Ireland’s hidden survivors

LONDON (ENGLAND)
BBC

August 30, 2019

By Leanna Byrne

[This feature has the following sections: William, The Institutions, Mary, The Commission, The Safeguarder, Moving on]

It is 20 years since the Republic of Ireland’s first state apology to children abused in Catholic institutions.

It is 10 years since a government-sponsored report exposed the sheer scale of the abuse carried out by priests, nuns and lay staff.

As the number of surviving abuse victims shrinks and the Irish state closes its survivors’ fund, many feel that they have been left without a plan to continue to support them.

William

Imagine two young brothers. One is visually impaired. His younger brother has brittle bone disease and is severely disabled. Both are forced to witness each other being sexually abused by two priests.

This is William Gorry’s story.

His worst experience was when he was 10 years old. His brother, Thomas, was…

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Nuncio linked to controversial appointments leaves Chile; In Nicaragua, government targets Church

DENVER (CO)
Crux

August 30, 2019

By Inés San Martín

https://cruxnow.com/church-in-the-americas/2019/08/30/nuncio-linked-to-controversial-appointments-leaves-chile-in-nicaragua-government-targets-church/

Rome – Across Latin America this week, the Church has been dealing with the abuse crisis, speaking out about the ongoing wildfires devastating the Amazon region, and speaking against corruption.

Here’s the round-up of news from Chile, Nicaragua, and the Amazon region.

Chile is arguably the country hit hardest by the clerical abuse crisis outside the English-speaking world, and two items are making news.

First, it was announced on Thursday Pope Francis has transferred Italian Archbishop Ivo Scapolo, who had been appointed as the papal representative to Chile in 2011, to Portugal.

The prelate has been in the eye of the storm after he played a key role in the appointment of Bishop Juan Barros to the southern diocese of Osorno.

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US Needs Predator Database to Effectively Fight Child Sex Trafficking

WASHINGTON (DC)
The Globe Post

August 29, 2019

By Lori Handrahan

August has been a monumental month in the fight to end impunity for child predators.

First, nearly 800 lawsuits were filed against the Boy Scouts of America for facilitating child sex abuse. As more information becomes public, abuse in the Boy Scouts is expected to eclipse similar crimes in the Catholic Church. At mid-month, hundreds of civil lawsuits against perpetrators and the institutions that protected them were filed in New York State when the Child Victims Act’s one-year “look-back” window opened. Thousands of additional suits are anticipated.

Then there is the Jeffrey Epstein case. On August 9, the initial release of previously sealed Epstein court records named former Senator George Mitchell and previous New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson as alleged child sex traffickers. The next day, on August 10, Epstein was found dead in his jail cell after…

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Child Victims Act Lawsuit Claims Alleged Sexual Abuser Still Employed at Location

BUFFALO (NY)
Spectrum News

August 29, 2019

By Wendy Wright

Rochester – As the Child Victims Act floodgates open, one complaint filed in state Supreme Court this week raises a red flag, because it alleges that the accused is currently employed with an entity of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester.

The alleged victim coming forward in this case is represented by attorney Dan Ellis.

“Really, victims just want to be heard,” said Ellis, from Herman Law Firm.

The complaint accuses Dan Charcholla of violently sexually abusing a child repeatedly between 1981 and 1983. The complaint also states that Charcholla is the current director of recreation at DePaul Adult Care.

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Lawsuit Under Child Victims Act Filed Against Boys & Girls Club of Western Broome

VESTAL (NY)
Fox 40 WICZ

August 29, 2019

By Briana Supardi

Endicott, N.Y. – A lawsuit has been filed against the Boys & Girls Club of Western Broome alleging a former swim instructor, Gerald Berg, sexually abused a 14-year old boy at the club between the years of 1975 and 1977.

Filed on August 16, 2019, the lawsuit comes after the passage of the Child Victims Act, which provides a one-year window for filing old civil claims for child sexual abuse in New York with no age or time limit.

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The New York Child Victims Act and its impact on insurers

ENGLEWOOD (CO)
Insurance Business Magazine

August 29, 2019

By Bethan Moorcraft

At 12:01am on Wednesday, August 14, the New York Child Victims Act came into effect, opening a one-year window for New Yorkers who claim they were molested or sexually abused as children to file claims and seek criminal and civil action against their alleged abusers. By 5:00am that same morning, 200 sexual abuse lawsuits had been filed, and by noon the number of claims had climbed to 385.

This flood of litigation, although it sounds dramatic, was expected ever since the New York State Legislature passed the Child Victims Act on Monday, January 28. As soon as institutions – like private schools, colleges and non-profit organizations – knew the statute was going to be enacted, they started reviewing their general liability insurance policies to see if they had coverage for potential claims.

Robin Cohen, head of McKool Smith’s…

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We need a federal Child Victims Act

NEW YORK (NY)
Daily News

August 30, 2019

By Theresa Covington

In the wake of high-profile cases involving Jeffrey Epstein and Larry Nassar, child sexual abuse has become a bigger part of the national dialogue. The common thread that runs through both of cases is the multiple institutions that failed to address very visible warning signs for protecting young girls at risk.

In the Epstein case, a lenient federal non-prosecution agreement in 2008 resulted in Epstein serving only 13 months in jail, during which he was allowed out on a daily basis for work release. Police had called for more serious changes involving sexual abuse of underage girls, but the deal resulted in those charges being wiped clean.

In a recent congressional report focused on the Nassar case, investigators found that multiple institutions failed to take proper action to stop sexual abuse by Nassar. These included USA Gymnastics, the…

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Latest clergy abuse claim questions priest’s name still on parish hall

BUFFALO (NY)
WKBW

August 30, 2019

By Eileen Buckley

Another victim announced he is filing a claim against the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo and Mary Immaculate Parish in Pavilion, New York, formerly known as St. Mary’s, under the Child Victim’s Act.

Wayne Bortle, former Western New Yorker, who now lives in New Hampshire, appeared Thursday afternoon in downtown Buffalo with Boston-area attorney Mitchell Garabedian Thursday to announce his civil lawsuit.

Bortle accuses Father Robert Conlin, now deceased, of sexually abusing him nearly 40-years ago at St. ,Mary’s parish when he was about 15 years old.

But this is not the first time Bortle has appeared in Buffalo to make his claims. He first disclosed his allegations against Father Conlin in March of 2018. Since that time, Bortle has been asking that Father Conlin’s name be removed from the parish hall.

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Inside New York’s Child Victims Act

DENVER (CO)
Legal Talk Network

August 23, 2019

Interview of Jeff Dion and Jeff Anderson by Craig Williams

As of August 14, 2019, New York’s Child Victims Act has opened a one year window allowing child abuse survivors, who would otherwise be barred from filing claims due to the statute of limitations, to file civil suits against their abuser, as well as against individuals and organizations that failed to protect them. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who signed the Child Victims Act on February 14, 2019, has stated that “[t]his bill brings justice to people who were abused, and rights the wrongs that went unacknowledged and unpunished for too long”.

On Lawyer 2 Lawyer, host Craig Williams is joined by attorney Jeff Dion, CEO of the Zero Abuse Project, and attorney Jeff Anderson, a pioneer in sexual abuse litigation, to discuss the NY Child Victims Act (CVA), its impact,…

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Child Victims Act Shines Light on the Trauma, Revictimization of Reporting Child Sexual Abuse

BUFFALO (NY)
Spectrum News

August 30, 2019

By Camalot Todd Buffalo

August 14 saw the yearlong “look-back” window open for the Child Victims Act. Hundreds of cases were filed during the first few days.

But the impact childhood sexual abuse has on mental health extends beyond the 12-month window and can last that person’s entire life.

Reporting the abuse to family, friends, and authorities can be traumatic and revictimization adds a layer of damage on top of the abuse.

James Faluszczak, a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and former priest, still struggles with the betrayal he felt after he went to multiple people to report the abuse he endured at the hands of his mentor, Father Daniel Martin.

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Bakersfield Priest Sues Founder of Catholic Group for Defamation

CLOVIS (CA)
Valley Public Radio

August 27, 2019

By Monica Velez

A Valley priest who has been the target of several sexual abuse allegations is suing the founder of a Catholic organization for defamation.

According to the civil lawsuit, filed through Kern County Superior Court earlier this month, Stephen Brady, founder of Roman Catholic Faithful, made statements about Msgr. Craig Harrison that were “false, defamatory, libelous and slanderous.”

Harrison was accused of sexual abuse in April by two people. The abuses allegedly occurred while Harrison worked at churches in Merced and Firebaugh. According to the lawsuit, on May 29, Brady held a press conference at a Holiday Inn & Suites in Bakersfield to revisit allegations of sexual abuse that were made in the early 2000s.

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Liberian Catholic Church Mute on New Explosive Book Sex Abuse

MONROVIA (LIBERIA)
Front Page Africa

August 30, 2019

By Tecee Boley

The Catholic Church has refused to respond to the release of a new explosive book detailing top level religious sex abuse in the Liberian Church. Decades of allegations of homosexual assaults on junior priest by superiors, the sexual abuse of minors and gross misuse of power that hung over the church are fully explained in the book titled ‘Vigilant Catholic’.

For two weeks Frontpage Africa has tried to contact the President of the Catholic Bishop Conference of Liberia, Bishop Anthony Borwah. He replied to the first email but failed to reply to a follow-up or answered his phone afterward. Bishop Borwah wrote,

“Dear Tecee,

I am traveling at the moment and will be back in Liberia in three weeks.

By next Friday, August 23rd, you will get the Church’s position from me or a representative of the Church.

