ABUSE TRACKER

A digest of links to media coverage of clergy abuse. For recent coverage listed in this blog, read the full article in the newspaper or other media source by clicking “Read original article.” For earlier coverage, click the title to read the original article.

January 22, 2020

Retired Oklahoma City priest added to clergy abuse list

OKLAHOMA CITY (OK)
KFOR

January 21, 2020

By Kaylee Douglas

Archbishop Paul Coakley announced Tuesday the addition of a now-retired Oklahoma City priest who served in churches across the state to the list of priests who have had a substantiated allegation of abuse of a minor.

According to the investigation, the archdiocese was contacted in 1993 by a former parishioner of Saint Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Enid who reported allegations of abuse against Father Marvin Leven, 94, that started when the victim was age 15 and recurred as a young adult at Saint John the Baptist Catholic Church in Edmond.

In 1995, as part of the archdiocese’s investigation, Father Leven was sent to Saint Luke Institute for an evaluation related to sexual abuse. In a letter to the diocese, professionals at the institute stated the allegations were possible and recommended Father Leven have no unsupervised contact with minors. They also recommended he seek intensive outpatient psychotherapy.

Father Leven was returned to the parish with the instruction that he “not be permitted to have ministerial contact with minors unless other adults are present.”

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

Victims’ lawyer releases credibly accused clergy list for Fall River Diocese

NEW BEDFORD (MA)
South Coast Today

January 21, 2020

By Kiernan Dunlop

Fall River – The Diocese of Fall River is being pressured to release a list of clergy credibly accused of sexually abusing a minor.

On Tuesday, Attorney Mitchell Garabedian, well known for representing sexual abuse victims in claims against the Archdiocese of Boston, released his own list of nine priests and one Catholic Church employee within the Diocese of Fall River that he says have been “accused of sexually abusing one minor in which this office has successfully brought child abuse claims against.”

In a statement he sent with the list, Garabedian said “As a matter of moral responsibility, it is time for Bishop da Cunha to immediately publicly list the names of credibly accused priests and Catholic Church employees who sexually abused minor children when working within the Diocese of Fall River.”

Not releasing the list, Garabedian said, is a re-victimization of sexual abuse victims, whereas releasing it will help sexual abuse victims try to heal and empower other victims.

In January 2019, the diocese announced plans to release a list of credibly accused clergy following an external review of their documents conducted by former FBI Assistant Director William Galvin.

The review has since been taken over by Kinsale Management Consulting.

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

January 21, 2020

French ex-priest, accused of sex abuse, may get 10 years

ANKARA (TURKEY)
Anadolu Agency

January 21, 2020

By Cindi Cook

Lyon was setting for trial of Bernard Preynat in alleged abuse of at least 80 young boys in 1980s and 1990s

Paris – The four-day trial of a former priest who, accused of sexually abusing at least 80 Boy Scouts in the 1980s and 1990s, was concluded on Friday in Lyon, France.

Bernard Preynat, 74, is charged with committing lecherous acts against the young boys between 1971 and 1991, when he served as scout chaplain in the Sainte-Foy-lès-Lyon region of eastern France.

The prosecutor of the Republic, Dominique Sauves, requested a prison sentence “which is not less than eight years” against the ex-priest.

Preynat faces a possible decade in prison and a 150,000-euro (nearly $167,000) fine.

He is accused of abusing dozens of young boys during his time in charge, although only 10 of the abused testified against him in the trial last week. Those who came forward have also charged the church leadership with covering up the acts, therefore allowing Preynat to remain in contact with youths.

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

Vatican Orders Sex Abuse Investigation of Brooklyn Bishop

NEW YORK (NY)
NBC 4

January 21, 2020

Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio is accused of molesting a child while he was a parish priest in New Jersey

The Vatican has ordered an investigation of a sexual abuse allegation against Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, who was previously named by Pope Francis to investigate the church’s response to clergy sexual abuse in Buffalo.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of the Archdiocese of New York received instructions on Jan. 7 to begin an investigation of allegations that DiMarzio molested a child while he was a parish priest in New Jersey in the mid-1970s, according to a statement released over the weekend by Dolan’s spokesman Joseph Zwilling.

“As is our practice, the Cardinal will rely on outside professional forensic investigators to assist him in this matter,” Zwilling said.

Boston attorney Mitchell Garabedian notified church officials in November that he was preparing a lawsuit on behalf of his client, who alleges to have been repeatedly abused by DiMarzio and a second priest as an altar boy at St. Nicholas Church in Jersey City.

DiMarzio denied the allegation, telling The Associated Press “I am confident I will be fully vindicated.”

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

2 former Cape Cod priests suspended during sexual abuse investigation

HYANNIS (MA)
Cape Cod Times

January 20, 2020

By Jessica Hill

Two retired priests who previously served in parishes on the Cape have been suspended from ministry after separate allegations of sexual abuse of a minor, according to a statement from the Diocese of Fall River.

The Revs. James F. Buckley and Edward J. Byington have denied the allegations, which stem from incidents said to have occurred decades ago, the statement says.

Buckley was ordained in 1959. Among his assignments were St. Joan of Arc Parish in Orleans, St. Augustine Parish in Vineyard Haven, St. Margaret Parish in Buzzards Bay and Holy Redeemer Parish in Chatham, the statement says. He retired in 2001.

Byington, ordained in 1970, was assigned to 10 parishes, including St. Francis Xavier Parish in Hyannis, before he retired in 2006.

Although neither priest is currently assigned to a parish, both have assisted with the celebration of Mass in various churches since their retirement, the statement says. Byington also has taught German classes at St. Joseph’s School in West Warwick, Rhode Island, and the Fall River Diocese has notified the Diocese of Providence about his suspension, according to the statement.

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

Lawyer details sex abuse claim against retired priest

NEW BEDFORD (MA)
SouthCoastToday

January 20, 2020

By Kiernan Dunlop

Fall River – Details are coming to light about allegations of sexual abuse against a retired priest recently suspended by the Diocese of Fall River.

On Monday, Attorney Mitchell Garabedian, well known for representing sexual abuse victims in claims against the Archdiocese of Boston, sent out a statement detailing a claim against the Rev. Edward J. Byington.

Byington was one of two priests named by the Fall River diocese Sunday as having been suspended from ministry due to separate allegations of sexual abuse of a minor going back several decades.

Garabedian said he represents a sexual abuse victim “who claims he was sexually abused by Father Byington when he was approximately 16 to 17 years old.”

According to Garabedian, that abuse occurred in 1971 when Byington offered his client a ride home from the ECHO (Encountering Christ in Others) retreat, but instead drove him to the rectory of Sacred Heart Church in Taunton even though Byington was not assigned to that church at the time.

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

Diocese of Fall River suspends retired Catholic priests James Buckley, Edward Byington over claims of child sex abuse

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
MassLive

January 20, 2020

By Jackson Cote

https://www.masslive.com/news/2020/01/diocese-of-fall-river-suspends-retired-catholic-priests-james-buckley-edward-byington-over-claims-of-child-sex-abuse.html

Two retired Catholic priests were suspended from the ministry over allegations they sexually abused children decades ago, the Diocese of Fall River announced Sunday.

The suspended priests, James F. Buckley and Edward J. Byington, are not assigned to a parish but have assisted with masses at various churches since their retirements in the 2000s, the Diocese of Fall River said in a statement.

Byington has also taught German classes at St. Joseph’s School in West Warwick, Rhode Island. The Diocese of Providence was notified of Byington’s suspension, according to the Diocese of Fall River.

“Nothing is more important than the welfare of all members of our diocesan community, especially anyone who has been harmed or impacted by abuse in any way,” Bishop Edgar da Cunha said in the diocese’s statement. “The Diocese of Fall River remains committed to resolving these matters in as fair and as transparent a process as possible and to ensuring the safety of all youth and vulnerable adults.”

The separate claims of abuse, denied by both priests, are unrelated and remain under investigation by the diocese. The allegations were also referred to law enforcement. Suspension is required by diocesan policies, the statement said.

A man accused Byington of sexually abusing him in the 1970s when he was roughly 16 years old. The alleged victim was not Catholic but was introduced to the priest at Encountering Christ in Others, a weekend retreat program for Christian teenagers on the Cape and Islands. The man was invited by two friends to attend the retreat with them, according to attorney Mitchell Garabedian.

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

January 20, 2020

10 years after Vatican takeover, Legion in new abuse crisis

MEXICO CITY (MEXICO)
Associated Press

January 20, 2020

By Maria Verza and Nicole Winfield

The administrator of the elite Catholic school in Cancun, Mexico, used to take the girls out of class and send them to the chapel, where the priest from the Legion of Christ religious order would sexually abuse them.

“As some were reading the Bible, he would rape the others in front of them, little girls aged 6 to 8 or 9,” said one of his victims, Ana Lucia Salazar, now a 36-year-old Mexican television host and mother of three.

“Afterward, nothing was the same, nothing went back to the way it was,” she said through tears at her home in Mexico City.

Salazar’s horrific story, which has been corroborated by other victims and the Legion itself, has sparked a new credibility crisis for the once-influential order, 10 years after the Holy See took it over after determining that its founder was a pedophile.

But more importantly, it has called into question the Vatican reform itself: The papal envoy who ran the Legion starting in 2010 learned about the case nearly a decade ago and refused to punish or even investigate the priest or the superiors who covered up his crimes, many of whom are still in power and ministry today.

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

Church sexual abuse: French priest Preynat admits ‘caressing’ boys

LONDON (ENGLAND)
BBC

January 14, 2020

A former French priest accused of sexually abusing dozens of Boy Scouts has admitted “caressing” children in ways he knew were wrong, at the beginning of his trial in France.

“It could be four or five children a week,” Bernard Preynat, 74, told the court in Lyon on Tuesday.

He is accused of assaulting at least 80 young boys in the 1980s and 1990s and faces ten years in prison if convicted.

Ten of his accusers are expected to give evidence in the four-day trial.

The men were all aged between seven and 15 at the time of the alleged abuse.

This is the first time that Mr Preynat has appeared in a French court to answer questions about these allegations.

What happened at the court?

Speaking on the first day of his trial, Mr Preynat said he did not initially see his actions as “committing sexual assault, but giving caresses… hugs”.

He admitted to the court, however, that the interactions – which frequently occurred at a scout camp he organised at weekends – “did bring me sexual pleasure”.

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

French trial exposes how church covered for predator priest

LYON (FRANCE)
Associated Press via WTOP

January 19, 2020

One of the first people to notice Bernard Preynat’s unhealthy obsession for young boys was the supervisor at the seminary where, still a teen, the future priest started training for his career in the church.

“At 14, 15 years old, I became interested in the youngest boys and the supervisor summoned me to tell me that I was abnormal and sick,” the self-confessed child abuser said at his trial in France this past week. “I explained this to the bishop.”

And yet, after a two-year church-imposed course of psychotherapy, Preynat was still ordained into the priesthood. This chance, the first of many, to keep him away from children was spurned by the church hierarchy, which instead consistently — and successfully — long kept his abuses under wraps.

Now, at Preynat’s trial in the city of Lyon, a fuller picture of the damage he wrought on dozens of boys and their families is emerging. Four days of hearings also gave a long-overdue airing to the enabling role played by French church officials. Aware of his abuses, Lyon cardinals told him to stop but didn’t report him to police, he said.

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

Clergy named in report held multiple assignments throughout La Crosse Diocese

LA CROSSE (WI)
WKBT

January 19, 2020

By Mal Meyer

A report on clergy sexual abuse released by the Diocese of La Crosse shows the clergy members moved around several times. They served in churches, hospitals and schools throughout its 19 county area, and some served outside the Diocese.

A total of 25 clergy members with ties to the diocese were named in the child sexual abuse report released this weekend. They spent time in the Diocese of La Crosse, which has parishes throughout much of Western and Central Wisconsin.

