Facing Sex-Abuse Claims, Buffalo Diocese Declares Bankruptcy

BUFFALO (NY)
The New York Times

February 29, 2020

By Jesse McKinley and Liam Stack

The diocese said it was seeking Chapter 11 protection because of old accusations revived under New York’s Child Victims Act.

The Diocese of Buffalo filed for federal bankruptcy on Friday, becoming the latest entity to seek financial protection after a 2019 state law allowed victims of historical childhood sexual assault to sue.

The Catholic diocese, the largest in upstate New York, cited the Child Victims Act in a statement posted on its website, saying that the maneuver was necessary “to continue uninterrupted its mission throughout Western New York, while working to settle claims with existing Diocesan assets and insurance coverages.”

The Child Victims Act was passed last year by the Democratic Legislature in Albany, after years of opposition from religious groups and private schools, among others. It created a so-called look-back window, starting in…

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The Rev. Joseph Grasso, former Siena Academy principal, accused of molesting student

ROCHESTER (NY)
Democrat and Chronicle

February 28, 2020

By Sean Lahman and Steve Orr

Rochester diocese says no complaints about Grasso were ever received

Grasso taught in the late 1990’s at Bishop Kearney High School in Irondequoit

He assumed the principal position at Siena at the start of 1998-99 school year

A priest who served as principal at three area Catholic schools and taught at a fourth has been accused of sexually abusing a student in the early 2000s.

A lawsuit initiated late last week alleges that the Rev. Joseph A. Grasso abused the student at Siena Catholic Academy in Brighton and the adjacent St. Thomas More Church.

The male victim, who was not identified by name in court papers, was approximately 12 years old when the alleged abuse began in 2002. Legal papers say the abuse continued into the following year.

No other information about the alleged abusive…

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Discorso del Santo Padre trasmesso ai partecipanti al Capitolo Generale dei Legionari di Cristo, e alle Assemblee Generali delle Consacrate e dei Laici Consacrati del Regnum Christi, 29.02.2020

[Address of the Holy Father to the participants in the General Chapter of the Legionaries of Christ, and to the General Assemblies of the Consecrated Women and the Consecrated Laity of the Regnum Christi, 29.02.2020]

VATICAN CITY
Vatican

February 29, 2020

Pubblichiamo di seguito il discorso del Santo Padre Francesco trasmesso ai partecipanti al Capitolo Generale dei Legionari di Cristo, e alle Assemblee Generali delle Consacrate e dei Laici Consacrati del Regnum Christi:

Discorso del Santo Padre

Cari fratelli e sorelle,

sono felice di questo incontro con voi alla conclusione di una tappa del cammino che state percorrendo sotto la materna guida della Chiesa. Voi, Legionari di Cristo, avete da poco concluso il Capitolo Generale e voi, Consacrate e Laici Consacrati del Regnum Christi, le vostre Assemblee Generali. Sono stati eventi elettivi dei nuovi governi generali, conclusione di una tappa del cammino che state facendo. Ciò significa che esso…

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Francis calls Legionaries of Christ to ‘continuous conversion’ at end of Rome meeting

VATICAN CITY
Catholic News Agency

February 29, 2020

By Hannah Brockhaus

Pope Francis Saturday told the Legionaries of Christ religious order to look toward the future as they continue to reform themselves, seeking continuous conversion under the guidance of the Church.

The pope’s message was sent to the religious order of priests at the end of the congregation’s 2020 Ordinary General Chapter in Rome, which began Jan. 20, to elect new leadership and to discuss handling of abuse.

The pope told the Legion there is still much that “must be discerned on your part. So the journey must continue, looking forward, not backward. You can look back only to find trust in the support of God, who has never failed.”

“Returning to the past would be dangerous and meaningless,” he said.

The nearly six-week-long meeting took place during a time of widespread public criticism of the Legionaries of Christ,…

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Pope urges Regnum Christi to continue along path of renewal

VATICAN CITY
Vatican News

February 29, 2020

By Devin Watkins

Pope Francis invites the Legionaries of Christ and Regnum Christi members to continue along the path of discernment to reform the Federation, in remarks prepared for an audience on Saturday.

The Legionaries of Christ recently held their General Chapter in Rome, as the wider Regnum Christi Federation held its General Assemblies.

Pope Francis was scheduled to address the group on Saturday, but had to cancel due to a “slight indisposition”. The Director of the Holy See Press Office, Matteo Bruni, said the Pope did celebrate Mass and keep his scheduled appointments in the Casa Santa Marta on Saturday morning.

Difficult past

In his prepared remarks which were read out to the group, Pope Francis said the “criminal behavior” of Father Marcial Maciel Degollado generated “a major institutional and personal crisis” within the Regnum Christi Federation.

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Pope tells scandal-marred Legion they still haven’t reformed

VATICAN CITY
Associated Press

February 29, 2020

By Nicole Winfield

Pope Francis told the Legion of Christ religious order Saturday it still has a long road of reform ahead, making clear that 10 years of Vatican-mandated rehabilitation hadn’t purged it of the toxic influences of its pedophile founder.

In a prepared speech, Francis told the Legion’s new superiors a “very vast field” of work was needed to correct the Legion’s problems and create a healthy order. He encouraged them to work “energetically in substance, and softly in the means.”

“A change of mentality requires a lot of time to assimilate in individuals and in an institution, so it’s a continual conversion,” Francis said. “A return to the past would be dangerous and senseless.”

The Vatican took over the Legion in 2010 after revelations that its founder, the Rev. Marcial Maciel, sexually abused dozens of his seminarians, fathered at least…

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List of Memphis clergy ‘credibly accused’ of child sex abuse released by Catholic Diocese

MEMPHIS (TENNESSEE)
Commercial Appeal

February 28, 2020

By Katherine Burgess

Months after promising survivors to release a list of clergy credibly accused of child abuse, the Catholic Diocese of Memphis has done so.

Its list includes 20 names. The list is predominantly made up of names already included in lists compiled by other dioceses or religious orders along with clergy named publicly by victims.

The two exceptions appear to be James Gilbert and Floyd Brey, who do not appear in ProPublica’s database compiling the lists released by dioceses and religious orders or on bishopaccountability.org, which lists accused clergy.

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Buffalo Diocese Embarks on Path Toward Reorganization

BUFFALO (NY)
Western New York Catholic

February 28, 2020

Chapter 11 filing aims to provide resolution for the most number of individuals who have been harmed by past by sexual abuse while continuing the work of Catholic ministry

The Diocese of Buffalo has formally filed for Chapter 11 reorganization under the U.S. Federal Bankruptcy code with a primary aim of enabling financial resolution for the most number of individuals who have filed claims under the Child Victims Act – a year-long window that opened on August 14, 2019 that suspends the statute of limitations related to allegations of past sexual abuse. A further objective of reorganization is that it allows the Diocese to continue uninterrupted its mission throughout Western New York, while working to settle claims with existing Diocesan assets and insurance coverages.

“We have no more urgent work than to bring about justice and healing for those harmed…

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Buffalo Catholic Diocese Files for Bankruptcy

BUFFALO (NY)
Wall Street Journal

February 28, 2020

By Ian Lovett

Diocese is second in New York to seek bankruptcy protections since state law temporarily lifted civil statute of limitations on child sexual abuse

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, N.Y., filed for bankruptcy on Friday, following a number of sexual abuse lawsuits filed against it since August.

Buffalo is the 22nd Catholic diocese to seek bankruptcy protections since 2004, when a wave of sexual abuse allegations against the church began, and the second in New York since a new state law last year temporarily lifted the civil statute of limitations on child sexual abuse. The law, known as the Child Victims Act, allows those who say they were sexually abused as children to sue, no matter when it occurred.

In the bankruptcy filing, the diocese estimated its total assets at between $10 million and $50 million and its…

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Priest sexually abused me for years and N.J. diocese knew he was a danger, woman says in suit

NEW JERSEY
NJ.com

February 28, 2020

By Anthony G. Attrino

A New Jersey woman has filed a lawsuit against the Diocese of Camden accusing a priest of sexually abused her decades ago when she was a child while church officials allowed it to happen.

Patricia Cahill, 67, of Bergen County, claims the Rev. Daniel Francis Marks Millard, sexually abused her from 1957 to 1965, according to the suit, filed Feb. 4 in Camden County Superior Court.

While NJ Advance Media does not typically name victims of sexual abuse, Cahill been speaking publicly about the alleged abuse for years. The lawsuit is another in the flood of litigation against churches and other groups since a two-year window opened on Dec. 1 under a new law signed by Gov. Phil Murphy that expanded the amount of time that victims of sexual assault may bring a lawsuit.

The abuse began when Cahill…

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Fighting abuse in lay movements: Vatican mandates norms, guidelines

VATICAN CITY
Religion News Service

February 28, 2020

By Cindy Wooden

Organizations, Catholic or not, led by a charismatic leader who is followed uncritically and commands or demands control over members are at risk for cases of physical, sexual and psychological abuse, said Jesuit Father Hans Zollner.

The Vatican office that grants official recognition to international Catholic lay movements and organizations ordered the groups to develop detailed child-protection guidelines and norms for handling allegations of the abuse of minors and vulnerable adults.

The international organizations include hundreds of thousands of Catholics around the world, so “this is an important step,” said Father Zollner, a professor of psychology and president of the Centre for Child Protection at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.

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Buffalo Diocese files for bankruptcy protection amid sexual abuse lawsuits

NEW YORK
WRGB-TV, Channel 6

February 28, 2020

According to the filing, the Diocese is claiming 10 to 50-million dollars in assets, and 50 to 100-million dollars in liabilities, saying they need financial help to settle many of the lawsuits.