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Child Sex Abuse Victims Sue Catholic Church, Boy Scouts

BROOKLYN (NY)
Gay City News

August 30, 2019

By Matt Tracy

New state law opens door for legal action against abusers from decades past

A wave of legal action spurred by the passage of the Child Victims Act has emerged in New York State, where attorneys representing victims of child sex abuse on August 28 announced lawsuits against the Archdiocese of New York, the Diocese of Brooklyn, and the Boy Scouts of America.

The Catholic Church and the Boy Scouts, which have longstanding reputations for shielding abusers within their ranks, were hit in State Supreme Court with the lawsuits and formal discovery requests, meaning they are being asked to turn over years-old evidence of improper actions toward minors. The lawsuits allege that the Boy Scouts and the Catholic Church have deliberately hidden files containing revealing evidence of abuse.

The victims are pursuing legal retribution as part of the Child…

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Ex-Ken-Ton teacher, a Boy Scout leader, and a priest are the latest accused in Child Victims Act cases

BUFFALO (NY)
WGRZ

August 30, 2019

By Dave McKinley

https://www.wgrz.com/article/news/local/ex-ken-ton-teacher-and-a-boy-scout-leader-are-the-latest-accused-in-local-child-victims-act-cases/71-d42c1b02-f6c0-4b02-a88a-ab4d50cc059d

Four complaints have been filed involving the same teacher regarding abuse alleged more than 40 years ago

A former teacher in the Kenmore Tonawanda School District and a man who served as a Boy Scout leader are among those named in the latest cases filed under the Child Victims Act in Erie County.

The cases were filed in New York State Supreme Court.

Four accuse former Ken-Ton teacher

In all four cases — all filed on Friday morning — men now in their 50’s alleged that they were “sexually assaulted, abused, and/or groped” by Arthur Werner, when he was their teacher at Hoover Elementary School in the 1970s.

The complaints are nearly identical in their claims as well, that each was forced to watch Werner “regularly and repeatedly sexually assault other boys in this classroom at Hoover Elementary.”

The…

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South Africa bishop says abusers should not be in the priesthood

DENVER (CO)
Crux

August 31, 2019

Yaoundé, Cameroon – A leading bishop in South Africa said clerical sexual abuse is a problem the Church is trying to confront in the country.

Mthatha Bishop Sithembile Sipuka, the president of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference, told Crux that “between 2000 and 2016, 44 cases have been reported and investigated. Other cases are still being processed.”

He said the Church must do more to prevent abusers from entering the priesthood.

“The vexing question should really be, how can a priest stain the soul of a young person by sexually abusing him or her? And there is really no answer to that question, except to say that he is sick and abusive of power and should not be in priesthood,” the bishop said.

Sipuka noted the fact that in years past, bishops across the globe have come under severe criticism for engaging…

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Former church worker convicted in sexual assault case

PONTIAC (MI)
Associated Press and Crux

August 30, 2019

A former church worker has been convicted in connection with the alleged sexual assault of a teenage altar boy at a suburban Detroit church.

Oakland County Circuit Court says 66-year-old Hurmiz Ishak was found guilty Thursday of one count of criminal sexual conduct and acquitted of two others. Sentencing is Sept. 27.

Defense attorney Jalal Dallo argued there was a lack of evidence and said the allegations were fabricated.

Police say the boy’s parents reported alleged assaults last year to a priest at St. Joseph Chaldean Catholic Church in Troy.

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Former Cardinal Spellman, Stepinac priest accused of sex abuse at Resurrection Church in Rye

WHITE PLAINS (NY)
Journal News

August. 30, 2019

By Mark Lungariello

A former Rye priest was accused of sexually molesting an altar boy in the 1970s in a lawsuit filed Thursday under New York’s Child Victims Act.

William T. White is accused of sexually abusing the victim at the Church of the Resurrection in Rye multiple times between 1972 and 1973, when the boy was 11 and 12 years old, according to the suit.

These are the latest allegations against White, who has faced accusations that he sexually abused children while an administrator at Archbishop Stepinac High School in White Plains and Holy Cross in Manhattan.

White also worked locally at Holy Family in New Rochelle for two years in the 1980s and as principal of Cardinal Spellman High School in the Bronx, according to priest abuse records and previous reports. White, now 86, was defrocked in 2002 while…

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McCarrick Priest First to Be Prosecuted by NJ Sex Abuse Task Force

FERNDALE (MI)
Church Militant

August 26, 2019

By Bradley Eli

Father Thomas Ganley was ordained by McCarrick in 1985 and sentenced Monday

New Brunswick – A New Jersey priest ordained by now-disgraced Theodore McCarrick is the first cleric to be sentenced for sex abuse since New Jersey launched its clergy abuse task force in September.

Father Thomas P. Ganley, ordained by McCarrick for the diocese of Metuchen in 1985, faces a four-year sentence for sexually abusing a teenage girl in the 1990s while assigned to Metuchen’s St. Cecelia Church in Iselin, New Jersey. He is being sentenced Monday.

Ganley was arrested in January just 48 hours after the victim contacted the task force’s hotline set up by the state’s attorney general, Gurbir Grewal.

“This case illustrates that we are prepared to move swiftly to investigate allegations, and where there are viable criminal charges, to pursue those charges,” said Grewal…

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Priest Placed On Leave After Sex Abuse Allegations Surface

PLUM-OAKMONT (PA)
Patch

August 30, 2019

By Eric Heyl

The Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh has placed the Rev. Robert Cedolia on leave

The Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh has placed a priest on administrative leave after allegations he sexually abused a minor in the 1990s while serving as pastor of Our Lady of Joy Parish in Holiday Park.

The Rev. Robert Cedolia currently is priest and administrator of the parishes of Saint Claire in Clairton, Holy Spirit in West Mifflin, Saint Thomas a Becket in Jefferson Hills and Saint Elizabeth of Hungary in Pleasant Hills.

Cedolia has denied the allegation, the first lodged against him in his 41 years as a priest.

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Ex-Trumbull priest removed after credible accusations of abuse

NORWALK (CT)
Connecticut Post

August 30, 2019

By Daniel Tepfer

Bridgeport – A Catholic priest has been placed on administrative leave after credible evidence was found that he abused a child 35 years ago, according to the Bridgeport Diocese.

“It is with deep regret that I must inform you that I have put Father Stephen Gleeson on administrative leave and have removed his faculties to exercise public ministry as a priest,” Bishop Frank J. Caggiano said in a letter to parishioners dated Aug. 24.

Gleeson retired on June 30, 2013, after nearly 50 years of service as a priest, most recently as the pastor of St. Stephen Parish in Trumbull. Caggiano said Gleeson is prohibited from any future ministry.

The bishop said his decision was made after the diocesan Sexual Misconduct Review Board ruled that there is credible evidence of an incident of sexual abuse of a minor on…

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Fort Augustus Abbey alleged abuse victim lodges six-figure compensation claim

ABERDEEN (SCOTLAND)
The Press and Journal

August 30, 2019

By Alistair Munro

A man who claims he was abused at a Catholic school in the Highlands has launched a six-figure civil action.

Lawyers acting on behalf of former pupil Hugh Kennedy, 56, who now lives in England, are pursuing the last remaining trustee of Fort Augustus Abbey.

The order of Benedictine Monks who ran the Abbey and the Catholic Church are denying any liability to solicitors Digby Brown, who have now lodged a civil action against trustee and priest the Right Reverend Paul Bonnici, whose last known residence is in Malta.

He is not connected to any of the abuse allegations, but is being pursued as the only remaining trustee of the Fort Augustus Abbey board.

Mr Kennedy claims he suffered years of abuse at the Loch Ness-side abbey.

The abbey was an exclusive prep school where parents sent…

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First they came for Pell…

LONDON (ENGLAND)
Catholic Herald

August 29, 2019

By Tim Stanley

Why do so many Catholics refuse to believe that the Australian cardinal George Pell is guilty of child abuse? The cynical answer is “tribal loyalty”: he’s one of us, so we’ll defend him. But Catholics have had plenty of opportunity to get used to the idea of clerics abusing children and we’d gladly condemn the guilty to prison.

No, part of the Catholic objection is an old-fashioned, non-sectarian concern for justice – that if you’re going to convict a man for such an awful crime, you should be pretty damn sure he’s guilty.

His accusers would say that they are. They say that after a Sunday Mass in December 1996, the archbishop found two boys drinking communion wine in the sacristy of St Patrick’s Cathedral, Melbourne. Allegedly, he then raped them. Later that year, or in early 1997, it…

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Guest Perspective: Sins of the past continue to haunt Catholic church

STOWE (VT)
News & Citizen

August 29, 2019

By Bishop Christopher J. Coyne

[See the report that Coyne references.]

The Diocese of Burlington this week published a report listing the names of diocesan clergy who, since 1950, have had a credible and substantiated allegation of sexual abuse of a minor made against them. With one exception, all of these acts occurred more than 20 years ago.

None of these priests is in ministry; most of them are deceased. While most of these allegations took place at least a generation ago, the numbers are still staggering. The victims of these priests are still bearing the wounds of what happened to them. Until now, the scope of all of this has been our “family secret.”

Family secrets can be toxic. Harmful past experiences — unspoken, unaddressed and known only by a few — fester like neglected wounds. The innocent victims…

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Lawsuit alleges abuse against priest who believed Hubbard broke vows

ALBANY (NY)
Times Union

August 28, 2019

By Steve Hughes

The priest who died by suicide after allegedly trying to prove former Bishop Howard Hubbard violated his vow of celibacy with other priests is among the nearly two dozen Albany diocese clergy members accused of sexual abuse.

A 61-year-old man now living in Georgia says in a lawsuit that Father John Minkler abused him when he was an eight-year-old altar boy at St. Joseph’s Church and a student at the parish school in Rensselaer. The abuse began around 1965, according to the lawsuit.

During that time Minkler was a seminary student at Mater Christi Seminary in Albany but assisted at St. Joseph’s, according to the attorneys who filed the lawsuit. He was not an ordained priest until 1972.