The report goes on to list where these priests and deacons served. A number of those accused worked at the same places at some point, such as St. Joseph the Workman, Holy Trinity, St. James the Less and Aquinas High School in La Crosse.

Others had pastoral assignments with the Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis or at the Diocese of La Crosse as curia staff. Two of the clergy members were assigned to the Veterans Administration Hospital in Tomah.

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

Sarah’s last hurrah? 2020 could see major Vatican shakeups

DENVER (CO)
Crux

January 18, 2020

By Elise Harris

Rome – At the beginning of the week, the insider Catholic universe imploded when news broke that retired Pope Benedict XVI and Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah had co-authored a new book defending priestly celibacy just as Pope Francis is considering an exception to the rule proposed during the Amazon synod.

In the fierce and polemical debate that ensued, the role of a pope emeritus was questioned while Catholicism’s conservative and progressive camps exchanged arguments over Benedict XVI’s intentions with the book, titled From the Depths of Our Hearts: Priesthood, Celibacy and the Crisis of the Catholic Church, which hit shelves Jan. 15 in France.

The saga culminated with Archbishop Georg Ganswein, personal secretary for Benedict XVI, saying the emeritus pope had asked that his name be withdrawn as a coauthor and removed from the book’s introduction and conclusion. Citing the Chicago Manual of Style, however, the English-language publisher, Ignatius Press, said it considers the publication “coauthored.”

Though unprecedented is perhaps the wrong word to describe the bizarre episode, it was certainly odd, as Sarah, an active sitting cardinal who heads the Vatican’s liturgy office, took to social media to defend his credibility, issuing several statements and publishing correspondence between himself and Benedict – things that heads of Vatican departments don’t typically do.

However, this week’s episode could well have been Sarah’s “last hurrah,” as the Guinean cardinal is set to turn 75 in June, meaning he will be required to submit his resignation after having reached the formal age of retirement for bishops and cardinals.

Sarah is just one of many possible shakeups that could take place around the Vatican this year as Francis’s reform of the Roman Curia unfolds, with several major department heads already 75 or older, who have yet to step down.

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

Statement from the Diocese of Brooklyn about the ‘Vos estis lux mundi’ probe

BROOKLYN (NY)
The Tablet of the Diocese of Brooklyn

January 19, 2020

By Adriana Rodriguez

Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio has categorically denied the allegation against him. He will vigorously defend himself against this false claim and is confident the truth will prevail. As the Church investigation is a Vos estis lux mundi probe, it does not require that Bishop DiMarzio step aside during the preliminary investigation. As such, his status has not changed.

Since the allegation was announced two months ago, there has been a tremendous outpouring of support for Bishop DiMarzio, from here in the Diocese of Brooklyn and from the people he has served throughout his 50-year ministry, including parishioners from his time as parochial vicar at St. Nicholas Church in Jersey City.

Bishop DiMarzio is recognized as a leader in the fight against sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. Even before the mandates of the 2002 Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, Bishop DiMarzio created protocols when he was the bishop in the Diocese of Camden from 1999-2003 to ensure that children were protected and that victims received the care they need.

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

DiMarzio welcomes investigation, points to personal record fighting abuse

DENVER (CO)
Catholic News Agency

January 19, 2020

Brooklyn’s Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio has issued a statement welcoming an investigation into an accusation of sexual abuse made against him last year.

In a statement released to CNA on Sunday Jan. 19, the Diocese of Brooklyn said that Bishop DiMarzio had done nothing wrong and had no intention of stepping aside during the Vatican-ordered enquiry into the allegation, which dates back to the 1970s and DiMarzio’s time as a priest in the Archdiocese of Newark.

“Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio has categorically denied the allegation against him,” the statement said. “He will vigorously defend himself against this false claim and is confident the truth will prevail.”

On Jan. 18, the Archdiocese of New York confirmed that Cardinal Timothy Dolan had been asked by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to conduct an investigation into the allegations of 56-year-old Mark Matzek.

Matzek alleges that DiMarzio and another priest, now deceased, repeatedly abused him when he was an altar server at St. Nicholas Catholic Church in the Diocese of Newark in the 1970s.

Although lawyer Mitchell Garabedian sent a letter to the Archdiocese of Newark in November saying he was preparing a lawsuit on behalf of Matzek seeking $20 million, a spokesperson for the Brooklyn diocese told CNA on Sunday that no suit had yet been filed.

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

Retired Priests Suspended from Ministry

FALL RIVER (MA)
Diocese of Fall River

January 19, 2020

The Diocese of Fall River has announced that two retired priests have been suspended from ministry due to separate allegations of sexual abuse of a minor, said to have occurred decades ago.

The suspended priests are Father James F. Buckley and Father Edward J. Byington. The separate, unrelated claims of abuse were referred to the appropriate law enforcement authorities and remain under investigation by the Diocese. Both priests have denied the allegations. The suspension from ministry is required by Diocesan policies. The Diocese is committed to resolving both cases in a fair and expeditious manner.

Both priests are retired and are not assigned to a parish (see service records at the end of this release). However, both have assisted with the celebration of Masses in various parishes since their retirements. The Diocese was informed that Father Byington has also taught German classes at St. Joseph’s School in West Warwick, Rhode Island and has, in turn, notified the Diocese of Providence about his suspension.

“Nothing is more important than the welfare of all members of our diocesan community, especially anyone who has been harmed or impacted by abuse in any way,” said Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V. “The Diocese of Fall River remains committed to resolving these matters in as fair and as transparent a process as possible and to ensuring the safety of all youth and vulnerable adults.”

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

2 Priests Suspended Amid Decades Old Abuse Complaints

FALL RIVER (MA)
Associated Press via U.S. News and World Report

January 19, 2020

Two retired Catholic priests in Massachusetts have been suspended amid separate allegations of sexual abuse.

Two retired Catholic priests in Massachusetts have been suspended amid separate allegations of sexual abuse.

The Diocese of Fall River said Sunday that Fathers James Buckley and Edward Byington have been accused of abusing minors decades ago.

The diocese didn’t specify the nature of the abuse other than to say they are separate, unrelated claims and have been referred to the appropriate law enforcement authorities.

Both priests deny the allegations, according to the diocese.

Buckley and Byington have not been assigned to a specific parish since their retirement, but have assisted in church services in various communities, the diocese said.

Buckley was ordained a priest in 1959 and retired in 2001 after serving in Fall River, Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard, according to the diocese.

Byington was ordained 1970 and retired in 2006 after serving in churches across southeastern Massachusetts and nearby Rhode Island.

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

2 Fall River retired priests suspended over sex abuse allegations

CRANSTON (RI)
WJAR 10 NBC

January 19, 2020

Fall River, Mass. – The Diocese of Fall River announced Sunday it has suspended two retired priests after sexual abuse allegations were made against them.

The separate, unrelated accusations against Father Edward J. Byington and Father James F. Buckley are said to have happened decades ago and are under investigation by law enforcement.

Both priests have denied the allegations. The suspension from ministry is required by Diocesan policies, the Diocese of Fall River said in a statement.

Both priests are retired and are not assigned to a parish, the statement said. However, both have assisted with the celebration of Masses in various parishes since their retirements.

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

Fall River Diocese suspends 2 retired priests over sex abuse allegations

PROVIDENCE (RI)
WPRI 12

January 19, 2020

By Jacqui Gomersall and Brittany Schaefer

Fall River, Mass. – Two retired Catholic priests in Southeastern Massachusetts have been suspended from ministry due to separate allegations of sexual abuse of a minor, according to the Diocese of Fall River.

The diocese identified the priests as Father James F. Buckley and Father Edward J. Byington.

The allegations date back decades and both priests have denied them.

The unrelated allegations have been referred to law enforcement and remain under investigation by the diocese.

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

January 19, 2020

Law professor, 61, tells of horrific sex abuse

LONDON (ENGLAND)
Daily Mail

Jan. 19, 2020

By Chantalle Edmunds

A professor whose vicar sexually assaulted her while saying ‘this is what God wanted’ 40 years ago has today condemned him as a ‘predator’ who had taken advantage of her faith.

Brave Julie Macfarlane has waived her right to anonymity to speak out against disgraced Church of England priest Meirion Griffiths, who was this week convicted of molesting her when she was a teenager.

The university law professor, now 61, was subjected to a year-long campaign of ‘disgusting’ and ‘repulsive’ repeated sexual abuse.

Griffiths, 81, now faces jail after he was convicted on Monday of indecently assaulting Prof Macfarlane and another woman from his congregation in the 1970s and 1980s.

Griffiths was a rector from the Diocese of Chichester, West Sussex, at the time and Portsmouth Crown Court, Hants, heard he grew ‘obsessed’ with his victims before ‘systematically’ abusing them.

Prof Macfarlane, who has since moved to Canada and lectures at Ontario’s University of Windsor, said she turned to Griffiths when she was 17 and had doubts with her faith.

She said: ‘He was a very big authority figure for me. I was a very earnest Christian girl.

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

Cardinal Dolan conducting ‘Vos estis’ investigation into Brooklyn’s Bishop DiMarzio

DENVER (CO)
Catholic News Agency

January 18, 2020

New York City – Cardinal Timothy Dolan is conducting an investigation into Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, following an allegation of sexual abuse.

The investigation is being conducted under the provisions of Vos estis lux mundi, the Church law issued by Pope Francis last year on dealing with accusations against bishops.

In a statement released Jan. 18, Joseph Zwilling, director of communications in the Archdiocese of New York, confirmed the investigation.

“As directed by Vos estis, Cardinal Dolan earlier notified the Holy See of the allegation that was raised concerning Bishop DiMarzio from his time as a priest in the Archdiocese of Newark. On January 7, 2020, the Cardinal received instruction from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that he is to begin an investigation.”

On Nov. 13, 2019, DiMarzio publicly announced that he was the subject of an allegation of sexually abusing a minor, dating back to his time as a priest in the 1970s in Jersey City.

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

Two popes, plotting cardinals and the fallout of an explosive book

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Guardian

January 19, 2020

By Angela Giuffrida

Benedict and his inner circle are accused of intervening to halt Pope Francis relaxing celibacy rules as the battle between conservative and liberal factions takes a new twist

The pilgrims filing into the papal audience hall last Wednesday were mostly oblivious to the saga enveloping the Vatican over an explosive new book that pits the retired Pope Benedict XVI against the reigning Pope Francis. But they were clear on who their favourite is.

Director Fernando Meirelles and Jonathan Pryce as Pope Francis during the filming of ‘The Two Popes’.
FacebookTwitterPinterest Director Fernando Meirelles, and Jonathan Pryce as Pope Francis, during the filming of ‘The Two Popes’. Photograph: Peter Mountain/AP
“I would not have come all this way for Benedict,” said Marisol Durán Vergora, a first-time visitor to the Vatican from Spain. “He is an extremist, whereas Francis is more human and closer to the people.” Another pilgrim, who wished to remain anonymous, speculated after being briefed on the goings-on: “Benedict decided to abdicate and should keep his promise of staying silent.”

*
Benedict has come forward on a variety of issues over the past seven years, most controversially writing last year that the sexual revolution of the 1960s and “homosexual cliques” among priests were to blame for the church’s paedophile-priest scandals. The opinion came two months after an unprecedented Vatican summit on tackling clerical sexual abuse, and sharply contrasted with that of Francis, who blamed the scandals on a clerical culture that elevates priests above the laity. Benedict also wrote a letter complimenting Cardinal Joachim Meisner – a fierce critic of Francis who spoke out against the pontiff allowing remarried divorcees to receive holy communion – who died in 2017.

