Viewpoints: Healing, Reconciliation, Reform: A path forward for the Diocese of Buffalo

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

November 30, 2019

By John J. Hurley

Special to The News

Last December, the Movement to Restore Trust empaneled six working groups involving about 150 Catholics who developed a series of reports and recommendations for reform in the Diocese of Buffalo. These reports were released to the public this past July. The Movement was working with the diocese on the early stages of implementation of various reforms when it determined in early September that it did not believe that it could make further progress on its reform agenda while Bishop Richard J. Malone remained in office. The Movement called for the bishop’s resignation on Sept. 5. He has refused to resign.

In early October, the Vatican ordered an apostolic visitation of the diocese by Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, bishop of Brooklyn. DiMarzio completed his visitation in October after interviewing 80 priests and lay people, including two representatives of the Movement’s Organizing Committee. He has submitted his report to the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops.

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Bishops sex scandal inquiry complete without teacher’s testimony

CAPE TOWN (SOUTH AFRICA)
AfricansLive.com

November 30, 2019

An inquiry conducted by Bishops Diocesan College in Cape Town into alleged sexual abuse of pupils is complete, but the soon-to-be-released report will not include a testimony from history teacher and water polo coach Fiona Viotti, 32, the woman at the centre of drama.
“My client was not interviewed,” said Viotti’s lawyer William Booth.

“I advised her not to (comment) because it wasn’t a hearing. There was no disciplinary inquiry because she had already resigned.”

In mid-October, Bishops was rocked by the news that Viotti had immediately resigned after it was claimed she had a sexual relationship with a matric pupil.

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Press Release: Fortney Family to Announce Filing Lawsuit at December 2 Press Conference in Newark

NEW JERSEY
InsiderNJ.com

November 30, 2019

WHAT: At a press conference in Newark, New Jersey on December 2, 2019, Fortney Family sisters Patty Fortney-Julius and Lara Fortney-McKeever, along with their attorney, Benjamin D. Andreozzi, Esq., will announce the filing of a civil lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Newark and the Diocese of Harrisburg (PA) under New Jersey’s newly enacted civil window legislation. Patty and Lara’s lawsuit outlines priest Augustine Giella’s heinous sexual abuse of multiple of the Fortney Family sisters, including Patty and Lara, and the cover-up of his crimes by the Newark Archdiocese and Harrisburg Diocese. As the lawsuit outlines, Giella was incardinated into the Newark Archdiocese, but transferred to the Harrisburg Diocese, where he met the Fortney Family. He then abused the Fortney Family sisters in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

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Editorial: Boston Seminary Report Models Key Post-McCarrick Reforms

BOSTON (MA)
National Catholic Register

November 30, 2019

EDITORIAL: The response to allegations has been concrete, transparent and authentically Catholic, in its efforts to discern what is wrong at the seminary and how to rectify those shortcomings
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It would hardly be appropriate to characterize the recently released findings of the independent investigation undertaken at the Archdiocese of Boston’s St. John’s Seminary as “good news,” given that it did confirm that isolated instances of sexual misconduct and excessive alcohol consumption have taken place there in recent years.

But the outcome does appear to be a positive indication that key Church leaders are aiming in a better direction, when it comes to addressing sexual misconduct and other problems in seminaries.

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Bishop Franco’s bail extended

INDIA
TheHindu.com

November 30, 2019

The Additional District Sessions Court here on Saturday extended the bail granted to bishop Franco Mulakkal in a nun rape case and posted the case for further hearing to January 6.

Marking the commencement of the trial proceedings in the case, the bishop appeared before judge G. Gopakumar here on Saturday following a summons to appear for preliminary hearing. Alongside extending the bail, the court also permitted the defence counsel to substitute the existing bail bondsmen with the bishops brother and a nephew.

Appointment order

Meanwhile, special public prosecutor Jithesh J. Babu officially handed over his order of appointment to the court. The case has now been posted for a preliminary hearing on the charges on January 6 and after hearing both the defence and the prosecution, the court will frame its charges against the accused bishop.

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Lawsuit wave expected as New Jersey eases sex abuse limits

NEWARK (NJ)
Associated Press

November 30, 2019

By David Porter and Mike Catalini

The loosening of limits on sexual abuse claims in New Jersey is expected to create a tectonic shift in the way those lawsuits are brought, giving hope to victims who have long suffered in silence and exposing a broader spectrum of institutions to potential liability.

A law passed last spring goes into effect Sunday and allows child victims to sue until they turn 55, or within seven years of their first realization that the abuse caused them harm. The limit was two years before the new law. Adult victims also have seven years from the discovery of the abuse, and victims who were previously barred by the statute of limitations have a two-year window to file claims.

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Ray Hadley reveals the sentence for ‘Australia’s worst paedophile’

(AUSTRALIA)
873 AM Radio

Nov. 29, 2019

The man Ray Hadley believes is “Australia’s worst paedophile” has been sentenced to a further 18 years behind bars.

Brother Bernard Kevin McGrath committed the most heinous offences imaginable at a boys’ home north of Sydney, between 1978 and 1985.

He oversaw a reign of terror at the Kendall Grange boys’ at Morriset, where several brothers from the Order of St John of God raped and abused boys aged between seven and 13.

McGrath was extradited from New Zealand in 2014 and charged with 256 offences against 43 boys, as detailed extensively by the Newcastle Herald.

Due to the enormity of the case against McGrath his trial was split into two.

In 2018, he was found guilty of a range of offences and sentenced to a maximum of 34 years in jail, with his earliest release date in 2035.

Now, his second trial has finished and Ray Hadley has revealed the result.

Bernard Kevin McGrath has been found guilty of most of the offences and been sentenced to a further 27 years behind bars, backdated to 2026.

The 73-year-old’s sentence will now expire in 2053, making his full term 39 years but he will be eligible for parole in 2044 at the age of 97.

Investigating officers have told Ray Hadley this is the most sickening case of paedophilia they’ve ever encountered.

Ray agrees saying, “the deeds of this creature usurp most of the stuff I’ve dealt with over the past 30 years”.

“I’ve been reporting on these sort of cases for much of my broadcasting life. This is Australia’s worst paedophile. I mean that quite sincerely.”

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Pennsylvania’s sexual abuse laws leave survivors conflicted

HARRISBURG (PA)
Associated Press

Nov. 30, 2019

By Marc Levy

When Pennsylvania overhauled its child sexual abuse laws this week after a years-long battle, absent from the bill-signing ceremony were some of the people who had worked hardest for the changes.

Some sexual-abuse survivors and victim advocates felt conflicted by the compromise package: Missing was a cornerstone of the recommendations by last year’s landmark grand jury report on child sexual abuse inside six of Pennsylvania’s eight Roman Catholic dioceses.

That recommendation was for a two-year window in state law to allow now-adult victims of child sexual abuse to sue over claims that are past Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations.

Republicans who control Pennsylvania’s Senate, in a party-line vote, defeated it, 28-20, after longtime opposition by bishops and insurers. As an alternative, they offered the longer, more deliberative process of amending the state constitution to create a two-year window to sue.

That has left survivors and victim advocates knowing they have little choice but to trust lawmakers to pass a resolution to amend the constitution in the 2021-22 legislative session. Then they may have to fend off a legal challenge or a well-funded campaign to defeat it in a statewide voter referendum.

“We had hope up until the end,” said Mary McHale, a Reading resident who told the grand jury of her experience 30 years ago as a 17-year-old in a Catholic high school. “And we’re not done. We’re not finished, this is just a different route. But it’s hard when something’s right there and it’s tangible, and you have hope and then it’s gone again.”

Among the provisions signed into law is one giving future victims of child sexual abuse until their 55th birthday to sue their perpetrators and institutions that may have covered it up.

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Editorial: Nothing to Inspire Trust

GLOVERSVILLE (NY)
Leader Herald

Nov. 29, 2019

Sometimes it seems every pledge of reform by the Roman Catholic Church is matched by one –or more — reports of outrageous behavior.

A permissive policy toward predator priests who molested children appears to have characterized church policy for decades, not just in the United States but also in many other countries. Church officials say they will crack down on that. No longer will molesters be shielded, they vow.

But those pledges of turning over a new leaf have been coming forth for several years.

In 2017, reports surfaced that some church officials working with the Caritas International charity were engaged in pedophilia. The Rev. Luk Delft, a Belgian priest who had been working in the Central African Republic, was accused.

Officials in the Vatican had said they learned of allegations against Delft in 2017, but decided his Caritas International superiors should handle the matter. They did little; Delft remained as Central African Republic director of Caritas International until this year.

A few days ago, it was reported that Delft was appointed to the post even though he had been convicted in 2012 of child sexual abuse and possession of child pornography in Belgium.

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Indian Bishop goes on trial for raping nun

WASHINGTON (DC)
Raw Story

Nov. 30, 2019

A Roman Catholic bishop went on trial in southern India on Saturday accused of repeatedly raping a nun.

Franco Mulakkal arrived in court in Kottayam, Kerala state, with a group of supporters after attending morning prayers.

While the Catholic church has been rocked by sexual assault and abuse cases in many countries, Mulakkal is the first Indian clergy to go on trial.

The bishop is charged with raping the nun several times between 2014 and 2016, while head of the Missionaries of Jesus order.

Mulakkal did not immediately make a plea in court but he has denied the accusations in the run-up to the trial. He faces a maximum sentence of life in jail if found guilty.

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‘They looked the other way’: Sexual abuse claim dismissed by church foreshadowed years of allegations against Catholic bishop

WASHINGTON (DC)
Washington Post

Nov. 29, 2019

By Robert O’Harrow Jr. and Shawn Boburg

Michael J. Bransfield was just a couple of years into his tenure as West Virginia’s bishop in 2007 when one of his former students called a church sexual abuse hotline. Decades earlier, at a Catholic high school, Bransfield had repeatedly summoned him from class, escorted him to a private room and fondled his buttocks and genitals, the caller said.

The former student said he was a freshman when the unwanted touching began.

It was a stark warning about a cleric who allegedly went on in the next decade to grope and sexually harass seminarians and young priests in West Virginia.

The former student’s allegation, first reported to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, where Bransfield taught, was eventually referred to the highest levels of the U.S. Catholic Church and the Vatican, as well as to the police, according to the findings of a recent church investigation obtained by The Washington Post.

But no action was taken against Bransfield — and the church’s own investigators now say the allegation may warrant further examination.

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Mysuru Bishop booked for kidnapping, criminal intimidation, sexual harassment

BANGALORE (INDIA)
The News Minute

Nov. 30, 2019

By Alithea Stephanie Mounika

Nearly a month after a Catholic Bishop was accused of intimidating a survivor of sexual harassment, the Mysuru police on Friday registered an FIR against him. KA William, the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Mysuru has been booked for kidnapping (Section 506), criminal intimidation (Section 563) and outraging the modesty of a woman(354). He is, however, yet to be arrested by the police.

It was on November 5 that a complaint was filed against the Bishop by Robert Rosario, Association of Concerned Catholics (AOCC), a citizen’s group. This came after a video of a woman surfaced in March this year alleging that the Bishop threatened her, after she accused another priest of sexual harassment.

In the video, the woman, who formerly worked in the diocese, alleged that she was harassed by a priest, Leslie Moras, and later was allegedly threatened by the Bishop last year.

“I was called to the office after my field work at around 6 pm on the pretext of giving a report of what I had been doing. At that time, he [Leslie Moras] was grazing himself against me lustfully. Later, he directly approached me for sex, and said, ‘only if you compromise with me, you will have a job.’ I decided to quit my job thereafter, in May 2018,” she alleged.

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French cardinal’s career at stake in sex abuse case

LYON (FRANCE)
Associated Press

Nov. 30, 2019

By Nicolas Vaus-Montagny

A French cardinal said Thursday he did not understand why he was found guilty of covering up sexual abuse of children, speaking at an appeals court hearing that will help determine his future within the Catholic Church.

Cardinal Philippe Barbarin tried to resign after his original conviction in March for failing to report a predator priest to police. But Pope Francis refused to accept the resignation until the appeals process is complete.

Barbarin, the archbishop of Lyon, was given a six-month suspended sentence for “non-denunciation of sexual violence against minors.”

He told the court that he filed an appeal because “I cannot see clearly what I am guilty of.”

The appeal occurs at a time of increasing scrutiny around the world of the Catholic Church’s role in hiding abuse.

The case involves French priest Bernard Preynat, who has admitted to abusing Boy Scouts from the 1970s to the 1990s.

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Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston responds to Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s comments

WHEELING (WV)
Weirton Daily Times

Nov. 30, 2019

The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston and West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey are locked in a war of words over the church’s handling of its internal investigation into clergy sex abuse and various misdeeds by its former bishop.

Shortly after Bishop Mark Brennan announced punishment Tuesday against former bishop Michael Bransfield for allegedly sexually harassing other priests and his lavish spending while overseeing the diocese for more than a dozen years, Morrisey blasted the church for what he said was its lack of transparency.

