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 15, 2020

Hudson Valley priest accused of sexually abusing the son of a missionary

OSSINING (NY)
The Journal News

January 14, 2020

By Frank Esposito

The son of a missionary claims he was sexually abused by a priest from a local order, according to a Westchester County court filling.

The case,filed by an anonymous plaintiff, accused Ronald Boccieri, a Maryknoll priest, of sexually abusing him at a cabin in the Catskills.

Boccieri was accused ofinitially grooming the plaintiff while at the Ossining Maryknoll campus.

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

LYON (FRANCE)
BBC News

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.

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 of paedophile priest face attacker in court for first time

LYON (FRANCE)
The Guardian

January 13, 2020

By Kim Willsher in Paris

Bernard Preynat, 74, is believed to have sexually abused scores of boys over a 30-year period

The victims of a paedophile priest at the heart of the biggest scandal to hit the Catholic church will face their attacker in a French court.

Bernard Preynat, 74, who has been defrocked, is believed to have sexually abused scores of boys over a 30-year period, many of them while they attended catechism classes or Boy Scout camps he ran.

Even after he admitted he was “sick” and had a problem with children, he was allowed to remain a priest in his diocese in Lyon.

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 priest recounts how he abused boy scouts over decades

LYON (FRANCE)
Associated Press

January 14, 2020

By Nicolas Vaux-Montagny

A former priest detailed Tuesday how he systematically abused boys over two decades as a French scout chaplain, and said his superiors knew about his “abnormal” behavior as far back as the 1970s.

The shocking testimony of Bernard Preynat is likely to further shake up the French Catholic Church as it reckons with sexual abuses that were long covered up. His account in court Tuesday suggested as many as five cardinals were aware of his behavior over the years, but didn’t report it to police or prosecutors.

Preynat, now 74, is charged with sexually abusing multiple minors and faces up to 10 years in prison in what is France’s biggest clergy sex abuse trial to date. He’s suspected of abusing around 75 boys, but his testimony suggests the overall number could be even higher.

He said he abused up to two boys “almost every weekend” from 1970 to 1990 when he worked as their scout chaplain, and as many as four or five a week when he led one-week scout camps.

He said parents first alerted the diocese in the 1970s, but his hierachy never punished him.

“I often said to myself ‘I have to stop’ but I started again a few months later. I blame myself today,” he told a hushed courtroom.

“It seemed to me that the children were consenting,” he said. “I was wrong.”

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 14, 2020

Baltimore Priest Joseph O’Meara Removed From Parish For Inappropriate Behavior

BALTIMORE (MD)
WJZ-TV (CBS affiliate)

January 14, 2020

[VIDEO]

A Baltimore priest at St. Agnes/St. William of York Parish has been removed by the Archdiocese of Baltimore after he was accused of touching three women inappropriately.

Father Joseph O’Meara has been removed from active ministry and will no longer reside at St. Agnes/St. William of York, the Archdiocese 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.

Retired Baltimore County priest removed from active ministry, residence over alleged inappropriate touching

BALTIMORE (MD)
Baltimore Sun

January 14, 2020

By Hallie Miller and Lillian Reed

The Archdiocese of Baltimore has removed from active ministry a retired priest accused of inappropriately touching three women.

Father Joseph O’Meara, who lived at St. Agnes/St. William of York Parish in Catonsville near West Baltimore, was “recently … separately accused by three adult women of touching them inappropriately,” according to a letter signed by Father Isaac Makovo sent to parishioners in December. He no longer lives at the parish’s residences, according to the letter.

All three incidents were reported to church officials within the same day. Two of the women told church officials the incidents took place that same day and the third woman, who decided to come forward after learning of the other women, said she was inappropriately touched two days earlier, Archdiocese spokesman Sean Caine said in an email.

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.

Mexico bishops urge no statute of limitations for sex abuse

MEXICO CITY (MEXICO)
Associated Press

January 14, 2020

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.

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.

Analysis: After investigation, when will Pope Francis act on Hoeppner?

VATICAN CITY
Catholic News Agency

January 14, 2020

By J. D. Flynn

Alongside bishops from North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota, Bishop Michael Hoeppner met with Pope Francis Tuesday, for a two-hour meeting some bishops called “open,” and “hopeful.”

But Hoeppner is unique among his brother bishops: he is the first U.S. bishop to be investigated under the norms of Vos estis lux mundi, the 2018 policy from Pope Francis on investigating bishops accused of mishandling or obstructing allegations of clerical sexual abuse. In fact, alongside Hoeppner at the Jan. 13 papal meeting was Archbishop Bernard Hebda, the archbishop who conducted the investigation.

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 — one retired, one reigning — cause a furor

VATICAN CITY
Associated Press

January 14, 2020

By Nicole Winfield

Ever since Benedict XVI announced he would become the first pope in 600 years to resign, Catholic theologians, canon lawyers and others warned of the potential confusion in having two popes living side by side in the Vatican, one reigning, the other retired but calling himself “emeritus pope” and still wearing the white cassock of the papacy.

Their worst fears came true this week.

In a saga befitting the Oscar-nominated movie “The Two Popes,” Benedict co-wrote a book reaffirming the “necessity” of a celibate priesthood. There was nothing novel with his position, but the book is coming out at the same time Pope Francis is weighing whether to ordain married men in the Amazon because of a priest shortage there.

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

Catholic Diocese of SLC opposes clergy abuse reporting bill, sponsor says pushback makes her determined to pass it

SALT LAKE CITY
Fox 13 TV

January 14, 2020

The Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City is opposing a bill that requires clergy to report disclosures of abuse to law enforcement to investigate.

In an editorial being published Wednesday in the Diocesan newspaper Intermountain Catholic and shared with FOX 13, the faith outlines its objections with House Bill 90.

“The motivation for the bill is understandable, to uncover and stop the abuse of children, but HB 90 will not have this intended effect,” the Diocese wrote in the op-ed.

The Diocese said in the editorial the confession is central to the practice of the Catholic faith going back millennia, giving members the opportunity to reveal their conscience to God.

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 denies he manipulated retired pope on celibacy book

VATICAN CITY
Associated Press

January 14, 2020

By Nicole Winfield

The Vatican cardinal who co-authored a bombshell book with Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI reaffirming priestly celibacy on Tuesday strongly denied he manipulated the retired pope into publishing.

Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah, who heads the Vatican’s liturgy office, spoke out after news reports quoting “sources close to Benedict” claimed the retired pope never saw or approved the finished product.

Sarah reproduced letters from Benedict making clear the 92-year-old pope had written the text and approved of publishing it as a book. “These defamations are of exceptional gravity,” Sarah tweeted.

The controversy underscores the conservative-progressive battle lines that have deepened in the Catholic Church following Benedict’s 2013 decision to retire, and his successor Pope Francis’ more reform-minded papacy.

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.

Benedikt XVI.: Ich bin nicht Co-Autor des Buches von Sarah

[Benedict XVI .: I am not co-author of Sarah’s book]

VATICAN CITY
KathPress.at

January 14, 2020

Privatsekretär Gänswein: Emeritierter Papst war nicht über tatsächliche Form und Aufmachung von Buch über Priestertum und Zölibat informiert – Name und Bild Benedikts XVI. soll von Buchcover entfernt werden – Beitrag des emeritierten Papstes im Hauptteil des Buches allerdings “100 Prozent Benedikt”

[Private secretary Gänswein: Pope Emeritus was not informed of the actual form and layout of books on priesthood and celibacy – name and image of Benedict XVI. to be removed from book cover – contribution of the emeritus pope in the main part of the book, however, “100 percent Benedict”]

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

Pope ends a secrecy rule for Catholic sexual abuse cases, but for victims many barriers to justice remain

UNITED STATES
The Conversation

January 13, 2020

By Christine P. Bartholomew, Associate Professor of Law, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York

Pope Francis recently removed one of the barriers facing sex abuse victims looking for justice – the “Rule of Pontifical Secrecy.”

The rule is an obligation under the church’s laws to keep sensitive information regarding the Catholic Church’s governance strictly confidential. This rule allowed church officials to withhold information in sexual abuse cases, even where there was an alleged cover-up or a failure to report allegations. The clergy could claim secrecy even from victims or legal authorities.

Pope Francis stated on Dec. 17, 2019, in a press release “On the Topic of Confidentiality in Legal Proceedings,” that his intention in ending papal secrecy was to increase transparency in child abuse cases.

As a legal scholar, I have extensively analyzed the use of evidence rules that shield confidential communications with clergy. I argue that even with the removal of the papal secrecy rule, transparency might remain illusive for abuse victims.

The Catholic Church has other practices it can rely on to conceal information.

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

State continues to investigate child sex abuse

TAMPA BAY (FLORIDA)
Fox TV 13 News

January 14, 2020

[VIDEO]

The Florida Attorney General’s office is not releasing the number of tips it has received since 2018 when then-state attorney general Pam Bondi launched a statewide investigation into all reports of past abuse in the Catholic Dioceses, including a website where victims can submit tips about abuse – past and 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.

Cleared in sex abuse case, healing priest wants bishops to lift ban

MANILA (PHILIPPINES)
ABS-CBN News

January 14, 2020

By Christian V. Esguerra

A Filipino priest, known for his supposed ability to heal and even raise people from the dead, said bishops should now lift their ban, citing the Vatican’s findings that he was “not guilty” of sexually abusing minors.

Fr. Fernando Suarez, 53, said there was no more reason to prevent him from practicing his healing ministry in at least 4 dioceses that earlier shut their doors on him and members of his Missionaries of Mary Mother of the Poor (MMP).

He said many other bishops had not allowed him in their dioceses since the complaint was lodged more than 5 years ago.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), last December, ruled that Suarez had been “falsely accused” of sexual abuse, according to a decree of notification signed by Bishop Antonio Tobias, who heads the Philippine Catholic Church’s National Tribunal of Appeals.

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: Trial of French priest Bernard Preynat

FRANCE
BBC News

January 14, 2020

The trial of a former French priest accused of sexually abusing dozens of Boy Scouts in the 1980s and 1990s is set to begin in France on Tuesday.

Bernard Preynat, 74, is alleged to have assaulted more than 80 individuals and faces ten years in prison if convicted.

His trial was scheduled to start on Monday, but was delayed because of a lawyers’ strike over pension reforms.

Ten of his accusers, all aged between seven and 15 at the time of the alleged abuse, are expected to give evidence.

Also linked to the case is Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, who was found guilty last March of failing to report the allegations against Preynat.

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January 13, 2020

Former Pontiff’s Book Draws Criticism, Highlights Problem of ‘Two Popes’

VATICAN CITY
Reuters

January 13, 2020

Roman Catholic scholars rebuked the former Pope Benedict on Monday for his comments in a new book regarding the delicate matter of priestly celibacy, saying his words were helping to destabilize the reigning Pope Francis.

It is not the first time that Benedict has spoken out on Church matters despite a public vow he made in 2013, when he became the first pontiff in 700 years to resign.

The situation also underscores the polarization between conservatives and progressives in the 1.3 billion-member Church.

“One pope is complicated enough. This is a mess,” John Gehring, Catholic Program Director at Faith in Public Life, a U.S. group, said in a tweet.

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

Catholic Church Moves Funds Around to Shield $2 Billion in Assets from Abuse Victim Settlements

UNITED STATES
National Review

January 13, 2020

By Mairead McArdle

The Catholic Church in the U.S. has moved around more than $2 billion in assets in order to prevent the funds from going to alleged abuse victims who sued the Church.

As more victims of sexual abuse by priests sued various dioceses around the country, churches began transferring and reclassifying assets, and filing for bankruptcy, according to a Bloomberg Businessweek review of court filings by lawyers representing churches and victims over the last 15 years.

Filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy has allowed the dioceses to reach universal settle­ments and protected them from further victim claims. Dioceses have chosen the bankruptcy option more than 20 times since 2004.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops stated that the “decision on whether to seek Chapter 11 protection in a given case is the diocese’s alone.”

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.

