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 9, 2020

Springfield Diocese to hold prayer service for racial healing

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
MASS Live/Special to The Republican

June 9, 2020

By Anne-Gerard Flynn

The Most Rev. Mitchell Rozanski, bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield, will hold a prayer service for racial healing Friday, June 12, at 5 p.m. at St. Michael’s Cathedral, 254 State. St.

The May 25 police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed African American man accused of passing a counterfeit $20 bill in Minneapolis, has sparked global protests and violence over the murder that involved four officers and has brought calls for reforms from a variety of sectors to address decades of systemic racism.

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.

Lawsuit alleges sexual child abuse at a Howard County church’s early learning center

BALTIMORE (MD)
WMAR

June 8, 2020

The parents of five children have filed a lawsuit against the Glen Mar United Methodist Church’s Early Learning Center and the school’s former director, alleging there children were allowed to be sexually abused by a former employee in 2019.

Filed in Howard County Circuit Court, the lawsuit claims the Howard County Police Department and State’s Attorney’s Office closed the case without thoroughly investigating.

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.

Sexual abuse allegations by former priests in Hampton Roads under investigation

RICHMOND (VA)
Daily Press

June 9, 2020

By Dave Ress

Allegations of sexual abuse of Hampton Roads children by four retired or inactive priests are now under review by the Catholic Diocese of Richmond.

None of the four are currently serving in active ministry, the diocese said Monday. None have served in the diocese in recent years.

The diocese has not reached any conclusions about the allegations, though it has informed civil authorities about 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.

Inuit women in Nunavut suffer ‘unnecessary violence,’ racism from RCMP, legal aid board says

CANADA
CBC News

June 8, 2020

By Thomas Rohner

Details from more than 30 cases described in 2 letters to RCMP complaints commission

WARNING: Details in this story may be disturbing to some readers.

Inuit in Nunavut, especially women, suffer systemic police abuse, including excessive violence and persistent racism, according to the territory’s legal aid agency.

The Legal Services Board of Nunavut says it has “significant concerns” about the quality of policing and conduct of officers as reported by its Inuit clients in Nunavut’s 25 communities.

The board is calling for a systemic review of policing in Nunavut.

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.

Richmond diocese reviews allegations against four ex-priests

RICHMOND (VA)
The Associated Press

June 9, 2020

The Catholic Diocese of Richmond announced it has begun reviewing child sexual abuse allegations made against four former priests in Virginia.

“While the alleged incidents are from the past, we recognize the pain is still a deep and present reality for victim survivors of abuse and for their loved ones,” Bishop Barry C. Knestout said in the statement released Monday.

An allegation has been made against Fr. William Dinga while he served at Norfolk’s Christ the King Catholic Church in 1986, the statement said. Dinga, who was ordained as a priest a

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

Retired priest with ties to Roanoke one of four investigated by Catholic Diocese

RICHMOND (VA)
WDBJ7/Catholic Diocese of Richmond Release

June 9, 2020

The Catholic Diocese of Richmond has begun a review into allegations of child sexual abuse involving four retired or inactive priests.

The diocense said none of the accused priests is currently, or has recently served, in active ministry, and won’t as long as the investigations are underway.

The four priests named in the allegations are:

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.

TX Supreme Court to hear Lubbock defamation case

TEXAS
Fox34

June 8, 2020

The Texas Supreme Court will hear a defamation lawsuit out of Lubbock. It’s Jesus Guerrero’s case against the Catholic Diocese.

In January 2019 the church sent media outlets a list of clergy credibly accused of sexually assaulting children.

Guerrero’s name was on it, the church claims, because he was credibly accused of assaulting a woman with a mental disability. Under Cannon Law, she is considered a minor.

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.

Texas Supreme Court to hear case of former deacon suing diocese for abuse claim

TEXAS
Catholic News Service

June 9, 2020
.
By Kevin J. Jones

The Texas Supreme Court will hear the Diocese of Lubbock’s appeal of a legal decision allowing a former deacon to sue the diocese for defamation for including his name on a list of clergy credibly accused of sex abuse.

“We are committed to transparency for the trust and safety of the members of our parishes,” Bishop Robert Coerver of Lubbock said June 8. “At a time when many religious messages are being shared digitally, courts must protect churches’ ability to communicate effectively with their members.”

“Churches should not be punished for doing the right thing,” Montse Alvarado, vice president and executive director at the legal group Becket, said June 8. “Clergy hold a unique position of trust within their communities, and churches should be free to notify members and other affected individuals when clergy violate that trust. That is true even when the warning goes beyond the four walls of the church building.”

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 Franciscan brother living in DeWitt named by second man as sexual abuser

DEWITT (MICHIGAN)
Lansing State Journal

June 8, 2020

By Megan Banta

Two religious orders deny any knowledge of sexual abuse by a former Franciscan brother living in DeWitt who is now named in two lawsuits.

Martin Rusnak filed a lawsuit in New Jersey earlier this year naming Kurt Munn as an abuser and saying religious leaders enabled Munn for decades.

In the legal complaint filed in Mercer County, Rusnak says Munn started abusing him in the 1970s.

That abuse has left Rusnak “unable to live a normal life,” the lawsuit says.

Rusnak is the second man to name Munn as his abuser in a lawsuit. About two months before Rusnak filed his complaint, Todd Kostrub — who Rusnak identifies as a former neighbor — named Munn as his abuser in a lawsuit also filed in Mercer County.

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

Abuse inquiry seeking predator priest confessions

AUCKLAND (NEW ZEALAND)
WAATEA News

June 9, 2020

An Auckland man who was abused as a child by his parish priest is urging anyone with similar stories to tell them to the Royal Commission on Abuse in State Care and Religious Institutions.

Mike Ledingham says the late Father Frank Green set up gymnastics and other activities in his Onehunga parish in the late 1950s to get close to children he then abused.

The former soldier says he kept quiet about his experience because of the social conditions at the time, but it affected his schooling and subsequent approach to life and he later discovered two of his brothers were also abused by Green, along with at least 30 other children.

Mr Ledingham says it’s important to find if New Zealand had the same level of paedophilia in the Catholic church as was uncovered by the Australian Royal Commission.

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 Diocese of Richmond Begins Review into Allegations Against Four Retired or Inactive Priests

RICHMOND (VA)
Catholic Diocese of Richmond

June 8, 2020

The Catholic Diocese of Richmond announced today (June 8), it has begun a review into allegations of child sexual abuse involving four retired or inactive priests.

None of the accused priests are currently serving in active ministry, nor have they recently served in ministry for the diocese. The diocese has not reached any conclusions regarding these allegations, rather this statement serves to announce the beginning of its inquiry into the allegations. Until this inquiry concludes, the accused are not deemed to have committed the acts alleged.

At the same time, Bishop Knestout acknowledges it takes great courage to come forward to report allegations of this nature. “While the alleged incidents are from the past, we recognize the pain is still a deep and present reality for victim survivors of abuse and for their loved ones,” said Bishop Barry C. Knestout. “We continue to pray for their healing and for their loved ones who support 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.

Richmond Diocese reviewing sex abuse allegation against four priests

RICHMOND (VA)
CBS19 News

June 8, 2020

The Richmond Catholic Diocese says it is reviewing allegations against four retired or inactive priests.

According to a release, the allegations involve child sexual abuse, but none of the accused priests are currently serving in active ministry and they have not recently served in ministry for the diocese.

“While the alleged incidents are from the past, we recognize the pain is still a deep and present reality for victim survivors of abuse and their loved ones,” said Bishop Barry Knestout. “We continue to pray for their healing for their loved ones who support 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.

June 8, 2020

Upper South Carolina Bishop announces plan to retire

SOUTH CAROLINA
Episcopal News Service

June 8, 2020

[Diocese of Upper South Carolina] The Rt. Rev. W. Andrew Waldo on June 6 announced plans to retire at the end of 2021 and called for the election of the ninth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina. The Standing Committee of the diocese gave their consent to both announcements.

Waldo has led the diocese since 2010. He was elected by diocesan lay leaders and clergy in December 2009, and was consecrated and installed the following May.

“In the coming months, we will have ample opportunity to reflect on the important work have we have done together in God’s gracious hands,” Waldo said in a pastoral letter to the diocese. “We have learned much about how to be in deeper dialogue on difficult issues, like same-sex blessings/marriage and racial reconciliation. We have built relationships to support public education through parish-school partnerships and advocacy. We have worked to create and live into norms of transparency and mature discipleship across the Diocese. We have changed the face of the college of clergy within the Diocese, now having one of the highest percentages of women in charge of congregations in the Episcopal 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.

Former Arlington Pastor Sentenced To 24+ Years For Child Exploitation

DALLAS (TX)
CBSDFW

June 1, 2020

A former Arlington pastor was sentenced to 24 years and five months in federal prison on Monday for sexual exploitation of a child.

