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 3, 2019

Archbishop of Atlanta Reportedly Selected as Next Archbishop of Washington

WASHINGTON (DC)
The Hoya

April 3, 2019

By Alexandra Bowman

Reports emerged Thursday that Pope Francis is set to appoint Archbishop of Atlanta Wilton Gregory to replace Cardinal Donald Wuerl as the archbishop of Washington, D.C., after the latter resigned following reports that he had mishandled sexual assault cases.

The Catholic News Agency first reported on Gregory’s appointment; however, the report’s reliance on anonymous sources has led many Catholic institutions and D.C. news outlets to question its validity, according to The Washington Post. As of Saturday, no other Catholic media or mainstream outlet had confirmed the report other than the far-right, web-based Catholic news outlet, Church Militant.

NOTABLE NAMES DATABASE Critics of Catholic News Agency’s report speculate that reports that Archbishop of Altanta Wilton Gregory has been selected as Cardinal’s Wuerl’s replacement may be tactic to hurt Gregory’s actual chances of selection.

Gregory’s appointment would be a historic milestone for the Catholic Church in the United States, according to The Washington Post. If appointed, Gregory would be the first black Catholic archbishop of D.C.

Gregory’s appointment follows the ongoing clergy sexual abuse scandal within the church, which has implicated two former archbishops of D.C.

Former Archbishop of Washington Cardinal Theodore McCarrick was found guilty of abuse of minors and solicitation of sex from adults during confession. McCarrick became one of the highest-ranking Americans to be formally dismissed from the clerical state when he was officially defrocked by the Catholic Church on Feb. 16.

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.

Dougherty student will be among thousands likely to sue over long-ago abuse

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

April 3, 2019

By Jay Tokasz

Kevin J. Koscielniak drove 250 miles from his suburban Detroit home to report an alleged crime in Western New York from 40 years ago.

Koscielniak told police that the Rev. James Burson from the former Cardinal Dougherty High School in Buffalo molested him in 1979 on a weekend retreat in Amherst.

“I wanted a public record of it. I felt that was important to have. I know there’s a lot of people out there who think we’re just lying,” said Koscielniak, who drove back to Michigan that same day last June.

Koscielniak, 55, plans to sue the Buffalo Diocese in August, when New York State begins a one-year window suspending the statute of limitations in sex abuse lawsuits.

Some attorneys said they expected tens of thousands of lawsuits to be filed across the state within the window established by the Child Victims Act, against all varieties of institutions, not just Catholic dioceses.

“There’s a lot of Catholic Church. There’s a lot of state foster care cases. There’s a lot of schools,” said Samantha Breakstone, a former prosecutor who now handles child sex abuse and human trafficking cases at the Weitz & Luxenberg law firm in New York City. “I don’t think people realize how prevalent it is.”

“I think the numbers are going to be astounding,” she added.

Buffalo attorney Barry Covert said his law firm is now handling 45 to 50 cases that fall under the Child Victims Act. About 20 of those cases involve the Catholic church, said Covert.

“I would say on the first day of the window, and the first week or the second week, you’re just going to see a flood of cases,” he said. “I would not be surprised to see 400 or 500 cases being filed, just locally.”

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.

April 2, 2019

Group gathers at uptown, calls for release of credibly accused priests’ names

CHARLOTTE (NC)
WCNC TV

April 2, 2019

Tuesday, people took to the streets of uptown Charlotte to call out abuse in the Catholic church.

Members of a support group called the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests held signs at a sidewalk news conference, calling for Charlotte Catholic officials to reveal the names of credibly accused priests.

The group is upset that predator priests who are or were in the Charlotte area have not been outed, calling for Charlotte Catholic officials to make the names of these priests public like other dioceses have recently done.

Additionally, the group is asking for anyone who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes or cover ups to call law enforcement and their support group.

The Diocese of Charlotte released a statement in response to the protest, thanking SNAP for its efforts “on behalf of the victims on behalf of the victims of sexual abuse.”

Additionally, the Diocese of Charlotte urges victims of abuse to report it to authorities.

“The alleged abuse by priests highlighted today by SNAP appears to have taken place outside of the Diocese of Charlotte and involved priests who had some connection to the diocese but were not serving in the diocese at the time of the alleged incidents,” the statement continues. “As we have done since the passage of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People in 2002, we will review this and any new information about alleged incidents of abuse or misconduct that comes to us from any source to determine if a credible allegation exists.”

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.

Catholics join Baptists in supporting legislation to support sharing of employees’ sex-abuse histories

HOUSTON (TX)
Houston Chronicle

April 2, 2019

By Robert Downen

Texas Catholic leaders have joined Southern Baptists in their support of a bill that would allow churches to share former employees’ sexual abuse and misconduct allegations without being sued.

The bill, filed last month in the Texas Legislature by Southern Baptist minister and McKinney Rep. Scott Sanford, comes as Catholics and Southern Baptists — the nation’s two largest faith groups — wrestle with sexual abuse crises.

Sanford said the legislation would help prevent sexual predators from moving into unsuspecting churches, an issue that was detailed in “Abuse of Faith,” a recent investigation by the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News that found at least 700 victims of sexual abuse or misconduct by Southern Baptist church leaders and volunteers since 1998.

In some of those cases, the newspapers found, churches did not alert other congregations about allegations against former employees out of fear of lawsuits. The Texas bill would give immunity to those who make such disclosures in “good faith.”

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

Pope’s team may need to explain new reluctance on ‘zero tolerance’

DENVER (CO)
Crux

April 2, 2019

By John L. Allen Jr.

Tuesday made official a transition that’s been quietly underway for a while in terms of the Vatican’s response to the clerical sexual abuse scandals: Pope Francis and his aides are rethinking, if not the substance of a “zero tolerance” policy, at least the rhetoric of it, becoming increasingly unwilling to use that phrase.

Confirmation came with release of a document from the pontiff drawing conclusions from last fall’s Synod of Bishops on young people, where tensions over “zero tolerance” formed one of the major pieces of drama. In the end, Francis’s 35,000-word, 63-page text discusses the abuse crisis at some length, devoting almost 1,000 words to the subject, but makes no mention of “zero tolerance.”

Here’s the thing: There may be compelling reasons for caution about the phrase, beginning with the point that it seems to have come to mean wildly different things depending on who’s using it.

However, if the pope is now planning to avoid a term he himself helped to cement as a pillar of the Church’s commitment to reform, somebody will need to explain why – otherwise, people may be tempted to think this reconsideration is actually a retreat.

When Francis convened a synod on young people last October, questions surrounded how the bishops would handle an avalanche of fresh twists in the clerical abuse scandals.

Those developments included a damning Pennsylvania grand jury report; the resignation of ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick; a controversy in Australia over eroding the seal of the confessional; laicizations, bishops’ resignations and fresh revelations in Chile; and an infamous letter from Italian Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò accusing Pope Francis of knowing about McCarrick and covering it up.

Two weeks before the synod opened, the Vatican announced Francis would summon presidents of all the bishops’ conferences in the world to Rome to discuss child protection Feb. 21-24. Nonetheless, several bishops at the synod representing areas hardest hit by the crisis pushed ahead, tackling it head-on.

One such moment came when Archbishop Anthony Fisher of Australia directly addressed the 36 young people who joined the bishops, apologizing for the failures of Church leadership. He drew sustained applause, and he was joined by several other prelates who engaged the issue both in floor speeches and in small group discussions. It seemed there was momentum towards a strong statement.

On Tuesday, Oct. 23, synod participants were presented with a draft version of the final document they would vote on Saturday, Oct. 27. It included a clear affirmation of “zero tolerance.”

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.

Criminal trial of KCK priest accused of sexually abusing a minor is delayed

KANSAS CITY (MO)
Kansas City Star

APRIL 02, 2019

By Judy L. Thomas

Sexual abuse victims and their advocates making plans to attend a rare criminal trial this month of a priest charged with molesting a child will now have to wait until at least this summer.

The trial of the Rev. Scott Kallal, which was set to begin April 15 in Wyandotte County District Court, has been continued. At a hearing last week, the court — over the prosecution’s objection — granted Kallal’s request for more time. A status conference on the case is set for June 7, and a new trial date has not yet been scheduled.

The action frustrated victims’ advocates.

“Accused wrongdoers often exploit delays, hoping that victims, witnesses and whistleblowers will give up or get intimidated,” said David Clohessy, former executive director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. “We hope this move will help prod others with knowledge of or suspicions about him to step forward…”

Kallal, a priest of the Catholic Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, was charged in Wyandotte County District Court in 2017 with two felony counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child. Kallal has pleaded not guilty.

At Kallal’s preliminary hearing in 2017, a 13-year-old girl testified that when she was 10, Kallal twice tickled her breasts against her wishes. The first alleged incident was at a friend’s graduation party in Bonner Springs in spring 2015. The girl said she and other girls were outside playing soccer when Kallal tickled her inappropriately.

The second alleged incident took place a few months later at the parish hall gymnasium at St. Patrick’s Church in Kansas City, Kansas.

The archdiocese suspended Kallal in 2017 from public priestly ministry as associate pastor at Holy Spirit Church in Overland Park. It later issued a statement saying Kallal “denies any moral misconduct or malicious intent and has agreed to undergo evaluation and counseling.”

In January, the archdiocese named Kallal on a list of 22 priests in its files who it said have had substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of minors made against them in the past 75 years. The document said that Kallal was “on administrative leave.”

Kallal’s court hearing on Friday came the same day that another Catholic diocese in Kansas released its own list of abusive priests.

The Diocese of Salina published on its website the names of 14 diocesan priests who it said have had substantiated allegations of abuse of a minor. The list was released after newly appointed Bishop Gerald Vincke in September commissioned an independent review of the diocese’s priest files. The review was conducted by Courtney Boehm, at the time the Marion County attorney and now a district court judge in the 8th Judicial District.

“The entirety of this comprehensive report was immediately turned over to the Attorney General’s office, who then forwarded it to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI),” Vincke said in a statement Friday.

None of the 14 priests are in active ministry today, the Salina diocese said. Twelve are deceased, and the remaining two have been removed from the priesthood.

