Perhaps the craziest claim by anti-SOL zealots

UNITED STATES
AdamHorowitzLaw.com (law firm blog)

March 31, 2020

The momentum has shifted from the selfish wrongdoers to the selfless innocent, from the secret-keepers to the openness advocates, from those who ignore common sense and psychology to those who understand common sense and psychology and from those who want to protect institutions and companies to those who want to protect kids and vulnerable adults.

That’s why 2019 was a banner year for removing these out-of-date deadlines that stop victims from exposing those who commit and conceal sexual abuse in court.

And in response to this long-overdue trend toward justice, self-serving lobbyists who are pro-arbitrary deadline, pro-secrecy and anti-victim are becoming ever-more-creative in dreaming up outlandish ‘the sky will fall!’ claims.

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Pastor cleared of sexual abuse charge, returns to church

ANDOVER (MA)
Eagle Tribune

March 31, 2020

By Paul Tennant

Gori reinstated at St. Augustine

The Rev. Peter Gori has been reinstated as pastor of St. Augustine Church, the Archdiocese of Boston announced Monday.

He is expected to resume his duties by Sunday – which is Palm Sunday – according to Cardinal Sean O’Malley, archbishop of Boston.

Gori, a member of the Order of St. Augustine since 1973, was placed on administrative leave in April 2019 after a man, now in his 40s, claimed that he and another priest, the Rev. William Waters, sexually abused him more than 30 years ago.

“I assure you, as I assured the provincial, that the accusation is false,” Gori wrote in a letter to parishioners when the allegation surfaced. The provincial, the regional leader of Augustinian priests in the eastern U.S., had informed Gori of the accusation.

The Augustinian order relied on an independent investigator, Praesidium Inc., as well as the order’s independent review board in concluding the allegation could not be substantiated, according to a press release issued by the Archdiocese of Boston.

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Dioceses Announce Staff Cuts, but Federal Aid Could Help

WASHINGTON (DC)
CNA

March 31, 2020

By Matt Hadro

As dioceses across the country work to scale back payrolls, one lawyer who works with religious institutions says that new federal policies that could pay for employee leave and provide emergency loans to non-profits.

As Catholic dioceses and parishes begin to cut staff during the coronavirus pandemic, they could be eligible for unprecedented federal relief to keep their employees on their payrolls.

Bishops across the United States have suspended public liturgies and closed church buildings in response to state-issued public safety policies, and Catholic leaders have warned of an immediate revenue shortfall. Consequences of that shortfall include staff reductions, furloughs, and decreased hours.

The Diocese of Buffalo, which had already declared bankruptcy last year and announced plans for a reorganization, said on March 19 that it was “accelerating” the reorganization process for its Catholic Center. In all, 21 positions are being eliminated and three more positions moved from full-time to part-time staff.

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Priest Accused of Sexually Abusing Minor to Resume Duties

ANDOVER (MA)
The Associated Press

March 31, 2020

The pastor of a Roman Catholic church in Massachusetts who was accused of sexually abusing a minor over 30 years ago has been reinstated.

The pastor of a Roman Catholic church in Massachusetts who was accused of sexually abusing a minor over 30 years ago has been reinstated.

The Rev. Peter Gori is expected to resume his duties at St. Augustine’s Church in Andover by the end of the week, the Archdiocese of Boston announced Monday.

Gori was placed on administrative leave in April 2019 after a man, now in his 40s, claimed that he and another priest, the Rev. Williams Waters, sexually abused him.

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Religious reform school closes after former students allege abuse & neglect

WINONA LAKE (IN)
WNDU

March 30, 2020

By Carli Luca

A reform school in Kosciusko County, facing allegations of neglect and abuse from former students, has closed.

The school has confirmed that they’ve closed permanently. This comes after a 16 news now investigation just over a month ago.

Hephzibah House sent a letter to their supporters saying they sent their last student away and that the closure came after their insurance carrier dropped them.

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Compensation scheme for survivors of historical abuse opens for applications

IRELAND
Belfast Telegraph

March 31 2020

By Rebecca Black, PA

Payments will be made to those who suffered harm when they were in homes run by the church and state.

The opening of applications for a compensation scheme for survivors of historical institutional abuse has been welcomed.

A planned public event for the launch was cancelled due to the Covid-19 crisis.

However the opening of the application process for the Historical Institutional Abuse Redress Board was announced by Northern Ireland’s First and Deputy First Ministers.

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With Conferences Canceled, UMC Split and SBC Votes Wait for Next Year

CAROL STREAM (IL)
Christianity Today

March 30, 2020

By Megan Fowler and Kate Shellnutt

Besides budget approvals, most denominational business can be rescheduled.

Major conferences held by the two largest Protestant denominations in the country have joined the long list of events canceled by coronavirus.

Last week, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) called off its annual meeting scheduled for June 9-10, its first cancellation since World War II 75 years ago. The week before, the United Methodist Church (UMC) announced it would have to push back its quadrennial General Conference another year after its venue, the Minnesota Convention Center, canceled events through mid-May.

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Famed Jesuit priest abused boy 1,000 times around the world: lawsuit

CHICAGO (IL)
Gruntstuff

March 31, 2020

By Donna Miller

A globe-trotting Jesuit priest with ties to Mom Teresa sexually abused an American boy “greater than 1,000 times, in a number of states and international locations,” a lawsuit filed Monday in California state court docket in San Francisco alleges.

In the lawsuit and in interviews with The Related Press, Robert J. Goldberg, now 61, describes years of psychological management and sexual abuse he suffered from age 11 into maturity whereas working as a valet for the late Rev. Donald J. McGuire.

McGuire died in federal jail in 2017 whereas serving a 25-year sentence for molesting different boys who got here underneath his sway.

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Many sexual abuse stories in the news leaving us all shaking our heads

UNITED STATES
AdamHorowitzLaw.com (law firm blog)

March 30, 2020

Many stories in the media about sexual abuse leave us sometimes shaking our heads. From time to time on this blog, we’ll mention some of those stories under the headline “How come?”

—A Texas man pleaded guilty to child sex crimes back in the 1990s when he worked for the Pioneer Drive Baptist Church in Abilene.

According to news accounts, Jeff Berry “has been sentenced to ten years probation, a $2,000 fine, 180 days in jail, and “has to turn himself in on or before September 20.”

https://sanangelolive.com/news/crime/2020-03-20/former-church-worker-pleads-guilty-lewd-acts-minor

Six months? That’s a long delay, especially for an admitted abuser. How come?

— A California megachurch recently put its pastor on leave after learning he let a volunteer who admitted an “unwanted thought pattern of attraction to minors” to keep working with kids for about a year and a half.

Rev. John Ortberg admits he “offered prayers and referrals for counseling” to the volunteer but didn’t consult anyone else at the church – about the situation.

But officials at Menlo Church re-instated Ortberg three months later.

https://www.almanacnews.com/news/2020/02/28/menlo-park-pastor-placed-on-leave-for-poor-judgment-to-return-to-the-pulpit

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What does COVID-19 mean for Southern Baptist abuse reforms?

HOUSTON (TX)
Houston Chronicle

March 30, 2020

By Robert Downen

Sexual abuse survivors this week called on Southern Baptist leaders to commit to sustained action on abuse reforms despite the faith group not meeting this year because of COVID-19.

They hope that leaders such as SBC President J.D. Greear, who will now have a third term as president because the faith group’s annual meeting was canceled, will push for more robust policies on abuse.

This year’s meeting would have been the second since the publication of Abuse of Faith, a Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News investigation that found hundreds of Southern Baptist pastors and church leaders had been convicted of sexual abuses in the last 20 years. They left behind more than 700 victims, nearly all of them children.
All the stories, all the time

Rachael Denhollander, who has been advising leaders on abuse policies, said she hopes Greear uses his platform to push back against those who’ve been complacent or, in some cases, hostile to reforms.

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News Release: Archbishop Fulton Sheen’s Niece Speaks

SAN FRANCISCO (CA)
Carmel Communications

March 24, 2020

Joan Sheen Cunningham writes about her unique relationship with her beloved uncle in new book

The whole world got to see Bishop Fulton Sheen on their televisions and hear him on their radios, but what was he like when he wasn’t in the public eye? His closest living relative and niece, Joan Sheen Cunningham, writes in her book, MY UNCLE FULTON SHEEN, a compelling story of how he became her second father and reveals both amusing and serious attributes about Sheen that only more deeply show his path to sainthood is well-deserved.

Sheen was to be beautified in Peoria, Illinois, on Dec. 21, 2019, but the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops postponed it on Dec. 2, per the request of Bishop Salvatore Matano of Rochester, due to concerns that Sheen could be cited in the New York attorney general’s ongoing investigation into whether any of the state’s eight Roman Catholic dioceses had covered up acts or allegations of clerical sexual abuse.

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‘The Keepers’: All the best true crime on Netflix to watch next

Film Daily

March 30, 2020

When your Netflix queue runs dry, ‘The Keepers’ and other content may provide you just the true crime to bingewatch next.

We get it, truly. You’ve rewatched Making a Murderer and the Aaron Hernandez docuseries too many times. You’ve cleaned the house on all the Dateline episodes available. You even binged American Vandal because you were desperate for something that felt like a true crime docuseries.

But trust us, you probably still haven’t dug to the bottom of the barrel yet. Just when you think you’re out of content, Netflix comes by with its big sack of originals, dropping true crime shows out the wazoo. So when your Netflix queue has run dry, turn to these films and series to get your true crime fix. …

***

The Keepers

The beloved Sister Cathy Cesnik met her untimely end in 1969. But The Keepers says that Cesnik met the Angel of Death in a coverup against Priest A. Joseph Maskell and the sexual abuse charges against him. Releasing shortly after the award winning Spotlight, The Keepers takes a close look at just one case of sexual abuse in a large web of problems with the Catholic church.

With an investigation led by former students of Sister Cathy’s, The Keepers not only dives into the circumstances around the murder, but the long-standing claims of sexual abuse at the hands of Maskell. The truth of Sister Cathy’s murder is out there, and The Keepers gets one step closer.

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The 29 Best True Crime Documentaries You Need To Watch After Netflix’s ‘Tiger King’

Internewscast.com

March 31, 2020

It’s no secret that true crime is having a moment RN. Seriously, it seems like there’s always a new true crime documentary, TV show, podcast, or book (remember those?) to get completely lost in. And by “completely lost,” I’m talking about going down hours-long rabbit holes into articles, Reddit threads, and any other details you can find wedged into the random corners of the internet. …

***
The Keepers

Who killed Sister Cathy? The case still isn’t all-the-way cracked, but the search for the nun’s murderer upturned years of shocking clergy abuse and a massive cover-up from both the church and local authorities. Hearing what harm was done to young girls in a supposed safe space will make your stomach turn. The doc centres on two women acting as amateur detectives, in an effort to keep Sister Cathy’s story and compassion alive.

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Child abuse concerns rise as school closures mean fewer eyes on kids

BAKERSFIELD (CA)
The Bakersfield Californian

March 30, 2020

By Stacey Shepard

In the midst of a virus pandemic that has shuttered schools and workplaces and is creating financial and job-related stress for families, some social workers have another concern on their mind: child abuse and neglect.

An average of 41 Kern County kids a day were referred to Child Protective Services in 2018, and most of those referrals come from teachers, doctors and counselors, mandated reporters and people whose jobs involve interacting with children on a daily basis, according to Tom Corson, the director of Kern County Network for Children. On average, eight of the calls were substantiated neglect, he said.

“My fear right now is nobody has eyes on these kids,” Corson said.

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Redress a ‘jail-free card’ for churches

NEW SOUTH WALES (AUSTRALIA)
AAP

March 30, 2020

By Heather McNab

A Christian minister has labelled the national redress scheme for survivors of institutional child sexual abuse as a “get-out-of-jail-free card” for churches.

Pastor Bob Cotton has called for churches to be stripped of their tax-free status if they are not willing to accommodate their abuse victims.

The senior pastor at Maitland Christian Church in NSW says the redress scheme’s compensation cap of $150,000 is far too low and “everything is weighted far too heavily in the favour of the church”.

“To me, the redress scheme is almost a ‘get-out-of-jail-free card’ for the church,” Pastor Cotton told a federal parliamentary committee via teleconference on Monday.

