CARDINAL PELL COUNSEL CLAIM CASE AGAINST ‘HAS NOT BEEN MADE’ AS WRITTEN SUBMISSIONS ARE PUBLISHED

AUSTRALIA
The Tablet (UK)

31 October 2016 | by Mark Brolly

Cardinal George Pell has been criticised by counsel assisting Australia’s Royal Commission over his part in the Catholic Church’s response to abuse by clergy and religious in his home town of Ballarat, when he was a consultor to the bishop, and in Melbourne, where he was an auxiliary bishop.

On 31 October, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse published written submissions for its public hearings into the response of the Church to allegations of abuse against clergy and religious in the two Victorian cities – including those of counsel assisting the Commission and the Cardinal.

Cardinal Pell maintained in his submissions that he could not be subject to adverse findings by the Commission. In his Ballarat submission, the Cardinal’s counsel, Sam Duggan, concluded that the Royal Commission could not be “comfortably satisfied” that any one of the allegations made against Cardinal Pell had been made. In his submission on the response of the Cardinal when an auxiliary bishop in Melbourne to the case of Fr Peter Searson, parish priest of Holy Family in Doveton, Mr Duggan concluded that “there is no basis for making adverse findings against Bishop Pell, as he then was, with respect to his time in Melbourne as an Auxiliary Bishop”.

“George Pell may now be a Cardinal of the Catholic Church, and he accepts by virtue of that position that he is subjected to greater scrutiny than others,” Duggan wrote. “But that does not mean that his involvement in historical events should be inflated or exaggerated because of the position he now holds, nor should the Royal Commission more readily make findings against him because of his title, as opposed to his actual involvement. It is submitted that consistent with the principle of even-handed justice, Cardinal Pell should be treated with the same level of fairness as any other person involved in the matters being considered by the Royal Commission.”

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Successor appointed for Guam archbishop accused of abuse

GUAM
Catholic News Agency

Hagatna, Guam, Oct 31, 2016 / 03:10 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis on Monday appointed Bishop Michael Byrnes as the successor to Guam’s archbishop, who has been accused of sexual abuse of minors.

Bishop Byrnes has until now served as an auxiliary bishop in Detroit. His apointment as coadjutor comes with special faculties.

As Coadjutor Archbishop of Agaña, Bishop Byrnes possesses the right of succession and will automatically be appointed Archbishop of Agaña when it’s current ordinary, Archbishop Anthony Apuron, retires.

Though he is still formally archbishop, Apuron was relieved of his pastoral and administrative authority in June. Since then, the Agaña archdiocese has been cared for by an apostolic administrator, Archbishop Savio Hon Tai-Fai.

“I am humbled by the Holy Father’s decision to entrust the Archdiocese of Agaña to my pastoral care,” Bishop Byrnes said upon his Oct. 31 appointment. “The great spiritual writer, Blessed Columba Marmion, wrote, ‘The task of the priest is to give Jesus to the world.’ That is what I have endeavored to do as an auxiliary bishop here in Detroit, and I look forward to giving Jesus to the thousands of people who live in the island of Guam.”

The Archdiocese of Agaña serves Catholics in Guam, a U.S. island territory in the northwestern Pacific Ocean. Bishop Byrnes commented that “I have learned that the Catholic faith has long been embraced on the island, and the faith of the people is rooted in a rich history of devotion to Jesus and to His Blessed Mother.”

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State Attorney: No proof of deception by Catholic priest

FLORIDA
NBC 2

[with video]

Updated: Oct 31, 2016

By Jaclyn Bevis, Reporter

SANIBEL ISLAND, FL –
The State Attorney’s Office said there’s no proof of deception or intimidation in an investigation into a Catholic priest who may have swindled an elderly parishioner.

The Diocese of Venice announced Father Christopher Senk is on paid leave. Senk’s attorney said he doesn’t understand the timing of the decision by the diocese or the release of information to the media.

Senk was accused of exploiting an elderly woman in the church. The Diocese reported an investigation that started in January 2015 conducted by the Lee County Sheriff’s Office.

The State Attorney’s Office said they determined no criminal charges were appropriate, saying the parishioner willingly gave money and was not deceived by Father Senk.

The church denied a request for comment. The Diocese of Venice refused to answer further questions about the investigation or Senk’s current status.

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Baylor sex assault scandal far worse than previously disclosed

TEXAS
MSN

The sexual assault scandal rocking Baylor University and its powerhouse football team was far worse than previously disclosed.

“60 Minutes Sports” has learned that, since 2011, 17 female students reported sexual or domestic assault charges against 19 Baylor football players. That includes at least four alleged gang rapes. Former Baylor President Ken Starr and celebrated football coach Art Briles lost their jobs.

Baylor prides itself on its Christian values and creating a caring community. But the “60 Minutes Sports” investigation found a culture where victims who came forward found themselves blamed for violating the university’s code of conduct, which prohibits drinking and premarital sex.

Correspondent Armen Keteyian has been investigating since May. His investigation revealed the senior vice president in charge of campus safety, Reagan Ramsower, often clashed with Patty Crawford, the university’s former Title IX coordinator.

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Australia–Cardinal Pell takes more criticism; Victims respond

AUSTRALIA
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Monday, Oct. 31, 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)

Independent attorneys have concluded that the second or third most powerful Catholic prelate on the planet should have taken more action to safeguard kids from predators. We’re not surprised.

For decades, all across the globe, virtually every independent investigation into child sex crimes by Catholic clergy has determined that high-ranking church officials often hid, protected and enabled child molesting clerics. So too has Cardinal George Pell.

[SBS]

We share the view of Gail Furness and Stephen Free who say there’s no grounds to accept Pell’s claim that he was intentionally deceived by Catholic Education Office about predator priest Peter Searson. Pell seems desperate as he tries to throw fellow church officials “under the bus” and deny his culpability, as we’ve seen so many bishops do when their wrongdoing is exposed. Pell also seems desperate when he tries to sift blame onto police, who he claims had more information about a child molesting cleric than he did.

However, we disagree with Furness and Free when they talk of Pell’s “failure” to take steps to prevent child sex crimes and when they say he “missed an important opportunity to recognise and deal with the serious risks” posed by one predator. We believe these were deliberate, repeated and self-serving decisions – not “failures” or slip-ups or oversights.

No matter what commissions or church officials do or don’t do, we urge every single person who saw, suspected or suffered child sex crimes and cover ups in Catholic churches or institutions to protect kids by calling police, get help by calling therapists, expose wrongdoers by calling attorneys, and be comforted by calling support groups like ours. This is how kids will be safer, adults will recover, criminals will be prosecuted, cover ups will be deterred and the truth will surface.

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Ex-clergyman jailed for Newton Aycliffe sex abuse

UNITED KINGDOM
BBC News

A retired clergyman convicted of what was described in court as “sinister and deliberate” sexual abuse in the 1970s and 80s has been jailed.

Granville Gibson, 80, abused two men aged 18 and 26 while he was vicar at St Claire’s Church in Newton Aycliffe.

He was found guilty of two counts of indecent assault at Durham Crown Court in August.

Judge Christopher Price said Gibson had shown no remorse for the offences and sentenced him to 12 months in jail.

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Pope names Detroit bishop to Guam archdiocese rocked by sex abuse allegations

VATICAN CITY
Religion News Service

By Josephine McKenna

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Detroit Auxiliary Bishop Michael J. Byrnes has been appointed by Pope Francis to take over the Archdiocese of Guam, effectively replacing an embattled archbishop accused of sexually abusing altar boys.

The Vatican announced the pope’s decision soon after he left Rome Monday (Oct. 31) for his two-day official visit to Sweden to mark the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. But there was no indication of whether Guam’s Coadjutor Archbishop Anthony Apuron had resigned or when the succession would take place.

A coadjutor usually has the automatic right to succeed a bishop.

In September, the special investigator appointed by the pope to look into allegations of abuse urged the Vatican to remove Apuron after he refused to stand down voluntarily.

“I can assure you that the gravely serious allegations against Archbishop Apuron will continue to be dealt with by the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, which will hold a canonical trial,” wrote the investigator, Archbishop Savio Hon Tai Fai, in a statement read at services in the island’s 26 Catholic churches in September. “His Holiness, Pope Francis, is monitoring the proceedings.”

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Church apology to victims of abuse by senior clergyman

UNITED KINGDOM
The Northern Echo

THE Church of England has issued profound apologies to the two victims of jailed sex abuser Granville Gibson.

The Bishop of Durham, the Right Reverend Paul Butler, also stated that there are “no excuses” for what took place to them at the hands of the man who rose to become Archdeacon of Auckland, one of the most senior posts within the Durham diocese.

As the 80-year-old former General Synod member, from Darlington, was given a 12-month prison sentence at Durham Crown Court, it emerged that both victims have received written apologies from the Bishop of Jarrow, on behalf of the diocese.

One of the pair has also received a personal apology in a meeting with the Right Reverend Mark Bryant, in his role as acting Bishop of Durham, in the absence of the bishop himself, who was on study leave.

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‘£300m could be needed’ to compensate all who stayed in NI residential homes

NORTHERN IRELAND
Belfast Telegraph

Compensating everybody who spent time in a residential home in Northern Ireland run by or on behalf of the state could cost £300 million, a lawyer who specialises in abuse cases suggested.

Sir Anthony Hart is drawing up his report for ministers following two-and-a-half years of Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) inquiry hearings involving abuse victims and institutions.

He has already said there should be an award of compensation to those children who suffered abuse in children’s homes and other institutions in Northern Ireland between 1922 and 1995.

A group of survivors is calling for a common experience payment of £10,000 per resident and an additional payment of £3,000 for each year spent in an institution. Each person could then apply for a further “top up” award to reflect any abusive experiences suffered in the institution.

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Wunibald Müller: «Wenn ich sage, was ich denke, werde ich bestraft»

DEUTSCHLAND
cath.ch

Würzburg, 31.10.16 (kath.ch) Wunibald Müller leitete als Theologe und Psychotherapeut 25 Jahre lang das Recollectio-Haus in Münsterschwarzach. Im Ruhestand hat er nun seine Erfahrungen in der Einrichtung für kirchliche Mitarbeiter in psychologischen Ausnahmesituationen in einem Buch verarbeitet. Im Interview mit der Katholischen Nachrichten-Agentur (KNA) spricht der katholische Theologe über seine Kritik, aber begründet auch, wieso er den Buchtitel «Warum ich dennoch in der Kirche bleibe» gewählt hat. Christian Wölfel

Wunibald Müller, ist Ihr Buch eine Abrechnung mit der Kirche?

Müller: Es ist eine Bilanz meiner persönlichen Erfahrungen in der Kirche, vor allem vor dem Hintergrund meiner Tätigkeit im Rahmen der Kirche.

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Missbrauchs-Prozess gegen Kirche in Großbritannien beginnt

GROSSBRITANNIEN
domradio

[Abuse trial against the Catholic church in Britain begins.]

In Großbritannien hat ein millionenschwerer Missbrauchsprozess gegen die katholische Kirche begonnen. Es geht um Schadensersatz-Klagen von fünf Missbrauchsopfern und früheren Kinderheimbewohnern.

Der Oberste Gerichtshof in Leeds verhandelt die Schadensersatz-Klagen von fünf Missbrauchsopfern und früheren Kinderheimbewohnern gegen die Diözese Middlesborough und den Orden der Brüder der Christlichen Schulen. Das Verfahren bezeichneten Opfervertreter als Präzedenzfall. Sollten die Kläger in dem dreiwöchigen Prozess Erfolg haben, drohe der katholischen Kirche in Großbritannien eine Klagewelle mit “den höchsten Auszahlungen in ihrer Geschichte”, so die Tageszeitung “The Guardian” (Montag).

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Missbrauchskommission hält Pell für unglaubwürdig

AUSTRALIEN
religion@orf

Kurz nach seiner Befragung durch die australische Polizei in Rom muss Kurienkardinal George Pell einen Rückschlag bei der Untersuchung seiner Rolle im australischen Missbrauchsskandal hinnehmen.

Die australische Missbrauchskommission hält Aussagen von Kardinal Pell und anderen Kirchenoffiziellen der Diözesen Melbourne und Ballarat für unglaubwürdig. Gail Furness, Anwältin der Missbrauchskommission, „glaubt den Aussagen einer Reihe von Zeugen aus Ballarat und Melbourne und nicht denen von Kardinal Pell“, hieß es in den am Montag veröffentlichten Dokumenten der Kommissions-Anhörung zu den Missbrauchsfällen in den Diözesen.