Brett Jarad Monroe, 39, former associate pastor at Heritage Baptist Church in Arlington pleaded guilty in January to one count of sexual exploitation of a child.

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.

Msgr. Charles Kaza reinstated to active ministry at St. Tobias Parish, Brockway

BROCKWAY (PA)
wcednews

June 3, 2020

The Most Rev. Lawrence T. Persico, bishop of Erie, has announced that Msgr. Charles Kaza, pastor of St. Tobias Parish, Brockway, has been reinstated to active ministry.

Members of the parish were notified during Mass on Sunday that Msgr. Kaza will return to his assignment as their pastor effective today, June 1.

Consistent with diocesan policy, Msgr. Kaza had been removed from active ministry and placed on administrative leave on May 13, 2019, as the result of an allegation of abuse made against him.

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.

Royal Commission and Cardinal Pell

AUSTRALIA
Catholic Voice

June 5, 2020

By Denis O’Brien

The recent release of the unredacted reports of the Royal Commission concerning the archdiocese of Melbourne and church authorities in Ballarat enables an assessment to be made of the behaviour of Cardinal Pell who as a younger man served in the church hierarchy in both places. Does the Commission’s narrative provide a basis for levelling against him the kind of criticism that has rightly been made of other church leaders who failed to deal appropriately with child sexual abusers? I suggest it does not.

The Ballarat report is mainly concerned with the response of church authorities to abuse perpetrated at Christian Brother schools in the diocese and to abuse perpetrated by certain priests of the diocese. The report discusses Pell’s involvement with Christian Brother offenders, Fitzgerald and Dowlan. Complaints were made about Fitzgerald when Pell was an assistant priest at Ballarat East in 1973. The main complaints concerned Fitzgerald taking grade 3 boys to an annual camp where they swam naked and his practice of kissing boys as they left school for the day. Pell heard about this behaviour. However, the Royal Commission accepted his evidence that he had no jurisdiction over the Christian Brothers. It also concluded that “it was not unreasonable for Father Pell, as a diocesan priest, to believe it was not for him to raise the conduct of Brother Fitzgerald with the provincial”.

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.

Still No Charges for Former Wyoming Bishop Despite Police Recommendations, SNAP Calls for Action

WYOMING
SNAP Network

June 8, 2020

Despite two separate investigations and the recommendations from local police to file charges, Wyoming prosecutors have yet to take any steps forward. We call on the district attorney of Natrona County to make a public update on the case, explain his office’s delay in filing charges, and immediately take steps that can help prevent future cases of clergy sexual abuse.

In August 2019, Cheyenne police first announced a recommendation of charges against former Bishop Joseph Hart, but the local district attorney, Dan Itzen, asked that police reopen the investigation to interview more potential witnesses. Seven months later, in March 2020, police in Cheyenne, WY wrapped up that second investigation into Bishop Hart. Despite that second investigation finishing in a similar manner to the first, D.A. Itzen has yet to pursue charges.

We believe Mr. Itzen owes it to the public – and to the law enforcement officials who investigated the allegations against Bishop Hart – to explain why he has yet to take any action on those investigations. As of this writing, at least 17 different people have alleged abuse by the Bishop and the investigations into alleged abuse in Wyoming represent not only the best shot at justice for those victims but also a chance to prevent future abuse from occurring.

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 details emerge in Conway pastor’s death

CONWAY (NC)
BR

June 5, 2020

By Seth Brown

Jayson Rowe died from apparent suicide as police investigated sex crime allegation

North Carolina pastor Jayson Rowe died by apparent suicide on June 2, according to the Conway Police Department (CPD). Law enforcement officers were investigating an allegation of criminal sexual misconduct against Rowe when they received a call about his death, a spokesperson told the Biblical Recorder.

Officers responded to the call immediately and attempted resuscitation, CPD said. The medical examination and investigation reports are forthcoming.

Rowe, 40, had been the pastor of Conway Baptist Church since 2018.

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.

Brooklyn Bishop Accused by Second Man of Sex Abuse

NEW YORK (NY)
AP

June 4, 2020

The Roman Catholic bishop of Brooklyn, already under a church investigation for alleged sex abuse, has been accused by a second man of abuse in the 1970s, when the bishop was a parish priest in New Jersey.

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 Winter Haven priest accused of sexually abusing teen in Polk facility; lawsuit filed in Polk Circuit Court

BARTOW (FL)
The Ledger

June 6, 2020

By Suzie Schottelkotte

A Sarasota man is suing former Winter Haven priest Fred Ruse on allegations of sexual abuse while the man was incarcerated in Polk as a teenager. Ruse has denied the accusations.

A Sarasota man is suing a former Winter Haven priest on allegations of sexual abuse while the man was incarcerated as a teenager at Demilly Correctional Institution near Polk City.

In the lawsuit, filed in Polk Circuit Court, the man states that he initially met with the Rev. Fred Ruse, then pastor at St. Matthew Catholic Church in Winter Haven, at the prison to receive communion in 2001 and 2002. They met privately in the chaplain’s office and in classrooms at the prison, the lawsuit states.

Ruse, now 70, began bringing gifts to the teenager, including Harry Potter books, according to the lawsuit.

“As (the teenager) began to place increasing trust in their relationship, Ruse used these opportunity to fondle (the teenager)…,” the lawsuit states. “The sexual contact then progressed to Father Ruse giving oral sex to (the teenager) and receiving oral sex from (him.)”

At the time, Ruse was not chaplain at the prison, which closed in 2012.

“Although these encounters occurred in a secure detention center, Father Ruse was allowed to meet privately with (the teenager) due to his status as a clergyman,” the lawsuit states.

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.

North-East priest in court charged with rape

DARLINGTON (UK)
The Northern Echo

June 6, 2020

By Andrew White

A PRIEST who was suspended from a North-East church last year has appeared in court charged with raping a woman 34 years ago.

John Anthony Clohosey, 71, is accused of carrying out the attack on or about January 1, 1986, in Gateshead.

Rev Clohosey was suspended from duties of Our Lady Immaculate and St Cuthbert’s RC Church, in Crook, County Durham, late last year.

Parishioners had been told the news in a special service by the Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle, but were not told the reasons.

The Diocese said it was cooperating with Northumbria Police to assist with their investigation.

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WHISTLEBLOWER PRIEST RETURNED TO MINISTRY

GAYLORD (MI)
ChurchMilitant

June 8, 2020

By David Nussman

Moves to parish in another state

A priest who was punished for blowing the whistle on a vicar general is now returning to active ministry.

Father Matthew Cowan, a priest in the diocese of Gaylord, Michigan, complained of sexual harassment by then-vicar general Fr. Dennis Stilwell — filing the complaint in August 2018. Father Cowan went public with the allegations in December 2018, citing the diocese’s failure to act on his claims.

In response to his going public, Gaylord’s Bp. Steven Raica put Fr. Cowan on paid administrative leave in January 2019.

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.

Do You Walk On By, or Help?

UNITED STATES
Psychology Today

June 8, 2020

By Rosemary K.M. Sword and Philip Zimbardo Ph.D.

The Bystander Effect has contaminated our nation, including law enforcement

In the biblical parable of the Good Samaritan, a man from the ancient city of Samaria sees another man in pain lying in the road. Many people ignored the man and passed him by; but the Samaritan stopped to help him. He followed The Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. In a perfect world, we would all help one another in times of need. We would perform the altruistic act of assistance, without expecting anything in return, or considering unintended consequences. And ideally others would stop and help us if we were in need of assistance.

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.

Southern Baptist president’s church abuse policies under fire

UNITED STATES
Religion News Service via Oakland Press

June 7, 2020

By Adelle M. Banks

Since the beginning of 2019, Southern Baptist Convention President J.D. Greear has been among the most high-profile advocates for preventing sex abuse and protecting victims of abuse in the nation’s largest Protestant denomination.

Greear, pastor of The Summit Church, a megachurch in Durham, N.C., called for Southern Baptist leaders to investigate and oust churches that cover up abuse.

He set up an advisory group of experts to aid the SBC in dealing with the issue of abuse, helping create a “Caring Well” initiative to prevent abuse and minister to survivors.

Greear also led a litany of lament during the SBC’s 2019 annual meeting

“The failures of the way of man brought us to the place we are as a denomination on this issue of abuse,” Greear said at the meeting. “It is only the movement of God, we know, that can rescue us from it. It’s not just policy. It’s not just statements and changes. It’s the spirit of God working in us.”

Now advocates for abuse survivors are criticizing Greear after his church decided to hire a teaching pastor who has been accused of mishandling an abuse claim in the past and for a Summit Church policy that would allow registered sex abusers to attend worship services.

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.

Third party sex abuser database goes online for Baptists

UNITED STATES
Tab Media

June 7, 2020

A new database of Baptist sex abusers is now online.

