Some Questions about “The Keepers”

UNITED STATES
Huffington Post

December 31, 2017

By Tim Lynch, Contributor
Attorney specializing in criminal law and civil liberties

The Keepers” is a riveting documentary about two unsolved murders and sexual abuse at a Catholic high school for girls in the City of Baltimore called Bishop Keough. On a scale of 1 to 10, it’s a 10 —so all Netflix subscribers are encouraged to see this one. Spoiler Alert: This post will be examining various aspects of the documentary—so for those who have not yet seen the whole thing, you may wish to stop right here and return later on.

Even though I highly recommend this documentary, I was perplexed by a few things. At the end of the series, we meet Charles Franz, the dentist. He is portrayed as a key figure because his mother lodged a complaint with the Catholic Church in Baltimore that Maskell had been abusing her son. The Church didn’t deny the allegations, but moved Maskell elsewhere—actually to Bishop Keough High School. This is important because the Church would later claim that it had no knowledge of Maskell’s criminal conduct until Jean came forward in 1992.

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.

15 recommendations from the royal commission into child sexual abuse you should know about

AUSTRALIA
Australian Broadcasting Corporation

December 17, 2017

The final report from the almost five-year royal commission into child sexual abuse was officially handed to the Governor-General this morning.

The document is tens of thousands of pages long, and contains a total of 409 recommendations which aim to make institutions safer for children.

Of those 409 recommendations, 189 recommendations are new today.

You can follow our live blog for updates as we continue to read through the report. But if you’re strapped for time, here are some of the big ones you should know about.

For religious institutions:

– The ministry of churches (not just the Catholic Church) should not be exempt from reporting information discovered in religious confession.

– Any religious organisation with a rite of religious confession should implement a policy that confession for children be conducted in an open space and in a clear line of sight of another adult.

– The Australian Catholic Church should request permission from the Vatican to introduce voluntary celibacy for diocesan clergy.

– Candidates for religious ministry should undergo external psychological testing, including psychosexual assessment, to determine their suitability to be in the ministry and to undertake work involving children.

– Any person in religious ministry who is the subject of a complaint of child sexual abuse which is substantiated … or who is convicted of an offence relating to child sexual abuse, should be permanently removed from ministry.

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.

Student priests believe it’s time for the Catholic Church to evolve

AUSTRALIA
ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corp.) Radio

By Isabella Higgins on AM

[LINK TO AUDIO BROADCAST]

More scrutiny than ever is upon the powerful leadership in Australia’s Catholic Church, following damning findings in the Child Abuse Royal Commission.

The commission made recommendations for the church to break with centuries of tradition and remove the sanctity of confessional and make celibacy for priests voluntary.

Senior Australian church leaders have already made it clear they don’t support those changes, but a new generation of priests is promising to do things differently.

Duration: 2min 49sec

Broadcast: Mon 1 Jan 2018, 7:14am

Featured:

Tom Duncan, seminarian, Holy Spirit Seminary, Brisbane
Minje Kim, seminarian, Holy Spirit Seminary, Brisbane
Ashwin Ancharya, seminarian, Holy Spirit Seminary, Brisbane

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.

Pope Francis Visits Chile and Peru: Sex Abuse, Politics and Opus Dei

UNITED STATES
The Open Tabernacle

December 30, 2017

By Betty Clermont

This is the pope’s sixth trip to the region with which he is most familiar. But this one is different. This is the first time he will face a populace aware of both his indifference, at best, to victims of sexual abuse and, at worse, his efforts to shield the perpetrators. In addition, there is a consistent pattern of issues, as well as an alliance of powerful elites from church and state, in both countries.

Pope Francis will face significant hostility when he visits Chile Jan. 15 – 18. Demonstrations have been planned to protest his response to clerical sex abuse.

There had been a near riot in Osorno when Pope Francis assigned Juan Barros Madrid as bishop in 2015. Victims of the sexual predator, Fr. Fernando Karadima, accused Barros of sometimes being present while Karadima abused them and then covering-up for the priest.

More than 1,300 Osorno Catholics, along with some 30 priests from the diocese and 51 of 120 members of Chile’s Parliament, sent letters to Pope Francis urging him to rescind the appointment. The Laity of Osorno organization also sent innumerable letters with the same request “to the Apostolic Palace, the Vatican embassy, bishops, cardinals, friends of the pope and other Vatican officials. They did not receive an answer, although it was confirmed that the letters had been received.”

Pope Francis was asked to tape a personal message via video for Osorno Catholics. He told them, “The Church has lost (part of its) freedom by allowing politicians to put ideas in the heads (of Church members), by judging a bishop without any proof after 20 years in service. Think with your heads and don’t be carried away by any accusations made by lefties.”

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.

Couple leaves words ‘priest rapist’ off Wheaton cemetery tombstone

WHEATON (IL)
Chicago Daily Herald

December 30, 2017

By Chacour Koop

“She supported priest rapist victims” is not chiseled into the grave marker for Jack Ruhl’s mother.

Instead, the tombstone he and his wife, Diane Ruhl, installed at Assumption Cemetery in Wheaton a few days before Christmas says, “She supported priest sexual abuse victims.”

It’s a compromise the Michigan couple made with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Joliet, which called the proposed wording too explicit. Ruhl conceded that this was the best he could do for his mother, Marguerite N. Ridgeway of Lisle, who died in July 2015.

“Nowadays and for some time, there’s been so much ambiguity about what sexual abuse is,” Ruhl said in a phone interview Saturday. “I wanted to use the word rape because to me it stands for the most extreme, dehumanizing act one person can inflict upon another.”

Ridgeway converted to Catholicism after her marriage and was devout for many years until she learned of allegations that a priest had sexually abused Diane Ruhl, her daughter-in-law, Ruhl said.

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

Opinion: Death of disgraced cardinal reveals a truth we’d rather ignore about the Catholic Church

NORWICH (CT)
Norwich Bulletin

December 31, 2017

By Melinda Henneberger

Twelve years ago, after the death of Pope John Paul II, I watched a man who will go down in history as a fierce protector of child rapists process into St. Peter’s to celebrate one of the nine masses that traditionally follow the death of a pontiff.

On that day, Cardinal Bernard Law, who died recently at 86, had already resigned in disgrace from his post as archbishop of Boston. He’d lost his stroke with the White House, too, after the Boston Globe revealed the full extent of the clerical sex abuse scandal that Law’s cover-up had both delayed and compounded.

In exile in Rome, Law was a pariah but also a man who retained some vestiges of power, especially on the key committee that helps choose bishops; if Catholics didn’t invent having it both ways, we certainly have long experience in it.

On the day in 2005 that Law eulogized his own protector, John Paul, I wrote that he should have stayed home instead of showing up as he did, surrounded by a security detail that treated the two American survivors of clerical abuse who’d come to peacefully protest outside the basilica as if they were the criminals.

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.

Michigan man reaches compromise with diocese over his mother’s controversial gravestone epitaph referencing church sex crimes

WHEATON (IL)
Associated Press, as it appeared in The Daily Mail

December 31, 2017

Jack Ruhl of Michigan wanted to install a gravestone on his mother Marguerite Ridgeway’s grave in Assumption Cemetery in Wheaton, Illinois

He wanted her epitaph to read: ‘She supported priest rapist victims;’ the Roman Catholic Diocese did not agree to the use of the word ‘rapist’

A compromise was reached for the gravestone which was installed December 22

It now reads: ‘She supported priest sexual abuse victims’

Ridgeway had been a devout Catholic before she became disillusioned with the church over its handling of its sex abuse scandal

A man who wanted to install a gravestone at a suburban Chicago cemetery that proclaimed his late mother’s support for victims of ‘rapist’ priests has reached a resolution with a Roman Catholic diocese.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Joliet refused to allow the proposed marker for Marguerite Ridgeway because it included what the diocese called ‘explicit language’.

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.

Let’s salute the true heroes of 2017

BRISBANE (QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA)
Brisbane Times

December 29, 2017

By Julia Baird

[Note: For more on Joanne McCarthy, see From Darkness, a Light Starts to Shine, by Ian Kirkwood, Newcastle Herald, December 14, 2017 and There Will Be a Royal Commission Because There Must Be, by Joanne McCarthy, Newcastle Herald, August 3, 2012. See also the Newcastle Herald’s coverage of the abuse crisis.]

This year, when cart-wheeling down streets to usher in the new year, take a moment to hat-tip the legends of the one ending.

Here’s my list of some icons of 2017, each a reminder of the change that a determined individual can make.

* * *

5. The fifth is investigative journalists. We can all thank scammer Jaime Phillips, who tried to get the Washington Post to run a false story, only to have them challenge her inconsistencies, thereby underlining how rigorous and scrupulous reporters have to be in breaking the kinds of stories that have roiled 2017 and toppled the likes of Harvey Weinstein. Another mention must go to Joanne McCarthy, whose relentless reporting for the Newcastle Herald about sex abuse of children in the church promoted a royal commission. The fruits of this reporting were seen in the stunning, wide-ranging report handed down by Justice Peter McClellan a few weeks ago. Based on five years of intense, rigorous research and harrowing interviews, this is a massive achievement. And none of these reports could ever be printed without the courage of the victims.

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.

John Corrigan, who pleaded guilty in church sex-abuse scandal, dies

TORONTO (ONTARIO, CANADA)
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

December 29, 2017

One of the first priests charged in connection with the Roman Catholic sex-abuse scandal in the 1980s has died.

In 1988 Father John Corrigan pleaded guilty to five charges of gross indecency and two counts of sexual assault on boys between the ages of 10 and 13.

Eight other charges originally filed against the priest were dropped. He was sentenced to five years in prison.

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.

Hollywood sex-abuse tsunami a new twist on a very old plot

HALIFAX (NOVA SCOTIA, CANADA)
The Herald

December 30, 2017

By Gail Lethbridge

The biggest surprise of 2017 was that anyone was surprised.

Never, it seems, have there been more pearls clutched, more sharp breath intakes, more heads shaken in disgust, as one Hollywood mogul after another went down in the wake of sexual assault allegations.

I’m not questioning the rightness of this. Of course it’s right that people are being held accountable for their actions.

But what perplexes me is that anyone should be surprised by the fact that powerful men in show business (or any other business, for that matter) would use their positions to get their way with less powerful people.

* * *

Anyone who thinks it’s weird that a woman didn’t report an incident of sexual abuse need only look at the Catholic Church and connect the dots. Like the altar boys, that woman knew she wouldn’t be believed — or worse, punished if she spoke out.

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.

After dispute over epitaph, tombstone at Catholic cemetery reads: She supported priest sexual abuse victims

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Tribune

December 30, 2017

By Angie Leventis Lourgos

[Note: The article includes a video interview with Jack and Diane Ruhl.]

A son says his late mother finally will be able to rest in peace now that a dispute with a Catholic cemetery over her controversial grave marker has been resolved.

Marguerite Ridgeway, of west suburban Lisle, was a faithful Catholic before church sex abuse scandals came to light, including decades-old trauma recounted by her daughter-in-law. Before her 2015 death, Ridgeway closely followed the stories of abuse victims locally and across the country, and her outrage ultimately spurred a break with the church she once loved, according to her son, Jack Ruhl, of Kalamazoo, Mich.

In October, Ruhl had proposed the marker at her grave at Assumption Cemetery in Wheaton bear the message “She supported priest rapist victims.” But the Roman Catholic Diocese of Joliet, which owns the cemetery, took issue with what it called the “explicit language” of the inscription, calling the word rapist “graphic, offensive and shocking to the senses.”

After compromising with diocese officials, Ruhl recently settled on an alternate epitaph: “She supported priest sexual abuse victims.” He and his wife, Diane Ruhl, who was one of several women who filed lawsuits in 2003 alleging sexual abuse by a Jesuit priest [Fr. John J. Powell SJ] decades ago, drove the 2-foot-long gray granite headstone roughly 175 miles from their Michigan home to Ridgeway’s grave, where it was installed Dec. 22.

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.

Millennials Fueling Resurgence in Candidates for Priesthood

CINCINNATI (OH)
Associated Press

December 30, 2017

By Dan Horn

Millennials seeking to become Catholic priests are being credited with an increase in enrollment at an Ohio seminary.

The Rev. Benedict O’Cinnsealaigh looks out his office window at the courtyard below, marveling at how much his view has changed in just a few weeks.

Once home to green grass and well-manicured shrubs, the courtyard is now a muddy mess. Heavy equipment rumbles throughout the day and temporary fences surround ditches and overturned earth.

O’Cinnsealaigh thinks it’s beautiful. As president of Mount St. Mary’s Seminary at The Athenaeum of Ohio, he knows what this big construction project means for the Catholic Church in Cincinnati.

“We have a future here,” he says.

* * *

Their generation came of age as society was becoming less religious overall and as the Catholic Church was suffering through a yearslong clergy abuse crisis that tested their faith in Catholic institutions.

Yet no generation today is providing more men to lead the church than millennials. Nationally, three of every four seminarians are 34 years old or younger. At the Athenaeum, where seminarians in their 30s and 40s once dominated the ranks, the average age is 28.

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.

2017 Year in Review – Story No. 5: Vatican tribunal, $500M in sex abuse lawsuits

GUAM
Guam Daily Post

December 30, 2017

By Mindy Aguon

Coadjutor Archbishop Michael Byrnes had hoped 2017 would be a year of reparation. It turned into a year of more than 100 sex abuse lawsuits, a canonical trial and efforts to fix a broken Catholic Church on Guam.

At the start of the year, Byrnes gave the island’s Catholic faithful assurance that he would work to regain their “tremendous loss of trust” in the Catholic Church, after suspended Archbishop Anthony Apuron left the island amid allegations that he sexually abused altar boys decades ago when he was a priest.

Apuron faces penal charges in connection with the allegations, prompting a Vatican tribunal’s visit to Guam in February to interview Apuron’s accusers and other individuals related to their inquiry.

Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, the judge of the tribunal; Rev. Justin Wachs, the notary; and other members of the Vatican tribunal came to Guam in hopes of gaining insight into the allegations made against Apuron and to hear from his accusers personally. The interviews with Apuron’s accusers occurred off-island several weeks later.

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

Former Newfoundland and Labrador priest John Corrigan convicted in sexual abuse scandal dead at 86

ST. JOHN’S (NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR, CANADA)
The Telegram

December 30, 2017

[See also the two reports referenced below: the Hughes Report (Volume 1 and Volume 2); and the Winter Report (Volume 1, Volume 2, and the Conclusions and Recommendations). The Winter Report includes a section on Corrigan.

John Corrigan, a Roman Catholic priest once convicted in connection with the sexual abuse scandal that took place in the late 1980s died Thursday.

He was 86.

In December 1988, Corrigan pleaded guilty to five charges of gross indecency and two charges of sexual assault on young boys who ranged in ages from 10 to 13. He received a five-year prison sentence.

Eight other charges originally filed against Corrigan were dropped.

* * *

Corrigan’s guilty plea came only two months after another Roman Catholic priest, Father James Hickey, also of St. John’s, was sentenced to five years in prison for sexually assaulting altar boys over 18 years. Hickey pleaded guilty to 20 offences and was sent to Dorchester penitentiary in New Brunswick to serve his sentence. He passed away in 1992.

Corrigan’s and Hickey’s convictions resulted in an investigation into sexual abuse at Mount Cashel Boys’ Orphanage to be reopened in February 1989.

A month later, former Mount Cashel resident Shane Earle went public with his story, triggering huge public reaction.

The provincial government took action, establishing a royal commission of inquiry, chaired by retired Ontario Supreme court Judge Samuel Hughes, to investigate how the justice system had handled complaints at Mount Cashel. The 156-day hearing saw more than 200 witnesses testify.

According to reports, Hughes concluded that that neither the RNC nor the justice department handled the 1975 and 1976 Mount Cashel files normally. It was found that government had acted improperly by giving Mount Cashel privileged status as a foster home.

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. John’s also commissioned an inquiry in 1989 into the sexual abuse of boys by members of the clergy and Christian Brothers.

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.

8 Stories That Made A Difference In Hawaii This Year

HAWAII
Honolulu Civil Beat

December 29, 2017

By Landess Kearns

Deep-dive investigations, dogged daily coverage and a multimedia journey to exotic islands were all part of Civil Beat’s efforts in 2017.

