the new law opening the doors of justice to those who suffered a terrible harm as children. I have signed it into law as P.L. 33-187.

I am a practicing but imperfect Catholic; a husband, father, grandfather, brother, and son; a Chamorro man, who believes in second chances, yet has no tolerance for those who prey on the most innocent and vulnerable, the children. Thanks to the trust of our people, I’m also the governor. And on days like this, when my different roles may not join in harmonious conviction, I am resolute about this decision. It comes after days of listening to very different opinions, hearing the cries, considering the consequences, separating one issue from another and then reconciling it all within my conscience. So, today, though I am pleased that our community has confronted what once was unthinkable, I am saddened that even a single injustice had to happen in order to make this law necessary. There are no winners. Justice is the only victory.

When matters of justice come about, our system of government has spared me from any duty to judge another human being. It is neither my role, nor my desire, to judge others. I will not second guess the assertions of those who have been victimized, nor will I deny the protestations of those accused. The law spares the governor from the duty of judging beyond one matter: whether there is a new threshold for justice, that will be determined by the judges.

Today is that day, when I am due and bound by duty to judge this matter. I now understand why some say leadership is a burden. My conscience has been conflicted for the last two weeks. Let me be clear that I am not judging any single person or institution. I am deciding whether a group of people has been denied justice and should therefore be entitled to seek it with judgment by due process of law.

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Guam governor signs bill ending time limits in child sex cases

GUAM
USA Today

[with video]

Steve Limtiaco, Pacific Daily News (Guam) September 23, 2016

HAGATNA, Guam — Gov. Eddie Calvo on Friday signed a bill that allows victims of child sexual abuse to sue their abusers as well as anyone who helped them and the institutions with which they are affiliated.

The bill, by Sen. Frank Blas Jr., D-Barrigada, was introduced after several former Agat altar boys accused Archbishop Anthony Apuron of molesting or raping them in the 1970s. It retroactively lifts the statute of limitations on civil suits, and at least one Apuron accuser has said he plans to sue.

The Archdiocese of Agana opposed the bill and encouraged Calvo to veto it, arguing lawsuits against the church could financially cripple it and impact its ability to run Catholic schools and provide services.

In a letter accompanying the new public law, 33-187, Calvo said it opens the doors of justice to those who suffered a terrible harm as children.

Calvo said the bill has several legal and technical concerns — including whether it is even possible under the constitution to retroactively lift the statute of limitations.

“Despite these questions, today I will err on the side of the aggrieved,” he stated.

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End statute of limitations for child sexual abuse

NEW YORK
Poughkeepsie Journal

Melanie Blow September 22, 2016

Every year, New York newspapers cover child sexual abuse scandals, like the one unfolding with the Hudson Valley Council Boy Scouts. These headlines shock everyone, except subject matter and public policy experts like me. Every year, legislation to do something about the issue is introduced and often passed. And every year, more children are sexually abused.

Fixing mandated reporter laws, as state Sen. Sue Serino, R-Hyde Park, is trying to do, isn’t a bad idea, but it doesn’t fix the problem. Most children never disclose sexual abuse while they’re still children. Sexual abuse generally leaves few physical signs and nonspecific behavioral signs, so there aren’t a lot of red flags for alert mandated reporters. But the failure of anyone who hears a child disclose their sexual abuse, believes it, and does nothing is a heinous wrong. I cannot imagine what was going through the mind of anyone who believed former Dutchess County Legislator Michael Kelsey had sexually abused two boys but didn’t alert the authorities. But most likely the faint threat of arrest wouldn’t have stopped it.

The story of the Boy Scouts of America Hudson Valley Council is still unfolding, but since research shows offenders usually abuse child after child until they experience consequences, it is likely Michael Kelsey has other victims. The trauma these children suffer is so horrific and the manipulations of their abusers are so effective that it takes them an average of 21 years to disclose their abuse. And in New York state, survivors usually lose the right to press charges on their 23rd birthday. If a sex offender is convicted in criminal or civil court, it is a fairly simple matter to ensure that child-serving organizations, such as schools and scouts, don’t put them around kids. But according to experts, 90 percent of sex offenders never see a day behind bars. The best legislative remedy to this is the Omnibus Child Victims Act, a bill that would eliminate the Statute of Limitations for child sexual abuse.

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Sniffing out good bishops emerges as key papal priority

VATICAN CITY
Crux

Cindy Wooden
September 22, 2016
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

ROME – To say a bishop “smells like his sheep” is considered high praise today, and is one of the top characteristics Pope Francis says he wants in bishops and candidates for the position of guiding a diocese.

