Bill to close teacher-student sex loophole clears Senate

CONCORD (NH)
Associated Press

June 29, 2020

A bill prohibiting sexual contact between New Hampshire teachers and students regardless of a student’s age is back on track after a rocky path toward passage.

Lawmakers proposed multiple bills in response to the arrest last year of Concord High School teacher Primo “Howie” Leung, who has pleaded not guilty to charges of sexually assaulting a student off school property in Massachusetts in 2015 and 2016. In a separate incident, students reported seeing him kiss a different student in Concord in 2018, but school officials did not notify police because state law allows teenagers 16 and older to consent to such contact if they are not being coerced.

While there was bipartisan support for closing that loophole, differences emerged over the scope of the legislation.

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Media Statement: Marianists release list of accused priests, SNAP calls for more action

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

June 20, 2020

Finally, 18 years after US Catholic officials began posting the names of priests accused of abuse on church websites, the Marianist Order has released a list of 46 clerics and brothers found to have sexually abused a minor. Parents, police, parishioners, prosecutors and the public should look closely at this list and demand answers from the provincial as to why it took so long for it to be published.

Fr. Oscar Vasquez, Provincial of the Marianist Order, must explain this irresponsible delay. We also want Fr. Vasquez to take two further steps immediately:

First, the provincial should include the photos and whereabouts of every accused priest and brother, as well as the dates for each of his assignments. Additionally, the list should include information about when the Marianists were first informed of the allegations and what actions were taken in response.

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Former Prattville church employee indicted on sex abuse sentenced

MONTGOMERY (AL)
WSFA

June 30, 2020

A former Prattville church employee charged with sex abuse has been sentenced.

According to court documents, John Edgar Harris was convicted of second-degree assault. Harris, previously an employee at Glynwood Baptist Church, was indicted on first-degree sexual abuse, facilitating the travel of a child for an unlawful sex act, and enticing a child for immoral purposes.

The court dropped two of the charges and downgraded the sex abuse charge to second-degree assault after Harris pleaded guilty. He was sentenced to 13 months in the Autauga Metro Jail.

Harris, who was also fined $1,000, was given credit for time served.

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Polish group seeks pope’s action against sex abuse, cover-up

ROME
Associated Press

June 29, 2020

By Nicole Winfield

The Vatican says Pope Francis has been informed about an appeal launched by a group of Catholics in Poland urging intervention into cases where bishops have continued to cover up for priests who sexually molest children.

The group “EnoughHarm” took out a full-page advertisement on Monday in Rome daily La Repubblica, addressed to the pope. It urged Francis to “repair our church” and heal the wounds of abuse victims.

“The lack of a decisive reaction by the church hierarchy to reports of reprehensible behavior by some bishops is cause for public scandal and harms the good of the church,” the ad said. “It harms its unity, because it divides those who are concerned for the image of the institution and those who have the good of victims at heart.”

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Former Catholic Deacon George Brignac dies at 85; was awaiting trial for rape

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
WVUE

June 30, 2020

Former Catholic Deacon George Brignac died Monday at the age of 85, according to his attorney Martin Regan.

Brignac was removed from the Catholic ministry in 1988 after he was accused of sexually abusing young boys in the 1970s and 80s.

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Abuse in Poland: Pope informed, ‘the guilty will be punished’

ROME
Vatican News

June 2020

The Director of the Holy See Press Office responds to journalists after a Polish group of faithful publishes an appeal in the Italian newspaper “La Repubblica.” “The Church must do everything possible so that cases of abuse are brought to light”.

“The Holy Father is informed of the appeal. He is praying for those who sent it. The entire Church must do everything possible so that the canonical norms are applied, cases of abuse are brought to light and those guilty of these serious crimes are punished.”

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Report: Disgraced deacon George Brignac dies while awaiting 1980s child rape trial

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
4WWL

June 30, 2020

By Mike Perlstein and Ramon Antonio Vargas

Brignac was named in the November 2018 list of credibly accused sexual abusers within the Catholic Church. He stood accused of raping a child in 1980s.

A disgraced Roman Catholic deacon who was awaiting trial on allegations of raping a child in the 1980s died Monday, according to his attorney.

While George Brignac had been free since posting a $1 million bail in December, he never made it home, attorney Martin Regan said Tuesday.

While briefly locked up in the Orleans Justice Center as his bail was being processed in mid-December, Brignac broke a vertebrae when he fell inside the lock-up. He never recovered, Regan said, bouncing between hospital stays and a rehabilitation home.

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Lawsuit alleges sex abuse by priest in Greensburg diocese in 1990s

GREENSBURG (PA)
TribLive

June 30, 2020

By Tony LaRussa

The Diocese of Greensburg and Bishop Edward Malesic are being sued by a man who claims he was sexually abused by a priest who has since died.

The lawsuit, filed June 22, claims the Rev. Joseph L. Sredzinski began abusing the victim in 1991 when he was 11 years old and continued until the victim was 17.

Sredzinski served at the former St. Joseph Church in Everson, Fayette County, from 1989 to 1999. He died in 2015.

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20 suits filed against Diocese of Ogdensburg for alleged priest sexual abuse

OGDENSBURG (NY)
WWNY

June 30, 2020

Two law firms are filing 20 child sex abuse claims against the Diocese of Ogdensburg, including cases involving seven priests not previously accused.

Jeff Anderson & Associates and LaFave Wein & Frament filed the cases Tuesday under the New York Child Victims Act.

The firms have now filed a total of 34 lawsuits against the diocese. The cases had been stuck in limbo after courts closed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The seven priests newly accused of sex abuse are:

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Eastbourne man who exposed abuse in church is awarded for ‘outstanding service’

UNITED KINGDOM
East Bourne Herald

June 30, 2020

By Ginny Sanderson

An Eastbourne man who exposed sexual abuse in the Church of England has been awarded by the church for ‘outstanding services’ to improving safeguarding.

From the age of around nine, Phil Johnson was abused by priests, and for 20 years has fought for justice and greater support for survivors of abuse within the Diocese of Chichester.

Today (June 29), he was awarded the Canterbury Cross for Services to the Church of England by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

He said, “I’m in two minds about it. It’s good to be recognised for the contribution that I have made, along with many others.

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Archdiocese will stop monthly payment for ex-Guam Archbishop Anthony Apuron on July 1

AGANA (GUAM)
Pacific Daily News/USA TODAY Network

June 30, 2020

The Archdiocese of Agana on Tuesday announced it would halt monthly honorarium payments effective Wednesday, July 1, for former Archbishop Anthony Apuron.

Apuron was found guilty of sexual abuse of minors by the Vatican’s Apostolic Tribunal of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 2018.

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Former New Orleans Deacon, 85, Dies Awaiting Rape Trial

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
The Associated Press

June 30, 2020

A former Roman Catholic deacon awaiting trial on rape charges in New Orleans has died, his defense attorney said Tuesday.

George F. Brignac, 85, had been accused of sexually abusing children for years before being removed from the ministry in 1988.

He was charged last year with first-degree rape after a former altar boy told police Brignac had repeatedly raped him beginning in the late 1970s. Police said the abuse began when the boy was 7 years old and continued until he was 11.

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Story of Fr. Antonio Demonstrates that Abuse Thrives When Church Officials Stay Silent

ST. LOUIS (MO)
SNAP Network

June 29, 2020

An excellent piece of investigative journalism from KQED lays bare an intrinsically dangerous truth within religious institutions: abuse thrives when those in charge do not do their jobs. (A Spanish version of this story is available here.)

KQED followed the story of Fr. Jesús Antonio Castañeda Serna – known to his parishioners as Fr. Antonio – from the first instances of wrongdoing by this priest in Washington state, where he was first allowed off the hook, to the scene of his alleged crimes in Fresno, California, and then back down to where Fr. Serna continues to head a church despite criminal charges related to dozens of allegations of sexual abuse.

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Marianists release names of priests in U.S. who have abused minors; Archdiocese releases two new names

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Archdiocese of St. Louis

June 25, 2020

Marianist Province also publishes names of members who sexually abused a minor in the U.S.

The Archdiocese of St. Louis has added two former priests to the list of clergy with substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor. The Marianist Province of the United States also released a list of names of their clergy who have sexually abused a minor.

The archdiocesan priests were brought to the attention of the archdiocese, which triggered a thorough investigation of the allegations by independent investigators, according to a statement from the archdiocese. Their findings were presented to the Archdiocesan Review Board, composed mainly of lay Catholics who are not employees of the archdiocese. The Review Board made a recommendation to Archbishop Robert J. Carlson that the allegations should be considered substantiated, a recommendation that Archbishop Carlson has adopted.

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Pope prays for Poles who asked him to intervene in abuse cases

VATICAN CITY
Catholic News Service

June 30, 2020

By Carol Glatz

Pope Francis said he was praying for the hundreds of Catholics in Poland who turned to him directly, urging him to “rebuild our church” and criticizing the country’s bishops for hiding cases of abuse against minors.

Matteo Bruni, head of the Vatican press office, said the pope was aware of the appeal paid for by more than 600 Catholics in Poland so that it could be published as a paid ad in the Italian newspaper, La Repubblica, June 29.

The pope “is praying for those who have turned to him,” Bruni said in a written statement June 30.

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Disinfecting denial and secrecy

CANADA
La Croix International

June 29, 2020

By Nuala Kenny OC, MD

“Nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known” (Matthew 10, 26-28)

Courageous proclamation of the “good news” of God’s love for us is the heart of Jesus’ mission. He is unwavering in acknowledging the truth of this mission, even at great personal cost. And he is relentless in denouncing denial of the truth of God’s love.

The infection of Silence and Secrecy

Silence, secrecy and denial have been evident at every level of the clergy sexual abuse crisis – from the abuse of individuals to leadership’s response to victims’ stories and its minimization of the harm done, as well as its pursuit of gag orders, non-disclosure agreements and active cover-up.

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Priest accused of misconduct resigns position

JEFFERSON CITY (MO)
News Tribune

June 30, 2020

By Joe Gamm

Although allegations against a Catholic priest from the Diocese of Jefferson City could not be corroborated, he has agreed to resign as pastor of a Mid-Missouri parish.

Although allegations against a Catholic priest from the Diocese of Jefferson City could not be corroborated, he has agreed to resign as pastor of a Mid-Missouri parish.

The Rev. Mark Porterfield, who was pastor at St. Martin Catholic Church in St. Martins, was accused of misconduct involving a former adult employee.

His resignation as pastor is effective today.

“After a thorough investigation conducted by independent investigators, the allegation of misconduct could not be corroborated,” according to a diocese announcement made this weekend at the parish.

The diocese placed Porterfield on administrative leave in early 2019. He has regained his priestly faculties, which is the permission a bishop gives to a priest to perform sacraments.

“It was determined that the allegation was credible, but it could not be corroborated,” diocesan Director of Communications Helen Osman said.

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Axing of child sex body by Catholic Church praised

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

June 30, 2020

By Victoria Laurie

The Catholic Education body representing more than 764,000 students in 1,746 Catholic-run schools has welcomed the controversial move by the church hierarchy to disband an agency set up to audit the risk of child sex abuse.

The National Catholic Education Commission says it endorses the church’s decision to create a new national body to replace the role of the Catholic Professional Standards Ltd.

CPSL was established in consultation with the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse to audit and report on child safety standards within the Catholic Church. It is conducting independent safety audits of 264 Catholic Church entities, including religious orders that were the subject of harrowing sex abuse testimony in the Royal Commission.

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference confirmed on Monday it will create a new national body to replace the CPSL by January. Archbishop Mark Coleridge, Conference president, says it will reduce costs to the church and form “a comprehensive response to safeguarding and professional standards needs.”

Supporters of the well-credentialed board of CPSL, headed by former Federal Court judge Geoff Guidice, have raised concerns over whether the new body will retain the strict independence and public reporting of safety audits currently conducted by the CPSL.

Catholic Education’s executive director Jacinta Collins says she welcomes the creation of a new single entity “to help provide streamlined support to Catholic schools in keeping children and vulnerable adults safe.

“The Royal Commission identified the need for institutions to have stronger leadership and governance processes to address child safety failings,” Ms Collins said.

“A consolidated national office will provide greater clarity and shine a light on the areas that still need to be addressed.”

John Warhurst, chairman of Concerned Catholics Canberra-Goulburn, says the Bishops Conference has not provided Catholics with any detail about how the new national body will operate.

“It’s still opaque, and there must be transparency around this whole area of standards.”

“It appears the new body, as an agency of the ACBC, will not be legally independent,” he said. “It’s a major issue that needs to be discussed and explained.”

Peter Johnstone, convener of the Coalition for Catholic Church Reform, says Catholic parents should be asking questions about the adequacy of the new arrangement for safeguarding safety standards in church schools.

“It could permit a return to the lack of accountability that led to the church’s cover-up of child sexual abuse,” he said.

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Safeguarding office to be independent

AUSTRALIA
The Catholic Weekly

June 30, 2020

By Marilyn Rodrigues

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has hit back at claims that a new national safeguarding office may be a step backwards from the work of Catholic Professional Standards Ltd over the past three years.

CPSL was established by the ACBC in response to the findings of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse to conduct audits of church entities’ compliance with child safe standards and to deliver safeguarding training.

It was set up as a not-for-profit company operating independently of the church hierarchy and runs at a cost of around $1.8 million a year. It is expected to be replaced early in 2021 by a national approach to streamline and coordinate the Church’s work to protect children and vulnerable adults.

