ABUSE TRACKER

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

December 2, 2016

Youth pastor charged with indecent liberties

NORTH CAROLINA
StarNews

A youth leader at a New Hanover County church was arrested Thursday evening, accused of taking indecent liberties 11-year-old.

By F.T. Norton StarNews Staff

NEW HANOVER COUNTY — A youth pastor at a New Hanover County church was arrested Thursday evening, accused of taking indecent liberties with an 11-year-old boy.

Tyler Simkus Smither, 30, is charged with felony indecent liberties with a child. According to the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office arrest warrant, Smither “unlawfully, willfully and feloniously did commit and attempt to commit a lewd and lascivious act” on the child.

Sheriff’s Lt. Jerry Brewer said the offense, between Nov. 20-Nov. 21, is internet-based.

At the time of his arrest, Smither was a youth pastor at Harbor United Methodist Church on Masonboro Loop Road. On his Facebook page, Smither states he is from Raleigh and that he previously worked as a youth pastor at a Mississippi church.

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

Bishop Robert Nugent Lynch, at retirement, reflects on church scandals, lessons learned

FLORIDA
Tampa Bay Times

By Waveney Ann Moore and Leonora LaPeter Anton, Times staff writers
Friday, December 2, 2016

ST. PETERSBURG — Bishop Robert Nugent Lynch stood under the dome of the cavernous cathedral he rebuilt and looked out at the faces of priests he had ordained over the years. The sun was setting; the sky changed color through the glass walls he had commissioned. If ever there was a physical apex of his legacy, in his last year at the helm of the Diocese of St. Petersburg, this was it.

It had been 20 years to this day, Jan. 26, that he lay prostrate at this altar at St. Jude the Apostle, inheriting a flock of more than 325,000 Roman Catholics in five counties stretching north to Citrus. That day, in 1996, he thought he knew what this job would bring. …

Lynch had been bishop less than a month when he was forced to address revelations that the Rev. Rocco Charles D’Angelo had admitted to sexually abusing altar boys in South Florida in the late 1960s and implicated in similar abuse against two boys in the Tampa Bay area in the early 1970s. His first year as bishop, two priests were accused of sexual misconduct, another of embezzlement and another had been married for 15 years and was living a double life.

“I wish to express my personal sorrow to anyone who has been victimized at any time by any representative of the Church,” Lynch wrote at the time, “and I promise to do all in my power to see that it never happens again.”

But the cases kept coming, with dozens of men and at least one woman accusing local priests of abusing them as children. The Rev. William Lau resigned. Robert Schaeufele, a priest in the diocese for 27 years, went to prison. Nine priests in all, not including those from religious orders, have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor.

“The harm and hurt doesn’t lend itself to a simple, ‘I’m sorry,’ ” Lynch said last May, during the only interview he gave the Times.

In 2002, the Diocese of St. Petersburg refused to release its priest records and acknowledged it had previously handled sex abuse complaints without contacting authorities. That same year, however, Lynch ordered a review of all active priests to ensure allegations were properly investigated. He hired a victims’ assistance minister and enforced new rules forbidding priests from entertaining unchaperoned youths in their cars or personal living quarters.

The diocese spent $5.6 million to settle claims.

A Times reporter once asked what he would say to a parishioner questioning how to trust the bishop.

“You have to trust me by getting to know how I live, what priorities I place in my life,” he said. “My life kind of has to be an open book. That is to say, there can’t be any secret part to it.”

• • •

But soon Lynch was the one fending off allegations after the church’s spokesman accused him of sexual harassment.

In 2001, Bill Urbanski accused Lynch of forcing him to share a room when they traveled, grabbing his thigh and showering him with expensive gifts. At one point when they were in a Santa Fe, N.M., hotel room, Urbanski said Lynch asked to take pictures of him without a shirt so he could superimpose his head on Urbanski’s muscular body for Christmas cards. The married father of two said he did as he was told, then vomited in the lobby.

The diocese gave Urbanski $100,000, a sum characterized as severance. Church officials also insisted that Lynch — who had socialized with Urbanski and his wife, and was their children’s godfather — had done nothing wrong.

Urbanski, who has spoken in the past about the allegations, would not talk on the record for this story.

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

33-year-old man arrested for allegedly having sexual contact with girl

WASHINGTON (DC)
WUSA

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) — A 33-year-old man has been arrested for allegedly having sexual contact with a female juvenile between the months of September and October of this year, Metropolitan police said.

Thirty-three-year-old Jimmy Augustin, of Fort Washington was arrested and is being charged with misdemeanor sexual abuse of a minor.

Police said the incidents happened between September 1 and October 31 in the 4300 block of Harewood Road, in Northeast, D.C. The victim and suspect knew each other.

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

Man, 33, arrested for sexual abuse of girl in Northeast D.C.

WASHINGTON (DC)
WJLA

WASHINGTON (ABC7) — A 33-year-old man was arrested for sexually abusing a girl in Northeast Washington.

Jimmy Augustin was charged with misdemeanor sexual abuse of a minor on Dec. 1, according to police.

Augustin engaged in sexual contact with the unidentified girl between Sept. and Oct. 2016 in the 4300 block of Harewood Road. Police say the two knew each other.

Metropolitan Police are asking anyone who had past inappropriate encounters with Augustin or has information on the case to call 202-727-9099.

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

Police arrest 33-year-old former-teacher suspected of inappropriate contact with female student

WASHINGTON (DC)
Fox 5 DC

WASHINGTON – D.C. Police have arrested a 33-year-old former teacher suspected of inappropriate contact with an underage girl at a Catholic high school where he worked.

Jimmy Augustin, of Fort Washington, was arrested on Thursday and charged with Misdemeanor Sexual Abuse of a Minor after police say he inappropriately touched and kissed a female student at Archbishop Carroll High School.

The abuse allegedly occurred during the months of September and October of this year at the school.

Investigators are asking anyone with information regarding the case to call 202-727-9099.

Archbishop Carroll High School and the Archdiocese of Washington are aware of Augustin’s arrest and released the following statement:

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

We Should All Be Wary of African Pastors Who Prey on Congregants

AFRICA
Face 2 Africa

Less than a week ago, the world was stunned by images of a South African pastor spraying harmful insecticide in to the faces of his congregants to supposedly cure them of various ailments.

What was even more shocking was the fact that one of the congregants was quoted as saying that they had gone to the church with a back pain and stomach ache — and after the pastor sprayed them with the insect killer, which is called “Doom Super Multi-Insect Killer” — they were healed.

Another believer claimed that his nose was blocked for one week, but after he was sprayed with the chemicals, he felt relieved.

Unfortunately, acts like these are not new in Africa: A lot of people have died in the hands of pastors and self-proclaimed prophets who claim to heal all kinds of diseases through miracles.

In Kenya, for instance, many patients leave hospitals to attend the much-publicized miracle rallies held by renowned priests and prophets.

After attending these prayer rallies, most patients flout doctor’s prescriptions and wind up in the grave.

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

Breaking the seal of the confessional will not save children

AUSTRALIA
The Weekend Australian

FRANK BRENNAN
The Australian December 3, 2016

I was accurately quoted in The Australian (“Catholic Row over probe into confession”, Wednesday) saying, “If a law is introduced to say that a priest should reveal a confession, I’m one of those priests who will disobey the law.” Being also a lawyer, let me explain.

Like most Australians, I have been appalled and distressed by the revelations before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

I hope this five-year royal commission is able to provide solutions so that institutions are made safe places for children. I am one of those Catholics who has been rocked by the disproportionate number of victims whose assailants have been members of my church in positions of trust. Of course, the Catholic Church ran more schools and orphanages than most other organisations. But that provides no excuse or justification for what went on. Nor does it provide a complete explanation for the horrific statistics.

It’s now clear that before 1996, most institutions, including churches, police forces and state child welfare agencies, were insufficiently attentive to the signs of predatory behaviour by pedophiles. Before 1996, the Catholic Church was a closed, hierarchical, opaque organisation administered by bishops who were more like feudal princes than modern accountable managers. The clericalist mindset of a celibate male clergy compounded the vulnerability of children preyed on by church personnel.