The Buffalo Diocese officially filing for bankruptcy protection today in the wake of legal action regarding sexual abuse.

The Child Victims Act became law last August, allowing victims of sexual abuse to file lawsuits against their alleged victims.

MORE: Albany Catholic Diocese releases statement following Rochester Diocese filing Chapter 11

According to the filing, the Diocese is claiming 10 to 50-million dollars in assets, and 50 to 100-million dollars in liabilities, saying they need financial help to settle many of the lawsuits.

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Buffalo Roman Catholic Diocese seeks bankruptcy protection

BUFFALO (NY)
Associated Press

February 28, 2020

By Carolyn Thompson

The embattled Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo filed for bankruptcy protection Friday, taking another major step in its effort to recover from a clergy misconduct scandal that’s been the basis for hundreds of lawsuits, Vatican intervention and the resignation of its bishop.

With its filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, the western New York diocese became the second in the state to file for Chapter 11 reorganization, and one of more than 20 dioceses to seek bankruptcy protection nationwide. Most recently, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, filed Feb. 19.

The Buffalo diocese has faced particular turmoil in recent months, culminating in the Dec. 4 resignation of Bishop Richard Malone following a Vatican-mandated investigation. Malone had faced intense pressure from members of his staff, clergy and the public to step down amid criticism that he withheld the names of…

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Catholic Diocese releases list of 20 priests ‘credibly accused’ of child sexual abuse

MEMPHIS (TN)
Daily Memphian

February 28, 2020

By Bill Dries

The Catholic Diocese of Memphis has released a list of priests accused of child sexual abuse during their time in Memphis and West Tennessee.

The list of “credibly accused” priests spans more than 50 years and was compiled at the request of Bishop David Talley shortly after he became leader of the Diocese that covers West Tennessee including Memphis.

“Our Diocese of Memphis realizes the extent of damage caused by the sexual abuse of minors perpetrated by Catholic clergy,” Talley wrote in a letter posted on the website of the Diocese Friday, Feb. 28.

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Woman’s fraud case against LDS Church for alleged cover-up sent to settlement

UTAH
KUTV-TV, Channel 2

February 24, 2020

by McKenzie Stauffer

A woman, who accused The Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints of covering up an alleged sexual assault by the president of its Provo Missionary Training Center, had the last two items of her lawsuit sent to a settlement hearing.

McKenna Denson’s allegations against Joseph Bishop and the Church were dismissed more than a year ago, because of the statute of limitations had passed.

A judge, however, ruled the two counts of fraud still stand because an alleged-cover-up was discovered.

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Erzbistum München beauftragt externes Missbrauchs-Gutachten

[GOOGLE TRANSLATE: Archdiocese of Munich commissions an external abuse report]

MUNICH (GERMANY)
Frankenpost.de

February 27, 2020

Der scheidende Vorsitzende der Deutschen Bischofskonferenz ringt im Missbrauchsskandal mit internen wie externen Kritikern. In seinem Münchner Erzbistum will Kardinal Marx nun mit einem neuen externen Gutachten für mehr Aufarbeitung sorgen – auch bis in höchste Ämter.

Google Translate: The outgoing chairman of the German Bishops’ Conference grapples with internal and external critics in the abuse scandal. In his Archdiocese of Munich, Cardinal Marx now wants to provide more work with a new external report – even to the highest offices.

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Ratzinger and the Pedophile Priest

GERMANY
Correctiv

February 26, 2020

A priest convicted of sexually abusing children says that, on a winter day, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger is standing on his doorstep. Now, an investigation conducted by CORRECTIV and Frontal21 reveals the ties of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI with the priest. The stories shared by alleged victims who came forward during the investigation show how the Catholic Church’s prosecution of sexual abuse within its own ranks is insufficient.

In the outskirts of the Bavarian town of Garching, the chapel in Simetsbichl is a whitewashed building with a gabled roof. Benches are lined up inside, where an aureoled Virgin Mary gazes from the apse to an altar with candles, flowers and guest books brimming with personal pleas: for healing, for a new job, to get pregnant. And then, on a yellow notepad in a child’s scrawly handwriting:

There is no date above the entry, so it…

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Rhode Island man says in lawsuit he was abused by priest

RHODE ISLAND
The Associated Press

February 28, 2020

A Rhode Island man alleges that he was molested as a child by a Catholic priest who also trafficked children for sex while church leaders looked the other way, according to a lawsuit filed against the Diocese of Providence.

Robert Houllahan, 51, of Providence, said in the suit filed Thursday that he was sexually abused by the late Father Normand Demers, who received the “protection and affirmative assistance” of the diocese and its leaders, The Providence Journal reported.

The diocese, current Bishop Thomas Tobin and retired Bishop Louis Gelineau are among the defendants named in the suit.

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Former St. Xavier High School priest accused of psychological sexual abuse

SPRINGFIELD TOWNSHIP (OH)
WKRC

February 21, 2020

By Katherine Barrier

A former St. Xavier High School priest has been accused of psychological sexual abuse, according to the school.

Fr. Ed Pigott was part of the St. Xavier community from 1969 to 2018. After the school published a list of Jesuit priests, brothers and scholastics who had established allegations of sexual abuse against minors in 2018, allegations were brought against Pigott. The school said the reported abuse happened between 1992 and 1994.

After the allegations, Pigott was not allowed to have unsupervised access to students and was then removed from his duties at the school on Dec. 19, 2018.

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Legion of Christ vows better abuse response amid new sex abuse scandal, cover-up

VATICAN CITY
The Associated Press

February 27, 2020

By Nicole Winfield

The Legion of Christ religious order is promising accountability and transparency after damaging new revelations of sex abuse and cover-up that have undermined its credibility, a decade after revelations of its pedophile founder disgraced the order.

The Legion vowed to investigate the confirmed cases of past abuse by 33 priests and 71 seminarians. The Mexico-based order said it would reach out to the victims, publish the names of those found guilty of abuse in either a church or a state court, and punish superiors responsible for “gross negligence” in the handling of abuse accusations.

The measures described in a statement late Wednesday were responding to a burgeoning new scandal involving the order. The Vatican took over the Legion 10 years ago following revelations that its late founder, the Rev. Marcial Maciel, raped his seminarians, fathered at least three…

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Facing 250 sex abuse lawsuits, Diocese of Buffalo declares bankruptcy

BUFFALO (NY)
WKBW

February 28, 2020

By Charlie Specht

Second diocese in New York to file

The Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, which is facing nearly 250 lawsuits involving clergy sexual abuse, has declared bankruptcy.

Aside from the obvious financial implications, the diocese’s formal Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing means that many of the victims of clergy sexual abuse may not anytime soon get the answers that have long been hidden in secret diocesan archives regarding pedophile priests.

But there is still a chance that those hidden files could be forced as part of a bankruptcy settlement, as has happened in other dioceses.

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Vatican task force offers help to church on abuse prevention

VATICAN CITY
The Associated Press

February 28, 2020

By Nicole Winfield

The Vatican is launching a task force of experts to help Catholic dioceses and religious orders develop guidelines to handle cases of sexual abuse by clergy and tend to survivors.

The initiative was proposed last year during Pope Francis’ summit on preventing abuse. It was considered necessary given Catholic leaders in some parts of the world — mostly poor, conflict-marred areas in Africa and Asia — have failed to comply with a 2011 Vatican directive to develop the guidelines.

Task force participants said Friday that the aim is to provide legal expertise and help to dioceses and religious orders that simply don’t have the professional resources or have otherwise neglected to comply with the 2011 directive.

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Congressman seeks investigation of church’s sex abuse deals

MISSISSIPPI
The Associated Press

February 27, 2020

A congressman is asking the Department of Justice to investigate settlements to two men who say they were victims of clergy abuse at a Catholic school in Mississippi.

In a letter, U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson says Catholic officials “exploited” the young men, The Clarion Ledger reported.

They were paid far less than what others have received through legal settlements with the church, the Mississippi Democrat said.

The request for an investigation comes after The Associated Press made details of the cases public in a story last year.

The two cousins told the AP they were repeatedly abused during the 1990s, as elementary school students at St. Francis of Assisi School in Greenwood, Mississippi. The cousins were each paid $15,000.

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Lori Falce: Why we write about sex abuse

PITTSBURGH (PA)
TribLive

February 27, 2020

By Lori Falce

“But why do you have to put it up there in black and white? Why does there have to be a headline? Why can’t you just let it go?”

I‘ve had this conversation before.

“Why do you have to write about Jerry Sandusky? It makes Penn State look bad.”

“Why do you have to write about the grand jury report? It makes the Catholic church look bad.”

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Pope urges church workers to fight child abuse, even when facing threats

ROME
Crux

February 25, 2020

By Inés San Martín

In a video message sent to an abuse prevention formation center in Mexico, Pope Francis condemned the fact there are people willing to hire a hit man to stop abuse prevention and child protection.

“You will be misunderstood, [some] will tell you are wasting your time,” Francis says in the video sent to the Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Formation for the Protection of Minors (CEPROME), an interdisciplinary center for child protection at the Pontifical University of Mexico. “You will be threatened, because there are those who are threatened. More than one will tell you that they are capable of hiring a hit man to clean up the field.”

“Be prudent,” he adds. “Take care of yourselves, but continue to be brave and work. Preventing the abuse of children, the abuse of those who are at a disadvantage due to…

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Victims and survivors of abuse remembered by Church in Ireland

VATICAN CITY
Vatican News

February 28, 2020

The Annual Day of Prayer for Survivors and Victims of Sexual Abuse is being marked in Ireland on 28 February, the first Friday of Lent.

Candles of Atonement will be lit in Cathedrals and Parishes throughout the country.

