ABUSE TRACKER

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

June 16, 2020

EXCLUSIVE: Catholic composer accused of sexual battery worked with known predator for years

UNITED STATES
The Worthy Adversary

June 15, 2020

By Joelle Casteix

Over the weekend, Catholic hymn composer, performer, and youth conference organizer David Haas was dropped by his publisher after the company learned the musician was under investigation by the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis for sexual battery and other offenses.

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.

Allegedly Abusive Catholic Composer Dropped by Prominent Hymnal Publisher

UNITED STATES
SNAP

June 15, 2020

Following an open letter detailing allegations of inappropriate sexual advances and sexual harassment, we have learned a prominent Catholic composer has been dropped by one of the companies with which he worked. We applaud this move and hope that this news will encourage other still-silent victims to come forward and make a report to police.

David Haas has reportedly been accused by dozens of women of being a serial sexual harasser and manipulating women into inappropriate or unwanted relationships. His decades of impropriety was first made public by the organization Into Account, which sent an open letter to the organizations employing the composer, informing them of the numerous allegations against Haas and urging those organizations to take action. Last week, SNAP wrote in support of these efforts by survivors and Into Account. Following the publication and dissemination of our statement, SNAP heard from several more victims. To us, this means there are many women who have felt silenced out of fear and who did not realize that they were not alone.

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.

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo to Speak on Race Relations, SNAP Calls for Replacement

HOUSTON (TX)
SNAP

June 15, 2020

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo has been tapped by Houston’s ABC 13 to lead a discussion on race relations in communities of faith. Given Cardinal DiNardo’s history of obfuscation and minimization when it comes to cases of sexual abuse, we believe ABC 13 can and should find a better person to represent Houston’s faith communities.

For years, Cardinal DiNardo has misled the people of Houston about cases of clergy sexual abuse. From leaving abusive priests in ministry until the day that allegations were made public to choosing a twice-accused abusive priest to lead outreach to local Latino communities to reportedly deceiving an abuse victim and quietly moved her perpetrator – Monsignor Frank Rossi, one of his highest-ranking deputies – to another parish, even after telling the victim that Msgr. Rossi would never be a pastor again, there are numerous examples of Cardinal DiNardo’s failures of leadership. Someone who has been shown to be less than honest with the public should not, in our view, be involved in a discussion on this critical issue.

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.

Rockville Centre diocese faces bankruptcy amid abuse lawsuits

ROCKVILLE CENTRE (NY)
Catholic News Agency

June 15, 2020

The Diocese of Rockville Centre has requested a pause in the proceedings of numerous sex abuse lawsuits it is facing, and said it may have to declare bankruptcy if it is not granted.

Two fellow New York dioceses, Buffalo and Rochester, have filed for bankruptcy within the last year. Each diocese had been named in hundreds of clergy sex abuse lawsuits following the opening of a window in the statute of limitations in the state in cases of sexual abuse under the Child Victims Act.

Sean Dolan, director of communications for the Rockville Centre diocese, said it had requested “a stay pending an appeal of the court’s denial of its motion to dismiss approximately 35 cases.” He said the request reflects the diocese’s “dedication to the fair and just treatment of all abuse victims, rather than continuing on a course that is marked by exhausting litigation expenses for the benefit of those racing to the courthouse ahead of others.”

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

New sex abuse case filed against Capuchins, San Vicente School

GUAM
KUAM-TV

June 16, 2020

By Nestor Licanto

A new civil suit alleging clergy sexual abuse has been filed against various Catholic Capuchin entities, including San Vicente School in Barrigada.

The complaint in Guam district court seeks a jury trial on behalf of “AAAA” who was allegedly assaulted in the mid-1960’s by the late Monsignor Zoilo Camacho while he was a student at the school.

Court documents allege that when the plaintiff was a third-grader he was disciplined by Camacho, who spanked him with a paddle, and then ordered him to remove his shorts and was sexually assaulted. The complaint says the alleged abuse continued for two to three years, and that Camacho would give the plaintiff money to buy candy and soda “as a way to groom him to become and remain a victim of sexual abuse.”

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.

Interim advocate for survivors of abuse Brendan McAllister is urged to step down after helping Catholic church service

NORTHERN IRELAND
Belfast Telegraph

June 16, 2020

By Claire McNeilly

Survivors of historical institutional abuse (HIA) in Northern Ireland have called for their Stormont appointed advocate to resign after he assisted in a Catholic church service on Sunday.

Brendan McAllister was appointed interim advocate for HIA by the head of the civil service in July 2019 when the Executive and the Assembly were collapsed.

Mr McAllister, who has previously said he was a candidate for ordination as a deacon in the Catholic Church in 2021, sparked outrage in some victims circles by wearing clerical dress to assist in the liturgy at St Peter’s church in Warrenpoint, Co Down.

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.

Catholic Church says data laws ‘detrimental to efforts to safeguard children’

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND
Irish Times

June 15, 2020

By Patsy McGarry

Report confirms the church sought to have data protection legislation amended but failed

Current data protection legislation is a threat to the safety of children and has made their welfare difficult to guarantee, the Catholic Church’s child protection watchdog has said.

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was introduced in 2018. The church’s National Board for Safeguarding Children, based at Maynooth, Co Kildare, said the current legislation was “detrimental to the efforts to safeguard children”.

It was also the case that due to the current legislation its “inability to analyse and monitor allegations [against priests] is, in the view of the national board, a significant loss to the Catholic Church”.

The board said all its efforts to have the legislation changed and allow it do its child protection work have “failed”.

The observations were contained in the board’s annual report for 2019.

It had “made representations to Government Ministers, civil servants, Tusla and the Data Protection Commission in the Republic of Ireland, seeking support to have legislation amended to enable sensitive personal data to be shared with the national board on allegations against clerics and religious. These efforts have failed.”

It said the situation was similar for Northern Ireland. The Catholic Church in Ireland – as with all main churches –is an all-island body, so the board’s remit extends to include Northern Ireland.

“We have also engaged with the Department of Health in Northern Ireland and the safeguarding board for Northern Ireland. But due to the suspension of the Northern Ireland Assembly at the time of the discussions, officials were unable to progress any discussions, but did indicate their support for the important work of the national board in helping to keep children safe.

“We will pursue this further now that a Minister has been appointed, and has taken office,” it said.

It said that under the 2018 data protection legislation in the Republic, the board “cannot fulfil its monitoring function, track trends year to year, nor offer assurances that church bodies are consistently applying safeguarding standards in relation to their notification and management of cases outside the scope of a specific review of that church authority”.

Detail removed

It was also the case that “while allegations are still notified [to the board], the information is anonymised and significant detail is removed. As a direct result we cannot advise with any certainty on whether reports we receive may also have been forwarded by another church authority,which would result in double-counting”.

It said that for instance in 2019, 116 notifications were forwarded to the national board. It checked whether these had been notified to State authorities but “beyond that we are not able to analyse the information, and therefore cannot offer comment on developing patterns or on the time period to which the allegations relate”.

As it is required to report on its activities it has set out in the annual report for April 2019 to April 2020, “the range, type, and ‘quantity’ of advice offered” during that year.

“On 260 occasions, advice was requested by and offered to church personnel – broken down into advice offered to dioceses on 128 occasions (49 per cent); to religious orders on 100 (39 per cent) occasions; and to independents on 32 occasions (12 per cent) – “independents” include complainants of abuse; those accused; lay apostolates; other church agencies; and Irish missionaries working overseas”, it said.

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

Archdiocese of OKC announces new training program for those required to work with minors

OKLAHOMA CITY (OK)
KOCO-TV

June 15, 2020

The Archdiocese of Oklahoma City announced a new training program for volunteers, staff members and clergy that will be required before working with minors in Catholic churches or schools.

The program, which launches July 1 and is called Safe and Sacred Training Program for Catholic Dioceses, provides online training in several areas. A news release states those areas include appropriate and inappropriate interaction with minors, proper boundaries, potential red flags and how to report suspected child abuse.

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.

52 new suits against Albany Diocese allege sex abuse by priests, nuns

ALBANY (NY)
The Daily Gazette

June 15, 2020

By John Cropley

Some allegations date back 60 years; local law firm preparing additional lawsuits

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany was the target Monday of 52 new lawsuits alleging sex abuse of children by priests and nuns as much as 63 years ago.

The Guilderland and Minnesota law firms teaming up to represent the victims in these cases have previously filed 22 such lawsuits and say they are preparing 36 more.

Other law firms are separately bringing similar cases.

The state Legislature last year opened a one-year window for sex abuse victims to sue for incidents alleged to have happened far beyond the normal statute of limitations for such litigation.

The COVID-19 crisis put New York’s court system in virtual hibernation this spring, raising the potential that some claims would be shut out, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo extended the window five months before the Legislature extended it by a year.

The blackout was briefly worrisome to the survivors, said Cynthia LaFave, whose Guilderland law firm LaFave, Wein & Frament is filing the lawsuits with Jeff Anderson & Associates of St. Paul, Minnesota.

“I think it was another trauma on people who had suffered a great deal of trauma, to [potentially] have justice denied again,” LaFave said. “But they handled it with immense grace.”

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

More than 50 Child Victims Act lawsuits filed against Albany Diocese

ALBANY (NY)
The Telegraph

June 15, 2020

By Cayla Harris

More than 50 Child Victims Act lawsuits were filed against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany on Monday, alleging abuse by dozens of clerics as far back as 1957.

The cases mark the latest round of abuse complaints after courts temporarily closed during the coronavirus pandemic, blocking non-essential filings for about two months. The lawsuits allege abuse as recently as 1994 in parishes across the Capital Region and also target 20 previously unidentified clerics or diocese employees.

A handful detail new allegations against individuals already labeled by the church as “credibly accused” of molesting children.

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.

June 15, 2020

Analysis: Archbishop Gregory promised the truth. Has he told it?

WASHINGTON D.C.
Catholic News Agency

June 10, 2020

By JD Flynn

At the press conference announcing his appointment as Washington’s new shepherd, Archbishop Wilton Gregory made a pledge: “I will always tell you the truth as I understand it.”

A year after the archbishop’s installation in Washington, the credibility of that promise has come under scrutiny, during a moment of profound difficulty for the entire country.

“First of all, I believe that the only way I can serve this local archdiocese is by telling you the truth,” Gregory said April 4, 2019.

That day was meant to be a moment of hope for Washington Catholics, who had spent nearly a year at the center of tumult surrounding the abuser Theodore McCarrick, and his successor in D.C., Cardinal Donald Wuerl, who had himself been accused by many Catholics of misdirection, obfuscation, and dishonesty.

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.