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

Viganò comes out of hiding to protest German bishops’ ‘synodal path’ of destruction

FRONT ROYAL (VA)
LifeSite News

January 18, 2020

By Maike Hickson

In first public appearance since McCarrick report in 2018, Archbishop Viganò participates at Munich prayer event

In his first public appearance since going into hiding over a year ago, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò joined other prominent Catholics in Munich today in prayer and protest against the German Episcopal Conference and its President Cardinal Marx. The Vatican whistleblower joined Catholic laity to oppose the German prelates’ plan to embark on a “synodal path” that critics say would create a “new church” that departs from Catholic teaching on priestly celibacy, contraception, homosexuality, and fornication.

Viganò had gone into hiding after he published on August 25, 2018 his McCarrick report accusing Pope Francis of ignoring Pope Benedict XVI’s earlier restrictions on then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick on account of McCarrick’s preying upon and abuse of seminarians. Viganò said that Francis should resign.

Pope Francis abolished the pontifical secret with regard to sex abuse cases in December 2019. He issued a decree according to which the pontifical secret binding Church officials to confidentiality in specific matters, “does not apply to accusations, trials and decisions” concerning sexual abuse of adults, minors and vulnerable persons, and the production, possession and distribution of pornography (cf. Vos estis lux mundi, art. 1). This will enable a person who files an accusation of sexual abuse, for example, as well as “the person who alleges to have been harmed and the witnesses shall not be bound by any obligation of silence with regard to matters involving the case.”

It is perhaps in light of this new decree that Archbishop Viganò feels less restrained in appearing in public. In any event, he continuously raised his voice with regard to important moral and doctrinal aspects of the current Church crisis, such as the clerical sex abuse crisis, some problematic developments during and since the Second Vatican Council, the important role of the Blessed Virgin Mary, as well as the recent 6-27 October 2019 Amazon Synod in Rome.

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

Pastoral letter regarding clergy disclosures

LA CROSSE (WI)
Diocese of La Crosse

January 18, 2020

By Bishop William Patrick Callahan

My dear sisters and brothers in Christ:

The Protect and Heal initiative of the Diocese of La Crosse, our response to the clergy sexual abuse crisis, now includes a most essential ingredient: the disclosure of the names of clergy with a substantiated allegation of child sexual abuse.

This disclosure of names is an important step: the Church must again confess to this evil and pledge our prayers and support to all victims and their families. To all victims and their loved ones, everywhere: I and so many others continue to offer prayers and assistance. I realize that our promise of continued prayer and support may not seem to be enough; for your pain, suffering and anguish will always be a part of you. I am sorry, however, for all you’ve suffered.

The disclosure of names is a necessary step. Victims inform us that it assists in their healing process and it provides them with no small sense of justice. Victims and their loved ones must no longer suffer in silence and isolation.

This is also a painful step. It’s painful to all victims, certainly, for their nightmare resurfaces yet again with this public release; and it is painful, too, for all good and faithful laity and clergy who continue to feel anger and humiliation for the abuse of both power and conscience committed by these men.

Even with that, the disclosure of names is the right thing to do, for all of us!

The list of names of clergy with a substantiated allegation of child sexual abuse, found on the Protect and Heal page on our website, will remain public and up-to-date: names will be added if and when future allegations are sufficiently confirmed. As promised and as needed, prudent transparency has replaced unacceptable secrecy.

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

Clergy with Substantiated Allegations of Child Sexual Abuse

LA CROSSE (WI)
Diocese of La Crosse

January 18, 2020

The following clergy on this list have had a substantiated allegation of child sexual abuse. None are in public ministry.

An allegation is deemed to be substantiated if it has been sufficiently confirmed so as to believe that abuse occurred. This determination follows a process of consultation and is not a legal judgment.

The fact that a specific parish is on the list does not mean that an act of abuse occurred at said parish. It’s only significance is that a priest on our list once served at that parish.

Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this list. Questions about this list should be in writing and directed to the Office of Safe Environment, Diocese of La Crosse, P.O. Box 4004, La Crosse, WI 54602-4004.

The names on this list are divided into three categories:

(1) Diocesan clergy
(2) Non-Diocesan clergy with a substantiated allegation in the Diocese of La Crosse
(3) Non-Diocesan clergy who spent time in the Diocese of La Crosse and whose name appears on a list in another diocese or religious order

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La Crosse Diocese names 25 former priests who abused children

WAUSAU (WI)
Wausau Daily Herald

January 18, 2020

By Laura Schulte

[Photo caption] David Clohessy, of St. Louis, who is the Missouri director and former national director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, holds a list of Catholic priests who have been credibly accused of sexual abused and have spent time in the Diocese of La Crosse on Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, at St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Wausau, Wis.

La Crosse – At least 25 priests who served in the Diocese of La Crosse over the past several decades sexually assaulted children, the diocese disclosed Saturday.

The disclosure, posted at 4 p.m. on the diocese website at diolc.org, brings the total number of Catholic priests with substantiated accusations of sexual abuse in Wisconsin to nearly 160.

The La Crosse diocese serves nearly 200,000 Catholics in counties across central and western Wisconsin, including those in Marathon, Portage and Wood counties.

The list was published after an audit of the diocese clergy files dating back to 1868 by the Texas-based firm Defenbaugh & Associates Inc..

The list included 18 clergy members who were part of the La Crosse diocese:

Bruce Ball, Raymond Bornbach, Eugene Comiskey, Thomas Dempsey, James Ennis, James Finucan, John Thomas Finucan, Tom Garthwaite, Richard Herrmann, William Hertzenberg, Thomas Langer, James E. Mason, Garland Muller, Charles Rasmussen, Albert Sonnberger, James Stauber, Patrick Umberger and Raymond J. Wagner.

The diocese also named two priests who were part of other Catholic orders but were accused of abuse while serving in the La Crosse diocese: Timothy Svea and Bogdan Werra.

The list also included five priests who spent time in the diocese and whose names appeared on other Catholic diocese and religious order lists of suspected abusers: Dennis Bouche, Daniel Budzynski, Orville Munie, Joseph Smetana and Francis Zimmerer.

In addition to the 25 names, the diocese released the service history for each priest including ordination date, pastoral assignments and their current status, including dates of death. Most of the priests are now dead, and the diocese said none of the surviving abusers is serving in the ministry.

Parish leaders across the diocese also were instructed to read a letter from La Crosse Bishop William Patrick Callahan during Masses this weekend. Callahan did not make himself available for reporter interviews Saturday.

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January 18, 2020

Vatican orders Cardinal Dolan to probe Bishop DiMarzio sex abuse allegation

NEW YORK (NY)
The New York Post

January 18, 2020

By Sara Dorn

The Vatican has ordered Timothy Cardinal Dolan to probe allegations that Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio sexually abused an altar boy at a New Jersey church in the 1970s, The Post has learned.

On Jan. 7, “the Cardinal received instruction from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that he is to begin an investigation. As is our practice, the Cardinal will rely on outside professional forensic investigators to assist him in this matter,” said New York Archdiocese spokesman Joseph Zwilling.

“Cardinal Dolan earlier notified the Holy See of the allegation that was raised concerning Bishop DiMarzio from his time as a priest in the Archdiocese of Newark,” the spokesman said in a statement.

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Diocese of La Crosse to release list of priest abuse allegations

LA CROSSE (WI)
WXOW-TV (Channel 19)

January 17, 2020

On Saturday, the Diocese of La Crosse plans to publish a list of clergy with substantiated allegations of child sexual abuse.

The diocese said it would release the list on its website Saturday at 4 p.m.

In a statement Friday, the diocese said as the list is released, a pastoral letter from Bishop William Callahan will be read at all weekend Masses in the diocese.

According to the diocese, the list was created after an audit of clergy files dating back to 1868 when the diocese was founded.

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Diocese of Madison determines sexual abuse allegations against former priest as credible

MADISON (WI)
Channel 3000

January 17, 2020

The Diocese of Madison announced Friday that sexual abuse allegations against a former priest who served parishes near the Wisconsin River were determined to be credible.

According to a news release, Rev. Patrick Doherty, 85, will be placed on the diocese’s list of priests or former priests who have been credibly accused of acts of sexual abuse against minors. Doherty has been out of ministry since 1993.

Doherty previously worked in a number of smaller parishes along the Wisconsin River, including St. Barnabas, Mazomanie and St. John the Baptist.

Doherty’s accuser, who does not want to be named, said the abuse happened over 40 years ago. The release said Doherty has had struggles with alcoholism and reported disreputable behaviors with adult men that were known to the public.

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Friendship with Prince Charles made paedophile bishop Peter Ball ‘impregnable’

UNITED KINGDOM
The Guardian

January 14, 2020

By Harriet Sherwood

BBC2 documentary shows how establishment figures rallied round cleric

The disgraced paedophile bishop Peter Ball made himself apparently “impregnable” by cultivating friendships with Prince Charles and other senior establishment figures who later rushed to support him when he was accused of sexual abuse, according to a BBC documentary.

Ball, the former bishop of both Lewes and Gloucester who died last year, boasted of his role as “counsellor to royalty”, Cliff James, one of his victims, says in the programme. He cultivated friendships with Margaret Thatcher, peers of the realm, senior judges and headmasters of leading public schools.

The former bishop was investigated by police in the early 1990s, which resulted in a police caution. In 2015, he was convicted of sexual offences against 17 teenagers and young men and jailed for 32 months. He was released in February 2017 after serving half his sentence.

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Survivors, bishops say legal campaign against Peruvian journo is ‘harassment’

ROME (ITALY)
Crux

January 13, 2020

By Elise Harris

As Peruvian journalist Paola Ugaz faces ongoing legal threats over her reporting on a controversial Catholic lay group, both sexual abuse survivors and members of the hierarchy have come to her defense, arguing that the onslaught of legal action amounts to “harassment” in a bid to stop her investigations.

Last year, Ugaz received five criminal citations for aggravated defamation, more than any other journalist in Peru in 2019. On Dec. 30, Ugaz got two separate legal notices in the mail summoning her to hearings, one on Jan. 17, and one on March 22.

“When the whole world was preparing to celebrate the new year, I had to start working with my defense lawyer to see how to face this systematic harassment of me,” Ugaz told Crux, attributing this “persecution” to the group she has been reporting on.

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Michigan AG Nessel Authorizes CSC Charges Against Upper Peninsula Clergymen

LANSING (MI)
Office of Michigan Attorney General

January 17, 2020
Contact: Kelly Rossman-McKinney 517-335-7666

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel today announced criminal sexual conduct charges have been filed against two more priests by her department’s Clergy Abuse Investigation Team.

Multiple charges have been filed in three Upper Peninsula counties against Gary Allen Jacobs and Roy Joseph, both former priests associated with the Catholic Diocese of Marquette.

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Strongsville Catholic priest hit with 21-count child pornography indictment in Cuyahoga County

CLEVELAND (OH)
Cleveland.com

January 17, 2020

By Cory Shaffer

Robert McWilliams, the Catholic priest at St. Joseph Church in Strongsville, is arraigned on a child pornography charge in Chardon Municipal Court.

A Cuyahoga County grand jury has handed up a 21-count indictment charging a Strongsville Catholic priest with possessing child pornography.

The Rev. Robert McWilliams, 39, is charged with 20 counts of pandering obscenity involving a minor, a second-degree felony. He is also charged with possessing criminal tools.

McWilliams is currently jailed in Geauga County on a $150,000 bond. He is set to return to Cuyahoga County to answer to the new charges at a Wednesday arraignment.

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JOAN SULLIVAN: Gemma Hickey’s memoir a courageous journey through interior and exterior landscapes

CANADA
The Chronicle Herald

January 18, 2020

“Almost Feral,” By Gemma Hickey; Breakwater Books; $24.95; 272 pages.

In July 2015, Gemma Hickey set out from Port aux Basques to walk across the island, via the Trans-Canada Highway. Their goal was to raise funds for and awareness of Pathways, which Hickey had founded to help survivors of clergy sexual abuse. Hickey publicized their efforts through a steady stream of events and interviews along the route, as well as continual interactions with passers- and drivers-by (the reason Hickey took the road and not the shorter but less-accessible railway bed).