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Kommission hält Aussagen von Kardinal Pell für unglaubwürdig

AUSTRALIEN
Domradio

Kurz nach seiner Befragung durch die australische Polizei in Rom muss Kardinal George Pell einen Rückschlag bei der Untersuchung seiner Rolle im australischen Missbrauchsskandal hinnehmen.

Die australische Missbrauchskommission hält Aussagen von Kardinal Pell und anderen Kirchenoffiziellen der Diözesen Melbourne und Ballarat für unglaubwürdig. Gail Furness, Anwältin der Missbrauchskommission, “glaubt den Aussagen einer Reihe von Zeugen aus Ballarat und Melbourne und nicht den von Kardinal Pell”, hieß es in den am Montag veröffentlichten Dokumenten der Kommissions-Anhörung zu den Missbrauchsfällen in den Diözesen.

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Detroit Regional Bishop Michael Byrnes named by Pope Francis as Coadjutor Archbishop of Agana in U.S. Territory of Guam

MICHIGAN/GUAM
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Oct 31, 2016
For more information contact:
Joe Kohn, Director of Public Relations
Kohn.Joseph@aod.org
313-237-5943

Bishop Michael J. Byrnes, who has been serving as a regional bishop in the Archdiocese of Detroit since his ordination as a bishop in May 2011, today was named by Pope Francis to be the Coadjutor Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Agana, the archdiocese in the U.S. territory of Guam in the South Pacific. Bishop Byrnes will lead the diocese in the absence of Archbishop Anthony Sablan Apuron(a-puh-RON), OFM-Cap., who in June was relieved by the Vatican of his pastoral and administrative authority. The archdiocese had been led in the interim by apostolic administrator Archbishop Savio Hon Tai Fai, SDB (Sah-vee-o Hahn T-eye F-EYE). Bishop Byrnes will be given the full pastoral responsibility and administrative authority in the archdiocese. Guam is an island of 210 square miles situated north of Australia, south of Japan and east of the Philippines. Approximately 80 percent of the territory’s 165,000 inhabitants are Catholic.

“I am humbled by the Holy Father’s decision to entrust the Archdiocese of Agana to my pastoral care,” said Bishop Byrnes. “The great spiritual writer, Blessed Columba Marmion, wrote, ‘The task of the priest is to give Jesus to the world.’ That is what I have endeavored to do as an auxiliary bishop here in Detroit, and I look forward to giving Jesus to the thousands of people who live in the island of Guam. I have learned that the Catholic faith has long been embraced on the island, and the faith of the people is rooted in a rich history of devotion to Jesus and to His Blessed Mother. At the same time, there are always challenges to face. With my brother priests and deacons, with the catechists and other pastoral workers, and above all with the spiritual gifts of the People of God, I trust we will persevere in faith, hope and love, and will exercise the ‘wisdom from above’ (James 3:17) to meet these challenges.”

Bishop Byrnes has assisted Archbishop Vigneron in pastoral oversight in the northeast region of the Archdiocese of Detroit, which includes parts of Macomb, St. Clair and Lapeer counties. He also has been the director of the Archdiocese of Detroit’s evangelization initiative, which this year was branded Unleash the Gospel and which entails the Archdiocesan Synod which will take place Nov. 18-20 in downtown Detroit. Prior to being a bishop, Bishop Byrnes served as vice rector at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit and pastor of Presentation/Our Lady of Victory Parish in Detroit. He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Detroit in 1996. His full biography is available here on the Archdiocese of Detroit website.

“Archbishop Byrnes has given exemplary pastoral service in the Archdiocese of Detroit, most recently in leading us to prepare for Synod 16 as part of our efforts to Unleash the Gospel,” said Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron. “Now God has chosen him for a challenging mission almost a half-a-world away. Pope Francis, in sending Archbishop Byrnes to Guam, has recognized that he possesses not only the talents, but above all the deep faith in Jesus Christ that make him suitable for this apostolic work. He goes with our love and our prayers.”

Bishop Byrnes will remain in Detroit until late November to help lead the Archdiocese of Detroit’s first Synod since 1969 before transitioning to his new role in the Archdiocese of Agana.

The following resources are available for editorial use by news media without restriction:

* Bio
* Formal portrait
* Official photo
* Coat of Arms
* B-roll video package of Bishop Byrnes at events in metro Detroit

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Rome makes major announcement regarding leadership of local catholic church

GUAM
KUAM

Updated: Oct 31, 2016

By Sabrina Salas Matanane

The Vatican has announced the Pope has appointed an Archbishop Coadjutor with special faculties of Agana. The Holy Father has appointed SE Mons. Jude Michael Byrnes. Prior to his appointment he was serving as the titular Bishop of Eguga and auxiliary of Detroit. According to Catholic-Heirachy.org “this is a special type of Auxiliary Bishop. They have more authority than a regular Auxiliary, but not as much as the bishop. Usually they have a “right to succession” which means that when the current bishop leaves office (by Death, Resignation, etc.) the Coadjutor automatically becomes the new bishop. It is sometimes used to help ease the transition from one bishop to the next as it allows them to work together before the new bishop takes over all responsibility. Before 1978, Coadjutor bishops were normally assigned a titular see, but that is no longer the case.” The local Catholic Church has been embroiled in controversy after several men came forward alleging that Archbishop Anthony Apuron molested them when they were altar boys decades ago when Apruon was a priest at Mt. Carmel Church in Agat. Following the allegations, the Pope sent Archbishop Savio Hon Tai Fai to Guam to take over while an investigation was conducted. Additionally, Apuron’s actions involving the Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Yona have also come under scrutiny.

The attorney representing the men who have accused Archbishop Anthon Apuron of sexual molestation is holding a press conference Tuesday morning. According to a media release from attorney David Lujan’s office, the press conference will provide “a significant update regarding our interaction with the Archdiocese and its leadership.” According to Catholic-Heirachy.org, SE Mons. Byrnes was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Detroit 20 years ago. He was born in 1958. Monsignor Byrnes attended the University of Michigan and Sacred Heart Seminary. He later attended the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome where he earned a Ph.D. in biblical studies.

Bishop Michael Byrnes says he humbled by the Pope’s appointment as Coadjutor Archbishop of Agana. “The great spiritual writer, Blessed Columba Marmion, wrote, ‘The task of the priest is to give Jesus to the world.’ That is what I have endeavored to do as an auxiliary bishop here in Detroit, and I look forward to giving Jesus to the thousands of people who live in the island of Guam. I have learned that the Catholic faith has long been embraced on the island, and the faith of the people is rooted in a rich history of devotion to Jesus and to His Blessed Mother. At the same time, there are always challenges to face. With my brother priests and deacons, with the catechists and other pastoral workers, and above all with the spiritual gifts of the People of God, I trust we will persevere in faith, hope and love, and will exercise the ‘wisdom from above’ (James 3:17) to meet these challenges,” stated Bishop Byrnes in a statement released by the Archdiocese of Detroit.

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Catholic Church Spends Big Money Fighting Marijuana Legalization

MASSACHUSETTS
Progressive Secular Humanist

October 30, 2016 by Michael Stone

The Boston Archdiocese spends big money in last-minute effort to prevent legal marijuana in Massachusetts.

According to reports the Catholic church in Boston is dumping nearly a million dollars to defeat the ballot measure known as Question 4. The measure would legalize marijuana in Massachusetts.

The Boston Globe reported Friday that the local archdiocese is spending $850,000 in an effort to beat the ballot measure known as Question 4.

However, despite the Catholic church’s efforts, the most recent poll numbers suggest the measure will likely pass. …

Technically, the Catholic church is doing nothing illegal by acting as an anti-marijuana super Pac. Although the money would be better used compensating the numerous victims of pedphile priests, or simply by doing good works for the people of Massachusetts.

Ultimately, the fact that church funds are being used to influence American elections is not only only morally obnoxious, it is also yet another good reason why all churches should be taxed like any other business.

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Pope Names Auxiliary Bishop Of Detroit As Coadjutor Archbishop Of Agana

GUAM
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

October 31, 2016

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has named Most Reverend Michael J. Byrnes, up until now Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Detroit, as Coadjutor Archbishop of the Diocese of Agana. The territory of the archdiocese of Agana comprises the island of Guam.

The appointment was made public in Washington, October 31, by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States. Archbishop Michael J. Byrnes was born in Detroit, Michigan on Aug. 23, 1958. He pursued seminary studies at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit and was ordained a priest on May 25, 1996.

Assignments after ordination included serving as associate pastor at St. Joan of Arc Parish in St. Clair Shores and as an adjunct faculty member at Sacred Heart Major Seminary. He pursued post-graduate studies in 1999, at the Pontifical Gregorian University where he earned a Doctorate in Sacred Theology in 2003. Returning to Detroit, he joined the faculty of Sacred Heart Major Seminary and served as a weekend assistant at three Detroit parishes: Presentation/ Our Lady of Victory, St. Gregory the Great, and the Church of the Madonna. In 2004, he was named vice rector of Sacred Heart Major Seminary and served as pastor of Presentation/Our Lady of Victory.

Archbishop Byrnes was appointed auxiliary bishop of Detroit and titular bishop of Eguga, Tunisia on March 22, 2011. He was ordained auxiliary bishop of Detroit, May, 5, 2011 and serves as episcopal vicar and regional moderator for the Northeast Region of the archdiocese. The appointment as coadjutor archbishop confers on Archbishop Byrnes the full power of a diocesan archbishop.

The diocese of Agana was established on October 14, 1965, as a suffragan of the Archdiocese of San Francisco, California. The diocese was elevated to a Metropolitan Archdiocese, May 20, 1984 with suffragan Sees of the Diocese of the Caroline Marshalls and Diocese of Chalan Kanoa (subsequently added January 13, 1985). A member of the Episcopal Conference of the Pacific (CEPAC) and of the Federation of Catholic Bishops Conference of Oceania (FCBCO), the archdiocese is also an observer to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Guam is an unincorporated Territory of the U.S.A. by an Act of U.S. Congress, July 21, 1949.

The Archdiocese of Agana comprises 215 square miles and has a population of 155,687 people, of whom 132,494 or 85 percent, are Catholic. The island, the largest and southernmost of the Marianas Islands, is located in the western Pacific.

# # #
MEDIA CONTACT:
Judy Keane
O: 202-541-3200

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Pope appoints new coadjutor archbishop for archdioces

GUAM
Pacific Daily News

Haidee V Eugenio , heugenio@guampdn.com November 1, 2016

Pope Francis appointed a new coadjutor archbishop on Monday for the Archdiocese of Agana who will have the right to succeed Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron, who is facing canonical trial at the Vatican over alleged sexual abuse of altar boys.

The pope appointed Monsignor Michael Jude Byrnes, currently an auxiliary bishop in Detroit, as coadjutor archbishop for Guam, according to a press release from the Archdiocese of Detroit.

“I am humbled by the Holy Father’s decision to entrust the Archdiocese of Agana to my pastoral care,” said Bishop Byrnes in the release.

A coadjutor archbishop has succession rights when a bishop or archbishop resigns, retires or is removed.

The Vatican placed Apuron, 70, on temporary leave on June 6 after former altar boys publicly accused him of rape and molestation when he was a parish priest in the 1970s, according to news files.

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Pope names successor to Guam archbishop accused of sex abuse

VATICAN CITY
Fox News

Published October 31, 2016 Associated Press

VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis has named a successor to Guam’s archbishop, who is accused of sexually molesting altar boys, tapping an American and giving him special authority in the Pacific island archdiocese.

Monsignor Michael Jude Byrnes, currently an auxiliary bishop in Detroit, is moving to the U.S. territory as a coadjutor bishop. Coadjutors have succession rights when bishops resign, retire or are removed.

Archbishop Anthony Apuron, 70, has been accused of molesting at least five altar boys in the 1960s and ’70s. He has denied the allegations, has not been charged and has refused calls to step down.

In response to the allegations, the Vatican appointed a temporary apostolic administrator for Guam.

Byrnes’ nomination Monday suggests a more permanent solution, but there was no word on when the succession would occur.

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Other Pontifical Acts, 31.10.2016

VATICAN CITY
Vatican Information Service – Bulletin

The Holy Father appointed: …

– Bishop Michael Jude Byrnes, auxiliary of Detroit, U.S.A., as coadjutor archbishop with special faculties in Agaña, Guam (are 474, population 165,404, Catholics 140,593, priests 50, permanent deacons religious 96), Pacific Islands.