On this day the Bishops of Ireland are asking people to remember and pray for all those who carry with them life long suffering as a result of abuse.

Speaking about the Day of Prayer, the CEO of the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland, Teresa Devlin said, “it is one day in the year which is really important”, but she added that, “every day is important and we are consistently reminding Church leaders of the need to communicate their child safeguarding message.”

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‘Church is no longer a safe place:’ State prison for local priest in indecent assault of girl

ALLENTOWN (PA)
lehighvalleylive.com

February 25, 2020

By Sarah Cassi

A former Allentown priest was sentenced Monday to state prison for the indecent assault of a girl he met through his city parish.

Lehigh County Judge Maria Dantos noted it was a maximum sentence of one to two years in state prison for 31-year-old Kevin Lonergan, who has been free on bail in the case since he was charged.

Lonergan pleaded guilty in November to indecent assault of the girl, who was 17 at the time.

In addition to commending the bravery of the teen girl who came forward, Dantos took note of a prior accusation against Lonergan in another county.

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‘One step at a time’: The path to a new sex abuse bill

COLORADO
Colorado Politics

February 27, 2020

By Michael Karlik

For the first time in 14 years, both chambers of the Colorado General Assembly will consider eliminating the civil statute of limitations for victims of childhood sexual abuse — and, for that matter, a range of sexual misconduct against children and adults.

House Bill 1296 comes in the wake of an October 2019 report from the attorney general’s office detailing the extent of childhood abuse from Catholic clergy in Colorado and follows other scandals involving the Boy Scouts of America, USA Gymnastics and perpetrators outed through the #MeToo movement. The proposal would allow unlimited time for victims of sexual assault, sex abuse and unlawful sexual contact to sue their perpetrators or the institutions that harbored them, but only for future cases.

Currently, survivors generally have six years to sue their abuser after they turn 18, and two years to sue…

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Lawsuit: Former Providence priest trafficked children for sex

PROVIDENCE (RI)
Providence Journal

February 27, 2020

By Brian Amaral

And, the suit says, the Diocese actively thwarted efforts to stop the predator priest, instead giving him a new assignment, to St. Martha Church in East Providence.

A priest in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence trafficked children for sex, using the guise of international charitable work to prey on boys at orphanages in Haiti and rectories in Rhode Island, a lawsuit filed Thursday says.

The diocese and its defenders looked the other way and actively thwarted efforts to stop the predator priest, the suit says. In one instance, a parishioner who later became associated with the diocese’s legal counsel reported leaving a party at a rectory because he was made uncomfortable by the presence of boys, some dressed in diapers, according to the suit.

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Mo. Attorney General Urged to Investigate Baptists

JEFFERSON CITY (MO)
WORD&WAY

February 27, 2020

By Brian Kaylor

Groups that advocate for the survivors of clergy sexual abuse called on Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt to investigate clergy in the Missouri Baptist Convention for sexual abuse or misconduct — as he already has done with the Catholic Church. In a Feb. 26 rally outside the MBC’s headquarters in Jefferson City, advocates from two different groups addressed a specific case as they called for more proactive actions to weed out abusers and those who enable abusers.

“Sexual violence happens when those who commit or conceal it escape consequences. We fear that’s what’s happening now, in part, because of the Missouri Baptist Convention,” explained Cheryl Summers, an advocate with “For Such A Time as This Rally” that advocates for abuse victims within the Southern Baptist Convention. “When wrongdoing or alleged wrongdoing is ignored or rewarded, more people are apt…

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Disgraced Catholic order vows to turn page on abuse with new norms

VATICAN CITY
Reuters

February 27, 2020

By Philip Pullella

The new leader of the disgraced Legionaries of Christ Catholic religious order, whose founder was a serial sexual abuser, has promised to turn a page as the group enacted new norms to protect children.

Father John Conner, 51, an American who was elected this month as superior general, announced the changes on Wednesday night as he wrapped up a general chapter attended by 66 representatives from around the world.

Conner, the order’s first non-Mexican leader, said in a statement the Legionaries wanted a “change of the institutional culture that allowed so much suffering to occur”.

The chapter approved documents outlining commitments for the protection of minors and vulnerable adults and for reckoning with its scandalous past.

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Well-known ex-Jesuit employee Brother Everard Booth named a suspected sex abuser

LOUISIANA
NOLA.com

February 27, 2020

By Ramon Antonio Vargas

A religious brother who worked several years at Jesuit High School in New Orleans — and had an endowed scholarship set up in his honor — was among four names added Thursday to a list of members of the Jesuit order suspected of sexual abuse while they worked in a region including Louisiana.

The update to the list marks the first time Jesuit officials have acknowledged they believe Everard J. Booth, who died in 1986, was an abuser.

Booth was the subject of “more than one” credible allegation, the order said. It didn’t specify where the alleged abuse occurred but said the “estimated timeframe” was in the 1960s. In a separate statement, Jesuit High officials said Thursday that the allegations do not involve students or Booth’s work at the school.

Besides Jesuit High and regional administrative offices in New Orleans,…

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Statement by Cheryl Summers, founder of For Such a Time As This Rally

UNITED STATES
SNAPNetwork.org

February 26, 2020

We’re here to protect innocent kids and vulnerable adults. We’re not here to punish or persecute anyone. This is about public safety and victims’ healing. When those happen, then it may be time for forgiveness or redemption,which are, in fact, private actions, not public actions. Public actions are what will keep others safe and help others heal.

We start with a simple truth: Sexual violence happens when those who commit or conceal it escape consequences.

We fear that’s what’s happening now, in part, because of the Missouri Baptist Convention.

The Convention has tapped Dr. Mike Roy to be on the board of trustees at Southwest Baptist University.

–This all stems from the case of Shawn Davies, who pled guilty in 2007 to molesting boys at First Baptist Church of Greenwood. Roy was the senior pastor there. Davies was youth and music minister. View Cache

Warning: Fr. Tetherow Is Back at an Independent Latin Mass Chapel

PENNSYLVANIA
Patheos: Through a Catholic Lens (blog)

February 27, 2020

By Fr Matthew P. Schneider, LC

A year ago, I reported on how the diocese had dealt well with a priest once child pornography was found on his computer. Fr. Virgil Bradley Tetherow, who also goes by Fr. Gabriel Francis, was quickly suspended and later defrocked. I think the diocese did what they could to deal with the situation and they can’t really do much except warn people once he’s defrocked.

When I wrote the article in January 2019, it looked like Fr. Tetherow was no longer involved in the independent Latin Mass chapel as his name had been scrubbed from their website and Facebook page. (I should have used the Wayback Machine to save this, but I did not think of it at the time and nobody else saved the clergy/pastor page either.) However, his name is back…

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Springfield Diocese names investigators for abuse allegations

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
Daily Hampshire Gazette

February 27, 2020

By Michael Connors

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield has appointed three people to its newly created team of investigators in its Office of Safe Environment and Victim Assistance.

Retired Springfield Police Capt. C. Lee Bennett, retired Springfield Police Lt. Norman F. Charest and Brenda Burge, an investigator for the state Department of Children and Families, have been named as the new investigators, according to a press release. They will serve as administrative investigators in abuse claims made to the Diocesan Review Board, the release said.

Jeffrey J. Trant, the office’s director, said in the statement released Monday that the hirings were part of a number of changesin how allegations of abuse are handled by the diocese. In 2019, the Berkshire Eagle reported that the Springfield Diocese tried to repress molestation accusations against Bishop Christopher J. Weldon by a former…

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Suffern monastery priest sexually assaulted at least two congregants: Cops

SUFFERN (NY)
The Journal News

February 21, 2020

A priest in the Tagaste Monastery and Sacred Heart Church in Suffern sexually assaulted and raped multiple women, Suffern police said.

A woman congregant told a priest in the monastery that she was sexually assaulted by 51-year-old Fidel Hernandez in 2018, according to police.

The clergy member contacted the Archdiocese, which contacted the Rockland District Attorney’s Office.

During the course of a joint investigation by the Suffern police and DA’s office, a second victim came forward, saying she was sexually assaulted by Hernandez too.

Suffern Police Chief Clarke Osborn said, at this time, they don’t know of any other victims, but if there are, he urges them to come forward.

“This is an ongoing investigation and we ask that anyone that feels they were a victim or knows of a potential victim to come forward and contact either the Suffern Police…

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Suffern priest accused of rape faces more charges following grand jury indictment

SUFFERN (NY)
The Journal News

February 27, 2020

By Christopher J. Eberhart

A Suffern priest accused of raping two women faces more charges after he was indicted by a grand jury in Rockland County Court on Wednesday.

Fidel Hernandez, 51, was indicted on charges of first- and third-degree rape as well as three counts of first-degree criminal sexual act and three counts of third-degree criminal sexual act.

He was originally charged with first-degree rape, first-degree criminal sexual act, first-degree sexual abuse and forcible touching.

[ARREST: Suffern monastery priest sexually assaulted at least two congregants: Cops]

“This indictment sends the message that this office will prosecute those whom are to be trusted by their congregants,” Rockland County District Attorney Thomas Walsh said in a statement. “We cannot turn a blind eye to clergy sexual abuse cases. I hope that this indictment encourages others who may have seen, suspected or…

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Legion of Christ vows better abuse response amid new scandal

VATICAN CITY
Associated Press

February 27, 2020

By Nicole Winfield

The Legion of Christ religious order is promising accountability and transparency following damaging new revelations of sex abuse and cover-up that have undermined its credibility, a decade after revelations of its pedophile founder disgraced the order.

The Legion vowed to investigate the confirmed cases of past abuse by 33 priests and 71 seminarians. The Mexico-based order said it would reach out to the victims, publish the names of those found guilty of abuse in either a church or a state court, and punish superiors responsible for “gross negligence” in the handling of abuse accusations.