Morrisey, who sued the diocese in March under the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act, called for the diocese to release internal investigative reports about Bransfield and improve its protection of children and assisting victims of sex abuse.

On Wednesday, Brennan responded directly to Morrisey in a written statement, refuting his accusations and claiming the diocese holds “rigorous controls regarding the protection of young people consistent” through its Safe Environment program and policy. He also said the diocese began a review of “credibly accused clergy” in July 2018, several months before Morrisey’s office issued a subpoena.

Brennan also alluded to a Nov. 6 ruling by the Circuit Court in Wood County that dismissed Morrisey’s lawsuit, pending confirmation by the state Supreme Court that “was obviously adverse to the Attorney General.”

“We can only assume this is why he continues to criticize the diocese and the Church,” Brennan said.

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For those claiming clergy abuse, a window long shut is about to open

TRENTON (NJ)
NJ TV

Nov. 29, 2019

By Brenda Flanagan

Sunday has been a long time coming for Bruce Novozinsky.

Decades ago, the 58-year-old Monmouth County resident claims, a Catholic priest tried to rape him in a hotel room while he was on a church trip with other altar boys. But he’s been barred from seeking justice in court by the New Jersey’s statute of limitations.

Now, armed with a new law that as of Dec. 1 opens a two-year window for those like Novozinsky who were thwarted in pursuing claims of past abuse by a trusted adult, his attorney says he will file lawsuits in the name of some 40 clients.

“For me, personally? It’s absolutely a day of vindication and validation,” Novozinsky said.

In his lawsuit, Novozinsky accuses the Diocese of Trenton and St. Mary of the Lake Church in Lakewood of covering up alleged abuse by the late Father Gerry Brown. His recollection of the incident is all-too-vivid.

“Within seconds, I turned and I elbowed him in the face,” he recalled. “He was bleeding from his nose, from the elbow. His underwear was down, just above his knees. He went into the bathroom — door wide open — and continued to masturbate.”

Novozinsky was 15. He claims church officials at the time called him a liar and covered up multiple cases involving Brown, whose name eventually appeared on a list of 188 priests credi

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Argentine victim calls bishop’s apology for abuse a ‘mockery’

KEY WEST (FL)
Crux

Nov. 30, 2019

By Elise Harris

After hearing the recent apology of an Argentinian bishop who asked forgiveness from all those abused by priests and religious in her country, one victim said that instead of being a comfort, the plea made her angry.

“I don’t believe anything, for me it’s a mockery,” said Valeria Zarza, a former member of Argentina’s Hermanos Discípulos de Jesús de San Juan Bautista, an order which was suppressed by the Vatican in June after numerous allegations of sexual and psychological abuse arose against the founder, Father Agustin Rosa, and other prominent members.

Speaking to Crux, Zarza said that after leaving the Hermanos, she tried “for years and years” to raise an alarm about abuses inside the congregation but was ignored by church personnel.

For the victims who’ve made canonical complaints, she said, the process was long, painful and costly, with little personal follow-up. In some cases, she said, victims have been waiting for more than a year for an update on their cases but have had no communication from the Church.

Referring to a recent apology issued by Bishop Alberto G. Bochatey, auxiliary bishop of La Plata, to survivors of sexual abuse by clergy and religious, Zarza called the apology too little, too late for those who have sought ecclesial justice unsuccessfully.

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Holding Bransfield accountable

CHARLESTON (WV)
Gazette-Mail

Nov. 30, 2019

Regarding former Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston bishop Michael Bransfield, who is accused of sexual assault and reportedly spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on a lavish lifestyle, new diocese Bishop Mark Brennan said he’s “a brother in Christ” who “has gone astray in some ways.”

The Catholic Church has a penchant for understatement.

Brennan made the remarks during a news conference in Wheeling on Tuesday, where he also unveiled a restitution plan for Bransfield, which would require the disgraced former clergyman to pay back $792,000 to the church. That’s not the total sum of what Bransfield is reported to have spent on personal gifts, private planes, luxurious accommodations and jewelry, among other things, during his 13-year stint as the head of the diocese. It’s still quite a staggering amount of money. Brennan is also calling for Bransfield’s monthly living stipend that he receives as a retiree of the church to be cut from $1,900 (more than what a large number of West Virginians are lucky to make in the same time period in exchange for actual work) to $736. Bransfield would also have to apologize for his actions.

The question remains whether the proposal is enough to adequately punish someone who so viciously abused the trust of West Virginia parishioners and the overall mission of the church. Brennan said the proposed agreement is not intended to “impoverish the former bishop.” Should it be? The Christian doctrine is one of forgiveness, not revenge, but consequences have their place.

Another troubling question that remains, as raised by Judy Jones of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, is what happens if Bransfield doesn’t live up to the agreement? If there’s a plan in place should Bransfield not cooperate, no one from the church has mentioned it. That’s one thing the church needs to clarify immediately.

In the meantime, Bransfield has other problems. According to the church, he owes $110,000 to the Internal Revenue Service. The former bishop also faces civi

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Cardinal Cupich: How can we end clerical sex abuse and purify the church?

CHICAGO (IL)
America Magazine

November 29, 2019

By Cardinal Blase J. Cupich

Editor’s note: This article is based on a talk delivered by Cardinal Blase Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, at the Latin American Congress on the Prevention of Child Abuse in the Catholic Church, held at the Pontifical University of Mexico on Nov. 8, 2019.

One day, a man in his mid-50s came to my office and shared the painful story of being sexually abused by his pastor. He started serving Mass when he was 9 years old, and the pastor always asked him to stay afterward to tidy up the sacristy. One day the priest took him to the basement and sexually abused him. He did this every Sunday over four years. After abusing him, the priest would walk the boy home and have dinner with the boy’s family. Adding another demonic layer of pain to the sexual abuse itself, each Saturday the priest would drive the boy to another town and force him to confess his supposed sins to another priest. Finally, the boy had the courage to tell his father, and the abuse stopped. Seeing the suffering in this victim-survivor’s eyes, witnessing his courage in sharing this horrible experience with me, I knew I had to act.

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Pennsylvania, New Jersey bishops ask Vatican for McCarrick report

VATICAN CITY
Catholic News Service via America Magazine

November 29, 2019

By Cindy Wooden

The bishops of Pennsylvania and New Jersey discussed sexual abuse with Pope Francis in a Thanksgiving Day meeting, according to Bishop Lawrence T. Persico of Erie, Pennsylvania, who was present at the meeting.

The gathering was a central part of the bishops’ “ad limina” visit, during which the bishops also asked the Vatican to release the results of its investigation into Theodore E. McCarrick, who had served in two New Jersey dioceses before being named archbishop of Washington and a cardinal, then was dismissed from the clerical state when the Vatican determined he had abused minors.

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Paedophile priest defrocked by the Pope

SCOTLAND
BBC News

November 29, 2019

A paedophile priest has had his clerical status removed by the Pope.

Paul Moore, who was a parish priest in Ayrshire, is serving an eight-year sentence for the sexual abuse of three young boys 40 years ago.

He was informed of the Pope’s decision by the Bishop of Galloway, William Nolan, who visited him in Dumfries Prison on Friday.

Moore, who is 83, will no longer be able to call himself “father” or offer spiritual care.

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Dioceses grapple with ‘credibly accused’ priests

OTTAWA (CANADA)
Canadian Catholic News via the Catholic Register

November 29, 2019

By Brian Dryden

A first of its kind publicly-released review of historic cases of sexual abuse within a Canadian Catholic diocese may have far-reaching repercussions across the country as other Canadian dioceses review what has been done in Vancouver.

The review, made public on Nov. 22 by an Archdiocese of Vancouver review committee on clerical sexual abuse, makes 31 recommendations and names Vancouver priests who have been criminally convicted, are named in already settled lawsuits or are the subject of other public cases. But the public report does not name “credibly accused” priests, something that survivors of abuse have been demanding and which the report also recommended.

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Sex Abuse Scandal Hits Home for Pope Francis

Legal Examiner (blog)

November 29, 2019

By Joseph H. Saunders, Esq.

A court in Argentina has convicted two Catholic priests of sexually abusing deaf children at a now shuttered school in Argentina.

Mr. Corradi, 83, was sentenced to 42 years in prison, and another priest, the Rev. Horacio Hugo Corbacho Blanck, 59, of Argentina, was sentenced to 45 years in prison. A former gardener at the school, Armando Ramón Gómez Bravo, 49, of Argentina, received a sentence of 18 years.

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Priests across the country will be forced to report child sex abuse admitted at confession or could face charges themselves under strict new laws

LONDON (ENGLAND)
Daily Mail

November 29, 2019

By Sahar Mourad

Australia’s chief legal officers have agreed to standardise laws making it mandatory for priests to report child abuse revealed to them during confession.

Federal and state attorneys-general meeting in Adelaide on Friday agreed to three principles for the laws, which were recommended following the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Those principles say that ‘confessional privilege’ can’t be relied upon to avoid a child protection or criminal obligation to report beliefs, suspicions or knowledge of child abuse.

They also dictate that clergy would not be able to use that defence to avoid giving evidence against a third party in criminal or civil proceedings.

Work on such laws is already well under way in most states and territories, but legal expert Luke Beck said the agreement will implement a nationwide standard.

‘Some states are already in compliance with this and they don’t have to do anything else,’ said Mr Beck, an associate professor at Monash University.

‘Now, all have signed up and said ‘yes, we’re going to do it’.’

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Reckoning with clergy abuse: Is the Catholic Church falling short on its commitments?

NEW YORK (NY)
City University of New York (CUNY) and Associated Press

Event: Tuesday, December 3, 2019

6:30 PM – 8:30 PM EST

Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY
219 W 40th St, 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10018

It has been 17 years since the Catholic Church vowed to end the scourge of sexual abuse by clergy and to take responsibility for the suffering it has caused. In an Associated Press series called “The Reckoning” and in this panel we examine the state of the clergy abuse crisis today and the effectiveness of the measures the church has taken.

Moderator: David Gibson, director, Fordham University’s Center on Religion and Culture

Panelists:

Michael Rezendes, AP investigative reporter and former member of the Boston Globe Spotlight team
Nicole Winfield, AP Vatican correspondent
Juan Carlos Cruz, Chilean abuse survivor
Robert S. Bennett, former federal prosecutor and former member of the National Review Board for the Protection of Children & Minors established by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
Edward T. Mechmann, director of Safe Environment Program, Archdiocese of New York

The event will feature photographs by AP photojournalists
Maye-E Wong and David Goldman.

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Argentine bishop appears at court hearing on abuse charges

BUENOS AIRES (ARGENTINA)
Associated Press

November 28, 2019

By Almudena Calatrava

An Argentine bishop close to Pope Francis appeared voluntarily for a court hearing Wednesday ahead of a trial on charges of sexual abuse of two former seminarians in one of several cases that have shaken the Church in the pontiff’s homeland.

Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta had returned to Argentina from the Vatican to attend the session before Judge María Laura Toledo Zamora in the northwestern city of Oran, where he had served as bishop before resigning in July 2017.

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No charges for North Dakota priest accused of sexual misconduct

FARGO (ND)
Forum News Service via Williston Herald

November 27, 2019

By April Baumgarten

A priest in south-central North Dakota will not be criminally charged after a girl accused him of sexual misconduct while he was a clergyman in Fargo and Towner, but Catholic leaders will decide at a later date whether he can resume missionary work.

McHenry County State’s Attorney Joshua Frey announced Tuesday, Nov. 26, that he will not file charges against the Rev. Wenceslaus Katanga, who is on administrative leave pending an investigation by the Fargo Diocese. The announcement comes three months after the Cass County State’s Attorney’s Office declined criminal charges amid similar allegations in Fargo.

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Former Shelby Township priest found competent to face criminal charges

MACOMB TOWNSHIP (MI)
Macomb Daily

Nov 27, 2019

A former Shelby Township priest accused of sexually assaulting a boy decades ago has been found mentally competent to face the allegations.

Neil Kalina, 63, is charged with four counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct for alleged behavior with a boy while Kalina was assigned to St. Kieran Catholic Church during the mid-1980s, according to police.

Kalina was among several men in the clergy charged this year with sexual-conduct-related allegations while serving at churches in Michigan as part of a special investigation under state Attorney General Dana Nessel.

Kalina had been referred for a mental exam to determine whether he understands the charges against him and can assist in his defense.

He was determined to be competent Tuesday, according to a court official.

A preliminary examination in the case is scheduled for Dec. 16 in front of Judge Douglas Shepherd in 41A District Court in Shelby Township.

He remains held in the county jail in lieu of a $100,000 bond.

The charge carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and lifetime electronic monitoring.

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In ‘The Two Popes,’ an imagined conversation expresses a universal need for tolerance

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

November 28, 2019

By Sr. Rose Pacatte

Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce star in “The Two Popes.” (Peter Mountain)
Days after his historic election on March 13, 2013, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, tries to book a ticket to Lampedusa to visit refugees there, but the booking agent hangs up on him because she thinks he is pretending to be the pope.