Statement Of The Diocese Of Scranton Regarding The Investigation Into Monsignor Walter Rossi

SCRANTON (PA)
Diocese of Scranton

June 12, 2020

In August 2019, Bishop Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of the Diocese of Scranton, announced an investigation of allegations of personal misconduct on the part of Monsignor Walter Rossi, Rector of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Monsignor Rossi was ordained to the priesthood in the Diocese of Scranton in 1987 and remains incardinated in the Diocese of Scranton at this time. Since 2005, he has served as Rector of the Basilica.

The investigation of allegations of personal misconduct was led by outside counsel assisted by a retired FBI agent with over thirty years of investigative experience. The investigation included interviews with numerous witnesses who have known Monsignor Rossi throughout his years in ministry. These witnesses included current and former Basilica employees, former CUA students, and current and former members of the clergy who were assigned to the Basilica or who worked with Monsignor Rossi.

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

Danbury clergy sexual abuse case pushed to July

CONNECTICUT
New Canaan Advertiser

June 12, 2020

By Kendra Baker

DANBURY – The pre-trial hearing of the former local priest accused of sexually assaulting two boys has been rescheduled from June 19 to July 24.

Jaime Marin-Cardona, 52, is charged with three counts of fourth-degree sexual assault, three counts of risk of injury to child and three counts of illegal sexual contact. He pleaded not guilty to all nine charges.

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

The alleged abuse began in 2014 — the same year Marin-Cardona became a priest at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church on Golden Hill Road.

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.

SNAP to Catholic Diocese of Charlotte, North Carolina: Nine Names Missing from Your List of Credibly Accused Clergy Need to Be Added

UNITED STATES
Bilgrimage (blog)

June 10, 2020

In January this year, I reported that after the Catholic bishop of Charlotte, North Carolina, Peter Jugis, and his diocese released a list of clergy credibly accused of having abused minors, survivors spoke out to say that the list Jugis released was incomplete. The January 2020 posting to which I have just pointed you provides an excerpt of a statement SNAP made on 30 December 2019, which states the following:

Catholic officials in Charlotte, NC have finally followed in the footsteps of the vast majority of dioceses around the country and released a list of priests accused of abuse. Unfortunately, the list released today is incomplete and leaves off allegations related to other church staffers. We call on them to update this list immediately in order to provide a clearer and more complete look at abuse within the Diocese of Charlotte.

My posting also points you to statements by several local media outlets questioning whether Jugis’s s was complete, and warning that it would not serve the diocese’s stated aim of transparency if the list were found, in fact, to be missing names.

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

Scranton diocese: ‘No credible evidence’ against Msgr. Rossi

WASHINGTON D.C.
Catholic News Agency via Catholic World Report

June 12, 2020

The Diocese of Scranton released a statement Friday regarding Msgr. Walter Rossi, rector of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. The statement said that after an exhaustive investigation, investigators found no credible evidence to support allegations of misconduct against Rossi.

“The investigation of allegations of personal misconduct was led by outside counsel assisted by a retired FBI agent with over thirty years of investigative experience. The investigation included interviews with numerous witnesses who have known Monsignor Rossi throughout his years in ministry,” the statement, released June 12, said.

“These witnesses included current and former Basilica employees, former CUA students, and current and former members of the clergy who were assigned to the Basilica or who worked with Monsignor Rossi.”

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.

Guest view: No pass for pedophiles

MONTANA
Montana Standard

June 15, 2020

By James C. Nelson

Often, history does not flow like a river. Rather it erupts like a geyser, spewing hot, toxic water and fumes all over the place, until it settles back into the earth only to heat up and explode again.

We’re in the aftermath of one such eruption now. We’re demanding that law enforcement officers who abuse, assault, and even murder people in their custody should be held to account. No person is above the law — especially those sworn to enforce it.

Still, we continue to ignore another group of abusers who hold themselves to be above the law; those nobody dare touch. These are men and women of the collar and the cloth. These are the preacher-predators, the sectarian pedophiles that sexually abuse and forever ruin the lives and psyches of their child victims.

Yet, unbelievably, these, the Lord’s stewards, commit their heinous acts under the protection of man-made laws designed to enforce man-made religious doctrines and practices.

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.

Historical Institutional Abuse: Call for Brendan McAllister to resign

NORTHERN IRELAND
BBC News

June 15, 2020

Some abuse victims have called for the interim advocate for survivors of historical institutional abuse to resign after he assisted in a Catholic church service on Sunday.

Brendan McAllister was appointed to the role in July 2019.

Victims’ campaigner Margaret McGuckin said it was a “conflict of interests”.

Mr McAllister has said he was a candidate for ordination as a deacon in the Catholic Church in 2021.

He robed in vestments to assist in the liturgy at St Peter’s church in Warrenpoint, County Down.

Ms McGuckin, from Savia (Survivors and Victims of Institutional Abuse), claimed that it was a “big conflict of interest” since many survivors in the group are victims of clerical abuse in the Catholic Church.

“We knew last year he would be ordained as a Catholic Church deacon.

“We let it be as he wasn’t going to be ordained until after his role was over,” she said.

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

Bishop Zanchetta returns to work at the Vatican amid abuse trial in Argentina

VATICAN CITY
Catholic News Agency

June 15, 2020

Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta has returned to work at the Vatican amid an ongoing trial in Argentina, where he has been charged with sexual and financial misconduct.

Holy See Press Office director Matteo Bruni told CNA June 15 that Zanchetta had resumed his work at the Vatican while “remaining available to the Argentine judicial authorities.”

Bruni said that Zanchetta’s work at the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA) — the Vatican’s central reserve bank and sovereign asset management body — “does not interfere in any way with the investigations.”

Zanchetta, the former Bishop of Orán, Argentina, has been accused of “aggravated continuous sexual abuse” of two adult-aged seminarians, as well as fraud and mismanagement of funds. He denies the charges.

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

Former Mangilao altar boy says priest abused him in early ’70s

GUAM
Guam Daily Post

June 15, 2020

By Haidee Eugenio Gilbert

Some 50 years ago, a priest frequently told a Mangilao altar boy to trust him and not to be scared, according to documents filed in federal court.

Attorney Michael Berman, on behalf of a clergy sex abuse survivor, on Friday filed a sexual abuse proof of claim in the Archdiocese of Agana’s ongoing bankruptcy case.

The latest claimant alleged that Father Louis Brouillard, now deceased, sexually abused him on the grounds of the Santa Teresita Catholic Church in Mangilao and at Lonfit River during Boy Scouts of America outings, in or around 1971 to 1973.

The incidents occurred once or twice a month, over a two- to three-year period, while the boy was around 10 to 12 years old.

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.

Sex claims force removal of two Indian priests

KERALA (INDIA)
UCA News

June 15, 2020

By Saji Thomas

The action comes after audio and video recordings went viral on social media accusing Kerala priests of sexual abuse

In the latest in a series of clerical sexual abuse cases in India, two Catholic priests have been removed from priestly duties following allegations of sexually abusing women in a parish in Kerala state.

The Archdiocese of Tellicherry, where the priests worked, said in a note on June 14 that Fathers Mathew Mullapally and Jose Poothottal were banned from priestly duties as part of a diocesan investigation. Both priests served Pottanplav parish successively.

Father Poothottal is a religious priest belonging to the Congregation of St. John the Baptist Precursor. The diocese has also urged his superiors to take action against him, the note said.

The archdiocese has set up a three-member panel to probe the charges against Father Mullapally, a priest of the archdiocese.

Records of telephone conversations and video that have gone viral on social media claim the priests forced and coerced several women in the parish to have sex with them.

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

New biography portrays a dark side of John Paul II’s reign: French authors have no mercy for sainted pope who led the Church for nearly three decades

FRANCE
La Croix International

June 4, 2020

By Christophe Henning

The long pontificate of John Paul II extended beyond 26 years (1978-2005) with great fanfare.Did the Polish pope think he was reviving the Catholic Church? Or did his forced march further weaken and divide it?

There is no dispute over whether John Paul made a deep impression on the Church. But the question is whether it was for better or for worse.

French authors Christine Pedotti and Anthony Favier have no doubt about the answer to that. In a new biography of Karol Woytila — Jean-Paul II: L’ombre du saint — they are uncompromising in their analysis of the damage he did as temporal head of the Catholic Church.

“The canonization of John Paul II marks the end of a long cycle in the history of Catholicism, that of dreaming for a return of power, which the Polish pontiff carried out from start to finish, ” they write in their 330-page book, currently available only in French.

The authors, who are both self-confessed Catholics of the left, look at 19 symbolic moments and thorny issues in the life of the late pope.They are searing in their criticism of the pontificate, brushing aside broader questions such as the liturgy, the priesthood, inter-religious dialogue, anti-communism and so forth.

“Re-clericalization”

Though there are some obvious things to condemn — such as the pontificate’s impunity of Marcial Maciel and its negligence in managing clergy sex abuse — it is nevertheless regrettable that Pedotti and Favier consider even Wojtyla’s accomplishments to have been wrong.

Just a few examples: his advancing inter-religious dialogue, shaping a new generation of Catholics through the World Youth Days, and elaborating the Church’s doctrine on life issues (which may offend some Catholics, remains a heritage that others have claimed).

It is hardly surprising that Pedotti, a Catholic feminist, would list John Paul’s greatest sin as promoting “re-clericalization of the Church” and “a supernatural view of the priesthood”.

This line of attack is engaged several times in the book, in particular when it speaks about the suffering pope.

“Here he is, playing Christ, ascending little by little to his Golgotha,” the authors write.”When a pope burdened with illness does not complain, who can say that the task is too heavy, the sacrifice too great?”

Persistent ambition

With little concern for governing the Rome Curia during the 26 years of his pontificate, John Paul II made his mark on the Church in the year 2000.

“In the doctrinal rearmament the pope was carrying out, there was no room for doubt. The truths of the catechism were firmly reasserted. Morality, especially concerning affectivity and sexuality, were firmly re-established. And there was no need to rethink the sacraments for the sake of mission,” the authors denounce.

In fact, from one subject to another, the book depicts a tenaciously ambitious Karol Wojtyła who ardently wanted a powerful, political and missionary Church, while it was an exhausted John Paul II who remained at the helm.This is the contradiction of a pope who was solitary and stubborn while the boat was taking on water, as his successor Benedict XVI said.

Pedotti and Favie also make much of the image of the elderly and feeble John Paul II pushing open the door of St. Peter’s Basilica to inaugurate the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000.

“Human weakness in the face of this massive door… Is it not a metaphor for the fragility of the Church?”

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

Review: The continued fight to eradicate clergy sex abuse

America magazine

June 12, 2020

By James F. Keenan

[PHOTO: Sex abuse survivors Denise Buchanan and Alessandro Battaglia are pictured in front of St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican on Feb. 24, 2019, on the final day of the Vatican’s four-day meeting on the protection of minors in the church. (CNS photo/Yara Nardi, Reuters)]

A Canadian pediatrician and woman religious who has worked on issues of sexual abuse for more than three decades, Nuala Kenny, S.C., offers her diagnoses and prescriptions for treating the “sick soul” and the “global septic shock in the Body of Christ” in Still Unhealed.