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Missouri Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline sees 50 percent drop in calls

KANSAS CITY (MO)
Northeast News

March 30, 2020

By Elizabeth Orosco

The Department of Social Services (DSS) has seen a 50 percent drop in Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline calls since March 11, 2020, roughly the same time schools began going on spring break and students have not returned due to COVID-19 shutdowns.

This drop, representatives believe, is due to the lack of reports from teachers as students are out of school.

Teachers, educators, child care providers, and other professions are mandated reporters and are required to report suspected child abuse. Educators and child care providers make the largest number of hotline calls during the year.

In a recent release, Jennifer Tidball, acting director for the Department of Social Services said they are “often our state’s best radar on a child’s well-being because children are in school or at child care each day.”

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Priest steps down at Laflin parish amid abuse allegations

WILKES-BARRE (PA)
Wilkes Barre Times Leader

March 29, 2020

By Kevin Carroll

The pastor of a Catholic church in Luzerne County has stepped down from his post amid sexual abuse allegations.

A statement released by the Diocese of Scranton outlined multiple accusations against the Rev. James J. Walsh, pastor at St. Maria Goretti Parish in Laflin.

Walsh, while denying the accusations leveled at him, resigned as pastor in lieu of being removed by Bishop Joseph Bambera.

“On Wednesday, March 6, 2019, the Diocese of Scranton received an allegation of sexual assault involving Father James J. Walsh, pastor of Saint Maria Goretti Parish, Laflin. Upon receipt of this allegation, the Diocese immediately notified the Lackawanna County District Attorney’s Office,” reads the statement.

The initial accusation against Walsh was made regarding an alleged incident that took place in 1979, while Walsh was serving as an assistant pastor at the Church of Saint Gregory in Clarks Green, Lackawanna County.

The accuser was an adult at the time of the alleged assault.

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A case of the man who knew too much | The Pell saga [Op-Ed]

AUSTRALIA
BigNewsNetwork.com

March 30, 2020

By Chris Friel

Cardinal George Pell’s accuser claimed to be familiar with the layout of a renovated sacristy and this fact means we have a crucial experiment for the truth of his claims. This important insight has not been apprehended even by those who have studied the affair most closely.

That’s an astonishing claim that I hope to make plausible by examining the rulings in the intermediate court. However, the point I want to make here is that only if we understand this point will we have a clue as to why the jury made its perverse judgement in finding Pell guilty of the crimes alleged against him. There are three claims here and I will take them in turn beginning with the idea of a crucial experiment.

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Third-party hotline for reporting on Catholic bishops is launched

OKLAHOMA
The Oklahoman

March 28, 2020

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops recently established a third-party system for reporting and assessing allegations of misconduct and sexual abuse of minors made against current and retired bishops.

The new Catholic Bishop Abuse Reporting service, launched March 16, is operated by Convercent Inc., an independent, third-party entity that provides intake services to private institutions for reports of sensitive topics such as sexual harassment through a secure, confidential and professional platform, according to an Archdiocese of Oklahoma City news release.

Individuals may make a report by calling 800-276-1562 or by going to reportbishopabuse.org.

The Catholic Bishop Abuse Reporting service (CBAR) is for reporting allegations of sexual abuse involving bishops only. The archdiocese of Oklahoma City has an Abuse of Minors Pastoral Response hotline at 720-9878 to report sexual misconduct by anyone in diocesan ministry who is not a bishop — such as priests, deacons, religious brothers and sisters or lay persons working or volunteering for the Church.

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Are Insurers Collaterally Damaged by New State ‘Child Victims Acts’? [Opinion]

UNITED STATES
Bloomberg Law

March 30, 2020

By Michael L. Zigelman and Rita Y. Wang, attorneys with Kaufman Dolowich & Voluck

States retroactively enlarging the civil statute of limitations in child sexual abuse cases effectively increase insurers’ exposure beyond what they initially agreed to assume, Kaufman Dolowich & Voluck LLP attorneys say. The impact could be severe for insureds with substantial exposure to these claims, like the Boy Scouts, Catholic dioceses, daycare centers, and other facilities that oversaw operations involving minors.

Boy Scouts of America filed for voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy Feb. 28 in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware, citing an influx of childhood sexual abuse lawsuits—indeed hundreds have been filed to date in various federal and state courts, with well over a thousand more anticipated.

The direct factor contributing to the sudden increase of these lawsuits is legislation recently enacted by many states allowing previously time-barred child sexual abuse claims to go forward, i.e., revival statutes, usually entitled “Child Victims Act.”

In 2019, 14 jurisdictions alone amended their civil statute of limitations (SOL) for child sexual abuse claims. Among which, eight jurisdictions enacted revival statutes allowing previously time-barred claims: New York, the District of Columbia, Montana, New Jersey, Arizona, Vermont, Rhode Island, and North Carolina.

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St Joseph Home sex abuse victims lose appeal for damages from Church

MALTA
MaltaToday.com

March 29, 2020

By Matthew Agius

Court of Appeal confirms damages claim by victims of the St Joseph Home clerical sex abuse is time-barred

More disappointment for the victims of the St Joseph Home clerical sex abuse, as the Court of Appeal confirmed that their case was time-barred.

Chief Justice Joseph Azzopardi, Mr Justice Tonio Mallia and Madam Justice Miriam Hayman, in a decision handed down on Friday, upheld a judgment of the First Hall Civil Court, ruling the claim to be time-barred.

Lawrence Grech, together with ten others, had filed a case for damages against two priests, the St Paul’s Missionary Society, the Archdiocese of Malta, and the government in 2013.

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Highland woman alleges youth pastor at First Baptist Church of Hammond raped her in 1970s: ‘He knew exactly what he was doing’

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Tribune

March 27, 2020

By Alexandra Kukulka

https://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/post-tribune/ct-ptb-hyles-lawsuit-st-0329-20200327-qhcr4b7utbbatna2io7e2j7j5q-story.html

Sitting in her apartment in Highland, Joy Ryder looks back on two years of alleged sexual abuse at the hands of her youth pastor and said it made her reevaluate her relationship with God and religion.

“I never lost my faith in God,” Ryder said. “I’m not about religion, but more of a relationship with Christ.”

Ryder recently filed a lawsuit against the estate of Jack Hyles, his son David Hyles, Hyles-Anderson College and First Baptist Church of Hammond alleging that David Hyles raped, sexually assaulted and sexually abused her and that church leadership covered it up in the late 1970s.

“You aren’t special, he does that with everyone,” Ryder said Jack Hyles, the then-lead pastor of First Baptist Church of Hammond, told her.

Ryder, then 14, recalled that was Jack Hyles’ response when she approached him to tell him that a senior-ranking member of the church — his son — was abusing her.

“He is probably the most cruel, and cunning person I’ve ever known in my life, and I don’t say that easily,” Ryder, now 57, said of David Hyles. “He knew exactly what he was doing.”

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Time and timing are crucial to Cardinal Pell’s appeal

KEW EAST (VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA)
News Weekly – National Civic Council

March 28, 2020; publication date April 4, 2020

By Peter Westmore

The hope is that the High Court justices will set upright a distortion of justice.

Cardinal George Pell’s appeal to the High Court took place on March 11 and 12. The case was heard by a Full Bench of the High Court, which includes all seven justices currently on the court.

Cardinal Pell was not present – he is confined in Barwon Prison, a high-security facility in Victoria.

He was appealing against a 2:1 majority verdict of the Victorian Court of Appeal of last August. It has taken over six months for this matter to reach the High Court of Australia. He was not directly appealing against the original jury verdict, but against the majority verdict of the Court of Appeal.

His case rested on two propositions:

1. The majority in the Court of Appeal erred in their assertion that the complainant was so credible that Cardinal Pell had to establish that the offending was impossible. In other words, that Cardinal Pell was required to prove his innocence, rather than the prosecution proving his guilt.

2. The majority of the Court of Appeal erred in finding that the jury verdicts were not unreasonable, in light of all the evidence contradicting it.

One day was given to Cardinal Pell’s barrister, Bret Walker SC, to put Cardinal Pell’s case. The second day was given to the Director of Public Prosecutions in Victoria, represented by Crown prosecutor Kerri Judd SC, to support the decision of the Court of Appeal.

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Compensation scheme for abuse survivors ‘must be launched’ despite lockdown

BELFAST (NORTHERN IRELAND)
Belfast Telegraph

March 26, 2020

By Rebecca Black

Jon McCourt said a virtual launch can deliver progress on the much-delayed scheme without the need for people to attend.

A compensation scheme for survivors of historical abuse must be launched as scheduled next week despite the coronavirus lockdown, a campaigner has said.

Jon McCourt, of the group Survivors North West, said a virtual launch could deliver progress for victims without compromising safety with a public gathering.

Victims have already endured long delays in their campaign for recognition and compensation.

Paying compensation to those who suffered harm when they were in homes run by the church and state was among recommendations from the Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) public inquiry in 2016.

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SNAP Calls on Diocese of Richmond to Extend Deadline to Register for Compensation Program in Light of Coronavirus

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

March 26, 2020

In February, the Diocese of Richmond quietly announced a compensation program for survivors. Their program has an incredibly short registration window, barely lasting two months. Now, in light of coronavirus concerns that have paralyzed a nation, we are calling on Catholic officials in Richmond to extend the deadline for their compensation program and make efforts to ensure that survivors of clergy abuse are aware of the program’s existence.

Richmond’s compensation program is currently set to close on April 3, less than two months after it was announced on February 17. This already-short window for survivors to learn about the program and make a decision on participation is made all the worse now that Coronavirus is rewriting daily routines and lives. We believe that the right thing to do in this case is for church leaders in Richmond to extend the deadline for participation in the program for an six months.

If Catholic officials in Richmond truly care about the suffering that survivors have gone through, they would take steps to ensure that victims are adequately recognized and compensated. Instead, they have very quietly announced a program with a narrow participation window, a move that seems more about being able to say “see, we did something” than to actually help survivors heal. Jesus did not tell his followers “I will heal you, but only if you come to me for help by a certain time.”

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Statute of Limitations for Filing a Sexual Assault Claim in Michigan

TAMPA (FL)
Legal Examiner – Law Firm Blog

March 27, 2020

Sexual assault is a serious crime than can have significant effects on a victim’s physical, mental, and psychological well-being. Understanding your rights as a sexual assault survivor and knowing what to do in the aftermath of assault can be a confusing and scary process.

It’s common for victims of sexual assault to have difficulty processing what’s happened, feel reluctant to identify the incident as assault, and be fearful of reporting the incident to authorities and reaching out for support.

An additional barrier sexual assault victims can face is the differences in how sexual assault is defined and handled on a state-by-state basis. Sexual assault laws in Michigan, for instance, differ from those in some other states. If you live in Michigan, it might be helpful to know how your state defines and charges various forms of sexual assault cases under state law.

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Governor signs law giving assault victims more time to seek justice

GREENSBURG (IN)
Daily News

March 25, 2020

By Lacey Watt

Indianapolis – Legislation that allows rape victims extra time to seek justice against their assailants represents progress, even if it falls short, says the state senator who pushed for the reforms in the 2020 session of the General Assembly.

“I’m pleased to have made some progress being made,” Sen. Michael Crider, R-Greenfield, said. “It’s another opportunity for victims to hopefully find justice, and while it’s not a complete elimination of the statute of limitations, it does give detectives a reason to speak with the accused, and see if they can get a confession or find evidence.”

Crider’s bill, Senate Enrolled Act 109, was among dozens of bills Gov. Eric Holcomb has signed into law since the end of the legislative session. Three of the bills, including SEA 109, affect the criminal justice system. The others SEA 146, which allows assault victims to get emotional support, and SEA 216, which protects the personal information of people working in the criminal justice system.

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Court reinstates child rape charges against former Milton Academy teacher

QUINCY (MA)
Patriot Ledger

March 26, 2020

By Joe DiFazio

Boston – The state Supreme Judicial Court has reinstated four child rape indictments against former Milton Academy teacher Reynold Buono.

The state’s highest court on Thursday partially reversed a decision by Norfolk County Superior Court Judge Thomas Connors, who last year dismissed six rape charges against Buono, who is accused of sexually assaulting a student in the 1980s.

The dismissal hinged on questions of whether prosecutors had presented enough corroborating evidence to a grand jury, evidence required by law because the alleged child rape happened more than 27 years ago, and whether, because Buono had moved to Thailand, that 27-year requirement had paused when he left.