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Pope sends Detroit bishop to Guam archdiocese hit by abuse allegations

VATICAN CITY
Catholic Register

BY CAROL GLATZ, CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE
October 31, 2016

VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis appointed a Detroit auxiliary bishop to a Guam archdiocese whose leader is under a Vatican investigation for the alleged sexual abuse of minors.

Coadjutor Archbishop Michael J. Byrnes, 58, also was given “special faculties” or authority in the Archdiocese of Agana, according to a Vatican press release Oct. 31.

The appointment came several weeks after the apostolic administrator of the Agana Archdiocese requested the Vatican remove the current leader, Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron, and name a successor. A coadjutor archbishop – as opposed to an auxiliary bishop – immediately succeeds an archbishop who retires or dies.

Archbishop Savio Hon Tai-Fai, apostolic administrator of the Agana Archdiocese, said in mid-September that he had asked the Vatican to remove Archbishop Apuron, given his refusal to resign on his own accord.

“Gravely serious allegations” of sexual abuse have been made against Archbishop Apuron, Archbishop Hon had said, adding that the situation was still being “dealt with by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which will hold a canonical trial.”

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Victoria Police turned blind eye to sexual assault by priests

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

PETER HOYSTED
ColumnistCanberra
@JacktheInsider

There is a general sense of fatigue throughout western Victoria. In Ballarat it is palpable.

Peter Blenkiron is a victim of clerical child sexual abuse. An erudite and articulate man, he ­remains convinced his future lies in Ballarat but worries the challenges for the city and its 100,000 strong population may prove ­insurmountable.

“For the last 20 years, all we’ve been doing is mopping up the blood,” Blenkiron says. “Twenty years from now are we going to still be doing the same thing?”

The Catholic Diocese of Balla­rat extends across 58,000 square kilometres of western Victoria, from Portland in the southwest of the state to the Murray River towns of Swan Hill and Mildura in the north. Travelling from town to town for The Australian’s podcast “Ballarat’s Children”, it slowly dawned on me that there is not a single city, town, village or tiny hamlet that is not in some way stained by clerical child sex abuse.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse case studies across Australia have uncovered appalling tales of abuse wherever children have congregated; religious and social groups and sporting ­associations. Even the country’s most prestigious schools have ­failed children. But there is ­nowhere quite like the Ballarat Diocese, where pedophile rings were active for decades and some of the worst sex offenders this country has ever seen preyed on children without hindrance.

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How long can Catholic Church endure the pain of Pell?

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

John Ferguson
Victorian Editor
Melbourne
@fergusonjw

Counsel assisting the royal commission have fired both barrels into the heart of St Peter’s Basilica.

It seems odds-on that George Pell will be excoriated by the commission’s final report, which is a development that is not greatly surprising, given the direction of the questioning.

Those who have heard the commission evidence will know that Pell has been exposed on several fronts, substantively as a clergyman who held multiple senior roles after arriving in Melbourne in 1987, when he was promoted to auxiliary bishop.

Pell’s chief defence is that he played no major role in the affairs that unfolded in the Doveton parish and he was not a senior church decision-maker at the time.

More broadly, he was even more junior when working in the crime-stricken diocese of Ballarat.

The big-picture problem for Pell, the Pope and the church in Australia is how much damage it is prepared to continue to wear in defending the nation’s most powerful Catholic.

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Cardinal George Pell ‘is being made a scapegoat for others’

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

Rebecca Urban
Journalist
Melbourne
@RurbsOz

Cardinal George Pell has launched a vociferous defence of his handling of sexual abuse allegations within the Catholic Church, insisting he was being made a “scapegoat” for others’ failings.

In a series of strongly worded submissions to the Royal Commission into Institutional Res­ponses to Child Sexual Abuse, Australia’s most senior church ­official denies he had the knowledge or authority required to take ­direct action against priests ­accused of sexual abuse, including the notorious priests Gerard Ridsdale and Peter Searson.

Cardinal Pell dismisses the credibility of numerous witnesses and accuses counsel assisting the commission of overstating evidence, making gratuitous submissions and relying on surmise and conjecture.

“There is not a single aspect of that evidence which establishes that Father Pell acted inappropriately in any way,” said Sam Duggan, counsel acting on behalf of Cardinal Pell, in a submission ­released yesterday.

“Ultimately, when one assesses all of the evidence placed before the commission, including that of Cardinal Pell, the commission could not be ‘comfortably satisfied’ that any one of the alle­gations made against Cardinal Pell has been made out.”

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George Pell fights for reputation as key evidence rejected

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

November 1, 2016

Tessa Akerman
Reporter
Melbourne
@TessaAkerman

Pia Akerman
Reporter
Melbourne
@pia_akerman

Rebecca Urban
Journalist
Melbourne
@RurbsOz

Cardinal George Pell is facing the gravest threat to his besieged reputation after counsel assisting the child abuse royal commission rejected key evidence, accused him of failing to act on sexual misconduct complaints and more broadly excoriated the church’s capitulation to offenders.

Counsel assisting the royal commission yesterday criticised Cardinal Pell’s failure to deal ­adequately with offending in Melbourne and Ballarat, and called for key evidence from Cardinal Pell to be rejected. The explosive recommendations in nearly 1000 pages critiquing Cardinal Pell and the church will place growing pressure on the Vatican to deal with its third most senior figure.

They suggest Cardinal Pell faces heavy criticism in the royal commission’s final report, which will include multiple references to the Catholic Church’s systemic failures on abuse.

Cardinal Pell has rejected the key submissions of counsel assisting, arguing his position was being used to make an example of him when he had limited power, even though he has been auxiliary bishop or higher since 1987.

Victims, of whom there are hundreds and possibly thousands in Victoria alone, hailed the recommendations but warned that a national redress schemes needed to be set up urgently.

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Ballarat Christian Brothers ‘misled police’ over abuse, royal commission lawyers say

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

By Charlotte King

A senior member of the Christian Brothers religious order failed to tell police the truth about the nature of historic child sexual abuse complaints in Ballarat, lawyers assisting the sex abuse royal commission have submitted.

The Christian Brothers operated four schools in Ballarat in the 1970s and much of the 437-page submission from the counsel assisting the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse detailed the religious order’s handling of abuse complaints.

The submission, now made public, singles out Brother Paul Nangle, one of Ballarat’s most senior Christian Brothers in the 1970s, for providing inconsistent testimony in relation to a complaint from the father of a student at the St Alipius boys school.

In his February evidence to the royal commission, the 84-year-old accepted that the 1974 complaint, made against a St Alipius primary school teacher, Brother Stephen Farrell, had a “sexual element” to it.

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Keneally’s book on child sex abuse in the Church

AUSTRALIA
ABC – Mornings with Genevieve Jacobs

When the history books are written about Australia’s social history, it’s fair to say time and space will be devoted to one of the great crises of our time for many.

The revelations of enduring and grievous child sexual abuse by various people in authority: scout masters; school teachers; priests and ministers of religion; all of them doing the most terrible damage to their victims through abuse of trust.

In the case of the Church, it’s torn apart the lives of communities of people for whom Catholicism was absolutely central.

This is the world where the famed Australian author of ‘Schindler’s Ark’, Thomas Keneally, grew up and it’s the focus of his new book, ‘Crimes of the Father’.

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Victims take church to court over St William’s school sex abuse

UNITED KINGDOM
BBC News

Five child sex abuse victims have launched a High Court bid for compensation over abuse at a Catholic school in East Yorkshire.

More than 200 men claim they were abused at St William’s residential school in Market Weighton between 1970 and 1991, run by the De La Salle order.

The order has apologised “unreservedly” to those affected by the abuse and for the actions of its former principal.

James Carragher is in jail for sex offences against children at the home.
If the compensation claim succeeds, the eventual payout could run into millions of pounds.

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Pell should have acted on priest: Commission lawyers

AUSTRALIA
SBS

Source: AAP
31 OCT 2016

The child sex abuse royal commission is being urged to reject evidence from Cardinal George Pell, who has been accused of failing to stop a Melbourne pedophile priest.

Lawyers for the commission argue there are no grounds to accept Cardinal Pell’s evidence that he was intentionally deceived by Catholic Education Office about abuse carried out by Doveton parish priest Peter Searson in the 1980s.

In their submission to the commission the lawyers say Cardinal Pell knew enough about child abuse claims linked to Searson to consider sacking him or, at the very least, launch an investigation.

While the CEO should have done more to respond to the threat posed by Searson, there was no evidence it had intentionally concealed evidence from the archdiocese or wanted to keep him in Doveton, they said.

“The royal commission should find that the CEO officers had no motive to deceive Cardinal Pell and did not do so,” lawyers Gail Furness SC and Stephen Free wrote in their submission published on Monday.

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Catholic church could face multi-million pound payout as sex abuse case is heard

UNITED KINGDOM
The Guardian

Harriet Sherwood Religion correspondent
@harrietsherwood
Monday 31 October 2016

The Catholic church could face a compensation bill of millions of pounds following a test case on sexual abuse at a former children’s home which opens on Monday.

The civil case at the high court in Leeds follows the imprisonment this year of the home’s former principal and chaplain for sexual offences against 11 boys between 1970 and 1991.

Five survivors have brought a civil claim against the Catholic diocese of Middlesbrough and the De La Salle brotherhood, whose members ran St William’s Home in Market Weighton in east Yorkshire.

In total, 249 people have alleged that they were sexually and physically abused by staff at the home. If the civil case is successful, the Catholic church in the UK could face one of the biggest payouts in its history.

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Catholic Church Could Face Multi-Million Pound Payout As Abuse Case Is Heard

UNITED KINGDOM
Christian Today

James Macintyre
31 October 2016

The Catholic Church in the UK could face a multi-million pound compensation bill following a test case which opens today on sexual abuse at a former children’s home.

The civil case, at the high court in Leeds, comes after the imprisonment earlier this year of the former principal and the chaplain at the home for offences against 11 boys between 1970 and 1991.

Five survivors have brought a civil claim against the Catholic Diocese of Middlesbrough and the De La Salle brotherhood, whose members ran St William’s Home in Market Weighton, east Yorkshire.

The Catholic Church in the UK could face one of the biggest payouts in its history if the civil case is successful.

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Ballarat’s Children: ‘no more jumping through hoops’ for church sex victims

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

October 31, 2016

PIA AKERMAN
ReporterMelbourne
@pia_akerman

PETER HOYSTED
ColumnistCanberra
@JacktheInsider

A church lawyer tasked with helping victims of child-sex abuse in the country’s most scandal­-plagued Catholic diocese has ­declared they no longer have to jump through any “hoops” for ­assistance, as a veteran police ­detective described how victims earlier had been pursued by ­private investigators working for the church.

In an interview for The Australian’s podcast Ballarat’s Children, Michael Myers has vowed the Ballarat diocese is taking ­victims “at face value” to offer counselling and support amid mounting pressure for a national redress scheme.

“It is a big problem that’s going to last for a long time and we’re just working at it as best we can,” said Mr Myers, a local lawyer ­appointed in 2014 to steer the ­diocese’s professional standards.

“In the past 10 years there’s been about $150,000 paid in counselling fees, for example. And in addition to that the ­diocese has made payments for other support costs — for med­ical costs, some financial assistance … they don’t have to go through any hoops, they’ll get it from the diocese.”

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George Pell failed to care for young abuse victims, royal commission told

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

By investigative reporter Louise Milligan

Cardinal George Pell and other senior officials failed to exercise proper care for children in a Melbourne parish by not acting on information of sexual misconduct by a paedophile priest, according to final submissions to the royal commission into child abuse.

In her submissions to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse, Counsel Assisting Gail Furness SC also stated she believed the evidence of a number of witnesses in the Ballarat and Melbourne dioceses instead of Cardinal Pell’s in relation to the Cardinal being told by children and adults of inappropriate clerical conduct towards children in the 1970s and 1980s.

Counsel Assisting has found that Cardinal Pell, along with a number of other priestly consultors to Bishop Ronald Mulkearns of the Ballarat diocese, knew notorious serial paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale was being moved from parish to parish because he was sexually abusing children, despite the Cardinal’s strong denials.

Allegations about Ridsdale’s behaviour were never sent to police.

The report has been released less than a week after Victoria Police confirmed three of its Taskforce SANO detectives had flown to Rome to interview the Cardinal separately about historic child abuse allegations, which he has strongly denied.

