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 1, 2020

Landmark priest abuse retrial now missing its key witness

PHILADELPHIA
PhillyVoice.com

February 1, 2020

The first US church official ever imprisoned over priest abuse complaints will soon be retried in court without a single victim.

A landmark 2011 case first began the trial of Monsignor William Lynn, 69, who was eventually convicted of “felony child endangerment” for his time working as a secretary for the clergy at the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Twice, Lynn’s conviction has been overturned. Now, a retrial is set for March 16, but the key witness may not be called this time.

The key witness is an accuser who alleges he was assaulted by two priests and his sixth-grade teacher in the late 1990’s. These priests transferred to the accuser’s parish by Lynn, known to be a threat and marked as “known predators” by the Monsignor.

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

French cardinal is acquitted of sex abuse coverup as country faces its own legacy of pedophilia

VATICAN CITY
Religion News Service

January 31, 2020

By Claire Giangravé

The French appeals court has acquitted Cardinal Philippe Barbarin of Lyon of charges that he failed to report sexual abuse cases.

In 2017, Barbarin was charged and later convicted for not reporting the abuse of a minor, which resulted in a six-month prison sentence. His was the most high-profile case of a member of the Catholic hierarchy to be tried and sentenced for sexual abuse coverup.

The prosecutors accused Barbarin of not reporting the notorious paedophile Bernard Preynat, who was convicted in July for sexually abusing up to 45 young Boy Scouts under his care in the diocese of Lyon. The Catholic Church removed him from the clerical state, meaning Preynat is no longer a priest.

On Thursday, an appeals court acquitted Barbarin.

Lyon is an important diocese in France, overseeing more than 1.2 million Catholics, and traditionally a stepping stone for becoming a cardinal and occupying other prestigious positions.

The victims who accused Barbarin of covering up abuse plan to appeal the matter to France’s highest court, the Court de Cassation. Victims may also present the case before the European Court of Human Rights. In either case, a final decision over Barbarin’s guilt or innocence may not be made for several years.

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.

Bill sponsored by Sen. Crider could enable more sex crimes prosecutions

GREENFIELD (IN)
Greenfield Reporter

January 31, 2020

By Jessica Karins –

A new bill sponsored by Greenfield’s representative in the Indiana State Senate could allow more adult victims of childhood sex crimes to seek justice — but it would create narrower conditions for prosecution than its author originally envisioned.

Current law requires prosecutions for sex crimes perpetrated against child victims to commence before the victim is 31 years old. The change would create exemptions to that rule if law enforcement finds DNA evidence of a crime; discovers a recording that provides evidence of a crime; or if a perpetrator confesses to a crime. This would apply to cases that occurred in the past, which could be revived if no charges were filed at the time.

The bill was amended after committee discussion from its original version, which would have entirely removed the statute of limitations for such crimes.

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 allows AP to be heard in dispute over Saints emails

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
Associated Press

January 31, 2020

By Jim Mustian

A judge ruled Friday that The Associated Press may be heard in a court dispute over whether to release hundreds of confidential emails that detail the New Orleans Saints’ behind-the-scenes public relations work to help area Roman Catholic leaders deal with a sexual abuse crisis.

The news organization filed a motion urging the release of the emails, which surfaced in a lawsuit against the Archdiocese of New Orleans but remain confidential, calling them a matter of public interest. That request was opposed by the archdiocese and the Saints, who argued the communications were private.

Judge Ellen Hazeur of Orleans Parish Civil District Court agreed the emails were of “public concern” and ordered a special master to determine next month whether the documents should be made public. That hearing was scheduled for Feb. 20.

Mary Ellen Roy, an attorney for the AP, told reporters after the hearing that Louisiana law is clear on the issue of whether the news organization may be heard in court. She called the emails “an issue of extraordinary interest” for the heavily Catholic community, adding it’s also “important for the victims and advocates.”

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.

Illness prompts former Catholic Diocese leader John Myers to return to Peoria

PEORIA (IL)
Peoria Journal Star

February 1, 2020

By Nick Vlahos

The former leader of the Catholic Diocese of Peoria has returned to his former home. Under unfortunate circumstances, apparently.

Ill health has prompted John Myers, the archbishop emeritus of Newark, N.J., to remain in the Peoria area after a recent visit.

A recent statement from Cardinal Joseph Tobin, the current Newark archbishop, noted Myers’ physical and mental health have suffered serious declines.

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 Macomb County Priest Accused Of Abuse Bound Over For Trial

LANSING (MI)
WWJ Radio

February 1, 2020

A former Macomb County priest accused of sexual abuse has been bound over for trial.

