Bangladeshi Catholic priest accused of raping minor girl

BANGLADESH
UCA News

September 30, 2020

Bishop Rozario pledges that suspended priest will not be reinstated unless he can prove his innocence

Police in northern Bangladesh have arrested a Catholic priest and produced him before a court on allegations of confining a 14-year-old indigenous girl for three days and raping her.

Father Prodip Gregory, 41, parish priest of St. John Mary Vianney’s Church in Mundumala, covered by Rajshahi Diocese, was arrested on Sept. 29 evening, a police official confirmed.

“The priest was arrested last evening and he has been produced before the court in Rajshahi after the elder brother of the victim filed a case. Police rescued the victim from a nun’s convent. She will be sent to Rajshahi Medical College Hospital for medical tests,” Rakibul Hasan, officer in charge of Tanore Police Station in Rajshahi, told UCA News on Sept. 30.

Swapan Hasdak, an ethnic Santal Catholic and the complainant, said his family demands justice for the abuse of his sister.

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A third man sues the Children’s Home, claiming a house parent sexually assaulted him when he was a boy living at the Winston-Salem campus.

WINSTON SALEM (NC)
Winston Salem Journal

September 22,2020

By Michael Hewlett

https://journalnow.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/a-third-man-sues-the-childrens-home-claiming-a-house-parent-sexually-assaulted-him-when/article_2299a9e4-fcf9-11ea-941e-87c1d299a3be.html

ACaldwell County man is claiming that a house parent sexually assaulted him almost every day, sometimes three to four times a day, for five years in the early 1970s, starting when he was 12, according to a lawsuit recently filed in Mecklenburg Superior Court.

This is the third lawsuit filed against the Children’s Home, now known as Crossnore School & Children’s Home, in Winston-Salem and the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church. The Conference operated the Children’s Home in the 1970s. The lawsuit was filed Sept. 18 in Mecklenburg Superior Court.

All three lawsuits focus on Bruce Jackson “Jack” Biggs and his wife, Beatrice Hatcher Biggs, who worked as house parents at the Anna Haines Cottage, one of 12 at the Children’s Home. The lawsuits said that they worked at the Children’s Home from 1966 to 1975. The lawsuits allege that they were fired because of “their demented and perverted sexually abusive assaults upon children.” They were never criminally charged. Jack Biggs died in 2015, and Beatrice Biggs, 82, lives in a nursing home, according to the lawsuits.

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Senior Catholic William Wade sentenced for concealing child sex abuse at Marist schools

AUSTRALIA
Australian Broadcasting Corporation

September 30, 2020

By Jamie McKinnell

The first senior Catholic to plead guilty to concealing child sexual abuse in Australia has escaped jail despite a judge acknowledging his “reprehensible” inaction contributed to “terrible consequences”.

William Wade admitted to failing to provide information to police during a 2014 investigation into abuse at Marist schools in the 1970s.

.Wade’s roles at Marist Brothers schools included headmaster in Canberra, at Hamilton, in Newcastle, and Kogarah, in Sydney alongside convicted child sex offenders Darcy O’Sullivan, known as Brother Dominic, and Francis Cable, known as Brother Romuald.

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Lawsuit alleges Catholic Diocese of Savannah covered up sex abuse claims

GEORGIA
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

September 29, 2020

By Shelia Poole

A lawsuit filed in state court in Chatham County against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Savannah and its presiding bishop claims that the diocese was aware of and covered up allegations of sexual abuse by one of its priests.

William Fred Baker Jr., the plaintiff in the case, alleges the diocese knew that a priest, Wayland Yoder Brown, who was later defrocked, sexually abused him and others while employed by the diocese. The abuse allegedly began when Baker was 10 years old and a student at St. James Catholic School in Savannah, where his mother still works, according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit mistakenly says he was 13.

Attorney Mark Tate, who represents Baker, who is now 42, said his client wanted to be named and lauded his “courage” in coming forward.

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‘Perverse’ subpoena costs dispute over Ridsdale abuse

BALLARAT (AUSTRALIA)
The Courier

September 27, 2020

By Alex Ford

A decision from a Supreme Court judicial registrar in a civil case involving a victim of paedophile priest Gerard Ridsdale has revealed a push against costs for extensive subpoenas.

The plaintiff, whom The Standard has declined to name, alleges they was sexually abused by Ridsdale when they were a teenager.

Ridsdale is currently in prison after being convicted for these crimes, as well as dozens of other child sexual offences.

The plaintiff is suing the Ballarat Catholic Diocese, as well as Catholic Church Insurance Limited and the Office of Professional Standards, also known as Towards Healing, alleging that since Ridsdale was an employee, the Diocese was negligent and liable for Ridsdale’s actions.

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Abuse in care: Man who suffered as a child gives evidence

NEW ZEALAND
Radio New Zealand

September 28, 2020

By Andrew McRae

Warning: This story discusses graphic details of sexual abuse, physical abuse and suicide.

A man with an intellectual disability who went into care as a young child and was physically and sexually abused has described his childhood as a nightmare.

Prison jail cells bars incarceration genericFile photo. Photo: Unsplash / Matthew Ansley
Kerry Johnson, which is a pseudonym, is now 48-years-old.

He first spent about one year, 1980, in the Catholic-run St John of God, Marylands School in Christchurch before moving into state-run institutions.

On Monday, he gave evidence to the Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry sitting in Auckland.

Kerry Johnson was only 7 when he was taken into care because, he says, he was an out of control kid.

He was put into the care of the brothers at St John of God, where three of them sexually abused him and others a number of times.

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Ex-Farmington priest charged with ’77 child sex abuse

DETROIT (MI)
Detroit News

September 29, 2020

By Oralandar Brand-Williams

A former Oakland County priest has been charged with sexually abusing a local child, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced Tuesday.

The charges are part of an ongoing investigation into sexual abuse within the state’s seven Catholic dioceses.

Gary Berthiaume, 78, is charged with one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct, which could lead to a 15-year prison sentence if he’s convicted, said Nessel.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announces the kick off for the “Be Counted” campaign for the Michigan Census in Pontiac on Monday, February 17, 2020.
The victim, who was 14 at the time of the alleged assault, told authorities the assault took place in August 1977 at the Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church’ s rectory in Farmington, where Berthiaume was a priest with the Archdiocese of Detroit.

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Former priest at Our Lady of Sorrows in Farmington charged with sexually assaulting young boy

OAKLAND (MI)
Oakland Press

September 29, 2020

By Aileen Wingblad

https://www.theoaklandpress.com/news/copscourts/former-priest-at-our-lady-of-sorrows-in-farmington-charged-with-sexually-assaulting-young-boy/article_af297260-0274-11eb-877a-f77a89b5a4f3.html

A former Catholic priest who served time in the Oakland County Jail for gross indecency between males is now facing a second-degree criminal sexual conduct charge for allegedly sexually assaulting a young boy at a Farmington church in 1977.

Gary Berthiaume, 78, was arrested at his home in Warrendale, Illinois on Sept. 29 and is facing extradition to Michigan.

The charge stems from Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s allegations into sexual abuse within seven Catholic dioceses across the state.

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Former Pastor Named In Child Victims Act Suit

JAMESTOWN (NY)
The Post-Journal

September 23, 2020

By Cameron Hurst

A Child Victims Act lawsuit filed in July names a former Jamestown pastor who died in a 2007 plane crash at Chautauqua County Airport.

The lawsuit, filed on July 28 in the state Supreme Court in Erie County, claims that the Rev. Msgr. Antoine Attea abused a male victim while serving at St. James Roman Catholic Church in Jamestown.

The 17-page lawsuit list the plaintiff as “PB-37 Doe” and names “St. James Roman Catholic Parish Outreach,” known currently as St. James Parish, as the defendant.

Doe, who is now an individual residing in Erie County and was born in 1984, according to the lawsuit, claims that Attea “engaged in unpermitted, forcible and harmful sexual contact” with him on the church’s premises in 1997, when he was 12 years old.

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Cardinal Pell about to leave Aust for Rome

CANBERRA (AUSTRALIA)
Canberra Times

September 29, 2020

Catholic Cardinal George Pell is returning to Rome six months after he was acquitted of child sexual abuse, according to agency reports.

The former Vatican treasurer, 79, is expected to depart Sydney on Tuesday, after living in the city since his release from a Victorian jail, the Catholic News Agency reported.

“He always intended to return to Rome,” Katrina Lee, an adviser to the Archdiocese of Sydney, told Reuters.

Cardinal Pell came back to Australia from Rome in mid-2017 to fight charges related to the sexual assault of two choirboys when he was Archbishop of Melbourne in the late 1990s

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Many victims fall through the cracks of New York’s Child Victims Act

ALBANY (NY)
Albany Times Union

September 23, 2020

By Edward McKinley

More than 4,400 lawsuits have been filed against alleged child abusers under New York’s Child Victims Act, but there are still many victims remain unable to access the court system in order to seek justice.

A decade-long political fight preceded the passage of the CVA last year. It expanded the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse and rape cases and opened a look-back window for bringing lawsuits against alleged abusers who had previously been immune from civil liability because of the time that passed.

The look-back window was extended this summer for another year due to COVID-19, but activists, politicians and alleged survivors of childhood sexual abuse say the law didn’t go far enough and that many who suffered abuse as children are still unable to seek justice.

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Skubick: AG Nessel poised to bring more charges in Catholic priest abuse investigations

LANSING (MI)
WLNS-TV

September 29, 2020

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is telling 6 News tonight she is getting closer to issuing more charges against Catholic priests and others in her continuing probe into sexual abuse in the church.

Almost two years ago the state attorney general launched an investigation into alleged sexual abuse in the Catholic church and she subpoenaed millions of documents from every diocese in the state.

As a result, the Lansing diocese published a list of 17 priests who allegedly were involved in 73 allegations of abuse of 66 boys and 4 girls.

The attorney general is poised to prosecute even more priests, perhaps a dozen or more.

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Former downstate clergyman arrested in Illinois following AG Nessel investigation

LANSING (MI)
WCAX-TV

September 29, 2020

A former priest in the Farmington area has been charged with sexually assaulting a minor as Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel continues to investigate sexual abuse within the seven Catholic dioceses across the state.

78-year-old Gary Berthiaume is charged with one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct, a 15-year felony.

He was arrested on the charge Tuesday at his home in Warrendale, Illinois. He will face extradition to Farmington, Michigan where charges were authorized last week.

The victim, who was 14 at the time, reported the assault took place in August 1977 at the rectory of Our Lady of Sorrows in Farmington, where Berthiaume was a priest of the Archdiocese of Detroit.

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Lawsuit: Georgia Diocese covered up sex abuse allegations

SAVANNAH (GA)
Associated Press

September 29, 2020

A lawsuit filed against a diocese in Georgia alleges officials knew about and covered up allegations that a Catholic priest sexually abused young students and failed to prevent the crimes more than 30 years ago.