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

Horacio Corbacho Sexual Abuse: Catholic Priest Accused Of Assaulting Deaf Children In Argentina

ARGENTINA
Latin Times

By Tatayana Yomary | Dec 02 2016

Sexual abuse in Catholicism is a topic that brings forth major controversy. Over the years many Catholic leaders have been accused and found guilty of participating in sexual abuse and by the looks of it the accusations are not slowing down.

According to FOX News Latino, there is a full out investigation of sexual abuse of deaf children at a Catholic school in Argentina’s Mendoza province underway.

Many child advocacy groups have expressed outrage after Argentine police arrested 82-year old Nicola Corradi, priest Horacio Corbacho, 55, and three other men at the Antonio Próvolo Institute, a school for youths with hearing disabilities in the northwest of the country.

Prosecutor Alexander Gulle tells the site that the investigation is truly gruesome.

“Every minute,” he told reporters, “we see different circumstances, different facts … I am frankly embarrassed about the direction in which the investigation is taking us.”

The site reports that the case that Gullé is talking about is one in which a priest accused of sexually abusing deaf children in Italy wasn’t sanctioned by the Vatican, and allegedly went on to abuse children in Pope Francis’ native Argentina.

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

Italian priest who was reported to Pope Francis years ago by deaf survivors in Verona is arrested for recent abuse of children in Argentina

UNITED STATES
BishopAccountability.org

December 1, 2016 – Response by Anne Barrett Doyle, Co-Director, BishopAccountability.org (781-439-5208 cell)

Background

Argentine authorities arrested this week Father Nicola Corradi, S.M., an Italian priest reported to the Vatican in 2008 or 2009 and again in 2014 by deaf survivors in Verona, Italy. Now 82, Corradi is accused of a range of more recent abuses in Argentina, including forcing hearing-impaired children, ages 10-12, to have oral sex with each other. The alleged crimes occurred at the Antonio Provolo Institute for Deaf Children in the Mendoza province of Argentina.

Authorities charged Corradi, and four other adults, including Rev. Horacio Hugo Corbacho S.M., of molesting eight children at the school. Since the arrest, a total of around 60 children have been identified as possible victims.

In May 2014, an Italian survivors’ group issued a public plea (see 1, 2 and 3) to Pope Francis to bring to justice Corradi and 15 or so other reported child molesters who had worked at Istituto Provolo, a school for deaf children in Verona, Italy. The survivors’ plea to the Pope included the alarming news that Corradi and three other alleged Verona abusers were currently working at the order’s two schools for deaf children in Argentina (one in La Plata and the other in Mendoza).

Although he knew or should have known (1, 2) that deaf children in his home country were in immediate peril, it appears that the Pope took no action. Neither did the local Church ordinaries: Héctor Rubén Aguer, archbishop of La Plata since 2000; José María Arancibia, archbishop of Mendoza between 1996 and 2012; and Arancibia’s successor, current archbishop Carlos Maria Franzini. Survivors claim (1, 2) that the archbishops knew of Corradi’s alleged crimes in Italy. In any case, they should have known: before granting Corradi faculties to work in La Plata or Mendoza, a Google search would have revealed instantly the grave allegations of a child sex ring and dozens of victims at the school for deaf children run by Corradi and his colleagues in Verona, Italy.

(The horrible story of the Verona victims received worldwide press attention in 2009 and 2010. More than 65 deaf men and women have reported being sodomized and assaulted as children by numerous priests at the Verona school. )

Comments by BishopAccountability

Words fail. It is appalling and heartbreaking that Corradi was not stopped by Pope Francis or by other Church authorities. Corradi’s presence at the school in Mendoza was no secret.

Because of the Church’s inaction, Corradi appears to have been able to replicate exactly the grotesque situation he enjoyed in Verona – a ring of child molesters in charge of utterly defenseless children who could neither hear nor speak.

When the crimes at the school for the deaf in Verona were revealed in 2009 and 2010, the world was shocked. Corradi and his colleagues escaped criminal charges in Italy because the statute of limitations had expired. But every reasonable person assumed that these priests would never find work near children again.

If the allegations are true, the Pope must accept responsibility for the unimaginable suffering of these new victims.

No other pope has spoken as passionately about the evil of child sex abuse as Francis. No other pope has invoked “zero tolerance” as often. No other pope has promised accountability of Church superiors. Today, in light of these horrific revelations, the Pope’s assurances seem empty indeed. To quote from his remarks to U.S. victims in 2015: “God weeps.”

At the very least, Pope Francis must immediately follow through on the promise of his June Motu Proprio. Archbishop Aguer of La Plata and Archbishop Franzini of Mendoza exemplify the disastrous negligence to which the Pope referred. The Pope should suspend both men now and begin an immediate and sweeping investigation of their handling of allegations and accused clerics.

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

Archbishop Byrnes clarifies mission to bring healing to church

GUAM
KUAM

Updated: Dec 02, 2016

By Krystal Paco

Guam’s new coadjutor, Archbishop Michael Byrnes, says he alone can’t heal the pain suffered by victims of sexual abuse in the church. In a press conference held earlier this week, he states he’s still getting up to speed with all the suits filed against the Archdiocese of Agana, but has observed each of the suits follow a similar pattern.

“I know I’ve got a lot to learn over these next few weeks, months, years,” he shared, “and I know there’s a lot of hope. I know just having a new face, a new person lifts a little of the pain and sadness. One of the things I want to say today might be a little shock to you – I’m not the one here to heal the pain. And I can’t do it, but I know the one who can, that’s Jesus.

“It’s not just Jesus up in Heaven doing his thing, but it’s us. We are the church. We are the body of Christ.”

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

Friends defend retired Council Bluffs priest accused of eyeing teens’ genitals

IOWA
World-Herald

By Mike Bell / World-Herald News Service

COUNCIL BLUFFS — Friends and colleagues of the Rev. Paul Monahan came to his defense Wednesday during a trial stemming from allegations that he looked at several teens’ genitalia while using the restroom during a track meet in Treynor, Iowa.

Monahan, 83, is a retired Council Bluffs priest and former principal at St. Albert Catholic School. He faces five counts of invasion of privacy.

District Associate Judge Gary Anderson of Pottawattamie County will decide if Monahan is guilty.

The defense brought forth several character witnesses, including Monahan’s friends, co-workers, alumni from St. Albert and others.

Each said he trusted Monahan, considered him an upstanding man of God and didn’t have issues with him, including around children.

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

MI–Victims applaud abuse vote but want to see more

MICHIGAN
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Thursday, Dec. 1, 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 glad that a child sex reform bill is moving forward but Michigan lawmakers can and should do much more that extend the state’s archaic, arbitrary and predator-friendly statute of limitations.

[Morning Sun]

We’re relieved that Senator Steve Bieda’s measure won a unanimous vote in committee. But six states have gone further. They’ve opened one or two or three years “civil window” which immediately makes kids safer by exposing hundreds of child sex offenders and their “enablers” in civil courts. These essentially suspend the statute of limitations for anyone abused at any time as a child.)

Windows also do more to discourage employers from ignoring or enabling child sex crimes in the future.

Any longer statute of limitations for child sex crimes is progress. But this particular reform, if enacted, just nibbles at the edges of a crisis. Immediate statute of limitations reform – especially a civil window – is much more effective and just. It will expose those who commit and conceal child sex crimes right away, not decades in the future.

We urge Michigan citizens, especially parents, to actively back this bill and vigorously push for even more effective legislative reform so that tens of thousands will be spared the crippling devastation child sex crimes cause.

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

Vatican–SNAP: Pope’s inaction enables predator priest to strike again

UNITED STATES
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

For immediate release: Thursday, Dec. 1, 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)

The recklessness of Vatican officials, including Pope Francis, has evidently enabled a predator priest to sexually assault more kids by just moving elsewhere. This increasingly well-documented trend – more and more child molesting clerics simply going abroad in search of fresh victims – is one of the most troubling and virtually unaddressed aspects of the church’s child sex abuse and cover up crisis. It’s also breathtakingly irresponsible.

[Washington Post]

The Associated Press reports that “a priest accused of sexually abusing deaf children in Italy wasn’t sanctioned by the Vatican and allegedly went on to abuse” kids in Argentina.

Fr. Nicola Corradi, Fr. Horacio Corbacho and three others have been arrested on charges of molesting at least eight children at a school for youths with hearing disabilities for years and years.