Neil Kalina waived his rights to a preliminary hearing Tuesday in Macomb County District Court. He’s scheduled to be arragined Feb. 10 on two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a person between the ages of 13 and 16. The incidents reportedly occurred in 1984.

Kalina was also originally charged with two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a person under 13-years-old. However, after further investigation and the discovery of new information, the Attorney General’s office dismissed those charges.

When the assaults reportedly occurred, Kalina was a priest at St. Kieran Catholic Church in Shelby Township. He also worked in Sterling Heights and Utica. Kalina is believed to have provided the victim with alcohol and drugs.

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

How Policies Of The Jehovah’s Witnesses Keep Child Sexual Abuse From Police

UNITED STATES
Oxygen.com

January 31, 2020

From clergy-penitent privilege to disfellowshipping, here are the findings of a five-year investigation into the child abuse policies of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

(This story was produced by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting, a nonprofit news organization. Get their investigations emailed to you directly by signing up at revealnews.org/newsletter.)

For decades, the Jehovah’s Witnesses have claimed a legal right to keep reports of child sexual abuse by members of their congregations secret from police.

Attorneys for the religion argue that when congregation leaders learn of child sexual abuse, those reports are considered confidential spiritual communications — like a priest hearing a confession — even when the report comes from the victim.

The Montana Supreme Court agreed with the Witnesses’ this month, overturning a $35 million court judgement and allowing the Witnesses to avoid accountability for their decades-long practice of keeping child sexual abuse allegations from police and prosecutors in certain states where the Witnesses have determined they have the legal right to withhold.

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.

Abuse accuser testifies against ex-Santa Cruz priest

SANTA FE (NM)
Santa Fe New Mexican

January 31, 2020

By Phaedra Haywood

Marvin Archuleta’s accuser’s voice quavered as he described in graphic detail being given punch and cookies before being raped at the age of 6 by the man he is “110 percent sure” was the former Santa Cruz priest.

But Archuleta’s defense attorney, Ryan Villa, challenged the witness’s certainty during cross-examination Friday in District Court, reminding him that he’d answered with less conviction when asked to identify the priest during a deposition for his civil case in 2017.

The man — whom The New Mexican is not identifying because he says he is the victim of sexual assault — said the picture of Archuleta he was shown during the deposition depicted the priest clean shaven without his glasses on.

When Archuleta, now 82, assaulted him during the 1986-87 school year, the man said, the former priest was unshaven and wearing glasses.

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.

Alexander Brunett, Seattle archbishop who oversaw expansions amid burgeoning sex-abuse scandal, dies at 86

SEATTLE (WA)
Seattle TImes

January 31, 2020

By Lewis Kamb

Alexander Brunett, an assertive, retired archbishop of the Seattle Archdiocese who led an aggressive expansion of schools, parishes, charities and scholarships as a clergy sex-abuse scandal exploded into public consciousness, died in Seattle on Friday. He was 86.

Brunett, who grew up in a large family in Detroit and eventually ascended from a parish priest to bishop, retired after 13 years as Seattle’s fourth archbishop in 2010. His health had declined since a stroke in 2013 left him partially paralyzed, and since suffering head trauma during a fall in April, church officials 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.

Music performance allows contemplation on sex abuse crisis

NEW YORK (NY)
National Catholic Reporter

February 1, 2020

Composer starts with Margaret Gallant’s 1982 letter

In 1982, Margaret Gallant wrote a four-page letter to the late Cardinal Humberto Medeiros of Boston, professing her love for the Catholic Church, and expressing her anger for its failure to protect seven boys in her family who were abused by a priest. The letter laid bare the church’s efforts to systematically cover up clerical sex abuse and later became an important document in the Boston Globe’s “Spotlight” investigation into sexual abuse cover up.

Years later, Gallant’s letter takes center stage once again in composer Craig Shepard’s, “Broken Silence.” A musical contemplation, “Broken Silence” is is about 80 minutes long, intended to combine words and music for listeners on the subjects of abuse and corruption.

The Jan. 8 performance at the DiMenna Center for Classical Music in New York begins with silence. Musicians sit in a circle at the center of the theatre, surrounded by the audience. Before beginning the performance, Shepard carefully scans the room, gauging his audience and making eye contact with them. He then starts reading Gallant’s letter, which is set to the music of steel string acoustic guitar and saxophone. The performance is peppered with meditative pauses. Audience members seem to slip into a meditative mood.

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.