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Pell had evidence to act on paedophile priest, inquiry told

AUSTRALIA
The Courier

Ballarat’s Cardinal George Pell had sufficient evidence to act on the behaviour of paedophile priest but failed to do so, a royal commission into child sexual abuse has been told.

The child sex abuse royal commission has been told to reject evidence from Cardinal Pell regarding disgraced Catholic priest Peter Searson.

In late February and early March Cardinal Pell gave evidence before a Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse over four days via video-link in Rome.

In his third day of evidence he accused the school administrators and the Archbishop of deceiving him about Searson.

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Cardinal George Pell accused of knowing about sadistic paedophile priest notorious for his yellowing long fingernails – but did nothing to stop his vile sexual abuse

AUSTRALIA
Daily Mail

By JOHN CARNEY FOR DAILY MAIL AUSTRALIA and AUSTRALIAN ASSOCIATED PRESS

Cardinal George Pell failed to take direct action against a Melbourne pedophile priest and evidence given by him should be rejected, the royal commission into child sex abuse has been told.

Cardinal Pell – the world’s third most senior Catholic – and other senior Melbourne archdiocesan clergy also failed to exercise proper care for children when dealing with Doveton parish priest Peter Searson, counsel assisting the inquiry said in a submission.

Known for his yellowing long fingernails and icy stare, complaints against Father Searson included keeping a gun at school, showing a body in a coffin to children, sexual contact with children, animal cruelty and holding a knife to a girl’s chest.

Searson was accused of sexual misconduct among a number of accusations while a parish priest under effective control of the now Cardinal Pell in Melbourne’s Doveton parish in the 1980s.

He also stabbed a bird with a screwdriver in front of students, and was accused of making children kneel between knees and sit on lap during confession, during which he had a tape recorder.

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Child abuse royal commission should reject Pell’s evidence: counsel assisting

AUSTRALIA
The Age

Beau Donelly

Cardinal George Pell knew enough to conclude that more serious action should have been taken against a paedophile priest, according to counsel assisting the child sex abuse royal commission.

In their submission to the royal commission, published on Monday, counsel assisting Gail Furness SC and Stephen Free urged the commission to reject evidence from Australia’s highest ranking Catholic that he had been intentionally deceived about former Doveton priest Peter Searson.

Cardinal Pell, who testified to the commission in March via video link from Rome, said he was told about Searson’s bizarre behaviour in 1989, when he was an auxiliary bishop. But he said the reports of Searson abusing animals and going to the children’s toilets were not enough for him to act and that it was not his responsibility to investigate the priest.

He also said allegations against Searson had been kept from him by the Catholic Education Office, but claims of a cover up were denied by former Catholic officials who testified before the royal commission earlier this year.

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Pressure mounts on Pell as royal commission submits damning report

AUSTRALIA
Daily Telegraph

Shannon Deery, The Daily Telegraph
October 31, 2016

AUSTRALIA’S most senior Catholic Cardinal, George Pell, was involved in knowingly shuffling paedophile priests between parishes, according to the counsel assisting the child sex abuse inquiry.

And there was strong evidence implicating Cardinal Pell in a church cover-up, the counsel said in submissions to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse published yesterday.

Cardinal Pell strongly denied the claims in his 71-page submission, which was also published yesterday.

Counsel assisting Gail Furness SC, Angus Steward SC and Stephen Free, said Cardinal Pell knew paedophile Gerald Ridsdale was being moved between parishes because of his crimes against children

Cardinal Pell served as a consulter to former Ballarat bishop Ronald Mulkearns, who oversaw the movement of several paedophile priests. At a consultors meeting in 1982 it was decided to move Ridsdale from the parish of Mortlake, where he committed some of his worst offences.

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Pell should have acted on priest: counsel

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

Australian Associated Press October 31, 2016

Cardinal George Pell failed to take direct action against a Melbourne pedophile priest, missing the chance to deal with risks he posed, the royal commission has been told.

Cardinal Pell and other senior Melbourne archdiocesan clergy also failed to exercise proper care for children when dealing with Doveton parish priest Peter Searson, counsel assisting the inquiry said in a submission.

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Cardinal Pell had evidence to act on paedophile priest, royal commission counsel say

AUSTRALIA
The Guardian

Melissa Davey
@MelissaLDavey
Sunday 30 October 2016

Australia’s most senior Catholic, Cardinal George Pell, had enough evidence to conclude that serious action was needed against a paedophile priest who worked under him at the Ballarat archdiocese, counsel assisting the royal commission have said.

During his evidence before the child sex abuse royal commission in March, Pell said investigating Peter Searson was not his responsibility because he believed the Catholic Education Office and the Bishop of Ballarat, Ronald Mulkearns, were handling allegations that Searson was abusing children.

But in a submission published on the commission’s website on Monday, counsel assisting the royal commission Gail Furness SC and Stephen Free concluded: “It was incumbent on Cardinal Pell, having regard to his responsibilities as Auxiliary Bishop, including for the welfare of children in the parish, to take such action as he could to advocate that Searson be removed or suspended, or, at least, that a thorough investigation be undertaken.”

Pell gave evidence that he was handed a list of incidents and grievances about Searson in 1989. These should have been “sufficient that he ought reasonably have concluded that more serious action needed to be taken in relation to Searson”, counsel assisting wrote.

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Abuse commission submitted to reject evidence over priest

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

October 31, 2016

TESSA AKERMAN
ReporterMelbourne
@TessaAkerman

The child sex abuse royal commission has been told to reject evidence from Cardinal George Pell, the world’s third most senior Catholic, regarding a former priest.

In submissions by counsel assisting to case study 35 into the Melbourne Archdiocese, Gail Furness SC and Stephen Free submitted that the commission should reject Cardinal Pell’s evidence that he was intentionally deceived by the Catholic Education Office regarding former priest Peter Searson.

They submitted the CEO should have done much more to respond to the obvious threat posed by Searson, however there was no evidence any of the officer at any time intentionally concealed from the Archdiocese information that it received about Searson.

“Nor is there any evidence, or logical reason, despite the theory advanced by Cardinal Pell, that the CEO or any of its officers wished to keep Searson in Doveton and were resistant to any moves to the contrary,” they said.

“The matters known to Cardinal Pell on his own evidence … were sufficient that he ought reasonably to have concluded that more serious action needed to be taken in relation to Searson.”

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Rain or shine

GUAM
Guam Daily Post

PROTESTERS: More than 50 protesters from the Concerned Catholics of Guam and Laity Forward Movement carried on their weekly protest yesterday in front of the Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica in Hagåtña. Among their demands, they are calling for the defrocking of Archbishop Anthony Apuron, who is accused of sexually abusing altar boys when he was a priest at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Agat in the 1970s. Photo contributed by Lou Klitzkie

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Submissions for public hearings into Ballarat and Melbourne Catholic Church authorities published

AUSTRALIA
Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

31 October, 2016

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has published the written submissions for the public hearing into Catholic Church authorities in Ballarat.

The public hearing inquired into the response of the Catholic Diocese of Ballarat and other Catholic Church authorities in Ballarat to allegations of child sexual abuse against clergy or religious.

It also inquired into the response of the Congregation of Christian Brothers in St Patrick’s Province, Australia, to allegations of child sexual abuse against Christian Brothers.

The submissions can be found on the Case Study 28 page.

The Royal Commission has also published the written submissions for the public hearing into the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne.

The submissions can be found on the Case Study 35 page.

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ANTIOCHIAN WESTERN DIOCESE EPISCOPAL APPOINTMENT CAUSES CONCERN

UNITED STATES
OCP Media Network

[ANTIOCHIAN WESTERN DIOCESE EPISCOPAL APPOINTMENT CAUSES CONCERN – Pravoslavie.ru]

Pravoslavie.ru – 29/10/16

On Wednesday, October 26, a press conference was held outside the St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral in Los Angeles, reports pokrov.org . The topic was unpleasant, but one which has many in the diocese deeply concerned—clergy and laity alike.

In a letter dated October 6, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America announced the appointment of Bishop Demetri as vicar bishop of the Diocese of the West, saying “I would like and expect you to welcome His Grace Bishop DEMETRI to your parishes and to treat him as though I myself was visiting you.”

The concern arises from Bishop Demetri Matta Khoury’s February 25, 2004 conviction for attempted fourth degree criminal sexual misconduct. He was arrested July 9, 2003 after appearing plain-clothed and visibly intoxicated in a Michigan casino where he grabbed a woman’s breast. He stated that he didn’t remember the night, but plead guilty after viewing the casino’s security footage.

He was sentenced to twenty-eight days in jail with two years of probation, and required to register as a sex offender, although his conviction and classification were both later revokedafter he appealed in 2014.

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Christian Sunday school teacher held for allegedly sexually abusing minor boy in Ernakulam

INDIA
The News Minute

Kerala police on Saturday arrested a Christian catechism teacher for allegedly sexually assaulting a minor boy.

According to reports, the 16-year-old teenager said in his complaint that his teacher Suresh Esthapanos had assaulted him twice in September last year and once in July this year.

The 56-year-old teacher who hails from Kothamangalam in Ernakulam district, reportedly assaulted the boy after taking him to deserted spots including his house. He has been charged under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (Pocso) and was sent to judicial custody.

The incident came to light after the boy revealed to his mother his traumatic experiences, following which the boy’s parents filed a complaint with Childline.

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How Pope Francis Helped Defeat the Colombian Peace Agreement

UNITED STATES
The Open Tabernacle: Here Comes Everybody

Posted on October 30, 2016 by Betty Clermont

Pope Francis refused multiple requests for his participation or presence during the peace process. He also advocated the ideology and vocabulary for those who opposed the peace agreement.

In April 2015, Pope Francis’ secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, sent a letter to Colombian bishops on behalf of the pope “in the hope of seeing them soon during one of his trips to Latin America.” (Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay in July 2015, Cuba in September 2015, Mexico in February 2016). Archbishop Luis Augusto Castro Quiroga, president of the Colombian bishops’ conference, said he hoped it would be in “early 2016 …. This date was tentatively picked as it should coincide with the eventual ratification of the peace agreement should it be completed on time.”

[As of April 2015] in the peace talks which the government of President Juan Manuel Santos has held since October of 2012 with the left-wing Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Latin America’s oldest insurgency group that has been in existence since 1964, there is ample progress.

The talks were started in hopes of ending a conflict that has claimed more than 220,000 lives in over half a century of violence, and displaced several million more ….

Although there is opposition from the most conservative sectors, led by former president Álvaro Uribe (2002-2010) who is the most outspoken opponent of the peace talks and a man with links to illegal right-wing paramilitary groups and sectors of the Armed Forces, the overwhelming majority of the populace supports an end to the violence and the beginning of a new stage of peace.

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Bishop Ronald Mulkearns’ Fairhaven property sold after auction

AUSTRALIA
Geelong Advertiser

NAVARONE FARRELL, Property reporter, Geelong Advertiser
October 29, 2016

THE Surf Coast home of a bishop at the heart of one of Australia’s biggest child sex scandals has sold after auction for $2.1 million.

Bishop Ronald Mulkearns died earlier this year and left his estate to the Catholic diocese of Ballarat, for current Bishop Paul Bird to distribute.

In September, when the property was announced for auction, Bishop Bird said that the profits from the sale of the Mulkearns’ estate would be donated to the victims of child sex abuse.

The majority of his estate, including the four-bedroom cliff top house in the picturesque town of Fairhaven, and $40,000 in cash were left to the church

The four-bedroom house at 56 Banool Rd, last sold in 1986 for $55,000 went for was passed in on a vendor bid. Around 50 people turned out, including members of the Catholic Church, child sex abuse survivors and the general public.

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A survivor of the child sex abuse scandal attended disgraced Bishop’s estate auction

AUSTRALIA
Geelong Advertiser

NAVARONE FARRELL, Geelong Advertiser
October 29, 2016

A SURVIVOR of the child sex abuse scandal that plagued the Ballarat diocese has spoken out about the sale of disgraced Bishop Ronald Mulkearns’ assets.

Stephen Woods, now 55-years-old, attended the auction of Mulkearns’ multi-million dollar Fairhaven home and called for the funds to be easily accessible to survivors.

“I was molested between the ages of 11 and 14. I was molested and raped by three clergymen, Brother [Robert] Best, Brother [Edward] Dowlin, and Father [Gerald] Ridsdale,” he said.

The three clergymen were among many the offenders that were touted as the worse among the scandal that spanned from 1971 to 1997.