Some Catholics are worried that the new approach being considered by the bishops may lack the independence and transparency of CPSL, with The Australian reporting that there is “concern that old habits of secrecy and non-transparency are creeping back into the church”.

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National streamlined approach to child protection announced by Bishops conference

AUSTRALIA
The Sector (blog)

June 30, 2020

By Freda Lucas

A new national office will be charged with safeguarding, streamlining and coordinating the efforts of the Catholic Church to ensure that children and vulnerable adults are adequately protected from harm.

The news will be of interest to those working in the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector who follow child protection issues closely, and also to those who are employed by one of the many Catholic owned and managed ECEC services around Australia.

The creation of the office,which will bring together several national agencies working in the area of child protection and safeguarding into a single entity, was announced at the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference by president Archbishop Mark Coleridge who said the development of the entity has been on the cards since 2016,when Catholic Professional Standards Limited (CPSL) was established.

The work of Catholic Professional Standards Limited (CPSL) has been pivotal to the Church’s progress in the past four years, in the final stages of and beyond the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, Archbishop Coleridge said.

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New national office will streamline, coordinate safeguarding efforts

AUSTRALIA
Blog of Australian Catholic Bishops Conference

June 29, 2020

Australian Catholic Bishops Conference president Archbishop Mark Coleridge says a new national office for safeguarding will streamline and coordinate the Church’s work to protect children and vulnerable adults.

“The Catholic Church in Australia is bringing into a single entity several national agencies working in the area of child protection and safeguarding,” he said.

“This has been intended since 2016, when Catholic Professional Standards Limited was established.”

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Opinion: We need to talk about David Haas

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

June 30, 2020

by Jamie Manson

I first heard about sexual abuse allegations against composer David Hass from a Facebook friend in a post last week. “I haven’t heard much talk about this among progressive Catholics,” she wrote. “Maybe our hearts are too broken.”

Since the story first came to light, three of Haas’ victims have come forward, telling Soli Salgado for NCR about the ways they were groomed, forcibly kissed and relentlessly pursued by the lionized composer of well-known post-Vatican II hymns.

The news stunned the progressive Catholic world, whose liturgical soundtrack is filled with Haas’ tracks. His lyrics, so imbued with calls for love, justice and inclusion, earned him a place in the canon of luminaries of the Catholic reform movement.

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Mary McAleese blasts Catholic Church’s ‘disorderly and intrinsically evil’ teachings on homosexuality

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND
Extra.ie

June 30, 2020

By Eva Wall

Former President of Ireland Mary McAleese has blasted the Catholic Church’s ‘disorderly and intrinsically evil’ teachings on homosexuality.

Ms McAleese, 69, is a renowned Catholic academic, obtaining a Licentiate of Canon Law in 2014 and a Doctorate in Canon Law in 2018 from the Pontifical Gregorian University.

A law lecturer by profession, Ms McAleese has been an outspoken critic of the Catholic Church’s exclusion of women from the priesthood, its legacy of institutional abuse and its stance on homosexuality, which she maintains ‘conduces to homophobia’.

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Cliffside Park pastor resigns over allegation of abuse from before he was ordained

NEW JERSEY
NorthJersey.com

June 30, 2020

By Deena Yellin and Abbott Koloff

The pastor at the Church of the Epiphany in Cliffside Park has voluntarily stepped down after the Archdiocese of Newark received a report that he allegedly abused a minor before he became a priest almost 20 years ago, church officials said Monday.

The Rev. Bruce Harger, 66, announced his resignation from the parish this past weekend.

“The alleged abuse occurred before Fr. Harger was associated with the Archdiocese of Newark, and before he was ordained,” Maria Margiotta, an archdiocese spokeswoman, said in an emailed statement.

She did not provide further information about the allegations. Harger, who was ordained in 2001, started working at the Church of the Epiphany as an administrator in 2018 and was installed as a pastor in 2019. The priest has denied any wrongdoing, according to thearchdiocese.

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Bankrupt archdiocese stops $1,500 monthly financial support to Apuron

GUAM
Guam Daily Post

June 30, 2020

By Haidee Eugenio Gilbert

Bishop Anthony Apuron, Guam’s former archbishop convicted by a Vatican tribunal in connection with sexual abuse of minors, will no longer receive a $1,500 monthly allowance from the Archdiocese of Agana, the archdiocese announced Tuesday.

Archbishop Michael Jude Byrnes’s decision will become effective July 1, according to the archdiocese.

“The monthly honorarium has been, to say the least, very difficult for the victim-survivors of sexual abuse to comprehend,” Father Ron Richards, episcopal vicar of the Archdiocese of Agana, said in a letter to Apuron last week.

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Clerical sex abuse survivor calls on Bishop Rozanski to resign over report

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
Daily Hampshire Gazette

June 27, 2020

By Scott Merzbach

A clergy sex abuse survivor who leads a New Jersey organization that supports survivors and their families is calling on Mitchell T. Rozanski to resign as bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield after a report this week described the response to abuse allegations against a late bishop as “woefully deficient.”

Robert M. Hoatson, who co-founded Road to Recovery Inc. in Livingston, New Jersey, held a press conference Friday morning in Springfield that also asked Pope Francis to rescind the appointment of Rozanski as archbishop for St. Louis.

Hoatson argues that Rozanski spent six years mismanaging the case reported by an anonymous Chicopee man who alleged being abused by the late Bishop Christopher Weldon. The allegations were first reported to the Diocese of Springfield in 2014 but were only confirmed in a report completed by retired Judge Peter A. Velis this week.

The Velis report determined that the allegation against Weldon was “unequivocally credible,” yet the diocesan investigation, led by an appointed Diocesan Review Board, failed to investigate fairly and accurately claims of clergy sexual abuse.

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New Sexual Abuse Allegations Surface Against Boise Catholic Diocese Priest

BOISE (IDAHO)
Boise State Public Radio

June 29, 2020

By Frankie Barnhill

[AUDIO SEGMENT]

Note: the following text and audio contains discussions of sexual assault.

It’s been nearly three decades since Lisa Houser first came forward with allegations of sexual abuse by a Catholic priest at Gonzaga University in Spokane.

Houser, who now lives in the Midwest, says a well-known priest who ran the school’s abroad program in Florence, Italy assaulted her when she was a student in the early 1990s. His name is Father Bruno Segatta.

That same priest now leads a congregation in McCall, Idaho.

This story came to light because of our guest today. Emily Schwing is a reporter with the investigative public radio show and podcast “Reveal.” She joins Idaho Matters today to tell us more about her investigation into Father Bruno and his connections to the Boise Catholic Diocese.

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Opinion: We Find the Diocese of Syracuse’s ‘Reasons’ for Its Bankruptcy Hard to Believe

UNITED STATES
HorowitzLaw.com (blog)

June 28, 2020

Always wanted to read Alice in Wonderland but never gotten around to it? Here’s another idea.

Try reading why the Syracuse Catholic diocese claims it is ‘bankrupt.’

Sound weird? Well, believe us, some of its claims are fascinating/

Sound daunting? Well, some of the MOST fascinating parts are just a few paragraphs long.

And if it didn’t deal with the awful and largely preventable crisis of kids being assaulted by clergy, it could even be considered somewhat laughable.

Earlier this month, Syracuse Bishop Doug Lucia basically stonewalled dozens of clergy sex abuse victims who need and deserve healing and justice by stopping their lawsuits, exploiting Chapter 11 protection and going into bankruptcy court.

https://www.pressconnects.com/story/news/local/2020/06/19/catholic-church-sex-abuse-syracuse-diocese-files-bankruptcy/3221915001/

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Lawsuit Filed Against The Catholic Diocese Of Greensburg Over Alleged Sexual Abuse

GREENSBURG (PA)
KDKA-TV (Channel 2)

June 29, 2020

A lawsuit has been filed against the Catholic Diocese of Greensburg, alleging a priest raped and sexually abused a boy from 1991 to 1997.

The lawsuit alleges the late Father Joseph Sredzinski started to abuse the boy when he was 11 years old. According to a news release, the Diocese of Greensburg allowed him to continue working after being made aware of accusations against him.

The lawsuit alleges clergy members and the former bishop of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, are named as “co-conspirators.”

The plaintiff was only identified as John Doe MR. The suit was originally filed in Washington D.C. June 5, and the Superior Court of the District of Columbia confirmed the filing was accepted June 22.

Father Sredzinski died in 2015.

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Survivors want action on redress holdouts

AUSTRALIA
AAP via Channel 9 News

June 30, 2020

The federal government must follow through with its threat to impose financial sanctions on the institutions that refuse to join the national child abuse redress scheme, an advocate and Labor say.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says he will stop further public funding for those organisations that fail to sign up by the June 30 deadline and has warned their charitable status and tax concessions are also at risk.

The non-participating institutions will be named and shamed on Wednesday, when Social Services Minister Anne Ruston will also announce what action the federal government will take against them.

Child sexual abuse survivors want the “redress laggers” to lose their charity tax status, says the Care Leavers Australasia Network, which advocates for people who grew up in orphanages and children’s homes.

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Lawsuit filed against Diocese of Greensburg alleges years of abuse, orgies involving minor

GREENSBURG (PA)
WJAC-TV

June 29, 2020

by Sierra Darville

A lawsuit filed against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Greensburg in western Pennsylvania alleges that a former priest raped and sexually abused a minor for nearly six years.

The 25-page complaint was first filed on June 5 by attorneys Richard Serbin and Andrew Janet on behalf of the victim. The lawsuit was officially confirmed for filing pseudonymously on June 22.

It claims that Father Joseph Sredzinski abused a minor, identified as John Doe MR, beginning in 1991 when he was 11 years old and until 1997. The alleged abuse had occurred during Sredzinski’s time at St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church.

The lawsuit also claims that the diocese and other parties affiliated with the church knew about the abuse and failed to take action against Sredzinski.

The defendants named in the lawsuit include the Roman Catholic Diocese of Greensburg, Bishop Edward C. Malesic, St. John the Baptist and St. Joseph (formerly known as Saint Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church) and Donald Wuerl.

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Polish group seeks Vatican action against sex abuse, coverup

ROME
The Associated Press

June 29, 2020

The Vatican says Pope Francis has been informed about an appeal launched by Catholics in Poland urging Vatican intervention into cases where bishops have continued to cover up for priests who sexually molested children. The group “EnoughHarm” took out a full-page advertisement on Monday in Rome daily La Repubblica addressed to the pope urging him to “repair our church” and heal the wounds of abuse victims. Largely Roman Catholic Poland has become the latest country to face a reckoning of sexual abuse by priests and cover-up by their superiors. The scandal has hit particularly hard in Poland given the church’s enormous influence in all aspects of life and the pride of Poles in their native son, St. John Paul II.

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New archbishop of York sorry for response to domestic abuse allegations

ENGLAND
The Guardian

June 29, 2020

By Harriet Sherwood

Stephen Cottrell failed to ensure disclosure was properly documented and action taken

The incoming archbishop of York has apologised for failing to take proper action relating to allegations of domestic abuse by a priest which were disclosed to him 10 years ago.

Stephen Cottrell, who will be confirmed as the Church of England’s second most senior cleric next week, failed to ensure that the disclosure had been properly documented and that further action had been taken.

“I am deeply distressed and extremely sorry,” he said in a statement on Monday. He added: “In my new position as archbishop of York it is absolutely essential that I am open and transparent about the need for the whole of our church to be scrupulously honest with each other about any failings in safeguarding.”

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My Turn: Message from diocese’s Office of Safe Environment and Victim Assistance

GREENFIELD (MA)
Greenfield Recorder

June 28, 2020

By Jeffrey J. Trant

On Wednesday, June 24, the Most Rev. Mitchell T. Rozanski, Apostolic Administrator for the Diocese of Springfield, announced that he accepted the finding of credibility by retired Superior Court Judge Peter A. Velis’ independent investigation concerning allegations of sexual abuse against the late Christopher J. Weldon, former bishop of Springfield.

On behalf of the Office of Safe Environment and Victim Assistance for the Diocese of Springfield, I would like to publicly recognize the strength and resilience of the survivor who continued to pursue justice and truth since first reporting his abuse to diocesan officials in 2014.

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

Prosecutor to reconsider pressing charges against accused Wyoming bishop

KANSAS CITY (MO)
National Catholic Reporter

June 22, 2020

By Christopher White

A Wyoming prosecutor has agreed to another review of the recommended charges against retired Cheyenne Bishop Joseph Hart, less than two weeks after informing the alleged victim at the center of the case that he would not pursue the matter.

The reversal came June 19 following a conference call between Natrona County District Attorney Dan Itzen and Cheyenne Police Department officials who said they felt “very strongly” about their recommendations that charges be brought against Hart following a two-year review of the case.

Police officials told the Casper Star-Tribune that the prosecutor misunderstood the police files and will meet again to discuss the case this week.

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Clergy sex abuse allegations triple, U.S. Catholic bishops report

NEW YORK (NY)
The Associated Press

June 26, 20201

U.S. Roman Catholic bishops said Thursday that the church tallied 4,434 sex abuse allegations against clergy in the 2018-19 audit year, triple the number seen the previous year, with much of the increase stemming from a wave of lawsuits and claims by survivors of decades-old molestation.

In the latest annual report on clerical sex abuse, dioceses and other Catholic entities reported paying out $281.6 million during the year for costs related to allegations, including payments for cases reported in previous years.