The lawsuit was filed last week in Chatham County against the Diocese of Savannah and its current bishop, accusing the Catholic jurisdiction of conspiracy and fraud in mishandling alleged abuse by former priest Wayland Brown in the 80s.

The priest, who died in 2019 while serving a 20-year prison sentence, was convicted of child sex abuse charges in the early 2000s. Pope John Paul II eventually dismissed him from the priesthood, and in 2018, he was convicted of additional sex crimes against children.

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A Note from the Editors on the Ravi Zacharias Investigation

UNITED STATES
Christianity Today

September 29, 2020

By Daniel Silliman

Why we report bad news about leaders—even after they have passed away.

Three women have come forward with additional allegations against the late Christian apologist.

Christianity Today is motivated by a deep love for the church. That love is sometimes painful, especially when it means reporting evidence of harmful behavior by ministry leaders. These allegations are hard for us to publish, and they can be hard to read. Over the years, some readers have wondered why we publish evidence of wrongdoing by ministry leaders otherwise doing good in the world. Other readers, who support investigative reporting in general, think it should be aimed outside our particular Christian community. But our commitment to seeking truth transcends our commitment to tribe. And by reporting the truth, we care for our community.

Love compels us to love those hurt by ministry leaders—not just the immediate victims, but countless others who see the fallout from leaders’ sin and abuse and wonder if Christians really care. Deep love for the church also compels us to love erring ministry leaders. They often need disclosure to lead them to repentance.

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Cardinal Pell Is Expected at Vatican, 3 Years After Leaving Under a Shadow

ROME (ITALY)
The New York Times

September 29, 2020

By Elisabetta Povoledo

The prelate’s return would come five months after Australia’s highest court overturned his conviction for molesting two children. For now, his plans have not been made public.

Three years after leaving for Australia to face sexual abuse accusations, and five months after that country’s highest court overturned his conviction on those charges, Cardinal George Pell was expected to return to the Vatican on Wednesday.

“We understand that he is due to arrive in Rome tomorrow,” said Chiara Porro, the Australian Ambassador to the Holy See, adding that she had had no contact with the prelate or his office, so could not comment on the reasons for the trip.

On its home page, the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney linked to an article in The Catholic Weekly, the diocesan newspaper, which reported that Cardinal Pell was returning “at the Vatican’s invitation” and that it was “believed that the invitation emanates from Pope Francis.”

A Vatican spokesman said on Tuesday that Cardinal Pell was not scheduled to meet with the pope.

The Australian cardinal’s return follows the unexpected ouster last week of his longtime Vatican rival, Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu, as the head of the department that creates saints. Cardinal Becciu said at a news conference on Friday that he had been fired by the pope over embezzlement allegations, but maintained that he was innocent.

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Appeals Court Judge: Catholic priest Geoff Drew’s $5 million bond is ‘staggering’ but within lower courts’ ‘discretion

CINCINNATI (OH)
WCPO-TV

September 28, 2020

By Craig Cheatham

https://www.wcpo.com/news/local-news/i-team/appeals-court-judge-catholic-priest-geoff-drews-5-million-bond-is-staggering-but-within-lower-courts-discretion

Geoff Drew, the Cincinnati Catholic priest charged with raping an altar boy 30 years ago, has no income, sold his condo and car, and will live with his 81-year-old mother if released on bond, according to a court document filed with the Ohio Court of Appeals on September 18 by Drew’s defense attorney, Brandon Moermond.

Drew has been held in the Hamilton County Justice Center since his August 2019 arrest.

Moermond, who has argued Drew’s $5 million bond is “excessive,” is asking the appeals court to reconsider its September 9 decision to deny his petition for lowering Drew’s bond.

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George Pell: Cardinal to return to Rome for first time since acquittal

ROME (ITALY)
BBC

September 29, 2020

Cardinal George Pell will return to Rome this week for the first time since he was acquitted of child sexual abuse and released from prison in Australia.

The ex-Vatican treasurer, 79, was due to fly out of Sydney on Tuesday, Australian media reported.

He was freed in April after Australia’s top court overturned his conviction. He had served more than a year in jail.

The cleric left the Vatican in 2017 to fight the charges in his home state of Victoria.

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The Construction of a Supreme Court to Thwart a Majority of Americans

UNITED STATES
Verdict (blog)

September 29, 2020

By Marci A. Hamilton

I simply cannot wrap my head around the fact that the United States Supreme Court may soon be composed of six Catholics (Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Brett Kavanaugh, Sonia Sotomayor, Amy Barrett (if confirmed), one Justice who was raised Catholic but may now attend an Episcopal Church (Neil Gorsuch), and two Jews (Elena Kagan and Stephen Breyer).

First, the newly configured Court will reflect less than a quarter of the country’s religious landscape, according to the Pew Research Center, if we include Gorsuch in the Catholic cohort. Catholics make up 20.8% of the American public, while Jews constitute 1.9%, which means as a group the Justices will reflect a mere 22.7% of the country’s faith experience. There are more Evangelical Protestants, 25.4%, and more religiously unaffiliated believers—22.8%—than Catholics and Jews together.

Alternatively, if Gorsuch is counted as a Mainline Protestant, the Court still reflects only 36.4% of the population of the United States. And 2/3 of the Court is one faith, which reflects only 20.8% of the population. To be sure, there was a time when white Protestant males were the sole religious believers on the Court. Yet, that religious hegemony was also unfortunate in light of the religious diversity of the country.

Second, has anyone in Washington noticed that the Catholic Church has been undergoing a scandal of extreme proportions over the last twenty years? To state it as a fact: the Church’s hierarchy is responsible for shielding and empowering child sex predators around the globe. As I have said many times before, I eagerly await one President or one member of the U.S. House or Senate with the guts to utter the phrase, “clergy sex abuse,” let alone hold a hearing or establish a Commission to study the issue. Leading child protection organizations have joined forces under the name “Keep Kids Safe,” and are asking both presidential candidates to embrace such a mission. (Full disclosure: my organization, CHILD USA, is a part of this movement).

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Amy Coney Barrett Condemns Purdue U.’s ‘Fundamentally Unfair’ Adjudication of Sexual Assault Claims

UNITED STATES
Reason (blog)

September 27, 2020

By Jacob Sullum

The opinion, which suggests a strong concern about due process, will nevertheless be cited as evidence of the SCOTUS nominee’s “uniformly conservative” record.

John and Jane, two students in Purdue University’s Navy ROTC program, began dating in the fall of 2015 and had consensual sex 15 to 20 times. According to John, Jane’s behavior became increasingly erratic, culminating in a suicide attempt he witnessed that December. They broke up in January 2016, after John tried to get Jane help by reporting her suicide attempt to two resident assistants and an adviser.

Three months later, in the midst of the university’s s Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Jane alleged that John had sexually assaulted her on two occasions. Those charges ultimately led Purdue, a state university in West Lafayette, Indiana, to suspend John for a year, forcing him to resign from ROTC and ending his plans for a career in the Navy. The process that led to those results, Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett concluded in a 2019 opinion for a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, “fell short of what even a high school must provide to a student facing a days-long suspension.”

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Pope Francis accused of covering up sex abuse case

ARGENTINA
Church Militant

September 28, 2020

By Martin Barillas

An Argentine man has accused Pope Francis of covering up allegations of rape and sexual abuse at the hands of a priest.

On Sept. 19, Sergio Decuyper, 42, of Argentina accused a disabled octogenarian priest, who is also his uncle, of raping him at the age of five years. Father José Francisco Decuyper, 85, is facing criminal charges in Argentina for alleged abuse said to have occurred decades ago in the Argentine city of Paraná. Because he currently lives in Spain, accuser Decuyper made his criminal complaint via Skype to Argentine authorities in the province of Entre Ríos, north of Buenos Aires.

According to Decuyper, he was abused by his uncle in 1982 when the latter served at the seminary nearby. Decuyper said that afterward he suffered migraine headaches and later had difficulty with personal relationships. However, he married and became a father. He claimed that his now ex-wife, a physician, diagnosed him as a victim of serious psychological trauma. “I am a homosexual,” he told Argentine newspaper Clarin, “and now I can say it. She is now my friend, who supports and accompanies me throughout the process.”

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Historical Institutional Abuse: NI institutions urged to help with compensation

NORTHERN IRELAND
BBC

September 28, 2020

By Jayne McCormack

It is a “moral imperative” that some NI institutions and religious orders contribute to compensation for historical abuse victims, First Minister Arlene Foster has said.

Last year, the then-head of the NI civil service David Sterling said state-led institutions and churches would be “pursued” for payments.

Mrs Foster said she wants to hold a meeting with the groups to discuss making progress.

The first payments were awarded in May.

On Monday, Mrs Foster told the NI Assembly that the estimates of the cost of the scheme range from £149m at the lower end, to an upper limit of £668m.

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Orange Shirt Day honouring residential school survivors

SARNIA (ONTARIO, CANADA)
Sarnia Observer

September 28, 2020

By Paul Morden

Elementary and high school students in the Sarnia area are being encouraged to join others from across Canada in wearing orange shirts Wednesday to honour survivors and victims of residential schools.

Orange Shirt Day is a national event held on Sept. 30 to commemorate the experience of approximately 150,000 Métis, Inuit and First Nations children who were forced to attend residential schools between the 1830s and 1990s, where they experienced harsh discipline and conditions, suppression of their language and culture, and other abuse. It’s estimated 6,000 children died while attending the schools.

Orange Shirt Day originated with the story of Phyllis Webstad who, at age six, had a new orange shirt bought by her grandmother taken away on her first day at residential school in British Columbia.

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Indigenous artist finds healing with murals at Alberta Catholic schools

TORONTO (CANADA)
Catholic News Service via CatholicPhilly.com

September 28, 2020

By Wendy-Ann Clarke

Through a commission to paint murals at three Catholic schools in Red Deer, Alberta, Indigenous artist Ryan Willert has been able to find his own healing and reconciliation with the Catholic community.

The 36-year-old Blackfoot from the Siksika Nation is well-known in Alberta. Based in Red Deer, he has painted murals at several colleges, universities and for various organizations. However, with several relatives, including his father, directly impacted by residential schools, he says working with Catholic institutions was not something he ever saw coming.

“Going into the Catholic schools for the first time brought up a lot of feelings in me that I wasn’t quite sure that I had actually healed from,” said Willert. “You hear the stories from your relatives about the physical and mental and sexual abuse (that happened at residential schools), and you see the problems that arise on the reserves and the poverty, and it’s hard. You build this idea toward an organization and a group of people without actually being around them.”

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Lawyer Encouraging Catholics to Withhold Church Donations in Support of Mount Cashel Victims

NEWFOUNDLAND (CANADA)
VOCM-AM

September 28, 2020

A well known local lawyer has come out swinging after the Archdiocese of St. John’s announced it will be seeking to overturn a decision declaring the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation liable for sexual abuse at Mount Cashel Orphanage in the 1950s.

Lynn Moore, a partner with the law firm Morris Martin Moore, says she’s enraged by that response.