Excerpt:

6. Faith Betrayed

Earlier this year, reporter Anita Hofschneider traveled to Guam to report on the more than 100 people who filed lawsuits against the Catholic Church alleging sex abuse by priests.

On an island where indigenous culture and Catholicism are deeply intertwined, the situation is agonizing for everyone involved. In our special report, “Faith Betrayed,” read and hear the stories of the survivors themselves.

You can also learn more from an accompanying Offshore podcast, “Confronting Faith,” that further explores how people on Guam are reexamining their culture and faith in the wake of the scandal.

This project was made possible by a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

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.

Priest Convicted In Mount Cashel Abuse Passes Away

ST. JOHN’S (CANADA)
VOCM News

December 29, 2017

Roman Catholic priest convicted of sexually assaulting young boys in St. John’s in the 80s has passed away.

Father John Corrigan was found guilty of gross indecency and sexual offences against young boys in 1988. He was convicted along with Father James Hickey. Their convictions led to the reopening of the Mount Cashel investigation.

Family members have confirmed for VOCM News that the former priest died yesterday in St. John’s.

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.

U.S. Church in 2017: Debates over pastoral priorities and approaches

NEW YORK (NY)
CRUX

December 28, 2017

By Christopher White

[Editors note: This is part two of Crux national correspondent Christopher White’s look back at the U.S. Church in 2017. In part one, he examined the Church’s engagement in the public square over the past year.]

NEW YORK – While the Church’s engagement in the public square is often what attracts major headlines – and 2017 did not disappoint as yesterday’s recap chronicled – the behind-the-scenes internal workings, and indeed, controversies, of the U.S. Church are equally important to remember.

These machinations help illuminate larger trends in Church life, and often inform and shape the Church’s external focus – and in that regard, 2017 proved to be a similarly critical year for life in the U.S. 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.

Universities face #MeToo movement over sexual harassment

WASHINGTON (DC)
Associated Press

December 28, 2017

By Maria Danilova

WASHINGTON (AP) — When Celeste Kidd was a graduate student of neuroscience at the University of Rochester she says a professor supervising her made her life unbearable by stalking her, making demeaning comments about her weight and talking about sex.

Ten years on and now a professor of neuroscience at the university, Kidd is taking legal action. She has filed a federal lawsuit against the school alleging that it mishandled its sexual harassment investigation into the professor’s actions and then retaliated against her and her colleagues for reporting the misconduct.

“We are trying to bring transparency to a system that is corrupt,” Kidd told The Associated Press.

Academia — like Hollywood, the media and Congress — is facing its own #MeToo movement over allegations of sexual misconduct. Brett Sokolow, who heads an association of sexual harassment investigators on campuses, estimates that the number of reported complaints has risen by about 10 percent since the accusations against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein surfaced in early October, spurring more women to speak out against harassment in various fields. The increase is mostly from women complaining of harassment by faculty members who are their superiors.

But the Trump administration has viewed the issue of sexual harassment on campus in a different light. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has scrapped Obama-era regulations on investigating sexual assault, arguing that they were skewed in favor of the accuser. New instructions allow universities to require higher standards of evidence when handling such complaints.

A forthcoming study of nearly 300 such cases in the Utah Law Review found that one in 10 female graduate students at major research universities reports being sexually harassed by a faculty member. And in more than half of those cases, the alleged perpetrator is a repeat offender, according to the study.

“Often schools might turn a blind eye toward sexual harassment that they know about or have heard about because a professor is bringing in a big grant or is adding to the stature of the university,” said Neena Chaudhry, senior counsel at the National Women’s Law Center.

The Education Department did not respond to a request for comment.

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.

Duterte and Church set for showdown, Filipino journalist warns

TORONTO (ONTARIO, CANADA)
The Catholic Register

December 28, 2017

By Jean Ko Din

An award-winning Philippines journalist fears his country’s Catholic Church is on a collision course with iron-fisted President Rodrigo Duterte.

“The president, who does not tolerate criticism, is fighting back,” said Manuel Mogato.

The veteran reporter for Reuters, who has faced threats and harassment for his coverage of Duterte’s regime, was in Toronto Dec. 5 to accept the 2017 Marshall McLuhan Fellowship Award. He was recognized for investigative reporting in a multimedia series titled “Duterte’s War.”

In the past year, Mogato said the Church has become even more vocal in condemning extra-judicial killings during a war on drugs that has claimed thousands of lives within the first year of Duterte’s presidency.

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.

Attleboro’s Tom Carroll remembered for seeking justice for abused children

ATTLEBORO (MA)
The Sun Chronicle

December 29, 2017

By David Linton

ATTLEBORO — For three decades Tom Carroll investigated the most heinous and notorious child abuse and child sex abuse cases throughout Bristol County.

They include the Father James Porter case, which started the avalanche of child sex abuse claims against priests in the Catholic Church that followed, and the Attleboro religious cult case in which a 6-month-old child was starved to death by his father in the name of God.

During the course of his career, first with the state Department of Social Services — now called the Department of Children and Families — and then as an investigator under three district attorneys, Carroll affected the lives of hundreds of other children as he sought justice for them, former colleagues and friends say.

Now, his hard work, sense of duty to children, devotion to his family, his friendship and sense of humor will be missed, his friends and former colleagues said Thursday.

Carroll, an Attleboro native, died Tuesday at the age of 64 after battling cancer.

“He was very dedicated. His goal was protecting children. He could sense when a child was in danger,” retired Attleboro Detective Lt. Arthur Brillon said Thursday.

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

Catholic women join fight against sexual assault, solicit govt support

ENUGU (NIGERIA)
Vanguard

December 29, 2017

By Anayo Okoli

ENUGU—CATHOLIC female knights in Enugu have joined in the fight against rape and other forms of sexual abuse in Enugu and other parts of the South East zone.

To take their fight far, the women have appealed to Enugu State Government and other governments of the South East zone to partner with them in the fight.

As part of the awareness creation, the women, led by a former Minister of State for Education and Supervising Minister for Foreign Affairs, Prof. Viola Onwuliri, recently protested in some major streets in Enugu, which took them to the Government House, where they were received by the Deputy Governor, Mrs. Cecelia Ezeilo, who encouraged them and assured of the support of the government in the fight against the ill.

Represented by the State Commissioner for Gender Affairs, Mrs. Peace Nnaji, Ezeilo urged other organizations to join in the fight against the social ill through sensitization and advocacy.

She promised that Enugu State government would partner with the women in the fight against rape and other forms of sexual abuse and described the project as a welcomed development.

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.

New Lawsuit Accuses FLDS Church Leadership Of Ritualistic Sex Abuse Of Children

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
Inquisitr

December 28, 2017

A lawsuit filed last week accuses multiple FLDS Church leaders, including Warren Jeffs, of religious-based sex abuse of children as young as 8-years-old.

In a lawsuit filed on Wednesday against the leadership of the Fundamentalist LDS (FLDS) Church, an offshoot of the mainstream Mormon (LDS) Church, an unnamed 21-year-old woman identified publicly only as “R.H.” accused high-ranking FLDS leaders of ritualistic sexual abuse against girls as young as 8-years-old. Named as defendants in the lawsuit are FLDS Church president (and previous FBI “10 Most Wanted” fugitive) Warren Jeffs, brothers Lyle and Seth Jeffs, and previous FLDS Church leader Wendall Nielsen. All are accused of child sex abuse.

As Fox 13 Now reports, R.H. is targeting the relatively deep pockets of both the FLDS Church and its court-managed United Effort Plan Trust, which manages the controversial church’s real estate holdings. According to R.H., her reasons for filing the lawsuit are many and varied, not the least of which a concern that “certain parties” within the FLDS Church be held responsible for what she calls “religious-based systemic sexual abuse of young children.” Via a statement released by her legal team, R.H. claims that she believes that the ritualistic sexual abuse that she and others allegedly endured is still ongoing within the FLDS community, despite the fact that church leader and self-proclaimed “prophet” Warren Jeffs is serving a life sentence in Texas for similar crimes against 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.

Sex Abuse Case Against Mormon Church Leaders to Go to Trial

MARTINSBURG (WV)
Associated Press

December 29, 2017

A jury in West Virginia will hear the evidence against the Mormon Church in a lawsuit accusing local church officials of covering up allegations that the son of officials abused 12 children over more than five years.

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (AP) — A jury in West Virginia will hear the evidence against the Mormon Church in a lawsuit accusing local church officials of covering up allegations that the son of officials abused 12 children over more than five years.

The Journal reports that the lawsuit filed by children who were between the ages of 3 and 12 when they say they were sexually abused by Christopher Michael Jensen will go to trial Jan. 8 in Berkeley County. Jensen was sentenced in 2013 to 35 to 75 years in prison for sexually abusing two minors.

The lawsuit was initially filed in 2013, and accuses the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and its leaders of covering up the abuse, enabling Jensen to commit further acts and trying to intimidate plaintiffs’ families.

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.

Judge Orders Parties Involved in Archdiocese Bankruptcy Case to Return to Mediation

ST. PAUL AND MINNEAPOLIS (MN)
KSTP-TV

December 28, 2017

By Rebecca Omastiak

A judge has denied reorganization plans from the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the Creditor’s Committee.

The archdiocese originally filed its reorganization plan in its bankruptcy case in May 2016. The Creditor’s Committee also submitted a request the archdiocese’s assets be consolidated, which was denied.

In December 2016, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Kressel allowed both plans to be moved to a vote. A group of more than 400 clergy abuse victims rejected the reorganization plan.

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.

Judge denies Twins Cities Archdiocese bankruptcy plans

ST. PAUL (MN)
FOX 9

December 28, 2017

By Karen Scullin

ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) – A bankruptcy judge denied the Archdiocese’s reorganization plan, but also a competing plan made by the Creditor’s Committee, which represents the victims of clergy abuse.

The judge sent all parties to mediation along with the insurance companies involved. Despite both plans being rejected, including the plan the victims were in favor of, the victim’s attorney actually sees the denial as a good thing because the victims’ voices are finally being heard.

In the order, the judge was highly critical of the parties involved, except the victims. He pointed out that the bickering has gone on much too long and that some of the victims are in fact passing away without a resolution. He criticized the Archdiocese for minimizing the complaints and the pain, the parishes who have been quick to blame the Archdiocese and the victim’s lawyers for their very high fees. He also stated he believes the parishes should probably contribute to the compensation fund.

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.

Judge rejects archdiocese bankruptcy plans, orders return to mediation

ST. PAUL (MN)
WASECA County News

December 28, 2017

By Martin Moylan

A federal judge has rejected competing reorganization plans for the the bankrupt Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and ordered the church and its creditors back into mediation.

In orders released Thursday, Judge Robert Kressel said plans put forth by the archdiocese and a creditors committee made up largely of sexual abuse victims both had shortcomings.

Among other things, the judge noted that the archdiocese plan offering about $155 million had been overwhelmingly rejected in a vote of abuse victims. And Kressel said flaws in the plan advanced by abuse victims included an unrealistic reliance on lawsuits against third-parties to raise money for victims.

Kressel said he expects all parties to reach a consensual plan “providing appropriate and timely compensation to those who have suffered sexual abuse at the hands of those employed by or affiliated with the Archdiocese.”

An attorney representing victims of clergy sex abuse welcomed the nudge to resume settlement discussions.

“This order gives us and the survivors the opportunity to expedite a resolution and reach a consensual plan,” said attorney Jeff Anderson.

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.

Letter: Pornography is fueling epidemic

ALBERT LEA (MN)
Albert Lea Tribune

December 28, 2017

“For there is nothing hidden that will not become visible, and nothing secret that will not be known and come to light.” — Luke 8:17

Recently, the issue of sexual abuse has come to light in a big way. We first became aware of it with the clergy abuse scandals, and now it has been extended to include big name politicians, Hollywood celebrities, high profile news anchors, as well as many others in positions of power who have been exposed by their multiple victims. This issue was never limited to one segment of society. In fact, we are finding out that sexual abuse, in its many forms, tends to cut across all of society, including our schools.

Sadly, we are reaping what we have sown. Pornography has been a major factor in fueling this epidemic. I once heard it said that pornography was hard to define, but you know it when you see it. Even the innocent are constantly exposed to various forms of it from the checkout lines at stores to the bombardment of ads we see daily in print media, television and on the internet. This is roughly a $12 billion a year industry in the U.S. alone and has very long tentacles, that by design, have drawn the unwary deeper and deeper into it. This has resulted in devastating effects on marriages, relationships and family life in general. It has far surpassed the level of being an epidemic, yet it gets very little play from the media, politicians or even faith communities. Sadly, there are many in places of power who do all they can to assure it continues unabated.

The natural result of this epidemic is evidenced in the fact that when human dignity is removed, women in particular are viewed as objects to be used and not seen as persons to be loved, made in the image and likeness of God. Just as we cannot effectively treat a disease without knowing the underlying cause, nor can we expect persons to treat others with love and dignity when rotten seeds have been sown among us. There seems to be wide evidence of this and we must all work together to change the culture that has led to it.

“God assigns as a duty to every man, the dignity of every woman.” — St. John Paul II

Scott Bute

Alden

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.

Judge overseeing Twin Cities archdiocese’s bankruptcy case rejects both sides’ plans

ST. PAUL AND MINNEAPOLIS (MN)
Pioneer Press

December 28, 2017

By Sarah Horner

A federal bankruptcy judge has rejected both the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis’ and a group of sexual abuse survivors’ proposed bankruptcy reorganization plans, which would have guided the payout to victims of abusive clergy.

The ruling issued Thursday by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Kressel sends both parties back to the negotiating table with instructions to “put aside their desire to win” so a “resolution that is fair to all of the people involved” can be achieved.

“The (survivors) must put aside (their) desire for retribution,” according to the judge’s memo filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in St. Paul. “After all, whatever else the archdiocese is, it is a corporation. (And) corporations do not suffer; only people suffer.”

The Roman Catholic archdiocese will also need to shift priorities, Kressel wrote, in particular its “desire to minimize pain” to its current system and employees.

“The personal pain its employees inflicted upon victims is inevitably going to result in financial pain being suffered by a new generation of parishioners and employees,” he wrote.

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.

Judge denies Twin Cities archdiocese bankruptcy plans

ST. PAUL (MN)
The Associated Press

December 29, 2017

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — An attorney for victims for clergy sex abuse said Thursday that a judge has ordered all sides back to mediation in the years-long bankruptcy case of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, but he said the ruling will quicken the process of getting payments to victims.

The judge denied both the archdiocese’s reorganization plan and a competing plan submitted by a creditors’ committee before ordering all sides back into negotiations, St. Paul attorney Jeff Anderson said. The archdiocese filed for bankruptcy protection in 2015, as it faced an onslaught of new abuse allegations.

Anderson said the judge’s decision means “there will be a speedier resolution” than either plan could have offered. A spokesman for the archdiocese did not immediately reply to messages for comment.

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.

Survivors Reveal Rampant Child Abuse At Amarillo Ranch For At-Risk Boys

AUSTIN (TX)
Texas Standard via KUT 90.5

December 29, 2017

By Laura Rice

There’s a city of sorts in the Texas Panhandle that really isn’t a regular city at all. It has a post office, a museum, and a church – but other than that, it’s mostly just homes, dorms, and school buildings. Boys Ranch, Texas is home to Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch, a residential community for at-risk children. It’s been serving this purpose for close to 80 years. But now, some former residents say it’s Boys Ranch itself that really put them at risk.

Jason Wilson writes in the Guardian about more than a decade’s worth of allegations of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse at Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch.

Wilson says Steve Smith lived at the ranch with his younger brother Rick Smith in the late 1950s through the 1960s.

“He detailed the most shocking abuse really,” Wilson says. “And as I talked to him, his brother, and the other men, it became clear that although there were sort of these spectacular incidents of violence – one man told me about running away and being chased back to the ranch by two men on horseback – there was also just the regular everyday physical punishment, discipline, and I guess emotional abuse or emotional neglect, that it seemed according to these men that was just part of the regular running of the place.”

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.

Web Exclusive: Bishop Oscar Solis on controversy in the Catholic Church [with video]

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
KUTV CBS 2

December 28, 2017

By Maren Jensen

(KUTV) In the past, the Catholic Church has faced some controversy, including news about some priests involved in sexual abuse of children.