Buono’s alleged victim, 53-year-old Jamie Forbes, who now lives in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, said he was pleased by the decision.

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‘Blue wall of silence’: When the sexual assault suspect is a police officer

MINNEAPOLIS (MN)
Star Tribune

March 28, 2020

By Briana Bierschbach

Former Pine County Sheriff’s Office clerk is now the face behind a bill to mandate that the BCA investigate allegations of sexual assault by officers.

Elisabeth Samson Lee sat alone in her office one quiet afternoon stuffing envelopes when a co-worker came up behind her, reached into her lap and rubbed his fingers across her crotch before grabbing an envelope.

Horrified, she shot up and pushed her way past the man, who was blocking her cubicle. She then asked to file a police report.

Samson Lee was in the right place: She was a records clerk working for the Pine County sheriff, and the assailant was a sergeant. The same sergeant had grabbed her from behind three weeks earlier, an incident she also reported to her supervisors. Her superiors assured her he would be reprimanded. A report wouldn’t be necessary.

“It’s not like I was going to the newspaper or something,” Samson Lee said. “I was just telling the people around me, watch out for me, protect me, I don’t feel safe here.”

After a long battle with law enforcement agencies and the courts, Samson Lee, a 54-year-old single mother of two, is now the face behind a bill to mandate that allegations of sexual assault by police officers be investigated by the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the statewide law enforcement agency.

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UM blasted for hiring firm to investigate doctor scandal without waiving privilege

DETROIT (MI)
Detroit News

March 28, 2020

By Kim Kozlowski

The University of Michigan says it will issue a “non-privileged report” from a new law firm it has engaged to investigate claims of sexual abuse regarding the late Dr. Robert E. Anderson — a move that produced pushback from advocates for the late doctor’s accusers.

The investigation will be conducted by WilmerHale under attorney-client privilege to protect the confidentiality of all sexual misconduct survivors and witnesses, the university said, but the findings will be released to the public and the university at the same time.

Regent Ron Weiser — the board chair who recently came forward with his story of abuse by Anderson — said during a phone interview that the attorneys working on the investigation are top-notch, trained investigators and will be reporting to the regents, who work for the public, not administrators who work for the school.

He emphasized that the report that will be prepared for the public will not include names of those who come forward, since not everyone wants to be public about a sexual abuse claim.

Weiser said the report will be released to the public at the same time as the regents get it, and that the board will not see it before the public.

“This is the most transparent report anybody is going to have,” he said. “No one is going to have any influence over what it says.”

But UM’s decision stunned many who are advocating for alleged victims of Anderson, who served as the head of University Health Service and the team physician for the Athletic Department from 1968-2003. He died in 2008.​​​​​​

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Clerical sex abuse victims mulling next legal steps after appeal is dismissed

BIRKIRKARA (MALTA)
Times of Malta

March 29, 2020

Request for compensation was time-barred

We have been let down by the system, we have been betrayed somewhere along the way. – Victim

The victims of clerical sex abuse at St Joseph Home are considering their next legal steps after an appeals court confirmed that their bid for compensation is time-barred.

In a decision handed down on Friday, Chief Justice Joseph Azzopardi, Mr Justice Tonio Mallia and Madam Justice Miriam Hayman, upheld a previous judgment ruling the victims’ claim was time-barred.

Lawrence Grech and ten other victims had filed a case for damages against two priests, the St Paul’s Missionary Society, the Archdiocese of Malta, and the government back in 2013.

Contacted on Sunday morning, Grech told Times of Malta that this was not the end of the victims’ legal struggle.

“We are assessing our options and will decide whether to take this case to the Constitutional court or to the European courts. What is certain is that we have been let down by the system, we have been betrayed somewhere along the way,” he said.

In 2011, two priests of the missionary society, Carmelo Pulis, 69, and Godwin Scerri, 78, were convicted of sexually abusing 11 boys who had been in their care at St Joseph’s Home in Santa Venera in the 1980s.

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Coronavirus in Scotland: Pandemic will not get in the way of child abuse inquiry

GLASGOW (SCOTLAND)
The Herald

March 27, 2020

The judge presiding over the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry has vowed that the coronavirus crisis will not stop her investigators from continuing their work.

Judge Lady Smith said yesterday on Thursday that people could still continue to contact the inquiry if they wish to do so.

It comes after public hearings were cancelled earlier this month.

However, the inquiry is still continuing to probe claims of historic abuse at 10 new care institutions.

On Thursday, Lady Smith said that staff at the inquiry would continue to work remotely.

She added: “I know some will be anxious about whether they can continue their ongoing contact with the inquiry or indeed about whether it is possible at the moment to contact us for the first time.

“The answer to both of these is ‘yes’.

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Child abuse inquiry chairwoman urges witnesses to keep coming forward

ABERDEEN (SCOTLAND)
Evening Express

March 26, 2020

The chairwoman of the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry has urged anyone who wants to give evidence to come forward, despite a pause in public hearings.

Judge Lady Smith announced last week that proceedings relating to child migration have been postponed until further notice due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

She has now released a video message hoping to reassure those who may wish to take part in the inquiry, saying that preparation and investigative work continues.

Lady Smith said: “I know some will be anxious about whether they can continue their ongoing contact with the inquiry or, indeed, about whether it is possible at the moment to contact us for the first time.

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Scottish abuse inquiry appeals for victims to continue to contact them

MARKET HARBOROUGH (ENGLAND)
The Tablet

March 27, 2020

By Madoc Cairns

The Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry has appealed for victims to continue to contact them despite the coronavirus outbreak halting public hearings for the time being.

In a video message, the chair of the Inquiry, senior judge Lady Smith, assured anyone who wished to contact the inquiry that they would remain able to do. Although face-to-face meetings have been ruled out due to ongoing coronavirus pandemic, witness support teams will continue to operate phone lines. This follows an announcement last week that planned hearings relating to child migration have been suspended indefinitely.

Staff members of the inquiry, which began in 2015, will work remotely to investigate claims and prepare for the next phase of the inquiry, focussed on boarding schools and originally scheduled to begin in July of this year. Ten new institutions from across Scotland were identified earlier this month as subject to investigation, including four young offenders institutions.

The analysis of previous case studies, relating to Catholic religious orders – the Christian Brothers, Benedictines and Marists – will continue, with the inquiries findings intended to be published as soon as possible.

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I have a few issues with the bishop’s letter

MARTINSVILLE (VA)
Martinsville Bulletin

March 27, 2020

By Father Mark White

Dearly Beloved of St. Joseph and St. Francis, I regret having to write you like this, when we all struggle with difficulties of a once-in-a-lifetime seriousness. I miss seeing you at Mass. Please remember that the church remains open for prayer, and I would love to see you, if you stop by the office.

Perhaps you read in last Sunday’s Bulletin a letter to you from Most Reverend Barry Knestout, Roman Catholic Bishop of Richmond. I want to make a couple points about the bishop’s letter (“My case against Father Mark White’s blog,” March 22).

First, I want you to know that I wrote Bishop Knestout six days before his letter to you. In my letter to him, I discussed the state of affairs with my weblog. He received my letter that day, Friday, March 13. He has yet to respond to my letter, or even acknowledge it.

Second, there is a significant factual inaccuracy in the bishop’s letter to you. He writes that he invited me “to meet with him privately,” yet each time I “refused or demurred.” This is not true.

In early September of 2018, the bishop ordered me to remove a post from my blog, and I complied. That led to a written dialogue, which you can read at https://frmarkdwhite.wordpress.com/bishop-knestout-letter-to-parishioners/.

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Vatican statistics show decline in number of consecrated men, women between 2013-2018

ROME (ITALY)
Catholic News Service via Crux

March 26, 2020

By Junno Arocho Esteves

The decrease in the number of religious brothers and of women in religious orders is “worrying,” according to the Vatican statistics office.

While the number of religious brothers in Africa and Asia continues to increase, the number of religious brothers worldwide experienced an 8 percent drop between 2013 and 2018, while the number of women religious fell 7.5 percent globally in the same period, the Vatican Central Office for Church Statistics reported.

However, the number of baptized Catholics increased by 6 percent between 2013 and 2018, reaching 1.33 billion or almost 18 percent of the global population, the statistics office reported March 25.

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Two priests removed from ministry after investigations into ‘serious misconduct’

SASKATOON (SASKATCHEWAN, CANADA)
Star Phoenix

March 27, 2020

By Matt Olson

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon announced that two priests have been removed from service by the diocese after internal investigations into “serious misconduct.”

Ephraim Mensah and Michael Yaremko were both removed from priestly ministry and service after investigations into two separate cases of misconduct.

Two priests removed from ministry after investigations into ‘serious misconduct’

According to a notice from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon, Mensah had recently retired from his position as pastor of the parish at Holy Family Cathedral and Yaremko was most recently an associate pastor in Humboldt.

Bishop Mark Hagemoen, the head of the Saskatoon diocese, assured the community that the allegations were not related, did not involve children or minors, and no criminal charges were expected. He said he could not go into further detail for the protection of the people who came forward with the allegations.

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Two former St. Augustine priests removed from ministry

HUMBOLDT (SASKATCHEWAN, CANADA)
Humboldt Journal

March 27, 2020

By Devan C. Tasa

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon has removed two priests, who both served at Humboldt’s St. Augustine Church sometime during their careers, from ministry.

Fr. Ephraim Mensah, who was once a pastor at St. Augustine, and Fr. Michael Yaremko, who was an associate pastor, were removed after two separate investigations determined they engaged in serious misconduct. The incidents were unrelated.

Bishop Mark Hagemonen, the head of the diocese, said he couldn’t comment on the nature of the misconduct in both cases. He did say that there are no criminal charges and they did not involve children.

Mensah was serving as pastor of the Cathedral of the Holy Family of Saskatoon when he resigned. Yaremko has been on leave for almost two years since he left his first appointment as associate pastor of St. Augustine.

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How the coronavirus may reshape Pope Francis’ to-do list

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Angelus

March 23, 2020

By John L. Allen Jr.

Pope Francis suspended the activities of the Vatican City State’s tribunal Thursday, March 19, in keeping with similar measures adopted by the Italian government, as the latest step to combat the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

In effect, the decision means that unless a criminal trial or prosecution is judged to be incapable of delay, it’ll have to wait.

It was one of the many examples this month of how things in the Vatican essentially have been frozen in place, from the sweeping reform of the Roman Curia Pope Francis has pledged to the long-awaited report on sexual abuse and misconduct allegations against ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick.

Someday, however, the pandemic will ebb. When that happens, will the effect of the coronavirus be tantamount to a “pause” button, and we’ll just pick up the movie where we left off? Or, will the pandemic give the Vatican new priorities that would not have been the case without the shock of a global public health crisis, one which, to boot, is hitting his own backyard in Italy right now harder than anywhere else on the planet?

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Experts fear child abuse will increase with coronavirus isolation

NEW YORK (NY)
NBC News

March 27, 2020

By Sakshi Venkatraman

People trained to recognize abuse, like teachers and child care workers, are not seeing kids who may be confined to abusive households.

School closures and self-isolation have led to a drop in the number of child abuse cases reported to several state hotlines, worrying experts who say rules intended to halt the spread of coronavirus may be making conditions worse for victims of child abuse trapped at home with their parents.

Hotlines in Colorado, Texas and Illinois and California have received fewer reports of child abuse since stay-at-home orders have been put into place, say experts who attribute the decline to children no longer attending school or day care, where teachers and child care workers are mandated to report suspected abuse.

“We are concerned about this significant drop in calls, particularly because children and youth who may be experiencing abuse and neglect are now home all day and isolated,” said Minna Castillo Cohen, director of the Colorado Office of Children, Youth and Families, in a news release.

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As pandemic halts Child Victims Act filings, lawmakers rally for extension

ALBANY (NY)
Albany Times-Union

March 24, 2020

By Cayla Harris

As the COVID-19 pandemic has put all non-essential court filings on pause, lawmakers and activists are ramping up calls to extend the Child Victims Act’s “look-back” window that is set to expire this summer.