The film, “The Two Popes,” then flashes back to 2005 to the election of Francis’ predecessor, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (Anthony Hopkins), following the death of the long-reigning, now canonized Pope John Paul II. It is a contested election and Ratzinger obviously wants the job. He is openly worried when Milan Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini and Bergoglio (Jonathan Pryce) of Buenos Aires, Argentina, receive significant support in early voting. Ratzinger does not try to hide his disdain for the liberation theology-loving Jesuit from Latin America when they walk past each other, even after he is elected and takes the name Benedict XVI.

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French cardinal’s career at stake in sex abuse case

LYON (FRANCE)
Associated Press

November 29, 2019

By Nicolas Vaux-Montagny

A French cardinal said Thursday he did not understand why he was found guilty of covering up sexual abuse of children, speaking at an appeals court hearing that will help determine his future within the Catholic Church.

Cardinal Philippe Barbarin tried to resign after his original conviction in March for failing to report a predator priest to police. But Pope Francis refused to accept the resignation until the appeals process is complete.

Barbarin, the archbishop of Lyon, was given a six-month suspended sentence for “non-denunciation of sexual violence against minors.”

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Correction: Reckoning-Where Are They Now story

UNITED STATES
The Associated Press

November 27, 2019

In a story sent Oct. 4 and 5 about clergy members that the Roman Catholic Church considers credibly accused of child sexual abuse living with little to no oversight from authorities, The Associated Press reported erroneously that Massachusetts does not have a public database of teacher licenses. The state added a license look-up page to its website in 2016.

A corrected version of the story is below:

Without oversight, scores of accused priests commit crimes

An Associated Press investigation found that nearly 1,700 priests and other clergy members credibly accused of child sexual abuse are living with little to no oversight from authorities, decades after the first wave of the Catholic church abuse scandal

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Buffalo Diocese is defendant in 221 Child Victims Act suits, as most-sued entity in the state

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

November 29, 2019

By Jay Tokasz

Richard Watroba grew tired of waiting for leaders of the Buffalo Diocese to acknowledge they had protected the Rev. James E. McCarthy.

He decided to force the issue earlier this month, filing a lawsuit that accuses McCarthy of sexually abusing him, beginning in 1973 when he was a 10-year-old altar boy. The suit claims the diocese hid McCarthy’s alleged abuses.

“I want them to stand up and admit what they did to all of us kids,” said Watroba, who is 57. “I want to see accountability, man. I want them to stand up and say, ‘We did it.’ ”

Just three months into a yearlong window under the Child Victims Act that allows childhood victims of sexual abuse to file lawsuits even in old cases, Watroba is among 213 plaintiffs that have accused 107 Catholic priests in claims against the Buffalo Diocese. In addition, 24 plaintiffs have accused five nuns, six Catholic school lay teachers or administrators and one choir director of sex abuse in lawsuits since the opening of the window on Aug. 14.

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Prosecutor Asks French Court To Clear Cardinal Over Sex Abuse Cover-up

FRANCE
International Business Times

November 29, 2019

By Pierre Pratabuy

A French prosecutor asked an appeals court on Friday to quash Cardinal Philippe Barbarin’s conviction for failing to report sex abuse by a priest, eight months after a verdict that rocked the French Catholic Church.

Barbarin, the archbishop of Lyon, was given a six-month suspended jail sentence in March for failing to report allegations that a priest in his diocese abused dozens of boy scouts in the Lyon area in the 1980s and 1990s.

Barbarin, 69, has denied the charges, but tended his resignation to Pope Francis, which the pontiff rejected pending the outcome of his appeal.

The cardinal, who has nonetheless stepped back from his duties, is the most senior French cleric to be caught up in a global clerical paedophilia scandal, which has seen clergy members hauled before courts from Argentina to Australia.

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Attorney General Morrisey Reacts to Diocese Plan for Bransfield Amends

WEST VIRGINIA
Huntington News (WV)

November 29, 2019

By WV Attorney General Patrick Morrisey

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey issued the following statement in response to Bishop Brennan’s plan for his predecessor to make amends for alleged wrongdoing within the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston.

“While today’s announcement by Bishop Brennan represents a step forward, justice will not be served until the Wheeling-Charleston Diocese releases all of its investigative reports on Bishop Bransfield, tightens its internal controls to protect children, and implements concrete measures to provide assistance to the many victims of sexual abuse and pedophilia needing medical, social, or mental health services. It is time for the Diocese to truly come clean and begin to put this horrific scandal behind it.

“The subpoena from our Office is likely the only reason we have a list of Diocese priests who are credibly accused of sexually abusing minors. The Diocese shouldn’t need more prodding from our Office to do the right thing.

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The World Holds Pope Francis Accountable for Clerical Sex Abuse

UNITED STATES
Open Tabernacle – Here Comes Everybody (blog)

November 25, 2019

By Betty Clermont

Pres. Donald J. Trump is more admired than Pope Francis in a worldwide poll.

Trump is ranked at No. 14, Pope Francis at No. 15 as the world’s most admired man in 2019, according to YouGov’s annual study “of which public figures the people of our planet look up to.” The study “covers the views of people in 41 countries with more than 42,000 people being interviewed to compile the list.”

Contributions made by individual Catholics around the world for Pope Francis’ charities have “plunged amid the sex abuse crisis” according to author, Gianluigi Nuzzi. While the collection totaled €378 million in 2013, the first year of this pope’s reign, as reported by Emiliano Fittipaldi, the donations have “plummeted to €70 million in 2016 and may now be less than €60 million,” according to Nuzzi.

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Belgian Salesians defend decision to send convicted pedophile to Africa

OXFORD (ENGLAND)
Catholic News Service via National Catholic Reporter

November 27, 2019

By Jonathan Luxmoore

Belgium’s Salesian order defended its decision to send a priest convicted of child abuse to work with Caritas in Central African Republic, where he has been accused of abusing children again.

Father Carlo Loots, Belgian provincial vicar and spokesman for the Salesians of Don Bosco, also said the order had learned from the incident and changed some procedures.

“We’ve learned that all communications involving such cases must be written and documented, rather than exchanged verbally at the risk of being passed over and forgotten,” Loots told Catholic News Service Nov. 26.

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Crooks, Quacks, Kooks, Creeps and Cruds in the Clergy

The Good Men Project

Nov. 28, 2019

By James A. Haught

“Give me that old-time religion…”

Pentecostal evangelist Mario Leyva of Columbus, Ga., sodomized more than 100 church boys. He was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison in 1989. Two assistant pastors got 15 and 12 years for transporting the boys state-to-state for orgies.

“Give me that old-time religion…”

The Rev. Roy Yanke of Beverly Hills, Mich., pleaded guilty in 1991 to robbing 14 banks of $47,000 to pay for his daily use of prostitutes. He got seven years in prison.

“Give me that old-time religion…”

Some 400 U.S. Catholic priests have been charged with child molestation in the past decade, and the church has paid an estimated $400 million in damages and costs. One priest, James Porter, is accused of abusing perhaps 100 victims in three states — including a boy in a full body cast who couldn’t move to resist.

“It’s good enough for me….”

Born-again con-artist Michael Douglas of Antioch, Ill., who specialized in investments for wealthy fundamentalists, got a 12-year sentence in 1991 for swindling 131 people out of $31 million.

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Bishops struggle to put out fires across a Latin America ‘in flames’

KEY WEST (FL)
Crux

Nov. 28, 2019

By Elise Harris

On the way back from Thailand and Japan this week, Pope Francis turned his attention to upheaval in his home continent of Latin America, evocatively insisting that it’s currently in “flames,” largely due to what he called “weak governments” unable to bring peace.

The pope isn’t alone. As tensions mount and crises in individual countries gain force, bishops in the region are scrambling to keep things from spinning out of control.

Archbishop Miguel Cabrejos Vidarte of Trujillo, Peru, president of the Episcopal Conferences of Latin America and the Caribbean (CELAM), has issued several statements over the past week urging both political leaders and citizens in the region to keep the peace.

As president of CELAM, Cabrejos said the organization is following “with great interest the recent events of political and social upheaval that are occurring in the region of Central America,” urging parties to “end all forms of violence, wherever it comes from, and to continue looking for paths of dialogue that will allow us to achieve permanent peace.”

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Anglican church founder abused trainee priests & other young men

Patheos blog

Nov. 28, 2019

By Barry Duke

A DAMNING investigative report released in the US this week reveals that Eric Dudley – founder of St Peter’s Anglican Cathedral in Tallahassee and an outspoken opponent of homosexuality – abused aspiring priests and other young men.

After Dudley was forced to resign, Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (GRACE) – an independent group that helps churches with abuse inquiries – conducted an investigation into allegations against the priest and found that he pursued attractive young men, showering them with attention and gifts and giving them jobs at the church.

And all the while he railed against homosexuality!

GRACE found that the Florida church – turned into a cathedral at the beginning of 2018 – did not take “substantive action” in response to complaints against him for a number of years. Its report said some members and leaders at St Peter’s knew about misconduct complaints against Dudley since 2011 but that nothing was done until more allegations surfaced last year.

St Peter’s said in a statement:

This has been a sad chapter in the history of this extraordinary Church. The report documents the profound pain suffered by the victims of this abuse, and we are deeply sorry for what happened and especially for any actions or inactions that the church and its members may have taken that increased their suffering.

St Peter’s notified its congregation of the GRACE report and its findings in a Monday letter and posted the document online Tuesday. It includes a dozen recommendations, including revising policies on sexual misconduct and the protection of children and putting in place a safeguard team to respond to violations and help victims.

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Diocese: Sex abuse allegations ‘credible’ against 4 Pittsburgh-area priests

PITTSBURGH (PA)
Tribune Review

Nov. 27, 2019

By Megan Guza

A review board has found sexual abuse allegations against four Pittsburgh area priests credible enough to forward them to the Vatican, a Diocese of Pittsburgh spokeswoman said Wednesday.

Bishop David Zubik has agreed not to return the three living priests to the ministry in the meantime.

The Rev. John Bauer and the retired Rev. Bernard Costello were placed on leave in August 2018. Bauer is accused of abusing a child in the 1980s, according to a statement released when he was placed on leave.

An earlier allegation against Bauer had been included in the August 2018 state grand jury report, but officials said last year it was discounted “because the victim said Bauer did not sexually abuse him.”

Costello is alleged to have sexually abused a child in the mid-1960s.

According to a 2001 notice from the diocese, Costello was moved from parochial vicar at Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament Parish in Harrison to the same position at Mary, Mother of the Church in Feb. 5, 2001.

He retired from the Charleroi parish in 2011. The allegation was levied Aug. 22.

The Rev. Joseph Reschick, of St. Rosalia in Pittsburgh’s Greenfield, was placed on leave in October 2018, though diocesan officials provided no information regarding when the alleged abuse took place. They noted only that it was the first allegation leveled against Reschick.

A fourth priest, the Rev. Richard Lelonis, was placed on leave in November 2018, accused of abusing two children in the 1970s and 1980s. He died Oct. 20, according to diocesan spokeswoman Ellen Mady.

The allegations against the four priests all surfaced in the weeks and months following the scathing grand jury report accusing multiple dioceses across the state of covering up decades of abuse by hundreds of priests. The victims, the report found, totaled in the thousands.

The Diocese of Pittsburgh has an independent review board to which it forwards all allegations of abuse, which also go to the District Attorney’s Office, Mady said in a statement.

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2nd prosecutor refuses to charge North Dakota priest

FARGO (ND)
Associated Press

Nov. 28, 2019

For the second time in three months, a North Dakota prosecutor has decided against charging a priest accused of sexual misconduct involving a minor.

The Diocese of Fargo said in a statement Wednesday that the McHenry County States Attorney’s Office announced it will not pursue a case against Father Wenceslaus Katanga. Authorities say a young girl accused Katana of inappropriately touching her in the late 2000s, in Fargo and in Towner.

The Cass County State Attorney’s Office in late August said it would not charge Katanga, citing insufficient evidence.

Katanga currently serves at churches in Ashley, Wishek and Zeeland. Bishop John Folda says Katanga will remain on administrative leave until the Fargo Diocese completes an internal investigation.

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Former Northern Colorado priest sentenced for sex abuse set for parole hearing

FORT COLLINS (CO)
Fort Collins Coloradoan

Nov. 27, 2019

By Sady Swanson

A former Fort Collins Catholic priest serving three sentences in prison for sex abuse is up for parole.

Timothy Evans, now 57, was sentenced in 2007 for three sexual assault cases — one in Larimer County and two in Jefferson County — for sexual abuse that occurred while Evans was a priest in three different parishes.

His hearing is set for Monday morning at Fremont Correctional Facility in Canon City. Hearings begin at 8 a.m. Inmates can choose to decline their hearings.

He is currently serving three sentences — 14 years to life, 2 years to life and 4 years — in the Fremont Correctional Facility.

Evans was first eligible for parole in January 2018, according to the Colorado Department of Corrections. Evans was one of four priests from different parishes in Fort Collins and Loveland named in a special report from the Colorado Attorney General’s Office released last month detailing credible claims of abuse by Catholic priests and the Archdiocese of Denver’s handling of the acts.