Jehovah’s Witnesses not negligent in $35M child abuse case, court rules

CHICAGO (IL)
ABA Journal

January 13, 2020

By Amanda Robert

The Montana Supreme Court has reversed a $35 million judgment against Jehovah’s Witnesses for failing to report that one of its members had been sexually abusing children for years.

In its 7-0 decision, the court held that even though Montana law requires clergy and other officials to report child sexual abuse to authorities, Jehovah’s Witnesses fell under an exemption in this case “because their church doctrine, canon, or practice required that clergy keep reports of child abuse confidential.” NPR and the Associated Press have coverage.

Holly McGowan, one of two plaintiffs in the lawsuit, told elders in the Thompson Falls Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses in 1998 that her stepfather, Maximo Reyes, had inappropriately touched and fondled her, the court’s opinion states.

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Israel to speed up extradition of woman in sex-abuse case

JERUSALEM (ISRAEL)
Associated Press

January 13, 2020

By Josef Federman

Israeli officials are seeking to expedite an extradition hearing for a woman facing dozens of sexual-abuse charges in Australia after a psychiatric panel concluded she had lied about suffering from mental illness, the Justice Ministry announced Monday.

The panel’s decision last week that found Malka Leifer fit to stand trial marked a major breakthrough in a years-old case that has strained relations between Israel and Australia and antagonized members of Australia’s Jewish community.

In its announcement, the Justice Ministry said the psychiatric panel had “unanimously and unequivocally” concluded that Leifer had faked mental illness in order to avoid extradition.

“The prosecution believes that the psychiatric panel’s definitive conclusions have removed the obstacles that stood in the way of any significant progress in this case,” the ministry said. “The psychiatric panel’s findings lead to the inevitable conclusion that over the past five years, the court and the mental health system have fallen victim to a fraud perpetrated by Leifer and her supporters.”

Leifer faces 74 counts of sexual assault related to accusations brought forward by three sisters who say they were abused while she was a teacher and principal at the ultra-Orthodox religious school they attended in Melbourne. In 2008, as the allegations surfaced, the Israeli-born Leifer left the school in Australia and returned to Israel.

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Sex offender coached kids for 20 years after Boy Scouts discovered abuse

BUFFALO (NY)
WKBW

January 13, 2020

By Charlie Specht

Alleged molester now lives in Depew

In the 1980s, the Boy Scouts discovered a dirty little secret about one of their Scoutmasters: he was an accused child molester.

Leaders of Depew Troop #565 appear to have secured Douglas W. Nail’s resignation within days.

But because the matter was handled “internally” and not reported to law enforcement, Nail spent the next 20 years coaching youth hockey, where he is alleged to have struck again — this time molesting an 8-year-old.

Those allegations against the hockey coach are included in a lawsuit filed last week in State Supreme Court alleging Nail molested a child when he was coach of the Depew Saints Hockey Club from 1985 to 1992.

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Rome finds ‘healing priest’ Fr. Suarez not guilty of sexual abuse of minors

PHILIPPINES
Manila Bulletin

January 13, 2020

By Leslie Ann Aquino

“Healing priest” Father Fernando Suarez was found not guilty of the sexual abuse of minors.

Bishop Antonio Tobias, judicial vicar of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CPCP) National Tribunal Appeals, informed the priest of this development in a decree of notification dated Jan. 6, 2020.

“By order of the Most Rev. Giacomo Morandi, Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and Titular Archbishop of Cerveteri, in his letter of December 13, 2019 — I was instructed to notify the Rev. Fr. Fernando M. Suarez of the Apostolic Vicariate of San Jose de Occidental Mindoro of the decree of ‘not guilty’ of the accusation lodged against him of sexual abuse of minors which this National Tribunal of Appeals submitted to Rome on May 8, 2019,” the notification reads.

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Evolving door: New Year may bring new opportunities for women at Vatican

VATICAN CITY
Catholic News Service

January 12, 2020

By Cindy Wooden

Pope Francis opened 2020 with a strong call to acknowledge the dignity of women, end violence against them and stop the exploitation of women’s bodies.

His homily Jan. 1 was not generic: it referenced prostitution, rape, coerced abortions, pornography and even advertising.

And Francis called for the involvement of women in decision-making processes in civil society, specifically when it comes to promoting peace.

At the Mass on the feast of Mary, Mother of God, he said the Church is “woman and mother,” but he did not use the homily to address the roles of women in formal church structures.

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Sarasota bishop facing additional charge of sexual battery on child, police urge victims to come forward

SARASOTA (FL)
WWSB/ABC7 Staff

January 13, 2020

A 72-year-old bishop in Sarasota is now facing two charges of sexual battery on a child under 12 years of age after police say another victim has come forward.

On Friday, police charged Henry Lee Porter, Sr. with the additional count. The second victim tells police the abuse happened between April and November in 1990 when the victim was attending the school at Westcoast Center for Human Development.

Police began investigating Porter in October 2019 after learning of a video on social media alleging sexual abuse. Detectives reached out to the alleged victim, who told them that Porter sexually abused him beginning in 1989 when he was 11 after his parents went out-of-state for an extended period of time to stay at a hospital.

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Catholic Priest Dies Before Being Sentenced for Child Sexual Abuse

SYDNEY (AUSTRALIA)
Lexology

January 13 2020

Sydney Criminal Lawyers

Disgraced former Catholic Priest James Joseph Cunneen, who was found guilty of indecent assault against six teenage boys in New South Wales in the late 1980s, has died before he could be sentenced.

60-year old Mr Cunneen was due to be sentenced in Downing Centre District Court on 14 February 2020. He was arrested, charged and prosecuted last year after information given to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in 2014.

After an extensive investigation, police extradited Mr Cunneen back to Australia in 2017 where he was charged.

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Utah bill requiring clergy to report child abuse confessions draws criticism

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
KUTV

January 13, 2020

By McKenzie Stauffer

An organization dedicated to defending and protecting the Catholic Church is speaking out against a new bill that is set to be discussed in Utah’s 2020 Legislative session.

President of the Catholic League For Religious and Civil Rights, William Donohue Ph.D., wrote a letter to Rep. Angela Romero, the sponsor of H.B. 90, to express his concern.

The new bill would remove the clergy exemption from reporting child abuse. Meaning if the bill passes, religious leaders would be required, by law, to report confessions of child abuse in Utah.

Donohue claims the bill would violate “the Sacrament of Reconciliation in the Roman Catholic Church.”

“You are treading on dangerous territory,” Donohue wrote.

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Ex-Pope Benedict undercuts Francis on priests and celibacy

VATICAN CITY
CNN

January 13, 2020

By Amy Woodyatt, Vasco Cotovio and Hada Messia

Retired Pope Benedict has issued a passionate defense of priestly celibacy, saying he “cannot remain silent” as his successor Pope Francis considers easing the prohibition on married men serving as priests.

What has Benedict said?

Benedict made the comments in a book that he co-authored with Cardinal Robert Sarah, which will be released in France on Wednesday.

In the book, titled “From the Depths of Our Hearts,” the 92-year-old pontiff argues in favor of the centuries-old tradition of celibacy within the church, defending the ability to “put oneself completely at the disposition of the Lord” as a criterion for those wishing to be ordained as priests.

“We can say: ‘Silere non possum! I cannot remain silent!'” Benedict and Sarah wrote in a joint introduction to the book, according to excerpts released by French daily newspaper Le Figaro on Sunday.

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Papal clash: Benedict accused of ‘interfering’ with a synodal process

UNITED STATES
Patheos

January 13, 2020

By Barry Duke

DOMINATING religious and secular media outlets today is the ‘shocking’ news that Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI has co-authored a book in which he insists that priestly celibacy must be retained by the Catholic Church.

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Former cardinal named in sex abuse scandal moves from Kansas friary

VICTORIA (KS)
KWCH/CNA

January 11, 2020

Former Roman Catholic Cardinal Theodore McCarrick has moved from the Kansas friary where he had been living since 2018, according to the Catholic News Agency.

Theodore Edgar McCarrick, retired American prelate of the Catholic Church., Photo Date: January 24, 2008 / Cropped Photo: World Economic Forum / CC BY-SA 2.0 / (MGN)
CNA reports a spokesperson for the Capuchin Franciscan Province of St. Conrad said McCarrick left St. Fidelis Friary in Victoria, Kansas last week.

CNA reports McCarrick, a former cardinal, was the subject of two legal settlements in 2005 and 2007. These settlements concerned men who said McCarrick sexually abused them while they were seminarians for the New Jersey dioceses he headed before moving to the Washington archdiocese in 2001, the agency reports.

According to CNA, senior church officials, McCarrick moved to a residential community of priests who have been removed from ministry. Sources tell the agency that he made the decision to leave the Kansas friary himself over the Christmas period, adding that his continued presence in the friary had become a strain on the Franciscan community that was hosting him.

“McCarrick remains a guest at his new accommodation, but he is funding his own stay and is there by his own choice – no one can make him stay if he does not wish to,” a Church official told CNA.

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Israel arrests alleged sex abuser Gershon Kranczer 10 years after he fled there

ISRAEL
Forward

January 10, 2020

By Avital Chizhik-Goldschmidt

An American rabbi who fled to Israel ten years ago after being accused of sexually abusing female relatives was arrested by Israeli police on Sunday, according to Israel’s Justice Ministry.

Jewish Community Watch, a watchdog organization that tries to combat child sexual abuse within the Orthodox Jewish community, identified that man as Rabbi Gershon Kranczer, a former principal of a Brooklyn yeshiva. An American law enforcement official who has direct knowledge of this case also independently confirmed Kranczer’s identity to the Forward.

“We have been shocked at the horrific, drawn-out process that the victims have been forced to endure, all the while facing denial and ambivalence from so many in their community,” Jewish Community Watch said in a statement on Tuesday. “The authorities in both the U.S. and Israel have much to answer for, in allowing this case to drag on for so long.” The group also thanked Israeli police and intelligence for their work on the case.

The arrest came after a five-year search by Israeli authorities trying to comply with an American extradition request, according to a statement from the Justice Ministry.

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Unholy real estate strategy: Catholic churches shuffle properties to shield billions from sex abuse victims, report says

UNITED STATES
TRD NATIONAL

January 11, 2020

At least 20 dioceses use bankruptcy and legal entities to limit payouts to victims

Catholic church dioceses across the country are moving around their real estate portfolios and using Chapter 11 bankruptcy to protect assets in sex abuse lawsuits.

Over the last decade and a half, the U.S. Catholic Church has shielded more than $2 billion worth of assets from people who were abused by clergy, according to a Bloomberg Businessweek report. In some cases, that has significantly reduced the amount of money available to compensate those victims.

More than 20 dioceses have chosen to go the bankruptcy route since 2004 rather than face lawsuits.

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#MeToo Cases’ New Legal Battleground: Defamation Lawsuits

NEW YORK (NY)
The New York Times

January 12, 2020

By Julia Jacobs

The Weinstein trial is rare because most sexual misconduct allegations are too old to litigate. But women, and men, are finding an alternative way to get to court.

Ashley Judd was one of the first women to attach her name to accusations of sexual misconduct against Harvey Weinstein, but like many of the claims that followed, her account of intimidating sexual advances was too old to bring Mr. Weinstein to court over.

Then a legal window opened to her. After reading about a director’s claim that Mr. Weinstein’s studio, Miramax, had described Ms. Judd as a “nightmare to work with,” she sued the producer for defamation in 2018.

Mr. Weinstein’s rape trial in Manhattan, which began with jury selection last week, is a spectacle not only because he is the avatar of the #MeToo era, but also because it is one of the few sexual assault cases to surface with allegations recent enough to result in criminal charges.

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Code of silence reigns amid scandals, misbehavior at all-boys Catholic schools

DETROIT (MI)
Detroit Free Press (TNS)

January 13, 2020

By Tresa Baldas

When word got out that a football player at De La Salle High School was sexually hazed in the locker room, about a dozen athletes clammed up, including the victim, who police said doesn’t want charges.

The same thing happened after a brawl broke out in December between students from Birmingham Brother Rice and Catholic Central: The case has gone nowhere because one victim doesn’t want charges, police said, and no one else is talking.