Last August, the Child Victims Act opened a one-year period for survivors of all ages to pursue previously time-barred claims against their alleged abusers – but, as some survivors have faced difficulty finding attorneys or coming to terms with their abuse, legislators have looked to extend the window another 12 months. Those calls are more pressing now, lawmakers and activists say, after the state court system on Sunday suspended most civil filings as the COVID-19 emergency has significantly reduced staff and operations.

Advocates hope to include an extension in the state’s annual budget package, due by April 1.

“This is an extraordinary time for New York state, and circumstances around the budget are unusual to say the least, but we cannot lose sight of the fact that adult survivors of child sexual abuse will be further harmed by our legal system if we don’t move to extend the window,” said state Sen. Brad Hoylman, D-Manhattan, a sponsor of both the Child Victims Act and the extension proposal.

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We must rise above our ‘Catholic bubble’

VANCOUVER (BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA)
The B.C. Catholic – Archdiocese of Vancouver

March 26, 2020

By James Borkowski

Photo Caption: If it hadn’t been for Bernadette Howell, an abuse survivor working with the Archdiocese of Vancouver, James Borkowski’s “Catholic bubble” might still be in place, he writes.

I have always loved being Catholic.

I was raised in a very Catholic home. Our family frequented the sacraments, prayed the Rosary daily, and promoted the faith in many ways.

As a seemingly natural consequence, I was taught to revere priests and assume they could do no wrong.

In Grade 6, I asked my teacher, “Can a priest sin?”

I don’t remember her being surprised. She thoughtfully stated that, “priests sin less than us but they can still sin.”

And so, my Catholic bubble was established.

That bubble might still be in place if it wasn’t for Bernadette, a victim of clergy abuse I met several years ago. Although she was abused in the UK and Ireland, she has become a leading advocate for victims/survivors in Vancouver. We have had many meetings and conversations. Not all have been pleasant.

I spent the first three years of our relationship often saying the wrong words or doing unintentionally hurtful things. Thankfully, Bernadette appreciates honesty and the willingness to take risks while trying to do the right thing and we have found a productive tension around this issue. Now, I consider her an ally and a friend. We disagree often but she has changed my life by teaching me how to understand and care for two groups of people – victims/survivors, and priests.

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Opinion: Will the Supreme Court Protect ‘Ministers’ from Their Church?

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Times

March 26, 2020

By Linda Greenhouse

A case will determine the extent to which religious groups are shielded from employee lawsuits.

The Supreme Court, now even more invisible than usual, may seem beside the point these days, although we saw from the batch of opinions handed down on Monday that the justices are still at work. The 11 cases that were fully briefed and ready for argument this week and next will be heard eventually. I want to focus on one of those cases, a largely overlooked religion case that will have a great deal to tell us about the court’s receptivity to the increasingly audacious claims of religious supremacy now hurtling its way.

Ordinarily, at this point in a column about a Supreme Court case, I would write: “The question in the case is … ” But in fact, the two sides view this case as presenting fundamentally different questions. I can’t recall such a crucial divergence between the way petitioners and respondents — the terms the Supreme Court uses for the opposing parties — frame the issue to be decided. The justices’ choice of which question to address will very likely determine the answer they give.

The petitioners in Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru are two Catholic schools in Los Angeles County, each of which dismissed a lay fifth-grade teacher, giving reasons that may or may not have been the real reasons. Each of the teachers — the respondents — brought suit under federal law for employment discrimination, one for disability discrimination (St. James School refused to renew Kristen Biel’s contract after she told them she had breast cancer and needed time for treatment and recovery) and one for age discrimination.

Here is the question the schools present to the court:

“Whether the Religion Clauses prevent civil courts from adjudicating employment discrimination claims brought by an employee against her religious employer, where the employee carried out important religious functions.”

And here is the question the teachers are asking the court to decide:

“Whether the First Amendment’s Religion Clauses prohibit lay teachers at religious elementary schools from bringing employment discrimination claims.”

Note that the first question incorporates the assumption that the teachers, Agnes Morrissey-Berru and Ms. Biel, each of whom taught an ordinary fifth-grade curriculum along with a religion module they taught by following a workbook, were performing “important religious functions.” The second question refers only to “lay teachers.” It contains no suggestion that either teacher was serving in a religious capacity; in fact, neither school required members of its faculty to be practicing Catholics, and Ms. Morrissey-Berru was not. She had taught full time at Our Lady of Guadalupe School for 16 years and was in her 60s when the school’s principal asked her if she wanted to retire. When she said no, she was demoted to a part-time position and her contract was not renewed for the following year.

These facts along with the difference between the two questions are important because this dispute is playing out against the background of a 2012 decision in which the Supreme Court first recognized a “ministerial exception” that shields religious employers from discrimination claims by their employees. The unanimous opinion by Chief Justice John Roberts in that case, Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, relied on an amalgam of the First Amendment’s two Religious Clauses: the Establishment Clause, which the Supreme Court has long interpreted as barring government “entanglement” with the affairs of churches, and the Free Exercise Clause, which prohibits government obstruction of religious practice.

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Our Lenten Journey, March 26: St. Mary MacKillop and Clergy Abuse

WILMINGTON (DE)
The Dialog

March 26, 2020

By Virginia Durkin O’Shea

How many saints do you know of who have been excommunicated? Joan of Arc comes to mind, however, she met a tragic end. You may not have heard of St. Mary of the Cross, the Australian nun whose fate was much better than that of St. Joan.

Mary Helen MacKillop was born in Melbourne on Jan. 15, 1842 to Flora MacDonald and Alexander MacKillop, Scottish immigrants who met and married in Australia. Alexander was a former seminarian, and had a good heart, but was unsuccessful at most professions, so the family struggled.

The oldest of eight children, Mary began working as a clerk at age 14. She later took a job as a governess for her aunt and uncle, followed by more teaching positions and running a school in Penola. During her teaching career, she always made an effort to include poor children from the area in her lessons. She felt that educating people was serving God.

In 1866, she met a young priest, Fr. Julian Tenison Woods, who invited her and two of her sisters to open a Catholic school in Penola. They opened a school in a former barn; it was a “free” school, taking no funding from the government (which was the norm) and accepting only what parents could pay. Mary wished to dedicate her life to God by serving the poor, and began wearing all black.

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By 1871, 130 nuns were working in more than 40 schools and charitable institutions across South Australia and Queensland. Then things took a strange turn for Sister Mary and the order. Accounts say that she and several other sisters reported a local priest for suspected abuse. The priest was sent back to his home country, but one of his peers launched a revenge campaign against Sister Mary that included accusations of alcoholism. Sister Mary refuted the claims, and argued with Bishop Sheil — who at the time also wished to take control of her order. As a result, Sister Mary was excommunicated by the bishop for insubordination in 1871. Many of the schools were closed and the nuns became homeless. The order survived, with the sisters living on charity from supporters. A year later, on his deathbed, Bishop Sheil admitted that he had been misled, and lifted the excommunication.

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Diocese Suspends Abuse Victims’ Compensation Program, Citing ‘Economic Turmoil’

WASHINGTON (DC)
NPR

March 26, 2020

By Tom Gjelten

https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/03/26/822211994/diocese-suspends-abuse-victims-compensation-program-citing-economic-turmoil

Among the people affected by the downturn on Wall Street are some alleged victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests.

The Diocese of Erie in northwestern Pennsylvania, identified in 2018 by the state attorney general as one of the places where clergy abuse had been especially egregious, has announced that it is suspending the processing of victim claims in response to what it calls the “economic turmoil” brought about by the coronavirus.

In February 2019, diocesan authorities in Erie launched an Independent Survivors’ Reparation Program for the purpose of compensating people whose claims of abuse were substantiated. The diocese said funds for the compensation were to come from a line of credit secured by diocesan investments. Dozens of claims were subsequently filed, and by December 2019 the program was said to have cost the diocese nearly $12 million.

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New claims of child sexual abuse by Cardinal George Pell exposed in ABC TV’s Revelation

ULTIMO (AUSTRALIA)
ABC via BlackBox

March 27, 2020

Watch the concluding 2 episodes of the ground-breaking documentary series on ABC TV and iview on Tuesday 31 March and Thursday 2 April at 8:30pm

Across two compelling nights of must-see television, an exclusive interview with one of the Church’s most prolific sex-offenders, Bernard McGrath. In a tense encounter filmed in a maximum-security prison, he identifies the religious leaders responsible for the cover-up of his crimes.

And in Revelation’s cinematic, feature-length finale, explosive new allegations of child sexual abuse by Cardinal George Pell are exposed.

The world-first exclusive reveals the gripping story of an individual from a small town in Australia, pitted against a former Prince of the Church. “I chose to remain silent, never to tell a soul, and I got through a good 40 years of that,” says the survivor of sexual abuse, who publicly reveals the story of his tormented boyhood for the first time. “I want to heal now. I’ve carried that burden for long enough.”

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Erie diocese suspends victim payments due to COVID-19

ERIE (PA)
Erie Times-News

March 24, 2020

By Ed Palattella

Letter says decline of stock market related to the coronavirus prompted compensation fund’s 90-day pause.

The COVID-19 pandemic has gone far beyond keeping parishioners out of church and absent from Mass in the Catholic Diocese of Erie.

The diocese said the crisis has so affected its finances that the diocese has suspended payments from its special fund for victims of clergy sexual abuse.

The 13-county diocese, which on March 17 suspended public Masses due to the coronavirus, has halted operation of the compensation fund for at least 90 days because of the sharp decline in the stock market related the coronavirus outbreak, the fund’s administrators and the diocese said on Tuesday.

They both indicated that the downturn on Wall Street has significantly reduced the value of the diocese’s investments.

Neither the fund nor the diocese detailed the amount of the losses, but they put more pressure on financial resources that Erie Catholic Bishop Lawrence Persico said were under stress even before the pandemic.

The diocese’s expenses related to the clergy abuse scandal, including payments to the victims, had strained the diocese’s finances but they remained solvent, Persico said on Feb. 19, after the Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg filed for bankruptcy.

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Chicago Archdiocese builds site for parish donations, emergency fund

CHICAGO (IL)
Catholic News Service via CatholicPhilly.com

March 25, 2020

By Michelle Martin

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused financial disruptions not only to households and businesses, but also to local parishes, who have suspended public Masses at which they can take up offertory collections.

To help Catholics support their local parishes, the Archdiocese of Chicago has created a website that donors can use to make a one-time or recurring gift to any parish they choose.

The site, along with a donation site for the archdiocese’s Coronavirus Emergency Fund, can be accessed at www.archchicago.org/support. Both funds accept credit card payments or electronic payments directly from a bank account.

“About 70% of our parishes have an online giving program,” said Brendan Keating, chief development officer in the Office of Stewardship and Development. “Of course, that means 30% don’t.”

All parishes still have bills to pay even if they are not holding public Masses, Keating said.

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With Masses suspended, parishes face collection shortfalls and perilous finances

NEW YORK (NY)
America Magazine

March 20, 2020

By Michael J. O’Loughlin

It started off as a trickle, with only the Archdiocese of Seattle—located in one of the hardest-hit regions in the nation in terms of the coronavirus—announcing on March 11 that it would suspend public Masses to help slow the spread of Covid-19. Then the announcements from other dioceses followed in a deluge: The Archdioceses of Washington, Newark, Chicago and Boston announced similar suspensions less than two days later. In less than a week, with more than 10,000 cases of Covid-19 reported in the United States, nearly all of the nation’s Catholic dioceses suspended public Masses—and several confirmed that the suspension would run through Holy Week and Easter.

Church leaders are responding to this new reality by live-streaming Masses, pointing to online spirituality resources and even adjusting how confession works to respond to the reality that many Catholics cannot leave their homes.

Part-time church workers have seen their income halted, major charities are worried about missed collections, and at least one diocese has temporarily laid-off employees.
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But when it comes to church finances, parishes and those who work in them are facing an uncertain future the longer the crisis drags on. Part-time church workers have seen their income halted, major charities are worried about missed collections, and at least one diocese has temporarily laid-off employees.

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Humboldt priest one of pair removed from service by Diocese: No criminal charges are expected

MELFORT (SASKATCHEWAN, CANADA)
Melfort Journal

March 26, 2020

By Susan McNeill

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon announced that two priests have been removed from service by the diocese after internal investigations into “serious misconduct.”

According to a notice from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon, Mensah had recently retired from his position as pastor of the parish at Holy Family Cathedral and Yaremko was most recently an associate pastor in Humboldt.