“I’m a retired secondary school teacher. I had to stop after my body physically, emotionally and mentally just couldn’t handle it. I was studying my masters at a university in Melbourne and I collapsed and couldn’t keep going.

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New Sexual Abuse Lawsuit Filed Against Legionaries Of Christ

CONNECTICUT
Hartford Courant

Dave Altimari

A former member of the Legionaries of Christ has filed a lawsuit against the Cheshire-based religious group, claiming that when he was 12 years old he was molested by its leader, Marcial Maciel Degollado.

The civil lawsuit, filed in Waterbury Superior Court last week by New Haven attorney Joel Faxon, refers to the victim as John Roe and alleges that he was molested not only by Maciel but also by two other priests, Father Luis Garza, the former head of the North American chapter of the Legionaries, and Father Jose Sabin.

The lawsuit said John Roe enrolled in a Legionaries seminary school in 1989 when he was 12 and was supposed to attend a school in New Hampshire but instead ended up in a school the group ran in Mexico.

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Sanibel priest allegedly exploited parishioner with dementia

FLORIDA
NBC 2

SANIBEL –
The priest of a Sanibel church is being investigated by the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, according to the Diocese of Venice. He faces allegations of financially exploiting a churchgoer who was suffering from dementia.

The criminal investigation is focused on Father Christopher Senk of St. Isabel Catholic Church at the corner of Sanibel-Captiva and Rabbit Roads.

The Diocese of Venice says that Father Senk is on paid administrative leave while the allegations are reviewed.

The criminal investigation report was referred to the Florida State Attorney.

Documents show that Father Senk denies the allegations.

The following was a press released distributed by the Diocese of Venice in Florida’s Communications Department.

Venice, Fla. – Regrettably, it must be reported that the Diocese of Venice has been informed that an investigation has been carried out by the Lee County Sherriff’s Office. The Criminal Investigation Report was referred to the Florida State Attorney. The focus of the investigation was Father Christopher Senk, who has been serving as Pastor of St. Isabel Parish in Sanibel and who it is alleged to have financially exploited an elderly parishioner whom he knew as suffering from dementia. Father has denied these allegations.

The Diocese of Venice placed Father Senk on paid administrative leave while the allegations are reviewed. This was undertaken after consultation with priest consultors.

According to public record, the civil investigators interviewed a number of persons including Father Senk, and subpoenaed documents from the personal records of Father as well as records of the alleged victim. Officials believed that Father Senk took advantage of his position of trust to financially exploit an elderly and vulnerable parishioner, and that he continued to do so even after family members, acting as appointed guardians, directed him to stop. The same opinion was shared by the lead prosecutor. However, it was decided not to prosecute at this time.

If true, the alleged actions of Father Senk require a pastoral response in light of the Diocesan Code of Pastoral Conduct. Pope Francis reminds all, that priests are called to live simply and to identify with the poor, and to avoid seeking personal financial gain. It is necessary to ensure that priests who serve in the name of the Church act with compassion and respect, especially in the care of elderly and vulnerable parishioners.

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Sanibel priest under investigation for exploitation of an elderly person

FLORIDA
Fox 4

SANIBEL, Fla. — An investigation has been carried out by the Lee County Sheriffs’ Office for a Sanibel priest who allegedly exploited an elderly parishioner, according to the Diocese of Venice.

Officials believe Father Christopher Senk took advantage of his position to financially exploit the parishioner whom he new was suffering from dementia. Father has denied these allegations.

The Diocese of Venice placed Father Senk on paid administrative leave while the allegations are reviewed.

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Frei y Larraechea critican a iglesia católica por continuidad de obispo Barros en Osorno

CHILE
Bio Bio

[During a last visit in the city of Osorno, former First Lady Marta Larraechea questioned the presence of the current bishop of the Diocese of Osorno, Juan Barros, saying his presence shows a lack of respect for the community by the Catholic church and shows a lack of humility on the part of the bishop to remain in the area. Also former president Eduardo Frei addressed the issue stating it was a bad sign that the Vatican failed to turn over to the Chilean court information on the bishop.]

Publicado por
Felipe Delgado

Durante su última visita en la ciudad de Osorno, tal como hiciera en su anterior estadía en la zona, la exprimera dama Marta Larraechea cuestionó la presencia del actual obispo de la Diócesis de Osorno, Juan Barros, señalando que es una falta de respeto a la comunidad por parte de la iglesia católica, tanto como una falta de humildad de su parte mantenerse a la cabeza de la iglesia en la zona.

Tal como señaló, el actual obispo debería tener la humildad de dar un paso al lado, por no representar a toda su comunidad, manteniéndose en una ciudad donde no se le quiere y se le critica, por lo que lo más sano sería que escuchara la voz de su comunidad.

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Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh airs merger plans to faithful

PENNSYLVANIA
WPXI

[with video]

PITTSBURGH – The Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh has begun airing plans to merge parishes, citing dwindling numbers of members and priests.

The first meetings with local parishioners started Monday and will occur in all 192 parishes over the next eight weeks.

Church officials say the number of Catholics in the diocese has fallen from 914,000 in 1980 to 632,000 last year. The number of those attending Sunday Mass has also fallen from nearly 247,000 in 2000 to fewer than 150,000 last year. The number of active priests has decreased from 338 to 225 over that same 15-year period and is projected to be just 112 by the year 2025.

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MEDIA RELEASE – OCTOBER 29-30, 2016

NEW JERSEY
Road to Recovery

Leaders of the Salesian Priests and Brothers have refused to settle a childhood sexual abuse claim against one of their priests, Fr. Joseph Maffei, SDB, causing the victim, who was abused in Indiana, to be re-victimized. The victim is being denied justice.

What
A press conference and demonstration alerting the media, Catholics, and general public about the refusal of the Salesian Priests and Brothers, based in New Rochelle, New York, to help settle a claim of sexual abuse of a child by a member of the Salesians of Don Bosco religious order, Fr. Joseph Maffei, SDB.

When
Saturday, October 29, 2016, from 11:00 am until 1:00 pm before kickoff of the Don Bosco/ Bergen Catholic football game

Sunday, October 30, 2016, from 11:30 am until 1:30 pm at the Open House of Don Bosco Prep School

Where
Saturday, October 29, 2016 – on the public sidewalk across the entrance to the Bergen Catholic High School football stadium, 1040 Oradell Avenue, Oradell, NJ 07649

Sunday, October 30, 2016 – on the public sidewalk across from the main entrance of Don Bosco Prep School, 492 North Franklin Turnpike, Ramsey, NJ 07446

Who
Members of Road to Recovery, Inc., a non-profit charity based in New Jersey that assists victims of sexual abuse and their families, including its co-founder and President, Robert M. Hoatson, Ph.D.

Why
The Salesian Priests and Brothers of Don Bosco, based in New Rochelle, New York, refuse to settle the claim of a man who was sexually abused in Indiana as a child by a serial pedophile Salesian priest and help him heal. They have told the man to “take a hike.” The man was sexually abused as a minor child by a serial pedophile priest, Fr. Joseph Maffei, SDB, at St. Dominic Savio Juniorate in Cedar Lake, Indiana. The victim met with leaders of the Salesian religious order who coldly and callously informed him that they will not help him heal. Subsequently, Fr. Timothy Zak, SDB, who is in charge of sexual abuse allegations for the Don Bosco Salesian priests and brothers, told demonstrators at an Orange, NJ, Catholic Church (Our Lady of the Valley) that the Indiana victim’s case was being settled. It has not been settled yet.

Contacts
Robert M. Hoatson, Ph.D., Road to Recovery, Inc., Livingston, NJ – 862-368-2800

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2nd Ex-Student Accuses Rabbi Of Sex Assault

CONNECTICUT
New Haven Independent

by PAUL BASS | Oct 28, 2016

A second former student of a prominent New Haven rabbi has asserted under oath that the rabbi “sexually molested” him “many dozens of times” then continued the sexual relationship when he returned to the rabbi’s school to work as an adult.

The allegations emerged in a pretrial deposition taken in the case of Eliyahu Mirlis v. Rabbi Daniel Greer, et al.

Mirlis’s attorney filed that lawsuit in U.S. District Court on May 3. It charged that Greer repeatedly raped him for three years while he was a student at the Yeshiva of New Haven, one of two Orthodox Jewish schools Greer ran inside the former Roger Sherman School at Elm and Norton streets in New Haven’s Edgewood neighborhood. (Read a detailed account of that suit here.)

Greer — a prominent figure who revived a declining neighborhood and has publicly crusaded against gay rights, prostitution, and coed university dorms — has repeatedly denied the allegations through his attorney. Greer is 75 years old; he was in his 60s at the time of the alleged abuse.

The new set of allegations emerged in a July 25 deposition of a key witness in that case, a close family friend of Greer’s who grew up attending Greer’s schools and then returned as an adult to serve as a teacher and administrator. He is now 41 years old.

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Beleaguered child abuse probe faces a cover-up storm as it denies top lawyer quit over an alleged sex assault

UNITED KINGDOM
Daily Mail

By REBECCA CAMBER and EMILY KENT SMITH FOR DAILY MAIL
PUBLISHED: 19:07 EST, 28 October 2016 | UPDATED: 19:51 EST, 28 October 2016

The chairman of the beleaguered child abuse inquiry faced explosive new claims of a cover-up last night after it emerged that its top lawyer had been accused of sexual assault.

Ben Emmerson QC, lead counsel to the inquiry, yesterday rebutted claims that he groped a female colleague in a lift at the headquarters of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.

The allegations emerged when BBC Newsnight claimed that Mr Emmerson, the most senior lawyer in the country’s biggest public inquiry, had been allowed to quit after the accusations.

The inquiry said yesterday that neither its chairman, Professor Alexis Jay, her panel nor any official were aware of any complaint of sexual assault before Mr Emmerson resigned.

But last night a source close to the inquiry said the alleged victim had made a ‘disclosure’ to another member of the inquiry that was passed to Professor Jay and the panel before Mr Emmerson’s departure.

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Mormon official says Henderson man charged in lewdness case ‘was never employed’ by church

NEVADA
Las Vegas Review-Journal

By DAVID FERRARA
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL

A Mormon church official said Friday that a Henderson man facing lewdness, child pornography and kidnapping charges was not acting in his role as a home teacher when the alleged crimes occurred.

In announcing an indictment earlier this week, a prosecutor described 43-year-old Martin Gillen as a “home school teacher” with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

On Friday, a spokesman for the church clarified Gillen’s role and said the man had “no calling in the congregation.”

Gillen is accused of fondling a 10-year-old girl in August at her home, according to Chief Deputy District Attorney Dena Rinetti.

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Pine County sect leader Victor Barnard gets 30 years for teen sex assault

MINNESOTA
Pioneer Press

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
PUBLISHED: October 28, 2016

PINE CITY, Minn. — The leader of an isolated religious sect in Minnesota was sentenced Friday to 30 years in prison, weeks after he pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting two teenage girls who were members of his community.

Victor Barnard, 55, agreed to the 30-year sentence as part of his plea deal earlier this month in Pine County.

Barnard was the longtime leader of the River Road Fellowship near Finlayson, about 90 miles north of Minneapolis-St. Paul.

In 2012, two women came forward and told authorities that Barnard began assaulting them when they were as young as 12 and 13. The women said they were among about 10 girls and young women who were chosen to live in a camp apart from their families as part of Barnard’s “Maidens Group.”

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Victor Barnard sentenced to 30 years

MINNESOTA
KARE

PINE CITY, Minn. – A religious sect leader who was charged with sexually abusing girls at his secluded compound has been sentenced to 30 years.

Victor Barnard, 55, was stoic as his official sentence was announced.

He told the court he is asking God to heal him.

“God is good, his word is faithful … and I have not walked in his goodness,” Barnard said, after his sentencing.

Earlier this month, he pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and under terms of that deal, agreed to serve 30 years. He will get credit for roughly two years that he’s already served.

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Two Childhood Rape Survivors Just Ended a Cult Leader’s Terrifying Reign

MINNESOTA
New York Magazine

By Catie L’Heureux

Of all the abuse, manipulation, and horrifying crimes that religious cult leader Victor Barnard committed, no one could have predicted his youngest victim would wield the most damning evidence against him. In court documents, her name is C. When she was 13, she started drawing a tiny X on her calendar every day Barnard raped her.

Wedged into corners of her calendar’s white boxes, alongside notes about music practice or play dates with friends, the ink charted what would become the driving force behind 59 counts of sexual assault that C and her friend B, another victim, ultimately filed against Barnard. Years after he first abused them, the two women spoke directly to Barnard in court on Friday.