Baptistaccountability.org is based on sexual abuse survivor advocate Christa Brown’s stopbaptistpredators.org, which she managed from 2006 to 2012, and the Houston Chronicle’s “Abuse of Faith” series and database, an exposé published in 2019. The database is managed by Megan and Dominique Benninger, who brought to light their former pastor’s record as a convicted child molester after the leadership of their Pennsylvania church failed to disclose it.

Third party databases only highlight the need for a sanctioned SBC database, Brown said. Most cases of sexual abuse are never criminally prosecuted, meaning many predators are simply able to “church-hop” with no accountability.

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 of Lincoln faces safeguarding disciplinary proceedings

LINCOLN (ENGLAND)
BBC News

June 3, 2020

The Bishop of Lincoln will face disciplinary proceedings in relation to a safeguarding inquiry.

Bishop Christopher Lowson, who was suspended last year, faces allegations he “failed to respond appropriately to safeguarding disclosures”.

The Church of England said there was no allegation the bishop “committed abuse of a child or vulnerable adult”.

Officials also confirmed the bishop’s suspension would continue.

At the time of his suspension, the Church of England commissioned an investigation to consider whether the bishop would “present a significant risk of harm by not adequately safeguarding children and vulnerable people, if the matters were found to be proven”.

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 7, 2020

Former Winter Haven priest accused of molestation in lawsuit

LAKELAND (FL)
The Ledger

June 6, 2020

By Suzie Schottelkotte

A Sarasota man is suing former Winter Haven priest Fred Ruse on allegations of sexual abuse while the man was incarcerated as a teenager. Ruse has denied the accusations.

Bartow – A Sarasota man is suing a former Winter Haven priest on allegations of sexual abuse while the man was incarcerated as a teenager at Demilly Correctional Institution near Polk City.

In the lawsuit, filed in Polk Circuit Court, the man states that he initially met with the Rev. Fred Ruse, then pastor at St. Matthew Catholic Church in Winter Haven, at the prison to receive communion in 2001 and 2002. They met privately in the chaplain’s office and in classrooms at the prison, the lawsuit states.

Ruse, now 70, began bringing gifts to the teenager, including Harry Potter books, according to the lawsuit.

“As (the teenager) began to place increasing trust in their relationship, Ruse used these opportunity to fondle (the teenager)…,” the lawsuit states. “The sexual contact then progressed to Father Ruse giving oral sex to (the teenager) and receiving oral sex from (him.)”

At the time, Ruse was not chaplain at the prison, which closed in 2012.

“Although these encounters occurred in a secure detention center, Father Ruse was allowed to meet privately with (the teenager) due to his status as a clergyman,” the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit, filed by Fort Lauderdale lawyer Adam Horowitz, alleges the abuse took place on multiple occasions.

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.

Richmond Hill’s Jean Vanier school gets new name following sex abuse allegations

RICHMOND HILL (ONTARIO, CANADA)
Richmond Hill Liberal

June 4, 2020

By Sheila Wang

School will be named Our Lady Queen of the World Catholic Academy

Jean Vanier Catholic High School has a new name.

York Catholic District School Board announced June 4 the school will be named Our Lady Queen of the World Catholic Academy, replacing its former name due to sex abuse allegations against its namesake, Jean Vanier.

“The York Catholic District School Board remains steadfast in its belief that sexual assault and sexual exploitation are unacceptable behaviours that will not be tolerated,” board chair Maria Marchese said in a news release.

The Catholic school board decided to rename the Richmond Hill school back in February when revelations about L’Arche founder Vanier surfaced and shocked the local community.

L’Arche International released the report Feb. 21, revealing accusations he engaged in “manipulative sexual relationships” that took place under “coercive conditions” from 1970 to 2005.

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.

Rochester school district sued again over child sexual abuse allegations

ROCHESTER (NY)
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

June 5, 2020

By Steve Orr

A former Rochester schoolteacher, was allowed to remain in the classroom for years after being accused of sexually abusing a student, has been sued by the young man who accused him two decades ago.

The boy’s mother reported the alleged abuse to the administration at her son’s elementary, Henry Hudson School 28, shortly after it took place, according to news reports from that era.

The principal reportedly told her that the teacher, David Heil, would be removed from service. But he was not. School officials also failed to inform child protective services or the police, as the law may have required, according to the news reports.

The boy’s mother happened to visit another city elementary school six years later and discovered Heil was teaching there. She called police, and Heil was subsequently charged, convicted and sent to prison.

The case was one of several in which Rochester school officials have been accused of failing to act on sexual abuse allegations.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in state Supreme Court in Monroe County, is the 14th brought against the Rochester City School District under provisions of the Child Victims Act. The act allows the revival of old child sexual abuse claims that had been blocked by New York’s statute of limitations.

Heil, who no longer teaches in the city, is the fifth Rochester school district employee to be accused in a CVA suit.

Only New York City’s massive school district has had more employees named in CVA suits, and only New York City and a suburban Buffalo school district have been sued more often than Rochester for alleged sexual abuse of its students.

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NCAA argues in sex abuse case it has no legal duty to protect athletes

ANAHEIM (CA)
Orange County Register

June 2, 2020

By Scott M. Reid

NCAA says it will ask a federal judge to dismiss a class action suit filed by three former track athletes who allege they were sexually abused and harassed by their college coach

Olympic high jumper Erin Aldrich was not surprised when she read the NCAA’s latest response to the lawsuit she and two other track and field athletes filed against the organization.

Frustrated, yes, but not surprised.

The NCAA, facing a potential landmark class action lawsuit, said it has no legal obligation to protect student athletes against sexual abuse and harassment, according to a filing in U.S. District Court Northern District of California.

“You don’t expect a coward to come out and take responsibility,” Aldrich said. “They’ve basically responded sadly in the way they’ve responded for years.”

The NCAA in the filing also said it will ask Judge Edward J. Davila in July to dismiss the suit in which Aldrich and former Texas track athletes Jessica Johnson and Londa Bevins allege the NCAA has helped create a national sexual abuse epidemic by choosing not to implement rules or impose sanctions that would require member schools to take steps to prevent and report abuse by coaches and deter perpetrators.

“We aren’t hoping for change here. We are demanding change from the NCAA,” Aldrich said.

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Child Victims Act extended for another year amid courts shutdown

BROOKLYN (NY)
Brooklyn Eagle

May 29, 2020

By Rob Abruzzese

The Child Victims Act, the law that gave sexual abuse survivors a one-year window to sue for abuse they suffered past the statute of limitations, was officially extended on Wednesday by the State Legislature.

Advocates said that the extension was necessary as the COVID-19 pandemic had shut down the courts to all but emergency and essential applications, which limited the ability of victims to sue. The current bill extends the law for another year, but still needs to be signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to take effect.

“The passage of the Child Victims Act remains one of the most historic victories for child abuse survivors in New York State, and the COVID pandemic nearly prevented countless survivors from ensuring accountability — but today’s vote proves that nothing can stand in the way of justice,” said James R. Marsh, a New York attorney who represents more than 700 childhood sexual abuse survivors statewide.

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.

Child Victims Act lawsuit accuses Seton basketball coach of abuse in 1970s

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

June 5, 2020

By Anthony Borrelli

A former Seton Catholic student’s lawsuit under New York’s Child Victims Act accuses a former basketball coach there of sexually abusing him more than two dozen times in the early 1970s.

The lawsuit filed May 28 in the state Supreme Court of Broome County claims coach Vincent Dutkowski, who died in 2012, used his position to gain the victim’s trust and confidence before abusing him.

In 1972, the lawsuit says, the 14-year-old boy enrolled at the former Seton Catholic High School in Endicott. When he was about 14 to 16, he helped out as a ballboy and assistant during basketball practices.

Dutkowski allegedly used those encounters to sexually abuse the teen on approximately 25 occasions and at different locations, including an office and at Dutkowski’s home, according to the lawsuit. The victim now resides in California.

Seton Catholic Central in Binghamton and the former Seton Catholic High School in Endicott are defendants in the lawsuit, along with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse. The former Seton Catholic and Catholic Central high schools merged in 1976.

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Priest-chaplain: ‘At this time, at this juncture, black lives matter’

WASHINGTON (DC)
Catholic News Service

June 4, 2020

By Mark Pattison

As daily protests over the death of George Floyd while in the custody of a Minneapolis police officer have spilled over into some of the United States’ largest cities and roiled the nation, a chaplain to several law enforcement agencies in the San Francisco Bay Area said, “At this point, at this time, at this juncture, black lives matter.”

Father Jayson Landeza, a priest of the Diocese of Oakland, California, says he makes that declaration because “these are the ones who are being profoundly affected by police brutality.”

The last three parish assignments of Father Landeza, who is of Filipino, Irish and Hawaiian heritage, have been to parishes whose membership is 90% or more African American. Growing up in the Bay Area, he said, “I can think of all the times I was call ‘Jap,’ called the N-word and worse because I was with a bunch of African American kids.”