The Salina diocese also published the names of 13 priests of the Order of Franciscan Minors Capuchin Province of St. Conrad who have served in that diocese at some point in their ministry and have had credible allegations of abuse of a minor lodged against them. The province, which is headquartered in Denver, released those names last week after conducting its own independent investigation.

The Capuchins are a religious order that has had a strong presence in the Salina diocese, particularly in the Hays and Victoria areas in western Kansas. The St. Fidelis Friary in Victoria made national headlines last fall when former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of Washington, who stepped down in July over allegations that he sexually abused seminarians and minors for decades, was sent there to live out a “life of prayer and penance.” McCarrick was defrocked by the Vatican in February.

The friary is located next to the Basilica of St. Fidelis in Victoria, which is more commonly known as “The Cathedral of the Plains.” The church, which attracts thousands of visitors each year, is on the National Register of Historic Places and in 2008 was named one of the “8 Wonders of Kansas.”

Vincke apologized to victims and parishioners and described several cases in which the diocese mishandled allegations of priest sex abuse.

“It is difficult to share these failings with you,” he said. “But, I think it is necessary. The Church needs to be open, honest and transparent. The Church has made mistakes. The Diocese of Salina has made mistakes. I am very sorry for the mistakes that we have made. It is my sincere desire that we can learn from our errors and never let them happen again.”

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.

Release names of accused sex abusers, survivors demand of Charlotte’s Catholic bishop

CHARLOTTE (NC)
Charlotte Observer

April 2, 2019

By Bruce Henderson

Survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests demanded Tuesday that the Diocese of Charlotte release the names of priests who have been credibly accused of harming children, as other U.S. dioceses have done.

The resignation last week of Monsignor Mauricio West, the longtime second-in-command of the Charlotte diocese, “is just the tip of the iceberg and Bishop (Peter) Jugis knows this,” Rene Anctil, the Raleigh leader of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, told reporters.

“We watch nationwide what’s going on, who’s revealing names, who’s not,” Anctil added. “Unfortunately in this area, Bishop Jugis is holding on to the old ways.”

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.

Three More Accused SC Priests Uncovered

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

April 2, 2019

A support group for clergy sex abuse victims has found three priests who have been publicly accused of molesting kids but are not on the Charleston Catholic diocese’s just-released list of abusers.

For “the safety of kids and the healing of victims,” SNAP wants the Charleston diocese to “include ALL proven, admitted and credibly accused clerics – priests, nuns, bishops, brothers, deacons, seminarians and lay employees – and provide their photos, whereabouts and full work histories.”

The three names missing from the list are:

–Fr. Cletus Altermatt, who was ordained in Great Falls Montana but was at Mepkin Abbey in Moncks Corner South Carolina in the 1950s. In 2016 and again in 2018, church officials in three states put him on their lists of credibly accused abusers.

Fr. Altermatt also worked in Kentucky (Louisville), Minnesota (Ivanhoe and Lucan) and Ohio (Steubenville, Bloomingdale and Buchtel). He died in 1978.

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.

Providing a list of accused priests was not sufficient

NORWICH (CT)
The Day

April 1. 2019

It has been nearly two months since the Catholic Diocese of Norwich released its list of priests that it said had been credibly accused of sexual misconduct involving minors. If the purpose of releasing the list was intended to provide transparency and start to move past the scandal that has long dogged the church, it was an abject failure.

The problem is that Bishop Michael Cote wants to define the parameters of transparency, unadvised and unquestioned by any independent entity. He has lifted the veil, but only so far. The result is that rather than reassuring parishioners and the public, the attempt at coming clean has only generated more questions and, to a degree, created greater distrust about the church’s real intentions.

Was the intent to truly come to grips with what happened or to make a gesture and move on? The evidence suggests the latter was the greater motivation. It didn’t work.

The release of 43 names provided little context. There were names, dates of ordination, whether the individuals were removed from ministry, if they had died, and whether they were a member of the diocese at the time of the credible abuse allegations.

But there was no listing of the parishes these men had served in at the time of their abusive actions or information on the scope of their behavior or the number of potential victims. Most disappointingly, there was no acknowledgement of how their cases were handled by former bishops and the diocese.

The bishops were the enablers of this becoming a massive scandal. It is a reality many still appear unwilling to confront. How often were these priests reassigned, often after supposedly being “cured” by counseling of their propensity for deviancy, only to find new child victims in parishes left unaware of their past misconduct? Why were police or child welfare agencies not contacted? Or were they?

As for what was released, the diocese fumbled and stumbled forward. Within days the diocese added three names of priests, men who served the Diocese of Norwich but had credible allegations lodged against them elsewhere.

Most troubling, the diocese removed the name of a former priest from the list, admitting there were no allegations of sexual abuse of a minor in the individual’s record, but making no apology. The priest, now deceased, had however ministered to the homosexual community in a manner that was in opposition to church teaching and orders. He was dismissed from the priesthood in 1994. Why was he listed? There was no explanation.

Evidence has continued to surface that there were other priests who faced credible claims of sexual abuse of children, but never made the list. At the time the diocese released the names, it stated $7.7 million had been paid out to victims, but did not state which priests were tied to settlements. Personal injury attorneys, who have represented plaintiffs suing the church for permitting the abusive conduct, said the settlement number appeared low. Soon after, the diocese announced another $900,000 settlement.

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

Catholic priest arrested, accused of sexually assaulting woman during last rites

AUSTIN (TX)
KEYE

April 1, 2019

Catholic priest in Austin, Texas was arrested after police say he assaulted a woman in hospice care.

75-year-old Rev. Gerold Langsch has been charged with assault by contact, class a misdemeanor.

The incident allegedly happened in October 2018 when a woman was put on hospice care after suffering from several medical conditions. The police were contacted five days later, but an arrest wasn’t made until early March. The Austin Police Department says the investigation was delayed due to complications with the woman’s health. This month she was able to identify the priest in a lineup helping officers make an arrest.

While on hospice, the victim’s ex-husband contacted the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic-based fraternal service organization, to inform them of the victim’s illness.

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.

Aós pedirá al Papa levantar secreto pontificio sobre casos de abuso en Santiago

[Aós will ask Pope to lift “pontifical secret” about clergy abuse cases Santiago]

CHILE
La Tercera

April 2, 2019

By M.J. Navarrete and J.M. Ojeda

El administrador apostólico de la Iglesia capitalina viajó este lunes al Vaticano y estará allí hasta el 11 de abril.

El nuevo administrador apostólico de Santiago, Celestino Aós, visitará el Vaticano durante 10 días para reunirse con el Papa Francisco y con distintos dicasterios de la curia romana. “Espero hablar con el Santo Padre del tema de los abusos y de las víctimas, pero no voy a pedirle expresamente que entregue el Informe Scicluna”, explicó ayer Aós, antes de abordar el avión.

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.

Violación en La Catedral: Iglesia designa abogado y cuestiona demanda de víctima de Tito Rivera

[Rape in the Cathedral: Church appoints a lawyer and questions victim’s lawsuit against Tito Rivera]

CHILE
BioBioChile

April 1, 2019

By Jorge Molina Sanhueza

El abogado y profesor de Derecho Civil en la Universidad Católica, Ramón Cifuentes Ovalle, asumió el patrocinio del Arzobispado de Santiago, en la demanda por 350 millones de pesos que presentó Daniel Rojas, quien aseguró haber sido víctima de violación en una habitación de La Catedral por el cura Tito Rivera. El profesional cuestionó el libelo civil que hoy lleva la ministra de fuero Maritza Villadangos, ya que a su juicio no está clara cuál es la responsabilidad de la iglesia chilena en el hecho, dirigida hasta la semana antepasada por Ricardo Ezzati.

La iglesia designó al abogado, Ramón Cifuentes Ovalle, quien patrocinará al Arzobispado de Santiago en la demanda por 350 millones de pesos presentada por Daniel Rojas, quien acusó haber sido violado en La Catedral por el sacerdote Tito Rivera, en 2015. Asumida la representación, el profesional ingresó un escrito -conocido como “excepción dilatoria”– ante la ministra de fuero, Maritza Villadangos, quien sustancia el libelo civil.

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.

Aós visitará el Vaticano para solicitar mejoras en la colaboración para casos de abusos

[Aós will ask Vatican to better collaborate in abuse investigations during this week’s visit]

CHILE
BioBioChile

April 2, 2019

By Gonzalo Cifuentes and Nicole Martínez

Serán cerca de dos semanas las que el administrador apostólico Celestino Aós estará en el Vaticano, donde además de reunirse con el Papa, se juntará con la curia vaticana para conocer algunas cosas específicas de la situación chilena. También pedirá obispos auxiliares y podría abordar mecanismos para mayor colaboración, ante el secreto que por mandato tienen sobre algunas informaciones.

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.

En la previa de su viaje al Vaticano, Aós se reúne con fiscal nacional y con el que lleva la causa de abusos en la Iglesia

[Aós meets with prosecutors ahead of his trip to the Vatican]

CHILE
Emol

March 31, 2019

By Leonardo Vallejos

El administrador apostólico de Santiago manifestó la completa disposición para cooperar en las investigaciones. Mañana lunes emprenderá vuelo a Roma para citarse con el Papa Francisco.

El administrador apostólico de Santiago, Celestino Aós, se reunió esta tarde con el Fiscal Nacional, Jorge Abbot, y los fiscales Emiliano Arias (Fiscal Regional de O’Higgins), Raúl Guzmán (Fiscal Metropolitano Zona Sur) y Xavier Armendáriz (Fiscal Metropolitano Centro Norte). Arias es quien está llevando las causas de abusos en la Iglesia Católica de Chile. La cita se da justo un día antes que el religioso viaje mañana lunes al Vaticano para reunirse con el Papa Francisco.

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.

Opus Dei cierra investigación preliminar contra sacerdote Patricio Astorquiza y remitirá antecedentes al Vaticano

[Opus Dei closes preliminary investigation against priest Patricio Astorquiza and sends background to Vatican]

SANTIAGO (CHILE)
Emol

April 1, 2019

By Consuelo Ferrer

La prelatura recibió tres nuevas denuncias contra el ex capellán del Colegio Tabancura por hechos ocurridos hace casi veinte años. Las medidas cautelares establecidas para el presbítero se mantienen vigentes.