Barnard, now 55, rose to power in the 1990s as the charismatic leader of the River Road Fellowship, an offshoot Christian sect he founded and later transformed into a cult. He convinced 150 people to sell their homes and move to Shepherd’s Camp, an isolated 85-acre campground in Finlayson, Minnesota. Life was simple and entirely self-sustaining: Families sewed their own clothing, planted gardens, and traded goods and services like butchering, cabinet-building, and soap-making. There was no internet, no cell phones.

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Pine County cult leader Victor Barnard sentenced to 30 years in prison

MINNESOTA
Star Tribune

By Pam Louwagie Star Tribune OCTOBER 28, 2016

PINE CITY, MINN. – Finally facing her abuser in court, Lindsay Tornambe sat at a prosecutor’s table Friday, her voice shaking, and recounted how feared religious leader Victor Barnard had sexually assaulted her starting at age 13, and how it continues to haunt her.

“I felt so alone, because I was,” she said, fighting tears as she described how she didn’t have anyone to turn to in the cloistered River Road Fellowship community Barnard once led in east central Minnesota.

She’s had PTSD, she said. Nightmares. Trust issues. Feelings of abandonment. Suicidal thoughts. Anxiety.

When she found the strength to tell law enforcement about nine years of abuse at Barnard’s hands, prompting authorities to go on a manhunt for him all the way to Brazil, she felt she finally had some power over him, she said.

“I used to see Victor as this powerful and monstrously strong man,” Tornambe said. “I am his downfall. … He cannot break me. … He is the one that is weak. He will be known all over the world as a sexual predator.”

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Kerala Church Teacher Arrested For Sexually Abusing 16-Year-Old Boy

INDIA
NDTV

Kerala | Written by Sneha Mary Koshy | Updated: October 29, 2016

ERNAKULAM: A teacher who taught at the Sunday school for a church in Kerala’s Ernakulam has been arrested by the police for sexually abusing a student.

The teacher in his early 30s, Suresh, allegedly tried forcing himself onto a 16-year-old boy.

“The teacher has been charged under the Juvenile Justice Act and for forcing the teenager into homosexuality,” police told NDTV.

The student, according to police, has alleged that the teacher made physical advances twice since December 2015, before finally forcing himself on the student this month.

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School Teacher Arrested in Kerala for Sexually Abusing a 16-Year-Old Boy – Report

INDIA
FitnHit

A School Teacher arrested in Kerala for being accused of Sexual abuse. A 56-year-old school teacher, Suresh was held and remanded in the judicial custody on the allegation of sexually abusing a teenage boy repeatedly. As said by the Police on Saturday, the accused was arrested on Friday.

Suresh, who is a school teacher used to take classes for students at a Sunday school that is attached to a Syrian Jacobite Church near Kothamangalam that is about 50 km away from Kochi. The said victim and the school teacher Suresh are neighbors.

He has been said to have constantly abused this 16-year-old boy, sexually, since 2015 after threatening him. The Police also mentioned that the victim also used to join his classes at the Sunday school. After recognizing the incident, the teacher has been charged under IPC Section 377 (Unnatural offenses) and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act).

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Protect me from randy pastor, Nairobi congregant urges church

KENYA
The Star

Oct. 29, 2016
By ALPHONCE MUNG’AHU

A female congregant has appealed to her church headquarters for protection after her home church allegedly failed to act on her complaint of alleged sexual harassment by a pastor.

Peris Ondara filed an affidavit accusing pastor Paul Owuor of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, Nairobi East, of sexually harassing her. The complainant who also works as a teacher at a school sponsored by the church, at which the pastor is also based, said efforts to get support from church elders has been unsuccessful.

But when contacted, Owuor denied the allegations, saying “the woman is out to taint my image”. He also denied allegations that she reported the matter to the church’s management. Ondara alleged Owuor summoned her to his office at around 8.30am on September 30. “He told me I am beautiful, young and good looking and he would be happy to go out with me,” she said. Ondara said Owuor said she would only get allowances, a salary increment and permanent employment if she gave in.

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Mother tells court of shock over Prayer Palace pastor’s alleged assault

CANADA
Toronto Star

By JACQUES GALLANT
Staff Reporter
Fri., Oct. 28, 2016

One of Paul Melnichuk’s two alleged sexual assault victims testified Friday that it felt like a “strong animal” had grabbed her the day she and the popular pastor were walking alone in a church hallway.

“You don’t even have a second to react or think,” the woman, whose name is covered by a publication ban, testified in a Finch Ave. courtroom, right next door to Melnichuk’s Prayer Palace, the massive evangelical church he founded decades ago and also the scene of the alleged crime.

The flamboyant 83-year-old pastor pleaded not guilty on the first day of his trial Thursday to sexually assaulting the woman and her daughter, who were once members of the congregation.

The woman said she was walking to Melnichuk’s left one day in 2014 when she testified he suddenly grabbed her shoulders, pressed his genitals up against her buttocks and made a shaking motion with his hips. She said she then jumped and turned around and he did the same.

The woman demonstrated all of this in court on her Spanish interpreter.

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Their fight lost, members of closed Scituate church start their own

MASSACHUSETTS
Boston Globe

By Bella English OCTOBER 28, 2016

It has been 12 years — and 5 days, to be exact — since St. Frances X. Cabrini church in Scituate was declared closed by the Archdiocese of Boston, as part of a sweeping reconfiguration process necessitated by dwindling attendance and collections, a shortage of priests, and a multimillion-dollar settlement with victims of the priest sexual abuse scandal.

But until last Memorial Day, a group of parishioners refused to leave the premises, staging a 24/7 vigil that finally ended when the Supreme Court declined to hear the case between them and the archdiocese. On May 30, the day after a Mass that drew nearly 500, the Friends of St. Frances vacated the church property near the ocean — 30 acres appraised by the town of Scituate at $4.2 million.

Friends of St. Frances X. Cabrini are holding Mass at the Satuit Lodge of Freemasons in Scituate.

It didn’t take long for the Friends, led by Maryellen and Jon Rogers, to establish a new church, which is meeting at the Satuit Lodge of Freemasons in Scituate, while they plan a capital campaign for their own church building.

Here’s how Maryellen Rogers describes it: “We are an ecumenical Catholic church, we are still valid practicing Catholics, part of the universal Catholic Church, not the Roman Catholic Church. So if you join our church community, you would see a welcoming Catholic experience but you would not be supporting the Roman Catholic Church or the Archdiocese of Boston.”

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Priests can’t legally be forced to reveal what’s heard in confession, Louisiana Supreme Court rules

LOUISIANA
The Advocate

BY JOE GYAN JR. | JGYAN@THEADVOCATE.COM OCT 28, 2016

A priest has no duty to report confidential information heard during a sacramental confession, the Louisiana Supreme Court ruled Friday in a bid to clear up what it called the “widespread confusion” caused by its decision two years ago in a long-running case involving the Roman Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge.

The diocese had warned after the 2014 ruling that the sanctity of the confessional was under attack by the ruling the church said might force a priest to reveal in court what was privately told to him.

The case involves a young woman who claims she told a Baton Rouge-area Catholic priest that a longtime church parishioner was sexually abusing her when she was 14 but the priest did nothing to stop or report the alleged abuse.

A legal battle over whether a Louisiana priest should have reported a teenager’s claims of s…
In a 2014 ruling in the case that resuscitated Rebecca Mayeux’s lawsuit against the Baton Rouge Diocese and the Rev. Jeff Bayhi, the state Supreme Court said a dispute remained “concerning whether the communications between the child and the priest were confessions per se and whether the priest obtained knowledge outside the confessional that would trigger his duty to report” sexual abuse allegations.

The Supreme Court on Friday conceded that it never “conclusively determined” whether a priest, in administering sacramental confession, is a mandatory reporter of child abuse under provisions of the Louisiana Children’s Code. Such a determination would make priests subject to the mandatory duty to report under the code.

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Group calls on diocese to seek other potential victims of jailed ex-priest

PENNSYLVANIA
Times-Tribune

BY DAVID SINGLETON / PUBLISHED: OCTOBER 29, 2016

An advocacy group for clergy abuse victims is urging the Diocese of Scranton to reach out to individuals who may know about other potential crimes committed by a former priest who is up for parole after molesting a boy a decade ago in Wayne County.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests said it opposes the release of Steven Wolpert, who is serving a nine- to 18-year sentence at the State Correctional Institution at Camp Hill for involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a child under 13.

“Kids will be safest if Wolpert serves his entire sentence of 18 years behind bars,” SNAP director David Clohessy said in a statement.

Mr. Wolpert, 63, who served as a priest in Brooklyn, New York, from 1981 to 1987, pleaded guilty in Wayne County Court in March 2008, to charges he abused an 8-year-old boy in Hawley in 2006 and 2007. He was sentenced three months later.

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Lawsuit Alleges Sex Abuse by Ex-No. 2 at Legion of Christ

UNITED STATES
ABC News

By MICHAEL MELIA AND NICOLE WINFIELD, ASSOCIATED PRESS

HARTFORD, Conn. — Oct 28, 2016

A former top official for the scandal-plagued Legion of Christ sexually abused a teenage boy in the early 1990s, according to a lawsuit filed this week.

The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, accuses a priest who served as second-in-command to a man who founded the conservative religious order and molested his own seminarians. It’s believed to include the first such accusation against the Rev. Luis Garza, who’s believed to be living in the Philippines.

A Legion of Christ spokesman said Garza denies the allegations. Garza “categorially denies his involvement in this or any other abuse and has said he will cooperate fully in any inquiry regarding this matter,” spokesman Jim Fair said.

The plaintiff, whose name was not made public, says he was abused by Garza; the order’s founder, the late Rev. Marcial Maciel; and a third priest at a Legion boarding school in Mexico beginning in 1990 or 1991, when he was about 13 or 14 years old.

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Priest gets jail for flashing teen

WISCONSIN
Green Bay Press-Gazette

Paul Srubas, USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin October 28, 2016

GREEN BAY – A retired Catholic priest will spend four months in jail for exposing himself multiple times to a 16-year-old boy.

Rev. Richard L. Thomas, 79, of Allouez, will also spend three years on probation, Brown County Circuit Judge Timothy Hinkfuss ordered Friday.

Hinkfuss rejected a defense plea for probation without jail time.

“You should be held to a higher standard because of your vocation,” Hinkfuss told him, adding that these latest charges weren’t Thomas’s “first time around.”

Assistant District Attorney Bryant Dorsey said Thomas had been arrested for indecent exposure in 1990 and again in 1993, when he was convicted.

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Former priest gets jail time in exposure case

WISCONSIN
Wisconsin Public Radio

OCTOBER 28, 2016 BY WRN CONTRIBUTOR

A retired Catholic priest will spend about four months in jail for exposing himself to a teenage boy in the Green Bay suburb of Allouez. Seventy-eight-year-old Richard Thomas was sentenced to 120 days behind bars, during a hearing in Brown County court Friday morning.

Thomas was living in a home for retired priests in March, when he was accused of flashing the teen four times, while the boy was walking to school.

Thomas entered no contest pleas to two felony counts of exposing himself to a child, last month. He started seeking treatment earlier this year. Thomas will also spend three years on probation, after he’s released from jail.

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Court: Law can shield priests from reporting abuse evidence

LOUISIANA
Houston Chronicle

Kevin Mcgill, Associated Press Friday, October 28, 2016

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Louisiana’s Supreme Court has ruled that a priest is not required by law to notify authorities after hearing evidence of abuse from a child making a religious confession.

Friday’s ruling deals with a section of Louisiana law requiring health workers, teachers, clergy and others to report evidence of child abuse to authorities. A lower court held the law unconstitutional because it would force priests to violate their religious beliefs by reporting information from confessions.

But the Supreme Court ruling analyzed the law and concluded that religious leaders are exempt from the law when they hear evidence of child abuse in a “sacramental confession.”

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Cottage Grove pastor arrested after child porn search

MINNESOTA
Pioneer Press

By BOB SHAW | bshaw@pioneerpress.com
PUBLISHED: October 27, 2016

A pastor of a Cottage Grove church has been arrested on suspicion of possessing child pornography.

William Leonard Helker, 47, was arrested by Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension agents on Wednesday. Helker is an associate pastor of All Saints Lutheran Church in Cottage Grove, according to the ELCA church’s website.

He was arrested at his home in Pine City, Minn., by the Bureau’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. The officers booked him into the Pine County Jail.