Students at U-D Jesuit in Detroit were equally quiet in 2014 after a former teacher was charged with videotaping hockey players changing in a locker room. Students vented privately but refused to speak publicly.

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A contribution on priestly celibacy in filial obedience to the Pope

VATICAN
Vatican News

January 2020

By Andrea Tornielli

A book by the Pope emeritus and the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship addresses a theme on which Pope Francis has expressed himself several times.

A book on the priesthood that bears the signatures of Pope emeritus Joseph Ratzinger and of Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, will be released in France on 15 January. The pre-publication material provided by Le Figaro shows that with their contribution, the authors are entering into the debate on celibacy and the possibility of ordaining married men as priests. Ratzinger and Sarah — who describe themselves as two Bishops “in filial obedience to Pope Francis” who “are seeking the truth” in “a spirit of love for the unity of the Church” — defend the discipline of celibacy and put forth the reasons that they feel counsel against changing it. The question of celibacy occupies 175 pages of the volume, with two texts — one from the Pope emeritus and the other from the Cardinal — together with an introduction and a conclusion signed by both.

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In surprise, Benedict openly defends clerical celibacy as Francis considers married priests

VATICAN CITY
National Catholic Reporter

January 12, 2020

By Joshua J. McElwee

Retired Pope Benedict XVI has coauthored a new book defending the Catholic Church’s practice of a celibate priesthood, in a shocking move that comes as Pope Francis is considering the possibility of allowing older, married men to be ordained as priests in the Amazon region.

According to excerpts from the volume released Jan. 12 by the conservative French outlet Le Figaro, the ex-pontiff says he could not remain silent on the issue as Francis is contemplating the move, which was requested by the bishops from the nine-nation Amazon region at October’s Vatican synod gathering.

The book is co-written with Cardinal Robert Sarah, the head of the Vatican’s liturgy office. It is to be released in France Jan. 15 and carries the title Des profondeurs de nos cœurs (“From the Depths of Our Hearts).

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El Vaticano expulsó al cura pedófilo defendido por el obispo Martínez

[The Vatican expelled the pedophile priest defended by Bishop Martinez]

ARGENTINA
El Diario Misiones

January 9, 2020

Ocurrió luego que el sacerdote santafesino Néstor Fabián Monzón (51) fuera condenado por “abuso sexual gravemente ultrajante, calificado, en concurso real” a dos niños.

[It happened after the Santa Fe priest Néstor Fabián Monzón (51) was convicted of “severely outrageous, qualified sexual abuse in royal contest” to two children.]

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One year later, Fall River diocese’s list of ‘credibly’ accused priests still not done

FALL RIVER (MA)
WPRI-TV

January 10, 2020

By Eli Sherman

Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fall River wrote a letter to parishioners last January announcing the church had hired a former FBI agent to review allegations of sexual abuse against minors dating back to the 1950s.

The plan, he wrote, was to complete the review by spring of last year, and produce a list of credibly accused clergy members, following what a growing number of dioceses – including Providence – have already done across the country.

“I wish that this information could be made available sooner; yet it takes time and diligence to compile a list that is accurate and complete,” da Cunha wrote at the time.

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In New Book, Retired Pope Benedict Breaks Silence To Speak Out On Priestly Celibacy

VATICAN CITY
National Public Radio

January 13, 2020

By Scott Neuman

Retired Pope Benedict XVI, who promised to remain silent when he resigned as head of the Roman Catholic Church seven years ago, has stepped back into the ongoing debate over priestly celibacy with a new book defending the traditionalist view.

The surprise move is seen as a rebuke to Pope Francis, who is weighing the possibility of a revolutionary move to relax the strict celibacy requirement for ordination in some South American countries where the shortage of priests is particularly acute.

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Trial delayed for French priest accused of abusing 75 boys

LYON (FRANCE)
Associated Press

January 13, 2020

By Nicolas Vaux-Montagny

A former French priest accused of sexually abusing around 75 Boy Scouts went on trial Monday, but the proceedings were delayed for a day because of a strike by lawyers.

The case is France’s worst clergy abuse drama to reach court so far, and its repercussions reached all the way to the Vatican.

Bernard Preynat admitted in the 1990s to abusing boys, but was only removed from the priesthood last year. The church defrocked him in July, after French Cardinal Philippe Barbarin was convicted of covering up for Preynat’s actions.

Several other church officials were also accused of failing to alert police or prosecutors of his actions, including a senior Vatican official, Cardinal Luis Ladaria. The Vatican shielded Ladaria from trial, invoking his immunity as an official of a sovereign state.

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January 12, 2020

‘Healing priest’ cleared of sexual abuse case

PHILIPPINES
Tempo

January 12, 2020

Controversial “healing priest” Father Fernando Suarez can exercise his ministry again after the Vatican found him “not guilty” of sexual abuse accusations, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said yesterday.

Bishop Antonio Tobias, judicial vicar of the CBCP National Tribunal Appeals, informed the priest of the “not guilty” verdict of his case in a decree of notification dated January 6, 2020.

“By order of the Most Rev. Giacomo Morandi, Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and Titular Archbishop of Cerveteri, in his letter of December 13, 2019—I was instructed to notify the Rev. Fr. Fernando M. Suarez of the Apostolic Vicariate of San Jose de Occidental Mindoro of the decree of ‘not guilty’ of the accusation lodged against him of sexual abuse of minors which this National Tribunal of Appeals submitted to Rome on May 8, 2019,” read the notification.

“This means that he has been falsely accused of these crimes and, therefore, nothing now stands in the way for him to exercise his healing ministry, provided it is done properly in coordination with the ecclesiastical authority of every ecclesiastical jurisdiction,” it further read.

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Opinion: Church, judges in unholy union

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

January 13, 2020

By Chrissie Foster

I see red when I think about the Red Mass. The Red Mass is a Catholic mass said at the end of each January for the legal fraternity marking the beginning of the legal year. The Red Mass is a ­European tradition dating back to the year 1310 in England and ­earlier in Paris — 1245.

An invitation to attend the Melbourne Red Mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral appeared on the Victorian Bar website. The Victorian Bar is a “professional association of barristers”. The invitation reads: “As this is Archbishop Comensoli’s first Red Mass since becoming Archbishop of Melbourne, it is important for the legal community of Melbourne to welcome His Grace with as many members of the profession in attendance as possible.”

This is the same archbishop who recently said he would defy new child protection laws rather than report admissions of child sexual assault made in the confessional. Victoria recently passed legislation removing clergy exemption from mandatory reporting of a reasonable belief that a child has been sexually abused. Archbishop Peter Comensoli said he would rather go to jail than obey the new law.

Why should our legal profession “welcome” such a man? A man who publicly announced his intention to commit a crime? And not just any crime, one that disobeys child safety laws? The archbishop is the highest-ranking cleric of the Catholic Church in Victoria. Many clergy obey and follow him. Priests have promised obedience to him. Comensoli’s words and actions are replicated in communities all over Victoria. Why should the legal fraternity welcome someone who dictates that priests should commit a criminal offence by failing to report to the police information about child sexual abuse?

The new law lifting the secrecy of confession was debated in the Victorian parliament last August 29. It was an extraordinary day in parliament. At least 15 members of parliament rose and stated how shocked they were that the Archbishop of Melbourne would choose to protect paedophiles rather than children. Their anger was palpable. And angry they should be, for the reality of Comensoli’s words is to knowingly allow adults to continue to rape and sexually assault children. The archbishop is apparently happy to hear admissions of crimes against children and just let child molesters and rapists go unpunished, unchecked and uncured. This failure to obey the law would allow sexual crimes against children to continue for decades.

In 2003 Catholic priest Michael McArdle swore an affidavit stating that during confession he had disclosed more than 1500 times that he was sexually assaulting children. He made this confession to 30 different priests over 25 years. Not one of those 30 priests stopped him. For decades they just forgave him. This is precisely the situation Comensoli says should remain. What finally stopped McArdle was not the church, but a child going to the police. The church could have reported him to police decades earlier and saved countless children.

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Pope Benedict XVI breaks silence to reaffirm priest celibacy

VATICAN CITY
Associated Press

Retired Pope Benedict XVI has broken his silence to reaffirm the value of priestly celibacy, co-authoring a bombshell book at the precise moment that Pope Francis is weighing whether to allow married men to be ordained to address the Catholic priest shortage.

Benedict wrote the book, “From the Depths of Our Hearts: Priesthood, Celibacy and the Crisis of the Catholic Church,” along with his fellow conservative, Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah, who heads the Vatican’s liturgy office and has been a quiet critic of Francis.

The French daily Le Figaro published excerpts of the book late Sunday; The Associated Press obtained galleys of the English edition, which is being published by Ignatius Press.

Benedict’s intervention is extraordinary, given he had promised to remain “hidden from the world” when he retired in 2013 and pledged his obedience to the new pope. He has largely held to that pledge, though he penned an odd essay last year on the sexual abuse scandal that blamed the crisis on the sexual revolution of the 1960s.

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Benedict defends priestly celibacy as Pope Francis considers changes

VATICAN CITY
Washington Post

January 12, 2020

By Chico Harlan

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has issued an ardent defense of clerical celibacy, breaking his pledged silence on major church affairs just as Pope Francis is considering an exception that would allow some married men to serve as priests.

Benedict’s remarks, revealed in a new book excerpt published Sunday by the French newspaper Le Figaro, cast light on a once-unthinkable dynamic inside the Roman Catholic Church: A former pope trying to influence his successor in whether the church heeds or breaks with its traditions.

“The ability to renounce marriage in order to place oneself fully at the disposal of the Lord has become a criterion for priestly ministry,” Benedict XVI writes in the book he has co-authored.

In the excerpts, Benedict invokes his own ordination and calls celibacy a sometimes “painful” but necessary step. Though Francis has also defended celibacy — calling it a “gift” to the church and saying it should not be optional — some of the Argentine pontiff’s allies have pushed for exceptions, saying the priesthood needs to modernize and find ways to make up for a severe shortage of vocations.

Bishops meeting in Rome last year recommended that Francis allow the ordination of married men in the particularly remote Amazon region, an endorsement that some traditionalists warned might set off a broader weakening of the church’s millennium-old celibacy requirement. Francis is considering whether to affirm the recommendation.

But no matter what Francis decides, Benedict’s willingness to speak out risks the kind of inner-church tension that analysts worried about when he abdicated seven years ago.

After he stepped down, Benedict — who lives inside a Vatican monastery — vowed silence on key issues to give room for Francis. But he has twice broken that vow in less than a year, with the excerpt Sunday and the release in April of a lengthy letter devoted to clerical sexual abuse in which his theories often contradicted Francis’s.

Benedict and Francis have spoken admiringly of each other, but their different views about the church — Francis has pushed for changes that his predecessor opposed — have caused some traditionalists to rally around Benedict as an alternative authority figure.

“One Pope is complicated enough,” John Gehring, the Catholic program director at the Washington-based advocacy group Faith in Public Life, wrote on Twitter Sunday night. “This is a mess. With great respect to Benedict XVI, it’s time for him to live up to his promise to be ‘hidden from the world.’ ”

“From the Depths of Our Hearts,” was co-written by Benedict and the Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah, with each authoring certain passages. Sarah, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment, is far more direct than Benedict, speaking to Francis directly about the dangers of altering the church’s celibacy practices.

“I am humbly pleading for Pope Francis to protect us definitively of such an eventuality by putting his veto to any weakening or lessening of priestly celibacy, even limited to one region or the other,” wrote Sarah, the head of the Vatican’s liturgical office. “The possibility to ordain married men would represent a pastoral catastrophe, an ecclesiastical confusion and an obfuscation in an understanding of the priesthood.”

A passage jointly written by Sarah and Benedict mentions that they had taken note of the “uproar” surrounding the bishops’ meeting on the Amazon last year. Benedict and Sarah wrote that they could not stay silent.

“If ideology divides, truth unites hearts,” they wrote. “Examining the doctrine of salvation can only unite the Church around its divine Master. We do it in a spirit of charity.”