But like many of the other traits Pope Francis says he is looking for, there is no foolproof smell test and, in fact, a variety of sheep with varied scents are present in most dioceses.

Pope Francis’s instruction – almost a plea – to the world’s apostolic nuncios Sept. 17 to “cast the nets” wider when identifying potential new pastors for a diocese and his continuing discussion with his international Council of Cardinals about “the spiritual and pastoral profile necessary for a bishop today” make it clear that providing good shepherds for every diocese is a responsibility the pope takes seriously.

While the pope makes the final decision, the task of identifying, scrutinizing and proposing candidates to him is a burden shared by regional groups of bishops, the leadership of bishops’ conferences, the nuncios and either the Congregation for Bishops, the Congregation for Eastern Churches or the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

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Alumni are boycotting a Phillips Exeter probe

NEW HAMPSHIRE
Boston Globe

By Jenn Abelson GLOBE STAFF SEPTEMBER 22, 2016

Dozens of Phillips Exeter Academy alumni are urging abuse victims to boycott the prep school’s investigation into sexual misconduct, calling it a “trustee-controlled” review that so far has contacted few victims.

More than 40 alumni, including graduates who say they were sexually assaulted, criticized the five-month-old investigation for its slow pace and lack of transparency in a letter circulated Thursday. They demanded an inquiry similar to the one conducted at St. George’s School in Rhode Island, where victims and the school jointly retained a lawyer who released a public report.

Susannah Curtis, who started a Facebook group for Exeter survivors of sexual violence, said only one of the more than a dozen victims in the group has been contacted by Holland & Knight, a national law firm hired by Exeter in April to conduct the investigation.

“I’m not only concerned about the firm’s lack of urgency but also its ability to impartially investigate when it has been retained on Exeter’s behalf,” said Curtis, who recently reported for the first time that she was sexually assaulted by a male classmate in the fall of 1989.

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OUR VIEW: With new abuse law, community must come together

GUAM
Pacific Daily News

The legislation that aims to lift the civil statute of limitations in child sex abuse cases is now law, and we commend Gov. Eddie Calvo for signing the bill Friday. It was the right thing to do.

Sen. Frank Blas Jr. introduced Bill 326-33 a few months ago, after several people made public allegations of clergy sex abuse.

Catholics and other community members have been divided over the legislation. At issue is an amendment that allows individuals to sue institutions.

Accusers and other supporters of the bill have said abusers and their institutions should be held responsible. The Archdiocese of Agana has argued that lawsuits could push the local church to the brink of bankruptcy.

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Judge excuses himself in activist pastor case

GEORGIA
News4Jax

BRUNSWICK, Ga. – A bond hearing for Pastor Ken Adkins on charges of child molestation was postponed from Friday to next Tuesday when the judge who was to preside over the hearing recused himself due to a conflict of interest.

Adkins, 56, has been in the Glynn County Jail since last month on charges stem from alleged incidents in 2010 between Adkins and teenage boy who was a member of his church.

Adkins, pastor of the Greater Dimensions Christian Fellowship, has drawn fire in the past for his remarks about homosexuals.

A young man told the Georgia Bureau of Investigation that Adkins molested him when the boy was under the age of 16.

In court ealier this month, prosecutors showed two pictures of Adkins’ private parts that were allegedly emailed from his phone to the boy. Adkins’ lawyer said that since the defendant had multiple businesses, he could have had more than one phone and others could have had access to them. He also said the timing doesn’t add up, as the pictures were sent in November 2014 to prove something that happened in 2010.

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Pennsylvania Attorney General: Child sex abuse victims should have no time limit to sue

PENNSYLVANIA
Reading Eagle

By Liam Migdail-Smith

As Pennsylvania’s new top law officer sees it, giving childhood sexual abuse victims a chance to sue, regardless of when the abuse occurred, could encourage more victims to come forward.

Attorney General Bruce Beemer told the Reading Eagle on Thursday that he believes there’s a solid case to be made that legislation to that effect would be constitutional. Advocates for child sex abuse victims have sought changes in state law to allow victims to file lawsuits even in cases where the statutes of limitation have expired.

Beemer said legal minds could disagree and the matter is unsettled, as state courts have not weighed in.

But he said, “I think it’s important to law enforcement to be able to stand up for victims to be able to air their complaints and have a forum in which they can be heard.”

Beemer’s take counters that of former Solicitor General Bruce L. Castor Jr., who told a state Senate panel in June that allowing victims to file lawsuits when the deadline to do so has passed would violate the state Constitution.

