ABUSE TRACKER

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

January 4, 2018

Combating sex abuse topic of upcoming workshop

NEWBERG (OR)
The Newberg Graphic

January 3, 2018

By Gary Allen

Police, church and Juliette’s House join forces to stage event Jan. 6 in Newberg

The Newberg-Dundee Police Department, in conjunction with Juliette’s House and Newberg Christian Church, will hold a workshop in January headlined “Sex Offenders: Keeping Children, Churches, Schools and Youth Organizations Safe.”

The workshop is set for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 6 at the church, 2315 Villa Road.

The event, according to a release from the NDPD, is designed to provide training for parents, the faith community, youth service organizations, camp staff, school staff, human resources personnel and risk management professionals.

Speaking will be Julie Siepmann, a licensed clinical social worker, and NDPD Detective Todd Baltzell.

Siepmann is the clinical services director and lead forensic interviewer at Juliette’s House, a child abuse assessment center in McMinnville. She regularly testifies as an expert witness in criminal child abuse cases and has worked as a child and family therapist treating children who have experienced abuse.

Baltzell is a 24-year veteran of the NDPD and has been responsible for investigating more than 700 sexual assault cases, primarily for child/teen sexual abuse. He has co-facilitated community trainings addressing child sexual abuse and created the Newberg-Dundee Domestic Violence Response Team.

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.

Cronología de los abusos sexuales que impactaron al mundo del espectáculo en el 2017

ARGENTINA
La Nacion

December 30, 2017

[Google Translate: 2017 became, inescapably, the year in which the floodgates of systematic sexual abuse were opened, implemented for decades in the industry and carried out by magnates, producers, actors, drivers and directors, whose victims took courage and changed the prevailing paradigm by force of painful and traumatic testimonies that uncovered the pot and that were added to the accusations against Casey Affleck , Woody Allen , Bill Cosby and Roman Polanski . Undoubtedly, the tip of the iceberg were the first accusations against Harvey Weinstein, producer of Miramax and The Weinstein Company, who exercised abuse of power with employees and actresses executing an alarming modus operandi. In this report, a review of how the magnate fell and how the accusations against them provided security to victims of other personalities, from Kevin Spacey to Louis CK , to emerge from the shadows.]

Este año, múltiples denuncias contra actores, directores, conductores y productores derivaron en un cambio de paradigma y pusieron a las víctimas al frente de un necesario movimiento con el que se anunció a gritos que “No es no”

El 2017 se convirtió, ineludiblemente, en el año en el que se abrieron las compuertas de los abusos sexuales sistemáticos implementado por décadas en la industria y llevados a cabo por magnates, productores, actores, conductores y directores, cuyas víctimas tomaron coraje y cambiaron el paradigma imperante a fuerza de testimonios dolorosos y traumáticos que destaparon la olla y que se sumaron a las denuncias esgrimidas contra Casey Affleck, Woody Allen, Bill Cosby y Roman Polanski. Sin dudas, la punta del iceberg fueron las primeras acusaciones contra Harvey Weinstein , productor de Miramax y The Weinstein Company, quien ejerció abuso de poder con empleadas y actrices ejecutando un alarmante modus operandi. En este informe, un repaso de cómo se produjo la caída del magnate y cómo las denuncias en su contra les brindaron seguridad a víctimas de otras personalidades, desde Kevin Spacey a Louis C.K , para salir de las sombras.

La primera denuncia contra Harvey Weinstein

El puntapié lo da el periódico The New York Times, cuando el 5 de octubre publica una investigación de larga data mediante la cual se revelaba que Weinstein, productor de películas como Shakespeare apasionado, Pulp Fiction, En busca del destino y El discurso del rey, había acosado sexualmente por décadas a empleadas de su compañía y a famosas actrices como Ashley Judd y Rose McGowan, quienes fueron las primeras en animarse a brindar sus testimonios. Judd contó que hace hace veinte años Weinstein la invitó al hotel Peninsula en Beverly Hills para un supuesto desayuno de trabajo. Sin embargo, una vez en el lugar, descubrió que el encuentro sería en la habitación del productor, quien la recibió en bata y le preguntó si podía darle un masaje y acompañarlo mientras se duchaba. “¿Cómo hago para irme de este cuarto lo antes posible sin ganarme como enemigo a Harvey Weinstein?”, se preguntó por entonces la actriz, quien esperó años para cobrar valentía y compartir su relato.

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.

Neshama Carlebach writes about her father, victims and being molested as a child

ISRAEL
Times of Israel

January 2, 2018

In her first public comments, daughter of Shlomo Carlebach pens a frank, emotional Times of Israel blog post entitled ‘My sisters, I hear you’

Neshama Carlebach has made her first public statements about the alleged sexual misbehavior of her late father, Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, describing the reckoning as “the most painful” challenge she has had to face.

In a frank and emotional Times of Israel blog post entitled “My sisters, I hear you,” Ms. Carlebach expressed solidarity with victims of sexual assault, pledging to “walk through this narrow-bridge world” with them and disclosing that she was sexually assaulted at age 9 by one of her father’s associates, whom she described as a trusted friend and a rabbi.

The singer, who incorporates her father’s music and ideas in her own performances, maintained there is far more to Shlomo Carlebach than his alleged misdeeds. “I accept the fullness of who my father was, flaws and all. I am angry with him. And I refuse to see his faults as the totality of who he was,” wrote Carlebach.

The blog post came in the wake of allegations of sexual impropriety — some previously known and some made in recent weeks — brought to the fore by a wide scale reckoning with sexual attacks on women that began with reports of Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein’s sexual predation and signified with the #MeToo Twitter hashtag.

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.

Archdiocese reaches settlement with victim of priest who served in Lowell

LOWELL (MA)
Lowell Sun

January 2, 2018

By Aaron Curtis

LOWELL — The Archdiocese of Boston has reached a five-figure settlement with William Brown, a childhood sexual abuse victim of the Rev. Arnold Kelley, who lived in Lowell for a number of years.

A media conference announcing the settlement will be made on the sidewalk outside St. Rita Church at 158 Mammoth Road in Lowell at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday.

“My client should be proud of himself for coming forward,” Brown’s attorney, Mitchell Garabedian, stated in an email on Tuesday. “In doing so, he is emplowering himself, other sexual abuse victims and making the world a safer place for children.

“Sexual abuse victims should not and will not be silenced,” he added.

As early as 1997, the Archdiocese of Boston was made aware of an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor by Kelley at St. Rita’s Parish in Lowell.

In 2016, Brown came forward and filed a civil complaint in Essex County Superior Court alleging the sexual abuse.

From approximately 1966 to 1976, Kelley served as associate pastor at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Jamaica Plain.

From roughly 1973 to 1976, when Brown was 10- to 13-years-old, he attended masses at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish, participated in the church band and attended Confraternity of Christian Doctrine classes.

He was supervised and interacted with Kelley.

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.

MEDIA RELEASE – JANUARY 2, 2018

NEW YORK
Road to Recovery

Road to Recovery, Inc. – P.O. Box 279, Livingston, New Jersey 07039 – 862-368-2800

The Archdiocese of Boston has reached a five-figure financial settlement with William Brown, a childhood sexual abuse victim of Fr. Arnold Kelley who lives in Lawrence, MA, was assigned to St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Jamaica Plain, MA from 1966-1976, and lived for a number of years in Lowell, MA at the rectory of St. Rita Roman Catholic Church, and Haverhill, MA at the rectory of All Saints Roman Catholic Church

William Brown alleged that he was sexually abused as a child from approximately 1973-1976 when he was approximately ten to thirteen years of age and a parishioner, band member, and religious education student (CCD) at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Jamaica Plain, MA

What

A media conference announcing a five-figure financial settlement between the Archdiocese of Boston and childhood sexual abuse victim, William Brown, who filed a lawsuit against Fr. Arnold Kelley in 2016 alleging that he was a child of approximately ten to thirteen years of age when Fr. Arnold E. Kelley sexually abused him at St. Thomas Aquinas Roman Catholic Church, Jamaica Plain, MA. William Brown is represented by Boston Attorney Mitchell Garabedian.

