ABUSE TRACKER

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

February 22, 2020

Former Kalamazoo priest accused of sexual abuse

GRAND RAPIDS (MI)
FOX 17

February 21, 2020

Kalamazoo MI – The Diocese of Kalamazoo says it is looking into a credible allegation of sexual abuse by a former priest.

The allegations are against now-retired Rev. Richard Fritz and date back to the late 1970s and early 1980s. Fritz retired after 35 years with the Diocese of Kalamazoo in 2015 while facing allegations of embezzlement.

Fritz faced criminal charges for the alleged embezzlement but they were ultimately dropped by St. Joseph County prosecutors.

The diocese says the Michigan Attorney General’s Office is aware of the allegations and a clergy review board is looking into the matter.

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

Attorney General’s Priest Abuse Probe Yields First Charges

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Riverfront Times

February 21, 2020

By Danny Wicentowski

He was “Priest 80,” but after a Missouri prosecutor filed criminal charges alleging sexual assault, that unnamed priest was revealed this week to be Frederick Lutz. Until now, the retired priest living in Springfield had been identified only by a number in a report issued last year by the Missouri Attorney General — just one among 163 cases of reported priest abuse.

On Thursday, Lutz, 76, pleaded not guilty in the Circuit Court of Stoddard County. He’s currently in custody on a $125,000 bond, charged with two counts of statutory sodomy, one count of sexual abuse and one count of forcible sodomy.

According to the probable cause statement, all four charges involve the same then-seventeen-year-old victim; He told investigators that the abuse occurred in 2000 while Lutz was a priest in a parish southeast Missouri.

The fact that Lutz is even facing charges is notable, considering the fact that the allegations against him were known for years to Catholic officials and recorded in the church’s personnel files.

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

Allegations of abuse against former St. Xavier HS teacher deemed credible

CINCINNATI (OH)
FOX19

February 21, 2020

St. Xavier High School officials say they have established allegations of psychological sexual abuse against a former priest, Father Ed Pigott.

Pigott’s name has accordingly been added to a list published by the U.S. Midwest Province of the Society of Jesus. The list enumerates Jesuits with such established allegations of abuse.

Establishing allegations means “there is a reasonable certainty that the accusation is true,” according to a letter released by the school.

The letter, signed by school principal Terry Tyrrell and school president Tim Reilly, says Pigott was removed from his duties in 2018 after the allegations came to light.

The alleged abuse happened between 1992 and 1994.

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

CINCINNATI (OH)
WKRC

February 21, 2020

By Katherine Barrier

Springfield OH – 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.

On Friday, the school said an independent investigation shows allegations against Pigott to be established, meaning the allegations are based on facts and circumstances where “there is a reasonable certainty that the accusation is true.” Pigott’s name has been added to the list of Jesuits with established accusations of psychological sexual abuse against minors.

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February 21, 2020

Weinstein jury indicates it is split on most serious counts

NEW YORK (NY)
Associated Press

February 21, 2020

By Tom Hays and Michael R. Sisak

Jurors deliberating in Harvey Weinstein’s rape trial indicated Friday that they are deadlocked on the most serious charges, but the judge told them to keep trying.

In a note sent to the judge during their lunch break, jurors asked if it were permissible for them to be hung on two counts of predatory sexual assault while reaching a unanimous verdict on other charges.

After consulting with prosecutors and Weinstein’s lawyers, Judge James Burke told the jury of seven men and five women to keep working toward a unanimous verdict on all charges and sent them back to continue deliberating.

Weinstein’s lawyers said they would accept a partial verdict, but prosecutors said no and Burke refused to allow it.

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

In a Deluge of Sex-Abuse Claims, Bankruptcy May Not Save the Boy Scouts

NEW YORK (NY)
The New York Times

February 19, 2020

By Mike Baker

Hoping to contain a growing deluge of sexual-abuse lawsuits, the Boy Scouts of America took shelter in bankruptcy court Tuesday, filing for Chapter 11 protection that will let it keep operating while it grapples with questions about the future of the century-old Scouting movement.

The bankruptcy filing was made by the national organization, which said that it did not involve the local councils across the country that run scouting programs day to day. Even so, the case sets up what may be one of the most complex and uncertain financial restructurings in American history. Thousands of people have already come forward with allegations that they were abused as scouts, and many more are expected to do so.

The Boy Scouts, whose mission to promote patriotism, courage, self-reliance and kindred virtues was enshrined in a rare congressional charter in 1916, said it plans to continue its work “for many years to come.”

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How St Kevin’s College supported a child sex offender coach to the horror of his student victim

AUSTRALIA
ABC

February 17, 2020

By Louise Milligan, Mary Fallon and Lauren Day

A top Catholic boys’ school is facing accusations of a culture of cover-up, after revelations its principal and dean of sport gave references for a now-convicted child sex offender but gave no support to the victim during the court process.

St Kevin’s College in Melbourne hit the headlines last year when its students were filmed singing a sexist chant on a Melbourne tram.

The incident tarred the reputation of the school and ignited wider debates about private boys’ school culture.

In recent years, St Kevin’s was also caught up in one of the biggest scandals to hit the Catholic Church. A jury found Cardinal George Pell guilty of sexually abusing two 13-year-old choirboys at St Patrick’s Cathedral. The two victims were on scholarships at St Kevin’s.

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

Review: Ronan Farrow on Harvey Weinstein and the structures of deceit

UNITED STATES
America: The Jesuit Review

February 21, 2020

By Megan K. McCabe

In October 2017, The New Yorker published Ronan Farrow’s now-famous story identifying the Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein as the perpetrator of numerous acts of sexual assault and harassment against women in the film industry. Weinstein is facing sex crime charges in Los Angeles and is currently on trial in New York City.

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Boy Scouts’ bankruptcy plan follows similar path as USA Gymnastics and Catholic diocese

UNITED STATES
CNN

February 20, 2020

By Eric Levenson

The Boy Scouts of America’s bankruptcy filing Tuesday puts it into similar company as almost two dozen US Catholic dioceses and USA Gymnastics.

Each of the organizations faces scores of sexual abuse lawsuits that allege the organization failed to stop serial predators from abusing young children. And each has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection to figure out a way to pay those victims.
Despite those broad similarities, there are differences in the scale of the lawsuits and abuse claims against each organization.

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DC CATHOLICS SPEAK LOUDLY WITH THEIR POCKETBOOKS

WASHINGTON (DC)
ChurchMilitant.com

February 13, 2020

By Paul Murano

Collections from the archdiocese of Washington’s “Annual Appeal” are plummeting after almost two years of scandal involving clerical sex abuse and cover-up.

The Annual Appeal is an yearly fundraiser that finances some archdiocesan programs. Owing largely to the well-documented sexual misconduct scandals that sparked what many Catholics have dubbed “the summer of shame,” the appeal took a big hit this past year, taking in nearly one-third less money in 2019 than it did in 2018.

The archdiocese of Washington, which includes the District of Columbia and its Maryland suburbs, took in $10,350,027 in its 2019 annual appeal, compared to the $14,192,188 it received in 2018. Before this sharp decline, the appeal took in around the same amount each year since 2013.

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

MISSOURI A REFUGE FOR PREDATOR PRIESTS

ST. LOUIS (MO)
ChurchMilitant.com

February 17, 2020

By Kristine Christlieb

A former monk and self-described “fixer” for the Catholic Church claims Missouri is uniquely favorable to predator priests.

Speaking to St. Louis’ Fox 2 News this week, Patrick Wall noted that “Missouri law has been very favorable to the Church,” explaining that has fueled the creation of “treatment” centers — housing offender priests — in the state.

Rebecca Randles, a Kansas City attorney who represents clergy abuse victims agrees. She told Church Militant: “All you have to do is start from the top down. Just think about who some of the leaders of the Catholic Church in Missouri have been in the last three decades.”

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

How Jewish American pedophiles hide from justice in Israel

TEL AVIV (ISRAEL)
CBS News

February 19, 2020

By Ian Lee

It’s a tense stakeout, waiting for Jimmy Julius Karow to appear. He is a wanted man and is considered dangerous. Accused of sexually assaulting a 9-year-old girl in Oregon in 2000, he fled to Israel before authorities in the U.S. could apprehend him or figure out where he went. Karow has been running from U.S. law enforcement ever since. Currently INTERPOL, an inter-governmental policing organization that works with 194 countries, has a Red Notice to alert police worldwide that he’s a fugitive.

Two years after he fled the U.S., Karow was convicted by an Israeli court of child molestation in a separate case. He served time and was released. Now another alleged Israeli victim has come forward, saying he began abusing her when she was 5-years-old, and continued for years.

Karow has successfully evaded authorities by moving between communities in Israel for almost two decades, and he is not alone.

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After the Fall: 8,000 miles from justice

BENTON HARBOR (MI)
TARGET 8

February 19, 2020

By Ken Kolker

Father Jacob Vellian is a revered religious scholar and author in his native India. He’s known for his singing voice and his knowledge of the Syriac language, which predates Christ.

In Michigan, almost 8,000 miles away, he is known as an accused pedophile priest.

But it’s unlikely he’ll ever face a judge, even though he was one of five Catholic priests charged in May 2019 with sexually abusing children in Michigan.

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Sexual misconduct accusers want statute of limitations on lawsuits removed

CONCORD (NH)
New Hampshire Union Leader

February 20, 2020

By Kevin Landrigan

Sexual assault victims and their advocates offered emotional testimony Thursday in support of eliminating the statute of limitations to bring civil lawsuits against abusers.

Currently, victims under 18 years old have until they turn 30 to bring a lawsuit for damages against an abuser.

Anyone older than 18 only has three years after the offense to sue.

This bill (SB 508) before the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday would eliminate that statute of limitations and also erase any immunity any government entity might have against being sued.

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Committee will not consider bill to eliminate statute of limitations for child sex abuse victims

NEW LONDON (CT)
The Day

February 20, 2020

By Joe Wojtas

Victims of childhood sexual assault suffered another setback Thursday as they learned the General Assembly’s Judiciary Committee has decided not to consider a bill that would have eliminated the statute of limitations that prevents older victims from filing lawsuits.

The revelation comes after a state law passed in last year’s session created a task force to study the issue and make a recommendation. That task force, headed by state Sen. Mae Flexer, D-Killingly, recommended the elimination of the statute of limitations, which currently prohibits those older than 51 from suing the person who assaulted them and organizations such as the Catholic Church.

“This is heart-wrenching news,” said Beth McCabe, one of the leaders of the Connecticut chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, and a sexual assault victim herself. “They (the victims) will be hurting tonight. And they will be hurting until we get this law passed.”

Lucy Nolan, director of policy and public relations for the Connecticut Alliance to End Sexual Violence, said, “We know there are some very powerful opponents out there that can block this kind of legislation. They are stopping survivors from getting the help they need to move forward with their lives.”

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Bankruptcy court could force Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg to disclose secret archives of clergy sex abuse

MECHANICSBURG (PA)
PennLive

February 21, 2020

By Ivey DeJesus

https://www.pennlive.com/news/2020/02/bankruptcy-court-could-force-catholic-diocese-of-harrisburg-to-disclose-secret-archives-of-clergy-sex-abuse.html

In 2015, amid a wave of sex abuse lawsuits, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis filed for federal bankruptcy protection.

Amid the financial wrangling that came with the move, the bankruptcy court ordered the archdiocese to release all of its secret archives on predator priests.

The order tore open the shield that the archdiocese had for decades used to protect priests who sexually abused children. The records showed how church officials had moved predators from one church to another, affording them new victims at every new assignment.

In the end, 91 clergy members were identified as sex abusers. And almost four years later, the archdiocese closed a $210-million settlement with more than 400 survivors, the largest such settlement in the nation. In recent years, other Catholic dioceses have been forced to release files confidential files detailing claims of abuse.

This week, when the Harrisburg Diocese announced it was filing for bankruptcy protection, officials focused on the financial matters at hand.

