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.

March 6, 2018

Another allegation of abuse by a priest

BUFFALO (NY)
WGRZ

March 5, 2018

By Claudine Ewing

A 52-year-old man living in Pennsylvania is speaking out for the first time about a case of sexual abuse. The man says he was 18 when he was allegedly sexually abused by a priest he met at St. Columban’s Retreat House in Derby.

“I’m coming forth now because I think there are a number of other people who need to know they are not alone,” said a 52-year old man who asked that his identity not be revealed.

The man said he was 18-years-old when he lost his virginity to a now deceased Catholic priest. He met the Columban Father at the Columban Retreat House in Derby in the 1980’s. They are a missionary society, they are not Diocesan priests, but are often stationed and working in a Diocese.

Now as an adult, he reflects on how wrong it was for the priest to befriend him and then sexually abuse him. “How could an 18-year-old boy, child, who was intoxicated be able to give any kind of consent to anything by a priest who was at least old enough to be his father if not grandfather,” said the alleged victim in an interview with 2 On Your Side’s Claudine Ewing. “I visited him at that time in Chicago and after being given alcohol, and the two of us drinking, I fell asleep on the floor in the living room of his apartment.” He said he was then sexually abused.

The priest died in 1995. The Buffalo Diocese will not say if the priest is on a list of clergy accused of sexual 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.

Pope Francis Still Highly Regarded in U.S., but Signs of Disenchantment Emerge

UNITED STATES
PEW Research Center

March 6, 2018

Five years after his election, pope draws growing number of negative assessments, especially from Catholic Republicans

Five years into Francis’ papacy, the vast majority of U.S. Catholics continue to have a favorable opinion of the Argentinian pontiff, and most say he represents a major – and positive – change for the Roman Catholic Church. At the same time, a new Pew Research Center survey finds signs of growing discontent with Francis among Catholics on the political right, with increasing shares of Catholic Republicans saying they view Francis unfavorably, and that they think he is too liberal and naïve.

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.

Five years in, Americans’ love of Pope Francis remains strong

UNITED STATES
America Magazine

March 6, 2018

By Michael J. O’Loughlin

American Catholics still love Pope Francis as he approaches the fifth anniversary of his election next week—though Catholic Republicans increasingly describe him as “too liberal” and less than half of U.S. Catholics believe he is adequately handling clerical sexual abuse.

According to a new Pew Research Center poll released on Tuesday, 84 percent of U.S. Catholics hold a “favorable” view of Pope Francis, a number nearly unchanged from the early days of his pontificate. Huge majorities of U.S. Catholics also agree that the pope is humble (91 percent) and compassionate (94 percent).

The percentage of U.S. Catholics who rate Pope Francis favorably has been consistently about five to 10 points higher than in similar polls taken during the reign of Pope Benedict XVI, who retired in 2013. Pope John Paul II regularly received higher favorable ratings than both of his successors, with more than nine in 10 U.S. Catholics rating him favorably. (Pew notes in its report, however, that its polls during John Paul’s papacy were conducted before widespread reporting about sexual abuse by Catholic 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.

St. Cloud is 4th Minnesota diocese to declare bankruptcy amid abuse lawsuits

ST. CLOUD (MN)
ACI Prensa

March 5, 2018

The Diocese of St. Cloud has announced that it will declare bankruptcy as it faces 74 civil claims alleging the sexual abuse of minors.

St. Cloud is the fourth diocese in Minnesota to declare bankruptcy after the passage of the Minnesota Child Victims Act in 2013, which lifted the civil statute of limitations for child abuse allegations until May 2016, giving alleged victims three years in which to file claims for abuse alleged to have occurred decades ago.

“I am committed to openness and transparency about how we are working to resolve these lawsuits. We will keep pastors and parishes informed about the process as it moves forward. I ask you to please continue to pray for healing for all victims and survivors of clergy sexual abuse,” Bishop Donald Kettler said in a statement issued by the diocese on Feb. 28.

During the three-year window provided for by the Minnesota Child Victims Act, more than six hundred claims were filed against Catholic dioceses in Minnesota leading to bankruptcy announcements from the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Diocese of New Ulm, and Diocese of Duluth.

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.

Vic set to abolish abuse compo loophole

AUSTRALIA
SBS News via AAP

March 6, 2018

The Victorian government wants to abolish a legal loophole which has been used by organisations such as churches to avoid being sued by abuse survivors.

Victoria will abolish the so-called Ellis defence, an “unfair legal loophole” which has prevented child sexual abuse survivors from suing organisations like the Catholic Church.

Under proposed laws introduced to parliament on Tuesday, unincorporated associations such as churches, would have to nominate an entity able to pay damages.

“This deals with what is something that I think has re-traumatised victims and survivors for too long, something that has made a terrible set of circumstances even harder,” Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters.

For too long “there’s been this veil, this fiction, that in the case of, say, the Catholic Church” there is nobody who can be sued, Mr Andrews 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.

WHY DIDN’T CASEY AFFLECK PRESENT BEST ACTRESS AT THE OSCARS? HERE’S WHY JENNIFER LAWRENCE AND JODIE FOSTER STOOD IN

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Newsweek

March 5, 2018

By Tufayel Ahmed

The 90th Academy Awards broke away from tradition in a major way Sunday night—and a lot of people noticed the absence of one particular actor.

It is customary for the previous year’s best actor and actress winners to present the opposite categories at the Oscars, but by all accounts Casey Affleck—who won best actor for Manchester by the Sea—wasn’t even in attendance at last night’s ceremony. Instead, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) paired up previous best actress winners Jennifer Lawrence and Jodie Foster to hand Frances McDormand her award. (Best actor was presented to Gary Oldman by Jane Fonda and Helen Mirren, rather than last year’s best actress Emma Stone, it’s worth noting.)

With the theme of Time’s Up permeating through Oscars season this year, Affleck’s absence stood out. When he was awarded the best actor prize in February last year, it was amid renewed focus on past accusations of sexual harassment. According to Variety, he withdrew to “avoid becoming a distraction.”

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.

Chris Berman accused of ‘racially disparaging’ voicemail to Jemele Hill as part of Adrienne Lawrence’s ESPN sexual harassment suit

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Daily News

March 5, 2018

By Evan Grossman

This. Could. Go. All. The. Way.

ESPN legend Chris Berman, known for his bombastic football calls, is just one of the boldfaced names that appears in an explosive and far-reaching sexual harassment suit filed against the network in Connecticut district court Sunday by a former employee.

Berman, 62, is accused of leaving a “racially disparaging” voicemail for Jemele Hill two years ago, one of many examples used to paint a picture of a hostile workplace that existed at ESPN for women. Berman has not responded to the allegations but Hill issued a statement on Twitter Monday night calling the way the “conflict” has been portrayed “dangerously inaccurate.”

Hill acknowledged having a “personal conflict” with Berman “a few years ago” but denied Berman left any racially disparaging remarks on her voicemail.

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.

ESPN a hotbed of misogyny and sexual harassment, says female ex-host in lawsuit

UNITED STATES
Miami Herald

March 5, 2018

By Crystal Hill

Male executives and employees at ESPN kept “scoreboards” naming female colleagues they wanted to have sex with and openly watched pornography on their computers, according to Adrienne Lawrence, an attorney and former legal analyst at the network.

“ESPN is, and always has been, a company rife with misogyny,” said the 93-page sexual harassment complaint filed Sunday in Connecticut federal court.

The suit says male employees made inappropriate comments when Lawrence was around, such as wondering aloud what singer Rihanna must “taste like.”

Lawrence, who started working at the network in 2015, says women at the network are “humiliated, degraded, and forced to navigate a misogynistic and predatory culture.”

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

Breaking Down Adrienne Lawrence’s Lawsuit Against ESPN and the Company’s Possible Defenses

UNITED STATES
Sports Illustrated

March 5, 2018

By Michael McCann

Last December, SI.com wrote about the potential legal consequences of allegations contained in an investigative report by The Boston Globe’s Jenn Abelson on sexual misconduct at ESPN.

On Monday, one major consequence materialized: Former ESPN employee Adrienne Lawrence filed a sex discrimination lawsuit against ESPN in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut. In this federal complaint, Lawrence’s attorneys, Brian Cohen and Russell Yankwitt, depict ESPN as a “company rife with misogyny.”

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.

This gymnast is now the first man to accuse Larry Nassar of abuse

LANSING (MI)
CNN

March 6, 2018

By Eric Levenson

Jacob Moore went to visit Larry Nassar, a gymnastics doctor and family friend, after gymnastics practice one day in April 2016, for what he thought would be treatment for his ailing shoulder.

But in Nassar’s basement, the doctor pulled down Moore’s pants and administered acupuncture to his genital area, claiming that it would help his shoulder, Moore said. As he did so, Nassar spoke to another young female gymnast in the treatment room about whether she had seen a man’s body part before, Moore’s attorney said.

The encounter left Moore feeling “quite uncomfortable” and did nothing to help his injured shoulder, which later required surgery, Moore said in a press conference on Monday.

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.

South Korean Presidential Prospect Quits Over #MeToo Rape Claims

SEOUL (SOUTH KOREA)
Bloomberg News

March 5, 2018

By Kanga Kong

– Secretary accuses Democratic Party runner-up of recent attacks
– Women’s rights movement gaining steam in South Korean society

A promising politician who had ambitions of becoming South Korea’s next president resigned Tuesday after his secretary accused him of raping her.

Ahn Hee-jung, 52, the governor of South Chungcheong province who last year was runner-up against Moon Jae-in to become the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate, has become the latest high-profile figure to fall in the #MeToo movement quickly spreading across the male-dominated society.

His departure came a day after the secretary, Kim Ji-eun, made the accusation on a TV news show. She told local cable channel JTBC late Monday that Ahn raped her four times over the past eight months. While Ahn hasn’t explicitly confirmed or denied the allegations, the police are investigating.

“The governor called me in late at night recently and looked uneasy when he brought up the #MeToo movement issue. He said he learned from the movement that what he did hurt me and apologized,” Kim told the program. “I thought he wouldn’t do it that night, but he did it again. It was Feb. 25.”

While Ahn’s office initially said he had consensual sexual relations with Kim, Ahn himself later characterized that explanation as “faulty.” The politician said in a Facebook post that he was responsible and was sorry for the pain his “foolish behavior” had caused Kim. He said he would resign from the post he has served in for more than seven years and suspended all political activities.

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.

Prominent South Korean Politician Accused of Rape Resigns

SEOUL (SOUTH KOREA)
The Associated Press

March 6, 2018

By Youkyung Lee

A South Korean governor who was seen as a potential presidential candidate has resigned after his secretary accused him of raping her.

A South Korean governor who was seen as a leading presidential contender resigned Tuesday after his secretary publicly accused him of raping her, making him the highest-profile South Korean man taken down by the #MeToo movement.

Ahn Hee-jung, governor of South Chungcheong province, said everything was his fault and he was sorry in an early morning Facebook post announcing his resignation hours after his secretary said in a live television interview that Ahn had raped her several times since June and that she couldn’t say no because of how powerful he was.

The provincial government later confirmed his resignation had taken effect.

Ahn has been a leading progressive voice on gender and human rights in conservative South Korea and finished second behind current President Moon Jae-in during their party primary last year.

The revelations shocked South Koreans, especially supporters who saw him as a likely presidential candidate, and people said on social media that they were too shocked to sleep after the secretary’s accusations were aired. His supporter groups on Twitter and Facebook lamented the misdeeds and announced they would stop activities.

South Korean media reported that police were investigating the allegations. Local police did not respond to calls Tuesday seeking confirmation.

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.

March 5, 2018

Victim to Bishop Malone: Release the names of abusive priests in Buffalo

BUFFALO (NY)
WKBW

March 4, 2018

By Charlie Specht

Says public deserves to know the truth

“It’s been such a whirlwind that this has broken as big as it has.”

Michael Whalen is talking about the sexual abuse he first revealed last week in the Catholic Church — and what he calls the “tsunami” of victims who say they have also been abused by Catholic priests through the years in the Diocese of Buffalo.

“It’s been unbelievable the victims who have contacted me,” Whalen said in front of the diocesan headquarters Sunday morning. “I am proud of all of you.”

Two more of those victims came forward Sunday in a front-page story in The Buffalo News that detailed abuse at St. John’s church in Alden. James McCarthy told the newspaper he was sodomized as a boy in the 1960s by Father Norbert Orsolits — the same priest who Whalen says abused him.

“I was a victim and they wouldn’t tell me anything about what’s being done,” McCarthy said in The News about reporting the abuse to the diocese eight years ago. “The church, in every situation it could, there was always an intention to cover it up as much as possible.”

Whalen said now is the time for the diocese to finally come clean — and to release the names of any priests who have been credibly accused of abuse. The names have been locked away in diocesan headquarters on Main Street in downtown Buffalo for decades.

“I think the priests that have been accused should be out in the public eye,” Whalen 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.

The rapist of 13-year-old at church camp got no prison time. Now, thousands want the judge removed.

WASHINGTON (DC)
The Washington Post

March 5, 2018

By Meagan Flynn

Benjamin Lawrence Petty was a cook at the church camp where a 13-year-old girl reported that he tied her up and raped her.