Kenny has been working in this area since she joined the one-of-its-kind, lay-led Archdiocesan Commission of Inquiry on Clergy Sexual Abuse in St. John’s, Newfoundland, in 1989. Still Unhealed follows on her earlier work, Healing the Church: Diagnosing and Treating the Clergy Sex Abuse Crisis (2012). Kenny brings to this study all the investigative curiosity that one would expect from a physician confounded by a patient’s failure to heal. In fact, in the case of treating the church, the physician seems far more interested in recovery than the patient itself does

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.

SNAP Slams Decision by Utah Supreme Court in Mitchell v. Roberts

UTAH
SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests)

June 12, 2020

We are dismayed and disappointed by the decision in Mitchell v Roberts out of the Utah Supreme Court. This decision will only make it harder for victims of sexual abuse to come forward, put more children at risk of abuse, and prevent law enforcement from getting dangerous criminals out of the community.

The fact is that the reform bill overturned by this decision was a rare example of modern bipartisanship in which legislators from both parties, in both legislative chambers, as well as the executive branch, agreed that the state’s statute of limitations needed to be reformed. The resulting reform not only gave survivors of sexual violence hope for a shot at justice, but also helped to ensure that abusers could no longer hide behind archaic statute of limitations and escape from their crimes while living quietly among children and the vulnerable.

Now, despite the will of the people in Utah, victims are left in the cold. Our hearts break for Terry Mitchell, the brave survivor of childhood sexual abuse who fought for years for the rights of survivors, only to be denied a chance for justice by this example of judicial activism.

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.

Buffalo Diocese relies on insurance policies to cover abuse claims in bankruptcy

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

June 15, 2020

By Jay Tokasz

The Buffalo Diocese’s lists of assets and liabilities filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court identifies multiple investment funds and bank accounts holding in excess of $28 million, dozens of properties and a fleet of vehicles.

What the schedule doesn’t mention is insurance coverage, which has played a huge role in the resolutions of other Chapter 11 reorganizations by dioceses and archdioceses facing child sex abuse lawsuits.

Eight insurance companies, for example, agreed in 2018 to pay $137 million toward a $210 million fund to settle abuse claims in the Archdiocese of St. Paul & Minneapolis.

Of the nearly $800 million in bankruptcy settlements reached by 15 Catholic dioceses, archdioceses and religious orders since 2004, more than half of the funds have come from insurers, according to research by Pennsylvania State University law professor Marie T. Reilly.

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.

Catholic composer David Haas accused of ‘sexual battery’ and ‘spiritual manipulation

UNITED STATES
Catholic News Agency

June 14, 2020

by JD Flynn

The composer of several well-known songs used in Catholic liturgies has been dropped by a prominent hymnal publisher, amid accusations of serial spiritual manipulation and sexual misconduct.

“Early this year we became aware of allegations of sexual misconduct by David Haas, and we learned the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis was considering a decision not to provide him a letter of suitability,” GIA Publications said in a June 13 Facebook post.

“In response, we suspended our sponsorship and publishing relationship with Mr. Haas, and have not sponsored his work since late January,” the publisher added.

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.

June 14, 2020

Bishop Mitchell Rozanski cites Pope Francis school, increase in Latino deacons as part of his Springfield legacy

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
The Republican

June 11, 2020

By Anne-Gerard Flynn

Speaking at the St. Michael’s Cathedral campus a day after his introduction in Missouri as archbishop-elect of the Metropolitan Archdiocese of St. Louis, the Most Rev. Mitchell Rozanski reflected Thursday on his legacy as Springfield bishop for the last six years.

“As I reflect on the different decisions I have had to make one was the very, very difficult decision to combine Cathedral and Holyoke Catholic high schools into Pope Francis Prep School,” said Rozanski in response to a question about his legacy.

“That was one of the more difficult decisions that I have had to make in my life and I said after that I pray that I am never put in a position like that again, but I think that what has emerged has shown to be a good decision, the right direction for secondary education here in the Diocese of Springfield.”

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.

Se demora el juicio contra el cura, acusado de abuso sexual, que había sido designado para Balcarce

[The trial against the priest, accused of sexual abuse, which had been designated for Balcarce, is delayed]

MAR DEL PLATA (ARGENTINA)
La Vanguardia

June 13, 2020
[See also our summary of the allegation against Rev. Serre in our Publicly Accused Priests, Brothers, and Nuns in Argentina]

En la jornada del viernes, desde el Obispado de Mar del Plata reconocieron algunos avances en la investigación contra el ex sacerdote José Luis Serre (59), quien iba a llegar a Balcarce y fue apartado de la Iglesia tras verse involucrado en una denuncia por la violación de un nene durante 2017, pero señalaron que la irrupción de la pandemia del coronavirus “frenó lo que podría haber sido un inicio de juicio” en este 2020. Al cumplirse poco más de un año del caso, monseñor Gabriel Mestre dijo que “todavía no hubo avances visibles en la causa” pero al mismo tiempo aclaró que eso “no significa que no se haya avanzado” en la pesquisa que intenta esclarecer el aberrante hecho. “La instancia judicial sigue su curso, por el momento, y aparentemente lo que sí sabemos, de manera definitiva, es que Serre no sería juzgado en ninguna jurisdicción de nuestra diócesis”, afirmó el máximo referente que tiene la Iglesia católica en Mar del Plata al portal 0223. En la conferencia de prensa que tuvo lugar el 8 de abril de 2019, el Obispo puntualizó que los hechos ocurrieron en 2017 y que fueron denunciados por los padres del menor en enero del año siguiente, aunque evitó dar mayores precisiones para evitar que la víctima sea identificada.

[GOOGLE TRANSLATION: On Friday, the Mar del Plata Bishop recognized some progress in the investigation against the former priest José Luis Serre (59), who was going to arrive in Balcarce and was removed from the Church after being involved in a complaint about the rape of a young boy during 2017, but he pointed out that the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic “stopped what could have been a start of trial” in this 2020. When it was just over a year since the case, Bishop Gabriel Mestre said that “there were still no visible advances in the cause” but at the same time he clarified that this “does not mean that no progress has been made” in the investigation that attempts to clarify the aberrant fact. …]

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Colorado: Refusing to settle for a second rate law

The Worthy Adversary (blog)

By Joelle Casteix

June 13, 2020

Legislative work can be complicated. Take my word for it. And sometimes the hardest decision to make is the best one: if a law protects predators, it’s not a good law.

That is what happened in Colorado. And Colorado did the right thing.

Yesterday, the sponsors of a potential law to help future victims of child sexual abuse decided to pull the bill. The move caused confusion and disappointment among advocacy groups, but the sponsors knew they had a solid reason.

The pulled bill—Colorado HB 1296—only applied to survivors in the future. That’s called a “prospective” bill. What the bill didn’t do—and what sponsor state Senator Julie Gonzales realized was the essential element—was open the courthouse doors for past victims of abuse.

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Effort to give Colorado child sex assault survivors unlimited time to sue abusers is rejected

COLORADO
Colorado Sun

June 12, 2020

By Jesse Paul

House Bill 1296, brought in the wake of a damning report on Colorado’s Catholic church, was set aside at the request of one of its prime sponsors in the hopes of bringing future legislation that will also benefit past survivors of abuse. The decision to sideline the measure drew disappointment.

In a stunning reversal on Friday, a lead sponsor on a bill that would have given future child sexual assault victims in Colorado unlimited time to sue their abusers and those who allowed their abuse to happen asked that the measure be rejected.

Instead, state Sen. Julie Gonzales, a Denver Democrat, said she wants to bring legislation that would also allow prior child sex assault victims to sue to their accusers as other states have done — sometimes called a “look-back window” — despite caution from the legislature’s attorneys that doing so may violate the Colorado constitution.

“I’m not willing to pass a bill that lets perpetrators off the hook,” Gonzales said. “I will not settle for watered-down justice. I believe we have to do better. All victims of sexual assault deserve to see their abusers held accountable.”

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News Release: Additional name added to list of clergy likely to have abused minors

ST. CLOUD (MN)
Diocese of St. Cloud

June 12, 2020

Bishop Donald Kettler added an additional name to the list of clergy likely to have abused minors: Father Charles Meyer, a member of the Society of the Precious Blood.

Meyer was added to the list following notification by the Diocese of Bismarck, North Dakota, that it added him to its list of “extern clergy with substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor,” according to a June 12 news release from the diocese.

Meyer was ordained on May 14, 1931, in Ohio. In the Diocese of St. Cloud, he served as chaplain of Memorial Hospital in Perham (1966-70) and pastor of St. Lawrence in Rush Lake (1966-85). He died in 1997. No reports of alleged abuse against Meyer have been made to the Diocese of St. Cloud, the release noted. Bishop Kettler will hold a listening session at 6:30 p.m., July 28, at St. Lawrence in Rush Lake.

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Former St. Cloud priest added to list of those credibly accused of abuse

ST. CLOUD (MN)
St. Cloud Times

June 12, 2020

St. Cloud Bishop Donald Kettler has added a new name to the diocese’s list of clergy who have been credibly accused of abusing minors.

According to a news release issued Friday, the St. Cloud diocese was notified that the Diocese of Bismarck, North Dakota, had added Charles Meyer to its list of clergy with substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor.

In the St. Cloud Diocese, Meyer served as chaplain of Memorial Hospital in Perham from 1966-1970 and as a pastor of St. Lawrence in Rush Lake from 1966-1985, according to the church. The St. Cloud Diocese has not received any reports of abuse by Meyer.

Meyer was ordained in Ohio in 1931 and died in 1997, according to the release. He was a member of the Society of the Precious Blood

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Families’ Lawsuit Claims Child Abuse At Church Day Care

ELLICOTT CITY (MD)
The Patch

June 13, 2020

By Kristin Danley-Greiner

Families involved in a lawsuit demand Howard County police and state officials investigate alleged child abuse at a church day care.

In 2019, the families of five children aged 4 and 5 attended the Glen Mar Early Learning Center, an extension of the Glen Mar United Methodist Church in Ellicott City. The families believed their children were safe there, but according to a lawsuit filed on behalf of those children, an employee sexually abused them during naptime and possibly elsewhere at the facility.

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Proposed WA law angers survivors

WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Catholic Weekly

June 14, 2020

By Debbie Cramsie

Amendments to strip the seal of confession in cases of discussion about child abuse “betrayal of every survivor’s journey of recovery”, say survivors in a petition.

Victims of childhood sexual abuse from across Western Australia feel betrayed and angry over the interference of the Seal of Confession by the State’s Minister for Child Protection.
Non-Catholic and Catholic survivors are petitioning members of WA’s Legislative Council to reject proposed amendments to the Children and Community Services Act, which will require Catholic priests to report knowledge of child sexual abuse when received through the practice of confession.