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Law firms sue Catholic church and Boy Scouts for “secret files” on alleged sex abusers

JAMAICA (NY)
Queens Daily Eagle

August 28, 2019

By Victoria Merlino

Two law firms say they are suing the Boy Scouts of America, the New York Archdiocese and the Diocese of Brooklyn over “secret files” that they claim would reveal “decades worth of evidence” about alleged child sex abusers.

Marsh Law Firm PLLC and Pfau Cochran Vertetis Amala PLLC say they will represent 550 people who claim they were abused by Catholic Church and Boy Scout leaders.

The attorneys say the lawsuits and formal discovery requests will uncover what they call the Catholic Church’s “secret files” and the Boy Scouts’ “ineligible volunteer files,” including information on each of the alleged perpetrators and on each allegation of sexual abuse.

The lawsuits are made possible by the one-year “lookback” window opened by the Child Victims Act. The landmark law’s lookback period enables survivors of child sexual abuse to sue their abusers…

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MP scathing of Catholic Archbishop during parliamentary debate on confessional seal

MELBOURNE (AUSTRALIA)
ABC

August 29, 2019

By James Oaten

A Victorian Government MP has revealed his father was sexually abused as a child as the Parliament holds an emotional debate on legislation that would compel religious leaders to report knowledge of child abuse.

Frankston Labor MP Paul Edbrooke also launched a scathing criticism of Melbourne’s Catholic Archbishop Peter Comensoli, after the Archbishop defended convicted paedophile Cardinal George Pell and ruled out ever breaking the confessional seal.

“It certainly takes a man detached from all logic and reality to go on radio and sell our community this rubbish,” Mr Edbrooke told Parliament.

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Prelate rallies Catholic faithful in wake of sex abuse scandals

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
Irish Times

August 25, 2019

By Barry Roche

‘We continue to work for healing of memories and hearts,’ says Bishop William Crean

Those who predict the demise of the Catholic Church in Ireland because of clerical sex abuse scandals are mistaken, a bishop has said.

Bishop of Cloyne William Crean said the scale of clerical abuse scandals had shocked and disgusted people in and outside the church and left the hierarchy with a challenge in trying to regain the trust of many, particularly younger people. Bishop Crean said those in leadership roles will continue working towards healing and reconciliation.

“It’s been a tragedy of immense proportions on many levels . . . survivors will take their scars to the grave and we in leadership will always be found wanting in our response to their wounds,” he said. “We continue to work for healing of memories and hearts;…

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One man files two sex abuse lawsuits against Diocese of Rochester

ROCHESTER (NY)
WHAM Fox

August 29, 2019

By Jane Flasch

A man suing the Diocese of Rochester claims he was victimized twice: when he was sexually abused as a boy by a priest, then against as a teen by an employee of a church-run youth program.

“The acts we’re hearing are simply horrific,” said attorney Dan Ellis of Herman Law. “Our client has had to suffer with this for decades.”

The startling allegations get at the heart of the alleged ongoing cover-up of sexual abuse by the Catholic Church.

One of the accused remains on the job and currently works in part with mentally-challenged adults. Dan Charcholla runs the recreation center at DePaul Mental Health Services.

In 1981, when he was 16, the alleged victim says he was tied up, beaten and raped with the baseball bat that was used as the weapon. The lawsuit filed in New York…

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Survivors demand US investigation of Mississippi abuse deals

JACKSON (MS)
Associated Press

August 29, 2019

By Michael Rezendes and Emily Wagster Pettus

Catholic sex abuse survivors in Mississippi and Wisconsin on Thursday demanded that federal authorities investigate allegations from three black Mississippi men who say they were molested by Franciscan friars during the mid-1990s, when they were as young as 9 years old.

Mark Belenchia, the Mississippi leader of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, issued a statement calling for federal law enforcement agencies to “pursue any federal charges that may be possible due to the interstate transmission of the victims for the purpose of rape and exploitation by abusive clergymen.”

“It’s time for the outside authorities to come in and investigate … find out what we know, what they know and what they’ve covered up — because I guarantee you, they covered it up. It’s just systemic,” he said at a news conference in…

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Lawsuits against diocese allege horrific abuse at Rochester homes for needy kids

ROCHESTER (NY)
Democrat & Chronicle

August 29, 2019

By Steve Orr

New lawsuits allege that a boy was repeatedly molested by a priest in the chapel at St. Joseph’s Villa in the 1970s and that same victim was then savagely abused as a teenager by a staff member while living in a DePaul group home during the 1980s.

The incidents at the DePaul home in Rochester and St. Joseph’s Villa, a residential facility for troubled young people in Greece, were connected only by the fact that the victim was the same — a boy orphaned at age 5 in a constant search for a new home.

The alleged victim’s lawyer, Dan Ellis, said it may be no coincidence that his client escaped from one hellish situation only to wind up in another.

“We’ve seen it often. I think a predator can sense someone who’s been victimized, and they prey…

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Catholic Journalist: Buffalo Sex-Abuse Scandal Is ‘Perfect Storm of Horrible Things’

IRONDALE (AL)
National Catholic Register

August 29, 2019

Interview of Charlie Specht by Peter Jesserer Smith

Charlie Specht, a Catholic award-winning journalist, discusses with the Register the findings of his reporting about the wave of scandalous allegations now enveloping the Diocese of Buffalo.

Buffalo, N.Y. – More than a year ago, practicing Catholic and award-winning investigative reporter Charlie Specht broke a scandalous cover-up of clerical sexual misconduct in the Diocese of Buffalo under Bishop Richard Malone, with the help of Siobhan O’Connor, the bishop’s then-secretary. Since then, the diocese has been deluged with criminal and civil investigations amid a steady drumbeat of new allegations of scandal.

Currently, nearly three months have passed since Pope Francis put Vos Estis Lux Mundi, his global norms on investigating allegations of sexual abuse and episcopal cover-up, into effect.

In this Aug. 22 interview with the Register, Specht details the nature of the known…

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Child Victims Act lawsuit charges award-winning counselor with sex abuse, baseball bat attack

ROCHESTER (NY)
WHEC News 10 NBC

August 29, 2019

The New York State Child Victims Act has brought three new lawsuits alleging sexual abuse in Rochester and Dansville decades ago.

Each lawsuit names the Catholic diocese of Rochester as a defendant.

But one also accuses an award-winning counselor, not a priest, who has never been named publicly before.

*
The allegations are against a priest, Father Austin Hanna who died in 2006 at the age of 97 and a counselor at the former Wellington Group Home in Rochester. The home was run by DePaul, which is named as a defendant.

The lawsuit says the counselor still works at DePaul in a senior role and now he is now publicly named as doing something criminal in the ’70s.

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Former Student Files Lawsuit Against Jesuit, Names Priest in Abuse Scandal

DALLAS (TX)
Park Cities People

August 28, 2019

By Timothy Glaze

A graduate of Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas has filed a lawsuit against the school and the Catholic Diocese of Dallas, claiming he was sexually abused by a former school president and priest.

The 1983 graduate, now 54, named the Rev. Patrick Koch as the abuser. Koch was also named on a list the Dallas Diocese released in January of priests who were “credibly accused” of sexually abusing children. Koch never faced criminal charges and died in 2006.

The lawsuit alleges that the church, school, and the Jesuit order “failed to protect the student.”

“Patrick Koch was the sexual abuser, but he did not and could not have acted alone,” read the lawsuit. “He was in the position to abuse [the victim] because of the actions of the defendants in this case and their cover-up of the…

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Priest from Waterford parish accused of raping child bound over to circuit court in Detroit

OAKLAND (MI)
The Oakland Press

https://www.theoaklandpress.com/news/copscourts/priest-from-waterford-parish-accused-of-raping-child-bound-over/article_e517bbbc-ca7f-11e9-85df-771860c3c654.html

August 29, 2019

By Aileen Wingblad

A Waterford Township Catholic priest accused of raping a young boy was bound over to Wayne County Circuit Court on Thursday on a charge of first-degree criminal sexual conduct – sexual penetration with a person less than 13 years old.

At a preliminary exam in a Wayne County district court, visiting Judge Randy Kalmbach advanced the case against Father Joseph “Jack” Baker to the higher court on Thursday after hearing testimony from the alleged victim, now age 23, who said Baker sexually assaulted him in a storage room of St. Mary Catholic Church in Wayne in 2004.

Baker, 57, is currently suspended from his duties as pastor of St. Perpetua Parish in Waterford and all public ministry, as ordered by the Archdiocese of Detroit.

The Oakland Press is not identifying the victim of the alleged rape due…

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Wyoming bishop’s decades of abuse destroyed lives, traumatized families

DENVER (CO)
Crux

August 28, 2019

By Christopher White

[Part 1 of a three-part investigative series. Part 2 was already posted in Abuse Tracker.]

Kansas City, Missouri – As parishioners attended the Feast of the Assumption Mass inside Guardian Angels Catholic Church on August 15, members of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) gathered outside on the sidewalk for a press conference marking an occasion that many believed would never come.

Less than 24 hours earlier, police in Cheyenne, Wyoming recommended to prosecutors that a one-time Guardian Angels priest, who would go on to become a beloved Catholic bishop, face criminal charges for the sexual abuse of minors.

Prior to being named a bishop, Joseph Hart had served in the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph for the first two decades of his priesthood, following ordination in 1956. Although his ecclesial career has spanned over five…

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Case of Bishop Hart shows role clericalism plays in abuse cover-up

DENVER (CO)
Crux

August 30, 2019

By Christopher White

[Part 3 of a three-part investigative series]

Cheyenne, Wyoming – For years, clergy abuse survivors fought to have Bishop Joseph Hart’s name stripped from the building of St. Joseph’s Children’s Home in Torrington, Wyoming – a residence for troubled teenage boys known as the Hart’s Children Center.