Father Landeza — a chaplain to the Oakland Police, the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, two smaller police forces nearby, plus the regional branch of the FBI, the Secret Service and other federal agencies — said that “San Francisco Bay Area cops have a good relationship with the communities” they serve.

“The people I work with in law enforcement are good people,” he told Catholic News Service. “There’s not a cop I know that’s not deeply and profoundly offended by what happened in Minneapolis.”

He said the bad actions of a few African Americans should not stereotype all African Americans. In the same way, he added, “you can’t paint this broad picture of Catholic priests vis-a-vis sex abuse, with cops’ abuse vis-a-vis violence.”

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 6, 2020

N.J. sexual abuse law survives catholic school’s challenge

MORRISTOWN (NJ)
Associated Press

June 5, 2020

A Superior Court judge has ruled in favor of a New Jersey statute that gives victims of sexual abuse more time to sue.

The 2019 law waived the statue of limitations and allowed victims to file civil suits until they are 55, or seven years after they discover they were abused.

Judge Peter Bogaard of Morris County ruled against two arguments submitted by attorneys for Delbarton School, a catholic school in Morristown, NJ Advance Media reported. A man only identified in the suit by his initials alleges that he was sexually assaulted by former monk Richard Lott at Delbarton and that the Order of St. Benedict of New Jersey, which runs the school, did nothing.

Lott’s attorney, Brian Mason, said “the allegations made against my client are vehemently denied and we look forward to vindication at trial.”

The Order of St. Benedict has denied the allegations in court

Attorneys for Delabarton argued that the statute is unconstitutional and that the plaintiff should have to prove he discovered his assault within in the two years allotted before the statue.

Judge Bogaard ruled that the law is constitutional and that it should be applied to all ongoing child sexual abuse cases.

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Criminal investigation into Wyoming clergy sexual abuse drags into third year

POCATELLO (ID)
KPVI 6 NBC

June 5, 2020

By Seth Klamann

https://www.kpvi.com/news/regional_news/criminal-investigation-into-wyoming-clergy-sexual-abuse-drags-into-third-year/article_9e2d0bde-3e3a-511d-bd08-75b23a10782e.html

The criminal investigation into sexual abuse by members of the Catholic clergy in Wyoming passed its second birthday in April, a prolonged process with no end in sight that has “shattered” an alleged victim’s family’s belief in the criminal justice system.

In August, Cheyenne police recommended that retired bishop Joseph Hart, the highest-ranking member of the Catholic church in Wyoming for 25 years, be charged with sexual abuse. The investigation and the documents detailing the allegations were then turned over to Natrona County District Attorney Dan Itzen, who will serve as special prosecutor should charges be filed because of a conflict of interest in the prosecutor’s office in Cheyenne.

But nothing has happened since. Itzen has repeatedly declined to comment. Cheyenne police said late last year that Itzen had passed the investigation back to them for some further work, but a police spokesman told the Star-Tribune that Itzen now has the case back.

“We thought things would’ve moved by now,” then-Cheyenne police spokesman Kevin Malatesta said in November.

“I honestly have no answer for you,” current spokesman David Inman said when asked why nothing had happened with the investigation. “The case is in (prosecutors’) hands now. You can try to have their D.A. contact me if you’d like, but there is no answer I or detectives can give you as to why it is being held up.”

Messages sent to Itzen this week were not returned.

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‘They are mistaken’: AG backs sex-abuse law challenged by Diocese of Providence

PROVIDENCE (RI)
Providence Journal

June 5, 2020

By Brian Amaral

Three alleged priest abuse victims and the state attorney general this week defended the legality of the new deadline to sue over child molestation after the Diocese of Providence argued a key feature was unconstitutional.

The arguments come in response to the Diocese of Providence’s attempt to have the three alleged victims’ lawsuits dismissed from state court.

A 2019 law extended the deadline to sue over childhood sexual abuse from seven years to 35 years after a victim’s 18th birthday. It also retroactively extended that deadline for victims, so they could sue their perpetrator within that time even if their claims had already expired under the old law. The Diocese of Providence argues that that is unconstitutional, pointing to a 1996 state Supreme Court decision.

“They are mistaken,” the attorney general’s office said in a filing Thursday in state Superior Court.

Attorney General Peter Neronha’s office filed an amicus brief in the case after it became clear that the legality of the new law would be a key feature in the legal battle between the three men — Philip Edwardo, Robert Houllahan and Peter Cummings — and the leadership of the Diocese of Providence. Superior Court Judge Netti C. Vogel is hearing the case.

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Polish Priests Won’t Back Bishop

FERNDALE (MI)
Church Militant

June 3, 2020

By Martina Moyski

Kalisz, Poland – Polish priests have refused to sign letters of loyalty to their diocesan bishop who has been accused of the cover-up of child abuse, choosing instead to stand with the victims.

Priests in the Polish diocese of Kalisz have taken a stand against Bp. Edward Janiak after an incident of child abuse cover-up was exposed in a recent documentary.

The primate of Poland, Wojciech Polak, has also reacted to the revelations of cover-up and has notified the Vatican representative in Poland asking for an investigation.

This case will represent the first one in Poland being processed under the motu proprio Vos Estis Lux Mundi, in which Pope Francis established universal procedural norms for combatting sexual abuse and ensuring that bishops are accountable for their actions.

“I ask priests, nuns, parents and educators to not be led by the false logic of shielding the Church, effectively hiding sexual abusers,” Abp. Polak said in a statement according to Deutsche Welle (DW), a German media outlet. “There is no place among the clergy to sexually abuse minors. We do not allow for the hiding of these crimes.”

The documentary in question is Hide and Seek, produced by Marek and Tomasz Sekielski, and focuses on the abuse of two brothers — Bartek and Jakub Pankowiak — by a parish priest Fr. Arkadiusz Hajdasz in the small town of Pleszew in central Poland. The two brothers were not the only victims, according to the film. The priest is accused of abusing dozens of boys in the 1990s with bishops making multiple attempts to cover up his alleged actions.

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Former Camden bishop DiMarzio faces second sex-abuse allegation

CHERRY HILL (NJ)
Cherry Hill Courier-Post

June 4, 2020

By Jim Walsh

Camden – A second man has accused a former bishop of the Diocese of Camden of childhood sexual abuse.

Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, who now leads the Diocese of Brooklyn, rejected the claim of wrongdoing that dates to the late 1970s.

“There is absolutely no truth to the allegation,” the bishop said Thursday. “I deny this outrageous and libelous claim.”

DiMarzio, who led South Jersey’s Catholics from 1999 to 2003, said he might sue his accusers.

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Brooklyn Bishop Calls Allegations “Libelous,” SNAP Reacts

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

June 5, 2020

A New York Catholic prelate who is facing multiple allegations of child sexual abuse is lashing out at his accusers publicly, threatening to file a lawsuit against them. We condemn this intimidation tactic and challenge the bishop to fight the allegations on their merits in a court of law.

Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio – who has been accused by two different men who live in two different states and who have never met nor spoken with each other – is claiming the allegations against him are an “attempt to destroy my name and discredit what I have accomplished” and is threatening to take legal action against the two. In a statement, Bishop DiMarzio said “I have retained counsel and am contemplating filing a lawsuit against those responsible for these accusations, which have no basis in fact.”

This is a shameful response. Bishop DiMarzio should defend himself without attacking his accusers. That is what Cardinal Joseph Bernardin did, and that is what any real shepherd would do. Suing accusers does nothing but intimidate other potential victims, witnesses and whistleblowers into staying silent.

Bishop DiMarzio also wrote that he is “ready, willing, and able to go to trial to defend myself.”

People often say this when accused of a crime. But there is a third option; instead of hiding behind carefully crafted public relations denials OR waiting for trials, accused abusers – if they’re really ‘willing’ to tell their side of the story – could simply hold an open news conference and take questions from professional journalists. In light of Bishop DiMarzio’s repeated pledges to be ‘open’ about abuse cases, we call on him to do this now.

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A Letter Regarding Second Allegation of Misconduct

BROOKLYN (NY)
The Tablet

June 4, 2020

By Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

I regret to inform you the Archdiocese of Newark has notified me that a second allegation has been leveled by an individual claiming misconduct dating back 40 years. The attorney in both of these matters is Mitchell Garabedian. He is seeking a total of $40 million in these two unsubstantiated allegations.

There is absolutely no truth to either of these allegations. I deny this outrageous and libelous claim. I am contemplating filing a lawsuit against those responsible for these statements, which have no basis in fact. I am ready, willing, and able to go to trial to defend myself.

I have hired Joseph Hayden, an experienced trial lawyer from New Jersey, who has been investigating these claims and has uncovered conclusive evidence of my innocence. We plan to challenge these allegations in court or in any other proceeding. I will never agree to a settlement of these claims.