James Parker, who runs peer support groups for child abuse survivors in Western Australia, said the proposed legislation was a “betrayal of every survivor’s journey of recovery”.

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June 13, 2020

When adversity is your gift

UNITED STATES
The Worthy Adversary (blog)

June 12, 2020

By Joelle Casteix

There are voices that have been silenced—or simply ignored—in the clergy sex abuse crisis.

We have known for years that “priest dumping” has been a common practice in the Catholic Church: bishops and other officials send white, English-speaking predator priests to indigenous, refugee, or immigrant communities, or communities of color. These communities are devoutly Catholic. These can be communities where language, fear, and cultural barriers keep children from having the words to tell their parents what is happening to them.

These are communities where poverty, food insecurity, language barriers, immigration fears, and/or flat-out racism ensure the silence of victims.

Because the church knows: when the Catholic Church is feeding you, helping you, baptizing and burying your family members, and keeping your family members’ spirits up, victims will learn quickly that no one wants to hear about them. And if they do speak, those who listen will punish the victim—if they bother to listen at all.

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As the sex abuse statute of limitations bill falters again, echoes of 2006 defeat

COLORADO
Colorado Politics via The Colorado Springs Gazette

June 13, 2020

By Michael Karlik

History repeated itself on Friday when the legislature killed a bill to give childhood victims of sexual abuse more time to sue their perpetrators and the insitutions that harbored them — the first such measure that came close to passage since 2006.

At that time, and still, victims generally had only six years after they turned 18 to file a civil suit against their abusers. The window was an even narrower two years for a lawsuit against an organization.

At that time, and still, Colorado was fresh from hearing about incidents within the Catholic Church. The Denver Post in the summer of 2005 reported on a series of clergy abuse survivors that would result in lawsuits from more than two dozen victims. In October 2019, the attorney general’s office reported that 43 priests had likely abused at least 166 children in the state since 1950.

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Diocese of Rockville Centre threatens bankruptcy in face of child sex-abuse lawsuits

ROCKVILLE CENTRE (NY)
New York Post

June 13, 2020

By Kathianne Boniello

One of the nation’s largest Catholic dioceses is threatening bankruptcy if a Long Island judge doesn’t pause the nearly 100 child sex-abuse lawsuits it faces.

The Diocese of Rockville Centre, which serves more than 1.4 million Catholics in Nassau and Suffolk counties, claims it’s in an “ever-more serious financial situation,” straining under the legal costs of defending itself in court while its income has been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic, according to court papers.

For two weeks during New York’s months-long virus shutdown, which canceled mass and church gatherings, the diocese received no money from parishioners — donations that usually account for 40 percent of the diocese’s income, it said.

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The Moral Demise of American Catholic Bishops

UNITED STATES
Open Tabernacle (blog)

June 13, 2020

By Betty Clermont

After Trump held up a Bible while standing in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church, non-Catholic religious leaders expressed anger and disgust.

The Right Rev. Mariann Budde, Episcopal bishop of Washington tweeted, “I am outraged.” “Everything Trump has said and done is to inflame violence. We need moral leadership, and he’s done everything to divide us,” Budde said.

Rabbi Jack Moline, president of the Interfaith Alliance, stated: “Seeing President Trump holding a Bible in response to calls for racial justice … is one of the most flagrant misuses of religion I have ever seen.”

Dr. Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, the public-policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, said he was “brokenhearted and alarmed” by everything from the death of George Floyd to Trump’s response.

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SSPX pedophile priest arrested in Switzerland

VALAIS (SWITZERLAND)
Church Militant

June 13, 2020

By Christine Niles

Three weeks after Church Militant broke the news that a pedophile priest of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) was roaming free in Switzerland, authorities have arrested Fr. Frédéric Abbet.

According to Swiss media outlet Le Nouvelliste, Abbet was arrested by local authorities in Valais Friday.

As Church Militant reported in our May 21 Spotlight: ‘He’s a Good Liar,’ a Belgian court found Abbet guilty of child sex crimes in 2017, sentencing him to five years in prison. After requesting that he be allowed to serve out his sentence in his native Switzerland, however, Abbet ended up walking free, living in the town of Fully and even seen taking his nephews to a local swimming pool.

Church Militant contacted local authorities in Fully in May to ask why Abbet had never served his prison time, as required by Belgian law, and why a convicted pedophile was allowed to roam freely in their town. Officials did not comment.

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Argentine bishop accused of sexual misconduct returns to work at Vatican central bank

ROSARIO (ARGENTINA)
Crux

June 13, 2020

By Inés San Martín

As the Vatican resumed its activities after the two-month COVID-19 coronavirus lockdown, Crux has confirmed an Argentinian bishop suspended over allegations of sexual misconduct with seminarians quietly went back to work.

Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta was appointed by Francis to the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA), which functions as the Vatican’s central bank, in 2017, where he works as an “assessor,” a position created for the Argentine.

Zanchetta served as Bishop of Oran from 2013 until July 2017, when he resigned alleging health reasons. Soon after, he was transferred by Francis to Rome.

The bishop had worked closely with the pope when then Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio headed the Argentine bishops conference, and Zanchetta was one of Francis’s first episcopal appointments after being elected to the papacy.

The bishop was suspended from his Vatican post Jan. 4, 2019 after reports he had sexually abused seminarians and had homosexual pornography on his phone. The allegations against Zanchetta do not involve minors.

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Judge rejects Catholic dioceses’ suit to access coronavirus relief

UNITED STATES
Catholic News Agency via Catholic World Report

June 12, 2020

A federal judge on Wednesday denied attempts by the Catholic dioceses of Buffalo and Rochester to obtain emergency small business loans.

In April, the dioceses had sued the Small Business Administration (SBA) after they were blocked from emergency small business loans under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) because of their bankruptcy debtor status.

Congress had initially allocated $349 billion in short-term relief for small businesses and eligible non-profits in March, to help them keep employees on payroll during the pandemic.

As part of the conditions for loan applications, entities could not be undergoing the bankruptcy process. The Diocese of Rochester filed for bankruptcy in September of 2019 and the Buffalo diocese followed suit in February. Each diocese had been named in hundreds of clergy sex abuse lawsuits following the openning of a window in the statute of limitations in the state in cases of sexual abuse.

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No sex abuse charges for former Wyoming bishop, but successor praises ‘courageous’ victims

CHEYENNE (WY)
Catholic News Agency

June 12, 2020

While Wyoming prosecutors have declined to press criminal sexual abuse charges against Bishop emeritus Joseph Hart, Bishop Steven Biegler of Cheyenne has repeated that the diocese considers allegations against Hart to be credible. He commended alleged victims who have come forward, emphasizing the need for justice.

“This decision not to pursue a criminal case does not mean that the victims are not credible. Once again, I commend the victims who have spoken courageously about their abuse,” Bishop Biegler said in a June 11 statement. “I also stand behind the determination made by the Diocese of Cheyenne that allegations of sexual abuse against former Bishop Hart are credible.”

The Natrona County District Attorney’s Office has told an alleged victim that there was “insufficient evidence” to support a charge against Hart. The allegation concerned sexual abuse in the 1970s, the Casper Star-Tribune reported June 9.

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Church investigations clear DC clergy member a 2nd time on sexual, financial misconduct allegations

WASHINGTON D.C.
WTOP

June 12, 2020

By Ken Duffy

Church investigations into the rector of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in D.C. found no credible evidence of sexual and financial impropriety.

Monsignor Walter Rossi has served as rector since 2005 and was accused of sexually assaulting male students at the Catholic University of America.

Those allegations reportedly came from Archbishop Carlo Viganò who relayed the accusations during an interview last year with The Washington Post, claiming the Vatican embassy in D.C. received documentation on the matter.

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Biegler: Victims credible even if retired prelate won’t face criminal charges

CHEYENNE (WY)
Catholic News Service via National Catholic Reporter

June 12, 2020

A district attorney’s decision not to pursue criminal charges against retired Bishop Joseph H. Hart of Cheyenne over sexual abuse claims does not mean “the victims are not credible,” said Bishop Steven R. Biegler, who has headed the statewide diocese since 2017.

“Once again, I commend the victims who have spoken courageously about their abuse,” he said in a June 11 statement. “I also stand behind the determination made by the Diocese of Cheyenne that allegations of sexual abuse against former Bishop Hart are credible.”

He added, “The Diocese of Cheyenne has fully cooperated with law enforcement during the past two years that they have been investigating this case.”

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Former Mount Loretto resident was sexually abused by priest, religious brother, suit alleges

STATEN ISLAND (NY)
Staten Island Advance

June 13, 2020

By Frank Donnelly

A former resident who was placed in the Mission of the Immaculate Virgin at Mount Loretto more than 60 years ago said he only stayed for a few months.

The reason: A priest and a religious brother at the mission sexually abused him multiple times, a lawsuit alleges. So, he ran away back home.

Recently filed against the Archdiocese of New York and Catholic Charities of Staten Island, the suit is the latest claim of sexual abuse brought by a former resident of the Pleasant Plains shelter, which for decades was a haven for homeless and destitute children.

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Trump ‘honoured’ by Viganò letter

UNITED STATES
Catholic News Service via The Tablet (UK)

June 13, 2020

By Junno Arocho Esteves, CNS

President Donald Trump said he was “honoured” by an open letter from a former Vatican official who claimed that restrictions to prevent the spread of Covid-19 were part of a Masonic plot to establish a new world order.

In the letter released by LifesiteNews, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, who served as nuncio to the United States from 2011 to 2016, also claimed that “civil disturbances” in the wake of George Floyd’s death in police custody were provoked by “deep state” operatives because “the virus is inevitably fading” and “the social alarm of the pandemic is waning”.

So-called “deep state” is a conspiracy theory alleging the existence of a hidden cabal in countries and within government offices that are attempting to undermine or usurp the authority of the legitimately elected government.

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June 12, 2020

9 file lawsuit against Pittsburgh diocese over alleged sexual abuse

PITTSBURGH (PA)
TribLive

June 12, 2020

By Megan Guza

Nine people have filed a lawsuit against the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh alleging sexual abuse by seven priests and years of cover-up by diocesan officials.

The seven priests named in the lawsuit had already appeared and had allegations leveled against them in the August 2018 grand jury report blasting the Pittsburgh Diocese and others for decades of abuse and cover-ups.

The accusers are identified only by their initials, and it includes the estate of one person suing on their behalf. The living plaintiffs all are adults, according to the lawsuit.

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Vatican Names Springfield Bishop Rozanski To Lead St. Louis Archdiocese

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
New England Public Radio

June 10, 2020

By Adam Frenier

Springfield Roman Catholic Bishop Mitchell Rozanski is leaving western Massachusetts to become the Archbishop of St. Louis. The announcement was made by the Vatican on Wednesday.

