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 16, 2020

‘I told him about my problems’: Priest’s confession of child abuse used to boost case against Catholic Church

TORONTO (ONTARIO, CANADA)
CBC News

February 15, 2020

By Scott Anderson, Lynette Fortune, Mark Kelley

Questions raised over why police and justice officials haven’t pursued church hierarchy

The confession a Quebec priest made just before he died in prison is being used by his victims to try to hold the Catholic Church accountable for decades of child abuse.

Defrocked priest Paul-André Harvey alleged that over a 20-year period when he served in parishes in the Saguenay region, his direct superiors were not only aware of his crimes against children, but they also enabled his abuse and covered up for him.

“I wish to inform you of the circumstances regarding the multiple charges of sexual assault over a period of 20 years,” Harvey wrote in 2017. “I was a priest in many parishes in the diocese of Chicoutimi. My victims were female minors.”

The lawyer for the archdiocese of Chicoutimi dismissed the confession in La Presse as “the lonely tale of a deceased pedophile who, sadly, will never be cross-examined.”

But an investigation by CBC’s The Fifth Estate and the Radio-Canada program Enquête into Harvey’s years of unchecked child abuse raises wider questions about why police and justice officials have not pursued the church hierarchy in Canada.

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.

New Jersey dioceses push victims fund deadline to Feb. 29

TRENTON (NJ)
Associated Press

February 14, 2020

By Mike Catalini

New Jersey’s Roman Catholic dioceses have given a two-week extension to childhood victims of sexual assault considering filing for compensation from a fund the church set up, the account’s co-administrator said Friday.

Camille Biros, the co-administrator of the fund covering all five dioceses, including the Archdiocese of Newark, said in a phone interview that so far more than $10 million in 81 different cases has been paid out. The previous deadline for submissions to be filed with the fund was Feb. 15. It is now Feb. 29.

This is the second time the deadline had been extended.

Biros said the reason for the extensions was simple.

“We just wanted to extend it to get as many people into the program,” she said.

According to Biros, 593 claims have been filed are are being reviewed. Eight were deemed not eligible for a variety of reasons, including that the clergy were either not diocesan priests or the victim was not a minor, she said.

The fund does not cover abuses by religious order priests, such as Jesuits, who may serve in parishes or schools but are not ordained by the diocese.

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

Father Josh: A married Catholic priest in a celibate world

DALLAS (TX)
Associated Press

February 14, 2020

By Tim Sullivan

The priest wakes up at 4 a.m. on the days he celebrates the early Mass, sipping coffee and enjoying the quiet while his young children sleep in rooms awash in stuffed animals and Sesame Street dolls and pictures of saints. Then he kisses his wife goodbye and drives through the empty suburban streets of north Dallas to the church he oversees.

In a Catholic world where debates over clerical celibacy have flared from Brazil to the Vatican, Joshua Whitfield is that rarest of things: A married Catholic priest.

The Roman Catholic church has demanded celibacy of its priests since the Middle Ages, calling it a “spiritual gift” that enables men to devote themselves fully to the church. But as a shortage of priests becomes a crisis in parts of the world, liberal wings in the church have been arguing that it’s time to reassess that stance. On Wednesday, Pope Francis sidestepped the latest debate on celibacy, releasing an eagerly awaited document that avoided any mention of recommendations by Latin American bishops to consider ordaining married men in the Amazon, where believers can go months without seeing a priest.

Even the most liberal of popes have refused to change the tradition.

It is “the mark of a heroic soul and the imperative call to unique and total love for Christ and His Church,” Pope Paul VI wrote in 1967.

Then there’s Josh Whitfield.

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.

No Sexual Abuse Charges Against Fresno Priest Despite ‘Credible’ Allegations from 1990s

LOS ANGELES (CA)
KTLA

February 15, 2020

Despite “credible” allegations of sexual abuse against a central California priest, prosecutors said Friday that they are unable to file charges against him because the statute of limitations has expired.

Monsignor Craig Harrison was placed on administrative leave from the Diocese of Fresno last April after an alleged victim, now an adult, claimed the priest molested him when he was a teenage altar boy.

“While the allegations made against Monsignor Harrison appear credible to investigators, they reportedly occurred in the 1990s. These allegations were not reported to law enforcement until April of 2019,” the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement.

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

List of Catholic priests suspected of abuse is incomplete

GRAND FORKS (ND)
Grand Forks Herald

February 15, 2020

By Jim Shaw

Fargo – The Catholic Dioceses of Fargo and Bismarck should be commended for finally releasing the dozens of names of clergy and religious members who have been accused of sexually abusing children. Better late than never. Full disclosure: One of the priests on the list has been a longtime family friend, and co-officiated my wedding.

“I first ask forgiveness for the shameful acts of those clergy who caused harm to young people and abused the trust placed in them by God and the faithful,” Fargo Bishop John Folda said in a statement. “No excuse can be made for these actions, nor does this release of names fully address the pain of victims of abuse.” Folda’s comments are sincere, direct and comforting.

Fargo attorney Tim O’Keeffe represents several victims of sexual abuse committed by area Catholic Church officials. “It’s a good first step,” O’Keeffe said. “We’ve waited a long time for this list.”

Nancy (not her real name) was sexually abused by a North Dakota priest when she was 12-years-old. “It was so scary,” Nancy said. “He told me not to tell anybody.”

Nancy is still receiving therapy for the abuse, and that abuse permanently changed her. “I’m still afraid of people,” Nancy said. “I used to be outgoing, but now I’m introverted. I still feel the horror.”

Seeing the name of the priest who abused her finally publicly identified by the diocese means a lot to Nancy. “I’m not the bad person anymore for accusing him,“ Nancy said. “Now, I feel so relieved. I feel totally vindicated.”

Still, O’Keeffe is not satisfied. He said the dioceses need to release more information, such as the dates of the misconduct, the parish assignments of the offenders, and where they are living. He also said the list is incomplete. “We know of more cases of priests who should be on that list,” O’Keeffe said.

Attorney Mike Bryant agrees. He represents four clients in North Dakota, who are victims of sexual abuse from priests. Bryant said the church is not naming priests involved in fairly recent incidents because the dioceses don’t want any more lawsuits.

“They clearly held names back,” Bryant said. “These are all old offenses. There are no names from the last 30 years. The idea that nothing happened recently is ludicrous.”

Bryant said one of his clients, from Fargo, was abused by a priest whose name was not on the list, and he’s still serving as a priest. “I’m 100% convinced that she was sexually abused,” Bryant said. “I’m convinced because of her story, her emotion, and the way the church has dealt with it.”

In his statement, Folda said he considers the list of clergy “complete for now,” but “not a closed list.” He went on to say, “I am encouraged that there have been very few substantiated cases of abuse in recent decades.”

However, Folda has declined to answer any questions about the list. The issues raised by O’Keeffe and Bryant deserve answers.

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.

‘Secrets in our culture’: Victims of child sex abuse urge lawmakers to take action

PRATT (KS)
Pratt Tribune

February 15, 2020

By Sherman Smith

Kathryn Robb wanted lawmakers to know about the monsters.

Her voice rising in volume and urgency, Robb delivered a sermon on the evils of child abuse in a legislative hearing Tuesday. She focused fury at coaches, religious leaders, pediatricians and others who have preyed on hundreds of victims apiece.

“Folks who have access to children are abusing children at alarming rates,” Robb said. “So now we’re learning. We’re learning that things were not the way we thought they were — that there are secrets in our culture, there are secrets in our society, there are secrets in our institutions that we’re just now learning about. We are in the midst of a worldwide epidemic.”

She is the executive director of Child USAdvocacy and a survivor of childhood sexual abuse.

Robb and others testified in support of legislation that would lift the statute of limitations on civil lawsuits filed in response to child sex abuse. Current law requires lawsuits to be filed within three years after the victim turns 18.

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.

Editorial: Child crimes should have no statute of limitations

TAHLEQUAH (OK)
Daily Press

February 15, 2020

When the child molestation scandal in the Roman Catholic Church was at its height several years ago, many Americans were mortified to learn that statutes of limitation across the country precluded prosecution of predatory priests. Some states quickly made adjustments in their criminal law to deal with that injustice.

For some reason, Oklahoma lawmakers have only turned a tentative corner in that regard, but not for lack of trying on the part of Carol Bush, R-Tulsa. She introduced legislation in 2017 to remove the statute of limitations on sex crimes against children, as well as prosecution of child-trafficking cases. This year, her repeat bill passed the House Judiciary Committee, but its chances for passage looked good in 2017, too – until revamps on the bill changed the statute of limitation to expire at age 45 for victims.

This time around, maybe the Legislature will see fit to remove all obstacles to punishing those who harm our most precious and vulnerable citizens: our children.

Bush explained what most people already know – that sometimes, because of the nature of these crimes and the trauma they cause, victims often don’t come forward until many years later. In fact, sometimes they block the terrible memories of the abuse. It takes emotional maturity to face the chain of events that lead to prosecution, not to mention the abusers themselves – and that type of maturity takes many years to acquire. In fact, Bush pointed out, the average victim doesn’t report the crime until he or she is 52.

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.

‘I kept my story quiet.’ They were abused as children, but will Kansas let them sue?

WICHITA (KS)
Wichita Eagle

February 16, 2020

By Jonathan Shorman

One detailed how her father sexually abused her decades ago. Another recalled a priest fondling him as a teenager. And yet another remembered walking directly back to class after a priest raped her in the fourth grade.

One by one, they pleaded with lawmakers. Their main message: Please help us. Please help victims.

Kansas generally gives victims of childhood sexual abuse three years to file lawsuits once they turn 18. The limited window shuts out a vast array of victims, including many struggling well into adulthood.

But legislators are weighing whether to eliminate the time limit. And victims are pushing for a “lookback” window allowing lawsuits to be brought over abuse that occurred decades ago. Researchers are in widespread agreement that child victims frequently don’t disclose their abuse until adulthood.

As more states move to reform their statutes of limitations for child sex abuse lawsuits, victims are watching to see whether Kansas will be next. Can the change they desperately want advance all the way through the legislative process and become law amid the swirl of election-year politics and other issues demanding attention?

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.

Judge refuses to lower bond for former Dallas priest accused of sexually abusing children

DALLAS (TX)
Fox 4 KDFW

February 16, 2020

A judge refused to reduce the bond of a former Dallas Catholic priest accused of sexually assaulting children.

Bond for Richard Thomas Brown is still $100,000.

The arrest affidavit describes psychologist reports from the 1990s in which Brown admitted to abusing several children during his time with the Dallas Catholic Diocese.

Brown was arrested last month in Missouri.

He is among 32 priests the diocese lists as “credibly accused” of sexually abusing children over the past 70-years.

Some of those priests are no longer living.

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.

Mandatory reporting laws for religious institutions come into effect

MELBURNE (VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA)
The Age

February 16, 2020

By Sumeyya Ilanbey

Laws requiring clergy to report child abuse to authorities — even if it’s heard in the confession box — will come into effect on Monday, ending the “special treatment” for Victoria’s religious institutions.

The seal has now been lifted for the suspected sexual abuse of children, with spiritual and religious leaders required to report the abuse or face up to three years in prison.

“From [Monday], our promise to put the safety of children ahead of the secrecy of the confession is in full effect and there is no excuse for people who fail to report abuse,” said Attorney-General Jill Hennessy.

The changes bring religious and spiritual leaders in line with teachers, police, medical practitioners, nurses, school counsellors, and early childhood and youth justice workers, who are required to report the abuse and mistreatment of children.

The Catholic Church was a staunch critic of requiring priests to break the seal, with Melbourne Archbishop Peter Comensoli publicly declaring he would rather go to jail.

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.

Former Richmond priest accused of child sex abuse

RICHMOND (VA)
WTVR CBS 6

February 14, 2020

They say the representative of a deceased victim has shared allegations of sexual abuse by reverend Raymond Barton.

The Richmond Catholic Diocese has added another clergyman’s name to their list of priests accused of sexually abusing a minor.

Diocese officials said Friday the representative of a deceased victim has shared allegations of sexual abuse by Rev. Msgr. Raymond Barton.

A representative of the victim came forward with a report detailing allegations of child sex abuse by Barton.

The report claims the abuse happened back in the early 1970s when the victim was a minor.

Church officials say Barton has been a pastor at six catholic churches across Central Virginia and Hampton Roads since 1966.

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

Retired priest accused of sexual and physical assaults

LONDON (ENGLAND)
BBC

February 14, 2020

A retired priest has been charged with 18 offences allegedly committed at schools in the Highlands and East Lothian between the 1950s and 1980s.

Robert MacKenzie, 87, from Cupar, Saskatchewan, in Canada, has been accused of sexual and physical assaults.

The offences allegedly took place at Fort Augustus Abbey and a preparatory school in North Berwick.

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.

February 15, 2020

An abusive priest was ordered not to wear clerical garb or celebrate Mass. He did anyway

LOUISVILLE (KY)
Courier-Journal

February 14, 2020

By Andrew Wolfson

When the Archdiocese of Louisville in 2005 confirmed that the Rev. J. Irvin Mouser had molested five boys — several at drive-in movies — the Vatican ordered him to stop functioning as a priest.

The Holy See commanded Mouser to live a life of “prayer and penance,” meaning he could no longer wear clerical garb, celebrate Mass publicly, administer the sacraments or present himself publicly as a priest.

But Mouser did all of those things, The Courier Journal found.

While the archdiocese listed him in its ministers directory as “retired” and “removed from public ministry,” the Sisters of Loretto, which is south of Bardstown in Marion County, put him to work as the chaplain in its motherhouse.

There, according to photos on its website, while wearing full clerical garb, Mouser gave blessings and celebrated Mass.

“My role is to meet the spiritual needs of this ever-growing community,” he was quoted in the winter 2018 issue of Loretto Magazine.

On Friday, just a few hours after The Courier Journal asked the order why it was allowing Mouser to serve as chaplain — and provided links to photographs of him in clerical robes — a spokeswoman said it was removing him from the community.