“The Church has not been a perfect church,” said Bishop Oscar Solis. “It is perfect because God is there, but the administration of the church is run by human persons–flawed, weak, broken. So it’s expected.”

Solis believes that those times are times the Church and its leaders need to take a moment to self-evaluate what they might be doing wrong so they can set things right.

“It makes our church better, we serve our community better, by seeing to it that the people we serve are in a safer place, in a safe environment, where they’re respected,” he said.

“It’s a challenge for us. It’s a sad moment in our life, in our history, and we hope and we wish that it didn’t happen.”

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.

‘Reform’: Lone protester targets St Patrick’s over Christmas

AUSTRALIA
The Gympie Times

December 29, 2017

By Scott Kovacevic

THE findings of the Royal Commission into child abuse has made a Gympie man launch his own crusade in the hope of reforming one of the region’s biggest parishes.

Over the past week, Frank Lightfoot has been protesting with homemade signs calling for the reform of the Catholic Church following the release of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

And he has not been subtle about his passion.

He has already set up camp outside St Patrick’s Church in the lead-up to Christmas, and said that on the first day someone called the police in the hope they would move him on.

A former Catholic himself, the 71-year-old said he had a personal connection to the child abuse controversy.

“I encourage renewal because a lot of my family members are impacted by this,” Mr Lightfoot said.

Asked if setting up outside the church before and on Christmas might be poking the bear, Mr Lightfoot said there was no better time.

“It makes sense to go to St Pat’s on the one day when they have a good turnout,” he said.

And not everyone was happy about it, either.

“There’s a few people that had a go at me,” he said.

“One bloke offered to kick my sign down.”

“Another bloke was also very angry that the sign only deals with the Catholic church. He said ‘what about all the others?’ I said give me a chance, I’ve only just started.”

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.

Judge rejects archdiocese bankruptcy plans, orders return to mediation

ST. PAUL AND MINNEAPOLIS (MN)
MPR News

December 28, 2017

By Martin Moylan

A federal judge has rejected competing reorganization plans for the the bankrupt Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and ordered the church and its creditors back into mediation.

In orders released Thursday, Judge Robert Kressel said plans put forth by the archdiocese and a creditors committee made up largely of sexual abuse victims both had shortcomings.

Among other things, the judge noted that the archdiocese plan offering about $155 million had been overwhelmingly rejected in a vote of abuse victims. And Kressel said flaws in the plan advanced by abuse victims included an unrealistic reliance on lawsuits against third-parties to raise money for victims.

Kressel said he expects all parties to reach a consensual plan “providing appropriate and timely compensation to those who have suffered sexual abuse at the hands of those employed by or affiliated with the Archdiocese.”

An attorney representing victims of clergy sex abuse welcomed the nudge to resume settlement discussions.

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.

Dozens come forward to report abuse by Jehovah’s Witnesses

THE NETHERLANDS
Dutch News

December 28, 2017

Some 80 reports of sexual abuse involving the Jehovah’s Witnesses community have been made over the past month, Trouw said on Thursday.

In total, 50 reports were made to the hotline set up by the Reclaimed Voices foundation, while a further 30 were received by the newspaper after it published a report on the growing scandal earlier this month.

Frank Huiting, one of the foundation’s founders and himself an abuse victim, told the paper the scale of the problem is only now becoming clear. Most of the complaints have been made by people who have already left the church and this is of particular concern, Huiting said.

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

Law planned to stop sex offenders going abroad

UNITED KINGDOM/IRELAND
The Times

December 28 2017

By Ed Carty

Proposed new legislation to ban paedophiles and sex offenders from foreign travel is to be unveiled in the new year.

Plans to expand the passport “stop list” have been drafted after Father Shay Cullen, the four-time Nobel peace prize nominee, called on western governments to tackle sex tourism.

Father Cullen, who has been working with street children in the Philippines since 1974, said paedophiles should be barred from going overseas in the same way as suspected terrorists.

“I expect the Irish people and the Dáil will support it and set an example for other EU countries,” he said.

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

Blue Creek Academy church sues insurance company

CHARLESTON (WV)
Charleston Gazette-Mail

December 28, 2017

By Lacie Pierson

Officials with Bible Baptist Church claim employees with the church’s insurance company lied about the church’s coverage amid a sexual abuse scandal at a church-sponsored school.

The church’s lawsuit against Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company was assigned to U.S. District Court in Southern West Virginia on Dec. 22.

In the lawsuit, church officials say the insurance company and the church’s insurance agent, Stephen Peters, lied in a separate lawsuit in U.S. District Court about whether Blue Creek Academy was covered by the church’s insurance policy.

The church originally filed the lawsuit in Kanawha County Circuit Court on Sept. 28.

The lawsuit that was moved up to district court this month was filed by Pastor James Waldeck, along with Darrell Baker, Howard Prease and Michael V. Minnick, who are trustees at the church.

The insurance company and Peters are the only defendants named in the latest lawsuit.

On Dec. 7, U.S. District Judge Thomas Johnston dismissed a lawsuit filed against the church by the insurance company.

Officials with the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources removed students from Blue Creek Academy in 2014.

In 2015 and 2016, two lawsuits were filed on behalf of former Blue Creek students, who said they were starved, physically abused and sexually assaulted at the school.

In the latest lawsuit, church officials said Waldeck submitted requests for coverage seeking defense and indemnification from the insurance company in relation to the lawsuits filed on behalf of the former students.

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.

Jury to hear case against Mormon Church, officials

MARTINSBURG (WV)
The Journal

December 28, 2017

By Kelsie LeRose

MARTINSBURG–A Berkeley County jury will hear the accusations and evidence against The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, otherwise known as the Mormon Church, and local church officials in early January for allegedly covering up allegations that the son of local church officials sexually abused 12 children over the course of more than five years.

The case against the church was initially investigated after Christopher Michael Jensen, of Martinsburg, was found guilty and sentenced on July 29, 2013 to 35 to 75 years in prison for sexually abusing two minors–4 and 3 years of age at the time of the abuse.

According to the office of 23rd Judicial Circuit Court Judge Christopher C. Wilkes, the pre-trial is scheduled for 9 a.m. Jan. 8 and the trial is set to begin on Jan. 9.

Filed in 2013, the lawsuit against the church accuses the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and church leaders of actively covering up the abuse and assisting Jensen in committing further acts by enabling him to babysit for and live with other church families with young children.

In 2007, before the alleged abuse of the children suing the church began, Martinsburg’s Stake High Council–whose members include Jensen’s parents–held a meeting, during which the alleged sexual abuse of two children by Jensen was allegedly discussed, the suit said.

The children suing the church were between the ages of 3 and 12 when they say they were sexually abused by Jensen.

The suit also alleges that the church, through its leaders, has tried to intimidate the families of the children suing the church and has allegedly directed fellow church members to try to convince them to abandon their claims “lest they run afoul of church teachings regarding forgiveness,” a copy of the suit reads.

Jensen was initially accused of sexually abusing young children in 2004 when he was 13-years-old. Living in Provo, Utah at the time, Jensen was arrested at his middle school and charged with two felony counts of sexual abuse for pinning two 12 and 13 year old females against a wall and fondling them inappropriately and without consent.

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.

FLDS Church leaders facing lawsuit for sexual ‘religious rituals’ with underage girls

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
ABC4 Utah

December 27, 2017

By Kierra Dotson

Leaders with the Fundamentalists Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are being accused of sexual “religious rituals” with underage girls.

Court documents filed Wednesday say a victim came forward and told state officials leaders of the FLDS church watched, taped, and participated in several sexual encounters with underage girls between five and six times a week. The victims ages ranged from 8 years old to 14 years old.

“This horrific religious doctrine and religious rituals as performed on Plaintiff consisted of Plaintiff, beginning at the age of 8, having a bag placed over her head, led out of her house by representatives of the Defendants, placed in a vehicle, and being driven to an unknown location,’ court documents said.

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

After polygamist leaders used underage girls for sex, lawsuit says, one teen was forced to be a scribe for the rituals

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
The Salt Lake Tribune

December 28, 2017

By Paighten Harkins

Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints President Warren Jeffs, along with other officials in the church and its former land trust, is accused of carrying out a “calculated plan” to sexually abuse underage girls as part of a religious ritual, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday.

The lawsuit also cites for alleged wrongdoing the United Effort Plan Trust, Warren Jeffs’ brothers Lyle and Seth Jeffs, former FLDS President and convicted bigamist Wendell Nielsen, and the church.

The lawsuit filed in 3rd District Court alleges that as part of their FLDS beliefs, men have historically sexually abused and assaulted underage girls. However, under Warren Jeffs’ leadership, the lawsuit’s plaintiff — a 21-year-old woman identified as R.H. — says a new practice involving ritualistic sexual intercourse with young girls began.

Starting when she was 8 years old, the woman says, she would be taken from her home, wearing a bag over her head, to an unknown location — typically an FLDS temple in the Colorado City, Ariz., area or other church- or trust-owned properties — where she would be assigned a number for a religious ritual, according to the lawsuit.

There, she was reportedly sexually assaulted by the Jeffses, Nielsen or other church members and leaders. When the men weren’t assaulting her, she says, they watched.

The 21-year-old said Warren Jeffs warned her that if she told anyone about the abuse, according to the lawsuit, “God would destroy her and her family immediately.” He also reportedly said that if she cried during the ritual, “God would punish her.”

The rituals reportedly occurred five to six times a week until the woman turned 12. When she was 14 years old, the lawsuit alleges, she was forced to watch and document other girls’ ritualistic abuse with church leaders.

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.

New lawsuit accuses FLDS Church leaders of ritualistic sex abuse

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
FOX13

December 27, 2017

By Ben Winslow

SALT LAKE CITY — A new lawsuit accuses Fundamentalist LDS Church leader Warren Jeffs and others in the church of ritualistic sex abuse involving girls as young as eight years old.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in state court by a 21-year-old woman only identified as “R.H.,” levels allegations of abuse against Warren Jeffs, his brothers Lyle Jeffs and Seth Jeffs; and former FLDS leader Wendell Nielsen of sex abuse. It also goes after the FLDS Church and the court-controlled real-estate holdings arm, the United Effort Plan Trust.

“I have filed this lawsuit in order to hold certain parties accountable for the religious-based systemic sexual abuse of young children. Even though Warren Jeffs is in prison, it is my belief and personal experience that these abuses continue,” R.H. said in a statement to FOX 13 released through her attorneys.

“It is my hope that the FLDS community will see that Warren Jeffs’ communications and edicts should not be followed, as they have tragic consequences to the victims and legal consequences to his followers. I hope that filing this case will give strength to the many others who have been and are still being abused in the FLDS community and that the abuse done in the name of ‘religion’ will stop.”

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.

Uttar Pradesh: Priest Arrested For Molesting Girls In Vrindavan

INDIA
The GenX Times

December 28, 2017

By Shweta Sachdeva

In a shocking incident, a priest in Vrindavan was reportedly thrashed for by a mob for allegedly molesting his two followers on Wednesday.

The incident was captured on camera which is been circulated on the social media platform.

It was believed that two female devotees from Maharashtra alleged that priest Baba Basudev Shastri has sexually assaulted them.

The video which is going viral has been seen thrashed with sticks and was held with his hair by a mob Mathura’s Vrindavan.

It was reported that the priest is earlier accused of molesting girls on several occasions, officials said.

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

Vrindavan priest held for rape of girls from Maharashtra

AGRA (INDIA)
Times of India

December 28, 2017

By Anuja Jaiswal

AGRA: A 35-year-old Vrindavan katha vachak (one who recites religious texts for the audience), named Vasudev Giri, was arrested on Wednesday on charges of raping two girls from Maharashtra.

In a complaint to the police, the survivors have alleged that the suspect had been sexually exploiting them for the past three months. They claimed that they had come to him to learn recital of Bhagwad Gita.

Police said that they were tipped off about the case by a caller and when they reached Moti Jheel area, they found the local residents thrashing the katha vachak.

According to the police, the girls, who are around 18 years old, hail from Maharashtra. The suspect also reportedly hails from the same area.

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.

UPDATE: Attorney blasts reinstatement of Dilworth-Hawley priest accused of sexually abusing teen

CROOKSTON (MN)
Inforum

December 27, 2017

By Dave Olson

CROOKSTON, Minn. — An attorney representing a man who claims a Catholic priest sexually abused him as a teen expressed outrage Wednesday, Dec. 27, that the Crookston Diocese has reinstated the priest as pastor of the Dilworth and Hawley parishes.

The diocese announced on Tuesday, Dec. 26, that Father Patrick Sullivan resumed his priestly duties at St. Elizabeth’s Parish in Dilworth and St. Andrew’s Parish in Hawley. Sullivan had been placed on administrative leave after the abuse allegations surfaced in 2016.

The diocese said it had concluded that allegations of wrongdoing by Sullivan were unfounded.

The alleged victim’s attorney, Jeff Anderson, said a lawsuit would be filed sometime Wednesday relating to allegations involving Sullivan and a minor.

“The decision by the diocese and Bishop (Michael) Hoeppner to return Father Sullivan to ministry while the lawsuit is pending is reckless, because Father Sullivan poses a threat of harm to children,” Anderson said in a written statement.

Anderson also claimed that prior to allegations being made against Sullivan, the church possessed information that Sullivan posed a serious risk. “We believe Sullivan is still a risk to children and should not be reinstated,” Anderson said in the statement.

The diocese said Sullivan was placed on leave in April 2016 after the diocese was served with a civil complaint through Anderson’s office.

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.

Opinion: Do right by the victims: Time to protect New York’s children

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Daily News

December 28, 2017

Next year will bring yet another attempt to overhaul New York’s antiquated statutes of limitations for victims of childhood sexual abuse — and it must be the last.

With exceptions for rape and other forcible violations, prosecutors have just five years after individuals victimized as children turn 18 to bring criminal charges, a constraint that has protected many a pedophile.

Victims have just until they are 21 years old to bring a civil complaint against organizations that may have been havens for predators.

At this #MeToo moment — in light of profound new public understanding why victims delay, sometimes for many years, reporting their abuse by those more powerful than they — this state must stand with victims and right a great wrong.

Gov. Cuomo ought to seize his chance to lead the way, in the spotlight of his State of the State Address next week and by attaching statute of limitations reform to the upcoming state budget.

While the state Assembly finally embraced reform last year, the Senate still stands stubbornly in the way, objecting to a measure that would empower not just future victims but, for a time, past ones to seek justice. Sharing that concern are religious and other organizations concerned about fending off costly lawsuits.

The Albany legislative session soon to start stands to be a game-changer. The past year has seen not only #MeToo but also a successful first round of victim compensation payments from the Archdiocese of New York that ward off future legal liability, meaning the powerful Catholic Church might reconsider.

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.

Journalists in the movies present the dogged fight for truth — as in ‘The Post’ — as well as the scoundrels

LOS ANGELES (CA)
The Los Angeles Tiimes

December 28, 2017

By Lewis Beale

Journalism isn’t exactly held in high esteem these days. Yet despite a recent USA Today poll that found nearly two-thirds of Americans disapprove of the mainstream media, that hasn’t deterred Hollywood’s fascination with the Fourth Estate, particularly its print component. In 2016, “Spotlight” won the best picture Oscar for its portrayal of Boston Globe reporters uncovering a sex abuse scandal within the Catholic Church, and now director Steven Spielberg’s “The Post,” starring Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep, details the Washington Post’s decision to publish the Pentagon Papers, a secret Defense Department report showing that the Johnson administration (among others) systematically lied about its conduct of the Vietnam War.

“I certainly hope that our movie makes people aware of the kind of effort that goes into searching for and seeking and printing the truth,” Spielberg has said. “This to me is a patriotic movie. I made this as a believer in the free press, in our 1st Amendment rights.”

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.

In #MeToo movement Catholic Church can play role in discussion, healing

WASHINGTON (DC)
Catholic News Service via The Catholic Sun

December 28, 2017

By Carol Zimmermann

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The wave of accusations of sexual harassment, misconduct and assault from Hollywood to Capitol Hill and many places in between in recent months has been described as a revolution, a moment and a time for national reckoning.