They had been unsuccessful for over a decade, but after Bishop Steven Biegler arrived in the diocese and deemed two allegations against Hart as credible and substantiated, the name was finally removed in 2018 as a concrete sign that the diocese was acting on the information of abuse.

For Hart’s victims, who were teenage boys themselves when they claim to have been abused by the once beloved priest and bishop, the move was more than mere symbolism – it was a sign of hope that perhaps Hart could still face some form of…

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Statement about August 27th Associated Press Article

FRANKLIN (WI)
Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Province of the Franciscan Friars

August 28, 2019

[Response to AP article]

An article came out yesterday, August 27th, from the Associated Press about credible sexual abuse allegations against two men who had served at St. Francis in the mid to late 1990s. The two men’s names are Paul West and Donald Lucas. Paul left Greenwood in November 1998 and subsequently left the Franciscan community in 2002. Donald died in August 1999, an apparent suicide.

The sexual abuse involved three men, all related, whose names appear in the article. It is a very graphic article about the sexual abuse that took place and what these men experienced when they were children. All three men attended St. Francis Grade School at the time of the abuse. Paul West had been a teacher and then principal of the school.

It is awful…

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Pittsburgh diocese puts priest on leave amid allegation of sexual abuse dating back to 1990s

PITTSBURGH (PA)
WTAE Action 4 News

August 29, 2019

[With diocesan statement]

The Rev. Robert Cedolia formerly served at Our Lady of Joy in Plum; now priest-administrator of parishes in Clairton, West Mifflin, Jefferson Hills, Pleasant Hills

Plum, Pa. – A longtime Catholic priest has been placed on leave due to an allegation that he sexually abused a minor while he was serving at a church in Plum in the 1990s, the Diocese of Pittsburgh said Thursday night.

The Rev. Robert Cedolia is priest-administrator of the parishes of Saint Clare in Clairton, Holy Spirit in West Mifflin, Saint Thomas a Becket in Jefferson Hills and Saint Elizabeth of Hungary in Pleasant Hills.

“The diocese is responding to an accusation made through the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program, stating that Father Cedolia allegedly sexually abused a minor in the 1990s while he served as pastor of Our Lady of Joy…

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Priest-administrator of several Allegheny County parishes accused of sexual abuse

PITTSBURGH (PA)
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

August 29, 2019

https://www.post-gazette.com/news/faith-religion/2019/08/29/Priest-administrator-of-several-Allegheny-County-parishes-accused-of-sexual-abuse-Father-Robert-Cedolia-pittsburgh-diocese/stories/201908290242

The priest-administrator of several Allegheny County parishes has been placed on administrative leave after he was accused of sexually abusing a minor in the 1990s, the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh announced Thursday.

The Rev. Robert Cedolia, priest-administrator of the parishes of Saint Clare in Clairton, Holy Spirit in West Mifflin, Saint Thomas A’Becket in Jefferson Hills and Saint Elizabeth of Hungary in Pleasant Hills, denies the allegation, the diocese said.

The accusation, which was made to the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program, alleged that Father Cedolia sexually abused a minor in the 1990s while he served as pastor of Our Lady of Joy Parish in Plum.

This is the first allegation involving Father Cedolia, who has been a priest in active ministry for 41 years, according to the diocese.

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Wisconsin Catholic school teacher accused of sex abuse passed 11 background checks, officials say

GREEN BAY (WI)
Green Bay Press Gazette

August 29, 2019

By Haley BeMiller and Duke Behnke

Officials at a Wisconsin Catholic school insist they were unaware of sexual abuse allegations against a former teacher and Franciscan brother who came to the state after serving in Mississippi.

St. John Nepomucene Catholic School in Little Chute, which operates under the purview of the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay, issued a statement saying Paul West passed background checks before and after the school hired him in 1999.

Meanwhile, an Appleton-area police department confirmed it’s investigating West, and a group of clergy abuse survivors has called for a federal probe of allegations that he transported at least one child across state lines to sexually assault him.

The developments came in the wake of an investigation by The Associated Press published this week that revealed West, then a member of the Franklin-based Franciscan…

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New law opens door for priest abuse lawsuits

RUTLAND (VT)
Rutland Herald

Aug 27, 2019

By Gordon Dritschilo

Law in effect since July 1

As the Diocese of Burlington compiled its report on priest sex abuse cases, the state was moving to give more of the victims a path to hold the priests and church accountable.

This year, the Legislature passed and Gov. Phil Scott signed, a bill eliminating the statute of limitations on civil actions dealing with childhood sexual abuse. The new law took effect July 1, and a Burlington attorney who has represented several victims in successful actions against the church says he has filed five new lawsuits that were barred under the previous statute of limitations, possibly with more to come.

“There are a number of people whose claims had been barred by the statute of limitations who now feel they can come forward,” said Jerome O’Neill, who has represented more than 50 survivors…

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Abuse Suit Filed Against Diocese of Scranton, Current and Former Bishop

MOOSIC (PA)
WNEP 16 ABC

August 28, 2019

By Dave Bohman

SCRANTON, Pa. — A lawsuit was filed Wednesday on behalf of four men who claim abuse at the hands of a former priest in the Diocese of Scranton.

The lawsuit names the Diocese of Scranton, Former Bishop James Timlin, and current Bishop Joseph Bambera.

Three of the men spoke out about the alleged sexual assaults against them. The men claiming to be victims say they are not after money.

At a news conference in downtown Scranton, they said they want to hold the diocese responsible for the suffering they say they endured as teenagers at the hands of Fr. Michael Pulicare.

Pulicare was the priest at what was St. Joseph’s Parish in the Minooka section of Scranton in the 1970s. Pulicare died in 1999.

In a grand jury report released last year, the state attorney general did not…

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Man sues city of New Orleans for damages over alleged abuse at hands of predator cop

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
NOLA.com

Sept. 4, 2019

By Ramon Antonio Vargas

A man who last year opened up about being sexually molested in the 1970s by a Boy Scout leader, then again by a New Orleans child abuse detective he was relying upon for protection, sued the city for damages on Wednesday, claiming he tried reporting the abusive cop to other police officers years later but was turned away.

Richard Windmann’s suit in Orleans Parish Civil District Court also details how Stanley Burkhardt, the former detective who has since been convicted of child molestation and pornography-related crimes, allegedly used a teenage Windmann as “bait” when building cases against other suspected pedophiles.

The city may argue that Windmann’s suit was filed too late and that a statute of limitations prevents him from being able to seek damages. He testified about some of his claims against Burkhardt in a federal courtroom…

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Ivo Scapolo dejará Chile tras ser nombrado nuncio apostólico en Portugal

[Ivo Scapolo will leave Chile after being named apostolic nuncio in Portugal]

SANTIAGO (CHILE)
Cooperativa.cl

August 29, 2019

Fue durante su misión en Santiago que surgieron acusaciones sobre encubrimiento de abusos y el nombramiento de algunos obispos chilenos cercanos a Karadima.

[It was during his mission in Santiago that accusations arose about covering up abuses and the appointment of some Chilean bishops close to Karadima.]

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Kozhikode: Laity plan list of nuns who were abused by priests

KOZHIKODE (INDIA)
Deccan Chronicle

August 24, 2019

The CLA is conducting a survey across the state to collect the details of the victims.

The Catholic Laymen’s Association has come to the defence of Sr. Lucy who has been accused by the Church of defaming the nuns by allowing two journalists into the convent through the backdoor.

The CLA, a body of believers based here, said that many priests had defamed the Church by secretly entering the convents through the backdoor and sexually exploiting the nuns. Many nuns were murdered or had committed suicide. The CLA is conducting a survey across the state to collect the details of the victims.

According to CLA secretary M.L. George, Sr. Abhaya of Pius Tenth convent in Kottayam was a victim of the priests’ nocturnal visits. Two priests and a nun are still under a cloud, he said.

In another incident, the body of…

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New Child Victims Act suit filed against diocese; accuser wants priest’s name taken off of parish hall

BUFFALO (NY)
WIVB TV

August 29, 2019

By Chris Horvatits

A new lawsuit filed against the Diocese of Buffalo is raising questions about the name of a parish hall at a church in Genesee County.

That hall is named after the priest who is accused of sexual abuse in a lawsuit filed by a name named Wayne Bortle.

“I think about what happened every single day,” Bortle told reporters Thursday.

The lawsuit is one of more than 100 that have been filed against the Catholic diocese since August 14th, the day the Child Victims Act went into effect. That state law opened up a one year look-back window for victims of sexual abuse to file lawsuits against their abusers, even if the claim was previously time-barred by statute of limitations.

Bortle claims he was abused by Rev. Robert Conlin in 1980, when Conlin served at St. Mary’s Church in…

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RETIRED POPE RESPONDS TO CRITICISM OF HIS REFLECTION ON ABUSE CRISIS

FREIBURG (GERMANY)
Catholic News Service

August 29, 2019

Responding to criticism of notes he published about the roots of the clerical sexual abuse crisis, retired Pope Benedict XVI said the fact that the critiques barely mentioned God proved his point.

“As far as I can see, in most reactions to my contribution, God does not appear at all,” which is “exactly what I wanted to emphasize” as the central problem, he wrote in a brief note to Herder Korrespondenz, according to KNA, the German Catholic news agency.

In April, the retired pope sent a compilation of what he described as “some notes” on the crisis to Klerusblatt, a German-language Catholic monthly journal for clergy in Bavaria.

Seeing the crisis as rooted in the “egregious event” of the cultural and sexual revolution in the Western world in the 1960s and a collapse of belief in the existence and authority of…

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Clergy Abuse Protest

JACKSON (MS)
WJTV

August 29, 2019

The Survivors Network of those abused by priests– also known as “Snap”– will hold a protest against clergy abuse today in Jackson.

