ABUSE TRACKER

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

January 31, 2021

New Orleans priest denies lawsuit’s allegations that he raped boy in 2008

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
WDSU-TV

January 29, 2021

The Rev. John Asare-Dankwah issued a statement Thursday denying allegations of rape and assault made against him in a lawsuit filed the previous day, saying he was “saddened and appalled” by them.

The well-known pastor at St. Peter Claver Catholic Church was in Ghana visiting his family when he was notified Wednesday night of the allegations in the lawsuit, according to the Archdiocese of New Orleans. The organization said Wednesday it removed Asare-Dankwah from service pending their investigation and would notify law enforcement.

The suit claims the alleged rape and assault of the then-10-year-old plaintiff, identified only as “A.A. Doe,” happened during a January 2008 retreat in Montgomery, Alabama. Doe was a member of Blessed Trinity Catholic Church, where Asare-Dankwah was serving at the time.

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

New Orleans priest denies ‘appalling allegations’ of child molestation

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
KLFY-TV

January 29, 2021

By Aaron S. Lee

A day after a lawsuit was filed alleging a New Orleans priest raped and assaulted a 10-year-old boy during a church retreat in Montgomery, Ala., in 2008, Rev. John Asare-Dankwah has issued an official statement in response to the allegations.

At the time of the incident in question, Rev. John Asare-Dankwah worked at Blessed Trinity Catholic Church in Broadmoor. The Archdiocese of New Orleans has suspended Rev. Asare-Dankwah from his duties, which includes leading his congregation at St. Peter Claver Catholic Church in Treme, pending the outcome of the investigation.

Rev. Asare-Dankwah’s statement reads:

“I am deeply saddened and appalled by the allegations that I’ve just been made aware of. These allegations are false. I have never harmed anyone in my service to God – particularly any child – and I am prepared to fight vigorously to clear my name that I’ve worked for nearly three decades building trust as a man of God. The only time I have been to Alabama is to visit a friend; I have never been to the state in conjunction with any religious retreat.

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

Suspended St. Peter Claver pastor denies child rape accusations: ‘These allegations are false’

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
NOLA.com

January 29, 2021

By Ramon Antonio Vargas

The Rev. John Asare-Dankwah has denied allegations that he raped an underage boy 13 years ago, a claim that prompted the Archdiocese of New Orleans to suspend him from his role as pastor of Treme’s historic St. Peter Claver Catholic Church.

Asare-Dankwah issued his denial in a statement Thursday, a day after a lawsuit was filed in Orleans Parish Civil District Court accusing him of raping a 10-year-old boy while hearing his confession during a weeklong retreat in Alabama in 2008.

“I am deeply saddened and appalled by the allegations,” the statement read. “These allegations are false. I have never harmed anyone in my service to God — particularly any child — and I am prepared to fight vigorously to clear my name that I’ve worked for nearly three decades building trust as a man of God.”

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

Judge OKs latest legal fees of $476K in church bankruptcy case

GUAM
Guam Daily Post

January 31, 2021

By Haidee Eugenio Gilbert

U.S. District Court Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood on Tuesday approved $476,000 in revised legal fees and costs in the Archdiocese of Agana’s two-year-old bankruptcy case.

Two days later, the judge issued an order approving stipulation for stay of proceedings and suspension of work at least until Feb. 28, 2021, except for certain matters.

The judge, in her Jan. 28 order, said all parties shall make their best efforts to reduce legal fees by limiting work in the main case and the adversary proceeding case for at least a month.

She also ordered the parties to return to mediation before Judge Robert Faris, a U.S. bankruptcy judge.

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

[Opinion] A conflict of interest?

NEW ZEALAND
Gisborne Herald

January 31, 2021

By Matthew Epsom

One of New Zealand’s diplomatic relations is actually not with another country, but with a peculiar legal corporate person under international law called the Holy See.

The Holy See is often mistakenly referred to as the Vatican. However, the Vatican and the Holy See are not the same things.

Vatican City is a sovereign country whose ruler happens to be the pope. The pope has absolute unchecked power within his realm which makes Vatican City the world’s only elected non-hereditary absolute monarchy, and the pope, effectively, a king.

The reason why we seldom hear about the king of Vatican City is because while pope and king are two distinct offices, they just happen to be occupied by the same person at the same time.

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

Seven decades after a priest assaulted her, a Plainfield woman is still grappling with the trauma

NEW HAMPSHIRE
Valley News

January 30, 2021

By Anna Merriman

When trauma resurfaced in Patty Rondeau’s life 50 years ago, it came in a sleek black car rolling up to her sister’s Hartford home.

The day had been beautiful; sunny and bright, just before a christening party one of her sisters was throwing. Rondeau, then in her 30s, was sitting among the lilacs and grass outside, turning the sandy dirt into small castles with her children.

The arrival of the Rev. Daniel Roberts dashed the idyllic moment.

“I lost it. I started shaking and crying,” Rondeau said. It was the first time in years that she’d seen the priest who she says sexually assaulted her as a young girl in White River Junction. “It was like it happened all over again.”

She told her older sister that she refused to go inside as long as Roberts was there. But, in the 1970s, decades before news about sexual abuse within the Catholic Church would make headlines across the country, and long before the #MeToo movement would draw attention to the prevalence and lasting trauma of sexual violence, Rondeau’s sister only sighed.

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

St. Mary’s Prep teacher: I was fired for reporting sex assault of student

DETROIT (MI)
Detroit Free Press

January 29, 2021

By John Wisely

A former longtime teacher claims Orchard Lake St. Mary’s Preparatory High School fired him after he relayed a student’s account of being sexually assaulted by older classmates.

Donald Ambrose taught literature at the Catholic school for more than 20 years until May 2019. He claims in a federal lawsuit filed Thursday that he was fired after pressing school officials to investigate the assault, which occurred on a weekend religious retreat.

The school, which had enrolled only boys until 2020, claimed Ambrose was terminated because of parental complaints about his performance and a run-in with a student who had been disciplined.

“The stated reasons for Donald Ambrose’s termination are mere pretext for unlawful retaliation for Donald Ambrose complaining of the unlawful sexual assault … and the deliberate indifference of the administration,” the lawsuit claims.

The Free Press generally doesn’t name, without permission, individuals who claim sexual abuse.

School officials wouldn’t comment on the dismissal but disputed the claims in the lawsuit.

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

Former Boy Scouts Chaplain Gets 40 Years for Sex Abuse of Child with Developmental Disabilities, 5 Others

RHODE ISLAND
People

January 29, 2021

By Jeff Truesdell

The prison term comes amid a reckoning for the Boy Scouts of America, which is facing more than 92,000 claims of sexual abuse

A former volunteer camp chaplain for the Boy Scouts of America who sexually abused multiple victims, including a developmentally disabled teen, has been sentenced to 40 years in a Rhode Island prison after pleading no contest to his crimes.

James Glawson, 76, faced 11 counts of first-degree sexual assault against six young men, five in the 1980s during his time as a Scout leader, Rhode Island Attorney General Peter F. Neronha announced Thursday.

The most recent victim, in 2019, was a resident of a group home with developmental disabilities.

Rhode Island State Police began investigating Glawson in January 2019 after staff at the group home reported inappropriate contact between him and an 18-year-old resident, according to the attorney general’s office. The resident later told investigators he’d been assaulted by Glawson multiple times over several years.

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

Wyoming A.G. won’t charge retired bishop accused of abuse

WYOMING
Denver Gazette via trib.com

January 29, 2021

By Seth Klamann

The Wyoming attorney general has decided against charging retired bishop Joseph Hart, effectively ending law enforcement and victims’ efforts to hold accountable a top Catholic cleric facing decades of sexual abuse allegations.

A spokeswoman for the Cheyenne Police Department, which launched the sexual abuse investigation into Joseph Hart in April 2018, said in an email that Attorney General Bridget Hill would not be pursuing charges. Cheyenne Police brought the case to Hill’s office in July, after prosecutors elsewhere in Wyoming also declined to charge the retired bishop. Police had interviewed several alleged victims or their family members. The attorney general’s prospective role has not previously been revealed.

Hart, who as bishop led the Catholic flock in Wyoming from 1978 to 2001, has been accused of sexual abuse by more than a dozen men. Dioceses in Wyoming and Missouri, where Hart worked previously, have settled lawsuits with victims and said their accounts are credible and substantiated.

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

Legislation requiring clergy to report child abuse withdrawn

NORTH DAKOTA
WRAL-TV

Januray 29, 2021

A bipartisan North Dakota bill that would have required clergy to be included in state law as mandatory reporters of child abuse has been withdrawn.

West Fargo Republican Sen. Judy Lee withdrew the legislation on Friday, saying the bill “is and always has been to prevent child abuse.”

“Unfortunately, because of lack of understanding of the goal and the circumstances, the bill has become a distraction, and attention has moved from the child abuse crisis to other topics,” Lee said on the Senate floor.

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

North Dakota Senate withdraws bill requiring mandatory reporting for clergies

NORTH DAKOTA
KFYR-TV

January 29, 2021

By Hayley Boland

The state Senate has withdrawn a controversial bill that would have included clergies as a mandatory reporting body for child abuse.

The current law requires various groups like teachers, child care workers, doctors, and police to report child abuse or neglect when they see it, but there’s an exemption for clergy members when serving as a spiritual adviser.

Senate Bill 2180 would have included clergies as mandatory reporters.

The bill received pushback from members of the Catholic Church, for fear it would “unseal” the Catholic confession.

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

Catholic Church Files Motions to Make ‘Child Sexual Assault’ Law Unconstitutional

CALIFORNIA
California Globe

January 30, 2021

By Evan Symon

If successful, removal of law would greatly reduce statue of limitations, limit definition of child sexual abuse

This week, the Catholic Church filed motions in the Northern and Southern Superior Courts to remove the AB 218 law.

Assembly Bill 218, authored by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) was passed by the legislature and signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom in 2019. Under AB 218, the crime of ‘child sexual abuse’ was changed to ‘child sexual assault’ and expanded the statute of limitation for the crime from 8 years, or 3 years after the discovery of trauma stemming from the assault, to 22 years, or 5 years from discovery. Damage recovery guarantees were also clarified for certain defendants and increases damages where it was found that previous assaults had been covered-up by the employer.

Assemblywoman Gonzalez wrote the bill to allow more people, specifically those who were abused by clergy members when underage, to come forward with abuse charges, as many younger people had not been ready to come forward with charges until after the age of 26, by which time it became too late under the 8 year statute of limitations.

“The idea that someone who is assaulted as a child can actually run out of time to report that abuse is outrageous,” said the Assemblywoman in 2019. “More and more, we’re hearing about people who were victims years ago but were not ready to come forward to tell their story until now. We shouldn’t be telling victims their time is up when in reality we need them to come forward to protect the community from future abuse.”

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

Editorial | After long wait, will abuse victims get justice?

PENNSYLVANIA
The Tribune-Democrat

January 30, 2021

By Todd Berkey

For nearly a decade, we’ve been calling for action in Harrisburg to provide victims of child sexual abuse with the opportunity to seek damages from their abusers – even if they’ve moved past the statute of limitations for civil action.

The state Legislature has been unwilling to directly provide justice for these adults who were victimized as children.

The Pennsylvania House did vote this week to pass the buck and put the idea before the state’s voters. The measure now goes to the Senate, and could be on the May ballot if approved there.

A plan also passed both chambers last year, and needs to be approved twice in successive years to become a ballot referendum item.

