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.

April 25, 2019

There should be no limit on reporting sexual abuse of children in the Catholic Church

BALTIMORE (MD)
Baltimore Sun

April 25, 2019

The latest listing of sexually abusive priests testifies to the long history of sexual misconduct by Catholic clergy (“Archdiocese of Baltimore discloses the names of 23 deceased clergy accused of child sexual abuse,” April 24). Some of the abuse cases date to the 1940s. In several cases, there is a significant gap between the time the abuse occurred and when the victim(s) reported the abuse to the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

To me, this is proof of the need to expand the window of time for bringing perpetrators to justice. I have been asked why I did not report the sexual abuse I experienced by a teacher when I was 10 years old. As a child in the late 1970s, I had no words to explain it. It takes a lot of time to process abuse and more time to come forward to authorities. There is no magic timeline.

In my case, the teacher was ultimately found guilty of raping a student at a Baltimore Catholic school. He is serving four consecutive life sentences for his crimes. I hope everybody who has ever committed sexual abuse is rooted out and appropriately charged. Sexual abusers, whether dead or alive, should not be shielded by artificial timelines. Maryland’s current law limits victims’ reporting to the age of 38-years-old. This must change so justice prevails.

Nancy Fenton, Baltimore

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

After list of SC Catholic priests accused of abuse, no simple path to healing

CHARLESTON (SC)
Post and Courier

April 25, 2019

By Gregory Yee and Rickey Dennis

For victims of abuse by Catholic priests in South Carolina, the past month has opened old wounds but also fostered new hope.

Since the 1990s, reports have surfaced implicating priests in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston in the abuse of minors dating back to at least the 1950s — cases that for years were treated in isolation.

As in other dioceses across the country, most of these incidents were handled internally by church leadership. Priests quietly resigned or were shipped off to other jurisdictions. Many victims did not wish for the publicity of a criminal investigation or trial.

On March 29, Charleston Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone released four lists with the names of 42 priests that a South Carolina church panel decided had credible accusations of child sexual misconduct made against them.

Many heralded the move as a long-overdue step in the healing process, a public acknowledgement by diocesan leadership of years of pain and betrayal felt by victims, and a chance for the church and its flock to begin moving forward.

In the weeks since the lists’ release, however, attorneys, victims’ advocates and others have been left pondering whether church leaders have done enough and what should come next.

Guglielmone and other local church leaders have taken and will continue to take steps toward helping victims heal, said Maria Aselage, a spokeswoman for the diocese. The bishop has held seven town hall meetings with parishioners across the state since November.

“During those meetings, he answered questions about the sexual abuse crisis within the Diocese of Charleston and the universal Church,” she said. “Moreover, he attentively listened to the pain that victims suffered and the heartache Catholics felt because of child sexual abuse within the Church.”

Parishioners have told church leaders that those meetings were an important step in the healing process, Aselage said.

The feedback on the list itself has been mixed, she said.

“Several callers were supportive of the bishop and his decision to release the names,” Aselage said. “Other communications were from people surprised and hurt to learn certain priests were on the list.”

An arduous road
In March, as he made the names of accused priests public, Guglielmone said he hoped the move would help bring healing to the victims and their families who have been “grievously harmed by the betrayal of priests and church leadership.”

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.

Ruth Krall, “In a Roman Catholic Voice: Clergy and Religious Leader Sexual Abuse of the Laity — A Study Bibliography of Resources”

LITTLE ROCK (AR)
Bilgrimage blog

April 25, 219

By William Lindsay

Ruth Krall, “In a Roman Catholic Voice: Clergy and Religious Leader Sexual Abuse of the Laity — A Study Bibliography of Resources”

All of us seeking to understand and deal with the abuse of vulnerable people within religious communities owe a deep debt of gratitude to Ruth Krall. In one powerful essay after another, she has unpacked years of her research in this field, making insights and titles available to a wider community. Over the course of several years, Ruth has been producing extensive annotated bibliographies reflecting her years of study in this field. What follows is Ruth’s latest contribution to the documentation of abuse in religious communities, of studies of this abuse and its roots, and of resources for combating such abuse. The essay below is Ruth’s preface to the study bibliography of resources she is providing with this new document.

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

Father Craig Harrison placed on leave amid allegations of sexual abuse of a minor

BAKERSFIELD (CA)
Bakersfield Californian

April 25, 2019

By Stacey Shepard

Msgr. Craig Harrison, the pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church since July 1999, has been put on paid leave for investigation of sexual misconduct with a minor, according to The Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno.

In a media release, the diocese said it had received an allegation on April 12 of sexual misconduct by an adult male who was a minor at the time of the alleged abuse. The diocese said it reported the matter to the Firebaugh Police Department on April 15.

Harrison previously served as pastor of St. Joseph in Firebaugh, according to the St. Francis of Assisi website. The diocese said he also served at Our Lady of Mercy, St. Patrick’s and Sacred Heart in Merced, as well as at St. Francis in Mojave.

The diocese is also conducting an internal investigation.

Harrison answered the door at his downtown home just before 9 a.m. Thursday, before the Catholic Diocese confirmed he was on leave. Harrison was on his cell phone and looked shaken. He told a reporter he hadn’t heard anything about being placed on leave and was trying to find out more information.

This is the second recent allegation to rock the local Catholic community.

The Rev. Miguel Flores of east Bakersfield’s St. Joseph Catholic Church was placed on administrative leave after senior church officials decided to take another look at 17-year-old sexual misconduct allegations involving him and a then-16-year-old girl.

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BOY SCOUTS COULD BE HIT WITH MORE SEX ABUSE CLAIMS

NEW YORK (NY)
Associated Press

April 24, 2019

By David Crary

The lawyers’ ads on the internet aggressively seeking clients to file sexual abuse lawsuits give a taste of what lies ahead this year for the Boy Scouts of America: potentially the most fateful chapter in its 109-year history.

Sexual abuse settlements have already strained the Boy Scouts’ finances to the point where the organization is exploring “all available options,” including Chapter 11 bankruptcy. But now the financial threats have intensified.

The reason: States have been moving in recent months to adjust their statute-of-limitations laws so that victims of long-ago sexual abuse can sue for damages. New York state has passed a law that will allow such lawsuits starting in August. A similar bill in New Jersey has reached the governor’s desk. Bills also are pending in Pennsylvania and California.

In New York and elsewhere, lawyers are hard at work recruiting clients to sue the Boy Scouts, alleging they were molested as youths by scoutmasters or other volunteers.

Plaintiffs’ lawyers “recognize that this is a very unique and lucrative opportunity,” said attorney Karen Bitar, who formerly handled sex-crime cases as a prosecutor in Brooklyn before going into private practice.

Attorney Tim Kosnoff, a veteran of major sexual abuse lawsuits against the Roman Catholic Church, said Tuesday that he and his team have signed up 186 clients from dozens of states in just the past few weeks who want to be part of litigation against the Boy Scouts. Kosnoff said 166 of them identified alleged abusers who have not been named in any of the Boy Scout files made public in past years.

Boy Scouts spokeswoman Effie Delimarkos said the organization continues to evaluate its financial situation, and she defended its current abuse-prevention policies. The organization serves more than 2.2 million youths.

A bankruptcy by the Boy Scouts could be unprecedented in its complexity, potentially involving plaintiffs in virtually every state, according to several lawyers. It would be national in scope, unlike the various Catholic Church bankruptcy cases in the U.S., which have unfolded diocese by diocese.

“A Boy Scout bankruptcy would be bigger in scale than any other sex abuse bankruptcy,” said Seattle-based attorney Mike Pfau, whose firm is representing more than 300 victims in New York state.

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Peruvian archbishop drops criminal complaint against second journalist

ROME (ITALY)
Crux

April 25, 2019

By Elise Harris

After yesterday’s decision to withdraw his legal complaint against Peruvian journalist Pedro Salinas, Archbishop Jose Antonio Eguren Anselmi of Piura has decided to retract a second complaint against journalist Paola Ugaz on grounds that both cases disrupted the unity of the local church.

“Given that the renunciation of my right to defend my honor cannot make distinctions, I inform public opinion that I will proceed to withdraw the complaint for aggravated defamation imposed against Ms. Paola Margot Ugaz Cruz,” read an April 25 statement from the Archdiocese of Piura.

The announcement follows Eguren Anselmi’s decision a day prior to drop the case against Salinas, even though he had already been convicted and sentenced with a suspended jail term and a hefty fine.

Ugaz co-authored the book Half Monks, Half Soldiers, with Salinas in 2015, detailing years of sexual, psychological and physical abuse inside the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae (SCV), a controversial Catholic organization that originated in Peru. Its founder, layman Luis Fernando Figari, has been accused of physical, psychological and sexual abuses and was prohibited by the Vatican in 2017 of having further contact with members of the group.

Eguren Anselmi issued a criminal defamation complaint against Ugaz last summer for her role in a documentary series by Al-Jazeera she helped to produce which named Eguren Anselmi as part of a land trafficking scandal in Piura.

She was also charged for her coverage of Salinas’s case and for a series of tweets that she sent ahead of Pope Francis’s January 2018 visit to Peru in which she described Eguren Anselmi’s history with the SCV, saying he knew of the founder’s abuses and did nothing.

Ugaz recently won an appeal to have her case transferred from Piura to Lima, where she lives. Salinas had also sought to move his case to Lima on grounds that the trial would be more objective, but his appeal was rejected.

After announcing the withdrawal of the complaint against Salinas, Eguren Anselmi’s lawyer, Percy Garcia Cavero, told Crux that the sentence Salinas received no longer applies since the legal basis for it has been withdrawn.

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Former priest could face jail after admitting having child porn images

NOTTINGHAM (ENGLAND)
Nottingham Post

April 25, 2019

By Rod Malcolm

A former priest was ordered to sign the Sex Offenders’ Register when he appeared in court and admitted having child porn at a city presbytery.

Philip McBrien, 58, faced two magistrates who sent him to Nottingham Crown Court to be sentenced on May 16. They ordered probation officers to compile reports on him.

Dan Church, prosecuting, told the court nine of the images were in Category A, the most serious. He said: “The Crown say it should be committed for sentence.

“Category A includes possession of indecent images of sexual activity involving children.

“On the guidelines, there is a starting point of 12 months imprisonment.”

McBrien’s title was given as Father on the court list with an address of the Holy Cross Presbytery, Watnall Road, Hucknall. However, when he appeared before the magistrates, he was referred to as Mr McBrien and gave his address as Ruby’s Walk, Newark.

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WATCH: Shattered Faith: Investigations Ongoing, Reform Sought Following Clergy Sex Abuse Scandal

ERIE (PA)
Erie News Now

April 24, 2019

By Paul Wagner

In the second part of his special report, “Shattered Faith,” Erie News Now Senior Reporter Paul Wagner looks at how the investigations into the clergy sex abuse scandal are continuing, along with efforts to reform the statute of limitations.

“We have received 1,600 tips to our clergy abuse hotline,” said State Attorney General Josh Shapiro during an interview at his Harrisburg office. “Sixteen hundred tips that we have followed up on or passed on to other law enforcement. I think you are going to see action on some of those in the coming months.”

Action could come from Washington, D.C., as well as Harrisburg, because the federal government is also investigating.

“While I am not at liberty to speak about any of the details, I can tell you I believe they are taking this very seriously,” said Shapiro.

Meantime, efforts at statute of limitation reform continue.

“I am hoping that all the leaders can come together this time and let us get this moving forward,” said State Rep. Mark Rozzi, a clergy sex abuse survivor.

Erie Catholic Bishop Lawrence Persico, like other bishops around the state, has opposed reforms. He wants a level playing field.

“That means it covers all churches, all institutions and the government, and that there is not anyone who escapes,” said Bishop Persico.

While the political battles and criminal investigations continue, parishes in Erie and elsewhere have to cope with the fallout from the scandal.

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Buffalo bishop, lay reform group agree on proposals to address abuse

KANSAS CITY (MO)
National Catholic Reporter

April 25, 2019

By Peter Feuerherd

The Movement to Restore Trust, a church reform group with its roots at Canisius College, a Jesuit institution, has come to an agreement with Bishop Richard Malone of Buffalo, New York, on recommendations to address the ongoing sex abuse crisis.

It is the latest development in a series of jarring events that has enveloped the diocese, including calls for Malone to resign, as it attempts to recover from disclosures over the past year.

As the result of a meeting between Malone and the Movement to Restore Trust April 11, the bishop agreed to hold a series of diocesanwide listening sessions to hear directly from sexual abuse victims and others. He promised more meetings with Movement to Restore Trust leaders to discuss how the diocese handles information about abusers, and agreed to expand the diocesan finance council to include more laypeople, particularly women.

Malone also agreed to expand the diocese’s ethics reporting service, until now focused on financial issues, to also include accepting reports of sexual abuse or harassment.

The agreement was a response to a series of events in 2018 when Buffalo Catholics learned about a retired priest who admitted to dozens of cases of abusing children previously unreported and when the diocese released the names of 42 priest abusers, a list that later grew to 176.

Via a report on CBS’ “60 Minutes,” Buffalo Catholics also heard from Malone’s former administrative assistant that the diocese was not forthcoming on all it knew about sex abuse cases.

It was, said John Hurley, Canisius College president, a case of “wave after wave of bad stories,” which “didn’t square with people’s understanding and what we had been told by previous bishops.”

The goal of the April 11 meeting, according to Maureen Hurley, a leader of the Movement to Restore Trust, was to come to an agreement on less-controversial recommendations that emerged from a series of meetings held earlier this year at Canisius soliciting input from Buffalo Catholics about the crisis in the church.

“We called them easy wins,” she said.

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Pennsylvania AG Josh Shapiro says clergy abuse shadows Catholics’ Notre Dame response

PITTSBURGH (PA)
Tribune Review

April 25, 2019

By Deb Erdley

Pennsylvania Attorney General Joshua Shapiro was impressed with the response of the Catholic Church and Catholics around the world when Notre Dame went up in flames last week.

But he’s disappointed in what he sees as the church’s lackluster response to protecting clergy abuse victims. In an op-ed in the Washington Post Wednesday, Shapiro took the Church to task for spending millions to influence lawmakers to block his recommendation that they open a window of opportunity for abuse survivors with old claims to sue the church.

Under the headline “Repairing Notre Dame is important. Protecting clergy abuse victims is more important,” Shapiro wrote of the Church’s response to a Pennsylvania grand jury report that detailed allegations of child sexual abuse against 301 priests.

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Clergy abuse bill makes progress at committee

BIDDEFORD (ME)
Biddeford Courier

April 25, 2019

By Abigail Worthing

A bill that criminally condemns clergy sexual abuse has been unanimously approved by the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee to move forward for votes in both the Maine Senate and House.

The bill, LD 913 “An Act To Protect the Public from Clergy Sexual Abuse,” makes it illegal for licensed pastoral counselors from engaging in sexual activity with those they are counseling.

Sen. Susan Deschambault (D-Biddeford) sponsored the bill on behalf of a constituent, and introduced the bill during a public hearing on March 29 at the statehouse before the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee, of which she is cochairman.