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Red Corn to succeed Larson as Fayette County’s chief prosecutor

KENTUCKY
Lexington Herald-Leader

BY GREG KOCHER
gkocher1@herald-leader.com

Lou Anna Red Corn was appointed Thursday by Gov. Matt Bevin as the commonwealth’s attorney for Fayette County.

“I am confident that Lou Anna will serve the citizens of Fayette County well as commonwealth’s attorney,” Bevin said in a news release. “She has long been an advocate for fair, firm prosecution of individuals who violate the law. Lou Anna is highly respected by prosecutors, defense attorneys, police and victim advocates alike.”

Red Corn will succeed Ray Larson as Fayette County’s chief prosecutor. Larson, 73, announced earlier this month that he is retiring. His last day will be Sept. 30. …

In her career as a prosecutor, she has tried more than 225 felony cases, including 51 homicides. Some of the more notable cases include Shane Ragland for the sniper-style killing of University of Kentucky football player Trent Diguiro; Leonard Neinabor, a Catholic priest who sexually abused parish children over several decades; and Donald Southworth for the murder of his wife, Umi. Most recently, she prosecuted Mark Taylor for the kidnapping and murder of UK chef Alex Johnson.

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Diocese bankruptcy deal sets aside $15 million for victims

CALAIFORNIA
Calaveras Enterprise

By Almendra Carpizo The Stockton Record Updated

STOCKTON – The Diocese of Stockton on Tuesday announced a plan that could result in its exit out of bankruptcy more than two years after legal costs stemming from dozens of child sexual-abuse lawsuits depleted its funds.

What impact that would have on priest molestation victims in Calaveras County was not immediately clear. John C. Manley, an attorney who has represented some of the victims at St. Andrew’s Parish in San Andreas, did not immediately respond to a telephone message.

Both the Rev. Oliver O’Grady, who was convicted of molestation charges and featured in the noted documentary “See No Evil” and later the Rev. Michael Kelley served stints at St. Andrew’s Parish in San Andreas.

The Calaveras County District Attorney’s Office in 2011 filed criminal charges against Kelly. Kelly was accused of molesting a 10-year-old boy over a two-year period while serving at the church. In 2014, Kelly was indicted and a judge issued a warrant for his arrest. He is believed to be living in Ireland. However, the case was withdrawn this year because the victim died, a District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman said Thursday.

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When shepherds stray, mercy is hard but necessary

PENNSYLVANIA
The Morning Call

Dan Sheehan

In the past decade or so, I have walked away from my cradle faith, Catholicism, a handful of times. These departures were occasioned by reporting on the sexual abuse of children, which is a crime that happens everywhere but is especially grievous when committed by people entrusted with the care of souls.

I had no direct experience of the crushing dismay that comes with the arrest of a priest. But wading through the detailed horrors contained in grand jury reports was enough to drive me out of the fold, into other churches where there were no priests and the demands of faith were uncomplicated.

Among Baptists, for instance, one assented to the idea that the debt of sin had been paid by Christ on the cross, and that was that. Live well and look forward to the kingdom.

Presbyterians offered the terrifying, but somehow comforting, notion that the matter of salvation or damnation has been settled from eternity, and there’s really nothing to be done about it. A good life might be a sign that God had found in your favor, but there were no guarantees.

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Lisa Flynn reveals how she helps survivors of child sexual abuse

AUSTRALIA
news.com.au

Lisa Flynn
news.com.au

I CAME home from work today to my seven-year-old daughter who was in inquisition mode. “How was your day today mum?”

“Was work good?”

“What did you do today mum?”

I struggled to find the words for an appropriate answer.

Mummy had spent the morning in court listening to horrific details of a paedophile priest’s long history of abuse during his sentencing hearing. I had spent the morning sitting alongside his victims as they eyeballed their perpetrator — a man who had terrorised their lives and thoughts for so many years. I stood with them as they openly wept, and at the same time cheered, as his long sentence was finally handed down.

I had then spent the afternoon talking with a man, the same age as my own dad, who quietly explained to me how as a 16-year-old boy in the Australian Navy he had been so happy and excited to commence his career in the Defence Force.

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Lawyers have new tool in clergy abuse cases

NEW MEXICO
Albuquerque Journal

By Olivier Uyttebrouck / Journal Staff Writer
Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

Lawyers representing alleged victims of clerical sexual abuse told a judge last week that the Archdiocese of Santa Fe is liable for the actions of its priests because it provides them with “extraordinary power” over parishioners, comparable to that of police and corrections officers.

The legal theory, called “aided-in-agency,” is becoming more common in civil cases and gives attorneys a potent new tool in clerical abuse cases, attorneys in the case said.