She took to Facebook with a message to practicing Catholics, asking them to withhold their donations to the church, saying that survivors of child sexual abuse should be supported.

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Pope appoints U.S. Archbishop Charles Brown nuncio to the Philippines

VATICAN CITY
Catholic News Service

September 28, 2020

Pope Francis has named U.S. Archbishop Charles J. Brown as the new nuncio to the Philippines, the Vatican announced Sept. 28.

The New York native, who will turn 61 Oct. 13, has been the Vatican’s diplomatic representative in Albania since March 2017.

In Manila, he succeeds Archbishop Gabriele Giordano Caccia, who Pope Francis appointed permanent observer to the United Nations in November 2019.

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Church says Cardinal Pell returning to Vatican in crisis

AUSTRALIA
Associated Press

September 28, 2020

By Rod McGuirk

CANBERRA, Australia — Cardinal George Pell, Pope Francis’ former finance minister, will soon return to the Vatican during an extraordinary economic scandal for the first time since he was cleared of child abuse allegations in Australia five months ago, a church agency said Monday.

Pell will fly back to Rome on Tuesday, CathNews, an information agency of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference said, citing “sources close to” Pell.

Pell’s return follows Francis last week firing one of the cardinal’s most powerful opponents, Cardinal Angelo Becciu, over a financial scandal.

Pell was regarded as the third highest-ranking Vatican official and was attempting to wrestle the Holy See’s opaque finances into order when he returned to his native Australia in 2017 to clear himself of decades-old allegations of child sex abuse.

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How Pa.’s victim advocate found herself in the crosshairs of the GOP-led Senate

PENNSYLVANIA
Spotlight PA

September 28, 2020

By Angela Couloumbis

The signs, at first, were subtle.

In the spring of 2019, legislation that she was championing had come to a screeching halt in the Republican-controlled Senate. Advocates for the bill, known as Marsy’s Law, at the time were baffled by the chamber’s inaction on a measure that otherwise had wide and enthusiastic support among rank-and-file GOP legislators.

By that summer, the legislature had quietly eliminated funding for her office — Pennsylvania’s Office of Victim Advocate — which was later rescued by the Wolf administration when it was absorbed into a different state agency.

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Clergy sex abuse settlements ends community garden

ALBUQUERQUE (NM)
KOB-TV

September 27, 2020

By Ryan Laughlin

A nonprofit group that was trying to create a community garden in Albuquerque’s North Valley is back in square one after the land they leased was unexpectedly put up for sale.

“It was very discouraging,” said Cheryl Brasel, who lives nearby. “A community garden would really benefit the whole community.”

Brasel was expecting the first harvest from the new community garden this year, but now the only new thing coming out of the ground is a ‘For Sale’ sign.

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Abuse in Care: Survivor of St John of God Marylands school sexual abuse calls on Government to ‘own up’

NEW ZEALAND
New Zealand Herald

September 28, 2020

By Michael Neilson

A man who was sexually abused as a child in faith-based and state care institutions says the Government needs to own up to what happened to him and his peers, some of whom “didn’t make it”.

Kerry Johnson – not his real name – was assessed as having an intellectual disability as a child and, also due to “behavioural problems” at school, was enrolled at Marylands School in Christchurch, run by the Australian Catholic Order of St John of God (SJOG).

He was there from January 1980 to February 1981, during which time he was seriously sexually abused by two of the staff members, and experienced physical and psychological abuse from the staff and other boys.

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Abuse claim resurfaces in ex-Erie teacher’s porn case

ERIE (PA)
GoErie.com

September 27, 2020

By Ed Palattella

U.S. Attorney’s Office raises allegation against David Rinke II as he seeks to get out of prison early due to COVID-19.

In February 2012, David A. Rinke II, a former science teacher at the Erie School District’s Northwest Pennsylvania Collegiate Academy, was sentenced to nearly 20 years in federal prison for collecting and trading more than 50,000 images of child pornography, including videos of toddlers getting raped.

Rinke, who pleaded guilty, now wants to get out of prison early. He is citing the COVID-19 pandemic’s potential effect on what he says are his numerous health problems.

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Trinity College student bullied on social media after alleged rape on school trip

PERTH (AUSTRALIA)
Australian Broadcasting Corporation

September 26, 2020

By Rebecca Turner

A student at a prestigious Catholic boys’ school was tormented and taunted by his alleged rapists and rugby teammates on social media, including while he was away from home in a foreign country.

The young man had travelled to Japan on a rugby tour with Trinity College in April 2017, when he alleges he was held face-down and sexually assaulted with a carrot in his dorm room.

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German bishops set up system for larger sex abuse payments

BERLIN (GERMANY)
Associated Press

September 24, 2020

By Geir Moulson

The Catholic Church in Germany is setting up a new system to compensate survivors of sexual abuse by clergy that will provide for payments of up to about 50,000 euros ($58,400) to each victim.

Victims will be able to apply for payments under the new system starting Jan. 1, the head of the German Bishops’ Conference, Limburg Bishop Georg Baetzing, said Thursday after conference members signed off at a meeting on the details of a proposal approved in March.

The Catholic Church has been shaken in recent years by sex abuse and cover-up scandals in several countries, including Germany, the homeland of Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI.

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In Lat Am, ferment over sex abuse, abortion and coronavirus

ARGENTINA
Crux

September 28, 2020

By Inés San Martín

It’s been an eventful time in Pope Francis’s native Latin America, with a new bishop apologizing for clerical sexual abuse in Chile, the bishops of Nicaragua announcing the return of public Masses after the coronavirus and the Church in Ecuador praising the country’s president for vetoing a bill that would have partially legalized abortion.

Here’s a round-up on developments south of the border.

Chile

Two years after a clean-up of the church in Chile began, with Pope Francis replacing a third of the bishops’ conference, a new auxiliary bishop was ordained in Santiago, the country’s capital, and his opening remarks turned on the abuse crisis.

“I assume this episcopal mission in times of great crisis that afflict us all,” Bishop Julio Larrondo said on Saturday.

Referring to abuses of power, conscience and sex, Larrondo noted they’ve “caused so much pain, first for the victims and their families, and also to the entire ecclesial body.

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Cardinal Pell to return to Rome this week

ROME (ITALY)
Catholic News Agency

September 27, 2020

By Courtney Mares

Cardinal George Pell is set to return to Rome on Tuesday, his first time back in the Vatican since 2017, when he took a leave of absence from his role as prefect of the Vatican’s Secretariat for the Economy to travel to Australia.

The cardinal is set to fly on Sept. 29, sources close to Pell confirmed to CNA on Sunday, following an initial report by Australian journalist Andrew Bolt in the Herald Sun newspaper.

Pell has been living in his former Archdiocese of Sydney since his acquittal by Australia’s High Court in April on charges of sexual abuse.

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New legal protections for sexual assault victims in N.H. take effect this week

NEW HAMPSHIRE
Concord Monitor

September 26, 2020

By Ethan DeWitt

New Hampshire’s protections for victims of domestic and sexual violence were widely expanded this week, after a broad package of reforms pushed by lawmakers and signed by Gov. Chris Sununu this summer took effect.

House Bill 705, known as the “Crime Victims’ Rights Enhancement Act of 2020,” ushered in significant changes. The statute of limitations for civil actions in sexual assault cases is now eliminated; the rights of victims during court proceedings have been increased; and those who commit sexual assaults against people with disabilities who are unable to consent – or 13- to-16-year-olds – may no longer use marriage as an excuse, among other changes.

The provisions took effect Sept. 18, 60 days after Sununu signed the bill in July

Advocates for domestic and sexual violence survivors applauded the developments – among the first major updates to the state’s statutes on victims’ rights in decades.

“Prior to this legislation, statutes in New Hampshire limited survivors of sexual assault to seek justice within an arbitrary timeframe,” said Pamela Keilig, public policy specialist at the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, in an emailed statement. “With the passage of this bill, that is no longer the case.”

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Opinion: Britain’s reckoning with past systemic child abuse is long overdue

UNITED KINGDOM
The Guardian

September 26, 2020

By Caelainn Hogan

Ireland has started trying to rectify the wrongs of its history. The UK is lagging behind

When the pope said mass in Ireland in 2018, a vast field in Dublin’s Phoenix Park was turned into a grid of “pilgrims’ corrals” to control the expected massive crowds, which never materialised. Out of a dozen people in my section, two nuns talked to me about a priest back home who had abused a young woman.

Another pilgrim, down from Belfast for the occasion, said her aunt had been sent to a religious-run institution as a teenager because she was pregnant. Her son was taken away. On her deathbed, her aunt was still asking the priest for forgiveness.

The pope had come for the World Meeting of Families. During the gathering of Catholic hierarchy and faithful, news broke about nuns arrested in Scotland on charges of abuse at the Smyllum Park orphanage they ran, where hundreds died. The charges resulted from the Scottish child abuse inquiry. The same order, the Daughters of Charity, ran the largest mother-and-baby home in Ireland.

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East Timor: Vatican began looking into ex-priest for child molesting, in 2016

EAST TIMOR
Macau Business

September 26, 2020

The Vatican began an investigation into a former U.S. priest accused of child abuse and child pornography in East Timor began in September 2016 but he was only removed from where he allegedly committed the crimes three years later.

Documents seen by Lusa show that the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was investigating the case involving former Father Richard Daschbach between September 2016 and October 2018, when it decreed his “punishment for life” and expulsion from the priesthood.

The documents indicate that the investigation began even earlier since September 2016 is the date that marks the entry into the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith of a first report on the case.

The dates are mentioned in a confidential document dated 6 November 2018, which confirms the beginning of the investigation and the decision to expel the priest who, however, remained with access to the Topu Honis orphanage where he worked, until last year.

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Former Western Massachusetts priest sentenced to 6 years in child pornography case

MASSACHUSETTS
Episcopal News Service

September 25, 2020

By Egan Millard

A federal judge sentenced Gregory Lisby, a former priest in the Diocese of Western Massachusetts, to six years in prison on Sept. 18 for possession of child pornography.

Lisby, 41, pleaded guilty to one count of possession of child pornography in February. He was arrested in September 2019 after the FBI found nearly 200 images and videos of child pornography stored in a Microsoft account he used, according to court records. Lisby was then working as a kindergarten teacher in a public school in Holyoke, Massachusetts, having been suspended in 2018 from his position as rector of All Saints Church in Worcester “for an inappropriate relationship with an adult that did not involve sexual contact,” Western Massachusetts Bishop Douglas Fisher wrote in a letter to the diocese shortly after Lisby’s arrest.

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Church of England’s £200million compensation scheme will pay out victims of historic sex abuse by bishops and clergy

ENGLAND
Daily Mail

September 25, 2020

By Steve Doughty

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8774635/Church-Englands-200million-compensation-scheme-pay-victims-historic-sex-abuse.html

The Church of England is setting up compensation for victims of sexual abuse

The fund was approved by the Church’s Cabinet, the Archbishops’ Council

Among sex abuse cases to recently trouble the Church was bishop Peter Ball

The Church of England yesterday set up a multi-million-pound compensation fund designed to funnel money to victims of historic sex abuse by bishops, clergy and lay church workers.