The group wants Jackson’s catholic bishop to remove a staff member. That person reportedly convinced an abused victim to sign a confidentiality clause, and help authorities pursue a cleric who allegedly abused three children.

The group is calling on the Us Attorney’s Office to look into these cases.

The protest will begin at 2:00 pm in front of the Catholic Diocese of Jackson.

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More child sex abuse lawsuits being filed against Diocese of Rochester

ROCHESTER (NY)
WHAM TV

August 29, 2019

Three more lawsuits are being filed in Monroe County on Thursday – two of which are against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester – on behalf of child sex abuse victims.

The lawsuits are being filed under the Child Victims Act, which was signed into law earlier this year. The law allows victims to file lawsuits within a one-year window, regardless of when the alleged abuse took place.

Attorney Dan Ellis will discuss the lawsuits and the allegations against the institution at a news conference Thursday afternoon.

Nearly 50 cases have been filed in Monroe County alone since the one-year time period began on August 14.

Many of the victims in Monroe County allege abuse by clergy with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester, spanning nearly four decades from 1959 until 1996. The diocese serves 12 counties in the Rochester area, including…

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Latest clergy abuse claim questions priest’s name still on parish hall

BUFFALO (NY)
WKBW TV

August 29, 2019

By Eileen Buckley

Another victim will announce he is filing a claim against the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo and Mary Immaculate Parish in Pavilion, New York, formerly known as St. Mary’s, under the Child Victim’s Act.

Wayne Bortle, former Western New Yorker who now lives in New Hampshire, will appear Thursday afternoon in Buffalo with Boston-area attorney Mitchell Garabedian Thursday to announce his civil lawsuit. Bortle accuses Father Robert Conlin, now deceased, of sexually abusing him nearly 40-years ago.

But this is not the first time Bortle has appeared in Buffalo to make his claims. He first disclosed his allegations against Father Conlin in March of 2018.

Bortle’s lawsuit claims Father Conlin, then then pastor of St. Mary’s parish, abused him when he was 15 years old.

In 2018, standing outside the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo on Main Street, Bortle outlined his…

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Accused Bishop Has Job in Rome Despite being “Suspended,” Vatican Tells Argentinian Court

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

August 28, 2019

An Argentinian bishop who is actively being investigated for sexual abuse against at least two seminarians has been allowed to travel back to Rome due to his “daily work,” this despite being supposedly suspended from his job during the abuse investigation.

Once again, the Vatican is saying one thing publicly and doing the opposite behind closed doors. Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta was “suspended” from ministry in February when he was officially charged with sexual abuse. However, despite that suspension Vatican officials appear to be working to ensure that Bishop Zanchetta remains free, telling the court that the demands of his “daily work” require him to be in Rome instead of Argentina while the investigation progresses. This decision is at best questionable and at worst an opportunity for the Argentinian bishop to flee from justice, since there is…

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Former Bristol Community College professor on Providence Diocese’s list of clergy ‘credibly accused’ of sex abuse

TAUNTON (MA)
Taunton Daily Gazette

August 29, 2019

By Kiernan Dunlop

When the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence released its list of clergy “credibly accused” of sexually abusing minors in July, it had ripple effects that made their way to the Southcoast.

On Aug. 22, the President of Bristol Community College, Dr. Laura Douglas, sent an email to students alerting them to the existence of the list and stated, “Included in the list was former Bristol Community College faculty member, John Tormey, who is no longer employed by the college.”

Her email went on to say, “Unfortunately, there was no way that the college could have been aware of this allegation, which dates back to 1979, prior to the disclosure being published by the Diocese in the media. When information such as this comes to the college’s attention, it is our duty to address the matter immediately and be…

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Cleric held after rape of 4 girls in Jomvu church

KENYA
Standard Digital

August 28, 2019

By Weldon Kemboi

Police are holding the pastor of a Pentecostal church in Jomvu after reports he sexually assaulted four girls under his care.

The 43-year-old cleric was arrested on Sunday in Kanaona village where he had gone into hiding following the incidents between August 21 and 23.

A medical report from Port Reitz Hospital confirmed the children, aged between four and eight, had been sexually assaulted.

Police said the pastor was the children’s Sunday school teacher and also instructed them in martial arts.

The assault was discovered after a parent noticed her daughter walking with difficulty. Upon inquiry, the girl said she had been raped inside the church.

After medics confirmed that the girl had been assaulted, an investigation was conducted that revealed there were more victims.

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Lawsuits alleged priest sex abuse happened under church’s nose

SCRANTON (PA)
Times Leader

August 28, 2019

By Patrick Kernan

Shortly after making a filing in Lackawanna County Court on Wednesday morning, Attorney Kevin Quinn, of Hourigan, Kluger & Quinn, spoke before reporters in a hotel conference room in downtown Scranton. His tone was a somber one, as he’s representing four men who claim they were repeatedly raped by a Roman Catholic priest decades ago.

What’s more, Quinn said, the Diocese of Scranton is directly responsible for decades of cover-ups, with both Bishops James Timlin and Joseph Bambera named as defendants in the suit.

Three of Quinn’s four clients — John Patchcoski, Jim Pliska and Mike Heil — appeared to speak with reporters Wednesday morning. The fourth man chose to file his suit anonymously for the protection of his family, and his suit is filed under the initials “M.A.” Each of the four men have their own, separate suits…

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Editorial: Those who dismiss Pell verdict ignore integrity of legal process

KANSAS CITY (MO)
National Catholic Reporter

August 29, 2019

The response in certain circles to the Aug. 21 court decision upholding Cardinal George Pell’s conviction for sexually assaulting two choirboys in the 1990s was as swift as it was irrational.

Edward Peters, a canon lawyer who teaches at Detroit’s Sacred Heart Seminary, claimed in a tweet some 40 minutes after the verdict that “the testimony used to convict Thomas More was more plausible.”

Hours later, John Paul II biographer George Weigel questioned at First Things whether people would want to travel to Australia anymore because of “mob hysteria.” First Things editor Matthew Schmitz likened an aggrieved Pell to the suffering Christ.

In following days, Crux’s John Allen said the odds against Pell being guilty are “awfully long.” And the editor of Crisis Magazine, Michael Warren Davis, claimed it is “literally impossible” that Pell is guilty.

Even a cardinal joined…

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One of five federal death row inmates set for execution says he was molested by priest

LONDON (ENGLAND)
Daily Mail

August 28, 2019

By Keith Griffith

Attorneys for one of the five federal death row inmates newly scheduled for execution have opened up multiple last-ditch legal challenges in a bid to spare his life, including petitioning President Donald Trump for clemency.

Wesley Ira Purkey, 67, is scheduled to be executed on December 13, 2019 for the rape, murder and dismemberment of 16-year-old Jennifer Long in his Kansas home in 1998. He was also convicted of beating 80-year-old Mary Bales to death with a hammer.

Last month, Attorney General Bill Barr announced that the federal government would resume executions for the first time since 2003, setting execution dates for Purkey and four other death row inmates whom he called ‘the worst criminals.’

‘Mr. Purkey is not ‘the worst of the worst,” his attorney Rebecca Woodman said in a statement to DailyMail.com on Tuesday. ‘He is a…

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The persecution of a cardinal, 21st-century version

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Angelus News

August 29, 2019

By Msgr. Richard Antall

The great author G.K. Chesterton was once challenged about his skepticism of the judicial system in Great Britain. He replied that Christians often have doubts about official justice because they remember “the unfortunate experience” of their founder with the same.

That skepticism is my response to the latest of Cardinal George Pell’s various legal setbacks in Australia. Although a Vatican statement said something about not disrespecting Australia’s system of justice, I feel no such constraint. What I see is a case of scapegoating and persecution that is not ideological — which is what makes it more frightening.

If someone persecutes the Church saying bluntly that it is because religion is nonsense or that Christ really could not have been both God and man, there would, at least, be a clarity of ideas. The Church is accustomed to…

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Buffalo Diocese faces second federal lawsuit over former priest

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

August 28, 2019

By Jay Tokasz

A New Hampshire man who alleges a Buffalo priest sexually abused him when he was a youngster in Springville is suing the Diocese of Buffalo in federal court.

Arthur Porada Jr., 61, said in court papers filed this week that James A. Spielman molested him multiple times from 1971 to 1976 when Porada was a parishioner of St. Aloysius Church in Springville. Spielman was associate pastor of the parish at the time.

It’s the second time in five years the diocese was sued in federal court over a child sex abuse claim against Spielman.

Porada’s lawyer is Michele M. Betti, who sued the Buffalo Diocese in 2014 in federal court in Hawaii on behalf of David Husted of Texas. Husted, 53, also accused Spielman of repeated acts of sexual abuse from 1979 to 1982 when Husted was a student…

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Catholic Order Settled Black Men’s Abuse Claims For Thousands Less Than Average

GREENWOOD (MS)
Associated Press

August 27, 2019

By Michael Rezendes

A famed Catholic religious order settled sex abuse cases in recent months by secretly paying two black Mississippi men $15,000 each and requiring them to keep silent about their claims, The Associated Press has found.

The cash payments are far less than what other Catholic sex abuse survivors have typically received since the church’s abuse scandal erupted in the United States in 2002.

An official with the Franciscan Friars order denies the two men’s race or poverty had anything to do with the size of the settlements.

In one case, the Rev. James G. Gannon, leader of a group of Wisconsin-based Franciscan Friars, settled an abuse claim made by La Jarvis D. Love against another friar for $15,000, during a meeting at an IHOP restaurant where Gannon met with La Jarvis, his wife and their three small children.