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

Retired local Catholic priest accused of child sexual abuse

NORFOLK (VA)
WTKR

February 14, 2020

A retired priest for the Catholic Diocese of Richmond who served in Hampton Roads has been accused of child sexual abuse. according to a statement by the Diocese of Richmond.

According to the diocese, a representative for a deceased victim came forward with a report sharing allegations of child sexual abuse by Rev. Msgr. Raymond Barton, who was ordained in 1966. The incident is alleged to have occurred in the early 1970s.

Barton served as an associate pastor at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, Richmond, and as a faculty member at St. John Vianney Seminary, Goochland. He was a pastor at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Norfolk; Saint Nicholas Catholic Church in Virginia Beach; and Holy Comforter Catholic Church in Charlottesville.

He also served as a co-pastor for Church of the Holy Apostles in Virginia Beach.

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.

More suits claim sex abuse by late Orange County priest

MIDDELTOWN (NY)
Times Herald-Record

February 14, 2020

By Chris McKenna

At least 10 people who say they were sexually abused as children by a priest who worked in Orange County for a dozen years in the 1980s and ’90s have now sued the Catholic Church under a recent law that gave them the ability to file those cases.

The latest lawsuit involving Father Edward Pipala, who died in 2013 after serving seven years in prison, was brought by two Orange County men who say he abused them many times while they were parishioners at Sacred Heart Church in Monroe, where Pipala worked from 1981 to 1988 and ran the youth ministry.

One victim says Pipala began abusing him when he was 13 and did so about 150 times over five years.

The other estimates Pipala assaulted him as many as 200 times while the priest was at Sacred Heart and then at St. John the Evangelist in Goshen, which he led as its pastor until 1992.

The assaults took place in the church basement and rectory at Sacred Heart and at a Jersey Shore condo where Pipala used to bring groups of boys for overnight stays, according to a case the two plaintiffs jointly filed on Monday against Sacred Heart and Catholic Archdiocese of New York in state Supreme Court in Manhattan.

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

Retired Bishop Clark to be deposed within next 30 days, judge rules

ROCHESTER (NY)
WHAM

February 11, 2020

A federal judge has ruled retired Bishop Matthew Clark will be deposed amid ongoing bankruptcy proceedings against the Diocese of Rochester.

The diocese filed for bankruptcy last year amid the filing of lawsuits under the Child Victims Act.

Attorneys had asked a judge to put the retired bishop on the stand. They say Clark, who presided over the diocese for more than three decades, knows the answers to questions only he can answer related to “his knowledge of sexual abuse”, “transfers of sexual abusers” and how complaints against priests were investigated.

In September, the diocese announced Clark had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. The diagnosis was announced less than a month after lawsuits began to be filed under the Child Victims Act, and less than two weeks before the diocese declared it was filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Attorneys for CVA victims said it was critical Clark answer questions related to their cases “before he is no longer able to testify.”

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.

St. Rocco’s priest’s legacy is questioned: Sexual abuse victim calls for removal of name from church

GARDEN CITY (NY)
Long Island Herald

February 13, 2020

By Ronny Reyes

The Rev. Eligio Della Rosa served the parish of the Church of St. Rocco for more than 15 years. Although he first arrived in Glen Cove in 1965 for a four-year stay, it wasn’t until he returned in 1975 that he solidified his legacy in the city by reinstating the famous Feast of St. Rocco’s, a five-day festival celebrating the church and the city’s Italian-American heritage.

The annual festival, known locally as the “Best Feast in the East,” attracts hundreds of visitors to the city. For Della Rosa’s work at St. Rocco’s, the church named a parish center after him. Della Rosa died while serving at the church in 1991.

While he is remembered for his service in Glen Cove, an allegation of sexual abuse against him recently resurfaced: The attorney for a man who claims the priest abused him more than 50 years ago, at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Rocky Point, is demanding that the priest’s name be removed from the St. Rocco parish center. The attorney, Mitchell Garabedian — who was portrayed by actor Stanley Tucci in the Oscar-winning film “Spotlight,” about the Boston Globe’s series of stories detailing the abuse allegations against priests in Boston — said he had reached an out-of-court, low-six-figure settlement with the Diocese of Rockville Centre last September for Della Rosa’s alleged abuse of the man when he was a teenager in 1964, a year before Della Rosa came to Glen Cove.

“He asked my client to meet him in the pews of the church, and my client did,” Garabedian said by phone at a news conference outside the Church of St. Rocco on Feb. 5. “And that’s where my client was sexually abused by Father Della Rosa, by Father Della Rosa instructing my client to perform oral sex on Father Della Rosa at the age of 14.”

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.

Philly’s Catholic archdiocese paid a six-figure clergy sex-abuse settlement

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Inquirer

February 14, 2020

By Mensah M. Dean and Jeremy Roebuck

https://www.inquirer.com/news/mitchell-garabedian-clergy-sex-abuse-archdiocese-philadelphia-john-bradley-20200215.html

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia last year paid a six-figure settlement to a man who alleged he was abused by the Rev. John J. Bradley at St. Charles Borromeo parish in the 1980s. But the accuser’s lawyer and church officials couldn’t agree Friday on which John J. Bradley was accused.

The issue, a church spokesperson said, is that two priests by that name worked at the Drexel Hill parish — one between 1963 and 1968, the other between 1977 and 1996. The archdiocese maintains that its victim compensation fund settled the case over the alleged conduct of the latter priest, who died more than two decades ago.

But at a news conference outside the archdiocese’s Center City offices Friday, the accuser’s lawyer and an activist blamed the other priest, who is still alive, and criticized the archdiocese for letting him retire quietly to an archdiocesan home in Darby Borough.

Three hours later, they admitted they had accused the wrong man after The Inquirer raised questions about the discrepancies between their account and that of archdiocesan officials.

“I believe that the sexual abuser in this matter was the late Father John J. Bradley and not any other priest, given the recent admission by the representative of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia,” Mitchell Garabedian, the accuser’s attorney, said three hours after the news conference.

Either way, neither Bradley appears on the archdiocese’s public list of credibly accused priests, raising questions over how comprehensive and transparent it is.

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 this time of great scandal, faithful priests need your love more than ever

McLEAN (VA)
USA Today

February 15, 2020

By Tim Busch

In this time of great scandal, faithful priests need your love more than ever

After suffering the anguish of the abuse among their ranks, priests across our nation are battling feelings of profound defeat.

There’s a crisis in the Catholic Church that no one’s talking about. It’s not abuse. It’s not cover-ups. It doesn’t spring from Vatican infighting. It starts much closer to home, with the shepherds who guide the flock. Many good and godly Catholic priests are struggling with their vocation.

I realized this in January after hosting a conference for nearly 200 American priests. At a similar event in 2019, I could tell that morale was low. It hadn’t been that long since the summer of shame, when the Pennsylvania grand jury report peeled back the curtain on terrible abuse mostly during the 20th Century and former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick was removed from ministry for abusing children and seminary students. It was a low point for every Catholic, including — or perhaps, especially — priests. I assumed that the mood would improve over the year. It got worse.

Nearly every priest I spoke with in January admitted it’s a tough time. Father John Riccardo, a Midwestern priest whose job includes encouraging his peers, told me “it’s never been this bad.” They’re also beat down by the sins of priests who perpetrated terrible crimes. Most priests already deal daily with struggling and suffering parishioners, so they particularly feel the wounds inflicted on God’s people.

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.

Federal judge: Archdiocese seeking counsel of Saints PR man on priest abuse list was my idea

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
NOLA.com

February 14, 2020

By Ramon Antonio Vargas

U.S. District Judge Jay Zainey says the PR man — Greg Bensel — is a longtime, trusted personal friend and a skilled practitioner of his craft

A federal judge in New Orleans said Friday that he gave Archbishop Gregory Aymond the idea of bringing in the Saints’ top public relations executive to advise the archdiocese as it prepared to release a list of allegedly abusive clergymen.

Jay Zainey, a devout Catholic who has sat on the U.S. District Court bench in New Orleans since 2002, said he told Aymond before the November 2018 release of the list that Greg Bensel, the NFL team’s vice president of communications and a longtime friend of Zainey, could help manage the latest flare-up in the abuse scandal and ensure that parishioners and the public understood that safety measures were now in place to prevent “sins of the past” from recurring.

Zainey offered the suggestion during a chance encounter with Aymond at a Mass, 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.

Valley Catholic priest accused of abuse will not face charges

FRESNO (CA)
ABC 30

February 14, 2020

By Corin Hoggard

A Catholic priest accused of abuse by people across the Valley will not face criminal charges in the last active investigation.

The Fresno County district attorney’s office released a statement late Friday afternoon announcing they will not file a sex abuse case against Monsignor Craig Harrison, despite a police report filed by a man in Firebaugh deemed credible by their investigators.

Police in Bakersfield and Merced have previously announced they would not pursue charges against Harrison for abuse reports in their jurisdictions.

Both Fresno County prosecutors and Merced police mentioned the statute of limitations as an issue with their investigations.

The state only allows prosecutors to file most sex abuse cases until the victim turns 40 years old unless there’s DNA evidence or “independent corroborating evidence.”

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Priest accused of abuse won’t face charges in Fresno County

FRESNO (CA)
KMPH

February 14, 2020

The Fresno County District Attorney’s Office has decided it will not file sexual assault charges against Monsignor Craig Harrison, citing the statute of limitations.

Even so, “the allegations made against Monsignor Harrison appear credible to investigators,” a news release from the District Attorney’s office reads.

The office had been investigating sexual misconduct accusations dating back to the 1990’s, while Harrison had been assigned to a church in Firebaugh.

But the allegations were not reported to law enforcement until April of 2019.

“The District Attorney’s decision is based upon the statute of limitations that applies to criminal cases. A different statute of limitations may apply to civil actions,” says a news release.

In November, the Merced County District Attorney decided not to file charges.

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.

Saskatchewan priest sent back to Scotland to answer for decades old sexual abuse charges

SASKATOON (SASKATCHEWAN, CANADA)
Saskatoon Star-Phoenix

February 14, 2020

By Alec Salloum

https://thestarphoenix.com/news/local-news/saskatchewan-priest-sent-back-to-scotland-to-answer-for-decades-old-sexual-abuse-charges/wcm/8862c9bd-ab05-446e-9a5c-6ea86b62ec3a

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Regina was informed on Thursday afternoon that Robert MacKenzie was extradited.

A Catholic priest who spent decades serving in Saskatchewan has been extradited to Scotland to face a slew of sexual abuse charges.

On Friday the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Regina confirmed that Robert MacKenzie, 87, had been sent back to the United Kingdom. The BBC has reported he made no plea at a private appearance on the charges.

According to previously reported information, MacKenzie faces allegations spanning 30 years — between the 1950s and 1980s — when he served as a Benedictine monk at two boys’ boarding schools.

Eric Gurash, director of communication for the Archdiocese, said they were told on Thursday afternoon that MacKenzie had left the country.

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February 14, 2020

Former Priest Convicted in Cold-Case Murder Dies in Prison

PASADENA (CA)
Courthouse News

February 13, 2020

By Erik De La Garza

Edinburg TX – John Feit, the former Catholic priest who spent more than five decades shrouded in suspicion for his involvement in the 1960 murder of McAllen schoolteacher Irene Garza, died in prison on Tuesday. He was 87.

Preliminary reports indicate that Feit, who resided in Scottsdale, Arizona, before being extradited to Texas in 2016 to face murder charges for Garza’s Easter weekend suffocation death, died of cardiac arrest, said Robert Hurst, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Hurst said Thursday evening that Feit was pronounced dead at 5:38 a.m. Tuesday at Huntsville Hospital after being found unresponsive just before 5 a.m. in his cell at the Estelle Unit.

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Terence McKiernan, president of the watchdog group BishopsAccountability.org who attended Feit’s trial in Edinburg called Garza a “saintly person” whose life and death inspired activists to bring Feit to justice. Feit preyed upon Garza’s devout Catholic beliefs, and her rape and murder “is especially important and heartbreaking,” McKiernan said.

“This case brings together many essential aspects of the clergy abuse crisis. Despite his crime, Feit was transferred away from McAllen, and he had a second career as an important priest of the Servants of the Paraclete in Jemez Springs, New Mexico,” McKiernan said.

In that role, Feit formulated and implemented a “disastrous” policy allowing pedophile priests in treatment with the Servants to work and reoffend in surrounding communities, according to McKiernan. That policy led to former Catholic priest James Porter’s sexual abuse of dozens of children, for which he was convicted of in the 1990s, with Feit in the center of a new phase in the abuse crisis.

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For Denver Comedian Ben Roy, Opening Up About His Abuse in the Catholic Church Was About Standing Up for Himself

CENTENNIAL (C0)
Colorado Public Radio

February 14, 2020

By Xandra McMahon

https://www.cpr.org/2020/02/14/for-denver-comedian-ben-roy-opening-up-about-his-abuse-in-the-catholic-church-was-about-standing-up-for-himself/

Ben Roy was 7-years-old when the abuse first took place at his Catholic summer camp.

He didn’t tell his parents until years later. But no action was taken — until now.

Roy, a Denver comedian, spoke with CPR in 2018 about the abuse he endured at a New Hampshire summer camp run by the Diocese of Manchester called Camp Fatima.

He’s part of a wave of survivors demanding acknowledgment in some form from the church of the abuse they endured.

For some survivors in Colorado, that means financial reparations. The state’s Catholic Church has paid out about a million dollars to nine survivors of abuse since the Jan. 31 deadline to submit claims.

The reparations are one of the few ways abuse survivors can pursue justice in Colorado if their abuse happened before the ’90s, when the statute of limitations was much more limited.

But for survivors like Roy whose abuse occurred in other states, the windows are left open for decades, allowing criminal cases to be made.

Since his initial interview, Roy was contacted by the New Hampshire Attorney General and an investigation was opened.

He returned to Colorado Matters to talk about what it’s like to pursue legal action decades after abuse, and how the results might not be what survivors expect.