Its ‘interim pilot support scheme’ will make the first payouts from a compensation process expected to cost the Church £200million.

The fund was approved by the Church’s Cabinet, the Archbishops’ Council, which also said that in the future it would invite outside authorities to run independent

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Former Irish president pledges to spend retirement challenging Catholic Church

UNITED KINGDOM
Crux

September 25, 2020

By Charles Collins

Former Irish President Mary McAleese says she is pledging “to use whatever time is left to me” to challenge Church teachings on homosexuality and women.

Speaking to The View on BBC Northern Ireland on Thursday night, McAleese said, “What else I am going to do in retirement except make myself useful in that regard?”

McAleese, 69, served as president of Ireland – a largely ceremonial position – from 1997-2011.

She has clashed with Church leaders in the past and was barred from attending a conference taking place at the Vatican in 2018.

A longtime critic of the Church’s position on human sexuality, the former president, who has long described herself as pro-life, admitted she voted to change Ireland’s constitutional prohibition on abortion in a 2018 referendum

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Dr. Jeffery Chalmers Guest Posts: As Liberty University Moves Forward, Where Were, and Are, the Conflict of Interest Guidelines?

UNITED STATES
The Wartburg Watch (blog)

September 18, 2020

http://thewartburgwatch.com/2020/09/18/dr-jeffery-chalmers-guest-posts-as-liberty-university-moves-forward-where-were-and-are-the-conflict-of-interest-guidelines/

Today, three posts regarding the Falwells and Liberty U. came to light and they are lighting up social media.

1. 911 call from Falwell house reveals ex-Liberty president was drinking, fell down, lost ‘a lot of blood’ after resigning

Read this carefully. Becki Falwell claimed she was at a church meeting until 11 PM and needed to break down a door to get into this house and help her drunk and bleeding husband. There is no question that we are dealing with a very sick family and this didn’t happen yesterday. I’m suspicious that university leaders were aware of these problems. If they weren’t, they should never have been in their positions.

2. The Falwells, the pool attendant and the double life that brought them all down

The Washington Post printed a damning article on the sexual proclivities and questionable business dealings of the Falwells.

3 .After Jerry Falwell Jr.’s departure, Liberty University faces questions about faith, power, accountability

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Allegations mount in 2017 Ravi Zacharias illicit online relationship scandal

UNITED STATES
Christian Post

September 25, 2020

By Brandon Showalter

New information has been publicly released regarding the late apologist Ravi Zacharias and an alleged online sexual relationship that was first reported in 2017.

In a three-part installment last week from The Roys Report, the website of independent investigative journalist Julie Roys, new testimonies and emails were released suggesting an alternative version of events than those that were represented nearly three years ago when allegations emerged that Zacharias had been involved in an illicit online sexual relationship with a Canadian woman. Around this same time, the famed apologist’s academic credentials and resume were also scrutinized amid questions he had inflated and misrepresented them.

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Handling of abuse allegations divides AG candidates

PENNSYLVANIA
The Tribune-Democrat

September 25, 2020

By John Finnerty

HARRISBURG – Heather Heidelbaugh, Republican candidate for attorney general, said current Attorney General Josh Shapiro should not have publicized the names of priests who weren’t charged but were accused of molesting children in a grand jury report detailing the abuse of at least 1,000 children across the state over decades.

Hardly any of the priests named in the report were charged because the crimes occurred so long ago that the state’s statute of limitations had expired. Efforts to open a window to allow survivors of child sex crimes to sue despite the statute of limitations have stalled, though the General Assembly could vote next year to put a Constitutional amendment question about opening a window for lawsuits on the ballot.

With those statutes of limitations in place, the attorney general shouldn’t have named the priests accused of crimes because they didn’t have the opportunity to clear their names in any meaningful way, Heidelbaugh said.

Heidelbaugh is facing Shapiro, the Democratic incumbent, in the November election.

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Catholic priest sexual abuse class action will move forward, Nova Scotia court decides

NOVA SCOTIA (CANADA)
Canadian Lawyers Magazine

September 25, 2020

By Bernise Carolino

Archdiocese has policy of secrecy when dealing with alleged sexual abusers, class plaintiff says

Catholic priest sexual abuse class action will move forward, Nova Scotia court decides

The Nova Scotia Supreme Court has certified a class action filed on behalf of individuals alleging sexual assault or battery by priests from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Halifax-Yarmouth from 1960 until the present.

The statement of claim alleged that the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation of Halifax-Yarmouth, which is the formal name of the Archdiocese, knew of numerous acts of sexual abuse committed by its priests, with at least four priests being criminally convicted of sexual assault.

The Archdiocese would send priests accused of sexual misconduct to a treatment facility, then would allow these priests to return to their parishes, without bothering to notify or to warn parishioners, said the statement of claim.

Douglas Champagne, class plaintiff, alleged that he was sexually assaulted by Father George Epoch, which resulted in lasting and permanent impacts on his life. The class action claimed that the Archdiocese has a policy of secrecy, spanning decades, regarding priests accused of sexual misconduct.

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Catholic Church Appeals to The Supreme Court Over Sex Abuse Lawsuits

CANADA
Top Class Actions (plaintiff attorney website)

September 25, 2020

By Kristen Zanoni

The Archdiocese of St. John’s is turning to the Supreme Court of Canada to seek an appeal in a watershed ruling that holds the Catholic Church accountable for millions of sexual and physical abuse lawsuits.

The Court ruled that the Catholic Church was responsible for creating an environment where boys endured extensive physical and sexual abuse from the Christian Brothers of Ireland in Mount Cashel Orphanage in St. John’s. While the Brothers were not employees of the archdiocese, the Court of Appeal ruled the Catholic Church allowed them to abuse children for decades and not face repercussions.

The Catholic Church Appeals Liability for Mount Cashel Abuse

On Sept. 23, 2020, the archdiocese’s lawyer wanted to have the appeal case heard by the Court.

According to CBC News, Archbishop Peter Hundt wrote the following in a news release, “This decision to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada was not made lightly.”

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Vatican cardinal pushes back after pope fires him in scandal

ROME (ITALY)
Associated Press

September 25, 2020

By Nicole Winfield

A powerful Vatican cardinal who was sacked by Pope Francis in an astonishing twist to the Vatican’s latest financial scandal pushed back Friday against allegations he embezzled Holy See money and denied he did anything wrong.

Cardinal Angelo Becciu presided over an extraordinary news conference a day after Francis fired him and yanked his rights and privileges as a cardinal. The 72-year-old Becciu, a onetime papal contender, said his downfall was “surreal,” but that he had a clear conscience, remained loyal to Francis and was ready to die for him.

Becciu said Francis had asked him to step down as prefect of the Vatican’s saint-making office during a “troubled” 20-minute meeting Thursday evening in which the pope said he “no longer had confidence in me.”

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Calls for Bishop Scharfenberger to step down following claims he kept information about priest named in CVA lawsuit secret

BUFFALO (NY)
WIVB TV

September 24, 2020

Calls for Bishop Scharfenberger to step down following claims he kept information about priest named in CVA lawsuit secret

Less than a year after he became apostolic administrator to the Buffalo Diocese, there are calls for Bishop Edward Scharfenberger to step down.

“The Road to Recovery”, a non-profit that assists sex abuse victims, says Bishop Scharfenberger has only followed in Bishop Malone’s footsteps.

The organization claims he has continued to keep information secret and that he has withheld information about a priest who was accused- but kept him in ministry.

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Renewed calls for leader of Diocese of Buffalo to resign

BUFFALO (NY)
WBEN Radio

September 25, 2020

Hoatson called for Scharfenberger to be removed after latest statistics from Child Victim’s Act

There is a renewed call for the leader of the Diocese of Buffalo to be removed.

Robert Hoatson, an advocate for sex abuse victims of Road to Recovery, called on Buffalo Apostolic Administrator Edward Scharfenberger to resign or be removed following a recent story from The Buffalo News about 173 priests who were accused under the Child Victim’s Act.

“Why hasn’t Bishop Scharfenberger come to the sidewalk or in his office and hold a press conference and say ‘Ladies and gentlemen, we’re up to 173 credibly accused priests and 33 of them have never been named publicly,’?” Hoatson said. “Why hasn’t he done that? Why has he not kept his promise of transparency and informed Catholics and the general public of the Buffalo area in Western New York that this is the current story of clergy sexual abuse in this diocese?”

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Clergy sex abuse victim advocates call for Scharfenberger’s removal

BUFFALO (NY)
WBFO Radio

September 24, 2020

By Michael Mroziak

Saying he has failed to live up to promises of more transparency and outreach those affected, advocates for clergy sex abuse victims called Thursday for the removal of Bishop Edward Scharfenberger from his leadership post at the Diocese of Buffalo.

Robert Hoatson or Road to Recovery noted a recent Buffalo News story, which reports the number of clergy accused of some form of wrongdoing has risen to 173, including more than 30 priests accused for the first time.

Reverend Donald Lutz is identified in the article as being newly accused in a lawsuit filed in July. Lutz told the Buffalo News he was unaware of the accusation.

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Preparing for the Next Conclave

UNITED STATES
Open Tabernacle (blog)

September 25, 2020

By Betty Clermont

Two books were released this summer: The Next Pope: The Leading Cardinal Candidates, by Edward Pentin and The Next Pope: The Office of Peter and a Church in Mission by George Weigel.

“The Holy Father is considered to be getting on in years and he himself has occasionally hinted he would like to follow Benedict XVI into retirement at some stage …. Some of the Pope’s close associates have said privately … it will happen this year.” Pentin explained. Pentin, the Rome correspondent for the National Catholic Register owned by the right-wing EWTN media giant, is one of the best-connected and experienced Vatican reporters in the world.

His book “consists of highly-detailed profiles of 19 leading papabili with the aim of better equipping the cardinal electors to know who to vote for, or not vote for, as the case may be,” Pentin wrote. “Revealed in each cardinal’s profile is where they stand” on internal ecclesial issues like liturgy and interpreting the Second Vatican Council, but also “key contemporary issues such as priestly celibacy, the role of women in the Church, contraception [and] abortion.… Enormous spiritual battles are taking place in today’s societies, not least in the United States, as well as inside the Church. These will require strong papal leadership as they increase,” he warned.

In Weigel’s book, the author “proposes the qualities needed in the man who will lead the Church … in the wake of grave institutional failures, mission confusion, counter-witness, and the secularist challenge.”

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Japan Catholic Church sued for damages in alleged sex abuse

TOKYO (JAPAN)
Associated Press

September 25, 2020

By Yuri Kageyama

A woman has filed a suit against the Roman Catholic Church in Japan alleging that a priest raped her four decades ago, as the church’s unfolding worldwide sexual abuse crisis gradually reaches Japan.