Benedict, 92, uses a walker and talks barely above a whisper, according to recent footage, but remains mentally sharp. His contributions to the book, according to the excerpts, are steeped in church language. He makes the case that celibacy is a way for priests to give themselves fully to the service of the priesthood.

“To be with God is to set aside what is only the self,” Benedict writes.

Benedict’s personal secretary, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, did not respond to a request for comment.

As the church debated last year whether to allow the ordination of married men in the Amazon, traditionalists warned about the destruction of the priesthood. There are already some celibacy exceptions within the church: married Anglican ministers, in some cases, can join the Catholic priesthood after conversion. But some conservatives worry that the rationale for the Amazon could also be applied to other parts of the world, including Europe and North America, that have shortages of priests.

Sarah argues that lifting the celibacy requirement would not help such areas, but deprive them of true priests.

“We cannot offer them ‘second class’ priests,” Sarah wrote.

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Editorial: Buffalo Diocese bankruptcy must not be a sanctuary for sin

BUFFALO (NY)
The Buffalo News

January 12, 2020

By News Editorial Board

Now we know that Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger is more than bankruptcy curious. The leader in charge of Buffalo’s Catholic diocese told a Buffalo News reporter on Monday that filing for Chapter 11 protection is probable as the diocese faces an onslaught of lawsuits from individuals making claims of clergy sex abuse.

As we have noted before, that would be unfortunate. If it happens – and there are defenses for it – the diocese needs to be as forthcoming about the abuses its priests and bishop committed as it would if the matter were left in state court. There can be no more hiding in dark corners.

While having claims against the diocese moved to bankruptcy court may ultimately result in a more equitable financial settlement for some of the victims than if their cases remain in civil court, it can still leave many feeling they are denied a full hearing.

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Legal errors blamed for George Pell convictions

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

January 4, 2020

By James Madden

George Pell’s legal team will seek to have the cardinal’s conviction for child sex offences overturned on the grounds that the Victorian Court of Appeal erred by overlooking the fact that there was reasonable doubt about whether opportunity existed for the crimes to have occurred, and that the onus of proof wrongfully lay with the defendant.

Pell’s final submissions, filed with the High Court on Friday, were signed by barristers Bret Walker and Ruth Shann.

In a hearing set down for March 11 and 12, all seven High Court judges will decide whether to hear the jailed cardinal’s argument that he is in prison only because two judges on Victoria’s Court of Appeal ­rejected his ­appeal after engaging in circular logic and making a ­series of legal errors.

In the submissions, Pell’s legal team argued that his convictions risk a fundamental ­departure “from the defining safeguards of the accusatorial system of criminal justice”.

Pell, 78, was found guilty by a jury of the rape of a 13-year-old choirboy and sexual assault of another at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne in 1996, but Australia’s most senior Catholic has ­always denied any wrongdoing.

Victoria’s Court of Appeal in August upheld Pell’s convictions by two votes to one.

He is serving a maximum six-year jail term.

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Convicted Australian cardinal moved to new prison after drone incident: media

AUSTRALIA
Reuters

Jailed Australian Cardinal George Pell, convicted over child sex offences, was moved to another prison last week after a drone flew over the facility where he was being held, local media reported.

Pell is the most senior Catholic official worldwide imprisoned for child sex offences. The former Vatican treasurer is serving a six-year sentence for sexually assaulting two teen-aged choir boys.

“Corrections Victoria can confirm that there was an incident involving a drone flying over the Melbourne Assessment Prison on Thursday,” a Department of Justice spokeswoman said on Sunday in an e-mailed statement.

She declined to comment on Pell, but said that the incident has been referred to the state police for investigation.

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Scientology argues for religious arbitration in sex assault case

CALIFORNIA
Express Digest

January 8, 2020

The Church of Scientology has argued that they should be able to handle sexual assault allegations against That 70s Show actor Danny Masterson through ‘religious arbitration’ instead of in court.

Four women, including two ex-girlfriends, filed a lawsuit against Masterson in California last year claiming the actor drugged, raped and sexually assaulted them in the early 2000s.

The Church of Scientology is also named as a defendant in the lawsuit after the women claimed they were stalked and harassed by the church in a bid to silence them after they complained.

Masterson is a member of the church while some of women were members around the time of the alleged assaults.

In new court papers filed on Tuesday, the church argued that the women consented to ‘ecclesiastical rule’ when they became members and therefore relinquished their rights to sue.

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Holy Cross hit with lawsuit from former student who alleges sexual abuse 50-plus years ago

RUMSON (NJ)
The Monmouth Journal

January 10, 2020

Holy Cross School in Rumson has been hit with a lawsuit by a former student claiming that a nun at the school sexually abused her more than half a century ago.

Carole Clark, of Cliffside Park, claims in the lawsuit filed in Monmouth County Superior Court that she attended the school from kindergarten to seventh grade “in the 1960s.”

According to the lawsuit, filed by attorney Eric G. Kahn, when Clark was in first grade at Holy Cross, Sister Mary Nazareen, a teacher at the school at the time, “coerced and/or forced” Clark “to engage in improper sexual conduct during the school year when (Clark) was in the first grade.”

The lawsuit further claims that Sister Mary Nazareen “engaged in improper sex acts, sexual assault, sexual contact and sexual abuse” of Clark, while on the grounds of Holy Cross School while Clark was in the first grade.

The lawsuit names Holy Cross School, Holy Cross Parish and the Diocese of Trenton as defendants. It states Clark has suffered “severe and permanent personal and emotional injuries” as a result of the abuse.

The lawsuit seeks judgment against the school, parish and diocese and compensation for damages, together with interest and costs of the lawsuit.

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New documents support George Pell as appeal decision nears

AUSTRALIA
Lawyers Weekly

January 7, 2020

By Naomi Neilson

The lawyers for disgraced Cardinal George Pell have lodged new court documents that allege previous findings failed to eliminate doubt about his opportunity to offend.

Barrister Bret Walker SC and Ruth Shann said the majority erred in finding opportunity for Cardinal Pell to commit the offences. His lawyers argued in court documents there was insufficient time for the convicted paedophile to sexually abuse two choirboys.

“The majority concluded that if any of the evidence showed impossibility in one respect or another, then the jury must have had a doubt,” the court documents read. “The facts as found by them were the only time the room was empty for five-six minutes was a time when the complainant and the other boy, on the Crown case, were not in the room.”

In November, the High Court of Australia agreed to hear appeal arguments in a special Full Court sitting. The decision will consider both the application for leave and the case, which means there is a chance the court may not grant special leave application.

The 21-page appeal document will be the basis for Cardinal Pell’s final bid to overturn his historic child sexual abuse convictions. His lawyers noted they are seeking no more than four hours for the presentation of an oral argument before the court.

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The Wanderer Interviews Cardinal Burke (Part 2) . . . He Is With Us: Trusting In The Lord In Turbulent Times

UNITED STATES
The Wanderer

January 8, 2020

By Don Fier

(Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Prefect Emeritus of the Apostolic Signatura, recently visited the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis. On December 9, His Eminence graciously granted The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview and offered many illuminating insights on matters that concern the Church in the present time. Below is part two of this two-part of interview; part one appeared in the issue of December 26, 2019.)

PART TWO

Q. Archbishop Rino Fisichella, the president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, is the editor of a soon-to-be-published volume entitled Catechism of the Catholic Church with Theological Commentary (its publication has been delayed for several months, but it appears it will now be available in early 2020). Can you tell us anything about this new catechism and what its authoritative scope will be?
A. This new issue of the Catechism will not have the authority of the text that was approved for promulgation in 1994, which will continue to be the authoritative text. Whatever commentary Archbishop Fisichella and other contributors offer in the new volume will have the worth of their fidelity to the unchanging doctrine of the Church. This is not some new Catechism of the Catholic Church and should not be viewed as such. I, for my part, urge people to study the officially released Catechism. Once again, I emphasize that whatever authority the new edition has will depend on the correctness of its fidelity to doctrine.

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Oprah backs out of sexual assault documentary bound for Apple TV+, film will not air on Apple service

HOLLYWOOD (CA)
Apple Insider

January 10, 2020

By Mikey Campbell

Oprah Winfrey on Friday said she is no longer attached to a high-profile documentary that explores sexual misconduct in the music industry, adding that the film will not debut on Apple TV+ as planned.

Winfrey in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter said she is stepping away from the as-yet-untitled documentary citing creative differences with filmmakers Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering. The film, which was set to debut at the Sundance Film Festival in January, follows a former music executive who accused industry titan Russell Simmons of rape.

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Abuse case seeking church records moves forward in Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH (PA)
Tribune-Review

January 12, 2020

By Deb Erdley

Nearly 18 months after a Pennsylvania grand jury report unmasked decades of allegations of clergy sexual abuse in Catholic parishes across the state and church leaders paid $84 million to abuse survivors, fallout from the report continues to mount in the courts.

State lawmakers began the process of amending the Pennsylvania Constitution to give abuse survivors with old claims a day in court even as the state Supreme Court weighs a lower court ruling that could set the stage for such claims even sooner.

Locally, court records show there are more than 20 such suits pending against the Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese as well as one in Westmoreland County.

In the latest legal development, Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Christine Ward last week ruled a class-action suit seeking to force the Pittsburgh Diocese to open its abuse archives to survivors may move forward in court.

The ruling comes weeks after a year-end report found seven of the state’s eight dioceses had paid $84 million to 564 abuse survivors who agreed not to sue the church.

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January 11, 2020

Judge says parents can sue diocese over abuse reporting

PITTSBURGH (PA)
Associated Press and WJAC

January 9, 2020

By Crispin Havener

[Note from BishopAccountability.org: See also the text of the Class Action Complaint.]

A Pennsylvania judge has ruled that parents of children in the Roman Catholic Church and survivors of sexual abuse by clergy members can move forward with a lawsuit against the Diocese of Pittsburgh alleging that it has not fulfilled its obligations under state law to report child sexual abusers.

The parents and survivors claim that the Pittsburgh diocese along with the other seven Pennsylvania dioceses have created a public nuisance by failing to report every allegation of child abuse and are asking that they be compelled to release information about all known allegations.

The ruling this week granted a preliminary dismissal to the state’s other dioceses because the lawsuit did not include specific allegations against them. However, Allegheny County Judge Christine A. Ward gave the attorneys for the parents and survivors 30 days to amend the lawsuit to include plaintiffs who believe they have standing before she will consider whether to dismiss the other dioceses as defendants.

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Shapiro heads into reelection year with $3M in account

HARRISBURG (PA)
Associated Press via U.S. News and World Report

January 10, 2020

By Marc Levy

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro will report that he headed into his 2020 reelection year with more than $3 million in his campaign bank account, about 40% of what he spent to get elected in 2016 to his first four-year term.

In a preliminary report his campaign gave to The Associated Press, Shapiro, a Democrat, will report to the state that he raised $3.3 million in 2019 and had $3.1 million left over as of Jan. 1. He spent $523,000 last year, partially offset by the $365,000 that he had left over from 2018, according to the report.

His biggest individual cash donor at $250,000 was the Democratic Attorneys General Association, a national fundraising organization. Labor unions poured in more than $800,000, and Philadelphia-area developer Israel Roizman gave $75,000, according to the report. Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat who is close with Shapiro, chipped in $20,000.

Shapiro spent nearly $8 million in 2016 when he beat former state Sen. John Rafferty by nearly 3 percentage points in that year’s general election after winning a low-turnout, three-way Democratic primary.

This time around, no Democrat has stepped forward to challenge Shapiro in the primary.

*

Shapiro’s time as attorney general is perhaps best-known for his office’s groundbreaking grand jury report in 2018 on the cover-up of child sexual abuse in six of Pennsylvania’s Roman Catholic dioceses. The report spawned more than 20 similar investigations in other states and helped prompt the nation’s bishops to approve new steps to deal more strongly with sexual abuse by clergy.

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Arizona priest charged with sexual abuse in Phoenix

TUCSON (AZ)
Associated Press via KVOA

January 10, 2020

A Catholic priest in Phoenix has been indicted on charges of alleged sexual misconduct with two boys under 15, prosecutors for Arizona’s largest county said Thursday.