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Cardinal Tobin says he wants transparency, but is silent about result of some sex abuse cases

WOODLAND PARK (NJ)
NorthJersey.com

February 14, 2020

By Abbott Koloff

A Catholic church tribunal has arrived at a long-awaited decision in the case of Monsignor George Trabold — more than five years after he stepped down as pastor of a Millburn parish amid allegations of child sex abuse from decades earlier during his time at a parish in Bergen County.

But the Newark Archdiocese declined last week to reveal the verdict in the internal canonical trial.

The archdiocesan response underscored what victims’ advocates said has been a continuation of secretive policies even as Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, the leader of the Newark Archdiocese, has promised to be more open generally and about sex abuse cases in particular.

Last year, the cardinal said that the Catholic Church’s credibility was “shot” in the aftermath of new revelations of sex abuse and cover-ups, and said the archdiocese would take steps to be more transparent to regain public trust. The church, he said, needed a better way forward.

So far, some victims’ advocates say, those words have not translated into substantial action, with parishioners and survivors continuing to be left in the dark as secret internal church investigations churn on for years. Tobin, they said, has done little to improve on the performance of his predecessor, Archbishop John J. Myers, when it comes to openness about such cases.

“This is just another example of not being open and honest and transparent,” said Mark Crawford, the New Jersey director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP. “We’ve come to expect this type of behavior of Cardinal Tobin. If his true intention is to be better than his predecessor, we want more.”

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Defrocked Catholic priest appeals sex abuse conviction

SALEM (MA)
Associated Press via Salem News

February 13, 2020

Alfred ME – A defrocked Massachusetts priest is appealing his conviction of sexually abusing a young boy during trips to Maine in the 1980s.

A judge ordered Ronald Paquin, 77, to serve 16 years in state prison in Maine in May after he was found guilty of 11 counts of gross sexual misconduct in 2018. He had already served more than 10 years in prison in Massachusetts for sexually abusing another alter boy in that state.

In a hearing on Wednesday, Paquin’s attorney argued that the trial judge in the Maine case should have required the prosecutor to disclose the details of the victim’s criminal record, the Portland Press Herald reported.

He also said the judge should have barred an expert witness from testifying that male victims often wait to disclose sexual abuse they’ve experienced.

Paquin was charged with assaulting two boys between 1985 and 1988 in Kennebunkport when the victims were 14 years of age or younger. He was released from prison in 2015 after completing his sentence in Massachusetts and then taken into custody in Maine.

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Retired Bishop with Alzheimer’s will testify in Rochester Diocese bankruptcy case

ROCHESTER (NY)
WROC

February 11, 2020

By Kayla Green

Retired Rochester Bishop Matthew Clark will deposed to testify in an upcoming hearing for the Diocese of Rochester’s bankruptcy case, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.

Clark’s deposition will happen in the next 30 days.

The Diocese filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September of last year, less than one month after a flurry of lawsuits were filed against the Catholic organization related to the Child Victims Act.

The Child Victims Act opened a one-year litigation window in New York allowing people to file civil lawsuits that had previously been barred by the state’s statute of limitations, which was one of the nation’s most restrictive before lawmakers relaxed it in 2019.

The federal judge ruled that within the next 30 days, Clark will be deposed, despite the former Bishop’s battle with Alzheimer’s.

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Bankruptcy judge rules sexual-abuse victims’ attorney can question bishop emeritus

ROCHESTER (NY)
Catholic Courier – Diocese of Rochester

February 12, 2020

By Mike Latona

A federal bankruptcy judge ruled Feb. 11 that — with specific limitations — an attorney for sexual-abuse victims may question Bishop Emeritus Matthew H. Clark under oath about his knowledge of sexual abuse during his years as leader of the Rochester Diocese. The ruling was issued during a hearing in the diocese’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy case.

In January, victims’ attorneys had filed a motion requesting the right to interrogate the 82-year-old prelate about extent of his knowledge of abuse during his 33-year tenure as Rochester’s Catholic bishop, which concluded with his retirement in 2012.

Bishop Clark’s attorney, Mary Jo S. Korona, argued during the Feb. 11 hearing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court that the bishop is not competent to give a deposition, having been diagnosed with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease in July 2019. The bishop made his diagnosis public approximately one month later.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Paul R. Warren ruled that Bishop Clark could be questioned by an attorney representing the unsecured creditors’ committee in the bankruptcy case. Acknowledging the possibility that the bishop’s medical condition could cause him to become forgetful or confused, Warren said the deposition must take place within 30 days of his ruling; be conducted in a single day; last no more than three hours and include breaks; and take place with only one attorney each representing the diocese and the unsecured creditors’ committee, plus Bishop Clark’s attorney. No attorneys representing insurers were permitted.

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Power shift in Senate could reignite push to help adult survivors of childhood sex abuse

SUNBURY (PA)
Daily Item

February 13, 2020

By John Finnerty

Harrisburg – The retirement of Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati, R-Jefferson County, will mean the departure from the Capitol of the most prominent opponent of efforts to open a window to immediately let adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse sue when their cases are beyond the statute of limitations.

Advocates for adult survivors of abuse say Scarnati’s departure will provide an opportunity for Pennsylvania to pass the window legislation that has already passed in other states, in many cases, states that acted in response to the public outcry inflamed by the Pennsylvania grand juries into the handling of priest abuse by the Catholic Church.

“We clearly will revisit the issue,” said Kathryn Robb, executive director of ChildUSA Advocacy, a Philadelphia-based think tank focused on child sexual abuse and statute of limitations reform. “Why should victims suffer in perpetuity but predators are protected by the passage of time?”

Scarnati announced late Wednesday that he is not seeking re-election to a sixth term in office when his term ends at the end of 2020. He has been Senate President Pro Tem for the past 14 years.

“After many conversations with family and close supporters, I have made a personal, and not political, decision that I will not be filing my petitions” to seek re-election,” Scarnati said.

Shaun Dougherty, an adult survivor of abuse by a Johnstown priest, said Scarnati was “the biggest hurdle to justice” for abuse survivors.

Dougherty is now running for Senate as a Democrat in the 35th Senatorial District, represented by state Sen. Wayne Langerholc, R-Cambria County.

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A Pedophile Writer Is on Trial. So Are the French Elites.

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Times

February 12, 2020

By Norimitsu Onishi

For decades, Gabriel Matzneff wrote openly of his pedophilia, protected by powerful people in publishing, journalism, politics and business. Now cast out, he attacks their “cowardice” in a rare interview.

Paris – Gabriel Matzneff, the French writer under investigation for his promotion of pedophilia, was holed up this month inside a luxury hotel room on the Italian Riviera, unable to relax, unable to sleep, unable to write.

He was alone and in hiding, abandoned by the same powerful people in publishing, journalism, politics and business who had protected him weeks earlier. He went outside only for solitary walks behind dark sunglasses, and was startled when I tracked him down in a cafe mentioned in his books.

Hiding is new for Mr. Matzneff. For decades, he was celebrated for writing and talking openly about stalking teenage girls outside schools in Paris and having sexual contact with 8-year-old boys in the Philippines.

He was invited to the Élysée Palace by President François Mitterrand and socialized with the far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen. He benefited from the largess of the fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent and his partner, the business tycoon Pierre Bergé.

But Mr. Matzneff has been summoned to appear in a Paris court on Wednesday, accused of actively promoting pedophilia through his books. Mr. Matzneff could face up to five years in prison, yet the case is also an implicit indictment of an elite that furthered his career and swatted away isolated voices calling for his arrest.

In a widening investigation, prosecutors announced Tuesday morning that the police would start seeking witnesses to find other possible victims of Mr. Matzneff.

The support of Mr. Matzneff reflected an enduring French contradiction: a nation that is deeply egalitarian yet with an elite that often distinguishes itself from ordinary people through a different code of morality, a different set of rules, or at least believing it necessary to defend those who did.

A decade ago, Dominique Strauss-Kahn was forced out as the leader of the International Monetary Fund after being accused of sexually assaulting a hotel housekeeper. A supporter dismissed it as “trussing a domestic,” a comment that recalled France’s feudal past.

“We’re in a very egalitarian society where there is a pocket of resistance that actually behaves like an aristocracy,” said Pierre Verdrager, a sociologist who has studied pedophilia.

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Readers Say Our Database of Accused Priests Is Incomplete. They’re Not Wrong. Here’s Why.

NEW YORK (NY)
Pro Publica

February 11, 2020

By Lexi Churchill

Since we published a database of Catholic priests deemed “credibly accused” of sexual abuse and misconduct, we’ve heard from dozens of frustrated Catholics and readers who want fuller transparency and more complete lists from the church.

Two weeks ago, ProPublica launched the first-ever searchable database of clergy deemed “credibly accused” of sexual abuse and misconduct by the Catholic Church in the United States.

The database has gotten more than a million views since it was published, and we have received a steady stream of feedback from users. Dozens of them have written to us with questions and concerns. Often, they’ve sent us missing data about individual clergy in our database. Sometimes, they’ve suggested priests they believe belong on our list.

We have not added anything to our database outside of the information released by dioceses about credibly accused clergy. You can find out why by reading our questions and answers about what is included in our database.

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Christ the King priest says Buffalo Diocese should have handled closing news differently

BUFFALO (NY)
WGRZ

February 12, 2020

By Danielle Church

https://www.wgrz.com/article/news/special-reports/diocese-in-crisis/christ-the-king-priest-says-buffalo-diocese-should-have-handled-closing-news-differently/71-eb00de43-e894-4ea1-a505-a8fe172ea840

The staff was told last Tuesday at a meeting that it would ceasing operations in May.

East Aurora NY – Last week the seminarians and staff at Christ the King Seminary in East Aurora found out it’ll be closing in May, after operating there for more than 45 years.

The Buffalo Diocese says the plan to cease operations was approved by the seminary’s board of trustees and the five governing members of the corporation.

It means 30 staff members and seminarians will be without a job.

One of them is Rev. John Mack who says the news was “devastating” to everyone, especially because they had no idea it was coming.

“A staff of folks who included people who had been in the seminary for long terms were somehow dumbfounded because they had never been consulted, they had never been involved in the decision,” Mack said.

A spokesperson for the Diocese says that’s not true saying “contrary to implication, the Seminary community was the first to learn of this decision, prior to communicating to the media or the broader public.”

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Likelihood of Diocese bankruptcy prompts questions for other Catholic nonprofits

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo Business First

February 11, 2020

By Tracey Drury

With a bankruptcy filing expected soon by the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, other Catholic-based local nonprofits find themselves working to preserve donors and their financial position by highlighting their independent status.

The likelihood of bankruptcy was cited in a financial report by the Central Administrative Offices of the Diocese and posted in the February edition of the Western New York Catholic newsletter. It’s tied to the hundreds of lawsuits filed in the wake of a state law that opened a window for past victims of sexual assault to sue for damages.

But though they were also founded on Catholic ideals and it’s part of their name, Catholic Health and Catholic Charities of Buffalo are not legally or financially tied to the diocese and will be unaffected by a bankruptcy filing. Still, confusion remains for donors, especially those from other states where such programs are often part of the local diocese.

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As Buffalo Diocese’s bankruptcy looms, Catholic Health not at risk

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

February 14, 2020

By Matt Glynn

The Buffalo Catholic Diocese is expected to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the near future, due to its dire financial situation stemming from a slew of sexual abuse lawsuits.

But if the diocese takes that step, Catholic Health – one of the region’s largest health care systems – would not be impacted, Catholic Health leaders say.

“Catholic Health institutions have been serving the health care needs of our community for more than 170 years and that will continue, apart from the challenges facing the diocese,” said Mark Sullivan, Catholic Health’s president CEO.

While the two organizations share a mission related to the Catholic Church, they operate separately.

Here’s a look at the reasons:

Q: Why wouldn’t a bankruptcy filing by the diocese affect Catholic Health?

A: The health system and the diocese are separate entities. Catholic Health fully owns its assets and those are separate from the diocese, Sullivan said.

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Op-Ed: Buffalo Diocese needs to be transparent with its finances

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

February 13, 2020

By Michael S. Taheri

When asked by parishioners and the media, Diocese of Buffalo officials have steadfastly refused to fully disclose the costs associated with the decadeslong clergy sex scandal. The recent Buffalo News article succinctly explained the decrease in parishioner donations.

While we know that approximately $17 million has been paid through the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program, parishioners remain completely in the dark about the total cost to the diocese, and ultimately the loss suffered to various vital ministries in this community.

For example, how much has been paid out in parishioner funds for undisclosed settlements over the past five decades? How much has been paid to the diocese lawyers and investigators? To clinics, hospitals and treatment facilities on behalf of priests for sexual-related issues? This list is not exhaustive.

Is the diocese being a responsible steward of parishioner gifts and donations, spreading the teachings of Jesus Christ such as feeding the hungry, caring for the sick and welcoming the stranger?

Or, is this diocese merely a large institutional organization generating revenue for purposes unrelated to Christ’s teachings?

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February 13, 2020

Columbus Diocese adds priest to sex-abuse list

COLUMBUS (OH)
Columbus Dispatch

February 11, 2020

By Danae King

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus has added a new name to its list of priests credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus has added a name to its website list of priests credibly accused of the sexual abuse of minors.

The list was initially released on March 1 with 34 names. On March 5, the diocese added two names. Fourteen names were later added, making the total 50.

Now the diocese has added the name of the Rev. Richard J. McCormick, 79, a member of the Salesians of Don Bosco order of priests, to the credibly accused list. His name was put on the list on Monday after the diocese confirmed information contained in an anonymous letter it received.

McCormick’s name was added under the category of external or religious clergy members who served in the Columbus diocese but were accused elsewhere. That means the alleged abuse happened outside the diocese, according to the list.