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JUDGE RULES NEW YORK CHURCHES CAN REOPEN IN LINE WITH BUSINESSES

WASHINGTON (DC)
Catholic News Agency

June 28, 2020

By Matt Hadro

A federal judge on Friday ruled that New York must allow indoor and outdoor religious services in the same way it would allow mass outdoor protests, or indoor shopping malls.

Judge Gary Sharpe of the Northern District of New York said that the state cannot limit outdoor religious services during the pandemic, provided that attendees follow social distancing requirements. For indoor services, he said, the state has to make the same allowances for churches as it does for other businesses.

The judgement follows a lawsuit filed on behalf of several different religious groups by the Thomas More Society. No Catholic diocese or parish was party to the suit.

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Morrison threatens charity status of organisations refusing to join abuse redress scheme

AUSTRALIA
Sydney Morning Herald

June 29, 2020

By Fergus Hunter

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has threatened the charity status and government funding of organisations that refuse to sign up to the child sexual abuse redress scheme by the Tuesday deadline.

In a letter to 25 organisations named in the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse but yet to join the scheme, Mr Morrison and Social Services Minister Anne Ruston said the institutions’ resistance was “reprehensible” and warned of heavy consequences.

The religious, community and sporting organisations – which include the Jehovah’s Witnesses and a number of Catholic groups – have been told they have until June 30 to provide a clear statement of intent to join the scheme by the end of the year.

Mr Morrison and Senator Ruston said those that refused to commit would be “publicly identified and the government is considering other actions including the appropriateness of future funding and tax status”.

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Depok case shines light on sexual abuse in Indonesian Catholic Church

JAKARTA (INDONESIA)
The Jakarta Post

June 29, 2020

By Tri Indah Oktavianti, Ivany Atina Arbi and Alya Nurbaiti

A recently uncovered case of child sexual abuse at a Catholic church in Depok, West Java, has put a spotlight on sexual abuse in the wider Indonesian Catholic Church, causing adherents throughout the country to call for justice and reform.

On Sunday, the Catholic Women Human Rights Activists, a group made up of 194 Indonesian Catholic women, condemned the sexual assaults allegedly carried out by 42-year-old church caretaker Syahril Parlindungan Marbun, who has been accused of molesting at least 20 altar boys between the ages of 11 and 15 since 2012.

The group said one of the victim’s parents had reported the alleged assault to St. Herkulanus Church in 2014.

“However, at that time, the issue was solved through mediation by the church and the suspect was not removed from his position as the altar boys’ mentor but was instead promoted to head of the mentorship subsection,” the group said in a statement on Sunday.

The group called on the Diocese of Bogor and St. Herkulanus Church to establish a “safe place” maintained by a team of independent experts to manage and document the rehabilitation of victims and their families.

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“No Credible Evidence” Found Against Monsignor Walter Rossi

WASHINGTON D.C.
The Tower (student newspaper of Catholic University)

June 28, 2020

By Renee Rasmussen

A statement released on June 12 by the Diocese of Scranton announced that the investigation into Monsignor Walter Rossi, Rector of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, found “no credible evidence” regarding allegations of personal misconduct. An additional statement released by Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory found “no unreasonable or inappropriate expenditures or significant issues in the financial administration” regarding a financial investigation against Rossi.

The investigations began nine months ago in response to accusations of financial and sexual misconduct, according to the Washington Post. Rossi was cleared by the Archdiocese of Washington in 2018 of similar accusations and stepped down from Catholic University’s Board of Trustees in September amid the most recent allegations. He remained active in his role as the Rector of the Basilica throughout the investigation.

The investigations opened in August 2019 following a question directed at Gregory during a question-and-answer session at a Theology on Tap, held at the Public Bar Live in the Dupont area of Washington on August 13.

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Editorial: Partial disclosure of church abuse raises as many questions as it answers.

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

June 28, 2020

By the Editorial Board

There’s a familiar pattern in a new revelation by a St. Louis-based Catholic order of former members who worked at area schools and allegedly abused kids: The revealed cases are old ones — so much so that many of the accused are already dead — and details about what the church knew and when it knew it remain murky. As the church should know by now, there’s a difference between really offering full disclosure and trying to appear to offer full disclosure.

The Marianist Province of the United States, which staffs Catholic high schools across the nation, on Wednesday released the list of members of the order credibly accused of child abuse, including 18 members who worked in St. Louis-area schools. It was based on a review of more than 2,500 personnel files starting as long ago as 1950. They include former teachers, counselors and coaches at Catholic institutions like St. Louis University High School, Chaminade College Preparatory Academy in Creve Coeur, Assumption High School in East St. Louis and others.

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ABUSE CHARGE Catholic priest charged with alleged child sex offences and removed from Glasgow parish

GLASGOW (SCOTLAND)
The Scottish Sun

June 28, 2020

By Rebecca Gray

A CATHOLIC priest has been charged over alleged child sex offences, we can reveal.

Father Neil McGarrity, 56, was removed from his parish in Riddrie, Glasgow, after he was arrested by cops over the allegations.

The clergyman, who leads services at St Thomas the Apostle Church, is accused of alleged offences over a number of years.

A source said: “The allegations have left the congregation stunned.

“Father McGarrity is the senior priest at St Thomas and has been there for a long time.

“Everyone is in complete shock.”

All the alleged incidents are said to have taken place between December 2017 and March of this year.

Cops said a man aged 56 was arrested as part of a probe into alleged “sexual offences involving children”

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Trial lawyer Ray Boucher on his career helping injured plaintiffs

UNITED STATES
Lawdragon (blog)

June 28, 2020

By Katrina Dewey

It’s in the moments of solitude at the base of a Colorado mountain that you might begin to understand Ray Boucher.

He’s completed The Fourteeners, and many more in tribute to his father upon his death, which became his pact with himself. He lawyers in the most difficult way, as well, with his heart firmly entrenched in every case, every cause.

Guaranteed to cause wreckage. And, if you survive, lead to truth and beauty.

Boucher made his name as a California trial lawyer long before he took on the Mt. Everest of litigation: speaking up for hundreds of individuals who had been molested by priests and stayed silent – often for a lifetime – because of their faith. It was early days in what would become a tidal wave of reform when Boucher started to talk to fellow Catholics about horrific harm the church had allowed, covered up, and then denied. The battles he was required to lead against his own church cut deep, but not as much as did the stories of his clients.

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Vatican hands down its word in case of Father Mark White

MARTINSVILLE (VA)
Martinsville Bulletin

June 27, 2020

By Bill Wyatt

[Includes a video of a parish prayer and tribute to Fr. Mark White.]

At issue is long-running dispute with the Bishop of Richmond, and a missing word may have allowed the appeal to run out of time.

The word has come down from the Vatican in an appeal by the suspended Catholic Priest Father Mark White of a decision by the Bishop of Richmond to strip him of his pastoral duties, and that word also means White’s appeal likely has run out of time.

Those may sound like cliches, but, according to a letter dated June 2 from Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy Beniamino Stella, they appear literally true and mean White’s appeal never was considered and now probably won’t be.

“Unfortunately, the petition as presented is unable to be accepted, inasmuch as you have received from this cleric a mandate to act only as an Advocate and canonical consultant,” Stella wrote to White’s canon lawyer, Michael Podhajsky.

The letter explains the appeal only will be accepted if it comes from White or someone he designates as a “procurator.”

White updated the parishioners of St. Francis of Assisi in Rocky Mount and St. Joseph in Martinsville with the news.

“The cardinal [Stella] noted that my lawyer’s first submission in the case omitted one word, a word I myself had never heard before: ‘procurator,’” White wrote in his blog. “According to the Cardinal, that omission of one word has nullified our entire case.

“I think it’s safe to say someone invented the term ‘technicality’ for situations just like this.”

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Germany: Catholic Church sees record drop in membership

BONN (GERMANY)
Deutsche Welle

June 26, 2020

More than half a million people officially left the Catholic and Protestant churches in Germany in 2019, new figures show. Just over half the population now belongs to one of the two main denominations.

Germany’s top Catholic body said Friday that a record 272,771 people left the country’s Catholic Church in 2019, and that the number of baptisms and weddings taking place in churches also dropped sharply.

The number compares with some 216,000 people canceling their membership in 2018, and beats the previous record of around 218,000 in 2014 by a large margin.

The chairman of the German Bishops’ Conference, Georg Bätzing, said the statistics could not be made to look good in any way and that the drop in baptism and wedding ceremonies showed the “erosion of a personal attachment to the church” particularly clearly.

The German Protestant Church (EKD) also had cause to be concerned about its membership numbers, with 270,000 people leaving in 2019, an increase of 22% on the year before. The figure equals that of 2014.

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Judge orders transcript of Bishop Emeritus Clark deposition to be released

ROCHESTER (NY)
WHAM 13 ABC

June 25, 2020

A federal judge has ordered attorneys involved in bankruptcy hearings for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester to release the bankruptcy hearing deposition transcript of Bishop Emeritus Matthew Clark within ten days.

The order by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Paul Warren was filed on June 24. The Diocese filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September 2019, less than one month after roughly 50 civil lawsuits alleging sexual abuse at the hands of clergy were filed against them over New York’s Child Victims Act.

Warren acknowledged that deposition transcripts are generally not filed on the docket, but said an exception will be made in this case “for the sake of transparency and for the sake of disclosure.”

When bankruptcy hearings initially began, the court ruled the transcript was to be made available to the public 90 days after it had been delivered to the committee of creditors and the bishop. The deposition was held on March 3, meaning the transcript should have been released no later than June 1.

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Fitch Downgrades Archdiocese of NOLA Revs to ‘D’; IDR Affirmed at ‘D’ in Bankruptcy

CHICAGO (IL)
Fitch Ratings

June 26, 2020

Fitch Ratings has downgraded approximately $40.1 million in outstanding series 2017 fixed-rate revenue bonds issued by the Louisiana Public Facilities Authority on behalf of the Archdiocese of New Orleans (LA) to ‘D’ from ‘CC’. The Long-Term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) of the Archdiocese has been affirmed at ‘D’.

Security

The 2017 bonds are secured by payments made by the Authority, and the source of these payments is solely a general unsecured obligation of the Archdiocese.

Key Rating Drivers

Trustee Notice of Non-Payment: The downgrade of the bond ratings to ‘D’ reflects the virtual certainty of a payment default on July 1, 2020 while in bankruptcy. The Archdiocese filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on May 1, 2020. The trustee gave notice on June 26, 2020 that the July 1 debt service payments will not be made, as the Archdiocese has not paid the trustee for debt service payments due on July 1, and the trustee does not have funds on deposit to make debt service payments. The IDR of ‘D’ reflects the Archdiocese’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing.

ESG – Social Impacts: The Archdiocese has an Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) relevance score of ‘5’ for Social Impacts due to potentially significant liability from abuse claims, which appear to be a key driver of the Archdiocese’s bankruptcy filing.

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Boys still sexually abused by Scout volunteers despite reforms, arrest suggests

ANAHEIM (CA)
Orange County Register

June 27, 2020

By Teri Sforza

Lawyers lining up clients to sue bankrupt organization before Nov. 16 deadline to lodge claims
.
He played Santa Claus at a charity Christmas breakfast. He volunteered at tree plantings and neighborhood clean-ups. He worked the pancake breakfast to raise money for Boy Scout programs in low-income Long Beach schools.

“I love to help,” says Lewis Brownson’s Facebook page by way of introduction.

Brownson, 43, has been feted in the city’s “Sparks of Change Neighborhood Leadership Program” for his contributions and hard work. But, in an agonizingly common twist, the Boy Scout leader was arrested June 16 on two counts of lewd acts upon a child under age 14, with an allegation of multiple victims, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

A preliminary investigation by Long Beach police found that an 8-year-old boy had been sexually abused while participating in an after-school program over several years — from 2016 through 2018, according to a police spokesperson. Brownson was booked at the Long Beach city jail, with bail set at $1.2 million.

“The Boy Scouts say they’ve put safeguards in place, that abuse is a problem of the past,” said Andrew VanArsdale, a lead attorney with AbusedInScouting.com. “But we represent the families of children who were abused in the past year, the past two years.

“If the Boy Scouts of America has proven anything over its history, it’s that they allowed this to happen and never cared enough to stop it.”

So far, AIS represents more than 4,500 men and boys who say they were abused in Scouting. The oldest is 93. The youngest is 8.

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Catholic Church moves to axe sex-abuse watchdog

SURRY HILLS (NEW SOUTH WALES, AUSTRALIA)
The Australian

June 29, 2020

By Victoria Laurie

The Catholic Church is quietly closing an agency set up to audit risks of sex abuse and enforce new standards of child protection in the wake of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Church reform groups say Catholic Professional Standards Ltd is being dismantled amid concern that old habits of secrecy and non-transparency are creeping back into the church.

CPSL was formed in early 2017 to act on 60 recommendations by the royal commission, which heard harrowing evidence of child sex abuse and cover-ups.

The new body was instructed by the powerful Australian Catholic Bishops Conference to set national standards for the treatment of children within the church, and conduct independent audits of 264 Catholic Church entities, including all archdioceses, religious orders and lay groups.

But halfway through its audit process, and with only one of seven archdioceses having­ delivered its safety audit, the archbishops have said CPSL will be replaced with “a new national safeguarding entity” in January.

Archbishop Mark Coleridge, president of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, confirmed the CPSL would be replaced by a new body as a “comprehensive response by the church to safeguarding and professional­ standards needs”. He said the new body would continue the audit process “with appropriate independence”, and oversee a new national protocol to respond to complaints and allegations.