“This bill protects the rights of patients who seek counseling from licensed pastoral counselors in the same way we treat patient rights with other licensed behavior counselors,” said Deschambault in an April 22 press release.

The bill was proposed in 2015 with slightly different language, but was indefinitely postponed. Thirteen other states, as well as Washington, D.C., have passed bills banning clergy sexual abuse among adults.

Also on the committee are Rep. Charlotte Warren (D-Hallowell), Sen. Michael Carpenter (D-Houlton), Sen. Kimberly Rosen (D-Bucksport Rep. Pinny Beebe- Center (D-Rockland), Rep. Janice Cooper (D-Yarmouth), Rep. Patrick Corey (R-Windham), Rep. Danny Costain (R-Plymouth), Rep. Chris Johanson (R-Monticello), Rep. Victoria Morales (D-South Portland), Rep. Richard Picket (R-Dixfield), Rep. Lois Reckitt (D-South Portland) and Rep. Braden Sharpe (D-Durham). Reckitt also spoke in favor of the bill.

The bill now faces votes in both the Maine Senate and House. If approved, Gov. Janet Mills will have 10 days to either veto the bill, sign it, or allow it to become law without bearing her signature. Non-emergency laws passed during this legislative session will come into effect within 90 days after the adjournment of legislative session.

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Bishop called to testify in sex abuse trial of Sicilian ‘Archangel’

ROME (ITALY)
Crux

April 25, 2019

By Claire Giangravè

Despite efforts by the local diocese to distance itself from a lay Catholic association in Sicily whose leader is charged with sexually abusing underage girls, last week the defense lawyer called the bishop to testify in court in May.

By calling local Bishop Antonino Raspanti to testify about “the behavior of the church of Acireale” toward the Catholic Culture and Environment Association (ACCA), defense lawyer Mario Brancato hopes to rehabilitate the reputation of the lay group, he told local reporters April 18.

The group’s lay leader, Piero Alfio Capuana, 75, was arrested in August 2017 for allegedly sexually abusing seven girls who were minors at the time of the incidents. ACCA was founded in 1974 by a well-known Sicilian priest, Father Stefano Cavalli, who considered himself a “spiritual son” of the famed mystic Capuchin friar Padre Pio.

“At the death of Father Cavalli, a founder of the community along with Capuana, the archbishop and other priests were present, and they praised the figure of Father Cavalli, who was also a favorite disciple of Padre Pio with whom he communicated constantly,” Brancato said.

The Diocese of Acireale released a statement shortly after Capuana’s arrest saying that because the group is a “civil association” it had no official ties to the Catholic Church and therefore the diocese was not called to exercise any type of oversight, despite the fact that the group met in a Catholic parish and advertised its activities in the official diocesan paper.

Members of the group believed Capuana to be the reincarnation of the Archangel Michael and that he spoke to the Virgin Mary in his “locutions.”

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Diocese puts 2 priests on abusers list

BEAUMONT (TX)
Port Arthur News

April 25, 2019

Two deceased priests who worked in the Diocese of Beaumont have been added to the previous list of those credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors, Most Rev. Curtis Guillory, SVD, bishop of Beaumont, said Wednesday.

They are Raymond Woodka, SSJ, of the Josephites order, and Rocco Perone, Perone, CSP, a Paulist priest.

Woodka was assigned to Sacred Heart in Port Arthur in the 1970s and at Our Mother of Mercy, where he was pastor from 1978 to 1987.

Perone was not assigned to the Beaumont diocese, but did visit periodically to work weekends at local parishes.

The bishop said the diocese was not informed about allegations against either man until after the Jan. 31 disclosure that 13 priests here had been credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors since Pope Paul VI established the Diocese of Beaumont in 1966.

The two additional names have been added to that list on the diocese’s website. The names appear as an addendum to the Jan. 31 list of clergy with credible allegations. They can be found on the same link (Letter to the Faithful and Names of Clergy…) as a second page of the original list.

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Paprocki and pedophiles

SPRINGFIELD (IL)
Illinois Times

April 25, 2019

By Bruce Rushton

Images of Bishop Thomas John Paprocki for this article are by Jonah Harjer, a Springfield artist who was born in Chicago and grew up in the 1980s in Miami, where he was influenced by the local skate and street culture. He was drawn to painting graffiti,Illustrations by Jonah Harjer
A quarter-century ago, the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago was in crisis.

A priest had been indicted for sexually abusing a child. Lawsuits were pending. Priests were removed from parishes after the church appointed a commission – two laypeople, plus the auxiliary bishop – to investigate sexual misconduct cases and recommend improvements. After the commission issued its report, Cardinal Joseph Bernardin in 1992 turned to Thomas John Paprocki, then chancellor for the Chicago archdiocese and, since 2010, bishop for the Diocese of Springfield.

For a decade, Paprocki was an insider in Chicago as the archdiocese first won praise for policies and practices that ultimately were discredited. Pedophile priests remained in parishes, despite promises, and zero tolerance was adopted only after outside pressure from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Last year, the Catholic church in Springfield and elsewhere fell under scrutiny from the Illinois attorney general’s office, which accused the church of hiding sexual abuse cases. Attorney General Kwame Raoul, who took office in January, has promised to continue his predecessor’s investigation into whether the church has properly handled cases involving sexual abuse of kids by priests.

Meanwhile, Paprocki complains about the Vatican.

Last summer, the bishop criticized Pope Francis for botching the case of Theodore McCarrick, a former cardinal defrocked in February for sexual misconduct involving minors and adults that had been reported years earlier. Paprocki says Rome still hasn’t been transparent, although the pope in October ordered an investigation to determine how McCarrick had risen to power despite evidence of sexual misconduct. “Here we are in April,” Paprocki says. “(W)e’re still waiting for that release of information from the review of documents that the pope ordered in October.”

Last fall, Paprocki was strident when the pope ordered American bishops to not enact reforms aimed at finding and punishing sexual misconduct between priests and kids. “We are not branch managers of the Vatican,” Paprocki told the press. “Our people are crying out for some action.”

Churchgoers in Chicago also cried for action years ago while Paprocki shepherded sexual misconduct cases.
“If this man has value to the archdiocese, then he should be placed in a situation where he can push papers,” wrote a parishioner in a 2002 letter to her priest after discovering an associate pastor had been sent to her parish despite groping a preteen girl. “We always considered ourselves fortunate to be part of a parish that cared so much about its members. I guess I loved the cocoon in which we obviously lived, and I guess that’s why I feel so deeply betrayed.”

The Chicago way
With Paprocki in the inner circle, the Chicago archdiocese initially won accolades for its handling of sexual misconduct cases involving priests and kids, particularly by establishing a review board consisting mostly of laypeople that considered allegations, determined credibility and recommended what should be done.

Paprocki was the cardinal’s delegate to the board as well as a member of a second committee tasked with deciding where child molesters should work. As chancellor, he kept the church’s records. As a lawyer, he was trained in both canon and civil law.

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April 24, 2019

Second victim accuses former Conroe priest of sexual misconduct: officials report

CONROE (TX)
KTRK TV

April 25, 2019

By Deborah Wrigley

A second allegation of sexual misconduct has been made against a Houston area priest. The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston had already removed Father Jesus Suarez from active ministry last month, when a similar allegation was made.

Both women said they were abused by Suarez when he served as a priest in Colombia in the 1980s. He transferred to the Archdiocese in 2001, serving as a priest at a Conroe parish and more recently, at a parish in east Harris County.

Michael Norris, a leader in SNAP, or Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said he has been in contact with both women. The first, he said, accused Suarez of abusing her at the age of 11 into her teenage years, and fathering a daughter.

The second woman, Norris said, had a similar allegation, but does not know is she was underage at the time.

“Her coming forward takes a lot of courage and bravery, because it’s not easy talking about something that’s so traumatic, that happened to you years ago to come forward. I think she’s a very brave woman,” Norris said.

He believes there are more allegations pending. Because both complainants are in Colombia, he believes the FBI should be involved with the investigation.

The Archdiocese stated that it only became aware of the most recent accusation on Wednesday, and has forwarded the information to the Houston Police Department.

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‘It’s their word against his’: Priest accused of sexually abusing boys goes to court

YORK (PA)
York Daily Record

April 24, 2019

By Candy Woodall

A compilation what’s happened since a sweeping grand jury report on decades of abuse by priests in Pennsylvania. Paul Kuehnel and Brandie Kessler and Mike Argento, York Daily Record

Their stories are strikingly similar, recorded three months apart by a Dauphin County detective.

They have names, but they’re known now as Victim 1 and Victim 2. Both men say John G. Allen sexually abused them from 1997 to 2002 while they were altar boys at St. Margaret Mary’s Alacoque Church in Harrisburg.

Allen, a 75-year-old defrocked priest who lives in York County, molested them in the rectory and the area where altar boys and priests put on their robes for mass, according to Detective John O’Connor.

As he faced the four counts of indecent assault and two counts of corruption of minors against him, Allen was unrecognizable as a priest in district court on Wednesday. He wasn’t wearing a white collar or black robe, and hasn’t since the Diocese of Harrisburg removed him from ministry in 2002.

During his preliminary hearing before District Judge Joseph S. Lindsey in Lower Paxton Township, Allen was wearing khaki pants, a short-sleeve blue checkered shirt and a smile as he walked from a private conference room to a seat next to his defense attorney, Brian Perry.

Allegations of abuse

By 2002, the diocese had received multiple allegations of abuse about Allen. None of them were punishable according to Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations on child sex abuse. None of the criminal allegations were reported by the diocese.

Allen was one of 301 “predator priests” identified by a Pennsylvania grand jury report and 71 named by the diocese in August. State laws ensured he was immune to punishment until October and February when two victims called Childline and reported abuse that fell within the statute of limitations.

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Letter: Church leaders must stop blaming others for its woes

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

April 22, 2019

It is hard to fathom that at this late stage of the catastrophic damage done to the Catholic Church by pedophile parading as priests, the church hierarchy decides to play the blame game.

Recently, Bishop Richard Malone, when exposed for hiding the names of at least 27 more pedophiles, responded by blame the media. Apparently, he felt that only one complaint against a pedophile priest was not sufficient evidence to add that priest to the list already published.

Hence his illogical conclusion, the media is the root cause of this continuing problem in the church.

This opinion was backed up by the recent letter from retired Pope Benedict. His contention was the blame for this upheaval of epic proportions in the church finds it root causes in the 60s sexual revolution, birth control, liberation theology, liberal theological outlooks and not church leaders turning a blind eye to the problem.

Can these church leaders seriously believe in 2019 that anyone would believe this outrageously condescending explanation for its own inability or unconcern in rooting out and eliminate scores of pedophiles in its own ranks?

The problem is not the media, the 60s, birth control or anything other than the church leaders themselves. Their decadeslong cover up, which continues to this day is the root cause for the mess they created.

Gary Rog

Hamburg

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Nearly 8,000 Alleged Child Abusers Identified In Boy Scouts’ Files, Review Finds

UNITED STATES
The Huffington Post

April 24, 2019

By Nina Golgowski

The BSA also reported 12,254 alleged victims within its organization dating back to 1944.

An expert hired by the Boy Scouts of America to review allegations of child sexual abuse within the organization identified 7,819 alleged abusers among its leaders and volunteers dating back to 1944, according to a newly released court document.

Of the files examined over five years, 12,254 alleged victims were identified, Dr. Janet Warren, a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences at the University of Virginia’s medical school, testified in late January.

“They’re called ineligible volunteer files and these are files that [the BSA] created. Individuals who have had their registration with the Boy Scouts revoked because of reasonable allegations of child sexual abuse,” Warren told the court.

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Un cura se declaró culpable por abuso sexual a tres catequistas en un juicio abreviado en San Isidro

ARGENTINA
Agencia Telam

April 17, 2019

[A priest pleaded guilty for sexual abuse to three catechists in an abbreviated trial in San Isidro]

– El cura Mario Koessler (63) fue condenado a tres años de prisión en suspenso.
– Abusó de tres mujeres catequistas de 75, 63 y 40 años.
– Los hechos ocurrieron entre 2014 y 2015 en la Parroquia San José, en San Isidro.

El cura Mario Koessler, de 63 años, imputado por abuso sexual agravado a tres mujeres catequistas de 75, 63 y 40 años por hechos ocurridos entre 2014 y 2015 en la Parroquia San José, del municipio bonaerense de San Isidro, se declaró culpable en un juicio abreviado que le fijó una pena de tres años en suspenso.

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Repairing Notre Dame is important. Protecting clergy abuse victims is even more important.

WASHINGTON (DC)
Washington Post

April 24, 2019

By Josh Shapiro, the attorney general of Pennsylvania.

The images were heart-rending. Flames roaring through Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, its Gothic spire collapsing into the inferno. A gash into the heart of Catholicism, one observer wrote.

As breathtaking as the fire was the response, from Catholics in France, Rome and around the world, united by their resolve to take swift action. French business leaders pledged hundreds of millions of dollars for repairs. President Emmanuel Macron vowed that Notre Dame will be rebuilt within five years. Other countries promised financial aid. Pope Francis himself reached out to Macron to express his “solidarity with the French people.”

The rapid response is appropriate and affirming, as the followers and leaders of one of the world’s great religions come together, united by their humanity to save a monumental symbol of their faith.

But where is the unity and common purpose to protect the human embodiment of that great faith? Where is the sense of urgency and acceptance of responsibility to support the victims and survivors of sexual abuse at the hands of Catholic clergy?

In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, where I am attorney general, a statewide grand jury working with my office led the way last year when it published a groundbreaking report that identified 301 predator priests, more than a thousand victims of sexual abuse and an institutional coverup that stretched all the way to the Vatican.

And yet, after the grand jury released its report, along with a set of recommendations to protect victims and ensure this kind of abuse and coverup never happens again, the response from the church and its leaders was far less affirming and swift than the response to the Notre Dame fire.

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Iglesia pide perdón por abuso sexual de cura

EL SALVADOR
La Prensa Grafica

April 15, 2019

By Stanley Luna

[Church asks forgiveness for sexual abuse of cure]

El sábado fue capturado un sacerdote, a quien acusan de agredir a una niña de seis años.

“Desde ya, en nombre de la Iglesia, pido perdón a la víctima y su familia”, dijo ayer el arzobispo de San Salvador, José Luis Escobar, al referirse a la detención del sacerdote guatemalteco José Venancio Boror Uz, acusado de agredir sexualmente a una niña de seis años de edad.

El sacerdote, de 62 años, fue detenido el sábado pasado afuera de la parroquia Nuestra Señora de Lourdes, en el barrio Lourdes, San Salvador.

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Frédéric Martel: “Una gran mayoría silenciosa de la Iglesia es homosexual”

ARGENTINA
La Capital

April 23, 2019

[Frédéric Martel: “A large silent majority of the Church is homosexual”]

Es el autor de “Sodoma: poder y escándalo en el Vaticano”. Se trata de una investigación periodística que echa luz sobre uno de los secretos más grandes del Vaticano: la doble vida de cardenales, obispos, monseñores, nuncios apostólicos y seminaristas. El rol del papa Francisco, el sexismo, el encubrimiento de los abusos sexuales en el interior de la Iglesia y el fracaso del celibato.