Fue en febrero cuando la prelatura del Opus Dei en Chile informó que recibió dos denuncias en contra del sacerdote Patricio Astorquiza, de 82 años, por hechos ocurridos hace aproximadamente veinte años, cuando los denunciantes eran menores de edad. Las denuncias fueron presentadas en el contexto de la recolección de testimonios por parte del obispo de Malta, Charles Scicluna, y se referían a un acoso persistente en el tiempo y a un abuso de conciencia, ambas con “posible connotación sexual”.

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

Pope: Church should admit history of abuse of women, male domination

VATICAN CITY
Reuters

April 2, 2019

By Philip Pullella

Pope Francis said on Tuesday the Catholic Church had to acknowledge a history of male domination and sexual abuse of women and children and repair its reputation among young people or risk becoming “a museum”.

But, in a major document in which he mentioned an array of scandals and again admitted significant failings by clergy, he also said the Church “could not agree with everything some feminist groups propose,” a clear reference to the Church’s ban on a female priesthood.

The pope is grappling with criticism over the Church’s response to a decades-long clerical sexual abuse crisis that has gravely damaged its standing around the globe and seen it pay out billions of dollars in compensation.

Francis made his comment in a 50-page “Apostolic Exhortation” about a month-long meeting of bishops in October on the role of young people in the 1.3 billion-member Church.

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

Aug. 15 deadline to file clergy sex abuse claims proposed

GUAM
The Guam Daily

April 2, 2019

By Kevin Kerrigan

An attorney for the Archdiocese of Agana has asked Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood to issue an order setting a sexual abuse filing “bar date” of Aug. 15 at 5 p.m. That is the date by which any remaining sexual abuse plaintiffs must file their complaints.

In his motion, Ford Elsaesser, the bankruptcy attorney for the archdiocese, states that “the establishment of a deadline to file claims is critical” because it will allow the archdiocese to know “the universe of claims” before it.

The island’s Catholic Church is facing more than 200 sexual abuse lawsuits. On average, each plaintiff is seeking $5 million in damages, which amounts to roughly $1 billion in claims.

In the face of those lawsuits, the Archdiocese of Agana on Jan. 16 filed a petition for reorganization in the District Court of Guam under Chapter 11 of the U.S. bankruptcy code.

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.

Fremont Catholic priest arrested on 30 counts of child sexual abuse

FREMONT (CA)
KRON

April 1, 2019

By Maureen Kelly

In the East Bay, a Catholic priest has been arrested at his Fremont church and is being held in jail tonight, facing 30 counts of child sexual abuse.

Father Hector David Mendoza-Vela was booked into the Dublin’s Santa Rita Jail on 30 felony counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a child between the ages of 14 and 15.

The Alameda County sheriff says the male teen victim had been a parishioner at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in San Lorenzo, which was Vela’s first assignment after being ordained in 2013.

The alleged abuse happened over a span of 18 months between 2016 and 2018 with most of the incidents taking place in a private home in an unincorporated area of the county.

“People in their good nature often except the church and the clergy into their life,” said Sgt. Ray Kelly with the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department. “And in this particular case we believe Father Vela took advantage of those relationships and that he used those relationships to pray on this particular child.”

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.

Is the Utah Attorney General’s Office investigating clergy sex abuse? Maybe.

MURRAY (UT)
ABC4 News

April 1, 2019

By Andrew Reeser

At least 15 state attorneys general have publicized investigations into clergy sex abuse in the Catholic Church. Utah’s attorney general won’t comment on whether his office is or isn’t investigating clergy abuse, but the investigations chief Monday said stopping child abuse in Utah is a top priority for the office.

ABC4 News questioned Attorney General Sean Reyes’ Chief of Investigations Leo Lucey Monday about whether the office was pursuing active cases of Catholic priest abuse.

“I can’t talk about any open investigations,” said Lucey. “For us to open a case we have to have a complaint and somebody that allegedly committed a crime and a location and we would initiate our process from there.”

“In the interest of protecting the innocent and bringing criminals to justice, we do not discuss ongoing investigations,” according to the Attorney General’s Office website.

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

Catholic church reveals names of SC priests credibly accused of child sex abuse

COLUMBIA (SC)
The State

March 29, 2019

By John Monk, Bristow Marchant, and Maayan Schechter

The names of 42 Catholic priests with South Carolina ties and who had been credibly accused of sexual abuse or misconduct with children were made public late Friday afternoon by Diocese of Charleston, which oversees all Catholic churches in South Carolina.

Thirty-one of the 42 alleged child sex predator priests have died, the church said in a Friday afternoon news release. No one on the list is currently a priest.

The list included only priests who had credible, or believable, accusations against them, the church said.

Although the church listed the names of accused abusive priests, in most cases, it did not reveal cases the specific S.C. churches or schools the offenders were associated with.

Nor did the church provide an estimate of the number of victims the priests had abused. Child sex abuse experts say the number of children a molester victimizes before he is caught can run into the hundreds.

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.

Washington Post Writer Leaves the Faith, Speaks for Millions: 4 Responses

UNITED STATES
Christian Headlines

April 2, 2019

By Jim Denison

This Washington Post article caught my eye: “I’m not passing my parents’ religion on to my kids, but I am teaching their values.”

The author is Jared Bilski, a writer and comedian based in Pennsylvania. He tells of growing up in the Catholic church, attending Catholic school from kindergarten through high school, and serving as an altar boy and a church reader. He says he “even strongly considered going into the priesthood.”

However, Bilski writes, “I lost faith in my faith. There were too many unanswered questions, too many problematic absolutes, too much fearmongering and way too much hypocrisy. For a religion that placed such a premium on loving thy neighbor, it sure had a lot of restrictions on whom you were allowed to love.”

The clergy-abuse scandal was the last straw. When it broke, Bilski says, “I knew I’d never return.”

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.

Seminary professor: Clergy governance in church serves lay vocation

SAN FRANCISCO (CA)
Catholic San Francisco

April 1, 2019

By Nicholas Wolfram Smith

Dominican Father Pius Pietrzyk, an assistant professor at St. Patrick’s Seminary & University and a canon lawyer, discussed governance in the church with Catholic San Francisco in a March 29 interview at the seminary in Menlo Park. (Photo by Nicholas Wolfram Smith/Catholic San Francisco)

While the abuse crisis has shaken trust in the church, Dominican Father Pius Pietrzyk, an assistant professor of pastoral studies and chair of the Pastoral Studies Department at St. Patrick’s Seminary & University, told Catholic San Francisco that the church’s governance structure is fundamentally sound.

“Canon law reserves governance in the church to clergy, while permitting laity to cooperate in that governance,” said Father Pietrzyk, who is also a canon and civil lawyer.

Governance in the church involves “the authority to issue binding decisions on a community,” whether in a legislative, executive or judicial form, Father Pietrzyk said.

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Lawmaker calls for Constitutional amendment to help victims of clerical abuse

HARRISBURG (PA)
CNHI

April 2, 2019

By John Finnerty

A Republican lawmaker has introduced legislation that would give voters the chance to change the state Constitution and allow victims of expired child sex abuse cases to sue their abusers and institutions that may have covered up the crimes even if the statute of limitations has expired.

Blair County freshman State Rep. Jim Gregory’s legislation, if passed, would put a Constitutional amendment ballot question before voters as soon as 2021.

Critics of the proposal say that’s not soon enough.

The move could end an impasse at the Capitol over questions of whether the General Assembly can legally change the law to allow the Catholic Church, and other organizations to be sued in civil court if the existing statute of limitations have expired.

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Salina Catholic Diocese Releases Report on Clergy Abuse

SALINA (KS)
KRSL

April 1, 2019

Posted by David Elliott

Salina Catholic DioceseThe Salina Catholic Diocese on Friday released a list of substantiated allegations of clergy sexual abuse of a minor.

According to a statement from Bishop Gerald Vincke, there are 14 diocesan priests who have substantiated allegations of abuse of a minor. Additionally, the results of the independent investigation conducted by the Order of Franciscan Minors Capuchin Province of St. Conrad, headquartered in Denver, listed 13 capuchins who have served in the Salina diocese at some point within their ministry and who have credible allegations of abuse of a minor.

The Diocese of Concordia was founded in 1887. The Diocese of Concordia then became the Diocese of Salina in 1944. During a span of 132 years, with approximately 300 diocesan priests having served in the Diocese of Salina, 14 diocesan priests were identified to have substantiated allegations of abuse of a minor. A substantiated allegation is one that has been corroborated with witness statements, documents, emails, photos, texts or by another source, such as law enforcement.

None of the 14 priests are in active ministry today. Of the 14 priests, 12 are deceased and the remaining two are laicized. At this time, the Diocese of Salina is only releasing the names of clerics with substantiated allegations of abuse of a minor. Any cleric with an allegation of abuse of a minor that is unsubstantiated has been excluded from the list. If new information is provided that leads to the substantiation of a case, the Diocese of Salina will update the list of clergy abuse of minors accordingly.

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Take Back program focuses on ending abuse, violence

JOHNSTOWN (PA)
The Tribune- Democrat

April 1, 2019

By Ronald Fisher

An evening focusing on the mission of ending sexual, relationship and domestic violence will take place on April 25, as the Community Connection Team holds its annual Take Back the Night event from 6 to 9 p.m. at Bottle Works in Johnstown’s Cambria City neighborhood.

The international event has been held in more than 36 countries and 800 communities since it began more than 40 years ago.

This year marks the seventh annual event organized by the Community Connection Team.

“Over the years, the event has grown and more survivors are coming forward and speaking about their abuse and healing,” said Stephanie Rex, sexual assault and violent crimes counselor at Victim Services Inc. “Take Back the Night began as a protest and was intended to stop violence against women, men and children.

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Diocese of Metuchen failed to name 9 sexually abusive priests in list of credibly accused: advocates

METUCHEN (NJ)
Bridgewater Courier News

March 29, 2019

By Nick Muscavage

Clergy abuse victim advocates claim the Diocese of Metuchen failed to name eight more priests, in addition to one they named previously, accused of child sexual abuse in its list of credibly accused clergy it released last month.