Australian Coalition for Catholic Church Reform convener Peter Johnstone said the church appeared to be taking back control “from an independent body of expert­ members of the laity providing­ independent scrutiny and advice”. “One must ask if this is back to business as usual, of the kind that led to the cover-up of child sexual abuse,” he said.

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La historia del sacerdote acusado de abuso sexual y lavado de dinero del narcotráfico que irá a juicio oral

BUENOS AIRES (ARGENTINA)
Infobae

The story of the priest accused of sexual abuse and money laundering of drug trafficking who will go to oral trial

June 27, 2020

By Andrés Klipphan

https://www.infobae.com/sociedad/2020/06/27/la-historia-del-sacerdote-acusado-de-abuso-sexual-y-lavado-de-dinero-del-narcotrafico-que-ira-a-juicio-oral/

[Google translation: Agustín Rosa Torino allegedly abused two seminarians and a nun. The Vatican opened a canonical investigation and the complaints reach 30. Pope Francis ordered the closure of the Religious Institute that in 1986 the priest had founded in Salta

One of the many judicial cases for abuses committed in the Argentine Church will add a new chapter. In Salta, the priest Agustín Rosa Torino will be tried for the alleged crimes of grossly outrageous sexual abuse to the detriment of two victims and simple sexual abuse against a third victim.The elevation to trial was filed in Chamber IV of the Salteño Trial Court. Now Judge Maximiliano Troyano will define the starting date of the oral and public trial.

The transit of the file was not easy. Along the way, the complaints and the prosecution encountered obstacles such as abuse of power, requests for annulments, requests for dismissal, and even a counter-complaint against one of the nuns who denounced the priest and who has already been dismissed.

It was because a cousin of another priest, a friend of the questioned religious, denounced the nun – now a former religious – Valeria Zarza, the woman abused by Agustín Rosa Torino.

The intention to discredit one of the three victims – the other two are men – failed. That’s how rare the judicial process was until reaching the oral trial.

Scandal at the Vatican

The priest who faces earthly justice is not just any priest. He knew how to influence the politicians and the local bishopric. Also in the Vatican.

In 1986, and with the approval of the then Pope John Paul II , Father Rosa Torino founded, in the province of Salta, the religious institute of diocesan law Brothers Disciples of Jesus of Saint John the Baptist.

The institute also has offices in Mexico, Chile and Spain and is made up of priests, permanent deacons and consecrated non-clergy who issue perpetual public vows and exclusively practice contemplative, monastic or hermitic life.

Thirty-three years later, on June 18, 2019, and by order of another pope, in this case of Francis , the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life decreed the suppression of the Institute led by the alleged abusive priest.]

Agustín Rosa Torino habría abusado de dos seminaristas y una monja. El Vaticano abrió una investigación canónica y las denuncias llegan a 30. El papa Francisco ordenó cerrar el Instituto Religioso que en 1986 el cura habían fundado en Salta

Uno de los tantos casos judiciales por abusos cometidos en la Iglesia argentina sumará un nuevo capítulo. En Salta será juzgado el sacerdote Agustín Rosa Torino por los presuntos delitos de abuso sexual gravemente ultrajante en perjuicio de dos víctimas y de abuso sexual simple contra una tercera víctima. La elevación a juicio quedó radicada en la Sala IV del Tribunal de Juicio salteño. Ahora el juez Maximiliano Troyano definirá la fecha de inicio del juicio oral y público.

El tránsito del expediente no fue sencillo. En el camino, las querellas y la fiscalía se encontraron con obstáculos como abuso de poder, solicitudes de nulidades, pedidos de sobreseimiento, y hasta una contradenuncia contra una de las monjas que denuncio al cura y que ya fue sobreseída.

Fue porque una prima de otro sacerdote, amigo del cuestionado religioso, denunció como abusadora a la monja -ahora ex religiosa- Valeria Zarza, la mujer ultrajada por Agustín Rosa Torino.

La intención de desacreditar a una de las tres víctimas -las otras dos son hombres- fracasó. Así de enrarecido fue el trámite judicial hasta llegar al juicio oral.

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Editorial – Weldon verdict must produce real change

PITTSFIELD (MA)
Berkshire Eagle

June 25, 2020

The finding of a retired judge that the claims of a former altar boy that the late Bishop Christopher J. Weldon sexually molested him were “unequivocally credible” is painful for many Catholics in the Springfield diocese, including the Berkshires. Bishop Weldon was a revered figure for 27 years.

But the finding, however painful, is part of the process that the diocese, and dioceses across the globe, must go through to address decades of abuse of minors by clergymen and cover-ups of that abuse by the church hierarchy.

Judge Peter A. Velis was hired by the diocese almost a year ago to conduct an independent investigation of the allegations brought forward by an unidentified Chicopee man after an in-house probe unraveled amid dissent over the conclusions of that investigation. Coverage in The Eagle about the man’s frustration led to the decision to conduct an independent investigation, according to the Velis report.

The abuse of the Chicopee man began in the 1960s when he was nine years old and was violent in nature. Judge Velis, who was assisted by a chief investigator, Dennis O’Connor, said he took into consideration that Bishop Weldon, who died in 1982, was not able to defend himself. But what the judge described as the bishop’s “evil deeds” were clear, declaring at a public appearance Wednesday alongside Bishop Mitchell Rozanski that he had “reached an informed and indisputable conclusion.” The nearly 400-page report is now available on the diocese’s website.

The bishop apologized to the victim, who met with stonewalling and skepticism from the diocese hierarchy since making his allegations to them in 2014. The Rev. Rozanski, who will be leaving to become Archbishop of St. Louis, acknowledged “chronic mishandling” of the case over those six years that led to the diocese “failing this courageous man.” Judge Velis said that the investigations by the diocese failed largely because the intent was to protect the memory of the popular Bishop Weldon.

The Velis report shatters the credibility of the diocese’s internal review board process, as many, although not all, of those serving on review committees are biased in favor of the accused. Former Berkshire Superior Court Judge Daniel A. Ford will head a task force that will make recommendations about how the diocese should handle future allegations. The diocese’s agreement with district attorneys within the diocese to report allegations against clergy should assure that they are brought to light before they are buried by diocesan allies of the accused.

Bishop Weldon, whose name will be struck from a rehabilitation hospital in Springfield, has been disgraced, just as his accuser has been vindicated. Going forward, the diocese must, along with notifying the authorities, institute measures to assure that if such crimes occur again the will be addressed quickly, rather than institute a cover-up that could last for years. That is a task that the Catholic Church must undertake with all humility and sincerity if it is to compensate for decades of evil deeds and regain lost credibility with Catholics all over the world.

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Diocese committed to real change

PITTSFIELD (MA)
Berkshire Eagle

June 27, 2020

By Jeffrey Trant – Director, Office of Safe Environment and Victim Assistance, Diocese of Springfield

Springfield – On Wednesday, June 24, the Most Reverend Mitchell T. Rozanski, Apostolic Administrator for the Diocese of Springfield, announced that he accepted the finding of credibility by retired Superior Court Judge Peter A. Velis’ independent investigation concerning allegations of sexual abuse against the late Christopher J. Weldon, former bishop of Springfield.

On behalf of the Office of Safe Environment and Victim Assistance for the Diocese of Springfield, I would like to publicly recognize the strength and resilience of the survivor who continued to pursue justice and truth since first reporting his abuse to diocesan officials in 2014.

As Archbishop-designate Rozanski noted Wednesday, “In almost every instance we failed this courageous man who nonetheless persevered thanks in part to a reliable support network as well as a deep desire for a just response to the terrible abuse he endured.”

As a result of the investigation, Archbishop-designate Rozanski took the following steps: (1) directed that Trinity Health remove the former bishop’s name from its rehab facilities; (2) communicated to the diocesan cemeteries office to make the necessary plans to remove the former bishop’s remains to a less prominent location marked with a simple gravestone; (3) instructed all Catholic facilities to immediately remove honorable mentions, references, memorials and pictures of the former bishop; and (4) ordered that his name be placed on our diocesan website listing all those with credible allegations of sexual abuse of a child or vulnerable adult. Truly, it was through the continued advocacy by survivors of clergy sexual abuse and ongoing support from the survivor community that this unfortunate matter finally reached a conclusion.

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Judge finds allegation against former Bishop Weldon ‘unequivocally credible’

PITTSFIELD (MA)
Berkshire Eagle

June 24, 2020.

By Larry Parnass and Caroline White

The Springfield Diocese sought to protect the reputation of the late Bishop Christopher J. Weldon, a retired judge says, despite a former altar boy’s “unequivocally credible” complaint that the bishop sexually molested him repeatedly in the early 1960s, in group assaults joined by other clergy.

Now, Weldon’s name and likeness will be purged from Catholic church venues — and his remains moved from a place of honor.

Judge Peter A. Velis said in a report made public Wednesday that a Chicopee man’s allegations of repeated sexual assaults by the bishop are believable.

Velis was hired by the diocese last July to prepare “an independent and outside” probe, with help from a chief investigator, Dennis O’Connor.

Velis said he reached that conclusion about the bishop’s “evil deeds,” even as he strove to consider that Weldon isn’t alive to defend himself. The bishop died in 1982, after serving the diocese, including Berkshire County, from 1950 to 1977.

“I conducted the process in the light most favorable to him,” Velis said of Weldon. “However … I still reached an informed and indisputable conclusion.”

In an appearance Wednesday alongside the Most Rev. Mitchell T. Rozanski, Velis affirmed the outcome of his investigation, which he acknowledged will dishearten Catholics throughout the region.

“The finding I made I stand behind as an indisputable truth,” he said.

Rozanski said he accepted the report’s conclusions and called for mentions of Weldon to be removed from view.

Rozanski directed not only that Weldon’s name be struck from a Springfield rehabilitation hospital, but that his remains in a diocesan cemetery be moved from a place of honor and “marked with a simple gravestone.”

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‘Entering a convent led me to the love of my life, another nun – my soulmate’

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Guardian

June 14, 2020

By Monica Hingston

[With link to letter from Hingston to Cardinal Pell.]

Monica and Peg’s relationship was ‘strictly taboo and vehemently condemned’, but that did not prevent them from building a life together

Sixty years ago, as an idealistic 21-year-old seeking to do good, I made the unusual decision to enter the convent. Twenty years later, on the other side of the world, that decision would play a major part in meeting the love of my life, another nun – my soulmate.

I came from a typical Catholic family of that time. We accepted without question all the church teachings, a slow-drip indoctrination. I happily embarked on this path, becoming a “bride of Christ” (a peculiar, inexplicable ritual) and donning the veil and habit to signify I was set apart from the enticements of the world.

I loved teaching, but after some years I became disenchanted with the path I was on, and requested leave of absence from religious life. I travelled to South America. It was the first step towards meeting Peg. I still can’t explain why I chose to return to the convent, but that choice, at the fork in the road, took me on the path to her.

*
Those same years have revealed the horrors, the pain and anguish the prelates of this church have inflicted on innocent, vulnerable children by the millions across the globe. They have lost all credibility, especially in claiming the moral high ground on any issue.

I would hope that the good and decent Catholic believers may one day soon decide they no longer need this clerical caste to serve their God and return to meeting in small groups like the early Christians, sharing eucharist, striving to be humane and compassionate people.

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Attorney Blog: Debtors Need Not Apply? Continuing Developments on the SBA’s Authority to Deny PPP Loans to Debtor

PHILADELPHIA (PA)
Morgan Lewis via JD Supra

June 26, 2020

The Small Business Administration on April 24 issued an update to an interim final rule, crystalizing its view that applicants that have sought protection under the US Bankruptcy Code are not qualified borrowers under the Paycheck Protection Program. Subsequently, dozens of debtors have looked to the bankruptcy courts for relief from the SBA’s unilateral clarification. This LawFlash covers debtor eligibility under the PPP as well as recent legislation and key court decisions moving the needle in this space.

Almost simultaneously with the SBA’s release of its interim final rule stating its view that debtors are not qualified PPP borrowers, a Texas bankruptcy court temporarily enjoined the SBA’s authority to enforce that determination. The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit vacated that decision after determining that the SBA is protected by limited sovereign immunity. In the intervening period, numerous debtors have looked to the bankruptcy courts for relief, with most courts deciding the issues on the merits—including one district court—leading to a split over the SBA’s discretion to deny PPP loans solely on the basis of a borrower’s bankruptcy. Meanwhile, debtors obtaining their PPP loans prior to filing have seen few challenges to their requests to use PPP proceeds to fund operations during bankruptcy.

Subsequent PPP legislation, including the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020 enacted on June 5, clarified several points and further extended the maturity and forgiveness period of the PPP, but did not address the ineligible debtor issue, which continues to be fought in the courts. The second round of funding of the PPP has not been exhausted and remains available for eligible borrowers, although the deadline to borrow will expire shortly.

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Attorney Blog: Confusion in Bankruptcy Courts Regarding Debtor Eligibility for PPP Loans

DETROIT (MI)
Varnum Law via JD Supra

June 25, 2020

The Small Business Administration’s (SBA) rules and regulations concerning the eligibility of businesses for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans when the business is involved in bankruptcy have recently been a source of substantial uncertainty, with the nationwide split of authority in bankruptcy courts. While these cases deal with a very small minority of PPP recipients and are a relative novelty in that regard, these decisions could foretell future issues for companies who have received PPP loans but are later forced to file Chapter 11, specifically regarding their eligibility for loan forgiveness.