The matter of confidential church archives at this point has yet to factor in the discussion – at least publicly. But experts in the Catholic Church clergy sex abuse scandal point out the matter is poised to be a pivotal turning point for the Harrisburg Diocese.

“The 40th Statewide Grand Jury report did a good job,” said Terry McKiernan, president of BishopAccountability.org, a non-profit that tracks clergy sex abuse cases. “But their staff was limited. Time was limited. There’s a whole lot more to understand about Harrisburg than was contained in the report.”

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Diocese of Brooklyn sued for nun’s alleged sexual abuse of boy

NEW YORK (NY)
Daily News

February 20, 2020

By Shant Shahrigian

Charles Pellegrino was just in second grade when he allegedly suffered physical and sexual abuse at the hands of his Catholic school teacher in Queens.

“He was really savagely beaten by this Sister Mary Jeremy — kicked in his groin and otherwise really injured,” his attorney Diane Paolicelli told the Daily News. “He had to leave the school.”

Earlier this week, he became the latest New Yorker to sue the Catholic Church thanks to the Child Victims Act, which opened a one-year window for survivors to seek justice even if the statute of limitations had already expired.

Pellegrino, 66, is suing the Diocese of Brooklyn and its Flushing-based St. Michael’s Catholic Academy in Queens Supreme Court for enabling Jeremy to savagely attack him.

“This poor child went through hell,” Paolicelli said of her client’s time at the academy, which came during the 1959-1960 school year.

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Lawyers in Boy Scout bankruptcy case to go after local councils’ properties

PAWCATUK (CT)
Westerly Sun

February 19, 2020

By Brady McCombs and Randall Chase

Salt Lake City – Like millions of other Americans the 1950s and ’60s, Duane Ruth-Heffelbower spent his formative years learning to tie knots, build campfires and pitch tents with the Boy Scouts, whose wholesome reputation was burnished by Norman Rockwell’s paintings of fresh-faced Scouts, brave, courteous and cheerful.

Though he’s no longer involved in Scouting, the 70-year-old Mennonite minister from Fresno, California, has followed the slow deterioration of the national Boy Scouts of America from afar and cringes to think what this week’s bankruptcy filing over a blizzard of sex-abuse lawsuits might mean for an organization already grappling with a decline in membership.

“It’s really sad. I’m afraid that people are going to be more skeptical than they were once about the organization and will be more inclined to look for other alternatives to Scouting,” said Ruth-Heffelbower, who grew up in Kansas. “These days there are so many things pulling at kids.”

With its finances and its reputation for moral rectitude damaged by scandal, the Scouts resorted to Chapter 11 bankruptcy Tuesday in hopes of pulling through the crisis by setting up a victims’ compensation fund for thousands of men who were molested as boys by Scout leaders over the decades.

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Catholic Whistleblower Threatens Countersuit against Accused CA-Priest

FERNDALE (MI)
Church Militant

February 20, 2020

By Bradley Eli

Stephen Brady: ‘I’m confident the truth will come out’

The finding of “credible” homosexual abuse allegations against California priest Msgr. Craig Harrison by local law enforcement not only discredits the priest’s defamation suit against a whistleblower, says an attorney, it also opens the priest up to a counter lawsuit.

According to attorney Paul Jonna, Friday’s statement by the Fresno County district attorney (D.A.) regarding the existence of credible allegations against Harrison undermines the priest’s defamation lawsuit against Jonna’s client, Stephen Brady, and Brady’s organization, Roman Catholic Faithful (RCF).

On Tuesday Jonna told media, “Because the Fresno DA has now found ‘credible’ allegations of sexual abuse on the part of Harrison, there is no way he can maintain a defamation case against Brady and RCF.”

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One year after Vatican abuse summit, survivors grade Pope Francis with ‘D minus’

VATICAN CITY
Religion News Service via National Catholic Reporter

February 21, 2020

By Claire Giangrave

One year after Pope Francis called for a summit of Catholic bishops at the Vatican, abuse survivors flocked to the Eternal City on Feb. 20 to report a lack of progress and accountability in the fight against clergy sex abuse.

Three Argentine deaf abuse survivors of the notorious pedophile priest Nicola Corradi, who in November was convicted and sentenced to prison for the abuse of students at the Provolo Institute for Deaf and Hearing Impaired Children, gave a press conference in Rome on Feb. 20 and stood in St. Peter’s Square demanding justice and reparations from the Catholic Church and Francis.

“We demand a law that obligates the Vatican to stop the coverup and change the situation decisively,” said Daniel Sgardelis, one of the Argentine survivors, with the help of an interpreter at the press conference.

“The deaf have always suffered abuse from priests, and we need this to change. That’s enough!” he added.

Another survivor, Ezequiel Villalonga, explained that the group had just returned from a meeting with United Nations officials in Geneva where they accused the Catholic Church of withholding crucial evidence, failing to collaborate with civil authorities and refusing to pay reparations to the 24 victims of Corradi in Argentina.

“In Argentina we haven’t gotten justice,” Villalonga said. “Now we are survivors and we know our rights and we demand for this to stop.”

The deaf victims of Corradi and other members of the Catholic clergy in Argentina were accompanied by their lawyers and representatives from other international survivor networks, Ending Clergy Abuse and bishopaccountability.org.

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NH chapter of Boy Scouts to continue state operations

PORTSMOUTH (NH)
SeaCoastOnline

February 20, 2020

By Alex LaCasse

Concord NH – The Daniel Webster Council responded to Tuesday’s news the Boy Scouts of America filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy by stating the move would have no effect on the programming offered to scouts across New Hampshire.

Daniel Webster Council (DWC) Scout Executive Jay Garee said the council would continue to provide “programming, financial, facility and administrative support to local units and individual scouts in New Hampshire,” in wake of BSA filing for bankruptcy.

“Daniel Webster Council… has not filed for bankruptcy,” Garee said. “Meetings and activities, district and council events, other scouting adventures and countless service projects are taking place as usual. In short, there is no change to the local scouting experience.”

However, BSA’s decision to file for bankruptcy casts the public spotlight on the more than 290 outstanding lawsuits against the organization, the vast majority filed by individuals claiming they were molested by scout volunteer leaders.

BSA officials said the decision to file for bankruptcy would pave the way to setting up a trust for victims of abuse to claim damages, similar to individual Catholic dioceses filing for bankruptcy protection in response to allegations of sexual abuse within their ranks.

“The BSA cannot undo what happened to you, but we are committed to supporting you and to doing everything in our power to prevent it from happening to others. It is a social and moral responsibility that I and the entire organization take extremely seriously,” Jim Turley, national chair of BSA, wrote in an open letter to victims, which ran as a full-page ad in Wednesday’s USA Today. “We believe that all victims should receive our support and compensation – and we have taken decisive action to make that possible.”

Mitchell Garabedian, whose Boston law firm represents victims of sexual abuse, is one of the 25 lawyers with the most outstanding lawsuits against BSA seeking damages for victims alleging they were molested during their time in scouting. He said BSA filed for bankruptcy in response to several states adopting legislation eliminating statutes of limitations with respect to victims of sexual assault pursuing civil damages, such as New York and New Jersey.

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New questions raised about Cardinal Ratzinger and abusive priest

KANSAS CITY (MO)
National Catholic Reporter / Katholische Nachrichten-Agentur

February 20, 2020

Munich – New details seem to emerge in a case involving a priest found guilty on several counts of sexual abuse who had held positions in the Munich archdiocese under then Archbishop Joseph Ratzinger — the later Pope Benedict XVI., now Pope emeritus.

New investigations by the German television programme “Frontal21” and the research centre CORRECTIV indicate that there were more points of contact between the priest identified only as “H.” and Ratzinger than previously known.

The case sparked worldwide attention in 2010 when American media learned that in 1980, the suspected clergyman, with the approval of then Archbishop Ratzinger, was given a position in pastoral ministry on condition of undergoing therapy. H. would go on to serve for decades in the archdiocese of Munich-Freising.

This did not change even after he received a suspended sentence in 1986 following a new abuse case. There would follow further accusations about abusive behaviour towards minors before H. was ultimately suspended from the priesthood in 2010.

The research published on Feb. 18 points to supposition that Ratzinger, who between 1982 and 2005 led the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in the Vatican, during that period might have known about the continuing employment of the priest. From 2001 onwards Ratzinger, in his position as prefect, was in charge of the worldwide prosecution of abuse crimes by catholic clergymen.

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Former priest sentenced to 30 years for molesting boys gets parole hearing after seven months

WAUSAU (WI)
Daily Herald

February 20, 2020

By Laura Schulte

Hayward – A former Northwoods priest convicted of sexually assaulting boys could be released on parole less than a year after he was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Thomas Ericksen will go before the Wisconsin Parole Commission in April, according to a letter the state Department of Corrections sent to one of his victims, who shared it with the Wausau Daily Herald. The hearing doesn’t mean Ericksen will be released, only that he is eligible for parole.

The Parole Commission will take into consideration statements from victims about how Ericksen’s crimes affected them and their feelings about whether he should be released early, the letter said.

Steve Weix, a Merrill educator, was one of the first victims to go to investigators a decade ago, and was the first to reach out to the Daily Herald about the former priest. Weix said he plans to respond to the potential parole and let it be known that Ericksen shouldn’t walk free this soon.

He said he’s shocked the letter arrived so soon.

“I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “A lot of people just spent 10 years trying to get him convicted, and it finally happened in September. Now they’re already looking at paroling him in April? It doesn’t make any sense.”

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Abuse survivors seek more progress 1 year after papal summit

VATICAN CITY
Associated Press

February 20, 2020

By Nicole Winfield

Survivors of church sex abuse have descended on Rome this week, marking the first anniversary of Pope Francis’ summit of church leaders on preventing abuse with calls for more accountability and acknowledgment of their pain.

On Thursday, three deaf Argentines marched to St. Peter’s Square. They were among the victims of violent sexual abuse by priests in the Argentine branch of the Provolo Institute, a Catholic-run school for the deaf that also saw dozens of victims at its school in Verona, Italy.

Recently, an Argentine court convicted two Provolo priests of repeatedly violating the children — including one who also was flagged to Francis as early as in 2014 as an abuser in Verona. “Support the Provolo survivors,” read a banner carried by the victims in front of St. Peter’s Square.

Also marching was Mary Dispenza, a survivor of abuse by both a priest and a nun. She and members of the U.S.-based victims’ advocacy group SNAP walked to the headquarters of the umbrella group of religious sisters and secured a meeting with its executive secretary, Sister Patricia Murray.

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US bishop orders priest to delete blog criticizing Church’s sex abuse cover-up

FRONT ROYAL (VA)
LifeSite News

February 20, 2020

By Doug Mainwaring

Fr. Mark White used his blog to spotlight the ineffectiveness of the Church in dealing with the sexual abuse scandal.

Martinsville VA – A Catholic priest who joined Archbishop Viganò’s call for Pope Francis’ resignation over the McCarrick scandal has been ordered by his bishop to take down his popular blog and to refrain from commenting on social media.

Fr. Mark White serves as pastor of two rural parishes in the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia. He used his blog to spotlight the ineffectiveness of the Church in dealing with the sexual abuse scandal, especially regarding the Church’s handling of the McCarrick revelations. He was, at times, critical of Pope Francis, and sometimes used infelicitous language when pointing out the incompetence as well as the cover-up he witnessed in the Church’s hierarchy.

The drama began on November 2, 2019, when Bishop Barry Knestout and Vicar General Michael Boehling showed up unexpectedly as the noon Mass concluded at White’s St. Francis of Assisi Parish.

Fr. White said that during the twenty-minute meeting, Bishop Knestout “ordered me, in no uncertain terms, to keep silent. To remove my blog from circulation entirely, and to publish nothing further–not even my Sunday homilies.”

In that same meeting, White said Knestout “sternly threatened to remove me as pastor here if I did not silence myself.”

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Prosecutor files sex crime charges against retired priest arrested in Springfield Wednesday

SPRINGFIELD (MO)
KY3

Feb 20, 2020

Advance MO – A retired Catholic priest faces multiple counts of sexual abuse with children while working at a church in southeast Missouri..