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

January 30, 2021

A Vanishing Priest, a Wall of Secrecy and a 25-Year-Old Abuse Case

NEW YORK
The New York Times

January 30, 2021

By Jenn Morson

Religious orders have their own hierarchies, so they have their own ways of handling abuse allegations.

Thirty-odd years ago, 8-year-old Timothy Schlenz spent every Saturday being tutored on the sacraments at a Manhattan church. It was there, he said, that he was regularly abused.

Every weekend, his family would drive into the city from New Jersey so that Timothy, who is now 39, could study at St. Catherine of Siena Parish, on the Upper East Side. The priest who tutored him, the Rev. Carleton P. Jones, slowly groomed the boy and eventually molested him, telling him it was a way to check for cancer, according to Mr. Schlenz.

Only years later did Mr. Schlenz come to understand that Father Jones had abused him. He wanted to press charges, though by then the statute of limitations had passed. But the New York State Child Victims Act, which allows for victims to file civil lawsuits against their abusers regardless of how long ago the abuse occurred, has given Mr. Schlenz a chance to make his case.

In August 2019, he initiated a legal action against Father Jones and the Dominican Friars Province of Saint Joseph. But the religious order had already exonerated Father Jones following its own internal investigation just two months earlier.

A complicating factor here is that Father Jones does not report to the Archdiocese of New York, which has been part of the Roman Catholic Church’s effort to make reporting and investigating clergy abuse more transparent. He is an order priest, which means that the Dominicans — not the Archdiocese of New York — were responsible for initially investigating Father Jones in late 2018, following a tip from another Dominican priest whom Mr. Schlenz had confided in.

But orders have their own ways, often private and murky, of doing things. So, after the Dominicans cleared Father Jones, and before the Child Victims Act case was filed against him, he disappeared.

Mr. Schlenz’s case entered its discovery phase last fall. Joseph D’Avanzo, Father Jones’s lawyer, denied all of the allegations and refused to discuss the priest’s whereabouts. Multiple requests to speak with leaders of the order have been rebuffed. But in an email this month, the vicar for child protection of the Dominicans, the Rev. Albert Duggan, responded to a request from The Times. “Because this involves a matter in litigation, the province is not able to make any comment at this time,” he wrote.

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

‘Sexual sadist’ priest who locked boy in crypt and watched him shower handed sentence

ENGLAND
Coventry Live

January 29, 2021

Joseph Quigley, a former national education advisor for Roman Catholic schools, sexually and physically abused a boy while he was a parish priest at a church near Warwick.

A priest who sexually and physically abused a boy during a sick six-year ordeal has been jailed for over 11 years.

Father Joseph Quigley – described as a “sexual sadist” – rubbed his teenage victim’s inner thigh after making him wear gym kit, made him take showers with the door open and inflicted ‘sado-masochistic’ punishments on him such as locking him in the church’s crypt.

He also beat the boy with a hurling stick during his time at St Charles Borromeo RC church in Hampton-on-the-Hill near Warwick.

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

Ex-priest Joseph Quigley jailed for child sex offences

ENGLAND
BBC News

January 29, 2021

A former priest who subjected a teenage boy to “depraved” sex offences has been jailed for 11 years and six months.

Joseph Quigley, 56, had denied engaging in sexual activity with a child, sexual assault, child cruelty, and false imprisonment, but was convicted of multiple counts in December.

The offences were between 2006 and 2009 when the victim was aged between 14 and 16, Warwickshire Police said.

Quigley “abused the trust” of the boy who was said to respect him.

At the time of the offences, police said, Quigley was working as a priest at a church in Warwickshire and as a private tutor.

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

Senior priest locked boy in a church crypt during ‘Gothic horror’ campaign of abuse

ENGLAND
Yahoo News

January 29, 2021

By Emily Cleary

A senior Catholic priest who locked a teenage boy in a church crypt during a “Gothic horror” campaign of sexual and physical abuse has been jailed.

Father Joseph Quigley, a former national education advisor for Roman Catholic schools, also battered the boy with a hurling stick as part of sadomasochistic punishments.

And despite his actions coming to light, the church failed to inform police about his behaviour and sent him for therapy in America before allowing him to resume his duties.

Quigley, 56, began abusing the boy in 2002 under the “camouflage” of being a parish priest of St Charles Borromeo Roman Catholic church, in Hampton-on-the-Hill, near Warwick.

Warwick Crown Court heard how he made his victim take showers with the door open, stroked his inner thigh while forcing him to wear a gym kit and made him chew paracetamol.

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

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin praised for ‘courage, tenacity and compassion’

IRELAND
Irish Times

January 30, 2021

‘We owe him a lot’: Political leaders, religious figures and abuse survivors pay tribute

Catholic Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin, who formally stands down next Tuesday, has been praised for his “courage, tenacity and compassion,” by President Michael D Higgins in one of many tributes.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has spoken of the archbishop’s “empathy and Christianity” while former president Mary McAleese said he had “brought honest and principled leadership to the vexed issue of clerical sexual abuse of children and a dreadful history of episcopal mismanagement”.

Dublin abuse survivor Marie Collins described Archbishop Martin as “a light in the darkness of the church response to the clerical child abuse crisis”. Others to praise his record in Dublin, since appointment as coadjutor archbishop in May 2003, include church and faith leaders, as well as more abuse survivors.

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Archbishop Diarmuid Martin: ‘We’ve to be careful to ensure we never slip back’

IRELAND
Irish Times

January 29, 2021

By Patsy McGarry

Interview: ‘My worst day came early on, when I met the parents of a victim. That shattered me’

Pope Francis once quietly approached the Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, in the Vatican guesthouse, the Santa Marta, at the end of an early morning Mass.

“I often think of you, you got a very difficult chalice. I’m sure there are nights you go to bed and you say to yourself why did I not stay in Geneva?” he told the Dubliner.

During his 17 years at the helm in Dublin, it is a question that Martin, who steps down finally as archbishop next week, could have been forgiven for asking himself, and more than once.

He was appointed coadjutor archbishop in 2003, becoming archbishop the following year at a time when the Catholic Church in Ireland was reeling in the face of a swathe of allegations of clerical child abuse.

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Germany: Calls for cardinal to release report on sexual abuse of minors

GERMANY
Deutsche Welle

January 29, 2021

Pressure has increased on a Catholic cardinal over the release of a report on child sex abuse. The diocese council of Cologne has said Cardinal Woelki has a moral obligation to allow its publication.

A German Catholic cardinal, who has for months prevented the publication of a report on alleged sexual abuse of minors, came under increasing pressure on Friday to relent.

Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, a conservative clergyman who is also the archbishop of Cologne, has often resisted reforms within the Catholic Church and has faced mounting criticism over blocking the release of the independent report on abuse committed by members of his diocese, Germany’s largest, between 1975 and 2018.

In November, Woelki turned to the head of the Catholic Church for assistance, urging Pope Francis to take over the investigation.

Moral obligations

In a rare public rebuke, the diocese council of Cologne, which groups clergy and laypeople, heavily criticized the Woelki, saying he had “completely failed as a moral authority.”

“We find ourselves in the biggest crisis that the Church has ever experienced,” Tim Kurzbach, head of the council, said in a statement.

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Abuse in the church: at least 120 victims in the diocese of Berlin

GERMANY
dpa via The Courier

January 29, 2021

According to an independent report commissioned by the Catholic Church, several dozen clergy have been involved in the sexual abuse of minors over the past 73 years. The actual figure could be much higher.

Berlin (dpa) – Between 1946 and the end of 2019, at least 61 clergy were involved in the sexual abuse of minors in the area of ​​the Catholic Archdiocese of Berlin. In this period, a total of 121 victims became known from the files.

This is evident from an independent report on behalf of the church, which was presented in Berlin. According to the report from the law firm Redeker Sellner Dahs, the number of unreported cases could be much higher. The suspects are mainly priests and members of the order who worked in the area of ​​the diocese.

Hierarchical structures and a lack of communication have hindered education and prevention, the paper notes. The lawyer Peter-Andreas Brand, one of the authors, spoke of “systematic irresponsibility”. They tried by all means to prevent “damage to the church as an institution,” said co-author Sabine Wildfeuer. Church leadership was more empathetic to the perpetrators than to the victims.

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

In East Timor, self-professed paedophile and former priest Richard Daschbach continues to evade justice

EAST TIMOR
Post Magazine

January 30, 2021

By Ian Lloyd Neubauer

After meeting American Catholic priest Richard Daschbach in East Timor, a writer helped him procure funding for his orphanage, before discovering the man was a sexual predator

From the moment I first laid eyes on him, in 2009, I knew he was unlike the few other Westerners on the ship. Slowly, steadily, he made his way through the crowd, stopping as local people took his hand and touched it against their foreheads – a traditional sign of veneration for men of the cloth. Yet this old man seemed anything but missionary-like, dressed down in a polo shirt and an old baseball hat, with small stumpy teeth stained red from chewing betel nut.

Later in the evening, I saw him again, resting on the upper deck among the hundreds of passengers making the slow overnight journey from East Timor’s sleepy capital, Dili, to Oecusse, a small coastal territory of East Timor, walled in by Indonesian-controlled West Timor.

His name was Father Richard Daschbach, an American priest who had built the Topu Honis orphan­age and women’s shelter near Oecusse. We talked for more than an hour and at the end of our discussion, he invited me to stay at Topu Honis as his guest. In Meto, Oecusse’s little-known tongue, topu means “to lead by the hand’” and honis means “life”.

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Church demands Timor-Leste faithful accept defrocking of accused priest

TIMOR-LESTE
Pacific Media Watch via Asia Pacific Report

January 30, 2021

The Timorese Episcopal Conference has called on the entire Catholic community in Timor-Leste to accept and respect Pope Francis’ decision to expel an American accused of child sexual abuse in the country from the priesthood, reports LUSA news agency.

“Mr Richard Daschbach has already received his sentence for the Doctrine of the Faith, with the number 208 / 2018-67069 of November 6, 2018 from Pope Francis: he is no longer a priest, he is now a layman,” said the CET statement.

“Confirmed by the Archdiocese of Dili” and addressed “to priests, religious, deacons, brothers, nuns and all baptised in Timor-Leste”, the statement said.

“According to this decree of the Holy Father, there is nothing more to say about this priest’s priesthood. Priests, deacons, brothers, mothers and all the baptised are asked to respect this decree and not make any further comments ”, it said.

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Priest was prohibited from contact with minors immediately – Gozo Diocese

MALTA
Newsbook

January 30, 2021

By Cedric Farrugia

The Diocese of Gozo said that when Bishop Mario Grech was informed about the alleged abuse by Rev. Joseph Sultana in Australia, he prohibited him from having contact with minors with immediate effect.

The statement which was published on the Diocese of Gozo Facebook page declared that it wanted to explain all the steps taken as soon as the allegations in Australia were made.

Fr Joseph Sultana and Fr Joseph Cini this week have been arrested in relation to accuses related to the abuse of a minor in Gozo. The two priests are being held in custody.

The Gozitan Diocese explained that when the allegations from the Cairna Diocese in Australia surfaced, the Bishop apart from acting and prohibiting Sultana from working with minors, he offered to collaborate with the authorities.

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January 29, 2021

[Media Statement] New Orleans Catholic Priest Accused of Sexually and Physically Abusing a Ten-Year-Old Boy, SNAP Calls for his Return to the US

SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests)

January 28, 2021

A priest accused of raping a ten-year-old child in 2008 has been suspended from ministry in the Archdiocese of New Orleans. We call on Catholic officials to bring the priest back from his extended visit abroad so that he can face justice here in the United States and to use every resource at their disposal to encourage other victims to come forward, make a report, and start healing.