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Scurrilous Attacks on Bishop DiMarzio

NEW YORK (NY)
Catholic League

June 4, 2020

By Bill Donohue

Cardinal George Pell of Australia was recently acquitted of sexually abusing minors, accusations that were totally without foundation from the beginning. In this country, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio is now being accused, for the second time, of abusing a minor. In the end, the smart money is on these charges being found as bogus as the ones against Pell.

Last November, attorney Mitchell Garabedian made a big public splash when he said he was going to file suit against DiMarzio for abusing Mark Matzek in the 1970s. But he never did. It was all for show: His goal was to smear DiMarzio’s good reputation. Now Garabedian—whom I have dealt with and found to be unethical—claims he has found another victim, Samier Tadros.

Bishop DiMarzio categorically denies both accusations and his lawyer, Joseph Hayden, says, “We have uncovered conclusive evidence of Bishop DiMarzio’s innocence.” No lawyer, aside from those like Garabedian, would put his name on the line with such an unequivocal statement unless he knew his case was a slam dunk.

Some things just don’t add up. Why would anyone wait a half century to bring a lawsuit? How is it possible that the parents of these boys never knew about it—Tadros says the abuse started when he was 6 years old and happened “repeatedly”—especially given its alleged serial nature?

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June 5, 2020

Brooklyn bishop vigorously denies abuse allegation

DENVER (CO)
Crux

June 4, 2020

By Christopher White

New York – Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio is strongly denying a second allegation by attorney Mitchell Garabedian that he abused a minor during his early ministry as a priest and says he is considering filing a defamation lawsuit against Garabedian, whom he says continues to pursue false allegations against him.

“There is absolutely no truth to this allegation. I deny this outrageous and libelous claim,” he said in a statement in response to an Associated Press article on June 4.

The article claims that Samier Tadros, now 46 years old, was “repeatedly sexually abused” by DiMarzio at Holy Rosary Church in Jersey City, beginning when Tadros was about six years old.

“This is clearly another attempt to destroy my name and discredit what I have accomplished in my service to God and His people, including my efforts to fight the scourge of sexual abuse,” said DiMarzio’s statement. “I have retained counsel and am contemplating filing a lawsuit against those responsible for these accusations, which have no basis in fact. I am ready, willing, and able to go to trial to defend myself.”

Garabedian said he received a letter from Tadros on March 9, detailing his accusations against DiMarzio after Tadros heard of the previous claim brought forth by Garabedian.

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Quebec moves to eliminate time limits for filing civil sexual assault suits

TORONTO (ONTARIO, CANADA)
Canadian Press via CTV News

June 4, 2020

By Jocelyne Richer

Montreal – Sexual assault victims in Quebec will soon be able to pursue justice against their abusers regardless of how long ago crimes took place, according to proposed legislation tabled Thursday.

The bill tabled in the provincial legislature by Justice Minister Sonia LeBel would eliminate the 30-year time limit for bringing a civil suit against an alleged assailant.

Quebec and Prince Edward Island are the only two provinces to maintain a time limitation for this type of lawsuit.

Victims have long called for the province to eliminate the statute of limitations, including those who were assaulted by pedophile priests as children.

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Three priests removed from public ministry after sex abuse allegations

CHICOPEE (MA)
WWLP

June 4, 2020

by: Tony Fay

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield has removed three priests from public ministry in the past year, following accusations of sexual abuse.

Mark Dupont, spokesperson for the diocese, told 22News that 14 abuse victims have come forward with allegations in the past year, with some of those allegations being made against priests who are now deceased. Of the three living accused priests, Dupont said two are retired.

Being removed from public ministry means that the priests will not be able to celebrate Mass or perform the sacraments. The accused priests are not being identified at this phase in the investigation while the credibility of the accusations are being determined, Dupont said.

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Archdiocese of New Orleans pushes back against whistleblower’s claim of FEMA fraud

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
Times-Picayune and New Orleans Advocate

June 4, 2020

By Gordon Russell

The Archdiocese of New Orleans on Thursday strongly denied the allegations in a whistleblower lawsuit that claims the church and several other local institutions, including Xavier and Dillard universities, misrepresented the extent of damage to their facilities after Hurricane Katrina in order to collect a bigger aid check from the federal government.

A “qui tam” lawsuit filed under seal in 2016 by a former project manager at California-based engineering firm AECOM claims that a former AECOM employee, Randall Krause, knowingly gamed the system to gin up larger payments after it was hired by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help local entities prepare damage assessments for FEMA aid.

*

The church was aware of the lawsuit; it is mentioned in the archdiocese’s recent bankruptcy filing. Presumably, if the government succeeds in its effort to claw back some or all of the overpayment, it will be treated similarly to the archdiocese’s other creditors. A $46 million debt would rank as the archdiocese’s largest obligation.

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Whistleblower suit: Engineering firm pushed Xavier, archdiocese to cheat FEMA after Katrina

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
Times-Picayune and New Orleans Advocate

June 3, 2020

By Gordon Russell

An explosive whistleblower lawsuit unsealed Wednesday alleges that a California engineering firm pushed Xavier University, Dillard University, the Archdiocese of New Orleans and the city’s public school system to cheat the federal government out of more than $100 million meant to rebuild or replace facilities destroyed in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

The suit was filed in 2016 by Robert Romero, a former project manager for the engineering firm, AECOM. Romero has been joined by the U.S. Department of Justice, which is seeking the return of the overpayments as well as money paid to AECOM. The department announced Wednesday that Xavier has agreed to repay $12 million to the federal government.

*

And the archdiocese — which recently declared bankruptcy amid the coronavirus pandemic and a flood of lawsuits over alleged molestation by priests — collected about $46 million in overpayments from FEMA, the suit says. The largest chunk of that, more than $36 million, was paid out after the archdiocese claimed that the four top floors of two assisted-living centers had been catastrophically damaged when that was not true.

A recent filing in the archdiocese’s bankruptcy case made glancing reference to the whistleblower suit, though it gave no estimate of the church’s potential liability.

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Archdiocese sues SBA for denying pandemic payroll loan

GUAM
Guam Daily Post

June 3, 2020

By Haidee Eugenio Gilbert

The Archdiocese of Agana on Tuesday sued the U.S. Small Business Administration, claiming it was unlawfully denied access to a COVID-19 pandemic loan because of its bankruptcy status.

The archdiocese applied for a $151,769 loan under the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program on May 8 in an effort to keep its employees on payroll during the pandemic. The archdiocese is asking the court for a preliminary and permanent injunction that prohibits SBA from denying its PPP loan, based on its bankruptcy status.

The PPP loan is part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security, or CARES, Act, a massive financial assistance package for states and territories to help them deal with the pandemic.

The archdiocese said nothing in the CARES Act, SBA regulations, procedures, or SBA’s first and second interim rules, authorize SBA to exclude debtors in bankruptcy from the PPP.

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Historic sex abuse: Former Catholic brother sentenced to home detention in Napier

AUCKLAND (NEW ZEALAND)
New Zealand Herald

June 5, 2020

An 81-year-old Catholic brother and schoolteacher from Napier has been sentenced to a second term of home detention for sexually abusing children when he was teaching in Masterton more than 40 years ago.

Kevin Peter John Healy was sentenced in Napier District Court today on five charges of indecency in the 1970s, involving a girl aged 8 or 9, and her brother and another boy who were at the time aged 12 and 13.

At least four victims have now been identified, with offending having first come to light in 2016, leading to Healy’s first convictions and home detention sentence the following year. for offences with a boy in 1981-82.

He was later charged with the offences which were before the court today, at one stage seeking a stay of prosecution because of his age, initially pleading not guilty and claiming no memory of the offending.

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New accuser comes forward in DiMarzio case

KANSAS CITY (MO)
National Catholic Reporter

June 4, 2020

By Sarah Salvadore

A second man has come forward to accuse Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of sexual abuse. Samier Tadros, 46, alleges that he was sexually abused between 1979 to 1980, when DiMarzio was assigned as a priest to Holy Rosary Church in Jersey City, a part of the Newark Archdiocese. Tadros was around 6 years old at the time.

DiMarzio, who is currently under church investigation for a previous allegation of abuse, has denied the charges.

The allegations were made in a March 9 letter that Tadros’ attorney, Mitchell Garabedian, sent to the Newark Archdiocese’s attorney, according to The Associated Press.

Garabedian told NCR that Tadros came forward after hearing from a family member that another man had accused DiMarizio of abuse.

Mark Matzek accused DiMarzio of abusing him as a 12-year-old, between 1974 to 1975, when the bishop was a priest assigned to St. Nicholas Church, Jersey City.

“There is absolutely no truth to either of these allegations. I deny this outrageous and libelous claim,” DiMarzio said in a statement. “I am ready, willing, and able to go to trial to defend myself.”