When

Wednesday, January 3, 2018 at 11:30 am

Where

On the public sidewalk outside St. Rita Church, 158 Mammoth Road, Lowell, MA 01854

Who

Robert M. Hoatson, Ph.D., President of Road to Recovery, Inc. a non-profit charity based in New Jersey that assists victims of sexual abuse and their families, and advocate for childhood sexual abuse victim, William Brown

Why

As early as 1997, the Archdiocese of Boston was made aware of an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor child by Fr. Arnold E. Kelley at St. Rita’s Parish in Lowell, MA. It is believed that Fr. Arnold E. Kelley arrived at St. Rita’s Parish in approximately 1980. In 2016, another man, William Brown, came forward and filed a civil complaint in Essex County Superior Court alleging that Fr. Arnold E. Kelley sexually abused him from 1973-1976 when he was approximately 10-13 years of age and a parishioner, band member, and religious education student at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Jamaica Plain, MA. Recently, William Brown and the Archdiocese of Boston reached a five-figure financial settlement of the civil complaint against Fr. Arnold E. Kelley.

Contacts
Robert M. Hoatson, Ph.D., Road to Recovery, Inc., 862-368-2800 – roberthoatson@gmail.com
Attorney Mitchell Garabedian, Boston, MA – 617-523-6250 – mgarabedian@garabedianlaw.com
(featured in the 2016 Academy Award-winning Best Picture, “Spotlight”)

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 Haverhill priest settles allegations of sexual assault

NORTH ANDOVER (MA)
Eagle Tribune

January 2, 2018

By Keith Eddings

A priest who retired to a rectory at All Saints Roman Catholic Church in Haverhill and then to a Lawrence nursing home has reached a five-figure settlement with a man who said the priest sexually assaulted him at a Jamaica Plain parish over a three-year period, beginning when the boy was 10 years old in 1973.

The man, William Brown, who now lives in Abington, reached the settlement with Father Arnold Kelley 20 months after suing Kelley in Essex County Superior Court. His complaint accused Kelley of fondling, sodomizing and performing oral sex on him at St. Thomas Aquinas parish in Dorchester where Brown was then a parishioner and where Kelley was assigned. Brown’s suit also said Kelley misrepresented “the wrongful nature of the explicit sexual behavior” so that Brown – now 54 – only recently realized he had been assaulted.

Kelley denied Brown’s allegations in a response he filed in superior court. He asked Judge Thomas Drechsler to dismiss the complaint, mostly on technical grounds. Drechsler denied the motion in September.

Brown was represented by Boston lawyer Mitchell Garabedian, whose allegations in 2002 that former priest John Geoghan was sexually assaulting children led to revelations that similar abuses were widespread in the Boston Archdiocese and that Cardinal Bernard Law was doing little to stop them while he was archbishop.

Law eventually was reassigned to Rome, where he died Dec. 20. Garabedian’s role in uncovering the assaults and coverups was featured in the 2015 film “Spotlight,” about the role The Boston Globe also played in uncovering the abuses.

Brown’s suit alleged that Kelley’s attacks caused him significant emotional distress, leading to his drug abuse and alcoholism. He now collects Social Security Disability payments because of a disability that Garabedian said is caused at least in part by Kelley’s memory of the alleged sexual attacks more than 40 years ago.

Garabedian declined a request to interview Brown on Tuesday. He said Brown asked that the amount of the settlement be described only as in the five figures, meaning it is between $10,000 and $99,000.

Garabedian is scheduled to announce the settlement at a press conference Wednesday morning outside St. Rita Church in Lowell, where Kelley was assigned in the 1980s and where Garabedian says he sexually assaulted another child.

Robert Hoatson, president of Road to Recovery, a nonprofit that assists victims of sexual abuse, will join Garabedian at the press conference.

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 gets prison for $500G theft from archdiocese

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Delco Daily Times

January 3, 2018

PHILADELPHIA >> The suspended rector at the Villa St. Joseph retirement home in Darby Borough, who in May pleaded guilty to four counts of wire fraud for diverting more than $500,000 intended for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to his personal account, was back in federal court Wednesday for sentencing.

The Rev. Msgr. William A. Dombrow, 78, was sentenced to serve eight months in jail on each of the four counts to run concurrently, followed by three years supervised release on each of the four counts, also to run concurrently but consecutive to incarceration, defense attorney Steven Pacillio said.

The sentencing proceeding before U.S. District Court Judge Gerald J. Pappert lasted nearly three hours. Pacillio said the judge allowed his client, who remains in “good standing” with the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and continues to reside at Villa St. Joseph, to self-surrender on Feb. 20.

Pacillio described Dombrow as totally accepting of his responsibility, since day one.

“He has a strong faith and he knows his fate is ultimately in God’s hands,” Pacillio said. “He’s never expressed even once any minimization or any attempt at ducking responsibility.”

Dombrow was on administrative leave when he was arrested in April for stealing $535,258 between December 2007 and May 2016. He was specifically charged with four separate instances of illegal transfers between 2013 and 2016 for sums ranging between $10,000 and $25,000.

The villa provides licensed nursing care and housing for retired and infirm priests of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, which had contracted with Catholic Human Services to provide management and accounting services at the home, according to a criminal information document filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

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

Father Tom Doyle says tax concessions should be on table as church responds to royal commission

AUSTRALIA
The Newcastle Herald

January 4, 2018

By Joanne McCarthy

THE Australian Government should ignore the church/state divide and put “massive pressure” on the Catholic Church to name child sexual abuse as a crime in church law, says the American Catholic cleric who first blew the whistle on the global abuse scandal in 1984.

“The church gave up this privilege long ago when they started to enable sex abuse, lie about it to society and cover up for abusers,” said Dominican priest Tom Doyle after the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse’s final report in December recommended major changes, including to celibacy and the secrecy of the confessional.

The government must link tax concessions with the need for significant change in the church because “when enough money goes away they start to feel the reality”, he said.

Australian politicians needed to end the “deference and preferential treatment” given to the Catholic Church because “the deference accorded by many sectors in civil society has done its part to enable this harm, by allowing the churches to escape accountability”, he said in response to Newcastle Herald questions.

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January 3, 2018

PEGGY DIVENUTI, Weymouth: Cardinal Law was following orders from Vatican

WEYMOUTH (MA)
The Patriot Ledger

Jan 2, 2018

TO THE EDITOR:

Although the actions of Cardinal Law were reprehensible, I believe he was following direct orders from Rome, just like his predecessors.

The transfer, and cover-up, of the deranged clergy extends way back to Cardinal Cushing’s reign.

If this was not the case, why was Cardinal Law promoted to a more prestigious position, in Rome, after the horrific abuse of power and miscarriage of justice were courageously exposed by The Globe?

PEGGY DIVENUTI
Weymouth

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Bishop defends comic Al Porter against ‘darkness’ visited upon him

IRELAND
The Irish Times

Jan 1, 2018

By Patsy McGarry

A Catholic bishop has called for “balance, proper proportion and fair play” so that comedian Al Porter “may feel free and welcome to make us laugh again”.

Bishop Eamonn Walsh, Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin whose area of responsibility includes Tallaght, referred to Mr Porter as “our local comedian”. He hoped 2018 would “be the year that we allow justice take its course and not usurp it through public condemnation, humiliation and sentence without trial. May heads on plates be off the menu in 2018.”

He said “darkness” was visited on comedian “before justice to all could be processed”.

Last November Mr Porter, who will be 25 on Sunday, resigned from Today FM where he had presented a lunchtime show since February of last year, after four separate complaints from men alleging that he touched them inappropriately in incidents dating back to 2012. Further allegations followed.

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‘I Now Feel Free and Can Live My Life.’ Australian Commission Gives Voice to Child Sexual Abuse Survivors

AUSTRALIA
Global Voices

January 2, 2018

Australia’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse was always certain to stir controversy, particularly with regard to the Catholic Church, and it did just that when it delivered its final report on 15 December 2017.