Stoddard County authorities arrested Frederick Lutz, 76, at his home in Springfield on a warrant for charges of forcible sodomy, two counts of statutory sodomy second degree and felony sexual abuse related to allegations of sex crimes. Investigators say those crimes happened as Lutz served as the priest at St. Joseph Parish in Advance, Mo.

Lutz served as priest in several parishes across the Springfield-Cape Girardeau Diocese, including Mount Vernon and Springfield.

On Thursday, February 20, Lutz appeared in court in Stoddard County. Lutz entered a not guilty plea. A judge set bond at $125,000. He is scheduled to reappear on Feb. 25 at 11 a.m. to address the issue of bond. Another hearing is set for March 12 at 1 p.m.

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Flagler Beach priest named in Pennsylvania probe into child sex abuse cover-up

JACKSONVILLE (FL)
News 4 JAX

February 20, 2020

Msgr. Michael Servinsky accused of knowing about sex abuse allegations, failing to tell police

The Diocese of St. Augustine has worked since 1989 to reform their reporting policies for sexual abuse hoping to avoid the pain that other dioceses across the country have experienced as lists of credibly accused priests have become available.

But church records show the Diocese of St. Augustine has also welcomed a priest accused of covering up some of the very same abuses.

Msgr. Michael Servinsky was ordained in 1970. He spent most of his service to the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown in Pennsylvania as a member of the Bishop’s Office. He began as a notary and eventually acted in the capacity as tribunal judge. He was appointed the Judicial Vicar in 1989 and later became Vicar General. He’s now a priest in residence at Santa Maria Del Mar Catholic Church in Flagler Beach.

In 2016, the Attorney General of Pennsylvania released a report detailing how more than 50 priests allegedly molested and raped kids within the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown. The accounts date back as far as the 1950s and stretch into the 90s.

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February 20, 2020

Boy Scouts failed to heed church’s lesson

ST. LOUIS (MO)
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

February 20, 2020

Since the 1960s, the official organization of Boy Scouts have amassed more than 14,000 documents alleging complaints of sexual abuse by scoutmasters or volunteers.

Boy Scouts of America has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy to protect the organization and its multibillion-dollar assets from seizure amid hundreds of sexual abuse lawsuits. A once-venerable institution, credited by generations of business and military leaders with grounding them in the fundamentals for success in life, finds itself in the same kind of crisis of trust facing the Catholic Church.

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Sex Abuse Cases Push Harrisburg Catholic Diocese into Bankruptcy

HARRISBURG (PA)
Bloomberg

February 19, 2020

By Steven Church

– Diocese faces claims from about 200 sex abuse victims
– Victims, church leaders at odds over payment for past abuses

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg, facing sex abuse claims it says it may not be able to pay, filed for bankruptcy protection, citing changing laws and an increasing number of victims.

The church “has struggled to remain financially viable while funding compensation for survivors and continued litigation by survivors,” the Pennsylvania diocese said in court papers filed Wednesday.

Early last year, church officials launched a compensation program for victims, giving them 90 days to file claims. The program paid more than $12.5 million to more than 110 victims, according to court papers.

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Colorado Catholic dioceses continue processing abuse claims

DENVER (CO)
Associated Press

February 20, 2020

Colorado’s three Catholic dioceses have paid $1.2 million to 10 victims who were abused by priests as children and program administrators have 77 additional claims to process.

There have been 87 people applications for reparations under the program, which allows victims to seek compensation without filing a public lawsuit, The Denver Post reports.

Victims who accept the money can avoid an adversarial court process, but must agree to not file a lawsuit against the church.

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Victims of church-related abuse asked to come forward

ENGLAND
ITV News

February 19, 2020

Victims and survivors of church-related abuse are being asked to come forward as part of a safeguarding review across all 42 dioceses in the Church of England.

In Rochester this is the second time the second time it’s been carried out, to ensure that all concerns about clergy and church staff have been reported, assessed, and acted upon.

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

Victims of church-related abuse asked to come forward

ENGLAND
ITV News

February 19, 2020

Victims and survivors of church-related abuse are being asked to come forward as part of a safeguarding review across all 42 dioceses in the Church of England.

In Rochester this is the second time the second time it’s been carried out, to ensure that all concerns about clergy and church staff have been reported, assessed, and acted upon.

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

RICHMOND DIOCESE PAYS ABUSE VICTIMS TO NEVER SUE

RICHMOND (VA)
ChurchMilitant.com

February 19, 2020

By Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th.

Victims advocate: ‘They’ll lose their right to have their day in court’

The diocese of Richmond, Virginia is agreeing to compensate childhood victims of clergy sexual abuse but only if they agree to never sue the diocese.

On Monday, the diocese headed by Bp. Barry Knestout launched its “Independent Reconciliation Program” (program). A protocol of the program stipulates that a victim or “claimant” in signing the agreement or “release” forever surrenders the right to have the abuse case publically litigated in court.

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RICHMOND DIOCESE PAYS ABUSE VICTIMS TO NEVER SUE

RICHMOND (VA)
ChurchMilitant.com

February 19, 2020

By Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th.

Victims advocate: ‘They’ll lose their right to have their day in court’

The diocese of Richmond, Virginia is agreeing to compensate childhood victims of clergy sexual abuse but only if they agree to never sue the diocese.

On Monday, the diocese headed by Bp. Barry Knestout launched its “Independent Reconciliation Program” (program). A protocol of the program stipulates that a victim or “claimant” in signing the agreement or “release” forever surrenders the right to have the abuse case publically litigated in court.

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

Maryland lawmakers to weigh whether sexual abuse survivors should have more time to sue

BALTIMORE (MD)
Baltimore Sun

February 20, 2020

By Pamela Wood

As he’s done countless times before, Del. C.T. Wilson will sit at a dark wooden table in an Annapolis hearing room Thursday and plead with his colleagues to give victims of child sexual abuse more time to sue their abusers and the institutions that failed to stop the abuse.

He’s hoping to make Maryland the latest state to relax restrictions on when adults can file lawsuits stemming from abuse endured as children.

He acknowledges that he’s fighting an uphill battle.

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

Maryland lawmakers to weigh whether sexual abuse survivors should have more time to sue

BALTIMORE (MD)
Baltimore Sun

February 20, 2020

By Pamela Wood

As he’s done countless times before, Del. C.T. Wilson will sit at a dark wooden table in an Annapolis hearing room Thursday and plead with his colleagues to give victims of child sexual abuse more time to sue their abusers and the institutions that failed to stop the abuse.

He’s hoping to make Maryland the latest state to relax restrictions on when adults can file lawsuits stemming from abuse endured as children.

He acknowledges that he’s fighting an uphill battle.

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

Court to hear arguments on publicizing Saints’ emails to Catholic church

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
WWL Radio.com

February 20, 2020

By Chris Miller

Today a New Orleans Civil District Court judge will hear arguments about whether or not emails that the head of public relations for the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans sent to the Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans, advising them on how to handle the church’s sex abuse scandal, should be made public.

The Associated Press says due to the high profile nature of the Saints and the church, the community should see emails, which may be used as evidence in a court case pending against the church over the sex abuse scandal.

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Court to hear arguments on publicizing Saints’ emails to Catholic church

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
WWL Radio.com

February 20, 2020

By Chris Miller

Today a New Orleans Civil District Court judge will hear arguments about whether or not emails that the head of public relations for the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans sent to the Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans, advising them on how to handle the church’s sex abuse scandal, should be made public.

The Associated Press says due to the high profile nature of the Saints and the church, the community should see emails, which may be used as evidence in a court case pending against the church over the sex abuse scandal.

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NFL’s Saints Head to Court in Catholic Church Email Dispute

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
The Associated Press

February 20, 2020

The New Orleans Saints headed to court Thursday in a bid to block the release of hundreds of confidential emails detailing the behind-the-scenes public relations work the team did for the area’s Roman Catholic archdiocese amid its sexual abuse crisis.

The request comes amid claims that the NFL team joined the Archdiocese of New Orleans in a “pattern and practice” of concealing sexual abuse — an allegation the Saints have vehemently denied.

Attorneys for some two dozen men suing the church say the emails show team officials had a say in deciding which priests the archdiocese named on a 2018 list of dozens of “credibly accused” clergy members, a roster an Associated Press analysis found was undercounted by at least 20 names.

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NFL’s Saints Head to Court in Catholic Church Email Dispute

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
The Associated Press

February 20, 2020

The New Orleans Saints headed to court Thursday in a bid to block the release of hundreds of confidential emails detailing the behind-the-scenes public relations work the team did for the area’s Roman Catholic archdiocese amid its sexual abuse crisis.

The request comes amid claims that the NFL team joined the Archdiocese of New Orleans in a “pattern and practice” of concealing sexual abuse — an allegation the Saints have vehemently denied.

Attorneys for some two dozen men suing the church say the emails show team officials had a say in deciding which priests the archdiocese named on a 2018 list of dozens of “credibly accused” clergy members, a roster an Associated Press analysis found was undercounted by at least 20 names.

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

Southeast Missouri authorities arrest retired priest in Springfield in sex abuse case

SPRINGFIELD (MO)
KFVS

February 19, 2020

By Frances Watson

Stoddard County, Mo. authorities arrested a retired Catholic priest living in Springfield after prosecutors charged him with multiple counts of sexual abuse.

According to Stoddard County Prosecuting Attorney Russ Oliver, 76-year-old Frederick Lutz was arrested 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.

Prosecuting Attorney Oliver said the offenses are alleged to have happened between January and February 2000.

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Southeast Missouri authorities arrest retired priest in Springfield in sex abuse case

SPRINGFIELD (MO)
KFVS

February 19, 2020

By Frances Watson

Stoddard County, Mo. authorities arrested a retired Catholic priest living in Springfield after prosecutors charged him with multiple counts of sexual abuse.

According to Stoddard County Prosecuting Attorney Russ Oliver, 76-year-old Frederick Lutz was arrested 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.

Prosecuting Attorney Oliver said the offenses are alleged to have happened between January and February 2000.

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87 people file claims of abuse against Colorado Catholic church

DENVER (CO)
KDVR

February 19, 2020

By Dara Bitler

The Colorado Independent Oversight Committee says 87 victims have filed abuse claims against Catholic priests in the Dioceses of Colorado as of January 31.

The IOC met in January to check the progress of the Independent Reconciliation and Reparations Program. According to the IOC, administrators have issued payment to 10 claimants. More than $1,200,000 has been paid to nine victims since the program launched.

“This is a very important program for victims of childhood sexual abuse. I am pleased that through this unique program, we are helping so many victims. The IOC is satisfied with the administration of the program thus far and looks forward to assisting the remaining victims in the program on their path to healing.” said Chair of the IOC, Hank Brown.

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87 people file claims of abuse against Colorado Catholic church

DENVER (CO)
KDVR

February 19, 2020

By Dara Bitler

The Colorado Independent Oversight Committee says 87 victims have filed abuse claims against Catholic priests in the Dioceses of Colorado as of January 31.

The IOC met in January to check the progress of the Independent Reconciliation and Reparations Program. According to the IOC, administrators have issued payment to 10 claimants. More than $1,200,000 has been paid to nine victims since the program launched.

“This is a very important program for victims of childhood sexual abuse. I am pleased that through this unique program, we are helping so many victims. The IOC is satisfied with the administration of the program thus far and looks forward to assisting the remaining victims in the program on their path to healing.” said Chair of the IOC, Hank Brown.

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Notre Dame funds research, raises awareness on sex abuse crisis

SOUTH BEND (IN)
Crux

February 20, 2020

By Jack Lyons

As the US Catholic Church’s “summer of hell” drew to a close in Oct. 2018, where major revelations of abuse toppled some of the most senior clergy in the nation, the president of the University of Notre Dame felt the school needed to do something.

“We must look at Notre Dame’s own history, actions and policies and also look for ways in which it can assist the Church,” Holy Cross Father John Jenkins said in a statement. “We will not single-handedly solve problems, but we can contribute to understanding, healing and constructive change.”