The civil lawsuit, filed this week in Sendai District Court, seeks 56.1 million yen ($534,000) in damages. It accuses a priest, who has not been charged or penalized, as well as a bishop who counseled the woman in recent years about the alleged abuse.

The suit, which also accuses the Diocese of Sendai in northeastern Japan, says the church refused to take the complaints seriously, causing psychological pain.

“I have filed this lawsuit to claim back the dignity I have lost, and to try to end this serious crime that is a violation of humanity,” said Harumi Suzuki, who has gone public with her name.

She said she lived through “more than 40 years of hell,” but wants to raise her voice for other abuse survivors.

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Clergy abuse activist calls for Bishop Scharfenberger to resign over Buffalo lawsuits

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

September 24, 2020

By Mike McAndrew

https://buffalonews.com/news/local/clergy-abuse-activist-calls-for-bishop-scharfenberger-to-resign-over-buffalo-lawsuits/article_357ea602-fe77-11ea-924a-233b2460123a.html

Clergy abuse activist and former priest Robert Hoatson on Thursday called on Bishop Edward Scharfenberger to resign as the Buffalo Diocese administrator because of revelations in a recent Buffalo News story about the number of priests sued.

Hoatson accused Scharfenberger of keeping secret information about clergy sexual abuse of children and allowing a priest accused of abuse in a lawsuit of remaining in ministry at a Buffalo church.

The News reported Tuesday that 173 Catholic priests in the diocese have been named as molesters in Child Victims Act lawsuits over the past year.

The diocese has allowed one of them, the Rev. Donald J. Lutz, to continue to run a South Buffalo parish despite being linked to abuse by a lawsuit filed on July 30, The News reported. Lutz denied abusing any children when The Buffalo News contacted him at Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

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New lawsuit claims Diocese of Savannah covered up allegations of child molestation

SAVANNAH (GA)
WTOC-TV

September 24, 2020

By Jessica Savage

A new lawsuit filed against the Diocese of Savannah claims the Diocese covered up allegations of child molestation more than 30 years ago.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday is the third one involving convicted child molester Wayland Brown who was a priest in Savannah from 1987 to 1988. This lawsuit accuses the Diocese of Savannah of conspiracy and fraud.

Like the civil cases filed in the past, it outlines the sexual abuse of Priest Wayland Brown against boys enrolled at St James Catholic School. But more than that, this lawsuit includes a transcript and a memo from the Diocese.

The attorney in this case says that shows the extent of what the Diocese knew. Outlined in the 11-page lawsuit filed Wednesday are accusations of child molestation and a cover-up by the Diocese of Savannah.

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Powerful Vatican Cardinal Becciu resigns amid scandal

ROME (ITALY)
Associated Press

September 24, 2020

By Nicole Winfield

The powerful head of the Vatican’s saint-making office, Cardinal Angelo Becciu, resigned suddenly Thursday from the post and renounced his rights as a cardinal amid a financial scandal that has reportedly implicated him indirectly.

The Vatican provided no details on why Pope Francis accepted Becciu’s resignation in a statement late Thursday. In the one-sentence announcement, the Holy See said only that Francis had accepted Becciu’s resignation as prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints “and his rights connected to the cardinalate.”

Becciu, the former No. 2 in the Vatican’s secretariat of state, has been reportedly implicated in a financial scandal involving the Vatican’s investment in a London real estate deal that has lost the Holy See millions of euros in fees paid to middlemen.

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Powerful Cardinal, a Fixture of Vatican Intrigue, Resigns Suddenly

ROME (ITALY)
New York Times

September 24, 2020

By Jason Horowitz

In a cryptic statement, the Vatican did not explain the reason for Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu’s departure. News reports had connected him to a financial scandal.

In a cryptic late-night announcement, the Vatican on Thursday said Pope Francis had accepted the resignation of one of the church’s most powerful officials, Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu, a fixture of church intrigues and internal power plays who also lost his rights as a cardinal.

The Vatican, in its one-sentence statement, did not explain the reason for the cardinal’s resignation as head of the department in charge of making saints but it comes amid his reported connection to a financial scandal involving a London real estate deal that hemorrhaged church money but enriched middlemen.

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Key Vatican cardinal caught up in real estate scandal resigns suddenly

VATICAN CITY
Reuters

September 24, 2020

By Philip Pullella

A powerful Vatican cardinal caught up in a real estate scandal resigned suddenly on Thursday and gave up his right to take part in an eventual conclave to elect a pope, in one of the most mysterious episodes to hit the Holy See in years.

A brief statement, issued unusually in the evening, said that Pope Francis had accepted the resignation of Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu, head of the department that decides who will be the saints of the Roman Catholic Church.

But perhaps more significantly, the statement said the Becciu, 72, had “given up the rights associated with being a cardinal”.

The one-line statement gave no details but the most important right of Roman Catholic cardinals under 80, as is Becciu, is to take part in a conclave to elect a new pope after the current pope dies or resigns.

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Germany’s Catholic bishops agree on uniform compensation system for abuse victims

GERMANY
Catholic News Agency

September 25, 2020

Germany’s Catholic bishops agreed this week to a uniform system for compensation payments to abuse survivors.

Bishop Georg Bätzing, president of the German bishops’ conference, announced the agreement Sept. 24 at the end of the bishops’ plenary meeting in Fulda, central Germany.

Under the new system, survivors of abuse by Church workers will be entitled to a one-off payment of up to 50,000 euros ($58,000) — a sum based on current court rulings.

Previously German dioceses had determined payments individually.

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German Catholic Church decides on new compensation model for abuse victims

GERMANY
Deutsche Welle

September 24, 2020

The Conference of German Catholic bishops has announced plans to compensate abuse victims up to €50,000 each. Much more than the previous average payout, but much less than survivors had hoped for.

Fall meeting of the German Bishops’ Conference (Arne Dedert/dpa/picture-alliance)
A statement by the Conference of German Catholic Bishops revealed new plans on Thursday to pay survivors of abuse at the hands of Catholic priests compensation of up to €50,000 ($58,000).

The compensation consists of a one-off payment for each affected individual as determined by an independent decision-making body, the chair of the Bishops’ Conference, Georg Bätzing, announced in the central German city of Fulda.

Victims will also be able to request that costs for individual or couples therapy be paid for by the Church.

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German bishops announce higher payments to Catholic abuse victims

GERMANY
UPI

September 24, 2020

ByClyde Hughes

A conference of German Catholic bishops introduced a new model on Thursday to pay survivors of abuse within the church, which could pay each more than $50,000.

The German Bishops Conference announced the creation of an independent committee to investigate complaints of sexual abuse by priests and other clergy. The panel would also determine compensation.

Conference Chair Georg Batzing detailed the new model Thursday at a meeting in Fulda.

Under the change, survivors are eligible for a onetime payment of up to $58,000. Victims will also be able to request that the church pay for therapy.

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Archdiocese of New Orleans Bankruptcy Trials: What Are They Hiding?

UNITED STATES
The Tower (newspaper of Catholic University)

September 24, 2020

By Margaret Adams

The Archdiocese of New Orleans filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Friday, May 1, 2020. This allows the Archdiocese to continue employing workers while the court oversees “the restructuring and implementation of a plan to repay the creditors,” according to 4WWL New Orleans.

In an effort to hold the Archdiocese of New Orleans accountable for filing the bankruptcy in bad faith and hiding information regarding their sexual assault lawsuits, the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors was formed. The Committee was formed on May 20 under the U.S. Trustee Program in an attempt to “dismiss the Archdiocese’s bankruptcy case completely, a move that would help pending abuse claims move forward,” said 4WWL. The Committee elected James Adams as the Chair of the Committee by a unanimous vote. The creditors in the Archdiocese of New Orleans’ bankruptcy case consist mostly of survivors of sexual assault by priests or other employees of the archdiocese.

“I believe that this path will allow victims of clergy abuse to resolve their claims in a fair and timely manner,” said Archbishop of New Orleans, Gregory Aymond, in a newsletter to the archdiocese. “My daily prayer is that this independent process brings about healing for those who have been harmed as a result of abuse by members of the clergy. The healing of victims and survivors is most important to me and to the church.”

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Victims attack ‘tokenistic’ inquiry into organised child exploitation

UNITED KINGDOM
Sky News

September 24, 2020

By Jason Farrell

Victims groups believe they are being silenced and say the inquiry is hearing too much from institutions.

A top lawyer speaking on behalf of victims has led an extraordinary intervention into an inquiry on historical child sexual abuse, saying “we speak with one voice”.

Four days into the latest hearing of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), the review team has been told “it is simply not good enough”.

Victims groups believe they are being silenced and the evidence is being skewed towards the institutions that failed to protect them.

The latest strand of the IICSA is looking at child sexual exploitation by organised networks in England and Wales.

But this morning the hearing gave time for a joint statement from victims groups who accused the inquiry of “a profound imbalance in the evidence”, saying a large number of institutions had been heard but very few victims to challenge their narrative.

“You are not hearing from a single one of those who at a national level represent and work with victims and survivors,” said Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC, speaking on behalf of victims. “Why are we hearing from one side and not the other?”

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Church leading the way in the protection of minors

VATICAN CITY
Vatican News

September 25, 2020

Teresa Kettelkamp, a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, says, “The Catholic Church is being a leader in the world in protecting children and providing assistance to victims.”

The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors (PCPM) held its 14th Ordinary Plenary Assembly from 16-18 September.

During the meeting, which took place partly in person and partly online, members assessed the projects the Commission has been working on over the course of the past year.

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Former Newark Archbishop of 15 years, John Myers, dies at 79

NEW JERSEY
NorthJersey.com

September 24, 2020

By Abbott Koloff and Deena Yellin

Archbishop John J. Myers, who was known for taking strong and sometimes controversial stands during the 15 years that he led the Newark Archdiocese, died on Thursday at the age of 79, months after moving to an Illinois senior facility because of poor health.

Myers said when he retired four years ago that he was proud to leave behind two “thriving institutions,” Seton Hall University and Catholic Charities, and for having ordained almost 200 priests during his time in Newark.

He also built a legacy of speaking his mind about issues that were important to him, like his opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage.

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Former Peoria Catholic Bishop John Myers dies at 79

PEORIA (IL)
Peoria Journal Star

September24, 2020

By Nick Vlahos

A former spiritual leader of Peoria-area Catholics died Thursday morning.

Archbishop John J. Myers was surrounded by family when he died in a care facility in Ottawa, according to a statement from Catholic Diocese of Peoria Bishop Daniel Jenky. Myers was 79.

Myers served as Peoria bishop from 1990 until 2001, when he became archbishop in Newark, N.J.

In 2016, Myers retired from his Newark post.

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[From 2017] Barbara Blaine, Who Championed Victims of Priests’ Abuse, Dies at 61

[Note from BishopAccountability.org: Today is the third anniversary of the death of Barbara Blaine, founder of SNAP and of the global movement for accountability in the Catholic Church. She is still deeply missed. Re-posted below is her New York Times‘ obituary in its entirety. See also obituaries for Barbara in the Toledo Blade and National Catholic Reporter, a remembrance by BA’s Anne Barrett Doyle, Celia Viggo Wexler’s call to make her a saint, and this stunning tribute by Peter Isely.]