The SBA is enabled with emergency rulemaking authority to adopt rules and regulations to manage application and qualifications for PPP loans under the CARES Act. Pursuant to this authority, the SBA publishes Interim Final Rules (IFR). The SBA’s April 28, 2020 IFR expressly disqualified applicants who are debtors in a bankruptcy proceeding at any time between the date of application and when the loan is disbursed.[1] Several companies in bankruptcy proceedings, whose loans have been denied, have challenged the SBA’s rulemaking authority in this regard, leading to a nationwide split on this issue in bankruptcy courts.

Specifically, these courts have rendered opinions to decide whether the SBA can impose a policy disqualifying a business in bankruptcy proceedings from participating in the PPP and whether the SBA violates other laws for doing so.[2] More than a dozen cases have been decided in the last two months, with the recent decisions highlighting the confusion that bankruptcy courts face in discerning the intent of Congress and the purpose of the CARES Act.

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Real Estate Listing: 14 Lourdes Drive – 22.64 Acres

JEMEZ SPRINGS (NM)
Sotheby’s

June 24, 2020

[Note: This property is part of the Servants of the Paraclete complex in Jemez Springs NM. It was originally known as the Lourdes Retreat, then Our Lady of Lourdes Novitiate, and most recently (earlier his year) Lourdes House of Prayer: “We offer opportunities for spirituality and hospitality to priests and brothers who want to ‘come away to a quiet place’ for a time.” This listing provides photographs and a drone video of the property. It is a few miles north of the main compound of the Servants of the Paraclete. That compound used to extend between Villa Louis Martin Drive and St. Joseph Drive on the west side of NM Route 4 (see map). Some years ago, the buildings along Villa Louis Martin Drive were bought by the National Park Service to house the administrative offices of its Valles Caldera National Preserve. But most of the main compound is still owned by the Servants of the Paraclete, including Mary, Mother of Priests Church across from the Jemez Historic Site. The main complex is now called the Father Fitzgerald Retreat and Renewal Center.]

14 Lourdes Drive – 22.64 Acres
Jemez Springs, NM 87025
United States
Land: 22.64 acres (approx.)
Web #: 0576287
MLS ID: 201804504

Situated in the heart of majestic Jemez Springs, New Mexico, this magnificent compound property sits on 22.64 +/- acres of lush and usable land surrounded by trees and grass. The Jemez River, as well as a long lived acequia waterway run through/flank the property. Three homes/structures are surrounded by dramatic valley views and evergreen tree laden mountain-scapes where wildlife and native birds can be seen traversing the scenery. Jemez Springs is best known for its nearby and off-property natural hot springs warmed by the ancient waters of the Valles Caldera. The property is just an hour drive away from the larger city of Los Alamos or Bernalillo/Albuquerque.

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Second Annual Report of the IRG on implementation of the McLellan Report recommendations

AIRDRIE (SCOTLAND)
Bishops’ Conference of Scotland

June 26, 2020

Second Annual Report of the Independent Review Group (IRG) monitoring the implementation of the recommendations of the McLellan Report by the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland

1.1 When the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland (BCOS) accepted in full the recommendations from the review into safeguarding chaired by Dr Andrew McLellan, they established an Independent Review Group (IRG) to monitor progress in implementing the recommendations.

1.2. This is the second annual progress report from the IRG. The remit of the IRG has been reviewed by BCOS and is included as Appendix 1 of this report.

1.3. The findings within this report are based on discussions between the BCOS and the IRG; the production of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the parties ( see Appendix 2); the response of the BCOS to the recommendations from the first report (see Appendix 3) ; the process and outcome of the first 2 external audits of diocesan safeguarding practices and the outcome and analysis of the diocesan internal audits for 2019. Details of the IRG’s membership and a summary of its main activities are in Appendix 4.

1.4. 2019 saw a deepening understanding of the respective roles and responsibilities for safeguarding delegated to the IRG by the BCOS. The introduction of entirely new and entirely independent scrutiny of all aspects of the implementation of safeguarding policy, procedures and practice within the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland was a courageous and decisive initiative by the BCOS. The agreement with the IRG was that two Dioceses in 2019 would be audited by the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) as part of a wider commitment by the Bishops to commission external audits of all eight Dioceses over a four year period. This showed a willingness to open all aspects of safeguarding to intense professional scrutiny and to learn lessons. Almost inevitably there were teething issues as commitments and shared values were teased out into effective behaviours and comprehensive relationships.

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Scottish Church must make it easier for survivors to come forward, report says

DENVER (CO)
Crux

June 27, 2020

By Charles Collins

Leicester, United Kingdom – While noting improvement in safeguarding standards in the Church in Scotland, a new report says putting in place structures that safeguard the vulnerable still presents challenges.

The Second Annual Report of the Independent Review Group (IRG) monitoring the implementation of the recommendations of the McLellan Commission by the Catholic Church was released on June 26.

Safeguarding practices in the Scottish Catholic Church were first reviewed by the McLellan Commission, set up in 2013. In August 2015 the commission published a report recommending external and independent scrutiny of polices and practice, and the bishops responded by establishing the review group in May 2017. The IRG is headed by Baroness Helen Liddell, the former UK Secretary of State of Scotland.

“We must never forget that survivors of abuse are at the heart of our work. We need to learn from them and through that put in place structures that safeguard the vulnerable. All of us have a part to play, not just clergy but laity too,” Liddell said.

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Scandals, compensation programs lead Catholic clergy sex abuse complaints to quadruple in 2019

WASHINGTON (DC)
Washington Post

June 26, 2020

By Michelle Boorstein

[Note from BishopAccountability.org: For the first time in 13 years, since the report about the data for 2006, this new report doesn’t show the aggregate total responses to the survey. In previous years, the surveys were reproduced at the back of the report, with the total responses added for each question. See, for example last year’s report. In this this year’s report, those responses are omitted.

In last year’s report, the survey for religious orders omitted the question: “Of the total number in item 32, the number that have had one or more previous allegations reported against them prior [to the period of the report]. See that question in the report on data for 2016-2017, and see its omission in the report on data for 2017-2018. Dropping this question from the religious order survey meant that it was not possible to calculate the number of religious order priests accused for the first time during the survey period. That question was restored in this year’s report, but the number was not provided, either in the copy of the survey at the end of the report or in the text. This means that for a second year we don’t know how many religious order priests were accused for the first time in the survey period.

By contrast, it is possible to calculate that number for diocesan priests:
2017-2018: 156 diocesan priests accused for the first time (436-280=156; see the survey)
2018-2019: 598 diocesan priests accused for the first time (1,391-(1391x.57)=598; see the text)

The number of priests accused for the first time each year is significant. It allows a running total to be calculated as BA does on this page, which is being updated to include data from the new report.]

The number of allegations of Catholic clergy sex abuse of minors more than quadrupled in 2019 compared to the average in the previous five years, U.S. church officials reported this week, in part the result of new church-run compensation programs for victims as well as survivors driven to come forward by several major clerical abuse scandals.

The annual audit of nearly 200 dioceses and church entities across the country has been done since 2002, when reports of clergy abuse and coverups exploded and U.S. bishops approved reforms, including a yearly review of complaints and compliance. The reform package is often called the “Charter.”

[Photo caption: James Grein is among the men alleging sexual abuse or harassment by now-defrocked cardinal Theodore McCarrick. Here Grein shows postcards from McCarrick. The McCarrick scandal is among the reasons experts think complaints against the church went up in 2019.]

The report released Thursday by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said the 2019 report — which covered July 2018 through June 2019 — counted 4,434 allegations of clergy sex abuse against minors. That number was 1,451 in 2018, 693 in 2017, 1,318 in 2016 and 903 in 2015.

Of the 4,434 allegations covered in the report, about half — 2,237 — were deemed credible by the church.

Thirty-seven of the 4,434 allegations came from people who were minors during the time period the report covered — eight of which the church-run bodies deemed substantiated, according to the report. In recent years, that’s about average for substantiated, past-year claims. There are about 37,000 diocesan and religious order priests in the country.

The complaints the church deemed credible were analyzed further by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, a church-affiliated research center on the Catholic Church. CARA found that of those whose time frame could be determined, 57 percent of credible allegations that came in 2019 happened before 1975, 41 percent between 1975 and 1999, and 2 percent since 2000, the report said.

Church officials said the fact that there remains such a small number of claims of recent abuse shows that their reforms are working and that the jump in reporting of older claims reflects confidence complaints will be taken seriously.

*
Some survivor advocates saw other things in the report. SNAP, a clergy-abuse survivors’ organization, emphasized the report’s finding that the status of 863 allegations is “unknown” and another 956 are ongoing.

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Annual audit shows more than 4,400 allegations of clergy abuse reported

WASHINGTON (DC)
Catholic News Service via The Dialog of the Diocese of Wilmington

June 25, 2020

More than 4,400 allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy were reported during the year ending June 30, 2019, a significant jump from the previous auditing period, according to a report on diocesan and eparchial compliance with the U.S. bishops’ “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.”

Released June 25, the 17th annual report from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection states that 4,220 child sexual abuse survivors filed 4,434 allegations. In the 2017-2018 audit period, 1,381 survivors filed 1,451 allegations.

[Photo caption: David Lorenz, holding the microphone, addresses a crowd gathered outside the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington Aug. 26. He was joined by Catholics who showed up to support sex abuse victims.]

While the number jumped, the report said only 37 allegations involved current minors. Of these, the report said, eight allegations were substantiated, seven were unsubstantiated, six were unable to be proven, 12 remained under investigation, three were referred to religious orders and one was referred to another diocese.

The report attributed 37% of the new allegations to lawsuits, the introduction of victim compensation programs by dioceses and eparchies, and bankruptcies. An additional 3% of allegations emerged after a review of clergy personnel files, according to the report.

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US Catholic bishops: clergy sex abuse claims tripled in 2019

NEW YORK (NY)
Associated Press

June 26, 2020

By David Crary

U.S. Roman Catholic bishops said Thursday that the church tallied 4,434 sex abuse allegations against clergy in the 2018-19 audit year, triple the number seen the previous year, with much of the increase stemming from a wave of lawsuits and claims by survivors of decades-old molestation.

In the latest annual report on clerical sex abuse, dioceses and other Catholic entities reported paying out $281.6 million during the year for costs related to allegations, including payments for cases reported in previous years.

Only 37 of the new allegations were made by people who were minors in the audit year ending June 30, 2019. Of those, eight allegations were substantiated, while most of the others were either still under investigation or had been deemed unsubstantiated.

There has been a huge overall surge in allegations over the past three years as dioceses faced unprecedented pressure to address the decades-old problem of clergy sex abuse. There were 693 allegations tallied in the 2017 report, and 1,451 in the 2018 report.

The cases cited in the new report involved 2,982 priests and other church personnel. Of the allegations, 1,034 were substantiated; many other remained under investigation or were unable to be proven, it said.

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U.S. Bishops Secretariat for Child and Youth Protection Releases Annual Report

WASHINGTON (DC)
USCCB

June 25, 2020

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection has released the 2019 Annual Report – Findings and Recommendations on the Implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.

The report is based on the audit findings of StoneBridge Business Partners, a specialty consulting firm headquartered in Rochester, New York, which provides forensic, internal, and compliance audit services to leading organization nation-wide. A survey on allegations conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) is also included as part of the report.

This is the seventeenth such report since 2002 when the U.S. bishops established and adopted the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People a comprehensive set of procedures to address allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy and made a promise to protect and a pledge to heal.

The 2019 report for audit year July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019 states that 4,220 adults came forward with 4,434 allegations. Compared to 2018, the number of allegations has increased significantly. This is in part due to the additional allegations received as a result of lawsuits, compensation programs, and bankruptcies.

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5 Marianists accused of sexual abuse worked at former Hamilton high school

DAYTON (OH)
Journal-News

June 26, 2020

By Michael D. Clark and Josh Sweigart

[See the list.]

Hamilton OH – Five men appearing on a recently released list of Marianist priests and brothers who the order says sexually abused children were assigned to the former Hamilton Catholic High School at some time during their careers, according to a Journal-News review of the documents.

Leaders of the Marianists, a Catholic religious order with a 170-year history in the Greater Cincinnati and Dayton region, released a list Wednesday of 46 priests and brothers they say were found to have abused children since 1950 in the United States.

Marianist officials listed five men who spent some of their careers working at the former Hamilton Catholic High School under the category of “members found to have sexually abused a minor.”

The school, which was located at 533 Dayton Street, closed in 1966, and students transferred to the then-new Badin High School in west Hamilton.

The building has for years been the central office of the Hamilton public schools.

The five — Francis A. Russell, John J. Keegan, Julius F. May, Ralph A. Mravintz and Thomas J. Doyle — all spent some years of their careers working at the former Hamilton Catholic High School. The exact years of employment are not noted in the document.

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Religious order releases list of members who allegedly abused kids, many with Dayton ties

DAYTON (OH)
Journal-News

June 24, 2020

By Josh Sweigart

Leaders of the Marianists — a Catholic religious order with a 170-year history in Dayton — released a list Wednesday of 46 priests and brothers they say were found to have sexually abused children since 1950 in the United States.

The list includes 19 men with ties to the Dayton area and Marianist institutions such as the University of Dayton and Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School. Sixteen Marianists on the list served in the Province of Cincinnati, which was headquartered in Dayton until it merged with the other Marianist provinces in 2002.

Chaminade Julienne President Daniel Meixner said in a statement Wednesday that allegations against one of the men, Bro. Francis Russell, stemmed from his assignment to the school during the 1965-1966 school year. He said the Marianists notified the school about Russell in November 2019 and letters were sent to alumni from that year.