“There was no confessional in the world big enough to hold what I heard. The stories were easier to carry while I was moving. But when I lay still in my bed at night, they haunted my dreams.” (Because so much of the material is very sensitive, Hickey doesn’t name many people in the book, not even their former spouse.)

“One woman, who was driving home from the mainland with her daughter for a visit, told me the nuns abused her at Belvedere Orphanage in St. John’s. Even though she had been living in Ontario for some time, I could still hear her Newfoundland accent …

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Attorney General charges two priests from U.P. with child sexual abuse

LANSING (MI)
Daily Press

January 18, 2020

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced Friday criminal sexual conduct charges have been filed against two more priests by her department’s Clergy Abuse Investigation Team.

Multiple charges have been filed in three Upper Peninsula counties against Gary Allen Jacobs and Roy Joseph, both former priests associated with the Catholic Diocese of Marquette.

Gary Allen Jacobs, 74, of Albuquerque, N.M., is charged with multiple criminal sexual conduct counts, with incidents reportedly occurring between Jan. 1, 1981, and Dec. 31, 1984, in Ontonagon County and between March 1, 1984, and April 30, 1984, in Dickinson County.

Jacobs faces a total of seven charges in two separate cases in Ontonagon County. He’s being charged with six counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a child between the ages of 13 and 16 and one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a child between the ages of 13 and 16. In Dickinson County, Jacobs faces one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a person under 13 years old.

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Religious Privilege: priest confessed to child abuse 1500 times

QUEENSLAND (AUSTRALIA)
QN

January 18, 2020

By Destiny Rogers

While religious extremists agitate for legislation extending their religious privilege at the expense of the rights of other Australians, a victim of child abuse is attempting to obtain compensation.

Father Michael McArdle wrote in a 2004 affidavit that he made confessions of child abuse 1,500 times over 25 years. Each time, he walked out of the confessional booth with his sins absolved.

Rockhampton Bishop Brian Heenan barred McArdle from contact with children in 1996 after hearing allegations from victims. Although McArdle never denied the allegations, Heenan failed to contact the police.

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The China/Vatican Agreement: A Human Tragedy

UNITED STATES
The Open Tabernacle (blog)

January 18, 2020

By Betty Clermont

Pope Francis “has effectively given Xi Jinping a stamp of approval when the latter’s hostility to religious freedom couldn’t be clearer,” said Sophie Richardson, the China director of Human Rights Watch.

“Watching a major world faith come to an agreement with an authoritarian government that’s notorious for repressing religious freedom and to effectively cede some authority to that government sets a very worrying precedent,” Richardson explained. “The deal came as the religious-freedom environment in China reached its worst level in years, as the government has detained Muslim citizens in illegal detention camps, increased control over churches and temples, and sought to incorporate party ideology directly into religious doctrine.”

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Knoxville Diocese is silencing sex abuse victims, breaking church rules on settlements, according to survivors group’s complaint letter

TENNESSEE
Chattanooga Free Press

January 17, 2020

By Wyatt Massey

The Tennessee chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests is requesting the Catholic Church’s U.S. governing body investigate of the Diocese of Knoxville for allegedly silencing victims of sexual abuse through a practice outlawed by the church nearly 20 years ago.

The complaint letter, sent Thursday to the National Review Board, said the diocese pushed for a nondisclosure agreement in the December settlement of a sexual abuse case brought by Michael Boyd. In July, Boyd filed a lawsuit alleging he was repeatedly sexually abused between 1991 and 1995 in Knoxville by Monsignor Francis Xavier Mankel, Bishop Anthony O’Connell, visiting priests and diocesan employee William Michael Lovelace.

Boyd’s settlement contains a nondisparagement agreement, which bars him from speaking negatively about the diocese. The complaint letter says non-disclosure and nondisparagement agreements violate the Catholic Church’s 2002 charter on addressing abuse, which states dioceses are “not to enter into settlements which bind the parties to confidentiality.”

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Major evangelical nonprofits are trying a new strategy with the IRS that allows them to hide their salaries

UNITED STATES
Washington Post

January 17, 2020

By Sarah Pulliam Bailey

Several major evangelical organizations have in recent years moved to a new strategy where they shift from a nonprofit status to a “church” status with the IRS, allowing them to keep private exactly how their money is being spent and the salaries of their most highly paid employees.

That strategic shift was highlighted recently by MinistryWatch, an independent, donor-based group that monitors evangelical institutions. The IRS status change allows these groups, including Focus on the Family and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, to avoid filing a form that makes details of their institution’s finances public.

Leaders of the groups say they are changing their status to avoid administrative costs; some also believe that this status with the IRS could allow them extra religious-freedom protections in potential lawsuits over LGBT rights. The potential cost of applying to be a church is that the organizations cannot campaign on behalf of politicians or devote a substantial part of their work to lobbying on legislation. Critics say the option deprives the public of important information about how the tax-exempt organizations are operating.

“Transparency and accountability send an important message to the world, which is why this trend is so potentially destructive,” said Warren Cole Smith of MinistryWatch.

For decades, the U.S. tax code has allowed nonprofit organizations, including religious ones, to be exempt from most taxes. Donors can also deduct gifts to the nonprofit groups on their own taxes.

But tax-exempt organizations that are not houses of worship must also complete an annual Form 990. The form includes information about annual revenue, salaries of the highest-paid employees, names of board members and large contractors, and the amount of money the organization spends on administrative costs and fundraising. In lieu of a 990, some houses of worship (which are all generally described as “churches” by the IRS) choose to publicize their own audits, but doing so is not required.

MinistryWatch recently published a list of highly paid Christian ministry executives, but several pastors and nonprofit executives were excluded because many don’t file 990s. While these kinds of ministries range in purpose, they typically do not operate the same way most churches do, with at least one weekly worship service that is open to the public.

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Catholic Group Calls on Ljubljana Archbishop to Resign Over Inaction on Multiple Rape Allegations Against Priests

SLOVENIA
Total Slovenia News

January 16, 2020

A Catholic civil society group dedicated to fighting sexual abuse in the Slovenian Roman Catholic Church has called for the resignation of Slovenia’s most senior cleric, Ljubljana Archbishop Stanislav Zore, due to the church’s persistent failure to tackle sexual abuse allegations against members of the clergy.

The church keeps adopting and updating recommendations on how church workers should deal with allegations of sexual abuse, but “everything remains dead ink on paper”, said Igor Vovk, a senior member of the Dovolj.je (It’s Enough) group and director of the Catholic pro-life NGO Zavod Iskreni.

The group has so far received 38 reports by victims against 22 priests. And while some have been handled adequately, in particular in the Murska Sobota Diocese, others continue to be ignored, it said.

It highlighted the case of priest Jože Planinšek, the director of the pastoral and youth centre Saint Joseph Home in Celje, who had been reported by five victims for sexual assault dating between 1990 and 2010. “He is still doing his job as if nothing has happened,” priest Janez Cerar said.

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Mary Grace Gallagher: The Capital didn’t report on Key School sex abuse allegations 25 years ago. It was a different world.

ANNAPOLIS (MD)
The Capital Gazette

January 18, 2020

By Mary Grace Gallagher

We sat at Carolyn Surrick’s kitchen table for so long, talking and crying, that we had gotten hungry. She pulled out a bowl of edamame beans steamed the night before and showed me how to eat them right out of their shells.

I was, at the time, a young reporter for The Capital, following up on a phone call she had made the previous week. She had told me that, when she was a student at Key School in the early 1970s, she and many other students had been raped and sexually assaulted by a handful of their teachers.

I cried more than she did that long afternoon as she detailed stories of predators and lost childhood. She told of an art teacher who decorated the library with plaster casts of the breasts of pre-pubescent girls. She told me that grooming for abuse started when girls and boys were 13- to 14-years old.

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Two former Upper Peninsula priests charged with with sex crimes

MICHIGAN
MLive. com

January 17, 2020

By John Tunison

Two former priests who served in the Upper Peninsula have been charged with sex crimes, the state Attorney General’s office announced Friday.

Both men had ties to the Catholic Diocese of Marquette.

The charges come as state Attorney General Dana Nessel continues investigations into clergy abuse.

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Advocate wants former Belmont Abbey priest named as child sexual abuser

CHARLOTTE (NC)
WCNC-TV

January 17, 2020

By Nathan Morabito

[VIDEO]

Father Timothy Kelly, named in a sex abuse lawsuit out of New York last year, worked at Belmont Abbey from 1989 to 1991.

The names of more than 40 clergy members credibly accused of sexually abusing children before, during or after their time in the Diocese of Charlotte are now public, but just weeks after church leaders released that long-awaited list, we’ve learned there are still others who served in our area who were not named.

“The point is that other church entities have recognized various perpetrators, whether it’s Franciscan or other [religious orders] and they have served there,” advocate Patrick Wall said.

Wall, a former monk, worked under Father Timothy Kelly at St. John’s Abbey in Minnesota. Kelly later spent three years at Belmont Abbey in Gaston County from 1989-1991 as an administrator.

Kelly, who did not work with the Diocese of Charlotte, has faced sex abuse allegations from multiple victims in other parts of the country.

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Priest abuse

CONNECTICUT
The Day

January 18, 2020

By Joe Wojtas

[PHOTO: Tim McGuire of New London protests Wednesday, July 10, 2019, outside of St. Patrick Roman Catholic Church in Mystic to raise awareness of the fight to bring accountability to the Diocese of Norwich for alleged sexual abuses, including his own that he alleges occurred when he was 8.]

In August of 2018, a Pennsylvania grand jury issued a report that found 301 priests had abused more than 1,000 children in the state’s Catholic dioceses. That news prompted six southeastern Connecticut men, now in their 50s, 60s and 70s, to tell The Day how they too had been sexually assaulted by priests and a nun assigned to the Diocese of Norwich when they were children.

One, Deacon Mark King, accused Gregory Mullaney, the current pastor at St. Agnes Church in Niantic, of repeatedly propositioning him and trying to sexually assault him while on a trip to Rome in 2006.

The Day also revealed how more than two dozen young men had sued the diocese alleging they were sexually assaulted as teens while attending a school for troubled boys in Deep River that was headed by former Bishop of Norwich Daniel Reilly. One alleged victim, Tim McGuire of New London, began picketing local churches and others calling for a victim compensation fund.

The Day published their stories and reported that the attorney general and chief state’s attorney had no plans to investigate the issue. The newspaper also questioned the diocese why it was not releasing lists of accused priests as the Hartford diocese and others across the country had done.

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Sexual misconduct charges filed against 2 Michigan priests

LANSING (MI)
Associated Press

Criminal sexual conduct charges have been filed against two priests who worked in the Upper Peninsula’s Catholic diocese of Marquette, Michigan prosecutors announced Friday

The charges against Gary Allen Jacobs of Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Roy Joseph were announced Friday by Attorney General Dana Nessel office’s Clergy Abuse Investigation Team.

Jacobs, 74, faces seven counts of criminal sexual conduct involving the alleged abuse of a child between the ages of 13 and 16 in Ontonagon County. The alleged conduct occurred between Jan. 1, 1981, and Dec. 31, 1984. The alleged misconduct in Dickinson County that took place between March 1, 1984, and April 30, 1984, involved a person under 13 years old.

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January 17, 2020

Madison Diocese identifies ninth priest ‘credibly accused’ of sexual abuse

MADISON (WI)
Winconsin State Journal

January 17, 2020

By Emily Hamer

The Madison Diocese on Friday added a ninth priest to its growing list of clergy members who have been “credibly accused” of sexually abusing children.