The accused — abruptly fired or resigned — have issued apology statements or denied wrongdoing. Those who have come forward — predominantly women, but also some men emboldened by the solidarity of the #MeToo movement — were named “Silence Breakers” by Time magazine and honored as its 2017 Person of the Year.

“We’re still at the bomb-throwing point of this revolution,” the Time article points out, stressing that for true social change to happen, private conversations on this issue are essential.

And that’s where some say the Catholic Church has something to offer both from its lessons learned — and how it could do more — to support victims and foster healing.

The U.S. Catholic Church — tarnished by the clergy sexual abuse scandal that made headlines in 2002 — has taken steps in all of its dioceses to address and prevent the abuse of young people and will keep doing this forever, according to Dcn. Bernie Nojadera, executive director of the U.S. bishops’ Secretariat for Child and Youth Protection.

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.

OUR VIEW: Church’s handling of Cardinal Law’s death inappropriate

ATTLEBORO (MA)
The Sun Chronicle

December 28, 2017

Time, they say, heals all wounds.

Even if that were true — we all know someone grieving the loss of a loved one years after their death — it’s clear that not nearly enough time has passed since the Catholic Church’s clergy abuse scandal to salve the damage to its victims.

That’s one of two lessons learned from the death last week of Cardinal Bernard Law, the disgraced former head of the Archdiocese of Boston.

Law covered up sexual abuse committed against children by dozens of priests before he was forced to resign in 2002 when the scandal, and his role in it, was exposed by The Boston Globe.

“With his passing, I say I hope the gates of hell are open wide to welcome him, because I feel no redemption for somebody like him is worthwhile,” Alexa MacPherson, a native of the Boston area who says she is a survivor of sexual abuse by a priest, told reporters after Law’s death on Dec. 19 at the age of 86.

Robert Costello, another Boston-area native who says that Law covered up for the cleric who abused him, had even stronger words: “Chop him up and put weights on every piece of body part that he has and drop him in oceans around the world.”

Those raw emotions are still felt in the Attleboro area, home to one of the Catholic Church’s first and most widespread scandals.

There are still dozens of victims of Father James Porter, who began his career at St. Mary’s Church in North Attleboro, living and working in this area. They, like MacPherson and Costello, know that the pain of sexual abuse by a trusted cleric never goes away.

Time never really heals that wound.

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.

Drawing lessons from the life of Cardinal Bernard Law

KANSAS CITY (MO)
National Catholic Reporter

December 27, 2017

For those trying to understand the legacy of Cardinal Bernard Law, Donna B. Doucette, executive director of Voice of the Faithful, may offer the most useful insight.

Doucette’s organization grew out of the revelations of clergy sexually abusing children and its cover up that forced Law out of Boston in 2002, ripped the lid off a simmering cauldron of scandal, and made the sexual exploitation of children by clergy an issue of global concern. She says Catholics should learn three basic lessons from Law’s legacy: “absolute power corrupts absolutely,” “secrets destroy” and, for those interested in reforming church structures, “trust but verify.”

Law died in Rome Dec. 20, 15 years after resigning as archbishop of Boston.

In the winter and spring of 2002 as the public began to learn the tragic, awful truth of how clergy had sexually abused minors, some 25 parishioners gathered at St. John the Evangelist Church in Wellesley, Massachusetts, offering to provide support and counsel to the archdiocese and the cardinal.

Within weeks, the group had swelled into the hundreds, but “they learned that Cardinal Law didn’t want help from the laity,” said Doucette. In retrospect, she said, it was because Law knew more disclosures of failure on sex abuse policy would eventually become public. It was becoming clear that church leaders had deliberately and systematically covered up these horrendous crimes for decades.

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.

Give citizens a voice against injustice: Letters to the editor, Dec. 28

NASHVILLE (TN)
The Tennessean

December 28, 2017

Give citizens a voice against injustice

We have a societal tendency to give people in power undue benefit of the doubt at the expense of justice when faced with allegations of systemic abuse. Additionally, it is common that the pure chance of a victim’s birth – their gender, race or economic conditions – will give enough cause to discredit their lived experience.

From sexual abuse (the Catholic Church; Hollywood; U.S. Gymnastics; Missoula, Mont.) to police brutality (throughout history and nationwide), the consequences have been deep and lasting. When the arc of the universe bends toward justice, the perspective of an independent agency has been necessary to right the consistent imbalance in power, privilege and protection.

Similar to the actions of the Diocese of the Catholic Church and the prosecutors office in Missoula protecting the status quo by any means necessary will not age well. Though there are very few cities that have been successful at maintaining the independence and empowerment of a citizens’ oversight board, many of which are implemented only after clear evidence of police brutality, there is a clear pattern of aggressive political and legal maneuvering by the Fraternal Order of Police in opposition to such measures.

Whatever the current landscape, be certain that the FOP tactics being used across the country, including the ones we’ve witnessed in Nashville over the last two months, will ultimately be viewed with the same disgust and chagrin as the institutional failings recounted in Jon Krakauer’s Book, “Missoula” and in the movie, “Spotlight.”

We owe Nashville the chance to continue its storied civil rights history by leading the way in exemplifying the true achievement of a long-held goal of the movement with the implementation of a functioning Community Oversight Board (BL 2017-951).

Melissa Cherry, Nashville 37207

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.

Minnesota priest accused of misconduct returns to public ministry; attorney calls move ‘reckless’

MINNEAPOLIS (MN)
Star Tribune

December 27, 2017

By Paul Walsh

Crookston bishop said clergy abuse panel “deemed the allegations not credible.”

A Roman Catholic priest on leave from two northwestern Minnesota parishes for 20 months amid an allegation of sexual misconduct with a 15-year-old boy returned to public ministry in time to celebrate Christmas.

In a statement posted on the Diocese of Crookston website Saturday, Bishop Michael Hoeppner said its clergy abuse review panel scrutinized a deposition given by the accuser in a lawsuit “and deemed the allegations not credible.”

The diocese statement also pointed out that local and federal authorities investigated the allegations and that “no criminal charges were filed.” No other accusations have been leveled against the Rev. Patrick Sullivan, who has denied any wrongdoing.

Sullivan returned to his work at the same parishes where he had been before, St. Elizabeth’s in Dilworth and St. Andrew’s in Hawley, said the Rev. Mike Foltz of the Crookston diocese.

“He was there for Christmas,” Foltz said. “The people were ecstatic, from the children to the parents to the grandparents. They swarmed him with love and affection and hugs.”

His accuser, now an adult, said that the sexual misconduct occurred more than eight years ago, when Sullivan was pastor at St. Mary’s Mission Church in Red Lake.

The diocese panel, called the Board of Review for the Protection of Children and Young People, is composed of two social workers, a county sheriff, a police detective, an attorney and a diocesan priest.

The board’s ruling was unanimous, Foltz said.

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

Opinion: Cardinal Law’s complex role in the contemporary history of clergy sexual abuse

KANSAS CITY (MO)
National Catholic Reporter

December 28, 2017

By Thomas P. Doyle

Public awareness of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy actually dates from 1984. It was triggered by the public exposure of widespread sexual violation of children by a single priest in the Diocese of Lafayette, Louisiana, and its systemic cover-up by the church’s leadership that lasted well over a decade.

Cardinal Bernard Law, who went from in 1974 being bishop of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, Missouri, to in 1984 being named archbishop of Boston, became the most powerful and influential Catholic bishop in the United States. This all came to a screeching halt in 2002. In one day Law became the face of hierarchical treachery and dishonesty when The Boston Globe revealed the systemic cover-up of widespread sexual abuse by Boston priests, most of it his doing. He remained the face of the hierarchy’s disgraceful attitude towards the violation of minors and the vulnerable. Even in death he remains the focal point of the anger and rage of countless victims of sexual abuse by clergy — certainly Boston victims, but also others worldwide.

Law’s role in the history of clergy abuse is more than the systemic cover-up in Boston. What is little known is the influential part he played in the early days when the extent and depravity of this evil was first exposed. In those very early days in 1984 and 1985, I believed that when the bishops realized the nature of sexual abuse and potential plague before them, they would lose no time in doing the right thing.

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.

Lawsuit Seeks $70M from Montana Diocese for Abuse Victims

SAN DIEGO (CA)
Insurance Journal

December 27, 2017

Representatives of sex abuse victims and their survivors are suing a bankrupt Roman Catholic diocese in Montana in an effort to ensure more than $70 million in assets are available for those abused by church officials.

The Diocese of Great Falls-Billings entered bankruptcy protection in March as part of settlements involving more than 400 people in sex abuse lawsuits. Church officials said at the time the diocese and its insurers would contribute to a fund to compensate victims and set aside additional money for those who had yet to come forward.

Mediation has not produced a settlement so far.

A committee of unsecured creditors representing eight sex abuse survivors sued the diocese in U.S. Bankruptcy Court this week, aiming to reach a negotiated settlement. California attorney James Stang, who represents the committee, said the complaint was “part of the process,” the Billings Gazette reported.

U.S. Catholic leaders have been grappling with a clergy sexual abuse crisis that exploded in 2002 following reporting by The Boston Globe. Nationwide, the church has paid several billion dollars in settlements since 1950. More than 6,500 clergy members have been accused of abuse and hundreds have been removed from church work.

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

Former V.I. Bishop Reflects on Boston Church Sex Scandal

U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS
St. Thomas Source

December 27, 2017

By Judi Shimel

When a former Catholic archbishop of Boston died Dec. 20 in Italy, the cleric who played a role in his downfall had words of compassion for him.

The paths of former Archbishop Bernard Law, who died last week, and Cardinal Sean O’Malley both include time in the Virgin Islands. O’Malley was bishop of the Catholic Church of St. Thomas from 1984 to 1992. Law, a native of Mexico, graduated from Charlotte Amalie High School.

But when their paths crossed in Boston, the resulting scandal led to Law’s downfall. Law died Dec. 20 at the age of 86. He resigned from the Boston archdiocese in 2002 after O’Malley made public his investigation into child sexual abuse by priests.

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.

Watch: Vrindavan women thrash priest with lathis for molesting girls

NEW DELHI (INDIA)
IndiaToday.in

December 27, 2017

By Yusuf Begg

Residents of Mathura’s Vrindavan take the law in their own hands as they beat up a priest accused of molesting girls.

Priests are supposed to help ordinary people get over their baser instincts. Besides giving religious prescriptions, they are also supposed to make us aware of social evils. Not this baba though.

A video that is going viral in social media that a priest accused of molesting girls is beaten up by locals in Mathura’s Vrindavan.

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.

Crookston diocese reinstates priest after no charges filed in abuse inquiry

CROOKSTON (MN)
Pioneer Press

December 26, 2017

CROOKSTON, Minn. — The Catholic Diocese of Crookston has reinstated a priest who was placed on administrative leave as pastor of parishes in Dilworth and Hawley after allegations of abuse surfaced in early 2016.

The Rev. Patrick Sullivan has been reinstated to priestly ministry at St. Elizabeth’s Parish in Dilworth and St. Andrew’s Parish in Hawley, the diocese said in a statement released Tuesday.

The diocese said Sullivan was placed on leave in April 2016 after the diocese was served with a civil complaint through the plaintiff’s attorney, Jeff Anderson. The complaint claimed that in 2008, while serving as pastor at St. Mary’s Mission Church in Red Lake, Minn., Sullivan engaged in unpermitted sexual conduct with the plaintiff when he was 15 years old.

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.

Saying child sexual abuse charge not credible, Crookston Diocese reinstates local priest

CROOKSTON (MN)
KFGO

December 27, 2017

By Don Haney

CROOKSTON, MINN. (KFGO) – The Crookston Catholic Diocese has reinstated a priest who served parishes in Clay County who was accused of sexual misconduct of a minor. 

Local and federal authorities investigated a claim Father Pat Sullivan engaged in “unpermitted sexual conduct” with a 15-year old boy while serving as a pastor at a church in Red Lake, Minnesota in 2008 but no charges were filed. Sullivan was put on administrative leave from his assignment as pastor of St. Elizabeth and St. Andrews parishes in Dilworth and Hawley when the complaint was made in April of 2016. Sullivan consistantly denied the allegations. 

The decision to reinstate Sullivan was made after the accuser was questioned by attorney’s for the diocese and the Crookston Diocese Board of Review for the Protection of Children and Young People then determined the accusation was “not credible.” That board is made up of two social workers, a sheriff, a police detective, an attorney, and a diocese priest.

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.

Valderice, processo sui presunti abusi delle suore Legali di vittima chiedono risarcimento milionario

ITALY
Meridio News

December 23, 2017

By Pamela Giacomarro

[Google Translate: At the end the process on the Casa del Fanciullo San Pio X in Valderice . One million and 300 thousand euros and an immediate provisional amount of 130 thousand euros is the claim for damages in favor of the child who triggered the investigation and the main victim of the alleged violence. Advancing it were the lawyers Antonino Sugamele and Annalisa Pisano. At the bar, on charges of mistreatment, Sr. Yvonne Jacqueline Noah and the three former educators Laura Milana , Carlo Cammarata and Maria Mazzara. Two other people had ended up in the sights of the magistrates, the former director, Sr. Teresa Mandirà, and the cook of the Pina Ruggeri structure, who died soon after the trial began. For the defendants, the public prosecutor Nicola Lamia has requested a sentence of three years imprisonment . For the defenders, on the other hand, there would have been no crimes: the lawyer Marco Siragusa, at the end of his address, requested absolution for Sister Yvonne.]

CRONACA – Alla sbarra ci sono suor Yvonne Jacqueline Noah e gli ex educatori Laura Milana, Carlo Cammarata e Maria Mazzara. Decedute poco dopo la fine delle indagini un’altra suora e la cuoca della struttura. Una decina di piccoli ospiti della Casa del Fanciullo San Pio X ha raccontato le percosse e i maltrattamenti subiti

Alle battute finali il processo sulla Casa del Fanciullo San Pio X di Valderice. Un milione e 300mila euro e una provvisionale immediata di 130mila euro è la richiesta di risarcimento danni in favore del bimbo che fece scattare le indagini nonché vittima principale delle presunte violenze. Ad avanzarla sono stati gli avvocati Antonino Sugamele e Annalisa Pisano. Alla sbarra, con l’accusa di maltrattamenti, suor Yvonne Jacqueline Noah e i tre ex educatori Laura Milana, Carlo Cammarata e Maria Mazzara. Nel mirino dei magistrati erano finite altre due persone, l’ex direttrice, suor Teresa Mandirà, e la cuoca della struttura Pina Ruggeri, decedute subito dopo l’avvio del processo. Per gli imputati, il pubblico ministero Nicola Lamia ha chiesto la condanna a tre anni di reclusione. Per i difensori invece non ci sarebbero stati reati: l’avvocato Marco Siragusa, al termine della sua arringa, ha chiesto l’assoluzione per suor Yvonne.

L’indagine è stata avviata nel 2013 grazie alle denuncia di uno dei piccoli ospiti. «Fammi scappare dal centro, voglio tornare a casa». Poche parole impresse su un foglio di carta consegnato a un’assistente sociale, utili però agli investigatori per avviare le indagini e scoprire quanto accadeva da tempo all’interno della struttura di accoglienza. Maltrattamenti a cui sarebbero stati esposti i piccoli ospiti, una decina tra gli 8 e i 14 anni. A sostegno della tesi del bimbo, la testimonianza dei genitori. La coppia riferì agli agenti della Squadra mobile di avere appreso dal figlio che lo stesso era stato oggetto di ripetute percosse. Anche altri bambini, sentiti successivamente, riferirono d’essere stati spesso costretti a usare l’acqua gelida e a cibarsi di alimenti mal conservati. Le loro storie, tutte uguali: «Suor Yvonne mi dava botte con il filo della corrente», «suor Teresa e Pina mi picchiavano con la paletta».

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.

Pedofilia, l’arcivescovo di Milano coinvolto nello scandalo Don Galli: “Sapeva degli abusi”

ITALY
Fanpage.it

December 23, 2017

By Sacha Biazzo and Simone Giancristofaro

[Google Translate: The highest offices of the Church in Lombardy knew of the alleged sexual abuse of a priest of Rozzano against a minor three years before the investigation of the judiciary, but they never reported the incident.]