Fr. John Asare-Dankwah allegedly raped and later physically abused the boy while he was hearing confession during an out-of-state retreat. We fully support this gentleman and applaud his courage to come forward publicly. We are also grateful he has reached out to our local SNAP group for support. The average age for abuse survivors to disclose abuse is 52, but this man is significantly younger than the national average. It takes real courage to come forward and we hope that this story will encourage others who may have been hurt by Fr. Asare-Dankwah to speak out and make a report to the police.

Currently, Fr. Asare-Dankwah is out of the country, visiting family in Ghana. We are concerned because many priests – such as Fr. Alex Castillo in the Diocese of Oakland, CA – who have been accused of sexual abuse have been able to flee from justice by leaving the United States. Some of them were even allowed to work as priests abroad despite Catholic officials knowing about their criminal tendencies.

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

[News Release] Exeter man and former Boy Scout leader sentenced to serve 40 years in state prison for sexually assaulting multiple victims

PROVIDENCE (RI)
Office of Attorney General

January 28, 2021

Attorney General Peter F. Neronha announced today that an Exeter man was sentenced in Washington County Superior Court to serve 40 years at the Adult Correctional Institutions (ACI) after pleading to sexually assaulting six young men; five in the 1980’s during his time as a scout leader and the most recent victim in 2019.

James Glawson (age 76) pleaded nolo contendere to 11 counts of first-degree sexual assault.

At today’s hearing before Superior Court Justice Melanie Wilk Thunberg, the court sentenced Glawson to 60 years at the ACI, with 40 years to serve and the balance suspended with probation. Glawson was ordered by the court to register as a sex offender, complete sex offender counseling, and is subject to community supervision. The court also issued a no contact order between Glawson and his victim.

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Former Yawgoog chaplain sentenced to 40 years in prison

RHODE ISLAND
The Westerly Sun

January 28, 2021

By Jason Vallee

An Exeter man and former assistant Catholic chaplain at Camp Yawgoog Boy Scout summer camp in Hopkinton has been sentenced to serve 40 years in state prison for the sexual assault of six young men between 1981 and 2019.

Superior Court Judge Melanie Wilk Thunberg on Thursday sentenced the man, 76-year-old James Glawson, to serve 60 years at the Adult Correctional Institutions in Cranston, with 40 years to serve and the balance suspended with completion of a probation period. Court records show Glawson will also be required to register as a sex offender, must complete sex offender counseling and is subject to community supervision. He was also issued a no-contact order preventing him from contacting victims.

The sentencing came after Glawson agreed to enter a plea of nolo contendere, or no contest, to 11 separate counts of first-degree sexual assault last year.

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Ex-Boy Scout chaplain gets long sentence on abuse charges

RHODE ISLAND
Associated Press

January 28, 2021

A 76-year-old former volunteer Boy Scout chaplain was sentenced Thursday to serve 40 years in prison after pleading no contest to sexually assaulting six young men, including a developmentally disabled victim.

“Turning to God, I pray each day for God’s help to help heal those that I hurt so badly and to give them comfort for the shame that I have caused,” James Glawson, of Exeter, said in court, The Providence Journal reported.

Glawson was actually sentenced to 60 years in prison, with 40 to serve and the balance suspended with probation, according to the state attorney general’s office.

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‘Sick to think of what I have done’: Ex-Boy Scout chaplain pleads guilty to sexual assaults

RHODE ISLAND
The Providence Journal

January 28, 2021

By Mark Reynolds

A 76-year-old former Boy Scout chaplain apologized for his “evil ways” Thursday, while pleading no contest to a slate of charges involving “sexually penetrating” five young men and a sixth victim with a developmental disability.

“It makes me sick to think of what I have done,” the Exeter man, James Glawson, told Judge Melanie Wilk Thunberg during a plea hearing in Superior Court, Wakefield.

“Turning to God,” said Glawson, “I pray each day for God’s help to help heal those that I hurt so badly and to give them comfort for the shame that I have caused.”

Thunberg sentenced Glawson to serve 40 years at the Adult Correctional Institutions in Cranston.

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Former Boy Scouts Chaplain Is Sentenced to 40 Years in Prison for Sexual Abuse

RHODE ISLAND
The New York Times

January 28, 2021

By Neil Vigdor

James Glawson, 76, sexually assaulted six young men, including one who is developmentally disabled, Rhode Island authorities said.

A former chaplain for the Boy Scouts in Rhode Island was sentenced on Thursday to 40 years in prison after pleading no contest to charges that he sexually assaulted six young men, the authorities said — the latest reckoning for a national scouting movement beleaguered by sex-abuse claims.

The ex-chaplain, James Glawson, 76, of Exeter, R.I., volunteered for the Boy Scouts from 1980 to 2018 and served as an assistant Catholic chaplain at the scouting camp in Hopkinton, R.I., according to the Rhode Island State Police.

Investigators said that Mr. Glawson came to their attention in 2019 when staff members at a Rhode Island group home reported that he had had inappropriate contact with an 18-year-old developmentally disabled resident.

The victim told the police that he had been sexually assaulted several times over the years by Mr. Glawson, who the authorities said later admitted abusing the resident and several other young men during the 1980s while he was a scout leader. It was not immediately clear if the group home resident had ties to the Boy Scouts.

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California bishops fighting 2019 clergy sex abuse law

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Associated Press

January 29, 2021

By Robert Jablon

Most California Roman Catholic bishops are asking a judge to throw out a 2019 law that allowed accusers of clergy sexual abuse to sue even if they were molested decades ago.

Motions filed this month in southern and northern superior courts ask judges to rule Assembly Bill 218 unconstitutional. Among the arguments was the assertion that the amount of time that had passed could make it harder for the defense to gather evidence.

California is one of at least 15 states that have extended the window for people to sue institutions over long-ago abuse, leading to thousands of new cases.

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New Sexual Abuse Claims Against Two Oakland Diocese Priests

OAKLAND (CA)
NBC Bay Area

January 28, 2021

By Candice Nguyen, Michael Bott and Mark Villarreal

Two priests from the Oakland Diocese have been accused of sexually abusing a former seminarian. The man came forward with new allegations – some dating back to his childhood – after previously accusing another priest of raping him several years ago.

New sexual abuse allegations within the Oakland Diocese are publicly coming to light for the first time after being included in a lawsuit against the Diocese that settled late last year for $3.5 million, without any admission of liability.

The accusations come from a former seminarian, 28, who had previously alleged in 2019 that he was raped by Livermore priest Fr. Michael Van Dinh three years ago. He does not wish to be identified, so NBC Bay Area is calling him John Doe.

A police report obtained by NBC Bay Area shows Livermore police found a meth pipe and sex toys in the priest’s living quarters while investigating the alleged assault. Detectives recommended two felony charges, including sodomy by force, but the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office said there wasn’t enough evidence to prove the encounter wasn’t consensual.

Dinh remains on leave from the Diocese. Click here for NBC Bay Area’s 2019 story concerning Fr. Van Dinh.

After going through therapy for the alleged assault at the hands of Fr. Van Dinh, Doe’s attorney said he later disclosed being sexually abused by two other priests within the Diocese: Fr. Luis Lopez and Fr. Ricardo Chavez, who is now retired. Lopez is currently assigned to Fremont’s Corpus Christi Church, according to its website.

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[News Release] Diocesan Review Board Concludes Inquiry into Allegations Against Former Priest, Father Thomas Long

RICHMOND (VA)
Diocese of Richmond

January 28, 2021

Accusations were made in 2020

Following a lengthy investigation by the Diocesan Review Board, Bishop Barry C. Knestout of the Catholic Diocese of Richmond has determined that the allegations of child sexual abuse made against Thomas Long, a former priest of the diocese, are not credible. For this reason, Long will not have his name added to the diocesan list of clergy against whom credible and substantiated allegations of child sexual abuse have been made. Long voluntarily left active ministry in 1988.

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Investigation of Virginia priest finds allegations not credible

VIRGINIA
Roanoke.com

January 28, 2021

By Casey Fabris

The Catholic Diocese of Richmond announced Thursday it had determined that allegations of child sexual abuse by a former priest were not credible.

Last June, the diocese announced it had received a complaint about former priest Thomas L. Long Jr. related to his time at Christ the King Catholic School in Norfolk in 1986.

The allegations prompted an investigation by the Diocesan Review Board, which reported its findings to Bishop Barry Knestout, who deemed them not credible, according to a news release.

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Catholic Diocese of Richmond finds allegations of child sexual abuse against former priest ‘not credible’

RICHMOND (VA)
WRIC-TV

January 28, 2021

By Keyris Manzanares

Catholic Diocese of Richmond finds allegations of child sexual abuse against former priest ‘not credible’

After conducting an investigation, the Catholic Diocese of Richmond announced Thursday that they have found allegations of child abuse made against a former priest are not credible.

Richmond Catholic Diocese reviewing child sex abuse allegations against 4 former priests
Thomas Long, a former priest of the diocese, was accused of child sexual abuse during his time in Norfolk, Virginia in 1986 when he served at Christ the King Catholic School. In 1988, Long took a leave of absence and has since had his priestly faculties suspended.

The diocese said it will not add Long’s name to a list of clergy whom credible and substantiated allegations of child sexual abuse have been made.

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Catholic Diocese of Richmond says allegations against priest found not credible

RICHMOND (VA)
Richmond.com

January 28, 2021

By Holly Prestidge

The Catholic Diocese of Richmond announced Thursday that child sexual abuse allegations against Thomas Long, a former priest of the diocese, were not credible and that his name will not be added to its list of clergy for which credible and substantiated allegations of child sexual abuse have been made.

The allegations were part of an investigation launched in June 2020 after the diocese received an allegation of child sexual abuse against Long, who was accused of the abuse while serving at Christ the King School in Norfolk in 1986. He was ordained as a priest in the diocese in 1981 before serving at St. Joseph in Petersburg and Norfolk’s Christ the King.

Long took a leave of absence from ministry in 1988 and was already suspended from priestly ministry, and remained suspended last summer when the investigation began.

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Richmond Diocese deems child sex abuse claims against priest ‘not credible’

RICHMOND (VA)
WTVR-TV

January 28, 2021

Bishop Barry Knestout of the Catholic Diocese of Richmond reported Thursday that allegations of child sexual abuse made against one former priest were not credible.

The report came after a lengthy investigation by the Diocesan Review Board into the claims made against former priest Thomas Long.

A report of the allegations against Long was received by the Catholic Diocese of Richmond in June 2020. Those allegations were then reported to authorities.

The diocese launched an internal investigation of the allegations and the information they found was presented to the Diocesan Review Board, who then reported their findings to Knestout.

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After investigation, Catholic Diocese of Richmond finds allegations of sexual abuse by priest not credible

RICHMOND (VA)
13News Now

January 28, 2021

The Diocese of Richmond said a lengthy investigation into accusations of child sexual abuse against Fr. Thomas Long found that they were not credible

https://www.13newsnow.com/article/news/local/virginia/after-investigation-richmond-catholic-diocese-denies-allegations-of-sexual-abuse-by-priest/291-d1aaa417-fdde-4d8d-9105-3ee12595c8a1.

Thursday, the Catholic Diocese of Richmond announced that after an internal investigation, it didn’t find the allegations of child sexual abuse against Fr. Thomas Long credible.