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Second man comes forward to accuse the Bishop of Brooklyn of sex abuse in the 1970s

LONDON (ENGLAND)
Daily Mail

June 4, 2020

By Ryan Fahey

– Bishop DiMarzio is accused of abusing two boys while he was a priest in NJ.
– Samier Tadros ‘came forward after another man filed a lawsuit against DiMarzio’
– Tadros claims the bishop abused him from the age of 6 at Holy Rosary Church
– ‘This is another attempt to destroy my name and discredit what I have accomplished in my service to God and His people,’ the bishop said
– The case has sparked interest after new rules were introduced on the investigation of sex abuse cases by

The Roman Catholic bishop of Brooklyn, already under a church investigation for alleged sex abuse, has been accused by a second man of abuse in the 1970s, when the bishop was a parish priest in New Jersey.

Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio ‘repeatedly sexually abused’ Samier Tadros starting when he was about 6 years old, according to a March 9 letter that Tadros’ lawyer sent to the attorney representing the Archdiocese of Newark. The letter alleges the abuse happened in Holy Rosary Church in Jersey City.

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Brooklyn Bishop DiMarzio faces second allegation of sex abuse in Jersey City

SECAUCUS (NJ)
Jersey Journal

June 4, 2020

By Teri West

A second man has accused the Catholic bishop of Brooklyn of sexually abusing him while assigned to a parish in Jersey City in the 1970s.

Samier Tadros, now 46, alleges that Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio repeatedly abused him, starting when he 6 years old, while DiMarzio was assigned to Holy Rosary Church in Jersey City.

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Eyebrows Raised As Swiss Bishop Taps Woman for Senior Job

FRIBOURG (SWITZERLAND)
Associated Press

June 4, 2020

By Nadine Achoui-Lesage and Jamey Keaten

A Swiss bishop’s appointment of a lay mother of three to a senior administrative post previously held by a priest has raised eyebrows in conservative Catholic circles, at a time when a strengthened role for women in the church is under debate in other European countries.

Marianne Pohl-Henzen will serve as an “episcopal delegate” in the diocese of Lausanne, Geneva and Fribourg, and will also be joining Bishop Charles Morerod’s episcopal council, the main governance advisory body which is traditionally made up of priests and bishops.

Pope Francis has insisted women should be given greater decision-making roles in church governance. He has recently reconstituted a study commission on whether women can be ordained deacons, but has upheld a ban on women priests and counts no women among his top advisers.

Church conservatives are particularly sensitive to any moves involving women in decision-making roles usually reserved for men, fearing they could set in changes motion that could eventually lead to women being ordained priests.

Swiss church leaders insist Pohl-Henzen’s role as “episcopal delegate” for the German-speaking part of the Fribourg canton, or region, will be different from that of her predecessor. He had been an “episcopal vicar,” which under church law is an ordained priest whose main task is to help the bishop govern a part of his diocese, including with authority over priests.

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Dougherty offers fall challenge to Langerholc for Senate seat

JOHNSTOWN (PA)
Tribune-Democrat

May 29, 2020

By Dave Sutor

State Sen. Wayne Langerholc Jr. and challenger Shaun Dougherty will pass through the primary process on Tuesday, heading to what could be one of this year’s most high-profile Pennsylvania state Senate races during the general election.

Langerholc, a Richland Township resident, swung the 35th District seat to the Republicans in 2016 after it had been held by Democrat Sen. John Wozniak since 1997. So the GOP is expected to make a strong effort to retain the seat.

Meanwhile, Dougherty, a Democrat, is an internationally known advocate for victims of child sexual abuse, who has even met with prominent Vatican leaders about the issue.

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June 4, 2020

Brooklyn bishop accused by 2nd man of sex abuse in the 1970s

NEW YORK (NY)
Associated Press

June 4, 2020

By Michael Rezendes

The Roman Catholic bishop of Brooklyn, already under a church investigation for alleged sex abuse, has been accused by a second man of abuse in the 1970s, when the bishop was a parish priest in New Jersey.

Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio “repeatedly sexually abused” Samier Tadros starting when he was about 6 years old, according to a March 9 letter that Tadros’ lawyer sent to the attorney representing the Archdiocese of Newark. The letter alleges the abuse happened in Holy Rosary Church in Jersey City.

DiMarzio has previously denied the accusations made by the first accuser. In a statement to The Associated Press, he also denied the accusation leveled by Tadros. “There is absolutely no truth to this allegation,” he said. “This is clearly another attempt to destroy my name and discredit what I have accomplished in my service to God and His people.”

Joseph Hayden, DiMarzio’s attorney, said in an email to the AP, “We have uncovered conclusive evidence of Bishop DiMarzio’s innocence.” Hayden declined to share the evidence with the AP.

DiMarzio’s case has drawn interest because it is among the first conducted according to procedures Pope Francis issued under a new church law that went into effect last June.

The procedures — known in Latin as Vos Estis Lux Mundi, or You are the Light of the World — were issued in an apostolic letter that addresses how the church will handle claims against bishops and other ranking church officials accused of abuse or covering it up. The rules direct archbishops to lead the investigation of an accused bishop in his jurisdiction. In this case the archbishop of New York is Cardinal Timothy Dolan.

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Springfield Diocese temporarily removes 3 priests from public ministry after sexual abuse allegation

SPRINGFIELD (MA)
Mass Live

June 3, 2020

By Anne-Gerard Flynn

https://www.masslive.com/news/2020/06/springfield-diocese-temporarily-removes-3-priests-from-public-ministry-after-sexual-abuse-allegation.html

Three priests from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield have been temporarily removed from public ministry as a result of an allegation of sexual abuse, according to Jeffrey J. Trant, director of the diocesan Office of Safe Environment and Victim Assistance.

The priests were not identified.

Trant, who was appointed to his position last June, said that 14 new alleged victims have come forward with claims of clerical sexual abuse since July 2019.

“Ten alleged sexual abuse against a minor/child and four alleged sexual abuse against a vulnerable adult,” he said.

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June 3, 2020

Former principal who warned of dangerous priest to sue Catholic Church

SYDNEY (NEW SOUTH WALES, AUSTRALIA)
Sydney Morning Herald

June 1, 2020

By Adam Cooper

If not for a principal’s principles, Graeme Sleeman could have avoided 25 years of emotional and financial hardship.

“That’s the thing that sticks in my neck the most,” the 70-year-old told The Age. “I did the right thing but have lost absolutely everything.”

In the 1980s, the Holy Family School in Doveton was prospering despite its disadvantaged setting, and Mr Sleeman – adored by pupils, admired by staff and parents – had the world “at my feet”.

But the arrival of paedophile Peter Searson as parish priest in 1984 meant Mr Sleeman’s primary focus was to shield his flock from danger.

After more than two years, Mr Sleeman resigned in frustration at having his repeated warnings dismissed. He never found another education job because, he believes, the Catholic Church blacklisted him.

Over the following years, a brilliant career was ruined and his mental health plummeted to the point he considered suicide.

Mr Sleeman now plans to sue the Catholic Church over the Archdiocese of Melbourne’s catastrophic inaction in the 1980s on his complaints about Searson. He estimates his lost education career cost him $3 million.

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Child Victims Act gets 1-year extension

HUDSON (NY)
Hudson Valley 360

June 2, 2020

By Melanie Lekocevic

Albany – The Child Victims Act received a second extension, bringing the filing deadline for child sexual abuse cases past the statute of limitations to Aug. 14, 2021.

Championed for years by New Baltimore activist and attorney Gary Greenberg, who is a survivor of child sexual abuse, the law initially opened a one-year window of opportunity for claimants of child sexual abuse to bring their case to civil court, regardless of the statute of limitations and when the alleged abuse took place.

The law originally went into effect Aug. 15, 2019, and allowed civil cases alleging child sexual abuse to be brought against individuals or institutions through Aug. 14, 2020. But the COVID-19 outbreak in March shut down courts and limited the ability of legal procedures to be carried out, so in May, Gov. Andrew Cuomo extended the look-back window by five months, to Jan. 14, 2021.

The state Legislature on May 27 voted to extend the filing date a second time, to Aug. 14, 2021.

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Elite Upper East Side school sued over decades old sex abuse allegations

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Post

May 30, 2020

By Kathianne Boniello

Peter Defeo III remembers the moment, 50 years ago, when he thought his real-life nightmare would end.

He was alone at Manhattan’s prestigious Saint David’s School with teacher Robert Ludlow, as Ludlow once again molested him.

The terrified 8-year-old made eye contact through an open classroom door with a female administrator in the hall.

“I was hopeful that [she] would turn around and do something,” he told The Post.

Instead, she walked away, leaving DeFeo feeling “like I was totally alone on the planet.”

DeFeo, 59, detailed the horrific abuse in a $20 million Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit filed Saturday against the elite Upper East Side school, a bastion of privilege where Tom Brady’s son is a student and the late John F. Kennedy Jr. an alum.