The Royal Commission came about because of, as the report explains, “the sexual and other abuse of children in institutional settings, and the reluctance of those institutions involved to address this problem.” Its five years of hearings had already revealed widespread criminality, cover-ups and systemic failures across a wide range of both religious and other organisations.

According to the final report, the commission, which cost 500 million Australian dollars (380 million US dollars), was contacted by 16,953 people covered by its terms of reference, heard from 7,981 survivors of child sexual abuse in 8,013 private sessions, received 1,344 written accounts, referred 2,562 matters to police and made 409 recommendations.

For many people, its real achievement has been to air the voices of individual survivors who in many cases have waited decades to be heard. A total of 3,956 survivor “Narratives” are on the commission website with this warning: “This story is about child sexual abuse. It may contain graphic descriptions and strong language, and may be confronting and disturbing.”

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Ireland’s Culture Shifts From Being One Of Europe’s Most Socially Conservative Countries

IRELAND
National Public Radio

January 2, 2018

By Frank Langfitt

Long considered among Europe’s most socially conservative countries, Ireland is holding a referendum next year to legalize abortion. The vote follows another that legalized same-sex marriage, and the election of the country’s first, gay prime minister.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Ireland used to be one of the most socially conservative nations in Europe. Lately that’s been changing. In 2015, voters legalized same-sex marriage. During last year’s election, the country voted in a gay, biracial prime minister. And this summer, the Catholic country will vote on whether to repeal one of the strictest abortion laws in the Western world. NPR’s Frank Langfitt reports from Dublin; there have been calls for this change for many years.

(CHEERING, APPLAUSE)

FRANK LANGFITT, BYLINE: They held candles and signs that read never again – some 2,000 people protesting the death of Savita Halappanavar outside government buildings here in 2012. The dentist from India died after doctors refused to perform an abortion while she was miscarrying. Taking the microphone, Sinead Redmond of the group Parents for Choice demanded change.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

SINEAD REDMOND: Savita Halappanavar is dead unnecessarily, and we are all complicit while the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution remains in place.

LANGFITT: Now, five years on, Irish citizens will finally have a chance to repeal the Eighth Amendment to the country’s constitution which only permits abortion in exceptional cases, such as to save the life of the mother. Ailbhe Smyth, who was among the protesters that night, says Halappanavar’s death was a turning point.

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.

Archdiocese reaches settlement with victim of priest who served in Lowell

LOWELL (MA)
Lowell Sun

January 2, 2018

By Aaron Curtis

LOWELL — The Archdiocese of Boston has reached a five-figure settlement with William Brown, a childhood sexual abuse victim of the Rev. Arnold Kelley, who lived in Lowell for a number of years.

A media conference announcing the settlement will be made on the sidewalk outside St. Rita Church at 158 Mammoth Road in Lowell at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday.

“My client should be proud of himself for coming forward,” Brown’s attorney, Mitchell Garabedian, stated in an email on Tuesday. “In doing so, he is emplowering himself, other sexual abuse victims and making the world a safer place for children.

“Sexual abuse victims should not and will not be silenced,” he added.

As early as 1997, the Archdiocese of Boston was made aware of an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor by Kelley at St. Rita’s Parish in Lowell.

In 2016, Brown came forward and filed a civil complaint in Essex County Superior Court alleging the sexual abuse.

From approximately 1966 to 1976, Kelley served as associate pastor at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Jamaica Plain.

From roughly 1973 to 1976, when Brown was 10- to 13-years-old, he attended masses at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish, participated in the church band and attended Confraternity of Christian Doctrine classes.

He was supervised and interacted with Kelley.

During that time Kelley “engaged in explicit sexual behavior and lewd and lascivious conduct” with Brown, the complaint states.

Brown suffers “severe emotional distress and physical harm manifested by objective symptomatology including but not limited to sadness, anxiety, anger, crying, sleep problems, drug dependence and alcohol dependence,” the complaint also 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.

Judge orders more mediation to resolve Minn. clergy abuse settlements

MINNEAPOLIS (MN)
CNA/EWTN News

January 3, 2018

Disputes over clergy abuse settlements in the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis have led a federal bankruptcy judge to order a return to mediation for all the parties involved.

“Judge Kressel’s decision bolsters our resolve to move forward in the bankruptcy process,” Tom Abood, chairman of the archdiocese’s reorganization task force, said Dec. 28. “We are guided by his words from earlier this year, that the longer this process continues, the less money will be available for those who have been harmed.”

Abood voiced gratitude that the judge has dismissed claims from creditors’ attorneys that the archdiocese has acted in bad faith in the reorganization.

“We look to engage with all participants in mediation as directed by the judge to bring a prompt and fair resolution,” said Abood.

The archdiocese, insurance companies, parishes, a creditors’ committee and sex abuse survivors are involved in seeking a settlement for more than 400 victims. The process has lasted more than two years.

Judge Robert Kressel’s Dec. 28 ruling said the plan presented by abuse survivors required too much time and money to carry out. He said the archdiocese’s plan lacked sufficient financial accountability from the parishes involved, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports.

“Therefore,” his order said, “I expect all the parties to return to mediation. And I expect them to mediate in good faith.”

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January 2, 2018

Priest arrested for brutal murder of 11-yr-old Dalit boy

INDIA
Times of India

January 1, 2018

By Kanwardeep Singh

Shahjahanpur: With the arrest of a local priest, police claimed to have solved the brutal murder of an 11-year-old Dalit boy in a village in the district on Saturday. Police said the boy had seen the priest in an objectionable position with a woman, which lead to his murder. The case was solved within 24 hours with the help of investigation by additional superintendent of police (ASP) SC Shakya and the dog squad.

The body of the boy, Amit Pal, was found in Pipri Kalan village of Katra area on Sunday morning. There were several stab wounds on the body, and his limbs were fractured. An FIR was registered against unidentified persons under section 302 (murder) of the IPC and investigations began. The ASP also arrived at the village and began investigating the murder.
The postmortem was conducted by a panel of three doctors on Monday and found over 15 injuries on the throat, chest and abdomen.

Police initially suspected the crime to be an act of revenge, but the boy’s family said they had no enmity with anyone. On Sunday evening, the dog squad was called from Bareilly. Sniffer dog Diana, and her handler Kapil Dev, took a police team from the spot where the body was found to the hut of a local priest, Sua Lal.

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Cuomo’s State of the State speech to set agenda for busy 2018 in Albany

ALBANY (NY)
The Buffalo News

January 2, 2018

By Tom Precious

ALBANY – With advance roll-outs of his State of the State proposals ending, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Wednesday moves onto the actual speech phase — an address certain to be particularly scrutinized by the left and right in an election year for a governor who sees himself with national political ambitions.

The governor, in both broad and specific brush strokes, will signal how the state can keep funding key programs in education and health care at a time when its deficit is project to be at least $4.4 billion. He is also expected to lay out changes in the state’s tax code that will help thousands of New Yorkers restricted by the new federal tax law in their ability to fully deduct their state and local tax payments.

While some takeaway is certain to focus on Cuomo’s bashing of Washington as more fodder for a possible 2020 White House run, Cuomo allies insist the tax issue, for one, is a hyper-provincial one.

“This is doing damage to New Yorkers and we have to deal with it. It’s very local and very personal for all elected officials in New York to undo the damage that was put on the shoulders of New Yorkers by this federal tax law,’’ said Sen. Jeff Klein, a Bronx Democrat and head of the Senate’s Independent Democratic Conference.

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When will US Jews confront sexual harassment and other abuses of power?

ISRAEL
The Jerusalem Post

December 23, 2017

By Rafael Medoff

Sexual harassment, perpetual one-man control, sky’s-the-limit salaries – is there is a common denominator in all these abuses of power?

More than two months have passed since the exposure of Harvey Weinstein’s alleged sexual abuse set off a wave of similar revelations about other public figures and inspired a serious reckoning in American society. Sadly, no such reckoning is yet underway in the American Jewish community.