Rozanski came to Springfield from his native Baltimore in 2014. During a Wednesday morning press conference in St. Louis, Rozanski said he was grateful to the people of western Massachusetts “for their welcome to me when I first arrived, for their collaboration with me over these six years.”

“I want them to know,” he continued, “they are in my prayers as they now experience this time of transition.”

During Rozanski’s tenure, the Springfield Diocese faced criticism from the Hampden District Attorney for not turning over all claims of clergy sexual abuse for investigation.

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Pope Francis, Vatican Finances and the Papal Court

VATICAN
National Catholic Register

June 11, 2020

By Father Raymond J. de Souza

COMMENTARY: In the last few weeks, Pope Francis’ financial reforms have moved into high gear again.

The last few months have shut down much ecclesial life, but at the Vatican the financial reforms are going from strength to strength, with major new developments coming every few weeks.

The financial reforms of Pope Francis, which began with a bang in 2014, were largely dead by 2017. Now they live again. What happened? The ups-and-downs reveal something of how popes govern; the Roman Curia really is the last “royal” court for a “monarch” how holds virtually unlimited authority. Every pope governs that way to a certain extent; power is determined not by office alone but by those to whom he grants access. Pope Francis, in choosing to bypass much of the usual structures of the Roman Curia, has accentuated this.

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Church condemns malicious emails about Pell and the pandemic

AUSTRALIA
Catholic Herald

June 9, 2020

A series of emails falsely claiming to be sent from Catholic institutions have been denounced by the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference (ACBC) as “offensive, unChristian and, in some cases, defamatory”.

The contents of the defamatory emails typically concern Cardinal George Pell’s convictions, the role of the complainant in his criminal trial, the spread of coronavirus pandemic and, in recent cases, the upcoming July 4 Eden-Monaro by-election.

Fr Stephen Hackett, ACBC general secretary, said: “It is deeply regrettable that a number of people are being maligned in these emails, which seem designed to attack Cardinal Pell, Witness J, the Catholic Church and now even politicians.”

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Savio Rodrigues on sexual abuse and corruption in the Catholic Church of India

INDIA
Pgurus.com

June 12, 2020

By Sahil Mishra

Savio Rodrigues separates the faith from the organisation that the Church has become and highlights the corruption that has permeated into it. The faith is under pressure because of the allegations of sexual abuse and the harsh treatment meted out to those who highlight them. A must watch!

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Clearwater woman drops lawsuit against Scientology alleging child sexual abuse

CLEARWATER (FL)
Tampa Bay Times

June 11, 2020

By Tracey McManus

Originally filed last year in Miami-Dade circuit court, the case was transferred to Pinellas County in May and dropped June 5

A woman has dropped the lawsuit she filed last year against the Church of Scientology that alleged she was repeatedly sexually abused as a child in Scientology’s care, including as a kindergartner at the church’s Clearwater Academy.

The woman, named as Jane Doe in court records, filed her complaint in Miami-Dade circuit court in September, becoming the third lawsuit lodged against Scientology and its leader David Miscavige in 2019.

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Four People Added to National Abuse Review Board, SNAP Responds

UNITED STATES
SNAP

June 11, 2020

Four people have been added to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ National Review Board. Rather than bring on outsiders, every single person named has close ties with their local diocese, something we do not think bodes well for the efficacy of this review board now and into the future.

Especially concerning is the fact that several of the new members come from dioceses that have lagged behind the rest of the nation when it comes to transparency and accountability. For example, one of the new members, Steven Jubera, works on the review board for the Diocese of Jackson, MS, a diocese that has come under national scrutiny for its unequal treatment of black survivors and which did not release any information on accused clerics until March of 2019.

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Sexual-abuse survivors encouraged to speak out as Royal Commission continues to investigate

NEW ZEALAND
Stuff.co.nz

June 13, 2020

By Mandy Te

Mike Ledingham, who was abused as a child by a Catholic priest, has renewed faith in the Royal Commission in charge of investigating abuse cases in state and faith-based care.

Ledingham and his brothers, Chris and Gerry first spoke out in 2002 about the sexual abuse they experiencedand, while he’s still dealing with his demons, the 70 year old is encouraging other survivors to come forward.

“When you have been abused and cover it up and you see what the Church does, you get a bit jaded and your soul is jaded.

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Indian bishop denies ‘baseless’ murder, fraud claims

INDIA
UCA News

June 11, 2020

By Saji Thomas

Former judge sends a legal notice to church authorities seeking removal of a Karnataka bishop

A retired Catholic high court judge has sent a legal notice to church authorities seeking the removal of a bishop, accusing him of crimes such as murder, corruption and moral turpitude, among others.

Former Justice Michael F. Saldanha alleged that Bishop Kannikadass Antony William of Mysore in Karnataka state was responsible for the deaths of four priests, two of them suspected to be murdered.

The legal notice, a copy of which has been released to media, was sent to Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) president Cardinal Oswald Gracias and Archbishop Peter Machado of Bangalore. Mysore is a suffragan diocese of Bangalore.

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Nine Survivors Come Forward to File Suit Against the Diocese of Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH (PA)
SNAP

June 11, 2020

A new lawsuit has been filed on behalf of nine brave survivors (eight living, one deceased) who allege abuse at the hands of seven different priests from the Diocese of Pittsburgh. We applaud these brave survivors for coming forward and hope that they are finding support and comfort on their healing journey.

The lawsuit filed on behalf of these nine victims accuse seven different priests – all of whom were named in the 2018 Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report – of abuse. Each of these survivors deserves praise for coming forward and sharing their painful stories in an effort to secure justice and help prevent future cases of abuse. We are grateful to them.

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Jamaica church, ex-teacher sued twice for child sex abuse under state victim’s law

JAMAICA (NY)
Queens Eagle

June 11, 2020

By David Brand

A former scoutmaster and teacher at a Greek Orthodox school in Jamaica has now been sued twice for sexually abusing kids in the 1970s and 80s.

The latest complaint, filed Tuesday in Queens Supreme Court, accuses former St. Demetrios Jamaica Day School teacher Lawrence Svrcek of “sexually assaulting, abusing and molesting” a student throughout 1978 and 1979. The plaintiff was in seventh grade when the abuse occurred, according to his attorney, Eric Siegle.

Svrcek has been sued at least one other time under the Child Victims Act, a 2019 law that enables survivors of childhood sexual abuse to file civil complaints against their abusers and the institutions that enabled them regardless of when the abuse occurred.

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Wyoming bishop accused of abuse won’t be charged, prosecutors say

NEW YORK (NY)
Crux

June 12, 2020

By Christopher White

Following a decision by Wyoming prosecutors not to charge retired Bishop Joseph Hart for sexual abuse against minors, his alleged victims are looking to the Church’s canonical process as a last chance for the 88-year-old prelate to be brought to justice.

As first reported by the Kansas City Star on Tuesday, and confirmed by Crux on Wednesday, a Wyoming witness coordinator informed one of Hart’s accusers that the prosecutor would not advance the case, citing insufficient evidence. This comes nearly two years after the Diocese of Cheyenne deemed the allegations from the same individual to be credible in 2018.

In a statement on Thursday, Bishop Steven Biegler, the current bishop of Cheyenne, said he stands by the diocese’s determination and noted that Hart’s case is still under review in Rome.

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Catholic Charities of Springfield sends amicus brief for Supreme Court case

SPRINGFIELD (IL)
WICS/WRSP

June 11, 2020

Catholic Charities of Springfield has sent an amicus brief for a Supreme Court case.

According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Illinois, the case, Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, focuses on whether a religious organization can demand government contracts to provide child welfare services while they do not comply with LGBTQ+ nondiscrimination requirements.

The amicus brief discusses how the state of Illinois terminated Catholic Charities’ foster care services after the organization declined to assess and qualify same-sex couples as foster parents, although they agreed to refer the same-sex couples to DCFS offices who can provide these services or refer them to other private agencies that could.

According to the amicus brief, Catholic Charities of Springfield acted as a foster care agency from 1965 to 2011. In 2011, while the organization was serving about 325 foster children, the state terminated its services following the enactment of the Illinois Religious Freedom and Civil Union Act.

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Numerous victims of childhood sex abuse file lawsuits against Trenton diocese

TRENTON (NJ)
The Trentonian

June 12, 2020

By Sulaiman Abdur-Rahman

The Diocese of Trenton is facing numerous lawsuits alleging it failed time and again to prevent the sexual abuse of children.

These civil-action complaints in Mercer County Superior Court are a microcosm of the widespread sex abuse scandals rocking the Roman Catholic Church worldwide.

“It’s an epidemic in the Catholic Church, and it has been going on for centuries,” attorney John W. Baldante told The Trentonian in an interview. “The Catholic Church has largely ignored this behavior.”

Baldante represents at least 10 plaintiffs in lawsuits accusing the Diocese of Trenton of negligence, saying the institution failed to provide a safe environment and protective culture to children and other parishioners within the churches, sacristies, schools, rectories and other facilities overseen by the diocese.

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Ex-high court judge sends legal notice seeking removal of Indian bishop

NEW DELHI (INDIA)
Catholic News Service via Crux

June 12, 2020

A retired Catholic high court judge has sent a legal notice to church authorities seeking the removal of a bishop, accusing him of crimes such as murder, corruption and moral turpitude, among others.

Ucanews.com reported that former Justice Michael F. Saldanha alleged that Bishop Kannikadass William Antony of Mysore, India, was responsible for the deaths of four priests, two of whom were suspected to have been murdered.

The legal notice, a copy of which was released to media, was sent to Cardinal Oswald Gracias, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, and Archbishop Peter Machado of Bangalore. Mysore is a suffragan diocese of Bangalore.

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Próvolo: reanudarán audiencias por el segundo juicio

[Próvolo: hearings will resume for the second trial]

MENDOZA (ARGENTINA)
Unidiversidad.com

June 12, 2020

GOOGLE TRANSLATION, FOLLOWED BY ORIGINAL IN SPANISH:

It will be on Tuesday the 16th, as confirmed by the plaintiff Oscar Barrera. 9 people are charged, including two religious.

Justice will resume on Tuesday the 16th the preliminary hearings of the second trial for the abuses in the Próvolo Institute, in which nine people are accused, among them the nuns Kumiko Kosaka and Asunción Martínez. The resumption of the process was confirmed to Unidiversidad both from the press office of the Judiciary and by one of the complainants, Oscar Barrera.

After three months of restricted activity in Courts as a result of the mandatory quarantine, the parties were notified of the resumption with a new preliminary hearing of the process, which will take place on June 16 at 8:30 on a semi-face-to-face basis.

Será el martes 16, según confirmó el querellante Oscar Barrera. Están imputadas 9 personas, entre ellas dos religiosas.