According to Mark Crawford, New Jersey director of Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP), at least two priests alleged to have sexually abused children, in addition to the Rev. Romano Ferraro who they previously named, were also assigned to St. John Vianney Church in the Colonia section.

The namings by Crawford come on the heels of advocates meeting outside the church Thursday to release documents depicting how the Metuchen Diocese accepted Ferraro, who allegedly abused boys in New York, into its parishes from the Diocese of Brooklyn.

Ferraro, who later was convicted and sentenced to life in prison in Massachusetts for raping a 7-year-old boy there, came to Metuchen in the 1980s under the watch of then-Bishop Theodore McCarrick. McCarrick was defrocked by the Vatican last month after claims of sexual abuse of a child and young adult men were found credible by the church.

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Priests Who Father Children: Another Consequence of Clergy Sexual Misconduct

VATICAN CITY
National Catholic Register

April 1, 2019

By Judy Roberts

As the Church confronts the sins of clergy sexual abuse, the stories of the ‘children of the ordained’ are increasingly being told as well.

Jim Graham’s father was an academic and a sensitive soul who likely would have made an ideal mentor — but because he also happened to be a priest, his son never knew him.

Graham’s story and those of others like him are woven into the fabric of yet another quandary the Church is facing: how to acknowledge and support children when their conception and birth violate the requirement of priestly celibacy.

As the Church confronts the sins of clergy sexual abuse, the stories of these “children of the ordained” are increasingly being told as well, even though many, though not all, involve consensual relationships between adult women and priests.

The Boston Globe detailed several such stories, including Graham’s, in a two-part series in 2017. Graham, who had his father’s body exhumed in 2018 to confirm his paternity through DNA testing, continues to tell his story through social media and interviews. More recently, the Chicago Archdiocese revealed that several priests, including four who remain in ministry, have had children.

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St. Cloud Diocese, priest sued after repeated reports of sexual harassment

MINNEAPOLIS (MN)
Star Tribune

March 29, 2019

By Jean Hopfensperger

Former church employee alleges church failed to respond to her harassment complaints.

A former pastoral associate at two western Minnesota Catholic churches has sued her priest-supervisor and the St Cloud Diocese, accusing the priest of sexual harassment and the diocese of failing to respond to repeated reports of misconduct.

The lawsuit, filed by Theo­dosia Orlando, alleges that the Rev. Joseph Backowski subjected her to “ongoing, unwelcome and offensive verbal and physical harassment and abuse” during her five months working with him. It says the diocese fired her in January because of her complaints.

The complaint says Backowski attempted to manipulate Orlando into a sexual relationship through verbal come-ons and with written messages saying he could “dust the rust off your beauty.” He wrote that he prayed he wouldn’t “become a wolf to consume you like meat,” according to the complaint, which was filed last week in Stearns County District Court.

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Fugitive retired Air Force priest goes on trial for child sexual abuse

ALBUQUERQUE (NM)
The Associated Press

March 29, 2019

By Mary Hudetz and Karen Jowers

A priest and Air Force Reserve chaplain who was captured in Morocco last year after fleeing the U.S. decades ago is facing a federal trial on charges that he sexually abused a New Mexican boy in the early 1990s at Kirtland Air Force Base and a veterans’ cemetery.

The trial of 80-year-old Arthur Perrault is set to begin Monday in Santa Fe with jury selection. Prosecutors are expected to call dozens of witnesses, including a former deacon, parents and former military members who knew Perrault in the early 1990s.

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Public invited to listening session on clergy abuse

HAYS (KS)
KAKE

April 2, 2019

Bishop Jerry Vincke and Provincial Minister Father Christopher Popravak, O.F.M.Cap., will host a listening session regarding clergy abuse.

The listening session will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 2 at St. Nicholas of Myra Church in Hays.

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Report that Pope Francis has picked a new D.C. archbishop eclipsed by doubts and conspiracy theories

WASHINGTON (DC)
The Washington Post

March 30, 2019

By Michelle Boorstein

When the pope names a new bishop for a diocese, it’s always buzzy Catholic news. But a leaked report this past week about the next archbishop of Washington was big news for unexpected reasons.

The Catholic News Agency, citing anonymous sources, reported Thursday that Pope Francis is going to appoint Atlanta Archbishop Wilton Gregory to replace embattled D.C. Cardinal Donald Wuerl — which would make Gregory the first black Catholic archbishop of the capital, one of the most high-profile posts in the nation. The news was quickly eclipsed by questions, doubts and conspiracy theories about the sources behind it.

Had Gregory really been offered the job — or was someone allied with the pope floating a trial balloon to gauge sentiment in the District, an epicenter of the current clergy sexual abuse crisis?

Or could the report, in a conservative-leaning publication, have been leaked purposely by Francis critics in the Vatican or elsewhere to hurt and possibly scuttle the pick of Gregory, loathed by some orthodox Catholics as too liberal?

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Texas papers deliver more hard-hitting, must-read reporting on Southern Baptists’ ‘Abuse of Faith’

HOUSTON (TX)
Get Religion

April 1, 2019

By Bobby Ross Jr.

Back in February, the Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express-News published the results of a six-month investigation into sex abuse in the Southern Baptist Convention.

The “Abuse of Faith” series, which can be read online, was mammoth in size and devastating in its findings. Here at GetReligion, I characterized the project as “exceptionally important, powerhouse journalism.”

Immediately, the stories sent tremors through the nation’s largest Protestant denomination and prompted SBC President J.D. Greear to propose reforms. However, our own tmatt noted that the SBC’s legal structure would affect the fight against abuse.

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Advocates push Connecticut legislators to eliminate statute of limitations for certain sexual assault cases

HARTFORD (CT)
Hartford Courant

April 1, 2019

By Christopher Keating

Victims of pedophile priests and others urged lawmakers Monday to pass a sweeping overhaul of Connecticut’s laws on sexual assault and harassment that would eliminate the statute of limitations for major sex crimes in the future.

Marci A. Hamilton, founder and chief executive officer of Child USA and a fellow at the University of Pennsylvania, said adults who come forward about sexual assaults decades later are virtually always telling the truth.

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Another former Conroe church priest removed over misconduct

CONROE (TX)
KTRK

April 1, 2019

A Houston priest who formerly served a Conroe Catholic church, where another clergy member was accused of sexual misconduct with minors, has been removed from active ministry.

According to a Facebook post to followers by Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Father Jesus Suarez was removed due to allegations of sexual misconduct with minors while serving in Colombia. The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston elaborated in a statement that one of the minors may have given birth:

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Providing a list of accused priests was not sufficient

NEW LONDON (CT)
The Day

April 1, 2019

By The Day Editorial Board

It has been nearly two months since the Catholic Diocese of Norwich released its list of priests that it said had been credibly accused of sexual misconduct involving minors. If the purpose of releasing the list was intended to provide transparency and start to move past the scandal that has long dogged the church, it was an abject failure.

The problem is that Bishop Michael Cote wants to define the parameters of transparency, unadvised and unquestioned by any independent entity. He has lifted the veil, but only so far. The result is that rather than reassuring parishioners and the public, the attempt at coming clean has only generated more questions and, to a degree, created greater distrust about the church’s real intentions.

Was the intent to truly come to grips with what happened or to make a gesture and move on? The evidence suggests the latter was the greater motivation. It didn’t work.

The release of 43 names provided little context. There were names, dates of ordination, whether the individuals were removed from ministry, if they had died, and whether they were a member of the diocese at the time of the credible abuse allegations.

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Priest abuse victims press legislature to change statute of limitations

HARTFORD (CT)
The Day

April 1, 2019

By Joe Wojtas

Sitting before the legislature’s Judiciary Committee on Monday, Dwayne Gray of Guilford told his story in public for the first time.

The now 57-year-old business owner told members that from 1973 to 1976, the Rev. Daniel McSheffery performed oral sex on him multiple times in a room off the sacristy and one day took him to a cottage on the church property where he began to perform anal sex on him. Gray said he managed to escape and run home.

But when he got there, he said he was knocked to the ground and his parents began yelling at him — the church had called to say his services as an altar boy were no longer needed because of his actions against McSheffery. His father yelled that he could not hit a priest while his mother beat him with a belt for days.

He told senators and representatives on the committee that he never spoke about the incident because of the shame he felt and the feeling that the church was too powerful. He said he never had children because he worried about the anger he had inside from the assaults.

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Using Proceeds Of Lawsuit

WEST VIRGINIA
The Intelligencer

March 31, 2019

By Mike Myer

If West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey wins his lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, he ought to put any damages awarded by a judge to good use, a local woman suggested to me last week.

Morrisey filed the suit, naming the diocese and former Bishop Michael Bransfield as defendants, in Wood County. In the action, Morrisey accuses the diocese and some of its officials of knowingly employing pedophiles and not conducting background checks on some personnel at church schools and a camp.

No specific dollar amount is specified for damages Morrisey seeks. The suit was filed under the state Consumer Credit and Protection Act.

If he wins, Morrisey’s office could rake in millions of dollars. He has in other consumer protection actions, though there’s no guarantee on this one.

What would the attorney general do with the money?

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Francis says he may reconsider convicted cardinal’s resignation after appeal

ABOARD THE PAPAL FLIGHT FROM MOROCCO
National Catholic Reporter

March 31, 2019

By Joshua J. McElwee

Editor’s note: This story was updated March 31 at 4:20 p.m. to include additional comments from the papal press conference

Pope Francis has indicated he will reconsider his decision not to accept the resignation of a French cardinal convicted of covering up sexual abuse after the prelate’s appeal is heard.

In a press conference aboard the papal flight back to Rome after a two-day visit to Morocco, the pontiff also admitted that Lyon Cardinal Philippe Barbarin may be guilty, but asked for the continued observation of presumption of innocence during the appeal.

“In classic global jurisprudence there is the presumption of innocence during the time that the case is open,” the pope said.

“When the second court gives its sentence, we will see what happens,” he said. “Maybe he is not innocent. But there is the presumption.”