Second Judicial District Judge Denise Barela Shepherd agreed and ruled Sept. 14 that a San Miguel County man who alleges he was raped by a Las Vegas priest in the late 1970s can use the aided-in-agency theory in his lawsuit against the archdiocese.

The judge also urged the archdiocese to appeal her ruling to an appellate court. Barela Shepherd said in the hearing that the issue needs the clarity that an appellate court can provide.

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Guam leader Oks bill ending time limits in child sex cases

GUAM
Fox News

September 23, 2016 Associated Press

HAGATNA, Guam – Guam Gov. Eddie Calvo said he signed a bill Friday that would lift the statute of limitations on child sex abuse charges for civil cases, a move that Catholic leaders say could bankrupt the church in the largely Catholic U.S. territory.

The bill, which does not apply to criminal prosecutions, was approved by the Legislature after abuse allegations surfaced against Archbishop Anthony Apuron.

Church leaders say lifting the statute of limitations would subject the church to unlimited financial liability, forcing the closure of parish churches and schools on the island where more than three quarters of Guam’s 162,000 residents are Roman Catholics.

Apuron, now 70, has been accused of molesting at least five altar boys in the 1960s and 70s. He has denied the allegations and hasn’t been charged with any crime.

His lawyer hasn’t returned repeated messages left by The Associated Press.

In response to the allegations, the Vatican appointed Archbishop Savio Hon as temporary apostolic administrator for Guam.

While in Rome discussing the matter, he sent a letter home urging parishioners to sign a petition against the bill. In the letter, which priests read out loud during Mass on Sunday, he promised a canonical trial for Apuron.

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September 22, 2016

Hon says he voiced Guam’s concerns to Vatican

GUAM
KUAM

Archbishop Hon returns to Guam from Rome – YouTube

Updated: Sep 21, 2016

By Krystal Paco

Fresh off the plane, KUAM News got an exclusive interview with apostolic administrator Archbishop Savio Hon Tai Fai, who arrived at the Guam International Airport early Thursday morning. Hon was in Rome to attend a seminar for new bishops as well as give the Holy See a status report on the Archdiocese of Agana.

“I expressed the wish of the people here and the clergy here,” Hon said upon arriving. “I think I mentioned already in my earlier message that for the best interest of the archdiocese that the Holy See declare sede vacante for the archdiocese.”

Sede vacanta means “without a bishop”.

In a previous statement from Hon, he says he was urging the Holy See to remove Apuron and appoint a successor. Now back on Guam, he also makes a final plea to Governor Eddie Calvo to veto Bill 326, the controversial legislation the church believes would force the church into bankruptcy and potentially lead to the closure of Catholic schools and other church community services.

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Statement Regarding Arrest of Mitchell Bolkcom

MINNESOTA
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis

Date: Sunday, September 18, 2016

Source: Tom Halden, Director of Communications

From Tim O’Malley, Director of the Office of Ministerial Standards and Safe Environment

The Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis learned this weekend that Bloomington Police arrested Mitchell Bolkcom, a former employee and volunteer at the Church of Saint Michael in Prior Lake. He was charged in Hennepin County with criminal sexual conduct after an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor. At the time of the alleged criminal sexual conduct, Bolkcom was an employee at Saint Michael. At the time of his arrest, Bolkcom was working for FOCUS – the Fellowship of Catholic University Students – at the Saint Thomas Aquinas Newman Center at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

The Archdiocese and the Church of Saint Michael are cooperating with law enforcement and we encourage anyone with information to contact police. Please keep all those who have been abused in your prayers.

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Statement Regarding Rev. Joseph Forcelle

MINNESOTA
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis

Date: Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Source: Tom Halden, Director of Communications

The Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis received an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor against Rev. Joseph Thomas Forcelle and immediately reported it to law enforcement. The alleged sexual abuse is from the late 1970s and early 1980s when he was serving as a priest at Saint Mark Church in Saint Paul.

Yesterday, the Saint Paul Police Department advised that there would not be a criminal investigation and gave permission to the Archdiocese to take action, including making this disclosure. My office notified the Diocese of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where Father Forcelle has been serving since 1984.

Any questions about Father Forcelle’s status as a priest should be directed to the Diocese of Sioux Falls, South Dakota at 605-334-9861.

Joseph Thomas Forcelle
Born: 8/1/53
Ordained: May 31, 1980, for the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis
Father Forcelle’s Assignment history in the Archdiocese:
Associate priest, Saint Olaf, Minneapolis, 6/17/80-6/16/81
Associate pastor, Saint Mark, Saint Paul, 6/16/81-6/12/84
Director, Office of Youth Ministry, Diocese of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, 6/12/84
Incardinated into the Diocese of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, 2/8/88

If anyone has suffered any type of abuse, I encourage you to contact the police immediately.