In 2008 and 2014, according to BishopAccountability.org, Vatican staff were told that Fr. Corradi and others accused of molesting children at a school for the deaf in Verona, where allegations of a ring of predators were also made.

We are grateful that secular officials in Mendoza have suspended classes at the school and forbidden faculty and staff from having contact with students. This caring action by government officials stands in stark contrast to the clearly callous actions of church officials.

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

School delayed reporting alleged sexual assault for four days

IRELAND
Irish Times

Patsy McGarry

The Dublin boarding school where a 13-year-old boy last week allegedly suffered a serious sexual assault with a hockey stick delayed reporting it to the authorities for four days, despite being told by lawyers to do so immediately.

The incident is alleged to have happened in a dormitory at the Church of Ireland-governed King’s Hospital school in Palmerstown on Thursday night last week.

It was reported to the school authorities the following morning, and the school’s lawyers advised later that day that the matter be reported to the Garda and the child and family agency Tusla.

“They were absolutely clear about that,” a source said in relation to the legal advice. However, the advice was not acted upon until Tuesday of this week.

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

Revenge is basis of sex claims, says former priest

IRELAND
Irish Examiner

Friday, December 02, 2016

Ann O’Loughlin

A former Catholic priest, who is being sued in the High Court for alleged sexual assault and abuse of a teenager in a school, has claimed revenge is the motivation behind the claims.

The priest, who was a chaplain in the school in the South East, also denied at a school disciplinary hearing any sexual activity of any kind took place, including at the girl’s home when her parents were away; when she was babysitting for a neighbour; in the chaplain’s office; the oratory; or his car.

He told the hearing that at one stage he pleaded with the girl to stop and rejected her by telling her to “fuck off”.

“I wanted to get out from under her clutches,” he said.

The now 28-year old woman has sued, alleging between 2004 and 2007 she was repeatedly and wrongfully physically and sexually assaulted, falsely imprisoned, and sexually abused and subjected to sexualised behaviour by the then Catholic chaplain and teacher in her secondary school. She has sued the priest, as well, as the school in the South East and the local bishop.

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

Sex abuse claim is ‘revenge’ – ex-chaplain

IRELAND
Irish independent

Tim Healy
PUBLISHED
02/12/2016

A former Catholic priest being sued for alleged sexual abuse of a student in the school where he was chaplain has claimed revenge is the motivation behind the allegations, the High Court heard.

The man, who was a chaplain in the school in the south east, had denied at a school disciplinary hearing that sexual activity of any kind took place with the girl, the court heard. He denied her claims the activity took place in a number of places including at the girl’s home when her parents were away, when she was babysitting, in the chaplain’s office, or his car.

He told the disciplinary hearing that at one stage he pleaded with the girl to stop and rejected her by telling her to “f*** off”. “I wanted to get out from under her clutches,” he said.

The now 28-year old woman has sued, alleging between 2004 and 2007 she was repeatedly and wrongfully physically and sexually assaulted, falsely imprisoned and sexually abused and subjected to sexualised behaviour by the then-Catholic chaplain and teacher in her secondary school. She has also sued the school and the local bishop who deny the claims.

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

Father Editho Mascardo restored to ministry in the Stockton Diocese

CALIFORNIA
Lodi News-Sentinel

December 1, 2016

By News-Sentinel Staff

STOCKTON — After allegations of inappropriate conduct against Father Editho Mascardo were reviewed, the Stockton Diocese has concluded that sexual abuse did not occur and has restored the priest to the ministry.

Bishop Stephen Blaire first released to the public on July 10, 2015 that the Diocese of Stockton had received an accusation of inappropriate conduct with a minor that occurred many years ago regarding Mascardo.

At that time, in accordance with the Charter for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Mascardo was placed on administrative leave pending further investigation

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

Accused priest back in ministry

CALIFORNIA
The Union Democrat

By Giuseppe Ricapito, The Union Democrat
Published Dec 1, 2016

A priest with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Stockton has been reinstated to active ministry from administrative leave following an in-house investigation of alleged inappropriate conduct with a minor.

Father Editho Mascardo, who served as a parochial vicar at St. Patrick’s Church in Sonora, where he celebrated the 30th anniversary of his ordination in 2013, was placed on administrative leave in July 2015.

The Stockton Diocesan Review Board reviewed the allegations from July 2015 until May 23, 2016, and did not conclude that sexual abuse had occurred.

The Review Board “recommended that a path toward healing be considered to resolve the situation,” a Diocese of Stockton press release said.

No further information about the accusation, the age and gender of the minor, or when and where the alleged sexual conduct took place has been released.

Northwest Director of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) Joey Piscatelli said “the Diocese and the Review Board is a total sham.”

“My personal experience is that they don’t handle it well,” he said. “How would the review board know if it occurred? How they do the investigation is they ask the priest. They always, as a rule, as a habit, say that it hasn’t occurred. They say that to the press and its ludicrous.”

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

Uniting Church sledged by the Daily Telegraph

AUSTRALIA
Eternity

JOHN SANDEMAN | DECEMBER 2ND, 2016

As Christmas approaches, journalists’ minds turn to religion, and not always positively as the Uniting Church has found out.

“JESUS WIPED” was the headline in Friday’s Daily Telegraph with the subhead proclaiming “Top Church Losing its Religion”.

The welfare agency once known as UnitingCare rebranded as “Uniting” about a year ago, dropping the church’s cross/dove/boat logo in favour of the plain word “Uniting”. It turns out that a letter to the Church’s NSW/ACT magazine Insights triggered the story.

“I came across a half page (Uniting) advertisement,” Reverend Meredith Williams (a Uniting Church minister) wrote. “Nowhere in the ad was the Uniting Church mentioned, nor even the word ‘church’ to be found.”

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

Uniting Church condemns Daily Telegraph for disgraceful coverage

AUSTRALIA
Insights – Uniting Church

Today’s Daily Telegraph has run a series of inaccurate and vexatious news items about the Uniting Church and our Uniting community services agency in NSW and the ACT. The accusation on the front page of the newspaper that the Church is removing Christ and religious symbols is totally incorrect.

The explicit Christian commitment to people in the care of Uniting Church agencies remains the same as it has for the last 40 years. Our Church, since its beginning, has borne witness to a unity of faith and life in Christ which transcends cultural and economic, national and racial boundaries. The work of our agencies is a crucial expression of our continuing faith and mission. The Uniting agency in NSW and the ACT states clearly on its website “Christ invites us to serve humanity by creating an inclusive, connected and just world.”

Uniting, the largest provider of social services in NSW and the ACT, changed its brand name last year. This decision was taken to ensure that awareness of our services reaches more of the vulnerable and disadvantaged people we seek to serve. Preparation for moves towards the National Disability Insurance Scheme and the shift to self-managed care were important considerations in this decision. Other church agencies are considering adopting the Uniting brand.

The Daily Telegraph articles also misrepresent the Church’s very real concern for survivors of child sexual abuse. The suggestion that branding decisions are “a desperate bid to distance itself from child sex abuse scandals” is completely false and despicable.

The Uniting Church has acknowledged, apologised and expressed our deep regret to those children who were sexually abused in our care. We are committed to working with survivors to make amends for what happened in the past.

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

Pastor facing 10 sex counts says innocent

TEXAS
Democrat-Gazette

By LYNN LaROWE TEXARKANA GAZETTE
Posted: December 2, 2016

TEXARKANA — A pastor accused of sexual misconduct with two girls entered innocent pleas Tuesday morning to 10 criminal charges before a Miller County judge.

David Wayne Farren, 41, of Texarkana appeared before Circuit Judge Carlton Jones for arraignment at the Miller County correctional complex. Lawyer Jason Horton entered innocent pleas on Farren’s behalf to nine felony counts and a single misdemeanor charge.

Pretrial hearings are set for Feb. 28 and April 4, and jury selection is scheduled for April 24.

Farren is accused of having sex with a minor over whom he was in a position of trust or authority in seven counts of first-degree sexual assault that allegedly occurred from April 2013 to August 2013. An eighth count accuses Farren of having sexual contact — second-degree sexual assault — with the same girl from April 2012 to August 2013.

The ninth count alleges Farren had sexual contact, second-degree sexual assault, with a second victim in 2007. The tenth count alleges Farren had knowledge of “child maltreatment” in 2012 and failed to report the abuse to officials as members of the clergy, teachers, medical personnel and law enforcement are required to do by law.