In recent days, a few American Jewish institutions finally took some first, tentative steps toward addressing the issue. The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism terminated its relationship with a senior staff member after accounts surfaced of his sexual abuse of United Synagogue teens in the 1980s. The Jewish Museum of New York fired its director of public programs after several staff members reported he sexually harassed them. And the 92nd Street Y apparently has canceled a planned talk by Israeli author Ari Shavit, an admitted sexual harasser.

But much more needs to be done. For example, is it plausible that not a single United Synagogue administrator, summer camp counselor, or other staff member ever heard anything about the multiple sex abuse incidents? The USCJ should commission a thorough independent review to determine who knew what, and when – and why nobody intervened.

The 92nd Street Y episode likewise has so far provided more questions than answers. Which staff member came up with the idea of inviting Shavit, who just one year ago admitted to harassing multiple women? Which other staff members approved the invitation? What consequences will they face for their disgracefully poor judgment? Part of the problem the organized American Jewish community faces in addressing sexual harassment is the paucity of accountability mechanisms.

For example, an American politician who engages in sexual harassment sooner or later will have to face the voters. In Alabama, enough citizens were repulsed by the evidence against Senate candidate Roy Moore to defeat him at the polls. By contrast, democratic elections are almost unheard of among American Jewish or Zionist organizations.

The few token elections that are held often involve only one candidate, or are so heavily stacked in favor of the incumbent that the “voting” is a foregone conclusion.

Something is very wrong in the Jewish community when the head of an organization can orchestrate changes in the group’s bylaws to eliminate term limits and thereby entrench his power, or increase his own salary or other material benefits.

Anyone who has spent time among the leaders of US Jewish or Zionist organizations knows that more than a few of them harbor a deep-seated sense of entitlement. Some see themselves virtually as presidents- for-life, much in the spirit of Third World tinhorn dictators.

Many of them apparently also believe that they are entitled to wildly exorbitant salaries. According to The Forward’s recently-published annual list of Jewish leaders’ earnings, the top 30 are earning between $409,000 and $818,000 annually. The next 10 on the list are earning at least $308,000. And that doesn’t include the many extra perks.

Compare those figures to the salaries of, say, teachers in Jewish private schools. It says something about a community’s values and priorities if those who spend their time making bombastic speeches and issuing verbose press releases are being paid 10 times as much as those who teach our children. The average salary for all private school teachers in the United States is just $47,000; and many Jewish day school teachers make far less than that.

Sexual harassment, perpetual one-man control, sky’s-the-limit salaries – is there is a common denominator in all these abuses of power? If so, perhaps it is the sense of entitlement, and the lack of accountability, that is all too pervasive among some American Jewish and Zionist leaders. Entitled to keep their jobs as long as they want. Entitled to take whatever level of salary they choose, rubber-stamped by their handpicked board members. Entitled to treat their staff members however they fancy, confident that those who fear being fired will never expose them.

Obviously not every one of these characteristics applies to every leader of an American Jewish or Zionist organization. But enough of them apply for one to conclude that abuse of power in the organized American Jewish community is a problem that requires serious attention.

What can be done? Here are a few initial suggestions.

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Judge orders continued mediation to resolve Minnesota bankruptcy case

ST. PAUL (MN)
Catholic News Service

January 2, 2018

By Maria Wiering

ST. PAUL, Minn. (CNS) — The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis said a bankruptcy judge’s decision that the archdiocese should return to mediation with the other involved parties “bolsters our resolve to move forward in the bankruptcy process.”

“We look to engage with all participants in mediation as directed by the judge to bring a prompt and fair resolution,” Tom Abood, chairman of the archdiocese’s Reorganization Task Force, said in a statement.

Federal bankruptcy court Judge Robert Kressel Dec. 28 denied two competing plans that attempted to resolve the archdiocese’s bankruptcy. He stated that he expected all parties to return to mediation.

In a joint memorandum issued to the archdiocese and the Unsecured Creditors Committee, which includes clergy sexual abuse claimants, Kressel said he expected the parties “to mediate in good faith” to reach an agreement “providing appropriate and timely compensation to those who have suffered sexual abuse at the hands of those employed by or affiliated with the archdiocese.”

Abood said the archdiocese is “guided by (Kressel’s) words from earlier this year, that the longer this process continues, the less money will be available for those who have been harmed.”

He added, “We note and are gratified that Judge Kressel has once again directly dismissed the assertions by creditors’ counsel that the archdiocese has acted or is acting in bad faith regarding the reorganization.”

In his memorandum, Kressel expressed concern about the number of abuse claimants who have died since the archdiocese entered bankruptcy in January 2015, and that others may die as the reorganizations process “drags on.”

The judge said at least eight claimants have died, “essentially depriving them of meaningful compensation for the pain that they have endured.” He emphasized that the bankruptcy case affects actual people, especially those who suffered abuse and those who must pay for others’ actions.

“While the creditors committee seeks retribution for the wrongs suffered by victims, none of the people who committed the abuse in the first place or exacerbated it in the second place will suffer,” he wrote. “The financial cost of compensation falls not on any of these people, but a completely different group of people. It falls on current employees, including priests, teachers, coaches, and on retired school librarians and others who have worked for the archdiocese and the parishes and earned a modest retirement.

“The cost may fall on students at Catholic schools and their parents. It will fall on thousands of parishioners. And the cost will be borne by beneficiaries of the charity and other good works by the archdiocese and the parishes,” the memorandum continued.

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Opinion: Media focus on Cardinal Law’s death ignored his good works

LOWELL (MA)
The Lowell Sun

January 1, 2018

Cardinal Bernard Law died recently, and media outlets couldn’t wait to highlight his involvement with the child sex-abuse scandal. Pulling scabs and uncovering old wounds is what keeps them relevant, right?

I was more recently gratified to read in The Sun that one victim of these undoubtedly horrific crimes hoped that Law was in purgatory and not in hell. For Catholics purgatory is a state where after dying one is “purged” of sin’s effects in preparation for entry into heaven. In Tuesday’s Sun I was similarly encouraged to read where a victim had forgiven Law and the clergy who actually abused him.

The judicial system has the specific role of bringing to justice and punishment people who have committed crimes. Religious entities, on the other hand, have a quite different mission; to lead people to repentance and redemption. Besides, who of us can know Cardinal Law’s intention when he transferred priests from parish to parish at the same time when the abuses were actually occurring? These were not uncovered until years later.

So, I guess, to paraphrase what my sainted pastor, Rev. Father Lucien Loiselle at the former Saint Mary of the Assumption parish in Dracut, used to say at every Mass: “Pray for Cardinal Law and remember all the good that he did.”

MICHAEL LANGLOIS

Dracut

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Bernard Law’s Funeral and An Honest Proposal

UNITED STATES
Huffington Post

January 1, 2018

By Sally Vance-Trembath

Many found Bernard Law’s Roman funeral deeply upsetting. There have been various responses to that Catholic funeral protocol: condemnation, explanation, justification. I suspect that actual victims of molestation and rape are not satisfied by details that describe who gets what kind of funeral. I worked with “The Voice of the Faithful” early on so I know something of victims and their families. The last thing they need or want to hear about is Catholic protocol. In many ways, such protocols acted as accelerants for their destruction. It must be harrowing to see any display of honor given to the person who destroyed your life. Clerical collars and vestments that should mark sacramental authority instead provided camouflage. And the camouflage was brilliant. The trappings of office and authority as instruments for the disturbing larceny of this Catholic Crisis. That is what I saw as I listened to victims during those years. Their capacity for intimacy had been stolen. That is how I think about the predators. They were thieves. In treating their victims’ bodies as things, those villains robbed those young people of experiencing those same bodies as locations of tenderness and delight in physical love. So if we are going to talk about Catholic protocol, let’s talk. Let us honestly bring the best of our protocol, in this case, our liturgical system to this persistent sorrow. Signs and symbols were used to spread this contagion; it is long past time that we used our symbolic, ritual tradition to promote healing on a massive scale. The damage is widespread; the repair must be so.