“He…

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Cheyenne diocese struggles with abuse revelations about popular bishop

CHEYENNE (WY)
Crux

August 29, 2019

By Christopher White

Nearly three decades had passed since Martin last stepped foot inside a Catholic church.

Yet as he sat in the pews of the Cathedral of Saint Mary in Cheyenne for Good Friday service last April, he knew Bishop Steven Biegler was speaking directly to him.

“Over the last year, we have seen that the Church’s leaders have been weak and sinful,” said the bishop. “Yet, Christ still goes to the cross for us. His death is still stronger than all of our horrible sins. The blood and water flowing from Christ is the greatest force in the universe. So we can be reborn.”

“What does that reborn church look like?” he asked. “In a church reborn, those who have been harmed are restored. They experience their own re-birth. They are restored as we listen to their stories and tell them,…

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St. John: All background checks were clear on former teacher accused of sexual abuse

GREEN BAY (WI)
WLUK FOX 11 News

August 28th 2019

A Little Chute school is responding to recent reports of a former teacher accused of sexually abusing children.

According to the Associated Press, former Franciscan brother and St John Nepomucene Catholic School teacher, Paul West, is being investigated for sexually abusing children in Mississippi in the late 90’s.

West’s alleged victims say he would sexually abuse them in Mississippi and on summer trips to Appleton.

On Wednesday the St. Francis grade school in Mississippi they are dedicated to the well-being of their students and are requiring priests and faculty to participate in the VIRTUS program, which aims to prevent abuse and improves the lives of those who interact with the Church.

After leaving his position as a principal at a Catholic school in Mississippi in 1998, West began teaching fifth grade at St. John’s School in 2000 and remained…

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Group calls on church to send accused former Wyoming bishop to remote Kansas friary

CASPER (WY)
Casper Star-Tribune

August 28, 2019

By Seth Klamann and Shane Sanderson

A national group of victims of priest abuse on Monday called on the Catholic Church to send former Wyoming Bishop Joseph Hart to a friary in rural Kansas, which would mean expelling Hart from his diocese-owned home in Cheyenne.

“When an abuser is suspended or gets older, he’s not magically cured, so even after ousting or even defrocking sex offending clerics, the Catholic hierarchy has a duty to safeguard others from them,” the group, the Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests, said in a statement Monday.

Hart has been accused since at least the early 1990s of sexually abusing boys, with some victims saying he abused them as far back as 1963. He has consistently denied those allegations. His former diocese, in his hometown of Kansas City, Missouri, has settled with 10 men who say…

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Southern Baptist megachurch denies liability in sex abuse lawsuit

NASHVILLE (TN)
Baptist News Global

August 28, 2019

By Bob Allen

Matt Chandler’s Village Church denied any wrongdoing in its response to a $1 million lawsuit stemming from the alleged sexual assault of an 11-year-old girl at a church camp in 2012.

An attorney representing the Southern Baptist Convention megachurch in Flower Mound, Texas, said Aug. 23 his client “generally denies each and every allegation” in the lawsuit filed July 26 in Dallas County and “demands strict proof by a preponderance of the credible evidence.”

The lawsuit, filed using a pseudonym, seeks to hold the multi-site congregation with an average weekly attendance of 10,000 and annual budget of $20 million liable for alleged acts by Matt Tonne, a former children’s minister at Village Church who was arrested in January and charged with felony indecency with a child.

The suit claims that Chandler, the lead pastor at Village Church, downplayed…

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Alleged sex abuse victim comes forward

BUFFALO (NY)
WKBW

August 25, 2019

By Jeff Rusack

Richard Brownell has been keeping a secret for over 50 years, Saturday he finally told his story.

Brownell says he was abused by Father John Aurelio in 1968 at St. Gerard’s in Buffalo. He stood by his wife and lawyer in front of the Buffalo Catholic Diocese Saturday to announce he’s suing the church.

This was not Brownell’s first time speaking about Father Aurelio. In 1993, he was interviewed by 7 Eyewitness News and stated “he came in and exposed himself to me was trying to get my pants down wanted me to touch him and I was successful in fighting him off. For some reason he gave up on me.”

Brownell says he couldn’t tell the truth in 1993 because he was too embarrassed and ashamed. He wants other victims of abuse come forward to share their stories.

He…

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Former Schenectady priest sued over alleged abuse

ALBANY (NY)
The Daily Gazette

August 26, 2019

By Stephen Williams

Pastor allegedly lived with woman, fathered child

A one-time Schenectady priest is accused of secretly living with a woman and sexually abusing her children, in one of the two dozen Child Victims’ Act cases filed in recent days against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany.

The five grown children of Edith Steve filed the lawsuit Aug. 15 against the diocese, Bishop-Emeritis Howard J. Hubbard, and Francis P. Melfe, who was a priest in the Albany diocese from his ordination in 1954 until he resigned in 1979. His final assignment was a decade at the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Schenectady.

Melfe, who was removed from the priesthood in 2012, has been on a diocese list of priests credibly accused of child abuse since 2015.

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CVA lawsuit claims former Hoosick Falls mayor, priest abused boy

ALBANY (NY)
TimesUnion

August 26, 2019

By Steve Hughes

A former Hoosick Falls police officer, Boy Scout leader and mayor who later became a priest is accused of molesting a boy for a period of about three years in the 1980s, according to a civil complaint.

The lawsuit, part of over 500 filed in New York since Aug. 14 under the Child Victims Act, alleges that the Rev. Richard A. Severson abused the boy at St. Mary’s Church in Hudson Falls from about 1982 until 1985, when the boy was between the ages of 10 and 13.

The suit names the Albany Roman Catholic Diocese and St. Mary’s Church as defendants.

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Sex Abuse Victim Speaks Out

BUFFALO (NY)
WBEN

August 25, 2019

By Allan Harris

New Lawsuit Filed Against Diocese

Saturday sexual abuse victim Ricahrd Brownell and his wife held a news conference in front of the Diocese of Buffalo offices to talk about his being abused years ago by Father John Aurielio.

A law suit has been filed according to attorney Mitchell Garabedian:

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Other states offer glimpse of ways NY’s abuse cases could play out

ALBANY (NY)
Times Union

August 24, 2019

By Steve Hughes

Victims and advocates fought for years to get the Child Victims Act passed and waited for the date that would allow them to file lawsuits, seeking a measure of justice for abuse that in some cases goes back decades.

If other states are any indication, that fight for justice is just beginning.

This month, over 500 suits were filed in the window afforded by New York’s new law. An examination of similar lawsuits in other states shows such cases can take years to resolve. How much the public will eventually learn about the extent of abuse and how it was covered up depends on many factors.

It also shows that settlements from the lawsuits can be a huge financial blow to institutions implicated in the abuse and also drive meaningful changes in their policies toward children.

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New priest named in civil lawsuit under Child Victims Act

BUFFALO (NY)
WIVB

August 24, 2019

Another Buffalo priest is being sued under the Child Victims Act. Father John Aurelio and the Buffalo Diocese have been named in a civil lawsuit.

Richard Brownell claims Father Aurelio sexually abused him several times in 1968 and 69 when he was 11 years old serving as an altar boy at Saint Gerard’s in buffalo.

In the lawsuit ,which was filed Friday, Brownell claims Aurelio took him to a hockey game and sexually abused him in the parking lot afterwards.
It also claims father Aurelio gave Brownell alcohol and marijuana and sexually abused him at Aurelio’s home

Mitchell Garabedian, who is representing several victims of abuse, says the number of lawsuits against Buffalo priests will only continue to grow.

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George Pell appeal fails, Cardinal to serve out full jail term

AUSTRALIA
The Age

August 21, 2019

By Adam Cooper

Paedophile George Pell will consider taking his case to the High Court, after Victoria’s Court of Appeal upheld his child-sex convictions in a majority ruling on Wednesday, meaning he will serve out his six-year prison term.

In a 2-1 ruling, the Court of Appeal upheld the verdicts of the County Court jury that found Pell guilty on five child sex abuse charges last December, over his attacks on two choirboys at St Patrick’s Cathedral in East Melbourne in the 1990s, when he was archbishop of Melbourne.

Pell’s lawyers are now considering whether to continue his legal fight. He has 28 days to seek special leave to appeal in the High Court.

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STATEMENT ON TODAY’S NINE-COUNT INDICTMENT AGAINST FR. GEOFF DREW

CINCINNATI (OH)
The Catholic Telegraph

August 19, 2019

Today, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati learned that a Hamilton County Grand Jury returned a nine-count indictment against Fr. Geoff Drew stemming from alleged crimes during his time at St. Jude Parish, where he served as music director 1984-1999. The Archdiocese of Cincinnati was made aware of these allegations after Archbishop Schnurr removed Fr. Drew as pastor of St. Ignatius of Loyola Parish on July 23. We have fully cooperated with this investigation and will continue to do so.

The protection of young people is of paramount importance and can never be compromised. We urge anyone who has any information regarding the accusations against Fr. Geoff Drew to please report it to Cincinnati Police Detective Dana Jones in the Personal Crimes Unit at 513-352-6947 or dana.jones@cincinnati-oh.gov.

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‘The Diocese of Buffalo suppresses the truth in relation to sexual abuse,’ seminarian says

BUFFALO (NY)
WKBW

August 20, 2019

By Charlie Specht

Says Bishop Malone took no action on priest

Another seminarian in the Diocese of Buffalo has given up his dream of becoming a Catholic priest, blaming alleged sexual harassment by diocesan priest Rev. Jeffrey Nowak and Bishop Richard J. Malone’s lack of action when he reported it.

Matthew Bojanowski, whose mother first revealed the allegations of sexual harassment in an interview with the 7 Eyewitness News I-Team, announced Tuesday he is resigning from Christ the King Seminary and is calling on the seminary to be shut down and for Bishop Malone to resign.