La Justicia reanudará el martes 16 las audiencias preliminares del segundo juicio por los abusos en el Instituto Próvolo, en el que están imputadas nueve personas, entre ellas las religiosas Kumiko Kosaka y Asunción Martínez. La reanudación del proceso fue confirmado a Unidiversidad tanto desde la oficina de prensa del Poder Judicial como por uno de los querellantes, Oscar Barrera.

Luego de tres meses de restringida actividad en Tribunales a raíz de la cuarentena obligatoria, las partes fueron notificadas de la reanudación con una nueva audiencia preliminar del proceso, que se concretará el 16 de junio a las 8.30 de forma semipresencial.

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Despite no charges, accusers in ex-KC priest sex case still credible: Wyoming bishop

CHEYENNE (WY)
Kansas City Star

June 11, 2020

By Judy L. Thomas

[VIDEO: ‘I couldn’t imagine that a man that I loved this much could do something so evil.’ Susie McClernon is still dealing with the trauma of the sexual abuse her youngest brother, Kevin Hunter, suffered years ago. Hunter died in 1989.]

A Wyoming prosecutor’s decision not to file child sexual abuse charges against a former Kansas City priest who later became Bishop of Cheyenne doesn’t mean the alleged victims were not credible, the leader of that state’s Catholics said Thursday.

“I commend the victims who have spoken courageously about their abuse,” said Bishop Steven Biegler, head of the Catholic Diocese of Cheyenne, in a strongly worded statement. “I also stand behind the determination made by the Diocese of Cheyenne that allegations of sexual abuse against former Bishop Hart are credible.”

Natrona County District Attorney Dan Itzen in Casper, Wyoming, could not immediately be reached for comment. Cheyenne is in Laramie County, but Itzen was appointed as special prosecutor in the case because of a conflict of interest within the Laramie County District Attorney’s office.

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Bankrupt NY Dioceses Not Entitled To $2.8M Virus Relief Loan

NEW YORK
Law360

June 11, 2020

By Rick Archer

A New York federal judge has rejected a pair of Roman Catholic dioceses’ challenge to a U.S. Small Business Administration rule barring coronavirus relief loans to bankrupt businesses, saying the agency was within its rights to deny them $2.8 million in loans.

On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Wolford rejected the arguments by the bankrupt Catholic dioceses of Buffalo and Rochester, New York, that the SBA had no legal grounds for its rule denying Paycheck Protection Program loans to organizations in Chapter 11, saying the agency is under a legal requirement to make sure its loans are likely to be repaid.

The PPP, created under March’s coronavirus relief package, is an SBA-administered program that offers loans of up to $10 million from third-party lenders to firms with 500 or fewer employees to cover their costs while they are shuttered by local COVID-19 shutdown orders.

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President Trump tweeted about Archbishop Viganò. So, who is he?

UNITED STATES
America

June 11, 2020

By Michael J. O’Loughlin

President Trump posted a tweet on June 10 saying he was “so honored” by a letter written by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, a former Vatican ambassador to the United States who, in a series of missives in recent years, has blamed the church’s sexual abuse crisis on gay priests, accused Pope Francis of championing schism and called for the pope to resign because of his alleged mishandling of abuse allegations against former Cardinal Thedore McCarrick.

What did Archbishop Viganò say in his letter to President Trump?

On June 6, LifeSiteNews, a Catholic website that covers “culture, life, and family,” posted a public letter that Archbishop Viganò wrote to President Trump. In the three-page letter, dated June 7, the archbishop expresses his belief in a number of conspiracy theories, including the existence of a “deep state” opposing Mr. Trump from within the U.S. federal government and a “deep church” comprised of “children of darkness”; a belief that the Covid-19 pandemic response represents “a colossal operation of social engineering”; and the notion that recent anti-racism protests in the United States evoke “the Masonic ideals of those who want to dominate the world by driving God out of the courts, out of schools, out of families, and perhaps even out of churches.”

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June 11, 2020

Nine sue diocese over alleged sexual abuse

PITTSBURGH (PA)
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

June 11, 2020

By Peter Smith

Nine plaintiffs filed suit Wednesday against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, alleging past sexual abuse by seven of its priests.

The lawsuit was filed in Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas by eight individuals and the estate of a ninth, all identified by initials. They are represented by Harrisburg attorney Benjamin Andreozzi, who has previously represented plaintiffs in numerous sexual-abuse lawsuits against Catholic dioceses.

The lawsuit accuses the diocese of fraud, conspiracy, fraudulent concealment, breach of fiduciary duty. Also named as defendants are churches of the diocese where the accused priests worked.

All seven priests accused of abuse in the lawsuit were named in the 2018 Pennsylvania grand jury report into sexual abuse in the Diocese of Pittsburgh and five other Catholic dioceses.

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Top U.S. Swim Coaches Abused Teens, Impregnated Them, Covered It Up for Decades: Lawsuits

UNITED STATES
The Daily Beast

June 10, 2020

By Pilar Melendez

As an 11-year-old chosen to train under legendary swim coach Andrew King, Debra Grodensky believed she was destined to become an Olympic star. However, by 15, she had quit the sport out of fear following years of disturbing alleged sexual assault by King that culminated in her coach, then 37, asking her to marry him.

“My sexual abuse was 100 percent preventable,” Grodensky, 51, said on Wednesday as she filed a lawsuit against USA Swimming. “I believe my life trajectory would have been drastically different if USA Swimming did not have a culture that enabled coaching sexual abuse. It was that culture that allowed Andy King to abuse me for years without consequence.”

Grodensky was one of six women to file a series of lawsuits against USA Swimming on Wednesday, alleging the governing body ignored signs of sexual abuse by former U.S. Olympic coach Mitch Ivey and several other staff members in a decision that cultivated a culture of abuse for decades.

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Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests hold protest in response to new St. Louis archbishop

ST. LOUIS (MO)
KSDK

June 10, 2020

By Kayla Wheeler

The protest was held outside Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) held a protest Wednesday morning in response to the new St. Louis archbishop-elect.

On Wednesday it was announced that Pope Francis had named Reverend Mitchell T. Rozanski as the 11th bishop and 10th archbishop of St. Louis.

SNAP has criticized Rozanski for refusing to name three priests who had been suspended after allegations of sexual abuse in Massachusetts.

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SBC Delays Vote on Clergy Abuse Reforms and Ignores Suggestions from Baptist Advocates, SNAP Responds

SAINT LOUIS (MO)
SNAP

June 3, 2020

A critical vote to advance reforms aimed at curbing cases of clergy sexual abuse was delayed when the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention was canceled. While we recognize that the spread of COVID-19 has caused plans nationwide to change, we also recognize that “where there’s a will, there’s a way,” and believe that the SBC should use alternative means in order to have this needed vote and continue the work of preventing cases of sexual violence within the SBC.

As Ashley Easter said during this year’s virtual “For Such a Time as This” rally, no substantive change has occurred in the SBC since a massive exposé into cases of sexual violence and cover-up within the church was published. This scheduled vote would not have brought the needed change that survivors and advocates have been asking for, but it at least would have been a step in the right direction. By abandoning the vote without a plan to move forward, it seems that the SBC is content to just ignore the issue, as they ignored the problem of racism for so many years.

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Marist College’s Black Lives Matter conflict ‘an abuse of teacher power’ – Collins

NEW ZEALAND
RNZ

June 11, 2020

Marist College students are accusing their school of racism after they say staff took down Black Lives Matter posters they had put up.

At least one student took her allegations to the board. It met last night, and in a statement said there would be a formal investigation into the concerns raised, and the Catholic diocese would also mediate between the school and students.

The principal has not specifically responded to Checkpoint’s requests for an interview. The Auckland Catholic Diocese has also been approached for comment.

Its Vicar of Education, Catherine Ryan, said they wished to support the students and staff in resolving the current issues.

She said until they have had the opportunity to listen to the concerns raised it was not appropriate for her to comment.

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Charity to run Church support service for survivors of abuse

LONDON (ENGLAND)
Independent Catholic News

June 11, 2020

By Diana Fawcett

Victim Support has been awarded the contract to manage Safe Spaces, a joint Anglican and Catholic project to provide a vital support service for survivors of church-related abuse. This leading national charity, well known for its specialist services and work with people affected by crime, abuse and traumatic events, was awarded the contract following a competitive process.

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Diocese of Richmond Investigating Allegations against Four Former Priests

RICHMOND (VA)
SNAP

June 9, 2020

The Diocese of Richmond has announced investigations into four former priests following allegations of child sexual abuse. We call on Catholic officials in Richmond to do outreach at every parish where these men worked so that other victims, witnesses, and whistleblowers will be encouraged to come forward.

According to a release from diocesan leaders in Richmond, the four former priests are:

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OPINION: Catholic bishops need to give up the secrecy

AUSTRALIA
Canberra Times

June 12, 2020

By Terry Fewtrell

Australia’s Catholic bishops seem to have learned little from the sexual abuse scandal and its associated cover-ups. Pushed by a royal commission report to implement reforms, they recently reverted to standard operating procedures of delay and secrecy in suppressing a major report on governance reform. While hoping to delay and control discussion, the bishops were outmanoeuvred by the leaking of the highly significant report. It will now be available to and discussed by all Catholics – as it should be.

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Second Man Comes Forward to Accuse Brooklyn Bishop of Sexual Abuse

BROOKLYN (NY)
SNAP

June 4, 2020

A second man has come forward to accuse a prominent Brooklyn bishop of child sexual abuse. We applaud this survivor for coming forward and call on Cardinal Dolan to immediately remove the bishop from his position while the allegations are investigated.

Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio was first accused of abuse in a lawsuit filed in November 2019, where it was alleged that he had abused a boy while he was a priest in Jersey City. This latest allegation is also related to DiMarzio’s time in New Jersey and alleges that Samier Tadros was abused at age 6 at Holy Rosary Church in Jersey City. We are grateful to Mr. Tadros for coming forward and potentially helping to protect others from abuse.

This latest lawsuit comes as Bishop DiMarzio is already under investigation by the Vatican, but we believe that the best information will come from an investigation by external, secular law enforcement officials. Currently, New York A.G. Letitia James is investigating cases of clergy abuse and we hope this latest news will bring more survivors forward to her office and draw investigator’s attention to the situation in Brooklyn.

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Judge Extends Time for Local Boy Scout Councils to File for Protection

UNITED STATES
Insurance Journal

June 11, 2020

By Randall Chase

The judge presiding over the Boy Scouts of America bankruptcy has approved an agreement among attorneys to extend an injunction halting child sex abuse lawsuits against the organization’s 261 local councils until Nov. 16.

Under the agreement approved this Monday, local councils wanting continued protection from litigation must sign agreements by July 6 requiring them to provide information to the Boy Scouts about their finances, including real estate holdings, for sharing with creditor committees.