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Former Dallas priest accused of sexually assaulting a child makes first court appearance

DALLAS (TX)
WFAA

February 10, 2020

By Rebecca Lopez

https://www.wfaa.com/article/news/crime/dallas-ex-priest-accused-sexually-assaulting-child-first-court-appearance/287-6e64bf62-616e-4f45-8cca-cc9670c5a187

A frail Richard Brown appeared in a Dallas court Monday wearing shackles and handcuffs.

The 78-year-old former priest was arrested in January in Missouri on a charge of aggravated sexual assault of a child.

Visiting Judge Mike Snipes asked Brown in court if he understood the charge against him.

“Yes,” Brown answered.

It was the first court appearance by an accused priest in Dallas County since Rudy Kos was convicted in 1998 of aggravated sexual assault and sentenced to life in prison.

Brown was booked into jail in Dallas on Feb. 6. He is being held in lieu of $100,000 bail.

He is accused of molesting a girl he met at St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church in Plano.

Brown’s attorney wants him released on bond. There will be another hearing Thursday morning to determine whether Brown can be released from jail before trial.

Court records link him to dozens of other assaults.

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NFL team’s deep Catholic ties behind role in abuse crisis

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
Associated Press via WWLP

February 12, 2020

By Jim Mustian, Reese Dunklin, and Brett Martel

Why would an NFL team, even one called the Saints, strike a behind-the-scenes alliance with the Roman Catholic Church on an issue as emotionally fraught as clergy sex abuse?

It’s a question even die-hard Saints fans in this heavily Catholic city are asking, and the answer appears to lie in the powerful bond that the team’s devoutly Catholic owner, Tom Benson, and his now-widow Gayle built for years with church leaders.

An Associated Press review of public tax documents found that the Bensons’ foundation has given at least $62 million to the Archdiocese of New Orleans and other Catholic causes over the past dozen years, including gifts to schools, universities, charities and individual parishes.

Along the way, Archbishop Gregory Aymond, who knew the couple separately before they married in 2004, has become almost a part of the team, thought by some to bring the beloved Saints help from a higher power.

Aymond has been spotted on the field at Saints games and inside the team’s Superdome box and has flown on the owner’s private jet. He is known for celebrating stirring pregame Masses, including one before the team’s lone Super Bowl appearance in 2010, when he correctly predicted victory and joined in a rendition of “When the Saints Go Marching In.”

The archbishop arranged a 2011 meeting of the Bensons with Pope Benedict XVI in Rome’s St. Peter’s Square, where Tom Benson kissed the pontiff’s ring and flashed his own Super Bowl ring. A few years later, he served as a witness to the signing of the will that cut out Tom Benson’s estranged daughter and grandchildren and gave third wife Gayle control of a business empire that included ownership of both the Saints and the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans.

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Arizona church sued over decades-old abuse allegations

PHOENIX (AZ)
Associated Press

February 13, 2020

By Jacques Billeaud

Two children were sexually abused by Catholic priests about 40 years ago in an Arizona parish and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix covered up the problem, according to newly filed lawsuits.

Both lawsuits were brought Monday under a 2019 state law that extends the right of people who say they were abused as children to sue until their 30th birthday — a decade longer than before.

The law also opened a one-time window for people who missed the cutoff. They now have until the end of this year to file suit.

Robert Pastor, one of the attorneys who filed the new lawsuits, said the law will help hold the church accountable.

“We are able to uncover the pattern and practice of transferring (sexually abusive) priests,” he said.

In one suit, a man alleged he was sexually abused by the then-Rev. Joseph Henn in the St. Mark Roman Catholic Parish in Phoenix during the late 1970s and early 1980s.

In addition to the civil claim, Henn faces child molestation and other sex charges. Authorities say Henn, who has been defrocked, fled Arizona for Italy in 2003 after being charged with the crimes. He was returned to Arizona last year.

The other lawsuit was brought by a woman who alleges that the Revs. Donald R. Verhagen and James Bretl sexually abused her in the same parish around the same period. Verhagen died in 2001, and Bretl died in 2010.

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Why Catholics should welcome ProPublica’s clergy sex abuse database

NEW YORK (NY)
America Magazine

February 11, 2020

By Kathleen McChesney

Transparency can be hard to look at.

On Jan. 28, the nonprofit news organization ProPublica published a report headlined “Catholic Leaders Promised Transparency about Child Abuse. They Haven’t Delivered.” This report contains the names of the 5,800 priests and deacons who have been publicly identified by the bishops or superiors of 174 dioceses and religious orders as having had credible allegations of sexual abuse of a minor made against them in recent decades. In other words, ProPublica has created the only “List of Lists” of Catholic clergy abusers in the United States.

The names of many of the men on this list were previously known through the decades-long, dedicated work of BishopAccountability.org or discoverable in various open-source websites and blogs. But ProPublica has developed a new, comprehensive, interactive database whereby anyone can identify a “credibly accused” priest, deacon or brother who has been previously reported by his diocese or religious order, simply by searching his name. A handy “sounds like” function is included to assist in looking for someone whose exact name is unknown. The site also allows one to search by the name of a parish, diocese or religious order, and it provides a spreadsheet of any known data about an individual’s year of birth, ordination, status and assignment.

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Defrocked priest appeals conviction for sex crimes in Maine

PORTLAND (ME)
Press-Herald

February 12, 2020

By Megan Gray

Last year a judge ordered Ronald Paquin to serve 16 years in prison for sexually abusing a boy on trips to Maine in the 1980s.

A former Catholic priest is appealing his conviction for sexually abusing a young boy on trips to Maine in the 1980s.

Ronald Paquin, now 77, was found guilty in 2018 of 11 counts of gross sexual misconduct. A York County jury acquitted him of similar charges related to a second boy. A judge sentenced him last year to 20 years in prison with all but 16 years suspended.

Paquin was one of the priests exposed in the early 2000s by a sweeping Boston Globe investigation into clergy sex abuse. He pleaded guilty in 2002 in Massachusetts to repeatedly raping an altar boy between 1989 and 1992, beginning when the victim was 12. He spent more than decade in prison and was defrocked in 2004. Once he was released, he was indicted on criminal charges in Maine, and he was arrested in 2017.

Paquin is now incarcerated at the Maine State Prison in Warren, and he did not attend oral arguments Wednesday at the Maine Supreme Judicial Court hearing in Portland.

His attorney, Rory McNamara, raised multiple issues on appeal, but the justices focused on two during the hearing Wednesday.

McNamara argued first that the trial judge should have required the prosecutor to disclose the victim’s criminal history to the defense attorneys, saying that information was not available to the defense attorneys, but should have been available to the prosecutor through a federal database. The details of the victim’s criminal record were not disclosed during the trial or the appeal hearing.

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Parishioners sue Detroit Archdiocese over ouster of priest

DETROIT (MI)
WXYZ

February 13, 2020

Parishioners at Assumption Grotto Catholic Church are demanding their priest return to worship. They have now filed a multimillion dollar lawsuit against their own archdiocese.

Father Eduard Perrone was barred in July of 2019 after sex abuse allegation.

*
The lawsuit names the Archdiocese of Detroit, Roman Catholic Archbishop and Mike Bugarin. The lawsuit claims Bugarin is an internal sex abuse investigator for the church. The parishioners said in the lawsuit they’ve been defrauded.

“There’s a catholic service appeal fund that the archdiocese rusn and they expect,” said Christopher Kolomjec, the attorney representing the parishioners. “Every parish throughout the archdiocese contributes to these fund[s], its mandatory, it’s like a tax, and that’s the fund used to run the operations and programs including these investigations.”

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Video: Defrocked Priest Convicted of Sex Abuse Files Appeal in Maine

BOSTON (MA)
News 10

February 13, 2020

Portland ME – A former priest [Ronald Paquin] found guilty of abusing boys in Maine and Massachusetts after a sex abuse sweep in the early 2000s is [seeking to appeal] his conviction.

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Bishop prohibits priest from broadcasting opinion after criticizing sex abuse scandals

LYNCHBURG (VA)
WSET

February 12, 2020

By Laura Taylor and Caroline Eaker

Martinsville VA – A local Catholic priest broke his silence on the way the church handled one of the biggest controversies.

The Catholic Diocese of Richmond has released the names of more than two dozen priests that are facing ‘credible and substantiated’ allegations of sexual abuse against a minor in February of 2019.

The priest at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church is refusing to stay silent despite the threat of losing his priesthood.

Father Mark White’s blog led Bishop Barry Knestout to order White’s silence.

“He said that he thought what I had written was disrespectful and not appropriate so he ordered me to remove everything that I had on the internet and to be silent on the internet from now on under pain of being removed as the pastor if I do not obey,” said White.

White voiced his frustration and disgust about how the church responded to the many sexual abuse scandals, particularly the cases involving former Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick.

“I was hoping that as a church we could live in our truth and believe in our Lord Jesus Christ that he came to allow us to live in our truth and find our way by doing that and of course what we are all about it believing in something and we need to be a church that people can believe in,” said White.

Parishioners of St. Joseph’s in Martinsville said they stand behind White.

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Detroit Catholic church parishioners sue to get back ousted priest accused of molestation

DETROIT (MI)
Detroit Free Press

February 13, 2020

By Tresa Baldas

After 41 years in the priesthood, Father Eduard Perrone wasn’t prepared for the hellfire that tore through his parish last summer: he was accused of molesting an altar boy decades earlier, and ousted from his church.

The sex abuse claim blindsided the pastor’s loyal flock, though they believe he is innocent — and have launched an unorthodox crusade to clear his name.

In an unprecedented lawsuit in Michigan, and possibly the country, 20 parishioners from Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Detroit are suing the Detroit archdiocese for $20 million, claiming it caused them emotional distress by taking away their priest.

The lawsuit alleges church officials “fabricated” a rape charge against Perrone because they didn’t like his conservative views and wanted him out, and because they wanted to avoid bad press. Perrone was removed from the clergy one month after reporters started asking questions about a fondling claim against him.

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Man sues Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Cardinal Mahony and ex-priest at center of abuse scandal

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Los Angeles Times

February 12, 2020

By Richard Winston

A 32-year-old man filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Cardinal Roger Mahony and an ex-priest who was returned to parish duties even after admitting to molesting children.

Mahony went on to reassign Michael Baker to several other Roman Catholic parishes, where he abused more boys, many of them immigrants.

The lawsuit is one of the first cases filed against Mahony, formerly the Archbishop of Los Angeles, since California enacted legislation last year that sets aside the state statute of limitations and provides more time for victims of childhood sexual abuse to seek civil damages.

Baker has been accused of molesting at least 23 men as young boys during his decades in the priesthood. He was convicted in 2007 of abusing two boys and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Wednesday’s lawsuit was filed by a man identified only as John Doe, who alleges he was repeatedly sexually abused from about age 6 to 10, between 1993 and 1997, at St. Columbkille Church in South Los Angeles. Baker had confided to Mahony in 1986 that he had molested two boys.

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The Survival of David Clohessy

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Riverfront Times

February 12, 2020

By Danny Wicentowski

On June 13, 2002, David Clohessy stepped into the light of history. A former altar boy in a rural Catholic church in Moberly, Missouri, he stood at a podium in a massive hotel ballroom in Dallas — and staring back at him from row up upon row of tables, packed into the room ten-deep, were some 280 Catholic bishops.

Many in that audience were already familiar with Clohessy as the national director of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, the country’s longest-active support group for victims of clergy abuse. Clohessy had spent years trying to grab the bishops’ attention.

Indeed, Clohessy seemed to be quoted in every other newspaper story about a predator priest going back to the early 1990s. He’d show up at churches with fliers listing support group meetings for victims, and he’d prod reporters to cover the protest. He held press conferences with tearful victims announcing lawsuits. He insisted on calling accused priests “perps.”

He was, in a word, a nuisance to the Catholic Church. And until that moment in 2002, that’s all he had ever been.

That day, with his square-framed glasses slightly askew and his outfit of a simple gray suit and white shirt, the SNAP director looked more like an accountant than the radical victims’ rights advocate. But this meeting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops was focused specifically on the exploding clergy abuse scandal — and it had drawn the eyes of the world.

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February 12, 2020

Successor to Father Baker accused of molesting boys in two lawsuits

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

February 11, 2020

By Jay Tokasz

A priest who for years oversaw the legacy of Father Nelson H. Baker – the Buffalo Diocese’s sainthood candidate – is accused in two recently filed lawsuits of sexually abusing boys in Our Lady of Victory programs he oversaw.

A 76-year-old Depew man alleged in one of the filings that Monsignor Joseph M. McPherson molested him in 1951, when he was 8 years old and living at St. Joseph’s Male Orphan Asylum in Lackawanna.

In the second case, a Hamburg man accused McPherson of plying him with alcohol and molesting him from 1966 to 1967, when he was 14 to 15 years old and a student at Baker Hall, a residential school for troubled youth.

The orphan asylum and Baker Hall were part of Our Lady of Victory Homes of Charity, a conglomerate of human services agencies led for years by Baker, whose legendary work on behalf of the poor and orphaned children prior to his 1936 death is the basis of a canonization cause.

The lawsuits were the first to allege abuse by McPherson, who died in 1982 at age 73. In 2018, the Buffalo Diocese added McPherson to its list of priests with substantiated allegations of abuse of a minor.

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Two new lawsuits filed Tuesday claim sexual abuse by former priests in Phoenix

PHOENIX (AZ)
ABC 15

February 11, 2020

By Mike Pelton

Two new lawsuits filed Tuesday claim sexual abuse by former priests in Phoenix.

The lawsuits, filed by unnamed plaintiffs, allege abuse by priests at St. Mark Roman Catholic Parish in Phoenix, when they were stationed there in the late 1970s and early 1980’s. The lawsuit names the Diocese of Phoenix, among others.

“That’s what these lawsuits are about,” said Jeff Anderson, an attorney for the plaintiffs. “The Catholic Diocese and the head of the Salvatorian order transferring these priests and allowing predators access to kids.”

Anderson said the lawsuits are the direct result of a new Arizona law signed last year, allowing additional opportunities for victims of child sexual abuse to file lawsuits.