It was June 16, 2016, when Petty approached the girl inside the cabin where he was stationed as a cook at the Falls Creek church camp in southern Oklahoma. He invited her to the back of the cabin, saying that he wanted to show her something — and then he pulled her into his private bedroom, according to a lawsuit filed against Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, which runs the camp, and Country Estates Baptist Church, which was in charge of hiring the cabin staff.

Petty then shut the door, tied her hands behind her back and pushed her face down onto the bed. He told her not to tell, or else he would hurt her, the lawsuit claims.

In January, Petty pleaded guilty to the charges — first-degree rape, forcible sodomy and rape by instrumentation.

But Petty will serve no prison time. A judge approved a plea deal, which called for a sentence of 15 years probation, two years with an ankle monitor and a lifetime on the sex offender registry.

The reason a prosecutor gave for why he did not seek to put Petty behind bars: Petty is legally blind.

That prosecutor, David Pyle, resigned Jan. 31 after public backlash over Petty’s sentence. But the backlash has continued, now targeted at Marshall County District Judge Wallace Coppedge, because he had the discretion to reject the plea deal but instead approved it.

More than 102,000 people have called for his removal from the bench in an online petition. Calls for Coppedge’s removal escalated further after an Oklahoma lawmaker filed a resolution in the House seeking to remove Coppedge, though it has yet to be voted on.

The online petition is directed at the Oklahoma Council on Judicial Complaints, which can review allegations and, if warranted, recommend that the state’s Court on the Judiciary remove a judge.

“Even though the plea was negotiated with the victim’s parents’ permission, the terms of the sentence are absolutely ridiculous,” the petition states. “The fact that Petty was legally blind does not bar him from being able to serve prison time for his heinous crimes.”

Coppedge, presiding district judge for Oklahoma’s 20th District Court, was elected in 2010 and reelected in 2014. His term expires in 2019. Under Oklahoma law, judges are automatically reelected if unopposed.

The controversy intensified Sunday after the Oklahoman published its review of criminal court records in which Coppedge presided over child-rape cases. The newspaper found that Coppedge had allowed confessed child rapists or convicted pedophiles to avoid prison at least seven times before.

The district attorney in charge of the 20th district, Craig Ladd, provided explanations to the Oklahoman in those cases, including problems with witnesses and a lack of evidence. In one case, a father was charged with raping by instrumentation four girls he had recently adopted. After a 2016 plea deal that involved giving up his parental rights, he was sentenced to 20 years of probation, the Oklahoman reported. Ladd said witness problems were so severe that the only alternative was dismissal. In another case, Coppedge approved five years of probation for a man who pleaded guilty to raping his unconscious ex-girlfriend, though probation was later revoked due to violations.

Ladd did not come to the defense of Pyle, the prosecutor in the Petty case. Just days after Petty was sentenced, Ladd announced that he “strongly disagreed with the lenient manner” in which Petty was prosecuted and said that Pyle had resigned.

Coppedge, the judge, did not respond immediately to a request for comment about why he decided to approve the deal and has declined to comment elsewhere, but a court transcript obtained by the Oklahoman provided some insight. The chief reason, Coppedge reportedly said from the bench, was that the victim’s parents consented to the deal.

The victim and her legal guardian are seeking more than $75,000 in damages in a separate lawsuit filed against the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, Country Estates Baptist Church and First Baptist Church of Terrell, Tex., the church through which the victim attended the camp. The lawsuit accuses the churches of negligence, claiming they failed to conduct background checks on Petty and should not have allowed him unsupervised time alone with the victim.

The victim’s attorney, Bruce Robertson, said the family consented because they thought the plea deal was the only option. “ … The family was told by the district attorney’s office that the rapist would not serve any meaningful prison time due to his medical conditions. The family was not provided any other alternative,” Robertson told the Oklahoman.

The public backlash in this rape case, particularly the criticism lobbed at the judge, recalls the case of Brock Turner, the Stanford University swimmer who was sentenced to six months in jail after being convicted of raping a student behind a dumpster. Dozens of people launched a campaign to remove the judge on that case, California Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky, in the weeks after Turner’s sentence. The “Recall Judge Aaron Persky” campaign, led by Stanford law professor Michele Dauber, succeeded in January at getting its call for Persky’s removal on the ballot in June. But the effort has been controversial and has even led to rape threats targeting Dauber.

The future of the calls for the judge’s removal in Oklahoma is uncertain.

In February, just before it was up for a vote, a resolution to remove Coppedge was put on hold by state Rep. Mike Ritze (R), saying that lawmakers had bigger issues to tackle for the time being. The resolution would have asked the Oklahoma Court on the Judiciary to begin removal proceedings. It would not have been legally binding, and the Oklahoma defense bar opposed it, saying Coppedge was only doing his job in approving a deal reached by both parties.

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.

Abuse allegations at Wichita church come amid #ChurchToo movement

WICHITA (KS)
The Wichita Eagle

March 5, 2018

By Katherine Burgess

A lawsuit alleges that a youth pastor sexually abused a teenage girl for three years – and that the church and its senior minister tried to cover it up.

The lawsuit is about Word of Life Ministries and Schools in Wichita. Yet it makes mention of the “sexual abuse scandals that emerged from the Catholic Church,” where people entrusted to care for children have used that role to take advantage of them.

It is just one of several recent allegations of abuse against evangelical church leaders across the nation. Some are part of a movement that has followed closely on the heels of the #MeToo movement, which is intended to show the prevalence of sexual assault and harassment.

Some say it’s a day of reckoning for evangelical churches, much as the Catholic Church was forced to deal with revelations of clergy sex 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.

Wichita church enabled years of sex abuse by youth pastor, lawsuit says

WICHITA (KS)
The Wichita Eagle

March 2, 2018

By Tim Potter

A man used his position as a Wichita church youth pastor to sexually abuse a teenage girl for three years – and the church and its senior minister are at fault, a new lawsuit says.

The youth pastor raped and sexually abused her “at least two to four times a week from June 2012 to June 2015,” the lawsuit says. In all, it says, he violated her at least 288 times.

The lawsuit contends that the church neglected to supervise the youth pastor, failed to fully investigate concerns about him and tried to cover up the allegations.

The man who was the youth pastor – Chauncey M. Walker, 48 – has remained in jail since August. He was arrested and charged with aggravated indecent liberties with a child and two counts of criminal sodomy. The crimes listed in the charges occurred between around May 22, 2012, and May 23, 2013. The girl was 15 at the time. Walker is being held on a $100,000 bond.

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.

Childhood sexual abuse victim speaks out against Diocese

BUFFALO (NY)
WGRZ

March 4, 2018

Michael Whalen publicly addressed his “disappointment and outrage” at the Diocese of Buffalo’s Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program (IRCP).

The man who made recent headlines after recounting how a Catholic Priest sexually abused him as a child continued to pressure the Diocese of Buffalo this weekend.

Victim and survivor Michael Whalen participated in a media conference Sunday afternoon, publicly addressing his “disappointment and outrage” at the Diocese’s Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program (IRCP).

The program, announced just Thursday, is for individuals claiming they were sexually abused by members of the clergy in Buffalo. But the Diocese of Buffalo will only accept applications from those who have submitted their claim before March 1, 2018.

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.

Accusers of Vatican treasurer Cardinal George Pell to testify in abuse case

MELBOURNE (AUSTRALIA)
CNN

March 4, 2018

By Lucie Morris-Marr

The alleged victims of Cardinal George Pell, who has been accused of numerous historical sexual offenses, are to be questioned in court for the first time this week.

A tired-looking Pell arrived at Melbourne Magistrates Court on Monday accompanied by several police officers who had to help him through an international media scrum as he walked into the court house.

He stood down from his post as Vatican treasurer in June last year to fight the case in his home country of Australia after being charged by Victoria police.

He is required to attend Melbourne Magistrates Court each day of the four-week long committal hearing.

Cardinal Pell strongly denies all the allegations against him, and his lawyer has already informed the court he will officially be pleading not guilty.

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.

Australian Cardinal George Pell Appears in Court on Sex Abuse Charges

MELBOURNE (AUSTRALIA)
The Associated Press

March 5, 2018

By Rod McGuirk

Wearing his clerical collar, the most senior Vatican official ever charged in the Catholic Church sex abuse crisis appeared in an Australian court Monday for a hearing to determine whether prosecutors have sufficient evidence to put him on trial.

Australian Cardinal George Pell’s committal hearing in the Melbourne Magistrates Court before Magistrate Belinda Wallington is scheduled to take up to a month, with testimony of alleged victims to be suppressed from publication.

Pell arrived by car and was flanked by police and one of his lawyers, Paul Galbally, as he walked through a large group of media and into the court security screening area. He remained silent as he entered.

He emptied his pockets before walking through a security metal detector and a security guarded frisked him in a routine procedure.

Other security guards ensured the public kept their distance from the 76-year-old cleric in the foyers of the seven-floor downtown court house in Australia’s second-largest city where he was once archbishop.

Pope Francis’ former finance minister was charged in June of last year with sexually abusing multiple people in his Australian home state of Victoria. The details of the allegations against the cardinal have yet to be released to the public, though police have described the charges as “historical” sexual assault offenses — meaning the crimes that are alleged to have occurred decades ago.

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Senior Catholic leader faces sex abuse accusers via video link

MELBOURNE (AUSTRALIA)
The Associated Press

March 5, 2018

The most senior Catholic Church leader to be charged with sexual abuse came close to confronting his accusers on Monday in a video-linked Australian court hearing to test the strength of the prosecution’s case. Cardinal George Pell’s alleged victims began testifying in the Melbourne Magistrates Court against Pope Francis’ former finance minister in testimony that cannot be made public.

The complainants, who cannot be identified, are avoiding the intense media scrutiny focused on the cramped courtroom and the company of their alleged abuser by giving their evidence via a video connection from an undisclosed location. The number of alleged victims has not been made public, and their testimony is scheduled to continue for up to two weeks.

The 76-year-old Australian cardinal has denied any wrongdoing and has foreshadowed pleas of not guilty if the committal hearing that is scheduled to run as long as a month finds there is sufficient evidence to warrant a jury trial.

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Police look at bishops’ ‘failure to act’ over sex abuse claims

ENGLAND
BBC News

March 5, 2018

Police are investigating a complaint by a former priest against senior Church of England clergy that they ignored sex abuse claims, the BBC understands.

Matt Ineson said Church leaders failed to act when he told them, more than 20 years later, that he had been raped by a former Bradford vicar.

His lawyer David Greenwood said police were investigating but South Yorkshire Police would not comment.

The Church’s national safeguarding team said it was investigating complaints.

Mr Ineson said the abuse began when, following a family breakdown at the age of 16, he was sent to stay with Trevor Devamanikkam, who at the time was vicar at St Aidan’s Church.

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Church may have made children feel ‘responsible’ for abuse

UNITED KINGDOM
BBC News

March 5, 2018

The Church of England may have focussed too much on forgiving sexual predators, an inquiry has heard.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has begun hearing evidence about how the Anglican Church dealt with complaints over many years.

Fiona Scolding QC said there was evidence children were made to feel responsible for abuse they suffered.

The inquiry was set up in March 2015 to address institutional failures to protect children in England and Wales.

The current phase has begun with an investigation of alleged abuse in the Diocese of Chichester in Sussex.

Ms Scolding said there would be evidence from witnesses about a series of potential failings within the Church.

She said they included a tendency to “make children responsible” for their sexual abuse instead of the adults around them, an inability to spot or even understand so-called “grooming” and an inability to understand that victims would suffer from the aftermath of abuse as adults.

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Abuse victim criticizes Catholic compensation program

BUFFALO (NY)
WBFO 88.7

March 4, 2018

By Mark Scott

The man who revealed last week that he was sexually abused by a Catholic priest in the early 1980s is critical of an independent reconciliation and compensation program the Buffalo diocese is creating.

Michael Whalen says the program unveiled by Bishop Richard Malone Thursday falls short because it only covers victims of clergy abuse who filed complaints before March 1st. He says that will shut out anyone who comes forward now with new allegations.

The Diocese said those who have previously made claims of clergy abuse will be contacted and invited to participate in the program offering monetary settlements. Attorney Terrence Connors, representing the Diocese, stated that letters were mailed out Thursday to claimants already in diocesan files.

On Sunday, diocesan spokesman George Richert responded to Whalen’s criticism by saying no one is being shut out. He said the diocese wants to hear from victims of clergy abuse. Richert said new allegations will be considered on a case by case basis and that future settlements will be awarded when warranted. He said the compensation program is designed to make sure past victims are taken care of.

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Buffalo man says new Diocese program isn’t enough to help sexual abuse victims

BUFFALO (NY)
WIVB

March 4, 2018

By Shannon Smith

A South Buffalo man says victims of sexual abuse deserve more from the Buffalo Catholic Diocese. It established a voluntary program Thursday to help people who’ve made abuse claims against a clergy member. But one of the victims says who’s come forward says the program doesn’t help all people.

“The people who have called me this week are not going to be included in that and that’s not fair,” said Michael Whalen, who shared his story the first time Tuesday.