Barbarin, who maintains his innocence, was convicted by a French court earlier this month of covering up for the notorious abuser Fr. Bernard Preynat. The cardinal, who received a six-month suspended sentence, met with Francis in Rome March 18 to hand in his resignation, which the pope refused.

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Pa. Attorney General Josh Shapiro: The Catholic church is ‘incapable of policing itself,’ as abuse scandal continues

PENNSYLVANIA
Pennsylvania Capital Star

March 31, 2019

By John L. Micek

A little more than two years into his first term, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro has hardly been idle.

The Montgomery County Democrat gained national — and international — attention last year with the bombshell release of a grand jury report detailing years of child sexual abuse, and a subsequent cover-up, by six of Pennsylvania’s Roman Catholic dioceses.

He’s sued President Donald Trump’s administration nearly two dozen times, most recently over administration family planning rules designed to choke off the flow of federal money to Planned Parenthood.

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Advocate for Clergy Sex Abuse Victims Criticizes Erie Bishop Persico

ERIE (PA)
Erie News Now

April 1, 2019

By Paul Wagner

Advocate for Victims Criticizes Bishop Persico

An advocate for victims of clergy sex abuse is speaking out against Erie Catholic Bishop Lawrence Persico.

Bob Hoatson of the Road to Recovery, says he is not happy with a statement released by Persico last week.

The statement coming after the diocese paid a $2 million settlement to a victim of defrocked priest David Poulson.

Persico repeating earlier statements, saying he was not aware of concerns about Poulson’s behavior until January 2018.

Former Bishop Donald Trautman wrote a memo dealing with concerns about Poulson in 2010. But he has said the information was sketchy, and said there was no cover up.

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Bishop to host listening session in Hays about clergy abuse

DENVER (CO)
Hays Post

April 1, 2019

A listening session regarding clergy abuse will be held in Hays at 7 p.m. Tue., April 2 at St. Nicholas of Myra Church, 2901 E. 13th St.

Salina Bishop Jerry Vincke and Capuchin Provincial Minster Fr. Christopher Popravak of Denver will host the meeting. Questions can be emailed anonymously in advance to pledgetoheal@salinadiocese.org or asked during the session. The public is invited to attend.

The Salina Catholic Diocese on Friday released a list of 13 clergy members with substantiated allegations of clergy sexual abuse with a minor on its website and in its diocesan newspaper, The Register. The list coincides with a similarly themed list released March 28 by the Capuchins of Denver, in which 12 of 13 suspects had ties to Hays or Victoria.

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Window for priest sex-abuse lawsuits could rock Staten Island this summer

STATEN ISLAND (NY)
silive.com

April 2, 2019

By Maura Grunlund

Victims with ties to Staten Island are among those preparing to file lawsuits against the Roman Catholic Church alleging priestly sex abuse when a special one-year window of opportunity opens in August in New York State, the Advance has learned.

Events and other outreach intended to bring attention to the victims already are being done in anticipation of what some experts believe is going to be a controversial summer of filings starting in mid-August.

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Flood Of Immigrants Prompts Quick Releases, Lawsuit Over Clergy Abuse Targets Religious Orders

NEW MEXICO
KUNM NEWS

March 29, 2019

Officials Say Flood Of Immigrants Prompting Quick Release – Associated Press

The Border Patrol says the number of immigrant families traveling to the U.S. is now so high that the agency is immediately letting some go instead of transferring them to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for release.

The situation has forced local governments to help coordinate housing, meals and travel for the immigrants.

The direct release of border crossers by the Border Patrol also means fewer people will have ankle monitors to help ensure they show up to court hearings.

Yuma, Arizona Mayor Douglas Nicholls said the city is working with various non-governmental organizations to make sure the families have temporary housing, food, medical care and help with travel to their intended destinations.

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Lawsuit: Nun turns boy into her sex slave in late 1950s

GUAM
Pacific Daily News

March 28, 2019

By Haidee V. Eugenio

A Catholic nun turned a boy into her sex slave for two years in the late 1950s, according to a $5 million lawsuit filed in federal court on Thursday.

The lawsuit identifies the Sisters of Mercy nun only as “DE,” who at the time was assigned to the Santa Barbara Catholic Church and Santa Barbara Catholic School in Dededo under the Archdiocese of Agana.

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Diocese again in compliance with U.S. bishops’ charter

ROCHESTER (NY)
Catholic Courier

April 1, 2019

By Karen M. Franz

Diocesan policy requires law enforcement to be notified whenever officials find that someone is abusing a child. But Father Daniel J. Condon hasn’t made a call leading police to arrest anyone since 2006.

That’s because sexual abuse by clergy — always perpetrated by a very small minority of priests — has become even more rare in the years since the U.S. bishops adopted the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.

“In 2002, we removed from ministry six (priests) one May 5 morning” and have had numbers of others arrested, said Father Condon, chancellor. He noted that the last three arrests of diocesan priests for crimes related to minors occurred after he called the police.

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St. Cloud Diocese, Catholic priest sued following sexual misconduct allegations

ST. CLOUD (MN)
SC Times

April 1, 2019

The Diocese of St. Cloud is among the defendants in a civil lawsuit accusing a Catholic priest of sexual misconduct with a former female pastoral assistant, according to a civil lawsuit filed recently in Stearns County District Court.

The lawsuit was filed March 21 by Theodosia Orlando, 32, who was a pastoral associate employed by the diocese from August to January, according to the complaint. Orlando claims she was subjected to “unwelcome, offensive and ongoing verbal and physical sexual harassment” by her supervisor, the Rev. Joseph Backowski.

Backowski, 36, is pastor of St. Mary of the Presentation Church in Breckenridge and St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Kent. According to a statement from the diocese on Friday, Backowski has been on administrative leave since early January because of “personal health concerns.”

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St. Bonaventure theologian urges church leaders to listen to cries of abuse victims

BUFFALO (NY)
WBFO 88.7

March 31, 2019

By Mark Scott

A new book by a St. Bonaventure University priest and professor explores options for the Church as it tries to recover from the ongoing clergy abuse scandal. Fr. David Couturier is a theology professor who is also director of the Franciscan Institute. His book is titled “The Voice of the Victims, The Voice of the Crucified.”

Fr. Couturier takes up the difficult discussion of how the church that understands itself as “the community of the Beloved of God” became — in one generation — a “culture of cruelty and corruption” against its parishioners, especially the youngest among them.

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Chicago Archdiocese using Catholic cemetery funds to cover sex abuse costs

CHICAGO (IL)
LifeSiteNews

April 1, 2019

By Lisa Bourne

The Archdiocese of Chicago is using proceeds from its cemetery system to help pay down its sizable settlement debt from clergy sexual abuse, a new report says.

The Chicago archdiocese currently owes roughly $200 million from sex abuse settlements and other related costs, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, and for years it has used loans or sold property to meet those costs.

But the archdiocese, led by Cardinal Blase Cupich, has been redirecting some $8 million a year from its cemetery system to pay the sex abuse–related debt down, and the rerouting of funds has been conducted without being disclosed to the public, the report said.

The information came from a source with knowledge of Archdiocese of Chicago operations, it said.

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Priest sees progress on abuse crisis

NEW YORK (NY)
Catholic News Service

March 28, 2019

By Beth Griffin

The clergy abuse crisis will not be over in our lifetime, particularly in countries where it is just being acknowledged, according to Jesuit Father Hans Zollner.

However, a growing understanding of the issue among church leadership and commitment to concrete measures that include lay participation will help dispel anger and eventually restore trust, he said.

Father Zollner is a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and president of the Center for Child Protection at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. He was a lead organizer of the Vatican’s February summit on abuse.

Father Zollner delivered the Russo Family Lecture March 26 at Jesuit-run Fordham University. It was preceded by a presentation by Margaret Leland Smith and Karen Terry, researchers at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and authors of two seminal reports on the scope and causes of abuse by clergy.

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CUPICH SECRETLY USING CEMETERY FUNDS TO HELP PAY OFF $200 MILLION IN SEX ABUSE PAYOUTS

CHICAGO (IL)
ChurchMilitant

April 1, 2019

By Martina Moyski

Proceeds from sale of Holy Name Cathedral parking lot also going toward paying down abuse debt

The archdiocese of Chicago is using cemetery funds to help pay off more than $200 million in sex abuse payouts, keeping it quiet in order not to draw attention.

The Chicago Sun-Times is reporting that Cdl. Blase Cupich is using cemetery cash to pay for priest sex abuse legal fees and settlements — a fact previously unknown to the public.

Until now, the Catholic Church in Chicago has publicly maintained that it enlists two revenue sources to pay for settlements and other costs related to priest sex abuse cases: loans and the sale of property.

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Advocate, lawyer continue focus on ex-Erie priest case

ERIE (PA)
GoErie

April 1, 2019

By Ed Palattella

A $2 million settlement involving David L. Poulson leads to more statements about Erie diocese’s actions.

A lawyer and an advocate for victims are trying to use an abuse victim’s $2 million settlement with the Catholic Diocese of Erie to revisit how the diocese handled the case.

Much of what they are raising, however, has already been the subject of extensive reports, including information connected to the grand jury report on the clergy sex abuse crisis that Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro issued in August.

The $2 million settlement, which nationally known Boston lawyer Mitchell Garabedian announced on Tuesday, concerns a victim of David L. Poulson, 65. He is the former priest in the Erie diocese who was sentenced in January to 2 ½ to 14 years in state prison for molesting two boys while he was a pastor between 2002 and 2010. He pleaded guilty in October.

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Priest with History of Abuse in Columbia Removed from Ministry in Texas

HOUSTON (TX)
SNAP

April 1, 2019

In a step forward for child protection, the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston today suspended one of their priests who allegedly abused children in his native Colombia before coming to the United States. The media report says that this abuse may have resulted in the birth of children.

We are grateful to Church officials at the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston for responding quickly to the allegations against Fr. Jesus Suarez. The Archdiocese was informed of the allegations against Fr. Suarez last week and took action to remove him from ministry on Friday.

While we remain perplexed as to how Fr. Suarez was able transfer to Texas in 1994 without any apparent background checks, we are happy that he has been removed from ministry now. The most pressing questions at this time is whether Fr. Suarez hurt any children during his time in the United States.