The allegations were announced in June, 2020.

Long was a teacher at Christ the King Catholic School in Norfolk in 1986 (when the alleged abuse happened), and took a leave of absence from ministry in 1988. He hasn’t worked for the Richmond Diocese since then.

“Following a lengthy investigation by the Diocesan Review Board, Bishop Barry C. Knestout of the Catholic Diocese of Richmond has determined that the allegations of child sexual abuse made against Thomas Long, a former priest of the diocese, are not credible,” a release read. “For this reason, Long will not have his name added to the diocesan list of clergy against whom credible and substantiated allegations of child sexual abuse have been made.”

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Alleged child sex abusers were suspended from priestly duties

MALTA
Times of Malta

January 29, 2021

By Matthew Xuereb

They were suspended following an investigation by the Safeguarding Commission

The two Xagħra priests separately charged with sexually abusing an eight-year-old altar boy about 16 years ago were suspended from priestly duties last year, Times of Malta has learned.

The suspension followed the completion of an investigation by the Church’s Safeguarding Commission.

The abusive acts are alleged to have taken place at the Xagħra parish between 2003 and 2005.

Joseph Cini, 70, and Joseph Sultana, 84, are in preventive custody after being charged with defiling the boy on a number of occasions and holding him against his will. Cini was also charged with raping him. Both men deny the charges.

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Remembering the ‘voiceless’ women of Derry’s Good Shepherd laundry

NORTHERN IRELAND
Derry Now

January 28, 2021

By Garrett Hargan

A simple headstone at Ardmore Cemetery in Derry commemorates the dates five former residents of the Good Shepherd’s Laundry died.

They, along with hundreds of others, worked in the local laundry without pay.

Some women spent a lifetime in the institution, died and were buried from there in unmarked or ‘communal’ graves.

This week these women and girls, along with thousands more, were described as the ‘voiceless’ who will finally have their stories heard following the announcement of an independent investigation.

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Church in Australia to implement nationwide protocol for responding to abuse allegations

AUSTRALIA
Catholic News Agency

January 28, 2021

Starting in February, the Catholic Church in Australia will have a national protocol for responding to allegations of sexual abuse, the bishops of Australia announced this week.

Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane, president of the Australian bishop’s conference, said the new protocol “demands an approach from the Church that is compassionate and just.”

“One of the strengths of the new protocol is that it provides a single national framework, which will ensure a consistent approach to the handling of concerns and allegations,” Coleridge said Jan. 28.

The National Response Protocol lays out principles that Church authorities must adhere to when responding to a child abuse allegation, as well as the concrete procedural steps that must be taken when an allegation is received.

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Church in Australia announces new national protocol for addressing child sexual abuse

AUSTRALIA
Vatican News

January 28, 2021

The Australian bishops have released information regarding a new national protocol for addressing child sexual abuse, due to take over past protocols as of 1 February.

In a media release published on Thursday, the Catholic Bishops of Australia have announced the release of a new protocol aimed at providing “a framework for Catholic entities across Australia to respond consistently to people raising concerns or allegations of child sexual abuse”.

Due to come into effect as of next week, the Bishops write that “the National Response Protocol, which was adopted by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference at its November 2020 plenary meeting, is the product of two years of work and widespread consultation within and beyond the Church”.

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Former Age editor quizzed over George Pell story

AUSTRALIA
NCA NewsWire via Mercury

January 29, 2021

By Caroline Schelle

A judge has quizzed the former editor of The Age newspaper about why he published a story related to the George Pell sex abuse case despite a “plain prohibition” on the reporting of proceedings.

Alex Lavelle continued his evidence on Friday in the Victorian Supreme Court trial against more than two dozen media companies, journalists and editors for allegedly committing a contempt of court and breaching a suppression order in the Pell case. All defendants deny the charges.

The Age published an article online and in print explaining to readers why it couldn’t report on a high-profile case, without naming Pell.

Mr Lavelle is among 27 media outlets, journalists and editors on trial facing a total of 79 sub judice and contempt charges for publishing similar stories.

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Irish woman ‘kidnapped’ from London as a pregnant teenager and sent home to a mother and baby institution recalls heartbreak after her son ‘didn’t want to know her’

ENGLAND
Daily Mail

January 29, 2021

By Latoya Gayle

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-9190273/Woman-kidnapped-England-sent-baby-mother-institution-Ireland.html

– Terri Harrison from Dublin, was pregnant when she moved to London in 1972
– She was forced to return to Ireland after visit from Catholic Crusade & Rescue
– Her son Niall was given to an adoption agency at around five weeks old
– Terri, now 66, says son Niall, now 47, doesn’t want ‘anything to do with her

An Irish teen mother whose baby was forcibly taken from her at five weeks old has revealed her heartbreak after tracking down her son 30 years later, only to discover he wanted ‘nothing to with her’.

Terri Harrison, 66, from Dublin, moved to London when she fell pregnant aged 18, in 1972.

But the unmarried teen was ‘kidnapped’ and forced to return to Ireland and live in a mother and baby institution after she was visited by a priest and two nuns from the Catholic Crusade & Rescue while in hosp

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January 28, 2021

[Media Statement] UPDATED – Archbishop Aymond Removes Fr. Asare Following Abuse Allegation

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
Archdiocese of New Orleans

January 27, 2021

Today the Archdiocese of New Orleans was informed of a lawsuit alleging abuse of a minor against Fr. John Asare-Dankwah. The archdiocese had no notice of this allegation or this lawsuit prior to today and has not been served with this lawsuit. The archdiocese does not know the identity of the individual bringing this lawsuit and allegations against Fr. Asare.

Effective immediately, Archbishop Aymond has removed Fr. Asare from priestly ministry pending the outcome of the investigation. Fr. Asare has most recently served as pastor of St. Peter Claver Parish in New Orleans. Fr. Asare was informed of the allegations late this afternoon. He is currently out of the country on vacation visiting family in Ghana.

The Archdiocese of New Orleans will ensure law enforcement is informed of this lawsuit and the allegations made.

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Archdiocese of New Orleans removes priest accused of raping, abusing minor during church retreat

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
WVUE-TV

January 27, 2021

By Tiffany Baptiste and Olivia Vidal

The Archdiocese of New Orleans says they have removed a priest from ministry following allegations of sexual and physical abuse.

Officials say the archdiocese was informed of a lawsuit against Fr. John Asare-Dankwah alleging that he abused a minor during a church retreat in 2008.

In the lawsuit filed in Orleans Parish Civil District Court Wednesday, the victim, who is identified as A.A. Doe, says he was 10-years-old when he attended a church retreat with Fr. Asare.

The victim served as a youth minister and lecter at Blessed Trinity Catholic Church, where Fr. Asare served as pastor at the time.

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Archdiocese suspends pastor of St. Peter Claver after he is accused of child rape in lawsuit

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
NOLA.com

January 27, 2021

By Ramon Antonio Vargas

The Archdiocese of New Orleans on Wednesday suspended the pastor of St. Peter Claver Catholic Church in Treme after he was accused in a lawsuit of raping a 10-year-old boy while hearing his confession during an out-of-state retreat in 2008.

The Rev. John Asare-Dankwah’s suspension will remain in effect until church authorities can complete an investigation into the allegations, archdiocesan officials said in a statement.

The events outlined in the nine-page lawsuit, filed in Orleans Parish Civil District Court, are not purported to have occurred at St. Peter Claver, the historic church purchased in 1920 by the Josephite Fathers to serve the area’s African American population.

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Lawsuit claims well-known New Orleans priest raped, beat 10-year-old during church retreat

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
WDSU-TV

January 27, 2021

A lawsuit an anonymous victim filed Wednesday accuses the pastor of St. Peter Claver Catholic Church in Treme of rape and assault during a 2008 church retreat.

The lawsuit filed by “A.A. Doe” alleges the Rev. John Asare-Dankwah attended a church retreat with 11 students from Catholic schools.

The suit claims the alleged rape and assault happened during a retreat in Montgomery, Alabama. Doe was a member of the Blessed Trinity Catholic church, where Asare-Daknwah was serving at the time.

Doe claims that during a confessional Dankwah asked him if he loved God and loved Dankwah.

That is when Doe claims Dankwah exposed his genitals to him.

The lawsuit alleges that Doe refused him two times before being forced to touch Dankwah.

The suit claims Dankwah told Doe, “This will be over soon” before raping the boy.

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Parishioners show support for Father Pfleger, who faces second abuse allegation

UNITED STATES
Religious News Service via Crux

January 28, 2021

By Carol Zimmermann

Father Michael Pfleger, senior pastor of St. Sabina Church in Chicago, faces a second sexual abuse allegation, from the brother of the first alleged victim who came forward in early January.

The popular Chicago priest and outspoken advocate against gun violence has denied these allegations and his parishioners rallied outside the parish in support of him Jan. 25, hours after the allegation was reported by Chicago media outlets.

Over 50 people gathered outside the church denouncing accusations that, beginning more than five decades ago, the priest had abused the two brothers, who now live in Texas. Parishioners spoke from a microphone of the priest’s 45 years at the parish and his nonstop dedication and activism.

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Pa. House passes measure to allow voters to create a window for child sex abuse victims to go to court

PENNSYLVANIA
PennLive.com

January 27, 2021

By Ivey DeJesus

https://www.pennlive.com/news/2021/01/pa-house-passes-measure-to-allow-voters-to-create-a-window-for-child-sex-abuse-victims-to-go-to-court.html

Pennsylvania on Wednesday stepped closer to paving the way for adults who were sexually abused as children to seek recourse in court against their predators.

By a vote of 187-15, the state House of Representatives passed a measure that could lead to a temporary lifting of expired statute of limitations for some abuse victims, allowing them to file civil suits.

House Bill 14, authored by Rep. Jim Gregory, R-Blair, calls for a voter referendum on a two-year retroactive window that would lift expired statute of limitations to allow such legal civil action.

The bill now heads for the Senate, which has signaled strong support for the measure.

“This is a wonderful day. Attitude of gratitude for the people of Pennsylvania who have waited a long time,” Gregory said just moments after the vote. “This is just another step in the process of recognizing those who have been sexually abused in past decades. They have been waiting a long time for this and I‘m just grateful to colleagues who voted for this so strongly that they believe in justice for victims but also believe in the protection of our families.”

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Window for lawsuits by survivors of child sex abuse moves closer to the ballot

PENNSYLANIA
The Tribune-Democrat

January 28, 2021

By John Finnerty

The state House on Wednesday voted 187-15 to ask voters whether to amend the Constitution to give adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse an additional two years beyond the normal statute of limitations to sue institutions such as the Catholic Church that have covered up such abuse.

The measure moves back to the Senate. If it passes there, it could be on the ballot in May. The state Senate Judiciary Committee has already approved a companion version of the legislation that passed the House on Wednesday. Both chambers approved the proposed amendment last legislative session as well. Proposed state constitutional amendments must be approved by the General Assembly in two consecutive sessions.

It is one of several potential amendments that could end up on the ballot in May. Both chambers of the General Assembly this week also voted in favor of proposals to amend the Constitution to limit the ability of the governor to keep prolonged emergency declarations in place, a move inspired by frustration over Gov. Tom Wolf’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Allentown Diocese sells 171 acres to pay priest sex abuse victims

ALLENTOWN (PA)
The Morning Call

January 27, 2021

By Michelle Merlin

The Allentown Diocese has sold some of its property in Lower Macungie and Upper Saucon townships to help compensate victims of clergy sexual abuse.