The measures described in a statement late Wednesday were responding to a burgeoning new scandal involving the order. The Vatican took over the Legion 10 years ago following revelations that its late founder, the Rev. Marcial Maciel, raped his seminarians, fathered at least three children…

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3 lawsuits accuse former Maryvale teacher of sexually abusing students

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

February 28, 2020

By Mike McAndrew

Three former Maryvale School District students have accused their music teacher of sexually abusing them decades ago, according to Child Victims Act lawsuits against the district.

Stanley Bratt, a Maryvale East Elementary School teacher who died in 1980, according to the school district, is accused of abusing a 9- to 12-year-old boy from 1968-1971, a 9- to 10-year-old student from 1970-71 and an 11- to 15-year old student from 1973-1977.

The plaintiffs were not identified in the legal papers.

Attorney Julia Hilliker, who represents the school district, said that the district received no complaints about Bratt abusing children prior to the lawsuits being filed.

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Sexually abused by a local priest? Here’s how you can file a claim

ROCHESTER (NY)
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

February 28, 2020

By Steve Orr

Claimants must get their form to Stretto, a bankruptcy-support company based in California hired by the diocese to handle claims.

Aug. 13 deadline has been set as the deadline for filing claims against the Rochester diocese for past sexual abuse of minors by priests and other church ministers.

An order signed by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Paul Warren on Tuesday also specified the means by which people can file claims and laid out a plan to advertise the process throughout New York state.

Diocesan officials have said they’ve received notice of more than 200 allegations of past abuse by church ministers, though the final number of claims is likely to be higher.

The deadline and other details of the claims process were set as part of the diocese’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding in which diocesan officials are hoping…

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Boy Scouts may be forced to sell Rockwell paintings

UNITED STATES
USA Today

February 28, 2020

Money would help pay victims of sexual abuse

“Norman Rockwell is really an American icon. He hits the heartstrings of people when they see it. His images resonate with nostalgia.” Barbara J. Sussman an accredited member of the American Society of Appraisers

Potentially worth millions, artwork could be at risk of liquidation to satisfy creditors. Buried in the fine print of a document filed as part of the Boy Scouts of America bankruptcy last week is a brief mention of a potentially huge asset: “original Rockwell paintings.”

The disclosure that the organization owns works by Norman Rockwell, the American painter and illustrator, is hardly a surprise since the artist and Scouts have been linked for more than a century. But the acknowledgment of those valuable assets, potentially worth millions to creditors, could set off a legal fight over their future.

With the…

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Buffalo Diocese files for bankruptcy

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

February 28, 2020

By Jay Tokasz

The Buffalo Diocese, awash with lawsuits alleging child sex abuse by priests, nuns and others, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Friday, marking another chapter in a scandal that has rocked the Catholic Church in Western New York since early 2018.

The Buffalo Diocese already is named as a defendant in 260 cases, more than any other institution in the state, and potentially faces huge losses if the cases go to trial.

The filing puts the lawsuits on hold and stops efforts by debtors to collect from the diocese. It does not mean that the diocese or its parishes are going out of business.

The diocese’s voluntary petition for non-individuals listed assets of $10 to $50 million and liabilities of $50 to $100 million and said the diocese had between 200 and 999 creditors.

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Retired Catholic priest in southeast Mo. pleaded not guilty on child sex abuse charges

STODDARD COUNTY (MO)
KFVS-TV (Channel 12)

February 19, 2020

By Amber Ruch

A retired Catholic priest in the Heartland was charged with multiple counts of sexual abuse with children.

According to Stoddard County Prosecuting Attorney Russ Oliver, 76-year-old Frederick Lutz was arrested at his home in Springfield on a Stoddard County warrant for charges of forcible sodomy, two counts of statutory sodomy second degree and felony sexual abuse related to allegations of sex crimes that happened while Lutz served as the priest at St. Joseph Parish in Advance, Mo. His bond was set at $125,000 cash only.

He was taken to the Stoddard County Jail on Wednesday afternoon to be booked.

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Federal court sets deadline for filing claims against the Rochester Diocese

ROCHESTER (NY)
WXXI

February 26, 2020

By Alex Crichton

Law firms representing clients in sex abuse lawsuits against the Rochester Catholic Diocese are urging survivors to file their claim before August 13, a deadline handed down by the bankruptcy court presiding over the Diocese’s bankruptcy filing.

Last fall, the Rochester Diocese was the first in New York to seek bankruptcy protection due to numerous lawsuits filed against the diocese under the Child Victims Act. James Marsh, founder of the New York City-based Marsh Law Firm, says the bankruptcy court has issued an August 13 deadline, called a bar date, for survivors to file their claims. After that date, no further claims can be filed.

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Congressman Bennie Thompson asks DOJ to investigate Catholic sex abuse settlement

MISSISSIPPI
The Clarion-Ledger

February 24, 2020

By Sarah Fowler

Congressman Bennie Thompson has asked the Department of Justice to investigate settlements given to two victims of clergy abuse, saying in a letter that Catholic officials “exploited” the young men.

Last August, cousins La Jarvis Love and Joshua Love told The Associated Press they were repeatedly abused by Brother Paul West during the 1990s, when they were elementary school students at St. Francis of Assisi School in Greenwood, Mississippi.

West’s name is on the list of clergy members credibly accused of sexual abuse released by the Jackson Diocese last March.

In a letter dated Feb. 20, Thompson outlined the abuse inflicted on La Jarvis, Joshua and Raphael Love by West and the $15,000 settlement La Jarvis and Joshua Love each received from the Catholic Church.

Across the United States, settlements have ranged much higher. In 2006, the Catholic Diocese of…

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Congressman seeks investigation of church’s sex abuse deals

MISSISSIPPI
Associated Press

February 26, 2020

A congressman is asking the Department of Justice to investigate settlements to two men who say they were victims of clergy abuse at a Catholic school in Mississippi.

In a letter, U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson says Catholic officials “exploited” the young men, The Clarion Ledger reported.

They were paid far less than what others have received through legal settlements with the church, the Mississippi Democrat said.

The request for an investigation comes after The Associated Press made details of the cases public in a story last year.

The two cousins told the AP they were repeatedly abused during the 1990s, as elementary school students at St. Francis of Assisi School in Greenwood, Mississippi. The cousins were each paid $15,000.

The settlements, Thompson wrote, were “far less than what many other sex abuse victims have received through legal settlements with the Catholic church.”

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Former Arizona Catholic priest dies before trial on child abuse charges

PHOENIX (AZ)
The Republic

February 26, 2020

By Lauren Castle

A former Catholic priest who was indicted on child sex crimes has died before his trial, according to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix.

John “Jack” Dallas Spaulding died Tuesday at the age of 75.

He was facing six counts of sexual misconduct with a minor and one count of molestation of a child. The two boys were under the age of 15 during the alleged incidents, which were reported to have occurred in 2003 and 2007.

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A pediatrician’s lament: My 30-year journey with clergy sexual abuse

CANADA
LaCroix Internationa

February 26, 2020

By Sister Nuala Kenny OC, MD

“See, O Lord, how distressed I am; my stomach churns, my heart is wrung within me (Lamentations 1:20)

‘I pray for this effort to finally address coherently the theologies necessary to reform the cultural and systemic factors operative in the clergy abuse crisis’

As a pediatrician, I know the devastating harms of the physical and sexual abuse of children and youth by family members and trusted others in society.

I have held the shaking and bleeding body of a raped 12-year-old boy and tried to comfort a seven-year-old girl terrified of being touched after assault.

As a religious sister, I have wept often in 30 years of work on sexual abuse by clergy.

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Diocese knew in 2002 of ex-Springfield priest’s sex abuse allegation. Why wasn’t he fired?

SPRINGFIELD (MO)
Springfield News-Leader

February 25, 2020

By Harrison Keegan

A spokeswoman said the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau was aware in 2002 that one of its priests had been accused of sexually abusing a teen.

But the accused clergyman was allowed to keep working as a priest for the next nine years, until he retired in 2011.

That now-former priest, 76-year-old Frederick Lutz, was arrested at his Springfield home last week on charges of forcible sodomy, statutory sodomy and sexual abuse for acts that allegedly occurred in 2000 in Stoddard County in southeast Missouri.

The criminal charges stem from those same allegations that the diocese says it found out about in 2002, involving a 17-year-old boy.

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Missouri Baptist trustee tussle returns spotlight to old allegations of mishandled abuse

MISSOURI
Baptist News Global

February 26, 2020

By Bob Allen

Advocates for survivors of clergy sexual abuse criticized the Missouri Baptist Convention for electing a university trustee accused in 2005 of not cooperating with police in what media at the time described as Missouri’s biggest clergy sex-abuse case to date.

The Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests and the For Such A Time As This Rally announced Wednesday they will urge Missouri’s attorney general to launch a statewide investigation into Baptist child sex crimes and cover ups similar to one conducted last year involving the state’s four Roman Catholic dioceses.

Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Missouri, announced Feb. 24 that trustees will launch their own investigation into whether a newly elected trustee “imposed” on the university by the Missouri affiliate of the Southern Baptist Convention mishandled child sexual abuse allegations against one of his staff members in 2005.