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

Stockton diocese finds no truth to molestation charge against priest

CALIFORNIA
Record

By Nicholas Filipas
Record Staff Writer

STOCKTON — A priest who was placed on administrative leave after being investigated on allegations of sexual abuse was restored to service on Thursday, the Diocese of Stockton said.

The diocese had spent nearly a year looking into allegations of inappropriate conduct with a minor by the Rev. Editho Mascardo, according to a news release.

After what the diocese said was a “thorough and extensive review,” the Diocesan Review Board on May 23 advised Bishop Stephen Blaire that it “did not conclude that sexual abuse occurred.”

Based on that recommendation, Blaire reinstated Mascardo.

The decision was soundly criticized by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

“We are deeply troubled that Stockton Catholic officials are putting a suspended, accused predator priest back on the job,” he said in a statement. “This is a very reckless and callous move. … Blaire has been very secretive about the accusations from the outset.”

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

Stockton priest cleared of sexual abuse, returns to work

CALIFORNIA
KCRA

Melinda Meza
Stockton Reporter

STOCKTON, Calif. (KCRA) —
A priest accused of inappropriate conduct with a minor is cleared of wrong doing and is now back at work, the Diocese of Stockton said.

Father Editho Mascardo was put on leave last year after an allegation of inappropriate conduct with a minor. The alleged incident happened in 2001 when Mascardo was a priest at St. Mary’s church in Stockton.

The Stockton Police Department was notified of the allegation in 2001. The San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office did not file charges against Mascardo.

In July 2015, the claim resurfaced and the diocese launched an investigation. In accordance with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Mascardo was put on leave.

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

December 1, 2016

WASHINGTON POST EDITOR MARTY BARON HAS A MESSAGE TO JOURNALISTS IN THE TRUMP ERA

UNITED STATES
Vanity Fair

BY MARTIN BARON
NOVEMBER 30, 2016

Monday, the second-annual Hitchens Prize—honoring the memory and legacy of the late Vanity Fair contributing editor and columnist Christopher Hitchens—was given to Marty Baron, Executive Editor of The Washington Post, at a dinner held at New York City’s Waverly Inn.

The prize, awarded by the Dennis & Victoria Ross Foundation, is bestowed upon a journalist or author whose work reflects a commitment to free expression, a depth of intellect, and an unwavering pursuit of the truth. This year’s citation acknowledged Baron’s long career in journalism and his work as editor of The Boston Globe and The Washington Post. …

After the release of the movie Spotlight, I was often asked how we at The Boston Globe were willing to take on the most powerful institution in New England and among the most powerful in the world, the Catholic Church.

The question really mystifies me—especially when it comes from journalists or those who hope to enter the profession. Because holding the most powerful to account is what we are supposed to do.

If we do not do that, then what exactly is the purpose of journalism?

God forbid we take on the weaker institutions, the weaker individuals, while letting the strongest ones off the hook only because they can forcefully fight back.

A day before I started work at The Boston Globe in the summer of 2001, I read something startling. It was a column by The Globe’s own Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist, Eileen McNamara. She wrote about the case of John Geoghan. He was a priest. Geoghan had been accused of abusing as many as 80 children. It was shocking. So I read closely.

The column detailed how the attorney for the survivors—those victimized by the priest—had asserted that the cardinal himself, Cardinal Bernard Law, knew about this priest’s repeated abuse and yet continued to reassign him from one parish to the next—notifying no one, not the parish priest and certainly not the parishioners, that a priest known to have committed sexual assaults would serve in ministry at their church.

Those were the allegations of the plaintiffs’ attorney. But the attorneys for the Church called those allegations baseless and irresponsible.

And then Eileen ended her column by saying the truth might never be known because the internal Church documents that could reveal the truth were under court seal. …

Well after our first story was published in January 2002, I received a letter from Father Thomas P. Doyle, who had waged a long and lonely battle within the Church on behalf of abuse victims. He wrote this: “This nightmare would have gone and on were it not for you and the Globe staff. As one who has been deeply involved in fighting for justice for the victims and survivors for many years, I thank you with every part of my being.

“I assure you,” he wrote, “that what you and the Globe have done for the victims, the Church and society cannot be adequately measured. It is momentous and its good effects will reverberate for decades.”

There is a lesson in Father Doyle’s letter: The truth is not meant to be hidden. It is not meant to be suppressed. It is not meant to be ignored. It is not meant to be disguised. It is not meant to be manipulated. It is not meant to be falsified. Otherwise, wrongdoing will persist.

I kept Father Doyle’s letter on my desk in Boston until the day, four years ago, that I left to join The Washington Post. It served as a reminder of what brought me to journalism and what kept me in it. And as a reminder of the work we as journalists must always do.

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Several rabbis slammed by Royal Commission

AUSTRALIA
Australian Jewish News

SOME of the evidence given by Rabbi Zvi Hirsch Telsner was not accepted, his “recollection is inaccurate”, his comments were “likely to have the effect of dissuading some members of the Yeshivah Melbourne community from communicating with the secular authorities about child sexual abuse” and he failed to “provide pastoral leadership, support, direction and affirmation for abuse survivors, their families and advocates”.

Those are some of the findings published in the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse’s report that was tabled in Parliament this week.

According to the report, Rabbi Telsner gave two defining sermons in 2011. The rabbi admitted to the Royal Commission that he knew the first sermon, in June, was seen by many as an attack on victim AVB, who asked people to help police investigate child sexual abuse allega-tions, but the rabbi did not make any attempt to correct that perception.

“The timing of the sermon and the understanding that it was directed at AVB was likely to have the effect of dissuading some members of the Yeshivah Melbourne com-munity from communicating with the secular authorities about child sexual abuse,” the report stated.

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Will St. Pete’s incoming bishop make protecting children from sexual abuse a priority?

FLORIDA
WFLA

By Steve Andrews
Published: December 1, 2016

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – Headlines around the country during the last five days show the horrid, hurtful and harmful problem of priests sexually abusing children in this country has not gone away.

The molestation of young boys humiliated the Diocese of St. Petersburg back in 2002. Under Bishop Robert Lynch the diocese addressed transparency.

The lawyer who represented many of the early 2000s victims, heard what the incoming bishop had to say, but he didn’t hear what he had hoped. “I think he should’ve reassured people in the diocese that, that was a priority, because it really is kind of the elephant in the room with the Catholic Church,” attorney Joe Saunders said.

Saunders has represented 30 to 40 clients during the last 15 years who were abused by local priests. He hoped incoming Bishop Gregory Parkes would have addressed the issue at his introduction last Monday. He did not.

“It”s something that’s not going away. It’s not something that’s in the past; abuse is still occurring,” Saunders said.

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Transcript of Inquiry Seminars held today in central London

UNITED KINGDOM
Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

29 November

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has today held its first Inquiry Seminar in the Civil Justice System as part of the Accountability and Reparations Investigation. The full transcript can be found in our library section on our website.

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Transcript of Inquiry Seminar, day 2

UNITED KINGDOM
Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

1 December

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has published the transcript of the second day of the Inquiry Seminar in the Civil Justice System as part of the Accountability and Reparations Investigation. The full transcript can be found in our library section on our website.

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Inquiry publishes first anonymised summaries from the Truth Project

UNITED KINGDOM
Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

1 December

We have today published the first personal accounts from victims and survivors who have taken part in our Truth Project.

The 45 accounts, which have been anonymised, provide a first indication of the abuse suffered by children who were abused and/or let down by those in authority who should have protected them.

The Inquiry aims to publish as many anonymised summaries as possible and will use the information to better understand the scale, scope and nature of child sexual abuse.

Panel member Dru Sharpling, who leads the Inquiry’s work on the Truth Project, said:

“I have personally facilitated some of the Truth Project private sessions, so I have heard some of these experiences first hand. This first summary of personal experiences serves as a powerful reminder of the devastating consequences of child sexual abuse.

“Reading these accounts will be difficult for many people, but nowhere near as difficult as it is for the victims and survivors who have come forward to help the Inquiry by sharing their experiences. I want to thank them and reassure them that their bravery will help us to identify how we can better protect children in the future from such abuse and betrayal.”