Con un hilo narrativo atrapante, que lleva a lectoras y lectores de las narices, “Sodoma” es el libro de Frédéric Martel que corre el velo sobre uno de los secretos más profundos de la Iglesia Católica actual: la homosexualidad de “la mayoría” de los clérigos integrantes del Vaticano, según confirma el autor francés, quien es oriundo de Avignon.

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Fiscalía de Chile acumula 164 causas por abusos en la iglesia

CHILE
Prensa Latina

April 18, 2019

[Chilean prosecutor’s office accumulates 164 cases of abuses in the church]

Un total de 220 sacerdotes involucrados en abusos sexuales son investigados hoy por la Fiscalía de Chile en 164 causas por acusaciones presentadas por 246 víctimas.

Este es el balance más reciente según lo informado por el fiscal nacional Jorge Abbott, en la cuenta pública del trabajo de esa entidad, durante la cual señaló que el deber de la Fiscalía es favorecer que las víctimas hagan las denuncias para que ejerzan su derecho de ser escuchadas por la justicia.

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Anselm Grün: “la sociedad debe hablar abiertamente sobre el abuso sexual”

MADRID (SPAIN)
Vida Nueva Digital

April 24, 2019

By Fredy Pena

[Anselm Grün: “society should talk openly about sexual abuse”]

“Sin renovación, sin deplorar lo ocurrido y sin que los victimarios rindan cuenta, no hay paz en la Iglesia y en la sociedad… ”.

La última vez que el sacerdote benedictino, Anselm Grün, estuvo en Chile (octubre 2018) nos deleitó, en aquel ciclo de “Pensamiento Propio” realizado en el Centro de Extensión de la Universidad Católica donde nos habló acerca de la “fragilidad interior”. Recuerdo que hacía hincapié a la necesidad que tiene el hombre moderno de conectarse consigo mismo: “Estar en contacto con el ser interior es estar en contacto con Dios”. Y reparaba en que “No existe aquello que no se puede cambiar… Ni ninguna muerte que no se pueda transformar en vida…”.

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Former Harrisburg priest ordered to trial for molesting 2 boys

HARRISBURG (PA)
WHTM TV

April 24, 2019

By Myles Snyder

A former priest in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg is headed to trial on charges he molested two children.

John G. Allen, 75, of York, was ordered held for court after a preliminary hearing on Wednesday. A formal arraignment is scheduled for June 7.

Allen was arrested last month on four counts of indecent assault and two counts of corruption of minors. Dauphin County prosecutors say he abused the victims between 1997 and 2002 while they served as altar boys for St. Margaret Mary’s Alacoque Church in Harrisburg.

Allen is accused of grabbing one boy’s buttocks on multiple occasions between 1999 and 2002 when the child was 10 years to 13 years old. The other victim says Allen fondled him on multiple occasions between 1997 and 1999 when he was between 12 and 14 years old.

Allen was removed as pastor of St. Margaret Mary’s Church in 2002 after a man reported to the diocese that Allen abused him as a boy. Pope Benedict XVI formally removed him from the priesthood in 2006.

According to a lawsuit against Allen, he was relocated to St. Margaret Mary’s after he spent time in a treatment facility for sex offender priests.

Allen was named as an abuser by a statewide grand jury that investigated clergy in six Pennsylvania dioceses. He also was among 37 priests identified as abusers by the Harrisburg diocese last year.

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Priest with “Substantiated Allegations” Found Working for School in Tucson

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

April 24, 2019

An accused Philadelphia priest found to be “unsuitable for ministry” went on to get a job at an Arizona school until vigilant watchdogs blew the whistle.

Fr. John F. Meyers was just found working at a Tucson charter school despite being ousted by Pennsylvania Catholic officials in January for “substantiated” claims of sexual abuse. We are grateful to Carolyn Fortney and the other survivors and advocates who uncovered this information and alerted the public. Thanks to them, we believe that children in Tucson are safer today.

However, we cannot help but wonder why the duty of tracking down Catholic clergymen with “substantiated allegations” and keeping them from working around children has fallen on the shoulders of survivors and advocates. Should it not be the responsibility of Church officials who recruited, educated, ordained, trained, hired, and transferred these priests to keep them away from children and vulnerable adults?

Dioceses are powerful institutions with vast resources and manpower. They have the ability to do more than just post the names of clerics with “substantiated allegations” online. Church officials need to find ways to inform communities when these men relocate. Dioceses should at the very least report these movements to the public, especially to local schools, community centers and other groups that serve children.

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SNAP Stands in Solidarity with Abuse Survivors from the Boy Scouts

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

April 24, 2019

In the past several weeks, hundreds of survivors of abuse at the hands of Boy Scout leaders have come forward . SNAP stands with these brave survivors as they share what happened to them and to seek to prevent future children from being abused.

Like other victims of institutional abuse, the BSA survivors have shared stories of being intimidated into silence, feelings of shame and guilt, and worries that no one would ever believe them. Just like other institutions that have had massive abuse scandals, the BSA has been accused of concealing cases of abuse and working to keep allegations quiet.

We hope that, as these survivors continue to come forward and share what happened to them, their experiences will lead to meaningful change within the structure of the BSA to ensure that no other children are victimized by someone who is supposed to care for them. If abuse does occur, we hope that it will never again be swept under the rug in order to preserve the reputation of an institution over the safety of children.

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SNAP Philadelphia Encouraged by Reform Bills in PA Legislature

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

April 24, 2019

This month, Pennsylvania has continued the fight to reform child sex crime laws as House lawmakers approved two key reform measures and freshman Senators in the other house introduced a third counter bill aimed at similar purposes.

The House overwhelmingly approved two bills that respectively call for the elimination of the criminal statute of limitations involving child sex crimes, and call for a constitutional amendment that would lead to a revival of expired statute of limitations. House Bill 962, sponsored by Rep. Mark Rozzi, D-Berks, would also remove sovereign immunity in civil claims, meaning that if an institution has known about child sex crimes, it would be held responsible.

On the Senate side, S.B. 540 would lift the statute of limitations for adults who were sexually abused at any age. The Senate bill calls for the abolishment of the criminal statute of limitations and a two-year revival window of expired statute of limitations. The proposal also calls for a six-month delay to allow for the completion of compensation funds already being processed.

“It is important that survivors and advocates keep informed of all measures that are moving this issue forward,” said Mike McDonnell, SNAP Philadelphia Leader. “The only remedy to exposing predators and the institutions who enable them is through retroactivity, a ‘window to justice.’ It is also vital the survivors remain unified, keeping the conversation alive and in front of key legislators. We can never take our eye from the one institution that stands to lose the most in this fight and that is the Catholic Diocese of Pennsylvania. The lobbying arm of the Pennsylvania Catholic conference is present daily in the halls of the capital, so must our voices.”

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NJ child predator sting: Cop, priest among 16 arrested for trying to lure children for sex

BERGEN (NJ)
North Jersey Record

April 24, 2019

By Anthony Zurita

A priest and a Ridgewood police officer are among the 16 people accused of luring children for sex.

Through a three-state sting operation, 16 people accused of being sexual predators, including a cop and a priest, were arrested for allegedly trying to lure children for sex through chat apps, announced the state’s Attorney General.

In a press conference Wednesday morning, Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced that “Operation Home Alone” had nabbed the alleged child predators from across the region. Half the men accused are from New Jersey, seven are from New York and one from Pennsylvania.

The sting operation spannedone week and was executed by a multi-agency task force that included the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, the state police, Homeland Security Investigations and the FBI, along with others.

The arrests were made over a five-day period, where one accused man drove over 100 miles to meet a person he thought was a child. Despite the high number of arrests, Grewal acknowledged that many more child sex offenders remain in the area.

“If we extended the investigation, we could catch 16 people a week,” Grewal said.

The alleged predators came from three different states and all walks of life, including from positions of power and trust with families and children. Peter Tuchol Jr., a Ridgewood police officer who was arrested last week was among the accused.

“Our focus was on the protection of our most vulnerable.” said acting Bergen County Prosecutor Dennis Calo. “[The accused] had a desire to exploit children.”

Roger Arroyo, 37, a traveling minister from Philadelphia was arrested for attempted criminal sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl. Kevin Roth, 26, a high school teacher from Nanuet, N.Y. was charged with second-degree luring for trying to get in contact with a 14-year-old boy.

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Those abused by priests need justice, more protection from the Catholic Church, advocates say

NEWARK (NJ)
Star-Ledger

April 24, 2019

By Justin Hoffmann and Michelle Simpson Tuegel

Recently, the New Jersey Legislature passed a bill that would give survivors of sexual abuse in New Jersey more opportunity to seek justice for the crimes committed against them. This is an important step in addressing the decades of clergy abuse, but for countless survivors in New Jersey, it is too little, too late.

For decades, the Catholic Church has turned a blind eye to the child predators in its ranks and refused to be held accountable for the thousands of lives it ruined. In fact, they have worked hard to keep the abuse quiet, knowingly rotating sexual predators around to different communities, offering often meaningless reforms that fail to address the cycle of abuse, and sometimes providing or attempting to provide minimal compensation to survivors behind closed doors.

Take, for example, the recent Vatican conference on sexual abuse of minors that was portrayed by many as a positive step forward by the Catholic church. Unfortunately, the conference failed to establish any real solutions or tangible outcomes for survivors of clergy abuse. Despite a contrite tone, Pope Francis proposed no concrete solutions to deal with the scourge of clergy abuse and failed to promise a zero-tolerance approach from the Church.

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Hundreds of former Boy Scouts reveal new sexual abuse claims, exposing 150 alleged pedophiles

UNITED STATES
USA TODAY

April 24, 2019

By Cara Kelly

More than 200 individuals have come forward with new allegations of sexual abuse by members of the Boy Scouts of America in recent weeks as a trio of law firms seek to uncover unidentified child abusers.

A few of the victims are young, still underage or in their 20s, but many have held their secrets close for decades.

“Nobody would have listened to me,” said James Kretschmer, 56, who says a leader groped him at a Boy Scouts camp when he was in middle school. “The problem is, then you think, ‘Is it something I did? What was I doing, was it my fault? If I hadn’t done whatever, he wouldn’t have done that.’ It took me years and years to realize it wasn’t that little child’s fault. It was the adult who had control.”

Samuel, 17, said he was fondled by a leader a decade ago, who told him, “Don’t say anything.

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Boy Scout leaders accused of molesting boys for decades

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Herald

April 23, 2019

By Rick Sobey

Massachusetts cases said among thousands nationwide

Shocking testimony revealing more than 7,000 alleged child sex abusers in the Boy Scouts has sparked questions about the magnitude of the troubling conduct across Massachusetts, with some comparing it to the Catholic Church priest scandal.

On Tuesday, lawyers in New York and New Jersey released the names of nearly 200 Boy Scout leaders who have been accused of molesting boys for decades.

The attorneys said they plan to file lawsuits against the nonprofit Boy Scouts of America. The lawyers said the 130 scout leaders from New York and the 50 from New Jersey are among 7,000 Boy Scout leaders across the country named in the Boy Scouts of America “Perversion Files.”

“It’s a systematic problem,” said Jeff Anderson, whose New York law firm specializes in child sexual abuse cases. “These are perversion files and secrets held by the Boy Scouts of America.”

He called it a system of denial and cover-ups.

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Catholics shouldn’t remain silent on predator priests

MANHATTAN (KS)
Manhattan Mercury

April 24, 2019

Am I the only Catholic that feels like my religion has been hijacked by spineless cowards? The weak response to predator priests in the church has been the most dismal and embarrassing response I could possibly imagine.

As reported by USA Today, many parishioners are leaving the church for this very reason. I think the wrong people are leaving the church. Our church leaders need to go.

I am tired of trying to justify the church’s lack of meaningful action in my head. Remaining silent on the issue as a Catholic follower only implies that you are complicit with the church’s response to these problems.

Aaron Keck
2525 Bellerive Drive, Apt. 37
Manhattan KS

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Clergy sex abuse survivor finds accused Philly priest online, working for Arizona school

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Inquirer

April 24, 2019

By Jeremy Roebuck

When Arizona charter-school operator Rose Management Group offered John F. Meyers a contract position this year, the company either failed to discover or disregarded one important aspect about his past:

His prior job — a 35-year stint as a Roman Catholic priest in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia — ended abruptly after he was accused of sexually abusing a minor.

It took a group of internet sleuths, one a victim of clergy sex abuse herself, to uncover that record last week. The charter operator then ended its relationship with Meyers.

“This is a prime example of survivors working together to take the law into our own hands,” said Carolyn Fortney, the Harrisburg woman who uncovered Meyers’ new life in Tucson. “We’ll do what we have to do to protect children.”

The community that prompted Fortney’s investigation, the Philadelphia-based online group Catholics4Change, is one of a plethora of internet vigilantes and regional watchdog websites that have sprung up across the United States as the clergy sex abuse crisis continues to roil the church.

As recently as the early 2000s — the start of the scandal for the American church — ousted priests often were able to slip into relative anonymity. But now, groups like Catholics4Change and the Baltimore-based “The Keepers Official Facebook Group” — the inspiration for the eponymous 2017 Netflix documentary series — have harnessed the power of social media and extensive internet archives to organize, conduct research, create repositories of information on abusers, and hold church leaders to account.

Kathy Kane, co-administrator of the Catholics4Change group, said the circumstances behind Meyers’ January removal from ministry stood out.

Archdiocesan officials said little at the time about the accusation that led to Meyers’ ouster except that it stemmed from an abuse allegation dating to the 1980s.

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Archdiocese of Baltimore discloses the names of 23 deceased clergy accused of child sexual abuse

BALTIMORE (MD)
Baltimore Sun

April 24, 2019

By Jonathan M. Pitts

The Archdiocese of Baltimore has added the names of 23 deceased priests and religious brothers to its online database of clergy members accused of child sexual abuse, signaling a revision in policy on dealing with cases that come to the diocese’s attention only after an accused individual has died.

The change is part of an ongoing effort by the diocese to enhance openness when it comes to the issue of child sexual abuse in the church, said Archbishop William E. Lori, leader of the area’s half-million Catholics.

“It’s part of an overall effort to be more transparent,” Lori said. “In doing this, we hope we’re giving more people who have in fact been abused the courage to come forward.”

The additions bring to 126 the number of clergy considered credibly accused of sexual abuse, with incidents dating as far as 80 years.

The move is “a great step,” said David Lorenz, state director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

“Even if the allegations date back to the 1950s, I guarantee there are victims of these predators who have never told anyone and who will get some sense of relief and justice,” Lorenz said. “I truly appreciate that.”

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April 23, 2019

Two Popes. Zero Solutions. Where’s the Hope?