The diocese sold 118 acres on Flint Hill Road in Upper Saucon for $3.55 million and 53 acres on North Krocks Road across from Hamilton Crossings in Lower Macungie for $7.5 million, the diocese said in a Jan. 8 news release. With the land sales, the diocese finished paying off a loan taken out to fund a compensation program for victims of clergy sexual abuse.

Allentown was among seven Pennsylvania Catholic dioceses to establish compensation funds in the wake of a 2018 Pennsylvania grand jury report that revealed efforts to hide decades of sexual abuse by hundreds of priests. The report named 37 priests from the Allentown Diocese, which includes more than 252,000 Catholics in Berks, Carbon, Lehigh, Northampton and Schuylkill counties. The diocese added another 15 or so to the list.

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[Opinion] Catholic Church Sex Abuse: What Is Suitable Compensation for a Life of Trauma?

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Register

January 27, 2021

By Janet E. Smith

The Church really needs to do some deep thinking on how it should respond.

If you had a choice between losing a limb or being psychologically traumatized your whole life, which would you choose?

By “psychologically traumatized,” I mean suffering debilitating lifetime depression and anxiety, having difficulty holding onto a job, not being able to enter into satisfying personal and intimate relationships, unshakeable (and unwarranted) self-blame and even being rejected by family who don’t understand consequent behavior.

Many sex abuse victims struggle with substance abuse throughout their lives, undergo repeated hospitalization, attempt or commit suicide, and many without anyone knowing why they were so troubled. Many of them live in poverty or near poverty their whole lives.

In addition, victims of priestly sexual abuse often lose their faith and are deprived of the healing and consolation that come through the sacraments and the rich spiritual life that faith facilitat

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Fresh cover-up claims against former Papal secretary

POLAND
The Tablet

January 27, 2021

By Jonathan Luxmoore

A group of Polish politicians has pledged to press new accusations against Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, former secretary of St John Paul II, after prosecutors refused to investigate TV documentary claims that he ignored and covered up abuse by priests in his Krakow archdiocese.

“The gravity of crimes that Cardinal Dziwisz may have committed is so enormous that failure to investigate them is obviously detrimental to the public good and the private interests of victims,” said Lukasz Kohut, a European Parliament member from Poland’s liberal Wiosna (Spring) party.

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‘Conspiracy’ claim in Pell contempt case

AUSTRALIA
Australian Associated Press

January 28, 2021

By Karen Sweeney

Claims of a “Catholic conspiracy” were partly behind a Melbourne newspaper’s decision to publish a story about Cardinal George Pell’s child sexual abuse conviction, a court has heard.

The Age newspaper, journalists and editors are facing contempt charges over articles published after Cardinal Pell’s now-overturned conviction in December 2018, over alleged breaches of suppression orders.

Australian media were banned from reporting the verdict in the case until February 2019 because Cardinal Pell, who has since returned to Rome, was due to face a second trial.

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‘Don’t You See Me Crying?’ Gozitan Priest Accused Of Rape Says When Asked If He Is Ashamed

MALTA
Lovin Malta

January 27, 2021

By Sam Vassallo

Joseph Cini, one of two priests accused of raping an altar boy in Gozo, has left court after being arraigned this morning.

Asked by the press where he was ashamed, he responded, waving a handkerchief: “Don’t you see me crying?”

Cini, a priest in his 70s from Għarsi, and Joseph Sultana, an 84-year-old who served in Xagħra’s parish, both pleaded not guilty to charges of rape and corruption of a minor. Both will be kept under arrest as the case continues.

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Joseph Sultana, 84-Year-Old Xagħra Priest, Pleads Not Guilty To Raping An Altar Boy

MALTA
Lovin Malta

January 27, 2021

By Sam Vassallo

Joseph Sultana, an 84-year-old priest, has pleaded not guilty to raping an altar boy.

Sultana, a well-known figure in Xagħra and its parish, was arraigned in court this morning in Gozo.

He is one of two priests arrested yesterday evening after hours of interrogation. The other was Joseph Cini, a priest in his 70s and ex-parish priest of Għasri. He will be arraigned separately.

Joseph Cini was previously accused of child abuse in Australia but refused to return to the country to face the accuser, who was also a former altar boy.

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‘The First Time Was A Sunday’: Bursting Into Tears, Gozo Rape Victim Recalls Being Pushed Into A Confessional And Touched By Priest

MALTA
Lovin’ Malta

January 27, 2021

By David Grech Urpani

‘The First Time Was A Sunday’: Bursting Into Tears, Gozo Rape Victim Recalls Being Pushed Into A Confessional And Touched By Priest

“He used to threaten me and use force when I refused. I often tried to run away but he would hold me down. He would force me in, telling me I’m going to hell or that he was going to speak to my parents.”

These were the harrowing words of a former altar boy who was allegedly raped by priest Joseph Sultana.

In an urgent testimony via videoconferencing, the victim – who was eight years old at the time of the alleged abuse but is now no longer a minor – went into disturbing detail that had him visibly emotional, even bursting into tears at one point.

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Church accuses CLR Commission of being unrestrained, reckless and biased

JOHANNESBURG (SOUTH AFRICA)
IOL.co.za

January 28, 2021

By Chulumanco Mahamba

The Heaven Fellowship Church has accused the Cultural, Religious and Linguistic (CRL) Rights Commission of being “unrestrained, reckless and biased” after the hearings into allegations of abuse were live streamed last week.

The Star reported last week that former congregation members of the church in Meyerton laid bare startling allegations of rape against the church’s leader, Bahlakwana Moleko, known as Samuel Paul Heaven, during hearings into allegations of abuse. One witness accused Moleko of allegedly raping her twice in October last year.

The hearings at the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural Religious and Linguistic Communities were heard following complaints that were brought before it by victims and congregants.

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[Opinion] The Holy See and Thug Regimes

UNITED STATES
First Things

January 27, 2021

By George Weigel

The list of grave issues that must be addressed during a future papal interregnum, and by the cardinal-electors in a conclave, continues to grow.

The finances of the Holy See are arguably in worse shape than at any time since the papal interregnum of 1922; then, money had to be borrowed to pay for the conclave as Benedict XV had virtually bankrupted the Vatican in his efforts to aid refugees and POWs during World War I. Notwithstanding the reforms Pope Francis has put into place, the Holy See now faces a vast, unfunded pension liability; incompetent investment management (and worse) has done serious damage to the Vatican balance sheet; and contributions, not least to Peter’s Pence, are down dramatically.

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

Australian bishops release new sexual abuse protocol

AUSTRALIA
Catholic Weekly

January 28, 2021

New benchmark for the Church in place from February

A new national protocol for responding to historical child sexual abuse and any new allegations in the Catholic Church will be both more compassionate and just, says Archbishop Mark Coleridge, head of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.

The new framework to be implemented from 1 February is intended as a national benchmark forming a consistent approach for Catholic authorities and entities in investigating, compensating and providing ongoing care for people alleging child sexual abuse and survivors.

Calling it “an important step forward”, Archbishop Coleridge thanked those involved in preparing the “thorough proces

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January 27, 2021

Vatican says allegations against Wyoming bishop can’t be proven

UNITED STATES
Crux

January 26, 2021

By John Lavenburg

A Vatican investigation has exonerated retired Bishop Joseph Hart of Cheyenne, Wyoming, on seven accusations of sexual abuse towards minors, while five other accusations “could not be proven with moral certitude,” the diocese announced in a statement Monday.

The decree came from the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith (CDF) – the Vatican office responsible for processing clergy sex abuse complaints.

However, the CDF issued a canonical rebuke to Hart for “his flagrant lack of prudence as a priest and bishop for being alone with minors in his private residence and on various trips, which could have been potential occasions endangering the ‘obligation to observe continence’ and that would ‘give rise to scandal among the faithful,’” according to the diocese statement.

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[Opinion] An Unlikely Hero Saves Two Florida Kids

FLORIDA
adamhorowitzlaw.com (law firm blog)

January 25, 2021

An unlikely hero has saved two Florida kids.

She’s not a cop.

She’s not a prosecutor.

She’s not a psychologist.

She’s not a judge.

She’s not a children’s advocate or school teacher or nurse or doctor or day care provider.

In fact, she likely doesn’t have a college degree (or maybe not even a high school diploma).

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Catholic Church Exonerates Hart Despite Earlier Finding Of Credible Abuse Allegations

WYOMING
Wyoming Public Media

January 26, 2021

By Jeff Victor

This week, the Vatican concluded its own investigation of Wyoming Emeritus Bishop Joseph Hart, ruling that there was not enough evidence to find him guilty of the numerous allegations against him.

Hart led the Catholic Church in Wyoming for more than two decades, from the late 70s to 2001. Since retiring 20 years ago, he has been accused of child abuse by more than a dozen people both in Wyoming and his home state of Missouri.

One alleged victim died of complications from AIDS in 1989. The disease was brought on by years of drug abuse that the victim’s family attributes to the trauma he allegedly experienced at the hands of Father Hart.

In 2018, the Diocese of Cheyenne opened an investigation into the once celebrated bishop. A group of mainly non ordained members of the church with backgrounds in fields such as law enforcement and child psychology determined that at least six allegations against Hart were credible, according to a release from the Diocese.

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Vatican exonerates retired bishop of multiple abuse claims but issues canonical rebuke

UNITED STATES
Catholic News Agency

January 26, 2021

By Christine Rousselle

The Vatican’s doctrinal congregation has exonerated retired Bishop Joseph Hart of Cheyenne over numerous accusations of the sexual abuse of minors, but issued a canonical rebuke.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) said that the bishop had acted irresponsibly as a priest and upheld restrictions placed on him in 2018.

In January 2018, the Diocese of Cheyenne, Wyoming, began an investigation into claims of abuse by Hart, its retired bishop. Hart, who is now 89 years old, led the diocese from 1978 until his 70th birthday in 2001.

The diocese said that its investigative team “were convinced that we had sufficient evidence to conclude with moral certainty that the six accusations against Bishop Hart are credible” and passed the case to Rome for a final decision in the canonical process.

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Howell ex-pastor accused of abusing girls in 1983. Now a judge rules if they can testify

NEW JERSEY
Asbury Park Press

January 27, 2021

By Kathleen Hopkins

https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:F8ZBp5356T0J:https://www.app.com/story/news/local/courts/2021/01/27/judge-has-decided-if-howell-ex-pastor-sex-abuse-accusers-can-testify/4264636001/+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

Calling into question the accuracy of decades-old childhood memories, a judge on Tuesday ruled that two women who came forward almost 40 years later to accuse their former pastor of sexual impropriety will not be allowed to testify at the retired cleric’s upcoming child sexual abuse trial.

Superior Court Judge Ellen Torregrossa-O’Connor, in a 26-page ruling, said the stories of the two women who came forward in 2019 with allegations from 1983 were not clear and convincing enough to outweigh “the obvious prejudice” their testimony would pose to the Rev. Henry “Brendan” Williams, former pastor of St. Veronica R.C. Church in Howell, at his upcoming trial on child sexual assault charges stemming from alleged incidents in the late 1990s.

The two women came forward to authorities in October 2019 after learning Williams, now 81 and living in a retirement community for Catholic priests in Lawrence, had just been arrested on child sexual assault charges in the case dating to 1998.

One of the two women told detectives she was 13 and at a youth club meeting at St. Veronica’s in 1983 when Williams took her aside to an upstairs room in the rectory, where she thought he was going to kiss her. She told detectives she left before anything could happen.