Evans’ case was the most recent case in Larimer County, and the only one in the county that resulted in criminal charges.

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Colorado Reparations Deadline Could Bring New Wave Of Catholic Clergy Accusations

DENVER (CO)
Colorado Public Radio

Nov. 28, 2019

By Andrew Kenney

People who were abused by Catholic priests in Colorado will face a series of tough decisions as they navigate the state’s new reparations program.

The program’s administrators already have reached out to 65 people who previously alleged abuse, inviting them to apply for financial settlements from the church. About 21 have filed claims so far, according to the administrators.

Time is limited for victims to file new claims of abuse. Anyone who didn’t receive an invitation must register themselves by Nov. 30. That will start a longer process.

Survivors of abuse have approached the program cautiously, according to Jeb Barrett, the leader of SNAP Colorado. Several people in his network are filling out the paperwork, but he’s urged them not to make a final decision until later.

Applicants will be asked for evidence of their claims and other information by Jan. 31. The program’s independent administrators will look over the evidence and then offer financial settlements.

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NBC’s survey of Catholic Church employees reveals divisions

Patheos blog

Nov. 26, 2019

By Greg Kandra

A vast survey of the Roman Catholic Church workforce in America shows the people who know best how the church is run – the employees themselves – are deeply split on key issues facing parishes across nation. The survey reveals diocesan priests are far more likely to view clergy abuse as a problem of the past, while nuns and other religious employees often consider sex abuse and misconduct to be major problems even today. And just as Pope Francis considers expanding the role of married men and women in the church, the survey highlights vivid differences in how female and male employees view a host of religious reforms under the Vatican’s consideration.

Among the survey’s most striking findings are:

1 in 3 Catholic Employees Say Sex Abuse/Misconduct “Still a Major Problem”

While national headlines often involve clergy abuse dating back decades, about 39% of the church employees who responded to the survey said they believe abuse or misconduct “is still a major problem” in today’s parishes and Catholic organizations. That compares with just under 14% who said abuse or misconduct “is no longer a major problem.” About 46% percent of respondents said abuse or misconduct was never more of a problem in the Catholic Church than it is in other fields that involve the care of minors.

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Diocese Responds to Attorney General

WHEELING (WV)
News Register

Nov. 28, 2019

The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston and West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey are locked in a war of words over the church’s handling of its internal investigation into clergy sex abuse and various misdeeds by its former bishop.

Shortly after Bishop Mark Brennan announced punishment Tuesday against former bishop Michael Bransfield for allegedly sexually harassing other priests and his lavish spending while overseeing the diocese for more than a dozen years, Morrisey blasted the church for what he said was its lack of transparency.

Morrisey, who sued the diocese in March under the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act, called for the diocese to release internal investigative reports about Bransfield and improve its protection of children and assisting victims of sex abuse.

On Wednesday, Brennan responded directly to Morrisey in a written statement, refuting his accusations and claiming the diocese holds “rigorous controls regarding the protection of young people consistent” through its Safe Environment program and policy. He also said the diocese began a review of “credibly accused clergy” in July 2018, several months before Morrisey’s office issued a subpoena.

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Schönborn spells out shocking reality of clerical sex abuse

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Tablet

Nov. 27, 2019

By Christa Pongratz-Lippitt

Clerical abuse is a “massive reality” in the Church caused among other factors by “closed systems” and the overinflated authority of priests, according to Cardinal Christoph Schönborn.

In a 50-minute lecture at Vienna University, one of a weekly series the University is holding on “The Sexual Abuse of Minors: Crime and Responsibility” in the winter semester, Cardinal Schönborn described in detail how, after listening to abuse victims over the past 20 or so years, he had come to the conclusion that clerical spiritual and sexual abuse – but above all the abuse of clerical power – was a “massive reality” in the Catholic Church.

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Independent Investigation of Saint Peter’s Anglican Cathedral

FOREST (VA)
Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (GRACE)

November 22, 2019

I. INTRODUCTION

In the Summer of 2018, a staff member of Saint Peter’s Anglican Cathedral (“St. Peter’s” or “the Cathedral”) disclosed to the Bishop of the Gulf Atlantic Diocese (“the Diocese” or “GAD”) a pattern of clergy misconduct allegations concerning the Dean of the Cathedral, Father Eric Dudley.1 Under the direction of the Bishop, the Diocese appointed a canonical investigator and launched an inquiry into the allegations. Two additional individuals subsequently came forward with allegations of behavioral misconduct by Father Eric. In response to the allegations, the Cathedral, in concert with the Diocese, entered into an agreement with Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (“GRACE”) for GRACE to conduct an independent investigation of the allegations, provide a final report summarizing its investigative findings, and propose recommendations.

II. METHODOLOGY

A. Scope

The Engagement Agreement between St. Peter’s and GRACE specifies that “GRACE shall investigate any and all allegations of clergy misconduct by Eric Dudley, including but not limited to, whether St. Peter’s had any knowledge of such allegations, and if so, how St. Peter’s responded to such allegations.” It further specifies: “GRACE shall also investigate any and all known allegations of sexual misconduct perpetrated by St. Peter’s staff and/or volunteers, including but not limited to, whether the Cathedral had knowledge of such allegations and how it responded.”2 Due to the significant amount of information received related to the allegations of clergy misconduct against Father Eric, as well as time and budget constraints, GRACE focused this investigation on the allegations pertaining to Father Eric.3

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Barbarin appeals conviction in Catholic Church sex abuse case

LYON (FRANCE)
Euronews

November 28, 2019

French Cardinal Philippe Barbarin is appealing his conviction for failing to act on sexual abuse in his diocese.

The highest-profile French cleric in the Catholic Church implicated in the abuse scandal, 68-year-old Barbarin received a six-month suspended sentence in March for failing to report allegations of the sexual abuse of Boy Scouts in the 1980s and early 1990s. Father Bernard Preynat, the priest accused of the offences, is due to go on trial in January.

Barbarin has been Archbishop of Lyon since 2002 and was once tipped as a possible future pope.

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Vatican still refusing to expel priests condemned in Próvolo case

BUENOS AIRES (ARGENTINA)
Buenos Aires Times

November 27, 2019

By Mariana Sarramea

Convictions and sentencing of two priests for rape and sexual abuse of minors reignites controversy around Holy See’s protection of members of the Catholic Church facing such allegations, many of whom continue to be supported by the institution.

This week’s convictions of priests Horacio Corbacho and Nicola Corradi for the sexual abuse of minors at the Antonio Próvolo Institute in Mendoza exposes yet another failure by the Vatican to act and respond to judicial sentences against members of the Catholic Church.

In a historic judgment, both priests were convicted for the repeated rape and abuse of deaf students at the school in Luján de Cuyo. Corbacho received 45 years in prison for his crimes and Corradi received 42 years. The institution’s former gardener, Armando Gómez, was given 18 years behind bars.

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French court considers cardinal’s appeal in sex abuse case

LYON (FRANCE)
Associated Press via ABC News

November 28, 2019

By Nicolas Vaux-Monyagny

A French cardinal’s career is at stake as he appears Thursday in a Lyon appeals court that will decide whether to uphold his conviction for covering up sexual abuse of children

A French cardinal said Thursday he did not understand why he was found guilty of covering up sexual abuse of children, as an appeals court hearing began that will decide whether to uphold his conviction.

Cardinal Philippe Barbarin tried to resign after the original conviction in March for failing to report a predator priest to police. But Pope Francis refused to accept the resignation until the appeals process is complete.

Barbarin, the archbishop of Lyon, had been given a six-month suspended sentence for “non-denunciation of sexual violence against minors.”

Barbarin told the court he filed an appeal because “I cannot see clearly what I am guilty of.”

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Diocese: Sex abuse allegations ‘credible’ against 4 Pittsburgh-area priests

PITTSBURGH (PA)
Tribune Review

November 27, 2019

By Megan Guza

A review board has found sexual abuse allegations against four Pittsburgh area priests credible enough to forward them to the Vatican, a Diocese of Pittsburgh spokeswoman said Wednesday.

Bishop David Zubik has agreed not to return the three living priests to the ministry in the meantime.

The Rev. John Bauer and the retired Rev. Bernard Costello were placed on leave in August 2018. Bauer is accused of abusing a child in the 1980s, according to a statement released when he was placed on leave.

An earlier allegation against Bauer had been included in the August 2018 state grand jury report, but officials said last year it was discounted “because the victim said Bauer did not sexually abuse him.”

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Abuse Claims Against Diocesan Chancellor and Vicar General in Charlotte Found “Credible,” SNAP Calls for AG Investigation

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

Nov. 27, 2019

The Diocese of Charlotte has found more claims of sexual misconduct by the diocese’s former vicar general and chancellor, one of the men in charge of investigating reports of abuse, “credible.” Now Catholic officials in Charlotte must pull out the stops in order to discover if other abusers were protected by this man, and the North Carolina attorney general should launch an investigation into this situation.

Now that multiple allegations of inappropriate touching and kissing by Fr. Mauricio West have been found to be “credible,” Bishop Peter Jugis of the Diocese of Charlotte has an obligation to do much more. Prior to stepping down in March, Fr. West was the second most powerful official in the diocese, and as Vicar General and Chancellor he had significant influence over reports and investigations of sexual abuse. Since it now appears that he was compromised, it may be that those accused in Charlotte were given a pass, and that abuse reports were swept under the rug. The losers in that case are the wounded victims who made reports in good faith, and members of the public who are in danger whenever an abuser is allowed to stay hidden.

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50 years later, former R.I. man finds peace as priest he says abused him is named for first time

PROVIDENCE (RI)
Providence Journal

Nov. 27, 2019

By Brian Amaral

Bob Young is on his couch looking at his computer screen, where a picture of the Pawtucket church he attended as a boy in Rhode Island is bringing back memories from more than 50 years ago.

The first thing he remembers is the majestic lighting inside St. Teresa of the Child Jesus on Newport Avenue. He’d stare up at those ornate light fixtures in awe. Then he remembers the area where he and the other altar boys would change into their Mass attire, a role he cherished as a faithful Catholic. Then he remembers the priest who taught him the difficult words in the Old Testament.

He remembers, too, the Latin phrases that were then standard in Catholic Mass. They would echo around the vaulted ceilings — dominus vobiscum, the priest would say. Et cum spiritu tuo, the faithful would repeat. The Lord be with you, and with your spirit.

The other memories about that priest are harder to access, but they are there.

The confessional where, Young says, the priest molested him, beginning when Young was about 8. The bathroom where Young locked himself to get away. The bed where, according to Young, the priest took off his shirt, unbuckled his pants, and tried to rape him.

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More than a year after report on Catholic Church abuse, Pa. overhauls child sex abuse laws

HARRISBURG (PA)
Associated Press

Nov. 27, 2019

By Marc Levy and Mark Scolforo

Pennsylvania overhauled its child sexual abuse laws Tuesday, more than a year after a landmark grand jury report showed the cover-up of hundreds of cases of abuse in most of Pennsylvania’s Roman Catholic dioceses over seven decades.

The central bill signed by Gov. Tom Wolf gives future victims of child sex abuse more time to file lawsuits and ends time limits for police to file criminal charges.

The grand jury report spurred many states to change their laws and others to begin similar investigations.

Wolf said the new laws will help repair “faults in our justice system that prevent frightened, abused children from seeking justice when they grow into courageous adults.”

The legislative package was based on recommendations in last year’s report on six of eight dioceses in the state.

Wolf, a Democrat, also signed bills to invalidate secrecy agreements that keep child sexual abuse victims from talking to investigators, and to increase penalties for people who are required to report suspected abuse but fail to do so.

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On papal flight, Pope Francis talks Vatican financial scandal

KUALA LUMPUR (MALYASIA)
The Herald

Nov 27, 2019

By Hannah Brockhaus

Although investigators are looking into a controversial Vatican investment in a luxury London property development, whether the deal was corrupt is still an open question, Pope Francis said Tuesday.

Answering questions aboard the papal plane from Tokyo to Rome Nov. 26, the pope said that investing funds from Peter’s Pence is an acceptable form of financial management if the investments are solid.

The pope also said Vatican financial reforms are working well, and he is happy the Vatican prosecutor, called the Promoter of Justice, had filed reports about some instances of corruption inside the Vatican. While acknowledging ongoing investigations in several cases, the pope did not weigh in on the London property investment, saying it is “not yet clear.”

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Thomas Doyle traces the disintegration of clerical/hierarchical culture

KANSAS CITY (MO)
National Catholic Reporter

Nov. 27, 2019

By Tom Roberts

I have thought recently that one way to understand the revived interest in the priest sexual abuse scandal, post-Theodore McCarrick and the Pennsylvania grand jury report of little more than a year ago, is in the context of the Kübler-Ross stages of grief. You know: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance.