THE NEW YORK TIMES
September 25, 2017

By Laurie Goodstein

Barbara Blaine, who was sexually abused by a Roman Catholic priest as a teenager and went on to found the nation’s most potent advocacy group for abuse survivors, died on Sunday in St. George, Utah. She was 61.

The cause was a sudden tear in a blood vessel in her heart, which she sustained on Sept. 18 after going hiking on a vacation, her husband, Howard Rubin, said. She lived in Chicago.

Ms. Blaine, a lawyer with a degree in theology, served for nearly 30 years as president of the group she founded, the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP. She stepped down this year and had recently started a new international organization to hold the Vatican and church officials overseas accountable for covering up abuse cases.

Ms. Blaine was an ardent Catholic who spent her years after college serving and living with homeless people in a Catholic Worker house in Chicago, part of a social justice movement for the poor founded by the activist Dorothy Day. Ms. Blaine applied that same activist sensibility to creating a new movement to fight for abuse survivors.

“She was relentless in the cause of justice, and in that sense she’s a true disciple of Dorothy Day,” said Jason Berry, who was among the first journalists to break news of the abuse scandal. “I think the damage she did to the hierarchy and its credibility was enormous, because she kept demanding that they be truthful.”

Ms. Blaine’s life changed after she read Mr. Berry’s articles in 1985 in the newspaper The National Catholic Reporter about a serial pedophile priest in Louisiana. She, too, had been molested for years as a teenager in Toledo, Ohio, by a priest who she said had convinced her that she was an “evil temptress.”

Mr. Berry’s articles helped her realize, she later told him, that the priest’s actions had been a crime and that she was not at fault. After Ms. Blaine confronted the priest, the Rev. Chet Warren, and his superiors, the church agreed to pay for therapy for her, but the priest was allowed to remain in ministry for years.

She started SNAP in 1988 as a support group, finding fellow victims through an ad placed in The National Catholic Reporter. Some of the early meetings were at the Catholic Worker house in Chicago, but there were also gatherings in San Francisco, St. Louis and other cities.

“We had the idea this would be necessary only for a couple of years,” said David Clohessy, an abuse survivor who soon joined Ms. Blaine as a leader of the organization. “Honestly, we thought there were maybe only 200 people like us across the country.”

Before long, the mission broadened to include advocacy. Members would stick fliers on the windshields of cars parked at a church during Mass warning that an abusive priest was inside. Victims stood outside cathedrals and even on St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican holding photographs of themselves as children when they were first molested.

Ms. Blaine told her story to the local news media in Toledo, and her abuser was removed from ministry after more of his victims came forward. She received a settlement from the church.

“She wasn’t trying to change the world; she was trying to heal herself,” said Barbara Dorris, the managing director of the Survivors Network and an early participant in the group. “She was trying to work within the church, but Barbara couldn’t because the systems failed her and her perpetrator was still out there. She felt, like every victim feels, that there’s this responsibility to speak up before what happened to you happens to someone else.”

In 2002, after a vast cover-up of abusive priests in Boston was revealed by The Boston Globe, and after similar accounts emerged across the country, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops asked Ms. Blaine and Mr. Clohessy to address them at a pivotal meeting in Dallas. American bishops eventually adopted a zero-tolerance policy and pledged to remove priests credibly accused of abuse.

But since then SNAP has often accused bishops of failing to keep these promises, and the group continues to be seen by the church as an adversarial force.

Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta, who was president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops at the height of the scandal in 2002, recalled on Monday that he had first met Ms. Blaine when he was an auxiliary bishop in Chicago. He had helped her obtain a closed church to use as a Catholic Worker house.

“She was a woman of faith; may God be merciful to her,” Archbishop Gregory said.

Besides her husband, Ms. Blaine is survived by her stepsons, Brett and Joshua Rubin; two step-grandsons; three brothers; and four sisters, one of them her twin.

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NYC Church Accused Of Retaliating Against Reverend For Coming Forward With Sexual Misconduct Allegations

NEW YORK (NY)
The Gothamist

September 23, 2020

By Sydney Pereira

A former reverend at a Manhattan Presbyterian church is accused of sending inappropriate photos and asking for oral sex from a female pastor who he helped get a job, according to a new lawsuit filed this week. When the pastor, Reverend Grace Nzameyo Maa, filed a complaint to church officials with the Presbytery of New York City, a group of dozens of churches in the five boroughs, the church and reverend iced her out of working as a pastor in the city, according to the court papers filed Tuesday.

Nzameyo, a New Jersey resident and former Manhattan pastor, is accusing the Presbytery of New York City of retaliating against her for coming forward about being sexually harassed by her boss, Reverend Charles Atkins, Jr., according to a lawsuit filed in Manhattan supreme court this week. Shortly after Nzameyo accepted a formal part-time position as a pastor at the Presbytery’s French Evangelical Church in Chelsea, Atkins allegedly began expecting sexual favors in return for helping her get the job, the lawsuit says.

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Church seeks to take Mount Cashel abuse ruling to Supreme Court of Canada

NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR (CANADA)
The Canadian Press via the Toronto Star

September 23, 2020

The archdiocese of St. John’s will ask the Supreme Court of Canada to overturn a decision that declared the city’s Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation liable for sexual abuse at the Mount Cashel orphanage in the 1950s.

The archdiocese says in a release that its lawyers today petitioned for leave to appeal the July decision from the Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal.

Geoff Budden, the victims’ lawyer, had said the Appeal Court ruling meant the archdiocese would have to pay about $2 million to four lead plaintiffs in the case.

Budden said today’s decision to appeal was expected, although his clients would rather be getting their settlements.

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Novice’s death in India puts spotlight on tragedies over three decades

INDIA
Global Sisters Report via NCR

September 24, 2020

By Saji Thomas

THIRUVALLA, INDIA — On the morning of May 7, Divya P. John, a 21-year-old novice with the Basilian Sisters near here, attended class as usual, a church spokesman says. But an hour later, around noon, her body was found in a well at the convent. Rescuers retrieved the body and bypassed a nearby public hospital to transport it to a diocesan hospital farther away.

A subsequent autopsy found the cause of death to be drowning, but no time of death was given. Church officials did not seek a police crime scene investigation into the mystery of how she died, labeling the tragedy a probable suicide.

John’s untimely death is the latest in close to 20 others since 1987 involving novices and sisters serving in Catholic communities in Kerala state in southern India.

The most notable was the murder of Sister Abhaya, whose body was found in 1992 at the bottom of her convent’s well in Kottayam. Originally dismissed as a suicide, that case took a turn in 2008 after a criminal investigation deemed her death was a murder. Now, almost three decades after Abhaya’s death, a priest and nun charged with her murder are undergoing a trial that only began in August 2019.

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Vatican envoy’s removal from India brings relief for some Catholics

(NEW DELHI) INDIA
National Catholic Reporter

September 18, 2020

By Jose Kavi

Several Catholic groups in India have expressed relief after the Vatican removed its controversial envoy from the country.

Pope Francis Aug. 29 suddenly transferred Archbishop Giambattista Diquattro, apostolic nuncio to India and Nepal, to Brazil amid accusations of inaction against allegedly corrupt bishops.

“I saw the nuncio’s transfer as a small moral victory, not something to gloat about, but more a sense of relief,” chhotebhai, coordinator of the Indian Catholic Forum and former president of the All India Catholic Union, the largest lay association in the country, told NCR.

Chhotebhai welcomed the transfer as a “good riddance,” a sentiment shared by Virginia Saldanha, a laywoman theologian, and Melwyn Fernandes of the Association of the Concerned Catholics, who had tried to contact the nuncio. Their experience has made them question the relevance of an envoy of a religious state to a secular country like India.

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Church must tackle underlying causes of abuse, expert says

ROME (ITALY)
Crux

September 24, 2020

By Elise Ann Allen

Peruvian theologian Rocio Figueroa says little is being done to target the spiritual abuse that allowed the clerical sex scandals to happen and is urging the Catholic Church to rethink its power structure and concept of leadership.

“Whenever there has been sexual abuse in the Church, you could see that there was first a spiritual abuse,” said Figueroa, who is among the speakers addressing a Sept. 21-Oct. 2 online course on abuse prevention in formation settings.

The course, organized by the Pontifical University of Mexico’s Center for the Protection of Minors, will feature a slew of professionals and experts in the field of child protection among its speakers and professors.

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Chilean abuse survivors fear COVID crisis will stop investigations into accused clergy

Crux

September 24, 2020

By Inés San Martín

SANTA FE, Argentina – Chilean abuse survivors allege that the government is using the COVID-19 pandemic to delay having to deal with South American country’s clerical abuse scandal.

“The emails of the [Chilean ecclesiastical] Survivors Network are on fire seeing the situation of the allegations in the prosecutor’s office,” said Eneas Espinoza, a survivor from the Marist Brothers who is still waiting for justice. “The expectation grows and there’s much concern over the possibility of the pandemic being the truck of dirt that the Catholic Church needs to cover up its crimes.”

“If the Chilean State doesn’t do its job, we’ll move forward towards international courts. We need a State that guarantees human rights, not one that is a passive accomplice of crimes,” he told El Mostrador.

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Lawsuit filed against Brophy Prep and Phoenix Diocese claims sex abuse by priest

PHOENIX (AZ)
3TV/CBS 5

September 23, 2020

By Spencer Blake

A priest who used to teach at Brophy is named in a lawsuit regarding possible sex abuse allegations in the 1980s.

There is yet another allegation of sexual abuse by a Catholic priest in Phoenix. On Monday, a lawsuit filed in Maricopa County is going after both Brophy College Preparatory and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix for allowing a priest to abuse a student in the 1980s sexually.

From 1980 to 1987, Father James Sinnerud worked as a teacher and a coach at Brophy. The lawsuit claims he left the plaintiff “John RK Doe” with “emotional distress, embarrassment, loss of self-esteem, disgrace, humiliation, anger, rage, frustration, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium, loss of love and affection, sexual dysfunction, past and future medical expenses for psychological treatment, therapy, and counseling.”

“For [those who haven’t suffered abuse], that’s many years ago. But for the adult survivor, this is still an everyday part of their life,” said Robert Pastor, the plaintiff’s attorney.

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South Jordan man accused of filming himself sexually abusing child at church

SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
KUTV

September 23, 2020

By Jeremy Harris

Federal authorities arrested a South Jordan man who is accused of producing child pornography and sexually abusing a 4-year-old child at a church.

Thomas Michael Wallin, 21, was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail on three charges of felony sexual exploitation of a minor, and one count of aggravated sexual abuse of a child, a first-degree felony.

According to an arrest affidavit, investigators from the Department of Homeland Security received information that Wallin was producing and distributing child pornography from his home in South Jordan.