Le più alte cariche della Chiesa in Lombardia sapevano del presunto abuso sessuale di un prete di Rozzano ai danni di un minore tre anni prima delle indagini della magistratura, ma non hanno mai denunciato l’accaduto.

“Che cosa aspettiamo che ci mettano tutti in galera per pedofilia? Aspettiamo che ci mettano tutti in galera per pedofilia e poi cominciamo seriamente a guardare le cose, va bene, cioè, basta saperlo e ci adeguiamo, però già che possiamo farlo prima, facciamolo prima”

A parlare sono due preti di Rozzano intercettati dai carabinieri. Un prete della loro parrocchia, don Mauro Galli, è accusato di abusi sessuali su un minore e la magistratura ha messo sotto controllo i loro telefoni. Il caso non è ancora di dominio pubblico, ma nell’ambiente ecclesiastico ha suscitato un polverone, tanto da dover richiedere l’intervento delle più alte cariche della Chiesa.

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.

RIETS Addresses Sexual Abuse in Orthodox Community

NEW YORK (NY)
The YU Commentator: The Independent Student Newspaper of Yeshiva University

December 26, 2017

By Shoshy Ciment, Lilly Gelman, and David Rubinstein

On December 25, the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary hosted a talk for rabbinical students on sexual abuse in the Orthodox community. The event, which was attended by over 50 students, rabbis, community members, and administrators, featured remarks from Dr. Norman Blumenthal and Rabbi Yosef Blau. Pizza was served and copies of the most recent issue of Tradition—the foremost Modern Orthodox journal of Jewish thought and law—which focused on sexual abuse, were distributed free of charge, courtesy of its publisher, the Rabbinical Council of America.

This event occurred amidst a tide of high profile cases centering around sexual abuse in the United States. In light of this, it was announced a few weeks ago that employees of Yeshiva University were required to complete an online course about sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace. A few days later, a mashgiach (kosher supervisor) at Stern College was fired after an investigation into allegations of his inappropriate conduct.

Rabbi Larry Rothwachs, RIETS Director of Professional Rabbinics, introduced the speakers. He said that when the allegations of sexual abuse in the Jewish community first emerged, people were silent. Over the last two decades, however, “a lot has changed,” and the voice of “victims past, present, and future…exists now, and is protected now, and is given a safe space within our segment of the community.” Rabbi Rothwachs said that “we have every obligation as Torah Jews to go ahead and promote the interest of those who would otherwise not be able to protect and defend themselves,” referring to victims of sexual abuse.

Dr. Blumenthal, a senior psychologist at OHEL, a major Jewish social services organization, spoke about preventing sexual abuse. He emphasized the need for a Torah curriculum on sexuality. “The time has come for us to have a curriculum for the Torah approach to sexuality to make it such that it if a 16-year old waiter at camp propositions a 12-year old camper, it is unthinkable.”

“A schmues in high school is not enough. We need a curriculum, and we need to teach from kindergarten through high school. If we can use those opportunities to train our children …there will be a healthier attitude,” said Dr. Blumenthal, who is also the Educational Director of the counseling training program for prospective clergy at Yeshiva University. “You can’t eliminate [sexual abuse completely], but we can make a significant difference in terms of children understanding that this is wrong. If we can inculcate an attitude of reverence and respect and the proper attitude within our community, when that 16-year old propositions that 12-year old it will be totally unthinkable.”

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.

Ending the Silence on Abuse

Bergen County (NJ)
The Jewish Link of New Jersey

Originally Published on December 21, 2017

By Jonathan S. Tobin

In the past two months, the avalanche of stories about sexual abuse and harassment has touched virtually every sector of American society. The revelations about deeply troubling behavior on the part of politicians, journalists and figures in the entertainment world have transfixed the country. As more victims come forward to tell their stories, the consequences have gone beyond the disgrace of some prominent individuals, the end of careers and, in Alabama, a surprising election result. What began with a shocking story about movie mogul Harvey Weinstein has led to what may well be a crucial turning point in the way sexual misconduct is viewed.

We are no longer in an era in which all forms of abuse—be it violent crime, abuse of minors as well as unwanted physical touching, abusive verbal comments and forms of pressure—that might have once been viewed as permissible if unpleasant behavior can be ignored or dismissed.

Under these circumstances, it is only to be expected that some of these stories would involve the Jewish community. This week’s JNS feature by Elizabeth Kratz concerning alleged abuse carried out by a since-retired United Synagogue Youth (USY) director follows the same pattern of the rest of the #metoo scandals. A powerful person used his position to carry out sexual abuse, in this case, against minors. The victims felt unable to step forward at the time, both because of the shame they were made to feel by the predator and also because they felt nobody in a position to do something about it would listen. Organizations that should have been on guard against abuse were, like the rest of society, not listening or indifferent about what was going on under their noses.

The Conservative movement responsible for the USY program in question was not alone in this respect, as such scandals have, in one form or another, touched other Jewish denominations. To its credit, the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism appears now to have taken appropriate action, not only to sever any ties with alleged abusers, but also to ensure, as much as it is possible, that similar misconduct doesn’t recur.

This story is so similar to numerous other sex scandals that many readers who have become so accustomed to such discussions may have lost their ability to be shocked by the topic. But it is also true that there will be some in the Jewish world who, while eagerly consuming accounts of the various stories about celebrities who have been exposed as abusers, don’t want accounts of misconduct within their own community to be published.

The impulse to regard journalism about bad behavior by Jews—especially those connected to vital Jewish organizations—that are published in the Jewish press as an unnecessary airing of dirty laundry is, in one sense, understandable. Such stories are seen as something that ought to be kept in the family and away from the view of outsiders who might use them to denigrate Jews or harm Jewish institutions. There will always be a tendency to regard any accounts that portray Jewish life in an unflattering context as betrayals of tribal loyalty if they come from Jewish sources.

But as it should have already become clear as society comes to grip with the pervasive nature of sexual harassment, keeping quiet does nobody any good. The mindset that regarded the reporting of such crimes and misbehavior as bad form or disreputable scandal mongering, or what Jewish tradition regards as “lashon hara,” is a big part of the problem that enabled the abusers to get away with their crimes for so long. When The New York Jewish Week reported on the abuse going on at the Orthodox movement’s NCSY in 2000 it was subjected to a storm of criticism from those who thought this wasn’t the sort of thing Jewish publications should publish. But it is exactly that kind of reporting that is a necessary precondition for action that will prevent future crimes of this nature.

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.

‘The Hurt Is Still There’: Clergy Abuse Survivors, Others React To Cardinal Law’s Death [with audio]

BOSTON (MA)
WBUR 90.9

Originally published on December 20, 2017

By Deborah Becker

Reaction to the death of Cardinal Bernard Law, the man who came to be the face of the sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church, has been emotional, particularly for survivors of clergy abuse.

Law, who led the Boston archdiocese for 19 years before he stepped down in disgrace over the scandal in 2002, died in Rome early Wednesday. He was 86.

Cardinal Seán O’Malley, the current leader of Boston’s archdioceses, said his predecessor was more than the mistakes he made when he failed to properly address clergy sex abuse. O’Malley said he understands how the death of Law has re-opened old wounds for abuse survivors.

“The hurt is still there,” he said, speaking to reporters Wednesday. “Healing is still necessary, and we all must be vigilant, especially for prevention of child abuse and to create safe environments.”

The ‘Fatal Flaws’ Of Cardinal Law

Many clergy abuse survivors said they were flooded with emotions upon learning of Law’s death.

Speaking to reporters, some survivors gathered to reflect on Law’s death and the abuse they suffered by the priests he oversaw in Boston.

One of the survivors, Bob Costello, said those memories still haunt him — even decades later. He told reporters he remembers meeting with Cardinal Law.

“During the meeting I discussed why he hadn’t done anything, and he really couldn’t give me an answer,” Costello said. “He just couldn’t come to terms with saying that he lied and that he cheated, and that he allowed children to be raped.”

Costello and another survivor who spoke to reporters, Alexa MacPherson, said they are both still angry that after Law stepped down he was appointed to an influential post at the Vatican. Law worked there until he retired six years ago.

“He was never held accountable,” MacPherson said. “He was rewarded with a prestigious position in the Vatican, and he moved on with his life, and he forgot about us over here.”

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.

Anglican Dean of Perth Very Rev. Richard Pengelley apologises for Church hurt

PERTH (AUSTRALIA)
The West Australian

December 26, 2017

By Liam Croy and Claire Tyrrell

The Anglican Dean of Perth apologised for the hurt the Church has caused in a moving Christmas Day sermon.

Speaking after the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, the Very Rev. Richard Pengelley said the Church deserved much of the bad press it had endured.

“I am deeply sorry for the ways in which we have hurt people,” he said.

Mr Pengelley told worshippers at St George’s Cathedral the Church was inclusive of all cultures, sexualities and walks of life.

He pointed to the good work it did in the community, from helping with food relief to providing music and arts programs.

“We support charities … we are home to memorials and burials,” he said. “We support refugees, lobby for justice and we lobby to be inclusive.”

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.

House of Prayer residents say torture, abuse was common

GAINESVILLE (FL)
The Gainesville Sun

December 25, 2017

By Cindy Swirko

‘This didn’t have to go on. It could have been stopped much earlier.’

John Neal was about 6 when he and his little sister, Katonya, went to live with Anna Young at the House of Prayer, and he was 12 when he was spirited away.

During those years, Neal saw Katonya tortured until she eventually died. He was beaten and saw others beaten. He said Young forced a mother to take her son to Puerto Rico and abandon him at a church, or else the boy might have died from abuse.

Neal, now 40, saw a lot more and kept quiet, until recently. Now, thanks to him and others who went to law enforcement, Young is a 76-year-old in the Alachua County jail facing murder charges in connection with the death of a toddler about 30 years ago.

“People were brainwashed. Like the Jim Jones thing — if Anna had said ‘Drink the Kool-Aid,’ we would have drunk the Kool-Aid,” Neal said. “She used fear and she used God. Number one, she used God. Everybody was going to burn in hell. The kids had demons in them — that’s why they got treated so bad.”

Young’s arrest and the details now emerging about the House of Prayer raise questions about missed opportunities to end the abuse earlier.

The indictment is for the death of Emon Harper sometime between 1988 and 1989. Also called Moses, he was 2 or 3 years old at the time and was allegedly killed by Young through starvation and torture.

The boy’s remains have not been found. Multiple people who lived at the church compound said his body was burned in a pit. They said he was from Chicago and that his parents did not live at the compound.

Neal lived at the House of Prayer property, first in Waldo and later on Southeast 138th Avenue off Wacahoota Road, while Emon was there. Neal said he cannot talk about Emon because of the legal case against Young.

But Neal talked about how he ended up at House of Prayer, his life there and his recovery.

And he talked about his little sister.

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.

Ex-priest fell from grace after archbishop resigned

ALBUQUERQUE (NM)
Albuquerque Journal

December 26, 2017

By Olivier Uyttebrouck

Former priest Sabine Griego’s relationship with the Archdiocese of Santa Fe took an abrupt turn for the worse after the late Archbishop Robert Sanchez stepped down in March 1993.

Just three days after Sanchez resigned, an archdiocese official sent Griego a letter telling him to “not exercise your ministry in parishes or in any other ministerial situations.”

The archdiocese’s concerns about Griego were well-founded, according to court records released recently by a judge’s order. In 2004, former Archbishop Michael Sheehan, who succeeded Sanchez in 1993, sent a letter to Vatican officials urging them to remove Griego from the priesthood. The Vatican did so in 2005.

“First, there is the sheer volume and heinous nature of the accusations,” Sheehan wrote.

He included a list of 16 men and a woman who alleged that the La Madera native ordained in 1964 had sexually abused them as children, from 1965 to 1990. The archdiocese had paid nearly $3 million to victims, Sheehan wrote.

Victims “will have to live with the trauma of their experiences for a lifetime, let alone the suffering incurred by their families and loved ones,” he wrote.

Griego did not respond to voice messages left at his home in the Las Vegas, N.M., area.

Copyright © 2017 Albuquerque Journal

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.

Ohio Priest Jumps From Skyscraper After He’s Accused of Having Relationship With Minor

NEW ALBANY (OH)
Christian Post

December 22, 2017

By Leonardo Blair

James Csaszar, a suspended Ohio priest who was under investigation for engaging in an inappropriate relationship with an underage boy, jumped from an 82-story hotel in Chicago Wednesday, leaving his colleagues in shock.

The 44-year-old priest who was reportedly well-liked led the Church of the Resurrection in New Albany, Ohio. Officials say he was under investigation for leading a double life prior to his death at the sleek Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel.

“It is with deep shock and sadness that we have learned of the death of Father James Csaszar, pastor of the Church of the Resurrection in New Albany, who took his own life yesterday in Chicago,” Bishop of Columbus, the Most Rev. Frederick F. Campbell, confirmed in a statement Wednesday.

“On Nov. 7, Father Csaszar was placed on an administrative leave by the Diocese of Columbus after diocesan officials were made aware of excessive and questionable text and telephone communications with a minor and potential misuse of church funds while serving as pastor of St. Rose Parish, New Lexington,” he explained.

“Following a diocesan review of the matter, the New Lexington Police were contacted and all information was turned over to them and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation for their review; an investigation was being conducted at the time of Father Csaszar’s death,” he added.

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.

Miranda: Catholic Church tied to a past that can’t be undone

AUSTRALIA
The Weekly Times

December 26, 2017

By Genevieve Barlow

THE act by parishioners of removing ribbons placed by survivors and their supporters to mark the institutionalised sexual and other abuse at churches, orphanages, schools and
elsewhere was misguided and insensitive.

Ribbons had been tied to church gates, fences and signs from Ballarat to Shepparton, Sale, Mortlake, Ararat, Sunbury, Bendigo, Castlemaine and Lancefield in a movement called the Loud Fence campaign, which began in 2015.

Then, at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Ballarat, the week before Christmas and just days after the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuses handed down its report, parishioners took the ribbons down from the cathedral fence.

“It signalled what the Catholic Church has done historically. They just want us to go away. All they wanted was to get them down before Christmas,” said Phil Nagle, who was abused as a boy at St Alipius Primary School in Ballarat.

He reckoned the Ballarat Catholic Diocese should be concentrating on the catastrophic failure of leadership and the Royal Commission’s recommendations instead of removing the ribbons.

Abuse survivors and their supporters reacted predictably and put more ribbons up.

These were taken down. More were put up.

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.

OPINION: Please, parliament: protect kids from pedophile priests

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

December 26, 2017

By Chrissie Foster

A total of 37 per cent of the 15,000 survivors who came forward to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse were sexually assaulted within the Catholic Church. These atrocious crimes against children were not committed by suburban delinquents or bikie gangs — but by your local clergy.

Back in March 1996 when my husband, Anthony Foster, and I began our battle against the Catholic Church hierarchy over the sexual assaults of our own child by a priest, it was at a time when a rumour flourished — that supposed victims were liars after money. This lie was taken as the biblical truth by the faithful.

That, together with a priest’s status — claiming they became another Christ when ordained — meant we were easily dismissed by priest and parishioner alike. But there was no hint of the black-hearted Father Kevin O’Donnell being another Christ with his child rapist career, which spanned 50 years as a priest.

A secret report dated August 2, 1995, by Melbourne Response’s Carelink head Richard Ball on O’Donnell stated “he had some early involvement with young folks but nothing much until shortly after ordination (1942), and from then on until three or four years ago (1991/92)”.

Complaints were acted on by the hierarchy — various archbishops took actions to protect O’Donnell. He was left in place or moved to a new parish to continue sexually assaulting children which he did at every primary school he oversaw.

This criminality is what we were fighting, and the arrogance and heartlessness of these ontologically changed holy men — I could neither believe in them nor stomach them. Who could once the truth was known? Who could support such men who sexually assaulted little children, or those who protected the criminal, even abetting further sexual assaults?

Almost 22 years later we have our royal commission findings and recommendations, which are damning of the Catholic hierarchy and its failure to protect children from rapist priests and brothers.

This month saw victims’ accounts validated by a royal commission that forensically exam­ined witnesses and more than 1.2 million documents. It was a great moment; it was a relief and a stamp of truth on what victims had been saying for decades.