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Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau Adds More Names to their List of Abusive Clerics

SPRINGFIELD (MO)
SNAP

April 1, 2019

We are disappointed that Springfield MO Catholic officials are just now posting names of credibly accused abusive clerics that we publicly exposed months ago. We are also frustrated that Bishop Edward Rice refuses to give photos, whereabouts and full work histories of these men, helpful information that would better protect children.

There’s one key question that we would like answered: how long have church officials in the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau kept these names hidden? These decisions only keep communities in the dark and needlessly put children and vulnerable adults at risk.

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April 1, 2019

Three More Accused SC Priests Uncovered

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

April 2, 2019

A support group for clergy sex abuse victims has found three priests who have been publicly accused of molesting kids but are not on the Charleston Catholic diocese’s just-released list of abusers.

For “the safety of kids and the healing of victims,” SNAP wants the Charleston diocese to “include ALL proven, admitted and credibly accused clerics – priests, nuns, bishops, brothers, deacons, seminarians and lay employees – and provide their photos, whereabouts and full work histories.”

The three names missing from the list are:

–Fr. Cletus Altermatt, who was ordained in Great Falls Montana but was at Mepkin Abbey in Moncks Corner South Carolina in the 1950s. In 2016 and again in 2018, church officials in three states put him on their lists of credibly accused abusers.

Fr. Altermatt also worked in Kentucky (Louisville), Minnesota (Ivanhoe and Lucan) and Ohio (Steubenville, Bloomingdale and Buchtel). He died in 1978.

https://www.andersonadvocates.com/Documents/Assignment_history/Altermatt,%20Cletus%20-%20New%20Ulm%20Assignments.pdf

http://bishop-accountability.org/priestdb/PriestDBbylastName-A.html

https://www.andersonadvocates.com/Posts/News-or-Event/2086/Video-Diocese-of-New-Ulms-List-of-Credibly-Accused-Priests-to-be-Released-Today.aspx

http://www.bishop-accountability.org/diocesan_lists/Great_Falls_Billings/2018_08_21_Great_Falls_Billings_Accused.pdf

http://www.bishop-accountability.org/diocesan_lists/Steubenville/2018_10_31_Priests_Accused_of_Abuse_Steubenville.pdf

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Diocese releases names of additional priests accused of abusing minors

JOPLIN (MO)
Joplin Globe

April 1, 2019

By Andy Ostmeyer

The names of additional priests accused of sexually abusing minors while assigned to the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau were released by the diocese today.

The latest list brings to 23 the total number of priests named in allegations that occurred in the diocese since it was founded in 1956. There are 11 other priests who were assigned to the diocese at some point, and who were accused of abuse while assigned elsewhere.

Since its founding, 424 priests — diocesan and religious order — have been assigned to the diocese, which covers 39 counties in southern Missouri and includes Joplin, Carthage, Webb City, Neosho, Lamar and many other area communities.

The oldest allegations of abuse date to the 1950s; the most recent were from 2006.

Diocesan priests are those assigned to a specific diocese; religious are those priests affiliated with specific orders, such as the Benedictines, who were assigned to the diocese at the time of the alleged incident. Many of the reports naming diocesan priests have previously been made public, but the names of those who were assigned to religious orders are new.

Several of the priests were assigned to parishes in Southwest Missouri, either before or after the alleged assault took place. Some were assigned to area parishes when the alleged abuse occurred.

The diocese also said it settled and paid eight claims for $355,000, using unrestricted cash reserves. There were three claims paid by the diocesan insurer at a cost of $92,500, bringing the total to $447,500. Additionally, the diocese offered victim assistance for prescription costs ($35,836), counseling ($28,425) and future funeral expenses ($7,011), for a total of $70,448. Legal fees so far have come to nearly $190,000, the diocese reported.

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Houston priest accused of sexual abuse of minor, possibly fathering children

HOUSTON (TX)
Click 2 Houston TV

April 1, 2019

A Houston priest, with ties to the same Conroe church in which a former priest is facing charges, is accused of sexual abusing minors.

Father Jesus Suarez, pastor at St. Philip of Jesus Catholic Church in Houston, was removed from public ministry, officials said.

The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston this weekend sent a letter to parishioners at churches where Suarez served, including St. Philip of Jesus and Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Conroe.

The letter said Suarez is accused of sexually abusing minors, and possibly fathered children, in Colombia before he came to the United States in 1994.

St. Philip of Jesus Catholic Church told KPRC2, “We are in shock.”

The Archdiocese sent a statement to KPRC2 that read:

“The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston has removed Father Jesus Suarez from public ministry while it investigates an allegation that he sexually abused minors, which may have resulted in the birth of children. The abuse allegedly occurred in Colombia, before he came to the United States in 1994.

“The Archdiocese was just recently made aware of this allegation and it has received no other allegations of sexual abuse of minors against him.

“A letter regarding this was read to parishioners at all churches in the Archdiocese where Father Suarez has previously served. Most recently, Fr. Suarez was serving as Pastor of St. Philip of Jesus Parish in Houston.

“The Houston Police Department has been notified of this allegation.”

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Victims ‘out’ five ‘credibly accused clerics’

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

They allegedly abuse elsewhere but were in NC too

None have attracted attention in the Charlotte area

Group says Charlotte’s bishop is “reckless & secretive’

He ‘puts kids at risk;’ won’t reveal names of predator priests

WHAT
Holding signs at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will disclose the names of five publicly accused child molesting clerics who are or were in the Charlotte area but have received virtually no public or media attention in North Carolina. They will also
–blast Charlotte Catholic officials for not revealing predator priests’ names,
–prod them to do join most other dioceses by doing so “immediately,”and
–beg anyone ‘who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes or cover ups’ to call law enforcement and their support group

WHEN
Tuesday, April 2 at 1:00 p.m

WHERE
Outside the Charlotte diocese headquarters (“chancery office”), 1123 S. Church St. (corner of W. Palmer St., 704 370 6299) in Charlotte NC

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Salina Diocese releases names of clergy in sex abuse investigation

SALINA (KS)
KWCH TV

March 29, 2019

The Catholic Diocese of Salina says an investigation has found 14 clergy members with “substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor.”

Last September, Bishop Gerald Vincke hired the independent outside counsel of Cottonwood Law LLC. of Hillsboro to conduct a thorough review of clergy personnel files and identify any potential cases of clergy misconduct with minors.

The report found 14 cases of diocesan clergy abuse of a minor. None of the 14 priests are in active ministry today and all but two have died.

At this time, the Diocese of Salina is only releasing the names of clerics with substantiated allegations of abuse of a minor. Any cleric with an allegation of abuse of a minor that is unsubstantiated has been excluded from the list.

The KBI began it’s own investigation into reports of clergy sexual abuse at the beginning of February. The Catholic Diocese of Salina is one of four dioceses in Kansas that the special KBI task force is investigating.

The names of the 14 priests were released on the Diocese website.

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To Combat Clericalism, Reform Seminaries

NEW YORK (NY)
Commonweal

April 1, 2019

By C. Colt Anderson & Christopher M. Bellitto

As former seminary professors, we have looked upon the last several months of revelations about clergy sex abuse, cover-ups, and institutional infighting with the same disgust and sadness as our sisters and brothers—but we are not surprised. Though we honor and support the many good people who work and study in seminaries, we know that seminaries have played a significant role in the church’s current crisis. It is essential to understand how priests and thus, ultimately, bishops are formed, especially the way they are enculturated into clericalism from their first days in seminary. It is the air they breathe there.

Clericalism in seminary formation is explicitly singled out as a problem in the Synod on Youth’s final document, approved in late October 2018, and it affects everyone in the church—it is a systemic and widespread problem. While not new in church history, of course, it is a particularly pressing concern during this time of scandal. Pope Francis has repeatedly targeted clericalism as the great enemy of ordained ministry today. You can easily see the career-climbers he warns about in seminaries. If you want to learn how to work your way into the clerical caste, watch these men. They are learning Italian, wearing cufflinks and cassocks, and don’t at all mind being called “Father,” even though they are still in studies. Along with our colleagues in other formation programs, we have easily singled out seminarians with scarlet fever: while there may be few vocations to the priesthood, there are plenty of ambitious young men aiming for a bishop’s miter.

Clericalism can be thought of as a type of exceptionalism. Seminarians soon learn that the rules and standards, such as mastery of course material, do not really apply to them. As lay faculty members we have both been told, “You don’t vote on our advancement or ordination,” which falls just short of saying “so you don’t matter.” We have had discussions with seminarians who struggle with drinking or drugs and sexual activity that they commit or observe around them. Some are sexually harassed in the seminary, a problem that the case of ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick has brought to much needed attention. There are few consequences for any of this.

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A MISSISSIPPI MAN SHARES HIS STORY OF SEXUAL ABUSE BY A CATHOLIC PRIEST

JACKSON (MS)
Mississippi Public Radio

April 1, 2019

By Jasmine Ellis

A survivor of sexual abuse at the hands of a Catholic priest in Mississippi is speaking out about what he experienced. Recently, the Catholic Diocese of Jackson released the names of 37 clergy members accused of sexual abuse. MPB’s Jasmine Ellis has more.

Mark Belenchia of Jackson is 63-years-old. He says he was abused by a Catholic priest from the time he was 12-years-old to 15.

“I was an altar boy server and the next thing you know a group of us would be invited over to the rectory and overnight stays,” said Belenchia. “And this was a process over months. And then the next thing you know we’re in the bed and he started touching me. And then the next thing you know there was a lot of other activity going on.”

Belenchia says his mother reported the abuse around 1971 and he reported it in 1985 but he says nothing was done about it. Belenchia says he is no longer a part of the Catholic Church, but he is working to help victims of abuse. He’s the Mississippi coordinator for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests or SNAP.

“I’d say in the last two and a half, three years, I have not been depressed,” said Belenchia. “My goal in life now is to tell people that you’ll never get over it. You’ll learn to deal with it. For me, the stronger I get and the more I can be vocal the better I become.”