The diocese determined that allegations against Rev. Patrick Doherty, 85, have the “semblance of truth,” according to a statement released Friday. The alleged victim, who did not want to be named, said the abuse happened more than forty years ago, the diocese said.

The allegation came to light after an outside review of all clergy personnel files was started in June. The diocese hired Texas-based investigations firm Defenbaugh & Associates to conduct it.

The alleged victim came forward to submit a formal allegation against Doherty after the review was launched.

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Utah’s Catholic diocese and House speaker oppose clergy confession bill

UTAH
Salt Lake City Tribune

January 17, 2020

By Kathy Stephenson
·
The Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City and the Utah House speaker have come out against a bill that would force clergy to report allegations of child abuse obtained in a religious confessional.

Sponsored by Rep. Angela Romero, D-Salt Lake City, HB90 specifically calls for removing the exemption that clerics now have in certain circumstances for reporting abuse.

“The motivation for the bill is understandable, to uncover and stop the abuse of children,” Jean Hill, government liaison for the diocese overseeing Utah’s more than 300,000 Catholics, wrote in a recent statement, “but HB90 will not have this intended effect.”

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Man says diocese knew about accusations months before acting

KNOXVILLE (TN)
Associated Press

January 17, 2020

An East Tennessee man says the Catholic Diocese of Knoxville knew about abuse allegations against a music teacher nearly a year before it took action against him.

Michael Boyd said he told church officials he had been abused by William Lovelace in August 2018. But diocese spokesman Jim Wogan said the bishop only learned of the accusations when Boyd sued the diocese last July. The competing claims were first reported by the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

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Statement of the Diocese of Buffalo Regarding the Return of Monsignor Peter Popadick and the Reverend Paul Nogaro to Ministry

BUFFALO (NY)
Diocese of Buffalo

January 17, 2020

The Independent Review Board of the Diocese of Buffalo announces that, based on the information available at this time and the refusal of the complainant to cooperate in an independent investigation, it is unable to substantiate the allegations of sexual abuse of a minor that were brought against Monsignor Peter Popadick and Reverend Paul Nogaro in August 2019. Consequently, both priests have been taken off administrative leave and returned to ministry. Msgr. Popadick returns to his position as pastor of St. Aloysius Parish, Cheektowaga, and Rev. Nogaro returns to ministry as a retired priest of the Diocese. Both Msgr. Popadick and Fr. Nogaro have successfully served the diocese and parishes in many capacities and for numerous years in priestly ministry. The Diocese of Buffalo maintains a rigorous process for evaluating any and all allegations of inappropriate conduct by members of the clergy and Diocesan employees, relying on the impartial expertise of the members of the Independent Review Board, as well as a third-party reporting capability, the details of which can be found on the Diocesan website at: https://www.buffalodiocese.org/report.

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Two Priests Return to Active Ministry

BUFFALO (NY)
WBEN Radio, 930 AM

January 17, 2020

By Tom Puckett

Diocese says not enough evidence to substantiate allegations

The Buffalo Catholic Diocese says two priests accused of abuse are being returned to active duty.

The Independent Review Board of the Diocese of Buffalo says based on the information available and the refusal of the complainant to cooperate in an independent investigation, it is unable to substantiate the allegations of sexual abuse of a minor that were brought against Monsignor Peter Popadick and Reverend Paul Nogaro in August 2019. Consequently, both priests have been taken off administrative leave and returned to ministry.

Msgr. Popadick returns to his position as pastor of St. Aloysius Parish, Cheektowaga, and Rev. Nogaro returns to ministry as a retired priest of the Diocese.

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No breaking seal of confession for abusers, church insists

MYANMAR
Catholic News Service CatholicPhilly.com

January 17, 2020

The president of the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference is the latest of the country’s senior clerics to push back against legislation to lift the seal of confession for child sexual abuse.

Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane made a submission to the Queensland state government opposing draft legislation that would see priests face up to three years in jail for failing to report confessions of child sexual abuse to the police; the penalty would be five years for “failure to protect.”

In his submission, Archbishop Coleridge said a confession is between the penitent and God, and the priest’s task is to enable that dialogue.

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Review: The #MeToo Reckoning by Ruth Everhart

UNITED STATES
Patheos bog

January 17, 2020

By Kristy Burmeister

“Each new revelation triggers shock waves that ripple through faith communities and through the faith of each member. Who and what can we trust? On a societal level, the word church no longer means trustworthy, not even for true believers. Churches must confront this hard reality. The trust they betrayed can never be rebuilt. Instead—and only if they address the extent of the betrayal—faith leaders can begin to build trust anew. This is a long-term and costly proposition, so buckle up.” –Ruth Everhart, The #MeToo Reckoning

My plan was to write a formal review for Ruth Everhart’s new book, The #MeToo Reckoning: Facing the Church’s Complicity in Sexual Abuse and Misconduct, but that would require a level of distance from the material that I don’t have. What I can share are my reactions to reading the book over the past three days.

As a Presbyterian pastor, Everhart weaves scripture into real-life stories of abuse within her denomination. Stepping from scripture into horrific stories of sexual assault, then back into scripture again was uncomfortable in the best sort of way. We need to be reminded of the drastic difference between what is holy and what we find in so many of our churches.

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It Is 2020 — Have All the Abusive Priests Been Exposed Yet?

UNITED STATES
Legal News Blog (law firm blog)

January 17, 2020

We predict that, if surveyed, 90% of US Catholics would agree with this statement: “These days, after decades of horrific scandal, bishops report suspected child sex crimes promptly to law enforcement.”

The trouble is, that’s not true. Look no further than this week’s news from Alaska.

As recently as 2016, a New York man was working there as a parish priest. He’s now in a Maryland treatment center for the sexually troubled. This week, he was ‘outed’ by his supervisors as a ‘credibly accused’ abuser, having reportedly viewed child porn on his computer.

https://www.adn.com/alaska-news/anchorage/2020/01/16/archdiocese-accuses-14-southcentral-alaska-clergy-and-church-employees-of-sexual-abuse/

But the cleric, Fr. Robert Leising, says “no police were involved.”

What? How can that be? Haven’t bishops promised, time and time again, that they’ve ‘learned from the past’ and nowadays ‘immediately call police’ if they suspect child sex crimes?

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Auxiliary Bishop Grosz asks to retire, Buffalo Diocese leader says

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

January 17, 2020

By Jay Tokasz

Auxiliary Bishop Edward M. Grosz, who will turn 75 in February, has written to Pope Francis asking for permission to retire, according to Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger, apostolic administrator of the Buffalo Diocese.

“He told me that he sent a letter to the Holy See,” Scharfenberger said when asked recently about Grosz’s status. “It’s customary for a bishop to … put in his request for retirement at or around his birthday. So that’s what he did.”

Grosz turns 75 on Feb. 16. Catholic canon law dictates that bishops relinquish their administrative duties at that time.

Advocates for clergy sex abuse survivors increasingly have questioned what role Grosz played in helping to keep cases of abuse under wraps in his nearly 30 years as a top diocese administrator. Grosz, who was installed as auxiliary bishop in 1990, often reached out to victims on behalf of the diocese, while at the same time leading inquiries with priests into clergy misconduct complaints.

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New charges: Strongsville Catholic priest charged 21-count child pornography indictment

CLEVELAND (OH)
News 5 (CBS affiliate)

January 17, 2020

By Kaylyn Hlavaty

A Cuyahoga County grand jury handed down a 21-count indictment against a Strongsville Catholic Priest who is accused of possessing child pornography.

Reverend Robert McWilliams, 39, is charged with 19 counts of pandering sexually oriented matter involving a matter, one count of illegal use of minor in nudity-oriented material or performance and one count of possessing criminal tools, according to court documents.

McWilliams was arrested on Dec. 5 at St. Joseph Catholic Church for allegedly possessing child porn.

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Duterte resumes attacks on Philippine Catholic bishops

MANILA (PHILIPPINES)
UCA News

January 17, 2020

President claims he is first Filipino politician to win a war against church officials

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, known for cursing critics in public speeches, renewed his attacks on the country’s Catholic bishops this week.

Speaking to members of the Philippine Baptist Church, the president expressed wonder at the apparent silence of Catholic Church leaders despite his attacks.

“I cannot tell you why but they are now ordered to… There’s an… I cannot — it’s supposed to be in confidence. But you notice they are no longer complaining,” said Duterte.

“Even if you say b******, they don’t respond anymore. That is — that is how to win the war against the Catholic Church. All you have to say, m***** f*****. You’re a winner.”

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Still Inadequate

Patheos blog

Jan. 17, 2020

By D. G. Hart

George Weigel has lots of counsel for Roman Catholics in the New Year, especially how to endure a church going through a serious crisis on many fronts. None of his advice involves other Christian communions as an alternative:

During and after the grim martial law period in the early 1980s, many freedom-minded Poles would greet each other on January 1 with a sardonic wish: “May the new year be better than you know it’s going to be!” As 2020 opens that salutation might well be adopted by Catholics concerned about the future of the Church, for more hard news is coming. So let’s get some of that out of the way, preemptively, before considering some resolutions that might help us all deal with the year ahead in faith, hope, and charity.

Financial scandals in the Vatican will intensify. It’s been clear for some months now that the dam of secrecy, masking irresponsibility (and worse), is cracking. So expect more disturbing revelations about corrupt self-dealing, misuse of charitable funds, stupid investments, and general incompetence behind the Leonine Wall.

Aggressive and politically motivated state attorneys general will continue to issue reports on historic sexual abuse cases. The response from cowed Church leaders will be tepid, at best. And what will get lost again—as it got lost after the now-paradigmatic Pennsylvania attorney general’s report—are two realities ignored by too many media outlets, too many institutions with responsibility for the safety of the young, and too many Catholics: that the Catholic Church today is arguably the safest environment for young people in the country; and that, from bitter experience, the Catholic Church has learned some things about creating safe environments from which the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, public schools, and public school teachers’ unions could all learn.

That is not a description that should encourage Protestants to convert to Rome. It looks bad.

So what should Roman Catholics do (and those tempted to convert)? The answer is not go to confession, and go to Mass:

Resolve to be a missionary disciple at the retail level. Amid these and other troubles, concerned Catholics constantly ask me, “What can I do?” To which I always respond, “Between now and next Easter, try and bring at least five disaffected Catholics back to Sunday Mass, and try to introduce at least one unevangelized person to Christ.” Retail evangelization is essential to authentic Catholic reform; it’s also deeply satisfying. Let’s get on with it, irrespective of the troubles.

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Amid Benedict book controversy, Vatican officials see need for rules on ex-popes

VATICAN CITY
Reuters

January 17, 2020

By Philip Pullella

An imbroglio over former Pope Benedict’s involvement in a book has sparked calls by some Vatican officials for clear rules about the status of any future pontiffs who may resign rather than rule for life.

Senior official sources said they hope Pope Francis addresses the issue after the death of Benedict, who in 2013 became the first pope in 700 years to abdicate and who is now a frail 92-year-old.

The idea of such rules, which is being discussed informally, is important because, as people live longer than they did in the past, it may become the new normal for popes to step down, said the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Francis, 83, has said he too would resign if ill health prevented him from properly running the 1.3 billion-member Catholic Church, as Benedict did.

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Francis finishes work on Amazon synod text, publication expected within weeks

VATICAN CITY
National Catholic Reporter

January 16, 2020

By Joshua J. McElwee

Pope Francis has completed work on his highly anticipated response to last year’s Vatican gathering of Catholic bishops from the Amazon that may allow for the ordination of married men as Catholic priests in the nine-nation region, NCR can reveal.

Catholic bishops around the world are receiving a letter from the Vatican this week, advising them that the document, which is also expected to lament devastating environmental destruction in the region and may detail new ministries for women in the church, is nearing publication.

“The draft is currently being reviewed and corrected and then needs to be translated,” states the letter, which is signed by retired Brazilian Cardinal Claudio Hummes and was obtained by NCR.

