Summary of Findings and Recommendations

NEW YORK (NY)
Archdiocese of New York

September 30, 2019

By Honorable Barbara S. Jones (ret.),
Independent Reviewer and Special Counsel for the Archdiocese of New York

[Also contains statement by Cardinal Dolan and video of the press conference.]

Last September, Cardinal Dolan asked me to review the Archdiocese of New York’s policies and procedures for responding to allegations of sexual abuse and to make recommendations for improvements. My review has focused on current practices and on the Archdiocese’s compliance with its obligations under the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People adopted by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2002. I have received the Archdiocese’s total cooperation, including complete access to all records. I have conducted dozens of interviews, performed an exhaustive review of documents, and assessed many different aspects of the Archdiocese’s practices.

The Cardinal asked for my honest, objective assessment, and I have reported my findings and recommendations to him on an ongoing basis. Overall, I have found that the Archdiocese has complied with the Charter in all material respects. It has faithfully followed its policies and procedures and responded appropriately to abuse complaints, and is committed to supporting victims-survivors of abuse. I have recommended some enhancements to current practices. A summary of my findings and recommendations is set forth below.

Findings:

• The Archdiocese follows strict protocols any time that it receives an allegation that a cleric has sexually abused a minor. The District Attorney for the appropriate county is promptly notified of the allegation. When an allegation is made against a cleric in ministry, regardless of whether criminal charges are brought, the Archdiocese initiates an independent investigation of the allegation. The results of that investigation are presented to a Lay Review Board, which decides whether the allegation is substantiated. If the allegation is substantiated, the Board recommends to the Cardinal that the cleric be permanently removed from ministry. Cardinal Dolan accepts the Board’s recommendation and has never returned a cleric to ministry against whom there has been a substantiated complaint.

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

Catholic Archdiocese of New York removes all priests accused of sex abuse, report says

McLEAN (VA)
USA Today

September 30, 2019

By Frank Esposito

New York – Every priest in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York who has a substantial sex-abuse accusation against him has been removed from ministry, according to a report released today.

That finding was revealed in a report by former federal judge and prosecutor Barbara Jones, who was tasked by Cardinal Timothy Dolan with studying the archdiocese’s handling of sex-abuse complaints.

Her findings show a near stop to all abuse in the archdiocese since the early 2000s.

“Almost all the complainants received over the last several years are not complaints of current conduct, but rather they are complaints about conduct which occurred sometimes decades ago,” Jones said.

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

Independent Investigator recommends Catholic Church’s Archdiocese of New York hire sex abuse czar to vet complaints

NEW YORK (NY)
NBC News

September 30, 2019

By Corky Siemaszko

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/independent-investigator-recommends-catholic-church-s-archdiocese-new-york-hire-n1060356

Advocate for victims said the church should not be involved in hiring the person who polices its priests.

An independent investigator tasked with reviewing how the Archdiocese of New York has been dealing with the predator priest scandal in the Catholic Church urged Cardinal Timothy Dolan on Monday to hire a sex abuse czar to oversee these kinds of complaints.

“I have recommended that the Archdiocese hire a person whose sole responsibility is to oversee its response to sexual abuse complaints,” Barbara Jones wrote in her report.

Jones, a retired federal judge, was commissioned by the Archdiocese of New York in 2018 to conduct the review of the church’s handling of abuse allegations.

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

Southern Baptists ready to put spotlight on sex-abuse crisis

COLUMBIA (MO)
Associated Press via Religion News Service

September 30, 2019

By David Crary

Entangled in a multifaceted sex-abuse crisis, the Southern Baptist Convention is preparing to host a high-profile conference on the topic that has kindled skepticism even among some of the scheduled speakers.

The three-day Caring Well conference opens Thursday at a resort hotel near Dallas, drawing hundreds of pastors and church officials from the largest Protestant denomination in the U.S. for a program featuring victim advocates, attorneys, therapists and at least 10 survivors of sexual abuse.

Several of those survivors told The Associated Press they had mixed feelings about the conference — hoping it represents a genuine desire for change but concerned it might come across as a public relations exercise.

The first survivor scheduled to speak is Susan Codone, a professor at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, who says she was abused as a teenager by the youth minister and pastor at her SBC church in Alabama.

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

Diocese of Lansing, MI Releases List of Accused Priests

ST. LOUIS (MO)
SNAP

September 27, 2019

The Diocese of Lansing, MI today released their list of priests that have been accused of abuse. We hope that this release will bring hope and healing to survivors and will help protect more children from being victimized in the future.

The list released by church officials in Lansing is a long-overdue and belated move, a step that we believe Bishop Earl Boyea should have more than ten years ago when he was first appointed to his post. Dioceses first began releasing these lists in 2002 and today’s release likely only occurred because of pressure from parishioners and the public in Michigan.

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

SNAP Responds to Passing of Cardinal William Levada

ST. LOUIS (MO)
SNAP

September 27, 2019

Cardinal William Levada has passed away. In his wake, he leaves behind a legacy of obfuscation, cover-up, and minimization of cases of clergy abuse.

As the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, Cardinal Levada ignored reports of abuse from the Antonio Provolo School in Verona, Italy, for almost a year, until the allegations became public.

While the leader of the the Archdiocese of San Francisco, Cardinal Levada allowed priests who were accused of abuse to stay in ministry even while facing lawsuits. He has the notorious distinction of seeing the head of his hand-picked abuse review panel resign in protest after seeing that church “investigations” of abusers under the cardinal were little more than PR stunts.

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

East Haven man wants Bridgeport diocese to help him heal from abuse

BRIDGEPORT (CT)
Connecticut Post

September 29, 2019

By Ed Stannard

East Haven – John Seymour turned 55 on Saturday, but there are times when he feels like a 6-year-old bundle of pain.

That’s when the abuse started. That’s when he said the Rev. Joseph Malloy anally raped him in St. James Roman Catholic Church in Stratford, in the sacristy, where the priests prepare themselves to celebrate Mass and lead the people in worshiping Jesus Christ.

The flashbacks come without warning, causing Seymour to clench his jaw so hard he has broken seven teeth. “A year ago I was suicidal. … I found myself three times in the process of committing suicide,” he said.

He has spent thousands in therapy and all he wants is for the Diocese of Bridgeport to pay for his treatment. But all he’s been offered is $5,000. He suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, which he believes was exacerbated by his service in the Middle East during the Gulf War era as an Air Force staff sergeant, though he did not see combat.

Seymour receives $1,403.71 per month in disability payments from the Department of Veterans Affairs. His claim for higher benefits was denied because, according to the VA, his disability is not service related.

Malloy, a cousin of former Gov. Dannel Malloy, died in 2016. While he denied the accusations of sexual abuse, the Diocese of Bridgeport named him in a $12 million settlement in 2001 along with five other priests. However, the diocese lists Joseph Malloy among those priests who its review committee did not determine was credibly accused.

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

Statute of limitations bill to get aired before state Senate committee

MEADVILLE (PA)
Meadville Tribune

September 28, 2019

By John Finnerty

Harrisburg – A Wednesday hearing will give adult survivors of child sex abuse their first chance in years to publicly confront members of the Senate and call for action on legislation that would open a window for civil lawsuits in cases where the existing statute of limitations has expired. The judiciary committee is expected to hear testimony from a small number of adult survivors, as well as from the state’s Victim Advocate, and other testifiers.

The Senate judiciary committee has not disclosed the slate of testifiers expected to appear at the hearing. But Pennsylvania’s Victim Advocate Jennifer Storm said she is scheduled to appear and she invited victims to contact her office to help her articulate the views of those affected by the state’s statute of limitations law.

Storm said she was contacted by more than 35 victims as she prepared her testimony. She said the group of victims was “highly diverse” and includes not just victims of priest abuse, but also those victimized by ministers from other denominations and faiths, scouting organizations, school teachers and relatives.

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

At deadline, Pittsburgh Diocese priest abuse fund at 232 claims and growing

PITTSBURGH (PA)
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

September 30, 2019

By Peter Smith

With Monday’s deadline for applying for compensation for sexual abuse by priests of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, at least 232 people have filed claims, with many more potentially submitting last-minute claims.

Pittsburgh attorney Alan Perer, who represents many victims of abuse, said last week he had five staff members working on claims before the final deadline.

As of Friday, 40 claims had been approved for about $4.5 million and seven others were denied, according to Amy Weiss, a spokeswoman representing Kenneth Feinberg and Camille Biros, the Washington-based legal team overseeing the fund.

The diocese launched the fund early this year, with Sept. 30 set as the deadline, in the wake of a 2018 grand jury report into Pittsburgh’s and five other dioceses. It cited accusations against more than 90 Pittsburgh priests, and 300 statewide, dating back seven decades. Most of the abuse occurred before 1990, but many abuses were never previously known to the public. Six other Pennsylvania dioceses also created such funds.

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

New report shows over half of children in Cameroon face abuse

DENVER (CO)
Crux

September 30, 2019

Yaoundé, Cameroon – A new report on child abuse in Cameroon shows that over 50 percent of Cameroon’s children have suffered various forms of abuse, with children with disabilities suffering proportionally far worse.

The study was carried over a three-year period by the Cameroon Baptist Hospital Services in partnership with the Netherlands-based Liliane Foundation, using a variety of methods including focus group discussions and in-depth interviews.

While previous studies focused primarily on identifying the prevalence of violence and abuse against children, the latest study sought to “identify the factors contributing to the abuse of children with disability, and to determine appropriate measures and strategies to reduce such abuse so as to improve on the wellbeing for children with disabilities,” according to Glory Agho who presented the results of the study on Sep. 25.

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

Cardinal Levada took U.S. experience with him to the Vatican

WASHINGTON (DC)
Catholic News Service via Crux

September 27, 2019

U.S. Cardinal William J. Levada, who died Sept. 26 in Rome, is well-known as the retired head of the Vatican’s doctrinal congregation, but his experience leading major U.S. dioceses prepared him for this role.

“I firmly believe that what I have experienced in my ministry among God’s people here in the Archdiocese of San Francisco has been a great grace for me and has enriched me for the new service to the universal church to which our Holy Father, Pope Benedict, has called me now,” he said during a Mass attended by more than 3,000 people at the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption in San Francisco, just before he left the archdiocese in 2005.

He also told the congregation that his 10 years as archbishop there had been “a significant part of my life as a man, a priest and a bishop.”

When Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected Pope Benedict XVI in 2005, he named Levada to replace him as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican agency charged with protecting and promoting the church’s teachings on faith and morals. It was the first time a U.S. prelate had led the congregation.

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

Notre Dame panel asks about clerical crisis: ‘Where are we now?’

DENVER (CO)
Crux

September 26, 2019

By Christopher White

South Bend, Indiana – Some of the leading figures in the U.S. Catholic Church in charge of the response to the clerical sex abuse crisis convened on the campus of the University of Notre Dame on Wednesday with a consensus that while the Church has been slow to reform, that change is underway.

The event was an initiative of Notre Dame President Father John Jenkins, who opened the forum by summoning the famous words of Saint Francis of Assisi, “rebuild my church,” as inspiration for the event dubbed “The Church Crisis: Where are we now?”

John L. Allen, Jr., editor of Crux, served as the moderator for the evening panel, which included Chilean abuse survivor Juan Carlos Cruz; former FBI agent Kathleen McChesney, who helped lead the U.S. bishops’ response to the crisis after 2002; Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore who, most recently, oversaw the investigation into Bishop Michael Bransfield of the diocese of Wheeling-Charleston; and Peter Steinfels, a long-time religion reporter for the New York Times.

“Most of us, myself very much included, know much less about this painful, stomach churning scandal than we think we know,” said Steinfels who kicked-off the panel discussion.

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

Cambridge conference tackles clericalism and sexuality

DENVER (CO)
Crux

September 30, 2019

By Christopher White

A three day conference held at Cambridge University earlier this month set out to explore the relationship between clericalism and sexuality. Sponsored by the Von Hügel Institute for Critical Catholic Inquiry, the gathering brought together a range of participants from historians to psychologists, from Dominicans and Opus Dei members to agnostics.

The workshop’s organizer, Luigi Gioia, spoke to Crux about how the conference sought to understand the current crisis in the Church and its multifaceted dimensions.

Crux: What was the inspiration for this conference and how did you decide who would participate?

Gioia: The main inspiration for the workshop was Pope Francis’s singling out of clericalism as one of the main causes of the present crisis in the life of the Church. In the past, the accusation of clericalism used to come from people hostile to the Church. Now, on the contrary, its use is promoted internally and from the very top, that is from the pope himself.

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

Trial for Holt teacher charged with assaulting students set to begin

LANSING (MI)
WILX 10 NBC

September 30, 2019

The trial of a former Holt teacher accused of sexually assaulting several of his students is set to begin Monday morning.

Patrick Daley is facing over two dozen criminal sexual conduct charges.

He’s accused of abusing at least eight boys when he was a fifth-grade teacher at Washington Woods Elementary School in Holt.

The Ingham County Sheriff’s Office started an investigation in May of 2018 after four students told the principal Daley touched them inappropriately.

He faces at least 15 years in prison if convicted.

Daley’s trial is scheduled to begin Monday, Sept. 30 in Ingham County Circuit Court Judge Clinton Canady III’s court room at 8:30 a.m.

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

Former Portland bishop, scrutinized during sex abuse scandals, has died

PORTLAND (OR)
The Oregonian

September 26, 2019

By Jayati Ramakrishnan

A former Portland bishop who later became a cardinal died Wednesday at age 83.

William Levada was the archbishop of Portland from 1986 to 2006 and was the head of the Portland archdiocese during the sex abuse scandals that rocked the church in the mid-2000s. According to Catholic News Agency, Levada was appointed cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI in 2006.

According to The New York Times, Levada was put in charge of adjudicating sexual abuse cases involving priests all over the world. He came under scrutiny for not being as tough as he could have on abuse cases, often giving priests the benefit of the doubt and being hesitant to remove them from their positions.

The Portland archdiocese became the first in the country to declare bankruptcy to compensate victims who were sexually abused by clergy members.

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

Archdiocese to announce sex abuse crisis response recommendations today

WHITE PLAINS (NY)
Journal News

September 30, 2019

By Isabel Keane

Findings and recommendations for how the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York should respond to the sexual abuse crisis will be shared this morning.