Around 500 victims and survivors have expressed an interest in attending a Truth Project private session; to date nearly to 150 people will have shared their experiences with us in a private session. Victims and survivors can also share their experiences in writing and we will publish these anonymous experiences in due course, with the permission of those who took part.

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’80 child sex abuses cases a month being referred to police’

UNITED KINGDOM
Daily Mail

By Press Association

An average of 80 child sex abuse cases a month have been referred to police over the last year following victims’ testimony to an independent inquiry.

The figure emerged as the first report by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse’s (IICSA) Truth Project was published on Thursday amid a growing scandal of historical offences in youth football.

As one strand of the wide-ranging probe, the project was intended to help victims of child sexual abuse share their experiences with the inquiry, allowing it to build a picture of why crimes remain unreported and undetected for so long.

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Public hearing into Catholic Church authorities in Maitland-Newcastle to resume in Sydney

AUSTRALIA
Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

2 December, 2016

The Royal Commission will continue its public hearing into Catholic Church authorities in Maitland-Newcastle (Case Study 43) on Friday 9 December 2016 for one day in Sydney.

This hearing started in Newcastle in August 2016. It is inquiring into the response of Catholic Church authorities in the Maitland-Newcastle region to allegations of child sexual abuse by clergy and religious.

Continuation of public hearing into Catholic Church authorities in Maitland-Newcastle:

* Date: Friday 9 December 2016
* Hearing times: 9:30am – 4:00pm AEDT
* Location: Hearing Room 1, Level 17, Governor Macquarie Tower, 1 Farrer Place, Sydney

The hearing will be streamed live via webcast on the Case Study 43 page.

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Former chaplain claims ‘revenge’ behind girl’s sex assault allegations

IRELAND
Irish Times

Mary Carolan

A former priest being sued in the High Court for alleged sexual assault and abuse of a teenager in a school where he was chaplain told a school disciplinary hearing “revenge for not going with her” was the motivation behind the claims.

At that hearing in 2012, the man, who left the priesthood some years ago, denied any sexual activity took place at the girl’s home when her parents were away; when she was babysitting for a neighbour, in the chaplain’s office, the oratory or his car.

He also told the hearing he at one stage pleaded with the girl to stop and and rejected her by telling her to “f*** off”. “I wanted to get out from under her clutches,” he said.

In her High Court proceedings, the now 28-year old woman alleges that between 2004 and 2007 she was repeatedly physically and sexually assaulted, falsely imprisoned and sexually abused, and subjected to sexualised behaviour by the then Catholic chaplain, who was also a teacher in her secondary school.

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Vatican warned about priest accused of sexually abusing deaf kids in Argentina

ARGENTINA
Fox News Latino

“This is like opening Pandora’s Box,” is how one prosecutor, Alexander Gullé, described the investigation into allegations of sexual abuse of deaf children at a Catholic school in Argentina’s Mendoza province.

“Every minute,” he told reporters, “we see different circumstances, different facts … I am frankly embarrassed about the direction in which the investigation is taking us.”

The case that Gullé is talking about is one in which a priest accused of sexually abusing deaf children in Italy wasn’t sanctioned by the Vatican, and allegedly went on to abuse children in Pope Francis’ native Argentina.

Advocates for clerical sex abuse victims expressed outrage on Thursday, a few days after Argentine police arrested 82-year old Nicola Corradi, priest Horacio Corbacho, 55, and three other men at the Antonio Próvolo Institute, a school for youths with hearing disabilities in the northwest of the country.

The men are accused of abusing at least eight children, fondling them and subjecting them to various forms of sexual intercourse over a decade, said Fabricio Sidoti, the chief investigating prosecutor.

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Victim advocates: Pope told of priest arrested in Argentina

ARGENTINA
Washington Post

By Luis Andres Henao and Nicole Winfield | AP December 1

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Advocates for clerical sex abuse victims expressed outrage Thursday that a priest accused of sexually abusing deaf children in Italy wasn’t sanctioned by the Vatican and allegedly went on to abuse children in Pope Francis’ native Argentina.

Argentine police arrested the priest, 82-year old Nicola Corradi, this week. Corradi, priest Horacio Corbacho, 55, and three other men are accused of abusing at least eight children at a school for youths with hearing disabilities in northwestern Mendoza province.

BishopAccountability.org, an online resource about clerical abuse, reported that Italian survivor groups told the Vatican in 2008 and 2014 about Corradi and others accused of molesting children at a school for the deaf in Verona.

“Words fail. It is appalling and heartbreaking that Corradi was not stopped by Pope Francis or by other Church authorities. Corradi’s presence at the school in Mendoza was no secret,” said Anne Barrett Doyle, co-director of BishopAccountability.

“Thanks to the Church’s inaction, Corradi appears to have been able to replicate exactly the grotesque situation he enjoyed in Verona – a ring of child molesters in charge of utterly defenseless children who could neither hear nor speak. If the allegations are true, the Pope must accept responsibility for the unimaginable suffering of these new victims.”

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Chief Rabbi calls on Jewish leaders to stand down following Child Abuse Royal Commission

AUSTRALIA
SBS

By Nitza Lowenstein
1 DEC 2016

Speaking to SBS Hebrew Radio, Rabbi Dr Benjamin Elton, Chief Rabbi of the Great Synagogue in Sydney and Secretary of the Rabbinical Councils of Australia and New Zealand (Australia’s most senior Orthodox Rabbi) has called on Jewish leaders, who failed to protect child abuse survivors, to stand down from their public positions.

“If somebody has failed to carry out their legal obligations to protect children, then they ought not to be in the position of leadership in the community,” Rabbi Elton says of his and the Rabbinical Council’s stance.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse this week found that the two insular, Ultra Orthodox Chabad-Lubavitch communities discouraged the reporting of child abuse, failed to act when complaints were made, and treated survivors and their families as outcasts.

The findings vindicated victim Manny Waks, the whistleblower who first exposed systemic abuse within the sect.

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Liberty University’s hiring of ex-Baylor AD sends a chilling message about sexual assault

VIRGINIA
Washington Post

By Adam Kilgore November 29

In the next couple weeks, Ian McCaw’s lawyers are scheduled to respond to a lawsuit by a woman named Jasmin Hernandez. In the suit, Hernandez alleges McCaw, as the athletic director at Baylor, knew a football player named Tevin Elliott had been accused several times of committing sexual assault. She alleges McCaw failed to protect Hernandez before Elliot raped her and showed willful indifference afterward.

Barring a settlement, a jury will determine what culpability McCaw had in both Hernandez’s rape and in an atmosphere that enabled a shocking number of alleged assaults by Baylor football players. In early stages of this litigation, with the ink barely dry on McCaw’s Baylor severance agreement, he landed a new job: Monday afternoon, Liberty University hired McCaw to be its athletic director.

Liberty and its president, Jerry Falwell Jr., hired a man in the midst of ongoing litigation relating to the high-profile disgrace that forced him from his old job. McCaw ran the athletic program in which law firm Pepper Hamilton, tabbed by the school to perform an independent investigation, found “a failure to identify and respond to a pattern of sexual violence by a football player, to take action in response to reports of a sexual assault by multiple football players, and to take action in response to a report of dating violence.”

Evidently, that did not disqualify McCaw from landing the same position at Liberty.

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Can a Christian school be both ethical and athletic? Liberty raises the question again.

VIRGINIA
Washington Post

By Julie Zauzmer November 29

Ian McCaw will be the new athletic director at Liberty University, the prominent evangelical college in Virginia announced Monday — six months after McCaw left the same job at a different evangelical college in disgrace.

Liberty’s decision to hire McCaw raises an old question: Can a Christian school aim for big-time sports success without compromising its religious values?

McCaw was the athletic director at Baylor when the law firm Pepper Hamilton issued its damning report on the program he ran: that Baylor failed to respond to rapes reported by at least six female students from 2009 to 2016. Since 2011, a recent report said, 19 Baylor football players were accused of violence against women, including four instances of gang rape.

McCaw and football coach Art Briles, who along with Baylor president Kenneth Starr also left Baylor as a result of the scandal, knew about at least one allegation of gang rape yet did not report it to police, the university found.

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Ex-Baylor AD Ian McCaw takes new job at Liberty

VIRGINIA
USA Today

Former Baylor athletics director Ian McCaw was named Liberty’s new AD on Monday.