“Pope Francis hopes to promulgate it by the end of this month or in early February,” writes Hummes, who served as the synod’s lead organizer.

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Editorial: Ask Legislators to Oppose HB90

SALT LAKE CITY (UTAH)
Intermountain Catholic

January 15, 2020

By Jean Hill, Director, Diocese of Salt Lake City Peace and Justice Commission

Anyone who has ever confessed to something they were utterly embarrassed and/or ashamed of doing knows just how difficult it can be to walk into the confessional to face a priest. Knowing the priest is serving as Christ in his role of confessor does not make the task any easier. What does help is remembering that incredible feeling after confession when you know God has forgiven you and the priest provides a penance that puts you back on the right path.

A proposed state law would interrupt that sacred moment in a manner that could permanently destroy the relationship between our priests and ourselves in the confessional, without furthering the stated goal of the legislation.

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Critics: Utah bill on confession would criminalize priests, not counter sex abuse

UTAH
Catholic News Agency

January 16, 2020

By Kevin J. Jones

A Utah legislator’s proposal to remove protections for priests and other clergy who hear confessions of the sexual abuse of minors has drawn significant criticism from Catholics and other commentators.

“The motivation for the bill is understandable, to uncover and stop the abuse of children, but H.B. 90 will not have this intended effect,” said Jean Hill, director of the Diocese of Salt Lake City’s Peace and Justice Commission.

Removing the clergy exemption would be “making it a crime for the priest to maintain the Seal of Confession,” Hill said in a column for the Jan. 17, 2020 edition of the Intermountain Catholic, the diocesan newspaper. The proposal “could permanently destroy the relationship between our priests and ourselves in the confessional, without furthering the stated goal of the legislation.”

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Nearly 60 years of abuse: Sexual misconduct uncovered in Alaska archdiocese review

ANCHORAGE (ALASKA)
KTVA-TV (Channel 11)

January 16, 2020

By Elizabeth Roman

More than a dozen people in Alaska have been accused of sexual misconduct while serving in the Catholic Church, an independent commission review found. The allegations span nearly 60 years, with the latest abuse happening in 2015.

The review began in 2018 when the commission was tasked with combing through sexual misconduct files in the possession of the Archdiocese of Anchorage since its creation in 1966. The commission included a former police chief and two former prosecutors.

According to the findings released Thursday by a church leader, the commission found credible evidence of sexual misconduct involving minors and vulnerable adults against 14 people who served in the Archdiocese of Anchorage at one point in their careers.

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14 with church ties named in Alaska misconduct review

ANCHORAGE (ALASKA)
Associated Press

January 16, 2020

By Becky Bohrer

A review commissioned by the Archdiocese of Anchorage found credible evidence of sexual misconduct by 14 people who served in the archdiocese dating to 1966, a church leader announced Thursday.

The findings were made by a commission that the archdiocese said included a former police chief and two former prosecutors, one of whom is also a retired judge. The commission was charged with reviewing personnel files of “clerics and religious men and women” who served in the archdiocese dating to 1966, as well as reviewing allegations of sexual misconduct of lay volunteers and employees reported to the archdiocese.

Half of those identified as credibly accused are now dead, the report states.

The report, which had limited details, included allegations of sexual misconduct involving vulnerable adults or those younger than 18 and viewing child pornography. Allegations against four of the 14 individuals identified came while serving in another diocese, according to the report.

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January 16, 2020

Documents contradict Knoxville diocese’s timeline of knowing about sexual abuse allegations against priests and teacher

TENNESSEE
Chattanooga Free Press

January 16, 2020

By Wyatt Massey

After months of publicly discrediting and denying sexual abuse allegations against prominent priests and a diocesan employee, documents obtained by the Times Free Press suggest the Diocese of Knoxville may have known about those allegations for almost a year before suspending the accused employee.

In December, the diocese settled a July lawsuit by East Tennessee resident Michael Boyd alleging he was repeatedly sexually abused by Monsignor Francis Xavier Mankel, Bishop Anthony O’Connell, visiting priests and diocesan employee William Michael Lovelace. The abuse allegedly occurred between 1991 and 1995 when Boyd was a preteen student at Sacred Heart Cathedral School in Knoxville.

Information gathered from a variety of documents — including a copy of the lawsuit, a police report, multiple diocese releases and Boyd’s 18-page, handwritten statement given to police— create a timeline that contradicts the diocese’s claims of not knowing about abuse allegations made against Lovelace until summer 2019.

The documents point to Lovelace being identified in the summer of 2018 and being allowed to have contact with children for another school year.

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‘Greatest measure of justice’: $21M for survivors, other claimants in Archdiocese plan

GUAM
Pacific Daily News

January 17, 2020

By Haidee Eugenio Gilbert

Guam’s clergy sex abuse survivors and other claimants may be able to receive some $21 million in restitution from the Archdiocese of Agana, if the church’s reorganization plan to solve its bankruptcy gets court approval.

This is the first public disclosure of the amount the archdiocese and its insurers plan to pay claimants, including those allegedly molested and raped by bishops, priests and other clergy dating back to the 1950s.

The proposed $21 million is from the sale of church properties of about $7 million, payments from insurers totaling about $13 million, and about $1 million expected from Catholic parishes.

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Former Danbury Priest Charged With Sex Assault Of A Minor

DANBURY (CT)
The Patch

January 15, 2020

By Rich Kirby

The former priest at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church who was accused of sexual abuse of a minor has a plea hearing scheduled later this month after being arrested on sexual assault charges.

The Rev. Jaime Marin-Cardona, 51, turned himself into the Danbury Police Department on a warrant, and remains in custody on a $500,000 bond. He has been charged with three counts of illegal sexual contact, three counts of fourth-degree sexual assault and three counts of risk of injury to child.

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Rev. Jaime Marin-Cardona Charged with Several Child Sex Abuse Offenses

DANBURY (CT)
Legal Herald (law firm blog)

January 16, 2020

A former priest at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Danbury faces several criminal charges after being accused of sexually abusing a child who attended the church. 51-year-old Rev. Jaime Marin-Cardona is charged with three counts of illegal sexual contact, three counts of fourth-degree sexual assault, and three counts of risk of injury to child.

Marin-Cardona has a plea hearing scheduled later in January.

The Diocese of Bridgeport removed Marin-Cardona from the ministry in September after the diocese received a letter from parents who were worried about his “contact with a family member who is a minor,” Bishop Frank J. Caggiano said in a statement.

These charges stem from allegations of abuse in 2014 and 2016, when Marin-Cardona was at Our Lady of Guadalupe. He most recently served at Saint Mary Parish in Bridgeport. He has also served at Saint Joseph Parish in Norwalk and Saint Charles Borromeo Parish in Bridgeport.

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They allege abuse decades ago in Boy Scouts. Now they’re suing, thanks to new California law

FRESNO (CA)
Fresno Bee

January 16, 2020

By Brianna Calix and Alexandra Yoon-Hendricks

Fresno man comes forward about being molested by a Boy Scouts leader in the 1970s

David Green learned valuable skills during his few years in the Boy Scouts of America Sequoia Council – first aid, CPR and many survival techniques.

“Now I don’t even go camping anymore because of what happened on the campouts at the Boy Scouts camp they had, Camp Chawanakee, up there at Shaver Lake,” the 62-year-old Fresno man said.

Green alleges that he and his fellow Scouts were sexually abused by Alan Craig Dunlap, a former assistant Boy Scout leader, who was convicted of child molestation.

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Archdiocese accuses 14 Southcentral Alaska clergy and church employees of sexual abuse

ANCHORAGE (ALASKA)
Anchorage Daily News

January 16, 2020

By Michelle Theriault

The Archdiocese of Anchorage for the first time has named 14 Catholic clergy members accused by church investigators of sexually abusing children and vulnerable adults in Alaska.

The report released Thursday is the result of a 15-month investigation by a church commission into allegations of sexual abuse by clergy, church employees and volunteers over a 54-year period.

The clergy members named by the archdiocese range from a deacon to an assistant to the archbishop to the chaplain of a homeless shelter. Some of those named had not previously been identified publicly as potential offenders.

An initial review of state and federal court records shows many, if not all, were never convicted of sex crimes in Alaska.

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Queensland archbishop opposes planned law to compel priests to report child sexual abuse

AUSTRALIA
Australian Associated Press

January 16, 2020

Mark Coleridge says move to legislate against the sanctity of the confessional will fail to make children safer

A move to compel Queensland priests to report child sexual abuse offences disclosed during confessions would fail to make children safer, Brisbane’s Catholic archbishop has said.

Mark Coleridge has opposed a state government plan to legislate against the sanctity of the confessional as an excuse, defence or privilege.

In his submission to the committee considering the bill, the archbishop claimed it would be unworkable and fails to understand the practicalities of a confessional.

“The mechanism within this legislation which deals with the confessional seal quite simply will not make a difference to the safety of our young people,” he wrote.

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The Church’s Enduring Legacy of Abuse

BROOKLYN (NY)
SLATE

January 15, 2020

By LEÓN KRAUZE

Marcial Maciel’s crimes should have ended his organization.

In Fernando Meirelles’ film The Two Popes, former Pope Benedict XVI, played by Anthony Hopkins, confesses his sins to Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, now Pope Francis. It is a crucial scene, in which Benedict aims to convince Bergoglio, played by Jonathan Pryce, of the reasons for his resignation as head of the church.

As Bergoglio listens, Benedict mentions Mexican priest Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legionaries of Christ, an influential, ultraconservative organization present in more than 20 countries, where it operates more than a dozen colleges and almost 150 schools while maintaining close ties to the upper echelons of political power. Maciel, an infamous pedophile who victimized dozens of children in over six decades in the priesthood, enjoyed the active protection of the church for years, especially during John Paul II’s papacy, in which Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger—later Benedict XVI—was prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the church’s authority on policy and discipline. Although Meirelles precludes the audience from listening to Benedict’s full confession on Maciel, the inference is clear: Benedict’s inaction on Maciel and others like him burden him to the point of spiritual exhaustion.

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Archdiocese to hold conference for clergy abuse survivors

ST. PAUL (MN)
The Catholic Spirit

January 15, 2020

By Joe Ruff

Victim/survivors and others impacted by clergy sexual abuse are invited to a Jan. 23 conference on restorative justice and healing organized by the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.
The daylong conference in Lake Elmo, east of St. Paul, will include Archbishop Bernard Hebda and Ramsey County Attorney John Choi providing an update on the impetus for the conference: The settlement of civil charges filed by the county in 2015 alleging the archdiocese was negligent in the case of an abusive priest.

“Mr. Choi always felt restorative justice should be part of the archdiocese taking accountability for its actions and providing a means of healing for the community,” said Stephanie Wiersma, an assistant Ramsey County attorney who will participate in the conference and has been involved in the case since the beginning.

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Bill requiring clergy to report child abuse confessions opposed by Utah Catholics, House speaker

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
Deseret News

January 14, 2020

By Katie McKellar

As religious opposition both in and out of Utah mounts against a proposed bill that would require all allegations of child abuse to be reported to authorities — including those stated in religious confessionals — a powerful legislative leader has opposed the bill.

House Speaker Brad Wilson won’t support the bill in its current form, according to a statement he sent to the national Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights.

“I have serious concerns about this bill and the effects it could have on religious leaders as well as their ability to counsel members of their congregation,” Wilson, R-Kaysville, said in the statement circulated by the Catholic League Tuesday. “I do not support this bill in its current form, and unless significant changes are made to ensure the protection of religious liberties, I will be voting against this bill.”

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U.S. Virgin Islands Sues Jeffrey Epstein Estate Over Alleged Sex Trafficking

U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS
HuffPost

January 15, 2020

By Sara Boboltz

The U.S. Virgin Islands has filed a civil lawsuit against the estate of deceased financier Jeffrey Epstein for running a sex trafficking operation at his properties there, Denise N. George, the attorney general of the Virgin Islands, announced Wednesday.