Bishop Mark Hagemoen, the head of the Saskatoon diocese, assured the community that the allegations were not related, did not involve children or minors, and no criminal charges were expected. He said he could not go into further detail for the protection of the people who came forward with the allegations.

“What was announced is that both had been removed from ministry,” he said. “Father Mensah’s (removal) … was in early March, where Father Yaremko’s situation goes back two years.”

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Way Stations for a Pilgrim Church: The Changing Landscape of American Parishes

NEW YORK (NY)
Commonweal

March 26, 2020

By Susan Bigelow Reynolds

Some people mark out eras in their lives by the places they’ve lived or the jobs they’ve held. I measure mine in parishes.

I grew up in a Catholic parish south of Denver that sat on a hill and faced the front range of the Rocky Mountains. The church was the apotheosis of post–Vatican II architecture, rounded and dark and a little odd. The walls were built of brown brick, the kind that clung to your clothes like Velcro if you leaned against them. Olive-green and burnt-orange carpet blanketed the floors, and ruddy tile gave the narthex a smoldery, numinous glow. The western-facing wall was made of plate-glass windows. As a kid, I spent most of Sunday Mass transfixed by rose-colored rays of sunlight shooting through the clouds onto the snowy face of Mt. Evans, a view that lent an organic logic to the sacraments: God, too, could be both grand and intimate, both transcendent and earthy.

Every summer, my parents shuttled my siblings and me off to visit our great-aunts in Streator, Illinois, a small, rural town ninety miles south of Chicago where my mother’s side of the family had lived for generations. Once there, we melded into life at their parish, St. Stephen’s. The church was the oldest Slovak parish in the United States, a distinction my Slovak-American family wore with pride. My siblings and I spent our summer breaks helping our aunts and the other ladies of the Altar and Rosary Society run the parish rummage sale, sell rozek, and lead the rosary at the local Catholic nursing home. At St. Stephen’s, the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council were still being received in the 1990s. Mass-goers still knelt at the extant altar rail to receive the Eucharist on the tongue, a practice as foreign as it was enchanting to a nine-year-old future Millennial. St. Stephen’s was like an immersion trip into the Catholic past, into a world of ethnic religious enclaves that otherwise only existed for me in old family photos.

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Shifting, too, are boundaries of belief, affiliation, and practice. An increasing number of U.S. Catholics locate themselves on the peripheries of the church. Disagreement with church teachings, dissatisfaction with the role of women and the treatment of LGBTQ persons, and disillusionment wrought by the sex-abuse crisis have caused many to reevaluate their relationship to the institutional church and, in turn, to their parishes. Such displacements are harder to quantify—statistics on Catholic disaffiliation tell only part of the story—but they are supremely evident to anyone who has spent time in Catholic communities recently. In a particular way, the relentless tide of abuse revelations has exposed the fragility of authority, the deceptiveness of charisma, the insufficiency of Catholics’ formation on issues of sexuality, and the dark consequences of patriarchy and secrecy. The crisis has forced lay people, many for the first time, to wrestle in a sustained way with the reality of the church’s sinfulness and the limits of their own power. Some have chosen to leave altogether. Together, these transformations are upending perceptions of the parish’s storied stability. Parishes today are spaces of ambiguity, uncertainty, and change—unstable communities of the faithful.

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Archdiocese, New Haven private school settle sex abuse lawsuit

NEW HAVEN (PA)
New Haven Register

March 24, 2020

By Daniel Tepfer

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford and officials of the Hopkins School in New Haven have agreed to settle a lawsuit that claimed a decades-long coverup of sexual abuse of young boys by a teacher.

Notice that a settlement had been reached in the two-year-old civil case was filed in Superior Court in New Haven.

Details of the settlement were not disclosed in the filing.

Last October, Cindy Robinson of the Bridgeport law firm Tremont, Sheldon, Robinson and Mahoney, which represented the plaintiff in the suit, offered to settle the case against the archdiocese and the school for $7.48 million.

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Church suspends payments to victims in wake of virus

SHARON (PA)
The Herald

March 26, 2020

By Melissa Klaric

Erie – Citing economic impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Catholic Diocese of Erie has suspended payments from its fund for clergy abuse victims.

“As a result of the economic turmoil caused by the onset of COVID-19, the Diocese of Erie has temporarily suspended its work with the Independent Survivors’ Reparation Program effective March 20, 2020,” the diocese stated in a press release. “The suspension will last at least 90 days.”

The move will affect approximately 40 remaining claimants whose requests have yet to be determined, the diocese said.

All claimants who have accepted settlements have already been paid. The diocese also will pay victims with pending payments.

People with claims affected by the temporary suspension will be notified when the fund resumes processing claims.

An official from the diocese said it would not provide additional information about the suspension.

Adam Horowitz, of the Horowitz Law Firm in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., said the Diocese of Erie and its bishop, The Most Rev. Lawrence T. Persico, should have taken steps to ensure that the fund would be preserved and claimants paid.

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Trinity College former principal ‘stunned’ by alleged sex assault of student on rugby tour

ULTIMO (AUSTRALIA)
ABC

March 25, 2020

By Rebecca Turner

The former principal of a prestigious Perth Catholic school was “stunned” to hear allegations that one of his students had been sexually assaulted with a carrot by some teammates while on a rugby tour to Japan almost three years ago, a Perth court has been told.

Ivan Banks, who was principal of Trinity College for almost 11 years, was giving evidence on the second day of the trial of two former Trinity teachers who have been charged under mandatory reporting laws.

Ian Francis Hailes and Anthony Paul Webb have both pleaded not guilty to failing to report an incident of child sexual abuse.

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Funeral Mass scheduled for former Cincinnati Archbishop

DAYTON (OH)
Dayton Daily News

March 26, 2020

A funeral Mass will be held Friday for a former Cincinnati archbishop who led Catholics there for more than a quarter century.

Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk had been in declining health for years before he died Sunday at the age of 85. His funeral Mass will be held at 11 a.m. at St. Peter in Chains Cathedral in Cincinnati.

An archdiocese spokeswoman said the Mass will be private, meaning the public will not be allowed to attend due to restrictions now in place due to the coronavirus. However, the service will be livestreamed on the archdiocese’s website.

A memorial Mass open to the public will be held at a later date.Pilarczyk led the archdiocese for 27 years and was the nation’s longest-serving bishop when he retired in 2009. His final years leading the region’s Catholic congregation included a public struggle with widespread allegations of clergy abuse.

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Request to Vatican to investigate Archbishop Nienstedt in limbo

MINNEAPOLIS (MN)
Star Tribune

March 24, 2020

By Jean Hopfensperger

Clergy abuse ombudsman sees it as a test case of new Vatican rules to discipline bishops.

Tom Johnson, the clergy abuse ombudsman for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, submitted a formal request to the Vatican last July to investigate possible misconduct by former Archbishop John Nienstedt.

He’s still awaiting a response.

The Vatican announced new protocols in May for holding bishops, not just priests, accountable for clergy abuse. Johnson, a former Hennepin County attorney, said he still doesn’t know why the Vatican isn’t adhering to its own standard of responding within 30 days.

“It’s a huge problem when the church is trying to restore trust,” said Johnson, who called it a “test case” of the Vatican’s much-touted protocols.

The Vatican’s representative in Washington, D.C., did not respond to questions about the Nienstedt case.

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Priest accused of sexual assault

WILKES-BARRE (PA)
The Citizens Voice

March 25, 2020

By Frank Wilkes Lesnefsky

The Lackawanna County district attorney’s office is investigating a 40-year-old sexual assault allegation against a Diocese of Scranton priest.

The diocese announced Monday the Rev. James J. Walsh had resigned as pastor of St. Maria Goretti Parish in Laflin after diocesan officials launched an investigation into a sexual assault allegation.

The allegation did not involve minors, the diocese said.

The alleged incident took place in 1979 while Walsh was serving as assistant pastor at the Church of St. Gregory in Clarks Green. The diocese learned of the incident on March 6, 2019, and notified the district attorney’s office, according to the diocese.

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Catholic priest from the Fens steps down following historic child sex abuse claims

MARCH (CAMBRIDGESHIRE, ENGLAND)
Cambs Times

March 25, 2020

A Roman Catholic priest from March has voluntarily stepped down while he is investigated for historic child sex abuse claims relating to his former ministry in Peru.

A statement released by Bishop Alan Hopes and the Diocese of East Anglia on Friday (March 20) explains Father Ryan had recently been accused of the non-recent sexual abuse of children.

It says he voluntarily stepped down from his responsibilities while the investigation is ongoing and that the accusations have been reported to the relevant authorities, including police.

The statement, uploaded to the Catholic Church in March website, reads: “Whilst the investigation is ongoing, Father Ryan has voluntarily withdrawn from all public ministry.

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On Forgiveness, Clergy Abuse, and the Need for New Understandings

NEW YORK (NY)
The Revealer

March 2, 2020

By Kaya Oakes

What should survivors do when the Church asks them for forgiveness?

In March of 2019, the Catholic archbishop of Hartford, Connecticut, decided that a dramatic public statement needed to be made about the 48 priests in his diocese who had been accused of sexual abuse. Archbishop Blair held a special “Mass of Reparations,” during which he told the congregation that he was there to ask forgiveness “especially of all the victims of sexual abuse and their families. I ask it for all the Church leadership has done or failed to do,” and he prostrated himself in a gesture of repentance. It was a vivid moment that received national press attention. But for many victims and their allies, it was just that: a moment.

For decades, Catholic dioceses throughout the country have had to embark on what can only be described as apology tours, during which clergy have again and again asked abuse victims for forgiveness. Nick Ingala, from the lay activist group Voice of the Faithful, told the New York Times that Archbishop Blair’s Reparations Mass was not going to be enough for many victims. “Apologies,” Ingala said, “will only go so far. Where is the responsibility? The accountability? You can’t say ‘I’m sorry’ over and over and over again.” Among the reader comments on the New York Times article, one of the most upvoted was from “Janet,” who stated that “apologies are fine,” but that “nothing, absolutely nothing, ever compensates enough for the heart-heavy, dirty-soul feeling that remains with [victims] until we die.”

While clergy abuse is not my primary focus as a journalist who writes about the Catholic Church, it is one that my colleagues and I have been forced to return to many times as continued revelations of abuse surface. In fact, every person who writes about the Catholic Church is a de facto reporter on abuse. Journalists often become victim advocates simply because we are the first people victims think to contact, especially when distrust of diocesan offices and the Church hierarchy is at an all-time high.

But in spite of the many cases of abuse coming to light around the world, the clerical impulse to plead for forgiveness, and what that does to victims, has rarely been discussed. In 2018, I pitched a story on the role of forgiveness in clergy abuse to a Catholic magazine for which I occasionally write. My hunch was that, like many of the women who were being asked to forgive abusive men as #MeToo revelations unfolded, many victims of clergy abuse might be hesitant to grant forgiveness to those who had violated them because of the corrosive nature of trauma.

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Church on Fire: What Must Be Done?

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo Rising

March 4, 2020

The “Church on Fire” lecture series on church reform kicks off Thursday evening at Blessed Sacrament Church as scandal continues to dog the Buffalo diocese. After enduring months of bombshell after bombshell shaking the foundations of Catholic western New York to its foundations, the resignation of Bishop Richard Malone and the appointment of his temperamental opposite, Bishop Edward Scharfenberger of Albany as apostolic administrator seemed to signal a better day.

Yet recent developments have proven worrisome. Last week the Diocese of Buffalo declared bankruptcy, something unimaginable just a year ago, and a private Mass last week with Bishop Scharfenberger that included priests tainted by the clergy abuse scandal has left reform-minded Catholics stunned. And this week, according to a new story by investigative reporter Charlie Specht, we learned that the priest who hosted that controversial Mass at his church may have been involved in covering up a credible accusation of clerical abuse when he was vice-chancellor of the diocese.

The seemingly endless drumbeat of scandal has had many Catholics asking, “should I stay with the church?” and others, “what must be done?” The lecture series ambitiously attempts to answer both questions, with the answer to the first question inherent in its title, Church on Fire: Stay With Us! The later question, “what must be done?” just happens to be known as “The Vincentian Question,” closely associated with St. Vincent de Paul and the Vincentian religious order he founded (see the brief video below). Appropriately then, kicking off the series will be Rev. Aidan Rooney, a Vincentian priest, who will speak about ecclesiastical reform from the perspective of his order and its founder.