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La Iglesia chilena a dos años de la misión Scicluna: lo que cambió y lo que quedó

[The Chilean Church two years after the Scicluna mission: what changed and what remained]

CHILE
La Tercera

February 21, 2020

By Juan Paulo Iglesias/Sergio Rodríguez

El 19 de febrero de 2018 el prelado de Malta llegó, enviado por el Papa Francisco, para ver qué pasaba con el obispo Juan Barros. Terminó recibiendo decenas de testimonios de abusos, que detonaron la crisis. Dos entidades laicas analizan lo recorrido

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Child sexual abuse survivors deal with bankruptcy, old evidence after laws extend statute of limitations

UNITED STATES
USA TODAY

February 24, 2020

By Kevin McCoy

Raul Diaz envied the kids from his New York City neighborhood who’d joined the Boy Scouts of America during the 1960s. Hoping to go on camping trips, too, he convinced his mother to let him sign up.

The decision led to a half-century-long saga — not of pitching tents, paddling canoes and earning merit badges, but of anguishing over the sexual abuse he suffered.

Diaz, now 60, is among thousands of people who have taken advantage of sweeping legal changes that extend statutes of limitations to allow the abused to sue their attackers.

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Would your church offerings be used to settle sex-abuse claims in Harrisburg Diocese?

HARRISBURG (PA)
York Daily Record

February 25, 2020

By Sam Ruland

As the sun began to go down and the shadows of the church vanished from the sidewalk, Shannon Bailey hustled up the steps of St. Patrick’s Church of York, eager to get a good seat before the service started Sunday.

A lifelong Catholic, Bailey, 54, attends Mass weekly, praying for everyone she knows — her dozens of nieces and nephews, the neighbors in the house next door, her daughter’s volleyball team, the feral cats that infiltrate her back yard. She hasn’t let her faith be dissuaded by the sex abuse crisis that’s engulfed the Catholic Church.

It’s not her place to pass judgment, she said.

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Detroit Catholics say archdiocese fabricated rape charge against pastor

DETROIT (MI)
CNA

February 25, 2020

By JD Flynn

A group of Detroit Catholics has filed a lawsuit claiming that the Archdiocese of Detroit fabricated an allegation of rape against their pastor in order to avoid media criticism about its handling of abuse allegations, and has mishandled the canonical case against him.

The Archdiocese of Detroit said it can not speak on the specifics of the case, but that it takes allegations of clerical abuse very seriously.

The lawsuit alleges that an archdiocesan official “twisted…allegations and fabricated a rape charge against Fr. Perrone in order to force the AOD to remove Fr. Perrone, and, thereby, shield the AOD and [Msgr. Michael] Bugarin from a negative AP story.”

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Former priest in Dansville, Avon named in new child sex abuse lawsuits

LIVINGSTON COUNTY (NY)
Livingston County News

February 26, 2020

By Matt Leader

A former Catholic priest who served at churches in Avon and Dansville in the 1980s is named as a defendant in two Child Victims Act lawsuits, filed earlier this month in Livingston County Supreme Court.

Joseph Edward Larrabee, who was ordained in 1980, is accused of sexually abusing two teenagers at least 19 times between 1982 and 1984 by exploiting his position as a priest at St. Agnes Church in Avon.

Larrabee could not be reached for comment. The former priest’s accusers, now in their 50s, brought their civil suits Feb. 4. They’re both represented by Simmons Hanly Conroy, a national firm with offices across the country, and the Law Offices of Mitchell Garabedian, a Boston firm that’s represented victims of the Catholic Church for decades. Larrabee’s accusers are both demanding jury trials.

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Boy Scouts’ bankruptcy could result in compensation for more abuse survivors

UNITED STATES
PBS

February 24, 2020

By Pamela Foohey

The Boy Scouts of America has filed for bankruptcy to figure out how to fairly compensate thousands of survivors of alleged sexual abuse who accuse the Scouts of neglecting to protect them.

Revelations regarding decades of the abuse of children and long-running institutional failures to stop the abuse are raising questions about the future of the Boy Scouts and what will become of its troops. The Scouts’ initial bankruptcy documents state that 275 lawsuits are pending in state and federal courts across the country, and that attorneys for survivors estimate another 1,400 claims will be filed. The Scouts disclosed that they have spent $150 million on settlements and legal fees between 2017 and 2019.

I’m a legal scholar who has studied the bankruptcy cases filed by hundreds of nonprofits, including religious ones like Catholic dioceses. Based on what I’ve observed,…

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School for the Deaf Reports Dozens of Decades-Old Sexual Abuse Cases

NEW YORK (NY)
The New York Times

February 25, 2020

By Neil Vigdor

The oldest school for the deaf in the United States has reported dozens of cases of sexual and physical abuse by nine former staff members that it said took place over more than three decades — including instances in which some students were forced to eat until they vomited or were confined in closets as a form of corporal punishment.

The learning institution, the American School for the Deaf, which was founded in 1817 in Hartford, Connecticut, detailed the pattern of abuse in a report after a yearlong investigation by an outside lawyer hired by the school.

The report, which was released Friday and based on interviews with 81 alumni, former faculty and staff members and other witnesses, said the abuse occurred from the 1950s through the 1980s at the main campus, now in West Hartford,…

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No, Jean Vanier is not ‘like all of us’

KANSAS CITY (MO)
National Catholic Reporter

February 25, 2020

By Jamie Manson

Since the news broke Saturday morning that Jean Vanier had coercive, nonconsensual and abusive sexual encounters with at least six adult women, my social media feeds have been filled with folks trying to make sense of these revelations.

I admit that Vanier was not someone I looked to for spiritual inspiration. Though he was not a priest, my years of experiencing the clericalism of both the clergy and the laity had made me weary and wary of the Catholic tendency towards hero worship, particularly of grand older men.

The fact that I did not have an emotional tie to Vanier may have helped me take an unflinching look at L’Arche’s 10 page report on the abuses that he and his mentor, Dominican Fr. Thomas Philippe, perpetrated against vulnerable women.

L’Arche should be commended for its support of…

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Bishop shakeup: West Virginia Catholic diocese issues audit

CHARLESTON (WV)
Associated Press

February 24, 2020

By John Raby

The net assets of West Virginia’s Catholic Diocese dropped by $4.8 million during a fiscal year that coincided with the resignation of its bishop amid allegations of sexual and financial misconduct, an audit shows.

The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston released the audit last week spanning the period from June 30, 2018, to June 30, 2019. Net assets totaled $352.3 million, down from $357 million a year earlier, according to the findings made public by current Bishop Mark E. Brennan. Liabilities totaled $70.3 million, up from $65.2 million.

Brennan’s predecessor, Bishop Michael Bransfield, resigned in September 2018 and has denied wrongdoing.

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Australian High Court releases submissions for Cardinal Pell’s appeal

CANBERRA (AUSTRALIA)
Catholic News Service

February 24, 2020

Australia’s High Court has released the full set of submissions for Cardinal George Pell’s March 11 and 12 final appeal hearing against historic child sexual abuse crimes.

The first appeal by Pell – who continues to claim he is innocent – was dismissed 2-1 by a panel of judges of the Victorian Supreme Court in August. The documents released in late February show that the High Court requested submissions from Pell’s counsel about the fact that the three judges of the Victorian court decided to view the original video testimony from Pell’s only living victim as they considered his appeal.

As the only living witness to the crime, the victim’s testimony sits at the center of Pell’s conviction. The other victim, one of two 13-year-old choirboys he is convicted of assaulting in 1996 while archbishop of Melbourne, is deceased. The victims’…

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MBC Backs Embattled Trustee

JEFFERSON CITY (MO)
Word&Way

February 25, 2020

By Brian Kaylor

Leaders of the Missouri Baptist Convention defended a pastor accused by police of not properly handling a case of a staff member sexually abusing boys. However, they did not address the key allegation, and they misrepresented the nature of the claims.

After old allegations against a Baptist pastor resurfaced over the weekend, Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Missouri, announced Feb. 22 it would investigate the claims involving Mike Roy, who was elected by the MBC in October to serve as an SBU trustee. Roy was among five trustees chosen by the MBC’s Nominating Committee after that committee rejected nominees by SBU and misled MBC messengers about the nomination process.

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MINNESOTA LAITY LAUNCH WEBSITE TO PURIFY THEIR DIOCESE

CROOKSTON (MN)
Church Militant

February 25, 2020

By Martina Moyski

Crookston faithful call for prayer, fasting, sacrifice, witnessing

Working to reverse the tide of corruption in their scandal-wracked diocese, laity in the northern Minnesota diocese of Crookston launched a website Feb. 24 to rally the faithful to prayer.

The website, called TruthDOC (Truth Diocese of Crookston), has been designed and is financed entirely by faithful lay people of the diocese “who are committed to praying, fasting, sacrificing and witnessing for truth, purification, conversion and justice.”

The initiative comes amid a series of controversies — chief among them, allegations of clerical sex abuse cover-up by Crookston Bp. Michael Hoeppner, who has the distinction of being the first prelate in the world to be investigated under the new Vatican protocol designed to hold Catholic hierarchy accountable for concealing the crimes of predator priests.

A project organizer told Church…

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CHILD USA and SNAP Film Screening

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Catholics4Change

February 19, 2020

By Kathy Kane

Join CHILD USA and SNAP on Wednesday 2/26 for an exclusive sneak peak of ‘A Peloton of One,’ a documentary following Dave Ohlmuller’s journey across the country to bring awareness to child sex abuse advocacy and statute of limitations reform. As part of the CHILD USA Film Series, the screening will be followed by a panel discussion moderated by Professor Marci A. Hamilton, featuring grassroots activist Art Baselice and Executive Producer/Survivor Joe Capozzi, co-directors John Bernardo and Steve Mallorca. Viewers are invited to stay for a complimentary reception afterwards!

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Padre pervert: in the US, loving the boys, the priest was impersonating a girl in social networks

UNITED KINGDOM
The Saxon

February 24, 2020

By Maria Batterbury

Despite the fact that the Catholic Church is determined to deal with cases of sexual abuse of priests on young parishioners, cases of exposure lustful pedophiles in cassocks are constantly growing.