The suit alleges that Epstein and unnamed “associates” trafficked underage girls as young as 12 in the territory, where they “held them captive, and sexually abused them, causing them grave physical, mental and emotional injury.”

George said her office began looking into Epstein’s conduct last year after being “inundated with inquiries from local and national media” about his activities in the islands.

Epstein “maintained a deliberately complex web of Virgin Islands corporations, limited liability companies, foundations and other entities, not all of which are yet known to the Government of the Virgin Islands, through which he carried out and concealed his criminal conduct,” according to the suit.

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French priest admits ‘caressing’ boy scouts for 20 years in sex abuse trial

LYON (FRANCE)
RFI

January 15, 2020

Accused of sexually abusing dozens of boy scouts in the 1970s and 80s, a French Catholic priest has confessed in court to “caresses” he knew were forbidden, saying for 20 years “it happened every weekend”.

Bernard Preynat told a court in Lyon on the first day of his trial that it could have been “four or five children a week”.

“For me, at the time, I was not committing sexual assault but giving caresses, hugs,” he said. “I was wrong.”

Preynat’s voice reportedly faltered as he admitted the interactions “brought me sexual pleasure”.

But while he knew the actions were forbidden, he said he only finally understood that they were illegal thanks to “the accusations of the victims”.

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Mexico bishops urge no statute of limitations for sex abuse

MEXICO CITY (MEXICO)
Associated Press

Jan. 15, 2019

The Roman Catholic Church in Mexico called on the country’s government Tuesday to modify the legal code and do away with statutes of limitations for sexual abuse of minors.

“We want to ask in the name of the bishops of Mexico for there to be no expiration for this crime,” said Rogelio Cabrera, president of the Mexican Bishops’ Conference.

He called it “unjust” that nothing can be done about such cases starting 10 years from the date of the offense, “since the wrong done lasts for the lifetime of the person who has been a victim.”

Cabrera said the church admits sex abuse complaints up to 20 years from the time a victim reaches adulthood.

The church has had a serious and longtime problem with clerical sex abuse in Mexico.

According to data presented Tuesday at a news conference, the Bishops’ Conference has investigated 426 priests in the last 10 years, 271 of them for sex abuse.

Alfonso Miranda, secretary of the Bishops’ Conference, said 155 of those cases have gone before prosecutors, up about 50 from the number as of last March.

He noted that those are just preliminary figures and added that 217 priests have been defrocked, though without saying whether all were for sex abuse or other offenses.

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In our opinion: Eliminating clergy-penitent privilege raises First Amendment red flags

UTAH
Deseret News

January 16, 2020

By the Deseret News Editorial Board

This week the Catholic League came out strongly against proposed legislation in Utah aiming to eliminate an exemption for clergy when it comes to reporting confidential confessions detailing abuse. Meanwhile, the Montana Supreme Court recently cited clergy-penitent exemptions in a decision overturning a jury verdict of $35 million against local Jehovah’s Witnesses for not reporting abuse discovered in the mid-2000s. The court ruled, unanimously, that under Montana law, “Clergy are not required to report known or suspected child abuse if the knowledge results from a congregation member’s confidential communication or confession and if the person making the statement does not consent to disclosure.”

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Commentary: Is He the Real Deal?

UNITED STATES
Church Militant (blog)

January 15, 2020

By Rodney Pelletier

Catholics in the diocese of Buffalo are still reeling from Bp. Richard Malone’s atrocious handling of clerical sex abuse cases. But the men charged with investigating the diocese and overseeing things after Malone stepped down are showing themselves to be cut from the same cloth.

In October, Brooklyn Bp. Nicholas DiMarzio concluded his fact-finding mission, conducted at the behest of the Vatican. As of now, no report has been issued and Buffalo’s clerical sex abuse survivors are waiting for answers.

It’s not known, however, if answers will ever come; The Vatican’s announcement called the investigation “a non-judicial and non-administrative process that requires confidentiality.”

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Retired priest fails to block sex abuse extradition bid

SCOTLAND
BBC Scotland

January 15, 2020

By Reevel Alderson

A retired Scottish priest accused of offences against boys at Fort Augustus Abbey School has failed in his bid to block an extradition order.

The minister of justice in Canada, where Robert Mackenzie has been living since 1988, agreed to a request from the Crown Office last year.

But Fr MacKenzie, who denies the allegations against him, applied for a judicial review of the decision.

That has now been refused and he now has until 3 February to appeal.

The Crown Office has made no comment on the case, but earlier said it had received a report in connection with alleged historical offences.

Fr Mackenzie’s legal team in Canada has said he has been charged with a total of 16 offences following allegations made by 16 individuals.

They are understood to involve allegations of physical and sexual abuse over a period from the 1950s to the 1980s.

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Report claims ‘widespread’ child sex abuse cover up in Amish communities; dozens of victims silenced

UNITED STATES
CrimesOnline (blog)

January 15, 2020

By Jacquelyn Gray

A yearlong investigation has reportedly revealed at least 52 official cases of child sexual assault in the Amish community that spans seven states over the past 20 years.

Cosmopolitan magazine and Type Investigations allegedly found in a joint investigation that many of the victims were discouraged from reporting the assault by relatives and church leaders. The victims were reportedly instructed not to seek outside help and were threatened with excommunication if they did so.

Cosmopolitan called the scandal a “widespread, decentralized cover-up of child sexual abuse by Amish clergy” and suggested that there are more victims — who are likely being silenced due to the religious group’s secretive culture.

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Book by Pope Emeritus on Celibacy Gets Shrug in France

PARIS (FRANCE)
Voice of America

January 15, 2020

By Lisa Bryant

The former pope Benedict XVI reportedly wants his name removed from a controversial book that appears to undermine his successor, Pope Francis, on issues of priestly celibacy. The book hit stores Wednesday in France, the first country to publish it. But despite the furor the book has stirred in the press, many French readers appear underwhelmed.

The book, “Des Profondeurs de Nos Coeurs,” meaning “From the Depths of Our Hearts,” defends priestly celibacy at a time when Pope Francis is considering whether to lift restrictions on married priests in remote areas. Cardinal Robert Sarah, who co-authored the book, rejects accusations he manipulated Benedict regarding the content.

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Paedophile French priest says Church ‘could have helped’ him

LYON (FRANCE)
FRANCE 24

January 15, 2020

Former Catholic priest Bernard Preynat, on trial for sexually abusing dozens of boy scouts in the 1970s and 1980s, said on Wednesday that he warned the Catholic Church about his sexual impulses but they failed to take appropriate measures.

“When I was 14 years old, during my Junior Seminary, I already knew (that I was attracted to little boys). People told me ‘you are sick’, but they got rid of me. They sent me to another seminary,” Preynat told the court on the second day of trial.

A former priest in Sainte-Foy-les-Lyon, in the suburbs of Lyon, Preynat could face up to 10 years in prison. But he claims that his sexual inclinations did not prevent him from being ordained in 1971.

“They should have helped me… They let me become a priest instead,” he explained, after he had undergone therapy at the Vinatier Psychiatric Hospital, near Lyon, in 1967 and 1968.

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French priest accused of sex abuse tells trial he had been abused

LYON (FRANCE)
CNA

January 16, 2020

A defrocked French Catholic priest accused of sexually abusing dozens of boy scouts decades ago told his trial on Wednesday (Jan 15) that he himself had suffered similar assaults in his youth, in an unexpected twist to his defence.

After confessing in court on Tuesday to “caresses” he knew were forbidden, after victims testified to the horrors they suffered, Bernard Preynat, 74, faulted the church for failing to help him deal with his own urges.

During the second day of the trial in the French city of Lyon, Preynat surprised even his own lawyer in raising for the first time in court the abuses he said he suffered in his youth.

He referred to a letter written in the summer to Michel Dubost, the apostolic administrator in Lyon, where he said he had been repeatedly sexually abused by a priest, a sacristan from his parish and a seminarian.

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January 15, 2020

Sexual abuse lawsuit against Mormon church may be dropped

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
Associated Press

Jan. 16, 2019

A woman who accused The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints of covering for a former missionary leader who she says raped her in the 1980s said Tuesday she may be ready to drop her lawsuit against the faith.

McKenna Denson said during a court hearing that she still doesn’t have an attorney. Her previous lawyer withdrew in May for unknown reasons, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

“I’m not sure I want to secure counsel at the time,” Denson told U.S. Magistrate Judge Dustin Pead over the telephone.

Deson asked Pead if she could refile the lawsuit if she found “illegal activity” occurred during the course of the litigation. Pead told Denson he could not give her legal advice, advising her those were questions for her attorney.

Pead gave Denson two weeks to make a decision. He said she needs to file a motion to dismiss the case, express interest in mediation or choose to go to trial.

It’s unknown why her previous lawyer, Craig Vernon, dropped the case. His court motion is sealed and he he has declined to discuss it publicly.

Denson of Pueblo, Colorado, accused Phoenix-area resident Joseph L. Bishop of sexually abusing and raping her in 1984 at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, where he was president.

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Bill Would Give Sexual Assault Survivors One Year ‘Look Back Window’ To File Cases

MIAMI (FL)
WLRN Radio

Jan. 15, 2020

By Stephanie Colombini

Florida lawmakers are considering a bill that would give survivors of childhood sexual assault a “look back window” to address previously unreported claims. It would allow them to open cases with an expired statute of limitations for one year.

This follows a recent wave of states passing look back laws. Currently sixteen states and the District of Columbia have created similar opportunities for abuse victims to have their voices heard.

The issue is personal for bill sponsor Sen. Lauren Book (D-Broward), who was assaulted by her nanny as teen.

“It takes a long time for survivors to report these types of crimes,” she said. “75% of children don’t tell within one year of the abuse, I know I waited six years…and many never do”

The nonprofit thinktank Child USA advocates for statute of limitations reform and tracks legislative progress in states across the country.

CEO Marci Hamilton said Florida has done a lot to help current and future survivors of sexual assault by eliminating the statute of limitations for child sexual battery in 2010. But that law wasn’t retroactive.

“That iceberg of victims from the past who were shut down by the short statutes of limitations before still need help,” she said.

Child USA estimates at least 1,000 new cases could come forward in Florida is this bill passes. In New York, which opened a year-long window last August, plaintiffs have already filed more than 1,300 civil cases.

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Four men from various states use new law to sue Boy Scouts in NJ for alleged sex abuse

NEW JERSEY
NorthJersey.com

January 14, 2020

By Abbott Koloff

Four men from other states are using a new New Jersey rule to sue the Boy Scouts of America, alleging that Scout leaders sexually abused them as children — even though the alleged abuse took place in other parts of the country.

The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in Superior Court in New Brunswick because the Boy Scouts of America had its national headquarters in Middlesex County decades ago, when the alleged abuse took place, according to court documents.

The men said they were abused as Scouts while growing up in Wisconsin, Indiana, Texas and Arkansas. Five Scout leaders are accused, including two who were criminally convicted of sex abuse in the 1980s. None of the plaintiffs were part of the criminal cases, their attorneys said.

If the New Jersey suit holds up in court, it could lead to a flood of similar lawsuits from around the country being filed in New Jersey, said Jason Amala, a Seattle attorney whose firm, PCVA Law, represents the plaintiffs.

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Former Student Sues Catlin Gabel For Covering Up Child Sexual Abuse By Teacher

PORTLAND (OR)
OPB

January 13, 2020

By Elizabeth Miller

Kim Wilson was a sixth grader in 1994 and 1995. Richardson Shoemaker was her math teacher.
Wilson said Shoemaker repeatedly made her sit on his lap during class, where he ran his hand up the front of her shirt at least 80 times during the year, according to a lawsuit filed Monday in Multnomah County circuit court.