BishopAccountability.org

By Anne Barrett Doyle

April 20, 2019

As Catholics celebrate Easter, the institutional church stands more exposed than at any point in its history.

Prosecutors and lawmakers around the world are ending the impunity of Catholic church leaders who enable abuse or commit abuse themselves.

*In the United States, attorneys general in more than 15 states have launched investigations or reviews of their local dioceses.

*In two of the most populous Catholic states, New York and New Jersey, thousands of older church victims may soon be able to file lawsuits, thanks to new changes in the states’ statutes of limitations.

*Outside the U.S., in just the last six weeks: Police in India have charged a bishop for raping a nun; a French court convicted the cardinal-archbishop of Lyon for violating the nation’s mandatory reporting law; and the Pope’s former finance czar, Cardinal George Pell of Australia, was sentenced to six years in prison for sexually abusing two choirboys.

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Regresa a Salta el monje Anselm Grn

ARGENTINA
El Tribuno

April 23, 2019

By Felipe Medina

[Return to Salta the monk Anselm Grn]

Anselm Grn, sacerdote católico de la Orden de San Benito, con 74 años de edad, regresa a nuestra ciudad esta semana. Abordará uno de los temas más controversiales en los últimos meses para la Iglesia católica, los abusos desde las víctimas y los victimarios.

Con agudeza psicológica y fina sensibilidad evangélica, describe e interpreta las áreas de la sociedad, de la Iglesia y de las relaciones personales y familiares en la que hay personas que han sido víctimas de toda tipo de abusos. A estas últimas se dirige con especial cuidado, ya que sin deplorar lo ocurrido y sin acciones concretas de reparación no es posible lograr la paz. Pero también se ocupa de los victimarios, preguntándose por qué se convirtieron en tales y como puede desmontarse su lógica perversa.

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Ex arzobispo Francisco Javier Errázuriz en interrogatorio por encubrimiento de delitos sexuales ante la Fiscalía : “Es mejor que en la Iglesia no haya sacerdotes homosexuales”

CHILE
La Tercera

April 21, 2019

By Leslie Ayala C.

[Former Archbishop Francisco Javier Errázuriz in interrogation for the cover-up of sexual crimes before the Office of the Prosecutor: “It is better that in the Church there are no homosexual priests”]

1 “El caso más horrible fue el de Karadima”
Lo primero que hizo el fiscal de Alta Complejidad Jorge Escobar cuando el cardenal Francisco Javier Errázuriz (85) junto a su abogado, Juan Domingo Acosta, se sentaron frente a él fue leer al exobispo sus derechos como imputado: debía saber en forma específica los cargos por supuesto encubrimiento de delitos sexuales cometidos por sacerdotes que se le atribuyen y por los que la fiscalía, eventualmente, lo formalizará ante la justicia.

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Emiliano Arias: En la Fiscalía hay crisis y descontrol, antes no pasaban estas cosas

CHILE
Cooperativa.cl

April 21, 2019

[Emiliano Arias: In the Prosecutor’s Office there is crisis and lack of control, before these things did not happen]

“Ésta no es la misma institución que creó Guillermo Piedrabuena y consolidó Sabas Chahuán”, dijo el persecutor regional de O’Higgins.

Reconoció que, en el plano personal, ya no tiene deseos de continuar, pero afirmó que lo ata “el compromiso con las víctimas”.

Resaltó que la denuncia de Sergio Moya se da ad portas de decisiones en casos relevantes, como el encubrimiento de abusos por los obispos católicos.

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Presentan mapa del abuso sexual eclesiástico en Chile

CHILE
Cooperativa.cl

April 7, 2019

[Map of ecclesiastical sexual abuse in Chile presented]

-La Red de Sobrevivientes de Abuso Sexual Eclesiástico incluye más de 260 casos registrados a lo largo del país.

– La organización afirma que el 12 por ciento del total del clero chileno está involucrado en casos de abusos a menores.

La Red de Sobrevivientes de Abuso Sexual Eclesiástico lanzó un mapa chileno de los delitos de abuso sexual y de conciencia cometidos en entornos eclesiásticos.

La herramienta interactiva, que fue lanzada este sábado en el Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos, “contiene las denuncias públicas contra religiosos y laicos” de este tipo de delitos, con el nombre de los victimarios de Arica a Puerto Natales y dónde ocurrieron los hechos.

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Francisco Javier Errázuriz: Resumen de las crudas declaraciones que el imputado dio en 12 horas de interrogatorio

CHILE
CNN

April 21, 2019

[Francisco Javier Errázuriz: Summary of the crude statements that the accused gave in 12 hours of interrogation]

El ex arzobispo respondió 35 veces “no recuerdo” y ante dos preguntas guardó silencio, por recomendación de su abogado. Declaró no haberle creído a James Hamilton ante las acusaciones de abuso sexual y detalló el artículo del Derecho Canónico que lo exime de la obligación de investigar.

El ex arzobispo de Santiago Francisco Javier Errázuriz, declaró en calidad de imputado ante el fiscal de alta complejidad, Jorge Escobar. El interrogatorio duró en total de 12 horas y Errázuriz debió responder a 12 preguntas; en dos de ellas guardó silencio por recomendación de sus abogados.

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El monasterio del horror: crudo relato del joven abusado por dos curas en el Cristo Orante

ARGENTINA
Los Andes

April 10, 2019

[The monastery of horror: crude story of the young man abused by two priests in the Christ Orante]

Nicolás Bustos recapituló las pesadillas que vivió durante más de 5 años en el monasterio de Tupungato. “Que no se repita más”, implora.

A priori, Nicolás Bustos (27) podría se descripto como una persona introvertida. Tranquilo para hablar, con un tono bajo; pero con una claridad absoluta en sus palabras. Lleva toda una procesión por dentro; aunque en los últimos meses dicha procesión reclamó casi a los gritos ser exteriorizada. Y es lo que el joven hizo, primero con una denuncia verbal en el Arzobispado -en 2015- y luego con una denuncia penal -en octubre de 2018-. El joven denunció haber sido abusado sexualmente en reiteradas oportunidades por dos monjes del Monasterio del Cristo Orante (Tupungato) -los curas Oscar Portillo y Diego Roqué, hoy detenidos e imputados- mientras estuvo internado. Según destaca, los abusos habrían ocurrido entre 2009 y 2015.

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Aseguran que el Arzobispado de Mendoza intentó ocultar una denuncia de abuso sexual

ARGENTINA
Diario UNO

April 9, 2019

[They claim that the Archdiocese of Mendoza tried to hide a complaint of sexual abuse]

Un nuevo escándalo se suma a la Iglesia en Mendoza luego de conocerse una carta enviada por el Arzobispado hacia el Vaticano para ocultar abusos sexuales que dos monjes habrían cometido en el Monasterio Cristo Orante, del Valle de Uco.

El arzobispo de Mendoza, Marcelo Colombo, envió una carta a la Santa Sede en agosto de 2018, donde le pedía al papa Francisco trasladar la investigación a San Juan y prorrogar el juicio canónico contra los monjes mendocinos Diego Roqué y Oscar Portillo, quienes hoy están con prisión domiciliaria, aseguró el diario La Nación.

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SCOTUS Declines to Hear Case Against the Diocese of Palm Beach, SNAP Reacts

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

April 23, 2019

We are disappointed that the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear Fr. John Gallagher’s defamation case against the Diocese of Palm Beach.

When clergy whistle blowers find the strength and courage to help speak out on behalf of children, they should be rewarded, not retaliated against by their superiors. Our hearts ache for Fr. Gallagher and the trials and tribulations he has been through.

Church officials at the Diocese of Palm Beach should have been grateful to Fr. Gallagher for helping law enforcement prosecute a priest who showed child pornography to a teenager. Instead, Fr. Gallagher asserts, he was denied a promotion because of his actions. When the priest told the media, the Diocese publicly denounced him as “blatantly lying” and “in need of professional assistance.” We are concerned that the SCOTUS decision may set the stage for other dioceses to retaliate against clergy whistle blowers with impunity.

Protecting children requires constant vigilance. We are disheartened to see that vigilance in this case apparently not only went unrewarded, but was also punished. In addition, we are discouraged that the courts chose to see this as an issue of a religious freedom, rather than one of child protection.

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Judge denies lower bond for former Hinsdale priest

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Associated Press

April 22, 2019

By Jim Salter

A St. Louis County judge on Monday refused to lower bail for a former Hinsdale priest who was previously imprisoned and labeled sexually violent.

Fred Lenczycki, 74, formerly of Glen Ellyn and most recently from Berkeley, was charged in February with two counts of sodomy for allegedly abusing two boys in the early 1990s at a north St. Louis County parish. He is jailed on $500,000 cash-only bond but was seeking an unspecified reduction.

Lenczycki has admitted abusing up to 30 boys in Illinois, Missouri and California over 25 years, according to court and church files. He was removed from the ministry in 2002, when he was charged with sexually abusing three boys at St. Isaac Jogues Catholic Church Hinsdale in the 1980s.

The victims told authorities that “Father Fred” repeatedly molested them, often using the pretense of swaddling them in “Baby Jesus” costumes for pageants that never took place.

He pleaded guilty in 2004 and was sentenced to five years in prison. In 2008, a year before his release from prison, he became the first U.S. priest to be labeled sexually violent when he was committed under Illinois’ Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act.

St. Louis County Circuit Judge Gloria Clark Reno was expected to hear testimony from the two Missouri accusers, Chris Gensler III, now 37, and Ron Kanady, 38, at a hearing Monday. But prior to the hearing, officials with the Illinois agency that monitors Lenczycki and others classified as sexually violent said it would not be responsible for transporting him to court from his home.

Assistant prosecutor Melissa Price Smith said that if Lenczycki had to take public transportation to St. Louis without supervision, he could be in contact with children.

Based largely on the logistical concern, Reno denied the bond reduction.

Defense attorney Matthew Radefeld said Lenczycki is seeking a re-evaluation to clear himself from the Illinois sexually violent person listing.

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Former Pope Benedict ignores institutional reasons for sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, instead blames the 1960s

RIVERSIDE (CA)
The Highlander

April 22, 2019

By Som Chaturvedi

Pope emeritus Benedict XVI is looking to the 1960s sexual revolution in search of a scapegoat for the sexual abuse prevalent amongst the Catholic clergy. In a recent letter, Benedict cited the 1960s sexual revolution as the reason for the recent history of sexual abuse in the Church, suggesting that the solution to the issue is “obedience and love for our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Unfortunately, Benedict’s letter fails to touch on any tangible issue. The question is not whether the Church is being secularized by the lascivious happenings of the outside world. Instead, the Church needs to examine options at the institutional level to ensure that this abuse isn’t allowed to continue. The letter fails to suggest any such option. There is no acknowledgment of the accusations of cover-ups that have been flooding the Church since the 1980s, and Benedict’s insistence that the Church resolves to be more obedient is not actionable enough. Trying to pin the blame on the rest of society serves only as an exercise in pointless moral relativism, and it distracts the Church from addressing the causes for the abuse.

Some supporters of the Church may argue that the prevalence of porn and other examples of sexual liberation during the 1960s brought about an overall degradation of society’s values as a whole, so it stands to reason that the Church was also impacted. One need only consider, however, the fact that the Catholic Church is one of the groups most often cited as having sexual abuse problems. Other similar religious groups do not face the same scandals. The Catholic Church has been facing accusations since as early as the 1950s, a decade prior to the cited sexual revolution, before the scandals achieved media attention in the 1980s with the accusations leveled against Gilbert Gauthe. This suggests that the sexual abuse scandals are not brought on by the degradation of religious morals, but instead by a failure on an institutional level to properly address instances of abuse.

Pope Francis, Benedict’s successor, holds a drastically different view on the causes for the scandal, and he seems interested in addressing the institutional corruption that supported the predators amongst the clergy. The Vatican held a summit of bishops around the world last February that focused on the topic of sexual abuse in the Church. This is significant, as it is a public admission that the Church not only has an ongoing issue with sexual abuse of children within its walls but that it has been actively trying to cover up those crimes.

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Fintan O’Toole: Enough shame about the past. What we need is guilt

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
Irish Tiimes

April 22, 2019

By Fintan O’Toole

What use is shame? In the Dáil last Wednesday, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar described the mother-and-baby home report as “gruesome reading” and said that “as a society we inherit a deep shame for what was done back then and we must now endeavour to learn, to atone and to put things right”. But what has this inherited shame done for us? Nothing much. It is ocean-deep: the shame of the torture and rape of children in industrial schools, of the kidnapping and enslavement of women in Magdalene laundries, of the dumping of dead babies in anonymous holes, of the claiming of the corpses of poor children by our most respectable medical schools.

But what have we done except wallow in it? It has become part of our gross national product – we produce more shame than we can consume locally and we export some of it for consumption by the international media.

So enough of shame – what we need is guilt. Shame and guilt are not at all the same thing. The first is about how you feel; the second is about what you’ve done. Shame, as the Oxford English Dictionary has it, is “The painful emotion arising from the consciousness of something dishonouring, ridiculous or indecorous in one’s own conduct or circumstances”. Guilt is “a failure of duty, delinquency; offence, crime, sin … Responsibility for an action or event.” One is about how we perceive ourselves, the other about what we have done, or failed to do, to other people. Though we tend to use the words interchangeably, it is quite possible to have one without the other.

We learn (yet again) from the latest report of the Ombudsman for Children that homeless children are tormented by a sense of shame – even though they are guilty of nothing. We know, conversely, that people who were guilty of wrecking the country in the banking crisis of 2008 felt (and feel) no shame.

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Pope proposes radical shakeup of the Roman Curia

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Tablet

April 22, 2019

By Christopher Lamb

Pope Francis’ reforms of the Roman Curia will see the creation of a new “super ministry” dedicated to evangelisation that will take precedence over the once-powerful Vatican doctrinal body.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, formerly the Holy Office of the Inquisition, is the oldest institution in the Curia and known as “La Suprema.” For years, it policed theologians, set out the red lines of Catholic doctrine and gave its rubber stamp to all major Vatican documents.

But according to Vida Nueva, the respected Spanish Catholic publication, the congregation will no longer hold the number one spot in the curia. Under Francis the CDF has already lost significant influence, and the new constitution formally sets out that it now comes under the new mission statement of spreading the Gospel.

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April 22, 2019

U.S. Supreme Court blocks South Florida priest’s libel lawsuit against Catholic Church

FT. LAUDERDALE (FL)
Sun Sentinel

April 22, 2019

By Marc Freeman

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday ended a South Florida priest’s hopes to sue the Catholic Church for defamation.

After previous legal setbacks, the Rev. John Gallagher had prayed for the high court to revive his three-year-old case against the Diocese of Palm Beach.

Without explanation, the court denied Gallagher’s petition, after allowing a national child protection group to support his claim.

In a text message to the South Florida Sun Sentinel, Gallagher, 51, said he had received the ruling but declined to comment. His attorney, Ted Babbitt, could not be reached immediately.

The West Palm Beach priest had insisted the church libeled him after he publicly accused his superiors of trying to cover up another priest’s sexual misconduct involving a 14-year-old boy.