Days after Michael Whalen shared his story of being sexually abused by a priest, he’s voicing concern other victims won’t be helped. He says he wants all sexual abuse victims to be included in the Buffalo Catholic Diocese Independent Reconciliation and Compensation program. It was just launched Thursday, two days after Whalen came forward.

The program allows anyone who’s made sexual abuse claims against a clergy member before Thursday to have their case heard and get a settlement.

“This program should include all of them, not just putting a date on it of March 1st of this year. I think they should all be heard,” said Whalen.

The diocese says the program is designed for anyone who made claims before March 1st, but that any claims after that would be still be investigated.

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Ex-Archbishop ‘faces probe into Church sex abuse cover-up’: George Carey accused of ‘colluding’ with senior clergy to protect jailed bishop

ENGLAND
The Daily Mail

March 4, 2018

By Fionn Hargreaves

– George Carey was accused of ‘colluding’ with senior clergy to protect Peter Ball
– Ball, a bishop, groomed and abused 18 vulnerable men from 1977 and 1992
– It’s alleged he wasn’t added to list of questionable ministers and he kept working
– The CPS is reportedly discussing whether to press charges against Lord Carey

The former Archbishop of Canterbury could face a police probe over claims the Church covered up the activities of a sex abuse bishop, it was reported last night.

George Carey was last year accused in a report of ‘colluding’ with senior clergy to protect Bishop Peter Ball.

Ball, who groomed and abused 18 vulnerable men from 1977 and 1992, was allegedly not added to a list of questionable ministers in 1993 that enabled him to carry on working.

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BUFFALO DIOCESE ANNOUNCES ABUSE VICTIM PAYOUTS

BUFFALO (NY)
Church Militant

March 2, 2018

By Stephen Wynne

BUFFALO, N.Y. (ChurchMilitant.com) – A third New York diocese is cobbling together a fund to pay for the alleged sins of its priests.

On the heels of New York City and Syracuse, the diocese of Buffalo announced Thursday its own Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program (IRCP) to settle claims of clerical sex abuse.

According to Bp. Richard J. Malone, the program will be financed with self-insurance liability and investment fund reserves. The diocese will also consider selling off properties.

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MALE ESCORT EXPOSES 36 GAY PRIESTS IN FILE SENT TO VATICAN CONTAINING EXPLICIT WHATSAPP CHATS AND EROTIC PHOTOS

ITALY
Newsweek

March 5, 2018

By Christina Zhao

A 1,200-page dossier containing the names of 34 ‘actively gay’ priests and six seminarians in Italy has been sent to the Vatican by the archdiocese of Naples.

The allegations were compiled by Francesco Mangiacapra, a gay male escort who told local media he couldn’t put up with the priests’ “hypocrisy” any longer.

“The aim is not to hurt the people mentioned, but to help them understand that their double life, however seemingly convenient, is not useful to them or to all the people for whom they should be a guide and an example to follow,” Mangiacapra said, as reported by the Corriere della Sera.

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Diocese puts restrictions on accused priest

SAGINAW TOWNSHIP (MI)
Midland Daily News

March 2, 2018

By Kelly Dame

A Freeland priest facing sexual assault charges has been banned from wearing clerical garb and presenting himself publicly as a priest.

The Rev. Robert John DeLand Jr., 71, Saginaw Township, faces charges of attempted second-degree criminal sexual conduct, second-degree criminal sexual conduct and gross indecency between males. Each count is a felony punishable by up to five years in jail.

Since the arrest, police said they have been inundated by calls detailing incidents with the suspect dating back 30 years.

DeLand, the pastor at St. Agnes Church in Freeland and the judicial vicar at the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw, was arraigned earlier this week and was released on a GPS tether.

He was placed on administrative leave by the Diocese of Saginaw, and now the Most Rev. Joseph R. Cistone, bishop of Saginaw, has announced further mandates for DeLand.

In a Thursday afternoon media release, Bishop Cistone announced DeLand is to meet all bond conditions, including the “critically important directive that he is to have no contact with individuals under 21, for the well being, safety and protection of our community and most especially young people.”

As a result of the condition, DeLand is prohibited from going on school properties or participating in school and parish activities and functions.

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SURVIVOR OF ALLEGED CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE BLASTS DIOCESE COMPENSATION PROGRAM

BUFFALO (NY)
Spectrum News

March 4, 2018

By Kevin Jolly

Standing directly across the street from the headquarters for the Buffalo Catholic Diocese, alleged sexual abuse survivor Michael Whalen had this message for Bishop Richard Malone and the diocese.

“This program now that Bishop Malone has passed, or is trying to start up, the people who have called me this week are not going to be included in that. And that’s not fair. The reason why I came out was for these victims to be heard, and that’s what I want. I want this program to include them too,” said Whalen.

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Sex abuse in Protestant life: Is Rachael Denhollander the tip of a newsworthy iceberg? [with video]

NEW YORK (NY)
GetReligion

March 5, 2018

By Julia Duin

When former gymnast Rachael Denhollander stood up in court at the end of January and stunned the country with her speech to her abuser, Larry Nasser, she was a media star. Here she was the first woman to publicly accuse Nasser and the last – after a long string of some of America’s best-known gymnasts – to tell him what she thought of his years of criminal sexual contact.

As my GetReligion colleague Bobby Ross reported, her speech was notable for many reasons. She talked about God’s forgiveness, tossed in a C.S. Lewis quote near the end, then added that she lost her church over the matter.

That’s news. Only Christianity Today really went after what happened and named the organization: Sovereign Grace Ministries, whose flagship church -– Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, Md. –- got hit with a sexual abuse lawsuit. Sovereign Grace Ministries issued a rebuttal on Feb. 13.

Sadly, no reporters are pursuing what Denhollander is alleging: That Sovereign Grace Ministries is really the tip of the iceberg and that sexual abuse of the young in Protestant churches may dwarf the horrors exposed, starting 16 years ago, in the U.S. Catholic Church.

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Child sex abuse commissioner hits out at lawyers who attack victim credibility

AUSTRALIA
Australian Associated Press

March 2, 2018

Robert Fitzgerald says the justice system previously favoured alleged abusers and ‘the pendulum has barely moved’

One of the six commissioners who oversaw the landmark child sexual abuse royal commission has criticised defence lawyers who “mischievously” attack the credibility of abuse victims.

Robert Fitzgerald said that the country’s criminal justice system has previously favoured alleged abusers, and even today “the pendulum has barely moved”.

He criticised defence lawyers for attacking the credibility of survivors over the length of time they took to report abuse.

“You will hear defence counsels still get up in courts today and say, mischievously in my view, that we should attack the credibility of victims because they did not come forward at the time of the abuse,” the former commissioner said in Sydney on Friday.

“What we saw is the destruction of the credibility of individuals. That goes against what we now know to be the way in which abuse victims both disclose, and in fact the effects of, the abuse.”

He said the evidence was “overwhelming” that historically victims often didn’t come forward until years later.

Fitzgerald, who is also a former commercial lawyer and productivity commissioner, also took aim at the justice system’s “appalling process” of splitting sexual abuse trials rather than hearing cases involving multiple victims as one case.

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Church of England faces ‘deep shame’ at child abuse inquiry

ENGLAND
The Guardian

March 2, 2018

By Harriet Sherwood

Archbishop of Canterbury to give evidence as church’s handling of allegations comes under scrutiny

The Church of England is braced for two years of “deep shame” over its handling of child sex abuse cases, with allegations of cover-ups, collusion and callous treatment of survivors under scrutiny from Monday at the UK’s biggest public inquiry.

The archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, will be cross-examined in person during three weeks of hearings this month. Two former archbishops, serving bishops and other senior church figures are also to give evidence or submit witness statements to the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse (IICSA). Further hearings will follow in July and next year.

Survivors of sexual abuse are expected to accuse the church of failing to act on disclosures and failing to treat them with compassion. Their lawyers are likely to call for independent oversight of the C of E’s safeguarding processes, claiming that the church has shown itself incapable of dealing properly with allegations and disclosures.

Welby himself has said the church must acknowledge where it went wrong. “[We] failed really badly around the issues of the care of children and vulnerable adults. We have to face the consequences of that and learn … to be transparent and honest – and genuinely repentant,” he recently told reporters.

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Victim of sexual abuse by priest calls for diocese to open compensation to all

BUFFALO (NY)
The Buffalo News

March 4, 2018

By Anne Neville

Last week, Michael F. Whalen of South Buffalo stood outside the offices of the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo on Main Street to tell his story of sexual abuse at the hands of the Rev. Norbert F. Orsolits.

Sunday, he and his advocate, Robert Hoatson of Road to Recovery Inc., stood outside St. Louis Church, across from the diocesan offices, this time to speak up for other victims.

They criticized a deadline announced by Bishop Richard J. Malone for victims to have their complaints heard by two former judges as part of a new Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program. The program will handle only the cases of those who reported clerical abuse before March 1, the day of the announcement.

George Richert, spokesman for the diocese, responded Sunday that people who come forward now with stories of sexual abuse would not be shut out from compensation, only from participation in this specific program. As proof, he pointed to the $1.2 million paid out in the last 20 years to people who reported clergy sexual abuse.

But Hoatson rejected that explanation.

“It’s all a smokescreen,” said Hoatson, whose New Jersey-based charity assists victims of sexual abuse. “Why not open the program to every single person who was abused by a clergyman in the Diocese of Buffalo, period? Why are they afraid to do that? Why can’t they just say, ‘Come forward’?

“Victims don’t know the day that they may have a flash that says, ‘I have to talk about this before I die,’ ” he said.

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Harvard Professor Placed on Leave after Sexual Harassment Allegations

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Magazine

March 5, 2018

By Spencer Buell

More than a dozen women accused Jorge Domínguez of misconduct.

After years of allegations against a prominent government professor emerged in news reports, Harvard announced Sunday that Jorge Domínguez has been placed on administrative leave while an investigation is underway.

More than a dozen women have now accused Domínguez— who is chairman of the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies and a senior advisor of the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs—of behavior that includes groping, unwanted touching and kissing, sending flirtatious emails, and using his position of power and influence at the university to solicit sexual favors.

“I write to announce that the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) has placed Jorge Domínguez on administrative leave, pending a full and fair review of the facts and circumstances regarding allegations that have come to light,” FAS Dean Michael D. Smith wrote in a letter to staff and students Sunday night, according to the Harvard Crimson. “I want to state unequivocally that the FAS will not tolerate sexual harassment. I encourage anyone who has witnessed sexual harassment in the FAS, recently or in the past, to come forward and share their experiences with our Title IX coordinators.”

So far, 18 women have come forward with reports of harassment since the Chronicle of Higher Education published a bombshell report on an alleged pattern of predatory behavior from Domínguez that spanned decades. The allegations span from 1979 to 2015. Many women told the Chronicle they were worried what impact going public with the allegations would have on their careers.

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Harvard University professor placed on leave

CAMBRIDGE (MA)
The Associated Press

March 4, 2018

Harvard University has placed a professor on administrative leave following a series of sexual misconduct allegations.

In an email sent to students Sunday, the university’s Faculty of the Arts and Sciences dean Michael Smith says Professor Jorge Dominguez is on leave effective immediately pending a “full and fair review of the facts.”

Smith says the FAS will not tolerate sexual harassment, and he encourages anyone who has witnessed sexual harassment to come forward.

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More Women Come Forward to Report Sexual Harassment by Harvard Professor

BOSTON (MA)
The Chronicle of Higher Education

March 4, 2018

By Tom Bartlett and Nell Gluckman

Women in Harvard University’s development office learned to stay away from Jorge Domínguez. It wasn’t just the kisses on the cheeks and the hugs. It was also the requests to get drinks after work, the flirtatious emails, his asking one of them to sit next to him during a meeting. He could be “handsy in a creepy-old-man kind of way,” said one woman. His behavior was troubling enough that three women spoke to human resources about Domínguez, who was at the time vice provost for international affairs.

The allegations of sexual harassment against Domínguez, a government professor, span decades. In 1983 he was found guilty of “serious misconduct” by Harvard after Terry Karl, a junior professor in the department, reported that he had repeatedly groped, kissed, and propositioned her. Other women at Harvard say that Domínguez also touched them inappropriately, and that they had dropped classes and abandoned projects in order to avoid him.

In the wake of a Chronicle investigation that found 10 women who say Domínguez made them uncomfortable, more have come forward. The number is now 18, including women from all areas of university life: graduate students, undergraduates, fellow professors, and staff members.

The first allegation is from 1979. The latest is from 2015.

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Priest’s alleged sex victims testify in Australian court

MELBOURNE (AUSTRALIA)
The Gulf Today

March 5, 2018

The most senior Catholic Church leader to be charged with sexual abuse came close to confronting his accusers on Monday in a video-linked Australian court hearing to test the strength of the prosecution’s case.

Cardinal George Pell’s alleged victims began testifying in the Melbourne Magistrates Court against Pope Francis’ former finance minister in testimony that cannot be made public.

But the complainants, who cannot be identified, are avoiding the intense media scrutiny focused on the cramped courtroom and the company of their alleged abuser by giving their evidence via a video connection from an undisclosed location. The number of alleged victims has not been made public, and their testimony is scheduled to continue for up to two weeks.