I think certain of us in the Catholic community have gone through several of those cycles, depending on when we were introduced to the crisis, how deeply we were involved in it, and whether it involved anyone we knew either as victim or perpetrator. No doubt the cycles will go on.

But in one peculiar and important sense, regarding the hierarchical culture at the heart of the scandal, perhaps we can now say with some certainty that significant portions of the community have arrived at acceptance of the death of the clerical/hierarchical culture.

That may appear a grand statement, but I think it safe to say that the culture is finished as we’ve known it. It no longer enjoys automatic deference as it once did from the wider culture; it has lost most of its credibility and influence in that wider culture; it has lost much of its credibility among Catholics; and, in Francis, it encounters a pope whose blistering criticism of the culture leaves no doubt that the old form is on its way out.

Watching the disintegration of a culture, however, is not understanding what caused it to crumble, how to rebuild it, or what will replace it. I’d like to end the year considering two important voices from inside the culture who have distinct insights into what went wrong and what will be necessary in the future.

The first up is Thomas Doyle, a canon lawyer, inactive priest and former member of the Dominican order. Regular readers of NCR are familiar with him; he was that extremely rare cleric who, from the very beginning, took a different approach from most in the clerical culture. Once deep inside the culture, in recent decades he has been largely on the outside, an unflagging advocate for victims of abuse and an itinerant expert for lawyers throughout the United States and in many other corners of the globe bringing cases against the church.

He recently gave a talk at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington. It was a significant event, for despite the wealth of insight he brings to the subject, he is rarely invited to Catholic campuses to share his views.

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Brennan outlines amends sought from Bransfield

WHEELING (WV)
Weirton Daily Times

Nov. 27, 2019

By Linda Comins

The Most Rev. Mark Brennan, bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, announced his plan Tuesday to seek $792,638 in restitution from former bishop Michael Bransfield.

In addition, the diocese is reducing Bransfield’s monthly compensation package from $6,200 to $736, Brennan said. A stipend of $736 is equal to the pension of a priest who served 13 years, which is the length of time Bransfield was in West Virginia.

The previous package included pension, insurance, housing and administrative staff. It was based on standards recommended by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops for retired bishops.

“All the other benefits (to Bransfield) go away,” Brennan said. But, he added, “The diocese will continue to pay a small Medicare supplement for him.”

Regarding a car given to Bransfield in retirement, “he can either return it to us or buy it at fair market value,” the new bishop said.

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The Hidden World of Abusive Catholic Nuns

NEW YORK (NY)
Epoch Times

Nov. 26, 2019

By Bowen Xiao

As a growing number of Roman Catholic dioceses across the United States investigate child sex-abuse claims against clergy and are releasing the names of priests accused of such crimes, another hidden problem has begun to surface—nuns who sexually abuse children.

At least 20 local, state, or federal investigations, either criminal or civil, into church clergy have begun since a Pennsylvania grand jury report released in 2018 detailed abuse by priests. But while those investigations could potentially lead to the release of even more names and accusations, victims’ advocates told The Epoch Times that religious orders should start listing the names of abusive nuns as well—a far less-reported problem, with fewer concrete statistics.

BishopAccountability.org, a Massachusetts-based nonprofit corporation that tracks cases of sexual abuse by clergy members, has identified over the years “a little over 100 known accused nuns,” Terry McKiernan, the founder of the website, told The Epoch Times. Its database, meanwhile, has tracked more than 6,000 accused priests across the United States.

“The numbers are fairly small, but that’s the number that is known,” McKiernan said, referring to the number of publicly accused abusive nuns. “Its a matter of some debate how big the problem actually is.”

Some of the names of the nuns are incomplete because the alleged victims couldn’t recall, according to a list of the names published in August. More names have since been added to the database that don’t appear on the list. The alleged victims are from across the country and come from a wide array of different religious orders.

McKiernan said most of the nuns his organization identified were accused of abuse “between the 1960s and the 1990s.” One group of accused nuns that stood out came from an orphanage in Louisville, Kentucky, where McKiernan said they saw the “highest concentration” of abusers in the database.

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PRIEST PLEADS GUILTY TO HAVING SEX WITH WOMAN PARISHIONER

ST. CLOUD (MN)
WJON Radiio

Nov. 27, 2019

By Lee Voss

A St. Cloud Priest has pleaded guilty to 3rd-degree criminal sexual conduct after having a sexual relationship with a woman he was counseling.

Fifty-three-year-old Father Anthony Oelrich was put on administrative leave and suspended of his priestly duties at Christ Church Newman Center after the claims surfaced in December 2017.

The St. Cloud Police Department began investigating after the woman came forward alleging a number of sexual encounters in late 2013 and early 2014.

The woman told investigators she began seeing Father Oelrich for spiritual guidance following a sexually abusive relationship. The abuse came to light during confession in December 2013.

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Eric Dudley, St. Peter’s founder and outspoken LGBT critic, subjected men to sexual misconduct

TALLAHASSEE (FL)
Tallahassee Democrat

Nov. 27, 2019

By Jeff Burlew

Eric Dudley, the founder of St. Peter’s Anglican Church in Tallahassee and an outspoken opponent of homosexuality, subjected aspiring priests and other young men to sexual misconduct and harassment and abused his power as long-time rector before he finally was forced to resign.

That’s according to a report by Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (GRACE), an independent group that helps churches with abuse inquiries and investigated allegations against Dudley.

The report, released Tuesday, illustrates how he pursued attractive young men, showering them with attention and gifts and giving them jobs at the church, even as he publicly espoused anti-gay views.

Beyond the misconduct committed by Dudley, the organization found that the church did not take “substantive action” in response to complaints against him for a number of years.

The report said some members and leaders at St. Peter’s knew about misconduct complaints against Dudley since 2011 but that nothing was done until more allegations surfaced last year.

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Sex Scandal Comes Closer To Francis

WASHINGTON (DC)
The American Conservative

Nov. 26, 2019

By Rod Dreher

Finally some good news: an Argentine court does what the Argentine pope did not: hold sexually abusive priests accountable:

An Argentine court on Monday found two priests and a lay worker guilty of the sexual abuse of 10 former students of a Catholic school for the deaf, the first legal victory for a community of victims stretching from Italy to the Andes whose complaints about one of the clerics to church officials, including Pope Francis, went unheeded for years.

The verdict was another stain on the church’s handling of sex abuse cases in Francis’s native Argentina. Prosecutors last week requested an arrest warrant for Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta, a longtime associate of the pope accused of abusing two seminarians.

A Washington Post investigation this year found years of church inaction in the case of at least one of the priests convicted Monday in the abuse of male and female students at the Antonio Provolo Institute for Deaf and Hearing Impaired Children in the western Argentine city of Luján de Cuyo between 2004 and 2016.

The three-judge panel in the northwestern Argentine province of Mendoza ruled against the three defendants in 25 instances of abuse.

If you can stand it — these testimonies are strong stuff — here is a video report about the abuses of the deaf and mute children, both in Verona and in the sister school in Argentina. It features adults telling specifically what was done to them as children by their abusers (trigger warning). If you want to see the true face of evil, go to just before the 2:00 mark and watch the bedside hidden camera interview of a priest called Don Eligio Piccoli, identified by the abuse survivors as one of their attackers. He is bedridden and living in a church home — a church investigation found him guilty of the abuse, and sentenced him to prayer and penance — but apparently in his right mind. He admits that the stories of sodomy and sexual abuse are true, but he laughs about them and downplays them. Some life of prayer and penance that dirty old man is living! There is a second section continuing the interview later in the clip below:

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Longing for Light

EAST HAMPTON (NY)
East Hampton Star

Nov. 27, 2019

By Mark Joseph Williams

We all face darkness along the human journey. I have. On the eve of another Advent, as Christmastime nears, I give thanks to him, Emmanuel, God, father, son, and the Holy Spirit for his grace alive in me, a survivor of clerical sexual abuse.

Sr. Joan Chittister, a Benedictine author, wrote, “Weeping is a very life-giving thing. It wisens the soul of the individual and it sounds alarms in society. The Book of Ecclesiastes may be nowhere more correct than here. There is definitely a time for weeping. If we do not weep on a personal level, we shall never understand other human beings.”

At the beginning of Lent in 2011, a few months before the landmark John Jay College of Criminal Justice report was released about the possible causes of clergy sexual abuse — a study commissioned by the American Roman Catholic bishops — news came out of Philadelphia: Thirty-seven priests credibly accused of sexual abuse or inappropriate behavior toward minors remained largely active in some ministerial capacity. Twenty-one have since been suspended. Back then, too, Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley of Boston led a delegation to Ireland to evaluate the life of the church there. He proclaimed in so many words that Catholicism would be virtually gone from the rhythm of Irish culture in 10 years.

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No criminal charges for North Dakota priest accused of sexual misconduct with a child

FARGO (ND)
Dickinson Press

Nov 26, 2019

By April Baumgarten

A priest in south-central North Dakota will not be criminally charged after a girl accused him of sexual misconduct while he was a clergyman in Fargo and Towner, but Catholic leaders will decide at a later date whether he can resume missionary work.

McHenry County State’s Attorney Joshua Frey announced Tuesday, Nov. 26, that he will not file charges against the Rev. Wenceslaus Katanga, who is on administrative leave pending an investigation by the Fargo Diocese. The announcement comes three months after the Cass County State’s Attorney’s Office declined criminal charges amid similar allegations in Fargo.

“I have concluded that there is insufficient evidence of criminal wrongdoing as well as questionable grounds for jurisdiction lying in McHenry County,” Frey said in his letter of declination. “Therefore, it is my opinion that I would be unable to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.”

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Investigation into Cincinnati, Covington dioceses raises concerns over tracking abusers

CINCINNATI (OH)
Crux

Nov. 27, 2019

By Nick Mayrand

New concerns about the handling of abuse accusations in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and the neighboring Diocese of Covington surfaced last week in an investigative report that aired as a four-part local television series, “Culture of Silence.”

In the wake of the August indictment of a Cincinnati-area priest, Father Geoff Drew on nine charges of rape, the WCPO I-Team conducted a three-month investigation into the ways in which priests and religious brothers accused of abuse are tracked and monitored in the region.

The resulting report alleges that the I-Team “discovered a disturbing pattern in which local Catholic Church officials failed to track priests accused of abuse, didn’t disclose to the public all of the names of priests with credible allegations, and still refuse to answer questions about why more information isn’t available.”

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Abuse survivor calls on London diocese to publish list of accused priests

ONTARIO (CANADA)
Windsor Star

Nov. 26, 2019

By Trevor Wilhelm

A Windsor abuse survivor charged Tuesday that the London diocese’s reconciliation attempts, after decades of misconduct by predator priests, are insincere if it won’t publish the names of “credibly accused” clergy.

Brenda Brunelle said she emailed a letter to Bishop Ronald Fabbro early last week asking him to “do the right thing” and release the names of accused and convicted priests. She has not heard a response.

Four days after she sent her email, the Archdiocese of Vancouver, in a Canadian first, published the names of abuser priests in its ranks going back six decades.

“What’s very insulting is Ronald Fabbro is known publicly as the guy that has great empathy and strong desire to get a handle on this crisis,” said Brunelle, head of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) for Southwestern Ontario. “He speaks very polished words and certainly inspires hope to the faithful. But what’s actually happening is his actions are not marrying up with his words.”

Brunelle wants the diocese to publish a list of priests credibly accused of abuse including those charged or convicted, and anyone the church has paid out settlements for in civil cases.

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West Virginia bishop calls for predecessor, accused of sex and financial misconduct, to pay $792,000 in restitution and to apologize

WASHINGTON (DC)
Washington Post

Nov. 26, 2019

By Michelle Boorstein

West Virginia’s new bishop Tuesday called for his predecessor, Michael Bransfield, to pay the diocese $792,638, apologize to victims and to the diocese, and lose his place in the diocesan cemetery as part of a restitution package for alleged financial and sexual misconduct that some church experts say is a first for a bishop.

The announcement by Bishop Mark Brennan follows a statement in July by Pope Francis that Bransfield’s replacement should decide how the ousted leader “make personal amends.”

“I wish to make clear that it is not my intention to impoverish the former bishop,” wrote Brennan, saying the dollar figure isn’t exactly the amount of diocesan money Bransfield is accused of misspending or using for lavish personal expenses. “We regard the former bishop’s acceptance of this plan of amends as an act of restorative justice. It is also for his own spiritual good and his own healing as a man who professes to follow Christ. All proceeds from Bishop Bransfield’s repayment will be directed to a special fund to provide for the counseling, care and support of those who have suffered sexual abuse.”

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‘Don’t let the bastards get away with it’

AUSTRALIA
The Weekend Australian Magazine

November 22, 2019

By Greg Bearup

A long-lost school friend calls out of the blue with a shocking revelation. Has nothing changed since the royal commission?

I’ve just come from a paintball combat zone with a dozen overhyped 13-year-olds when my phone rings. It’s Sunday, July 14, and on the line is a bloke called Mick McCudden, an old classmate who ­disappeared from school in 1985. “Greg, I need you to tell my story. I don’t want these bastards to get away with what they’ve done to me.”