In that same statement, Jenkins established two task forces to produce recommendations on what the University could do.

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Notre Dame funds research, raises awareness on sex abuse crisis

SOUTH BEND (IN)
Crux

February 20, 2020

By Jack Lyons

As the US Catholic Church’s “summer of hell” drew to a close in Oct. 2018, where major revelations of abuse toppled some of the most senior clergy in the nation, the president of the University of Notre Dame felt the school needed to do something.

“We must look at Notre Dame’s own history, actions and policies and also look for ways in which it can assist the Church,” Holy Cross Father John Jenkins said in a statement. “We will not single-handedly solve problems, but we can contribute to understanding, healing and constructive change.”

In that same statement, Jenkins established two task forces to produce recommendations on what the University could do.

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

Pennsylvania Diocese, Facing More Abuse Claims, Files for Bankruptcy

HARRISBURG (PA)
The New York Times

February 19, 2020

By Michael Levenson

The Harrisburg Roman Catholic diocese became the latest to seek Chapter 11 protection. It faces claims from an estimated 200 victims of clergy sexual abuse.

The Diocese of Harrisburg in Pennsylvania filed for bankruptcy on Wednesday, becoming the latest Roman Catholic diocese to seek protection from creditors as it faces tens of millions of dollars in outstanding claims from people who were sexually abused by clergy members.

The diocese’s Chapter 11 filing came nearly two years after a devastating state grand jury report found that bishops and other leaders of the Catholic Church in Pennsylvania covered up child sexual abuse by more than 300 priests over a period of 70 years, persuading victims not to report the abuse and law enforcement agencies not to investigate it.

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Pennsylvania Diocese, Facing More Abuse Claims, Files for Bankruptcy

HARRISBURG (PA)
The New York Times

February 19, 2020

By Michael Levenson

The Harrisburg Roman Catholic diocese became the latest to seek Chapter 11 protection. It faces claims from an estimated 200 victims of clergy sexual abuse.

The Diocese of Harrisburg in Pennsylvania filed for bankruptcy on Wednesday, becoming the latest Roman Catholic diocese to seek protection from creditors as it faces tens of millions of dollars in outstanding claims from people who were sexually abused by clergy members.

The diocese’s Chapter 11 filing came nearly two years after a devastating state grand jury report found that bishops and other leaders of the Catholic Church in Pennsylvania covered up child sexual abuse by more than 300 priests over a period of 70 years, persuading victims not to report the abuse and law enforcement agencies not to investigate it.

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Former priest sentenced to 10 days in jail for exposing himself

BAD AXE (MI)
Huron Daily Tribune [Bad Axe MI]

February 20, 2020

By Scott Nunn

Read original article

Must report to jail Feb. 22

Former priest and Port Austin resident Lawrence Ventline, 70, was sentenced to 10 days in jail for exposing himself in an area bakery last year.

Ventline had been charged following a complaint by the business and was scheduled for trial Jan. 28. However, he pleaded no contest to the indecent exposure charge before his trial started.

Prior to sentencing, Huron County Prosecutor Timothy Rutkowski addressed the court and stated that an investigation conducted by the Bad Axe Police Department revealed that Ventline walked around the bakery with his genitals outside his sweatpants for approximately 7-10 minutes.

During a rebuttal by Ventline’s attorney, it was argued that Ventline has an enlarged prostrate which caused him to urinate himself, which led to the exposure. Ventline’s attorney also said his client has devoted his life to helping others and he believed community service was fair.

Ventline, a former Catholic priest with the Archdiocese of Detroit, was temporarily removed from the ministry in 2016.

Prior to that restriction, he had not been assigned to full-time parish ministry for nearly 20 years, having last served in a full-time role from 1996-97 as an administrator at the St. Mark Parish in Harsens Island.

Ventline was previously accused of sexually assaulting a young boy, though he was never criminally charged or found guilty of sexual assault. At the time the attorney general’s office was seeking charges against five catholic priests. The attorney general had dropped the charges against Ventline due to the statute of limitations.

“The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs revoked Ventline’s counseling license in September and fined him $5,000.

Rutkowski argued that Ventline should receive 180 days in jail, because in his opinion the exposure was intentional and Ventline had a previous case involving theft from a business, which was forgiven last year because he had no record.

Ventline was sentenced to one year personal-reporting probation, 10 days in jail and 12 hours community service. He was also ordered to pay a total $855 in fines and costs. While on probation, Ventline must participate in mental health evaluations with Huron Behavioral Mental Health.

Ventline has to report to the Huron County Jail Feb. 22, and he may arrange work program.

After sentencing Ventline to jail, Chief Judge David B. Herrington said he reviewed the investigative reports and he felt the sentence was fair, based on previous sentences delivered by the court on cases of similar nature.

“I did read the police report and there is nothing in the report that led me to believe that it was unintentional,” Herrington said. “I am concluding by the information and discovery material that it is a reasonable inference that Mr. Ventline knew he was exposed.”

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Danbury priest accused of sex abuse appears in court without plea

DANBURY (CT)
News Times

February 19, 2020

By Peter Yankowski

A former priest at Our Lady of Guadalupe accused of sexually abusing one boy and groping another over the course of several years made a brief appearance in court Wednesday, but did not enter a plea.

Jaime Marin-Cardona was charged with three counts of fourth-degree sexual assault, three counts of risk of injury to child and three counts of illegal sexual contact after turning himself in to Danbury police on a warrant Jan. 3.

Marin-Cardona was present in Danbury Superior Court Wednesday, where his case was continued to March 13, the clerk’s office said.

Police learned of the abuse last September, after they were contacted by a church official about boundary violations and possible grooming of two children by the priest, according to the warrant for Marin-Cardona’s arrest.

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

Danbury priest accused of sex abuse appears in court without plea

DANBURY (CT)
News Times

February 19, 2020

By Peter Yankowski

A former priest at Our Lady of Guadalupe accused of sexually abusing one boy and groping another over the course of several years made a brief appearance in court Wednesday, but did not enter a plea.

Jaime Marin-Cardona was charged with three counts of fourth-degree sexual assault, three counts of risk of injury to child and three counts of illegal sexual contact after turning himself in to Danbury police on a warrant Jan. 3.

Marin-Cardona was present in Danbury Superior Court Wednesday, where his case was continued to March 13, the clerk’s office said.

Police learned of the abuse last September, after they were contacted by a church official about boundary violations and possible grooming of two children by the priest, according to the warrant for Marin-Cardona’s arrest.

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Paul Canonici, former Catholic priest credibly accused of sexual abuse, dies at 92

JACKSON (MS)
Clarion Ledger

February 19, 2020

By Sarah Fowler

A former priest who was removed from the ministry after being credibly accused of sexual abuse has died.

Paul Victor Canonici, 92, died Saturday, according to his obituary. A cause of death was not listed.

A native of Shaw, Canonici joined the priesthood when he was 30 years old. Over the course of his tenure, he served as the diocesan superintendent of education, assistant principal and then principal of St. Joseph High School in Madison, as well as the priest for multiple parishes throughout the Jackson metro area.

He retired when he was in his mid 70s. Despite his five decades with the diocese, he’s not listed on the church’s website of retired priests.

Canonici was removed from the ministry in 2002. He was on the list of those credibly accused of sexual abuse released by the Diocese of Jackson last spring.

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

Paul Canonici, former Catholic priest credibly accused of sexual abuse, dies at 92

JACKSON (MS)
Clarion Ledger

February 19, 2020

By Sarah Fowler

A former priest who was removed from the ministry after being credibly accused of sexual abuse has died.

Paul Victor Canonici, 92, died Saturday, according to his obituary. A cause of death was not listed.

A native of Shaw, Canonici joined the priesthood when he was 30 years old. Over the course of his tenure, he served as the diocesan superintendent of education, assistant principal and then principal of St. Joseph High School in Madison, as well as the priest for multiple parishes throughout the Jackson metro area.

He retired when he was in his mid 70s. Despite his five decades with the diocese, he’s not listed on the church’s website of retired priests.

Canonici was removed from the ministry in 2002. He was on the list of those credibly accused of sexual abuse released by the Diocese of Jackson last spring.

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87 people file claims of sexual abuse by Colorado catholic priests

DENVER (CO)
9 News

February 19, 2020

By Janet Oravetz

The deadline to file a claim with the Independent Compensation Program was Jan. 31. It came after an independent review found that 43 priests abused 166 children.

Nearly 90 people have filed claims related to sexual abuse by Catholic priests in Colorado, according to the oversight committee, which was assigned to administer the Independent Compensation Program (ICP).

The final deadline to file claims was Jan. 31 and only included abuse by clergy who worked for Colorado dioceses, not members of independent religious orders. A total of 87 victims filed claims with the administrators.

Details of the program to provide compensation and support for victims who were sexually abused as minors by clergy of the Archdiocese of Denver, Diocese of Colorado Springs and Diocese of Pueblo were revealed last October.

It coincided with an independent review of church sex abuse in Colorado that was led by former Colorado U.S. Attorney Robert Troyer, which launched last February and was completed in October.

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

87 people file claims of sexual abuse by Colorado catholic priests

DENVER (CO)
9 News

February 19, 2020

By Janet Oravetz

The deadline to file a claim with the Independent Compensation Program was Jan. 31. It came after an independent review found that 43 priests abused 166 children.

Nearly 90 people have filed claims related to sexual abuse by Catholic priests in Colorado, according to the oversight committee, which was assigned to administer the Independent Compensation Program (ICP).

The final deadline to file claims was Jan. 31 and only included abuse by clergy who worked for Colorado dioceses, not members of independent religious orders. A total of 87 victims filed claims with the administrators.

Details of the program to provide compensation and support for victims who were sexually abused as minors by clergy of the Archdiocese of Denver, Diocese of Colorado Springs and Diocese of Pueblo were revealed last October.

It coincided with an independent review of church sex abuse in Colorado that was led by former Colorado U.S. Attorney Robert Troyer, which launched last February and was completed in October.

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

Chilean bishop seeks management training amid abuse crisis cleanup

DENVER (CO)
Crux

February 20, 2020

By Elise Ann Allen

Rome – Living with acute poverty, inequality and the aftermath of what is arguably the Catholic Church’s worst clerical sexual abuse crisis, Chilean Bishop Tomislav Francisco Koljatic Maroevic is seeking what for some seem like a basic: Management training.

The head of the Chilean Diocese of Linares, Koljatic is currently in Rome for a two-week intensive course as part of the Program of Church Management offered by the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross. And he’s using his vacation to do it.

Speaking to Crux, Koljatic said he decided to enroll in the course because “I will learn important things for my life, for my work, for my duties, and basically to open my mind, to learn new things that are happening in the world now.”

“That’s the most important thing for me, learning new things and improving my work as a leader and as a bishop in Chile,” he said.

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

Chilean bishop seeks management training amid abuse crisis cleanup

DENVER (CO)
Crux

February 20, 2020

By Elise Ann Allen

Rome – Living with acute poverty, inequality and the aftermath of what is arguably the Catholic Church’s worst clerical sexual abuse crisis, Chilean Bishop Tomislav Francisco Koljatic Maroevic is seeking what for some seem like a basic: Management training.

The head of the Chilean Diocese of Linares, Koljatic is currently in Rome for a two-week intensive course as part of the Program of Church Management offered by the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross. And he’s using his vacation to do it.

Speaking to Crux, Koljatic said he decided to enroll in the course because “I will learn important things for my life, for my work, for my duties, and basically to open my mind, to learn new things that are happening in the world now.”

“That’s the most important thing for me, learning new things and improving my work as a leader and as a bishop in Chile,” he said.

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

Survivors storm Rome to mark anniversary of global abuse summit

DENVER (CO)
Crux

February 20, 2020

By Elise Ann Allen

Rome – This week clerical abuse survivors from around the world have flocked to Rome to mark the one-year anniversary of Pope Francis’s global summit on child protection, which took place at the Vatican in February of last year.