The 76-year-old Australian cardinal has denied any wrongdoing and has foreshadowed pleas of not guilty if the committal hearing that is scheduled to run as long as a month finds there is sufficient evidence to warrant a jury trial.

Pell was charged last June with sexually abusing multiple people in his Australian home state of Victoria. The details of the allegations have yet to be released to the public, though police have described the charges as “historical” sexual assault offenses — meaning the alleged crimes occurred decades ago.

One of the charges was withdrawn last week because the accuser had recently died.

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Cardinal’s alleged sex victims testify in Australian court

MELBOURNE (AUSTRALIA)
The Associated Press

March 4, 2018

By Rod McGuirk

The alleged victims of the most senior Vatican official ever charged in the Catholic Church sex abuse crisis began giving testimony to an Australian court on Monday.

Australian Cardinal George Pell wore his clerical collar for the first day of the hearing in the Melbourne Magistrate Court to determine whether prosecutors have sufficient evidence to put him on trial. The committal hearing is scheduled to take up to a month.

Pope Francis’ former finance minister was charged in June of last year with sexually abusing multiple people in his Australian home state of Victoria. The details of the allegations against the cardinal have yet to be released to the public, though police have described the charges as “historical” sexual assault offenses — meaning the crimes that are alleged to have occurred decades ago.

Monday’s testimony of alleged victims was suppressed from publication and the courtroom was closed to the public and media.

Their testimony, which is expected to take up to two weeks, proceeded for two hours before the court was adjourned until Tuesday morning.

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Me Too Founder Speaks Out Against Ryan Seacrest’s Oscars Presence

LOS ANGELES (CA)
The Huffington Post

March 4, 2018

By Lydia O’Connor

“We shouldn’t have to make those choices of, ‘Do we or don’t we’” agree to be interviewed by him, she said.

Me Too movement founder Tarana Burke is speaking out against E! News’ decision to continue having Ryan Seacrest spearhead its Academy Awards red carpet coverage despite recent sexual misconduct allegations against him.

The decision, she told Variety in a story published Sunday, is unfair to actresses who will have to decide whether to cooperate with his interview efforts at tonight’s telecast.

“We shouldn’t have to make those choices of, ‘Do we or don’t we?’” said Burke, whose campaign exploded last fall as dozens of women in Hollywood came forward with stories of sexual harassment and abuse they’ve faced working in the entertainment industry.

“This is not about his guilt or innocence,” Burke said. “It’s about there being an accusation that’s alive, and until they sort [it] out, it’s really on E! News and shouldn’t be on us. … It will let us know where they stand in terms of how respectful E! News is of this issue ― and of women.”

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Woman who accused Women’s March founder of harassment cover-up faces lawsuit

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Post

March 3, 2018

By Sara Dorn

The woman who accused Muslim activist and Women’s March founder Linda Sarsour of covering up sexual harassment at the Arab American Society of New York made up the allegations, according to a lawsuit.

Majed Seif is suing Asmi Fathelbab for defamation, alleging Fathelbab lied when she told the Daily Caller in December that Seif rubbed his crotch on her and stalked her while the two worked together at the association in 2009.

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Ryan Seacrest shunned by stars on Oscars red carpet following abuse allegations

LOS ANGELES (CA)
The Telegraph

March 5, 2018

By Chris Graham

Ryan Seacrest was apparently shunned by a host of A list stars on the Oscars red carpet on Sunday night after the television presenter was forced to deny claims of sexual misconduct.

On a night when the Me Too movement and the issue of sexual harassment took centre stage, some of Hollywood’s biggest female stars chose not to stop to talk to the Oscars pre-show host, including Margot Robbie, Jennifer Lawrence, Emma Stone and Gal Gadot.

Seacrest is a regular feature on the red carpet at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles, interviewing the biggest names in the film industry as they arrive for the awards show.

But this year his appearance was overshadowed by sexual harassment allegations against him made public less than a week before the big day.

Suzie Hardy, a former wardrobe stylist for E!, claimed he was responsible for years of sexual abuse and harassment towards her, including unwanted physical attention, sexual remarks and repeated groping.

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Weinstein Accusers Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino Discuss Time’s Up at the Oscars

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Broadly.

March 4, 2018

By Leila Ettachfini

“We’re going forward until we have an equitable and safe world for women.”

After arriving at the Academy Awards as each other’s dates earlier tonight, actresses Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino spoke about the Time’s Up movement to ABC’s On the Red Carpet.

“Those of us who have come forward, we’ve often been disbelieved, shamed,” said Judd. “The movement is about externalizing that shame and putting it where it belongs, which is with the perpetrator.”

In many ways, Judd was a pioneer of the #MeToo movement that preceded Time’s Up. Last fall, she was the first actress to publicly come forward with accusations against since-defamed movie mogul Harvey Weinstein in the New York Times expose that rattled the film-industry.

Sorvino also came forward with sexual harassment allegations against Weinstein, in a New Yorker piece last fall. Less than three months later, she penned an open-letter to Dylan Farrow, apologizing for working with her father Woody Allen, who Farrow first publicly accused of sexual assault in 1992. Since then, Sorvino has been focusing on anti-sexual harassment activism.

“I want people to know that this movement isn’t stopping. We’re going forward until we have an equitable and safe world for women,” Sorvino told ABC on the red carpet. “We want to take our activism and our power into action and change things for every woman everywhere working in every workplace.”

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Native Women Honor Those Lost to Violence Through Art

MINNEAPOLIS (MN)
Broadly.

February 1, 2018

By Sheila Regan

[Note: All My Relations Arts and the Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center present a group exhibition highlighting the ongoing epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous Women. On View: Feb 2nd – Apr 10th]

Indigenous women are murdered, kidnapped, and trafficked at alarmingly high rates. In a new exhibit, 18 Native artists address the crisis and celebrate resilience.

In 1991, a Dakota woman named Delvina Bernard was kidnapped and murdered by her neighbor for no apparent reason.

“She was my grandma’s sister, but in our Indian ways, she was my grandma,” says Minneapolis artist Angela Two Stars, who was nine years old at the time.

For a long time, Two Stars’ family searched for Bernard, but could never find her. Two Stars’ uncle even visited the murderer in prison to beg for the location of the body. “He told the guy: ‘You are going to be in jail for the rest of your life, so it doesn’t matter. Would you tell us where she is?’” Two Stars recalls. All the family wanted was to bring her home.

Two Stars’ grandmother is just one of so many missing and murdered Indigenous women (referred to as MMIW) making up an epidemic that has been facing the United States and Canada for decades. According to advocates, crimes against Native women aren’t taken seriously by law enforcement and don’t get the media attention they would if the victims were white. In addition, there’s insufficient data on the crisis, in part because most law enforcement agencies keep track of race and ethnicity for murder victims but not missing people. In 2016, Canada launched a long-awaited national inquiry into the issue, which is ongoing.

The scant statistics that are available indicate a dire problem. According to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, 16 percent of all female homicide victims in Canada between 1980 and 2012 were aboriginal, though aboriginal women make up only 4.3 percent of the population. More than 1200 Indigenous women and girls have been murdered or gone missing across the country since 1980—although advocates have pointed out that number could be as high as 4000. Meanwhile, Native women in the US are murdered at 10 times the national average and raped at 2.5 times the average.

In response to the epidemic, Two Stars—who is Dakota herself—is curating an exhibition entitled Bring Her Home. The show opens on February 2nd at All My Relations Gallery in Minneapolis and will feature art by 18 Native women, including several with personal connections to the issue of missing and murdered indigenous women, as well as sexual exploitation. Two Stars’ intention is both to call attention to the problem and honor the painful story of her grandmother.

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Child sexual abuse, cover-ups and intimidation — a global Jewish community snapshot

ISRAEL
Times of Israel

March 4, 2018

By Manny Waks

In the wake of a recent child sexual abuse scandal to hit the Jewish community, this time in Baltimore, it is an opportune time to examine similar cases around the Jewish world and reflect on how we have responded to them. Learning from these will help us respond more adequately to such scandals in the future.

For this purpose, I will focus on what has recently transpired in Australia and the United Kingdom.
In 2011, during my tenure as Vice President of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ), I publicly disclosed for the first time that I had been sexually abused as a child by two perpetrators while a student at Melbourne Chabad’s Yeshivah Centre.

While initially applauded by some, this revelation and my subsequent public advocacy on the broader issue of child sexual abuse unleashed a torrent of additional abuse from many quarters, most notably from many within the global Chabad community, including its leaders and their supporters.

The week after the disclosure, Yeshivah’s senior rabbi, Tzvi Hirsch Telsner, asked a question directed at me and my family in his Shabbat sermon: “Who gave you permission to speak?” An Australian Judicial Inquiry, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, later confirmed that Rabbi Telsner effectively intimidated me and my family (and others) in an attempt to silence us.

The intimidation and cover-up attempts came not just from the Chabad community, the centre of the scandal and investigation. Much of it came from the mainstream Jewish community, including those at the highest levels of leadership. Dr Danny Lamm, then president of the ECAJ, publicly supported Yeshivah’s reactions during the scandal, despite clear evidence that they were behaving unconscionably. The ECAJ recently apologised for its part in the scandal, but Lamm has stubbornly refused to do so.

For many Australian Jews, it was easier to simply ignore the issues, to turn a blind eye, or worse, to actively cover it up. The vast majority remained silent – community members, lay leaders and leading rabbis, some of whom were directly involved in the intimidation of victims and their families. One of these was Australia’s most senior Orthodox rabbi, Meir Shlomo Kluwgant.

Astonishingly, it seemed irrelevant to many of them that after my public disclosure, more and more victims/survivors were reporting their own abuse to police. This directly ensured that my second abuser, David Cyprys, was finally convicted and sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment. It also resulted in numerous other convictions, not only within Chabad. And it created much greater community awareness and action regarding the issue of child sexual abuse.

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March 4, 2018

Twin Cities Archdiocese bankruptcy drags on, taking a toll on all parties involved

MINNEAPOLIS (MN)
Star Tribune

March 3, 2018

By Jean Hopfensperger

Victims and parishes in Twin Cities archdiocese dwell in uncertainty as bankruptcy drags on

“First there was the sex abuse. Then years of coverup. Then the archdiocese fought against us in the Legislature. Now it’s three years with no settlement. What kind of message does that send?” said David

David Lind has waited three years for justice.

But the bankruptcy of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis still drags on — entering its fourth year with no settlement in sight and no relief for Lind and more than 400 other men and women who claim they were abused by local priests when they were children and teenagers.

The case is now on track to be one of the longest archdiocese bankruptcies in the nation, and the protracted dispute is placing mounting strains on all parties involved.

“First there was the sex abuse,” said Lind, an altar boy in St. Paul Park in the 1960s. “Then years of coverup. Then the archdiocese fought against us in the Legislature. Now it’s three years with no settlement. What kind of message does that send?”

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Nephew leaps to defence of Bishop after resignation

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
The Independent

By Jerome Reilly

March 4, 2018

John McAreavey, the widower of Michaela Harte, has defended his uncle, Bishop John McAreavey, who resigned as Catholic Bishop of Dromore last Thursday.

The bishop resigned from the diocese, which includes parishes in Antrim, Armagh and Down, following controversy over his decision to officiate more than 15 years ago at the funeral of a priest who was a known child abuser.

It followed a BBC Spotlight programme broadcast last month on Fr Malachy Finnegan, who spent most of his ministry at St Colman’s College in Newry and who was the subject of 12 allegations of serious sexual abuse.

The programme also investigated the Church’s response to those allegations.

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Statement from Bishop McAreavey March 2018

NEWRY (NORTHERN IRELAND)
Diocese of Dromore

March 2, 2018

By Bishop John McAreavey

Letter to People, Religious and Clergy of the Diocese.

Today I am writing my letter of resignation as Bishop of Dromore to Pope Francis. I do so with a heavy heart. I wrestled with this decision over recent weeks; it was not an easy decision to take. Following recent media coverage which has disturbed and upset many people, I decided on Thursday to resign.

I would ask you first and foremost to continue to hold in your prayers those who have been abused and all who are suffering at this time.

Until new arrangements for the leadership of the Diocese are in place, Canon Liam Stevenson, the Vicar General will take responsibility for the day to day administration of the Diocese. As regards the celebration of Confirmation, the priests of each parish have been delegated to minister this Sacrament.

To serve as Bishop of Dromore, my home Diocese, has been the greatest privilege of my life, though not without its challenges.

Finally, I want to say thank you for your kindness and co-operation over my time as Bishop. Please keep me in your prayers, as I will keep you in mine.

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Two brothers say they were among those abused by priest in the 1960s

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

March 4, 2018

By Jay Tokasz

[Note from BishopAccountability.org: See also Advocate: Many stories of sexual abuse by priests yet to be told, by Dan Herbeck, March 3, 2018. These articles were side-by-side on the front page of the Sunday Buffalo News.]

James A. McCarthy hasn’t seen the Rev. Norbert F. Orsolits in years.

But the face of the priest still creeps into his mind anytime he enters a Catholic church, he said.

McCarthy, 69, says a short prayer to make the image go away: “Lord, help me to do the right thing and let this pass.”