I know the broad outline of Mick’s story. I’ve followed what happened to him, and others. Mick was sexually abused by a teacher at the boarding school in northern NSW we both attended and I know his life has been a mess ever since. The teacher pleaded guilty to crimes against Mick and a dozen other boys; the saga has been going on so long that this teacher has since died in jail. I know the order that ran the school, the Marist Fathers, has dragged its feet over compensating Mick for the damage he has suffered.

He has come to me because I am a journalist – but as I stand on the outskirts of the paintball field, I’m thinking: “I don’t even know if I can get his story into the paper. Will my editor even be interested? What’s new? What’s different? We’ve heard this all before.” I promise to get back to him during the week. What I don’t know is just how close to the edge Mick was when he made that call.

The next night my phone buzzes with this text message: “Gidday Greg mate. I’m over all this bullshit with the Marists/Catholic church. No one is prepared to take ownership of what’s happened to me… I plan to kill myself and join…” He mentions two of at least 10 boys who attended our school in the 1980s who killed themselves not long after leaving. “You probably won’t hear from me again, I’m sorry.”

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Brennan outlines plans of amends required for Bransfield

WHEELING (WV)
WTOV Channel 9

Nov. 26, 2019

In fulfilling the requirement of the Holy Father, Pope Francis, that former Bishop Michael J. Bransfield make amends for “some of the harm” he caused during his tenure and related to actions of sexual harassment of adults and misuse of Diocesan funds for personal benefit, Wheeling-Charleston Bishop Mark E. Brennan has outlined a detailed “plan of amends” that has been presented to the former bishop for his cooperation.

The plan calls for apologies to those adults whom he was found to have sexually harassed, as well as to the Catholic faithful of the Diocese for the harm he caused and the reputation damage to the Catholic Church in West Virginia. In addition, he is required also to apologize to members of the Chancery staff who were subjected to a culture of intimidation and fear of retribution in performing their responsibilities. The plan further defines significant financial restitution to the Diocese in the amount of $792,638.00 that is being required of former Bishop Bransfield, reflecting the amount determined to have been related purely to personal expenditures and unrelated to the performance of his official duties during his tenure.

The plan for amends has been detailed in a Letter to the Faithful by Bishop Brennan which can be accessed here: www.dwc.org

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Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston Bishop Mark Brennan to Announce Bransfield’s ‘Amends’

WHEELING (WV)
The Intelligencer

Nov. 26, 2019

At 1 p.m. Tuesday, the Most Rev. Mark Brennan will make public the amends requirement of former bishop Michael Bransfield for his actions while leading the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston.

Bransfield retired last September. Since his departure, he has been the center of allegations of sexual harassment and financial mismanagement during his time as bishop. According to a report commissioned for the Vatican, Bransfield spent millions of dollars in diocesan funds on his personal travel, jewelry and his home.

He’s also accused of sexually harassing seminarians during his time leading the church in West Virginia.

Bransfield also allegedly diverted more than $20 million from Wheeling Hospital into the Bishops Fund — a fund he created to “establish his legacy.” The Bishops Fund board included the Rev. Kevin Quirk, the group’s secretary and then chairman of the boards of both Wheeling Hospital and Wheeling Jesuit University; Lawrence Bandi, the board’s treasurer and president of Central Catholic High School in Wheeling; Bryan Minor, the diocese’s human resources director and executive director of the West Virginia Catholic Foundation; and the Rev. Frederick Annie, one of Bransfield’s three monsignor deputies that also included Quirk.

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Catholic order moved pedophile priest to church property with summer camp after CNN investigation

NEW YORK (NY)
CNN

Nov. 26, 2019

By Katie Polglase

Catholic order placed a pedophile priest on church property where a summer camp for children was taking place after a year-long CNN investigation revealed new allegations of child abuse against him.

Father Luk Delft was recalled to Belgium in June this year after CNN informed the order that two boys in the Central African Republic had accused Delft of abusing them.

The Salesians of Don Bosco, a religious order established specifically to protect children, housed the convicted abuser on the campus in Sint-Pieters-Woluwe in Belgium after the 50-year-old priest was removed from his role as country director of the Catholic charity Caritas in the CAR.

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Sex abuse crisis can lead to conversion church needs, theologian says

WASHINGTON (DC)
Catholic News Service

Nov. 26, 2019

By Matthew Gambino

Since the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church broke open in 2002 in the United States and intensified globally last year, responses to it have focused on legal matters and administrative reforms.

But theologians and other faithful thinkers are focusing now on a higher dimension, and the question of where God is calling his people at this moment.

Villanova University launched the first in a series of four conferences on the theological perspectives of the sexual abuse crisis Nov. 1. Some 20 Catholic scholars from around the world heard a dozen presentations on the topic in a daylong seminar, according to Villanova professor Massimo Faggioli, a lead organizer of the series.

In a keynote talk to cap the first conference, Father Richard Lennan said the long-term response of the Christian community to the crisis should be an inner conversion of heart and fearless self-criticism — and not only among bishops and clergy, but all members of the church.

A professor of theology at Boston College and a priest of the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle in Australia, he told 25 people, including scholars and visitors from the community, why conversion is critical at this time.

“A theological response to the abuse crisis recognizes that (it) is not simply an issue of governance, formation for ministry or pastoral practice. The sexual abuse crisis gnaws at the faith,” he said. “It casts a pall of suspicion over belief in a capacity of any human instrument, let alone the church, to mediate grace.”

Lennan found in the working document of the recent Synod of Bishops for the Amazon a three-point formula that he believes may serve as a road map for the church’s conversion. A process of unlearning, learning and relearning can facilitate a renewed openness to grace and conversion.

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In his first interview since being sentenced, Bill Cosby says he doesn’t expect to show remorse at parole time

NEW YORK (NY)
CNN

Nov. 26, 2019

In his first interview since he was sentenced to prison for sexual assault, comedian Bill Cosby said he doesn’t expect to express remorse when it comes time for his parole.

“I have eight years and nine months left,” Cosby said, according to an article by National Newspaper Publishers Association’s BlackPressUSA.com. “When I come up for parole, they’re not going to hear me say that I have remorse. I was there. I don’t care what group of people come along and talk about this when they weren’t there. They don’t know.”

Cosby, 82, gave the website the exclusive interview from SCI Phoenix, a state prison near Collegeville, Pennsylvania, where he is serving three to 10 years for drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand at his home in 2004.

In the article, Cosby referred to his jail cell as “my penthouse,” and said he was in good spirits in the prison.

Cosby filed an appeal in June arguing his criminal conviction was flawed because the testimony of five accusers was “strikingly dissimilar” to that of Constand.

Cosby said unless he is successful in his appeal, he expects to serve his full sentence, according to the article. Cosby said he wasn’t guilty, the article reported.

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Child Sex Abuse Task Force Gives 19 Recommendations; Some Say It Lacks a Big One

PHOENIX (AZ)
New Times

Nov. 26, 2019

By Ali Swenson

A governor-appointed task force has finished studying Arizona’s laws on child sex abuse and issued 19 recommendations to improve them.

Among its suggestions are changes that would expand the criminal statute of limitations for child sex trafficking, broaden the definition of sex abuse perpetrators who are in a position of trust, and increase funding for police investigations, awareness campaigns, and reporting technology.

Notably missing, as first reported by the subscription-based political tipsheet Yellow Sheet Report, is an explanation of how the state might expand the civil statute of limitations for child sex abuse cases. The task force says the current age limit of 30 for filing lawsuits is “not sufficient” and suggests that a third party should conduct research on what might be an appropriate age, but the group doesn’t suggest a legal pathway to changing it.

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GOV. WOLF SIGNS THREE BILLS TO PROTECT VICTIMS OF CHILDHOOD SEXUAL ABUSE

BERKS COUNTY (PA)
Berks Weekly

Nov. 26, 2019

Governor Tom Wolf, joined by Attorney General Josh Shapiro, bill sponsors Reps. Mark Rozzi, Todd Stephens, and Jim Gregory; legislators; advocates and survivors of childhood sexual abuse, signed three bills that mirror the Grand Jury’s recommendations after its investigation into child sexual abuse by Catholic clergy.

“After tireless and passionate work on the part of so many, especially countless brave victims, these bills will today become law, and victims of one of the most unimaginable forms of abuse will receive the support and rights they deserve,” Gov. Wolf said. “And while we celebrate the monumental victory of many survivors of childhood sexual abuse finally receiving their opportunity for justice, we must continue pushing forward until every survivor, of every age, has the chance to tell his or her story.”

“These reforms fundamentally change our justice system and will protect generations of children who experience abuse from this day on,” Attorney General Josh Shapiro said. “While we still must address justice for those survivors who made this day possible, seeing this progress gives me hope that bravery and activism will win over entrenched interests and powerful institutions.”

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The Two Popes – A Review

The Film Stage blog

November 26, 2019

By Jordan Raup

Do the principles of God change with the shifting tides of culture? This theological question is at the heart of The Two Popes. As unanswerable as the question may be, it presents an engaging-if-scattered platform for the spiritual sparring that Jonathan Pryce and Anthony Hopkins devour. Directed by Fernando Meirelles with the kind of hyperactivity that worked so well in his kinetic breakthrough City of God, that trait is unfortunately not helped here with Anthony McCarten’s script, which attempts to pack a life’s worth of history in between a few conversations.

The life at the center of the story–which takes place over many decades, but mostly 2012–is that of Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio (Pryce), who is not shy about his desire for the Catholic Church to change their stodgy, conservative ways. As the planet is being destroyed and the inequality gap continues to grow, the world built walls–figuratively and literally–and fought over hot-button issues rather than getting to the humanitarian heart at the center of Christianity. In order to attract a base of followers that continues to dwindle, Bergoglio believes the only path forward is through change. Pope Benedict XVI (Hopkins), the man of the highest cloth, diverges in this opinion with his traditional views, which leads to heated quarrels about dogma and the future of the Catholic Church when Bergoglio is invited to visit. As written in recent history, the Pope would eventually be the first one to resign in centuries, handing over the papacy to Bergoglio, who would become Pope Francis.

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Harvest Bible Chapel releases financial records review exposing misuse of church funds

WASHINGTON (DC)
Christian Post

Nov. 26, 2019

By Brandon Showalter

A legal and financial review of Harvest Bible Chapel’s records has revealed that their founding and now former pastor James MacDonald was paid over $1 million annually, amid other instances of malfeasance.

Earlier this year, MacDonald was ousted from his leadership post at Harvest Bible Chapel, a church he founded over 30 years ago. His termination ultimately came about as a result of lewd comments he made on a hot mic that were aired on a local radio station amid controversy over allegations that he had presided over an abusive church culture and had mishandled church resources while living an opulent lifestyle.

The review looked at financial statements from January 2016 through mid-February of this year, according to The Daily Herald.

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This ‘Fox Chase Boy’ and his courage brought down the house

{HILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Inquirer

Nov. 26, 2019

By Maria Panaritis

Sometime after the 1980s one-hit wonders stopped playing, but before he put on a fire-engine-red Members Only jacket, Gerad Argeros stood completely naked in front of 100 of his best pals in the basement of the Rockledge Hook and Ladder Room on Saturday night in Montgomery County.

Only a microphone separated this 49-year-old performer from the smart-alecky crowd of grade school friends and relatives from Fox Chase. They’d all grown up just over the county line in Northeast Philadelphia. And until two years ago, when I helped make Gerad’s biggest lifelong secret become painfully public to the world at large, everyone here had known him as just good old Gerry.

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Two Priests who Abused Deaf Children in Argentina Sentenced to More than 40 Years in Prison

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

Nov. 25, 2019

Two priests who were accused of abusing multiple students while working at a school for the deaf and hearing impaired have been sentenced to more than 40 years in prison. We applaud this sentence and hope that it encourages other survivors in Argentina to come forward and get help.

Now that Fr. Nicola Corradi and Fr. Horacio Corbacho have been sentenced, we call on church officials in Argentina to take steps to publicize the information and urge others who were hurt by these men or suspected their crimes to come forward and make a report to police.

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Pennsylvanians to get more time on sex abuse charges, suits after grand jury report

HARRISBURG (PA)
Associated Press

Nov. 26, 2019

By Mark Scolforo

The state where a grand jury’s groundbreaking report set off a new wave of reckoning over sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church passed legislation Thursday giving victims more time to sue and police more time to file charges.

The Pennsylvania House sent the statute-of-limitations bill to Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf with a 182-5 vote, along with a measure that invalidates secrecy agreements in lawsuit settlements that prevent child sexual abuse victims from talking to investigators.

“This has been a long and trying process, and we are finally at the finish line,” the statute-of-limitations bill’s prime champion, Berks County Democratic Rep. Mark Rozzi, told fellow lawmakers. “Justice is coming.”

Wolf’s office said he intends to sign the bills and a third measure that increases and clarifies penalties for mandated reporters who do not report suspected child abuse.

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Spokesman J.J. Abbott said Wolf “thanks the brave victims that made these changes possible by sharing their stories and fighting for justice.”