Groups such as Bishops Accountability and Ending Clergy Abuse, two prominent American advocacy organizations, have put together a week of events in Rome and Geneva designed to offer an evaluation of progress made and gaps that still need to be filled.

Things got started with a press conference from Bishops Accountability on Monday, during which survivors and advocates were honest in recognizing progress made since the summit, but largely critical of the follow-up, arguing that enforcement of new procedures is still unclear, and many bishops haven’t implemented them at all.

In Geneva, representatives of these organizations on Monday met with the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child and the Committee on Disabilities.

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Retired Catholic priest charged in Missouri with sex abuse

NEW YORK (NY)
Associated Press

February 19, 2020

By Heather Hollingsworth

A retired Catholic priest has been charged in Missouri with multiple counts of child sexual abuse stemming from a statewide investigation of abuse by Catholic priests.

Seventy-six-year-old Frederick Lutz, of Springfield, was charged Tuesday with forcible sodomy, sexual abuse and two counts of statutory sodomy. His bond was set at $125,000 cash only. No attorney is listed for him in online court records.

He was among 12 former priests that Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt referred for criminal prosecution following a 13-month investigation.

According to charging documents, Lutz sexually assaulted a 17-year-old in 2000, while he was the priest at the St. Joseph Parish in the 1,350-person southeast Missouri town of Advance. The documents said Lutz called the teen to the rectory, where he was drinking and watching a pornographic movie. The document said the teen was forced to perform sexual acts before he could leave.

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February 19, 2020

Another Catholic diocese seeks bankruptcy after abuse deals

HARRISBURG (PA)
Associated Press

February 19, 2020

By Mark Scolforo

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, filed for bankruptcy Wednesday, six months after disclosing it had paid millions of dollars to people sexually abused as children by its clerics.

The diocese joins at least 20 others across the United States in seeking protection from creditors through the federal bankruptcy system, but it is the first diocese in Pennsylvania to take such a step.

In August, the diocese said it paid 106 people a total of just over $12 million to compensate for claims of sexual abuse they suffered as children from its clerics, deacons and seminarians. Six others did not accept payment offers from the diocese.

The filing in Harrisburg federal bankruptcy court said the diocese “faces potentially significant exposure from remaining claimants” and wants Chapter 11 reorganization to provide money for unresolved claims and perform its ministry and other operations.

The diocese told the court it has more than 200 creditors and estimated liabilities between $50 million and $100 million, with assets of less than $10 million. It listed creditors that include a $30 million loan from the Pennsylvania Economic Development Financing Authority and 12 blacked-out names that were represented by lawyers.

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Harrisburg Catholic diocese declares bankruptcy, the first to do so in Pa. under weight of clergy sex abuse claims

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Inquirer

February 19, 2020

By Jeremy Roebuck and Angela Couloumbis

https://www.inquirer.com/news/harrisburg-diocese-bankruptcy-catholic-clergy-sex-abuse-victim-compensation-lawsuits-20200219.html

The Diocese of Harrisburg filed for bankruptcy Wednesday, becoming the first of Pennsylvania’s eight Roman Catholic dioceses to seek protection from financial claims in the aftermath of a scathing 2018 grand jury report that revealed decades of sexual abuse and cover-up by the church’s top leaders.

Diocesan officials are expected to discuss their bankruptcy protection plans at a 3:30 p.m. news conference, two sources familiar with the matter have told The Inquirer and Spotlight PA.

In its petition with the bankruptcy court, the diocese reported having an estimated $1 to $10 million in assets. Among its top 20 creditors, 19 were accusers with unresolved clergy sex abuse lawsuits work their way through the courts.

The move comes six months after the diocese announced it had paid out $12 million to more than 100 victims of decades-old sexual abuse as part of an independently run compensation program similar to those launched by most of the state’s other Catholic dioceses.

Church officials said they hoped the funds would provide compensation to victims whose claims were too old to pursue in court. But victims and their lawyers have viewed the programs with skepticism, saying that while the funds’ payouts are better than nothing, they have allowed the dioceses to limit the crushing financial penalties they might face should Pennsylvania voters approve a proposed “window law” that would allow accusers with expired claims to sue.

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Retired priest who previously worked at Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Richmond accused of child abuse

RICHMOND (VA)
Richmond Times-Dispatch

February 14, 2020

By Bridget Balch

https://www.richmond.com/news/local/retired-priest-who-previously-worked-at-sacred-heart-in-richmond/article_1cd42a98-d176-5136-9b9e-7165dfebfa9b.html

The Catholic Diocese of Richmond announced Friday that a retired priest, Raymond Barton, has been accused of child sexual abuse that allegedly occurred in the early 1970s.

A representative of the alleged victim, who is dead, came forward to report details of the abuse to the diocese, which reported the allegations to civil authorities, according to a news release.

The diocese, which could not be reached immediately for comment Friday afternoon, did not identify the victim, the location of the alleged crime or the agency that it notified of the accusation in the release.

Barton, who retired from ministry in 2011, was an associate pastor at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Richmond, a faculty member at St. John Vianney Seminary in Goochland County and a pastor at Sacred Heart in Norfolk, St. Nicholas in Virginia Beach and Holy Comforter in Charlottesville. He was also co-pastor for Church of the Holy Apostles in Virginia Beach.

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Boy Scouts’ bankruptcy filing could yield key evidence in abuse cases, Boston lawyer says

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Globe

February 18, 2020

By Meghan Sorensen

The Boy Scouts of America’s bankruptcy filing on Tuesday could yield important evidence in the thousands of sexual-abuse cases against the century-old organization, according to a Boston lawyer who has represented dozens of victims.

Attorney Mitchell Garabedian said he looks forward to the opportunity to gain access to the information, which he believes will explain what the organization knew about the abuse, when they learned about it, and how it was handled.

“They’re going to have to fairly compensate victims of sexual abuse and hopefully reveal all files in their possession concerning sexual abuse — so there’s going to be a cost here,” Garabedian said.

Since the 1920s, the BSA has kept confidential files about staff and volunteers implicated in sexual abuse. As of January, a court deposition listed 7,819 suspected abusers and 12,254 victims.

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A Denver priest — his dad’s best friend — raped him. The state’s Catholic Church abuse report revealed the secret.

DENVER (CO)
Colorado Sun

February 19, 2020

By Jesse Paul

Neil Elms says he was repeatedly sexually assaulted by Lawrence St. Peter, a Colorado priest who rose to high ranks in the Denver Archdiocese. St. Peter wasn’t removed from clergy despite “numerous, reliable, consistent reports” he was abusing boys.

Great Barrington MA – Neil Elms planned to carry his biggest secret to his grave. He thought no one would ever know what he’d kept hidden for 37 years.

Elms never told his mother or father, or any of his six siblings. He concealed it through two marriages, two children, nearly 10 years in the Army and jobs that took him across the globe.

Looking back, Elms says, he never even came close to revealing what happened to him as a young boy at Holy Family School in northwest Denver — not a breath about his father’s best friend, the priest who sexually abused him. Elms’ front was so unbreakable that he attended the funeral Mass for Monsignor Lawrence St. Peter in 2003, sitting with his own grieving family to honor the life of the man who upended his.

“What’s your earliest memory?” Elms asks. That’s how far back the mistreatment goes.

But one day in October, while he was fishing for small-mouth bass near his home in southwestern Massachusetts, his father phoned from Arvada. He had just read a report from Colorado’s attorney general on priest abuse at Catholic churches in the state.

The investigation concluded that there had been at least three credible allegations of child sexual abuse by St. Peter and hinted there were probably many more victims. “Did St. Peter ever lay a hand on you?” his dad wanted to know.

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Catholic Diocese to offer settlements to sexual abuse victims who won’t sue

WILLIAMSBURG (VA)
Virginia Gazette

February 18, 2020

The Catholic Diocese of Richmond says it will offer monetary settlements to sexual abuse victims if they give up the right to sue.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that the diocese announced the offer on Monday.

Richmond Bishop Barry Knestout said in a news release that the offer is “the best course for our diocese to reach a just reconciliation with our victim survivors.”

In February 2019, the diocese released a list of 42 clergy with credible allegations of sexual abuse against them, according to Virginia Gazette archives. None of the named clergy were listed as active members. Thirteen were dead. Most were classified as suspended or removed; five were “laicized,” meaning they were removed from ministry.

Previous news reports and information on the diocese website show at least seven have ties to Hampton Roads. Three had ties to Williamsburg.

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Bankruptcy filing probably means less compensation for Scout victims who ‘wanted their day in court,’ attorney says

DALLAS (TX)
Dallas Morning News

February 18, 2020

By LaVendrick Smith and Catherine Marfin

https://www.dallasnews.com/news/courts/2020/02/19/bankruptcy-filing-probably-means-less-compensation-for-scout-victims-who-wanted-their-day-in-court-attorney-says/

The Irving-based Boy Scouts of America filed for bankruptcy protection Tuesday as it faces a wave of sexual abuse lawsuits.

By Tuesday afternoon, Paul Mones said his inbox had at least 400 new emails, many of them from men who were upset they’ll never see their day in court.

Mones represents hundreds of men nationwide who say they were sexually abused as children in the Boy Scouts of America.

The Irving-based organization filed for bankruptcy protection Tuesday as it’s facing a wave of sexual abuse lawsuits. The move puts those clients’ cases on hold and forces victims to seek compensation through a claims system.

“A lot of them are very angry,” Mones said of his clients. “A lot of them are feeling resentful that the Boy Scouts didn’t take care of the problem when they were a viable organization when they could have. And now they’re left to file in a cold and calculated climate.”

The bankruptcy filing comes after years of sexual abuse accusations against BSA and declining membership. The organization said that by filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and establishing a trust for payments, it will “ensure that victims of past abuse in Scouting are equitably compensated.”

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How Boy Scouts’ bankruptcy is bad news for sex abuse victims

ALLENTOWN (PA)
Morning Call

February 19, 2020

By Paul Muschick

I never thought anyone would find a way to treat sexual abuse victims worse than the Catholic church, but the Boy Scouts of America has done it.

By filing for bankruptcy Tuesday, the Boy Scouts likely blocked victims from being able to confront their accusers in court and force them to confess their sins and divulge their secrets. That’s because the bankruptcy halts all litigation, nationwide.

There aren’t many lawsuits in Pennsylvania because, unlike in some other states including New Jersey and New York, state lawmakers haven’t opened a window for retroactive lawsuits by people who were abused as children and lost their right to sue because of the statute of limitations.

And that’s at least partly because of the church’s influence.

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Church liable for sex assaults

BRANDON (MANITOBA, CANADA)
Brandon Sun

February 19, 2020

By Erin DeBooy

[The Anglican C]hurch is liable for the sexual assaults a woman experienced more than 50 years ago at the hands of a priest.

“It is clear that the Anglican Church of Canada did not and does not condone the sexual abuse of children by priests acting on their behalf. However, that fact is not determinative in deciding if the Diocese of Brandon should be held vicariously liable for the sexual assaults inflicted on the plaintiff by (Jack) Hopper,” Justice John Menzies wrote in his decision delivered last month.

“The sexual abuse committed by Hopper and the placement of Hopper as priest in the community of Grand Rapids by the Diocese of Brandon are strongly connected. I have little hesitation in finding that the Diocese of Brandon is vicariously liable for the sexual abuse inflicted on the plaintiff by Hopper.”

In the lawsuit against The Anglican Church of Canada, The Diocese of Brandon filed in 2014, the plaintiff, now 63, claimed she was sexually assaulted twice by Hopper, an Anglican priest, in the basement of an Anglican church in Misipawistik Cree Nation (Grand Rapids First Nation).

The woman told the court during a three-day trial for the lawsuit in Brandon Court of Queen’s Bench in September that Hopper assaulted her on two occasions after Sunday school a few months apart.

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Reformers’ ideas gain momentum in German synodal way

KANSAS CITY (MO)
National Catholic Reporter

February 19, 2020

By Donald Snyder

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, Germany’s defense minister, agrees with advocates of radical change in the nation’s Roman Catholic Church.