It gets him past the awful memory of the sexual abuse that McCarthy said he endured from Orsolits in his childhood bedroom some 50 years ago.

Orsolits, now 78, made the startling admission on Tuesday that he had molested “probably dozens” of boys prior to entering a Canadian facility for treatment in the early 1980s.

On Friday, McCarthy and his younger brother became the second and third men to publicly accuse Orsolits of sexually abusing them as adolescents while he worked as a Catholic Diocese of Buffalo priest.

Orsolits’ abuses span more than decade and date back to the earliest years of his priesthood, according to the accounts of the McCarthy brothers and a third victim, Michael F. Whalen.

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Advocate: Many stories of sexual abuse by priests yet to be told

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

March 3, 2018

By Dan Herbeck

For the past 22 years, Judith Burns-Quinn has listened to the shocking and heartbreaking stories of people who were sexually abused by priests.

Most of them, she said, are adult men who were molested as young boys and teenagers.

“Every victim I’ve talked to has their own story, but for every one, the experience of being molested by a priest has had a profound impact on their life,” said Burns-Quinn, 74.

Burns-Quinn said she has spoken to about 40 such victims since 2002, when she became Buffalo coordinator for a national organization called Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP.

“Every one I’ve talked to has had trouble with either drugs, alcohol, anger issues, parental issues, divorces, or all those things,” she said. “They have problems with trusting people, especially people in authority. Their lives have been devastated…because a priest was someone they thought they could be trust.”

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March 3, 2018

Lawyers and rights groups call for clerical abuse inquiry

BELFAST (NORTHERN IRELAND)
Irish Legal News

March 2, 2018

Lawyers and human rights groups have called for a public inquiry into allegations of clerical child sex abuse in Northern Ireland.

Amnesty International said recent revelations of abuse by Father Malachy Finnegan, former president of St Colman’s College in Newry, strengthened the case for an inquiry.

It pointed out the Catholic Church had itself identified child abuse allegations against 100 priests in Northern Ireland since the 1970s.

Solicitor Claire McKeegan of Belfast-based KRW Law, who represents a number of Fr Finnegan’s victims, echoed the call.

She said: “We have received calls from numerous further victims and witnesses of Malachy Finnegan’s vile abuses since the significant settlement by our client known as ‘Patrick’ was made public recently.

“The message is clear: victims demand a public inquiry into clerical abuse in Northern Ireland without any further delay.

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More victims of St Coleman’s paedophile priest Fr Finnegan come forward

BELFAST (NORTHERN IRELAND)
Belfast Telegraph

March 1, 2018

[Note from BishopAccountability.org: This article summarizes some of the revelations from the Nolan Show, February 28, 2018.]

More victims of paedophile priest Fr Malachy Finnegan have come forward after a BBC investigation into about his abuses.

Last month a BBC Spotlight programme revealed Father Finnegan, a former teacher at St Coleman’s College in Newry, had been accused of sexual abuse by 12 people.

The programme reported the allegations were reported to police in 1996, but he was not interviewed before his death in 2002.

He was employed in the college from 1967 until 1987, serving as a teacher from 1973 until 1976, and as president of the college from 1976 until 1987.

The Diocese of Dromore said it had been aware of the 12 allegations against its former teacher, with the first coming to light in 1994, and a second allegation being made in 1998.

No further allegations were made until after his death.

Appearing on Nolan Live on Wednesday, the BBC’s Mandy McAuley, who was responsible for the the Spotlight programme, said she had been contacted by a number of people since the programme aired.

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Priest who admitted to child sex abuse worked at St. Mary of the Angels, Archbishop Walsh during ’80s

OLEAN (NY)
Olean Times Herald

March 2, 2018

By Tom Dinki

Diocese says clergyman was assigned to treatment after allegation

A retired priest, who admitted this week to sexually abusing dozens of teenage boys decades ago, served in Olean and Portville during the 1980s.

The Rev. Norbert Orsolits admitted to The Buffalo News Tuesday he sexually abused “probably dozens” of teenage boys during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Orsolits, now 78 and living in Ashford, was assigned to St. Mary of the Angels Church in Olean from 1982 to 1983 and Sacred Heart Church in Portville from 1984 to 1988, during which time he also taught at Archbishop Walsh High School in Olean.

According to Orsolits, he was assigned to Sacred Heart after the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo received a complaint he sexually abused a child and ordered him to receive psychological treatment at a Canadian facility.

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Report says claims of abuse in Catholic church and orders ‘peaked in 1953’

GLASGOW (SCOTLAND)
The Herald

March 2, 2018

By Jody Harrison

A Catholic Church report suggests levels of sexual assault and rape of children in their care peaked in the 1950s.

The academic review of historical allegations of abuse at orphanages and churches uncovered hundreds of accusations made against priests and other figures, stretching back dozens of years, with the high-water mark occurring in 1953.

However, campaigners have raised doubts over the figures, saying that the majority of the abuse would have been swept under the carpet and not entered into official records.

Dr Ben Torsney, of the University of Glasgow, found almost 400 cases or reports of abuse in Scotland between 1943 and 2005 during a probe launched at the behest of the Scottish Bishops.

Recorded allegations reached a peak in 1953 with 124 reports, and then began to fall with no more than five a year between 1990 and 2005, according to the study.

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Catholic Church lobbyist concerned about sex abuse bill

LANSING (MI)
WILX 10

February 27, 2018

Lobbyists for the Catholic Church in Michigan say they’re concerned about a bill that would retroactively lengthen the time limit for victims of childhood sexual abuse to file lawsuits.

The legislation is included in a package supported by survivors of former USA Gymnastics and Michigan state doctor Larry Nassar. It would allow accusers to sue up until they turn 48.

No specifics were given about the concerns.

The catholic church has paid out more than three billion to settle clergy abuse in the US.

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Diocese, victim ask insurance companies to uphold policies in lawsuit

ST. CLOUD (MN)
St. Cloud Times

March 2, 2018

By Stephanie Dickrell

Lawsuit hopes to determine which companies are responsible for paying damages to victims of child sexual abuse

Two lawsuits are hoping to make insurance companies cooperate in compensating victims of child sexual abuse in the Diocese of St. Cloud.

The diocese and a victim of child sexual abuse are asking insurance companies to uphold policies they’ve issued in past decades, said Josh Peck, an attorney with Jeff Anderson and Associates and a representative of victims making child sexual abuse claims against the diocese.

Catholic Mutual Insurance Company has also filed a lawsuit in federal court.

Both lawsuits are against other insurance companies ask a judge to determine which companies are responsible for compensating victims of child sexual abuse.

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Hollidaysburg woman protests on anniversary of Kane report

ALTOONA (PA)
Altoona Mirror

March 3, 2018

By Phil Ray

Merritts seeks to draw attention to abuse victims

Rosalind Merritts, a retired nurse from Hollidaysburg, stood Thursday on the front lawn of the Altoona-Johnstown Roman Catholic Diocese, displaying photos of children allegedly abused by priests and hoping to catch the attention of motorists along busy Logan Boulevard.

Despite a driving rain and a bleak sky, motorists were able to spot Merritts, clad in a long, bright yellow rain coat and carrying a large sign bearing the inscription, “PROTEST.”

Many drivers beeped their horns in support.

Merritts is part of the National Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, and for her, Thursday was a special day.

It was the second anniversary of a grand jury report released by former Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane that uncovered hundreds of cases of child sexual abuse by area priests and religious leaders over a 50-year period.

The 2016 report led to changes.

Altoona-Johnstown Diocesan Bishop Mark Bartchak worked with the former Acting U.S. Attorney Soo C. Song of the Western District of Pennsylvania to develop programs to ensure local children are protected from further abuse by employees of the diocese.

Last August, the bishop named seven members to the Diocesan Review Board, which examines reports of abuse to determine their credibility.

That board also is to determine clergymen’s suitability for the ministry.

In January, the diocese created an Office of Children and Youth Protection, another step in protecting the children.

Yet cases of past alleged abuse continue to linger.

Two officials of the Franciscan Friars Third Order Regular face trial in Blair County Court for failing to protect children from the late Brother Stephen Baker, who was accused of sexually abusing teens at a Johnstown Catholic high school.

In December, now retired Judge Jolene G. Kopriva dismissed charges against a former priest at St. Leo’s Catholic Church in Altoona, the Rev. Charles Bodziak, accused of molesting two young girls years ago. The case was dismissed because the statute of limitations had expired.

In her protest Thursday, Merritts turned her attention toward Pope Francis, who, in Chile last month, accused a sexual abuse victim of slander and who presided over the funeral of Cardinal Bernard Law, accused of covering up child sexual abuse when serving as the archbishop of Boston.

She is fighting to extend the statute of limitations so those who were abused years ago may receive justice.

She also questions the sincerity of the top officials of the Catholic hierarchy.

Merritts spends a day each month on the bishop’s lawn along Logan Boulevard, she said, so these victims won’t be forgotten.

“I don’t want this (memory of the victims) to go away,” she said.

Recently, the sexual harassment of women has come to the forefront because of the “#MeToo” movement.

“Hopefully,” she said in a letter to the Mirror, “#TimesUp in this country for accepting that the abuser at church, at home, in school or on the teams is to be protected.”

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Australian Prosecutor Drops a Sex Charge Against Cardinal

MELBOURNE (AUSTRALIA)
Associated Press via New York Times

March 1, 2018

An Australian prosecutor on Friday withdrew a single charge against Cardinal George Pell, the most senior Catholic cleric to face a sex prosecution.

The 76-year-old Australian cardinal will appear on Monday in a court in Melbourne, Australia’s second-largest city where Pell was once archbishop, for the start of a monthlong preliminary hearing to determine whether prosecutors have sufficient evidence to warrant a jury trial.

Prosecutor Mark Gibson told the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Friday that one charge had been withdrawn.

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Key abuse charge against Cardinal Pell withdrawn

MELBOURNE (AUSTRALIA)
Catholic News Agency

March 2, 2018

By Hannah Brockhaus

On Friday, an Australian prosecutor withdrew a charge of abuse against Cardinal George Pell, who is currently undergoing a trial in Australia for accusations of past sexual abuse.

The charge was dropped by Prosecutor Mark Gibson March 2 after its key complainant died in January. It is only one of the charges brought against Pell, though the total number of charges and details are not yet public.

The next stage of the case begins March 5, with a four-week long preliminary hearing in Melbourne. The hearing, at which Pell will be present, will determine whether prosecutors have enough evidence to hold a jury trial for the charges of abuse brought against the cardinal.

The director of prosecutions for the Melbourne Magistrates Court had indicated in a hearing Feb. 14 that the charge of key witness Damian Dignan, who died in January, would likely be withdrawn.

Dignan, who died of leukemia in early January, along with a fellow classmate at St. Alipius school in Ballarat, accused Pell in 2016 of inappropriate sexual behavior when they were minors. The cardinal had previously been accused of acts of child sexual abuse dating as far back as 1961.

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The Nolan Show

BELFAST (NORTHERN IRELAND)
BBC

March 1, 2018

By Stephen Nolan

[Stream of 90-minute radio report and call-in show during which (at 48:40) it was revealed that Bishop McAreavey had concelebrated a Mass with Fr Malachy Finnegan in 2000. This revelation and the reaction to it prompted McAreavey’s resignation.]

Two weeks ago, BBC Spotlight exposed Father Malachy Finegan as a paedophile priest. Since then, victims have been contacting the BBC’s Mandy McAuley and the Nolan Show. Last night on Nolan Live, the story moved on. The Bishop of Dromore, Bishop John McAreavey, is now facing calls to resign immediately from his post. Last night, on Nolan Live, victims of the paedophile priest Malachy Finnegan were horrified to hear that despite knowing Finnegan was a paedophile, Bishop McAreavey made the decision to concelebrate mass, with the paedophile fully vested on the altar with him. Victims have now called for his resignation.

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John McAreavey resigns as bishop amid abuser controversy

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
Irish Times

March 1, 2018

By Patsy McGarry

[Note from BishopAccountability.org: See also the McAreavey statement quoted in this article.]

People in Dromore diocese concerned that cleric said funeral Mass for alleged abuser

John McAreavey has resigned as Catholic Bishop of Dromore with immediate effect following controversy over his decision to officiate more than 15 years ago at the funeral Mass of a priest known to the diocese as a child abuser.

Dromore diocese includes parishes in counties Antrim, Armagh and Down.

Fr Malachy Finnegan served at St Colman’s College in Newry from 1967 to 1971 and was a teacher there from 1973 to 1976. He was president of the college from 1976 to 1987. Between 1994 and 2016, 12 allegations of abuse were made against him.

A BBC Spotlight programme on Finnegan was broadcast last month and included interviews with three of his alleged victims. It had been investigating allegations against the priest over recent months and how these had been handled by Catholic authorities.

Prior to the broadcast, Dr McAreavey issued a statement saying the first allegation against Finnegan came to light in 1994, some seven years after he left St Colman’s College.

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All dioceses must now come clean on pervert clerics

BELFAST (NORTHERN IRELAND)
Belfast Telegraph

March 2, 2018

By Malachi O’Doherty

Like all members of the Roman Catholic clergy they have pledged themselves to obeying those above them in the hierarchy. Therefore, if they want to remain in good standing with Church authorities they seek permission from the Vatican to go.