The Maricopa County Attorney’s office said a county grand jury Wednesday indicted John Dallas Spaulding, 74, on six counts of sexual misconduct with a minor and one count of molestation of a child.

Spaulding could not be located to comment on the charges. Defense attorney Greg Meell did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Prosecutors say the boys were sexually abused between 2003 and 2007 when Spaulding was a priest at St. Gabriel parish in Phoenix and St. Timothy parish in suburban Mesa.

The Catholic Diocese of Phoenix said Thursday it contacted law enforcement after receiving a report in June 2019 from a man who said Spaulding sexually abused him when he was a minor.

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‘The church knew he was a predator’: Victim advocate speaks out on former Phoenix priest’s indictment

PHOENIX (AZ)
Fox 10

January 10, 2020

By Danielle Miller

A former catholic priest in the valley was charged with child sex crimes dating back to the 2000s.

Father John Spaulding, 74, is accused of sexually abusing two young boys in the early 2000s, and Thursday, he was indicted by the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office.

According to the Diocese of Phoenix, Spaulding is removed from the ministry and can’t publicly identify himself as a priest.

Mary O’Day works with an organization, SNAP, that advocates for victims and says his alleged abuse dates back several years. “We are very excited that they got a grand jury indictment. It means they found enough evidence and put enough pieces together,” she said.

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2012 lawsuit alleges son died as a result of abuse by Father John Spaulding

PHOENIX (AZ)
12 News NBC

January 10, 2020

By Bianca Buono

Spaulding was indicted Thursday, accused of sexually assaulting two boys under the age of 15 from 2003 to 2007.

A Valley father tried suing the Diocese of Phoenix back in 2012 claiming his son was molested by Father John Spaulding and died because of it.

Nearly a decade later, that priest has been indicted, accused of sexually assaulting two other boys under the age of 15.

In June of 2010, David Michael Pain Jr.’s body was found in a hotel parking lot in Mesa. He had been shot by his father, David Michael Pain Sr. in an act of self-defense.

Pain Jr. had broken into his father’s Scottsdale home while under the influence of meth.

In a lawsuit, Pain Sr. says his son’s behavior was out of control. He says he was suicidal and was abusing drugs. He says it’s because he was molested by his priest, Father John Spaulding.

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Children at Aberlour Orphanage were physically, emotionally and sexually abused

ABERDEEN (SCOTLAND)
Press and Journal

January 8, 2020

By Tom Peterkin

Children were subjected to horrendous levels of physical, emotional and sexual assault while at the Aberlour Orphanage in Moray, the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry has concluded.

One youngster considered suicide after being sexually abused at the institution and others were punched, kicked and beaten with implements including belts, slippers and a table tennis bat.

Children were humiliated for wetting the bed and were force fed after being sick on their plates.

Others were so traumatised by abuse at the hands of those in whose brutal care they found themselves they could barely function when they were present.

The inquiry yesterday published a harrowing account of the appalling treatment handed out at the Moray orphanage before it closed in 1967 and in smaller homes operated by the organisation elsewhere in Scotland.

A 150-page document outlined horrendous cruelty suffered by vulnerable children in the care of the Aberlour Child Care Trust and two other Scottish-based residential institutions – Quarriers in Renfrewshire and Barnardos – between 1921 and 1991.

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Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry Publishes Third Case Study Findings

EDINBURGH (SCOTLAND)
Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry

January 7, 2020

Children were physically, emotionally and sexually abused in harsh regimes

The Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry has today 7 January published its findings into residential institutions run by Quarriers, Aberlour Child Care Trust, and Barnardo’s (QAB) between 1921 and 1991. They conclude that children did suffer physical, emotional and sexual abuse.

During the case study, the Inquiry considered evidence about the nature and extent of any abuse of children in care at institutions run by the QAB providers at various locations across Scotland.

The Inquiry also examined any systems, policies and procedures in place at these institutions, and how these were applied.

Lady Smith, Chair of the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry, said: “Children were physically abused, emotionally abused, and sexually abused in harsh, rigid regimes. Many children did not find the warmth, care, and compassionate comfort they needed. Scant regard was paid to their dignity.

“The previous lives of the children who came into the care of the QAB providers had all been blighted in some way, whether by being abused in the family home, the death of one or more parent, parental illness, families who could not cope with caring for them, abandonment, or by other similar circumstances.

“The QAB providers could have made a real and positive difference to every child, but that did not happen. For many, further damage was inflicted upon them.”

The 43 day case study took place between 23 October 2018 and 12 February 2019, during which time the Inquiry heard evidence from 110 witnesses.

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Children were abused in East Lothian homes, inquiry finds

HADDINGTON (SCOTLAND)
East Lothian Courier

January 9, 2020

By Cameron Ritchie

Children in homes in Pencaitland and North Berwick suffered physical, emotional and sexual abuse, the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry has concluded.

Barnardo’s had residential establishments across Scotland, including at Glasclune in North Berwick, which cared for 348 children, and Tyneholm in Pencaitland, which cared for 289 children.

The inquiry heard from more than 100 witnesses between October 2018 and February last year.

Witnesses spoke about physical abuse, force-feeding, chores, washing and bathing, and emotional and sexual abuse.

In a just-released 150-page report, statements from witnesses told of different instances of abuse at the two facilities.

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Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry: Children in charity homes ‘did suffer abuse’

GLASGOW (SCOTLAND)
BBC Scotland

January 7, 2020

Children in homes run by Quarriers, Aberlour Child Care Trust, and Barnardo’s suffered physical, emotional and sexual abuse, the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry has concluded.

Lady Smith, who is chairing the inquiry, said children who were at the institutions between 1921 and 1991 lived in “harsh, rigid regimes”.

She also said “scant regard was paid to their dignity”.

Quarriers, Aberlour and Barnardo’s have apologised for the abuse suffered.

In her findings, Lady Smith said: “Many children did not find the warmth, care, and compassionate comfort they needed.

“The previous lives of the children who came into the care of the QAB (Quarriers, Aberlour and Barnardo’s) providers had all been blighted in some way, whether by being abused in the family home, the death of one or more parent, parental illness, families who could not cope with caring for them, abandonment, or by other similar circumstances.

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Child abuse inquiry: Travel bans ‘not being enforced on sex offenders’

LONDON (ENGLAND)
BBC

January 9, 2020

UK authorities are failing to use the powers they have to stop British sex offenders travelling abroad to abuse children, according to an inquiry.

Only a small fraction of orders made against offenders included a ban on foreign travel, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse found.

It cited the case of shamed rock star Gary Glitter, who abused children abroad after an earlier conviction.

The IICSA says the burden of proof for travel bans should be lowered.

The inquiry’s report found measures applied to people convicted of a sexual offence – such as a sexual harm prevention orders (SHPO) – have only had a minimal impact on restricting foreign travel.

Other offenders have been able to breach bans in an attempt to abuse outside of the UK.

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Inquiry report finds gaps in UK legal system are allowing known offenders to sexually abuse children abroad

LONDON (ENGLAND)
Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA)

January 9, 2020

The Inquiry has published its report on the protection of children outside the UK, focusing on the legal measures designed to prevent British child sex abusers from offending overseas.

The report finds that offenders from England and Wales are travelling to commit extensive abuse of children across the world, including in eastern Asia and Africa.

It concludes that civil orders are not being used effectively to stop offenders visiting other countries where poverty and corruption have left children vulnerable.

High profile cases have highlighted these issues, including Paul Gadd (aka Gary Glitter) who went to Asia to abuse young girls after being convicted of possessing indecent images of children in the UK.

The Inquiry found that civil orders placed on sex offenders rarely include travel restrictions, meaning many known offenders can still go abroad to abuse children.

As of 31 March 2018, only around 0.2 percent of the 58,637 registered sex offenders in England and Wales had their foreign travel restricted. Very small numbers of civil orders restricting travel are made: only 11 Sexual Harm Prevention Orders to this effect were made in 2017/2018 and as at March 2019 there were only six Sexual Risk Orders in place with such a restriction.

The report finds that the disclosure and barring system, including the International Child Protection Certificate which overseas institutions can request when recruiting British nationals, is confusing, inconsistent and in need of reform.

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Former Passionist priest, who once served in Pittsburgh, gets probation for ‘unnatural acts’ on a minor

BOSTON (MA)
Associated Press via Tribune-Review

January 6, 2020

A Catholic priest has pleaded guilty to two counts of “unnatural acts” with a minor for accusations of sexual abuse dating back to the 1970s.

James Randall Gillette was sentenced to five years of probation in Suffolk Superior Court in Boston on Jan. 2, according to court records. More serious charges of child rape and indecent assault and battery on a minor were dismissed, but he still has to register as a sex offender.

Gillette is affiliated with Congregation of the Passion of Jesus Christ, a religious order commonly known as the Passionists. Dan Flynn, director of health and social service at Congregation of the Passion of Jesus Christ, said Gillette has not been defrocked but has been on restrictions that ban him from identifying as a priest or serving in church functions since the 1990s. Flynn said Gillette is currently living privately in Massachusetts. He declined to comment further.

Gillette was briefly in Pittsburgh. According to BishopAccountability.org, Gillette served in 1993 and 1994 at St. Paul of the Cross Monastery in the South Side. As a religious order, it is not part of the Diocese of Pittsburgh.

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January 10, 2020

Troubling complaint against ex-Phoenix priest, Father Spaulding, detailed in 2012 lawsuit

PHOENIX (AZ)
ABC15

January 10, 2020

By Joe Enea

Details have emerged about another sexual misconduct complaint against a former Valley priest indicted this week on charges including sexual conduct with a minor.

This week, a Maricopa County Grand Jury charged Father John “Jack” Dallas Spaulding, 74, with six counts of sexual misconduct with a minor and one count of molestation of a child. He is accused of sexually abusing two boys, who were under the age of 15, between the years of 2003 and 2007.

During that time span, Spaulding was a Priest at St. Gabriel’s Catholic Church in Phoenix and St. Timothy’s in Mesa.

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Woman sues church for reporting her husband’s sex abuse confession to the police

PENDLETON (OR)
CNN WIRE

January 10, 2020

An Oregon woman whose husband is in prison for sexually abusing a child is suing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for reporting his confession to state authorities.

In the lawsuit, Kristine Johnson said her husband confessed his sexual abuse to clergy as required by church rules. That confession was passed along to state authorities, forming the basis of their investigation, she says.

She filed the lawsuit in Marion County Circuit Court last week and seeks $9.5 million for loss of income, emotional distress and her family’s loss of her husband’s companionship. The lawsuit, which argues the church went against its own policy that considers confessions confidential, also seeks an additional $40,000 for his criminal defense.

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Allegations against former priest go back 40 years

PHOENIX (AZ)
12News

January 9, 2020

By Mackenzie Concepcion

Jack Spaulding allegedly sexually abused boys at several parishes within the Phoenix Diocese over multiple decades.

A Maricopa County grand jury charged a former Catholic priest on Wednesday in connection with the sexual abuse of two boys under the age of 15 between 2003 and 2007. But the allegations against John “Jack” Dallas Spaulding, 74, go back for decades.

Spaulding was charged with six counts of sexual misconduct with a minor and one count of molestation of a child.

He was a priest at St. Gabriel’s Catholic Church in Phoenix and St. Timothy’s Catholic Church in Mesa when the alleged crimes took place.

But Spaulding is accused of sexually abusing multiple other boys in the years before that. The allegations stretch back to the 1970s — to when he was a young priest in Glendale.

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Judge Allows Lawsuit Alleging Pittsburgh Diocese Created ‘Public Nuisance’

PITTSBURGH (PA)
KDKA

January 9, 2020

A Pennsylvania judge has ruled a lawsuit can move forward against the Catholic Diocese of
Pittsburgh.

The suit by parents and survivors of sexual abuse by clergy members claims the diocese became a public nuisance because they didn’t fulfill obligations under state law to report abusers.

It was originally filed in September of 2018 against each diocese in the state.