As a theologian I must champion the deep truth that animated the funeral for Bernard Law: Catholic sacraments display an essential truth-claim that the Judeo-Christian tradition makes about reality: God’s presence saturates all of our experience. We mark that truth in many ways; for Catholics the Sacraments are among our richest expressions. We need Sacraments; we are constitutively communitarian creatures.

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‘I’m not going to cry’: Leonie Sheedy reveals personal pain in fight for sexual abuse survivors

AUSTRLIA
The Guardian

January 2, 2018

By Melissa Davey

A vocal supporter of the royal commission into child sexual abuse, Sheedy implored survivors to tell their story and to keep fighting for justice

For the past five years Leonie Sheedy travelled around Australia urging survivors of childhood sexual abuse in orphanages and foster care to tell their stories to the child abuse royal commission. She was the vocal and visible presence outside the commission’s public hearings, confronting politicians and holding placards. She stood in the glaring sun and pouring rain protesting against the leaders and institutions who failed children, demanding stories of abuse be recognised.

But despite imploring survivors of abuse not to take their stories to their grave, it took the 63-year-old until the commission had almost finished its work in December to tell her own harrowing story of being abused while in care at the Sisters of Mercy St Catherine’s Children’s home in Geelong.

“I’d say I’ve supported over 100 people to tell their story, and the oldest person I supported at the commission was 93,” Sheedy told Guardian Australia, following the tabling of the royal commission’s final report in December. “What happened as a result is I recognised I needed to ask for my own private session with the royal commissioners to tell my story.”

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Derry archbishop pledges help for abuse sufferers

DERRY (IRELAND)
Derry Now

January 2, 2018

The Primate of All Ireland, Archbishop Eamon Martin, has pledged that the Catholic Church will play its part in raising awareness about domestic violence and abuse and in supporting anyone affected to access information confidentially.

In a special New Year homily to be delivered today to mark the World Day of Peace, Dr Martin, the former principal of St Columb’s College, also re-iterated Pope Francis’s call to show compassion to refugees.

Archbishop Martin said: “Organisations like Women’s Aid alert us to the fact that at least 14% of all crime reported to the police last year was related to domestic violence with one call every 18 minutes.

“The high levels of depression, addictions and anxiety in our country, and the frightening reality of domestic violence is not often spoken about openly, but it is an indication of the huge need that exists for inner peace and family reconciliation.

“Just before Christmas, the Catholic and Church of Ireland Cathedral parishes here in Armagh came together for training in the Safe Church Initiative.

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«Così Don Gianni abusò di noi»

ITALY
GQ Italia

December 29, 2017

di Edoardo Montolli

[Google Translate: The trial of Don Gianni, born Giovanni Trotta, expelled since 2012, who never stopped raping children]

Il processo a Don Gianni, al secolo Giovanni Trotta, spretato dal 2012, che non smise mai di violentare bambini

Indossava il clergy e si faceva chiamare Don Gianni. Anche se la Chiesa lo aveva già ridotto allo stato laicale, vietandogli di avvicinare i bambini della parrocchia. Segno, che evidentemente, anche prima di accuse ufficiali e processi, la curia conosceva bene le tendenze di Giovanni Trotta, 57 anni. Un uomo che, stando al racconto delle sue presunte vittime in aula, aveva in sé un indissolubile senso dell’impunità. È l’ultimo caso tutto italiano di un cancro che attanaglia la Chiesa cattolica da sempre.

Nei giorni scorsi è morto a 86 anni Bernard Law, il cardinale di Boston, l’uomo che coprì per diciotto anni i preti seriali che abusarono di una quantità enorme di bambini e che lui, quando la situazione diventò ingestibile, si limitò a spostare di parrocchia in parrocchia. Come fece per padre John Geoghan, ritenuto responsabile di 130 violenze. Finché un giorno lo scandalo divampò – ci avrebbero fatto anche un film, Il caso Spotlight – e lui fu trasferito a Roma, con il prestigioso nuovo incarico di arciprete alla Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore.

Le esequie si sono tenute alla Basilica di San Pietro, come per tutti i cardinali, alla presenza di Papa Francesco.

In quegli stessi giorni la commissione d’inchiesta del governo australiano ha stilato un rapporto sulla pedofilia nel Paese: il 60% dei casi trattati ha subito l’abuso in ambito religioso. Si parla di migliaia di bambini. Un altro cardinale, George Pell, arcivescovo emerito di Sidney, è ora accusato di aver coperto preti pedofili. Secondo il rapporto in alcune diocesi australiane il 15% dei sacerdoti è sospettato di pedofilia. E Pell stesso, cosa mai accaduta ad un cardinale, andrà a processo per un episodio di stupro.

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Scandalo prete casertano, si vaglia anche la pista pedofilia

ITALY
New Notizie

December 31, 2017

[Google Translate: At the beginning of December, a scandal hit the church of the Transfiguration of Succivo , in the province of Caserta , when a parish priest, Don Crescenzo Abbate , denounced Mario Donadio and Yevheneik Borysyuk , respectively 22 and 24, after extortion , after they had threatened the parish priest to spread a hard video in which he appeared together with one of the two boys during an oral report.]

Ad inizio Dicembre uno scandalo ha colpito la chiesa della Trasfigurazione di Succivo, in provincia di Caserta, quando un parroco, don Crescenzo Abbate, ha denunciato per estorsione Mario Donadio e Yevheneik Borysyuk, rispettivamente di 22 e 24 anni, dopo che questi ultimi avevano minacciato il parroco di diffondere un video hard in cui compariva insieme a uno dei due ragazzi durante un rapporto orale.

La procura di Napoli Nord, diretta dal magistrato Giovanni Corona, ha disposto il sequestro del cellulare del prete contenente il messaggio intimidatorio per verificare se ci siano implicazioni da parte sua che costituiscono reato.

Al contempo anche i cellulari dei due ragazzi saranno al vaglio del magistrato, che avrà la possibilità di visionarli già entro il prossimo mese.

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Sesso con ventenni e video hot, sequestrato smatphone del sacerdote

ITALY
Il Mattino

December 31, 2017

di Mena Grimaldi

[Google Translate: SUCCIVO – Investigation of the scandal that struck at the beginning of December on the Church of the Transfiguration of Succivo expands, leading to the home of Mario Donadio and Yevheneik Borysyuk, aged 22 and 24, on charges of attempting to extort money to the parish priest, Don Crescenzo Abbate, to avoid publishing a hard video. The carabinieri of Marcianise’s company, directed by the captain Luca D’Alessandro, in fact, have also kidnapped the cell phone of the priest, meanwhile suspended from his duties by the bishop of Aversa, Monsignor Angelo Spinillo. ]

SUCCIVO – Si amplia l’indagine sullo scandalo che si è abbattuto a inizio dicembre sulla chiesa della Trasfigurazione di Succivo che ha portato ai domiciliari Mario Donadio e Yevheneik Borysyuk, di 22 e 24 anni, con l’accusa di aver tentato di estorcere del denaro al parroco, don Crescenzo Abbate, per evitare di pubblicare un video hard. I carabinieri della compagnia di Marcianise, diretti dal capitano Luca D’Alessandro, infatti, hanno sequestrato anche il cellulare del sacerdote, nel frattempo sospeso dalle sue funzioni dal vescovo di Aversa, Monsignor Angelo Spinillo.

Sequestro disposto dal magistrato della Procura di Napoli Nord, Giovanni Corona, che sta svolgendo un’indagine a 360 gradi. Vista la delicatezza del caso, gli inquirenti vogliono capire se vi siano state anche responsabilità che costituiscano reato da parte del prete. Responsabilità non solo legate all’episodio della denuncia per estorsione sporta dal sacerdote nei confronti dei due ragazzi, ma capire se vi siano stati in precedenza contatti anche con adolescenti di età inferiore ai 18 anni. Al momento sul tavolo non vi sarebbero elementi concreti che porterebbero in questa direzione, ma la scrupolosità della Procura e degli investigatori non sta lasciando nulla al caso.