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Former Bloomington resident, church employee charged with criminal sexual conduct

MINNESOTA
Sun Current

Published September 22, 2016

A 23-year-old North Dakota man has been charged with one count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct, accused of having a sexual relationship with a minor he met through a church retreat.

Mitchell G. Bolkcom was living in Bloomington and working at St. Michael Catholic Church in Prior Lake when he met the victim, a 16-year-old Burnsville girl, in late 2015, according to a complaint filed in Hennepin County District Court.

Bolkcom and the girl met at an unspecified church retreat in late 2015 and exchanged phone numbers, according to the complaint. Bolkcom, who was working as the director of middle school and adult faith formation at St. Michael, according to his online resume, began meeting in January to discuss the girl’s depression. They originally met at coffee shops, but then began meeting at his Bloomington apartment. During their meetings at his apartment they engaged in a variety of physical activities, which included intercourse and oral sex, the complaint noted.

When Bolkcom and the girl met for a fourth time, she had expressed concern about meeting at his apartment again, and he responded by saying he was leaving for a new job in Florida and only had seven years to live due to a heart condition, according to the complaint. During the fourth meeting at his apartment, they had consensual intercourse at his apartment, the complaint noted.

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‘Do the right thing’

GUAM
Guam Daily Post

Neil Pang | Post News Staff

As the Friday deadline for the governor’s action on Bill 326-33 draws close, proponents of the sex abuse legislation urged Gov. Eddie Calvo to sign the bill into law as a matter of moral necessity.

“Gov. Calvo, please sign Bill 326,” said Roland Sondia in a press conference at the foot of the stairs leading up to the office of the governor in Adelup.

Sondia, one of the four individuals who first came forward with accusations of child sex abuse against Archbishop Anthony Apuron in June, asked the governor to sign the bill into law.

“Today I’m here to ask Gov. Calvo to do the right thing and sign Bill 326,” Sondia said.

Sondia, along with Roy Quintanilla, Walter Denton and Doris Concepcion – representing her late son – alleged that Apuron had sexually abused them more than 40 years ago when they were altar boys at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Agat, where Apuron was pastor in the 1970s.

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Man sues convicted, defrocked Chicago priest, alleging past abuse

ILLINOIS
Chicago Tribune

Lauren Zumbach
Chicago Tribune

A former Chicago priest is facing new allegations from a man who says the convicted, defrocked priest abused him as a boy, according to court records.

The lawsuit, filed Friday in Cook County court, claims Norbert Maday sexually abused the Cook County man, identified only as John Doe, when he was a student at St. Bede the Venerable in Chicago, starting in 1979 when Doe was a 10-year-old altar boy.

The three-count suit accuses Maday of battery, alleging he “engaged in the intentional, non-consensual, harmful and offensive touching and sexual abuse of Plaintiff on multiple occasions from 1979 to 1981,” in Maday’s bedroom and car and in the church sacristy.

The man also accuses the Catholic Bishop of Chicago and the Archdiocese of Chicago of negligence and willful and wanton misconduct, including failing to properly investigate reports of inappropriate sexual behavior or abuse by priests including Maday.

The suit also faults the archdiocese and Catholic Bishop with failing to report Maday when they knew or should have known about his sexual misconduct, with allowing Maday to have unsupervised contact with young boys and with not warning Doe and his family about Maday, according to the lawsuit.

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Church report: Seminary may need to be closed

GUAM
Pacific Daily News

Haidee V Eugenio, Pacific Daily News September 23, 2016

A committee of Catholic priests said a seminary in Yona may need to be closed for the good of the Archdiocese of Agana unless the seminary can clarify its purpose, seek formal accreditation to ensure the quality of its priest formation program, and ensure its financial independence.

Father Jeffrey San Nicolas, delegate to Apostolic Administrator Archbishop Savio Hon Tai Fai, released the church report earlier this week after holding a press briefing about issues facing the Catholic church on Guam, including the Neocatechumenal Way’s alleged interference in local church matters.

A member of the board of directors of the Redemptoris Mater Seminary, which is run by the Neocatechumenal Way, said the report is biased.

“The way this committee arrived at their conclusion came from a biased perspective. They’re not interested in the Redemptoris Mater Seminary. They’re more interested in the closure of the Redemptoris Mater Seminary,” said Dr. Ricardo B. Eusebio, who has been a member of the Neocatechumenal Way on Guam for 19 years.

He said the seminary has produced 17 priests now serving the community.

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