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Child Victims Act sponsor moves to extend ‘lookback window’ for abuse lawsuits

NEW YORK (NY)
Queens Daily Eagle

January 9, 2020

By David Brand

The state senator who sponsored legislation that allows victims of child sex abuse to sue their alleged predators, no matter when the abuse occured, has introduced a bill to extend the window for new lawsuits.

The Child Victims Act took effect in August 2019, eliminating statutes of limitations and enabling survivors to sue their alleged abusers during a one-year “lookback window” that expires Aug. 13, 2020. State Sen. Brad Hoylman sponsored the bill, which passed last legislative session after years of advocacy, and has introduced a new piece of legislation that would extend the “lookback window” for one more year.

“Other states, including California and New Jersey, have instituted multi-year revival windows for civil lawsuits because it can take decades for adult survivors of child sexual abuse to come forward,” Hoylman said in a statement. “To ensure the maximum number of survivors have time to seek justice and further protect the public, New York should extend the Child Victims Act’s revival window for another year before it expires in August.”

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Guam’s Catholic Church facing at least 280 child sex abuse lawsuits

GUAM
RNZ

January 9, 2020

The Catholic Church on Guam is now facing more than 280 child sex abuse lawsuits, as attempts to settle them get underway.

In the latest lawsuit, a man alleges he was raped and molested by Father Louis Brouillard between 1977 and 1979.

Louis Brouillard admitted to being a paedophile before his death in 2018.

But several other Catholic Church figures, and the institution itself, are named in dozens of other lawsuits for both sex abuse and the subsequent cover-up.

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Survivors’ group, archbishop back journalist sued by Sodalitium members

VATICAN CITY
Catholic News Service

January 10, 2020

By Junno Arocho Esteves

A network of clergy abuse survivors has joined calls for an end to lawsuits against a journalist who investigated alleged sexual abuse and financial irregularities within a controversial Catholic group.

In an open letter released Jan. 9, the Ending Clergy Abuse organization, also known as ECA, expressed concern regarding five lawsuits against Peruvian journalist Paola Ugaz by several members of Sodalitium Christianae Vitae.

The lawsuits, the ECA said, are a form of “judicial harassment” meant to punish Ugaz for exposing alleged criminal activities within Sodalitium.

“It is true that we recognize the legitimate right of every person who feels that his or her honor was damaged to take legal action,” the group said. “However, it is unlawful for anyone to abuse this right. In the abusive case of legal actions against Paola Ugaz, it is clear the intention is not to seek justice but to silence her.”

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Another Rochester Priest Named in Abuse Lawsuit

ROCHESTER (NY)
Spectrum News

January 8, 2020

Another lawsuit has been filed under the Child Victims Act, this time with new allegations of abuse against a local priest.

Several local churches and parishes are named, including St. Boniface in Rochester and St. Paul of the Cross Church in Honeoye Falls.

Attorney Mitchell Garabedian accuses the defendants of providing Father Otto Vogt with access to young parishioners.

The attorney’s client alleged the priest abused him on 60 occasions, starting when he was 10 years old in 1989.

“For me it’s about the emotional aspect,” said John Mchugh, the Rochester-area man who claims Vogt sexually abused him. “I want recognition that it happened. I want a guarantee that there will be systems in place so it never happens again.”

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13 Years After A Baptist Pastor Assaulted Her, A Survivor Gets Her Day In Court

BALTIMORE (MD)
HuffPost

January 9, 2020

By Carol Kuruvilla

After months of grooming and emotional manipulation, Sarah Jackson says the pastor of her Maryland Baptist church called her into his private study and kissed her. She was 17, trembling and numb, while he was 29, married with children. It was the first time she had ever been touched this way.

That was Jan. 3, 2007. The date was imprinted in Jackson’s mind as sexual abuse continued over the ensuing months. Jackson claims the pastor, Cameron Giovanelli, used it as a secret code to initiate intimate text conversations. Giovanelli would text “Jan,” and if she was alone, she would reply “3rd” ― signaling that the coast was clear for him to text freely.

Thirteen years later, Jackson has become a vocal advocate for survivors of sexual abuse. And on Jan. 3 this year, she was composing a victim impact statement to read out loud at a Baltimore County court at Giovanelli’s sentencing for sex offense and assault.

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Catholic Church Shields $2 Billion in Assets to Limit Abuse Payouts

UNITED STATES
Bloomberg

January 8, 20020

By Josh Saul

Dioceses are aggressively moving and reclassifying holdings to shrink the value of their bankruptcy estates.

For most of the 20th century, the Catholic Church in the U.S. minimized the damage wrought by pedophile priests by covering up the abuse. When the bishop of the Davenport, Iowa, diocese was told in the mid-1950s that one of his priests was sexually abusing boys at a local YMCA, he kept it secret. “It is consoling to know that no general notoriety has arisen, and I pray none may result,” he wrote to a priest, capturing the strategy of the era.

Cover-ups worked when victims and their families could be intimidated or shamed into silence. But in the 1980s and ’90s, victims started filing civil lawsuits against the dioceses where the alleged incidents took place. Church leaders across the country kept these suits quiet by settling out of court and demanding nondisclosure agreements in return. Church leaders paid out about $750 million from the early ’80s through 2002, according to BishopAccountability.org, a nonprofit that tracks clergy sex abuse.

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Judge says parents can sue diocese over abuse reporting

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Associated Press

January 9, 2020

By Claudia Lauer

A Pennsylvania judge has ruled that parents of children in the Roman Catholic Church and survivors of sexual abuse by clergy members can move forward with a lawsuit against the Diocese of Pittsburgh alleging that it has not fulfilled its obligations under state law to report child sexual abusers.

The parents and survivors claim that the Pittsburgh diocese along with the other seven Pennsylvania dioceses have created a public nuisance by failing to report every allegation of child abuse and are asking that they be compelled to release information about all known allegations. Lawyers for the parents and survivors said the order issued late Tuesday is the first time private citizens have been allowed to challenge the church to prove it is complying with a reporting law.

The order, issued by Allegheny County Judge Christine A. Ward, also sustained the objections from the state’s other seven dioceses to being parties in the lawsuit because there were no specific allegations against them. Ward gave the attorneys for the parents and survivors 30 days to amend the lawsuit before she will consider whether to dismiss the other dioceses as defendants.

The lawsuit filed in 2018, a month after Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro released the state’s landmark grand jury report, asked that the dioceses be compelled to publicly release all information they had given to the grand jury and to provide a mechanism so that alleged victims could review records to make sure their allegations exist in the church’s files, are accurate and have been sent to law enforcement

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‘My intention is to pursue truth’: Child sex abuse victim of convicted Brighton priest James Gillette encourages other survivors to come forward

BRIGHTON (MA)
MassLive

January 07, 2020

By Jackson Cote

Anthony Sgherza was 10 years old when he was first sexually abused by a priest. The 58-year-old said he is now seeing justice nearly a half century later.

James Randall Gillette, a former Catholic priest at St. Gabriel’s Parish in Brighton, was sentenced to five years of house arrest last week for sexually abusing two children in the 1970s, Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins’s office said in a statement.

One of the victims in the criminal case was Sgherza, who said he is still processing Gillette’s prosecution.

“I’m 48 hours removed from having remained silent for 42 years,” Sgherza told MassLive. “Right now, I’m just trying to feel my feet on the ground and breathe and be present with this plethora of emotions.”

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FBI Interviewed Papal Foundation Staff about McCarrick

DENVER (CO)
Catholic News Agency via National Catholic Register

January 8, 2020

By Ed Condon

Washington, D.C. — Law enforcement officials have conducted interviews with several senior figures at the Papal Foundation, a U.S. based charity which supports the charitable works of the Holy Father.

Officers from the FBI have spoken to at least three foundation staff members over last several months, with enquiries focused on the role of Theodore McCarrick, who served as a board member until his removal from the College of Cardinals in 2018, following charges of sexual abuse of minors. Last year, McCarrick was laicized following a Vatican investigation and his conviction by a canonical process.

“There were questions on how the foundation operates,” one person contacted by the FBI told CNA, though they declined to be named citing confidentiality concerns. “It seemed to be linked to [McCarrick’s] sexual abuse.”

As a cardinal and one of the most senior figures in the U.S. Catholic hierarchy, McCarrick was known to wield considerable influence across the Church, both in America and in Rome. He was also a prolific fundraiser, securing millions of dollars in donations for various causes, sitting on the board of several grant making bodies, and running his own private charitable fund.

Pressing questions remain unanswered about McCarrick’s ability to buy influence and insulate himself from rumors and allegations, and a Vatican report on McCarrick’s career, and how he was able to rise so high despite decades of apparent sexual misconduct and abuse, is due to be released in early 2020.

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$1.7M settlement in child sex abuse case involving priest

EVERETT (WA)
The Herald

January 10, 2020

By Zachariah Bryan

Rev. Dennis Champagne served at St. Michael parish from 1979 to 1999. He’s accused of abusing a child.

Snohomish – The Archdiocese of Seattle announced Thursday it has reached a $1.7 million settlement involving a Snohomish priest accused of sexually abusing a child in the 1980s.

The Rev. Dennis Champagne served at St. Michael parish in Snohomish from 1979 to 1999. He was put on administrative leave in 2002, after the archdiocese received a complaint of sexual abuse.

In 2006, he was placed on “permanent prayer and penance,” a penalty by the Roman Catholic Church that removes a priest from public ministry, but stops short of removing his title.

“He is not permitted to administer sacraments, wear clerical attire, or present himself publicly as a priest,” a statement from the archdiocese says. “He is asked to pray for healing and to do penance on behalf of those who have been abused.”

Where or how the alleged abuse took place was not specified. By the time the abuse was reported, it was past the statute of limitations for a criminal investigation, according to the archdiocese. The statement from the archdiocese did not identify who would receive the settlement money.

The agreement was reached through mediation, archdiocese spokeswoman Helen McClenahan wrote in an email.

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We used to believe bishops told the truth. What happened?

LONDON (ENGLAND)
Catholic Herald

January 9, 2020

By Fr Raymond de Souza

One of the biggest stories of 2019 took place exactly a year ago. The Diocese of Pittsburgh confirmed that Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington had, in fact, known about Theodore McCarrick’s sexual misconduct, despite his claims to the contrary.

The revelations on January 10, 2019 were a mortal blow to the credibility of prelates, precisely because of Cardinal Wuerl’s prestige and well-earned reputation for being careful and exact. That loss of credibility has poisoned the relationship between bishops and priests. It began long before Cardinal Wuerl, but that he would offer misleading statements so brazenly on such a high-profile case had far-ranging consequences.

Indeed, the Cardinal Wuerl affair was part of a larger story. It was one of the most important of 2019, namely that even the Vatican no longer gets the benefit of the doubt. To the contrary, media outlets are now quite serene about stating flatly that Church officials are not telling the truth.

Recall the facts. In the summer of 2018, after the first allegations against Theodore McCarrick were made public, Cardinal Wuerl was asked what he knew. He insisted that he had no knowledge of any accusations of sexual abuse of minors by McCarrick. But he went further, insisting that he had never even heard “rumours” about McCarrick’s misconduct with seminarians. He compounded his statements to the media by gathering his priests to tell them the same thing.

Yet in 2004, when still Bishop of Pittsburgh, he had heard complaints against McCarrick from a former priest, who alleged abuse by McCarrick when he was a seminarian. Wuerl, nothing if not punctilious about protocols, reported the matter to the apostolic nuncio, the Diocese of Pittsburgh confirmed. In 2006, he was appointed McCarrick’s successor in Washington.

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Former Arizona priest accused of sexually abusing several boys indicted by grand jury

PHOENIX (AZ)
12 News NBC

January 9, 2020

By Mackenzie Concepcion

Jack Spaulding allegedly sexually abused boys at several parishes within the Phoenix Diocese over multiple decades.

A Maricopa County grand jury charged a former Catholic priest on Wednesday in connection with the sexual abuse of two boys under the age of 15 between 2003 and 2007.

John “Jack” Dallas Spaulding, 74, was charged with six counts of sexual misconduct with a minor and one count of molestation of a child.