McCaw resigned from his post at Baylor, where he helped transform the Bears to a national power in football, following a widespread sexual assault scandal that led to McCaw being sanctioned and placed on probation. It also cost coach Art Briles his job. Earlier this fall it was reported that Baylor regents claimed McCaw and Briles were both informed of a gang rape that involved football players but they failed to report the allegations.

“My vision for Liberty is to position it as a pre-eminent Christian athletic program in America and garner the same type of appeal among the Christian community as Notre Dame achieves among the Catholic community and BYU garners from the Mormons,” McCaw said in a statement.

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Liberty University Has Sold Its Soul for Football

VIRGINIA
Together We Heal

December 1, 2016

Monday, November 28th 2016. That date will go down in Baptist history as the beginning of the end. Not of the end of baptists; but something more tragic, and much more sinister. It’s the end of women being safe on Liberty University’s campus.

It was on Monday that Liberty University gave the middle finger to all victims of sexual abuse and sexual assault and told “whoever has ears to hear” that THEY DON’T CARE ABOUT THE SAFETY OF WOMEN ON CAMPUS.

On Monday, Liberty University and Jerry Falwell, Jr., joyfully welcomed Ian McCaw as its new Athletic Director.

Falwell, Jr. said of McCaw, “He’s a Godly man of excellent character and I could not be more excited about this announcement!”

Just in case you don’t know Mr. McCaw, let me catch you up to speed.

He was up until recently the Athletic Director for Baylor University. Yes, the Baylor that bears the same Baptist support as Liberty. And yes, it’s the same Baylor who fired its President, Ken Starr; Head Football Coach, Art Briles, and depending on which media outlet you believe, the aforementioned Athletic Director, Ian McCaw.

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Royal commission asked to make damning findings against school and Hollingworth

AUSTRALIA
Brisbane Times

Jorge Branco

A royal commission investigating historical child sex abuse has been asked to make damning findings against Queensland’s most prestigious school and a former governor-general.

In submissions published on Thursday, counsel assisting said a large number of students likely would not have been abused had former Brisbane Grammar School headmaster Maxwell Howell investigated sexual abuse claims from students.

Over two weeks in November 2015, the commission heard shocking details of abuse committed by notorious paedophiles Keith Lynch and Gregory Robert Knight at Brisbane Grammar School and St Paul’s School in the 1980s and ’90s.

Tasked with investigating the institutional response to the crimes, it heard from witnesses including survivors of horrific sexual abuse, current and former school leaders and former governor-general Peter Hollingworth.

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Uniting Church under fire for ‘disowning the past’ over child sex abuse and ‘avoiding’ religious symbols

AUSTRALIA
Daily Telegraph

Laura Banks and Anthony de Cegli, The Daily Telegraph
December 1, 2016

AN unholy war has broken out within one of the state’s biggest church denominations after it admitted to steering clear of religious symbols and even the word “Christ” as part of a rebranding and new advertising to avoid criticism over child sex abuse.

Child abuse survivors have criticised the Uniting Church, which has the third biggest Christian following in Australia, for trying to “disown” the past through a “culture of denial”.

The executive director of Uniting — the services and advocacy arm of the church — admitted the royal commission into child sexual abuse had tarred religious institutions. Therefore he said it made sense to scrap “overt” faith-based language from its PR strategy.

“You are right to highlight that sometimes we do not mention Christ’s name in our advertising,” Peter Worland recently wrote. “Since the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, faith-based organisations like ours are perceived pejoratively. So, sometimes we are overt with our religious language, sometimes we are not.”

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Catholics want law to protect confessional

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

December 2, 2016

DAN BOX
Crime reporterSydney
@DanBox10

The body representing more than 140 Catholic dioceses, religious ­orders and other institutions is calling for new national laws making it a crime to not report information about child sex abuse — unless it is obtained by a priest ­during the confession.

In a formal submission to the child abuse royal commission, the Truth, Justice and Healing Council argues this exemption would reflect Victorian legislation granting a similar “occasion of privilege” to that protecting commun­ic­ations between lawyers and their clients.

The issue is expected to provoke controversy when the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse holds a three-week hearing into the church in February, having ­recently flagged it will use this to consider “the protection of the confessional”.

The commission has the power to recommend changes to laws in some states allowing priests who hear admissions of criminal ­activity during confession to not report this to police.

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George Pell backs cardinals in marriage row with Pope Francis

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

TESS LIVINGSTONE
The Australian
December 2, 2016

Australian cardinal George Pell has waded into the row at the top of the Vatican, backing four cardinals who have questioned the Pope over efforts to shift church teaching on marriage, divorce and Holy Communion.

At a speech in London this week, Cardinal Pell admitted that while his boss enjoyed “a prestige and popularity outside the church”, some Catholics were uneasy.

Asked whether he agreed with the four cardinals, who wrote to the Pope two months ago asking for clarification over his document ­Amoris Laetitia, Cardinal Pell said: “How can you disagree with a question?” It was “significant’’ the four had asked the questions.

Cardinal Pell said the unease related to false theories of conscience. “The idea that you can somehow discern that moral truths should not be followed or should not be recognised is ­absurd,’’ he said. “We all stand under the truth.”

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Thousands of alleged fugitives nabbed at Canadian borders in wake of CBC Toronto investigation

CANADA
CBC News

By John Lancaster, CBC News Posted: Dec 01, 2016

Canada’s borders have become less porous in the wake of a CBC News investigation that revealed a major security gap in the way passengers were being screened before being allowed into Canada.

In the past 12 months since new screening measures came into effect on Nov. 21, 2015, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) apprehended 3,067 people with outstanding criminal arrest warrants at border crossings.

In the previous 12 months, before the changes came into effect, the CBSA caught just 556 alleged fugitives. …

Priest accused of rape

In 2013 the southwestern Ontario woman demanded answers as to why a Nigerian priest she had accused of rape in 2004 was able to get back into Canada nine years later. Father Anthony Onyenagada left Canada before police could arrest him in 2004.

Police assured the alleged victim that Onyenagada would be arrested if he ever tried to return, because there were Canada-wide warrants out for his arrest.

But in 2013 the priest did return to attend a Catholic church event near London, Ont. Again, by the time police realized he had returned to Canada, he had slipped away a second time.

The CBC News investigation revealed federal government officials had granted Onyenagada a visa to enter Canada in 2013, and when he arrived at Pearson International Airport he breezed through customs because border agents didn’t screen him through CPIC.

Now, with the changes in policy, a simple scan of his passport would result in him being arrested and handed over to police for prosecution on the 2004 charges.

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Norway’s Catholic Church fined for fraud over membership

NORWAY
The Local

AFP

The Norwegian Catholic Church was fined on million kroner (more than €110,000) on Monday for exaggerating the number of members it has to receive more state aid.

Oslo prosecutors slapped the fine on the Diocese of Oslo, responsible for keeping national records of Catholics living in the Scandinavian country, according to the ruling seen by AFP.

The diocese is accused of having gone through telephone directories looking for immigrants with names suggesting that they were from Catholic countries and adding them to the list of members of the church between 2011 and 2014, sometimes without their knowledge.

In Norway, a predominantly Protestant country, the state finances the various religious minorities in proportion to the number of church members.

By exaggerating the list of its members, the diocese was able to obtain undue government subsidies. Its chief administrative officer, Thuan cong Pham, has been charged with aggravated fraud, the prosecution said.

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Norwegian Catholic Church accused of membership inflation

NORWAY
Crux

Catholic News Agency
December 1, 2016

OSLO, Norway – In an unusual turn of events, the Catholic Church in Norway is under fire for reportedly lying about its number of parishioners in order to receive more state monetary aid.

Scandinavian prosecutors fined the Diocese of Oslo more than $140,000 – or one million kroner – on Monday for the apparent fraud offense, according to AFP. In addition, the state of Norway is asking for a $4.4 million – or 40.6 million kroner – reimbursement from the Catholic Church.

“We’ve never done anything illegal or received too much money,” the Catholic Church said in response to the allegations, according to the Local.

“We have always recognized that we have made mistakes and an unfortunate practice in parts of our registration. This was cleaned up a long [time] ago.”

The accusations against the Church stem from 2011-2014, during which the state believes the diocese pulled names from telephone directories of individuals who were not actually members of the diocese.