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Man accused of sexually abusing young boy during funerals at Utah church, police say

UNITED STATES
McClatchy News Service via Fort Worth Star & Telegram

September 23, 2020

By Summer Lin

A Utah man is accused of filming himself sexually abusing a young child at a Mormon church, police said.

It all started when the Department of Homeland Security received information that Thomas Michael Wallin, 21, of South Jordan was allegedly making and distributing child pornography, 2KUTV reported.

Police say Wallin admitted that he sexually abused a 4-year-old boy in December 2019 at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, according to the station. Wallin is accused of filming himself abusing the child, 2KUTV reported.

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Protecting Abuse Survivors is ‘Personal,’ Says New Southern Baptist Leader

UNITED STATES
Religion News Service via Word and Way (blog)

By Adele M. Banks

September 23, 2020

In his first meeting as leader of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, Rolland Slade called on other committee members on Tuesday (Sept. 22) to be responsible “to shepherd and to protect” survivors of church sex abuse. Slade, senior pastor of Meridian Baptist Church in El Cajon, California, announced that the issue is “personal” for him because his wife is a survivor.

“For the last 40 years of my life, I have been in touch with a survivor of sexual abuse in the church,” he said to the 70 people attending the virtual meeting. “In fact, we’ve been married 39 years. So when I say it’s personal, it’s personal. And I encourage you to listen. You don’t have to solve it but you need to listen and share with them how much you care and what has happened to them is not what God would have happen in the church.”

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‘Taking Responsibility:’ Gonzaga Scholars Awarded Grant to Host Conference on Sexual Abuse Crisis in the Catholic Church

SPOKANE (WA)
Gonzaga (University) News Service

September 22, 2020

https://www.gonzaga.edu/news-events/stories/2020/9/22/gonzaga-scholars-awarded-grant-to-host-conference-on-sexual-abuse-crisis-in-the-catholic-church

Gonzaga University has been awarded a $40,000 grant to host a four-day research conference in spring 2022 as part of a new interdisciplinary initiative entitled “Taking Responsibility.” The initiative, made possible by a new nearly $1 million grant to Fordham University in New York City, aims to address the crisis in the Catholic Church related to sexual abuse by priests.

It has been more than 19 months since the Society of Jesus in the United States publicly disclosed the names of its members who were credibly accused of sexually abusing minors.

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Resolution possible in church bus sex abuse case

KENTUCKY
WHOP, 98.7 FM

September 23, 2020

A resolution could be coming soon in the case of a man accused of sexually abusing a juvenile female on a church bus on Easter Sunday last year.

Attorney Sands Chewning represents Tyler Frances and told Judge John Atkins Wednesday morning that he’s working on speaking to some witnesses after discussions with the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office and he’s hopeful to resolve the case by a court date next month.

Judge Atkins scheduled another pre-trial conference for October 14.

Investigation by Hopkinsville police led to the first-degree sexual abuse charge after the alleged victim said Frances ripped off her underwear and inappropriately touched her while both were riding the church bus. Frances was not an employee or affiliated with the church and has pled not guilty in the case.

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Catholic Church appeals to Supreme Court of Canada on bombshell Mount Cashel ruling

NEWFOUNDLAND (CANADA)
CBC News

September 23, 2020

By Ryan Cooke

Precedent could put church on the hook for millions, threatening future operations

The Archdiocese of St. John’s is looking to the Supreme Court of Canada to examine a landmark ruling that puts the Catholic Church on the hook for millions in sexual abuse lawsuits.

The ruling involves Mount Cashel Orphanage in St. John’s, where over the course of decades boys suffered immense sexual and physical abuse at the hands of the Christian Brothers of Ireland.

The Brothers were not employees of the archdiocese, but in July Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal ruled the church created space for them to abuse children and get away with it, and therefore was liable to pay out damages owed by the now-defunct Christian Brothers organization.

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Child Victims Act lawsuits accuse ex-Seton coach of sexually abusing students during 1960s

NEW YORK
Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin

September 23, 2020

By Anthony Borrelli

https://www.pressconnects.com/story/news/public-safety/2020/09/23/ny-child-victims-act-seton-coach-vincent-dutkowski-abuse-lawsuits-poughkeepsie-sex-offender/5802269002/

A now-deceased basketball coach accused of sexually abusing a student when he worked at the former Seton Catholic High School in Endicott during the 1970s faces similar allegations from his past employment at a Catholic school in Poughkeepsie.

Four lawsuits filed since December in the state Supreme Court of New York County accuse Vincent Dutkowski of sexually abusing students at Our Lady of Lourdes High School during the early to mid-1960s.

Dutkowski, who was a registered sex offender living in Florida before he died in 2012 at 83, did not face criminal charges related to accusations in the New York lawsuits — they were filed under provisions of the state’s Child Victims Act. He became a sex offender after being convicted in South Carolina in 2005 of criminal sexual conduct with a minor, according to records.

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Indian nun testifies in closed session of bishop’s rape trial

INDIA
Global Sisters Report via NCR

September 17, 2020

By Saji Thomas

KOTTAYAM, INDIA — A Catholic nun, who two years ago accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal of Jalandhar of rape, started giving her testimony Wednesday in a district court in the southwestern Indian state of Kerala.

Her testimony will continue Thursday before the nun faces cross-examination by the defense lawyer.

Amid heavy rains, the closed door session in the District and Sessions Court in Kottayam lasted from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Before the trial started, court officials closed all doors and windows and put up pink window curtains to keep the proceedings away from public view.

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What if women comprised 50% of sex abuse victims in the Catholic Church?

UNITED STATES
The Worthy Adversary (blog)

September 23, 2020

By Joelle Casteix

What if the cornerstone of our conventional wisdom about the victims of the Catholic Church and clergy sex abuse crisis was wrong?

What if, in a statistically viable sample of survivors of abuse in the Catholic Church, 50% of respondents were female? What if you also knew that this result is almost statically impossible to achieve with the conventional wisdom, which says that boys outnumber girls four to one?

Would that change how you, the church, advocacy groups, and the general public respond to the crisis?

The results of my Survivors Insight Survey are in. You can read the white paper here.

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WV Court considers whether the First Amendment protects diocese from consumer protection laws

WEST VIRGINIA
The Charleston Gazette-Mail

September 22, 2020

By Lacie Pierson

https://www.wvgazettemail.com/news/legal_affairs/wv-court-considers-whether-the-first-amendment-protects-diocese-from-consumer-protection-laws/article_f46fc5d6-d3c1-571b-905e-e9e9cb1abf40.html

The West Virginia Supreme Court is considering whether it’s a violation of the First Amendment for Attorney General Patrick Morrisey to pursue a case against the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston under the state’s Consumer Credit and Protection Act.

During about an hour’s worth of arguments in Charleston on Tuesday, the justices asked attorneys whether it was possible for the attorney general to hold the diocese accountable for potential violations of the consumer law in a way that didn’t impede its faith doctrine or church governance.

The arguments stem from a case filed in Ohio County Circuit Court in March 2019.

Morrisey filed the suit claiming that the diocese knowingly employed priests who had been credibly accused of sexual abuse, at Catholic schools and a camp owned and managed by the diocese. The diocese, Morrisey alleges, did not perform adequate background checks for the priests before hiring them, according to the lawsuit.

The diocese failed to disclose such issues in its advertising, according to the lawsuit

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Another Former Brophy Priest Has Been Accused of Sexual Abuse

PHOENIX (AZ)
Phoenix New Times

September 22,2020

By Erasmus Baxter

A Jesuit priest who taught at Brophy College Preparatory for seven years in the 1980s and coached the boy’s football team is the latest Phoenix-area Catholic priest to be accused of sexual abuse.

In a lawsuit filed today, an anonymous alum now living in California alleges that Reverend James A. Sinnerud, S.J. engaged in sexual contact with him without his consent and when he was a minor incapable of giving consent. The lawsuit does not specify the nature or time frame of the alleged misconduct, but Sinnerud would have been been in his late 40s when he taught at Brophy.

The lawsuit alleges that Brophy, the western U.S. Jesuits chapter, and the Phoenix Roman Catholic diocese were negligent in protecting the plaintiff from Sinnerud and either knew or should have known about his abuse. It cites longstanding evidence of the Church’s efforts to conceal an epidemic of child sex abuse by clergy, including a 2003 confession by the Phoenix bishop that he had moved priests around to conceal their misdeeds.

Sinnerud was one of 38 clergy members named by the Omaha, Nebraska, archdiocese as credibly accused of sexual abuse in 2018 following a probe from that state’s attorney general. It is unclear when the incident from that allegation occurred, but the Catholic school he was working for in 2018 said it occurred before he began work at the school in 1987 after leaving Brophy. Before arriving at Brophy, Sinnerud taught at Jesuit high schools in Seattle and Portland, according to research by the law firms filing the suit.

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Child sexual abuse lawsuit filed against Brophy Prep and Diocese of Phoenix

ARIZONA
KVOA-TV

September 22, 2020

A child abuse lawsuit has been filed against Brophy College Preparatory School and the Diocese of Phoenix.

The suit, filed by a man named John R. K. Doe, alleges Father James Sinnerud abused him while he was a student at the all-male prep school in Phoenix.

The Jesuit teacher and coach taught at the school in the 1980s.

In 2018 Sinnerud was removed from another Jesuit prep school in Omaha, Nebraska after being accused of sexual abuse.

The lawsuit was filed under the Arizona Child Victims Act. The law, which went into effect last year, extends the time for sexual abuse victims to sue predators and the institutions which protected them.

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Amid pandemic, support group for clergy abuse survivors holds meetings online

UNITED STATES
Catholic News Service via Crux

September 23, 2020

By Barb Umberger

The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted lives in many ways — from schools to workplaces, sports to socializing.

It also has impacted the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis’s efforts to assist victim-survivors of clergy sexual abuse.

Since starting in June 2019 as the archdiocese’s outreach coordinator for restorative justice and abuse prevention, Paula Kaempffer has developed a list of healing events, presentations on restorative justice, listening sessions and other opportunities available through the Office of Ministerial Standards and Safe Environment.

And last September, she started an in-person support group to help victim-survivors of sexual abuse. It met monthly for about 90 minutes in a Twin Cities-area local library. In-person attendance had been sparse, Kaempffer said, but those who participated valued the experience.

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Lawsuit alleges sexual misconduct on part of pastor

CALIFORNIA
Christian Leader

September 10, 2020

By Connie Faber

Former Bakersfield pastor, local church named as defendants

A female member of a Mennonite Brethren congregation in Bakersfield, California, has filed a lawsuit alleging sexual misconduct on the part of a former pastor and counselor.

The woman, who is not named, filed a complaint July 22, 2020, in Kern County Superior Court requesting a jury trial and financial damages. The defendants are listed as The Bridge Bible Church (BBC), former pastor Eric Simpson and 50 unnamed individual and entities.