Kramp-Karrenbauer, 57, often known as “AKK” in German media, a member of the governing Christian Democratic Union (CDU), told journalists on Feb. 3 that she wished there were many more women in church leadership, beginning with their serving as deacons.

“And I am for the abolition of celibacy. It would help to make more people enthusiastic to serve the church,” she said, adding that the decision to live without a family poses too great an obstacle for those wanting to dedicate their lives to the church.

Kramp-Karrenbauer’s fellow CDU member, Heribert Hirte, said in a telephone interview that AKK entered a political minefield when she called for an end to celibacy in the priesthood. He said the church opposes such political intervention into its internal affairs. Still, he praised Kramp-Karrenbauer for her courage in making a public statement.

*

The original impetus for the dialogue was concern about a massive sexual abuse scandal documented in a 2018 report, which had come under immediate attack from conservatives like the bishop of Regensburg, Rudolf Voderholzer, who charged that the study was unscientific and unprofessional.

“It was an aggressive challenge to the accuracy of the sexual abuse study, and an attempt to destroy the Frankfurt meeting,” said Philipp Gessler, a Berlin resident who was formerly a religion editor at Deutschlandfunk, German public radio. Gessler is the author of three books on religion.

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The Catholic Difference: Beyond Amazonia

HYATTSVILLE (MD)
Catholic Standard – Archdiocese of Washington

February 19, 2020

By George Weigel

The post-synodal apostolic exhortation Querida Amazonia [Dear Amazonia] did not accept or endorse the 2019 Amazonian synod’s proposal that viri probati – mature married men – be ordained priests in that region. So until the German Church’s “synodal path” comes up with a similar proposal (which seems more than likely), a period of pause has been created in which some non-hysterical reflection on the priesthood and celibacy can take place throughout the world Church. Several points might be usefully pondered in the course of that conversation.

The first involves celibacy and the Kingdom.

Christians live, or ought to live, in a different time-zone because the Kingdom of God is among us, by the Lord’s own declaration in the gospels. Different vocations in the Church bear radical witness to that truth and remind the rest of us of it. The vocations that live the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience in a consecrated way do that. So should the celibate priesthood.

It was said openly during the Amazonian synod, and it’s often muttered in other contexts, that celibacy makes no sense to many people. Which is quite true – if those people are living in pagan societies that haven’t heard the Gospel or post-Christian societies that have abandoned the Gospel and haven’t been re-evangelized. Celibacy, a total gift of self to God, only makes sense in a Kingdom context. So if celibacy doesn’t make sense in Amazonia or Dusseldorf or Hamburg, that likely has something to do with a failure to preach the Gospel of the inbreaking Kingdom of God in Amazonia, Dusseldorf, and Hamburg.

All of which is to say that the failures of Catholic Lite and Catholic Zero aren’t going to be addressed by lighter Catholic Lite or less-than-zero Catholic Zero.

The second point to ponder involves celibacy and the broader reform of the priesthood.

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This Indiana bill could possibly help victims of priest sex abuse

EVANSVILLE (IN)
Courier & Press

February 19, 2020

By Jon Webb

It’s been more than a year since a former Evansville man stood before the Indiana Senate to share something private and devastating.

On Feb. 13, 2019, Chris Compton told the Judiciary Committee that the late Rev. Raymond Kuper had sexually abused him while Compton was a 9-year-old student at Christ the King.

He was there to advocate for a Senate bill that would have given accusers of childhood sexual abuse more time to pursue civil cases in incidents that had long eclipsed the statute of limitations.

Now, a similar-but-compromised bill is working its way through the legislature.

SB 109 blitzed through the Senate 44-2 earlier this month. And Wednesday morning, it landed in front of the House committee on courts and criminal code, chaired by Evansville-area Rep. Wendy McNamara.

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February 18, 2020

Catholic Diocese of Richmond sets up program to help, pay people sexually abused by clergy

NORFOLK (VA)
13 News Now

February 17, 2020

https://www.13newsnow.com/article/news/local/virginia/catholic-diocese-of-richmond-sets-up-program-to-help-pay-people-sexually-abused-by-clergy/291-c24063a9-a4e2-49ca-86f5-3e5addada847

The Independent Reconciliation Program allows people who were abused sexually as children to submit claims. They may be eligible to receive a monetary payment.

Richmond VA – The Catholic Diocese of Richmond said it set up a program to help people who were children when they were abused by clergy members.

The Independent Reconciliation Program is administered independently by BrownGreer PLC, which is based in Richmond. The diocese said the firm specializes in settlement administration.

The program has its own website which allows people to file a claim if they were abused by the Catholic clergy in the diocese. The claims administrator will review the claims and determine any monetary payment the filer should receive. The Richmond Diocese will not reject or change the administrator’s decision in any way.

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Windsor woman calls Pope’s vows a ‘failure,’ one year after sex abuse summit

TORONTO (ONTARIO, CANADA)
CBC News

February 18, 2020

It’s been about one year since Pope Francis vowed to confront sexual abusers in the Catholic church with “the wrath of God,” end the coverups by their superiors and prioritize the victims of this “brazen, aggressive and destructive evil.”

Now, a Windsor, Ont. woman and a group of victims of sexual abuse by Roman Catholic clergy are heading back to Rome to take stock of the promises made at last year’s summit on the issue.

“[Pope Francis] came out strong. He came out hard, with a lot of promises to the world that he was going to put an end to this and put safety measures into place to ensure that there was no more — or to prevent future coverups,” said Brenda Brunelle, who was abused from age 12.

“Speaking as a survivor and an advocate for those abused by priests, I’m afraid to say that my report card — our report — card is a failure.”

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Pope says new Vatican finance laws, norms are working

VATICAN CITY
Catholic News Service via National Catholic Reporter

February 17, 2020

By Cindy Wooden

The decade-long process of updating the laws of Vatican City State is part of the Vatican’s support for international commitments to protect people and safeguard vulnerable groups, who are “frequently the victims of new, odious forms of illegality,” Pope Francis said.

Retired Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis have made major changes to Vatican City legislation to strengthen laws against money laundering, tax evasion, child sexual abuse and child pornography.

Meeting officials of the Vatican City State court Feb. 15, Francis repeated his conviction that the latest financial scandal being investigated by the Vatican City police and tribunal is a sign of progress because the report of suspicious activity originated with the Vatican general auditor.

While the investigation continues into the financing of a London real estate investment and while the parties involved have the right to a presumption of innocence, the pope said the flagging of the irregular activity “shows the efficacy and efficiency of the counter-actions as requested by international standards.”

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Will compulsion succeed where conversion has failed on Vatican financial reform?

DENVER (CO)
Crux

February 18, 2020

By John L. Allen Jr.

Rome – When Pope Francis recently addressed the ongoing financial reform of the Vatican, he couched the argument in largely spiritual, pastoral and moral terms.

Financial breakdowns recently brought to light, the pope said, “beyond their possible criminality, are hard to reconcile with the nature and purpose of the Church, and they’ve created confusion and worry within the community of the faithful.” He was speaking to Vatican judges on the occasion of the opening of their judicial year.

Though the pope avoided specifics, the reference almost certainly was to a recent contretemps involving a $220 million land deal in London (mostly financed by collections from Peter’s Pence) in which the Vatican’s Secretariat of State allegedly tried to skirt reporting requirements for a loan intended to buy up the remaining shares of the property. That’s an especially alarming development, given that the Secretariat of State also bears the lion’s share of responsibility for enforcing the Vatican’s own accountability and transparency measures.

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Facing a Wave of Sex-Abuse Claims, Boy Scouts of America Files for Bankruptcy

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Times

February 18, 2020

By Mike Baker

The nonprofit group, which counts more than two million youth participants, follows Catholic dioceses and U.S.A. Gymnastics in seeking bankruptcy protection amid sex-abuse cases.

The Boy Scouts of America, an iconic presence in the nation’s experience for more than a century, filed for bankruptcy protection early Tuesday, succumbing to financial pressures that included a surge in legal costs over its handling of sexual abuse allegations.

Founded in 1910, the Boy Scouts have long maintained internal files at their headquarters in Texas detailing decades of allegations involving nearly 8,000 “perpetrators,” according to an expert hired by the organization. Lawyers have said in recent months that former scouts have come forward to identify hundreds of other abusers not included in those files.

The bankruptcy filing, in Delaware, is expected to disrupt continuing litigation and establish a deadline for when former scouts can pursue claims.

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Boy Scouts of America files for bankruptcy amid hundreds of sexual abuse lawsuits

ATLANTA (GA)
CNN

February 18, 2020

By Laura Ly

The Boy Scouts of America has filed for bankruptcy, according to a court document filed in Delaware bankruptcy court early Tuesday.

The youth organization, which celebrated its 110th anniversary February 8, listed liabilities of between $100 million and $500 million, but $50,000 or less in assets.

The bankruptcy filing comes at a time when the organization faces hundreds of sexual abuse lawsuits, thousands of alleged abuse victims and dwindling membership numbers. As a result of the filing, all civil litigation against the organization is suspended.

Paul Mones, a Los Angeles-based attorney representing “hundreds of sexual abuse victims in individual lawsuits,” called the organization’s bankruptcy filing a “tragedy.”

“These young boys took an oath. They pledged to be obedient, pledged to support the Scouts and pledged to be honorable. Many of them are extremely angry that that’s not what happened to them and the Boy Scouts of America did not step up in the way they should have,” Mones said.

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Boy Scouts files Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the face of thousands of child abuse allegations

McLEAN (VA)
USA Today

February 18, 2020

By Cara Kelly, Nathan Bomey, and Lindsay Schnell, and Alexis Arnold

Boy Scouts of America filed for bankruptcy protection early today amid declining membership and a drumbeat of child sexual abuse allegations that have illuminated the depth of the problem within the organization and Scouts’ failure to get a handle on it.

After months of speculation and mounting civil litigation, the Chapter 11 filing by the scouting organization’s national body was unprecedented in both scope and complexity. It was filed in Delaware Bankruptcy Court overnight.

The exact effects on Boy Scouts’ future operations are unknown, leading to speculation about the organization’s odds for survival, the impact on local troops and how bankruptcy could change the dynamic for abuse survivors who have yet to come forward. Some fear that at a minimum it will prevent survivors from naming their abuser in open court.

“They’re going into bankruptcy not because they don’t have the money,” said Tim Kosnoff, who has tried thousands of child abuse cases, including many against the Boy Scouts and Catholic Church. “They’re going into bankruptcy to hide … a Mount Everest in dirty secrets.”

In a statement, the organization said: “The BSA cares deeply about all victims of abuse and sincerely apologizes to anyone who was harmed during their time in Scouting.”

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Medical Update

GREENCASTLE (IN)
On This Rock

February 13, 2020

By Fr. John Hollowell

As you are aware, a one day trip to the Mayo Clinic this week has turned into a four day trip. I want to begin by saying I have so much gratitude in my heart for the wonderful medical professionals I’ve been able to work with through this entire process…such a great blessing in our country, and the Mayo Clinic is certainly a bright spot in our world. My family doctor, Dr. Keith Landry has been wonderful, as well as my cardiologist, a Roncalli dad, Dr. Michael Barron. I have a nurse, Lauren Alcorn, that has been such a kind help through all that has come up these past 12 months. That care has continued here at Mayo. Each person has played a key role in this process, and I am very thankful and amazed by the state of medicine in the US in 2020.

*
One request: When the scandals of 2018 broke out, most of you know that they have affected me deeply, as they have most of the Church. I prayed in 2018 that if there was some suffering I could undertake on behalf of all the victims, some cross I could carry, I would welcome that. I feel like this is that cross, and I embrace it willingly. I would love to have a list of victims of priestly abuse that I could pray for each day. I would like to dedicate each day of this recovery/chemo/radiation to 5-10 victims, and I would like, if possible, to even write them a note letting them know of my prayers for them. IF YOU KNOW OF A PERSON OR YOU ARE A VICTIM YOURSELF, with the victims permission, please send me the name and, if possible, a mailing address so that I can send them a note, that would be much appreciated. my email address is fatherjohnhollowell at gmail.