Another scandal, sexual violence occurred recently in the United States, where a Catholic priest from the city of Strongsville (Ohio) charged with possession of child pornography.

In addition, arrested Robert McWilliams also suspected of involvement in a number of other sexual crimes, reports news portal WTRF.

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Catholic diocese mulls options, including bankruptcy, amid clergy abuse lawsuits

OGDENSBURG (NY)
Adirondack Daily Enterprise

February 25, 2020

Catholics in northern New York received a message from the Diocese of Ogdensburg on Sunday.

A one-page letter, which was either handed out to churchgoers or included in the bulletin, was not distributed by all parishes Sunday. Some will distribute the letter on March 1.

The letter details the struggles the diocese has faced in the wake of the passage of the Child Victims Act which opened a one-year window for victims of childhood sexual abuse to bring lawsuits that were previously barred due to statutes of limitation. That window closes on Aug. 13.

Since the window opened, 23 lawsuits have been filed against the Diocese of Ogdensburg, headed by Bishop Terry LaValley.

“We want to be transparent,” Diocese Director of Communications Darcy Fargo said. “The diocese is made of the people who reside in the 12,000 square miles the diocese…

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S. Dakota kills bill from survivors of Catholic school abuse

PIERRE (SOUTH DAKOTA)
Associated Press via National Catholic Reporter

February 25, 2020

By Stephen Groves

Louise Aamot Charbonneau couldn’t make her annual trip to the South Dakota Legislature this year to confront lawmakers with her story of surviving childhood rape and abuse at the hands of priests and nuns at a boarding school for Native Americans during the 1950s and 1960s.

The 69-year-old died suddenly three weeks ago. But her sisters, bonded both through family and survival, showed up, along with their daughters and granddaughters.

They continued their push for lawmakers to open a two-year window for victims of childhood sexual abuse to file lawsuits against organizations in which the abuse occurred. The proposal has died every year, but they keep coming back to confront lawmakers with their testimony that priests and nuns at St. Paul’s Indian Mission School systematically perpetrated rape, abuse and even forced abortions.

For nearly…

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Survivors stunned after Bishop Scharfenberger celebrates Mass with abusive priests

BUFFALO (NY)
WKBW-TV

February 25, 2020

By Charlie Specht

Survivors of sexual abuse by priests in the Diocese of Buffalo reacted with outrage and despair Tuesday to news that interim Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger celebrated Mass the day before with multiple priests the diocese admits are credibly accused of child sexual abuse.

Scharfenberger invited priests of the diocese to Mass and lunch at St. Leo the Great in Amherst on Monday. At the Mass, dozens of priests dressed in robes and concelebrated, or shared the Mass and Eucharist with, the Rev. Fabian J. Maryanski.

“I’m so very sad and confused today,” said Stephanie McIntyre, who said she was abused by Maryanski starting when she was 15 years old. “This is an all time low moment that hit me just when I thought I was ready to begin healing.”

Maryanski had been accused of abusing McIntyre decades ago at a…

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‘Make your voices heard’: Gonzaga lecturer urges strong response to priestly sexual abuse crisis

SPOKANE (WA)
Spokesman-Review

February 25, 2020

By Jared Brown

Jennifer Beste acknowledged the message she brought to Gonzaga University on Tuesday evening wasn’t going to leave her lecture audience in a good mood.

It was a message about how the Catholic Church has the power and wealth to address the ongoing clergy sexual abuse crisis and is complicit in abuse as long as it doesn’t act.

She said young adults have the power to sway Church leaders as fewer young people stay religiously affiliated.

“The Catholic bishops are acting differently than they did the first decade of the 2000s. They are apologizing. They are trying to gain the trust of the laity,” Beste said.

And she urged people to turn those feelings of anger and exasperation into action because a majority of Catholics are necessary to sway the opinion of Church leaders.

“I ask you to please make your…

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In aftermath of sexual abuse scandal, DC-area churches see slight dip in attendance

WASHINGTON D.C.
WTOP-TV

February 26, 2020

By Dick Uliano

In the aftermath of the clergy sexual abuse scandal, churches in the D.C. area report there has been a decrease in church attendance, but not by much.

“From my perspective, we have not lost a lot of people going to church, we have lost some,” said Monsignor John Enzler, a priest in the Washington Archdiocese and the president and CEO of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington.

Parish donations in the D.C. area are also remaining steady, he said.

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Explained: Why the Boy Scouts Just Filed for Bankruptcy – It’s not a good situation.

UNITED STATES
The National Interest

February 26, 2020

by Pamela Foohey

The Boy Scouts of America has filed for bankruptcy to figure out how to fairly compensate thousands of survivors of alleged sexual abuse who accuse the Scouts of neglecting to protect them.

Revelations regarding decades of the abuse of children and long-running institutional failures to stop the abuse are raising questions about the future of the Boy Scouts and what will become of its troops. The Scouts’ initial bankruptcy documents state that 275 lawsuits are pending in state and federal courts across the country, and that attorneys for survivors estimate another 1,400 claims will be filed. The Scouts disclosed that they have spent US$150 million on settlements and legal fees between 2017 and 2019.

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Timlin defends attending installation Mass in Philly

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Citizens’ Voice

February 26, 2020

By Joseph Kohut

Barred from representing the Diocese of Scranton at public functions, retired Bishop James C. Timlin dressed in his clerical attire and sat among his peers at last week’s installation Mass of Philadelphia’s new archbishop.

Diocese spokesman Eric Deabill confirmed Tuesday that Timlin attended the Feb. 18 installation of Archbishop Nelson J. Pérez but added “he wasn’t representing the diocese in any way.”

Video footage taken at the Mass and posted by CatholicPhilly.com, the archdiocese’s digital news organization, show Timlin entering the church dressed in clerical attire, including his bishop’s mitre.

Reached at Villa St. Joseph in Scranton, Timlin, 92, said he did not violate any restrictions laid down by Scranton Bishop Joseph C. Bambera.

“I am free to live my life,” Timlin said.

He said he does not represent the diocese and does not attend public events within the…

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Pope urges church workers to fight child abuse, even when facing threats

DENVER (CO)
Crux

February 25, 2020

By Inés San Martín

Rome – In a video message sent to an abuse prevention formation center in Mexico, Pope Francis condemned the fact there are people willing to hire a hit man to stop abuse prevention and child protection.

“You will be misunderstood, [some] will tell you are wasting your time,” Francis says in the video sent to the Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Formation for the Protection of Minors (CEPROME), an interdisciplinary center for child protection at the Pontifical University of Mexico. “You will be threatened, because there are those who are threatened. More than one will tell you that they are capable of hiring a hit man to clean up the field.”

“Be prudent,” he adds. “Take care of yourselves, but continue to be brave and work. Preventing the abuse of children, the abuse of those who are at a…

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Western Massachusetts priest pleads guilty to child pornography possession; diocese reveals abuse allegation

NEW YORK (NY)
Episcopal News Service

February 24, 2020

By Egan Millard

Western Massachusetts priest pleads guilty to child pornography possession; diocese reveals abuse allegation

The Rev. Gregory Lisby, a priest in the Diocese of Western Massachusetts, pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography on Feb. 21, having been charged after FBI agents raided the rectory where he was living in September. The same day, the diocese also revealed that, since Lisby’s arrest, it has “received devastating credible evidence” that Lisby sexually abused a teenager.

Lisby had been living with his husband, then the rector of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Worcester, in the church’s rectory with their two children when the FBI found nearly 200 images and videos of child pornography in a Microsoft account Lisby used, according to court records.

At the time, Lisby was working as a kindergarten teacher in a public school in…

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Attorney General’s inquiry leads to sex abuse charges against retired Missouri priest

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Post-Dispatch

February 25, 2020

By Nassim Benchaabane

https://www.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/attorney-general-s-inquiry-leads-to-sex-abuse-charges-against/article_14ce172f-38a6-59a3-9c6b-9a5b4cdddfe8.html

A retired southeast Missouri priest charged with sexually abusing a teen 20 years ago is the first to be prosecuted in connection with a yearlong investigation by the Missouri Attorney General’s office into sex abuse in the Catholic Church.

At least 11 other cases have been referred to county prosecutors, said Chris Nuelle, with the attorney general’s office.

A spokesman for the Archdiocese of St. Louis said Monday that the archdiocese could not confirm whether any former priests here were included in Attorney General Eric Schmitt’s referrals.

Schmitt, Missouri’s top prosecutor, began the referrals in November, following a yearlong statewide review of church records dating to 1945 that reported 163 former clergy had been credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor.

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Former Danbury priest accused of sexual abuse pleads not guilty

DANBURY (CT)
News Times

February 24, 2020

By Kendra Baker

Not guilty pleas have been entered in the case against the former priest accused of sexually assaulting one boy and groping another.

Jaime Marin-Cardona, 51, is charged with three counts of fourth-degree sexual assault, three counts of risk of injury to child and three counts of illegal sexual contact.

Marin-Cardona turned him in to Danbury police on a warrant Jan. 3.

The warrant alleges that he groomed two boys over the course of four years, and sexually abused one of them over the same period of time.

The alleged abuse began in 2014 — the same year Marin-Cardona became a priest at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church on Golden Hill Road.