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Priest Is Flying Around the Diocese, Previously Accused of Sex Advance on Seminarian

FORT LAUDERDALE (FL)
Horowitz Law Blog

March 23, 2020

Priest Is Flying Around the Diocese; Previously Accused of Sex Advance on Seminarian

A New Jersey pastor, Anthony Manuppella is in the news today, comparing himself to popes and praying in Latin while flying a plane around his diocese for two hours with a parishioner, a priest on his staff.

Fr. Anthony Manuppella told a reporter that he wants to do his part. . .to contain the Covid-19 spread and minimize its impact (while squeezing into a small airplane with at least two other men, none of them six feet away from each other).

But in a lawsuit, Fr. Manuppella – along with another priest – was accused by a young seminarian of making unwelcome advances, discussing homosexuality, asking him to join them at gay bars and talking often about “sexual acts prohibited by the teachings of the Catholic Church.”

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Fred Lutz’s sexual abuse made worse by diocese withholding information

SPRINGFIELD (MO)
News-Leader

March 22, 2020

By Robert Ballay

Letter to the Editor

Thank you and Harrison Keegan for the articles about the sexual abuse perpetrated by Fred Lutz, who is an ordained Catholic priest. Lutz sexually abused me in 1972 when I was 17 years old. There are two more reports of sexual abuse by Lutz of adolescent boys, one in the 1990s and one in 2000. Lutz is being prosecuted for the 2000 report now. The 2000 case was reported in 2002 to the diocese, and I reported my 1972 case in 2006. I regret that I did not report it sooner. We know that the diocese had two sexual abuse reports on Lutz in 2002 and 2006. We don’t know when the 1990s report was made because the diocese has never made that report public. However, you would think if there were two separate reports of sexual abuse by Lutz, the diocese, the bishop would begin to doubt Lutz’s denials.

The diocese did not make any of Lutz’s sexual abuse reports public until 2018, when they finally revealed that I had reported my 1972 abuse in 2006. Why they decided to finally report it then is unknown, since no new knowledge had come to light as far as I know. A friend of mine said they finally reported it because the Missouri attorney general announced the clergy sexual abuse investigation of all Missouri dioceses about a month earlier. The diocese has still not made public either of the 1990s or the 2000 reports of sexual abuse by Lutz.

The diocese has not been honest with me or the public about the sexual abuse by its priests. As recently as 2018 and 2019, I was told that there were no other abuse reports made on Lutz. The diocese said they would cooperate with the investigation, but the Stoddard County prosecuting attorney indicated that in no way did the diocese cooperate.

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‘Just another Indian’: Surviving Canada’s residential schools

DOHA (QATAR)
Al Jazeera

March 24, 2020

By Brandi Morin

A survivor of schools that took Indigenous children from their families shares her story of abuse, neglect and healing.

Alberta, Canada – Alsena White, aged 67, is illiterate. She gets by with the help of her children and grandchildren.

Alsena was taught at the Blue Quills Indian Residential School near St Paul, Alberta. From the age of five to 16, she lived at the federal government-funded school, ushered through grade after grade. Yet no one seemed to notice – or to care – that she could neither read nor write.

“[To them] I was just another Indian,” she says of the Catholic nuns and priests who administered her education. Leaning slightly forward, as if to make sure it is safe to speak, Alsena continues: “I tell people I spent 10 years in jail even though I never committed a crime.”

It has been more than 50 years since she felt enslaved inside the walls of the school, but the memories still haunt her.

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Vatican says general absolution may be permissible during pandemic

LONDON (ENGLAND)
Catholic Herald

March 20, 2020

By Cindy Wooden

In places particularly hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic and with severe limits on people leaving their homes, conditions may exist to grant general absolution to the faithful without them personally confessing their sins first, the Vatican said.

The Apostolic Penitentiary, a Vatican tribunal that deals with matters of conscience, including confession, issued a notice March 20 that while individual confession and absolution is the normal means for the forgiveness of sins, “grave necessity” can lead to other solutions.

In a separate decree, the Apostolic Penitentiary also offered the spiritual assistance of special indulgences to people afflicted with COVID-19, to those in quarantine, to medical personnel caring for coronavirus patients and to all those who are praying for them.

“This Apostolic Penitentiary holds that, especially in places most impacted by the pandemic contagion and until the phenomenon subsides, there are cases of grave necessity” meeting the criteria for general absolution, the notice about confession said.

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Priest on PBS special offers frank accounting of past, hope for future

ROCHESTER (NY)
Catholic News Service via Catholic Courier – Diocese of Rochester

March 24, 2020

By Mark Pattison

Washington – If you tune in to the PBS special “Inside the Vatican,” slated to air 9-11 p.m. EDT April 28, you’ll have to wait more than an hour and a half to see him, and to hear what he has to say.

But German Jesuit Father Hans Zollner’s words are a necessary tonic, even if it’s sonic castor oil to some.

Father Zollner wears many hats. He is the president of the Center for Child Protection in Rome, head of the Institute of Psychology and academic vice rector at the Pontifical Gregorian University, also in Rome, and serves as a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and as a consultor to the Vatican Congregation for Clergy.

What he has to say in the special about the scourge of clergy sexual abuse should be required listening.

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Priest chaplain at Sisters of Loretto Motherhouse had abuse record

KANSAS CITY (MO)
National Catholic Reporter

March 24, 2020

By Sarah Salvadore

Volunteers were caught off guard by recent discovery

In January, Lindsey Faust and her partner visited the Loretto Motherhouse in Nerinx, Kentucky, for a mini vacation. Faust was a former volunteer with Loretto Volunteers and shared a rapport with the sisters and community members. It was almost like home to her. During their stay, Faust’s partner, out of curiosity, inquired about the priest who lived there, celebrating daily Mass. It was then that a community member revealed details about Fr. J. Irvin Mouser that no volunteer knew.

Mouser, a priest from the Archdiocese of Louisville, was removed from public ministry in 2002 on charges of child sex abuse. He is accused of abusing five boys during his time as a priest at the parishes of St. Helen in Barren County and St. Francis of Assisi in Jefferson County. The Holy See directed Mouser to live a life of “prayer and penance” — he was not to serve in any active ministry as priest, celebrate Mass publicly or don clerical garb.

But Mouser did all of that while living in Loretto, where he served as chaplain to the Sisters of Loretto. There he was also in close proximity to children, since students from a nearby high school and young children would often visit the motherhouse and the adjoining farm.

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Martinsville priest Father Mark White defies bishop’s orders to stop blogging

MARTINSVILLE (VA)
Martinsville Bulletin

March 19, 2020

By Bill Wyatt

https://www.martinsvillebulletin.com/news/local/martinsville-priest-father-mark-white-defies-bishop-s-orders-to/article_70fb4b83-d061-5511-b9c2-fdf9bb1a90ab.html

A Martinsville priest has defied his bishop’s order to stop communicating online and resumed posting to a blog he made popular with his critical comments of the Catholic hierarchy’s handling of its sex abuse crisis.

Father Mark White, the priest of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Martinsville and St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Rocky Mount, in February received an order from Bishop Barry Knestout of the Diocese of Richmond to remove his blog completely and cease his online communication with more than a million visitors under threat of removal as a priest.

White complied initially, but then COVID-19 happened. In response to the pandemic and in keeping with the Gov. Ralph Northam’s orders that church assembly not include more than 10 people, Knestout issued a public letter earlier this week closing the doors to “public celebrations of Mass, on Sundays, holy days and weekdays in the Diocese of Richmond.” White’s parishes in Martinsville and Rocky Mount are assigned to the Richmond Diocese. Even Knestout is finding a need to expand his own use of online communications.

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Post-reformation theology of the priesthood influenced abuse crisis, author says

DENVER (CO)
Crux

March 24, 2020

Interview by Charles C. Camosy of Clare McGrath-Merkle

Camosy: You’ve done a lot of work on the theology of the priesthood. Can you give us the short version of your central view or a couple central ideas that could give Crux readers some insight into how you are thinking about this topic?

McGrath-Merkle: My work has been focused mainly on the theology of the priesthood and its possible role, if any, in the crisis of sexual abuse and cover-up. The causes of the crisis are, of course, varied, but I have wanted to try to understand how this theology might have somehow contributed to a clerical identity prone to the abuse of power.

The understanding I’ve come to is that what we think of as the official theology of the priesthood is actually a 400-year-old revolutionary one, linked to clerical formation spirituality. Its underlying spiritual theology has influenced the training of seminarians up until Vatican II and has had a major resurgence since the 90’s. Interestingly, it hasn’t been of much interest to most systematic theologians.

This theology was proposed in the early 17th century by a little-known cardinal-Pierre de Bérulle, the founder of the French School of Spirituality, and is a rather psychologically and spiritually unhealthy one. Leading up to my research on the possible historical roots of the crisis as found in this theology, I explored some current serious psychosocial maladaptions in priestly identity in a 2010 article.

Arguably, Bérulle’s innovations have contributed to an unhealthy priestly identity and culture over centuries, principally through both an over-identification with Christ and an exaggerated sacrificial spirituality.

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Diocese finds 1976 sexual abuse allegations against former St. Augustine priest ‘credible’

ST. AUGUSTINE (FL)
St. Augustine Record

March 23, 2020

By Matt Bruce

https://www.staugustine.com/news/20200323/diocese-finds-1976-sexual-abuse-allegations-against-former-st-augustine-priest-rsquocrediblersquo

A retired St. Augustine Catholic priest was accused of sexually abusing a minor 44 years ago in a recent complaint, the Diocese of St. Augustine announced in a statement Monday.

Father John H. Dux, a former clergyman at the Cathedral Basilica in St. Augustine, was immediately suspended indefinitely in May 2019 after the alleged victim’s attorney sent the Diocese a copy of the complaint. In release Monday, the Diocese said church officials reviewed the claims and deemed them credible.

“To determine the truth, and to ensure the safety and well-being of our vulnerable populations, the Diocesan Review Board conducted a thorough review of the claim,” Monday’s statement read. “They determined there was a semblance of truth and found the allegation to be credible.”

The alleged sexual abuse took place in 1976, when Dux was assigned to the St. Patrick Parish in Gainesville as a parochial vicar. The information was forwarded to the State Attorney’s Office in Hillsborough County, but prosecutors did not begin an investigation because Florida’s statute of limitations had expired for the charges, Monday’s press release indicated.

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To heal the church from the sex abuse crisis, we need apologies, not just policies

NEW YORK (NY)
America Magazine

March 23, 2020

By Colleen Duggan

The day after New Year’s my husband and I packed up our six children and drove to the Encounter Conference, in Toledo, Ohio, where 3,000 Catholics gathered for three days of inspiring talks, Eucharistic adoration and Mass.

I’ll admit it: I limped into the Encounter.

Since the summer of 2018, the revelations of grave sexual abuse committed by Catholic clergy in the highest echelons of the church hierarchy has left me devastated and grieving. I am disillusioned with the Catholic Church, in general, and especially the clergy, whom I have always held in high regard. The continually unfolding news about the sinful actions of cardinals, bishops and priests revealed to me the serious level of corruption within the institution and highlighted a lack of virtue and piety among too many priests.

Heartbroken by what has happened in my church and impatient with the spiritual mediocrity I experience with clergy at all levels, I dragged myself to this conference desperate for the revival I believe is needed within the body of Christ today.

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Kathleen McChesney, director of USCCB Office of Child and Youth Protection, to receive University of Notre Dame Laetare Medal

WASHINGTON (DC)
Catholic News Service

March 23, 2020

By Carol Zimmermann

Kathleen McChesney, a former FBI executive assistant and the first person to lead the U.S. bishops’ Office of Child and Youth Protection, will receive the 2020 Laetare Medal from the University of Notre Dame.

“It is often the church’s darkest moments that call forth great faith and courage,” said Notre Dame’s president, Holy Cross Father John Jenkins, in announcing the award.

He said the university is recognizing McChesney’s efforts in response to the church’s abuse crisis and honoring her “courage, tenacity and love for the church in a tireless pursuit of justice for victims, accountability for abusers and measures that prevent this crisis from continuing.”