Some 290 lawsuits were filed against the eight dioceses of the Catholic Church in New York state, 110 of which were filed against the archdiocese on the first day that suits could be filed, The Journal News/lohud previously reported.

Former federal judge and prosecutor Barbara S. Jones, who is serving as special counsel and independent investigator for the archdiocese, will share her findings at a news conference 9 a.m. at the Catholic Center in New York.

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

Cardinal Levada, former Archbishop of Portland embroiled in priest abuse cases, has died at 83

PORTLAND (OR)
KGW8 NBC

September 29, 2019

By Michael Rollins

https://www.kgw.com/article/news/local/cardinal-levada-former-archbishop-of-portland-embroiled-in-priest-abuse-cases-has-died-at-83/283-d20395dc-874e-4a24-b845-0117b9b360b4

[With video from Associated Press]

Cardinal William J. Levada, who oversaw the Archdiocese of Portland during turbulent years that eventually brought to light, child abuse by priests, has died at age 83, according to the Catholic News Agency.

Levada died September 25, according to the story with a Vatican City dateline. He served as the Portland archbishop from 1986 to 1995, when he became archbishop of San Francisco. Levada was named a cardinal in 2006 by Pope Benedict XVI.

“I was very saddened to learn of the death of my predecessor as Archbishop of Portland, Cardinal Levada. We are sincerely grateful to God for his years of service here as our shepherd. He is fondly remembered. May God grant him the reward of a good and faithful servant,” current Archbishop of Portland Alexander K. Sample said in a Facebook post.

In 2004, the archdiocese declared bankruptcy, paying out over previous years about $53 million to over 100 victims who claimed child abuse by priests, which Levada reportedly learned of after he came to Portland. It was the first bankruptcy of an American diocese to deal with the financial fallout of priest abuse.

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

Cardinal William Levada strove to honor all the church’s teachings

KANSAS CITY (MO)
National Catholic Reporter

September 27, 2019

By Michael Sean Winters

Cardinal William Levada died peacefully this week in Rome. He was 83 years old. I remember the day in 2005 when Pope Benedict XVI announced he was naming then-Archbishop Levada of San Francisco to lead the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). “I didn’t see that one coming,” was the universal reaction.

The new pope had been a renowned academic theologian before his surprise appointment as Archbishop of Freising and Munich in 1977. Since 1981, he had presided over the CDF for 24 years and he knew its challenges, especially as it became the office through which clergy sex abuse cases were handled. If anyone knew what was needed in the post, it was him, and he had chosen Levada, who had helped Ratzinger acclimate to the CDF all those many years before. As the shock wore off, the appointment made more and more sense. As prefect, Levada earned a reputation for managing well the far flung responsibilities of the office.

The more I learned about Levada, the more I admired him. It was not always so. I recall hearing him called “Darth Levada” when he was appointed to San Francisco. Certainly, he was seen, and was, more conservative than his predecessor Archbishop John R. Quinn. But, the nickname was unfair: He was not a culture warrior.

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

Complicated and flawed, Levada was a churchman to the core

CONGERS (NY)
Angelus

September 30, 2019

John L. Allen Jr.

If there’s one thing 20-plus years of covering the Catholic Church has taught, it’s that people and situations are rarely as simple as they seem. Few churchmen in my experience brought that point home quite as much as Cardinal William J. Levada, who died in Rome Sept. 26 at the age of 83.

Born in Long Beach, Levada was one of three alumni of St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo who would go on to become cardinals of the Catholic Church (the other two are Cardinal Roger Mahony, retired archbishop of Los Angeles and Cardinal Justin Rigali, retired archbishop of Philadelphia).

During his life, some saw Levada as a stereotypical conservative, a sort of culture warrior in sync with the ethos of the John Paul II and Benedict XVI years.

For many, that reputation was set in cement when Levada was the prime mover behind the decision to launch a Vatican doctrinal investigation of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, the main umbrella group for the leadership of American nuns, in 2009.

*

To take a different example, critics have faulted Levada’s record on the clerical sexual abuse scandals.

When Levada was the archbishop of Portland in 1992, for example, he removed an accused priest from ministry but then allowed him to return after counseling and under supervision two years later, defending it at the time as proof that rehabilitation is possible.

Levada moved to San Francisco in 1995, and a decade later the Archdiocese of Portland would become the first U.S. diocese to declare bankruptcy due to abuse claims.

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

Who is Bishop McCarrick and what are his crimes?

NEW YORK (NY) and DUBLIN (IRELAND)
IrishCentral

September 30, 2019

On February 13, 2019, Theodore E. McCarrick became the first bishop in modern times to be laicized (defrocked) from the Roman Catholic Church after Vatican trial launched in 2018. McCarrick, 88 at the time, was dismissed from the clergy after being found guilty of decades of sexual abuse of minors and adult seminarians.

This was an especially significant moment because of McCarrick’s status within the church. He had been a key fundraiser, international representative for the Vatican in delicate political situations, presided over high profile funerals including those of Senator Ted Kennedy, journalist Tim Russert, and the Beau Biden, the son of Vice President Joe Biden. He had also been a public-facing figure, even appearing on Meet the Press to discuss the child abuse scandal within the church in 2004.

What are McCarrick’s crimes?

McCarrick was initially removed from public ministry by the Holy See on June 20, 2018, following an investigation into claims that he had sexually abused a 16-year-old altar boy 47 years ago while serving as a priest in New York. A review board of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York found the allegation that he had abused the altar boy on two occasions, once in 1971 and once in 1972, “reliable and credible.”

In response, McCarrick claimed to be innocent and have “no recollection” of the events described. However, after the first public accusation came to light, numerous other allegations emerged. Eventually, he was accused of sexually abusing three men when they were minors. One, James Grien, who had been the first baby McCarrick baptized after becoming a priest, said he began abusing him when he was 11.

And, it turned out, there had been multiple complaints brought against him over the years by adult seminarians, of which the Catholic Church had been aware. The first documented complaint against McCarrick from an adult was made in 1994, when a priest wrote a letter to the Bishop of Metuchen, New Jersey, where McCarrick had been Bishop from 1981-1986, accusing McCarrick of sexually and emotionally abusing him and his fellow seminarians. According to a New York Times report, the letter also stated that the abuse had led the priest to touch two teenage boys inappropriately. The church’s response at the time was to send him to therapy and move him to another diocese.

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

State police announce hotline for victims of clergy abuse

PROVIDENCE (RI)
Associated Press via Crux

September 28, 2019

Rhode Island officials released a hotline dedicated to victims of clergy abuse from the Roman Catholic clergy in the state.

The hotline is a response to a list the Diocese of Providence released of 51 clerics, religious order priests and deacons that it deems have been credibly accused of sexually abusing children, dating to the 1950s.

State officials say they are investigating the list and trying to prosecute as many cases as possible.

Officials are urging victims or anyone with information to call the new number with the Major Crimes Unit or contact Day One, an advocacy organization for victims of sexual abuse.

Maureen Philbin, the COO of Day One, says the organization saw a spike in calls the day after the list was released in July.

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

‘Survivors need us now’: Panelists gather to discuss Catholic Church sex abuse crisis in 2019 ND Forum keynote event

SOUTH BEND (IN)
The Observer

September 26, 2019

By Mary Steurer and Natalie Weber

‘Survivors need us now’: Panelists gather to discuss Catholic Church sex abuse crisis in 2019 ND Forum keynote event

Four major players in addressing the Catholic sex abuse crisis called for greater transparency, concrete reforms and a better understanding of Church scandals during the Notre Dame Forum’s panel Wednesday night, entitled “‘Rebuild My Church’: Crisis and Response.”

Featured guests included Archbishop of Baltimore William Lori; former FBI executive assistant director Kathleen McChesney; Juan Carlos Cruz, an advocate for clergy abuse survivors; and journalist Peter Steinfels, a previous editor at Commonweal and past New York Times columnist. John Allen, editor of the online Catholic newspaper, Crux, moderated the panel.

Each panelist was invited to reflect on where the Catholic Church stands in addressing the abuse crisis.

Neither the panelists’ commentary nor follow-up questions from the audience made any mention of the archbishop’s controversial history with Church reform. Over the years, Lori has earned a reputation as an opponent of transparency, drawing criticism as recently as this summer for his investigation of former bishop of Wheeling-Charleston Michael Bransfield.

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

Speaker: Abuse survivors can’t wait for bishops to learn from crisis

KANSAS CITY (MO)
National Catholic Reporter

September 30, 2019

By Heidi Schlumpf

Notre Dame panel addresses progress made in sexual abuse scandal

Sexual abuse by Catholic clergy continues to haunt not only its victims/survivors but also the entire church, as attention now turns to negligent bishops, abuse of vulnerable adults and related financial scandals, said speakers at a University of Notre Dame event that asked: “Where Are We Now?”

While some praised the progress made in past decades, including declining numbers of new cases and better pastoral support for victims, a survivor on the panel hit back about comments that church leaders have had to experience a “learning curve” on the issue.

“Raping a child has been wrong before Christ, after Christ, in the Middle Ages, and it will always be wrong,” said Juan Carlos Cruz, who was abused as a teenager in Chile by a notorious priest who has since been laicized. “We can’t wait for bishops to finish their learning curves. Survivors need us now.”

Cruz, who met with Pope Francis in 2018 and is credited with helping the pontiff address the issue more strongly, agreed with fellow panelist Baltimore Archbishop William Lori about the need for more lay people to bring their expertise to the decision-making table on the issue.

“We need not only lay people, I would say we need more women in the church. … We need more women to break this men’s club,” he said, drawing applause.

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

Former Marquette Diocese priest on list of those credibly accused of abuse

MARQUETTE (MI)
WNMU-FM

September 29, 2019

By Nicole Walton

Lansing – The following was released by the Diocese of Marquette:

The Diocese of Lansing released a list today (Sept. 27, 2019) of clergy that it has determined to be credibly accused of abusing a minor. One of those listed, Terrence M. Healy, was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Marquette in 1968. He served as a priest of the diocese until receiving a leave of absence in 1978. He applied for incardination into the Diocese of Lansing in 1982, which was granted in 1985 (making him a priest of that diocese).

Healy was removed from ministry by the Diocese of Lansing in 1987 and dismissed from the clerical state (laicized) in 1992. No instances of sexual abuse perpetrated by Healy during his tenure in Marquette were known to the Diocese of Marquette until 1996, four years after Healy’s dismissal from the clerical state. The incidents reported in 1996 allegedly occurred between 1968 and 1972, while Healy was assigned to Sacred Heart Church in L’Anse (1968-69) and to St. Joseph’s Church in Sault Ste. Marie (1969-1974).

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

One boy: How a Vermonter rose above priest abuse

VERMONT
VtDigger.org

September 29, 2019

By Kevin O’Connor

Editor’s note: This is the first story in a series on the Vermont Catholic Church’s hidden history of clergy abusing children. Part 1, “One boy,” offers the perspective of a survivor. Part 2, “One priest,” reveals how the state’s most problematic cleric stayed on the job. Part 3, “One diocese,” reports on the collective past and current attempts to acknowledge and atone for it.

Vermonter Dan Gilman was a 15-year-old free spirit when, climbing a tree lurching over a friend’s aboveground pool July 28, 1972, he leapt upward.

“I imagined I was one of those cliff divers they show on ‘Wide World of Sports,’” the Rutland resident recalls. “In that split second, everything was light and sparkling.”

Then it all came crashing down. Gilman felt his head snap into his chest upon hitting the shallow pool floor. Fracturing his spine, the teenager was paralyzed from just below the shoulders to the soles of his feet.

“This is bad, this is bad, this is bad,” Gilman thought as he lay in a hospital bed listening to doctors give him a less than 1% chance of recovery.

Feeling helpless, the boy accepted a priest’s invitation to receive a blessing. The stranger pulled a privacy curtain around the bed. A cleric’s hands hold healing powers, the adult said before placing a communion wafer on the boy’s tongue, followed by a kiss on his lips.

“You will be cured,” Gilman recalls hearing, “and you will be a normal kid again.”

The boy wanted to believe as the priest went on to undress him.

“I closed my eyes and hoped to God it was true,” Gilman recalls. “I prayed that putting my faith in his hands, literally in his hands, would lead to great things for me.”

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

Cardinal Levada, former Archbishop of Portland embroiled in priest abuse cases, has died at 83

PORTLAND (OR)
KGW8-TV

September 29, 2019

By Michael Rollins

Cardinal William J. Levada, who oversaw the Archdiocese of Portland during turbulent years that eventually brought to light, child abuse by priests, has died at age 83, according to the Catholic News Agency.

Levada died September 25, according to the story with a Vatican City dateline. He served as the Portland archbishop from 1986 to 1995, when he became archbishop of San Francisco. Levada was named a cardinal in 2006 by Pope Benedict XVI.

“I was very saddened to learn of the death of my predecessor as Archbishop of Portland, Cardinal Levada. We are sincerely grateful to God for his years of service here as our shepherd. He is fondly remembered. May God grant him the reward of a good and faithful servant,” current Archbishop of Portland Alexander K. Sample said in a Facebook post.

In 2004, the archdiocese declared bankruptcy, paying out over previous years about $53 million to over 100 victims who claimed child abuse by priests, which Levada reportedly learned of after he came to Portland. It was the first bankruptcy of an American diocese to deal with the financial fallout of priest abuse.

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

Diocese: Retired priest said he abused minor in 1980s

ALLENTOWN (PA)
Associated Press

September 28, 2019

The Diocese of Allentown says an 87-year-old priest recently said he sexually abused a minor in the 1980s.

Stephen J. Halabura has been barred from ministry.

Halabura was ordained in 1961 and retired in 2008. Since his retirement he had been serving as a substitute priest.

After he notified officials of the abuse in May, the diocese investigated and found the account to be credible. The matter has been referred to law enforcement.

In a news release Friday, the diocese said the abuse occurred at the former St. Anthony of Padua parish in Millmont, Berks County, where Halabura was assigned from 1971 to 1984. The parish later was merged into St. John Baptist de la Salle in Shillington.

Halabura had eight other assignments between 1961 and 2008.

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

Spotlight True Story: The Movie’s Real Boston Scandal Explained

UNITED STATES
ScreenRant (blog)

September 29, 2019

By John Orquiola

Spotlight tackled a very difficult subject matter and, overall, told the true story accurately, though the film did make some changes to real-life events. Directed by Todd McCarthy from a script by McCarthy and Josh Singer, Spotlight is about the Boston Globe investigative reporting team that exposed the widespread systemic sexual abuse of children by Roman Catholic priests in the Archdiocese of Boston. Spotlight won the Oscars for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay.