The complaint alleges that the misconduct began when the plaintiff and her husband sought counseling for family and marital issues through BBC and met with Simpson every other week from August 2016 to May 2017. It is alleged that Simpson insisted on talking about sex and began making sexually inappropriate comments in texts and conversations after services. The complaint states that due to personal losses the plaintiff began one-on-one therapy sessions with Simpson in the summer of 2018, which is when the alleged sexual abuse began

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Student charged in case that led to sex-abuse lawsuit against Catholic school, diocese

FLORIDA
Palm Beach Post

September 22, 2020

By Jane Musgrave

The parents of an 11-year-old girl have sued All Saints Catholic School in Jupiter, its principal and the Diocese of Palm Beach over allegations that a boy inappropriately touched her.

A sixth-grade student at All Saints Catholic School was charged with battery and lewd and lascivious molestation after an 11-year-old classmate accused him of groping her, according to a Jupiter police report.

The allegations last week spawned a civil lawsuit against the school, its principal and the Diocese of Palm Beach.

In the lawsuit that was filed in Palm Beach County Circuit Court, an attorney representing the girl and her parents accused school officials and the diocese of protecting the boy because he is the son of wealthy donors.

The heavily redacted report that police provided to The Palm Beach Post on Tuesday confirmed many of the claims made by attorney Michael Dolce, who is representing the girl and her parents.

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Number of WNY priests accused in Child Victims Act suits grows to 173

BUFFALO (NY)
Buffalo News

September 22, 2020

By Jay Tokasz

Child Victims Act lawsuits filed over the past year have accused 173 Catholic priests in Western New York of sexually abusing children.

More than 30 of those priests were accused publicly for the first time only in recent weeks, including one cleric who has continued to run a South Buffalo parish despite being linked to abuse in a July lawsuit.

The Rev. Donald J. Lutz said he wasn’t aware of the lawsuit when The Buffalo News contacted him last week. Lutz is pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, a small parish on O’Connell Avenue in the Old First Ward neighborhood of the city.

Attorneys Steve Boyd and Jeffrey Anderson filed a lawsuit July 30 in State Supreme Court on behalf of an anonymous plaintiff accusing Lutz of engaging in “unpermitted sexual contact” with the plaintiff from 1975 to 1976. The plaintiff was 13 to 14 at the time and attended St. Leo the Great Church, according to court papers.

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Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston issues release on lawsuit

WHEELING (WV)
WTOV-TV

September 21, 2020

The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston issued a statement responding to a civil lawsuit by a former Parkersburg Catholic High School Principal. John Gobolewski alleges retaliation for reporting abuse.

The diocese said the former principal’s contract was not renewed and no issues were raised in discussions. The diocese said it won in court a motion to compel arbitration of the non-renewal of the contract.

Further, the diocese said its sexual abuse review board did not find credible abuse claims.

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Diocese responds to former principal’s lawsuit

PARKERSBURG (WV)
Parkersburg News and Sentinel

September 22, 2020

By Tyler Bennett

The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston released a statement Monday regarding the civil suit filed by former Parkersburg Catholic High School Principal John Golebiewski, stating the claims against the pastor were not credible.

In the statement released by the Diocese’s spokesperson Tim Bishop, it states the Superintendent of Catholic Schools Mary Ann Deschaine and Father John Rice, designated pastor of Parkersburg Catholic, determined it was in the best interest of the school to have new leadership.

It also states that there were no issues between Rice and Golebiewski in discussions.

The allegations involving Rice were promptly investigated, reviewed by the Diocesan Sexual Abuse Review Board and were determined not to be credible abuse claims, the statement said.

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Diocese responds to court filing by former PCHS principal

PARKERSBURG (WV)
WTAP-TV

September 21, 2020

By Todd Baucher

Says claims against chaplain “not credible”

The Wheeling-Charleston Catholic Diocese has responded to a complaint filed by the former principal at Parkersburg Catholic High School.

The legal filing claims his contract was not renewed last spring, after he raised allegations of misconduct by the school’s chaplain and its football coach. The latter’s contract was not renewed after last season.

The full text of the diocese’s statement reads:

“This civil suit arises from an employment dispute with a former principal whose contract was not renewed. The Superintendent of Schools, Mary Ann Deschaine, and the designated pastor of the school, Fr. John Rice, determined it was in the best interest of the school to have new leadership. No issues with Fr. Rice were raised in the discussions with the former principal. The recent news story was prompted by the Court’s granting the Diocese’s motion to compel arbitration of the non-renewal of the contract pursuant to the terms of the contract. The allegations alleged involving Fr. Rice were promptly investigated, reviewed by the Diocesan Sexual Abuse Review Board and determined not to be credible abuse claims.”

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Alleged priest abuse victim is to sue the pope

NORTHERN IRELAND
Portadown Times

September 21, 2020

A man allegedly targeted by a paedophile priest is to sue the Pope, it emerged today.

Lawyers for Co Armagh man Barry McCourt confirmed he is taking High Court action amid claims the Catholic Church covered up abuse perpetrated by the late Fr Malachy Finegan.

The test case was described as an attempt to gain justice for other victims.

Finegan taught and worked at St Colman’s College in Newry from 1967 to 1987, spending the last decade as the school’s president.

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Opinion: Did Harris cover for the Catholic Church?

UNITED STATES
Catholic League (blog)

September 21, 2020

This is Bill Donohue’s reply to Peter Schweizer

In August, conservative author Peter Schweizer alleged that when Kamala Harris was the San Francisco District Attorney she failed to pursue allegations of sexual abuse by priests in the San Francisco Archdiocese. He says she did so because she was beholden to Catholic donors to her 2003 campaign; she took over that post in 2004. He also claims she destroyed Church documents.

The accusations that Schweizer made are based on his chapter on Harris in his recent book, Profiles in Corruption. I accessed the sources he cited in the book and matched them up with what he said to the media. As it turns out, there are important inconsistencies and omissions. Most important, what he says about the Church’s response to law enforcement lacks context, providing the reader with a skewed account.

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Former De La Salle principal and another religious brother accused of molesting student in the 80s

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
NOLA. com (The Times-Picayune | New Orleans Advocate)

September 21, 2020

By Ramon Antonio Vargas

Both men have previously pleaded no contest to unrelated molestation allegations, but these are first public accusations from work at De La Salle

A former principal of De La Salle High and a subordinate are accused of sexually molesting one of the Uptown school’s students in the 1980s, according to a new lawsuit filed last month.

While the Aug. 7 lawsuit appears to mark the first time ex-principal Richard Langenstein and Robert Gandara face public abuse accusations stemming from their service at the 71-year-old school on St. Charles Avenue, each has previously pleaded no contest to charges of child molestation for unrelated conduct in St. Tammany Parish.

Neither Gandara nor Langenstein, who died in 2003, were clergymen, so they are not on the Archdiocese of New Orleans’ list of more than 60 priests and deacons who are considered credibly accused of child sexual abuse. The archdiocese also does not run De La Salle, which is operated by the Catholic Christian Brothers order’s regional chapter.

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Safeguarding and child protection moves to the next stage

PARRAMATTA (AUSTRALIA)
Catholic Outlook

September 22, 2020

As the Diocese of Parramatta prepares for the first meeting of its Safeguarding Council in October, it echoes the sentiments of the presidents of Catholic Religious Australia and the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference who have thanked an advisory group that has helped the Church progress matters related to safeguarding and child protection.

In letters sent earlier this month, Implementation Advisory Group (IAG) chair Jack de Groot informed Br Peter Carroll FMS and Archbishop Mark Coleridge that the group had concluded its work, with Mr de Groot noting “the many blessings that will result in taking forward the important and essential work of leading the Church in Australia”.

Br Peter said: “As the Church continues its emphasis on child protection and safeguarding after the conclusion of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, the IAG provided important expert input to assist the Church in responding to the Commission’s many recommendations.

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Clergy abuse survivors face a lifetime of PTSD recurrence

UNITED STATES
Catholic News Service via UCA News

September 22, 2020

By Dennis Sadowski

Stress can last for months or years with triggers that can bring back memories of the trauma

New job in hand, Jim Richter was adjusting well to life in Minneapolis several months after leaving his hometown of Chicago.

He was enjoying his fellowship at the University of Minnesota Medical Center despite the long hours and he was coming to realize his move was a good one.

Sexually abused as a teenager by a South Side Chicago Catholic priest who had similarly assaulted other young men, Richter wasn’t expecting to hear more about the clergy abuse scandal in Minnesota.

Then news broke about Archbishop John C. Nienstedt of St. Paul and Minneapolis, who eventually resigned in 2015 over accusations he had mishandled allegations of abuse against an archdiocesan priest. Criminal charges were initially filed against the archdiocese over this, but were later dropped. Archbishop Nienstedt also faced allegations he had engaged in sexual misconduct with adults as a priest and as a bishop, claims he denied.

Richter said he felt he had been “assaulted” again when listening to news reports on the radio as he drove to work. The reports, he said, triggered a recurrence of post-traumatic stress disorder, known as PTSD.

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Opinion: Why there’s more to the question of the confessional

AUSTRALIA
Wellington Times

September 22, 2020

By Father Brendan Lee

I DON’T always get to see letters written about me to editors or online, and maybe that’s a good thing.

However, one particular letter to the editor earlier this month from a local politician which I did read gave me reason to pause.

He had just finished reading The Altar Boys by ABC journalist Suzanne Smith, a book on the abuse of children in the diocese of Maitland and the cover-up by the church.

In light of my recent article “More than ever we need to ask RUOK?”, this politician accused me of hypocrisy, given that I’m the same person who has said I would rather go to prison than break the seal of the confessional.

It’s true, I am a hypocrite. I ask others to take their lives and faith seriously, then find my myself more interested in sharing gags than the gospel.

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Co Armagh man ‘targeted by paedophile priest’ to sue Pope

NORTHERN IRELAND
Belfast Telegraph

September 22,2020

By Alan Erwin

A man allegedly targeted by a paedophile priest is to sue the Pope, it has emerged.

Lawyers for Co Armagh man Barry McCourt confirmed he is taking High Court action amid claims the Catholic Church covered up abuse perpetrated by the late Fr Malachy Finnegan.

The test case was described as an attempt to gain justice for other victims.

Finnegan taught and worked at St Colman’s College, Newry, from 1967 to 1987, spending the last decade as the school’s president. He later served as a parish priest in Clonduff, Co Down.

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Papal safeguarding commission meets online and in Rome

VATICAN CITY
Catholic News Service

September 21, 2020

By Carol Glatz

Given the COVID-19 pandemic, members of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors met online and, for those who could, in Rome for their plenary assembly Sept. 16-18.

“It was business as usual,” Jesuit Fr. Hans Zollner, a commission member, told Catholic News Service Sept. 18. The meetings, held twice a year, give the 17 members a chance to listen to each working group’s progress report and to lay the groundwork for future action.

Everyone was in attendance, he said, including U.S. Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of Boston, commission president, who took part online.

With members on each continent, Zollner added, the challenge was finding meeting times to accommodate people in vastly different time zones; that meant signing in after midnight for one member on the Polynesian archipelago of Tonga and being up before 6 a.m. for members in the Americas.

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