Spaulding was a priest at St. Gabriel’s Catholic Church in Phoenix and St. Timothy’s Catholic Church in Mesa when the alleged crimes took place.

But Spaulding is accused of sexually abusing multiple other boys in the years before that. The allegations stretch back to the 1970s.

The Diocese of Phoenix said in a statement Thursday that Spaulding was placed on leave from St. Timothy Parish in June 2011 after an investigation found that an allegation of sexual misconduct against him was credible.

Spaulding was prohibited from publicly identifying himself as a priest when he was removed from the ministry.

Since he was suspended, several more similar accusations against Spaulding surfaced.

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Ex-priest indicted on charges of sexually abusing 2 boys in Phoenix diocese

PHOENIX (AZ)
Arizona Republic

January 9, 2020

By Lauren Castle

A former Catholic priest was indicted by a Maricopa County grand jury Thursday on charges of sexually abusing two boys under age 15 more than a dozen years ago.

John “Jack” Dallas Spaulding faces six counts of sexual misconduct with a minor and one count of molestation of a child between the years of 2003 and 2007.

Spaulding, 74, was removed from ministry from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix in 2011. While serving in the diocese, he was assigned to Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Glendale, Christ the King in Mesa, Santa Teresita in El Mirage, St. Louis the King in Glendale, St. Raphael in Glendale, St. Helen in Glendale, St. Maria Goretti in Scottsdale, St. Thomas the Apostle in Phoenix, St. Gabriel the Archangel in Cave Creek and St. Timothy in Mesa.

He was a priest at St. Gabriel’s and at St. Timothy’s when the alleged acts took place, according to a statement from the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office.

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Court Reverses $35 Million Verdict Against Jehovah’s Witnesses

HELENA (MT)
Associated Press via Huffington Post

January 8, 2020

The Montana Supreme Court on Wednesday reversed a $35 million judgment against the Jehovah’s Witnesses for not reporting a girl’s sexual abuse to authorities.

Montana law requires officials, including clergy, to report child abuse to state authorities when there is reasonable cause for suspicion. However, the state’s high court said in its 7-0 decision that the Jehovah’s Witnesses fall under an exemption to that law in this case.

“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,” Justice Beth Baker wrote in the opinion.

The ruling overturns a 2018 verdict awarding compensatory and punitive damages to the woman who was abused as a child in the mid-2000s by a member of the Thompson Falls Jehovah’s Witness congregation. The woman had accused the church’s national organization of ordering Montana clergy members not to report her abuse to authorities.

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Former Phoenix priest indicted on sexual abuse charges

PHOENIX (AZ)
ABC 15

January 9, 2020

By Mike Pelton

A former Valley priest has been indicted on charges including sexual conduct with a minor.

This week, a Maricopa County Grand Jury charged Father John “Jack” Dallas Spaulding, 74, with six counts of sexual misconduct with a minor and one count of molestation of a child. He is accused of sexually abusing two boys, who were under the age of 15, between the years of 2003 and 2007.

During that timespan, Spaulding was a Priest at St. Gabriel’s Catholic Church in Phoenix and St. Timothy’s in Mesa.

Back in 2011, Spaulding was suspended after allegations of sexual misconduct with a minor were deemed credible, according to the Diocese of Phoenix.

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Montana Court Reverses $35 Million Child Abuse Verdict Against Jehovah’s Witnesses

WASHINGTON (DC)
NPR

January 9, 2020

By Merrit Kennedy

The Montana Supreme Court has reversed a $35 million judgment against Jehovah’s Witnesses for failing to report child sexual abuse.

A lower court had found that the church illegally failed to report a child sexual abuser to authorities, which allowed him to continue sexually abusing another child.

The unanimous decision from seven state Supreme Court justices found that religious authorities are not always obligated to report child sexual abuse to authorities due to an exemption in Montana state law.

“This is a very disappointing decision, particularly at this time in our society when religious and other institutions are covering up the sexual abuse of child victims,” Neil Smith, a lawyer for the women who were abused as children, said in a statement.

Lawyers for the Jehovah’s Witnesses did not immediately respond to NPR’s request for comment. “No child should ever be subjected to such a debased crime,” lawyer Joel Taylor said in a statement to The Associated Press. “Tragically, it happens, and when it does Jehovah’s Witnesses follow the law. This is what the Montana Supreme Court has established.”

Jehovah’s Witnesses have come under scrutiny in other states and countries for the handling of child sexual abuse claims. For example, a 2016 inquiry by a royal commission in Australia found that the Jehovah’s Witnesses organization there had recorded allegations of child sexual abuse against 1,006 members — but the investigators found no evidence that it revealed any of the reports to authorities.

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Monk accused of child abuse extradited to Scotland from Australia

GLASGOW (SCOTLAND)
BBC Scotland

January 10, 2020

A former Catholic monk who is facing child abuse claims, has been extradited from Australia to Scotland, BBC Scotland understands.

The 83-year-old Australian priest, Denis “Chrysostom” Alexander, taught at Fort Augustus Abbey school in the Highlands.

He has been at the centre of an extradition battle since 2015.

His arrival in Scotland comes seven years after BBC Scotland first revealed claims against him.

Fr Alexander, who had claimed he was too ill to face trial, is expected to appear at Inverness Sheriff Court later to answer multiple charges of child sex abuse. He denies the allegations.

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DA’s office issues statement on Catholic priest abuse

WAYNESVILLE (NC)
The Mountaineer

January 9, 2020

By Kyle Perrotti

Following the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte’s list of clergy that have been “credibly accused” of child sexual abuse since the diocese’s creation in 1972, District Attorney Ashley Welch’s office has released a statement noting that two of the members worked in her prosecutorial district, which includes Haywood County, back in the 1970s and 1980.

The statement highlights that those who have allegations of abuse by members of the clergy can still come forward. That’s because North Carolina has no statute of limitations on sexual offenses committed against children. In fact, the statement specifically mentions the recent conviction of a former Episcopal priest who admitted to abusing children during the 1980s.

The statement notes Adelbert “Del” Holmes was “credibly accused” of committing child molestation against three minors in Murphy, in 1976 while he was a clergy member.

“The Catholic church became aware of the allegations against Holmes in 1988. Holmes was removed from the ministry in 1991. He died in 2013,” the statement reads. “Holmes was a clergy member at the St. William Catholic Church in Murphy and the Immaculate Conception Catholic Mission in Hayesville. There is no recorded documentation that the Catholic church notified local law enforcement nor the District Attorney’s Office of these allegations when the church was notified in 1988. … Holmes died in 2013, and his death prevents the District Attorney’s Office from being able to prosecute him for crimes he is alleged to have committed in 1976.”

In addition, the statement mentions Al Behm, who was credibly accused of offenses in Kentucky during the 1970s. Behm eventually served as a campus minister at Western Carolina University, although he was not accused of committing any crimes while at the school. He left the ministry in 1993.

The state encourages anyone who has been a victim of child sexual abuse who wishes to file a report to contact their local law enforcement agency and recalls the successful prosecution of former Waynesville Episcopal Priest Howard White for crimes committed over two decades ago.

“If you have been a victim of child sexual abuse, we are committed to seeking justice for you,” Welch said in the statement. “We are able to prosecute individuals when there is probable cause even decades after the crime.”

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McCarrick Mystery: The Hunt Is On

FERNDALE (MI)
Church Militant

January 10, 2020

Hello everyone and welcome to this exclusive, breaking news report from Church Militant — news about the potential whereabouts of Theodore McCarrick.

Here’s what we know: After having been defrocked, he took up residence in the St. Fidelis Friary in Victoria, Kansas for roughly the past 17 months.

Approximately a week ago he left the friary — this has been confirmed — and his whereabouts have become the subject of much speculation in the Catholic world.

Church Militant has learned from very reliable sources that his apparent destination was Jacksonville, Florida in the diocese of St. Augustine.

Within the territorial boundary of the diocese is a residence within a gated community — a house where the notorious predator priest Fr. Marcial Maciel died in 2008 — and that house was at the time owned by the Legionaries of Christ, the community Maciel founded decades earlier, and many of whose members were victims of his homosexual predation.

That residence is not directly affiliated with the diocese of St. Augustine, but is geographically within the diocese.

Our sources tell us that they believe McCarrick may be in that house, somewhere in the Jacksonville area. Church Militant is looking and searching for that house.

The timing of all of this is raising a lot of speculation because the Vatican investigation into the McCarrick scandal is due to be released soon, and Church Militant has learned further from sources that “soon” may be as early as this coming weekend.

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‘Unprecedented’: Pennsylvania judge rules parents can sue Catholic diocese over sex-abuse reporting

ALLENTOWN (PA)
Associated Press and Morning Call

January 8, 2020

By Claudia Lauer

Philadelphia – A Pennsylvania judge has ruled that parents of children in the Roman Catholic Church and survivors of sexual abuse by clergy members can move forward with a lawsuit against the Diocese of Pittsburgh alleging that it has not fulfilled its obligations under state law to report child sexual abusers.

The parents and survivors claim that the Pittsburgh Diocese along with the other seven Pennsylvania dioceses created a public nuisance by failing to report every allegation of child abuse and are asking that they be compelled to release information about all known allegations. Lawyers for the parents and survivors said the order issued late Tuesday is the first time private citizens have been allowed to challenge the church to prove it is complying with a reporting law.

The order, issued by Allegheny County Judge Christine A. Ward, also sustained the objections from the state’s other seven dioceses to being parties in the lawsuit because there were no specific allegations against them. Ward gave the attorneys for the parents and survivors 30 days to amend the lawsuit before she will consider whether to dismiss the other dioceses as defendants.

The lawsuit filed in 2018, a month after Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro released the state’s landmark grand jury report, asked that the dioceses be compelled to publicly release all information they had given to the grand jury and to provide a mechanism so that alleged victims could review records to make sure their allegations exist in the church’s files, are accurate and have been sent to law enforcement.

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Lawsuit on disclosure of abuse claims allowed to proceed against Diocese of Pittsburgh

DENVER (CO)
Catholic News Agency

January 9, 2020

Pittsburgh, Pa. – A judge in Pennsylvania is allowing a lawsuit to move forward arguing that the Diocese of Pittsburgh has created a public nuisance by failing to properly report and disclose information on sexual abuse of children.

The lawsuit is filed by both abuse victims and parents of children in the Catholic Church. Their attorney, Benjamin Sweet, said the ruling is unprecedented in supporting a suit filed by individuals who are not alleging abuse against themselves or a family member.

“This is the first time a cause of action has been brought by a non-survivor member of the public and the first time a court has said that is a viable legal strategy, that a private citizen can compel the church to prove it’s complying with the mandatory reporting law,” he said, according to the Associated Press.

He noted that none of the plaintiffs or attorneys are seeking monetary awards or damages in the suit, but said that they hope to push for additional transparency in the Church.

The plaintiffs are asking that the diocese be required to publicly release all of the information given to the Pennsylvania Grand Jury for its 2018 report on sex abuse in the Church in Pennsylvania. They also want a way for people making claims of clerical abuse to ensure that their allegations have been properly filed with the Church and secular authorities, the AP reported.

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January 9, 2020

CVA lawsuit: Honeoye Falls priest bounced from church to church in 5 counties

ROCHESTER (NY)
WHAM 13 ABC

January 8, 2020

By Jane Flasch

Honeoye Falls, N.Y. – A priest in the Rochester Diocese was bounced from church to church in an alleged cover-up of sexual abuse, says a new lawsuit filed under the Child Victims Act.

It is the first lawsuit to name Rev. Otto Vogt. It alleges the abuse happened 30 years ago at St. Paul of the Cross Church in Honeoye Falls.

John McHugh says he was 10-years-old in 1989 when he was singled out by Vogt.

“He ingratiated himself into the family, became friends with the family, went to the family home,” said attorney Mitchell Garabedian of Boston. He has filed hundreds of suits on behalf of victims of clergy abuse.

In this one, he contends Vogt sexually assaulted and abused the child in the office and the rectory over a four-year period. The abuse is alleged to have occurred on “over 60 occasions.”