He was placed on administrative leave Dec. 11, after the Diocese of Bridgeport’s Sexual Misconduct Review Board learned that the state Department of Children and Families had substantiated…

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‘The church we so believed in abandoned us,’ mom of assault victim says at sentencing of Allentown Diocese priest

ALLENTOWN (PA)
Morning Call

February 24, 2020

By Laurie Mason Schroeder and Daniel Patrick Sheehan

https://www.mcall.com/news/police/mc-nws-allentown-diocese-priest-sentenced-sex-assault-20200224-zqrgadp5o5efjovdrxemzx6jqi-story.html

After the father of a 17-year-old Allentown Central Catholic High School student who was groped by an Allentown Diocese priest lamented to Lehigh County Judge Maria L. Dantos that he was unable to do more to protect his daughter, the judge posed a question:

“Would it surprise you to learn that he was transferred here in 2016 after a similar incident?” she asked the father.

It was a stunning moment in an emotional hearing that ended with the Rev. Kevin Lonergan, 31, being sentenced to one to two years in state prison, the maximum allowed by law.

Lonergan, of Pottsville, will also be a registered sex offender under Megan’s Law for 15 years.

While the prior allegation did not lead to Lonergan’s arrest and was previously revealed in a 2018 news release and…

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Clergy Abuse Survivors Mark Summit Anniversary With Protest at Vatican

DENVER (CO)
National Catholic Register

February 24, 2020

By Edward Pentin

According to the victims, there has been insufficient progress in making meaningful changes since the 2019 summit.

Vatican City – A group of clerical abuse survivors gathered in Rome on Feb. 21, one year after the Vatican summit of bishops on clerical sex abuse, to accuse Pope Francis of knowing about the abuse of Argentine deaf children by an Italian priest but not acting to stop it.

The group, who included some of the Argentinian survivors as well as advocacy leaders for abuse victims, also said little progress had been made since the Feb. 21-24 summit last year on protection of minors in the Church.

In a Feb. 13 statement, the survivors argued that the Vatican and Pope Francis could have acted to prevent the widespread sexual and physical violence perpetrated against them at the Antonio Provolo Institute,…

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After abuse scandals, seminarians pledge to ‘get it right’

NEW YORK (NY)
Associated Press

February 16, 2020

By Matt Sedensky

Wynnewood PA – The seminarians walk along a hallway lined with photos of classes of priests who came before them. Some are pious alumni who have become their teachers and mentors; others climbed the Catholic hierarchy to be revered as bishops and cardinals.

But there are others: Raymond Leneweaver, Class of 1962, subject of at least 14 victims’ reports of abuse, who even made matching T-shirts for those he raped and molested. And Edward Avery, Class of 1970, who pleaded guilty to molesting a 10-year-old altar boy in a church sacristy. And Francis Trauger, Class of 1972, who admitted to molesting a boy in a seminary shower, according to grand jurors.

The 156 young men who call St. Charles Borromeo Seminary home are deeply aware of both the sacred and the profane. They appear unflinchingly optimistic, reverent and…

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Priest placed on leave after Oakland Diocese acknowledges earlier sexual impropriety allegation

SAN FRANCISCO (CA)
San Francisco Chronicle

February 23, 2020

By Matthias Gafni

The Catholic Diocese of Oakland has placed an embattled priest on leave and opened a new investigation into a sexual misconduct allegation against him after The Chronicle informed church officials of a 2002 complaint by a parishioner who says he groped her.

The discipline came after the diocese had previously told this newspaper that the Rev. George Alengadan — who has been moved out of two parishes since July after five women came forward alleging sexual harassment and Alameda police opened a criminal probe — had no earlier allegations of sexual impropriety.

The parents of the alleged victim said they reported the 2002 fondling allegations to the diocese in the immediate aftermath, deciding against going to police because they trusted the church to handle it internally. But they said they never received a response. The mother again…

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All Saints priest says he is unaware of any alleged abuse by Lisby in Worcester

WORCESTER (MA)
Telegram & Gazette

February 23, 2020

By Brad Petrishen

The top priest at All Saints Episcopal Church said Sunday that he has not heard any allegation that former rector Gregory Lisby abused anyone in Worcester.

Lisby, a rector at the Irving Street church from about 2015 to 2018, was accused by his diocese Friday of abusing a teenager at an undisclosed location sometime after he became a priest in 2007.

The Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts made the revelation in a letter to congregants ahead of Lisby’s guilty plea in U.S. District Court in Worcester to one count of possession of child pornography.

It is not clear whether Lisby, who was a kindergarten teacher in Holyoke at the time of his September 2019 arrest, has been investigated by police in connection with the diocese’s allegation.

The diocese – which said it received “devastating credible evidence” against Lisby…

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Bishop visits Swormville church to reassure pastor, parishioners

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

February 23, 2020

By Jonathan D. Epstein

Hoping to smooth tensions, Buffalo’s interim bishop paid a visit Sunday afternoon to a church whose pastor has been outspoken in his criticism of the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo and even withheld payment of the church’s annual assessment.

Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger, apostolic administrator for Buffalo, spoke to 150 to 200 parishioners and answered questions at St. Mary’s Church on Transit Road in Swormville for nearly an hour, before presiding over 6 p.m. Mass.

He sought to reassure those in attendance that he took their complaints and pain seriously, and would work to respond to their concerns. And he cited the need to heal and reunite as a community.

“Each and every one of us has the right to feel they are part of who we are. We’re a family,” he said.

Paul Snyder, a prominent deacon in…

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L’Arche International announces findings of Independent Inquiry

PARIS (FRANCE)
L’Arche International

February 22, 2020

[With links to report annd documents.]

https://www.larche.org/en/web/guest/news/-/asset_publisher/mQsRZspJMdBy/content/inquiry-statement-test?_101_INSTANCE_mQsRZspJMdBy_redirect=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.larche.org%2Fen%2Fnews%3Fp_p_id%3D101_INSTANCE_mQsRZspJMdBy%26p_p_lifecycle%3D0%26p_p_state%3Dnormal%26p_p_mode%3Dview%26p_p_col_id%3Dcolumn-1%26p_p_col_count%3D1

On February 22nd, 2020, the leaders of L’Arche International sent a letter to the Federation of L’Arche Communities, which operates in 38 countries worldwide, publishing the results of an inquiry that had commissioned from an independent organization. The inquiry included testimony implicating its founder, Jean Vanier, and his historical link to Father Thomas Philippe, who he thought of as his spiritual father.

The investigation was carried out by GCPS, an independent U.K. consultancy which specializes in improving procedures for the prevention and reporting of abuse. In addition, L’Arche International established an Independent Oversight Committee made up of two former senior civil servants in France, to assess the integrity and reliability of the inquiry’s process and findings. Following their review of the report they stated: “We have no reason to question the methodology of the inquiry…

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Report finds Catholic charity founder sexually abused women

PARIS (FRANCE)
Associated Press

February 22, 2020

By Sylvie Corbet

A respected Catholic figure who worked to improve conditions for the developmentally disabled for more than half a century sexually abused at least six women during most of that period, according to a report released Saturday by the France-based charity he founded.

The report produced for L’Arche International said the women’s descriptions provided enough evidence to show that Jean Vanier engaged in “manipulative sexual relationships” from 1970 to 2005, usually with a “psychological hold” over the alleged victims.

Although he was a layman and not a priest, many Catholics hailed Vanier, who was Canadian, as a living saint for his work with the disabled. He died last year at age 90.

“The alleged victims felt deprived of their free will and so the sexual activity was coerced or took place under coercive conditions,” the report,commissioned by L’Arche last year…

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Founder of French Charity Is Accused of Pattern of Abuse

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Times

February 23, 2020

By Eva Mbengue

The French-based charity, L’Arche International, revealed that its founder, Jean Vanier, had engaged in “manipulative sexual relationships” with women from 1970 to 2005.

Feb. 23, 2020

Paris – The founder of a French charity who helped improve the lives of people with learning disabilities for over half a century had also engaged in “manipulative sexual relationships” with at least six women, the charity has revealed in a new internal report.

The report, released last week by the French-based charity, L’Arche International, said that Jean Vanier, the charity’s founder, had relationships with women from 1970 to 2005 that were at turns “inappropriate,” “coercive” or “non-consensual.” It also said he had a “psychological hold” over some of the victims.

None of the women who said they had been abused by Mr. Vanier had a disability. Some worked in…

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Renowned Catholic figure Jean Vanier has been accused of sexual manipulation and abuse

WASHINGTON (DC)
Vox

February 22, 2020

By Anya van Wagtendonk

Once considered a near-saint, Vanier is accused of sexual abuse by six women.

L’Arche founder Jean Vanier speaks at a London press conference in 2015. Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images
A man venerated in Catholic circles and beyond is alleged to have sexually abused six women over the course of decades, according to an internal report commissioned by the charity that he founded.

Jean Vanier, a Canadian who founded the nonprofit L’Arche to serve adults with intellectual disabilities, and who died last year at age 90, engaged in “manipulative and emotionally abusive” sexual relationships with at least six women under the guise of providing spiritual guidance, according to a report conducted by L’Arche and released on its website Saturday.

Between 1970 and 2005, Vanier allegedly exerted a “psychological hold” over his alleged victims, all women living in France, and none…

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David Joseph Perrett to stand trial on historical sex abuse charges

TENTERFIELD (NEW SOUTH WALES, AUSTRALIA)
Tenterfield Star

February 24, 2020

By Laurie Bullock

A former Catholic priest, accused of sexually abusing or molesting children while he was working in the New England region, will face trial early next year.

David Joseph Perrett appeared in Armidale District Court on Friday morning where a trial date was set down for two weeks, from January 18, 2021.

But the court head the trial could be as long as four weeks, with hearing days to only run for three or four hours due to Perrett’s poor health.

Perrett had been facing charges in relation to 37 separate complainants, but his defence counsel requested the case be reduced to three or four complainants and be heard before a judge alone rather than a jury.