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A Program for Reform, Part Three

Patheos blog

Nov. 25, 2019

By Gabriel Blanchard

Financial corruption is another major element that runs throughout the Church’s scandals. It takes money to cover things up, spin them when they get out, fight lengthy court battles, and pay for victims’ compensation. It overlaps with some of the sexual scandals in themselves, too: in not a few cases of sexual predation on young people, the grooming of the victims involved expensive gifts and vacations. And then there’s the good old-fashioned brazen self-centeredness of men like the recently disgraced Bishop Bransfield of Wheeling-Charleston: nothing complicated, just the lifestyle of an opulent jetsetter in a diocese where some people don’t have little luxuries like running water.

II. Financial Reform

1. All bishops shall be required to make a vow of personal poverty. As successors of the Apostles and ministers of Christ, it is the responsibility of bishops to care for the poor; and nothing is so likely to keep someone conscious of the poor as being one of the poor. Magnificent churches are one thing—it is appropriate to give God our best and loveliest, not because he needs it (he made it after all) but as a gesture of thanks and praise; episcopal palaces and splendorous chanceries are something else entirely, and the money that such things both represent and require would be better spent on the poor: the parallel of Judas’ complaint about Jesus being anointed at Bethany applies to churches, not to mansions and seaside condominiums, still less to the unsavory behavior that such mansions and condos have been used to conceal.

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Cheyenne prosecutor confirms priest abuse investigation in Casper DA’s hands

CASPER (WY)
Star Tribune

Nov 25, 2019

By Seth Klamann

Natrona County’s top prosecutor was handed the criminal investigation involving retired Wyoming bishop Joseph Hart three months ago and was tasked with handling any prosecutions related to the case, the district attorney in Cheyenne confirmed last week in response to a Star-Tribune public records request.

“I don’t have the current investigation, so the 2019 case,” Laramie County District Attorney Leigh Anne Manlove said in a voicemail left for a reporter last week. “I have nothing. Because my office is not handling that case. All of that investigation, everything, the affidavit of probable cause … everything went to the district attorney in Casper, Dan Itzen.”

Manlove was responding to a public records request sent by the Star-Tribune last week to a number of law enforcement agencies that may have been involved in an investigation into retired Bishop Joseph Hart, who has faced repeated allegations that he sexually abuse boys throughout his 45-year career as a priest and bishop. The requests were specifically for any public records mentioning Hart.

The response by Manlove is the first direct confirmation that the criminal investigation involves the man who was once the highest-ranking Catholic cleric in Wyoming.

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Editorial: Grand jury reports are trust and truth

PITTSBURGH (PA)
Tribune-Review

Nov. 25, 2019

A grand jury report is not the kind of thing that is released every time it is issued.

We may not know every grand jury that is impaneled. We are not told when they hear a case. We do not know what witnesses appear before them. We may never hear about the charges that are not recommended.

But when we do, the reports mean something. Usually, the something is big.

In 2011, an investigating grand jury recommended child sex abuse charges against retired Penn State football defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.

In 2018, another uncovered details of 70 years of child sex abuse in Catholic Church dioceses.

But a task force wants to prevent reports like those from being released.

A two-year review of the state grand jury system resulted in a 4-3 recommendation to abolish the public reports. That decision was noted, ironically enough, in a report released publicly.

The grand jury process is conducted largely under a veil of secrecy. That makes sense for the job that is being done — investigating issues of public corruption and organized crime.

But the report, especially a report like that on the church scandal that explored decades of wrongdoing across so many jurisdictions, occupies an area of public trust and truth that should absolutely be maintained.

It should be allowed because it does not just show where the defendants fell down. It shows where the state does, too.

Without the 2011 report that showed holes in the fences that protected children in the reporting process, would the public have demanded action? Would the state have made changes to the requirements for background checks and mandatory reporting?

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Church Leaves Southern Baptist Convention, Avoiding Inquiry of Predator Priest

Patheos blog

Nov. 25, 2019

By Hemant Mehta

How bad is the abuse within the Southern Baptist Convention? An investigation earlier this year by the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News exposed the predatory behavior of so many Baptist leaders that the SBC itself vowed to make things right. They even identified ten SBC churches themselves that required additional scrutiny.

One of those was Bolivar Baptist Church in Sanger, Texas. Its pastor, Dale “Dickie” Amyx, admitted to raping and later impregnating a teen girl in the 1970s. While a civil case was settled out of court in 2008, he was still preaching sermons as if he had never committed a crime.

When faced with the prospect of further investigations by the SBC, Bolivar Baptist Church made a simple decision: Rather than face more scrutiny, they would leave the SBC altogether. Amyx insists that decision, made back in May, has nothing to do with his predatory behavior.

Amyx, reached Wednesday in the foyer of his church, told the Denton Record-Chronicle why the church left the convention. He said the reasoning was independent of the moves the SBC was making to hold the church accountable. He said the church left so it could be a more independent Baptist church.

He said the church hadn’t been sending money to the SBC or sharing the the convention’s literature or teachings with Bolivar Baptist churchgoers for many years…

“The past is the past,” Amyx said when asked directly about the accusations detailed by Vasquez and the investigation. “That’s where it should have stayed.”

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Montreal archdiocese hires retired judge to conduct investigation of priest found guilty of sexual abuse

MONTREAL (CANADA)
The Canadian Press

Nov.. 25, 2019

By Sidhartha Banerjee

Montreal’s archdiocese enlisted a former Quebec Superior Court justice on Monday to investigate the case of a priest found guilty of sexually abusing two boys.

Pepita G. Capriolo will conduct the investigation into Rev. Brian Boucher, a Catholic priest who was sentenced in March to eight years behind bars.

The archbishop said the recently retired judge will examine how the church handled complaints and concerns about Boucher.

“One of the issues concerning Brian Boucher is there were people who came to talk about the problem … what’s the story about who knew what, when?” Archbishop Christian Lepine said in an interview.

Following a trial, Boucher was convicted in January 2019 of sexually assaulting one of the victims. In the second case, he pleaded guilty to sex-related charges as a trial was set to begin just under two weeks later.

Boucher worked in 10 Montreal-area churches between 1985 and 2015.

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Father George Clements, Iconic Priest Accused Of Sex Abuse, Has Died

CHICAGO (IL)
WLS TV

Nov. 25, 2019

The Rev. George Clements, a renowned Chicago priest who was accused of sexual abuse in a 1974 allegation, has died.

According to Father Michael Pfleger, Clements died in a hospital in Hammond, Indiana.

The Chicago Archdiocese also confirmed Clements’ passing.

Clements family said it will hold a news conference Monday afternoon.

In August of 2019, the Chicago Archdiocese asked Clements to step down from ministry after a sexual abuse allegation from 1974.

Blase Cardinal Cupich asked Clements to step aside from ministry pending the outcome of the investigation into the 1974 allegation. At the time, Clements was pastor of Holy Angels Parish in Chicago.

He was considered one of the most celebrated priests in Chicago history. It was the death of Martin Luther King Jr. that’s sparked his activism.

“That said to me, if they’re willing to go ahead and kill this saint, well, you don’t know how much time you have left,’” Clements said.

But when you ask Clements about his greatest achievement, he points to his four sons. He made history as the first American priest to adopt a child, a story that ended up on the big screen.

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Local Abuse Survivors React to NBC Survey of Catholic Church Employees

WASHINGTON (DC)
NBC 4

Nov. 25, 2019

By Jodie Fleischer and Rick Yarborough

For the roughly two million Catholics who live in D.C., Maryland and Virginia, clergy sex abuse has caused heartache and distrust within an institution gripped by scandal for nearly two decades.

The News4 I-Team partnered with NBC-owned stations around the country to ask those who know the church best where they think it stands now. We sent a 26-question survey to more than 32,000 priests, deacons, nuns and other church workers around the country.

Nearly 3,000 responded — including more than 400 priests, more than 240 nuns, and nearly 1,900 lay employees — answering questions about everything from ordaining women and married men as priests to whether the Church should recognize gay marriage.

Two local survivors shared their reaction to responses about the handling of the clergy sex abuse scandal.

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Florida law deemed many of Jeffrey Epstein’s teen victims were not sex-crime victims

PALM BEACH (FL)
The Ledger

Nov. 24, 2019

By John Pacenti

Law deemed many of Jeffrey Epstein’s teen victims were not sex-crime victims. Some state lawmakers want to change that.

Palm Beach police handed State Attorney Barry Krischer in 2006 the names of five victims and 17 witnesses to build a case of rape and serial sexual molestation against Palm Beacher Jeffrey Epstein.

The girls had been lured with the promise of $200 for an hour’s work giving Epstein a massage only to find themselves trapped with a modern-day Caligula.

Eight of the witnesses were 16- and 17-year-olds. All said Epstein had molested them.

But under Florida law, those eight were too old to be molested. And that remains the case today.
Any potential charges filed against Epstein for what he did to these girls would never have risen above misdemeanor battery.

Under state law, anyone over the age of 16 who is molested but not penetrated can at best hope their assailant spends a year behind bars — the penalty for a first-degree misdemeanor.

For victims, that means the potential punishment for their abuser is far less than a sex crime and the statute of limitations is far shorter.

Sexual battery, a felony charge, applies to instances of intercourse or digital penetration, not fondling. Lewd or lascivious offenses for fondling or indecent exposure also constitute a felony but only for victims under 16.

While much attention has been paid to how Krischer — and subsequently the U.S. Justice Department — fumbled the case against the multimillionaire, the renewed interest in everything Epstein gives advocates a chance to urge legislators to close this loophole.

“A misdemeanor battery is not a sex offense crime,” said Palm Beach Gardens attorney Michael Dolce, himself a sex abuse survivor.

“So when somebody feels they’ve been subjected to a sex offense, the expectation is that the law will respond by categorizing it as a sexual crime.”

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Our view: State falls short on abuse reform

GREENCASTLE (PA)
Echo Pilot

Nov. 25, 2019

By the Editorial Board

The 2018 release of state Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s grand jury report exposing decades of Roman Catholic clergy child sexual abuse offered state lawmakers the opportunity to level a gross imbalance of power and speed justice to damaged victims.

They failed to deliver in full.

Landmark legislation guaranteed to protect future victims is heading to Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk to be signed into law.

The state Senate on Wednesday advanced reforms recommended by the state grand jurors who uncovered, through church records and wrenching testimony, the sexual abuse of more than 1,000 victims by more than 300 clergy in six Pennsylvania Roman Catholic dioceses, including the Catholic Diocese of Erie.

The bills eliminate the statute of limitations for filing criminal child sex abuse charges and give future victims until the age of 55 to sue for damages. They clarify penalties for failures to report abuse and prohibit confidentiality agreements that bar victims from reporting crimes. That is monumental, as state Rep. Mark Rozzi, of Berks County, a priest abuse survivor and reform champion, noted.

But when it comes to the grand jury recommendation that victims be given a time window to sue the church retroactively, those victims who want to confront their abusers independently and transparently in a court of law again must wait.

With that recommendation staunchly opposed by Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati of Jefferson County and church and insurance lobbyists, lawmakers instead voted to seek a constitutional amendment that would allow victims time to sue retroactively.

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Harvest report pins ‘massive corporate governance failure’ on MacDonald

CHICAGO (IL)
Religion News Service

Nov. 22, 2019

By Emily McFarlan Miller

A “massive corporate governance failure apparently developed over several years” at Harvest Bible Chapel primarily because of its former senior pastor, James MacDonald, according to a report released Thursday evening (Nov. 21) by the Chicago-area megachurch.

The report by Chicago-based law firm Wagenmaker & Oberly pinned that failure on MacDonald’s “powerful and subversive leadership style,” his development of an inner circle of leaders through which he could control the church, his marginalization of the church’s elders and other leaders and other “aggressive tactics” by the former pastor.

And it’s “most glaring” when it comes to the church’s finances, according to the report.

The report comes at the request of the Harvest 2020 team of congregants, staff, elders and outside professionals formed this spring to review the church’s oversight, accountability and transparency.

That team asked Wagenmaker & Oberly to review the church’s finances and management practices to “determine what might’ve gone wrong and to put forth corrective policies and procedures to get us on the right course for the future,” according to Harvest treasurer Tim Stoner.

“It is our sincere desire to do the right thing even when it is hard, and in the process, to see the Lord repair what has been broken and to move us to a deeper and sweeter walk with Jesus. We want to follow the admonition in Micah chapter 6, verse 8, to do justly, to love kindness and to walk humbly with our God,” Stoner said.

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Priests who sexually abused deaf children get 40-year jail terms

BUENOS AIRES (ARGENTINA)
Buenos Aires Times

Nov. 25, 2019

Two Catholic priests were each sentenced to more than 40 years in prison for sexually abusing deaf children, a court in the western city of Mendoza ruled Monday.