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New Program to Report Sexual Misconduct Involving U.S. Bishops Launched

HARTFORD (CT)
Norwich Diocese

March 23, 2020

New Program to Report Sexual Misconduct Involving U.S. Bishops Launched

Hartford – In May 2019, Pope Francis released his apostolic letter, Vos estis lux mundi (“You are the light of the world”) to address the issue of sexual abuse and bishop accountability in the global Catholic Church. Vos estis calls upon the metropolitan archbishops to receive and investigate reports pertaining to sexual abuse and related misconduct involving bishops. In June 2019, one month after Pope Francis issued his order, the bishops of the United States approved an implementation plan for carrying out the directives of the Holy Father here in the United States.

As part of this ongoing commitment to carrying out Vos estis, the Catholic Bishop Abuse Reporting Service (CBAR) was launched on March 16, 2020. The service is operated by Convercent, Inc. an independent, third- party entity that provides intake services to private institutions for reports of sensitive topics through a secure, confidential, and professional platform. Individuals may go to ReportBishopAbuse.org in order to make a report of certain misconduct by a living U.S. bishop. Reports are also accepted by phone at (800) 276-1562.

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Danbury clergy sexual abuse case continued to April

DANBURY (CT)
News Times

March 23, 2020

By Kendra Baker

The pre-trial hearing of the former local priest accused of sexually assaulting two boys has been rescheduled from March 27 to April 21.

Jaime Marin-Cardona, 51, is charged with three counts of fourth-degree sexual assault, three counts of risk of injury to child and three counts of illegal sexual contact. He pleaded not guilty to all nine charges.

The warrant for Marin-Cardona’s arrest alleges that he groomed two boys over the course of four years, and sexually abused one of them over the same period of time.

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Convicted paedophile Bernard McGrath abused dozens of children. The Catholic Church failed to report his offending

AUSTRALIA
ABC

March 23, 2020

By Sarah Ferguson

Former brother of St John of God, Bernard McGrath, will be eligible for parole in December 2044.

McGrath, who is serving two prison sentences in NSW for sex crimes against children, says his religious order and the Catholic Church covered up his offending at schools in Australia and New Zealand.

In the early 1990s, after decades as a sex offender, new reports emerged about McGrath’s behaviour at a residential school he’d run for street kids in Christchurch, New Zealand.

To learn how to handle the growing number of complaints against McGrath, the head of St John of God in Australia at the time took McGrath to meet Father Brian Lucas.

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Former Gainesville priest accused of sexual abuse

GAINESVILLE (FL)
WCJB

March 23, 2020

By Patricia Matamoros

The Diocese of St. Augustine, which presides over catholic churches in much of North Central Florida, is saying that a former priest in Gainesville has been accused of sexual abuse.

In a complaint filed with the church by a lawyer representing the victim, Father John H. Dux allegedly committed the abuse in 1976 when he was serving at the St. Patrick parish in Gainesville.

Since it was 44 years ago, that puts the case beyond the statute of limitations for state charges, but the church finds the allegations credible and father Dux has been removed from his priestly faculties.

He currently resides in the Dioceses of Charleston.

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Davenport priest suspended amid inquiry into sex misconduct claim

IOWA CITY (IA)
Associated Press

March 20, 2020

A well-known professor and priest at a Roman Catholic college in Iowa has been suspended while the church investigates a sexual misconduct allegation dating to the 1990s, the school said Wednesday.

St. Ambrose University in Davenport said school officials recently learned of the complaint against theology professor Rev. Robert L. “Bud” Grant and are taking it seriously.

The allegation dates to the early 1990s, when Grant was a teacher and coach at St. Albert High School in Council Bluffs.

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Daniel Pilarczyk | 1934-2020: Former Cincinnati archbishop led southwest Ohio Catholics for 27 years

CINCINNATI (OH)
Cincinnati Enquirer

March 23, 2020

By Dan Horn

Former Cincinnati Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk, who guided southwest Ohio’s Catholics through some of the church’s most trying times, died Sunday in Cincinnati. He was 85.

Pilarczyk, who had been in declining health for years, led the Archdiocese of Cincinnati for more than a quarter century and was the nation’s longest-serving bishop when he retired in 2009. His final years in the top job came as the church struggled with widespread allegations of clergy abuse.

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Court-appointed official says Vatican failing on accountability in Nienstedt case

NEW YORK (NY)
Crux

March 23, 2020

By Christopher White

A court-appointed official for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis is alleging that the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops is failing to comply with new protocols for bishop accountability created by Pope Francis with regard to a potential investigation into former Archbishop John Nienstedt.

Nienstedt led the archdiocese from 2008 until resigning under fire in 2015 after charges of failing to protect children from sexual abuse. In addition to allegations that he actively covered up for abusive priests, Nienstedt has been the subject of investigations regarding his own misconduct.

According to documents obtained by Crux, on July 17, 2019, Thomas Johnson, who serves as ombudsman for clerical sexual abuse for the archdiocese, submitted a formal complaint against Nienstedt to Archbishop Bernard Hebda outlining two instances in which he argues Nienstedt should be subject to a Vos Estis Lux Mundi investigation, referring to an apostolic letter issued by Francis in May 2019 for bishop accountability.

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A welcome, long-overdue, smart step by a bishop

WEST VIRGINIA
AdamHorowitzLaw.com (law firm blog)

March 20, 2020

Is there anything worse than an omission or mistake in the law that enables wrongdoers to go unpunished?

YES! A perfectly crafted law that goes UNENFORCED!

Ditto with ‘policies’ – internal rules an organization or company adopts that supposedly forbid certain harmful behaviors.

Policies go unenforced all the time. Here’s one simple reason why.

In a crisis, CEOs and bishops and Boy Scouts executives and university presidents typically holler “Get me the lawyers and the PR people!”

They sit down and write up a policy, procedure or plan. On paper at least, it addresses the situation at hand. Then, they shout from the rooftops “We’ve fixed everything.” (Or, if they have really smart public relations staff, they’re a tad more realistic-sounding and say “We’re FIXING everything.”)

Sooner or later, public pressure and media attention wane, the policies are quietly shelved and the old patterns re-emerge.

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Is the Volunteer at John Ortberg’s Menlo Church a NOMAP (Non-Offending Minor Attracted Person) and What Does This Mean in the Long Run?

UNITED STATES
The Wartburg Watch (blog)

March 9, 2020

Before I begin the post, I want to make four points.

– I believe that pedophilia is a profound psychiatric disorder. It is not *normal* and I reject any attempts to make it appear normal.

– I believe that pedophiles, as well as those who have similar paraphilias, can learn to control their impulses with intensive help from psychiatrists, psychologists, trained counselors and the support of family, friends, and, for those who are believers, the church. I do not believe that it is curable at this time.

– I have reason to believe that the volunteer is a male so I will use the pronoun *he.*

– I will not allow any folks who consider themselves NOMAPS or MAPs to hijack the comment thread at TWW or troll my Twitter account. Also, I will decide which comments will be allowed.

What in the world is a MAP and a NOMAP?

Over the weekend, I was made aware of a new advocacy group called MAP which stands for *minor attracted person*. At first, I believed that these were people who had accepted that they were pedophiles, had received and are receiving intensive psychiatric intervention and were doing the hard work of staying away from minors in order not to offend or reoffend. However, a MAP is merely a *minor attracted person.* This descriptor does not address their actions.

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Pastor John Ortberg allowed volunteer who was attracted to minors to work with children

CALIFORNIA
Religion News Service

February 2020

By Bob Smietana

John Ortberg, a popular evangelical author and megachurch pastor, betrayed a “bond of trust” by allowing a church volunteer who admitted being attracted to minors to still work with children, according to a statement from the elders at the Bay Area church he leads.

“In July of 2018, a person serving in the Menlo Church community came to John and shared in confidence an unwanted thought pattern of attraction to minors,” the church’s elder said in a statement. “The person assured, to John’s satisfaction, that the person had not acted on the attraction and sought John’s support. John believed the person and provided prayers and referrals for counseling.”

But Ortberg took no steps to bar the person from working with minors, according to the elders. He also did not talk to other staff or church members about the situation.

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Archbishop Emeritus Daniel Pilarczyk has passed away

CINCINNATI (OH)
WCPO

March 22, 2020

The Archbishop Emeritus of Cincinnati, Most Reverend Daniel E. Pilarczyk, passed away this morning, according to a Facebook post by the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

The Archbishop was 85 years old.

Archbishop Pilarczyk earned an M.A in classics from Xavier University in 1965 and a Ph.D in classics from the University of Cincinnati in 1969.

He led the Archdiocese of Cincinnati for 27 years, taking over when Cardinal Joseph Bernardin left Cincinnati for Chicago. He was ordained as bishop in 1974 and installed as archbishop in 1982.

He resigned from his position as Archbishop of Cincinnati in 2009, after 50 years of priesthood. At the time, he was the longest-tenured archbishop and longest-serving active bishop in the United States.

The Rev. Pilarczyk is widely known for working to guide the Archdiocese of Cincinnati through its guilty plea in connection with priest sex abuse cases in 2003.

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Notre Dame’s Laetare Medal to be awarded to expert on Catholic sex abuse crisis

SOUTH BEND (IN)
South Bend Tribune

March 23, 2020

The University of Notre Dame’s 2020 Laetare Medal will be awarded to Kathleen McChesney, a former FBI executive assistant director and a leading expert in the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse crisis.

The medal, which was first awarded in 1883 to honor a Catholic who embodies the church’s ideals, will be given to McChesney at Notre Dame’s commencement, currently scheduled for May 17, though the university has acknowledged it may have to change its plans based on developments related to the coronavirus.

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Sinead O’Connor is still in one piece

BRAY (IRELAND)
The Washington Post via Portland Press-Herald

March 22, 2020

By Geoff Edgers

Sinéad O’Connor’s office is a glass, pentagon-shaped porch that’s also the entryway to her house. Most days, before the sun rises over the Irish Sea, she’ll be sitting there, smoking a cigarette, nursing a sugary cup of coffee or shuffling through her iPad. She may even pick up a guitar.

When the water ripples in the wind, the spot can be hauntingly beautiful, “Ulysses” sprung to life. Not that O’Connor, born just four stops up the train line in the Dublin suburb of Glenageary, feels particularly romantic about the setting.

“I (expletive) hate living in Ireland,” she says. “My spiritual home is America. I know that my stork should have dropped me in America. But he got drunk in Dublin. It’s freezing, it’s miserable. Everything’s really expensive. I love America, but I can never leave Ireland. I wouldn’t leave my grandchildren or my children.”

There are four children, a pair of grandchildren, four ex-husbands and an ex-boyfriend, Frank, who lives a short walk down Strand Road with their son, Yeshua, 13. There is her father, a sister and three brothers, all within a drive. They know her not as the pop star who rose to fame singing “Nothing Compares 2 U,” but as a witty, compassionate, difficult, fearless, playful and unpredictable woman who has struggled, personally and professionally, ever since she ripped up that photograph of the pope on “Saturday Night Live” in 1992. And they remember the last time O’Connor left home

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High-ranking WNY priest put on administrative leave following sexual misconduct allegation

BUFFALO (NY)
WIVB-TV

March 21, 2020

A high-ranking Diocese of Buffalo priest has been placed on administrative leave following an allegation of sexual misconduct.

Rev. Peter J. Karalus, Vicar General andModerator of the Curia for the Diocese is accused of sexual misconduct in 2011 by a person who was a minor at the time of the alleged incident.

An independent investigator will look into the accusation.

Rev. Karalus denies the allegations, saying in a statement to News 4:

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Letter to the Editor: Fred Lutz’s sexual abuse made worse by diocese withholding information

SPRINGFIELD (MO)
Springfield News-Leader

March 21, 2020

Dear Editor,

Thank you and Harrison Keegan for the articles about the sexual abuse perpetrated by Fred Lutz, who is an ordained Catholic priest. Lutz sexually abused me in 1972 when I was 17 years old. There are two more reports of sexual abuse by Lutz of adolescent boys, one in the 1990s and one in 2000. Lutz is being prosecuted for the 2000 report now. The 2000 case was reported in 2002 to the diocese, and I reported my 1972 case in 2006. I regret that I did not report it sooner. We know that the diocese had two sexual abuse reports on Lutz in 2002 and 2006. We don’t know when the 1990s report was made because the diocese has never made that report public. However, you would think if there were two separate reports of sexual abuse by Lutz, the diocese, the bishop would begin to doubt Lutz’s denials.