“The Diocese of Buffalo suppresses the truth in relation to sexual abuse,” Bojanowski said at a news conference across from the Diocese of Buffalo chancery. “There is no transparency in the Buffalo Diocese and there is no justice for victims of abuse, whether the…

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Magdalene Laundries victim Mary Cavner to get compensation

IRELAND
BBC

August 21, 2019

A woman denied an education and left malnourished after being forced to work at the age of 11 when her father died has won a battle for compensation.

Mary Cavner, 80, who lives in Hampshire but grew up in County Cork, was sent to work in one of Ireland’s notorious Catholic-run Magdalene Laundries.

She said her six years at the workhouse affected her “throughout her life”.

She was initially told she was ineligible for compensation but will now receive €76,000 (£69,500).

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Probe of church abuse scandal hits one year mark

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

August 28, 2019

Victims write alleged predators names on sidewalk
They blast MO attorney general for a “half-hearted effort”
Meanwhile, KC KS suspended cleric’s criminal trial is 9/9
Group wants archbishop to “rein in overzealous Catholics”
SNAP: “Once hard-liners, GOP leaders now ‘soft on crime’
It urges Republicans to ‘lean on’ three statewide officeholders
And it gives AG ‘abuse experts list’ that his staff should interview
And victims praise law enforcement officials in KS & neighboring states

WHAT
Using chalk, clergy sex abuse victims will write two-three dozen names of credibly accused predator KC MO priests on the sidewalk outside the Missouri attorney general’s office and
—blast him for what they call a “half-hearted and slow-paced” look into Catholic sex crimes and cover ups (which was launched one year ago), View Cache

Diocese of Scranton, bishops facing lawsuit

SCRANTON (PA)
WBRE/WYOU TV

August 28, 2019

Four men are filing separate lawsuits against the Diocese of Scranton, Bishop James Timlin, and Bishop Joseph Bambera over allegations of sexual abuse.

Michael C. Heil, James J. Pliska, John Patchcoski and “M.A.” (whose identity is being withheld) all claim they were sexually abused by Father Michael Pulicare for a period of seven years between the ages of 7 and 14. Pulicare, who died in 1999, formerly served as Assistant Pastor at St. Joseph’s Parish in Minooka.

According to a press release from the lawyers, the men seek “to hold the Diocese and the bishops accountable for their role in creating and fostering an environment that allowed and encouraged sexually deviant and predatory priests to prey upon and forcibly rape, sodomize and sexually molest innocent young boys; and then conspiring to withhold and safeguard known information of such heinous acts perpetrated by…

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Hart, Bransfield and Neinstedt should be Treated like McCarrick, SNAP says

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

August 28, 2019

No one really knows where three credibly abusive Catholic bishops are now. For the safety of innocent children and vulnerable adults, we call on church officials to insist the clerics live in the same remote Kansas friary where disgraced ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick is now.

Those three clerics WV Bishop Michael Bransfield, WY Bishop Joseph A. Hart and MN Archbishop John Neinstedt, none of whom are still on the job and all of whom face multiple accusers. Church officials essentially forced Bransfield and Neinstedt out. And police have recommended that Hart be prosecuted.

When a abuser is suspended or gets older, he’s not magically cured, so even after ousting or even defrocking sex offending clerics, the Catholic hierarchy has a duty to safeguard others from them.

And church officials can’t recruit, educate, ordain, hire, supervise, transfer and…

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Vatican tells Argentinian court accused bishop has job in Rome, despite being suspended

ROME (ITALY)
Crux

August 28, 2019

By Ines San Martin

Despite being investigated for allegations of having sexually abused two seminarians, an Argentinian bishop close to the pope has once again been allowed by a judge to travel to Rome.

The judge said that Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta has “collaborated” with the investigation and has a document from the Vatican saying he must return to Rome “to continue with his daily work” – even though he has been suspended from his job.

Crux can confirm that the document being used as justification for allowing Zanchetta to travel back to Rome is a certificate signed by Venezuelan Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra, the Substitute for the Vatican’s Secretariat of State, arguably the third highest position in this office.

Peña Parra was appointed to that key role by Pope Francis last year. The Substitute is responsible for the Vatican’s daily workflow, and is…

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Black Victims Of Sexual Abuse By Catholic Priests Got Dramatically Smaller Settlements Than White Victims

NEW YORK (NY)
Black Entertainment Tonight

August 28, 2019

By Angela Wilson

Two Black male victims who received settlements over sexual abuse allegations against Catholic priests are coming forward to revealing that they were paid far less than white victims.

The Associated Press reports the Diocese secretly paid two Black men from Mississippi $15,000 each, requiring them both to sign NDAs (Non-Disclosure Agreements), also known as confidentiality agreements.

In 2006, the Catholic Diocese of Jackson settled lawsuits brought on by 19 different victims. Of those survivors, 17 are white and were paid at least $250,000 each — some up to $1.3 million — in similar settlements.

A Franciscan Friars official claims the settlement amounts had nothing to due with the two Black men’s race.

One victim, La Jarvis D. Love, who accused two Catholic priests of sexual abuse when he was 9-years-old, received a $15,000 payout during a meeting…

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After the abuse: A bishop’s ministry of healing and trust

DENVER (CO)
Catholic News Agency

August 28, 2019

By JD Flynn

Bishop Andrew Cozzens became a bishop in the middle of a crisis.

“There was this kind of fire that was burning on the front page of the paper everyday,” Cozzens told CNA, “and then I got this call.”

The call was his appointment as an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

Cozzens was appointed to that role just days after a whistleblower leveled charges of misconduct and cover-up against Archbishop John Nienstedt, who eventually resigned from his post amid scandal.

The archdiocese was in a state of chaos, and, Cozzens said, Catholics were in a great deal of pain.

“I was named a bishop at a very unique time, and it was so unique that it was clear to me God had planned it,” Cozzens told CNA.

He told CNA that he knew, from…

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Priest accused of assault has ties to Fox Cities

MILWAUKEE (WI)
WHBY Radio

August 27, 2019

A former brother for the Franciscan Friars accused of sexually abusing boys in Mississippi has ties to the Fox Cities.

59-year-old Paul West taught at a school in Greenwood in the 1990s. The Franciscan Friars reached $15,000 settlements with some victims. West moved to the Appleton area and he taught at St. John Catholic School in Little Chute from around 2000 to at least 2010.

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Activists Demand Columbus Diocese Expand List Of Clergy Accused Of Abuse

COLUMBUS (OH)
WOSU Radio

August 27, 2019

By Adora Namigadde

Advocates from SNAP gathered in front of St. Joseph Cathedral to demand the Catholic Diocese of Columbus add the names of three more ministers to its official list of clerics “credibly accused” of sexual abuse.

The Columbus Diocese in March published a list of 36 clergy, both alive and deceased, alleged to have sexually abused minors.

The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests or Clergy says that Bishop Robert Brennan should add to the list Sister Lisa Zuccarelli, Father Stuart Campbell and Father Carleton Parker Jones – all of whom worked at one time in Central Ohio, but were accused of sexual abuse outside of Columbus.

SNAP’s Central Ohio coordinator Carol Zamonski says it is unknown whether these people abused anyone locally.

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Dallas Jesuit Graduate Files Lawsuit Claiming Former School President Sexually Assaulted Him

DALLAS (TX)
NBC 5 News

August 27, 2019

Three months after members of the Dallas Jesuit community were named on a list of clergy “credibly accused” of sexual abuse of a minor, a lawsuit has been filed by a former student at Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas, Tuesday, March 19, 2019.

A graduate of Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas says the school’s former president, who was on a list of credibly accused priests, sexually assaulted him, according to a lawsuit filed Monday.

The lawsuit says Patrick J. Koch, who died in 2006, was the lone abuser, but that he couldn’t have acted alone.

Koch’s name was included on a list released by the Catholic Diocese of Dallas in late January of “priests with credible allegations of sexual of abuse of minors since 1950.”

Koch served as principal of Jesuit Dallas from 1972-79, president from 1979-80 and director…

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Former Franciscan brother under current criminal investigation in Wisconsin

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

August 27, 2019

A lengthy Associated Press investigation published today about a former member of a Wisconsin based Catholic religious under who is under current criminal investigation for multiple acts of felony child sexual assault in Mississippi, Wisconsin and New York State is raising troubling questions as to the treatment of racial or economically disadvantaged survivors of clerical child sex offenders by Catholic church officials.

Over the past nine months, church officials of the Franciscan Friars of the Assumption Province, headquartered in St. Francis, Wisconsin, have been actively soliciting secrecy agreements from African American victims of Paul West, 59, a former Franciscan, in exchange for financial settlements which are among the lowest in the United States. The settlements were brokered by church officials of the Jackson, Mississippi diocese. The secrecy agreements are not only in direct violation of the…

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Victims of child sex abuse have new chance to hold abusers accountable in court

SAN ANTONIO (TX)
Express-News

August 27, 2019

By Marina Starleaf Riker

John Delaney, a survivor of child sex abuse, wants other victims to know this: Starting Sept. 1, they could have another chance to hold their abusers accountable in court.

Delaney and the San Antonio chapter leader of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests gathered outside the Bexar County Courthouse Tuesday morning to raise awareness about a new Texas law going into effect next month that allows victims of child sex abuse to file civil lawsuits against abusers up to 30 years after they turn 18.

Right now, the window when they can file a lawsuit, called the statute of limitations, lasts just 15 years after their 18th birthday.

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Competency Exam Ordered For Ex-Shelby Township Priest Charged With Sexually Assaulting Boys

SOUTHFIELD (MI)
WWJ News

August 27, 2019

A former Macomb County priest will undergo testing to determine if he’s competent to stand trial on sexual assault charges.