And sometimes they get it. And sometimes they get the assurance that their departure is neither appropriate nor desirable.

There have been huge embarrassments for the Church around the disclosure that bishops and cardinals have failed to report abuse to the police.

The outstanding case was that of the former primate, Cardinal Sean Brady, who had debriefed two boys abused by Brendan Smyth, a priest in the Norbertine Order.

Cardinal Brady had sworn the boys to secrecy and had seen it as the fulfilment of his duty to report his findings to his bishop, even as the odious Smyth continued to abuse.

So Bishop John McAreavey’s decision to resign in the face of intense heat from the media is unusual both because it was prompt and because it appears not to have involved consultation with the Vatican.

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PSNI establish task force to handle Father Finnegan abuse claims

BELFAST (NORTHERN IRELAND)
Belfast Telegraph

March 2, 2018

Police have set up a dedicated task force to investigate complaints about the paedophile priest Father Malachy Finnegan.

The priest who died in 2002 was accused of the sexual abuse of 12 children while at St Coleman’s College in Newry. He was a teacher at the school from 1967 to 1976 and was later its president for 11 years.

* * *

Detective Superintendent Deirdre Bones, PSNI Public Protection Branch said: “The PSNI has set up a dedicated team to investigate complaints of clerical and institutional abuse involving Father Malachy Finnegan.

“I would appeal to anyone who has been the victim of physical or sexual abuse to report it to the Public Protection Branch in PSNI, who will deal with their reports sensitively and confidentially.”

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Bishop McAreavy facing calls to resign

LONDON (ENGLAND)
BBC

March 1, 2018

There have been calls for the Bishop of Dromore to resign amid claims he celebrated Mass alongside a priest he knew was a paedophile.

Malachy Finnegan, who died in 2002, has been accused of sex abuse by 12 people.

Fr Finnegan, a teacher at St Colman’s College in Newry from 1967 to 1976, is also accused of a catalogue of physical and emotional abuse against pupils.

Bishop of Dromore, Dr John McAreavey, has previously apologised for conducting Fr Finnegan’s funeral Mass.

Last month, Bishop McAreavey, who was chair of the board of governors at the school, told parishioners in the Dromore diocese that he first became aware of allegations against Fr Finnegan in 1994.

* * *

On Wednesday, Spotlight NI reporter Mandy McAuley told the BBC’s Nolan Live programme that six years later, Fr Finnegan was allowed to help Bishop McAreavey celebrate a Mass to mark the 150th anniversary of the Clonduff parish.

She said the paedophile priest was vested – robed in garments – at the Mass in 2000, although he was not the main celebrant.

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Bishop John McAreavey resigns after revelations he concelebrated Mass with paedophile priest

BELFAST (NORTHERN IRELAND)
Irish News

March 2, 2018

By Bimpe Archer

One of the north’s most high-profile bishops has resigned amid controversy that he celebrated Mass alongside a paedophile priest.

In a brief statement released through his personal solicitor last night, Bishop of Dromore Dr John McAreavey (69) announced he was leaving his post.

“Following media reports which have disturbed and upset many people in the diocese and further afield I have decided to resign with immediate effect,” he said.

“I shall make further comment in due course.”

The resignation came amid growing calls for a public inquiry into clerical abuse in Northern Ireland.

Just weeks ago Dr McAreavey apologised for celebrating Requiem Mass for Fr Malachy Finegan a paedophile and former president at St Colman’s College in Newry.

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Culture of cover-up should shame all involved

BELFAST (NORTHERN IRELAND)
Irish News

March 3, 2018

By Allison Morris

The resignation of Bishop of Dromore John McAreavey was swift and unexpected.

In the closed ranks of the Catholic Church it is rare for one man to take responsibility for what was an historical culture of silence when it came to the abuse of children by members of the clergy.

That the horrendous abuse, sexual, physical and emotional, experienced by young boys at the hands of Fr Malachy Finegan went unreported and unchecked for so long should shame all of those involved.

The testimony of victims, who have finally felt able to speak out, has painted a grim picture of what life was like for boys who came in contact with the savage, sadistic thug of a man who used his power as a Catholic priest to brutalise young children.

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Northern Irish bishop resigns over claims he concelebrated Mass with abusive priest

LONDON (ENGLAND)
Catholic News Service via Catholic Herald

March 2, 2018

An Irish bishop resigned March 1 after increased criticism over how he dealt with revelations of an abusive priest.

Bishop John McAreavey of Dromore was criticised in a program on BBC Northern Ireland on February 28, after it emerged that he concelebrated an anniversary Mass with a priest he knew had stepped down after being sent for treatment following complaints of abuse.

In a statement from his lawyer released to journalists on March 1, Bishop McAreavey, 69, said: “Following media reports which have disturbed and upset many people in the diocese and further afield, I have decided to resign with immediate effect.”

Twelve people accused the late Fr Malachy Finnegan of sexual abuse. The priest, who taught at St Colman’s College in Newry, Northern Ireland, from 1967 to 1976, is also accused of physical and emotional abuse against students.

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Push intensifies for passage of long-stalled Child Victims Act

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

March 2, 2018

By Tom Precious

Albany – If Rev. Norbert F. Orsolits had sexually abused what he’s described as “several dozen” teenage boys in Connecticut or Utah or even Guam instead of New York, the victims he molested four decades ago would today have a path in civil court to seek financial damages and perhaps some sense of justice.

But New York is one of the most restrictive in the nation when it comes to allowing victims from long-ago abuse to file lawsuits against their alleged perpetrators, and so neither the former priest or the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo is liable for the acts he told The Buffalo News he committed long ago.

Now, people who say they were abused as children are pointing to the Orsolits case as the latest evidence for the need of a long-stalled bill called the Child Victims Act. It is a measure that would expand the criminal and civil statute of limitations in abuse cases. But it’s most controversial provision – and one that has stopped it from becoming law so far – would and create a one year “look back” period to allow victims over the age of 23 to file lawsuits against alleged perpetrators or the institutions where they worked or volunteered for incidents of sexual abuse dating back potentially decades.

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Priest sexual abuse probe could involve more clergy, police say

FREELAND (MI)
Michigan Live

March 2, 2018

By Michael Kransz

The criminal probe into a Freeland priest accused of sexually assaulting two men could expand to encompass nearly a half dozen other area clergy, if sexual abuse allegations police are hearing prove credible, investigators say.

“We are getting tips on other priests,” said Tittabawassee Township Detective Brian Berg. “I would imagine when we verify some of the information we’re getting, that other priests will be under investigation.”

Berg stressed the allegations of sexual abuse involving five to six other area priests haven’t been verified. If they are, an official investigation will launch, the detective said.

Erin Looby Carlson, a spokesperson for the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw, reiterated the diocese will cooperate with law enforcement investigations.

Tips and allegations of sexual abuse have flooded Berg’s department following the arrest of 71-year-old Rev. Robert DeLand Jr.

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N.J. priest on leave after sex abuse allegations surface from time as Staten Island teacher in 1980s

STATEN ISLAND (NY)
Staten Island Advance

February 27, 2018

By Paul Liotta

[Includes informative portfolio of photographs.]

A New Jersey priest, who worked in Staten Island schools for more than 20 years as a layman, was put on a leave of absence Sunday after sexual abuse allegations connected to his time in the borough surfaced.

Rev. Patrick Kuffner “has been accused by three individuals of sexual abuse while they were minors,” according to a letter from Bishop James F. Checchio of the Diocese of Metuchen.

The allegations stem from Kuffner’s time as a layman and teacher on Staten Island more than 30 years ago, according to the letter.

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In Vatican Magazine Exposé, Nuns Reveal Their Economic Exploitation

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Times

March 1, 2018

By Elisabetta Povoledo

Rome – Sister Marie told of nuns who worked long hours to cook and clean for cardinals and bishops, without being asked to break bread at the same table.

Sister Paule pointed out that many nuns did not have registered contracts with the bishops, schools, parishes or congregations they worked for, “so they are paid little or not at all.”

Sister Cécile said that “nuns are seen as volunteers to have available at one’s calling, which gives rise to abuse of power.”

These stories — told by sisters using pseudonyms — were revealed Thursday in an exposé about how nuns are exploited by the leaders and institutions of the Roman Catholic Church. The article, by the French journalist Marie-Lucile Kubacki, was published in the March edition of Women Church World, the monthly magazine on women distributed alongside the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.

The stories amount to a distress signal about the unfair economic and social conditions many nuns experience, as well as the psychological and spiritual challenges that many face.

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Law, politics and media make abuse scandals different in U.S. than Chile

DENVER (CO)
Crux

March 2, 2018

By Christopher White

New York – As Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta returns from his on-the-ground investigation of alleged sex abuse cover-up by Bishop Juan Barros of the Chilean diocese of Osorno, some American Catholics have likened this latest chapter of the Church’s clerical sex abuse scandals to post-traumatic stress disorder.

Following the Boston Globe’s Spotlight team’s devastating coverage in 2002 of years of sexual abuse and cover-up, the U.S. Catholic bishops adopted their Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People in June of that year to standardize guidelines for reporting and responding to sexual abuse allegations within the U.S. Church.

Since that time, the American Church’s “zero tolerance” policy for sexual abusers has been considered by many as the standard for other countries to model their own programs. Given the recent controversies of the Barros affair, however, more than a few Catholics have wondered how a similar situation would play out in the United States today-both within the Church and outside of it.

In essence, the answer would seem to be that speaking strictly in terms of internal ecclesiastical procedures, it’s not clear there would be a major contrast between America and anywhere else in a case in which the accusation against a bishop is not abuse itself, but cover-up.

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Bishop’s Letter to Parishioners of Our Lady of Mount Virgin

METUCHEN (NJ)
Diocese of Metuchen

February 25, 2018

By Bishop James F. Checchio

The following is a letter from Bishop Checchio to parishioners of Our Lady of Mount Virgin regarding the leave of absence of their pastor, Fr. Patrick J. Kuffner.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

It is with great sadness that I must inform you that your pastor, Fr. Patrick J. Kuffner, has been accused by three individuals of sexual abuse while they were minors. These charges date back more than three decades, to when he was a layman and teaching on Staten Island.

Three law enforcement agencies were initially involved in investigating these claims; two have determined that the statute of limitation has lapsed, the investigation by one agency is ongoing. Since it would not be right or possible for Fr. Kuffner to exercise his pastoral responsibilities toward you with these charges pending, he will be on a leave of absence and cannot function as a priest. I have appointed Fr. David Skoblow to serve as temporary administrator of the parish.

As I am sure you will be, I am deeply shocked and saddened at this development, and I have a heavy heart for the individuals who came forward after many years of having carried such a tremendous burden. With that said, I have rechecked our records and there was nothing whatsoever in the background checks required of all seminarians and priests, or in Fr. Kuffner’s behavior in his two priestly assignments, to suggest he could be capable of such horrendous actions. There has never been any indication of these types of actions during his time as a priest either. I, of course, take these charges extremely seriously.

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Priest on leave after 3 claim sex abuse that happened decades ago

MIDDLESEX (NJ)
NJ.com

February 27, 2018

By Amanda Hoover

Three people have accused a priest of sexually abusing them as minors in cases that date back decades, to before the man was a priest, the Metuchen Diocese has announced.

In a letter released online Sunday to parishioners of Our Lady of Mount Virgin in Middlesex, Metuchen Bishop James Checchio announced the suspension of Father Patrick Kuffner while an investigation into the alleged abuse ensues.

“I am deeply shocked and saddened at this development, and I have a heavy heart for the individuals who came forward after many years of having carried such a tremendous burden,” he wrote.

The allegations stem from Kuffner’s first career as a teacher in Staten Island and are three decades old, the letter said.

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Defrocked Long Island priest, sex offender found dead in Saratoga jail

ALBANY (NY)
Times Union

February 27, 2018

By Steve Hughes

Ballston Spa – A former Long Island Catholic priest and convicted sex offender was found dead in his Saratoga County jail cell after an apparent suicide on Tuesday, just days before he was to be sentenced to state prison for molesting a child.

Michael L. Hands, 51, admitted in September to twice molesting a child younger than 17 in July in Charlton.

He was set to be sentenced this week for two counts of third-degree criminal sex act. He faced up to eight years in prison.

Hands met the victim online and cultivated a relationship that ultimately led to the two meeting, where Hands victimized the child, according to Times Union archives.

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Michael Hands, ex-priest convicted of abusing LI teen, dies in jail

MELVILLE (NY)
Newsday

February 27, 2018

By Zachary R. Dowdy

[Note from BishopAccountability.org: See the Suffolk County Grand Jury Report and the section on Fr. Michael Hands (Priest W in the report).]

Hands’ death comes just days before he was to be sentenced on a new child sex abuse charge.

Michael Hands, a former priest who served prison time for sexually abusing a 14-year-old Long Island boy in August 2000, was found dead of an apparent suicide in his jail cell upstate Tuesday while awaiting sentencing on new sex-abuse charges, authorities said.