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Editorial: One pope is quite enough

KANSAS CITY (MO)
National Catholic Reporter

April 22, 2019

We are living in a unique moment in church history with an ex-pope, properly credited for having the courage to resign when the problems he faced became overwhelming, living within the Vatican walls. The resignation is best interpreted as Benedict XVI’s act of generosity toward the church. The graciousness Francis has displayed toward his predecessor is equally an act of generosity.

Increasingly, however, Francis must also be calling on the virtue of patience to deal with the interference of a predecessor whose retirement has gone from a promised “life dedicated to prayer” to a life of backseat pontificating.

The most recent – and perhaps most unfortunate – intervention was Benedict’s letter theorizing on the causes of the sexual abuse crisis and, of course, defending his role in dealing with it.

That the latest was not a one-off, but part of a pattern that was pointed out by NCR Vatican Correspondent Joshua McElwee in reporting on the letter.

In November 2016 a book-length interview was published in which Benedict defended his eight-year papacy, saying he didn’t see himself as a failure. In March of that same year he inserted himself into a Francis initiative when he did an interview in which he expounded on God’s mercy while Francis was in the midst of an Extraordinary Jubilee Year, with mercy as its central theme. These interventions may appear anodyne to some, but they set a terrible precedent, making the perception or reality of a rivalry between the former pope and his acolytes and the incumbent pope and his supporters more likely.

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La Justicia concedió arresto domiciliario al cura Aguilera

ARGENTINA
La Gaceta

April 22, 2019

[The Justice granted house arrest to the priest Aguilera]

El juez Adolfo Figueroa hizo lugar parcialmente al recurso de apelación que presentó la defensa del sacerdote.

El juez de la sala IV del Tribunal de Impugnación, Adolfo Figueroa, hizo lugar, parcialmente, al recurso de apelación que presentó la defensa de José Carlos Aguilera, y ordenó su arresto domiciliario.

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Inside The Fight For Compensation For Clergy Sex Abuse Survivors

WASHINGTON (DC)
WBAA Radio

April 22, 2019

Attorney Ken Feinberg and his longtime associate Camille Biros are overseeing compensation funds for victims of clergy sex abuse. It’s familiar work for them, after working on other compensation funds for the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and the Deepwater Horizon spill. Feinberg and Biros were featured in a recent New Yorker article.

Here & Now‘s Robin Young talks with Biros about her work.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

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Ceremony, panel discussion aims to address child sex abuse

MARTINSBURG (WV)
The Journal

April 19, 2019

By Breanna Francis

While some conversations are uncomfortable, many find that discussing sexual abuse, especially of a child, is among the hardest topics to handle.

But for Tom Stollings, one of the father’s involved in a sexual abuse lawsuit against a local Mormon church, bringing this commonly regarded “dark” topic into the light has become his life’s passion.

“It’s a very touchy subject — child sex abuse — especially in a place that you thought you could really trust the people. It’s dark, and it’s hurtful for anyone to have to deal with or hear,” Stollings said. “We’re human and this tears at everyone’s guts but its one of those things that needs to be talked about because that’s the only way we are ever going to put a stop to it.”

Stollings, as well as five other families in Martinsburg, were a part of a sexual abuse lawsuit against a Mormon Church in the area in which Stollings said several local children were abused by a member of the church.

The case, which began in 2012 and ended in August of 2018, after rotating between three judges and two trips to the West Virginia Supreme Court, began with 19 kids but ended with only nine after what Stollings said was stress, pressure and controversy placed on the families by the church and the coverage of the long, drawn out case.

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Relentless Survivor of childhood sexual abuse pursued indictment of her abuser

LEXINGTON (KY)
Key News Journal

March 12, 2019

By Patrice K. Muhammad

In 2017 Tanyqua Oliver attended a church service at House of Prayer in Nicholasville, KY. To her surprise, she said, Darnell Nutter was there.

When Tanyqua was 14, in 2006, the Department for Community Based Services (DCBS) and Lexington Police investigated Darnell Nutter for raping her over several years, from the age of 9 until she was most 13 years old.

Tanyqua says that Darnell was not a church visitor like her that day, he started helping out and made the alter call, inviting people to accept Jesus and join the church. During the service Tanyqua could not think of anything except the children, she recalled. Children were at the church, many without parents.

Painfully, she confronted the church’s pastor Tammel Thomas, who is her own mother and who was married to Darnell during the years he raped her in their home.

When asked why Darnell was at the church, around children, after her mother participated and pushed for the 2006 rape investigation, Tanyqua said her mother offered the growing church as an excuse and said, “because I need help”.

Alarmed, Tanyqua contacted the Lexington Police Department. “I spoke to an officer and told them that I remember a social worker came to talk to me many years ago and nothing really happened. I reported that Darnell was preaching and was around children and I wanted to know if he was given any sort of restriction” she said.

Her case, as all rape cases are, was still on record and Tanyqua was assigned a new detective who found out what happened in 2006. Her case had been archived, “pending vaginal exam’’. Tanyqua didn’t recall having an exam as part of the investigation but searched for one just in case. When she called the Children’s Advocacy Center, which operates an on-site medical clinic to evaluate children who have reported inappropriate physical contact, she was told that she had never been a client and there was not any record of a referral for her to have an exam.

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Twelve more accused priests are ‘outed’ here

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Some have attracted zero attention in Sac area
Six spent time at prestigious Carmichael school
Most allegedly assaulted children in other places
But each of them is or was in northern California
At least one, however, reportedly hurt two local kids
“Each day a predator is hidden, kids are at risk,” victim says
SNAP: “Catholic officials should post ALL predators’ names NOW”

WHAT
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, attorneys and clergy sex abuse victims will disclose that twelve publicly ‘outed’ and accused predator priests spent time in Sacramento but remain largely “under the radar.” Most were sued, charged or ousted in other states but escaped scrutiny here.

They will also push Catholic officials to write to school alums urging them to report any abuse at Jesuit High, where at least six of the publicly accused predators worked, including one cleric who is accused of molesting two kids at the Carmichael school.

And they’ll prod Sacramento’s bishop to “stop delaying,”
–post his own ‘accused’ offenders list,
–include ALL alleged predators (nuns, priests, brothers, bishops, seminarians & lay staff), &
–provide photos, whereabouts and full work histories of all the accused.

WHEN
Friday, April 19 at 11:00 a.m.

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‘Please give me a reason to be Catholic:’ How sex abuse crisis is impacting faith in Nashville

NASHVILLE (TN)
Nashville Tennessean

April 22, 2019

By Holly Meyer

The Rev. Edward Steiner does not think the people sitting in the pews are looking for reasons to leave as the Catholic Church grapples with the recent wave of its clergy sexual abuse crisis.

But Steiner, who leads the Cathedral of the Incarnation in Nashville, thinks some are looking for reasons to stay.

That became evident to him as members of the cathedral gathered for coffee and donuts on a recent Sunday after Mass.

“A person that I’ve kind of got a great rapport with, but whose also very blunt and direct just simply said, ‘Father, I don’t know that I can take anymore. Could you please give me a reason to be a Catholic?'” Steiner said.

The parishioner is not alone in his questioning.

A recent Gallup poll found that 37 percent of U.S. Catholics say the recent news about sexual abuse of children in the church has led them to personally question whether they should remain Catholic.

The crisis has been grabbing headlines for the last eight months. In August, a Pennsylvania grand jury report laid out the “horrifying scale” of sexual abuse perpetrated by 300 priests on more than 1,000 identified victims over nearly 80 years.

Several dioceses across the U.S. have released the names of clergy accused of sexually abusing children. In Nashville, the diocese has named 21 clergy. Attorneys general in a number of states have opened their own investigations as critics of the church continue to call for independent reviews.

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At one Catholic Church in Arizona, the abuse scandal brings frustration, but faith remains strong

PHOENIX (AZ)
Arizona Republic

April 22, 2019

By BrieAnna J Frank

The All Saints Catholic Newman Center near Arizona State University’s Tempe campus was busier than usual.

It was Palm Sunday, which begins the holiest week of the church year, culminating with Easter. By midafternoon, the Rev. Rob Clements was busy preparing for the 5 p.m. Mass, setting up the altar at the front of the sanctuary and ensuring that tables at the back were stocked with service programs and palm branches, which are distributed to the congregation on this day.

One man entered the empty sanctuary at about 3:45 p.m., made the sign of the cross as he entered the last row of pews and knelt in prayer for several minutes.

He then approached Clements, who had set up a table in a corner of the sanctuary, and the priest began hearing the hushed tones of the man’s confession — one of the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church.

The man returned to the pew and prayed for only another minute or two before leaving the church, the first of several dozen people who showed up for confession Sunday afternoon prior to the Palm Sunday 5 p.m. service.

The scene contrasted findings in a Gallup poll published last month showing nearly 40 percent of American Catholics have questioned their involvement in the church because of the child sex-abuse scandals that continue to rock the institution in the United States and elsewhere.

A bombshell Pennsylvania grand jury report published last year revealed that more than 300 “predator priests” had abused more than 1,000 children across several decades in that state, providing new fuel to an issue that has hung over the church since widespread reports of abuse — and church leadership cover-ups — began surfacing in the early 2000s.

Clements, pastor and director of the Newman Center in Tempe, said he does not know of anyone who has left his congregation because of the scandal.

He said that though his congregants care about the issues within the larger Catholic institution, what matters most is that they can trust their local church. His, in particular, caters to many younger Catholics because of its location at the northwest corner of University Drive and College Avenue, across from the main ASU campus.

“Politics is local,” he said. “For Catholics, it’s all about their local connection. What’s my parish like, my priest — do I feel a connection to him? This other stuff that’s going on, it doesn’t impact my world.”

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Pope proposes radical shakeup of the Roman Curia

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Tablet

April 22, 2019

By Christopher Lamb

Pope Francis’ reforms of the Roman Curia will see the creation of a new “super ministry” dedicated to evangelisation that will take precedence over the once-powerful Vatican doctrinal body.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, formerly the Holy Office of the Inquisition, is the oldest institution in the Curia and known as “La Suprema.” For years, it policed theologians, set out the red lines of Catholic doctrine and gave its rubber stamp to all major Vatican documents.

But according to Vida Nueva, the respected Spanish Catholic publication, the congregation will no longer hold the number one spot in the curia. Under Francis the CDF has already lost significant influence, and the new constitution formally sets out that it now comes under the new mission statement of spreading the Gospel.

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.

More Americans than ever are leaving the Catholic Church after the sex abuse scandal. Here’s why.

ARLINGTON (VA)
USA TODAY

April 22, 2019

By Lindsay Schnell

On Palm Sunday, Barbara Hoover exited Brougher Chapel with a palm frond in her left hand.

The 76-year-old retiree sized up the church in front of her and sighed, visibly upset. “I don’t know why I’m still here,” she said, throwing her hands up. “I don’t know why I still go. I guess the ritual.”

In Portland, Oregon, Norma Rodriguez, 51, hustled up the steps of St. Mary’s Cathedral of Immaculate Conception, eager to get a good seat before the service started.

A lifelong Catholic, Rodriguez attends Mass weekly, praying for everyone she knows. She hasn’t been deterred by the sex abuse crisis that’s engulfed the Catholic Church for the better part of two decades. It’s not her place to pass judgment, Rodriguez said.

“This whole thing, it makes me pray more,” she said. “It just makes me pray for humanity, makes me pray for forgiveness.”

In Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Sara and Nathan Hofflander brought their three young daughters to Palm Sunday Mass, then joined the bustle of people chatting and enjoying a hot meal during St. Lambert’s yearly parish dinner. Plates filled with turkey and potatoes. The parents corralled their girls – ages 5, 3 and 1 – and found a spot near a window.

Sara Hofflander, 32, grew up Catholic and Nathan Hofflander, 40, joined the church in 2011. The fallibility of clergy doesn’t faze him. “We are all broken in some way,” he said. “We’re not all perfect.”

The Catholic Church in the U.S. is at a crossroads. As millions of devout followers filled the pews this Easter season to celebrate the religion’s most important holiday, others hovered at the door, hungry for community and spiritual guidance but furious at the church’s handling of the decades-long sex abuse crisis that’s resulted in young children being raped and abused by priests who were often protected by their superiors.

Seven months after a damning grand jury report in Pennsylvania revealed that 1,000 children had been abused at the hands of more than 300 priests, and as state attorneys general across the nation investigate the church, a Gallup poll published in March found that 37% of U.S. Catholics are considering leaving the church because of the sex abuse crisis and the church’s handling of it. That’s up significantly from 2002, when just 22% of Catholics said they were contemplating leaving their religion after The Boston Globe published an explosive series that initially exposed the abuse and subsequent cover-up.

On Palm Sunday, the start of Holy Week, the USA TODAY Network sent 13 reporters out to parishes across the country to talk with dozens of Catholics about their faith and the scandal that has bankrupted churches after million dollar settlements, exposed thousands of accused priests and left unknown numbers of victims struggling to rebuild their childhoods, families and spiritual lives. Reporters visited white, black, Latino and Asian majority churches in cities and rural areas from California to New York, from Florida to Guam, as priests across the world spoke of repentance, forgiveness and, ultimately, new life.

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Church has steep learning curve on abuse

TORONOT (CANADA)
Catholic Register

April 22, 2019

By Mickey Conlon

As an extradition order against a Regina priest for allegedly abusing boys in a Scottish boys’ school plays out in a Canadian courtroom, the archdiocese continues to try to find its way in helping victims of sexual abuse.

“There is nothing easy about this,” said Archbishop Donald Bolen of Regina. “We’re struggling to find a way how to walk with victims.”

While Fr. Robert Mackenzie is not accused of any misconduct from his roughly 30 years in the Regina archdiocese, several complaints have been made against him concerning incidents that occurred at two boarding schools in Scotland from the 1950s through the 1980s. The retired priest, now in his mid-80s, has denied all allegations and is fighting extradition.

The archdiocese had relieved MacKenzie of his priestly duties in 2016 and he has been living at a home for retired priests in Regina, following protocols in place to deal with such situations.

The protocols around abuse have been updated in recent years, but at this point, the archdiocese — and the Canadian Church — is still coming to grips with the scourge of clergy sex abuse that has rocked the Catholic Church worldwide.

Bolen knows the Church still has a long way to go.

Attention was ramped up on the issue last summer when a Pennsylvania grand jury report exposed thousands of cases of sexual assault that were covered up, leading to a cascade of calls for change, both inside and outside the Church.

Bolen said his diocese is “committed to transparency and to accountability and to responsibility, and we’re being encouraged to listen to victims and to learn from victims and to walk with victims and to prioritize victims.”

Bolen is under no illusion that the steps being taken now are going to put an end to the scandal and make it go away.

“We make lots of mistakes,” said the archbishop.

“It’s such a big learning curve for us. As Church we simply have such a deeply imbedded instinct of protecting the Church. It’s even more deep than protecting the clergy. Somewhere along the line the voice of victims has been suppressed and that has caused such deep pain.”