Standing in front of a photo of herself from sixth grade, Wilson was flanked by her brother on one side and one of her attorneys, Gilion Dumas, on the other.

“I am coming forward today because I was quieted and devalued by the school for so many years,” Wilson said Monday at a press conference.

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Ending time limits for child sex abuse lawsuits gets support from Missouri lawmakers

JEFFERSON CITY (MO)
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

January 15, 2020

By Tynan Stewart

For two decades, Bryan Bacon kept the memories of his abuse locked away.

In 1985, Bacon was sexually assaulted at knifepoint by an assistant principal at St. John Vianney High School in Kirkwood. He repressed the traumatic memory for years, he said, but it resurfaced in 2005 when he was 35.

Bacon told his story to the House Children and Families Committee in a hearing Tuesday. He was there to support a proposal that would remove the statute of limitations for filing civil lawsuits in cases of childhood sexual abuse. Currently, the law gives survivors of abuse 10 years to file civil claims.

The proposal comes after Missouri removed the statute of limitations for criminal cases in 2018.

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The Amish Keep to Themselves. And They’re Hiding a Horrifying Secret

UNITED STATES
Cosmopolitan

January 14, 2020

By Sarah McClure

The memories come to her in fragments. The bed creaking late at night after one of her brothers snuck into her room and pulled her to the edge of her mattress. Her underwear shoved to the side as his body hovered over hers, one of his feet still on the floor.

Her ripped dresses, the clothespins that bent apart on her apron as another brother grabbed her at dusk by the hogpen after they finished feeding the pigs. Sometimes she’d pry herself free and sprint toward the house, but “they were bigger and stronger,” she says. They usually got what they wanted.

As a child, Sadie* was carefully shielded from outside influences, never allowed to watch TV or listen to pop music or get her learner’s permit. Instead, she attended a one-room Amish schoolhouse and rode a horse and buggy to church—a life designed to be humble and disciplined and godly.

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Why it’s problematic to have 2 popes weighing in on key issues for Catholic Church

ROME
PBS NewsHour

January 14, 2020

Rome is being roiled by a series of unusual developments in which a former pope appeared to be weighing in on a sensitive issue facing his successor, Pope Francis. The debate is over the law of clerical celibacy, which divides many Catholics. But now, the retired pope, Benedict, is distancing himself from the controversy. Father Thomas Reese of Religion News Service joins Amna Nawaz to discuss.

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Victim of disgraced paedophile Bishop Peter Ball claims he felt ‘lucky’ to be in his presence due to his friendship with Prince Charles in a new documentary

ENGLAND
MAILONLINE

January 13, 2020

By Monica Greep

– and argues the clergyman’s affiliation with royalty made him ‘impregnable’

– Cliff James lived with Peter Ball at age of 18 at Littlington in Lewes, East Sussex
– In 1977 Peter became Bishop in East Sussex and established residential project
– Cliff tells of abuse faced at hands of bishop in new BBC2 documentary tonight
– Says he was ‘ripe’ when he met the bishop, in desperate need of a father figure
– Bishop said he ‘got on with Queen Mother’ and often spoke of Charles friendship

A victim of the disgraced paedophile Peter Ball has claimed the bishop’s friendship with Prince Charles made him ‘impregnable’.

Cliff James first met the bishop at the age of 17 while interviewing to become part of Littlington, his residential project established in 1977 for young people in need of ‘spiritual guidance’. He later permanently moved into the Lewes home.

At the age of 18, Cliff’s relationship with Ball quickly took a disturbing turn as the religious figure began ‘grooming’ him and making him feel ‘guilty’ if he did not do what he asked.

In the new BBC2 documentary Exposed: The Church’s Darkest Secret, Cliff told of the abuse he endured at the hands of Ball within the home, including taking part in ‘humiliation’ rituals while naked, being ceremoniously beaten and forced to take part in mutual masturbation.

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Cosby Accusers Find Their Voice in New Podcast that Follows Path to His Conviction for Sex Assault

UNITED STATES
People

January 14, 2020

By Jeff Truesdell

Few outside of the courtroom heard all the evidence that sent Bill Cosby to prison in 2018, capping a shocking downfall that began in 2005 with a woman’s public allegation that he’d drugged and sexually assaulted her, the first of more than 80 similar claims to follow.

From the start, reporter Nicole Weisensee Egan was on the story. The former PEOPLE senior staff writer’s 2019 book Chasing Cosby: The Downfall of America’s Dad chronicled the stop-and-start prosecution that put the disgraced comic and TV icon behind bars for three to 10 years.

That reporting informs a new podcast, Chasing Cosby, from the Los Angeles Times and executive produced by Egan, that lets Cosby’s initial accuser, Andrea Constand, and 13 other women share their experiences. The six-part podcast debuts with two episodes Tuesday, with new episodes dropping each week thereafter.

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Crookston Diocese places Bemidji priest on administrative leave

CROOKSTON (MN)
Forum News Service

January 14, 2020

By Alex Derosier

A Bemidji priest has been placed on administrative leave for his conduct, including “boundary violations,” the Catholic Diocese of Crookston announced in a statement.

Bishop Michael Hoeppner placed Father Bryan Kujawa on leave effective Tuesday, Jan. 14, after his fitness to be a priest was repeatedly called into question, the statement said.

Kujawa will remain on leave until the diocese has completed its investigation, conducted a professional assessment and gotten recommendations from its review board.

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Diocese of Crookston Statement re: Fr. Bryan Kujawa’s Administrative Leave

CROOKSTON (MN)
Roman Catholic Diocese of Crookston

January 10, 2020

By Janelle Gergen, Director of Communications

Bishop Michael J. Hoeppner has placed Fr. Bryan Kujawa on administrative leave, effective Tuesday, January 14. Several issues concerning Fr. Kujawa’s fitness for ministry have been brought to Bishop Hoeppner’s attention over time, including non-criminal, non-sexual, boundary violations. Accordingly, Fr. Kujawa will remain on leave until these matters have been further investigated, a professional and comprehensive assessment is complete, and the Diocesan Review Board makes further recommendations.

As this is a personnel issue, no further comments will be offered.

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Google legal chief leaving amid sexual misconduct troubles

UNITED STATES
Associated Press

January 13, 2020

The company said Drummond is not getting an exit package as part of his departure. His compensation package for 2018 was worth $47 million, making him one of the company’s highest-paid employees, according to regulatory filings.

David Drummond, the legal chief of Google parent company Alphabet, is leaving at the end of the month, following accusations of inappropriate relationships with employees.

Alphabet did not give a reason for Drummond’s departure in a short regulatory filing Friday.

The company said in November that its board was investigating sexual misconduct cases against executives. Claims against Drummond were included in the investigations.

Thousands of Google employees walked out of work in 2018 to protest the company’s handling of sexual misconduct claims. The board investigation followed lawsuits brought by shareholders after reports of sexual harassment at Google received national attention.

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The Fugitive

ISRAEL
Tablet

January 14, 2020

By Sarah Krasnostein

Israel is harboring the woman accused of being Australia’s worst Orthodox Jewish sexual predator. Could today’s court ruling finally send her home to face her accusers?

“You have to be as normal as possible so you don’t have black marks against your name, so that you can get married, and your children can get married,” Dassi Erlich explained to me the first time we met, at a café in Melbourne. “As soon as you have mental illness, sexual abuse, someone going off the derech”—off the religious path—“in the family, you start having black marks against your name. And when you’re not from a very wealthy family, those marks mean a lot.”

Growing up as one of seven siblings in an ultra-Orthodox, or Haredi, home in Ripponlea, a suburb of Melbourne, Australia, Erlich knew about black marks. She was born with a whole mess of them. “A, my mother is Sephardi,” she said. “B, my parents joined the community as adults, they didn’t grow up in it. C, my parents are not wealthy. So growing up, my mother drilled into us that we had to be perfect students, because if we didn’t, we wouldn’t get married. … No matter what was going on, we knew we would face severe punishment if we didn’t get A’s in everything.” The severe punishment to which she is referring included being denied food and locked for extended periods in a dark cupboard under the stairs. “We were absolutely petrified to explain to anyone what was going on at home because we knew that would be used against us,” Erlich told the television news program Australian Story. An abusive home was another black mark.

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Legion of Christ accused abuser removed from priesthood

MEXICO CITY
Associated Press

January 13, 2020

By Maria Verza

The Catholic Church has removed Mexican Fernando Martínez from the priesthood after considering him guilty of various sexual abuse crimes against minors, the Legion of Christ religious order said Monday.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith decided that Martínez could not continue his priestly duties, but allowed him to remain as a member of the Legion of Christ and the church, a decision that upset his victims.

One of them, Ana Lucía Salazar, who had reported being raped by the priest when she was 8 years old, commented with irony on Twitter.

“The Pope decided that the gentleman continue in the church ranks after raping children,” Salazar wrote Monday. “There’s zero tolerance.” The punishment comes nearly three decades after the abuses were reported to Martínez’s superiors in the 1990s.

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Bishops find hope, and humor, during ‘ad limina’ meeting with pope

ROME
Catholic News Service

January 14, 2020

The ad limina visits bishops are required to make to the Vatican are occasions to be honest about challenges, while also being encouraged to hope, said Bishop John T. Folda of Fargo, North Dakota.

“It’s tempting at times to lose hope when all you hear is bad news and with some of the challenges we face in our dioceses at home; it’s extremely important to maintain a spirit of hope and the ad limina I think has been that for me,” Folda told Catholic News Service Jan. 13 after a two-hour meeting with Pope Francis.

Bishops from U.S. Region VIII – North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota – met the pope on the first day of their visit. The region’s 10 dioceses have one archbishop, one auxiliary bishop, six bishops, one bishop-designate and two diocesan administrators.

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Benedict removes name from book on celibacy after dispute over his involvement

VATICAN CITY
National Catholic Reporter

January 14, 2020

By Joshua J. McElwee

Retired Pope Benedict XVI’s name is being removed as a coauthor of a controversial new book defending the Catholic Church’s practice of clerical celibacy after dueling accounts emerged of the ex-pontiff’s involvement in the preparation of the volume.

The removal, confirmed in a tweet Jan. 14 by Cardinal Robert Sarah, the other author of the book, comes after an odd and dramatic public dispute between Sarah and Archbishop Georg Gänswein, Benedict’s private secretary.

In fact, announcement of the change in authorship came only 90 minutes after Sarah had tweeted a statement defending the choice to list Benedict as a coauthor, claiming the former pope had reviewed the entire manuscript of the volume, the cover design, and also consulted on the publication date.

Sarah, who leads the Vatican’s liturgy office, even quoted a Nov. 25 conversation with Benedict, in which the cardinal said the ex-pontiff had told him: “I agree that the text be published in the form you have foreseen.”

Within an hour, Gänswein had told Italian and German-language news agencies that Benedict only thought he was preparing an essay for the volume, and did not intend to be listed as a coauthor.

“He never approved any project for a coauthored book, and never saw nor authorized the cover,” the archbishop told Italy’s Ansa agency.

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Former Spokane priest, admitted child sex abuser lives near schools in Mount Vernon

MOUNT VERNON (WA)
KREM-TV, Ch. 2

January 13, 2020

By Ian Smay

Patrick O’Donnell admitted to sexually abusing kids while a priest in Spokane. He now lives .6 miles from two schools in Mount Vernon.

Patrick O’Donnell is a name that draws a strong reaction in Spokane.

He’s a large part of the reason the Catholic Diocese of Spokane went bankrupt after it agreed to pay millions of dollars to 28 victims who O’Donnell admitted to sexually abusing in the 1970s.

O’Donnell now lives in a retirement community for people 55 and older, just over half-a-mile from two schools in Mount Vernon, Washington, a suburb an hour north of Seattle.

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