A spokesman for Saratoga County said that Hands, 51, formerly of Greenwich, Connecticut was found dead in his cell at the county jail in Ballston Spa at 1:45 a.m. during a routine check of inmates and was believed to have killed himself. Saratoga County officials said an autopsy would be performed to determine the cause of death.

Hands was a key witness in a 2002 grand jury investigation, conducted by Suffolk County prosecutors, that led to a 182-page report alleging that priests in the Diocese of Rockville Centre abused children over decades. No indictments resulted from the probe, however, and the statutes of limitations for some of the offenses alleged had expired.

The state Commission of Correction, which looks into all in-custody deaths in the state, confirmed it is investigating Hands’ death at the Saratoga jail.

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March 2, 2018

Abusive priest gave teens booze while leading ski trip, sources say

BUFFALO (NY)
The Buffalo News

March 1, 2018

By Lou Michel and Jay Tokasz

PORTVILLE – The Catholic Diocese of Buffalo made Rev. Norbert F. Orsolits get psychological treatment after receiving a complaint that he had sexually abused a child.

It was after that, Orsolits said, that the diocese assigned him to work for years in the mid-1980s in a rural parish in tiny Portville.

There, he led the church youth group and gave booze to underage boys while chaperoning the nearby Catholic high school’s ski club on a trip to Vermont, according to a former student and some parishioners. During his time in Portville, parishioners say, Orsolits was even charged with driving while intoxicated.

Worshipers at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Portville, where about 1,000 people live, are angry that the bishop in Buffalo never warned them in the mid-1980s that Orsolits had been treated at Southdown Institute, a mental health facility near Toronto, for abusing a child.

That didn’t come to light until this week, when Orsolits admitted to The Buffalo News that he had sexual contact with “probably dozens” of teenage boys.

“Obviously there’s something not connected in his head. There’s a separation from normal thinking,” said Bernard “Buz” Wenke, who worshiped at Sacred Heart while Orsolits preached there. “Somebody that does something like that should not be around children.”

At a news conference Thursday, diocesan officials said Orsolits was sent to Southdown after the diocese had received a complaint of child sex abuse, but they did not specify the dates they received the complaint or when he was treated.

“He was sent away and went to a facility for counseling and some form of rehabilitation to find out whether or not he was suitable for ministry. When he came back with a clean bill of health, advised that he was able to come back and serve, he did serve,” said Terrence M. Connors, a lawyer who represents the diocese.

Orsolits told The News that following his treatment, the diocese assigned him to the Portville church and to teach at Archbishop Walsh High School.

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Retired Buffalo-area priest admits sexually abusing ‘dozens’ of boys

BUFFALO (NY)
The Buffalo News

Published February 27, 2018; Updated March 1, 2018

By Jay Tokasz and Aaron Besecker

A retired priest from the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo admitted Tuesday he had sexually abused “probably dozens” of teenage boys in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

The Rev. Norbert F. Orsolits made the admission after a South Buffalo man publicly accused Orsolits of abusing him when he was a teenager during a ski outing more than 35 years ago.

Michael F. Whalen, 52, said Orsolits was his parish priest at St. John Vianney in Orchard Park when the abuse occurred.

Orsolits, 78, said he did not recall Whalen. But he described other incidents of sexual contact with teenage boys to a Buffalo News reporter who visited the priest Tuesday afternoon at his cottage home in the Town of Ashford.

He told The News that he was later sent for treatment at a psychological facility in Canada, before the diocese assigned him to work at a small rural church and school. He was removed by the diocese from ministry in 2003.

During a 10-minute interview, Orsolits talked casually of having had sexual contact with teenage boys, saying it had been fueled by alcohol. He admitted to having touched teenage boys sexually and having had them touch him.

He suggested that the contact was consensual and that he was “led on” by some. He also said that he never persisted with any sexual touching if a teenage boy resisted.

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Sexual abuse allegations against rabbi divide Baltimore’s Orthodox Jewish community

BALTIMORE (MD)
The Baltimore Sun

March 2, 2018

By Alison Knezevich

Many in Baltimore’s Orthodox Jewish community thought the case against Rabbi Steven Krawatsky was closed.

A 7-year-old boy at a summer camp in Adamstown had accused the popular teacher of sexual abuse, and he was suspended from his job at the private Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School in Pikesville. Two other boys later came forward with similar allegations. Frederick County prosecutors said they did not have enough evidence to charge Krawatsky, and by early 2016, “Rabbi K” was back in the classroom, teaching Judaic studies to middle school students.

So it came as a shock in January when Beth Tfiloh fired Krawatsky and banned the 40-year-old father of four from the campus where he worked for nearly 15 years.

There had been no new allegations. Instead, school officials cited explosive details from the three cases published in January by a Jewish newspaper in New York.

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Latest Statements regarding Father Robert J. DeLand

SAGINAW (MI)
Catholic Diocese of Saginaw

March 1, 2018

Community Gathers at St. Agnes Parish, Freeland
PRESS RELEASE MARCH 1, 2018

SAGINAW — In response to the needs and concerns of the community after criminal charges were issued against Father Robert (Bob) DeLand, a listening session was held at St. Agnes Parish Tuesday evening (Feb. 27) for members of the church and the greater Freeland community. Those gathered participated in a scheduled Stations of the Cross prayer event, and the listening session followed. It allowed those present to share and express deep feelings following the arrest of Father DeLand and the circumstances surrounding his arrest.

Youth were in the parish hall to share their own feelings and concerns. Their listening session was facilitated by the St. Agnes Faith Formation Director, Nicole Bakos, with support from the diocesan Director of Christian Service, Terri Grierson, and the Coordinator of Youth Ministry for the diocese, Mark Graveline, as well as a licensed counselor from Child & Family Services of Saginaw, Windi Sterling, LLMSW.

The listening session for adults was held in the church and facilitated by the coordinator of the Office of Child and Youth Protection for the Diocese of Saginaw, Sister Janet Fulgenzi, OP, PhD.

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Larry Nassar Accused of Sexual Abuse by Male Gymnast

UNITED STATES
The Cut

March 2, 2018

By Madeleine Aggeler

Jacob Moore, an 18-year-old freshman at the University of Michigan and former member of the U.S. men’s junior national gymnastics team, has joined a lawsuit against ex–USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar. Moore is the first male athlete to come forward with allegations of sexual abuse against Nassar.

Moore has accused Nassar of sexually abusing him in 2016, when he was only 16 years old. According to the complaint filed this week, Moore says he went to Nassar’s house seeking treatment for a shoulder injury. Once there, Nassar allegedly brought Moore down to his basement, where he proceeded to expose the boy’s genitals to a young female gymnast who was there, and then told him he would treat his shoulder injury “through acupuncture in his pubic area and in and around his genitalia.”

“There is no known medical connection between shoulder pain which can be treated through acupuncture in the area of a male’s genitalia,” the complaint reads.

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Diocese of Ogdensburg to offer compensation to those alleging they were abused by north country clergy while minors

OGDENSBURG (NY)
Watertown Daily Times

March 2, 2018

By Larry Robinson

The Diocese of Ogdensburg is allowing an independent, two-person panel to determine whether financial compensation will be given to those alleging sexual abuse as children at the hands of Catholic clergy across the north country.

The allegations of sex abuse of children date back decades, according to a spokesman for the church.

Catholic officials in Ogdensburg said Thursday that the Diocese of Northern New York has established an “Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program” to assist victims of clergy sex abuse.

In a statement, Bishop Terry R. LaValley said creating the independent reconciliation panel reflects the church’s “contrition to the victims who have reported clergy sexual abuse to the Diocese.”

James Crowley, chancellor and spokesman for the diocese, said the church has reached out to 38 victims. He said those alleging abuse at the hands of clergy received a letter from the bishop last week. He said the abuse allegations go back generations.

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Catholic priest in Indianapolis accused of domestic assault on his wife

INDIANAPOLIS (IN)
WTHR

February 27, 2018

By Sandra Chapman

A man who made history as the first married priest in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis faces six criminal charges tied to an assault last September involving his wife. Court documents state that part of the attack happened in the sanctuary of Holy Rosary Catholic Church where he worked.

According to court documents obtained by 13 Investigates, Father Luke Reese is accused of kidnapping, criminal confinement, battery and intimidation.

Reese is a Parochial Vicar at Holy Rosary Catholic church in Indianapolis, and according to the Archdiocese, has been placed on leave.

The court documents detail an encounter between Reese and his wife on a Sunday afternoon, September 24, when Reese said he found her in the back seat of a car with another man with whom she was having an affair.

The probable cause affidavit states that Reese hit and kicked the man and ordered his wife to leave with him. They left in separate cars and eventually met up together and got into Reese’s car. She told investigators he locked the doors and began hitting her while they were driving.

Investigators say Reese eventually drove to Holy Rosary Catholic Church on the near east side of Indianapolis and forced his wife inside to kneel at the altar. She told officers he demanded her cell phone password. She says Reese physically hit her in the church too.

The affidavit then states the two left the church and she gave up her password.

Investigators say they drove to Auburn, Indiana, where his wife was to “confess” about her adultery to her family members including her 90-year-old grandmother.

Reese’s wife details in the documents that her husband hit her several more times in the car. The grandmother told investigators that she noticed bruising and swelling around her granddaughter’s mouth and eye.

Reese then drove his wife back to Indianapolis, where, according to his wife, he forced her to go to bed while he cut up her clothing. She told officers he viewed her text messages and then sexually assaulted her.

It is WTHR’s policy to not name some assault victims.

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Abuse survivor calls for commission chair’s removal

NEW ZEALAND
Radio NZ

March 2, 2018

By Phil Pennington

A survivor of sexual abuse is calling for Sir Anand Satyanand to be removed as head of the new Royal Commission, after a survivor’s privacy was apparently breached.

He laid a complaint against Sir Anand with the Privacy Commission, only to find that it is legally unable to investigate a Royal Commission.

The man spoke out for the first time on Morning Report this week about the abuse suffered at the hands of a Catholic brother.

RNZ contacted Sir Anand about the survivors’ concerns and expressly asked for their names to be kept confidential.

“Please note we are NOT identifying these men and ask for their names to be held in confidence in this – thus I approach you directly and not through DIA or your office,” the email read.

But that email from RNZ, with the names still included, was then forwarded to staff helping Sir Anand at the Department of Internal Affairs.

The victim and his elderly father, who was also abused at a Catholic college, are campaigning for the Royal Commission to be expanded to cover non-state institutions such as churches.

“The Royal Commission is not a place for anything but absolute truth and openness,” he said.

He told RNZ Sir Anand not only breached the trust and confidentiality required by a Royal Commission but also their privacy by emailing personal details to the department when specifically asked not to do so.

He is calling for Sir Anand to be replaced and has written separately to the Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy asking her to remove the former Governor-General from the Commission.

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Indiana priest accused of kidnapping, battering wife for ‘talking to another man’

INDIANAPOLIS (IN)
The Associated Press/WISH

March 1, 2018

An Indianapolis Catholic priest faces charges after being accused of attacking his wife and holding her against her will.

The Rev. Luke Reese is charged with criminal confinement, kidnapping, domestic battery, battery resulting in injury and intimidation.

Reese locked his wife inside his car at Central Avenue and East 34th Street on Sept. 24 after finding her with another man, prosecutors say. While driving through the city, the 49-year-old slapped and yelled at her while blaring heavy metal music.

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Indianapolis priest accused of kidnapping, battering wife

INDIANAPOLIS (IN)
Dubois County Herald

The Associated Press

March 1, 2018

An Indianapolis Catholic priest faces charges for allegedly attacking his wife and holding her against her will.

The Rev. Luke Reese is charged with criminal confinement, kidnapping, domestic battery and other counts.

Reese allegedly locked his wife inside his car last September after finding her with another man. Prosecutors say the 49-year-old slapped her and later slammed her against a wall at Holy Rosary Church, where he’s an associate pastor.

Reese then allegedly drove her to northeastern Indiana. She told officers he wanted her to tell relatives “what she had done by talking to another man.”

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Local priest accused of violently attacking wife, kidnapping and assaulting her

INDIANAPOLIS (IN)
The Indy Channel (rtv6 ABC)

February 27, 2018

By Rafael Sanchez, Katie Cox

A local priest is accused of terrorizing his wife after he claims he discovered she was having an affair.

Reverend Luke Reese, 49, worked out of the Holy Rosary Catholic Church on Indianapolis’ south side. He was forced to step away from the pulpit on Sept. 27 after he disclosed that he was facing multiple domestic violence accusations against his wife.

Reese is an ordained Anglican priest which means that unlike Catholic priests, he is allowed to be married.

According to the probable cause affidavit, Reese said he discovered that his wife of 25 years was having an affair on Sept. 24.

Reese found his wife and another man in a car together. He demanded the man get out of the car, and when he did not, Reese opened the door and kicked the man in the face, according to the court documents. She got out of the car and into her own, then drove to a park as instructed by Reese, so they could talk.

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Call to smash Sussex ‘abuse’ clergyman’s headstone

ENGLAND
BBC News

March 1, 2018

By Colin Campbell

A relative of a clergyman accused of abusing an 11-year-old boy has called for his headstone to be destroyed.