Solo l’analisi tecnica dello smartphone del parroco – molto chiacchierato già prima che lo scandalo raggiungesse le cronache nazionali – metterà un punto fermo sulla questione. Così come saranno fondamentali, per quanto riguarda i fatti legati all’estorsione, i risultati che i consulenti stanno svolgendo sui cellulari dei due ragazzi, sequestrati subito dopo l’arresto, il 5 dicembre scorso, e che dovrebbero arrivare sul tavolo del magistrato il prossimo mese.

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REPORT AFFIRMS DUTCH CHURCH HANDLING OF ABUSE CASES

The Netherlands
The Tablet

January 2, 2018

By Tom Heneghan

A special independent foundation overseeing the Dutch Church’s response to past clerical sexual abuse has concluded that its programmes have provided victims with “recognition, satisfaction and help” including 28.6 million euros in compensation.

Presenting its final report, it said the programmes set up after a shocking 2011 inquiry into scandals from 1945 to the present had dealt with 3,712 reports of abuse. Of these, 2,062 led to formal complaints that a special panel examined.

In 941 cases, compensation – which was capped at 100,000 euros for the gravest abuse – was paid. Some reports led to offers of psychological treatment for victims, others were turned down as unfounded or inadmissible.

Receiving the report in mid-December, Cardinal Archbishop Willem Eijk of Utrecht said the Church, by establishing the lay-run foundation, “wanted to openly face up to a black page in its history”.

The foundation, which handled complaints and compensation as well as dialogue with victims and officialdom, began work after a Church-appointed inquiry found that tens of thousands of children had been sexually abused in Catholic orphanages, boarding schools and seminaries since the Second World War.

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Former Kirk moderator Dr Andrew McLellan hits out over “astonishing” delay in abuse response from Catholic Church

SCOTLAND
The Sunday Herald

January 2, 2018

By Stephen Naysmith

THE Catholic Church has been accused of failing to establish contact with victims of historic child abuse as it pledged to do in response to an independent review.

The Very Reverend Dr Andrew McLellan, a former Church of Scotland moderator who carried out an independent external review of child protection and safeguarding policies within the Catholic Church, said it was “astonishing” no contact had been made with victims’ groups.

When The McLellan Commission report was delivered in 2015, the Catholic Church pledged to implement all of its findings. These included a pledge that “justice must be done and justice must be seen to be done for those who have been abused and for those against whom allegations of abuse are made”.

However, a spokesperson for the Catholic Church insisted “interaction with survivors continues” and contact by its very nature was confidential. The spokesperson said: “The Church is now close to full implementation of the recommendations contained in the McLellan report.

“Safeguarding guidelines have been comprehensively revised and updated, while interaction with survivors continues.

“Crucially, no individual or organisation has a monopoly on survivor representation or interaction. Contact with survivors, by its nature confidential, is taking place across the Church. Many survivors do not identify with or join national groups and such groups should not presume to speak for them.” Archbishop Philip Tartaglia, as president of the Bishops’ Conference, apologised to anyone who had been harmed or who had suffered in any way as a result of actions by anyone within the Catholic Church.

He added: “We apologise to those who have found the Church’s response slow, unsympathetic or uncaring and reach out to them as we take up the recommendations of the McLellan commission.”

The Church says it has set up an independent review group headed by Baroness Helen Liddell to take forward the commission’s recommendations and claims it has been consulting with survivors.

But Dr McLellan said it was extraordinary that, more than two years after the publication of his report, groups representing victims of abuse are yet to meet with the review group, and claim they have had little meaningful contact from bishops and the Church.

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London Catholic school abuse survivor speaks of ‘constant violence’

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Guardian

January 1, 2018

By Harriet Sherwood

Man says ‘you couldn’t escape’ violence at St Benedict’s school where former headmaster has been jailed for sexually abusing boys

A man who was abused as a child at a Catholic school in London has spoken of a “culture of violence” at the institution, where a former headmaster was jailed just before Christmas for rape and other sexual offences.

“The threat and infliction of violence was constant. You couldn’t escape it – it was completely normalised,” said the survivor, who gave evidence in court against Andrew Soper, known as Father Laurence.

The former headmaster of St Benedict’s middle school, who later became abbot of Ealing Abbey in west London, is thought to be the most senior Catholic priest to be convicted of sex crimes in the UK. He is the fourth person to be convicted of sexual abuse committed at St Benedict’s.

“There wouldn’t be a day when there wasn’t a queue of boys outside [Soper’s] study to be caned,” said “Peter”, who asked not to be identified. During the two years Peter was a pupil at the school, Soper “molested me as often as possible”.

Peter thought no one would believe his word against that of a priest. The abuse “was accepted, it was the norm, it was routine. Everybody had been into Father Laurence’s study. I realised it had happened to lots of boys before me and would happen to lots of boys after me.”

Peter, whose family were staunch Catholics, won a place at the fee-paying St Benedict’s at the age of 11 in 1979. “It was a culture shock, coming from a normal, relaxed primary school.”

One of his earliest experiences was getting into trouble in class. The teacher, a lay member of staff, made the 11-year-old kneel in front of the class and conducted the rest of the lesson standing on Peter’s hands.

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Support line for North Yorkshire school abuse victims

YORK (ENGLAND)
The York Press

January 2, 2018

By Dan Bean

A YORK charity has launched a special helpline to support victims of child abuse at schools under investigation in North Yorkshire.

Survive, which was started in the city in 1990 to help men and women who were abused as children, is running the helpline during the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse at Ampleforth and Ealing Abbey and College, run by the Roman Catholic Benedictine Congregation.

So far, more than 4,000 documents are on record in the review, with material from police forces, The Independent Schools Inspectorate and the Charity Commission, and Dani Wardman from the charity said she expected calls to the organisation to increase as the inquiry continues.

The support line went live at the end of November, run by trained Survive staff, available from Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm, and is set to be in place until the end of March next year.

Dani said: “When abuse stories dominate the headlines we often forget the impact this has on the victims. It is a significant step that Ampleforth and now Ealing have recognised the importance of providing support to those who have suffered sexual abuse under their care.

“It is impossible to predict numbers of calls but the first step is getting the phone number into the public domain. Survive are here to support Survivors of sexual violence and we really hope those who have experienced this at Ampleforth or Ealing know they can give us a call.”

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After the royal commission, a new generation of Catholic priests looks to the future

AUSTRALIA
Australian Broadcast Corporation

January 1, 2018

By Isabella Higgins

A new generation of Catholic priests is promising to make the church more open, engaging and modern.

Last month the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse delivered damning findings about the Catholic Church.

The commission’s final report recommended the Church break with centuries of tradition, tossing out the sanctity of the confessional and making celibacy for priests voluntary.

There has been reluctance from senior leadership, but a new wave of priests-in-training believe the priesthood must evolve.

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NY Legislature convenes: Top issues for 2018 session

ALBANY (NY)
The Associated Press

January 1, 2018

New York lawmakers will gavel in the 2018 legislative session Wednesday. Here’s a look at some of the top issues expected this year:

NEW YORK CITY SUBWAYS: The aging system has been beset by chronic breakdowns and delays. Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo and lawmakers have pointed fingers at each other and floated different ideas for how to raise money for needed upgrades. Those ideas have included congestion pricing, which would impose added fees on motorists entering busy parts of the city, as well as a long-shot proposal to raise taxes on the wealthy.

CHILD SEX ABUSE: A proposal to loosen the statute of limitations for child molestation has failed repeatedly in Albany but supporters are hoping national attention on sexual misconduct gives their cause fresh momentum. The bill would give victims more time to file civil lawsuits or seek criminal charges against abusers and create a one-year window for past victims to file civil suits. Victims now have until they turn 23 to sue.

SEXUAL MISCONDUCT: Cuomo says he will propose a comprehensive state policy for combating sexual harassment. Several lawmakers have already advanced their own ideas.

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New York Legislature returns, faces tough choices on budget

ALBANY (NY)
The Associated Press

January 2, 2018

By David Klepper

STATE: The work gets underway Wednesday.