The abuse allegations that have come to light are extremely damaging to the victims says Nick Adam. He is a priest at St. Richard Catholic Church in Jackson. He says to read the reports and to see the allegations is heart wrenching.

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Pope defends keeping French cardinal convicted of cover-up in sex abuse scandal

ROME (ITALY)
Associated Press

March 31, 2019

Pope Francis defended his decision to reject French Cardinal Philippe Barbarin’s resignation after he was convicted of covering up for a predator priest, saying Sunday that the appeals process must run its course before a final decision is made.

Francis also explained why he rejected proposals by U.S. bishops to respond to the sex abuse scandal there, saying they neglected the spiritual dimension required for a true reform.

The pope referred to both cases during an in-flight news conference en route home Sunday from Morocco.

Francis’ papacy has been thrown into turmoil by the eruption of the scandal on multiple continents and his own handling of cases at the Vatican. Currently, two of his cardinals — Barbarin and Australian Cardinal George Pell — have criminal abuse-related convictions hanging over them, though both are appealing.

Asked Sunday about Barbarin, Francis said the archbishop of Lyon was entitled to the presumption of innocence as long as the case remained open.

“He has appealed, so the case is open. After the second tribunal decides, we’ll see what happens,” he said.

Francis said that presumption of innocence was necessary to guard against a “superficial media condemnation.”

Barbarin offered his resignation to Francis this month after a court in Lyon gave him a six-month suspended sentence for failing to report the Rev. Bernard Preynat to civil authorities when he learned of his abuse. Preynat, who is scheduled to be tried on sexual violence charges next year, confessed to abusing Boy Scouts in the 1970s and 1980s. His victims accuse Barbarin and other church authorities of covering up for him for years.

After Francis declined to accept the resignation, Barbarin decided to take a leave and turned over the day-to-day management of the archdiocese to his deputy.

In the news conference, Francis also defended his tendency to blame the devil for the abuse scandal, saying the crisis is of such magnitude and scale of filth that it cannot be understood without referencing the “mystery of evil.”

“It’s not washing your hands [of the problem] to say the devil did it,” Francis said. “We have to do battle with the devil. Just as we have to battle human things.”

Francis explained that it was precisely the spiritual dimension of the scandal that he asked U.S. bishops to reflect on when he sent them on spiritual retreats at the beginning of the year. The U.S. church hierarchy has suffered a credibility crisis over its repeated failures to protect children from predator priests, as evidenced by the Pennsylvania grand jury report and the scandal over ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, found guilty by the Vatican of sexually abusing minors and adults.

At their November general meeting, the U.S. bishops had planned to vote on proposals to hold themselves accountable for sexual misconduct or negligence in handling abuse cases. But the Vatican blocked them from taking up the measures, which included a third-party confidential reporting system and a code of conduct.

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Priest Raped Dying Friend’s 12-Year-Old Son, Jailed For 10 Years

NEW YORK (NY)
International Business Times

April 1, 2019

By Pritha Paul

An Australian priest was sentenced to 10 years in prison, Monday, after being convicted of raping the 12-year-old son of his dying friend.

Paul Pavlou, 59, who was studying to become a priest in 2003 when the incidents occurred, pleaded guilty to three counts of sexual penetration of a child under 16. He had initially claimed he could not recall committing the crimes when the victim reported Pavlou’s actions to the police 13 years later, the Age reported.

When his best friend was dying of cancer and his wife was working three jobs to support their six children, Pavlou offered “respite” to the family. While his offer seemed generous initially, he soon used the opportunity to rape his friend’s 12-year-old son on three occasions.

During his trial, the Victorian county court heard that Pavlou would frequently stay over at his friend’s family home as well as invite the boy over to his house. Every time he sexually molested the victim, he called the latter a “special child” and a “child of God.”

The victim, who was now an adult, told the court via videoconferencing recently that the priest’s actions destroyed his childhood as he cried himself to sleep for years after the incidents. “To betray your dying best friend [and his partner] … by raping their young son is one of the most evil acts I’ve ever heard of … even worse than murder,” the unidentified man told the court during the trial.

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Child sex abuse rally in Melbourne on Sunday to reform Redress Scheme

AUSTRALIA
Independent Australia

March 30, 2019

By Tess Lawrence

Church and State discount price for rape/sexual abuse of children. Contributing editor-at-large Tess Lawrence calls them out.

CARDINAL PELL, how much would you pay for your “ plain vanilla ” rape of a child ? Oh, $150,000 max. That’s all?

And Prime Minister Scott Morrison, what would you agree to pay out in the case of non-penetrative sexual assault of a minor, you know, just your double cream plain vanilla masturbation, fondling of genitals, that sort of thing. Government computer says, $50,000 max.

Offensive, ain’t it. You bet!

The National Redress Scheme for victims and survivors of institutional child sex abuse not only gives the finger to the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse, but also demeans the long term impact, suffering and the life shattering consequences, mental and physical impairment endured by victims of sexual assault in the wider community.

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‘Rip up this Redress’: Sex abuse survivor’s tearful encounter with ‘token gesture’ scheme

AUSTRALIA
The New Daily

March 29, 2019

Georgie Burg is a child sex abuse survivor who last year jailed pedophile Anglican priest John Philip Aitchison.

She hoped to deliver this speech on Thursday when she attended a government roundtable on the National Redress Scheme, attended by Social Services Minister Paul Fletcher.

Despite not being eligible, she had called the Redress hotline to see how it functions for survivors. What she found, she says, was not acceptable and she aims to improve the process.
On the day of George Pell’s sentencing, I sat in a similar meeting room – this time for the National Office of Child Safety, discussing the implementation of the recommendations from the royal commission. I was missing my daughter’s 18th birthday to be there, on a day we know was loaded with meaning for survivors like me.

I was glad then and proud too, about what I did over Christmas last year, putting together a list of questions that I think a survivor would want to know about the National Redress Scheme. I’m not eligible for redress, I’m not a paid employee or affiliated with anyone. It’s too late for my family and me. There is nothing for me to gain.

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Rally calls for changes to redress scheme

AUSTRALIA
SBS News

March 31, 2019

A man abused by a Christian brother has called on the federal government to change the national redress scheme while at a rally in Melbourne.

A man who was sexually abused as a child has stood on the steps of parliament to call for an overhaul to the national redress scheme.

Stephen Bisinella, 54, was eight years old when his school teacher started to abuse him, and didn’t stop for about six years and almost 500 incidents.

“Like other survivors, every area of my life has been impacted. My marriage, my family, my education. There has been unemployment, drug and alcohol abuse, self-harming and suicide attempts,” Mr Bisinella told the rally.

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NorCal Clergyman Accused of Molestation, SNAP Reacts

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

April 1, 2019

A priest from the Diocese of Oakland was arrested on Friday by the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office on 30 counts of child sexual abuse.

Fr. David Mendoza-Vela, a native of El Salvador, was working at Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Fremont at the time of his arrest, but the allegations arise from an 18 month period beginning in 2016 when the cleric was assigned to St. John’s Catholic Church in San Lorenzo.

We are concerned because we know that while 70% of child sex offenders have between one and 9 victims, 20% have 10 to 40 victims. We also know that Hispanic communities are less likely to report rape/sexual assault, possibly due to language barriers and concerns about immigrant status.

However, the sooner victims come forward, the sooner they can begin healing.

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Evansville diocese kept identity of ‘incurable pedophile’ priest secret in 1990s

EVANSVILLE (IN)
Courier & Press

April 1, 2019

By Jon Webb

“Happy Birthday!”

“Father Joseph Clauss, a retired priest of the Diocese of Evansville, celebrates his birthday Sept. 27. He resides at Guadeloupe Retreat Center.”

That was one of several upbeat messages appearing in diocesan newspaper The Message all through the 1990s. The paper consistently marked Clauss’ birthday and the anniversary of his ordination.

But it never mentioned the reason for his “retirement.” Or why he lived at a complex in Southern California.

In 2002, the truth finally came out: Clauss was an “incurable pedophile.”

This February, the diocese released the names of 12 priests who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing minors. Clauss, who died in 2003, was one of them.

There were 10 substantiated allegations against him – the second-most of anyone on the list. He admitted to one.

The details of those accusations have never been made public. And for 12 years, the diocese shielded churchgoers from the truth about a man who once taught their children and worshiped alongside them for decades.

Pastor and teacher
Clauss was ordained as a priest in 1956.

He went on to serve as pastor or associate pastor at six churches throughout the diocese. That doesn’t include residencies or administrative work at four other churches, nor does it scrape his varied career in the Catholic school system.

He served as a teacher at Memorial High School before becoming superintendent at Loogootee’s St. John High School in 1967 and Washington Catholic High School in 1969.

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Jury selection set for former priest facing child sex abuse charges

ALBUQUERQUE ((NM)
KRQE

April 1, 2019

Jury selection begins for a former Albuquerque priest facing federal sex abuse charges Monday.

Arthur Perrault is accused of assaulting an 11-year-old boy at the Santa Fe National Cemetery and Kirtland Air Force Base, where he served as a military chaplain in the 90s.

Court documents say Perrault had as many as eight other victims. He returned to the United States back in September after his arrest in Morocco. Perrault who is 80 has pleaded not guilty.

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Evansville diocese kept identity of ‘incurable pedophile’ priest secret in 1990s

EVANSVILLE (IN)
Evansville Courier & Press

April 1, 2019

By Jon Webb

“Happy Birthday!”

“Father Joseph Clauss, a retired priest of the Diocese of Evansville, celebrates his birthday Sept. 27. He resides at Guadeloupe Retreat Center.”

That was one of several upbeat messages appearing in diocesan newspaper The Message all through the 1990s. The paper consistently marked Clauss’ birthday and the anniversary of his ordination.

But it never mentioned the reason for his “retirement.” Or why he lived at a complex in Southern California.

In 2002, the truth finally came out: Clauss was an “incurable pedophile.”

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Fugitive Former Air Force Chaplain Accused of Abusing Boy Faces Trial

ALBUQUERQUE (NM)
The Associated Press

April 1, 2019

By Mary Hudetz

A priest who was captured in Morocco after fleeing the U.S. decades ago is facing a federal trial on charges that he sexually abused a New Mexico boy in the early 1990s at an Air Force base and veterans’ cemetery.