A judge ordered the exam requested by an attorney for 63-year-old Neil Kalina during a brief hearing in 41-A District Court in Shelby Township.

“What they call a competency and culpability exam will be done at a center in Ypsilanti that is known to be backed up with orders,” reported WWJ Newsradio 950’s Mike Campbell, “so it’s probably going to be awhile before there are results.”

Kalina faces four counts of criminal sexual conduct for allegedly sexually abusing young boys when he was a priest at St. Kieran Catholic Church in Shelby Township in the mid-1980s. He also worked in Sterling Heights and Utica.

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SBC Rolls Out “New” Prevention Campaign, SNAP Responds

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

August 27, 2019

Six months after a massive exposé into cases of sexual violence and cover-up within the Southern Baptist Convention was published, church leaders have finally responded. Unfortunately, we feel that this response amounts to little more than a public relations effort.

SBC leaders unveiled their new “Caring Well” campaign today, a prevention effort focused on creating new teams and processes for churches in order to create safer environments within SBC churches. According to the Caring Well website, this campaign involves educating pastors about the importance of using secular law enforcement professionals to investigate crimes and how to respond “ethically, legally, and with good shepherding” when abuse is discovered.

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Former Avon pastor pleads guilty to having sexual relationship with parishioner

ST. CLOUD (MN)
St. Cloud Times

August 27, 2019

By Clairissa Baker and Jenny Berg

An Avon man pleaded guilty Tuesday as part of a plea agreement to engaging in a sexual relationship with a parishioner he counseled while he was a pastor at an Avon church.

Charles Normal Pelkey, 50, was charged in Stearns County District Court with one count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct in July 2018.

A jury trial was scheduled to start Tuesday; it was canceled in light of the plea agreement.

As part of the agreement, the judge will likely stay adjudication of the sentence, presuming Pelkey cooperates with his pre-sentence investigation, signs releases for a psychosexual evaluation and follows all recommendations, according to Ole Tvedten, chief of the criminal division in the Stearns County Attorney’s Office.

The remaining terms of Pelkey’s probation will be imposed at his sentencing, which is scheduled for Oct….

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What We Need to Know About RICO

DENVER (CO)
National Catholic Register

August 27, 2019

By Joseph O’Brien

The lawsuits are flooding into New York state, after it opened a one-year window in the statute of limitations for abuse survivors to file suit against individuals and institutions accused of abuse crimes — and the new lawsuits filed in the Empire State include one utilizing the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.

On Aug. 14, 22 plaintiffs filed a federal RICO suit against the Diocese of Buffalo, the Society of Jesus, parishes, high schools and others for an alleged “pattern of racketeering activity” that allowed for and hid clerical sexual abuse. Both current Bishop Richard Malone and his predecessor, Bishop Edward Kmiec, are named personally in the lawsuit.

Among the plaintiffs, who are not named, are several alleged victims of clerical sexual abuse. The lawsuit alleges specific instances of sexual abuse by priests and claims that…

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Tennessee based SBC Ethics Commission debuts sex abuse prevention campaign

NASHVILLE (TN)
WMOT Radio

August 27, 2019

By Mike Osborne

The Nashville based Southern Baptist Ethics Commission has launched a denomination-wide response to sexual abuse.

The campaign is a reaction to the #metoo movement and recent sex scandals within the SBC.

Current Convention President J.D. Greear is out with a video introducing what’s being called “The Caring Well Challenge.” In the video, Greear explains what the denomination hopes the campaign will accomplish.

“It’s a free initiative designed to walk with church leaders step by step towards becoming a church that is safe for survivors and safe from abuse.”

SBC Ethics Commission leader Russell Moore launched The Caring Well Challenge at a Franklin church on Sunday.

The Tennessean quotes Moore saying congregations need to report abuse to authorities immediately, inform the entire congregation, and minister to survivors.

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Texas House Bill 3809 to increase CSA SOLs effective September 1

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

August 27, 2019

We are here today because Texans need to know that the doors to justice just opened a little wider for survivors of child sexual abuse in our state.

House Bill # 3809, passed by the Texas Senate on May 2019, was the result of the emotional testimony of Becky Leach, State Rep. Jeff Leach’s wife, regarding her own abuse as a child. Even though this new law is limited in terms of applying to older cases of childhood sexual abuse, it is still a step in the right direction.

The new law, which becomes effective on September 1, 2019, gives more time for child sex abuse survivors to bring a civil lawsuit against their abuser and/or the institution that harbored him or her. It replaces the older law that only gave survivors 15 years past their…

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Clergy Abuse Survivors’ Advocates Question Illinois AG’s Private Meeting with Chicago Archbishop

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

August 27, 2019

“It sends a discouraging message to survivors,” They Say

They Call on the Attorney General to Renew his Outreach to Witnesses, Whistleblowers and Survivors

WHAT
At a news conference, leaders of two clergy abuse prevention and advocacy organizations will address recent news regarding a private meeting between Chicago’s top Catholic official and Illinois’ Attorney General and will call for a public clarification regarding the current status of the investigation into clergy abuse in Illinois.

WHEN
Friday, August 23 at 10:30 AM

WHERE
On the sidewalk outside the Chicago Archdiocesan Headquarters at 835 N. Rush Street (corner of Rush and Pearson)

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Victims want action on abusive nun

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

August 27, 2019

And they ‘out’ another Columbus predator priest
Days ago, a 3rd abusive local cleric was exposed
But none of them are on bishop’s ‘credibly accused’ list
Group wants all 3 added, plus their photos & assignments
Pope recently promised protection for church whistleblowers
So victims urge current & former Catholic staff to “call law enforcement now”

WHAT
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will disclose the names of – and information about – two more credibly accused child molesting clerics who are or have been in Columbus but are NOT on the diocesan list of alleged clergy offenders.

One is a nun who was suspended and spent a decade in central Ohio.

And the victims will call on Columbus…

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Pa. Senate still dodging grand jury findings on clergy abuse

EASTON (PA)
Easton Express-Times

August 27, 2019

One year after an investigating grand jury gave Pennsylvania legislators all the evidence they needed to update laws on child sexual abuse – in fact, Pennsylvania’s groundbreaking work led to reforms in other states, including New Jersey – the response in Harrisburg has been little more than “we’ll get to it.”

Someday.

The grand jury report identified more than 300 priests as sexual predators and thousands of victims. It spawned investigations by other states’ attorneys general and a probe by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Instead of acting to extend the legal redress of survivors who suffered at the hands of Catholic Church clergy throughout the state, as painstakingly detailed by the Pennsylvania grand jury, state Senate Republican leaders have balked at proposals to set up retroactive “windows,” which would allow long-ago victims to file civil claims in court.

One rationale is…

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Here’s what we know about the latest abuse allegation in the Evansville diocese

EVANSVILLE (IN)
Courier & Press

August 27, 2019

By Jon Webb

Yet another child molestation complaint surfaced in the Evansville Diocese last week.

According to a scant police report, an unnamed accuser told the church they were abused more than 45 years ago in the 1700 block of Lodge Avenue: an address associated with the Holy Spirit Catholic Church and elementary school.

The accuser was reportedly younger than 14 when the alleged abuse occurred.

The report didn’t name the accused and didn’t give the incident an exact timeline. The incident summary on the police report contained all of 25 words.

Since the accused is apparently dead and the accuser now lives outside the area, Evansville police will not pursue an investigation – nor will they name the alleged perpetrator.

As far as the diocese, spokesman Tim Lilley declined to comment last week and reiterated that stance Monday morning.

We…

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In Mississippi Delta, Catholic abuse cases settled on cheap

GREENWOOD (MS)
Associated Press

August 27, 2019

By Michael Rezendes

The IHOP in Southhaven, Mississippi, was an unlikely place to settle a sex abuse claim against the Catholic Church. But in January a white official from the Franciscan religious order slid into a booth across from a 35-year-old black man and offered to pay him $15,000 to keep years of alleged abuse by another Franciscan secret.

The Rev. James G. Gannon, the leader of a Wisconsin-based group of Franciscan Friars, arrived at the crowded pancake house with copies of a legal settlement for La Jarvis D. Love, who had arrived with his wife and three young children.

As La Jarvis skimmed the four-page agreement, his thoughts flickered back more than two decades to the physical and sexual abuse he says he suffered at the hands of a Franciscan Friar at a Catholic grade school in Greenwood. He told Gannon…

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Coalition agrees to pass laws forcing priests to report child abuse

AUSTRALIA
The Age

August 26, 2019

By Benjamin Preiss

New legislation forcing priests to report child abuse to authorities even if disclosed in confession now has enough support to pass through both houses of Victorian Parliament.

The Andrews government introduced the legislation earlier this month compelling priests to break the seal of confession to report disclosures of child abuse, but the Coalition stopped short of supporting it at the time.

However, on Monday Opposition Leader Michael O’Brien revealed he would back the bill.

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COMMENTARY: Cardinal Pell’s Unsuccessful Appeal — and Reason for Hope

AUSTRALIA
National Catholic Register

August 23, 2019

By Gerard V. Bradley

COMMENTARY: Justice Mark Weinberg’s dissenting opinion should provide the basis for Australia’s High Court to finally correct this awful miscarriage of justice.

The Court of Appeal of the state of Victoria late Tuesday (Wednesday morning in Australia) dismissed Cardinal George Pell’s appeal from his sexual-abuse conviction. That conviction came at the end of a second trial on five counts of indecency with a minor, after a first jury could not agree on a verdict. (Reliable reports indicated that a majority of those jurors favored acquittal.) He was sentenced to six years, without the possibility of parole until November 2022. Cardinal Pell’s lawyers plan a further appeal to the Australian High Court. That process is likely to take up to a year. During the interim, the cardinal will remain in a Melbourne prison.

Because the trials were conducted in…

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