In Regina, Bolen said he’s been lucky to have worked with a small group of abuse victims committed to working with the Church to bring about needed change.

“There has been an incredible generosity and willingness from victims to share their experience and let the Church learn from it,” he said.

Pamela Walsh, an abuse victim, has worked closely with Bolen in trying to bring about needed change in the Church. One way to get the victims’ voice heard has been the creation of special services regarding clergy sexual abuse. A service styled on the Way of the Cross has asked people to “move into the trauma of abuse,” Walsh wrote on the archdiocesan website.

Walsh said “the group managed to enter into each other’s wounds, creating a powerful text that invited others to hear the painful torment of clergy sexual abuse.”

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Archbishop Diarmuid Martin: ‘The church is imprisoned in its past’

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
Irish Times

April 22, 2019

By Patsy McGarry

The Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, turned 74 on April 8th. He has a year to go before submitting his letter of resignation to Rome, as required of all Catholic bishops when they reach 75.

The two auxiliary bishops in Dublin must submit their resignations to Rome even sooner – Bishop Ray Field turns 75 next month with Bishop Eamonn Walsh following in September.

Archbishop Martin, the most influential Catholic prelate in Ireland, is 15 years in his role this month, having succeeded Cardinal Desmond Connell. He is 20 years a bishop and next month marks a half century since his ordination.

Does he think he will be allowed to stand down?

“You never know that,” he says. “At the moment there’s quite a delay on [the appointment of] bishops in Ireland. One thing I would not want is that there would be a vacuum or that there would be a prolonged period of speculation.”

He says the big change will not be him and his auxiliary colleagues moving on but rather the “realities of the diocese”, which are “changing enormously”.

“Others might say that may be a little time in which people can stand back and reflect and ask the questions: Where should we be going? What sort of bishop do we need? But I think there are too many serious problems that have to be addressed from the pastoral, personnel, financial situation – you can’t allow that to drag on.”

He acknowledges Cardinal Connell was persuaded to stay on for three more years after turning 75. “I think it wasn’t a good thing,” he adds.

New accommodation
The archbishop may stay in Dublin post-retirement, in which case he would need to look for new accommodation in the city. “My mother always said that if she could get an apartment in Nelson’s Pillar, that would be her choice,” he smiles.

As to whether his period as archbishop had been overshadowed by the abuse issue – as it was for Cardinal Connell who once said the abuse issue had devastated his ministry – Archbishop Martin responds: “Cardinal Connell always focused on himself an awful lot. I don’t do it in that same sense.

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The Protect Every Child Initiative to Combat Child Sexual Abuse

ST. LOIUS (MO)
Survivora Network of those Abused by Priests

April 19, 2019

For the past two years, Sam Young has led a one-man charge to reform the LDS church and to protect children within the Mormon faith. Now, Sam is taking his campaign nationwide and is urging everyone to take one of three simple actions that can protect EVERY child.

Here is what Sam is asking everyone to do:

Action 1: Petition
Last year’s petition was directed at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This year’s petition will call for all parents as well as all religions, denominations and youth serving organizations to Protect Every Child. The goal is to gather 50,000 signatures.

Action 2: Climb a Mountain, Save a Child
Summit a mountain, a hill, a driveway or any point of prominence. Whether big or small.
Unfurl a banner on that driveway or mountain top. Take a picture. Then share it everywhere.
This year, hundreds of banners will be planted on pinnacles all around the world. The flags are not to be left behind. Rather, they are to be brought home for a subsequent action.
A lovely carol is sung during the Christmas season–Go Tell It On A Mountain. If ever there was a message to shout from the mountain tops, this is it. PROTECT EVERY CHILD.

Action 3: 12 Days of Ascension–July 24 to August 4, 2019
Last summer, a 23 day hunger strike was conducted in the shadow of the Salt Lake Temple. This summer, we’ll return to Utah for 12 days, Not to fast…to climb. Peaks will be summitted around the valley. Others will climb mountains across the country. Banners will be unfurled for the entire world to see.

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Nigeria: Special Report – the Real Story of the Sexual Abuse Incident At Abuja School for the Deaf

CAPE TOWN (SOUTH AFRICA)
AllAfrica.com

April 22, 2019

By Ini Ekott and Azeezat Adedigba

The seven-year-old had spent just one academic term at his new school in Abuja when he told his mother he would not be returning to the institution, a special facility for children with disability. Using sign language, the boy, born with speech and hearing impairment, said he feared he may be killed.

“They will kill me if I return to that school,” Hannatu Usman recalled her son saying.

Alarmed, Mrs Usman, a medical doctor, pressed for details. The boy motioned about being sodomised and being forced to perform oral sex on older school mates. He spoke about being driven in the night to a gathering where men killed and conducted rituals, drew children’s blood and forced them to perform erotic acts. The boy said he was brutalised whenever he refused to do as instructed.

On March 26, the minister of education, Adamu Adamu, said after weeks of investigation, a government panel had found no evidence of occult or cannibalism in the school. He dismissed the claim by the Usman family as “unfounded and baseless”, and said the panel based its conclusion in part on the fact that no other parent reported missing children at the school at Kuje, about 37 kilometres from the Abuja city centre.

Mr Adamu said the allegation of sexual abuse could not be confirmed because Mrs Usman had refused to meet with the panel, alongside her son. “However, the doors are still open for her to come forward and testify,” the minister told a news conference. “This is because as things stand today, this report is inconclusive as her major allegation of her son’s abuse has not been conclusively established nor can it be dismissed with a wave of the hand.”

He, however, acknowledged that a police investigation had confirmed the boy had been sexually assaulted. The Abuja police commissioner, Bala Ciroma, confirmed the finding to PREMIUM TIMES.

The report, first by the Abuja-based Human Rights Radio, that a child with a disability was sexually abused at a school his family hoped will help him with care, terrified parents and angered rights advocates, not less because it happened in the nation’s capital. Ahead of the announcement by the minister, a civil society group, Human and Environmental Development Agenda, said in a petition to the National Human Rights Commission that “the case is one deserving of immediate and urgent intervention and investigation.”

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Deschambault clergy sexual abuse prevention bill signed into lawhttp://

AUGUSTA (ME)
Journal Tribune

April 22, 2019

On Thursday, Maine Gov. Janet Mills signed into law legislation sponsored by State Sen. Susan Deschambault, D-Biddeford, that criminalizes licensed pastoral counselor sexual abuse.

LD 913, “An Act To Protect the Public from Clergy Sexual Abuse,” would make it illegal for licensed pastoral counselors to engage in sexual activity with those who they are counseling. Licensed pastoral counselors are clergy members who have a specialized degree in behavioral counseling.

“This bill protects the rights of patients who seek counseling from licensed pastoral counselors in the same way we treat patient rights with other licensed behavior counselors,” said Deschambault.

The bill acknowledges that licensed pastoral counselors are in a position of trust and authority over another person, which creates an inherent power imbalance in the relationship. LD 913 would criminalize sexual conduct of any sort between a licensed pastoral counselor and another person if the clergy member uses his or her position of authority and trust to engage in a sexual act.

Non-emergency laws passed in the regular legislative session this year will be effective law 90 days after the Maine Legislature adjourns.

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A life hiding as the first priest charged in the Catholic Church’s sex abuse scandal

SAN LEON (TX)
Lafayette Daily Advertiser

April 22, 2019

By Kirsten Fiscus

A small walking path, impossible to travel without bending plants and palm fronds, leads from the roadway to the small, cramped apartment. Behind all the foliage at the end of the path in a courtyard, unseen from the road, is a large chicken coop with a dozen hens nestled together. They roll their heads around to eye the passersby.

An older man, his shoulders hunched, shuffles to the railing outside of an upstairs apartment. His dogs are barking loudly, and he comes forward to see. He looks over his 1970s-style, wire-rimmed glasses, this frail man peering out on to the overgrown court yard.

“Are you Gilbert?” the visitor asked.

The man squints and turns his head to hear better as the dogs continue to bark from behind his apartment’s screen door.

“Yes, hello,” he answered, extending his hand.

At 73, Gilbert Gauthe has made his home far away from Lafayette, the place where the world learned his name. Now he’s an older man, dressed in a plain, blue T-shirt and khaki shorts, his bare feet in sandals standing in this courtyard tucked away from the rest of society.

But 36 years ago, he wore a priest’s collar and lived as a man of God in the Catholic Diocese of Lafayette.

That was before the nation learned of Gauthe more than three decades ago as the Catholic priest who admitted molesting 37 boys. The revelation stunned the country, not yet awakened to an emerging priest abuse scandal that would touch nearly every U.S. diocese. Gauthe made the Lafayette diocese ground zero for what Pope Francis would only recently call the scourge that consumed the Catholic Church.

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General Assembly committee deals blow to many priest abuse victims

NORWICH (CT)
The Day

April 21. 2019

By Joe Wojtas

A General Assembly committee has modified a proposed bill so alleged victims of Catholic clergy abuse will not have a 27-month window to sue the church regardless of their age.

During an April 1 public hearing before the Judiciary Committee, people older than 48 who say they were sexually assaulted by priests urged the committee to support a provision in Senate Bill 3 that would have allowed them to sue the church after that age, which is the current law.

But a substitute bill approved by the committee that now moves on to the legislature for consideration would instead give victims to age 56 to file a lawsuit.

“It’s like another punch in the gut,” said Tim McGuire of New London, who discovered he had missed the filing deadline by three weeks when he decided to come forward 12 years ago.

Now, with the proposed change to age 56, he will miss the filing deadline by four years.

“I was stunned,” said McGuire, who said he heard about the change during a support group meeting late last week with the Connecticut chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

McGuire had broken down when he testified before the Judiciary Committee, telling members how as an 8-year-old altar boy he was sexually assaulted by the late Rev. James Curry at St. Joseph’s Church in Noank and how it has affected his life.

“It may help a few people, but it left me in the dust again,” added McGuire. “Why take away someone’s chance for accountability?”

Gail Howard, one of the co-leaders of the Connecticut chapter of SNAP, said Sunday that of the 20 priest abuse victims who have contacted her since last summer’s release of a Pennsylvania grand jury report on priest sex abuse there, just two to three will benefit from the increase in age to 56. The others are older.

Howard said that while victims told their stories to the committee in public, the Catholic church lobbied to get rid of the change behind the scenes. It is unclear which legislator made the motion to change the proposed bill.

Howard called the change disappointing but said it took a similar effort in New York seven years to be successful.

“This is our first year. We have to make sure this bill passes and then we can go back next year,” she said, about again trying to eliminate the statute of limitations.

Some alleged victims who have waited to reveal the sexual abuse they suffered until later in life have discovered they are unable to file lawsuits because they did not do so by age 48, under the current statute of limitations. They and their supporters say that due to a number of factors, many victims wait until much later in life to reveal the abuse.

According to bill’s original language, a lawsuit to recover damages for personal injury to a minor, including emotional distress, caused by sexual abuse that could not be brought by Sept. 19, 2019, because the legal action would not fall within the current statute of limitations, could be filed on or before Dec. 31, 2021.

The bill also would allow minor victims to bring a legal action at any time in their life if it concerns an incident that took place on or after Oct. 1, 2019, or occurred prior to that date and the applicable statute of limitations had not expired by Sept. 30, 2019.

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April 21, 2019

Disgraced priest faces new abuse accusations; Hanna Boys Center responds

SONOMA (CA)
Sonoma Valley Sun

April 21, 2019

Current Hanna Boys Center CEO Brian Farragher has addressed but not disputed the charges of molestation made against the facility’s former executive director, details of which were dramatically revealed in an outdoor press conference Wednesday at Sonoma’s St. Francis Solano Catholic Church.

Father John Crews, the executive director until 2013, is newly accused of abusing two residents — one young man who lived at Hanna 1984-85 and another 1999-2001. Crews resigned in 2013 after being accused of sexually abusing a boy in the 1970s.

Sacramento attorney Joseph George said he has filed formal complaints with the state Attorney General’s Office. He was joined at the press conference by representatives of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

In a letter made public by his attorney, one of the alleged victims, David Ortega, called for “anyone else who has been a victim to step forward, let your voice be heard and understand that it is not and was not ever a fault of your own.”

Farragher said he had no advance knowledge of Wednesday’s event.

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For survivors of clergy abuse, watching a beloved cathedral go up in smoke felt viscerally familiar

NASHVILLE (TN)
Baptist News Global

April 18, 2019

By Carra Greer

On Monday, I watched in horror with those all over the world as Notre Dame Cathedral burned and smoke billowed into the Paris sky. One of the oldest and most famous cathedrals in the world, Notre Dame was erected over 800 years ago. Yet it took only a few hours for the great spire to topple like a child’s block tower. As the fire burned unscathed by the water cannons flooding the structure, virtual onlookers began to speculate if the building would be totally consumed or if enough could be saved and rebuilt.

As I stared at the television screen, I felt a visceral reaction coursing through my body. It was a physical manifestation of what I have felt for the last decade. Sounds horribly dramatic, doesn’t it? But, for those who have experienced harassment, rejection, ostracism, judgment, isolation, sexual assault, physical/mental/verbal abuse, manipulation and even rape at the hands of revered clergy, we have been watching our sacred space burn for years, maybe decades.

And, for many of us, we have watched our faith go up in smoke.

“Survivors deserve an opportunity to be restored in their own way and in their own time.”

Those fortunate enough to worship and practice their faith in a safe space with good, honest clergy and congregants without experiencing traumas of any kind have this week seen and experienced a manifestation of what it is like when a person’s sacred space, spiritual center and place of worship is, in essence, set ablaze. Decimated. Obliterated. Many of us (of varying denominations and religious groups) who have experienced the nastiest, most vile parts of the Church have watched in isolation as our sacred spaces go up in smoke, often feeling like we are the arsonists.

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April 20, 2019

Editorial: Ending impunity for child abuse

CEBU CITY (PHILIPPINES)
Sun Star

April 21, 2019

HELP a child being abused and report the crime to civil authorities.

In an article published in the January 2019 issue of the “World Mission” magazine, Fr. Shay Cullen of the Preda Foundation wrote that, “Every one of us has a solemn duty and responsibility to stop (child abuse).”

Twice nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, the member of the Missionary Society of St. Columban co-founded the People’s Recovery Empowerment Development Assistance (Preda) Foundation, an Olongapo City organization promoting and protecting the rights of women and children.

Cullen singled out what should be the priorities in child advocacy: first, to rescue and provide “protection, care therapy, and support” to “child victims hurt, damaged, and traumatized” by the abusers living “in their own home, in the community and on the internet;” and second, to “(give) justice to the victims, (which) prevents the perpetrators from abusing more children.”

Threatening children are predators in all guises: “The biological fathers, live-in partners and community pedophiles are most frequent offenders but there are clergy too,” wrote Cullen.

Last February 2019, Pope Francis convened the three-day Meeting on the Protection of Minors in the Church. It was widely anticipated as a “landmark Vatican summit” to get the bishops to take concrete action to address clerical sex abuse.