The royal commissioners, because of their five years of listening, researching and analysing, are experts on the issue of child sexual assault. There is no higher authority than them on this crime anywhere in the world.

They know what will make Australian children safe, they know what civil laws need to be enacted to counter this insidious felony against our youngest, most vulnerable, powerless citizens. The commission’s recommendations must be implement­ed by the governments of this country.

Australian taxpayers have stumped up $450 million for these recommendations, which were handed to the Governor-General on December 15 and must not go to waste by sitting on a shelf collecting dust in Parliament House.

Reacting to some of the commission’s recommendations for child protection, members of the church hierarchy promise they will go to the Vatican bleating because their power and authority have been challenged.

There was no going to the Vatican on behalf of the thousands of children raped by their colleagues; only legal arguments, petty church-restricted payouts and the silencing of children.

Now church leaders go to a Vatican knowing that the men there never lifted a finger to help or protect children, or spoke words to eradicate the child rapists among them; a Vatican that, when asked, refused to hand over church files on Australian pedophile clergy to the royal commission. All roads lead to Rome, including the pedophile road.

But in 2013 a high-ranking Catholic clergyman stated under oath to the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into the Handling of Child Abuse by Religious and Other Non-Government Organisations: “Well, we are good citizens, so if the government sets regulations for the whole of society, we certainly follow them.”

So politicians should feel free to implement the royal commission’s recommendations and enact civil laws that will ensure child safety.

By comparison, the Vatican’s canon law is nothing more than the rules of the local footy club and, as such, must be ignored by civil law. If the hierarchy wishes to reject civil law and obey canon law then we will watch them go to prison.

The damage done by the Catholic hierarchy for decades by not removing pedophile priests from contact with children, and therefore creating more victims — as confirmed by the royal commission’s findings — is a wilful, criminal abuse of power.

Apart from irreparable damage, misery and death to children and adults, the church is responsible for the enormous repair bill from attempts to restore victims’ lives. It is a huge bill that the Australian taxpayer has had to pay. Perhaps governments should look to retrieve costs by placing a levy on the Catholics and others in line with their percentage of wilful and neglectful prolonging of child sexual assault.

All that said, my family has had its first Christmas without Anthony. He passed away suddenly in May. He did not live to see the end of the royal commission during which he attended so many sessions and round tables. It is a tragedy that he did not see the victory that awaited all victims and survivors and their families.

Anthony fought a long, hard battle. His insightful analysis and gentle voice on this issue will be forever missed. He tried so hard to make the future safer for children so that what happened to our two daughters at the hands of a trusted priest, in a system of education and at the mercy of a hierarchy that has been shown not to care on any level about any child, would not happen to others.

Anthony was a great counter to the men who claimed to be holy. They had no moral compass — they are hollow men with hollow words. When they die and go to their God they may then realise they got it all wrong in protecting their body of assets and power instead of protecting the bodies of children.

Chrissie Foster, with Paul Kennedy, is author of Hell on the Way to Heaven.

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.

VOX POPULI: ‘MeToo’ shaping up as force to be reckoned with in sexual abuse

JAPAN
The Asahi Shimbun

December 26, 2017

Every year-end, TIME magazine selects an influential individual as Person of the Year.

In 2015, it was German Chancellor Angela Merkel for her commitment to accepting refugees. Last year, the magazine picked U.S. President-elect Donald Trump for his “accomplishment” of dividing the nation by winning the presidential election.

But this year, five women made the TIME cover by edging out North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and other candidates.

Dubbed “The Silence Breakers,” the group includes an actress who testified against an influential film executive over allegations of sexual misconduct.

But these are not the only people who started going public as victims of sexual abuse. The hashtag “MeToo” went viral on social media, empowering countless other individuals to come forward and start a movement.

I imagine that the originator of this hashtag must have hoped that if every victim declared themselves as one of countless victims, the gravity of the problem would not be lost on the public at large.

The movement has indeed gone global, exposing powerful men–including high-profile politicians and world-class orchestra conductors. And women in Japan, too, have begun to speak out (http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201712220046.html).

One individual takes the first courageous step, inspiring another to follow suit. This is the chain reaction that has been triggered around the world. It reminds me of a baton relay race, or a road being laid with one paving stone after another.

One by-product of this is the “ChurchToo” hashtag. Many cases of clergy sexual abuse of children have been exposed in Europe and the United States.

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.

Not the time: Bishop won’t comment on Royal Commission into abuse

AUSTRALIA
Central Western Daily

December 26, 2017

By Rachel Chamberlain

BISHOP of Bathurst Michael McKenna plans to study the recommendations put forward from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse before having his say on them.

The 409 recommendations, aimed at keeping children safe, were handed down in a 17-volume final report on December 15.

Bishop McKenna, whose diocese includes Catholic parishes in Orange, Dubbo, Mudgee and Cowra, said it was not the right time to respond to the report’s recommendations.

“The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has now concluded its work and delivered its report to the Australian Government,” he said.

“Very soon, we must begin to study the multi-volume report and consider the recommendations that the commissioners have made. Then will be the time for a full response.

“For now, we should acknowledge gratefully the work of everyone who has participated in the Royal Commission, especially those who have told their stories and those who have listened to them.”

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.

COMMENTARY: Cardinal Law at the gates

TOLEDO (OH)
The Toledo Blade

December 26, 2017

By Keith C. Burris

Bernard Law, who came to symbolize the inability of the Catholic church to deal honestly with sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests, died last week at 86.

No human being should be only a symbol in the eyes of fellow human beings. But there is a reason Cardinal Law became a symbol. He, as the archbishop of Boston, enabled the abusers — serially transferring them instead of urging them into treatment and defrocking them. He also directed a systematic stonewalling by the archdiocese when the Boston Globe began to uncover the extent of clergy abuse in Massachusetts. And though he “apologized,” in a very broad and general way, several times, he never set out to make it right.

By that I mean two things: The cardinal never took personal responsibility. And he never ministered to the victims of abuse.

The cardinal eventually recognized the gravity of the scandal — he resigned, after all. But he did not seem to recognize, or accept, the gravity of the sin. He did not see the size, or the blackness, of the stain upon the church. He did not really comprehend the pain the abuses caused — the wrecked lives. Lives forever marred by guilt, pain, addiction, and in many cases suicide. Souls that never healed.

He never saw the human carnage. Never wanted to. And thus, he never did penance.

I watched a video, thanks to the miracle of YouTube, of Cardinal Law speaking publicly for the first time about the abuse, in 2002, under intense pressure from the Globe’s stories. Was he pained by the abuse? Yes. Was he equally irritated at having to meet the press? Definitely.

When the Globe’s Walter Robinson asked the cardinal if he would now see to it that all documents on known priest-pedophiles be made public, the cardinal dodged but essentially declined. He said he didn’t really understand the problem in 1986 and now he understood it better. Poor policy decisions had been made. He felt no great guilt. He gave the impression of a sovereign who wanted his cold porridge to be taken away.

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.

Andrew Soper, former abbot of Ealing Abbey, guilty of raping boys

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Times

[Note: This important article was not blogged in Tracker when it appeared earlier this month. See also Report by Lord Carlile of Berriew Q.C. into Matters Relating to Ealing Abbey and St Benedict’s School, Ealing, released on November 9, 2011.]

December 7, 2017

By Fiona Hamilton

A “sadistic” monk who was head of a top Catholic school was convicted yesterday of molesting ten pupils in a campaign of abuse during the 1970s and 1980s that was exposed by The Times.

Andrew Soper, known as Father Laurence, is thought to be the most senior Catholic priest to be convicted of sex crimes in the UK. He withdrew £182,000 from his Vatican bank account and fled to Kosovo to avoid prosecution for attacking boys at St Benedict’s School in Ealing, west London.

Soper, the former abbot of Ealing Abbey, which adjoins the school, spent five years abroad before he was extradited. A jury at the Old Bailey deliberated for 14 hours before finding him guilty of 19 charges of indecent assault and buggery between 1975 and 1982.

Soper, 74, who is likely to die in jail, is the fourth staff member of St Benedict’s to be convicted of indecent assault and the school apologised unreservedly last night for the “serious wrongs of the past”.

The 60-year history of abuse at the school was exposed by The Times and a report by an independent barrister concluded in 2011 that there had been a “lengthy and cumulative failure” by monks to protect children in their care.

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.

Priest who sexually abused boys at London school jailed for 18 years

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Guardian

December 21, 2017

By Harriet Sherwood

Andrew Soper had been convicted of 19 charges of rape and other sexual offences against 10 boys at St Benedict’s school

A Roman Catholic priest who sexually abused boys at an abbey school in the 1970s and 80s has been sentenced to 18 years in prison.

Andrew Soper, 74, formerly known as Father Laurence Soper, was a fugitive for five years after jumping bail. An international warrant was issued for his arrest.

He was convicted earlier this month of 19 charges of rape and other sexual offences against 10 boys at St Benedict’s school in Ealing, west London. He is the fourth man at the school to have been convicted of abuse.

Following the guilty verdicts, the school apologised unreservedly for the “serious wrongs of the past”.

Sentencing Soper at the Old Bailey on Thursday, Judge Anthony Bate said: “You are an intelligent man with gifts of scholarship and erudition. However, as you acknowledged during cross examination, showing a degree of insight, that is not how you will be remembered.

“Your good qualities are utterly overshadowed by the proven catalogue of vile abuse for which you are now at last held to account. Your disgrace is complete.”

Soper’s disappearance to Kosovo had been “meticulously planned”, the judge said, adding: “You intended to live out your days there in obscurity.”

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 jailed for non-recent abuse

LONDON (ENGLAND)
Metropolitan Police

December 21, 2017

A Roman Catholic priest has been jailed for 18 years after he was found guilty of 19 counts of non-recent abuse against boys at a school in Ealing.

Andrew Soper, known as Father Laurence, 74 (17.09.43) of no fixed abode, was sentenced on Thursday, 21 December, after a ten-week-long trial at the Old Bailey.

He was also handed down a Sexual Harm Prevention Order with no time limit.

Soper was found guilty on Wednesday, 6 December of 19 counts of indecent assault against ten boys who attended St Benedict’s Middle School in Ealing between 1975 and 1982.

In his summing up, the judge told Soper “Your disgrace is complete.”

The court heard Soper was a former abbot at Ealing Abbey and a headmaster of the middle school between 1972 and 1991. He taught boys aged between 11 and 14 and, as headmaster, he was in charge of discipline.

The first allegation was made in 2004 by a former pupil who said he was sexually assaulted by Soper in his office whilst he was being punished.

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

Sexual predator abused children — and treated priests who did the same

HONOLULU (HI)
KHNL / KGMB / Hawaii News Now

December 20, 2017

By Lynn Kawano

[See also the recent KHNL-KGMB series Hidden Betrayal:

• Part I: Kamehameha Schools sex abuse victims: ‘Monster’ stole our childhoods (11/27/17)

• Part II: ‘Cover-up’ added to pain, Kamehameha School sex abuse victims say (11/28/17)

• Part III: Victims: Kamehameha Schools sex abuse suit is about accountability (11/29/17)

Former trustees: ‘Wall of secrecy’ at Kamehameha Schools helped sex abuse stay hidden (11/28/17]

Long-hidden documents show how the same man, prominent Honolulu psychiatrist Dr. Robert Browne, played a central role in two of Hawaii’s biggest sex abuse scandals.

Browne is accused of sexually assaulting more than 30 former students at Kamehameha Schools over nearly three decades, from 1958 to 1985.

And, the documents show, he was also treating Catholic priests in Hawaii who had been caught abusing children.

Those priests weren’t turned into the police, but were often instead sent for psychiatric treatment — to be “cured” of their pedophilia problem. Not surprisingly, one priest in particular who was getting therapy from Browne went on to molest kids for decades.

‘I could not believe God allowed this to happen’

For the dozens of Hawaii children who were sexually assaulted by men of the cloth, houses of worship became places of hell.

Chesjoy “Anthony” Long knows that only too well.

He was abused by Father George DeCosta, a priest from a church in Keaukaha. It was 1970 and Long was 14 years old.

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

Former bishop of Charlotte’s Catholic diocese dies at 90

CHARLOTTE (NC)
Charlotte Observer

December 24, 2017

By Tim Funk

Bishop William Curlin, who presided over the rapidly growing Catholic Diocese of Charlotte from 1994 to 2002, died Saturday at Carolinas Medical Center. He was 90.

The cause of death was cancer, which he had battled for years.

Curlin was known as a pastoral bishop and as a longtime friend and spiritual adviser to Mother Teresa. In 1995, he brought the diminutive nun with a towering reputation to Charlotte for an ecumenical service that drew 19,000 people to the old Charlotte Coliseum. She also installed in Charlotte some of her sisters from the Missionaries of Charity, the religious order she founded in India to serve the poorest of the poor.

* * *

Curlin’s tenure was not without controversy. He was bishop at a time when the Catholic Church in the United States and around the world was rocked by scandal at widespread reports of priests sexually abusing children. The Charlotte diocese never approached the volume of cases of sexual misconduct uncovered in Boston and many other dioceses. But N.C. members of SNAP – Surviviors’ Network of those Abused by Priests – and others criticized Curlin for not being transparent about priests and other men accused of sexual misconduct who were allowed to work in the diocese without the public knowing about their past.

In one of the most publicized cases, Mark Doherty was hired to teach at Charlotte Catholic High School despite a warning to Curlin from the Boston archdiocese about allegations against him. Doherty lost his job after the case came to light.

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.

Abusive Priest Escapes Justice by Killing Himself Amid Police Investigation

ENGELWOOD (CO)
Patheos

December 24, 2017

By David McAfee

A Catholic priest who was being investigated for “questionable texts” and phone calls with a 16-year-old boy killed himself by jumping from a building on Wednesday, signaling there may be much more to this case.

Rev. James Csaszar, who was also being investigated for misusing money from the Church of the Resurrection in the Columbus (Ohio) suburb of New Albany, jumped to his death from a room at the Aqua Hotel in Chicago. Previously, the Diocese had suspended him for “excessive and questionable” texts and phone calls with the young boy. Church officials also contacted the local police.

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 lawsuit seeks $70 million in assets from Montana diocese

WASHINGTON (DC)
Christian Times

December 25, 2017

By Jardine Malado

Attorneys for victims of sex abuse have filed a lawsuit against a bankrupt Catholic diocese in Montana last week to ensure that more than $70 million in assets will be available to their clients.

A committee representing eight sex abuse victims filed a complaint against the diocese of Great Falls-Billings in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court on Dec. 18 in an attempt to reach a negotiated settlement in the dispute over the matter of $70 million worth of diocesan assets.

According to Fox News, the diocese filed for bankruptcy protection in March as part of sex abuse settlements in a lawsuit involving over 400 victims.

The officials said at the time that the diocese and its insurers would set up a fund for the victims and additional money will be provided for those who have yet to come forward.

Church officials have contended that the disputed assets should not be made available because they are held in trust for diocese’s parishes and thus not part of the bankruptcy estate.

Attorneys for the victims argued that the parishes are not separate legal entities from the diocese and therefore have no exclusive claims to the trust.

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.

All we want for Christmas is solidarity forever

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Guardian

December 24, 2017

By Brad Chilcott

For both people of faith and no faith the Christmas story is an opportunity to reflect: Will we keep power and privilege to ourselves or offer the gift of solidarity?

The newborn lying in a feeding trough and soon to be threatened with death by an occupying power, commemorated in sanitised nativity scenes in shopping malls and front yard light displays is the child born in Palestine for whom fear of violence is the daily norm.

He is the Rohingya Muslim watching his village burn.

The child of Mary is the survivor exposing their abuse before a royal commission.

The son of God is the woman unable to escape domestic violence, the bullied transgender student contemplating suicide and the Aboriginal child in a spit hood.

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.

Urbi et Orbi Christmas Message and Blessing of Pope Francis

VATICAN CITY
Vatican News

December 25, 2017

By Pope Francis

[See also Pope Francis’ Christmas Eve homily.]

On Christmas Day Pope Francis prays for world peace and gives his “Urbi et Orbi” blessing
Pope Francis has appealed for peace and for a world in which children across the globe may be able to hope for a future of justice, security and joy.