“We want the lawsuits to allow the full disclosure of all the offenders known to the top officials that have been hidden and kept secret,” Anderson said.

One of the lawsuits involves allegations against Fr. Joseph Henn. He was caught in Italy last year and brought back to Arizona, after he disappeared in 2005 while facing sexual abuse charges, according to the Diocese of Phoenix.

The other lawsuit names two priests who attorneys for the plaintiffs say have not been publicly accused before. They are Fr. Donald Verhagen and Fr. James Bretl. Both have since passed away.

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Victims of priest sexual abuse respond to Saints owner’s statement on email

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
WVUE

February 11, 2020

By Chris Finch

A group of people who say they have been abused by priests want Saints owner Gayle Benson to release the emails exchanged between the Saints and Catholic officials, according to the group.

Benson sent a release Monday saying that the team wanted to clarify its stance regarding its advice to the Archdiocese of New Orleans.

The owner said her team played no role in determining which priests would be named in the list of “credibly accused.”

She also said in her statement that she did not make payments to help the church pay legal settlements to victims embroiled in the scandal.

*

The group, SNAP, said if the team has nothing to hide, it should produce the emails in question. They claim this would clear Benson and the Saints of having any malicious influence.

“We are especially concerned about this case because the archdiocese admits to 57 abusers, but independent watchdogs at BishopAccountability.org name at least 79. There obviously is a math problem in Louisiana, and this math works out to more danger for the vulnerable in the state,” SNAP said in a statement.

FOX 8, along with The Times-Picayune | New Orleans Advocate and two of the city’s other television stations have filed a motion asking that they be allowed access to a court hearing on the question of whether emails and other communications between the Archdiocese of New Orleans and executives of the New Orleans Saints should remain confidential.

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Former Bishop Matthew Clark ordered to testify on priest abuse

ROCHESTER (NY)
Democrat and Chronicle

February 11, 2020

By Steve Orr and Sean Lahman

A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Bishop Emeritus Matthew Clark must provide sworn testimony about the history of child sexual abuse in the Rochester diocese.

Clark’s attorney Mary Jo Korona had argued that his Alzheimer’s disease left him unable to competently testify and said questioning him would place him under stress and worsen his symptoms.

But after 20 minutes of oral arguments at a court hearing Tuesday, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Paul R. Warren interrupted lawyers to say he had decided that Clark would have to sit for a deposition of three hours’ length.

Lawyers for abuse victims had asked for at least seven hours of questioning.

It was the second significant ruling of the day in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy case, in which the diocese is seeking to resolve several hundred claims of child sexual abuse while retaining enough resources to continue its ministry.

Earlier in the hearing, Warren ordered that all claims be filed with the bankruptcy court by Aug. 13.

*

The Aug. 13 bar date, as it’s called, coincides with the end of a one-year window during which people can bring suit for past child sexual abuse under New York’s Child Victims Act.

*

Warren also ruled that Clark must turn over any diaries, notes, letters or other personal written records still in his possession that shed light on past abuse.

That written material is distinct from the diocese’s confidential personnel files, often called the sub secreto files, that the bishop keeps under lock and key. Victims’ lawyers say those files often contain evidence of abuse by church ministers and attempts by higher-ups to protect the abusers.

The diocese’s lawyer, Stephen Donato, said “thousands and thousands” of these documents have been pulled from the diocese’s files and are now being reviewed by a firm in India hired to redact names of victims and other personal information.

That process should be completed in “a few more weeks,” he said, after which copies of the records will be given to victims’ lawyers.

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Pope avoids question of married priests in Amazon document

VATICAN CITY
Associated Press

February 12, 2020

By Nicole Winfield

Pope Francis declined Wednesday to approve the ordination of married men to address the priest shortage in the Amazon, sidestepping a fraught issue that has dominated debate in the Catholic Church and even involved retired Pope Benedict XVI.

In an eagerly-awaited document, Francis didn’t even refer to recommendations by Amazonian bishops to consider the ordination of married men and women deacons. Rather, he urged bishops to pray for more priestly vocations and send missionaries to the region, where the faithful living in remote communities can go months or even years without Mass.

Francis’ dodging of the issue disappointed progressives, who had hoped he would at the very least put it to further study. And it relieved conservatives who have used the debate over priestly celibacy to heighten opposition to the pope, whom some have accused of heresy.

The document, “Beloved Amazon,” is instead a love letter to the Amazonian rain forest and its indigenous peoples, penned by history’s first Latin American pope. Francis has long been concerned about the violent exploitation of the Amazon’s land, its crucial importance to the global ecosystem and the injustices committed against its peoples.

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Former Catholic “fixer” explains why accused priests come to Missouri

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Fox 2 Now

February 11, 2020

By Chris Hayes

Patrick Wall describes himself as a former fixer for the Catholic Church. The former monk says his job was to clean up after a report of sexual abuse.

“Every one of my assignments was to follow a monk who had been credibly accused of child sexual assault and they had to remove him because the knowledge became public,” he said.

*

After leaving the church, Wall started working with attorneys who sued on behalf of children who say they’ve been abused. He says many of the accused priests are finding homes around the St. Louis area.

“Missouri law has been very favorable to the church,” Wall said. “That’s why these facilities pop up.”

He’s talking about places like a Dittmer property Fox 2 featured last month, owned by the Servants of the Paraclete. It’s where priests and former priests get help and rehabilitation. Last month, a priest was arrested there – accused of abusing as many as 50 children.

“Is there proper supervision at these facilities? Those are real concerns,” Wall said. “I know the neighbors over the years, especially in Dittmer, have not been happy.”

“It’s a public safety question, you know, where are the perpetrators that have been acknowledged either by a court or by the various religious institutes? Who’s supervising them?”

A viewer pointed out there’s also a children’s camp near the Dittmer property.

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Fox Files: Accused sex offender priests find home in Missouri

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Fox 2 Now

January 30, 2020

By Chris Hayes

Dittmer MO – Dallas police arrested an accused sex offender priest in Dittmer, Missouri on Wednesday, at a retreat where priests and former priests get help and rehabilitation.

The Catholic property is owned by Servants of the Paraclete, which has a mission of providing a safe and supportive environment for rehabbing priests.

Richard Thomas Brown, 78, was wanted on charges related to his reported abuse of as many as 50 children between 1980 and 1994.

Michael Stenzhorn, who lives across the street from the Catholic property, said he’s used to it.

“I sent the Archbishop a letter last year and told him about the pedophiles walking up my neighbor’s driveway,” he said.

Stenzhorn said the church has bought every house around his.

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February 11, 2020

Clergy sex abuse class action lawsuit against Pittsburgh diocese seeks to add Greensburg, others

GREENSBURG (PA)
Tribune-Review

February 10, 2020

By Deb Erdley

Lawyers in a class action suit trying to force the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh to open its clergy abuse archives expanded their campaign to include the Greensburg, Harrisburg and Altoona-Johnstown dioceses as well as the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

The move comes one month after Allegheny County Common Pleas Court Judge Christine Ward ruled the lawsuit could move forward with regard to the Pittsburgh diocese.

The suit was filed in September 2018 by a pair of Pittsburgh diocese families with children in the church’s parochial schools. It seeks the disclosure of records, rather than monetary awards.

The families who filed the complaint contend that records that were made public in a 2018 Pennsylvania grand jury report contained gaping holes that suggest the church failed to meet mandatory reporting laws and poses a public nuisance.

Now, they want the court to include the other dioceses and archdiocese in an amended complaint that includes families and abuse survivors of those church bodies.

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Priest put on administrative leave over decades-old child sex abuse allegations

ALBANY (NY)
WNYT

February 11, 2020

By WNYT Staff and Jill Konopka

The bishop of the Albany Catholic Diocese put an 81-year-old clergyman on leave over decades-old child sex abuse allegations.

The priest has been retired from active ministry in the Albany Diocese since 2008. He was cleared of similar accusations as recently as 2005.

NewsChannel 13 broke the news last week that an independent review board was investigating two recent cases involving allegations of sex crimes against children.

“I did have within the year, at least one person, you know, one or two maybe, come forward and you know say to me this happened to me in this period of time. In one case, the priest was not in active ministry,” said Bishop Edward Scharfenberger.

NewsChannel 13 now knows Albany Bishop Edward Scharfenberger was referencing 81-year-old retired Albany Diocese Reverend Daniel Maher in an interview late last month, as the priest the bishop put on administrative leave Saturday over sex abuse allegations to a minor in the 1960s and 1970s.

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There’s a whiff of a tiff when the pros try to pick the past decade’s top religion stories

OXFORD (MS)
Get Religion

February 6, 2020

By Richard Ostling

What were the past decade’s top religion stories?

In the current Christian Century magazine, Baylor historian Philip Jenkins lists his top 10 in American Christianity and — journalists take note – correctly asserts that all will “continue to play out” in coming years.

His list: The growth of unaffiliated “nones,” the papacy of Francis, redefinition of marriage, Charleston murders and America’s “whiteness” problem, religion and climate change, Donald Trump and the evangelicals, gender and identity, #MeToo combined with women’s leadership, seminaries in crisis and impact of religious faith (or lack thereof) on low fertility rates.

Such exercises are open to debate, and there’s mild disagreement on the decade’s top events as drawn from Religion News Service coverage by Senior Editor Paul O’Donnell. Unlike Jenkins, this list scans the interfaith and global scenes.

The RNS picks: “Islamophobia” in America (with a nod to President Trump), the resurgent clergy sex abuse crisis, #ChurchToo scandals, those rising “nones,” mass shootings at houses of worship, gay ordination and marriage, evangelicals in power (Trump again) as “post-evangelicals” emerge, anti-Semitic attacks and religious freedom issues.

You can see that the same events can be divvied up in various ways, and that there’s considerable overlap but also intriguing differences.

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Pennsylvania opens grand jury investigation into Jehovah’s Witnesses’ cover-up of child sex abuse

EMERYVILLE (CA)
Reveal – Center for Investigative Reporting

February 10, 2020

By Trey Bundy

For decades, leaders of the Jehovah’s Witnesses religion have kept allegations of child sexual abuse in their congregations secret from police as a matter of policy. They have maintained an internal database containing the names of alleged abusers in their U.S. congregations, but repeatedly have violated court orders to hand it over.

Still, they have avoided reckoning with law enforcement agencies – until now.

The Pennsylvania attorney general’s office has opened a grand jury investigation into how Jehovah’s Witnesses leaders handle allegations of child sexual abuse, according to three people who have been called to testify in closed-door hearings.

Mark O’Donnell, a former Jehovah’s Witness, told Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting that Pennsylvania investigators visited his home in Baltimore in June and interviewed him for three hours.

O’Donnell, 52, was a Jehovah’s Witness for 30 years. He left in 2014 after learning about child abuse cases, locally and elsewhere, that were covered up by the organization. Since then, he has become a vocal critic of the Watchtower, the religion’s parent organization, traveling around the country to observe civil court cases against the organization and publishing stories online. As a result, O’Donnell has become a popular recipient of leaked information from inside the Watchtower and local congregations, much of it pertaining to child abuse.

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Dunkirk parish mourns pastor who was cleared by diocese of child sex abuse allegations

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

February 10, 2020

By Jay Tokasz

The Rev. Dennis G. Riter, a Dunkirk pastor who was accused of sex abuse in two Child Victims Act lawsuits despite a Buffalo Diocese investigation that cleared him of the claims, died Saturday in Buffalo General Hospital after a brief illness. He was 74.

Riter was the longtime pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton parish in Dunkirk. He was the first active priest in the Buffalo Diocese to be put on leave in 2018 due to a newly reported child sex abuse allegation. After a three-month investigation, a diocese review board recommended that Riter be returned to the parish because the initial claim and a second that also surfaced could not be substantiated.

Riter, who was assigned to Dunkirk since 2008, maintained he was innocent.

The parish welcomed back Riter, but the allegations continued to linger, as the two men who had reported their claims to the diocese in 2018 sued under the Child Victims Act.

One of the men alleged Riter abused him in the 1990s when he was an altar boy at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in South Buffalo; the other man claimed he was abused in 1992, when Riter was assigned to a Lackawanna church.

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Child Victims Act leads to insurance woes

NEW YORK (NY)
City & State NY

February 10, 2020

By Kay Dervish

Some institutions facing or at risk of facing child sex abuse lawsuits have lost coverage.

About six months into the implementation of the Child Victims Act, more than 1,400 child sex abuse cases have been filed in New York. The law – which provides a one-year window for people to bring forward such lawsuits regardless of the statute of limitations – has resulted in a flood of lawsuits against Catholic Church in particular. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester filed for bankruptcy in the aftermath of the law’s implementation – which victims’ advocates argued allowed it to bypass scrutiny for the alleged crimes – with the Buffalo Diocese expected to follow suit soon.

But the law’s financial and logistical challenges have affected many other institutions, such as schools and nonprofits, who have faced increased insurance costs and difficulties finding old insurance providers as they confront lawsuits regarding crimes dating back decades. Some have lost coverage for sexual abuse altogether.

“What’s happening is that insurance policies from this point forward are excluding this risk from the policy,” Robert Chesler, an attorney at Anderson Kill who represents insurance policyholders, told City & State.

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Catholic Church OK’d $11M in settlements to NJ abuse victims, but 400 claims await decisions

WOODLAND PARK (NJ)
NorthJersey.com

February 10, 2020

By Deena Yellin

The Catholic Church in New Jersey has promised $11 million to victims of clergy abuse thus far through its compensation fund, but there are at least 460 more claims to process and administrators say it could take several months to make determinations on all of them.

More than 560 people applied for settlements from the New Jersey Independent Victim Compensation Program, which was established by the state’s five Catholic dioceses to compensate victims without their having to go to court.

The 8-month-old program is now closed to new requests, but victims who already started applications have until Feb. 15 to complete them.

New Jersey suspended its statute of limitations for sex abuse cases on Dec. 1, spawning a wave of lawsuits against the dioceses. Victims who accept the compensation fund’s cash settlements forfeit their right to sue, but they also avoid the potentially painful, drawn-out process of litigation, the church argues.