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Catholic Church fined for overstating number of members to receive more state funding in Norway

NORWAY
Independent (UK)

Shehab Khan @shehabkhan Wednesday 30 November 2016

The Norwegian Catholic Church has been fined for overstating the number of its members in an attempt to receive more state funding.

The church is accused of looking for immigrants with names that would suggest they were of Catholic origin and adding them to the list of members without their knowledge.

Prosecutors have given the Diocese of Oslo, responsible for keeping records of Catholics living in the country, a one million kroner (£95,000) fine.

If the church refuses to pay the fine it will face trial and the chief administrative officer of the diocese has already been charged with aggravated fraud, prosecutors have said.

“We’ve never done anything illegal or received too much money,” the Catholic Church said in a statement, AFP reported.

“We have always recognised that we have made mistakes and had an unfortunate practise in parts of our registration. This was cleaned up a long (time) ago.”

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Catholic Church in Norway fined over membership fraud

NORWAY
The Freethinker (UK)

Last year it was reported in Newsweek that Bernt Ivar Eidsvig, the bishop of Oslo, above, had been charged with ‘gross economic fraud’. He and his diocese was accused of overstating ther membership numbers, thereby claiming state funding to which it was not entitled.

This week, according to the Independent, the case culminated with the imposition of a one million kroner (£95,000) fine on the Church.

The Church was accused of looking for immigrants with names that would suggest they were of Catholic origin and adding them to the list of members without their knowledge.

If the Church refuses to pay the fine it will face trial.

The Church responded in a statement:

We’ve never done anything illegal or received too much money. We have always recognised that we have made mistakes and had an unfortunate practise in parts of our registration. This was cleaned up a long time ago.

In Norway the state finances religious groups in accordance with the number of members.

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Ein Schritt zurück ins rechte Licht

DEUTSCHLAND
RP

[The 2015 public allegations of abuse against the bishop Heinrich Maria Janssen, who came from Rindern, were examined by a working group. Result: Nothing points to the deeds.]

Kleve/Hildesheim . Die 2015 öffentlich gewordenen Missbrauchsvorwürfe gegen den aus Rindern stammenden Bischof Heinrich Maria Janssen wurden von einer Arbeitsgruppe untersucht. Ergebnis: Nichts weist auf die Taten hin. Von Peter Janssen

Für Christa Storch waren die vergangenen Monate keine leichten. Die in Rindern lebende 69-Jährige ist die Nichte des ehemaligen Bischofs von Hildesheim, Heinrich Maria Janssen (1907 – 1988). Gegen ihren Onkel wurden im November 2015 schwere Vorwürfe öffentlich. Er soll Anfang der 1960er Jahre einen Messdiener regelmäßig missbraucht haben. Als Erstes berichtete damals das Nachrichtenmagazin “Der Spiegel” über die Anschuldigungen.

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Missbrauch in Rinteln: Kirche wusste von Verurteilung

DEUTSCHLAND
Dewezet

[Former church superintendent Eckels was already sentenced in 1945 for sexual assaults but the judgment was later canceled.]

Am 20. Mai dieses Jahres berichtete unsere Zeitung über einen Fall des sexuellen Missbrauchs im Jahr 1965 durch den damaligen Rintelner Superintendenten Kurt Eckels. Wie Kirchenkreis und Landeskirche jetzt öffentlch machten, ist Eckels schon 1945 wegen mehrfacher sexueller Übergriffe gegen Schutzbefohlene in der Wehrmacht verurteilt worden. Das Urteil wurde später zwar aufgehoben, der Vorgang war der Landeskirche allerdings schon damals bekannt. Superintendent Andreas Kühne-Glaser spricht von einer „Mitschuld“ und erklärt, wieso man den Schritt an die Öffentlichkeit gegangen ist. Auch das damalige Opfer äußert sich nun erstmalig persönlich.

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Neue geistliche Tiefe

ROM
Domradio

[Kiechle also spoke about the ordeal-related debate about the sexual abuse of minors by Jesuits. Two documents discussed at the recent Rome assembly in Rome, a public request for apology and a declaration of self-declaration for the prevention, were not accepted as official decrees, he explained. The reason for this was “above all” the concern that “in some corners of the world” such a public statement would have made Jesuits the target of “fundamentalist, anticircular circles” and endangered the lives of religious members and their associates.]

Flüchtlinge und gesellschaftlich Benachteiligte sollen künftig stärker im Mittelpunkt der Arbeit der Jesuiten stehen. Das ist ein Ergebnis der jüngsten Generalversammlung des katholischen Ordens.

Dies beschreibt Stefan Kiechle, Leiter der deutschen Jesuitenprovinz, in der “Herder Korrespondenz”. Er fordert zudem ein größeres Engagement für Umwelt- und Klimaschutz. Dabei sei jeder gefordert, seinen persönlichen Lebensstil auf den Prüfstand zu stellen. In einer von Oberflächlichkeit geprägten Gesellschaft brauche es neue geistige Tiefe, so der Jesuit. Dabei müssten Barmherzigkeit und Gerechtigkeit zusammen kommen.

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New archbishop begins Guam ministry amid Apuron’s Vatican trial

GUAM
USA Today

Haidee V Eugenio, Pacific Daily News (Guam)

HAGATNA, Guam — Coadjutor Archbishop Michael Jude Byrnes officially stepped in Wednesday as head of Guam’s large Catholic Church, during a historic celebration marking the start of his episcopal ministry.

“I belong to you today. I’m one of yours,” Byrnes, 58, said, to the applause of the hundreds gathered inside the Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica in Hagåtña on Wednesday morning.

Several other archbishops and bishops joined the celebration which was rich in symbolism — from Byrnes knocking on the door of the church building that will be his home, to Archbishop Savio Hon Tai Fai seated next to a pew covered in blue, symbolizing the Vatican’s solidarity with all victims of child sex abuse on Guam and around the world.

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Byrnes: ‘There is a lot of hope’ for Church

GUAM
Guam Daily Post

By Chris Wong | Post News Staff

A chorale ensemble sang religious hymnals deep from within the Dulce Nombre De Maria Cathedral-Basilica, the music echoing through the hall, making its way through a corner vestibule of the cathedral where Coadjutor Archbishop Michael J. Byrnes shared his thoughts on pain during a preconference event Wednesday, before the official start of his episcopal ministry of the Catholic Church on Guam.

“Pain is something we all fear, but it’s something we can’t avoid,” Byrnes said. “We as a church here in Guam, there’s a lot of pain, a lot of different kinds of pain. Betrayal of trust causes pain, we experience from the news of honestly the sexual abuse of minors the accusations, the allegations, the victims themselves are suffering tremendous pain, shame, guilt, but that pain radiates. It radiates throughout our dioceses, and in this pain, one of the pains we feel is our inability to trust one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. That pain of alienations is one of the deepest, we question each other, we even start to question God. ‘Where are you in all of this?’

A lot to learn

“I know I’ve got a lot to learn over these weeks, days, months and years. I know that there is a lot of hope, and I know just having a new face, a new person lifts a little bit of some of the pain and some of the sadness. One of the things I wanted to say today might be a little shock to you,” Byrnes said.

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Bill to nix statute of limitations from child sex-abuse cases OK’d by Senate panel

MICHIGAN
Morning Sun

By Jameson Cook, jamie.cook@macombdaily.com, @jamesoncook on Twitter

A bill that eliminates the 10-year statute of limitations for criminal cases involving child sex-abuse victims unanimously passed a Senate panel.

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the bill 5-0 on Wednesday, and it was referred to the full Senate for a potential vote, according to state officials. The bill’s main Senate sponsor is state Sen. Steve Bieda, D-Warren. A companion bill, HB 5859, in the state House of Representatives, sponsored by Rep. Adam Zemke, D–Ann Arbor, has not made it out of the Criminal Justice Committee.

The bill would eliminate the requirement that certain charges be filed within 10 years of the incident or in the case of a minor victim that it is filed before the accuser turns 21.

“The sexual exploitation of children is one of the most heinous crimes conceivable,” Bieda said in a written statement. “Michigan law must be able to hold perpetrators accountable, regardless of how long it takes victims to report, and I am glad that my colleagues and I were able to agree on this issue.”