In his presentation during the Vatican summit, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle admitted that the “lack of response of bishops to victims of clergy sexual abuse inflicts wounds on them,” reported “The Philippine Star” on Feb. 22. The priests abusing minors “inflicted wounds not only on the victims but also on their families, the clergy, the Church, the wider society, the perpetrators themselves and the bishops,” the same report quoted Tagle as saying.

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GUEST VIEW: One in 10 will suffer sexual abuse before they turn 18

NEW BEDFORD (MA)
South Coast Today

April 20, 2019

By Michelle Loranger

The clergy sex abuse scandals that have rocked the Roman Catholic Church and the abuse of young women and girls at the highest level of amateur gymnastics have commanded most of the headlines.

But the reality of child sexual abuse most often strikes closer to home. And it happens across all racial and ethnic groups, all income classes, and in each and every state.

April is National Child Abuse Prevention and Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and the reality is that 90 percent of children who suffer sexual abuse do so at the hands of adults they love and trust — often members of their immediate or extended families.

Last year, the Children’s Advocacy Center of Bristol County handled 815 cases — more than two new cases each day — most of which involved the sexual abuse of children. (The number also includes children who were physically abused, were witness to violence or victims of child trafficking). The annual caseload has more than doubled since the program opened its doors in 2007. And while exposure in the news media has helped more children get help than ever before, many cases of child abuse are unreported and untreated for years — if ever.

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Former CJ students asked to report any abuse by ex-teacher

DAYTON (OH)
Dayton Daily News

April 20, 2019

By Will Garbe and Josh Sweigart

Former Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School students have been asked to contact authorities if they were abused by an ex-teacher who worked at the school during the late 1970s, according to a letter from the religious order that sponsors the school.

Former Bro. Paul Botty was convicted in 1986 of abusing students at a Cleveland school, according to the April 16 letter mailed to the Chaminade Julienne classes of 1978-1981. The crimes are not connected to his service at the Dayton school.The letter comes as the Marianist Province of the United States reviews its files on those accused of sexual abuse. Following a request from the Dayton Daily News, the order said last month that it is “actively reviewing the decision to release names” of accused members.

An ongoing Dayton Daily News investigation into conduct by Marianist leaders who handled sexual abuse claims over the past several decades will publish in coming weeks.The newspaper asked the Marianists for information about Botty after finding photos of him in a CJ yearbook from the 1977-1978 academic year. Botty became a Marianist two years later.“Current school administration only recently learned from the Marianist Province that the Mr. Botty pictured in the school’s 1978 yearbook was the same person convicted and imprisoned as a Marianist brother for crimes committed more than 35 years ago and not connected to his service at CJ,” said Daniel Meixner, Chaminade Julienne president, in a statement.

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VOTF to meet April 22

MIDLAND (MICHIGAN)
Midland Daily News

April 20, 2019

Voice of the Faithful will meet from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Monday, April 22, at Blessed Sacrament Church, 3109 Swede Ave, Midland.

There will be a group discussion on an article by Father Tom Doyle in which he describes toxic clericalism as the cause of the abuse and gives specific changes needed to stop the sex abuse in the church. The article, “The Sexual Abuse Crisis is not a Crisis” by Doyle can be found at consciencemag.org/2019/04/03/the-sexual-abuse-crisis-is-not-a-crisis and should be read in advance of the meeting.

Doyle was one of the first to warn of the impending crisis. He is a Dominican priest, canon lawyer, addictions therapist and long-time supporter of justice and compassion for clergy sex abuse victims.

Voice of the Faithful is a group of Catholics that is concerned about the church and its future. Its goals are to support survivors of clergy sex abuse, to support priests of integrity and to shape structural change within the Catholic church.

More information, Norbert Bufka 989-835-2832 or www.votf.org.

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One church, two popes: why Catholicism is in crisis this Easter

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Guardian

April 20, 2019

By Peter Stanford

In his pre-Easter address to pilgrims gathering in Rome, Pope Francis highlighted Jesus’s words as he died on the cross on the first Good Friday: “Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.” We all, the Argentinian pontiff stressed, need to find the courage to forgive those who have wronged us.

Those remarks sparked speculation about who exactly Francis was struggling to forgive. Top of most lists in Rome this Easter is his predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who decided in 2013 to break with 600 years of work-unto-death papal tradition and retire. This opened Catholicism’s door to the breath of fresh air that is Francis. And, for the past six years, as the winds of change have blown through the church, Benedict has by and large kept a respectful silence, ignoring the ever louder pleas of traditionalist Catholics who want the 92-year-old to join them in opposing Francis’s reform agenda.

That changed earlier this month, when Benedict published a 6,000-word article in a German magazine. It made headlines by blaming the clerical abuse scandal on the moral relativism of the 1960s sexual revolution, and the “homosexual cliques” that allowed this “lawlessness” to infect seminaries. It is a line of argument that directly – and, conservative cardinals insist, pointedly – contradicts all Francis’s efforts (including a summit of world bishops in the Vatican in February) to tackle the damage done by paedophile priests by pointing the finger at a dominant culture within the church; a culture that encourages priests and bishops to operate as if they are above the moral guidelines they preach, and regard themselves as beyond the sanction of civil courts.

Neither explanation has convinced some lifelong Catholics who, as a result this Easter, will stay away from church services. The Francis version at least has the virtue of not flying in the face of all contemporary research, which doesn’t conflate sexual attraction between consenting adults of the same gender with the brutal and systematic violation of children.

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April 19, 2019

Diocese says it will add names to accused list if contacted by victims, survivors

STOCKTON (CA)
Stockton Record

April 19, 2019

By Wes Bowers

The Diocese of Stockton said Friday that it will not add any new names to its list of “credibly accused” unless it is contacted by victims and survivors.

The diocese’s statement comes after the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests came to Stockton on Tuesday to urge the organization to add an additional seven names of clergymen who spent parts of their careers in the area and have been publicly accused of abuse in other regions to its list of “credible accused.”

“The Diocese of Stockton’s list is based on information provided to the Diocese by survivors of unlawful sexual misconduct or their representatives,” the Diocese said in a statement. Neither survivors nor their representatives have contacted the Diocese of Stockton regarding any allegation of unlawful sexual conduct by any of the persons named.”

In 2017, the diocese was required to post the names of 14 members accused of abuse on its website.

SNAP, however, found seven more priests accused of abuse who spent time in Stockton but aren’t listed on the diocese’s list of accused.

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Holy Father Removes Former Hunterdon Priest

FLEMINGTON (NJ)
Tapinto Flemington-Raritan

April 19, 2019

A priest who formerly served in Hunterdon has been permanently removed from the priesthood, according to a press release issued today, Good Friday, by the Diocese of Metuchen.

Mark Dolak, 66, served in various Catholic churches throughout the state, including St. Catherine of Siena in Pittstown. He was ordained in 1979, according to the Diocese.

Dolak “had his priestly faculties removed” more than 20 years ago, the Diocese said.

“He has now been permanently removed from the priesthood by the Holy Father via the laicization process,” today’s press release states. “When a priest is laicized, he is returned to the status of a lay person.”

Dolak was previously identified by the church as “credibly accused” of sexual abuse of a minor.

“Upon receiving the news from the Holy See about the removal from the priesthood of Mark Dolak, my first thought was to pray for the survivors of child sexual abuse,” said Bishop James F. Checchio in a statement. “While his crimes and sins are decades old … they are no less shameful and horrific and their effects sadly remain.

“I asked diocesan staff to let his survivors know of this latest step,” he said. “I pray that this action in at least some small way aids his victims in the healing process.”

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US Dioceses Continue Acts of Public Reparation for Sexual-Abuse Scandal

DENVER (CO)
National Catholic Register

April 19, 2019

By Joseph O’Brien

The faithful who entered St. George Church in Guilford, Connecticut, Feb. 16 were met by a scene full of white roses and blue delphiniums filing the church’s interior with their fragrance.

The burst of blooms was a study in contrast to the somber mood of the occasion, as Catholics from around this south-central region of Connecticut were gathering for a “Mass of Reparation” for the victims of sexual abuse.

Picked from the parish’s St. George Healing Garden, which was established by the parish in 2015 for victims of sexual abuse and their families, the church flowers carried a sobering message. As prayer cards handed out for the occasion indicated, white roses symbolize Mary’s sorrow, purity and innocence, while blue delphiniums symbolize protection and a striving for something greater and more important.

On this day, Archbishop Leonard Blair of Hartford came to St. George’s to celebrate the second of three Masses of reparation for victims of clergy sexual abuse. Along with two auxiliary bishops, Archbishop Blair celebrated the three Masses in three distinct locales of the archdiocese: St. Bartholomew Church in Manchester, east of the centrally located diocesan see, Jan. 27; at St. George’s in the south the following month; and, most recently, March 26 in the western part of the archdiocese at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Harwinton (which, with its sister church, Immaculate Conception, in New Hartford, composes Our Lady of Hope parish).

The three Masses were announced in a Jan. 2 letter by Archbishop Blair, almost three weeks before the archdiocese’s Jan. 22 release of the names of 36 archdiocese clergy (23 deceased), six religious order priests and six priests from other dioceses working in the diocese who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor since 1953. Of the priests named, 23 are deceased and none are in active ministry. None of the abuse cases took place during Archbishop Blair’s appointment.

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Via Crucis in Mumbai addresses abuse scandal in Church

MUMBAI (INDIA)
Crux

April 19, 2019

By Nirmala Carvalho

Catholics in Mumbai reflected on the abuse scandal facing the Church during a Via Crucis in the city’s historically-Christian Bandra neighborhood.

More than a thousand people attended the event at St. Andrew’s College, which focused on the “Scandals of the Cross.”

Bishop John Rodrigues, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Bombay, led the stations, and said that scandal in the Church is a stumbling block and the opposite of holiness.

“For all abuse victims falling under the heavy burden of anguish too heavy to carry, we pray with them in their pain, fear and confusion, that they may have the endurance and receive the love that enables them to rise again,” read one prayer.

“For our children who have been hurt by their ministers, we pray. For mothers and fathers who have borne the pain of their children’s suffering, we pray. For all our sisters and brothers who are angry, ashamed, saddened and disillusioned by the crimes that have been committed within the Body of Christ, we pray,” it continued.

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Statement Regarding Daniel M. Wolfe, Former Teacher of Norfolk Catholic High School

RICHMOND (VA)
Richmond Cathiloc Diocese

April 11, 2019

The Diocese of Richmond received a complaint from an adult alleging sexual abuse by a former employee when the individual was a minor. In keeping with diocesan policy, the adult individual was encouraged to report the allegation to the Norfolk Police Department. The Diocese of Richmond was recently informed that the accused was arrested and charged by Norfolk Police.

The former employee, Mr. Daniel M. Wolfe, worked for the Diocese of Richmond as a teacher for 11 years in the 1970s to early 1980s. The alleged incident(s) was reported to the diocese as having occurred between 1978-1979 when the victim was a student at what was previously known as Norfolk Catholic High School. Most recently, Mr. Wolfe was a Latin teacher at Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School for part of the 2017-2018 school year.

The diocese is cooperating fully with law enforcement regarding the allegation and will continue to do so. Out of respect for the ongoing investigation, the diocese refrains from any comment until the civil process is complete.

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Melbourne’s Catholic Archbishop uses Easter message to reflect on ‘shattered’ church

MELBOURNE (AUSTRALIA)
Australian Broadcasting Corporation

April 19, 2019

Melbourne’s new Catholic Archbishop has used his Easter message to acknowledge the church seems “shattered” and “wounded” after a year in which Cardinal George Pell was jailed for sexually abusing two choirboys.

Archbishop Peter Comensoli did not mention his predecessor by name, but spoke of how the Melbourne church had been “walking through loss and grief”.

He said the story of Jesus Christ’s resurrection was a reminder of new possibilities.

“Our way ahead with Him does not mean a rejection of our past, but a transfiguration of it. Jesus is our hope of a new path,” Archbishop Comensoli said.

“As shattered and as wounded as our local Church can seem, the Risen Lord, in his gloriously wounded body, is inviting us to share in his life and to walk with him.”

“This Easter, all of us are being invited to taste something of this joy of the Resurrection, to look on Jesus’s resurrected wounds and see hope for ourselves and for the world.”

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Catholic church to donate $300,000 to CASA

AUSTRALIA
The Courier

April 19, 2019

By Greg Gliddon

BALLARAT’S Catholic Diocese is donating $300,000 to the Centre Against Sexual Assault (CASA), to help the service work with abuse survivors across the city.

Earlier this month it was announced the Ballarat branch of CASA will receive $700,000 in State Government funding as part of a statewide $5 million commitment over two years.

The church’s commitment will see that funding now lift to $1 million over two years which it hopes will assist hundreds of people living with the stigma of sexual assault.

Diocese business manager Andrew Jirik said the church had been seeking a way to support CASA.

“We’ve been supporting victims through various avenues, but it was opportune two weeks ago when we heard about the funding the state government had given CASA’s throughout Victoria, so it was timely to see if we could top that off,” Mr Jirik said.

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German theologians blast Benedict’s letter as ‘failed and improper’ account of abuse crisis

VATICAN
National Catholic Reporter

April 16, 2019

By Joshua J. McElwee

A group of prominent German-speaking theologians has sharply criticized retired Pope Benedict XVI’s recent letter on clergy sexual abuse, saying it “instrumentalized” the Catholic church’s continuing crisis to rehash stale, decades-long theological disputes.

In a blunt two-page letter released April 15, the theologians said the former pontiff ignored scientific research on the causes of abuse, neglected evidence of the centuries-long history of the problem, and did not speak from the perspective of victim-survivors.

“The analysis of Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI is based on a number of false assumptions,” said the German Association of Moral Theologians, which represents about 40 prominent academics. “It is assessed by us as a failed and improper contribution to the resolution of the abuse crisis.”

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Cardinal Müller: Pope Benedict’s letter ‘more intelligent than all’ contributions at Rome Abuse Summit

CANADA
LifeSiteNews

April 17, 2019

Cardinal Gerhard Müller has given several interviews in recent days defending Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s April 10 letter on the roots of the abuse crisis.

The former Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith told the German newspaper Die Welt that “in his letter, Benedict has pierced the boil,” and his text “is more intelligent than all the contributions at the Roman ‘Abuse Summit’ and the know-it-all moral experts at the German Bishops’ Conference.”

In a new interview with LifeSiteNews, Cardinal Müller further explains his thoughts and returns to his strong rebuke of the Sex Abuse Summit in Rome. “The nebulous concept of clericalism is the wrong approach,” he explained. “With a false diagnosis, one can never find the right therapy, but, rather, one will only worsen the illness.”

It is about “grave sins against the Sixth Commandment,” Müller points out. He mentions two prelates in Rome who know about the empirical facts: “Cardinal O’Malley and Cardinal Ladaria both know the most concretely about the causes and the conditions of clerical sexual crimes committed against adolescents.”