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Retired priest, 89, sentenced for sexual assault of boy

PITTSBURGH (PA)
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

February 6, 2020

By Peter Smith

Following an emotional hearing, a judge on Thursday sentenced a retired Catholic priest to a jail term of nine to nearly 24 months over his conviction last year for sexually assaulting an 11-year-old boy in 2001.

But the priest walked free for at least another month due to a last-minute legal plot twist, complicated by a sudden turnover in two of the key players in his November trial, his own defense lawyer and the judge.

The Rev. Hugh Lang, 89, a one-time school superintendent for the Diocese of Pittsburgh, sat stoically as the sentencing was read, leaning forward with his arms folded on the defense table.

*
The victim said he flew thousands of miles from his current home in Southeast Asia here, requiring him to “rip open this wound all over again.” But he said it was important to bring “some justice to the 11-year-old boy I was.”

In words similar to his testimony in November, the victim recalled being at a summer program for altar servers when, in a shy boy’s awkward attempt to impress his peers with humor, he joked that Father Lang probably drank all the excess communion wine.

He said an enraged Father Lang later took him to an isolated basement room, forced him to undress, took a Polaroid photo of him, fondled him and forced the boy to use his hand on Lang’s penis to perform a sex act.

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Priest Charged with Child Sex Crimes Booked into Dallas County Jail

DALLAS (TX)
NBC DFW

February 6, 2020

Richard Thomas Brown arrested in Missouri last month on a warrant out of Dallas

A former priest charged with child sex abuse is now in the Dallas County Jail.

Richard Thomas Brown, 78, was being booked into the county jail Thursday afternoon.

Brown is on the Dallas Diocese’s list of priests credibly accused of sexually assaulting children.

According to the arrest warrant affidavit obtained last month, Brown admitted to police that he was sexually attracted to young girls. The document details the allegations of just one victim, but also details interviews detectives had with Brown.

The affidavit said Brown, who served in at least four parishes beginning in the 1980s, admitted to sexually abusing multiple children in North Texas. Brown told detectives that the Diocese of Dallas “knew about sexual abuse allegations against him in 1987.”

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Former Rochester Bishop Matthew Clark not capable of testifying about priest abuse, doctor says

ROCHESTER (NY)
Democrat and Chronicle

February 10, 2020

By Steve Orr

https://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/2020/02/10/bishop-matthew-clark-not-able-to-testify-priest-abuse-in-rochester-ny-doctor-and-lawyer-say/4712280002/

Bishop Emeritus Matthew Clark’s Alzheimer’s disease has left him unable to provide useful sworn testimony about the history of child sexual abuse in the Rochester diocese, his physician and lawyer say.

Lawyers for abuse victims had filed a motion in the diocese’s bankruptcy case asking that Clark be directed to answer questions under oath about abuse by priests and other church ministers during his 33 years as the diocese’s leader.

The lawyers for accusers believe Clark knows a great deal about abuse and about actions taken by diocesan leaders to shield accused ministers from public scrutiny. They have said they’re aware of Clark’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis but believe they should be able to question him and make their own determination about his abilities.

“I think those abused under his tenure should have the right to test his competency in a deposition,” said Leander James, an Idaho lawyer who represents a number of people who say they were sexually abused by Catholic ministers in the Rochester diocese.

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Bishop’s Letter about HB90 Child Abuse Reporting

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
Intermountain Catholic – Diocese of Salt Lake City

February 7, 2020

By Bishop Oscar A. Solis

To be read in all parishes on the weekends of Feb. 8-9 and 15-16. Parishioners are asked to sign the letter that will be presented at the parish, gather signed letters and send them to Bishop’s Office by Feb. 23.

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ:

There is a time when Catholics have to stand and speak for truth and our faith conviction. I am writing to you about a bill introduced in the Utah legislature, HB90 Child Abuse Reporting Amendments. I ask all parishioners to help defend our religious rights and speak out our opposition against this bill that would take away the full right to Confession from priests and other leaders of faith denominations, as well as break its sacred seal of confidentiality.

I do not question the good intentions of our legislators of wanting to prevent child sexual abuse and protect innocent and vulnerable children. However, there is no evidence that this legislation will help achieve that. Instead, it threatens a practice that is essential to our faith and religious identity. It is a government encroachment or intrusion into our religious practice.

The Sacrament of Penance or Reconciliation (what we call “Confession”), is an important practice of our Catholic faith. The Bible records its divine origin. It was the first gift that Jesus gave to the world after rising from the dead. On the first Easter night, he breathed his Holy Spirit into his apostles, his first priests, and he granted them the awesome power to forgive sins in his name (John 20:22-23). Jesus gave us this gift so that we could always personally come to him to confess our sins, and seek his forgiveness and the grace to continue on our Christian journey. The Sacrament of Confession is purely religious, and thus protected as one of our first freedoms under the Constitution.

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Toledo Diocese quietly updates accused clergy list, includes new name

TOLEDO (OH)
Toledo Blade

February 4, 2020

By Nicki Gorny

The Diocese of Toledo quietly updated its list last year of clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse amid calls for transparency in a rekindled sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church.

The update included a new name: Paul Knapp, a religious order priest who served as the associate pastor of St. Gerard Parish in Lima, Ohio, between 1981 and 1983.

The majority of dioceses and religious orders in the country have released lists of clergy who have been found credibly accused of sexual abuse while under their jurisdiction. The lists are an effort toward transparency that have drawn particular attention since August, 2018, when a grand jury report detailing the extent of decades of abuse and coverup in Pennsylvania called renewed attention to a sexual abuse crisis in the Roman Catholic Church.

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Statement

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
New Orleans Saints

February 10, 2020

By Gayle Benson

This past weekend, our organization received an interview request from The Associated Press. The email stated that an article was coming out Tuesday. It stated that we could expect questions that “would include things about the nature of Gayle’s relationship with Aymond and why, no matter how good a friend he is, would she feel compelled to have her pro sports organizations affiliated in any way with the clergy-molestation scandal? And maybe how she views the decision to do so in hindsight?”

I have decided to take this opportunity based on the request from The Associated Press to send out this statement in order to bring clarity to questions about my relationship with the Archdiocese. While I appreciate the opportunity and thank The Associated Press for kindly reaching out to me to appear in this article, we have had subpoenas served to get emails, and calls made for me to pay into a victim’s fund. I have decided to no longer stand idly by while stories are written about our role in this matter and speak to this in my own words. This is a profoundly sad time for the Church, but more so for the victims that live with the daily pain that was inflicted upon them.

Greg Bensel, our senior vice president of communications, was asked if he would help the Archdiocese prepare for the media relative to the release of clergy names involved in the abuse scandal. In the weeks leading up to the Nov. 2, 2018 release of clergy names, Greg met with the Archbishop and communications staff.

Greg informed me that his recommendations were consistent with the Archdiocese and included: be honest, complete and transparent; own the past wrongs and find a solution to correct them and then define those solutions that are in place now to protect victims; be a leader in the Church by being the first Archdiocese in the country to release the full list of names, release all of the names of clergy that have credible evidence against them, regardless of whether they are male/female, dead or alive; and make sure that all law enforcement are given these names prior to the Archdiocese releasing them so they can be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

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Saints owner denies team had role in clergy sex abuse list

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
Associated Press

February 11, 2020

By Jim Mustian

The owner of the New Orleans Saints said Monday that the NFL team played no role in determining which priests would be named in the list of “credibly accused” clergy published by the area’s Roman Catholic Church.

Gayle Benson, a devout Catholic who has donated millions of dollars to church causes, also said in a lengthy statement that she has never “contributed nor will ever make payments” to pay for legal settlements to the victims of clergy abuse.

“To suggest that I would offer money to the Catholic Church to pay for anything related to the clergy-molestation issue sickens me,” she added. It was not clear who had made that suggestion.

The statement marked Benson’s first remarks since The Associated Press reported last month about hundreds of confidential Saints emails that allegedly show team executives did behind-the-scenes public relations damage control amid the archdiocese’s clergy abuse crisis — communications the Saints have gone to court to keep from being made public. A hearing is scheduled in New Orleans next week to determine whether they may be released.

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Martinsville priest refuses to sign order to silence from the Catholic Diocese of Richmond

MARTINSVILLE (VA)
Martinsville Bulletin

February 10, 2020

By Bill Wyatt

https://www.martinsvillebulletin.com/news/local/martinsville-priest-refuses-to-sign-order-to-silence-from-the/article_5dd9b4aa-876d-5e3a-bd9e-3af5a14da148.html

That truce reached last week in a dispute between a Martinsville priest and a Richmond bishop that preserved the priest’s job now appears to have been short-lived.

About 24 hours after that meeting last Wednesday, Father Mark White, priest of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Martinsville and St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Rocky Mount, was visited in Rocky Mount by officials of the Diocese of Richmond and again was threatened with the loss of his position.

But White refused to sign the order, presented to him orally, because he wasn’t given the directive in writing, and he said he questioned its legality in the first place.

Bishop Barry Knestout late last year had ordered White to silence and threatened to remove him from the priesthood because of a popular blog White populated with comments of frustration and disgust about how the church hierarchy had responded to the many sexual abuse scandals in the church and particularly the cases involving former Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick, who had ordained White as a priest.

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Clergy abuse crisis gets a fresh reading in parish study group

SAN FRANCISCO (CA)
Catholic San Francisco – Archdiocese of San Francisco

February 10, 2020

By Nicholas Wolfram Smith

“He (Bishop Barron) really calls those who read it to take action, do something and be part of the solution. We need to be responsible, too.”
– Susan Arms, St. Gregory parishioner

A year-and-a-half after the Catholic Church in the U.S. suffered devastating and disheartening revelations of systematic abuse, have Catholics moved on?

Months after the coverage of sexual abuse has died down, a group of parishioners convened at St. Gregory Parish in San Mateo to discuss it again and how Catholics should respond.

Cindy Gherini, a parishioner at St. Gregory, said after now-laicized Cardinal Theodore McCarrick was accused of sexual abuse and a grand jury in Pennsylvania published a report on how state dioceses handled clergy abuse, her parish held a community discussion about what was going on. During that meeting, Gherini said, there was an outpouring of grief and anger.

“And then it died after that, so to speak. Nobody led us forward,” she said. “How much longer can we stay in those emotions and not move forward?”

What gave her direction was a short pamphlet written by Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop Robert Barron and published by Word on Fire Catholic Ministries, “Letter to a Suffering Church: A Bishop Speaks on the Sexual Abuse Crisis.”

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Pope Francis, Wayward Shepherd

NEW YORK (NY)
National Review

February 6, 2020

By Daniel Mahoney

In the first year or two of Pope Francis’s pontificate, conservative-minded Catholics made heroic efforts to place the perplexing ways of the new pope in continuity with the thought and deeds of his immediate predecessors. It was said that he had been a forceful critic of liberation theology, at least in its Marxist expressions, that he was a man of traditional piety, that he spoke about the machinations of the Evil One with surprising regularity, and that his style — brash, critical of established ways, anxious for dialogue with the modern world — was a refreshing way of bringing Christian orthodoxy to bear on the modern world. But there were early signs that challenged this reassuring consensus. Francis seemed suspicious of the most faithful Catholics — they were, in his estimation, rigid, obsessed with the evils of abortion and sexual sins, closed to the need for a Church open to humanitarian activism and a de-emphasis on dogma and even truth.

If Pope John Paul II stood up to Communist savagery and mendacity with a courage and integrity that helped ignite the revolutions of 1989, and if the immensely learned Pope Benedict XVI gave soft nihilism a remarkably descriptive and accurate name, “the dictatorship of relativism,” Pope Francis stood for nothing less than accommodating the world in the name of “change” and deference to the alleged “signs of the times.” As Cardinal Zen of Hong Kong once noted, Francis could see Communists as merely the victims of Latin American military dictatorship and lovers of the poor and thus more Christian than Christians in decisive respects. The gulags, and massive religious persecution, did not fit into this vision of relatively benign Communists.

*
While the Church remains largely silent about (in the words of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI) “crimes and sins that cry out to Heaven” — the terrible clerical and episcopal sexual abuse and the hideous cover-ups that followed — Francis puts much of his energies into promoting ecological activism (with an apocalyptic edge) and any number of simplistic progressive causes. One sometimes hears the voice of a politically charged functionary of the United Nations more than that of the Vicar of Christ on earth. The institutional Church, meaning its assorted bishops and their conferences, responds to this revolution in the Church with silence, passivity, and those time-serving bureaucratic and self-protective habits that led the Church into crisis in the first place. The crisis is just that deep.

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February 10, 2020

In hopes of healing, abuse survivor shares his story

St. Paul (MN)
Catholic News Service via Catholic Philly

February 10, 2020

By Dave Hrbacek

Michael Callaghan’s healing from clergy sexual abuse took a big step forward after he saw the movie “Spotlight” in 2015.

The Academy Award-winning fact-based drama detailing the clerical abuse scandal in Boston moved Callaghan deeply and continues to drive him to help the healing process in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

“I watch that movie every six months or so,” said Callaghan, 70. “Everyone should see that movie.”

Within weeks of seeing the film, he was making his way to leaders of the archdiocese to share his story and offer help.

Staff members of the archdiocesan Office of Ministerial Standards and Safe Environment listened to and affirmed him, and invited him to convene with a group of priests and laypeople in early 2019 to discuss how the archdiocese can address clergy sexual abuse. The first two meetings took place in his south Minneapolis home.

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Restorative justice, healing circles address trauma caused by abuse

St. Paul (MN)
Catholic News Service via Catholic Philly

February 10, 2020

By Joe Ruff

Father Dan Griffith has held the stone.

He has felt the emotional weight and lifting of that weight in a healing circle where people are invited to take turns holding a stone or other “talking piece” and tell their story as others respectfully listen.