The agents executed search warrants at Helker’s home and at the church, with help from Homeland Security Investigations, which is part of the federal Department of Homeland Security. Deputies of the Pine County sheriff’s office also helped with the search warrants.

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Minnesota Pastor Arrested, Accused of Possessing Child Porn

MINNESOTA
KSTP

October 27, 2016

Authorities have arrested a 47-year-old pastor after searching his Pine City home and a Cottage Grove church during a child pornography investigation.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension says William Leonard Helker was arrested Wednesday at his home on the 15000 block of Copper Canyon Road in Pine City.

The arrest came after BCA agents with the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force executed search warrants on October 26, at Helker’s home and All Saints Lutheran Church in Cottage Grove, where Helker is a pastor.

Helker was arrested without incident and was booked into the Pine County Jail on suspicion of possessing pornography involving minors, the BCA said.

Members of the church say they found out about the arrest via email Wednesday night.

They say Helker worked with kids conducting first communion and confirmation classes, but worked with adults as well.

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Pastor charged for possessing child porn

MINNESOTA
KARE

COTTAGE GROVE, Minn. – A local pastor has been charged after authorities say they found thousands of pornographic images and videos involving children on his computer and phone.

William Leonard Helker, 47, was arrested Thursday on suspicion of possessing child pornography after agents from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) executed a search warrant at his trailer in Pine City. The search warrant was executed after the BCA received a number of cybertips reported by Facebook and Instagram that Helker was exchanging images of nude minor females with a man in Helsinki, Finland.

When agents appeared at his home Helker reportedly admitted to possessing thousands of pornographic images and videos on his laptop and on his phone. He said that all of the subjects were under the age of 18, and were photographed engaged in sex acts or with their genitals exposed.

Until late last week, Helker was an associate pastor at All Saints Lutheran Church in Cottage Grove. His electronic footprints indicate that some of the pornographic images were accessed while at church.

The criminal complaint also says that Helker told a female agent that he had taken numerous photos of innocent children from All Saints Lutheran Church, and then photoshopped the children’s faces onto pornographic images to use for his sexual gratification.

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Cottage Grove Pastor Arrested In Child Porn Case

MINNESOTA
CBS Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Officials say a pastor at a south metro church was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of possessing child porn.

The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension says 47-year-old William Leonard Helker, of Pine City, was taken into custody without incident at his home.

Agents with the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force made the arrest following a search of Helker’s home and All Saints Lutheran Church in Cottage Grove, where he serves as pastor.

Helker was booked into the Pine County Jail, pending formal charges.

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Cottage Grove, Minn. pastor arrested following child pornography investigation

MINNESOTA
Fox 9

By: Ashley Cole
POSTED:OCT 27 2016

PINE CITY, Minn. (KMSP) – A 47-year-old pastor has been arrested during a child pornography investigation.

According to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, William Helker was arrested Wednesday at his home in Pine City after authorities searched the home and a Cottage Grove church during a child pornography investigation.

Helker was arrested after Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force executed search warrants at his home and All Saints Lutheran Church in Cottage Grove. He was booked into the Pine County Jail on suspicion of possessing pornography involving minors.

Helker is listed as an associate pastor on the All Saints Lutheran Church website.

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All Saints Lutheran Church’s Pastor Helker arrested on suspicion of possessing child pornography

MINNESOTA
South Washington County Bulletin

By Scott Wente on Oct 27, 2016

William Leonard Helker, a pastor at All Saints Lutheran Church in Cottage Grove, was arrested on suspicion of possessing child pornography.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension announced Thursday that Helker was arrested Wednesday at his home in Pine City and booked at the Pine County jail. Formal criminal charges are pending, according to the BCA.

A jail spokeswoman said Helker was being held without bail; a court date had not been set.

BCA agents with the Internet Crimes AGainst Children Task Force made the arrest after executing search warrants at Helker’s home and at All Saints Lutheran, on Belden Boulevard in Cottage Grove. The warrants were executed with assistance from Homeland Security Investigations and the Pine County Sheriff’s Office, according to the BCA.

Helker is listed as an associate pastor on the All Saints website. The church had no comment Thursday but posted a statement on its website that said Helker was placed on administrative leave.

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Lutheran pastor in Cottage Grove arrested on suspicion of child pornography

MINNESOTA
Star Tribune

By Liz Sawyer Star Tribune OCTOBER 27, 2016

A Twin Cities pastor has been arrested on suspicion of possessing child pornography after authorities raided his home and office Wednesday, police said.

The 47-year-old Pine City man, who works as an associate pastor at All Saints Lutheran Church in Cottage Grove, was jailed Wednesday on felony probable cause child pornography charges.

The Star Tribune typically does not name suspects who have yet to be charged.

Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension agents, along with the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, searched the man’s church after obtaining a warrant. He was arrested without incident later at his home, about 80 miles north of the church.

A statement on the church’s website acknowledged the pastor’s arrest and said he was placed on administrative leave Wednesday. “We are concerned and ask prayers for all affected and will cooperate fully with law enforcement,” the message reads. “We are committed to providing safe spaces for all children and youth at All Saints and in the community.”

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Retired priest sentenced to jail for exposing himself to teen

WISCONSIN
WBAY

[with video]

By Rhonda Roberts
Published: October 28, 2016

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) – A retired priest who served in the Green Bay Catholic Diocese has been sentenced to four months jail for flashing a teenage boy multiple times.

Richard Thomas, 78, appeared in a Brown County courtroom Friday morning for a sentencing hearing on two counts of Exposing Genitals/Pubic Area/Intimate Parts to a Child. He pleaded “no contest” to the charges in September. As part of a plea deal, two other charges were dismissed.

In addition to the jail time, Thomas was also ordered to serve 36 months on probation and register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. He cannot have contact with minors.

Thomas told the court he “struggled with urges” and is “remorseful.” His attorney says Thomas is undergoing treatment.

The judge in the case called Thomas’ behavior “reprehensible.”

“This was a continuing event not just a one time affair, I mean this just went on and on and on and that’s, in my view, a problem, because it is once is bad enough but it continuing on makes it all the worse,” said Hon. Timothy Hinkfuss, Brown County Circuit Court Judge. “When someone’s walking to school, a minor’s walking to school, walking around the neighborhood, whatever it might be, to be exposed to this type of situation is really reprehensible.”

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Assignment Record– Msgr. John Stephen Mraz

PENNSYLVANIA
BishopAccountability.org

Summary of Case: John Stephen Mraz was ordained for the Diocese of Allentown in 1975. He worked or resided in parishes in Reading, Birdsboro, Sinking Spring, Limeport, Tuscarora, Allentown, Northampton and Emmaus. He was also a teacher at Reading and Allentown Catholic High Schools, and vice principal and director of spiritual activities at Marian High School in Tamaqua. He served as chaplain at Lehigh University and was for many years assistant superintendent in the diocesan Department of Education. Additionally, he held the position of director of the Office of Ecumenical and Interreligious Dialogue. He was elevated to Monsignor in 2008.

On September 13, 2016 Mraz was arrested on charges related to the discovery of child pornography on his two laptop computers. A parishioner found the images in late July while updating the devices, and informed the diocese in early August. The diocese contacted law enforcement. Pastor of St. Ann’s in Emmaus, Mraz had been away for a number of weeks due to medical issues and was living at a retirement home for priests. Parishioners were not told that their pastor was being investigated, nor was their assistant priest, who asked the congregation to pray for and visit the ailing Mraz. It wasn’t until Mraz’ arrest that the diocese issued a public statement. He was removed from public ministry.

Ordained: 1975

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WI–Predator priest is sentenced; Victims respond

WISCONSIN
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Friday, Oct. 28, 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)

A Green Bay priest has been sentenced for exposing himself to a child. We applaud law enforcement for pursuing this case and the brave teenager who reported this predator. http://bit.ly/2eMR1ib

We also call on Wisconsin Catholic officials to spread the word about Fr. Richard Thomas’ crime and beg others with information or suspicions about ties to predator – or other sex offender clerics – to call police and prosecutors promptly.

We hope law enforcement either has or will investigate whether any of Fr. Tomas’ supervisors or colleagues knew of or suspected his crimes and concealed or ignored them.

No matter what lawmakers or church officials do or don’t do, we urge every single person who saw, suspected or suffered child sex crimes and cover ups in Catholic churches or institutions to protect kids by calling police, get help by calling therapists, expose wrongdoers by calling attorneys, and be comforted by calling support groups like ours. This is how kids will be safer, adults will recover, criminals will be prosecuted, cover ups will be deterred and the truth will surface.

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CA–Abusive rabbi gets no prison; Victims respond

CALIFORNIA
Survivors Neetwork of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Friday, Oct. 28, 2016

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

We are appalled that a child molesting rabbi is will not be jailed and will instead be sent to a Jewish treatment center. At the same time, we admire and appreciate the courage of one of his ictims.

Rabbi Sholom Doyber Levitansky is getting “one year of counseling and residential treatment at Beit T’Shuvah, an addiction treatment center near Culver City, after pleading no contest to two counts of sexual penetration by a foreign object of a minor,” according to a news source.

[Jewish Journal]

That’s pathetic. We advocate prison not because we’re punitive but because it’s a sure-fire way to safeguard kids. And we’re very skeptical, based on nearly 30 years of experience, when judges let religious offenders special privileges by attending religiously-based or religiously-affiliated “treatment centers.’

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Landmark victory in sex abuse cases

NEW YORK
New Jersey Jewish News

NJJN Editorial
October 27, 2016

The financial settlement by a Brooklyn yeshiva of two sexual abuse cases marks an important milestone in the battle to expose such assaults and encourage victims to come forward despite strong social pressures to remain silent.

Yeshiva Torah Temimah agreed in the fall of 2014 to pay $2.1 million to two former students who accused Rabbi Joel (Yehuda) Kolko, 70, of molesting them when they were six years old, according to a recent New York Post story. The settlement became public knowledge when papers filed in Brooklyn Supreme Court indicated that the yeshiva had defaulted on its schedule of payments. The lawsuits were filed in 2006 and 2007.

Numerous allegations of sex abuse had been made against Kolko, dating back some 25 years. In 2012, in a deal with Charles Hynes, the Brooklyn district attorney at the time, Kolko pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts of child endangerment but did not receive a jail term and was not required to register as a sex offender.

The two separate lawsuits that came to light last week claim that Rabbi Lipa Margulies, the head of the yeshiva, was aware of allegations for more than two decades that Kolko sat boys on his lap and touched their private parts, but kept him on as an elementary school teacher. According to the lawsuits, yeshiva officials threatened the families of victims to ensure their silence.

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Retired priest sentenced to jail for exposing himself to teen

WISCONSIN
WISH

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) – A retired Catholic priest has been sentenced to four months jail for flashing a teenage boy multiple times.

Richard Thomas, 78, appeared in a Brown County courtroom Friday morning for a sentencing hearing on two counts of Exposing Genitals/Pubic Area/Intimate Parts to a Child. He pleaded “no contest” to the charges in September. As part of a plea deal, two other charges were dismissed.

In addition to the jail time, Thomas was also ordered to serve 36 months on probation and register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. He cannot have contact with minors.

Thomas told the court he “struggled with urges” and is “remorseful.” His attorney said Thomas is undergoing treatment.

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Priest sentenced to jail for exposing himself

WISCONSIN
West Plains Daily Quill

Friday, October 28, 2016

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — A retired priest from the Green Bay diocese has been sentenced to four months in jail for exposing himself to a child.

Father Richard Thomas will serve his time in the Brown County Jail. He has also been given three years of supervised release following his jail sentence and he must register as a sex offender.

Prosecutors say the 78-year-old priest exposed himself a number of times to a 16-year-old boy while living in a home for retired priests in Allouez. WLUK-TV (http://bit.ly/2eMR1ib ) reports authorities say the priest would bang on the window to get the boy’s attention while the teen was walking to school.

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Foster Care Agency Hit With $5M Verdict Over Sex Abuse

PENNSYLVANIA
The Legal Intelligencer

Max Mitchell, The Legal Intelligencer
October 27, 2016

Presbyterian Children’s Village has been hit with a more than $5 million verdict for placing a child in a foster home where she was sexually abused, despite allegedly knowing that the foster home was being investigated for abuse allegations.

A jury on Thursday awarded the family of the abuse victim $5 million in compensatory damages, and an additional $350,000 in punitive damages. The award came down after two weeks of trial in front of Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Victor DiNubile, and about five hours of deliberation.