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

State Police create hotline to report clergy sexual abuse

PROVIDENCE (RI)
Associated Press via the Stamford Advocate

September 29, 2019

The Rhode Island State Police have created a new hotline for people to report allegations of clergy sexual abuse.

The State Police announced the new telephone line within the Major Crimes Unit.

Detectives are working with Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Neronha to review of allegations of sexual abuse by clergy since 1950. Neronha, a Democrat, announced in July he had gained access to nearly 70 years of records from the Diocese of Providence for the review.

The Roman Catholic diocese has released a list of 50 clerics, religious order priests and deacons it deems to have been credibly accused of sexually abusing children, dating to 1950.

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

Study: Up to 10% of Catholic seminarians are victims of sexual harassment, abuse

COLUMBUS (OH)
The Columbus Dispatch

September 29, 2019

By Danae King

A new study reveals that 10% of Catholic seminarians in the U.S. experienced or may have been subject to sexual misconduct. The study comes on the heels of last’s year’s scandal involving disgraced ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington, D.C., who was accused of abusing seminarians at a beach house.

After news emerged in 2018 that Cardinal Theodore McCarrick had been accused of sexually abusing fellow students while studying to be a Catholic priest, John Cavadini came up with an idea.

“There were so many rumors about what’s going on in seminary culture and was what happened with McCarrick the norm,” said Cavadini, a theology professor at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana and director of its McGrath Institute for Church Life. “People were scared. I decided to try to find some objective data.”

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

Conference considers role of women, impact of abuse on Catholic imagination

CHICAGO (IL)
National Catholic Reporter

September 27, 2019

by Zach Czaia

“There are as many ways to be a Catholic artist as there are Catholic artists.”

So said poet and professor of Catholic Studies Angela Alaimo O’Donnell in her remarks opening the Catholic Imagination Conference at Loyola University here Sept. 19. The statement was verified by the content of the conference, with presentations by more than 80 artists, including poets, novelists, filmmakers, playwrights, composers, journalists, biographers, editors, publishers and critics. The event was sponsored by Loyola’s Hank Center for the Catholic Intellectual Heritage.

A recurring theme made itself felt in the addresses, workshops and breakout sessions: the desire to address and speak to the challenges and crises facing the Catholic Church — especially the abuse of minors and subsequent cover-up, and the role of women in the church.

In her plenary address on Saturday, novelist Alice McDermott said, “This is an existential moment for the church.”

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

Catholic Parish Hosts Conversion Therapy Group Accused of Abuse

UNITED STATES
The Advocate

September 29, 2019

By Trudy Ring

Desert Stream/Living Waters Ministries has been accused of sexual abuse as well as the other harms associated with conversion therapy.

Some LGBTQ activists are incensed that a Catholic church within the Archdiocese of Philadelphia hosted a presentation by a conversion therapy group that has been accused of sexual abuse — and has admitted to it in at least one case.

Desert Stream/Living Waters Ministries, which claims to be able to turn LGBTQ people straight or cisgender, was part of a daylong conference on sexual and gender identity held at St. Katharine of Siena Parish in Wayne, Pa., in early September. While the Catholic faith considers same-sex relations a sin and gender immutable, it does not generally promote conversion therapy, which is more often associated with fundamentalist Protestant churches. But a few Catholic bodies in the U.S. have hosted conversion therapy groups.

The founder and director of Desert Stream/Living Waters is Andrew Comiskey, who created the group in 1980. He converted to Catholicism a few years ago. Comiskey wrote in a 2010 blog post, uncovered by the LGBTQ group Truth Wins Out, that “a longstanding staff person from Desert Stream had sexually abused at least one teenager who had sought help from us.” The teen’s family sought compensation from Desert Stream/Living Waters, and the group settled with the family after three years of investigations and negotiations, Comiskey wrote.

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

Bishop Burbidge addresses outcome of investigation regarding Fr. Ronald Escalante

ARLINGTON (VA)
Diocese of Arlington, Virginia

On Saturday, September 28, 2019, Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of the Diocese of Arlington issued the following letter to parishioners of Saint Francis de Sales Parish in Purcellville, Virginia regarding the outcome of the investigation related to Father Ronald Escalante.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

For many months, the Diocese of Arlington has investigated allegations of sexual misconduct and boundary violations brought against Father Ronald Escalante by adults and a minor, from both inside and outside St. Francis de Sales Parish. During our investigation, Father Escalante was placed on administrative leave and the allegations related to the minor were immediately reported to law enforcement officials, who elected not to pursue criminal charges.

I have taken seriously and investigated thoroughly the allegations of sexual misconduct that have been brought to my attention. In this investigation, I have been assisted by professionals with extensive experience in law enforcement and have benefitted from the counsel of psychological experts.

When confronted with the allegations against him, and in the presence of independent witnesses, Father Escalante freely admitted to conduct unbecoming and foreign to the clerical state involving two adults. In consultation with his canonical advocate and spiritual director, and after prayerful consideration, Father Escalante has freely offered his resignation of the office of Pastor of St. Francis de Sales Church for the spiritual good of the parish. I have accepted his resignation and he is on a leave of absence at this time. It is my hope and Father Escalante’s that his resignation will allow the parish to heal and move forward.

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

Abuse victims push Memphis diocese to identify accused clergymen

MEMPHIS (TN)
WREG-TV

September 26, 2019

By Quametra Wilborn

An organization is urging the Catholic diocese to release the names of clergymen accused of sexual assault.

Jane Wegner said at the age of 17 she was sexually abused by a priest in the Memphis area. Now, she joins other victims to not only share her story but to encourage others to speak out against sexual abuse in the Catholic church.

“Healing can’t happen unless the hidden secrets come out,” Wegner said. “I’ve been hospitalized several times. I’ve taken two serious attempts on my life.”

The group known as the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) stood outside the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception calling for Bishop David Talley to identify and release the names and images of accused clerics to the public.

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

New York Sex-Abuse Law Brings Forth Hundreds of New Cases

NEW YORK
Wall Street Journal

By Corinne Ramey and Tom McGinty

September 29, 2019

Suits describing alleged childhood trauma emerge after state loosens restrictions on sex-abuse cases

One woman alleged that an elementary-school teacher repeatedly put his hand up her skirt while hidden behind a chalkboard, sometimes hitting her with a plastic bat. A man accused a social-service worker tasked with driving him to court of abusing him in a car. Another man claimed that while he was hospitalized at age 7, staffers sodomized him with a broomstick.

These are among the alleged victims in more than 700 lawsuits filed since Aug. 14, when the state of New York opened a one-year windowduring which people who say they were sexually abused as children can sue their alleged abusers no matter how long ago the abuse occurred. The law has already had financial impacts, with the Diocese of Rochester filing for bankruptcy earlier this month, citing legal costs and settlements.

A Wall Street Journal analysis of court records found 734 lawsuits filed through Sept. 23, many filled with graphic descriptions of childhood trauma. Defendants include hospitals, churches, summer camps, as well as Catholic, Jewish, Quaker and public schools throughout the state. There are also baseball leagues and music schools, after-school clubs and a martial-arts association.

Many lawsuits involve institutions that have previously been accused of abuse. About 550 lawsuits name one of the state’s Catholic dioceses, 40 name the Boy Scouts and 11 name Rockefeller University, which has said a former doctor, who died in 2007, abused patients.

The Catholic church has taken measures to address abuse, including setting up funds to compensate victims. Rockefeller University has apologized to victims of the former doctor. The Boy Scouts said that the organization encourages victims to come forward and that it has changed policy to safeguard against abuse.

Of New York’s 62 counties, the eighth most-populous, Erie, had the most cases filed—196. Those include 156 naming the Diocese of Buffalo as the defendant and 28 against the Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda Union Free School District, where a former fifth-grade teacher has been accused of serial abuse.

A spokeswoman for the Diocese of Buffalo said new allegations would be investigated. The diocese has said that since 2003 it has taken many steps to protect children. A spokesman for the school district said it takes misconduct allegations seriously and has been in communication with appropriate state authorities.

The bulk of the suits are against institutions, which often have insurance or other funds to pay settlements. The outliers are 16 lawsuits in which people have sued only individuals, including fathers, an older brother and a grandfather. In one lawsuit, a man accused his parents of abusing him in their Staten Island home beginning at age 3. When the man reported it at school, his mother brutally beat him, the complaint says.

For some institutions named in lawsuits, the one-year window without statutes of limitations has proved hard to navigate. Many don’t deny abuse may have occurred, but say alleged perpetrators are gone and the organizations are under new leadership.

“As politically correct as it may seem on one side of the fence, once you are on the accused side of the fence, it’s debilitating,” said Arthur Aidala, a lawyer who works with the Diocese of Brooklyn, which has been named in 84 lawsuits.

He said most electronic records of modern life— Twitter , Facebook , cellphones, text messages—didn’t exist at the time of the alleged abuse in the suits. “That makes it difficult to figure out what the truth is,” Mr. Aidala said.

A spokeswoman said the Diocese of Brooklyn can’t comment on pending litigation but has worked tirelessly for nearly 20 years to ensure the protection of children.

Lawyers who represent victims say they have faced unexpected challenges because of their clients recounting deeply personal experiences, often for the first time. Paul Pennock, chair of the sex-abuse practice at Weitz & Luxenberg PC, said his firm uses social workers to vet cases and talk to alleged victims.

Many lawsuits, dating to the 1960s and ‘70s, are vague as to time and place. Others contain specific details.

“Plaintiff recalls the smell of [the defendant’s] aftershave,” says a complaint recounting alleged abuse at a New York City public school in 1983. A spokesman for the city Law Department declined to comment.

In another lawsuit, filed against a school district in Erie County, the plaintiff says a female teacher accused of sexually abusing a 13-year-old girl in the 1970s “would lift up Plaintiff’s shirt to clean her glasses and pin her against the wall.”

The one-year window closes in August 2020.

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

Ex-deacon and Jesuit, Shaw high schools targeted by lawsuits alleging clergy abuse

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
NOLA.com

September 29, 2019

By Ramon Antonio Vargas

Three new lawsuits filed last week in Orleans Parish Civil District Court allege separate cases of sexual abuse decades ago by a former deacon currently facing criminal charges, a priest at Jesuit High School and a priest and a religious brother who worked at Archbishop Shaw High School.

The suits that claim child molestation by ex-deacon George Brignac and the late Donald Pearce — a priest who was president of Jesuit during part of the 1960s — are largely under seal and do not identify the plaintiffs.

The suit alleging abuse at Shaw High by Salesian priest Ernest Fagione and James Hurley, a religious brother of the same order, is not under seal but also does not identify the plaintiff.

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

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Attorney general’s ‘investigation’ wasn’t thorough enough

ST. LOUIS (MO)
St. Louis Post Dispatch

September 28, 2019

Regarding “Missouri AG to refer 12 cases of Catholic clergy sex abuse to local prosecutors” (Sept. 16): I was shocked to see that Attorney General Eric Schmitt’s probe into the Catholic Church’s sex abuse and cover-up crisis focused almost entirely on diocesan predator priests. The attorney general and his staff ignored the religious order priests and brothers who have sexually abused students in Catholic schools (run by Jesuits and Marianists). They didn’t name a single wrongdoer, even priests who had been convicted of child sex crimes. They didn’t disclose whether they spoke with a single expert on this topic. Worst of all, Schmitt said — without explanation — that the bishops, the church leaders who enabled and concealed the abuse, shuffled predators and deceived parishioners, were “outside the scope” of his examination.

No one from the attorney general’s office contacted me or my longtime law partner. Between the two of us, we represented more than 100 victims of sexual violence by Catholic priests, nuns and brothers. Thanks to our brave and persistent clients, we were able to obtain thousands of pages of long-hidden church abuse records (and some of those documents were incredibly damning). But not a single person in Schmitt’s office even called to ask about them. Instead, they trusted the same organizations that allowed this abuse to continue for decades, the same organizations that battled our clients in court to keep their records hidden, to provide complete access to their files.

How does he claim this was some sort of “investigation?”

Ken Chackes • St. Louis

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

Ahead of synod, alumni of Benedict XVI express concerns about married priesthood

VATICAN CITY
Catholic News Agency

September 28, 2019

Just days before the Amazon synod of bishops is to convene in Rome, a symposium of students of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI published a statement of concern regarding the possibility of married priests, a controversial topic of discussion at the upcoming synod.

“The vocation as well as the existence of the priest are solely dependent upon the will of Jesus Christ alone and are not derived from either human considerations or Church regulations. In Him and with Him the Priest becomes the ‘proclaimer of the Word and the servant of joy,’” the students said in a public statement September 28.

“As the priest only exists from his relationship with Christ, a participation in the lifestyle of Christ would seem to be appropriate for those who are to act his person,” the statements added.

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

Past Vatican practice suggests Buffalo’s bishop won’t be ousted soon

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

September 29, 2019

By Jay Tokasz

The saga of a disgraced Catholic bishop in Missouri reveals how unlikely it is that the pope would quickly force Buffalo Diocese Bishop Richard J. Malone to resign over his handling of a clergy abuse scandal.

In 2012, Bishop Robert W. Finn of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph became the first Catholic prelate in the country to be convicted of protecting from prosecution a priest who had child pornography. A judge found Finn guilty of a misdemeanor for failing to tell police that one of his priests collected lewd images of young girls on his computer.

The case prompted an uproar — including an online petition signed by 263,000 people calling for Finn’s resignation — and generated international media attention.

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

Striving to rebuild trust: This time around, SAR is much quicker to act

NEW YORK (NY)
Riverdale Press

September 29, 2019

By Heather J. Smith & Kirstyn Brendlen

News that the FBI accused a now former associate principal at Salanter Akiba Riverdale Academy with production of child pornography among other charges comes on the heels of new developments in an old case of alleged abuse at the school.

Jonathan Skolnick, an educator responsible for Judaic studies in SAR’s middle school, was arrested Sept. 14 on charges he solicited sexually explicit images from boys by posing online as teenaged girls. Investigators believe Skolnick may have communicated with as many as 25 boys, although authorities say the final number could be much higher.

Although not much is known about Skolnick’s alleged victims, investigators say some may also be students at SAR or Skolnick’s former employer, Yeshiva of Flatbush Joel Braverman High School in Brooklyn.