The bill would remove the limitation in cases involving child pornography, second-, third- and fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct, and assault with intent to commit criminal sexual conduct. First-degree criminal sexual conduct, which equates to forcible rape, already does not have a statute of limitations in Michigan.

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Cardinal Wuerl apologizes to man for initial doubts over ’88 abuse claims against a priest

PENNSYLVANIA
WJLA

PITTSBURGH (AP) — A former Roman Catholic bishop of Pittsburgh who now heads the Washington archdiocese has apologized for initially voicing doubts about a seminarian’s claims in 1988 that as a young boy he had been sexually abused by a priest.

Cardinal Donald Wuerl says Tim Bendig, who since left the seminary and is now a businessman, “told the truth about a priest who was a terrible danger to children and without his action that priest might have continued in the ministry.”

“Telling that truth helped all of us to become a better church,” Wuerl said in an interview Nov. 23 in the church newspaper in Washington, the Catholic Standard. …

David Clohessy, director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said in a statement Wednesday that the group is glad Bendig is pleased with the apology. But, he said, SNAP believes Wuerl is using Bendig to do “damage control” ahead of grand jury disclosures on how Pennsylvania dioceses dealt with abuse claims, including when Wuerl was bishop from 1988 to 2006.

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Research report identifies aspects of organisational culture that may encourage child sexual abuse

AUSTRALIA
Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

1 December, 2016

The Royal Commission has released a new research report investigating the role of organisational culture in institutional child sexual abuse. The research also identifies factors that can lead to successful organisational change and prevent child sexual abuse in institutions.

The report – The role of organisational culture in child sexual abuse in institutional contexts – is the first of its kind, applying existing theory on organisational culture to institutional child sexual abuse. It draws on a review of literature as well as seven case studies conducted by the Royal Commission, into schools, churches, sporting groups and providers of out-of-home care.

The report found that organisations with cultural factors associated with “total institutions” may be more conducive to the perpetration of child sexual abuse. These kinds of organisations may be resistant to fast detection of abuse, and discourage an effective response when child sexual abuse occurs. For example, these institutions may:

* Conduct their own investigations into allegations of child sexual abuse, rather than referring alleged perpetrators to authorities;
* Forbid children from retaining personal items and discourage the building of relationships with peers;
* Promote secrecy and withholding of information from children, staff and others, and/or
* Command children to engage in or refrain from behaviours that make abuse possible and reporting less likely.

The report identified a number of other types of organisational cultures which can support the perpetration of child sexual abuse, slow its detection and promote a poor response. These included “macho” cultures; cultures that do not support the discussion of matters relating to sex and child sexual abuse; and cultures of “top management” that prioritise the protection of the organisation’s public image to minimise scandal and adverse legal consequences.

Royal Commission CEO, Philip Reed, said by using theories from the highly-researched area of organisational culture and applying them to child sexual abuse, the report provided a thought-provoking analysis that extends current thinking.

“The report asks several questions about what kinds of assumptions, values, beliefs and norms within organisations help facilitate the perpetration of child sexual abuse and act to prevent the timely and effective response to such abuse,” he said.

“This research aims to assist organisations to identify these in order to effect greater organisational change that will lead to the better protection of children in institutional settings.”

The report was conducted by Professor Donald Palmer from the University of California.

Read the full report.

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Submissions for public hearing into Brisbane Grammar School and St Paul’s School

AUSTRALIA
Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

1 December, 2016

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has published the written submissions for the public hearing into Brisbane Grammar School and St Paul’s School in Queensland on its website.

The public hearing was held in November 2015 and inquired into the experience of former students of Brisbane Grammar School and St Paul’s School in Queensland.

It also inquired into the past and current systems, practices, policies and procedures in place at Brisbane Grammar School and St Paul’s School in relation to raising and responding to concerns and complaints about child sexual abuse.

The submissions can be found on the Case Study 34 page on the Royal Commission’s website.

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Northern Ireland: Redress must be part of Programme for Government, child abuse survivors tell deputy First Minister

NORTHERN IRELAND
Amnesty International

A comprehensive redress scheme for victims of historical child abuse must be part of the new Northern Ireland Programme for Government, child abuse survivors have told Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and Junior Minister Megan Fearon today at a meeting at Stormont Castle.

Child abuse survivors and experts have developed a model compensation scheme which they want the incoming Northern Ireland Executive to adopt.

They set out a detailed framework for an out-of-court redress scheme for survivors of institutional child abuse in Northern Ireland as an alternative to costly civil court proceedings. The report recommends two categories of compensation for survivors – a common experience payment for all former residents of homes where abuse was endemic and compensation for cases of individual abuse.

Representatives of the Panel of Experts on Redress, an independent initiative of victim and survivor groups, individual survivors, academics, lawyers, and human rights experts, including Amnesty International, met with the Ministers today in advance of the end of the Historic Institutional Abuse Inquiry, chaired by Sir Anthony Hart, which is scheduled to report to the Executive in January 2017.

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11th sex abuse suit filed against priest, church

GUAM
Pacific Daily News

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

Another former altar boy and Boy Scout has alleged he was sexually abused from 1969 to 1973 by former island priest Louis Brouillard.

The accuser said the priest was never formally disciplined by the Archdiocese of Agana or the Catholic Church, even decades after the priest told Bishop Apollinaris Baumgartner and other clergy on Guam. Baumgartner was bishop of Guam from 1945 to 1970. Brouillard was ordained a priest on Guam in 1948 and was here until 1981.

Norman J.D. Aguon, now 56, said he was between the ages of 13 and 17 when Brouillard repeatedly sexually molested and abused him.

Aguon is now a resident of Milwaukie, Oregon. He lived in Malojloj during his childhood years, and served as an altar boy at the San Isidro Catholic Church in the village. Brouillard was a priest at the church and also a scoutmaster for the Guam chapter of the Boy Scouts of America.

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Archdiocese thanks Hon for service to Guam

GUAM
KUAM

Updated: Dec 01, 2016

By Krystal Paco

Hundreds of people attended Archbishop Michael Byrnes’ first mass at the cathedral last night, and while it may have been his first, it was the last one for Archbishop Savio Hon Tai Fai, who had been serving as the apostolic administrator of the local archdiocese since June 6.

Father Jeff San Nicolas said, “One individual who has helped us to get to this place of joy this place of thanksgiving we have today this time where we can welcome Archbishop Byrnes, the individual who has needs to be recognized and if you will help me to give him a round of applause, Archbishop Savio Hon Tai Fai.”

Archbishop Hon began his journey back to Rome today to continue serving in his position as the secretary for the Congregation of the Evangelization of Peoples.

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‘Self-serving’ culture in Catholic Church

AUSTRALIA
Daily Telegraph

By Rebekah Ison, Australian Associated Press
December 1, 2016

A Catholic council executive has blamed a “self-serving” culture “that lost sight of its ethos” for the church prioritising its interests over child sexual abuse victims.

Truth Justice and Healing Council chief executive Francis Sullivan on Thursday lambasted a “clericalist culture” characterised by “power, privilege” and self-promotion, during evidence at the Royal Commission into Instiutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

“A culture that has lost sight of its ethos and, in a sense, lost the capacity for self-reflection,” he said during a hearing into criminal justice issues in Sydney.

“That can be any institution but … the Catholic Church’s history here is so shameful and confronting, it’s not up to us to lecture everybody.”

In submissions to the royal commission, the TJHC says obligations to report child sexual abuse should not extend to disclosures made in the confession box.

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Jehovah’s Witnesses: Internal judicial process ‘catastrophic’ for members alleging child sex abuse

CANADA
CBC News

Mélanie Poirier was 10 when she started taking piano lessons and it would prove to be an experience that changed her life forever. At that very first lesson, she said, her piano teacher sexually assaulted her. It went on for five years.

“Week after week, at every piano lesson, he would masturbate in front of me. And he would ask me to touch him,” Poirier told Radio-Canada’s investigative program, Enquête.

Her father, Benoît Poirier, was in the next room waiting for her lesson to be over, completely unaware, she said.

Poirier said she couldn’t tell her father, who was a Jehovah’s Witness elder, or anyone else what was happening because her piano teacher was also an elder in the congregation that her family belonged to in a Montreal suburb.

“He was well-known, an elder, an example to follow,” she said.

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