The Pope’s words came on Christmas Day as he addressed the city and the world during his traditional “Urbi et Orbi” message from the Central Loggia of St. Peter’s Basilica.

Please find below the full text of the Pope’s message:

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Happy Christmas!

In Bethlehem, Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary. He was born, not by the will of man, but by the gift of the love of God our Father, who “so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (Jn 3:16).

This event is renewed today in the Church, a pilgrim in time. For the faith of the Christian people relives in the Christmas liturgy the mystery of the God who comes, who assumes our mortal human flesh, and who becomes lowly and poor in order to save us. And this moves us deeply, for great is the tenderness of our Father.

* * *

Today, as the winds of war are blowing in our world and an outdated model of development continues to produce human, societal and environmental decline, Christmas invites us to focus on the sign of the Child and to recognize him in the faces of little children, especially those for whom, like Jesus, “there is no place in the inn” (Lk 2:7).

We see Jesus in the children of the Middle East who continue to suffer because of growing tensions between Israelis and Palestinians. On this festive day, let us ask the Lord for peace for Jerusalem and for all the Holy Land. Let us pray that the will to resume dialogue may prevail between the parties and that a negotiated solution can finally be reached, one that would allow the peaceful coexistence of two States within mutually agreed and internationally recognized borders. May the Lord also sustain the efforts of all those in the international community inspired by good will to help that afflicted land to find, despite grave obstacles the harmony, justice and security that it has long awaited.

We see Jesus in the faces of Syrian children still marked by the war that, in these years, has caused such bloodshed in that country. May beloved Syria at last recover respect for the dignity of every person through a shared commitment to rebuild the fabric of society, without regard for ethnic and religious membership. We see Jesus in the children of Iraq, wounded and torn by the conflicts that country has experienced in the last fifteen years, and in the children of Yemen, where there is an ongoing conflict that has been largely forgotten, with serious humanitarian implications for its people, who suffer from hunger and the spread of diseases.

We see Jesus in the children of Africa, especially those who are suffering in South Sudan, Somalia, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic and Nigeria.

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.

35 thousand euros a month for the Cardinal: the new scandal that shakes the Vatican

ROME (ITALY)
L’Espresso

December 21, 2017

By Emiliano Fittipaldi

Francesco’s friend and adviser, Oscar Maradiaga, preached pauperism but received half a million a year from a University of Honduras. Bergoglio also wanted an investigation on millionaire investments and on the inappropriate behavior of Bishop Pineda, a loyalist of the cardinal

When he finished reading the inquiry drafted by the apostolic envoy he himself had sent to Honduras last May, Pope Francis’ hands went up to his skullcap. He had just found out that his friend and main councilor — powerful cardinal Oscar Maradiaga, a staunch supporter of a poor and pauperist Church and coordinator of the Council of Cardinals after he appointed him in 2013 — had received over the years from the Catholic University of Tegucigalpa around 41,600 US dollars a month, with an additional 64,200 dollars bonus in December. Bergoglio had yet to learn that several witnesses, both ecclesiastical and secular, were accusing Maradiaga of investments in some companies in London topping a 1,2 million dollars that later vanished into thin air, or that the Court of Auditors of the small Central American nation was investigating a flow of large sums of money from the Honduran government to the Foundation for Education and Social Communication and to the Suyapa Foundation, both foundations of the local Church and therefore depending on Maradiaga himself.

“The Pope is sad and saddened, but also very determined at discovering the truth,” people of his entourage at Santa Marta, his residency, explain. He wants to know every item of the investigation Argentine bishop Jorge Pedro Casaretto conducted in Honduras, on top, of course, of the final destination of the jaw-dropping sums of money obtained by the cardinal. Just in one year, 2015, as shown in an internal university report L’Espresso obtained, the cardinal received almost 600,000 dollars, a sum that according to some sources he collected for a decade in his capacity as “Grand Chancellor” of the university. However, some other rather unpleasant items account for the rest of the sums he received according to Bishop Casaretto’s report. The pope’s trustworthy person put down on paper the serious accusations many witnesses brought forward (the audits totaled around fifty witnesses and included administrative staff of the diocese and of the university, priests, seminarians and the cardinal’s driver and secretary) also against the Auxiliary Bishop of Tegucigalpa, Juan José Pineda, among the most loyal in Maradiaga’s inner circle and de facto his deputy in Central America.

After studying the dossier he received directly six months ago, Pope Francis assigned to himself all final decisions to be made.

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.

Pope Francis’ top ‘reform’ cardinal accused of massive financial scandal

FRONT ROYAL (VA)
LifeSiteNews

December 22, 2017

By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

The cardinal who has led Pope Francis’ efforts to “reform” the Church is now accused of having received over 40,000 USD monthly for years from a Catholic university under his control, and of funneling millions of dollars to foreign corporations that have mysteriously lost part of the deposits.

The allegations appeared in a report that was delivered to Pope Francis in May of this year which was revealed Thursday by the Italian newspaper L’Espresso.

Cardinal Óscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga, the archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, has wielded immense influence under Francis’ papacy because the pope chose him to lead the “C9” Council of Cardinal Advisers charged with reforming the Roman Curia. He was one of the key members of the liberal faction at the Synod on the Family that has resulted in a crisis over the Church’s teaching on marriage.

According to L’Espresso, Maradiaga received, over the space of years, personal payments averaging $41,600 per month from the Catholic University of Tegucigalpa, of which he is Chancellor. In addition to the monthly pay, he is reportedly given a Christmas bonus of $64,200. In one year alone, 2015, he is accused of having taken almost $600,000 from the university, which would be equivalent of ten years pay at a normal rate of salary as a university chancellor.

Moreover, the report delivered to the pope includes an accusation that Rodriguez Maradiaga has made troubling payments to an intimate male friend of the auxiliary bishop of his archdiocese, Juan José Pineda, who lives in an apartment close to Maradiaga and who has shared his domicile with Pineda.

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

Cardinal Law’s Papal Sendoff Shows Church’s Laxity on Sex Abuse Scandal

NEW YORK (NY)
Huffington Post

December 22, 2017

By Celia Wexler

I didn’t expect this punch in the gut from Pope Francis. But I guess I was naïve. Of course, the pope would say a formal and apparently heartfelt goodbye to Cardinal Bernard Law, the prelate whose reckless disregard for the welfare of children in the Boston archdiocese led to a tragedy that still harms and hurts.

Law died this week at 86. He had resigned in disgrace from his powerful position in Boston, and found a cushy berth in Rome. Still able to savor the pomp and perks of that rarest of rare male clubs, the college of cardinals.

Law never really apologized enough for the damage he wrought. But for posterity’s sake, let’s review : After the Boston abuse scandal became front-page news in Boston in 2002, the Globe tallied its initial toll: 500-plus claims of abuse by victims, the prospect of lawsuits seeking an estimated $100 million in damages, and an archdiocese – that had already paid out $40 million – teetering on the verge of bankruptcy.

But those numbers only scratch the surface. We’ll never know how the acid of Law’s betrayal of his flock corroded faith and ruined lives.

And yet, in the face of this untold harm, Pope Francis permitted Law to be buried with all the pomp and circumstance the church affords its powerful prelates, and with a papal blessing:

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.

Fallen Kings: How Cardinal Law’s Reign Cemented the Church’s Fading Power

WASHINGTON (DC)
NPR

December 23, 2017

By Tovia Smith

When the cardinal’s residence was built in the 1920s atop a hill in the leafy, most western outpost of Boston, it was modeled after an Italian palazzo. The grand mansion, replete with ornate mahogany and marble appointments, stood as a testament to the Boston Archdiocese’s stature in the very Catholic city of Boston. Political candidates — local and national — would come calling, and even the pope came to visit.

When Cardinal Bernard Law took up residence in the Renaissance Revival mansion, Boston’s Roman Catholic movers and shakers would flock to the backyard for his garden party fundraisers.

Today, a steady stream of students hauling backpacks and members of the public traipse across that same property. The mansion, now owned by Boston College, has been gutted and converted to an art museum and meeting rooms — a remarkable fall from grace that parallels that of the Boston Archdiocese itself.

A total of 65 acres of prime church property — possibly its most valuable in Massachusetts — was sold in a fire sale after the clergy sexual abuse crisis, when the church was struggling to pay some $85 million in settlements to victims. In the years since, the cost of settling claims surpassed $200 million, and the church’s declining fortunes have been more than just financial.

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

Cardinal Law’s funeral celebrated at Vatican

VATICAN CITY
Catholic News Service via National Catholic Reporter

December 21, 2017

Cardinal Bernard Law, who resigned as archbishop of Boston when it became clear he had knowingly transferred priests accused of sexually abusing children, made mistakes as all people do, Cardinal Angelo Sodano said at his funeral.

Sodano, as dean of the College of Cardinals, celebrated the funeral Mass for Cardinal Law Dec. 21 at the Altar of the Chair in St. Peter’s Basilica.

In his homily, Sodano said, “unfortunately, each one of us can sometimes lack in fidelity to our mission. That is why, at the beginning of every Mass, we say the ‘Confiteor,'” the prayer that begins, “I confess to almighty God and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have greatly sinned.”

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

Cardinal Law funeral held with no mention of sex abuse crisis

VATICAN CITY
Reuters via Union-Leader

December 21. 2017

By Philip Pullella

The funeral of Cardinal Bernard Law, who resigned as Archbishop of Boston 15 years ago after covering up years of sexual abuse of children by priests, was held in the Vatican on Thursday without a mention of what led to his downfall.

About 200 people attended the funeral Mass in a chapel in the apse of St. Peter’s Basilica and presided over by a senior cardinal, Angelo Sodano. The wooden coffin lay on the floor with an open book of the gospels resting on it.

Pope Francis entered the chapel for a few minutes after the Mass to bless the coffin and conduct a brief service known as the Final Commendation and Farewell – which he does for all cardinals who die in Rome.

“He dedicated his whole life to the Church,” Sodano said in his homily in praise of Law, who died on Wednesday.

Sodano listed the stages of Law’s clerical life and said the late Pope John Paul had “called him to Rome” to be archpriest of a Rome basilica. But Sodano made no mention of the reason why he left Boston.

“Unfortunately, each of us can sometimes be lacking in our mission,” Sodano said.

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

Death of disgraced Cardinal Bernard Law reveals a truth we’d rather ignore about the Catholic Church

KANSAS CITY (MO)
Kansas City Star

December 21, 2017

By Melinda Henneberger

Twelve years ago, after the death of Pope John Paul II, I watched a man who will go down in history as a fierce protector of child rapists process into St. Peter’s to celebrate one of the nine masses that traditionally follow the death of a pontiff.

On that day, Cardinal Bernard Law, who died this week at 86, had already resigned in disgrace from his post as archbishop of Boston. He’d lost his stroke with the White House, too, after the Boston Globe revealed the full extent of the clerical sex abuse scandal that Law’s cover-up had both delayed and compounded.

In exile in Rome, Law was a pariah but also a man who retained some vestiges of power, especially on the key committee that helps choose bishops; if Catholics didn’t invent having it both ways, we certainly have long experience in it.

On the day in 2005 that Law eulogized his own protector, John Paul, I wrote that he should have stayed home instead of showing up as he did, surrounded by a security detail that treated the two American survivors of clerical abuse who’d come to peacefully protest outside the basilica as if they were the criminals.

Initially, I felt that Law’s Thursday funeral mass should not have been celebrated in St. Peter’s, either, by yet another predator coddler, Cardinal Angelo Sodano. And what did Pope Francis think he was doing, offering the closing prayer?

But perhaps I was wrong to write of Law’s memorial mass for John Paul that “the whole spectacle of the disgraced cardinal slinging incense was almost too baroque to bear.”

Because painful as it was to watch, the sight of the bloated, visibly broken Law made remembering the worst of John Paul’s legacy inescapable.

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.

Child sex abuse: Class action looms in Nudgee Junior claims

BRISBANE (QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA)
Courier-Mail

December 23, 2017

By Greg Stolz

A class action against the Catholic Church over alleged shocking private school abuse could be looming, with dozens of former students from Nudgee Junior College coming forward.

The ex-students have contacted lawyers after The Sunday Mail revealed that two Queensland brothers have launched a multimillion-dollar claim for damages, for physical and sexual abuse they allegedly suffered at the hands of teachers at the Brisbane school in the 1970s.

Former Nudgee Junior College captain John O’Leary and his brother Bill are seeking about $7 million in damages from the Christian Brothers for their alleged mistreatment while they were boarders.

The Supreme Court claim, lodged last week, alleges then-Nudgee Junior headmaster Brother John Regan subjected the O’Learys to ‘‘terrifying’’ physical and verbal attacks.

The siblings allege Regan beat them daily – sometimes knocking them unconscious – kicked them, struck them hundreds of times and lifted them off the ground by their ears.

John O’Leary, who was junior college captain and is now an unemployed labourer living on a derelict boat in north Queensland, alleges he lived “in a constant state of terror and anxiety” as an 11-year-old and 12-year-old at the school.

The brothers allege the abuse left them with profound and long-lasting psychological damage.

Lawyers said the case could be a landmark action, challenging the State Government’s failure to remove time limits for physical abuse claims, as other states have done.

Nudgee Junior College students Bill (left) and John O’Leary.
The O’Learys have hired high-profile Gold Coast law firm Nyst Legal.

Their lawyer, Brendan Nyst, said dozens of ex-Nudgee Junior students and some from other schools had come forward since The Sunday Mail broke the story last week.

“Our office has been inundated with calls from former students,” he said.

“We’re currently assessing the information.”

The State Government had last year removed the three-year time limit on sexual abuse claims, in line with the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Sexual Abuse.

Mr Nyst said because Queensland did not to remove the time limits for physical abuse, as other states did, the O’Learys would have to convince the Supreme Court to allow their claim to proceed.

The O’Learys said they hoped the Catholic Church would not exploit abuse-claim time-limit laws.

“After all these years I think they’ll finally do the right thing,” John O’Leary said.

“Back then we were just kids. We had nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, and no one to turn to.”

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.

The half-life and death of the Irish Catholic novel

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
Irish Times

December 23, 2017

By Eamon Maher

[Note: See also The Catholic priesthood blighted my youth and the youth of people like me, by John Boyne, Irish Times, November 7, 2014.]

In a country renowned for its Catholicism, it is unusual the ‘Catholic novel’ never took root

In Underground Cathedrals (2010), the Glenstal monk and author Mark Patrick Hederman described artists as the “secret agents” of the Holy Spirit: “Art has the imagination to sketch out the possible. When this happens something entirely new comes into the world. Often it is not recognised for what it is and is rejected or vilified by those who are comfortable with what is already there and afraid of whatever might unsettle the status quo”. Reflecting on this position, one wonders to what extent Irish novelists have fulfilled the important role outlined by Hederman. In the past, they definitely did offer an alternative view of existence by challenging aspects of church and state dominance, and suffering severe consequences as a result. In 1965, for example, John McGahern’s second novel The Dark unveiled a hidden Ireland where guilt, domestic violence, hypocrisy and sexual abuse seemed to thrive in a supposedly “Catholic” country. The novel attracted the attention of the Censorship Board, was banned and its writer lost his job as a primary school teacher in Clontarf. McGahern displayed no real bitterness as a result of this unfortunate interlude, realising that he lived in a “theocracy in all but name” and describing the Ireland of his youth and early adulthood in the following terms:

“Hell and heaven and purgatory were places real and certain we would go to after death, dependent on the Judgment. Churches in my part of Ireland were so crowded that children and old people who were fasting to receive Communion would regularly pass out in the bad air and have to be carried outside. Not to attend Sunday Mass was to court social ostracism, to be seen as mad or consorting with the devil, or, at best, to be seriously eccentric.”