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

What’s Wrong With Priestly Celibacy?

UNITED STATES
Patheos (blog)

September 29, 2019

By René Albert

In the Evangelical congregation I was once a part of, there was a council of elders who led the church. Each individual elder had to meet specific biblical criteria in order to be fit for the position of leadership, such as display a virtuous Christlike demeanor, refrain from alcohol and recreational drug use or certain leisurely activities that might encourage ungodly behavior. When my former Evangelical church was in the process of looking for a new pastor, one of the factors that seemingly disqualified some candidates was being single and unmarried. The reasoning behind this was that some members of the congregation preferred a pastor who could relate better to married couples with children — which, to me, isn’t a bad reason.

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

Top African cardinal says pope’s anti-abuse rules should be ‘extended’

ROME (ITALY)
Crux

September 29, 2019

By Elise Harris

Africa’s top prelate has hit back against the notion that clerical sexual abuse is a purely western problem, saying it happens on his home turf, too.

Speaking to Crux, Cardinal Philippe Nakellentuba Ouédraogo said: “Crimes of sexual abuse offend our Lord, cause physical, psychological and spiritual damage to the victims and harm the community of the faithful.”

Archbishop of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Ouédraogo was elected president of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) in July.

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

A week that captured the bedeviling complexity of Catholic life

SOUTH BEND (IN)
Crux

September 29, 2019

By John L. Allen Jr.

Few things can be said about Catholicism with absolute certainty, but here’s one: Both people and situations in the Church are almost always more complicated than they may seem.

Two developments this week brought that point home anew, one related to the sexual abuse crisis and the other to the death of an American churchman.

On Wednesday, I moderated a panel on the crisis at the University of Notre Dame that included veteran Catholic journalist Peter Steinfels; Kathleen McChesney, a former FBI official and onetime director of the U.S. bishops’ Office of Child Protection; Juan Carlos Cruz, a survivor of Chile’s most notorious pedophile priest who’s become a confidante of Pope Francis on the abuse issue; and Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore.

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

New chapter opens in Pennsylvania in fight over suing church

HARRISBURG (PA)
Associated Press via The State

September 28, 2019

By Marc Levy

When post offices close Monday, the last victim compensation funds at Pennsylvania’s Roman Catholic dioceses will also close, hours before lawmakers plunge back into a years-old fight over whether to let long-ago victims of child sexual abuse sue perpetrators and institutions that may have covered it up.

It comes more than a year after last year’s landmark grand jury report that accused senior Catholic Church officials of hushing up the abuse for decades.

In the report’s wake, the Philadelphia archdiocese and six Pennsylvania dioceses opened victim compensation funds while state lawmakers fought to a standstill over giving now-adult victims of childhood sexual abuse a legal “window” to sue.

Many victims lost that right under Pennsylvania law by the time they turned 20, while victim advocates say the dioceses have deftly used the delay to limit their civil liability, aided in recent years by the Senate blocking House bills that sought to restore it.

On Monday, victim compensation funds in Philadelphia, Allentown, Scranton and Pittsburgh will close to applications. The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing Wednesday, with testimony from victims of childhood sexual abuse, constitutional scholars and others.

The timing is coincidental, Senate officials say.

Based on partial information available from the dioceses so far, compensation fund administrators have offered or paid more than $35 million to roughly 240 people.

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

Gerald Risdale victim to receive more than $1m from Catholic church

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Guardian

September 27, 2019

By Naaman Zhou

Church reaches settlement with victim of one of Australia’s most notorious paedophile priests

The Catholic church will pay more than $1m to a victim of Gerald Ridsdale, one of the country’s most notorious paedophile priests, in a landmark settlement reached on Friday.

The man, who can only be identified by the pseudonym JCB, was raped by Ridsdale in April 1982. At the time, he was nine years old and Ridsdale was the parish priest at St Colman’s church in the town of Mortlake.

In February 2018, the man sued two former bishops in charge of the diocese of Ballarat, and later added the diocese as a defendant. On Friday, his lawyer revealed that the church had agreed to settle.

Ridsdale, who is currently in prison, has been convicted of multiple counts of sexual abuse of 65 children, over 40 years as his career as a priest.

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

Schenectady priest accused of child sex abuse dead at 91

ALBANY (NY)
Times Union

September 25, 2019

By Cayla Harris

Francis P. Melfe, the former Schenectady priest targeted in multiple child sex abuse claims, died Friday. He was 91.

A private service was held Tuesday morning at Cannon Funeral Home, followed by a burial at Our Lady of Angels Cemetery in Albany. About a dozen people attended the interment, a brief Catholic ceremony held at the far end of the cemetery.

Melfe, who resigned from the priesthood in 1979, has been at the center of multiple accusations of child sex abuse lodged against the Albany Diocese in recent months, as New York’s recently enacted Child Victims Act has allowed survivors of all ages to sue their alleged offenders.

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

Inside the Vatican

LONDON (ENGLAND)
BBC

September 27, 2019

By Christopher Lamb

[Video not streamed in the United States]

Filmed over a year inside the Vatican, episode two charts a time of change as Pope Francis appoints 14 new cardinals and a sex abuse scandal erupts just as the Pope embarks on a historic visit to Ireland.

Pope Francis is a reformer and he is shaking up the clerical establishment. He is questioning attitudes to divorce and homosexuality, and he is not shy about confronting his opponents. Every year Pope Francis gives his annual address to the Curia Romana, the cardinals, bishops and priests who make up the central governing body of the Church.

One of the most important tools of reform the Pope possesses is his power to appoint new cardinals. This is the closest he comes to succession planning because the college of cardinals will elect the new Pope at the next conclave. This year, Pope Francis is appointing 14 new cardinals and he is breaking with tradition by choosing men not only from the centres of power in Europe and North America, but also from countries such as Iraq, Madagascar and Pakistan. Not everyone is impressed. Sandro Magister, an influential journalist who has been reporting on the Catholic Church for over 50 years, is critical of the Pope’s choice of new cardinals.

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

Catholic priests claim they are ‘living in a state of persecution’ because of child abuse scandals – and argue the REAL crisis in the church is dwindling congregations

LONDON (ENGLAND)
Daily Mail

September 27, 2019

By Hayley Richardson

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-7512031/Catholic-priests-claim-living-state-persecution-child-abuse-scandals.html

– Archbishop Paul Gallagher, from Liverpool, says things have changed radically
– Each year the Vatican processes hundreds of cases of priests accused of abuse
– Father Hans Zollner says Pope Francis, 82, has put scandal on the world agenda
– He said there is a sense among priests that they can do whatever they want

Catholic priests claim they are living in a ‘state of persecution’ amid ongoing investigations into sexual abuse allegations dating back decades.

In tonight’s Inside the Vatican, the second part of a BBC 2 documentary, members of the clergy address the scandal which rocked the Catholic Church last summer and the resonating impact it’s had.

Archbishop Paul Gallagher, Holy See Foreign Minister, claims things have changed ‘very radically’ due to dwindling trust in the establishment.

Don Luigi, a priest who has lived in the Vatican since he first arrived as a 12-year-old altar boy, claims he now feels members of the clergy live in a ‘kind of persecution by the media’.

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

Priests in sex abuse scandal face court dates this fall

LANSING (MI)
WILX 10 NBC

September 27, 2019

On Friday, the Catholic Diocese of Lansing released the names of priests accused of sexually abusing minors.

There were 17 priests named, of which eight are dead, according to the Diocese of Lansing’s list.

Among the nine still alive, the State Attorney General’s Office confirmed on Friday that two on the list from the Lansing area have court dates scheduled this fall, they are Timothy Crowley and Vincent DeLorenzo.

The Michigan Attorney General, Dana Nessel, said, “The Lansing Diocese has taken an important step today by publicly sharing information about priests who have been credibly accused of abusing minors. We welcome this transparency by the Diocese and will continue to work on our own efforts to pursue justice for the victims of clergy abuse.”

After the release of the names, Nessel’s office released an update on each of the charged defendants.

• Timothy Crowley – A preliminary exam is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 1, in Washtenaw County District Court. Defendant is out on bond with a tether.

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

Clergy abuse scandal goes back decades

LANSING (MI)
WILX 10 NBC

September 27, 2019

The Catholic Church scandal has been making a lot of headlines in the last couple years but it goes back more than three decades.

It would be almost impossible to say when the first accusation of sexual abuse by clergy was made, but we know the church opened a treatment center for troubled priests in 1947.

The first major criminal case didn’t come to light until almost 40-years later.
What’s believed to be the first criminal case involving a pedophile priest happened in Louisiana.

Gilbert Gauthe was indicted on 34 counts of sex crimes against children. He pleaded guilty in 1986 and was sentenced to 20-years in prison.

Eleven years later, a jury in Dallas awarded 119-million dollars to 11-survivors of clergy sex abuse.

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

‘May God have mercy on your soul’: Victims speak as ex-priest gets maximum sentence for sexual assault

WAUSAU (WI)
Wausau Daily Herald

September 26, 2019

By Laura Schulte

https://www.wausaudailyherald.com/story/news/2019/09/26/wisconsin-catholic-priest-thomas-ericksen-sentenced-prison-sex-assault-boys/2417983001/

[Includes video from the court of victim statements, Ericksen’s apology, and the judge’s sentencing.]

Hayward – An audible sigh of relief was let loose in the Sawyer County Courthouse on Thursday as a former Wisconsin priest received a maximum prison sentence for sexually assaulting young boys in the 1980s.

Four men celebrated the moment in the Hayward courtroom after sharing stories of abuse perpetrated by a man they once trusted. One of the victims, a teacher from Merrill, went public with his identity for the first time Thursday.

Thomas Ericksen, 72, was sentenced to 30 years in prison on two charges of sexually assaulting boys while stationed at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Winter. He also will be registered as a sex offender for life.

Details from four other allegations also were considered in the sentencing: two from Sawyer County that were dismissed as part of a plea deal, and two from Lincoln County that never were filed in court but were investigated by the Merrill Police Department. The two reports in Merrill dated to the late 1970s and early 1980s, when Ericksen was stationed at Holy Cross Hospital as a chaplain.

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

87-year-old Allentown priest ‘self reports’ sex abuse case, removed from ministry

ALLENTOWN (PA)
Morning Call

September 27, 2019

By Daniel Patrick Sheehan and Emily Opilo

An 87-year-old Catholic priest who retired 11 years ago was removed from ministry after telling superiors that he sexually abused a minor in the early 1980s, the Allentown Diocese said Friday.

Stephen J. Halabura — who was ordained in 1961 and had been serving as a substitute priest as needed — was removed from ministry in May when he reported the incident. Law enforcement was notified, the diocese said in a news release.

The incident occurred at the former St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Millmont, Berks County, which was later closed and merged into St. John Baptist de la Salle in Shillington.

List of Allentown Diocese priests named in grand jury report, by diocese or publicly accused »
An independent investigation concluded the report was credible. The Independent Review Board, a panel that advises the bishop on clergy abuse, “recently recommended Halabura was unsuitable for ministry” and his name was added to the list of accused priests on the diocese website, the release said.

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

An estimated 2.8% Diocese of Lansing priests credibly accused of abusing a minor since 1937

LANSING (MI)
Diocese of Lansing

September 27, 2019

An estimated 2.8% of priests belonging to the Diocese of Lansing have been subject to a credible allegation of sexual abuse of a minor since the foundation of the diocese in 1937 – over 90% of such allegations stem from a three-decade period beginning in the 1960’s. That’s according to new data published by the Michigan diocese listing the names of all those priests credibly accused — all of whom are now dead or no longer in active ministry.

“The primary intended audience of this list are victims of abuse: to encourage presently unknown victims to come forward; to help victims expose their abusers; and to assist victims in finding healing – it is also hoped that this information will assist all to ensure that such abuse never happens again,” said Bishop Earl Boyea of Lansing, 27 September.

Since 1937, there have been an estimated 1,654 priests who served within the Diocese of Lansing, consisting of 471 diocesan priests, 518 religious priests, and 665 who were ordained for another diocese but who have resided, even temporarily, in the Diocese of Lansing.

The publication of today’s list is the result of an internal review of reports of sexual abuse of minors made to the diocese over the past 82 years. It reveals that a total of 17 priests have been subject to a credible allegation of sexual abuse of a minor during that time: 13 diocesan priests; three priests from religious orders; and one priest from another diocese. The list of names was compiled by diocesan staff with the assistance of the Diocese of Lansing’s Review Board for the Sexual Abuse of Minors, including past Review Board chairs.

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

List of clergy with a credible allegation of sexual abuse of a minor

LANSING (MI)
Diocese of Lansing

September 27, 2019

This list of clergy who have served in the Diocese of Lansing (1937 until present) and were subject to a credible allegation of sexual abuse of a minor is divided into four categories:

I. Diocese of Lansing clergy permanently removed from ministry;
II. Diocese of Lansing deceased clergy;
III. Extern clergy – clergy of other dioceses – that had a credible allegation of sexual abuse during their time in the Diocese of Lansing; and
IV. Religious Order clergy with a credible allegation of sexual abuse of a minor during their time in the Diocese of Lansing.

For purposes of this list, the term “credible allegation” means that diocesan officials have determined, that regarding an allegation of clerical sexual abuse of a minor made to the Diocese, one or more of the following exists:

With the assistance of the Diocesan Review Board, the Bishop of Lansing determined that the allegation was credible, i.e., that the allegation appeared to be true;
• The accused admitted the allegation;
• The allegation resulted in a criminal conviction;
• The allegation resulted in the accused’s removal from ministry or laicization; or
• The allegation resulted in a civil settlement with either the accused or the Diocese.

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

Diocese releases accused priests’ names

LANSING (MI)
WILX 10 NBC

September 27, 2019

The Catholic Diocese of Lansing has released the names of priests accused of sexually abusing minors.

Bishop Earl Boyea commented on the list during a press conference on September 27.

“One priest is too many. One victim is too many,” he said.

On Friday, Sept. 27, Bishop Earl Boyea published the names of priests who are credibly accused of abusing a minor since the foundation of the Diocese in 1937.

The Diocese says it’s cooperating with the investigation, but that’s not why it released the names on Friday.

“We view it as consistent with the Attorney General’s investigation. When allegations come to the Diocese, we share them with the Attorney General. This release of names may lead to additional individuals coming forward either to us or the Attorney General,” said Bloomfield.