Russell joined the order in 1939 and died in 1991, according to information released by the order. He worked at four schools in Ohio, including in Hamilton and Cincinnati.

Meixner said 13 men on the list released Wednesday worked at Chaminade Julienne or its predecessor, Chaminade High School, all prior to 1999, including six Marianists “not previously known to our school.” Russell is the only one with a credible claim of abuse while assigned at the school, Meixner said.

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Lawsuits allege decades of abuse by local priests

OSWEGO (NY)
Palladium-Times

June 6, 2020

By Seth Wallace

Earliest case claims abuse at St. Paul’s in 1945

A deluge of lawsuits filed against the Diocese of Syracuse under the state Child Victims Act allege a long-standing, secretive and effective system for concealing clergy sex abuse.

Hundreds of cases are pending against the diocese, which last week filed for bankruptcy in the face of the overwhelming legal battle. Multiple complaints allege sexual abuse of children by priests associated with Oswego parishes. For this story, The Palladium-Times editorial team spoke with attorneys for the alleged victims, reviewed hundreds of pages of court and diocese documents and aggregated credible information from community members who claim to have knowledge of the situation. The names of all alleged victims are being withheld with identities redacted and replaced by the terms “the victim,” “the plaintiff” or “the child” where applicable.

The cases differ in decades, institutions and individuals but many components follow the same sad pattern: an underage male, involved with the Catholic Church through schooling or worship, is sexually abused by a clergy member.

“The Diocese of Syracuse knew for decades that its priests, clergy, religious brothers, religious sisters, school administrators, teachers, employees and volunteers were using their positions within the diocese to groom and sexually abuse children,” reads the opening of one complaint alleging abuse that began more than five decades ago.

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Savannah priest took life as he found it from Irish farm to gunman’s Cathedral attack

SAVANNAH (GA)
Savannah Morning News

June 26, 2020

By Jan Skutch

By his own admission, Monsignor William Oliver O’Neill is “a person who likes mischief and excitement.”

So when the retired rector at the Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist in downtown Savannah sat down to pen his life’s stories beginning in Ireland and continuing for the past 53 years in the Catholic Diocese of Savannah, that showed through.

“Some of the stories in this collection may seem to be outlandish or hard to believe!,” he wrote in his introduction. “They are all actually true stories.”

In the recently published “Stories from Ireland and America,” available from Amazon.com, O’Neill writes 124 stories from his childhood on a farm near Tipperary in Ireland to his confrontation with an armed arsonist who tried to burn the Cathedral to the ground. The reader is presented with an entertaining saga — at times challenging to take at face value.

*
But for those who have celebrated Mass with O’Neill at the pulpit, they find a priest who sees humor in daily lives, as well as one who was dedicated to his chosen path of leading his flock to God’s message. And as a fierce critic of the church’s handling of those guilty of cleric sexual abuse.

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‘He Played With People’s Minds’: Fresno Priest Left a Trail of Sexual Abuse Allegations

SAN FRANCISCO (CA)
KQED

June 26, 2020

By Alexandra Hall

Luis said he couldn’t tell the doctor what had really happened.

It had been several days since he first noticed the blood in his urine and the bruising around his groin.

The 40-year-old native of Jalisco, Mexico, had been meeting with a popular local priest in Fresno, Jesús Antonio Castañeda Serna, who went by the name Father Antonio. His family had introduced him to Father Antonio in hope of the priest helping Luis, who had struggled with an addiction to meth, get back on his feet.

“A lot of people would come looking for him,” said Luis, which is not his real name. KQED is not using the real names of alleged sexual assault survivors in this story. “They said it was something … like a gift from God he had.”

At the time, Father Antonio was lead pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a Spanish-language congregation of the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin. The priest’s charismatic leadership drew in hundreds from Fresno’s Latino community and his rumored healing abilities had earned him the nickname “el padrecito que hace milagros” — the priest who performs miracles.

During sessions in Father Antonio’s office that Luis said took place over the course of several years, he would lie down on a bench or massage table wearing only his boxers, while Father Antonio prayed and rubbed oil onto his skin. The intensity of the massage was so forceful that the priest often left bruises, Luis later testified.

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Evansville Diocese says claims of sex abuse against late priest ‘unsubstantiated’

EVANSVILLE (IN)
Courier & Press

June 26, 2020

By Abbey Doyle

Bishop Joseph M. Siegal said Friday he found claims of sexual misconduct against a now-deceased priest were “unsubstantiated” after an Evansville Diocese investigation.

In response, the family of the accuser called the announcement, and the investigation itself, “absurd and offensive.”

Testifying in front of the Indiana Senate Judiciary Committee in February 2019, Christopher Compton said the Rev. Raymond Kuper sexually abused him multiple times when Compton was 9 years old.

He accused of Kuper of “borderline brainwashing” him.

Kuper died in 2012.

Speaking to reporters at the Diocese of Evansville Catholic Center, Bishop Joseph M. Siegel, said: “On the recommendation of the Diocesan Review Board, I have found that this allegation cannot be substantiated.”

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Advocate for victims of clergy abuse calls for Springfield Bishop Mitchell Rozanski to resign

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
Springfield Republican via Mass Live

June 26, 2020

By Ron Chimelis

The press conference consisted of a single person, but Robert Hoatson said he spoke for thousands of victims who have come forward with allegations of sexual abuse — and any who still may.

The former priest and president of Road to Recovery, an advocacy group for victims of church-related sexual abuse, called for the resignation of Mitchell Rozanski, the outgoing bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield. Hoatson also called on Pope Francis to rescind the bishop’s reassignment as Archbishop of the Archdiocese in St. Louis, Missouri.

Hoatson said he expects neither result, but promised to keep speaking out on behalf of victims of clergy sexual abuse. Speaking in front of diocesan headquarters in Springfield Friday, he said retired Judge Peter Velis’ findings of “unequivocally credible” sexual abuse claims against former Bishop Christopher J. Weldon — and failures in the diocese’s handling of the allegations — stood as a scathing commentary on Rozanski’s tenure in Springfield.

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Former Winnipeg priest sentenced to 15 months for sexually abusing teenage boy

OTTAWA (CABANA)
CBC

June 26, 2020

Roland Lanoie, 72, pleaded guilty earlier this month to offences dating back to 1980s

A former Roman Catholic priest who sexually abused a 15-year-old boy almost four decades ago has been sentenced to 15 months in jail.

Roland Lanoie, 72, pleaded guilty to one count of sexual assault earlier this month.

His jail sentence will be followed by two years of supervised probation, during which time he must not work or volunteer in a position of trust involving children, a recommendation made by Crown attorney Dayna Queua-Guzzi.

At Lanoie’s sentencing on Thursday, provincial court Judge Ryan Rolston talked about the importance of a sentence that reflects the seriousness of the offence and the responsibility of the convicted person. The multiple sexual assaults suffered by the victim resulted in trauma, Rolston said.

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Pope dismisses former Athens County priest

WHEELING (WV)
WTRF

June 26, 2020

By John Lynch

Steubenville OH – Pope Francis decreed that Henry Christopher Foxhoven be dismissed from the clerical state. The Pope’s decision was communicated to Diocese of Steubenville Bishop Jeffrey M. Monforton on June 3 and to Foxhoven on June 19.

Foxhoven pled guilty to three counts of sexual battery in front of Athens County Judge Patrick Lang, Nov. 27, 2018 and is serving a 12 year prison sentence.

Diocese of Steubenville Bishop Jeffrey M. Monforton said, “We must remain vigilant in assisting victims of sexual abuse. We take every accusation very seriously and we will continue to do so.”

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Retired priest jailed 15 months for sex abuse

WINNIPEG (MANITOBA, CANADA)
Winnipeg Free Press

June 25, 2020

By Dean Pritchard

A retired Roman Catholic priest has been sentenced to 15 months in jail after admitting to sexually abusing a 15-year-old boy nearly 40 years ago.

Roland Lanoie, 72, pleaded guilty earlier this month to one count of sexual assault for offences dating back to 1982.

The abuse began shortly after the boy had been sent to live at St. Boniface Minor Seminary following the death of his mother.

“Mr. Lanoie was his priest and his parents all at once,” provincial court Judge Ryan Rolston said Thursday. “It is difficult to imagine a more profound and multi-layered breach of trust.”

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Why are more Catholic Churches closing their doors?

BURLINGTON (VT)
WCAX 3 CBS

June 25, 2020

By Ike Bendavid

Winooski VT – Three Catholic churches in Vermont are set to close within the next week– the latest sign of the times for Vermont’s largest church community. Our Ike Bendavid takes a look at what’s behind the closures and what’s next.

I’m told it’s several things. Weekly Mass attendance and access to other churches in the area make it easier to consolidate, but the main reason is not enough priests to lead the parishes in the state.

After near 90 years, St. Stephen’s Church in Winooski will ring the bells one last time this weekend.

*
The number of churchgoers has also been falling for years, driven by aging demographics, a decline in religious interest among younger people and priest sex abuse scandals that have driven away some parishioners.

According to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington, there were 142,000 Catholics in Vermont in 1990. In 2019, there were 112,000 statewide.

In 1990, there were 2,097 baptisms. In 2019, there were only 384.

Also in 1990, there were 1,290 Catholic funerals. Last year, there were 1,127.

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Allegation Against Longtime Columbus OH Priest Found “Credible”

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

June 25, 2020

By Judy Jones

A longtime Catholic priest in Ohio is the subject of a “credible allegation” of abuse, according to the Diocese of Columbus. We call on diocesan officials to use every tool and resource at their disposal to share this information with parishioners and the public in every community where this cleric worked and to encourage victims and witnesses to come forward to local police and prosecutors.

We hope that the findings by the diocesan review board will bring comfort and healing to the survivors of Fr. Kevin Lutz. We know that abusers rarely have only one victim, so we believe there are likely others who he hurt during his four decades as a priest. One public allegation that is found to be “credible” by Catholic officials will often bring others forward. Outreach by diocesan leaders in Columbus can help bring those who were wounded forward so they can find healing and accountability.

We call on Bishop Robert Brennan to personally visit each parish where Fr. Lutz worked and urge others who may have suffered, seen or suspected crimes to come forward to law enforcement. We also hope that prosecutors in Columbus will look closely at this case to determine if there are any chargeable offenses, so that children in Ohio will be safer and survivors will have an opportunity for justice.

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The ties that bind: How the Catholic Church can respond to the cult of personality

KANSAS CITY (MO)
National Catholic Reporter

June 25, 2020

By Phyllis Zagano

The sudden appearance of new communities, linked to the personality of some preachers … can conceal the danger … of enclosing the experience of faith in protected and reassuring environments.
— Pope Francis, to participants at the Plenary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Sept. 28, 2019.

The cult of personality is a very scary thing. No matter where or how it forms, it usually crashes and burns with the death or diminishment of the individual who gained a following. What Pope Francis spoke of here, to the assembled participants at the Plenary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, was the theme of their conference: “Pentecostals, charismatics, and evangelicals: Impact on the concept of unity.” His words found their way into the final document of the Amazon synod about a year later.

The dynamics in the Amazon region are clear: The largest numbers of former Catholics there now affiliate with one or another of these groups, too often tied to a single preacher in a single village for a limited time.

Why? One would hope that the gospel is the principal attraction for the adherents to whatever Pentecostal, charismatic or evangelical preacher has won their hearts. But one must recognize the underlying circumstances causing people to gather around him or, increasingly, her.

It often has to do with language and culture. The local preacher comes from the people, or somehow is inserted into the locality, and gains a following. He, or, we must remember, she, is, or at least becomes, a known quantity whose joys, hopes and fears echo those of the followers. The preacher knows them, knows how to heal their wounds, knows how to salve their sorrows. The people hear common sense mixed with promise.

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Ignatius Press to publish Cardinal Pell prison journal in hopes to help with legal costs

WASHINGTON (DC)
Catholic News Service via The Dialog of the Diocese of Wilmington

June 26, 2020

By Carol Glatz

Rome – Ignatius Press will be publishing Australian Cardinal George Pell’s prison journal and it is also appealing for donations it will give the cardinal for outstanding legal expenses incurred in defending himself against allegations of the sexual abuse of minors.

Jesuit Father Joseph Fessio, editor of the U.S.-based Ignatius Press, said, “I’ve already read the first half of the journal and it is extraordinary. I think it’s going to be a spiritual classic.”

The complete journal, he said, is about 1,000 pages, “so we will print it in three or four volumes” with the first volume expected to be out in the spring of 2021.

“With your help, we can proceed with this project and offer Cardinal Pell appropriate advances on these volumes, which he can then use to remove much of the worry he now has about his legal debts,” the priest said in a message published in June on the Ignatius Press website.

The “Cardinal George Pell Donation Project,” found on Ignatius.com, said donations made through the publisher’s website or its parent company, Guadalupe Associates Inc., were tax deductible.

A jury in Australia had found Cardinal Pell guilty in December 2018 on five counts of abuse and the Victoria Court of Appeal upheld that verdict in a 2-1 decision.

The 79-year-old cardinal had served nearly 14 months out of a six-year sentence when, in April, seven judges of the High Court of Australia dismissed his conviction on charges of abusing two choirboys in 1996. He was in solitary confinement 23 hours a day for 405 days.

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Trinidad: Woman claims assault by priest in viral Facebook video

GEORGETOWN (GUYANA)
Stabroek News

June 26, 2020

Deeply disturbing.

These are the words used by Mount Saint Benedict in responding to a viral Facebook video of a woman claiming she was sexually assaulted by a priest from the Mount from age seven to 12.