The trial of 80-year-old Arthur Perrault is set to begin Monday in Santa Fe with jury selection. Prosecutors are expected to call dozens of witnesses, including a former deacon, parents and former military members who knew Perrault in the early 1990s.

Federal authorities have said in court documents that Perrault may have had as many as eight other victims. But the charges against him only involve an 11-year-old altar boy.

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When Maryland gave abuse victims more time to sue, it may have also protected institutions, including the Catholic Church

WASHINGTON (DC)
The Washington Post

March 31, 2019

By Erin Cox and Justin Wm. Moyer

Two years ago, Maryland lawmakers made it easier for adults sexually abused as children to sue institutions that harbored predators.

They may have also irreversibly granted some immunity to the Catholic Church.

A provision tucked into a 2017 law now stands in the way of Maryland joining a nationwide effort to bring justice to victims who come to terms with childhood abuse when they reach middle age and, for decades, have had no recourse in civil courts.

The language was pushed by lobbyists for the Catholic Church two years ago as part of a compromise to extend Maryland’s civil statute of limitations from age 25 to 38. Because it forbids the state from raising the maximum age above 38, it effectively inoculates the church and other organizations from costly lawsuits that could reveal whether they sheltered abusers decades ago.

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Holmdel priest ousted after sex abuse allegation; parishioners react

HOLMDEL (NJ)
Asbury Park Press

March 31, 2019

By Kala Kachmar and Erik Larsen

A longtime St. Catharine’s parishioner said he was “shocked” when he learned one of the church’s priests was removed abruptly after the Diocese of Trenton announced a “credible” allegation of child sex abuse against him on Saturday.

“It’s all coming out now,” said John Revolinsky, of Holmdel, who was on his way to the 8 a.m. service at the church. “He was new, but he seemed alright.”

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Vatican tightens laws on sexual abuse of minors

ROME
CNN

March 29, 2019

By Delia Gallagher

The Vatican issued tougher, comprehensive laws Friday governing the sexual abuse of minors within the Vatican City State, Vatican offices and its diplomatic embassies abroad.

Pope Francis personally signed off on the new legislation that includes mandatory reporting of potential sexual abuse cases to Vatican authorities and the automatic dismissal of any employee found guilty of sexual abuse against minors.

The new laws also raise the statute of limitations for reporting a crime to 20 years following the 18th birthday of an alleged victim. The previous law was four years from the date of the alleged crime.

The move comes in the wake of the Vatican’s unprecedented summit last month in Rome to confront the Catholic Church’s clergy abuse scandal.

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New lawsuit details sexual assault allegations against former bishop

CHARLESTON (WV)
WCHS/WVAH

March 27, 2019

By Jessi Starkey

Former West Virginia Bishop Michael Bransfield is facing new sexual assault allegations after an alleged victim came forward to say he endured years of abuse by Bransfield.

A lawsuit was filed by the alleged victim against the Wheeling-Charleston Diocese, former Bishop Michael Bransfield and 20 unknown men in the church.

In a 21-page lawsuit the alleged victim identified as J.E. claims he was sexually assaulted by Bransfield, who is now banned from any leadership position in the church. His attorney Bobby Warner told Eyewitness News his client was pursuing his dream of joining the clergy. The lawsuit says J.E. was in seminary school when he encountered the abuse. The alleged sexual assault caused J.E. to drop out of seminary school, and he stated he feared coming forward to talk about the alleged abuse.

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Vatican enacts first unified child abuse policy

VATICAN CITY
Reuters Videos

March 29, 2019

Pope Francis has enacted new legislation aimed at preventing child sexual abuse on Vatican property. Previously the Roman Catholic Church headquarters was governed by a myriad of guidelines, some ad hoc. Matthew Larotonda reports.

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Capuchin province list of credibly accused friars has Hays, Victoria connections

DENVER (CO)
Hays Post

March 28, 2019

The Capuchin Franciscan Province of St. Conrad today released a list of names of friars with credible accusations of the sexual abuse of a minor or vulnerable adult. The list includes the names of 13 members or former members.

Of the 13, two are deceased and five have since left the order. None are in active ministry.

Of the 13, 12 had pastoral assignments in Hays or Victoria.

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CAPUCHIN PROVINCE OF ST. CONRAD PUBLISHES NAMES OF FRIARS ACCUSED OF ABUSING MINORS AND VULNERABLE ADULTS

DENVER (CO)
Capuchin Franciscans

March 28, 2019

The Capuchin Franciscan Province of St. Conrad today released a list of names of friars with credible accusations of the sexual abuse of a minor or vulnerable adult. The list includes the names of 13 members or former members.

Of the 13, two are deceased and five have since left the order. None are in active ministry.

Provincial Minister, Fr. Christopher Popravak, O.F.M.Cap, who commissioned the release, stated, “As friars and followers of St. Francis of Assisi, our vocation is to serve as lesser brothers. Therefore, the abuse of a minor by someone in such a sacred position of trust is all the more egregious. I have personally met with numerous victims and can attest to the devastation wreaked upon their lives and those of their families. Though the words may ring hollow as many other Church leaders are voicing similar sentiments, I can only say that I am sorry from the depths of my heart. I have asked the friars of our Province to commit to serious penance and reparation on behalf of the misdeeds of our brothers and for the healing of victims. The results of the audit we are releasing today is only the first step in a new age of transparency. We are striving to be vigilant and have taken serious steps in the last fifteen years to ensure the careful and diligent screening of candidates to our way of life. We must persevere in our efforts to ensure that such a scandalous series of violations never occurs again.”

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Pope mandates reporting of sex abuse claims in Vatican City

VATICAN CITY
Associated Press

March 29, 2019

Pope Francis on Friday issued sweeping new sex abuse legislation for Vatican personnel and Holy See diplomats that requires the immediate reporting of abuse allegations to Vatican prosecutors, a policy shift aimed at being a model for the Catholic Church worldwide.

The mandatory reporting provision of the legislation marks the first time the Vatican has put into law requirements for Catholic officials to report allegations of sex crimes to police or face fines and possible jail time.

Francis also issued child protection guidelines for Vatican City State and its youth seminary, acting after the global sex abuse scandal exploded anew last year and The Associated Press reported that the headquarters of the Catholic Church had no policy to protect children from predator priests.

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Pope signs law to prevent child abuse in Vatican and its embassies

VATICAN CITY
Reuters

March 29, 2019

By Philip Pullella

Pope Francis on Friday made it compulsory in law to report the sexual abuse of children within the Vatican and in its diplomatic missions worldwide.

Although the city state within Rome is tiny, and very few children live there, the sweeping legal changes reflect a desire to show that the Catholic Church is finally acting against clerical child abuse after decades of scandals around the world.

The changes signed by the pope – who is Vatican head of state as well as head of the Church – make it obligatory for superiors and co-workers to report abuse allegations; punish failure to report with dismissal, fines or jail; and offer assistance to victims and families.

There are also provisions to protect vulnerable adults.

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Pope issues new child abuse legislation for Vatican City

VATICAN CITY
AFP

March 29, 2019

Pope Francis issued stringent child abuse legislation for Vatican City employees on Friday, as part of the Church’s bid to address a wave of sex abuse allegations against priests.

The legislation requires officials and employees in the Vatican City State as well the Roman Curia, the central administration of the Catholic Church, to immediately report any abuse against minors and vulnerable people or face fines or a prison sentence.

Anyone convicted of abuse must be “removed from office” under the new rules, which set a statute of limitations for such crimes at 20 years from the date victims turn 18.

Francis said in a letter released with his “motu proprio” decree that it was the duty of everyone “to generously welcome children and vulnerable persons, and to create a safe environment for them”.

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Archbishop Chaput: ‘Predatory Homosexuality’ Cause of Abuse Crisis

UNITED STATES
Complicit Clergy

March 31, 2019

Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput had strong words for the church’s top leadership this week, declaring that many bishops are upset with Rome for its failure to address the crisis of homoclericalism.

Many bishops are frustrated with Rome “for its unwillingness to acknowledge the real nature and scope of the abuse problem,” Chaput said in a meeting with seminarians in Ohio. “Not naming the real problem for what it is, a pattern of predatory homosexuality and a failure to weed that out from Church life, is an act of self-delusion.”

“Clerical privilege is not the problem,” the archbishop insisted. “Clericalism may be a factor in the sexual abuse of minors, but no parent I know – and I hear from a lot of them – sees that as the main issue.”

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Pope defends keeping French cardinal convicted of cover-up in sex abuse scandal

ROME (ITALY)
Associated Press

March 31, 2019

Pope Francis defended his decision to reject French Cardinal Philippe Barbarin’s resignation after he was convicted of covering up for a predator priest, saying Sunday that the appeals process must run its course before a final decision is made.

Francis also explained why he rejected proposals by U.S. bishops to respond to the sex abuse scandal there, saying they neglected the spiritual dimension required for a true reform.

The pope referred to both cases during an in-flight news conference en route home Sunday from Morocco.

Francis’ papacy has been thrown into turmoil by the eruption of the scandal on multiple continents and his own handling of cases at the Vatican. Currently, two of his cardinals — Barbarin and Australian Cardinal George Pell — have criminal abuse-related convictions hanging over them, though both are appealing.

Asked Sunday about Barbarin, Francis said the archbishop of Lyon was entitled to the presumption of innocence as long as the case remained open.

“He has appealed, so the case is open. After the second tribunal decides, we’ll see what happens,” he said.

Francis said that presumption of innocence was necessary to guard against a “superficial media condemnation.”

Barbarin offered his resignation to Francis this month after a court in Lyon gave him a six-month suspended sentence for failing to report the Rev. Bernard Preynat to civil authorities when he learned of his abuse. Preynat, who is scheduled to be tried on sexual violence charges next year, confessed to abusing Boy Scouts in the 1970s and 1980s. His victims accuse Barbarin and other church authorities of covering up for him for years.

After Francis declined to accept the resignation, Barbarin decided to take a leave and turned over the day-to-day management of the archdiocese to his deputy.

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