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The road to perdition: hardliners at the heart of the Trump administration and the fringes of the Church

WASHINGTON (DC)
The Tablet

June 11, 2020

By James Roberts

They are dismissed as further evidence of the fondness of Americans for cults and conspiracies. But the followers of the enigmatic Q are said to include close advisers to President Trump – and some on the conservative fringes of the Catholic Church

In August 2018, during Pope Francis’ visit to Ireland, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, the former Vatican nuncio in Washington D.C., published an 11-page “testimony” claiming that Francis and several American cardinals and archbishops had teamed up over the years to cover up sexual abuse by clerics, and in particular had failed to address the crimes and misdemeanours of Theodore McCarrick, who had been appointed as Archbishop of Washington D.C. in 2001 in spite of several warnings about his behaviour.

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3 Springfield Priests Temporarily Removed Following Allegations of Sexual Abuse

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
SNAP

June 4, 2020

Three priests from the Catholic Diocese of Springfield have been temporarily removed from their positions following allegations of abuse. We call on the Diocese to release the names of those clerics to the public and for church officials to do outreach to any victims who may still be suffering in silence

The Diocese also announced that, since July of last year, fourteen people have come forward to allege abuse at the hands of a priest, including the three recently removed from ministry. While this information is helpful and will hopefully encourage more survivors to come forward, what is not helpful is how cagey Catholic officials are being about the details.

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Remembering justice for victims of sex predator John Merzbacher 25 years later | COMMENTARY

BALTIMORE (MD)
The Baltimore Sun

June 11, 2020

By Nancy Fenton

This week marks the 25th anniversary of the guilty verdict of John Merzbacher, a former schoolteacher convicted of the rape of Elizabeth Murphy in the 1970s, when she was a student at the Catholic Community Middle School in South Baltimore.

A Baltimore City jury found the teacher guilty in 1994, after Ms. Murphy was an adult, of eight charges of rape and abuse. Following the guilty verdict, prosecutors dropped an additional 100 charges involving 13 other former students, who were prepared to go to trial against Merzbacher. Eventually, he was sentenced to four life sentences plus 10 years. He is now serving time in a Maryland prison.

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Row escalates between Christ Church Dean and dons as Oxford college tries to distance itself from McDonald Centre

UNITED KINGDOM
The Telegraph

June 11, 2020

By Camilla Tominey

The Vice Chancellor has been asked to intervene after Christ Church insisted that The McDonald Centre remove all references from its website

An ongoing row between the Dean of Christ Church and Oxford University dons has escalated following the college’s attempts to distance itself from a theological foundation headed up by one of the Dean’s staunchest allies.

The university’s Vice Chancellor has been asked to intervene after Christ Church insisted that The McDonald Centre for Theology, Ethics & Public Life remove all references to Christ Church from its website, including the centre’s logo, which has the appearance of the college’s famous Tom Tower.

The centre is headed up by Professor Nigel Biggar, a vocal supporter of the Very Rev Martyn Percy, who presides over the prestigious college and the cathedral.

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President Mengler appointed to U.S. Bishops’ Conference review board for protecting youths

SAN ANTONIO (TX)
St. Mary’s University

June 11, 2020

Thomas M. Mengler, J.D., President of St. Mary’s University joined as one of four new members appointed to serve on the National Review Board (NRB) by Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

The NRB advises the bishops’ Committee on the Protection of Children and Young People and was established as part of the Charter for Protection of Children and Young People, a comprehensive set of procedures established and adopted by the U.S. bishops in 2002 to address allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy.

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Pope names Rozanski to lead Archdiocese of St. Louis

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
Daily Hampshire Gazette

June 10, 2020

By Scott Merzbach

Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski, who in his six years leading the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield has spearheaded reforms aimed at confronting the fallout from clergy abuse and overseen continued reorganization and consolidation of churches, will depart to become the archbishop of St. Louis this summer.

On Wednesday, Pope Francis announced that Rozanski, 61, would succeed Archbishop Robert J. Carlson, who is retiring after turning 75.

In an introductory event at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, Rozanski referenced the “good people of Springfield” and how grateful he was for their welcome and collaboration with them since 2014.

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Catholic Officials in Guam Sue After being Denied PPP Loan

GUAM
SNAP

June 5, 2020

Once again, Catholic officials are suing the government over the payroll protection plan (PPP) loan program. We suggest that, rather than sue the government, these church leaders should offer some creative incentives that would help protect the vulnerable in exchange for being considered for funding.

The Archdiocese of Agana in Guam is suing the Small Business Administration after being denied a loan. We suggest that, in order to increase their viability to receive such a loan, that they should take several immediate steps.

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Judge rules that SBA has the right to deny emergency pandemic loans to Catholic dioceses

ROCHESTER (NY)
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

June 11, 2020

By Gary Craig

A federal judge has ruled that the federal Small Business Administration was in its rights to refuse pandemic-related loans to the Catholic Dioceses of Rochester and Buffalo.

The two dioceses wanted $2.8 million in emergency Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP, loans. The Rochester diocese planned to request $1.1 million and Buffalo $1.7 million.

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Opinion: Why would a Catholic school seek to deny justice for victims of sexual abuse?

NEW JERSEY
Newark Star-Ledger

By Mark Crawford

As citizens from every corner of this nation rightfully raise their voices crying out against grave injustices is it not clear that abuse of power, lack of transparency and the failure to hold accountable those who abuse their trust inflicts immeasurable harm on the fabric of our society? One need not look far to see some parallels between recent national protests and the Catholic church’s sexual abuse scandal; sacred institutions betrayed the trust of the people they are here to protect and serve.

For the better part of two decades, victims of sexual abuse pleaded with state lawmakers to fix New Jersey’s outdated statute of limitation laws. Several bills came and went as our New Jersey Catholic bishops hired high powered lobbyists and their own arsenal of attorneys from the Catholic Conference to oppose such measures at every opportunity.

Finally, in 2019, the state greatly expanded rights for both child and adult victims of sexual assault and provides a two-year window for victims of past abuse to have recourse. The passage of that bill provided one of the best laws in the country ensuring victims once locked out of our courts would now have access to our justice system. It also enabled victims to hold accountable all the institutions that had hid or harbored known predators or failed to protect new victims from those who would prey upon the young.

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Delicta Graviora: Update from Nathan – A Message of Hope

UNITED STATES
An Essay for the Faithful (blog)

June 5, 2020

As we navigate this period of intense pain, heartache, anger, and frustration across our nation, I wanted to offer a positive message to my Catholic brothers and sisters whose faith is being challenged in these moments.

I don’t have any good answers when it comes to ending systemic racial atrocities and socio-economic injustices. I am not qualified to offer advice on keeping your families, your loved ones, or your livelihood safe during a global pandemic. I am no intellectual and I am not a moral authority on any subject. I am a sinner – just like everyone else.

The one thing I can offer at this moment is that I can speak to the legitimate concerns expressed by many of the Faithful with regard to the pace, integrity, and rigor of the Vatican’s investigation of Theodore McCarrick. Many of us have waited a long time to receive all of the details, while at the same time knowing those details would be painful to hear.

I am aware of the public statements made by multiple members of the College of Cardinals several months back that suggested that the Vatican’s report on McCarrick’s career would be imminently forthcoming. Naturally, these statements served to raise expectations and it is clear now that the report has taken longer than anyone expected. I don’t believe any of those Cardinals were trying to mislead anyone. I just think they believed that what they were saying was true.

I say that because early this year, persons tasked by the Holy See with investigating McCarrick’s career reached out to me directly, as well as to several of the other Nathans, and asked us if we would be willing to provide facts and information to help ensure the accuracy of the report and to contribute to its findings.

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Alleged Theodore McCarrick victim says he is helping fact-check abuse dossier

UNITED STATES
Catholic News Agency

June 10, 2020

An anonymous alleged sexual abuse victim of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick says he and other alleged victims have been working with the Vatican to fact-check the comprehensive dossier on McCarrick’s misdeeds.

The alleged victim, writing under the name Nathan Doe, says he was one of several minors that McCarrick abused, and that he had previously collaborated with Church authorities to provide evidence during the canonical penal administrative process which resulted in McCarrick’s 2019 laicization.

He says early in 2020, “persons tasked by the Holy See with investigating McCarrick’s career” reached out to him and several other alleged victims to ask if they would be willing to provide facts and information to ensure the report’s accuracy.

“Time will tell, but nothing in my experience thus far indicates any type of cover-up or attempt to minimize anything by anyone involved in the Holy See’s investigation,” Doe writes in a June 5 blog post.

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Four new members named to National Review Board

WASHINGTON D.C.
Catholic News Service via National Catholic Reporter

June 10, 2020

The National Review Board, the all-lay group that monitors dioceses’ performance in dealing with sexually abusive clergy and creating a safe environment for children throughout the church, has four new members.

Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, announced the appointments June 10.

The new members are:

— Vivian M. Akel, a retired clinical social worker; she volunteers as safe environment coordinator for the Maronite Eparchy of St. Maron of Brooklyn, New York.

— James Bogner, retired senior executive special agent for the FBI; he also serves on the Archdiocesan Advisory Review Board and Ministerial Conducts Board for the Archdiocese of Omaha, Nebraska.

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Commentary: Remembering justice for victims of sex predator John Merzbacher 25 years later

BALTIMORE (MD)
Baltimore Sun

June 11, 2020

By Nancy Fenton

[PHOTO: Former sexually abused students of John Joseph Merzbacher and some of their family members stand in support two years ago to keep Merzbacher in prison after the sexual abuse that took place 40 years ago at the Catholic Community Middle School in Locust Point.]

This week marks the 25th anniversary of the guilty verdict of John Merzbacher, a former schoolteacher convicted of the rape of Elizabeth Murphy in the 1970s, when she was a student at the Catholic Community Middle School in South Baltimore.

A Baltimore City jury found the teacher guilty in 1994, after Ms. Murphy was an adult, of eight charges of rape and abuse. Following the guilty verdict, prosecutors dropped an additional 100 charges involving 13 other former students, who were prepared to go to trial against Merzbacher. Eventually, he was sentenced to four life sentences plus 10 years. He is now serving time in a Maryland prison.

I clearly remember the breaking news of the guilty verdict. The small TV on my kitchen countertop was turned on. I was tinkering in the kitchen, while my young daughter played at the table. A jury member commented on Liz’s overwhelming testimony and the consideration of the facts presented to the jury. I was stunned by the news, knowing deep in my heart that there was still so much to tell about the terror inflicted by just that one person.

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June 10, 2020

Former deacon’s lawsuit against Texas diocese goes to state Supreme Court

WASHINGTON (DC)
National Catholic Reporter

June 9, 2020

By Carol Zimmermann

The Texas Supreme Court agreed June 5 to review an appeal by the Diocese of Lubbock over a former deacon’s defamation lawsuit against it.