The Mount said the allegations in the video are currently under review.

“We shall continue to monitor our policies and controls to prevent incidents of this nature,” the Mount said in a statement on its Facebook page yesterday.

The Mount said the monk against whom the allegations were made is formerly associated with the Mount Saint Benedict Monastery and St Bede’s Vocational School.

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Virginia music teacher, minister pleads guilty to producing images of child sexual abuse

RICHMOND (VA)
WTVR via True CrimeDaily

June 25, 2020

A former Richmond City Public Schools elementary music teacher and minister pleaded guilty Wednesday to producing images of child sexual abuse.

Kellen Thomas Donelson, 32, was charged by Homeland Security Agents following an investigation and search warrant on his Richmond home.

The Richmond man came to the attention of law enforcement in 2019 for uploading multiple images of child pornography via Snapchat and Kik Messenger, according to court documents. In the summer of 2019, Homeland Security received tips that Donelson, under the name “love4muziq,” uploaded images of child porn to Snapchat and the messaging app Kik.

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George Carey: Former archbishop suspended over abuse inquiry

LONDON (ENGLAND)
BBC

June 18, 2020

Former Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, has had his permission to officiate as a priest revoked.

The Church of England said new evidence linking Lord Carey, 84, to a review into allegations of abuse against the late John Smyth, had emerged.

There are no claims of abuse against him, and in a statement he said he was “dismayed” by the revocation.

Mr Smyth was accused of attacking boys whom he had met at a Dorset Christian camp in the 1970s and 1980s.

The independent inquiry was launched into the Church’s handling of allegations against Mr Smyth, a barrister who died aged 77 last year.

Permission to Officiate (PTO) is required for any Church of England priest to preach or minister.

In a statement Lord Carey said: “I am bewildered and dismayed to receive the news a short time ago that due to ‘concerns’ being raised during the review of John Smyth QC I have had my PTO revoked.

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Monastic hospitality… but to what extent?

PARIS (FRANCE)
La Croix

June 24, 2020

By Céline Hoyeau and Gauthier Vaillant

Famous for their hospitality, monasteries are often asked to house criminals or priests guilty of being pedophiles

A year ago, Jean-Claude Romand traded his prison cell for the monastic cloister.

He was released on parole on June 28, 2019 after spending 26 years in jail for murdering his wife, their two children and his parents.

Romand was an impostor who pretended to be a medical doctor for 18 years prior to the murders. He converted to Catholicism while in prison and, since being paroled, he’s been living at the traditionalist Benedictine Abbey of Fontgombault in central France.

He is not the first notorious criminal to seek refuge in a monastery.

In the late 1970s, the Benedictine Abbey of Sainte-Anne de Kergonan, near the Bay of Biscay, took in the double murderer Guy Desnoyers.

There was also Michelle Martin, companion of the Belgian pedophile murderer Marc Dutroux. She spent three years in a Poor Clare monastery near Namur after being paroled in 2012.

In recent years, bishops have also begun to use monasteries as residents for priests guilty of or awaiting trial for sexual abuse.

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Marianists Release Names Of Members They Say Abused Children

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Associated Press via The Citizen’s Voice of Wilkes-Barre PA

June 26 2020

By Jim Salter and Margaret Stafford

[See the list.]

The Marianists religious order on Wednesday released the names of 46 living and dead religious leaders who they claim sexually abused minors, the latest of several Catholic organizations to complete an investigation and publicly name the accused.

“For decades, despicable and evil acts of abuse committed by clergy and vowed religious of the Catholic Church dwelled in the shadows,” the leader of the St. Louis-based order, Oscar Vasquez, wrote in a letter posted on the Marianists’ website. “Hidden and ignored by church members and leaders, these abhorrent sins festered, stifling the light of our Church.”

Vasquez said investigators looked at files of 2,500 U.S. priests and brothers dating to 1950. Of the 46 men on the list, 33 are deceased.

Of the remaining 13 Marianists determined to have committed abuse, five who are still members of the order are on “safety plans” and eight are no longer with the order.

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Pope Moves Against Polish Bishop Accused of Hiding Predators

ROME
Associated Press

June 25, 2020

By Nicole Winfield and Monika Scislowska

Pope Francis has ordered a Polish bishop to leave his central diocese while he is under investigation for covering up cases of sexual abuse that were featured in a second clergy abuse documentary that has rocked Poland’s Catholic Church.

Pope Francis has ordered a Polish bishop to leave his central diocese and let someone else run it while he is under investigation for covering up cases of sexual abuse that were featured in a second clergy abuse documentary that has rocked Poland’s Catholic Church.

Francis on Thursday named the archbishop of Lodz, Grzegorz Rys, to temporarily take over as head of the Kalisz diocese.

The Vatican’s ambassador, in explaining the decision, said the current Kalisz bishop, Edward Janiak, 67, retains the title of Kalish bishop for the time being. But the explanation, posted late Thursday on the Polish bishops conference website, said Janiak must leave the territory of the diocese and can’t have any form of influence on how it is run.

In May, the online documentary “Playing Hide and Seek,” exposed two cases of pedophile priests that Janiak handled, first as an auxiliary bishop of Wroclaw and then as bishop of Kalisz, which he has headed since 2012.

It featured court testimony about Janiak’s role helping transfer one priest, subsequently convicted and defrocked, from Wroclaw to another diocese even after a criminal investigation had begun. The film also documented another case of alleged cover-up of another priest during Janiak’s time as Kalisz bishop.

The film suggests Janiak didn’t follow the Vatican’s own in-house rules to report allegations against the Kalisz priest to the Holy See, and did so only after the case gained media attention. The diocese maintains no actual victims had lodged a formal complaint, though the parents of one victim did. An audiotape of their 2016 meeting, in which Janiak berates the parents, provides one of the more chilling moments of the documentary.

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Trump Overhaul of Campus Sex Assault Rules Wins Surprising Support

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Times

June 25, 2020

By Michael Powell

The new approach finds unlikely allies among some feminist scholars, who say colleges and universities were failing to sufficiently protect the rights of young men accused of sexual misconduct.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos fired a shot last month in the nation’s culture wars, overhauling how colleges handle investigations of sexual assault and ending what she called Obama-era “kangaroo courts” on campus.

The new Education Department rules give more protections to the accused, primarily young men who face discipline or expulsion as a result of allegations of sexual misconduct.

The move set off a liberal uproar, denounced by unions representing teachers and college professors, by the National Organization for Women and by an array of Democratic senators. The Trump rules, they said, constitute a radical rollback of protections for victims who seek justice after sexual assaults.

But Ms. DeVos’s actions won praise from a surprising audience: an influential group of feminist legal scholars who applauded the administration for repairing what they viewed as unconscionable breaches in the rights of the accused.

“The new system is vastly better and fairer,” said Prof. Janet Halley, who specializes in gender and sexuality at Harvard Law School. “The fact that we’re getting good things from the Trump administration is confusing, but isn’t it better than an unbroken avalanche of bad things?”

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Ex-judge upholds sex abuse claims against late bishop

NORTHAMPTON (MA)
Daily Hampshire Gazette

June 24, 2020

By Scott Merzbach

[Note from BishopAccountability.org: The Velis report was released in a 100 megabyte PDF that was not searchable. We made the PDF searchable and reduced its size by half without changing the content in any way. The link above is to the searchable and smaller PDF. This smaller PDF is still 52 megabytes and will be difficult for some readers to download. So we have also posted the reduced-size searchable report in pieces: the text, the exhibits, and the photo exhibits with appendix. The 100 megabyte report with OCR is available here.]

Springfield – Those investigating sexual abuse complaints against late bishop Christopher J. Weldon failed in their duties to report their findings to prosecutorial authorities, a reluctance likely caused by Weldon’s “prominence and revered legacy in the religious community,” retired Judge Peter A. Velis wrote in his investigative report into the allegations released to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield.

In his 373-page report, released Wednesday, Velis criticized how the Diocesan Review Board handled the initial allegations of sexual abuse against Weldon, calling the response both “weak” and “woefully deficient,” and finding that the allegations by a Chicopee man are legitimate.

“These accusations are unequivocally credible,” Velis said at a press conference at the Bishop Marshall Center Wednesday afternoon, noting that there will be a great deal of pain felt by members of the diocese for calling out the bishop’s “evil misdeeds.” Velis added that he allowed for the highest standard of proof, beyond a reasonable doubt, to be fair to the bishop, who died in 1982 and has been unable to defend himself.

Velis wrote that he was disappointed in how investigators assessed the complaint.

“In response to my charge in assessing how the diocese responded to the complainant, I conclude from the myriad of evidentiary factors expressed in my final report that from the inception of the complaint through the follow-up process, the procedure was greatly flawed,” Velis wrote.

Archbishop-designate Mitchell T. Rozanski, who appointed Velis, said he accepts the findings and as such ordered the immediate removal of Weldon’s name from the rehabilitation facility at Mercy Medical Center, that his remains be moved from its current cemetery to a less prominent location, and that all honorable mentions and photos of Weldon in churches, offices and other buildings be taken down. In addition, Weldon’s name will be placed on the diocese website alongside other priests, deacons and bishops, who have faced credible accusations of sexual abuse of children or adults.

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Abusive Bishop Busted

FERNDALE (MI)
Church Militant

June 24, 2020

By Bradley Eli

Judge: allegations ‘unequivocally credible’

Springfield, Mass. – An independent report released by the diocese of Springfield, Massachusetts is asserting that sex abuse claims against Springfield’s former Bp. Christopher Weldon are unequivocally credible” and the diocese covered for him.

In a 375-page report released by the diocese on Wednesday, retired judge Peter A. Velis removed all doubt about the credibility of the allegations against the late Bp. Weldon.

“Therefore, I find the allegations of the complainant of sexual molestation committed upon him by Bp. Christopher J. Weldon,” wrote Velis, “that included anal rape, indecent assault and battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress are unequivocally credible.”

He added, “The allegations that were investigated and examined are not dubious, vague or ambiguous in any essentials, nor are they the product of any chimerical conception, fabrication or schematic design.”

The late Weldon, who died in 1982, was the subject of an independent investigation owing to allegations first heard by Springfield’s Diocesan Review Board in June 2018. Velis, who was tapped the following year to conduct an independent investigation, was critical of the board’s gross mishandling of the allegations.

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Springfield Diocese Report Finds Allegations Against Weldon ‘Unequivocally Credible’

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
New England Public Radio

By Nancy Eve Cohen

June 24, 2020

An independent investigation commissioned by the Springfield Roman Catholic Diocese found allegations of sexual abuse against the late bishop Christopher J. Weldon to be credible.

Retired judge Peter Velis — who led the investigation resulting in a report released Wednesday — interviewed members of the Diocesan Review Board that heard the complaint against Weldon, Archbishop-elect Mitchell Rozanski, and the individual from Chicopee who said he was abused by Weldon when he was a young altar boy.

Velis said the handling of the complaint was “woefully deficient.”

Rozanski said he wanted to apologize to the victim, and not just for the abuse.

“I want to apologize for the chronic mishandling of this case time and time again since 2014,” Rozanski said. “In almost every instance, we have failed this courageous man, who nonetheless persevered — thanks, in part, to a reliable support network, as well as to a deep desire for a just response for the terrible abuse which he endured.”

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Child sexual abuse claim made against former Springfield Catholic Bishop Christopher Weldon deemed credible

CHICOPEE (MA)
WWLP

By Ariana Tourangeau and Mike Masciadrelli

June 25, 2020

Child sexual abuse claim made against former Springfield Catholic Bishop Christopher Weldon deemed credible

Springfield, Mass. – An investigation into a sexual assault claim against late Springfield Bishop Christopher J. Weldon was released Wednesday afternoon and according to the report, the claim is credible.

Judge Peter A. Velis, now retired, and Archbishop-designate Mitchell T. Rozanski held a briefing at the Bishop Marshall Center to share what the investigation revealed.

The report, which was sent to 22News states that on July 25, 2019, Judge Velis was contacted by Jeffrey Trant, director of the Office of Safe Environment and Victim Assistance of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield to conduct an “independent and outside” investigation respecting allegations made by a certain individual of sexual abuse committed by the late Bishop Christopher Weldon.

That certain individual, a man, claimed Weldon abused him when he was a child back in the 1960s.

The purpose of the investigation was to assess and determine the credibility of the individual’s allegations, to analyze how the complaint was handled by the Diocesan personnel responsible for protecting children and vulnerable adults and to help identify opportunities for improvement in how the diocese handles these matters.

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Weldon Rehabilitation Hospital in Springfield to be renamed after sexual abuse claim against Catholic bishop

CHICOPEE (MA)
WWLP

June 24, 2020

By Lianne Zana

Weldon Rehabilitation Hospital in Springfield to be renamed after sexual abuse claim against Catholic bishop

Springfield, Mass. – A rehabilitation center will be renamed following a report of child sexual abuse by a Springfield Catholic Bishop, deemed ‘credible’ by the Springfield Diocese.

The Weldon Rehabilitation Hospital, part of Mercy Medical Center on 175 Carew Street, will be renamed after a newly released report from Retired Judge Peter Velis. The report contained an investigation involving sexual abuse by Springfield Catholic Bishop Christopher Weldon in the 1960s.

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Victim advocacy group calling for Springfield Bishop Rozanski’s resignation

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
Western Mass News WGGB/WSHM

June 25, 2020

By Morgyn Joubert

A victim advocacy group is calling for the resignation of Springfield Bishop Mitchell Rozanski.