Also, I would like to pass this word on to SNAP, so if you know someone that is in leadership for SNAP, please let them know I’m interested in speaking with them to see if there’s some way I could get the names of people to pray for and, if possible, send a note to in the midst of all of this.

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Priest with brain tumor ’embraces it willingly’ for victims of clergy abuse

DENVER (CO)
Catholic News Agency via Catholic Herald

February 18, 2020

When Fr John Hollowell went to Mayo Clinic for brain scans after what doctors thought was a stroke, he received a shocking diagnosis. The scans revealed that instead of stroke, he had a brain tumor.

While it is a serious diagnosis, Hollowell, a priest of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, said he believes the tumor was an answer to prayer.

“When the scandals of 2018 broke out, most of you know that they have affected me deeply, as they have most of the Church,” he wrote in his blog, On This Rock.

“I prayed in 2018 that if there was some suffering I could undertake on behalf of all the victims, some cross I could carry, I would welcome that. I feel like this is that cross, and I embrace it willingly.”

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McCarrick was a ‘devourer of souls,’ former priest secretary tells parish

DENVER (CO)
Catholic News Agency

February 15, 2020

Washington D.C. – A priest who was the personal secretary of former cardinal Theodore McCarrick said he is sickened by manipulative fundraising tactics employed while McCarrick was Archbishop of Washington. The priest called McCarrick a “manipulator” and a “devourer of souls.”

“For a portion of my priesthood, I worked directly for the foremost fund-raiser in the Church – in the whole Church, the universal Church.”

“He was a master of the art, and knew every technique and tactic to its finest point. He paired with that an extraordinary, even preternatural sense of people, what they wanted and what they needed,” Monsignor K. Bartholomew Smith wrote Feb. 15 on a blog he maintains for parishioners of St. Bernadette’s parish in Silver Spring, Maryland.

“My stomach churns at the recollection, and not only because of how successful he was at this; but also because of what he obtained by this. He received the gratitude, the affection, and the emotional dependence of untold numbers of people high and low, rich and poor, because he made himself the bestower of the approval that they craved, told them that they were good and God Himself was grateful to them, and delivered them from the authentic demands of Jesus and His Gospel.”

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Priest sexually abused student more than 100 times decades ago at N.J. Catholic school, suit says

NEWARK (NJ)
NJ.com

February 18, 2020

By Anthony G. Attrino

The Diocese of Paterson is facing a lawsuit accusing a priest who taught at the now-shuttered Don Bosco Technical High School of sexual abusing a student more than 100 times in the 1970s.

Former priest Sean Rooney abused the student at various locations including the Paterson school from 1973 to 1975 beginning when the victim was 13 years old, according the suit filed Feb. 7 in Superior Court in Bergen County. The victim, identified only by his initials in the suit, is now a Florida resident.

Rooney is not on the list of 188 priests and deacons deemed “credibly accused” of sexual abuses involving children released last year jointly by New Jersey’s Catholic dioceses. The Diocese of Paterson, which did not return messages seeking comment on the suit Monday, had 28 names on that list.

The website bishop-accountability.org, a group that tracks allegations against priest, includes Rooney and notes he was accused in a 2013 lawsuit of a sexually abusing a 14-year-old seminary student at a retreat house in Massachusetts and at a seminary in New York. The Catholic church has been criticized for leaving hundreds of names off its list of credibly accused priests.

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Priest accused of abuse in New Jersey moved to Alabama

BIRMINGHAM (AL)
AL.com

February 17, 2020

By Greg Garrison

A Catholic priest who was accused of sexually abusing a minor more than 100 times in the 1970′s in New Jersey was later assigned by his religious order to Birmingham, where he lived and worked for 20 years and helped run a youth outreach to the Marks Village housing project.

The Diocese of Paterson, N.J., is facing a lawsuit accusing the priest, who taught at the now-defunct Don Bosco Technical High School, of molesting a student, according to a report by NJ.com.

Sean Rooney was assigned in 1983 by his religious order, the Salesians of Don Bosco, to Birmingham and remained in residence as an administrator through 2003. The Salesians for decades maintained a priest residence in Gate City next to Holy Rosary Catholic Church and ran a youth oratory, an outreach to young people in the nearby housing project. Salesian priests were assigned to oversee both Holy Rosary and St. John Bosco Catholic Church in Woodlawn.

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Court evidence suggests abuse cover-up by high ranking Legionaries of Christ

DENVER (CO)
Catholic News Agency

February 18, 2020

By Jonah McKeown

Milan, Italy – Evidence to be presented in an upcoming criminal trial suggests an elaborate cover-up of sexual abuse allegations against a former priest of the Legionaries of Christ whom an Italian court has convicted of sexual abuse of a minor.

The case, set to begin in March, names four Legion priests and a Legion lawyer who are accused of attempting to obstruct justice and extort the family of a sex abuse victim, according to reporting by the Associated Press.

The names of the priests and lawyer in question have not been released, and the Legion did not respond to CNA’s request for comment.

The Legion of Christ, a religious congregation consisting of fewer than 1,000 priests worldwide, was long the subject of critical reports and rumors before it was rocked by Vatican acknowledgment that its charismatic founder, Father Marcial Maciel, lived a double life, sexually abused seminarians, and fathered children. Maciel abused at least 60 minors.

In 2006 the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, with the approval of Benedict XVI, removed Maciel from public ministry and ordered him to spend the rest of his life in prayer and penance. The congregation decided not to subject him to a canonical process because of his advanced age, and he died in 2008.

Benedict XVI appointed Cardinal Valasio De Paolis, a highly respected canon lawyer, to lead the religious order in 2010.

De Paolis, who died in 2017, has faced criticism for leaving much of the leadership of the congregation from Maciel’s time in place and failing to investigate claims of cover-up.

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Little progress since Vatican’s sexual abuse summit, say activists

ROME (ITALY)
The Guardian

February 17, 2020

By Angela Giuffrida

Pope yet to implement crucial reforms to canon law one year on from summit

The Vatican has done little to seriously address the problem of clerical sexual abuse one year on from an unprecedented summit at which bishops and cardinals heard the testimony of victims, activists have said.

Pope Francis closed the four-day summit last February promising that the Catholic church would “spare no effort” to bring to justice paedophile priests and the bishops who covered up their crimes, but so far he has failed to implement crucial reforms to canon law that would allow that to happen.

About 190 bishops and cardinals attended the summit, where they heard traumatic testimony from people who had been raped and molested by priests, and about the indifference that the Catholic church’s hierarchy had shown towards them.

Anne Barrett Doyle, a co-founder of Bishop Accountability, which tracks clergy sexual abuse cases, said that while the summit did a tremendous amount of good by raising the profile of the issue, increasing media coverage of cases and encouraging victims to come forward, it had not led to a “zero-tolerance” policy.

“By that I mean ‘one strike and you’re out’ for abusers, at least out of the ministry, and ‘one strike and you’re out’ for enablers,” Doyle said on the sidelines of a press conference in Rome on Monday.

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Survivor advocacy group accuses pope of cherry-picking abuse reforms

ROME (ITALY)
Crux

February 18, 2020

By Elise Ann Allen

As the one-year mark of Pope Francis’s landmark summit on child protection approaches, survivors of clerical abuse are arguing that the pope, while taking positive steps, is inconsistent in his response to the problem.

Survivors have also called for the publication of the report on the Vatican’s lengthy investigation into former cardinal Theodore McCarrick and criticized Francis for apparently backing out of a commitment to a zero-tolerance approach to the issue.

In the past year, zero tolerance has “dropped out of the pope’s lexicon,” said Anne Barrett Doyle, co-director of the Bishops Accountability advocacy group, who spoke to journalists Feb. 17.

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Pope Francis has done ‘too little’ on sexual abuse crisis, victims say

ROME (ITALY)
DPAInternational.com

February 17, 2020

Activists representing the victims of predatory priests in the Catholic Church said that Pope Francis and the Vatican had failed to properly address the clergy sex abuse crisis.

Abuse survivors’ groups held a news conference in Rome to pass judgment on the Vatican’s record a year after a global bishops’ summit in which Francis promised bold action.

What has been done since is “too little and too late and still not enough,” said Matthias Katsch, a spokesman for German abuse survivors’ organisation Eckiger Tisch.

“This crisis affects the whole church worldwide. It will not end until all stories have been told and have been heard, all crimes have been solved and all victims have been compensated,” he added.

Phil Saviano, a victim and campaigner from the U.S. who helped uncover the infamous “Spotlight” abuse cover-up scandal in Boston, also addressed reporters.

Speaking on behalf of the Bishop Accountability group, he said that studies in the U.S., Australia and Germany suggest that the percentage of child molesters within the Catholic clergy is at least 5 per cent.

He called it “a highly believable number.”

At the end of last year’s summit, Francis said the Catholic Church would stop covering up the crimes of paedophile priests “as was usual in the past.”

He followed up with two key reforms: He made it compulsory for clergy to report cases of abuse or cover up to their church superiors (but not to police), and abolished Vatican secrecy laws for such cases.

But according to Anne Barrett Doyle, Co-director of Bishop Accountability, church rules are still not strict enough.

“It is entirely possible today, as it was a year ago, for a bishop to knowingly keep an abuser in ministry or return him to ministry and for neither one of them to suffer a consequence under canon law,” she said.

“It is preposterous that a global organisation that cares for millions of children still finds it OK to return a child molester to his job under certain circumstances,” Barrett Doyle said.

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Las víctimas consideran que el Vaticano está a “medio camino” para acabar con los abusos

[Victims believe that the Vatican is “halfway” to end abuses]

ROME (ITALY)
Vida Neuva Digital (Spain)

February 17, 2020

“Sabemos que la Iglesia por sí misma no va a cambiar las cosas, la opinión pública tiene que presionarla”, sostiene Matthias Katsch, de la red ‘Ending Clergy Abuse’

Los responsables de Bishopaccountability.org aplauden los pasos dados un año después de la conferencia sobre protección de menores, aunque consideran que queda mucho por hacer

[We know that the Church itself will not change things, public opinion has to press it,” says Matthias Katsch, of the ‘Ending Clergy Abuse’ network

[Those responsible for Bishopaccountability.org applaud the steps taken a year after the conference on child protection, although they believe that much remains to be done]

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Missbrauchs-Opferverbände vom Vatikan enttäuscht

[Abuse victim associations disappointed by the Vatican]

ROME (ITALY)
Deutsche Welle

February 17, 2020

Auch ein Jahr nach dem Gipfel im Vatikan zum sexuellen Missbrauch tut sich die katholische Kirche bei der Aufklärung schwer. Kardinäle und Bischöfe reagieren oftmals erst auf öffentlichen Druck hin, wie Opfer monieren.

[Even a year after the Vatican Summit on Sexual Abuse, the Catholic Church is struggling to educate. Cardinals and bishops often only respond to public pressure, victims complain.]

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February 17, 2020

I Have a Story for Pope Francis about Priestly Celibacy

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Times

February 13, 2020

By Mimi Bull

Who pays the price when a priest breaks his vow?

Want the human story on priestly celibacy? Talk to someone who’s paid the price.

I am bitterly disappointed by the news that Pope Francis will not be relaxing priestly celibacy rules in remote parts of the Amazon. The idea — intended to make it easier to recruit priests in underserved areas — was supported by a Vatican conference in October, but in his papal document, released on Wednesday, Francis ignored their suggestion.

My interest in this isn’t the mild curiosity of a lapsed Catholic. I am the child of a priest who broke his vow of celibacy and left a legacy of secrecy that was devastating to him, to my mother and particularly to me.

To hide my father’s broken vow, I was told that I was adopted. I did not know until I was 35 that my “adoptive mother” was actually my grandmother and my “adoptive sister” was, in reality, my mother. But even then, I wasn’t told the whole truth. At the time, I was told my father had been a businessman from Pennsylvania.