ALBANY — The new year dawns with political storm clouds bearing down on New York lawmakers and Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The New York City subway system, beset by breakdowns and delays, needs a massive investment. The upcoming corruption trial of a former top Cuomo adviser threatens to dim the Democrat’s presidential chances. The state faces a $4 billion deficit, while ongoing conflicts with Republicans in Washington mean the state could lose even more health care funding. Then this fall, Cuomo and the entire Legislature face re-election.

It all adds up to a year of political maneuvering, tough choices and no easy answers.

“Extremely difficult,” is the prediction from Sen. David Carlucci, a Rockland County Democrat. “The most important thing we can do is try to put the politics aside, at least for six months.”

The work gets underway Wednesday when the Legislature reconvenes and Cuomo delivers his state of the state address.

Big issues for the year include a contentious bill that would extend the statute of limitations on child sex abuse cases to allow victims to sue for decades-old abuse, a proposal long opposed by the Catholic Church and other institutions.

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How do churches address sexual misconduct by clergy members?

UNITED STATES
Lancaster Online

January 1, 2018

By Elizabeth Eisenstadt-Evans

Recently a group of 140 evangelical women representing diverse theological and social perspectives released a statement asking churches to break their silence on violence against women.

Yet when it comes to addressing sexual assault, it’s not only conservative Christian denominations that are in denial, say experts.

Many denominations have policies and statements that address sexual harassment and assault, some for decades. In many cases, boundaries training is mandatory for clergy, lay staff and volunteers. The United Methodist Church has a whole website focused on sexual ethics. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America recommends that each congregation have its own policy for preventing sexual misconduct.

But policies and statements aren’t nearly enough, say victim advocates and those who train future clergy.

Despite those institutional guardrails, they argue, many churches remain unsafe territory for victims, spaces in which there is often a lack of accountability and an unwillingness to address sexual harassment and assault in ways that give victims a voice.

Writing for Ministry Matters (an online resource for church leaders) in October, Episcopal priest Kira Schlesinger argued that many churches still protect harassers, even when their behavior is an “open secret.”

“As a young clergywoman, I am cautious of those colleagues with whom I am not close who greet me with a hug that lingers a bit too long or a kiss on the cheek that lands too close to my mouth. There are the comments about what kind of body my vestments might be covering up.”

In an article posted on the United Methodist Church website titled “Sexual misconduct at church: What every member should know,” denominational staff member Joe Iovino wrote: “United Methodists have committed acts of sexual misconduct. Adults have been sexually harassed by their pastor. Children in our care have been abused. Staff members have viewed pornographic material on their church computers.”

When that takes place, it divides congregations, devastates families and derails careers.

“Sexual harassment and abuse is not limited to a church or a denomination,” says Julie Owens, a domestic violence survivor who now travels the country consulting with and training professionals in the public and private sectors.

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GOP Senate should cease blocking authorized recourse for New Yorkers abused as children

NEW YORK (NY)
Kaplan Herald

January 2, 2018

The movement has awakened many to the wide range of sexual misconduct. We‘ve heard of powerful men repeatedly, with apparent impunity, accosting and assaulting women. The contentious Alabama Senate election shone a spotlight on accusations that GOP candidate Roy Moore had targeted young adolescent girls.

With so much news about and, finally, serious consequences for sexual harassment, assault and abuse, many New Yorkers might assume that those who were victims of abuse as children are given fair and ample opportunity to seek some measure of justice. But they would be wrong. Under state law, criminal charges against an accused molester, for most forms of abuse short of rape, must be filed before a victim is 23. Victims who want to seek redress in civil court can only sue a church, school or other institution before they are 21, and can only sue their abuser until they are 23.

Such limits on seeking justice are more than unfair. New York legislators have had in front of them for years to realign the statute of limitations to something that is fair and fits the timeline of trauma that victims of child sexual abuse can face. Yet the Republican-controlled Senate has failed to allow this bill to come to a vote.

“People can‘t really deal with this issue until they reach adulthood,” said Bob Hoatson, a victim of childhood abuse and longtime advocate for victims, told The Journal News/lohud Editorial Board. He joined three other victims and Marci Hamilton, a national expert on the abuse of minors, who talked about the need for New York to expand the statue of limitations for abuse victims seeking legal recourse.

Calling themselves , advocates are trying to turn up pressure on Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, who has refused to allow legislation to come to the floor, and Senate Republicans who have supported him, including Sen. Terrence Murphy, R-Yorktown.

The Senate bill () would allow victims of childhood abuse to file civil actions until they are 50 and would allow the filing of criminal charges until a victim is 28. There would also be a one-year window when cases from any point in time could proceed.

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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Brown no good friend to sex-abuse victims

Peoria (AZ)
Kaplan Herald

January 2, 2018
Letter: December 11, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

As a survivor of countless clergy sex-abuse crimes and cover-ups in the state of California, I recognize the religious threat and intimidation tactic that is using (“Trump doesn’t ‘fear the wrath of God,’ complains ,” Web, Dec. 9).

is touting his religious affiliation with Catholic Church officials and he used verbiage right out of the playbooks of complicit religious leaders such as Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell and the California Conference of Catholic Bishops when he said recently, “I don’t think President Trump has a fear of the Lord, the fear of the wrath of God, which leads one to more humility and this is such a reckless disregard for the truth and for the existential consequences that can be unleashed.”

That’s just one of the many twisted threats used by on behalf of sexual predators and those who cover up those crimes. Just look at his actions as he shut the doors of justice to sex-crime survivors in his own state. Basically, he is saying, in my opinion, if any more victims come forward he will burn them all. There won’t be an invisible being that he calls “God” to do that for him.

Perhaps might want to read about himself in the Bible that he loves and believes in so much, specifically the part that talks about how Judas betrayed Jesus for a few pieces of silver. That is what has done to his state.

Yet continues to want to deny that truth and protect his religious “boys club” by hiding behind “climate change.” Why?

MARY GRANT

Peoria, Ariz.

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OPINION: When Moses had a #MeToo moment

WASHINGTON (DC)
Religion News Service

January 2, 2018

By Jeffrey Salkin

You don’t see every revolution coming.

A year ago, no one would have predicted the fall of Harvey Weinstein, and other powerful men who have been accused (and in many cases, have confessed to) sexual harassment.

Let’s just call it the Tiananmen Square of Testosterone – the moment when women, all over the world, stood up in front of the tanks of malignant masculinity, and screamed: Enough.

#MeToo.

That revolution has already changed the world, and it is just getting started.

What’s next?

#MeToo is coming to the Jewish world.

Let’s call it “MeTooJew.”

I predict that it will come in the form of accusations of sexual harassment against high-level Jewish communal executives. The targets of those accusations will include major donors, using coercive sexual power against female staff members.

It is already starting to happen.

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Manhattan DA Cy Vance joining fight to enact law allowing child sex abuse victims to seek justice

ALBANY (NY)
New York Daily News

January 2, 2018

By Kenneth Lovett

ALBANY — Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance is joining the fight to enact a long-sought after bill to make it easier for child sex abuse victims to seek justice.

Vance will join a group of survivors and other advocates in front of the Fearless Girl statue in Manhattan on Tuesday to call on Gov. Cuomo to include the bill to extend the timeframe that a victim has to bring a civil or criminal case in his proposed state budget. It’s due to be unveiled later in the month.

“This bill reflects what we know about child sexual assault today: it can take a long time for someone to be ready to report it to law enforcement, and this delay is common, it is understandable, and it should not bar a survivor from seeking justice,” Vance said.

The DA, who credited Cuomo for supporting the Child Victims Act in previous years, said the bill would “enable our prosecutors to hold more abusers accountable, and get justice for more survivors.”

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EDITORIAL: Strengthen Family Values To Stop Violence And Abuse At Home, In Society

LAUTOKA (FIJI)
Fiji Sun Online

January 2, 2018

By Charles Chambers

Family values should become the main focus of everyone in Fiji in for 2018.

These values have become so eroded that it could be blamed for the breakdown of respect within families, the abuses, both physical and sexual, the increased number of youths into drugs and the discarding of the elderly to care homes.

In this modern day and age, one must explore what are some of the main reasons for the breakdown in family life.

The head of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis, in one of his documents pointed a finger at social media and the internet which he said contributed greatly to this.