Canon Dermod Fogarty, who died in 2012, is accused of subjecting Stephen Bernard to a four-year abuse ordeal in a book written by the Oxford academic.

Deirdre McCormack, Canon Fogarty’s next of kin, says the epitaph to a much-loved, wise priest – which she wrote – has been shown to be a “blatant lie”.

Ms McCormack has not yet had a response to her request.

Canon Fogarty worked in the Arundel and Brighton diocese for 67 years.

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Bishop Malone: ‘We are so very, very sorry for the pain of the abuse’

BUFFALO (NY)
The Buffalo News

March 1, 2018

By Aaron Besecker

Days after a retired priest admitted sexually abusing “probably dozens” of teenage boys, the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo on Thursday said it was taking steps to compensate other victims while attempting to address the pain its inaction has caused.

During an afternoon news conference at the Catholic Center downtown, officials announced the creation of a fund to settle claims of alleged sex abuse against clergy in the diocese, a move officials said promotes healing and would offer closure to victims.

“We are so very, very sorry for the pain of the abuse that has happened to you,” Bishop Richard J. Malone said during the news conference, addressing victims. “We’re sorry. I’m sorry. And we want to do everything we can going forward, reaching out to you who have come to us in the past.”

The announcement about the new program came two days after retired priest Norbert F. Orsolits admitted to The Buffalo News he sexually abused “probably dozens” of teenage boys in the late 1970s and early 1980s. But officials said the program had been in the works for months.

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The numerous parishes where Buffalo priest accused of sexual abuse served

BUFFALO (NY)
The Buffalo News

February 28, 2018; Updated March 1, 2018

By Mike McAndrew

The Rev. Norbert F. Orsolits, who admitted Tuesday he had sexual contact with “probably dozens” of teenage boys, was assigned by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo to work in numerous parishes between 1965 and 2003, when Orsolits was removed from active priestly duties.

Orsolits was accused Tuesday by Michael F. Whalen, a South Buffalo man, of sexually abusing Whalen when he was about 14 years old in 1979 or 1980. Whalen said he was a student at St. John Vianney parish school in Orchard Park at the time, and Orsolits was a priest there.

Orsolits said Tuesday he does not remember Whalen’s name, but did not deny having sexual contact with him.

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Woman tells cops she had casino mogul Steve Wynn’s baby after he sexually assaulted her

LAS VEGAS (NV)
ABC News

February 28, 2018

By Sabina Ghebremedhin and Bill Hutchinson

Two women have told Las Vegas Police they were victims of sexual misconduct by casino mogul Steve Wynn, including one who alleges she had the billionaire’s baby in a gas station restroom in the 1970s after he repeatedly sexually assaulted her, according to reports obtained by ABC News.

The new allegations against the 76-year-old Wynn — the former finance chairman of the Republican National Committee, who President Donald Trump has called a “great friend” — surfaced in the past month, according to Las Vegas Police reports.

Wynn was forced to step down from his gambling and resort empire on Feb. 6 after The Wall Street Journal reported that a number of women claimed he had assaulted or harassed them, including one who received a $7.5 million settlement from Wynn.

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2 massage therapists accuse Steve Wynn of sexual misconduct

UNITED STATES
The Associated Press

March 1, 2018

By Brady McCombs

Two massage therapists have claimed in new lawsuits that casino mogul Steve Wynn used his power to coerce them into sexual acts, making them the latest women to accuse the billionaire of sexual misconduct.

The unnamed 49-year-old woman and an unnamed 36-year-old woman made strikingly similar allegations in their separate lawsuits about what happened during their time as therapists working for Wynn Resorts.

Wynn forced the younger woman into sexual acts about 50 times over the course of about three years starting in 2006, she said in a lawsuit filed Thursday. She says Wynn gave her $400 “tip” after each massage and told her to never to talk about it.

The older woman said Wynn forced her sexual acts about a dozen times in 2011-2012, giving her a $1,000 “tip” after each massage and telling her to never to talk about it, according to her lawsuit filed Wednesday.

Both said the sessions took place in Wynn’s office with the door locked and security officers and dogs outside guarding the room. The women said they declined some of his sexual requests, but said they thought they would be fired if they did not agree to do certain things.

Wynn’s spokesman, Ralph Frammolino, did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

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First male gymnast accuses Larry Nassar of sexual abuse

UNITED STATES
BBC

March 2, 2018

An 18-year-old university athlete has become the first male gymnast to say in a lawsuit that he was abused by convicted pedophile Larry Nassar.

Jacob Moore alleged as part of a joint civil lawsuit that Nassar touched his genitals under the guise of treating his shoulder injury with acupuncture.

The court filing came on the same day an Olympic gold medalist sued the US Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics.

Aly Raisman said her abuse “could have been prevented” by team officials.

Her lawsuit, filed in California, claims that both organisations “put their quest for money and medals above” her safety.

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First male athlete sues Larry Nassar over alleged sexual abuse

UNITED STATES
CBS NEWS

March 2, 2018

By Anna Werner

Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman is suing the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics for their alleged role in the Larry Nassar sexual abuse case. In the lawsuit, she claims both organizations could have done more to stop the former doctor’s abuse.

More than 260 women and girls have accused Nassar of sexual abuse.

The suit came on the same day a male victim alleged Nassar abused him in a different lawsuit. Jacob Moore claims he went to the former doctor for a shoulder injury in 2016, and was sexually abused and harassed.

Moore’s sister, Kamerin — who is a former U.S. National Team gymnast — told a court room in January she and her brother were sexually abused by Nassar under the guise of medical treatment.

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WHO IS RICK BUTLER? YOUTH VOLLEYBALL COACH ACCUSED OF RAPING TEENAGE GIRLS HUNDREDS OF TIMES

CHICAGO (IL)
Newsweek

March 2, 2018

By Christina Zhao

A prominent Chicago youth volleyball coach has been accused of raping at least six girls on hundreds of different occasions in the 1980s.

According to a 72-page suit filed to the U.S. District Court of Chicago on Tuesday, Rick Butler used his influence and power to rape young players. The class-action suit, filed by Laura Mullen, one of the alleged victims’ mothers, is seeking $5 million in damages from Butler; his wife, Cheryl; and Sports Performance Volleyball Club in Aurora, the club they own together.

The plaintiff said the rapes occurred in his car, his apartment, his gym, on a train and in many other locations. One young woman claimed Butler impregnated her and forced her to have an abortion after many years of repeated sexual abuse and rape.

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New federal class-action suit against Rick Butler seeks to prevent him from interacting with minors

CHICAGO (IL)
New York Daily News

March 1, 2018

By Christian Red

It’s not enough for Laura Mullen that influential volleyball coach Rick Butler has been banned for life by USA Volleyball, permanently disqualified by the Amateur Athletic Union and indefinitely suspended from participating in any Junior Volleyball Association-hosted or insured events due to multiple women accusing Butler of years-long sexual abuse.

According to Mullen’s attorney, Jay Edelson (who is representing Mullen pro bono), the main objective behind Mullen’s explosive class-action civil lawsuit filed against Butler, his wife Cheryl, and the Sports Performance Volleyball Club and Great Lakes Center Butler started more than three decades ago, is to prevent the Butlers from ever interacting with minors.

“If we can prove our allegations — and we feel good about that — the objective is, we think, that Butler and his wife should not be around kids,” Edelson told the Daily News. “This is not about money.”

Mullen, the lead plaintiff and whose daughter played for Butler at Sports Performance, filed the complaint in Illinois federal court Tuesday. Mullen accuses Butler and his wife of “deceiving parents and youth volleyball players to become members of the Sports Performance Volleyball Club based upon false information and material omissions of fact regarding Defendant Butler’s sexual abuse of underage girls.”

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I’m Talking to My 5-Year-Old Son About Sexual Assault, and It’s Not Too Early

UNITED STATES
PopSugar

March 1, 2018

By Angela Anagnost Repke

[Note: First Published: January 25, 2018]

A few weeks ago, my husband and I were at a weekend gathering with food, friends, and a handful of kids running around. My 5-year-old son — the biggest one at the party — was chasing the other kids while playing Monster. The children ran around the kitchen yelling, “Don’t get me, monster!” and their happy and imagination-filled squeals nourished our souls. But then the cute squeals turned into a worry-filled, “Stop! No!” My son had jokingly tackled a 4-year-old girl. While he didn’t do any damage and genuinely thought they were all just playing, I knew I needed to act immediately.

Any other time, I would have taken my son aside and given him a quick but stern chat about being more gentle when playing with other kids. But this time, in this moment, I felt the heavy responsibility as a parent to do more. The Time’s Up and #MeToo movements have made me much more aware of the importance of teaching both my son and daughter about sexual assault. The courageous women who are using their voices to tell their stories have made me realize that teaching good, decent, and kind behavior starts the second kids are born, not when they’re already in high school. It’s never too early to build that foundation.

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Top Volleyball Coach Raped Girls Hundreds Of Times, Lawsuit Alleges

CHICAGO (IL)
The Huffington Post

March 1, 2018

By Dominique Mosbergen

Rick Butler, a youth coach for decades, has been banned by several sports organizations.

An influential youth volleyball coach is accused in a new federal class-action lawsuit of raping at least six girls in the 1980s on hundreds of occasions.

The Chicago-area coach, Rick Butler, used his position to manipulate young players and sexually abuse them, according to the suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago and first reported Wednesday by the Chicago Sun-Times. One victim claimed she was raped repeatedly over several years and was impregnated by Butler, who she said forced her to undergo an abortion.

The 72-page lawsuit seeks more than $5 million in damages from Butler; his wife, Cheryl; and their training facility, the Sports Performance Volleyball Club in Aurora, Illinois. It was filed by Laura Mullen, the mother of a former player who trained under Butler.

The suit accuses Butler and his wife of concealing a history of alleged sexual abuse, as well as attempting to intimidate and discredit Butler’s accusers, several of whom are named in the document. The suit argues that had Mullen and other parents been aware of Butler’s history as an alleged “child sexual predator,” they never would’ve sent their daughters to train with the coach.

Christine Tuzi says in the lawsuit she was 16 when Butler raped her for the first time. He forced her into “hundreds of unprotected sexual encounters” over the next few years, the suit says, until she became pregnant with his child at the age of 19.

Tuzi told the New York Daily News in 2016 that Butler told her to “get rid of it” after learning she was pregnant. According to the suit, Butler took Tuzi to an abortion clinic, and immediately after the procedure, forced her to masturbate him in a hotel room.

Another young woman, Sarah Powers-Barnhard, says in the lawsuit that Butler began raping her when she was 16. She says the coach forced her to watch pornographic films so she could “learn” from them, and would secretly fondle her in public ― sometimes within “just feet” of her teammates.

Many of Butler’s victims were “rising stars” in youth volleyball who saw the coach as an influential someone who could help advance their sporting careers, the lawsuit says.

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Will NY extend statute of limitations for child sex abuse crimes?

ALBANY (NY)
Democrat & Chronicle

February 27, 2018

By Natasha Vaughn

Advocates and survivors of childhood sexual abuse renewed their push Tuesday for the state Legislature to pass a bill that would increase the statute of limitations on child-sex-crimes in New York.

The bill, called the Child Victims Act, has received bipartisan support in the Assembly but has been rejected in the Republican-led Senate — where it has never been brought to the floor for a vote.

Supporters, though, were hopeful 2018 would be the year for the controversial measure, in part because Gov. Andrew Cuomo included it in his budget plan for the fiscal year that starts April 1.

“The impacts of sexual abuse are severe and long-lasting, and public policy should reflect a primary interest in promoting healing and facilitating justice,” said Deb Rosen, a child-abuse survivor and executive director of Bivona Child Advocacy Center in Rochester.

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Aly Raisman files lawsuit against USOC, USA Gymnastics over handling of Larry Nassar

UNITED STATES
ABC News

March 2, 2018

By Darren Reynolds

Olympic gold medal gymnast Aly Raisman has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics in the wake of the Larry Nassar sex abuse case.

In the suit filed Wednesday, but announced Friday morning, in Santa Clara County, California, attorneys representing Raisman say the USOC was “aware, at the highest levels of its organization, that Defendant Nassar had molested Olympic and National Team level gymnasts.”

The complaint says Nassar sexually abused Raisman at the Karolyi Ranch National Training Center in Walker County, Texas, at national and international competitions and during the London Olympics in 2012.

ABC News reached out to the USOC and USA Gymnastics for comment, but have not yet heard back.

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Vatican investigator meets survivors of Marist abuse in Chile

CHILE
The Associated Press

February 28, 2018

Archbishop Charles Scicluna held the meetings after recovering from emergency gallbladder surgery

The Vatican’s sex crimes investigator interviewed several victims of sexually abusive members of the Marist Brothers religious order Tuesday, suggesting that his mandate has expanded beyond investigating alleged abuse cover-up by a lone Chilean bishop.

Archbishop Charles Scicluna, tasked by Pope Francis with investigating Bishop Juan Barros, was forced to extend his trip in Chile by several days after having undergone emergency gall bladder surgery.

He and his colleague from the Vatican, Fr Jordi Bertomeu, have taken advantage of the extra time to add more interviews, including with victims of the Marist Brothers.

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