A three-judge panel in Mendoza sentenced Italian priest Reverend Nicola Corradi to 42 years in prison and the Argentine priest Reverend Horacio Corbacho to 45 years, for abusing children at the Antonio Próvolo Institute for Deaf and Hearing Impaired Children in Luján de Cuyo, a municipality in northwestern Argentina, between 2004 and 2016.

Corradi, an 83-year-old Italian, and Corbacho, a 59-year-old Argentine, were arrested in 2016. The institution’s gardener, Armando Gómez, was also jailed for 18 years for sexual abuse. The victims are 10 former students.

The court said the sentences took into account the aggravating circumstances that the priests were responsible for the children’s wellbeing, as well as the fact that the victims were minors.

The accused declined to make statements ahead of the judges’ ruling. They appeared somber as they arrived in the courtroom, with Corradi in a wheelchair, his gaze fixed on the ground.

utside the court a group of young people celebrated, after waiting for the ruling with banners supporting the victims.

Corbacho, 59, and 83-year-old Corradi had been held in preventive detention since their arrest three years ago on charges of child sex abuse at the school.

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Is A Priest’s Eulogy In Suicide Case Protected By 1st Amendment? We’ll Find Out

DETROIT (MI)
Deadline Detroit

Nov. 24, 2019

By Michael Betzold

After militant homophobes in the Westboro Baptist Church began picketing funerals of gay people in the 1990s, Michigan was among many states to make it illegal to disrupt a funeral.

Now, in a case that has made headlines nationwide, a Toledo law firm representing a grieving mother hopes to persuade a Wayne County jury that a priest conducting a funeral can be liable for deliberately mishandling it.

Featured_detroit_archdiocese_34554
“It was an ambush,” says attorney Wesley Merillat – characterizing how Fr. Don LaCuesta sabotaged Maison Hullibarger’s funeral mass last December at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church in Temperance, Mich. LaCuesta had agreed earlier in a meeting with the parents to deliver a message of love and kindness to celebrate their son’s life, but the priest somehow found out the death was a suicide.

His homily revealing that fact amounted to a “heartless condemnation” of the young man, according to the lawsuit. The sermon about the eternal damnation of Maison’s soul continued even after the deceased’s father approached the pulpit and implored him to stop.

It’s a potentially groundbreaking case on the limits of the First Amendment and what might constitute “hate speech.” David Clohessy, a national leader of SNAP (the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests), knows of no prior lawsuit challenging what a priest can say in a sermon. After decades of scandal stemming from physical clerical abuse, a case raising the issue of verbal abuse in the guise of spiritual instruction is new territory for the church.

Does state law apply?

In response to the Westboro protests, a Michigan statute makes it a felony to “make any statement … that causes a breach of the peace” at a funeral. How that criminal statute might affect this civil case remains to be seen.

Also named as a defendant in the civil action is the Archdiocese of Detroit. For almost a year, Archbishop Allen Vigneron has refused to remove LaCuesta from his post at Mount Carmel – and won’t say why. Vigneron has unrestricted power to move priests to different parish assignments – and often exercises it. But he allegedly ended a meeting with Hullibarger’s parents shortly after the funeral last December, saying he wouldn’t discuss LaCuesta. He then announced the priest wouldn’t conduct any more funerals until he got more instruction on how to handle them.

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Catholic Church of Montreal orders ‘independent, external’ investigation into rapes by pedophile priest

MONTREAL (CANADA)
CTV News Montreal

Nov. 25, 2019

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Montreal has ordered an “independent, external” investigation into the case of Brian Boucher, a Montreal priest who sexually assaulted two boys.

In March, Boucher was sentenced to eight years in prison for raping the two minors, now adults. Boucher worked in 10 Montreal-area churches between 1985 and 2015. The abuse took place at two churches, between 1995 and 1999 in the case of one victim and between 2008 and 2011 in the other.

The investigation will be conducted by Pepita Capriolo, a retired Quebec Superior Court justice, the Archdiocese announced Monday.

“We want to get to the bottom of things to uncover the truth regarding how the concerns and complaints about Brian Boucher were received and handled, ” Montreal Archbishop Christian Lépine said. “Ms. Capriolo’s mandate is twofold: first, determining ‘who’ knew ‘what’ and ‘when’, and then making recommendations to ensure that our policies and procedures improve, thereby avoiding that such crimes would occur again.”

Lepine said the Archiodocese would provide Capriolo with “all the resources needed to conduct a thorough investigation” and will make the results of her completed investigation public.

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Vancouver’s Catholic archbishop apologizes for churches ‘betrayal’ to 26 abused children

VANCOUVER (CANADA)
NEWS 1130

Nov. 24, 2019

Vancouver’s Catholic archbishop is apologizing for the trauma suffered by at least 26 children who have been betrayed by the church.

A letter written by Michael Miller is being read at churches within the Greater Vancouver area Sunday.

On Friday, a 12-page report from the Archdiocese of Vancouver named nine priests convicted or accused of abuse, dating back to 1950.

Five men convicted related to the report include, Paul J. Blancard, George Gordon, John McCann, Harold McIntee and Alfred Frank Louis Sasso, but not all five have spent time in prison.

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Verdict nears for priests accused of abuse in Argentina

BUENOS AIRES (ARGENTINA)
Associated Press

Nov. 24, 2019

By Almudena Calatrava

Pope Francis’ homeland faces a complicated week of reckoning with the sex abuse scandal that has plagued the Roman Catholic church.

Judges were scheduled to rule Monday in the case of two priests who face up to 50 years in prison for alleged sexual abuse of deaf children at a Catholic-run school — a sister institution to a school that suffered a similar scandal in Italy.

Meanwhile, a bishop once close to the pope announced he would arrive back in the country Tuesday to respond to prosecutor’s allegations of sex abuse.

Both cases have raised questions about how quickly Pope Francis acted to deal with the complaints.

A three-judge panel in the northwestern province of Mendoza was set to rule on charges against the Rev. Nicola Corradi, an 83-year-old Italian, and the Rev. Horacio Corbacho, a 59-year-old Argentine, who worked at the Antonio Provolo Institute for Deaf and Hearing Impaired Children in the Mendoza municipality of Lujan de Cuyo. Both were arrested in 2016.

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More Harm Than Good

Patheos blog

Nov. 25, 2019

By James A. Haught

Surprisingly, an important theologian and Catholic scholar says all religions do more harm than good.

Writing in the Harvard Divinity Bulletin (spring-summer 2019), Dr. Robert Orsi of Northwestern University delivers a blistering indictment titled “The Study of Religion on the Other Side of Disgust.”

He says that, “on balance, in the long perspective of human history, religions have done more harm than good.” He repeats that all scholars of faith should “pause to stare into the depths of the truth that religions have, over time, done more harm than good.”

Dr. Orsi describes how he grew up in a devout Italian-American Catholic family, went to mass several times weekly, and devoted his life to faith as chairman of Catholic studies in the Religion Department at Northwestern. He has written several religious books.

He focuses most of his disgust on the Catholic pedophile scandal and on bishops who tried to hide the sordid abuse of thousands of children. In fact, he says he’s writing a new book “about the role of Catholic sexuality and sexual abuse in the formation of boys at a Jesuit high school in New York City in 1967-71.”

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Vatican charity knew in 2017 of pedophilia concerns about Central African Republic director

ROME (ITALY)
Associated Press

Nov. 23, 2019

The Vatican’s Caritas Internationalis charity says it learned in 2017 of pedophilia concerns involving its Central African Republic director, but left it for his superiors to investigate and he remained in place and in ministry until this year.

CNN revealed the scandal over the Rev. Luk Delft this week, reporting that the Belgian Salesian priest was appointed to lead the Vatican’s main charity in the poverty-stricken country despite a 2012 criminal conviction in Belgium for child sexual abuse and possession of child pornography.

CNN identified two new alleged victims in Central African Republic since he was posted there.

Michel Roy, former secretary-general of Caritas Internationalis from 2011-2019, said in a statement Saturday that he didn’t know about the criminal conviction until this year.

But he said he had been informed in 2017 by a therapist that Delft shouldn’t be in contact with children.

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Josh Shapiro focused on being Pa. attorney general, not what’s next

PITTSBURGH (PA)
Tribune Review

Nov. 23, 2019

By Megan Guza

Don’t ask Josh Shapiro what’s next. There’s work to do right now.

Shapiro, three years into his first term as Pennsylvania attorney general, has risen in profile since taking office. That’s due in no small part to the explosive 2018 grand jury report accusing a half-dozen Catholic dioceses across the state, including the ones in Pittsburgh and Greensburg, of covering up decades of child sexual abuse by priests.

In that regard, there is more to do. The abuse hotline set up in the aftermath of the report has gotten nearly 2,000 reports in just over a year. Those must be investigated.

He’s also in the process of hammering out a $50 billion settlement with Purdue Pharmaceuticals, the maker of OxyContin, following a two-year investigation by Shapiro and attorneys general from three other states.

In the meantime, thousands continue to die of drug overdoses across Pennsylvania. There is more to do, he said.

Seniors are still being scammed. Students have lost money to predatory for-profit colleges. There are still fraudsters and predators and drug dealers.

So don’t ask the attorney general what’s next – it visibly annoys him.

“Look. If you can’t tell, we’re pretty busy, and I really love this work,” Shapiro told the Tribune-Review.

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SEXUAL ABUSE SURVIVORS FACE TRAUMA IN SILENCE AS CLAIMS GROW AGAINST CATHOLIC CLERGY IN WISCONSIN

MILWAUKEE (WI)
Wisconsin Watch

Nov. 24, 2019

In the past year, some dioceses and religious orders have for the first time listed their accused clergy. At others, the decades of silence continues.

When she was 7, Patty Gallagher was chosen to bring the priest who served her parish and school in Monona, Wisconsin, his daily milk. The Rev. Lawrence Trainor was practically a member of the family. He came over for dinner and visited the family cottage. Gallagher’s father and Trainor played cards and drank together. Trainor, a priest at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, ingratiated himself with her parents.

And then, Gallagher said, he “raped me in every way possible.”

“I had to make my first confession with this man and say the words, ‘Bless me, Father, for I have sinned,’ to the man who raped me in the most horrific ways,” said Gallagher, of Milwaukee, whose last name is now Gallagher Marchant. “There are no words to describe that.”

Gallagher Marchant, a psychotherapist, said she repressed these traumatic memories for decades. She was aware that she had been hurt, but she could not remember by whom. When Gallagher Marchant was 35 and her daughter turned 7 — the same age she was in 1965 at the time of her own abuse — the memories came flooding back. She knew she had to tell someone, so she reached out to the Catholic Diocese of Madison. The year was 1991.

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Historic reforms for statute of limitations in child sex abuse cases headed to Governor Wolf’s desk

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
KYW Newsradio

Nov. 23, 2019

By Mark Abrams

A historic package of reform measures to Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations on child sex abuse is on its way to Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk, and the governor says he’ll sign them into law.

Under the new laws, future victims of child sex abuse will be allowed to sue their alleged perpetrators and the institutions which hired them. Also, any future victims will have an extended period of time, up to age 55, to file criminal charges against those who abused them.

Another provision is that confidentiality agreements signed by victims with institutions or organizations to prevent them from talking to police will be gone.

The reforms were recommended in an August 2018 state grand jury report on clergy sex abuse in the Catholic Church in Pennsylvania.

One class of victims, however, will have to wait for relief.

Adults who were victimized as children, many of whom suffered at the hands of clergy cited in the grand jury report, are NOT included in the latest reforms.

Instead, lawmakers decided those claims for relief should be folded into a proposed constitutional amendment which would be put before lawmakers one more time and then the voters.

“I continue to believe we do not need a constitutional amendment as part of that process,” said Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who championed the grand jury reforms. “It really just delays justice for victims.”

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Vatican charity knew in 2017 of Africa sex abuse concerns

TOKYO (JAPAN)
Associated Press

November 23, 2019

By Nicole Winfield

The Vatican’s Caritas Internationalis charity says it learned in 2017 of pedophilia concerns involving its Central African Republic director, but left it for his superiors to investigate and he remained in place and in ministry until this year.

CNN revealed the scandal over the Rev. Luk Delft this week, reporting that the Belgian Salesian priest was appointed to lead the Vatican’s main charity in the poverty-stricken country despite a 2012 criminal conviction in Belgium for child sexual abuse and possession of child pornography.

CNN identified two new alleged victims in Central African Republic since he was posted there.

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Former Tullytown priest accused of sex abuse to face trial

BUCKS COUNTY (PA)
Bucks County Courier Times

November 19, 2019

By Christopher Dornblaser

Francis Trauger, 74, is accused of molesting two boys at a Tullytown parish between 1996 and 2000.

The former Catholic priest accused of sexually abusing two altar boys at a Tullytown parish now faces trial in county court.

Bucks County District Attorney’s office spokesman James O’Malley said Francis Trauger, 74, stipulated to the criminal complaint only for the purpose of his preliminary hearing Tuesday afternoon.

That means no testimony was necessary.

Trauger’s charges, which are misdemeanor offenses of indecent assault of someone younger than 16, indecent assault of someone younger than 13 and corruption of minors, were held for county court.

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