Road To Recovery Inc., an organization based in New Jersey is also pushing for Pope Francis to rescind Bishop Rozanski’s appointment as Archbishop of Saint Louis, Missouri.

They claim that Judge Peter Velis’s validation of the sexual abuse claims made against late Bishop Christopher Weldon shows Bishop Rozanski and his diocese review board are unable to fairly and accurately handle claims of clergy sexual abuse and they must all resign immediately.

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Report on the Independent Investigation of Allegations of Sexual Abuse by Bishop Christopher J. Weldon

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
Diocese of Springfield

Released June 24, 2020

By Peter A. Velis

[Note from BishopAccountability.org: This report was released in a 100 megabyte PDF that was not searchable. We made the PDF searchable and reduced its size by half without changing the content in any way. The link above is to the searchable and smaller PDF. This smaller PDF is still 52 megabytes and will be difficult for some readers to download. So we have also posted the reduced-size searchable report in pieces: the text, the exhibits, and the photo exhibits with appendix. The 100 megabyte report with OCR is available here.]

Excerpt from the Executive Summary

The processing of the complaint was replete with differing evaluations of the allegations and included conflicting analyses, opinions and conclusions. This reflected a clear lack of industry and concern for the quality of the entire process in terms of the scope of the investigation.

It was clear in my examination that the process included an inexplicable modification and manipulation of the reports received by and acted on by the Diocesan Review Board. Additionally the complaint process was compromised in that mandatory reporters failed in their duties to report the allegations to prosecutorial authorities.

Significantly, in evaluating the actions of those involved in the Weldon assessment, I found that there was a reluctance to fervently pursue an evaluation of allegations against him due to his prominence and revered legacy in the religious community.

Therefore, in response to my charge in assessing how the Diocese responded to the complainant, I conclude from the myriad of evidentiary factors expressed in my final report that from the inception of the complaint through the follow-up process, the procedure was greatly flawed.

I conducted an intensive and in-depth investigation. Concomitant with it was a haunting consciousness of Bishop Weldon’s inability to refute the complainant’s allegations. Consequently, I conducted the process in the light most favorable to him. However, notwithstanding, I still reached an informed and indisputable conclusion. I found the allegations of the complainant concerning the late Bishop Christopher J. Weldon to be unequivocally credible.

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List of Marianist members found to have sexually abused a minor

ST. LOUIS (MO)
The Marianists – Province of the United States

By Fr. Oscar Vasquez SM

June 24, 2020

[Note from BishopAccountability.org: This list requires that the reader click dozens of times to read the FAQs and assignment histories of each priest and brother with allegations. We have cached a copy of the list with all the FAQs and assignments expanded.

Note that the assignments for the priests and brothers do not provide start and stop years, let alone dates, and the assignments are shuffled into alphabetical order, so that even the sequence of assignments is not represented. The assignment lists also omit some assignments, and the position of the accused Marianist at each assignment is not given. The impact of these features of the list may be assessed by comparing the Marianists’ entry for Fr. Charles H. Miller SM with our assignment history for Miller].

A Journey Towards Healing

Our intent was to publish the list during the recent Lenten season. However, due to the Coronavirus outbreak, the provincial council discerned it was in the best interest of the Province and our institutions to postpone the announcement to a more prudent time. The decision was later made to publish this list in June 2020.

A Message from the Provincial

Marianist Provincial Father Oscar Vasquez along with Assistant Provincial Brother Bernard Ploeger announce the publication of a list of names of Province members found to have sexually abused a minor.

Dear Friends in Christ,

For decades, despicable and evil acts of abuse committed by clergy and vowed religious of the Catholic Church dwelled in the shadows. Hidden and ignored by church members and leaders, these abhorrent sins festered, stifling the light of our Church.

The actions of some have wounded victims, sparked righteous outrage, and severely damaged the trust of the faithful. The failure to shed light on sexual abuse in recent decades demands a contrite and transparent response from Church leadership.

Today, in a spirit of sorrow and accountability, and with a sincere desire for reconciliation and healing, we are confronting the darkness of these sins.

To those who have survived sexual abuse at the hands of a member of the Society of Mary, we profoundly regret and apologize for the serious harm you have suffered. We apologize for the betrayal and pain you and your family have endured. Words will never heal your wounds, but we pray that our actions today will help bring you some solace.

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Marianist Province releases names of vowed religious members credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors

SAN ANTONIO (TX)
St. Mary’s University

June 24, 2020

By Thomas M. Mengler, St. Mary’s University President

Today, I share a joint statement from the Marianist Ministries in the San Antonio area with the link to the names of Marianist vowed religious members credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors. No Marianist brother or priest who is provided in the list is currently at St. Mary’s, nor will any be allowed to live in any of the Marianist residences near or on our campus or to visit the University.

Dear members of our Marianist communities:

The Catholic Church crisis regarding sexual abuse of minors by vowed religious members entrusted with the pastoral care of our children and young adults has been devastating to us and our communities. The Marianist Province of the United States has taken another step in addressing this crisis by releasing the names of Marianist brothers and priests, living and deceased, who were found to have sexually abused a minor since 1950 in the United States.

Over the past two years, the Province has reviewed approximately 2,500 personnel files of Marianists who have served since 1950 in the Province of the United States, which includes its four predecessor provinces (Cincinnati, New York, Pacific and St. Louis) before their merger in 2002. Today, to be accountable and transparent, the Province has published the names of these individuals on their website at marianist.com/healing. Some of those individuals lived and worked at one or more of our institutions in San Antonio or at Tecaboca in Mountain Home, Texas.

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Sexual Abuse Allegations Against Columbus Priest Found Credible

COLUMBUS (OH)
WCBE Public Radio

June 25, 2020

By Alison Holm

The Columbus Catholic Diocese says allegations of sexual abuse by a Columbus priest have been ruled credible.

69-year old Father Kevin Lutz has been placed on administrative leave. He retired from St. Mary’s Parish last year. The allegation of abuse of a 14-year old boy in 1986 was made the day after his retirment.

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Columbus Diocese finds allegation of sex abuse of child by longtime priest to be credible

COLUMBUS (OH)
Columbus Dispatch

June 24, 2020

By Jim Wilhelm

An allegation of sexual abuse of a minor by Rev. Kevin Lutz, a priest in Columbus and central Ohio for four decades who retired last year from St. Mary parish in German Village, has been found credible, the Diocese of Columbus announced Wednesday.

Bishop Robert J. Brennan has accepted a June 17 recommendation by the Diocesan Board of Review for the Protection of Children that Lutz’s name should be added to the published Diocesan list of clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor.

Father Lutz, 69, continues on administrative leave pending further canonical and administrative processes, the diocese said.

The diocese emphasized that a determination of credibility is not considered proof of guilt. The public announcement of a finding of credibility is made in accordance with the Catholic Church’s Charter and practices and policies by the Diocese for prevention of sexual abuse of minors and response to such allegations.

Lutz announced his retirement last Sept. 9 from St. Mary, where he had supervised a years-long renovation of the historic building. A day later, the accusation that Lutz had sexually abused a minor during his tenure from 1983-1986 at St. Christopher Parish on the Northwest Side was reported, the diocese has said.

The diocese said it reported the allegation to Columbus police the same day it found out about it, and also told Lutz. The abuse is alleged to have occurred from 1982 to 1986.

A Columbus police report obtained by The Dispatch stated the victim was a 14-year-old male and that the incident occurred in 1984. No specific date or location was given.

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Priest accused of abuse leading mass at Catholic church in McCall, popular podcast says

BOISE (ID)
Idaho Statesman via MagicValley.com

June 25, 2020

By Ruth Brown

https://magicvalley.com/news/priest-accused-of-abuse-leading-mass-at-catholic-church-in-mccall-popular-podcast-says/article_37cc2c53-3f27-5213-b2ed-dde74afbe2bf.html

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Boise responded Wednesday after an investigation done by Reveal, a national public radio show and podcast, outlined past abuse allegations made against a current Idaho priest.

The podcast, “Unrepentant,” was posted online June 20 and outlines the story of two priests accused of abuse and their victims’ attempts to report it. One of those priests, the Rev. Bruno Segatta, is currently assigned to McCall’s Our Lady of the Lake Parish, Cascade’s St. Katharine Drexel Station and Riggins’ St. Jerome’s Chapel.

“Father Bruno Segatta denies these allegations of an incident that allegedly occurred nearly 30 years ago while he was employed by Gonzaga University,” the Diocese of Boise said in a written statement Wednesday. “The matter was handled internally between Gonzaga University and Father Segatta.”

Segatta is also listed as visiting priest at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Boise. The Our Lady of the Lake’s parish website has been posting videos of mass during the coronavirus pandemic, and Segatta was last seen offering mass as recently as Sunday.

Reported by Emily Schwing, the podcast dives into the story of a woman who claims she was abused by Segatta while studying abroad in Italy. At the time, Segatta worked for Gonzaga University, a Catholic university in Spokane, and he led tours for students in Italy, according the report. The woman claimed Segatta harassed her after the abuse, and the church ignored her complaints.

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Newry priest Canon Francis Brown reinstated after being cleared of historical abuse allegation

BELFAST (NORTHERN IRELAND)
Belfast Telegraph

June 25 2020

https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/newry-priest-canon-francis-brown-reinstated-after-being-cleared-of-historical-abuse-allegation-39313814.html

A Newry-based priest has been reinstated to his role after being cleared of an historical abuse allegation.

Canon Francis Brown voluntarily stepped aside from his role as administrator of Newry Cathedral in May 2018 after a safeguarding allegation was made against him which dated back to 1984.

He strongly denied any wrongdoing at the time and agreed to cooperate with a police investigation.

At the time, the Diocese of Dromore was at the centre of a scandal over its handling of abuse claims made against paedophile priest Malachy Finnegan.

In August last year, the Public Prosecution Service said they were dropping the case against Canon Brown after a “thorough and robust investigation”.

An internal church probe has since concluded the claims were “unsubstantiated”.

Canon Brown’s immediate return was announced yesterday during evening mass in Newry Cathedral by the head of the Catholic Church in Ireland, Archbishop Eamon Martin.

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Dunedin man posed as priest abusing children online

AUCKLAND (NEW ZEALAND)
New Zealand Herald

June 24, 2020

By Rob Kidd

A Dunedin man posed as a priest while fantasising with others online about violating children, a court has heard.

Andrew Lee Gardner, who has his own computer repair business, was jailed for six months when he appeared in the Dunedin District Court yesterday — his third time in the dock on sex offences.

He was first convicted in 2007 of sexual connection with a young person, indecent assault and possessing an objectionable publication.

Gardner was ordered to attend the STOP sex offender programme in Christchurch as part of his sentence but the court heard yesterday he was evicted because of his negative attitude.

Judge Kevin Phillips noted the man thought his offending was less severe than others in the group and became disengaged.

Untreated for his sexual predilections, Gardner was again before the court in 2010 for grooming.

Yesterday, the court heard the defendant initially came to the attention of Canadian authorities for his conduct on a chat website under the username “tkoguynz”.

Gardner used the site from early 2018 to conduct “age-play”, which involves two or more users fabricating an illegal scenario with a child, then describing the sexual liaison.

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

Police Reform Must Start With Holistic Officer Training

SAN ANTONIO (TX)
Rivard Report

June 24, 2020

By Anthony J. Pogorelc

For years now, as I followed television and online news, I have seen police officers brutalize individuals. Consistently, I have asked myself: Why do they do this? As a Catholic priest who works at the diocesan seminary training future priests, I wonder: How were these officers trained or formed?

The Catholic Church certainly has its problems. The history of sexual abuse and its cover-up is a horror in which those charged with caring for people abused them. One avenue of response by the church was to examine and reform the process of formation for those who aspire to the priesthood.

As a sociologist, I know that formation socializes someone into a culture constituted by shared, socially learned behavior. Reforming a formation process requires a serious examination of the culture and its values. What are we forming aspirants to be a part of? Individual and social change goes hand in hand. Today, it is essential to do this for the institution of policing. Enabling those on the front lines to properly carry out the institutional mission is an essential investment in human resources.

In the church we realized that formation is not only about the acquisition of skills; it is about shaping the human being. In priestly formation, we focus on four dimensions that could also be relevant to the formation of aspiring police officers:

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

Abuse allegations against former Springfield Bishop Christopher Weldon ‘unequivocally credible,’ investigation finds

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
Springfield Republican via Mass Live

June 24, 2020

By Anne-Gerard Flynn

https://www.masslive.com/news/2020/06/abuse-allegations-against-former-springfield-bishop-christopher-weldon-unequivocally-credible-investigation-finds.html

A retired superior court judge’s review of sexual abuse allegations against former Bishop Christopher J. Weldon, who led the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield for more than 25 years, found the accusations to be “unequivocally credible.”

Meanwhile, mandatory reporters in the diocese who first heard the alleged victim’s account failed to report the matter to law enforcement officials, according to the executive summary for a 350-plus page report released Wednesday by the diocese. The report is the product of an investigation by retired Superior Court Judge Peter A. Velis, who was hired a year ago to investigate the matter.

In an executive summary, Velis criticized the diocesan review board that heard the alleged victim’s account in June 2018.

“It was clear in my examination that the process included an inexplicable modification and manipulation of the reports received by and acted on by the Diocesan Review Board,” Velis wrote. “Additionally the complaint process was compromised in that mandatory reporters failed in their duties to report the allegations to prosecutorial authorities.”

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