The diocese did not make any of Lutz’s sexual abuse reports public until 2018, when they finally revealed that I had reported my 1972 abuse in 2006. Why they decided to finally report it then is unknown, since no new knowledge had come to light as far as I know. A friend of mine said they finally reported it because the Missouri attorney general announced the clergy sexual abuse investigation of all Missouri dioceses about a month earlier. The diocese has still not made public either of the 1990s or the 2000 reports of sexual abuse by Lutz.

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MY WORD: My case against Father Mark White’s blog

RICHMOND (VA)
Martinsville Bulletin

March 21, 2020

By Bishop Barry C. Knestout, Diocese of Richmond

I write directly to the brothers and sisters of St. Joseph and St. Francis of Assisi as your bishop, regarding the matter of your pastor, Father Mark White, which weighs heavy on my heart. For months, you may have read his written public communications or his words within the secular media. For months, I have chosen to remain silent in the hopes of remedying the situation internally. But, relying on the Holy Spirit, I feel a pressing need to address my concerns with you as members of this diocese entrusted to my care.

St. Ignatius of Antioch, “Doctor of Unity,” wrote: “Your excellent presbyters, who are a credit to God, are as suited to the bishop as strings to a harp. So, in your harmony of mind and heart the song you sing is Jesus Christ. Every one of you should form a choir, so that, in harmony of sound through harmony of hearts, and in unity taking the note from God, you may sing with one voice through Jesus Christ to the Father.”

Harmony. Unity. St. Ignatius deliberately selects these words when touching on the hierarchy, order and structure of the Church intended to protect the unity of Christ’s flock. As such, The Code of Canon Law indicates that Clergy have a special obligation to show reverence and obedience to the Holy Father and to their own bishop. All clerics are reminded that they are “working for the same purpose, namely the building up of the Body of Christ.” They are always to do their utmost to foster among God’s people peace and harmony based on justice.

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Abuse plaintiff calls committee’s work ‘awesome responsibility’ to uncover truth

BUFFALO (NY)
The Buffalo News

March 22, 2020

By Jay Tokasz

Richard Brownell recalled watching a 1993 television newscast in which the Rev. Bernard “Corky” Mach, a popular Catholic priest assigned to a Lockport parish at the time, tearfully denied molesting a 14-year-old boy.

Brownell immediately turned to his wife during the newscast and said the priest was lying. He told her the Rev. John Aurelio had sexually assaulted him when he was 11 or 12 years old, and Aurelio was a close friend of Mach. It was the first time he had told anyone about the abuse.

More than 50 years after he alleges Aurelio molested him, Brownell, 62, still isn’t comfortable discussing his own abuse in detail. But he said he’s ready to represent hundreds of survivors of childhood sex abuse in their efforts to seek some measure of justice from the Buffalo Diocese.

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Anne Hailes: New book a disturbing examination of modern Irish Catholic Church

IRELAND
Irish News

March 23, 2020

By Anne Hailes

TEN years ago during a writer’s weekend in The Burren a young man sat and talked with me about his desire to become a writer. It was obvious when we met that Declan Henry had a dedication about his work and now, in 2020, he has published his seventh book, which has been described as explosive.

Forbidden Fruit: Life & Catholicism In Contemporary Ireland is a disturbing examination of the Irish Catholic Church, which he claims is crumbling. However, it is not a spiteful attack on the Church – rather, he pulls aside a curtain to look into the situation.

“The clerical abuse scandals of the 90s sparked this irreparable demise which continues to disintegrate at an alarming rate,” he says.

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Retired Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk is dead, led Cincinnati Catholics for quarter-century

CINCINNATI
Cincinnati.com

March 22, 2020

By Dan Horn

Former Cincinnati Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk, who guided Southwest Ohio’s Catholics through some of the church’s most trying times, died Sunday in Cincinnati. He was 85.

Pilarczyk, who had been in declining health for years, led the Archdiocese of Cincinnati for more than a quarter century and was the nation’s longest-serving bishop when he retired in 2009. His final years in the top job came as the church struggled with widespread allegations of clergy abuse.

Pilarczyk’s life in the church began as a Catholic schoolboy in his hometown of Dayton, Ohio, where classmates knew him as the bright, witty kid who “never got in trouble with the nuns.”

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Letter to the editor: New trial for accused priest heartbreaking

PITTSBURGH (PA)
Tribune-Review

March 22, 2020

The Rev. Hugh Lang, who was convicted in November on charges that he sexually abused an 11-year-old boy in 2001, had his conviction vacated this month because a new judge believes Lang did not receive a fair trial. We are dismayed that the victim will have to go through yet another trial, but are hopeful that Lang will once again be found guilty.

Despite the fact that the victim in this case traveled from the other side of the world to testify against his abuser, a new trial was ordered. Our hearts ache for this victim and the fact that his chance at justice has been taken away. We hope that this is only a temporary setback.

The victim’s attorneys are appealing to the state Supreme Court. We are hopeful the appeal is granted and this dangerous abuser’s conviction will stand, and he will be given a sentence that keeps him away from children for the rest of his life.

Judy Jones
Marthasville, Mo.

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Sexual harassment victim wins landmark apology from Anglican Church

NEW ZEALAND
New Zealand Herald

March 22, 2020

By Kirsty Johnston

A parishioner who fought the Anglican Church for 15 years after being sexually harassed by a priest has won a landmark settlement and apology, including an acknowledgment the Church can be held to account for its ministers’ behaviour.

Until now, the Church has refused to be held liable for clergy, saying they were not its employees but were essentially employed by God.

However, in a successful settlement negotiated after the woman took her case to the Human Rights Review Tribunal, the Church admitted it was responsible, and will now improve its vetting, training and complaints process.

The Church will also pay the woman $100,000 in recognition of the gravity of humiliation and hurt she suffered, and in recognition of its flawed handling of the complaint.

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Child protection pioneer McChesney to receive Notre Dame’s Laetare Medal

NEW YORK (NY)
Crux

March 22, 2020

By Christopher White

Kathleen McChesney, a leading trailblazer in the fight against clergy sexual abuse, will receive the highest honor in the U.S. Catholic Church.

On Sunday, the University of Notre Dame announced that McChesney, who worked for decades in law enforcement before being tapped to establish and lead the Office of Child Protection for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), will be awarded the 2020 Laetare Medal, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious Catholic award.

Her career in law enforcement dates back to the 1970’s, where she first worked as a police officer and then a detective in Washington State, investigating homicides and sex crimes, including that of the serial killer Ted Bundy. She then entered the FBI, eventually reaching the third highest position in the bureau until she was recruited by the U.S. bishops to parlay that experience into helping restore trust in an institution struggling to respond to the escalating scandals of clergy abuse and cover-up.

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High-ranking Buffalo Diocese priest accused of misconduct

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

March 21, 2020

By Dan Herbeck

An allegation of sexual misconduct against one of the region’s most high-profile priests led to another shakeup in the Diocese of Buffalo on Saturday.

The Rev. Peter J. Karalus, one of the closest aides to acting Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger, was placed by the bishop on administrative leave while an independent investigator looks into the allegation made against Karalus, the Buffalo Diocese announced Saturday.

The allegation involves an incident that allegedly took place in 2011 when the man who made the claim was a minor, authorities told The Buffalo News.

In a statement Saturday afternoon, Karalus said, “I emphatically deny and confidently declare as false the allegation that I offered words of inappropriate content to a penitent during the Sacrament of Reconciliation nine years ago. … I trust and will fully cooperate in the process that will investigate this misplaced allegation. I am confident I will be fully exonerated.”

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Buffalo Diocese #2 administrator suspended for sex misconduct allegation

BUFFALO (NY)
WKBW-TV

March 21, 2020

By Charlie Specht

The Diocese of Buffalo’s No. 2 administrator has been suspended for allegations of sexual misconduct.

Fr. Peter Karalus, the vicar general of the diocese, was placed on administrative leave Saturday “following an allegation of sexual misconduct by a person who was a minor in 2011,” interim Bishop Edward Scharfenberger said in a news release.

The news release gave no further details about the allegations but said they were referred to the Erie County District Attorney.

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Diocese of Buffalo puts priest on leave over 2011 allegation

BUFFALO (NY)
WGRZ-TV

March 21, 2020

The allegation involving the Rev. Peter J. Karalus has also been forwarded to the Erie County District Attorney.

The Rev. Peter J. Karalus has been placed on administrative leave, the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo announced Saturday.

The Diocese, in a statement, said the decision stems from “an allegation of sexual misconduct by a person who was a minor in 2011, when the incident allegedly occurred.”

The Diocese said the allegation has also been forwarded to the Erie County District Attorney.

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Message to Priests Regarding Fr. Peter Karalus

BUFFALO (NY)
Catholic Diocese of Buffalo

March 21, 2020

From the Office of the Apostolic Administrator

My Brother Priests and Colleagues –

Today, I am announcing that I have placed Father Peter Karalus on administrative leave, given that an allegation of sexual misconduct has been received from an individual who was a minor in 2011 when the person alleges that an incident occurred. This is a source of great sorrow and regret for me personally, as I know it is for you.

According to our rigorous protocols and procedures, an independent investigation into this allegation will now be conducted, with the findings to be reported to the Independent Review Board in order that its members might consider the facts and make an appropriate recommendation. It is important to emphasize that this administrative leave is for the purpose of investigation and does not imply any determination about the truth or falsity of the complaint.

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Opinion: Kerri Judd redaction adds to difficulties following Pell legal process

AUSTRALIA
BrisbaneNews.net

March 18, 2020

By Chris Friel

“But he hasn’t got anything on,” a little child said. “Did you ever hear such innocent prattle?” said its father. And one person whispered to another what the child had said, “He hasn’t anything on. A child says he hasn’t anything on.”i

This note discusses a redaction in prosecution counsel Kerri Judd’s presentation to the High Court of Australia Thursday 12 March during the Cardinal George Pell appeal. The audio video of the whole (unredacted) presentation has been uploaded by the High Court here.ii I have placed the transcript along with references in the left margin here.iii The video at 3.01:39 corresponds to the redaction at 5940, namely:

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Back to blogging, Catholic priest disobeys order in crisis

RICHMOND (VA)
Channel 8 (ABC-TV affiliate)

March 20, 2020

By Kerri O’Brien

A Catholic priest banned from blogging is back online to help parishioners through these uncertain times. In November of 2019, Father Mark White was ordered by the Bishop of the Diocese of Richmond to stop blogging or lose his job.

The pastor at St. Joseph’s in Martinsville and St. Francis of Assisi in Rocky Mount had been critical of the church’s handling of its sexual abuse cases. Bishop Barry Knestout ordered him into silence.

Father White has been obeying the order, until now. For about week, he’s been back at it. He’s been blogging about the pandemic, past pandemics, church closures as well as the felony sex abuse charges filed this week against a Virginia priest.

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Tidbits of Encouraging News

UNITED STATES
AdamHorowitzLaw.com (law firm blog)

March 18, 2020

In this era of political, environmental and public health difficulties, we can all use some positive news!

–On Tuesday night, progressive challenger Marie Newman won her primary against longtime Illinois incumbent Representative Dan Lipinski. Marie is the founder of an anti-bullying nonprofit and signed on to lead a coalition of 70 anti-bullying groups working nationwide.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/marie-newman-dan-lipinski-illinois-third-district-democrats-primary-2018-a8088421.html

https://theslot.jezebel.com/hell-yeah-marie-newman-1842393738

–Prosecutors in Pittsburgh are appealing a judge’s decision to vacate the conviction of Fr. Hugh Lang, who is accused of having assaulted a boy in 2001.

Judge Anthony Mariani had ruled earlier that the priest had been denied a fair trial because the previous judge had let prosecutors submit evidence that Fr. Lang had searched the internet for ‘defense attorney’ before the 2018 release of a Pennsylvania grand jury report on allegations of clerical sex abuse.

Just to be clear, Judge Mariani had sentenced Fr. Lang to 9-24 months in jail, but is delaying implementation. Now, there’ll be a second trial.

https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/prosecutors-appeal-dismissal-of-pittsburgh-priests-conviction-for-sex-abuse-39109

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