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‘One of the most important stories:’ Long Prairie native shares his story of child sex abuse

ST. CLOUD (MN)
St. Cloud Times

June 2, 2020

By Nora G. Hertel

Long Prairie – Wind rustled through prairie grass, corn stalks and rust-colored oaks on William Dinkel’s hunting land on a sunny morning in October.

He woke at 5:30 a.m. to wait for deer in a cold tree.

The time that Dinkel — known as Billy — spends outside is sacred. It’s what he lives for.

And yet, around the corner from Billy’s 80 acres of paradise sit two farmsteads where he says he experienced such severe trauma as a child that he must reckon with it every day.

He’s 51 now. And the sexual abuse he says he endured in the late 1970s, between the ages of 8 and 13, still haunts him.

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My catholic priest uncle molested me when I was 11 – DJ Switch

LAGOS (NIGERIA)
PM News

June 2, 2020

By Taiwo Okanlawon

Nigerian rapper and disc jockey, Obianuju Catherine Udeh, popularly known as DJ Switch, has opened up on how her uncle, who’s a catholic priest, molested her at the age of 11.

The songwriter who was the winner of the Glo X-Factor revealed this on his Instagram page on Monday, adding that her revelation may shock her family.

DJ Switch’s post is coming after the brutal killing of Vera Uwaila Omozuwa, a student of the University of Benin (UNIBEN) who was raped and murdered in a church in Benin where she went to study.

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Christopher White named NCR’s national correspondent

KANSAS CITY (MO)
National Catholic Reporter

June 2, 2020

The National Catholic Reporter has named Christopher White as its new national correspondent. He succeeds Heidi Schlumpf, who was named executive editor of the publication in March.

White previously served as national correspondent at Crux, where he covered the intersection of the U.S. and global church, politics and culture. In that position, White reported from dioceses across the United States and filed from 15 countries. He also regularly reported on the Vatican from Rome and has traveled on the papal plane with Pope Francis.

Recently, White broke the story of an off-the-record conversation between President Donald Trump and U.S. Catholic leaders that sparked a national conversation about the longstanding ties between the institutional church and the Republican Party.

“Chris is a rising star among Catholic journalists, and we at NCR are excited for him to continue his career here,” said Schlumpf. “His coverage of the church, politics and culture — with a special attention to the marginalized — will fit well with our publication’s mission.”

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Pope launches direct frontal assault on Vatican nepotism, feudalism

DENVER (CO)
Crux

June 1, 2020

By John L. Allen Jr.

Rome – Some years ago, I was sitting over a beer with a fellow journo who’d covered the Vatican for a long time, discussing a new scandal in which a cardinal who ran a major Vatican department had been accused of making sweetheart deals for Italian politicians to rent apartments in exchange for their votes on funding the rehabbing of his properties under Italy’s “cultural goods” law.

“You know, what he did is obviously corrupt,” my friend said, “but I doubt it’d meet the classic Catholic test for sin.”

What he meant is that for something to be subjectively sinful, the sinner has to know he or she is doing something wrong. Yet a sort of “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” traditionally has been so much a part of accepted Italian business practice that it’s entirely possible this prelate didn’t think there was anything amiss – perhaps explaining the “deer caught in the headlights” look he always got whenever you asked him about it.

That bit of background is helpful in thinking about a sweeping new law on procurement and contracts decreed by Pope Francis today, because it amounts to a direct frontal assault on two cornerstone aspects of Italian, and, by extension, Vatican business and political culture: Nepotism and feudalism.

One can make the case, actually, that nothing Pope Francis has done prior to Monday has greater potential to truly remake the Vatican’s conventional ways and means.

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June 2, 2020

St. Cloud Diocese, abuse survivors agree on framework to resolve claims

KANSAS CITY (MO)
National Catholic Reporter from Catholic News Service

June 1, 2020

St. Cloud MN – The Diocese of St. Cloud and survivors of clergy sexual abuse have reached an agreement on a framework for a resolution of all clergy sexual abuse claims against the diocese and area parishes.

The resolution will include the diocese filing a Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the near future, according to a May 26 diocesan news release. In the Chapter 11 bankruptcy, this framework for resolution will include a plan of reorganization mutually agreed upon that will provide for a $22.5 million trust to compensate survivors of clergy sexual abuse.

“This framework for resolution represents the diocese’s commitment to finding a fair resolution for survivors of sexual abuse while continuing its ministry to those it serves throughout the 16-county diocese,” the release said.

The funds that will be used to compensate survivors will come from insurance coverage settlements and cash and property contributions from the diocese and parishes within the diocese.

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Former Guam Archbishop Who Raped Kids Still Gets $1,500 a Month From the Church

VIRGINIA BEACH (VA)
Patheos / Friendly Atheist

May 31, 2020

By Terry Firma

When Walter Denton, a resident of Guam, was 12 or 13 years old, he was a good Catholic boy, obedient to the church and the men who ran it. So when priest Anthony Apuron asked him to spend the night in the rectory of the church, the flattered boy thought he was was being singled out for special attention.

And in a way, he was.

[Denton] had fallen asleep in the church rectory, where Apuron had asked him to spend the night, and then “woke up screaming,” laying on his stomach with his hands pinned down and Apuron on top of him.

Not that Apuron was a monster about it or anything.

Denton says when the priest finally stopped, he offered to give Denton straight A’s in theology class.

But wait, it gets better/worse. Denton eventually told a friend, and together they worked up the courage to confide in a priest called Jack Niland.

“Well boys,” the priest allegedly replied. “Priesthood is a lonely life.” (Niland is now the subject of multiple sexual abuse lawsuits. He died in 2009.)

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Erie diocese priest reinstated after abuse probe ends

ERIE (NY)
Times-News

June 1, 2020

Bishop says abuse allegations unsubstantiated against Monsignor Charles Kaza, of Brockway, who had been on leave.

A priest in the Catholic Diocese of Erie is returning to active ministry after Bishop Lawrence Persico said the diocese could not substantiate allegations of child sexual abuse made against the priest a year ago.

The priest, Monsignor Charles Kaza, has been reinstated as pastor of St. Tobias Parish, in Brockway, Jefferson County, Persico announced on Monday.

Following diocesan policy, Persico on May 13, 2019, removed Kaza from active ministry and placed him on administrative leave pending an investigation into allegations Kaza sexually abused a minor while Kaza was serving at St. John the Baptist Parish in Erie in the 1980s.

Kaza, 73, cooperated with the investigation, Persico said in a statement on Monday.

“We take all allegations very seriously, and this was no exception,” Persico said. “This allegation, specifically the identity of the perpetrator, could not be sufficiently substantiated and remains unknown.”

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Maine diocese fires priest criticized by judge in murder case

SOUTH PORTLAND (ME)
Press-Herald

By Rob Wolfe and Dennis Hoey

A Superior Court justice said the Rev. Anthony Cipolle ‘inflamed’ an argument that led to the murder of a Hampden woman in 2018.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland has expelled a Bangor priest who was criticized by a Maine judge who said he “inflamed” events leading to the murder of a woman in 2018, the diocese said Sunday.

The Rev. Anthony Cipolle was spiritual adviser to the woman, Renee Henneberry Clark of Hampden, and got into a fight with her estranged husband’s brother, Philip Clark, when he came by her house to remove some tools.

Philip Clark later shot his sister-in-law to death. In court, he said she pushed “every friggin’ button she could” until he snapped. He was sentenced to 43 years in prison.

Cipolle faced criticism for his role from Superior Court Justice William Stokes, who said the priest had “inflamed,” rather than defused, the situation.

“The role of Anthony Cipolle in this tragedy, I don’t think can be overstated,” the judge said. “He certainly did not help the situation at all, at least from my point of view. Cipolle clearly inserted himself into this whole situation.”

The diocese launched an investigation early this year into Cipolle’s conduct. He was put on leave at partial pay.

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My Top 5 “Christian” Films; On “Christian” Films Pt. 2

BAGUIO CITY (PHILIPPINES)
Ordinary Days

May 14, 2020

By Fritz Melodi

In an earlier blog post, I wrote a piece that tried to give a theology of beauty applied to films. I cited theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar’s theology to indicate how the beautiful is objective in the way that film as art, skillfully embodies the True (reality), the Good (ethics/morality), and the Beautiful (aesthetics/fittingness).

Here I’ll try to list my favorite films that explicitly explore the Christian faith as a main theme or subject. Thus I am necessarily avoiding those films that are interpreted to have latent Christian theological meanings, such as “The Matrix” (Neo as Christ-figure) or “The Lord of the Rings” (Gandalf as Prophet, Frodo as Priest, Aragorn as King). These films are good examples of popular art, but for this blog post, my concern are films that deal directly with the Christian faith.