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

Accusations of sexual abuse made against priest who used to serve in Spencer and Perry Counties

EVANSVILLE (IN)
WFIE 14 News

September 27, 2019

By Randy Moore

The Catholic Church in Spencer county has been notified of an allegation of sexual abuse against a priest who once served in the county.

St. John the Baptist Province in Cincinnati said in a statement that Fr. Thomas Richstatter has been suspended, even though he is now retired.

The alleged abuse reportedly happened in the Cincinnati area more than 30 years ago.

Richstatter served at St. Meinrad Archabbey in Spencer County and St. Paul Catholic Church in Perry County.

The Province says it is cooperating with law enforcement and has offered outside counseling to the person who made the allegation.

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

Pontifical University Takes up Sex Abuse of Nuns by Priests

ROME (ITALY)
Associated Press via U.S. News and World Report

September 26, 2019

By Nicole Winfield

A Togolese nun has successfully defended a first-ever dissertation at a Vatican-sanctioned university on the sexual abuse of nuns by priests in the latest evidence of a problem confronting the Catholic Church in the #MeToo era.

Sister Makamatine Lembo was awarded summa cum laude at her defense Thursday at the Pontifical Gregorian University, and was praised by her examiners for her courage in taking on such a taboo subject.

Lembo’s dissertation explores the relational dynamics behind the sexual abuse of nuns by priests, focusing on nine victims in five sub-Saharan countries. It found that the abuses involved entrenched power imbalances that made consent impossible, a yearslong grooming process and often money given to poor sisters in exchange for sex.

Examiner Sister Brenda Dolphin thanked Lembo “on behalf of consecrated women all over the world,” particularly for delving into issues of consent and the often complicit role played by religious superiors who fail to help sisters when they report abuse.

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

Attorney General calls out Diocese of Pittsburgh, bishop for lack of remorse and transparency

PITTSBURGH (PA)
WPXI

September 26, 2019

By Rick Earle

It’s been more than a year since a grand jury released a report on priest sex abuse, and now Attorney General Josh Shapiro is in Pittsburgh with new criticisms of the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh.

On Thursday, Shapiro said the church continues to show a lack of transparency and remorse, calling out both the diocese and Bishop David Zubik.

“We continue to see the church throw up roadblocks when it comes to getting those people who were abused the support and assistance that they need,” Shapiro said.

Shapiro claimed both the diocese and Zubik failed to adequately respond to the grand jury clergy sex abuse report in 2018

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

Another Jesuit Dallas graduate sues school and diocese, alleging priest sexually assaulted him

DALLAS (TX)
Dallas News

September 26, 2019

By Tom Steele

The accuser says he was 15 when the Rev. Patrick Koch abused him in a closet at the school.

Another graduate of Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas has sued the school, claiming that a priest sexually assaulted him while he was a student there in the 1980s.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Dallas County civil court, also names the Catholic Diocese of Dallas among the defendants.

The suit alleges the school and the diocese did not protect the student from being abused by the Rev. Patrick Koch and then covered up the abuse.

Neither the school nor the diocese commented on the specific allegations Thursday.

The defendants “knew that Koch’s psychosexual disorder rendered him unfit for a position of trust and confidence to be assigned around minors such as those who attended Jesuit Dallas,” the lawsuit says. “Despite this knowledge, defendants allowed Koch unsupervised and unfettered access to young boys.”

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

The Catholic church rethinks seminary training after its child abuse scandal

AUSTRALIA
The Age

September 24, 2019

By Farrah Tomazin, Chris Vedelago and Debbie Cuthbertson

Australia’s Catholic Church is considering scrapping the centuries-old system of training priests in seminaries, which helped create some of the country’s worst paedophiles.

Two years after a royal commission exposed the scale of child abuse in the church, Catholic leaders are already quietly reshaping the way clergy are appointed, with new screening and monitoring protocols for seminary candidates and a revamped “national program of priestly formation” being developed.

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

Abuse victim receives multi-million-dollar payout from Catholic Church

AUSTRALIA
The Sydney Morning Herald

September 27, 2019

By Andrew Thomson

The Catholic Church is expected to pay out as much as $3 million in a landmark legal settlement with a man who was raped in the confessional when he was a nine-year-old boy by notorious paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale.

The settlement in the first civil case in which the church admitted liability for the actions of a paedophile cleric is expected to have a massive impact on hundreds of other law suits filed in Victorian courts.

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

LOCAL DA LAUNCHES INVESTIGATION INTO BUFFALO PRIEST

BUFFALO (NY)
ChurchMilitant

September 24, 2019

By Martina Moyski

Bp. Malone denies cover-up while calls for him to step down increase

BUFFALO, N.Y. (ChurchMilitant.com) – A New York district attorney is launching an investigation into allegations of sex abuse against a Buffalo priest.

Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn has opened an investigation into a former seminarian’s complaints that a priest sexually harassed him and stole a letter from him in an effort to blackmail another priest.

Former seminarian Matthew Bojanowski, who attended scandal-ridden Christ the King Seminary, claims that Fr. Jeffrey Nowak violated the seal of confession several years ago when Bojanowski told Nowak during confession that he wanted to become a priest.

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

More lawsuits to be filed against WNY school districts under Child Victims Act on Friday

BUFFALO (NY)
WIVB

September 26, 2019

By Troy Licastro

Two sexual abuse survivors spoke publicly on Friday regarding four lawsuits under the Child Victims Act being filed against Kenmore West High School for alleged sexual abuse in the 1970s.

A retired union representative from the Kenmore Teachers Association was also on hand to discuss what she says the school district knew during the time of this alleged abuse.

Attorneys Steve Boyd and Jeff Anderson announced plans to also file Child Victims Act lawsuits against schools and districts, including:

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

In New Orleans, hope for justice seen in ex-deacon’s arrest

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
Daily Journal

September 27, 2019

By Jim Mustian

A man who says he was raped by a Roman Catholic deacon four decades ago while serving as an altar boy in New Orleans says he hopes the deacon’s arrest will “send a message to other pedophiles in the church that this should never happen again.”

“There’s no closing the book on this for me and the other people who have been molested,” the man told The Associated Press. “But there would be some reparation, some justice, by him being found guilty.”

The man spoke Thursday as he prepared to meet with local prosecutors about the case of George F. Brignac, a longtime schoolteacher and deacon who has faced a series of sexual abuse allegations amid a scandal that has roiled the Archdiocese of New Orleans. The AP does not usually identify victims of sex crimes.

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

Harrisburg Diocese fights for dismissal of lawsuit by man who claims Catholic priests raped him in 1960s

HARRISBURG (PA)
Penn Live

September 25, 2019

By Matt Miller

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg is pressing hard for the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by a man who claims two priests repeatedly raped him when he was an altar boy nearly 60 years ago.

The attorneys for that man, Donald Asbee, who now lives in Missouri, are fighting just as hard to keep the case on track for a trial in Dauphin County Court.

The legal battle is one of the latest to erupt since a state grand jury last year released a scathing report on child sexual abuse by Catholic clergy in Pennsylvania.

That report has prompted apologies to victims from bishops and other church leaders all the way up to Pope Francis. It also led Bishop Ronald Gainer of the Harrisburg Diocese to release the names of 71 people in the diocese, including priests, who were accused of sexual improprieties.

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

Former Jesuit student in Dallas sues for alleged sexual abuse by a priest

DALLAS (TX)
WBAP/KLIF

September 27, 2019

The Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas has been sued by another former student who claims he was sexually assaulted by a priest while attending the school in the 1980’s. The lawsuit alleges the unidentified former student was abused by the Rev. Patrick Koch. It also claims the Dallas diocese covered up the abuse. The diocese does have Koch on a list of clergy “credibly accused” of sexually abusing children. Koch was never charged with a crime, and died in 2006 at age 78.

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

Lawsuits to be Filed Against Multiple Western New York High Schools and School Districts

WILLIAMSVILLE (NY)
Anderson Adocates

September 2, 2019

Two survivors to speak publicly for the first time Friday

Four lawsuits to be filed against Kenmore West High School involving two sexual predators

Survivors Margaret George and Lorna Barrie
Western Public Schools Map

(Williamsville, New York) – At a news conference Friday, two Kenmore West sexual abuse survivors will speak publicly about their lawsuits against Kenmore West High School for the sexual abuse they endured in the 1970s. A retired Union Representative from the Kenmore Teachers Association will also be present to discuss what was known by the school district during the time of the abuse.

The law firms of Steve Boyd, PC and Jeff Anderson & Associates will also be filing suit against the following schools and their districts under the New York Child Victims Act:

Amherst High School
Buffalo Public Schools
Maryvale East Elementary School
Mount St. Joseph Academy
Niagara Falls High School
Hamburg High School

Attorney Leah Costanzo, a partner in the Law Offices of Steve Boyd and John V. Elmore, will be lead litigation counsel on the public-school cases.

“There was ‘look-the-other-way’ culture in these schools despite their legal obligation to report these predators and a moral obligation to protect these children,” Ms. Costanzo said.

“This was a culture. In some of these cases, everyone in the school knew was what going on and school leadership did nothing,” said Attorney Steve Boyd. “The Child Victims Act makes them accountable.”

Section 413 of the New York State Social Services Law requires all school officials from top administrators to the school nurse to report instances of suspected child abuse or maltreatment only when they are presented with reasonable cause to suspect child abuse or maltreatment in their professional roles. That law was passed in 1973.

In addition to these school cases, Jeff Anderson and Associates and Steve Boyd, PC have filed 100 clergy lawsuits naming the Diocese of Buffalo as defendants.

WHEN: Friday, September 27, 2019 at 11:00AM ET

WHERE: Law Offices of Steve Boyd and John V. Elmore
40 North Forest Road
Williamsville, NY 14221

Contact: Steve Boyd: Office: (716)400-0000; Cell: (716)856-7777
Leah Costanzo: Office: (716)400-0000
Jeff Anderson: Office: (646)759-2551; Cell: (646)499-3364

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

Sex abuse scandal leaves Australian Church, gov’t scrambling for solutions

SYDNEY (AUSTRALIA)
CNA

September 25, 2019

In the wake of a major clergy sex abuse scandal and the high-profile, controversial trial and conviction of sex abuse of Cardinal George Pell, government and Church officials in Australia are scrambling for solutions.

Among these proposed or enacted interventions are those that would break with teachings or traditions of the Catholic Church.

One such oft-proposed intervention is the scrapping of the seal of confession, a proposed solution included in the Australian Royal Commission’s report on clergy abuse published last year.

Earlier this month, the Australian states of Victoria and Tasmania passed a law requiring priests to violate the seal of confession if anything in the confession indicated or implicated someone in a case of child sex abuse. The laws add religious leaders to the existing list of mandatory reporters, and failure to report abuse is punishable by time in prison.

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

Australian states pass law requiring priests to report abuse disclosed in confession

SYDNEY (AUSTRALIA)
Catholic News Service

September 26, 2019

By Michael Sainsbury

The Australian states of Victoria and Tasmania have become the latest in the country to pass legislation criminalizing priests who fail to report the abuse of children disclosed during confession. The country’s six states and two territories are all expected have such laws in place in coming months.

But some clerics, including Melbourne Archbishop Peter Comensoli, one of Australia’s most senior and vocal bishops, have vowed to ignore the laws in an effort to uphold the seal of the confessional.

Archbishop Comensoli told Australian public radio that he would urge anyone who confessed to child sexual abuse to tell police. But he added that he, personally, would not break the seal, preferring to go to jail.

The laws broadly make it a crime if members of the clergy do report abuse or suspected abuse to police. Penalties for breaching the new laws range from fines to decades in prison, and the laws underscore the rollback of special concessions for the church in Australia following the country’s landmark Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

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

Priest with ’70 adopted children in family’ is accused of raping girl in his care, denied bail

RUSSIA
rt.com

September 26, 2019

A Russian priest who is credited with heading the largest family in the country after fathering and adopting over 70 kids, has been arrested on a charge of sexually abusing his dependants.
A court in Orenburg, a city about 1,200 km southeast of Moscow, has ordered the pre-trial arrest of Nikolay Stremsky.

Stremsky, or father Nikolay as he is usually called, is a sort of local celebrity in the Orenburg region.

A veteran of the Afghan war who was ordained a Russian Orthodox priest, he and his wife run a Christian foster home, except the wards there are also his adopted children. Investigators say he is a sexual predator, who has abused at least seven children in his care.

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

Mental health records of alleged abuser

ROCKVILLE (MD)
The Sentinel

September 26, 2019

By Tom Ryan

There have been many civil lawsuits against churches in recent years, seeking damages as a result of sexual abuse by members of the clergy. One issue that may come up is whether in such a case mental health records of the alleged abuser can be obtained. This issue was addressed in a recent reported opinion in Maryland’s Court of Special Appeals in a case called St. Luke’s Institute v. Andre Jones.

The opinion indicates that Jones filed suit in Massachusetts against the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston and the Congregation of the Sacred Heart, alleging that Jones was abused as a minor by a brother in the congregation. The abuse was alleged to have occurred from 1978-1992. During the discovery phase of the Massachusetts suit, it was learned that the brother had received mental health treatment in the early 1990s at St. Luke’s, which for many years had treated Catholic clergy.

The church defendants indicated they had destroyed two reports from St. Luke’s about that treatment, so Jones sought to subpoena them from St. Luke’s in Maryland. St. Luke’s objected, raising privacy issues under the Maryland Confidentiality of Medical Records Act, although the brother had died in 2011. The trial Court ordered that the entire mental health record be produced under seal to the court in Massachusetts, and St. Luke’s appealed.

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

The Catholic Diocese of Memphis is at work creating a list of clergy who are “credibly accused” of sexual abuse of children.

MEMPHIS (TN)
Memphis Commercial Appeal

September 4, 2019, Updated September 9, 2019

By Katherine Burgess

As Memphis’ Catholic diocese works on list of clergy accused of sex abuse, many questions remain

Bishop Carroll Thomas Dozier’s body is entombed in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, watched over by two kneeling stone angels.

Memphis’ first bishop is remembered for his activism: For opposing the segregation of schools, advocating for women’s rights and offering absolution to estranged Catholics.

He’s also “credibly accused” of sexually abusing a child, the Catholic Diocese of Richmond announced in February.