The 79-year-old pontiff explored the way technology affected relationships, such as when people stay on their mobile phones during meal times.

He said the fast pace of the online world was affecting people’s approach to relationships.

“They believe, along the lines of social networks, that love can be connected or disconnected at the whim of the consumer, and the relationship quickly ‘blocked’.”

Pope Francis offered support for women, condemning the “verbal, physical and sexual violence” that many endure in marriages and rejecting “sexual submission” to men.

He said the belief that feminism was to blame for the crisis in families today was completely invalid.

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Chief Justice Roberts announces sexual harassment moves, touts disaster response in year-end report

UNITED STATES
CNN

December 31, 2017

By Ariane de Vogue, Supreme Court Reporter

(CNN) Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts announced in an annual report on Sunday that he has called for an evaluation of how the judicial branch handles allegations of sexual harassment.

In his year-end report on the state of the judiciary, Roberts said recent events “have illuminated the depth of the problem of sexual harassment in the workplace” and made clear that the “judicial branch is not immune.”

“The judiciary will begin 2018 by undertaking a careful evaluation of whether its standards of conduct and its procedures for investigating and correcting inappropriate behavior are adequate to ensure an exemplary workplace for every judge and every court employee,” Roberts wrote.

The announcement comes after Judge Alex Kozinski of the San Francisco-based 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals announced his retirement earlier this month after a Washington Post story detailed accusations of sexual misconduct from several former clerks and junior staffers. The article included the account of a former clerk who said Kozinski made her look at pornographic images and asked whether they sexually aroused her.

Without getting into specifics, Kozinski apologized for his actions in a statement released by his lawyer, but also defended what he called his “broad sense of humor.”

“I’ve always had a broad sense of humor and a candid way of speaking to both male and female law clerks alike,” Kozinski wrote. “In doing so, I may not have been mindful enough of the special challenges and pressures that women face in the workplace. It grieves me to learn that I caused any of my clerks to feel uncomfortable; this was never my intent.”

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January 1, 2018

La resistencia que encontrará el Papa en Chile

CHILE
La Tercera

December 30, 2017

By Ignacio Bazán

[Google Translate: The Pope’s visit to Chile in January is not welcome by all. In the organizations related to the denunciation of abuses within the Church, a seminar is brewing that brings international activists related to the issue right the day that Francisco steps on Chilean soil. And that’s not all. They also evaluate coordinating a series of protest acts during the papal visit.]

La visita del Papa a Chile en enero no es bienvenida por todos. En las organizaciones relacionadas con la denuncia de abusos dentro de la Iglesia se está gestando un seminario que trae a activistas internacionales relacionados con el tema justo el día en que Francisco pise suelo chileno. Y eso no es todo. También evalúan coordinar una serie de actos de protesta durante la visita papal.

La reacción vino después del funeral del ex arzobispo de Boston Bernard Law en la Basílica San Pedro, en el Vaticano. Ahí estaba el Papa Francisco ofreciendo una corta bendición a quien fuese inculpado de ocultar y proteger una serie de abusos sexuales a niños ocurridos en su arquidiócesis entre 1984 y 2002 y que terminó dando origen a la película ganadora del Oscar, Spotlight.

Law, quien murió el pasado 20 de diciembre, a los 86 años, tras una corta estadía en un hospital del Vaticano, protegió a una docena de religiosos acusados de abusos sexuales a niños y tuvo que renunciar a su cargo después de que el Boston Globe destapara su red de protección a sacerdotes pedófilos. Uno de ellos fue acusado de haber violado o acosado a 130 niños, pero en lugar de sacarlo de su cargo, Law lo iba moviendo de parroquia en parroquia.

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Opinion: Wait Until Sexual Accusations Hit The Churches!

UNITED STATES
The Daily Caller

January 1, 2018

By Don Boys

Americans have seen a sea change recently with sexually abused women coming out of their closets and identifying unscrupulous men in entertainment, journalism, sports, and a small stirring among academia. Watch for much more in that area. What will really shock people is when it reaches the Protestant and Baptist churches.

Roman Catholics experienced a major scandal in recent years that is still reverberating even behind the Vatican walls. It is commendable that the media have been willing to deal thoroughly with that issue after years of delay. It is not honest or honorable if Protestant pastors come to the defense of an erring pastor while being critical of the massive Roman Catholic sex scandal. That is pure hypocrisy, but then hypocrites are found in all races, regions, ranks, and religions.

However, the giant elephant in the room is the non-Catholic churches that range from Adventists to Zion Christians, especially the very visible megachurches. It is my opinion that there are thousands of pastors who take advantage of church members and staff. Alas, many of the victims are young girls — and boys! No doubt, the problem extends to the evangelical seminaries and universities.

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Some tough choices faced by NYS lawmakers as they start a new session

ALBANY (NY)
Associated Press, appearing on wxxinews.org

January 1, 2018

The new year dawns with political storm clouds bearing down on New York lawmakers and Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The New York City subway system, beset by breakdowns and delays, needs a massive investment. The upcoming corruption trial of a former top Cuomo adviser threatens to dim the Democrat’s presidential chances. The state faces a $4 billion deficit, while ongoing conflicts with Republicans in Washington mean the state could lose even more health care funding. Then this fall, Cuomo and the entire Legislature face re-election.

It all adds up to a year of political maneuvering, tough choices and no easy answers.

“Extremely difficult,” is the prediction from Sen. David Carlucci, a Rockland County Democrat. “The most important thing we can do is try to put the politics aside, at least for six months.”

The work gets underway Wednesday when the Legislature reconvenes and Cuomo delivers his state of the state address.

Big issues for the year include a contentious bill that would extend the statute of limitations on child sex abuse cases to allow victims to sue for decades-old abuse, a proposal long opposed by the Catholic Church and other institutions.

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London Catholic school abuse survivor speaks of ‘constant violence’

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Guardian

January 1, 2018

By Harriet Sherwood

Man says ‘you couldn’t escape’ violence at St Benedict’s school where former headmaster has been jailed for sexually abusing boys

A man who was abused as a child at a Catholic school in London has spoken of a “culture of violence” at the institution, where a former headmaster was jailed just before Christmas for rape and other sexual offences.

“The threat and infliction of violence was constant. You couldn’t escape it – it was completely normalised,” said the survivor, who gave evidence in court against Andrew Soper, known as Father Laurence.

The former headmaster of St Benedict’s middle school, who later became abbot of Ealing Abbey in west London, is thought to be the most senior Catholic priest to be convicted of sex crimes in the UK. He is the fourth person to be convicted of sexual abuse committed at St Benedict’s.

“There wouldn’t be a day when there wasn’t a queue of boys outside [Soper’s] study to be caned,” said “Peter”, who asked not to be identified. During the two years Peter was a pupil at the school, Soper “molested me as often as possible”.

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Liberal activist Bill Samuels backing Child Victims Act

NEW YORK
New York Daily News

January 1, 2018

By Kenneth Lovett

The following is an expanded version of the third item from my “Albany Insider” column from Monday’s print editions:

Businessman and liberal activist Bill Samuels, who helped finance the unsuccessful effort in November to create a constitutional convention, is now backing a bill to make it easier for child sex abuse victims to seek justice as adults.

Samuels will take part in a press conference by advocates Tuesday calling on Gov. Cuomo to include the Child Victims Act in his State of the State address Wednesday and his upcoming state budget proposal.

“This is a no brainer,” Samuels said. “Why Cuomo doesn’t put this in his budget, why the (Senate) Republicans don’t go along with it, I don’t get it.”

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After the royal commission, a new generation of Catholic priests looks to the future

AUSTRALIA
ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

January 1, 2018

By Isabella Higgins

A new generation of Catholic priests is promising to make the church more open, engaging and modern.

Last month the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse delivered damning findings about the Catholic Church.

The commission’s final report recommended the Church break with centuries of tradition, tossing out the sanctity of the confessional and making celibacy for priests voluntary.

There has been reluctance from senior leadership, but a new wave of priests-in-training believe the priesthood must evolve.

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