The other woman told detectives she was 12 years old when Williams approached her in a vestibule after track practice and, while looking at her chest, told her, “You’re awfully big for sixth grade.” She alleged he then began kissing her and touching her buttocks.

Both women told detectives they reported the incidents to their parents, who didn’t take them seriously.

Torregrossa-O’Connor said in her ruling that detectives did not conduct any further investigation to corroborate the women’s claims by seeking out others, such as family members, to whom they told their stories or, in the case of the first woman, finding out who else had attended the youth group meeting that night.

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Howell ex-pastor’s sex abuse scandal: Why did students come forward decades later?

NEW JERSEY
Asbury Park Press

January 19, 2021

By Kathleen Hopkins

https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:Uzjsr2RDxe0J:https://www.app.com/story/news/local/courts/2021/01/19/howell-church-sex-scandal-why-did-women-come-forward-decades-later/4152015001/+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

Soon after news broke about the arrest on sex charges of a beloved former pastor of St. Veronica R.C. Church in Howell, two alumni of the parish’s grammar school came forward in 2019 with allegations that the priest acted inappropriately when they were students at the school decades ago.

One of the women told detectives the Rev. Henry “Brendan” Williams kissed her repeatedly and patted her on the buttocks one afternoon in 1983, when she was 12.

The other said she thought Williams was going to kiss her after he took her aside to an office to show her something, but she got up and left before anything could happen. The woman said she was 13 when that occurred in 1983.

The Rev. Henry ‘Brendan’ Williams, former pastor of St. Veronica Church in Howell, is shown after his arraignment on child sex abuse charges in State Superior Court in Freehold Monday, January 6, 2020.

Williams, now 81, is not charged in connection with either women’s story, but prosecutors want the women to testify at Williams’ upcoming trial on charges he sexually assaulted another child in the late 1990s.

Defense attorney Robert Konzelmann is trying to block the testimony, questioning why the women took 36 years to come forward to authorities with the allegations and suggesting they did so at a time when attorneys handling clergy sex-abuse lawsuits were flooding the airwaves with advertisements for clients.

Thomas Fichter, an assistant Monmouth County prosecutor, acknowledged the statute of limitations has long passed to prosecute crimes that may have occurred in 1983, but said the earlier events are relevant to the case at hand because the stories of the two women are similar to that of the victim in the case for which Williams is under indictment.

That victim was 12 when she claims Williams touched her inappropriately, on her inner thigh and vaginal area, on two different occasions at two different restaurants while she was with her parents and a third time at her home, according to Fichter.

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[Opinion] Don’t make up your mind yet about the sexual abuse accusations against Rev. Michael Pfleger

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Tribune

January 26, 2021

By Eric Zorn

https://www.chicagotribune.com/columns/eric-zorn/ct-column-pfleger-allegations-sex-abuse-corroboration-difficult-zorn-20210126-b2tmsqvyonbitkwmub4wmymqvq-story.html

The accusations against South Side activist priest the Rev. Michael Pfleger are, in a word, revolting.

Either way.

If they’re true, Pfleger repeatedly sexually abused two boys in the early and mid-1970s, a grotesque, inexcusable and scarring violation of trust and innocence that his accusers — two brothers who now live in Texas — say has haunted them ever since.

If they’re false, Pfleger’s good name is being dragged through the mud and his four decades of service to his parishioners at St. Sabina Church and Chicago’s African American community unfairly tainted. He may never get his reputation back.

Like many of you, I’m sure, I’ve been considering both possibilities since the initial allegation arose earlier this month. What to make of this?

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[Opinion] Dilemma at heart of sex abuse claims

CHICAGO
Chicago Sun-Times

January 26, 2021

By Neil Steinberg

What are those who love and respect Father Michael Pfleger to make of accusations against him?

“No one ever had a bad word to say about him.”

In late May, 2015, it was revealed that Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert had sexually molested boys he coached in high school wrestling. The media descended on his hometown of Yorkville, Illinois. Those who knew him were shocked and supportive.

“He was a fantastic mentor.”

Hastert was charged, not with the abuse itself, but for structuring payments to silence the abused. Which isn’t quite a signed confession. But close.

“I would have known for sure. Something like that we would have jumped on right away.”

Only the good people of Yorkville didn’t know. Or knew and didn’t jump on it right away. Hastert admitted to molesting children and went to prison for 13 months.

“I hope it’s not true.”

Which sums up the view of those who know and respect Father Michael Pfleger, including myself, as the longtime firebrand priest of St. Sabina’s faces a pair of brothers who accuse him of abuse 45 years ago.

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Washington Post editor Marty Baron to retire next month

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Post

January 26, 2021

By Keith J. Kelly

Marty Baron, the top editor of the Washington Post who helped rejuvenate the newsroom after years of malaise, ended months of speculation Tuesday in announcing his retirement at the end of next month.

Baron, 66, took over as executive editor eight years ago, shortly before the Graham family sold the paper to billionaire Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. During that time, the newsroom expanded from about 580 people to over 1,000 and won 10 Pulitzer Prizes.

“Almost two years ago, I told department heads that I was committed to staying at The Post through the presidential election,” Baron wrote in a Tuesday memo to staffers. “I left open what might happen beyond that. Today, I am letting you know that I will retire on Feb. 28.”

Baron came to the Washington Post in 2013 after spending 12 years at the Boston Globe, where he helmed the now-legendary expose on sex abuse by Catholic priests in the Boston Archdiocese. A 2015 film about the investigation called “Spotlight,” in which Liev Schreiber played Baron, won the Academy Award for Best Picture.

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Lawsuit: Priest raped boy on day of his sister’s wedding

BRIDGEPORT (CT)
Associated Press

January 26, 2021

A Catholic priest raped a 9-year-old altar boy on the day of his sister’s wedding that the the priest officiated, according to a new lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport.

The lawsuit, filed in Superior Court in Bridgeport, charges that the diocese knew or should have known that the Rev. Kiernan Ahearn was unfit to be around children but continued to assign him duties that involved children.

“Unfortunately, we continue to witness the carnage of the Catholic Church’s decades-long tolerance of pedophiles in its ranks,” attorney Joel Faxon, who represents the plaintiff in the lawsuit, told the Connecticut Post. “This particular criminal, Ahearn, was circulated through the Bridgeport Diocese and others in New York — attacking children all along the way.”

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January 26, 2021

[Media Statement] Vatican Punts on Bishop Joseph Hart instead of Taking Action, SNAP Renews Call for Secular Involvement

UNITED STATES
SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests)

January 26, 2021

Now that Vatican officials have formally chosen to do nothing to punish or isolate serially abusive former Bishop Joseph Hart, it is crucial that police and prosecutors double down on their pursuit of charges against him.

Cheyenne, WY police have already finished multiple investigations into Bishop Joseph Hart and have recommended that charges be filed against him. Given that this secular investigation by trained investigative professionals resulted in a recommendation for charges, we cannot take seriously the Vatican’s determination that Bishop Hart was not proven guilty “beyond a moral certitude.” The rebuke issued by the CDF is little more than a slap on the hand for Hart, but is surely a slap in the face to the men and women who were hurt by him and hoped to see some measure of justice done.

We hope that, in light of this disappointing-yet-not-surprising decision from the Vatican to do nothing against Bishop Hart, prosecutors will re-examine the case and reverse their previous decision.

At least 17 different people have alleged abuse by Hart. We know that there is no magical age at which a predator stops abusing children, and so we believe that Hart remains a threat today. Police and prosecutors should use their authority to get this dangerous man off the streets, helping protect children from the scourge of sexual abuse. We hope that they will act immediately.

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Catholic Diocese of Cheyenne said the case regarding Bishop Hart reached its end

CHEYENNE (WY)
Wyoming News Now

January 26, 2021

In a release put out by the Catholic Diocese of Cheyenne, the Diocese said, “The ongoing case regarding allegations of the sexual abuse of minors by Bishop Joseph Hart has reached its conclusion.” In a multi-page release, the Diocese said, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has concluded its process of looking into sexual abuse allegations.

The Catholic Diocese said the CDF has issued a definitive decree on the case of Bishop Hart. In the release, the Catholic Diocese of Cheyenne said, “Bishop Hart was exonerated of seven accusations, and five other accusations could not be proven with moral certitude. These accusations involved 11 males and one female. Therefore, based on the assessment of the bishop delegate, Bishop Hart’s guilt was not proven with moral certitude, which is held to be equivalent to “beyond a reasonable doubt,” the legal standard of proof required to impose a criminal conviction. These findings do not equate to innocence; rather, a high burden of proof has not been met.”

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[Media Statement] Update on allegations of sexual abuse by Bishop Joseph Hart

KANSAS CITY (MO)
Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph

January 25, 2021

By Bishop James V. Johnston, Jr.

Bishop Stephen Biegler of the Diocese of Cheyenne has informed me that the ongoing case regarding allegations of the sexual abuse of minors by Bishop Joseph Hart has reached its conclusion. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) has issued both a canonical rebuke of the now retired Bishop Hart, and a definitive decree.

Read the Diocese of Cheyenne’s full statement

This case is of special interest to the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph because several of the accusations against Bishop Hart originated from our diocese, dating to the time when he served here as a priest prior to becoming a bishop in Cheyenne in 1976.

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Canonical Rebuke and Definitive Decree regarding Emeritus Bishop H. Joseph Hart

CHEYENNE (WY)
Diocese of Cheyenne

January 25, 2021

The ongoing case regarding allegations of the sexual abuse of minors by Bishop Joseph Hart has reached its conclusion. In January 2018, the Diocese of Cheyenne hired an expert investigator, a Catholic lawyer who has investigated more than 200 allegations of sexual abuse for many dioceses. He concluded that the allegations against Bishop Hart were credible. Over time, the reports of six accusations were reviewed by the Judicial Vicar and Diocesan Review Board, consisting of the Vicar General, three lay men and three women, one of whom is the Chancellor. Their professional backgrounds include law enforcement; school administration; a Doctor of Psychology; a pediatrician; a psychotherapist, who treats sexually abused children; and a judge, who was a criminal prosecutor for 13 years involving crimes against children, primarily child sexual abuse. They judged that proper procedures were followed; they agreed that we needed to report credible allegations to law enforcement; and they were convinced that we had sufficient evidence to conclude with moral certainty that the six accusations against Bishop Hart are credible. These findings were presented to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), which has competence for coming to a final decision in such cases.

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Vatican clears retired US bishop of multiple abuse claims

ROME (ITALY)
Associated Press

January 26, 2021

By Nicole Winfield

The Vatican has cleared a retired U.S. bishop of multiple allegations he sexually abused minors and teenagers, rejecting lay experts’ determination that a half-dozen claims were credible and instead slapping him on the wrist for what it called “flagrant” imprudent behavior.

The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith exonerated retired Cheyenne, Wyoming Bishop Joseph Hart of seven accusations abuse and determined that five others couldn’t be proven “with moral certitude.” Two other cases involving boys, who were 16 and 17, couldn’t be prosecuted given the Catholic Church didn’t consider them minors at the time of the alleged abuse, the diocese reported Monday. A 13th allegation wasn’t addressed in the decree.

Hart, 89, had long maintained his innocence and denied all allegations of misconduct.

The Vatican decision clearly disappointed Hart’s successor, Bishop Steven Biegler, who stressed that the Vatican’s findings didn’t mean Hart was innocent, just that the Holy See determined that the high burden of proof hadn’t been met.