Nonetheless, his body remains in the cathedral, and his portrait continued to hang in the chancery this spring
.
Faced with increasing pressure from victims and advocates, the Catholic Diocese of Memphis is at work compiling its own list of credibly accused clergy. This comes after more than 135 other U.S. dioceses have released their own lists.

However, diocesan officials in Memphis have refused to answer questions about the criteria being used to create the list, what information will be included or who, exactly, is doing the work.

“I assure the people of the Memphis Diocese that we are taking all of the necessary steps to address your concerns,” Bishop David Talley wrote to people in the diocese in May. “As your Bishop, I promise to do everything in my power to safeguard our children and youth and to help those who are victims of abuse. We must be transparent and bring to light any wrongdoings of the past so healing can take place.”

Talley has asked lay members of the diocesan review board — which the diocese says includes judges, former prosecutors, medical professionals and experts — to review the diocese’s files regarding priests, bringing information to the board. Then, the board will provide Talley with a list of names.

Critics say the diocesan review board is not without bias: It serves at the will of the bishop. They also say that the Diocese of Memphis has been historically reluctant to release information, although that could change under its new bishop, Talley, who was installed in April.

What one victim’s mother thinks of the review board

Glinda Rhodes remembers going before the diocesan review board after the death of her son, Ian Watts, at 30 years old.

Watts had been the happiest of children, Rhodes said, until he began his second year at St. Anne Catholic School in Memphis.

For the next 20-something years, her son’s life spiraled out of control, Rhodes said, and she always had the gnawing feeling that something wasn’t right. Finally, after the Catholic Church had been racked with public scandals over sex abuse, she asked her son whether something had happened to him in Catholic school.

After treatment for alcohol abuse, Watts began recovering memories and told his father that he had been raped. Later, he returned to St. Anne, attending a midnight Mass on Christmas of 2010. He began to have flashbacks, telling his father, “Dad, they took turns with me.” He named two priests and said there was a third whose name he didn’t remember.

It had happened when he was seven years old, he said.

In early February of 2011, Watts died in a car crash.

Later, the family filed a complaint with the Diocese of Memphis, which initiated a process of evaluation. The diocesan review board interviewed some members of the family separately. Rhodes said that at the time she could identify a financial tie between all but one member of the board and the Catholic Diocese.

It was like a courtroom, she said, with them picking apart everything the family members had to say.

“The character of the priests was never an issue, never brought up,” she said.

One of the priests named by her son had been in seminary at the time, which the priest used to defend himself, Rhodes said. However, seminarians were regularly at the church, she said.

Ultimately, the review board said that while Watts had likely been sexually assaulted, because he was deceased, they couldn’t call his accusation credible.

“They make the determination. It’s their call from beginning to end and they do not look at the character of the priest,” Rhodes said. “That is not even brought into play.”

As for the review board creating a list of credibly accused clergy now, the thought makes Rhodes laugh bitterly.

The Diocese is part of a larger church contending with sex abuse

The Catholic Church has been increasingly pressured to grapple with allegations of sex abuse since the early 2000s, when the Boston Globe’s investigation into cover-ups in the Catholic Church gained national attention. In 2018, a Pennsylvania grand jury released a scathing report into findings of child sex abuse committed by Catholic clergy, prompting more dioceses to create their own lists before law enforcement creates it for them.

“Full transparency is the expectation right now from law enforcement to Catholics in the pews. I think being up front about credible abuse allegations is quickly becoming a standard that every diocese really should meet,” said John Gehring, Catholic program director at Faith in Public Life. “Secrecy defined a culture of clericalism that created this context where abuse of power became the norm. I think those days are over.”

Although the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) has urged Tennessee’s attorney general to investigate the state’s Catholic dioceses, the attorney general’s office says it doesn’t have that jurisdiction.

Tennessee, and Memphis specifically, have their own histories of grappling with sex abuse allegations.

In November 2018, Nashville — which was the only diocese in the state until Memphis was created in 1970 and Knoxville in 1988 — released a list of 13 former priests who had been credibly accused. Knoxville then issued a statement saying they had only one other case involving an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor by a priest.

David Brown, an abuse survivor who is involved with SNAP, said that when Nashville released its list, they left some names off. SNAP pushed back and they later added some names, he said.

Some names expected on Memphis list are already known

The Memphis Diocese hasn’t released its own list, but priests have been named in other ways, in lawsuits and on other lists.

In 2010, Memphians learned that 15 priests over four decades had been accused of sex abuse in the diocese after documents were released to The Commercial Appeal and the Memphis Daily News regarding a “John Doe” lawsuit. Some names were redacted if the allegations had not been substantiated.

That release “stunned” Catholics in Memphis, Brown said.

That lawsuit focused on the Rev. Juan Carlos Duran, a former Dominican priest who abused a 14-year-old boy while serving at the Church of the Ascension in Raleigh. The Bolivian-born Duran had been expelled from the Franciscan Order in 1985 for sexually abusing a boy in Bolivia, but was nonetheless accepted by the Dominicans, who knew of his past.

The Dominicans moved Duran to assignments in Panama, Miami, St. Louis and Memphis with good references. He also faced allegations of sexual abuse of children in St. Louis, before being moved to Memphis and sexually abusing 14-year-old “John Doe.” The diocese admitted to not doing a thorough background check, according to Commercial Appeal archives.

In some cases, lists released in other dioceses have included the names of clergy who served in Memphis.

The most shocking of those allegations was when the Catholic Diocese of Richmond, Virginia, released its list that included Dozier, who was assigned to three parishes there before being appointed the first bishop of the Diocese of Memphis after it separated from the Diocese of Nashville. The allegation of abuse was made after his death, but other details were not given.

“Dozier’s a tough one. Dozier is very famous for being an enlightened bishop, being on the forefront of issues of racial justice and things like that. Nobody likes it when somebody like that is accused of child abuse. It complicates the narrative,” said Terence McKiernan, who leads BishopAccountability.org, an organization that tracks allegations against clergy. “If Richmond put him on their list, they put him on their list because he was credibly accused.”

The Catholic Diocese of Memphis said in a statement on Aug. 1 that Dozier’s inclusion on the Richmond list “will be one of the matters brought before the Review Board.”

“The Memphis Review Board is actively investigating the matter of Bishop Dozier, and Bishop Talley is assisting them in their efforts to collect whatever information from outside the Diocese might be available to them,” the statement read. “Since the Memphis Review Board has not yet completed their review, at this time the Diocese does not want to pre-judge their recommendation.”

Brown himself was abused at 15 years old while growing up in Nashville by the Rev. Paul Frederick Haas, who was dismissed in 1977 and died in 1979. He was later named on the Nashville list. Haas also spent time in Memphis, including on the faculty of Memphis Catholic High School.

“Release that list and do it now,” Brown said, as if speaking to the Diocese of Memphis. “Tomorrow’s too late.”

It’s unclear how the review board will operate

Diocesan review boards were created to advise the diocesan or eparchial bishop “in his assessment of allegations of sexual abuse of minors and in his determination of a cleric’s suitability for ministry,” according to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.

“Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the diocesan bishop/eparch, with the advice of a qualified review board, to determine the gravity of the alleged act,” the charter reads.

McKiernan said it’s important to remember that members of the board are usually selected by the bishop.

Just how much information the review board works with is also up to the bishop.

In 2011, the chair of the diocesan review board in Philadelphia wrote an article explaining that she and other members of the board had been shocked to discover that they had not reviewed all cases of allegations against priests, nor did they know if all relevant information had been given to them regarding the cases that were presented.

The Catholic Diocese of Memphis did not answer a question about what criteria would be used to determine who is included on its list. When asked, it did not provide The Commercial Appeal with a list of members of the diocesan review board. Although Talley has authorized “employing a professional investigator to assist” the review board, the Diocese did not release the name of that investigator.

Retired FBI agent Kathleen McChesney, who was hired by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to establish its Office of Child and Youth Protection in 2002, said it can be a best practice for a diocese to use their review board to look at information.

She said she didn’t want to conflate reluctance with taking a measured approach toward creating a list. In some cases, a diocese has all the information available to make its disclosures, whereas others have merged or have little information in electronic formats.

In Memphis, diocesan files on priests and deacons have already been comprehensively reviewed twice. Talley’s request for a third review is “out of an abundance of caution and because he has arrived in Memphis so recently,” according to the diocese.

And when a list is released, there are questions of which names and details will be included.

SNAP criticized Talley, Memphis’ new bishop, when he was bishop of Alexandria, Louisiana, for not including work histories on their list.

McKiernan said it is fairly common to include an assignment history.

It is also important to include dates of those assignments, he said, allowing people to track down any gaps — whether a priest had shorter assignments than usual or may have been sent away for a period of time. It also shows whether they were allowed to pursue positions in close proximity to children.

Details like these allow people to learn about the diocese and “the enabling behavior as well as the abuse itself,” he said.

The Catholic Diocese of Memphis did not answer a question about whether work histories or types of abuse would be included in their list of credibly accused clergy.

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

He Sued Over a Priest’s Abuse. Then the Diocese Filed for Bankruptcy.

NEW YORK (NY)
The New York Times

September 26, 2019

By Corina Knoll

The Rochester diocese’s move has left many who were promised justice under New York’s Child Victims Act feeling betrayed.

Peter Saracino was in elementary school when, he said, a priest lured him away from a swimming pool and sexually abused him inside a seminary.

He kept the secret for decades, even as his life fell apart.

“We were raised to view the priest as another Christ,” Mr. Saracino said, “so when you get raped by a priest, it’s like being raped by God himself.”

Last month, at 67 years old, Mr. Saracino filed a lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester under a new law in New York that allows victims to seek justice over sexual abuse from long ago.

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

Catholic church swamped with hundreds of new sex abuse claims after legal change

AUSTRALIA
The Age

September 25, 2019

By Chris Vedelago, Farrah Tomazin and Debbie Cuthbertson

The Catholic Church in Victoria is facing at least 800 new legal actions for child sexual abuse in the wake of landmark legislation allowing victims to sue the church and revisit unfair settlements made under in-house compensation schemes.

The state government’s decision to abolish the so-called “Ellis defence” ended the church’s long-standing immunity to lawsuits and opened a floodgate of new claims that is threatening the financial stability of religious organisations around the state.

Data collated by The Age and based on case files from eight law firms dealing in institutional abuse found an unprecedented number of legal claims are now before the courts or being drafted on behalf of victims of the clergy.

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

Case dismissed against New York priest accused of abuse

NEW YORK (NY)
CNA

September 25, 2019

A priest of the Archdiocese of New York has been cleared of accusations of sexual abuse after the judge dismissed the case at the request of District Attorney’s office.

“We were pleased today to learn that the charges against Father Thomas Kreiser have been dismissed,” said a statement from the Archdiocese of New York on Sept. 24. “Father Kreiser has steadfastly maintained his innocence, and it is good to see justice has been done.”

Fr. Kreiser had served as a priest in Bronxville, a village near Manhattan, until he was accused of sexually abusing a 10-year-old girl in October, 2018. Kreiser was indicted in March, 2019. He was facing three felony counts of first-degree sexual abuse as well as three misdemeanor counts of endangering the welfare of a child. The archdiocese suspended him from public ministry while the case was being considered.

Archdiocesan spokesman Joseph Zwilling said that Fr. Thomas Kreiser will meet soon with the archdiocese to determine his return to ministry and future assignment.

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

Another list of abusive priests reveals deep ties to St. Michael’s College

MONTPELIER (VT)
VT Digger

September 25 2019

By Colin Meyn

The Society of Saint Edmund, the Catholic order that founded St. Michael’s College, has released a list of 10 priests who worked in Vermont that have been accused of sexually abusing children, adding to the 40 priests named by the Burlington diocese.

Two of the accused priests, John Stankiewicz and Nelson Ziter, were prominent educators and administrators at St. Michael’s. And in both cases the congregation describes the allegations of abuse as being “substantiated.”

As with the list of priests released by the Burlington diocese, the Saint Edmund’s list is short on details. It names the accused priests, when they were ordained, when they died, and when the church became aware of the accusations against them.

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

Buffalo Diocese releases code of conduct for clergy, policies for responding to allegations

BUFFALO (NY)
Olean Times Herald

September 24, 2019

By Jim Eckstrom

The Diocese of Buffalo on Tuesday released two new documents addressing sexual misconduct and abuse by diocesan priests.

One document is a code of pastoral conduct for clergy, while the second is an adult sexual misconduct policy and procedures.

“Bishops, priests, and deacons must uphold Christian values and conduct,” the code of pastoral conduct document states. “The Code of Pastoral Conduct for Clergy provides a set of standards for conduct in certain pastoral situations. This Code of Conduct applies to all Clergy that live and serve in the Diocese of Buffalo. Seminarians, since they aspire to ordination, are also called to conduct themselves according to this Code of Conduct.”

The diocese released the documents as it is facing a flood of sexual misconduct lawsuits, resulting from claims of priest abuse. Many of the claims date back decades.

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

Man claims he was sexually abused by priest, considers lawsuit against Providence Diocese

PROVIDENCE (RI)
NBC 10 News

September 23, 2019

By Michelle San Miguel

Robert Houllahan was about 8 years old when he said a Roman Catholic priest sexually assaulted him in the late 1970s.

Houllahan, 50, is considering suing the Diocese of Providence after the statute of limitations was recently extended for victims of sexual abuse.

During a news conference Monday, Houllahan said he was in Sunday school at St. Joseph’s Church in Providence around 1977-1978 when a nun took him out of class and took him upstairs to where Father Normand Demers lived.

“When I got upstairs, there was Normand Demers and another man there. They assaulted me. It was demeaning. It was terrible,” Houllahan said.

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

Madonna Manor, Catholic home for troubled youth in Marrero, at center of new abuse lawsuit

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
nola.com

September 22, 2019

By Ramon Antonio Vargas

A 61-year-old man has filed a lawsuit alleging he was repeatedly abused during the 1960s and 1970s by a high-ranking Catholic priest, three nuns and a lay employee with ties to a church-run home for troubled youth in Marrero.

Eric Reynolds’ lawsuit, filed Thursday at Orleans Parish Civil District Court, accuses priest Raymond Hebert, civilian staffer Charlie Earhart and nuns Martin Marie, Alvin Marie and Gertrude Marie of either molesting or beating him over 10 years after his arrival at Madonna Manor in about 1965.