“It’s humbling and you’re vulnerable,” Father Griffith said of sharing in a healing circle his story of secondary trauma from the church’s clergy sexual abuse crisis.

The priest is quick to point out that his secondary trauma cannot be compared with the deep and long-standing harm done to those directly traumatized by a priest.

It is vitally important to have the church acknowledge the harm done, foster accountability and offer roads to healing, he said.

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Where are the credibly accused priests?

HOUSTON (TX)
KPRC

February 7, 2020

By Tierra Smith

KPRC 2 Investigates found 1 priest living around the corner from a school

A year ago, there was hope: justice for the victims of clergy sexual abuse.

“We want to substantiate what those young people who have suffered, the victims, the survivors, that’s what today is all about,” said Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston on Jan. 31, 2019 in an interview with KPRC 2.

But one year later, what has come of these revelations that accused over 40 priests from the Archdiocese of an unthinkable act?

Where is the transparency?

“We at SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) are calling for true transparency, not the opaque transparency of a stained glass window from a church in denial,” said Eduardo Lopez de Casas, co-leader of SNAP Houston and clergy abuse victim.

Lopez de Casas grew up in church, rarely missing a Sunday Mass even in his darkest times.

“I was abused over 40 years ago, and I never left the church,” Lopez de Casas said.

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Dr. Leonard Shengold, 94, Psychoanalyst Who Studied Child Abuse, Dies

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Times

February 10, 2020

By Richard Sandomir

He said mistreating and neglecting children amounted to “soul murder” — a deliberate attempt to crush or eradicate the personality of a vulnerable young person.

Dr. Leonard Shengold, an esteemed psychoanalyst who in two books vividly described the terrifying impact of long-term abuse and neglect of children as “soul murder,” died on Jan. 16 at his home in Stone Ridge, N.Y. He was 94.

His son David said the cause was complications of leukemia.

During 60 years of psychoanalytic practice, Dr. Shengold observed the damage childhood abuse had wreaked on numerous adult patients. (He also treated patients outside that category, including the renowned writer and neurologist Dr. Oliver Sacks.)

He described “soul murder” as a crime committed by psychotic or psychopathic parents and other adults through sexual abuse, emotional deprivation and physical or mental torture. He equated this mistreatment with the “deliberate attempt to eradicate or compromise the separate identity of another person,” as he wrote in “Soul Murder: The Effects of Childhood Abuse and Deprivation” (1989).

Dr. Shengold had been treating adult victims of childhood abuse for about 25 years when he wrote “Soul Murder.” The term that gave the book its title was coined in the 19th century and later found its place in a noted case history of Freud’s based on the memoirs of a mentally ill judge.

Dr. Shengold drew on decades of clinical cases and the literary works of writers like Kipling, Chekhov and Dickens, all of whom, he wrote, suffered neglect or abuse in childhood. Helpless children, he believed, are easily victimized by their tormentors because of their physical and emotional dependence on them. And their reliance on them inevitably compels many to seek solace from the abusers themselves.

“The most destructive effect of child abuse is perhaps the need to hold on to the abusing parent or parent figure by identifying with the abuser,” he wrote. “This becomes part of a compulsion to repeat the experiences of abuse — as tormentor (enhancing sadism) and simultaneously as victim (enhancing masochism).”

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Archdiocese pays $38 million to sex abuse survivors

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Catholic Philly – Archdiocese of Philadelphia

February 7, 2020

By Matthew Gambino

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has paid out almost $39 million to survivors of clergy sexual abuse in the past year through the Independent Reconciliation and Reparations Program (IRRP) set up for the archdiocese, administrators confirmed this week.

The program began in November 2018 as a process independent of the archdiocese to offer money to people abused by clergy in the past. Program administrators assess claims and offer compensation with no monetary cap, either individually or in total.

The archdiocese has pledged to pay all awards as indicated by the plan and agreed to by the survivors.

A total of $38.9 million has been paid as of this week to 181 survivors who accepted the amount determined by the program’s administrators, according to Lawrence Stengel, a retired federal district judge who serves on the Oversight Committee of the IRRP.

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Accused Buffalo Priest Dead

FERNDALE (MI)
Church Militant

February 10, 2020

By Christine Niles

Fr. Dennis Riter goes to grave with secrets

A Buffalo priest accused of abusing multiple boys is dead.

Father Dennis Riter passed away Saturday after spending more than a week in the hospital from a heart attack.

In response to Church Militant’s query, the diocese confirmed Riter’s death “after a brief illness” but had no further details.

Riter was at the center of serious sex abuse allegations in 2018 involving at least three alleged victims.

One of them, Matthew Golden, was featured in an ABC Nightline exposé.

Matthew Golden: “I definitely was molested by Fr. Riter — 100%.”

Another was interviewed by Church Militant.

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Lawsuit: Father Duenas School student raped by one priest, molested by second in ’70s

GUAM
Pacific Daily News

February 6, 2020

By Haidee Eugenio Gilbert

Nearly 50 years ago, a Father Dueñas Memorial School teacher-priest allegedly raped a student repeatedly, while another teacher-priest at the school allegedly molested the same student at least three times, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court on Thursday.

The plaintiff, a student at Father Duenas between 1972 and 1974, was identified in court documents only with the initials O.O.O. to protect his privacy.

His $5 million lawsuit named Father George Maddock and Father Louis Brouillard as his abusers. Both priests are now deceased.

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Man alleging molestation by a priest says Diocese of Orange officials tried to intimidate him

ANAHEIM (CA)
Orange County Register

February 4, 2020

Irvine – A man who has alleged in a lawsuit against the Diocese of Orange that he was molested by a Roman Catholic priest when he was 6 years old in 1994 said Monday that Diocese officials have attempted to “intimidate” him.

Last week, a judge cleared the way for the public identification of the priest, Father Edward Poettgen, who was most recently assigned to St. Boniface Catholic Church in Anaheim. The man suing him held a news conference Monday from the offices of his attorneys to say the Diocese has treated him “like an enemy of the church.”

The man, whose name was not released, said he reported the priest in January of 2019 so he could find some sort of healing.

“Instead of treating me with compassion Bishop (Kevin) Vann has treated me as an enemy of the church,” he said. “They served subpoenas on my mother, my girlfriend and my employers, hoping to intimidate me but I will not be intimidated. I find strength in knowing that my actions will protect other children.”

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Ex-FBI director to probe sex abuse claims against Brooklyn Bishop DiMarzio: report

NEW YORK (NY)
NY Post

February 8, 2020

By Sara Dorn

The New York Archdiocese has hired former FBI Director Louis Freeh to probe sex abuse allegations against Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, according to a new report.

DiMarzio, 75, is accused of repeatedly molesting Mark Matzek when he was an altar boy and student at St. Nicholas Church and School in Jersey City in the 1970s, according to Matzek’s lawyer, Mitchell Garabedian.

Garabedian took Matzek’s claims public in November, and announced plans to file a lawsuit against DiMarzio.

“We look forward to the filing of the lawsuit so Bishop DiMarzio can have his day in court,” DiMarzio’s attorney Joseph Hayden told the Diocese-owned Brooklyn Tablet. “Bishop DiMarzio is ready, willing and able to defend this lawsuit . . . because the allegation is not true.”

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Graduate of Loyola University Chicago elected as Superior-General of the Legionaries of Christ

NEW YORK (NY)
America Magazine

February 7, 2020

By Gerard O’Connell

Vatican City – The Legionaries of Christ have elected the Rev. John Connor, 51, a graduate of Loyola University Chicago, as their new superior general. He is the first American to lead the order, which has today less than 1,000 priests. His election took place during the general chapter of the order and is meant to signal a change of direction.

Father O’Connor is the first non-Mexican to lead the order that was founded in 1941 by the Mexican priest, the Rev. Marcial Maciel. Benedict XVI removed Father Marcial from public ministry in 2006, after finding him guilty of sexually abusing minors, and ordered him to spend the rest of his life in prayer and penance. He died in 2008. It was subsequently revealed that he had sexual relations with more than one woman and had fathered children, and this news led Benedict to decide that the Vatican would take control of the order in 2010.

Pope Benedict appointed Cardinal Velasio De Paolis as his delegate to renew the order. The cardinal supervised the revision of its constitution and its process of renewal, but he failed to take action on specific cases of abuse and appears to have left unanswered many questions regarding the finances of the Legion and how they were misused by the founder.

Last December, before holding its general chapter, the Legion published a report in which it revealed that 33 of its priests had abused 175 minors over the years, revealing also that a third of those priests had been victims of abuse. The report also said its founder had abused 60 minors. But the report gave rise to demands for much greater information. At the same time, accusations of cover up of abuse allegations resurfaced in Mexico, raising many questions about how deep the reform of the order has been.

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NDAs ‘should not silence sexual harassment claims’

LONDON (ENGLAND)
BBC

February 10, 2020

Non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) should not be used to prevent someone from reporting sexual harassment in the workplace, according to new guidance.

Arbitration service Acas has published advice for firms and workers about NDAs, including how to avoid misuse.

Several high-profile scandals have exposed how NDAs are often used to silence mainly women alleging sexual harassment and misconduct.

Acas said misusing these agreements can be “very damaging” to an organisation.

NDAs are contracts or parts of contracts that typically prevent staff and ex-staff making information public.

They can apply to commercially sensitive details such as inventions and ideas, or anything likely to damage an organisation’s reputation, and are sometimes known as “gagging orders” or “hush agreements”.

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Pope to visit Malta on May 31 in first foreign trip of 2020

VATICAN CITY
Associated Press

February 10, 2020

Pope Francis will visit the Mediterranean island nation of Malta on May 31, the Vatican said Monday, confirming the Pope’s first foreign trip for the year.

Other rumored trips for Francis include a visit to Indonesia and East Timor in the second half of 2020.

Malta’s top two church leaders are very close to the Pope, and have echoed his concerns about the plight of migrants, families experiencing difficulties and the need to combat sexual abuse.

Archbishop Charles Scicluna is the Vatican’s longtime sex crimes prosecutor who helped turn Francis around on the issue after the Argentine pope botched his handling of the abuse scandal in Chile. Scicluna is based in Valletta but also retains a senior position in the Vatican office that handles abuse cases.

Bishop Mario Grech heads the Catholic Church on the Maltese island of Gozo. He was named by Francis last year to take over the Vatican office that coordinates the synod of bishops, the meetings to debate matters of importance to the church.

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Staten Island man, 72, files Child Victims Act suit over alleged 1960s abuse by Poly Prep teachers

NEW YORK (NY)
Daily News

February 2, 2020

By Larry McShane

For Brooklyn Poly Prep County Day School alum Richard Rubin, the typical 3 Rs of education came with a fourth: Rape.

Rubin, now a genteel 72-year-old Staten Island resident, alleges in a newly-filed Child Victims Act lawsuit that he was sexually abused on a weekly basis between 1960-65 by a cabal of five predatory teachers at the prestigious school. Rubin was even taken to the apartment of the most aggressive instructor for one-on-one assaults, according to court papers.

“It would be really nice to kick Poly in the teeth and let them take notice of what went on,” Rubin told the Daily News after the Brooklyn Supreme Court suit was filed. “If not for the money, Poly might not take any notice. The headmaster, the dean of boys, the athletics department— they basically all let this go on.

“It was a horrible time.”

His attorney David Oddo, after vetting the incredible tale of long-running abuse, said Poly operated more like a ’70s bathhouse than a college preparatory school.

The predatory quintet “anally raped and viciously sexually assaulted the plaintiff on a weekly basis … on school premises, including but not limited to the locker room, classrooms and under the stairwells,” the lawsuit alleged.

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New Brighton man, 72, files Child Victims Act sex-abuse lawsuit against Poly Prep

STATEN ISLAND (NY)
SI Live

February 4, 2020

By Joseph Ostapiuk

A 72-year-old New Brighton man filed a Child Victims Act lawsuit against his alma mater, Poly Prep Country Day School in Brooklyn, for alleged abuse he suffered on a weekly basis on the grounds of the institution when he was between the ages of 13 and 18 years old.

The newly-filed lawsuit alleges that Richard Rubin endured “multiple rapes and vicious and brutal sexual assaults” by five separate teachers at the school, including being assaulted in classrooms, stairwells, a locker room and the apartment of one of the abusers.

Poly Prep “failed to take steps” to prevent the teachers from raping children in their care, instead leaving the accused individuals in charge of the children who attended the school, the court filing claims.

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February 9, 2020

Albany-area priest on administrative leave following allegations

ALBANY (NY)
Times-Union

February 8, 2020

By Rick Karlin

Daniel Maher, 81, served in a number of Capital Region parishes

Albany Roman Catholic Diocese Bishop Edward Scharfenberger said Saturday he has placed a priest who retired from active ministry in 2008 on administrative leave following allegations of sexual abuse of a minor in the 1960s and 70s.

The Rev. Daniel Maher, 81, served as pastor of Holy Cross (now All Saints), Albany, from 1994 to 2008; pastor of Sacred Heart (now Immaculate Heart of Mary), Watervliet, from 1973 to 1994; associate pastor of St. Francis de Sales, West Albany (now Christ Our Light, Loudonville), from 1966 to 1973; associate pastor of St. Mary’s, Clinton Heights, from 1965 to 1966, and associate pastor of St. Teresa of Avila (now Mater Christi), Albany, from 1962 to 1965.

Maher denies the allegations, according to the statement from the diocese.

Scharfenberger’s decision came after a preliminary investigation by the Diocesan Review Board, which recommended administrative leave pending the completion of the full investigation.

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Pope Francis Fills Two Episcopal Vacancies in Chile Left by Sex Abuse Scandal

DENVER (CO)
Catholic News Agency via National Catholic Register

February 7, 2020

According to Reuters, Chilean officials have investigated 120 allegations of sexual abuse or cover-ups involving 167 Church officials or church workers.

Santiago, Chile – Pope Francis on Wednesday appointed bishops to the dioceses of Osorno and San Bartolomé de Chillán, both of which had been left vacant in 2018 amid the sex abuse scandal of the Church in Chile.