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One year after abuse summit, church reviews progress, additional needs

DENVER (CO)
Crux

February 23, 2020

By Carol Glatz

Rome – Since Pope Francis convened a historic summit at the Vatican one year ago to address clergy sex abuse and accountability, much has been done, but advocates say more is needed.

Dozens of experts, abuse survivors and their advocates came to Rome the same week as the summit’s anniversary to emphatically reiterate the need to never let ignorance, complacency or denial ever take hold again and to make the church safe for everyone.

The advocacy groups held media events and worked on talking to as many Vatican officials and religious leaders as possible to highlight still unaddressed concerns such as abuse by women religious, transparency in past and current Vatican investigations of known abusers and the likelihood of ever seeing “zero tolerance” for known predators.

However, significant measures have been rolled out piecemeal over the year. Here is a…

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Mexican bishops back repeal of statute of limitations for sexual abuse cases

DENVER (CO)
Catholic News Agency

February 22, 2020

Mexico City, Mexico – The Church in Mexico has expressed its support for several bills to eliminate the statute of limitations for the sexual abuse of minors, which stands now at ten years. The bills were introduced in the country’s Federal Congress and would only apply to future, not past cases.

The Mexican bishops do not anticipate that reported abuse cases will be comparable in number to those seen by the Church in the United States, and the Church in Mexico has not seen lawsuits filed on a comparable level.

Speaking to ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish language news partner, Bishop Alfonso Miranda Guardiola, secretary general of the Mexican bishops’ conference, said the country’s bishops support lawmakers’ efforts to eliminate the statute of limitations for the sexual abuse of minors and have been “respectfully proposing to members of the House and Senate…

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Siaya priest arrested after being found with girl in lodging

NAIROBI (KENYA)
Daily Nation

February 23, 2020

By Dickens Wasonga

Police in Siaya County have arrested a priest accused of defiling a primary school girl.

Sub-County Police Commander Justus Kucha said 38-year-old Isaac Omondi was taken to Siaya police station.

Mr Kucha said members of the public called police after the priest was seen with the girl at a lodging house in Siaya town.

“Our officers promptly responded and arrested the priest together with the juvenile at around 3pm on Saturday,” the police commander said on Sunday.

He said the two were examined at Siaya County Referral Hospital and the minor given medication and handed over to her parents.

She is expected to testify in court once investigations are completed.

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Priests of disgraced Legion face trial for obstruction claim

MILAN (ITALY)
Associated Press

February 17, 2020

By Nicole Winfield and Maria Verza

The Vatican effort to reform the disgraced Legion of Christ religious order is coming under new scrutiny, with four Legion priests and a Legion lawyer due to stand trial on charges they tried to obstruct justice and extort the family of a sex abuse victim.

The preliminary hearing is scheduled for March 12 in Milan. The case is significant because it calls into question the effectiveness of the Vatican reform since the alleged crimes occurred at the end of the Holy See’s four-year effort to turn the Legion around.

In addition, evidence obtained during the investigation, including documents seized when police raided the Legion’s Rome headquarters in 2014, showed an elaborate cover-up that stretched from Milan to Mexico, the Vatican to Venezuela, prosecutors say.

The charges at the heart of the Milan trial center around a…

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Deaf Argentine victims of clergy sexual abuse protest at Vatican

VATICAN CITY
Reuters

February 21, 2020

By Philip Pullella

Victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests at a school for the deaf in Argentina staged a protest at the Vatican on Friday to bring attention to an upcoming trial of more alleged abusers.

Last November a court in the province of Mendoza convicted two priests and the former gardener at a Catholic Church-run school on 28 counts of sexual abuse and corruption of minors.

Trials for about 10 others who worked at the Antonio Provolo Institute for the deaf, including teachers and a nun, are expected to start in a few months. They are accused of abetting the abuse by the priests.

About 20 people, including several former students, held up signs reading “Zero Tolerance,” “Don’t Forget,” and “We Are Not Going Away” in front of the building housing the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine for the Faith, which…

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Study identifies 16 child sex abuse rings in Victorian Catholic Church

MELBOURNE (VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA)
The Age

February 23, 2020

By Debbie Cuthbertson

A three-year research project into paedophile Catholic clerics in Victoria has identified 16 child sex abuse networks operating over six decades involving 99 priests and Christian Brothers.

The investigation found that clergy paedophile rings shared patterns of behaviour with criminal gangs, the Mafia, terrorist cells, corrupt police, drug dealers, money launderers and price-fixing cartels.

The research showed their abuse was facilitated and reinforced by church hierarchy, including five successive archbishops of Melbourne from Daniel Mannix, appointed in 1917, through to George Pell (himself appealing against a conviction for child sex abuse) in 2001.

The researcher, Sally Muytjens, spent more than three years investigating “dark networks” of paedophile clergy in Victorian dioceses. She published the research late last year, receiving a doctorate from Queensland University of Technology.

Muytjens’ research found the largest and most active dark networks were…

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Boy Scouts’ Bankruptcy Deals a Blow to Catholic Families

DENVER (CO)
National Catholic Register

February 21, 2020

By Peter Jesserer Smith

The BSA now joins Church dioceses in filing for bankruptcy over sex-abuse claims, although the legal contexts are different in some respects.

Buffalo NY – For Jennie Marinaro, a Catholic and a scouting parent, the Boy Scouts of America’s announcement of bankruptcy as a result of decades of failures to protect children from sex abuse was heartbreak upon heartbreak.

“It bothers me now that two organizations I am involved with are involved in covering up sexual assault,” Marinaro told the Register. The Buffalo-area mom said she had stopped donating money to the Catholic Church as her own diocese goes through a painful reckoning of the sex-abuse scandal. And while she feels her own scouting troop cares about protecting children, the bankruptcy announcement has her feeling deeply conflicted.

The Boy Scouts of America filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy…

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Employee pay, millions of dollars in assets discussed at first Harrisburg Diocese bankruptcy hearing

HARRISBURG (PA)
WHTM

February 21, 2020

By Priscilla Liguori

Up for debate in federal court Friday were the assets of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg. It was the first of multiple hearings in the Chapter 11 proceedings.

This comes less than 48 hours after the diocese filed for bankruptcy, and months after it paid more than $12 million to survivors of clergy sex abuse.

No church leaders were at the hearing the Ronald Reagan Federal Building and Courthouse.

For now, the diocese’s 177 employees will continue to be paid, as operations go on as normal.

The diocese says it has 200 creditors and estimated liabilities between $50 million and $100 million, with assets of less than $10 million.

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One year after global abuse summit, reaction mixed on progress made

DENVER (CO)
Crux

February 22, 2020

By Elise Ann Allen

Photo Caption: Abuse survivors and advocates from the organizations of SNAP, Ending Clergy Abuse and Bishops Accountability stand in front of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on Friday, Feb. 21, 2020 to demand action on the anniversary of Pope Francis’s global summit on child protection.

Rome – As the Boy Scouts of America slide further into scandal with allegations of widespread sexual abuse continuing to go public, the Catholic Church also finds itself on the public hot seat again one year after a global summit on child protection.

Exactly 12 months after Pope Francis’s historic Feb. 21-24 abuse summit, attended by the presidents of all episcopal conferences worldwide, both survivors and experts have reflected on what the institution has accomplished, and what has yet to be done.

Speaking to Crux, German Jesuit Father Hans Zollner,…

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How a committee report offered comfort to sex abuse survivors

KANSAS CITY (MO)
National Catholic Reporter

February 22, 2020

By Mark Redmond

In 2018 Bishop Christopher Coyne of Burlington, Vermont, announced that he would be forming a committee comprised of lay people to produce a report which would list those priests who had been credibly accused of abusing children. When I read that, I emailed him offering to serve on the committee. I have spent my entire career, almost 40 years, in the field of child protection and safety, I am a Catholic, and I knew Bishop Coyne from prior matters. He emailed back, “Thank you, because I was going to ask you.”

There were seven of us on the committee, including one survivor of abuse by a priest. At the first meeting, Coyne announced that this report was ours and only ours to write and that he would not attend future meetings unless we invited him. He vowed…

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Internal report finds that L’Arche founder Jean Vanier engaged in decades of sexual misconduct

NEW YORK (NY)
America Magazine

February 22, 2020

By Michael J. O’Loughlin

When Jean Vanier, the charismatic founder of a global network of institutions serving adults with physical and intellectual disabilities, died last May, tributes poured in from around the world, with The New York Times describing him in an obituary as a “savior of people on the margins.” Less than a year later, one of the communities he founded, L’Arche, finds itself confronting troubling details of Mr. Vanier’s past, including his participation in a shadowy group with ties to a priest accused of sexual and spiritual abuse, lies related to what Mr. Vanier knew about that priest and allegations from women who say Mr. Vanier engaged in similar behavior over several decades.

In a report that will soon be released conducted by L’Arche, Mr. Vanier is accused of sexual misconduct with six adult, non-disabled women who sought spiritual…

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Attorney: Bankruptcy compensation won’t match jury awards

NEW CASTLE (PA)
New Castle Times

February 22, 2020

By John Finnerty

While the move by the Harrisburg Catholic Diocese to declare bankruptcy puts the brakes on civil lawsuits, it opens the door for other victims to seek compensation regardless of the state’s statute of limitations.

The diocese has already paid out almost $13 million to 111 victims of child sexual abuse, but officials on Wednesday said church officials believe there may be another 200 victims who could seek compensation through the bankruptcy proceeding.

Since the intent of the bankruptcy is to resolve all possible claims, it’s likely that the proceeding will allow victims to seek compensation even if the state doesn’t open a window to allow lawsuits for victims whose cases are beyond the state’s statute of limitations, said Richard Serbin, an attorney who has represented victims in several high-profile church abuse cases.

“Victims will be compensated,” said…

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