Reynolds’ suit is not the first time a former Madonna Manor resident has accused Hebert, once a facility supervisor, of molestation. Nearly 15 years ago, four men named Hebert as one of their many abusers while they lived at the Barataria Boulevard site.

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

Former pastor of St. Veronica Church in Howell arrested by clergy sex abuse task force

TRENTON (NJ)
Asbury Park Press

September 20, 2019

By Kathleen Hopkins and Andrew J. Goudsward

A retired, former pastor of St. Veronica Roman Catholic Church in Howell has been arrested and charged with sexually assaulting an underage girl in the 1990s, authorities said.

The Rev. Brendan Williams, 78, who now resides in a retirement community for Catholic clergy in Lawrence, was arrested Friday and charged with second-degree sexual assault related to criminal sexual contact on a victim who was younger than 13, Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni said in a news release.

Williams was pastor of St. Veronica Roman Catholic Church in Howell when the alleged criminal acts occurred between 1997 and 1999, the news release said. He is alleged to have touched the victim’s intimate parts with his hands on at least three occasions during that time period – twice in Colts Neck and once at a location in Ocean County, the news release said.

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

Dead priests accused of abusing kids likely ‘reside in hell,’ lawsuits assert

BUFFALO(NY)
The Buffalo News

September 20, 2019

By Jay Tokasz

Three new lawsuits alleging child sex abuse decades ago by Buffalo Diocese priests who are who now deceased assert that those priests likely live in hell as a result of their crimes.

The Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria law firm also cited Catholic Church doctrine in stating that its clients were unable to locate hell to serve the priests who molested them with a court summons and complaint.

The language, highly unusual for a legal document, was included in three lawsuits against the Buffalo Diocese filed this week .

Most of the more than 140 Child Victims Act lawsuits filed so far against the diocese don’t include much detail about the allegations of child sex abuse lodged against priests, and the complaints feature routine legal language in alleging the diocese was negligent in allowing abuse to occur.

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

SIX CALIFORNIA BISHOPS START COMPENSATION PROGRAMS FOR CLERGY SEX ABUSE VICTIMS

SACRAMENTO (CA)
Church Militant

September 17, 2019

By William Mahoney, Ph.D.

Participation waives a victim’s right to sue

Six Catholic bishops in California announced Monday the establishment of compensation programs for victims of clergy sex abuse.

Victims of clergy sex abuse who register by Jan. 31, 2020, will be eligible for compensation in one archdiocese and five dioceses in California, including the archdiocese of Los Angeles and the dioceses of San Diego, San Bernardino, Orange, Fresno and Sacramento.

The bishops offering these compensation programs have established their own rules and requirements that prevent many victims of clergy sex abuse from participating.

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

Late Father John Smyth named in Chicago Archdiocese clergy abuse scandal; $80M awarded in settlements involving 48 Archdiocesans, 160 victims since 2001

CHICAGO (IL)
WLS

September 17, 2019

A new lawsuit has been filed in the Archdiocese of Chicago clergy sexual abuse scandal. The latest allegation points to Maryville Academy’s former head and priest, the late Father John Smyth on behalf of a man who said he was abused at the school when he was a boy.

Clarence George was 11-years-old when he arrived on campus at Maryville Academy in Des Plaines back in 2001. He had been a ward of the state since he was five.

“At first it was a very good situation,” George said. “I kind of felt that this might actually be a placement that works for a while and to make friends, and actually finish a semester.”

Now at the age of 29, George is the first Maryville alum to file a lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Chicago and naming Father John Smyth as his abuser. George is accusing the deceased priest of sexual abuse over the course of four years, which he said stated in 2001 and ended in 2004.

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

Bridgeport diocese sexual abuse report to be released soon

BRIDGEPORT (CT)
CT Post

September 25, 2019

By Daniel Tepfer

The release of retired judge Robert Holzberg’s report on sex abuse in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport is expected next month and will include information on former Bishop Edward Egan’s handling of these cases during his time leading the diocese, according to sources.

A draft of the document has already been reviewed by present Bishop Frank J. Caggiano.

Sources within the diocese said the report will include information about abuse cases already made public and take a closer look at the actions of Egan, who later became cardinal of New York, and was accused of hiding allegations of priest abuse while the head of the Bridgeport diocese.

Egan, who was Bridgeport bishop from 1988 to 2000, died in March 2015.

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

Know My Name by Chanel Miller review – memoir of a sexual assault

CALIFORNIA
The Guardian

September 25, 2019

By Rebecca Liu

Long known as ‘Emily Doe’, the survivor in the Brock Turner sexual assault case tells her powerful story, and offers hope

It could have been an entirely different story, one so ordinary in its violent diminishment of a woman. The script is well-worn. An assault at a student party; a disorienting walk through hospital clinics and police stations; panic attacks; a forensic examination of your character. How much did you drink? Why did you go to that party? Did you have a stable relationship with your boyfriend? You react by receding further into yourself. Perhaps you drop the charges; perhaps the judge is lenient. Your assailant soon gets on with his life, free to walk the halls of power. Trust the system, you were told.

But sometimes there are facts that bring you closer to something resembling justice. For a 22-year-old recent university graduate known to the world as “Emily Doe”, there were a few. Fact: Brock Turner, the man who assaults her behind a fraternity house skip in January 2015, is a Stanford University student and swimmer. Spiralling media attention in what is deemed the “Stanford swimmer case” means her rape forensic evidence kit receives expedited processing, thus avoiding, she later relates, the fate of a hundred others collecting dust in a slow-moving backlog. Fact: there are two witnesses to the assault, male graduate students who happen to be cycling past. They chase Turner away, and testify in Doe’s favour. Fact: after Turner is found guilty on three felony counts in March 2016, Doe, now 23, writes a powerful 7,000-word letter addressed to her attacker that she reads aloud at his sentencing. It is published on BuzzFeed in June and goes viral, receiving 15m views within a week.

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

Priests Who Taught, Lived at Saint Michael’s Quietly Identified as Accused

BURLINGTON( VT)
SEVEN DAYS

September 25, 2019

By Derek Brouwer

A recent report by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington was billed as an exhaustive accounting of sexual abuse allegations against Vermont priests. Yet the Edmundites, members of the Colchester-based Catholic order that founded Saint Michael’s College, have created their own list of 10 accused priests — and released it only on an obscure website where it has gone virtually unnoticed.

The list identifies nine deceased Edmundite priests who did not appear in the diocesan report, even though several were accused of abusing children while serving in Vermont. Two of the men — the late John A. Stankiewicz and the late Nelson B. Ziter — were revered figures at St. Michael’s.

College and Edmundite leaders say the allegations are unrelated to campus life.

Edmundite Superior General the Very Rev. David Cray, also a college trustee, nonetheless said he worried how St. Michael’s alumni would react to news of the allegations. The Society of Saint Edmund, as the order is formally known, published its findings in early August.

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

Your View by Saint Thomas More parishioner: How we can help create a revolution in Catholic Church

ALLENTOWN (PA)
The Morning Call

September 22, 2019

By Tom Garrity

Like so many Catholics, the sexual abuse scandal that rocked the Catholic Church has been demoralizing for me. I am angry. I’m sickened by the evil deeds of so many priests. My heart aches for victims and their families. And I’m saddened that so many of my family and friends have walked away. I have wanted to as well.

I think most everyone would agree — even if you didn’t believe in anything the Roman Catholic Church stood for — it was at the very least a moral compass, a rock, that we knew was there in the storm of life, challenging us to be better human beings. And then, poof, it all seemed to be a hoax. First Boston in 2002. Then the Pennsylvania grand jury report in 2018. Unfortunately, I’m sure there will be more to come.

The real loss here isn’t the dwindling population in the institution of the church; it’s that the church has become irrelevant in the hearts and minds of people who want/need/desire a nurturing of their spirit. And Christ has lost a channel to reach His flock.

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

Massachusetts priest arrested, charged with possession of child pornography

WORCESTER (MA)
Episcopal News Service

September 16, 2019

By Egan Millard

A priest in the Diocese of Western Massachusetts was arrested on Sept. 12 and charged with possession of child pornography after FBI agents raided the rectory where he lives with his husband, the church’s rector.

The Rev. Gregory Lisby had been suspended last year from his position as rector of All Saints Church in Worcester, Massachusetts, “for an inappropriate relationship with an adult that did not involve sexual contact,” the Rt. Rev. Douglas Fisher wrote in a letter to the diocese, adding that that disciplinary process did not yield any indication that Lisby was a danger to children. At the time of the Sept. 11 raid, Lisby had just begun teaching kindergarten in a public school in Holyoke. He had worked in other teaching positions in the area since his suspension, MassLive reported. He had previously served at Christ Church in Ridgewood, New Jersey, from 2010 to 2015, the Rt. Rev. Carlye Hughes, bishop of Newark, wrote in a letter to her diocese. He served at two churches in the Diocese of Rhode Island from 2005 to 2010, the Providence Journal reported.

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

Victims give “F” grade to Mphs bishop

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

Sept. 26, 2019

He’s been on the job now for six months
They ‘out’ two more local abuser clerics
Both worked in Memphis but are ‘under the radar’
But the diocese won’t post a ‘credibly accused’ list
Most other bishops in the US have already done so
And group urges Tennessee’s AG to investigate all TN dioceses

WHAT
Using chalk, clergy molestation victims will write on a sidewalk the names of predator priests and disclose two more ‘still under the radar’ credibly alleged pedophile priests who were in Memphis, but have attracted any public or media attention in the area.

Holding signs at a sidewalk news conference, they will also give Memphis’ new Catholic bishop a grade of “F” his first six months on the job, for refusing to
–post names of credibly accused clerics, and
–remove one of his predecessors – acknowledged by Catholic officials to be an abuser – from church programs and buildings.

They will call on the bishop to also reveal these alleged offenders’ names, photos, whereabouts and work histories immediately.

And they’ll call on current and former Catholic employees to ‘speak up’ about suspicions of child sex crimes and cover ups, in light of a new global church policy that says it’s their duty to do so.

WHEN
Wednesday, Sept. 26 at 1:00 p.m.

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

NARRATIVE ERASURE IS VIOLENCE: DAVE BOSHART APPOINTED PRESIDENT OF AMBS

Into Account blog

Sept. 12, 2019

By Stephanie Krehbiel

Often, when the internal ties that bind folks to a community are broken, that breakage happens quietly and the loss of relationship goes unacknowledged. I would like to acknowledge that this decision has effected a break in my relationship with AMBS. This decision, the way it was made, and the way it was announced have marked my exclusion from the community and the exclusion of many others like me. Today, I am grieving the loss.

–Hilary Jerome Scarsella, AMBS Facebook comment thread, September 10, 2019

On June 27, Into Account published a piece detailing our opposition to the selection of David Boshart as the new president of Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Indiana. On September 10, despite the efforts of LGBTQ+ Mennonites, other advocates for queer inclusion, and multiple sexual violence survivor organizations including Into Account, the AMBS Presidential Search Committee and Board of Directors announced Boshart’s official appointment as the new president.

They made this announcement after a lengthy process in which they supposedly gave due consideration to the many concerns raised about Boshart’s impending appointment. During that period of consideration, the AMBS search committee contracted with the FaithTrust Institute, a reputable nonprofit organization that works to end sexual and domestic violence in faith communities.

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

As Mass attendance in Philly declines, Archbishop Chaput’s successor must be more pastoral than polarizing | Opinion

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
The Philadelphia Inquirer

September 26, 2019

By Kathleen Sprows Cummings

On Thursday, Charles J. Chaput, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Philadelphia, turned 75, a milestone that marks the beginning of the end of his eight-year tenure. Under church law, bishops must offer to resign upon reaching that birthday. Pope Francis will either accept it or ask him to continue until a successor is named.

What this means is that Philadelphia, the ninth-largest diocese in the United States, may soon have a new archbishop.

This change in leadership comes during some very dark days for Philadelphia Catholics, although perhaps not the darkest in their history.

In 1844, riots in the Kensington and Southwark neighborhoods resulted in the destruction of two Catholic churches and 30 Catholic homes, the violence committed by Americans who viewed Catholicism as an irredeemably foreign religion. The story of what happened since has for so long been a narrative of triumph, punctuated by events like Cardinal Denis Dougherty’s 1935 purchase of a 10,000 square foot mansion on City Avenue, or Philadelphia’s warm embrace of Pope John Paul II in 1979.

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

Three Decades Ago, America Lost Its Religion. Why?

NEW YORK (NY)
The Atlantic

Sept. 25, 2019

By Derek Thompson

The idea of American exceptionalism has become so dubious that much of its modern usage is merely sarcastic. But when it comes to religion, Americans really are exceptional. No rich country prays nearly as much as the U.S, and no country that prays as much as the U.S. is nearly as rich.

America’s unique synthesis of wealth and worship has puzzled international observers and foiled their grandest theories of a global secular takeover. In the late 19th century, an array of celebrity philosophers—the likes of Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Marx, and Sigmund Freud—proclaimed the death of God, and predicted that atheism would follow scientific discovery and modernity in the West, sure as smoke follows fire.

Each weekday evening, get an overview of the day’s biggest news, along with fascinating ideas, images, and voices.

Stubbornly pious Americans threw a wrench in the secularization thesis. Deep into the 20th century, more than nine in 10 Americans said they believed in God and belonged to an organized religion, with the great majority of them calling themselves Christian. That number held steady—through the sexual-revolution ’60s, through the rootless and anxious ’70s, and through the “greed is good” ’80s.

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

Journalists are not the enemy

CHADRON (NE)
The Eagle

Sept. 25, 2019

By Devin Fulton

Bill Belichick is arguably the greatest coach of all time, there is no doubt about that. His standards and practices set an example for other coaches and people to follow, and rightfully so. Over the past two decades, his New England Patriots consistently have been nearly unbeatable. Belichick is known for his great coaching, but also his quiet press conferences.

However, a reporter asked him about a certain player (Antonio Brown) leaving the team and instead of just diffusing the question, Belichick showed a stare-down at the reporter, almost trying to assume some level of intimidation. I thought the move was weak by the coach because the reporter was just doing her job.

Antonio Brown joined the Patriots and was released after one week amidst sexual assault accusations. These were never really answered, and it seems the Patriots don’t want anything to do with providing details on the situation. With Brown being the focal point of any NFL discussion in the last month, I can see why Belichick didn’t want to answer any questions about his former receiver.