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Vatican exonerates former Wyoming bishop on some allegations, still delivers rebuke

WYOMING
Casper Star-Tribune

January 25, 2021

By Joshua Wolfson and Brandon Foster

https://trib.com/news/state-and-regional/crime-and-courts/vatican-exonerates-former-wyoming-bishop-on-some-allegations-still-delivers-rebuke/article_d9b6b792-fc34-55b5-80a4-bcb2ef56d680.html

An investigation by the Vatican has exonerated retired Bishop Joseph Hart of seven accusations tied to the sexual abuse of juveniles while determining five other allegations “could not be proven with moral certitude,” the Catholic Diocese of Cheyenne announced Monday.

At the same time, the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith issued a canonical rebuke to Hart “for his flagrant lack of prudence as a priest and bishop for being alone with minors in his private residence and on various trips, which could have been potential occasions endangering the ‘obligation to observe continence’ and that would ‘give rise to scandal among the faithful,’” the diocese stated in a news release.

He was also rebuked “for his disregard of the urgent requests that he refrain from public engagements that would cause scandal among the faithful due to the numerous accusations against him and the civil and canonical investigations and processes being conducted in his regard.”

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Retired Wyoming bishop exonerated on seven sexual abuse allegations by Vatican

WYOMING
Denver Gazette

January 25, 2021

By Seth Klamann

https://denvergazette.com/news/courts/retired-wyoming-bishop-exonerated-on-seven-sexual-abuse-allegations-by-vatican/article_2be1faac-5f31-11eb-9062-3373e04c4493.html

Retired Wyoming bishop Joseph Hart has been cleared of sexual abuse allegations by the Vatican, after an 18-month penal process that exonerated the clergyman on seven accusations of abuse for a man accused of abusing more than a dozen adolescents.

Five more accusations were “not proven with moral certitude,” according to a press release from the Diocese of Cheyenne. Two more were not considered because the alleged victims were over the age of 16. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the branch of the Vatican that handles such investigations, examined allegations from 11 men and one woman.

“These findings do not equate to innocence; rather, a high burden of proof has not been met,” the Diocese of Cheyenne stated in a Monday afternoon news release.

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2 brothers open up about alleged sex abuse by Rev. Michael Pfleger as supporters rally outside St. Sabina Church

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Sun-Times

January 25, 2021

By Madeline Kenney and Stefano Esposito

Attorneys for the longtime St. Sabina Church pastor, though, have vehemently shot down the accusations, calling them “false attacks … motivated by greed.”

https://chicago.suntimes.com/2021/1/25/22249118/2-brothers-alleged-sex-abuse-rev-michael-pfleger-supporters-rally-outside-st-sabina-church

Two brother on Monday shared details of sexual abuse they say they suffered at the hands of the Rev. Michael Pfleger over four decades ago. Attorneys for the longtime St. Sabina Church pastor have vehemently shot down the accusations, calling them “false attacks … motivated by greed.” Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

Two brothers on Monday detailed sexual abuse they say they suffered at the hands of the Rev. Michael Pfleger more than four decades ago, with one saying the abuse “destroyed my life.”

But attorneys for the longtime St. Sabina Church pastor have blasted the accusations as “false attacks . . . motivated by greed.”

The men, who are in their 60s and now live in Texas, said at a news conference that Pfleger molested them dozens of times, starting in the 1970s. It allegedly began when they were in the choir at Precious Blood Church on the West Side and continued for years at the Mundelein Seminary as well as two other churches, including St. Sabina Church, where Pfleger has served as pastor since 1981.

Neither brother ever told anyone about the abuse, they said, including each other, until this month.

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Second man accuses Chicago’s Father Pfleger of sex abuse

UNITED STATES
Catholic News Agency

January 25, 2021

A second alleged victim has accused activist Chicago priest Fr. Michael Pfleger of sexually abusing him as a minor decades ago, the Chicago archdiocese has confirmed to local media. The priest has strongly denied both accusations, which come from two brothers.

The Chicago archdiocese’s general counsel had “just received” the second allegation Sunday evening, a spokesperson told the Chicago Sun-Times.

“It is important to note that Fr. Pfleger remains removed from ministry pending the outcome of civil and church investigations,” said the spokesperson. “We will continue to follow our process as we do with all such allegations.”

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[News Release] Diocese of Brooklyn Alerts Parishioners of Queens Deacon Arrest

BROOKLYN (NY)
The Tablet (Brooklyn diocesan newspaper)

January 25, 2021

A deacon at St. Sebastian Church in Woodside, Queens was arrested on Jan. 20 as part of a police sting operation on allegations that he attempted to have sex with a minor.

The Diocese of Brooklyn became aware that Rogelio Vega, 50, was arrested on Jan. 22 and immediately suspended the deacon. The parish administrator, Father Patrick West, addressed the parish at Mass this weekend by reading a letter from Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio.

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Abuse amendment gets second go

HARRISBURG (PA)
Capitol Wire via Altoona Mirror

January 26, 2021

By Robert Swift

A Senate committee moved quickly Monday to start the second round needed to pass a state constitutional amendment to open a two-year retroactive window for lawsuits by child abuse survivors.

The Judiciary Committee voted unanimously to approve Senate Bill 8, which addresses fallout from a 2018 statewide grand jury report that examined decades of child sexual abuse and cover-ups in six Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania.

The proposed amendment provides for a two-year period where victims can bring civil lawsuits against alleged abusers in older cases where the statute of limitations has expired.

In the last legislative session, House Bill 14, a version of this legislation, was championed by state Rep. Jim Gregory, R-Hollidaysburg, who has revealed he was sexually assaulted as a 10-year-old by two 13-year-old boys.

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January 25, 2021

St. Sabina’s Rev. Michael Pfleger faces 2nd allegation of child sex abuse; priest’s lawyers assail ‘false attacks

CHICAGO (IL)
Chicago Sun-Times

January 24, 2021

By Madeline Kenny

https://chicago.suntimes.com/2021/1/24/22247817/st-sabina-rev-michael-pfleger-faces-2nd-allegation-child-sex-abuse-lawyers-assail-false-attacks

In a statement on St. Sabina pastor Michael Pfleger’s behalf, his lawyers denied the allegations.

A second person has come forward with allegations of sex abuse as a minor by Rev. Michael Pfleger, which attorneys of the longtime St. Sabina Church pastor have called “false attacks … motivated by greed.”

Pfleger, one of the most prominent figures in the Catholic community in Chicago, stepped away from the Auburn Gresham parish earlier this month at the archdiocese’s request as it investigates decades-old sexual abuse allegations made by another person.

The Archdiocese of Chicago’s general counsel “just received” the additional allegation, a spokesperson said Sunday evening.

“It is important to note that Fr. Pfleger remains removed from ministry pending the outcome of civil and church investigations,” the spokesperson said in an email. “We will continue to follow our process as we do with all such allegations.”

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‘This is a shakedown’: Lawyers for Father Pfleger push back as pastor faces second abuse allegation

CHICAGO (IL)
WGN-TV

January 24, 2021

By Mike Ewing

The Archdiocese of Chicago is investigating a second allegation of child sexual abuse made against Father Michael Pfleger, church officials confirmed Sunday, while lawyers representing the prominent pastor call the claims a “shakedown.”

According to the archdiocese, Pfleger faces a second accusation of sexual abuse from the brother of a man who filed the first complaint against him in early January. In the initial complaint, Pfleger is accused of child sexual abuse that took place more than 40 years ago.

Pfleger has been the pastor of St. Sabina Catholic Church in Auburn-Gresham since 1981, but stepped aside on January 5 after the archdiocese revealed it was investigating the first allegation.

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Former Oakley scout joins 12 other plaintiffs in Idaho sex abuse lawsuit

IDAHO
Magic Valley.com

January 24, 2021

By Laurie Welch

A man from Oakley is among 13 victims who filed an Idaho federal lawsuit alleging they were sexually abused as Boy Scouts in troops sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The Oakley victim was a member of Boy Scout Troop 22, sponsored by the church’s Oakley Second Ward in 1980-1981. The other 12 scouts were from Boise, Nampa, Caldwell and Lewiston.

The lawsuit, filed in October by the plaintiffs’ attorney Dumas & Vaughn, names the Boy Scouts of America’s Mountain West Council, Ore-Ida Council, Inland Northwest Council and Lewis & Clark Council as well as the Corporation of the Presiding Bishop of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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[Media Statement] No Response to letter sent to President-elect Joe Biden.

SEATTLE (WA)
ECA (Ending Clergy Abuse) USA

January 23, 2021

Three Popes Enabled McCarrick’s Rise to Power Despite Well-Documented Evidence of His Serial Abuse of Seminarians and Minors.

On November 10, 2020, U.S. victims called on then President-elect Biden to respond. To date. No response.

In 1988, James Grein, a child victim of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, revealed the abuse to Pope John Paul II, telling him, “McCarrick has been abusing me since I was young.” In the room with John Paul II were the second and third most powerful Vatican officials, Italian Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Vatican Secretary of State, and his personal secretary, now Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz. According to Grein, John Paul II, now a Catholic saint, responded with a blank stare and then absolved Grein of “his sins” and sent him on his way.

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[NEWS RELEASE] ECA GLOBAL UPDATE

ECA (Ending Clergy Abuse) Global

January 21, 2021

THE “NEW NORMAL”

Another year is ahead of us and 2021 has certainly brought with it several of the uncertainties and troubling features that lingered throughout 2020 as well as new challenges and opportunities. … In the midst of all of this, ECA is still working to hold accountable those who have violated the rights of children in church settings and ECA is committed to seeking justice for survivors.

ECA’S HIGHLIGHTS OF 2020 INCLUDE:

LUCAS LECOUR AND SERGIO SALINAS (ARGENTINA), Argentine Attorneys, for their historic prosecution and conviction of clergy for abusing deaf survivors and their journey to Geneva and Rome to highlight the Vatican’s failure to protect children and provide justice to survivors; ECA has supported their efforts and will help in their action against the government of Argentina before the OAS court and before the United Nations;

ADALBERTO MENDEZ LOPEZ (MEXICO) AND SARA OVIEDO (ECUADOR) for precedent setting hearing before the OAS (Organization of American States) Inter-American Human Rights Commission to promote justice for survivors in the Americas, particularly Latin America. ECA provided assistance for legal fees for this effort.

JANET AGUTI OF UGANDA and her groundbreaking grassroots effort to educate local communities about sexual violence and providing services for children and women who are victims of sexual violence; ECA financially supports her important work. …

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Former Catholic Ladies College, Eltham, teacher Matthew Saada accused of possessing child porn

AUSTRALIA
The Australian

January 25, 2021

By Caroline Schelle

https://www.theaustralian.com.au/breaking-news/former-catholic-ladies-college-eltham-teacher-matthew-saada-accused-of-possessing-child-porn/news-story/3c87f93a22559ab3ffb9afe53c9b655f

A Melbourne teacher was allegedly caught with explicit images of young girls when he handed in his work laptop to the school’s IT department.

Maths teacher Matthew Saada will go to trial charged with eight offences including knowingly possess child abuse material and accessing child pornography using a carriage service dating between January 2016 and October 2017.

The 33-year-old was working at Catholic Ladies College at Eltham in the city’s north at the time and is fighting the charges at a committal hearing in the Melbourne Magistrates Court.

“Not guilty, your honour,” Mr Saada told magistrate Johanna Metcalf on Monday when asked to enter a plea.