Vogt would later retire from that parish. Yet from 1951 to 1955, he was moved around eight different churches in five different counties. Garabedian said Vogt was assigned to some of the parishes more than once, and at others he served only about a year.

CVA lawsuit claims Vogt was moved between eight churches in five counties to cover up alleged child abuse.

The lawsuit accuses church leaders of concealing information that Vogt “posed a danger” to children.

“They got him out of Dodge. They just shipped him to the next church,” Garabedian said. “Where were the bishops? Why weren’t they protecting innocent children?”

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Indian nun allegedly threatened after leaving convent

DENVER (CO)
Crux

January 9, 2020

By Nirmala Carvalho

Mumbai, India – A 28-year-old nun who left a convent in India claiming mental and sexual harassment, is now facing threatening calls, according to her family.

The nun had been living at St. Joseph’s convent in Kerala, the same state where another nun has accused a bishop of sexually assaulting her on several occasions.

The woman has since left her vows, and is planning on getting married.

Kerala is considered the heart of Christianity in India, and Christians make up nearly 20 percent of the population; in India as a whole, Christians make up only around 2.3 percent of the population.

The woman left St Joseph’s – in Pachalam – in May 2019, after 11 years of service.

On Jan. 4, 28 protesters, led by the Kerala Catholic Church Reformation Movement (KCCRM) held protest at the convent, which belongs to the Assisi Sisters of Mary Immaculate Congregation.

They demanded that the convent provide compensation for the services given by the former nun during the past 11 years.

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Address of His Holiness Pope Francis to the Members of the Diplomatic Corps Accredited to the Holy See for the Traditional Exchange of New Year Greetings

VATICAN CITY
Holy See

January 9, 2020

By Pope Francis

http://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/speeches/2020/january/documents/papa-francesco_20200109_corpo-diplomatico.html

Your Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

A new year is opening before us; like the cry of a newborn baby, it fills us with joy and hope. I would like that word, “hope”, which is an essential virtue for Christians, to inspire our way of approaching the times that lie ahead.

Certainly, hope has to be realistic. It demands acknowledging the many troubling issues confronting our world and the challenges lurking on the horizon. It requires that problems be called by their name and the courage be found to resolve them. It urges us to keep in mind that our human family is scarred and wounded by a succession of increasingly destructive wars that especially affect the poor and those most vulnerable.[1] Sadly, the new year does not seem to be marked by encouraging signs, as much as by heightened tensions and acts of violence.

*

Tragically however, as we know, not a few adults, including different members of the clergy, have been responsible for grave crimes against the dignity of young people, children and teenagers, violating their innocence and privacy. These are crimes that offend God, cause physical, psychological and spiritual damage to their victims, and damage the life of whole communities.[4] Following my meeting in the Vatican last February with representatives of the world’s episcopates, the Holy See has renewed its commitment to bring to light abuses already committed and to ensure the protection of minors through a wide range of norms for dealing with such cases in accordance with canon law and in cooperation with civil authorities on the local and international level.

Given the gravity of the harm involved, it becomes all the more urgent for adults not to abdicate their proper educational responsibilities, but to carry out those responsibilities with greater zeal, in order to guide young people to spiritual, human and social maturity.

For this reason, I have planned a worldwide event to take place on 14 May next with the theme: Reinventing the Global Compact on Education. This gathering is meant to “rekindle our commitment to and with young people, renewing our passion for a more open and inclusive education, including patient listening, constructive dialogue and better mutual understanding. Never before has there been such need to unite our efforts in a broad educational alliance, to form mature individuals capable of overcoming division and antagonism, and to restore the fabric of relationships for the sake of a more fraternal humanity”.[5]

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Pope hints at broader vision of ‘recovery’ from sex abuse scandals

DENVER (CO)
Crux

January 9, 2020

By John L. Allen Jr.

Rome – From the beginning, two things have been true about the clerical sexual abuse scandals in the Catholic Church.

The first is that the Church failed, and failed miserably, in its duty to protect children and vulnerable adults entrusted to its care. Unearthing those failures, and doing justice for them, is a long-term challenge that’s far from over.

The second is that despite those failures, the Catholic Church also carries generations of wisdom about raising children successfully, about parenting and education and formation, but it’s been difficult to get any of that across in a context in which you put the words “children” and “Church” into a sentence. For most people the third word that automatically comes to mind is “abuse.”

On Thursday, Pope Francis may just have unveiled a strategy for addressing that imbalance, getting the Catholic Church back on offense after decades of being on the defensive.

*

There in the middle of it all, however, was a lengthy treatment of the abuse scandals.

“These are crimes that offend God, cause physical, psychological and spiritual damage to their victims, and damage the life of whole communities,” the pope said.

Francis referred to the extraordinary summit he called in February 2019 with the presidents of all the bishops’ conferences of the world, designed to identify “best practices” in the fight against clerical abuse and to promote a uniform global culture of prevention, detection and prosecution of abuse. Among other things, it was the February summit that prompted Francis to abolish the requirement of pontifical secrecy in abuse cases in December.

What came next is the decisive part.

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Analysis: Why the McCarrick report could be delayed

DENVER (CO)
Catholic News Agency

January 8, 2020

By JD Flynn

Vatican City – The news that Theodore McCarrick recently moved from the Kansas friary where he had been living has fueled speculation that a report from the Vatican’s internal investigation on McCarrick will soon be released.

But while the report may be completed in Rome, its release may not be imminent, and some U.S. bishops may be quietly hoping for further delays.

The report is the fruit of an internal Vatican investigation into the career of McCarrick, who was a cardinal and the archbishop of two major American sees before he was found canonically guilty of serial sexual abuse and laicized.

In October 2018, just months after sexual abuse allegations against McCarrick first emerged, the Vatican said that Pope Francis had commissioned a study of the Vatican archival files on McCarrick, “in order to ascertain all the relevant facts, to place them in their historical context and to evaluate them objectively.”

Since the study was announced, American Catholics have called for the release of its findings. In recent months, the report’s release has become highly anticipated.

In November, Cardinal Sean O’Malley told the U.S. bishops’ conference that the Vatican intended to publish the report “soon, if not before Christmas, soon in the new year.”

O’Malley said that he had seen a “hefty document,” which was being translated into Italian for the benefit of Pope Francis, before its imminent release.

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McCarrick moved from Kansas friary to ‘undisclosed’ location

TORONTO (ONTARIO, CANADA)
LifeSiteNews

January 7, 2020

By Dorothy Cummings McLean

A report on how McCarrick was able to become a senior churchman―despite allegations of sexual predation on boys and young men, including seminarians and priests―will likely be released soon.

Victoria, Kansas – Ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who has become the face of clerical sexual misconduct in America, has moved out of his Kansas refuge.

Catholic News Agency (CNA) reported today that former cardinal and defrocked priest McCarrick has left the Capuchin community in which he resided since the summer of 2018. CNA stated also that senior Church officials told them that McCarrick had recently moved to a “residential community of priests who have been removed from ministry.” CNA’s sources told the agency that the residence is “rather secluded and away from public attention.” Its location has not been disclosed to the public.

McCarrick is said to be paying for his own rent and board and that he voluntarily took up residence in his new home. The reason given for the disgraced ex-prelate’s move is the pressure his stay at the St. Fidelis Friary was putting on his Capuchin hosts. This was expected to intensify when the report of the Vatican’s investigation into how McCarrick was able to become a senior churchman―despite allegations concerning his sexual predation on boys and young men, including seminarians and priests―is released.

The friary is next to an elementary school.

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Utah lawmaker aims to remove clergy exemption for reporting child abuse

PROVO (UT)
Daily Herald

January 8, 2020

By Connor Richards

https://www.heraldextra.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/utah-lawmaker-aims-to-remove-clergy-exemption-for-reporting-child/article_4a4de860-7ddb-55bb-9d79-77d742911d5b.html

Every Utah adult is required under state law to report confessions of child abuse to law enforcement — unless that adult is a religious leader who learned about the abuse during a confidential confessional.

A state lawmaker wants everyone, regardless of their religious title, to be legally obligated to report child abuse to authorities. So she sponsored a bill that would amend the law to require just that.

Rep. Angela Romero, D-Salt Lake City, introduced House Bill 90 in the 2020 legislative session. The bill would delete “provisions that exempt, under certain circumstances, a member of the clergy from being required to report child abuse and neglect,” according to its text.

“For me, this is really about protecting children,” Romero said, who proposed the bill after years of discussion with other legislators and child abuse victim advocates. “Children are some of our most vulnerable members of society” and, as a lawmaker, Romero wants vulnerable groups to feel safe.

Utah Code mandates that anyone who “has reason to believe that a child has been subjected to abuse or neglect … shall immediately report the alleged abuse or neglect to the nearest peace office, law enforcement agency, or office of the division.”

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A sordid secret life? Priest, now dead, accused of raping 7-year-old girl, fathering another child

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Los Angeles Times

January 8, 2020

By Peter Rowe

San Diego – Decades after his death, the Rev. Efrén Neri is accused of leading a sordid secret life, raping a 7-year-old girl and fathering a child out of wedlock in the 1950s.

At that time of both incidents, he was assigned to Christ the King parish in Rialto, in San Bernardino County, then part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego.

Outside the diocesan offices Wednesday morning, “Jane Doe” accused Neri of raping her in 1958. Wearing a heavy coat, hat and sunglasses to hide her identity, the 68-year-old woman told reporters that she had spent decades beset by depression, anxiety and a deep sense of shame. After contacting the diocese last summer, she received a letter from Mary Acosta, the diocese’s victim assistance coordinator.

Acosta offered “deep sympathy,” 12 counseling sessions and information on the diocese’s Independent Compensation Program.

Doe rejected the offer of mediation — “They can’t be trusted,” she said of the church — and last November sued the dioceses of San Diego and San Bernardino in San Bernardino Superior Court.

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Mormon leaders reported a child molester’s confession. Now his wife is suing the church for $9.5 million

WASHINGTON (DC)
Washington Post

January 9, 2020

By Antonia Noori Farzan

In recent years, prominent religious institutions have been dogged with accusations that they persistently covered up sexual abuse and failed to report heinous crimes.

But a new lawsuit makes the opposite argument, claiming that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints violated a child molester’s confidentiality by turning his confession over to the authorities.

The $9.54 million suit was filed Friday by Kristine Johnson, whose husband, Timothy Samuel Johnson, is serving a 15-year prison sentence for sexually abusing a child. As the Salem Statesman Journal first reported, the lawsuit alleges that Johnson became aware of her husband’s misdeeds in 2016, but chose not to involve the police. Instead, the couple went to the leaders of their church ward in Stayton, Ore., so that the matter could be handled through Mormon doctrine.

“The Mormon Church is, for lack of a better word, a unique institution,” Bill Brandt, the attorney representing Kristine Johnson, told The Washington Post on Wednesday night. “They firmly believe that they can deal with their parishioners better than law enforcement.”

Timothy Johnson, now 47, went before a council of lay clergy and confessed to the abuse so that he could begin the process of working toward absolution through “fairly intensive” spiritual counseling, Brandt said. But one member of the panel notified the authorities. In 2017, Johnson was arrested on charges of first-degree sodomy, sexual abuse and unlawful sexual penetration for sexually abusing a child under the age of 16. He pleaded guilty to four counts of second-degree sexual abuse the following year.

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Jury deliberating sexual assault case against Ord priest

AXTELL (NE)
NTV News

January 8, 2020

By Steve White

Ord NE – A Catholic priest may learn Thursday if he’s going to prison, as a jury decides if he’s guilty of first degree sexual assault of a woman who insists she was trying to document his missionary work.

Rev. John Kakkuzhiyil’s case went to the jury at 2:30 Wednesday afternoon, after attorneys made their final arguments.

”This is not okay. This is not okay. This is not okay,” prosecutor George Welch recounted the woman’s words, as she said she found the priest on top of her.

A freelance writer who went to a priest’s home on Thanksgiving night 2018 to do an interview says she awoke in his bed to find him sexually assaulting her.

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