What I found unprofessional by the coach was his reaction to the question. There was no need for a death glare at a reporter.

A great coach doesn’t need to intimidate someone who simply asked a question politely. This was a weak move, but since Belichick is held to a high standard, lots of people think the media member was at fault.

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

Suspended priest accused in lawsuit of molesting teen 43 years ago

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

Sept. 26, 2019

By Mike McAndrew

The Rev. Arthur J. Smith, who has been a magnet for controversy in the Buffalo Diocese clergy abuse scandal, is accused in a lawsuit of sexually abusing a 16-year-old boy 43 years ago during a field trip to Washington, D.C., for eighth-grade students from a local Catholic school.

The boy and his two sisters were permitted by the principal at St. Bernadette Elementary School in Orchard Park to go on the field trip in 1976, according to the lawsuit. The boy was assigned to sleep in the same hotel room as Smith during the trip.

During the night, Smith got into bed with the boy and engaged in forcible sexual contact, according to the suit, which also names St. Bernadette Parish and the school as defendants.

In past interviews, Smith has maintained he has not sexually abused any children or adults.

It is the first lawsuit accusing Smith of molesting a child. But it is not Smith’s first brush with controversy.

Buffalo Diocese Bishop Richard J. Malone came under fire last year for allowing Smith to serve in a parish despite past complaints of inappropriate behavior by him. In 2011, Smith was placed on leave by a prior bishop following allegations that the priest sent an inappropriate Facebook message to a child. Smith in 2013 was relieved of his duties at a Clarence nursing home after two men made allegations of improper sexual advances. Malone later wrote a glowing letter of recommendation for Smith that helped him get a job as a cruise ship chaplain and then allowed him to serve in a parish.

Malone suspended Smith from ministry in April 2018 after the diocese received a new complaint of Smith engaging in inappropriate conduct with a minor, according to the diocese. The diocese announced in November that Smith would remain on leave because allegations that he had sexually abused a minor were substantiated. His case was sent to Rome for further review.

Smith started a GoFundMe campaign to raise $5,000 to defend himself.

The Rev. Ryszard S. Biernat, the former priest secretary to Malone, recently said that he told diocese officials in 2004, when he was a seminary student, that Smith had sexually assaulted him.

Smith admitted to The Buffalo News that he briefly laid down in bed next to Biernat, but he said he did not sexually abuse him.

Biernat said Auxilliary Bishop Edward M. Grosz told him the incident was his own fault and he blackmailed Biernat to stop complaining about Smith’s alleged actions. He said Grosz threatened to block his ordination as a priest if he didn’t keep quiet.

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

Group calls for Catholic bishops to release names of clergy accused of abuse

TORONTO (CANADA)
Canadian Press

Sept. 25, 2019

By Nicole Thompson

A group of survivors of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church has called for Canadian bishops to follow in the footsteps of some American counterparts and release the names of clergy facing credible misconduct allegations.

The survivors — connected by their shared experience rather than an umbrella organization — have travelled to the site of this week’s annual meeting of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops in Cornwall, Ont., to ask church officials to publicize the names. Thus far, the bishops have pushed back.

“In any other institution, if you’re protecting people who have offended, who have broken the law, nobody would stand for that. But it seems like, because they’re hiding behind the guise of the church, they’re not being challenged in this way,” said Gemma Hickey, whose own abuse case against a priest was settled outside of court.

“It’s not up to survivors to come forward to release the names. It’s up to the institutions that have harmed us.”

Hickey, who uses gender-neutral pronouns, is part of a group that met with seven bishops on Sunday to discuss their experiences and make their demands. Hickey said the survivors called on the bishops to come forward with the names of clergy members credibly accused of abuse, meaning cases backed up by documentation such as bills from therapists and settlement agreements. They’d also like to see the nature of those allegations released, along with a description of the church’s response.

Hickey is the founder of the Pathways foundation, but other survivors are affiliated with groups such as Ending Clergy Abuse and SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. Some of the other survivors in attendance at the Cornwall meeting had also brought their cases to court, or settled outside of it, they said.

“It’s pretty incredible to have that network now,” Hickey said. “Being sexually abused by a priest is even that much more isolating, because when you talk about confidentiality agreements and a culture of secrecy within the church, these types of things also affect people’s mental health.”

Hickey said the group is working to convince the bishops to centre abuse on their agenda.

“We were told that the issue of clergy sexual abuse wasn’t necessarily the focus of the plenary assembly,” Hickey said. “We’re trying to make it the focus. We feel this is the most important issue facing the church right now. It’s a global crisis.”

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

Clergy abuse report frustrates victims group

JEFFERSON CITY (MO)
News Tribune

Sept. 26, 2019

By Joe Ganim

Victims of Catholic clergy sexual abuse said Wednesday — like previous efforts to deal with the crisis — Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt’s recently released report on abuse was woefully inadequate.

Members and supporters of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests held a news conference on the sidewalk outside Schmitt’s Jefferson City office Wednesday afternoon to express their disappointment in the report, which they had awaited for more than a year.

David Clohessy, the former national director of SNAP, called on Schmitt’s office to reveal whom it interviewed for the investigation.

“In this report, there is virtually no mention of corrupt church officials who conceal — and have concealed in the past — these crimes,” Clohessy said. “Virtually no mention of several church-run treatment centers in Missouri that (over decades) have literally imported hundreds — if not thousands — of predator priests from other states. And virtually no mention of religious order priests, who comprise about one-third of the priests in America.”

These are among the shortcomings that “plague this probe,” he said.

Schmitt’s office replied to the criticism in a statement it released following the news conference.

“Victims have a right to be angry over the actions of the Catholic Church and the church’s wide-reaching cover up — in many instances, it has completely and totally upended their lives,” the statement said. “We were both humbled by the victims’ bravery in coming forward and deeply saddened by the stories of abuse and cover-up we heard. The Attorney General’s Office sought to do a thorough, victim-centric, and independent investigation of allegations of abuse from the Roman Catholic Church.”

SNAP has studied dozens of reports about clergy abuse from around the world — created by attorneys general, grand juries and special governmental bodies, Clohessy said.

“We have never seen a report as bad as this one — as deceptive and as unhelpful,” Clohessy said. “Because of this report, Missourians may well be left with the impression that most of the crimes and cover-ups are in the past. We believe that is wrong, and we believe that’s irresponsible.”

The investigation began in August 2018, after the public received revelations about Cardinal Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington, D.C., who was suspended in July 2018 over allegations he had sexually abused seminary students and later retired. Less than a month later, a Pennsylvania grand jury released a report on clergy abuse across the state.

Within a few days, the Archdiocese of St. Louis asked then-Attorney General Josh Hawley to look into its clergy. Bishop W. Shawn McKnight of the Diocese of Jefferson City soon followed the lead.

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

Southern Baptists Promote Book by Pastor Who Mishandled Girl’s Sexual Abuse Case

Patheos blog

Sept. 25, 2019

By Sarabeth Caplin

As we posted on this site in July, Matt Chandler, the pastor of The Village Church in Texas, was at the center of a sexual assault controversy. He hadn’t done anything abusive himself, but after a member of his church was accused of sexually violating an 11-year-old girl, we learned that Chandler didn’t tell his own congregation who the accused person was. In fact, he told them the accused person didn’t have “access to children at the Village Church”… which was only technically true because the suspect no longer worked there.

Then it got worse. Even after Chandler knew about the allegations, he emailed the congregation to say the man was leaving the church due to an “alcohol abuse problem.” Nothing else. The church gave that man a severance package. The third party that was hired by the church to oversee an investigation happened to be owned by people who also served as legal advisers for the church. The victim is now suing the church for $1 million.

In short, Chandler was a perfect example of how to do everything wrong after learning about a sexual abuse incident.

And yet, just days before the Southern Baptist Convention is holding a conference on caring for abuse survivors, the group is promoting a book written by Chandler.

Not the smartest of PR moves.

Bob Allen at Baptist News Global explains that the SBC’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission is hosting a conference in early October on the topic of “Equipping the Church to Confront the Abuse Crisis.” It comes in response to the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News coverage of sexual abuse scandals within the SBC.

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

Harrisburg Diocese fights for dismissal of lawsuit by man who says Catholic priests raped him in the 1960s

HARRISBURG (PA)
Patriot News

Sept. 25, 2019

By Matt Miller

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg is pressing hard for the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by a man who claims two priests repeatedly raped him when he was an altar boy more than 50 years ago.

The attorneys for that man, who now lives in Missouri, are fighting just as hard to keep the case on track for a trial in Dauphin County Court.

The legal battle is just the latest to erupt since a state grand jury last year released a scathing report on child sexual abuse by Catholic clergy in Pennsylvania.

That report has prompted apologies by bishops and church leaders all the way up to Pope Francis. It also led Bishop Ronald Gainer of the Harrisburg Diocese to release the names of 71 people in the diocese, including priests, who were accused of sexual improprieties.

The suit by the Missouri man, whose name is being withheld by PennLive because he claims to be the victim of sex crimes, also was triggered by the grand jury report. Before its release, he didn’t realize there was a decades-long “conspiracy” among diocese leaders to shield predator priests, the man contends in his suit.

The man, now 67, claims he was sexually assaulted and repeatedly sodomized by two now-dead priests, Father Raymond Daugherty and Father Walter Sempko, at Saint Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church in the early 1960s.

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

It’s Still Going on — Cover-Up of Abuse Is Still Going On

LITTLE ROCK (AR)
Bilgrimage blog

Sept. 25, 2019

Bt William Lindsay

Since some of us recently had a discussion here about Catholics withholding donations to parishes and Catholic institutions because many Catholics see their money put to uses that disgust them, including covering up clerical abuse of minors, I thought I’d draw your attention to this recent article by Brian Fraga. As he reports, Catholic donations to parishes and Catholic institutions in the U.S. are dropping because many Catholics believe their donations have been abused, in particular, to cover up clerical sexual abuse of minors. Fraga writes,
A Pew Research Center survey released this past summer indicated that 26% of U.S. Catholics reported giving less money as a result of the recent reports of sexual abuse and misconduct by priests and bishops.

Fr. Jay Mello, a pastor of two parishes in Fall River, Massachusetts, told CNS that his parishioners have been quite “vocal” about not donating to diocesan collections.
“They don’t trust the bishops and feel this is the only way they can send the message,” Mello said.

The Pew Research Center study referenced by Fraga was published this past June. It’s entitled “Americans See Catholic Clergy Sex Abuse as an Ongoing Problem” (the graphic at the head of the posting is from this study). The Pew study finds the following:

And, overall, about eight-in-ten U.S. adults say the recent reports of sexual abuse and misconduct by Catholic priests and bishops reflect “ongoing problems that are still happening” in the church. Far fewer (12%) think the recent reports reflect “things that happened in the past and mostly don’t happen anymore.”

The vast majority of U.S. Catholics are not convinced the abuse horror show is over and done with. They suspect “ongoing problems … are still happening” in the church. They do not trust the hierarchy — and have every reason not to do so — because of the deplorable track record of the hierarchy right to the present of covering up abuse of minors by clerics and church workers, of moving abusive clerics around with no notice to their new parishes or institutions that they pose a danger to minors, of issuing misleading and outright lying statemenhts to the public, of withholding information about what’s going on and how things are being handled, etc.

The withholding of donations is taking place now because many Catholics think the problems about which we have learned in the past two decades are taking place now. They are not in the past, as the bishops and their apologists want to claim.

Yesterday, I was a lurker in a Twitter conversation in which a young Catholic associated with the journal First Things entered a conversation between another tweeter and me to inform us that the abuse situation is over and done with, and that this was the primary point of Peter Steinfels’ critique of (or, more bluntly, attack on) the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report in Commonweal earlier this year. I say that I lurked in the conversation after this person entered it because he has a history of abusive behavior towards me on Twitter, and I have told him I will no longer engage him as a result of how he has dealt with me.

Given that, to the best of my knowledge, only the bishops and Vatican know the full score about the abuse horror show — all the data are in their hands, and we have every reason in the world to think they have never released all data to the public and will not do so — I wonder how anyone can conclude with a straight face that the abuse is all over and done with. Locked the gays out of the seminaries: problem solved. Only heterosexual seminarians and priests left, thank the Lord: abuse over! (Cf. Frédéric Martel’s In the Closet of the Vatican: Power, Homosexuality, Hypocrisy, which shows that the fierce ideological struggle now going on inside the Catholic hierarchy is a struggle between two overwhelmingly gay and closeted camps: problem not solved; gays still with us — but gays bitterly opposed to the rights of LGBTQ people in the rest of the world who are open about who they are and self-accepting.)

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

BISHOP’S BOOK ON SEXUAL ABUSE CRISIS MORE ABOUT SCANDAL THAN HEALING

WASHINGTON (DC)
Catholic News Service

Sept. 25, 2019

The title of Bishop Robert E. Barron’s “Letter to a Suffering Church” led me — as a survivor of childhood sexual abuse — to hope for a book like Fr. Thomas Berg’s excellent 2017 work “Hurting in the Church.”

Fr. Berg wrote for Catholics who were victimized by fellow Catholics. Using St. Paul’s image of the Church as body of Christ, he sought to help wounded readers come to see how the Church’s fundamental holiness remains despite the sins of individual members.

Bishop Barron, an auxiliary bishop of the Los Angeles Archdiocese, echoes some of Fr. Berg’s points — he observes that the Church “is an organism, not an organization” — but with a different aim. His book is not for those who are themselves suffering; a more apt title would be “Letter to a Scandalized Church.” Bishop Barron’s mantra, repeated seven times across 105 pages, is that Catholics angry about clergy abuse should not leave the Church but should rather “stay and fight.”

What we have here, then, is a pugilistic, often polemic book — heavy on seething, light on healing. Bishop Barron writes that “sexual abuse of young people … is a rot, a disease, a threat to the great principles of the Church that we hold dear.” The answer is to “fight by raising your voice in protest; fight by writing a letter of complaint; fight by insisting that protocols be followed; fight by reporting offenders; fight by pursuing the guilty until they are punished; fight by refusing to be mollified by pathetic excuses.”

On the positive side, Bishop Barron advises, “fight by your very holiness of life; fight by becoming the saint that God wants you to be; fight by encouraging a decent young man to become a priest; fight by doing a Holy Hour every day for the sanctification of the Church; fight by coming to Mass regularly; fight by evangelizing; fight by doing the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.”

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