In more recent times, the wheel has come full circle and it is now far more commonplace to criticise the actions of the Catholic Church than it is to defer to the institution. This results in many novelists taking a (possibly well-earned) swipe at what they consider the inadequacies of the system. Hence John Boyne, in A History of Loneliness (2014), follows the career of a Dublin priest, Fr Odran Yates, who fails to see, or chooses not to see, the paedophile tendencies of his contemporary in the seminary, Fr Tom Cardle, with calamitous consequences for his young nephew Aidan, who ends up being abused by Cardle. While this novel deals mainly with the negative impact Catholicism can have on clerical attitudes to sexuality in particular, it occasionally gives free rein to some of its author’s personal opinions. Take for example Cardle’s comments to Yates on his release from prison after serving a sentence for child abuse:

“You knew it, you kept it secret and this whole conspiracy that everyone talks about, the one that goes to the top of the Church, well it goes to the bottom of it too, to the nobodies like you, to the fella that never even had a parish of his own and hides away from the world, afraid to be spotted. You can blame me all you like, Odhran, and you’d be right to, because I’ve done some terrible things in my life, but do you ever think of taking a look at yourself? At your own actions? At the Grand Silence that you’ve maintained from the very first day?”

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.

Right holy mess

TOWNSVILLE CITY (QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA)
Townsville Bulletin

December 23, 2017

By Shari Tagliabue

It must be difficult to be Catholic at this holy time of year; anyone who follows a faith from baptism to the grave should have been shaken to the core after the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse released its findings this week.

After four years of investigation, the pomp and ceremony, immense power, vast wealth, traditions and rituals of the once-revered Catholic Church counted for little as thousands of testimonials documenting sexual and physical abuse weren’t able to be silenced by denials, shifting of blame, secretive payouts, gag orders or clandestine transfers.

The past month marked 2017 as the year victims found the courage to speak out, safety in numbers has allowed working-age women affected by sexual predators in the entertainment industry to break their shame-based silence, yet the victims of the most gross abuse of power imaginable weren’t in an industry of their own choosing and weren’t young adults, but children attending school, care facilities or church, with young boys just over 63 per cent of the victims.

It has been well documented that those affected have carried the trauma with them throughout their lives, with many, including a once vibrant, intelligent and carefree kid I knew well, unable to give evidence.

He, like many others, was abused at boarding school.

Unable to form relationships as an adult he masked his pain with drugs and alcohol before taking his own life.

What an irony that while suicide is considered a mortal sin by the Vatican, the same institution decreed in 2010 that ordaining women as priests was a sin on par with paedophilia.

There is no punishment harsh enough for the depraved predators who targeted children under the guise of caring for them. One of the 409 recommendations from the royal commission was that priests who heard confession from a paedophile should report the information to the police.

The church’s unwillingness to allow this shows a complete lack of understanding of their role – protector of innocents, not criminals, while another recommendation that priests should not be celibate is curious – depravity causes paedophilia, not celibacy.

For those of us that live without religious influence, it is unfathomable that an organisation can enjoy privacy, privilege, power and tax-free status under a belief system that absolves devotees of unlawful acts merely by secret confession and a few Hail Marys.

Police spend countless hours tracking paedophile networks online, surely protected confessionals have allowed like-minded men to collaborate and these vile networks to flourish?

The figures speak for themselves. Of the abuse documented, 68.3 per cent came from Catholic Church organisations, 14.7 per cent Anglican, 7.3 per cent from the Salvation Army and 4.2 per cent Protestant.

If the Catholic Church is now forced to depart from long-held traditions, so be it.

Abuse of minors has flourished for decades, but we cannot tolerate this protectionism any longer, or the long-held belief that churches are pillars of society.

What kind of society supports child abuse and paedophilia?

Equality, and protection of the vulnerable should be the core of any organisation, religious or otherwise.

Anything less is criminal.

A(wo)men.

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

Cardinal Law’s overlooked legacy: a new anti-clericalism in America’s Catholic heartland

LONDON (ENGLAND)
Catholic Herald

December 23, 2017

By Michael Davis

[Note: See also Cardinal Sean O’Malley’s 2011 letter about the Boston abuse statistics, his 2004 summary of the data, and the Boston Globe article on the priests left off O’Malley’s 2011 list.

After the abuse crisis, priests are considered guilty until proven innocent

In the early 2000s, when claims clerical sex abuse in Boston first surfaced, there were roughly 1,350 priests ministering to the archdiocese. At least 270 were accused of abusing children. That’s upwards of 20 per cent of all clergy, both secular and religious.

Now, that does not mean one in five priests is a predator. But, then again, who knows? Cardinal Seán O’Malley, his successor as Archbishop of Boston, has called this “the greatest tragedy to befall children” in the history of Massachusetts. And he’s right. But it was the worst tragedy to befall the state’s priests, too. Every single one of them automatically comes under suspicion of being a paedophile.

Ireland has a better sense of how difficult this saga has been for those upstanding clergymen who find themselves lumped together with the heinous minority of predators. The 2014 film Calvary stars Brendan Gleeson as a priest who is threatened by a victim of clerical sex abuse – and only because he’s innocent. “There’s no point in killing a bad priest,” the man tells him. “But killing a good one! That’d be a shock.”

In another scene, Gleeson’s character passes a little girl on the side of the road. They walk together, talking about surfing and holidays, until her father pulls up alongside them and orders her into the car. “What the hell were you saying to her?” he asks Gleeson’s character. “I wasn’t saying anything,” the priest replies, stunned. “You looked deep in ——ing conversation to me,” the father snaps, and they peel out down the road. Gleeson is left standing there dumbly, humiliated.

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

Sexual misconduct scandals remind clergy victims of abuse: The dynamics of authority and acquiescence are similar themes in the crimes, victims say

EUGENE (OR)
Associated Press via Register-Guard

December 24, 2017

By Gillian Flaccus

When stories of sexual misconduct by powerful men ­began to fill the news this fall, Manny Vega immediately flashed back to his childhood. He saw strong similarities between the recent allegations against producers and politicians and his own abuse as a child by his parish priest.

“The parallels are in the power dynamics,” said Vega, a former police officer and decorated Marine who lives in Oxnard, Calif. “Whether you’re the leader of a church or the leader of a film studio, you’re ­going to be someone people look up to and someone people go to for guidance. It puts the victim at a horrible ­disadvantage.”

While there are key differences, the sexual harassment detailed in today’s headlines shares the same well-worn themes that made it so hard for Vega and hundreds of other clergy abuse victims to come forward more than a decade ago: fear of retribution and disbelief, impossible power dynamics and confidential settlements that bury complaints.

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

Cardinal’s confession: Sex abuse victim reflects on meeting Law as scandal erupted

GLOUCESTER (MA)
Gloucester Times

December 21, 2017

By Paul Leighton

Salem — In the summer of 2002, Bernie McDaid and his mother met with Cardinal Bernard Law in the Archdiocese of Boston’s mansion in Brighton.

It was in the early stages of revelations that hundreds of children, including McDaid, a former altar boy at St. James Church in Salem, had been sexually abused by priests in the Boston area.

Law agreed to meet with McDaid and his mother to personally apologize. At the time, the stories of abuse had mostly come out of Boston, and McDaid asked Law why the problem was so prevalent in this area.

“He bowed his head like a puppy dog, looked at the floor and looked back up to me and said, ‘I wish it was just Boston,'” McDaid recalled. “That was a very telling moment in my life. One of the heads of the Catholic church is basically telling you they’re raping and molesting children all over the world.”

McDaid recalled that story on Thursday morning as Law’s funeral was being held at St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. Law’s death, at age 86 on Wednesday, has sparked emotional reactions among victims of clergy abuse, including anger at Law for his role in covering up the problem and moving abusive priests from parish to parish.

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.

Statement from Bishop Campbell

COLUMBUS (OH) and NEW ALBANY (OH)
Diocese of Columbus and Church of the Resurrection

December 21, 2017

By Bishop Frederick F. Campbell

It is with deep shock and sadness !hat we have learned of the death of Fattier James Csaszar, pastor of the Church of !he Resurrection in New Albany, who took his own life yesterday in Chicago.

On November 7, Father Csaszar was placed on an administrative leave by the Diocese of Columbus after diocesan officials were made aware of excessive and questionable text and telephone communications with a minor and potential misuse of church funds while serving as pastor of St Rose Parish, New Lexington. Following a diocesan review of the matter, the New Lexington Police were contacted and all information was turned over to !hem and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation for !heir review; an investigation was being conducted at the time of Father Csaszar’s death.

We are reminded throughout sacred scripture that God our Father is loving, merciful, compassionate and forgiving. We also know that in his years of priestly ministo; Fr. Csaszar did many good things for the people that he served in his parish assignments. And so we ask !hat eveo;one pray for Father Csaszar, his family, friends, and parishioners during this most difficult time.

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.

Since 2002, U.S. church has had strict protocols in place to address abuse

BOSTON (MA) and WASHINGTON (DC)
Catholic News Service via The Pilot

December 22, 2017

By Julie Asher

The death of Cardinal Bernard F. Law opened “a lot of old wounds,” causing “much pain and anger in those who have suffered so much already,” Boston Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley said Dec. 20, the day the Vatican announced Cardinal Law’s death.

The passing of the cardinal in Rome has put the spotlight once again on Boston as the epicenter of a clergy sex abuse scandal that has affected the whole U.S. church. The scandal erupted in 2002 and Cardinal Law resigned a year later amid allegations of mishandling clergy sex abuse cases.

Since 2002, however, the U.S. Catholic Church has taken many steps to bring abusers to justice, to prevent abuse and to heighten awareness of signs and symptoms of abuse.

“Looking at the culture of safety and well-being, the modus operandi has changed,” said Deacon Bernie Nojadera, executive director of the U.S. bishops’ Secretariat for Child and Youth Protection. “No one can just go in to a parish and say they want to work with children, young people. They have to be cleared, background-checked, and it has to be done repeatedly. This ongoing awareness and mindfulness is in place.”

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

‘A horrible year’: Australia’s leading Catholic slammed for Christmas message

MELBOURNE (AUSTRALIA)
The New Daily

December 23, 2017

[Note: Includes a video of Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher’s Christmas message.]

Advocates for marriage equality have criticised Australia’s leading Catholic for saying 2017 was a ‘horrible year’ because of the same-sex marriage debate and the findings of the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse.

In a Christmas message released on Friday, Catholic Archbishop of Sydney Anthony Fisher said Christian concepts of life and love were challenged during the “annus horribilis” of 2017.

Reverend Fisher also acknowledged the “shameful crimes and cover-ups” in the church uncovered by the child abuse royal commission.

“For people of faith you might say it’s been an annus horribilis,” he said.

“Our Christian conceptions of life and love have been challenged in the marriage and euthanasia debates, freedom of religion in Australia put in doubt and shameful crimes and cover ups in our church uncovered by the royal commission.”

Equality Campaign spokesman Clint McGilvray said Reverend Fisher’s decision to refer to both marriage equality and the sexual abuse inquiry in the same context was “completely wrong”.

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

Cardinal Bernard Law obituary: Most senior US prelate deposed in child-abuse scandal

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
Irish Times

December 22, 2017

Cardinal Bernard F Law, whose stature as archbishop of Boston and America’s senior Roman Catholic prelate was shattered in a maelstrom of scandal, acrimony and resignation in 2002 after revelations that he had protected abusive priests for years, died Wednesday. He was 86 and lived in Rome.

The Vatican confirmed the death in a news release.

He was a staunch defender of church orthodoxy, a Harvard-educated advocate of social justice for immigrants and the poor, who had campaigned for civil rights in the segregated South. And when he arrived in Boston in 1984 as Pope John Paul II’s new archbishop, he was welcomed like a favourite son.

Over the next 17 years, he became one of the nation’s most influential churchmen, a protégé and confidant of the Pope, a friend of presidents, a force in politics who travelled widely, conferred with foreign leaders and nurtured Catholic relations with Protestants, Jews and others. Admirers thought he might become the first American pope.

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

A Fictional Priest Uncovers a Long History of Clerical Child Abuse

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Times

By Randy Boyagodadec, reviewing Crimes of the Father, by Thomas Keneally

December 22, 2017

“He was a bad priest, he knew it.” Graham Greene’s whiskey priest risks his life to celebrate Mass in anticlerical Mexico. He’s an enemy of the state, a man of God and the great hero of “The Power and the Glory.” Father Frank Docherty, the protagonist of Thomas Keneally’s new novel, “Crimes of the Father,” is a bad priest to some and a good one to others, and he certainly knows it. Sent away from his native Sydney in 1972 by an archbishop who found Docherty’s political activism and theological liberalism unacceptable, he is by the 1990s a psychologist and a professor in Canada. Under those auspices, he researches the sexual abuse of children and minors by the clergy. “He knew the suspicion he attracted from his brethren in the wider priesthood. He was a priest who ponced around academia all week, dealing with unhealthy and distasteful subjects, and helped out at a local parish on the weekend — how graceful of him!”

For his 36th novel, Keneally has chosen a subject that is by now painfully familiar to both Roman Catholics and the wider public. The main action takes place in Sydney in 1996 and concerns the city’s longstanding Irish population. This is a time and place and community in which those abused are just beginning to come forward more boldly, while church leaders and the faithful more broadly are themselves only just starting to reckon more openly with longstanding patterns of institutional failure, corruption and concealment. As he returns to Sydney to lecture on his research, resume complicated friendships and seek permission from the current archbishop to celebrate Mass again in his native archdiocese, Docherty becomes involved in an intertwined series of private and public revelations.

* * *

The novel’s far more distinctive and well-wrought character is Sarah Fagan, the Sydney cabdriver who picks up Docherty at the airport upon his return. Through intensely told flashback sequences, Keneally brings out the confusion and pain teenage Sarah experiences when she comes under the influence of Father Leo Shannon, a rising young star in the archdiocese. Under the guise of hiring her as his office assistant, Shannon makes Fagan feel privileged, even blessed, to spend secret time doing secret things with him. When he coolly rejects her for other girls, “she felt the jolt of this news, and a sickening bewilderment in the pit of her stomach; the extreme sentiments of the rejected.”

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.

Don’t look now, but that special papal commission on sexual abuse has ceased to exist

ROME
Catholic Culture

December 19, 2017

By Phil Lawler

As of yesterday, the Pope’s special commission on sexual abuse formally ceased to exist.

The Commission for the Protection of Minors was established by Pope Francis in 2013, for a four-year term that began on December 17 of that year. That term has now officially expired.

Vatican-watchers fully expect that Pope Francis will extend the group’s mandate (or, at this point, renew it)—although nobody knows whether or not he will renew the terms of the current members. And the group wasn’t likely to hold meetings during the Christmas season anyway, so no real harm has been done by allowing the group’s formal authority to lapse.

Nevertheless, at a time when an Australian royal commission is lambasting the Catholic Church for its handling of abuse complaints, it’s noteworthy that the Vatican has not announced the timely renewal of the papal commission.

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.

Andrew Soper trial: Disgraced Catholic priest handed 18 year prison sentence for sex attacks against pupils at Ealing school

LONDON (ENGLAND)
Get West London

December 22, 2017

Andrew Soper was handed the lengthy sentence on Thursday (December 21), after a jury had found him guilty of a string of offences at St Benedict’s School

A Roman Catholic priest has been jailed for 18 years for molesting children at a church school in Ealing .

The former abbot and headmaster Andrew Soper, 74, was handed the sentence on Thursday (December 21) at the Old Bailey after being found guilty following a 10-week trial earlier in the month .

He had been extradited to face 19 charges of indecent assault and buggery against 10 former pupils after fleeing the country with £182,000 from the Vatican bank in a bid to avoid responsibility for the abuse at fee-paying St Benedict’s School, in Eaton Rise .

Some of his victims were at court to hear his sentencing, with their statements read out detailing the effects the abuse had on their lives.

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.

Priest Laurence Soper jailed for sexually abusing boys

LONDON (ENGLAND)
BBC

December 21, 2017

A Catholic priest who abused boys at a London school in the 1970s and 1980s has been jailed for 18 years.

Laurence Soper, 74, fled to Kosovo with £182,000 from the Vatican bank in a bid to avoid prosecution for abusing boys at the independent St Benedict’s School, in Ealing, where he taught.

He was extradited to face 19 charges of indecent and serious sexual assault against 10 former pupils.

He is the fourth man to be convicted of molesting children at the school.

Sentencing, Judge Anthony Bate said Soper’s conduct was “the most appalling breach of trust” and he had “subverted the rules of the Benedictine order and teachings of the Catholic Church”.

He said the former abbot and headmaster’s life would now be “overshadowed by the proven catalogue of vile abuse”.

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.