If only I had known that my real father was the beloved young pastor of our local Polish parish in Norwood, Mass. He was a regular guest in our home, and we attended weekly Mass in his church. He died at the end of my freshman year at Smith College. I didn’t find out until the age of 50, on the day of my birth mother’s funeral, that the man I adored as “Pate” — my own nickname, short for the Latin “pater” — and the community knew as “Father Hip” was my father.

I was more fortunate than most children of priests. The man and woman I now know to have been my birth parents, chose to raise me, nurture me and, in the depths of the Depression, give me as normal a life as they could manage within a complex web of secrecy. My father chose to be involved in my life; he referred to himself as my “guardian,” and I found out after my mother died that he had held this title legally.

Nonetheless, all the secrecy took a toll on a sensitive child. I knew I was somehow different. I knew instinctively that there were things I could not mention casually — the frequency with which my mother, Pate and I got together alone, for instance, including trips to Boston for dinner. Secrecy became second nature.

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Bills would give more time to punish pedophiles

SIOUX CITY (IA)
Sioux City Journal

February 17, 2020

By Rod Boshart

Des Moines – Iowa lags behind other states when it comes to aiding childhood victims of sexual abuse by adults — oftentimes family members, teachers, clergy or other close associates, according to experts.

“We would love to see Iowa step forward from being one of the worst in the country to being one of the best,” said Marci Hamilton, chief executive officer and academic director for Child USA, a Philadelphia nonprofit think tank working nationally to end child abuse and neglect.

Iowa ranks among the worst states in terms of its statute of limitation on child abuse laws and is “in the middle of mediocre land” for limits on child abuse civil actions. Meanwhile, it can takes years for abuse survivors to fully understand wrongs that were perpetrated against them, Hamilton said.

Last year saw a flurry of changes spurred by public outrage over a series of high-profile abuse situations. Twelve states eliminated their criminal statutes of limitations and nine — including Iowa — extended their time frames. A number of states extended or eliminated their civil provisions, and nine provided windows for victims to seek redress for alleged abuses that occurred before the period to bring claims had “timed out.”

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The Conspiracy of Catholicism

ALACHUA (FL)
Alachua Today

February 2, 2020

By Robert Wilford

Dear Most Holy Father:

Thank you for attempting to humanize the office of pope.

The majority of Catholics have blindly viewed pontiffs as God-like and incapable of making mistakes because of being infallible.

Your actions, so far, do give me hope. I pray you will lead us toward renewal (retaining the good stuff), reformation (discarding the bad stuff), and rebirth (uncompromising justice and renewed spirituality).

I first contacted John Paul II in 1993, and again in 2002. I contacted Benedict XVI several times during his papacy.

I challenged them to reform an indifferently corrupt and a conspiracy-driven theocracy for the innumerable crimes the hierarchy had committed for centuries.

Mandated priest celibacy, the murder of Joan of Arc, persecution of Martin Luther, imprisonment of Galileo, unjust inquisitions and crusades and the coddling of clergy sexual predators are examples of the church’s abuse of power.

The current crisis is attributable to the disreputable leadership of John Paul and Benedict for not putting the needs of victims first over predator priests.

John Paul and Benedict shamefully elected to shelter sodomizers and the institution of Catholicism itself above all else.

I urge you to stand on your perch at Saint Peter’s this Ash Wednesday and declare:

“We, the popes, cardinals, bishops and priests of the Roman Catholic Church have been grievously and sinfully wrong since the very beginning of the church’s history in protecting predator priests at the expense of the victims of clergy sexual abuse. Humbly, we openly admit our culpability, and, in professing our shame, ask for forgiveness from God and all humanity for the unspeakable crimes we have committed against victimized children and their families for nearly 2,000 years.”

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Menlo Church pastor allowed volunteer attracted to minors to work with children

PALO ALTO (CA)
Daily Post

February 7, 2020

By Emily Mibach

A popular pastor at Menlo Church in downtown Menlo Park was put on leave for two months because he allowed a volunteer who had unwanted thoughts about children to continue volunteering with the youth in the church.

The congregant told pastor John Ortberg in July 2018 that he had “an unwanted thought pattern of attraction to minors,” according to a letter from church Elder Board Chair Beth Seabolt to church members.

The congregant claims to have not acted on this attraction attraction, and was seeking Ortberg’s support, according to the letter. Ortberg prayed with the church member and provided referrals for counseling, the letter says.

“However, John failed to take the required steps to prevent the person from volunteering with minors at the Menlo Park campus and did not consult anyone else at Menlo Church about the situation,” the letter says.

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A Sin or a Crime?

LITTLE ROCK (AR)
Bilgrimage

February 5, 2020

By Ruth Krall

Sentence: 38-76 years of imprisonment: This means that Smucker will likely die in jail. The crime: 20 felony counts for sexually molesting children, i.e., rape, of his grandchildren.

I have been following this case by means of media coverage. Mennonites often idealize the Amish —while not wanting to be Amish. I have never done this kind of idealizing.

I don’t know what my Lutheran father knew but he was quite clear with me that many Amish men and many Mennonite men were not nice men and that, as I began to date, I needed to protect myself. It was an explicit message about not dating and not marrying a Mennonite man.

Even as a very young girl I absorbed the warning and protected myself. As I became a teenager on the cusp of adult life he was much more explicit with me about the need to protect myself when he could no longer do this as my father — because he was not going to be present as I matured into young adult life.

My answer, therefore, to the sin or crime dilemma is that sexual abuse of children and adolescents, i.e., rape, by their grandfather, is a crime and a sin phenomenon. It is a sin problem for the perpetrator’s religious community to manage and it is a crime problem for the perpetrator’s secular community to manage. It is, therefore, simultaneously both a sin and a crime problem. For the victims of child or adolescent sexual abuse, the act of sexual violation is a sin against them and it is also a crime act against them.

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Disgraced religious order tried to get abuse victim to lie

MILAN (ITALY)
Associated Press

February 17, 2020

By Nicole Winfield and María Verza

The cardinal’s response was not what Yolanda Martinez expected – or could abide.

Her son had been sexually abused by one of the priests of the Legion of Christ, a disgraced religious order. And now she was calling Cardinal Valasio De Paolis – the Vatican official appointed by the pope to lead the Legion, and to clean it up – to report the settlement the group was offering, and to express her outrage.

The terms: Martinez’s family would receive 15,000 euros from the order. But in return, her son would have to recant the testimony he gave to Milan prosecutors that the priest had repeatedly assaulted him when he was a 12-year-old student at the order’s youth seminary in northern Italy. He would have to lie.

The cardinal did not seem shocked. He did not share her indignation.

Instead, he chuckled. He said she shouldn’t sign the deal, but should try to work out another agreement without attorneys: “Lawyers complicate things. Even Scripture says that among Christians we should find agreement.”

The conversation between the aggrieved mother and Pope Benedict XVI’s personal envoy was wiretapped. The tape – as well as the six-page settlement proposal – are key pieces of evidence in a criminal trial opening next month in Milan. Prosecutors allege that Legion lawyers and priests tried to obstruct justice, and extort Martinez’s family by offering them money to recant testimony to prosecutors in hopes of quashing a criminal investigation into the abusive priest, Father Vladimir Resendiz Gutierrez.

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West Michigan dioceses refuse to release pedophile priests lists

GRAND RAPIDS (MI)
WOOD TV 8 NBC

February 14, 2020

By Ken Kolker

Kallmazoo MI – n the face of an ongoing Michigan Attorney General’s investigation, most of the state’s Catholic dioceses have released lists of priests credibly accused as pedophiles.

Those lists include 135 names, 85 of which are in the Detroit archdiocese alone.

The only two of the state’s seven dioceses that haven’t released their lists: Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo.

Church leaders in Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids have refused not only Target 8’s request to release the lists, but the requests of a survivor support group and survivors themselves.

For survivor Ann Phillips Browning, it raises questions:

“Do you care about little kids? Do you really care about us survivors? Do you care that there might be other survivors out there that are living in pain and shame because they think they’re the only one?”

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Boris Johnson sacked him, but Julian Smith is a hero to us, the victims of abuse in church care

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Guardian

February 15, 2020

By Margaret McGuckin

Ex-Northern Ireland secretary pushed through law promising justice for children abused in orphanages

Regardless of what the prime minister thinks of the minister he swiftly sacked last week as Northern Ireland secretary, for victims of institutional abuse Julian Smith remains our guardian angel.

For those who have been campaigning for justice, Julian’s brief time in Belfast should be remembered for championing our struggle. Julian did more to ensure survivors of sexual and physical abuse in state-funded institutions got recompense and recognition than any other politician over many years.

He had the drive and the decency to single-handedly push the Historical Institutional Abuse (Northern Ireland) Act through the House of Commons in November – only a few months after becoming secretary of state. This will create a redress board that will compensate the victims/survivors of abuse that occurred in places such as orphanages and care homes here.

I have been campaigning for an inquiry into institutional abuse in Northern Ireland since 2008, on hearing about the Ryan report into the serial abuse of children in the Republic of Ireland. No matter how much I tried not to listen or read of the horrific accounts of child sexual and physical abuse, neglect and humiliation, in those harsh and very dark places, in the south of Ireland, something finally took hold of me. I had to face a painful truth: this was what I had endured from the age of three to 11.

I listened to one BBC report from Dublin where a lady talked of being almost drowned in baths of disinfectant, beaten, starved, humiliated, neglected, and horrifically abused in so many ways, as had her brothers, sexually, physically, mentally and emotionally.

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Editorial: One year, six months: Survivors have a closing window to seek justice long-denied

NEW YORK (NY)
Daily News

February 16, 2020

Friday was the one-year anniversary of Gov. Cuomo coming to the Daily News, which led a drumbeat of survivor advocacy over the last few years, to sign the Child Victims Act into law. The statute is bringing a modicum of justice to those sexually abused as minors by extending the statute of limitations for many offenses on both the criminal and civil side.

Friday also marked the midway point of a key CVA provision: a year-long lookback window permitting survivors previously blocked by the statute of limitations to file lawsuits against abusers and the institutions that allowed abuse to happen or subsequently covered it up.

Since the window opened on Aug. 14, there have been 1,547 CVA court filings statewide. Given New York’s population, that’s not an outrageous number. Some supporters already are calling for the lookback extended beyond next August’s end date. So far, it’s a bit premature to make that call.

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NY’s Child Victims Act at the midpoint: Syracuse Diocese sued nearly 40 times so far

SYRACUSE (NY)
Syracuse.com

February 14, 2020

By Julie McMahon

Today marks the halfway point for a “look-back” window in New York’s Child Victims Act, and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse already has been sued nearly 40 times.

The Child Victims Act, passed by the state legislature in January 2019, gave child sex abuse victims previously barred by statutes of limitations more time to sue. It also created a one-year window for victims who had previously been barred from suing. The window opened Aug. 14 last year.

Former Boy Scouts, school districts and an elite youth volleyball coach have faced claims here in Onondaga County.

An analysis by Syracuse.com shows the vast majority of Child Victims Act cases filed locally were against the Syracuse Catholic Diocese. Syracuse.com found 45 cases filed under the Child Victims Act, mostly in Onondaga County.

Across the state, the Syracuse diocese was named in 38 cases.

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Few abusers are sued as Child Victims Act lawsuits target institutions

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

February 16, 2020

By Jay Tokasz

Twenty-five years after being sent to prison for sexually abusing his 10-year-old daughter, Thomas D. Skowronski faces more legal fallout over his crimes.

Andrea D’Alimonte, now 35, recently sued Skowronski, her father, under the state’s Child Victims Act. D’Alimonte also named her mother, Patricia L. Saar, as a defendant. D’Alimonte said suing her parents gives her a chance finally to set the record straight about the abuse and its lifelong impact on her.

“I don’t want the pity. I am who I am because of what happened, but I want to be the voice to it,” she said.

D’Alimonte’s case is a rarity.

Halfway into a one-year window under the Child Victims Act that allows victims of childhood sex abuse from decades ago to press their claims in court, more than 95% of the 350 lawsuits filed in Western New York have targeted institutions such as the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, school districts and the Boy Scouts of America.

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