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Theologians condemn Pope Benedict’s letter on abuse crisis on German bishops’ website

CANADA
LifeSiteNews

April 16, 2019

Since the publication of Pope emeritus Benedict XVI’s 10 April letter on the abuse crisis, the German bishops’ news website Katholisch.de has published several harsh rebukes of the former Pope. For example, they accuse the Pope of causing a “schism,” of making “absurd” references to the cultural revolution of the 1960s, and also of “abusing” the very “topic of abuse.”

Cardinal Gerhard Müller has come to Benedict’s defense, rebuking the German moral theologians as “people who neither believe nor think.”

On April 10, Pope Benedict published his 6,000-word-long document, in which he discusses some of the roots of the current sex abuse crisis in the Church, and he thereby points to the moral relativism and laxity that entered the Catholic Church in the wake of the cultural revolution of the 1960s in the West.

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Pa. House hopes to approve final sex abuse reforms by week’s end

PENNSYLVANIA
WITF

April 16, 2019

By Katie Meyer

By the end of the week, the state House is hoping to pass every proposal included in last year’s grand jury report on decades of child abuse within the Roman Catholic church.

The measures will then await Senate approval. For some of the provisions, that approval isn’t guaranteed.

The grand jury report gave a number of recommendations, all aimed at stemming abuse and keeping institutions from covering it up.

Lawmakers have been working on them since last year. And on Monday, the three final provisions passed out of committee.

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OPINION: For survivors of clergy abuse, watching a beloved cathedral go up in smoke felt viscerally familiar

UNITED STATES
Baptist News

April 18, 2019

By Carra Greer

On Monday, I watched in horror with those all over the world as Notre Dame Cathedral burned and smoke billowed into the Paris sky. One of the oldest and most famous cathedrals in the world, Notre Dame was erected over 800 years ago. Yet it took only a few hours for the great spire to topple like a child’s block tower. As the fire burned unscathed by the water cannons flooding the structure, virtual onlookers began to speculate if the building would be totally consumed or if enough could be saved and rebuilt.

As I stared at the television screen, I felt a visceral reaction coursing through my body. It was a physical manifestation of what I have felt for the last decade. Sounds horribly dramatic, doesn’t it? But, for those who have experienced harassment, rejection, ostracism, judgment, isolation, sexual assault, physical/mental/verbal abuse, manipulation and even rape at the hands of revered clergy, we have been watching our sacred space burn for years, maybe decades.

And, for many of us, we have watched our faith go up in smoke.

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New D.C. archbishop a middle-ground leader

WASHINGTON (DC)
The Washington Post

April 18, 2019

By Michelle Boorstein, Julie Zauzmer and Sarah Pulliam Bailey

When the first Catholic clergy sexual abuse crisis erupted in the early 2000s, Wilton Gregory led hundreds of defensive and divided bishops in passing the most aggressive action on abuse in U.S. church history.

But Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke remembers something else about Gregory, who was selected this month by Pope Francis to head the prestigious District of Columbia Archdiocese.

As one of the laypeople Gregory appointed to serve on an advisory board to the bishops, Burke was struck by an inquiry he made to her one night when they found themselves alone after a meeting. He wanted to know how she’d been able to visit Vatican officials for her research on abuse.

She’d searched “Vatican,” she told him, selected several offices she thought were related to the abuse issue, then faxed letters asking to visit.

“His face was ashen. ‘You what?’ ” she recalls him saying. At 55, that was, she believed, Gregory’s first experience with laypeople who went outside the chain of command.

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The Church Needs Our Help — Let’s Get to Work

KETTERING (OH)
National Catholic Register

April 18, 2019

By Adam DeVille

COMMENTARY: Now is the time for the entire People of God to rise up, roll up their sleeves.

As Catholics around the world continue to reel from seemingly endless revelations of abuses of sex and power, do we want to give the devil another unearned victory?

Instead of finding solutions to the crisis, we Catholics are allowing Satan to play both ends against the middle, getting us to fight amongst ourselves about “clericalism” and “lavender mafias” and so forth, all to his advantage.

But let’s remember that Lent is about driving Satan back into the desert and being purified of our illusions so that we can more clearly see and hear the voice of the Lord.

What is the Lord calling the Church to now? The answer to that question is always the same and ever new. He is calling the Church to purification and perfection — as he always does — but one of the ways to do that in 2019 is to introduce new structures of accountability, some examples of which were recently highlighted by Peter Jesserer Smith’s excellent article for the Register of March 12 (“Laity Mobilize to End the Sex-Abuse Crisis and Reform the Church”).

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Poll: Church membership in US plummets over past 20 years

NEW YORK (NY)
The Associated Press

April 18, 2019

By David Crary

The percentage of U.S. adults who belong to a church or other religious institution has plunged by 20 percentage points over the past two decades, hitting a low of 50 percent last year, according to a new Gallup poll. Among major demographic groups, the biggest drops were recorded among Democrats and Hispanics.

Gallup said church membership was 70 percent in 1999 – and close to or higher than that figure for most of the 20th century. Since 1999, the figure has fallen steadily, while the percentage of U.S. adults with no religious affiliation has jumped from 8 percent to 19 percent.

Among Americans identifying with a particular religion, there was a sharp drop in church membership among Catholics – dropping from 76 percent to 63 percent over the past two decades as the Church was buffeted by clergy sex-abuse scandals. Membership among Protestants dropped from 73 percent to 67 percent over the same period.

Among Hispanic Americans, church membership dropped from 68 percent to 45 percent since 2000, a much bigger decline than for non-Hispanic white and black Americans.

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Sovereign Grace Calls Outside Investigation ‘Impossible’

CAROL STREAM (IL)
Christianity Today

April 18, 2019

By Kate Shellnutt

The church network pushed back against renewed scrutiny around SGC and former president C. J. Mahaney’s response to abuse claims.

Despite continued calls for an independent, third-party investigation into Sovereign Grace Churches (SGC) and its response to abuse allegations, the network has officially taken the option off the table, calling it “inappropriate, impractical, unjust” and “impossible.”

Controversy has surrounded SGC—previously Sovereign Grace Ministries, or SGM—and its founder C. J. Mahaney since at least 2012, when SGM’s flagship congregation faced a lawsuit alleging a sexual abuse cover-up, which was later dismissed on procedural grounds.

This year, as evangelicals ramp up their response to abuse, top leaders in the Southern Baptist Convention have joined the scrutiny over Mahaney and his current congregation, SGC Louisville, which is also affiliated with the SBC.

In a statement released this week, SGC declared that there hasn’t been enough credible evidence against its leaders or churches to necessitate an investigation and that an outside query would violate the church’s ecclesiastical accountability structure.

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Notre Dame needs to be rebuilt but so does the Catholic Church

IRELAND
Irish Central

April 18, 2019

By Diarmuid Pepper

Just like Notre Dame, let the Catholic Church rise from the ashes of its controversial and scandalous past, writes Diarmuid Pepper.

Today, Notre Dame is a shadow of its former self. With the spire collapsing amid gasps and tears, it looked as though the famous bell towers might soon follow suit.

But they didn’t. Notre Dame is so badly scarred, injured, maimed and disfigured, but somehow, it’s still standing. Likewise, the Catholic Church still remains standing despite the controversies which have maimed it in recent years.

As we move throughout Holy Week and into Easter, Notre Dame can act as a powerful metaphor; the Church, for many, still stands secure and strong despite its many scandals.

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Woman abused by coach says lawyers trying to make her pay Sacramento Diocese’s court fees

SACRAMENTO (CA)
The Sacramento Bee

April 18, 2019

By Alexandra Yoon-Hendricks

The sexual abuse victim of a former St. Francis High School softball coach who sued the Catholic Diocese of Sacramento for failing to protect her said Wednesday she is being unfairly made to pay the church’s court fees.

Bailey Boone sued the school and church in 2017 after she was sexually abused as a 16-year-old by her St. Francis softball coach, Michael Martis. Martis pleaded guilty to having sex with minors the same year, and was sentenced to four years in prison.

After she withdrew her lawsuit earlier this year, Boone’s lawyer, Joseph C. George Jr., said attorneys representing the church gave Boone an “extreme” choice: She could promise not to refile and lawyers wouldn’t request roughly $7,330 in a “memorandum of costs” (a court fees bill), or refuse and pay up.

In response, diocese spokesman Kevin Eckery said the church does not want money from Boone and is working to get court costs waived. He said the request for her to pay was made by the attorneys hired by the insurance company defending the diocese.

“We have made this point clear to our insurer and the law firm representing our insurer in this case,” Eckery said. “She’s not going to pay a dime.”

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Recognising Jesus Christ’s crucifixion as sexual abuse would help Catholic Church change – expert

NEW ZEALAND
Newshub

April 19, 2019

David Tombs for The Conversation

The crisis of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church, and the institutional denial and cover up, has left many people of faith shocked by the lack of appropriate response toward survivors.

Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane, the president of the Australian bishops’ conference, has called for a Copernican revolution on sexual abuse in the church and a shift in Catholic culture so that abuse survivors, not clergy, shape the church response.

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Dueling Popes? Maybe. Dueling Views in a Divided Church? Definitely.

ROME
The New York Times

April 18, 2019

By Jason Horowitz

Pope Francis dropped in again this week on his predecessor, Pope emeritus Benedict XVI, wishing him happy birthday “with particular affection” in a now familiar showing of white-cloaked cordiality.

But behind the friendly visit, the talk of conspiracies and competing power centers is swirling inside the Vatican and far beyond. Just last week, Benedict, who turned 92 on Tuesday, released a 6,000-word letter holding forth on his views on the origins of the Roman Catholic Church’s clerical sex abuse crisis — effectively undercutting Francis on a contentious issue that has roiled his papacy.

For many church experts, the letter marked the most recent, and egregious, example of why having two popes — whose homes are separated by a few hundred meters but whose style, substance and visions of the church are vastly apart — can be so confusing to the faithful.

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Amid abuse probe, Glen Mills Schools appeals license revocation by state DHS

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philly.com

April 17, 2019

By Lisa Gartner

Last week, the Pennsylvania agency that oversees the Glen Mills Schools pulled its licenses, closing the nation’s oldest existing reform school amid findings of child abuse and cover-ups by staff and school leaders.

On Tuesday, Glen Mills filed an appeal of the revocations by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) in a bid to keep open the nearly 200-year-old school for court-ordered boys.

In its petition — a copy of the document submitted April 4 to the state appealing an emergency removal order for all boys on campus — Glen Mills leaders again argued that its staff never abused children, and that the school has been scrutinized by too many inspectors to have hidden such violence.

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New sex abuse allegations raised against former Hanna Boys Center director

SANTA ROSA (CA)
The Press Democrat

April 17, 2019

By Mary Callahan and Guy Kovner

Two past residents of the Hanna Boys Center have come forward to accuse former longtime Executive Director John S. Crews of repeatedly abusing them during their stays at the Sonoma Valley facility up to three decades ago.

A press conference Wednesday publicizing their complaints marked the first time Crews, a Catholic priest now living on the East Coast, has been accused publicly of criminal behavior while at the helm of the center for troubled boys. He worked there for 29 years and was relieved of his duties in 2013 after sexual misconduct allegations emerged against him from a former parishioner at St. Sebastian’s Church in Sebastopol.

David Anthony Ortega, a 33-year-old Seattle resident, said he was molested “on several occasions” at Crews’ house and in his van from 1999 to 2001.

In a letter released at the news conference, Ortega said he experienced “acts of abuse that were not only sexual but highly degrading, shameful and nothing that any little boy should have to ever had to live through.”

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Church Group Refuses Deeper Look Into Sex Abuse Claims

ORLANDO (FL)
Relevant Magazine

April 17, 2019

Sovereign Grace Churches will not submit to a third party investigation. Notre Dame truthers are already concocting conspiracy theories about the fire in Paris. And a measles outbreak in the U.S. is the highest in two decades.

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A former pope’s fateful choice: Benedict is pouring salt in old wounds rather than helping the church move forward in combating sexual abuse

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Daily News

April 17, 2019

By John Gehring

It’s a strange and unhelpful business having more than one pope living at the same time. When Benedict XVI announced he was stepping down in 2013, the first pontiff in six centuries to abdicate his position pledged to “remain hidden to the world.” The humility and grace Benedict showed in making that revolutionary decision to renounce power is now overshadowed by a tone-deaf insistence to weigh in with his opinions, even when those conclusions can be used to undermine Pope Francis.

The “pope emeritus” who still wears white — a title and color that Benedict should stop using to avoid the perception of competing papacies, much as a former police chief or general would take off the uniform when commenting from the sidelines — set off a whirlwind of media coverage and theological head-spinning last week when he weighed in about the clergy sexual abuse crisis.

In a lengthy essay for a German church magazine, published in the United States by conservative Catholic web sites that frequently criticize Francis, Benedict points to the sexual revolution of the 1960s, the absence of God in public life, and even moral theologians who challenged aspects of the church’s teachings as contributing to clerical abuse.

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Father John Smyth, former head of Maryville Academy accused of sex abuse, dies at 84

CHICAGO (IL)
ABC7

April 17, 2019

Father John Smyth, the former head of Maryville Academy who was accused of sexually abusing minors, died Tuesday, multiple sources confirm to ABC7. He was 84.

Earlier this year, the Archdiocese of Chicago had asked Father Smyth to step aside from ministry after the Archdiocese received and began investigating the allegations.

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Church survivors support unlimited time to file sex abuse claims

VERMONT
VT Digger

April 16, 2019

By Kevin O’Connor

The national Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests is supporting a Vermont bill that would eliminate the state’s six-year statute of limitations for filing civil claims of child sex abuse.

“We pay attention to good legislation when it comes up across the country,” SNAP Executive Director Zach Hiner said in advance of his scheduled phone testimony Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee. “We think this bill is an example of good reform.”

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Phoenix Diocese still trying to right the wrongs of decades of coverup

PHOENIX (AZ)
3TV

Apr 15, 2019

By Nicole Crites

With the #MeToo movement sparking a social awakening, empowering more victims to seek help and justice the Phoenix Catholic Diocese is still trying to right the wrongs of decades of secrecy and cover-up as they investigate new allegations.

Mary O’Day sent a letter to the Pope in October 2017 detailing claims of being sexually abused in her parish as a child, saying nuns were involved.

“My memories are very clear,” O’Day said.

She implored the pontiff to read what happened to her as a tangible act to help with her healing.

Less than a month later, St. Mary’s Basilica in Phoenix sent her a response, saying her story was a “crime of terrible proportions,” they hope it was “reported to law enforcement,” offering “sorrow and support” and prayers.

Anne Vargas-Leveriza, also read O’Day’s letter.

She runs the Office of Child and Youth Protection at the Phoenix Diocese and met with O’Day in November 2017 as well.

“I’ve been in counseling for more than 10 years and they picked up paying for it after my discussion with them,” O’Day said.

So, what happens next with these types of claims, when an adult says they were sexually abused as a child and comes forward decades later asking for help?

“If an allegation comes forward, we address it right away. It doesn’t matter if the statute of limitations has expired,” Vargas-Leveriza explained in an earlier interview.

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