On Feb. 5 Bishop Jorge Enrique Concha Cayuqueo was named Bishop of Osorno, and Father Sergio Hernán Pérez de Arce Arriagada, was named Bishop of San Bartolomé de Chillán. Both had been serving as apostolic administrators of their new respective sees.

The chanceries of both Bishop Osorno and Bishop Chillán had been raided in September 2018 amid an investigation into sexual crimes against minors committed by members of the Church.

The Diocese of Osorno had been vacant since the June 2018 resignation of Bishop Juan de la Cruz Barros Madrid, who had been accused of covering up abuses of Father Fernando Karadima.

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Dunkirk priest accused of sexual abuse, then reinstated, dies

BUFFALO (NY)
WGRZ

February 8, 2020

Father Riter led St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Roman Catholic Church in Dunkirk. The Diocese of Buffalo said he died ‘after a brief illness.’

The Rev. Dennis Riter, who was accused of sexual abuse before being cleared and reinstated by the Diocese of Buffalo, has died.

The Diocese said through a statement on Saturday night that he died “after a brief illness.”

Father Riter led St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Roman Catholic Church in Dunkirk, which confirmed his death on its website.

“We sadly announce that Father Dennis Riter passed away Saturday afternoon, February 8, 2020. Please keep his family in your prayers during this most difficult time,” the message read.

Father Riter was placed on administrative leave in March of 2018 during the investigation before eventually being reinstated months later, in late June.

Riter was originally accused by at least two men who said the priest abused them in Buffalo while Riter was serving at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church.

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Dunkirk pastor dies following medical emergency

BUFFALO (NY)
WKBW

February 8, 2020

We are learning that Father Dennis Riter has died.

That’s according to a source close to the parish where he worked in Dunkirk.

Father Riter was the pastor at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church.

The church’s website says Father Riter suffered a serious medical emergency earlier in the week.

Father Riter was accused of child sexual abuse by multiple victims, yet was returned to ministry by Bishop Richard Malone.

He was the focus of a 7 Eyewitness News I-Team investigation.

The Bishop defended his decision saying there was no evidence to support the allegations.

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Gymnast Sexual Abuse Victims Offered $215 Million Insurance Payout to Settle Claims

SAN DIEGO (CA)
Insurance Journal

February 4, 2020

By Will Graves

USA Gymnastics has filed a bankruptcy plan that includes an offer of $215 million for sexual abuse survivors to settle their claims against the embattled organization.

The $215 million total is the amount the insurance carriers for USA Gymnastics and the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee are willing to provide in hopes of ending years of legal battles with athletes who were abused by former national team doctor Larry Nassar. Survivors have been in mediation with USA Gymnastics since the organization filed for bankruptcy in December 2018.

Nassar is serving decades in prison for sexual assault and possession of child pornography in Michigan. Hundreds of athletes have come forward over the last three years saying Nassar abused them under the guise of treatment, including reigning Olympic champion Simone Biles and six-time Olympic medalist Aly Raisman.

Bankruptcy law requires businesses to provide an exit plan within 18 months, and the exit plan is another step in a still lengthy process. USA Gymnastics President Li Li Leung told The Associated Press on Thursday that the organization wants to “work toward a true consensual settlement” with survivors.

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Lincoln diocese safeguarding team ‘envy’ of Anglican church

LONDON (ENGLAND)
BBC

February 7, 2020

Children and vulnerable people are safe in the care of the Anglican church in Lincolnshire, a senior clergyman says.

A BBC investigation in 2019 found two former Bishops of Lincoln had failed to act when informed of alleged abuse.

The current Bishop, Christopher Lowson, was later suspended for a separate alleged failure to act in relation to a safeguarding children inquiry.

The Archdeacon of Lincoln said the diocese was “doing its best to get it right” and had “first class staff”.

The BBC investigation found clergy and staff from the diocese were referred to police in 2015 over allegations a “blind eye” had been turned to claims of historic child abuse.

Police and the Lincoln Diocese investigated 25 people over alleged abuse from a list of 53 names passed to officers, with three cases leading to convictions.

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Price tag for priest sex abuse in New Jersey? $11 million and climbing

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
KYW

February 9, 2020

By David Madden

Over $11 million has been paid out, or soon will be, by five Catholic dioceses in New Jersey to dozens of victims of sexual abuse at the hands of priests. And that effort is far from finished.

564 claims have been filed all told and 105 have been addressed according to Camille Biros, who along with fellow Washington-based attorney Ken Feinberg, is administering an independent fund. They have done the same for the Catholic Church in four other states including Pennsylvania after a similar effort on behalf of 9/11 victims.

Of the 105 claims addressed, all but seven are getting a settlement payment. The remaining 459 claims are still under review.

“We are no longer taking any information about new allegations,” Biros told KYW Newsradio. “We are taking the completed claim forms from individuals who we’ve determined already to be potentially eligible to participate in the program. So they have the information. They just need to complete that paperwork and get that to us by February 29th.”

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Child Victims Act lawsuit: Boy was sexually assaulted in 1985 at Binghamton Salvation Army

BINGHAMTON (NY)
Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin via PressConnects

February 7, 2020

By Anthony Borrelli

A Binghamton man has accused a former staff member at the Salvation Army’s Youth Center of sexually assaulting him when he was a homeless 16-year-old during the latter months of 1985.

The now-51-year-old man’s lawsuit, filed Monday in Supreme Court of Broome County under New York’s Child Victims Act, doesn’t name the suspected abuser but it refers to him as a “John Doe” — an agent, administrator and/or officer with the Salvation Army.

Alleged repeated acts of sexual abuse, including rape, harassment and violence, were committed between September and December of 1985, according to the lawsuit. Seven defendants are listed: the Salvation Army, its Open Door Youth Center now known as the Salvation Army of Binghamton, and five “John Does,” one of them described as the “principal abuser.”

The lawsuit accuses the abuser of grooming the 16-year-old victim while working as a counselor at the Youth Center, someone who became a guiding force in the victim’s life.

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A Twist of Fate Led a Main Line Doc and Her Patient on a Fight for Sexual Assault Victims’ Rights

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Philadelphia Magazine

February 8, 2020

By Victor Fiorillo

It wasn’t until a patient revealed her abuse at the hands of Larry Nassar that psychiatrist Liz Goldman decided to go public with her own sexual assault in the Lower Merion School District.

Hi, this is Dr. Liz Goldman. Please feel free to leave me a message, and I will return your call within 24 hours. I apologize, but I am not accepting new patients.

[Beep.]

Those are the words that Sarah Klein heard when she called Bryn Mawr-based psychiatrist Liz Goldman in November of 2015. Klein, 36 at the time, had recently moved from Florida to the Main Line and just had a baby, and she was looking for a therapist, in part because her doctors told her she might be suffering from postpartum depression.

Klein, an intense, stylish attorney with piercing eyes, delicately asked around for references, the way you do when you’re new to the area and in search of something a bit more personal than, say, a plumber or an auto mechanic. She’d get the number of a therapist and make the call, but she heard the same thing over and over again: no new patients.

Eventually, one therapist who couldn’t fit Klein in gave her Liz Goldman’s number. Klein made the call. In spite of what she heard on Goldman’s voicemail greeting, Klein left a message. Goldman retrieved Klein’s message just after a longtime patient canceled an appointment scheduled for the next afternoon. She immediately called Klein and offered her the spot.

“To this day, I have no idea why I did that,” says Goldman, a comparatively introspective woman who’s been in private practice since 2003, when she was chief resident of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania. “I never do that. I hadn’t seen a new patient in maybe 10 years.”

Klein sat on the couch in Goldman’s ground-floor office in a sprawling brick apartment complex just off Lancaster Avenue and told the doctor about some of her struggles. What Klein had to say at that time was pretty garden-variety compared to some of the cases Goldman has handled, which have ranged from psychosis to full-blown personality disorders. But Klein clearly needed help, and she continued seeing Goldman regularly for the next two years. Then the regular visits stopped, and Klein vanished from Goldman’s world.

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February 8, 2020

‘It’s painful’: Why didn’t a former Valley priest accused of sexual abuse appear in court?

PHOENIX (AZ)
12 News

February 7, 2020

By Bianca Buono

https://www.12news.com/article/news/local/valley/lawyer-says-former-valley-priest-accused-of-sexual-abuse-is-too-sick-to-go-to-court/75-793b4080-3bca-4036-8461-0cf157e64002

John “Jack” Spaulding was indicted in January. His lawyer says days before the indictment, Spaulding was diagnosed with a “mortal illness.”

A former Valley priest accused of molesting multiple children did not appear in court on Friday morning.

In January, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office announced that Father John “Jack” Spaulding was indicted and accused of sexually abusing at least two boys under the age of 15 between 2003 and 2007.

Spaulding was due in court Friday for his arraignment. He did not show up. But families of victims, clergy, and Bishop Thomas Olmsted did.

It was an emotional morning for those like Katy Soukup.

“It’s painful and it’s hurtful,” Soukup said.

According to a lawsuit, her brother, David, was sexually abused by Spaulding in the 1980s. After turning to drugs and crime to cope with his trauma, David’s father shot and killed him in self-defense in 2010.

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Pope dismisses founder of Miles Christi Institute from clerical state

DENVER (CO)
Catholic News Agency

February 4, 2020

La Plata, Argentina – Pope Francis has dismissed from the clerical state Argentine priest Roberto Juan Yannuzzi, founder and superior of the Miles Christi (Soldier of Christ) Institute, who has been found guilty of abuse.

The order has locations in the U.S. dioceses of San Diego and Detroit, as well as Argentina, Mexico and Italy.

Archbishop Víctor Manuel Fernández of La Plata, Argentina, where the institute was founded, said in a Feb. 2 statement that Pope Francis made the decision because Yannuzzi “has been found guilty of crimes against the sixth commandment with adults, the absolution of the accomplice, and the abuse of authority.”

The abuse involved male religious who were members of the Miles Christi Institute, which Yannuzzi founded, the statement said.

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Our View: Father White should be praised, not silenced

MARTINSVILLE (VA)
Martinsville Bulletin

February 4, 2020

The First Amendment, the mission statement of our democracy, holds self-evident two primary rights for each of us: to say freely what we think and to practice the religion we prefer without interference from the government. Oppression against those tenets is why a group fled England on boats and why their (and our) ancestors made those protections the first in our Constitution.

So it is with ultimate irony that a proceeding today in Richmond could determine if a free religion can limit free speech – even to the point of firing and keeping quiet an employee for doing the job he is supposed to be doing, which is comforting the afflicted.

Maybe what Father Mark White really has been doing is inflicting the comfortable of the Catholic Church, because we find the steps the church has taken to censor his comments and threaten his calling to be both repugnant and ridiculous.

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But among those were the eyeballs of his superior – Barry Knestout, the bishop in Richmond — and quite possibly others from the Vatican. Because someone decided Father White needed to keep his fingers still and his mouth shut when it came to the church’s practices. We suspect those orders were handed down from above the bishop’s pay grade.

Now Father White did not hesitate in his writings to be frank about what he saw as his church’s failings. He was enflamed by the fact that one of the guilty was Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick, the man who had ordained him as a minster. Father White told Bill Wyatt of the Bulletin that he began to recognize how McCarrick had conducted himself, that he now sees how McCarrick might have signaled his interest in the men who said he had abused them.

Fueled by righteous anger and his oath to protect the innocent from the abuse of anyone in any way, Father White challenged the way his church was protecting the perpetrating priests more aggressively than they were those injured innocents.

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Priest pulls lawsuit against Ft Worth’s Bishop Olson, but allegations remain dizzying

DENVER (CO)
Catholic News Agency

February 3, 2020

By Jonah McKeown

Fort Worth TX – A Fort Worth diocesan priest who resigned his post and later attempted to rescind his resignation has dropped a lawsuit against Bishop Michael Olson and the Diocese of Fort Worth— a lawsuit which alleged that the bishop had defamed him by implying he is a threat to children.

In June 2018, Olson asked Father Richard Kirkham, former pastor of St. Martin de Porres parish in Prosper, Texas, to resign his pastorate, because the priest did not report to authorities what appeared to the bishop to be a case of a priest abusing a vulnerable adult.

Last week, Kirkham dropped the lawsuit he had filed in June 2019. In that lawsuit, Kirkham and his attorney had argued that the bishop had, in interviews with the Star-Telegram, implied that Kirkham’s removal was because he posed a danger to minors and the vulnerable.

According to Kirkham’s attorney, John Walsh, the lawsuit was dropped because Olson eventually clarified that Kirkham’s resignation did not result from any failure to report the sexual abuse of child, and there are not any allegations that Father Kirkham has sexually abused a child.

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How is the Catholic Church spending “Peter’s Pence?” A R.I. parishioner sues to find out

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Globe

February 3, 2020

By Amanda Milkovits Globe Staff,Updated February 3, 2020, 6:01 a.m.

Providence RI – A parishioner in East Providence has filed a federal class action lawsuit against the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, after media reports that as little as 10 percent of collections go to charity.

Every year, the Conference of Catholic Bishops solicits for donations from parishioners at Catholic churches around the country for the “Peter’s Pence Collection.” The fund is advertised as a collection to help victims of war, natural disasters and disease throughout the world.

David O’Connell says in his lawsuit that he donated to Peter’s Pence at Sacred Heart Church in 2018 because he thought the money was going to the needy.

Then, last month, the Wall Street Journal and other media in Italy reported that millions of dollars were actually going to “plug holes in the Vatican’s administrative budget” — along with investments in other unusual projects.

“Hundreds of millions of dollars over the last several years has been diverted into various suspicious investment funds, which in turn have funneled the money into such diverse ventures as luxury condominium developments and Hollywood movies, while paying fund managers hefty, multi-million dollar commissions,” Providence lawyer Peter N. Wasylyk and Marc R. Stanley of the Stanley Law Group in Dallas, Texas, wrote in the lawsuit filed Jan. 22 at U.S. District Court.

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