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2. Calvary (2014) Director: John Michael McDonagh; Starring: Brendan Gleeson. In Ireland, an unknown voice inside the confessional tells Father James (Gleeson) that he will be killed in one week. The person “confesses” to him that at 7 years old, he was sexually abused by a priest for 5 years. For this reason, Fr. James, as a good priest will have to die for the sins of other abusive priests. Despite the threat, Fr. James, continues to go about his parish visiting and counseling the all too messy lives of his parishioners portrayed in black comedy. As the title suggests, the film parallels Christ’s final week leading to his sacrificial death at Calvary. It is a picture of a Church that is now wrecked with sexual and financial abuses, but is contrasted by its faithful pastors, who imitate Christ and continue to mediate grace to a broken world.

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June 1, 2020

Martin Baron, former Globe editor, tells Harvard grads to seek truth

BOSTON (MA)
Boston Globe

May 28, 2020

By Jeremy C. Fox

The executive editor of the Washington Post reflected on the values underlying journalism, the threats the profession faces amid a global rise of authoritarianism, and his years leading The Boston Globe in a speech Thursday during Harvard University’s online commencement.

Martin Baron, who was Globe editor from 2001 to 2012 before taking the Post’s top newsroom job, said the coronavirus pandemic that forced Harvard to cancel its traditional commencement ceremonies has helped demonstrate that providing accurate information to the public is absolutely vital.

“Facts and truth are matters of life and death. Misinformation, disinformation, delusions, and deceit can kill,” Baron said. “Here is what can move us forward: Science and medicine. Study and knowledge. Expertise and reason. In other words, fact and truth.”

Baron had been scheduled to receive an honorary degree, but that has been postponed until the university hosts an in-person commencement for the class of 2020 at a date yet to be determined, a Harvard spokesman said.

More than 7,900 undergraduate and graduate students across the Ivy League university’s dozen schools received their degrees virtually from university president Lawrence Bacow during the one-hour ceremony.

Baron reflected at length on the beginnings of the Globe’s Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of the clergy sex abuse scandal in the Boston archdiocese, which led to systemic change in the global Catholic Church.

“A priest had been accused of abusing as many as 80 kids. A lawsuit alleged that the cardinal in Boston at the time knew about the serial abuse, didn’t do anything about it — and repeatedly reassigned this priest from parish to parish, warning no one, over decades,” said Baron, 65, according to a copy of his prepared remarks. “The archdiocese called the accusations baseless and reckless.”

The Globe’s investigation, the subject of the Academy Award-winning film “Spotlight,” revealed a coverup of widespread abuse in the church and held the powerful to account — a central purpose of journalism, Baron said.

After the Globe’s reporting on abuse in the church, the Rev. Thomas P. Doyle, a priest who had sounded an early alarm on abuse by clergy, wrote thanking Baron for the newspaper’s reporting.

“It is momentous, and its good effects will reverberate for decades,” Doyle wrote, according to Baron.

Without naming President Trump or any other political figure, Baron criticized those who seek to discredit journalists, saying attacks on the news media are a tool of authoritarians.

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Unheard

ANCHORAGE (AK)
Anchorage Daily News and ProPublica

June 1, 2020

By Adriana Gallardo, Nadia Sussman, Agnes Chang, Kyle Hopkins, and Michelle Theriault Boots

Alaska has the highest rate of sexual assault in the nation, nearly four times the national average. About one third of women in Alaska have experienced sexual violence in their lifetime. Yet it is a secret so steeped into everyday life that to discuss it is to disrupt the norm.

These 29 women and men did not choose to be violated, but they now are choosing to speak about what happened to them.

Last year, the Anchorage Daily News partnered with ProPublica to investigate sexual violence in Alaska, and explore why the situation isn’t getting better. We continue that work this year.

The profiles below reflect the urgent and everyday wounds borne by people all over the state. Many have parents and grandparents who are also survivors. Many have been repeatedly abused, often by different perpetrators. Some have chosen careers at the front lines of sexual assault response.

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Safeguarding during COVID-19: A Victim’s Perspective

PARRAMATTA (NEW SOUTH WALES, AUSTRALIA)
Catholic Outlook – Diocese of Parramatta

June 1, 2020

Almost 500 people from 70 countries registered for a webinar sponsored by the International Safeguarding Conference on the theme “A Safer Church” on Friday, 29 May.

Hundreds of people predominantly from North and South America registered to join the International Safeguarding Conference (ICS) online on Friday. They represented 70 countries, making it an international webinar.

This was the first in a series of webinars on the theme “A Safer Church.” Participants heard the experiences of five people who reflected on Safeguarding during COVID-19 from a victim’s perspective.

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Child Protection Consultant Barbara Thorpe spoke from the perspective of those who have been grappling for years with abuse suffered at the hands of clergy in the Church.

She shared a letter from one survivor who described the conditions of being in rehabilitation, which is very similar to the lockdown we have been experiencing due to COVID-19. We now have a glimpse of their experience. Yet their experience was silenced and they have had to deal with the consequences in isolation.

Barbara said that these survivors possess a “wisdom” that can now help us deal with the residual effects of our own experiences of being locked down. She encouraged those safeguarding professionals present not to let the lockdown impede their efforts but that it be an impetus to discover new opportunities to open their hearts to “listen to them, to honour their stories and to seek renewed trust on the path of healing.”

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Pushing for change: Female candidate for archbishop of Lyon speaks out

PARIS (FRANCE)
France 24

June 1, 2020

Interview of Anne Soupa by Virginie Herz

[Video is dubbed in English.]

Sex abuse scandals in the Catholic Church have made headlines around the world, including in France. After being handed a six-month suspended sentence for failing to report child sex abuse by a Lyon priest, the city’s archbishop, Cardinal Barbarin, was acquitted on appeal in January. He finally resigned in March and the race to succeed him is on. A few days ago, a woman applied symbolically for the position: the theologian Anne Soupa. “The more women access higher office, the fewer abuses within the Church (there will be),” she told France 24.

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Boy Scout Victims’ Choice: Sue Rashly, Or Wait And Risk Loss

TRENTON (NJ)
Associated Press

May 31, 2020

By Mike Catalini

Some victims of childhood sex abuse who are considering suing the Boy Scouts of America face a choice: an anguished rush to meet a deadline earlier than what lawmakers intended, or wait and sue local councils, perhaps putting them at greater risk of losing.

Attorneys for the Scouts and victims agreed during federal bankruptcy proceedings this month on a Nov. 16 deadline by which victims must come forward with a claim or be barred from bringing one later, with the victims’ lawyers seeking a cutoff in late December and the Boy Scouts pushing for early October.

New Jersey, New York, California and a few other states loosened their statute of limitations last year.

Victims in New Jersey, which opened a two-year “window” for victims who were previously barred from suing, must decide whether to pursue their claim by the November date instead of the one specified in the law passed last year — in December 2021.

California opened a three-year window last year, while New York’s Legislature voted to extend its one-year window, set to expire in August, until August 2021 because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Other states with windows that end after the Nov. 16 date include Arizona, North Carolina and Vermont, which has a permanent window for those alleging abuse. Washington, D.C., would also be affected.

Victims would still be able to pursue cases against local councils, though, according to attorneys. The drawback, attorneys say, is that councils could defend themselves by deflecting blame to the national organization, which could not be included in suits after Nov. 16.

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Weinstein raped me in 1994 at age 17, woman says in lawsuit

NEW YORK (NY)
Associated Press

May 29, 2020

By Michael R. Sask

A woman who says Harvey Weinstein raped her when she was 17 is among four plaintiffs in a new lawsuit against the imprisoned movie mogul, the latest court action accusing him of decades of vile sexual behavior.

The woman, now 43, alleges Weinstein forced her to disrobe, demanded she perform oral sex on him and raped her in a hotel room in 1994 during what she thought would be a meeting about helping her break into the entertainment business, according to her allegations in the lawsuit filed Thursday in New York City.

The woman, now living in Tennessee, alleges that Weinstein was nearly naked when she walked into the room and that he threatened her after the rape. She says that he made her hand over her driver’s license and told her that she’d never act in films and that he would have associates harm her and her family if she told on him.

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Diocese fires priest who ‘inflamed’ events leading to Hampden woman’s murder

BANGOR (ME)
Bangor Daily News

May 30, 2020

By Judy Harrison

The Catholic priest who “inflamed” events leading up to a 49-year-old Hampden woman’s murder on July, 11, 2018, has been removed from ministry, according to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland.

The Rev. Anthony Cipolle, 55, of Arlington, Massachusetts, described himself as a spiritual adviser to Renee Henneberry Clark, who was shot to death by her brother-in-law a few hours after Cipolle was in a fight with him at a Hampden residence. Henneberry Clark and her killer, Philip Clark, 57, lived in adjoining apartments in a converted former convenience store.

Bishop Robert Deeley announced Cipolle’s termination in a statement first read Saturday at St. John Catholic Church in Bangor during a Mass that was streamed online.

“He will not be given another assignment,” the diocesan statement said. “With the restrictions placed on him, he cannot function or present himself as a priest.”

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