The suit, which lower courts said could proceed, sought more than $1 million in damages from the diocese claiming it had falsely included the former deacon in its published list last year of clergy with credible allegations of sexual abuse of minors.

Jesus Guerrero filed a defamation lawsuit last March, two months after all 15 dioceses in the state published lists of clergy members and deacons with credible abuse allegations.

In a response filed with the Lubbock District Court last April, the diocese said it was seeking dismissal of the suit calling it an ecclesiastical matter that civil courts couldn’t interfere with.

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Archdiocese of St. Louis welcomes new Archbishop-elect

ST. LOUIS (MO)
KSDK

June 10, 2020

By Ashley Cole, Kelsi Anderson

Archbishop-elect Rozanski currently serves as Bishop of Springfield, Massachusetts

Pope Francis has accepted the retirement of St. Louis Archbishop Robert J. Carlson.

He has named Reverend Mitchell T. Rozanski as the 11th bishop and 10th Archbishop of St. Louis.

“I am honored to have served as leader of the Archdiocese of St. Louis for more than a decade,” said Archbishop Carlson in a press release. “This large and generous community of faithful Catholics will continue to encourage me in my faith journey, and I know that Bishop Rozanski will cherish his new ministry. I am confident in the future of God’s strong Church in St. Louis with Archbishop-elect Rozanski as its shepherd.”

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SSPX PROTECTED SADISTIC RAPIST

FRANCE
ChurchMilitant

June 9, 2020

By Christine Niles

Bishop Fellay broke civil and canon law

A priest of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) sentenced to 19 years in prison for the sadistic rape of three women — one he tortured with knitting needles and scissors — was protected by Bp. Bernard Fellay, in violation of French law.

The case of Fr. Christophe Roisnel shocked the conscience of the French nation in 2017, when news broke of his criminal trial for rape of three teachers — one of them a mother — at the Notre-Dame de la Sablonnière academy in Goussonville, near Paris, where he had been director of the school since 2006. While reports of his crimes exploded in French media at the time, his story has had almost no coverage in English-language media.

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Reporting abuse by bishops now easier with new service

HAWAII
Hawaii Catholic Herald

June 10, 2020

By Patrick Downes

In the United States, accusations of sexual abuse by clergy are to be reported to the local bishop. But what if it’s the bishop himself who is the problem?

The answer is the national Catholic Bishop Reporting Service.

Begun March 16, the Catholic Bishop Abuse Reporting (CBAR) is a third-party service that collects and reports to appropriate church authorities bishops who have committed sexual abuse or who have interfered with a civil or church investigation into allegations of sexual abuse by another cleric or religious.

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Accuser says retired Wyoming bishop won’t face sexual abuse charges

CASPER (WY)
Casper Star Tribune

June 9, 2020

By Seth Klamann

Retired Catholic bishop Joseph Hart will not face criminal prosecution over an allegation that he sexually abused at least one boy in the 1970s, the alleged victim in the case told the Star-Tribune on Tuesday.

It’s the second time the former cleric, who has been accused by more than a dozen men of sexual abuse over a period of decades, has been investigated and not charged by Wyoming prosecutors.

The Natrona County District Attorney’s Office told the alleged victim on Monday there was “insufficient evidence” to support charging Hart, who was the auxiliary and later full bishop of the Catholic flock in Wyoming from 1976 to 2001, the accuser said. The conclusion comes 26 months after the Cheyenne Police Department began a criminal investigation into Hart that resulted in the agency recommending the retired bishop be charged.

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Accused clergy member defamation case goes to Texas Supreme Court

LUBBOCK (TX)
KXAN

June 10, 2020

By Avery Travis

The Texas Supreme Court is set to decide whether a clergy member, credibly accused of sexual abuse, can sue his church for defamation.

Following calls for more transparency from Pope Francis and the Catholic Church in 2019, all Roman Catholic dioceses in Texas published lists of names of clergy members who were credibly accused of sexual abuse.

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State Supreme Court Asked To Hear Catholic School Sex Abuse Case

MICHIGAN
WSJM

June 10, 2020

A motion has been filed for the Michigan Supreme Court to hear an appeal in a negligence lawsuit against the Catholic Diocese of Grand Rapids. The high court had decided not to hear the case. The suit accuses the diocese of negligence in the sexual abuse of then 15-year-old Brendan Boman by a tutor at Catholic Central High School in Grand Rapids. Boman’s attorney, Ven Johnson, spoke with Michigan News Network.

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Accuser: Hart will not be prosecuted

CASPER (WY)
Casper Star-Tribune Via Wyoming News Exchange

June 10, 2020

By Seth Klamann

Retired Catholic bishop Joseph Hart will not face criminal prosecution over an allegation that he sexually abused at least one boy in the 1970s, the alleged victim in the case told the Star-Tribune on Tuesday.

It’s the second time the former cleric, who has been accused by more than a dozen men of sexual abuse over a period of decades, has been investigated and not charged by Wyoming prosecutors.

The Natrona County District Attorney’s Office told the alleged victim on Monday there was “insufficient evidence” to support charging Hart, who was the auxiliary and later full bishop of the Catholic flock in Wyoming from 1976 to 2001, the accuser said. The conclusion comes 26 months after the Cheyenne Police Department began a criminal investigation into Hart that resulted in the agency recommending the retired bishop be charged.

“On one hand there was disbelief, but on the other hand was just like, ‘Well, yeah,’” the alleged victim told the Star-Tribune on Tuesday, describing the conversation with the prosecutor’s office. The victim’s allegations were substantiated and deemed credible by the Diocese of Cheyenne in July 2018. “In the back of my mind, that was always an outcome. I never thought it was a slam dunk. But there’s a certain bitter resignation that comes with saying, ‘OK, there it goes, that’s just how it is.’ I can’t believe it.”

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C of E accused of ‘utter hypocrisy’ over backing for Black Lives Matter

ENGLAND
The Guardian

June 10, 2020

By Harriet Sherwood and Roz Scott

BAME vicar and trainee priest claim discrimination has blocked their church careers

Church of England bishops have been accused of “utter hypocrisy” for publicly supporting the Black Lives Matter movement while failing to address racism in their dioceses.

Two men from black and minority ethnic backgrounds, a vicar and a trainee priest, claim discrimination has blocked their efforts to advance within the C of E hierarchy.

The Rev Alwyn Pereira was rejected for seven posts as a vicar in the diocese of Bristol before he discovered a letter on his personal file saying there were “cultural differences in the way people like Alwyn communicate, and actually handle issues of truth and clarity”.

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ST. LOUIS (MO)
Associated Press

June 10, 2020

Pope names St Louis archbishop to replace retiring Carlson

The newly-appointed head of the Archdiocese of St. Louis vowed Wednesday to be an agent of healing, as the region and the nation continue to react to the death of George Floyd and the threat of the coronavirus.
The Vatican announced Wednesday that Pope Francis had appointed Springfield, Massachusetts Bishop Mitchell Rozanski to lead the St. Louis diocese, replacing Archbishop Robert J. Carlson, who is retiring.

“This is a troubled time for our nation,” Rozanski said during a news conference in St. Louis. “We”re still experiencing the effects of the COVID-19 virus, the death of Mr. George Floyd and the sad spectacle of racism that tears at the very fabric of our country. … It is my hope that called to lead this church of St. Louis, God”s grace will be in abundance in helping me to be part of that healing process and resolution to all the daunting issues that we face.”

The appointment drew immediate criticism from advocates for victims of priest sexual abuse. The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests chastised Rozanski for not releasing the names of three accused predator priests in the Springfield, Massachusetts, who were suspended last week.

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Ex-Bombay High Court Justice accuses Bishop of Mysore of murders, sexual misconduct

MUMBAI (INDIA)
Mid-Day.com

June 7, 2020

By Gaurav Sarka

Legal notice sent to Bishop of Mysore for sexual misconduct, priest deaths and illegal transfers; Archbishop of Bengaluru also named for covering up his crimes

Former Justice of the Bombay High Court Michael F Saldhana has accused the Bishop of Mysore KA William of “letting loose a virtual reign of terror” in the Diocese of Mysore, and accused his immediate superior, the Archbishop of Bangalore Dr Peter Machado, of “colluding with him and covering up even for murders”.

Justice Saldhana made these accusations in a formal legal notice that was sent to both the clerics, on May 29. Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) President Cardinal Oswald Gracias, who is also the Archbishop of Bombay, was copied on it. “Following the deaths of four priests (two murders, one hanging and one so-called accident) the Bishop of Mysore has let loose a virtual reign of terror in the Diocese,” read the notice. “He has used the underworld mafia and protection from the local police… it has already resulted in as much as 23% of the Catholic Laity leaving the church. For the last one year, this man has been asked to leave, but he defiantly carries on terrorising,” the notice further stated.

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Child Victims Act attorneys oppose Buffalo Diocese move to shield parishes from lawsuits

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

June 9, 2020

By Jay Tokasz

A federal bankruptcy judge will soon decide whether hundreds of lawsuits against Catholic parishes and former parishes, schools and other entities in the Buffalo Diocese should be blocked from moving forward in state courts.

The diocese’s Chapter 11 filing in February immediately stopped lawsuits against the diocese from advancing as it goes through a reorganization.

In May, the diocese asked Chief Judge Carl L. Bucki of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Western District of New York to extend that same protection to more than 400 Catholic parishes, schools and other entities that also have been named as defendants in Child Victims Act cases.

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Former KC priest and Wyoming bishop won’t face sex abuse charges, alleged victim says

KANSAS CITY (MO)
Kansas City Star

June 9, 2020

By Judy L. Thomas

After an investigation spanning two years, authorities in Wyoming are not filing criminal sex abuse charges against a former Kansas City priest who later became Bishop of Cheyenne, one of the alleged victims said Tuesday.

The man, who grew up in Cheyenne and now lives on the East Coast, said the witness coordinator in the Natrona County District Attorney’s office told him that Bishop Joseph Hart would not be prosecuted because of insufficient evidence.

“I think I am a little bit numb,” said the man, whose allegations were deemed credible by the Catholic Diocese of Cheyenne in 2018. “Six people have come forward in Wyoming. What is the remedy for child sex abuse, then, if you don’t believe the victims and you’re not willing to take it to trial?

“The thing that I’m now hoping is that the Vatican will strip him of his priesthood while he’s alive.”

Hart, who served as Bishop of Cheyenne for 23 years, could not be reached for comment. Over the years, he has categorically denied all allegations against him. In 2018, he told a Star reporter who knocked on his door that “I’ve been told not to talk, but you could call my lawyer.” He was on oxygen at the time but said, “I feel fine. Doing great.” Then he closed the door, which bore a plaque that said, “Peace to all who enter here.”

If charged, Hart, 88, would have become the highest-ranking Roman Catholic cleric in the country to face criminal prosecution for sexual abuse of a minor.

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