School IT worker Andrew Roberts was quizzed about how he uncovered the images which led to the charges.

He was planning to wipe the laptop for the school to sell to a computer recycling company when he found the images, the court was told.

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Catholic Church abuse: Only a fraction of victims coming forward, survivor group says

NEW ZEALAND
RNZ via New Zealand Herald

January 23, 2021

By Andrew McRae

A survivor group for people abused while in the care of the Catholic Church says only a fraction of them are coming forward.

A number have spoken with the Royal Commission into Abuse in Care, but it is being seen as only the tip of the iceberg.

Dr Christopher Longhurst of SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) said many people are reluctant to come forward for fear of ridicule.

“There is so much shame around the abuse that society sees the victim as wounded and defective and there is victim blaming.”

Longhurst said there is dignity in surviving abuse and it is nothing for the victim to be ashamed of.

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Senator calls for full Mother and Baby apology from Galway County Council at meeting

GALWAY (IRELAND)
Galway Advertiser

January 24, 2021

By Declan Varley

Green party Senator Pauline O’Reilly has called on Galway County Council to issue a full apology to the survivors of the Tuam Mother and Baby Homes at their meeting in Corrandulla tomorrow (Monday ).

Soeaking in the Seanad, Sen O’Reilly commended all of those who came forward, adding that said that no one could read their reports and not say that it was abuse and neglect.

While calling out the Church and Galway County Council, she said that the ultimate responsibility “lies with a State that did not provide women with alternatives, that did not prosecute rape, that did not provide them with contraceptives, and that acted in a deferential way to a Church that used its power and was allowed to use its power to abuse others”.

As part of her speech, she made a personal apology on behalf of the State and said that “we must be judged by our actions”.

She called for Galway County Council to make an apology for the huge part that it played and the Minister, Roderic Gorman, said that he agreed with his colleague that that would be appropriate and that other local authorities could follow this lead. “Tuam is highlighted over and over. Nearly 1,000 people died and as we are all well aware that they were shown no dignity in death.

“Their families continue to have no closure, with scant records and no tracing having been carried out. The conditions were among the worst in the country. This was an institution run by nuns, but also by the local authority.

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Survivor recalls mother and baby home ‘hellhole’

IRELAND
BreakingNews.ie

January 24, 2021

By Rebecca Black

A Northern Ireland woman has recalled spending months at a “hellhole” institution for unmarried mothers and babies.

Adele, 69, was sent to the Marianvale home in Newry, run by the Good Shepherd Sisters, at the age of 17 after becoming pregnant.

“When my mother found out, wheels were set in motion and I was duly shipped off,” she said.

“I was picked up in a car with the parish priest and taken there. I hadn’t a clue what was going on.

“I was told there were no other options, your child will be adopted and you’ll stay here. That was reinforced by the nuns and my mother.”

Adele believes she stayed for around 12 weeks and described Marianvale as a “hellhole.”

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January 24, 2021

She Exposed Sexual Abuse in a Catholic Kids Camp. Now She’s Facing a Prison Sentence

PERU
Vice

January 22, 2021

By Simeon Tegel

The work of Peruvian journalist Pao Ugaz has made her the target of a string of legal actions.

When reporters at the Boston Globe exposed child sex abuse within the Catholic Church, their investigative work was so celebrated that Hollywood made a film, Spotlight, about it.

Now, after carrying out a similar crusading probe into pedophilia in a Catholic lay organization in South America, Peruvian journalist Pao Ugaz is facing jail time and a hefty damages bill.

For years, Ugaz, 45, has been researching Sodalicio de Vida Cristiana, a Catholic boot camp for children from elite families. She began by contributing to the 2015 Spanish-language book Half Monks, Half Soldiers, by Pedro Salinas, which revealed a pattern of abuse at Sodalicio, which Salinas had attended as a teen. She is now investigating its financing and is due to publish a book on that subject later this year.

But the pair’s award-winning work has ruffled feathers and made Ugaz in particular the target of a string of lawsuits from Sodalicio members and conservative activists, some for defamation and some seeking to have her charged with corruption.

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Lawsuit accusing Kansas priest of sexual abuse in 1980s can go forward, court says

KANSAS CITY (MO)
Kansas City Star

January 22, 2021

By Katie Moore and Judy L. Thomas

A lawsuit alleging a Topeka priest sexually abused a boy in the 1980s can proceed after an appeal by church officials was struck down this week.

The lawsuit, which says the boy was 9 years old when a priest at St. Matthew’s Church began abusing him, was filed in Wyandotte County District Court in August 2017.

The lawsuit names as defendants a priest identified in court records only as M.J. and the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, which has authority over St. Matthew’s.

It alleges that M.J., a former priest, engaged in a pattern of sexual abuse during his assignments to parishes in northeast Kansas. According to the plaintiff, who is now in his 40s, the priest abused him at the church’s rectory, the Topeka YMCA and on trips until he was 12. The lawsuit says the boy repressed the memories until late fall 2015 when news reports of priest abuse emerged in the media.

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Church deacon busted for trying to have sex with teen he met on Grindr: officials

NEW YORK (NY)
New York Post

January 22, 2021

By Rebecca Rosenberg

A church deacon was busted this week for trying to have sex with a 14-year-old boy he met on the gay hook-up site Grindr, officials said.

It turns out that Rogelio Vega, 50, of Maspeth, Queens, was actually chatting up an undercover detective posing as a youngster, according to prosecutors.

“This defendant by all outward appearances is a church-going family man,” said Queens DA Melinda Katz. “Sadly, the real person under the sheep’s clothing is an alleged sexual predator who sought out a teenage boy to fulfill his needs.”

Vega, a deacon with Saint Sebastian Roman Catholic Church in Woodside, allegedly began using the app Grindr in July 2020 to communicate with the undercover who he thought was an underage boy. The married father of four allegedly asked the “child” to send him nude pictures and shared several photos of his genitals with him.

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[Opinion] Drop the state religion blither-blather — we need ‘a new day’

UNITED STATES
Patheos

January 21, 2021

By Annie Laurie Gaylor

Like you, I’m moved and saddened by the luminous, somber sight of the 400 lights lining the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool collectively representing the 400,000 Americans who’ve died so far from Covid-19.

President-elect Joe Biden, Jill Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and her spouse, Doug Emhoff, stood by themselves in front of that memorial, our nation’s overdue first official memorial to Covid-19 victims, on Tuesday night and poignantly addressed the country, saying, “It’s important to [heal] as a nation. That’s why we’re here today.” It was a lovely, loving way to ensure the Inauguration festivities-to-come did not disrespect the suffering or eclipse our focus on the urgent challenges ahead.

But one aspect of that Tuesday event was not at all lovely to me: the decision to single out Cardinal Wilton Gregory to join this elite group of four, to deliver an invocation to a nation tuned in to witness a civic event. Gregory’s liturgical presence and his Christian invocation turned it from a civil ceremony into a religious service.

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Jesuits in Spain express ‘shame, pain, and regret’ over abuse

ROME (ITALY)
Crux

January 23, 2021

By Inés San Martín

After releasing a report documenting 81 cases of the sexual abuse of minors in Spain, the Jesuit leadership in the country expressed “shame, pain, and regret.”

The report on allegations of abuse made against members of the religious order covered the years 1927-2020, and also included documentation about the sexual abuse of 37 adults in that period.

“We feel shame, pain and regret,” said Jesuit Father Antonio España, the head of the Spanish province of the order.

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January 23, 2021

In a first for Spain, Jesuits admit to decades of sex abuse

MADRID (SPAIN)
Associated Press

January 22, 2021

By Aritz Parra and Nicole Winfield

The first comprehensive internal inquiry on sex abuse allegations by a religious order in Spain has identified 81 children and 37 adult victims of 96 Jesuits since the late 1920s, a much higher number than the cases that had so far been publicly known.

Associations of victims are welcoming the disclosure, but they see it falling short since the names of perpetrators or those who covered up the abuses weren’t disclosed. They also want the Jesuits’ inquiry to lead to proper criminal cases against the few abusers that are still alive and a detailed plan to compensate their victims.

“It’s a timid measure that goes in the right direction, but it falls too short,” Miguel Hurtado, a spokesman with the Stolen Childhood Association, told The Associated Press on Friday.

Jesuits is how members of the Society of Jesus, a Roman Catholic religious order formed in 1540 by Ignatius Loyola, are commonly known. According to its website, the order runs 68 schools with some 75,000 students in Spain as well as half a dozen universities and high education centers.

The Society of Jesus in Spain said in its report published Thursday that the internal probe confirmed that 96 members had been accused of sex abuses since 1927, the year of the first recorded case. For 65 of the Jesuits, the accusations involved underage victims. The report nevertheless highlighted that the accused Jesuits make up just over 1% of the 8,782 members admitted in the order during the past 93 years.

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Acting Pa. victim advocate resigns after rejection by GOP-led Senate

PENNSYLVANIA
Philadelphia Inquirer

January 22, 2021

By Angela Couloumbis

Pennsylvania’s chief advocate for crime victims announced Friday that she will resign her position, saying it was “untenable” to remain in the high-profile job amid a political feud with legislative Republicans.

Jennifer Storm, the state’s victim advocate since 2013, called her decision to leave at the end of the month “gut-wrenching.” But she said it would be a mistake to remain in the $133,000-a-year position after the GOP-controlled state Senate late last year blocked her from serving another six years.

Storm has said she believes the Senate’s rejection of her is the direct result of a “vendetta” by the chamber’s onetime top Republican, Joe Scarnati of Jefferson County. Storm and Scarnati were on opposite sides of an emotionally charged debate in 2018 over giving victims of long-ago child sexual abuse a chance to sue the perpetrators and institutions that covered up the crimes.

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[Opinion] We cannot let children be hurt so that priests can keep their vows

NORTH DAKOTA
The Jamestown Sun

January 22, 2021

By Rob Port

If your religious or political beliefs require you to stay silent when a child is in harm’s way, it’s time to change those beliefs.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers in Bismarck is looking to change an exemption to North Dakota’s mandatory reporter law established for clergy.

Sen. Judy Lee, a Republican from Fargo, has introduced Senate Bill 2180. Co-sponsoring it are two other Republicans (though at least one, Rep. Mike Brandenburg of Edgeley, has withdrawn his support) as well as two Democrats.

As I noted in a previous column, the Catholic Church is fighting the legislation, characterizing it as some assault on religious liberty.

I’ve had others, particularly of the Catholic faith, contact me to make the same argument.

My friend (and former state senator) Joe Miller has a letter to the editor making that argument. “There must be a better way than to criminalize good and righteous traditions that saints and martyrs have died to protect,” he writes. “Let us not take a path backward 627 years on religious liberty.”

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Book examines difficult path to restoring faith after child sex abuse

UNITED STATES
Catholic News Service via Catholic Philly

January 22, 2021

By Agostino Bono

“Glimmers of Grace: Moments of Peace and Healing Following Sexual Abuse” by Faith Hakesley. Our Sunday Visitor. (Huntington, Indiana, 2020). 174 pp. $15.95.

Reams have been written about the legal and moral dimensions of the clergy sexual abuse of minors and its decadeslong cover-up by Catholic officials, stretching into the papacy.

Not grabbing as much attention but equally important is the long-term destructive effects on the lives of abuse victims.

The damage to victims’ souls, emotions, psychological well-being and physical health has been devastating. Some commit suicide. Others become predators themselves. Many cannot have healthy, normal emotional relationships with other people and even distrust people honestly trying to befriend th

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