Kline & Specter attorney Nadeem A. Bezar, who tried the case with Emily B. Marks, said the verdict reflected that the jury was both horrified by what the child endured and disappointed that nothing was done sooner to prevent the abuse.

“I think it’s sending a clear message that any time there’s a suspicion of abuse and it involves a child people need to do everything they can to ensure that those children aren’t harmed,” Bezar said.

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Elderly Salvos worker jailed for sex abuse of children in his care

AUSTRALIA
9 News

An elderly Victorian man who “remorselessly” sexually abused boys who were in the care of the Salvation Army will spend the remainder of his life behind bars.

Robert Burnett, 77, was today sentenced to 18 years in jail with a minimum of 14 and a half years.

The former Salvation Army boys’ home supervisor was found guilty of abusing seven boys between the early 1970s to the late 1990s.

The victims – aged between seven and 13 – were abused at Burnett’s home or on camping trips, sometimes while they slept.

Some of the offending took place in the presence of other children.

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No mercy for ‘predatory’ Salvos paedophile, just 18½ years of ‘stern punishment’

AUSTRALIA
The Age

Jane Lee

A Salvation Army worker will likely die in jail after being sentenced to 18½ years in prison for sexually abusing children in his care over almost 30 years.

Robert Burnett, 77, maintained his innocence throughout 14 different trials on the abuse, which took place when he invited children to sleep over at his home or took them on camping holidays between 1973 and 1999.

County Court Judge Bill Stuart, who presided over 12 of the trials, said Burnett had shown no remorse or accepted any responsibility in that time for his crimes against seven vulnerable victims, aged seven to 13 years.

Most of them had been placed in state care when they were very young.

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‘Predatory’ paedophile from Salvation Army gets 18 years in jail for child abuse

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

A Salvation Army worker is likely to die in jail after being sentenced to 18-and-a-half years in jail for sexually abusing seven boys between 1973 and 1999.

Robert Burnett, 77, who maintained his innocence during 14 separate trials, was found guilty of abusing the boys, who were aged between seven and 13.

Burnett ran Salvation Army homes for boys and five of the victims were wards of the state.

He abused the boys during sleepovers at his home at Thorpdale, east of Melbourne, or while on camping trips at Walhalla and Wandin.

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Young people reluctant to report sexual abuse, royal commission research finds

AUSTRALIA
ABC News

By Ursula Malone

Children and young people are reluctant to speak out about sexual abuse, according to a survey for the Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse.

The commission wants young people to play a role in making themselves safer in institutions like schools, churches and sporting clubs.

To do this they commissioned a research project involving 1,500 children and young people, including those with a disability, asking them what makes them feel unsafe and what they think needs to be done to make them safer.

For the past three years, the commission has been hearing accounts of horrific abuse of children and the failing of these institutions.

Children had little say in the running of those institutions and their voices were rarely if ever heard.

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BBC Newsnight accuses sex abuse inquiry of assault cover-up

UNITED KINGDOM
Telegraph

Martin Evans, crime correspondent Robert Mendick, chief reporter

28 OCTOBER 2016

The BBC last night sensationally accused the national child sex abuse inquiry of covering up an allegation of indecent assault of a member of staff by a senior colleague.

The alleged cover-up was categorically denied by the inquiry as well as the alleged perpetrator, whose lawyers told Newsnight the allegations were “completely false”.

The man was identified by the BBC Newsnight programme although the corporation admitted it had no evidence the assault took place.

The Telegraph has chosen not to identify him for legal reasons.

In 2013 the BBC was forced to apologise after Newsnight wrongly accused Lord McAlpine of being involved in the alleged sexual abuse of children at north Wales care homes.

It is not true that an inquiry worker made a complaint of sexual assault to the Chair or to the panel or to an official Inquiry spokesman

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Abuse inquiry dropped investigation into lawyer’s conduct

UNITED KINGDOM
BBC Newsnight

By Jake Morris & Hannah Barnes
BBC Newsnight
28 October 2016

The child sex abuse inquiry dropped an investigation of its most senior lawyer despite a disclosure of alleged sexual assault.

Ben Emmerson was suspended in September over concerns about his conduct, but the suspension was lifted the next day when he resigned, allowing him to keep working for the inquiry for two months.

The inquiry faces claims it failed to fully investigate potential wrongdoing.

Mr Emmerson categorically denies sexual assault, bullying or other misconduct.
The inquiry denies it received any complaint of sexual assault.

It said it had suspended the QC because it was “very concerned” by aspects of his leadership.

BBC Newsnight has learned the inquiry was also aware that an inquiry worker had alleged Mr Emmerson had sexually assaulted her in a lift at the inquiry’s offices in Millbank in central London in early September

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Abuse probe denies claim top lawyer quit over ‘sex assault’ after Newsnight alleges cover-up of allegation

UNITED KINGDOM
Daily Mail

By REBECCA CAMBER, CRIME CORRESPONDENT FOR THE DAILY MAIL

The troubled child abuse inquiry was in ‘meltdown’ last night amid claims it covered up an alleged sex attack by its top lawyer.

Ben Emmerson QC denied sensational claims he groped a colleague and was allowed to quit 24 hours after being suspended.

An inquiry spokesman refuted that a worker had made a complaint of sexual assault at all.

And Mr Emmerson’s lawyers issued a furious rebuttal, saying: ‘[He] categorically denies any allegation of sexual assault or bullying or any other misconduct at the inquiry. Any such allegations are completely false.’

The bombshell allegation reported by BBC Newsnight threatened to deal the £100million Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse a fatal blow.

It was alleged that the lawyer pushed a female workmate against the side of a lift and molested her at the inquiry headquarters in Millbank Tower last month.

According to Newsnight, the alleged victim gave an account of the assault and the inquiry’s chairman Professor Alexis Jay and her panel were made aware the same day.

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Child abuse inquiry hit by sexual assault claim

UNITED KINGDOM
The Guardian

Haroon Siddique
Friday 28 October 2016

The head of the national inquiry into child abuse has been urged to publicly address claims that it covered up an alleged sexual assault by its most senior lawyer.

An inquiry worker alleged that Ben Emmerson QC sexually assaulted her in a lift at the inquiry’s offices in Millbank in central London in early September, according to BBC Newsnight.

He was suspended that month, over what the inquiry said at the time were leadership concerns, but the suspension was lifted the next day when he resigned, allowing him to keep working for the inquiry for two months.

Emmerson’s lawyers have said the allegation of sexual assaultis “completely false” but the claim has added to the turbulence afflicting the inquiry.

Tim Loughton, a Conservative MP who was chair of the home affairs select committee when it questioned the inquiry chair, Prof Alexis Jay, and other panel members last week, said Jay needed to address the allegations and restore confidence in its work.

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Twitter goes quiet as BBC reports ‘categorically denied’ allegation against top QC

UNITED KINGDOM
Legal Cheek

By Katie King

There is puzzlement this morning in legal London after BBC Newsnight claimed that Ben Emmerson QC, a highly-respected barrister and former leading lawyer at an independent child abuse inquiry, has been accused of sexually assaulting a woman in the lift of a London office.

Emmerson “categorically denies” the allegations. The inquiry denies it received any complaint of sexual assault.

The top lawyer, one of 35 QCs at human rights and public law set Matrix, was suspended from his post at the national abuse inquiry in September. This happened, it was reported at the time, because the inquiry had “become very concerned about aspects of [his] leadership of the counsel team”. Inquiry chairwoman Professor Alexis Jay continued:

He has therefore been suspended from duty so that these can be properly investigated.

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CLAIMS HUSHED Child abuse inquiry accused of staging a cover-up as sexual assault claims surround probe’s top lawyer

UNITED KINGDOM
The Sun

BY PATRICK GYSIN 28th October 2016

THE child sex abuse probe was last night accused of covering up an alleged sex assault by its former top lawyer.

A woman claims Ben Emmerson QC groped her in a lift at the inquiry offices in Westminster.

Mr Emmerson, 53, was suspended on September 28 before quitting a day later. No reason was given for his resignation.

He denies any wrongdoing and the woman is understood not to have made a formal complaint.

However, BBC’s Newsnight claimed chairwoman Alexis Jay and her panel were made aware of allegations in late September but did not inform the public.

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Rabbi charged with sex abuse to get 1 year of counseling, no prison

CALIFORNIA
Jewish Journal

by Eitan Arom
Posted on Oct. 27, 2016

Rabbi Sholom D. Levitansky has agreed to one year of counseling and residential treatment at Beit T’Shuvah, an addiction treatment center near Culver City, after pleading no contest to two counts of sexual penetration by a foreign object of a minor.

At the Oct. 27 hearing at the Airport Courthouse on La Cienega Boulevard, his lawyer, Vicki Podberesky, told Judge Yvette Verastegui he had checked into Beit T’Shuvah the day before.

Levitansky won’t be officially sentenced until he completes the treatment program. Once he’s sentenced a year from now, he won’t face jail time but will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney spokesperson Ricardo Santiago.

Each count of sexual penetration with a foreign object carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison, but Levitansky will serve his time at Beit T’Shuva instead of a prison sentence.

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Woman accuses SDA pastor of sexual harassment

KENYA
The Star

Oct. 28, 2016

By ALPHONCE MUNG’AHU

A woman has accused a pastor of Seventh Day Adventist Church, Nairobi East, of sexually harassing her.

The woman said she works as a teacher at a school sponsored by the church, at which the pastor is also based.

She filed an affidavit accusing pastor Paul Owuor of the offence.

But Owuor denied the allegations saying “the woman is out to taint my image”. He also denied her allegations that she reported the matter to the church’s management.

The teacher claimed the pastor sexually harassed her after calling her into his office at around 8.30am on September 30.

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Celibacy and the modern priest: Tom Keneally on his new book Crimes of the Father

AUSTRALIA
Sydney Morning Herald

Tom Keneally

In the early 1970s I knew a splendid priest whose authority to say Mass and operate within the Archdiocese of Sydney was terminated by the then prelate, Cardinal James Freeman. The priest’s name was Father Pat Connor and he was a dear friend. As a young missionary in India, he was influenced by Gandhi, and I never knew a person who practised non-violent dissent with less pathology and more dignity and human love than Pat. As a peaceable man, he was involved in anti-Vietnam and anti-apartheid protest, including the famous and unwise Springbok tour of 1971.

For many of us, in those years following the death of Pope John XXIII, who had tried to embrace the world rather than fearing it, Pat’s was the human face and the wise voice we met just as we were on our disgruntled way out of the Catholic Church. His sermons were visionary, and concerned real issues. For that very reason, the content of his sermons were frequently complained of to the Cardinal. Suddenly, he was being expelled from Sydney for no moral flaw other than seeing a connection between fraternal love and politics. He went to New Jersey, where he lived and worked from his order’s “house” or monastery, as a fully empowered priest, for the rest of his career. This ended with his death in 2015. In his late years, he had published a well-known book of advice to young women on marriage, Whom Not to Marry. In contrast to St Paul’s “Wives, obey your husbands,” Pat wrote, “Never marry a man who tries to control you.” He became a visitor to the morning American TV shows where his rare authenticity guaranteed he was a hit.

In 2002, he had given me advice on a piece I wrote for The New Yorker on the church abuse issue. Pat told me how pleased he was to live fraternally in a monastery, instead of on his own in a “sterile presbytery” where “laughter is rarely heard”. But he said something far more radical to me: he declared that if the church did not address this issue of abuse with frankness and openness, and with the compassion it declared itself to be the chief promoter of, then the state would come to intervene, and the civil arm would force the Church to do the right thing. By then, he predicted, ordinary priests like him would be suspect because the reputation of their profession would have become identified in the public mind with child sexual abuse, or the enabling or hiding of abuse.

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Diocese, priest deny claims sisters were abused as children

PENNSYLVANIA
Philly.com

by The Associated Press

ALTOONA, Pa. (AP) – A Pennsylvania Catholic diocese and a priest are denying allegations by two sisters who say the priest repeatedly molested them as girls, including one at her First Communion party.

Attorneys for the Altoona-Johnstown diocese and the Rev. Charles Bodziak say he “denies any sexual interest in children and denies he ever utilized his position to ‘groom’ or seek sexual gratification from any child, at any time.”

The Altoona Mirror first reported Wednesday on the church response filed Oct. 7 in Blair County court.

The church attorneys argue the lawsuits filed in June by the sisters, now in their 40s, are barred by the statute of limitations, which requires alleged child-sex abuse victims to sue by the time they are 30.

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